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Daily newspaper - Gulf Times

SPORT | Page 12
Father Emir opens
dhow festival
QMSF set to
host final
round of H1
2 – 6, 30 – 32
8, 9
11 – 27
28, 29
1 – 9, 15 – 20
10 – 14
1 – 12
Iran nuclear talks
enter final round
Iran and world powers ratcheted
up the rhetoric yesterday as
they entered a final round of
nuclear talks six days before a
deadline for a deal, with stillconsiderable differences dogging
the negotiations. Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif
warned on arrival in Vienna that an
accord would only happen if the
five permanent members of the
UN Security Council plus Germany
make no “excessive demands”.
Page 9
AMERICA | Internet
WhatsApp messages
safe from snooping
An online privacy tool endorsed by
Edward Snowden is being used to
protect WhatsApp messages from
snooping by encrypting them as
they travel the Internet. Page 14
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the official reception ceremony
for visiting Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at the Emiri Diwan yesterday. The
Emir and President Jammeh later held a session of official talks, focusing on bilateral
relations and ways to enhance them. HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin
Hamad al-Thani, a number of Qatari ministers and members of the official delegation
accompanying President Jammeh attended the session. After the talks, HH the Emir
and the Gambian president witnessed the signing of two agreements, one on the
avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with regard to taxes
on income and the second one on air services. HH the Emir hosted a luncheon
banquet in honour of the Gambian President and his accompanying delegation.
Page 2
UAE and Bahrain to
take part in handball
tournament in Qatar
Basel, Switzerland
ahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) want to take part in
the handball world championships in Qatar in January, the ruling
body IHF said yesterday.
The Handball Federation of Bahrain
and the Handball Federation of the UAE
have informed the International Handball Federation (IHF) about their wish to
cancel their withdrawal from their participation,” the IHF said in a statement.
“Both federations have expressed
their preparedness and wish to participate at this flagship event of the IHF.”
The IHF said a п¬Ѓnal decision will be
made by its council at a meeting on Friday in Germany.
Bahrain and the UAE pulled out of
the tournament little over a week ago.
UAE are drawn into Group C along
with France, Sweden, Czech Republic,
Algeria and Egypt. Bahrain are in Group
D with Argentina, Denmark, Germany,
Poland and Russia.
The UAE and Bahrain federations’
decision to take part in the tournament
comes after the Gulf countries have
ended differences between them.
After a mini-summit in Riyadh late
Sunday, the leaders of Saudi Arabia,
the UAE and Bahrain had agreed to return their ambassadors to Doha, eight
months after withdrawing them.
A GCC statement issued after Sunday’s meeting said the accord “promises the opening of a new page...
especially in light of the sensitive
circumstances the region is undergoing”.
The reconciliation comes ahead of
the annual GCC summit scheduled to
be held in Doha next month.
Comet team detects organic molecules
uropean comet lander Philae
“sniffed” organic molecules
containing the carbon element
that is the basis of life on Earth before
its primary battery ran out and it shut
down, German scientists said yesterday.
They said it was not yet clear whether
they included the complex compounds
that make up proteins. One of the
key aims of the mission is to discover
whether carbon-based compounds,
and through them, ultimately, life, were
brought to early Earth by comets.
Philae landed on comet 67P/
Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a 10year journey through space aboard
the Rosetta spacecraft on a mission to
unlock details about how planets and
maybe even how life evolved.
It wrapped up its 57-hour mission
on the comet’s surface on Saturday
after radioing back data from a series
of experiments as its battery ran out.
Comets date back to the formation
of our solar system and have preserved ancient organic molecules like
a time capsule.
The COSAC gas analysing instrument on Philae was able to “sniff ”
the atmosphere and detect the п¬Ѓrst
organic molecules after landing, the
DLR German Aerospace Centre said.
The lander also drilled into the
comet’s surface in its hunt for organic
molecules, although it is unclear as
yet whether Philae managed to deliver
a sample to COSAC for analysis.
Also onboard the lander was the
MUPUS tool to measure the density
and thermal and mechanical properties of the comet’s surface. It showed
the comet’s surface was not as soft as
previously believed.
A thermal sensor was supposed to
be hammered around 40cm into the
surface but this did not occur, despite
the hammer setting being cranked up
to its highest level.
The DLR reckons that after passing
through a 10-20cm thick layer of dust,
the sensor hit a layer of material estimated to be as hard as ice. Pages 19, 28
Vol. XXXV No. 9546
November 19, 2014
Moharram 26, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Doha to host
2019 world
Doha has been selected ahead of
rival bids from 1992 Olympic hosts
Barcelona and the American city
of Eugene, often referred to as
Track Town
REGION | Negotiations
The 9.7km-long Mesaimeer Surface
and Ground Water tunnel project,
aimed at upgrading a major section
of the country’s drainage networks,
is expected to be operational by
early 2017, according to Ashghal’s
annual report. The tunnel,
which runs under the F-Ring
road, stretches 5.4km west of Al
Thumama and 4.3km east towards
the new pumping station being
built near the Hamad International
Airport area. The tunnel will drain
Doha’s storm water by transporting
it from a 170sq km catchment area,
covering southern and western
areas of Greater Doha. Excavations
work is being conducted now
using advanced boring equipment
“without causing any adverse
effect on surrounding areas and
disruption to the traffic”.
9.7km-long drainage
tunnel in the works
is A R 8
AT 19
Q since
QATAR | Project
In brief
Latest Figures
Qatar, Gambia seek to expand ties
QATAR | Page 32
atar’s emergence as a global
sporting hub gained further
clout when Doha was chosen
as host city for the 2019 IAAF World
Athletics Championships yesterday.
The fast-growing city will become
the п¬Ѓrst from the Middle East to stage
the blue riband event.
Overlooked for the 2017 championships in favour of London, Doha
was selected ahead of rival bids from
1992 Olympic hosts Barcelona and the
American city of Eugene, often referred to as Track Town.
Doha earned 12 votes to Eugene’s
nine and Barcelona’s six in the initial
secret ballot of the IAAF Council before winning 15-12 over Eugene in the
second vote.
It is a new boost for Qatar which
has just been cleared of corruption by
FIFA in its successful bid for the 2022
World Cup.
IAAF vice president Dahlan alHamad and head of the Doha 2019 bid
said the choice of the city was a “great
opportunity” to take athletics to new
“The World Championships for us
will be a unique one,” he told a news
conference in Monte Carlo’s Fairmont
“We will organise it to a high level
and these championships will expand
the horizons of the IAAF.”
The 17th World Championships will
Host cities
List of host cities for the IAAF World
Championships since the first official
staging in 1983:
2019 - Doha;
2017 - London;
2015 - Beijing; 2013 - Moscow;
2011 - Daegu; 2009 - Berlin;
2007 - Osaka;
2005 - Helsinki;
2003 - Paris;
2001 - Edmonton;
1999 - Seville;
1997 - Athens;
1995 - Gothenburg;
1993 - Stuttgart; 1991 - Tokyo;
1987 - Rome;
1983 - Helsinki.
take place at the newly-modernised
Khalifa Stadium in early October, later
than usual, to spare competitors from
the worst of the summer heat. Temperatures in Doha at that time of year
are typically about 35 degrees Celsius
during the morning and 30 degrees in
the evenings, no more stifling than at
previous world championship venues
like Tokyo and Seville.
Long-serving IAAF president Lamine Diack said the three candidates
had been the best he had seen.
“I’m sure that in Doha we will have
a wonderful edition of the world
championships,” he said.
“I’m convinced they are committed
to sport and they are doing the right
things and it will continue like that.”
Doha hosted the men-only Qatar
Athletic Super Grand Prix in 1997 and
that meeting has since been incorporated into the Diamond League. It
also hosted the 2010 World Indoors
Qatar Olympic Committee secretary general and chairman of the Doha
bid, HE Sheikh Saoud Abdulrahman
al-Thani, praised the “fair play” in the
bidding process.
Flashback to December 1, 2006: the
opening ceremony of the 15th Asian
Games in the Khalifa International
Stadium in Doha.
“We would like to thank the IAAF
for the trust they have placed in us
and guarantee to deliver on our commitments,” he said. “We extend our
warmest appreciation to the teams
from Eugene and Barcelona for their
friendship, fair play and respect
throughout the bidding process.”
Eugene was hoping to become the
п¬Ѓrst American city to host the event
which began in 1983 in Helsinki.
Portland, Oregon, will stage the
2016 World Indoor Championships
while Eugene annually hosts a Diamond League meet.
“We would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Doha and our
sincere thanks to the IAAF,” Eugene
bid leader Vin Lananna said in a statement.
“We made a bold attempt with an
audacious vision for this event and
we will continue to partner with USA
Track & Field in attracting other major events to the US.
Barcelona was attempting to become the second Spanish city to host
the event, following Seville in 1999.
The 2015 world championships will
be in Beijing. Sports Page 2
Qatar Olympic Committee secretary-general HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani signing the contract document
after Doha was declared the host city for the 2019 World Athletics Championships. International Association of Athletics
Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack, left, and Qatar Athletics Federation president Dahlan al-Hamad are also seen in
the picture. Qatar beat Barcelona and Oregon to win the bid.
Obama urges calm after Jerusalem attack
S President Barack Obama yesterday condemned a “horrific
attack” on a Jerusalem synagogue that killed four people, including
three American citizens, and urged Israel and the Palestinians to seek peace.
Obama called the assault “a tragedy for both Israel as well as the United
“Tragically, this is not the first
loss of life that we have seen in recent
months,” he warned.
“Too many Israelis have died, and
too many Palestinians have died. And
at this difficult time, I think it’s impor-
tant for both Palestinians and Israelis
to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject violence.”
The fourth Israeli victim has been
identified as a British national. Eight
more people were wounded.
The attack began shortly after dawn
when assailants burst into a Jewish
seminary. Police exchanged gunfire
with the attackers, killing them. Two
police were wounded.
Obama warned against a “spiral” of
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu pledged to respond with a
“heavy hand” and accused Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting
violence in Jerusalem.
Abbas condemned the attack, which
took place after weeks of unrest fuelled
in part by Israeli provocations at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque.
Abbas has said Muslims have a right
to defend their sacred places if attacked.
Five Israelis and a foreign visitor
were killed in the Palestinian attacks
that preceded yesterday’s incident. At
least 10 Palestinians have also been
killed, including those accused of carrying out the attacks prior to the synagogue assault.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group said it carried
out the attack, which it called a “heroic
Palestinian radio described the attackers as “martyrs” and Hamas
praised the attack. Page 10
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
PM receives Tunisian FM
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani met the Tunisian Minister
of Foreign Affairs Mongi Hamdi in Doha yesterday. Discussions focussed on bilateral relations and ways to strengthen
them, in addition to issues of mutual interest.
QCCI officials hold talks
with Chinese delegation
atar Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (QCCI) discussed during a meeting
here yesterday with a Chinese delegation aspects of
enhancing various trade and
investment relations, particularly in infrastructure
and construction areas.
The two sides reviewed
during the meeting, which
was held at the headquarters of Qatar Chamber, all of
the opportunities available
in the two countries and the
extent of benefit that can
be achieved through future
Mohamed bin Ahmed bin
Tawar al-Kuwari said that
the Chinese delegation’s
visit to Qatar reflects their
interest of the large opportunities available in the
country in different п¬Ѓelds,
especially infrastructure.
He also pointed out that
Chinese companies currently have great capabilities to help them enter the
Qatari market, looking
forward to partnering with
the Chinese side in order
to increase the presence
of the Chinese companies
in Doha and their various
investment sectors in the
For their part, members of
the Chinese delegation expressed hope that the meet-
The Chinese
delegation’s visit
to Qatar reflects
their interest of the
large opportunities
available in the
country in different
fields, especially
ing would yield constructive
partnerships for the benefit
of the Qatari and Chinese
economies, noting that giving them an opportunity to
meet Qatari businessmen,
identify investment opportunities in Qatar and reach
constructive partnerships
indicates that the Qatari
side is interested in diversifying its economic activities.
Members of the Chinese
delegation gave a presentation about a number of
companies operating in the
areas of scaffolding, cement, wallpaper, curtains,
construction, contracting,
pipes and hotel and office
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Emir invites leaders to GCC summit
Films generate understanding
between cultures, says minister
The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah has received a written
message from HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The message
included an invitation addressed to the emir of Kuwait to attend the meetings of the
35th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which
will be held in Doha on December 9-10. HE the State Minister Sheikh Abdulrahman
bin Saud al-Thani handed over the message during a meeting with the emir of
Kuwait at Bayan Palace yesterday. HH the Emir has also invited the King of Bahrain
Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah to attend the 35th session of the GCC Supreme Council
in Doha. HE the Minister of State Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani handed over a
message from the Emir during a meeting with the King of Bahrain at the Al-Sakhir
Palace in Manama yesterday.
embers of the diplomatic community came together
yesterday in celebration of
the Doha Film Institute’s
upcoming second edition of
the Ajyal Youth Film Festival
which will screen 90 п¬Ѓlms
from 43 different countries,
from December 1 to 6 at Katara Cultural Village.
HE the Minister of Culture Arts and Heritage Dr
Hamad bin Abdul Aziz alKuwari addressed the guests
and said that п¬Ѓlm is a very
powerful medium for generating understanding between cultures and between
“We come together from
many different backgrounds
but seeing each other’s stories on screen reminds us
that we are all connected in
our human experience,” he
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on
the sidelines of a reception
hosted yesterday by the
Doha Film Institute in hon-
our of ambassadors on the
occasion of the launch of
Ajyal Youth Film Festival on
December 1, Dr al-Kuwari
added that the State of Qatar, in co-operation with the
ambassadors and diplomats
accredited to the State, has
always sought to promote
culture and art and participate in all local and international events.
Doha Film Institute’s
acting CEO and director of
the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, Fatma al-Remaihi also
addressed the guests expressing her thanks to the
diplomatic community for
supporting the Festival’s
aims to foster cultural diversity through п¬Ѓlm appreciation.
The Festival’s principal
partner Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s deputy
general manager Hassan alMalki was also present.
The Ajyal Youth Film
Festival builds on the Doha
Film Institute’s history of
gramming. Ajyal, meaning �generations’ in Arabic,
invites people of all ages to
come together to discuss
cinema through events that
inspire creative interaction,
opening up a fun, collaborative environment where
young people can express
themselves. Driven with the
goal to inspire and create,
Ajyal has been designed to
empower the region’s youth
and to inspire п¬Ѓlm enthusiasts of all ages in Qatar and
the region.
HE Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari, Fatma al-Remaihi, and Hassan al-Malki welcomed members of the diplomatic community at a special reception for
the Second Ajyal Youth Film Festival.
Protecting human
rights is a priority
for Qatar: UN envoy
New York
atar pays great attention to enhancing, respecting and
protecting human rights,
which constitute a cornerstone of its policy and a strategic choice in the country’s
comprehensive reform process, Yousuf Sultan Laram,
Qatar’s deputy permanent
representative to the United
Nations, has said.
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York
on Article 63 about the Human Rights Council’s report,
the Qatari diplomat noted
that Qatar National Vision
includes several pillars in the
fields of education, environment, health, women’s empowerment and child rights
that aim to build a safe and
stable society steered by
principles of justice, equality
and the rule of law.
He stressed Qatar’s keenness on taking up a constructive and effective role
in protecting and enhancing
human rights on the national, regional and international
National Day
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al-Thani, HH the
Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani and
HE the Prime Minister and
Interior Minister Sheikh
Abdullah bin Nasser bin
Khalifa al-Thani yesterday
sent cables of congratulations to Sultan Qaboos
bin Said of Oman, King
Mohamed of Morocco and
Latvian President Andris
Berzins on their country’s
National Day.
Qatar, Tunisia
ties reviewed
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed
al-Attiyah met the Foreign
Minister of Tunisia Monji
Hamdi and his accompanying delegation in Doha
They discussed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing
them and exchanged views
on topics of common interest.
“Our active participation
during our membership in
the Human Rights Council
has reflected this keenness,”
he said, adding that Qatar
remains committed to fulfilling its pledges in this area,
and looks forward to continuing to provide all forms
of co-operation and support
for UN human rights mechanisms in order to promote
human rights and fundamental freedoms all over the
He said that Qatar’s reviewing of its second national report before the panel on
the Human Rights Council’s
Universal Periodic Review
Mechanism (UPR) provided
a platform for introducing
Qatar’s policies in enhancing and protecting human
rights and highlighting the
progress made in this regard.
Laram added that Qatar
has acted upon the recommendations made about its
п¬Ѓrst national report including the amendment of its
penal code, the enactment of
a law on combating human
trafficking in order to protect
victims and to promote international co-operation in
this area.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
WCMC-Q welcomes
new faculty at event
The Qatar WRO team.
Qatar students get ready
for World Robot Olympiad
hirty students from seven
schools across Qatar are
set to participate in this
year’s World Robot Olympiad
(WRO), which takes place in
Sochi, Russia, from November
Students travelling to the 11th
WRO, who will make up Qatar’s 11
competing teams, were those who
triumphed in last month’s Qatar
National Robot Olympiad (NRO).
Local schools heading to this
year’s WRO in Sochi include AbuBakr Asdeeq, Khalid bin Ahmed,
Philippine School Doha, American School of Doha, Dukhan English School, Tariq bin Ziyad and
Mohamed bin Abdul Wahab.
This year’s WRO theme is “Robots and Space,” which will be reflected within the competition’s
categories. Teams from Qatar will
compete in the Regular category,
a challenge in which teams build
robots designed to solve a given
challenge set on a table; Open
category, in which teams use their
creativity and problem-solving
skills to construct smart robotic
solutions that complement the
competition’s theme; and the recently introduced GEN II Football
More than 800 students attended the Qatar NRO at Aspire
Zone in October, which was the
culmination of the year-long Go
Robot programme, an initiative
to encourage students to study
science, technology, engineering
and mathematics (STEM). Qatar
will host the 12th WRO in 2015.
Dr Ken MacLeod, president of
College of the North Atlantic–
Qatar (CNA-Q), said: “Participants at this year’s Qatar NRO
set a new standard in terms of
technical expertise and creativity, skills which the travelling
students will now take onto the
global stage at the WRO in Sochi.
“As we head into 2015, and
look towards Qatar hosting the
12th WRO, the Go Robot programme will continue with its
training of students and teachers
across the country.”
Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad alThani, deputy managing director
of Maersk Oil Qatar, said: “We are
proud to have helped send all these
talented local students to Sochi,
to represent Qatar on an international stage. Qatar continues to
be an exciting country for anyone
interested in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics.”
The school robotics programme, Go Robot, has been running since 2012 as a partnership
betweem CNA-Q and Maersk Oil
Qatar, supported by the Supreme
Education Council and Qatar
octors from affiliated institutions of Weill Cornell Medical College in
Qatar (WCMC-Q) have been
welcomed as new faculty at an
orientation event at the college.
A total of 77 new faculty
from Aspetar Orthopaedic
and Sports Medicine Hospital,
Hamad Medical Corporation
(HMC), the Primary Health
Care Corporation (PHCC) as
well as Sidra Medical and Research Centre (Sidra) were in
attendance to learn about their
new roles as clinical tutors and
mentors for WCMC-Q students.
The new faculty, who remain
employed by their own institutions, will provide hands-on
clinical training to WCMC-Q
students within the affiliated
institutions, as well as offering
advice and encouragement to
guide the young trainee doctors
as they take their п¬Ѓrst steps in
the world of medicine.
Giving the welcome address at the New Faculty Orientation Seminar, Dr Robert
Crone, senior adviser to the
dean on academic affairs at
WCMC-Q, said: “You have
so much to offer our students
in terms of expertise, experience and mentorship, and I
know that they greatly appreciate the opportunity to work
with you. Strengthening the
bonds of collaboration that exist between our organisations is
helping to create an integrated,
cohesive health system in Qatar
that unites medical education,
research and clinical practice,
for the benefit of everyone in
the community.”
In the third and fourth years
of their medical degrees, WCMC-Q students spend a total of
55 weeks on clinical clerkships
Some of the new faculty at the event.
in affiliate institutions where
they learn the hands-on clinical
skills required to become fully
qualified physicians.
The recruitment of new
medical faculty who are based
at affiliate institutions broadens
the range of opportunities for
students to learn from qualified
physicians, as well as helping to
equip Qatar with a new generation of doctors in line with the
goals of Qatar National Vision
2030 and the National Health
Dr Ismail Helmi, deputy director of the Department of
Medical Education at HMC,
said: “I have been involved with
WCMC-Q since 2004 and it is
incredible to see how the relationship has developed between the college, HMC, Sidra,
Aspetar and the PHCC.”
Dr Basma Harara, head of
administration at Aspetar and
Professor Ziyad M Hijazi, acting chief medical officer and
clinical service chief of pae-
diatrics at Sidra, were also in
attendance to welcome their
colleagues from their home institutions and participate in the
There were also presentations by WCMC-Q staff members, Sunanda Holmes, director of business planning and
contracts, and Dr Alicia Tartalo, faculty affairs manager,
explaining WCMC-Q policies,
appointments and promotion
processes, while information
services librarian Paul Mussleman instructed the new faculty
members on how to access the
college’s comprehensive electronic library.
The welcome addresses were
followed by two panel discussions that explored the role of
affiliated faculty in contributing to the medical students’
education and to the achievement of the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. The event,
which was co-ordinated by
WCMC-Q’s Office of Faculty
Dr Crone addresses the gathering.
Affairs, concluded with a tour
of the college facilities for the
new faculty members and a
networking lunch session.
New faculty member, Dr Yahia Imam, specialist in neurology and internal medicine at
HMC, said: “I recall from my
own training just how beneficial it was to work alongside
qualified physicians. You can
read every book in the library
but there really is no substitute
for hands-on experience in the
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Zone cycling track
Bank launches two promotions Aspire
to remain closed tomorrow
to mark Qatar National Day
o mark the occasion of
Qatar National Day on
December 18, International Islamic has announced
the launch of two new offers
pertaining to personal and
vehicle п¬Ѓnance for its customers, both Qataris and expatriates.
This is in response to the
aspirations of a large segment
of International Islamic’s
customers, the bank has said
in a statement.
The new offer enables In-
ternational Islamic customers, or non-customers who
are willing to transfer their
salaries and other obligations
to the bank, obtain personal
п¬Ѓnance at competitive rates,
the statement adds.
Customers will also be
eligible to get a “cash gift” in
their account, equivalent to
1.8% of the value of the new
A grace period of up to
one year will be provided to
Qataris, wherein the repay-
Jamal Abdulla al-Jamal
ment of monthly instalments
starts in end-January 2016.
In the case of expatriates,
a grace period of up to three
months will be provided.
For every п¬Ѓnance of
QR100,000, the EMI will be
QR1,661 for 72 months for
Qataris and QR2,352 for 48
months for expatriates.
As far as vehicle п¬Ѓnancing
is concerned, all International Islamic customers will
be eligible for a profit rate of
2.18%, specially designed
and launched as part of Qatar
National Day celebrations.
Finance of up to 100% of
the value of the car, regardless of whether it is used or
new, will be given to Qataris and 80% to expatriates.
The bank’s Qatari customers can start repayment by end-January 2016,
while expatriate customers can take advantage of a
grace period of up to three
Also, no vehicle mortgage is required in the case
of Qataris.
“We have planned to
mark Qatar National Day
in the best way possible
by offering our customers best deals. Qatar National Day is a very special
and dear occasion for all
of us,” said Jamal Abdulla
al-Jamal, deputy CEO of
International Islamic.
Al-Jamal hoped such
promotions would meet
the demands of different
clients of the bank.
Existing and new customers can benefit from
the International Islamic
offer by visiting any of the
bank’s branches in Qatar
or calling the 24x7 customer service centre at
from AIA
take tour of
Education City
Delegates from the
second annual American
Institute of Architects (AIA)
Middle East Conference
on Saturday received a
guided tour of Education
City, Qatar Foundation for
Education, Science and
Community Development’s
(QF) signature
The tour offered visitors
a unique insight into the
architecture of the campus,
while highlighting QF’s
commitment to quality,
diversity and sustainability.
Held in Doha for the first
time, the two-day AIA
Middle East Conference
was partially sponsored
by QF. Bringing together
industry specialists and
government officials
from around the region,
delegates took part in a
series of briefing sessions
and informative panel
Ameena Ahmadi,
technical director at
QF’s Capital Projects,
delivered a presentation
titled �Type and Diversity
within Education City’s
Architecture’, which
gave a comprehensive
overview of QF’s flagship
development highlighting
some of its signature
buildings, including the
Liberal Arts and Sciences,
the Hamad Bin Khalifa
University Student Centre,
the new Qatar National
Library building and the
Faculty of Islamic Studies
and Education City
Mosque. The presentation
also showed how Qatari
heritage has been reflected
and re-interpreted in QF’s
built environment through
its different projects.
Ahmadi also discussed
the overall design process,
saying: “Qatar Foundation
is committed to highquality architecture and
regularly invites highcalibre architects to
contribute to Education
City. Reciprocally,
architects and students of
architecture from all over
the world have visited to
learn more about what is
being done here.”
“Education City is certainly
recognised regionally and
internationally and is also
highly regarded nationally
by various authorities as
a model and catalyst for
AIA Middle East is one of
the largest chapters outside
the US. Additional speakers
included Mohamed Ali
Abdullah, a cultural adviser,
who discussed the Souq
Waqif renovations, and
Hiroshi Okamoto, a partner
at OLI Architecture, who
gave a presentation about
the Museum of Islamic Art.
he cycling track in
Aspire Zone will
be closed tomorrow and on Friday, as part
of the preparations for the
27th edition of the International Association of
Ultrarunners (IAU) 100km
World Championship on
This is the п¬Ѓrst time for
Qatar and the region to
host the IAU 100km World
is considered one of the
leading races worldwide.
Aspire Zone Foundation
has invited Qatar residents
to engage in a variety of
activities within the context of the marathon. The
event will offer both children and families a chance
to take part in a number of
open air activities.
Open to all between 5pm
to 11pm, the kids’ activity
Aspire Zone: venue of Ultrarunners World Championship
zone will feature a range of
fun activities. There will
also be a traditional cultural area with henna, face
painting and live entertainment.
Aspire Zone has a range
of sports facilities available
to the public throughout
the year. This includes the
open football pitches, paddle boats (daily from 4pm
to 6pm) and remote control car race track.
There is also number
of additional initiatives
launched by Aspire under
its “Life in Aspire” campaign. The primary aim of
these initiatives is to meet
the community members’
aspiration to do their favourite activities within
world-class facilities in a
fun and safe environment.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Iran: jailed woman
had opposition links
British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran
since June was arrested for having contacts
with the “opposition based
abroad” and propaganda offences against the regime, a
justice official said yesterday.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25,
was detained outside a stadium in the capital where she
had gone to watch a volleyball
The law graduate, from
London, was initially released
after a few hours, but was rearrested days later at a police
station where she had gone to
reclaim items that had been
confiscated near the stadium.
Ghavami’s family and supporters say she was held for
trying to watch the match,
and on November 2 her lawyer said she had been tried
and sentenced to one year in
jail for propaganda offences
against the regime.
However, the judiciary
later denied the report of her
sentencing and said the case
remains under investigation.
Yesterday, a statement by
the Tehran prosecutor’s office said evidence of Ghavami’s anti-regime activities
had been found on her mobile
“After investigation, it
seems she had participated
in propaganda against the regime, had links with satellite
TV channels, including BBC
Persian, and the opposition
based abroad and participated
in demonstrations against the
regime,” the statement, published by state media, said.
Bystanders look on at the scene of the blast in Taez yesterday.
Top official of Yemen
Islamist party killed
car bombing yesterday
killed a leading member of
Yemen’s powerful Sunni Al
Islah party whose supporters have
been battling Shia militias, a security official said.
Al Islah assistant secretary
general Sadeq Mansur died “immediately” when a device inside
the door of his car exploded in the
country’s third city Taez southwest of Sanaa, the official said.
Police are trying to identify the
attackers, the official added.
Supporters of the Muslim
Brotherhood-linked Al Islah have
been resisting an advance by Shia
Houthi militiamen who easily
overran the capital on September
21 and who have since been expanding farther south.
Early this month, the Houthis
attacked Al Islah headquarters in
the southwestern city of Ibb, killing three people.
Dozens of people have also been
killed in п¬Ѓghting between armed
Shias and Sunnis in central Yemen.
The Shia militias did not enter
mainly Sunni Taez, 250km from
Sanaa, after a deal was struck between the provincial authorities
and the Houthis’ representatives
to avoid п¬Ѓghting there.
Mansur’s murder comes just
over two weeks after another poli-
tician, the liberal Union of Popular
Forces secretary general Mohamed Abdulmalik al-Mutawakil, was
gunned down in Sanaa.
O One of Yemen’s most prominent human rights activists, Arwa
Othman, yesterday joined the
country’s new unity government
as culture minister, state news
agency Saba reported.
Othman was sworn in after returning from an overseas trip during which she received an award
from Human Rights Watch for
her activism, including efforts to
end child marriages and promote
women’s rights.
The group said she played a
key role in ensuring that Yemen’s
recent transitional National Dia-
logue Conference agreed proposals enshrining gender equality in
law, prohibiting discrimination,
and setting the minimum age for
marriage at 18.
Othman, along with other
prominent female activists, has
come under pressure from Islamist
forces, with Human Rights Watch
noting that “they have been the
subjects of an increasingly aggressive apostasy campaign”.
A leading activist during the
2011 revolution that brought down
long-time ruler Ali Abdullah
Saleh, the new minister has also
been an advocate for marginalised
groups, including Yemenis of African origin and the country’s tiny
remaining Jewish community.
audi Arabia has expanded a
buffer zone along its northern border with Iraq, where
a US-led military coalition is
bombing Islamic State extremists, official media said yesterday.
spokesman for northern region
border guards, said “the depth of
the border has been increased by
20km”, the Saudi Press Agency
Officers guarding the frontier
“called on residents and citizens
to stay away from the border areas”, it added, without clarifying
the previous depth of the border
In early September, the kingdom inaugurated a multi-layered fence, backed by radar and
other surveillance tools, along its
northern borders.
The project is part of efforts
to secure the kingdom’s desert
frontiers against infiltrators and
smugglers, state media reported
at the time.
Saudi Arabia shares a boundary
of 800km with Iraq.
In July 2009, Riyadh signed
a deal with European aerospace
and defence contractors EADS to
build a high-tech security fence
along thousands of kilometres of
the kingdom’s borders, not only
in the north.
Since September, Saudi Arabia
has been part of the US-led coalition bombing Islamic State extremists in Syria.
Saudi Arabia has not, however,
participated in strikes on IS in
Iraq where the extremists have
also seized territory.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum
visited Saudi Arabia last week in a
sign of warming relations.
Riyadh fears IS wants
sectarian war in Saudi
;17ЕЏ4' +08+6'&
Be a part of the new
zing at
ighter security in Saudi Arabia has made it hard for Islamic
State to target the government
so the militants are instead trying to
incite a sectarian conflict via attacks
on the Shia minority, the Saudi interior
ministry said.
An attack by gunmen in the Eastern Province district of Al Ahsa on
November 3 killed eight members
of the kingdom’s Shia minority
who were marking their holy day of
Islamic State has not claimed the
shooting and the Saudis have not held
the group responsible but they arrested more than 50 people including some
who fought with militants in Syria or
had been previously jailed for п¬Ѓghting
with Al Qaeda.
“Islamic State and Al Qaeda are doing their best to carry out terrorist acts
or crimes inside Saudi Arabia,” Major General Mansour Turki, security
spokesman for the interior ministry,
told Reuters.
“They are trying to target the social
fabric and trying to create a sectarian
conflict inside the country.”
Turki said he was not aware of any
evidence that the attack was co-ordinated with Islamic State operatives
outside Saudi Arabia.
He said improved government security, such as guards at possible targets, increased border defences and
surveillance, has made it much harder
for militants elsewhere to organise
violence inside Saudi Arabia such as
Al Qaeda’s 2003-06 campaign which
killed hundreds and led to the detention of more than 11,000 people.
Although Saudi citizens have
played important leadership roles
in various Al Qaeda organisations,
Riyadh has not yet identified any
in senior positions in Islamic State,
Turki said.
However, the group tends to use
Saudi members of Islamic State in
its propaganda because of the kingdom’s role as the leading Sunni state,
he said.
Riyadh is worried that the rise of
militant Sunni groups, including Al
Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front and Islamic State, as participants in the
Syrian war would radicalise Saudis
who might then carry out a new wave
of strikes inside the kingdom.
Although it has backed rebel groups
п¬Ѓghting alongside Islamist militants
against Syrian President Bashar alAssad, Saudi Arabia has also taken
steps to stop its people joining militants in Syria or Iraq or giving them
Turki said a royal decree in February imposing long prison terms for
people who went abroad to п¬Ѓght or
helped others to do so, and for people
who gave moral or material support
to militant groups had reduced the
number of Saudi militants.
“One of the people we arrested
(since the decree) was used by them
(Islamic State) to write Friday sermons. Does this mean they do not
have anybody capable of doing that?
Of course not, but they want our language, our personality, to be reflected
in their speeches,” he said.
Since the decree was issued, the rate
of Saudis travelling to Syria or Iraq to
п¬Ѓght had slowed sharply, while the rate
of Saudis returning to the kingdom
from those countries had accelerated,
he said.
The authorities have identified between 2,000-2,100 Saudi citizens who
have fought in Syria since its crisis began in 2011, of whom around 600 have
returned, he said. Of those numbers,
only about 200 had left Saudi Arabia
since the February decree while around
170 had come back.
The difficulty of getting its п¬Ѓghters
past security and into Saudi Arabia
has pushed Islamic State to try to incite sympathisers inside the kingdom
to carry out their own attacks, Turki
Unlike the Al Qaeda campaign last
decade, the attack in Al Ahsa was
not aimed at government, infrastructure or foreign targets, which
are now better protected by security
forces, but struck at unarmed Shia
That showed the increasingly sectarian nature of militant ideology
but also that tighter security had
reduced the number of straightforward targets for militant attacks,
Turki said.
The authorities detained 10 more
people on Sunday for the attack, taking to 54 the total number of suspects
arrested in 11 different Saudi cities.
“The situation is unlike 10 years ago
when we had the п¬Ѓrst Al Qaeda attacks.
We were not ready at that time. Our
public was not informed, our policemen were not trained or equipped for
such a danger,” he said.
Death sentence for killer of Irish BBC cameraman
The man who gunned down an Irish
cameraman working for the BBC in
Saudi Arabia 10 years ago has been
sentenced to death, a diplomatic
source told AFP yesterday.
Simon Cumbers, 36, was filming
near the home of a wanted militant
in the Saudi capital when he
was killed in the 2004 attack, in
which the current BBC security
correspondent Frank Gardner was
also left paralysed.
The man, reportedly a Saudi, “was
sentenced for the murder of Simon
Cumbers”, said the source, who was
present at Monday’s court hearing.
“As I understand it, there was a whole
series of charges,” which also related
to the wounding of Gardner, said the
Cumber’s killer was among three
men the official Saudi Press Agency
reported were sentenced to death on
Monday for Al Qaeda linked crimes.
Five others were jailed for between
25 and 30 years for similar offences.
It described as “heinous” the offences
committed by those sentenced to
death but did not detail their roles or
mention the attack on the BBC crew.
The group was convicted of offences
that included an attack on the Al
Mahya residential compound in
Riyadh 11 years ago. Seventeen
people, mostly from Arab countries,
were killed.
The group was also found guilty of
plotting to storm companies and a
residential compound in the Gulf
coast community of Khobar to kill
foreigners and members of the
security forces, SPA said.
According to another accusation,
they prepared car bombs in a plan to
“wreak havoc” inside the kingdom.
Authorities in 2011 established
specialised tribunals to try Saudis
and foreigners accused of belonging
to Al Qaeda or of involvement in
deadly attacks in the kingdom
between 2003 and 2006.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Iran to resist
demands in
nuclear talks
ran said it would resist
Western pressure to
make what it considered
to be excessive concessions
in nuclear talks that started
yesterday, highlighting obstacles that could prevent a
historic deal being reached
by a November 24 deadline.
US Secretary of State
John Kerry declined to
make any predictions for
what he called a “critical
week”, during which negotiators from Iran and six
world powers will push to
end a 12-year dispute over
Iran’s nuclear programme
and dispel fears of a new
Middle East war.
After nearly a year of diplomacy, they aim to reach
a comprehensive settlement at the talks in Vienna that would curb Iran’s
atomic activities in return
for a phasing out of sanctions that have severely
hurt its oil-dependent
However, Iranian and
Western officials have said
next Monday’s self-imposed deadline is unlikely
to be met, and an extension
is the most likely outcome.
They say it is possible to
agree the outline of a future
accord, but it would take
months to work out the details.
Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohamed Javad Zarif met
former European Union
foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is co-ordinating the negotiations,
over lunch in the Austrian
capital yesterday.
“The talks with Ashton
were good and reaching a
deal depends on the political will of the other side,”
Iran’s official Irna news
agency quoted Zarif as saying.
It was followed by other
meetings, including one
between all the seven states
involved as well as bilateral
US-Iranian discussions, a
senior US official said.
Zarif arrives at the Iranian
embassy in Vienna for
lunch with Ashton
“This is a very critical
week,” Kerry said on a visit
to London. “It’s imperative,
obviously, that Iran work
with us in all possible efforts to prove to the world
the (nuclear) programme is
His British counterpart,
Foreign Secretary Philip
Hammond, expressed cautious optimism. “I believe
a deal can be done,” he said
after meeting Kerry. But,
“Iran needs to show more
flexibility if we are to succeed.”
The outcome of the negotiations could have farreaching implications in
the wider Middle East as
well as in the United States
and Iran, where hardliners are sceptical of a rapprochement.
The six states—France,
China, Russia, Germany,
the United States and Britain—want Iran to scale back
its capacity to refine uranium so that it would take
much longer to produce п¬Ѓssile material for a bomb if it
wanted to.
Tehran says it is enriching uranium only to make
fuel for nuclear power
plants and that this is its
sovereign right.
“We are here to find a
solution that respects the
Iranian nation’s rights and
removes the legitimate
concerns of the international community,” Zarif
said after arriving in Vien-
na. He made clear that Iran
would be “resisting excessive demands”.
At present Iran could use
its existing infrastructure
to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one
bomb in a few months, although any such “breakout” attempt would be detected very quickly.
And Iran wants to ramp
up massively the number of
enrichment centrifuges in
order, it says, to make fuel
for a fleet of future reactors.
The West wants the
number of centrifuges
slashed, saying Iran has
no such need at present,
something that would extend the “breakout” period
to at least a year.
Other thorny issues are
the duration of the accord and the pace at which
sanctions are lifted, an area
where Iranian expectations
are “excessive”, one Western diplomat said.
Given the differences,
many analysts expect more
time to be put on the clock.
“There is virtually no
possibility that a complete
deal will be concluded by
November 24,” former top
US diplomat Robert Einhorn, now an expert with
the Brookings Institution,
said, predicting another
extension of “several more
The alternative—walking away—would be “catastrophic,” Arms Control
Association analyst Kelsey
Davenport said.
“Given the political
capital that both sides have
invested... it would be foolish to walk away from the
talks and throw away this
historic opportunity,” Davenport said.
For now though, with another extension presenting
risks of its own—fresh US
sanctions, not least—officials insist that they remain
focused on the deadline.
“An extension is not and
has not been a subject of
conversation at this point,”
a senior US official said late
Prince Harry in Oman
Britain’s Prince Harry with Oman’s minister of heritage and culture, Sayyid Haitham
bin Tariq al-Said, at an official dinner held in honour of the prince in Muscat
yesterday. Prince Harry is visiting Oman for two days before travelling to Abu Dhabi
tomorrow to attend a polo event.
School students attend a parliament session in Tehran yesterday to listen to President Hassan Rohani’s speech defending his nominee for the ministry of
science, research and higher education, Fakhreddin Danesh-Ashtiani.
Parliament spurns Rohani pick for universities minister for fourth time
Iran’s parliament yesterday rejected
for the fourth time President Hassan
Rohani’s nominee to head the
sensitive ministry of higher education
in a further setback to his attempts to
liberalise universities.
The choice of minister of science,
research and higher education is
significant as it sets ideological
guidelines for universities, which
have been arenas for pro-democracy
activities and clashes with
conservative hardliners.
The cabinet post has been run by a
caretaker since Reza Faraji-Dana was
impeached over alleged ties to prodemocracy unrest that followed the
disputed re-election of then-president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 and
was eventually crushed.
Two other nominees for the post have
failed to get a vote of confidence
from the conservative-dominated
Appearing in parliament yesterday,
Rohani - a centrist elected by a
landslide last year - sought to
present his latest pick, Fakhreddin
Danesh-Ashtiani, as a pious Muslim
deeply loyal to the 1979 Islamic
“(He) comes from a scholarly and
devout background. He attended
religious schools, always served the
revolution” and fought with volunteer
Islamist militia against Iraq in the
1980s, said Rohani, as quoted by the
official news agency Irna.
Deputies however voted 171-70 with
16 abstentions to dismiss DaneshAshtiani’s candidacy. Before debate
began, hardliners had circulated text
messages and video clips depicting
him as a reformist of doubtful
revolutionary fidelity.
“Sedition is our red line. Parliament
will vote down even if (Rohani) comes
up with 20 candidates like DaneshAshtiani,” said conservative MP
Hassan Naghavi, quoted by Shargh
Rohani had no immediate comment.
“This was expected. By rejecting
candidates, parliament wants to
challenge Rohani and send the
issue to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah
Ali) Khamenei for a decision,” Isa
Saharkhiz, a reformist former official,
told Reuters by phone from Tehran.
“Although people voted for reforms
by electing Rohani, it is clear that
parliament and even Khamenei are
for the strict oversight placed on
universities (under) Ahmadinejad.”
Khamenei has the final say on Iranian
matters of state.
Rohani has pledged to ease
repression at home and pursue
diplomacy abroad to relieve Iran’s
damaging isolation, in part by seeking
a deal with global powers on its
contested nuclear programme.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Spain MPs back eventual recognition of Palestine
panish lawmakers yesterday urged their government to recognise Palestine as a state, albeit only when
the Palestinians and Israel negotiate a solution to their longrunning conflict.
The symbolic motion received
the backing of all the political
groups of the lower house.
The non-binding motion,
brought forward by the opposition
Socialists, had initially “urged”
the government to recognise a
Palestinian state, angering the Israeli government.
But the ruling People’s Party
(PP), which holds an absolute majority in the lower house, proposed
an amendment hours before the
vote weakening the text.
“The Spanish parliament urges
the government to encourage
the recognition of Palestine as a
state... This recognition should be
the consequence of a process ne-
gotiated between the parties that
guarantees peace and security for
both,” the wording proposed by
the PP said.
The amended resolution appeared less ambitious than Foreign Minister Jose Manuel GarciaMargallo had hoped.
“We have the feeling that time
is running out,” he told reporters
in Brussels on Monday. “Either we
do something fairly quickly or the
two-state solution will be physically impossible.”
The Spanish initiative, pro-
moted by Socialist former foreign
minister Trinidad Jimenez, came
after lawmakers in Britain and Ireland called for their governments
to recognise a Palestinian state.
France is also eyeing such a
non-binding resolution later this
month after Sweden’s centre-left
government took the lead by officially recognising the state of Palestine within days of taking office
last month.
The moves reflect mounting
frustration in the European Union
at Israel’s expanding settlement
programme on land the Palestinians want for a state following the
collapse of US-sponsored peace
The EU’s new foreign policy
chief, Federica Mogherini, said
the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers
discussed at a meeting in Brussels
on Monday how they could start
“a positive process with the Israelis and Palestinians to relaunch a
peace process”.
Asked about the PP amendment, Palestinian ambassador
Musa Amer Odeh said: “The most
important thing is that the parliament is asking the government to
recognise the state of Palestine.”
The Israeli government had earlier dismissed the gesture, saying it
came at the worst possible moment
on the day of the deadliest incident
in Jerusalem for six years.
“Nothing can be gained from
unilateral moves such as the
one being made by the Spanish parliament today and it
distances us from negotiations
with the Palestinians,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokes-
kill four in
Abbas condemns the killings
but Hamas welcomes the
attack, as Netanyahu vows a
harsh response
wo Palestinians armed
with a gun and meat
cleavers burst into a Jerusalem synagogue yesterday and
killed four Israelis before being
shot dead in the city’s bloodiest
attack in years.
It was a rare assault on a place
of worship and sent shock waves
through the country, raising fears
that the Israel-Palestinian conflict was taking on a more dangerous religious dimension.
All four victims were Israelis
with dual nationality—three US
citizens and a Briton, police said.
Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox
website said they were all rabbis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a harsh
response to the bloodshed, and
pledged to demolish the homes of
the perpetrators in line with a policy announced earlier this month.
“We are at the height of an ongoing terror attack focused on Jerusalem,” he said, describing it as
“a battle” over the fate of the Holy
“This evening, I ordered the
destruction of the homes of the
Palestinians who carried out this
massacre and to speed up the
demolition of those who carried
out previous attacks,” he said,
referring to the homes of those
behind four earlier attacks in the
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killings, but Hamas welcomed the
attack, with masked Palestinian
militants in southern Gaza holding up knives and axes next to
posters of the attackers while others handed out cakes in celebration.
US President Barack Obama
called for calm after what he described as a “horrific attack”, urging Israelis and Palestinians to
work together to “lower tensions,
reject violence and seek a path
forward towards peace”.
The bloodshed took place as
months of unrest gripped Jerusalem’s annexed Arab eastern sector, resulting in a string of deadly
attacks by lone Palestinians and
further inflamed by the death of a
Palestinian bus driver in controversial circumstances.
But none was as serious as yesterday’s killings at the synagogue
in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood on the city’s western outskirts as worshippers gathered for
morning prayers.
As well as the four killed, eight
other people were wounded, including two policemen, one of
whom was in critical condition,
with eyewitnesses saying several
people had limbs hacked off.
The attack began shortly before
7am when the assailants burst in,
waving meat cleavers and a gun at
the synagogue in a Jewish seminary in Har Nof.
Three policemen engaged in a
gun battle with the attackers who
were shot dead, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
The assailants were identified
by family members as Uday and
Ghassan Abu Jamal, cousins from
the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber. Both were
in their 20s.
Police rounded up the perpetrators’ family members, sparking clashes with stone-throwing
youths, relatives said. Police confirmed arresting nine people.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon
vowed Israel would hunt down
those who sent the perpetrators
“wherever they are and in whatever way necessary, both inside
and outside Israel’s borders”.
And Public Security Minister
Yitzhak Aharonovitch pledged to
ease controls on carrying weapons
for self-defence in a move which
would apply to anyone licensed
to carry a gun, such as private security guards and off-duty army
US Secretary of State John
Kerry condemned the attack as an
“act of pure terror and senseless
brutality”, and called on the Palestinian leadership to denounce it.
But Hamas praised the assault
and called for further attacks,
saying it was a “response” to Sunday’s death of the Palestinian bus
driver from East Jerusalem who
was found hanged inside his vehicle.
Iraq forces
enter main
state TV
Israeli security forces secure the scene after the attack in a Jerusalem synagogue yesterday.
Turkey fears new refugee
flood if Aleppo is overrun
Smoke rises from a Kobane neighbourhood yesterday.
Kurds seize IS arms, buildings in besieged Syria town: monitor
Kurdish fighters captured
six buildings used by Islamic
State militants besieging
the Syrian town of Kobane
yesterday, and seized a large
amount of the group’s weapons
and ammunition, a group
monitoring the war said.
IS has been trying to take
control of the town for more
than two months in an
assault that has driven tens of
thousands of Kurdish civilians
over the border into Turkey and
drawn strikes by US-led forces.
Kurdish fighters seized six
buildings used by Islamic State
close to council offices in the
north of the town and took
a large quantity of rocketpropelled grenade launchers,
guns and machinegun
ammunition, the Britain-based
Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said.
The buildings were in a strategic
location close to Kobane’s
Security Square where the main
municipal buildings are based,
said Rami Abdel Rahman who
runs the Observatory.
The clashes killed around 13 IS
militants, including two senior
fighters who had been helping
to lead the group’s assault on
the town, he said.
urkey fears another two
to three million Syrian
refugees could cross its
borders if the region of Syria’s
second city of Aleppo is overrun either by Islamist extremists or regime forces, Foreign
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
said yesterday.
Turkey is already hosting at
least 1.5mn refugees displaced
by the Syrian conflict and has
repeatedly warned that its capacities are being strained by the
Cavusoglu said supporting the
rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) was
the only option for the international community against what
Ankara sees as the twin threat of
Islamic State militants and the
regime of President Bashar alAssad.
“The main force fighting both
ISIS and the Syrian regime today
is the Free Syrian Army,” he said,
using another term for the Islamic State group.
“But it has failed to achieve
man Emmanuel Nahshon.
“We call on Spain not to make
unilateral moves, particularly on a
shocking day like today.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy condemned yesterday’s
attack in a Jerusalem synagogue.
“The Spanish government and
all the Spanish people are deeply
moved and united with Israel and
its citizens in this moment of intense pain and indignation,” he
said in a telegram sent to Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A Syrian refugee begs with her child on a street in Istanbul.
the desired outcome because it is
fighting against both groups,” he
told reporters in Ankara alongside his Finnish counterpart.
Cavusoglu said there was little
difference between IS militants
and the Assad regime.
“Both of them are killing people brutally and don’t refrain
from using any kinds of weapons
at their disposal. Both force people to flee their land.”
He added: “An advance on
Aleppo would mean an influx of
two to three million people to the
Turkish border.”
He said a weakening of the
moderate opposition to Assad
and the FSA would “result in the
advance of the unstoppable ISIS
as well as the regime”.
“And this will make Syria even
more unstable. Therefore, the
advance of both of them should
be halted.”
Turkey has repeatedly called
for the ousting of Assad as the
sole way to resolve the Syrian
crisis permanently.
But it has grown increasingly
concerned in recent months
that the US-led coalition strikes
against IS could end up strengthening the Assad regime.
Ankara has been seeking
to persuade the United States
a three-pronged approach is
needed to strike against IS, Assad and Kurdish militants. But it
is unclear if its arguments have
made any headway with Washington.
Turkey is pressing for a no-fly
zone and a security zone to be
imposed inside Syria along its
911km border with the country
to ensure its security.
A senior aide to President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said
yesterday that there was an
“unholy alliance” between
IS and Assad in the battle for
Aleppo that had to be broken
by the FSA.
“If Aleppo is allowed to fall, it
would be the loss of any hope for
the future of humanity in Syria,”
Ibrahim Kalin wrote in the Daily
Sabah newspaper.
ecurity forces entered Iraq’s
largest refinery for the first
time yesterday after months
of battling Islamic State militants
who had surrounded it, a police
colonel said.
Police sources said security forces were clearing out mines from the
refinery complex and had moved to
an area just to the northwest where
they faced some resistance from
Islamic State militants. The insurgents still have a presence there.
Complete recovery of the Baiji
facility could provide critical momentum for government forces
charged with restoring stability in
a country facing its worst security
crisis since dictator Saddam Hussain was toppled in 2003.
“The first Iraqi force, the antiterrorism force called Mosul Battalion, entered Baiji refinery for the
first time in five months,” police
colonel Saleh Jaber of the Baiji refinery protection force said.
State television flashed news
of the advance and broadcast
footage it said was of Iraqi security forces entering the refinery’s
“In this area, terrorists were stationed to the left and right. If God
is willing, Baiji will be the main key
to liberating each span of Iraq,” the
commander of provincial security
operations, Abdel Wahab al-Sa’adi,
told the broadcaster.
US-led air strikes have prevented
the Islamist group, which swept
through northern Iraq in June almost unopposed by the Iraqi army,
from making significant further
territorial gains for its self-proclaimed caliphate.
Islamic State seized the city of
Baiji and surrounded the sprawling
refinery during that first advance in
Islamic State has stolen oil and
petroleum products from areas it
controls in an effort to create a selfsustaining Islamic empire, oil officials say.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
sacked 26 military commanders
this month for corruption in an apparent bid to show the government
is serious about improving the performance of the army to counter
Islamic State.
The Baiji refinery was producing around 175,000 barrels per day
before it was closed, a senior Iraqi
official said in June.
New strategy to
fight IS bearing
fruit: UN envoy
The new Iraqi government’s
strategy of enlisting Kurds and
local tribes in the fight against
Islamists is yielding results, the UN
envoy for Iraq told the Security
Council yesterday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar alAbadi has made it a priority to pay
salaries, arm and train fighters
from local tribes and communities,
and provide legal guarantees
for volunteers, envoy Nickolay
Mladenov said.
“This strategy is bearing fruit,”
Mladenov told the 15-member
“Communities are beginning to
push back.”
The massacre by Islamic State
fighters of 322 members of the
Albu Nimr tribe spurred cooperation with the government
in its campaign to defeat the
militants, he said.
Mladenov called on all militia
groups who are not aligned with
the jihadists to enter talks with
Baghdad on resolving differences
and joining the government’s antiIslamist campaign.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Conflict-scarred Mali pulls
out the stops to beat Ebola
Mali is bringing all its means to bear
to contain the disease
he leader of the war-torn west
African nation of Mali has come
in person to galvanise his people
as they do battle with the most elusive
foe they have ever faced.
On the country’s remote southern
border with Guinea, the enemy is not
the armed jihadists who wreak havoc
elsewhere, but the Ebola virus, which
has sparked a national crisis despite
just four deaths.
On a strip of dusty asphalt a cavalcade of several dozen government vehicles comes to a halt in the southern
frontier town of Kouremale, which is
almost perfectly bisected by the border
with Guinea.
This was the home of the Guinean
Islamic cleric whose death in one of
the Malian capital’s clinics led to an
emergency counter-offensive which
has placed almost 600 people who may
have been exposed to Ebola under observation.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
gets down from his car and washes his
hands in an ostentatious show that he is
setting the example, a call for vigilance
in the face of an infectious and deadly
tropical pathogen.
“Do not let anyone cross the border
without taking his temperature. Remain vigilant to defeat Ebola,” he tells
Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at Mali’s border with Guinea.
a team of doctors and nurses sitting in
a tent.
The team nod their agreement and
their leader, a doctor named Mamoute
Diarra, replies that all vehicles from
Guinea are being disinfected under
a new action plan, their passengers
and drivers subjected to temperature
Walls across the town are festooned
with posters bearing grave warnings of
the consequences of complacency.
“Ebola is a fearsome disease, be
very careful,” says one, while another implores “Let us work together to
deal with the killer Ebola” and a third
chides “Warning: take all precautions
so that the disease does not take over”.
Malick Kante, a local representative
of the National Youth Council of Mali,
leads an awareness campaign for his
“In northern Mali, we have problems with rebels and Islamists. Here in
the south, it is Ebola that stops us from
sleeping. From both sides, the п¬Ѓght
must be relentless,” he says.
Kante says 150 young activists volunteer every morning as part of the
campaign, helping doctors and border
control officials.
Others bike around the Malian side of
the town looking for sick Guineans who
may have entered illegally.
On the southwestern side of the frontier, dozens of Guineans congregate to
welcome the Malian head of state.
“We are really afraid of Ebola but
we’re also afraid to see the border
close,” says Ali Kourouma, a young,
jobless Guinean.
His neighbour shares his anxieties,
although Keita has categorically ruled
out closing the border with Guinea in
its entirety.
Taxi driver Issa Camara, worried
about his livelihood, complained that
he has had no passengers since border
controls were tightened.
Nearby, a policeman in ceremonial
robes says several crossing points have
been closed since the crisis hit last
week, with only Kouremale remaining
He denounces the “many shenanigans” that allowed the Guinean imam,
who was already clearly ill, to cross into
Mali before dying in Bamako’s Pasteur
clinic on October 25.
Before breathing his last, the
70-year-old infected a friend and a
nurse, both of whom also died, while
a doctor at the facility has tested positive.
Another police source told AFP the
imam had managed to bribe several
people at a clinic in Kouremale, at the
border and in Bamako who helped him
on his way, turning a blind eye to his
The Pasteur outbreak is the second
in Mali, following the death of a twoyear-old girl who had travelled with her
grandmother from Guinea to the west-
ern town of Kayes in early October.
That case was contained, however,
with no further infections.
Mali launched a judicial inquiry into
the crisis on Monday.
“But for us here, now is time for the
thankless fight against the disease,”
said health minister Ousmane Kone.
He told locals of “577 people under
observation who at this stage are uninfected but who could have had contact
with carriers of the virus” and called for
The appeal was hammered home by
the president as he wrapped up his visit
at a rally in front of several thousand
Malian and Guinean nationals to conclude his visit.
“We will defeat Ebola,” he said, “but
it will depend on our efforts, our determination.”
Teams of investigators have been
tracking health workers and scouring Bamako and the imam’s village of
Kouremale, which straddles the MaliGuinea border, for people who could
have been exposed.
The European Union on Monday
pledged €12mn in funding to Mali,
Senegal and Ivory Coast amid growing
fears Ebola could spread in the region.
The money would help the countries
“prepare for the risk of an Ebola outbreak through early detection and public awareness measures”.
The death rate in west Africa from
the virus has reached around 70%, the
World Health Organization said yesterday.
US authorities on Monday began en-
Catch of the day
hanced Ebola screenings of travellers
from Mali, adding it to a list of three
other west African countries—Liberia,
Sierra Leone and Guinea—where the
measures were already in place.
The US Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, in a joint statement
with the Department of Homeland Security, said Mali was added to the list
“because there have been a number of
confirmed cases of Ebola” there in recent days.
“A large number of individuals may
have been exposed to those cases,” the
statement said.
“The action is warranted as a precaution due to the possibility that other
cases of Ebola may emerge in Mali in
the coming days,” the statement said.
The United States said about 15-20
travellers depart Mali each day en route
to the United States.
Those arriving will be checked for fever and subject to the 21-day monitoring and movement protocols already in
effect for travellers from Liberia, Sierra
Leone and Guinea.
Meanwhile, a cargo ship on its way
from Guinea to Ukraine reported it had
a crew member with possible symptoms of Ebola, and prepared to drop anchor off Athens so doctors could board
to examine him. If confirmed, it would
be the п¬Ѓrst case in Greece of the haemorrhagic virus.
And in Guinea, the United Nations
envoy charged with leading the Ebola
response in that country, Rwandan
national Marcel Rudasingwa, died on
Diplomat takes over
as Burkina’s leader
Porters carry the carcasses of a marlin and a shark to the local market in Hamarweyne near the port of Mogadishu on the Indian Ocean yesterday, in the Somalia capital
as fishermen bring in their catch.
Would-be �suicide bomber’ set
upon and burnt alive in Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria
suspected would-be suicide bomber was yesterday set on п¬Ѓre by an irate
mob at a bus station in northeastern Nigeria, where a bomb
blast killed at least 30 people nearly three weeks ago, the
newspaper Daily Trust reported.
The alleged bomber arrived at
the bus station in Gombe carrying a sack which he did not allow
security officials to screen.
He dropped the bag and tried
to run away with a remote control
in his hand, the daily said, without naming a source.
A group of young men caught
him, doused him with petrol and
set him on п¬Ѓre. He died of his injuries.
Police cordoned off the area.
It was not immediately known
if the sack really contained a
The attack at Gombe bus station that killed at least 30 people
on October 31 was attributed to
the radical Islamist group Boko
Emergency rule to tackle Boko
Haram in northeast Nigeria has
been an outright failure, senators
from the affected regions said
yesterday, as the government
sought to extend the powers.
President Goodluck Jonathan
submitted a request to the upper
chamber of parliament to grant
approval for the special measures
in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa
states for a further six months—a
timeframe that would extend beyond February elections.
The extension was required
“to stem the tide of terrorism and
insurgency in the affected states”,
the head of state said in a letter.
Senators debated the request
behind closed doors and were
due to continue today, when a
decision would be announced,
senate leader David Mark and
spokesman Bello Tukur told reporters.
The alleged bomber arrived
at the bus station in Gombe
carrying a sack which
he did not allow security
officials to screen
But members from the affected areas said the measures,
п¬Ѓrst imposed in May 2013, were
not working, as Boko Haram violence had intensified to the point
where the militants now controlled towns.
Ahmed Lawan, from Yobe, said
the request was “a waste of time
because we had state of emergency for 18 months and the result, we all know, is failure, failure and failure”.
Borno senator Ali Ndume said
emergency rule, an increased defence budget and even an emergency $1bn loan to the armed
forces had failed to make an impact.
“Our fear is if we extend the
state of emergency, are we going to get into a worse situation than we are now and if we
extend the state of emergency,
what difference will it make?”
he said.
He added: “We gave everything and there is no result.”
Bindowo Jibrilla, from Adamawa state, said he had seen his
entire constituency taken over by
the Islamists and would block the
Ndume, Jibrilla and Lawan are
all members of Nigeria’s main
opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which has criticised
Jonathan’s record on tackling the
п¬Ѓve-year insurgency.
The APC has voiced doubts
about the integrity of next February’s general election, as tens
of thousands of people risked being unable to vote because of the
Ndume said holding an election was secondary to securing
peace and that he was unable to
go back to his constituency because of the insecurity.
“I’m one of those that are
highly targeted and the way
it’s going now, maybe I will not
be alive even for the election,”
Ndume said.
eteran diplomat Michel
Kafando was sworn in
yesterday as Burkina
Faso’s interim president to
oversee a one-year transition
back to civilian rule in the west
African country.
Kafando, appointed in the
wake of violent protests that
brought down president Blaise
Compaore and led to a brief
army power grab, pledged he
would not let the country become a “banana republic”.
The one-time foreign minister vowed to “respect and
defend the constitution, the
transition charter and laws
and do everything to guarantee justice for all Burkinabes”
as he took the oath at a televised ceremony in the capital
Poised to formally take
over Friday from an interim
military ruler, the 72-year-old
emphasised his “humility” as
a leader aware that he temporarily held “power that belongs to the people”.
“The constitution of a
country holds the keys to the
very organisation of the state.
To change it too much leads
to a breakdown in society, to
regrettable upheavals such as
we have recently known,” Kafando said.
The landlocked nation of
17mn people “could never become a banana republic,” he
added, declaring that it was
the “first elementary duty of a
citizen” to respect the constitution.
Mass unrest erupted in late
October over Compaore’s bid
to change the constitution,
which would have allowed him
to extend his 27-year rule of
the former French colony.
Kafando, who served as
Burkina Faso’s UN envoy
from 1998-2011 and as foreign minister in 1982-83, was
chosen to head the transition
after tortuous negotiations
between the military, political parties and civil society
He is barred from standing
in elections scheduled to be
held in November next year
under the transitional deal.
The African Union had
warned that the deeply poor
country would face sanctions
unless it chose an interim
leader, and it welcomed Kafando’s appointment.
Tanzania threat to
�evict’ 40,000
anzania will evict thousands of members of
the Maasai community
from their traditional lands if it
goes ahead with plans to create
a hunting park, campaigners
claimed yesterday.
Global activist group Avaaz
alleged Tanzania had ambitions to turn 1,500sqkm of
land in the Loliondo district
into a hunting reserve for a
company catering to the United Arab Emirates’ royal family.
There was no immediate response from the government,
which scrapped similar plans
for the land, which is next to
the world famous Serengeti reserve in September 2013.
However, Avaaz said Maasai
community leaders had been
told they would be offered
a billion Tanzania shillings
($578,000) for their lands, less
than $15 each for 40,000 of
them to leave.
“The Maasai are the posterboys to attract tourists to Tanzania, but in their own country
they risk becoming the great
unwanted,” said Alex Wilks,
campaign director for Avaaz,
which has collected an online
petition of 1.7mn names.
“This deal would be disastrous for Tanzania’s reputation, for wildlife and for the
The land borders the Serengeti national park, where
animals cross into neighbouring Kenya’s Maasai Mara park
following seasonal grazing.
Avaaz said documents it had
seen showed that the hunting company hoping to run
the proposed park had paid
$300,000 in two hunting seasons to kill over 2,700 animals
including lion, leopard and
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Disastrous situation
in DRC province: UN
Continuing unresolved tribal feuding
over mineral wealth is impeding
Congo’s progress towards stability
idespread violence has forced
more than 71,000 people to flee
their homes in the Democratic
Republic of Congo’s Katanga region in the
past three months alone, the United Nations warned yesterday.
The UN refugee agency said it was
“deeply concerned about the catastrophic
humanitarian situation in Katanga”.
Rampant violence in the mineralrich southern region has uprooted about
400,000 people since 2012, and brought
the total number of people internally displaced to nearly 600,000, UNHCR said.
In October alone, the agency said it had
registered 1,737 “incidents” in the territories of Kalemie and the so-called “triangle
of death” comprising Manono, Mitwaba
and Pweto in northern Katanga.
The violence is mainly attributed to the
Mai Mai rebel group which is п¬Ѓghting for a
better distribution between the north and
south of the wealth from the province’s
immense natural resources.
“The looting and burning of houses, extortion, torture, forced labour and recruitment into armed groups, as well as sexual
violence” were among the violations,
spokeswoman Karin de Gruijl told reporters in Geneva.
During the п¬Ѓrst 10 months of the year,
the agency had registered 15,873 such incidents—nearly all of them in those four
territories, she said.
“However, we fear that this number of
incidents could be significantly higher as
insecurity and logistical challenges prevent our protection monitors from going
to some areas.”
In particular, sexual violence was be-
Copper being extracted by the Malta Forrest compagny in Kolwezi, Congo. Rampant
violence in the mineral-rich southern region has uprooted hundreds of thousands.
lieved to be under-reported, De Gruijl
People internally displaced within the
region are spread across 28 special sites
and within communities, she said.
UNHCR had built about 1,500 emergency shelters since January, she said, but
added: “Clearly more is needed, including
access to health care, potable water, food
and education.”
She said residents at the Mukondo IDP
site, which hosts 1,300 people, reported
that 19 young children had died since they
arrived there in March, mainly due to diarrhoea, anaemia and malaria.
During the same period, nine women
had died during childbirth, De Gruijl said.
The UNHCR called for Congolese civil
authorities and the UN peacekeeping
mission Monusco to boost their presence
in the region.
Katanga is rich in cobalt, copper and
gold and a host of other metals and minerals.
Human Rights Watch yesterday denounced police in the Democratic Republic of Congo for summarily killing or forcibly disappearing at least 80 people during
a violent crackdown on gang crime in the
During Operation Likofi in Kinshasa
from November 2013 to February this year,
“uniformed police, often wearing masks,
dragged �kuluna’, or suspected gang members, from their homes at night,” the New
York-based watchdog reported.
“The police shot and killed the unarmed
young men and boys outside their homes,
in the open markets where they slept or
worked, and in nearby п¬Ѓelds or empty
lots,” HRW said.
At least 51 people were killed and 33
others forcibly disappeared after president
Joseph Kabila publicly pledged to halt a
surge of armed robberies and other serious
offences, according to HRW, which interviewed witnesses, relatives of victims and
At the time, local rights bodies and
prominent public п¬Ѓgures protested at the
cruelty of Operation Likofi (“punch” in the
local Lingala language), which one police
officer likened to commando assaults.
“If you refused to execute the orders,
then you too were considered a �kulana’
and killed,” the officer was quoted as saying.
In the 57-page report, HRW detailed
how police targeted innocent street children as well as youths accused by neighbours without evidence of criminal activity.
Last month, the government expelled
the director of the UN Joint Human Rights
Office after a UN report accused police of
summarily killing at least nine men in a
police station and making 32 others vanish.
Interior minister Richard Muyej dismissed the report as “biased and partisan... with the clear intention of discrediting the PNC (Congolese National Police)
and demoralising its agents”.
Like the UN office, HRW said uniformed, armed police in black hoods and
without arrest warrants sometimes killed
their victims in front of family members
and neighbours, then warned witnesses to
stay quiet and denied them access to the
bodies for funerals.
“In many cases, (police) left the body in
the street, perhaps to frighten others, and
only later collected it for transfer to the
city’s morgues,” HRW said.
Kenya mob
kills four
after raids
on mosques
our people were reported stabbed to death in
the Kenyan port city of
Mombasa after a violent night
apparently sparked by police
raids against mosques and
Islamists, according to local
daily The Standard yesterday.
The violence seemed to be
a response to police raids on
two mosques, which resulted
in the arrests of 251 suspected
Islamist extremists on Monday. The operation had been
based on intelligence reports indicating there could
be extremist activity at the
After the police action,
a gang of youths attacked
passers-by and motorists at
random Monday night. The
attackers shouted Islamist slogans and displayed the
black flag associated with the
Somali radical Islamist group
Al Shebaab.
Two others were seriously
injured, the paper quoted police as saying.
“They slashed my brother
several times on the left arm
and head as his wife watched
from a close distance. He bled
and died on the spot as the
gang advanced to other areas,” Abubakar Omar told The
Daily Nation.
Samuel Ziro, a survivor in
his 20s, said the gang had attacked a minibus in which he
was travelling.
“They tried to strike my
head with a machete and
I blocked it with my right
hand. They asked my name. I
had to think fast, [and said] �I
am Omar,’” he said.
Ziro said one of the attackers suggested that they torch
him using petrol, but he managed to escape.
During the police raids at
the mosques, grenades, a pistol, knives and DVDs with jihadist teachings were seized.
A young man at one of the
mosques was shot dead after
he allegedly tried to hurl a
grenade at police.
Mombasa has seen a string
of shooting and bombings in
the past three years, a reaction to Kenya’s military support to the Somali government in its conflict against Al
In September 2013, Al Shebaab п¬Ѓghters killed at least 67
people in an attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.
battle against Shebaab has
cost thousands of lives. The
group has gradually lost control of practically all important towns and is increasingly
resorting to terrorist tactics.
Kenya has been trying to
break up the militant networks that it blames for a series of attacks on its coast and
the port city of Mombasa,
saying many of the recruits
have been inspired by Al Qaeda-linked Somali Islamist
group, Shebaab.
Civil rights groups say police have been targeting Muslims unfairly, deepening distrust in a community which
already accuses the government in mainly Christian
Kenya of sidelining them.
Uganda probes theft
of ivory stockpile
Ivorian soldiers block one of the main streets leading to the Le plateau business district in Abidjan.
Protesting Ivory Coast troops
ordered back to their barracks
vory Coast’s defence minister yesterday ordered soldiers to return to their
posts after they held up traffic in the
main city Abidjan to claim outstanding
bonuses promised under a 2007 peace
Unconfirmed reports also spoke of soldiers firing in the air in Abengourou in the
country’s east.
The defence minister, Paul Koffi Koffi,
went on state television to tell the soldiers
to call off the protest immediately.
The protest started in Bouake, the west
African country’s second city, an AFP
journalist said after seeing soldiers erecting barricades.
In Abidjan, the commercial capital of
the world’s top cocoa exporter, soldiers
and firefighters held up traffic in the central Plateau district, where several ministries as well as the presidential palace are
“We are demonstrating to reclaim our
dues. We will paralyze the main towns in
the interior. If our demands are not fulfilled, we will attack banks on the third
day,” an officer based in Abidjan said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Ivory Coast, the world’s number one
cocoa producer, is still recovering from
a decade of political turmoil and a 2011
civil war that saw French- and UN-backed
rebels topple president Laurent Gbagbo
after his refusal to accept defeat in elections.
Demonstrations broke out at around a
half dozen military bases in the commercial capital Abidjan, in the second largest
Ivorian city Bouake as well as in Korhogo,
Bondoukou and Daloa, a hub of the country’s cocoa industry.
“The soldiers are on the streets,” said
a Reuters witness near an army base in
the northern Abidjan neighbourhood
of Abobo. “They used tyres, old cars,
everything they could find to block the
road. You can’t get in. All the shops are
There were no reports of violence during the protests.
Some of the demonstrating soldiers
were demanding promotions and payment
of a 5mn ($10,000) CFA bonus they say
each was promised three years ago while
п¬Ѓghting for the rebels supporting current
president Alassane Ouattara.
Others said they have been shortchanged on benefits.
Speaking on state television, Defence
Minister Paul Koffi Koffi urged the protesters to return to barracks. He said the government had agreed to pay overdue travel
stipends and housing allowances and to
set aside money for soldiers’ healthcare.
Koffi further said he would meet a delegation of soldiers to look for “a definitive
solution” to demands for back wages.
Ouattara, who defeated Gbagbo him in a
run-off vote in 2010, has overseen a rapid
revival of French-speaking West Africa’s
largest economy. But rights groups have
criticised him for not doing enough to heal
deep political and ethnic divisions.
Gbagbo is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague,
charged with crimes against humanity.
ganda said yesterday
it had launched an investigation into the
theft of more than a tonne
of ivory from the vaults of its
state-run wildlife protection
agency and had suspended
п¬Ѓve staff members.
Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries are
struggling to curb widespread
poaching of elephant tusks by
well-armed criminal gangs for
shipment to Asia, where they
fetch thousands of dollars per
kilo for use in ornaments and
Raymond Engena, acting executive director of the
state-run Uganda Wildlife
Authority (UWA), said three
of the suspended staff had
kept keys to the stores where
some 1,335 kg of ivory were
discovered to have gone missing about two weeks ago.
The remaining two were security guards at the premises.
“It’s our intelligence unit
and audit that discovered a
large amount of ivory was
missing,” he told Reuters.
“We have asked security
agencies to investigate. As
investigations go on, we have
told these п¬Ѓve people to step
Engena said some of the
stolen ivory tusks had previously been confiscated from
traffickers at various sites in
Uganda. UWA had also collected some of the ivory from
elephants dying of old age, he
Seizures of contraband ivory have increased in Uganda
in recent years as criminals
collude with corrupt police
to smuggle tusks from neighbouring Democratic Republic
of Congo, where poaching is
rampant and state authority
is weak.
Police spokesman Fred
Enanga said police were conducting the investigation
jointly with Uganda’s anticorruption watchdog.
“We have recorded statements from a number of officials and have collected documents ... Investigations are at
a preliminary stage,” he added.
More than 20,000 African
elephants were killed for their
ivory in 2013, driven by demand in China and Thailand,
and some local populations
face an immediate threat of
extinction, a UN-linked wildlife conservation agency said
in June.
Africa has an estimated 500,000 elephants left.
Poaching is most acute in central Africa, which experts say
has lost at least 60 percent of
its elephants in the past decade.
Zambia to vote for president on Jan 20
Zambia’s acting president yesterday announced that a special
election to replace the country’s late leader will be held on
January 20 next year.
The polls come after the 77-year-old president Michael Sata
passed away in London in October from an undisclosed ailment.
Guy Scott said the elections will be held in accordance with the
Zambian constitution, within 90 days of Sata’s death.
“The presidential by-election shall be held on Tuesday 20 January
2015,” said Scott.
Both the ruling Patriotic Front and the opposition Movement for
Multiparty Democracy enter the campaign split by leadership
The battle to take control of Sata’s party has spilled into the courts
and former president Rupiah Banda has said he will run for the
MMD party, a claim contested by the party leader.
Guy Scott’s parents are not Zambian, so he is barred from running
under the current constitution.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
White House reviewing policy toward US hostages
resident Barack Obama has
ordered a comprehensive
review of US policy governing efforts to free Americans being
held by militant groups overseas,
the White House said on Monday.
In recent months, Islamic State
militants have beheaded three
Americans, including Peter Kassig, an aid worker and former US
Army Ranger, whose death was
announced in a video released by
the group on Sunday.
“The administration’s goal has
always been to use every appropriate resource within the bounds
of the law to assist families to
bring their loved ones home,”
As Missouri awaits decision
on police shooting, National
Guard troops are called in
Ferguson, Missouri
roops from the Missouri
National Guard prepared
to deploy around Ferguson yesterday as the city awaits a
grand jury’s decision on whether
to indict a white police officer
who shot and killed an unarmed
black teenager in August.
Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in
Missouri but said troops would
play a backup role to police in
response to any protests that develop after the decision.
People around St. Louis are
braced for a possible new wave of
protests similar to those that followed the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of
18-year-old Michael Brown, particularly if Ferguson police officer
Darren Wilson is not charged.
Officials have said the grand
jury’s decision is likely to come
this month.
Nixon yesterday was due to
swear in the members of a new
“Ferguson Commission,” a group
charged with reviewing the social and economic conditions
that contributed to the unrest
that followed Brown’s death and
coming up with suggestions for
how to improve them.
More than one out of п¬Ѓve residents of Ferguson, a predominantly black city of about 21,000
people, live below the poverty
level, a rate that is above the state
average, according to US Census
Nixon declined to say how
many National Guard troops
would be assigned to the St. Louis
area or where they would be stationed.
Peaceful demonstrations were
held around St. Louis on Sunday
and Monday and some local lead-
ers expressed frustration over
Nixon’s state of emergency declaration.
“The National Guard is called
in when policing has failed. Military presence in my city will mark
a historic failure on the part of
(government),” Antonio French, a
St. Louis alderman, said on Twitter. “This is not a war. There is no
military solution.”
Police in Ferguson were criticised for taking a military posture
in response to the August demonstrations, regularly deploying
officers in riot gear and using tear
gas and rubber bullets against
crowds that torched two businesses in the St Louis suburb and
at times threw rocks and gasoline
bombs at police.
Police in St Louis County have
since gone through conflict deescalation training and activist
leaders have also been training
potential protesters in nonviolent techniques in recent days.
County police will take the lead
in handling any protests or civic
disorder, supplanting the Ferguson Police Department, Nixon
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
said his city’s police force would
in their normal uniforms unless conditions became violent
and that National Guard troops
would not play a primary role in
Some area schools have told
parents they will dismiss students early when the decision
comes and many businesses
near the stretch of downtown
that saw the worst rioting after
Brown’s killing have boarded up
their windows as a protective
There are conflicting accounts
of what happened, with some
witnesses saying Brown had his
hands up in surrender when he
was shot and others describing a
scuffle between Brown and Wilson.
White House National Security
Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said in a statement.
“In light of the increasing
number of US citizens taken hostage by terrorist groups overseas
and the extraordinary nature
of recent hostage cases,” added
Baskey, “this summer President
Obama directed relevant departments and agencies, including
the Departments of Defence and
State, the FBI, and the Intelligence
Community, to conduct a comprehensive review of how the US
government addresses these matters.”
The administration could not
detail all the steps it was taking to
free US hostages, but Baskey said
“we will continue to bring all appropriate military, intelligence,
law enforcement, and diplomatic
capabilities to bear to recover
American hostages. Those efforts
continue every day.”
ABC News reported that a
Pentagon official wrote last week
to US Representative Duncan
Hunter that the review would
include an emphasis “on examining family engagement, intelligence collection, and diplo-
e may not be everyone’s
idea of a good catch, but
mass murderer Charles
Manson has been granted a marriage licence to wed a 26-yearold woman who has been visiting
him in prison.
Manson, 80, who is serving
a life sentence for slaying seven
people, plans to marry Afton
Elaine Burton, 54 years his junior
and described in US media as a
slender brunette.
“He has received a marriage
licence,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told AFP on Monday.
The licence was applied for
on November 7, according to
the website for King’s County,
California, where Manson is in
jail, but no date for the nup-
tials has been set. Manson has
been in prison for more than
four decades after the 1969 killings, which included the brutal
murder of director Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, who
was eight-and-a-half months
But Burton, who also calls herself “Star,” has said she and Manson are madly in love and already
consider themselves married.
“I’m completely with him,
and he’s completely with me. It’s
what I was born for, you know.
I don’t know what else to say,”
she told CNN in August of the
now grey-haired killer, who has
a swastika tattooed on his forehead.
She said she had been following Manson’s “philosophy” since
she was a teenager and moved to
Corcoran, where the convicted
murderer is detained, to be closer
to him.
ing Obama “to guarantee we are
maximising our recovery efforts.”
Islamic State previously killed
US journalist, Steven Sotloff and
British aid workers David Haines
and Alan Henning.
Thousands of foreign п¬Ѓghters
have flocked to join IS in Iraq and
Syria, and experts say they are often among the most violent and
brutal of the militants.
Plane crash in Chicago
A small cargo plane is seen crashed into the side of a home in Chicago, yesterday. The occupants of the home escaped uninjured after the crash at 2:42am CST but
Chicago police said they did not have information about potential injuries sustained by the pilot, who authorities said was the only occupant of the plane.
With no US immigration reform,
states are offering greater rights
umberto Cruz Salas lives
in the US illegally. But in
September, the Colorado
resident got a state-issued driver’s licence.
Despite the lack of progress on
immigration reform at the federal
level, a growing number of states
are offering greater rights - and
more documents - to undocumented immigrants.
“I was kind of speechless,” said
Cruz Salas, of the day he received
his precious driver’s licence,
which expires on September 9,
The 21-year-old was born in
Oaxaca, Mexico, but he left at age
three and has never been back.
All his memories are from
the US, where he pays taxes and
speaks perfect English. But the
fear of being arrested and deported never goes away.
Starting in August, Colorado
became the 10th US state to offer
driver’s licences to illegal immigrants, in the name of improving safety on the roads. Less than
two years ago, only three states
authorised licences.
Printed on the card, in large
letters, is a warning it is not recognised at the federal level. But it
allows Cruz Salas, who lives near
Denver, to drive legally, get insurance and avoid problems with
“I drive around a lot safer now.
I’m not constantly paranoid,”
said Cruz Salas, who, like millions of undocumented immigrants, had been driving without
a licence.
“There’s still that fear that
there’s a cop behind you, but it’s
not the same because you know
you have a license with you.”
Meanwhile, the aspiring college student is still awaiting permanent legal status.
His two sisters, 18 and 24, will
soon get two-year work permits,
through a programme created
by President Barack Obama in
But Cruz Salas wasn’t able to
do the same, because of an arrest
for drunk driving when he was 18
- “probably the worst mistake I
ever made.”
He hopes Obama will keep
his promise to bring more undocumented migrants out of the
“My whole life is here,” he emphasised. “I went to pre-school
here, I finished high school here.”
“I really have a lot of hope
that one day it’s going to come
through,” he said of immigration
reform. “Hopefully it doesn’t
come too late when we’re not
here anymore.”
Most US politicians concede
that the current situation must
change: between 11 and 12mn
most Mexican, live and work in
the US.
Mass murderer Manson
gets licence to marry
Los Angeles
matic engagement policies.”
It added that a Nov. 11 letter to
Hunter from Christine Wormuth,
undersecretary of defence for policy, did not explicitly address the
issue of ransom payments, which
it is US policy not to pay.
ABC News said Hunter wrote
the White House in August after
the beheading of US journalist
James Foley by Islamic State, urg-
They talk every day and she
visits him at California State
Prison most weekends, Burton
Manson was married twice before he was jailed, п¬Ѓrst to Rosalie
Jean Willis from 1955 to 1958 and
later to Candy Stevens between
1959 and 1963.
He was sentenced to death in
1969 along with four of his disciples for having led the killing
of seven people, but their sentences were later changed to life
in prison.
In 2012, Manson applied for
parole but was denied release and
is not eligible to apply again until
Manson headed an apocalyptic
cult that committed murders in
upscale, mostly white neighbourhoods of Los Angeles in order
to blame the crimes on African
Americans, in hopes of sparking a
“Helter Skelter” race war.
But in 2006, 2007, and 2013,
legislative overhauls failed to
pass, blocked by opposition from
conservative lawmakers to any
sort of “amnesty.”
This federal gridlock has
prompted a growing number of
states to act in a domain where
they don’t technically have jurisdiction - to better integrate illegal immigrants, especially young
Colorado is now one of 17
states to give in-state tuition
rates - instead of the higher
out-of-state fees - to illegal immigrants. That puts the cost at
around $6,000 a year instead
of $16,000 at the University of
Colorado, Denver.
For Cruz Salas, who works 50
hours a week in two restaurants
to save up, the difference is crucial, because he is not allowed
to apply for federally subsidised
student loans.
Meanwhile, local police have
recently stepped back from roles
as immigration enforcers.
After the September 11 attacks,
Chishti of the Migration Policy
Institute, the federal government passed several agreements
with states for police to verify
the immigration status of people
they arrested.
But after a 2012 Supreme
Court decision and Democratic
gains in a number of local elections, states have increasingly
abandoned this role, Chishti
Today, in Colorado, police
don’t call federal authorities if
they arrest an undocumented
“We came from so far away,”
said Catherine Brown, a lawyer
who was involved in efforts to
pass Colorado’s new law on licences.
“In the past few years, the
fear of being deported has been
reduced,” she said, though “it’s
never over.”
2nd man gets life for
killing grad students
Los Angeles
This March 18, 2009 file image from the California State Prison,
at Corcoran, shows mass murderer Charles Manson. Manson, 80,
has been granted permission to wed a 26-year-old woman who
has been visiting him in prison.
he second of two men convicted of murder in the
2012 shooting deaths of
two University of Southern California graduate students from
China was sentenced on Monday
to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Javier Bolden was found guilty
last month of п¬Ѓrst-degree murder for the slayings of 23-year-old
engineering students Ming Qu
and Ying Wu, who were gunned
down in a botched robbery attempt as they sat together in a car
parked outside Wu’s rented home,
a few blocks from campus.
Bolden, 22, received two consecutive life terms without parole
eligibility for the USC killings in
April 2012, and a third life term
plus 22 years for a separate shooting two months earlier that left
two people wounded, the Los An-
geles County District Attorney’s
Office said. Bolden’s accomplice
in the USC murders, 21-year-old
Byran Barnes, was sentenced to
life in prison without the possibility of parole in February after
pleading guilty to murder and admitting he was the actual shooter
in that case.
Prosecutors did not seek the
death penalty for the two men.
The slayings sent shockwaves
through USC, which boasts one
of the largest international student enrolments among major US
universities, and sparked a debate
over whether the campus provides adequate security in adjacent neighbourhoods where many
students live.
The campus was riled again this
year when 24-year-old Xinran Ji,
an electrical engineering graduate student, also from China, was
beaten to death with a baseball bat
during a robbery. Four teenagers
pleaded not guilty in August to
the killing.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
show: the real
face of LA’s
The vivid portraits of
chronically homeless
people from the Venice
Beach area of Los Angeles
feature faces as striking as
they are diverse
Guardian News & Media
Los Angeles
omething about Stuart Perlman’s paintings
makes it almost impossible not to stop and look. The
vivid portraits of chronically
homeless people from the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles
feature faces as striking as they
are diverse. Exhibiting them in
public venues such as cinemas,
all accompanied by short sensitively written biographies, it
seems to encourage people to
linger and learn more.
Perlman, a clinical psychologist who has specialised in
trauma for three decades, began
painting п¬Ѓve years ago after the
death of his father prompted him
to do something creative. Having come to know some of longterm homeless people in his local
area he knew immediately it was
their faces he wanted to capture.
What he didn’t foresee was that
getting to know people more intimately would result in his using
portraits - more than 130 so far -
to raise awareness of the plight of
chronic homelessness generally
or that he would become passionately vocal about what has
been an entrenched issue for a
number of US cities for decades.
“They had the true intensity of life writ large across
them,” Perlman says of his initial inspiration. “It broke my
heart. Their stories were heartwrenching. So many of these
people feel mistreated, unseen
and demeaned. We are throwing these people away.”
Despite being a trauma specialist, he found it an eye-opener
to discover how tough the lives of
people living on the streets were.
“They are some of the most traumatised people I’ve ever met and
I have never seen that displayed
in the political literature or the
public domain. They are some
of the most interesting, talented
people,” he adds. “I’ve met PhDs,
stockbrokers, architects … but
they’ve gone through horrors.
“People who are run over by
cars are usually taken to hospitals - these people have in
essence been emotionally run
over by a car and they need
help, and we are discarding
them and blaming them. Each
of us is one thin experience
away from being traumatised
and not being able to function.”
A lack of understanding of
homelessness among the public, quickness to blame people
for their predicament and the
seeming inability of policymakers to address the problem
spurred Perlman to use art to
“humanise” people living on
the streets. He began arranging
the Faces of Homelessness exhibition in southern California
with the help of the local charity
United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which curates the events,
and he has spent $40,000 of
his own money on the project.
If even in a small way raising
awareness makes people think
differently about homelessness,
Perlman believes it is worth the
hours he and the charity volunteers who assist him, put in.
Policymakers in cities such
as LA and San Francisco where
homeless “encampments” are
a common sight have made
multiple efforts over the years
to tackle chronic street homelessness including investing
in housing and resettlement.
There have been some successes
along the way too. According to
the national State of Homelessness in America 2014 report,
while there are considerable
problems, such as a shortage of
affordable housing, homelessness overall, as well as chronic
street homelessness, has been
falling for the past few years.
New members of 114th Congress
San Francisco
Newly elected freshman members of the upcoming 114th Congress pose for a class photo on
the steps of the US Capitol yesterday in Washington, DC. This week the new members have
been undergoing orientation before taking office in January. For the first time in eight years
Republicans hold the majority and control both houses of Congress.
Polar bear numbers down
40% in parts of Arctic
olar bears in the Arctic
suffered sharp declines
in the п¬Ѓrst decade of this
century, losing about 40% of
their population, according to
US and Canadian scientists.
The worst years for polar
bears in the southern Beaufort
Sea were 2004 to 2007, when
scientists believe thinning ice
made it harder for the bears to
п¬Ѓnd seals for food.
In this April 10, 2009 file photo, a homeless single parent waits in line with his children for an Easter
dinner at the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles.
Record 2.5mn children homeless in US
A record 2.5mn children,
or 1 child in every 30, were
homeless in the US in
2013, according to a report
published on Monday.
The report by the
National Center on Family
Homelessness was compiled
by analysing records from
the 2012-2013 school year, the
most recent data available. It
found that child homelessness
increased 8% from 2012 to the
new record of 2.5mn in 2013.
The rise is especially dramatic
when compared to 2006,
when the number stood at
1.5mn, representing 1 in every
50 children.
The report cited the poverty
rate, which the US Census
Bureau says was 14.5% in
2013, as a main cause of
child homelessness. The
report also cited the recent
economic recession, lack of
affordable housing, racial
differences and the challenge
single parents face when
raising children alone. “The
impact of homelessness on
the children, especially young
children, is devastating and
may lead to changes in brain
architecture that can interfere
with learning, emotional selfregulation, cognitive skills,
and social relationships,” the
report noted.
“Of the 80 cubs observed
in Alaska from 2004 to 2007,
only two are known to have
survived,” said Jeff Bromaghin,
US Geological Survey research
statistician and lead author of
the study in the journal Ecological Applications.
Survival improved after
2007 and the population had
stabilised at 900 bears by the
year 2010, said the study.
However, when looking
just at juveniles, the research
showed their numbers declined
throughout the 10-year-pe-
scar-winning actor Matthew
capped off a blockbuster
year on Monday as he received
a star on the iconic Hollywood
Walk of Fame.
“It’s a special day, great moment in my career and for my
family,” McConaughey, dressed in
a light-coloured suit with an open
collar, said, as some of Tinseltown’s biggest names looked on.
Hundreds of fans also turned
out and McConaughey was accompanied by his Brazilian wife
Camila Alves and their three
children, Levi, Vida, and Livingston.
The 45-year-old actor was
also joined by producer Don
Phillips and Christopher Nolan,
who directed McConaughey’s
latest smash п¬Ѓlm Interstellar.
“McConaughey works harder
than anybody else. He deserves
this,” said Nolan, who also directed the most recent Batman
Interstellar co-stars, the Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and
Jessica Chastain, added their
star quality to the glittering redcarpet event.
Receiving the star caps off a
particularly memorable year for
McConaughey that saw him win
his Oscar for best actor for his
portrayal of an AIDS patient in
“Dallas Buyers Club.”
McConaughey also caught the
eye for his roles in The Wolf of
Wall Street, The Wedding Planner and the recent hit television
series True Detective.
His breakout role came in the
1993 п¬Ѓlm Dazed and Confused.
riod, suggesting that “conditions remained unfavorable for
young bears newly separated
from their mothers.”
Polar bears are considered
a globally threatened species,
due to concerns about how ice
loss affects their ability to survive.
Co-authors on the study
came from Environment Canada, University of Alberta, the
US Fish and Wildlife Service,
Polar Bears International and
Western Ecosystems Technology.
Cold blast grips eastern US
weather gripped the
eastern third of the US
on Monday and was expected
to drive temperatures down
and bury some northern cities
in snow.
The US National Weather
Service called it a “complex
system” that would bring haz-
ardous weather to the area
from yesterday.
were forecast as far south as
Tennessee, while heavy snow
was expected in Great Lakes
The section of the country
usually does not experience
freezing or snow before Christmas.
By yesterday afternoon,
“it appears much of the MidAtlantic and Lower Tennessee
Actor McConaughey
gets Hollywood star
Los Angeles
Valley will struggle to reach
the freezing mark as polar air
invades the central to eastern
US,” the service said.
Snowfall will approach 60cm
near Lakes Erie and Ontario,
with isolated heavier amounts
possible. To the north-east up
to 30cm of snow were possible.
The system was blamed for
multiple traffic fatalities over
the weekend in Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio,
news reports said.
n online privacy tool endorsed by Edward Snowden is being used to protect WhatsApp messages from
snooping by encrypting them as
they travel the Internet.
Open Whisper Systems yesterday announced a partnership
with Facebook-owned WhatsApp to useTextSecure protocol
to essentially scramble messages
in transit, hiding whatever is inside from prying eyes.
“WhatsApp deserves enormous praise for devoting considerable time and effort to this
project,” Open Whisper Systems
said in a blog post.
“Even though we’re still at the
beginning of the rollout, we believe this already represents the
largest deployment of end-toend encrypted communication
in history.”
WhatsApp confirmed the announcement to AFP but declined
to comment further.
TextSecure encryption enabled automatically as a default
setting is already built into most
recent version of WhatsApp
for mobile devices powered by
Google-backed Android software, with billions of messages
being exchanged daily, according to Open Whisper.
“(WhatsApp co-founder) Brian Acton and the WhatsApp engineering team has been amazing to work with,” Open Whisper
“Their devotion to the project
as well as their thoroughness in
getting this done are inspiring
in a world where so many other
companies are focused on surveillance instead of privacy.”
Open Whisper is an opensource project supported by donations and grants.
While taking part in a South
By Southwest conference earlier
this year, former National Security Agency contractor Snowden
praised encryption tools offered
by Open Whisper.
Snowden connected to the
gathering remotely from Russia,
where he took refuge after leaking
information about wide-scale
online surveillance by the NSA.
Twitter indexes
every public tweet
Twitter yesterday began letting
users search through every
tweet publicly fired off at the
globally-popular one-to-many
messaging service since it
launched in 2006.
Twitter has built a searchable
index of the billions of tweets
posted during the past eight
years or so using the service
known for its real-time torrent
of messages, the company said
in a blog post.
“Since that first simple tweet
over eight years ago, hundreds
of billions of Tweets have
captured everyday human experiences and major historical
events,” Twitter said.
“Our long-standing goal has
been to let people search
through every Tweet ever
WiFi hubs to replace
New York pay phones
New York
Actor Matthew McConaughey gathers over his star as his wife, actress Camila Alves and their children
look on during an unveiling ceremony honouring him with the 2,534th star on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame in Los Angeles on Monday.
housands of high-tech
terminals offering free
WiFi and other services
will soon replace New York’s
remaining fleet of seldom-used
pay phones, the city mayor said
on Monday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the
“LinkNYC” system “the fastest
and largest municipal WiFi network in the world.”
Up to 10,000 terminals will
provide free Internet access up
to 150ft (45m) from hubs, which
will be phased in across the city’s
п¬Ѓve boroughs beginning in 2015.
Free domestic phone calls can
also be made from the stations,
which feature a touch-screen
interface, a cell phone and tablet
charging station, and provide
access to emergency services.
De Blasio said the CityBridge
technology group was chosen to
carry out the project. It requires
approval by a city committee
next month.
Digital advertising displays
will finance the project “at no
cost to taxpayers,” de Blasio
said, adding that the hubs are
expected to generate more than
$500mn over the course of their
п¬Ѓrst 12 years and create 100 to
150 jobs.
“We’re taking a critical step
toward a more equal, open and
connected city - for every New
Yorker, in every borough,” de
Blasio said.
WiFi is already available in
dozens of New York parks, as
well as a small part of the Chelsea neighbourhood. Chelsea was
part of an initiative by US technology giant Google.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Celebration of academic excellence
Radio host
jailed for п¬Ѓve
years over
Students from a local college celebrate their graduation at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi yesterday. The temple is where Vietnam’s oldest university was founded in the 11th
century under the Ly Dynasty, and is popular with modern-day students who begin to flock in high school, hoping to boost their chances in annual nationwide examinations.
Constitutional change ruled
out before polls in Myanmar
yanmar’s parliament
speaker said yesterday the current juntadrafted constitution, which bars
opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi from becoming president,
cannot be changed before elections in November 2015.
The comments by Shwe
Mann came days after visiting
US President Barack Obama
backed Suu Kyi’s attempts to
change the charter.
The speaker said a nationwide referendum would be held
next May on constitutional
changes which are currently
being thrashed out amid heated
debate in the legislature.
“We cannot perform constitutional amendments straight
after the referendum,” Shwe
Mann told reporters in the
capital Naypyidaw, adding it
was “impossible to change (the
charter) at this time” because of
the scope of the likely changes.
On Monday the powerful
military voiced strong opposition to significant changes
to the constitution, including clause 59f which is widely
thought to have been written
specifically to thwart Suu Kyi.
Legislators will choose a new
president after the general election next November.
But the veteran democracy
campaigner cannot stand for
the top post because the constitution bans those with a foreign
spouse or children.
Her late husband and two
sons are British.
Next year’s elections are seen
as a crucial test of the credibility
of reforms begun in 2011, when
the junta stepped aside to make
way for a quasi-civilian regime
that remains dominated by
former generals.
Suu Kyi and her National
League for Democracy (NLD)
party are expected to make
big gains at the polls -- the
п¬Ѓrst general election they have
fought since they swept 1990
polls. The then-junta ignored
the result. But the party has so
far declined to put forward an
alternative candidate if Suu Kyi,
69, cannot stand for the presidency.
NLD MP Min Thu said the
party still “has hope” that
Suu Kyi will be able to become
president after the election.
“If people want it enough,
everything will come true.
Nothing can be done without
the people’s desire,” he said.
The Nobel laureate, who
has publicly declared her desire to be president, last week
told Obama the constitution
was “unfair, unjust and undemocratic” and warned that
Myanmar’s much vaunted reforms were stalling.
The US leader took up the
issue, telling reporters at
her lakeside home that “the
amendment process needs to
reflect inclusion rather than
“I don’t understand the
provision that would bar
somebody from running for
president because of who his
(someone’s) children are,” he
Unelected soldiers currently
make up a quarter of Myanmar’s legislature, a hangover
from military rule which ensures that the army continues
to hold sway.
Under Section 436, any significant changes to the constitution require a majority vote
of more than 75%, giving the
last word to soldiers.
During the parliamentary
debate on Monday Colonel
Htay Naing denied that the
constitution had been written
to bar Suu Kyi, adding that it
was “not the time” to change
436. Observers say the military, which kept Suu Kyi under
house arrest for 15 years under
the junta, has never wanted
her to have a chance at the
One Myanmar expert, who
asked not to be named, said
the army has long made clear
they are not supportive of
constitutional reform and this
position would remain, “irrespective of Obama’s feelings
on the matter”.
“But the fact that they have
also made their own sugges-
tions for changes means they
don’t see the constitution as a
sacred text that cannot be altered. That’s significant,” he
The NLD this year gained
the signatures of around 5mn
people on a petition to end the
army’s veto on amending the
Myanmar’s reform drive has
lost much of its sheen in recent
months, as efforts to end its
multiple ethnic wars foundered and activists raised growing concerns that the nation is
rolling back on rights issues.
Shwe Mann, a former general who has previously indicated his own desire to stand for
the presidency as head of the
ruling party, said he was open
to changing 59f, adding that
amendment of the clause was
not just to help “my friend”
Suu Kyi.
“I want all citizens to get
their full rights... the president’s position is for the person able to work in the best
interests of the people and the
country,” he added.
Thai radio show host has
been jailed for п¬Ѓve years
for royal defamation, his
lawyer said yesterday, one of the
п¬Ѓrst sentences passed by a military court for breaching the draconian law since a May coup.
Kathawut, 59, who presents
an online radio show from overseas, was arrested on his return
to Thailand in June for defaming the monarchy on his programme, according to his lawyer,
who only wished to be identified
as a representative of the Thai
Lawyers for Human Rights.
Under Thailand’s strict lese
majeste rules anyone convicted
of insulting the king, queen, heir
or regent faces up to 15 years in
prison on each count.
Shortly after seizing power on
May 22, the junta vowed a crackdown on lese majeste offences.
Rights groups say there has
since been a rise in both charges
and convictions under the law.
Most cases have been handled in
civilian courts rather than military ones.
“Initially the military court
sentenced him to 10 years in
prison but as he confessed the
judge halved the sentence to
five years,” said the lawyer, who
did not identify the accused by
his surname for fear of reprisals
against his family.
An official from Bangkok’s
Military Court said a lese majeste
verdict had been scheduled yes-
Bodies of nine soldiers
retrieved from crash site
escue workers have retrieved the bodies of nine
soldiers, including a senior regional commander, after
an army helicopter crashed in
northern Thailand, authorities
said yesterday.
The bodies — some charred —
were recovered late on Monday
several hours after the chopper
went down in the northern province of Phayao, killing everyone
on board.
“We have taken the bodies to
the provincial hospital,” provincial governor Chuchad Keelapaeng said.
Australian among
nightclub fire dead
Five people including an Australian holidaymaker died in a
nightclub fire in Cambodia’s northwestern tourist hub of Siem Reap
yesterday, police said. The blaze
broke out at the Hip Hop nightclub
in Siem Reap city at around 2am
due to an electrical fault, provincial
police chief Sort Nady said.
“An Australian tourist was among
five people who died after suffocating on smoke,” he said,
adding that two local people were
injured in the fire. Police said the
32-year-old Australian had arrived
in Cambodia last week. They have
launched an investigation into the
incident, Nady said.
Rewards on offer to
tackle town rats
A Thai city has offered a bounty
on rats to help deal with a booming pest problem, reports said
yesterday. More than 40,000
rats have infested the southern
city of Trang, 800 kilometres
south of Bangkok, according to
local health officials. City officials
are paying 10 baht, or about
30 US cents, for every rat that
residents kill, the Bangkok Post
reported. The municipality has
already paid bounties for about
1,000 rats.
terday but provided no further
He said there had been other
sentences in the military court
for the same offence but declined to say how many.
The royal family is a highly
sensitive topic in the politically turbulent kingdom where
86-year-old King Bhumibol
Adulyadej, the world’s longest
reigning monarch, is revered as a
demi-god by many Thais.
The lawyer added that her client, who travelled to Thailand to
attend the funeral of a relative,
had been denied bail.
Rights groups have voiced
particular concern over the fate
of suspects charged under martial law, imposed by the army
two days before the coup, as they
have no right to appeal in a military court.
Lese majeste, or Section 112 of
Thailand’s criminal code, is designed to protect the monarchy
from insult, but academics say
it has been politicised in recent
years as the king’s reign enters
its twilight.
Many of those charged have
been linked to the “Red Shirt”
movement, whose activists are
broadly supportive of fugitive
former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The coup was the latest twist
in Thailand’s long-running political conflict, which broadly
pits a Bangkok-based middle
class and royalist elite, backed
by parts of the military and judiciary, against rural and workingclass voters loyal to Thaksin.
“Many of the bodies were
burnt beyond recognition,” he
said, adding that the deputy
commander of the Third Army
which covers northern Thailand
was among the dead.
Prime Minister Prayut ChanO-Cha said the helicopter was
properly maintained at the time
of the accident. “It was an accident, no one wanted it to happen. We will investigate to find
the real casue,” the former army
chief told reporters.
In July 2011 a series of helicopter crashes in the space of a week
forced the Thai army to ground
much of its fleet.
The choppers crashed in a
province southwest of Bangkok,
claiming 17 lives.
Indonesia police face
flak over virginity tests
ndonesia’s national police were urged yesterday
to halt virginity tests for
women applying to join the
force, with Human Rights
Watch saying the practice was
harmful and humiliating.
The rights group said women applicants are required to
be both unmarried and virgins, and the virginity test is
still widely used despite the
insistence of some senior police officials that the practice
has been discontinued.
In a series of interviews with
HRW, young women -- including some who underwent
the test as recently as this year
-- described the procedure as
painful and traumatic.
The women told how they
were forced to strip naked before female medics gave them
a “two-finger test”,, a practice
described by HRW as archaic
and discredited.
“I don’t want to remember those bad experiences.
It was humiliating,” said one
19-year-woman who took the
test in the city of Pekanbaru,
on western Sumatra island,
and whose identity was not
“Why should we take off our
clothes in front of strangers?
It is not necessary. I think it
should be stopped.”
women’s rights director at
HRW, described the tests as “a
discriminatory practice that
harms and humiliates women.
“Police authorities in Jakarta
need to immediately and unequivocally abolish the test, and
then make certain that all police
recruiting stations nationwide
stop administering it.” The tests
contravene the police’s own
guidelines on recruitment and
violate international human
rights to equality, non-discrimination and privacy, HRW said.
Police spokesman Ronny
Sompie said a “comprehensive
health test” was carried out
on all applicants, and officials
wanted to ensure that candidates were free from sexually
transmitted diseases.
He said the discovery that a
woman was not a virgin did not
necessarily mean she would fail
the application process.
Emergency drill
Indonesian rescue teams evacuate mock injured victims during an airport emergency
exercise at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali yesterday. Indonesian rescue
teams held a drill to better handle situations in the event of aircraft accidents.
Cambodian govt
�uses courts to
silence critics’
Cambodia’s government is using
the country’s judiciary to silence
opposition parties and other critics
of its policies, a UN investigator said
yesterday. Nepalese-born barrister
and academic Surya Sabedi, said
the situation was highlighted by a
recent series of arrests that were
promptly followed by mass trials
and convictions for participation
in peaceful protests. Cambodian
officials in Geneva were not immediately available to comment. “It
saddens me to see the courts being
used again and again as a tool of
the executive,” Sabedi said. “Those
who seek to exercise fundamental
freedoms can be arrested, charged
and swiftly convicted on little or no
material grounds,” he said. Sabedi is
a special rapporteur on Cambodia
for the UN’s Geneva-based Human
Rights Council. His statement was
issued by the office of the UN’s High
Commissioner for Human Rights,
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Cambodia’s
prime minister Hun Sen, once a
commander in the communist
Khmer Rouge which ruled the
country through terror in the late
1970s, has often been accused
by international rights groups of
running a dictatorship. The recent
arrests — in a country which has
seen booming foreign investment
in the past decade — were the latest
in a crackdown on government
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
HK authorities begin
clearing main protest camp
Japan plans whale hunt,
but vows to slash quota
Ex-admiral to head new
S Korea �safety’ ministry
NZ Labour Party elects
ex-union boss as leader
Chicken mogul buys
Napoleon hat for his �spirit’
Authorities yesterday cleared part of Hong
Kong’s main pro-democracy protest camp, facing
no resistance as they launched the first of several
planned evictions to reopen roads blocked for
nearly two months. Dozens of police and bailiffs
stood guard yesterday as workers dismantled
metal barricades blocking access to a
skyscraper opposite government headquarters,
on the edge of the sprawling main camp in
the central Admiralty district. Pro-democracy
lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan accused the
authorities of “hiding behind the courts” in a bid
to end the protests. “We want the government
to negotiate - not police action,” Lee said.
Japan yesterday unveiled plans to resume
whale hunting in the Southern Ocean despite
an international court ruling that previous hunts
were illegal, but said it would slash the quota for
the so-called scientific whaling programme. The
new plan, which a Fisheries Agency official said
was drawn up in line with suggestions contained
in the court ruling, calls for hunting 333 minke
whales, down from some 900 in Japan’s previous
whaling plans, in the 2015-2016 season. The plan,
which Japan has submitted to the International
Whaling Commission, also limits the hunt to
minkes. In past years, the hunts had included
quotas for humpback and fin whales as well.
South Korea yesterday named a former navy
admiral to head a new public safety ministry
created in response to the Sewol ferry tragedy
in April. The Ministry of Public Safety and
Security, to be launched today, will oversee the
response to all future disasters. A major ministry
with more than 10,000 staff, it will take over
responsibilities previously shared by a number
of state units, including the national coastguard
that was disbanded in the wake of the Sewol
tragedy. Former admiral Park In-Yong will
lead the new body, while ex-army general Lee
Song-Ho has been appointed vice minister, the
presidential Blue House announced.
New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party
yesterday elected former trade union head
Andrew Little as its fourth leader in as many
years. Little replaces David Cunliffe, who
stepped down after the centre-left party
slumped to its worst showing since 1922 with
25% of the vote in the September 20 general
election. Little has said Labour scared its
traditional working class supporters and centrist
voters with policies such as a capital gains
tax and raising the age of pension eligibility.
Labour has struggled to counter the centre right
National Party, led by John Key, which ousted a
centre-left coalition led by Helen Clark in 2008.
The South Korean chicken mogul who bought one
of Napoleon’s famous two-pointed hats for $2.2mn
says he sees the French emperor as a guiding “spirit”
for modern entrepreneurs. “I have always held in
high esteem Napoleon’s challenging spirit that
nothing is impossible,” Kim Hong-Kuk, the founder
and chairman of the poultry giant Harim Group,
said in a statement. “So I made the purchase of his
hat to reawaken entrepreneurial spirit,” Kim said.
“Napoleon’s challenging spirit sends an important
message in this era that needs entrepreneurial spirit
more than anything else.” Kim is considering putting
the hat on public display to share Napoleon’s “spirit
of challenge and adventure”.
Japan PM seeks renewed
mandate for �Abenomics’
Xi commits
to greater
Antarctic ties
with Canberra
apanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe said yesterday that he would
call an early election to seek a fresh
mandate for his economic policies,
and postpone an unpopular sales tax
rise, a day after data showed the economy had slipped back into recession.
The world’s third-biggest economy unexpectedly shrank for a second
consecutive quarter in July-September, a sign the pain from an initial rise
in the sales tax to 8% from 5% in April
was lasting longer than expected.
Abe said he would delay a second
increase to 10% that had been scheduled for October 2015 for 18 months.
He added he would dissolve the lower
house on Friday for an election that
must be held within 40 days. The vote
is expected on December 14.
The prime minister - who returned
to power in December 2012 pledging
to revive growth with a radical mix of
hyper-easy monetary policy, spending
and reform - insisted his policies were
working and challenged the opposition to come up with an alternative.
“I am aware that critics say �Abenomics’ is a failure and not working
but I have not heard one concrete idea
what to do instead ... Are our economic policies mistaken, or correct?
Is there another option?” he asked at
a televised news conference. “This is
the only way to end deflation and revive the economy.”
But Abe pledged that the sales tax
rise, needed to fund swelling social
security costs and curb Japan’s massive public debt, would be implemented without fail in April 2017.
Abe is seeking to renew his mandate just as doubts about the success
of his strategy are deepening.
No election for parliament’s lower
house needed to be held until late
2016. But Abe is hoping to cement his
grip on power before his support ratings, now below 50% in some surveys
but still sturdy by Japanese standards,
slip further.
His voter support took something
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo.
of a hit from funding scandals in his
cabinet last month, and next year he
is expected to tackle unpopular policies such as restarting nuclear reactors that went off-line after the 2011
Fukushima crisis.
Critics say that Abenomics has
benefited big companies and affluent city dwellers by weakening the
yen and boosting the stock market,
but that ordinary Japanese have been
hurt because inflation has outpaced
wage increases.
Abe said consumption was stalling
despite other positive signs and he
would prepare stimulus steps, especially for smaller п¬Ѓrms and regions.
Measures will include shopping
vouchers to promote consumption, a
government official said.
The sales tax has been a jinx for
Japanese leaders in the past, several of
whom lost their jobs over the levy. A
hefty majority of voters are opposed
to raising it now.
Still, Abe took care to avoid the
impression that Japan was abandoning п¬Ѓscal reform despite a public debt
that is already twice the size of the
economy. “We are by no means surrendering the flag of fiscal reform,”
he said. “(The tax rise) will not be delayed a second time.”
The bad economic news has given
the opposition camp ammunition
for the election campaign, although
the parties are weak and divided and
likely to have trouble co-operating.
Tatsuo Kawabata, a senior official
of the opposition Democratic Party,
told a news conference that the prime
minister was attempting to cover up
signs that Abenomics was failing.
Few expect the LDP and its smaller
ally to lose their majority. But п¬Ѓnancial markets and analysts are now
contemplating the possibility that the
ruling bloc might fare less well than
initially anticipated and that Abe
could emerge weaker after the vote.
Abe said he would resign if the rul-
ing coalition, which now holds twothirds of the seats in the chamber,
failed to win a majority.
“A recession will give opposition
party attacks on Abe more salience,
suggesting the possibility that the
ruling coalition could lose seats,”
wrote Tobias Harris at consultancy
Teneo Intelligence. The LDP and the
Komeito party now hold a two-thirds
majority in the lower house.
Abe, who is serving his second term
as prime minister after a troubled
2006-2007 term, inherited the sales
tax plan from his predecessor based on
a ruling-opposition party agreement
in which he played no direct part.
hina’s President Xi Jinping yesterday committed to greater Antarctic
cooperation with Australia, while
fulfilling a long-held dream to visit the nation’s smallest state in a trip which included
a close encounter with a Tasmanian devil.
Xi supported the use of Australia and particularly of Tasmania as a gateway to the frozen continent in an agreement with Prime
Minister Tony Abbott in the state capital Hobart, where the flagship of China’s Antarctic
programme, the Xue Long, is docked.
The memorandum of understanding
also reaffirmed China’s promise to respect
the icy region as a natural reserve that will
not be exploited, while committing the
two countries to collaborate on scientific
“Antarctica’s unique geographical, climatic and ecological conditions have offered an opportunity to gain an understanding of the evolution of Earth,” Xi said,
speaking through a translator.
The deal to collaborate in the hostile, remote and fragile Antarctic came three decades after China’s first expedition to the
region, and follows reports last month of
plans to build an airfield there to support its
four research stations.
About 30 nations operate permanent research stations in Antarctica including the
US, Russia, Australia, Britain, France and
Hobart, which is home to the Australian
Antarctic Division, is a key shipping gateway to the area.
The signing capped a whirlwind trip to
the so-called Apple Isle by the Chinese
leader, who has visited every other Australian state and territory and joked on Monday
that he should receive a certificate for his
travels across the country.
Xi said he chose to visit the southern state
following the weekend G20 summit in Brisbane after receiving a letter from primary
school students in Launceston in the state’s
“In their letter, they describe Tasmania’s
unique products and beautiful scenery, they
hand-wrote the letter in Chinese,” Xi said in
his address to the Australian parliament in
Canberra Monday. “And their words have
filled me with curiosity.”
Australian senator lashes out at
refugee deal with Cambodia
Phnom Penh
Members of the cultural group �Ngati Ranana Maori’ pose in the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Maoris bless Berlin exhibition of ancestors
ew Zealand Maoris
yesterday blessed with
songs, dances and
prayers a major exhibition of
paintings of their ancestors,
which is opening in Berlin this
week. Czech-born artist Gottfried Lindauer’s Maori portraits have never been shown
outside New Zealand.
Underlining the significance
of the exhibition, which is due to
open tomorrow at the Alte Nationalgalerie, a group of Maoris
accompanied the paintings to
The exhibition comprises
some 50 life-sized portraits
of prominent Maoris from
Lindauer’s years in New Zealand, including tribal chiefs and
Born in 1839 in the Czech
town of Pilsen, Lindauer sailed
to New Zealand in 1874. He died
in the country in 1926.
Exhibition organisers said the
paintings have never left New
Zealand because of the importance that Maoris attach to the
memory of their ancestors.
They see their ancestors as
part of the living, and want to
preserve the bonds between
“We do not own Lindauer’s
works, we protect them,” said
Rhana Devenport, director of
the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o
The Alte Nationalgalerie was
selected for the exhibition because of its focus on 19th century art.
Lindauer is one of only a few
late 19th century painters to
have devoted himself almost
exclusively to depicting indigenous people.
The exhibition runs until April 12 before it moves to
isiting Australian senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Canberra’s plan to transfer refugees to Cambodia, saying it
would plunge them into “a system of uncertainty”.
Under Canberra’s tough immigration policy, asylum-seekers who arrive on boats are denied resettlement in Australia
and sent to Papua New Guinea
and the Pacific state of Nauru,
even if they are genuine refugees.
In September, Phnom Penh
and Canberra signed a deal which
would allow those granted refugee status in Nauru to permanently resettle in Cambodia, one
of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, triggering widespread
criticism including from the UN.
“Australia (is) simply dumping
refugees back in a poor country
and back into a system of uncertainty,” Hanson-Young, a senator for the Greens party who is
a strong critic of the Australian
government’s immigration policies, told AFP.
Hanson-Young, currently in
Phnom Penh for a fact-п¬Ѓnding
mission about the deal, said her
main concern was that refugees
would be unable to “rebuild their
lives” in Cambodia.
“They will continue to move.
Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young speaks to AFP in
Phnom Penh.
I can’t see how refugees that we
send to Cambodia will be able to
permanently stay here,” said the
senator, citing the country’s high
levels of poverty as well as its
poor education and healthcare
“It is about governments looking after themselves and ignoring
the people,” she added.
The resettlement of refugees
to Cambodia is expected to begin later this year, starting with a
trial of a small group.
Under the transfer deal, Australia will also give Cambodia
A$40mn (US$35mn) in additional aid over four years.
The UN has criticised the
move as a “worrying departure
from international norms”.
But Australia has strongly defended its plans, saying the programme would start small but be
a long-term arrangement.
The deal is Australia’s latest
immigration policy to come under п¬Ѓre, having already earned
criticism for sending asylumseekers to PNG and Nauru and
turning back Australia-bound
The government maintains
the policies are designed to crack
down on the people-smuggling
trade following scores of lives
lost making the journey to Australia in recent years.
Around 20% of the Cambodian population - or 2.8mn people
- live in poverty, according to the
World Bank.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Muslim addresses Church
of England synod
Cocaine worth ВЈ500,000
seized from Gatwick
Sara Payne quits Twitter
after decade of �abuse’
�No confidence’ in
NHS ombudsman
Changing gait �could be
early sign of Parkinson’s’
A British Muslim addressed a Church of England
synod for the first time yesterday in a discussion with
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on the suffering of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. Fuad Nahdi,
head of Radical Middle Way, a think tank involved
in inter-faith dialogue, recited an Islamic prayer and
greeted the Anglican gathering with the words “salaam
aleikum” (Peace be with you). He also spoke about
growing anger among young Muslims in Britain in reaction to criticism that they face because of the actions
of rebels they have nothing to do with “thousands of
miles away”. He called for peaceful existence and joint
“fight against ignorance” by Christians and Muslims.
Cocaine with an estimated street value of more
than ВЈ500,000 has been seized at Gatwick
Airport. The drugs were hidden within rope used
to secure a pallet, according to officials. Investigators said it was a “sophisticated” bid to smuggle
13kg of cocaine through the airport from Jamaica.
The rope concealing the Class A drug was used
to secure a pallet of imported food, including
yams, sweet potatoes, avocados and soursop,
which arrived on the flight. But when Border
Force officers examined the tubular rope closely
last Thursday, they found it was stuffed with “high
purity” cocaine.
Campaigner Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was
abducted and killed in 2000, has closed her Twitter
account after reportedly enduring years of “unrelenting” harassment. Fellow campaigner and close friend
Shy Keenan tweeted that Payne had been “forced
to close down her Twitter account” after enduring
an “unrelenting” campaign of online abuse. Keenan
said that she and a number of Payne’s associates had
suffered “10 years of stalking and harassment” across
numerous social media platforms. Keenan said much
of the abuse was related to Sarah, who was murdered
in 2000. Convicted paedophile Roy Whiting is serving
a life sentence for the eight-year-old’s murder.
A patients’ rights charity has said it has “no
confidence” in the independent NHS ombudsman
to investigate individuals’ complaints about the
health service. The Patients Association released
a report into what it claims were failures by the
Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman
(PHSO) to handle complaints of poor care by
families, who they say have been “let down”. The
PHSO, the last resort for those complaining about
unfair or poor service from the NHS in England,
is undergoing a modernisation scheme and last
month revealed it had investigated 2,199 cases in
2013-14 - six times more than the previous year.
Doctors may soon be able to tell from the way
you walk whether Parkinson’s disease is on its
way, thanks to new research findings. Knowing
early - there is no cure - can at least help doctors manage the symptoms of the debilitating
neurological condition, British researcher Lynn
Rochester says. “Subtle changes in someone’s
walking pattern ... are related to cognitive function
even before changes are seen in cognitive tests,”
she said of her findings. “If we can use this and
test people who may be at risk, then we could
pick up the early signs and begin treatment and
told to
work for
free after
pay gaffe
Meeting voters
Police �fail to
record more
than 800,000
offences a year’
Guardian News and Media
urses at the Great Ormond Street Hospital
are being told to work
for nothing after an accounting
blunder led to them being overpaid by six-and-a-half hours a
The chief nurse at the children’s hospital has written to
about 800 staff telling them
to work an additional shift or
deduct the time from their
annual holiday allowance after being overpaid by an average of ВЈ82.
Unions warn that the move
will be bad for morale as it ignores the fact that three-quarters of nurses at the hospital
already work extra hours unpaid
caring for sick children.
Sue Tarr, London operational
manager at the Royal College
of Nursing, said: “The plans
will cause significant damage
to morale at the trust and that
will have knock-on effects for
patients. Great Ormond Street
says that without these savings
they would need to cut posts. It
is pretty offensive to ask staff to
pick between the two.”
Ward nurses and those in intensive care work 13 shifts each
of 11.5 hours every four weeks —
a total of 149.5 hours. However,
due to an administrative oversight “for many years”, they have
been paid for 150 hours.
Over a year, this means they
have been overpaid by 6.5 hours
— a sum worth about £85,000.
According to its 2013-14 accounts, the hospital had an annual income of ВЈ413mn.
Rather than deducting cash
from nurses’ wage packets,
managers have offered a series
of proposals to have them work
the six-and-a-half hours for
free between January and March
next year or return earlier from
Liz Morgan, the chief nurse,
wrote: “Let me stress that there
is no suggestion that you are at
fault in this. But it’s a situation
we must redress and I hope that
all the options allow us to do it in
as painless a way as possible.”
Prime Minister David Cameron and Conservative Party candidate for Rochester and Strood,
Kelly Tolhurst, visit MCL Mechanical near Rochester, Kent, during a visit ahead of the
by-election tomorrow. The by-election in Rochester and Strood was triggered after former
Conservative MP Mark Reckless defected to Ukip, resigning his seat in September.
Black cab fares slashed
as price wars escalate
London Evening Standard
ondoners will pay only ВЈ5
for many black cab journeys booked on their mobiles in the run-up to Christmas,
as the capital’s taxi price wars
The “revolutionary” fixed rate
will slash the cost of taking a
black cab by up to 80%. It makes
a taxi ride cheaper than catching
the bus if at least four people are
Black cab mobile app GetTaxi
is launching the fare today on all
booked journeys of up to 10km
starting in zones three to six.
The 10km trip from Balham to
Piccadilly Circus, for example,
would usually cost around ВЈ25
during the day and early evening or
ВЈ30 after 10pm or at the weekend.
On the normal metered rate, ВЈ5
would take a passenger just over
a mile in free-flowing traffic and
less in congestion. It is the latest
move in the increasingly п¬Ѓerce
war between rival taxi app п¬Ѓrms.
In August minicab app Uber,
which operates in more than 200
cities across the world, cut its
prices by 15% in London and reduced its minimum fare to ВЈ5.
GetTaxi is now the only app to
work exclusively with black cabs
after Hailo — the British firm
backed by Sir Richard Branson —
decided to team up with private
hire vehicles as well.
GetTaxi’s UK boss Remo Gerber
said: “We believe by introducing
these fantastic flat and fixed prices, consumers will see the huge
benefits of taking black taxis over
minicabs. “Plus all our drivers are
fully licensed and undergo extensive CRB checks. It’s definitely the
safest way to get around London
this festive period.”
GetTaxi founder and chief executive Shahar Waiser described
the £5 fixed fare as “revolutionary”, adding: “What we’re doing
now is offering the best quality
and the best price.”
The promotion is scheduled to
last until the end of the year, al-
though Waiser said GetTaxi may
decide to continue it afterwards.
Waiser said the promotion would
not leave black cab drivers out
of pocket because they would be
GetTaxi was founded in 2010
and operates in 24 cities. Its
backers include one of London’s
richest residents, billionaire oligarch Len Blavatnik.
The п¬Ѓrm has been offering a
similar deal in New York, where
passengers pay a flat $10 fare for
a journey in Manhattan that lasts
less than an hour.
As well as the ВЈ5 promotion,
other destinations will have
new, cheaper п¬Ѓxed prices as long
as the destination is set when
booking. For example Richmond
to London Bridge will be ВЈ30 and
Greenwich to Mayfair ВЈ22.40.
Uber has faced anger from black
cab drivers, who held a protest in
June against Transport for London’s decision to give the firm,
which works with minicabs, a private hire licence. The drivers took
to the streets again in September.
ore than a quarter of
sex offences - including
rape - are not recorded
as crimes because of “unacceptable failings” by police, a highly
critical new report has found.
Under-recording of sexual offences was at 26% and the national rate of wrong decisions to
cancel crime records for rape was
20%, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate
of Constabulary (HMIC) said.
Total under-recording of
crime by all 43 police forces in
England and Wales was found to
be at an “inexcusably poor and
indefensible” 19%, amounting to
more than 800,000 crimes each
The inspection, which looked
at over 8,000 reports of crime
to the police between November
2012 and October 2013, discovered 37 cases of rape which were
not recorded as crime.
And even when crimes were
recorded correctly, many were
removed or cancelled from the
system as “no-crimes” - including 200 rapes and more than 250
violent crimes.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor
said : “The position in the case
of rape and other sexual offences
is a matter of especially serious
“It is particularly important
that in cases as serious as rape,
these shortcomings are put right
as a matter of the greatest urgency. In some forces, action is already being taken in this respect.
“The police should immediately institutionalise the presumption that the victim is to be
believed. If evidence later comes
to light which shows that no
crime occurred, then the record
should be corrected; that is how
Global Gift Gala
the system is supposed to work.
“Victims need and are entitled
to support and assistance. They and their communities - are entitled to justice.
“Failures in crime-recording
can also increase the risks to victims and the community of the
denial of justice.”
One in п¬Ѓve of the 3,246 reviewed decisions to cancel a
crime record as a “no-crime”
were found to be incorrect.
Police are obliged to inform
victims about their decisions,
but in over 800 of the cases examined there was no record of
the victim having been told. The
police watchdog said that it had
possibly given the impression to
victims that crimes were being
investigated when they were not.
The report also found that in
more than a п¬Ѓfth of 3,700 cases,
offenders were given out-ofcourt disposals such as a caution
or a penalty notice when they
should have been charged and
sent to court or given a heavier
HMIC said that it had found
“relatively little firm evidence”
to show that undue pressure was
being put on officers to manipulate the п¬Ѓgures.
Child rape victim let down by police
A police and crime commissioner has said he is “deeply
sorry” for how his force failed a
child victim of rape who wrote
to officers questioning how
they investigated the crime.
The case of the five-year-old
who was raped by the 12-yearold son of a family friend was
highlighted at the weekend
after the letter written by
the victim, who is now eight,
emerged. She wrote: “When I
was five something very bad
happened and it was your job
to make sure he was properly
dealt with and punished. But
you didn’t do your job and you
let me down.” Yesterday Nick
Alston, PCC for Essex, said the
case had highlighted the force’s
“profound failure”. The girl’s parents told The Mail On Sunday
that Essex Police made a series
of blunders. More than three
years later the family are still
waiting for justice — despite the
offender admitting the offence
in a recorded interview and being given a youth caution.
Oxford chooses �vape’
as Word of the Year
US actress Eva Longoria (left), Puerto Rican pop
musician Ricky Martin and fashion designer Victoria
Beckham pose as they arrive at the 5th annual London
Global Gift Gala in London. Global Gift Galas aim to
engage organisations, resources, celebrities, people of
influence and brands to positively transform the lives of
women and children.
A survey of over 17,000 officers found that 39% of those with
responsibility for making crimereporting decisions admitted
that concerns over performance
and other pressures were distorting the picture.
And a poll of the public’s views
found that only 66% of people
trust the police to record crime
Home Secretary Theresa May,
who commissioned the report,
said that it had found “utterly
unacceptable failings” in crime
recording. However, she said
matters were improving and
pointed to a more than 20% drop
in crime under the coalition government.
Shadow policing minister Jack
Dromey responded by calling for
May to “get a grip on this and
make urgent changes to the way
the police record crime”.
“This report is the latest blow
to the home secretary’s repeated
claims that crime is falling, when
the reality is that almost one п¬Ѓfth
of crime is simply not being recorded,” he said.
“It is time for May to come
clean with the public and acknowledge that her crime stats
just do not reflect reality.”
he Oxford English Dictionary named “vape” the word used for drawing
on an electronic cigarette instead
of a burning stick of tobacco - as
its 2014 word of the year.
“You are 30 times more likely
to come across the word �vape’
than you were two years ago, and
usage has more than doubled in
the past year,” staff editors said.
The 2013 word of the year was
“selfie,” describing the decidedly
less controversial self-portrait
taken with a smart phones.
The rise of e-cigarettes was
cited as the reason for the skyrocketing use of the word - along
with countless debates over the
safety of using it long term.
The word appeared to peak
this year in April, when New York
City banned vaping indoors and
the United Kingdom opened its
п¬Ѓrst vape cafe, The Vape Lab in
Shoreditch, London, according
to the Oxford statement.
A 1983 article in New Soci-
ety described the e-cigarette,
which had not been invented,
in as-yet hypothetical terms
and appeared to be among the
earliest references to the word
vaping in that context, Oxford
editors said.
It wasn’t until 2009, however, that the term began to catch
on, editors said. officially added
the definition in August. The
verb is defined as “to inhale and
exhale the vapour produced by
an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
A derivative of vapour or vaporising, the word can also be a
noun describing the action and
the device.
The winner beat out a short
list of runners up that included
bae, a term for a beloved significant other.
The list also included budtender, a person who serves up
cannabis in a shop or dispensary, and slacktivism, a combination of slacker and activism
that describes supporting causes
through low-level activities such
a signing online petitions.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I’m going to miss you all: last message of girl found dead
London Evening Standard
“lively and intelligent”
14-year-old girl is believed to have taken her
own life at her home amid claims
she had been tormented by bullying. Devout Christian Ashdon
Muirhead, a pupil at the all-girls’
Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College, was found dead
in Thornton Heath at 2.15pm on
Saturday. Two hours earlier, she
left a message on her Facebook
page, reading: “Imma (I’m going
to) miss you all”.
Police are expected to investigate claims posted online that
she had been a victim of bullying. One school friend wrote on
Facebook: “Does anyone realise
bullying someone to the extent
that they attempt or do end their
life is an actual crime?” Another
Brooks cleared
cash payment
court hears
Guardian News and Media
ebekah Brooks signed off
on virtually all cash payment requests when she
was editor at the Sun, it has been
claimed at a trial of journalists on
the tabloid accused of approving
payments to public officials for
The head of news at the Sun
was asked by the trial judge yesterday what proportion of payment requests the editor refused
to sign off. “A very small percentage,” Chris Pharo replied.
Asked whether he could give
an idea of the percentage, he said
“two to 3%”.
The 45-year-old is on trial
along with п¬Ѓve other current and
former Sun journalists for allegedly approving unlawful payments to public officials, a charge
which they all deny.
Pharo said “what you might
get is a protracted process of her
stalling on the payments”, before
clarifying to the judge that in two
to 3% of cases there would be “no
payment at all”.
He was being quizzed by prosecutor Peter Wright, QC, about
an e-mail in February telling
staff that with immediate effect
no cash payments would be paid
“without Rebekah’s approval”.
Pharo had replied to the e-mail
containing the edict, by saying
this would “dramatically increase
my workload”. This was because
up to then, a cash payment could
be approved by a deputy editor,
he said.
Earlier in the trial, he had
quipped that he had to deal
with so many cash payment
requests by his reporters
that he spent half his time
in the editor’s office.
In a grilling by Wright,
he was accused
of creating a
bull story” to
explain the paper’s “practice” of
paying public officials at a criminal trial.
Opening his cross examination, Wright put it to Pharo that
the ends justified the means at the
Sun and there was a “preparedness to pay public officials”.
Pharo replied: “That’s not true.
I stayed silent at the police station, because I was absolutely
He went on to tell jurors that
the company had decided to hand
him and others “to the police”
and repeated earlier references to
3mn e-mails being deleted by the
company . This, Wright put it to
him, was what upset him. “That’s
what grates you isn’t it, that the
company’s shopped you?” Pharo
replied: “No, what really grates
me is that the company has provided a fraction of the evidence in
this case and we fitted the bill.”
Wright asked him how these
missing e-mails could exculpate him, suggesting they were
a “smoke screen” in his trial. “I
simply don’t think we’re looking
at anything like the full picture,”
Pharo said. “I am not using it as a
smoke sceen.”
Wright went on to quiz him
about the paper’s decision to run
a story “Mumbai Raid Fear on
Xmas Shoppers” four years ago.
The article reported that Metropolitan police п¬Ѓrearms officers
were patrolling shopping centres
including Westfield and Bluewater as fears that Al Qaeda might be
inspired to commit a British version of a massacre by the terrorist
attack in India.
“Did you consider it was for
you to decide to jeopardise any
ongoing operation that may
be undertaken by counter
terrorism in the metropolis?” Wright asked.
“I don’t for any moment
accept your (assertion) that
(the story) would jeopardise a
counter terrorism (operation) in the metropolis,”
said Pharo.
said: “Those bullies should burn
in hell.”
Neighbours yesterday told how
police were called to Ashdon’s
home in Mersham Road after the
discovery of her body in the garage. Cherelle Quartey, 24, a student, said: “We heard screaming
and saw the mum come out of the
house.” Next-door neighbour Luis
Fernandes, 45, said: “We are all
shocked, she seemed a happy normal girl. She used to call me uncle,
she was always nice to everyone
and apparently without a care in
the world. Her whole family are
lovely and our thoughts are with
Floral tributes have been left for
Ashdon at the terrace house she
shared with her mother Patricia
Hewitt. Friends and relatives yesterday reacted with sadness at her
death, which police are not treating as suspicious. Her family was
too devastated to speak, but rela-
tives wrote tributes online.
Aunt Michelle Muirhead, from
Clapham, wrote: “Fourteen years
ago I was privileged to see your
little face enter this world. Never
in my worst nightmare would I
ever imagine me seeing you leave
this world. My beautiful niece and
awesome goddaughter we loved
you and never will you leave our
hearts and memories.”
Tributes were paid on a Facebook page set up in Ashdon’s
hrien Dewani’s lawyers
have applied for the murder case against him to be
thrown out of court for lack of
Francois van Zyl, Dewani’s
barrister, made the discharge application after the prosecution
п¬Ѓnished making its case.
He informed the trial judge,
Jeanette Traverso, that he would
today provide written reasons as
to why the Briton’s case should
be thrown out.
The prosecution, Van Zyl told
the court, had agreed to provide
reasons why the discharge application should be rejected on
Accused of the murder of his
wife, Anni, in township hijacking
plot in 2010, Shrien Dewani has
spent the past six weeks in Cape
Town’s high court listening to the
evidence against him.
But while the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has
brought almost 20 witnesses,
many legal commentators have
expressed concern about the
strength of their evidence. William Booth, chairman of the
South African Law Society, described the prosecution case as
very poor; James Grant, professor of criminal law at University
of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said much of the NPA’s
evidence appeared less strong
than they thought.
If successful, Shrien Dewani’s
discharge application would lead
to the immediate cessation of his
trial. He would then be released
from the Valkenberg secure psychiatric facility in Cape Town and
be free to return home to the UK.
On Monday morning, however, Grant and Booth warned that
discharge was far from certain.
While neither man knew how often Section 174 discharge applications succeeded, they pointed
out how the NPA achieved convictions in 88% of higher court
cases. This statistic, they said,
indicated that discharge applications were rarely granted.
Section 174 discharge applications were made regularly in
week, a campaign taking place in
thousands of schools and colleges
across the UK.
Ashdon had spoken out online
against teenagers who choose a life
of crime, saying she would rather
have a career. She had signed up
with several acting agencies and,
writing online last year about how
her friends were getting into relationships, said: “The only thing
I’m in love with at this age is my
Bird flu outbreak identified as H5N8 strain
Department For Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) officials move crates of ducks during a cull at a duck farm in Nafferton yesterday. The strain of bird flu discovered at the duck farm is H5N8, the same as confirmed in outbreaks in Germany and the Netherlands, the environment ministry said. “The strain has a very low risk to
human health and no risk to the food chain,” Defra said in a statement.
Mother sentenced for
children’s manslaughter
judge yesterday ordered
the hospitalisation of a
depressed South African woman who smothered her
three young disabled children
as they slept before attempting
Tania Clarence, 43, had
pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility of her three-year-old twins
Ben and Max and four-year-old
daughter Olivia in April.
Prosecutors had asked for her
to be sent to prison.
Judge Nigel Sweeney said
there was “clear and convincing” evidence that she was suffering a “major depressive episode” when she suffocated them
at the family home in London.
“The prosecution accepts
that you loved all four of your
children,” he told the Old Bailey court, but said she became
“overwhelmed” by the challenge of looking after them.
Quoting a psychiatrist, the
judge told Clarence: “If you had
not been suffering from mental
illness at the time, you would
not have killed your children.”
Prosecutors had argued that
the pre-meditated nature of the
killings and Clarence’s failure to
address her mental health prob-
lems meant that “her responsibility remains considerable”.
The three dead children suffered from a life-limiting, muscle-weakening condition, spinal
muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2,
and were in and out of hospital.
Clarence and her husband
Gary, an investment banker,
also have another daughter aged
eight, who is not disabled. He
and the child were on holiday in
South Africa at the time of the
He has supported his wife
throughout the court proceedings.
Imposing a hospital order, the
judge told Clarence she would
not be released until doctors de-
Dewani’s lawyers apply
for murder case dismissal
Guardian News and Media
Cape Town
memory which yesterday had
more than 1,400 followers.
One school friend wrote: “Every day seeing you made me smile.
Knowing that when I saw you (on
Friday), you were ready to end it
all. I’m sorry that you felt it was
your only option. I just hope you
can п¬Ѓnally be happy for eternity.
School will never be the same
without you, nothing will.”
News of Ashdon’s death comes
during national anti-bullying
criminal cases, Grant said, adding: “In fact, there are very few
cases in which they are not done.”
Booth said: “Courts are generally very reluctant to grant these
applications. Even when the
prosecution evidence is of a very
poor quality, many judges would
rather say �let’s just hear the defence anyway’.”
The NPA’s handling of the
case has repeatedly fallen foul
of Traverso, the second highest judge in Cape Town. She has
twice stopped the lead prosecutor, Adrian Mopp, from presenting evidence she deemed immaterial and irrelevant. She has also
repeatedly warned Mopp and his
deputy, Shareen Riley, not to introduce unprovable “hearsay”.
But the most serious weakness
in the case, most commentators
agree, is that Shrien Dewani’s
three main accusers, all of whom
have admitted taking part in his
wife’s murder, have given varying
accounts of how she died.
Booth said the NPA’s prosecution evidence had been so poor
“there is a chance that (Traverso)
will grant (the discharge)”.
clared her as having recovered
from her depression. Since being charged she has been receiving treatment in a secure ward
at a psychiatric hospital.
Last week, Clarence wept
uncontrollably in the dock as
prosecution lawyers described
how she smothered the sleeping twins with a nappy, before
tucking them in carefully and
placing little cars and other toys
around their heads.
“She found it much harder
to kill Olivia, and wrote a letter
to her husband in the time between killing the boys and killing Olivia,” lawyer Zoe Johnson
told the hearing. The little girl
was found in a similar position
to her brothers, in her bed with
her covers tucked up to her chin
and toys placed around her.
Their bodies were found after
Clarence’s mother grew worried and asked a nanny to check
on the family. The court had
also heard how Clarence had
clashed with doctors about the
children’s treatment, preferring
to opt for palliative care rather
than a more invasive treatment.
Three years before the killings, a doctor warned that
Clarence was “seriously overstretched” and “under intolerable strain”, and she had admitted suffering depression, but did
not follow through with seeking
Geldof backs ex-chief
whip in �plebgate’ row
London Evening Standard
Shrien Dewani: prosecution evidence �poor’.
and Aid organiser Sir Bob
Geldof yesterday told the
High Court: “I am a pleb.”
Sir Bob backed former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell
saying: “We are an unlikely pair of
friends.” He added: “I came from a
poor Irish, not particularly welleducated background and he does
not. I am in fact a pleb and he is
not. Nor did I ever п¬Ѓnd in him in
the preposterous pantomime the
patrician and frankly Wodehousian superior manner attributed to
him in The Sun and by others.”
Sir Bob was giving evidence in
support of Mitchell who lost his
job in the “plebgate” outcry of
September 2012.
Mitchell is suing The Sun, who
claimed that he had called a police
officer a “pleb”, when he was told
to use the pedestrian access for
Downing Street with his bicycle
and not the main gates.
The police officer involved,
Pc Toby Rowland, is also suing
Mitchell for claiming that he had
lied in his account of the incident.
In his statement, Sir Bob told how
he had met Mitchell when the Tory
MP was in opposition as the overseas development minister and
again when he was in government.
“He struck me as being a man eager to learn, to listen, to absorb and
process information rapidly and as
someone without side or guile in
any respect.
“I am used to being patronised
by �my betters’ but there was no
such nonsense from Mitchell. In
my view (he became) one of the
more effective of the ministers I
have worked with over these past
30 years. We became friends because beyond his qualities as a
leader and an advocate for the less
fortunate I thought he was a good
“Never once in all our time did
he patronise me, talk down to me,
behave in a superior manner to
me, deride, insult or dismiss me or
my opinions.”
Sir Bob also accepted that he
had a “justified reputation for
swearing a bit”. But he added: “It
has to be said that on occasion Andrew Mitchell was no slouch either. But not once in all of this time
did I ever hear him use the ridiculous and archaic expression �pleb’.”
The case continues.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
WHO warns of bird
flu spread in Europe
new kind of bird flu hitting European poultry
farms will surely continue
to spread among birds, the World
Health Organisation (WHO) said
yesterday, urging countries to be
Whether the virus will spread
to humans remains unclear, the
UN health agency said.
“We should all be quite vigilant,” Elizabeth Mumford, a scientist with the WHO’s Global
Influenza Programme, told reporters in Geneva.
Responding to questions, she
held for
young Turkish man has
been arrested on suspicion of burying alive a
teenager who had a pre-marital
relationship with his sister, reports said on Monday.
Akin Tokdenir, 18, was arrested along with his father Ahmet
on suspicion of the murder of
16-year-old Onur Sandal, whose
body was found in a forest earlier
this month.
Sandal, a plumber, was reported missing by his parents
in November last year and his
corpse was found by forest
guards buried in a wooded area
in the western city of Denizli.
Akin Tokdenir turned himself
to police and immediately confessed to the murder, the reports
His father, who acted as an accomplice, was later arrested.
An autopsy revealed that Sandal had been stabbed 65 times
and had severe torture marks
including a hole made by a sharp
His lungs were п¬Ѓlled with soil,
meaning he had been buried
alive, the Hurriyet newspaper
Surveillance footage obtained
by the police showed Sandal being beaten by the father and the
son, who took the victim away in
a car in a residential neighbourhood of Denizli.
The pair said they committed
the murder after Sandal refused
to get engaged to his girlfriend
despite having a “sexual relationship” with her.
The suspects have yet to be
formally charged.
It was not clear whether Sandal’s girlfriend – whose identity was not disclosed – was also
punished by her family and what
her current situation is.
Interpol seeks
public help
Interpol put out a worldwide call
to the public on Monday to help
track down fugitives accused of
environmental crimes such as
ivory trading.
The international police
organisation last month launched
operation “Infra Terra”, targeting
139 fugitives in 36 of its 190
member countries.
Now, Interpol said in a statement,
it is seeking the public’s help
in finding nine most wanted
suspects, including Feisal
Mohamed Ali, the leader of an
ivory smuggling ring in Kenya.
“We believe that the capture of
these criminals on the run will
contribute to the dismantlement
of transnational organised
crime groups who have turned
environmental exploitation
into a professional business,”
said Stefano Carvelli, head of
Interpol’s Fugitive Investigative
Support unit.
said she “absolutely” expected
more bird flocks to fall sick.
The scientist also stressed on
the importance of culling sick
birds and monitoring fever in
humans who have been in contact with sick birds to ensure any
possible human infections are
Germany and the Netherlands
have been confirmed to be dealing with the same subtype of a
highly infectious strain of bird
flu, called H5N8, which appears
to be similar to a virus that has
been infecting birds in China,
Japan and South Korea since the
beginning of the year, she said.
Britain has also been hit with
“a highly pathogenic H5 outbreak
also in poultry”, Mumford said.
It was not yet confirmed,
though, that it was the same
H5N8 strain.
“It could be something else,”
she said.
Renowned virologist and bird
flu expert Ron Fouchier however
told AFP on Monday that British
authorities had told European
authorities that their virus was
the same H5N8 strain as found in
Germany earlier this month and
now in the Netherlands.
An EU source told reporters
that it is “most likely the same
strain in all three places”.
Some 150,000 hens at an egg
farm near Utrecht in the Netherlands were set to be culled, while
6,000 ducks on a Yorkshire farm
in Britain were also to be put
down, authorities said.
The WHO said the virus had
most likely moved from Asia
to Europe with migratory wild
birds. Several hundred thousand
birds, mainly ducks, have been
culled over the last two months
because of a South Korean outbreak.
So far, no cases of human infection have been detected, either in Asia or in Europe, Mumford said.
She acknowledged though that
“influenza viruses are very unpredictable, and it’s very difficult
to tell what a new virus will do”.
“I must say that we really
Eggs are seen piled up at Van Raai egg business yesterday in
Woudenberg, the Netherlands. Supermarkets fear a shortage of eggs
by the measures in the Netherlands after the discovery of bird flu.
A transport ban throughout the Netherlands of poultry, eggs and
manure was issued on Sunday by the Dutch authorities after the
detection of the virus.
know very little about this virus,
and until we get some experience
with it, it’s a bit wide open.”
Since H5N8 seems to be
spreading quickly among poultry, “we will probably see some
human cases”, she told AFP.
But while some people may
be infected by sick birds, so far it
appeared unlikely that the virus
would begin spreading between
humans, she added.
The H5 component of the virus
appeared similar to that found in
the H5N1 strain of bird flu that
has killed more than 400 people,
mainly in southeast Asia, since
п¬Ѓrst appearing in 2003, Mumford
But the N-component was
from a completely different virus
with no human component, indicating it really prefers to attach to
birds, she said.
The fact that no human cases
have surfaced in Asia, where
the virus has been circulating
for some time, with authorities
closely surveilling the situation,
“is encouraging”, Mumford said.
Another positive fact, she
said, was that in lab tests the virus responded to anti-virus drug
Tamiflu, meaning if it did jump to
humans, the medical community
should have a tool to п¬Ѓght it.
In the meantime, the WHO is
urging people in Europe to avoid
touching sick or dead wild birds.
People involved in culling
the sick poultry should monitor themselves for fever for two
weeks after coming into contact
with the birds, Mumford said.
For consumers, she stressed
that “poultry meat safely prepared and well-cooked is completely safe”.
Comet probe �sniffed’ organic molecules
probe of a comet found
traces of organic molecules and a surface much harder
than imagined, scientists said
yesterday of initial sample data
from robot lab Philae.
Philae fell asleep on comet
on Saturday, having run out of
onboard battery power after 60
hours of prodding and probing
an object zipping towards the
Sun at 18km per second.
The lander control centre in
Cologne, operated by German
Aerospace Centre (DLR), said
Philae had uncovered much
about the comet in spite of a
rough touchdown in a lessthan-perfect spot.
“We are well on our way to
achieving a greater understanding of comets,” Ekkehard Kuhrt,
project scientific director, said
in a statement. “Their surface
properties appear to be quite
different than was previously
Philae landed on “67P” last
Wednesday after a nail-biting
seven-hour, 20km descent from
Rosetta, its orbiting mothership
which had travelled more than
a decade and 6.5bn km to meet
up with the comet in August this
The touchdown 510mn km
from Earth did not go entirely
as planned, when Philae’s duo
of anchoring harpoons failed
to deploy and it bounced twice
before ending up in a crevice,
its solar panels shadowed from
A handout photo released yesterday by the European Space Agency shows (from left to right) Rosetta’s Philae lander as it approached and
then rebounded from its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. The mosaic comprises a series of
images captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera over a 30-minute period spanning the first touchdown. The images were taken with Rosetta’s
OSIRIS narrow-angle camera when the spacecraft was 17.5km from the comet centre, or roughly 15.5km from the surface. The image taken
after touchdown, at 15:43 GMT, confirms that the lander was moving east, as first suggested by the data returned by the CONSERT
experiment, and at a speed of about 0.5m/s. The final location of Philae is still not known, but after touching down and bouncing again at
17:25 GMT, it reached there at 17:32 GMT.
battery-boosting sunlight.
Among the most anticipated
data from the comet probe had
been the chemical analysis of
a drill sample which scientists
hoped would shed some light
on the origins of the Solar System some 4.6bn years ago, and
maybe even life on Earth.
The DLR said the MUPUS
probe, one of Philae’s 10 onboard science instrument, ham-
mered into the comet to discover
it was “a tough nut to crack”.
“Although the power of the
hammer was gradually in-
Erdogan slams ridicule of his claim
that �Muslims discovered Americas’
urkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan has hit
back at ridicule of his
claim that Islamic explorers
discovered the Americas three
centuries before Columbus,
accusing his Muslim critics of
lacking “self-confidence”.
In an aggressive rebuttal of
the criticism heaped in some
quarters on his comments, Erdogan also suggested that the
purported “discovery” of the
Americas by Muslims should be
taught in schools.
“A big responsibility falls on
the shoulders of the national
education ministry and YOK
(higher education board) on
this issue,” Erdogan said at a
ceremony in Ankara.
“If the history of science is
written objectively, it will be
seen that Islamic geography’s
contribution to science is much
more than what’s known,” Erdogan said in televised comments.
Erdogan, a pious Muslim
who has been in power for more
than a decade, stirred up controversy on Saturday when he
Erdogan making a speech during the opening ceremony of a
religious school in Ankara. He has insisted that �very respected
scientists in Turkey and in the world’ supported his claim that the
Muslims discovered the Americas before Christopher Columbus.
claimed the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th
century, nearly three centuries
before Christopher Columbus.
He cited as evidence for
his claim that “Columbus
mentioned the existence of a
mosque on a hill on the Cuban
Yesterday Erdogan insisted
that “very respected scientists
in Turkey and in the world”
supported his claim.
“Some youth of our country
have begun objecting to this
without doing any research
or paying attention to discussions. Not only youths but also
some very senior п¬Ѓgures have
begun disputing it.
“Why? Because they still
do not believe a Muslim can
achieve this ... they do not believe that their ancestors car-
ried the ships over land to the
Golden Horn,” he said, referring
to Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II’s
conquest of Constantinople
(now Istanbul) in 1453. “They
did not believe in the leaders
who closed the Dark Ages and
opened up the New Age. This is
a lack of self-confidence.”
His claim had been mercilessly mocked by some prominent columnists in the Turkish
“Now it should be the turn
to correct other assumptions
misunderstood by the world,”
wrote Mehmet Yilmaz of the
Hurriyet daily with heavy
sarcasm, suggesting that Erdogan’s next idea maybe that
a Muslim, rather than Isaac
Newton, discovered gravity.
Devlet Bahceli, leader of the
opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said yesterday that the controversy was a
political manoeuvre devised by
Erdogan to “cover up his faults”,
including corruption claims
targeting his inner circle.
But pro-government media
supported Erdogan’s claim,
saying that world history for
too long had been based on a
distorted Western interpretation.
“If President Erdogan had
not made the comments on the
Americas’ discovery, a big majority would have been unaware
of the continent’s discovery by
the Muslims because Western
sources wrote that it was Columbus who п¬Ѓrst set foot on
America,” Mehmet Seker wrote
in the Yeni Safak newspaper.
“We had copied the translated
(Western) information into our
History books say that Columbus set foot on the American continent in 1492 as he was
seeking a new maritime route to
Some researchers also believe
Vikings reached America before
the end of the п¬Ѓrst millennium.
A tiny minority of Muslim
scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in
the Americas, although no preColumbian ruin of an Islamic
structure has ever been found.
In a controversial article
published in 1996, historian
Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that
mentions a mosque in Cuba.
But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical
reference to the shape of the
creased, we were not able to
go deep into the surface,” said
research team leader Tilman
Electric and acoustic experiments confirmed the comet was
“not nearly as soft and fluffy as it
was believed to be” underneath a
surface layer of dust.
Despite its imperfect footing,
Philae managed to deploy a drill,
but it was not clear whether any
soil sample had been examined
Yet the team said Philae’s
COSAC gas analyser managed to
“’sniff ’ the atmosphere and detect the first organic molecules”
shortly after landing.
Some astrophysicists theorise
that comets “seeded” our fledgling planet with the beginnings
of life-giving water and organic
molecules, and hoped that analysis of “67P” would prove this.
“Analysis of the spectra and
the identification of the molecules are continuing,” said the
Project manager Stephan
Ulamec said he was confident
Philae would make contact later
“and that we will be able to operate the instruments again” as
the comet moves closer to the
By spring of 2015 (about
March-May in the northern
hemisphere), it is hoped that
Philae will communicate with its
mothership and by summer “it
might be possible that temperatures on the comet will allow
Philae’s battery to be recharged”.
Rosetta will continue orbiting
the comet to receive any signals
from Philae, if it were to wake up
from hibernation.
20% of Germany’s
population has
foreign roots
Nearly one-fifth of Germany’s
population has a foreign
background, a jump of close
to 4% in just a single year, new
government figures showed this
According to 2013 data, 15.9mn
residents in Europe’s largest
economy have a migrant
background – defined by
census takers as those who
had immigrated since 1950,
their descendants, and foreign
Statisticians attributed the
sharp rise – the largest since
Germany began compiling
such data in 2005 – to both an
upsurge in immigration and
higher birthrates among ethnic
minorities than among Germans.
Of those described as having a
migrant background, 6mn were
born in Germany and 10.5mn
were immigrants.
Immigration has become an
explosive political issue in
several European countries, but
Germany’s mainstream parties
have avoided using immigration
as an election issue.
The data showed the biggest
minority backgrounds for those
born in Germany came from
Turkey (12.8%), followed by
Poland (11.4%), Russia (9%) and
Kazakhstan (6.9%).
Many of those with a Russian or
Kazakh background are ethnic
Germans born in the former
Soviet Union who later had a
right of return to Germany and
received immediate citizenship.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
EU leans towards broader Net neutrality rules Berlin is under daily cyber-attack
from other states: top German spy
uropean Union governments are considering less
stringent rules on how Internet service providers manage
traffic on their networks, according to a draft seen by Reuters, a
move that could be welcomed by
Europe’s large telecoms operators.
These so-called Net neutrality rules are part of the European
Commission’s proposed overhaul of Europe’s telecoms industry to help it to compete against
rivals the United States and Asia.
Net neutrality is the principle
that all content providers should
have equal access on networks.
It has become a hot topic in the
United States where President
Barack Obama has said Internet service providers should be
banned from striking paid “fast
lane” deals with content companies.
EU lawmakers voted in April
for strict net neutrality rules
that barred telecoms operators
like Orange and Telefonica from
prioritising some Internet traffic
over others.
But the latest draft of the reform proposal shows that member states are leaning towards a
looser approach which only bars
Internet service providers from
applying traffic management
measures which “block, slow
down, alter, degrade or discriminate against specific content”.
It does not define Internet
neutrality or so-called “specialised services”, which would have
specified the types of content
that operators could prioritise
over others.
Large telecoms companies
have said they want to be allowed
to provide quicker Internet access to bandwidth-hungry services like Google’s YouTube and
The draft text also includes
provisions on roaming charges
paid by consumers when using
their mobile phones abroad.
The Commission and the European Parliament had pushed
for an end to such charges by the
end of next year.
But regulators and member
states are concerned about what
effect an end to roaming charges
would have on domestic rates
and wholesale prices telecoms
operators pay each other when
their customers travel abroad.
The latest text does not specify a date for the introduction
of “roam like at home” where
someone using, say, a British
mobile phone in Italy would pay
the same as if they were still in
But it acknowledges the need
for a specific date to send a positive signal for consumers at a
time of widespread discontent
with Brussels.
Member states will discuss the
text tomorrow and on Friday.
If agreed, the text will go to
ministers when they meet in two
erman government and
business computers are
coming under increasing cyber-attack everyday from
other states’ spy agencies, especially those of Russia and China,
Germany’s domestic intelligence
(BfV) chief said yesterday.
cybersecurity conference in Berlin, Hans
Georg Maassen said that of an
estimated 3,000 daily attacks on
German government systems,
around п¬Ѓve were the handiwork
of intelligence services.
The latter are so sophisticated
that they can easily be overlooked, he added.
“We have seen that there are
ever more frequent attacks by
foreign intelligence agencies on
the German government IT infrastructure,” he said.
These occur most frequently,
Maasen said, before major international meetings such as a G20
conference, where government
advisers might receive a virus email purporting to be from another country’s negotiators.
He described Berlin as the capital of “political espionage”, saying that Germany’s economic,
defence, foreign and arms poli-
Germany, Russia vow to
back Ukraine ceasefire
Yatseniuk with Norway’s Solberg after talks in Kiev.
Russia, but insisted on a format
that includes the US and excludes the separatists.
“We invite the Russian Federation to hold serious negotiations on neutral territory,” Yatseniuk said, according to local
news agencies.
He added that such negotiations should be held in the socalled Geneva format, which includes the US and the European
Union, but does not include
separatist leaders.
He stressed that everything
depends on Russian President
Vladimir Putin.
“If he has the political will to
end this war against Ukraine and
Poroshenko: Russia has not fulfilled a single criteria.
to respect international law, we
are ready to continue talks,” Yatseniuk said after a meeting with
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna
Russia quickly rejected the
Kiev should hold talks with
the insurgents and not with
Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Interfax.
Steinmeier was due to meet
President Vladimir Putin in the
Kremlin later in the day.
Earlier in the day, he conducted talks with Yatseniuk and
President Petro Poroshenko
in Kiev, in an effort to save the
fragile ceasefire.
Ukraine accuses Russia and
the separatists of undermining
the accords, signed in September in the Belarusian capital.
Poroshenko handed Steinmeier a list of violations that he
says were committed by Moscow.
“Russia has not fulfilled a single criteria,” he said.
As examples he named the
sealing of the Russian-Ukrainian border and the withdrawal of
Russian troops.
Meanwhile, Nato Secretary
General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia yesterday of a “serious military build-up” both
inside eastern Ukraine and on
Steinmeier (left) with Lavrov during their meeting in Moscow yesterday.
the Russian side of the border.
“We see the movement of
troops, of equipment, of tanks,
of artillery and also advanced air
defence systems,” Stoltenberg
said ahead of talks with EU defence ministers in Brussels.
He called on Moscow to pull
back its forces and to respect the
Minsk agreements.
“Russia has a choice. Russia
can either be part of a peaceful
negotiated solution or Russia
can continue on a path of isolation,” Stoltenberg said. “The international community calls on
Russia to be part of the solution.”
Moscow vehemently denies
the accusations.
It also denies that it supplied
the anti-aircraft missile which
downed Malaysia Airlines flight
MH17 in eastern Ukraine in July,
killing 298 people, an incident
which sharpened the West’s focus on the unrest.
However, in an interview released on Monday, President
Putin said that Russia would not
allow the Ukrainian military to
defeat the separatists.
Steinmeier also suggested
that Berlin is seeking rapprochement with Moscow on other issues.
“It is time to think beyond
Ukraine. We have to tackle other
global threats,” he said.
As examples he named talks
about Iran’s nuclear disarmament and the fight against the
Islamic State terrorist group.
The German minister’s mission comes after Western leaders and Putin failed to make any
progress toward resolving the
conflict in eastern Ukraine during talks at the recent G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.
German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, who met Putin for two
hours in Brisbane, later gave a
pessimistic account and warned
of growing Russian interference
in other parts of Europe.
The п¬Ѓghting between government troops and pro-Russian
rebels has killed more than
4,000 people since it began in
As the unrest in eastern
Ukraine drags on into the exSoviet state’s harsh winter,
Ukraine’s military said yesterday
that fresh clashes over the past
24 hours between government
forces and rebels killed six of its
The latest deaths came despite the nominal truce that has
halted п¬Ѓghting along much of
the frontline but failed to stop
bombardments at key flashpoints.
As the race to defuse the conflict steps up, the European Union on Monday agreed to blacklist more Kremlin-backed rebels
in Ukraine.
However, it stopped short of
fresh sanctions against Moscow,
saying there was hope of restarting dialogue.
New European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini
said foreign ministers meeting
in Brussels had raised the possibility of her visiting Moscow
to “re-engage in a dialogue” in
search of a solution.
Teachers, doctors struggle on unpaid in eastern Ukraine
By Clement Zampa, AFP
ith Kiev cutting off
their salaries and proMoscow rebels struggling to set up their statelets,
teachers and doctors in eastern Ukraine are left wondering
where their next pay cheque will
come from.
For teacher of English language Alla Rusinkevich, stopping work is simply not an option.
“We are waiting for something but we don’t know what. If
we don’t get any support, maybe
we will die. Maybe someone else
will pay,” she says, sitting on a
school chair in an empty classroom at School Number Nine in
the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.
After 30 years in the job, she
cannot consider leaving.
“Almost everybody is still
here,” she says, her tired face
breaking into a warm smile.
A colleague sitting with her,
New cover
version of
ABBA hit
to raise
funds for
he ceasefire in Ukraine
must be upheld, vowed
Germany and Russia yesterday, despite claims by the
government in Kiev that the
agreement with pro-Russian
separatists is practically dead.
“Even if the main obligations have not been fulfilled, it
would be a huge loss to abandon
(the Minsk protocol),” German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier said after talks with
his Russian counterpart, Sergei
Lavrov, in Moscow.
Steinmeier also said that there
was “no reason for optimism in
the current situation” and that
there is “very hard work” to be
Lavrov said that the Minsk
ceasefire accords were “not
ideal” but that they are the only
concrete plan available.
He reiterated Moscow’s position that the government in Kiev
must begin talks with separatist
Ahead of Steinmeier’s visit to
Moscow, Lavrov said his government hoped “that the �point
of no return’ has not yet been
crossed” in Russia-Europe relations.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said earlier that
Kiev was ready to hold talks with
cies were all targets for hackers,
as well as major п¬Ѓrms for their
cutting-edge high technology.
Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse, a major US and
Nato ally, and many of its manufacturers are industry leaders.
sometimes struggle to protect
their most valuable technology
and products.
Disclosures by former US intelligence contractor Edward
Snowden that Washington had
monitored Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s mobile phone and conducted mass surveillance in Germany caused public outrage last
A doctor treats a patient at the intensive care of Rudnichniz hospital in Donetsk. Facing frequent shelling
and desperate conditions, staff and patients at Donetsk’s Hospital 21 in eastern Ukraine say they have no
choice but to hunker down, stay put and cling to life as best they can.
Yury Kholyavkin, has also had
to dig into his savings in order to
get by.
He claims he has a plan if
things get really bad: “I will join
the rebels, with camouflage and
a Kalashnikov.”
The teachers say that
Ukraine’s cash-strapped government had not paid them for
weeks even before announcing
on Saturday that it was cutting
off state services like schools and
hospitals in the rebel-held east.
The separatists of the selfproclaimed separatist “Peo-
ple’s Republic of Donetsk” gave
Kholyavkin a handout of 3,000
hryvnias (€157, $195), slightly
less than his regular monthly
salary, last month.
But they do not have the resources to cover regular pay for
teachers and doctors which, un-
til now, was Kiev’s responsibility.
“We’re in the process of discussing all that. It’s a difficult
question,” says Yanika Studenikina, a spokeswoman for the
People’s Republic of Donetsk’s
Viktor Kuchkovoy, the rebels’
health minister in Donetsk, concedes that the “fledgling state”
would have “difficulties paying
doctors and medical staff ” for
the moment due to the lack of an
administrative framework.
Most hospital workers in
Donetsk have not been paid for
months. Near the city centre,
doctors at Rudnychna hospital
have been waiting for their salaries since July.
The 15 emergency ward doctors have built up a pot of cash
which any of them can dip into
in case of need, to be paid back
when peace comes.
“The staff work as a matter
of honour,” said the head of the
unit, Dr Andrei Kolesnikov, a
bald, affable man in his 40s.
“You see those nurses?” he
asks, pointing at two young
women who look away shyly.
“They don’t have any money so
they have to walk to work.”
He says the hospital will be
able to keep working for a month
with the medicines currently
He accepts he could work
elsewhere - “in France or in
Yemen”. But he adds: “The captain is always the last to leave the
His boss, who did not want to
give his name, says that around
15 doctors have left the hospital because of the war “to rejoin
Ukraine” but he says he is too old
for that.
Most residents of the rebelheld east do not see the area as
part of Ukraine.
“If you are a doctor, you
should stay here,” he adds, fixing
his eyes on a statue in his office
of Asclepius, the Greek god of
medicine. “But frankly, I have no
idea who is going to pay.”
wedish singer Laleh is
set to perform a hit song
by ABBA in order to raise
funds and awareness as the UN
commemorates the 25th anniversary of the signing of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the
Child, representatives for the
group said in a statement yesterday.
Former ABBA member Bjorn
Ulvaeus is to attend events in
New York tomorrow along with
Laleh, who is to perform her
cover version of Chiquitita,
which ABBA released in 1979.
Since that date, ABBA has donated royalties from the song to
Unicef after the group took part
in a benefit concert in New York
marking the start of the UN Year
of the Child.
Ulvaeus said he believed there
would be “a better world” if girls
and young women “are given
education, are empowered and
“Chiquitita (a nickname that
means little girl in Spanish) is
a symbol for all the girls and
women around the world who
are denied their rightful place,”
he added.
The ABBA Museum in Stockholm hatched the idea to invite
other artists to record new versions of Chiquitita on behalf of
Unicef, museum head Mattias
Hansson said.
ABBA’s former studio, which
was moved to the museum
would be set up for recordings,
he added.
Iranian-born Laleh Pourkarim, 32, whose parents fled to
Sweden via Azerbaijan and Belarus in 1991, produced her own
She hoped it would help raise
funds but also “give a little hope
and encouragement to those
who need it”.
Ex-MP faces trial
over child porn
A German lawmaker who
resigned early this year will stand
trial for allegedly downloading
child pornography onto his
parliamentary work computer, a
court said yesterday.
The trial against Sebastian
Edathy, a former high-flying MP
known for his fight against farright extremists, is due to begin
on February 23, the court in the
northern town of Verden said.
He is accused of seven cases of
downloading images and video
files featuring child pornography
on to his work laptop, it said.
He is also suspected of having
been in possession of a picture
book and a CD deemed by
prosecutors to contain illicit
material featuring minors.
Edathy, a member of the
Social Democrats, partners in
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leftright coalition government, was
charged by prosecutors in July
but the Verden court still had to
decide if the case would go to
Edathy resigned from his
Bundestag seat citing health
reasons in February.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Rome mayor pays €1,000 in traffic fines
ome’s embattled mayor,
Ignazio Marino, said yesterday that he had settled
more than €1,000 ($1,250) in
traffic п¬Ѓnes and dismissed calls
from the opposition to resign
because of the issue.
Marino has been under п¬Ѓre
since it was revealed that his
red Fiat Panda had collected
the penalties because it had
been driven into Rome’s trafficrestricted areas without a valid
permit, which the mayor is normally entitled to have.
It later emerged that Marino’s
MPs okay
taxes on
and ads
have approved new taxes
on soap, alcohol, advertising and supermarkets, the latest in a series of unorthodox levies put forward by controversial
Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The new measures came after a proposed Internet tax on
downloads was shelved last
month following major demonstrations.
The European Commission,
the EU’s executive, has repeatedly criticised Hungary’s special
taxes, saying that they negatively affect growth and warning
that investment has declined in
taxed sectors.
The right-wing Orban, who
took office in 2010, has sought
the special taxes in an effort to
reduce Hungary’s deficit.
The prime minister has imposed levies on the energy, banking, retail and telecom sectors,
often blaming them on Brussels
or on foreign companies making
“extra profit”.
Critics say however that it is
mostly allies of Orban who are
benefiting because their foreign
rivals have to pay more tax, and
that the tax authority often fails
to investigate VAT fraud and
corruption allegations.
The new package raises an
advertising tax that Germany’s
media giant RTL says is discriminatory, and which has already
hurt parent company Bertelsmann’s profits.
The so-called “chips tax” on
unhealthy foodstuff will now be
applicable to alcoholic drinks,
while an environmental fee will
be extended on shampoo, soap
and other products.
A supervision fee, nicknamed
the “Tesco fee” after the British retail chain active in eastern
and central Europe, will be raised
significantly for large, typically
foreign-owned п¬Ѓrms.
The personal income tax remains at a flat rate of 16% and
the value-added tax (VAT) at
27%, which is the highest in the
28-nation EU.
The “chips tax” – nominally
about tackling obesity – was
launched in 2011, a tax on text
messaging and telephone calls
in 2012, and last year a п¬Ѓnancial
transaction levy on paying bills
and taking cash from an automated teller machine (ATM).
Orban’s government is also
planning to impose a new special
tax on tobacco companies that
British American Tobacco’s local unit has already called “discriminatory”.
Yesterday the chairman of supermarket п¬Ѓrm Spar said it will
postpone a significant part of its
planned investments over the
coming years.
The US banned six senior
Hungarian officials including
the head of the tax authority last
month from entering the country over alleged corruption allegations, further souring already
strained ties.
Hungarians also took to
the streets in recent weeks to
demand that corruption be
stamped out, and the protests
against the Internet tax showed
that anger was building, experts
staff was three months’ late in
renewing the one-year permit, but also that the п¬Ѓnes were
waived because, despite that
oversight, the mayoral car was
still eligible for entry into traffic
restricted areas.
“I should not have paid, but
I insisted on paying,” Marino
said in a special city hall meeting where he faced heckling
from the public and right-wing
opposition members, some
of whom were dressed up as
The politician also apologised
for leaving his car in a no-parking zone last week, an offence
not spotted by traffic wardens
but documented by a TV crew.
He insisted that his were minor offences compared to the
scale of the problems facing
Italy’s capital.
The so-called eternal city is
mired in debts and choked in
Its public transport and waste
collection services are close to
There have also been riots in
its suburbs, mainly against immigrants.
“I found it surreal that, for a
week, gossip on traffic п¬Ѓnes was
the main topic for discussion,”
Marino said.
“Let’s concentrate instead
on the things we need to do,
which are a lot, on the changes
made and on the changes to be
made,” he added. “As far as I am
concerned, there are no resignations nor (early) elections in
Last month, an opinion poll
commissioned by his own Democratic Party showed his approval rating to be standing at a
poor 20%, prompting rumours
that his peers were plotting to
oust him in the near future.
Defenders paint Marino as a
well-meaning, but gaffe-prone,
reformer who is struggling to
connect with public opinion,
but also trying to prevail against
local interest groups, in an attempt to introduce better governance standards.
Greek ex-defence minister
sentenced over tax evasion
former Greek defence
minister and his wife were
sentenced by an Athens
court to four years in prison yesterday for tax evasion, the Athens
News Agency reported.
Judges found Yannos Papantoniou, who served in the cabinet
from 2001 to 2003, and his wife,
Roula Kourakou, guilty of making false declarations about their
revenue, real estate properties,
stocks and bank savings to tax
officials in 2009.
Greek public officials, including ministers and government
employees, are obliged to submit
a declaration outlining the actual
amount of their personal wealth
once a year.
A lawyer familiar with the case
told DPA that the court had found
the couple had failed to declare a
total of €2.3mn ($2.8mn) to tax
Tax officials have stepped up
checks on public п¬Ѓgures since
the country signed up for an in-
ternational bailout programme
that called on the government to
crackdown on tax evasion.
The former minister also faces charges involving his wife’s
Swiss bank account which contains €1.3mn.
The account was among a list
of 2,000 Greeks who have large
deposits at the Geneva branch of
In a separate case, Papantoniou and his wife are also being investigated for failing to pay €3mn
worth of taxes between 2000 and
Incoming president may
try to topple Ponta govt
omania’s incoming president Klaus Iohannis said
yesterday that his party
might try to topple Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government
next year, an early sign of the
instability that might follow his
surprise victory.
A national vote is not due until 2016 but Iohannis, speaking
in his capacity as leader of the
centre-right opposition National Liberal Party, said that his
party might look to forge new alliances to unseat Ponta as early
as next year.
Iohannis beat frontrunner
Ponta in the weekend’s presidential election, promising in
his campaign to step up Romania’s fight against corruption
and make it a more attractive
place for foreign investors.
He scored an early victory
yesterday when parliament
bowed to his calls to scrap legislation aimed at keeping politicians out of jail, which was
introduced last year to relieve
pressure on overcrowded prisons but sparked outrage (see accompanying report).
While a Ponta presidency may
have brought stability to one
Iohannis addresses the media
during a news conference in
Bucharest yesterday. He said
that his party might try to
topple Prime Minister Ponta’s
government next year, an early
sign of the instability that might
follow his surprise victory.
of Europe’s poorest countries,
a win for Iohannis means that
executive powers remain split
between rival political camps
and could also pressure Ponta’s
government to bow out.
“We, the Liberal Party, want
to take over power. This will
happen in 2015, or at the 2016
parliamentary election at the
latest,” Iohannis told reporters after a party meeting. “Now
there is an urgent need for the
2015 budget because ... Romanians need to know what is going
The former communist state
of 20mn is emerging from painful budget cuts imposed during
the global slowdown.
Growth rebounded to more
than 3% in the third quarter of
2014, but corruption and tax
evasion are rife. Progress to implement reforms and overhaul a
bloated state sector is mixed.
Political squabbles have often
hampered Romania’s progress in
its 25 years of democracy.
Prime minister since 2012,
Ponta often feuded with the outgoing President Traian Basescu,
which stymied policymaking
and caused a constitutional crisis.
Ponta’s Social Democrats and
his coalition partners still have
a comfortable-looking majority of nearly 60% in parliament.
But Romania has a long history
of defections and Iohannis’ own
party split from the government
in February.
To contain the fallout from
his defeat, Ponta replaced his
foreign minister yesterday for
the second time in just over a
week, after voting problems for
Romanians overseas triggered
huge protests and helped turn
Second Romanian minister resigns in face of election protests
Romania’s chief diplomat Teodor Malescanu resigned
yesterday amid accusations that presidential elections
were intentionally poorly organised for expatriate voters in order to influence the outcome.
Tens of thousands of Romanians living abroad faced
inadequate voting booths and long waits in both
rounds of the election when they arrived to vote in
consulates and embassies across Europe.
Malescanu’s resignation came just eight days after that
of his predecessor, Titus Corlatea, who oversaw the
first round of voting and faced similar complaints.
Both ministers came under fire from the opposition,
who accused them of intentionally botching the vote
to support the Socialist Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s
presidential bid.
Romanian expatriates traditionally vote conservatively.
Despite the alleged rigging, opposition challenger
Klaus Iohannis clinched the presidency in a surprise
On Sunday, long lines of people waited for hours to
cast their ballots.
In Paris, France, and Turin, Italy, police intervened with
teargas to bring the crowd to order.
the tide in Iohannis’ favour (see
Ponta nominated Mihnea Motoc, Romania’s ambassador to
Brussels, to take charge.
Echoing several analysts’ assessments, a note from Nomura
on Monday said that Iohannis’
election was more risky for Romania in the short term.
It heightened the chance of
Melescanu shows a document during a news
conference announcing his resignation.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
said through a spokesman that he encouraged an
investigation into the conduct of the elections.
There are some 4mn Romanians living abroad, mostly
in Italy and Spain.
early elections and complicated
talks for an ongoing aid deal
with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF).
“However, in the medium
and long run, we believe there
is a chance of a stronger credit
story, while the government may
actively tackle corruption and
promote independence of the
judiciary,” it said.
The Social Democrats were
dogged by several high-profile
corruption scandals in the п¬Ѓnal
weeks of Ponta’s presidential
Following his defeat, Ponta
said voters had sent a clear antigraft message and urged his MPs
to reject the amnesty bill, which
was originally proposed by a
member of his party.
Lawmakers scrap amnesty seen helping jailed politicians
scrapped yesterday a controversial amnesty bill
aimed at freeing corrupt politicians from prison, just two days
after a presidential election
marked by outrage over rampant
The nearly unanimous vote –
293 for with one against and one
abstention – followed anti-corruption candidate Klaus Iohan-
nis’s surprise election victory on
The bill, strongly criticised
by foreign governments including the United States, had called
for amnesty for inmates serving
sentences of up to six years for
non-violent crimes.
If it had become law, the legislation would have freed several
former ministers, elected officials and magistrates who were
behind bars after being convicted of corruption.
Iohannis, the mayor of the
mediaeval Transylvanian city of
Dassault accountant tells vote-buying probe
that he �delivered €53mn’ in plastic bags
The accountant of French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault told
judges investigating a vote-buying scandal that he delivered €53mn
($66mn) in plastic bags to his boss over several years, local media
reported yesterday.
The daily Liberation and France Inter radio accessed the transcript
from a judicial hearing last month in which the accountant, Gerard
Limat, said the money was delivered by a Swiss financial services firm
between 1995 and 2012.
Dassault, 89, is accused of operating an extensive system of votebuying that influenced the outcome of elections in Corbeil-Essonnes,
a suburb south of Paris, where he was mayor from 1995 to 2009.
Now a senator, he is also chief executive of Dassault Group which
owns the country’s main right-wing newspaper Le Figaro and holds
a majority stake in Dassault Aviation which makes commercial and
military aircraft, including the Rafale fighter jet.
“It was all in bundles of €100 bills,” Limat told the judges, adding that
the money was wrapped in newspaper and delivered in plastic bags.
Limat, 74, said the deliveries were organised by Cofinor, a firm which
specialises in moving money in and out of Switzerland.
“Cofinor would set a meeting not far from the Arc de Triomphe,” Limat
told the judges.
He said there were 33 such deliveries and they used the code-names
“Romano” and “Gerard” to identify each other in the street.
“I never saw the money as I went straight to the roundabout” of the
Champs-Elysees, where Dassault’s headquarters is located.
“I never asked questions and Serge Dassault never told me anything.
He told me he needed to see me, I understood that he needed cash.”
Dassault is listed by Forbes as France’s fourth richest man with an
estimated net worth of $14.6bn.
The charges relate to three elections in Corbeil in 2008, 2009 and
2010, which were won either by Dassault or his successor and close
associate Jean-Pierre Bechter.
Sibiu, secured 54% of the votes
in Sunday’s poll in the former
communist country after vowing to stamp out corruption.
The vote, in which Iohannis
trounced Prime Minister Victor Ponta, was seen as pivotal
for one of the poorest countries
in Europe that has struggled to
overcome an entrenched culture
of corruption.
On what was dubbed “Black
Tuesday” in December last year,
Ponta’s government passed a series of new laws granting immunity to elected officials.
Romanians suspected the legislation was proposed in order
to free former prime minister
Adrian Nastase, who was sentenced to four years behind bars
in January 2014 after being convicted of corruption.
It was his second graft-related
In June 2012 Nastase was
handed two years in prison for
syphoning off funds totalling
€1.5mn for his 2004 election
campaign. He was released in
March 2013.
Despite progress in reforming
the justice system, many feared
a backslide to graft if Ponta was
elected president.
Although Ponta had vowed
to keep the justice system independent, his frequent accusations that the prosecution
authority, known by its initials
DNA, was biased stirred trouble.
Observers said Iohannis’s appeal to voters was in honesty in
a country sick of government
corruption, with several senior
figures in Ponta’s formerly communist Social Democrats accused of graft.
Ponta: On what was dubbed
�Black Tuesday’ in December
last year, his government
passed a series of new laws
granting immunity to elected
Italy captures mafia initiation rites on film
ecret mafia initiation
rites have been caught on
camera for the п¬Ѓrst time
by Italian police, who arrested
40 suspected gangsters in raids
yesterday across the north of the
The arrests, on charges of
criminal association, illegal
arms sales and extortion, followed a two-year investigation
using wire-taps and hidden
cameras in locations known to
be frequented by mobsters, police said.
“For the first time the swearing-in ceremonies have been
recorded live,” Milan prosecutor
Ilda Boccassini told journalists
at a press conference following raids which saw 37 mafia
suspects landed behind bars
and another three placed under
house arrest.
“For the first time we heard it
from the voice of the mafia,” in-
stead of relying on details from
police informants, she said.
Those arrested are believed to
belong to three clans based near
Milan but affiliated with the
Calabrian �Ndrangheta, an organised crime group made up of
networks of hundreds of family
gangs that are even more feared
and secretive than the Sicilian
Police said the arrests were
fresh proof of the deadly southern group’s expansion into the
rich industrial north of the
Those in handcuffs include
a 17-year-old boy and boss
Giuseppe Larosa, who is known
by the nickname “Peppe the
Cow”, according to Italian media
The video and audio recordings revealed the swearing in
of �Ndrangheta mobsters to an
elite membership known as the
New members swore allegiance “in the silence of the
night and under the light of
the stars and splendour of the
moon” to “safeguard my wise
An unnamed boss leading the
rite in police videos published
on Italian newspaper websites
can be heard telling the new
Santa that they are now expected to be their own executioners should they stray from the
�Ndrangheta’s code.
“From now on it will not be
other men who judge you, you
will judge yourselves,” the man
In what he describes as the
“oath of poison”, he says there
are two alternatives open to
the disloyal: “Either you poison yourselves or you take this
(gun) which shoots. There must
always be a bullet reserved; one
for you.”
Boccassini said the Santa’s
affiliation “is in their DNA and
under their skin and they can
leave the �Ndrangheta either by
collaborating with the state or
through death”.
The name �Ndrangheta comes
from the Greek for courage or
Its tight clan structure has
made it famously difficult to
She referred to a conversation wiretapped in July last year,
where boss Michelangelo Chindamo was heard saying that
“the music may change but the
rest remains ... we can never
He warned mobsters with him
that “having a mobile phone in
your pocket ... is like having a
policeman in your pocket” and
cited anti-mafia magistrate
Boccassini and police wiretaps
as exactly the sort of threat the
clans faced.
Notebooks were discovered
during the police raid which
detailed the rites, investigators
Boccassini said the proof
gathered by the police was so
solid that those arrested would
be dealt with under a fast-track
trial procedure which would do
away with preliminary hearings.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
for snap
tells NCP
Police clash
with Haryana
sect leader’s
Raigad, Maharashtra
ighteen days after Devendra Fadnavis became the
Maharashtra chief minister, Nationalist Congress Party
president Sharad Pawar yesterday said early elections could
take place in the state.
He urged his party to immediately start preparations for snap
polls as the “continuance of the
BJP government in the state is in
“If the BJP and Shiv Sena had
joined together, there could have
been stability. That didn’t happen. If the situation continues
like this for six months, it will be
time for fresh elections,” Pawar
told a two-day party conference
at the beach resort Alibaug.
Reacting sharply, Fadnavis
expressed confidence that his
government would survive its
п¬Ѓve-year term.
“Our government will survive
its full п¬Ѓve-year term. There will
be no need for a mid-term election,” Fadnavis said.
To a question, he said talks
with the Shiv Sena were on to
form a coalition government
with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Commenting on Pawar’s assertions, Shiv Sena president
Uddhav Thackeray said his party
would continue to be “a strong
opposition party” in the state.
“Those who were with us for
25 years ditched us. Now, we
are going to only concentrate
on standing solidly behind the
common man,” he said.
Asked if the Sena would join
the BJP government, he said no
decision had been taken and it
would be decided at the appropriate time. Thackeray ticked
off the NCP chief, saying “Pawar
speaks one thing and does exactly the opposite.”
Another Shiv Sena leader,
however, asserted that it “was
there to support the BJP government if required.”
Sena’s Eknath Shinde and party spokesman Sanjay Raut made
it clear that the party would not
hesitate to support the Fadnavis
government if a political crisis
arises. But both leaders said the
п¬Ѓnal decision would be taken by
Predicting snap polls within
four to six months, Pawar said
the NCP remained neutral during the recent vote of confidence
by Fadnavis and said there was
little hope for long-term political stability in the state.
More than 100 injured as
security forces move to
arrest controversial guru
Supporters of Rampal Maharaj throw pieces of bricks and stones towards police during a protest
outside the ashram in Hisar, Haryana yesterday.
undreds of armed supporters of a controversial
guru clashed yesterday
with baton-wielding riot police
who tried to storm his fortified
ashram and arrest him in Haryana, officers said.
Police п¬Ѓred tear gas and water
cannon at devotees of the selfstyled “godman” who have spent
days guarding the sprawling
compound outside Hisar city.
More than 100 officers have
suffered bullet and other injuries
at the compound where supporters of 63-year-old Rampal Maharaj are accused of using women
and children as human shields.
“We had prior information that
they had stones, petrol bombs,
weapons, batons and sticks and
acid pouches,” Director-General
of Police S N Vashisht told reporters in Chandigarh.
“The police tried to break
down the wall of the ashram today because we believe that the
people who are inside are not
really supporters but are being
used as human shields.
“We will not stop until we
catch this criminal,” he added.
He said the authorities have
received several phone calls from
people inside the ashram, saying
they wanted to leave but were
being prevented.
“There are no deaths in the operation. A total of 109 policemen
were injured in the operation, including gunshot injuries to nine
policemen,” Vashisht said.
“Rampal and his supporters
are instigating followers to resist
police. We have asked people to
leave the ashram. People called
from inside and said they wanted
to leave but were being stopped,”
the DGP said.
Maharaj has repeatedly defied
court orders to appear to answer
charges including conspiracy to
murder, inciting mobs and con-
tempt of court, according to reports.
Television footage showed
chaotic scenes, with police
armed with sticks dragging away
supporters, including women,
and bulldozers driving towards
the ashram’s high outer walls.
Devotees described scenes of
panic inside the building, with
some saying they were stopped
from leaving by more senior
supporters as police moved in.
“There are so many people still
inside and the vast majority of
them want to leave. But they are
not being allowed to leave,” one
woman who managed to flee said.
Police have not yet located
Maharaj but have surrounded
the compound, vowing to continue the operation until he was
“We have also given an ultimatum to those holed inside that
they can come out if they want
to, they would be given a safe
passage,” Vashisht said.
Police in recent days have cut
off water and electricity and
blocked roads to prevent deliveries of food to the ashram to
try to flush out the guru and his
Ambulances were seen racing
towards the ashram in the town
of Barwala late Tuesday. Media
were stopped from entering the
The guru’s counsel has cited ill
health as a reason for his failure
to appear three times in the Haryana High Court. But an official
helping with the case accused
him of openly defying the court.
“Baba Rampal has raised a
private army of supporters who
are openly confronting with
the police, the government and
the administration,” said Anupam Gupta, an “amicus curiae”
(friend of the court) - a party
who offers information in a case.
“He has openly proclaimed
that he is above the law and judicial systems,” Gupta told reporters.
“Our guru is a holy man. It is
our duty to protect his life. We
will kill and п¬Ѓght till we die to
save him,” a devotee said.
Supporters also protested
in New Delhi to proclaim their
leader’s innocence, as police
looked on.
“We expect nothing less than
justice for our guru, who is innocent...he is just not someone
who can do any of the things for
which he is charged,” said Nathu
Lal at the protest in the centre of
the capital.
Police accuse Maharaj of ordering his disciples to п¬Ѓre on villagers during clashes in 2006 in
which one person was killed and
scores injured.
India has been rocked by
several scandals involving immensely popular “godmen,” who
claim mystical powers. Last year
one was charged with sexually
assaulting a schoolgirl.
On his website Maharaj, an
engineer by profession, says he
follows the 15th-century mystic
poet Kabir, who has many devotees in India and abroad.
�Godman’ was once an engineer
Controversial sect leader
Rampal Maharaj was once
a junior engineer with the
Haryana government. Until
2000, he was Rampal Singh
Jatin, a dowdy junior engineer
(JE) with the Haryana irrigation
department. After he was
found �careless’ about his
work, Maharaj submitted his
resignation. This was finally
accepted in May 2000 with
effect from May 1995. After
quitting, Maharaj devoted
himself full time to becoming
a godman. Born on September
8, 1951, in Dhanana village near
Gohana town of Haryana’s
Sonipat district, Maharaj came
from a family of farmers,
his official website claims.
Though he got a diploma in
engineering and became a JE,
he was of a religious nature.
Maharaj is popular among a
section of people.
A true champion must be magnanimous too
s the BJP getting powerdrunk? Winning is always a
heady experience and when
you see your chief rival who had
breathed venom during the п¬Ѓght
now down and out, there is the
temptation to squash him underfoot.
In sport the yardstick of a truly
great champion is not just winning, but the magnanimity with
which that act is performed.
Juxtapose John McEnroe and
Roger Federer or Ricky Ponting
and Sachin Tendulkar and you
will know what I mean. They are
all champions alright but with
a difference, something innate,
something in their nature that
sets them apart.
The BJP’s victory in the AprilMay parliamentary elections
was champion material. Narendra Modi was winner by a long
shot. Indians didn’t pay heed to
Sonia Gandhi when she breathed
venom and called him “mauth
ka saudagar” (agent of death).
They knew she was using such
epithets out of frustration. The
Indian voter has grown up. She/
he is not going to fall for such
language any more. Modi was
talking the language they wanted
to hear and so they voted him in.
Ironically, the victory did not
spur Modi to be magnanimous
and thereby become a truly
great champion. He п¬Ѓrst denied
his chief opponent a place in
the sun, as it were, by rejecting
the Congress’ claim to the post
of the leader of the opposition
(LOP). He cited parliamentary
rules. Had he, hand on heart,
asked himself whether it was
within him to overrule those
rules and grant the Congress
its wish, he could have come up
with the right, and magnanimous, answer. Not just editorial
writers of national newspapers
but the average voter too noticed
Modi’s meanness in dealing with
the LOP issue.
Now, after still more victories,
this time in assembly elections,
Modi does not seem to be bothered about democratic niceties and instilling that sense of
cleanliness in governance that
he is so assiduously espousing in
every Indian’s day-to-day life.
The confidence vote in the
Maharashtra assembly last week
is a case in point. The entire nation knew that the BJP was the
winner in the elections. But
it did not have the necessary
majority to be in power and,
therefore, had to have partners
sharing it from within or accept
support from the outside.
Modi could have been magnanimous with the Shiv Sena
by offering it a certain degree of
comfort in the form of ministerial berths. After all, winning 63
seats is no mean achievement
though the Sena had boasted it
would win the majority on its
own. Every party does it before
the polls. And if the Sena were
to be part of the government,
it would have easily taken the
BJP to an unassailable position
from where it could have implemented whatever programmes it
But Modi would not relent.
Delhi Diary
A K B Krishnan
The Shiv Sena, for 25 years its
most trusted ally, is now the
BJP’s main opposition in the assembly. There is talk that the two
will talk again, but no one knows
if anything would come out of it.
The BJP with 121 seats is short
by 24 for a simple majority. Only
the Nationalist Congress Party,
which has 41 members in the assembly, can keep the BJP afloat.
Now every time a vote is taken the NCP will hold the trump
card. Party chief Sharad Pawar is
a wily survivor. He will go along
with the BJP as long as it suits
his interest. And he will certainly
extract his pound of flesh during that joint journey. The voice
vote kept the Devendra Fadnavis
government intact, but only just.
Both the Shiv Sena and Congress
demanded a division of votes,
but the Speaker disallowed it
citing rules, like Modi did on the
national stage. Again, hardly the
sign of a great champion winner.
No one knows whether the
NCP members said “aye” or
“nay” during the voice vote. But
the next time a vote is taken it
would be different. The NCP will
have to come clean on where it
stands. Already Pawar’s nephew
and former deputy chief minister
Ajit Pawar has shifted goalposts.
Party senior and former federal
minister Praful Patel had declared “unconditional” support
to the BJP on the day the election
results were announced. But Ajit
Pawar now says the party’s support will be “issue based,” meaning any time it can pull the plug.
If Modi had directed Fadnavis to
accept the division of votes, the
true NCP would have stood up to
be counted.
Only the other day did Modi
describe the NCP as the �Naturally Corrupt Party.’ Now it is
virtually a prisoner of that party
for its survival even as Sharad
Pawar is laughing all the way
to the bank. The cleanliness
drive can stop short of weeding
out corruption. But Modi must
know that Indians are watching. What they see is not exactly
wholesome democracy in action.
If power is heady, then you better have a proper head on your
shoulders to keep off its bad influence.
Congress faces
leadership crisis
The leadership vacuum in the
Congress Party has never been
so acute throughout its 100-plus
year history. And I don’t mean
just the leadership at the very
top of the party, its president
or vice-president. Emptiness is
also staring at leadership down
the line.
The Congress’ dismal electoral showing coupled with Prime
Minister Modi’s less-than generous attitude meant the party
lost the official recognition for
the leader of the opposition position in the Lok Sabha. The relatively little known Mallikarjun
Kharge will simply function as
“leader of the main opposition
party” in the Lok Sabha which
is, in reality, a lot less than the
official post of the “leader of the
opposition” which carries the
rank of a cabinet minister plus
membership of several important committees.
But just when the party was
getting reconciled to this fact
comes the rude shock that it
might be facing trouble with its
leadership in the Rajya Sabha as
No, there is no cause for concern as far as the post itself staying within the Congress is concerned, but Ghulam Nabi Azad,
the Congress Party’s long-time
leader in the upper house, may
be on his way out come February
2015 if he is not able to п¬Ѓnd a spot
from his home state of Jammu
and Kashmir.
All these years Azad had represented Uttarakhand in the Rajya Sabha, but the party in that
state refused to п¬Ѓeld him for
the only seat this time around
because he happens to be an
�outsider’. The only other state
where Azad could possibly be
accommodated is Kashmir but
there are several obstacles that
he will have to overcome before
making sure of his seat. First, the
Congress should manage to win
enough seats in the state assembly, elections to which are due
to begin on November 25. What
makes the prospects difficult is
the fact that the Congress will be
п¬Ѓghting the elections on its own
and cannot hope to get any support from its ally in government,
the National Conference, which
will also be keen on bringing its
own nominees into the Rajya
Second, even if the Congress
gets the required numbers, the
party high command has to relent to have Azad back in the
reckoning. The buzz is not much
tears were shed within the party
for Azad when he lost his chance
from Uttarakhand. Those who
do not want him back will be active all over again after the J&K
polls. Besides, there are some
serious contenders for nomination who could possibly go on
to become the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. P
Chidambaram’s name is being
mentioned in this context.
Though the 69-year-old
former п¬Ѓnance minister did not
contest the Lok Sabha elections
saying he is out of electoral politics for good, a seat in the Raja
Sabha, especially if he can manage one on a unanimous vote,
could well lure him back into the
thick of things. Some analysts
believe that his recent explosive statement describing the
Armed Forces Special Powers
Act (AFSPA), which has been in
force in the Kashmir Valley since
1990, as an “obnoxious act” is
the beginning of a new front for
Chidambaram - and by extension the Congress Party - in his
comeback trail. There is a lot of
ground support for the repeal
of the law within the Valley. To
have someone who supports this
cause in the Rajya Sabha would
be generally welcomed by the
Chidambaram had been a
senior minister during much of
the past 24 years, including four
years as home minister, since
AFSPA was imposed on J&K but
he never once uttered anything
to even remotely suggest that he
was opposed to the law. For him
to now come up with a statement like this must certainly
hold something that more than
meets the eye.
It is, however, not a bad thing
if Chidambaram could come to
occupy the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. The
Harvard-educated lawyer has
a clear mind and can hold his
own against the likes of Arun
Jaitley and others in the treasury benches. But will the “high
command” see it as an opportunity for the party to bounce
back or will it look at it as conceding space to someone other
than one belonging to the п¬Ѓrst
family? The answer to this may
well decide the future of the
party itself.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Modi, Abbott vow closer
security and trade ties
India and Australia ink
agreements on drug control,
social security and tourism,
as well a new framework on
security co-operation
ndia and Australia vowed
closer defence and security
ties yesterday while stressing
the importance of economic cooperation a day after Canberra
sealed a huge trade pact with fellow Asian superpower China.
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, who was given a rock star
welcome by thousands of rapturous supporters in Sydney on
Monday, described warmer relations as “natural.”
“This is a natural partnership
emerging from our shared values
and interests and strategic maritime locations,” he said in Canberra after inking agreements on
drug control, social security, and
tourism, as well a new framework
on security co-operation.
“Security and defence are important and growing areas of the
new India-Australia partnership
for advancing regional peace and
stability and combating terrorism and transnational crimes,” he
added ahead of addressing parliament.
His comments came a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping
used the same venue to repeatedly pledge that his nation, which
is involved in territorial conflicts
with a handful of neighbours,
would always use peaceful means
in pursuit of its goals.
Modi, in his address to Australia’s parliament, pledged
greater co-operation on regional
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laughs with former Indian cricketers (from left) V V S Laxman, Sunil
Gavaskar and Kapil Dev after they presented Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott with a gift during a
reception at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.
security, issuing a veiled swipe at
“Our region has seen huge
progress on the foundation of
peace and stability but we cannot
take this for granted,” Modi said.
“Even when they have bitter disputes, we should maintain
maritime security. We should
work together on the seas and
collaborate in international forums and we should work for
universal respect for international law and global norms.”
Modi’s trip Down Under - for
the G20 summit in Brisbane and
a state visit - is the п¬Ѓrst by an Indian prime minister in 28 years.
It comes just two months after
Australian Prime Minister Tony
Abbott’s tour of India, during
which the two countries sealed
a long-awaited nuclear energy
Modi, who won India’s biggest electoral victory in three
decades in the April-May polls,
said injecting new momentum
into bilateral trade and business
relations was also of key importance, calling Australia “a vital
He called for Indian businesses
to have easier access to Australian
markets and quicker investment
“India and Australia have a
great economic synergy. There
are huge opportunities for a
partnership in every area we can
think of - agriculture, resources,
energy, п¬Ѓnance, infrastructure,
education and science and technology,” he said.
“The economic climate in India has changed. I believe it will
be a lot easier to convert opportunities into concrete outcomes.”
PM makes fun of host, talks cricket
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
injected some humour into his
address to Australia’s parliament
yesterday, using the term “shirtfront”
to make fun of his host while also
talking cricket.
Modi’s official visit follows on from
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s hosting
of G20 world leaders in Brisbane on
the weekend.
“(As) the third head of the
government you are listening to this
week, I do not know how you are
doing this,” Modi told members of
parliament, who were addressed by
Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday
and Britain’s David Cameron last
“Maybe this is Prime Minister Abbott’s
way of shirtfronting you!”
Abbott made “shirtfront”- which
describes a confrontation in
Australian Rules Football - a global
concept when in October he
threatened to do it to Russian leader
Vladimir Putin at the G20 over the
crisis in Ukraine. In the end, the two
men were all smiles for the cameras.
Modi is the second leader to use the
obscure term in his address, after
Cameron recalled his concern when
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie
Bishop was purposefully heading his
way at a summit in Italy.
“I wondered for a moment whether
I was heading for what I’m told we
now need to call a �shirtfronting’,” he
said, before going on to say she had
SMS alerts help
reduce deaths
from elephants
eetha Thomas owes
her life to a text message. The 38-year-old
tea plantation worker was able
to scramble onto the roof of
her home in Tamil Nadu as a
herd of elephants rampaged
through her village thanks to
an alert on her mobile phone.
The warning was part of an
initiative by the environmental group Nature Conservation
Foundation (NCF) aimed at
reducing the number of deaths
caused by elephants in the
area by alerting communities
to the animals’ presence.
Dozens of people have been
killed by elephants in Valparai,
a tea-growing area surrounded by forest in Tamil Nadu,
where around 70,000 people
live mostly as workers on tea
The area is a key corridor
for elephants migrating from
one section of forest to another, and the local population
has little choice but to coexist
with the large animals.
NCF came up with the SMS
scheme after research found
that 36 of the 41 deaths from
elephant attacks in Valparai
since 1994 could have been
prevented if the victim had received a warning.
The group set up a network
of local people to observe the
elephants and provides regular
updates on their whereabouts,
sending out SMS messages
when they had pinpointed an
elephant’s location.
“In a split second, up to
1,500 people, mostly tea pickers, are informed in English
and Tamil,” said NCF researcher Ganesh Raghunathan.
The NCF also set up red
beacon lights that are activated with a missed call from
a mobile number and can be
seen from far away, reaching
people without mobiles or in
areas where connectivity is
NCF п¬Ѓgures show that average annual deaths from elephants in Valparai have fallen
from three to one since the
scheme was launched in 2012.
Mani Megalai, a tea picker
on an estate on the edge of the
forest, says the warning have
made her feel “much safer”
than she did before.
“Everyone keeps a cell
phone here for safety. Before
we didn’t know where the elephants were,” she said.
“Now that we do, thanks to
the SMS, we feel much safer.”
merely wanted to offer help to fight
Modi’s speech also included a
reference to cricket, saying that both
Australia and India celebrated the
legend of Australian batsman Don
Bradman and the class of India’s
Sachin Tendulkar.
But he noted this relationship broke
down somewhat when Australian
Shane Warne came along, mastering
India’s traditional strength of spin
“I wish you the best for hosting a
great and successful World Cup next
year,” he added, referring to the
one-day tournament being hosted
jointly by Australia and New Zealand
in 2015.
Court rules in
favour of Shell
in tax dispute
he Bombay High Court yesterday ruled in
favour of the Indian unit of Royal Dutch
Shell Plc in a multi-million dollar tax dispute, the latest verdict against the tax department
that has been vigorously pursing claims against
foreign п¬Ѓrms in India.
Shell had challenged the largest ever claim in
an Indian tax case related to transfer pricing - the
value at which companies trade products, services
or assets between units across borders, a regular
part of doing business for a multinational.
A rash of high-value tax claims on foreign п¬Ѓrms
including IBM Corp and Nokia Oyj in the past year
has sparked criticism that overly zealous tax authorities could undermine foreign investment in
In the Shell case, the tax office alleged in February last year that the company’s Indian unit
under-priced shares transferred to the parent by
about $2.5bn, demanding tax on the interest the
Anglo-Dutch oil company would have earned.
It did not disclose the value of the claim.
The High Court favoured Shell on the grounds
that issuance of shares by an Indian company to
its foreign parent was not taxable under the transfer pricing provisions, said Mukesh Butani, a lawyer for Shell India in the case.
The court felt the tax department “clearly exceeded its jurisdiction,” Butani, who is managing
partner of Indian law п¬Ѓrm BMR Legal, said in a
Tax department officials in Mumbai were not
immediately available for a comment on the court
verdict. It was not immediately known if the department would approach a higher court to challenge the verdict.
Shell India welcomed the court decision.
On Monday, Australia sealed a
landmark trade deal with China
that will abolish tariffs in the lucrative resources and most agricultural sectors as Canberra
confronts a painful downturn in
Abbott already has his eye on a
similar outcome with India, flagging the prospect of a pact by the
end of next year.
“By the end of next year we will
have a free trade deal with what
is potentially the world’s largest
market,” Abbott said, adding that
both leaders “will make it happen.”
Abbott added that the bilateral
relationship was ready to move
beyond cricket, a sport in which
they have a long-time rivalry.
“We in Australia tend to associate India with cricket and with
sport,” he said.
“But we can never forget that
India is an intellectual powerhouse, a potential economic
powerhouse,” he said, pointing
to trade being “underdeveloped”
while urging better intelligence
and military co-operation.
“There’s an enthusiasm on
both our parts for more bilateral
and trilateral military exercises
and we hope to see much more of
that in the years ahead,” the Australian leader said.
For his part, Modi said it was
important that any economic
growth did not impact on the environment or climate.
“(We need) energy that does
not cause our glaciers to melt,
clean coal and gas, renewable energy, a fuel for nuclear power, cities that are more sustainable and
liveable,” he said.
“We see Australia as one of our
foremost partners in the region,”
he said.
Man recovering
from Ebola is
in New Delhi
New Delhi
ndia has quarantined a man
who was cured of Ebola in
Liberia but continued to
show traces of the virus in samples of his semen after arriving
in the country, the health ministry said yesterday.
The ministry said in a statement that the Indian national
had been shown to be negative
for Ebola in tests conforming
to World Health Organisation
(WHO) guidelines, but had
been quarantined as a precautionary measure when he arrived at New Delhi airport on
November 10. Later, tests of his
semen detected traces of the
“It is a known fact that, during convalescence from Ebola
Virus Disease, persons continue
to shed virus in bodily fluids for
variable periods,” the ministry
said. “However, presence of virus in his semen samples may
have the possibility of transmitting the disease through sexual
route up to 90 days from time of
clinical cure.”
India has screened thousands
of passengers travelling from
Ebola-hit West Africa in recent
The Indian man carried with
him documents from Liberia
that stated he had been cured.
He will be kept in quarantine until the virus is no longer
present in his body, and will undergo tests over the next 10 days
or so, a senior health ministry
official said.
“It is not an Ebola case, he is
an Ebola-treated patient who
is negative in blood but whose
body fluid is positive. He has
no symptoms,” the official said,
declining to be named because
of the sensitivity of the matter.
Peter Piot, a former WHO
official who was one of the
discoverers of the virus, has
in the past expressed concerns
about the disease spreading to
India. There are nearly 45,000
Indian nationals living in West
“It is a known fact that,
during convalescence
from Ebola Virus Disease,
persons continue to shed
virus in bodily fluids for
variable periods”
Many experts say densely
populated India is not adequately prepared to handle any spread
of the highly infectious haemorrhagic fever among its 1.2bn
people. Government health
services are overburdened and
many people in rural areas
struggle to get access to even basic health services.
Hygiene standards are low,
especially in smaller towns and
villages, and defecating and urinating in the open are common.
The current outbreak of
Ebola is the worst on record. It
has killed at least 5,177 people,
mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia
and Guinea, according to the
latest п¬Ѓgures from the WHO.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Family make plea for
abducted Miss Honduras
Rape, racism claims
rattle Brazil university
Mexican politician to face
trial over missing students
Accused drug boss
appears in US court
Argentina boosts reserves
with China currency swap
The family of the reigning Miss Honduras pleaded
with police to find their teenage daughter, who
was abducted just days before she was set to fly
to London for the Miss World contest. Maria Jose
Alvarado, 19, and sister Sofia Trinidad have not
been heard from since they vanished on Thursday
outside the northern city of Santa Barbara, and all
signs are that the siblings have been kidnapped.
“Days have gone by and we have not heard a thing.
The police have to know something,” said a tearful
Teresa Munoz, their mother. Alvarado had been
set to travel to London on Wednesday for the Miss
World competition. The sisters disappeared after
attending a birthday party for Sofia’s boyfriend.
The medicine faculty of Brazil’s prestigious
University of Sao Paulo (USP) faces allegations of
sexual and racist abuse, it said, as a prosecutor
looked into eight further rape claims. “Two official
complaints have been filed with management one regarding racism, the other sexual abuse,” a
faculty spokesman said, adding the department
was aware of further claims. The Sao Paulo
prosecutor’s office was separately investigating
allegations of harassment and assaults including
eight rape claims. Last week, three students at
USP, Brazil’s top public university, said they had
been raped at parties organised by medicine
students. nr/cw/pst 0047 18112014.
Former Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez,
who has been linked to the disappearance of 43
students in September, will remain in custody
and face a criminal trial, Mexican judicial officials
said. A federal criminal court in the city of Toluca
will try Abarca on organised crime, kidnapping
and murder charges, the Federal Judiciary
Council (CJF) said. The court issued the order
as part of proceedings initiated by a court in
Matamoros, a border city in the northeastern
state of Tamaulipas. Abarca is being held at the
Altiplano federal penitentiary in Mexico state,
which surrounds the Federal District and forms
part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.
Accused Mexican drug lord Alfredo Beltran
Leyva made an initial appearance in a US
court to face charges of shipping cocaine and
methamphetamines to the US, the justice
department said. Beltran Leyva, 43, was
extradited to the US from Mexico on Saturday.
He was indicted in August 2012 for international
narcotics trafficking. Beltran Leyva made an initial
appearance before US magistrate judge Alan Kay
in Washington, the justice department said. Since
the 1990s, the Beltran Leyva Organisation, together
with the Sinaloa Cartel, allegedly directed a drug
transportation network that shipped tonnes of
cocaine and methamphetamines into the US.
Cash-strapped Argentina has added more than
$500mn to its foreign currency reserves by
activating a currency swap agreement with
China, the government said yesterday. It was the
second time since October 30 that Argentina’s
government has drawn on the $11bn currency
swap agreement reached with China in July to
shore up its foreign reserves. The latest tranche
lifted Argentina’s foreign reserves to $28.785bn,
the government said. The first tranche was for
$814mn. The government statement did not
give the exact amount of Monday’s swap, but a
government source said “in total it represents
$506mn for the monetary reserves.”
for Petrobras
Sao Paulo
razil’s President Dilma
Rousseff is politically responsible for a growing
money-laundering and bribery
scandal at state-run oil company
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, although
she was probably not personally
involved enough to justify impeachment, the main opposition
party’s leader in the Senate said.
Aloysio Nunes of the centrist
Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) said in a speech on the
Senate floor that it was unclear
whether Rousseff, who was reelected to a second term on October 26, knew about the alleged
Prosecutors say that Petrobras,
as the company is known, systematically overpaid for assets
and work by contractors and that
the excess funds were then illegally funnelled to political parties, including Rousseff’s own.
“It’s hard (to believe) she
had no information ...
(but) I can’t say she knew
Petrobras has delayed the release of its third-quarter earnings to investigate the allegations, which have caused its
shares to fall.
Rousseff was the chairwoman
of the company’s board from
2003 to 2010, when much of the
graft allegedly took place, but
has denied knowledge of any
crimes. “Could it really be that
she didn’t know, that she wasn’t
able to activate control mechanisms at Petrobras?” Nunes
asked in his speech.
“She had every ... opportunity
to know what was happening ...
but she didn’t. So she’s responsible,” he said. Nunes said that,
while Rousseff had benefited
politically from the corruption
scheme, he would not describe
her as “personally dishonest,”
and he did not accuse her of being
the mastermind of the scheme.
That distinction is consistent
with previous private and public
comments by senior PSDB leaders, who tend to see Rousseff as a
relatively clean п¬Ѓgure in the ruling
Workers’ Party, which they consider otherwise plagued by graft.
Nunes said, therefore, that
at this time the party should
not consider impeaching her
- which he called a “rigorous
process, traumatic, which depends on absolutely unequivocal
proof from a legal point of view.”
Jose Agripino, head of another
large opposition party, made
similar comments in an interview published yesterday, telling
Valor Economico: “It’s hard (to
believe) she had no information
... (but) I can’t say she knew everything.”
Rousseff has said that prosecutors should fully investigate
whether any crimes occurred, and
expressed hope the scandal will
lead to less corruption in Brazil.
Meanwhile, п¬Ѓve people accused in a corruption scandal at
Petrobras have agreed to return
$165mn to the public purse in
plea bargains with prosecutors,
a newspaper reported yesterday.
Globo daily said the п¬Ѓve include Paulo Roberto Costa, a
jailed former Petrobras director
who exposed the massive scope
of the alleged payments to Brazilian politicians, dubbed “Operation Car Wash.”
Globo said Costa has pledged
in writing to return $27mn, most
of which is parked in a Swiss bank
account, the report said, citing
sources close to the investigation.
O Estado de Sao Paulo reported Monday that another
former Petrobras director, Pedro
Barusco, had agreed to pay back
$100mn and co-operate with investigators.
The paper said $20mn Barusco holds in a Swiss bank account
had been blocked.
Commander of the Farc-EP leftist guerrilla delegation to the peace talks with the Colombian government, Rubi Morro, delivers a statement at Convention Palace in Havana yesterday.
Farc rebels admit to
kidnapping general
olombia’s Farc guerrillas yesterday confirmed
that they are holding a
missing general whose kidnapping caused the government to
suspend peace talks aimed at
ending the country’s 50-yearold conflict.
In a day of ping-pong statements underlining the difficulty of holding peace negotiations without a ceasefire on
the ground, Farc negotiators in
Cuba first denied any knowledge of the general’s kidnapping, before Farc fighters in
Colombia said they had in fact
taken him captive.
In a statement datelined from
the Colombian mountains and
published on the Farc website,
In violent Venezuela,
bulletproof everything
enezuela is known for its
obsession with beauty
contests and plastic surgery. Now, the latest fashion rage
is bulletproof clothes and cars to
protect against rampant violent
Miguel Caballero, a Colombian designer known for his
bulletproof clothing, said that
over the past seven months up to
30% of his sales are with people
sporting his style-meets-safety
duds in Venezuela.
The oil-rich country has a
huge gap between rich and poor,
and sadly, it boasts the world’s
second-highest homicide rate.
Costly precautions like protective clothing, armoured cars and
bodyguards used to be the stuff
of presidents and entertainers
like pop star Ricky Martin.
But Venezuela is a violent
mess. Nearly four kidnappings
per week are reported, according
to the government, 65 people a
day die violent deaths, accord-
ing to NGOs, and the obsession
with survival is spreading everywhere.
Caballero says his customers
are Venezuelan businessmen and
politicians but also foreigners
who “just to play it safe, when
they travel to Venezuela, wear
our clothes.”
Yes, the country sits on a sea of
oil. But millions of guns are out
there too, and the homicide rate
stood at 54 per 100,000 inhabitants, surpassed only by Honduras, according to UN п¬Ѓgures.
Aware that demand for his garments in Venezuela was reaching
that of Colombia or Mexico, in
April, Bogota-based Caballero
set up a local distributor here.
In Caracas, distributor Rodolfo Asensi showed a sample
of the bulletproof wear. It looks
normal. But touch it, and you
can feel it is lined with aramid, a
strong synthetic п¬Ѓbre.
Asensi’s family endured a kidnapping. Since then he needs
a bulletproof jacket or vest for
protection, he said.
So far, he has had many clients
who are store owners, business-
men looking to protect themselves and their bodyguards,
foreigners and even wives looking to protect their husbands and
children. All of them were willing to fork over up to $2,000, depending on the garment. “Here
we work in line with the fears of
the person. Depending on how
afraid you are in your day to day
life, you will decide whether or
not to buy a jacket,” he said.
But wait, there is more, and it
is even more cumbersome. You
can get your car rendered bullet
proof. More than 40 companies
offer this service today, compared to 18 in 2007. A businessman who asked not to be named
paid $40,000 to beef up his car
and his wife’s. “It is a lot of money, but I do it for the safety of my
family,” he said.
He also walks around with a
bodyguard who earns $2,500 a
month. Others prefer to carry
out a risk assessment on the
whole family or business to single out spots vulnerable to criminals, said Franklin Chaparro, a
security consultant and former
senior intelligence official.
the leftist rebels’ Ivan Rios unit
said it had captured General
Ruben Alzate, corporal Jorge
Rodriguez and army adviser
Gloria Urrego, who disappeared
on Sunday in the rural department of Choco.
“Once they were clearly identified, despite wearing civilian
clothes, the three were captured
by our units, on the grounds
that they are enemy military
personnel, travelling in their official capacity, in an area of war
operations,” said the statement.
The guerrillas pledged to “respect (the hostages’) lives and
physical and mental well-being.”
Alzate, who heads an army
task force charged with п¬Ѓghting
rebels in the impoverished Choco
region, is the highest-ranking
officer to be captured by the Farc
in five decades of conflict.
The kidnapping has thrown
the peace process into crisis as
it prepares to mark its two-year
anniversary today.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who has made the peace
talks the centrepiece of his government over п¬Ѓerce opposition
from critics, warned that the
future of the negotiations hung
in the balance.
“The Farc’s commitment is at
stake here,” he said. “How they
decide to act now will determine whether we can continue
moving forward.”
Farc negotiators in Havana,
where the talks were due to
resume on Monday before Santos
suspended them, initially denied
any knowledge of the general’s
whereabouts and said they were
committed to pursuing peace.
“We still don’t have any information on the issue that’s worrying so many people,” negotiator
Telecom rules eased
Pastor Alape told a press conference, criticising the government for pursuing negotiations
in the absence of a ceasefire which Santos has argued would
strengthen the rebels’ hand.
If it were confirmed that Farc
fighters were holding the general, Alape added, “a mechanism
would need to be found there, in
Colombia, to resolve the situation. What the (negotiation team)
could do is facilitate the process.”
Shortly after, Farc п¬Ѓghters
confirmed they were indeed
holding the three hostages, who
had been travelling by boat to
visit a civilian energy project
when they were captured. The
п¬Ѓghters said they would respect
Farc leaders’ orders on what to
do with their captives. “We are
subordinate to whatever decisions our commanders adopt,”
they said. Founded in 1964 in
Chile economy
still �moribund’
A man holds two mobile phones in Havana, Cuba. Cuban
Telecommunications Company announced it will allow
Cubans to register up to three cell phone lines as part of its
policies to make flexible services, according to local media.
the aftermath of a peasant uprising, the Farc is the largest of
the guerrilla groups active in
Colombia, with about 8,000
The conflict, which has at
various times drawn in drug
traffickers and right-wing paramilitaries, has killed more than
220,000 people and caused more
than 5mn to flee their homes.
Santos, who won re-election
in June in a vote widely seen as a
referendum on the peace process, has also announced plans
to enter talks with the secondlargest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).
The negotiations with the
Farc have so far reached deals
on three broad issues: land reform, political participation for
ex-rebels, and п¬Ѓghting the drug
trade that has helped fuel the
hile’s economy quickened its pace of growth
slightly in the third
quarter versus the prior three
months, central bank п¬Ѓgures
showed, but economists said
overall it remains “moribund”
with little sign of an imminent
The economy has been
slowing over the last year,
hampered initially by a fall in
mining activity and further
by cooling consumption, although the central bank has
previously forecast that the
third quarter should be the low
Gross domestic product
grew 0.4% quarter-on-quarter on a seasonally-adjusted
basis, with higher exports contributing to an improvement
on the second quarter’s 0.1%
fall from the п¬Ѓrst quarter.
However, compared with the
same quarter a year ago, thirdquarter growth rose 0.8%, the
weakest performance since the
third quarter of 2009, when
the economy was in recession.
The year-on-year п¬Ѓgure
came in slightly below Reuters
estimates for a 0.9% rise, with
the central bank citing weak
performance across most sectors, with only п¬Ѓshing and utilities showing dynamism.
Domestic demand slid 1.9%
year on year.
“The Chilean economy remains moribund,” said Goldman Sachs economist Tiago
Severo. “At this juncture we do
not identify clear signs suggesting an immediate rebound
in the real business cycle momentum.” Certain factors
should support incipient improvement in coming quarters,
however, said Edward Glossop,
emerging markets economist
at London-based Capital Economics.
“A $500mn public investment programme began in Q4,
and the lagged effects of previous rate cuts should start to
ease some of the pressure on
consumers,” he said. To counteract the slowdown, the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points
over the last year.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Grenade attack kills two
policemen in KP province
Pakistan govt likely
to tighten ECL laws
ADB unveils interim
aid plan for Islamabad
Bill draft being formed
to subvert cyber-crimes
A grenade attacked killed two policemen and
wounded another one in Pakistan’s restive
northwest yesterday, police said. The incident
happened in the Shabqadar area of Charsadda
district, 30km north of Peshawar, the capital of
the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
province. “Two men riding a motorbike threw
a hand grenade on a police vehicle patrolling
the area, killing two policemen and wounding
another one,” district police chief Shafiullah
Khan said. He said one of the policemen died
on the spot and the second in hospital. Another
local police official Asghar Khan also confirmed
the incident.
In a bid to strengthen the state and tighten
border control, the government of Pakistan
has decided to revise laws linked with the exit
control list (ECL) - some 33 years after the Exit
from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance 41981 was
systematically enforced in the country.
The fresh legislation will not only further
enhance the administrative authority of
the executive to prohibit any person from
proceeding abroad but will also review 2010 ECL
Rules, introduced by the previous government.
“We are going to revise existing ECL-related
laws,” a senior officer at the interior ministry said
While the Asian Development Bank is yet to
finalise its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for
Pakistan for 2014-18, it has announced an interim
plan for six sectors to which its assistance will
continue. Energy and transport; agriculture and
natural resources; rural development; water
supply and other urban infrastructure and
services; finance; and public sector management
have been identified as the areas to which the
ADB assistance will continue. The interim CPS
supplements the Country Operations Business
Plan to extend the validity of the CPS covering
the 2009-13 period until its endorsement for
2015-19, according to the strategy document.
Acknowledging that there is no law in the
country to curb cyber-crimes and terror
funding, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar expressed
confidence yesterday that digitising the financial
sector would help trace money laundering and
financing of terrorism. A draft bill for controlling
cyber-crime and terrorism funding, he said,
was in final stages and would be presented
before parliament in a couple of months for
approval. Dar was addressing an international
conference on “Innovations in digital finance
for financial inclusion” organised by the State
Bank in cooperation with the UK Department for
International Development.
Suicide blast
kills guards
at compound
Taliban insurgents claimed
responsibility for the truck
bombing at an international
compound in Kabul; Initial
reports said two guards were
Taliban suicide truck
bomb struck at the entrance of a foreign-run
compound in Kabul yesterday,
killing two Afghan guards and
highlighting the security challenges facing the country as Nato
forces depart.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the early-morning blast, which shook windows
across the Afghan capital and
sent a plume of smoke into the
sky over the east of the city.
After the initial explosion,
two other militants were shot
dead as they tried to storm the
compound, which is run by the
Dubai-based Hart security company.
“It was a bomb in a small truck
at the gate of a foreign base. Initial reports show two guards
killed, several wounded,” Najib
Danish, deputy spokesman for
the interior ministry, said.
“The guards were Afghan.
Two other attackers tried to enter the base and were killed by
Kabul police chief Zahir Zahir
said the attackers drove a truck
carrying sand and stone up to
the compound gate, claiming
they were delivering construction material.
He said one foreign national
was wounded but gave no further details.
A spokeswoman for Hart International confirmed its compound had been hit and that two
of its Afghan guards were killed.
killed, and none were seriously
injured but we are checking for
further details,” she said.
Hart, which is headed by
British former soldier Richard
Westbury, is one of scores of
security contractors working in
Afghanistan, providing services
such as protecting embassy staff
and overseeing infrastructure
Afghan vice-president Abdul
Rashid Dostum arrived at the
scene shortly after the blast.
“This is not a face-to-face
war, it is an intelligence war,” he
told reporters.
“We all know they (the Taliban) have influence over some
traitors... but we will п¬Ѓnd them
and they will be brought to justice.”
A spokesman for the Taliban
said via a recognised Twitter account that the attack had targeted
a foreign forces’ intelligence base.
Later yesterday a bomb attached under a police vehicle
exploded at a buzkashi game in
the northeastern province of
Baghlan, injuring about 20 spectators.
Crowds watching buzkashi, a
traditional horseback sport, have
been targeted before, including
last year when eight people were
killed in a blast.
On Sunday lawmaker Shukria
Barakzai escaped a suicide explosion in Kabul as she drove in
a convoy near parliament. Three
civilians died in that attack.
Kabul has been hit by regular
suicide attacks over recent years,
often against US-led military
forces who have been п¬Ѓghting
Taliban insurgents since 2001.
The Nato force is ending its
war next month and pulling out,
though about 12,500 troops will
remain to support the Afghan
army and police now responsible
for security nationwide.
Pakistani stockbrokers monitor share prices
during a trading session at the Karachi Stock
Exchange (KSE) yesterday, The benchmark
KSE-100 index closed at 32006.40, with increase
of 303.61 points at end of the day.
Malala urges children
to п¬Ѓght for education
akistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai,
the youngest-ever Nobel
Peace Prize winner, urged children in her homeland yesterday
to stand up for their right to go
to school.
Malala survived a Taliban assassination attempt in her native northwest Pakistan two
years ago and has gone on to
champion children’s rights.
The 17-year-old now lives
with her family in Britain,
where she went for treatment
after militants shot her in the
Speaking via video link, she
addressed a thousand schoolchildren at a special event to
celebrate her Nobel prize held in
the main northwestern city of
“I want to see every girl getting her due respect and we
need to raise our voice for it,
we need to raise our voice for
women’s rights, especially for
the education of children, and
the children should stand and
struggle for their future,” she
“The nation should help children getting their rights instead
of being a hurdle in their struggle.”
Malala also called for greater
respect for women in what is a
deeply conservative, patriarchal society.
Students perform as they congratulate Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, in Peshawar,
Pakistan, yesterday.
“In a country where a female has served as prime minister, where women are serving
as doctors and engineers, we
should look towards them as
role models,” she said.
While Malala has been
hailed around the world for
standing up for girls’ rights to
education, the response to her
in Pakistan has not been completely positive, with some
painting her as a “Western
agent” on a mission to shame
her country.
Earlier this month an association of private schools in Pakistan held an “I am not Malala”
day, condemning the young
Nobel laureate for what it called
her support for controversial
novelist Salman Rushdie.
Yesterday’s event was organised by the Rahid Shaheed
Foundation, a charity organisation founded after the only
son of former provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar
Hussain was gunned down by
Hussain lashed out at the
current provincial government,
led by former cricketer Imran
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaaf party, for not organising
any event to mark Malala’s Nobel achievement.
“The KPK government did
not hold any event to mark
achievement of Malala because
they have sympathies for terrorists, because terrorists are
standing behind them and they
don’t want to upset the terrorists”, he said.
More Afghans scared for their safety: survey
Afghan security officials secure the scene of a suicide bomb blast at a foriegn logistic compound in Kabul
he number of Afghans
fearing for their safety is
up this year, according to
a survey released yesterday, as
international troops are п¬Ѓnalising their withdrawal from combat roles.
Two-thirds of Afghans now
say they live in fear, up from
59% last year, and 48% in 2012,
according to the annual Survey
of the Afghan People conducted
by The Asia Foundation.
The provinces reporting the
highest levels of fear for personal safety were Faryab in the
central north, at 92.1%, Wardak
just west of Kabul on 89.2%,
Farah, with 87.5%, in the west
of the country, and Kunduz,
north of Kabul, which reported
87.5%. The central province of
Bamiyan has one of the lowest
The number of people saying the country is moving in the
wrong direction due to insecurity increased sharply from 24%
to 38% this year.
Around one in three Afghans
said they have some sympathy
for the Taliban and other armed
opposition groups, slightly
down from last year.
Confidence in public institutions held at previous levels,
with 47% expressing confidence in government ministers,
and 51% in the parliament.
The popularity of the powerful religious leaders increased
from 65% last year to 70.
For the п¬Ѓrst time, more respondents - 46.1% - said
government positions should
be mostly for men, than the
number who said they should
be apportioned equally, which
came to 42.1%.
“Despite the tremendous
gains for women since 2001,
Afghan women today continue
to face significant challenges,”
said Najla Ayubi, The Asia
Foundation’s deputy country
representative in Afghanistan.
Musharraf warns of proxy war with India in Afghanistan
he departure of Nato
combat forces from Afghanistan could push India and Pakistan towards a proxy
war in the troubled nation, Pakistan’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf warned in
an interview with AFP.
As Pakistan’s ruler, Musharraf was a key US ally in its “war
on terror”, but he now lives under
tight security in his Karachi home,
facing Taliban death threats and
a series of criminal cases dating
back to his near decade-long rule
that ended in 2008.
The 71-year-old — who seized
power in a bloodless coup in
1999 – praised new Afghan
President Ashraf Ghani, who
made his п¬Ѓrst official trip to Pakistan last week to try to reset
fractious relations.
Pakistan’s support is seen as
crucial to Afghan peace as USled forces pull out by the end of
this year after 13 years battling
the Taliban.
But the former strongman
said calming tension between
India and Pakistan — running
high at the moment after some
of the worst cross-border п¬Ѓring
in years — is key to peace in Afghanistan.
“The danger for Pakistan is...
the Indian influence in Afghanistan,” he said at his house in Karachi.
“That is another danger for
the whole region and for Pakistan because Indian involvement there has an anti-Pakistan
connotation. They (India) want
to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan.”
Nuclear-armed neighbours
India and Pakistan — bitter and
sometimes bloody rivals since
gaining independence from
Britain in 1947 – have long accused each other of using proxy
forces to try to gain influence in
While India has tried to gain
traction with the Tajik ethnic group, which dominates in
northern Afghanistan, Pakistan
has sought to use its leverage
with the Pashtuns of the country’s south and east who make up
the majority of the Taliban.
“If Indians are using some
elements of the ethnic entities
in Afghanistan, then Pakistan
will use its own support for
ethnic elements, and our ethnic
elements are certainly Pash-
General Pervez Musharraf gestures during an interview with AFP in Karachi.
tuns,” Musharraf said.
“So we are initiating a proxy
war in Afghanistan. This must
be avoided.”
Musharraf blamed India for
supporting separatist rebels in
Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan via training
camps in southern Afghanistan
— a common accusation in Pakistani military circles.
Former Afghan president Ha-
mid Karzai routinely accused
Pakistan of secretly backing the
Taliban as a hedge against Indian
influence in his country.
Pakistan denies the accusation, though it was one of only
three countries to officially recognise the Afghan Taliban regime, in power from 1996 until
2001 when a US-led invasion
resulted in its overthrow.
Ghani and Pakistani Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged at
the weekend to move on from the
sniping and bitterness of the Karzai years, with the Afghan leader
saying three days of talks had undone 13 years of differences.
But Musharraf warned that
regional rivalries could flourish
again once Nato’s 34,000-strong
combat contingent leaves by the
end of next month.
“When there is an absence of
all these forces, then yes there
would be a vacuum... in that case
there can be more serious repercussion,” he said.
Musharraf said he stands by
his decision to ally Pakistan with
Washington in the aftermath of
the 9/11 attacks.
But he said that the US-led coalition which invaded Afghanistan
to oust the Taliban had “failed to
convert a military victory into a
political victory” when it handed
power to Tajiks and thereby alienated many Pashtuns.
Pakistan’s ambiguous stance
towards its western neighbour
was highlighted in a BBC inter-
view by Sharif’s chief foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz.
Aziz said Pakistan was “not
against the Afghan Taliban —
that is the problem of Afghanistan”, while also calling for them
to take part in talks.
The foreign office quickly issued a clarification saying Aziz
was speaking in a “historical
context” and Pakistan was now
committed to “taking action
against all groups without any
distinction or discrimination”.
Musharraf’s home in a wellheeled Karachi neighbourhood is
decked with photos of him with
world leaders, but his dreams of
a triumphant homecoming last
year were dashed amid allegations of treason and murder.
He came back to Pakistan in
March 2013 after four years of
self-imposed exile to run in the
May general election, vowing to
“save” the country from Taliban
violence and economic ruin.
But he was barred from running in the election, and was then
put under house arrest and hit
with numerous criminal cases —
including treason, the п¬Ѓrst former
army chief to face the charge.
Despite the setbacks, he said
he has no regrets about returning.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Army sees no
specific threat
against Pope
By William B Depasupil
Manila Times
he Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) intelligence community sees
no specific threat against the
life of Pope Francis during his
scheduled п¬Ѓve-day visit to the
country early next year.
AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio
Catapang Jr yesterday said the
absence of a credible and verifiable intelligence information
about the threat on Francis’ life
makes them more concerned
of the faithful who are expected to mob the pontiff than
armed groups.
Catapang’s statement came
despite earlier information
received by the Vatican that
members of the Islamic State
in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were
out to assassinate the Holy Father.
“There’s nothing of that
sort, there’s no threat. Our
concern is he might be
mobbed, the people really like
him very much,” he said.
The AFP chief, however,
stressed that military intelligence units are continuously
monitoring reports relative to
the security of the Pope.
He said they are also looking into reports that ISIS
members are recruiting Filipino militants particularly
those from the Abu Sayyaf
Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF).
Reports of ISIS recruitment and the deployment
of recruits were earlier confirmed by Davao City Mayor
Rodrigo Duterte and Mayor
Joel Maturan of Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan, a known
bailiwick of the ASG.
Pope Francis will visit the
country from January 15-19,
2015. Part of his itinerary is a
scheduled visit to survivors of
super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Leyte.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is in charge of the
overall security for the pontiff ’s five-day visit while the
AFP will provide the necessary
Catapang said he assigned
two dedicated battalion-size
units, the seventh and eighth
AFP contingents to the Golan
Heights, to form part of the
papal security cordon.
The two units will be placed
under the operational control of the PNP.He expressed
belief that the peacekeepers’
exposure to and experience in
international security would
be put to better use during the
Pope’s visit.
Malacanang also yesterday said government security
forces are ready to thwart any
attempt on the life of Pope
US suspect in murder
extradited to Philippines
n American man has
been extradited to the
Philippines to stand
trial for the murder of a retired
British policeman, the Filipino
justice department said yesterday.
Timothy Noah Kaufman is
accused of murdering Joseph
Balmer and his Filipina girlfriend, said Daniel Daganzo,
head of the international operations division of the department’s National Bureau of
Agents from the bureau flew
Kaufman to Manila on Sun-
Major, two
killed in
Philippine army major
and two of his men have
been killed in an ambush
by guerrillas opposed to peace
talks, authorities said yesterday.
The officer and two soldiers
were in civilian clothing and
driving an unmarked pickup
truck when they were waylaid
along a national highway on the
southern island of Mindanao
on Monday, regional military
spokesman Colonel Dickson
Hermoso said.
“They were on a personal trip
when they were halted and shot
at,” Hermoso added.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters gunmen later stole
the victims’ wallets and laptops,
the army spokesman said.
It was not immediately clear
if the rebels attacked the group
because they were army men or
if they were randomly targeted
for their valuables, he added.
A spokesman for the BIFF,
Abu Misry Mama, confirmed
the attack near the town of Datu
Piang, saying the rebels opened
п¬Ѓre because the victims tried to
“evade arrest”.
Hermoso declined to identify
the victims, saying their families have yet to be informed of
their deaths.
day, Daganzo told reporters, a
month after the US justice department approved the Philippine government’s request
that he stand trial in the Philippines.
Balmer, 54, and his 26-yearold girlfriend were found shot
to death in the home of a friend
of the Briton on the northern
city of Angeles in September
2011, police records show.
Witnesses named Kaufman
as among three suspects, Daganzo said.
Philippine authorities arrested a second suspect, a
Filipino, in March last year
while a second American suspect remains unaccounted for,
Daganzo said.
Festive sale
A vendor waits for customers amongst Christmas lanterns known locally as �parol’ on display along a street in Manila yesterday. Parol are star-shaped Christmas lanterns
patterned to resemble the Star of Bethlehem, and are made from bamboo covered with paper. They are displayed in houses, offices, buildings, and streets, and according to
Filipino tradition and beliefs, also represent the victory of light over darkness.
Top officials slammed for
�breach’ of Ebola quarantine
he Philippines’ top health
and military officials were
under п¬Ѓre yesterday for
visiting Filipino UN troops undergoing quarantine after serving in Ebola-ravaged Liberia.
More than 100 soldiers and
police were confined for 21 days
on an island at the mouth of Manila Bay last week, part of measures meant to ensure the Asian
country remained free from the
deadly Ebola virus.
However, armed forces chief
General Gregorio Catapang and
acting health secretary Janette
Garin then apparently violated
the government’s own protocols
with a visit to the island over the
weekend, said Philippine College of Physicians president Anthony Leachon.
“It was a breach of protocol —
quarantine is an enforced isolation during the 21-day incubation period” of the virus, said
Leachon, who leads the country’s 9,000-plus internal medicine specialists.
“It might send the wrong signal,” Leachon said.
Politicians and netizens also
criticised the two officials for
the visit, in which neither wore
protective gear. The general was
shown on television engaging in
elbow bumps with the quarantined peacekeepers.
“Overflowing supply of stupidity in the government,”
tweeted user @leonjalmasCo
“What dorks. Put them on
quarantine,” wrote another
Twitter user called @violettiramisu. President Benigno
Aquino’s spokesman Herminio
Coloma yesterday said the visit
did not violate any World Health
Organisation protocols.
Neither Garin nor the health
department spokesman responded to requests for comment.
“We visited them to check
on their condition as well as to
boost their morale.... It is important to make the point that
people should not be leery of
them,” Garin told local news
agency GMA in an earlier interview. She said protective clothing was unnecessary since the
peacekeepers were not showing
symptoms of the virus.
General Catapang said he visited the island at Garin’s invitation “to show the armed forces
that the soldiers are safe as of
now, and also (assure) the entire
country that there is nothing to
worry about”.
“We did not break any health
protocol,” he told reporters, adding that the quarantine will continue. The nearly year-old epidemic has killed more than 5,000
people and infected about 14,500,
mostly in West Africa.
More than 10mn Filipinos work
abroad, putting the country under
potential threat. As part of its protective measures, anyone coming
from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra
Leone — the countries worst affected with the epidemic —must
undergo quarantine.
Binay �owns units in six condominiums’
By Jefferson Antiporda
Manila Times
ice President Jejomar
Binay owns units in at
least six condominiums
in Makati City (Metro Manila),
all of which are registered under
several “dummies,” former Vice
Mayor Ernesto Mercado has
Mercado said one of these
condo units is the P18mn unit
at The Peak Tower, which, according to him, belongs to Binay
but was registered under Ariel
The camp of Binay immediately denied Mercado’s allegations and pointed to the former
vice mayor as the real owner of
the property.
In fact, according to Cavite
Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s
spokesperson on political affairs, the property is “the same
unit where Racquel Ambrosio,
the former live-in partner of
Mercado and daughter of the
late comedian Babalu, lived.”
“This is also the location of
the shooting incident in which
Mercado was considered by the
police as the prime suspect,”
Remulla said.
“Contrary to the claims made
by Ernesto Mercado that Vice
President Jejomar C Binay is using a dummy to hide his ownership of a condominium unit at
The Peak Tower, what we know
is that Mercado is the real owner
of the unit,” he added.
On April 24, 2002, Ambrosio
died in the condo unit from a
gunshot wound to the stomach.
The gun used in the shooting
Binay: facing allegations of owning units in at least six condominiums in Makati City
was registered under Mercado,
who surrendered the weapon a
day after the incident.
“(Mercado) even admitted
to cleaning the crime scene.
The couple had an altercation
before the incident,” Remulla
He challenged Olivar to
disclose all pieces of property under his name, stressing
that Olivar “is known to be a
dummy of Mercado.” Mercado,
the star witness of the Senate
blue ribbon sub-committee
investigating the allegedly
ill-gotten wealth of the Binay
family, presented to the committee yesterday supposed
evidence that could prove an
“urban legend” about how Binay allegedly demanded con-
dominium units for each one
built in the city.
At the resumption of the
sub-committee investigation
of the allegedly corrupt practices of Binay, Mercado, in
his power point presentation,
identified The Peak Condo,
Le Triomphe Condo, Berjaya
Hotel (formerly known as the
Makati Sunrise Tower), Perla
Compania de Seguros Mansion condotel, Prince Plaza II
Condotel, and Avignon Tower
as among the buildings where
Binay owns residential units.
He, however, admitted that
not a single unit was registered under Binay’s name but
all were in the names of “dummies.”
Mercado said Olivar has
links with Binay because the
former was purportedly the
surveyor of “Hacienda Binay,”
or the vast agri-tourism farm
in Rosario, Batangas, whose
ownership is being claimed
by Sunchamp chairperson
Antonio Tiu.The former vice
mayor even presented during
the hearing a sworn statement
of Olivar denying that he owns
the condo unit “for real.”
As for the units in Le Triomphe Condo and Berjaya Hotel,
Mercado told the Senate panel
that they were registered with
Celso Santiago, an uncle of Binay’s wife Dr Elenita Binay.
The unit at Perla Compania
de Seguros Mansion Condotel,
on the other hand, is registered
under Benjamin Zapanta, a
known contractor in Makati
Prince Plaza II Condotel is
registered with Santos Panlilio while the unit in Avignon
Tower is registered in the name
of his wife Aurora Panlillio.
Mercado said the Panlilios
are among the favourite contractors of the Makati City
government before Hillmarc’s
entered the city.
But Mercado is yet to show
concrete evidence to back
up his claims and Remulla
charged that Mercado only
wove a web of lies.
“Take for example the alleged architectural services
contract he claims was allegedly signed by Mrs Binay and
an architect that (turned) out
to be a forgery. Then there are
the receipts from Tagaytay
Highlands that do not prove
ownership of a log cabin as
Mercado has claimed, a fact
attested to by the Corp that
runs Tagaytay Highlands. We
should also bear in mind that
the ocular inspection of the
Sunchamp property revealed
that Mercado’s claim of the
air-conditioned piggery was
nothing but a hoax,” Remulla
Yesterday’s hearing will
have been the last to be held
by the Senate blue ribbon
sub-committee this year as
the senate shifts its focus to
passage of the proposed 2015
General Appropriations Act
(GAA) and other priority bills
that also need to be passed.
Senate Majority Leader Alan
Peter Cayetano said even if the
chamber will be able to pass
the budget earlier than expected, there are other priority
measures that also need to be
tackled by the senate.
These include the proposed
Bangsamoro Basic Law that
is still being discussed by the
Senate Committees on Local Government and Peace
and Reconciliation; the proposed emergency powers for
President Benigno Aquino in
relation to the looming power
crisis and other priority bills
lined up by the chamber.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Buddhist party quits
Lanka govt in protest
among countries
facing increased
terror risk: study
ri Lanka’s main party
of Buddhist monks announced yesterday it was
quitting President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government in protest
at his failure to loosen his grip on
power before a re-election bid.
The JHU, or National Heritage Party, made the move on
Rajapakse’s 69th birthday and
ahead of presidential elections
widely tipped for January, two
years ahead of schedule.
“This (quitting) is not a challenge from an enemy force,”
JHU leader Omalpe Sobitha told
reporters. “This is a birthday
gift to the president to correct
his ways. This is the advice of
a friend given according to the
teachings of the Buddha.”
Rajapakse came to power in
2005 promising to revert to a
Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. But he secured a
second term in 2010 and rewrote
the constitution, removing the
two-term limit on the top job
and giving himself more powers
over the administration.
The JHU supported Rajapakse’s election in 2005 and
backed his moves to end a decades-long separatist war by
crushing Tamil Tiger rebels in
2009. The JHU had hoped he
would reform the constitution
after winning re-election in
Sobitha said Rajapakse had
failed to ensure the independence of the judiciary and restore
rule of law and end corrup-
Election observers from 35
countries, including India, will
monitor Sri Lanka’s presidential
election expected to be held in
January next year.
“We have arranged 35 foreign
observers to monitor the
upcoming presidential election,”
said an official of the local
election monitoring organisation
Peoples Action for Free and Fair
Elections (PAFFREL).
The 35 observers will come from
India, Bangladesh, Thailand,
Philippines, Nepal, Afghanistan,
Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and
Pakistan, Colombo Page reported
Monday citing PAFFREL official
The foreign monitors will be
in Sri Lanka for two weeks
observing election-related
activities, he said.
In addition to foreign observers,
PAFFREL is planning to deploy
13,000 local observers across
the island nation to monitor the
21 illegal
Twenty-one Bangladeshis
were arrested by Malaysian
authorities while attempting to
sneak into the country, a senior
official in Kuala Lumpur said on
The suspects were arrested late
on Saturday aboard a tugboat
near Kuala Lumpur, according
to Romli Mustafa, a district
operations chief of the Malaysian
Maritime Enforcement Agency.
An Afghan national and the
vessel’s two Indonesian
crew members were also
apprehended in the operation,
Romli said.
Romli said it was the first time
a large number of Bangladeshi
migrants were arrested
attempting to enter illegally into
Initial investigation showed they
had come via Indonesia, he said.
Sri Lanka’s outgoing technology minister, Champika Ranawaka, right, speaking to reporters after tendering his resignation to President Mahinda
Rajapakse as Buddhist monk Athuraliye Ratana looks on during a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
bers too have given up their responsibilities. We will no longer
be subject to the whip of the
UPFA (United People’s Freedom
Alliance) government.”
The JHU threatened action
against Rajapakse earlier this month
unless he moved on reforms.
tion since the military crushed
the rebels.
“I have today given my letter
of resignation to the president,”
JHU legislator and technology
minister Champika Ranawaka
told reporters.
“Our other elected mem-
The JHU has just three seats in
the 225-member parliament, but
the monks are considered influential among the country’s majority Buddhist community.
Government ministers have
said the president will seek election for a third term in Janu-
ary, attempting to secure another mandate before his party’s
popularity falls further.
Rajapakse’s UPFA vote share
plummeted at local elections in
September, suffering its worst
performance since he п¬Ѓrst came
to power nine years ago.
angladesh faces the risk
of a substantial rise in
terrorist activities in the
future, according to a study
by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a media
report said yesterday.
According to the Global
Terror Index, almost 10,000
terrorist attacks were recorded in 2013, representing a 44%
increase over the 2012 п¬Ѓgures,
the IEP said on its website.
These attacks have resulted
in 17,958 deaths, representing a 61% increase over the
previous year’s numbers,
citing the study.
The study also noted that 24
countries experienced more
than 50 deaths in 2013, increasing 60% from 15 deaths
in 2012.
The research also observed
that the world not only witnessed intensified terror last
year, but saw it spreading as well.
The Global Terror Index,
launched by the IEP in 2012,
ranks countries by the impact of terrorist activities,
apart from analysing the economic and social dimensions
associated with terrorism.
The index scores 162 countries, covering 99.6% of the
world’s population, and examines trends from 2000 to
The indicators used include the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, in-
juries and property damage.
The index gave Bangladesh
a score of 5.25 for year 2013,
while strife-torn Iraq, where
6,362 people had died in 2,492
terror attacks last year, tops
the list, with a score of 10.
The international research
body said that Iraq has suffered the most damage on
account of terrorism and
Terrorism in 2013 was dominated by four organisations
- the Islamic State (IS), Boko
Haram, Al Qaeda and Taliban
- collectively responsible for
66% of all fatalities, the IEP
website noted.
On Bangladesh, the research body said that it was
among the countries “not in
conflict, but at a risk of higher
levels of terrorism” because of
“high levels of political terror”
and “low levels of intergroup
Human rights violations,
torture and political imprisonment were covered under
the ambit of political terror,
as measured by the Amnesty International and the US
State Department, said the
report, while defining intergroup cohesion as cooperation
and respect between identity
The other countries which
the report said would see a
heightened risk of terrorism
are Angola, Burundi, Central
African Republic, Ivory Coast,
Ethiopia, Iran, Israel, Mali,
Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka
and Uganda.
Housewives saving Nepal’s newborns
n a wet and windy morning, Nepalese housewife
Bhumisara Upadhyay is
out visiting pregnant women,
on a mission to slash newborn
deaths in the Himalayan nation
with a simple tube of gel.
Upadhyay is among thousands of volunteers at the front
line of a campaign that has dramatically cut neonatal mortality in a country where nearly
two-thirds of babies are born at
Health experts attribute Nepal’s newborn mortality rate to
infections contracted through
the umbilical stump, which is
traditionally coated with a mix
of oil and turmeric after the
cord is cut.
Instead, the volunteers persuade women to use a basic
antiseptic gel which they distribute free of charge under
an initiative launched three
years ago with funding from
the US development agency
Within a year of the launch,
newborn deaths had declined by
a dramatic 27% and organisers
now plan to extend it nationwide over the next three years.
“When I had my own children
20-25 years ago, babies would
just die overnight, no one understood why... it was like liv-
ing in a graveyard,” Upadhyay,
42, said in her home village of
Badalamji, perched on a ridge in
the remote midwest.
“We used to say it was good to
have lots of babies, because half
would die before they learnt to
Married before puberty to a
man 22 years her senior, Upadhyay was just 17 when she gave
birth to her п¬Ѓrst child after enduring eight days of labour.
Upadhyay’s baby girl survived, but many others are not
as lucky.
“People use dirty sickles to cut the cord and apply
cowdung, turmeric, oil to the
stump,” said Rambha Sharma,
matron of Kohalpur Teaching
Hospital in mid-western Nepal,
which pioneered the use of the
antiseptic chlorhexidine gel on
“Babies end up with lifethreatening infections like neonatal tetanus thanks to these
traditional practices,” Sharma
A widely used disinfectant
in developed countries, chlorhexidine is the main ingredient in the gel which is currently
distributed for free across 47 of
Nepal’s 75 districts.
The gel, which only needs to
be applied once to the stump,
binds to the skin and dries in
“The key thing is to apply it
soon after birth, so it stays on
Female community health volunteer (FCHV) Bhumishara Upadhaya, left, counsels pregnant woman
Maysara Hamal in her home at Barlamgi in the Dailekh district, some 600km west of Kathmandu.
the skin for the п¬Ѓrst 24 hours and
protects babies when they are
most vulnerable to infection,”
Sharma said.
It sounds like a simple solution. But overturning traditional practices has been a major
Leela Khanal of US non-profit
John Snow, Inc, which runs the
programme, said many in Ne-
pal’s Muslim minority initially
refused to use the gel, fearing it
was a ploy to induce infertility
among their young.
“It took us months to convince them that it would protect, not harm their children,”
Khanal said.
surrounding childbirth among
some high-caste Hindu com-
Lanka’s iconic hotel doorman dies at 94
ri Lanka’s oldest hotel doorman at the
venerable Galle Face
Hotel, K Chattu Kuttan,
died yesterday after a brief
Kuttan, who worked at
the hotel for 72 years from
the colonial era through Sri
Lanka’s independence and
the dark decades of ethnic conflict, was 94, hotel
managers said.
Kuttan was a п¬Ѓxture of
the 150-year-old Galle
Face Hotel where he was
п¬Ѓrst employed as a waiter
in 1942 before becoming a
doorman 50 years later.
In an interview with AFP
in 2010 when he turned
90, Kuttan recalled many
of the famous icons he had
welcomed during his long
tenure at the hotel’s door,
including the likes of Emperor Hirohito, Richard
Nixon, Sir Laurence Olivier
and George Bernard Shaw.
Kuttan had also served
п¬Ѓgures such as Lord
Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Galle Face Hotel employees observed a moment’s silence in honour of
known for his wide smile
and remarkable ability to
recognise repeat guests to
the hotel, one of the oldest
in Sri Lanka.
His distinctive whitecropped hair, handlebar
moustache, white-brass
buttoned coat, sarong
and ever-expanding collection of colourful souvenir badges from dozens of countries made
him a popular photo
opportunity for guests.
“He was an essential
part of the Galle Face Hotel’s culture and value system,” Galle Face chairman
Sanjeev Gardiner said.
Kottarapattu Chattu Kuttan had been
a poster boy of the 150-year-old Galle
Face Hotel where had been employed
since 1942.
munities were another hurdle.
Each of the four times Upadhyay gave birth, she and the
newborn were confined to
an outhouse for 11 days until a priest arrived to “purify”
mother and child.
“No one was allowed to
touch me because of the taboo.
I washed my own clothes, I had
to eat from separate utensils, do
everything for the baby myself,”
she said.
Every morning, thousands of
housewives like Upadhyay walk
for hours, braving rain, extreme
temperatures and the threat
of landslides to visit pregnant
women scattered across Nepal’s
steep slopes.
The volunteers are community health workers, a network the
government established in 1988
to promote family planning.
They teach pregnant women
how to care for newborns, and
hand out tubes of the gel so
mothers can apply it themselves.
Sometimes they are forced to
turn back if no one is home.
Today, however, Upadhyay is
in luck as she meets 20-year-old
Mahisara Hamal, eight months
pregnant with her п¬Ѓrst child.
She pulls a baby doll from her
bag and shows the school dropout how to apply the gel before
dropping off a sealed sample.
It is a painstaking process, going from home to home, but one
that is paying off, and Hamal
cautiously agrees to use the
“Back home in my parents’
village, many people still use
turmeric and oil... it’s what we
have always done,” Hamal says.
Upadhyay nods before making
another pitch.
“I know, I used to do it too, I
didn’t know any better... but you
can avoid our mistakes and do
the right thing for your child.”
Pakistan PM decision
shows distrust: official
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif will bring his own car
to a regional meeting in Nepal
next week, an official said in
Kathmandu yesterday, turning
down an offer to borrow a
bulletproof limousine lent by India.
Pakistan will transport Sharif’s car
hundreds of kilometres to Nepal’s
capital in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Leaders from eight nations meet
for two days from November 26
for the South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (Saarc).
Mistrust between nuclear-armed
India and Pakistan, the two
largest members of Saarc, have
overshadowed the forum that was
formed in 1985 to help develop
the world’s least economically
integrated region.
“We have made arrangements
for vehicles for all leaders for the
summit,” Khaga Nath Adhikari,
a spokesman for Nepal’s foreign
ministry said. “If anyone wants to
bring his or her own car, we have
no objection.”
Nepal has rented six bullet-proof cars
from India for the visiting leaders.
Shankar Sharma, a former envoy,
said the decision showed distrust
between India and Pakistan.
“They (Pakistan) may have their
own suspicion about using the car
brought from India,” Sharma said.
Adhikari said Indian PM Narendra
Modi would also bring his own car.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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Doha, Qatar
[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
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Fax 44350474
Service tax on NRI
remittance fee fails
to see total picture
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led federal government
of India has quietly decided to impose a service tax on
foreign remittance fees to India at the rate of 12.36%,
which would weigh on the $71bn annual inflows to
the largest receiving nation. But even more than one
month after the circular was issued by India’s Central
Board of Excise and Customs (CBES), there is no dearth
of confusion and uncertainty on how the move will
affect an estimated 30mn Indians currently working
The CBES, India’s apex indirect taxes body, has said
no service tax will be payable on the amount of foreign
currency remitted to India. However, an Indian bank or
other entity acting as an agent to the money transfer
will be liable to a levy on its commission.
Let’s see how the new tax will pan out for nonresident Indians (NRIs). Exchange market players say
the service tax, on the face of it, will translate into
a marginal hike in remittance charges. For example,
when an expat remits money from Qatar, the exchange
house charges a QR15 fee of which the receiving bank in
India gets a portion estimated at Rs100. The service tax
at 12.36% will translate into Rs12.36.
Who ill bear the extra
burden? Signs are
that it will ultimately
fall on the remitters.
“Depending on the
scenario, we expect
most exchanges to pass
on the burden to their
customers,” according
to Osama al-Rahma, chairman of the Foreign Exchange
Remittances Group, a grouping of over 60 money
exchange houses in the UAE.
But here are the larger issues.
The latest move to impose additional burden on
NRIs contravene the stated policy of the Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) that foreign remittances are export
earnings. NRI remittances account for 26.5% of
total export earnings of India, according to the RBI
“The government gives cash incentives and benefits to
companies for bringing foreign exchange to India. When
it comes to NRIs, no incentives, no benefits,” says Sachin
Menon, chief operating officer of tax and regulatory
services and national head of indirect tax at KPMG.
The previous Indian government proposed to
impose a service tax on remittances in 2012, but strong
opposition from the states Kerala, Goa and Punjab
forced the government to withdraw the move. NRI
remittances account 35%, 21%, 13% respectively of the
net domestic product of these states.
India also backtracked in 2012 on a proposal in the
Direct Tax Code Bill requiring NRIs to pay taxes on
their global income if they stay in their home country
for more than 60 days in a п¬Ѓnancial year.
The remittance service tax, for sure, may not drive NRIs
to a doomsday crisis. Suggestions that the new levy might
make some of them resort to illegal remittance channels
seem a little far-fetched too, as of now.
It is, however, unfair to regard the 30mn NRIs and an
estimated 180mn dependent on them as a monolithic
segment. According to the World Bank, 95% of
remittances are used by the families of NRIs for their
upkeep. And an estimated 80% of Indian expatriates
in the Gulf are low-paid workers, accounting for most
of the remittances from the Gulf to India, estimated at
50% of the $71bn India received in 2013.
NRIs deserve better treatment.
European Commission
must regain its leadership
Juncker’s Commission
risks losing its authority
from the start if the rules
can be bent or broken to
accommodate the larger
member states’ domestic
political priorities
By Daniel Gros
he new European Commission headed by Jean-Claude
Juncker is off to a rocky start.
But one would not know it
from reading the news headlines.
As Sherlock Holmes understood, a
dog that does not bark in the nighttime usually goes unnoticed. In
Europe’s case, the European Union’s fiscal rules are at issue, and the
Commission – in principle the EU’s
watchdog – should bark loudly when
they are flouted.
Last month, howls seemed inevitable after two large EU countries,
Italy and France, submitted budget
plans for 2015 that clearly violated
their governments’ vows of continued
At п¬Ѓrst, the Commission dutifully
rejected the two budgets as incompatible with the rules of the EU’s Stability
and Growth Pact (SGP).
But then something happened that
was as “curious” as in Arthur Conan
Doyle’s story.
Within days, both countries offered
mini-adjustments to their budgets,
worth about 0.2% of GDP, and their
п¬Ѓnance ministers wrote to the Com-
mission that their budgets should now
be approved.
The Commission did not react,
leaving French and Italian leaders to
claim that they, not Brussels bureaucrats, had the last word.
In fact, the latest forecast reflects
an even worse outcome for France
and Italy this year than originally
promised, with France’s deficit set to
increase slightly for 2015 and Italy’s
cyclically adjusted deficit expected to
deteriorate. The Stability and Growth
Pact prescribes an annual improvement of at least 0.5 % of GDP.
Pandering to
populists may be
attractive in terms of
short-term electoral
The new Commission thus risks
losing its authority from the very start
of its mandate. Whether it does is a
crucial question, because maintaining
a high degree of credibility is essential to economic policymaking in the
To see why, it is worth recalling that
the SGP’s original rules were judged
“stupid” by one former Commission
president (Romano Prodi), because the
single-minded pursuit of a deficit below 3 % of GDP could be inappropriate
during recessions.
That argument was accepted, and
the SGP was supposedly rendered
more “intelligent” by, for example,
permitting budget deficits to be ad-
justed for the economic cycle, adding
medium-term objectives for expenditure, and introducing escape clauses.
But the new rules obviously
require a strong institution to interpret them, and whose judgment
is accepted by everybody. Though
checking whether a budget is below
the SGP’s ceiling of 3% of GDP may
be a straightforward matter, there
can be reasonable disagreement
about whether the business-cycle
adjustment should be estimated at
0.5% or 0.8% of GDP, or whether a
country is adhering to its mediumterm expenditure objective.
The Commission is supposed to
have the last word, thereby ensuring
the rules’ credibility and consistency – and it seems to have lost this
п¬Ѓght in the п¬Ѓrst round. One could, of
course, argue that the SGP should be
scrapped, because austerity makes
no sense when the eurozone faces the
risk of deflation. But the Commission,
not п¬Ѓscally louche member countries,
should be the one to decide that.
The other problem for Europe is a
dog that does bark, but for no reason.
This is the case of the United Kingdom, which has been asked to pay
an additional contribution to the EU
budget of about €2bn ($2.5bn, which
amounts to a rounding error of the
UK’s own budget).
The reason for this additional levy is
that a few weeks ago the UK’s Office for
National Statistics announced, proudly,
that it had discovered that the country’s
gross national income (GNI) had been
much higher than previously assumed,
not only in 2013, but also in all previous
years. Including the revisions for the
2002-2012 period, the difference comes
to about ВЈ350bn ($560bn).
Because every EU member state is
obliged to contribute about 1% of its
GNI to the Union’s budget, the UK’s
data revision had to lead to a back
payment of billions of euros. But British Prime Minister David Cameron’s
government has declared that it does
not intend to pay money that “the European Commission was not expecting
and does not need”.
These two cases – the dog that
should have barked but did not, and
the dog that barked for no reason
– threaten the EU’s fundamental
workings, which are based on a clear
rulebook enforced vigorously by a
strong Commission.
Juncker’s Commission risks losing
its authority from the start if the rules
can be bent or broken to accommodate
the larger member states’ domestic
political priorities.
The Commission must regain political and intellectual leadership and
make its choice: either explain why the
SGP rules must be followed even now,
in the face of deflation, or agree with
those who argue that the current environment calls for a п¬Ѓscal stimulus.
It cannot avoid taking sides by insisting publicly on austerity rules but
then acquiescing when member states
break them.
Leaders in member states have to
play their part as well. Pandering to
populists may be attractive in terms
of short-term electoral gains, but the
long-term cost in terms of credibility,
both their own and that of the EU, will
be very high. - Project Syndicate
zDaniel Gros is director of the
Center for European Policy Studies.
“When it comes
to NRIs, no
incentives, no
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European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: the Commission risks losing its authority from the start if the rules can be bent or broken to accommodate the
larger member states’ domestic political priorities.
A rendezvous with a comet
By Mark Hammergren
Newsday/ Tribune News Service
he historic landing of the European Space Agency’s Philae
probe on a comet’s surface
is a stunning achievement
that has rightly generated tremendous
Images from Philae and its mother
ship, Rosetta, reveal Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s bizarre and alien
beauty in detail never before seen
of a comet. Even if Philae proves to
be short-lived, it will always remain
an amazing triumph. But the science of comets is so outside ordinary
experience, and the scales of time and
distance involved so mind-bogglingly
great, that it may be difficult to put
these feats in any comprehensible
First, we must recognise that comets are special. These icy bodies were
among the п¬Ѓrst objects to form in our
solar system 4.6bn years ago. Originating in the cold region of the giant
planets,trillions of comets were flung
away from the sun by those planets
during naturally occurring gravitational “slingshot” manoeuvres.
Those comets that were thrown
almost but not completely out of our
solar system remained exiled in deepfreeze conditions forbns of years.
Given this history, it has long been
thought that comets are treasure
troves of information about our solar
system’s origin. Their icy compositions, primarily frozen water enriched
with complex hydrocarbons, were
likely the source of some of Earth’s
oceans and atmosphere and may have
seeded our planet with the fundamental building blocks of life.
But even the best telescopes have
only seen comets as blurry points of
light, and we have only been able to
make informed guesses as to their
detailed makeup. Even past space
probes like Nasa’s Deep Impact comet
collision or its Stardust sample-return
mission, which brought back microscopic bits of comet dust, have given
us only an incomplete view. This is
why a close-up, prolonged visit is so
But it’s incredibly difficult to rendezvous with comets. Because they fall
toward the sun from great distances,
comets travel very quickly as they pass
through the inner solar system, as fast
as 84,000mph in the case of Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Matching this speed would have
required more fuel than any launch
system could have carried.
Explorers like Philae
may be mechanical,
but they advance
human exploration
Instead, Rosetta was sent on a vast,
looping decadelong journey through our
solar system, making three close passes
by Earth and one past Mars to get successive gravity-assist speed boosts. The
journey was precise, too. After travelling
4bn miles, Rosetta entered orbit around
the 2.5-mile-wide comet in August this
year. These numbers confound rational
analogies: One could say that Rosetta’s
targeting was the equivalent of throwing
a basketball twice the distance to the
moon and hitting nothing but net.
Finally, the wonderful investigations being performed by Rosetta and
Philae are being carried out by robots.
The discoveries are made by humans but the remote explorers are machines.
The tremendous excitement surrounding Philae’s landing, and the
Curiosity Rover on Mars a couple years
ago, show that human explorers are not
required to generate interest in space.
Human missions may make sense
when they support a path forward to
a sustained human presence in space,
but they are required neither for
productive cutting-edge science nor
exciting public relations.
As alien as comets may seem, they
are part of our human origin. Explorers like Philae may be mechanical, but
they advance human exploration.
And these amazing scientific advances, no matter how far they are made
from home, are still expansions of human knowledge that let us better know
who we are and where we came from.
z Mark Hammergren is an
astronomer and director of the
Astro-Science Workshop at the Adler
Planetarium in Chicago.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Argentines dancing their way to weight loss
Whether it’s tango, belly
dancing or the supertrendy zumba - dancing is
Argentina’s hottest health
By Gisele Sousa Dias
Buenos Aires
rom a lazy person’s perspective, humanity is divided into
two categories: those strange
people in love with physical
activities, who keep telling you how
good they feel and how their body
“needs” it, and the rest of us.
The idler has no problem grasping
this clear concept: you need to walk at
least a half-hour a day to lose weight
and not be sedentary, or get off the bus
two stops early or join a gym and then
spend your energy actually going rather
than making feeble excuses not to.
The lethargic person knows this
but does not do it: he or she is always
pressed for time or tired, or bored
just thinking about situps. But - good
news! - something has changed in this
sorry tale.
In Argentina, many gyms are
including dance classes in their
programmes, which has led the
formerly inert not just to come and
dance, but perhaps to their own
disbelief, come back for more.
Dancing is helping them lose weight
and be happy, and for the п¬Ѓrst time
they too are п¬Ѓnding that their body
“needs” it.
It isn’t about learning dance
techniques like in an academy, but
imitating dance movements to be
active. You can now dance Latin
rhythms, hip hop, Arab belly dancing
or tango in more than half the
country’s gyms, according to Mercado
Fitness magazine.
The trend has led Megatlon, a chain of
Children in a zumba class.
gyms, to launch Megafest - a ballroom
dancing class - while instructor Andrea
Bellucci, has created Move It, We Can
All Dance (Muevelo, Todos Podemos
Bailar), a programme in which she says
“I work on the basis of each person’s
temperament and emotions”.
But the most popular dance activity
of the moment is unquestionably
“zumba”: a routine created by three
Colombians who now have trained
instructors in 180 countries, and
which includes such п¬Ѓerce loyalists as
Shakira, J Lo and Rihanna.
“It’s a combination of international
rhythms, it’s easy and intense, and the
instructor can surprise them” with the
choice of music, says Dario Micillo of
Zumba Fitness Argentina.
He says instructors work with a
range of music, including wedding
songs, Frank Sinatra and Palito
Ortega, an Argentine crooner of the
Weather report
No discrimination
at all in treatment
Dear Sir,
This is in response to the complaint
raised in the letter “Staff must show
dedication” by JSD (Gulf Times,
November 4).
To begin with, the Primary Health
Care Corporation (PHCC) would
like to thank all of its customers
and visitors for their active
communication toward achieving
good and developed services.
In reference to JSD’s complaint, we
would like to inform the following:
After investigation, we have found
that the complainant had visited
the dental clinic at the beginning of
October due to pain in one of his teeth.
The doctor on duty diagnosed as well
as treated the case, and prescribed
necessary medication, explaining to
the patient that the tooth was in a
bad condition and it would have to
be removed in the event of the pain
And this was exactly what had
happened: the pain returned, the
patient came back to the health centre,
So who is driving the beat of the
zumba craze? “Women aged between
30 and 50, especially. We have won back
the women who used to do aerobics in
the 1990s. With their children grown
up now, they are looking for something
to do to feel both healthy and cheerful,”
Micillo says.
But can you actually lose weight
while having so much fun? “Dancing
burns between 300 and 500 calories
an hour, equivalent to a brisk walk or
riding a bicycle. If an adult dances an
hour a day and eats 300-500 calories
less a day, she could lose, healthily,
two to three kilos a month,” says
nutritionist Silvio Schraier.
The key to this furor, however, is
also in the fact that “dancing helps
fight stress, because it increases
the influx of endorphins, the
substance that makes us feel well”,
says Schraier, a doctor at the Buenos
Aires Italian Hospital. “In terms of
the heart and breathing, it boosts
oxygenation and blood circulation.
It also reduces arterial pressure and
helps lower cholesterol, triglycerides
and glucose.”
What about the brain? Argentine
neurologist Ignacio Brusco explains
that when you learn a dance, you
activate several zones in your brain:
spacial zones (that let you see space
and feel your body), motor zones
(which improve motor co-ordination
and the part of the brain that
learns processes, like driving), and
emotional zones (activated by the
emotions provoked by the dance and
This is an option with sufficiently
clear benefits to have doctors
sending their patients to do it. “Just
joining is the first advantage,” says
Jorge Franchella, a sports doctor at
the Clinicas Hospital. “When I tell
someone they have to walk every day,
they tell me it’s boring and don’t do it.
If I tell them they have to dance, it’s a
different story.”
Dance instructor Romina Samelnik
says “some do come initially on the
doctor’s orders, but they end up
hooked for other things. They loosen
up here, pretend they’re doing a show,
learn to laugh, even at themselves
and manage to forget all the day’s
problems.”— Worldcrunch/Clarin
Three-day forecast
the doctor on duty confirmed that the
case was clear, there was no need to
make radiography and explained that
any treatment would ease the pain for
a limited period only.
Then the patient asked whether
he could consult another doctor. The
current doctor told him that he could
see another doctor, whether in or
outside the centre.
In this context, Al Wakrah health
centre’s management wishes to
emphasise to all clients and visitors,
whether they are Arabic-speakers
or non-Arabic ones, that it is part of
the ethics of the profession that the
doctors provide service to all patients
irrespective of their nationality or
religion or age. This is one of the
most important rules and standard at
We also wish to emphasise that the
Al Wakrah health centre management
is monitoring and assessing the
quality of its health services on a
continuous basis. Furthermore,
feedback is received both through
surveys or direct to the health
centre management and via people
communicating to the customer
services team “Haayak” at the health
centre. The feedback suggestions
and messages are used to improve
the quality of services provided to
PHCC welcomes all comments
and suggestions of our customers
as contributing in motivating and
developing the current improvement
positive entertainment to community.
I hope Anjuman Farogh-e-Urdu
Adab will hold more such programmes
in different cities next year too.
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Rana Anwar Ali
Al Khor
(e-mail address supplied)
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Communication and PR
department in PHCC
PO Box 26555
Dear Sir,
I would like to congratulate
members of the organising committee
of Anjuman Farogh-e-Urdu
Adab Doha Qatar, for a successful
International Urdu Mushaira 2014,
held last week. It was a hugely
enjoyable gathering.
The credit for its success goes to
Mohamed Atique and his team who
organised the event.
This gathering has proved that a
large number of Urdu lovers reside in
Qatar. Programmes like these provide
Please send us
your letters
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Live issues
Want to succeed? You need systems not goals
By Oliver Burkeman
ot long ago, Scott Adams,
creator of the immensely
successful Dilbert
cartoons, published a
memoir/self-help book entitled How
To Fail At Almost Everything And
Still Win Big. It’s a bit irritating, to
be honest.
Adams writes amusingly about
stumbling through a series of early
jobs in banking and telecoms, despite
being a “totally skill-free” bullshit
artist – but then claims he was fired,
many times, because he hit “the
diversity ceiling”, being too white
and male for his politically correct
The reader can’t help wondering
if the real reason wasn’t that he was
totally skill-free: it’s odd to boast so
jovially about one’s incompetence
at a job, then blame sinister social
forces when you lose it.
Still, I like to imagine I’d spot a
profound insight into human behaviour even if it came from, say, Paul
Nuttall of Ukip, so let me set aside
Adams’ views on political correctness (I suspect he thinks it’s “gone
mad”) and acknowledge that his
book contains one very useful bit
of advice: when you’re trying to get
better at something – a creative skill,
such as cartooning, or a habit, such
as regular exercise – think in terms
of systems, not goals.
As anyone whose employer foists
“performance targets” upon them
already knows, a fixation with goalsetting has many downsides.
But Adams adds one more: when
you approach life as a sequence of
milestones to be achieved, you exist “in a state of near-continuous
Almost all the time, by definition,
you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment
or success. And should you get there,
you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing
that gave you a sense of purpose – so
you’ll formulate a new goal and start
A system, by contrast, is “something you do on a regular basis that
increases your odds of happiness in the long run”, regardless
of immediate outcome. Drawing
one cartoon a day is a system; so
is resolving to take some kind of
exercise daily – rather than setting a goal, like being able to run a
marathon in four hours.
One system that’s currently
popular online goes by the name “No
Zero Days”: the idea is simply not to
let a single day pass without doing
something, however tiny, towards
some important project.
It’s true that this way of living
brings fewer of those moments of
fist-pumping triumph that come
with the achievement of a goal.
Plus it can be hard to tell, on any
given day, whether your system’s
But the payoff is a more predictable supply of regular, smaller happy
moments: while goal people usually
languish in a state of non-accomplishment, Adams notes, systems
people “succeed every time they
apply their systems, in the sense that
they did what they intended to do”.
Above all, focusing on a system
means focusing on what you can
control (your actions) rather than
what you can’t (the endlessly unpredictable external world).
Keep working your system and
you’ll maximise the chances that
success will find you. Live in pursuit
of goals and you’ll feel like a failure
even when you’re succeeding – and
even a fully paid-up member of the
PC brigade like me can see that that’s
just stupid. — Guardian News and
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Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
QA Cargo transports
horses for Doha event
total of 67 world-class
were transported on Qatar Airways Cargo freighters
from LiГЁge, Belgium, to Doha
for the п¬Ѓnal round of the 2014
Longines Global Champions
Tour season, which concluded
on November 15.
The п¬Ѓnal Grand Prix of this
year’s series took place at Al
Shaqab, providing a spectacular
international stage for the crowning of the overall Longines Global
Champions Tour Champion.
The horses, along with approximately 20 tonnes of cargo
and equestrian equipment per
freighter, were transported via
two Boeing 777F charter operations, with an accompanying 11
grooms per freighter to ensure
care and safe-and-secure carriage from LiГЁge to Doha and
back for the horses.
“We take great pride in our
handling capabilities and ensure that all appropriate care is
taken, providing pets and other
transported animals with a п¬Ѓvestar service on the ground and
in the air. Our focus remains
on providing the special attention required during all phases
of transportation to ensure a
smooth, comfortable and restful journey for the animals,” said
Ulrich Ogiermann, chief officer
(cargo) for Qatar Airways.
“All Qatar Airways Cargo staff
attend a number of training
courses in animal handling and
our personalised service, high
quality of operation and excellent record of on-time delivery
make us a prime carrier for the
transportation of live animals.”
Jan Tops, president of the
Longines Global Champions
Tour, said: “The horses had a
first-class flight experience and
I want to thank Qatar Airways
Cargo for its close co-operation
on this important matter. The
welfare and safety of the horses
is our top priority.”
Qatar Airways Cargo transports all kinds of animals in accordance with the International
Air Transport Association Live
Animal Regulations. Unlike pets
such as cats and dogs, horses
cannot be transported in the
lower deck of regular passenger
planes and must be flown on
dedicated freighters.
Prior to the flight, the horses
are loaded into “air stables” or
“horse stalls”, which are special containers that can fit up to
three horses side by side so that
they are safe and secure while on
the aircraft. A typical air stable is
294cm wide and 232cm high.
From January 2012 through
to October 2014, Qatar Airways
Cargo has transported 2,210
horses all around the world.
In July, Qatar Airways Cargo
flew 53 showjumping horses
from Calgary, Canada, to LiГЁge
in Belgium where they trained to
participate in the World Equestrian Games that were held in
Normandy in August.
In March, 79 horses were
transported from LiГЁge to Doha
and back, via two freighters for
the Chi Al Shaqab event.
By utilising the fleet of Boeing
777F and Airbus A330F aircraft,
Qatar Airways Cargo offers cus-
Qatar Airways Cargo staff load specially designed horse stalls onto a Boeing 777F aircraft at Hamad
International Airport.
tomers worldwide an increasing
portfolio of part and full charter
By doing this, Qatar Airways has
operated charters carrying cargo
ranging from horses to outsized
items for the oil and gas industry.
Qatar Airways Cargo completed the transition from a manually handled cargo environment
to a fully automated cargo terminal at Hamad International Airport. The brand-new terminal
contains a 4,200sqm live animal
facility with dedicated stalls for
horses, kennels for pets and separate holding areas for various
live animals.
The facility is equipped with
a veterinary laboratory, washing
bays, a feeding area, hydraulic
work stations, sick bays, a quarantine area and an exercise area.
Expert animal healthcare services are provided on request, 24
hours a day, seven days a week.
World-class showjumping horses ready to be flown back to Liege
with Qatar Airways Cargo after participating in the Longines Global
Champions Tour at Al Shaqab.
Daily service
to Edinburgh
from May 1
atar Airways will operate a daily, direct scheduled service from Doha’s
Hamad International Airport
(HIA) to Edinburgh Airport from
May 1, 2015.
The announcement comes
just six months after the successful launch of the п¬Ѓve times
a week service on the route and
reinforces the airline’s commitment to provide additional frequencies on the route, which it
announced at the launch.
The daily QR027 outbound
service and QR028 inbound
service, operated by a Boeing 787
Dreamliner, will give passengers
greater access to the 145 worldwide destinations served by Qatar Airways through its recently
opened hub, HIA, according to a
The Dreamliner has a twocabin configuration, comprising
22 seats in business class and 232
economy class seats that include
individual 10.5-inch television
screens offering the latest inflight entertainment options
while experiencing the airline’s
award-winning service, the
statement adds.
Travelling from Edinburgh,
the route has this year allowed
enhanced travel times from the
Scottish capital to destinations
around the world with just one
smooth international transfer
through HIA, without the need
for any domestic transfers within the UK.
Qatar Airways Group chief
executive officer Akbar al-Baker
said: “We are pleased to offer
even further choice and flexibility to passengers wishing to
travel to and from Edinburgh.
Offering a daily service to Edinburgh is a clear reflection of the
popularity of this route since its
launch in May this year and the
new daily service will allow Qatar Airways to further support
and promote Scotland’s leisure
and business opportunities to
different markets on our airline’s
global network.”
“We are pleased to
offer even further
choice and flexibility
to passengers
wishing to travel to
and from Edinburgh”
The most popular destinations for those using the Edinburgh-Doha route are predominantly in Asia and Australasia,
with journey times to Melbourne
reduced from approximately 26
hours with two transfers to just
20 hours with one quick international transfer at HIA.
Edinburgh is Qatar Airways’ third destination in the
UK, preceded by London in
1997 and Manchester in 2003.
The airline currently operates
six flights a day from London
Heathrow non-stop to Doha,
including Business One, the
all-business class A319. The
airline also operates 10 flights
per week from Manchester
non-stop to Doha.
The schedule will be as follows: QR 027 departing Doha
at 7.45am and arriving in
Edinburgh at 1pm; and QR
028 departing Edinburgh at
2.30pm and arriving in Doha
at 11.30pm.
CMC members back proposal Work on major
for shades in public areas
drainage lines under
way in many areas
By Ayman Adly
Staff Reporter
ublic areas with concentration of services
and commercial outlets
should be provided with adequate shades for to pedestrians,
a member of Central Municipal
Council (CMC) has suggested.
CMC member Mohamed bin
Saleh al-Khairian stressed the
need for such shades as he said
that even motorists usually
have to park their vehicles away
from their destination due to
lack of adequate parking lots.
He urged Mowasalat to provide proper closed and air-conditioned waiting areas at bus
stops around the country.
“What is seen as just a pole
indicating the bus stop is no
longer acceptable; we need
well-equipped waiting areas
for bus passengers that could
protect them from the excessive
heat and rain. Expatriate workers help us in developing our
country and we should provide
them with such protection,”
al-Khairain stressed.
At the biweekly CMC session
yesterday, members hailed the
CMC members during a biweekly session yesterday.
“We, Qataris, would benefit
from such shaded and protected
areas too, because sometimes,
we have to walk for some 100200m to reach the designated
service or place after parking
the car,” said CMC member Mohamed bin Zafir al-Hajiri.
The suggestion was referred
to CMC services and utilities
committee for further study and
recommendations, in consultation with the concerned parties.
CMC member Mohamed bin
Shaheen al-Atiq submitted a
suggestion that vegetables and
fruits should be only transported through vehicles equipped
with proper cooling systems to
avoid any potential damage be-
cause of hot weather.
CMC member Dr Mohamed
al-Mislmani stressed the need to
upgrade the facilities at the Central Vegetable Market and create
covered and climate controlled
buildings there to provide better
environment for both customers
and the products.
Most CMC members suggested the need for tougher regulations for the transport of food
products, in particular the fragile
ones. The suggestion was also referred to CMC services and utilities committee for further study
and recommendations.
Meanwhile, the CMC issued
recommendations that Qatar Airways should give those Qataris
with impaired hearing a discount
ranging from 50-25% at its trips
as a support for them. Besides,
sign language interpreters should
be provided by the company at its
various services for them.
However, majority of CMC
members suggested that the recommendations should be expanded and include all the Qatari
persons with disabilities. Also,
those people should be given special discounts and fee exception by
the service entities of the country.
To ensure the safety of road users, the council recommended that
the Traffic Department should
exercise stricter control on trucks
being towed by vehicles on the
roads for camping purposes.
ork on eight major
drainage networks is
going on in different
areas across the country, according to the Ashghal Annual
Report 2013-14.
Different types of drainagelinked works are being executed
in such areas as Ain Khalid,
Doha, Rayyan, Al Khor, Al Nassirya and Al Gharaffa.
The refurbishing of sewerage
and pumping stations is taking
place in Ain Khalid (Phase 2),
Doha and Rayyan, and improvement on drainage networks in
the Fish Market is being carried
out now.
Besides the construction of
new pumping stations in some
of the locations in the vicinity of
Doha, upgrading of the existing
stations are also going in different stages of construction, according to the report.
The construction of a new
sewerage plant is also taking
place in Al Nassriya (Phase 2).
New sewerage networks are being laid in Al Khor too, the report
The new contracts are awarded for construction of sewerage
and house connections in Muraikh, flow diversion in Al Wajba and Barzan camps and new
house connections in Al Dhakira
and Al Khor, Doha and Rayyan.
The report also informs that
some of the major works are at
present in the tendering stage.
They include the Inner Doha
sewerage rehabilitation programme, rehabilitation of existing sewers in Greater Doha
area, Muaither (Package 2), flow
diversion in Legtaifiya, Al Gasser, and Onaiza, Al Jelaiah, Al
Tarfa, Al Wajba, New Rayyan,
house connections in Doha and
Al Rayyan and a much larger Industrial Wastage strategy for the
whole country among others.
The report has detailed mention of the QR10.9bn worth ambitious Inner Doha re-sewerage
implementation strategy (Idris),
which was announced more than
two years ago.
The work will be carried out
on a 45-km area besides on the
advanced sewage treatment net-
works and building an effective
conveyance system.
The massive project would
also feature a main pumping
station with a capacity of handling 23 cubic metres of waste/
second in addition to the Doha
South Station for producing up
to 500,000 cubic metres of high
quality treated sewage effluent
Idris is developed to upgrading and expanding the sewage
infrastructure and to accommodate the projected population
growth of an additional one million residents in Doha’s southern
The work will meet the eventual requirement of eliminating the hydraulically overloaded
conditions and doing away with
more than 30 aging pumping
The topographical and geo
technical site investigations
involving geophysical studies,
drilling, sampling and testing
of ground conditions along
the route were completed last
QFBA holds seminar on human capital development
he Qatar Finance and
(QFBA) held a seminar,
�The importance of human
capital development in an organisation’ and its relation to
Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
The seminar was delivered
by Dr AbdulAziz al-Horr,
CEO, Qatar Finance and Business Academy, to a group of
leaders and managers from
national and international organisations in the banking and
п¬Ѓnancial sector in Qatar.
The objective of the seminar was to highlight the significance of integrated training
development programmes for
employees and its role in creating mature, professional and
resourceful staff. The seminar
was also attended by Dr Mohamed al-Emadi, head (sales
and marketing) at Qatar Finance and Business Academy,
and the senior management
staff at the academy.
Al-Horr said: “Human capital development in any company is significant and 80%
of HR managers believe that
the training that is provided
to their employees is very significant and is in fact greater
than can be determined. Human capital development also
allows untrained employees
to gain the required managerial skills, intellectual capital
and technical and professional
skills required to make the
company a strong competitor
in the market.”
According to him, the most
important factors for training
and developing intellectual
capital in institutions include
direct manager co-operation;
senior management cooperation; good system; employee
Al-Horr also discussed
training budgets and presented a comparison between
training budgets locally, regionally and with institutions and companies that have
become models for innovation and competitiveness in
He also discussed the importance of developing the
appropriate solutions to training obstacles in institutions,
including: lack of time; di-
rect department managers;
weak internal systems; senior
management; the absence of
systematic; the budget.
Other illustrations offered were from international
companies who had invested
in employees and witnessed
enormous positive change in a
short span of time.
In addition, the QFBA announced the launch of three
new categories to the 2015
course calendar, including
HR, IT, and sales and marketing. Currently, over half the
programmes offered at QFBA
are internationally certified
courses. The academy is also
running a promotion for programme registrations before
March 2015.
Dr AbdulAziz al-Horr speaking at the seminar.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser joins the graduates of the Qatar Science Leadership Programme at the Annual Research Conference (ARC’14) opening session. PICTURE: A R al-Baker/HHOPL
Sheikha Moza attends ARC’14 opening
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
H Sheikha Moza bint
Nasser, chairperson of
Qatar Foundation, yesterday graced the opening session of the Annual Research
Conference 2014 (ARC’14), organised by the Qatar Foundation
Research and Development (QF
R&D) at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
The opening plenary session
was attended by a number of
ministers, senior officials of QF
R&D, leading scientists and researchers from around the world,
experts and specialists in different п¬Ѓelds and a number specially
invited guests.
ARC’14, held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint
Nasser, supports QF R&D’s mission to build Qatar’s innovation
and technology capacity while
addressing immediate social
needs in the community.
Thirty three graduates of the
Qatar Science Leadership Programme (QSLP) were honoured
during the opening session. The
QSLP programme runs in three
streams of leadership, management and research.
This year’s conference with
the theme �Towards WorldClass Research and Innovation’
examines research priorities
closely aligned to the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS),
including Water Security, Energy
Security, Cyber Security and Integrated Healthcare.
Participating in the opening
plenary panel, Faisal M Alsuwaidi, president, QF R&D, discussed
the future of Qatar’s research
agenda with world-renowned
scientists. He also narrated how
the whole idea of research and
development was conceived and
is being executed in the country.
“Over the past five years, our
business model has focused on
building local infrastructure. We
are fully aware this is not something that can be achieved in the
short term, but is rather a long
term investment – managing
expectations around this is essential. As we move forward, a
successful research model will
depend on building bridges between industry and research,” he
“As Qatar and the international
science and research community
come together, it is our pleasure and privilege to have such
influential expertise in Doha to
partner with us on our mission
towards world-class research
and innovation, to support Qatar’s transition to a sustainable,
knowledge-based economy. ARC
is our flagship event and provides
a uniquely dynamic platform for
advancing the country’s ambitious national research agenda.
We have come together to find local solutions to global problems.”
The two-day conference will
discuss Qatar’s several challenges
in various sectors such as energy,
water, environment, cyber, health
among others. It will continue
building on previous successes
for the п¬Ѓfth consecutive year, offering thought-provoking panel
discussions, technical presentations, and high-powered debates
where leading experts will share
constructive experiences and innovative approaches.
HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser attending the opening session of the Annual Research Conference ARC’14.
ExxonMobil Qatar shows
off its achievements
The opening discussion panel.
Experts focus on collaboration
and consistency in research
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
xperts at a panel discussion during the opening plenary of the
Annual Research Conference
2014 ( ARC’14) emphasised that consistency of vision, collaboration and
leadership are the most integral elements for the success of a research programme.
ARC’14 that started yesterday at
Qatar National Convention Centre,
supports Qatar Foundation’s Research
& Development (QF R&D) mission to
build the nation’s innovation and technology capacity while addressing immediate social needs.
The opening panel was attended by
Faisal M Alsuwaidi, president QFR&D,
Dr Steven Chu, former U S Secretary of
Energy and Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr Hiroaki Kitano, president and
CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Japan, and Dr David J. Galas,
principal scientist, Pacific Northwest
Diabetes Research Institute, US. The
A section of the audience at the ARC’14 discussion. PICTURE: Najeer Feroke
session was moderated by Natasha Kaplinsky, a news presenter and journalist.
Alsuwaidi said that the п¬Ѓrst effort of
his team was to set up the strategy for
research which was evolved through
a participatory process. “We are now
preparing state of the art infrastructure
for facilitating research to address the
grand challenges of the country and the
region,” he said.
Alsuwaidi remarked that the plans
are going on in the right path and expectations on the outcomes of the research are high. “All these efforts will
be turned into bigger things in future.
This is not a short term programme.
Developing the research into desired
outputs will take some time.”
Deliberating the importance of research agenda, Dr Chu said that leadership was an extremely important element for the success of research. He
also emphasised on the need to develop
human capacity and to nurture intellectual capabilities of a country for the
success of any research programme.
Dr Galas suggested that a research
strategy has several goals which are
both short term and long term. “Setting up state of the art infrastructure
and the facilities can help get immediate results.
“At the same time, creating an appropriate setting and inculcating a
sense of curiosity among the youngsters is also very important as a long
term goal,” Dr Galas said.
The panels also emphasised on the
need for collaborative projects to get
the most out of the research. They noted that it will allow the local scientists
to tap into the research outcomes that
are going on in other parts of the world.
xxonMobil is partnering with
local organisations to continually advance research, as emphasised by ExxonMobil Research
Qatar’s (EMRQ) involvement at the
Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research
Conference (ARC’14).
EMRQ’s participation in the annual event enables ExxonMobil Qatar to highlight EMRQ’s signature
programmes and demonstrate how
they are helping move Qatar towards
world-class research and innovation
with every project.
The conference provides a unique
platform to activate multi-disciplinary knowledge sharing and collaboration needed to tackle the most
pressing national challenges in research, as well as strengthen Qatar’s
research and development sector.
Dr Jennifer Dupont, research director at EMRQ, stressed the importance
of the forum. “ARC’14 is a significant undertaking for Qatar’s research
community as it provides an opportunity to showcase and progress efforts towards cementing Qatar’s status as a leading international centre
for quality research and innovation,”
she said.
“Our work at EMRQ directly supports this goal, while providing a
rigorous scientific basis for assessing
risk to be used in the development of
environmental management strategies and always maintaining safety as
a priority.”
EMRQ’s involvement as a conference exhibitor features several visuals depicting various projects: coral
work, water reuse modeling efforts,
geological processes, and native species ecotoxicology. In addition, a
dugong skeleton is a highlight of the
interactive display.
Visitors to the EMRQ stall get a briefing on the organisation’s projects.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani witnesses some of the live demonstrations and workshops at the festival.
HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani led the inauguration of the Fourth Traditional Dhow
Festival yesterday. He was accompanied by HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, Personal Representative
of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Father Emir opens dhow festival
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
H the Father Emir Sheikh
Hamad bin Khalifa alThani inaugurated the
Fourth Traditional Dhow Festival
yesterday at Katara – the Cultural Village.
HH Sheikh Hamad was accompanied by HH Sheikh Jassim
bin Hamad al-Thani, Personal
Representative of HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani; Minister of Culture, Arts
and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin
Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari; Katara
officials led by general manager,
Dr Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti;
and a number of diplomats.
Groups of Arab performers
welcomed HH the Father Emir
who also toured the stalls at Katara’s beach area. Dr al-Kuwari,
who expressed elation over the
presence of HH the Father Emir,
told reporters that this year’s
festival was unique and different
from last year. He cited various
traditional activities that portray
the lives of those “who used to
live by the sea.”
The minister also reiterated
the importance of the celebration to Qataris saying it builds a
bridge between the past and the
present, teaching the young generation what their ancestors used
to live of.
Dr al-Sulaiti noted that some
300 contestants took part in this
year’s five-day festival, described
as a “record-breaking participation from Qatar and other GCC
The festival brings back the
country’s ancient maritime traditions to Katara’s seashore with
a host of cultural events and heritage activities. These include
competitions, folk shows, sea
cruises, and seminar-workshops.
During the opening yesterday,
many visitors had the chance
to join a 90-minute cruise from
the Katara beach while others
watched a live music and dance
parade. A celebration of Oman’s
44th National Day was also held
at the event to mark Sultan Qaboos’ birthday.
In the evening, a popular traditional musical show known
as �Al Tabaa’ (The Edition) enthralled spectators. The audience
were taken back in time to 1925
when the pearl-diving boats sank
in the waters of the Arabian Gulf
after being exposed to a strong
cyclone and heavy rains.
Hundreds of students from
different schools in the country
are expected to visit the festival
starting today from 9am to noon.
Daily cruise and the operetta
will also start today including the
opening of the traditional sailing
competition participated by 40
In the afternoon, visitors can
watch the diving trip show starting at 3.30pm and will run until
Saturday (9am to 12noon). The
pearl diving competition will start
tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm and
will end on Saturday afternoon.
In a press statement, Katara
said the festival will also feature
“Al Dashah” event on Thursday.
It is a traditional celebration
held in the old days when sailors
entered the sea, heading to the
diving vessels before launching them into the pearl banks (Al
“The �Al Qafal’ heritage festival, which embodies the return of
the divers to their homeland, will
take place on Saturday.”
Last year, the 27-day Fath Al
Kheir journey to various Gulf
ports highlighted the festival. It
went back to Doha in time for the
Qatar National Day celebration
which was welcomed by thousands of people including the
families and children of the crew.
300 contestants have joined this year’s dhow festival.
Camels at the Katara beach area had attracted many visitors during the festival opening.
The festival brings back
the country’s ancient
maritime traditions
to Katara’s seashore
with a host of cultural
events and heritage
activities. These include
competitions, folk shows,
sea cruises, and seminarworkshops
Dhows berthed near Katara beach yesterday.
A group of cultural performers entertaining visitors during the opening of the Fourth Traditional Dhow Festival
yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
An artist paints a picture of a dhow at the Katara beach yesterday after
the opening of the dhow festival.
The festival hosts numerous cultural events and heritage activities.
Dilemma as
Opec cut seen
helping US
Toyota rolls out
first mass market
fuel-cell car
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Moharram 26, 1436 AH
Vodafone presents
Smart City platform
at Doha summit
Qatar IPTV growth to boost local content
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
he increased proliferation of internet protocol television (IPTV) in Qatar will augur
well for improved distribution and monetisation of local content as the Middle East and
North Africa (Mena) media industry is undergoing a fascinating transformation, according to a
“Increased penetration of IPTV in select markets such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE is
creating local, digitally connected TV communities, opening up opportunities for improved
distribution and monetisation of local content,”
Strategy& (formerly Booz and Company) said in
a report.
All these trends are combining to create a better experience for viewers, with more local, targeted content, said the report �How Young Arabs
are Fuelling the Mena (Middle East and North
Africa) Media Market’.
Satellite TV continues to dominate the sector,
accounting for more than 95% of TV distribution, nevertheless, IPTV has had strong success
in Qatar and the UAE in recent years, and “is likely a harbinger of change in the rest of the region”,
it said.
Finding that the mobile market is one of the
Mena region’s fastest growing media segments;
the report said historically, the proportion of paid
media has been low in the region, owing largely to
the dominance of free-to-air satellite channels,
the absence of theatres in Saudi Arabia, and lack
of a “cinema going” culture in other populous
Arab states.
Spending on leisure activities represents only
2.4% of total consumer expenditure, compared
with 9% in the US, it said, adding consumer
spending on leisure and recreation activities in
the Middle East is expected to grow at a rate of
10% annually, significantly higher than that in
most developed markets.
“This will drive a rapid growth in paid media.
The proliferation of digital content, demand for
on-the-go content, and increased focus on premium local content are supporting its growth,”
Strategy& said,
Accelerated adoption of mobile technology
has created opportunity across media platforms.
Moreover, evolutions in paid and digital media
have created new rationales for investment, it
“These changes provide regional media players with an opportunity to reset their business
models and explore investments in high-quality
local content, and offer global players in particular a reason to re-evaluate their presence in the
region,” it said.
The regional industry challenges of limited
revenue opportunity and high costs, which had
previously made it difficult for global players to
justify a business case for investment, are rapidly
evolving. With improved sector economics and
an emerging talent base, the Mena region merits
a fresh look.
The favourable demographic changes under
way in the Mena region are well known, and represent a growth opportunity for nearly every industry sector, the report said, adding the overall
population is expected to grow 1.9% in the next
п¬Ѓve years, from 317mn in 2014 to 349mn in 2019.
Consumer expenditure should see even more
dramatic growth during the same period, rising
10.6% to nearly $2tn.
Technology adoption is also prevalent: in the
Mena region’s three largest markets, the use of
laptops and smartphones is widespread, while
the use of tablets is mixed.
In particular, smartphone adoption is rapidly
increasing, nearing the levels of PCs and laptops, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC). Mobile subscriber penetration, at 131% in
2014, exceeds the global average of 101%.
Fixed broadband penetration still lags behind
the global average, but the gap is narrowing: By
2019, the region is expected to have п¬Ѓxed broadband penetration of 26%, compared with the
global average of 42%.
Spending on leisure activities represents only 2.4% of total consumer
expenditure in the Middle East
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
IBQ wins �STP Award’ from Commerzbank
nternational Bank of Qatar (IBQ) has
won Commerzbank’s “Straight Through
Processing Award” for the fourth consecutive year in recognition of the bank’s
performance in the execution of commercial and п¬Ѓnancial payments in Euros.
The award was based on IBQ’s state-ofthe-art, in-house payments architecture,
and reflects the bank’s high SWIFT standards that facilitate automated processing
throughout the payment process. Accuracy
in transactions is one of the main criteria
for Commerzbank when choosing winners
of the award.
Commerzbank relationship manager
Stefan Dattner said, “We awarded this
year’s accolade to IBQ for the bank’s solid
operational services and the international
best practices the bank’s management and
personnel have brought to the domestic
“IBQ, with its strong presence in wholesale banking and trade finance, is one of
only a few banks in the region to receive our
recognition for operational excellence in
this field. The award also reflects the special relationship and ongoing cooperation
between IBQ and Commerzbank,” added
Ertugrul Goezelel, relationship manager at
IBQ head of Operations Jennifer Heffernan said, “We are delighted to be awarded by
Commerzbank for the fourth year running,
which is a testimony to our operational excellence and efficiency.”
She added, “We see STP as key to customer service, ensuring fast, accurate, and
reliable execution of payment instructions.
Significantly, this award also underlines our
continued investment in technology and
people, which has enabled us to provide
both individual and institutional customers
with superior payments services.”
Commerzbank is a leading international
commercial bank with branches and offices in more than 50 countries. The core
markets of Commerzbank are Germany
and Poland.
Commerzbank п¬Ѓnances more than 30%
of Germany’s foreign trade and is the “unchallenged leader” in financing for SMEs.
With its subsidiaries, comdirect and Poland’s mBank, it owns two of the world’s innovative online banks.
With 1,200 branches, Commerzbank has
one of the densest branch networks among
German private banks. In total, Commerzbank boasts of 15mn private customers, as
well as 1mn business and corporate clients.
The bank, which was founded in 1870, is
represented at all the world’s major stock
exchanges. In 2013, it generated gross revenues of more than €9bn with 54,000 employees on average.
IBQ and Commerzbank officials with the STP award.
Oil prices below $80 yet to
rattle bonds on GCC wealth
he 29% plunge in oil prices this
year has yet to unnerve bond
investors in some of the world’s
biggest crude-producing nations in the
Middle East.
The yield on Abu Dhabi’s April 2019
dollar-denominated security fell six
basis points since Brent crude reached
its year-to-date high on June 19, with
the yield 48 points lower in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate on Qatar’s January 2022
bond has also declined since oil peaked.
Gulf producers are better prepared
this time than when crude tumbled
amid the п¬Ѓnancial crisis in 2008. The
benchmark Brent grade has averaged
$109 a barrel since January 2011, enabling the region’s wealthiest producers to amass cash. Saudi Arabia has
boosted foreign-exchange reserves
68% to $739bn since 2008, while Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE have grown at
faster rates, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
These countries “can withstand the
current low price levels,” Deepti S M, a
credit analyst at SJ Seymour in Bangalore, India, said in an e-mail on Monday. “While the impact depends on how
long prices remain low, these countries
have strong accumulated reserves and
assets in sovereign wealth funds to
maintain their currency pegs as well as
Employees walk in the Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi. The yield on Abu Dhabi’s April 2019 dollar-denominated security fell six basis
points since Brent crude reached its year-to-date high on June 19, with the yield 48 points lower in 2014, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.
Brent has dropped 31% since June 19
and sells now for about $79 a barrel.
The Gulf states’ fiscal surpluses
should support them for at least the
next two years, Trevor Cullinan, director of sovereign ratings at Standard &
Poor’s, said on Monday by phone from
Dubai. S&P’s credit outlook is “positive” for Saudi Arabia and “stable” for
Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and
Saudi investment п¬Ѓrm
Jadwa eyes realty push
audi Arabia’s Jadwa Investment, one of the country’s
largest privately owned
investment п¬Ѓrms, says it is planning to invest in domestic real
estate as it expands into new asset classes, hoping to cash in on
booming demand for new homes.
Supply of housing in Saudi Arabia lags strong demand, the result of rapid population growth
and slow progress in government
building programmes designed
to ease the shortage.
Tariq al-Sudairy, managing
director and chief executive officer of Jadwa, said the group will
focus on the asset class and target
major cities like Riyadh, Makkah,
Medina. “We see a lot of potential
for growth in this space - both in
terms of real estate development
project and income generating
projects,” he said.
Jadwa would partner with real
estate developers to select and execute projects on behalf of clients.
Funds would be set up as projects
were selected and the size of the
investment would be determined
on a case-by-case basis.
“The type of projects are localised but in general, we expect
residential to be in focus, along
with retail and hospitality,” alSudairy said.
Jadwa, which is split into asset management, private equity
(PE), investment banking and
brokerage, had more than 20bn
riyals ($5.33bn) in assets under
management in the third quarter, across its asset classes.
Al-Sudairy said private equity in the kingdom offered significant potential as well, as it
represents less than 0.1% of the
Saudi economy compared with
well above 1% in more mature
markets. Jadwa itself hopes to
seal an unspecified deal as early
as the п¬Ѓrst quarter of 2015.
“There is a lot of potential
for private equity in Saudi Arabia, which is why we are giving
it a lot of attention,” al-Sudairy
said. “We’re engaged in multiple
discussions at various stages of
the process.” He did not provide
the scale of the deal.
Jadwa has spent over 4bn
riyals on PE investments across
multiple sectors since it was
established in 2005, targeting a
rate of return of at least 20%.
Along with Dubai-based Fajr
Capital, Jadwa acquired Jeddahbased waste management п¬Ѓrm
Global Environmental Management Services earlier this year
from a group of investors led by
Ashmore Group.
Bahrain. The agency doesn’t provide a
separate sovereign rating for the UAE.
Qatar’s foreign-exchange reserves
have more than tripled to $43bn since
2008, while Kuwait’s holdings have
grown by 83% to $30bn and the UAE’s
by 146% to $78bn.
“There are sizable fiscal surpluses
in these economies,” with investments
at home and abroad, Cullinan said.
“These are assets available to support
the economies in a downturn.”
The yield on Abu Dhabi’s 2019 bond
has slumped 48 basis points to 1.9%
in 2014, according to data compiled by
Bloomberg. The bond traded at a п¬Ѓveyear low of 1.8% in January 2013.
Saudi Electricity Co’s 2022 bond
dropped 97 basis points this year to
3.2% today, the data show.
Even so, Gulf producers have expressed concern about the slide in oil
prices. Kuwait’s cabinet and Supreme
Petroleum Council held an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to discuss
the impact on government revenue,
state-run Kuwait News Agency reported.
Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh
was set to visit the UAE yesterday to
meet with his counterpart to discuss
ways of propping up prices, the oil ministry’s news website Shana reported on
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil
exporter, will continue its “balanced
and positive role” to support stability
in crude markets, Crown Prince Salman
bin Abdulaziz al-Saud said last Saturday at the G-20 Summit in Brisbane,
according to state-run Saudi Press
Tumbling oil prices may lead Gulf
governments to cut fuel subsidies to
shore up their budgets, Robin Mills, an
analyst at Dubai-based Manaar Energy
Consulting, said on November 6.
The UAE is among countries in the
region considering its subsidy policies,
according to Harald Finger, who led an
IMF consultation team in talks with
the government. “We discussed the
area of subsidies and this is something
Abu Dhabi is beginning to look into,”
Finger said in a November 5 interview
in Dubai. “Reducing these subsidies,
while putting in place targeted measures for those in need, would be good
Turkish 10-year dollar
sukuk draws strong
demand at MS+205 bps
Turkey borrowed $1bn over 10
years yesterday at around 4.5%
via a sovereign sukuk issue,
bankers said, its third in dollars
since it first entered the global
Islamic bond market in 2012.
The bond, which had drawn demand of around $3.4bn before
the London market opened,
sold at US Treasury mid-swaps
plus 205 basis points, equivalent to a yield of around 4.48%,
bankers said.
The spread on the country’s
previous dollar sukuk, a fiveyear bond sold in October 2013,
was mid-swaps (MS) plus 300
basis points.
Islamic finance, which operates
according to Shariah principles
that ban interest and pure
monetary speculation, has
been growing during the global
financial crisis partly because
it can draw on a huge pool of
religiously-oriented investment
funds from the oil-rich Gulf.
Turkey wants to become a major market for Islamic investors
from the Gulf and southeast
Asia. But despite espousing
Islamic values, the ruling AK
Party government shied away
from taking the plunge with a
sukuk during its first decade in
power, out of fear of giving ammunition to critics who accused
it of seeking to roll back state
This prevented the world’s
eighth most populous Muslim
nation from participating fully
in rapid growth of the industry.
Turkey’s total outstanding
dollar sukuk amount stands at
$3.75bn. Its lira-denominated
sukuk stands at 6.5bn lira
($2.93bn). It first issued a lira
sukuk in 2012 and issues two
Iraq’s biggest oil refinery to reopen as army repels militants
A file photograph dated 21 March 2011 shows Iraqi soldiers guarding the second refinery for crude in Baiji refinery, Baiji, north of Baghdad. Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at
Baiji is set to reopen after government troops forced Islamic State militants further from the facility, according to state- sponsored Iraqiya television, Bloomberg reported
yesterday. The army entered Baiji after clearing bombs and other equipment from around the plant, the station reported. It didn’t say when production would resume at
the refinery that halted in mid-June. “Army troops achieve a victory and lift the siege on Baiji refinery,” Iraqiya reported in the banner headline. “Baiji refinery to reopen
soon.” The Baiji plant has been at the centre of repeated attacks since June as Islamic State attempted to seize the facility, seeking to secure fuel and funding for a
so-called Islamic caliphate they proclaimed in areas stretching across the Iraqi-Syrian border. Militants controlled the 310,000 bpd plant for about a week in June.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Saudi oil
edge up
to 6.72mn
bpd in
Workers walk towards Halliburton Co’s “sand castles” at an Anadarko Petroleum Corp hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site north of Dacono, Colorado. US daily crude output climbed to 9.06mn barrels in the week
ended November 7, the most in weekly Energy Information Administration data that began in 1983.
Goldman: Opec in dilemma
as output cut seen helping US
“large” production cut by Opec
to prop up crude prices isn’t in
the group’s interest because it’s
likely to bolster an expansion of US
shale oil, according to Goldman Sachs
While the slide in prices into a bear
market increases the chances of a reduction, trimming output by more
than 500,000 bpd would mean further
cuts are needed starting 2016 as higher
prices prompt more US drilling, Goldman said in a note on Tuesday.
Some members of the Organisation
of Petroleum Exporting Countries including Saudi Arabia have resisted calls
to decrease supply while others seek
action to support crude.
“A large cut would be difficult to implement,” given the financing needs of
some Opec members, said analysts including New York-based Jeffrey Currie,
referring to Libya, Iran, Venezuela and
Iraq, the group’s second-largest member.
Oil has slumped about 30% since
its June peak amid a surge in US output to the highest level in more than
three decades. Opec, which meets on
November 27 in Vienna, exceeded its
30mn bpd production target for a п¬Ѓfth
consecutive month in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Brent crude, the benchmark for
more than half of the world’s oil slid as
much as 46Вў to $78.85 a barrel on the
London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday.
Opec members have stepped up diplomacy before the meeting. Iranian
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh
was preparing to visit the UAE, while
Iraqi President Fouad Masoum and
Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah alThinni flew to Riyadh last week for
separate talks with officials from Saudi
Arabia, the group’s biggest producer.
Gulf markets rebound in
line with global equities, oil
Markets in the Middle East
pared some of the previous
day’s losses yesterday as
global equities and oil prices
rebounded and retail investors
started buying stocks again.
Brent crude rose back towards
$80 a barrel yesterday on
speculation Opec could cut
output at its meeting on
November 27, while European
shares rose on hopes of more
economic stimulus measures in
Dubai’s index added 1.4% as
contractor Arabtec Holding
jumped 3.6% and heavyweight
developer Emaar Properties
gained 2.3%.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark edged
up 0.7% as both Abu Dhabi
Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi
Commercial Bank jumped 3.2%.
The main Saudi index added
0.9%, having dropped 2.8% on
Monday. Food maker Savola
Group and petrochemicals giant
Saudi Basic Industries were the
main supports, up 2.5 and 2.2%
Shares in National Commercial
Bank (NCB), the kingdom’s
biggest lender, dropped 5.8%
to 61.50 riyals after surging
by the daily 10% limit for four
sessions in a row since its listing
on November 12. The stock has
gained 36.7% from the 45 riyals
which local retail investors paid
in the initial public offer.
Egypt’s benchmark rose
0.6%, helped by Commercial
International Bank, up 1.3%.
Kuwait’s index slipped 0.03%.
Commercial Bank of Kuwait
dropped 2.9% after Kuwaiti
firm Investment Dar made
a renewed legal push to
secure ownership of a stake in
Boubyan Bank which it sold to
CBK in 2008, with the right to
buy it back.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Oman’s
index fell 0.01% to 7,029 points,
while Bahrain’s measure closed
flat at 1,451 points.
Saudi investors monitor stocks at the newly opened exchange market department at the National
Commercial Bank (NCB) in Riyadh on November 12. Shares in NCB, the kingdom’s biggest lender,
dropped 5.8% to 61.50 riyals yesterday after surging by the daily 10% limit for four sessions in a row
since its listing on November 12.
Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s foreign
minister and representative to Opec,
held talks in Algeria and Qatar while
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi toured
Latin America. The group last cut quotas in December 2008, trimming its
target by 2.46mn bpd in response to
the global п¬Ѓnancial crash. It produced
30.97mn barrels daily last month, data
compiled by Bloomberg show.
Some Opec members have cut prices
of supplies to defend market share and
stimulate demand amid the shale boom
in North America. US daily crude output climbed to 9.06mn barrels in the
week ended November 7, the most in
weekly Energy Information Adminis-
tration data that began in 1983.
Iraq, which pumped 3.3mn bpd last
month, will be reluctant to enact production cuts, given the ongoing domestic instability, military funding
needs and Kurdistan’s desire and ability
to increase exports, according to Goldman Sachs.
The Kurdistan Regional Government
on November 13 announced an agreement on exports with Iraq, in which
the semi-autonomous region’s oil will
be exchanged for revenues from the
administration in Baghdad. The KRG
has placed 150,000 bpd of crude at the
disposal of the central government, according to a statement last week.
pec heavyweight Saudi
Arabia’s crude oil exports edged up in September by around 59,000 bpd
while volumes used by domestic
refineries remained high, official
data showed yesterday.
The world’s top oil exporter
shipped 6.722mn bpd of crude
in September, up from 6.663mn
in August but lower than July’s
6.989mn, data published by the
Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.
Production rose to 9.704mn
in September from 9.597mn in
August but was lower than July’s
10.005mn, the data showed.
An industry source told Reuters this month that crude supplies for both exports and the
domestic market fell by some
328,000 bpd, to 9.36mn bpd in
September, from 9.688mn in
Total oil products exports
were 787,000 bpd in September, down from 1.023mn bpd the
month before, the data showed.
Refiners processed 2.035mn
bpd of crude in September versus 2.167mn in August and
1.915mn in July, the JODI data
Meanwhile, Saudi oil use for
power generation fell to 648,000
bpd in September from 769,000
in August and 899,000 in July.
Oil markets closely monitor
changes in output from Saudi
Arabia, which has enough spare
capacity to significantly alter
production according to demand.
Opec meets on November 27
to decide on its output policy
amid some calls by members of
the producer group to cut output
to shore up oil prices which have
fallen to $80 a barrel from $115
in June on abundant supply and
weakening demand.
Separately, The UAE oil minister said yesterday the Gulf state
was committed to supplying the
market with its crude needs and
that the Opec member did not
have a target for oil prices.
“We will not fall short from
meeting this need and we will
also not politicise this operation.
It’s supply and demand,” Suhail
bin Mohammed al-Mazroui told
a conference in Abu Dhabi.
Qatar shares cross 13,800
mark on foreign institutions
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
he Qatar Stock Exchange
yesterday surpassed the
13,800 level, after many
attempts, led by banking, consumer goods and transport
Foreign institutions were
rather instrumental in lifting the
20-stock Qatar Index (based on
price data) for the third straight
session by 0.34% to 13,809.44
points, amid falling volumes.
Micro and large cap equities
witnessed stronger buying interests in the market, which is up
33.04% year-to-date.
The index that tracks Shariahprincipled stock was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the bourse, where realty,
banks and consumer goods together accounted for about 67%
of the total trading volume.
The Total Return Index rose
0.34% to 20,596.65 points, the
All Share Index by 0.32% to
3,500.83 points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.14% to
4,699.31 points.
Market capitalisation rose
0.43%, or more than QR3bn,
to QR748.82bn with micro and
large cap equities gaining 0.87%
and 0.83%; while small and mid
caps were down 0.09 and 0.05%
Banks and п¬Ѓnancial services stocks appreciated 0.95%,
The QSE market capitalisation rose 0.43%, or more than
QR3bn, to QR748.82bn yesterday
followed by consumer goods
(0.93%), transport (0.5%) and
industrials (0.44%); whereas
real estate plunged 1.45%, telecom 0.15% and insurance lost
Major movers were Industries
Qatar, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank,
Al Khaleej Takaful, International
Islamic, Doha Bank, Commercial
Bank, Al Meera and United Development Company.
However, Barwa, Mazaya
Qatar, Ezdan, Vodafone Qatar
and Gulf International Services
bucked the trend.
Foreign institutions turned
net buyers to the tune of
QR45.68mn against net sellers
of QR32.06mn the previous day.
Qatari retail investors’ net
buying fell to QR21.62mn compared to QR44.42mn on November 17.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net buying also shank to
QR0.98mn against QR11.91mn
on Monday.
Domestic institutions’ net
selling swelled to QR68.28mn
compared to QR24.38mn the
previous day.
Total trade volume fell 29%
to 12.1mn shares and value by
27% to QR815.77mn; while
transactions rose less than 1%
to 8,491.
The insurance sector’s trade
volume plummeted 52% to
0.45mn equities, value by 47%
to QR26.63mn and deals by 26%
to 304.
The market witnessed a 43%
plunge in the real estate sector’s
trade volume to 4.1mn stocks,
53% in value to QR138.62mn and
3% in transactions to 1,906.
The consumer goods sector
saw its trade volume shrink 37%
to 1.25mn shares, value by 39%
to QR156.82mn and deals by 3%
to 1,134.
The telecom sector’s trade
volume tanked 20% to 1.15mn
equities, value by 16% to
QR29.76mn and transactions by
25% to 345.
The industrials sector’s trade
volume declined 13% to 1.3mn
stocks and value by 7% to
QR153.8mn but on a 12% jump in
deals to 2,031.
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services sector reported a 7% fall in
trade volume to 2.73mn shares,
while value was almost flat at
QR244.7mn and transactions at
The transport sector’s trade
volume was down 2% to 1.12mn
equities, whereas value grew 1%
to QR65.44mn and deals by 24%
to 534.
In the debt market, there was
no trading of treasury bills and
government bonds.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Aramco expects
900bn barrels of oil
resources by 2025
he state oil giant Saudi Aramco expects to have 900bn
barrels of oil resources by 2025, up from the current
790bn barrels, a company executive said yesterday.
Current recoverable crude oil and condensate reserves
stand at around 260.2bn barrels.
“Demand for hydrocarbons will rise despite things happening with oil prices,” Jamal al-Khonaifer, development
director at Saudi Aramco, told an industry conference in
He said 395bn barrels within the 790bn barrels п¬Ѓgure are
probable and possible contingent resources.
“Aramco produces almost 9.5mn barrels a day, and if it
needs to replace these reserves it needs to add almost 35bn
barrels of new reserves every 10 years. That’s a very large
challenge,” said Sadad al-Husseini, a former top executive at
Saudi Aramco.
According to a 2007 US diplomatic cable released by
WikiLeaks, Abdallah al-Saif, who was at the time Aramco’s
senior vice-president for exploration and production, had
said that Aramco has 716bn barrels of total crude reserves, of
which 51% are recoverable. He also said that in 20 years, Aramco will have over 900bn barrels of total reserves and future
technology will allow for 70% recovery.
Aramco’s CEO Khalid al-Falih said in January the company is “targeting to increase average recovery rates from our
oil reservoirs by 20% which could add 160bn barrels of additional reserves.
That’s more than the current reserves of the US, Russia,
China, the UK and Brazil combined.”
Yesterday, Khonaifer also said the company is currently
pumping 9.7mn to 9.8mn barrels per day (bpd) and plans for
next year’s oil production depends on demand.
“We do not care about the oil prices, we don’t play with
them. We even don’t have our own benchmark. Of course
we are not interested in too high and too low prices,” he said,
adding that the Opec heavyweight can easily adjust its production according to demand given its significant spare capacity.
Saudi Arabia has an output capacity of 12.5mn bpd.
Opec meets on November 27 in Vienna to decide on output
policy amid calls by some members to cut output to support
Saudi Aramco’s current recoverable crude oil and condensate reserves stand at around 260.2bn barrels
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Naftogaz aims to avoid Russia gas import
kraine aims to avoid using an
interim gas deal signed last
month for as long as it can and
eventually end its reliance on Russian gas through better EU connections, Naftogaz Chief Executive Andriy
Kobolyev told Reuters yesterday.
Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement, brokered by the European Commission, at the end of October to cover
gas supplies over the winter months as
a temporary solution to a long-standing price dispute between Moscow and
But Russian gas giant Gazprom has
yet to resume shipments to Kiev, which
it suspended in June, and Ukraine has
yet to provide the pre-payment, which
Moscow says is a condition for restarting gas supplies.
Kobolyev did not specify levels but
said Ukraine had significant gas storage. According to EU storage data, it is
roughly half full.
How long that will last depends on
Kobolyev: For ending reliance on Russian gas.
Flash boys invade
Treasury bond
market in new
era of volatility
New York
In a flash, the bond market
went wild. What began on
October 15 as another day
in the US Treasury market
suddenly turned into the
biggest yield fluctuations in
a quarter century, leaving
investors worrying there will
be turbulence ahead.
The episode exposed a
collision of forces - the rise
of high-frequency trading
and the decline of Wall
Street dealers - that are reshaping the world’s biggest
and most important bond
Money managers say the
$12.4tn Treasury market is
becoming less liquid, meaning securities can no longer
be traded as quickly and
easily as they used to be,
thanks in part to the Federal
Reserve’s bond-buying programme. “The way the market is set up right now, we’ll
see instances like we did
on that day,” said Michael
Lorizio, senior trader at
Boston-based Manulife Asset Management US, which
oversees $281bn.
“There’s going to be a
learning curve as to how to
handle that.” The development reflects unintended
consequences of new
financial regulation, as well
as steps the Fed has taken
to breath life into the US
The implications, however, extend far beyond Wall
Street, because the Treasury
market determines borrowing costs for governments,
companies and consumers
around the world.
When the day began on
October 15, an unprecedented number of investors
were betting that interest
rates would rise and US
government debt would
lose value.
The news that morning
seemed ominous. Ebola was
spreading. So was war in the
Middle East.
At 8:30 am in Washington, the Commerce Department announced a decline
in retail sales. The shift came
all at once. The sentiment
that the Fed would raise
rates reversed.
Traders who’d bet
against, or shorted, Treasury
bonds had to buy as many
as they could as quickly
as they could to limit their
losses. By 9:38 am, 10-year
Treasury yields plunged
0.34 percentage point, the
most in five years.
Analysts such as Jim
Bianco, president of Bianco
Research in Chicago, blame
the herd mentality of
electronic traders. “A lot of
these guys are focused on
speed,” Bianco said. “They’re
all uncreative and write the
same programme.
When the stimulus comes
in a certain way, every
one of them comes to the
same conclusion at exactly
the same moment.” The
influence of high-frequency
traders in the Treasury
market is growing. About
60% of Treasury securities
trades are expected to be
transacted on electronic
platforms by the end of next
year, an increase from 40%
in 2013, according to Tabb
Group, a New York-based
research firm. Of those
trades, 10% were executed
by robots in 2010, a share
that will probably grow to
20% next year, according
to Tabb.
“As the markets become
more electronic, they
become more volatile,” said
Larry Tabb, Tabb’s chief
executive officer. “It’s the
new normal.”
At least one electronic
trader, Charles Comiskey,
the head Treasury dealer at
Bank of Nova Scotia, said
he unplugged his computer
for half an hour during the
height of the frenzy.
That may help explain
why yields plummeted so
fast without sellers to stem
the fall.
It may also explain why
an unprecedented $946bn
of US government debt
ended up changing hands
on ICAP’s BrokerTec trading
platform on October 15,
breaking the record by 43%.
Once sellers stepped in and
the plunge was arrested,
there was plenty of liquidity.
Bloomberg LP, the parent
company of Bloomberg
News, competes with
BrokerTec and other bondtrading platforms.
New rules adopted after
the 2008 credit crunch are
also part of the new normal.
Global guidelines called
Basel III, instituted by the
Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland,
require banks to hold more
cash in reserve for assets
such as bonds they keep on
their balance sheets.
Partly in compliance
with the regulations, the 22
primary dealers authorised to trade directly with
the Fed reduced their US
government debt holdings
to $46.3bn at the end of
October from a record high
$146bn in October 2013, Fed
data show.
While they still hold
inventory, they’re allocating less to opportunistically buying big clumps
of bonds and then slowly
selling them, a process
known as market-making.
Hedge funds have filled
the vacuum created by the
retreat of the big banks.
As $8bn was being
wiped out in that global
market, Toronto hedgefund manager Philip
Mesman fielded e-mails
from US bankers clamoring for him to buy their
customers’ holdings. Shock
Absorber Investors were
unloading the debt of the
riskiest companies, forcing
exchange-traded funds and
mutual funds to sell.
the weather and other variables, including falling industrial demand because of conflict in eastern Ukraine and
European Union progress on reversing
gas flows, Kobolyev said.
The interim gas accord was only an
insurance policy.
“Signing this deal with the Russian
Federation was necessary to make sure
that we are able to go through peak
demand when we have low temperatures,” Kobolyev said. “As soon as we
decide it is time to pay for Russian gas,
we will make an advance payment.”
Ukraine’s annual gas demand tends
to be around 50bn cubic metres (bcm),
with half of consumption usually provided by Russia. Moscow likely delivered 5-10 bcm between January and
Ukraine’s annual gas production is
25 bcm, though that п¬Ѓgure will be lower this year due to the loss of Crimea,
leaving Ukraine still needing 15-20
bcm from elsewhere.
While Russia is working on transit
routes to bypass Ukraine, the dream
for Naftogaz is to get its gas via the EU
through technology to pump back gas
from Russia or other sources, such as
Norway, priced at market levels.
The biggest potential is through
Slovakia, which Kobolyev said could
eliminate the need for imports directly
from Russia, although Gazprom has
challenged the legality of re-routing
gas it exports to the EU.
“We are trying to resolve this,” said
Kobolyev, in Brussels for talks with EU
officials. “We believe that will be the
best solution for everybody if there
is such a huge loss of trust between
Ukraine and Russia.”
Kobolyev took office in March with a
brief to end corruption.
“The oil and gas sector in Ukraine
in terms of corruption is probably the
most difficult sector to deal with,” he
The CEO said as part of the anticorruption drive he was working on “a
50% principle”, aimed at replacing half
the company’s staff with new people,
including from international companies. He gave no timeframe.
He also said Naftogaz was working
on eliminating middlemen to deal directly with suppliers.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Ethnic diversity
helps thwart
bubbles: study
London FX �fixing’ window
to widen after trading row
New York
ondon’s benchmark foreign exchange “fixings” will move to a
п¬Ѓve-minute calculation window,
from one minute currently, as of 2200
GMT on Sunday, December 14, the WM
Company said in a memo sent to banks
on Monday.
The move by WM, a unit of State
Street Corp, follows the levying of the
п¬Ѓrst п¬Ѓnes on banks in a row over alleged
manipulation of foreign exchange markets and the п¬Ѓxings, used to set reference values for thousands of contracts
After a torrid week for the biggest
and least regulated of the world’s major financial markets, worth more than
$5tn a day, the head of the industry
body ACI Financial Markets also gave
a nod towards the potential for moving
more trading onto regulated exchanges.
The widening of the window is the
п¬Ѓrst clear sign that recommendations
made in September by the global regulators of the Financial Stability Board
for changes to the п¬Ѓxings are being implemented.
Other proposals, agreed after consultations with banks, asset managers
and other stakeholders, include changes to trading floors that will keep client
orders to be executed at the п¬Ѓxing rate
separate from spot trading desks.
A number of senior bankers have
told Reuters lenders are still looking at
how to implement those proposals and
that they may yet lead smaller banks to
cease executing the п¬Ѓxing orders at the
centre of the year-long row.
The London or “WM/Reuters” fix
relates to several exchange rates and is
compiled using data on actual transactions from trading systems like those
run by Thomson Reuters and ICAPowned EBS. The rates for the п¬Ѓxings, at
the centre of a global investigation into
Pedestrians walk past the State Street Corp headquarters in Boston. London’s foreign exchange �fixings’ will move to a five-minute calculation window from next month,
the State Street unit WM Company said in a memo sent to banks on Monday.
alleged market manipulation that saw
six major banks п¬Ѓned $4.3bn last week,
are calculated by WM.
Thomson Reuters is the parent company of Reuters News, which is not involved in the process.
The memo also said Thomson Reuters Matching trade and order data
would be added into the calculation for
the euro, yen, Swiss franc and rouble.
A year into a wide-ranging probe into
charges that banks routinely fleeced
clients over currencies, industry observers and politicians were frustrated
at last week’s deal, which they said
showed the affair will end just with
п¬Ѓnes rather than any reform of what
they say is the Wild West of п¬Ѓnancial
Far from chastening the world’s biggest currency trading firms, they say
the multi-billion dollar п¬Ѓnes levied by
regulators today are more likely to draw
a line under the affair and gradually allow a return to business as usual.
But there are signs of change. Marshall Bailey, the head of the ACI Financial Market Association, which groups
currency traders and the senior officials at banks who run electronic trading, has been a п¬Ѓrm opponent of any
shift to greater regulation by putting
trading on exchanges. “The ACI policy
is that markets trade very effectively
at the moment as they are, and have a
number of potential avenues for successful trading of FX. One of them is on
exchanges,” he told Reuters on Monday.
“This might be expanded in the
coming years to make it more effective, and if clients see the benefits of it,
they will migrate in that direction,” he
added, stressing that this was still not
the body’s “preferred route”.
Moody’s joins Fitch slamming subprime auto bonds
New York
he booming market for securities backed by subprime car
loans is riskier than their ratings
imply, say two of the biggest assessors
of bond credit quality.
Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch
Ratings analysts said in interviews that
the grades their competitors have assigned to a crop of new issuers – most
of which are backed by private-equity
firms – are too high. The lenders lack a
track record in the bond market proving
their underwriting acumen and ability
to handle the specialized task of collecting on soured debt during a downturn, according to the analysts.
Half the issuers tracked by Standard
& Poor’s hadn’t sold bonds before 2010,
and concern is mounting that growth in
the market for securities backed by car
loans to people with poor credit poses
a risk to the whole auto industry. Wall
Street banks have arranged $20.6bn of
the deals this year, up from $8.6bn in
2010, according to Barclays.
Moody’s and Fitch, which are trying
to rebuild their reputations after being blamed for fuelling the credit crisis
with inflated mortgage-bond ratings,
say they haven’t assigned grades to the
new issuers’ debt because they would
give them lower rankings than those bestowed by S&P, Kroll Bond Rating Agency Inc and DBRS. Those п¬Ѓrms say they
assess securities on an individual basis.
“We would be more than happy to
rate them,” but it “might not be the
rating they’re looking for,” said Mack
Caldwell, an analyst at New Yorkbased Moody’s.
Fitch said in a September report it
would decline to grade some of the new
deals, or cap its ranking on others at
single-A, below the grades given out by
“DBRS reviews auto ABS deals on a
case-by-case basis as it does for all asset classes,” Chuck Weilamann, head of
US asset-backed securities at Torontobased DBRS, said in an e-mailed statement. “We do not artificially place any
caps or floors on any ratings ahead of a
review, whether it be for a new or frequent issuer of debt.”
The market benefits from a diversity
of opinions on credit risk, said April
Kabahar, a spokeswoman for S&P. The
New York- based rating п¬Ѓrm declines
to rate companies with short operating
histories or weak operations and has
ratings caps for others, she said.
Kroll “reviews the experience and
capabilities of the company’s management team, its operational capabilities and business model in addition to
the characteristics and performance of
their loan portfolio,” Rosemary Kelley, a
managing director at Kroll, said.
The subprime-auto business has
exploded as bond buyers pile into securities offering yields that are about
double those on similar debt tied to the
most creditworthy borrowers. That’s
particularly enticing amid six years of
near-zero interest rates from the Federal Reserve.
Private-equity п¬Ѓrms have also
poured cash into the industry during
the last several years, attracted by its
performance during the recession and
the chance to make loans with interest
rates as high as 20%. US households
continued to make car payments even
when they defaulted on their mortgages
during the crisis, according to Moody’s.
The п¬Ѓrms have seized on cheap funding in the bond market, resulting in
profit margins that Moody’s estimated
in 2012 are about 12%. The boom in
easy п¬Ѓnancing is helping fuel the fastest pace of car sales in eight years and
has drawn scrutiny from the US government as underwriting standards
decline amid increased competition
from lenders.
The default rate has been rising for
three years, reaching 13% in September,
exceeding the pre-crisis range of 10%
to 12%, according to Wells Fargo & Co.
A loss of confidence at one of the
smaller companies could lead to an industrywide funding crunch as bondholders flee, according to Dave Goodson, the head of securitised products at
Voya Investment Management, which
oversees $213bn.
“As a sector, you’re beholden to your
weakest link,” Goodson said in a phone
interview. If one lender buckles under
the pressure, he said, “people would
start to hit the exits.”
nhancing ethnic diversity
on the world’s financial
trading floors is a recipe
for deflating devastating bubbles
and increasing profits, data from
a new study showed on Monday.
“Ethnic diversity is a value in
itself. What we show is that it
can economically also be valuable in market efficiency terms,”
said David Stark, professor of
sociology and international affairs at Columbia University.
Across markets and locations,
pricing accuracy is 58% higher in
diverse markets, as is the ability
to thwart pricing bubbles, the
study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences found.
“Traders in ethnically homogenous markets are significantly
less accurate, and thus more
likely to cause price bubbles,”
the paper said. Results showed
their performance worsened
over time.
“Diversity facilitates friction.
In markets, this friction can
disrupt conformity, interrupt
taken-for-granted routines, and
prevent herding,” the paper said.
The study was conducted
among people from East Asia
and the Southwest US. It measured a baseline of п¬Ѓnancial literacy among the participants.
They were placed in a simulated
trading environment, and set
the task of trying to earn money
while the researchers measured their pricing accuracy via a
commonly used real-life trading
terminal. Their identities were
anonymous and participants
kept what they earned.
“They could look around them
and see who was in the room but
they didn’t talk to each other,”
said the lead author of the report, Sheen Levine, principal
investigator at Columbia’s Institute for Social and Economic
Research and Policy.
“There is an established finding across the social sciences,
that we tend to trust the actions
and beliefs of people that look
like us,” said Levine. “All the assumptions they are making are
a very superficial impression of
what the other guy looks like.
They don’t know if he’s reasonable.”
The study started in Singapore in 2009, with US trading
sessions in 2012 and 2013, said
Levine. In the US portion of the
study, the researchers spent well
over $10,000.
“Ethnic diversity was valuable
not necessarily because minority traders contributed unique
information or skills, but their
mere presence changed the tenor of decision making among all
traders. Diversity benefited the
market,” the study said.
Asked if gender also played a
role in the study’s results, Levine
said this was not looked at specifically, “but gender diversity is
the next topic of study.”
Funds or fundamentals? Which has stymied tin market?
By Andy Home
Tin is once again failing to live up to its
bull hype. The price of the soldering metal
on the London Metal Exchange (LME) last
month touched a 15-month low of $19,000
per tonne. Down by over 10% on the start
of the year, it is vying with copper and lead
for worst performer of 2014.
Yet back in January analysts in the
Reuters poll picked tin as a likely positive
performer this year, based on a near
unanimous view that supply would fail to
meet demand.
Tin’s supply challenge, a combination
of depleting grades at existing producers
and a lack of new mines, is a core part of
this metal’s bull narrative.
So too is Indonesia, the world’s largest
exporter. The country has exerted increasing control over the band of free-wheeling
producers operating out of the tin-rich
islands of Bangka and Belitung.
The government has introduced new
minimum purity standards on exports and
required everything that leaves the country to be first traded on a local bourse, the
Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives
Exchange (ICDX).
The explicit aims are to increase the
value of the country’s minerals exports
and to instil some environmental discipline over producers. The implicit aim is
to achieve higher prices, wresting pricing
power from the “speculators” on the LME
in favour of industrial players trading on
the ICDX.
Quite evidently, things are not going to
Indonesian plan.
But which has stymied tin’s bullish
prospects this year? Funds or fundamentals? Or both?
Speculative money flows on the
LME can now be tracked thanks to the
exchange’s new Commitments of Traders
Report (COTR).
The report by its very nature can only
offer a partial picture on the complex
positioning landscape on the LME, but
the “managed money” component is a
relatively clean prism through which to
see investment flows.
Although tin’s occasional illiquidity deters many larger investment players, the
LME’s COTR still shows over 90 currently
active money managers.
And, it is clear from the graphic below,
they have been steadily trimming long
positions and adding to short positions
since around the start of August.
Indeed, the net long position shrank
to just 0.6% of open interest at the end of
October. It recovered marginally to 1.5% in
the first week of November but is still the
lowest of any of the major LME metals.
The shift in positioning neatly dovetails
with tin’s price performance over the same
period, the market breaking down through
support at $22,000 late in August and
accumulating downside momentum until
that mid-October low down at $19,000.
Indonesians, government officials and
producers alike, will likely view the linkage
as proof that “speculators” have stymied
the price to the point that the country
is now actively considering withholding
supply from the market as a way of supporting prices.
Yet, while short-selling by money managers does seem, at the very least, to have
exacerbated the price breakdown since
August, it’s worth considering the lay of
the land before then.
The LME only launched its positioning
reports at the end of July but at that time
the managed money net long position on
tin was over 14% of open interest. Only
zinc boasted a higher net long ratio.
Back then, it seems, “speculators” were
actively supporting the tin price above
$22,000 per tonne, in effect working with
the Indonesian authorities, who have used
a “suggested opening bid” on ICDX trading
as an unofficial floor price.
It’s still noticeable, by the way, how
many funds have kept the tin faith on the
LME. The shift in net positioning has been
much more about new shorts being initiated than old longs closed out.
So, how come the price wasn’t going
higher if both London funds and Indonesian authorities were on the same side?
The simple answer is fundamentals.
And particularly those of supply, given
tin’s bull story rests not on its somewhat
unexciting usage profile but on its supposed lack of new mines.
Firstly, despite Indonesia’s best efforts
to limit exports, including a brief moratorium on sales in September, shipments
have fallen by only a marginal 10% so far
this year.
Indeed, there is a strong suspicion that
the official figure of 65,575 tonnes is an undercount. The official figures are provided
by the Ministry of Trade and denote what
is being registered and checked under the
country’s new export regime.
Other forms of tin, such as solder or
alloys, may still be seeping out of the
Certainly, the Indonesian police suspect
as much, which is why they swooped on
2,000 tonnes of outbound shipments in
The authorities evidently have their
suspicions as well, which is why the export
regime is being tightened up further this
And while Indonesia struggles to control what its own industry is up to, it has
even less say over what other countries
do. China is the world’s largest producer
but also the largest consumer of tin and it
has historically been a net importer.
Import flows have dropped markedly
since the middle of last year. The official
customs figures show net imports slumping by 46% to 5,740 tonnes in the first nine
months of 2014.
That, however, may be misleading, if
China is shipping metal out in forms that
do not make it into the official export data.
Cui Lin, Chinese representative of industry
group ITRI, recently told the SMM Tin
Conference, held in Suzhou, that exports
may have been as much as 8,000-9,000
tonnes in the January-August period.
What’s not in doubt is that Chinese
producers have lifted production, partly
thanks to a newly-found source of raw
materials supply in Myanmar, and have
been drawing down stocks.
The shift in behaviour seems to date
back to around the middle of 2013, when
the tin price was starting on a rally from
the $19,000 level that culminated in an
October 2013 high of $24,000 per tonne.
All the evidence suggests that Indonesia’s efforts to push prices higher incentivised China to lift output, cut imports and
lift exports.
Which would explain why there has
been no tangible sign of shortfall either
in the form of LME stocks or the broader
supply chain. And why the tin price lost all
upwards momentum around the middle of
this year. So which has laid low tin, funds
or fundamentals?
It’s hard to ignore the role short-selling
by money managers on the LME has contributed to the most recent price collapse.
But the change in positioning followed
a long period of price stagnation, which
was in large part down to a shift in Chinese
physical market dynamics.
Negative fundamentals, in other words,
triggered a negative fund reaction.
The resulting price decline will itself
cause supply fundamentals to change
again. ITRI’s Cui Lin, for example, suggested the “grey” export flow out of China
stopped in August as the London price fell.
That, together with even tougher
export controls and, quite possibly, export
quotas, in Indonesia should be positive for
the tin price.
Andy Home is a columnist for Reuters. The
views expressed are his own.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Russia sees
next year,
says minister
ussia’s economy will sink
into a recession next year
if the price of oil slumps to
$60 a barrel, while the US and its
allies tighten sanctions, Finance
Minister Anton Siluanov said.
With the price of Brent crude
holding steady after slumping
by almost a third this year to below $80 a barrel and sanctions
unchanged, the world’s largest energy exporter’s economic
growth won’t exceed 1% in 2015,
Siluanov said in an interview in
“Recession is inevitable in
2015 if the situation worsens,”
Siluanov said. “If the oil price
declines to $60 per barrel, the
economy will have negative
Siluanov’s prediction echoes the warning from Russian
President Vladimir Putin, who
last week said that the country
is bracing for a potential “catastrophic” slump in oil prices.
The decline in the cost of crude
is exacting a toll on the Russian
economy, already battered by
the US and European Union’s
restrictions imposed over the
country’s role in the Ukrainian
Economic output is growing
at the slowest pace since a 2009
contraction, having expanded
0.7% in the third quarter from a
year earlier. The central bank last
week said that gross domestic
product will probably stagnate
in 2015, highlighting the damage
wrought by a slump in oil prices and sanctions. A recession
would also force the government
into a п¬Ѓscal adjustment, Siluanov said.
“We’ll have to take a more
strict approach to the budget
and use all our crisis-п¬Ѓghting
tools,” Siluanov said. “We’ll have
to adjust our budget strategy
and review priorities. All social
obligations will be met, nobody
plans to revise them, but second-tier priorities will be postponed.”
Brent crude, the grade traders
look at for pricing Russia’s Urals
main export blend, has fallen
28% this year. As the market
enters a period of a weaker demand, the price may fall further
in the п¬Ѓrst half of the next year,
according to the International
Energy Agency.
There’s a 70% chance of a recession in the next 12 months,
according to the median estimate of 27 economists in a
survey October 30. That’s the
highest since Bloomberg started
tracking the п¬Ѓgure two years ago,
up from 60% last month.
Even so, Russia predicts the
decline will be more moderate
than in the wake of the collapse
of Lehman Brothers Holding,
when the country’s economic
output plunged 7.8%, Siluanov
said.“The drop in oil prices and
the economic contraction won’t
be as serious as we had in 20082009,” Siluanov said. “Growth
will recover after the economy
adapts to new conditions.”
Russia central bank head
defends currency float
Moscow to
hold rouble
bond auction
he head of Russia’s central bank
defended yesterday its decision
to float the rouble, saying it had
restricted speculative attacks on the
currency and the country’s financial
markets were resilient to a slump in oil
The central bank has been under
intense pressure to stem a slide in the
rouble, which has fallen almost 30%
against the dollar this year as oil prices
have plummeted and sanctions over
the Ukraine crisis have locked Russian
п¬Ѓrms out of international capital markets.
Since floating the rouble earlier this
month, the bank has emphasised it reserves the right to carry out large, ad
hoc interventions to defend the currency – a warning Governor Elvira Nabiullina reiterated.
“A floating exchange rate allows to
reduce speculative pressure on the rouble, which has played a far from minor
role in the currency’s recent slide,” she
told the lower house of parliament.
“We have warned market players that
we are ready to come out with unexpected interventions if events develop
negatively. In these conditions, speculative strategies become far more risky.”
The central bank has spent over
$70bn of its reserves defending the
rouble this year, but still has a $420bn
cash pile at its disposal.
The rouble’s slide has prompted criticism of the bank’s policies from some
prominent officials, including one of
President Vladimir Putin’s economic
advisers, Sergei Glazyev, who called last
month for a п¬Ѓxed exchange rate.
Nabiullina said there was no effective
alternative to a floating exchange rate.
She said continuing to manage the
rouble rate would have led to larger
losses of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves and that she saw no
need for legislative restrictions on
speculation on п¬Ѓnancial markets.
“The financial markets are stable, the
banking sector continues to function
normally, and this reflects the fact that
our п¬Ѓnancial system is now far more resilient than in previous years and much
Nabiullina: Restricting speculative attacks on the currency and financial markets.
better prepared for serious volatility in
oil prices,” Nabiullina said.
The rouble has recovered about 4%
from an all-time low of 48.65 against
the dollar which it touched on October
7. The rouble jumped 0.8% yesterday
and Russian shares rose after the European Union held off imposing new
sanctions though broader emerging
equities slipped for the fourth day, their
mood soured by weak Chinese housing
The rouble rose to a п¬Ѓve-session
high to the dollar as European Union
governments sounded the alarm on an
upsurge in violence in Ukraine but took
no action to impose further sanctions
on Moscow.
Other emerging currencies such as
the rand and lira also п¬Ѓrmed half a per
cent, as the dollar index dropped.
Russian dollar-denominated shares
jumped 1.7% while rouble stocks rose
0.5%. Rouble volatility – a gauge of expected swings in a currency – has also
been easing since hitting a record 36%
a week ago.
UBS strategist Manik Narain said the
EU sanctions issue was providing some
modest relief but noted: “This is taking
place within the context of significant
rouble weakness over the past sessions
so it is just a bit of profit taking.”
“The risk of further sanctions has
not been eliminated, it is just that there
have not been any implemented today.”
Nabiullina’s comments defending
the rouble float could ultimately weak-
en the rouble further, Societe Generale
analyst Phoenix Kalen said, adding:
“They imply they are comfortable with
current levels of rouble weakness.”
Meanwhile Ukraine’s hryvnia rose
marginally at a central bank auction,
after tumbling 14% since November5 when an unofficial dollar peg was
There was no respite however for
Nigeria’s naira which tumbled another
1.5% to the dollar though stocks were
MSCI’s emerging equity index
nudged lower while Asian ex-Japan
shares eased 0.3% after China home
prices clocked their biggest fall since
2011, pointing to a sustained property
market downturn.
Russia plans to hold a rouble-bond
auction today, returning to the
market after five cancelled weekly
auctions amid a rout in the Russian
The Finance Ministry will offer 5bn
roubles ($107mn) of local-currency
securities due in May 2016, a
statement on the ministry’s website
The yield on the notes increased
seven basis points to 9.79% at 3:14
pm in Moscow, six basis points
below a five-year high. Russia
skipped five sales in a row as oil’s
plunge and sanctions over Ukraine
sent borrowing costs soaring and
drove the rouble to record lows.
The country is selling debt as part of
a 200bn-rouble fundraising target
by year end, of which it has raised
less than 8% so far.
The rouble is advancing against
the dollar for a second day after
15% weakening since the end of
September, the worst slide among
24 emerging- market currencies
tracked by Bloomberg.
“The Finance Ministry senses that
it may not be able to borrow at a
cheaper rate, so it’s going ahead
now,” Konstantin Nemnov, the
head of fixed income at TKB BNP
Paribas Investment Partners in St
Petersburg, said by phone.
It “wants to signal the new normal
during a storm,” he said.
The rouble’s depreciation has
helped boost government revenue
from exports denominated in
foreign currencies.
Russia’s budget surplus swelled to
1.11tn roubles in the first nine months
of 2014, a 70% jump from the yearearlier period.
Sensex, rupee end little changed as investors book profits
ndian shares ended little changed
yesterday, retreating from record
highs hit earlier in the session, as
investors booked profits even as rising
confidence in the domestic economy
and rate-cut hopes boosted п¬Ѓrms such
as Larsen & Toubro.
Investors preferred shares of domestically-focused companies to those in
export-driven п¬Ѓrms such as Infosys.
They hope Prime Minister Narendra
Modi will unveil a slew of reforms including goods and services tax and
changes in land acquisition laws.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India is expected to cut interest rates as
early as in February, helping spur economic growth. Underlying sentiment
also remained robust on continued foreign buying. Overseas investors bought
shares worth Rs6.56bn ($106.28mn) on
Monday, bringing their total purchase
in stocks to $15.35bn so far in 2014.
“Indexes are consolidating. Defensives
are being de-selected in the portfolio
while old economy stocks are gaining
on rate-cut hopes,” said Deven Choksey, managing director at K R Choksey
The BSE index rose as much as 0.37%
to an all-time high of 28,282.85 before ending down 0.05%. The NSE index closed 0.06% lower after hitting a
record high of 8,454.50.
Domestic economy-driven shares
led gains. L&T advanced 1.8%, while
HDFC Bank rose 1.4%. Bharat Heavy
Electricals rose 2%, while IDFC gained
3.1%. Exporters fell on portfolio churning. Infosys dropped 0.9%, while Tata
Consultancy Services lost 1.2%. Power
Grid Corp of India rose 1.1%, while
Punjab National Bank ended up 2%.
Among drug exporters, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries lost 1.9%, while
Cipla ended 0.9% lower. Shares of
jewellery companies also fell after the
central bank said it was discussing increasing restrictions on gold imports.
Titan Company fell 1.1%, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri lost 2.3% and Shree
Ganesh Jewellery House ended down
Meanwhile the rupee also ended little changed yesterday after earlier hitting a one-month low as oil companies
accelerated dollar purchases, offsetting
optimism that new stimulus measures
in Japan would continue to push foreign
investors into emerging markets.
European shares rose and bond
yields fell yesterday on strong German
investor sentiment data and hopes that
a possible snap election in Japan might
lead to more economic stimulus measures. Any measures by Japan to stimulate its economy via monetary easing
could raise expectations of inflows into
emerging markets such as India at a
time when the European Central Bank
is also contemplating more measures of
its own.
But the rupee has so far failed to benefit from these expectations, given the
broader global gains in the dollar, and
has shed around 0.63% in the month
so far. “The global growth scenario is
far more weaker than before. The rupee
should remain in the 61-62 range in the
near term.” said Anindya Banerjee, a
currency analyst at Kotak Securities in
The partially convertible rupee
closed at 61.74/75 per dollar versus its
previous close of 61.73/74, after earlier
touching a low of 61.8750, its weakest
level since October 16. Traders said oil
importers stepped up dollar purchases.
The rupee also failed to give much
of a lift from domestic shares, which
hit record highs earlier in the day, but
ended largely flat as investors booked
profits. In the offshore non-deliverable
forwards, the one-month contract was
at 62.01/11 while the three-month was
at 62.54/64.
Asia markets mixed after record close on Wall St
sian markets were mixed yesterday, with Tokyo leading
gainers on bargain-buying after
the previous day’s sell-off, while Wall
Street provided some support with another record close.
Hong Kong and Shanghai extended
their previous day’s losses, despite a
new trading link-up between the two
Tokyo—which lost almost 3% Monday on news Japan’s economy was in
recession—jumped 2.18%, or 370.26
points, to 17,344.06.
Seoul added 1.20%, or 23.38 points,
to 1,967.01 and Sydney fell 0.24%, or
12.8 points, to close at 5,399.7.
Hong Kong lost 1.13%, or 267.91
points, to end at 23,529.17 and Shanghai shed 0.71%, or 17.64 points, to
In other markets, Bangkok climbed
0.78%, or 12.20 points, to 1,581.27;
Bangchak Petroleum soared 4.23% to
37baht, while Bank of Ayudhya rose
3.65% to 49.75 baht.
Malaysia’s main stock index rose
11.90 points, or 0.66%, to close at
1,818.38; Public Bank added 0.22% to
18.30 ringgit, Malayan Banking gained
0.42% to 9.59 while Genting Malaysia
lost 0.98% to 4.03 ringgit.
Jakarta ended up 0.96%, or 48.53
points, at 5,102.47; cigarette maker
Gudang Garam rose 3.70% to 62,425
rupiah, while food producer Indofood
Sukses Makmur lost 0.37% to 6,650
Singapore rose 0.76%, or 25.06
points, to 3,313.73; public transport
п¬Ѓrm ComfortDelgro rose 1.53% to
Sg$2.65 while oil rig maker Keppel
Corp gained 0.22% to Sg$9.18.
Taipei fell 0.28%, or 25.32 points,
to 8,859.07; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co eased 1.13% to
Tw$131.5 while Hon Hai Precision was
0.10% lower at Tw$95.5.
Wellington added 0.30%, or 14.80
points, to end at 5,505.03; Spark rose
0.31% to NZ$3.275 and Nuplex gained
0.96% to NZ$3.15.
Manila added 0.64%, or 45.94
points, to 7,275.66; Philippine Long
Distance Telephone was up 0.07% to
2,994 pesos and South Asia Cement
Holdings surged 13.12% to 2.50 pesos
but Alliance Global fell 2.69% to 23.55
Tokyo closed before Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe said he would dissolve the
lower house of parliament on Friday,
ahead of a snap general election, and
was delaying an expected sales tax rise.
The announcement came after data
Monday showed the Japanese economy was in recession, hammered by a
sales tax hike in April.
News of the recession initially sent
the dollar soaring above ВҐ117 for the
п¬Ѓrst time since mid-2007 before it
sank below ВҐ116 in Asia.
But the greenback clawed back most
of its losses to end Monday at ВҐ116.63
in New York. Yesterday in Tokyo it was
at ВҐ116.70.
The euro edged up against the dollar after sinking Monday in response
to comments from European Central
Bank chief Mario Draghi that the lender is ready to step up its asset purchases
to counter ultra-low inflation.
The single currency bought $1.2482
and ВҐ145.68 compared with $1.2448
and ВҐ145.19.
US markets took the Japan п¬Ѓgures in
their stride. The S&P 500 rose 0.07%
to a new record, while the Dow also
gained 0.07% but fell just short of another all-time high. The Nasdaq fell
In Hong Kong and Shanghai investors sold up for a second day after data
showed new home sales in China fell
again in October. Increasing weakness
in the property sector has been partly
blamed for the slowdown in the world’s
number two economy and key driver of
global growth.
And for a second day mainlanders largely stayed away from investing in Hong Kong after the opening of
the cross-exchange Connect scheme
The tie-up allows international investors to trade selected stocks on
Shanghai’s tightly restricted exchange
and let mainland investors buy shares
in Hong Kong.
But China-based investors bought
just 7.6% of their daily allowance of
Hong Kong shares yesterday, while
Hong Kong dealers picked up less than
a third of their Shanghai quota.
On Monday, the day of the Connect
launch, dealers in Hong Hong bought
up their quota of mainland shares, but
mainland dealers used up less than
20%. Oil prices fell on dimming expectations that the Opec oil cartel will cut
output, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell 14
cents to $75.50 while Brent crude for
January was down 39 cents at $78.92 in
afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,202 an ounce, compared with $1,186.55 late Monday.
A businessman walks past a share prices board in Tokyo. Japanese stocks
jumped 370.26 points to 17,344.06 yesterday.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Al Abdullatif 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
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
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 Cement
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
Al Mouwasat Medical Services
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudi 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
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
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
United Industries Co
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
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
Pearl Of Kuwait Real Estate
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 Kscc
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
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
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
Al-Qurain Petrochemicals Co
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group
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
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Union Real Estate Co
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways
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
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al-Nawadi Holding Co K.S.C
Kuwait Finance House
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
National Pharmaceutical-Rts
National Pharmaceutical
National Packaging Fac
National Mineral Water
National Hospitality Institu
National Gas Co
National Finance Co
National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
Dhofar Intl Development
Dhofar Insurance
Dhofar University
Dhofar Power Co
Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu
Dhofar Cattlefeed
Al Batinah Dev & Inv
Dhofar Beverages Co
Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
Bank Dhofar Saog
Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
Areej Vegetable Oils
Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
Al-Omaniya Financial Service
Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank
Abu Dhabi National Takaful C
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co
Sudan Telecommunications Co$
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 Ind-Julp
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-Asmak
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 -$Us
Securities & Investment Co
Seef Properties
Sudan Telecommunications Co$
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 Kscc
Gulf Finance House Ec
Bahrain Family Leisure Co
Esterad Investment Co B.S.C.
Bahrain Duty Free Complex
Bahrain Car Park Co
Bahrain Cinema Co
Bahrain Tourism Co
Bahraini Saudi Bank/The
Bahrain National Holding
Bankmuscat Saog
Bmmi Bsc
Bmb Investment Bank
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C
Bahrain Flour Mills Co
Bahrain Commercial Facilitie
Bbk Bsc
Bahrain Telecom Co
Bahrain Ship Repair & Engin
Albaraka Banking Group
Banader Hotels Co
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Lt Price
% Chg
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Company Name
Microsoft Corp
Exxon Mobil Corp
Johnson & Johnson
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
General Electric Co
Procter & Gamble Co/The
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Chevron Corp
Verizon Communications Inc
Pfizer Inc
Coca-Cola Co/The
At&T Inc
Merck & Co. Inc.
Intel Corp
Intl Business Machines Corp
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Walt Disney Co/The
Cisco Systems Inc
Home Depot Inc
3M Co
United Technologies Corp
Mcdonald’s Corp
American Express Co
Unitedhealth Group Inc
Boeing Co/The
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Nike Inc -Cl B
Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours
Caterpillar Inc
Travelers Cos Inc/The
Lt Price
% Chg
FTSE 100
Company Name
Wpp Plc
Wolseley Plc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Whitbread Plc
Weir Group Plc/The
Vodafone Group Plc
United Utilities Group Plc
Unilever Plc
Tullow Oil Plc
Tui Travel Plc
Travis Perkins Plc
Tesco Plc
Standard Life Plc
Standard Chartered Plc
St James’s Place Plc
Sse Plc
Sports Direct International
Smiths Group Plc
Smith & Nephew Plc
Shire Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Schroders Plc
Sainsbury (J) Plc
Sage Group Plc/The
Sabmiller Plc
Rsa Insurance Group Plc
Royal Mail Plc
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-B Shs
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-A Shs
Royal Bank Of Scotland Group
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc
Rio Tinto Plc
Reed Elsevier Plc
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc
Randgold Resources Ltd
Prudential Plc
Petrofac Ltd
Persimmon Plc
Pearson Plc
Old Mutual Plc
Next Plc
National Grid Plc
Mondi Plc
Meggitt Plc
Marks & Spencer Group Plc
London Stock Exchange Group
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Legal & General Group Plc
Land Securities Group Plc
Kingfisher Plc
Johnson Matthey Plc
Itv Plc
Intu Properties Plc
Intl Consolidated Airline-Di
Intertek Group Plc
Intercontinental Hotels Grou
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc
Imi Plc
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hargreaves Lansdown Plc
Hammerson Plc
Glencore Plc
Glaxosmithkline Plc
Gkn Plc
G4s Plc
Friends Life Group Ltd
Fresnillo Plc
Experian Plc
Easyjet Plc
Dixons Carphone Plc
Direct Line Insurance Group
Diageo Plc
Crh Plc
Compass Group Plc
Coca-Cola Hbc Ag-Cdi
Centrica Plc
Carnival Plc
Capita Plc
Burberry Group Plc
Bunzl Plc
Bt Group Plc
British Sky Broadcasting Gro
British Land Co Plc
British American Tobacco Plc
Bp Plc
Bhp Billiton Plc
Bg Group Plc
Barclays Plc
Bae Systems Plc
Babcock Intl Group Plc
Aviva Plc
Astrazeneca Plc
Associated British Foods Plc
Ashtead Group Plc
Arm Holdings Plc
Antofagasta Plc
Anglo American Plc
Aggreko Plc
Admiral Group Plc
Aberdeen Asset Mgmt Plc
3I Group Plc
#N/A Invalid Security
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Inpex Corp
Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd
Sekisui House Ltd
Kirin Holdings Co Ltd
Japan Tobacco Inc
Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
Toray Industries Inc
Asahi Kasei Corp
Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd
Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Kao Corp
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Astellas Pharma Inc
Eisai Co Ltd
Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd
Fujifilm Holdings Corp
Shiseido Co Ltd
Jx Holdings Inc
Lt Price
% Chg
Lt Price
Dow Jones Indus. Avg
S&P 500 Index
Nasdaq Composite Index
S&P/Tsx Composite Index
Mexico Bolsa Index
Brazil Bovespa Stock Idx
Ftse 100 Index
Cac 40 Index
Dax Index
Ibex 35 Tr
Nikkei 225
Japan Topix
Hang Seng Index
All Ordinaries Indx
Nzx All Index
Bse Sensex 30 Index
Nse S&P Cnx Nifty Index
Straits Times Index
Karachi All Share Index
Jakarta Composite Index
Company Name
Bridgestone Corp
Asahi Glass Co Ltd
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Meta
Sumitomo Metal Industries
Kobe Steel Ltd
Jfe Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries
Smc Corp
Komatsu Ltd
Kubota Corp
Daikin Industries Ltd
Hitachi Ltd
Toshiba Corp
Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Nidec Corp
Nec Corp
Fujitsu Ltd
Panasonic Corp
Sharp Corp
Sony Corp
Tdk Corp
Keyence Corp
Denso Corp
Fanuc Corp
Rohm Co Ltd
Kyocera Corp
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd
Nitto Denko Corp
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Nissan Motor Co Ltd
Toyota Motor Corp
Honda Motor Co Ltd
Suzuki Motor Corp
Nikon Corp
Hoya Corp
Canon Inc
Ricoh Co Ltd
Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd
Nintendo Co Ltd
Itochu Corp
Marubeni Corp
Mitsui & Co Ltd
Tokyo Electron Ltd
Sumitomo Corp
Mitsubishi Corp
Aeon Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Gro
Resona Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdin
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Gr
Bank Of Yokohama Ltd/The
Mizuho Financial Group Inc
Orix Corp
Daiwa Securities Group Inc
Nomura Holdings Inc
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdin
Ms&Ad Insurance Group Holdin
Dai-Ichi Life Insurance
Tokio Marine Holdings Inc
T&D Holdings Inc
Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd
Sumitomo Realty & Developmen
East Japan Railway Co
West Japan Railway Co
Central Japan Railway Co
Ana Holdings Inc
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
Kddi Corp
Ntt Docomo Inc
Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc
Chubu Electric Power Co Inc
Kansai Electric Power Co Inc
Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc
Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc
Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
Secom Co Ltd
Yamada Denki Co Ltd
Fast Retailing Co Ltd
Softbank Corp
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Zee Entertainment Enterprise
Wipro Ltd
Ultratech Cement Ltd
Tech Mahindra Ltd
Tata Steel Ltd
Tata Power Co Ltd
Tata Motors Ltd
Tata Consultancy Svcs Ltd
Sun Pharmaceutical Indus
State Bank Of India
Sesa Sterlite Ltd
Reliance Industries Ltd
Punjab National Bank
Power Grid Corp Of India Ltd
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
Ntpc Ltd
Nmdc Ltd
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
Lupin Ltd
Larsen & Toubro Ltd
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd
Itc Ltd
Infosys Ltd
Indusind Bank Ltd
Idfc Ltd
Icici Bank Ltd
Housing Development Finance
Hindustan Unilever Ltd
Hindalco Industries Ltd
Hero Motocorp Ltd
Hdfc Bank Limited
Hcl Technologies Ltd
Grasim Industries Ltd
Gail India Ltd
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Dlf Ltd
Coal India Ltd
Cipla Ltd
Cairn India Ltd
Bharti Airtel Ltd
Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
Bharat Heavy Electricals
Bank Of Baroda
Bajaj Auto Ltd
Axis Bank Ltd
Asian Paints Ltd
Ambuja Cements Ltd
Acc Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange yesterday.
The DAX 30 motored ahead 1.61% to close at 9,456.53 points yesterday.
European stocks, euro rebound
with German investor sentiment
uropean stock markets and
the euro raced higher yesterday on news that investor
sentiment had rebounded in Germany in a sign that the eurozone’s
biggest economy is overcoming its
brief malaise.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100
index rose 0.56% to end the day at
6,709.13 points, while Frankfurt’s DAX
30 motored ahead 1.61% to 9,456.53
points and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed
0.86% to 4,262.38 points.
Rome gained 0.71% and Madrid
mustered a 1.20% gain.
The European single currency increased to $1.2538 from $1.2448 late in
New York on Monday.
After hitting a 22-month low in
October, the widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the
ZEW economic institute was back in
positive territory in November, jumping to 11.5 points from minus 3.6 points
the previous month.
“European stock markets took heart
from a big turnaround in German investor confidence on Tuesday with
bullish sentiment remaining over the
prospect raised on Monday of government bond purchases by the ECB,” said
analyst Jasper Lawler at CMC Markets
The ZEW barometer increased for
the п¬Ѓrst time so far this year, soothing investor concerns over the German
economy, which narrowly avoided a
recession in the third quarter.
Europe’s equity markets had
bounced into modest gains on Monday after European Central Bank chief
Mario Draghi hinted at more steps to
tackle the threat of deflation.
“Stocks remain underpinned by
comments from Draghi ... that an expanded asset purchase programme
could include government bonds,”
added Atif Latif, head of trading at
Guardian Stockbrokers.
In London, energy explorer Tullow Oil was the biggest gainer following positive broker comment. Tullow
shares jumped 3.6% to 475 pence.
In Paris, trading in Areva shares was
suspended after leaked reports—later
confirmed by the nuclear giant—that it
was abandoning its 2014 п¬Ѓnancial targets and suspending those for the next
two years.
The state-owned company has suffered in recent years as interest in nuclear power has cooled following the
2011 Fukushima catastrophe in Japan,
and recently announced it would step
up sales of non-strategic assets and cut
investments to shore up its п¬Ѓnances.
Company Name
Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of East Asia
Bank Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of Communications Co-H
Belle International Holdings
Boc Hong Kong Holdings Ltd
Cathay Pacific Airways
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd
China Coal Energy Co-H
China Construction Bank-H
China Life Insurance Co-H
China Merchants Hldgs Intl
China Mobile Ltd
China Overseas Land & Invest
China Petroleum & Chemical-H
China Resources Enterprise
China Resources Land Ltd
China Resources Power Holdin
China Shenhua Energy Co-H
China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd
Citic Ltd
Clp Holdings Ltd
Cnooc Ltd
Cosco Pacific Ltd
Esprit Holdings Ltd
Fih Mobile Ltd
Hang Lung Properties Ltd
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
Henderson Land Development
Back in the foreign exchange market, the British pound hit a one-month
low against the euro on news that
12-month inflation rose to 1.3% in October from 1.2% in September. Expectations had been for no change.
The euro rose to 80.13 British pence
from 79.61 late on Monday. The pound
meanwhile п¬Ѓrmed to $1.5648, up from
$1.5637 on Monday.
The yen remained under pressure
following Monday’s news that the
Japanese economy has slumped into
recession, with Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe saying yesterday he was calling a
snap election and delaying an expected
sales tax rise.
The euro surged as high as ВҐ146.70,
the highest level since October 2008.
And the dollar rose as high ВҐ117.05,
touching a peak it set in October 2007.
On the London Bullion Market, the
price of gold rose to $1,192.75 an ounce
from $1,182.50 late on Monday.
Wall Street pushed higher yesterday,
a day after huge takeovers in the oil and
pharmaceutical sectors helped lift the
S&P 500 to a new record.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 0.24% to stand at 17,689.51 points
in midday trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 added
0.42% to 2,049.83, while the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.55%
to 4,696.80.
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Hong Kong & China Gas
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H
Li & Fung Ltd
Mtr Corp
New World Development
Petrochina Co Ltd-H
Ping An Insurance Group Co-H
Power Assets Holdings Ltd
Sino Land Co
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Swire Pacific Ltd-A
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Wharf Holdings Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Doha Securities Market
Saudi Tadawul
Kuwait Stocks Exchange
Bahrain Stock Exchage
Oman Stock Market
Abudhabi Stock Market
Dubai Financial Market
Lt Price
“Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The
accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended
as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank
or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on
this data.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Abe’s tax delay launches
aggressive stimulus plan
Dow Jones
Abe: Prioritising growth over reducing public debt.
Japan bank to
pay $315mn for
report on deals
apanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s decision to delay a tax increase launches a new, more aggressive phase of his crusade to boost
Japan’s economy, prioritising growth
over reducing public debt, a decision
that is likely to be closely watched in the
US and Europe.
The sales tax was scheduled to rise
next October as part of efforts to cut
back on Japan’s huge public borrowings. Yesterday, though, Abe said the
government would delay doing so for 18
months, after a similar increase in April
played a role in pushing Japan into recession in the third quarter. In addition,
Abe said he was compiling a fresh package of tax and spending measures to
help give the economy more of a shortterm lift.
By doing so, Abe and his advisers
seem to be learning from Europe, where
critics say an early focus on debt reduction – rather than a more single-minded goal of boosting demand through fiscal and monetary means –exacerbated
the continent’s economic problems.
The gambit is risky. Japan’s public
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi has
agreed to pay $315mn to New
York’s banking regulator for
submitting a whitewashed report
about its improper handling of
transactions involving countries
subject to US sanctions, the
regulator said yesterday.
The report formed the basis for
a $250mn settlement the bank,
the largest in Japan, reached last
year with New York’s Department
of Financial Services for stripping
information from wires that would
have helped authorities police
transactions involving Iran, Burma
and Myanmar from 2002 to 2007.
As part of the latest accord, the
bank will move its US sanctions
compliance and anti-money
laundering operations to New
York, the department said in a
Several bank executives also
were targeted by the regulator for
alleged wrongdoing, one of whom
resigned under pressure, the
regulator said.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC),
which produced the report for the
bank, agreed in August to pay the
regulator $25mn and refrain from
certain work in New York for two
years for altering its findings amid
pressure from bank lawyers and
The bank’s compliance manager,
Tetsuro Anan, resigned after the
regulator demanded his firing,
the regulator said. Anan asked
PwC to remove key information
from the report about the bank’s
conduct, New York’s Department
of Financial Services, said.
Two former executives who now
work at bank affiliates will be
banned from doing business with
any New York banks regulated
by the Department of Financial
Services, the agency said.
The executives are Akira Kamiya,
deputy president of Mitsubishi
UFJ Securities Holdings and
Tetsuji Kamisawa, executive
deputy president of the Defined
Contribution Plan Consulting of
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BTMU)
is the core banking unit of
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
“BTMU employees pressured
PwC into watering down a
supposedly objective report on
the bank’s dealings with Iran and
other sanctioned countries,” DFS
superintendent Benjamin Lawsky
said in a statement. “We, as a
regulatory community, must work
aggressively to reform the cozy
relationship between banks and
A spokesman for Bank of TokyoMitsubishi declined comment. The
executives could not immediately
be reached for comment.
near-zero interest rates are blunting the
effectiveness of monetary stimulus. He
argued in an interview on Friday, that
Japan should rely on more spending increases and tax cuts, which flow more
directly into the economy.
“I’m not sure how effective monetary
policy will be,” Summers said. “Fiscal
policy seems much more likely to be effective.”
Those close to Abe seem to be coming around to the view that п¬Ѓscal policy
should do more to help monetary policy, although hawks in the government,
especially at the п¬Ѓnance ministry, worry that high debt could lead investors to
sour on Japan.
“This is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get ourselves out of deflation,”
Etsuro Honda, an economic adviser
to the prime minister, told reporters
yesterday. “From this perspective, it
is dangerous to raise the consumption
Japan’s struggle to find the right balance between central bank stimulus
and п¬Ѓscal consolidation mirrors difficulties faced by policy makers in Europe
and the US as they seek a sustainable
exit from the lingering weakness of the
post-п¬Ѓnancial crisis global economy
over the past four years.
Sony targets robust entertainment
revenue growth for restructuring
Tokyo/New York
debt load, at more than twice the size
of the economy, is the highest among
advanced economies. The International
Monetary Fund, even as it concluded
recently that it had erred in pushing Europe too hard on debt reduction, urged
Japan last month to go forward with its
tax increase.
“Given very high public debt, implementation of the second consumption tax increase is critical to establish
a track record of fiscal discipline,” the
IMF said in an October report.
For Abe, the decision to recalibrate
his Abenomics revival programme was
cemented following the surprise news
on Monday that Japan’s economy had
contracted for two straight quarters,
less than two years after he took office
with a bold pledge to break the country’s deflation, a vicious cycle of falling
prices, wages, spending and investment
that has haunted Japan for more than a
Government economists had assured
Abe the April sales-tax increase would
do minimal damage because it came after a huge injection of new money into
the economy from the Bank of Japan.
Others think Japan should do more.
Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers believes that Japan’s
ony Corp aims to lift its movie
entertainment revenues by more
than a third in the next three
years, its chief executive said yesterday
as the loss-making consumer electronics firm tries to counter flagging smartphones sales.
CEO Kazuo Hirai has been under
pressure to show the entertainment
business can be a strong contributor to
revenue after rejecting last year a proposal by US hedge fund Third Point to
spin off the segment.
Investors are also watching for signs
that Sony’s restructuring under Hirai,
who was appointed in 2012, is bearing fruit. In September, Sony scrapped
dividends for the п¬Ѓrst time since going
public citing deep losses in the smartphone unit.
Speaking at an investor briefing,
Hirai promised to unveil a longer-term
growth plan for the entire company before end-March, but declined to give
details. “I understand that everyone
expects me to show how Sony can be
changed into a highly profitable company... and to unveil a roadmap towards
growth for the overall company,” he
Last month, Sony posted a smallerthan-expected second-quarter operating loss, which was hailed by its п¬Ѓnance chief as proof the restructuring
was working. The result, however was
weighed down by its smartphone unit,
which was hit by competition from
budget Chinese companies.
Hirai said Sony Pictures Entertainment, the unit behind “The Amazing
Spider-Man” and TV drama “Breaking
Bad”, aims for sales of $10-11bn in the
year ending March 2018, up as much
as 36% over the $8.1bn forecast for this
year. It would target an operating profit
margin between 7 and 8% in the year
ending March 2018, up from the 6.6%
forecast for this year.
Sony also said it is aiming for revenue
of $4.8bn to $5.2bn from its music division in three years’ time, which compares with a forecast of $4.8bn for the
current year.
Sony Pictures and Sony Music are
forecast to account for around 18% of
overall sales this year, slightly more
than the mobile business. Sony’s shares
closed more than 6% higher at ВҐ2,478.5,
while the Nikkei stock market average
rose over 2%.
Atul Goyal, an analyst at Jefferies,
said the higher revenue forecast was a
reminder that the entertainment unit
was valuable for Sony. But even after
stopping making personal computers and winding down its smartphone
business in China, Sony may have to
exit more consumer product lines, he
said. Sony is due to hold another briefing on November 25, when it is expected
to outline plans for its electronics divisions, including smartphones.
Hirai: Promising to unveil a longer-term growth plan for the entire company
before end-March.
India may
take new
steps to
curb gold
New Delhi
Leading gold buyer India
may clamp fresh controls
soon on soaring imports
of the precious metal that
have widened the country’s
trade deficit, a report said
Gold imports in October leapt
to $4.17bn from $1.09bn in the
year-ago period, trade figures
on Monday showed.
“Things are being worked
out by the finance ministry
and some announcements
(restrictions) may come in a
day or two,” the Press Trust of
India news agency quoted a
source as saying. Other Indian
media carried similar reports.
Indians have been flocking
to buy the yellow metal for
weddings and the Hindu
festival season when it is
seen as an auspicious time to
purchase gold.
The buying spree vaulted
the country back into the
number-one gold consumer
spot globally during the last
financial quarter after India
fell to second-place behind
Indian imports aside from gold
were muted, reflecting a still
weak economy. But the gold
purchases drove the trade
deficit to $13.3bn in October, up
from $10.6bn a year earlier, the
trade data showed.
India imports around 90% of
its gold needs and its 1.2bn
population is estimated
to have one of the world’s
biggest private gold hoards of
up to 20,000 tonnes.
Jewellery is also bought as
an investment in the form of
bars, coins and exchangetraded funds. In India, where
inflation is traditionally high,
gold is seen as an ultimate
safeguard of value.
The previous Congress
government raised the duty
on gold imports several
times in 2013 to a record
10% to ward off a balance-ofpayments crisis and made
it compulsory to re-export
some of the metal.
India’s new government,
elected in May, relaxed some
controls after gold imports
fell. But Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley last month raised the
possibility of new curbs as
imports surged. Local media
reported that top officials of
the finance ministry and the
central bank met last week to
consider tightening import
controls on gold.
Jewellers suffered last year
as the import restrictions and
taxes led to a 40% decline
in sales during the Diwali
holiday season. The curbs did
however help India to bring
down its current-account
deficit to 1.7% of gross
domestic product in the fiscal
year ended March.
Luxury automakers vie for China foothold
Guangzhou, China
Ralf Speth, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of Tata Motors, stands alongside
the company’s new Jaguar XE during its World Premiere launch in London. Interest among foreign
firms in selling upscale cars in China show no sign of abating even as economic growth slows to
the weakest pace since first quarter 2009.
aimler AG will give its new luxury
baby, the Mercedes-Maybach limousine, a glitzy world debut at this week’s
Guangzhou autoshow, even as analysts warn
the end is nigh for China’s 10-year high-end car
sales boom.
The scale of the world’s biggest auto market
means the German п¬Ѓrm and peers like Jaguar
Land Rover simply can’t ignore it. Instead, to cut
costs and cushion potential discounts as luxury
demand cools, they’re starting or expanding
production in China.
Responding quickly to changing consumer
preferences since President Xi Jinping’s antiextravagance campaign began two years ago is
key for luxury automakers. IHS Automotive expects premium car sales growth will slow to 5%
by 2018 from an average annual growth rate of
30% over the past decade.
“We want to go for a sustainable growth,
growth with quality. It’s not just a volume game,”
Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said last
month in the eastern city of Changshu, where
the British п¬Ѓrm opened its п¬Ѓrst overseas plant.
Localising operations in China could help
luxury operators target fast responses to changing market trends. It could also help them avoid
heavy import duties and price their cars more
competitively. Interest among foreign п¬Ѓrms
in selling upscale cars in China show no sign
of abating even as economic growth slows to
the weakest pace since п¬Ѓrst quarter 2009. Last
month, Ford Motor Co launched its premium
Lincoln brand in the country, while Volkswagen
plans to introduce luxury cars in China next year.
But the market for ultra-luxury cars, defined by consultancy as those selling for more
than 2mn yuan ($326,632) apiece, has dropped
sharply. AT Kearney expects it will barely grow
over the next п¬Ѓve years.
Meanwhile, sales of less expensive premium
brands such as Land Rover and Germany’s BMW
have also shown signs of softening.
“The economy is bad,” said Robin Lu, founder
of a 12-year-old consultancy in Shanghai, who
has postponed his plan to replace his nine-yearold Chevy this year with a BMW. “I used to have
dozens of clients, but now, many of them, especially those in the manufacturing and luxury
sector, have left.”
Some auto dealers say customers are looking for lower showroom prices as the economy
cools. “Some people who could afford premium
cars, and have plans to buy them, have now
changed to �wait and see’ with cash in hand,”
said one senior manager of a large Hong Konglisted dealer group, speaking on condition of
anonymity. While luxury brands like General
Motors’ Cadillac and Nissan Motor’s Infiniti join
the rush to localise production, another strategy
is to sell smaller, or entry-premium cars.
AT Kearney’s Shanghai-based principal Andreas Graef said that downsizing trend is spreading to the ultra-luxury segment. “You have small
Rolls-Royce, smaller Bentleys,” said Graef. “You
probably will very soon have a smaller Maserati.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Australia pinning hopes on
free trade deal with China
Several key commodities excluded
from deal; commodities supply glut
in China curbing imports; healthcare
a bright spot as China’s population
trade deal signed with great fanfare between China and Australia
has been touted as a major step
towards Australia shifting its economy
from a “mining boom” to a “dining
boom,” but the reality is likely to be more
Australia is looking to replace its reliance on exports of minerals such as coal
and iron ore as mining investment wanes
and demand begins to dwindle. The government would prefer to expand its food
and agricultural exports to capitalise on
a rapidly growing Asian middle class.
It has high hopes for the proposal for
a free trade agreement (FTA) signed on
Monday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott
and Chinese President Xi, but the more
likely winner from the deal is the services sector.
The deal is designed to open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector, while easing
curbs on Chinese investment in Australia. China is already Australia’s top
trading partner, with two-way trade of
around A$150bn ($130bn) in 2013.
Several major agricultural foodstuffs,
including sugar, rice and cotton, are currently excluded from the FTA, and Australia’s frequent severe droughts impose
a natural production ceiling on those
sectors that are part of the pact.
Experts are waiting for the full text
of the pact, which Australia called the
best ever between Beijing and a Western country, warning the devil may
yet be in the detail. “Labor is deeply
concerned that key export sectors like
sugar have been told to expect nothing
from the deal,” said opposition Labor
Party leader Penny Wong. “Abbott has
talked about a two-step FTA. The fact is
Australia can’t afford a second-rate FTA
with China.”
HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham
said the deal would support Australia’s “great rebalancing act”, but others
warned the agricultural sector is comparatively tiny.
Of Australia’s total exports to China
of A$94.7bn in 2013, iron ore accounted
for A$52.7bn, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Wool,
the top agricultural export, made up just
Boosting agriculture also requires big
investment in isolated, dry and volatile
areas with limited water supply. Large
swathes of eastern Australia are currently in drought.
Australian farms’ return on capital
has seldom topped 2% in a year on average during the past decade, excluding
changes in land values, according to government research bureau ABARES. The
unpredictability of earnings is greater
than in the US, Africa and Brazil.
Meanwhile, the sugar, rice, wheat and
cotton sectors will have to wait three
years for a review of their tariffs. Even
then, any changes are likely to be contingent on Australia relaxing its existing
requirement that all investment proposals by Chinese state-owned entities be
scrutinised by the Foreign Investment
Review Board.
“In this day and age, sugar being excluded in what looks like a political
trade-off is an absolutely unacceptable
outcome,” said Paul Schembri, chairman
of industry group Canegrowers.
At the other end of the deal, China
faces a supply glut as economic growth
falters. Inventories of iron ore, coal and
cotton are bulging at ports across the
country and state granaries are overflowing. The Australian dairy industry’s
hopes of a “white gold” rush have been
Businesses last week complained
about Beijing’s response, using nontariff barriers from customs clearance to
quality restrictions, which would skirt
the FTA, to curb raw material imports.
The п¬Ѓnancial sector is also cautious,
noting the dominance of its Asian peers
in China. That means Australian businesses will probably dabble in niche
projects, rather than trying to compete
in core banking services.
Andrew Whitford, Westpac Banking Corp’s head of Greater China, said
it was still early days, and Westpac was
“certainly not going to be opening more
One sector where the road seems
clearer is healthcare.
Chinese per capita health spending is
growing the fastest in Asia, having quadrupled to $321 a year in 2012 from $80 in
2005, according to the World Bank.
China wants to shift to a community-based health system, as opposed to
hospital-based, to cut costs and ensure universal access, leaving it with a
shortage of providers in out-of-hospital health sectors like aged care and
An advanced aged care industry is
“one of Australia’s great comparative
advantages”, said Business Council of
Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott.
Peter Hope, who runs a pharmacy
in the small Australian state of Tasmania, said the new rules would allow him
to quickly expand beyond his already
planned Beijing store in April next year
to 1,000 franchises around China.
Beijing home prices fall despite policy support
hina’s home prices fell in October by the most since 2011, Reuters calculations show, in spite of
government support measures to try to
end a national downturn that threatens
to stifle economic growth.
Prices last month slumped 2.6% from
a year earlier, according to the calculations based on nationwide prices reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
House prices in the capital Beijing
dropped 1.3% year-on-year – the first
fall since October 2012.
Falling prices may deter investors
who are seeking capital gains, with
some analysts expecting the housing
market correction to continue.
“China’s housing market is still on
the way down in its correction,” said Bill
Adams, senior international economist
for PNC Financial Services Group.
“Real estate corrections can persist
for 5-7 years, meaning this slump in
China is likely to persist into 2015 and
2016 at least.”
But other analysts are more optimistic and believe the market may be bottoming. Liu Jianwei, senior statistician
at the NBS, said recent policy relaxations may have boosted home-buying
interest as developers promoted sales
to reduce inventories. He pointed to the
milder 0.8% month-on-month price
decline in October, versus September’s
1% monthly fall. Home price п¬Ѓgures
published since January 2011 are not
comparable with previous periods as
the bureau introduced a new calculation method. Adding to pessimism yesterday was news that foreign direct investment in January-October was down
1.2% from a year earlier.
The fashionable service sector attracted $53.1bn versus the modest
$32.5bn that flowed into once-rampant
manufacturing businesses.
Despite moderating FDI growth,
China has repeatedly said it expects its
FDI to hit a record high of $120bn this
year, barring no sharp changes in global
capital flows.
Falling housing prices have led the
government to cut mortgage rates and
minimum downpayment levels in late
September for some homebuyers. That
was one of its biggest steps this year to
boost an economy increasingly threatened by a sagging housing market,
which directly impacts on about 40
other sectors of the economy.
New home prices fell month-onmonth in 69 of the 70 major cities the
NBS monitors, unchanged from September. Year-on-year, home prices fell
in 67 cities in October, up from 58 in
September. Despite a range of stimulus
measures unveiled since April, China’s
annual growth slowed to 7.3% in the
third quarter, the weakest since the global п¬Ѓnancial crisis.
The bad loan ratio at Chinese banks
rose to 1.16% at the end of September,
up 0.09 percentage points from June,
adding to concerns that the slow economy and cooling property market might
hit banks and increase п¬Ѓnancial risks.
Foreign direct investment into China
reflected shifting patterns in global
commerce. Among the 10 biggest investors into China, flows from South
Korea expanded 26.4% on an annual
basis and from Britain surged 32.4%.
raises rates
after fuel
price hike
ndonesia’s central bank
raised interest rates yesterday for the п¬Ѓrst time in a year
in anticipation of surging inflation after the new government
increased the price of subsidised
fuel by over 30%.
At a special meeting called
following the price increase,
Bank Indonesia raised its key
rate by 25 basis points to 7.75%,
the п¬Ѓrst rise since November
last year and its highest level for
more than п¬Ѓve years.
President Joko Widodo announced the reduction in government fuel subsidies late
Monday, his п¬Ѓrst major move to
strengthen the economy since
taking office last month.
The government estimates the
fuel price rise will lead to about
$8bn of savings in next year’s
budget, money that Widodo
plans to divert to overhauling
infrastructure and funding policies to help the poorest.
But inflation is expected
to jump sharply in the coming weeks as the fuel price rise
pushes up the cost of transporting goods, and the central bank’s
move was aimed at keeping it in
“Even though there will be a
price increase in the short term,
Bank Indonesia... is sure that
inflation pressure will remain
under control and will be temporary,” bank governor Agus
Martowardojo said after the
more than seven-hour meeting.
The bank forecast that inflation will increase to between 7.7
and 8.1% by the end of the year.
It stood at 4.83% year-on-year
in October.
Despite some concerns that
a rate hike could further slow
growth, which sank to a п¬Ѓveyear low in the third quarter, the
bank said it remained confident
that its target of 5.1% this year
would still be achieved.
Economists have welcomed
the fuel price increase, with
Wellian Wiranto, from OCBC
Bank in Singapore, saying the
cash spent on subsidies “can now
be used to build schools for the
young and hospitals for the old,
rather than being burned in engines of cars idling in traffic jams”.
The payouts, which have in
the past gobbled up 20% of the
state budget, are also blamed for
a widening current account deficit. Reducing the subsidies was
seen as an urgently needed move
to revive the economy, but a price
increase is unpopular among the
public due to the effect on inflation, and small protests broke out
in major cities yesterday.
In Makassar, a protest hotspot
on central Sulawesi island, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 200 demonstrators outside a university,
who hurled stones and set motorbikes on п¬Ѓre.
The Organisation of Land
Transport Owners called for its
members to stage a nationwide
strike Wednesday in protest at
the price increase. The group
represents operators of public
transport across the archipelago,
including buses, minivans and
Indian billionaires fret on debt as coal auctions loom
New Delhi
Indian billionaires seeking to regain lost
coal mining permits face rising debt at
their companies when they take part in
auctions the government plans to hold
early next year.
Aggressive bidding may increase
acquisition costs, while staying away
isn’t an option as that would wreck
projects, according to Hindalco
Industries, Jindal Steel & Power and
Monnet Ispat & Energy. India’s top court
in September cancelled almost all of
the 218 coal mining permits given since
1993, terming the allocations arbitrary
and illegal.
“We are keen on participating,” Kumar
Mangalam Birla, the billionaire chairman
of Hindalco, the world’s largest maker of
rolled aluminium, said in an interview.
“The cost of acquiring will go up. The
cost of aluminium production has gone
up, and debt reduction will get delayed.”
Indian metal makers, utilities and
cement producers are among those
hurt most by the Supreme Court
decision that came amid cooling
demand and the slowest pace of
economic growth in a decade. The
companies are looking to get the
assets back to protect earnings as the
government, according to the coal
ministry, plans to auction 74 coal mines
by March 31, including 40 operational
ones. The nation’s top court rescinded
the licenses tainted by graft allegations
after the state’s auditor in 2012 found
that giving away the mines without an
auction may have cost the exchequer
Rs1.86tn ($30bn). India changed its law
in 2010 to adopt a policy of auctions
for granting coal mining permits to
companies for their own use. No mine
has so far been awarded through bids.
The court’s decision threatened to
deal a blow to the $1.9tn economy
already contending with coal shortages
caused by inadequate output growth
at monopoly producer Coal India Ltd
Supply bottlenecks led to idling of some
power plants, while severely hampering
supplies to some others.
The cancellation also put at risk at least
$47bn in investments ranging from
power plants to aluminium smelters,
according to Ashok Khurana, director
general of the Association of Power
“The impact of the auctions will be
two-pronged,” said K. Rajagopal, chief
financial officer at New Delhi-based
Jindal Steel, which is controlled by
billionaire Savitri Jindal’s family. “One is
on our debt levels and the other is on
our capex plans.”
Jindal Steel has reduced its investment
plans to Rs50bn for the year to March 31
from Rs60bn, Rajagopal said in a phone
interview. Further plans for next year
will depend on the “resource scenario,”
he said.
The company’s debt may rise 14% to
Rs400bn by March 2015 from earlier
estimates, he said. It more than doubled
in two years to Rs363.7bn as of March
2014, while Hindalco’s rose 58% to
Rs647bn in the same period.
“Whatever price we pay, we will need to
go to the banks,” said Ajay Bhat, group
chief financial officer at Monnet Ispat,
a New Delhi-based steel and electricity
producer. “We don’t have much cash.
While the coal mines will be a long-term
positive, in the immediate term, our
balance sheet will be stretched.”
Birla’s Hindalco lost two blocks that
were originally allocated to feed
its smelters in Odisha and Madhya
Pradesh, while Jindal Steel lost 10. They
will have to ward off competition from
rivals such as Sesa Sterlite and JSW
Steel, which didn’t have any operating
mines, said Alex Mathews, head of
research at brokerage Geojit BNP
Paribas Financial Services.
“There will be stiff competition,”
Mumbai-based Mathews said. “These
are capital intensive sectors and big
players would be interested in large coal
mines while smaller companies may bid
for blocks with lower reserve price.”
Although the court order has come as
a shock, the new competitive bidding
process may provide policy certainty,
Birla said in the November 10 interview
in his office in Mumbai.
“These are bids on mines that have
been the backbone on the basis of
which we have put up certain projects,”
Birla said. “It seems to me that the
government has thought through this
process of auctioning thoroughly, and
we might land up in a situation that
is actually better than what we had
An understanding among bidders for
mines that are advantageous to them
may also reduce competition and cap
the prices, said Giriraj Daga, a Mumbaibased analyst at Nirmal Bang Equities
Jindal Steel has slumped 47% since the
court on August 25 termed the coal
mine allocations illegal, compared with
a 7% gain the benchmark S&P BSE
Sensex. Hindalco has slipped 15% during
the same period.
Jindal Steel used coal from its Gare
Palma block in Chhattisgarh to feed
a 3mn metric tonne a year steel plant
in the state. The company was also
counting on a final permit for its Utkal
B1 coal block to fuel a steel project in
the eastern state of Odisha, the first in
the country to use gas produced from
thermal coal to run a steel mill. The
company is now buying coal to run the
plants. “If we don’t get back our mines,
it will be a big setback for us and we’ll
have to arrange for alternative sources
of raw materials,” said Ravi Uppal, Jindal
Steel’s managing director, said in an
interview. “If we do get them back, it will
still be a setback because of the price
we will have to pay.”
Coal generates 60% of India’s electricity
and a reliable supply of the fuel is
critical for Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s pledge of an unbroken power
supply by 2022.
The fuel is also used to fire cement
factories and metal smelters, such as
aluminum and steel. Local shortages
have driven many of the producers
to more expensive purchases from
overseas, raising cost for them and
proving a drain on India’s foreign
exchange reserves.
Coal India, under pressure to double
its output in four years to meet rising
demand, has failed to meet production
targets as slow approvals, lack of
transport infrastructure and difficulties
in land purchases impede the opening
of new mines.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Japan firm
in $8.6bn
fibre deal
with Boeing
Toyota unveils world’s 1st
mass market fuel-cell car
oyota said yesterday it would
start selling the world’s first
mass market fuel-cell car in Japan next month and elsewhere in 2015,
in what its top executive called an industry milestone.
The four-door Mirai sedan, powered by hydrogen and emitting nothing but water vapour from its tailpipe,
will launch with a price tag of ВҐ6.7mn
($57,500) in Japan, where Toyota expects to sell 400 units next year.
The car – whose name means “future” in Japanese – will hit the US and
some European countries, including
the United Kingdom, Germany and
Denmark, in 2015, it said.
“We are at a turning point in the automotive industry,” Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda said in a video message on the company’s website.
Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, hopes to sell more than 3,000
units of the car by the end of 2017 in
the US, and up to 100 annually in Europe.
The company added that is aiming
to produce “tens of thousands” of the
vehicle during the next decade.
Toyota’s hybrid gasoline-electric
offerings, including the Prius, have
sold more than seven million units
since their launch in 1997.
But a limited driving range and lack
of refuelling stations have hampered
development of fuel-cell and all-electric cars, which environmentalists say
could play a vital role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming.
The Mirai can travel about 650 kilometres (400 miles) without refuelling,
some three times further than an electric car, and its tank can be п¬Ѓlled in a
few minutes like gasoline engine vehicles, Toyota said.
“Mirai symbolises two major innovations,” Toyota executive vice president Mitsuhisa Kato said at a presentation yesterday in Tokyo.
“First, this is an innovative way to
solve global environmental and energy
problems... and the second, this innovation will help usher in a hydrogenbased society.”
Fuel-cell cars are seen as the Holy
Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice president of Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor, introduces the company’s fuel cell vehicle Mirai, meaning future, in Tokyo yesterday. The
Mirai, which can drive 650km from a charge of hydrogen, will go on sale in Japan with a price of $62,000 (ВҐ7.2mn) on December 15.
Grail of green cars as they are powered
by a chemical reaction of hydrogen and
oxygen, which produces nothing more
harmful than water.
Japanese automakers, including
Toyota’s rivals Honda and Nissan, have
been leaders in the green car sector.
The country’s seven major manufacturers reportedly plan to spend a record
$24bn to research the sector this year.
On Monday Honda said it was aiming to launch a new commercial fuel-
cell vehicle in Japan by March 2016 and
in the US and Europe at a later date.
Tokyo has pledged to make hydrogen available at a price similar to, or
less than, gasoline while boosting the
number of hydrogen refuelling stations
to about 100 next year.
The world’s leading automakers have
long been aiming at a big-selling green
vehicle. Honda already sells a fuel-cell
car, the FCX Clarity, on a small scale in
a few markets.
Japan’s Toray Industries said
it will be the sole supplier of
carbon fibre for Boeing Co’s
777X passenger jet in addition
to the 787 Dreamliner and
expects orders to exceed
$8.6bn for both planes.
The new supply contract,
which will extend Toray’s
current one with Boeing
for more than 10 years,
sent shares in the Japanese
company surging 4% to a
seven-year high.
The contract will help cement
the key role Japanese
companies already play in
Boeing’s commercial aircraft
business. Boeing estimates
that around 22,000 engineers
in Japan, or 40% of the
nation’s aerospace workforce,
already work on its jets.
Boeing has already said
that Japanese companies,
including Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries and Kawasaki
Heavy Industries, will build
one-fifth of the 777X.
Toray is spending ВҐ100bn
($865mn) on a carbon fibre
plant in South Carolina. It said
on Monday that it expects
ВҐ60bn of that investment
to be completed in the next
three years. After difficulties
managing its extended 787
global supply chain, which
caused delays in the program,
Boeing decided to take a more
conventional approach to
building the 777X. The plane
will have a metal fuselage,
unlike the all-carbon-fibre
The first 777X is due to be
delivered in 2020 and the
plane has so far garnered
some 300 orders. It is
expected to be 12% more
fuel efficient than the current
777, which was introduced in
1995 and has become one of
Boeing’s most popular and
reliable wide-body planes.
Toray’s shares ended at ¥842.1.
At one point, the stock rose
as high as ВҐ857.4, the highest
level since January 2008.
Samsung hunts next hit with
Net push as phone profits fade
Samsung Electronics has announced plans to slash the number of smartphone models
it issues next year by up to one-third as it tries to cut prices in the face of intense Chinese
Samsung to slash number
of smartphone models
Samsung Electronics has announced plans to slash
the number of smartphone models it issues next
year by up to one-third as it tries to cut prices in
the face of intense Chinese competition.
The strategy, confirmed by a company spokesman
yesterday, was unveiled during a presentation in
New York by the South Korean conglomerate’s
head of investor relations, Robert Yi.
Yi said the company – which last month reported
a near 50% plunge in third quarter net profit
following a 20% drop in the previous quarter –
would reduce the number of smartphone models
in 2015 by between one-quarter and one-third.
The strategy is expected to be accompanied by a
significant increase in the production of remaining
models that can be sold more cheaply to compete
with cut-price Chinese rivals.
The recent nosedive in Samsung’s fortunes
followed several years of stellar growth and a
seemingly endless succession of record quarterly
profits driven by its all-conquering mobile unit.
Its flagship Galaxy S smartphone has suffered in
the high-end market from the popularity of archrival Apple’s new iPhone 6, while its dominance
of the middle- and low-end handset segment has
been challenged by Chinese handset makers such
as Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo.
For the moment, Samsung is still the
comfortable leader by sales volume, but its share
of the global smartphone market has fallen from
35% a year ago to just under 25%, according to
Strategy Analytics.
oon C Lee, a Samsung Electronics
executive, is giving a tour of his US
home in Oakland. He shows off his living room and foyer, then takes a look outside
to check the garden. He considers turning
on the sprinkler system before deciding the
plants have enough water.
The thing is, he’s not actually in California.
He’s 8,000 miles away with a reporter in a
Seoul conference room. Lee, a tall, 49-yearold, is at a huge table п¬Ѓddling with a Galaxy S5
phone that’s streaming live video from the US.
This is Samsung’s next big bet as it works
to build a future beyond mobile phones,
where earnings are tumbling. Lee and his
colleagues are trying to create another hit
from what’s known as the Internet of things,
technology that stitches together phones,
cameras, sprinklers and roads. If they succeed, the effort could propel sales of the
company’s electronics, appliances and chips
for a generation; if they fail, the troubles will
likely deepen.
“Imagine if all the dumb things around you
can be connected,” said Lee. “For Samsung,
this is a big new opportunity, a huge paradigm shift. It will benefit us across all businesses.”
Samsung’s Internet push comes just as
Apple Inc, Google Inc and dozens of others
are sizing up the same opportunity. Tech’s
giants are all vying for leadership and collaborating where necessary. The market for the
Internet of things is projected to hit $7.1tn by
2020, according to the research п¬Ѓrm IDC.
In a sign of how seriously Samsung is taking the effort, the company is transferring
about 500 engineers from its mobile-phone
division and allocating them largely to the
Internet initiative, according to people familiar with the matter. The shift also reflects recognition that the Suwon, South
Korea-based company needs another hit after smartphones, they said, asking not to be
identified discussing internal matters.
“This is a must-have market for Samsung,”
said Neil Mawston, executive director of the
research firm Strategy Analytics. “The Internet of things will be too big to ignore.”
The mobile-phone unit is faltering as Apple offers bigger screen iPhones similar to
Samsung’s marquee Galaxy range and Chinese newcomer Xiaomi sells stylish phones
at low prices. In the most recent quarter,
Samsung’s mobile profit tumbled 74%, dragging net income down by 49% from a year
Shares of Samsung rose 0.9% to 1,205,000
won at the close of trade in Seoul. The stock
has dropped 12% this year compared with a
3.4% decline in the benchmark Kospi index.
The Internet of things represents the third
revolution in information technology, after
the PC and the Internet, Michael Porter and
James E Heppelman wrote in this month’s
edition of the Harvard Business Review.
Its implications go beyond the increasing
number of smart, connected products in the
world and are much more than simply a way
to transmit information, they wrote.
With more everyday things connected to
the Internet, products will have expanded
capabilities and the data they generate may
change how companies compete and the
boundaries of competition, Porter and Heppelman said.
The Internet push is one of the п¬Ѓrst major
initiatives under Lee Jae Yong, who has taken more of a leadership role since his father,
Chairman Lee Kun Hee, was hospitalised in
May. The heir apparent, 46, has to calm investor concerns over the business outlook
and his leadership skills.
Though Samsung Electronics is best
known for its mobile phones, the Suwon,
South Korea-based company makes everything from televisions and computers to
washers, dryers and ultrasound machines.
It’s part of Samsung Group, South Korea’s
biggest conglomerate, that sells insurance,
builds ships, makes howitzers and operates a
theme park too.
Samsung Electronics’ latest push is
designed to capitalise on its scope and
strengths. Software engineers from the mobile unit are able to work directly with the
development teams for TVs, vacuum cleaners
and other appliances.
“Samsung, Apple and Google are all envisioning a world where things such as mobile
devices and household goods surrounding
us will speak to each other,” said Ko Seung
Hee, a Seoul-based analyst at SK Securities
Co. “Unlike the others, Samsung can offer a
complete line-up of devices and appliances
and that’s Samsung’s biggest strength.”
Samsung’s weakness has been software,
which is important because it binds together
the Internet of things. Google’s Android operating system, given away to phonemakers including Samsung, Xiaomi and Lenovo
Group, is the most widely used on mobile
devices. Apple’s operating system, which it
doesn’t share, has most of the rest of the mobile market.
Samsung has been working with Intel Corp
to develop its own operating system, Tizen,
though the effort has gained little traction.
The Korean company is using Tizen in its
smartwatches and cameras as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Google.
“Samsung could divorce Google at some
point, but considering their own respective
interests, they need to sustain the marriage
for a while,” said Claire Kim, a Seoul-based
analyst at Daishin Securities Co.
Samsung has also joined Thread Group,
led by Google’s Nest Labs, which builds new
home automation standards. It also signed
a global patent-licensing agreement in February with Cisco Systems, which holds one
of the biggest pools of patents in connected
devices, to share technologies over the next
10 years. Samsung has no illusions about the
challenges ahead. Rivals have tried cracking
the market for the Internet of things for more
than a decade.
The Korean company also has an advantage that may help it avoid getting dragged
down by falling mobile profits. It’s always
been run like an investment company, allocating capital to promising ventures so it can
build replacement new businesses for the old
ones. It’s managed business cycles for eight
decades, picking out the next opportunity as
existing businesses fade. Now it sees its mobile-phone fortunes waning and is shifting to
the Internet of things.
Acquisitions, new plants and a push to
integrate manufacturing are the core of
the plan. In August, the company bought
SmartThings, a startup that makes mobile
applications to remotely control household
devices. In October, it also announced plans
for a $15bn chip plant in South Korea to make
more advanced chips for wearable and connected devices. To demonstrate the Internet
of things, the company is using its Samsung
Innovation Museum, a glass-walled building
across from its headquarters, about 30 miles
south of Seoul.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
ECB’s stress test failed to restore trust in banks: Poll
New York
Europe still hasn’t regained investor
confidence in its banks.
The European Central Bank’s
stress tests of the region’s lenders
failed to provide an accurate gauge
of their financial stability, according
to 51% of respondents to the latest
quarterly poll of investors, traders
and analysts who are Bloomberg
subscribers. The results were
viewed as accurate by 32% of the
people who responded, while 17%
said they weren’t sure.
The tests followed three previous
efforts by another European regulator that were deemed unreliable
after some banks that passed collapsed a few months later. Investors
expected the ECB to take a tougher
approach before it took over as
the single supervisor of eurozone
banks this month. While 25 of the
130 institutions failed the ECB’s test,
an even smaller subset was asked
to raise $8bn of capital.
“We’ve improved the banks
with some more capital and more
transparency, but it wasn’t good
enough,” said Michael Nicoletos,
managing director of Athens-based
AppleTree Capital, which oversees
about $45mn of investments. He
participated in last week’s Bloomberg Global Poll. “I’m sure there are
some banks that are in worse shape
than they appeared in the test.”
Fifty-six percent of poll respondents said regulators haven’t
done enough to prevent another
financial crisis in Europe, while 30%
said they had done enough and
14% said they weren’t sure.
“Regulators never look forward,”
said Florin Bota-Avram, a trader at
Cluj-Napoca, Romania-based Banca
Transilvania who participated in
the poll. “They want to prevent the
future crisis by looking at the past,
but the future is always different
than the past.”
The poll of 510 Bloomberg
customers was conducted on November 11 and 12 by Selzer & Co, a
Des Moines, Iowa-based firm. It has
a margin of error of plus or minus
4.3 percentage points.
US regulators used stress tests to
restore confidence in the banking
system in 2009 after the collapse of
Lehman Brothers Holdings. The 10
banks that failed that first test were
asked to raise $75bn. They ended
up selling $100bn of new shares
within a few weeks to strengthen
their balance sheets. The US has
been conducting tests every year
since, forcing the weakest banks to
cancel plans to increase dividends
or buy back shares so they build
capital instead.
Poll respondents were more
positive on the US stress tests.
Forty-six percent said the US exams
provided an accurate gauge of
banks’ financial stability, versus 36%
who disagreed. Similarly, 48% of the
respondents said US regulators had
done enough to prevent another
crisis while 42% said they hadn’t.
Authorities on both sides of the
Atlantic have passed new laws
since Lehman Brothers’s collapse
to strengthen the financial system.
The US has gone further than the
European Union in some instances,
such as in restricting the leverage of the biggest lenders. Those
efforts haven’t convinced everyone
that banks will survive the next
“When the next debt crisis hits,
and it will soon, all banks won’t
survive that,” said James Shugg, a
senior economist based in London
for Australia’s Westpac Banking
Corp “Depending on how deep and
severe the next crisis is, you will see
more banks fail.”
Meanwhile, the ECB plans to
inspect the internal models that
banks use to calculate their risks to
ensure that these systems behave
consistently, a senior policymaker
said yesterday.
Regulators have had in-house
computer models in their sights
The $375bn Europe wants
to invest but doesn’t have
EU Commission head’s
investment plan big enough
to count; but doubts over how
much “new” money it will
contain; few incentives for
private investors to join in
“The ECB will use its position as
a supervisor to gain an in-depth
understanding of internal model issues and exploit its cross-sectional
overview of some of the world’s
largest banks to address any inconsistencies in a very direct way,”
Lautenschlaeger said.
“In next two or three years we
will look into every model,” she
The ECB is also charged with
regularly checking that banks have
viable business models, something
that has not been done consistently
in all the eurozone states.
A top ECB regulator said on
Monday the central bank would
be intrusive when it checks banks’
business models in its first year as
Europe’s most powerful banking
German investor
sentiment bounces
back in November
nvestment sentiment in
Germany rebounded in
November, a survey found
yesterday, adding to signs that
Europe’s biggest economy is
stabilising in another piece of
positive news for the eurozone.
After hitting a 22-month low
in October, the widely watched
investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic
institute was back in positive
territory in November, jumping to 11.5 points from minus
3.6 points the previous month,
ZEW said in a statement.
The increase was much bigger than analysts had expected.
The barometer “has increased for the first time in
2014. The recent growth п¬Ѓgures for the euro area suggest
that the economy is stabilising, which contributed to the
indicator’s increase,” said ZEW
president Clemens Fuest.
ew European Commission
Jean-Claude Juncker is
preparing a €300bn ($375bn) investment plan he will present as
a cornerstone of efforts to revive
an ailing economy.
But history suggests the programme risks becoming an exercise in п¬Ѓnancial engineering
rather than a conduit for the new
money the region needs to help
boost output and create jobs.
A flagship project of the new
European Union executive, the
investment scheme is due to be
unveiled before Christmas. It is
still being п¬Ѓnalised and few details have been made public.
If all the money it promises is
raised and spent, it could provide
the 28-nation EU with roughly an
additional 0.7% of GDP in investment per year over three years.
“It is significant,” said Carsten
Brzeski, economist at ING bank
in Frankfurt. “You would expect
some kind of a multiplier effect
from investment on jobs and
purchasing power and it would
increase the growth potential.
The downside is that public investment can take years before it
gets started.”
But even more than “when?”,
the big question hanging over
the plan is “how much?”.
The €300bn is an overall target for both the public and private money that the Commission hopes to mobilise.
The Commission itself does
not have any money and is funded through annual EU budgets
that must be balanced.
Of the region’s 28 governments, only Germany seems
to have public п¬Ѓnances strong
enough to significantly increase
investment. But in its drive to
have a balanced budget, Berlin is
not keen to spend more.
in the wake of the financial crisis
due to concerns some banks may
attempt to downplay the riskiness
of their assets and hold less capital
than they should.
The ECB, which took over as the
eurozone’s leading financial regulator in November, aims to compare
these models using regional data
and look for inconsistencies, ECB
Executive Board member Sabine
Lautenschlaeger said at a conference in Frankfurt.
Lautenschlaeger’s comments
referred to the way banks use financial models to assess the risks they
are taking in the market.
The ECB’s attention to these
models is part of a wider push to
impose order on the sector, which
could lead to changes in the way
banks do business.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addressing a news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.
If all the money Juncker’s plan promises is raised and spent, it could provide the 28-nation EU with roughly an additional 0.7% of GDP in
investment per year over three years.
So the Commission plans to
use what little public money is
available to lure bigger private
funds into projects that would
otherwise seem too risky or with
too low a rate of return.
“Our aim is to �crowd in’ private money for big infrastructure projects in the energy sector, transport, broadband or
research and development. The
private sector cannot take all the
risks,” Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen told Reuters.
Potential investors will want
to know how much the EU will
provide, and whether it will be
new funds or re-labelled money
already accounted for in various
EU spending schemes.
“If it is additional money, it
would be OK, but I fear that it
will be funds taken from other
places in the EU budget,” said
Christoph Weil, economist at
Very little new money ended
up in the €120bn “growth and
jobs” compact that EU leaders
approved at the start of 2012,
which failed to prevent a recession and was followed by two
years of falling investment.
It was made up of existing EU
structural funds and a €10bn
capital boost for the European
Investment Bank so that it could
potentially lend €60bn more
over three years.
The new scheme looks likely
to utilise similar ideas.
Juncker said in July it would
be financed “through the targeted use of the existing structural funds and of the European
Investment Bank (EIB) instruments already in place or to be
Katainen told Reuters the capital of the EIB, which is owned by
EU governments, could be raised
Structural funds that poorer
EU countries receive could be
leveraged in a similar way as with
EU project bonds, under which
EU cash becomes a п¬Ѓrst loss
guarantee on a debt issue from
private investors, he said.
Economists are doubtful
about leveraging, which failed
to calm markets when used to
theoretically boost the size of
the eurozone bailout fund during
the sovereign debt crisis.
Making loans cheaper for investors also makes little sense
at a time when, with European
Central Bank rates at close to
zero, cheap money is already
available, ING’s Brzeski said.
What would make a difference
is impetus for more eurozone integration, minimising the risk that
the euro currency could again be
at risk of collapse in future.
“The €300bn investment plan
will really have to be coherent,
with very little wishful thinking
and the leverage part should be
small. It has to be realistic and
convincing,” Brzeski said. “If it is
mainly leveraging, it would be a
After hitting a 22-month
low in October, the
widely watched investor
confidence index
calculated by the ZEW
economic institute was
back in positive territory
in November, jumping to
11.5 points from minus 3.6
“However, the economic environment remains fragile, not
least due to ongoing geopolitical tensions,” he cautioned.
Data last week showed that
Germany escaped recession
in the third quarter, when
gross domestic product (GDP)
expanded by a modest 0.1%
following a contraction of
0.1% in the preceding three
For its survey, ZEW questions analysts and institutional
investors about their current
assessment of the economic
situation in Germany, as well as
their expectations for the coming months.
The sub-index measuring
financial market players’ view
of the current economic situation in Germany inched higher
by 0.1 points to 3.3 points in
November. A frequent criticism
of the ZEW index is that it can
be volatile and is therefore not
particularly reliable.
As a result, analysts were
cautious about reading too
much into the November data.
“It is too early to call for a
trend reversal,” said Natixis
economist Johannes Gareis.
Nevertheless, “the higher
ZEW numbers support the notion that the German economy is stabilising after several
months of poor hard and soft
Gareis said he is now pencilling in GDP growth of 0.2% in
the fourth quarter.
Capital Economics expert
Jennifer McKeown also said the
rise in the ZEW index “is a relief, although the index remains
at a fairly low level.”
The increase “probably reflected the softening of the
euro, an easing of concerns
over geo-political factors” and
hints of further policy moves
by the European Central Bank,
she said.
“However, we would be wary
of placing too much weight on
one monthly increase in a volatile survey. On balance, the survey suggests that Germany will
soon be leading the eurozone
recovery again, but with modest growth that will fail to ensure a meaningful revival in the
rest of the region,” McKeown
Berenberg Bank economist
Rob Wood agreed.
“Careful, the ZEW is volatile.
One swallow does not a summer make and one improvement in the ZEW survey does
not a turnaround in Germany
make,” he warned.
“We want to see a couple
more monthly gains before
concluding that the trend has
decisively changed.”
Postbank economist Thilo
Heidrich said the German GDP
data last week “show that the
recovery in both Germany and
the eurozone is fundamentally
“We expect growth to continue in the coming months,
but it will remain sluggish for
now,” he said.
European car sales recovery vulnerable to slowing economy
uropean new car sales
rose 6.2% in October, extending their
recent recovery as demand
in previously recessionhit southern countries was
boosted by buying incentive
Sales rose in all major markets except France,
highlighting that country’s struggle to kick-start
growth. But analysts warned
signs of an economic slowdown across the region
could snuff out a fragile car
market revival in the coming
“The recovery in the European auto market is mainly fuelled by catch-up effects in the (southern) crisis
countries,” said Peter Fuss,
a partner and automotive
specialist in Ernst & Young’s
German practice. “It remains weak and susceptible
to a renewed economic setback that today seems likely
The International Monetary Fund warned last week
that growth in the 18-nation
euro area could be weaker
than expected after the region’s economy barely grew
in the past two quarters,
while unemployment remains locked at 11.5%.
Passenger car registrations in the European Union (EU) and European Free
Trade Area (EFTA) rose to
1.11mn vehicles last month
from 1.05mn in October
2013, the Association of European Car makers (ACEA)
said yesterday.
Europe’s car market has
now grown for 14 straight
months. But after a six-year
slump, it remains well short
of its peak from before the
п¬Ѓnancial crisis.
Sales in Spain, Portugal
and Greece — some of the
hardest hit markets in the
crisis — jumped by more
than 20%, as buying incentives from governments and
car makers helped to boost
demand for Renault and VW
brand cars, whose European
deliveries rose 10.5% and
4.5% respectively.
Germany, Europe’s biggest single car market, was
up 3.7%, while No.2 Britain
jumped 14.2%, helped by
cheap credit and its stronger
economic growth.
By contrast, third-placed
France slipped 3.8%.
Year-to-date deliveries
in the EU plus EFTA region
rose 5.9% to 11.02mn vehicles from 10.41mn in the
year-earlier period, ACEA
Volkswagen, Europe’s big-
gest automaker, and PSA
Peugeot Citroen saw deliveries rise 6.9% and 1.1%
respectively, while luxury
nameplates BMW and Daimler were up 9.4% and 2.2%.
The only major group to
post lower sales in October
was General Motors, with
deliveries falling 5.1% as the
withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand from Europe outweighed a 12% gain by its
Opel brand.
George Galliers, Londonbased analyst at research
group Evercore ISI, said a
gloomy economic outlook
was likely to hold back demand in the months ahead.
“To see a step up, it would
require improved economic
activity, lower unemployment and higher business
confidence levels,” Galliers
said, predicting European car
sales growth to slow to 3.5%
in 2015 from 4.2% this year.
Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest automaker, saw deliveries rise 6.9% in October.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
becomes norm for
global growth as
Japan contracts
roup of 20 leaders
pledged over the weekend to do everything
they can to boost the global recovery. Japan’s descent into a
recession is the latest reminder
of how elusive that goal is proving to be.
Less than 24 hours after heads
of state gathering in Brisbane,
Australia, agreed to take measures that would boost their
economies by a collective $2tn
by 2018, the Cabinet Office delivered news in Tokyo that Japan’s
gross domestic product unexpectedly shrank an annualised
1.6% in the three months through
September, the second straight
Disappointment is becoming
routine for the global economy,
with the International Monetary
Fund last month cutting its 2014
world-growth outlook for the
sixth time since January 2013.
Weaker expansion stands to add
pressure on policy makers including European Central Bank
President Mario Draghi who are
already pushing the limits of
monetary stimulus and governments that are reluctant to increase spending.
The IMF’s estimate last month
for 3.3% global expansion this
year is down from a 3.6% forecast given a year earlier and 4.1%
two years ago. The institution,
whose next World Economic
Outlook update comes in January, previously made similar cuts
to forecasts for 2012 and 2013
growth as incoming data trailed
The fund said in a report
last week that major advanced
economies, especially the euro
area and Japan, “could face an
extended period of low growth
reflecting persistently weak
private demand - especially investment — that could turn into
The Japanese contraction
prompted JPMorgan Chase &
Co to cut its estimate of thirdquarter global growth to 2.6%
from 2.8%.
The G-20 plan includes almost
1,000 individual policy changes
designed to lift growth, and the
nations said they would hold
each other to account to ensure
they are implemented. While
Halliburton cost-cut claims
top those of other buyers
New York
Of all the megamergers announced this year,
Halliburton Co’s $35bn takeover of Baker Hughes
Inc is promising the most aggressive cost cuts.
Halliburton, an oilfield-services provider, says it
can slash $2bn after acquiring its similar-sized
rival. That’s the biggest estimate of any deal
valued at $20bn or more that’s been announced
this year, according to data compiled by
Bloomberg. Even deals twice its size — such as
Comcast Corp’s purchase of Time Warner Cable
Inc and Actavis Plc’s merger with Allergan Inc —
are projecting fewer synergies.
The term synergies is investment-banking
jargon for how much money can be saved from
firing people with overlapping responsibilities
and eliminating other redundancies that come
from combining two businesses. Halliburton
shareholders aren’t yet convinced that its
estimate is feasible. They dumped the stock
on MOnday, resulting in a 11% drop in the price.
The decline, which also reflected regulatory
concerns and an unusually large breakup fee, is
an anomaly in a year when most acquirers have
surged alongside their targets.
“These synergies are aspirations which can
turn into justifications for the deal price,” Erik
Gordon, a business professor at the University of
Michigan, said in a phone interview. “Then you
get the deal closed and see what you really can
do without destroying your company.”
For Halliburton and Baker Hughes, “some part of
that $2bn will be a hard number that they know
they can do, and the other part is an aspirational
Investors tend to be more forgiving when
companies don’t fully achieve synergy
projections than when they miss earnings
estimates, Gordon said. Still, the challenge is that
synergies become more important and much
harder to get during a downturn in a cyclical
industry such as oil, he said.
Halliburton and Baker Hughes are merging amid
plunging crude prices, which have dropped to
a more than four-year low. The deal eliminates
one of Halliburton’s chief rivals, creating a more
formidable competitor against market leader
Schlumberger Ltd Halliburton also will gain
access to Baker Hughes technology to boost
production in ageing wells and its prized oil-tools
Halliburton said much of the $2bn of annual
cost synergies will come from operational
improvements and reorganising personnel, as
well as eliminating overhead and other fixed
costs. Chief financial officer Mark McCollum
called it a “conservative estimate” and suggested
there could be more should regulators go easy
on them in terms of necessary divestitures.
Even so, shareholders are hedging the risks.
Halliburton and Baker Hughes had a combined
market value of $72.6bn at the end of last week,
before the merger was officially announced and
terms were disclosed. Halliburton’s trading on
Monday dragged down their combined value to
just under $70bn.
Deals are riskiest when they involve a company
acquiring another that’s roughly the same size,
like Halliburton is doing, according to Pavel
Savor, a finance professor at Temple University’s
Fox School of Business who has published
research on mergers and acquisitions.
“What’s clear is that the management teams of
both companies — especially of Halliburton —
are taking a significant risk here, and so far the
market doesn’t seem to think it’s a risk worth
taking,” Savor said in a phone interview.
US producer inflation rises,
but underlying trend muted
IMF managing director Christine
Lagarde said she “strongly” welcomed the effort, London-based
research firm Capital Economics Ltd said the proposal “will no
doubt join the long list of forgotten” action plans from previous
G-20 summits.
While the US economy has
enjoyed a resurgence, as unemployment dropped last month to
the lowest level in six years, the
weakening world outlook is being compounded by the threat
of recession in Europe and slow-
ing growth in China. The Federal Reserve’s plan to start withdrawing monetary stimulus also
threatens to roil markets.
Japan rolled out the package of
policies that came to be known
as Abenomics in 2013, in an attempt to pull the country out of
two decades of stagnation. The
Bank of Japan set an inflation
target of 2% and embarked on
an open-ended campaign to expand the monetary base through
asset purchases.
The government promised
a series of structural reforms,
many of which it has yet to implement, such as liberalising the
labor market, lowering corporate
taxes and dropping trade barriers.
Abe told reporters following
the GDP report that his government would carefully consider whether to follow through
on another increase in the tax
planned for October 2015. The
prime minister is expected to
call an election today in a bet
the public will support his
growth strategy.
S producer prices unexpectedly rose in October,
but the underlying trend
continued to point to a benign
inflation environment that
could persuade the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates very
low a bit longer.
The Labor Department said
yesterday its producer price index for п¬Ѓnal demand increased
0.2%, driven by a jump in prices
in the services sector. The PPI
had declined 0.1% in September.
October also saw the introduction of new motor vehicle
models, which could have contributed to the surprise rise in
prices received by the nation’s
farms, factories and refineries.
Passenger car prices increased 1.0% last month, the
largest gain in п¬Ѓve years.
Economists had expected
producer prices to slip 0.1%
last month. In the 12 months
through October, producer
prices increased 1.5%, the
smallest advance since February, after rising 1.6% in September.
The underlying trend in producer inflation remains tame.
A broader measure, which ex-
The price and fuel economy is displayed on the windows of
new Ford F150 pick-up trucks on a car lot in Carlsbad, California.
Passenger car prices in the US increased 1.0% last month, the
largest gain in five years.
cludes food, energy and trade
services, edged up only 0.1%
last month after slipping 0.1%
in September.
This measure, which accounts for about two-thirds of
п¬Ѓnal demand, was up 1.6% in
the 12 months through October.
Slowing global growth and
falling oil prices are helping to
keep a lid on inflation.
Fed officials largely view the
current low inflation environment as transitory and believe
the likelihood of inflation running persistently below the US
central bank’s 2% target has diminished somewhat since early
this year.
Still, muted price pressures
mean the Fed will probably be in
no hurry to raise its short-term
interest rate from near zero,
where it has been since December 2008. US п¬Ѓnancial markets
expect the п¬Ѓrst rate hike in mid2015.
The dollar rose modestly
against the yen and the euro,
while prices for US Treasury
debt pared gains. US stock index futures were little moved by
the data.
Last month, prices for services rose 0.5%, the largest rise
since July 2013, after slipping
0.1% in September. The rise
largely reflected an increase in
margins at wholesalers and retailers.
Nokia introduces Android tablet in return to mobile devices
okia Oyj unveiled a tablet running Google’s Android software, marking a return by the
former smartphone-market leader
into mobile devices just months after
it sold its handset business to Microsoft Corp.
The N1 tablet uses Nokia’s software
on top of the Google operating system,
Sebastian Nystrom, head of products
at Nokia, said at the Slush technology
conference in Helsinki yesterday. The
device is made and sold by Foxconn
Technology Group and costs $249 plus
tax. Sales will start in China in the п¬Ѓrst
quarter and Nokia expects the N1 to be
available in other markets.
The tablet is the latest twist in
149-year-old Nokia’s history that includes transformations from one industry to another. Chief executive officer Rajeev Suri, who took over in May
after Nokia sold the money-losing mobile-phone unit to Microsoft for about
$7.5bn, is expanding beyond wirelessnetwork equipment, which now accounts for about 90% of the Espoo,
Finland-based company’s sales.
“We wanted to start with something
small that caters to our fans,” Nystrom
said in an interview. “There is room for
better products out there.”
Nokia shares rose 1.5% to €6.31
at 2:12pm in Helsinki. The stock has
gained 7.7% this year, giving Nokia a
market value of €23.6bn ($30bn).
With its market capitalisation down
from €300bn in 2000, the challenge for
Nokia is to once again п¬Ѓnd a new incarnation to revive its fortunes. Founded
as a wood-pulp mill in 1865, Nokia’s
transformations have included switches from rubber boots and toilet paper to
cables, televisions, computers and mobile phones.
Nokia is re-entering the mobiledevice market as its brand is fresh in
consumers’ minds. Even as the company doesn’t own a handset business
anymore, its devices are still for sale
at retailers and online stores. Microsoft is dropping the Nokia name from
its products, a change the Redmond,
Washington-based company signaled
when it announced the acquisition.
One challenge for Nokia is to ensure
the tablet’s quality is indistinguishable from the devices it made itself,
Ian Fogg, an analyst at research п¬Ѓrm
IHS Technology, said today in a report.
Competition in the tablet market is
п¬Ѓerce, with dozens of manufacturers
ranging from those making Android
tablets that sell for $100 to Apple iPads
that can cost $700.
The N1 has a 7.9-inch (20cm) screen
and aluminum body. It includes an Intel
Corp processor and the Lollipop version of Android. On top of that, it runs
Nokia’s Z Launcher interface software,
which predicts and highlights the apps
consumers are likely to want based on
time of day and location.
Foxconn will be responsible for manufacturing, distribution and sales. It’ll
also handle customer care, including
liabilities and warranty costs, as well as
software licensing and contracts with
third parties. Nokia is licensing the
brand, industrial design, Z Launcher
software and intellectual property to
When agreeing to sell its phone division to Microsoft, Nokia said it would
be restricted from licensing its brand
for use in connection with mobile-device sales for 30 months and from using
the Nokia brand on Nokia’s own mobile
devices until the end of 2015.
A Microsoft representative in London didn’t immediately have a comment.
Nokia agreed to sell the phone business last year after racking up losses of
more than 5bn euros over nine quarters.
Once the No 1 smartphone maker with
a market share topping 50%, Nokia
dropped outside the top п¬Ѓve in recent
years as Apple’s iPhone and Android
phones gained dominance.
The company has three businesses
left after the phone-unit sale: the networks division, its maps business, and
a research and development unit which
is responsible for licensing its patents.
The new tablet is developed by the R&D
Sebastian Nystrom, head of product business at Nokia Technologies, presents N1, Nokia’s new Android tablet, at the Slush
2014 event in Helsinki yesterday. The device is made and sold by Foxconn Technology Group and costs $249 plus tax.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Vodafone presents social Smart City platform at Doha event
odafone Qatar yesterday presented its social Smart City platform #designyourqatar (www. at the 3rd
Annual Middle East Smart Cities
Summit here.
Vodafone Qatar launched the
social platform in May this year
to engage citizens and residents
of Qatar to learn about what a
smart city is and to interact with
each other through sharing their
ideas about the future of Qatar.
While the government works
on preparing Qatar to become
a smarter city by 2030, with
�Designyouqatar’ Vodafone aims
to serve as the connector between
the people and the government
conveying to the authorities the
people’s voice and becoming a
hub where they can contribute
towards a better Qatar.
Thousands of users have signed
up and contributing to the platform with the most interesting
output addressing roads, environ-
A view of the audience at the Smart Cities Summit and (right) Galica addressing the event.
ment, infrastructure, traffic and
safety. The platform’s Arabic and
mobile versions will be launched
shortly which will allow a greater
number of people to contribute.
George Galica, head (Man-
aged Services) at Vodafone Qatar, discussed the importance of
engaging the public in enabling
the Smart City saying, “Nowhere else in the world has a
social engagement platform on
the subject of Smart Cities been
launched. Smart City deployment is a key pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030’s success so
we are excited about the public’s
participation in sharing their vi-
sion for the future.” At the same
time that it engages the public,
Vodafone Qatar is also investing in its business to ensure it is
ready for the large metropolitan
projects currently being built in
Asian demand for crude to
drive switch to renminbi
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
he increasing demand for
crude in Asian countries
such as China was enough
reason for the region to prepare
to pay for trade in the Chinese
currency renminbi (RMB), an
HSBC official said.
Georges Elhedery, HSBC
head, Global Banking and Markets (Mena), noted that the region was slow to adopt RMB
since trade between the Middle
East and China was still highly
dependent on the greenback.
“The Middle East has been
slow in adopting RMB but we’re
starting to see a shift in the region towards the Chinese currency,” Elhedery told Gulf Times
in a meeting with reporters at
the HSBC offices in Doha.
He explained that minimal oil
and gas exports to the West have
made the region dependent on
Eastern buyers such as South
Korea, Japan, and China, which
was critical in setting the international price of crude.
Elhedery stressed that the income of the region from energy
reserves depended on China’s
economic performance. “Considering how China fares would
also be reflected soon in their
currency as it becomes freefloating,” the HSBC official said.
Elhedery (right) gestures while answering questions from media while HSBC CEO Abdul Hakeem
Mostafawi looks on. PICTURE: Thajudheen
As it becomes a free-floating
currency, Elhedery said the Middle East would use RMB as part of
the region’s currency reserves.
“The correlation, basically, is
such that if they fare well, they
are the end buyer that is setting
the price and therefore we are
going to be more dependent on
them in terms of our income in
this region,” he said.
Elhedery also noted that in
the next two to 10 years, the goal
of Chinese п¬Ѓnance authorities,
specifically the People’s Bank of
China (PBOC), was to make the
currency free-floating.
“Over the next 10 years, if
there is something that is most
certain in terms of how economically and п¬Ѓnancially the world
is going to develop, I would say
RMB becoming a free-floating
currency is one of the most significant one. It is going to be
a more relevant currency,” he
Elhedery explained that the
evolution for RMB as a currency followed a series of stages:
transaction or trade-related, becoming an investment currency,
and use of RMB as a reserve cur-
rency. “I think this loop is manifesting itself and as the currency is becoming more flexible
towards free-floating, clearly
this means that as a region, we
should adopt that extra layer or
stage in the RMB development,”
he said.
As a reserve currency, Elhedery said he expected RMB to
go forward in the region citing
some African countries that had
already allocated part of their
foreign reserves to yuan.
“We hope and think that this
region would be stepping up to
that,” he said.
When asked about HSBC’s
forecast on the growth of RMB
in the region, HSBC CEO Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi said the
bank was not expecting growth
“But one needs to be prepared
for it and Qatari authorities believe that we need to be ready.
Our trade with China is significantly increasing on the back
of oil and gas and we need to be
prepared if we want to take that
position for reserves or take position for trade,” Mostafawi said.
Elhedery added, “We are not
looking at it as a 2015 opportunity although there is a lot to be
done in 2015. We’re looking at
it as a 2020 cycle or a long opportunity. But if you want to be
there in 2020, you have to start
Global Finance chooses Mashreq Qatar as the �Best Customer Service Bank’
Mashreq Qatar has been chosen
as the �Best Customer Service
Bank’ by Global Finance, an
international finance magazine.
The title was awarded to Mashreq
Qatar for demonstrable customer
benefits in product offerings,
convenience of dealing with the
bank, after a rigorous evaluation
and overall strategy for attracting
and servicing customers, a
spokesman of the lender said.
The bank has made significant
investments in technology
and people to deliver on this
commitment, which led it to
win the �Best Customer Service
Bank’ in the Global Banking and
Finance Review Awards 2014, a
spokesman of the lender said.
“Service is of a big focus area
to us and we are aware that it is
a key differentiator. Customers
look for a quick and an efficient
service and we are proud to be
the best service provider .This in
addition to our simple processes,
innovative product offerings
and quick turnaround times has
resulted in us being recognised
globally as a leader in service
standards,” Niranjan Mendonca,
Head of Retail Banking, Mashreq
Qatar said.
Each year Global Finance selects
the best financial institutions
around the world in its awards
series which has become a
recognised and trusted standard
of excellence.
Doha, bringing its experience in
deploying Smart City applications around the world to Qatar. Vodafone Qatar has already
deployed smart solutions for a
number of businesses in Qatar
and signed strategic partnerships
to enable smart city applications.
Vodafone Qatar was the
headline sponsor of the 3rd Annual Middle East Smart Cities
Maersk Oil engineer
wins Woman Achiever
of the Year Award 2014
atima Mohmoud, a Qatari
woman and a reservoir
engineer at Maersk Oil
Qatar (MOQ), won the �Women
Achiever of the Year’ at the annual Oil and Gas Middle East
Awards ceremony 2014, hosted
by the Oil and Gas Middle East
Magazine recently.
The award recognises women
who have made notable career
achievements, and aims to encourage more women to take up
careers in the energy industry.
Fatima said “I’m very proud
to receive this award. Supporting the development of Qatar’s
largest and most complex offshore oilfield is both challenging and exciting, but the career
opportunities and support I
have been given at Maersk Oil
are truly rewarding.”
Fatima is a young talented
reservoir engineer, who currently works in the Reservoir
Management Department at
Maersk Oil Qatar in Doha. Since
graduating from Texas A&M
University in Qatar, 5 years
ago, she has successfully completed Maersk Oil Qatar’s Qatari Unique Development and
Rotation Programme (QUDRA).
Fatima was nominated for
the award by her manager in
recognition for the unique contribution she makes at Maersk Oil Qatar. She currently
works as a reservoir engineer
in a multidisciplinary team, responsible for the maturation of
rig-based workover opportunities in the Al Shaheen п¬Ѓeld. She
is actively driving the maturation of a multi-million dollar
workover campaign in order
to optimise reservoir management to maximise recovery.
Fatima rotated through Petroleum Engineering, Drilling, and Production Operations learning the sharp end of
the business, being exposed to
onshore and offshore personnel. In these short periods, she
built up a rapport with a multicultural workforce, learning
The Outstanding
Woman Achiever Award
recognises females who
have made notable career
achievements, and aims to
encourage more women
to take up careers in the
energy industry
how each component of the
organisation works, and then
using her extensive network to
integrate the teams and break
down silos.
After QUDRA, she was responsible for defining the safe
operating envelopes for the
wells in the Al Shaheen п¬Ѓeld,
which has some of the longest
wells in the world, monitoring
and optimising daily performance, in order to optimise reservoir management to maximise recovery.
Fatima is a role model for
the new generation of women,
Qatari graduates and engineers entering the company.
Fatima has demonstrated that
it is possible to balance a complex workload with bringing up
a young family. She has been
identified as one of the new potential leaders in the company
and willingly accepts additional challenges to stretch and
develop herself.
Refining margins, utilisation rates falling in view of global surplus
efining margins and utilisation
rates are falling in view of a global
surplus created by huge growth
in refining capacity in India and China,
a new report has shown.
The global refining industry has
changed in the last decade with a shift
in demand growth away from OECD
to non-OECD countries, said Saudibased Jadwa Investment in a report.
“The supply of highly complex and
modern refineries, as a way of decreasing dependency on imports, has also
increased. India and China have seen a
huge growth of refining capacity which
has contributed to creating a global surplus, all of which has led to decreasing
refining margins and utilisation rates.
“Older and less competitive refineries have therefore been forced to close,
with Western Europe being one of the
worst affected regions. With the help of
shale oil, the US has transformed itself
from being the world’s largest importer
of gasoline to a major exporter of diesel, further adding to the supply of high
quality refined products available in the
global market,” Jadwa Investment said.
Regardless of the apparent over supply of global refining capacity, a pleth-
ora of refining projects will add around
7mn barrels per day (bpd) of highly
complex capacity between now and
2020. This also includes new refineries from Saudi Arabia, which will make
it a net exporter of middle distillates
(including diesel) by the decade-end,
joined by Russia, China, US and India.
Saudi Arabia will see 1.2mn bpd of
new refining capacity come online by
2020. This includes the Satorp refinery,
which is already up and running, and
the Yasref refinery, which will start up
in Q4, 2014. This major investment in
downstream sector by the Kingdom co-
incides with a huge growth in modern
refineries in countries such as India and
China, which will mean that these new
export-orientated Saudi refineries will
compete in a very tight international
market. Investment in the refining
sector in Saudi Arabia has been a long
term policy goal for the government as
it was, and still is, seen as sure way of
achieving diversified economic growth
and employment for the Saudi population.
At the end of 2013, Saudi refining capacity totalled 2.5mn bpd, the largest
capacity in the GCC region, with Kuwait a distance second at 0.94mn bpd.
Since the majority of the Saudi refinery capacity was built before 1990, such
assets are older and less advanced and
therefore produce a large proportion of
lower value heavy distillates (such as
fuel oil) comparative to other regions,
Jadwa said.
The report noted the changes currently taking place in global refining
market, with large scale highly complex
capacity coming online will mean that,
in the longer term, Saudi refiners will
have to look beyond traditional markets
such as Europe and Asia Pacific and actively orientate themselves to seeking
out �new frontiers’ for its refined products, with the obvious destinations being Africa and to lesser extent, due to
the distance, South America.
Pakistan in
trouble after
New Zealand
total 403
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Moharram 26, 1436 AH
Messi hints
he may leave
one day
Hamilton’s return
to form shows he
has come of age
Page 7
Pilley joins
3 Egyptians
in quarters
�We used to play each other quite often earlier,
and therefore I knew what to expect’
Egypt’s Omar Mosaad goes for a
shot against Frenchman Gregory
By Satya Rath
spirited Australian, a spunky
South African, a valiant
Spaniard, a determined
Frenchman, an unflustered
Englishman and three indomitable
Egyptians were among the quarterfinalists at the end of the sixth day’s
proceedings of the PSA World Squash
Championship at the Khalifa Tennis
and Squash Complex here.
It’s after a long time that two nonseeds have made it to the last eight of
the Worlds. Cameron Pilley was the
п¬Ѓrst to book a quarter-п¬Ѓnal spot, the
Australian ending the dream run of
the feisty Alister Walker of Botswana
11-6, 11-6, 12-10 in 52 minutes. Barring the third game, where Walker had
things under control at 10-8 before
gifting away the advantage, Pilley was
in total command.
“We used to play each other quite
often earlier, and therefore I knew
what to expect. Ali loves to volley a
lot and also varies his pace quite often, and I didn’t let him do that today.
I also managed to minimise my errors,
and that too paid dividends. I am absolutely stoked to make the quarters,
my first time,” gushed the unseeded
Pilley, who never made beyond the
second round in his 12 previous appearances at the Worlds.
Pilley will meet World No 2 Gregory
Gaultier next, the top-seeded Frenchman disposing off No 9 seed Omar
Mosaad of Egypt 10-12, 11-5, 11-9,
11-9 in an error-prone, ill-tempered
clash, which had the referee issuing
repeated warnings to both.
South African Stephen Coppinger
was the other non-seed to make it, but
the 6’2” gentle giant from Cape Town
was made to battle for 85 energy-sapping minutes to get past the plucky
Tarek Momen of Egypt 12-10, 9-11,
14-12, 8-11, 11-8.
The two had met twice before and
Momen was the one celebrating both
times, and both were п¬Ѓve-setters.
Coppinger looked ready for another
long haul even before stepping on
court. He was steady and patient, and
never allowed his pacy opponent to
break free.
Leading 2-1 and on 8-2 in the fourth
game, Coppinger had the match in his
pocket when Momen staged a desperate counter-attack, taking nine points
in a row to force a decider. He led 7-4
in the п¬Ѓfth before Coppinger came
back riding on some lovely volley
drops and never gave Momen another
“Both our earlier meetings were
п¬Ѓve-setters. I lost to him in the п¬Ѓrst
round of the 2012 Worlds at this very
venue, and having reached the third
round this time, I was determined to
make it count. It’s more a test of your
mental strength when you play such
matches… it’s 99 percent in the head. I
have been working with David Palmer
in Orlando and that has helped. I have
beaten three guys who have been in
the top 10 here this week, so obviously
something seems to be working,” the
South African, who reached a careerhigh World No 16 last year, said.
Egyptian veteran Amr Shabana was
simply too good for feisty Hong Kong
youngster Max Lee, blasting through
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 in just 29 minutes. The
legend and the pupil had met at the
US Open before, and though Shabana
won, it took him 74 minutes and п¬Ѓve
sets including a tie-breaker to overwhelm the spirited Lee.
The four-time world champion had
just too many tricks up his sleeve for
the hapless Lee, who, ironically, perhaps played his best squash in the
tournament. It was sensational stuff
from the Shabana, and if he keeps
playing this way three more rounds, a
п¬Ѓfth world title should not be far away.
Spanish sixth seed Borja Golan
looked good during his 11-8, 11-4,
6-11, 11-5 annihilation of unseeded
Egyptian Fares Dessouki, but he won’t
п¬Ѓnd the going that easy in the quarters, where another Egyptian phenomenon, Ramy Ashour, awaits him.
Results (Last 16)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 12-10) 6-Borja
Golan (ESP) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY)
3-1 (11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5) 5-Amr Shabana
(EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0 (11-6,
11-7, 11-4) Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
bt 10-Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2 (12-10,
9-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8) 1-Gregory Gaultier
(FRA) bt 9-Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1
(10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9) 4-Ramy Ashour
(EGY) bt 12-Miguel Angel Rodriguez
3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4) 3-Nick Matthew
(ENG) bt 14-Saurav Ghosal (IND)
3-1 (11-4, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9) 2-Mohamed
Elshorbagy (EGY) bt 11-Simon Rosner
(GER) 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-9,11-9)
Quarter-final Line-Up
Cameron Pilley (AUS) vs 1-Gregory
Gaultier (FRA) 6-Borja Golan (ESP) vs
4-Ramy Ashour (EGY) 5-Amr Shabana
(EGY) vs 3-Nick Matthew (ENG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) vs 2-Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
(Seedings in prefix)
England’s Nick Matthew stretches to reach the ball as India’s Saurav Ghoshal watches during their World Championship last
16 match at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday. Matthew won in four sets.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
A dream come
true for Doha
Sheikh Saoud: We are committed to hosting an exceptional event
By Our Correspondent
oha has won its bid to host the
prestigious 2019 IAAF World
Championships in Athletics;
the third largest global sporting event and one of the most significant
world championship events the nation
will host as part of its ongoing commitment to developing sport. Following final
presentations in Monaco, the IAAF Council
elected Doha, bringing the global athletics
event to the Middle East for the first time is
its long history.
Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic
Committee and Chairman of Doha’s Bid,
His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Abdulrahman al-Thani, said:
“It is a great honour for Doha to have
been elected to host the 2019 IAAF
World Championships in Athletics. We
would like to thank the IAAF for the trust
they have placed in us and guarantee
to deliver on our commitments. We
extend our warmest appreciation to the
teams from Eugene and Barcelona for
their friendship, fair play and respect
throughout the bidding process. It has
been a privilege sharing this journey
with them.
“Hosting the IAAF World Championships
has been our dream since 1997 and we
are committed to hosting an exceptional
event that will connect the world of
athletics and cement a true legacy for
the sport. At this time of dramatic sporting growth in Qatar, hosting Doha 2019
marks a new era in our sporting achievements and winning this bid is one of our
nation’s proudest moments.”
President of the Qatar Athletics Federation and CEO of Doha’s Bid, Dahlan alHamad, said:
“Winning our bid to host the 2019 World
Championships is a dream come true
for the Qatar Athletics Federation and
our whole nation. We look forward to
working in partnership with the IAAF to
deliver a World Championships that will
connect athletics to a new generation in
a brand new region.
“We are excited about what the future
holds for athletics in the Middle East and
we cannot wait to get started on our
“We are very grateful for the highly
professional bidding process that the
IAAF ran. They set clear and concise
guidelines from the outset when they
hosted the candidate cities seminar in
July 2014, and have treated all candidate
cities fairly and equally throughout the
journey of submitting our Candidate
Files, receiving a visit from the Evaluation Commission and delivering our final
presentations today. They are a truly
professional organisation and we are
very thankful for all the assistance and
guidance that they provided to our Bid
Committee throughout the journey.”
To organise an exceptional World Championships, the Doha 2019 bid committee
pledged to combine its state-of-the-art
facilities, including the Khalifa International Stadium, which is currently being
renovated to make it one of the most
technologically advanced stadiums in
the world; and its proven experience of
hosting world-class events including the
annual IAAF Diamond League (previ-
ously the IAAF Super Grand Prix) hosted
every year since 1997; the 2006 Asian
Games; the 2010 World Indoor Championships; and the 2011 Arab Games.
Furthermore, the Doha 2019 bid Committee will ensure that the highest
possible standards will be applied to
every area of delivery. Whilst very little
construction work is required to host the
World Championships, Doha 2019 has
committed that the Qatar Foundation’s
Mandatory Standards will be applied to
any areas that do require construction
including the “Athletics City”, which uses
the new 35-hectare mixed-use development called Msheireb Downtown Doha,
right at the heart of the City that will be
handed over in its entirety for the dedicated use of the 2019 Championships.
The Qatar Foundation’s Mandatory
Standards set out minimum mandatory
requirements with respect to recruitment, living and working conditions and
general treatment of workers engaged
in construction and other projects on its
assets, leading to transforming workers’
quality of life and thus set an exemplary
model for ethical treatment of workers
A significant part of Doha 2019’s bid focussed on the opportunity that hosting
the World Championships in the Middle
East for the first time in history would
bring. Doha is a gateway to 450 million
people across 22 countries and 60 per
cent are under the age of 30.
This gives the opportunity to showcase
athletics to a new region and a new
generation – new fans, new partners and
new spectators that have not been exposed to this level and scale of athletics
competition before. This huge population would be inspired to participate in
athletics, creating more elite athletes
from across the region, providing more
role models, spreading the values of
sport and engaging the whole population through athletics.
Speaking from Monaco, Doha 2019 Ambassador and Qatar’s star high jumper,
Mutaz Barshim, said:
“Winning the bid to host the World
Championships is one of the proudest
moments of my life. Competing in the
Khalifa International Stadium in front of
a home crowd in 2019 will be a dream
come true for me. It was such an honour
to present to the IAAF today and to share
the dreams of my nation and the whole
of the Middle East. It is my ambition to
be Qatar’s first World Champion and first
Olympic Champion – but I want to be the
first of many such champions that Qatar
produces. Hosting the World Championships in Doha will inspire my whole
region to see that anything is possible.”
Mariam Farid, 16-year-old Doha 2019
Ambassador and member of the Qatar
National Athletics team, said:
“I am so excited that Doha will be hosting the World Championships in 2019.
This is one of the best moments of my
life. I was so proud to present to the
IAAF today and to represent my country,
my region and the millions of young
females across the Middle East who
will be inspired to fulfil their dreams.
Doha 2019 will encourage more young
females from across the region to
participate in athletics at every level and
we will make our country and our region
QOC Secretary-General HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (C) and Qatar Athletics Federation president
Dahlan al-Hamad react after Doha was picked as the host city of the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
At bottom, a general view during the opening ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup football tournament at the
Khalifa International Stadium in January 2011. The stadium is being rebuilt with a new design as Qatar prepares
to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Major sporting events in Qatar
Qatar will host the 2022 soccer World Cup—although controversy
on how the tournament was awarded to the country, and which
month of the year it will be staged, continues to rumble on.
The Asian Football Confederation’s 2011 Asian Cup finals were held
in Qatar in January 2011. Japan beat Australia 1-0 after extra time in
the final in Doha.
The ATP and WTA stage world class events in Qatar with the men’s
Qatar ExxonMobil Open in January and the women’s Qatar Total
Open a month later.
Doha’s ultra-modern Khalifa International Tennis Complex also
hosted the season-ending WTA Championships from 2008 to 2010.
Qatar has been a regular stop on the world athletics circuit since
the Doha Grand Prix was first held in 1997. Doha staged the first
ever Diamond League meeting at the Qatar Sports Club stadium in
May 2010, two months after hosting the world Indoor Championships.
The Qatar motorcyle Grand Prix opens each MotoGP season. In
2008 Qatar’s Losail race track staged the first night event in MotoGP history. The race, generally staged in March or April in recent
years, has been held since 2004.
The Qatar Masters, part of the European Tour, has been staged at
the Doha Golf Club since 1998 and has been won by such golfing
luminaries as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott and Sergio
Garcia who triumphed in this year’s event in January.
The IHF world men’s handball championships will be held from Jan.
15-Feb. 1 next year. The tournament matches will take place across
three venues; Lusail Multi-Purpose Hall in Lusail, Ali Bin Hamad
Al Attiya Arena in Al Sadd and the Duhail Handball Sport Hall in
The Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha will host the world short
course swimming championships from Dec. 3-7.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Messi hints he may one day leave Barcelona
rgentina captain Lionel Messi has
given the strongest hint yet he
could consider leaving Barcelona,
saying in an interview published in
Ole newspaper yesterday “things can change
a lot in football”.
The four-times World Player of the Year,
who joined Barca’s academy at the age of 13,
has not been at his scintillating best over the
past 18 months and has also had problems
with the Spanish tax authorities.
Now 27, Messi probably has at least п¬Ѓve
years left at the top of the game and if the
right offer was made, likely to be a world
record fee in excess of 100 million euros ($125
Lione Messi had joined Barcelona’s academy at the age of 13. (EPA)
“Yes, I have said it many times. If it was
up to me I would stay forever. But as I
just said, sometimes not everything
happens in the way you would like.
The more so in football, which is so
volatile and where so many things
happen. It’s complicated, the more
so during the moments like those
Barcelona is experiencing right now”
million), it is not inconceivable he could quit
Barca. Probed about his future plans, Messi
told Ole he was living “in the present” and
was focusing on winning titles with Barca after failure to secure major silverware in 201314. “After that we’ll see,” he said, when asked
if he was still planning to stay at Barca for his
entire professional career.
“Things can change a lot in football. While
I have always said I would like to stay there (at
Barca) forever, sometimes things don’t work
out the way you would like.”
Quizzed about whether he would choose to
leave or whether it would happen because of
someone else’s decision, Messi added: “Yes,
I have said it many times. If it was up to me I
would stay forever. But as I just said, sometimes not everything happens in the way you
would like.
“The more so in football, which is so volatile and where so many things happen. It’s
complicated, the more so during the moments like those Barcelona is experiencing
right now.”
Barca are second in La Liga, two points behind Real Madrid after 11 matches, and have
qualified for the Champions League knockout round.
Coach Hodgson
wary of England
regeneration talk
�The World Cup was a real cold shower for us, a real bad moment’
Russia coach
Capello under
fire but staying on
abio Capello has dismissed speculation that
he is about to lose his
job as manager of Russia amid a run of poor results for
his side. “I don’t have any information about that,” the Sport
Express daily quoted Capello
as saying at a news conference
ahead of last night’s friendly
with Hungary in Budapest.
The 68-year-old Capello, reportedly the highest paid coach
at this summer’s World Cup in
Brazil with a salary of around 7
million euros ($8.8mn, 5.6mn
pounds), has been under п¬Ѓre
since Russia failed to qualify for
the second round of the event
despite having a relatively easy
group. They returned home
without a single win.
The former England manager, who signed a lucrative new
contract in January which covers the 2018 World Cup hosted
by Russia, received backing from
the country’s sports top authorities including sports minister
Vitaly Mutko.
However, the recent performances of the country’s squad in
the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign forced Mutko to vent his
dissappointment with the state
of affairs in the country’s national squad. On Saturday, Russia went down 1-0 in Austria to
increase the pressure on Capello.
The defeat came a month after
the Russians were held at home
by lowly Moldova to a 1-1 draw.
“The result of this game cannot satisfy us,” Mutko told the
press after the defeat in Vienna.
“The team loses self-confidence
while we lose our position in the
FIFA rankings. “The time has
come to solve these problems.....
It’s organisational, personnel
problems. And we will revert to
these issues soon.”
Capello meanwhile refused
to comment on the minister’s
“Too many people are currently talking too much about
football. Sometimes what they
say are too far from the reality.”
The question marks surrounding Capello’s hold on the job were
further highlighted when the top
official of the Russian Football
Union (RFU) said last week that
they could no longer afford to
pay Capello’s huge salary. “I am
saying with full authority that
the Russian Football Union simply does not have the money to
pay Capello,” Sergei Stepashin,
a member of the RFU executive
committee, said.
“As far as I know, the contract
was signed by Nikolai Tolstykh
(the RFU president) and initialled by sports minister Mutko.
When they signed the contract,
they should have thought about
the sources of п¬Ѓnancing. And
today we need to look for those
sources. All in all, it’s an extremely unpleasant situation.”
England’s manager Roy Hodgson (left) talks to captain Wayne Rooney at Celtic Park Stadium in Glasgow. (Reuters)
ngland manager Roy Hodgson
admitted on Monday that his
players are still digesting the disappointment of their World Cup
group-stage exit despite their impressive
form since the tournament.
England have won all of the п¬Ѓve games
they have played since their п¬Ѓrst-round
elimination in Brazil and they were looking to make it six wins from six when they
tackled old rivals Scotland in a friendly
late last night.
But when asked to assess the progress
his side have made since the World Cup,
Hodgson played down suggestions that
their run of success represented a fresh
start. “It’s a difficult one for me. If I say
what I really think, people will turn it
against me,” he said in Glasgow. “The
World Cup was a real cold shower for us,
a real bad moment. I thought we were doing quite a lot of things that were leading
up to see what we’d hope. Then we lost
two matches and we’ve hit a wall, and
supposedly we have to start again. I don’t
think we’ve started again.
“We did have a massive barrier to get
over after the World Cup, because we created that barrier by losing two matches.
We erected the fence. But I don’t think we
started at the World Cup and have now
got somewhere. We’d always been working towards what we’re getting today.”
England captain Wayne Rooney, seated
beside Hodgson in a draughty press marquee outside Celtic Park, concurred. “Before the World Cup we were playing well,
in good form, then the two games... it was
difficult to get over them,” he said.
“We had to try and forget about that
as quickly as we could and continue the
form we’d shown before, to keep improving. We’re doing that gradually. Then
we’ll take that form into a major tournament.”
Having seen England open up a sixpoint lead at the top of their Euro 2016
qualifying group by coming from behind
to beat Slovenia 3-1 on Saturday, Hodgson is expected to shuffle his pack against
Gordon Strachan’s Scotland.
With Joe Hart having returned to Manchester City to rest, Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster has been tipped to
start at the home of his former club Celtic. West Bromwich Albion’s 21-year-old
striker Saido Berahino is in line to make
his senior international debut, while Ross
Barkley and Theo Walcott are also expected to feature after recently returning
from injury.
Last night’s game saw Rooney line up
against his Manchester United colleague
Darren Fletcher, who has returned to
full п¬Ѓtness after a two-year battle with a
chronic bowel condition.
“First of all, it’s incredible for him to
be back playing, to be back in the Scotland team,” said Rooney, who became
the youngest England player to reach 100
caps against Slovenia.
“It shows the character he is, the type
of person he is. Obviously it was a hard
moment for Darren and his family, and
he’s come through that with flying colours. He doesn’t miss a training session.
He trains really hard, so I’m really pleased
he’s managed to come through. He’s back
п¬Ѓt and ready to play.
“Obviously, we speak about the game
and tomorrow (Tuesday) night he’s playing for Scotland and I’m playing for England. We’re great friends off the pitch, but
for 90 minutes we’re opponents.”
Fabio Capello has been under fire since Russia failed to qualify for
the second round at the World Cup. (EPA)
Britain to investigate Premier League football rights auction
ritain is investigating whether the way
Premier League football match rights
are sold is anti-competitive, alarmed
by the runaway costs broadcasters have
to pay to show the top games in the country’s
national sport.
Media regulator Ofcom’s move poses a threat
to the business model of the league, which
bankrolls the salaries of some of the world’s best
players with TV revenues, and to broadcasters
Sky and BT who attract subscribers with exclusive matches.
In response to a complaint from pay-TV
group Virgin Media, Ofcom said it would examine whether the sale of the rights breached British or European competition law.
The intervention comes just months before
the next set of rights come up for auction. The
rivalry between Sky and BT could push up prices
for domestic rights by 60 percent from the 3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion) they paid for a threeyear deal which expires in 2016, analysts say.
Virgin offers the games to its subscribers via
wholesale deals, meaning it feels the impact of
higher costs. “The fact remains that fans in the
UK pay the highest prices in Europe to watch the
least amount of football on TV,” it said.
Analysts and lawyers said the investigation
could push back the start of the auction, howev-
er the league is unlikely to put it on hold because
Ofcom investigations can take years. Ofcom said
it was “mindful” of the timing and was “open to
discussions with the Premier League about its
The sale of television rights at home and overseas has made the 20-team Premier League the
most lucrative domestic competition in world
football. BSkyB and BT pay more than 6 million
pounds for each match they broadcast.
Previous regulatory intervention demanded
two or more firms share the rights. “But what
we have seen is a very sharp raising of pricing for
sports packages, so there’s a sense the mechanism is not working,” said analyst Toby Syfret at
Enders. The monthly cost of Sky Sports, which
must be taken with a pay-TV package, has risen
from 10 pounds in 2005 to 24.50 pounds following a 2.50 pound rise in September, Syfret
said. BT, which has the rights to fewer games,
includes a package of matches in its broadband
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I have faith in the
work of Ethics
Committee: Blatter
�I lodged the criminal complaint upon the recommendation of Judge Eckert’
FIFA President
Sepp Blatter
FIFA lodges criminal
complaint over
World Cup bids
Zurich: Football’s world governing body FIFA has lodged
a criminal complaint with
the Swiss attorney general
over “possible misconduct”
by individuals in connection
with the awarding of the 2018
and 2022 World Cups.
It follows a recommendation by FIFA’s ethics judge
Hans-Joachim Eckert as part
of his final summary of the
Garcia investigation into the
controversial awarding of the
World Cups to Qatar and Russia. “This criminal complaint
has been lodged today,” FIFA
said in a statement.
“The subject of the criminal complaint is the possible
misconduct of individual
persons in connection with
the awarding of the hosting
rights of the 2018 and 2022
World Cups investigated by
Michael Garcia, chairman of
the investigatory chamber of
the FIFA Ethics Committee.
“In particular there seem to
be grounds for suspicion that,
in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with
connections to Switzerland
took place, which merit
examination by the criminal
prosecution authorities.”
Michael Garcia, a former
New York federal prosecutor,
spent 18 months investigating the bidding process for
the two tournaments.
FIFA last week published
a resume of Garcia’s report
and cleared Qatar and Russia
of corruption and ruled out a
re-vote for the tournaments
despite widespread allegations of wrongdoing. Garcia
slammed that version of his
report as “incomplete and
erroneous” has lodged an
The Garcia report will be
handed over to the attorney
general’s office by Eckert but
he and Blatter remain adamant the report cannot be
published. Blatter told FIFA’s
website: “There is no change
to judge Eckert’s statement
that the investigation into the
bidding process for the 2018
and 2022 FIFA World Cups
is concluded. “The matter
will now also be looked at by
an independent, state body,
which shows that FIFA is not
opposed to transparency.”
Asked about the publication of the report, he added:
“If FIFA were to publish the
report, we would be violating
our own association law as
well as state law. The people
who are demanding in the
media and elsewhere that
FIFA publish the report are
obviously of the opinion that
FIFA should or must ignore
the law in this regard.”
Valdes will not
take my place,
says de Gea
By Jamie Jackson
orld soccer’s governing body
FIFA yesterday lodged a criminal complaint with the Swiss
courts, in connection with
the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World
Cups to Russia and Qatar.
Q. Earlier today, you lodged a criminal complaint with the Office of the
Attorney General of Switzerland upon
the recommendation of Judge HansJoachim Eckert. In view of the report
from Michael Garcia, were there any indications of possible criminal conduct
by people in relation to the awarding of
the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022
World Cups?
A. I lodged the criminal complaint upon
the recommendation of Judge Eckert. I
cannot, however, comment on any possible criminal offences.
I am not a lawyer. I also was not the addressee of the investigatory report, which
I have never seen. However, given Judge
Eckert’s recommendation, it was my duty
- as the President of FIFA - to lodge the
Q. Does that not mean, though, that
the federation’s bodies have performed
poorly in examining the awarding
of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups because state authorities are now dealing
with - or having to deal with - the Garcia report?
A. I have every faith in the work of the
independent chambers of the FIFA Ethics
Committee and their chairmen.
They have done good work until now,
and I have no doubt whatsoever that they
will continue to do so. I must note, however, that the Ethics Committee has certain
limitations. As a body of a private institution, it does not have the same options as a
public prosecutor.
But when the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee - himself a judge - recommends calling upon state authorities after a certain
point, then of course I listen to him.
Q. Does that mean that the Ethics Com-
mittee has gone as far as it could in this
A. I have no doubt that the Ethics Committee has done all it possibly could under the FIFA Statutes to shed light on the
issues surrounding the awarding of the
World Cups. In such situations, however,
the options within the federation are obviously exhausted at some point. Michael
Garcia has delivered his report, and Judge
Eckert has assessed it and issued his statement on it. He has also concluded that the
Office of the Attorney General needs to
conduct further investigations into certain issues.
That is no doubt correct, and I am relying upon his judgment here. Michael
Garcia can of course still conduct further
internal FIFA investigations into individuals if he deems this to be necessary in the
light of his report. Furthermore, there is
no change to judge Eckert’s statement that
the investigation into the bidding process
for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups is
Q. Does the step that you have taken
today represent a commitment towards transparency with regard to the
much-discussed issues surrounding the
awarding of the World Cups?
A. Of course. If we had anything to hide,
we would hardly be taking this matter to
the Office of the Attorney General. FIFA’s
internal bodies have done all they can
within the scope of their capabilities, and
they are continuing with their work. The
matter will now also be looked at by an independent, state body, which shows that
FIFA is not opposed to transparency.
Q. FIFA has been criticised for exactly
that reason, namely that it is not transparent because it has not published Garcia’s
A. Once again, we have examined this
matter very, very carefully from a legal
point of view. The result was clear: if FIFA
were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as
state law. The people who are demanding
in the media and elsewhere that FIFA publish the report are obviously of the opinion
that FIFA should or must ignore the law in
this regard. We obviously cannot do that.
FIFA’s headquarters are in a constitutional
state, and we therefore have to abide by the
country’s laws.
avid de Gea has denied VГ­ctor ValdГ©s is
training with Manchester United because coach Louis van Gaal
wants him to take over as the
п¬Ѓrst-choice goalkeeper.
De Gea is nursing a dislocated п¬Ѓnger which appears likely
to rule him out of United’s trip
to Arsenal on Saturday though
the Spaniard believes he has an
outside chance of still playing.
Although De Gea is yet to
sign a new deal at United he is
clear ValdГ©s, who is recovering
from a serious knee injury, is
not being lined up as the new
No1. “Yes, my contract runs
out in 2016. But they didn’t
sign him for that,” he told the
Spanish newspaper, AS. “Víctor had a difficult injury, he had
a bad time and the boss knows
him well and has given him the
opportunity to recover there.
“Víctor is training over
in Manchester, he’s still not
100% after his injury. When he
is fully п¬Ѓt he will start to train
with us. He’s still not training in goal with us. From time
to time he comes out with the
goalkeeping coach but very
little still.Van Gaal knows him
well because he gave VГ­ctor
his debut at Barça and has a
special affection for him and
whenever possible we have to
help where we can. Football
is cruel at times, it’s difficult.
When things go well you’re
very good and when they go
badly, well, it’s awful.”
As a free agent United can
sign ValdГ©s outside of the
transfer window and play him,
as they have one free space in
their 25-man Premier League
squad allocation.
Okazaki wonder goal gives Japan win
apan striker Shinji Okazaki scored
with a swashbuckling backheel as
the Asian champions beat п¬Ѓerce
rivals Australia 2-1 in a friendly
yesterday. Okazaki’s right-foot flick in the
68th minute made it 2-0 to the home side
in Osaka.
It also gave Japan breathing room—and
they needed it, as Tim Cahill popped up
to score with a trademark header in extra
time which would otherwise have given
the Socceroos a share of the spoils before
a potential meeting at the Asian Cup in
Australia beginning on January 9.
Substitute Yasuyuki Konno headed the
Blue Samurai in front after 61 minutes as
Australia’s defence contrived to let a Keisuke Honda corner travel unmolested to
the back post.
Okazaki’s moment of magic gave him
a 40th international goal before Cahill
gave the visitors a deserved consolation,
though it came too late to prevent Japan
coach Javier Aguirre recording back-toback wins for the п¬Ѓrst time since taking
over after the World Cup.
Japan, who beat Australia in the 2011
Asian Cup п¬Ѓnal to lift the trophy for a
record fourth time, had thrashed Honduras 6-0 last Friday after Aguirre brought
back the team’s old guard in a bid to stop
David de Gea is nursing a dislocated finger which appears likely
to rule him out of United’s trip to Arsenal on Saturday. (EPA)
Ramos goal extends
Colombia’s winning run
Yasuyuki Konno (second left) of Japan celebrates with teammate Shinji Okazaki after scoring against Australia during their
international friendly match in Osaka, western Japan yesterday. (Reuters)
the rot following a woeful run of form.
Despite the victory, the Mexican looked
to be getting his excuses in early before
Japan head Down Under to defend their
Asian title. “It’s a building process,” said
the former Espanyol manager. “We wanted to win both these games and we’ve
done that. Australia are the Asian Cup
hosts so it will not be an easy tournament
for us to win.”
The Socceroos could have made life
very uncomfortable for Aguirre had a п¬Ѓne
header by Mathew Leckie not been acrobatically tipped onto the bar by goalkeep-
er Eiji Kawashima early on.
Japan had won just once in four matches
under Aguirre before ripping apart sorry
Honduras—a fortuitous 1-0 victory over
Jamaica—and were humiliated by Brazil
last month when Neymar ran riot, scoring
all four goals in a 4-0 demolition job.
Ljubljana: Adrian Ramos’
first-half goal earned Colombia a 1-0 friendly win
over Slovenia yesterday and
secured their fourth consecutive victory.
The Borussia Dortmund
striker finished off a wellcrafted move involving
Juan Cuadrado and James
Rodriguez shortly before the
interval as Jose Pekerman’s
side prevailed in Ljubljana.
After being played in by
Rodriguez’s pass, Ramos
coolly rounded goalkeeper
Jan Oblak and tapped home
his third international goal.
The Real Madrid man
Rodriguez impressed but was
replaced 17 minutes from the
end as Pekerman utilised his
options from the bench, and
Colombia held on as Slovenia
were unable to force a late
In another match, Serbia
scored a 2-0 win over Greece.
Radosav Petrovic and
Nemanja Gudelj found the
net for Serbia at Karaiskakis
Stadium in Greece.
In Borisov Arena, hosts
Belarus clinched a thrilling
3-2 win over Mexico. Nikolay
Signevich, Sergey Kisliak
and Pavel Nekhaychik 80
scored for Belarus, while Raul
Jimenez scored a brace for
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
How Susic went from
hero to zero at the helm
Strange decisions and flawed judgment led to the downfall of Bosnia-Herzegovina coach
lmost 50,000 people gathered
on the streets of Sarajevo in
October 2013 to welcome their
national football team in what
was the biggest sporting parade in the
country’s history. Bosnia-Herzegovina
had secured their п¬Ѓrst ever appearance
in a major tournament – at the 2014
World Cup – and the nation had been
spun into delirium.
When the national coach, Safet Susic, stepped out on to a balcony with his
п¬Ѓsts in the air, the masses went wild.
That night Susic became a national
hero. But 13 months later, having seen
his Bosnia-Herzegovina side smashed
3-0 by Israel in Haifa on Sunday, he was
not far off being the most hated п¬Ѓgure
in the country and his sacking has been
celebrated by fans everywhere.
So what went wrong for Susic and
Just over a year ago the Dragons – as
the Bosnians are nicknamed back home
– were a hugely admired team and their
qualification for the World Cup was
celebrated as one of the most romantic
stories of football history. Less than 20
years after a bloody war had destroyed
the country and turned it into one of the
poorest in Europe, its football team had
written a fairytale.
The men from Bosnia-Herzegovina
had also won hearts with their attacking approach, topping their World Cup
qualifying group with an impressive
tally of 30 goals ahead of Greece and
Slovakia, and losing only once in 10
matches. Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic
were lethal up front while Zvjezdan Misimovic and Miralem Pjanic gave Susic’s
team a certain magic in midfield.
“We have to play attacking football,”
said the coach. “It would be unfair to
the fans, to the game and to us if we
were to suppress such talent.”
Expectations were high enough
for some to think that Bosnia might
progress past the group stage at the
2014 World Cup п¬Ѓnals in Brazil.
But while the results were creditable
on paper – close defeats to Argentina
(2-1) and Nigeria (1-0) followed by victory over Iran (3-1) – the team’s sojourn
in the tournament was short-lived and
the fans had already begun to see plenty
of things they did not like. There were
strange decisions and tactical naivety at
the helm and Susic had quickly begun to
lose contact with reality. Just as swiftly
he had also begun to forget that the road
from hero to zero is nowhere as short as
it is in the Balkans.
Among Susic’s first mistakes had
But 13 months later, having seen
his Bosnia-Herzegovina side
smashed 3-0 by Israel in Haifa
on Sunday, Susic was not far off
being the most hated figure in the
country and his sacking has been
celebrated by fans everywhere
been a decision to include his nephew,
Tino-Sven, in the World Cup squad,
refusing to explain his reasoning but
joking that it was “because of his last
Then there had been his alleged links
with various footballing agents – including his brother Sead – which his
critics had put forward as a possible
reason for some of his more questionable call-ups of certain players.
But the turning point was the World
Cup defeat by Nigeria in Cuiaba, where
his tactical set-up, poor preparation
and failure to react to the pattern of
the game offered Bosnia up to the opposition on a silver platter and cost the
team a place in the last 16. The match
underlined and exposed all of Susic’s
flaws; things were just not functioning
as before.
Despite the concerns Susic was
handed a lucrative new contract after
the World Cup. Bosnia responded with
a 2-1 defeat by Cyprus in Zenica in their
first European Championship qualification match and Susic publicly blamed
his players for the defeat.
A goalless draw against Wales in Cardiff and a 1-1 draw at home to Belgium
brought Susic two points but not the
positive atmosphere and stability he
had craved.
Missing six players from his usual
list, including Dzeko and Ibisevic, he
was then forced to improvise in the
next match against Israel in Haifa but,
instead of looking for alternatives up
front, made a delusional decision not to
call on any strikers at all.
Worse still, Susic declared that “now
that we have lost Dzeko, we must admit
that we have no chance to win in Israel
and that we would be satisfied with
a point” – a stance that outraged both
the Bosnian public and, by all accounts,
his team.
After defeat at the hands of Israel on
Sunday, Susic said, “I do not feel responsible for this loss” and dismissed
any notion of resignation. But those
were his last words in charge: that afternoon he was relived of all duties.
Now Bosnia must hope to get to the
European Championship with another
man and Susic, once the most successful coach in the country’s history, is left
to п¬Ѓgure out how he made such a mess
of such a promising situation.
Bosnia sacked coach Safet Susic on Monday following a series of poor results in Euro 2016 qualifiers. (Reuters)
TOP LEFT: Qatar Racing
and Equestrian Club
General Manager Sami
Jassim al-Boenain (left)
presents a momento to
WAHO president Peter
Pond at a dinner hosted
by QREC at the Four
The WAHO event
concluded yesterday
with delegates visiting
various stud farms.
There was also a
Ridden Class Pure
Arabian horse show held
at the Indoor arena of
the Qatar Equestrian
takes over
at cash-rich
Shanghai: Former England
manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was unveiled by cashrich Shanghai East Asia as
their new coach yesterday,
on a contract that reportedly puts him among the top
earners in football management.
The Swede was presented
by officials at the Chinese
Super League (CSL) club
after intense speculation
following his exit from fellow
top-flight outfit Guangzhou
R&F last week. The welltravelled coach was reported
to have been paid up to
$3 million at Guangzhou,
and Chinese media said his
new bosses were willing to
double the coaching team’s
“I am very happy and
very proud that it is finally
official that we are here and
I am going to be the head
coach of this club,” Eriksson
told a news conference. “I
am looking forward to start
work and looking forward to
a new challenge.”
Shanghai East Asia—which
has no connection with
Shanghai Shenhua, the team
that attracted Chelsea’s
Didier Drogba to China—will
spend 500 million yuan ($82
million) on developing their
side next season, reports
in China said. It is unclear
whether Eriksson will have
full control over the funds. A
$6 million salary would rank
Eriksson among the top 20
best paid managers in the
world, according to the latest study by France Football
He would be ahead of Laurent Blanc, coach of French
champions Paris SaintGermain, who earned $5.2
million in the 2013-14 season
and is in 19th place.
Among Eriksson’s staff at
Shanghai is former Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester
City goalkeeper Ian Walker,
who has been at the club
since January following a
spell at Shenhua.
Eriksson joined
Guangzhou in June last year,
and clinched a slot in the
AFC Champions League with
a third-place finish this season. The 66-year-old faced
off in derby games against
former Italy manager
Marcello Lippi, a World Cup
winner who led Guangzhou
Evergrande to their fourth
successive Chinese title this
year. Lippi stepped aside
for his World Cup-winning
Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro to take charge of the
hugely-successful club at the
end of the 2014 season.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Fear of failure a problem for England: Strauss
ndrew Strauss said
Monday a collective
fear of failure on the
part of England’s batsmen risks damaging the team’s
chances at next year’s World Cup
in Australia and New Zealand.
One longstanding complaint
about England’s recent one-day
which have seen them lose п¬Ѓve
of their last six 50-over series, is
that an essentially orthodox approach to batting allied to a lack
of big-hitters means they are not
getting enough runs to be competitive.
Last week saw India’s Rohit Sharma score an ODI world
South Africa’s
Steyn plays
down �silly’
Clarke feud
SYDNEY: South African paceman Dale Steyn played down
his rift with Australia captain
Michael Clarke yesterday,
saying their supposed feud
had been “a bit silly”.
Clarke has been ruled out of
the last three matches of the
one-day series against the
Proteas by a hamstring injury
and Steyn said he wished the
Australian a swift recovery.
The row started in March
when Clarke sledged Steyn
when the South African and
team mate Vernon Philander
were batting to try, ultimately
unsuccessfully, to save both
the Cape Town test and the
Clarke, who was fined for
threatening England paceman James Anderson with a
broken arm during the Brisbane Ashes test at the end of
last year, apologised in Cape
Town for the sledge.
Steyn said after a triangular
series in Zimbabwe later
in the year, however, that
he would not forgive the
personal slight until Clarke
shook him by the hand and
apologised—comments he
said had been blown out of
all proportion.
“It’s got nothing to do about,
�I’ll see you in the car park
and we’ll beat the crap out
of each other’,” Steyn told
reporters in Canberra on
“Maybe I just said too much
in Zim. The issue with
Michael Clarke got blown
out completely, it was like
two schoolgirls the way the
media got hold of it.”
Although Steyn said that he
believed there was “a line” in
sledging that should not be
crossed, he was happy to put
the disagreement with Clarke
behind him.
“I didn’t want it to start a massive thing. It did, it doesn’t
matter. He’s not playing
now. He’s obviously injured.
Hopefully he gets well,” Steyn
“He’s a great player and I
think there’s enough respect
from both of us, we’ve played
against each other for long
enough now and it’s just
kind of got blown out of the
water. It’s a bit silly really in all
record of 264 against Sri Lanka—a total bigger than seven of
England’s last 10 ODI innings,
albeit that includes the meagre
73 Alastair Cook’s men needed
for a 10-wicket win over a Sri
Lanka side skittled out for just
68 at Old Trafford in May.
England have never won the
World Cup despite having competed in every edition since
hosting the inaugural tournament in 1975 and former captain
Strauss said that, from his own
experience, the problem had
more to do with batsmen’s approach rather than their techniques.
“I think the England players,
even throughout my time, have
played too fearfully,” Strauss said
in an interview with the BBC.
“They’ve been far too fear-
Former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss
ful of getting out. And you can’t
make 400 if you’ve got that kind
of attitude,” added Strauss, England’s captain at the last World
Cup in Asia four years ago where
they suffered a 10-wicket quarter-п¬Ѓnal thrashing by Sri Lanka
in Colombo.
“I would argue it’s not the
strategy that is wrong, it’s that
players haven’t actually played
well enough. And it’s very hard
to score 400 in ODIs if you’re
not confident,” the former opening batsman added.
Find winning way
England begin their World
Cup preparations in earnest next
week with the п¬Ѓrst of a sevenmatch series away to Sri Lanka
ahead of a triangular contest in
Australia also featuring reigning
champions India.
It means that, unusually, England will not be playing any Test
cricket between the end of their
own season and the start of a
World Cup as they concentrate
all their efforts on 50-over glory.
But Strauss warned England’s
morale could collapse ahead of
the World Cup if they didn’t enjoy victories in their �warm-up’
“They’ve got to find a way of
winning that series in Sri Lanka
to get some confidence,” said
“The real danger of this is
they’re playing against three
very good one-day sides, and if
they don’t get on a bit of a roll
and start winning then confidence could be eroded rather
than enhanced before the World
Cup,” the 37-year-old added.
Much of the criticism of England’s batting has focused on the
performance of opener Cook,
who has not scored an international century since May 2013.
But Strauss said the fact his old
п¬Ѓrst-wicket partner could now
concentrate solely on one form
of cricket for several months
would benefit the 29-year-old
Essex left-hander.
“When he’s played well he’s
scored quickly and he’s led by
example,” Strauss explained.
“Now he needs to do that
again for the next six months because that sets the platform.
“Bearing in mind this is his
one shot of playing and captaining in a World Cup he’ll be
incredibly motivated and he’ll
have all his focus on that.”
Pakistan in trouble after
New Zealand total 403
Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar was the pick of bowlers with 4-137
akistan were under
pressure after losing both their openers
for 34 in reply to New
Zealand’s big total of 403 in the
second Test in Dubai yesterday.
Azhar Ali (four) and Younis
Khan (one) were unbeaten at
close on the second day after
Shan Masood (13) and Taufeeq
Umar (16) departed early to give
New Zealand an edge for the
п¬Ѓrst time in the series.
Pakistan still need 170 runs
more to avoid the follow-on
with eight wickets intact.
Pakistan’s new opening pair,
after Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez were ruled
out due to injuries, flopped as
Masood played over a sharp
turning delivery from Ish Sodhi
and was bowled between the gap.
New Zealand Ist innings (overnight
T. Latham c Ahmed b Rahat .................................137
B. McCullum c Masood b Adil .............................. 43
K. Williamson b Babar .....................................................32
R. Taylor c Masood b Shah .......................................23
C. Anderson c Ali b Adil ....................................................9
J. Neesham c Misbah b Shah ..................................17
B.J. Watling c (sub) Sohail b Ali ............................39
M. Craig lbw b Babar ....................................................... 43
T. Southee b Babar ..............................................................17
I. Sodhi not out ........................................................................32
T. Boult c Rahat b Babar ..................................................2
Extras: (lb9) ..................................................................................9
Total: (all out; 156 overs) ........................................403
Fall of wickets: 1-77
2-153 (Williamson), 3-226 (Taylor), 4-245
(Neesham), 7-346 (Watling), 8-348 (Craig),
9-387 (Southee)
Bowling: Rahat 32-8-69-1, Adil 29-9-73-2,
Babar 45-8-137-4, Shah 41-7-92-2, Ali 9-1-23-1
Pakistan Ist innings
Shan Masood b Sodhi .....................................................13
Taufeeq Umar st Watling b Craig .......................16
Azhar Ali not out ......................................................................4
Younis Khan not out ..............................................................1
Total: (for two wkts; 19 overs) ............................. 34
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Masood), 2-32
Bowling: Boult 5-1-9-0, Southee 3-0-5-0,
Craig 6-3-8-1, Sodhi 5-0-12-1
Pakistani cricketers wait for a third umpire decision for a leg before wicket (LBW) appeal against Mark Craig during the second day of the
second Test match against New Zealand at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai yesterday.
Umar, playing his п¬Ѓrst Test in
two years, was stumped as he
was beaten by off-spinner Mark
Craig. That capped a good day
for New Zealand who added 160
runs in the day.
Besides opener Tom Latham’s
brilliant 137, New Zealand owed
their total to tail-enders who
added 125 runs for the last four
wickets after they had seemingly squandered a chance to post a
big total at 278-6.
Mark Craig (43), BJ Watling
(39) and Ish Sodhi (32 not out)
fought hard to ensure New Zea-
land get past the 400-mark,
a total which could put an inform Pakistan batting under
Watling said New Zealand
had the better of Pakistan on
the day.
“Obviously after losing two
early wickets we had to try and
put up a decent total and we
managed that and then their
two wickets made a good day for
us,” said Watling.
Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar
Babar was the pick of bowlers
with 4-137 while leggie Yasir
Shah п¬Ѓnished with 2-92 and
seamer Ehsan Adil 2-73.
Watling and Craig added 68
for the seventh wicket in the
post-lunch session to leave the
Pakistani bowlers frustrated on
an unresponsive pitch.
It was left to part-timer
Azhar Ali to break the stand
when he had Watling caught in
the slips and then two runs later
Babar trapped Craig leg-before
to leave New Zealand at 348-8.
Craig hit п¬Ѓve boundaries
in his 110-ball knock while
Watling had three hits to the
fence in his two-hour stay.
Sodhi and Tim Southee (17)
added a further 39 for the ninth
wicket and Sodhi lofted Babar
for a six to post the 400.
Babar though had the last
laugh, dismissing number eleven Trent Boult to wrap up the
Earlier, resuming on a strong
243-3, New Zealand lost both
their overnight batsmen Corey
Anderson and Tom Latham in
the space of two runs in the п¬Ѓrst
three overs of the day.
Adil had Anderson (nine)
caught in the covers before fellow new-ball partner Rahat had
Latham caught behind.
Latham, who scored 103 in
New Zealand’s 248-run defeat
in the п¬Ѓrst Test in Abu Dhabi,
fell in the next over as he edged
a ball from Rahat to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
Latham failed to add to his
overnight score of 137. He batted
for 394 minutes and hit 11 fours
and a six.
Neesham added 33 for the
sixth wicket with Watling before he miscued a drive off Shah
and was caught at short midwicket by Misbah-ul Haq for 17.
The third and п¬Ѓnal Test will
be played in Sharjah from November 26.
Watson optimistic on Clarke’s fitness for India Tests
hane Watson would be
honoured to stand in for
Michael Clarke as Test
skipper against India
next month even if he thinks it’s
increasingly unlikely that Australia will need a caretaker captain.
Australia are sweating on
Clarke’s hamstring injury ahead
of an important three months
of cricket on home soil, which
takes in the four Tests against
India and the co-hosting of the
50-over World Cup with New
All rounder Watson, who has
had more than a few injury problems of his own in recent years,
said he had spoken to Clarke and
the prognosis for the injury was
“The diagnosis is, I think,
better than what it was initially,
which is a great thing. It’s all
very positive,” Watson told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“Everyone’s got their fingers
crossed. Hopefully, over the next
week or so, it’ll continue to improve really well and he’ll right
for the first test.”
Watson was the stand-in last
year in India when Clarke missed
his only test since he replaced
Ricky Ponting as captain in
March 2011.
On the comeback trail himself in the one-day series against
South Africa having missed half
a year of international cricket
because of injury, Watson said
his focus was on proving himself
worthy of a recall to the test side.
Watson should get his chance
in the remaining three one-dayers against the Proteas, in Canberra on Wednesday, Melbourne
on Friday and Sydney on Sunday.
The series is tied at 1-1.
The Test series against India begins in Brisbane on Dec. 4
with matches in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to follow.
Australia opener Rogers
answers critics with
Shield ton
Shane Watson
“I just need to be scoring runs
over the next couple of weeks to
give myself the best opportunity
to be able to do that,” he added.
Australia opener Chris Rogers
has provided a timely answer to
his critics ahead of next week’s
test squad announcement with
a century for Victoria in the domestic Sheffield Shield championship.
The 37-year-old, who was recalled for the п¬Ѓrst Ashes series
last year half a decade after his
single previous test, has been
under pressure for his place in
the side for next month’s series
against India after a disappointing showing against Pakistan.
Partnering David Warner,
Rogers managed just 88 runs
in four innings as Australia
were swept 2-0 by Pakistan in
the United Arab Emirates last
In his п¬Ѓrst outing since his return to Australia, however, the
lefthander crafted an innings of
107 for his state against South
Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
He had added only four runs
to his overnight tally on Tuesday
morning when he was caught off
the bowling of South Australia
quick Joe Mennie to end his 210ball knock.
The catch was taken at mid-
off by Phil Hughes, the batsman
most likely to benefit if Rogers
is dropped for the India series,
which starts on Dec. 4 in Brisbane.
Hughes, also a lefthanded
opener, failed to press his case
for a recall for a 27th test when
he made just seven runs on the
opening morning of the fourday match.
Named one of Wisden’s
Cricketers of the Year for 2013
after scoring 830 runs in 10 tests
against England, Rogers has indicated that a third Ashes series
next year could be his swan song.
He missed Victoria’s previous
Sheffield Shield outing because,
being colour blind, he feared he
would not be able to pick out the
pink ball that Cricket Australia
are testing in the hope of playing
day-night tests in the near future.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Hamilton’s return to form
shows he has come of age
The Brit goes to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of this season, on the brink of becoming a multiple world
champion and achieving a status that looked impossible for a driver who was close to meltdown just three years ago
By Paul Weaver
The Guardian
Factbox on Lewis Hamilton
Born: Stevenage, England. Jan 7,
1985 (29 years old)
z Hamilton’s paternal grandfather
emigrated to England from Grenada
and worked for the London Underground transport system. His full
name is Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton. The name Davidson was taken
from his grandfather, who drove a
school bus in Grenada.
ollowing the fortunes of
Lewis Hamilton this season
has been like watching Peter
Pan grow up, for in 2014 Formula One’s most dazzling driver has
come of age and become something
more consummate.
He goes to Abu Dhabi this week on
the brink of becoming a multiple world
champion and achieving a status that
looked impossible for a driver who was
close to meltdown just three years ago.
His emotional immaturity was perhaps the natural consequence of growing up under the stern control of п¬Ѓrst
his father, Anthony Hamilton, and
then Ron Dennis, the autocratic boss of
McLaren, who might have been born to
play Malvolio.
That uncertainty, that impulsiveness of nature, is still there in part.
But he does have more autonomy now,
both personally and professionally, and
the confidence of the self-governed
has been reflected in the most successful season of his career; he has won
10 races and leads his great rival Nico
Rosberg (who has won п¬Ѓve times) by 17
points as he goes into the п¬Ѓnal race.
If he succeeds in winning his second
championship on Sunday, by п¬Ѓnishing
п¬Ѓrst or second, even his many detractors will have to usher him into the hallowed grid of the grand prix greats. If
he fails – which could happen through
the larceny of the double points that
will be awarded at the Yas Marina circuit – those same doubters are likely
to site this as the latest example of his
inability to make the most of a Godgiven talent.
It has long been the case that those
who recognise Hamilton as one of the
most naturally-gifted drivers the sport
has seen have been matched by those
who, for whatever reason, always view
him with a certain churlishness.
He has never been given the credit
that was due for his breathtaking performances in his rookie season of 2007,
when he п¬Ѓnished on the podium in his
п¬Ѓrst nine races, had the audacity to win
in Montreal and would have carried off
the championship but for some poor
fortune in the п¬Ѓnal race.
Hamilton was just as fast as – and
sometimes faster than – his double
world champion teammate Fernando
Alonso and led the championship for
much of the year, the youngest driver
to do so. A bewildered Alonso quit the
z His parents divorced when he
was two. Father Anthony worked for
the railways while mother Carmen
worked for the local council. He first
sat in a go-kart on a family holiday in
Ibiza when he was three. He started
karting seriously when he was eight
years old.
z Hamilton was a winner in every
category of karting, taking his first
British title by the age of 10, and
joined McLaren’s young driver programme in 1998. He was European
Formula A kart champion in 2000,
with current Mercedes teammate
Nico Rosberg runner-up.
z The Briton won the 2003 Formula
Renault UK title with 10 race wins,
the 2005 Formula Three Euro series
with 15 wins and the 2006 GP2
championship, following on from
z Hamilton made a sensational F1
debut with McLaren in 2007, aged
22. In his opening race in Australia
he finished third, was second in the
next four races and then won the
sixth and seventh races in Canada
and the United States.
File picture of Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gesturing after the first Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
team at the end of the season.
He did win his first and only title the following year, albeit with an
overtake on the final corner of the
last lap.
At 23 he was the youngest F1 champion in history. But while people who
insist there should have been more
titles since then are right, those who
casually blame him for this are being
a little unfair.
In 2009, 2010 and 2012 Hamilton
drove well and was often the class of
the field, but his McLaren car was not
up to the job, and nor was the Mercedes he drove last year. Only in 2011,
when he imploded with problems on
and off the track, was the task clearly
beyond him.
In 2009 he was п¬Ѓfth in the championship in a poor car and the season
could not have got off to a worse start
in Australia. He was 18th on the grid
after McLaren incurred a penalty for
changing his gearbox during qualifying. He managed to come third but was
then disqualified for giving stewards
“misleading evidence”.
He described it as the worst week of
his life and even talked about walking
away from F1. But, driving an uncompetitive car, there were still four poles
and victories at the Hungaroring and
In 2010 successive wins in Turkey
and Canada prompted speculation
about a second title. There was also a
п¬Ѓne wet win at Spa. But this was the
year that marked the start of the dominance of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel
and he had to make do with fourth.
Only the ghoulish would take pleas-
ure from dwelling on his 2011 season.
Again the car wasn’t up to the challenge but on this occasion nor was
the driver. He riled Red Bull when he
described them as “just a drinks company”. He clashed with stewards at
Monaco and said he felt victimised.
“Maybe it’s because I’m black – that’s
what Ali G says,” he commented. Felipe
Massa, with whom he had a number of
run-ins, said Hamilton was “incapable
of using his brain”, and that year he was
probably right.
The British driver still produced
three wins, and his victories in China
and Germany were of the highest quality. But his personal life was in disarray
and he said that mentally he had to get
back to being in “a good place”.
It was in 2012 that we п¬Ѓrst saw the
signs of a new maturity. He was, ar-
guably, in the best form of his life and
would have won a well deserved title
but for his unreliable mode of transport. Again, McLaren failed him but he
had the strength and good judgment
to leave the team for Mercedes at the
end of the season when most people
thought it was a crazy move.
Mercedes were not ready for world
championships last year. This year,
though, they were and Hamilton has
been superb, with four successive wins
early in the season and then п¬Ѓve on the
spin before the last race in Brazil .
Rosberg, his calculating and extremely diligent opposite, has done
well to cling on to his slipstream. But
Hamilton deserves the 2014 championship, especially when you consider
what has happened to him since he
won six years ago.
z In 2008, Hamilton won the title,
aged 23 years and 301 days. At the
time he was the youngest ever world
champion and he won the title in
thrilling style with an overtaking
move on the last corner of the last
lap of the last race in Brazil.
z In 2009, Hamilton finished fifth
overall. He was fourth in 2010, fifth
in 2011 and fourth in 2012. He then
moved to Mercedes for the 2013
season on a three-year contract.
�When Lewis has speed, Nico
needs to find the smart way’
also shown this season that he
has a ruthlessness that belies his
easy charm and privileged upbringing.
To be champion he needs to
overhaul Hamilton’s 17 point
advantage, an achievable target
thanks to the unprecedented
double points on offer.
Both have pushed each other
all the way, with Rosberg taking
10 pole positions but Hamilton
racking up 10 wins to the German’s five in a record-breaking
run of 11 one-twos.
ico Rosberg was born
in Germany, brought
up in Monaco and
Ibiza, educated at an
international school in the south
of France and has a famous Finnish father.
If the Mercedes driver were
to win the Formula One title in
Abu Dhabi on Sunday, the п¬Ѓrst
German to do so in a German
car would be the least German
champion of them all if no less
Sophisticated and multi-lingual, as much at ease conversing in Italian, French or Spanish
as English, the 29-year-old describes himself as �international
What the blond son of 1982
champion Keke has in common
with Michael Schumacher and
Sebastian Vettel, whose German
roots go far deeper, is that attention to detail and constant quest
for improvement.
Rosberg noticed, for example,
that he sometimes fell sick at
race weekends after long-haul
commercial flights. So now he
wears a face mask when flying to
ward off viruses and has changed
z His run of 2007 podiums ended
after nine in a row and he ended
the season second overall with four
wins, one point behind winner Kimi
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany.
to a gluten-free diet.
The German has needed all his
intelligence and every advantage to match British team mate
Lewis Hamilton, the former
friend and foe from karting days
who is now a Monaco neighbour.
A team player, Rosberg has
“Nico is good on marketing and
very friendly. Always on time.
That pushes Lewis also to be
very good with the sponsors and
team guys,” said one close acquaintance.
“Everything is competition.
Every single thing. Also on the
track. When Lewis has pure
speed, Nico always needs to п¬Ѓnd
a smart way.
“His approach is sitting down
with the guys and saying �How
can we improve?’ That’s Nico
Rosberg. The engineering driver.”
Consistent on the racetrack,
with 10 second places this season, continuity is important off
it for a man whose parents have
been married for 37 years.
He had been with girlfriend
Vivian for a decade before they
tied the knot this year, and race
engineer Tony Ross has accompanied him from a debut season
at Williams in 2006 through to
Where Hamilton likes to
have father Anthony and family around, and loves fast cars
and chunky jewellery, Rosberg
is a polar opposite to the kid who
grew up on a rough Stevenage
council estate.
Keke still goes to pre-season
testing, enjoying the occasional day on the golf course with
friends, but rarely attends races.
His son needs no help and no
Nico, who turned down the
offer of a university place to
study engineering, loves old cars
and has been known to turn up
hours early for photoshoots in
the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart to admire the exhibits.
He recently purchased a 1970s
280SL Mercedes convertible.
“He likes new cars but driving
in a classic car with Vivian and
enjoying the scenery gives him
much more pleasure than driving a modern car very fast,” confided one who knows. Racetrack
excluded, of course.
Mercedes keen to
tie down Hamilton
with new contract
ercedes can hardly
wait for Sunday’s
Abu Dhabi Formula
One title decider
to be over so they can tie Lewis
Hamilton down to a long-term
contract. The 29-year-old Briton, who can become a double
world champion at Yas Marina,
has a year remaining on his current deal but Mercedes are looking well beyond that.
“We want him very much to
stay for many more years,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto
Wolff told reporters ahead of the
season-ending race.
“He’s great for the team, he’s
part of the family, the relationship we all enjoy is more than
just a professional racing relationship between driver and
team. It’s on a different level.”
Hamilton has a 17 point lead
over German team mate Nico
Rosberg but an unprecedented
double points on offer in Abu
Dhabi means there is everything
to play for. Rosberg, winner of
five races this season to Hamilton’s 10, agreed a multi-year
contract extension in July.
Wolff said Mercedes had agreed
to defer talks with the Briton until
after the п¬Ѓnal race so he could con-
centrate on his driving.
“We did that very consciously
even when the rumours accelerated around other drivers and
our team. We sat down again
and said “Should we maybe take
those conversations forward?”
and we decided �No, it’s not the
best thing to do’.
“And so on the Monday or
Tuesday after Abu Dhabi we will
sit down and discuss and hopefully find a solution quickly.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso,
the double world champion who
is set to join McLaren next year
when they start a new partnership with Honda, has made little
secret of his interest in moving to
Mercedes in 2016. However the
Spaniard’s overtures appear destined to be rejected, unless 2008
champion Hamilton decides to
go elsewhere.
Wolff said Hamilton, who has
let a management deal with XIX
Entertainment lapse, was perfectly capable of negotiating his
own deal. “Lewis is a very intelligent and mature person now
who knows more about Formula
One than many other managers
out there,” he said. “I think he
can represent himself in a good
way, he has good support from
consultants he needs to have, be
it legal or tax or whatever.
“He knows what he wants and
is straight about it.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
New Indian hero rises as Lee’s star falls
Hong Kong
Kidambi Srikanth will
try to write more positive headlines for badminton this week in Hong Kong
after he shocked the great Lin
Dan in the China Open final—
just months after a meningitis
The emergence of a new star
in Sunday’s final could not come
at a better time for the sport as it
reels from world number one Lee
Chong Wei’s positive drugs test.
The 21-year-old Indian said he
was in dreamland after stunning
Lin, the multiple world, Olympic
and Asian Games champion, in
charge to
stop Scott
at Masters
eoff Ogilvy has warned
compatriot Adam Scott
that he is one of “tons”
of players in the п¬Ѓeld
who have the ability to prevent
the world number two from winning a third straight Australian
Masters title this week.
Scott will be the clear favourite
to become the п¬Ѓrst golfer to win
the A$1mn (872,000 US dollar)
tournament three years in a row
when he tees off at the Metropolitan Golf Club tomorrow.
Former US Open champion
Ogilvy won his п¬Ѓrst US PGA tour
title in four years at the Barracuda Championship in August,
though, and believes his local
knowledge could just help him
add a п¬Ѓrst yellow jacket to his
“Obviously I feel like I can win
the tournament,” he told a news
conference on Tuesday. “Melbourne is home and I feel like if I
play well on this sort of course, I
should do well.
“Adam’s the favourite but I
feel like I can win and I feel like
there’s probably a ton of other
guys in the п¬Ѓeld that if they go
out and play well, they can win.
“There’s a lot of pretty established and proven players in this
п¬Ѓeld that if they play well, they
are hard to beat, as well.”
Other players favoured to
challenge for the title at the PGA
Tour of Australasia event are
American Boo Weekley and local challengers Marcus Fraser,
Steven Bowditch and Stuart Appleby, who shot a п¬Ѓnal-round 65
to win the title in 2010.
Jarrod Lyle might not feature
among the favourites with the
bookmakers but would love nothing
better than a win in his own country.
The 33-year-old made an
emotional return to competition
at the tournament last year after
successfully battling leukaemia
for the second time. “I’m here
to compete,” Lyle told reporters. “I’m never going to lose that
tag, but I now am a golfer again. I
want to be out playing golf.
“I want to be competitive. I
want to win golf tournaments.”
straight games on home soil in
And Srikanth’s victory was all
the remarkable as it came just
п¬Ѓve months after he collapsed in
a changing room and was rushed
to intensive care with meningitis.
The quietly-spoken youngster
from Andhra Pradesh found it
hard to put Sunday’s win, which
was against one of his sporting
idols, into words.
“To beat Lin Dan in a final is a
dream come true,” he said. “I just
played my 100% because there
was nothing to lose.”
Srikanth’s 21-19, 21-17 win
handed India a rare double triumph as established countrywoman Saina Nehwal won the
women’s event.
The 16th-ranked Srikanth
is unseeded at the Hong Kong
Open, so sudden has been his
success, and he faces a tough
opening clash on Wednesday
against world number eight
Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan.
He won’t have to get past Lin
again as the Chinese star pulled
out on Monday after suffering a flare-up of a knee injury
in Sunday’s final against Srikanth.
In July, Srikanth was discovered unconscious on the floor
of the locker room at the famed
Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, where he has
trained since 2008.
But this week Srikanth, who
quickly recovered, will be the
centre of attention in the ab-
India’s new badminton sensation Kidambi Srikanth.
sence of Lee, who is provisionally suspended, and the sidelined
Srikanth’s style, movement
and approach have been likened to Lee by none other than
the Malaysian great’s coach Tey
Seu Bock, who п¬Ѓrst spotted the
youngster at an Indian Badminton League event.
Lee was also impressed when
pushed all the way by a spirited
Srikanth at the Singapore Open
in April this year.
“I have to admit that Srikanth
played very well today and posed
a strong challenge,” Lee said after edging it 21-19, 21-18.
“He is in his early 20s and is
one the juniors coming through.
He will be quite a handful for the
top players in the future.”
McIlroy says legal
dispute will not affect
his form in Dubai
�It would be nice to cap off the season with another win’
By Ewan Murray
Aby Dhabi
ory McIlroy insists his
preparations for the
п¬Ѓnal event of the European Tour season have
not been adversely affected by
his latest round of discussions
with lawyers .
McIlroy surprisingly and belatedly pulled out of two recent
events in China by explaining
that he needed time to “prepare
for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management.” That multi-million
pound issue, between McIlroy
and his former management
п¬Ѓrm, is due to reach the commercial court in Dublin early
next year. Speculation logically
surrounds how the case will
impact on McIlroy’s form and
“It has been OK,” said McIlroy of his build-up to the DP
World Tour Championship in
Dubai. “In the last week or so, I
really put my head down and focused on my golf and everything
like that. So that’s been great.
“I’ve actually felt like I’ve had
a really good little bit of preparation coming into this event.
I feel good with my game and
hopefully I’ve done enough
work to be ready for Thursday.
“I’m comfortable on this golf
course. I’ve played well here,
basically every year that we’ve
been in Dubai. I got the win here
in 2012.
“It would be nice to cap off
the season with another win.
And I feel like I’m probably a
little fresher than most of the
guys, as well. I think there’s a
few jaded minds and bodies getting off that plane from Turkey
the other night. Hopefully I can
use that to my advantage and
put in a good performance this
Rory McIlroy speaks during a press conference of the DP World Tour Championship European Tour Golf tournament 2014 at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab
Emirates, yesterday.
McIlroy has already been
crowned as the winner of the
European Tour’s order of merit
for a second time in three years.
“Regardless that I have won
the Race to Dubai, I still want
to play really well this week and
try and win this tournament,
because there would be no point
in me showing up if I thought
that I had already won something and was just here for a
good time,” added the Northern
“It would make it an even
better time if I won. I want to
pick two trophies up on the 18th
green on Sunday instead of one.
And I feel like I’m playing well.
I’ve hit the ball in practise, so
we’ll see what happens over the
course of the four days.”
McIlroy, who had previously
announced he will host the Irish
Open next year, provided a further boost to the tournament by
confirming Rickie Fowler has
agreed to participate at Royal
County Down. McIlroy and
Fowler featured as amateurs
in the Walker Cup at the same
venue back in 2007.
“I’ve tried to use any sort of
influence that I have to try to
get some guys to come over and
play,” McIlroy added.
“That’s hopefully just the
start of a few names coming an
board and playing. Rickie has
become a very good friend of
mine over the past few years.
I’m delighted that he can come
across the Atlantic and support the event.” (The Guardian)
Ferrero to the fore as Garcia’s caddie
Former world number one tennis player Carlos Ferrero (right) and golfer Sergio Garcia.
orld number six
Sergio Garcia has
roped in former
French Open tennis
champion Juan Carlos Ferrero
as his caddie for his title defence
at next month’s Thailand Golf
Championship, the Spaniard
said yesterday.
Garcia will face stiff competition at the Dec 11-14 event
with twice US Masters champion Bubba Watson, US Open
champion Martin Kaymer and
former world number ones Lee
Westwood and Ernie Els also in
the field at the Amata Spring
Ferrero, also Spanish, topped
the tennis rankings in 2003 after claiming his only major title
at Roland Garros but retired in
2012 after 14 years on the men’s
“I’ve played golf with him
many times but he never caddied for me before,” Garcia
said in an Asian Tour news release.
“We just talked about it and
he mentioned about it and we
decided to do it. He is excited
about it.”
Garcia’s girlfriend Katharina Boehm was on his bag
when he won the title last
“Katharina is fine,” Garcia added. “She is happy
to step aside and support
from the side lines. It always helps to have a friend
on your bag.
“It is good fun to be able
to enjoy golf and have a
good time with a good close
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
agree to
Bell tolls as Steelers
produce comeback win
�When we were down 11 we didn’t want to get away from our game plan’
Twice All-Star outfielder
Giancarlo Stanton has agreed
to an eye-popping contract
extension worth $325mn over
13 years with Major League
Baseball’s Miami Marlins,
the most lucrative deal in US
professional sport.
“This is a landmark day,”
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria
told by phone on
Monday. “I’m happy for the
city. I’m happy for him. And
I’m thrilled for baseball.
“We have a player who is
committed to us, and we’ve
committed to him for the life
of his career.
The deal includes a no-trade
clause and Stanton, who is
aged 25 and led the National
League (NL) with 37 home
runs last season, can opt out
after six years, Loria said.
The mind-boggling move
more than triples the
previously biggest contract
reached by the Marlins $106mn spread over six years
for Jose Reyes in 2012.
The deal also exceeds the
previous MLB record of
$292mn over 10 years agreed
by Miguel Cabrera with the
Detroit Tigers in March.
“It’s great for this franchise
and the city,” said Loria. “Besides being a terrific athlete,
he’s a first-class young man.
I’ve loved watching him play,
but I love this kid. He’s just a
special young man.”
There will be an official announcement at the Marlins’
ballpark on Wednesday, according to the report on the
league’s website.
A second-round pick by the
Marlins in the 2007 MLB
Draft, Stanton is one of the
most feared power hitters in
baseball and, despite playing
his home games in the spacious surrounds of Marlins
Park, has blasted 154 career
He led the NL in slugging
percentage (.555) for the 2014
season, finishing with a .288
batting average when his
season ended prematurely after he was hit by a pitch in the
face by Milwaukee Brewers
pitcher Mike Fiers.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stretches for a touchdown against Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson during the second half at LP Field on Monday. The Steelers beat the Titans 27-24.
Los Angeles
unning back Le’Veon
Bell had a huge night
and the Pittsburgh
Steelers scored two
fourth quarter touchdowns to
overcome a plucky Tennessee
Titans 27-24 on Monday.
Bell ran for 204 yards and a
touchdown and tacked on 18 receiving yards for good measure
as he helped the Steelers out of
a 24-13 hole.
The result pushed Pittsburgh
to 7-4 on the season, keeping
them just a half game behind
the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) while the
Titans remain a distant third in
the AFC South at 2-8.
“The offensive line did a
great job opening holes and I
was just able to get to the second level and make a couple of
guys miss, keep my feet moving
and try to get п¬Ѓrst downs and
hold onto the ball,” Bell told reporters.
“When we were down 11 we
didn’t want to get away from
our game plan. We ran the ball
all the way done the field, converted it to a touchdown. We
went out there and did what
we were supposed to do tonight.”
Expected to get the job done,
the Steelers had jumped to a
10-0 lead from an early п¬Ѓeld
goal and six interception return
on Titans quarterback Zach
Mettenberger’s first throw of
the night.
But the home side scored
soon through Bishop Sankey’s
nine-yard run and the teams
traded п¬Ѓeld goals to set up a 1310 Pittsburgh lead.
Steelers quarterback Ben
Roethlisberger then marched
his side into a scoring position
late in the half only to make a
critical error.
The two-time Super Bowl
champion threw an end zone
interception inside the п¬Ѓnal
minute and then Mettenberger
turned around and connected
with Nate Washington on an
80-yard touchdown to flip the
momentum and give the home
side a 17-13 halftime lead.
Titans tight-end Chase Coffman then leapt high late in the
third quarter for his п¬Ѓrst career
touchdown and an upset was on
the cards at 24-13.
But Bell refused to let the
game go.
His п¬Ѓve yard touchdown
run to open the fourth quarter
capped off a long drive of heavy
involvement and then he continued to forge ahead to allow
Antonio Brown to grab a 12-yard
pass for the go ahead score with
nine minutes left.
Bell then passed the 200 yard
mark with some critical late
runs to run out the clock.
Indianapolis running back
Ahmad Bradshaw is likely out
for the remainder of the season after breaking his leg in the
fourth quarter of a 42-20 loss,
the Colts said Monday.
Bradshaw, who is the National Football League team’s
leading rusher this season, fractured his left п¬Ѓbula on a short
run early in the п¬Ѓnal quarter of
Sunday’s defeat to New England, the Colts said.
Head coach Chuck Pagano
revealed the diagnosis during a news conference, adding that Bradshaw would visit
a specialist before the team
decides whether or not to
place him on the injured reserve list.
Bradshaw sustained the injury when being stopped just
short of the goal line. The veteran running back was later seen
on crutches with his left leg in
a protective boot following the
The two-time 1,000-yard
rusher was limited to just three
games last season by a neck
problem which required surgery.
He was having a strong season for the AFC South-leading
Colts this year, compiling a
team-best 425 rushing yards
with two touchdowns on 90
Grizzlies roar past Rockets
New York
omething had to give
when the п¬Ѓrst place
and Houston Rockets
squared off for NBA bragging
rights Monday night.
Mike Conley led seven players in double п¬Ѓgures with 19
points as the Memphis Grizzlies mauled Houston 119-93
in a matchup between the two
teams with the best records in
the league.
Memphis extended their perfect home record to 7-0 while
handing the Rockets their п¬Ѓrst
loss on the road this season.
“They beat the hell out of
us,” said Rockets coach Kevin
Courtney Lee tallied 15 points
and Zach Randolph delivered
12 points and seven rebounds
for the Grizzlies, who scored a
season high point total and improved to 10-1.
Dallas .....................107
Denver ................106
Phoenix .................118
Miami ......................95
Orlando ...............107
Memphis ............ 119
San Antonio ..100
Portland ..............102
Colts’ Bradshaw breaks leg
in loss to Patriots
Charlotte ...............80
Cleveland ..............97
Boston ..................... 114
Brooklyn .................83
Detroit .......................93
Houston ..................93
Philadelphia ........75
New Orleans ......93
LA Clippers ......... 89
Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley drives as Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard defends and
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol looks on during the first half at FedExForum on Monday.
Reserves Quincy Pondexter,
Beno Udrih and Jon Leuer each
netted 13 points in front of a
crowd of 17,012 at the FedEx Forum arena where Memphis have
now won 20 straight games.
“This is one of the better
starts we have ever had,” said
Conley. “They have had our
number the last few years so for
us to come out like we did says a
lot about our team.”
Monday’s victory put the finishing touches on a four-game
homestand for the Grizzlies.
“I liked what I saw from
our team tonight. We showed
growth,” Grizzlies coach David
Joerger said. “It was fantastic.
I’m very proud of our guys.”
Trevor Ariza paced Houston with 16 points and Dwight
Howard chipped in with 15
points and nine rebounds for
the Rockets who have lost seven
of their last eight in Memphis.
After a lethargic offensive effort on Sunday in which Houston shot 28.8% from the floor
in a 69-65 win over Oklahoma
City, the Rockets jumped out to
an early lead in this one.
But that didn’t last long as
Memphis led 34-18 at the end
of the п¬Ѓrst quarter and 97-66
heading into the fourth.
After visiting Memphis,
Houston will now head home
for п¬Ѓve straight.
McHale says it will be good
to get home and try to bounce
back in the next game.
“They beat us to the ball to
get easy baskets off our turnovers. They were on top of us,”
said McHale of Houston who
fell to 9-2.
Elsewhere, Arron Afflalo
had a season-high 23 points,
guard Ty Lawson had 24 points
and 12 assists and the Denver
Nuggets ended the Cleveland
Cavaliers’ four-game winning
streak with a 106-97 victory
on the road.
The Nuggets (3-7) led
throughout the second half as
the Cavs (5-4) struggled with
forward LeBron James battling
a head cold, limiting him to 22
points, nine rebounds and п¬Ѓve
Guard Monta Ellis scored 18
points and forward Chandler
Parsons added 17 points and
nine rebounds as the Dallas
Mavericks routed the Charlotte
Hornets 107-80.
The Mavericks rolled to
a 24-point halftime lead by
shooting 61.9% from the п¬Ѓeld,
then led by as many as 33 in the
second half before resting their
starters the entire fourth quarter.
Dallas (8-3) earned its fourth
consecutive win while Charlotte (4-7) has lost four of its
past п¬Ѓve.
Ryan Callahan lifts
Lightning to win in
return to MSG
yan Callahan scored
two goals in his п¬Ѓrst
Rangers teammates, and the
surging Tampa Bay Lightning
rode another big offensive outburst to a 5-1 victory on Monday
A popular Rangers captain not
long ago, Callahan netted the
second of Tampa Bay’s two firstperiod goals and then closed
the scoring with 2:51 left in the
�’I was excited to get the opportunity to go out there and
play again in front of this crowd,’’
he said.
While there were jerseys
with his name on the back and
familiar �C’ on the front, Callahan heard boos early when
he touched the puck. Those
turned to cheers around 7
minutes in when a video tribute to him and fellow former
Rangers Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, with the message �’Thanks for the memories. We salute you,’’ was
�’They didn’t have to do that,’’
Callahan said. �’That’s the Rangers organization. It shows how
classy they are. The fans cheering - that shows how classy they
�’The win helps, but I really enjoyed my first time back
The warm reception reverted
to boos as the Lightning improved to 12-0 when Callahan
scores since he was acquired in
the captain-swap trade that sent
Martin St. Louis to New York on
March 5.
Tampa Bay increased its
NHL-leading goal total to 71.
Nikita Kucherov also scored in
the opening frame, and Steven
Stamkos and Alex Killorn had
goals in the second after New
York closed to 2-1.
Stamkos also had two assists, as did Tyler Johnson,
Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula. Ben Bishop made 15 saves
on New York’s season-low 16
�’I’m glad I was able to get the
puck to Cally,’’ Stamkos said.
�’You keep working, you keep
getting rewarded. That’s how
we look at every game. I’m just
happy. This is a great feeling for
all of us.’’
St. Louis, the Lightning’s
career points leader, scored a
power-play goal in the second
period for the Rangers, 1-3-2 in
their last six. Henrik Lundqvist
stopped 25 shots.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Qatar to meet under-pressure Bahrain in crucial tie
By Sports Reporter
fter starting with a feisty draw
against three-time winners
Saudi Arabia and a draw against
Yemen, Qatar will take on under-pressure Bahrain in the crucial Gulf
Cup match today.
Qatar needs a draw, while Bahrain,
looking for a new coach for the second
time in just over four months after Iraqi
Adnan Hamad was sacked in the wake
of the country’s poor start to the Cup
on Monday, needing a win today to have
any chance of qualifying for the semifinals.
Hamad had been expected to guide
the team into next January’s Asian Cup
after replacing Anthony Hudson on a
two-year deal when the Englishman
quit suddenly in late July to take charge
of New Zealand. Bahrain drew their п¬Ѓrst
Gulf Cup Group A match against Yemen, however, before a 3-0 loss to hosts
Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
“The Bahraini Football Association
held an urgent meeting ... to discuss
the Bahraini national team’s poor performance and negative results in the
Gulf Cup,” the Bahrain Football Association said in statement.
“The Bahrain Football Association
has released the national team’s coach
Adnan Hamad and assigned national
assistant coach Marjan Eid to lead the
team for the rest of the tournament.”
Bahrain, whose best result at an
Asian Cup was a semi-п¬Ѓnal appearance
in 2004 in China, face Iran, the United
Arab Emirates and Qatar in п¬Ѓrst round
Group C in Australia next year.
Hamad, Asia’s coach of the year in
2004 in one of several spells in charge of
his native Iraq, led Jordan to the quarter-п¬Ѓnals of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.
The 53-year-old also oversaw an
impressive qualifying campaign for
the 2014 World Cup, in which the Jordanians beat Australia and Japan, but
he turned down a contract extension
before they bowed out to Uruguay in a
Qatar players during a practice session on the
eve of their Gulf Cup match against Bahrain
IOC to bring in
cheaper, easier
bidding for Games
More sports to come into the Games; Games could include more than one city
idding for the Olympics
will become cheaper,
easier and more attractive while sports will
enter the Games quicker, the
IOC said yesterday, presenting
the biggest changes in decades
in the way the Games are organised and run.
“We have to look into the future and try to address the challenges which may arise in the
future and the challenges we
have already now,” said International Olympic Committee
President Thomas Bach, presenting the IOC’s 40 recommendations.
“We want to show with this
procedure that the IOC is opening up, that we are opening a
window and we want to have
fresh wind coming in,” he told
The IOC set up working groups, combing through
40,0000 submissions of suggestions for change through
their open call for ideas. The
proposals will be voted on in
Bid cities will no longer need
to abide by extensive prerequisites or carry the considerable
п¬Ѓnancial burden.
Four of the six cities bidding for the 2022 winter Games
dropped out, fearful of costs
and a lack of support, denting
the Games’ reputation as a lucrative project.
“There is no one-size-fits-all
solution for the organisation of
the Olympic Games,” said Bach,
adding the IOC would foot part
of the bill for bidding, including
paying for evaluation commission visits.
Future hosts can also stage
events outside the city or even
outside the country for reasons
of sustainability, breaking with
a long Olympic tradition of one
host city/nation.
Sports will also not wait seven years from approval to their
Olympic п¬Ѓrst appearance, and
instead could be brought in for
just one Olympics to maximise
the Games’ reach and attraction. The first Games to benefit
could be the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with organisers pushing for
the inclusion of baseball and
Organising committees can
propose the addition of “one or
more additional events” after
their city is elected for that one
edition of the Games, with the
Games programme becoming
more events-based rather than
Wales recall Davies
for New Zealand
onathan Davies returned
from a shoulder injury
yesterday as Wales coach
Warren Gatland named a
side showing nine changes from
the team that struggled to see
off Fiji last weekend for the clash
with world champions New Zealand at Cardiff ’s Millennium
Stadium on Saturday.
Davies, who has been out of
action for three weeks, resumes
his centre partnership with
Jamie Roberts, in the only personnel change to the team
beaten by Australia in Cardiff a
fortnight ago. Elsewhere in the
back division Leigh Halfpenny
has recovered from concussion
to displace Liam Williams, while
fly-half Dan Biggar (groin) and
scrum-half Rhys Webb (neck)
are also п¬Ѓt to return.
Up front, hooker Richard
Hibbard also starts following his
appearance for English Premiership side Gloucester last week
that led to an angry response
from Gatland after Wales had
ruled him out of the Fiji match
because of an ankle problem.
Hibbard was one of several
forwards returning to Test action as Gatland selected the
same pack that played in the 3328 defeat by Australia, with captain Sam Warburton returning to
the back row, locks Jake Ball and
Alun Wyn Jones and prop Paul
James all recalled for the clash
with the All Blacks.
Prop Gethin Jenkins, who
captained Wales to a 17-13 victory over Fiji, was ruled out with
a hamstring strain.
Davies was injured playing for
French side Clermont in their
European Champions Cup clash
against English club Sale on October 26 but, such is his importance to Wales, he has been recalled as soon as possible.
Scott Williams missed out on
a place in the matchday 23, with
Liam Williams, James Hook and
Mike Phillips providing bench
cover for the backs.
“It is pretty much the same
side that played against Australia and it’s a boost to have a few
players back from injury,” Gatland said. “It’s one of the most
experienced teams we have put
out,” the New Zealander added.
Defeat hurts, says
coach Lancaster
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president German Thomas Bach (L) greets Portuguese athlete Susana Feitor (R) before a round
table with diverse athletes from around the world to present the new Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions at the Olympic Museum in
Lausanne, Switzerland, yesterday. (EPA)
sports-based. The IOC can also
propose new events, Bach said,
with the only limit to the games
size being the 10,500 athletes
and not the current 28 sports.
“Now the door is open (for
sports). The IOC by itself can
also take a decision that we
are adding this or that event,”
Bach said. The IOC will also
vote on the creation of an Olympic broadcast channel that
will benefit by the moving of the
Youth Olympics (summer and
winter) to a non-Olympic year
from 2023.
ngland coach Stuart
Lancaster said his side
were hurting after defeats by world champions New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham in the past
fortnight meant they’d lost five
times in a row.
England have only 10 games
between now and when they
stage next year’s World Cup,
leaving Lancaster with little
time to make England serious
contenders to lift the Webb Ellis
Trophy. Saturday’s latest loss to
South Africa, which meant the
Red Rose brigade had suffered
their worst run of results in eight
years, was especially dispiriting
for England given their forwards
generated so much possession,
albeit they sometimes struggled
at the breakdown.
But England’s longstanding
problem of how to best use the
ball presented to them was again
in evidence, with half-backs
Danny Care and Owen Farrell
struggling to impose themselves
on a match where Lancaster’s
men were not helped by aimless
kicking and poor passing in a 3128 defeat that, in truth, was not as
close as the scoreline indicated.
But Lancaster said his side
better accept the scrutiny they
were under was only going to
intensify between now and the
World Cup. “We’re going to have
pressure on us when the World
Cup comes around, irrespective
of the results leading up to it,”
Lancaster said Monday.
“That’s what comes with the
expectation of being the home
nation, so we better get used to
it. And so had I. “It hurts when
you lose as England—and it
should do. “It hurts me person-
ally because I’m responsible for
the team and it hurts the players
because the players care about
the team. “My sense is that we’re
disappointed with ourselves,
but we have to continue to believe in what we’re doing.” Four
of England’s recent defeats have
come against the All Blacks, with
South Africa second only to New
Zealand in the world rankings.
Not been smashed
A defiant Lancaster took some
comfort from the fact England
had not been “smashed” in any of
those п¬Ѓve matches.
“It’s easy to say you’ve not won
any of your last п¬Ѓve games, but the
opposition has been pretty good
and three of the defeats were in
New Zealand,” Lancaster said.
“We’ve not been smashed by any
of them. I’ve seen South Africa get
beaten by 30 points in the summer,
I’ve seen South Africa beat Australia by 30 points, I’ve seen New
Zealand put 50 points on Australia. “Now we’ve come up short and
we’re not happy about that, but
we’ve not been smashed.”
Lancaster is set to make changes for this Saturday’s match
against Samoa, although the fact
the tough-tackling Pacific Islanders are not of the same standard
as New Zealand or South Africa is
likely to make comparisons with
England’s first two matches difficult ahead of their November finale against World Cup pool rivals
Gulf Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Qatar overall champs
in Arab shooting
Qatar clinch 40 medals including 12 gold
By Sports Reporter
ith 40 medals including 12 gold,
champions of the 11th Arab Shooting
Championships, which concluded yesterday at the Losail
Shooting Range.
Qatar failed to clinch gold
on the ninth and concluding
day of the championships, but
their men’s team comprising
Mohamed Rumaihi, Mohamed
Khjame and Nasser Hamidi
clinched the Trap silver while
the junior boys won the team
Kuwait men, who п¬Ѓnished
overall second, hogged the
limelight on the last day of the
championships as they won all
the four gold medals at stake.
Kuwait’s former world champion Khalid al-Mudaf won the
Trap Individual gold defeating
compatriot Abdul Rahman in
the п¬Ѓnal, while Algerian shooter
Fouad Obeid clinched the third
“It is a nice win. I am happy
with our performance in the
championships as Kuwait finished overall second,” al-Mudaf
Talking about his competitor
in the final, he said: “Abdul is
my training partner and he is a
former junior world champion.
It was a tough п¬Ѓnal against him,
I am happy that we both finished at the podium.”
Moroccan trio Ktara Amin,
Zakaria Ktara, Abdulkarim Fattah won the team bronze.
In the Junior Trap Team
event, Qatari shooters Abdullah Mhaab, Fresh Abdulaziz and
Sultan al-Naimi claimed the
bronze. Lebanon clinched the
The hosts had a bagful of
medals to show for their efforts
at the championships in 250
shooters from nine countries
took part.
Among the gold winners was
the Qatar men’s Double Trap
team – gold medal winners at
the Incheon Asian Games. Sarah Mohamed won the women’s
skeet gold while Matara alAseiri clinched the Rifle Prone
gold. Amna al-Abdulla took the
Trap gold and Al Dana al-Mubarak won the 25m Pistol event.
Aisha al-Mutawa won silver in
Rifle Prone for the hosts. Other
silver medal winners were the
women’s team in the 10m Air
Rifle, shooter Saleh Masoud Hamad al-Athba in Skeet and Dana
Suleman in the 25m Pistol event.
The 39-year-old Saleh Masoud, a double gold medallist at
the 2002 Busan Asian Games,
clinched two medals, both silver, in individual and team
event. The Qatari lost the gold
medal shootout to Kuwait’s Zaid
In the Trap Team Women’s
event, the trio of Amna al-Abdulla, Kholoud al-Khalaf and
Nawal Abdulmalek clinched the
silver for Qatar behind Morocco.
On Monday, Qatar women’s
Federer, Wawrinka
bury the hatchet
ahead of Davis Cup
oger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took to Twitter yesterday in a bid to bury any lingering resentments from their
bad-tempered London match ahead of the Davis Cup
п¬Ѓnal against France later this week.
“It’s great being with the boys again,” tweeted Federer, above
a Swiss team picture including himself and Wawrinka with arms
around each other. In the shot, world number four Wawrinka
makes playful �bunny ears’ behind his team-mate’s head.
That frivolity seemed light years from the fallout that hit the
two countrymen as Federer defeated Wawrinka in three gruelling
sets 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6) on Saturday evening in the ATP World
Tour Finals semi-п¬Ѓnals.
Federer had saved three match points in the 10th game of the
deciding set in that match and it was poised at 5-5 and 40-40
in game 11 when Warwinka gestured to Federer’s box asking that
they not make noise in between serves.
Federer’s wife Mirka was sitting in the players section and he
was reportedly upset that Wawrinka had blamed her.
The two were then seen involved in a long and tense discussion
in the locker-room after the match and on Monday each went their
own way en route from London to Lille in northern France for the
Davis Cup showdown.
As it turned out Federer was unable to play in Sunday’s final in
London as he was laid low with back spasms, casting doubts on
his ability to play against the French and win the Davis Cup for
the п¬Ѓrst time in his distinguished career.
There was no fresh news on Federer’s injury out of the Swiss
camp yesterday, but the 17-time major winner did not practice on
Monday along with Wawrinka who did. Instead, Federer stayed
in his hotel room and avoided all contact with the press.
Sunday’s withdrawal was only the third walkover of Federer’s
career and he has never abandoned a game during play.
Widely regarded as being the п¬Ѓnest tennis player of all time,
Federer has won all there is to win at the top in tennis apart from
Olympic singles gold and the Davis Cup.
His greatest rival Rafael Nadal on the other hand has the full
set of all four Grand Slam titles, Olympic singles gold and the
Davis Cup.
Federer has blown hot and cold on the Davis Cup over the
course of his long career, but with Wawrinka, this year’s Australian Open champion, finally emerging as a player of the highestclass, a Davis Cup win has been a priority for him.
The London dogfight between the Swiss, the intensity of
which astonished many people in France, has cast a cloud over
those hopes.
In stark contrast it has been all plain sailing for the French who
are seeking a 10th Davis Cup title in all and a п¬Ѓrst since 2001.
Captain Arnaud Clement cloistered his team of Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and reserve Gilles Simon,
none of whom qualified for the London finals, in Bordeaux where
they honed their claycourt skills away from prying eyes.
The French as hosts have chosen an indoor claycourt as the
surface for the п¬Ѓnal believing that gives them a better chance of
defeating the two higher-ranked Swiss players.
Doubles specialist Julien Benneteau, who was playing in the
doubles in London, then linked up with them after they decamped to Lille.
Swiss Davis Cup team captain Severin Luethi (C) with players Roger
Federer (L) and Stanislas Wawrinka duirng a press conference in
Lille yesterday. (EPA)
Federer �hopeful’ he will be
fit for Davis Cup final
Cleveland C
The winners of the 11th Arab Shooting Championships celebrate at the podium yesterday.
shooters won one gold and an
equal number of silver and
bronze medals.
Qatar’s men’s team, compris-
ing of Riaz Khan, Zafer al-Qahatani and Adel Kahn, also claimed
the 25m Standard Pistol bronze.
Amna al-Abdulla of Qatar п¬Ѓred
68 points in three rounds in the
final to beat Kuwait’s Sarah alHawal by one points for the Trap
Women gold. Apart from hosts
Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco,
Lebanon and Sudan took part in
the event.
Roger Federer said yesterday he was �hopeful’ he would be able to
play in the Davis Cup final against France on Friday despite the crippling back injury he sustained in London. “I am not good enough
to practice yet and I wish my progress would be faster,” the Swiss
star told a press conference at the Stade Pierre Mauroy outside
Lille which will host the three-day final. “It’s a little bit better than on
Saturday, Sunday, Monday so I am hopeful.”
Federer sustained the back injury playing in the semi-finals of the
ATP World Tour finals in London on Saturday evening during a long,
three set match against Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka.
The world number two said that the Swiss team’s medical staff had
been working hard on his fitness and that the pain he had felt on
Saturday was easing. Asked if he was worried about missing the
chance to win the Davis Cup final for the first time in his career
he replied: “I don’t know. I’m a positive kind of person so I have to
believe in it.” Were Federer to miss the final, it would be a huge body
blow to Swiss hopes as although Wawrinka at fourth in the world
is comfortably ranked above all the French players, after him the
fall off in the Swiss team is steep with Marco Chiudinelli 212th and
Michael Lammer 508th.
�Understanding legal landscape that surrounds sporting event is essential’
By Sports Reporter
he day one of the twoday course titled �The
Law and Its Implications for Sport & Events
Practitioners’ drew an attendance of over 40 delegates from
Qatar and the region, including
delegates from regional FAs of
Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia
and Yemen.
The course is being organised
by Josoor Institute at the Qatar National Convention Centre
(QNCC) is designed to educate local sports and events practitioners
and prepare them for the legal implications that come with hosting,
sponsoring and working within
global sporting events.
The introductory two-day
course, which is part of the ongoing programme of educational
events run by Josoor Institute,
brought together a range of
speakers from leading sports
consultancies and global law
п¬Ѓrms to share industry insights
and best practice, enabling attendees to take away a comprehensive understanding of
the local and international legal
principles affecting them on a
daily basis.
Speakers delivering sessions
over the two days include Richard McLaren, CEO, and Bob
Copeland, Senior VP, McLaren
Global Sport Solutions; Ahmad
Anani, Deputy Office Managing
Partner, Latham & Watkins Abu
Dhabi; Ben Bye, Senior Commercial Lawyer at the International Cricket Council; and An-
Speakers and delegates during the Josoor Institute course titled �The
Law and Its Implications for Sport & Events Practitioners’ yesterday.
dreas Zagklis, Attorney at Law,
Martens Rechtsanwälte. The
course began with an overview
of sports law in a global context
before exploring issues including commercial implications for
revenue generation, sporting
governance, employer relations
and the risk and liability issues
that come with any major sporting event.
Mushtaq al-Waeli, Executive Director (acting) for Josoor
Institute, said; “Understanding
the legal landscape that surrounds the delivery process of
a major international sporting
event is essential. Those who
work in the sports and events industry need to have an overview
of the environment we operate in
and this Josoor Institute course
will help attendees better understand the legal implications that
come with hosting events on an
international stage.”
Commenting on the participation from Mena region countries, al-Waeli further added,
“We are glad that over the past
year, not only have Josoor Institute’s courses been received well
by organisations in Qatar but
there is also an upward trend of
participation by regional delegates.This makes us believe that
we are helping build a sustainable sporting industry across the
region and we are determined to
support in the delivery of a truly
exceptional 2022 FIFA World
Cup in Qatar.“
Josoor Institute aims to educate, empower and support the
talented individuals who will
help Qatar build and deliver outstanding sporting events in Qatar and throughout the Middle
East and North Africa.
Since its inception, nine short
courses, two student outreach
days and one bespoke course
for the players of the Qatar Stars
League have been conducted by
Josoor Institute. These have featured 65 world-class speakers
with more than 700 delegates
from 49 countries attending.
Launched on December 2013,
Josoor Institute is training
many of the people who will
play an integral role in Qatar’s
hosting of the 2022 FIFA World
Cup, individuals who will then
have the knowledge to deliver
large-scale sporting and nonsporting events across the region long after 2022. Josoor Institute is proud to be affiliated
with Georgetown University, a
leading academic and research
Named as Josoor Institute’s
institutional and lead academic
partner, Georgetown University will provide academic and
administrative support, which
includes collaboration and innovation in the areas related to
curriculum development, quality management, oversight and
endorsement for short courses
and the development of the
academic framework and codevelopment of content for long
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Ooredoo extends
coaching clinic with
PSG Academy
QMSF set to host
final round of H1
Unlimited series
�It has been very successful for us in terms of hosting and teams representing Qatar’
Children pose with their certificates after the coaching clinic.
he “Paris Saint-Germain
Academy brought to you
by Ooredoo” coaching clinics took place in
Tunisia this week, with special
training sessions at the El Manzah Stadium.
More than 200 eight to sixteen
year-old young people took part,
having been specially-selected
from the Ooredoo Football Academy, which has branches in Tunis, Sousse and Monastir, and
from the junior clubs of some of
the Ooredoo-sponsored Tunisian football teams.
ball teams sponsored by Ooredoo, as part of the wider investment in supporting football in
The first phase of the “Paris Saint-Germain Academy
brought to you by Ooredoo”
programme kicked-off in Doha,
Qatar in May this year and was a
significant success.
Dr Nasser Marafih, Group
CEO, Ooredoo, said: “This programme has already achieved
excellent results in terms of
bringing young people together
through their love of football,
and contributing to their growth
and development. With this new
phase taking place in Tunisia,
we are connecting with a com-
In addition, some young people living in underserved areas
selected by the Tunisian “Sport
for All” federation took part.
The sessions provided important insights into a range of topics – from proper training and
preparation through to injury
management – and will take the
aspiring young footballers closer
to their dreams of playing the
sport professionally.
Led by Paris Saint-Germain
coaches, the clinics are designed
to educate, motivate and encourage young football players, and
potentially connect them with a
range of new life opportunities.
In addition, Ooredoo and
Paris-Saint Germain organised
a special training seminar for 16
local coaches of Tunisian foot-
munity of young people who are
extremely passionate about the
game and delighted to have the
chance to work with coaches
from Paris Saint-Germain.”
The next coaching clinics are
set to take place in Doha in December, followed by Oman, Kuwait and Algeria in the coming
Ooredoo and Paris SaintGermain signed a sponsorship
agreement in September 2013,
and the partnership places a
strong emphasis on community
support and involvement. The
coaching clinic programme is
part of the two group’s shared
healthy lifestyles and supporting young people’s ambitions
and aspirations.
By Sports Reporter
The Oryx Cup UIM World Championship will be staged in Doha Bay this weekend.
By Sports Reporter
he Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) plays host to
the 2014 Oryx Cup UIM World
Championship, the п¬Ѓnal round of
the H1 Unlimited series, on Doha Bay this
Established in 2009 by His Excellency
Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor al-Thani, president of the QMSF, and the then chairman
of H1 Unlimited, Sam Cole, the race has
become one of the most popular rounds
of the US-dominated series and has attracted 10 of the world’s fastest on-water
race craft, which will grace the waters of
Doha Bay from today.
The RORO ship arrived in Doha from
the United States last Friday with all the
equipment and race boats and the entire
H1 caravan transfers to the Doha Corniche over the next two days. Staff at
the QMSF are relishing the prospect of
welcoming some of the most spectacular
racing boats on the planet.
“We started H1 here in Qatar in 2009.
It has been very successful for us in terms
HE Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor al-Thani
of hosting and in terms of teams representing Qatar,” said Sheikh Hassan. “Sam
(Cole) did a wonderful job setting this up
and getting all the boats from the US to
come half way around the world to compete here in Doha.”
Sam Cole stood down as head of H1
this season and his place at the head of
the sport was taken by former racer and
multiple National High Points champion
Steve David – himself a favourite with
the Doha crowds following his spectacular performances at the helm of Oh Boy/
Oberto Miss Madison in recent seasons.
“Now, I think, with Steve (David) being
a racer and taking Sam’s seat there is huge
potential for the sport to grow. I know a
lot of people talk about the rules. I know
Steve is working on new rules to maybe
implement next year.
“Expansion of the H1 series to other
countries all depends on what people’s
perception of the sport is. There was talk
about China and the UAE, but nothing
tangible has happened. I think with more
exposure for H1, there is always the potential for new countries to come into
the fold. The big hiccup is the movement
of these boats around the world. If you
are committed to six or seven rounds, it
takes at least two or three months to get
the boats to places like Qatar, the UAE or
China in terms of sailing time.
“The beauty of the format of H1 racing is the short nature of the races. When
you do a three or four-lap heat, the race is
over in maybe three minutes. It depends
on whether you are racing on salt or fresh
water. I don’t envisage any problems in
making the races longer on fresh water if
your boat is hosed down by another boat
but, if you get hosed down with salt, you
know your equipment is done. Four laps
on salt water are okay, but with spray and
salt mist in the air that can damage the
Sheikh Hassan thinks that a change
from the sport’s traditional Lycoming
turbine engines built for helicopter and
military use could be a step forward. “For
me, I think there is potential for new
power systems, new engines. I’m sure if
they convert to these new engines, then it
would be possible to do more laps.
“The beauty of the Oryx Cup is that
it’s a championship on its own. The overall points go towards the main National
High Points Championship in the US, so
it is important for everyone to win, but
it is also important to the Spirit of Qatar
Team to win the Oryx Cup as a standalone championship race.”
Today, teams will be setting up their
pit and hospitality areas on Doha Corniche before testing and qualifying takes
place tomorrow.
Torrente turns up heat on teammate Carella
By Our Correspondent
Abu Dhabi, UAE
he Qatar Team and driver
Shaun Torrente had very little
time to celebrate last Saturday’s Grand Prix of Middle East
victory in Doha Bay before they headed
straight across the Arabian Gulf to Abu
Dhabi to prepare for Friday afternoon’s
Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, round four of
the 2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.
Torrente’s thrilling start-to-finish
win and the demise of Qatar team colleague Alex Carella after a collision
with a course turn buoy means that
Torrente arrives at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club trailing
his teammate by just 11 points. There
are a possible 40 at stake for the winner at the п¬Ѓnal two races on Friday and
in Sharjah on December 19.
Carella looked to be in control of
the defence of his world title after two
comfortable victories in Qatar in March
and China in October, but racing at
the pinnacle of the single hull discipline is an unpredictable pastime and
Alex’s failure to score points in Doha
Alex Carella of F1 Qatar Team at UIM F1 H20 Powerboat GP of Middle East.
has also left the door ajar for Frenchman Philippe Chiappe to weight up his
chance of snatching a п¬Ѓrst ever world
Chiappe shadowed Torrente to the
chequered flag in Doha Bay and is only 10
points behind Carella, who struggled to
п¬Ѓnd the set-up he liked before last Sat-
urday and who will be leaving nothing to
chance in the build up to this race.
“I think I had really bad luck in Qatar,” said Carella. “I actually found the
perfect set-up for the race and was
pushing hard from third place and challenging Shaun after I passed Philippe.
But a wave pushed me into the buoy and
I destroyed it. My team did a great job
and now I must concentrate on the job
in hand in Abu Dhabi.”
Mathematically, Carella could clinch a
fourth successive world title in the UAE’s
commercial capital. An 11th Grand Prix
victory would give the Italian 60 points
and Chiappe would need to п¬Ѓnish in at
least third position to delay the outcome
to the п¬Ѓnal race in Sharjah.
A Carella win would mean Torrente
also needed to п¬Ѓnish second or third
to maintain his title challenge, but it
would prevent the likes of Erik Stark or
Francesco Cantando from making a late
title challenge.
The Qatar Team’s Khalid Abdullah
al-Kuwari and Mohammed al-Obaidly
used their new Danish-built Molgaards
for the п¬Ѓrst time in the pair of F-4S Trophy races in Doha and the Qatar Marine
Sports Federation (QMSF)-backed duo
showed promise - the highlight being
al-Kuwari’s pole position for race two.
The duo will challenge for F-4S honours again in Abu Dhabi on an event
where Germany’s Mike Szymura is a
strong favourite to clinch the title with
one round to spare. After snatching
four wins from п¬Ѓve starts, the F1 GC
Atlantic Team driver arrives in the UAE
with an emphatic 41-point series lead
over Australia’s Briney Rigby. Two good
п¬Ѓnishes in Abu Dhabi will all but the
seal the title for the German. Al-Kuwari
and al-Obaidly lie fourth and п¬Ѓfth in
the championship standings.
The timetable of events starts today
morning with technical scrutineering, registration and an evening drivers’ briefing. F-4S Trophy boats will be
permitted on to the water for free practice from 09.00hrs (08.00hrs Qatar
time) tomorrow morning and the F-4S
time trials follow from 09.30hrs.
The п¬Ѓrst F1 practice session gets underway from 10.15hrs and precedes the
п¬Ѓrst of the F-4S races at 14.00hrs and
F1 qualifying, which takes centre stage
from 15.30hrs. The timetable follows
a similar format on Friday morning.
F-4S free practice, time trials and F1
practice precede the second of the F-4S
races from 14.00hrs. The Grand Prix of
Abu Dhabi roars into life from 15.30hrs
(14.30hrs Qatar time).
Current Standings
2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship –
positions after round 3:
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team
40 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA)
China CTIC Team
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica
5. Francesco Cantando (ITA)
Motorglass F1 Team
6. Sami Selio (FIN)
Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team
7. Filip Roms (FIN)
Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team
7. Bartek Marszalek (POL)
Motorglass F1 Team
9. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE)
Team Abu Dhabi
9. Duarte Benavente (PRT)
F1 GC Atlantic Team
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