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Latest Figures
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Vol. XXXV No. 9579
December 22, 2014
Safar 30, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Mr Strong
GCC chief lauds
Saudi initiative
to strengthen
Qatar-Egypt ties
In brief
QATAR | Health
Shisha smoking
banned in Katara
Katara - the Cultural Village has
banned shisha smoking in its
public areas, local Arabic daily Al
Watan has reported. The decision,
according to Katara’s management,
is aimed at protecting people’s
health. Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim alSulaiti, general manager of Katara,
had earlier said on his Twitter
account that Katara would stop
shisha smoking in public areas with
effect from January 1, 2015.
ARAB WORLD | Exit polls
Essebsi wins Tunisia’s
presidential election
Former prime minister Beji Caid
Essebsi is poised to win Tunisia’s
presidential elections, exit polls
showed late yesterday. The polling
firm Sigma Conseil said that Essebsi
is set to win 55.5% of the vote, while
his rival, outgoing President Moncef
Marzouki is to garner 44.5%. The
tallies were released after the
vote ended in the presidential
run-off, seen as capping Tunisia’s
democratic transition after the
overthrow of longtime dictator
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the 2011
uprising. Provisional official results
are expected by today. Page 9
Shock, anger in NY
after two cops slain
New York was reeling yesterday
after the murder of two uniformed
cops by a man who said he was
seeking revenge for the recent
killings of unarmed black men by
police. The two officers, Wenjian
Liu, 32, Rafael Ramos, 40, were shot
in the head through the window of
their patrol car in broad daylight in
Brooklyn on Saturday in an attack
that shocked America’s biggest city
just days before Christmas. Page 11
Gulf producers stand
firm on Opec output
Arab Gulf countries stood firm
against non-Opec crude producers
yesterday, vowing they will not
cut output nor hold an emergency
group meeting to support slumping
prices. Opec heavyweight Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait said they would
not cut production even if nonOpec members reduce their output,
while the UAE and Iraq shrugged
off calls for an emergency meeting
of the group. Business Page 2
Talal al-Kuwari, crowned the strongest man in the Qatari category in the second
edition of Aspire Zone’s Qatar’s Strongest Man event, seen lifting a sand bag. The
event was held over the National Day weekend. Kenya’s Christopher Oketch won in
the open race category. Page 28
Mercury likely to
drop below 10C
he minimum temperature is
expected to fall below 10C
in the southern areas of the
country tonight and early tomorrow
morning while it may vary between 12
and 15C in other places.
The drop in mercury, which could
happen from the early hours today
is attributed to a ridge of high pressure extending from the Northwest
of Saudi Arabia, the Met Office said
yesterday. The cold conditions would
be intensified due to the fresh winds.
The conditions are expected to
persist till the end of the week.
Northwesterly winds will be strong
during the period and may vary between 15 and 25 knots, with the possibility of strengthening to 32 knots,
both inshore and offshore, especially
on Wednesday and Thursday.
The sea state may rise to five to
nine feet during the period. Chances
of dust blowing are pretty strong and
may be felt more severely over the
deserts and highways. This may result in a fall in horizontal visibility.
The maximum temperature during
the period is expected to be 22-25C
around Doha.
CC Secretary General Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani
has praised the activation of
the Saudi King’s initiative aimed at
strengthening and consolidating the
relations between Qatar and Egypt for
the benefit of the two countries and
their peoples as well as the Arab and
Islamic nations.
The noble initiative came in the
context of the Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s keenness to deepen
Arab solidarity in order to confront
the great challenges experienced by
the Arab world, al-Zayani said, adding
that it also reflected the central role
played by Saudi Arabia in promoting
Arab-Arab relations and its constant
quest for the sake of welfare and development of Arab countries and their
He said that the success of the initiative came as a result of the special
importance enjoyed by the Custodian
of the Two Holy Mosques as well as
trust put in him by the leaders of the
region and its peoples.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates also praised the positive steps
taken to promote Qatar-Egypt ties.
Bahrain has welcomed the positive
steps taken to strengthen ties of cooperation between Qatar and Egypt
and valued highly the keen desire of
both leaderships to further reinforce
and consolidate bilateral relations for
the common interests of all countries
in region.
In a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency yesterday, Bahrain
lauded the great role played by King
Abdullah in leading joint Arab action
and keenness to boost Arab solidarity and unify stances, particularly regarding reinforcing co-operation ties
with Egypt, which is a highly significant step in light of the current fastpaced changes and grave dangers the
region is facing.
Bahrain affirmed the great importance accorded by the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states
to enhance their relations with Egypt
and their keenness to continue providing support to Egypt and its people, in recognition of its (Egypt’s) unwavering supportive stances towards
the security and stability of the GCC
It also underlined the importance
of Egypt’s continuous leading role in
defending the causes of the Arab and
Islamic nations, which was reflected
in the Riyadh Accord and Riyadh Complementary Agreement in which GCC
countries expressed commitment to
supporting Egypt and contributing to
consolidating its security and stability.
The UAE also welcomed the successful initiative made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and
his dedication to heal the rift between
the State of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, and open a new page
between the two countries and to
strengthen the bonds of brotherhood
and co-operation.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said in a
statement yesterday that the initiative
by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz will
have a significant positive impact in
promoting solidarity among all Arab
countries, and marks the beginning of
a blessed new phase of joint Arab ac-
tion that will consolidate the bonds
of brotherhood and co-operation
between them so they can stand in
the face of joint challenges, Emirates
News Agency (WAM) reported.
He stressed the UAE’s appreciation
of the efforts made by King Abdullah,
and the response of HH the Emir of
Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani, and Egyptian President AbdulFattah al-Sisi, to these efforts.
Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary
General Dr. Nabil al-Arabi welcomed
initiative and the opening of a new
page to restore the good relations between the two countries.
In a statement released yesterday,
al-Arabi lauded the Saudi King’s initiative to mend fences and close the
chapter of dispute between the two
He noted that the initiative is consistent with the Charter of the Arab
League, which calls in its second article to reinforce ties between the Arab
countries and to achieve co-operation
between them.
The Arab League chief expressed
hope for the initiative’s completion
and restoration of normal relations
between the two friendly countries in
all п¬Ѓeld.
Qatar affirms complete support to Egypt
The Emiri Diwan on Saturday issued a
statement saying that the State of Qatar
welcomes the statement issued by the
Saudi Royal Court and the initiative of
the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to
consolidate the relations between Qatar
and Egypt.
Responding to the statement, valuing
the sincere efforts of the Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques and commending his known wisdom and strong desire
to strengthen Arab solidarity for the
welfare and interests of the Arab and
Islamic nations, the State of Qatar affirms
its complete support to sisterly Egypt, the
statement said.
Egypt’s security is important to the security of Qatar that the two countries are
bound with deep ties and fraternal bonds,
the statement added. Egypt’s strength is
strength to all the Arab nation, therefore
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani took the initiative to send an envoy
to meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,
whose hospitality and good reception to
the envoy, was highly appreciated.
The State of Qatar, which attaches great
importance to the leading role of Egypt in
the Arab and Muslim worlds, confirms its
keenness on the close relations with Egypt
and on developing these relations for the
benefit of the two brotherly countries and
their peoples.
President Sisi met on Saturday with
HH the Emir’s special envoy HE Sheikh
Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim
al-Thani, the Foreign Minister’s Assistant
for International Co-operation Affairs,
and with Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Tuwaijri,
Saudi Arabia’s Chief of the Royal Court, the
Private Secretary of the Custodian of the
Two Holy Mosques and his envoy to this
Ashghal opens F-Ring Road to ease traffic flow
n an initiative meant to ease traffic flow to Hamad International
Airport (HIA) and many other
locations in Doha, the Public Works
Authority, Ashghal, has announced
the opening of the F-Ring Road completely to traffic.
The F-Ring Road will substantially improve traffic flow between
Al Thumama Area and its surroundings, and the Airport Street and reduce congestion in the region significantly.
The new road will reduce traffic
congestion and also enhance connectivity between HIA and both Al
Wakrah and the Industrial Area.
Currently, works on some service
roads and cycle pathways, as well
as landscaping works, are under
progress, but these will have no effect on the traffic flow of the main
carriageway, Ashghal said yesterday.
The F-Ring Road is a 7.2km eightlane carriageway, with four lanes
in each direction, in addition to a
two-lane service road on both sides
of the main road. There are pedestrian and cycle paths. The project
also includes the construction of
two signal-controlled two-level interchanges with Najma and Airport
The construction of infrastructure facilities, such as treated effluent sewerage system, protecting the
existing gas and oil pipelines, developing a new storm water drainage
system, as well as water, electricity,
communication, and street lighting
networks were carried out as part of
the project.
Road users will now benefit
from the shorter journey times
and the free traffic flow created by
the two level interchanges. In addition, the dedicated pedestrian
and cycle paths will separate pedestrians and cyclists from traffic, which will keep them safe,
A view of the F-Ring Road after being opened completely to traffic.
promote other travel options, and
help reduce reliance on vehicles.
The project was executed by the
Consolidated Contractors Company
and Teyseer Contracting Company
Joint Venture, with KEO International Consultants Company as
the supervision consultant of the
The F-Ring Road project is part
of the Public Works Authority’s Expressway programme, which aims to
form a sustainable road network that
will continue to support the growing
social and economic development
taking place in the State of Qatar.
The project - along with other expressway projects - will improve the
transport network access in all areas
of the country, reduce traffic congestion, and provide different route
options for travelling around and
between towns. It will also meet the
country’s future needs in light of Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22 , 2014
Qatar, Tanzania ties reviewed
HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani holding
talks with Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda at the Emiri Diwan yesterday.
They reviewed scopes of co-operation between Qatar and Tanzania and ways of enhancing them in
all fields, in addition to a number of issues of common concern. The talks were also attended by
Qatari ministers and the delegation accompanying the Tanzanian prime minister. Following the
talks, the Prime Minister and Interior Minister hosted a luncheon banquet in honour of the
Tanzanian premier and his accompanying delegation.
Speaker meets French delegation
HE the Speaker of the Advisory Council Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi met the head of the
French parliament’s Qatar-France Friendship Society Maurice Leroy and a number of parliament
members. The meeting discussed parliamentary relations between Qatar and France and ways of
enhancing them. It was attended by Advisory Council observer Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Sulaiti
and Advisory Council members Mohamed bin Ajaj al-Qubaisi and Saqr bin Fahd al-Muraikhi.
HMC, QU launch programme to combat obesity
amad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the
Department of Health
Sciences at the College of Arts
and Sciences at Qatar University, have launched a new weight
management programme to reduce the incidence of obesity in
The programme, called Smart
Weight, is for people who need
to lose weight and would benefit
from professional support and
advice. The programme is open
to adults residing in Qatar.
The six-month programme,
funded by Qatar’s Academic
Health System partnership, is
designed and led by a team of
highly qualified healthcare professionals from Hamad Medical
Corporation Dietetics and Nutrition Department, along with
faculty from the human nutrition programme and student
volunteers at Qatar University.
The programme targets people with a body mass index (BMI)
of more than 30. As part of their
community service, student volunteers from Qatar University will
be assisting the dietitians at HMC
with participant registration as
well as body measurements. In
addition, faculty from the human
nutrition programme will collaborate by organising workshops to
the dietitians in the project.
Medical Director for Hamad
General Hospital, Dr Yousuf alMaslamani, said the programme,
other than weight loss, also aims
to highlight lifestyle changes to
reduce the health risks with being obese.
“If you are carrying too much
weight, you could be at risk of
serious health issues, such as
diabetes or heart problems. The
Smart Weight programme highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise regimen as part of an
overall eating plan designed to
help participants lose weight,”
said Dr al-Maslamani.
“This can seem daunting at
п¬Ѓrst but we will provide support to our participants every
step of the way. The aim is, with
the right support and advice,
committed participants will
be able to lose at least 10% of
their weight over 6 months,” alMaslamani said.
HMC organising arthritis campaign
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is organising a ten-day campaign
on raising awareness about general arthritis and other rheumatic
The campaign, first-of-its-kind in Qatar, aims to create avenues for
the public to engage in discussions about rheumatic diseases and to
learn about preventive steps and treatment options.
“Arthritis is a widespread condition; arthritis refers to pain, swelling,
and stiffness of joints in the body. When anyone experiences any
of the symptoms of arthritis, they may immediately consult their
physician. Arthritis has the potential to cause permanent disability
if not diagnosed within the early stages,” said Dr Samar al-Emadi,
senior consultant in the Rheumatology Department at Hamad
General Hospital.
As part of the campaign, a number of activities will be carried out
across HMC’s hospitals with events planned at Hamad General
Hospital, Al Wakrah Hospital and Al Khor Hospital. To allow more
members of the public to benefit from expert advice on arthritis and
related conditions, health awareness sessions will also be held in
Aspire Park next to the Villaggio Mall.
A portable cabin will move between the four venues with staff
providing information brochures, flyers, and questionnaires to the
public to spread knowledge about the different types of arthritis,
symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and management techniques. All
awareness materials will be available in English and Arabic.
The campaign will also comprise of a doctor’s café; an area
specifically dedicated for one-on-one consultation between HMC
experts and individuals who are affected by persistent and ongoing
joint pain. Highly-specialised doctors will offer on-the-spot assistance
and provide individuals in need of further care with early referral to a
rheumatology clinic.
Free-of-cost ultrasounds will also be performed for those who wish to
participate and know more about their joints. In addition, free yoga
and workout sessions will be hosted in Aspire Park. Participants will
have the opportunity to learn exercises that can help improve their
joint condition.
Timings of planned activities are: Hamad General Hospital: 20 – 24
December from 8 am to 3 pm; Aspire Park: 25 – 27 December from
10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm; Al Khor Hospital: 28 – 29 December
from 8 am to 3 pm and Al Wakra Hospital: 30 - 31 December from 8
am to 3 pm.
Director for Corporate Dietetics and Nutrition, Reem al-Saadi
said that the programme is open
to adults residing in Qatar.
“We are looking for participants from all nationalities aged
between 18 and 65. Places are
limited to 500 participants to
provide the right level of support to each person, but we hope
to do another six-month programme in the future where we
can take more participants,” said
Al-Saadi added that the programme is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or
for anyone who has previously
had weight loss surgery.
HMC Project Manager for
Smart Weight, Dr Hatem El
Shoubaki, said that interested
people can visit the registration
desk in the main lobby at Hamad
General Hospital. Health information and further details about
the Smart Weight programme
can be found on their website:
“This programme is free and
registration is open to anyone
who meets the criteria ,” said Dr El
Culture Minister
meets Turkish
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts
and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul
Aziz al-Kuwari met the Turkish
Ambassador to Qatar Ahmet
Demirok and a delegation from
the Turkish Ministry of Culture
and Tourism in Doha yesterday.
The two sides discussed
preparations for the Cultural Year
Qatar-Turkey 2015 and studied
the proposed agenda of activities.
The Ministry of Culture, Arts and
Heritage represented by Qatar
Museums Authority and official
cultural organisations in Turkey
are co-ordinating the event.
Turkish Minister of Culture
and Tourism Omer Celik will
visit Qatar next month. He will
be accompanied by a Turkish
artistic troupe to launch cultural
Qatar to take part in
Qur’an recitation
Qatar will participate in the
10th competition of King
Mohamed VI International
Award for Recitation of the
Holy Qur’an, due to start in
Casablanca tomorrow.
Qatar will be represented at
the contest by Youssuf Ahmed
Youssuf Asheer alongside
representatives of 30 countries.
The two-day contest is
composed of two categories
- the full memorisation of the
Holy Qur’an with recitation and
interpretation, and Tajweed
(rules governing pronunciation
during recitation of the Qur’an)
and the memorisation of twoand-a-half parts of the Qur’an.
Bangladesh farm
minister meets
Qatar’s envoy
Minister of Agriculture of
Bangladesh Matia Chowdhury
has met Qatar’s Ambassador
Abdulaziz Mohamed al-Mana in
They discussed aspects of
co-operation between the two
countries and ways of boosting
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sheraton Doha opens after
nine months of renovation
tarwood Hotels &
has announced the
reopening of Sheraton Doha
Resort & Convention Hotel
after extensive renovations
over the past nine months.
The hotel celebrated its
reopening last Thursday, on
the occasion of Qatar National Day.
An iconic landmark in
Doha for more than 30
years, the hotel emerges
from a complete restoration featuring extraordinary
1980s architecture and design, unique to the region,
while the operational and
technology systems have
been upgraded to address
the needs of today’s business and leisure travellers.
Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim
bin Jabor al-Thani, chairman of Katara Hospitality, said “Sheraton Doha
was envisioned as a place
the Qatari people could be
proud of, a prestigious hotel that could host both international gatherings and
occasions of celebration.
Newly restored to its original grandeur, Sheraton Doha
once again serves as a symbol of the growth and development that have made
Doha what it is today.”
“Sheraton Doha is one
of our п¬Ѓrst Sheraton hotels in the Middle East and
has been a local icon since
it opened in 1982. It is an
honour for us to be part of
the city’s development and
history,” said Guido de Wilde, senior vice president,
regional director, Starwood
Hotels & Resorts Middle
Sheraton Doha offers
371 completed renovated
and beautifully-appointed
guest rooms and suites, all
Some of the staff of Sheraton Doha on the occasion of Qatar National Day.
of which feature traditional
Qatari design, comfortable work spaces, a balcony
with spectacular sea or city
views. Guests staying in one
of the hotel’s 64 luxurious
suites also enjoy complimentary airport pickups.
The new and luxurious Sheraton Club Lounge,
to guests staying in Club
Rooms and above. Mixing business and comfort,
guests can stay connected
or simply relax with complimentary drinks and snacks.
Free Internet and use of the
business centre are also included.
The resort features a variety of leisure facilities,
including a large Sheraton
Fitness Centre with stateof-the-art cardio machines
and weight training equipment, individual п¬Ѓtness
studios and indoor and outdoor multi-purpose courts
for tennis, squash, and badminton; a swimming pool;
extensive landscaped gardens; and a pristine beach.
The resort is home to
nine restaurants, bars and
lounges, including Latino
Steakhouse, La Veranda, Al
Shaheen Lebanese Restaurant, and the city’s mostvisited Irish pub, Irish Harp.
The hotel is a threeminute walk from the upcoming Doha Exhibition
and Convention Centre, the
city’s largest convention
centre, which is connected
via an underground tunnel to the newly redesigned
Sheraton Park. It is 15-minutes drive from Hamad
International Airport and
situated close to a wealth of
businesses, popular shopping centres and cultural
“Sheraton Doha holds
an extremely special place
within our Sheraton port-
folio as it is one of our most
iconic hotels globally,”
said Thomas van Opstal,
complex general manager,
Sheraton Doha. “ We are excited to unveil the renovated
property and offer new experiences and services to
our guests.”
To mark the reopening
of Sheraton Doha, the local
community members were
invited to share their favourite photos and memories at the hotel on Twitter,
Facebook and Instagram.
The call for photo submissions was part of a series of
activities celebrating the
icon on the Doha Corniche.
The special photo exhibition �Rediscover Sheraton
Doha’ was unveiled on December 18 and includes 32
images to celebrate 32 years
since the hotel п¬Ѓrst opened
its doors. The images will be
on display in the lobby until
January 17, 2015.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Australian envoy speaks at GU-Q
Australia’s ambassador to
the UAE and Qatar, Pablo
Kang, delivered a lecture
titled “Multilateral Diplomacy:
Australia’s 2013-2014 Term on
the United Nations Security
Council,” at Georgetown
University in Qatar (GU-Q)
as part of the university’s
Ambassadorial Lecture
Kang explained Australia’s
campaign strategy to win
one of the 10 non-permanent
member seats elected for
two-year terms by the UN
General Assembly in 2012. He
also detailed the country’s
approach to multilateral
negotiations, and highlighted
the key challenges and
successes of its tenure, such
as promoting national and
international interests, and
galvanising international
action in unforeseen crises.
“Australia’s campaign for
current UNSC membership
was a long process that
started with Kevin Rudd,
former prime minister in
March of 2008, and included
an intensive strategy for each
phase of the campaign,”
said Kang. He highlighted
one of the main themes
that drove Australia’s bid for
membership as the focus of
making a difference for small
and medium countries of the
world, as well as arms control,
disarmament, human rights,
humanitarian assistance, and
increasing effectiveness and
transparency to enhance the
credibility of the Council’s
“We are the 12th largest
contributor to the UN and
peacekeeping budget, which
makes sense since we are
the 12th largest economy,”
said the ambassador. “More
than 65,000 Australians have
served in over 50 United
Nations and other multilateral
peace operations in Africa,
the Asia-Pacific, Central
America, Europe, and the
Middle East. In Cypress alone,
we have had a presence for
over 50 years.”
India-Qatar defence
ties growing: envoy
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
here has been a steady
growth in defence co-operation between India and
Qatar in the last six years, according to Indian ambassador to Qatar
Sanjiv Arora.
Speaking on board the Indian
Coast Guard Ship Vijit, which is
on a four-day visit of Qatar, the
ambassador said since the visit of
former prime minister Manmohan
Singh in November 2008, several
initiatives have been taken by the
two countries to strengthen defence
Vijit, from the North Western
Command of the Coast Guards is
stationed in off Porbander in Gujarat.
The two countries signed an
agreement on defence co-operation
in 2008 for п¬Ѓve years, which was
renewed for another п¬Ѓve years last
year. Since then, there have been
three meetings of the Joint Committee on Defence Co-operation
between officials of the two countries, alternatively in India and Qatar.
The next meeting will be held on
January 6 and 7, in New Delhi.
The visit of Vijit is the fourth
by an Indian vessel to Qatar, the
ambassador said. Last year Coast
Samudra Prahari and two ships of
the Indian Navy, INS Tabr and INS
Aditya called on Doha Port.
“The latest visit by the Coast
Guard vessel to Qatar is to reaffirm’s
India’s deep-rooted, long standing
and multi-faceted relations with
this country,” Arora said, adding
the visit was planned in a way that
Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora speaking on board the Indian Coast Guard ship Vijit yesterday. Others from left are Executive Officer of Vijit S C Gupta,
Defence Attache at Indian embassy Ravi Kumar Remanan, Deputy Inspector General and Commanding Officer of Vijit Rakesh Pal and Suman Sharma.
it could reach the country soon after
its National Day celebrations.
The vessel arrived on Saturday
and will leave tomorrow.
Arora also said Qatar could consider investing in India’s defence
manufacturing and training facilities.
He said India has hiked Foreign
Direct Investment in the defence
sector from 26 % to 49%.
Arora said Indian Coast Guards
has built world class training and
support facilities and added these
facilities are also being used by
the coast guards of many friendly
While thanking HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
and Father Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for their
continued support to the large Indian community in Qatar, Arora
said India regarded this country in
great esteem. Nearly 60% of India’s
energy requirements are met from
Qatar’s exports, he added.
Qatar and India, he said, are keen
on strengthening defence co-operation and nowhere is it more evident
than in the delegations from the two
countries participating regularly in
defence level conferences.
Vijit’s Commanding Officer
Deputy Inspector General Rakesh
Pal said in less than six years there
has been quadruple growth in the
strength of the Coast Guard. The
Coast Guards which had only about
40 ships in 2008, now has close to
150 different varieties of vessels,
besides 64 aircraft and helicopters.
Vijit travels to Bahrain tomorrow
and later on the United Arab Emirates and Muscat before sailing back
to India.
On board yesterday, defence attache at the Indian embassy Ravi
Kumar Remanan, executive officer
of the ship S C Gupta and the embassy’s Second Secretary Suman
Sharma were also present.
Ooredoo officials and employees launch the eTatweer and Management Compass initiatives.
Ooredoo launches new tools
to improve employees’ skills
oredoo’s Human Resources
department recently launched
two new initiatives, e-Tatweer
and the Ooredoo Management Compass, which aim to support Ooredoo
employees’ developmental needs and
better serve their customers.
The launching event, held at the W
Hotel in Doha, was attended by senior
department heads as well as a host of
Ooredoo employees looking to enhance the services they offer.
The e-Tatweer service is an online
learning portal that will provide employees with a convenient way to access a variety of learning resources and
development planning tools.
It can be accessed at work and from
home or even from any location via
mobile Internet. Ooredoo has partnered with leading online learning
organisations such as the Chartered
Institute of Management in the UK to
facilitate access for all employees to
the service.
Ooredoo’s HR department has also
launched the “Ooredoo Management
Compass,” a management competency
framework to provide Ooredoo managers with clear directions to achieve
Ooredoo’s vision in Qatar. The Ooredoo Management Compass works as
both a desktop tool and visual aid for
all Ooredoo employees.
Ooredoo chief corporate services
officer Mohamed Jassim al-Kuwari
said: “We believe in investing in our
employees, to improve their skill-sets
an employer of choice, Ooredoo has
placed strong strategic focus on improving customer experience across
its operations where investment in
training and development plays a key
“Ooredoo Qatar is committed to developing its people to ensure that we
effectively deal with the fast-changing
market in which we operate. We want
our employees to have access to the
best developmental opportunities. It
makes smart business sense to do so,”
al-Ansari added.
and enhance their motivation, and
also to ensure that they can provide
the best experience for customers in
every field they operate in.”
This was reinforced by Ooredoo HR
senior director Bothaina Hassan alAnsari.
“By launching these two new tools,
we aim to provide Qatar with business
leaders and managers who can map
out which skills they and their employees need to develop, so as to enhance our performance at every level.”
As the company strives to become
New promotion for Hala users
Ooredoo has launched a new
promotion for its Hala prepaid
service, which offers customers
the chance to use their free bonus
local Ooredoo minutes gained from
topping-up international calls of up
to two hours. Currently, customers
can get as many as 120 local Ooredoo
minutes when they top up their Hala
account with QR30 and above. With
this new promotion, Hala customers
can now use these local Ooredoo
minutes for international calls as well.
The promotion has been designed
to enable the diverse range of Hala
customers to call home or friends
and family abroad for less. The
minutes, which are added based
upon the amount that customers top
up, are valid for 10 days. To enable
affordable entry levels for the bonus
credit top-ups, Ooredoo has also
launched a new QR20 top-up card,
offering QR20 credit and five local
Ooredoo minutes, which can also be
used for international calling during
the promotion. Each denomination
enables different amounts of bonus
minutes with customers earning up
to an incredible two hours of local
Ooredoo calling, which can be used
for international calls during the
promotion period when they top up
with QR200. Hala customers can
purchase top-up cards in QR10, QR20,
QR30, QR50, QR100 and QR200 to
use Ooredoo’s nationwide network of
SSMs or top-up online with Ooredoo’s
secure eservice. The Hala top-up
promotion is valid until March 15.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Qatar Airways rises to
top spot on Facebook
atar Airways yesterday announced
that it has become
the most liked global airline on social networking
site Facebook.
The airline claimed the
first position last week
when it reached 8mn fans
on its global page, according to a statement. Six
months ago, the airline
had 4mn fans.
Qatar Airways, which
was awarded Best Use of
Emerging Platforms at the
fifth Annual SimpliFlying
Awards held in New York
two months ago, has managed to increase its Facebook fan base by approximately 2,560% in just two
years, the statement adds.
The steady climb to being the most liked global
airline has been a result of
the carrier’s ever-increasing online engagement
with its fans, including region-specific promotions
and its global partnership
with FC Barcelona.
In addition to winning
fans with its new route
launches, the airline has
also been closely followed
as it launched its A380 to
London, Paris and Bangkok, and as it awaits the
imminent arrival of the
A350 XWB for which it
is the global launch customer.
Popular online competitions, including Safarigram and FCB Join the
Club, and targeting fans
in their own language have
also helped increase fan
growth and interaction.
Qatar Airways Group
chief executive Akbar alBaker said, “Qatar Airways has long recognised
the importance of digital
media in our day-to-day
business. Using new and
creative ways to engage
with our fans, while increasing the level of engagement, helps us stay at
the forefront of customer
service while keeping in
touch with our passengers’ needs and constantly
adapting to them. And our
quick rise to most liked
airline on Facebook reaffirms that our passengers
support this.”
Qatar Airways senior
vice president (Marketing
and Corporate Communications) Salam al-Shawa
added, “We are extremely
proud of this achievement and the fact that we
have grown from 49th to
first place in less than 18
Ministry of Interior wins п¬Ѓlm awards
The award for best film on
�the role of family and the
community in protecting
youth from violence and
by the Ministry of
Interior (MoI), won
the п¬Ѓrst place in two categories in a competition of
awareness п¬Ѓlms organised
by the General Secretariat
of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council.
awards for best п¬Ѓlm on the
“misuse of the Internet
and its role in intellectual
deviation and the spread
of crime” and best film on
“the role of family and the
community in protecting
youth from violence and
The awards, given at
the 38th conference of
Arab police and security
chiefs in Tunis, highlighted the ministry’s efforts
in protecting the community from social evils
and crimes, according to a
The awards were received
by Brig Khalifa Abdullah
al-Noaimi, director general
of the General Directorate
of Criminal Investigations
who headed the Qatari delegation at the conference,
from Dr Mohamed bin Ali
Kouman, secretary general
of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council.
Abdullah Khalifa alMuftah, director of the
MoI’s Public Relations De-
partment, expressed pleasure at the achievement. He
said this highlighted the
success of the ministry in
promoting security awareness in all sections of society.
Qatar’s MoI has won
honours in most of the security awareness п¬Ѓlm contests organised by the General Secretariat of the Arab
Interior Ministers’ Council
every year.
In the competition held
by the General Secretariat
in 2012, the ministry won
for the eighth time in a row
the п¬Ѓrst place for a п¬Ѓlm on
the п¬Ѓght against human
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Iran cites
Cuba as
proof that
don’t work
Iraqi Kurdish
leader hails
gains against
Islamic State
The Kurdistan Regional
Security Council says
peshmerga forces are
advancing inside the town
of Sinjar, “engaging and
suppressing (IS) positions”
Mount Sinjar
raqi Kurdish leader Masoud
Barzani hailed advances by
peshmerga п¬Ѓghters against
the Islamic State group yesterday as they battled the militants
for a northern town with the
backing of US-led strikes.
Thousands of the autonomous Kurdish region’s peshmerga launched a major operation on Wednesday which broke
the second IS siege this year of
Mount Sinjar.
The Kurdish offensive threatens the links between the city of
Mosul, the main IS stronghold in
Iraq, and territory the militants
control in neighbouring Syria.
“During the past 48 hours,
the peshmerga opened two main
routes to Mount Sinjar,” Barzani
said during a visit to Mount Sinjar, adding: “We did not expect
to achieve all these victories.”
In addition to breaking
through to the mountain, “a
large part of the centre of the
town of Sinjar was also liberated”, he said of the district’s main
settlement to the south.
The Kurdish regional president said the peshmerga might
join an operation to retake Mosul
“We will take part if the Iraqi government asks us, and of
course we will have our conditions,” he said, without specifying what these might be.
The Kurdistan Regional Security Council said yesterday
that peshmerga forces were advancing inside the town of Sinjar, “engaging and suppressing
(IS) positions” with the support
of air strikes by international
Explosives disposal teams also
cleared key roads north of Mount
Sinjar, it said.
The US-led coalition said its
forces launched 13 air strikes
against IS in northern and western Iraq yesterday, including
four near Sinjar.
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights monitor reported “at least 12” coalition
air strikes on IS positions north
of Syria’s second city Aleppo
IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive that has overrun much
of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland
since June, presenting both an
opportunity for territorial expansion and an existential threat
to the country’s Kurdish region.
Multiple Iraqi divisions collapsed in the early days of the
militant advance, clearing the
way for the Kurds to take control of a swathe of disputed
northern territory that they
have long wanted to incorporate into their autonomous
region over Baghdad’s objections.
But after pushing south towards Baghdad, IS then turned
its attention to the Kurds, forcing them back towards their
regional capital Arbil in a move
that helped spark US air strikes
against the militants.
Backed by the raids, which
are now being carried out by a
coalition of countries, Kurdish
forces have clawed back significant ground from IS.
The conflict seems set to redraw the internal boundaries of
Iraq in favour of broader Kurdish control in the north.
In his remarks on Mount
Sinjar, Barzani said: “We will
not leave an inch of the land of
Barzani speaks to journalists during a visit to Mount Sinjar yesterday.
Kurdistan for (IS), and we will
strike (IS) in any place it is located.”
While both Kurdish and federal forces have made gains
against IS, the group remains a
potent threat, holding extensive territory in Iraq and eastern
IS began a major assault on
Saturday on the strategic town
of Baiji south of Mosul, sparking п¬Ѓghting that lasted into
The province’s governor and
an army officer said the attack
was repulsed, while two other
officers said that pro-government forces lost ground.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider
al-Abadi meanwhile travelled
to Kuwait yesterday for talks on
the security situation among
other issues, his office said.
The visit came just days after the UN said Iraq could delay payment of a п¬Ѓnal $4.6bn
in war reparations for its 1990
invasion of Kuwait due to the
“extraordinarily difficult security circumstances”.
Syria’s President Bashar
al-Assad told a top official from
Iran yesterday his regime is
working on “reconciliations”
to end the brutal civil war, state
news agency Sana said.
His regime refers to local
truces agreed between troops
and rebels in several opposition-held areas as “national
However, Assad also told Ali
Larijani, the speaker of parliament in Tehran, that Syria will
continue to fight “terror”—a
term the regime has used for
its opponents, both armed and
peaceful, since the outbreak of
a 2011 revolt.
“President Assad emphasised the Syrian people’s determination to eradicate terrorism,” said Sana, adding that he
would also continue to press for
“national reconciliations... all
over Syrian territory”.
ran has seized on Washington’s historic rapprochement
with Cuba after п¬Ѓve decades
of Cold War standoff as proof that
big power sanctions do not work.
“The defence by the Cuban
government and people of their
revolutionary ideals over the past
50 years shows that policies of
isolation and sanctions imposed
by the major powers against the
wishes of independent nations
are ineffective,” foreign ministry
spokeswoman Marzieh Akfham
The statement, released late
Saturday, was Iran’s first official
reaction to the rapprochement
announced by the two governments on Wednesday.
Iran and the United States severed diplomatic ties after the November 1979 takeover of the US
embassy in Tehran, along with 50
American hostages, which lasted
444 days.
A year later Washington
slapped a trade embargo on Iran
and since 2006 the Islamic Republic is also facing UN sanctions
over its controversial nuclear programme.
Further international sanctions
on Iran were announced in 2012,
including US and European Union sanctions on oil exports and
п¬Ѓnancial transactions.
A historic 15-minute telephone
call between US President Barack
Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in September 2013 marked the п¬Ѓrst contact
between leaders of the two nations since 1979.
Egypt opens border to
travellers from Gaza
gypt opened the Rafah border
crossing yesterday for incoming
passengers from the Gaza Strip for
the п¬Ѓrst time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said.
Rafah is the only major crossing between impoverished Gaza, home to
1.8mn Palestinians, and the outside
world that does not border Israel, which
blockades the strip and allows passage
mainly on humanitarian grounds.
Egypt shut the crossing on October 25
after Islamist militants in Egypt’s adjacent Sinai region killed 33 members of
its security forces in some of the worst
anti-state violence since Islamist president Mohamed Mursi was toppled in
July 2013.
Since then, Cairo has opened the
crossing only twice to allow thousands
of Palestinians stranded in Egypt and
beyond to return to Gaza, which is dominated by Hamas.
Hamas has long had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted
from power in Egypt when Mursi was
overthrown, but its relations with the
current Egyptian government are tense.
Palestinians await permission to enter Egypt at the Rafah border crossing yesterday.
Maher Abu Sabha, the Hamas-appointed director of crossings, said Rafah would open for two days to allow
Gazans with serious illnesses to travel
to Egypt and beyond for treatment and
to allow foreign nationals and students to travel.
An Egyptian official, citing “security reasons”, said there was no decision yet to allow the permanent and
full opening of the crossing as was the
case before October 25.
Hamas’s leaders have distanced themselves from violence in Egypt and in Sinai
and say they have no armed presence in
areas outside Palestinian boundaries.
Some children stood by the fence,
while others sat or slept over luggage
that piled up outside the gate as their
families waited to pass.
26 go on trial in Cairo for �debauchery’
court yesterday tried 26 men for
alleged debauchery after accusing them of homosexual activity
at a Cairo public bathhouse.
The handcuffed defendants, many of
them crying, arrived in court with their
heads bowed as police pushed them inside a metal cage.
“I am innocent. I was in the hammam
for therapy, I swear in the name of Allah,” said a defendant as he wept inside
the cage, indicating that he was in the
steam room of the bathhouse to treat
back pain.
“The police beat us every day and
force us to sleep on our stomachs,” said
Egyptian law does not expressly ban
homosexuality, but gay men have previously been arrested and charged with
debauchery instead.
The defendants were arrested on December 7 in a night raid on a hammam in
central Cairo’s Azbakeya district.
A television presenter who п¬Ѓlmed the
raid as the near naked men were loaded
aboard police trucks aired the footage
days later.
The bathhouse owner and four employees are also on trial. Most of the defendants appeared to be between 40 and
50 years old.
Relatives of the defendants were
banned from attending yesterday’s
Angry relatives stopped photographers from taking pictures outside the
court, while some mothers cried and
“Don’t defame our sons, they are real
men,” shouted one mother.
A brother of one defendant insisted
that he was innocent.
“This is about our honour. This will
destroy our entire family,” he said, accusing television presenter Mona Iraqi
of “fabricating the case”.
“It’s all because of a journalist who
seeks fame,” he alleged.
Iraqi is said to have reported the hammam to police after researching a programme on Aids and prostitution.
She said on her Facebook page that
airing the footage was not aimed at targeting homosexuality, but was part of a
“series uncovering male sex trafficking
and the spread of Aids in Egypt”.
The court adjourned the trial to January 4.
Twenty-one defendants underwent
“forensic tests” to determine whether
they were homosexuals, forensic department spokesman Hisham Abdel
Hamid said.
“Three of them have fresh marks of
non-consensual sexual assault,” Abdel
Hamid said.
“Eighteen others have no visible
marks to show that they are homosexuals, but that does not mean that they are
not homosexuals.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
in Libya
Essebsi claims
Tunisian poll
runoff victory
Hundreds of celebrating
supporters chant “Beji
president” and wave
Tunisia’s red and white
national flag
eteran politician Beji
Caid Essebsi claimed
victory in yesterday’s
Tunisian presidential runoff,
seen as the п¬Ѓnal step to full democracy nearly four years after
an uprising ousted autocrat Zine
El-Abidine Ben Ali.
Official results were still
awaited and the campaign team
of his rival, Moncef Marzouki,
did not concede defeat. But
soon after polls closed, Essebsi
announced he had won and jubilant supporters took to the
streets of the capital in celebration.
A victory for Essebsi, 88,
would see the return of a former
Ben Ali official to the presidency
just four years after the autocrat
fled. Essebsi’s secular party already leads the parliament after
earlier this year defeating the
Islamist party that had won Tunisia’s first legislative election
in 2011.
With a new progressive constitution and a string of elections successfully completed,
Tunisia is hailed as an example
of democratic change in a region
that is struggling to cope with
the aftermath of the 2011 Arab
Spring revolts.
“I dedicate my victory to the
martyrs of Tunisia. I thank Marzouki, and now we should work
together without excluding anyone,” Essebsi, a one-time parliament speaker under Ben Ali,
told local television.
His campaign manager said
“initial indications” showed
Essebsi had won, without giving any details, as hundreds of
supporters chanted “Beji president!” and waved Tunisia’s red
and white national flag.
However, the rival campaign
manager for Marzouki, Adnen
Monsar, dismissed the victory
claims, saying it was a very close
call. “Nothing is confirmed so
far,” he told reporters.
Although Tunisia has largely
avoided the bitter post-revolt
divisions that trouble Egypt and
neighbouring Libya, tensions
nevertheless flared between Islamists and secularists after the
2011 rebellion in one of the Arab
world’s most secular nations.
emerged in the wake of the uprising remain a risk. One gunman was killed overnight and
three were arrested after they
opened п¬Ѓre on a polling station
in the central Kairouan governorate.
But accepting former regime
officials—known as the “Remnants” by their critics—back
into politics was one of the steps
that initially helped restore
calm and keep Tunisia’s often
unsteady transition to democracy on track.
Essebsi took 39% of votes
in the п¬Ѓrst round ballot in November with Marzouki winning
As frontrunner, Essebsi dismissed critics who said victory
for him would mark a return of
the old regime stalwarts. He argued that he was the technocrat
Tunisia needed following three
messy years of an Islamist-led
coalition government.
Marzouki, 69, is a former activist who once sought refuge in
France during the Ben Ali era.
He painted an Essebsi presidency as a setback for the “Jasmine
Revolution” that forced the
former leader to flee into exile.
Many Tunisians tie Marzouki’s own presidency to the
Islamist party’s government
and the mistakes opponents
said it made in being too lenient
with hardline Islamists in one of
the Arab world’s most secular
Still, compromise has been
important in Tunisian politics
and Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes
(Call for Tunisia) party reached
a deal with the Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) party to
overcome a crisis triggered by
the murder of two secular leaders last year.
Ennahda stepped down at the
start of this year to make way for
a technocrat transitional cabinet until elections. But the Is-
Essebsi gestures after casting his vote at a polling station in Tunis yesterday.
lamists remain a powerful force
after winning the second largest
number of seats in the new parliament.
Essebsi appeals to the more
secular, liberal sections of Tunisian society, while analysts
Jordan hangs 11, ends
eight-year moratorium
uman rights groups took Jordan to task yesterday as the
country ended an eight-year
moratorium on the death penalty by
hanging 11 men convicted of murder.
The men were executed at dawn in
a prison some 70km from the capital,
interior ministry spokesman Ziyad
Zoobi was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.
Authorities said the men were all
Jordanians convicted of murder, with
no links to politics or extremism, in
2005 and 2006.
A source in the prison system said
the men were mostly in their 40s.
“Some of the prisoners asked to
have their п¬Ѓnal words passed on to
their families, others asked only to
smoke a cigarette,” the source said.
Jordan’s last previous executions
were in June 2006, and 122 people have
since been sentenced to death.
Interior Minister Hussein Majali
had suggested recently that the moratorium might end, saying there was a
“major debate” in Jordan on the death
penalty and that “the public believes
that the rise in crime has been the result of the non-application” of capital
Experts said the government was
responding to a rise in crime.
“The authorities have been confronted in recent years with a wave
of violence, criminality and murders and want to meet the challenge
by opting for deterrence and the renewed application of the death penalty,” said Oraib Rantawi, head of
Amman’s Al Quds Centre for Political Studies.
But rights groups denounced the
ending of the moratorium, saying it
would make little difference to rising
“We are surprised by this decision,
which is a step back for Jordan,” said
Taghreed Jaber, the regional director
for Penal Reform International.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East
director at Human Rights Watch, said:
“Reviving this inherently cruel form of
punishment is another way Jordan is
backsliding on human rights.”
She said that by resuming executions, “Jordan loses its standing as a
rare progressive voice on the death
penalty in the region”.
The head of Jordan’s Adallah (Justice) rights group, Assem Rababa, said
the authorities would be better off
tackling the root causes of crime.
“Political and economic problems
are fostering crime,” he said. “The authorities should not make a headlong
rush (into executions) while ignoring
these problems.”
Tragic homecoming
Relatives of the Lebanese nationals who died in the crash of the Air Algerie flight AH5017 in Mali’s Gossi region react
as the coffins with the remains of the victims arrive at Beirut airport yesterday. The plane flying from Burkina Faso to
Algiers crashed on July 24 in northern Mali, killing 118 people.
predicted that Marzouki would
draw on support from more
conservative rural areas, and
from some members of Ennahda, which did not п¬Ѓeld a candidate.
The presidency post holds
only limited powers over national defence and foreign policy. The parliament, led by Nidaa Tounes which won the most
seats, will be key to selecting a
prime minister to lead the government.
orces loyal to Libya’s recognised government carried out air strikes yesterday on an opposing force that
is seeking to seize the country’s
two biggest oil ports, officials
The advancing force, which
is allied to a rival government
based in Tripoli, moved east a
week ago to try take the Es Sider
and Ras Lanuf ports. The adjacent terminals have since closed,
halting exports of an estimated
300,000 barrels a day of oil.
The recognised government
of Prime Minister Abdullah alThinni was forced to relocate
to the east after losing control
of Tripoli in August to a group
called Libya Dawn, which installed a new administration in
the capital city.
Yesterday, pro-Thinni forces
sent aircraft to bomb the advancing п¬Ѓghters some 40km
west of Es Sider and also inside
Sirte, a large city further along
the coast, said a military spokesman in Es Sider.
He said the planes had
bombed military targets, but Ismail al-Shukri, a spokesman for
the rival force said civilian targets had been hit in Sirte.
There was no immediate word
of any casualties.
The п¬Ѓghting is part of a wider
struggle for control of the country which sits on Africa’s largest
oil reserves. Former rebel groups
which helped topple Muammar
Gaddafi in a 2011, Nato-backed
uprising now п¬Ѓght each other.
Western powers fear the conflict could lead to the break-up
of the Opec producer.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Nigeria army,
rebels clash
Rural S Leone not yet
geared to face Ebola
Koidu, Sierra Leone
he rapid response team has arrived
and the chaos is easing, but medics
in a remote Sierra Leonean district
are struggling to control a local Ebola outbreak when it’s too late to nip it in the bud.
A deployment of medical workers and
equipment to Kono District has been the
fastest so far in Sierra Leone, a country
with nearly half the total Ebola cases,under a strategy of tackling epidemic
hotspots before they get too big.
But officials say responses need to be
yet faster to п¬Ѓght the fever that has killed
more than 7,000 people across West Africa.
In Koidu, the capital of Kono district,
people continue to die of what is thought
to be Ebola while others seem unaware of
the risks. A Reuters reporter saw a young
man lying on a city street, vomiting. He
died there before an ambulance could
An almost hysterical soldier ordered
bystanders next to the highly contagious
corpse, who were wearing open-toed
rubber flip-flops, to stand back. “This is
the reason we have Ebola. Your bad habits. Look at you, in slippers, in slippers!”
he yelled.
Less than a month ago, conditions were
far worse. A small team of local nurses
left at the makeshift Ebola centre were so
afraid of patients they resorted to throwing packets of medicine inside, according
to two US doctors on the scene.
Suspected and confirmed Ebola patients were mixed together, sometimes
next to corpses. A single trolley was used
to move the dead and mattresses were
soiled with diarrhoea.
While fellow Americans celebrated the
Thanksgiving holiday in late November,
the two doctors witnessed a descent into
chaos in Kono, about 450km east of the
capital Freetown.
A girl walks past a sign in Freetown yesterday.
“By Thanksgiving things had exploded.
The hospital was getting overrun by Ebola
patients,” said Dan Kelly, one of the doctors and founder of the non-profit organisation Wellbody Alliance. Ten staff at the
centre caught Ebola and п¬Ѓve have died so
Shortly afterwards, help began to arrive
in Kono, which lies in the diamond mining eastern province, and the Red Cross is
building a 30-bed treatment centre.
The buzzwords in the international
strategy for stamping out the nine monthold epidemic - which has hit Liberia and
Guinea as well as Sierra Leone - are “rapid response”: quickly mobilising flexible teams to prevent new hotspots from
“Speed really matters. Our experience in communities in all three countries, is that if we can get rapid response
teams very quickly we can stop a cluster,”
Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the US
Centers for Disease Control and Preven-
tion (CDC), told reporters this week.
CDC says this has been done this successfully in one Sierra Leone district and
now the same tactics are being used in
But help needs to arrive when case
numbers are still low. “Right now we are
seeing an intensive influx of resources and
it’s a good example of a rapid response,”
said Kelly, 33 from San Francisco. “But
we need to be proactive, not reactive next
In Liberia, the Medecins Sans Frontieres group sent a team within two days
after a case was confirmed in one isolated
village. A 12 bed treatment centre was
built within eight days. “It’s about nipping it in the bud when it’s still small,” said
an MSF spokeswoman in Liberia.
Fernando Fernandez, a member of the
European Commission’s Ebola response
team in Freetown, said this was not yet
being matched in Sierra Leone. “Kono is
the fastest response so far in the country.
Kidnapped �drug
baron’ rescued
Mozambique police have
rescued a wealthy businessman
branded a “drug baron” by
the US government who was
kidnapped in Maputo more
than a month ago, state media
said yesterday.
Momade Bachir Suleman was
freed in a dawn operation
Saturday in Macia town, some
130km north of the capital
Maputo. He iswell connected
to Mozambique’s political and
economic elite. His last known
public appearance was at a local
business association banquet in
September when he was seated
close to president-elect Filipe
Nyusi. Bashir has reportedly
made large donations to Nyusi’s
Frelimo party.
But we have to be much faster than that.
We should be aiming at what they are doing in Liberia.”
In Koidu, rumours of the previously
abominable conditions at the Ebola centre
spread fear among local people, causing
families to hide the sick and bury the dead
in secret.
Recently a two-year-old arrived dead
at the facility; her mother had kept her at
home for three days with a fever because
she was worried about conditions.
Even now, the district has just two ambulances and officials complain one of
them spends half the time in the garage.
Two of the drivers have died from Ebola.
Patients are sent to the town of Kenema
on a three hour journey via a bumpy dirt
road crossing the mountains.
There is no laboratory for testing cases
and swabs have to be sent to a town more
than 100 km (60 miles) away. On many
days, burial teams cannot cope with all
the corpses.
At a military command centre, housed
in an office for diamond workers, only
about half a dozen soldiers are present.
The surveillance desk is empty, although
its staff are due to be built up. A military
briefing note seen by Reuters said the centre needed a regular power supply.
A lack of resources meant aid workers
could not evaluate the number of cases in
Kono. “The case count did not look that
bad from Freetown. But the problem is
you can’t know the scale until you have
enough people on the ground,” said Colin
Basler, a CDC epidemiologist in Kono.
Authorities are trying to manage over
400 people who came into contact with
Ebola sufferers under quarantine.
Paul Saquee, chairman of the Kono
council of chiefs, had mixed feelings
about the help. “Was the response rapid
enough? No. But is it too late? No,” he said.
More than 7,370 people have now died
from the Ebola virus, almost all of them in
west Africa, the World Health Organization said Saturday.
igerian troops have repelled a Boko Haram
attack near the village
where 185 people were kidnapped last week, killing several insurgents, soldiers and
witnesses said Saturday.
stormed the town of Bulabulin
on Wednesday, but the military had reportedly received
advanced warning of the raid.
Bulabulin lies in the Damboa local government district
of northeastern Borno state
and is near the village of Gumsuri where 185 people, mostly
women and children, were
kidnapped last Sunday.
“Our men climbed high
electricity poles for surveillance and sighted (the insurgents) from afar,” said a senior
officer who participated in the
operation but requested anonymity.
Defence spokesman Chris
Olukolade said Friday that
troops were battling Boko
Haram п¬Ѓghters in the area, but
was unavailable to give details
on clashes in Bulabulin.
Two security sources estimated that a large number of
insurgents were killed by the
military but there was no official toll.
Resident Samuel James
confirmed that the military
overpowered the militants.
“We would have been dead
by now but the army really gave the terrorists a good
fight,” he told AFP.
Olukolade said reports of
the mass kidnapping in Gumsuri needed to be verified but
confirmed that Boko Haram
had attacked the town, killing
a number of civilians.
Locals and officials said the
hostages were carted away on
trucks towards the Sambisa
Forest, a notorious Islamist
Sambisa is also where more
than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April were reportedly taken before being split
into groups.
Details of unrest in the
northeast often take days to
emerge because the mobile
phone network in the region
has mostly collapsed and
many roads are impassable.
Separately, Boko Haram
п¬Ѓghters attacked the town
of Damagun in neighbouring Yobe state late Friday but
caused no casualties, police
and witnesses said.
Scores of gunmen riding on
motorcycles shot sporadically
in the air and set п¬Ѓre to public
The destroyed a police station, a п¬Ѓre station and local
government buildings, said a
police officer based in the area
who requested anonymity.
“Some of us ran into the
bush while others shut themselves indoors,” said resident
Grema Ahmad.
Another local, Salisu Ibrahim, said he was surprised
that the insurgents did not
target civilians.
“They made no attempt
to pursue fleeing civilians or
break into homes which they
could have done if they had
wanted to,” he told AFP.
The Boko Haram conflict
has claimed more than 13,000
lives since 2009.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is facing intense
pressure to contain the violence as he stands for re-election on February 14.
Militants attack bus in Kenya
slamist gunmen on Saturday
opened п¬Ѓre on a passenger bus
along the Kenyan coast but fled
without injuring anyone, witnesses
and officials said, nearly a month
after Shebaab militants executed 28
non-Muslim bus passengers in the
After stopping the bus by shooting its tyres, three of the attackers
climbed on board and identified
themselves as “mujahedeen” (holy
warriors), but then took off after
apparently assuming those on the
bus were all Muslims, said passenger Abarufa Kokane.
The bus, carrying around 50 passengers, was travelling from the
port city of Mombasa to Lamu,
some 100km south of the Somalian
The attack happened near the
town of Witu, 50km from Lamu island.
“We thought it is the end of the
world,” Kokane said.
“(The passengers) were mainly
Muslim women citing (the) Shahadah (the profession of the faith) and
verses of the Koran which probably
made the gunmen assume we were
all Muslims,” he added.
There was no immediate claim of
responsibility but in July Somalia’s
Al Qaeda-linked Shebaab claimed
an assault on a bus near the same
town in which seven people were
And on November 22, Shebaab п¬Ѓghters seized a bus near the
northeastern border with Somalia
and killed 28 of its non-Muslim
New protests set
in Gabon after
deadly demo
abon braced for new protests yesterday, the day
after three people were killed in a demonstration
against president Ali Bongo Ondimba, according
to the opposition.
Many more were injured in the violence on Saturday,
an opposition coalition said in a statement late Saturday.
The public prosecutor has confirmed only that a
30-year-old male student was killed in the clashes.
“In response to a peaceful demonstration... the head of
state mobilised special units of the gendarmerie and the
police and directed the weapons of the republic against
peaceful, unarmed Gabonese,” the opposition statement
“We have already recorded three deaths, many serious injuries and numerous arrests,” it said, condemning
“killings committed in cold blood and (with) live ammunition”.
At least 20 people were arrested in scuffles between
police and demonstrators, an AFP journalist saw.
The Opposition Front for Change called for a new
protest in the capital Libreville at 1pm (1200 GMT) and
for demonstrations throughout the west African country.
Security forces were out in large numbers Saturday to
prevent hundreds of demonstrators from gathering at Libreville’s Rio Intersection for a rally that had been outlawed by the interior ministry the day before.
“Ali, get out! 50 years is too long!” the crowd chanted.
President Ondimba took office after the 2009 death of
his father Omar Bongo, who had been in power since 1967.
passengers in what they said was
revenge for police raids on mosques
in Mombasa.
Lamu county deputy commissioner Fredrick Ndambuki told
AFP of Saturday’s incident: “Our
soldiers are on the ground hunting
down the attackers.”
The resort island of Lamu, a
Unesco World Heritage site, has
been hit by a string of attacks which
have left scores dead and frightened
off foreign tourists.
Shebaab rebels massacred some
100 people in a series of raids in the
Lamu region in June and July.
The unrest has fuelled divisions
on the coast, a region where radical Islam, ethnic tensions and land
disputes are an explosive cocktail.
Somalia’s Shebaab rebels have
vowed to step up attacks on Kenyan
soil in retaliation for Kenya’s mili-
tary presence in Somalia as part of
the African Union force supporting
the country’s fragile government.
Under pressure to crack down on
extremist violence, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday approved a controversial new security
bill that critics say violates basic
A former Somali warlord who
renounced his alliance with the Islamist Shebaab group this summer
was removed from a UN sanctions
list Friday.
Mohamed Said Atom, a powerful
arms dealer, had been targeted with
UN travel and п¬Ѓnancial sanctions
for “kidnapping, piracy and terrorism”.
In June, Atom announced he had
laid down his arms and would in
future only work through “peaceful
means and understanding”.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Gunman kills two New York
police officers in Brooklyn
New York
n African American gunman
with an apparent grudge killed
two New York police officers in
a cold-blooded attack after weeks of
outrage over police killings of unarmed
black men.
President Barack Obama “unconditionally” condemned the murders,
saying in a statement: “Tonight, I ask
people to reject violence and words that
harm, and turn to words that heal.”
The two uniformed officers, one
a newlywed, were shot in the head
through the window of their patrol car
in broad daylight in Brooklyn on Saturday in an attack that left America’s
biggest city reeling just days before
“Today, two of New York’s finest
were shot and killed with no warning,
no provocation,” said an emotional New
York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“They were quite simply assassinated.”
Police named the shooter as 28-yearold Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend in
Baltimore early Saturday before driving
to Brooklyn to murder the two officers.
Wenjian Liu, a seven-year police veteran who got married two months ago,
and Rafael Ramos, who leaves behind a
13-year-old son, were “ambushed and
murdered” as they sat in the front seats
of a marked NYP police car, officials
Neither officer had a chance to draw
his weapon before Brinsley opened п¬Ѓre
with several rounds and fled to a nearby
subway station.
He shot himself in the head on the
platform, where Bratton said a silver
semi-automatic п¬Ѓrearm was recovered
near his body.
Police officers outside Woodhull Hospital as the bodies of the dead officers are taken away Right: An ambulance carrying one of the two New York Police officers passes
by a New York Fire Department honour guard along Broadway.
Cities across the United States have
seen weeks of protests condemning a
string of recent police killings of unarmed black men and decisions by
grand juries not to press charges against
the white officers responsible.
Bratton said social media postings showed that Brinsley “had a very
strong bias against police officers”.
Just hours before the shooting, Brinsley apparently boasted on Instagram
of wanting to kill cops.
Attorney General Eric Holder said
the attack is a reminder of the dangers
US police face regularly.
“As a nation we must not forget this
as we discuss the events of the recent
past,” he said in a statement that appeared to refer to the country’s ongoing
police controversy.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said
the city of 8.4mn was in mourning.
“When a police officer is murdered,
it tears at the foundation of our soci-
ety. It is an attack on all of us,” he said.
“Our entire city was attacked by this
heinous individual.”
The police chief said the motive was
still under investigation, but did not
rule out a connection to anti-police
protests that have swept the country.
“One of the unfortunate aspects at
times is some people get caught up in
these and go in directions they should
not,” he said.
In a cruel twist of fate, Bratton said
Baltimore police warned New York
colleagues that Brinsley may be on the
loose just as the murder took place.
In October, a man with a hatchet attacked four young New York officers in
what police said was an act of terror by
a self-radicalised Muslim convert.
“They Take 1 of Ours... Let’s Take 2
of Theirs,” read a comment seemingly
written by Brinsley next to a photo of a
silver handgun, referencing the police
killings of unarmed blacks.
Obama says Sony hack
was not �an act of war’
orth Korea’s alleged hack of
Sony Pictures was not an act of
war, President Barack Obama
said in an interview aired yesterday
that appeared aimed at keeping a lid on
simmering tensions with Pyongyang.
With the communist nation threatening reprisals if sanctioned over the
cyber-attack, for which it denies involvement, and as the US administration works to calibrate its response,
Obama said Washington will review
whether or not to place North Korea
back onto its list of state sponsors of
North Korea was removed from the
US list in 2008 as part of negotiations
over the nation’s nuclear programme.
Obama, in the pre-taped interview
on CNN’s State of the Union, emphasised that any change in that status
could only happen after a careful evaluation of the facts.
And he emphasised that the saw the
hacking as “cyber vandalism”, not war.
“No, I don’t think it was an act
of war. I think it was an act of cyber
vandalism that was very costly, very
expensive. We take it very seriously,”
Obama told CNN.
However Obama faced calls from
Republican critics yesterday to target
North Korea with stiff sanctions.
“It’s more than vandalism, it’s a new
form of warfare that we’re involved
in and we need to react and react vigorously, including reimposing sanctions,” said US senator John McCain,
the incoming chairman of the Senate
Armed Services Committee.
Washington accuses Pyongyang of
being behind the hack at Sony that led
to the release of embarrassing emails
and caused executives to halt the debut
of the madcap comedy action п¬Ѓlm The
The п¬Ѓlm about a п¬Ѓctional CIA plot
to kill the country’s leader infuriated
North Korea, although Pyongyang has
repeatedly denied it was behind the
cyber-assault on Sony.
North Korea on Saturday called for a
joint probe into the investigation with
the United States into the hacking—an
offer swiftly rebuffed by security officials in Washington.
The president has not made clear
how he plans to respond to the attack,
but asked if North Korea could be put
back on the terror blacklist, which cur-
rently comprises Cuba, Iran, Sudan
and Syria, Obama replied: “We’re going to review those through a process
that’s already in place.
“We’ve got very clear criteria as to
what it means for a state to sponsor
terrorism. And we don’t make those
judgments just based on the news of
the day.
“We look systematically at what’s
been done and based on those facts,
we’ll make those determinations in the
future,” added Obama, who on Friday
said Washington was planning a “proportionate” response.
North Korea threatened yesterday to
hit back at the White House and other
US targets if it was sanctioned over the
alleged hacking.
The North’s National Defense Commission, in a statement on the official
news agency, said its army and people
“are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the US in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up
those citadels”.
“Our toughest counteraction will be
boldly taken against the White House,
the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far
surpassing the �symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” it said.
Keystone benefits nominal: president
S President Barack Obama
has said that construction of
the Keystone XL pipeline to
transport crude oil from Canada to
the US Gulf Coast would only nominally benefit American consumers
and workers in perhaps his strongest comments on the Canada-to-US
pipeline to date.
“There is very little impact - nominal impact - on US gas prices, what
the average American consumer cares
about,” Obama told reporters during an
end-of-year press conference.
Obama picked apart some of the
most common arguments of its proponents: that it would create jobs, lower
domestic gasoline prices and bolster
the US economy.
“There has been this tendency to
really hype this thing as some magic
formula to what ails the US economy,”
Obama said.
His comments come as Republican
leader Mitch McConnell has said his
party’s first act in the new Republicancontrolled Senate would be to pass a
bill fast-tracking approval of the $8bn
project, which would transport more
than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from
Alberta to Nebraska en route to the
Gulf of Mexico.
Obama had been widely expected to
veto a failed November attempt in the
Senate to approve the pipeline.
Construction workers, unions and
energy companies vocally support the
pipeline. Environmentalists say developing Canada’s oil sands would spike
carbon emissions and that much of the
oil or refined products would be sold
But Obama said there are better
ways to spur job growth.
“When you consider what we could
be doing rebuilding our roads and
bridges around the country, something
the Congress could authorise, we could
probably create hundreds of thousands
of jobs - or even a million jobs,” he said.
While Obama did not outright reject
Keystone, his comments marked the
third time in four weeks that the president has publicly questioned whether
it is in the national interest.
“It’s good for the Canadian oil industry, but its not going to be a huge
benefit to us consumers,” he said.
Pipeline advocates said Obama does
not acknowledge the role Canadian oil
plays in the United States.
“The president doesn’t seem to understand that oil from Canada is helping provide relief at the pump - right
now,” said Matt Dempsey with propipeline group Oil Sands Fact Check.
Canadian foreign minister John Baird
said Ottawa would continue to work
with Washington to press for approval.
“We’re going to continue as a government to promote our interest,” he said.
In July, Eric Garner, an unarmed father of six, died after police held him
in a chokehold while he was being arrested for selling individual cigarettes
illegally in New York.
Michael Brown, an 18-year-old in
the Ferguson suburb of St Louis, Missouri, was shot dead by a police officer
in August, sparking months of protests.
Grand jury decisions not to indict either white officer responsible triggered
mass protests in New York and other US
The Brown family swiftly condemned
the latest killings as “senseless”.
“We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must
work together to bring peace to our
communities,” they said in a statement.
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton,
who has used the deaths of Garner and
Brown to campaign for sweeping police
reform, also said he was outraged.
Sharpton said he spoke to the Garner family who also condemned the
violence and were “outraged” by the
shooting. But the head of a New York
police association blamed city officials
for not going far enough to stop those
who incited violence during protests
against police.
“That blood on their hands starts on
the steps of city hall in the office of the
mayor,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch said about
Saturday’s shootings.
Widespread dissatisfaction in relations between police and blacks have
been inflamed not just by the Brown
and Garner deaths.
Last month, a rookie police officer
fatally shot Akai Gurley, an unarmed
28-year-old black man, in the stairwell
of a Brooklyn apartment building.
A 12-year-old black boy holding a toy
gun was also shot dead by police officers
in a playground in Ohio in November.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered flags flown at half staff around
the city, hours after the city’s main police union harshly criticised the city’s
п¬Ѓrst Democratic mayor in two decades
for being insufficiently supportive of
the department during recent waves of
anti-police violence.
Baltimore police said they learned
of the suspect’s posts on Saturday afternoon and called NYPD officials to
alert them that digital data showed he
had travelled to the city’s borough of
Brooklyn. But the call came in less than
an hour before officials said Brinsley,
who was black, shot and killed two officers as they sat in their patrol car near
a major housing project.
“Although we’re still learning the
details, it’s clear that this was an assassination, that these officers were shot
execution style,” said de Blasio, who
campaigned on a promise to improve
relations between the nation’s largest
police force and minority communities.
The two New York City Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos, 40,
and Wenjian Liu, 32, had no time to
react when Brinsley appeared next to
their vehicle, took a shooter’s stance
and shot both officers with a silver
semi-automatic handgun, said NYPD
Police Commissioner William Bratton.
Brinsley fled to a nearby subway station where he shot himself in the head
and died, Bratton added.
The killings also revealed bitter anger
among some police toward New York
city mayor Bill de Blasio, who they see
as not being supportive in the face of
public anger.
Several officers turned their backs on
de Blasio when he arrived at the Brooklyn hospital where the two officers
were taken after they were shot, video
It was unclear why the gunman chose
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
�Montagnards’ leave jungle
hideout to apply for asylum
end search
for victims
of landslide
Phnom Penh
ndonesian rescuers yesterday ended their search for
victims of a landslide on the
main island of Java, officials said,
giving a new death toll of 95.
“The search for victims buried
under the landslide... ended on
Sunday,” said national disaster
agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
“The team found the bodies of
a mother and her child today. A
total of 95 people were killed and
13 others were missing,” he added.
Hundreds of rescuers had been
digging with shovels through mud
and rubble since the landslide
swept down a hillside and buried
scores of houses in Jemblung village in central Java on December
Nugroho said families of victims agreed to halt the search due
to rainy weather and the threat of
more landslides.
Around 2,000 people were
evacuated to temporary shelters,
and the focus would be on relocating them, he added.
hirteen hill tribespeople known as “Montagnards” have left their
jungle hideout in Cambodia
and will apply for asylum after
crossing from Vietnam to flee
persecution, it was announced
The minority group had for
more than seven weeks sought
refuge in the jungle in Cambodia’s northeastern province of
Rattanakiri, fearing arrest and
deportation by authorities.
But after contact with rights
groups and the UN, eight Montagnards including a woman
emerged from their hideout
early Saturday to meet a UN
The remaining п¬Ѓve men from
the group were later found in
the forest by local officials who
handed them over to the UN
team, activists said. All 13 were
being transported to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh by
the UN Sunday.
“The group will be registered
by the government’s refugee
department after they arrive in
Phnom Penh,” said Vivian Tan,
a spokeswoman for UNHCR in
Bangkok, explaining the Montagnards will formally apply for
refugee status in the capital.
“Montagnards” is a French
term referring to the patchwork
of mainly Christian ethnic minority groups who live in Vietnam’s mountainous Central
Highlands region.
Many Montagnard groups
practise forms of evangelical Protestantism, which puts
them at odds with Vietnam’s
6.6-quake hits
eastern Indonesia
This handout photo shows a group of eight hill tribespeople known as �Montagnards’ (front) meeting with a United Nations team after emerging from their hideout.
communist rulers who tightly
control religion.
“All 13 Vietnamese Montagnards are now safe from deportation” by local Cambodian
authorities, Chhay Thi, of local
rights group Adhoc, said.
Many of the group are suffering from illnesses including
dengue fever and malaria after
spending weeks camped in the
malaria-ridden jungle, he added. The UN previously said local Cambodian authorities had
denied them access to help the
Montagnards, who are from the
Jarai ethnic minority group.
On Saturday Cambodia’s in-
terior ministry spokesman Khieu
Sopheak accused the UN body of
violating the kingdom’s sovereignty by assisting the asylumseekers, asserting it was Phnom
Penh’s decision to determine
whether the group are considered
as refugees.
In 2001 Vietnamese troops
crushed protests in the Central
Highlands, prompting an exodus
of Montagnards, and Hanoi routinely asks Cambodia to return
those who flee.
In May 2011 thousands of
Hmong people — one of the
Montagnard groups — gathered
in Vietnam’s remote northwest
apparently awaiting the arrival of
a “messiah”.
The gathering was broken up
by authorities in circumstances
which remain unclear. Dozens of
people have been jailed over the
incident, which Vietnam has cast
as a separatist plot to overthrow
its communist government.
A magnitude-6.6 earthquake hit off
the coast of eastern Indonesia yesterday, the US Geological Survey
said on its website.
The tremor’s epicentre was 157
kilometres west of Tobelo, which
lies on the eastern island of
Halmahera, USGS said, adding that
the earthquake’s depth was 54.6
kilometres. The Pacific Tsunami
Warning Centre said no tsunami
warning had been issued..
10 years on, tsunami warning
stumbles at the �last mile’
Be a part of the new
zing at
n April 2012, Indonesia’s Banda
Aceh, the city worst hit by the tsunami that killed at least 226,000
people on Boxing Day ten years ago,
received a terrifying reminder of how
unprepared it was for the next disaster.
As an 8.6-magnitude quake struck
at sea, thousands of residents shunned
purpose-built shelters and fled by car
and motorcycle, clogging streets with
traffic. A network of powerful warning
sirens stayed silent.
No wave came. But if it had, the
damage would have been “worse than
2004, if it was the same magnitude
of tsunami”, said Harkunti Rahayu,
from Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of
As the 10th anniversary of the disaster approaches, experts and officials
say weaknesses remain across the region in a system designed to warn people and get them to safety.
For millions in coastal areas, warnings don’t always get through, thanks
to bureaucratic confusion and geography. In the most vulnerable areas,
infrastructure is wanting, and many
lack the basic knowledge to keep themselves safe from the deadly waves.
Since the disaster, a sophisticated
early warning system has sprouted
from next to nothing, costing over
$400mn across 28 countries.
With 101 sea-level gauges, 148 seismometres and nine buoys, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System
can send alerts to countries’ tsunami
warning centres within 10 minutes of
a quake, Tony Elliott, the head of the
Unesco secretariat that oversees the
system, told Reuters.
But there has also been mismanagement and waste.
In Indonesia, a German-funded
detection initiative built an expensive
network of buoys -- and then scrapped
them -- after reports of cost overruns
and signs they were ineffective.
All but one of nine Indonesian-operated buoys had been lost or damaged
by п¬Ѓshermen, said Velly Asvaliantina,
an official at Indonesia’s Agency for the
Assessment and Application of Technology.
The remaining buoy is not operational, she said.
Elliott said technological advances
mean the lack of buoys is not a significant impediment in tsunami detection.
A far bigger concern is getting warnings to at-risk coastal communities,
and making sure people get to safety
A January 3, 2005 file photo shows tsunami refugees receiving supplies distributed
by the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in Krueng Raya, northeast of
Banda Aceh.
in time. In some of the countries worst
affected in 2004 — Thailand, Indonesia and India — much progress has
been made, officials said. But concerns
remain about this п¬Ѓnal, crucial stage.
The 2012 failure in Aceh prompted a
reassessment in Thailand, where 5,395
people died in 2004, said Somsak Khaosuwan, head of Thailand’s National
Disaster Warning Centre.
“We put our systems to the test each
day. Our warning system is one of the
best in the world, but I must admit we
lack maintenance,” he said.
Samit Thammasarot, a former head
of the agency who was ousted from his
position following a 2006 coup against
then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was more damning.
“If a tsunami happened today, would
we be prepared? No, we would not,”
Samit told Reuters.
“On an official level there has been,
in the past, corruption and cut-price
equipment bought that does not meet
international standards.”
In India, the new system struggles to
communicate alerts by fax, text message and email to remote locations,
said Ajay Kumar, an official at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services.
“Some of the people, officials, are
not getting the alert,” he said.
“Secondly, one thing that has come
out from the drills is that the last mile
connectivity is still missing. If (a) tsunami is coming, even now people don’t
know what is to be done, where to
In Indonesia, where at least 168,000
people died in Aceh province in 2004,
the warning and evacuation system is
beset by bureaucratic infighting.
“Of course I’m worried. I’m hoping
there is no tsunami again,” said Mochamed Riyadi the head of the Earthquake and Tsunami Centre at Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics
Agency (BMKG).
Aceh provincial authorities have resisted calls to conduct monthly sound
checks of the six sirens in operation,
despite their failure in 2012, Riyadi
The BMKG has also tried for the
past seven years to hand control of the
warning system to the local government, but has been rebuffed, he said.
Local authorities dispute this account. The head of Aceh’s disaster
agency, Said Rasul, said the BMKG
should be doing the tests.
“If the BMKG wants to hand over
management of the tsunami sirens,
then they have to give us the human resources,” he said.
Building standards in Indonesia, including Aceh, are also still dangerously
below par, said Jonatan Lassa, a research fellow at Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
The 2012 alarm showed people did
not trust the warning system, he added.
“People were saved by chance, by
the tsunami not happening, and not by
the warning system,” he said.
Some communities have also been
rebuilt in particularly vulnerable
coastal areas.
“Should there be a tsunami, I think
the impact will be the same (as 2004),”
Lassa said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Aussie mum charged with
murder of eight children
he mother of seven of
eight children killed in
Australia was charged
with their murder yesterday,
police said, describing it as the
most tragic episode in their career as a makeshift memorial
saw an outpouring of grief.
The 37-year-old, named in
local media as Mersane Warria,
was charged with eight counts
of murder after the bodies of the
children — four girls and four
boys aged between two to 14 —
were found in the northern city
of Cairns on Friday morning.
The murders have stunned
Australia, still reeling from a
dramatic siege in a central Sydney cafe this week, which left
two hostages and a gunman
dead, and prompted widespread
shock and anger.
“I would suspect it might be
the most tragic event we have
had to deal with,” Cairns detective inspector Bruno Asnicar
told reporters.
“All of the family has been
advised (of the charges). This is
very raw and it is a very emotive
time for everybody. The family
is deeply upset but the community is pulling together.”
The woman remained under
guard in a Cairns hospital after
being arrested on Saturday and
appeared before a magistrate at
a bedside hearing, Queensland
police said in a statement.
Police said the woman, who is
the mother of the seven younger
children and the aunt of the
14-year-old girl, has sustained
injuries that are not life-threatening.
There will be a formal hearing
in a Cairns court on Monday,
ustralian Prime Minister
Tony Abbott, battling a
slide in public support,
reshuffled his cabinet yesterday, promoting the overseer of a
tough immigration programme
and throwing out his gaffeprone defence minister.
Abbott said the shake-up was
for jobs and families and stressed
a focus on п¬Ѓnancial issues as he
deals with the fallout of an unpopular belt-tightening budget.
“It is a sign that this government wants the economy to be
front and centre in the coming
year,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Abbott is nearing the end of
his п¬Ѓrst full year in office hobbled by missteps and a souring
economy that have dragged his
approval ratings to historic lows.
Women light candles during a memorial service for eight children murdered by their mother in Cairns, a suburb of Manoora, Australia yesterday.
with police set to oppose bail.
Officers have not revealed the
cause of death of the children
but said they were looking into
various scenarios, including
“We are considering that
(suffocation) and that’s why
it’s taking a bit of time,” Asnicar said earlier Sunday.
Police previously said that
knives were found at the house
where the bodies were discovered.
Autopsies on the children
were continuing and would be
completed later at the earliest,
police said.
In moving scenes at the
makeshift memorial established in a park near the crime
scene, a man believed to be the
father of the three youngest
children wailed “my babies,
my babies”, Fairfax Media reported.
He was joined at the shrine
of flowers and teddy bears by
other mourning relatives from
the victims’ Torres Strait Islander community.
“The last time I saw her she
kissed me. She said she loved
me and she asked for Aus$100
which I said I’d give to her
on Saturday morning on her
birthday,” the father of the
oldest victim told Fairfax.
“My daughter, she was
beautiful.” Queensland Police
have not officially confirmed
the identity of the mother or
the family for cultural reasons.
In some indigenous cultures it
is considered disrespectful to
say a deceased person’s name.
Church services and community gatherings were also
held in Cairns to remember the
The dead children were reportedly discovered by the
mother’s 20-year-old son
when he arrived at the house in
the Cairns suburb of Manoora
on Friday morning.
The deaths came as a shock
Movie park opens
An illuminated night view of the Wanda Movie Park designed by British architect Mark Fisher in Wuhan, Hubei province,
central China. The building, hosting the self-claimed world’s largest indoor theme park, is one of Wanda Group’s latest
moves to build an entertainment empire.
Seoul halts US
poultry imports
due to bird flu
South Korea has suspended
imports of US poultry and poultry
products because of an outbreak
of bird flu in the US, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement
yesterday. The suspension, from
Saturday, comes as South Korea
is struggling to contain its own
outbreak of bird flu in birds.
“This import suspension is a
quarantine measure to prevent
the HPAI virus from entering the
country,” the ministry statement
said, referring to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus.
The ministry said 18 countries including South Korea had been hit
by the HPAI virus this year. South
Korea has had no human cases.
Avian flu is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most bird flu viruses
do not infect humans, but some
have caused serious infections
in humans. Two strains of avian
influenza -- H5N2 and H5N8 -have been confirmed in wild birds
in Washington state, near the US
border with Canada, but there was
no immediate cause for public
health concerns, US agriculture
officials said on Wednesday.
Abbott reshuffles
cabinet to focus
on jobs, families
Taiwan’s ruling party bullish on
China ties despite poll setback
he sole leadership candidate for
Taiwan’s ruling party said yesterday he would keep pushing for
stronger ties with China even though its
Beijing-friendly policy was blamed for
its worst-ever local election setback.
“The development of cross-strait ties
will continue,” Eric Chu, incumbent
mayor of New Taipei City, told reporters
after registering with the Kuomintang
(KMT) party for chairmanship elections
slated for January 17.
Chu said meetings and forums with
the Chinese Communist Party would
not be suspended, though he was tightlipped when asked if he would like to
meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The remarks come after KMT’s humiliating defeat in local elections last
month, which analysts said was a test
of the government’s detente with China
since President Ma Ying-jeou took office
in 2008.
Chu, 53, will run uncontested in party
elections to succeed Ma, who stepped
down as KMT’s chief earlier this month
to shoulder responsibility for the election setback.
The KMT lost five of Taiwan’s six large
municipalities — the most hotly contested seats —in the elections, seen as a key
barometer before the 2016 presidential
race. New Taipei, a newly created municipality which surrounds the island’s
capital, was the only one it retained.
Analysts say the odds of the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party
(DPP) seizing power in 2016 have increased following their landslide victory
in the local polls.
Chu, despite being a rising political
star in the KMT, edged out his DPP rival by only by a narrow margin in New
Taipei. Tense relations with China have
warmed since Ma was elected in 2008 on
a platform of improving cross-strait ties
and reviving the slowing economy.
But public sentiment has turned
against the Beijing-friendly approach as
voters say trade deals have been agreed
in secret and not benefited ordinary
Taiwanese people.
to police, who said the house
was not known as a “problem
“I’m not trying to pretend
that this area hasn’t been a
problem in the past,” Asnicar
“But what I’m saying is that
to my team we haven’t had any
particular issues here and it’s
not a consideration of my investigation plan at all.”
Cairns is a northern tropical city with a population of
more than 150,000 people and
is popular with international
tourists as a gateway to the
Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s biggest tourist sites.
Faced with a collapse in commodity prices and an unruly upper house Senate, that has held
Abbott’s first budget hostage
since May, voters have abandoned his conservative government more quickly than any
other in three decades.
The elevation of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison
to social services minister underscored the shift in priorities
away from the secretive programme of “turning back the
boats” of thousands of asylum
seekers that helped it win power
a year ago.
That policy has been criticised
by the UN, but Abbott lauded
Morrison as “the master of difficult policy and administration”
for almost entirely stemming the
flow of boats over the past year.
“He is a very tough and competent political operator,” Abbott said of Morrison. “He’s also
a very decent human being.”
Last kids leave detention
centre for asylum seekers
he last remaining children held at an offshore
asylum-seeker detention
centre have been transferred to
the Australian mainland, the
government said yesterday, as
part of a deal to gain lawmakers’
support for a tougher immigration law.
“A total of 194 people in family
groups, including 94 children,
were transferred (to Darwin) on
three separate charter flights
from Christmas Island over the
last week,” outgoing Immigration Minister Scott Morrison
said in a statement.
“It has always been the government’s policy to place as
many children into the community as possible, especially
young children.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Jailed armed forces vets to get more support: govt
rom January every prisoner
coming into custody in England and Wales will be asked
whether they have served in the
armed forces as part of an effort
to improve the way veterans are
treated in the justice system.
The move follows a review by
Tory MP and QC Stephen Phillips,
who found that knowledge about
the needs of former service personnel in the justice system was
of social
“patchy” and appropriate training
was “a matter of luck”.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said veterans would now be
identified at an early stage and offered a “tailored approach” to turn
them away from crime.
The review found that veterans
are less likely than their civilian
counterparts to commit criminal
offences but “a small minority
have difficulties and find themselves in trouble with the law”.
“Their offending behaviour
is unlikely to have been directly
caused by their service in the
armed forces, but is sometimes
contributed to by their experiences and, on occasion, made possible by their training,” the report
Phillips warned: “ A lack of
national guidance to statutory
agencies has previously hindered
effective working with offenders who have served in the armed
forces and led to piecemeal provision across England and Wales.”
He said a senior civil servant
should be given responsibility for
co-ordinating policy, with the
secretary of state reporting annu-
ally to Parliament on progress in
dealing with veterans.
Setting out why it was necessary to ask prisoners whether they
had served in the forces, Phillips
said: “Presently, far too many
former service personnel who
offend are simply not identified
by criminal justice professionals, either because the question is
not asked, or because when it is,
they are reluctant to self-identify,
either due to feelings of having
let themselves and the services
down, or because of a fear of the
consequences of identification.
Shop till they drop you home
Selfridges has launched its latest Christmas service, offering present-laden personal shopping
customers the chance to be dropped home in a chauffeur-driven yellow Mini. The Oxford Street
retailer has long offered a free personal shopping service in the run-up to Christmas. But now
for the first time it is also offering customers who spend over ВЈ350 a lift home in one of five
new Mini Coopers. Customers start at the festive personal shopping “Lodge” on the first floor,
consulting one of 16 buyers — or “Elfridges” — over present ideas. They can then either walk
around the store with their helper picking out items as they go, or leave a list of items and come
back later to collect their gifts.
Hi-tech thieves
target luxury cars
London Evening Standard
surge in the number of
“keyless” luxury car thefts
in London’s most exclusive areas is being investigated
by detectives. Gangs are stealing
hundreds of cars including Range
Rovers, BMWs and Audis using
handheld hi-tech devices that
bypass security systems.
In one Chelsea street alone
four vehicles, including three
Range Rovers, have been stolen
in recent weeks. The latest victim on Ormonde Gate, near the
Royal Hospital Chelsea, is property developer Laura van Bilderbeek, 38.
Her top-of-the-range BMW
estate was stolen from outside her
new home yestesrday. She said:
“I am really upset, the BMW was
used to ferry the family around
and it is a real blow. The manufacturers should make it more difficult to steal their vehicles. As it
is they can steal them in seconds.
“My new flat was also broken
into the week before - it has been
a stressful start to my life there.”
The theft of an ВЈ85,000 Land
Rover Sport from Ormonde Gate
was caught on CCTV.
The CCTV from Ormonde Gate
shows the thief breaking into a
new grey Land Rover Sport at
10.45pm on December 2. The man
walks slowly up to the vehicle
with his hands in his pockets and
clicks the remote control lock,
causing the frontlights and indicators to flash as the doors open.
He steps inside and takes just
over 50 seconds to bypass the
ignition security before driving
away at around 5mph.
A spokesman for Jaguar Land
Rover, which makes Range Rovers, said the company was introducing a new security measure to
tackle the problem.
Another car stolen from the
street activated its internal tracking system and was traced to a
scrapyard in Kingston. One of the
victims received a replacement
car through their insurers — only
to have it stolen a week later.
It is believed thieves are targeting vehicles with “keyless” ignition systems, bypassing security
with a hand-held device that can
be bought on eBay for as little as
They dismantle the cars to remove their electronic tracking
devices and ship them to eastern
Figures from the Met show car
thefts in Kensington & Chelsea
are rising more quickly than in
any other borough.
Figures from Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ research centre, show that between
January and July this year almost
300 Range Rover Evoques and
Range Rover Sports were stolen in
London, along with 63 BMW X5s
and Series 3 models.
A spokesman said all top-ofthe-range cars were vulnerable to
keyless thefts, it simply depended
which make was on the thieves’
latest “shopping list”. Last month
it was claimed that high-end
insurers were refusing to cover
new Range Rovers because of the
numbers being stolen.
Police also warned car owners
to use old-fashioned steeringwheel locks to protect hi-tech
by their loved ones in the armed
forces,” he said. “For some, that
price clearly continues once service has come to an end.”
Grayling announced a package of measures in response to the
report and said: “Most ex-service
personnel have successful civilian
lives and do not enter the criminal
justice system - but I am determined to help the minority who
have committed an offence turn
their lives around.
“Society owes a huge debt
of gratitude to those who have
served their country, which is why
our commitment to support them
and their families is enshrined in
the Armed Forces Covenant.
“We will identify veterans at
the earliest opportunity, so that
we can take a more tailored approach to help them turn away
from crime.”
The National Offender Management Service will publish updated guidance for staff working
with former service personnel in
custody and the community in the
summer of 2015 as part of the reform programme, the ministry of
justice said.
May �mulling
plan to send
back foreign
kip members have been
urged to steer clear of using
social media following a series of scandals over inappropriate
Party chairman Steve Crowther
said his approach to social media
was “just don’t” as Ukip updated
its rules aimed at controlling the
use of its logo on the Internet.
Ukip members and supporters have been involved in several
rows over their online activity, but
Nigel Farage’s party has also been
the target of spoof accounts using
its logo.
In April council candidate William Henwood resigned from the
party after making offensive comments on Twitter about Lenny
Henry, suggesting the comedian
should emigrate to a “black country”.
As well as the furore around
Henwood, would-be councillor
Andre Lampitt was suspended
hours after featuring in an election
broadcast for expressing “repellent” racist views on social media.
A copy of the party’s new constitution, seen by the Observer,
lays out “rules for online communication”, stating that “party
members shall refrain from using the Ukip logo in terms of
their online postings, including
avatars, unless they have express
written consent to do so from the
party leader, the party chairman,
the party secretary, the general
secretary, the party director, the
regional chairman or regional organiser for their region”.
The Observer’s report came as
the party was mocked on Twitter
after a blunder left a newspaper
advert from the party’s Rotherham branch appearing to advocate
the break-up of the UK. The party
logo carried the message “say no to
the UK” instead of the Eurosceptic
party’s usual target, the EU.
“Almost every professional to
whom I spoke pointed out that
training police officers, prison officers and others just to �ask the
question’ (and to insist in future
that it is asked at every stage), is
likely to have a discernible effect
on reoffending rates.”
Phillips suggested that the government should also make a statement to Parliament responding to
a forthcoming study by the King’s
Centre for Military Health Research on veterans and domestic
“Families pay a price for service
ome Secretary Theresa
May is reportedly contemplating sending foreign students back to their home
countries after their courses end.
This would mean that students
from non-European Union countries would have to return to their
home countries in order to apply
for a work visa if they wished to
continue to live in the UK after
they graduated.
The Sunday Times reported
that the home secretary wants a
future Conservative government
to “move towards zero net student migration” by sending home
those who come to Britain on student visas.
A source close to May told the
newspaper: “Making sure immigrants leave Britain at the end of
their visa is as important a part of
running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who
comes here in the п¬Ѓrst place.
“May is pressing for the next
Conservative manifesto to contain a policy that will make sure
that anybody coming here on a
student visa will have to leave
the country in order to apply for a
new visa of any kind.
“She wants to make the colleges and universities that sponsor
foreign students responsible for
ensuring their departure. And she
wants to be able to п¬Ѓne colleges
and universities with low departure rates and deprive the worst
Elvis exhibition
of them of their right to sponsor
foreign students.”
Under current rules most students switch easily to a work visa
from within the UK rather than
have to leave the country and then
come back.
May has repeatedly clashed
with Liberal Democrat Business
Secretary Vince Cable - whose
department has responsibility for
universities - about foreign students.
“May wants to make the
colleges and universities
that sponsor foreign
students responsible for
ensuring their departure”
Cable has warned about tough
rhetoric on immigration putting
off students from countries including India from attending UK
institutions and the Liberal Democrats would be highly unlikely to
support any further tightening of
the rules.
A senior LibDem source said
her plan made “zero economic
sense” and could deprive the UK
of highly-skilled graduates.
“Such a blunt instrument
would not get our support,” the
source said. “The idea that you
have people from abroad studying
in this country and they become
engineers or scientists of huge
practical value to the economy
and rather than have them stay
here you immediately turf them
out makes zero economic sense.”
May’s plan emerged after David
Cameron insisted that only the
Child abuse panel
faces axe threat
US actress Priscilla Presley poses with Elvis Presley’s
Lincoln Continental car during a photocall for the �Elvis at
the O2’ exhibition in London.
Tories can offer “competence” on
dealing with immigration.
Writing in the Daily Express the
prime minister said his government had addressed some of the
problems inherited from a Labour
administration that “let immigration get out of control”.
He said: “I came into office with
a single-minded determination
to turn all this around - and real
progress has been made. We put a
cap on those coming here to work
from outside the European Union
- and we have seen the numbers
fall significantly, close to levels
last seen in the 1990s. Major work
has been done to clamp down on
the bogus �colleges’ that were really just a front for people to come
here, with more than 800 of them
shut down so far.
“On illegal immigration, we are
making it harder for people who
have no right to be here to live in
the UK, by revoking their driving licences, stopping them from
opening bank accounts and making sure landlords check their legal status.
“Crucially, once they have been
identified, we have made it much
easier to deport them.”
The prime minister expressed
confidence in his ability to push
through changes in European
welfare rules as part of his plan
to cut the number of EU migrants
coming to the UK.
“Overall our objective is clear:
we will secure changes to welfare
that will cut EU migration. That
will be an absolute requirement
for me in that renegotiation.”
he troubled child abuse
inquiry panel could be disbanded in order for a new,
more powerful, body to take over,
Theresa May has indicated.
The home secretary has written
to the panel’s members setting out
her plan for the inquiry to be given
statutory powers, including the
ability to compel witnesses to give
But the move has left members
of the panel “devastated” that they
could face being removed from
the inquiry. May told MPs last
week that she wanted the inquiry
- which is without a chairman
following the resignation of two
previous appointees - to be given
extra powers.
That could mean waiting for a
chairman to be appointed for the
inquiry panel, who would then
request statutory powers, or setting up a new inquiry panel under
statutory terms.
The third option of a Royal
Commission - as some want would not have the powers of a
statutory inquiry under the 2005
Inquiries Act and would be �’le-
gally more risky’’.
Previous appointments as inquiry chairwomen - Fiona Woolf
and Baroness Butler-Sloss - resigned following claims about
their perceived closeness to establishment п¬Ѓgures.
In her letter to the panel members, reported by the investigative
website Exaro News, May said: “I
am currently considering these
options and I appreciate this has
implications for members of the
In a reply to May obtained by
Exaro, panel member Sharon
Evans of the child safety group Dot
Com Children’s Foundation said:
“I, like other members of the panel, feel devastated at the prospect
of the independent inquiry being
halted as it has been made clear to
us �off the record’ that the panel
will be stood down in the New
A Home Office spokesman said:
“The home secretary is determined that appalling cases of child
sexual abuse should be exposed so
that perpetrators face justice and
the vulnerable are protected. She
is absolutely committed to ensuring the Independent Panel Inquiry
into Child Sexual Abuse has the
confidence of survivors.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Families of the Disappeared suffer as Belfast drags feet on past
Glenavy, Northern Ireland
s Brendan Megraw’s coffin was lowered into his
family grave 36 years after he was kidnapped and shot
by the IRA, the mourners at the
cemetery felt relief but also anger at Northern Ireland’s reluctance to investigate its past.
Among those gathered at the
graveside were relatives of a doz-
en other people “disappeared”
by the Irish Republican Army in
the 1970s and 80s. Six bodies remain missing and, like most of the
3,600 victims of the “Troubles”,
none of the crimes have been
“The past has been left behind and the politicians are quite
happy to let it go ... it’s hard to
take,” said Oliver McVeigh, still
searching for the remains of his
brother Columba kidnapped by
the IRA in 1975.
Parents in
plea to save
baby’s life
London Evening Standard
battling to recover from
cancer therapy have been told
doctors will consider withdrawing treatment if she does
not improve by Christmas
Olivia Stanca, described by
her parents as a “little fighter”,
was born with a tumour on her
adrenal gland which spread to
her liver. She beat the disease
after two rounds of chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street
But the therapy left her underweight and vulnerable to infection. She has suffered several
blood infections and organ failures, and medics have warned
that after months of intensive
care, if she does not begin to put
on weight in the next few days
they will be left with “no other
possible treatments”.
A letter sent to Olivia’s parents Maria and George on November 26 said her existing
treatment would cease if there
were no improvement in 30
Maria Stanca, 33, said: “It
should be her п¬Ѓrst Christmas,
a time of celebration and for
our family to be together, but
it could be the day she is left to
The couple from Walthamstow have launched an appeal to
raise ВЈ550,000 to move Olivia to
a private clinic and spend three
more months in intensive care,
which they believe will give her
a “fair chance” to recover. It
raised more than ВЈ10,000 hours
after going live.
Maria, a civil engineering student, said: “Olivia has
beaten cancer, is getting better
and has outlived expectations.
But the side-effects mean she
is struggling to grow and needs
support. We’re terrified we’ll
lose our daughter and just want
the NHS to give her more time.
She deserves a fair chance.
“She is a beautiful baby.
She loves life, loves to learn,
interacts and relishes attention. We see the improvement she is capable of. While
the medical team helping her
overcome cancer are fantastic,
we believe it all boils down to
The Great Ormond Street
said no “final decision” had
been made but “if Olivia continues to deteriorate... we
need to very carefully consider
whether the current level of
treatment is still in her best interests”.
It added that any decision
to withdraw treatment would
have to be approved by specialists at another hospital trust,
and a High Court judge. A
spokeswoman said: “Olivia is
an extremely poorly child with
a very complex condition. We
have been providing the maximum level of treatment unit for
10 months.
“We have tried a wide range
of treatments, however she
has failed to respond and has
repeatedly slipped into multiple organ failure. We have
listened to her parents and
explored options for moving
her to another hospital, but
each time Olivia has been too
poorly to move or we have not
been able to п¬Ѓnd an appropriate hospital because of her
complex condition.”
Maria Stanca said she had
been “humbled” by donations
so far. The couple pledge to return or give to charity any cash
raised if for any reason it is not
spent on Olivia’s treatment. For
details go to
“It’s never gonna be dealt with
while the extremist parties are involved.”
Details of the murders emerged
after the 1998 peace deal ended
three decades of tit-for-tat killings by mainly Catholic Irish
nationalists, who opposed British rule in Northern Ireland, and
Protestant pro-British loyalists.
The deal ushered in a powersharing government.
The IRA admitted killing 13 of
the 16 classified as “disappeared”
in the 1970s and 80s, mostly
Catholics accused of collaborating with British forces, while the
Irish National Liberation Army
admitted one.
No one has taken responsibility for the other two, or two
more who went missing after
A deal was brokered to allow details of grave sites to be
disclosed but no evidence collected for prosecutions. But in
May, Gerry Adams, leader of
the IRA’s political wing Sinn
Fein, was arrested briefly
and questioned over the 1972
murder of Jean McConville.
Adams denies any role in her
His arrest shook the powersharing government and prompted Sinn Fein to question police
Talks were instigated on a new
structure to deal with the past
with a Christmas deadline. But
there is a gulf between the kind
etectives are continuing to
question two men arrested
on suspicion of murdering off-duty police constable Neil
Pc Doyle, 36, was attacked in
Liverpool city centre in the early
hours of Friday morning during
a Christmas night out with colleagues.
A 30-year-old man from Huyton was arrested and taken to a
police station to be interviewed by
Merseyside Police said a
28-year-old man from the same
area who was arrested on Friday is
still being questioned.
Both men were also arrested
on suspicion of assaulting two
other off-duty officers who
were attacked alongside Doyle
by three men in Colquitt Street
at around 3.15am on Friday.
The two officers were both
treated in hospital for facial injuries.
Doyle’s widow Sarah said in a
statement: “Neil was very well
loved by all of his family, friends
and colleagues and it is a great loss
to us all.
“We are finding it
extremely difficult to
come to terms with what
has happened and need
time to be left to grieve”
“We are finding it extremely
difficult to come to terms with
what has happened and need time
to be left to grieve.”
The couple got married in July
and were due to go on their honeymoon next month.
A post-mortem examination
concluded that Doyle died from
a fatal bleed around the brain.
This was caused by damage to
major blood vessels supplying
the brain and is consistent with
an assault.
A Merseyside Police spokesman said detectives were investi-
those of a land where the murders of 3,000 people, one in 600
of the population, remain unsolved. From villages to Belfast
housing estates, killers pass victims’ families on the street. “We
know who was involved. They
are local people,” said Sheila Simons, whose brother Eugene
was taken on January 1, 1981. Her
father Walter said he was threatened when he tried to п¬Ѓnd his
son, whose body was found, by
accident, in a bog in 1984.
London silhouette
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are seen at dusk in central London.
Lockerbie bomber was
guilty: top prosecutor
o evidence has emerged
that casts doubt on the
conviction of a late Libyan intelligence officer for the
Lockerbie airline bombing 26
years ago, Scotland’s top prosecutor said.
However, efforts to track down
others behind the deadly attack
have been hampered by the violence that has rocked Libya for
months, Lord Advocate Frank
Mulholland told a memorial service yesterday.
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was
the only person found guilty over
the December 21, 1988, attack on
Pan Am flight 103 in which 270
people were killed. His family and
some relatives of the Scottish victims believe he was wrongly convicted.
He was jailed for life in 2001,
but was released by Scotland’s
government on compassionate
grounds eight years later after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Megrahi, who always protested
his innocence, died in Libya in
At the memorial service for
Lockerbie victims in Washington,
Mulholland, the head of Scot-
land’s Crown Office, said nothing had come to light to question
Megrahi’s guilt.
“During the 26-year long inquiry not one Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a
concern about the evidence in this
case,” he said.
“We remain committed to this
investigation and our focus remains on the evidence, and not on
speculation and supposition.”
Most of the victims of the explosion over the Scottish town
of Lockerbie in Scotland were
Americans on their way home for
Eleven people died on the
ground as the New York-bound
gating the possibility that the officers were recognised from their
“It’s one line of inquiry that we
are looking at but it’s by no means
the set-in-stone motive,” he said.
Doyle, who joined the force in
May 2004, was taken to the Royal
Liverpool Hospital after the attack, but died a short time later.
The officer was previously
awarded a commendation for his
actions in arresting three men after a violent robbery.
He was based at Eaton Road
police station in West Derby.
Peter Singleton, chairman of
Merseyside Police Federation,
said the police community was
“devastated” by Doyle’s death.
“Devastated is the nearest
word I can think of,” he said.
“His family, friends and colleagues are absolutely devastated. I spoke to the colleagues who
were out with him and they were
in absolute bits.
“He exemplified the British
bobby. He was a solid, good, hardworking, honest copper. Losing a
colleague like Neil in such a tragic
way is absolutely devastating.”
jet crashed when a bomb exploded
in its hold some 40 minutes after
leaving London’s Heathrow airport.
Mulholland reaffirmed a commitment made by the US, Britain
and Libya a year ago on the 25th
anniversary of the attack to hunt
down all those responsible.
“The current instability in Libya has meant that some investigative opportunities have required
to be reassessed, which I know has
been frustrating for family members,” he said.
“The Crown will never give up
the п¬Ѓght to secure justice for the
families of those who died.”
In 2003, former Libya leader
Muammar Gaddafi accepted
his country’s responsibility for
the bombing and paid compensation to the victims’ families,
but did not admit personally
ordering the attack. However,
some continue to dispute Megrahi’s guilt.
“How was it that the Scottish
Criminal Cases Review Committee spent three years looking
at the case and came up with six
pieces of evidence to challenge
Megrahi’s conviction? ” Jim
Swire, whose daughter Flora died
in the bombing, told the BBC. “I
think you have to look further
than the superficial comments
made by the Lord Advocate.”
Elton John weds
long-time partner
Police make new arrest
in constable’s murder
Constable Doyle, 36, was
attacked in Liverpool city
centre during a Christmas
night out with colleagues
of structure favoured by unionists, who blame paramilitaries
like the IRA for the Troubles, and
nationalists who blame the British state.
“No one here believes there
will be agreement” ahead of
elections next year, said nationalist commentator Brian Feeney.
“If there is no agreed process ...
this will just go on suppurating
for generations.”
The problems faced by the
families of the Disappeared echo
Cars queue along the driveway as guests arrive to attend pop legend
Elton John’s wedding to his partner David Furnish at their mansion in
Windsor, west of London, yesterday.
ritish pop legend Elton
John married long-time
partner David Furnish in
Windsor yesterday, the ninth
anniversary of their civil partnership, with the singer posting evidence on social media.
The 67-year-old singer posted a picture on photo-sharing
website Instagram of himself
and Furnish in blue suits brandishing a pen as they signed a
“That’s the legal bit done.
Now on to the ceremony!” said
the caption.
The star-studded ceremony
took place at their Windsor
home, west of London, close to
the castle where Queen Elizabeth II spends much of her time.
The “Rocket Man” musician
earlier posted of an invitation
on his Instagram page, with the
words “Sir Elton John and David
Furnish request the pleasure of
your company to celebrate their
wedding on Sunday the 21st
December” written on a background of red roses.
Around 50 guests, including
David and Victoria Beckham,
Elizabeth Hurley and Ozzy and
Sharon Osbourne, were invited
to the ceremony, according to
press reports. Although known
for his flamboyance, the ceremony was “a small, intimate
do” with guests being served
festive canapes and mulled
wine, according to the Daily
Mail. The picture of the wedding invitation was among the
п¬Ѓrst three posts to his newly
opened Instagram account.
The others show a view of the
couple’s estate under the words
“Good morning! Nice day for a
wedding. ShareTheLove” and
of two pairs of children’s shoes
by a roaring п¬Ѓre.
“Our little ring bearers are
fast asleep, and their shoes are
polished and ready for tomorrow’s celebration,” read the
It is believed the ring bearers were the couple’s two sons,
Zachary, three, and Elijah, 23
John said earlier this year that
he and Furnish were planning
to marry “very quietly” in the
presence of their two children.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Christmas shopping
Greek PM
offers poll
after talks
on bailout
A child inspects a Christmas tree decoration in a shopping mall in Bamberg, southern Germany,
France probes lone
wolf �Islamic’ attack
rance yesterday probed a suspected �radical Islamic’ attack on
police that left two officers seriously injured and the assailant dead,
prompting security to be stepped up at
police and п¬Ѓre stations nationwide.
Bertrand Nzohabonayo was shot
dead Saturday after entering a police
station in the central town of Joueles-Tours armed with a knife, seriously
wounding two officers—slashing one in
the face—and hurting another.
“The investigation is leading towards
an attack... motivated by radical Islamist motives,” said a source close to the
probe, which is being carried out by
anti-terror investigators from the Paris
prosecutor’s office.
The assailant, a French national born
in Burundi in 1994, shouted a slogan
during the assault, added the source,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Local prosecutor Jean-Luc Beck said
investigators would seek to determine
whether “he acted alone or if he acted
on orders”, adding that none of the
three injured police officers were in
critical condition.
Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who rushed to the scene of the
attack on Saturday, said he had ordered
“security measures to be stepped up”
for police personnel and firefighters
across the country.
Nzohabonayo had previously committed petty offences but was not on
a domestic intelligence watch-list although his brother is known for his
radical views and once pondered going
to Syria, the source said.
He is currently abroad, another
source added.
On Thursday, Nzohabonayo posted
the flag of the radical Islamic State
group as his profile picture on a Facebook page identified as his by several
experts on jihadist groups.
But paradoxically, he also liked a page
called “Islamic State in Iraq: Not in my
name”, for Muslims that “refuse to be
associated” with violence waged by the
group in Iraq and Syria.
Photos circulating on social networks showed a smiling man with a
shaved head and black beard.
One of his former sports teachers
said he was a quiet, reserved boy.
“When he arrived at the football club
from the Paris region, he was around 16
or 17,” said the teacher, who asked not
to named.
“He wanted to be the referee, which
is unusual at that age. He was devoted
to justice.”
Several people near his sister’s flat in
a poor part of town refused to believe
the attack was spurred by radical Islamic motives.
“That’s not what our town is about.
We have managed to install dialogue
and understanding between communities,” said Ahmed Moussaoui, a retired
man who heads up a local association.
The mayor of the 36,000-strong
town told AFP the incident was a “real
shock for all residents”.
“It’s an isolated act in a peaceful
town,” said Frederic Augis.
A witness of Saturday’s incident at
the police station said he saw four officers grab Nzohabonayo to escort him
inside while telling him to “calm down”,
as he started yelling and struggling.
Premier accuses EU of �dirty
campaign’ against Turkey
urkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu
yesterday accused the European Union of
starting a “dirty campaign” against Turkey
by criticising the arrests of opponents of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey’s already stalled membership bid to join
the EU has suffered a further blow amid the row
with the 28-nation bloc over last weekend’s raids
on journalists, scriptwriters and police.
Speaking at a congress of his ruling party in Ankara, Davutoglu lashed out at the EU for rushing to
issue a statement criticising the raids last Sunday.
“The EU even made its statement on a holiday.
With this statement, they started a dirty campaign
concerning our government,” he told the congress.
“With this dirty campaign, they are waging a
defamation campaign against our government
and our country,” he added in televised remarks.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and
enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn had
issued an unusually harsh statement condemning the raids as “incompatible with the freedom
of media”.
The row has been particularly bitter as the pair
were only in Turkey a week before for talks seeking
to revive its membership bid.
Davutoglu reaffirmed his insistence that the
arrests were not linked to freedom of the press
in any way. Erdogan has already told the EU to
“mind their own business” over the controversy.
Speaking at a separate event in the southern
city of Antalya, Turkish EU minister Volkan Bozkir
said Ankara was not troubled by the prospect of
the EU rejecting Turkey.
“If the EU allows itself the luxury of not making Turkey a member, if it makes this wrong decision, then Turkey will not care too much,” he said,
quoted by the Anatolia news agency.
He said Turkey categorically rejected having a
“student-teacher” relationship with the European Union.
Thirty people were arrested in the raids last
Sunday against those deemed to have links to Erdogan’s arch foe, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Most have now been released but a court on Friday remanded in custody on terrorism charges the
head of the pro-Gulen Samanyolu TV and three
former police chiefs. It also issued an arrest warrant for Gulen himself.
Erdogan has blamed Gulen for spreading corruption allegations last year that rocked his government and touched his inner circle, but that the
Turkish strongman vehemently denied.
Davutoglu said the government would “break
the arm” of anyone implicated in corruption.
“We are determined to break the arm of anyone who approaches our national treasures, our
resources, with the aim of corruption, even if it is
our brother,” he said.
He said the government would also move
against anyone who “attacks the national will”
with false claims of corruption.
“I saw a large knife, and then a policeman on the ground with his neck
full of blood, squirting blood,” Sandgy
Dumoulin said.
“Then a policewoman had blood
on her head, and a third one—he’s the
one who п¬Ѓred the shots. He п¬Ѓred four
The incident comes as governments
around the world brace for so-called
“lone wolf” attacks by individuals returning from waging jihad abroad, or
who are simply following Islamic State
calls for violence in countries involved
in a coalition п¬Ѓghting the radical group.
Last week in Australia, an Iranianborn Islamist with a history of extremism and violence entered a cafe and held
people hostage for 16 hours before being
killed. Two of the hostages also died.
In France last year, a recent convert
to Islam also stabbed a soldier in the
busy Paris commercial complex and
transport hub of La Defense.
And the main suspect in the murders of four people at Brussels’ Jewish
Museum in May, Mehdi Nemmouche,
spent more than a year п¬Ѓghting with
extremists in Syria.
reek prime minister
Antonis Samaras offered yesterday to bring
pro-European independents
into the government and hold
new elections in late 2015 if
lawmakers back him to elect a
new president.
Speaking in an unscheduled
television address, Samaras
said Greece had a duty to complete negotiations with the
European Union and International Monetary Fund to exit
its bailout accord next year.
But he said he would be willing to widen his ruling conservative/centre-left coalition
if lawmakers agreed to elect
the government’s candidate
Stavros Dimas as president.
The surprise announcement comes two days ahead of
the second round of voting for
president and follows a disappointing result for the government in the п¬Ѓrst round last
week when it won less support
than expected.
The head of state is a largely ceremonial post but if the
300-member parliament does
not choose a president by the
third vote on December 29, elections will have to be held by early
February, putting negotiations
over Greece’s bailout at risk.
Samaras still needs to win
over another 20 votes to avoid
an election. He is targeting
two dozen independents and
22 deputies from two smaller
parties, Democratic Left and
the right-wing Independent Greeks, both of which say
they want a general election.
With п¬Ѓnancial markets
watching developments in
Greece closely, he urged deputies to listen to “the voice of
national interest and common
sense” to allow bailout talks to
wrap up.
“Then, shielded economically and politically, we can find
a suitable timeframe for national elections even at the end
of 2015,” he said. The election
would otherwise be due in 2016.
Vassilis Economou, a proEuropean independent whose
intentions were being closely
watched, welcomed the offer
and called on other independents to back the government.
Of the smaller parties, the
Independent Greeks rejected
the offer, while Democratic
Left, which quit the coalition
last year, said it would consider its response at a meeting
on Monday.
Syriza, the leftwing opposition party which wants to renegotiate the bailout and which is
favoured to win if an early vote is
held, was scornful of Samaras’s
attempts to put off an election:
“Mr Samaras does not want to
face the judgment of the Greek
people,” Syriza spokesman
Panos Skourletis said.
Syriza has seen its opinion
poll advantage narrow over the
past few weeks but it still leads
by 3.4 points according to the
latest poll on Saturday.
Dimas received 160 votes in
the п¬Ѓrst round in the 300-seat
parliament. A candidate for president requires 200 votes to win in
either the п¬Ѓrst or second round,
but the threshold drops to 180
votes for the third, п¬Ѓnal round.
Security gaps found
at German airport
n EU probe has found
major security lapses
at Germany’s biggest
airport in Frankfurt enabling
weapons and other items to be
smuggled through passenger
safety checks, a newspaper
said yesterday.
The failings, detected in an
undercover European Unioncommissioned investigation,
were largely down to badly
trained staff, Germany’s Bild
am Sonntag weekly said.
on every second attempt, to
smuggle weapons or dangerous substances through security, it said.
The newspaper quoted
police spokesman Christian
Altenhofen as saying that immediate measures had been
introduced to ensure the safety of passengers.
Bild said the main problem
was poorly trained staff from
the company commissioned
to provide the security service. The EU report unearthed
an apparent inability by many
workers to interpret X-ray
images correctly during hand
luggage screening, it said.
Stalin’s supporters
People carry a portrait of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin during a march in his native town of Gori, west of Tbilisi, to mark the 135th
anniversary of his birth. While Stalin is blamed by many for the deaths of millions in purges, prison camps and forced collectivisation,
many people still praise him for leading the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany during World War II.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Tamil Nadu
BJP will form
alliance in TN
ahead of 2016
election: Shah
By Umaima Shafiq
of Rajni’s new
film demand
money back
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s
latest film Lingaa that opened to
a global premiere on December
12 reported box office losses
in several suburban districts
like Chengalpattu, Tiruchi and
Film distributors and theatre
owners from these areas are
demanding their money back,
claiming that they had paid
several crores amounting to 70%
of the film’s production cost to
acquire screening rights.
“Only 250-300 seats were
occupied in some theatres and
some had trouble selling tickets
even 12 hours after the film’s
release,” some distributors said.
Film production major Eros
International was also accused
of buying the film for Rs100
crores and selling it at double the
amount to smaller distributors.
Meanwhile Eros International
which settled similar claims for
Rajini’s earlier films like Baba,
Kuselan and Kochadaiiyan
has refused to repay Lingaa’s
However the film’s promos,
advertisements and branded
products like games, toys and
other items have seen good sales.
Former DMK leader Napolean
joins the BJP
Schoolboy held
for alleged rape,
murder of girl
A Class X boy was arrested for
allegedly raping and murdering
an 11-year-old girl from his school
at Vellore district about 150km
from Chennai last week.
The girl’s body was found with
her limbs tied up in a mango
grove in Machanur village. The
boy reportedly strangled her,
coolly returned to the school and
helped his father at their eatery
that evening.
However he left home the
next day, when the girl’s body
was found and her family and
the entire village staged a
mass protest. He was found at
Mahadevamalai about a kilometre
from his village and remanded in
a juvenile home.
Police said he came from a
broken family and was influenced
by porn websites. Chief Minister
O Paneerselvam announced
Rs300,000 to the girl’s family.
Woman accuses
judge’s family of
dowry harassment
Anootha Chandran, the daughterin-law of senior High Court
judge Dhanapalan, has accused
her husband’s family of dowry
harassment and physical abuse.
Anootha, a native of Kerala,
married justice Dhanapalan’s
son, D Bala Rajendra Prabhu, in
February 2013. She claimed that
the torture started immediately
with Dhanapalan asking Anootha’s
father to bear all wedding
expenses. She also accused Bala
Rajendra Prabhu of having extramarital affairs aided by his mother.
He reportedly beat her even after
she became pregnant.
Anootha also blamed the local
Chennai police of not taking
action. The case has been
deferred to December 22 for
Temple, museum
websites hacked
The websites of the heritage
Saraswathi Mahal library in
Thanjavur and Meenakshi
Sundareswarar temple in Madurai
were hacked simultaneously
last week. Cyber crime police
said the Saraswathi Mahal
library site was corrupted by
malware of Pakistani militants,
while the Meenakshi temple
site maintained by a US-based
software company, was hacked
Both sites were corrected within a
day. Cyber police have registered
cases under the Information
Technology Act.
The Saraswathi Mahal library
was established 500 years ago
by the Nayak kings of Thanjavur.
It has around 50,000 palm
leaf manuscripts and 65,000
ancient texts, many of which are
translated by epigraphists and
regularly published.
The Meenakshi temple is 2,500
years’ old and receives about
50,000 visitors every day.
BJP chief Amit Shah and senior party leaders wave to supporters during a party rally in Chennai.
he Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) will make a serious
bid to take power in Tamil
Nadu by leading an alliance in
the 2016 assembly elections, its
president Amit Shah said yesterday.
The announcement was made
after former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and former
central minister D Napolean
joined the BJP.
Shah said the BJP would mobilise 6mn new members in
Tamil Nadu and it would be the
largest party in the state in 2016.
He also told reporters that the
party would lead an alliance during the next assembly elections
and also declare its chief ministerial candidate.
Napolean, a minister in the
Congress-led government quit
the DMK on Saturday, joined the
BJP at the party headquarters
here in Shah’s presence.
On Saturday, music director
Gangai Amaran joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, miffed with infighting and lack of co-ordination among state leaders that
may harm the party’s prospects
in the upcoming Delhi assembly polls, the BJP president has
decided to take charge of the
election campaign in the capital
from December 25, a top party
leader said.
According to him, Shah is currently occupied with the polls
in Jharkhand and Jammu and
Kashmir but once the results are
out tomorrow, he will shift focus
to Delhi and dedicate at least two
months to the city before the assembly elections are held, likely
in February.
“The Delhi BJP needs direction and guidance from a single
authority. At present, everyone
is acting like he is the captain of
the ship which is resulting in utter confusion,” the leader said.
He said owing to the threat
from the Aam Aadmi Party
(AAP), Shah started keeping an
eye on the political developments in Delhi - where the BJP
has remained out of power for
the last 15 years - since he became the party president in July.
The December 2013 polls
threw up a hung 70-member
assembly, with the BJP winning
31 seats, the AAP 28 and the
Congress eight, with three seats
going to other parties and independents. The AAP formed a
government that lasted 49 days,
necessitating fresh polls.
“Shah knows that Delhi is not
like other states where the contest
is between the BJP and Congress.
The general anti-Congress mood
prevailing across the nation has
helped BJP but in Delhi, it’s the
AAP that is the main opponent of
the BJP,” the leader said.
“Therefore, the party needs
to put in much more effort but
Shah knows that the party is
struggling with infighting and
poor co-ordination.”
Though, such allegations have
been levelled against the party
earlier too, this time the cracks
are showing.
Some weeks back a party leader, in charge of an event, openly
chided a party spokesperson for
talking to the media about the
He was unhappy with the
spokesperson hogging the limelight and instead wanted the media to give him footage.
Furthermore, at a meeting
held between Shah and the Delhi
BJP leaders and office bearers in
November, it was decided that
all the party parliamentarians
would hold 2,700 public meetings across the city.
However, a month later,
that п¬Ѓgure has been reduced to
around 1,400, the leader said.
“The state unit has failed in
successfully organising these
meetings and managing to gather enough crowds. Their management has been sloppy and
hence the MPs lost interest,” said
the leader.
Other sources said Prime
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (clean
India campaign) too has been
reduced to mere photo opportunities by some which has further
added to the woes of the Delhi
BJP’s leadership.
Shah is a tough taskmaster and
has set a 60-seat goal in Delhi.
According to party leaders,
Shah believes in working at the
ground level and has directed the
Delhi leaders, at a meeting on
Thursday, to do the same. Shah
had earlier met the leaders in
The source further said that a
major reshuffle in the Delhi BJP
is in the offing once the election
is over.
24-year-old rape case reopens with arrest of accused
New Delhi
New Delhi court has reopened a 24-year-old rape
case after the arrest of
the absconding offender.
Additional Sessions Judge
Sarita Birbal reopened the trial
after the accused, Lakhpat,
who was evading arrest, was
produced before the court by
the police. The court has now
posted the matter for January 6
for recording the statements of
the remaining prosecution witnesses.
The prosecution has alleged that Lakhpat kidnapped
a 12-year-old girl from east
Delhi on July 6, 1990 and took
her to his village in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and
raped her.
It added that Lakhpat, who
was around 24-years-old at
the time of crime, was a ten-
ant in the victim’s house.
The girl was later rescued and
the police arrested Lakhpat and
lodged a first information report against him in east Delhi’s
He was granted bail on December 21, 1994.
The trial began on January
5, 1995 after a sessions court
here framed various charges
dealing with rape and kidnapping against Lakhpat. He had
appeared in the court for the
next few hearings but then absconded.
Thereafter, the sessions court
hearing the case issued a nonbailable warrant against him but
he was untraceable.
The court declared him a
proclaimed offender on February 2, 1998 and stayed the
trial, saying it could not be
conducted without Lakhpat’s
Until then, four of the 11
prosecution witnesses, includ-
ing the victim, who is now 36,
were examined.
On October 28, acting on a
tip-off, police arrested Lakhpat
from R K Puram in south Delhi and produced him before a
magistrate, who remanded him
in judicial custody.
The magistrate then transferred the case to the fast track
court, which on November 25
ordered the trial be resumed on
January 6.
“Lakhpat was evading arrest
Sonia better,
says hospital
3 killed, 4 injured in
Imphal bomb attack
hree people were killed
and four others wounded in a bomb attack early yesterday in the northeastern state of Manipur, police
said, the second strike in the
area in less than a week.
The blast shook Imphal, the
capital of Manipur, which borders Myanmar - an area that
has been plagued by separatist
violence for decades.
“Three labourers were killed
in the blast and four more injured,” senior state police official A Singh said.
An IED (improvised explosive device) was planted
close to a bus depot and went
off early yesterday morning,
Singh added.
The victims were labourers from outside the state who
were having tea at a roadside
shop when the bomb went off.
No rebel group has claimed
responsibility for the attack
and it was not immediately
clear what the motive was.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi
Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei,
who holds the home portfolio,
visited the injured at the hospital.
Condemning the incident,
the chief minister said adequate compensation would
be paid to the families of those
killed and the government
would bear the cost of treatment of the injured.
Gangmei said: “It was cowardice to attack the unarmed
innocent people, to disturb the
peace and harmony.”
With yesterday’s incident,
the number of non-Manipuris
killed in the state this year has
gone up to nine.
This is the third such incident in less than a month in
Two men were killed and
four others injured when militants triggered a bomb blast in
a market in Imphal on December 15. A 10-year-old boy was
killed in a blast on November
29, a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to
the state.
so that he could flee from justice
and put the trial on hold,” a police officer said.
He added that Lakhpat, now
48, had thought that he could
stay out of jail by absconding.
“He was making a mockery
of the legal system by escaping from trial,” the officer said,
adding: “However, police have
arrested him acting on sourcebased information and brought
him back before the court to
face the trial.”
Security personnel help a man seriously injured in the powerful blast in Imphal yesterday.
Congress president Sonia
Gandhi, who is under
treatment at a hospital
here for an infection in her
lower respiratory tract, is
feeling better, the hospital
said yesterday. “Mrs Gandhi
is feeling better and her
condition is stable. She
underwent breathing
exercises today without any
problem,” a doctor at the Sir
Ganga Ram Hospital said.
Gandhi was admitted under
the care of Arup Kumar
Basu, senior consultant and
chairman of respiratory
medicine. He is leading a
team of doctors who are
closely monitoring the
Congress chief. Gandhi’s
medication will continue
until she is discharged
from the hospital. “She will
remain under observation
of the doctors until we get a
proper sign of her recovery,”
the doctor said. According
to doctors, the problem
is quite common during
winter. There has been
speculation about Gandhi’s
health after her 2011 surgery
at New York’s
Memorial Sloan Kettering
Cancer Center. She was also
treated for mild asthma for
six days in 2008.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Indians living longer, healthier lives, says Lancet
ndia has made great strides in
reducing both child and adult
mortality since 1990, says a
global study, adding that adults
and children in the country are
living longer and healthier lives
than two decades earlier.
Involving more than 700 researchers and covering 188 coun-
tries, the study found that in
India, the average yearly rates of
decline in mortality have been
3.7% per year for children and
1.3% per year for adults.
Between 1990 and 2013, life
expectancy at birth increased
from 57.3 years to 64.2 years for
males and from 58.2 years to 68.5
years for females.
“It is very encouraging that
adults and children in the country are living healthier lives. But
India’s growing influence on
global health means we must do
more to address the diseases that
kill people prematurely,” said
Jeemon Panniyammakal of the
Public Health Foundation of India and a co-author of the study.
Published in the prestigious
journal The Lancet, the п¬Ѓndings
showed that countries have made
great strides in reducing mortality from diseases such as measles
and diarrhoea, with 83% and 51%
reductions, respectively, from
1990 to 2013.
“People are living much longer
worldwide than they were two
decades ago as death rates from
infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease have fallen,” it added.
Globally, three conditions ischemic heart disease, stroke,
and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - claimed
the most lives in 2013, accounting for nearly 32% of all deaths.
Causes of death vary widely by
country but at the global level,
drug use disorders and chronic
kidney disease account for some
of the largest percent increases in
premature deaths since 1990.
Death rates from some cancers,
including pancreatic cancer and
kidney cancer, also increased,
said the study led by the Institute
for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of
“People today are less likely
than their parents to die from certain conditions, but there are more
people of older ages throughout
the world,” said IHME director
Christopher Murray.
Global life expectancy for both
sexes increased from 65.3 years
in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013 and
women made slightly greater
gains than men.
Female life expectancy at birth
increased by 6.6 years and male
life expectancy by 5.8 years.
If trends seen over the past 23
years hold, by 2030, global female life expectancy will be 85.3
years and male life expectancy
will be 78.1 years.
“This is an encouraging trend
as people are living longer. We just
need to make sure we are making
the right health policy decisions
today to prepare for the health
challenges and associated costs
that are coming,” Murray added.
Former PM:
busy as always,
but not writing
memoirs yet
New Delhi
e has just completed 200
days out of office, but
former prime minister
Manmohan Singh keeps himself
perhaps as busy when in power,
attending parliament for half a
day daily, meeting people and
attending party meetings. And
he hasn’t decided on writing his
memoirs as yet.
He also isn’t troubled by a
court order that he be questioned
on the coal blocks issue as he had
anyway offered to be quizzed by
the Central Bureau of Investigation, say aides.
Singh, India’s 13th prime
minister, was known to be a
workaholic, keeping a punishing
schedule despite his age and his
heart condition.
And he continues to keeps
himself as busy now after a decade at the head of a Congressled United Progressive Alliance
(UPA) government. And he has
refused to give interviews, an
aide said.
“He sticks to his daily schedule; only now he starts a little
late everyday and retires a little
early,” the aide said, declining to
be named.
A member of the upper house
Rajya Sabha, Singh rarely misses
a day in parliament.
He has made it a point to attend half a day’s session of
parliament every day, that has
been marked by daily opposition rancour against the BJP-led
National Democratic Alliance
government and demands for
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
to come to the Rajya Sabha and
make a statement on the controversy over conversions and other
“He goes for half a day every
day. He does not participate in
the �hungama’ (�ruckus),” the
aide said.
Singh, 82, stepped down in
May when the Modi government
took over after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the Lok
Sabha polls.
The aide was dismissive about
the court order on coal scam,
saying there was “nothing new
in it” and Singh had always offered himself for questioning in
the matter. The former prime
minister held the coal portfolio
for some time during the UPA’s
п¬Ѓrst term.
The aide also denied reports
that Singh is writing his memoirs. “He is not writing
any book now. He
has not made up
his mind.”
Singh, known
for his understated manners
gravitas, has
always kept
away from
flamboyance and is
camera shy.
I n d i a ’s
first Sikh prime minister, Singh’s
light blue turban is synonymous
with his image. As prime minister, he sported a simple churidarkurta in summer and bandhgala
dark suits in winter, but the blue
turban was a constant, as it is
even today.
The former prime minister,
who underwent a coronary bypass in 2009, is careful about his
diet and health. He keeps to his
daily routine of walks and exercises to keep п¬Ѓt and meets people
who call on him.
As a member of the Congress
Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making
body, Singh attends all meetings. Though he keeps away
from publicity events, he recently appeared on an Aap ki
Adalat show on India TV and
spoke with a degree of clarity
and passion on several issues,
including the telecom and coal
On the much-talked about two
heads of the UPA government,
where Congress chief Sonia
Gandhi was reportedly said to be
taking major decisions, bypassing Singh, the aide said Gandhi
had publicly denied there were
two centres of power and both
were “working together.”
Gandhi still calls on Singh
to seek advice, something
which Sanjaya Baru, the
former prime minister’s media adviser, also mentioned in
his book. “Madam came last
week, she comes for advice,”
said the aide.
Singh, who is widely respected
as an ace economist and the brain
behind the economic liberalisation that began in India in 1991,
said earlier this month that India can achieve a growth rate of
8-9% provided there is a “national consensus” on methods
to take advantage of a globalised
For most of a decade, Singh
had presided over 8.5% growth
though it almost halved in the
last few years, which the then
government blamed on the global economic slowdown, high
oil prices and the US Federal
Reserve withdrawing its stimulus.
In November, Singh was conferred with one of Japan’s highest civilian honours - �The Grand
Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers’ for his contribution towards building JapanIndia relations.
The former prime minister,
while he preferred to keep a low
profile in India, was an energetic persona on his
trips abroad and took a
keen interest in foreign
At his last press conference on January 3,
Singh had asserted that he
had not been a weak prime
minister and that
history would
be kinder to
contemporary media.
CBI registers fresh case in coal scam
The Central Bureau of Investigation yesterday registered a
case against two private companies and some unidentified
public servants in its ongoing
probe in the alleged coal scam
case and conducted searches
at five places in West Bengal
and Jharkhand. The agency
registered the case against
Electrosteel Castings Ltd, Electrosteel Steels Ltd and some
unknown public servants under
sections of cheating, criminal
conspiracy and Prevention
of Corruption Act in its probe
related to Parbatpur coal block situated in the Jhariya coalfield
in Jharkhand. CBI teams also
conducted searches at the office premises of the companies
at five places in Kolkata along
with Ranchi and Bokaro in
Jharkhand, said an official.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia speaks at an event in Bhopal yesterday. VHP and other rightwing Hindu organisations have come under attack over mass conversion.
Mass conversion in
Gujarat sparks anger
The issue of mass
conversions has paralysed
parliament, with opposition
lawmakers demanding Modi
make a statement
New Delhi
ardline Hindu groups
came under п¬Ѓre yesterday after some 200
Christians were converted in
Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, amid
increasing concern at the rightwing government’s perceived
pro-Hindu tilt.
The radical Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) said it converted
Christian tribal people to their
original Hindu faith in Gujarat
late Saturday.
The mass event drew widespread criticism from Christian groups and Modi’s political opponents yesterday. They
accused radical organisations
linked to BJP, like the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of
forcing or enticing religious minorities to convert to Hinduism.
“Extreme rightwing is flexing
its muscles. VHP/RSS through
Hindutatva (“Hinduness”) ...
rewriting history and economic
policies,” Digvijay Singh, a leader of the opposition Congress
Party, posted on Twitter early
A Gujarat-based priest said
he could not “accept that anyone who has been a Christian
will convert to other religion by
personal choice.”
“VHP is forcing people and
luring them to convert their
religion,” Father Dominic was
quoted as saying by Zee News
channel’s website.
Saturday’s mass ceremony
took place in a tribal village
350km south of the state main
city Ahmedabad.
It happened hours after the
BJP and its ideological mentor
RSS called for a new law to ban
“forced religious conversions.”
“Over 200 people were asked
to throw their religious pendants
in a holy п¬Ѓre and were given new
pendants with the image of Lord
Rama,” Ajit Solanki, a Gujarat
state VHP secretary, said.
Solanki however denied using
any kind of force or monetary
promises, maintaining that the
conversions were voluntary.
The world’s most populous
democracy is a secular country
under the constitution and religious freedom is considered a
fundamental right.
Will form next Kashmir
govt on our own: PDP
he Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP) yesterday said
it was confident of forming the next government in Jammu and Kashmir on its own and
would not align with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Reacting to media reports that
the PDP had said it was open to
forming an alliance with the BJP
if it did not get the needed simple
majority of 44 in the 87-member
state assembly, the PDP’s chief
spokesman Naeem Akhtar said:
“No, we did not say we will form
an alliance with the BJP.”
“We said we will form the next
government in the state on our
own as we are confident of getting the required numbers. So
there is no need for us to say we
will form an alliance with the BJP
or any other party.”
However, he said “since
Jammu and Kashmir is passing
through such difficult times, we
will need the support of every
party, including the BJP.”
Media reports said the 12th
state assembly for which polling
ended on December 20 would
not have any single political party
that can form a government on its
own, and that the voters delivered
a fractured mandate.
Meanwhile, exit polls are predicting a BJP government in
Jharkhand where elections were
held along with Kashmir, but nobody appears to know who will be
the next chief minister.
Most exit polls say the BJP
will secure enough seats in the
81-member assembly to form a
government of its own.
BJP leaders and activists are
wondering who Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah would pick as the
chief minister if the BJP wins.
Prominent among those leading the pack of probables are
former chief minister Arjun
Munda and BJP national vice
president Raghubar Das.
Munda, who has held the post
thrice, said: “The party will decide my role.”
Das spoke on similar lines.
“The central leaders will decide.”
Experts said Modi’s decision
may be based on how the party
fares in the election. If the BJP
secures a majority, Modi may opt
for a non-tribal to lead the state.
Some say the two ministers
from Jharkhand in Modi’s ministry - Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment
Sudarshan Bhagat and Minister
of State for Finance Jayant Sinha
- could also be in the race.
Both Modi and Shah led the
BJP’s election campaign in the
state. Shah campaigned vigorously and addressed more than
20 rallies.
The Kashmir and Jharkhand
election results will be known tomorrow.
The issue of mass conversions has paralysed India’s parliament, with opposition lawmakers demanding Modi make
a statement on earlier reports
of poor Muslims being coerced
into Hinduism.
A hardline group linked to the
BJP was accused of converting
some 50 slum-dwelling Muslim
families about a week ago in the
Taj Mahal city of Agra.
One of the converts said they
were promised ration cards and
other п¬Ѓnancial incentives if they
switched religions.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
said India was a “Hindu nation”
where many Hindus had been
forcibly converted to other religions.
“We will bring back those who
have lost their way. They did not
go on their own,” Bhagwat said
in a speech late on Saturday.
“They were lured into leaving.”
“We don’t want to convert
anybody ... but then Hindus
should also not be converted,”
Bhagwat said, adding that those
who do not support religious
conversions should bring in a
law against it.
Critics say Hindu hardline
groups have become emboldened
since the BJP was elected, promoting a Hindu-dominant agenda.
Modi, who spent his early
years in the RSS, has made no
comment on religious issues
since becoming premier.
He was himself accused of
failing to curb 2002 anti-Muslim riots that claimed at least
1,000 lives when he was chief
minister of Gujarat.
He has always rejected the
accusations and the Supreme
Court found no evidence to
prosecute him.
Warming up
People warm themselves around a fire at a street on a cold
winter morning in New Delhi yesterday.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
End of the road likely for island’s iconic cars
uba’s iconic stock of refurbished vintage American sedans from the 1950s
may be facing their last trips to
the garage soon, following the
historic thawing of ties between
Havana and Washington.
Flashy Pontiacs, Plymouths,
Dodges and Chevrolets, as well
as crudely patched and rickety
classics make up the Communist
island’s 70,000 “almendrones,”
cars affectionately called large
almonds for their rounded shape.
Fancier classic models are
rented for special occasions while
their more rundown counterparts
are driven as taxis and by families. But they all have one thing in
common: they survived the Cuban Revolution, the Cold War, and
the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The almendrones owe their
lasting nature to the master
skills of local mechanics, as well
as to the American embargo and
Cuban authorities who put the
brakes on replenishing the island’s stock of cars.
Purchasing and selling the vehicles, which has only been allowed for the past three years, is
only permitted for Cubans.
The easing of the п¬Ѓve-decade
US trade embargo, one part of
the rapprochement announced
Wednesday, is likely to awaken
the attention and desire of car
connoisseurs worldwide, who
are eager to snatch up the classic
“You would have to pay me
good money to sell my car,” Aramis Carmona, 40, said watching
tourists from his white and red
1953 Chevy with hubcaps and a
chrome bumper.
“It puts food on the table,” the
amateur mechanic said. “When
I have a little money, I buy motor oil instead of cooking oil, because I know that that will help
me feed my family.”
He said he had given new life
to the “wreck” he bought 10
years ago for $7,000.
During the Revolution, Fidel
Castro rode around in an Oldsmobile with guns hidden in the
Ernesto “Che” Guevara went
for rides, cigar in mouth, at the
wheel of a Studebaker. This was
before Cuba decided to swap its
Western cars for more “revolutionary” vehicles, like the
famous Russian GAZ-69 jeep
adopted by “El Comandante”
In the 1960s and 1970s, Peugeot 404s made in Argentina,
then Czech Skodas and Soviet
Ladas tried to take over the road
but with limited success, as the
vintage American models kept
passing from hand to hand.
Peugeots and Chinese models appeared on Cuban roads in
the 1990s and 2000s, but they,
too, never overpowered the omnipresent American classics.
However, few original parts remain under the cars’ hoods after
numerous patchups from crack
mechanics who have brought
them back from the dead multiple times.
Cuba’s famed
cigars get a
foot in door
of US market
ilagros Diaz has been
rolling cigars for 48
years, so long she cannot even smell tobacco anymore,
and she is thrilled that the US
market is п¬Ѓnally opening up for
her handmade Cuban “habanos”.
Since US President Obama
announced on Wednesday he
would restore diplomatic ties
with Cuba and start dismantling
economic sanctions, Americans
have been п¬Ѓling into the cigar
shop at the Hotel Nacional in
Havana, where she hand-rolls
cigars using techniques little
changed since the 19th century.
“The Americans!” she said, her
face lighting up as she clapped
her hands over her head. “They’re
not scared anymore. I’m super
happy because in my 67 years I
never thought I would see diplomatic relations. And we think
we’re going to sell more, because
this is just getting started.”
Cigars have been Cuba’s signature product ever since Christopher Columbus saw natives
smoking rolled up tobacco leaves
when he п¬Ѓrst sailed to the Caribbean island in 1492.
Fidel Castro, who took power
in Cuba’s 1959 revolution, was
often seen puffing on his favoured, long and thin lancero
model until he quit in 1985.
Cuban cigars are considered
by many as the best in the world
- brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Partagas - but the
US trade embargo blocks their
access to a market that last year
imported 317.6mn premium,
hand-rolled cigars.
When Obama unveiled the
new Cuba policy, which aims to
end more than п¬Ѓve decades of
conflict, among the first forbidden Cuban products legalised
was the cigar. Under new rules to
be implemented soon, the US will
make it easier for some Americans to travel to Cuba and they
will be able to return with $100
worth of alcohol and tobacco.
The restrictions could be further loosened over time.
Wholesale shipments directly
to the US would require the US
Congress to lift the embargo, or
for Obama to declare an exception for cigars under the Trading
with the Enemy Act. Even the
preliminary steps have delighted
aficionados on both sides of the
Florida Straits, as well as Cubans
working in the industry.
Diaz, the cigar-maker, says the
extra revenue could help tobacco
farmers better п¬Ѓnance their п¬Ѓelds
and improve transportation for
their workers. With carefully
dried tobacco leaves that come
from western Pinar de Rio province, she twists them into a bunch
and stuffs them into wooden
molds that are pressed tight for
at least 20 minutes. Then they are
ready for the outer layer, which
she carves with a “chaveta,” or
half-moon shaped blade.
When she worked in the
Romeo y Julieta factory in Havana, she says, she could turn
out 200 in an eight-hour shift,
though the pace at the hotel is a
lot easier, mostly for show.
Cuba’s government estimates
the windfall from the embargo
being lifted on Cuban cigars and
liquor would allow it to pump
more than $200mn a year into
social welfare programmes.
Their banned status has only
boosted their appeal among cigar lovers in the US. A small
black market means determined
customers can п¬Ѓnd them but
no one doubts there is pent-up
demand. “They have a certain
cachet which makes them more
desirable .... Everyone will want
to try one,” said David Weiss, the
owner of the Lone Wolf Cigar
Company, which has two stores
and a cigar lounge in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
The so-called “Cuban Five” (front left to right) Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, sing during Cuban musician
Silvio Rodriguez’s concert in Havana. The so-called Cuban Five were convicted for spying on anti-Castro exile groups in Florida and monitoring US military installations. They
are hailed as anti-terrorist heroes in Cuba for defending the country by infiltrating exile groups in Florida at a time when anti-Castro extremists were bombing Cuban hotels.
Man missing after Cuban
Coast Guard sinks boat
Tribune News Service
uba’s Coast Guard sank
a boat carrying 32 Cubans who were trying
to reach the Florida coast, according to a woman who survived and whose husband is
Masiel Gonzalez Castellano
told reporters in a telephone
conversation from Matanzas, Cuba, that her husband,
Leosbel Diaz Beoto, is missing after falling from the boat
that was repeatedly charged
Protests over Argentina
farm policies �to increase’
Buenos Aires
rgentine farmers will increase protests ahead of
in October 2015 to push candidates toward reforming policies
that growers say are killing their
profits, said Omar Principe, the
new head of one of the country’s
main farm groups.
Demonstrations in the past
have stopped Argentine farm
exports for months, straining
government revenue and putting
upward pressure on world food
Two of the three presumed
main candidates have promised
to lower the 35% export tax that
the government slaps on soybeans and loosen the strict corn
and wheat export quota system
that growers say complicate crop
Principe, named head of the
Argentina Agrarian Federation
earlier this month, said growers will increase the pressure
on candidates as October nears.
“The candidates are going to
present their platforms and we
are going to have to have an impact if we want to change the
policy model,” he said.
“Next year will be one of massive mobilisation. We are going
to put the issues that are facing
small and medium-sized farmers in front of the candidates,” he
Argentina is the world’s No. 3
soybean exporter and top supplier of soymeal livestock feed.
It is also a major producer of
wheat, shipped mostly to neighbouring Brazil, and corn.
The government of President
Cristina Fernandez was shaken
by massive farm protests six
years ago over her tax policies.
The 2008 farm rebellion reduced
exports for months and cut into
government revenue.
Relations between the twoterm leader and the key grains
sector have been severely
strained ever since. Banned from
running for a third consecutive
term and with a year left in office, Fernandez has shown no
sign of loosening the policies
that farmers say weigh on production and investment.
Buenos Aires Governor and
presidential hopeful Daniel Scioli, from Fernandez’s branch of
the Peronist party, has not yet
staked out a position on farm
But leading opposition п¬Ѓgures Mauricio Macri, mayor of
Buenos Aires, and Congressman Sergio Massa say it is time
to start cutting export taxes and
loosening export quotas. Meanwhile, tensions between the
government and the farm sector are increasing. Argentina’s
state bank has moved to bolster
the country’s foreign exchange
reserves by cutting credit to soy
farmers who are holding onto
an estimated 8mn tonnes of last
year’s beans as a hedge against
one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
The bank hopes to force farmers to sell soybeans in order to
п¬Ѓnance their operations, thereby
boosting the supply of beans
available for export and enabling
the government to collect more
export tax revenue.
and hit by a boat manned by
the Cuban Coast Guard.
“We were screaming and crying for help as the boat was sinking. But they ignored us. Instead,
they continued charging against
our boat. Some people dove
in the water and others stayed
aboard as the boat sank,” said
Gonzalez, who was contacted
during a news conference hosted in Miami by the Democracy
Movement. “They knew there
were children aboard, but continued to charge against us. They
didn’t care.”
The boat, said Gonzalez, was
carrying 32 people, including
seven women and two children.
One of the two children was her
eight-year-old son. She added
that the boat pilot “was from
The group, Gonzalez said,
boarded the boat at around 4am
on Monday. After being hit on
Tuesday morning, the Cuban
Coast Guard rescued most of the
survivors, who were then locked
up by the State Security in Versailles, Matanzas.
Gonzalez said she was released
on Thursday night with the rest
of the women and children. The
men remain under custody, she
Tribute to students
According to Ramon Saul
Sanchez, president of Democracy Movement, the people on the
boat said the incident occurred
in international waters at about
22 miles from Cuban territory.
“This is not the way to deal with
people who are just trying to flee
a brutal tyranny,” he said.
Sanchez and Sergio Diaz Alfonso, an uncle of the missing
man, appealed to the community
to help п¬Ѓnd Diaz Beoto, 33.
Diaz Alfonso, of Homestead,
learned of the incident and of
his nephew’s disappearance in
a phone call from the missing
man’s sister, Taily Diaz Beoto,
US seeking to oust
Maduro: minister
Mexican graphic artist Francisco Toledo flies a kite, with a
picture of one of the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa
Teacher Training College �Raul Isidro Burgos’, at the Arts
Center of San Miguel Etla, on the outskirts of Oaxaca. Toledo
made 43 kites from recycled paper at his workshop, and flew
them with children, as they honour the missing students,
local media reported.
who lives in Italy and is visiting
Cuba with her Italian husband.
“My niece told me that Leosbelito (Diaz Beoto) was missing and to call 911,” said Diaz
Alfonso. “I called and was told
that the incident had happened
in Cuba.”
Sanchez said he contacted the
US Coast Guard spokesperson in
Miami who confirmed that they
had received a call about a sunken boat and that they reported
the incident to the Cuban Coast
El Nuevo Herald could not
reach the US Coast Guard
ighter new US sanctions
against Venezuela are
aimed to foment violent unrest to try to overthrow
President Nicolas Maduro, his
defence minister said.
“This US interference is
aimed at promoting violence...
against our institutions” to
oust staunch US critic Maduro,
Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino told Telesur television.
US President Barack Obama
signed a law on Thursday to
allow sanctions against senior
Venezuelan officials accused of
violating the rights of protesters during anti-government
demonstrations that rocked
the country earlier this year.
The text approved just over a
week ago by both houses of the
US Congress would freeze assets and deny visas to Venezuelan authorities responsible for
violence and political detentions triggered by the protests.
Thousands of activists were
arrested and more than 43 people were killed during mass
demonstrations that raged from
February to May against the government of Maduro, the elected
successor of late leftist п¬Ѓrebrand
president Hugo Chavez.
Maduro has repeatedly accused the US of fomenting the
protests and seeking to overthrow and even assassinate him.
The Venezuelan leader condemned the sanctions law in
a series of Twitter posts this
week, calling it a “misstep”
that resembled the US policy
isolating Cuba, which was
overturned on Wednesday as
Obama and Cuba’s leader Raul
Castro announced a bilateral
“The background of all this
is much more nuanced. It is
dangerous because these are
the steps they are taking so that
they can try to have the world
see the Venezuelan state as a
failed one,” Padrino warned.
Caracas and Washington have
had strained diplomatic ties
since Chavez п¬Ѓrst came to power in 1999, leading to the withdrawal of ambassadors from
each other’s countries in 2010.
Still, the United States is the
main buyer of Venezuelan oil.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Four more militants hanged in Pakistan
Moratorium lifted after last
week’s school massacre; So
far six militants have been
hanged, more expected
soon ; Security tightened at
prisons for fear of Taliban
akistan hanged four militants yesterday in the second set of executions since
the government lifted a morato-
rium after the Taliban massacred
132 children and nine others at a
school last week.
None of those hanged has
anything to do with Tuesday’s
school rampage in Peshawar, and
some Pakistani commentators
have said the executions are intended to divert attention from
the failure to satisfy public demands to п¬Ѓnd the killers.
Four prisoners were executed
at the tightly guarded Faisalabad
jail for their role in attacking
former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, a senior govern-
ment official said. Two others
had been hanged at the same jail
on Friday.
The government has
“chosen to indulge in
vengeful blood-lust instead
of finding and prosecuting
those responsible”
A source in the local Punjab government identified the
four as Rasheed Qureshi, Zubair
Ahmad, Ghulam Sarwar and
Akhlaque Ahmed, also known as
Russi, who he said was Russian.
Pakistan is home to a range of
militant groups, many of them
linked to Al Qaeda, based in tribal areas.
They include an unknown
number of foreign п¬Ѓghters,
thought to be mostly Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens and Uighurs.
Official sources said more
convicts would be executed in
coming days, some of them in
the city of Lahore, the power
base of Prime Minister Nawaz
The Taliban have issued statements promising to stage more
Pakistanis visit
stricken school
to pay homage
housands of Pakistanis flocked to a
school in the northwestern city of Peshawar
yesterday to mourn the 149
people — mainly children
— massacred by the Taliban
and demand action against
Men, women and children
from Peshawar and other cities visited the army-run institution to offer prayers for
those killed in the country’s
deadliest-ever terror attack.
Pakistan has described
Tuesday’s bloody rampage
as its own “mini 9/11”, calling it a game-changer in the
п¬Ѓght against extremism.
Mourners placed flowers,
bouquets, placards and lighted candles in front of photos
of murdered students.
Masons laid bricks and
poured cement to raise the
height of the wall around
the Army Public School as
mourners chanted slogans
such as “Death to terrorists”, “Long live Pakistan
army”, “The blood of martyrs will not go waste” and
“Taliban are savages”.
“What kind of a person
can kill a child?” asked local resident Imdad Hussain,
who came to pray for the
children. “What kind of justice is this, what kind of Islam is this?” he asked, urging the government swiftly
to wipe out terrorists.
A local woman, her face
Pakistani mourners leave bouquets as they pay their respects outside the army-run school
where 149 people were massacred by the Taliban, in Peshawar yesterday.
covered with a shawl, said
parents had thought their
sons and daughters would
be safe in school. But now
they believed their children
were not safe anywhere.
“First they attacked
mosques, then markets and
now they have started attacking schools. We cannot
tolerate this. We can die, but
we will not let our children
be killed,” she said.
Shugufta Bibi, 28, told
AFP her friend lost his son
in Tuesday’s attack and she
had come to pay respects to
his memory.
“I demand that the government close in on the
terrorists and hang them in
public,” Bibi said.
Tributes and condolences
poured in on social media websites Facebook and
The city’s Christian community will cancel Christmas
celebrations and will just
hold a service on December
25, said the Rev Patrick John
of All Saints Church.
The school massacre has
been condemned even by
the Afghan Taliban, who are
loosely affiliated with the
Taliban in Pakistan.
Pakistan put all its
airports on red alert on
Saturday as the military
against militants in the
northwestern tribal areas.
The Taliban said the
school attack by a suicide
squad was revenge for the
killing of militants’ families
in that offensive.
The military has since
June been waging the assault against longstanding
Taliban and other militant
But a series of fresh
strikes since the Peshawar attack, in which
dozens of alleged militants were killed, suggest
the campaign is being
stepped up.
The army has also been
deployed to guard major
prisons housing militants.
Officials have said there
would be up to ten more
executions in coming days.
Counselling for traumatised children
The Peshawar incident in which Taliban attacked a school
killing over 130 children last week has not only traumatised
children who survived the massacre but their families and
other children as well.
The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has
prepared counselling sessions on “post-traumatic stress
management” for the children who survived the attack. In
the second phase, the facility will be offered to students of
other schools of the country.
According to an official statement, sessions will be held with
students, their families and teachers, which would help them
recover from the shock.
After co-ordination with key stakeholders, the National
Health Services ministry has notified a committee
comprising members from mental health and noncommunicable disease co-ordination cell of the ministry,
Army Medical Crops, psychiatrists from Islamabad and
Peshawar, WHO collaborating centre and Unicef.
The committee held an emergency meeting with an
objective to preparing a counselling sessions plan.
Moreover, information, education and communication
(IEC) material, messages, modules on Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder would be made available for public.
Another objective of the committee is to develop strategy to
mitigate effects of the incident through media.
It was decided that the required plan would be finalised by
the ministry in consultation with Prof Dr Farid Minhas of WHO
collaborating centre and Prof Rizwan Taj of Pims, while Unicef
would be providing relevant support.
Dr Assad Hafeez, the executive director, Health Services
Academy, said over the weekend all students of the country
had been affected by the unfortunate incident.
“The army team which has been carrying out rehabilitation
activities in Army Public School, Peshawar, contacted
the NHS ministry and sought counselling facility for the
traumatised children and families,” he said.
“We still have experts who did post-trauma counselling of
the survivors of 2005 earthquake in Azad Kashmir, Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa and other areas of the country,” he said.
Hafeez said: “The ministry has decided to form a committee
which in the first phase will provide counselling to survivors
of Army Public School Peshawar. In the second phase, the
committee members will provide counselling to other
children,” he said.
Bullet-riddled bodies found in SW Pakistan
uthorities yesterday
found eight bullet
riddled bodies in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Baluchistan province,
which is facing a tribal insurgency, sectarian violence
and Taliban attacks, officials said.
Five bodies were recovered from the district of Pa-
shin and three from that of
Ziarat, provincial home secretary Akbar Durrani said.
“We have found eight
bodies today which are being brought to Quetta for
identification and further
investigation,” Durrani said.
Local police confirmed
the discovery of bodies but
had no immediate details.
Baluchistan, Pakistan’s
largest but least developed
and most sparsely populated province, is racked
by militants, banditry and
sectarian violence between
Sunnis and Shias.
In October the Human
Rights Commission of Pakistan said that more than
300,000 people, including
minority Shias and Hindus,
had left Baluchistan over
the past 10 years due to rising unrest.
Pakistani rights group
Defence for Human Rights
says as many as 2,000 people have disappeared from
across the country, many
from Baluchistan.
Rights groups accuse the
government of gross violations including holding
people in secret and failing
to charge them or put them
on trial.
Court and high courts have
also been investigating
cases of missing people and
issuing warnings to the government to recover these
attacks around Pakistan in retaliation for the executions of any
of their п¬Ѓghters.
Security has been tightened
around major prisons, reflecting fears that the militants,
who are п¬Ѓghting to topple the
government and set up a state
governed by Islamic law, might
try to attack jails and free inmates.
Rights groups believe Pakistan has about 8,000 prisoners
on death row, more than 500 of
them for terrorist offences.
Interior Minister Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan told reporters
police had arrested a number of
suspects in connection with the
school attack, but gave no details.
The UN human rights office
appealed to Pakistan on Friday
to refrain from resuming executions.
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at the US-based Human
Rights Watch, said yesterday the
government had “chosen to indulge in vengeful blood-lust instead of finding and prosecuting
those responsible”.
Roadside bomb and Taliban
attack kill 14 in Afghanistan
roadside bomb and
a Taliban attack on
a police post have
killed 14 people including
children in Afghanistan,
officials said yesterday.
Seven civilians died
when a bomb hit a pickup truck travelling from
Asadabad, the capital of
the eastern province of
Kunar, to Nari district
near the border with Pakistan on Saturday.
“Last evening a pickup
truck, with women and
children onboard, was
blown up by a roadside
bomb, that killed seven
people including two little girls,” Nari police chief
Mohamed Yousuf said.
He blamed the Taliban
for the blast, which also
left three women wounded.
Danish, the district chief
of Nari, confirmed the in-
cident, part of worsening
violence as US-led foreign combat troops leave
Afghanistan after 13 years
of п¬Ѓghting.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility
for the blast, but roadside
bombs are the Taliban’s
weapon of choice in their
battle against Afghan and
foreign forces.
The bombs also increasingly kill and wound
A UN report released
on Friday said 3,188 civilians had been killed and
6,429 injured as of the
end of November.
The United Nations
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report warned
that civilian casualties
were expected to exceed
10,000 by the end of the
year, making it the deadliest year for non-combatants since the organisation began issuing its
reports in 2009.
Compared to 2013, this
year saw a 33% rise in cas-
ualties among children
and a 12% increase among
The Taliban were accountable for 75% of all
civilian casualties, the report said.
Casualties among Afghan troops and police
have also soared as they
rather than foreign troops
bear the brunt of the
п¬Ѓghting. More than 4,600
were killed in the п¬Ѓrst 10
months of this year.
In northern Afghanistan Saturday seven police were killed and about
a dozen wounded when
some 200 Taliban п¬Ѓghters
attacked their post in the
Qushtapa area of Jawzjan
province, provincial police spokesman Ahmad
Farid Azizi said.
“We asked for air support from Nato, but they
didn’t come. After hours
of п¬Ѓghting the police were
п¬Ѓnally overpowered and
lost their lives,” he said.
Nato’s combat mission
will end on December 31.
Al Qaeda
with pain’
l Qaeda’s regional branch
yesterday said its hearts
were “bursting with
pain” over the Taliban’s massacre at a Pakistan school and
urged the militants to target only
security forces.
The attack on Tuesday killed
149 people — mostly children —
in the northwestern Pakistani
city of Peshawar.
“Our hearts are bursting
with pain and grief over this
incident,” Osama Mehmood,
spokesman for Al Qaeda South
Asia chapter said in a four-page
emailed statement.
“There is no doubt that the list
of crimes and atrocities of the
Pakistani army has crossed the
limit and it is true that this army
is ahead of everyone in America’s
slavery and genocide of Muslims... but it does not mean that
we should seek revenge from oppressed Muslims,” Mehmood said.
“The guns that we have taken
up against Allah’s enemy America and its pet rulers and slave
army should not be aimed towards children, women and our
Muslim people,” he added.
Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the creation
of the new South Asia branch
in September to “wage jihad” in
Myanmar, Bangladesh and India.
The Afghan Taliban, who are
loosely affiliated with Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have
also condemned the attack, saying killing innocent children was
against Islam.
Pakistan described the bloody
rampage as its own “mini 9/11”,
saying it was a game changer in
its п¬Ѓght against terror.
The army has been waging a
major offensive against Taliban
and other militant strongholds
for the last six months.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Police arrest
driver who fled
accident site
Manila Times
he driver who allegedly
ran over and dragged
a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
(MMDA) traffic enforcer along
Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue
(Edsa) in Cubao, Quezon City
last Friday morning has been
arrested by the police and is
now facing charges.
MMDA Traffic Discipline
Office head Crisanto Saruca
identified the suspect as Mark
Ian Libunao, the driver of an
Isuzu Sportivo, who fled after
the incident.
Saruca, a lawyer, said Libunao was arrested by the police
on Saturday, together with the
vehicle owner, Dante Borgueta,
of San Miguel, Bulacan.
MMDA traffic constable
Sonny Acosta, who was “hit
and dragged” by a red Isuzu
Sportivo while manning traffic along Edsa at around 8 am
last Friday, is now confined at
St Luke’s Hospital.
Saruca said that Acosta, one
of the more than 400 MMDA
traffic enforcers deployed
along Edsa to help ease traf-
fic flow during the Christmas
season, flagged down the vehicle driver for committing a
traffic violation inside a bus
loading bay.
But Libunao allegedly sped
off, hitting and dragging Acosta under the SUV several metres away.
Fellow constable, Liberty
Tongco, who was around during the incident, was able to
take down the SUV’s plate
number which was subsequently traced to Borgueta as
the owner.
Acosta sustained severe injuries in the head and other
parts of his body and is now
in comatose condition at the
intensive care unit of the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City
Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday filed charges of reckless
imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries and driving with an expired driver’s
license against Libunao.
Assistant Prosecutor Corazon Romano п¬Ѓled the criminal
complaint on behalf of Acosta
against suspect Libunao.
Romano recommended a
bail bond of PhP8,000 for the
provisional release of Libunao.
Head of Philippine
relief efforts resigns
he head of Philippine
government efforts to
rehabilitate areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan last
year said yesterday he had quit
his post.
Panfilo Lacson, a former
senator and national police
chief, said in an email that he
submitted his irrevocable resignation to President Benigno
Aquino on Friday. It takes effect on February 10.
Lacson said the government
needed to create a permanent
agency that would oversee rehabilitation efforts for all disasters.
“I honestly think that having a permanent agency han-
dle all kinds of disasters is the
best solution to strengthen
our country’s disaster risk response,” he said, noting that
his office’s mandate was limited to areas affected by Haiyan.
Lacson would step down
just four months after Aquino approved a $3.8bn plan to
rebuild infrastructure, resettle more than 1mn people and
provide livelihood assistance
to people affected by the typhoon.
“Without fear of contradiction, I can honestly say, I
have done my job and more,”
he said.
Typhoon Haiyan slammed
into the Philippines on November 8, 2014, leaving more
than 7,300 people dead or
missing and displacing more
than 4mn.
Revenue dept eyes tax
on online business
By Leander C Domingo
Manila Times
ureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials in
Region 2 plan to tap online business entrepreneurs as
a new source of revenue.
“This is part of our tax
sourcing programme searching for new tax sources. How
to monitor them is now being
worked out,” said Marina De
Guzman, BIR regional director
for Cagayan Valley.
De Guzman said small online entrepreneurs may be
excused in the meantime because “our priority are those
who are engaged into largescale business ventures on
Festival of Lights
the World Wide Web.” Aside
from online business entrepreneurs, De Guzman said
the zonal value of all properties of taxpayers in the region
is being considered as a new
tax source.
Tax collection in the region
this year was dropped after big
mining companies in Nueva
Vizcaya started paying taxes
directly to the bureau’s central office in Manila under the
BIR’s new scheme of centralised payments.
Among the big mining companies are the Melbournebased OceanaGold in Didipio
village in Kasibu town and the
British FCF Minerals Corporation in Runruno village in
Quezon town.
Spectators watch the Festival of Lights displays along a financial district in Makati city, Metro Manila yesterday. Filipinos are known for celebrating Christmas the longest by
playing yuletide songs on local radio stations and at malls as early as November until the observance of the Three Kings in the first week of January.
Call for special session
to probe train fare hike
By Reina Tolentino
& Jefferson Antiporda
Manila Times
ome lawmakers have prodded the House leadership
to call a special session
even during the Christmas break
to inquire if the fare increase for
the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and
2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT
3) announced on Saturday by the
Department of Transportation
and Communications (DOTC) is
The DOTC said the fare increase will take effect on
January 4, 2015.
Bayan Muna party-list representatives Neri Colmenares and
Carlos Zarate and Sen. Francis
Escudero believe that there is no
reason to raise fares in the three
rail lines.
“We are not against development or the extension of the rail
systems but we are against passing government irresponsibility and corporate greed, not to
mention corrupt practices onto
hapless commuters. We are also
against sweetheart deals,” Colmenares, senior deputy minority
leader, said.
“As it is, we are calling on
the House leadership to call for
a special session for this or for
the transportation committee
to hold hearings for HR 111 even
during the Christmas break because the fare increase will be
implemented as early as the п¬Ѓrst
Monday of January,” he added.
He was referring to House
Passengers wait for the Metro at a station.
Resolution 111 п¬Ѓled early this
year by Bayan Muna that sought
an inquiry into the proposed
MRT-LRT fare hike.
“It is government’s responsibility to provide or subsidise
public utilities like the MRT and
LRT lines. Losses brought about
by debt, corruption and government crises should not be passed
on to the public,” Colmenares
He dismissed the “user-pays”
principle that was used to determine the new fare rates as “just a
way for the government to gradually rescind on its responsibility and ultimately privatise the
mass transport system.”
Colmenares noted that instead
of implementing a fare hike, the
government should increase its
subsidy for the rail lines.
As many as 800,000 passengers ride the MRT 3 a day, while
the LRT1 and LRT2 ferry about
500,000 and 250,000 passengers a day, respectively.
Zarate also slammed the government for raising LRT and
MRT rates.“The Aquino government has adopted privatisation
as its escape hatch whenever it
needs to bail out its public utilities buried in debt due to poor
management and/or corruption,” the lawmaker said.
“Before proposing any increases, the high cost of operations and the large amount of
debt incurred by the project
should п¬Ѓrst be investigated, spe-
cifically on whether taxpayers
are actually subsidising debt incurred by the private consortium
that built the MRT (3). There is
need for the government to look
into the operational costs of the
MRT and LRT lines, to check
if there might be excessive expenses or mismanagement of
funds,” Zarate added.
Currently, the government allocates P12bn a year to subsidise
LRT and MRT operations.
Under the new rates, a base
fare of P11 will be implemented
and P1 will be charged for every
succeeding kilometre.
Escudero yesterday also blasted the DOTC for its decision to
increase MRT and LRT rates,
saying there is no justifiable rea-
son for the three train systems to
impose higher fares.But Malacanang justified the fare adjustment as “reasonable and timely.”
In a radio interview, Presidential Communications Secretary
Herminio Coloma Jr said the
fare hike will enable government
to allot more budget for social
“It’s about time we did what
is right,” Coloma said. “It is also
time to stop the huge subsidy for
each (MRT and LRT) passenger and use it to fund important
social services that will benefit
millions of Filipinos,” he added.
A recent study conducted by
Sen. Grace Poe showed that majority of MRT 3 commuters are
not satisfied with the service.
The study covered 100 MRT
3 commuters and their observations on amenities found inside
every station including comfort
rooms, elevators and escalators,
as well as queuing time.
The MRT 3 got an average
grade of 4,which is equivalent
to conditional failure. Only two
stations of the train system–Ayala and Magallanes–got a grade
of 2.5 or satisfactory while four
stations got a failing grade of 5 –
Kamuning, Cubao, Shaw Boulevard and Taft Avenue.
Most of the respondents complained about severe congestion
inside the coaches as well as the
poor air-conditioning system.
“They (MRT and LRT) have
no right to demand higher fare
rates, they must improve their
services and facilities first,” one
commuter said.
Lanao sultan proposes debate on Bangsamoro law
By Julmunir I Jannaral
Manila Times
Liberation Front (MILF) and
Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
“This law is no better than
RA 9054 which is the
enactment of the 1996
Final Peace Agreement
between the Philippine
government and the Moro
National Liberation Front
(MNLF) which contains
provisions which are
culturally erroneous...”
he president of the Muslim Bar Association of
the Philippines, who is
also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Party (BMP), has challenged the proponents of the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to
a nationwide television debate.
Firdausi I Y Abbas, who
holds a doctorate degree from
University of the Philippines,
and who is the Sultan of Lanao,
directed the challenge at the
leaders of the Moro Islamic
Abbas said if Leonen, who
was former chairman of the
government negotiating panel
during the talks with the MILF,
refuses to accept the challenge,
anybody from the government
side will do to represent the affirmative side.
He said the debate will be
based on the resolution: the
Bangsamoro Basic Law is the
solution to the age-old Moro
Problem. The issues Abbas
suggested are the BBL will end
the conflict in the south; the
BBL will cause a closer relationship between Muslims and
Christians; the BBL will usher
in economic progress; the BBL
will alleviate the economic
and social difficulties among
the Moros; the BBL will create
a stronger bond between the
Philippines and Malaysia.
Abbas was captain of the
undefeated UP debating team
that won the National Union
of Students of the Philippines
(NUSP) Graduate Level Debating Tournament in 1968.
Abbas was also named Best
Debater in the prestigious UP
Open Debates in which his team
also emerged as the champion.
He emphasised that the debate will be between the proponents and opponents of the
proposed BBL from the Bangsamoro Party (BMP) and the
Muslim Bar Association of the
Philippines, which he both
The debate could be two on
two or one on one using the Oxford-Oregon format of debate
where the speakers are given
time for their main speeches,
interpellation, and rebuttal.
Abbas emphasised that the
BBL puts the Bangsamoro once
more at a crossroads. “Such a
forum is imperative for transparency and for public information,” he said.
“The MILF must overcome
the position of the Muslim Bar
and the BMP that we cannot
accept the proposed law as Moros and as Muslims, for this law
distorts Bangsamoro history
and is pernicious to Islam,” Abbas explained.
“This law is no better than
RA 9054 which is the enactment of the 1996 Final Peace
Agreement between the Philippine government and the
Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) which contains provisions which are culturally erroneous and blasphemous,” he
He said the debaters of the
negative side could include officers of United Filipino Move-
ment, and may either be lawyers Leonard de Vera or Jose
Grapilon, both former presidents of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines.
De Vera was also a prominent
UP debater and also once captained the UP debating team.
The Conference of Bangsamoro Islamic Organisations
(CBMIO) that was organised
in 1985 and is composed of 58
national Moro organisations,
is preparing to host the debate
that will be held in Manila.
Officers of the CBMIO will
request Manila Mayor Joseph
Estrada to sponsor the event.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
displaced in
Lanka floods
eavy rains set off floods
across three provinces
in Sri Lanka, leaving
more than 40,000 people displaced, local authorities said
Northern, northcentral and
eastern provinces were hit by
floods that came after two days
of rain, forcing thousands to
take refuge in schools, temples
and community halls, officials
in the provinces said.
The worst-hit area was Batticaloa district, 300km east
of the capital, where some
30,000 persons were affected.
Anuradhapura district, 180km
northeast of Colombo, was
also badly hit.
Thousands more had to be
evacuated by the army and
navy officials, including from
tourist hot spots such as Anuradhapura where ancient
ruins are a popular attraction.
The towns of Anuradhapura
and Polonnaruwa in the northcentral province are also home
to some of Sri Lanka’s largest
rice cultivation with hundreds
of dams scattered around the
region to provide water in the
usually arid region.
Lashed by heavy showers
for days as many as 29 of the
big dams and 83 of the medium ones have reached danger
level, forcing sluice gates to
be opened, threatening people
living downstream.
Sri Lankan residents wade
through flood waters in
Matugama, some 64km south
of Colombo, during June
heavy monsoon rains.
“The safety of pilgrims and
foreign visitors is being given
priority. They have been evacuated from hotels near major
tanks while pilgrims were removed from the sacred city,”
Anuradhapura district sec-
Courts issue
fresh arrest
warrants for
By Mizan Rahman
wo more courts - one in
Dhaka and the other in
Mymensingh – yesterday issued fresh arrest warrants
for BNP senior vice chairman
Tarique Rahman in separate
cases п¬Ѓled for his disparaging
remarks about Bangabandhu
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Besides, a Munshiganj court
summoned Tarique, the eldest
son of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman and current chairperson
Khaleda Zia, in another defamation case п¬Ѓled against him.
In Dhaka, metropolitan
magistrate Wais Kuruni Khan
Chowdhury issued an arrest
warrant for Tarique in a defamation and sedition case п¬Ѓled
by Hawkers League general
secretary M Abdul Mannan.
On Thursday, M Abdul Mannan п¬Ѓled the case against Tarique and 500 other BNP activists, including three senior
leaders, at the court of Dhaka
metropolitan magistrate for his
derogatory comments.
BNP adviser Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin, joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and its
international affairs secretary
Majedur Rahman were among
the accused in the case.
In Mymensingh, judge Ahsan Habib of the Cognisance
Court-1 issued an arrest warrant for the BNP leader in a
case filed by district unit leader of ruling Awami League’s
student front Bangladesh
Chhatra League (BCL).
Besides, judicial magistrate
Harun Or Rashid of Munshiganj asked Tarique to appear
before the court on January
25 to explain his comments
against Bangabandhu in a
compensation suit.
Town BCL president M Nasibun Islam Nobel п¬Ѓled the
10bn taka compensation suit
against Tarique.
Meanwhile, four more defamation cases were п¬Ѓled against
Tarique in Chuadanga, Bogra,
Sylhet and Bhola districts
yesterday for the same reason.
On Thursday, Dhaka metropolitan magistrate M Yunus
Khan issued an arrest warrant
for Tarique after M Mostafizur
Rahman Dulal, a member of
Dhaka Bar, п¬Ѓled a defamation
case against Tarique Rahman
for his disparaging remarks on
On December 15, Tarique
called Sheikh Mujibur Rahman a “great Razakar” (a collaborator of Pakistan army in
1971 liberation war) for what
he said disbanding Awami
League calling it a “party
of thugs”, and claimed that
Bangabandhu’s family had no
contribution to the country’s
Liberation War.
Tarique, addressing a discussion marking the Victory
Day in London said, “Awami
League claims that it’s a party
of war of independence, but it’s
Sheikh Mujib who had banned
Awami League describing it
as a party of thugs. So, if it’s a
party of liberation war, Sheikh
Mujib is a �great Razakar’ for
obliterating Awami League.”
Arrest warrant for Zia’s
former aide: A Bangladesh
court yesterday issued arrest
warrants against 11 people, including Khaleda Zia’s former
political secretary Harris Chowdhury, in the murder case of
former п¬Ѓnance minister Shah A
M S Kibria, a media report said.
The arrest warrants were issued by Habiganj senior judicial
magistrate Rashid Ahmed Miron, reported.
Investigation officer Meherun
Nesa Parul submitted to the court
a supplementary chargesheet
yesterday which also included names of BNP’s Ariful Haq
Chowdhury and G K Gaus. While
Haq is the mayor of Sylhet, Gaus
is serving as Habiganj mayor for a
second consecutive term.
retary Mahinda Seneviratne
told reporters.
Severe rain is expected to
continue during the Christmas
week, dampening relief efforts.
Met department forecaster
Jeewan Karunaratne said a
disturbance in the upper atmosphere had activated the
northeast monsoon.
“We are expecting heavy
rains in the coming weeks as
atmospheric disturbances are
occurring in a wave pattern,”
he said.
Landslide warnings have
also been issued to four
districts in central Sri Lanka.
The floods have also hampered road and railway transport services. Saturday’s trains
carrying mail from Colombo to
the east and north were cancelled after tracks were submerged at several locations,
local media reported.
“We are providing cooked
meals and evacuating people from the affected areas,”
disaster management spokesman
Lal Kumara said.
Anuradhapura and Batticaloa were two areas hit by
a severe drought in Sri Lanka
from August to November,
which destroyed large areas of
paddy п¬Ѓelds.
President Abdul Hamid during his visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Hamid’s delayed
arrival leads to Taj
Mahal chaos
undreds of tourists
who had purchased
entry tickets to visit
the Taj Mahal were left in the
lurch, when they had to return
without being able to view the
monument due to the delayed
arrival of the Bangladesh President M Abdul Hamid.
The Archaeological Survey
of India (ASI) had informed
the public earlier that the site
would remain closed for a couple of hours in the afternoon
but the dignitary’s delayed ar-
rival on Saturday led to chaos
at the entry gates, where thousands had to wait for several
“And when our turn came,
the gates were closed for the
day,” said Ramesh Bhai, a tourist from Ahmedabad.
Most tourists were not aware
of the arrival of the foreign
dignitary and the weekend
pressure added to the trouble.
“The least the ASI could
have done was to allow tourists
to visit the Taj the following
day with the same tickets,” said
hotelier Surendra Sharma.
“It is the local administration and the security agencies
who decide these matters. We
can do nothing about this,” said
NK Pathak, ASI chief, Agra.
Tourists blamed the travel
agents for the situation.
The Bangladesh president who spent about half an
hour at the site wrote in the
visitors’ register: “I am truly
delighted to visit this great
architectural wonder of the
world epitomising eternal
love and the height of human
excellence. The great monument reminds us of the glorious past of the subcontinent.
Let the spirit behind Taj Mahal’s creation inspire all with
love for humankind.”
Climber honoured
he Nepal government,
with the collaboration and
support of the United Nations (UN), has launched a national Zero Hunger Challenge,
a major initiative to eradicate
hunger in the Himalayan country
by 2025.
The National Zero Hunger
Challenge (NZHC) was launched
last week in the nation’s capital by Nepal Prime Minister
Sushil Koirala, according to
the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO).
It said during the launch, a
roadmap was presented by the
Nepal government for the formulation of a national action
plan to meet the Zero Hunger
Challenge in Nepal.
The high-level event was attended by Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for
the Least Developed Countries,
Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and UN Resident
Coordinated in Nepal, Jamie
Hiroyuki Konuma, Assistant
Director-General and Regional
Representative for Asia and the
Pacific, represented the UN FAO.
“The launch of the Nepal National Zero Hunger Challenge
by the government is a decisive
move forward for Nepal as it
works to eradicate hunger,” said
During a presentation to
launch participants, Konuma
said the region was still home to
nearly two-thirds of the world’s
805 chronically-undernourished
“While the world presently
produces enough food for all, it
is not evenly distributed and one
in nine people, usually the most
disadvantaged in our societies,
goes to bed hungry each night.”
“This is why determined action, like that taken today by
the government of Nepal is so
The Zero Hunger Challenge
was initiated at global level by
UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon in 2012. Timor-Leste and
Myanmar have also launched
national zero hunger challenges.
alliance gears up
for protest
Nepal’s constituent assembly member Nabindra Raj Joshi, second right, congratulates Nepalese climber Susmita Maskey, first
right, the first Nepalese woman climber to conquer seven highest summits on seven continents, in Kathmandu. Susmita Maskey
made successful ascents of Mount Everest in Asia, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Aconcagua in South
America, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount McKinley (Denali) in North America, and recently Mount Vinson Massif in Antartica
in her Seven Summits Expeditions.
US court rejects plea against
naming of street after Ziaur
By Mizan Rahman
court in Chicago, United
States dismissed Bangladesh’s plea to dismantle an honorary street sign for
former president Ziaur Rahman on North Clark Street in
the city’s Rogers Park area.
Bangladesh ambassador to
the US, Mohammad Ziauddin,
said Ziaur was unfit to be given
a street sign in his honour, citing what he said was his complicity in the 1975 assassination
of then president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and members of
his family during a coup.
It is Bangladesh’s official position to oppose the Chicago
recognition for Ziaur Rahman, a
message quoting Ziauddin and
reaching Dhaka said yesterday.
“We believe the US has a very
strong record on the rule of law,
human rights and good governance,” the ambassador said,
adding: “Ziaur ruled Bangladesh as a tyrant and an oppressor, and this honour stands in
opposition to those values.”
The request to put up a pair
of familiar brown street signs
on North Clark Street in Rogers
Park sailed through the Chicago
City Council, joining the 1,500
other honorary roadways aldermen had approved in 50 years.
When 49th Ward Alderman
Joe Moore backed the street
naming on behalf of a group of
residents, including one who
donated $1,000 to his campaign
fund, he thought he was engaging in the kind of retail politics
that is a Chicago alderman’s
stock in trade.
But Moore said he got a call
from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s
office saying the US State Department had been contacted
by the Bangladeshi ambassador,
who objected to the honour.
Moore went ahead and put up
the signs on the 6600 and 6800
blocks of North Clark despite
the State Department request.
“Bangladeshi politics is pretty rough and tumble,” Moore
said. On balance, he decided,
Ziaur Rahman seemed like “one
of the good guys.”
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh
embassy has sent letters to cities across the US to try to enlighten mayors about Ziaur so
he does not receive additional
recognition of the kind he is
getting in Chicago.
Moore noted, since 1997,
part of Devon Avenue in the
50th Ward has had the honor-
ary name “Sheikh Mujib Way”
in honour of Sheikh Mujibur
“So the other side has its
recognition,” the alderman said.
A group of Bangladeshi citizens have п¬Ѓled a plea, seeking
removal of street sign named
after Ziaur Rahman.
Their lawyer, Al-Haroon Husain, dismissed Moore’s argument that he’s equalising the
Bangladeshi political calculus
on Chicago streets. “You should
consider the merits of the individual...It should not be a question based on a political party.”
For some in Rogers Park, seeing Ziaur Rahman so honoured
is offensive, Husain said. “It
would be like a Russian walking
down the street and being confronted with �Honorary Joseph
Stalin Way.’ You do not want to
see that.”
The opposition alliance in
Nepal led by the UCPN (Maoist)
yesterday formed an 11-member
taskforce to announce protest
programmes after their talks
with the Nepali Congress and the
CPN-UML ended inconclusively,
reports said.
The meeting of the alliance held
at the parliamentary party office
of the UCPN (Maoist) formed the
taskforce comprising Krishna
Bahadur Mahara, Hridayesh
Tripathi, Laxman Lal Karna and
Jitendra Narayan Dev, among
others. The opposition parties
had formed the alliance, which
comprises of Maoist, Madhesbased, Janajati and other small
parties – to forge a united stance
on the contents of the new
The taskforce has been
asked to work on the protest
programmes today and it
would be unveiled soon after
a meeting of the alliance
leaders today afternoon, said
chairman of Samajwadi Janata
Party Prem Bahadur Singh. The
opposition alliance meeting also
decided to hold parleys with
the ruling parties and protest
The three major political parties
as well as the Madhes-based
ones have been holding a
series of bilateral and all-party
meetings on the disputed issues
in the constitution as well as
the power-sharing roadmap but
have not been able to reach any
agreement. The deadline on
promulgating the Constitution is
January 22 next year.
A meeting at Prime Minister
Sushil Koirala’s official residence
at Baluwatar on Saturday ended
with the UCPN (Maoist) and the
CPN-UML leaders trading charges
against each other. Leaders of the
UCPN (Maoist) walked out of the
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
P.O.Box 2888
Doha, Qatar
[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery)
Fax 44350474
Driven to distraction:
risks of using mobile
phones at the wheel
Most of the motorists in Qatar are well aware of the
fact that it takes not even a second to cause an accident.
A shift of attention from the road ahead, maybe it is for
a fleeting glance of the car music system screen, or to
adjust the air-conditioner, settings, is sometimes enough
to distract a motorist causing him or her to rear-end the
vehicle in front or stray into the adjacent lanes.
This scenario is highly likely in a bustling country like
Qatar and especially so in the capital city of Doha, which
is now becoming increasingly well known for long queues
of slow-moving traffic, as a result of more vehicles
being added on to the roads at a never-before scale, road
diversions precipitated by a construction boom, and
minor and major pile-ups.
Gulf Times reported in August 2011, quoting a senior
official of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), that road traffic
accidents were mostly caused by speeding, not fastening
seat belts and using mobile phone, leading to great losses,
including loss of lives and economic loss for public and
private sectors.
Another top
official, cited in
the same report,
had also asserted
that the traffic law
is implemented for
everyone. Three
years later, sadly
many of the factors mentioned above, continue to cause
accidents in Qatar, like in many other parts of the world.
The Traffic Department has undoubtedly stepped up
its vigil in the recent months, with special emphasis on
arresting errant motorists who overtake from the right,
and those not wearing seatbelts. But more needs to be
done, especially against those motorists who continue
to use handheld mobile phones while driving and cause
A casual scan of a busy intersection where motorists
are waiting at the signals will prove that a majority of
them are engrossed in using their mobile phones. It is
illegal to use a handheld mobile phone even while waiting
at a signal. Many of these motorists continue to use
their handsets even after moving from the stop. It is also
common to see some motorists shifting their attention
between the road and a handheld mobile phone at an
alarmingly frequent pace.
As Traffic Department officials reportedly confirmed
recently also, mobile phone usage remains one of the top
causes of road accidents in Qatar. The violators seem
to be unperturbed by the QR500 п¬Ѓne or the potentially
dangerous consequences of their reckless habit. This
situation warrants a stringent enforcement of the traffic
law and harsher punishment.
Confiscation of the vehicle for a week or so, as it is
being done now for the overtaking from the right offence,
should be ideally slapped on those motorists found using
a handheld mobile phone while behind the wheels. Repeat
offenders should get their driving licence suspended.
Almost all modern vehicles and mobile phones have
built-in Bluetooth capability, which allows them to be
paired and connected during driving. Even if a vehicle
does not have the feature, the mobile phone could be
paired with a Bluetooth earphone or speaker. All these
options are available at a minimal cost if needed, though
scientific research has proven that they also distract
motorists to a certain extent. So, the best and the
foolproof option is not to use a mobile phone at all while
During August this year, the MoI had asked residents to
cease talking and sending messages on their phones while
driving. The question is how many of us can do that.
Mobile phone usage
remains one of the
top causes of road
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2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved
10 things to know about
China, Latin America
and the environment
New book argues Chinese
firms’ presence in Latin
America focuses on the
most environmentallydamaging sectors
By David Hill
uestion: when did
contemporary political
and media debate start
on China’s “entry” into
the Western hemisphere? Answer:
January 1997, when Panama awarded
concessions to a Chinese company to
operate port facilities on the Atlantic
and Pacific coasts at both ends of
the Panama Canal, just after having
obtained control of it from the US.
Question: when did Latin America
and the Caribbean wake up to
its dramatically expanding new
relationship with China? Answer:
November 2004, when the then
Chinese president Hu Jintao visited
Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba and
apparently spoke of the possibility
of investing $100bn in the region although the Chinese government
later claimed it had been mistranslated
and the $100bn referred to bilateral
That, at least, is what Evan Ellis,
a researcher at the US Army War
College and considered by some to
be a leading expert on China-Latin
America relations, states in his new
book China on the Ground in Latin
America: Challenges for the Chinese
and Impacts on the Region. Ellis’s main
argument is that in the last few years
the Chinese have started to establish
a new, “significant” physical presence
in Latin America and the Caribbean
- following trade deals, acquisitions,
loans and loan-backed construction
projects, among other things. As
a result, Ellis argues that China
now п¬Ѓnds itself, for the п¬Ѓrst time
in its 5,000 year history, connected
to however many million nonChinese people in other countries
and dependent on the “success
and well-being of its commercial
representatives in distant parts of the
While the focus of his book is
Chinese acquisitions, loans, other
commercial dealings and the
challenges these pose for the Chinese
government, companies and Chinese
people living in Latin America, Ellis
has various things to say about the
environment. Here are 10 - some of
which you may agree with, others you
may not - I picked out:
1. Chinese companies have focused on
developing their physical presence in
Latin America in the sectors that are
most likely to generate environmental
impacts and concerns: petroleum,
mining and agriculture. The Chinese
presence in petroleum is most
significant in Venezuela, Ecuador and
Argentina, and in mining in Ecuador
and Peru.
2. Resistance from “environmentalists
and local communities” is one of
the major challenges facing Chinese
companies trying to make acquisitions
and win contracts in Latin America.
To date, projects involving Chinese
investors have “often” been “opposed
on environmental grounds, or because
of their impact on local communities
and indigenous groups,” writes
Ellis, citing the Chone dam project
and Mirador mine in Ecuador, the
Belo Monte dam in Brazil, the Rio
Blanco mine in Peru, the Lupe mine
in Mexico, a soy processing facility
in Rio Negro in Argentina, the Agua
Zarca dam project in Honduras, and
the River Magdalena in Colombia as
3. Opposition to Chinese projects
on environmental grounds is “likely
to expand in the future because of
the number of potential projects.
. . that involve environmentally
sensitive areas.” These include plans
to develop Goat Island, Jamaica, into
an “international shipping hub” and
the exploitation of the Ishpingo,
Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) oil
п¬Ѓelds in the far east of the YasunГ­
National Park in Ecuador where Ellis
says the “Chinese Corps who have
already done the exploratory drilling
are the leading contenders” to win
contracts. Indeed, Ellis states that
although “no official link” exists
between ITT and the construction of
a new refinery on Ecuador’s Pacific
coast, “a senior Ecuadorian source
speaking off-the-record suggested
that the granting of the rights for
ITT may be a condition pursued by
the Chinese for the funding of the
Refinery. . . which would be fed by the
petroleum extracted there.”
4. Environmental concerns are a major
challenge for Chinese companies
not because they are “inherently less
respectful of the environment” than
others, but “because of a confluence
of factors” including the high
environmental impacts of the sectors
they are focusing on, a “cultural
distance” between Chinese and
Latin American people, and Chinese
companies’ lack of experience in
the region. One example: “Chinese
executives and managers often
presume that local authorities will be
able to force local residents to comply
with decisions to relocate their homes.
. . and may mistakenly presume
that, as long as they have reached
an agreement with the appropriate
government authorities, the local
communities and other actors will
comply with the decisions.”
5. “Environmental complaints” have
already been made about various
ongoing Chinese projects. These
include the Marcona mine in Peru
run by the company Shougang, the
Cerro Maimon mine in the Dominican
Republic, and the Sierra Grande mine
in Argentina.
6. Chinese companies “have made
efforts to improve their environmental
practices where they have felt
it necessary to do so, in order to
avoid problems with governments
and communities.” Ellis cites new
technology by company Bosai to
address dust problems caused by
bauxite mining in Guyana as one
example, and ten “environmental
protection projects oriented toward
wastewater, dust and air pollution” at
the Marcona mine in Peru as another.
7. Offshore drilling by Chinese
companies in Latin America and
the Caribbean is particularly risky
in terms of environmental impacts
because “they are relatively new
to producing and using deepwater
drilling technology.” Ellis argues that
Chinese operations are “arguably even
more vulnerable to such risks” than
was BP before the Deepwater Horizon
Gulf of Mexico blowout in 2010.
8. Although “many [Chinese
companies in Latin America] do
behave badly” - either “due to a
combination of willful imposition of
Chinese norms and practices that do
not function well in the new context,
or accidentally, due to a lack of
knowledge regarding local norms” they “do not inherently behave worse
than their Western counterparts”.
9. A “significant portion” of the new
Chinese presence in Latin America is
in the renewable energy sector where
companies “have been a key force in
the “green revolution” transforming
the energy generation mix” and
“slowly moving the electricity
infrastructure of the region away
from fossil fuels.” Ellis states that “of
the many projects and acquisitions
by Chinese п¬Ѓrms in the electricity
generation sector. . . only a very small
number have involved traditional
fossil fuel power generation facilities”,
with a focus instead on hydroelectric
and what Ellis calls a “wave of new
solar and wind power projects” across
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa
Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.
10. What better way to end than
with one particularly emblematic
example and startling claim? Despite
a January 2014 announcement that
work would begin on a canal through
Nicaragua by the end of this year
or early 2015, “as this book went
to press, a public announcement
regarding the route to be taken by
the canal had not been made, nor
had any information been made
public regarding environmental
impact”. Indeed, a report published
in September by the Alexander
von Humboldt Studies Centre in
Nicaragua states that “technical
information of environmental
character generated during the
design, construction and operation
of the Great Canal and associated
projects will remain confidential,”
under the terms of the concession
agreement. Von Humboldt calls the
canal - due to be built by the Hong
Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal
Development Investment Company
- and associated infrastructure the
biggest environmental threat to the
country in its history. - Guardian
News & Media
Sorry folks, marriage in US is still in crisis
By Cynthia M. Allen
Fort Worth
arriage is back. That’s
according to a recent New
York Times piece that
confidently declared,
“marriages in this country are
stronger today than they have been in
a long time.”
The bold assertion is based on the
hardly novel fact that the divorce rate
has dropped in recent decades, after
peaking in the early 1980s.
About 70% of marriages that
began in the 1990s reached their 15th
anniversary, reported the Times,
putting the “50% of marriages end in
divorce” myth to bed once and for all.
If that were the whole picture, it
would be time for celebration, indeed.
But it doesn’t necessarily follow
that marriage as a bedrock societal
institution is in recovery, considering
the marriage rate has been in a freefall for years.
In September, the Census Bureau
reported that the nation’s marriage
rate - which now includes same-sex
couples - is the lowest since 1920,
when 65% of adults 18 and older were
married. It peaked in 1960 at 72%.
Today the rate is 50%.
That’s in part because more adults
are delaying marriage, choosing to cohabitat and even start families before
tying the knot.
Some social scientists argue it’s
a net positive, because when adults
do eventually marry, their unions
are stronger, built on love and selffulfillment, and they more readily
eschew traditional gender roles that
can frustrate relationships.
Yet the phenomenon of marriage
stability is almost exclusively
enjoyed by the wealthy, educated and
economically mobile.
A Pew analysis of Census data
found that high earners and college
graduates marry at higher rates and
tend to stay married, while poorer and
less educated adults are more likely to
stay single. Divorce rates among the
less educated tend to mirror those of
the peak divorce years.
And forgoing the altar doesn’t mean
people are also skipping child-bearing.
Instead, more women are choosing to
have children outside of marriage.
Manhattan Institute scholar
Kay Horowitz explains it this way:
“People, almost always those with
less education and less income for the
required accouterments of marriage,
took the logic of the divorce revolution
and ran with it. If marriage and
childbearing were no longer tightly
linked but rather discreet - even
unrelated - life events ... then why
marry at all?”
But if social scientists of liberal and
conservative bents can agree on one
thing, it’s that the divorce of marriage
and child-rearing has devastating
long-term consequences, particularly
for children.
Among single-parent households,
child poverty rates are four times
higher than they are in two-parent
families. “Even some of our biggest
social programs, like food stamps, do
not reduce child poverty as much as
unmarried parenthood has increased it,”
wrote Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings
Institution _ reinforcing the notion that
growing the already bloated welfare
state to support single mothers is not a
comprehensive solution.
Some liberals have argued that
a model for successful marriages
exists - the one practiced by upperclass progressives whose pursuit of
sexual parity has resulted in more and
longer-lasting marriages.
If working-class men and women
simply adopt such liberal practices
and attitudes, they too can succeed
in marriage and enjoy its requisite
The arrogance of such a suggestion
aside, there’s an interesting twist to
the notion that progressive attitudes
will save the marriage culture. As
Times columnist Ross Douthat writes,
“it underestimates the effective social
conservatism of the upper-class
model of family life.”
College-educated adults actually
have more conservative lifestyles than
many are willing to let on. They are
more likely to attend church, wait until
marriage to co-habit and tend to have
male-primary breadwinners - none
of which are particularly progressive
Other social observers like W.
Bradford Wilcox of AEI and Robert I.
Lerman of the Urban Institute suggest a
four-pronged approach that combines
tax benefits for children with improved
educational opportunities for adults
(especially for young men), and a
far-reaching civic campaign to push
the “success sequence” - the idea that
adults who get educated, get a job, get
married and then have children are more
likely to be members of a robust middle
But whether the solution is as
straightforward as either approach
suggests, it’s clear that restoring
marriage in America still has a long
way to go. – Tribune News Service
z Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for
the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers
may send her e-mail at [email protected]
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Pakistan owes п¬Ѓghtback to slain kids
The country has arrived
at a seminal moment. The
national fury is at a boiling
point. It has forced the
power stakeholders to make
an about-turn
By Kamran Rehmat
othing, absolutely nothing, in life prepares you for
the kind of hell unleashed
in a Peshawar school last
Tuesday. It has turned every thinking,
feeling human being into a parent overnight. The reality has still not sunk in; a
constant struggle between overcoming
shock, and accepting the eventuality
that comes with grief.
My wife woke up from a nightmare
in the wee hours of the day, startled
as if she had seen an apparition. She
wouldn’t divulge the haunting dream
until news of the tragedy of our lives
began piercing the heart.
The only difference is while she had
seen our children in the dream, the
children happened to be in Peshawar,
the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
province in the north.
We have wept, lost sleep, struggled
to eat and largely been unable to do the
things we normally do since then. We
have tried to shield the kids as much
as we can from knowing what really
happened, but there’s such a deep
connect to the tragedy on a national
scale, the like of which we have never
experienced, that one has not come
across a single soul able to shake it off or
keep composed for long.
The haunting images of incredibly
beautiful children - set against blood-
drenched school uniforms, auditorium,
classroom walls and pathways even after
all the calibrated censorship of flesh have unleashed a horror so penetrating
it has jangled the nerves.
It seems like Pakistan is teetering on
the edge with TV anchors, reporters and
guests repeatedly breaking down during
live transmissions, trying to fathom the
depth of depravity.
The stories of those who died and those
who survived are becoming legion — from
a student who lied to his mother on a
mobile even as death stalked him that
he was п¬Ѓne when, in fact, he had a bullet
in his chest; and another who survived
because he overslept and couldn’t go to
school only to learn his entire class had
been wiped out; to a pupil, who played
dead, by stuffing his tie in his mouth
even with blood flowing from both his
bullet-riddled legs; and a student who
begged his mother in the morning he
didn’t want to go, but did anyway on her
insistence (without breakfast because he
was late) only to return home in a coffin;
from teachers, who got in the way of the
rampaging Taliban knowing they would
be killed only to give a few more seconds
to their students, who they motioned, to
escape; or, as in the case of one teacher,
who simply forgot her own children in
the adjoining class because she only had
a mind to protect the ones in hers; to two
bloodied students, who chose to turn
back their heels to rescue friends lying
half-dead, but themselves got killed; it
has been an astounding gamut of human
spirit that however, only breaks your heart
at the end.
These are just a few stories and even
more are coming out to sap away at our
broken spirits. Even as the nation mourns
her children who paid with their lives
because the state failed them, the focus
will inevitably, turn to those who survived
and how they, their families and, those of
us, who still have to send their children
back to school, will contend now that the
fallout is imminent.
Having said that, Pakistan has arrived
at a seminal moment in history. The
national fury is at a boiling point. It has
forced the power stakeholders to make
an about-turn: a teary-eyed opposition
demagogue Imran Khan suddenly
wrapped up his four-month-old street
protest in a widely acclaimed unity
of purpose; Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif lifted the moratorium on capital
punishment and his government has
decided to set up special military courts
to try terrorists; Army Chief General
Raheel Sharif dashed to Afghanistan
and privately, put Kabul on notice to
co-operate by not providing sanctuary
to retreating militants.
General Raheel also signed the death
warrants of six convicted terrorists,
leading to the execution since Friday
night of six convicts involved in
attacks on the military headquarters
President Xi’s reform gambit
By Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng
Hong Kong
hen Deng Xiaoping initiated China’s marketoriented reforms 35
years ago, he – and the
Chinese Communist Party – was
taking the biggest political risk since
the founding of the People’s Republic
in 1949. When President Xi Jinping
unveiled his own reform agenda at last
year’s Third Plenum of the 18th CCP
Congress, he was taking an equally
large risk. Will his strategy pay off?
In 1979, Deng was in a difficult
situation. He knew that the shift from
centrally planned egalitarian socialism
toward market-oriented capitalism
could destabilise the CCP’s rule, and
the unequal accumulation of wealth in
the short term could cause significant
social and political division. But, with
China on the verge of economic and
social collapse, following the decadelong chaos of the Cultural Revolution,
he had to take action – and there were
few, if any, alternatives available.
The reforms turned out to be
extremely rewarding: more than
three decades of double-digit
economic growth followed their
implementation. Moreover, they
allowed the CCP to retain its hold
on power. But they benefited some
people and regions much more
quickly than others – a problem that
was tougher to address than Deng
had anticipated.
Xi’s reforms, like Deng’s, reflect the
absence of alternatives. Not only has
China’s labour-intensive, investmentled growth model run out of steam;
bureaucratic inefficiencies and pervasive
corruption – not to mention severe
and worsening pollution – are also
damaging China’s long-term prospects.
Only by addressing these weaknesses
and shifting to an innovation-based,
environmentally sustainable growth
model can the country continue to
prosper – and ultimately achieve highincome status.
The difference between the two
reform efforts is that Xi must also
address the shortcomings of Deng’s
work. Deng mistakenly believed
that the state, which retained its
central role in the economy, would
be able to use new market-generated
resources to correct the shortrun inequalities created by his
reforms. But the bureaucracy and its
privileged networks benefited most,
and a second, non-market source
of inequality – endemic official
corruption – became entrenched.
That is why Xi’s anti-corruption
campaign was a critical precursor to
In other words, beyond completing
China’s transformation into an open,
market-based economy, Xi must
establish a strong rule of law that
applies to all, while addressing acute
inequality of income, opportunity,
wealth, and wellbeing. For this
reason, Xi must pursue reforms that
allow people, money, resources,
information, and companies to move
more freely across sectors, regions,
and national borders.
The resulting convergence of wealth
and opportunities would generate
massive economic and social gains.
But, by effectively transforming
the economic geography of China,
Asia, and the world, liberalisation
would also lead to significant creative
destruction. Furthermore, market
forces could reduce inequality in the
longer term only if China’s authorities
tolerated the short-term inequalities
created by fluctuations in prices
for housing, stocks, labor, natural
resources, and currency.
The problem is that the Chinese
bureaucracy prefers stability,
and it has strong incentives to
strengthen its own position relative
to the market, thereby exacerbating
power inequalities and dampening
innovation and growth. Yet the
bureaucracy remains integral to the
implementation of any policy that
promotes social cohesion.
To mitigate the serious systemic
risks stemming from the power
of China’s overweening, corrupt
mandarins, Xi must rebalance their
incentives. He is already working to
eliminate graft, restrict the scope of
administrative approvals, reduce the
state-owned sector’s advantages,
clarify property rights in land, and
simplify welfare, tax, and п¬Ѓnancial
regulations. Beyond reducing systemic
risks, these efforts – if they are
sustained – could generate “reform
dividends” over time.
But the incentive problem is not
confined to the bureaucracy. Systemic
reform requires recognizing and
atoning for two original sins: not only
that of bureaucrats who made money
by abusing their power, but also that
of capitalists who made money by
breaking the rules.
China’s recent relaxation of
macroeconomic policy, despite
ongoing market volatility,
is an important step toward
breaking unnecessary barriers to
implementing the reforms needed
to mitigate systemic risks. Now
that Xi’s anti-corruption campaign
has taken down some of the CCP’s
biggest “tigers,” it is time to focus on
structural reform.
With the right approach and
sustained political will, Xi’s risktaking can bring China the kind of
returns that Deng’s did – and more. Project Syndicate
in Rawalpindi and General Pervez
Musharraf. More executions will follow
as the army operation intensifies in the
country’s northern badlands.
However, the sceptic in some of us
would wait. Operations, after all, have
been conducted before as well, with
ambiguity in targeting the enemy.
Prime Minister Sharif however, vowed
that there’s going to be no distinction
between the so-called “good” and
“bad” Taliban this time, to the extent
zThe writer is Features Editor.
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Around the region
Abu Dhabi
Kuwait City
zAndrew Sheng is Distinguished Fellow
of the Fung Global Institute and a
member of the UNEP Advisory Council
on Sustainable Finance. Xiao Geng is
Director of Research at the Fung Global
the last one is eliminated.
The feel-good vibes at the moment
lie in the never-before-seen national
consensus to get the murderers. Retaining
that policy - by leveraging the national
sentiment - however, will be the key.
Power wielders will have to provide
an institutional mechanism, not just
capitalise on the current national mood,
to turn the tables. The parliament will
have to move swiftly to amend/make
laws to deal effectively with militancy
- a national draft is expected this week;
also paramount is the need to actively
engage the public by reframing the
national narrative, and pertinently,
reclaim space grabbed by the militants;
and for the army to expand the
operation to get the enemy.
Amnesty International and Human
Rights Watch have slammed the
decision to hang convicted terrorists,
which is an expected reaction from
global bodies only responding to their
brief. However, the HRW, in particular,
has used highly provocative language
while staying mum on what the
alternative would be. The HRW appears
not to have the п¬Ѓrst idea what Pakistan a country that has rendered the biggest
sacrifices, including the loss of more
than 60,000 lives, in a self-styled waron-terror imposed on it - is up against.
The massacre of schoolchildren is a
direct outcome of Pakistan fronting the
global war against the vilest breed of
terrorism stalking the land.
While executions of convicted terrorist
murderers by themselves may not
resolve everything, especially when these
monsters are willing to blow themselves
up and kill children, you’ve got to put faith
back in the old rule of law: the convict has
to pay the price for perpetrating evil. No
society can function without a system that
ensures justice.
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Live issue
Books to п¬Ѓll you up with healthful info
By Barbara Quinn
Monterey Peninsula
ant to give the gift of
nutrition this festive
season? Here’s a sampling of useful books
from reliable sources:
Diabetes Meal Planning & Nutrition
for Dummies, Toby Smithson, RDN,
CDE and Alan L. Rubin, MD. John
Wiley & Sons, 2014. Simplified meal
planning for people with diabetes.
Includes recipes and instructions on
how to put simple meals together that
meet diabetes guidelines.
The Complete Guide to Carb
Counting, 3rd Edition. Hope S.
Warshaw, RD, CDE, and Karmeen
Kulkarni, MS, RD, CDE, 2011.
Counting carbohydrates is a valid
technique to help people with diabetes
control blood sugars. Written by two
registered dietitians and diabetes
educators, this book explains how
sugars and starches can п¬Ѓt healthfully
into a diabetes meal plan. Available
through the American Diabetes
Association, .
The I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian
Cookbook, Chris Holechek Peters,
Ulysses Press, 2012. For the vegan and
vegetarian on your list, this handy
book features 150 recipes made with
foods from Trader Joe’s. Easy to make
recipes such as Great Green Smoothie
and (my favourite) Baked Herbed Garlic
Polenta Fries. Nutrient information is
not provided but recipes do indicate
those that п¬Ѓt into the vegan and/or
gluten-free categories.
The Calories IN Calories OUT
Cookbook, Catherine Jones
and Elaine Trujillo, MS, RDN,
The Experiment, 2014. For the
calorie-counter on your list, this
book features 200 nutrient-rich
recipes tailored for busy families
and individuals. Recipes include
nutrition information plus diabetic
carb counting/exchanges.
Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, 3rd
edition, Tricia Thompson, MS, RD,
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
2014. A valuable resource for those
with celiac disease or glutensensitivity. Information on planning
meals with gluten-free foods,
restaurant dining, and ways to avoid
cross-contamination in your home
kitchen. Available at www.eatright.
Nutrition Concepts and
Controversies, Frances Sienkiewicz
Sizer, MS, RD and Eleanor Noss
Whitney, PhD, Wadsworth,
Cengage Learning, 2014. For the
serious nutrition student on your
list. Presents difficult and often
misunderstood nutrition topics within
the realm of solid nutrition science.
One of my favourite go-to books.
Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition
Guidebook, 5th edition, Nancy Clark,
MS RD, Human Kinetics, 2014. Latest
update on this classic nutrition
and sports resource. Features meal
planning and training guides for the
serious competitive athlete.
Endurance Sports Nutrition, 3rd
edition, Suzanne Girard Eberle, MS,
RDN, CSSD. Human Kinetics, 2014.
For your favorite marathoner. This
book also includes meal planning ideas
for vegetarian athletes and those with
food allergies and intolerances.
Help! My Underwear is Shrinking,
revised, Jo Ann Hattner and Ann
Coulston and E. Michael Goodkind,
BA, 2013. Respected nutrition
professionals have updated one
woman’s story of how to eat right,
lose weight and win the battle against
diabetes. Includes sample menus and
is also available in Spanish. www. –
Tribune News Service
zBarbara Quinn is a registered
dietitian and certified diabetes
educator at the Community Hospital of
the Monterey Peninsula. E-mail her at
[email protected]
Around the world
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Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
QF’s tent at
Darb Al Saai
ore than 83,000 people
visited Qatar Foundation’s (QF’s) tent for
the National Day celebrations at
Darb Al Saai.
The 13-day event at the venue
was designed to create an engaging experience for the public to
heighten awareness about QF
and its core pillars of education,
science and research, and community development.
Through a mix of fun and
interactive educational activities, QF developed a learning
environment of its pillars. QF is
focused on helping the nation
transit to a knowledge-based
economy that is vital for a sustainable future by encouraging
younger generation and building
human capacity in technology,
research and innovation as well
as preserving the culture and
heritage of the country.
Over the past fortnight, QF’s
participation was supported
by its social media channels
that covered the various activities across the main platforms
of Twitter (@QF), Facebook
( and Instagram (@
qatarfoundation) attracting over
1.5mn views.
Youngsters took part in various interactive workshops that
included a fun quiz to show
which careers would suit them;
pearl farming demonstrations to
show the traditional pearl industry reflecting Qatar’s past; activities using Ototo materials to
create sounds and develop musical skills. Other activities were;
Young children watch a healthcare demonstration at Qatar Foundation’s National Day celebrations tent.
creating Lego robot machines
using computer software to show
scientific aptitude; promoting
healthy eating and living with
youngsters riding exercise bikes;
arts and crafts demonstrating
creativity; and story book telling promoting the importance
of reading, and understanding
Qatari and Arab traditions at a
young age.
QF’s tent drew a number of
high-profile visitors with positive feedback. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al’ifan,
ambassador of the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia, said: “Through
what I have seen here at Qatar
Foundation’s activities, I would
like to thank QF for its positive initiatives that help Qatar’s
community and be an inspira-
tion for other countries.”
Eric Chevalier, French ambassador, added: “I find it very interesting because here we have
tradition and preserving the
country’s roots. At the same time
there are other activities about
the future. This is my understanding of Qatar Foundation. It
is the link between the deep roots
and the people of this country
with the future and looking to the
21st century.”
Al Shaqab, a QF member,
won the National Day endurance competition with a number
of Qatari riders representing Al
Shaqab. Students at QF member,
Qatar Leadership Academy were
involved in the flag hoisting ceremony on day one of the National
Day celebrations.
10 winners in Commercial Bank Road safety initiative
debit card spend campaign
comes in for praise
ommercial Bank has announced the winners of
its debit card spend campaign, which rewarded customers for using its debit card for
overseas transactions.
Customers qualified for a
prize after using their Commercial Bank debit cards for at least
one international transaction,
either at an ATM or a retail outlet during the promotion period
throughout the October month.
The winners of the campaign
were announced during an
awards ceremony at Commercial Bank’s Grand Hamad Office
with 10 customers receiving a
free travel voucher.
Dean Proctor, head of retail
and enterprise at Commercial
Bank, said: “Commercial Bank
likes to take every opportunity to
thank its loyal customers. This
debit card promotion was a way
of thanking those customers
who carry and use our products
while they travel overseas, and
we are deeply appreciative of
their trust.”
Proctor said Commercial
Winners of Commercial Bank’s latest campaign receive their prizes during a ceremony held at the Grand
Hamad Office.
Bank debit cards are safe, secure,
and convenient to use for shopping or using an ATM in Doha or
overseas. The debit cards also offer safety and convenience both
at home and abroad by reducing
the need to carry cash for everyday transactions.
Commercial Bank debit cards are
also chip and PIN enabled, protecting customers from fraud and providing peace of mind, he noted.
“We believe our products offer
unrivalled privileges and are easy
to use, widely accepted, and safely
reduce the need to carry cash and
offer global standards of security.
On top of these benefits, we have
now enabled our debit cards to
be used for online shopping purchases in a secure manner, and we
look forward to our customers enjoying these special services and
benefits,” Proctor said.
Commercial Bank has also introduced “3D Secure,” an online
security feature, which enables
Commercial Bank debit cardholders to use their debit cards to
shop online more securely.
Proctor said this new feature
will help protect Commercial
Bank debit card customers from
any unauthorised online transactions in line with global standards of online security.
Yalla Mini
roadshow a
hit with fans
he Yalla Mini test drive
event, held recently over
two days at Qatar Sports
Club, attracted many fans and
customers who were invited to
take various models of the iconic
British auto brand for a spin.
The new Mini John Cooper
Works Countryman, the new
Mini John Cooper Works
Paceman, the Mini 3-door
Hatch launched earlier this
year, and the all-new Mini
5-door Hatch were among the
The star of the show was the
Mini 5-door Hatch launched
last month during the new Mini
showroom opening. The model
is bigger in size, has increased
interior space and boasts impressive TwinPower turbo engines for both the Cooper and
Cooper S.
The new model also has fresh
exterior colours and an array of
new state-of-the-art options,
such as optional LED headlights,
2-zone AC, 8.8” screen and
head-up display.
raffic Department director Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji and
world champion rally driver
Nasser al-Attiyah have praised
the Students for Road Safety
initiative during a tour of the
programme’s state-of-the-art
driving simulator at Darb Al
Saai, as part of Qatar’s National
Day celebrations.
Students for Road Safety falls
under the national One Second
road safety brand and seeks to
transform 12-18-year-old students into road safety ambassadors
through interactive presentations
and driving simulator training.
In 2014, 2,200 trainees - including 1,500 students - have
benefited from the programme
through school visits and community events arranged by
the Traffic Department at the
Ministry of Interior.
Students for Road Safety was
launched a year ago by programme owners Maersk Oil
Qatar and the Traffic Department as part of the national One
Second road safety brand.
The driving simulator used
in the Students for Road Safety
programme is the only one of its
kind in the Gulf region and includes a full real car cockpit, an
advanced display system with a
wraparound screen and an artificial intelligence engine that
reflects common behaviours
Brigadier al-Kharji (standing) and al-Attiyah at the simulator.
on Qatar’s roads like tailgating,
failure to indicate, flashing lights
and cutting across cars at roundabouts.
The Students for Road Safety
simulator utilises technologies
from the aviation and Formula 1
As part of his tour of the Students for Road Safety driving
simulator at Darb Al Saai, alAttiyah - also an Olympic bronze
medallist - got behind the wheel
and commented on how realistic
the controls were and the life-like
nature of the simulator’s screen.
Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad alThani, deputy managing director of Maersk Oil Qatar, said:
“National Day celebrations are
Blue Salon opens boutique for Mi Mi Sol
Various models of Mini lined up during the event.
Visitors at the event could
also enter “The Container” – a
pop-up space with a Mini merchandise and accessories shop
also designed to immerse aficionados in Mini Connected, Mini’s
on board infotainment system as
well as providing them with Mini
Yours programme, which offers
its customers enormous scope
for customising their vehicles.
Mohamed Kandeel, chief operating officer, Alfardan Group
- Automotive Operations, said:
“To provide Qatar’s Mini fans
the best brand experience, the
Yalla Mini roadshow is the ideal platform, and п¬Ѓts perfectly
with Mini’s fun and exciting
lue Salon has inaugurated
a boutique for Mi Mi Sol, a
global brand for children’s
luxury clothes, at The Pearl Qatar.
Blue Salon CEO Fawaz Idrissi,
and the brand’s designer Imelde
Bronzieri were present along
with a number of customers,
especially families accompanied
by children.
“Mi Mi Sol is renowned for
quality, perfection, diversity
of designs, distinctive styles,”
Idrissi said.
pleasure in collaborating with a
company of Blue Salon’s stature.
“Blue Salon has an integrated
Idrissi and Bronzieri are seen with guests and staff members at the opening.
team which exerts every effort to
care for and improve our brand to
deliver the best results,” she stated.
Mi Mi Sol’s products are
Qatar Shell employees celebrate National Day
National Day celebrations at Qatar Shell.
a time for us all to celebrate the
achievement of Qatar and the
fantastic work that bodies like
the Traffic Department and Students for Road Safety are doing to
overcome challenges. At Maersk
Oil Qatar, we are proud to make
a meaningful difference to our
country through programmes
like Students for Road Safety.”
The participation of Students
for Road Safety in the National Day
celebrations comes after the world
governing body for motor racing - FГ©dГ©ration Internationale de
l’Automobile – threw its support
behind it by positioning the driving
simulator next to the Prize Giving
Challenge track at its Annual General Assembly in Doha recently.
undreds of employees
participated in a special
National Day celebration
organised by Qatar Shell last week.
Two events took place on the
occasion - one at the Pearl GTL
plant in Ras Laffan Industrial
City and another at its Doha HQ.
The event included a series of
talks on culture, heritage, the rul-
ing family and Qatar’s future, including Qatar National Vision
2030. These talks were presented
by Qatari staff to educate their colleagues on various aspects of Qatari culture. In addition, there was
a specially catered traditional meal.
The celebrations also included a traditional room with
different activities, including
falconry, henna artists and traditional poetry recital sessions,
during which local poets recited
patriotic poems.
There was also a cinema room,
where participants had the opportunity to enjoy old п¬Ѓlms on
the history of Qatar and the oil
and gas sector in the country.
Special National Day gifts such
as flags and scarves were distributed at the event.
Sheikh Thani bin Thamer alThani, deputy managing director,
Qatar Shell, said: “We celebrate
National Day with great pride
in the accomplishments of HH
the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HH the Father
Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa
crafted from luxury textiles of
best types and various colours
that suit all seasons of the year,
explained Bronzieri.
al-Thani in the development of
Qatar. This national occasion is a
symbol of our pride and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate
our heritage and our culture as we
reflect on our past, celebrate our
present and aspire to our future.
“At Qatar Shell, we are very
proud that the dedication and
commitment of all our employees enables us to continually
support Qatar National Vision
2030 and we continually strive
to be the partner of choice for
this great country.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Winners of Aspire Zone’s Qatar’s Strongest Man event with officials.
The strongest man contest in progress.
Celebration of strength at Aspire event
crowned the strongest
man in the Qatari category
while Christopher Oketch from
Kenya claimed the title in the
open race category in the second
edition of Aspire Zone’s Qatar’s
Strongest Man event held over
the National Day weekend.
Fahad al-Haddad was awarded
second place while Rashid alMarri was the third place winner
in the Qatari nationals category.
In the open race category, the
second and third places also went
to Kenyans, Joseph Iroo Ekadeli
and Meshack Otieno Ogo, respectively.
In the Qatari category, Ali Essa
Albinali and Abdulla Majid Allaq
п¬Ѓnished joint fourth, Abdulla Essa
Albinali was п¬Ѓfth, Salah Abdulrahman Zaenalabdeen sixth and
Mohamed Jarlla Almarri seventh.
In a contest witnessed by
thousands of spectators, 16 competitors in two categories battled
it out over п¬Ѓve gruelling tasks,
which pushed the men’s physical
and mental strength to the absolute limit.
The challenges were weightlifting, lifting a fixed car, pulling a truck, moving a giant tyre
and moving an Atlas stone and
sand bags.
In a contest witnessed by
thousands of spectators,
16 competitors in two
categories battled it
out over five gruelling
tasks, which pushed
the participating men’s
physical and mental
strength to the limit
“I am ecstatic with my win, but
it was still a really tough race as
the standard this year was exceptionally high,” said al-Kuwari.
“I would like to thank Aspire
Zone for putting on an amazing
event and the second edition of
Qatar’s Strongest Man was definitely one of the standout events
during the Qatar National Day
weekend,” he added.
Twenty-four-year-old Oketch,
one of the youngest participants,
dominated in each of the п¬Ѓve
tasks. “It was a thrilling event and
a very close race between all the
contestants, and I look forward to
the opportunity to defend my title
next year,” he said.
The open race category was
held on Thursday and the exclusive event for Qataris on Friday.
Congratulating the winners,
Abdullah al-Khater, Aspire Zone
events manager, announced that
a GCC category would be added
to the event next year.
“Aspire Zone has worked hard
to put together a fantastic event
for participants, spectators and
the whole community. Aspire
Zone will continue organising
fun activities that the community and all families can enjoy.”
Christopher Oketch pulling a truck.
FORD STOP | Page 15
QSE jumps
as oil stages
Europe rust
belt seeks
new ideas
Monday, December 22, 2014
Safar 30, 1436 AH
Saudi not cut oil output
to prop up markets even
if non-Opec nations do
NDSQ to build 11 boats for new port
Deal with New Port Project indicates
growing profile of domestic maritime
akilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ)
will build construct 11 workboats,
which indicate the domestic capability
in the maritime industry.
In this regard, NDSQ has signed an agreement with Qatar’s New Port Project (NPP) in
the presence of HE the Minister of Energy and
Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada and
HE the Transport Minister Jassim Seif Ahmed
The contracts were signed by Abdullah
Fadhalah al-Sulaiti, chairman of NDSQ
and managing director of Nakilat, and Abdulla al-Khanji CEO of Qatar Ports Management Company and NPP general supervisor.
NDSQ will build four 29m-long Azimuth
Stern Drive (ASD) tug boats, three 16m-long
mooring boats and four 15m-long glass reinforced plastic (GRP) pilot boats.
The 11 vessels will be built entirely at Qatar’s
Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard in Ras
Laffan for delivery in 2016. The vessels will be
engaged in service at NPP performing a variety
Abdullah al-Sulaiti and al-Khanji signing the deal in the presence of HE al-Sada. Right: HE al-Sada receives a memento from Nakilat.
of marine support services to vessels visiting
the port.
“This agreement is a landmark in the continued growth of Qatar’s marine infrastructure
and industry. By collaborating with NPP on
providing the required vessels to the New Port,
Nakilat and Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard are further enhancing Qatar’s position as a
leader in ship construction,” al-Sada said.
NDSQ is a joint venture between Nakilat and
Dutch shipbuilder Damen and is based at Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard in Ras Laffan. NDSQ began operations in 2010 and builds
ships in steel, aluminium and п¬Ѓbre reinforced
plastic, up to 170m in length.
Al-Sulaiti said the co-operation between
Doha Bank unit signs
AED500mn п¬Ѓnance
deal with Sobha Group
Doha Bank is committed to supporting the wider business community in the
UAE, according to Group CEO, Dr R Seetharaman.
oha Bank’s corporate finance
division has successfully
closed a deal worth AED500mn with Sobha Group of Dubai.
Sobha Hartland, a mixed-use development at the Mohammed Bin
Rashid Al Maktoum City, is just 3km
from Burj Khalifa.
The development comprises 8mn
sq ft of land area, a significant portion of which is dedicated to green
living as well as many villas and
numerous low- mid- and high-rise
apartments, schools, hotels, a club
house and retail spaces.
Sobha Group is a multi-national,
multi-product group with significant developments and investments in the UAE, Oman, Qatar,
Bahrain, Brunei, Tanzania, India
and China.
Activities of the group include
contracting, construction, real estate development, metal glazing
works, building services, manufacturing of construction materials,
architectural and engineering design and consultancy.
The facility was arranged by Doha
Bank with a п¬Ѓve-year tenor and will
enable Sobha Group to fund its expansion plans in Dubai.
“Sobha Group is pleased to have
this facility from Doha Bank which
will help us in pursuing our strategic growth plans in Dubai by partnering with a п¬Ѓnancing partner
with footprints in markets where
we are active. Currently we are
placing our focus on Sobha Hartland, our latest project, which is a
8mn sq ft mixed-use freehold development located in Mohammed
Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, just
3km from Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa,” said PNC Menon, chairman,
Sobha Group.
Doha Bank Group CEO, Dr R
Seetharaman said, “We are pleased
to have the opportunity to п¬Ѓnance
Sobha Group’s future growth. Doha
Bank is committed to supporting
the wider business community in
the UAE.
“For this reason, we see the potential to further grow our relationship with Sobha Group in terms of
cross-selling our п¬Ѓnancial products
and support their long term financial needs.”
Nakilat and the NPP is an excellent example of
how local organisations could work together to
support the development and growth of the domestic economy.
The new port is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Qatar, located 26km along the
main port centres and being built at a cost
around QR27bn. It comprises a container ter-
minal, general cargo berth, imported cars, imported cattle and grain, and support vessels
station, coastguard vessels station and marine
support unit and support ships.
When launched, the new port is expected to
meet the current and future needs in the light of
the development boom in Qatar, which includes
various infrastructure and industrial projects.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
called on to
cut output
after rout
Abu Dhabi
Oil producers outside of Opec
should cut their “irresponsible”
output with excess supplies
harming the market, the UAE
energy minister said.
The oil market is oversupplied
by 2mn bpd, Qatar’s Minister
of Energy and Industry HE Dr
Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada said
in an interview on the sidelines
of a conference in Abu Dhabi.
The Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries has
produced about 30mn bpd since
January 2013 while global output
climbed more than 2mn bpd to
93.6mn barrels, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.
“We call on all other producers
to stop the increase because the
increase is harming the market,”
UAE Energy Minister Suhail
al-Mazrouei said in a separate
interview at the conference.
“If the increase stops, and they
follow Opec’s lead, Opec’s
decision is to fix production, if
production stabilises in 2015
things will stabilise much faster.”
Brent oil prices tumbled 45% this
year. Opec decided last month to
keep production unchanged at
30mn barrels, resisting calls from
cash-strapped Venezuela that the
group needs to stem the rout in
“Irresponsible production from
outside Opec is behind the fall
in prices,” al-Mazrouei said in a
speech at the conference. “The
market will improve over time.”
Output in the US is the highest in
three decades, and production is
poised to approach a 42-year high
next year as declining equipment
costs and enhanced drilling
techniques more than offset the
drop in oil markets, according to
Troy Eckard, whose Eckard Global
LLC owns stakes in more than
260 North Dakota shale wells.
Oil extraction is soaring at shale
formations in Texas and North
Dakota as companies split rocks
using high-pressure liquid, a
process known as hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking.
While US oil drillers idled the
most rigs in almost two years
this month as they face falling oil
prices, Opec is resisting calls to
cut its output and Exxon Mobil
Corp plans to increase its oil
production next year.
“It’s a normal process, that the
efficient producers produce,”
Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali alNaimi said at the conference.
The estimate of a 2mn barrel
oversupply is more than the
540,000-barrel surplus signalled
from International Energy Agency
figures as of September 30.
Global production was 93.6mn
bpd compared with demand
of 93.06mn barrels, IEA figures
From left: Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, UAE Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohamed al-Mazroui and Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali Saleh al-Omair
attend the opening session of the 10th Arab Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Al-Naimi blamed the prices fall to half their levels of six months ago on speculators and what he called a lack of co-operation
from non-Opec producers.
Saudi not to cut crude output
even if non-Opec nations do
Oil minister says Saudi will not
lower production; al-Naimi says “let
most efficient producers produce;”
UAE urges all producers not to hike
output in 2015
Abu Dhabi
audi Arabia said yesterday it
would not cut output to prop up
oil markets even if non-Opec nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world’s top petroleum
exporter plans to ride out the market’s
biggest slump in years.
Referring to countries outside of
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Saudi Oil
Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters:
“If they want to cut production they
are welcome: We are not going to cut,
certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to
He added he was “100% not
pleased” with prices but they would
improve, although it was unclear
when. He blamed the fall in prices to
half their levels of six months ago on
speculators and what he called a lack
of cooperation from non-Opec producers.
His remarks at a conference in Abu
Dhabi marked the second time in three
days that the kingdom has signalled
that it would not alter output levels,
preferring to allow the market to stabilise on its own.
The determined tone of his comments was echoed by some other Gulf
oil ministers at the conference in the
UAE capital.
UAE Oil Minister Suhail Bin Mohamed al-Mazroui urged all of the
world’s producers not to raise their
oil output next year, saying this would
quickly steady prices. He did not elaborate.
The world is forecast to need less
Opec oil in 2015 because of a rising
supply of US shale oil and other competing sources, with no significant increase in world demand growth.
Gulf markets continue rally
on oil, Saudi budget hopes
tock markets around the Gulf rose sharply
for a second straight day yesterday after
oil prices bounced and before the release
of Saudi Arabia’s 2015 budget plan, which is expected to show the kingdom continuing to spend
heavily on economic development.
The main Saudi index rose 2.5%, bringing its
gains over the past three days to 16% - though it
is still 24% below its September peak.
Trading volume hit its highest level since late
August, a positive technical sign suggesting the
market has established a floor.
Bourses in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the
Gulf plunged in the past several weeks because of
fears that sliding oil prices would force governments to cut back sharply on their spending, hitting corporate profits.
Those fears have eased in the last few days.
Brent crude oil bounced back above $60 a barrel
late last week, while Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said last Wednesday that his government would continue spending strongly on
development projects and social benefits in its
2015 budget, which is expected to be announced
Saudi real estate developer Dar Al Arkan,
which could benefit from government efforts
to resolve the country’s housing shortage, was
the most heavily traded stock yesterday, soaring
Other big gainers included miner Ma’aden, up
4.0%, and petrochemical producer Saudi Kayan,
up 9.8%.
However, the Saudi market came well off its
early highs, after rising 5.0% at one stage. Many
oil traders are not sure that Brent crude has established a firm floor at $60, and any renewed
slide towards $50 could push Gulf bourses down
Dubai’s stock market, the region’s most volatile and one of its most heavily leveraged markets, was the biggest loser in the Gulf earlier this
month and it was the biggest gainer yesterday,
as trading volume hit its highest level since late
The Dubai index jumped 9.9%, adding to
Thursday’s 13.0% leap, as blue chip Emaar Properties rocketed 13.7% and builder Arabtec gained
11.6%. The index is still 27% below its September
Oman’s market performed well, climbing
5.5%, after the executive president of the State
General Reserve Fund, the country’s largest sovereign wealth fund, told Reuters that the SGRF
had boosted its buying of shares in the local market because prices had slid to attractive levels.
Bahrain underperformed the region, rising
just 1.4%, after Fitch Ratings cut Bahrain’s credit
outlook to negative at the weekend, following a
similar move by Standard and Poor’s.
The Bahraini market had dropped relatively
little during the Gulf’s earlier downtrend, apparently because of its low liquidity, so it has relatively small room to rebound.
The Egyptian stock market, which also began
rebounding on Thursday, got a further boost
from news that Fitch upgraded Egypt’s debt to B.
The index climbed 3.5% on Sunday.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s index rose
3.3% 6,433 points.
Temporary correction
in market, says al-Sada
The oil market is experiencing a
“temporary correction” and fundamentals should dictate a fair price for oil,
Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry
HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada said
in a speech yesterday.
“We believe in the role of market fundamentals in dictating prices,” he told
a meeting of ministers of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OApec) in Abu Dhabi.
Al-Sada also said the main reason for
oil’s plunge in recent months was slow
growth of the global economy and an
increase in sources of supply, particularly unconventional.
Current oil prices may result in a
weakening of investments in oil and
gas projects, he added.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Omair
said Opec did not need to cut production and would not hold an emergency
meeting ahead of its next scheduled
talks in June.
“I don’t think we need to cut. We
gave a chance to others (and) they were
not willing to do so,” he said, referring
to contacts with non-Opec producers
before Opec’s meeting in November in
There, Opec kept its target output
of 30mn bpd unchanged, leaving the
market to balance itself without the
group’s intervention.
That stance was seen as a shift from
a longstanding policy in which Opec
powerhouse Saudi Arabia has acted as
a swing supplier.
Asked about possible cooperation
between members of Opec, which
include the world’s lowest-cost producers, and non-member countries,
al-Naimi replied: “The best thing for
everybody is to let the most efficient
producers produce”.
He also said that Opec’s decision
would ultimately help the world economy. “Current prices do not encourage investment in any form of energy,
but they stimulate global economic
growth, leading ultimately to an increase in global demand and a slowdown in the growth of supplies,” he
Iraq’s Oil Minister, Adel Abdel Mahdi, said he saw no need for an Opec
emergency meeting but “we have to
wait and see” whether the group was
right to keep output unchanged.
Al-Naimi denied politics played a
role in the kingdom’s oil policy and
said the price fall would not have “a
noticeable and big” impact on Saudi
Arabia or other Arab economies.
The market slide has triggered
conspiracy theories, ranging from
the Saudis seeking to curb the US oil
boom, to Riyadh looking to outsmart
Iran and Russia.
Before the Vienna meeting, there
were hints that Russia could cut output or exports if Opec did the same.
But the message from Moscow after
the meeting was that the world’s second largest oil exporter would maintain its output.
QSE jumps as oil rebounds
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
he rebound in oil prices
had its positive impact on
the Qatar Stock Exchange,
which yesterday saw about 63%
of its listed stocks either touch
the 10% upper circuit п¬Ѓlter or
come closer to it.
More than 95% of the traded
stocks closed in the positive trajectory in the bourse, which shot
up 662 points, its largest singleday gain in the recent past, and
capitalisation swell by more than
An across-the-board-buying,
particularly in the telecom, real
estate, consumer goods, transport and industrials, lifted the
20-stock Qatar Index (based on
price data) by 7.58% to 12,029.59
points as volumes also surged.
Buoyed by the oil price increases, foreign institutions turned
bullish in the bourse, which is up
15.9% year-to-date.
Market capitalisation expanded 6.96% to QR661.67bn with
mid, micro, small and large cap
equities gaining 9.6%, 8.95%,
8.11% and 5.74% respectively.
The index that tracks Shariahprincipled stocks gained much
faster than the other indices in
the market, where trade was
skewed towards realty, banks
and telecom, which together ac-
An across-the-board-buying, particularly in the telecom, real estate,
consumer goods, transport and industrials segments, yesterday lifted
the 20-stock Qatar Index by 7.58% to 12,029.59 points.
counted for about 78% of the total trade volume.
The Total Return Index vaulted
7.58% to 17,942.03 points, the All
Share Index by 7.54% to 3,066.99
points and the Al Rayan Islamic
Index by 9.35% to 3,936.37 points.
Telecom stocks surged 10%,
followed by realty (9.98%), consumer goods (9.89%), transport
(9.05%), insurance (9.03%), industrials (8.66%) and banks and
п¬Ѓnancial services (5.16%).
Major movers included QNB,
Industries Qatar, Ooredoo, Vodafone Qatar, Gulf International
Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Nakilat, Barwa,
Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar and Qatar
Islamic Bank; even as Islamic
Holding Group bucked the trend.
Foreign institutions turned net
buyers to the tune of QR161.15mn
against net sellers of QR36.66mn
the previous trading day. However,
domestic institutions turned net
sellers to the extent of QR120.45mn
compared with net buyers of
QR65.28mn on December 17.
Qatari retail investors turned
net profit-takers to the tune of
QR60.73mn against net buyers of
QR24.57mn last Wednesday.
Non-Qatari individual investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR20.16mn compared
with net sellers of QR53.12mn the
previous day.
Total trade volume rose 85%
to 26.11mn shares, value by 96%
to QR1.26bn and transactions by
20% to 9,437.
The insurance sector’s trade
volume grew 11-fold to 0.22mn
equities and value by about 17fold to QR13.54mn on about
eight-fold jump in deals to 207.
The real estate sector’s trade
volume more than doubled to
8.85mn stocks and value almost
doubled to QR186.68mn on a
32% expansion in transactions to
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services sector reported more than
doubling of trade volume and
value to 7.48mn shares and
QR637.87mn respectively on a
53% jump in deals to 3,194.
The consumer goods sector’s trade volume soared 61% to
1.34mn equities, value by 56% to
QR65.92mn and transactions by
22% to 734.
There was a 52% jump in the
telecom sector’s trade volume to
3.91mn stocks and 62% in value
to QR85.95mn but on a 34% decline in deals to 742.
The industrials sector saw its
trade volume gain 43% to 2.97mn
shares and value by 18% to
QR213.44mn, while transactions
were down 3% to 1,928.
There was a 30% expansion in
the transport sector’s trade volume to 1.34mn equities, 44% in
value to QR56.58mn and 25% in
deals to 569.
In the debt market, there was
no trading of treasury bills and
government bonds.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Chinese tycoon
set to build more
billions with IPO
roperty billionaire Wang Jianlin rose from a local government bureaucrat to China’s
richest man by transforming a
debt-laden state-owned housebuilder into the sprawling Wanda
Group, and the flotation of one of
its subsidiaries this week will propel
him back up the table of fortune.
Wang has penchants for karaoke
and collecting. He’s got an impressive collection of fine art, property
projects in top markets around the
world, and an ever-expanding portfolio of companies including cinema chain AMC and yachtbuilder
He topped the Forbes China Rich
List in 2013 with an estimated net
worth of $14.1bn, but was displaced
this year after charismatic Internet
entrepreneur Jack Ma floated his
e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba
Group in the world’s biggest ever
initial public offering (IPO).
That is likely to change again after
Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, the flagship subsidiary of
Wang’s Wanda Group, lists in Hong
Kong on Tuesday.
Wanda Commercial is selling a
13% stake for $3.7bn before overallotments—valuing the firm at
$28bn, and Wanda Group’s 44%
post-flotation share at $12.5bn.
Wang himself owns more than
98% of Wanda Group, with the remaining sliver held by his only son,
Wang Sicong. Wang and his wife together own around another 10% of
Wanda Commercial.
The parent conglomerate, which
has interests in hotels, entertainment and retail, last year saw more
than 12.5bn yuan in profits, according to its website.
The behemoth is a far cry from
the near-bankrupt, state-owned
property developer in the northeastern port of Dalian where Wang
was appointed as general manager
in 1988.
Previously a government official
in the city’s Xigang district, according to Chinese media reports, he dug
his п¬Ѓrst pot of gold from contracts to
renovate shanty houses in the area.
As the company turned around,
it was renamed Wanda in 1992,
and the state’s stakes were gradually bought out by Wang directly or
Wang: High ambitions.
through companies associated with
The eldest son of a captain of the
Chinese Communist army during
the civil war and Second World War
and a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army himself, Wang runs
Wanda Group “with military rigour
and precision”, Fortune magazine
reported last year.
Nearly all his senior staff are men
and wear black suits, white shirts
and dark ties as a rule. Employees
are provided with three free meals a
day at strictly scheduled hours.
Wanda executives claim the company has “never once had a project
come in late or over budget”, the
magazine said.
Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties now says it is the secondlargest commercial property owner
and operator in the world, with 175
property projects across China, including 71 Wanda Plazas of shopping centres, luxury hotels, and
office and residential towers, ac-
cording to the bourse п¬Ѓling. Wang,
60, turned to culture and tourism as
Wanda Group’s new growth drivers
in 2009, when the global п¬Ѓnancial
crisis dealt China’s real estate market a heavy blow.
The company has expanded into
п¬Ѓlm production, theme parks, print
media and art investment.
At a red-carpet event last year,
global A-listers Nicole Kidman,
Leonardo DiCaprio and Catherine Zeta-Jones flew in to showcase
Wanda’s plan for a 50bn yuan studio complex in the eastern city of
It has also expanded overseas,
buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6bn in 2012 and
reportedly seeking a stake in Lions
Gate Entertainment, the American
studio behind the “Hunger Games”
franchise. Last year, it acquired a
23-floor office building in London
for a luxury $1.1bn development and
bought Edificio Espana, a historic
skyscraper in Madrid, for $330mn
this June. A month later, Wanda announced it would invest $900mn
in a п¬Ѓve-star hotel and apartment
complex in Chicago, and acquired a
huge parcel of land in Beverly Hills.
Through the company, Wang has
also accumulated around 1,000
pieces of п¬Ѓne Chinese calligraphy
and painting, and last year spent
$28mn on Pablo Picasso’s 1950
work “Claude and Paloma”.
Wanda became a household name
across China after Wang, a diehard
football fan, bought a Dalian soccer
club in 1994.
He transformed it into the
strongest team in China, winning
four national championships until
the company withdrew in 2000 ostensibly in protest over controversial referee decisions.
But Wang’s ambitions are bigger. He told CNN earlier this year:
“Our goal is to make Wanda a brand
like Wal-mart or IBM or Google—
a brand known by everyone in the
world, a brand from China.”
Alibaba’s Ma mulled
Sony partnership on
�Ghostbusters’ movie
Hong Kong
Alibaba Group Holding
showed interest in partnering with Sony Corp on
movie franchises including “Ghostbusters” when
billionaire Jack Ma met with
Hollywood executives in
October, e-mails revealed
by hackers show.
Asia’s largest Internet
company also considered
investing in “Pixels,” a 3-D
computer-animated comedy starring Adam Sandler,
and intends to produce
about 10 movies a year,
according to messages
to Michael Lynton, chief
executive officer of Sony
Pictures Entertainment.
Sony was the only studio
where Ma met executives
in person during Alibaba’s
whirlwind tour of Hollywood, with actor Jet Li
and others in his team of
advisers talking to production houses to learn about
co-investment in movies,
the e-mails show. Alibaba
is hunting for films and TV
shows to compete against
Tencent Holdings in China’s
online video market, which
could be worth 40bn yuan
($6.4bn) by 2017, according
to IResearch estimates.
Alibaba also expressed
interest in investing in a
movie about Spider-Man villains known as the Sinister
Six; Dragon Raja, a series
of fantasy novels popular
among young Chinese; and
co-producing a film about
One Piece, the best-selling
Manga comic series.
“Ali believes that they
can enhance performance
through marketing, crowdfunding, products on Taobao
and the Ali ticketing platform,”
Dede Nickerson, a Sony film
executive in China, said in an
October 28 e-mail to executives including Lynton.
Sony showed keen interest to work with Alibaba
on Dragon Raja instead of
One Piece, according to the
e-mails. The film company
was also open to Alibaba
investing in “Pixels,” and
state-owned China Film
Group Corp was in talks
about financing the picture
as well, the e-mails showed.
Alibaba prefers to invest
in specific films rather than
in studios, a person familiar
with the matter said in
November, asking not to
be identified because the
strategy isn’t public. The
Hangzhou-based company
wants to become a more
significant distributor of
content by using customer
shopping and viewing data
to forecast what productions will become hits, the
person said.
Chinese solar glass exporters
may face rise in EU tariffs
he European Union threatened to
raise tariffs on solar glass from
China, saying EU producers may
need extra protection from Chinese competitors.
The EU began a review of duties already
as high as 36.1% that are meant to punish
Chinese solar-glass exporters such as Xinyi
PV Products (Anhui) Holdings Ltd for allegedly selling the renewable-energy technology in Europe below cost, a practice known
as dumping.
The bloc imposed the anti-dumping
levies in May for five years in a bid to aid
European solar-glass producers such
as GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg
EU ProSun Glass, a group representing
such manufacturers, now says the duty
rates aren’t high enough, according to the
EU ProSun Glass has provided “sufficient evidence” that “export prices have
decreased and there has been insuffi-
cient movement in resale prices or subsequent selling prices in the union” since
the duties were imposed, the European
Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s trade
authority in Brussels, said today in the
Official Journal.
The review, known as an absorption reinvestigation, will last nine months.
The п¬Ѓve-year anti-dumping duties range
from 0.4% to 36.1%, depending on the Chinese exporter.
When imposing these measures, the European Commission also hit Chinese solarglass exporters with a parallel set of п¬Ѓveyear levies to counter alleged subsidies by
The anti-subsidy duties range from 3.2%
to 17.1%.
Solar glass is used in solar panels, which
are themselves the target of European antidumping and anti-subsidy levies against
The EU solar-glass market is valued at
less than €200mn ($245mn), the commission said when it opened a dumping
inquiry in February 2013 that led to the
five-year anti-dumping levies against
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Belarus closes stores to stem currency panic
elarus blocked online stores and
news websites yesterday, in an
apparent attempt to stop a run
on banks and shops as people rushed to
secure their savings.
The Belarussian currency was
dragged down by the slide of the Russian rouble last week, leading authorities to impose draconian measures,
forbid price increases even for imported goods, and warn people against
In a statement yesterday, BelaPAN
news company, which runs popular
independent news websites Belapan.
by and, said that the sites
were blocked Saturday without any
“Clearly the decision to block the IP
addresses could only be taken by the
authorities because in Belarus the government has a monopoly on providing
IPs,” it said.
Other websites blocked yesterday
were, BelarusPartisan.
org, and others with an inde-
pendent news outlook. The blockage
started on December 19, when the government announced that purchases
of foreign currency will be taxed 30%
and told all exporters to convert half
of their foreign revenues into the local
“Looks like the authorities want to
turn light panic over the fall of the Belarussian rouble into a real one,” Belarus Partisan website wrote, calling the
blockages “December insanity.”
Internet shopping websites were
also blocked en masse. Thirteen online stores were blocked Saturday for
raising their prices or showing them in
US dollars, deputy trade minister Irina
Narkevich said, Interfax reported.
The government announced a moratorium on price increases for consumer
goods and ordered domestic producers
of appliances to “increase deliveries”
and keep prices the same at the risk of
their management being sacked.
The Belarussian rouble has lost
about half of its value since the beginning of the year, having been hit
hard by the depreciation of the Russian rouble since its economy is heavily dependent on its giant neighbour.
President Alexander Lukashenko last
week complained that Belarus has
“lost about a billion dollars” due to the
rouble’s slide, announcing a period of
strict frugality starting with the new
“Everything depends on the people,”
he said, warning people not to “rush
like crazy” to exchange savings.
“For us it’s important not to jump
after Russia into the abyss,” he said.
Lukashenko was in Kiev yesterday
to revive efforts to host talks on the
Ukrainian conflict.
But a high-ranking Ukrainian official said the Belarussian president
was equally keen to use the trip to build
bridges to Europe that ease his dependence on an increasingly isolated
Belarussians queued for up to four
hours to clear out their bank accounts
and swept store shelves to secure their
savings, stocking up on foreign-made
appliances and housewares.
Some ATM machines even ran
out of Belarussian roubles as people
feared that banks were preparing to
block bank cards or introduce caps
on cash withdrawals.
People stand among the empty shelves in an electronic shop in Minsk yesterday. The Belarusian National Bank has imposed
a 30% fee on currency exchange transactions for both businesses and individuals.
In rural Russia,
rouble plunge still
a remote concern
Voskresenskoye, Russia
In a myriad of villages like Voskresenskoye, nestled deep in
the Russian countryside, the monetary turmoil roiling the
nation’s large cities still seems a largely distant threat.
“This crisis is for the rich, for people who have dollars. We
never had money here,” said Tamara Boychenko, a 68-yearold retired resident of the village located in northwest Russia about 80 kilometres from Saint Petersburg.
“I can’t afford much with my pension of 15,000 roubles
(€200, $250). Luckily I have my vegetable garden,” said
Boychenko, smiling.
That rustic, phlegmatic attitude is far removed from Russia’s
big cities, whose residents watched in panicky dismay the
plunge of the rouble—which in the first two days of last
week alone lost a quarter of its value.
Out in villages like Voskresenskoye, grim resignation is difficult to differentiate from stoic sang-froid.
“I don’t expect anything at all from either the government
or (President Vladimir) Putin” in this current crisis or in
general, said Boychenko.
Her feelings were echoed by Stanislav Kushevich, a farmer
who runs a small butcher’s shop nearby.
“We can change nothing. We have no impact on anything,”
he said with a sigh.
Neither the turbulence of the markets nor measures taken
by the government have done much to improve or worsen
his lot, he believes.
“I have no savings, and I spend everything I make on my
farm. I’ve never travelled abroad, nor bought imported
goods,” the bearded 46-year-old said.
Still, the chaotic economic events raising alarms in Russia’s
cities are starting to resound in the nation’s heartland.
The swift and sudden slide of the rouble, accelerated by
declining oil prices and the impact of Western sanctions
slapped on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and
support for separatists in Ukraine, have generated the
first flushes of concern among a portion Russia’s broader
At the top of the list of fears is the prospect of prices of all
sorts of basic necessities spiking, and Russians expects the
authorities to take strong action to keep a lid on price hikes.
Many food products and most consumer goods are imported in Russia, meaning the 50% drop in the value of the
rouble will inevitably find its way onto price tags, although
inflation is only running at 10%, according to government
But in his annual marathon press conference Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin remained rather vague on the
burning questions lapping at Russia’s economy. Instead, the
Kremlin leader preferred to speak of an end of the spreading crisis “in two years, at worst”.
As concerns about Russia’s economic fate are slowly gravitating from cities to villages, reactions to how the Kremlin
has responded still differ considerably.
“Putin is a good man, but what can he do? It’s too complicated, the country is too big, and corruption is everywhere,”
said Kushevich, before confessing to “preparing for the
worst, as usual”.
That sense of fatalism was shared by Tatyana, who sells
candles in the small church in the neighbouring village of
“It doesn’t really matter, we’re used to following along,”
she said. “We survived the fall of the USSR, and the crisis of
1998. This isn’t the first time, and things will work out,” said
Less than 100 kilometres away in Saint Petersburg, listeners
are more divided and concerned about Putin’s comments
on the crisis Thursday.
“I absolutely support Putin’s stand on international (issues),”
said Anna, who manages an advertising agency.
“But on the other hand, I didn’t hear the answers to the
economic problems I was waiting for. I saw no clear position
on those,” she added.
For his part, Sergei Antonov said that the government hasn’t
made its economic policy clear.
Many food products and most consumer
goods are imported in Russia, meaning
the 50% drop in the value of the rouble
will inevitably find its way onto price tags,
although inflation is only running at 10%
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
China plans sweeping changes in technology
hina is aiming to purge most
foreign technology from banks,
the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies
by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to
Chinese suppliers, according to people
familiar with the effort.
The push comes after a test of domestic alternatives in the northeastern
city of Siping that was deemed a success, said the people, who asked not
to be named because the details aren’t
public. Workers there replaced Microsoft Corp’s Windows with a homegrown operating system called NeoKylin
and swapped foreign servers for ones
made by China’s Inspur Group, they
The plan for changes in four segments of the economy is driven by national security concerns and marks an
increasingly determined move away
from foreign suppliers under President
Xi Jinping, the people said. The campaign could have lasting consequences
for US companies including Cisco Systems, International Business Machines
Corp, Intel Corp and Hewlett- Packard
“The shift is real,” said Charlie Dai,
a Beijing-based analyst for Forrester
Research Inc “We have seen emerging
cases of replacing foreign products at
all layers from application, middleware
down to the infrastructure software
and hardware.”
China is moving to bolster its technology sector after Edward Snowden
revealed widespread spying by the US
National Security Agency and accused
the intelligence service of hacking into
the computers of Tsinghua University,
one of the China’s top research centres. In February, Xi called for faster
development of the industry at the п¬Ѓrst
meeting of his Internet security panel.
Foreign suppliers may be able to
avoid replacement if they share their
core technology or give China’s security inspectors access to their products,
the people said. The technology may
then be seen as safe and controllable,
they said.
China ranks second behind the US
in technology spending, with outlays
rising 8.1% to $182bn last year, according to research п¬Ѓrm IDC. The US spent
$656bn, a 4.2% increase over 2012.
The push to develop local suppliers
comes as Chinese regulators have pursued anti-trust probes against western
companies, including Microsoft and
Qualcomm. Recent months have seen
Microsoft’s China offices raided, Windows 8 banned from government computers and Apple iPads excluded from
procurement lists.
“I see a trade war happening. This
The China Banking Regulatory Commission office in Beijing. The CBRC has
ordered banks and finance agencies to ensure that at least 75% of their computer
systems used safe technology by 2019.
could get ugly fast, and it has,” said Ray
Mota, chief executive officer of Gilbert,
Arizona-based ACG Research, who expects the issue to result in direct talks
between the US and China. “It’s not
going to be a technology discussion.
It’s going to be a political discussion.”
In September, the China Banking
Regulatory Commission ordered banks
and п¬Ѓnance agencies to ensure that at
least 75% of their computer systems
used safe technology by 2019. The
regulator called on п¬Ѓnancial institutions to dedicate at least 5% of their IT
budgets towards the goal.
While the CBRC policy doesn’t make
a distinction between foreign and domestic products, it says banks must favour companies who share their “core
knowledge and key technology.” It also
cautions banks from relying too heavily on one supplier.
Chinese п¬Ѓrms, like Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp, have already
begun to gain local market share at foreign rivals’ expense.
Inspur Group’s Inspur Electronic
Information Industry Co rose as much
as 2.6% in Shenzhen before closing
1.5% higher at 39.54 yuan.
Beijing Orient National Communication Science & Technology Co, a
provider of software products to phone
companies and п¬Ѓnancial institutions,
climbed 9.9% to the highest since
its January 2011 listing. Sinodata Co,
which provides technology services to
the banking sector, added 9.8%.
About 80% of banks’ core servers and systems are made by foreign
brands, Yan Qingmin, a CBRC vice
chairman, said November 27 at a conference in Beijing sponsored by the
news magazine Caijing.
“Most of China’s financial IT systems are from foreign countries,” Yan
said. “From the perspective of national
security, it poses potential threats to
us.” The CBRC may start accounting
for banks’ use of Chinese technology
in its regulatory reviews, the Shanghai
Securities News reported.
Xi’s Central Military Commission
issued a similar, although less detailed,
order in October, according to a report
in the party-run People’s Liberation
Army Daily. That document described
information security as key to winning
battles. Intel, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and
Qualcomm declined to comment. IBM
said it isn’t aware of any Chinese government policy against using its servers in the banking industry.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of
China, the country’s biggest bank, deployed a new IBM mainframe in August, the two companies said.
Chinese companies have faced similar pressure overseas. A 2012 US Congressional report said Huawei and ZTE,
the country’s largest phone-equipment
makers, provide opportunities for Chinese spies to tamper with US communications networks. Huawei has since
been shut out from several US deals.
In May, the US Department of Justice accused five men in the People’s
Liberation Army of allegedly hacking
into the computer systems of US companies to steal information. The Chinese government called the charges
The orders from Chinese banking
and military commissions coincided
with the trial of domestic computer
systems in Siping, a city of 3.4mn people in Jilin province. Other cities and
agencies in Jilin will now begin testing whether NeoKylin, a Linux-based
operating system from China Standard
Software Co, can substitute for Windows and servers made by Inspur can
replace IBM’s, the two people familiar
with the plan said.
China eases rules on foreign bank branch openings
hina eased restrictions on
branch openings and yuan
transactions by foreign
banks as it opens its domestic п¬Ѓnancial industry.
China will drop from January
1 the requirement that a foreign
bank’s parent transfer a specific
level of operating funds to any
new Chinese branch, according to
a statement posted on the State
Beijing sets up
trust insurance
fund to cap
industry risk
China has set up its
first insurance fund
for its $2.1tn trust
industry in a move to
reduce financial risk
in shadow banking,
the country’s banking
regulator said.
The fund, jointly
established by China
Trustee Association
and 13 trust firms,
will be chaired by Xu
Zhichao, an ex-deputy
president of the
state-owned Cinda
Asset Management
Co, the China
Banking Regulatory
Commission (CBRC)
announced in a
statement published
on its website, www.
The CBRC gave no
value of the fund, but
local media reported
the fund has a paid-in
capital of 11.5bn yuan
Regulators published
the rules governing
the fund last week,
paving the way for its
The fund will
supplement China’s
existing securities,
insurance and
commodity futures
insurance funds.
China is also preparing
to set up its first
deposit insurance
fund to protect bank
Assets under
management at China’s
68 trust firms rose to
12.95tn yuan ($2.1tn
yuan) by the end of
the third quarter this
year making trusts
the single biggest
financial sector after
commercial banks,
official data shows.
The trust industry’s
scale has expanded
rapidly in recent
years, part of Beijing’s
strategy to diversify
funding channels and
credit pricing in a
system once entirely
dependent on stateowned banks, but highprofile defaults on trust
products earlier this
year raised concern
over systemic risks.
Council’s website. Foreign banks
will be eligible to apply to conduct
yuan transactions after operating
in China for one year, from a previous three years, and the requirement for two consecutive years of
profit will be dropped, according
to the statement.
“These rules are aimed to bring
more competition to the banking
industry and expand the openingup policy,” said Wu Kan, a fund
manager at Dragon Life Insurance
“By doing so, China’s also pre-
paring for an internationalization
of the renminbi,” referring to the
Chinese currency also known as the
The changes will make it easier
for foreign banks including Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings
to expand their footholds in the
world’s second-largest economy.
Until now, overseas lenders were
largely shut out of China’s banking
industry as they faced government
restrictions on adding branches and
offering products.
Obstacles to building branch net-
works have made it difficult for foreign banks to gather deposits and
issue loans. Restrictions on stock
and bond sales have thwarted investment banks, including Goldman Sachs Group and France’s BNP
Under the new rules, which
amend regulations announced
in 2006, banks are no longer required to establish a Chinese representative office before they set up
branches, joint ventures or wholly
foreign-owned lenders, according
to the statement.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 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 Sak
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 Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
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 Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
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 Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Union Real Estate Co
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
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
Monday, December 22, 2014
Deutsche Bank
weighs investment
bank cuts to
boost returns
Metro Bank has partnered with Fiserv to create an “off-the-shelf” software platform called Agiliti. Fiserv allows a start-up to buy a standardised platform and have it configured for the service it wants to provide,
whether that is current accounts, savings or different types of loans.
British upstart banks get IT
boost to take on big rivals
Metro Bank broke mould by using
software supplier; technology
has been a barrier for new banks;
big five lenders still dominate UK
hen Metro Bank prepared to
launch in 2010 as the п¬Ѓrst
new bank to appear on British high streets for over a century, its
founders broke with convention by
outsourcing the construction of its
computer systems.
Until then, British banks had built
their own software from scratch,
whereas counterparts in the US opted
for “off-the-shelf” platforms that
made it easier and quicker to launch
new businesses.
British lawmakers want new banks to
challenge the dominant lenders, which
have been hit by a succession of scandals. Some in the banking world say
using cheaper and more nimble tech-
nology could be a “game changer” in
enabling them to emerge.
“That’s the way the whole process
developed in America,” said Metro
Bank co-founder Vernon Hill, a colourful US entrepreneur who opened
his first bank branch in Philadelphia
at the age of 26 in 1973 before growing Commerce Bank into one of the
country’s top 20 lenders over the next
three decades.
“It’s almost impossible to do a new
bank unless you have one of these
packaged IT systems. That had never
been done in Britain and Metro Bank
would never have happened unless we
were successful in arranging to get that
done,” he told Reuters.
Five banks — Lloyds, RBS, Barclays,
HSBC and Santander — still provide
around 85% of current accounts in
Entrepreneurs and advisers said
there are п¬Ѓve main challenges for a new
bank trying to break that grip.
They must п¬Ѓnd a gap in the market,
raise capital, get a banking licence,
gain access to a payments system and
set up IT and other infrastructure. Often the last issue proved the stumbling
Hill and his co-founder Anthony
Thomson balked at the cost and time
required to build a new IT platform and
asked Swiss banking systems specialist Temenos to provide the software.
The system was set up in nine months
and other new banks are following that
Executives at new banks said having new computer systems gives them
an advantage over established banks
struggling with outdated systems.
“Now the problem is with the larger
banks because their systems are old and
their front office digital infrastructure
quite often doesn’t tie in with their
back office infrastructure,” said Philip
Monks, chief executive of Aldermore, a
new bank that also uses Temenos software.
Other software providers are developing similar technology and targeting the new UK banks, including FIS,
Misys, Infosys and Oracle.
Metro Bank’s Thomson has part-
nered with Fiserv to create an “off-theshelf” software platform called Agiliti.
They allow a start-up to buy a standardised platform and have it configured for the service it wants to provide,
whether that is current accounts, savings or different types of loans.
The bank will typically pay a set
amount and then extra fees per customer, perhaps about ВЈ8 ($13) per customer for a simple savings product or
ВЈ20 per current account.
That cuts initial costs for the banks
and means the system can be built up
over time, something the п¬Ѓnancial regulator also supports.
The regulator last year made it easier
for new banks to get off the ground,
cutting the length of time it takes to
apply for a banking licence, lowering
the amount of capital new banks must
hold and trying to reform the payments
Five banks were given licences in the
п¬Ѓrst year of the new regime, and there
are about 25 companies in the process
of applying.
Many of the new names are looking
to niche markets. Lintel Bank is targeting migrant workers, for example. Atom
Bank, which is a new venture from
Thomson, is a pure digital bank that
plans to launch next year.
Other start-ups are looking at lending to specific professions, such as doctors or farmers, who may want a more
tailored banking offer.
“You need to have something different to break through the noise and attract a segment of the market, so you
need to be clear on who you are targeting and what is your niche proposition,”
said Nic Parmaksizian at consultancy
п¬Ѓrm Capco.
Although the new technology and
regulatory changes have cut the time it
takes to bring a bank to market, it can
still be a lengthy process likely to take
more than a year.
The prize for new banks is substantial. Britons have an estimated 64mn
current accounts.
That could grow to 80-90mn in a
decade and challengers could take 1520%, or more than 15mn accounts, industry sources estimate.
Deutsche Bank, which runs Europe’s largest investment bank,
is poised to trim additional businesses at its securities unit to
boost returns after scaling back
in credit derivatives.
“We’re finding areas that don’t
make market or economic
sense and redeploying resources to areas and clients
which need us most,” Colin Fan,
co-head of the investment bank,
said by phone. The company
doesn’t plan “blanket cuts”
across the securities unit, he
Co-chief executive officer Anshu
Jain has said Deutsche Bank is
Europe’s last global investment
bank, as competitors retreat. Its
reliance on debt trading hasn’t
been rewarded by investors this
year as revenue declined and
capital requirements increased.
The company will review and
update its strategy next year, a
spokeswoman said December
Deutsche Bank shares have
dropped 24% this year, more
than all but eight lenders in the
49-member Stoxx Europe 600
Banks Index, which has slipped
“The bar is simply higher than
Deutsche Bank anticipated and
so they’re having to cut back on
selected desks,” Erin Davis, an
analyst at Morningstar Inc, said
from Chicago. “I don’t see any
reason the trading environment
is going to come back in a sustained way in the near term.”
The nine largest investment
banks generated $57.1bn from
trading fixed income, currencies and commodities in the
first nine months of 2014, down
3.8% from the prior-year period,
data compiled by Bloomberg
Intelligence show. Deutsche
Bank won market share from its
competitors after putting more
capital to work at its securities
unit, according to the data.
The bank will probably shrink
its book of repurchase agreements and reduce inventory
at its interest-rate trading unit,
said Alevizos Alevizakos, a
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst based in London who rates
the stock underperform.
The firm already exited some
businesses to address lower client demand and higher capital
requirements. It said last month
it would cease trading most
credit default swaps tied to
individual companies and reallocate resources to cash bonds.
Deutsche Bank cut or moved as
many as 10 traders in London
as a result of the decision and
efforts to reduce costs, said
people familiar with the matter
who asked not to be identified.
Fan, 41, said other cuts will
depend on the shape of future
regulation. “Some rules are not
yet set,” he said. “We need to
know where they settle and
then make decisions. Where the
rules are clear we have already
taken action.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Williams sees June as
time to start weighing
higher Fed interest rate
Miles: See fewer reasons to worry.
BoE faces no urgency
to raise rates: Miles
ederal Reserve Bank of San
Francisco President John
Williams said next June
will be the right time to consider
when to start raising interest
rates, even as inflation is likely
to stay below the central bank’s
“June 2015 seems like a reasonable starting point for thinking about when liftoff could
happen,” Williams, who votes on
policy next year, said yesterday
in an interview on Bloomberg
Radio with Kathleen Hays and
Vonnie Quinn. “It would depend
on where the US economy is relative to our goals.”
Chair Janet Yellen said this
week that the Fed will be “patient” in considering when to
raise interest rates for the п¬Ѓrst
time since 2006 and is unlikely
to move before the end of April.
Her remarks helped propel the
best two-day rally in US stock
indexes in three years.
“The introduction of the �patient’ word was a natural progression” towards a period when
interest rates begin to rise, said
Williams, 52.
His views align closely with
those of Yellen, his predecessor
at the helm of the San Francisco
Fed. He served as director of research under Yellen before being named president in March
Williams never dissented from
an FOMC policy statement during eight meetings in 2012, the
last time the San Francisco Fed
president held a voting seat. He
was among the early supporters
of open ended-bond purchases
by the Fed to boost the economy.
The purchase programme ended
in October.
Another regional Fed bank
The Bank of England isn’t under
pressure to raise UK interest
rates as inflation slides further
below its target, policy maker
David Miles said.
“There is no great urgency in
starting the process of moving
monetary policy back towards
a more normal setting,” Miles
wrote yesterday in the Sunday
Inflation slowed to the
least in more than a decade in
November with consumer-price
growth dropping to 1%, half the
Bank of England’s 2% target. A
breach below 1% would force
Governor Mark Carney to write
an explanatory letter to the
government. While the current
undershooting of the inflation
target “is not ideal,” Miles said
it doesn’t merit an easing of
monetary policy either.
The main reason inflation has
fallen is the drop in global commodity prices and he doubted
people would postpone purchas-
The introduction of the �patient’ word was a natural progression towards a period when interest rates begin to rise, says Federal Reserve Bank
of San Francisco President John Williams.
president who unlike Williams
has been a frequent internal critic of the central bank’s
easy-money policies, Richmond’s Jeffrey Lacker, yesterday said he also backs the Fed
“I support the characterisation that we can be patient at
this point,” Lacker told reporters yesterday after taking part in
a panel discussion in Charlotte,
North Carolina. “That characterisation could change from
meeting to meeting for me.”
Lacker, who also votes on
monetary policy next year, dissented at every FOMC meeting
in 2012, when he was last a voter,
in favour of a less accommodative policy stance.
The Fed’s �patient’ stance replaced a previous commitment
to keep the benchmark interest
rate near zero for a “considerable
time” and is intended to give
policy makers more flexibility to
respond to the latest economic
Williams said he expects
consumer spending and wage
growth to improve, and he views
the drop in oil prices as “a huge
windfall for American consumers.” He projects unemployment
at about 5.25% by the end of
The jobless rate was 5.8% in
November, the lowest in six years
and close to the range of 5.2% to
5.5% that Fed officials consider
full employment. Williams said
he sees full employment at 5.2%.
drop in unemployment has bol-
stered the views of officials who
favour raising rates sooner. At
the same time, policy makers
urging caution have pointed to
an inflation rate that has languished below the Fed’s goal for
30 straight months.
The Fed’s preferred inflation
gauge, the personal consumption expenditures price index,
rose 1.4% in the year through
October. Officials don’t expect
to meet their inflation goal until
2016, according to projections
released this week.
Scotiabank agrees to acquire Citigroup bank operations in Peru
Sao Paulo
Scotiabank has retail and commercial operations in
more than 55 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean
and Asia.
Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-largest lender
by assets, agreed to acquire Citigroup Inc’s retail and
commercial banking operations in Peru.
Citigroup has eight branches and more than 130,000 retail
and commercial customers in Peru, the companies said
in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed, and both firms
said the deal isn’t material to financial results. Citigroup
will keep its institutional and private-bank businesses in
Peru, Mark Costiglio, a spokesman for the New York-
based lender, said in an e-mail. Scotiabank has retail and
commercial operations in more than 55 countries in Latin
America, the Caribbean and Asia. The Toronto-based
lender’s fourth-quarter profit from international banking
declined 31% to C$316mn ($272mn) from a year earlier.
“We’re excited about this acquisition because it will allow
us to deepen existing customer relationships, serve new
customers and increase our market share in credit cards
and personal loans in Peru,” Dieter Jentsch, group head of
international banking at Scotiabank, said in the statement.
Citigroup said in October it was scaling back consumer
banking and exiting certain markets by the end of next
es because of concern deflation
would mean prices would be
lower in the future.
“So I don’t think that lower
inflation than seemed likely six
months ago means that more
expansionary policy is now needed,” Miles said. “I see fewer reasons for worrying about deflation
risks than if the undershoot of
the 2% inflation target reflected
purely domestic factors.”
Miles, who joined the
Monetary Policy Committee in
2009 and has never overseen
a change in interest rates, said
it is “possible” he may reach
the end of his term in August
without ever voting to raise the
benchmark rate. In June, he had
said he expected to avoid setting the record as the first MPC
member to have never voted for
a change.
He also said the UK benefits from the boost to real
incomes from lower commodity
prices. While a weaker Chinese
economy — one of the reasons
for the oil slump — suggests less
trade, the UK exports relatively
little to China, he said.
German state buys tax CD
with Swiss bank client data
uthorities in the German
state of North RhineWestphalia have bought
a CD containing data about
several thousand German clients of a Swiss bank, German
newspaper Bild am Sonntag
said yesterday without citing
its sources.
The clients each have accounts containing up to €5mn
at the unidentified bank, the
newspaper said, adding that
NRW tax investigators were
currently analysing the data.
The state government of
NRW declined to comment
yesterday, referring to tax secrecy.
Since 2010, NRW has bought
several CDs containing data of
tax evaders. Since then almost
19,000 tax evaders in that state
alone have declared themselves
to authorities. In other federal
states the number of tax evad-
ers turning themselves in has
also increased.
The newspaper also said that
in the past week there had been
several raids on the unreported
income of clients of Credit Suisse in NRW related to a tax CD
that NRW authorities bought in
A spokeswoman for Credit
Suisse declined to comment.
Tax evaders who come clean
before an investigation begins
can currently avoid jail by paying the back tax and interest
penalties but from January 1,
2015, the requirements to qualify for such an exemption from
punishment will be tightened.
The threshold for exemption
will fall from unpaid tax liability of €50,000 to €25,000 and
the penal surcharge on tax payments made in arrears will also
be higher.
In March a German court
convicted Bayern Munich’s
then-president, Uli Hoeness,
of tax evasion and sentenced
him to 3-1/2 years in jail.
As Ford closes, European rust belt seeks new ideas
Industrial heartland at
crossroads as Ford leaves;
region’s transformation
could hold lessons for
Genk, Belgium
n the heart of western
Europe, the BelgianDutch-German rust belt
has been dealt another blow.
Two car plants closed this
month as companies sought
cheaper labour elsewhere,
the п¬Ѓnal chapter of a manufacturing boom that began
when coal mines fuelling Europe’s industrialisation shut
in the 1960s.
Now the region straddling three borders is trying
to reinvent itself. A €315bn
EU investment plan, announced on Thursday, is the
latest potential help. It aims
to encourage investors to
back projects around Europe
needing п¬Ѓnancing including the start-ups that could
bring new ideas to skilled but
high-wage workers.
The п¬Ѓnal production day at
Ford Motor Co’s plant in the
eastern Belgian city of Genk
came barely two weeks after General Motors closed its
Opel Bochum factory across
the border in Germany, both
part of automakers’ strategy
to adapt to falling sales following the eurozone crisis.
“I worked at Ford Genk for
almost 40 years, I’ve never
applied for another job in all
my life,” said Pierre Boonen,
57, after one of his last shifts
at the plant that generated
work directly or indirectly
for around 10,000 people. “I
never expected this.”
Workers have been compensated, but many are over
40 and have little idea of
what to do next. “Even if
the young have a tough time
finding a job, it’s even worse
for the older employees,” said
53-year-old worker Margot
and as a group of protesters outside the plant help up
signs reading “What now?”
With the eurozone economy facing deflation and
near record unemployment,
investors are also looking to
the European Central Bank
to revive business confidence
with a US-style money printing stimulus programme.
And while the Limburg
region is home to other
manufacturing and chemical
industries such as chip designer Melexis to life sciences
group DSM contributing to
an economic output bigger
than some eurozone countries, the demise of car manufacturing in border shows
that parts of Europe needs a
new economic model.
“In the 1970s and 1980s,
the policy was to attract a big
plant and that was going to
save you,” said Karen Maguire,
an expert at the Paris-based
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development. “That only lasts for so
long unless you can innovate,
upgrade and diversify.”
One innovative local company is Polyscope, which
set up in a disused chemicals plant in Dutch Limburg
in 2007. It exports granular
plastics that are turned into
paper coating or sun roofs to
the US and China. It employs
50 people and has annual
revenues of $40mn.
“We need innovation
connected to our industrial
base,” said Patrick Muezers,
Polyscope’s CEO and who
previously worked in the automotive industry. “We cannot all be consultants.”
Work has also begun on a
93-hectare science park on
the site of an old coal mine
near Genk — its rotting brick
buildings and broken glass
windows still dotted around
— to be ready in 2017, with
the aim of developing medical and energy technology.
Underpinning the entrepreneurs are public initiatives
aimed at effectively removing the Belgian-Dutch-German border to create an
economic region that is not
limited by national boundaries and linking smaller cities such as Eindhoven, where
Philips has its research facilities, to the university cities of
Belgium’s Leuven and Germany’s Aachen.
“There’s a lot of potential
here. In a wider, 500-kilometre radius, you have 60%
of the purchasing power of
the whole of Europe,” said
Johann Leten at Flemish
business group Voka.
Some in Genk want to see
the development of electric cars and have launched
a campaign to convince US
electric car producer Tesla
to take over the Ford plant,
starting an Internet site
called �Welkom Tesla’.
“Nobody was prepared
for a complete closure of the
Ford plant,” said union representative Erik Verheyden.
“It would be great to produce
a niche product here with a
guaranteed market. It could
still happen.”
The Ford factory in the eastern Belgian city of Genk. The final production day at Ford Motor Co’s plant in Genk came barely
two weeks after General Motors closed its Opel Bochum factory across the border in Germany, both part of automakers’
strategy to adapt to falling sales following the eurozone crisis.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Significant volatility in cross border flows can impact global growth
By Dr R Seetharaman
The US Fed last week was dovish and
committed to be patient on the timing
of increase in rates. It gave policymakers new flexibility as they evaluate the
economy to see if it has enough internal
momentum to start to bring interest rates
back towards levels that would historically
be more normal during a recovery.
The Fed was also hesitant to move too
soon on account of core CPI, which was
at 1.7% in 12 months through November,
and has remained below the Committee’s
longer-run objective” of about 2% a year.
Fed chair Janet Yellen indicated that the
committee didn’t anticipate raising rates
“for at least the next couple of meeting”,
which has given expectations of first rate
hike by April or later.
The Fed is upbeat on US economy and
expect it grow between 2.6% and 3.0%
next year. The global markets which had
witnessed volatility on account of fall in
oil prices in recent times recovered after
Fed’s statement.
Last week Russia’s central bank made
a drastic interest rate move overnight,
raising its key rate from 10.5% to 17% on
account of economy’s concern from falling oil prices and Western sanctions.
Despite this, the Russian rouble
touched an all time low of 80 against
the US dollar. However, it recovered after
Russia’s finance ministry considered the
rouble extremely undervalued, and is
starting to sell its leftover currency on the
market. It ended last week at 59.61 against
the US dollar. It has fallen by more than
81% YTD.
Russia stock market had fallen by more
than 46% YTD. Russia had bond issues
worth $16bn this year as against $31bn in
2013. Russia economy had already slowed
to 0.7% in the third quarter, year-on-year,
down from a growth rate of 0.8% in the
preceding quarter. It had weakened by
several rounds of Western sanctions over
the Ukraine crisis which have spurred
capital flight and deterred foreign investment.
The recent steep fall in oil prices and
weakening of rouble will result in Russia
falling into recession. Russian banking
sector will also be significantly affected.
In terms of contribution to World trade
and Global GDP Russia may not be very
significant. However, the fears of South
Asian crisis 1997 revived as Thailand was
insignificant when compared to World
trade and Global trade but the crisis got
transmitted across the world.
China’s economy expanded by 7.3% in
3rd quarter of 2014, down from 7.5% in the
previous quarter. There are concerns that
growth can fall below 7%. China’s industrial production in November grew 7.2%,
compared with the 7.7% rise in October
2014. China’s inflation fell to 1.4% in November from 1.6% in October, which is the
lowest since November 2009. In Nov 2014
China Central Bank cut 40 basis points to
the one-year lending rate to 5.6% and 25
basis points to the one-year saving rate to
2.75%, and an increased ceiling for deposit
rates, mainly to protect households and
China’s central bank said its surprise
move to cut interest rates for the first
time since 2012 is designed to help small
firms and protect depositors instead of
all-out monetary easing. The Chinese
yuan is down by close to 3% YTD against
the dollar and closed at 6.22 against
the US dollar by end of last week. The
Shanghai index was up by more than
47% YTD and had surged significantly in
last one month after China’s Central Bank
cut rates. China had bond issues more
than $690bn in 2014 as against $606bn
in 2013.
Brazil’s economy shrank 0.2% from a
year earlier in the third quarter of 2014.
Brazil’s annual inflation accelerated to
6.46% in mid-December from 6.42% the
month before. The Brazil Central bank has
a mandate to keep inflation at 4.5% with a
two percentage-point tolerance range on
either side of that, but inflation has stayed
close to 6.5% ceiling.
Brazil real closed by end of last week to
2.65 against the US dollar and has weakened by more than 12% YTD. Brazil stock
market was down by more than 3% YTD.
Brazil had bond issues more than $17bn in
2014 as against $25bn in 2013.
India’s GDP grew at 5.3% in the third
quarter of 2014. India’s consumer price
inflation (CPI) rate was at 4.38% in November 2014. India’s trade deficit widened
to highest in 18months to $16.86bn in
November as strengthening demand for
gold pushed up imports.
The rise in gold imports could revive
some worries about India’s current-account deficit. The Indian rupee had closed
Mideast insurers have
strong risk-adjusted
capital, says AM Best
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
nsurers in the Middle East
in general and those in the
Gulf countries have strong
levels of risk-adjusted capital,
although they continue to rely
heavily on reinsurance protection and carry elevated levels of
investment risk, according to
AM Best, a rating agency for the
insurance sector.
“Consequently, 78% of outlooks were stable as of November 30, 2014, and 8% were positive. This reflects companies
operating with stronger and
more diversified business profiles, while maintaining sound
operating results,” the agency
said in its report.
However, increased competition from new market entrants
and regional insurers seeking to
expand may create greater pressure on operating performance,
it said.
Competition is growing as existing players look to expand outside their home countries or core
domestic markets to other neighbouring territories, it added.
Further introduction of mandatory healthcare, which is currently the second largest line of
business, will create opportunities for insurers. Nevertheless,
prudent underwriting needs to
be adopted for this underperforming risk.
In general, insurers and reinsurers in the region are developing their risk management
capabilities, although for the
industry as a whole, levels of risk
management are fairly basic.
It said there are some notable
exceptions where management
teams employ sophisticated
ERM (enterprise resource management) and risk modelling
These companies, however, remain a minority. Improvements
in ERM that generate noticeable
reductions in unwanted capital
and earnings volatility could lead
to positive rating momentum.
The performance of most
new entrants is weak, reflecting
the highly competitive operating environment. Many insurers
are unable to create an adequate
balance between market franchise and operating profitability.
While the performance metrics
of more established insurers are
favourable, new company formations are struggling as Middle
East markets are saturated with
insurance capacity.
In comparison, the leading
market participants enjoy strong
underwriting performance and
stable and improving market
franchises. Market leaders tend
to post excellent technical results, with combined ratios of
less than 90%.
Finding that premium insurance retention remains low for
primary insurers, emphasising
the high dependence on reinsurance; it said “significant” inward
reinsurance commissions drive
technical performance for many
insurance companies.
On a gross basis, the report
said, non-life insurers’ portfolios are diversified, even as they
are weighted towards motor and
medical on a net basis, owing to
significant cessions to reinsurers
on high-limit corporate risks.
Retentions are increasing, but
there is an ongoing reliance on
reinsurers, particularly for large
commercial and industrial risks.
Material counterparty credit risk
arises from low premium retention on corporate accounts, although this is mitigated through
the use of a strong reinsurance
A conservative underwriting
approach produces stable technical results, although many
insurers still have aggressive
investment strategies. Investments are often concentrated
in equity and real estate assets,
which increase earnings volatility and liquidity risk.
Woqod directors approve budget entailing expenditure of nearly QR1.75bn for 2015
Woqod’s Board of Directors has approved the company’s
projected budget for financial year 2015 entailing a capital
(Capex) and operating (Opex) expenditure of nearly
The budget was approved by Woqod’s board of
directors presided over by chairman Sheikh Saoud
bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at Woqod Tower, West Bay
The details regarding the Woqod budget incorporating
both Capex and Opex were announced by CEO Ibrahim
Jaham al-Kuwari here yesterday.
He said during the year Woqod would focus on many
projects including the commissioning of up to 12 new
petrol stations, four new Fahes (vehicle inspection
centres, four new Sidra (convenience) stores, bitumen
facilities and gas operations and up to six “expansion”
Al-Kuwari said the Woqod Board of Directors “discussed
other related issues and gave its directives”.
Sheikh Saoud (left) and Ibrahim al-Kuwari: Focus on many projects.
last week at 63.3 against the US dollar and
had fallen by more than 2% YTD. Indian
capital market was up by more than 30%
YTD and arose after dovish comments
from Fed. India had bond issues more
than $43bn in 2014 as against $41bn in
Today cross border flows between
economies are significant and find it’s way
in capital, commodity, bond or currency
markets. Moreover Central Banks of
Advanced economies had pursued easing
measures and low interest rates after the
Global financial crisis.
This has resulted in huge inflows into
emerging economies. Such inflows were
to a great extent justified as they were
the new drivers of growth to global
However, with domestic challenges
appearing in emerging economies, this
could not only create significant outflows
from them but can also impact their
growth and thereby global economic
recovery. Significant volatility in cross
border flows creates shocks to financial
system and can affect global growth.
Dr R Seetharaman is Group CEO of Doha
Bank. The views expressed are his own.
Mideast aviation
п¬Ѓrm plans budget
airline in Thailand
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
ubai-based Transworld
Aviation (TWA), a supplier of aircraft parts
and aviation maintenance
services and the п¬Ѓrst Middle
East company of its kind with
a presence in Southeast Asia,
is reportedly considering to set
up a budget airline in Thailand
to tap the growing potential of
Chinese visitors to the country.
The planned airline, backed
by local joint venture TWA
Thailand (of which TWA holds
49% and a private Thai investor
51%), would, in a п¬Ѓrst step, offer
charter flights linking Bangkok
and Phuket with destinations
in southern China starting from
the end of 2015, local media reported. However, TWA has yet
to confirm the plan.
Observers say that despite
the large number of budget
carriers crowding the sky over
Thailand, there is still potential
for direct connections between
Thailand and second-tier cities in southern China which are
currently not served on direct
routes by the main big players
such as AirAsia, China Southern Airlines, Dragon Air or
Shanghai Airlines.
Other market drivers are the
anticipated rapid rise in Chinese tourist numbers to Thailand in the coming years, as
well as incentives granted by
the Thai Ministry of Transport which aims at developing
Thailand into a regional hub
for aviation and is currently
expanding Bangkok’s main
budget carrier hub, Don Muang
Airport, as well as Phuket International Airport.
Apart from forging out plans
for a low-cost airline, TWA is
also preparing to set up a regional
and parts distribution centre
in Thailand aimed at servicing
and supplying parts for mili-
tary and government aircraft as
well as smaller and private jets,
but eventually also commercial
airplanes. Such a centre would
compete with the two existing
large regional aircraft maintenance centres in Singapore, operated by SIA Engineering, part
of the Singapore Airlines Group,
and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
operated by MAS Engineering,
as division of Malaysia Airlines.
According to TWA’s chairman Abdullah al-Sulaimani,
his company’s biggest sales
propositions are the quick
turnaround of OEM aircraft
parts, its service expertise and
its experience in emerging
aviation markets. Apart from
TWA’s presence in the GCC, it
has also expanded to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Tanzania, as well as to the
US in the past.
TWA’s current customer list
shows prominent Middle East
carriers such as Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Oman
Air, RAK Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, Yemenia
and Air Arabia. Other major
customers include Air India, Sri Lankan Airlines, Thai
Airways and Indian budget
carriers such as Jet Airways,
Kingfisher Airlines, IndiGo
and SpiceJet. TWA also serves
several defence organisations,
the royal fleets of Qatar, Abu
Dhabi and Qatar, as well as
private and corporate aviation
In Southeast Asia, Sulaimani
sees long-term growth in the
aviation sector particularly
supported by the launch of
the Asean Economic Community by end-2015 and with it
the liberalisation of air traffic
rights in the ten-country bloc.
There will be a single aviation
market as a result of the Asean
Open Sky Agreement that will
remove relatively tight national laws and aviation regulations and open the market for
a number of new airlines and
Global growth in ’15 likely to be significantly weaker than ’14
he global economy is showing signs of weakness with significant downside risks as 2014
comes to an end, QNB has said in a report.
Some of these risks are likely to materialise next year, leaving the global
economy in worse shape than in 2014.
QNB has made п¬Ѓve predictions that it
expects will shape the global economic
outlook for 2015 and beyond.
“Looking back, our expectations for
2014 were for a moderate recovery in
the world economy that would enable
an orderly exit from US Quantitative
Easing (QE) and a resumption of global
growth to its pre-crisis levels. The reality turned out to be quite different,”
QNB said.
The US recovery has been uneven in
2014, with negative growth in the п¬Ѓrst
quarter, followed by two quarters of
rapid growth. The Eurozone’s initial
recovery п¬Ѓzzled, leaving the common
currency area near recession and at risk
of deflation.
Japan remained stuck in deflation —
notwithstanding the large expansion of
the balance sheet of the Bank of Japan
and the significant depreciation of the
Yen — and fell again into recession in
China’s growth was kept above
7.0% by a series of fiscal and monetary stimuli, but declining house
prices for the last seven months have
significantly weakened private consumption.
Emerging Markets (EMs) continued
to slow amid falling commodity prices
and uneven policy responses. Growth
in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
and Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) remained
strong on high infrastructure spending;
however, the recent sharp decline in oil
prices casts a shadow on the growth
momentum going forward.
However, the largest surprise was the
continued disinflationary pressures in
the global economy, QNB noted.
“We had already warned about the
risk of a �Great Deflation’ in October.
Since then, this risk seems to be materialising. Weaker-than-expected
global growth has led to a further
sharp fall in commodity prices,” QNB
The IMF Global Commodity Index
has fallen by 17.4% in the 12 months
up to November, reflecting a 23.2% decline in fuel prices and 5.8% decline in
other commodities. These strong disinflationary pressures are likely to be
the determinant factor for the global
economy going forward.
Looking ahead, QNB makes the fol-
lowing п¬Ѓve predictions for the global
economy in 2015:
1. The US Federal Reserve (Fed)
will not increase policy rates in 2015.
Unlike the consensus forecast for an
increase in Q2, 2015, QNB believes
that global disinflationary pressures
and the continued strengthening
of the US dollar are likely to lead
to near zero inflation in the United
States in 2015. As a result, the Fed
will not have a rationale for raising
interest rates as inflationary expectations will remain well below its 2%
inflation target. If the Fed does raise
policy rates, the effects on the global economy would be significantly
2. The Eurozone will enter deflation and another recession. The recent
sharp decline in oil prices will push
the Eurozone into deflation in 2015,
notwithstanding the efforts of the European Central Bank (ECB) to avoid it
at all costs. This will inevitably lead to
weaker consumption and investments,
thus pushing the common currency
area into another recession.
3. China’s growth momentum will
slow amidst a strong risk of deflation.
Declining house prices and lower global commodity prices will continue to
weaken domestic demand and create
strong disinflationary pressures. The
Chinese authorities are likely to try to
stimulate the economy further, but this
would come on top of previous stimuli
and may not be sufficient to avoid a significant growth slowdown. The slowdown is also likely to lead to near-zero
4. Several oil-exporting EMs are likely to be pushed into a balance of payments crisis. The substantial decline
in crude oil prices may push countries,
like Russia and Venezuela, to default
on its debt obligations. This may lead
to contagion across other EMs, forcing
international institutions to step in.
5. Lower commodity prices and a
weaker global economy will inevitably imply a slowdown in the strong
growth momentum in the GCC and oilexporting SSA countries. In particular, the recent decline in oil prices will
force a reassessment of the ambitious
infrastructure investment programmes
across the two regions.
The exception is likely to be Qatar,
where the investment programme in
preparation for the 2022 World Cup is
unlikely to be delayed.
“Overall, global growth in 2015 is
likely to be significantly weaker than
in 2014. According to the October
2014 IMF World Economic Outlook,
global economic growth was projected to accelerate from 3.3% in 2014 to
3.8% in 2015. If our predictions materialise, it is more likely that the global
economy will expand only by 1.5%2%,” QNB said.
NBA | Page 8
Real Madrid
win Club World
Cup, fourth title
of 2014
Rondo debuts,
Ellis stars as
edge Spurs
Monday, December 22, 2014
Safar 30, 1436 AH
Pakistan’s Afridi to
retire from ODIs
after World Cup
Page 6
Blockbuster in the making as
Juve, Napoli face off in Doha
Serie A champs Juve are in quest for their seventh Super Cup title, Italian Cup winners Napoli for their second
By Joe Koraith
he 27th edition of the Supercoppa will
be played today between defending Serie A champions Juventus and the 201314 Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) winners
Napoli at the Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad stadium
(Al Sadd stadium).
That’s the bigger picture. But it has so many
subplots that if one were looking to turn it into
a movie, you could make multiple sequels - each
of them a blockbuster.
There is the battle between two great strikers, the tussle between two famous coaches and
needless to say a clash between two teams, each
looking to snatch an important slice of history.
And then there’s the history between these two
teams when it comes to this specific competition.
Let’s look at the teams first. Juventus are
currently leading the Serie A standings while
Napoli are down in third, twelve points off.
These two haven’t faced each other in the Serie A yet. In their last meeting, which was last
season’s Serie A encounter, Napoli had defeated Juventus 2-0.
Overall, however, Juventus are far ahead, having won 16 out of the 33 matches while Napoli
have won only 8. In the Supercoppa, Napoli have
played just twice, both against Juventus. They
won the battle in 1990 with a spectacular 5-1
win, but lost in 2012, 2-4 on penalties.
Juventus, on the other hand, are on a recordbreaking and -seeking spree. They will be playing in their record 10th Supercoppa and are
looking for a record seventh title. If they win,
they will go ahead of AC Milan, who have six
titles. They have also won the previous two editions of the Supercoppa.
“Napoli are a high-profile team – a team that
is difficult to play against and win. From the
tactical and physical perspective, it’s a single
match which means that we have no room for
mistakes,” said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri
during the pre-match press conference yesterday.
“Juve are leading the championship but we
are focussed on this match and what counts is
the will to win. We have defeated Juve in the past
and have done it in the best way possible. They
are a difficult team but we have faith that we can
do a repeat of the win over Juve which we have
achieved in the past,” said Napoli coach Rafael
Benitez yesterday.
On paper, Juventus are the stronger team.
They boast of stars like Carloz Tevez, Gianluigi
Buffon, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Fernando
Llorente and, of course, Andrea �Metronome’
Pirlo. Napoli will be banking on the brilliance of
Gonzalo Higuain up front with support coming
from Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon.
Juve endured three draws before they got the
Juventus captain and goalkeeper Gianluiggi Buffon and coach Massimiliano Allegri attend a press
conference on the eve of the Supercoppa match at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday. (Right)
Napoli defender Christian Maggio at the press conference. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
win against Cagliari. Napoli too claimed their
п¬Ѓrst win in п¬Ѓve matches when they beat Parma
in their last match.
“At the beginning of the Serie A season we did
well and then our form dipped a bit but we are
now back to winning. And winning the SuperCoppa will be a great way to wrap up 2014,” said
Benitez said that the form in the league will
not be a factor for today’s match. “I have said
in the past that this is the final. It’s a single
match. So we are focusing on this match. We
have to do so for 90 minutes, maybe more and
we are going to do that while firmly believing
that we are going to do well.”
Juve will be hoping that their star players can
deliver and leading from the front will be skipper Gianluigi Buffon. The star goalkeeper is keen
for his team to add to their stack of Supercoppa
“This match is all about winning. We have
won previous Supercoppas and we want to add
another one. Fame and reputation will have a big
role to play in the match. Being a single match,
at any time there can be a loss in concentration
that could prove to be costly. So there all the ingredients for us to do our very best,” said Buffon
Coach vs Coach
Higuain vs Tevez
Juve’s Massimiliano Allegri
hile in terms of the team strength, Juve
seem more powerful, but when it comes
to coaches, Napoli seem to have the edge. Allegri has won this competition with AC Milan
but is looking for his first title with Juventus.
Benitez, on the other hand, is an expert when
it comes to knockout competitions. He has
won the UEFA Cup with Valencia, taken Liverpool to the FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the
Champions League and also won the Europa
League with Chelsea. During his tenure with
Inter Milan, Benitez won the Italian Supercup
and the Club World Cup too.
And Allegri knows what his team will be up
against. “They are a very orderly team. A
team that when it plays without mistakes will
be very difficult to defeat. We have to play
with great intensity, deliver a great performance, of course without any mistakes.”
Benitez is aware of the star power of his
opponents. “Allegri is hugely experienced
and he will be using the full potential of his
team. We know that they can hurt us and
we will make sure that we don’t make any
mistakes. And we have the confidence that
we can win it.”
Napoli’s Rafael Benitez
he other battle, probably the
most important one when it
comes to the end result, will be
between two compatriots playing
against each other this time. Carlos
Tevez has been in stellar form
for Juventus and Napoli will be
looking at Gonzalo Higuain to fire.
But Juve coach Allegri said that
there is more to his team than just
Tevez. “Juventus is not only about
Tevez. We have had 34 goals scored
by other players. Tevez is the key
but others have also played very
well. Tevez has personality and
charisma. And like all players cut
from his cloth, they need relaxation.
But tomorrow’s match will be more
about mind than muscle,” said the
Juve coach.
All of that adds up to indicate that
today’s Supercoppa will be played
at a high level of intensity. And that
only translates into great news
for the football fans here in Doha.
Game on!
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Real Madrid win Club World
Cup, fourth title of 2014
�We deserved to win the title—we can say that Real Madrid are the best team in the world. We are a team and a family’
Marrakech (Morocco)
Real Madrid’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA Club World
Cup final against San Lorenzo at the Marrakesh stadium in the
Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Saturday. (AFP)
eal Madrid defeated San
Lorenzo of Argentina
2-0 on Saturday to win
the Club World Cup
and secure their fourth trophy
of 2014.
The Spanish giants dominated the п¬Ѓnal with Sergio Ramos,
who had been an injury doubt
because of a hamstring strain,
and Gareth Bale getting on the
Real added the year-ending trophy to the Champions
League, Copa del Rey and European Super Cup titles they had
already secured in 2014. They
will also end the year on top of
La Liga. Saturday’s triumph was
also their 22nd consecutive win
in all competitions, and they
now have in their sights the mark
of 26 straight wins achieved by
Johan Cruyff ’s Ajax side in 197172. “We deserved to win the title—we can say that Real Madrid
are the best team in the world,”
said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“We have done really well this
year, it’s been unforgettable. We
are a team and a family.”
Real are also guaranteed to
п¬Ѓnish the year as La Liga leaders and Ancelotti was already
setting his sights on similar
achievements in 2015.
“We’d be happy with a repeat.
We’ll continue forward like this
in all competitions and will face
the new year with excitement
and enthusiasm.”
Meanwhile, Bale tweeted:
“Couldn’t think of a better
Christmas present, FIFA World
Club Champions 2014!! #HalaMadrid.”
Ramos opened the scoring
after 37 minutes when he rose
above the San Lorenzo defence
to send a thumping header past
goalkeeper Sebastian Torrico
from a Toni Kroos corner.
Bale made it 2-0 six minutes
into the second half when he
collected a pass from Isco and
п¬Ѓred the ball straight at Torrico.
But the Argentine ’keeper
made a terrible hash of the
Welshman’s tame shot and fumbled the ball over the line.
Real �keeper Iker Casillas was
relatively untroubled, called into
serious action for the п¬Ѓrst time
well after the hour mark to keep
out an Emmanuel Mas drive.
At the other end, Karim Benzema went close to a third Real
goal but his touch went wide of
the post.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet
night and failed to get on the
end of a Benzema cross in the
80th minute. In the last minute,
San Lorenzo’s Juan Mercier unleashed a powerful, long distance drive which was saved by a
diving Casillas.
“Madrid won fairly. But for
us it was an honour to have п¬Ѓnished the year playing in the
п¬Ѓnal of the World Cup. We are
very proud despite the grief of
losing,” said San Lorenzo coach
Edgardo Bauza. “It’s been a
wonderful year for the club and
for the fans—we won the Copa
Libertadores.” Earlier, New Zea-
land’s Auckland City claimed
third place after defeating Cruz
Azul 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out
to become the п¬Ѓrst Oceania team
to win a medal at the tournament.
The two sides were locked 1-1
at the end of normal time with
defender Ryan de Vries’ goal in
п¬Ѓrst-half injury time equalised
by Joao Rojas’ close-range effort
just before the hour mark for the
Mexican side.
In the shoot-out, Sanni Issa
scored the eventual winner for
the semi-professionals from
Auckland. The Kiwis had made
the third-place play-off by beat-
ing Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan 1-0 and then seeing off African champions Setif of Algeria
by the same score.
They narrowly missed out on a
place in the п¬Ѓnal when they conceded an extra-time goal in a 2-1
loss to San Lorenzo. “Half of my
players are amateurs. We deserve
to п¬Ѓnish where we have because
we’ve been brilliant from beginning to end,” said Auckland
coach Ramon Tribulietx.
“I hope this performance will
have a positive impact on football in New Zealand. No one expected us to come third, and it’s
a real honour.”
Club World Cup still a
hit outside Europe
Marrakech (Morocco)
overwhelming indifference
in Europe, the Club
World Cup is still seen
as the pinnacle of club football
elsewhere as thousands of San
Lorenzo fans demonstrated this
An estimated 9,000 fans made
the tortuous and costly trip from
Buenos Aires to Marrakech to
witness what they believed was
the most important week in
their club’s history. Goalkeeper
Sebastian Torrico said before
Saturday’s final against Real Madrid, won 2-0 by the European
champions, that it would be “the
most important game of my life”
and coach Edgardo Bauza expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s the match all the players want to play. This is the
most important game at club
level,” he said. “At my age this
is like touching heaven,” added
34-year-old team captain Juan
“I’ve played a lot of second di-
vision football and reached the
top flight at a late age, so I never
thought I’d ever be in a situation
like this, about to take on Real
San Lorenzo had become almost obsessed by the tournament since winning the South
American Libertadores Cup п¬Ѓve
months ago. Until the 1990s,
the South American champions
used to compete on equal terms
with their European counterparts and led by 13 titles to 12
when the old Intercontinental
Cup was scrapped in 2004.
But Europe leads by seven
wins to three under the new
format, reflecting the huge gulf
which has been caused by the
continued exodus of top players
worldwide towards Europe.
The December timing of the
tournament also does not help.
While the European sides reinforce their teams in the six
months between winning the
Champions League and taking
part in the club cup, the opposite
happens with teams from the
rest of the world where winning
a title means the best players get
sold. Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers have yet
to win a league game this season and Moghreb Tetouan, who
qualified as champions of the
host nation, are 10th in the Moroccan league and had not won in
п¬Ѓve games going into the tournament.
San Lorenzo, meanwhile
ambled through the 19-match
campaign in the Argentine Inicial tournament, winning eight
times to п¬Ѓnish eighth.
Nevertheless, the chance to
pit themselves against teams
such as Real Madrid remains
a huge pull for the likes of San
Lorenzo and their mainly journeyman players.
Predictably, Real Madrid
sailed through their two matches without conceding a goal,
beating Cruz Azul 4-0 and San
Lorenzo 2-0, reinforcing the
concept that the tournament is
In fact, Real probably encountered more resistance in those
two games than they would in a
typical La Liga game or Champions League group stage tie.
San Lorenzo coach Edgardo
Bauza pointed out that it is not
just teams from other continents
that succumb to Real’s array of
cherry-picked, world class players as the Spaniards had won
their previous 20 games going
into the tournament.
Bauza said there is also a huge
gap between the elite group of
European teams, such as Real,
Barcelona and Bayern Munich,
and the rest of their own continent. “The big difference is
between us and the four or п¬Ѓve
best teams in the world, not all
the European teams,” he said. “If
you take out the top four or п¬Ѓve,
we could play a match on equal
terms against almost any European opposition.”
The semi-professionals of
Auckland City were another
team who had no complaints
about the tournament after the
New Zealanders surpassed all
expectations and п¬Ѓnished third
after wins over Moghreb Tetouan, ES Setif and Cruz Azul.
“It’s a luxury to come to a
tournament like this and play
against high level team,” said
coach Ramon Tribulietx.
Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo (C) from Real Madrid poses for photographers
with his family during the unveling ceremony of a statue of himself in his hometown of Funchal,
Madeira, yesterday. (EPA)
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
�It was an outstanding performance. Our passing and movement on the pitch, which is terrible, was superb’
bloodied and bandaged
Martin Skrtel headed
home a last-gasp 97thminute equaliser to
earn Liverpool a 2-2 draw against
Arsenal in the Premier League at
Anfield yesterday.
Having bossed the п¬Ѓrst half,
Liverpool went ahead through
Philippe Coutinho, only for goals
from Mathieu Debuchy and
Olivier Giroud to leave Arsene
Wenger’s Arsenal on the brink of
a smash-and-grab victory.
But Giroud’s accidental kick
to Skrtel’s head led to nine minutes of stoppage time and the
tattooed Slovakian centre-back
claimed his revenge with a memorable header in front of the Kop.
“It was an outstanding performance. Our passing and
movement on the pitch, which is
terrible, was superb,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
“At half-time we asked for
more of the same with the same
movement and then we showed
great character to п¬Ѓght back
from 2-1 down with 10 men.”
But though the goal—Skrtel’s
first of the season—gave Liverpool’s fans some much-needed
Christmas cheer, it did little to
improve their team’s standing in
the table following a run of only
two wins in nine games.
Brendan Rodgers’s side, who
had Fabio Borini sent off, are now
17 points below leaders Chelsea and nine points below the
top four, while Arsene Wenger’s
Arsenal—destroyed 5-1 on their
previous visit in February—trail
the Champions League places by
four points.
With Liverpool п¬Ѓelding seven
midfielders in a 3-4-3 formation, which saw Raheem Sterling
reprise his role as a �false nine’, it
was unsurprising to see the hosts
dominate possession from kickoff. Steven Gerrard curled a freekick wide in the early stages and
Adam Lallana drilled a left-foot
effort narrowly over after skilfully spinning onto a pass from
Lazar Markovic.
After п¬Ѓelding a tame effort
from Coutinho, Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny produced a decisive stop, spreading
himself to thwart Markovic, who
had been freed to run at goal by
Gerrard’s flick. Markovic also
whipped a п¬Ѓrst-time shot over
Results & standings
Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel (2nd L) scores a goal against
Arsenal during their English Premier League match at
Anfield in Liverpool yesterday. (Reuters)
the bar from a Sterling pass, before the breakthrough arrived in
the 45th minute.
After Giroud conceded possession, Jordan Henderson
played a pass into the feet of
Coutinho, who threw Debuchy
off-balance before drilling a low
shot into the bottom-left corner.
There had been a sense of inevitability about the goal, but
barely a minute later, Arsenal
silenced the Kop by equalising
with their п¬Ѓrst attempt at goal.
Alexis Sanchez’s right-wing
free-kick was half-cleared,
Mathieu Flamini kept the ball
alive, and Debuchy climbed at
the back post to head home via a
deflection off Skrtel.
Skrtel’s misfortune continued
early in the second period as he
was left with a nasty gash on the
back of his head after being accidentally kicked by Giroud, which
prompted a six-minute stoppage
in play.
Liverpool came close to scor-
Newcastle. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Sunderland. . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Liverpool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Arsenal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
ing when play resumed, with
Sterling slyly using his hand to
knock the ball past the onrushing Szczesny before crossing for
Gerrard, whose diving header
sent the ball over.
But it was Arsenal who struck
next. Giroud clipped Kieran
Gibb’s pass wide to Santi Cazorla and then exploited sluggish
defending to meet the Spaniard’s
low cross with a shot that flew
past Brad Jones. Rodgers sent on
strikers Borini and Rickie Lam-
Gabbiadini saves Sampdoria
on possible swansong
taly striker Manolo Gabbiadini confirmed he could quit
Sampdoria in the January
transfer window after heading a late equaliser to secure a
share of the spoils in a 2-2 home
draw with Udinese yesterday.
Gabbiadini has been linked
with a move to Napoli and the
highly-rated 23-year-old told
Sky Sport after the game: “I don’t
know if this will be my last goal in
a Sampdoria shirt, I always honour the shirt that I’m wearing.”
It was Sampdoria’s ninth draw
of the campaign but Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men were left lamenting a missed chance to leapfrog
Napoli into provisional third
place ahead of Lazio’s visit to Inter Milan in Sunday’s late game.
Spanish midfielder Pedro
Obiang gave the hosts a great
start with a 15th minute opener
at the Luigi Ferraris stadium,
п¬Ѓring into the empty net after
a blunder by visiting �keeper
Orestis Karnezis. But Udinese
took a 2-1 half-time lead following quick-п¬Ѓre goals from
Alexandre Geijo and Danilo in
the space of three minutes. Gab-
Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates after scoring the goal
during the Italian Serie A match against Udinese Calcio at the Luigi
Ferraris Stadium in Genoa yesterday. (EPA)
biadini, who secured a share of
the points for Samp in a 1-1 draw
away to Juventus last week, rescued the hosts again when he
headed Lorenzo Di Silvestri’s
cross past Karnezis on the hour.
“We’ve shown we’re a great
side, not just for what we did today but what we’ve been doing
all season. Our league position
says it all,” said Gabbiadini. Mi-
hajlovic told Sky Sport he had no
complaints. “Both teams tried
to play to win, we had a blackout for about three minutes and
conceded two goals,” said the
coach. “I told the lads not to
change a thing, we went back out
looking for the equaliser and in
the end it was the right result.”
Sampdoria are 12 points behind
Juventus, who will face Napoli
in the Italian Super Cup п¬Ѓnal in
Doha on Monday with a chance
for a double Christmas celebration after the latest slip-up by
title challengers.
Roma had closed the gap on
Juventus to a point last week but
had to settle for a scoreless draw at
home to Milan on Saturday which
left them three points adrift in
second. Coach Rudi Garcia admitted his side “lacked a bit of creativity” but hinted Roma, in contention for the league, Italian Cup
and Europa League, were feeling
the effects of those demands. “All
the clubs welcome this break:
footballers aren’t machines, they
can’t go ten months non-stop
without resting,” said Garcia. “I
hope the guys come back from
the holidays utterly determined
and with the same hunger we’ve
shown up till now.”
Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi
was so delighted with the point
he said Milan should be aiming
higher than just qualification for
the Champions League. “We are
Milan, we shouldn’t be fighting to finish third. We should be
gunning for the title,” said the
Milan handler. Elsewhere, Chievo and Torino were the only two
teams celebrating ending the
year with a win.
bert for the closing stages.
Borini drew a brilliant save
from Szczesny with a late header, but after being booked for
hurling the ball away when a
throw-in decision went against
him, he was sent off after catching Cazorla with a high foot.
Szczesny saved from Gerrard,
but just as it looked like Arsenal
would hang on, Skrtel met Gerrard’s right-wing corner with an
emphatic near-post header to
earn the 10 men a point.
In the day’s other game, Sunderland claimed a dramatic 1-0
victory at Newcastle United in
the Tyne-Wear derby thanks to
a 90th-minute goal from former
Newcastle youth player Adam
It was a high-tempo game in
which both teams, especially
Sunderland, missed a series of
chances before Johnson settled it, starting and п¬Ѓnished a
sweeping move involving Steven
Fletcher and Sebastien Larsson
Man City
Man Utd
West Ham
Aston Villa
West Brom
Crystal Palace
F A Pts
3 1 36
3 2 36
5 3 30
4 4 29
2 6 28
6 4 30
3 6 22
4 6 22
5 6 18
4 7 21
6 6 27
5 7 11
4 7 18
10 4 15
5 8 17
2 10 20
6 8 19
Until then, it looked certain
to end in a stalemate, but Johnson relishes these occasions after scoring on Sunderland’s two
previous visits, which both ended in 3-0 defeats for Newcastle.
This meeting was typically
competitive derby, littered with
yellow cards as referee Anthony
Taylor tried to keep a grip on the
game. But, if there was little love
lost on the pitch, both sets of
supporters displayed a refreshing respect for each other.
Sunderland’s fans joined the
17th minute applause for the two
Newcastle supporters who died
in the MH17 plane crash, then
the home fans responded similarly in the 33rd minute to mark
the ВЈ33,000 raised in Sunderland in the wake of the tragedy.
By the end of the match,
though, Sunderland fans were
the ones making all the noise
after a victory which came after
their disruptive prelude to the
match when left-back Anthony
Reveillere strained a calf muscle
during the warm-up.
He was replaced by Sebastien
Coates, but it was not a straightforward change because John
O’Shea had to switch to leftback to allow Coates to play in
his normal position at the heart
of the defence.
It did not get much better for
Sunderland when the game began as Coates was booked within
two minutes for a foul, adding to
his concerns for the remaining
88. Coates’s early foul on Ayoze
Perez was only one of a number
of abrasive challenges
brought three more cautions in
the next 20 minutes. By the end,
the yellow card count was seven.
Freiburg hold Hanover to leave
Dortmund joint bottom
Borussia Dortmund went joint bottom of the
Bundesliga yesterday after Hanover 96 scored
two late goals to draw 2-2 at Freiburg as Germany’s top flight breaks for winter.
The Bundesliga starts its winter break leaving
last season’s runners-up Dortmund level on
15 points and a goal difference of minus eight
alongside last-placed Freiburg.
Goals by striker Mike Frantz and defender MarcOliver Kempf had put hosts Freiburg 2-0 up at
their Schwarzwald Stadium before Hanover
scored twice in the last 10 minutes to claim a
Midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt struck on
83 minutes before their Spanish star Joselu
netted in the third minute of added time to
deny Freiburg their first win since the start of
Earlier yesterday, Hertha Berlin defender John
Brooks gave away his side’s first two goals in
their 5-0 thrashing at home by Hoffenheim.
The USA international turned the ball into his
own net on 23 minutes at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, then gave away a penalty three minutes
later. Bosnia midfielder Sejad Salihovic drilled
home the spot-kick and things went from bad to
worse for Hertha.
Brooks’ team-mate Nico Schulz was unlucky to
concede a penalty after nudging Hoffenheim
captain Andreas Beck on 39 minutes and Salihovic converted his second spot-kick.
Hertha capitulated in the second half as Sven
Schipplock added to the hosts’ misery when he
walked the ball into an empty net on 74 minutes
after a Hoffenheim counter-attack.
Germany international Sebastian Rudy then
came off the Hoffenheim bench to grab their
fifth goal.
“It was a black day for us,” admitted Schulz,
while Hertha coach Jos Luhukay said his side
had contributed to their own downfall.
“We really helped them, you only have to look at
the goals,” said the Dutchman.
This was seventh-placed Hoffenheim’s biggest
victory in their seven years in Germany’s top
flight while Hertha, 13th, have now leaked nine
goals in their last two games after drawing 4-4 at
Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
On Saturday, Dortmund suffered their 10th
defeat from their first 17 games, losing 2-1 at
Werder Bremen as teenager Davie Selke scored
for the hosts, then set up their second for Fin
Second-placed Wolfsburg fought back to claim
a 2-1 home win against mid-table Cologne
which trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead at the top
back to 11 points.
Defender Dominic Maroh gave Cologne a shock
lead after just 11 minutes before Dutch striker
Bas Dost equalised five minutes later.
Brazil defender Naldo then headed the winner
from a corner 12 minutes from time.
Bayer Leverkusen stay third after coming from
behind for a 1-1 draw at home to Eintracht
Eintracht captain Alexander Meier, the league’s
leading scorer, converted a penalty to take
him to 13 goals in 16 games this season, before
Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi equalised.
Roberto di Matteo’s Schalke 04 stay fifth after
being held to a goalless draw at home to Hamburg, while Stuttgart remain above the bottom
three places after their goalless draw at home
to Paderborn.
Meanwhile, Augsburg fought back for a 2-1 win
at home to fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach to go sixth.
On Friday, Bayern broke more league records
as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben
scored in their 2-1 comeback win at Mainz after
Colombia midfielder Elkin Soto had given the
hosts’ a shock first-half lead.
The Mainz result saw Bayern claim new records
for the fewest goals conceded in the first half
of a Bundesliga season and their 11-point lead
after 17 games is also a new best mark.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Dundee United win
ends champions
Celtic’s winning run
�We gave away some very stupid goals and that’s something we need to do something on’
undee United moved
up to second in the
Scottish Premiership
with a 2-1 win over
leaders Celtic to end the Hoops’
eight game winning run yesterday.
With just one win in their
past 21 matches against the
Glasgow giants the odds were
stacked against United before
Nadir Ciftci opened the scoring for United in the п¬Ѓfth minute
with a superb strike before setting up Stuart Armstrong to
head home a second in the 65th
Stefan Scepovic had a goal
controversially chopped off for
offside in the 81st minute before
fellow substitute Leigh Griffiths
pulled one back for Celtic six
minutes later and then hit the
post in stoppage time.
United survived to close to
within four points of the Hoops
at the top of the table and gain
some revenge for their 6-1
thrashing at Parkhead in August.
“We lost the game because we
weren’t effective enough. It’s a
challenge we’ve faced in the last
three or four games where we’ve
created a lot of chances but don’t
take them,” a despondent Celtic
manager Ronny Deila said.
“We gave away some very stupid goals and that’s something
we need to do something on.”
Celtic manager Ronny Deila
had been in the rare position of
naming an unchanged side for
the match at Tannadice while
United made three changes
from the side that lost to Aberdeen. A trip on Celtic captain Scott Brown earned Ciftci
a booking within the п¬Ѓrst 30
seconds but the Turkish striker
soon atoned for his recklessness
when he п¬Ѓred United in front in
the п¬Ѓfth minute.
Armstrong’s pass was diverted into his path by a Hoops
defender and Ciftci held off the
challenge of Efe Ambrose before
chipping an angled shot beyond
Craig Gordon. Celtic responded
with Stefan Johansen п¬Ѓring a
low shot that got stuck between
the legs of United �keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Celtic stopper Gordon then
had to be alert to make a superb
one-handed save to deny a п¬Ѓerce
strike from Conor Townsend.
The Hoops were appealing for
finish year
on the top
elgian striker Michy
Batshuayi repaid Marseille coach Marcelo
Bielsa’s faith in giving
him his п¬Ѓrst start by scoring the
decider in the 2-1 win over Lille
yesterday that guarantees they
top the table going into the New
Batshuayi secured OM’s ninth
consecutive home victory after
Idrissa Gueye had cancelled out
the Nolan Roux own-goal which
gave the home side the lead.
Marseille, who last won the
title in 2010 when coached by
Didier Deschamps, lead defending champions Paris SaintGermain—who drew 0-0 with
Montpellier on Saturday—by
three points and are п¬Ѓve ahead of
Lyon, who play Bordeaux later.
Batshuayi, who had to bide
his time to get a start after signing from Standard Liege in the
summer, had got the nod when
Bielsa told regular starter Dimitri Payet he could go on holiday
after failing to impress in training this week. And the Belgian
Under-21 international did not
let the mercurial Argentinian
coach down as Marseille secured
the symbolic title of �Autumn
Champions’ in front of a record
Stade Velodrome attendance of
62,048 spectators.
“I was especially eager for us
to win this game because for п¬Ѓve
months these players have put in
so much effort, so to п¬Ѓnish with
a deserved victory at home is
their reward,” said Bielsa, who
dismissed talk of a bust-up with
“Nothing in particular happened. I simply decided to
choose another player today and
I didn’t think it was necessary
for him to be in the squad of 18.”
Meanwhile, Batshuayi, 21,
said the goal was a reward for all
the hard work he had put in on
the training ground.
“I owe a great debt to the
coach for showing his faith in me
and giving me the starting role,”
he said.
“When I was on the bench I
was desperate to get on and then
to start a match.
“This is a club dear to my
heart and when I scored the goal
I let out all the emotion I have
had cooped up inside me since I
joined. I think I have taken a step
forward today.”
Andre-Pierre Gignac had a
superb chance in the 12th minute
as a weak defensive header fell to
him inside the penalty area but
he sent his shot well wide of the
Batshuayi went close to
breaking the deadlock in the
27th minute as he created space
for himself and unleashed a п¬Ѓne
curling effort that went just wide
of the post.
The hosts went 1-0 up in the
32nd minute in the most unfortunate circumstances for Lille as
Roux tried to put out a poor corner by Florian Thauvin only for
it to flash off his boot and beat
Vincent Enyeama at the near
Marseille had other chances
including one for Andre Ayew,
but the Ghanaian star’s shot was
cleared off the line by Simon
Kjaer. Lille were fortunate not
be reduced to 10 men 10 minutes
into the second half as Gueye
flashed out his arm and caught
Mario Lemina full in the face but
despite a harsh talking to by the
referee he didn’t receive even a
He made the most of his good
fortune by levelling in the 61st
minute, his shot from the edge
of the area taking a deflection
before rolling past Steve Mandanda.
However, the hosts sent the
massed ranks of Marseille fans—
many in Santa Claus hats—into
ecstasy in the 69th minute as
Batshuayi turned his marker and
let fly with a right-footed effort
that gave Enyeama no chance.
Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong heads the ball past Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon to score during their Scottish Premier League match
at Tannadice Park Stadium in Dundee yesterday. (Reuters)
a penalty on the half hour mark
when Guidetti went down under a robust shoulder challenge
from Sean Dillon but the referee
ignored their pleas.
Some frantic defending from
United stopped Celtic from
equalising in the 38th minute.
The ball crashed off the crossbar after Cierzniak’s punch
out came off Nir Biton’s back
and Virgil van Dijk’s follow-up
header was then cleared off the
line. The woodwork again denied Celtic an equaliser in the
53rd minute when Anthony
Stoke’s cross deflected off the
head of Dillon and looped over
Cierzniak before striking the
base of the far post, with Forrest
flashing the rebound wide.
Celtic brought on forwards
Kris Common and Scepovic as
they chased an equaliser but
it was the home fans who were
celebrating again in the 65th
minute as Armstrong added a
superb second goal for United.
Ciftci used his strength to
outmuscle Emilio Izaguirre
on the byline before clipping
a wonderful cross to the unmarked Armstrong at the back
post for the midfielder whose
header hit off Gordon on its way
into the net.
The Hoops had a goal controversially chopped off for offside
in the 81st minute when Scepovic п¬Ѓred past Cierzniak with
the Serbian striker looking to be
played on by Blair Spittal.
A wonderful п¬Ѓnish from
Griffiths through the legs of
Cierzniak pulled one back in the
87th minute before the striker
struck the post with a п¬Ѓerce effort in stoppage time.
Marseille’s Belgian midfielder Michy Batshuayi celebrates after
scoring during the French L1 match against Lille at the Velodrome
stadium in Marseille yesterday. (AFP)
Villarreal climb after seventh straight victory
illarreal registered their
seventh consecutive win in
all competitions to move
above Sevilla on goal difference into п¬Ѓfth in La Liga thanks to
a 3-0 victory over Deportivo la Coruna yesterday.
Jonathan dos Santos got the hosts
off to the perfect start when the onloan Barcelona midfielder slammed
home his п¬Ѓrst goal for the club.
Argentine striker Luciano Vietto
then added to his п¬Ѓne debut season
in Spain with two simple п¬Ѓnishes
п¬Ѓve minutes apart midway through
the second-half to make the game
safe before the hosts ended with 10
men when substitute Tomas Pina
was sent-off.
Marcelino’s men shot themselves
back into contention for a return to
the Champions League by inflicting
Atletico Madrid’s first defeat at the
Vicente Calderon for 19 months last
weekend and were in no mood to lose
any ground in the battle for the top
four as they flew out of the blocks.
They were rewarded with the
opening goal after just 10 minutes
when Fabricio could only parry
Denis Cheryshev’s low effort into the
path of Dos Santos who gratefully
steered the ball into an empty net.
The Deportivo �keeper redeemed
himself with п¬Ѓne saves from Cheryshev, Vietto and Ikechukwu Uche to
keep the visitors in the game at halftime. But despite an improved start
to the second period they were hit
again on the counter-attack for the
crucial second goal 22 minutes from
time when Victor Ruiz squared for
Vietto to tap home. Five minutes later it was 3-0 in similar fashion as this
time Cheryshev rolled the ball across
the area for Vietto to slot home his
12th goal of the season.
Villarreal’s day was somewhat
soured as Pina only lasted four minutes before being shown a straight
red card for a lunge on Alex Bergantinos, but Deportivo couldn’t manage
a consolation, and they remain just
a point outside the relegation zone.
On Saturday, Luis Suarez scored
his п¬Ѓrst La Liga goal and Lionel Messi
netted twice as Barcelona moved to
within a point of leaders Real Madrid
with a 5-0 thrashing of Cordoba.
Victory moves Barca six points
clear of champions Atletico Madridbut Real Madrid will end the year on
top despite having played a game less
due to their participation in the Club
World Cup this weekend.
Real host Sevilla in their last game
of the year on Wednesday.
Real Sociedad were left frustrated
after a late Levante penalty denied
them a п¬Ѓrst league away win of the
season with their inability to hold on
to the lead a further indication of the
tough job facing coach David Moyes.
The former Everton and Manchester United manager had urged
his players to become stronger mentally if they wanted to pick up a п¬Ѓrst
away win since April and start moving up the table towards the European places. The match was an uninspiring affair but Sociedad were
on course for that victory through
Sergio Canales’ strike at the start of
the second half before fullback Carlos Martinez handled the ball inside
the area in stoppage time.
Villarreal player Jaume Costa (L)
vies for the ball with Deportivo
de la Coruna’s Ivan Caleiro (R)
during their La liga match held at
El Madrigal stadium in Villarreal
yesterday. (EPA)
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Aussie media slate
�whingeing’ India
after Brisbane loss
�They trail because of tails, failing to extract runs from their own bottom order or restrain Australia’s.
Perhaps in trying to match Australia’s machismo, they have been excitable, excessive and distracted’
team, Ishant
fined by ICC
ustralia have been
fined for maintaining
a slow over rate and
India paceman Ishant
Sharma has been found guilty of
breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the second Brisbane
Test, the ICC said yesterday.
As punishment new skipper Steve Smith was fined 60
percent of his match fee for
his team’s slow over rate in the
Test, which Australia won by
four wickets on Saturday.
Match referee Jeff Crowe
imposed the fine after Smith’s
side was ruled to be three overs
short of its target when time
allowances were taken into consideration.
In accordance with the ICC
Code of Conduct relating to
minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 percent of their
match fees for every over their
side fails to bowl in the allotted
time, with the captain fined
double that amount.
The other Australia players
received 30 percent fines of
their match fees.
The ICC said if Smith was
found guilty of one more minor
over-rate offence as captain in
Tests over the next 12 months,
he will receive a one-match suspension as per the provisions of
the Code.
Sharma was fined 15 percent
of his match fee for violating a section of the ICC Code
of Conduct, which relates to
“language or a gesture that is
obscene, offensive or insulting
during an international match.”
Sharma was seen on the
television broadcast using
inappropriate words after
dismissing Smith in Australia’s
first innings.
Sharma admitted the offence
and accepted the sanction
proposed by the match referee,
the ICC said.
All Level 1 breaches carry a
minimum penalty of an official
reprimand and a maximum
penalty of 50 percent of a
player’s match fee.
It is the second Test match
in the current Border-Gavaskar
series that has led to code of
conduct sanctions.
Australia’s David Warner and
India duo Shikhar Dhawan and
stand-in skipper Virat Kohli were
found guilty of breaching the
ICC code of conduct and handed fines for bust-ups during the
stormy first Adelaide Test.
Warner and Dhawan were
fined 15 and 30 percent of their
match fees respectively for
their roles in a confrontation,
while Kohli was also fined 30
percent of his match fee for his
involvement in a separate incident shortly before the close of
play on the fourth day.
Australian media blasted the Indian team after the Brisbane Test loss for their complaining attitude, saying the players were unnecessarily distracted by their gripes over the state of practice wickets and food.
eaten India were distracted
by their gripes over the state
of practice wickets and food
as they reached their breaking point on their Australian tour, local
media said yesterday.
MS Dhoni’s tourists fell 2-0 behind
in the four-match series with a fourwicket loss to Australia in the second
Gabba Test on Saturday, with the home
side one win away from regaining the
Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
While Mitchell Johnson triggered
another Indian batting collapse which
left the home side the task of chasing
down 128 runs for victory on the fourth
day, Australia’s media focused on the
siege mentality that has enveloped the
“Not only do the numbers not lie,
they act as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This was Australia’s 10th win in a row
at home, and their 14th in the last 17,
with only one defeat. This was India’s
п¬Ѓfth away defeat in a row, and their 15th
in the last 18, with only one win,” Fairfax Media’s Greg Baum wrote.
“For every touring team, every
summer, there is a time, a place and a
breaking point. On Saturday, it was the
Gabba nets, before play.”
Dhoni blamed the state of the Gabba’s practice wickets for injuries to
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli that
he said had unsettled the team before
their batting collapse against Australia.
“Immediately, a siege mentality settled on the Indian camp, which protested the standard of the practice
pitches, also the lack of a gym, and in
their paranoia refused even to divulge
which bowler or bowlers had inflicted
the damage,” Baum said.
“Everywhere you looked in
this game there was Smith.
He marshalled Australia well
through an inhospitable first
day, repaired their innings
on the second day, secured
them a lead on the third. On
the fourth morning, he looked
astonishingly assured. For the
last Ashes tour he was the last
man picked; for the next he
will be the first”
“They trail (in the series) because of
tails, failing to extract runs from their
own bottom order or restrain Australia’s. Perhaps in trying to match Australia’s machismo, they have been excitable, excessive and distracted.”
Former Australia Test captain Ian
Chappell blasted India’s lack of leader-
ship. “That’s the sort of thing (practice
wickets) you might bitch about in the
dressing room,” Chappell told Channel
The Board of Control for Cricket in
India issued a statement during Saturday’s play, attacking the state of practice wickets at the Gabba ground.
“When you come out with a statement like that, particularly after you’ve
lost a few wickets in the morning, it
looks like whingeing,” Chappell said.
Johnson featured in the post-match
commentary for his performance with
bat and ball to turn the Test for Australia. “They made hard work of the run
chase, but Australia defeated India by
four wickets in the Brisbane Test after a
wrecking-ball performance by Mitchell
Johnson caused the touring side to implode,” Fairfax Media said.
“Having made 88 in the partnership
with victorious captain Steve Smith
that twisted the Test in Australia’s favour on day three, Johnson ensured it
would п¬Ѓnish on day four with a vintage
spell of menacing fast bowling on Saturday morning.”
Fairfax Media said the Indians were
also dissatisfied with the Gabba catering, which led to two players, Ishant
Sharma and Suresh Raina, eating their
lunch outside the venue on Friday.
The Australian’s Gideon Haigh reserved special praise for new skipper
and official man-of-the-match Smith.
“Everywhere you looked in this game
there was Smith. He marshalled Australia well through an inhospitable п¬Ѓrst
day, repaired their innings on the second day, secured them a lead on the
third. On the fourth morning, he looked
astonishingly assured,” Haigh said.
“For the last Ashes tour he was the
last man picked; for the next he will be
the first.”
Ishant Sharma was fined 15
percent of his match fee for using
“language or gesture that is
obscene, offensive or insulting”
aptain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said India have the pace
threat and aggression to win
Tests away from home and
it’s just a matter of time before results
go their way.
The Indians lost by four wickets to
Australia in Saturday’s second Test in
Brisbane after going down all guns
blazing by 48 runs chasing 364 in the
opening Adelaide Test.
While India have been in contention in both Tests, the Australians
have won the key moments to turn
around the contests.
The Brisbane loss was India’s fifth
straight away defeat and their 15th in
the last 18, with only one win.
India were thumped 3-1 in England
this year and trail Australia 2-0 in the
four-match Border-Gavaskar series,
but Dhoni is undeterred.
“There’s plenty of areas we’re
showing improvement, but we’re still
not crossing the line,” Dhoni said.
“We need to give it a bit more time.
Once they start crossing that line,
once they harness that aggression in
the right channel you’ll see plenty of
good results from this side.”
Dhoni, lining up for his 90th Test
match as a player and 60th as captain in the third Test in Melbourne on
Boxing Day, said it is important for
India to compete against the Australians in what is the toughest tour for
overseas teams.
“The exciting thing is we have
competed. What’s really important
is it can turn at any point of time,”
he said.
“The competition has been good,
though the results have not been
in our favour. It’s exciting to see the
youngsters putting in a fight. It’s just
a matter of time. It will turn out to be
a very consistent side.”
Dhoni said it was important for his
team to fight it out to the end of their
Test matches, irrespective of their
situation in the contest.
“It’s important that you fight it
out with the opposition and then
whatever the result is, you accept it,”
he said.
“At the same time, you don’t throw
in the towel. It was quite good to see
our fast bowlers still running in, giving 100 percent.
“We have seen the execution
power of our fast bowlers has increased. Ishant Sharma is the leader
of the pack. He is someone who can
consistently now bowl in one area.
“Varun Aaron is still raw. He does
go for runs, but it’s exciting to see
somebody from India bowling at a
good pace and using the bouncer to
get the opposition out.
“We were able to get a few wickets
in Australia’s second innings and
that helps the youngsters learn that
to get another 50, 60, 70 runs it can
really matter.
“Especially, when it comes to Australia and a fifth-day wicket.”
India have not beaten Australia
at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in
33 years and have lost their last five
Tests there by big margins.
“There are
plenty of areas
we’re showing
but we’re still not
crossing the line.
We need to give
it a bit more time.
Once they start
crossing that line,
once they harness
that aggression in
the right channel
you’ll see plenty
of good results
from this side”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Afridi to retire from ODIs after World Cup
ashing Pakistani all-rounder
Shahid Afridi announced yesterday that he would retire
from one-day cricket after
next year’s World Cup but continue to
play Twenty20 until 2016.
The 34-year-old led Pakistan for the
last three one-day internationals in the
series which they lost 2-3 against New
Zealand this month, after regular captain Misbah-ul Haq was ruled out due
to injury.
He smashed a match-winning 61 in
the п¬Ѓrst match and followed that up
with 55 and 49. “I will retire from oneday cricket after the World Cup,” Afridi
told a press conference.
“I wanted to leave on the peak. I think
it’s the right time to leave so that my
place goes to a youngster and there are
very talented players in Pakistan.”
Australia and New Zealand will cohost the World Cup from February 14 to
March 29.
The swashbuckling batsman hit the
fastest one-day hundred off just 36 balls
in only his second match, against Sri
Lanka in Nairobi in 1996, a record which
New Zealand’s Corey Anderson broke
earlier this year.
Anderson made a 35-ball hundred
against the West Indies.
Afridi holds the record for most sixes
in one-day internationals with 342, and
is the only player to have hit more than
400 sixes across all three formats of the
game. He has hit 49 sixes in Twenty20
cricket and 52 before his retirement
from Tests in 2010.
As a leg-break bowler he has 391
wickets in 389 one-day internationals.
His tally of wickets in Twenty20 cricket
stands at 81.
“My journey has seen many ups and
downs but now I am feeling satisfied
that I am leaving on my own terms,” Afridi said.
“People don’t know, but international
cricket is tense all the time,” said Afridi,
whose ambition is to complete 8,000
runs and 400 wickets.
He currently has 7,870 runs in oneday cricket. “I want to win the World
Twenty20 in India in 2016 before quitting international cricket,” said Afridi.
Afridi led Pakistan to the World Cup
semi-п¬Ѓnal in 2011 before being removed
after he fell out with then-Pakistan
Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and
coach Waqar Younis.
Burns included in
Australia squad for
Boxing Day Test
�He’s a very aggressive player, which is the way we like to play our cricket. We
went with Joe, he’s a younger player and we feel he has something about him’
No way back for
Pietersen despite
sacking of Cook
ngland cricket chiefs
have moved quickly
to make it clear that
Alastair Cook’s dismissal as one-day captain has
not opened the door for a return to international cricket
for batsman Kevin Pietersen.
The South African-born
maverick’s undermining of
Cook was one of the reasons
Pietersen was cast aside by
England in January after England’s 5-0 defeat in the last
Ashes series in Australia.
The swashbuckling strokemaker has a much better relationship with middle-order
batsman Eoin Morgan, who has
replaced Cook as captain for
the World Cup in Australia and
New Zealand early next year.
The 34-year-old batsman
said earlier this month that he
still had hopes of a recall but
England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton moved to
quell any hopes of a comeback.
“We parted company with
Kevin in January because
throughout the ECB management, from the dressing room
up to the board, it was felt that
it was the right decision to go
in a slightly different direction,” he told Britain’s Daily
Telegraph. “If anything more
bridges have been burnt by
Kevin’s book. There is no interest from our point of view
in going backwards.
“We’ve got an exciting
group of young players and
Eoin’s excited to be working
with those guys. He wants to
fulfil that team’s potential.”
Pietersen, a former ICC ODI
player of the year, released a
book in October which contained attacks on the national
cricket board and several of his
former teammates.
Whitaker was even blunter.
“The ECB management made
this decision in January and it
is the same decision now,” he
told the paper. “There is no way
that Kevin Pietersen will ever
get back into an England team.”
Pietersen, who is in Australia playing Twenty20 cricket in
the domestic Big Bash league,
might draw some comfort
from the fact that Whitaker
backed Cook’s captaincy in
September and Downton gave
him another vote of confidence last week.
Joe Burns, the 25-year-old right-hander from Queensland, comes in as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh. He has yet to play Test cricket, but reached his highest firstclass score of 183 against New South Wales last month to put himself in the frame for selection.
atsman Joe Burns was a surprise
addition yesterday to Australia’s
13-man squad for the third Test
against India, starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
The 25-year-old Queensland righthander was named as a replacement for injured Mitchell Marsh in the Australian team
that defeated India by four wickets in Brisbane on Saturday to take a 2-0 series lead.
Burns has yet to play Test cricket, but
reached his highest п¬Ѓrst-class score of 183
against New South Wales last month to
put himself in the frame for selection.
“It took a fair while to sink in,” Burns
said after he was called by chief selector
Rod Marsh with the news yesterday. “I’m
over the moon at the news as it is the best
Christmas present I could ever hope for.”
Team coach Darren Lehmann said
Burns offered flexibility with his ability to
bat anywhere in the top six.
“He’s a very good player against fast
bowling, he’s had a good couple of summers at the Gabba with Queensland,” Lehmann said. “There have been some good
contenders for that spot and it’s always a
tough call on other players.
“He’s a very aggressive player, which
is the way we like to play our cricket. We
went with Joe, he’s a younger player and
we feel he has something about him.”
Lehmann said selectors went with an extra batsman for Marsh after Shane Watson
bowled well in India’s second innings to adequately fill Marsh’s all-rounder role.
Marsh, who injured his right hamstring
while bowling on the opening day of the
Gabba Test, will stay with the Test squad
and be assessed for the fourth Sydney
Test, starting on January 6.
Lehmann said opener David Warner had a bruised left thumb after being
struck by India paceman Umesh Yadav on
the п¬Ѓnal day of the Gabba Test.
“Last night it was just bruised so
hopefully he pulls up alright and we’ll
get to Melbourne and sum it up as we
go,” he said. “The initial signs are good
and I’m pretty confident he’s going to be
Lehmann said he would have liked Australia to have п¬Ѓnished better in their chase
after 128 runs for victory at the Gabba.
“The game was played at a fast pace,
it was four and half runs an over for the
David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane
Watson, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun
Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin,
Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter
Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon,
Josh Hazlewood
whole Test match,” he said.
“It was exciting again and it’s been an
amazing nine days of Test cricket.
“I certainly would have liked us to do
it a bit better than six wickets down,
one or two down would have been a lot
better, but they got the job done, that’s the
main thing.”
McCullum to revert
to middle order in
series against Lanka
ew Zealand captain
Brendon McCullum
will drop back down
the order for the test
series against Sri Lanka despite scoring a double century
as an opener against Pakistan
last month.
McCullum had only opened
the innings in the UAE as a
stop-gap measure, chairman
of selectors Bruce Edgar said
yesterday, and would revert to
his middle order position for
the п¬Ѓrst Test in Christchurch
that starts on December 26.
“This is another series,
in different conditions and
against a completely different opponent,” Edgar said in a
statement in naming the Test
squad. “In these circumstances, we feel Brendon’s better
suited to, and offers more value, down the order.”
Hamish Rutherford and
Tom Latham will likely open
the innings at Hagley Oval,
though the recalled Dean
Brownlie could also contend
for the position after stating
previously he had a preference
to bat at the top of the order.
Off-spinner Mark Craig was
also named as the sole slow
bowler for the match after some
strong performances against Pakistan in tandem with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has dropped
out of the 13-man squad.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Relief for Galthie
as Montpellier end
7-match losing run
�You can’t put a price on this win. The injury to Francois really hurt us badly. We have
had a chain of events subsequently that has been complicated and traumatising’
Ali stable after
getting admitted
to hospital with
�mild’ pneumonia
oxing legend Mohamed Ali (pictured
below), who has suffered from Parkinson’s
Disease for three decades, was
in stable condition after being
hospitalised with a “mild” case
of pneumonia, his spokesman
said late on Saturday.
The 72-year-old Ali was
admitted on Saturday and is
not expected to remain in the
hospital long, Bob Gunnell
said. “He was admitted earlier
this morning and because the
pneumonia was caught early,
his prognosis is good with a
short hospital stay expected,”
Gunnell said.
Pneumonia can be a dangerous complication of Parkinson’s, the debilitating
neurological condition Ali
has suffered from since about
1984. Parkinson’s causes
shaking, balance problems and
general loss of muscle control.
Ali’s doctor Abraham Lieberman warned in November
that Parkinson’s can be deadly
because it makes sufferers susceptible to falling or if people
with the disease have trouble
swallowing and then develop
During the interview with
the BBC, Lieberman said Ali
did not have trouble swallowing. Gunnell said Ali was being
treated by a “team of doctors”
but did not go into detail or say
where Ali was admitted.
In recent years, Ali has made
fewer public appearances as
Parkinson’s has increasingly
taken its toll. He was seen in
September when he attended
the Mohamed Ali Humanitarian Awards in Louisville, Kentucky where Ali was born and
where he keeps a home.
Ali had a storied career as a
professional boxer from 1960
to 1981. He dazzled the boxing
world with slick moves in the
ring and enamored the public
with his wit and engaging personality.
He beat George Foreman in
one of the greatest п¬Ѓghts of
all time dubbed “The Rumble
in The Jungle”, held in 1974 in
Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ali also had a thrilling rivalry with heavyweight Joe Frazier that saw the two men slug
it out in the ring and verbally
spar out of it.
Ali was rarely afraid to spark
political controversy, and his
heyday coincided with the US
civil rights movement and the
Vietnam War.
He converted to Islam in
1964, changing his name from
Cassius Clay. Ali refused to
join the armed forces in 1967
on religious grounds.
After his refusal he was convicted of draft dodging and
banned from boxing for years.
In 1971 the US Supreme Court
overturned the conviction.
It has been claimed that the
head shots the boxing great
took in the ring during his 21year career contributed to his
disease. But Lieberman said
in November he could not be
sure if there was a connection between the effect of the
punches and the disease.
Ali has been given dozens of nods to his stature as a
global icon, lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 and being named a UN messenger
of peace in 1998. He received
the US’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, in 2005. In addition
to Kentucky, he also lives in
Scottsdale, Arizona.
Saturday’s thrilling 23-20 victory over Toulouse in their Top 14 clash was Montpellier’s first win after seven successive defeats, a losing streak that started on October 11.
he pressure eased slightly on
coach Fabien Galthie as Montpellier ended a run of seven successive defeats with a thrilling 23-20
victory over Toulouse in their Top 14 clash
on Saturday.
A penalty with under two minutes remaining by Teddy Iribaren sealed victory
for the hosts and gave them their п¬Ѓrst win
since October 11.
For Toulouse—who had their own blip
earlier in the season with п¬Ѓve successive
defeats—it was only their second loss in
the last 10 matches.
Galthie, who has until recently enjoyed
immense success with Montpellier including guiding them to the 2011 French
championship п¬Ѓnal, was delighted,
though he admitted the performance left
a lot to be desired.
“This is a huge win and an immense relief,” said the 45-year-old former France
“You can’t put a price on this win. The
injury to Francois (Trinh-Duc, their flyhalf who broke his leg in the last game
they won back in October) really hurt us
badly. We have had a chain of events subsequently that has been complicated and
Benoit Paillaugue gave Montpellier a
6-0 lead early on with two penalties but
the visitors reduced the deficit through
former All Black Luke McAlister with a
penalty in the 25th minute.
Toulouse head coach Guy Noves attempted to rectify a serious problem in his
front row as they came under increasing
pressure in a succession of scrums close to
their try line by sending on Vasil Kakovin
for Kisi Pulu, who had had a torrid time,
with only 29 minutes on the clock.
However, it made not a jot of difference
as Montpellier won the next scrum and
Paillaugue this time decided to spread the
ball with Jonathan Pelissie feeding Wynand Olivier.
The 31-year-old South African centre
made no mistake stretching out his arm
to touch down when he was tackled short
of the line—Paillaugue converted for 13-3.
Kakovin’s introduction as a saviour for
the front row wasn’t a success.
He was sin-binned in the 37th minute
as the scrum collapsed under Montpellier
pressure. However, it was Toulouse who
struck the п¬Ѓnal blow of the п¬Ѓrst-half.
A superb run by Maxime Medard from a
penalty awarded in the п¬Ѓnal minute ended
up with Vincent Clerc going over for the
88th try of his Top 14 career—McAlister
converted to send Toulouse in only 13-10
Despite being a man down, Clerc struck
again a minute into the second-half—
McAlister converted for 17-13.
However, the Toulouse scrum was still
creaking and Pulu, who had had to come
back on when Kakovin was sin-binned,
was yellow-carded in the 50th minute
and shortly afterwards Montpellier were
awarded a penalty try as the referee’s patience ran out.
Paillaugue converted for 20-17.
McAlister levelled with a penalty but
Iribaren held his nerve to give the hosts a
much needed confidence boost ahead of
games with Castres and defending champions Toulon.
Toulon went back to the top of the table
with a 30-6 win over Lyon later Saturday,
shrugging off a host of injury absentees
to overcome a poor start which had seen
them trail 6-3 at the interval.
New Zealand flanker Chris Masoe
grabbed two tries for the European champions with his second score coming in the
last minute, which secured a bonus point.
Australian winger Drew Mitchell also
scored a try.
Clermont moved back into second
place with a 19-10 win over Castres which
left the 2013 champions rooted to the foot
of the table.
Former All Blacks winger Zac Guildford
scored Clermont’s only try off an intercept in the second half.
The win was achieved the hard way for
Clermont after they had flanker Julien
Brady red-carded at the end of the п¬Ѓrst
half for head-butting Yannick Caballero.
Racing Metro celebrated their signing
of All Blacks star Dan Carter with a threetry 27-8 home win over La Rochelle.
Vonn will have to wait until 2015 for record
Val d’Isere, France
indsey Vonn will have to wait until
the New Year for a record-equalling
women’s World Cup victory after she
crashed in a Super-G won by Austria’s
Elisabeth Goergl yesterday.
The race in Val d’Isere was the American’s
п¬Ѓrst chance of matching the record of 62 wins
set by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell in
1980. She had dominated Saturday’s downhill
on the same course but on Sunday took a turn
wide, crashed into a gate and was unable to
complete her last race of 2014.
“Yesterday was a great day, but a very long
day,” she said. “I missed a little bit of elevation
(today) and I wasn’t able to make the gate.
“The positive thing is that my knees are
good and I’m still going home for Christmas
with a big smile,” added the American, who
returned this month from a year out of action
after two knee operations.
The four-times World Cup champion will
return in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, on January 10 and 11 while races scheduled for Semmering on December 28 and 29 were moved to
Innsbruck for lack of snow.
Former world champion Goergl mastered
the tricky Val d’Isere course to clinch her seventh World Cup win in one minute and 25.42
Super-G Olympic champion Anna Fenninger secured an Austrian one-two 0.05 seconds
behind, while Slovenia’s Tina Maze was third,
0.13 off the pace.
“It was a tricky course and I kind of like it
when it’s tricky,” said Goergl, second to Vonn
on Saturday. “I spent a long time for the inspection and then my coaches told me there
were weird turns and what to do and it worked
out fine.”
Second-placed Fenninger has been below
par this winter but said she could celebrate
Christmas on a high note: “Things didn’t work
out as well as I would have wanted so far. I had
to п¬Ѓght and it was really important to have a
good result before the break.”
The 2014 overall World Cup winner currently trails Maze by 249 points.
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won the men’s
giant slalom in Alta Badia for the second successive season, beating world and Olympic
champion Ted Ligety by a huge 1.45 seconds.
France’s Thomas Fanara was third, 0.03 adrift.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor
make history at World Cup
Canadian Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries and American Elana Meyers Taylor became the first women to pilot fourman bobsleigh teams in World Cup competition as the sport
entered the mixed teams era on Saturday. The pair, backed
by three male teammates, made history at Calgary’s Canada
Olympic Park but were unable to finish in the top 10.
Humphries, along with teammates DJ McLelland, Joey Nemet
and Dan Dale—all World Cup rookies—finished 15th out of 17
teams with a combined time from the two runs of 1:48.87.
Meyers Taylor, racing with Dustin Greenwood, Carlo Valdes,
and Adrian Adams, ended a place below with a time of 1:49.52.
Latvia’s primary team led by Oskars Melbardis, who won
silver in the Sochi Olympics earlier this year, won the four-man
race with a time of 1:47.84. “Today we are not judged by our
gender but by the merit of our ability,” tweeted Humphries
before her race.
At Humphries’s request the sport’s world governing body,
FIBT declared in September that the four-man bobsleigh was
now a “gender neutral” competition. Meyers Taylor and Humphries both put together teams with male brakemen and pushers and were able to qualify for this season’s World Cup circuit
by competing in five events at three different courses.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Rondo debuts, Ellis stars
as Mavericks edge Spurs
Ellis scored 11 of his season-high 38 points in the final four minutes for the Mavericks
Monta Ellis of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot as San Antonio Spurs’ Cory Joseph attempts to stop during a NBA game in Dallas, Texas. (AFP)
Los Angeles
he Dallas Mavericks had their
new guy, and the San Antonio Spurs didn’t have their
old guys. Rajon Rondo had six
points, seven rebounds and nine assists
in his Dallas debut on Saturday night
and the host Mavericks got a huge game
from Monta Ellis to rally for a 99-93
victory over the shorthanded Spurs.
Ellis scored 11 of his season-high 38
points in the п¬Ѓnal four minutes for the
Mavericks, who acquired Rondo on
Thursday in a п¬Ѓve-player deal with the
Boston Celtics. A flashy passer, Rondo
was a four-time All-Star and won a
championship in eight-plus seasons in
Boston and currently leads the NBA in
“I know he’s a point guard that
passes,” Ellis said. “All we have to do
is move, cut and he’ll find us.” Rondo
started and played 34 minutes. He made
just 3-of-11 shots and added two steals
as he began getting acclimated with his
new teammates and coaching staff. “It
was exciting,” Rondo said. “The best
part was we got the win.”
“He didn’t shoot particularly well,
but he did a lot of great things,” Dallas
coach Rick Carlisle said. “He did a lot
of things that most guys in that position just don’t do - rebounding, making
plays, things like that.”
This week, San Antonio became the
п¬Ѓrst team in the shot clock era to play
consecutive triple-overtime games,
losing to Memphis on Wednesday and
Portland on Friday. Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich chose to leave home 38-yearold Tim Duncan and 37-year-old Manu
Ginobili of Argentina.
In addition, “French Flash” Tony
Parker remained sidelined with a hamstring strain, Kawhi Leonard was out
again with a hand injury and Popovich rested starters Tiago Splitter of
Brazil and Danny Green. The defending champions used just eight players and played a 1-3-1 zone for much
of the game. However, they could not
hold onto a fourth-quarter lead and
have lost four in a row for the п¬Ѓrst time
since dropping six straight from March
23-April 1, 2011.
“I thought we were great,” said Popovich, whose team committed 19 turnovers. “(I’m) really proud of them. We
could have handled the ball better.”
“They were in a zone the whole game,
but at the end of the game we made
them come out of it by making shots
and driving,” said Ellis, who made 15of-23 shots, including 5-of-6 threepointers, and added four steals.
The Spurs held a 12-point п¬Ѓrst-half
lead and were still clinging to an 8986 edge with 3:51 to play after a threepoint play by Italy’s Marco Belinelli,
who scored 21 points. Ellis drained a
three-pointer and gave the Mavericks
the lead on a layup with 2:55 to go.
Ellis answered Cory Joseph’s jumper
with one of his own and two free throws
by Belinelli with another driving layup
for a 95-93 lead. A steal by Ellis led to
a follow shot by Chandler Parsons to
make it 97-93 with 1:29 left.
After a turnover by Belinelli, Ellis
sealed the win with two free throws.
“He was the best player on the floor
tonight, without question,” Carlisle
Parsons had 16 points and 11 re-
bounds and German juggernaut Dirk
Nowitzki scored 13 points for the Mavs,
who have won three in a row. Australia’s
Aron Baynes collected 16 points and 10
boards and Joseph scored 14 points for
the Spurs, who made 26-of-26 free
Chris Paul Paul had 27 points and nine
assists and fueled a late rally for the
Clippers, who have won seven straight
home games. “Greek Freak” Giannis
Antetokounmpo scored 18 points for
the Bucks, who completed a 2-2 road
Kyle Korver scored 22 points and
sparked a late burst for the visiting
Hawks, who have won three in a row
and 12 of 13. Dwight Howard collected
19 points and 11 rebounds and James
Harden added 18 and a career-high 14
assists for the Rockets.
Italy’s Danilo Gallinari scored a seasonhigh 19 points off the bench for the host
Nuggets. The Pacers have lost 10 of 11.
LaMarcus Aldridge totaled 27 points
and 12 rebounds and helped hold Anthony Davis to a season-low seven
points on 3-of-14 shooting as the visiting Trail Blazers won their п¬Ѓfth straight
Eric Bledsoe had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who improved to
2-0 on a three-game road trip. Carmelo
Anthony had 25 points and 11 boards for
the Knicks, who have lost four in a row
and 14 of 15.
Kemba Walker scored 20 points and Al
Jefferson added 19 and 10 rebounds for
the host Hornets, who had lost their last
10 meetings with the Jazz.
Crosby strikes in Penguins win over Panthers
over the New Jersey Devils.
Wingers Brandon Prust and Brendan
Gallagher and centers Tomas Plekanec
and Alex Galchenyuk scored for the
Montreal Canadiens in their victory
over the Ottawa Senators.
idney Crosby scored his п¬Ѓrst
goal in nearly a month to lead
the Pittsburgh Penguins to 3-1
victory over the Florida Panthers in Saturday’s National Hockey
League game.
Crosby, who had gone eight games
without scoring and missed three
contests with the mumps, broke his
drought with the game’s final goal in
the third period. It was his 10th goal of
the season.
Centers John Tavares and Anders Lee
scored 12 seconds apart late in the
third period as the New York Islanders
stormed home to beat the Tampa Bay
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy
was 3:09 from a shutout in his п¬Ѓrst career start, but the Islanders rallied to
win their fourth successive game.
Defenseman Jack Johnson scored in
the ninth round of a shootout as the
Columbus Blue Jackets beat Chicago,
snapping a 13-game losing streak (010-3) to the Blackhawks.
Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had 39 saves. He also stopped
playoff hopes
rally to win
Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff ambitions
suffered a near-fatal blow
with a surprise 27-24 loss to
the Washington Redskins in
the NFL on Saturday.
By contrast, the San Diego
Chargers kept their postseason hopes alive in dramatic
fashion when they rallied
from a 21-point halftime deficit to beat the San Francisco
49ers in the second game of
the day. Nick Novak kicked
the winning field goal from
40 yards in a 38-35 overtime
In Maryland, a 26-yard field
goal from Kai Forbath with
five seconds left condemned
the Eagles to a third successive loss and leaves them
needing the Dallas Cowboys
to lose their last two games if
they are to have a chance of
winning the NFC East.
The crucial moment came
after Eagles quarterback
Mark Sanchez threw an
interception with 91 seconds
remaining with Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland
diving in front of Jeremy
Maclin to make the pick.
The Redskins scored on
the resulting possession
and although a poor kickoff
handed the Eagles one last
chance, Sanchez’s �Hail Mary’
pass into the end zone was
knocked down by David Amerson and Washington ended
their six-game losing streak.
The Eagles fell to 9-6. Dallas lead the NFC East on 10-4.
The result also meant the
Detroit Lions (10-4) clinched
their first playoff berth since
2011. It was a cruel end to an
otherwise impressive display
from former New York Jet
The quarterback completed 37-of-50 passes, throwing
for a career high 374 yards
and two touchdowns but as
well as the interception, he
also gave up a fumble that
resulted in a field goal early in
the first quarter.
The Eagles led 14-10 at
halftime after an 11-yard
touchdown run from LeSean
McCoy and a three-yard pass
from Sanchez to Riley Cooper.
Redskins running back
Alfred Morris had completed
a first quarter 28-yard touchdown run before Washington
dominated the third quarter,
scoring twice on one-yard
rushes from Darrel Young to
take a 24-14 lead.
Sanchez found Cooper
again, with the receiver producing a brilliant high catch
at full stretch, in the fourth
quarter before a field goal
from Cody Parkey leveled
the game at 24-24 before the
Breeland interception.
In Santa Clara, California, the 49ers looked set
to eliminate the Chargers
from the playoff hunt when
quarterback Colin Kaepernick
completed an astonishing 90yard touchdown run late in
the third, the second longest
by a QB in NFL history.
The Chargers were down
by 14 points after three quarters but Rivers responded
magnificently, throwing
two touchdown passes, the
second an 11-yard effort to
Malcolm Floyd with just 29
seconds left to send the game
to overtime.
The result does not guarantee San Diego (9-6) a spot in
the playoffs, but it gives them
a fighting chance.
Center Mats Zaccarello scored the only
goal in a shootout as the New York
Rangers extended their winning streak
to п¬Ѓve games with a victory over the
Carolina Hurricanes.
Left winger Alex Tanguay scored twice
to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a big
win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (left) and Colorado Avalanche’s Maxime Talbot vie for the puck during the second period
at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 1-0 in overtime. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports
eight of nine shooters in the shootout.
Center Claude Giroux scored two goals
and picked up an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers roared back after giving up
the п¬Ѓrst two goals to beat the Toronto
Maple Leafs in a game that featured six
goals in the п¬Ѓrst period.
It was a thrilling game as goals were
scored in plenty.
Defenseman Mattias Ekholm scored
his п¬Ѓrst goal of the season in overtime,
lifting the Nashville Predators to their
fourth win in the past п¬Ѓve games as
they beat the Minnesota Wild.
Center Anze Kopitar collected three
assists and winger Marian Gaborik had
a goal and an assist as the Los Angeles
Kings beat the Arizona Coyotes, who
have lost eight of their past 10 games.
Center Nicklas Backstrom had two
goals and an assist and goalie Braden
Holtby posted his second shutout
of the season as the Washington
Capitals extended their unbeaten
streak to eight games with a win
Defenseman Brent Burns drilled his
10th goal of the season from the middle of the blue line on the power play to
lift San Jose to an overtime win over the
St Louis Blues as the Sharks extended
their home winning streak to eight
Defenseman Chris Tanev scored 18 seconds into overtime and the Vancouver
Canucks snapped a п¬Ѓve-game losing
streak with a victory over the Calgary
Flames, who lost their eighth straight.
Philadelphia Eagles’
LeSean McCoy runs for
a first down against the
Washington Redskins. (UPI)
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Cook forced to pass ODI baton,
but it is bat that worries England
The onus was always on the England hierarchy rather than Cook to make the change
Vic Marks
t is hard to п¬Ѓnd anyone who disagrees with the
decision to sack Alastair Cook as England’s
one-day captain – except perhaps the man
himself – yet it still came as a major surprise.
No doubt Paul Downton is surprised.
After the sixth ODI in Sri Lanka the England and
Wales Cricket Board’s managing director spoke at
length, defending the ECB’s decision to stick with
Cook and outlining his virtues after a difficult year.
Last Monday he said he would be “very surprised”
if Cook did not lead the World Cup squad and that
he would give his opinion if required to do so in the
selection meeting. On Saturday he had “complete
confidence in the decision made by the selectors”.
James Whitaker, the chairman of selectors, must
be surprised too, given his high praise of a “unique
leader” before the Sri Lanka tour. And in a rational
world England’s head coach, Peter Moores, must be
taken aback since he said last Sunday that Cook was
his man to the lead the squad to Australia. “I can’t
be any clearer than that,” he said.
How to explain such a spectacular turnaround?
Either Downton and Moores have changed their
minds with astonishing rapidity or they must now
be feeling disgruntled that their opinion suddenly
counts for very little. It seems from the comments
of Whitaker and Downton that the decision was
unanimous, whereupon it had to be approved by the
chairman of the ECB, Giles Clarke, which probably
did not take very long.
So Downton and Moores are looking a bit daft
and must be feeling a tad uncomfortable: U-turns
are often justified – this one certainly is – but they
diminish the drivers.
In this instance Downton and Moores were almost in Italian Job territory, hovering hopelessly
on the edge of a precipice before agreeing to turn
around. From now on their press briefings will have
to be taken with an extra pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, Cook says that he is “gutted”. He now
deserves some respite. Cook has been badgered by
the good, the great and the not-so-great to resign.
There has been a chorus of England captains urging
him to give up. Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan,
Nasser Hussain, Alec Stewart and Mike Atherton
all resigned, but that happened after failed World
Cup campaigns at a time when they would not have
needed much persuading to go. It is a different matter to resign before a World Cup.
The onus was always on the England hierarchy
rather than Cook to make the change. The best
sportsmen are seldom objective about their own
performances; by definition they have buckets of
self-belief, which help them to prosper.
Imagine all those captains being offered the
chance to lead their country to the World Cup responding with a “Thanks awfully. But not sure I’m
up to it”. There was no disgrace in Cook hanging on
until he was told to go.
In the end it did not have anything to do with his
captaincy: it boiled down to runs and the lack of
them. Cook could no longer justify a place in the
side and it was getting embarrassing. In Sri Lanka
they understandably wanted to experiment and to
do so it was necessary to drop batsmen. So there
was Cook and Moores breaking the bad news to
players who were performing better than the captain. Put the ball in the hand of a gentle Sri Lankan
off-spinner and it was transformed into a hand gre-
Eoin Morgan is the new England ODI captain.
nade when Cook was on strike. If he survived the
off-breaks, the edged cover drive was soon his undoing. In this era captains have to earn their keep.
Cook’s game was disintegrating in front of our
eyes and it was painful to watch. Now he has the
chance to restore it before leading the Test team
to the Caribbean in April. Probably the best way to
do that is not to touch a bat for at least a couple of
months. If the lack of runs was the key to Cook’s
departure, there must have been a sharp intake of
breath when the selectors decided who should replace him. Eoin Morgan’s recent record is even
worse than Cook’s. In Sri Lanka he played one substantial innings of 62; in his other six knocks he
contributed 28 runs. Only Alex Hales, who failed
to trouble the scorers batting for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash on Saturday (unlike Kevin
Pietersen who scored one in the Melbourne Stars’
reply), had a worse record on the tour. In 2014, Morgan has averaged 25 in 23 ODI matches; Cook managed an average of 27 in 20 games.
The clutched straw is that Morgan may well bat
better when he is in charge – rather like Virat Kohli
in the Test matches in Australia. In his eight matches as captain of England, Morgan averages 70 in ODI
cricket. He was captain when hitting that 62 in Colombo two weeks ago.
Morgan is recognised as a potential match-winner, which was not the case with Cook, and given
the timescale he was the obvious choice to take
over. He has done it before. Provided he scores some
runs – and he no longer has the luxury of Cook’s
travails to hide his poor trot – he should be fine. Joe
Root has enough to do shoring up the middle order.
The selectors may also be comforted that Morgan is
no threat to Cook’s leadership of the Test team. So
might Cook.
The template for this World Cup seems to be the
campaign in the Caribbean in 2010 when England
won their solitary ICC trophy at the World T20. But
the secret to England’s success then was that there
was no template. At the last minute they threw
Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb together to
open the batting and thereafter they busked it by
playing fearless, devil-may-care cricket.
It is trickier to do that in a tournament that lasts
more than six weeks. Moreover, having gone to such
great pains to move Ashes tours to allow meticulous
preparations for the World Cup that England have
never won, the ECB are more open to mockery than
usual. Yet there remains a consolation in the absurd
format of this World Cup. It is possible to play badly
for a month and qualify for the quarter-п¬Ѓnals. Then
somehow fluke two wins and the final awaits. That
must be the plan.
Alastair Cook could no longer
justify a place in the side and
it was getting embarrassing. (AFP)
Bayern’s domination sparks �boring Bundesliga’ debate
ayern Munich will start 2015 with a
record 11-point lead in the Bundesliga,
sparking debate over how to stop Germany’s top flight becoming boring.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern have brushed off their
domestic rivals with ease and are poised to become the п¬Ѓrst team to go through a Bundesliga
campaign unbeaten on their way to what would
be a third consecutive title.
They set more records in Friday’s 2-1 comeback win at Mainz having conceded just four
goals since August and their points lead at the
season’s halfway stage is also a league best.
They have dropped only six points from a
possible 51 so far and post heavy wins in Germany’s top tier with monotonous regularity.
None of the chasing pack of Wolfsburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen or
Schalke look realistically capable of closing
the gap while last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund are languishing in the relegation
Ex-Germany coach Berti Vogts sparked debate about how to loosen Bayern’s iron grip on
the German title by suggesting they should receive less of the league’s television revenue.
Sky currently pay 628 million euros ($768m)
to televise Bundesliga games in Germany and
the cash is divided up on a percentage basis with
the most going to the league winner.
“We have to get to the point where we subsidise the smaller clubs, by a redistribution of
the television money, for example,” suggested
But the mere suggestion left ex-Bayern midfielder and Germany international Paul Breitner
fuming. “We (Bayern) can’t do anything about
Bayern Munich have dropped only six points from a possible 51 so far and post heavy wins in Germany’s top tier with monotonous regularity. (Reuters)
the inability of the other clubs. And if we have
to bleed now, so the money is redistributed,
that’s just nonsense!” he snapped.
Bayern are one of the world’s richest clubs.
They recently paid off the loan on their Allianz
Arena stadium decades ahead of schedule and
posted a record 528.7 million-euro turnover for
the 2013/14 season, with a profit of 16.5 million
German teams seem to play Bayern in more
hope than expectation of claiming league
points. “Bayern Munich are in a different
league, I think we can all agree on that,” said
Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl after Bayern
thrashed his team 4-0 at home.
And Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol
reached the same conclusion before his side
were duly dispatched 4-0 in Munich. “Bayern
will lose at home sooner or later, but when you
lose four, five or six-nil in Munich, that’s normal,” he mused.
Having won the 2011 and 2012 German league
titles, then п¬Ѓnished runners-up to Bayern in the
last two seasons, Dortmund now peer up at
Guardiola’s Munich from near the foot of the
table. Having seen his top players playmaker
Mario Goetze and striker Robert Lewandowski
join Bayern in the last two seasons, Dortmund
coach Jurgen Klopp said any German football
fan looking for a consistently successful team
has only one choice.
“Anyone who just wants to be successful has
only one avenue to go down: you have to be a
Bayern fan,” said Klopp, tongue-in-cheek.
Klopp predicted the current league situation
back in April 2013, two months before Guardiola’s arrival. Just before Bayern beat Dortmund 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final,
the German media questioned whether the
Bundesliga was following the Spanish league,
where two clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona,
traditionally dominate.
But Klopp accurately predicted the Bundesliga would mirror Scotland, where Celtic
have won the last three league titles after rivals
Rangers dropped out of the top flight after the
club’s liquidation in 2012.
“It’s nice that people put us in the same boat
as Bayern,” said Klopp in April 2013, with Dortmund second in the table, but trailing Bayern
by 20 points. But I think from the start of next
season, we’ll see that the comparison to Spain
doesn’t fit, it’s more like Scotland.”
Even the league’s top scorer, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Alexander Meier, expects the trophy for
the most goals this season to eventually end up
in Munich. “I don’t look at the top-scorer table
and I honestly think the trophy will go to someone from Bayern,” he said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Hamilton and Rosberg rivalry
spiced up the 2014 F1 season
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton became world
champion for the second time.
winning lap on the Saturday. We then realised
just how tough Rosberg could be, as if we didn’t
know anyway.
By Paul Weaver
1. Hamilton’s deserved accolade
he best memory of 2014 is the last: it is
of Lewis Hamilton deservedly lifting the
BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award in
Glasgow after winning his second Formula One
world championship. While not quite subscribing to GK Chesterton’s observation that golf is
merely an expensive way of playing marbles, I
have never counted those who hit a stationary
ball with a stick among the greatest of sportsmen, Rory McIlroy’s notable achievements
notwithstanding. Golf should stop sulking
and praise Hamilton instead. We can call him
great now, one of the very best of Britain’s 10
F1 world champions. His defeat of his great
rival Nico Rosberg was just as convincing as his
thumping win over McIlroy.
2. Jules Bianchi’s crash in the
Japanese Grand Prix
adly, all memories of a terrific F1 season will
be framed in black crepe, for this was the
sport’s worst moment since the great Ayrton
Senna was killed at Imola 20 years ago. Jules
Bianchi suffered serious head injuries and his
much-loved Marussia team disappeared from
the grid a short time afterwards. Bianchi’s
achievement in scoring Marussia’s first ever
points at Monaco earlier in the season looked all
the more poignant after Suzuka.
3. Ricciardo’s pass of
Lewis Hamilton
All hell broke loose as old friends and Mercedes teammates Lewis hamilton and Nico Rosberg raced
against each other.
returned here. But if we look at pure racing,
Bahrain gave us the best shootout, the best
piece of wheel-to-wheel combat we had all
season. It was, inevitably, between the two
Mercedes drivers, Hamilton and Rosberg. And,
just as inevitably, Hamilton’s superior speed
and race craft shone through. The race encapsulated the reasons why Hamilton beat Rosberg
to the title. The race was under lights and the
evening was a triumph. If only you can forget
those human-rights issues.
9. Ecclestone’s court case
heir car and engine package was simply
better than anyone else’s. It had been years
in the making, and owed much to the departed
Ross Brawn. But even though Brawn, who stood
down a year ago, was missed at times, the management of Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe kept
everything on track, even though the rivalry
between Hamilton and Rosberg was too hot to
handle on occasions. The only surprise was that
Mercedes had so many reliability problems.
But Williams deserve almost as much praise for
their stunning comeback after 2013. They were
always near the front with Valtteri Bottas and
Felipe Massa and that is only partly explained
by their Mercedes engine.
8. Anxiety over double
points in Abu Dhabi
1 is very adept at shooting itself in the tyre
and this was another example. It might
have ruined the season, handing Rosberg an undeserved title in the very last race. Thankfully it
didn’t, though it did distort everything a little
he politics and fall-outs threatened to
destroy what – on the track at least – was
a very good season. This is the most selfish
and capitalistic of sports and sadly age п¬Ѓnally
caught up with Bernie Ecclestone, who will be
85 next year. Perhaps the chief executive was
also distracted by п¬Ѓghting court cases in London and Germany but he was unable to give the
sport the leadership it so desperately needed
– as was the FIA - as teams struggled to cope
with cost of the new engines. Ecclestone needs
help and so does the sport. It’s in a mess and
didn’t deserve the success it enjoyed this year.
10. Celebrations in Austria
t was a disappointing year for Red Bull,
who couldn’t maintain their dominance in
the face of Mercedes’ commitment. But they
brought their very own track to the F1 calendar
and it was an absolute triumph. It was full of
festive fun, parties, campers, top facilities and a
contagious sense of celebration. And the racing
wasn’t bad either.
he round at the Hungaroring in July was the
best of the season, just pipping Bahrain.
Ricciardo’s victory, following his first win in
Canada, confirmed his class. But the result of
a race spiced up by rain and the introduction
of safety cars was always in doubt. Hamilton
and Rosberg once again had starring roles, with
the former producing one of his п¬Ѓnest drives,
starting from the pitlane to п¬Ѓnish third after a
п¬Ѓre had ruined his qualifying stint the previous
day. Hamilton, with some justification, ignored
team orders to let Rosberg past and п¬Ѓnished
ahead of the German, who had started in pole.
4. Hamilton and Rosberg duel at
the Bahrain Grand Prix
6. Hamilton and Rosberg
come together in Spa
his is not my favourite place because on
moral grounds F1 should simply not have
7. Mercedes winning the
constructors’ title
5. Hamilton ignores team
orders in Hungary
fter Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo was the
stand-out driver of the season. Ultimately,
he drove Sebastian Vettel, his four-times world
champion teammate, out of Red Bull. The
Australian’s pace and overtaking panache were
consistent features of the racing year, as was his
toothpaste-commercial smile. The best memory of him: his pass on Hamilton, around the
outside, in Hungary. This is a world champion
of the future, which is why Red Bull could shrug
off Vettel’s move to Ferrari. Ricciardo is a star, a
brilliant driver and a most engaging personality.
there that Rosberg crashed into him and effectively took him out of the contest. Hamilton
upped his game and was unbeatable from then.
But Spa was an accident. Rosberg was more
culpable at Monaco in May, when he blocked
Hamilton from putting in a potentially pole-
at the end. Thankfully this awful idea has been
scrapped for the 2015 season. Why is F1 so short
of confidence that it feels it has to brighten
itself up with silly ideas like this?
he race in Belgium was the turning point of
the season, according to Hamilton. It was
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi receives urgent medical treatment after crashing during the Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi still remains in a French
hospital following the serious head injuries.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 22, 2014
Juve, Napoli prepare for their Super Cup encounter
Juventus captain and goalkeeper Gianluiggi Buffon talks to a team official during a visit fo the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday. (Below)
Juventus’ Pepe Simone (third from left) and Andrea Pirlo (fourth from left) with their team-mates yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
Napoli players practice on the eve of Italian Super Cup match against Juventus yesterday.
Qatar Airways, Aspire to nurture football talent in Africa
By Sports Reporter
atar Airways has announced
its partnership with Aspire
Academy to support this
year’s edition of the Aspire
Football Dreams project by forming
�Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy –
Football Dreams Africa’.
Aspire Football Dreams is a fascinating and unique project aimed
at empowering the development of
youth by identifying and training
young football talent. As part of the
Football Dreams project this year,
Aspire Academy has begun scouting for football talent in Africa. Once
selected, п¬Ѓnalists will be offered a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to
train in Barcelona and play a friendly
game against one of the world’s most
popular football clubs FC Barcelona’s
youth team.
As FC Barcelona’s global main
sponsor, Qatar Airways has been associated with a series of initiatives
involving the world-renowned football team in order to spread the love
of football to all corners of the world.
Football Dreams Africa is the lat-
est initiative that will offer talented
young footballers in Africa dedicated
training and a memorable experience
of playing with one of the world’s best
football teams.
Commenting on the partnership
with Aspire Academy, Qatar Airways
group chief executive Akbar al-Baker
said: “Qatar Airways has a proud tradition of supporting meaningful socially relevant initiatives and we believe that the Qatar Airways & Aspire
Academy – Football Dreams Africa
project is an excellent opportunity to
make the dreams of young footballers in Africa come true. We aim to use
this project as a platform to nurture
budding football talent and highlight
the effectiveness of sports as a key development tool.”
“Giving young people in Africa the
chance to fulfil their potential while
being able to make a big step towards
becoming a professional football
player has been very important for
Aspire Academy in the past and we are
happy and proud to have partnered
with Qatar Airways on this project,”
Aspire Academy director general Ivan
Bravo said on the new partnership.
Javier Faus, First VP and the Head
of FC Barcelona Finance and Strategy
Department, said: “This is one more
example of the projects resulting from
our sponsorship agreement with Qatar Airways. Through this joint initiative with Aspire and Qatar Airways,
Barca is offering the possibility for
young footballers, in this case from
the African continent, to be able to
enjoy a unique experience and, at the
same time, is reasserting its commitment to sport as a part of education.”
To support this unique initiative,
Qatar Airways welcomes fans to support the Football Dreams Africa programme by registering at http://www.
frica. All registered supporters will be
entered into a draw, and Qatar Airways
will be offering 20 lucky winners tickets
to Barcelona in addition to a tour of FC
Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.
Qatar Airways currently operates
10 flights-a-week to Barcelona which
will rise to a double daily service as
of February 16, 2015. The airline has
seen rapid growth in just 17 years of
operation, to the point where today it
is flying a modern fleet of 144 aircraft
to 146 key business and leisure destinations across the Middle East, Asia
Pacific, Africa, North America and
South America.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Napoli players practise ahead of
today’s Supercoppa match against
Juventus. PICTURE: Jayaram
Juve and Napoli appreciate Qatar’s infrastructure and are positive about the nation’s ability to host the 2022 event
By Joe Koraith
Juventus captain Gianluiggi Buffon clicks a few pictures at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
he Supercoppa being played in
Qatar also helps give the world a
glimpse of the excellent facilities
that are on offer here for football.
The players and coaches are amazed at the
sporting infrastructure here and are confident that Qatar will host a great World Cup
in 2022. Yesterday it was Juventus skipper
Gianluigi Buffon, Napoli coach Rafael Benitez and defender Christian Maggio who
spoke in favour of Qatar hosting football’s
biggest event.
“Regarding the World Cup, it’s in a few
years’ time. But considering the economic
potential and facilities here, the World
Cup will be a positive event for this country. They have all the ingredients to make
it a successful event,” said Buffon during
the pre-match press conference yesterday.
Buffon said that the weather was a concern that needs to be addressed, not just
for the players but also for the fans. “The
infrastructure and stadiums are of very
high quality. Of course I think that we
need to play in the right weather so that
the players can have the best conditions to
display their skills. And also for the fans.
They tend to move from one place to another. So we expect there will be the question of weather.”
But Buffon said that Qatar had the potential to host the World Cup and also to make it
stand out from the other editions. “The first
feeling that Qatar gives is that this is a set
of people who have everything. They have
Reggae band UB40 to perform at Qatar Masters
By Sports Reporter
egendary reggae band UB40, featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and
Mickey, will headline the evening
entertainment at the 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Following
the end of play on Friday, January 23,
spectators can enjoy an outstanding show
by UB40, who will perform live in Qatar
for the п¬Ѓrst time, at the Doha Golf Club.
Formed in 1978, the band has achieved
critical acclaim ever since, selling over 70
million records world-wide, and nominated for the Grammy Award for Best
Reggae Album four times. During an impressive three-decade career, the band
has been touring the world performing
sell-out shows, and will be making their
historic appearance in Qatar this coming January. Thousands of fans will enjoy an unforgettable night with the band
expected to perform some of their most
famous hit singles including �Can’t Help
Falling in Love’ and �I Got You Babe’ at the
public village on January 23.
Tournament organisers the Qatar Golf
Association (QGA), Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Commercial Bank of
Qatar, are in full swing to host more than
20,000 visitors from Wednesday Janu-
ary 21 to Saturday January 24 at the Doha
Golf Club, for a thrilling weekend of golf
and entertainment. Families and friends
can enjoy day-long activities and spectacles, including the popular Golf Trick
Shot Boys; a range of sports including
mini basketball, mini tennis, mini golf
and mini soccer; a taste of the world with
gourmet food on offer; and the Shopping
Boulevard with a wide selection of merchandise on sale.
To kick start a special night of great
music, the organisers are bringing along
the talented Adam Baluch, a one-man
band whose sing-along tunes and funky
style will get everyone in the right mood
for UB40’s memorable show. Using
a loop station, trumpet, and a guitar
amongst other instruments, the UAEborn musician has been making noise
on the region’s gigging circuits for years,
playing catchy rhythms to handful of
music-lovers as well as to large concert
goers. His creative style has attracted a
decent number of fans across the region.
With his fresh sound, Baluch is set to be
the perfect opening for the perfect headline act.
And with Sergio Garcia playing on
course to defend his title, and UB40 performing on stage on Friday after play, golf
fans and families alike will have something to look for at the all-star 18th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Commercial Bank CEO Abdullah alRaisi said: “We are delighted to announce
yet another spectacular headline act
this year. UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and
Mickey are loved by many in Qatar, so we
are delighted to host such a great act on
stage to complement the thrilling golf action on course.”
Tickets are now available at Virgin
Megastores (in stores in Doha and online
at, Doha Golf
Club, and the Doha Rugby FC. Each ticket
purchased entitles the holder to one free
return drive to the event at Doha Golf
Those who wish to watch the early action in the tournament on Wednesday
(January) 21 and Thursday (January 22),
tickets are priced at QAR150. Friday’s
(January 23) tickets, which also include
evening entertainment, are priced at
QAR250, while the tickets for final day’s
action on Saturday (January 24) are priced
at QAR200. Season Pass, which includes
event entry on all four days and evening
entertainment on Friday, has been priced
at QAR450.
Entry is free for children below the age
of 15 years.
Those looking for an extra-special experience, hospitality packages are available through the tournament’s official
great potential to host an event of such high
calibre. In the years ahead of the event, Qatar should п¬Ѓnd ways to make the event more
romantic. And I hope that it can be done and
that will make the Qatar edition stand out
from the rest of the world.”
The Juve skipper was also warmly surprised by the great welcome that his team
got. “We were warmly received here. Many
people, including myself, didn’t know that
Juventus will have such a huge following
in Qatar. Receiving us this way made us
feel that we are distinguished and that we
stand out. Of course it also goes to prove
that if you don’t go about your life in a particular way then you don’t get the love of
the people,” said the goalkeeping veteran.
Napoli coach Rafael Benitez was of the
opinion that more teams should come to
Qatar to utilise the great facilities on offer here. “I have been here for two years.
It has been a great experience. Working
with football people here in Qatar is a great
pleasure. They have the best of facilities.
And utilizing these facilities is something
that Napoli and other teams should think
As for Christian Maggio, the Napoli
right back has been amazed at the facilities in Qatar. “Since the first day of our arrival in Qatar we have been amazed by the
infrastructure. It is beautiful. It is an indicator that this city wants to provide something extraordinary. Qatar will be ready for
the World Cup. There is care taken about
even the smallest of details. And definitely
Qatar will be ready to host an international
event of such a huge stature,” said Maggio
during the press conference.
Jaish brush aside Qatar SC
in Qatar Basketball League
El Jaish’s Shawn Taggart (left) rises to score against Qatar
Sports Club during their Qatar Basketball League match at Al
Gharafa Sports Club yesterday. Jaish comfortably beat Qatar
SC 105-48. Vernon Macklin was the top-scorer for Jaish with 27
points, while Taggart scored 18. PICTURE: Othman al-Samaraee
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