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SPORT | Page 4
Ezdan Holding to
allow 49% foreign
as Oz Test
Sydney siege ends
as police storm cafe
A gunman killed six people and
seriously wounded another
yesterday in a series of shootings
near the northeastern US city of
Philadelphia, authorities said, as
police hunted for the suspect.
All seven victims have a “familial
relationship” to the suspect,
identified as 35-year-old Bradley
William Stone, said prosecutors in
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Police said Stone - possibly wearing
military fatigues - should be
considered “armed and dangerous.”
No possible motive was given for
the shootings. One of the dead is
believed to be a woman who was
killed in her house in the middle of
the night. Page 15
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AUSTRALIA | Security
Six dead in shootings,
manhunt for suspect
Vol. XXXV No. 9573
December 16, 2014
Safar 24, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Schools hunt
for �affordable’
new premises
In brief
Latest Figures
Heavily armed Australian police
stormed a Sydney cafe early today
and freed a number of hostages
being held there at gunpoint, in a
dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in
which three people including the
attacker were killed. Police have not
publicly identified the gunman but
a police source named him as Man
Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee
and self-styled sheikh known for
sending hate mail to the families
of Australian soldiers killed in
Afghanistan and who was charged
last year with being an accessory to
the murder of his ex-wife. Page 17
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani greets Ghanim Mohamed
al-Muftah, a 12-year-old Qatari boy who has become a beacon of hope for physicallychallenged children, at the opening of the second Mal Awal Exhibition at the Doha
International Exhibition Centre yesterday.
Father Emir opens
Mal Awal show
nder the patronage of HH the
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani, HH the Father Emir
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
inaugurated yesterday the second Mal
Awal Exhibition at the Doha International Exhibition Centre.
HH the Father Emir made a tour of
the exhibition during which he was
briefed on the personal collections of
Qatari and GCC citizens as well as collections of Arab and Islamic heritage.
HH the Father Emir toured a number
of halls including the amber and pearl
halls as well as the photography pavilion.
HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa alThani also toured the pavilion of the
historic and contemporary arts collections, in addition to rare Islamic
manuscripts and ancient п¬Ѓshing tools.
Page 32
ome Asian expatriate schools are
unable to go ahead with their expansion plans due to the dearth of
“affordable” and purpose-built complexes, it is learnt.
In view of the growing demand for
more seats, the schools’ authorities
are keen to expand their facilities for
the coming academic year. However,
sources among the schools’ operators
point out that despite this demand and
an urgent need to enhance their facilities, the shortage of purpose-built and
“affordable” buildings in and around
Doha has adversely hit their plans.
“While we are getting a large number
of enquiries for new admissions at different levels in our school, we have not
been able to locate a suitable and larger
location where the school can be shifted
in the coming year,” said a management
committee member of one of the newly-started community schools.
The operator said their school had
been looking for larger premises somewhere in the immediate neighbourhood
of Doha for more than two months but
had not been able to find an “affordable
and purpose-built building that would
suit their budget”.
The principal of another school,
which is located outside Doha city,
echoed similar sentiments. The school
functions from two separate campuses
to house more than 1,100 students and
has been receiving a large number of
enquiries for the coming academic year.
“We go all around looking for a suitable and larger building practically
every day so that we can operate from
a single facility without any hassles,” he
said, expressing anxiety at the shortage of “affordable” and purpose-built
Tourism summit
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has
kicked off its annual three-day interactive
Framework Marketing Summit in Doha
to map out a detailed worldwide tourism
promotion programme for the fiscal
year 2015-16. The summit brings together senior QTA head office executives,
representatives of QTA’s five overseas
offices and private sector stakeholders
from local hotels and other industry
suppliers, QTA said in a press release.
“This event is highly important in ensuring that all parties involved in Qatar’s
tourism industry are on the same page
understanding the QTA’s vision, mission,
values and marketing philosophy,” said
Rashed AlQurese, QTA chief marketing
and promotions officer.
Airing similar views, officials of another school felt the local educational
authorities need to intervene at the earliest and allot adequate land for school
operators who were facing a shortage of
space for their operations.
One of them said a complex featuring
new expatriate schools from different
communities could be an effective solution. “Otherwise, the issue of inadequate space will recur in the coming
years as well,” he added.
Almost all schools in the country’s
Asian communities that have come
up in recent years are functioning
from rented premises where no expansion or modification is possible
owing to the stringent directives of
the Supreme Education Council, say
These schools, the sources add, are
keen to increase the student strength
but the non-availability of suitable
premises is preventing them from doing so. As a result, parents and students
may have an even tougher time than in
previous years, they further point out.
Meanwhile, it has been pointed out
that even if some schools get alternative locations in the coming weeks, it is
doubtful if they can commence classes
on time as various formalities need to be
completed before the start of the next
academic year.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Condolence cables
Envoy meets Bangladesh minister
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani, HH the Deputy
Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Thani and HE the Prime
Minister and Interior Minister
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin
Khalifa al-Thani have sent cables
to Supreme Council Member and
Ruler of Fujairah Sheikh Hamad
bin Mohamed al-Sharqi, and
Supreme Council Member and
Ruler of Ajman Sheikh Humaid
bin Rashid al-Nuaimi condoling
the death of Sheikha Fatima bint
Rashid al-Nuaimi, mother of the
ruler of Fujairah and sister of the
ruler of Ajman.
Ties reviewed
Bangladeshi Minister for Labour and Employment and Expatriates Welfare and
Overseas Employment Musharraf Hussain meeting Qatar’s Ambassador Abdullah
Abdulaziz Mohamed al-Mana in Dhaka yesterday. They discussed relations between
the two countries.
HE the Assistant Foreign Minister
for International Co-operation
Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin
Abdurrahman bin Jassim alThani held separate meetings
with French and Pakistani
ambassadors to Qatar Jean
Christophe Peaucelle and
Shahzad Ahmad, respectively.
Bilateral relations were discussed.
Emir chairs economic
affairs council meeting
H the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad
Chairman of the Supreme
Council for Economic
Affairs and Investment,
chaired the Council’s fifth
meeting at the Emiri Diwan yesterday.
The meeting was attended by HH the Deputy Emir
and Vice-Chairperson of
the council Sheikh Abdullah
bin Hamad al-Thani and HE
the Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Executive Member of the Council
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser
bin Khalifa al-Thani.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi,
who is also Secretary-General of the council, said in
a statement to Qatar News
Agency (QNA) that the
Council discussed topics
tabled on its agenda, especially an item on the followup of the Council’s previous
resolutions and procedures.
The agenda included the
First: Presentation by
HE the Prime Minister on
a number of government
projects and initiatives to
support economic development. The initiatives cov-
ered the following areas:
1-Industry, economic areas, tourism, food security,
roads and public transportation and labourers’ housing.
2-Revitalisation of money
markets and the bourse.
3-Budget for the allocation of new plots of land to
serve trade activities, warehouses, industry, housing,
health, education and agriculture.
4-Strategy of projects of
storage sector and logistic
5-Promotion of trade and
economic sectors of priority.
6-Plans for offering
markets and commercial
streets, and building of central markets.
HH the Emir issued directives for pressing ahead
with the above-mentioned
projects and initiatives in
accordance with the plan
of action and implementation mechanism drawn up
for them.
Second: Approved the
budget of Qatar Petroleum
for 2015.
Third: Approved the
budget of Qatar Investment
Authority for 2015 and its
investment strategy.
Fourth: Approved the
budget of the council for
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Al-Hashmi (right) and al-Naemi announce cyber security drills yesterday.
ictQATAR to launch cyber
security drills from 2015
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he Ministry of Information and Communications Technology’s (ictQATAR) Cyber
Security Division will hold
sector-wise cyber security
drills from 2015, disclosed a
top official of the ministry.
Interacting with the media at the second cyber security drill yesterday, Khalid al-Hashmi, executive
director for Cyber Security,
ictQATAR, said the efforts
were aimed at setting the
global standards for information security exercises to
improve collaboration and
the nation’s readiness to address cyber risks.
“We will be organising
cyber security drills for each
sector separately from 2015.
We will start it with п¬Ѓnancial sector, energy sector
and the government sector.
This national level initiative is in full alignment with
the National Cyber Security
Strategy’s 2nd objective of
conducting national drills
and exercises.”
“We launched the cyber
security strategy early this
year and it has п¬Ѓve major
pillars. They are; safeguard
the nation’s critical information infrastructure; respond to and recover from
cyber attacks; establish a
legal framework and regulations; capacity building and
“The drills aim to make
people connect to the new
trends in cyber security
and how the new trends can
provide the right measures
in mitigating the risks. We
have a team, a good team
that is monitoring the whole
process and make sure that
the cyber security is ensured
in the country.”
Rashid Zayed al-Naemi,
cyber security specialist,
ictQATAR said: “The cyber threats are always the
same and the more computers are connected to the
Internet, the more threats
you have. Cyber security is
all about locating the risks
and managing them. That
is what is aimed through
these drills.”
Representatives of public
and private organisations
are taking part in the daylong cyber security drill.
With more than 320 participants, representing around
various critical sectors, including п¬Ѓnance, telecommunications, energy, government, transportation,
aviation and health, the drill
is the п¬Ѓrst of its kind in the
Mena region. It has set the
global standards for information security exercises
to improve collaboration
and the nation’s readiness
to address cyber risks as one
At the drill, 170 executives and decision makers
from Qatar’s biggest organisations exercise their cyber
security processes, national
collaboration and resilience
About 150 engineers are
participating in 32 task
forces, and technical teams
are operating simultaneously in 32 locations across
the country responding to
the “near real life” simulated attacks that have been
carefully designed to stress
test the participating teams’
technical capabilities.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Al-Fadala (centre) with Alexander (left) during the launch of Qatar Insurance Company’s loyalty programme- �U-Club’ in
Doha yesterday.
QIC launches loyalty programme for
comprehensive car cover holders
nsurance major QIC has
introduced the nation’sfirst loyalty programme
for the policyholders of the
company’s comprehensive
car insurances.
Under this, Qatar Insurance Company has set up
U-Club, which provides
a range of benefits for the
owners of the car that has
comprehensive cover with
the QIC.
Ali al-Fadala, senior
deputy group president and
CEO of QIC said, “We acknowledge that buying a
new car is one of the biggest
investments an individual
or family makes and we
truly want to do all we can
to help protect this investment, both in terms of securing it in the best way and
in terms of taking good care
of the vehicle.
“We have therefore introduced QIC’s U-Club,
which hosts a series of
benefits for both the car
owners and the car itself be it special offers on regular car maintenance, value
added packages to the existing insurance or even
special offers for the car
owner and his family.”
QIC’s U-Club offers discounts and other benefits
from a variety of different
partners, ranging from selected workshops in the Industrial Area and home and
travel insurance discounts
to special offers on home
appliances and personal
items – all centred on the
car and the people owning
or using the car.
“It is very easy to enrol
for a membership of the new
U-Club; in fact all QIC customers having comprehensive car insurance, which
covers own damage caused
to the car, are eligible for
joining the club. The club
has several tiers, which aims
to increase the offered benefits depending on how long
you have been a customer
with QIC and how many
cars you have insured with
us,” al-Fadala said.
Coral, silver and gold
are the three tiers of the
U-Club. Most members
will enrol themselves in the
Coral tier and earn points
as they go up to become eligible for the silver and gold
tiers, depending on how
long they stay or how many
cars they insure with QIC.
The “best part” of the
loyalty programme, according to QIC is that while the
membership is personal and
belongs to the policy holder,
the benefits can be used by
the immediate family.
QIC chief executive officer (Qatar) P E Alexander
explained the details of the
U-Club loyalty programme.
At the launch event, he
said, “We are happy to have
so many loyal customers and by launching this
U-Club, we aim to honour this loyalty by offering
a series of very good and
valuable offers that can be
used every day by our customers and members of the
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
vows to
DFI goals
he Board of the Doha Film
Institute (DFI) has announced the appointment
of Fatma al-Remaihi (pictured)
as its chief executive officer. She
will also serve as the director of
the Ajyal Youth Film Festival and
Qumra and further build on the
Institute’s fundamental goals of
promoting a strong п¬Ѓlm culture
in Qatar through п¬Ѓlm appreciation, education and п¬Ѓnancing
Part of the DFI team since
2009, al-Remaihi has been the
acting CEO since August 2014
in addition to her role as director of the Ajyal which wrapped
its successful second edition last week. She previously
served as the director of programmes at the DFI.
Al-Remaihi said: “I am
honoured to be appointed
as the CEO of the Doha Film
Institute. It is a privilege to
work with the filmmakers in
our local and regional community, and I look forward to
continuing to support them in
telling their stories, and to expand further on our objective
to build a vibrant and sustainable culture of film appreciation in Qatar.”
As CEO, al-Remaihi is responsible for setting and overseeing
the strategic direction of the In-
maintaining its focus
п¬Ѓlm culture in
Qatar and developing its presence on the regional and international stage.
She directs the artistic and
operational aspects of the Ajyal
Youth Film Festival and Qumra,
as well as the Institute’s yearround screening programmes,
film funding initiatives and its
strategic partnerships with key
international film organisations.
Al-Remaihi joined the DFI in
2009 as cultural adviser to the
п¬Ѓrst edition of the Doha Tribeca
Film Festival. After gaining valuable experience in several key
departments of the organisation,
she led a Community Outreach
team in the delivery of a variety
of initiatives and events to appeal
to the wide array of audiences in
Al-Remaihi was the driving
force behind the establishment of
a strategic partnership with The
Giffoni Experience, whose youth
jury model informs the competition section of the Ajyal Youth
Film Festival and brings together a
group of international youth media specialists for the Doha Giffoni
Youth Media Summit.
The winners with officials.
Boys’ school wins Enterprise Challenge trophy
he Enterprise Challenge
Qatar 2014 competition
has announced the results of its п¬Ѓnal contest for high
school students.
Ahmed Bin Hanbal Boys’
School won the п¬Ѓrst prize in the
п¬Ѓnal round of the business simulation competition and took
home the Enterprise Challenge
Qatar 2014 trophy.
The second place was awarded
to Al Zubarah Boys’ School and
Al Shamal Boys’ School came in
the third place.
While Al Guwairiya Girls
School won the п¬Ѓrst prize for the
business simulation competition in the girls’ category, the
second place was awarded to Al
Rayyan Girls’ School. Al Khor
Girls’ School finished third.
Enterprise Challenge Qatar is
an annual competition that encourages and inspires entrepreneurship among young people in
Qatar. Taking part in the contest
enhances their business knowledge and equips them with valuable skills, including teamwork
and strategic thinking.
Raed al-Emadi, vice-chairman of Bedaya Centre, said:
“The Enterprise Challenge is
paving the way for Qatar’s bright
future. This year, I am very
pleased to see more than 100
volunteer mentors from Qatar’s
business community. The majority of our volunteers are Qataris, who have been trained by
Bedaya and Qatar Shell.”
“I am especially delighted
about extending our partnership
with Qatar Shell for an additional three years.”
Rob Sherwin, deputy country
chairman, Qatar Shell, added:
“We are also delighted to have
extended our partnership with
Bedaya and expanded Enterprise
Challenge Qatar to reach, this
year, more than 700 students
from 14 schools and nine universities across Qatar.”
The schools participating
in the 2014 competition are Al
Rayyan Girls’ School, Al Khor
Girls’ School, Al Shamal Girls’
School, Al Guwairiya Girls’
School, Al Shahaniya Girls’
School, Qatar Complex Girls’
School, Umm Hakeem Girls’
School, Al Shamal Boys’ School,
Qatar Technical Boys’ School,
Ahmad Bin Hanbal Boys’ School,
Abdullah Bin Ali Al Misned
Boys’ School, Al Zubarah Boys’
School, Omar Bin Abdulaziz
Boys’ School and Al Doha Boys’
The Enterprise Challenge
Qatar programme has different
tiers for high school and university students and is made up of
two parts comprising the Ethical
Business Challenge, which tests
participants’ ability to balance
the economic, environmental
and social performance of their
company, and the Business Simulation element, which familiarises students with general business concepts from inception to
trading, п¬Ѓnance, sales, marketing and production.
The university winners of the
grand п¬Ѓnal competition were
announced at the opening gala
dinner of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was held
from November 17 to 23.
The Enterprise Challenge
competition was created by
Mosaic, a UK-based not-forprofit organisation established
by the Prince of Wales in 2007,
with a range of mentoring programmes aimed at fostering
opportunities for young people. Qatar Shell is the founding partner of Mosaic in Qatar,
and together with Bedaya, has
worked to bring the Enterprise
Challenge to Qatar.
NHIC launches new toll-free number for Seha members
he National Health Insurance Company (NHIC)
has introduced a new
toll-free number, 8008800 to
increase the public’s ease of
communication with the National Health Insurance Scheme
Seha members can now call
the easy-to-remember number
to follow up on claims, seek in-
formation and clarifications,
inquire about scheme-related
issues or even make suggestions
and complaints. The Seha call
centre is open Saturday through
Thursday from 7am to 10pm.
Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali,
acting CEO of NHIC, said: “The
new service we are launching
helps facilitate the public’s access
to the quality and diverse health-
care services covered by Seha. As
we celebrate the Qatar National
Day, I would like to convey our
best wishes to HH the Emir, HE
the Prime Minister and the people of Qatar and underscore that
we will continue to expand and
improve the scheme’s services for
the benefit of the nation.”
The NHIC also operates several
additional communication chan-
nels for members to interact with
and contact the Seha scheme.
These include information booths
at public and private key hospitals
as well as a customer care centre located on the sixth floor of
Amwal Tower in West Bay. The
public can also contact NHIC via
the Seha social media accounts
at and
Seha’s coverage includes
both in-patient and out-patient services including preventative care, emergency
treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech
therapy, long-term care, radiology, ophthalmology, laboratory testing and prescription
medicines as well as dental and
optical services.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
10 concerts to be
held at Dubai
Shopping Festival
A Destination Imagination event in progress.
Annual Destination
Imagination Qatar
programme launched
lFaisal Without Borders
Foundation (Alf) has kickstarted this year’s Destination Imagination Qatar (DI)
programme with DI team manager training workshops for 229
volunteer teachers from the 68
independent and international
schools participating in this
year’s DI initiative.
Alf executive director Ali Mar’e
said: “This year, we are seeing nearly 10 times the number
of schools taking part in the DI
Qatar programme across the
country and the response to attend our volunteer team manager training workshop, with
229 teachers signing up, reflects
this huge increase and growing
interest in this highly successful programme that delivers real
empowerment to Qatar schoolchildren. We’re hoping to be able
to send 140 students to the global
DI п¬Ѓnals in Nashville next summer, a п¬Ѓvefold increase on last
“As the licence holder for the
DI programme in the GCC and
Jordan, we are also taking DI to
Jordan and the UAE this year and
plan to reach all GCC countries
by the end of 2018.”
The DI programme empowers
students through developing key
life skills and sharpening their
independent learning ability.
The DI training of team managers aims to ensure they understand the programme objectives
and the wording of the complex
challenges that students have
to master so that pupils get the
most they can out of the DI process.
The training also reinforces the
importance of creativity through
all stages of the creative process - recognise, imagine, initiate,
collaborate, assess and evaluate
– which helps enhance students’
talent for innovation.
Above all, the training reinforces the concepts of honesty,
ownership, opinion-giving and
teamwork through activities that
demonstrate the relevance of
these skills in life and business.
Alf general manager Abdullatif al-Yafei added: “One of the
cornerstones of Alf Foundation
is educational empowerment of
Qatar’s youth to become wellrounded and capable future
leaders. Last year’s DI pilot was
a resounding success and it was
inspiring to see how pupils who
took part developed personally, socially and educationally.
Learning crucial 21st century
skills can only stand them and
future DI teams in great stead for
the rest of their lives.”
This year, the DI organisation
is planning an Invitational for
students from all over the world,
which will be held in Beijing and
run by DI China. Teams will attend the four-day DI China
Tournament and participate in
a special 24-hour challenge,
which they will solve at the tournament, presenting their solution to appraisers on the third
Qatar is sending a team of п¬Ѓve
13-year-olds from Amna Bint
Wahab Independent Preparatory
School for Girls to attend the DI
Beijing event.
Due to Alf’s exponential success with DI, Qatar will be the
host of the Invitational Regional
DI event in 2016.
he 20th edition of the
Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) will run from
January 1 to February 1, 2015
under the theme �A Journey
of Celebrations’, the Dubai
Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) CEO Laila
Mohamed Suhail announced
yesterday in Doha.
“The special anniversary
edition, organised by DFRE,
is all set to be the biggest in
the festival’s history, with
a spectacular calendar of
events that embraces DSF’s
key pillars of shopping, entertainment and winning,”
she told a press conference.
“The GCC has always
been a key market for Dubai and DSF mainly due to a
combination of factors such
as its geographical proximity and the fact that we share
the same values and cultural
families – our key audience
– constitute the bulk of the
visitors from this region,” she
Saeed Mohamed Mesam
al-Falasi, director, Strategic Alliances Division DFRE,
made a presentation on the
DSF 20th edition that provided a glimpse of the exciting line-up of retail activations, entertainment and
The 20th anniversary edition’s calendar of events includes a range of world-class
shows such as the DSF Concerts series which will stage
the biggest entertainment
extravaganza in the history
of the shopping festival. A
series of 10 concerts will be
staged over the weekends of
DSF and will feature 20 of the
biggest musical artistes of
the Arab world.
Other highlights include
mega п¬Ѓreworks displays
every weekend that will add
to the citywide illuminations, a series of celebrityhosted pop-up shops, stage
shows including MAMMA
MIA! the smash hit musical
and the world premiere of
Smurfs Live on Stage, as well
as high-end fashion events
such as Abati and a second
edition of the Market Outside The Box that will give
shoppers the opportunity to
indulge in some unique retail
Mega raffles will offer visitors and residents the opportunity to win big including
the Infiniti Mega Raffle which
will offer two luxury Infiniti
cars and AED100,000 in cash
every day to one lucky shopper for 32 days of the festival.
As a DSF 20th Anniversary
Special, shoppers participating in the Infiniti Mega Raffle
will also get the chance to win
additional prizes worth over
AED2mn. Another offer is
the Gold and Jewellery Mega
Raffle, which will give away a
total of 100kg of gold and 40
carats of diamond – making
it the largest-ever gold raffle
to be held in the region.
Other popular raffles will
include the Nissan Grand
Raffle, offering one winner
one Nissan car every day for
the duration of the festival.
To commemorate the 20th
edition, the Dubai Gold and
Jewellery Group in association with DFRE, will also be
manufacturing the world’s
longest handmade gold chain
– a 5km (extendable to 8km)
creation that will be made
out of a minimum of 160kg
of gold in a bid to set a new
Guinness World Record.
UCL Qatar,
partner for archaeology
new partnership highlighting
archaeological research in the
Middle East has been set up
between University College London in
Qatar (UCL Qatar), and,
the online academic publishing platform of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation
The partnership takes the shape of
a new, open access book series entitled UCL Qatar Series on Archaeology
and Cultural Heritage enabling anyone, anywhere in the world, to freely
read about archaeological research and
build a greater understanding of the
region’s fascinating history.
�Craft and science: International
perspectives on archaeological ceramics’, is the first volume in the series to
be published this week. Edited by Marcos MartinГіn-Torres, an archaeologist
at UCL in the UK, the full text is freely
available to download on the QScience.
com website.
One of the chapters of the п¬Ѓrst book
focuses on techniques used to gener-
ate the distinctive colour and shine of
early silver Islamic lustre. The presence of silver and copper nanoparticles in the glazes of 9th-12th century AD ceramics give some of the
most decorative works of that time a
golden, reflective nature, which was
Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation
Journals (BQFJ) is a collaboration between Qatar Foundation (QF) and
Bloomsbury Publishing that fosters
scholarly and research communication
and supports QF’s mission to enhance
transfer knowledge.
is one platform offering a unique research environment while UCL Qatar,
a partner of QF member Hamad Bin
Khalifa University, is a leading centre
of excellence for the study of cultural
Thilo Rehren, UCL Qatar director
said: “Both Qatar Foundation and UCL
Qatar share a strong ethos of excellence, and are committed to promoting
research as a key element of creating
knowledge. This is relevant for cultural
heritage as much as for engineering,
as we all live in a society shaped by its
heritage, which we need to understand
in order to shape the future.”
“To make knowledge most effective, it needs to be shared – and the
Open Access drive in modern scientific
publishing is a major step in this direction. We at UCL Qatar are therefore
delighted to see that Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals is promoting
Open Access for books and journals
being at the forefront of developments
in science disseminations.”
Christopher Leonard, QScience.
com editorial director said: “We are
truly excited to work with UCL Qatar
to bring some of the wonderful work
they are doing in Doha to a wider audience. These open access books mean
that anyone, anywhere in the world,
can read about this research and build
upon it for a greater understanding of
the history of Qatar and the wider region.”
Sidra names chair of psychiatry dept
idra Medical and Research
Center, has appointed Mohmed
Waqar Azeem, as its inaugural
chair of the Department of Psychiatry. Dr Azeem will be responsible for
setting new standards for world-class
patient and family care, outstanding
medical education and innovative research in psychiatry.
Azeem will also hold the position of
Founding Chair of Child Psychiatry at
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
(WCMC-Q). Through these joint appointments he will play an integral role
in improving mental health services
for children and families in Qatar and
the region.
Azeem joins Sidra from Albert J Solnit Children’s Centre, one of the premiere child and adolescent psychiatry
teaching facilities in the US where he
held the position of chief of psychiatry
and medical director. He also served
as an associate clinical professor at
Yale Child Study Centre, Yale University School of Medicine and associate
residency training programme director
for Yale Child Study Centre and Solnit
Centre Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship.
“Dr Azeem joins a world-class team
of peers and specialists who bring
in unparalleled skills and knowledge
from the world’s most distinguished
academic medical centres,” said Dr Ziyad Hijazi, acting chief medical officer.
“Dr. Azeem has an exceptional
background in both psychiatric clinical care and research, and he will be instrumental in ensuring that the mental
health services we bring to the children
and women of Qatar and the region
represent the highest possible standards of patient care.”
Azeem is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
in both Adult Psychiatry and Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), as well as a Distinguished
Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). His research has been
presented internationally and published in peer-reviewed journals.
“Joining Sidra at this crucial stage
in Qatar’s healthcare development is a
unique opportunity for any clinician.
Knowing that you will have tangible
impact on the way care is provided for
future patients is a once-in-a-lifetime-chance and I am honoured to be
part of this talented team,” said Azeem.
�Salwa road works to end in 3 weeks’
he ongoing strengthening and widening works of a
stretch on the Salwa Road between Jabr Bin Ahmed
Intersection (Radisson Blu) and the Centre roundabout will be completed in about three weeks according to
Ashghal’s road maintenance section chief Mohamed Jamal
el-Khazindar. He was speaking to local Arabic daily Al Wa-
tan. A signal will replace the Centre roundabout. Also the
track lanes on either side of the road would be widened.
The ongoing works near Radisson Blu are part of a major
revamping of a 6.3km stretch on the C Ring Road between
VIP roundabout (Umm Ghuwailana) and Advisory Council
Intersection (near Hamad Hospital), the official added.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Saudi policeman
killed in shootout
Saudi policeman was
killed in a clash with
a man armed with a
machinegun who took three
workers hostage near Riyadh, the state news agency
SPA reported yesterday.
Security forces came under heavy п¬Ѓre when they
responded to the hostagetaking on Sunday night in
Rawdhat Sider, in the Mujamma region close to the
capital, it said.
“An unknown man carrying an automatic weapon took three labourers
hostage near al-Hamoud
mosque ... and threatened
to shoot passersby,” SPA
quoted a Riyadh police
A young protester gestures during a secessionist demonstration in Aden yesterday.
Top separatist is shot
dead in south Yemen
Amnesty calls on the authorities
to investigate the killing,
describing it as an “extrajudicial
separatist activist was shot
dead in southern Yemen
yesterday as secessionists
staged a day of civil disobedience,
witnesses and activists said of a
killing Amnesty International called
an “execution”.
Khaled al-Junaidi, a prominent
п¬Ѓgure in the Southern Movement,
was shot in the chest when security
forces opened п¬Ѓre while trying to
arrest him, activists said.
Junaidi was released from prison
earlier this month after serving п¬Ѓve
months for separatist activities, and
had been preparing to take part in
yesterday’s day of action, witnesses
Amnesty called on the authorities
to investigate his killing, describing
it as an “extrajudicial execution”.
“Yemeni authorities have an obligation under international law to
ensure that an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into
this killing is conducted, and that
all those responsible are brought to
justice, including anyone who ordered the killing,” Amnesty’s deputy regional director Said Boumedouha said in a statement.
The London-based watchdog
said п¬Ѓve masked security officers
ordered Junaidi out of his car, and
one of them shot him.
They then drove Junaidi to a
nearby hospital and left him at the
entrance, it added.
Most businesses and schools in
Aden were closed in response to the
call for the demonstration to de-
mand the secession of the formerly
independent south.
South Yemen became independent after the end of British colonial rule in 1967, before it joined the
north in 1990. Secessionists failed
in a civil war in 1994 to reverse the
Since mid-October, the Southern Movement has staged a sit-in in
central Aden to demand secession.
Elsewhere yesterday, a street
vendor was shot dead by southern
separatists in Hadramout province
Houthi militiamen bury the bodies of their comrades who were killed two days
ago in clashes with armed tribesmen, during a funeral in Sanaa yesterday.
in southeast Yemen, witnesses said.
The gunmen opened п¬Ѓre as the
man, who was from north Yemen,
failed to stop at a checkpoint, triggering a confrontation between the
militants and other residents of
northern origin.
Rising demands for separation by
southern separatists have been one
of several challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
since he took office three years ago
after mass protests forced his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh to step
Separatists say Sanaa has plundered the former socialist South
Yemen in favour of northern officials, especially under Saleh’s rule,
and treats them as second classcitizens.
Hadi’s government has vowed to
correct wrongs against southern
Yemenis and compensate thousands of civil servants or former
army officers and soldiers п¬Ѓred from
their posts after the 1994 war, or restore many to their posts.
Apart from southern separatists,
Hadi’s government faces an Al Qaeda threat in the south and eastern
part of the country and a major challenge from Shia Houthi militias who
seized control of Sanaa in September
in what they said was a drive against
corruption but are refusing to quit.
UN Gulf War fund to meet on
Iraq plea for payment delay
The UN Gulf War
reparations fund will hold
a special meeting on
Thursday to address Iraq’s
plea to postpone a final
$4.6bn instalment payment
for its 1990-91 occupation
of Kuwait, a UN official said.
Iraq, which faces a cash
crisis caused by falling oil
prices and war with Islamic
State, is seeking to defer the
final tranche of reparations
to Kuwait for wartime
damage to its oil facilities.
“Because the Governing
Council is aware of this
issue, it decided to hold a
special session to consider
the issue of Iraq’s deposits
to the compensation
fund,” an official at the UN
Compensation Commission
(UNCC) said yesterday.
“The Governing Council will
hold a special session to
obtain the views of both Iraq
and Kuwait on the issue,” the
UNCC official, who declined
to be named, told Reuters.
Any decision would depend
on how ready the two sides
are to reach an agreement,
the official added.
spokesman as saying in a
“When police surrounded
him and asked him to drop
his weapon he opened п¬Ѓre
heavily,” the statement said.
The gunman, whose motives were not disclosed,
was wounded and arrested,
and the hostages were released, SPA said.
The agency said a policeman was killed and another
wounded along with a civilian in the shootout.
Also on Sunday, a second member of the security
forces was killed in a Shia
area of the kingdom, official
media said.
SPA said a soldier was
fatally wounded as officers
came under attack from “an
unknown gunman п¬Ѓring
from farms” near Awamiya
in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Awamiya, just west of
Dammam city on the Gulf
coast, has witnessed clashes between security forces
and protesters from the minority Shia community.
Saudi Arabia, which is
taking part in US-led air
strikes against the Islamic
State militant group in Syria, last week announced the
arrest of three suspected IS
supporters over a November 22 incident in which a
Danish national was shot
and wounded in Riyadh.
Saudi officials have said
this year they are concerned about a rise in domestic Islamist militancy
due to conflicts in Iraq and
Syria. The government has
decreed tough penalties for
terrorist crimes.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
�won’t accept’
terms at UN
The Palestinians have said
they will submit a draft text
setting a two-year deadline
for an end to the Israeli
occupation of their lands to
the UN as early as tomorrow
sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday
angrily rejected a Palestinian bid to set a UN deadline for
an end to Israel’s occupation
amid a flurry of talks led by US
top diplomat John Kerry.
“We will not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable,” the Israeli leader said
before arriving in Italy.
Amid a renewed drive to
push the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process to the top of
the global agenda, Kerry and
Netanyahu met for nearly
three hours in the US ambassador’s sumptuous residence
in Rome.
The Americans are seeking to avert an end-of-year
showdown at the UN Security
Council, which could place
them in a diplomatic quandary.
The Palestinians have said
they will submit an Arabbacked draft text setting a
two-year deadline for an end
to the decades-long Israeli occupation of their lands to the
UN as early as tomorrow.
Simultaneously France is
leading European efforts to
cobble together a more nuanced resolution which could
prove more acceptable to the
US administration.
The French text would set
a two-year timetable, but
for concluding a peace treaty
without mentioning the withdrawal of Israeli forces.
Paris is also hoping to seize
more of the initiative by not
leaving the negotiations solely
in the hands of the US.
“The absence of a peace
process is fuelling tensions on
the ground, so it is imperative to make rapid progress on
a UN resolution,” said French
foreign ministry spokesman
Romain Nadal.
“It is vital to relaunch the
peace talks as soon as possible
and on a credible basis to offer
some kind of concrete political
horizon to the parties,” he said.
US officials have said Kerry
is aiming to learn more about
the European initiative dur-
ing his hastily-arranged preChristmas trip.
Traditionally the US has
used its power of veto at the
UN Security Council to shoot
down what it sees as moves
against its close regional ally,
But there is a growing impatience in Europe over the peace
impasse amid fears the Middle
East risks spiralling into even
greater chaos.
Several European parliaments have called on their
governments to move ahead
with the recognition of a Palestinian state.
US officials told reporters accompanying Kerry that
Washington has not yet decided whether to veto or back the
French-led UN initiative.
The US administration opposes moves to bind negotiators’ hands through a UN
resolution—particularly any
attempt to set a deadline
for the withdrawal of Israeli
troops from the West Bank.
But a US veto risks running contrary to Washington’s
avowed aim of a Palestinian state and would anger key
Arab allies—many of whom are
much-needed partners in the
US-led coalition against Is-
3 Israelis
in school
Netanyahu and Kerry shake hands prior to their meeting in Rome yesterday.
lamic State militants.
And Netanyahu said that “in
the reality in which Islamic terrorism is reaching out to all corners of the globe, we will rebuff
any attempt that would put this
terrorism inside our home.”
“We will stand firm in the
face of any diktat,” the Israeli
leader said ahead of yesterday’s talks, which included a
brief closed-doors meeting
with Italian Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi.
Kerry also met with the
Vatican’s Secretary of State
Cardinal Pietro Parolin and
thanked Pope Francis for “his
engagement to try to reduce
tensions in the region.”
The US secretary of state
was due to fly to Paris for
a dinner meeting with his
French, German and British
counterparts and the new EU
foreign policy chief Federica
Mogherini at Orly airport.
He will then travel to London to meet with the chief
Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erakat and the secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil
al-Arabi, today.
French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius is also to meet
with Arabi today.
Diplomatic sources say Paris
is hoping to persuade the Palestinians to back their compromise resolution, rather
than risk a US veto of the more
muscular Arab version.
But the Palestinians appear
divided, as frustration grows
over the snail’s pace of diplomatic efforts, with the decision resting with Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas.
hree Israelis from a farright group were charged
yesterday with setting п¬Ѓre
to a classroom in an Arab-Jewish
school that has been a symbol of
co-existence in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service said brothers Nahman and
Shlomo Twito, aged 18 and 20,
and Yitzhak Gabai, 22, belong to
Lehava, a group that objects to
personal or business relations between Jews and Arabs.
According to the indictment,
the men set п¬Ѓre to a classroom in
the Hand-in-Hand school last
month and sprayed anti-Arab
graffiti on the walls of its courtyard. Classes were not in session
at the time.
The brothers, who live in a settlement in the occupied West
Bank, and Gabai, a resident of
Jerusalem, were led into court
handcuffed and smiling. They
made no comment and were not
asked to enter a plea.
More than 600 pupils from
pre-school through high school
attend Hand-in-Hand. Its student population is divided equally
between Israelis and Palestinians,
with lessons given in both Arabic
and Hebrew.
The Shin Bet said Lehava teaches the ideology of the late Meir
Kahane, a far-right, US-born rabbi who won election to the Israeli
parliament in 1984 and advocated
the expulsion of Palestinians from
Israel and the occupied territories.
Labelled racist and undemocratic by Israel, Kahane’s group,
Kach, was banned from politics in
1988. Two years later, Kahane was
assassinated in New York by an
Egyptian-American gunman.
Rouhani says he will try
to clinch nuclear accord
resident Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that he would try to clinch
a nuclear deal with world powers
despite opposition from some quarters
in Iran.
Rouhani was speaking as Iran resumed talks with the United States in
Geneva on its nuclear programme. An
eventual deal would remove sanctions
imposed on Tehran
But his government must sell any
agreement to hardliners in the country
who are wary of any rapprochement
with the West.
“Some people may not like to see
the sanctions lifted. Their numbers
are few, and they want to muddy the
water,” Rouhani, widely seen as a pragmatist, told a gathering of officials at a
Central Bank seminar in Tehran.
He appeared to refer to hardliners
including senior commanders of the
elite Revolutionary Guards.
“The overwhelming majority of
our nation - intellectuals, academics, theologians, the greats, and the
leadership - are in favour of getting
the sanctions removed,” Rouhani
US and Iranian negotiators began
a two-day meeting in Geneva before
wider talks between Iran and six global powers in the same city tomorrow
on how to end the 12-year dispute over
Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Iran and the United States, France,
Germany, Britain, China and Russia
failed last month to meet a self-imposed
deadline to resolve the standoff, extending the talks for seven more months.
They aim to reach an agreement on
the substance of a п¬Ѓnal accord by late
March as more time would likely be
needed to reach a consensus on the
technical details.
Wendy Sherman, acting US deputy
secretary of state, and Abbas Araqchi,
Iran’s deputy foreign minister, led
their delegations in yesterday’s talks.
Iran’s official Irna news agency
quoted an unnamed member of Tehran’s delegation as saying uranium
enrichment and how to remove sanctions were sticking points.
“Some differences have been
bridged, some others haven’t. There is
need for more diplomacy and consultations,” he said.
Iran’s reluctance to scale back its capacity to enrich uranium - which can
have both civilian and military uses has drawn international sanctions that
have severely hurt its economy.
Tehran denies Western allegations
it has been seeking to develop the
capability to assemble nuclear weapons.
In a new report, the International
Crisis Group think tank said an agreement was within reach if both sides
showed more flexibility on enrichment
capacity and sanctions relief.
But it warned that differences “remain sharp and overcoming them will
grow more difficult with time, as the
voices of sceptics get louder”, referring
to hardliners on both sides.
Renovated Tutankhamun gallery unveiled
he Cairo government unveiled
yesterday four newly renovated
halls of the famed Tutankhamun gallery in the Egyptian Museum
as the facility undergoes a complete
The gallery houses treasures that
were found intact in 1922 along with the
mummy of the 19-year-old boy king in
the temple city of Luxor, and is a world
famous tourist attraction.
Its renovation is part of a seven-year
project to refurbish the entire Egyptian
Museum overlooking Tahrir Square, and
in turn revive downtown Cairo.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Ibrahim
Mehlab unveiled the newly renovated
halls located at the eastern entrance of
the Tutankhamun gallery.
The renovation of the museum has
been aided by funds from the European Union and other international
James Moran, who heads the EU
delegation in Cairo, said the bloc supported the project in order to help to
A tourist takes a photo of artefacts on display in the Egyptian Museum’s
Tutankhamun gallery yesterday.
boost Egypt’s tourism sector whose
“revival... is fundamental for the
The EU, he added, would offer 92,500
euros ($115,000) next year to help renovate the eastern wing of Tutankhamun
The Egyptian Museum houses the
largest collection of pharaonic artefacts
and has witnessed several alterations
since it was п¬Ѓrst opened in 1902.
Four years of political turmoil since
the ouster of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak has battered the country’s economy amid falling tourist revenues and
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Qaeda seizes
two bases in
blow to Assad
Al Nusra Front—the Al Qaeda
branch in Syria—seizes
Hamidiyeh and Wadi al-Deif,
the regime’s largest outposts
in Idlib
ilitants linked to Al
Qaeda dealt a major
blow to Syria’s regime
yesterday by seizing two key
army bases within hours, giving
them control over most of Idlib
The gains also signalled another defeat for Western-backed
rebels who were driven out of
most of the northwestern province last month by Al Nusra
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights said Al Nusra
Front—the battered country’s Al
Qaeda branch—seized Hamidiyeh and Wadi al-Deif, the regime’s largest outposts in Idlib.
The militants advanced in coordination with Islamist rebel
groups Ahrar al-Sham and Jund
al-Aqsa, the Observatory said,
adding that a string of villages in
the area also fell.
Al Nusra Front claimed via
Twitter it was “the only faction
that took part in the liberation
of Wadi al-Deif”, and that it was
now “chasing down” soldiers.
State television cited a military source as implicitly acknowledging the loss.
“The army redeployed this
morning in the Wadi al-Deif
region and is engaged in п¬Ѓerce
fighting at Hamidiyeh,” it reported the source as saying.
The attack on Wadi al-Deif,
which began on Sunday, killed at
least 31 troops and 12 militants,
the Observatory said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source from Lebanon’s
Shia Hezbollah movement which
had deployed п¬Ѓghters to bolster
regime efforts in Idlib said “more
than 3,000 (Islamist) gunmen”
joined the twin offensive.
Mainstream rebels had been
battling to take Wadi al-Deif and
Hamidiyeh for around two years,
but despite repeated attempts
had failed to do so.
Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Centre said the gains
highlighted the rise of the Islamist militants in the province.
“The nature of the operations has served to underline
the renewed prominence of
more Islamically minded forces
in Idlib, with Jabhat (Front) alNusra and Ahrar al-Sham having played the dominant role in
practically capturing the facilities,” he said.
Observatory director Rami
Abdel Rahman said Al Nusra had
used tanks and heavy weapons
captured last month from the
Western-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front.
Its defeat of the SRF was seen
as a blow to US efforts to create
and train a moderate rebel force
as a counterweight to militants
of the Islamic State group.
Within hours of taking Wadi
al-Deif, Al Nusra and the two
other Islamist rebel groups also
seized Hamidiyeh, the Observatory said.
“They took 15 soldiers prisoner from Hamidiyeh,” Abdel
Rahman said, adding that helicopters evacuated senior officers
late Sunday, hours before it fell.
After Al Nusra and its allies
moved in, regime warplanes
launched 17 air raids against the
base, the Britain-based group
Thomas Pierret, who teaches Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of
Edinburgh, said the advance is
important militarily because
the bases are on a road linking
the central province of Hama to
Aleppo in the north.
Lister said the advance may
pave the way for “a major assault on Idlib city”, which like
most Syrian provincial capitals
remains in regime hands.
The gains give Al Nusra п¬Ѓrm
control of much of Idlib province, limiting the chances of a
challenge from potential rivals.
Until September this year, Ahrar al-Sham had sought to distance itself from more hardline
militants in Syria.
But a September 9 explosion
that killed its top leadership
“pushed the group to align itself
more openly with Al Nusra”, Abdel Rahman said.
Syrian regime forces walk in Al Mallah Farms after regaining control of the area north of Aleppo yesterday.
European Union backs UN
plan for Aleppo ceasefire
uropean Union foreign
ministers threw their
weight behind a UN plan
for a truce in the northern Syrian
city of Aleppo yesterday, saying
it offered a glimmer of hope for
п¬Ѓnding a political solution to the
three-and-a-half year old civil
UN peace envoy Staffan de
Mistura briefed the ministers on
Sunday evening on his plan for a
“freeze in the fighting” in Aleppo to try to get humanitarian assistance into the city that is split
between opposition п¬Ѓghters and
government troops.
Iraq’s new PM battles
to unite divided nation
hree months after he took office with a mission to unite his
broken, warring country, Iraq’s
new prime minister has swept away
the divisive legacy of his predecessor with a burst of rapid and dramatic
But Haider al-Abadi faces a huge
challenge forging a common front
against Islamic State (IS) п¬Ѓghters, rebuilding an ineffective army and reasserting a degree of central government
authority across Iraq.
Time is short and the battle to contain the militants who control swathes
of territory is draining the country’s
п¬Ѓnances. Millions of people have been
displaced and sectarian anger is growing.
Abadi has responded with a series
of steps to improve the Shia-led government’s standing, not just with Iraqi
Kurds and Sunni Arab tribes but also
across borders with Gulf neighbours.
His successes include a deal last
month with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region on oil exports and budget
payments, which followed months of
He has dismissed dozens of top
army and security officers appointed
by former premier Nuri al-Maliki, announced a campaign against corruption in the military, ordered curbs on
arrests without a judge’s authorisation, and decreed the speeding up of
the release of detainees when courts
order them to be set free.
“His biggest achievement was his desire for change, to deal with the mistakes
of the last eight years,” said former judge
and minister Wael Abdulatif, referring
to Maliki’s two terms in office.
After Maliki alienated Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds by promoting hardline
Shia interests, Abadi has tried to win
over Iraq’s Sunni tribes whose western
and northern heartlands have emerged
as the core of IS power. He appointed
a Sunni defence minister and has held
talks with Sunni tribal leaders.
The moderate Shia Islamist has also
tried to mend fences with Arab states
across the Gulf, an effort which has
not gone unnoticed in the region.
“What I heard and saw from the
prime minister is frankly the difference between day and night (compared with) what we’ve known and
what we’ve heard from the previous
prime minister Maliki,” said UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed alNahayan, shortly after visiting Baghdad last month.
Saudi Arabia is talking, once again,
about reopening its embassy in Baghdad soon.
Abadi shocked many Iraqis last
month when he said an investigation
had found that at least 50,000 “ghost
soldiers” were on the army payroll,
taking salaries without showing up
for duty and paying off officers who let
them stay at home.
“He’s dismantled much of Maliki’s
state,” said a senior Western diplomat
in Baghdad, approvingly. “If you look
at the achievements of this government, it delivers. But it must be given
During his term in office, IS forces
have been pushed back from Jurf alSakhr south of Baghdad and two towns
near the Iranian border, while the militants’ five-month siege of Iraq’s largest oil refinery has been lifted.
But none of the political or military
gains is irreversible. The job of imposing central authority remains, and
some believe his momentum will stall.
“He started off well and he’s got the
right approach, but a more positive attitude is not sufficient to put Humpty
Dumpty together again,” said Kurdish
regional government spokesman Safeen Dizayee, noting that Abadi may
face discontent not just from outside
but also among his own constituents.
Pro-government fighters walk through a muddy field during a siege by the Islamic State group on the outskirts of Aziz
Balad in Saladeddin province, north of Tikrit, yesterday.
“We are going to take some
decisions on the ways we can
concretely support the efforts of
the United Nations, in particular
on plans for a freeze ... for Aleppo,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said before talks
resumed yesterday.
“That is crucial not only for
humanitarian and for security
reasons but also as a symbol of
what we can do and what we
should do to stop the war in Syria
... It’s time for us to make a positive contribution to a solution
there,” she said.
Mogherini did not say what
form EU support might take,
but Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said that, if
there was a truce, the EU “must
be ready with food, medicines to
help the population in Aleppo”.
Separately, the European
Commission and Italy agreed
yesterday to launch a regional
trust fund for Syria with initial
funding of 23mn euros designed
to mobilise humanitarian aid for
the Syrian refugee crisis.
De Mistura recently met Syrian opposition groups in Turkey
to try to win their support for
the plan. He has warned that the
fall of Aleppo, once Syria’s main
commercial city, would create
an additional 400,000 refugees.
Some 200,000 people have died
in the civil war.
The opposition, as well as
some diplomats and analysts,
say the initiative is risky and
that Aleppo could face the same
fate as the central city of Homs,
where government forces have
largely regained control.
Britain also has some reservations about the plan.
But Swedish Foreign Minister
Margot Wallstrom said de Mistura had “the most realistic plan,
the only plan that we see that is
being carved out”.
“There is total support of his
plan,” she told reporters.
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said de Mistura
was making progress and urged
Moscow to back the plan at the
UN Security Council. “We will
urge the Russians to engage in
the whole process of a truce in
Aleppo,” he said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Congo won’t bow to
foreign �injunctions’
Joseph Kabila appears unlikely to
give up power when his term ends
he president of Democratic Republic of Congo told foreign nations
yesterday to respect his country’s
sovereignty after several urged him to
comply with the constitution and not to
run for re-election.
Though Joseph Kabila has yet to publicly declare his intentions, Congo is rife with
speculation that he is looking for ways to
remain in charge of the vast, mineral-rich
nation after his second elected п¬Ѓve-year
term in office ends in 2016.
“We are always open to the opinions,
advice and suggestions of our partners,
but never to injunctions,” Kabila said during a rare public speech before a joint session of parliament.
Kabila came to power in 2001 when his
father, Laurent, was assassinated in the
middle of a conflict that sucked in regional
armies are killed millions of Congolese.
He steered Congo to post-war elections in 2006 and won re-election in 2011,
although the second vote was marred by
complaints of widespread irregularities.
Congo’s constitution currently limits
presidents to two elected terms in office.
Senior US officials have already publicly
called on Kabila not to alter the constitution in order to hold onto power.
Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila reviewing troops in Kinshasa.
During a summit of French-speaking
countries last month, France’s president
Francois Hollande more broadly cautioned leaders facing constitutional term
limits to learn from the example of Burkina Faso.
Mass protests forced Burkina Faso’s
President Blaise Compaore to step down
and flee the country after he tried to push
through constitutional changes to extend
his 27-year rule.
Congolese opposition leaders have
managed to draw thousands of protesters
to marches calling for Kabila to step down
in 2016.
In his speech yesterday, Kabila criticised
what he said was the “systematic tendency” among some of his countrymen to look
abroad for assistance to settle domestic
political differences.
“There is no crisis in DRC, and even
were we to have one we would sit down
together around a table to negotiate,” he
A court in Democratic Republic of
Congo sentenced a former army colonel to
life in prison yesterday for crimes against
humanity in the country’s restive east
between 2005 and 2007.
The military court in Bukavu, capital of
South Kivu province, convicted lieutenant
colonel Bedi Mobuli Engangela on several
counts of crimes against humanity.
The life sentence was for murder.
The 42-year-old defendant also
received a 20-year sentence for rape,
two 15-year terms for “sexual slavery
and “other inhuman actions”, such as
torture and abduction, and 10 years for
“imprisonment and other forms of grave
deprivation of physical liberty”.
Engangela, who was known as Colonel
106 after the battalion he commanded
in South Kivu, was accused of deserting
between 2005 and 2007 to lead a militia
that attacked several villages.
The militia was accused of gang rapes
and other crimes.
Engangela has been in preventive
custody since 2007. His name featured
on a list of п¬Ѓve senior officers accused of
serious human rights abuses against whom
the UN had asked Congolese authorities to
expedite proceedings.
In November, a court in the capital
Kinshasa sentenced a former rebel leader
turned army general, Jerome Kakwavu, to
10 years in prison for war crimes, including
rape, murder and torture.
Nigerian economy in doldrums
ICC urged
to probe
Nigerian human rights
group yesterday asked
the International Criminal Court to bring charges
against Nigerian presidential
candidate Muhamedu Buhari
for post-election violence in
The Northern Coalition for
Democracy and Justice said in
a statement Buhari should face
justice over the violence, when
800 people were killed and
many churches and schools
were destroyed.
The ICC has been looking into possible war crimes
in Nigeria since 2010, but few
believe it would be keen to take
on another powerful politician after being forced to drop
charges against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta earlier
this month.
Buhari’s All Progressives
Congress party denied the
claims, saying they were politically motivated.
“They will not stop at anything to try to derail General
Buhari,” said spokesman Lai
Mohamed. “I can see the hands
of the government behind it.”
Nigerian officials were not
immediately available to respond.
The court’s prosecutor receives dozens of such submissions each year, of which very
few ever result in investigations.
The NCDJ alleged the violence included acts of murder,
torture and rape systematically
directed at perceived nonsupporters of Buhari.
The NCDJ had previously
referred Buhari to the ICC in
2011, but said it decided to
submit more evidence after the
former military ruler emerged
as the main candidate in February’s presidential elections.
“We have a lot of very strong
evidence we are submitting
to the prosecutor,” said Goran
Sluiter, a Dutch law professor
acting for the NCDJ, adding
he wanted to ensure Buhari did
not escape justice by winning
political office.
Earlier this month, the ICC
withdrew charges against
Kenyatta, who was accused of
orchestrating a wave of deadly
violence after the 2007 Kenyan
elections, due to insufficient
Observers say the ICC
charges were a key factor in
helping Kenyatta secure the
presidency two years ago, from
which position he was able to
lead Kenya and its African allies in a campaign of lobbying
against the court’s charges.
Buhari, 71, has been an influential political figure in
Nigeria for much of its postindependence history, leading
a military government for two
years until 1985.
The ICC was set up 12 years
ago to try those suspected of
serious international crimes in
cases where local authorities
are unable to do so. It has been
criticised for bringing weak
cases and securing just three
Third no-show for
Nigerian preacher
People stand outside Wuse Market in Abuja. Nigeria is suffering from a plummeting currency, steep budget cuts, corruption scandals and diving oil prices; yet all this
is unlikely to decide a tight race for the presidency. When the central bank devalued the naira last month to save foreign reserves, the impact was felt instantly on the
streets. Nigeria imports 80 percent of what it consumes.
Trophy hunters, bushmen unite
against Botswana’s hunting ban
wo large antelope heads
with mighty horns decorate the office of Botswanan taxidermist Debbie Peake,
while a photo hanging on the wall
shows a man beaming next to a
buffalo carcass.
These are the kind of trophies
that wealthy Europeans and
Americans take home from the
southern African country, which
gets nearly 9% of its gross domestic product from tourism.
They pay up to $10,000 to kill a
kudu antelope or, until recently,
$50,000 for an elephant.
Trophy hunters in Botswana
have included Spain’s former
king Juan Carlos, whose luxury
hunting expedition to kill an elephant sparked a scandal in his
unemployment-hit country in
But Botswana’s president Ian
Khama - an ardent conservationist - imposed a nationwide
hunting ban in January, preventing people from hunting anywhere in the country.
Tourists are only allowed to
hunt in private game ranches,
where they may shoot a reduced
number of species such as the
wildebeest and the warthog.
The hunting of elephants has
been stopped, even if many wildlife experts say Botswana has too
many elephants - about 200,000,
up from 40,000 in 1990.
During the dry season, elephants go everywhere, says
Peake, a spokeswoman for the
Botswana Wildlife Management
Association, which promotes the
interests of the country’s wildlife
They knock down fences,
trample farmers’ crops, scare
people and consume so much
vegetation that they endanger
other species, she adds.
Trophy hunters killed about
400 elephants - and 800 other
animals - annually before the
ban. That was too few to justify
the practice as a means of reduc-
ing their number, Peake admits.
“But since the private game
ranches measure tens of thousands of hectares, they help to
keep land reserved for wildlife,
and they also generate money for
conservation through taxes and
trophy export fees,” she said.
Even prior to the ban, hunting
was heavily regulated. Animal
hunting was under strict quotas,
the size of which varied according to the specific area.
Owners of trophy hunting game ranches were granted
quotas per animal - e.g. ten elephants per ranch per year. Some
animals were completely protected and excluded from quotas,
such as the lion and the leopard.
“Many outsiders imagine
that conservation is about being
kind to animals. But in reality, it
is about conserving the species
and making money for that purpose,” says Richard Fynn, a senior research scholar on rangeland
ecology and management at the
University of Botswana.
The government, however,
says aerial surveys have shown
some animal species to be on the
decline and that it wants to assess the situation.
It also wants to combat poaching, or illegal hunting. Poachers coming mainly from Zambia killed about 60 elephants in
Chobe national park - the main
area where they operated - in
Those in favour of the hunting
ban see it as reflecting a strong
commitment to conservation. “It
is far from certain that we have
too many elephants, as experts
differ on what a suitable number
would be,” environmentalist Map
Ives said. The hunting ban does
not only affect trophy hunters,
but also Botswanans who hunt
for subsistence.
Campaigners like Peake have
found an ally in Botswana’s Bushmen - numbering about 50,000
in total and regarded as descendants of the original inhabitants of
southern Africa - who typically
hunt antelopes and giraffes.
The Bushmen argue that they
practised a form of ecological
hunting, limiting their tools to
the traditional bows, arrows and
spears used for millennia. They
are now preparing to challenge
Khama’s hunting ban in court.
“We have always lived with
animals ecologically in the wild
and respected the animals we
hunt,” activist Jumanda Gakelebone says, stressing the sense of
closeness with animals.
But while activists claim that
the Bushmen use only low-tech
hunting equipment, some have
clearly been swayed by modernity. On a recent visit to hunting
grounds, reporters observed the
use of п¬Ѓrearms.
As the Bushmen face legal battles over their subsistence hunting, their newfound allies look to
return to another kind of tradition.
“Trophy hunting is not essentially about killing. It is about the
outdoor experience, the tracking
of the animal, the hardship that
can last for 10 days - the sense of
achievement,” Peake says.
Nigerian preacher yesterday again failed to
appear at a coroner’s
inquest into a building collapse
at his Lagos church which
killed 116 people, including 81
South Africans.
Pastor and televangelist TB
Joshua had been called to give
evidence at the hearing but his
lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, asked
for him to be excused because
of a pending high court application.
Lawyers for Joshua, who has
claimed the collapse may have
been sabotage, are attempting
to stop the inquest, arguing
that the coroner has exceeded
his powers to call him as a witness.
The high court hearing will
be held next Monday, the inquest was told.
Coroner Oyetade Komolafe accepted Joshua’s absence
pending the high court session.
“Let your client go to the
high court and come back,” he
told Fagbemi.
Joshua was summonsed
twice to appear at the inquest
before the application to stay
proceedings was made.
The engineer of the collapsed building was in court
but said he could not give evidence because he was ill. Komolafe warned him that he
faced jail if he did not appear
on Friday.
Expert witnesses have told
the hearing that there was no
sign of an explosion or sabotage of the building, which
housed foreign followers of
Joshua’s Synagogue Church of
All Nations (SCOAN).
The Lagos state government
has said the building did not
have planning permission and
that an inspection had found
that other structures on the
sprawling SCOAN site were
shoddily built.
On Joshua’s theory of aerial
sabotage from a low-flying
plane, Rafiq Arogunjo, of the
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), said the
aircraft seen over the building
was on a training mission.
The Nigerian Air Force
C-130 aircraft, flying at 1,100
feet, was operating “normally
in line with aviation rules”.
Islamists kill 10
Somali soldiers
ebels from the Islamist
Al Shebaab group attacked a military base in
southern Somalia early yesterday, killing at least 10 soldiers
and burning two military vehicles, officials said.
African Union and Somali troops launched an offensive this year that has
driven Al Shebaab out of its
last major strongholds. Yesterday’s attack highlights
the challenge of halting
guerrilla-style raids by the
al Qaeda-aligned group.
“Al Shebaab attacked our
military forces at 3am” in the
Lower Shabelle region, Somali
military officer Aden Nur told
“They killed 10 soldiers and
burnt two military vehicles
(equipped) with anti-aircraft
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab,
al Shebaab’s military spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and said 14
Somali soldiers had been killed
and three vehicles had been
burned. Al Shebaab often cites
a higher death toll than the
number given by officials.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sony demands halt to reporting from leaked documents: media groups
Los Angeles
ony Pictures Entertainment told certain news
organisations on Sunday
to stop publishing information
contained in documents stolen by hackers who attacked the
movie studio’s computer network last month, three media
groups reported.
The New York Times, the Hol-
lywood Reporter and Variety
published stories reporting that
they had each received a letter
from David Boies, an attorney for
Sony, demanding that the outlets
stop reporting information contained in the documents and immediately destroy them.
The studio “does not consent
to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication,
uploading, downloading or making any use” of the information,
Boies wrote in the letter, accord-
Cheney on Meet the Press: Torture is what the Al Qaeda terrorists
did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
ing to the New York Times report.
A Sony spokesman had no
comment on the reports.
Representatives for Variety
and the Hollywood Reporter could
not immediately be reached via
e-mail on Sunday.
New York Times spokeswoman
Eileen Murphy said: “Any decisions about whether or how to
use any of the information will
take into account both the significance of the news and the
questions of how the informa-
efenders and critics
locked horns on Sunday
over last week’s release
of a US report that aired harrowing new details of America’s torture of “war on terror”
detainees, and opened fresh
political wounds.
The US Senate report released last Tuesday said that
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s interrogation of Al
Qaeda suspects, including
beatings, rectal rehydration,
and sleep deprivation, was far
more brutal than acknowledged – and did not produce
useful intelligence.
Former US vice-president
Dick Cheney on Sunday vehemently defended the programme, lauding the CIA operatives who ran it as heroes.
“I’m perfectly comfortable
that they should be praised,
they should be decorated,”
the right-hand man to former
president George W Bush told
NBC television’s Meet the Press
“I’d do it again in a minute,”
Cheney said.
But one of the п¬Ѓercest critics
of the use of torture, US Senator John McCain, who himself
suffered grievous mistreatment at the hands of his captors during the Vietnam War,
was adamant that the detainees’ treatment was wrong.
“There were violations of
the Geneva Conventions for
the treatment of prisoners,” the
Republican senator told CBS
television’s Face the Nation
Senate Democrats last week
released the long-awaited investigation into detention and
interrogation practices at the
Guantanamo Bay prison camp
and at secret detention facilities – so-called “black sites” –
where detainees were secretly
held at locations worldwide.
Cheney insisted there was
“no comparison” between
the tactics and the deaths of
American citizens on September 11, 2001, adding that the
CIA “very carefully avoided”
the practice of torture.
“Torture is what the Al
Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000
Americans on 9/11,” he said.
But others, including many
Democrats, said the agency
deliberately misled the public
about the severity and extent
about what they euphemistically called its “enhanced interrogation programme”.
Democratic Senator Sheldon
Whitehouse said that the US
public, lawmakers and other
top US officials were all kept in
the dark about the true nature
of the programme.
“We spent a lot of time looking into it and were told, this
is a very minor thing,” he told
Face the Nation.
“You know, you just touch
them with the waterboard and
they confess,” he said, describ-
McCain: We do things wrong.
We make mistakes. We review
those. And we vow never to
do them again.
ing how the intelligence agency
soft-pedaled what it was doing.
Another Democrat, Ron
Wyden, senior member of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, said it may be time to п¬Ѓre
CIA Director John Brennan,
who last week delivered an unprecedented speech defending
the agency’s conduct.
The CIA, Wyden said, is afflicted with a “culture of denial” and expressed concern that
the discredited interrogation
methods could come into use
again unless those who tolerated them are purged.
The 500-page report spearheaded by Democrats on the
Senate Intelligence Committee asserted that interrogation
tactics used on terror suspects
were more brutal than previously known.
It also concluded that the
CIA deliberately misled Congress and the White House
about the value of the intelligence its interrogators were
Cheney, however, strongly
“It worked. It absolutely
worked,” he said on Sunday.
Reiterating comments he
made last week, the former
vice-president insisted that
his then-boss was fully aware
about the details of the programme as it was being conducted.
“This man knew what we
were doing,” he said about expresident Bush. “He authorised it. He approved it.”
The debate over the past several days has swirled not just
about whether the programme
was justified, but whether details about it should be made
Many Republicans have
suggested that America and
its overseas interests could
become the target of revenge
attacks details about the way
it once treated detainees was
made known.
McCain however, insisted
that releasing the document
was the right thing.
“We do things wrong. We
make mistakes. We review
those. And we vow never to do
them again,” he said.
of documents that include employee salaries and п¬Ѓnancial information, marketing plans and
contracts with business partners.
In addition, the documents
that have emerged included an
exchange in which co-chairman
Amy Pascal joked about President Barack Obama’s race.
After media outlets reported
on that, Pascal subsequently issued a public apology for the
“insensitive and inappropriate”
Pascal is scheduled to meet
this week with civil rights leader
Reverend Al Sharpton, whose
spokeswoman says he is weighing whether to call for her resignation.
Pascal did not respond to a request for comment, and a Sony
spokeswoman declined to comment on Pascal’s future.
Sony, in a memo to staff seen
by Reuters on December 2, acknowledged that a large amount
of data was stolen by the hackers
but has declined to confirm specific documents.
Over the weekend, a message
claiming to be from the Guardians of Peace, a group that says it
carried out the cyber-attack on
Sony, warned of additional disclosures.
“We are preparing for you a
Christmas gift,” said the message
posted on a site for sharing п¬Ѓles
called Pastebin. “The gift will be
larger quantities of data. And it
will be more interesting.”
Sandy Hook victims’
families п¬Ѓle lawsuit
Defenders and
critics clash over
US �torture report’
tion emerged and who has access
to it.”
A spokesman for Boies confirmed that he sent a letter to media outlets on behalf of Sony but
declined to discuss details.
Disclosures from the internal
documents have caused turmoil
at the studio, a unit of Japan’s
Sony Corporation, and shed light
on internal discussions key to the
company’s future.
For instance, the unidentified hackers have released troves
he families of nine people killed in an attack on
a Newtown, Connecticut,
elementary school in 2012 п¬Ѓled
a wrongful-death lawsuit yesterday against the company that
manufactured the gun used in
the attack, the Hartford Courant
The suit named gunmaker
Bushmaster, a distributor and
the local retailer that sold the
weapon used by 20-year-old
gunman Adam Lanza to kill 20
п¬Ѓrst-graders and six educators
in a December 14, 2012, attack at
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Families of nine victims and a
10th person who was wounded
п¬Ѓled the suit in state court, the
Courant reported.
Bushmaster did not respond to
a request for comment.
While the parents could not be
reached for comment, a spokesman for Bridgeport law п¬Ѓrm Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder said on
Sunday that a lawyer at the п¬Ѓrm
had recently met with some of
the Newtown parents about potential suits.
“Attorney Josh Koskoff has
met with parents about legal action,” said Geraldo Parrilla, a legal assistant with the firm.
Lanza, who began the shooting spree by killing his mother at
their home, ended his rampage
by turning his gun on himself as
he heard police approaching.
On Sunday residents of Newtown gathered at a somber prayer
service to remember the victims
in one of the deadliest school
shootings in US history.
The town, located some 126km
northeast of New York City, did
not hold any official event to
commemorate the massacre.
There were no formal events
last year either.
“We refuse to give in to violence that shattered our dreams
that day,” Reverend Matthew
Crebbin of the Newtown Congregational Church told about
200 people at the historical Newtown Meeting House, including
US Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Members of the clergy said
they were not aware of any relatives of the victims having attended the service, which was
sponsored by the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association.
In addition, there were candlelight vigils across Connecticut
over the weekend.
In Fairfield on Sunday, about
30 people gathered in a small
church to remember the victims.
“We will continue fighting to
prevent these kinds of evil acts
in the future,” US Representative Jim Himes told the congregants, each of whom was holding
a white candle.
The massacre inflamed a national debate over gun control
and raised the prospect of a wave
of lawsuits by the families of the
п¬Ѓrst graders who were killed.
Despite the outrage that followed the Newtown massacre,
school shootings remain common across the United States.
Some 95 incidents, including
fatal and non-fatal assaults, suicides and unintentional shootings have occurred in 33 states
since the Newtown massacre,
according to Everytown for Gun
The group was created by the
merger of Mayors Against Illegal
Guns, founded by former New
York mayor Michael Bloomberg,
and Mums Demand Action for
Gun Sense in America, a group
founded after the Newtown
“It’s astounding,” said Shannon Watts, who founded the
Mums Demand Action group.
“There is no other developed
country that would tolerate this
kind of gun violence around
school-age children.”
Gun-rights advocates note
that the Second Amendment of
the US Constitution protects the
right to bear arms and suggested
after the Newtown attack that
armed guards in schools could
avert future violence.
Newtown has razed the school
that was site of the attack. It recently acquired the home where
Lanza lived with his mother, who
he shot dead before the rampage.
That building may also be torn
Mementos for 20 students and
six educators, killed in the
massacre at Sandy Hook
Elementary School, are seen on
a tree in Newtown, Connecticut.
For a second straight year the
leafy suburb has planned no
public events to commemorate
the massacre at the elementary
The 12-member Sandy Hook
Permanent Memorial Commission is planning a permanent
memorial to honour the dead.
“We are meeting monthly, but
have taken December off out of
respect for the families who lost
their loves ones on that tragic
day,” said Kyle Lyddy, chairman
of the commission, which includes four parents of children
killed in the attack.
The commission is entering
the п¬Ѓnal phase of recommending
either a single or multiple memorials and is considering such
proposals as an outdoor park and
gardens, and indoor murals and
art exhibits, Lyddy said.
At least five shot dead near Philadelphia
A police SWAT team has been called to a small town in Pennsylvania
where a suspect in a shooting spree is believed to be barricaded inside a
house, a police spokesman said yesterday.
The SWAT team was called to Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, about 30km
northwest of Philadelphia, the spokesman in nearby Sounderton told
The suspect is believed to be alive inside a house, Philadelphia television
station WPVI said, quoting police.
The Sounderton police spokesman said that a second SWAT team was
dispatched within Souderton.
He declined to provide further details, saying that the matter was being
handled by the community’s district attorney’s office.
The special police units were called after five people were found dead at
three locations in Souderton, according to WPVI.
The first shooting was reported at 3.55am (0855 GMT) in Souderton.
Police arrived to find a woman fatally shot.
Two other calls followed, leading police to different locations where the
bodies of people shot dead at close range were found.
The shootings, ABC television affiliate WPVI said, were thought to have
been committed by a male military veteran.
The Souderton Area School District posted a notice on its website that
its schools were on lockdown due to the police activity.
“All students are safe and are secured in their classrooms. Visitors will
not be allowed in the schools until further notice,” it said.
It was unclear whether the shootings were related or if there were other
Jury must decide if �Canadian Psycho’ killer is insane
jury must decide whether
to send “Canadian Psycho” killer Luka Magnotta
to prison for life or to hospital
indefinitely, after hearing final
arguments in his trial.
Magnotta has admitted to killing 33-year-old Chinese student
Lin Jun.
But he has pleaded not guilty
to first degree murder, committing indignities to a body, harassing Canada’s prime minister and
other charges.
His defence attorney said
Magnotta, 32, was “insane” at
the time, and requires psychiatric treatment, not jail.
Prosecutors, however, argued
that it was all an act and that the
killing was “planned and deliberate”.
“He wanted to be famous or
infamous,” Crown lawyer Louis
Bouthillier told the court.
Yesterday Quebec Superior
Court Justice Guy Cournoyer at
the end of the 11-week trial was
expected to instruct the jury to
return a verdict of guilty or “not
This file photograph courtesy of the Service de Police de la Ville de
Montreal (SPVM) shows Magnotta escorted by police upon arrival
from Germany on June 18, 2012 at Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Quebec.
criminally responsible”.
If Magnotta is found not guilty
by reason of insanity, he would
land in a psychiatric ward until
doctors deemed him п¬Ѓt for release.
Magnotta has acknowledged
using a screwdriver to fatally stab
him in May 2012, before sexually
abusing and dismembering the
man’s corpse, and then posting
a video of the heinous act online.
Days after the killing, Montreal
police discovered the victim’s
torso in a suitcase by the trash
outside an apartment building
along a busy highway.
Lin’s severed hands and feet
were sent in the mail to federal
political parties in Ottawa and to
two elementary schools in Vancouver. The head was found in a
Montreal park months later.
Afterwards, Magnotta fled
Canada, but was arrested in Germany in June 2012, following an
international manhunt, and extradited.
He was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe, after stops in France
and elsewhere in Germany.
Born Eric Clinton Newman, he
changed his name to Magnotta in
2006 after years of using aliases
such as Vladimir Romanov, or
The media dubbed him the
“Canadian Psycho” after it was
discovered that the soundtrack
from the movie American Psycho
was playing in the background of
the video of the alleged murder
that was posted online.
Lin’s family has branded him
“a devil”.
During his trial, the prosecution said Magnotta planned the
murder six months in advance,
and rehearsed it days prior to
Lin’s death.
The Crown pointed to a December 2011 e-mail to a British
journalist investigating cat mutilations, in which Magnotta purportedly said he wanted to videotape the slaughter of a human.
“Next time you hear from me it
will be in a movie I am producing
that will have some humans in
it, not just pussies,” read the email sent to reporter Alex West.
“Once you kill and taste blood,
it’s impossible to stop.”
The defence stressed that
Magnotta was diagnosed with
paranoid schizophrenia, as well
as borderline personality disorder – which is not a mental illness.
He was treated for the condition in 2005 when he was convicted of fraud.
He was prescribed antipsychotic medications, as well as
drugs to reduce anxiety, but apparently did not always take his
Without the drugs, “he would
be prone to relapse of his symptoms, which include paranoia,
auditory hallucinations, fear of
the unknown, etc”, a psychiatrist told an Ontario court in June
Prosecution witnesses, however, suggested that Magnotta
was faking the symptoms, that
his initial schizophrenia diagnosis had been flawed and that
subsequent doctors simply went
along with it.
Magnotta did not testify.
But he told doctors that he slit
Lin’s throat because he believed
Lin was a government agent sent
to kill him.
He also said he heard voices in
his head.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Earthquake drill
Vietnam upholds
banking tycoon’s
30-year jail term
Vietnamese court yesterday upheld the 30year jail sentence on a
disgraced banking tycoon for
his role in a multimillion dollar scandal that shocked the
nation’s financial markets.
Nguyen Duc Kien, 50, was
found guilty in June of fraud,
tax evasion, illegal trading and
“deliberate wrongdoing causing serious consequences”.
He denied the charges but
was imprisoned for three decades and handed a 75bn dong
($3.5mn) п¬Ѓne.
“Kien still said he was innocent, but the court has totally
rejected the defence and concluded that there was no foundation to reduce his sentence,”
his lawyer Bui Quang Nghiem
said after the ruling.
Kien appeared at the Hanoi
Court of Appeals every day
over the course of his 10-day
appeal hearing.
The flamboyant multimillionaire was on trial in June
alongside seven other defendants, all top bankers at
Asia Commercial Bank (ACB)
which counts global banking
giant Standard Chartered as
one of its “strategic partners”.
Five of the defendants, who
had been sentenced to between two and eight years in
Schoolchildren take part in an earthquake and tsunami drill in Banda Aceh yesterday.
Indonesian landslide
death toll rises to 51
Village votes
to kick out 48
HIV patients
A Thai village has voted to kick
out a charity that was housing
48 HIV positive patients, NGO
officials said yesterday. Officials
at The Glory Hut Foundation,
which provides care for HIV
patients, said village heads at the
settlement in Chonburi province,
around 60 kilometres south-east
of Bangkok, have told the charity
to leave because the HIV patients
were affecting land value and
business. “They are asking us
to leave despite the fact that we
donate them our excess goods
and teach their children English,”
said Chanchanok Khamtong, a
spokeswoman for the charity.
She added that the charity had
run out of funding and could not
move out of its rented building
at the present time. “We simply
don’t have the funds to move
anywhere else,” said Chanchanok. “We’re not disturbing the
villagers. We just want to help
and care for our patients.”
Officials from the Chonburi
municipality have said that they
would find better accommodation for the foundation.
Guerrillas �killed seven
soldiers’ in Myanmar
ambush last week
ndonesian rescuers dug
through mud with shovels
and their bare hands for a
third day yesterday in the hunt
for dozens of people still missing
after a landslide engulfed a village, as the death toll rose to 51.
Fifty-seven people are still
unaccounted for after heavy
rain triggered the landslide that
swallowed up houses in Jemblung village on Java island late
Friday. Officials say the chances
of п¬Ѓnding anyone alive are now
More than 1,000 rescuers,
including police and soldiers,
have been digging through huge
mounds of red mud that cascaded onto the village, which lies in
a valley surrounded by hills, with
a sound like thunder.
“We hope and pray that we
can rescue some of the missing
but the chances are slim,” local search and rescue chief Agus
Haryono said.
National disaster agency
spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nu-
A policeman, with a rescue dog, stands in an excavator as they search for landslide victims at Sampang village in Banjarnegara yesterday.
groho told reporters that as of
yesterday afternoon, rescuers
had found 51 bodies and were
still struggling to п¬Ѓnd the remaining 57 missing.
“We are expecting to retrieve
more bodies from the mud by the
end of the day,” he said.
Bulldozers and excavators
were still trying to clear a huge
pile of fallen trees and earth
blocking the main road to the
site, in the hope of speeding up
the rescue effort, he added.
Several people were seriously
injured in the disaster and hun-
Police drop blasphemy
case against editor
ndonesian police have
dropped a blasphemy
case against a newspaper
editor over the publication of
a cartoon critical of Islamic
State, the Press Council said
A Muslim group lodged a
police complaint in July after
The Jakarta Post published
an editorial cartoon that depicted an Islamic State flag
bearing the statement of
faith. Police said last week
that The Jakarta Post editor
Meidyatama Suryodiningrat
would be questioned as a
“There has been an agreement not to continue with the
case,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a
member of the Press Council,
was quoted as saying by the news website. He
said police agreed that they
would not interfere in journalistic ethical issues handled
by the council. Police could
not be immediately reached
for comment. Some hardline
groups had objected to The
Post’s depiction. The Post,
one of two national Englishlanguage newspapers, later
retracted the cartoon and
But it has denied that the
cartoon was blasphemous,
saying that it was a journalistic piece that criticised Islamic
Human rights group Amnesty International said last
month that more than 100
people had been jailed for
blasphemy-related offences
in Indonesia over the past
decade. The blasphemy law
was enacted in 1965 and is part
of the criminal code, but the
number of convictions rose
sharply during the 10-year
rule of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
dreds of others evacuated from
the area. Initial rescue efforts were
hampered by persistent heavy
downpours but the weather has
cleared since Sunday.
President Joko Widodo visited the scene at the weekend
and urged authorities to speed up
rescue efforts. Landslides triggered by heavy rains and floods
are common in tropical Indonesia
during the rainy season.
The national disaster agency
estimates around half the country’s population of 250mn lives in
areas prone to slippages.
jail, appealed alongside him in
One defendant, Le Vu Ky,
58, a former vice-chairman of
the ACB board, had his sentence reduced from п¬Ѓve to four
years Monday. All the other
sentences were upheld.
Kien — a shareholder in
some of Vietnam’s largest
п¬Ѓnancial institutions and a
founder of ACB — and his
accomplices were accused
of causing losses of $67mn
through illegal cross-bank deposits and investments.
They were said to have exploited legal loopholes to run
complex schemes for raising
and transferring cash. These
endangered the state’s management of Vietnam’s money
markets, according to the verdict at the time.
Kien п¬Ѓrst rose to public
prominence as a vocal critic
of corruption in Vietnamese football, using his role as
chairman of Hanoi Football
Club to sound off against Vietnam’s Football Federation.
When Kien was arrested in
August 2012 it sent “shockwaves across the country”,
state media reported at the
time, and caused ACB’s share
price to plunge.
Some experts interpreted
the arrest of the high-profile
banker as part of bitter infighting within the ruling
Communist Party.
even Myanmar soldiers were killed and 20
wounded in an attack
by rebels in the northeastern
frontier with China п¬Ѓve days
ago, state media said yesterday.
The military accused insurgents of ambushing an army
patrol and laying siege to a base
near Kunlong, about 30km
from the Chinese border, last
Wednesday, the state-backed
Global New Light of Myanmar
newspaper reported.
“The remnant Kokang insurgent group launched unprovoked attacks on Tatmadaw camps and columns while
the government is implementing the peace process,”
the newspaper said, using the
traditional name for the Myanmar military.
The latest round of peace
talks between guerrilla groups
and the semi-civilian government that took over in 2011 after nearly 50 years of military
rule ended without agreement
on Sept 27.
Most of the rebel groups
have been battling for greater
autonomy under a federal system but the military has long
stressed the need for a strong,
centralized government as
set down in a 2008 militarydrafted constitution.
Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Qin Gang said he
did not know any details about
the latest killings but hoped
the border remained stable.
“We hope that Myanmar
can maintain peace, stability
and development and use talks
to push for ethnic reconciliation, and especially maintain
peace and stability on the
China-Myanmar border,” Qin
The Kokang insurgents,
also known as the Myanmar
National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), were
formerly part of the Communist Party of Burma, a Chinabacked guerrilla alliance that
battled the Myanmar government until it fell apart in 1989.
The MNDAA signed a
ceasefire agreement with the
government that year, the п¬Ѓrst
of about a dozen ethnic armed
groups to do so.
Australian woman �duped’
in Malaysia drug case
n Australian woman
who was arrested entering Malaysia with crystal
methamphetamine is innocent
and was only carrying a bag for
a stranger, a lawyer seeking to
spare her the death penalty said
The woman, Maria Elvira
Pinto Exposto, 51, was arrested
on December 7 after arriving
at Kuala Lumpur International
Airport in transit from Shanghai to Melbourne. Malaysia’s
customs chief said yesterday a
search of her bag as she attempted to leave the airport revealed
1.5 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, stitched
into a secret compartment.
Anyone with at least 50 grams
of the drug is considered a traf-
Malaysian customs chief Omar Bin Chik Lim (centre) shows the packet
of drugs seized from an unidentified Australian woman during a press
conference at the Customs headquarters near the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport in Sepang yesterday.
п¬Ѓcker in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which imposes a mandatory sentence of death by
hanging upon conviction.
Attorney Tania Scivetti said
her client was “duped into car-
rying the bag” by an African man
who asked her to take it to Melbourne.
She added that the suspect
was not attempting to enter Malaysia, but was unfamiliar with
the airport and had merely followed a crowd toward immigration.
“She is okay, but very confused,” Scivetti said.
“With the facts I have at the
moment, this is not an easy case
but a do-able one.”
The defendant was expected
to appear in court to be charged
on Thursday or Friday.
Australian media have said the
alleged drug mule is a mother of
four from the Sydney area.
Scivetti said she is an unemployed former factory worker.
Hundreds of people are on
death row in Malaysia, many for
drug-related offences, though
few have been executed in recent
Two Australians were hanged
in 1986 for heroin trafficking
— the first Westerners to be executed in Malaysia — in a case
that strained bilateral relations.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
teen found
18 years on
Three dead as cops storm
Sydney cafe to end siege
Gunfire and loud blasts at
scene of siege; Three people
killed, gunman among them;
Police name attacker as
Iranian refugee
Chinese teenager executed after being convicted
of murder and rape 18
years ago was declared innocent
by a court yesterday, in a rare
overturning of a wrongful conviction.
The 18-year-old, named
Hugjiltu and also known as Qoysiletu, was found guilty and put
to death in Inner Mongolia in
1996, but doubt was cast on the
verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005.
“The Inner Mongolia Higher
People’s Court finds Hugjiltu’s
original guilty verdict... is not
consistent with the facts and
there is insufficient evidence,”
the court in Hohhot said in a
“Hugjiltu is found not guilty.”
To howls of anguish, the dead
man’s mother, father and brother burned a copy of the court
decision on his grave, footage on
news portal Netease showed.
His brother Zhaoligetu told “My mother wished
him �rest in peace’ and hoped he
could reincarnate.”
Campaign groups and experts
welcomed the court decision and
said it was a signal to the rest of
the justice system that it must
perform better.
China’s courts, controlled by
the ruling Communist Party,
have a near-100% conviction
rate in criminal cases and confessions extracted under dubious
conditions are commonplace.
Leaders of the ruling communist party have promised to
strengthen the rule of law “with
Chinese characteristics”, but experts caution the concept refers
to greater central control over
the courts, rather than judicial
The court’s deputy president
gave Hugjiltu’s parents compensation of 30,000 yuan ($4,850),
the official Xinhua News Agency
reported. The money was a personal donation by the head of
the court, it added, rather than
an official payment by the institution.
“This is an amazing thing
the court did, to admit that
they were wrong,” said Wang
Gongyi, deputy director of the
research institute of the Ministry of Justice. “It also sends a
clear message to the police and
prosecutors around the country:
if there’s not enough evidence,
don’t impose wrongful convictions,” he said.
“In the future this case will
be singled out as what not to do
and will influence the entire legal
eavily armed Australian
police stormed a Sydney
cafe yesterday and freed
a number of hostages being held
there at gunpoint, in a dramatic
end to a 16-hour siege in which
three people were killed and
four wounded.
New South Wales police said
two men, aged 34 and 50, and a
38-year-old woman died. The
attacker was among the fatalities.
Heavy gunfire and blasts
from stun grenades п¬Ѓlled the
air shortly after 2am local time
(1500 GMT yesterday).
Moments earlier at least six
people believed to have been
held captive managed to flee after gunshots were heard coming
from the cafe, and police later
confirmed that they made their
move in response.
So far 17 hostages have been
accounted for.
Medics tried to resuscitate at
least one person after the raid
and took away several wounded people on stretchers, said a
Reuters witness at the scene in
downtown Sydney. Bomb squad
members moved in to search
for explosives, but none were
The operation began shortly
after a police source named the
gunman as Man Haron Monis,
an Iranian refugee and selfstyled sheikh facing multiple
charges of sexual assault as well
as being an accessory to murder.
He was also found guilty in
2012 of sending offensive and
threatening letters to families of
eight Australian soldiers killed
in Afghanistan, as a protest
against Australia’s involvement
in the conflict, according to local media reports.
A US security official said
the US government was being
advised by Australia that there
was no sign at this stage that
the gunman was connected to
known terrorist organisations.
Although the hostage taker
was known to the authorities,
security experts said preventing
attacks by people acting alone
could be difficult.
“Today’s crisis throws into
sharp relief the dangers of lone
wolf terrorism,” said Cornell
University law professor Jens
A policeman and a paramedic escort a hostage (centre) away from the scene during a siege in the central business district of Sydney. Right: One of the hostages runs towards
police from the cafe.
File photo shows Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis. Right: Armed police stay outside the cafe where a gunman had taken people captive, following the operation.
David Ohlin, speaking in New
“There are two areas of concern. The first is ISIS (Islamic
State) п¬Ѓghters with foreign
passports who return to their
home countries to commit acts
of terrorism.
“The second is ISIS sympathisers radicalised on the internet who take it upon themselves
to commit terrorist attacks to
fulfil their radical ideology.
“We are entering a new phase
of terrorism that is far more
dangerous, and more difficult to
defeat, than Al Qaeda ever was.”
During the siege, hostages
had been forced to display an
Islamic flag, igniting fears of a
jihadist attack.
Australia, a staunch ally of
the US and its escalating action
against Islamic State in Syria
and Iraq, has been on high alert
for attacks by home-grown
militants returning from п¬Ѓghting in the Middle East.
News footage showed hostages holding up a black and
white flag. The flag has been
popular among militant groups
such as Islamic State and Al
At least п¬Ѓve hostages were
released or escaped yesterday,
with terrified cafe workers and
customers running into the
arms of paramilitary police.
The incident forced the
evacuation of nearby buildings
and sent shockwaves around
a country where many people
were turning their attention to
the Christmas holiday follow-
ing earlier security scares.
In September, anti-terrorism police said they had
thwarted an imminent threat
to behead a random member
of the public and days later,
a teenager in the city of Melbourne was shot dead after
attacking two anti-terrorism
officers with a knife.
The siege cafe is in Martin Place, a pedestrian strip
popular with workers on a
lunch break, which was revealed as a potential location
for the thwarted beheading.
In the biggest security operation in Sydney since a
bombing at the Hilton Hotel
killed two people in 1978, major banks closed their offices
in the central business district
and people were told to avoid
the area.
Muslim leaders urged calm.
The Australian National Imams Council condemned “this
criminal act unequivocally”
in a joint statement with the
Grand Mufti of Australia.
Hong Kong leader declares Occupy
protest �over’ as last site cleared
Hong Kong
ong Kong’s leader declared an end to more
than 11 weeks of sitin protests by pro-democracy
cleared the last remaining camp
and arrested a handful of peaceful protesters yesterday.
A committed core of around a
dozen demonstrators had staged
a sit-in at the centre of the last
site in the busy shopping district
of Causeway Bay as police cut
away barricades and tore down
banners and shelters.
Seventeen people, from students to the elderly, were arrested without resisting, with some
shouting “We will be back” and
“Fight to the end”.
Trucks and cleaning teams
moved in to remove the debris,
and roads around the site which
have been closed for weeks reopened.
Activists calling for free leadership elections occupied major
traffic arteries after China said
in August that candidates for the
city’s chief executive elections
in 2017 would п¬Ѓrst be vetted by a
loyalist committee.
Campaigners said the move
would ensure a pro-Beijing
stooge in the leadership role.
Police demolished the city’s
Police officers remove a barricade during a clearance at the last “Occupy”
protest site at Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong yesterday.
main protest camp last week.
“Following the completion
of clearance work in Causeway
Bay Occupy area, the episode of
illegal occupation activities for
more than two months is over,”
chief executive Leung Chunying told reporters yesterday.
He said that the demonstrations had led to “serious losses”
in sectors including tourism and
“Other than economic losses,
I believe the greatest loss Hong
Kong society has suffered is the
damage to the rule of law by a
small group of people,” he added.
Leung is vilified by protesters
who cast him variously as a wolf
and a vampire and have repeatedly asked for him to step down.
But Beijing has backed his administration throughout the occupation. “If we just talk about
democracy without talking
about the rule of law, it’s not real
democracy but a state of no government,” Leung said.
Police chief Andy Tsang defended the behaviour of his officers -- which has been criticised for being heavyhanded.
“What is necessary will very
much depend on the circumstances,” he said when questioned over levels of force.
He described police action
as “appropriate” and the end-
ing of occupy as “comparatively
Nevertheless, the force had received almost 2,000 complaints
from members of the public over
its behaviour, he said.
Most of those were related to
“neglect of duty” and “unnecessary use of authority”.
More than 900 people were
arrested during the occupation
with more than 200 protesters
and 100 police officers hurt, he
Causeway Bay hosted the
smallest of the three camps
that sprang up in late September, paralysing sections of the
city, as part of the student-led
campaign for free leadership
elections. The main Admiralty
camp which sprawled across a
kilometre of multi-lane highway
through the heart of the business
district was cleared on Thursday.
Police cleared the other major
protest site in the working-class
commercial district of Mongkok
- scene of some of the most violent clashes since the campaign
began - in late November.
Students who spearheaded
the street protests were among
the sit-in group in Causeway
Bay yesterday.
They were joined by a
90-year-old campaigner surnamed Wong who sat on who
was later led away by police,
walking slowly using a cane.
Abe pledges Japan
constitution rewrite
rime Minister Shinzo
Abe yesterday vowed he
would try to persuade a
sceptical public of the need to
revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, the day after scoring a
thumping election victory.
The premier, who was reelected by a landslide in Sunday’s polls, pledged to pursue
his nationalist agenda while
promising to follow through
on much-needed economic
“Revising the constitution... has always been an objective since the Liberal Democratic Party was launched,”
Abe told reporters.
“I will work hard to deepen
people’s understanding and
receive wider support from
the public.”
Abe’s desire to water down
Japan’s constitution, imposed by the US after the end
of World War II, has proved
divisive at home and strained
already tense relations with
His attempt earlier this
year was abandoned, with
the bar of a two-thirds parliamentary majority and victory in a referendum thought
too high.
The conservative leader
has also said he wants reforms to education that
would instil patriotism in
schoolchildren and urges a
more sympathetic retelling
of Japan’s wartime misdeeds.
His ruling LDP and its junior partner Komeito swept
the ballot on Sunday with a
two-thirds majority in the
lower house of parliament.
The coalition won a combined 326 of the 475 seats,
crushing the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan. Their slightly-improved
tally of 73 did not include
leader Banri Kaieda, who fell
on his sword on Monday.
Abe is expected to reappoint a broadly similar
cabinet after he is formally
named prime minister again
by the lower house on December 24.
He insisted the election
had been a necessary plebiscite on his big-spending,
easy-money policies, known
as Abenonmics, although
critics said the record low
turnout of around 52% tarnished his mandate.
“We must go ahead with
Abenomics swiftly, this
is exactly what has been
shown in the vote. We have
to respond to that,” Abe said,
pledging to “compile an economic stimulus package immediately, within this year”.
Nearly 300
Chinese �fighting’
alongside IS
About 300 Chinese people are
fighting alongside the Islamic State
in Iraq and Syria, a Chinese staterun newspaper said yesterday, a
rare tally that is likely to fuel worry
in China that militants pose a threat
to security. China has expressed
concern about the rise of Islamic
State in the Middle East, nervous
about the effect it could have on
its Xinjiang region. But it has also
shown no sign of wanting to join US
efforts to use military force against
the group. Chinese members of the
East Turkestan Islamic Movement
(ETIM) are travelling to Syria via
Turkey to join the Islamic State, also
known as IS, the Global Times, a
tabloid run by China’s ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper,
the People’s Daily, said.
Journo goes on trial
over defamation
A Japanese journalist accused of
defaming South Korean President
Park Geun-Hye went on trial in
Seoul yesterday, in a case which
has strained relations between the
two countries and raised questions about media freedoms.
Tatsuya Kato, who until Oct 1 was
bureau chief of Japan’s conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper,
is charged with criminal libel
punishable by up to seven years’
jail. The charge stems from an
August article he wrote about
Park’s whereabouts on the day
the Sewol passenger ferry sank in
April with the loss of 300 lives.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Inquiry into air traffic
failure to be launched
Police charge four men
with terrorism offences
Tag trial man jailed
for burglaries
Woman questioned
in death probe
Legal aid guidance
ruled unlawful
The government will establish an independent inquiry into a technical failure at an air
traffic control centre which caused widespread
disruption to flights in and out of London last
week. The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) and
the UK Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement yesterday they would appoint a chairman
and a number of experts to study the causes
and responses, in a bid to try to avoid future
incidents. Hundreds of flights to and from London were disrupted on Friday causing knock-on
effects to air travel across Europe, in a technical
failure which a senior minister called “simply
Police said they had charged four men, arrested
two weeks ago at the port of Dover and in
London, with terrorism offences. Michael Coe, 33,
Simon Keeler, 43, and Anthony Small, 33, were
charged with preparing and assisting others
for acts of terrorism and conspiracy to possess
false identity documents. Abdulraouf Eshati, 28,
is accused of possessing articles connected to
the preparation of terrorism and immigration offences. Two other men, Zagum Perviaz and Hamzah Safdar, detained with them during operations
at Dover and across London between November
1 and December 4, were charged with conspiracy
to possess and produce false identity documents.
A repeat offender has been jailed for two years
after a satellite-linked ankle tag placed him at
the scene of seven burglaries. Aron Thompson,
26, committed the break-ins within weeks of being freed from prison in November last year despite being fitted with a tag under a ministry of
justice trial. West Midlands Police said Thompson agreed to wear the tag, which can pinpoint
its wearer’s position to within 10 metres, rather
than report regularly to police stations and
undergo a night-time curfew. Thompson, of
Geraldine Road, Hay Mills, Birmingham, was
jailed at the city’s Crown Court after admitting
seven counts of burglary.
A 44-year-old woman is helping police with their
inquiries after the death of another woman. Police
were called to Balmoral Road, Gillingham, Kent,
after a woman was found injured. She was taken to
hospital but later died. A Kent Police spokeswoman
said the death was being treated as “unexplained”.
She said: “A 44-year-old Gillingham woman is helping
police with their inquiries following an incident in
Balmoral Road. “Kent Police was called at 12.10pm
where a woman was found with injuries. The ambulance service treated the patient at the scene before
she was taken to hospital; however she died. Officers
are treating the incident as an unexplained death
and inquiries are ongoing.”
Government guidance in relation to granting
legal aid for immigration cases has been declared
“unlawful” by leading judges. Earlier this year the
High Court in London ruled that the guidance
issued by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling was
“unlawful and too restrictive’’. A judge in London
said the guidance “sets too high a threshold’’ and
“produces unfairness’’ by denying publicly-funded
legal advice to applicants in “exceptional cases’’.
The government appealed against that ruling
to the Court of Appeal. Yesterday Master of the
Rolls Lord Dyson, who heard the appeal with Lord
Justice Richards and Lord Justice Sullivan, announced that the guidance was “unlawful”.
quits over
Party at Downing Street
Blair, Straw
�could be
quizzed’ over
torture claims
erry Smith has quit as
Ukip’s candidate in a top
target seat after being
forced to apologise for a series of
offensive comments.
In recordings of phone calls
obtained by the Mail on Sunday,
the would-be MP was said to
have mocked gay party members, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant
hunt” and referred to someone
as a “Chinky bird”.
They were revealed just days
after he was reinstated as the
party’s general election candidate in South Basildon and East
He initially apologised and
explained that he had been under great stress at the time of
the comments and taking strong
pain killers.
But in a statement, he said:
“I have offered my resignation
as Ukip PPC (prospective parliamentary candidate) for South
Basildon and East Thurrock. I
want the best for South Basildon
and East Thurrock and I want to
see the real issues discussed that
touch the lives of people.
“Therefore I have chosen to
resign so that Ukip can win this
seat next May.”
His decision throws open
what has become a highlycontentious selection process
in a seat Ukip harbours serious
hopes of winning in 2015.
Smith was deselected as the
candidate in October - with Neil
Hamilton, the former Tory minister who is now Ukip’s deputy
chairman, the most prominent
of those who entered the frame
to replace him.
But he was then reinstated
and Hamilton ended up endorsing him in his hustings speech
at the selection meeting, before
lashing out at party insiders over
what he said was a “dirty tricks”
campaign being run against him.
His tirade against the “cancer
at the heart of Ukip” came after
a letter from the party’s finance
committee about his expenses
claims was leaked.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair
of intelligence and security
committee, says he will
investigate allegations
�without fear of favour’
Guardian News and Media
A reindeer handler waits for children to arrive for the annual Downing Street children’s
Christmas Party at 10 Downing Street in central London yesterday.
ony Blair and his former
foreign secretary Jack
Straw could be summoned
before a parliamentary inquiry in
an attempt to determine the extent of any British involvement in
torture of terror suspects.
The two senior п¬Ѓgures from the
last Labour government may be
asked to give evidence to the intelligence and security committee
(ISC) in the wake of the publication of a US Senate report confirming that the CIA used brutal
and ineffective methods after 9/11.
However, pressure is growing
on the government to announce
a separate, judge-led inquiry,
amid concerns that the ISC is
too closely associated with the
Westminster establishment.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the ISC
chairman and a Conservative
former foreign secretary, said he
would investigate “without fear
or favour” regardless of whether
it might embarrass the security
services, ministers or Whitehall.
He said his committee would
not shy away from saying that
the evidence pointed towards the
possibility of prosecutions if it
thought that was appropriate.
Asked on BBC’s Andrew Marr
Show whether senior п¬Ѓgures
from the last government such
as Blair and Straw could be asked
to give evidence, Rifkind replied:
“Certainly we would request
any former minister or serving
minister who has a contribution
Husband denies
attacking Mel B
London Evening Standard
el B’s husband yesterday denied he had ever
hit his wife, following
speculation on Twitter over her
admission to hospital and her
appearance on Sunday night’s
The X Factor judge missed Saturday’s show after being taken to
hospital on Thursday.
The former Spice Girl was back
on screens Sunday night but appeared to be covered in scratches
and bruises and was not wearing
her wedding ring.
Fans were quick to speculate
about the cause of the star’s injuries online.
But yesterday Stephen Belafonte, her husband of seven
years, took to Twitter to criticise the comments. He wrote: “I
don’t usually respond to Twitter
msgs but I will respond to comments of hitting my wife which
I think are quite disgusting un
He added: “Mel was very ill a
bunch of doctors helped her get
better if fans can’t just relax B4
being negative they r not real fans
of @OfficialMelB.”
The former Spice Girl was
back on screens Sunday
night but appeared to be
covered in scratches and
Mel B, 39, was taken to hospital after collapsing “in agony” on
Thursday. When she appeared
back on screens Sunday night
for the X Factor п¬Ѓnal, concerned
viewers pointed out she appeared
to have “a swollen face”, a bruise
on her cheek and scratches on her
upper arms.
Within minutes of the show
starting, viewers began speculating as to the cause of her injuries on Twitter. One wrote:
“Mel B’s got a well iffy bruise on
her cheek, scratches on the top of
her arms and no wedding ring....
As the programme started
Sunday night, Mel B said: “I really missed being here but thanks
to all the doctors and nurses who
took care of me and got me here
When it emerged she would
be missing Saturday’s show, Mel
B’s estranged mother Andrea and
her sister Danielle both took to
Twitter to express their concern.
Danielle tweeted: “I am beyond
desperate and this should be a private family matter!! But we don’t
know what else to do if anyone at
all can help then pls do!”
In a message to Belafonte, she
said: “You told me and mum she
is fine and not in hospital. I’ve recorded all your calls for the past
week. Where is my sister?”
to make to our inquiries, to give
evidence. If they refuse to do so
that itself would imply they had
something to hide. So we’ll have
to wait and see what happens.”
He said no decisions had yet
been taken about who would be
called as witnesses. It was reported over the weekend that
Straw was questioned by police
as a witness in 2012 over allegations that MI6 agents were
involved in the renditions of
Libyans back to the regime of
Muammar Gaddafi, where they
were subsequently mistreated.
The police inquiries are expected to conclude within the
next few months, enabling the
ISC to start investigating the allegations as its top priority.
Speaking on the same programme, Alan Johnson, the Labour former home secretary,
said he had found “no evidence
of British agents being involved”
in torture or rendition during his
time in government, but Blair
and Straw should appear before
the ISC if they were asked.
As the ISC struggles to defend its credibility as the right
body to investigate, Rifkind also
promised that he would ask the
US Senate intelligence committee to hand over secret material
redacted from their report at the
request of the UK.
Despite Rifkind’s reassurances, senior politicians from
across the parties - including
the Tory former cabinet ministers Dominic Grieve and Andrew
Mitchell - have now backed calls
for an independent judge-led inquiry into British involvement in
torture after the police investigations have п¬Ѓnished.
Even the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has said her
instinct is that an independent
inquiry is needed, despite the
fact that it would examine events
that took place under the last Labour government.
Critics fear that the ISC is
compromised by the facts that it
is largely composed of establishment п¬Ѓgures, that its meetings
are mainly conducted in secret
and that its reports are subject to
redactions by the government. It
will not compel witnesses to give
evidence, and those who do so
are not speaking under oath.
One of the ISC’s biggest critics is Norman Baker, the LibDem
former home office minister, who
said it had “not really delivered
the goods” in the past. He said the
investigation needed to get to the
bottom of the scandal before the
UK considered renewing its contract with the US for the lease of
the Diego Garcia airbase, which
has been used at least twice for the
rendition of terror suspects.
The ISC took on the job of investigating the torture of detainees after Sir Peter Gibson, a retired
judge, was frustrated in his inquiry
because two police investigations
had been launched into the rendition of detainees to Libya.
In an interim report, Gibson
said he had not found any evidence of British agents themselves undertaking torture, but
he raised 27 serious questions
that had not been answered
about their potential involvement in what the CIA was doing.
These included whether the two
intelligence agencies were willing to “condone, encourage or
take advantage of rendition operations” mounted by others.
The government has appeared
lukewarm so far about reviving the
Gibson inquiry, saying it will wait
and see what the ISC п¬Ѓnds before
ordering another investigation.
South coast rail
line �must improve’
London Evening Standard
Claire Perry: condemns rail services
ail Minister Claire Perry
services on one of London’s busiest commuter lines as
unacceptable — and demanded
Passengers have complained
about frequent delays on the
Brighton mainline, too little information about disrupted services and a lack of Wi-Fi.
“The standard of performance
on this route is significantly below where it should be, and this
is not acceptable,” Perry told the
Standard. “I have made clear to
the industry that I expect Network Rail and the operators to
take action to remedy matters.”
The route runs from the south
coast to London Bridge and Victoria stations.
Simon Kirby, Conservative MP
for Brighton Kemptown, raised the
problems with Perry in the Commons. “My constituents pay considerable sums of money for tickets and do not appreciate having
to travel in discomfort, often on
overcrowded and delayed trains,”
he later said. He has met with
Southern Railway and Network
Rail about the problems.
Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, argued that
the rail line from Lewes to Uckfield in East Sussex should be reopened to relieve congestion.
Network Rail admitted performance on the Brighton mainline had
“not been acceptable over the last
few months” and it was “acutely
aware” of the need to improve.
A spokeswoman added: “We
operate one of the busiest railway routes in the country…As a
result, any delays or incidents,
even very small ones, can quickly
affect a large number of trains.”
She said Network Rail was investing to improve signalling and
track reliability and adopting
new contingency plans to react
more quickly to disruptions.
Southern Railway accepted
that punctuality on the mainline was “not good enough” and
stressed its priority, working
with Network Rail, was to improve services and reduce delays.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Mantel dismisses Tory
�fools’ who attacked BBC
Double-decker rail
plan to ease crush
Amazon glitch leads
to 1p �bargains’
Boys quizzed after
man’s stab death
Fare-dodging City
executive banned
Hilary Mantel has dismissed attacks on the BBC
over its plan to broadcast her short story about
the murder of Margaret Thatcher by an IRA sniper.
Mantel, who has twice won the Man Booker prize,
said criticisms of The Assassination of Margaret
Thatcher being chosen for Radio 4’s Book at
Bedtime were “a skirmish in a war with the BBC”.
She said: “The same tetchy commentators who
made fools of themselves when my stories were
first published have been persuaded to do it again.
You’d think they›d learn.” Former cabinet minister
Lord Tebbit and Lord Bell, former adviser to Lady
Thatcher, suggested it was an example of the
corporation›s Left-wing bias.
Double-decker trains are being considered as a
solution to overcrowding on London’s busiest
rail services. Network Rail officials have
proposed introducing double-decker trains
during busy periods between Southampton,
Woking and London Waterloo. Other measures
include building “flyovers” to allow trains to
bypass busy stations, a new London terminus
and greater use of narrow train seats. Network
Rail unveiled the proposals as solutions
to overcrowding in the next 30 years. Rail
passenger numbers are projected to rocket in
that period, with journeys doubling to 3.2bn a
A software error led to hundreds of items being
sold for just 1p on Amazon, and now businesses
say they risk going bankrupt if they are forced
to follow through with the sales, a media report
said yesterday. The glitch occurred between 7pm
and 8pm Friday, and affected firms that use the
tool RepricerExpress, The Telegraph reported.
The RepricerExpress software automatically
reprices items of stock if a cheaper version
becomes available elsewhere online and is
designed to keep businesses competitive. But a
computer error led to hundreds of items being
sold on Amazon at a fraction of their normal
Four boys have been arrested on suspicion of
murder after a 52-year-old man was stabbed to
death following a “verbal altercation” with a group
of youngsters, Scotland Yard said. Police were
called to a residential address in The Broadway,
Edmonton, north London, at around 7.50pm on
Sunday night following reports of a stabbing.
Scotland Yard said they believed the victim had
been involved in a verbal altercation with a group
of boys, aged in their mid-teens, as he attempted to
gain entry into the block of flats. He was followed
by two of the males and stabbed, police said. The
suspects, all believed to be aged 13 and 14, remain
in custody at a north London police station.
A high-flying City executive who paid back nearly
ВЈ43,000 after he was caught dodging rail fares has
been banned from the financial industry. Jonathan
Burrows, who reportedly earned ВЈ1mn a year,
admitted his behaviour was “foolish” saying the
ban came after an unblemished 20-year career.
Burrows left his job as a managing director of
BlackRock Asset Management Investor Services
earlier this year. He was yesterday banned by
the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from
performing any function in the industry it regulates
“for not being fit and proper” after the fare
dodging, which was believed to have taken place
over five years.
Planned cuts
will endanger
the public:
police chief
Bernard Hogan-Howe: cuts
without reform put the
public at risk
Guardian News and Media
arge cuts to police and
other services will endanger public safety
unless the next government
pushes through radical structural reforms to cut back office
costs, Britain’s most senior
police officer has warned.
Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe,
writing in the Guardian, gives
his sternest warning yet about
the potential effects of forthcoming cuts with police preparing to be told this week of
even more reductions to come.
The Met commissioner said
he expected increasing reductions in budgets whoever wins
the 2015 general election and
argues for reforms, including
mergers of individual forces
which would rip up the historic
the landscape of policing, to
lessen the potential damage.
“There’s a bigger risk to public safety if we don’t take radical action,”, the commissioner
writes, adding: “We’ve saved
hundreds of millions already,
but from 2016 onwards it will be
much harder.”
In a move that clashes with
Conservative party policy,
Hogan-Howe calls for the culling of over 30 forces in England
and Wales, to create nine super
forces, based on the regional
He warned that criminals
are moving from the “shotgun”
robberies of the past to more
sophisticated offences involving data and cybercrime, and
police need to catch up.
Sir Bernard’s intervention comes amid real concern
among the leadership of the
Yard and London government about the level of cuts
proposed, which could see it
lose in total one-third of its
Police chiefs across the
country fear the scale of the
cuts to come could see neighbourhood policing, vital to
preventing crime, decimated.
Privately they fear a potential
return to “1980s” style policing
of responding to emergencies
and little else.
The commissioner’s intervention comes at the start of
a dramatic week for policing.
Yesterday the Home Secretary,
Theresa May, was grilled by
MPs on the powerful home affairs committee after the chief
of Lincolnshire police last week
warned cuts could send his
force to the wall.
Tomorrow the home office will
tell forces about more cuts, with
police fearing they will eventually
be bigger than the 23% reductions suffered since 2010.
In his article, the commissioner says others involved in
keeping the public safe are also
facing large cuts.
Sir Bernard said: “Our partners face their own cost pressures, and the big concern is
that if we don’t work together,
with a shared view of the risks,
public safety will suffer.”
Sir Bernard set out an argument for reforms, to avoid an
increase in danger faced by the
public. He cited the example of
domestic abuse to show how
many agencies can be involved
in a case: “Society’s ability to
reduce abuse is much more
than a policing issue. It’s about
a range of agencies - from social
services to mental health - having the capacity to intervene
early. If we retrench in isolation,
the risks to public safety can
only increase.”
Hogan-Howe warns that
cuts to other public services
jeopardises assets the police
rely on. He says police could
lose crime п¬Ѓghting CCTV cameras which are funded by local
councils, because they themselves face tough spending cuts.
Sprouts for �Boris’
Senior aquarist Charles-Edouard Fusari, offers sprouts to �Boris’ a rare Green Sea turtle, during a photocall to promote the the Sea Life London Aquarium in central London
Miliband turns focus on
migrant wage competition
pposition Labour leader
Ed Miliband yesterday
set out plans for a new
law to prevent British workers’
wages being undercut by the
exploitation of foreign workers,
part of a strategy to show his
party cares about immigration.
Polls show immigration is a
top voter concern ahead of a national election in May, and both
Labour and Prime Minister David
Cameron’s Conservatives have
unveiled policies aimed at halt-
ing the surge in popularity of the
anti-EU UK Independence Party
(Ukip), which wants to curb immigration.
“When people can be exploited
for low wages or endangered at
work, it drags the whole system
down, undercutting the pay and
conditions of local workers,” Miliband told a question and answer
session with voters in eastern
“We are serving notice on employers who bring workers here
under duress or on false terms
and pay them significantly lower
wages, with worse terms and conditions. We will make it a criminal
offence to undercut pay or conditions by exploiting migrant workers.”
Labour, which most opinion
polls put either neck-and-neck
with the Conservatives or slightly
ahead, has also said it plans to increase п¬Ѓnes for п¬Ѓrms who do not
abide by the national minimum
wage and ban recruitment agencies hiring only from abroad.
Data published by the International Labour Organisation this
month showed that migrants earn
8.4% less than British citizens on
average, despite being very nearly
as well educated, experienced and
he government yesterday promised to put
its ambitious budget
targets on a more formal
footing, in a largely political move meant to embarrass
the opposition Labour party.
Cutting Britain’s deficit
has been the main economic
goal of the ConservativeLiberal Democrat coalition
since it came to power in
2010, and Finance Minister George Osborne wants
to keep it at the top of the
agenda in the run-up to a
national election in May
Yesterday’s commitment
is designed to force Labour
into either signing up to the
target, thus providing tacit
approval for Osborne’s fiscal
approach, or opposing it and
facing criticism as lacking
financial discipline.
In a written statement to
parliament yesterday, Os-
borne said he would reduce
the official time limit for the
government to run a budget
surplus to three years from
five years, in an attempt to
cement budget plans announced earlier this month.
“I have always been clear
that more tough choices will
need to be made in the next
parliament to eliminate the
deficit and get debt falling.
This charter entrenches the
commitment to finish the
job and maintain economic
stability,” Osborne said.
The original deficit reduction plan envisaged Britain
would run a budget surplus
within five years on a cyclically adjusted basis and excluding investment spending.
The new framework will
also commit the government
to have total debt falling as a
share of gross domestic product by 2016-17, replacing an
earlier target of 2015-16 which
the government has long accepted that it will miss.
Labour have said they intend
to balance the budget by the
end of the decade, enabling a
slower pace of spending cuts
and more time for growth to
boost tax receipts. It describes
the coalition plans as driven by
ideology rather than economic
Prime Minister David
Cameron, speaking earlier
yesterday in Poole, southwest England, said Britain
needed to reduce its deficit
faster to ensure it could cope
with the unexpected.
“If a real economic storm
hit again, the fall-out would
be felt by families up and
down this country - people
lying awake worrying about
their mortgage payments,
businesses closing down,
jobs lost, homes lost.”
Osborne did not formally
commit to run a surplus on
all government spending,
something his Conservative
Party wishes to do by the
2018-19 financial year, but
which his Liberal Democrat
coalition partners are less
keen on.
Labour would tackle wider issues
such as housing and healthcare.
When asked about the document, Miliband, who came under
п¬Ѓre for forgetting to mention immigration during his keynote
speech to his party’s annual
conference in September,
described it as “not very well
drafted language, out of context”.
“There can be no doubt
about where we stand on this
issue. We think this is an
and an issue we
are going to talk
about,” he said.
New Scottish leader
meets with Cameron
Government sets more
ambitious budget target
Labour’s push on immigration
was overshadowed, however, after an election strategy document
on tackling the threat of Ukip was
leaked to a national newspaper.
The document said it
would be “unhelpful” in
some cases to raise the issue of immigration with
voters, saying activists
should “listen carefully” to
voter concerns on
before “moving the conve rs a t i o n
on” to how
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks on the economy to an audience at a
school in Poole yesterday.
cotland’s new First
Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, met Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday
for the п¬Ѓrst time since taking
office, with the two discussing the further devolution of
Sturgeon’s Scottish National
Party (SNP), then led by her
predecessor Alex Salmond, lost
a referendum on independence for Scotland in September
but secured a pledge that more
powers would be handed to Edinburgh and has seen its support surge since.
Negotiations are now going on about how much extra
authority the Scottish government should now be given, with
draft legislative proposals due
to be published in January.
Cameron and Sturgeon
discussed giving the vote to
16- and 17-year-olds at Scotland’s next elections, a Downing Street statement said, lower
than the 18-year age limit in the
rest of the UK.
Cameron gave his backing to
Sturgeon’s proposals for this.
“The premier made clear that
he wants to work with the п¬Ѓrst
minister, forging even stronger
ties between our governments,”
a Downing Street statement
The British government is
hoping to “reset” relations with
the administration in Scotland
after an often fractious relationship with the hard-charging Salmond.
“It takes two to reset a relationship,” the Scottish secretary in Cameron’s government,
Alistair Carmichael, said yesterday. “I believe Nicola Sturgeon will be more constructive
and co-operative to work with.”
Salmond is expected to become a lawmaker at Westminster at next year’s general election, raising the prospect that
he could lead negotiations for
the SNP to join a future coalition government.
Earlier, Cameron held talks
with Sturgeon and other leaders from Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland at Downing
Street on extremism, constitutional change and the economy.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Belgium cut off from
the world by strikes
A board shows all departing flights cancelled during a national strike
in a protest over the government’s planned pension reform and
budget cuts at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem.
Princess pays
court €587,000
The sister of Spain’s King Felipe
VI has paid a deposit of €587,000
($750,000) to cover her alleged
liability in a graft case which
has damaged the monarchy’s
Prosecutor Pedro Horrach said
last week that there was no
evidence to try the princess
Cristina but said she should pay
€587,413.58 to cover the money
she could have made thanks
to her husband’s alleged illegal
Horrach recommended that
her husband, former Olympic
handball player Inaki Urdangarin,
be tried for embezzlement and
If Urdangarin is found guilty, the
prosecutor recommended he be
sentenced to 19 and a half years’
jail time and fined €3.5mn.
Urdangarin, 46, is accused along
with his former business partner
of creaming off €6mn in public
funds from contracts awarded to
Noos, a charitable foundation.
Cristina, 49, sat on the board of
Noos and Urdangarin was its
Probe into spying
launched in Oslo
Norwegian police are
investigating a possible
spying operation by a foreign
power after electronic devices
designed to intercept telephone
conversations were discovered
near government buildings.
In its own two-month
investigation, the daily
newspaper Aftenposten detected
signals from several surveillance
devices that had been placed
near the prime minister’s offices,
the central bank, parliament and
major company headquarters.
“We can’t exclude the possibility
that this is coming from foreign
state agencies,” said Siv Alsen,
spokeswoman for the police’s
intelligence unit, which will carry
out the investigation.
Aftenposten said that the
surveillance devices were able to
attract mobile phone signals and
record conversations.
“If correct, such surveillance
is completely unacceptable,”
Justice Minister Anders
Anundsen said in a statement.
Police storm flat
to end siege
Belgian armed police stormed an
apartment in the western city of
Ghent yesterday to end a siege
after reports that gunmen had
taken a hostage there.
The victim was safe and well
and three other men had been
detained, a spokeswoman for
state prosecutors said.
“Three men have been taken
away though there were no
weapons found. The earlier
reports were of four men with
kalashnikovs,” she said. “It’s not
entirely clear whether someone
was in fact taken hostage.”
Armed police in balaclavas
emerged about 1pm from the
cordoned-off building in the
Dampoort district.
Belgian broadcaster VRT cited
neighbours as saying that the flat
had been used by drug dealers.
elgium ground to a halt in
its biggest strike in years
yesterday as trade unions
grounded flights, cut international rail links and shut sea ports
to protest the new government’s
austerity plans.
In the climax to a month of industrial action against new Prime
Minister Charles Michel’s policies, striking workers stopped
all public transport while most
schools, businesses and government offices shut down.
Pickets also blocked traffic
outside the Brussels headquarters of the European Union, a
28-nation bloc that has seen
years of protests against austerity aimed at cutting debts that
threatened the euro currency.
The Belgian strike came days
after a day of protest in Italy
against Prime Minister Matteo
Renzi’s ambitious reform plans,
while there have been similar
demonstrations in Spain and
Greece in recent months.
“There has never been a strike
this strong,” Marie-Helene Ska,
the head of the Christian CSC
union, was quoted as saying by
the Belga news agency.
Belgian trade unions launched
their movement last month with
a march of more than 100,000
people in Brussels, which ended
in violent protests that left dozens of police officers injured.
Unions went ahead with yesterday’s strike after Michel’s
right-of-centre government refused to budge on plans to save
€11bn ($13.7bn) over five years.
His coalition, which took office in October, intends to raise
the retirement age from 65 to 67
from 2030, scrap plans for a usu-
ally automatic cost-of-living
raise next year and introduce
public sector cutbacks.
French-speaking Michel – at
38 is Belgium’s youngest prime
minister since 1840 – heads a coalition of three Flemish-speaking right-leaning parties and his
own Francophone liberals.
The government formed п¬Ѓve
months after elections had hoped
to calm a nation deeply divided
between the richer Flanders
and the poorer French-speaking
Wallonia, but instead has led to
weeks of industrial action.
The last national strike in Belgium was in 2012 against the government of socialist prime minister Elio di Rupo.
Belgian airspace was closed
after air traffic controllers joined
the strike, preventing flights
from landing or taking off from
airports in Brussels, Charleroi,
Liege, Antwerp and Ostend for
24 hours from 2100 GMT on
Some 50,000 passengers have
been affected as a total of 600 incoming and outgoing flights have
been cancelled at Brussels international airport, spokeswoman
Florence Muls said.
“All flights are cancelled. Everything is immobilised,” Muls
told AFP, adding that it had affected some travellers trying to
get away early for the Christmas
“It’s a real disaster” for the
airports and passengers, JeanJacques Cloquet, managing director of Charleroi said on the
RTBF news website, adding there
would be a knock-on effect during the busy holiday period.
Eurostar rail services from
Brussels to the British capital
London and trains to the French
capital Paris, Amsterdam in the
Netherlands and the German city
of Cologne have also been halted
until early today.
Belgian rail SNCB said domestic inter-city train services were
cancelled and trams, buses and
metro services were all cancelled,
leading many people to take the
day off work and stay home.
The strike is also likely to affect
post offices and rubbish collections, prisons and the courts.
Protesters erected road barriers that snarled traffic in Brussels and other cities, and could
be seen warming their hands by
braziers while brandishing banners and handing out leaflets.
Union leader Ska denied that
they wanted to bring down the
“The government was elected
democratically. We do not challenge it at all,” Ska said on Belgian television. “What we want is
to know where Belgium will be in
five years on social matters.”
Merkel warns Germans not to fall
prey to anti-immigrant movement
erman Chancellor Angela
Merkel has condemned a
wave of protests against
immigrants, asylum seekers and
the “Islamisation” of the country and warned Germans not to
be “exploited” by extremists.
Ahead of fresh marches
planned by the far-right populist “Patriotic Europeans against
the Islamisation of the Occident” (PEGIDA) group, Merkel
said that a right to demonstrate
did not extend to “rabble-rousing and defamation” against foreigners.
“There is no place for hate
campaigns and slander,” she
She told reporters that those
taking part in the protests
“should take care not to be exploited” by radical elements
trying to harness fears of rising numbers of foreigners in
Germany to drive an extremist
PEGIDA started with a few
hundred people in October in
Dresden, in the former communist east, and swelled to a crowd
of 10,000 last Monday. It has
also spawned half a dozen clone
groups in other cities.
A poll for news website Zeit
Online showed that nearly one
in two Germans – 49% – sympathised with PEGIDA’s stated
concerns and 30% indicated
they “fully” backed the protests’
Almost three in four – 73% –
said they worried that “radical
Islam” was gaining ground and
59% said Germany accepted too
many asylum seekers.
Protest organisers sought to
rally even greater numbers this
week, while counter demonstrators were set to march under the
banner “Dresden for all – for a
cosmopolitan Dresden”.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas
told Sueddeutsche Zeitung that
the marches “bring shame” on
the country and that Germans
should stand up to racism.
He warned that Germany,
amid a record influx of asylum
seekers from countries stricken
by war and poverty, is experiencing an “escalation of agitation against immigrants and
refugees” and called the trend
“repugnant and abhorrent”.
Since the protests have grown
in size, a debate about immigration and refugees has gripped
Germany, a country whose Nazi
past makes expressions of xenophobia especially troubling.
biggest economy, has become the
continent’s top destination for
asylum seekers and the world’s
number two destination for migrants after the United States.
The influx of refugees from
Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and
several African and Balkan
Anti-Uber taxi strike causes
minimal disruption in Paris
countries has strained local governments, which have scrambled to house the newcomers in
old schools, office blocks and
army barracks.
Asylum homes have been targeted by vandals and arsonists
but elsewhere local residents
have sought to welcome refugees with neighbourhood support services.
While some politicians have
argued the government needs
to listen closer to the concerns
of citizens about immigration,
others have pointed out that
the fast-greying country needs
“Refugees are good for our
country,” the parliamentary
leader of the Social Democrats,
Thomas Oppermann, told the
Focus news weekly.
“We Germans received a lot of
support after World War II, and
these people deserve our protection. And besides, many Syrian refugees have qualifications
that we desperately need in this
Growing number
of Swiss militants
heading overseas
he UberPop transport
service will be banned in
France from January 1 to
avoid unfair competition, the
interior ministry said yesterday
as taxi drivers impeded morning
traffic into Paris in a one-day
protest against the US-based
online cab-hailing п¬Ѓrm.
Uber allows users to summon
taxi-like services with their
smartphones while its UberPop
arm links private drivers to passengers.
It has gained popularity
around the world since its 2010
launch but drawn controversy
over its aggressive approach to
traditional taxi services.
taxi drivers say that Uber has hit
their business unfairly as it has
expanded rapidly.
Authorities have voiced concern that UberPop drivers may
not have the required commercial vehicle insurance.
Taxi unions had vowed to
block 260km (160 miles) of
roads around Paris with slowly
moving taxi motorcades during
the morning rush hour.
By late morning, traffic was
mildly disrupted on the highways leading from Charles de
Gaulle and Orly airports into
the city centre, traffic reporters
Taxi drivers gathered at dawn
near the main airports and
headed slowly towards the city,
horns blaring, hoping to force
traffic to a snail’s pace – known
as an “operation escargot” in
French, after the word snail.
“It is a fight against all Uber.
Enough is enough. Authorising
UberPOP puts 57,000 French
taxis at risk, and 57,000 families
with them. And that is out of the
Merkel: there is no place for hate campaigns and slander.
ome 22 people have left
Switzerland to п¬Ѓght
abroad as jihadists since
May, including eight in the
past fortnight, the Swiss intelligence agency said yesterday.
This represents almost onethird of the 62 who have left to
п¬Ѓght since 2001, including 37
who headed to Syria and Iraq
and 25 to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Eight have since died, the
agency said, giving no details
of how, where or when.
Three п¬Ѓghters have returned
to Switzerland since the end of
November, bring the total to 19
returnees since 2001.
The numbers are far below
the hundreds who have flocked
from countries such as France
and Britain to п¬Ѓght with the Islamic State organisation in Iraq
and Syria.
But the agency said: “The
increase in the numbers compared to November certainly
indicates a growing phenomenon.”
It said the numbers may
also be explained by increased
efforts to identify would-be
While “every case is different”, the intelligence agency
said: “Declarations posted on
the Internet by people who
seem to live in Switzerland
and inciting violence and jihad
pose an increasingly alarming
Earlier this month, a
30-year-old Swiss convert to
Islam was ordered to do 600
hours of community service
after returning from п¬Ѓghting
with the IS group in Syria.
He travelled there late last
year to join a training camp but
after two weeks asked to leave,
only to be detained by the
group for 54 days, RTS public
broadcaster reported.
French police arrest 10 suspects
Taxi drivers take part in a �snail operation’ after parking their cars on the Trocadero square in Paris
during a demonstration to protest a court’s refusal to ban urban ridesharing service UberPOP.
question – we won’t allow it,”
said Ibrahima Sylla, president of
Taxis of France group, one of the
But there were fewer bottlenecks than originally anticipated due to the non-participation
of some unions.
Interior ministry spokesman
Pierre-Henry Brandet said a law
passed this year that takes effect
in 2015 and regulates the taxi industry and chauffeured cars “is
even more constrictive for these
types of businesses”, a reference
to Uber.
“Not only is it illegal to of-
fer this service but additionally
for the consumer there is a real
danger,” Brandet told iTELE,
citing substandard driver insurance.
San Francisco-based Uber
did not respond to a request for
On Friday, a commercial court
in Paris refused to hear a lawsuit
brought by Uber’s competitors
that sought to ban UberPop on
the grounds of unfair competition.
The court said the emergency
request was unjustified and said
any further actions to ban the
service should be examined in a
criminal court.
Uber’s French subsidiary was
fined €100,000 ($124,290) in
October for fraudulent business
practices, with a court п¬Ѓnding
that it advertised UberPop as a
car pool instead of a paid transportation service.
Uber has continued to operate
the service pending appeal.
The company has been
banned in the Netherlands and
in the Indian capital of New
Delhi after a female passenger
there accused an Uber driver of
Anti-terrorism police arrested 10 people across France yesterday in
a sweep aimed at disrupting a suspected jihadist network sending
young fighters to Syria, the Paris prosecutors’ office said.
The arrests were mostly carried out in the cities of Toulouse and Le
Havre as well as Paris, the office said.
BFM-TV reported that the early morning raids stemmed from an
investigation launched last year after a Turkish family concerned
about the behaviour of their son alerted authorities.
The investigation also targeted four people in prison linked to the
presumed network, police told Reuters.
“For several years, these jihadist networks have represented an
unrivalled threat,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said during a visit to
Dijon. “We’ve been working for two years to respond to this threat,
to dismantle these networks with the work of the police.”
Authorities say that 1,132 French nationals have been linked to
fighting in Syria or Iraq, more than any other Western nation.
That number includes those either currently in Syria or Iraq, those
in transit, and those who have returned.
In November, a 22-year-old French convert to Islam, Maxime
Hauchard, appeared in a video of the beheading of a US aid worker.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
slams EU
reaction to
media raids
urkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan has lashed
out at the European Union,
after the bloc criticised police
raids on media houses that led to
the arrest of 24 people, including
“We don’t care if the EU takes
us in or not. Right now we are
concentrating on protecting our
national safety,” Erdogan said,
referencing his country’s EU
Police arrests on Sunday focused on the Zaman newspaper
and the Samanyolu TV channel.
Both media houses have links
to the Hizmet movement of USbased Islamic cleric Fethullah
Gulen, against whom Erdogan
has a running rivalry.
Police officials, including a local chief, were also detained.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn described the
raids as “not really an invitation
to move further forward” with
German Chancellor Angel
Merkel’s spokesman said it was
“in Turkey’s own interest to clear
up any possible doubt over its
commitment to basic democratic
principles” following the raids.
Federica Mogherini, the EU
foreign policy chief, said that the
arrest operation “goes against
the European values and standards Turkey aspires to be part of”.
Turkey has been recognised as
a candidate for full membership
in the bloc since 1999, but has
struggled to advance towards accession.
“They say it is about freedom
of the press, but it has nothing to
do with it,” Erdogan said, accusing those arrested of being part of
a sophisticated criminal network
plotting against him.
Erdogan has been locked in a
п¬Ѓerce battle with the Gulenists,
his one-time allies, since last
Erdogan accuses the Gulenists
of running a shadowy “parallel
state” and seeking to overthrow
the government.
He claims they used illegal
wiretaps on government offices
and orchestrated corruption allegations against top officials in
December last year.
The corruption scandal led to
four ministers resigning, though
the legal case against top officials
has since largely collapsed, with
the ruling Justice and Develop-
ment Party (AKP) walking away
more or less unscathed.
The party won local elections in March and Erdogan was
elected president in August, after
serving as prime minister for over
a decade.
The European Union, human
rights groups and media freedom organisations have all condemned the arrests.
“Yesterday’s arrests of senior
journalists in a section of the media that has played a leading role
in covering allegations of corruption by government officials,
raise serious questions about the
authorities’ motivation for their
detention,” Amnesty International said.
Prosecutors ordered the detention of 31 suspects on Sunday.
The charges against them include forgery, fabricating evidence and forming a criminal
network seeking to work against
the state, the state-run Anadolu
news agency reported.
Initially, 27 people were arrested, but three have since been
The exact charges against each
individual remain unclear.
Ekrem Dumanli, the editorin-chief of the Zaman daily, who
was among those arrested said on
Supporters of the Hizmet movement shout slogans and hold copies
of the Zaman newspaper as they take part in a demonstration in
Istanbul a day after Turkish police began an operation targeting the
media close to the Hizmet movement. The words on the placard in
front reads �Black day for democracy’.
Sunday that the government’s allegations are unfounded.
Since last December, when the
corruption allegations emerged
during a series of police raids, the
authorities have moved to purge
thousands of alleged Gulenist
loyalists from the police service
and prosecutors’ offices.
The latest arrests are being described as the next step against
the so-called “parallel state”.
Zaman described the raids as a
“black day” for Turkey’s democracy and other papers have also
voiced concern that the press is
being silenced.
Pro-government media outlets have largely echoed the accusations that those arrested were
fabricating evidence and plotting
a coup.
The Gulen movement denies
trying to overthrow Turkey’s
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of
the Republican People’s Party
(CHP), the largest opposition
party, was critical of the arrests.
“These operations are not what
we were taught in the eyes of the
Germany wants
new Ukraine talks
before Christmas
resh Ukraine peace talks
should be held before the
upcoming holiday season,
German Foreign Minister FrankWalter Steinmeier said yesterday.
Diplomatic efforts to restart
the talks last week bore no fruit
as Ukraine and pro-Russian
separatists blamed each other for
failing to agree on a fresh round.
Talks in September produced
a ceasefire, which went virtually
unheeded in some areas until last
week. It continued to hold yesterday.
No soldiers were killed and
there were no reports of injuries
during the past 24 hours, the Security Council said in Kiev.
Ukraine was to feature in talks
among EU foreign ministers in
Brussels, and EU Foreign Policy
Chief Federica Mogherini is also
due to hold talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk.
Germany and France also
urged Ukraine to implement economic and social reforms.
In a joint telephone call with
President Petro Poroshenko late
on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French
President Francois Hollande
stressed that without reforms,
there would be no international
aid, the German government said
The European Union is considering a third aid package for
Ukraine on top of the €1.61bn
($2bn) already pledged but wants
to see progress on economic and
social commitments from Kiev.
EU member states are also
mulling an extension of sanctions relating to Crimea with
measures targeting investment,
trade and services, a senior EU
official said.
But EU governments are
“split” over the move, a diplomat
said on the condition of anonymity.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister
Linas Linkevicius said the EU
should keep the pressure on Russia: “The security situation is not
improving, and frankly speaking,
the ceasefire also is not working.”
Mogherini said her talk yesterday with Yatseniuk “opens a new
page” for relations with Kiev,
more focused on implementing
The EU’s foreign policy chief
is due to visit Kiev today and
tomorrow for talks with Poroshenko and civil society representatives.
ussian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov has branded
new sanctions approved
by the US Congress against Russia as hostile.
“This move by the United
States is of course hostile,” he
told Interfax news agency in
an interview. “The President
(Barack Obama) now has a choice
whether or not to sign this law.”
The US Congress on Saturday unanimously approved the
Ukraine Freedom Support Act
in both houses, which includes
fresh sanctions against Moscow
over its support of the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine.
The measures, which are up
to Obama to approve or veto, hit
Russia’s defence and energy sectors with conditional sanctions
against п¬Ѓrms that sell or transfer
military equipment to the territory of Ukraine (as well as Georgia, Moldova, and Syria), with
Erdogan: We don’t care if the EU takes us in or not.
standards were improving.
“This process is the planting of
the seeds of the new Turkey,” he
said. “Those who try to get involved in dirty business and dirty
relations with the hope of returning Turkey to its old days are
getting the necessary response,
and will continue to get it.”
Asked whether he expected
“sabotage” from Gulen allies
Moscow wants
rebel regions to
stay with Kiev
oscow wants Ukraine
to carry out a constitutional reform to allow more autonomy to Russianspeaking eastern regions that
would then stay with Kiev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
in comments published yesterday.
In an interview with the Interfax news agency, Lavrov said that
Ukraine needed a constitutional
reform “with the participation of
all regions and all political powers” that would allow the two
rebellious eastern regions to remain part of the country.
Lavrov put the blame on Kiev
for what he said was forcing the
eastern regions out of Ukraine by
refusing to give them more autonomy to seek ways out of the
conflict that has killed more than
4,700 people since the violence
started mid-April.
“I very much hope that the
steps which the Ukrainian leadership is taking, provoking the
tearing away of Donbass will
end,” he said in referring to the
two eastern Ukrainian regions
of Donetsk and Luhansk. “...
that Kiev’s policy will change towards establishing dialogue with
Donbass in order to work out the
agreements that will allow all
Ukrainians from all the regions to
live in Ukraine with equality and
Russia has in the past weeks
called for a new round of peace
talks on the conflict, which pits
ahead of a parliamentary election
next June, Prime Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu told the pro-government Sabah newspaper yesterday
that the state had to “take precautions”.
“This is not an investigation
into journalistic activities,” he
was quoted as saying, and more
details would emerge as the legal
process took its course.
Lavrov: This move by the United
States is ... hostile.
government troops against proRussian rebels п¬Ѓghting to split
from Kiev.
In September, Kiev, Moscow, pro-Russian separatists
and the OSCE European watchdog agreed on a ceasefire in east
But it has been repeatedly violated and the West accuses Russia of supporting the rebels with
arms and troops to destabilise
Ukraine and stall its drive towards closer ties with the European Union.
The West slapped sanctions on
Russia over the conflict. Russia
sides with the rebels but says it is
not involved in the conflict.
It blames the West for playing
a role in the toppling Ukraine’s
former, Moscow-allied president
Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Nordic countries summon
Russian envoys in protest
Workers set up a Christmas tree in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. Fresh
Ukraine peace talks should be held before the upcoming holiday
season, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said
Lavrov blasts �hostile’ US Congress sanctions
law. This is done as a method of
revenge. You cannot administer
a government through revenge,”
he said.
Mogherini and other top EU
officials visited Turkey only last
week, trying to shore up relations.
The bloc is due to discuss accession issues today and Turkey
is likely to feature prominently in
the talks following the arrests.
Erdogan, whose AK Party
was elected in 2002, introduced
many democratic reforms in his
п¬Ѓrst years in power and curbed
army involvement in politics.
Nato allies often cited Turkey as an example of a successful Muslim democracy, but more
recently critics have accused Erdogan of intolerance of dissent
and, increasingly, a divisive reversion to Islamist roots.
The president has cast the
battle against Gulen’s “Hizmet”
(service) network as a continuation of Turkey’s “normalisation”,
a struggle to root out anti-democratic forces, and insisted yesterday that Turkey’s democratic
the goal of stopping the flow of
weapons to separatists across the
Moscow’s response to the
sanctions will depend on whether they go into force and their
“practical application”, Lavrov
He said such sanctions could
even hit Ukrainian businesses
which happen to have partners in
the Russian defence industry.
“This example shows that it’s
not concern for Ukraine that lies
at the base of this initiative, but
a maniacal wish to punish Russia for all conceivable and inconceivable wrongdoings.”
Lavrov also said that Moscow
has the right to deploy nuclear
weapons in Crimea after it became Russian territory in a disputed March referendum.
“The Russian state has every
right to use its legitimate nuclear
arsenal accordingly with its interests and its international responsibilities,” he said. “Crimea
became part of a state that ... has
such weapons.”
weden and Denmark protested to Moscow yesterday
over a Russian military jet
Stockholm said had shut down
one of its location instruments
and flown too close to a Swedish
civilian airliner.
Friday’s incident off southern
Sweden inflamed sensitivities
over Russian flights in the Nordic
region that have increased steeply this year, driven in part by tensions over separatism in eastern
Finland also expressed concern about “Dark Flights” with
so-called transponder locators
switched off.
Sweden and Denmark said
they had summoned Russian
ambassadors over the behaviour
of the military aircraft which
Swedish authorities said had
caused an SAS flight from Copenhagen to Poznan, Poland, to
change course.
Russia denied that its aircraft
had posed any danger to the airliner.
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said on his way into
a European Union meeting in
Brussels it was “completely unreasonable that civilian lives are
put in danger in this way”.
Swedish Foreign Minister
Margot Wallstrom agreed. “Our
protest will be very clear ... this
is dangerous and definitely inappropriate.”
The Swedish military said the
Russian jet had turned off its
transponder – a communications device, alongside normal
radar, making it easier for an airplane to be located.
While civilian flights should
fly with their transponders on at
all times, military flights are allowed to turn them off when flying over international airspace as
long as they show consideration
to other flights.
Finland’s government instructed air safety authorities
and ministry officials on Sunday
to contact Russian colleagues,
and said it wanted “dark flights”
– with transponders turned off
– to be discussed at the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“There is no direct defence
policy threat against Finland,
but looking at the current flight
activity above the Baltic Sea, one
could say that the situation is ...
much more tense than in a long,
long time,” Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said in a radio interview with YLE radio.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Mishra murder convicts
to be sentenced on Dec 18
Jaundice kills 13
in Odisha town
Hoarding of flight
tickets being probed
CARE Group adds
two more hospitals
LuLu plans to invest
Rs25bn in Telangana
A Delhi court yesterday said it would sentence on
December 18 four convicts in the 1975 murder of
then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra. District
Judge Vinod Goel last week held four followers of
Hindu sect Anand Marg guilty of killing Mishra 39
years ago. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
special public prosecutor N K Sharma termed the
attack on Mishra a terrorist act done to spread
panic. Sharma left it to the court to decide whether
the case falls under the category of “rarest of
rare” warranting death sentence and said the four
were are convicted under sections dealing with
murder that entail a minimum punishment of life
imprisonment and maximum of death penalty.
Jaundice has killed 13 people in Odisha’s
Sambalpur town and its adjoining area since
May and infected nearly 1,100 others, an
official said yesterday. The administration
has stopped supplying drinking water
through pipelines over fear that sewage may
have seeped into the drinking water as new
patients continue to pour into hospitals and
private clinics. “So far, 13 people have died
of jaundice,” chief district medical officer J K
Samantaray said. Most of those affected have
been treated and cured. Only ten jaundice
patients are currently undergoing treatment at
the local government hospital, he added.
Tripura police’s Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) has launched a probe into
the hoarding of flight tickets and manipulation
of rates, officials said yesterday. “Following
reports of bulk booking of air tickets by a section
of travel agencies, our officials have raided
offices of six agencies in the past two days and
collected all relevant documents. None has been
arrested yet,” Superintendent of Police Sanjoy
Roy said. “We are now studying the guidelines
of various airlines and relevant aspects and then
we would take our next action,” he said. In the
recent months, eight airlines stopped operations
on the Agartala-Kolkata-Guwahati routes.
The Hyderabad-based CARE Hospitals Group
has expanded its network with two more
hospitals - one in Madhya Pradesh and another
at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The group
signed an agreement with Marble City Hospital,
Jabalpur, to operate the facility as part of the CARE
network on an Operations and Management
(O&M) contract through subsidiary Ganga CARE
based in Nagpur. The hospital, with a capacity of
200 beds, would mark the entry of CARE Hospitals
into Madhya Pradesh, a statement by the group
said yesterday. CARE added a unit in Vizag by longterm lease of a standalone hospital to meet the
growing demand for tertiary healthcare in the city.
The LuLu Group, a leading retail chain in the
Middle East, plans to invest Rs25bn in Telangana
next year. M A Yusuf Ali, the chairman of Abu
Dhabi-based group, shared this information
when a delegation led by Telangana Minister
for Information and Technology K T Rama Rao
called on him in Dubai. The LuLu group is the
largest retail chain in the Middle East which has
over 100 hypermarkets and a turnover of over
$5bn, an official statement said. The LuLu group
plans to invest in three projects in Telangana
- a fruit and vegetable processing unit, an
integrated meat processing unit, and a modern
shopping mall in Hyderabad.
rate flat;
rate cut
hopes soar
Uber incident
spurs calls for
more women
taxi drivers
New Delhi
ndia’s wholesale inflation fell
to a п¬Ѓve-and-a-half-year low
driven by ongoing falls in fuel
and food prices, data showed yesterday, boosting expectations of
an interest rate cut early next year.
The Wholesale Price Index,
India’s inflation measure with
the biggest basket of goods,
slipped to a lower-than-expected 0% in November from a year
earlier, the lowest rate since July
2009, official data showed.
The latest WPI compares with
a five-year-low of 1.77% recorded in October, and was below analysts’ estimates of about 1.1%.
Analysts said Reserve Bank of
India Governor Raghuram Rajan’s
aggressive policies to curb price
rises appeared to be paying off.
The sharp fall in global crude
oil prices also helped keep inflation in check in India, which imports most of its fuel.
“This means the Reserve
Bank of India (RBI) will be under
pressure to cut rates,” said Arun
Singh, senior economist at credit data п¬Ѓrm Dun & Bradstreet.
Figures released on Friday
showed consumer inflation
slowed to 4.38%, a three-year
low, while industrial output contracted, also putting pressure on
the central bank to cut rates.
That inflation figure was below the RBI’s 6% goal for January 2016, and down sharply from
double-digit inflation last year.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is
hoping for a cut in borrowing costs
to boost investment and stimulate
the faltering economy, which is
mired in the longest slowdown in
a quarter of a century.
But even with inflation falling,
the RBI has resisted appeals to
loosen monetary policy.
Rises in prices of food especially
have caused huge hardship for India’s 1.2bn population, of which
nearly a quarter live in severe poverty, according to the World Bank.
Rajan, a former chief economist
of the IMF, said earlier this month
a cut in its benchmark repo rate
was “premature”, but indicated a
reduction was very likely in early
2015 if inflation continued to fall.
Women who had come to rely
on web and radio-based taxis
are reassessing their safety
after the Uber case
New Delhi
Female drivers from the �She Taxi’ service pose next to a taxi on a road in Kochi. Last year Kerala
launched �She Taxis’, a fleet of 40 pink taxis run by women, and fitted with wireless tracking gear
and panic buttons linked to call centres.
World Yoga Day result of
Indian diplomacy: Sushma
New Delhi
he adoption of June 21 as
the International Yoga
Day by the UN signifies
the support that recent diplomatic endeavours of the government have evoked on the
world stage, External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj said
“In the history of the United
Nations, this is the highest
number of co-sponsors ever
for any resolution of this nature,” Swaraj said while making
a statement on the issue in both
houses of parliament.
The UN last week adopted
June 21 as the International Yoga
Day following a proposal by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
during his UN General Assembly address in September.
Swaraj said: “While on one
hand, we consistently advocate
a proactive and innovative approach for making India and
the greater South Asian region
more prosperous, at the same
time, we are thinking and act-
ing on new measures to project
India’s soft power- the unparalleled cultural richness, diversity and uniqueness of India
and its people.”
“Co-sponsorship, quite
simply, meant that
these countries not just
supported India, but
expressed their public
willingness to own the
initiative as well”
She said an unprecedented
177 of the total 193 member
states of the UN co-sponsored
a resolution on the International Yoga Day.
“In the history of the United
Nations, this is the highest
number of co-sponsors ever for
any resolution of this nature,”
Swaraj said.
“The list of co-sponsors was
wide, all encompassing and a
triumph of Indian diplomacy
- from the P-5 to the Small Island States of the Pacific; from
the heart of Africa to nearly the
whole of Europe; from most of
our South Asian neighbours to
our distant friends in the Caribbean and Latin America, all in
one voice stood up in our support.
“The sheer number of supporters as well as the smooth
adoption also symbolises the
strong international support
that the recent diplomatic
endeavours of our government have evoked on the world
stage,” she said while decribing
it a “new breakthrough” in Indian diplomacy.
Terming these as a critical
part of “a new India’s breakthrough diplomacy,” the external affairs minister said: “From
Make in India to Swachh Bharat
and now International Yoga
Day they are all small steps in
our journey to ensure a vibrant,
happy and prosperous India,
whose imprint and influence are
felt far beyond our own shores.”
he alleged rape of a woman
passenger by an Uber taxi
driver once again spotlights the risks of India’s transport system, which fails to keep
women safe. One solution: taxis
driven by women for women.
Last year, the southern state
of Kerala launched �She Taxis’,
a fleet of 40 pink taxis run by
women, and п¬Ѓtted with wireless
tracking gear and panic buttons
linked to call centres.
Now the service has become
a model for Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s government to
replicate nationwide, its chief
executive says. “The Delhi incident shows the need for �She
Taxis’ all over the country,” P T
M Sunish said.
�She Taxis’ has ferried 24,000
people on about 10,000 trips
since November 2013. Demand
so far exceeds supply that as
many as half of callers have to be
turned away, Sunish said.
“I feel secure and the family is
satisfied,” said Aswathy Sreekumar, 25, a technology worker
who has used the service for seven months, after п¬Ѓnishing work
at midnight.
“Otherwise, I keep getting
calls from my parents.”
Women, especially young, urban professionals, who had come
to rely on web and radio-based
taxis are reassessing their safety
after the Uber case.
Cleanliness campaign
With GPS technology, cheap
and easy smartphone use and
pledges of safety, taxi services
had given women a sense of independence in recent years that
they had not previously enjoyed
as they travelled the capital and
other cities.
“For a few years there, we
working women in Delhi were
living in a mirage of safety provided by radio taxis,” TV journalist Sunetra Choudhury said
in a blog last week.
“We all loved the idea that
whenever we knew we’d be late,
we could pay a professional
group to arrive at our office, at
our friend’s, at the bar, and take
us safely where we needed to go.”
“The Uber rape has killed my
urge to step out and explore my
city as an adult like I should.”
On Delhi’s streets, women
spoke of their fear of taking public transport or hiring one of the
green and yellow three-wheel
rickshaws known as autos after dark, relying instead on the
many cab companies.
“Men will stare at you, touch
you, grope you. You have to keep
looking around all the time and
just be safe,” said Sonam Bahri, a
28-year-old banking executive.
Others were angry that Uber
had apparently failed to conduct
proper background checks on its
driver who allegedly raped the
woman, aged in her mid-20s, as
she travelled home from a night
out with friends.
“I am shocked because I didn’t
expect a global company like
Uber to be so casual with their
approach,” said Mitali Gupta,
27, who works in India’s IT outsourcing industry.
Rising sex crimes have
Dead guru to remain
in deep freeze for now
Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Dia Mirza pose for
a photograph during a �Cleanathon’ television campaign to
promote cleanliness in Mumbai.
prompted states and small п¬Ѓrms
to launch taxi services run by
women. The trend grew after
the December 2012 protests over
the rape of a young woman on a
moving bus in New Delhi and her
subsequent death.
Tougher laws and promises of
better policing have proved ineffectual. India’s public transport
is the fourth most dangerous in
the world for women, and nighttime safety ranks second worst, a
recent poll showed.
Women commuters face sexual harassment and public transport is seen as risky.
“The Uber incident reinforces
that you are safer when a taxi is
driven by a woman. People would
be keener now,” said social activist Susieben Shah, who started
Priyadarshini Taxi Service in
2010 in Mumbai. Now it aims
to expand to New Delhi and the
southern tech hub of Bengaluru.
Another company, Sakha Cabs,
with 14 taxis in the capital, plans
to expand in Jaipur and Kolkata.
Still, expansion is slow. Reluctant investors fear the tiny
number of women drivers will
brake future expansion, and India’s male-dominated social
structure will deter aspirant
After the Uber incident India
is stepping up support for such
training, an official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development said. But critics say better security is the answer.
“Government always resorts
to knee-jerk reactions,” said
Ranjana Kumari, director of
the Centre for Social Research.
“Failure in law and order implementation cannot be compensated by such measures.”
evotees of a dead guru
who has been in a
freezer in northern India since January won a court
battle yesterday delaying his
cremation for at least another
seven weeks.
Supporters had approached
the court in Punjab seeking a stay
on an earlier order for the cremation of “godman” Ashutosh
Maharaj, whom authorities declared dead on January 29.
“The division bench of the
Punjab and Haryana High
Court has stayed the cremation
till February 9,” Swami Vishalanand, a spokesman for the
guru’s ashram, said.
Followers have insisted their
spiritual leader is not dead but
in a state of deep meditation,
and will eventually return to lead
They have been guarding the
ashram in the town of Nurmahal,
where Ashutosh’s body has been
kept in a freezer as the monthslong legal battle has been waged
over his future.
Ashutosh, reportedly in his
70s, was one of India’s many gurus and headed the Divya Jyoti
Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light
Awakening Mission) that claims
to have millions of followers
around the world.
Devotees have invoked freedom of religion under India’s
constitution as reasons against
his cremation, which was originally sought in the courts by a
man claiming to be the guru’s
A two-judge bench yesterday
stayed the cremation order made
by a single judge of the same
court on December 1.
Ahead of its decision, thousands of followers massed in
Nurmahal at the weekend in a
show of support for the guru
whom they said should be allowed to continue his “samadhi”, the highest level of meditation.
Ashutosh’s website, which
says his mission was founded
in 1983 and has spiritual centres around the world, has
thanked followers for standing by the mission while the
guru undertakes his “meditation”.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
row stalls
Rajya Sabha
New Delhi
he Rajya Sabha continued to be disrupted
yesterday and led to the
upper house’s adjournment as
opposition members kept up
their protest over conversions
and demanded Prime Minister
Narendra Modi speak on the
issue even as the government
suggested a ban on the practice.
Though the government
agreed to a discussion, the opposition was not ready to relent unless Modi participated.
“The opposition can take
the decision... There is no difference in opinion that such
incidents (forced conversions)
shall stop. Is the opposition
wanting a ban on conversion
or forced conversions,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
asked as adjournments marred
the proceedings of the upper
house of parliament, where
the opposition is in the majority.
The issue is expected to
echo today as well, with opposition refusing to relent without a statement by the prime
Government sources, however said they will table the insurance bill in the upper house
in any case.
The opposition has have
been protesting in wake of
recent reports of conversion
of Muslims to Hinduism, and
also Bharatiya Janata Party MP
Yogi Adityanath’ comment
supporting a mass conversion
Adityanath reportedly said
that there was nothing wrong
if people re-convert to Hinduism if they were doing it willingly.
Protests started yesterday
as soon as the house met for
the day, when Congress leader
Anand Sharma raised the issue
and said they had given a notice for suspension of question
“There is a serious situation
in the country. An organisation that calls itself a social
organisation, has started a
controversial programme on
�ghar wapsi (home-coming)’,”
he said.
The house was then ad-
journed by Deputy Chairman
P J Kurien till 12 noon.
As proceedings resumed,
the entire opposition appeared
united as the adjournment
notice was submitted by the
Congress. While the motion
was not accepted by Chairman
Hamid Ansari, who was in the
chair, the government agreed
for a discussion.
Protests continued in the
question hour, forcing Ansari
to adjourn the house for 10
minutes and then till 2pm.
In the post-lunch session,
the uproar continued and opposition members said they
wanted Modi to assure the
house that such incidents will
On the government’s side,
Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs
Minister M Venkaiah Naidu
and Home Minister Rajnath
Singh were present in the
house, and offered to take up
the discussion immediately.
However, opposition parties
insisted that Modi be called to
“The incidents that are
happening are a violation of
the Constitution, and people
related to ruling party are doing this,” Sharma alleged.
Jaitley dismissed the opposition’s stand, saying they did
not want a debate, but only to
disrupt the house.
Communist Party of IndiaMarxist (CPM) leader Sitaram
Yechury then said mere discussion is not enough.
Kurien said it was for the
government to decide who
would answer the debate,
also asking if the member was
questioning the home minister’s competence.
Members from the Congress
and the Samajwadi Party then
trooped near the chairman’s
podium, raising slogans. Other opposition members were
seen raising slogans standing
at their seats.
In the din, the house was
adjourned for half-an-hour,
and later for the day.
Talking to reporters later,
Sharma slammed the government for suggesting a ban on
“It is out of the purview of
constitution. State does not
have a religion, and it cannot
tell people what religion to
follow,” he said.
Wintry delight
A white blanket of snow covers buildings and trees after a heavy snowfall in Pithoragarh in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand yesterday. An intense cold wave left
Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh reeling yesterday. The tourist town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh recorded a biting minus two degrees Celsius.
Mehdi did not recruit
volunteers: Rajnath
Islamic State Twitter account
back up as police seek clues
New Delhi
State Twitter account
traced to an Indian engineer was back up yesterday as
police combed through tens of
thousands of followers to identify sympathisers of the militant
Mehdi Masoor Biswas, who
police said was behind the @
ShamiWitness Twitter handle,
has co-operated with investigators since he was picked up
from his one-room apartment
in Bengaluru on Saturday, the
government said.
His account was disabled at
that time and it was not clear
how it became active again. Police said the account was part of
their investigation but not under their control.
Security officials said @
ShamiWitness had been reactivated to determine if Mehdi
was a cheerleader or an online
recruiter for Islamic State.
“Police are investigating if
there are more people like Mehdi,” said Hemant Nimbalkar, a
joint commissioner of police in
Biswas told police that more
than 60% of his Twitter followers were non-Muslims and the
majority of his Muslim followers were from Western countries, particularly Britain, Home
Minister Rajnath Singh told
Each day, Mehdi, 24, sent out
hundreds of posts, applauding
Islamic State’s advances in Iraq
and Syria and mocking its enemies, while working by day as a
food company executive.
His interrogation had indi-
cated that his activities were
limited to posting and reposting of pro-ISIS material on
his Twitter account and other
social media sites, Singh said,
adding that Mehdi had denied
recruiting volunteers.
Singh said Biswas has been
arrested under the Unlawful
Activities (Prevention) Act and
provisions of the Indian Penal
“Through a Twitter account,
he was disseminating information for IS and came to light in
electronic media in the United
Kingdom,” the minister said.
He said Biswas belongs to
a middle class family from
Kolkata and did his electrical
engineering from Guru Nanak
Dev Institute of Technology in
2012. He joined ITC following a
campus recruitment drive and
is currently employed with the
Biswas’ father N Masroor
Biswas, who was employed
with the West Bengal electricity board, however refused to
believe that his son has any
links with the terror group
and claimed his account was
In Bengaluru, a senior police
official received a threat tweet
on Sunday, a day after Biswas
was arrested.
The tweet from an unknown
Twitter account (abouanfa16)
threatened Bengaluru Deputy
Commissioner of Police Abhishek Goyal with revenge for
arresting Mehdi.
India has the world’s thirdlargest Muslim population, but
they have largely shunned Islamist causes. Police say only
four Indians are known to have
joined Islamic State п¬Ѓghters,
and one had since returned and
is in custody.
The clean-shaven Mehdi’s
role as a propagandist for the
Middle Eastern group, revealed
by Britain’s Channel 4, has exposed India’s vulnerabilities
and its inability to keep track
of people turning to the group’s
violent ideology.
Mehdi told police he started
following developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan while
in college and had been active
on social networking sites since
Originally using the name
“El Saltador” he began sharing
information about the war in
Syria and gradually became an
online voice with an apparently
vast knowledge of the conflict,
but always with a polite tone.
By the beginning of this year,
he was cheering the successes
of Islamic State and praising its
fighters after their deaths. “You
bros talked the talk, walked the
walk,” he wrote about Iftikhar
Jaman, a British ISIS п¬Ѓghter
killed in Syria a year ago.
Private schools slam Christmas directive on Navodaya students
New Delhi
hree private schools here
expressed dismay over
the central government’s
reported directive to Navodaya schools to call students on
Christmas Day, saying the move
would hurt the religious sentiments of Christians.
The principals of Delhi’s
prominent schools said though
they did not receive any such
circular, they expressed their
concern over the issue.
“Christmas is the festival of
Christians who are a minority community and their festival
must be honoured,” said Madhulika Sen, principal of Tagore
International School.
“All I know is that our school
is closed on December 25. We
have not received any communi-
cation from the Centre. If we receive any, we will see what needs
to be done,” she added.
The principal of another famous school in central Delhi said
the “move would hurt the sentiments of Christians.”
“If this has happened to Navodaya today, it might happen
to private schools too in the future,” another school principal
said, requesting not to be identified.
SpiceJet seeks govt help
as п¬Ѓnancial woes mount
New Delhi
SpiceJet airline, which announced the cancellation
of nearly 1,900 of its domestic
flights last week, sought “urgent relief” from the government yesterday as its financial
woes mounted.
The airline asked for the
government’s financial help to
ensure it is able to run its everyday operations smoothly.
SpiceJet officials met Mahesh Sharma, junior civil aviation minister yesterday and
“made the plea for urgent relief,” a report in Press Trust of
India news agency said.
meeting and said no decision
had yet been taken on the private airline’s request, which
would be put to the Prime
Minister’s Office and the ministries of finance and petroleum.
“No assurance has been given to them,” the minister added, according to the report.
The no-frills airline, SpiceJet, is India’s second-largest
carrier by passenger share.
Even with as many as 3.3bn
passengers expected to take
to India’s skies by the end of
2014, according to the international Air Transport Association, the company - which
has a fleet of 37 - is struggling
to stay afloat.
SpiceJet’s shares are down
some 80% from the 2007 peak.
Earlier this year SpiceJet reported п¬Ѓfth straight quarter of
net losses for July-September.
The losses in the latest
quarter shrank by 45% yearon-year to Rs3.1bn ($50.1mn)
as the airline cut fares to п¬Ѓll
more seats.
Its troubles have stirred
memories of the failure of
liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya’s
Kingfisher Airlines, which
stopped flying in 2012 after
running up huge debts.
Last week’s flight cancellations come after Civil Aviation
Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju
flagged his deep concern over
the airline’s financial health,
saying SpiceJet “is giving us
heart attacks”.
SpiceJet is 53% controlled by Kalanidhi Maran, who
heads the southern familyowned Sun media group.
The airline laid out a recovery plan two months ago that
involved using fewer and newer planes.
It has called its turnaround
effort a “work in progress”
that is gaining momentum.
However, the Central Board
of Secondary Education (CBSE)
said no special directions were
issued to keep schools open on
December 25 and the regular
vacation schedule would be followed to observe the day as a
Accusing a section of the media
of floating a distorted impression
about the CBSE requiring schools
to remain open on Christmas
Day, the education board said
in a statement that its proposed
instructions were for a two-day
online essay competition starting from December 24, which
was “completely voluntary” for
students to participate from their
homes or any other place.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry came
under п¬Ѓre over a circular by the
Navodya Vidyalaya Samiti asking all its schools to observe December 25 as “Good Governance
Baby elephant rescued
Day” by organising various competitions for students.
According to the CBSE statement, Navodaya schools are residential schools and their vacation pattern depends on climate
conditions in their respective
The event would be observed
only in those schools that do not
have any winter break this year,
but no classes will be held that
Infosys man’s family
happy he escaped
Villagers secure a wild elephant calf at a rice paddy field at
Borbhugia near Koliabor in Nagaon district, in the northeastern
Assam state, yesterday. The baby elephant was separated from
its herd.
However, students living in
hostels on the school premises
would have the opportunity to
participate in the essay competition on voluntary basis, the
statement said.
Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, that comes under the HRD
ministry, clarified that no other
activities for this competition
would be held except the opportunity to submit essays online
he family of Ankireddy
Vishwakant expressed
joy on learning that he
was rescued safely from a Sydney cafe when Australian police stormed it to end a hostage
His parents were elated to
see him on television channels
coming out of the cafe.
Clad in a white shirt and
with raised hands, the techie
was seen emerging from the
cafe and escorted by two commandos.
His family spoke to Ankireddy’s wife in Sydney who
confirmed the news. She told
them he spoke to her by telephone after being rescued.
“Thank God! This is a big
relief for us,” said Ankireddy’s
father Ishwar Reddy at his
house in Guntur town, about
300km from here.
The software engineer’s
mother Sulochana, who was
in shock since the hostage
drama began in the morning,
was overjoyed. Relatives and
friends gathered at their home
to share the happy moment.
He is an employee of software giant Infosys.
His father, a government
employee, said his son stopped
at the cafe on his way to work
when a gunman took him and
29 others hostage.
Reddy’s daughter-in-law
told him that police officers
assured her that the operation
to secure the safe release of the
hostages would end in a day.
Development Minister M
Venkaiah Naidu spoke to Reddy and took up the matter with
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who also spoke
to Ankireddy’s wife by phone.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Nicaragua navy at the site of the sunken boat.
Nicaragua discovers
shipwrecked fishing boat
Guantanamo 9/11 hearing
cancelled: army spokesman
Landslide kills 13
Ecuador workers
Unrest flares again in
Mexico’s Michoacan state
Nicaragua’s navy said it had located a fishing
boat that sunk last week along with the body
of one fisherman, while 17 remain missing off
the Caribbean coast of the Central American
nation. The shipwreck of the boat carrying 50
occurred on Wednesday due to strong winds and
heavy swells. A total of 32 passengers have been
rescued or found alive since the incident while
the search for the missing continues. “A wave
suddenly came up on us and turned the boat onto
its side, and from there upside down,” said Oscar
Angel Williams, one of the rescued fisherman.
The navy said the boat was found some 60
nautical miles from the town of Puerto Cabezas.
Court officials yesterday cancelled a two-day
pretrial hearing for suspects in the September
11, 2001, attacks at the US prison in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, a US Army spokesman said. The
hearing, intended to examine allegations the FBI
tried to infiltrate legal defence teams, according
to a docket on a Pentagon website. It would
have been the first such proceeding since a US
Senate report on CIA torture was released last
week. No reason was given for the cancellation.
Judge James Pohl, an Army colonel, ruled in
July that no conflict of interest arose for defence
attorneys from the FBI approaching a security
officer for a defence team.
A landslide at a construction for a dam in
Ecuador killed 13 workers and left 12 others
injured, the Andes news agency reported.
Three Chinese workers were among the dead
in the disaster, which occurred at the Coca
Codo Sinclair dam, where a reservoir is under
construction. The cause of the landslide
was not immediately known. The project
in the Amazonian provinces of Sucumbios
and Napo in north-eastern Ecuador includes
hydroelectric generation slated at 1,500
megawatts, which would be the country’s
largest-capacity power plant. The $2.2bn
project is led by Chinese contractor Sinohydro.
Local police and vigilantes clashed over street
blockades in a troubled western Mexican state,
a sign of renewed unrest in an area President
Enrique Pena Nieto’s government said it had
pacified. The federal government’s security
commissioner for Michoacan state, Alfredo
Castillo, said on his Twitter account that a half
dozen blockades had been removed following
dialogue with the groups behind the unrest. The
groups criticised the government for failing to
apprehend Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, leader of
the Knights Templar drug cartel which for years
has ravaged Michoacan, despite nearly a year of
federal police and military intervention.
residents face
threat of
loomily watching their
money shrink in value,
Venezuelans don’t need
government statistics to tell
them what they already know:
their country is facing the looming risk of hyperinflation.
Breaking its own regulations,
the Venezuelan central bank has
stopped publishing the official
inflation rate, which stood at
63.4% at the end of August.
Since then, prices have only
continued to rise, as the South
American oil giant feels the
pinch of falling crude prices and
struggles to import the food and
medicine it largely buys abroad.
It is difficult to evaluate just
how much value the bolivar has
lost in recent months. But one
quick measure is the Extra Value
menu at McDonald’s: In September 2013, a Big Mac combo
meal cost 125 bolivars; by November 2014, the price had nearly doubled, to 245 bolivars.
The US fast food giant is, paradoxically, a good place to track
Venezuela’s inflationary spiral.
For one thing, it remains popular with Venezuelans, despite
anti-“Yankee-lover” diatribes
by President Nicolas Maduro,
the political heir to late socialist
п¬Ѓrebrand Hugo Chavez.
For another, it is one of the few
food businesses not to have been
hit by the shortages crippling
the Venezuelan economy. “We
raise our prices practically every
month,” a McDonald’s employee
said on condition of anonymity. “We’ve never raised them as
much as this year.”
Exacerbating matters, there has
been a shortage of foreign currency for almost two years now.
Coupled with declining domestic production, that has
caused chronic shortages of a
host of basic goods including
cooking oil, milk, flour, toilet paper, deodorant, razors, shampoo
and detergent.
Maduro’s government has
tried to bolster buying power by
raising the minimum wage three
times last year and three times
this year. But the increase – 64%
in 2014 - only feeds the inflationary beast. Families now rush to
buy all they can at the start of the
month in a race against prices.
The only refuge for their money is the black-market dollar. But
Venezuela, which gets 96% of its
foreign currency from oil sales,
has also watched its oil price fall
by a third since July. That means
fewer dollars, putting pressure
on the black-market exchange
rate, which rose from 100 bolivars to the dollar to 150 last
month - up from 40 a year ago.
The official exchange rate
meanwhile remains at 6.30 bolivars, the level Maduro vowed to
keep it at a year ago. “The deterioration of the currency outlook
because of falling oil prices traditionally puts pressure on the dollar. That makes the government
slash access to foreign currency
(at the official rate) and forces
people onto the black market,”
said economist Pedro Palma.
“That generates enormous
uncertainty” and further fuels
inflation, he said. There is no set
numerical definition of hyperinflation, but economists often
consider it to be a monthly inflation rate of more than 50%.
Venezuela is not at that
threshold, but there are warning
signs. The monthly inflation rate
likely stands at around 5% now,
according to Henkel Garcia, head
of consulting firm Econometrica. “In November, people’s salaries bought approximately 13%
fewer products than 12 months
ago,” he said.
“The threat of hyperinflation
risks becoming a reality of the
monetary disorder continues or
gets worse, if there’s an abrupt
fall in supply and if there’s a lack
of confidence in the currency.”
According to the former research chief at the central bank,
Jose Guerra, directors there are
considering a plan to stop publishing inflation data altogether
and only release it on request
after vetting petitioners’ applications.
Protest at senator’s appointment
Activists from Landless Movement (MST) demonstrate outside the Agriculture National Confederation (CNA) building in Brasilia, Brazil yesterday. The MST are
protesting against the appointment of senator Katia Abreu as minister of agriculture.
Prosecutors indict second
ex-Petrobras executive
Sao Paulo
razilian prosecutors yesterday said they had formally charged four more
people, including a former executive at state-run Petrobras,
in a widening probe into a kickback scheme that allegedly stole
billions of dollars from the oil
The prosecutors said Nestor Cervero, the former head of
Petrobras’ distribution subsidiary, as well as lobbyist Fernando
Soares and Julio Camargo of local contractor Toyo Setal fun-
Colombians case against
Occidental dismissed
US federal appeals
court yesterday threw
out a human rights
lawsuit brought against Occidental Petroleum Corporation
over allegations that it played
a role in killings carried out
by the Colombian military in
A three-judge panel of the
San Francisco-based 9th US
Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court judge’s
decision to dismiss the lawsuit
п¬Ѓled in California by family
members of three labour union leaders killed by the 18th
Brigade of the Colombian National Army during the incident.
The plaintiffs claimed that
which operates a pipeline near
the Venezuelan border, provided funding to the brigade,
making it liable for the actions
of the soldiers under a US federal law called the Alien Tort
Statute as well as California
state law.
The appeals court said
US courts could not hear
the case because it was
an inherently political
subsidiary and Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil company, jointly gave assistance
worth $6.3mn to help with security at a time when guerillas
were attacking the pipeline, according to the ruling.
Colombian government officials said at the time the people
killed were guerilla members
who had attacked soldiers.
The family members who
sued for monetary damages
said the union members were
killed in part because they had
been critical of the environ-
mental impact of the oil industry.
In an unsigned opinion, the
appeals court said US courts
could not hear the case because
it was an inherently political
The court noted that the US
government had itself provided $99mn worth of training and equipment to the 18th
In November, the same appeals court ruled for Occidental
in a similar case, also concerning the company’s activities in
The ruling is the latest in a
series of victories for corporations seeking to fend off human rights lawsuits following
a US Supreme Court ruling in
April 2013 in favour of Royal
Dutch Shell. In that case, the
justices limited the circumstances under which companies can be sued for human
rights violations under the
Alien Tort Statute.
nelled $40mn of kickbacks and
accepted $13mn in bribes from
Korean shipbuilder Samsung
Heavy Industries.
The bribes helped secure a
contract on a $586mn drillship off the coast of Africa and
a similar scheme was repeated
in the Gulf of Mexico, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Toyo Setal and Samsung
Heavy Industries were not immediately available for comment.
The companies themselves
are not charged with any crimes.
The team of prosecutors in
Parana state vowed to expand
their investigation last week af-
ter accusing 36 people, including executives from six of Brazil’s largest engineering firms,
with forming a cartel to funnel
kickbacks to the ruling Workers’
Party and its allies.
Sources involved in the landmark investigation have said
their probe could include the
role of foreign companies in a
scandal that has become the
biggest crisis yet for President
Dilma Rousseff ’s government
and caused Petrobras to delay
the publication of its earnings
until next year.
Rousseff, who was the chair
of Petrobras’ board of directors from 2003 to 2010, when
Official visit
allegedly more than 10bn reais
($3.9bn) were transferred to her
Workers’ Party and allies, has
denied any knowledge of the
scheme or wrongdoing.
Cervero, who Petrobras
п¬Ѓred in March, was indicted on
charges of corruption and money laundering for alleged crimes
committed between 2006 and
The same prosecutors indicted Roberto Costa, another
former executive at Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, as the company
is formally known, on Thursday.
Cervero was also Petrobras’
international director when it
Temporary refuge
for Cubans on boat
George Town, Cayman Islands
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez (right) meet
in Caracas yesterday.
purchased a Pasadena, Texas
refinery which critics say it
overpaid for.
Prosecutors charged Alberto Youssef, the Parana-based
money changer who led investigators to the kickback scheme,
with money laundering and said
yesterday they are seeking to
recover an additional 296mn
reais for public coffers.
Sergio Moro, the federal judge
in Curitiba, on Friday accepted
the п¬Ѓrst official case involving
Costa as well as engineering
executives from Engevix and
will likely open additional cases presented by prosecutors in
coming days.
group of 26 Cubans on a
homemade wooden boat
were granted temporary
refuge in the Cayman Islands
when bad weather interrupted
their quest to seek exile in the US.
The four women and 22 men,
almost all from the coastal town
of Santa Cruz Del Sur in the
southeastern province of Camaguey, were four days into
their journey when they took
shelter from high seas.
In a break from normal rules,
Cayman authorities said they
can remain until the weather
One of the passengers on the
boat, Laudmir Hernandez, a
carpenter, said the hand-crafted
wooden vessel took just seven
days to build and is powered by
an antique, US-made, PierceArrow four-cylinder car engine.
He said the lack of economic
opportunity forced him to embark on the risky 644km journey
across the Caribbean to Honduras.
Cubans seeking to flee communist-run Cuba have been
heading in increasing numbers
by sea to Central America and
then making a long journey
overland to reach the US.
Under Washington’s “wet
foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban
migrants who make it onto US
soil are allowed to remain, while
those intercepted at sea are
turned back.
Cayman authorities allowed
the latest group to come ashore
and use a public beach cabana
to shower, as well as sleep on the
beach and receive food from local Good Samaritans.
Migrants are usually only allowed ashore if they agree to be
US officials say more than
16,000 Cubans arrived without
visas at the border with Mexico in the past year, the highest
number in a decade. Cuban officials blame the US policy for
encouraging migrants to risk
their lives.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Kabul wants Islamabad’s role for peace with Taliban
fghanistan has asked Pakistan to play a more �visible’ role in persuading the
Afghan Taliban to come to the
negotiation table in a move suggesting that Kabul continues to
believe that Islamabad still holds
the key for an elusive peace deal.
The request for Pakistan’s
proactive role in a possible peace
deal, comes from the new administration in Afghanistan led by
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief
Executive Officer Dr Abullah Abdullah, diplomatic sources said.
The change of government in
Kabul, after a decade of rule by
former president Hamid Karzai,
is seen as a new beginning for
both neighbours to move away
from an acrimonious relationship of mistrust to one built on
mutual co-operation.
But that co-operation appears
to be hinged on Pakistan’s role
in brokering a deal between Afghanistan and insurgents.
The Afghan president dur-
ing his recent visit to Islamabad
sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table.
His request for help stems
from the widely held perception
that Pakistan’s security establishment, because of its historic
ties with the Taliban, can still
push insurgents to make peace
with the Ghani administration.
“There is a strong perception
in Afghanistan that Pakistan’s
security establishment still controls the Taliban, despite denial
by Pakistan,” commented a west-
ern diplomat, who is engaged
with both Islamabad and Kabul.
“There is a strong
perception in Afghanistan
that Pakistan’s security
establishment still controls
the Taliban, despite denial
by Pakistan”
“I think reality lies between
the two extremes,” the diplomat
added saying that clear Pakistan support for peace talks in
Afghanistan backed by practical
steps could go a long away in ad-
dressing the longstanding misgivings between the two neighbours.
Despite the recent flurry of
diplomatic initiatives aimed at
generating a better appreciation
of Pakistan’s limited influence
in Afghanistan and its willingness to facilitate the peace process, western diplomats continue
to hold the view that fears of a
possible �proxy war’ between
Pakistan and India in post-2014
Afghanistan might compel authorities in Islamabad to keep
their options open.
Imran Khan leads
anti-govt protest
Public transport suspended
in Lahore following protest
by Imran Khan’s supporters;
Punjab govt says two
children died after their
ambulance was stuck in
traffic jam caused by protest
The on-going military offensives in North Waziristan Agency, where п¬Ѓghters from the deadliest Afghan insurgent network
the Haqqanis have also been
targeted in a �clear manifestation
of our policy to act against all
groups without any discrimination,’ the official argued.
Army Chief General Raheel
Sharif during his two-week long
trip to the United States earlier this month, tried to convince
his American interlocutors that
Pakistan had no favorites in Afghanistan.
Students in
Pakistan seek
support for IS
emale students at a
pro-Taliban mosque in
Pakistan have sought
support for Islamic State, police said yesterday, in the latest among growing signs of
group’s infiltration of a region
long dominated by Al Qaeda.
Once known as Al Qaeda’s
“veiled brigade,” the students
of the Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad called on fellow
Muslims to support an Islamic
caliphate in a video circulated
secretly last month, police official Mohamed Naeem said.
The Pakistani military killed
more than 100 people during
a week-long siege and subsequent storming of the mosque
in 2007 for harbouring militants linked with Al Qaeda.
The operation was conducted after months of a vigilante
campaign by veiled stickwielding students to establish
Taliban-style Shariah rule in
the capital.
upporters of the party of
Pakistan’s Imran Khan
shut down major roads
in the eastern city of Lahore
yesterday in the latest round
of protests against the government.
Thousands of followers of
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) gathered at different
junctions on major roads in the
city and burned tyres, forcing
the suspension of public transport.
Khan, a star cricketer turned
politician, claims the 2013 general election which brought
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
to power was rigged. He wants
Sharif, whose power base lies in
Lahore, to resign.
Local and foreign observers,
however, have rated the polls as
The Punjab provincial government, which is run by Sharif’s
Pakistan Muslim League-N party, accused Khan’s supporters of
reneging on an agreement to let
ambulances through their barricades.
Salman Rafique, health adviser to the Punjab chief minister, told AFP that three people,
including two infants, had died
in ambulances stuck in traffic
caused by the protests.
A doctor in Lahore children’s
Islamabad has publicly insisted that it cannot lead the
peace process in Afghanistan
and has repeatedly said that it is
ready to play the role of a facilitator. A senior Pakistani official
contended that the country was
doing whatever it could to help
facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
The official, who wished not
to be identified, also dismissed
the perception that Pakistani
security apparatus enjoyed the
level of influence that it once had
over the Afghan Taliban.
But the radical mosque survived the onslaught and grew
even bigger in subsequent
years to become a network of
Islamic seminaries across Pakistan for both male and female students.
Around half-a-dozen students wearing black veils and
sitting in front of a banner with
an Islamic State slogan spoke
in the video, Naeem said.
“All Muslims should support Islamic State and Caliph
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because
they are doing jihad for Islam,”
one of the women said.
Naeem said police had
seized several hundred CDs of
the video and were investigating who was behind it.
Red Mosque’s chief cleric
Maulana Abdul Aziz defended
the video, saying it was students’ right to seek support for
a group they like.
The video came on the heels
of a series of events suggesting
local support in Pakistan for
the group that controls large
swathes of territory in Iraq and
Fresh syllabus may reach schools in April
Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan addresses an anti-government protest in Lahore yesterday. Workers from Imran Khan’s party
shut down major roads in Lahore in the latest round of protests against the government.
hospital said they received a
body of a newborn baby but the
cause of death was not clear.
PTI leader Shah Mehmood
Qureshi denied the allegations,
insisting that party workers had
not stopped ambulances taking
patients to hospitals.
Thousands of police were
on the streets to try to prevent
violence, following clashes at
a similar protest in the city of
Faisalabad last week.
“A contingent of 15,000 police
personnel have been deployed in
the city to avoid any untoward
incident,” senior police official
Haider Ashraf said.
Khan has vowed to paralyse
major cities around the country
as part of his efforts to topple
Sharif’s government.
A lengthy sit-in protest outside the parliament building in
Islamabad in late August and
early September led to brief
violent clashes and destabilised
Sharif’s government.
Khan has said he and his supporters will paralyse the country
on December 18 if their demands
are not met.
The Higher Education
Commission (HEC) of
Pakistan has finally moved
forward to bring changes to
the national curriculum in the
light of the prime minister’s
recent directives.
The commission has
directed the four provinces,
Azad Jammu and Kashmir,
Gilgit-Baltistan, Fata and the
Islamabad capital territory
(ICT) to suggest amendments
to their existing curricula.
The decision was taken at a
meeting held at the HEC with
Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed
in the chair. The meeting was
attended by experts from all
the provinces and regions
besides joint education
adviser Rafiq Tahir of the
Ministry of Federal Education
and Professional Training.
“Before bringing changes to
the national curriculum, we
have decided to review the
existing one,” said Tahir.
Heritage dept launches efforts to restore Great Wall of Sindh
he Endowment Fund
Trust (EFT) for Preservation of Heritage of Sindh
province with the help of various
conservationists has taken on
the restoration of the historical
Ranikot Fort.
Situated in Jamshoro district, some 90km from Hyderabad, Ranikot, also known as the
�Great Wall of Sindh’, is believed
to be the world’s largest fort.
The structure comprises an
outer wall that is 32km in circumference and includes 8.75km
of man-made fortification walls
strengthened with 40 circular
and seven rectangular bastions.
The rest of the wall is 23.25km of
lofty peaks in the Kirthar mountain range.
During a visit by conservationists, researchers and NED
university students to Ranikot
arranged by the EFT on Saturday, Badar Abro, a writer and
researcher, who has studied the
length and breadth of the fort for
which he also spent a considerable time there, explained: “All
the points in the hills from where
people could enter the area have
been closed by the fortress, the
rest is already closed by the
rocky hills.”
On average the walls are 25
feet in height with a thickness of
12.5ft at the base and 11ft at the
top. And the merlons are another
six feet in height and four feet
The п¬Ѓve entrances to Ranikot
are the Saan Gate in the eastern
wall, Amri Gate in the north,
Mohan Gate in the west, Shah
Pir in the south and Thori Dhoro
in the southeast.
Inside the fortress lie two
structures also in the shape of
fortresses though much smaller
in size. Providing a view of the
valley below, the lower one is
called Mirikot and the upper one
Sher Garh.
Approaching Mirikot along a
gravel road stones picked up by
tires hit the floorboards of the
vehicles as the п¬Ѓrst sight of the
great fortress wall appears before you and you are suddenly
reminded of pictures of the
Great Wall of China.
Meanwhile, Sher Garh can
only be accessed by the very
brave as it is a very steep climb
up the hillock. “Those who have
attempted it say that they understood how it got its name as
climbing it is something only
lions or the lionhearted would
dare do,” said Saleem Lashari, a
Who built Ranikot and why is
still unknown. Some attribute it
to the Arabs while others believe
it was built by the Greeks. It is
said that the fort was later discovered by the Talpurs who then
renovated it.
According to experts in the
material on Ranikot, prepared
and distributed by the EFT, the
Ranikot Fort also known as �The Great wall of Sindh’ in Kirthar mountains Sindh.
walls are described to be originally built of coursed rubble
with mud covered by lime plaster
on either side.
“A three-inch thick layer of
lime concrete on top is lined with
about a two-inch thick coursed
rubble masonry in lime mortar.
The lining work was originally
done by the Talpurs for increasing the mass and strength of the
wall and also protecting it from
the rain.
But the cladding work was
done without removing the lime
plaster from the fortifications
and without developing its bond
with the original construction.”
Over the years the barracks
of Mirikot lost their thatched
roofs while the fort walls’ poorly
bonded coating could not protect it from erosion and cracks
due to rain and moisture.
Ranikot since 1993 has been
on the list of tentative Unesco
World Heritage Sites. The culture department of the government of Sindh had also
launched a restoration project
at Ranikot during the 1990s,
which was then abandoned after strong criticism from various quarters.
The EFT started the Ranikot project in Jan-Feb 2014 by
п¬Ѓrst safeguarding the collapsed
“I’m grateful to chief minister
of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah for
giving his nod to the EFT whose
trustees, Hameed Akhund and
Hameed Haroon, constantly
keep us motivated.
“When we started work for
the preservation and restoration
of historical sites some four to
five years back, we didn’t think
we would be working on such big
projects. It is still the beginning
but we hope to turn the world’s
spotlight on these places,” said
Jahangir Siddiqui, who is managing the restoration of Ranikot.
MNA Dr Nafisa Shah, also
present at the site, said she
wanted Ranikot to be on the
World Heritage Sites list.
“The Rohtas Fort is already on
Unesco’s list but Ranikot, which
is much bigger and magnificent,
is still only on its tentative list,”
she said.
The EFT engineers have installed a 1,600-foot-long water pipeline to supply water to
the site, which was not available at such a height earlier. A
special water pump made in
Lahore is also now in place and
water for construction work is
stored in the underground water tanks.
A four-kilometre-long road is
also being maintained for transporting material and labour during the restoration.
The inner skin of the fortification wall of Mirikot was badly
damaged and was to be restored
as a priority. Its eroded top has
been removed and the cracks
п¬Ѓlled with lime grouting with
another two layers of three-inch
lime and concrete coating applied to make it waterproof.
The roof of the barracks at
Mirikot has also been reconstructed and wooden bridges
put in the fort wall to connect
the walkways. Some of the walls
have cement п¬Ѓnishing that hides
the limestone and seems rather
ghastly and out of place.
EFT trustee Hameed Akhund
explained: “Well, that was before government funding and all
us trustees were contributing in
whatever way we could do. We
had to do something to salvage
the portions of the wall that was
about to collapse if we hadn’t
stepped in then.”
technical person with the EFT,
shared the ingredients of the
material being used to repair the
“We are using a concoction of
gum, gur and methi [fenugreek]
powder mixed with lime stone.
Originally the plaster on the
walls was all lime with no bonding of the skin with the stone and
rubble bringing on cracks.
“You see,” he said. “Masonry
structures breathe. There is a
vacuum in the pores at night
when the air is cool and during
the day those pores open up to
let the heat escape. If you cover
it all with cement, you seal the
pores and the surface bursts
open to appear as cracks.”
The old cement, it was observed at this point, is itself
loosening and shedding and as
that happens the new material is
being used to п¬Ѓll the cracks and
strengthen the walls.
According to Hameed Akhund, in the past eight to 10
months, the EFT had spent over
Rs2mn on priority repairs.
“Working with our survey
teams, technical experts and
engineers, we would now work
out a complete restoration plan
for Ranikot to be carried out in
phases,” he said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Police uncover
strip bars and
drugs in jail raid
raid on the Philippines’
biggest jail yesterday
uncovered drug lords
“living like kings” in secret
luxury cells with strip bars, sex
dolls, a jacuzzi and methamphetamines, the justice secretary said.
Police commandos in full
battle armour and tracker dogs
swooped down on the infamously crowded and corrupt
Bilibid prison complex before
dawn to verify reports that
drug rings were operated from
behind bars.
Aside from the methamphetamine “ice”, police found
1.4mn pesos ($31,000) in cash,
inflatable sex dolls, a strip bar
and a jacuzzi, across 20 airconditioned “villas”, Justice
Secretary Leila de Lima said.
“They are here to serve jail
time but instead, they’re living like kings,” de Lima told
reporters after the raid.
Jail officials who conspired
with the inmates face “outright dismissal”, she said.
During yesterday’s raid,
one “villa” had a fully inflated
sex doll sprawled on the bed
while an adjacent room was
equipped with an elevated
platform, strobe lights and a
mirror ball, police said.
Police said the platform was
for strippers who were smug-
gled into the jail compound. A
bright blue bra with feathers
was hung beside the stage.
Another area had a small
concert stage equipped with a
flat screen television, a drum
set, guitars and keyboards.
A safe in one of the rooms
contained Rolex and Patek
Philippe watches, Louis Vuitton wallets and stacks of dollar
bills, police said.
Bathroom floors and walls
were covered in marble tiles,
showers with hot water were
encased in glass and a bathtub
had a flat screen television attached to it.
One room was stocked with
an expensive whiskey brand.
Bilibid, on the outskirts of
Manila was built for 8,900
inmates but currently houses
The luxury villas, for drugs
lords, kidnap gang leaders and
other powerful inmates, were
scattered around the sprawling 1,230-acre compound.
De Lima expressed shock at
the outcome of the raid.
But cases of rich inmates
bribing prison authorities
and building small houses, or
simply leaving the jail, have
emerged publicly repeatedly
over the years.
The practice highlights corruption in government and the
wide divide between rich and
poor as the rest of the prisoners, mostly petty criminals, are
crammed in squalid cells.
Govt calls ceasefire with
rebels for Christmas
hilippine President Benigno Aquino has suspended army operations
against Maoist guerrillas for
a month to mark Christmas
and a visit by Pope Francis, the
head of the military said yesterday.
The unilateral ceasefire will
start at midnight on Dec 18 and
end at midnight on Jan 19, the
day the Pope, the head of the
more than 1.2bn Roman Catholic worldwide, is scheduled to
leave the Philippines, General
Gregorio Catapang said.
“The declaration of the
suspension of military offensive against the New People’s
Army will highlight the government’s sincerity to pursue peace,” Catapang said in a
It will be the longest Christmas truce in three decades.
The rebels have been fighting
to overthrow the government
for 45 years. The conflict
has killed more than 40,000
people and stunted growth in
resource-rich rural areas.
The 4,000-member guerrilla force, largely based in
mining areas on the southern island of Mindanao, is
expected to declare a shorter
truce over Christmas and the
New Year.
Law enforcement operations and humanitarian work
in typhoon-ravaged areas
in the central Philippines,
particularly on Samar island
where the rebels are active,
will, however, go on to ensure
safety, Catapang said.
Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said the
truce did not cover the Abu
Sayyaf militant group on the
remote southern islands of
Basilan and Jolo. The militants are known for kidnapping, bombing and beheading
Pope Francis is due to arrive in the mostly Catholic
Philippines on Jan 15.
Supporters of slain transgender Filipino Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, hold placards during a rally outside a courthouse in Olongapo city, north of Manila yesterday.
US Marine charged with
transgender’s murder
hilippine prosecutors yesterday charged a US Marine with murder over the
death of a Filipino transgender,
in a case that has fanned antiAmerican sentiment and tested
close military ties.
Private First Class Joseph
Scott Pemberton used “treachery, abuse of superior authority
and cruelty” against his alleged
victim, lead prosecutor Emilie
Fe delos Santos said as she announced the charge.
“We believe we have a strong
case,” delos Santos told a nationally televised briefing.
Pemberton will not be allowed
to post bail, she said. Murder is
punishable by up to 40 years in
Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old
transgender woman also known
as Jeffrey, was found dead on
October 12 in a cheap hotel in a
red light district of the port city
of Olongapo.
Pemberton, who had just п¬Ѓnished taking part in US-Philippine military exercises near
Olongapo, had checked into the
hotel with Laude and was the
Prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos talks to members of the media
outside the court building in Olongapo.
last person seen with her, police
said. The charge sheet against
Pemberton released yesterday
detailed what the prosecutors
said was an unprovoked and
relentless attack against a defenceless victim.
choked Jennifer from behind.
Obviously, in that position, Jennifer was deprived of the opportunity to defend herself,” the
six-member prosecutors panel
said in the charge sheet.
(Pemberton) made sure that Jennifer was dead. He did not stop at
Cultural parade
badly beating her up and choking
her, he made sure she suffered to
her death.
“He deliberately and repeatedly plunged her head down
the toilet until she breathed her
Pemberton, aged 19 at the
time of the death, had asked
via his lawyer to downgrade
the murder charge to homicide,
which carries a maximum 20year prison term.
He has made no other comment on the case.
Laude’s death sparked street
protests in the Philippines, a
But the agreement signed
in March has not been implemented, while the Philippine
Supreme Court deliberates on a
challenge to its legality.
Anti-American groups have
used the Pemberton case to rally
support for their opposition to
the expanded military agreement.
Aquino has said the Pemberton case should not sour relations with the US.
However the case has thrown
a spotlight on controversial provisions of the 1998 agreement,
particularly one that allows the
US government to retain custody
of American suspects even while
in the Philippines.
A public outcry pressured the
Philippine government to secure
the transfer of Pemberton from
a US warship to military headquarters in Manila.
But even while at the military
headquarters, Pemberton has
remained under official US custody and he has refused to attend
any court hearings.
Following yesterday’s filing of
charges, the local court which
has jurisdiction over the case
will decide whether there are
enough grounds for Pemberton
to stand trial.
Judges seek exemption
from senator’s graft trial
By Reina Tolentino
Manila Times
Students performing in the streets of the Pasig City suburb of Manila with a parade known as “Paskotitap”. Paskotitap is a combination of parade and
contest held every December in the city of Pasig where schools are given a chance to showcase their talents and skills in dancing.
former US colony that gained
independence in 1946 but has
retained a close alliance.
An enduring US military presence since the independence has
been a constant source of anger
for vocal and powerful American
The US was forced to close
down two major military bases in
1992, after the Philippine Senate
bowed to anti-US sentiment and
refused to renew their leases.
However the allies in 1998
signed a Visiting Forces Agreement that allowed US troops to
take part in war games on Philippine soil.
Military exercises involving
thousands of US soldiers have
since taken place each year.
In March a new agreement
was signed to allow a greater US
troop presence in the Philippines, including more exercises
and the building of new facilities.
This was part of US President
Barack Obama’s so-called pivot
to Asia.
Philippine President Benigno
Aquino had courted a greater US
presence in an effort to counter
perceived rising Chinese aggression in a long-running territorial
dispute in the South China Sea.
he three justices of the
Sandiganbayan’s Fifth
Division no longer want
to continue hearing the plunder and graft complaints п¬Ѓled
against Sen. Jose “Jinggoy”
Estrada in connection with the
pork barrel scam.
Associate Justices Roland
Jurado, Alexander Gesmundo and Ma. Theresa Dolores
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang that
they want to inhibit themselves
from the case “for personal reasons.”
The case was raffled off to the
Fifth Division led by Jurado in
June this year.
It was the п¬Ѓrst time in the
40-year history of the antigraft court that three magistrates wanted to recuse themselves from a case.
The letter, signed by the
three justices, was dated December 10. It was received
yesterday.The presiding justice
turned over the request to the
court en banc, which will decide and issue a resolution on
the matter. The court, however,
will not be able to resolve the
request within the year.
It held its last en banc session
also yesterday, and only one of
the three magistrates wishing
to inhibit was present.
According to Executive Clerk
of Court IV Renato Bocar, there
would be another en banc session next year to hear and ask
the two other justices their reasons why they want to be out of
the case.
The magistrate who was
present in the en banc session
refused to disclose their reasons for lack of authority from
the two others, Bocar said.
The court withheld the justice’s identity.
Bocar, however, noted that
the justices’ request will not
delay the case because no more
hearings are scheduled for the
rest of the month and the next
en banc session will be on the
п¬Ѓrst Monday of January.
The cases will be re-raffled
to another division when the
court en banc allows the three
justices to inhibit themselves.
“Whatever proceedings happened in the Fifth Division will
remain in the case records.
The witnesses need not testify
again. It will be transferred to
the division where the case will
be re-raffled,” Bocar said.
The Sandiganbayan is composed of п¬Ѓve divisions, each
with three justices constituting
a quorum. Under its internal
rules, if the chairman inhibits,
then the case will be re-raffled
to the remaining four divisions.
Two other divisions are handling the plunder complaints
п¬Ѓled against Senators Juan
Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong”
Revilla Jr. Bocar said it will be up
to the court if it will exempt these
two divisions from the re-raffle
of Estrada’s case.
Estrada is facing plunder and
graft complaints for allegedly receiving kickbacks from projects
funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
or pork barrel. He and Napoles,
his co-accused, have pending
bail petitions before the Fifth
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Four held over oil spill
in Bangladesh mangrove
our people were arrested yesterday after an
oil tanker sank, causing
a spill in Bangladesh’s largest
mangrove forest.
The master and three other
crew members of a cargo vessel that collided with the tanker
and caused it to sink last Tuesday were detained, police officer Manzur Kader said. Nearly
350,000 litres of furnace oil
then leaked in the river system
of the Sundarbans forest.
The accident, which occurred
in the Shela river, 360km southwest of Dhaka, killed the master
of the oil tanker, whose body
was found on Sunday in a river
by his relatives.
It also spilled oil over 350sq
km of the Sundarbans, a Unesco
World Heritage Site.
If found guilty, the suspects
face a maximum sentence of
seven years in prison, the police
officer said.
Farid Sheikh, a local resident
who ferries passengers in a small
boat through the forest, said the
spill has silenced the forest and
coated birds, trees and shrubs in
thick layers of black sludge.
“The Sundarbans is usually buzzing with the chirping of
birds and the bustle by its wildlife,” Sheikh, 27, said. “The bustle is gone after the accident.”
A day after the sinking, a rare
Irrawaddy dolphin was found
dead 25km from the accident
site, and residents said they
have hardly seen any dolphins in
the sanctuary since.
Conservationists said they
fear the biodiversity of the Sundarbans will be damaged in the
long term, and environmental
activists accused the government of being callous in its
handling of the disaster.
“We will stage demonstra-
By Mizan Rahman
Workers from the forestry department using water to clean oil-covered vegetation on the banks of the Shela river after an oil-tanker carrying
350,000 litres of furnace oil collided with another vessel in Mongla, yesterday.
tions in Dhaka to protest the
government’s inadequate actions to save the forest,” said Anu
Mohammad, head of a pressure
group called the National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas
and Ports.
In the meantime, the forest
department started spraying
chemicals to disperse the oil.
“We have engaged two water
pumps to remove the oil from
shrubs and trees in the Sundarbans,” forest official Amir
Hossain Chowdhury told local
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
also asked officials to determine
an alternative route for commercial vessels in the Sundarbans as
environmental groups demanded
a halt to shipping there.
The operation of mechanised
vessels through Bangladesh’s
6,000sq km part of the forest
was banned after the spill.
The Sundarbans stretches for a
total of 10,000sq km in both India and Bangladesh. It is home to
about 260 species of animals, including the Bengal tiger, estuarine
crocodile and Indian python.
TV talent show
seeks civil servant
with X-factor
Nepali talent show is in
the final stages of finding a star who doesn’t
need to sing, dance or act - but
has the X-factor when it comes
to honesty in their job in the
civil service.
The competition, Integrity
Idol, is searching for the most
honest civil servant as part of a
campaign to promote greater integrity among bureaucrats in the
Himalayan republic and tackle a
perception of rampant corruption in government offices.
Wedged between China and
India, Nepal was ranked 126th
out of 175 countries in watchdog Transparency International’s global corruption perception index this month, down
from 116 last year.
“This means Nepal is more
corrupt and less accountable
than it was in 2013,” said Ashish Thapa, executive director
of Transparency International
The contest was organised
by local non-government organisation,
Lab, which works to promote
accuses Zia
of hatching
greater honesty in public offices and more government
More than 300 nominations
were submitted and whittled
down to п¬Ѓve п¬Ѓnalists including
a health worker, two teachers, a
district education officer, and
two workers devoted to п¬Ѓght
maternal and child mortality in
remote villages.
Students quizzed the п¬Ѓnalists last week in a 30 minute
TV show and voters have until midnight on Monday to
choose their favourite candidate through social media or
by mail.
Organisers expect 10,000
people to vote with the results
to be announced next week. The
winner will get a certificate to
mark their dedication, integrity
and honesty in their work.
Narayan Adhikari, Accountability Lab’s South Asia representative, said he hoped the
initiative would encourage a
young generation of people to
join the civil service.
“If you ask young people
now few want to take government jobs because many think
they are corrupt, less efficient
and lack integrity. We want
to change that by recognising
civil servants who are doing
good work honestly and with
The п¬Ѓnalists said the contest
was a good start to motivate
civil servants who work hard
but are often unrecognised.
Bhuwan Kumari Dangol, a
п¬Ѓnalist, who has been teaching nursing students for over
15 years, said she had not
extraordinary to be nominated by her
“What I have done is to fulfill
my responsibility sincerely and
without any bias,” she said.
Another п¬Ѓnalist, Gyan Mani
Nepal, an education officer in
remote Panchthar district, said
he was proud to be nominated.
“I think my work has been
appreciated by the students and
their parents,” said Nepal, who
shares his cell phone number
with students so they can tell
him when teachers are absent.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala says widespread corruption in government and
norms and values” in Nepal,
one of the world’s poorest nations where one quarter of
27mn people live below the
poverty rate of $1.25 a day.
Body of sunken tanker’s captain recovered
The mutilated body of the
captain of a sunken tanker
ship was recovered on
Sunday, five days after the
accident caused a massive oil
spill on the Shela river flowing
through the Sundarbans
mangrove forests.
Captain Mukhlesur Rahman
had been missing since
Tuesday when the OT
Southern Star 7 capsized,
Xinhua reported.
Seven crew members aboard
the oil tanker had managed
to swim to the bank.
A day after the sinking, a
rare Irrawaddy dolphin was
found dead 25km from the
accident site, and residents
said they have hardly seen
any dolphins in the sanctuary
In the meantime, the forest
department started spraying
chemicals to disperse the oil.
angladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
has accused opposition
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia
of hatching a conspiracy to
turn Bangladesh into a failed
state and called upon the people to remain alert to foil the
“Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia
wants to make the country a
failed and dysfunctional state
by enforcing anti-government
movement,” the prime minister said, adding that the people will no longer stay with
her movement as it is being
launched only to protect the
war criminals.
Hasina, also president of the
ruling Awami League, urged
the countrymen to stay alert
so that none can hinder the
country’s peace and progress.
She was addressing a function on the occasion of Martyred Intellectuals Day held at
the Institute of Agriculturists
at Khamarbari in Dhaka on
Last week, Bangladesh’s
economist Dr Wahiduddin
Mahmud told an international conference in Dhaka
that the country is already
The premier alleged that
BNP founder Ziaur Rahman
and the party’s incumbent
chief Khaleda Zia have rewarded the self-confessed
killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman by giv-
Snow fun
ing them jobs at different
embassies abroad.
Terming BNP-Jamaat Pakistan’s collaborators, Prime
Minister Hasina urged all to
remain alert so that this quarter cannot return to power to
play with people’s fate.
“We all have to remain vigilant so that those Pakistani
collaborators can’t get back
to power, kill people and play
with the fate of the mass people,” she said.
The prime minister urged
people to take a vow to materialise the dreams of the millions of martyrs by building a
modern and prosperous Bangladesh where there will be no
hunger and poverty. “We’ll
have to build the country with
the spirit of their dreams and
the Liberation War ethos,” she
The government is working to that direction, and will
turn the country into Sonar
Bangla (golden Bengal) as
dreamt by Father of the Nation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman, Hasina said.
Branding BNP as the companion of war criminals, Hasina said: “It’s the nature of BNP
to help the war criminals as its
founder Ziaur Rahman had
stopped their trial.”
In this connection, the AL
president said Bangabandhu
had started the trial of the
war criminals just after the
country’s independence, but,
after the change in the political scenario in 1975, Ziaur
Rahman stopped it by promulgating an ordinance. “He
had also rehabilitated the
war criminals in Bangladesh
politics,” she said.
Have good
�ties with
both India
and China’
Children playing with snow in Jumla district, 359km from Kathmandu, yesterday. The falling
temperatures in last couple of days brought snowfall to the mountainous districts of the
Himalayan nation.
ri Lanka has reiterated that it
has close relations with both
India and China, as both
countries played a crucial role in
the island nation’s development.
“We have a foreign policy
which is not based on exclusivity.
We do not make choices between
countries,” said Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Gamini Peiris,
in an interview to The Sunday Leader, which was cited by
Xinhua in a report.
“Both countries (India and
China) have helped us. They
have invested and participated in
the development of infrastructure,” Peiris said adding that “We
have excellent relations with
both countries”.
Sri Lanka has seen a boost
in its ties with India and China
in recent years, particularly as
some Western countries, led by
the US, look to hold the Mahinda
Rajapakse government responsible for human rights abuses during the п¬Ѓnal stages of the 30-year
civil war against the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
rebels, the report noted.
The Sri Lankan foreign minister
blamed some Western diplomats
in Sri Lanka for “crossing the line,”
saying it was wrong for foreign missions to associate with elements involved in criminal activities against
the interests of Sri Lanka.
Nepal leaders begin deliberations for new constitution
ith the January 22
deadline hardly п¬Ѓve
weeks away, Nepal’s
constituent assembly (CA) yesterday initiated deliberations on
resolving the contentious issues
coming in the way of framing the
country’s new constitution.
The disputed issues were presented to the constituent assembly last week after the political
dialogue and consensus committee (PDCC) failed to resolve
them, Xinhua reported.
During a meeting earlier in the
day, Nepal ruling and opposition
parties had totally different attitudes on how to settle the sticking
points hampering the exercise.
The ruling parties - Nepali Congress and Communist Party of
(CPN-UML) — said the contentious
issues should be resolved through
a voting process, while opposition
parties continued to insist that it
would not be possible to promulgate
the new constitution without consensus of all the political parties.
“If parties cannot settle the
contentious issues, the new
constitution should be drafted through a voting process,”
Nepali Congress vice-president
Ram Chandra Poudel said.
Speaking in the parliament, opposition party leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara said the parties should
seek alternatives as parties have very
little time to forge consensus.
He said the new constitution
should be drafted on the basis of
However, Bhim Rawal, a CPNUML leader, said it was necessary to promulgate the new
constitution even by going for a
voting process if consensus was
not forged in this regard.
He said it was up to Nepali
leaders to resolve the conten-
tious issues by themselves.
The key contentious issues in
the debate, among others, relate to
the form of government, the electoral system, name, number and
the boundaries of federal provinces,
protection of preferential rights,
the independence of the judiciary
and arrangements for the transitional period after the promulgation
of the new constitution.
Lanka Minister Gamini Peiris
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 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),
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Climate change:
What now for
the Paris accord?
Four years ago, the world’s nations vowed to forge a pact
by the end of 2015 that would tame climate change and
bequeath a safer planet to future generations.
Operational from 2020, the accord would curb heattrapping carbon emissions and hold global warming under
2C (3.6F).
And it would crank out hundreds of billions of dollars
(euros) in help for climate-vulnerable, poor countries.
But an exhausting negotiation round in Lima, designed
to ease the way to the deal to be inked in Paris in 12 months’
time, served as a reminder of what happens when soaring
visions encounter gritty reality.
In less than two weeks, the annual talks of the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Convention (UNFCCC)
retreated from high-minded rhetoric to familiar nit-picking
and п¬Ѓnger-pointing.
Thirty-two hours beyond their scheduled close, the
negotiations were saved thanks to a compromise that gutted
the text of its most ambitious measures for emissions curbs
and aid.
The row casts a shadow
over the three rounds
of talks scheduled
ahead of the November
30-December 11 п¬Ѓnale in
Paris, say observers.
“There are deep and
long-standing divisions on major issues including climate
п¬Ѓnance, which countries are more obligated to take action
to reduce emissions, and whether to give greater priority to
adaptation”, said Alden Meyer with the US-based Union of
Concerned Scientists (UCS).
“These divisions nearly derailed the process in Lima; if
they aren’t addressed, they threaten to block an agreement
in Paris.”
The biggest source of conflict in Lima was about fairness
among the UNFCCC’s 196 parties.
Enshrined in the UNFCCC’s charter at its founding
22 years ago, is a principle known as “common but
differentiated responsibility,” or CBDR.
CBDR is interpreted by developing countries as meaning
that industrialised countries should bear more of the burden
for curbing fossil fuel emissions.
After all, goes this argument, they were the first to benefit
from fossil fuels to power their rise to prosperity.
Asking poor countries which did not have this historic
advantage to shoulder the burden equally would be unfair,
they argue.
Rich countries, for their part, demand stronger efforts
from everyone to reduce greenhouse gases.
Further complicating matters, developing countries
demanded that п¬Ѓnancial aid and technical help, and not just
carbon cuts, feature in national pledges designed to be at the
core of the 2015 pact.
This was why, after the rhetoric in Lima had faded and the
talks got serious, things got difficult.
“The mistrust from Peru will be a poison in these
negotiations,” said Asad Rehman of Friends of the
“Rich developed countries have to be dragged kicking
and screaming to budge an inch. When you send a signal
you are not serious about reducing emissions by delaying
targets and fudging on finance, then no-one else will be
serious either.”
Elliot Diringer of a US thinktank, the Center for Climate
and Energy Solutions, said Lima showed up fears among
some developing countries that CBDR is losing its sacred
Adding to next year’s problems is the DNA of decisionmaking under the nation-state system, which is poorly
designed to cope with a global environmental crisis.
“The mistrust
from Peru will be
a poison in these
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2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved
World’s beaches being
washed away due to
coastal development
From Florida to the Costa
del Sol, costly sea defences
are accelerating beach
erosion and will ultimately
fail to protect coastal towns
and cities from rising tides,
say experts
By John Vidal
he world’s beaches are being
washed away as coastal
developments increase in
size and engineers build ever
higher sea walls to defend against
п¬Ѓerce winter storms and rising sea
levels, according to two of the worlds’
leading marine geologists.
The warning comes as violent
Atlantic and Pacific storms this week
sent massive 50ft waves crashing
over sea defences, washed away
beaches and destroyed concrete walls
in Europe, north America and the
“Most natural sand beaches are
disappearing, due partly to rising sea
levels and increased storm action, but
also to massive erosion caused by the
human development of the shore,” said
Andrew Cooper, professor of coastal
studies at the University of Ulster.
“The widespread damage on
western Europe’s storm-battered
shores, the devastation caused
by hurricane Sandy along the
northeastern US seaboard, the deaths
brought on by typhoon Haiyan in the
Philippines all exemplify the total
inadequacy of [coastal] infrastructure
and the vulnerability of cities built
on the edge of coastlines”, said
Orrin Pilkey, professor of earth and
ocean sciences at Duke University in
Durham, North Carolina.
Pilkey and Cooper say in a new
book, The Last Beach, that sea
walls, which are widely believed by
many local authorities to protect
developments from erosion and
sea level rise, in fact lead to the
destruction of beaches and sea
defences and require constant
rebuilding at increasing cost.
Dunes and wide beaches protect
buildings from storms far better than sea
walls, say the authors. “The beach is a
wonderful, free natural defence against
the forces of the ocean. Beaches absorb
the power of the ocean waves reducing
them to a gentle swash that laps on
the shoreline. Storms do not destroy
beaches. They change their shape
and location, moving sand around to
maximise the absorption of wave energy
and then recover in the days, months
and years to follow,” said Pilkey .
Beaches in nature are almost
indestructible, but seawall construction
disrupts the natural movement of sand
and waves, hindering the process of
sand deposition along the shorelines,
said Cooper.
“The wall itself is the problem. If
you build a sea wall to protect the
shore, the inevitable consequence is
that the beach will disappear. The wall
cannot absorb the energy of the sea.
All beaches with defences ... are in
danger. When you build the sea wall,
that is the end of the beach,” he said.
“Beaches have become long, narrow
engineering projects sustained only
by constant maintenance and ongoing
expenditures. Ugly seawalls have
removed beaches altogether. Trying to
hold the shoreline in position makes a
flexible response to sea level rise more
difficult,” said Pilkey.
Many of the world’s most famous
beaches are now ecologically dead
and dependent for their survival on
being replenished with sand or gravel,
they say. “The death knell has already
sounded for large stretches of beaches
along densely developed shorelines
like those in Florida, Spain’s Costa del
Sol, Australia’s Gold Coast and Brazil’s
Rio de Janeiro,” says Pilkey.
Driven by tourism and trade, coastlines
have become home to a growing
proportion of the world’s population,
but no country will be able to prevent
its beaches being washed away and its
defences destroyed, the authors warn.
As sea level rise adds to the damage
done by the increasingly frequent
storms expected with climate change,
retreat from the shoreline will become
imperative - but next to impossible.
“We will have to retreat [from
the shoreline]. There is no choice.
In economic terms alone, it will be
impossible to defend everything.
Defending cities like London or
Rotterdam in Europe mean there will
be no money for all the other smaller
seaside towns,” says Cooper.
Sea level rise will mean that cities will
have to build much higher sea walls to
survive and this will cause beaches to
disappear. “A world without beaches is
a distinct possibility. [Coastal cities] will
end up with massively high sea walls.
In years to come you may not be able to
see the sea from many developments [in
places like Florida] except from second
or third floors. By building high rise
developments along coastlines we have
made it impossible to retreat,” he says.
The authors accuse engineering
consultancies and government
agencies of promoting a hardengineering, anti-ecological, shortterm response to beach erosion. “The
US army corps of engineers, the
Dutch institute for Delta Technologies
in Holland and HR Wallingford in
UK are major movers in shoreline
engineering, whose whole raison
d’etre is to make money by building
defences,” said Pilkey.
But their work often proves
misguided, he said. “After Hurricane
Sandy hit the US east coast in 2011, the
corporations pumped 200,000cu m of
sand on to Atlantic Beach, New Jersey.
Within п¬Ѓve months it had disappeared,
leaving a 9m-high cliff cut into the
shoreline, and an estimated bill of
$4mn to deal with it”.
“Rising seas around the world will
multiply these bills by millions because
of such misguided, short-term schemes,
with beaches needing to be replaced
every few years”, he said.
But Jonathan Simm, technical
director for flood management at
HR Wallingford defended engineers.
“We are but servants. There are some
very difficult social and political
decisions that have to be made about
which frontages should be defended.
Engineers get struck in the middle
between different… political and
technical arguments.
“The reality is that major urban
conurbations are going to want to
sustain their existing defences. But a
lot of beaches are under stress so the
engineering is going to become much
more expensive.”
Sea level rise, which is expected to
raise levels significantly over the next
100 years, will affect beaches in different
ways, said Pilkey. “Although the sea has
only risen a foot (0.3m) over the last
100 years or so, that amount can have
a real impact on shoreline retreat on
very gently sloping coasts. In theory, a
one-foot sea-level rise should push the
shoreline back 2,000ft.”
As beaches disappear, countries are
turning to increasingly expensive sand
replenishment programmes which
dump thousands of tonnes of dredged
sand on existing, eroded beaches.
But these artificial beaches usually
erode at least twice as fast as natural
beaches and can only ever be a
temporary solution, said Cooper. “As
time goes on and as the sea level rises,
the interval of re-replenishment will
get shorter because the beach becomes
less stable. Beach replenishment is
only a plaster that must be applied
again and again at great cost. It
doesn’t remove the problem, it
treats the symptoms. Eventually and
inevitably beach replenishment will
stop either as sand or money runs out”.
It also smothers all life on the beach.
“The near shore food chain that
originates with the tiny organisms
living between grains of sands and
surviving on occasional influxes of
seaweed is now gone. The whole
ecosystem is out of whack. Habitats
for turtle and bird nesting are being
destroyed,” said Cooper.
“We have a mentality to just
rebuild everything after a storm. The
simplest solution would be to move
the infrastructure back. The problem
is the obsession with building and
defending property right next to the
beach and to hold the beach in place.
This process just destroys the beach.”
- Guardian News & Media
An aerial view of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast.
New Zealand’s stark rich-poor divide
By Max Rashbrooke
new report shows New
Zealand’s economy has been
most affected by inequality
out of all the OECD nations.
How did the land of the fair go end up
in such a state?
In the 1940s, New Zealanders hated
inequality so much that one visiting
academic suggested they should
erect a statue of equality in Auckland
harbour, as a counterpart to the US’s
celebrated sculpture. And that image
lingers: many people still think of New
Zealand as an egalitarian paradise, a
friendly and accommodating country
where “a fair go” is the national
Those observers, and indeed many
New Zealanders, might have got a shock
this week when the OECD published
a landmark report, showing that
economies the world over are being
hamstrung by growing inequality and that New Zealand was the worst
affected. A stark rich-poor divide, the
OECD argued, had taken over a third off
the country’s economic growth rate in
the last 20 years. But how could this be?
The simple answer is that in the two
decades from 1985 onwards, New Zealand
had the biggest increase in income gaps of
any developed country. Incomes for the
richest Kiwis doubled, while those of the
poorest stagnated. Middle income earners
didn’t do too well, either.
Because New Zealand had
previously been so egalitarian, that
world-beating increase still wasn’t
enough to rocket the country right to
the top of the inequality league table,
but it is now doing just as badly on
some measures as Britain. In both
countries, the top п¬Ѓfth get about 40%
of after-tax income ; the bottom п¬Ѓfth
get just 8%. New Zealand is now just
as divided as the country that many of
its citizens’ ancestors left in order to
п¬Ѓnd a more equal society.
How has this happened? Tracing
the causes of a growing income gap
is like trying to map earthquake
fault lines - never a precise
science - but it is hard to ignore
the correlation between the timing
of the increase and the country’s
post-1984 political revolution.
Embracing reforms known
elsewhere as Thatchernomics and
Reaganomics with unprecedented
enthusiasm, New Zealand halved
its top tax rate, cut benefits by
up to a quarter of their value, and
dramatically reduced the bargaining
power - and therefore the share
of national income - of ordinary
workers. Thousands of people lost
their jobs as manufacturing work
went overseas, and there was no
significant response with increased
trade training or skills programmes,
a policy failure that is ongoing. At
the same time, New Zealand stopped
building affordable houses in any
serious quantity, forcing poorer
households to spend ever-increasing
amounts on rent and mortgages.
None of this implies that New
Zealand enjoyed a halcyon existence
before the 1980s’ reforms; it didn’t.
But it does imply that an alternative
path towards a modern economy, one
in which the benefits of growth were
shared evenly, was ignored. As the
OECD report points out, that would
actually have led to greater growth, as
well as greater equality.
Outrage over New Zealand’s
widening gaps has been muted,
partly because much of the extremes
are hidden: poverty tends to be
concentrated in areas that middle-class
New Zealanders don’t enter, and the
richest citizens still feel some pressure
not to flaunt their wealth. Perspectives
can also be short. In recent years, after
that explosive 20-year rise, income
gaps have been steady, leading some
to dismiss the issue. But as the OECD
report shows, the key learning is the
long-term impact. What started in
the 1980s continues to hold back New
Zealanders - and their economy today.
Alarm bells are п¬Ѓnally beginning to
sound. Recent polling shows threequarters of New Zealanders think
theirs is no longer an egalitarian
country, and that this is a bad thing.
Part of the unease stems from a
realisation that big income gaps aren’t
compatible with the idea that there
should be an equal chance for all.
In very unequal countries like the
US, half an adult’s income can be
predicted from what their parents
earned. New Zealand isn’t there yet,
but it does have a situation in which
exclusive schools are raffling off
internships at New York п¬Ѓrms, while
the parents of poor children are on
such low wages that they can’t afford
the electricity to keep a fridge running
. Is that “a fair go”? It’s hard to think
so. - Guardian News & Media
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The real Lima climate change deal
The Lima conference has
shown just how hard the
negotiations in Paris next
year will be, despite recent
optimism about global
By Michael Jacobs
t was the agreement that everyone wanted, yet that no one much
likes. This year’s annual United
Nations climate-change conference in Lima, Peru, п¬Ѓnally concluded
in the early hours of Sunday morning,
more than 24 hours after the scheduled close, after п¬Ѓerce argument in
the п¬Ѓnal days. Negotiators from 196
countries patched together a compromise that keeps the world on course
to a new global climate agreement in
Paris next year; but almost everyone
was left unhappy with some provision
or another.
Many critics of the deal, however,
have missed the point. The Lima
deal is weak in many respects. But
it also represents a fundamental
breakthrough for shaping a
comprehensive global climate regime.
The Lima conference had two goals.
The п¬Ѓrst was to adopt an outline of
the text of the 2015 Paris agreement.
This goal was achieved – but only by
creating a huge 37-page document
containing every possible option that
countries may want to see in next
year’s deal. Delegates did not attempt
to negotiate between the various
options, taking to heart the old maxim
“Why do today what you can put off
until tomorrow?”
That negotiation has been left to
the п¬Ѓve sessions of talks scheduled
for 2015, starting in February. Given
the divergence among the positions
included in the Lima text, arriving
at a draft п¬Ѓt for signing in Paris next
December will be a huge task.
The second goal was to agree on
the terms under which countries will
devise their national commitments –
officially, their “intended nationally
determined contributions” (INDCs)
– in 2015. Here, the compromises were
sharply felt.
Developing countries wanted the
INDCs to include plans for adaptation
to climate change as well as emissions
cuts, and they wanted developed
countries to include п¬Ѓnancial support
for poorer countries. Instead, no
commitments to new money were
made, and the inclusion of adaptation
plans will be optional, not compulsory.
Meanwhile, developed countries
wanted all countries to provide
standardised information on their
emissions targets and plans, to ensure
transparency and comparability. The
key elements were agreed on, but
only in the form of guidance, not as
requirements. Likewise, the proposal
by the European Union and the United
States that countries’ plans be subject
to some kind of assessment was
dropped from the п¬Ѓnal text.
But the aggregate effect of all
countries’ plans will be calculated,
allowing evaluation next year of
whether the world has done enough
to limit average global warming to
the agreed ceiling of 2C. It almost
certainly will have not.
For many of the agreement’s
critics, particularly those in the
environmental movement, these
compromises made the Lima deal an
excessively “bottom-up” agreement.
Countries have too much latitude to
make whatever commitments they
want, relatively unconstrained by
a common set of “top-down” rules
imposed by the agreement. Such
critics worry that this will make it
harder to persuade countries to cut
emissions further when it becomes
clear that their collective efforts are
not enough, and that it may even
allow some countries to use irregular
accounting methods.
But this overlooks the Lima
agreement’s greatest accomplishment:
It ends the longstanding division
of the world into only two kinds of
countries, developed and developing.
Ever since the original UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change was
signed in 1992, countries’ obligations
have been defined according to their
level of development in that year. The
rich so-called “Annex 1” countries
have had compulsory obligations,
while poorer “non-Annex 1” countries
Dear Sir,
The Government of India is making
elaborative arrangements to celebrate
the Centenary Celebrations of
renowned mathematician Ramanujam
from December 16 to 22 in all the
schools throughout India. The
purpose behind this celebration is
to create an awareness amongst the
student community, teaching faculty
and the society at large the immense
contribution made by Ramanujam.
Ramanujam, with no formal
training in pure mathematics, made
extraordinary and impeccable
contributions to mathematical
analysis, number theory, infinite
series, continued fractions besides
merely have been required to make
voluntary efforts.
Over the last 22 years, that binary
distinction has looked increasingly
obsolete, as the larger developing
countries, such as China and
Brazil, have emerged as economic
superpowers and major greenhousegas emitters. For this reason, the
z Michael Jacobs is Visiting Professor
in the Grantham Research Institute on
Climate Change and the Environment
at the London School of Economics.
Weather report
Celebrating a great
developed world has long wanted to
replace the “firewall” between the
two historic groupings with a form
of differentiation that better reflects
the contemporary world. But the
developing countries – including
major powers like China – have
insisted that it remain.
No longer. The Lima agreement
creates obligations for countries
without regard for the distinction
between Annex 1 and non-Annex 1.
Rather, it uses a new phrase drawn
from the recent agreement between
the US and China: countries’
responsibilities will be based
on “common but differentiated
responsibilities and respective
capabilities in light of different
national circumstances.” The firewall
has been breached.
In theory, the Lima agreement on
INDCs does not determine the shape
of the long-term Paris agreement.
So another п¬Ѓerce battle on this issue
can be expected next year. But the
vast majority of developing countries
– including China and Brazil – are
happy with the new regime. So it
is impossible to imagine the binary
model being restored – and those
countries that opposed the change
know it, which is why the п¬Ѓnal two
days in Lima were so п¬Ѓercely fought.
The Lima conference has shown
just how hard the negotiations in
Paris next year will be, despite recent
optimism about global progress.
But one highly significant decision
has now effectively been made.
Abandoning the rigid distinction
between developed and developing
countries paves the way toward
an agreement that all countries,
including the US and China, can sign.
- Project Syndicate
Three-day forecast
several others. When his amazing
and astonishing mathematical
skills became apparent to the wider
mathematical community, centred
in Europe at that time, he began
a famous partnership with the
English mathematician G H Hardy.
He rediscovered previously known
theorems in addition to producing
new work.
Rightly, Ramanujam was said to
be a natural genius as evidenced by
facts and п¬Ѓgures. He independently
compiled nearly 3,900 results, mostly
identities and equations. Almost
all his claims have now been proven
correct. His works have fuelled
and were instrumental in initiating
innumerable research programmes
and projects worldwide.
I make a fervent appeal to all the
educational institutions in Qatar to
follow suit by spreading the message
about this great mathematician,
who lived a simple, yet sensible life.
Students and all others concerned
will draw great inspiration to know
about his life, work, and the indelible
impression he has created.
In conclusion, I feel proud and
honoured as I too hail from the same
town (Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu)
and studied in the same school (Town
Higher Secondary School) where
Ramanujam spent his younger days.
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The fallacy of perfection
are constantly frustrated, as perfection
is not a real goal and can never really
be achieved. Success is your marketing
goal. Customers don’t look for perfect
products and services, even if they say
they do. Customers want their needs
met, and your job as a marketer is to
understand those needs and give that
to them.
Perfection wastes time.
When you work towards perfection,
you’ll find yourself spending a lot of
time on smaller things, and not the
big things that matter. You’ll make
small changes that your customers
won’t even notice, and miss out
game-changing features that could
make you successful. Don’t waste
your time!
The next time you п¬Ѓnd yourself
splitting hair to achieve perfection,
ask yourself: does my customer really
want this? If I achieve this, who will
notice? How will it make a difference
to the world? Remember your goal in
marketing is success, not perfection.
By Ahmed al-Akber
hen I
Fortune 500 companies,
I was known for
being a perfectionist. I toiled over
strategies and spent
a great deal of time
thinking, writing,
and talking about marketing plans.
Nothing got past me as far as planning
was concerned, and I was rewarded
for it. I only realised how limiting this
style of work was when I left Corporate
America to start my own business. It
was very early on when I realised that
my marketing results were suffering as
a result of over-planning. That’s when
I understood that seeking perfection
can damage your business in a lot of
ways. Here’s how:
Perfection in marketing
is not attainable. You can always do
things better, faster, and cheaper. But
that doesn’t mean your marketing
needs to be perfect - it needs to be
successful. And success only happens
when things get done. Therefore
focusing on getting marketing
activities done and learning what
works and what doesn’t, and how to do
them better, is the best way to achieve
Perfection hampers
our mindset. When you aim to be
perfect, nothing you do will ever be
good enough, and you will always
be second-guessing yourself. Your
confidence gets heavily affected,
and you play not to lose rather than
to win. Aiming for perfection is also
unrewarding and frustrating, as you
are working towards something that
can’t be achieved.
Perfection misses the point.
Seeking perfection will mean that you
z Ahmed al-Akber is the managing
director of ACK Solutions, a п¬Ѓrm that
helps companies to improve their
marketing and sales results by offering
more effective ways attracting customers
and significantly better products
and services. Ahmed has worked
internationally in marketing, sales, and
strategic planning at companies such as
the Coca-Cola Company, Philip Morris
International and Dell. Questions or
comments can be sent to Ahmed on
[email protected]
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Around the world
Cape Town
Hong Kong
New Delhi
New York
Sao Paulo
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Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Commercial Bank tent
hosts traditional activities
ommercial Bank has commenced Qatar National
Day celebrations with
traditional activities in a special tented zone by Commercial
Bank Plaza in West Bay.
Over the course of three days,
the bank is hosting staff and
visitors to enjoy a range of traditional handicrafts, food, drinks,
games, music and a photo gallery
by a Qatari artist.
To begin the celebrations,
Commercial Bank CEO Abdulla
Saleh al-Raisi led a cake-cutting
ceremony for staff and opened
the National Day zone comprising a traditional tented area and
majlis. Following the opening,
Commercial Bank board members participated in a traditional
Arda dance to the delight of the
Over the next two days, visiting local boys and girls schools
will perform the Arda dance and
will be given special National
Day gifts, besides having the
opportunity to take patriotic
photographs in a photo booth.
The tented area has a coffee
shop where guests are served Arabic coffee and traditional food
favourites, all accompanied by
historic Qatari music and games.
Qatar’s heritage and customs are
further celebrated with the display of handicrafts such as Sado
(hand spinning and weaving)
Bisht (stitching), boat making,
pearl diving and falconry.
Coinciding with the National
Day celebrations, Commercial
Bank is offering a range of “generous rates” for Qatari nationals
on personal loans, vehicle loans
and deposit accounts, the bank
has said in a statement.
Qatari customers can enjoy
a personal loan at 3.99%, with
a payment holiday of up to six
months, and vehicle loans at
2.39%, with a payment holiday
of up to three months plus a special offer on motor insurance.
Competitive rates are also
available on Commercial Bank
Time Deposit Accounts and
Qatari customers are rewarded
further by qualifying to receive a
“Free for Life” Commercial Bank
credit card with each personal
loan, vehicle loan or deposit
made during the offer period.
Al-Raisi said, “Qatar National
Day is a joyful occasion when all
Qataris can be especially proud
of our nation’s great achievements. Today, we celebrate our
rich heritage and past but also
look forward to a bright and
prosperous future under the
wise leadership of HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani. Commercial Bank is a
Qatari bank for Qatari staff and
Qatari customers and so we have
chosen to celebrate National
Day this year by hosting a range
of traditional Qatari activities,
which are vital to maintain and
cherish for the years to come.”
amad International Airport (HIA), Qatar’s new
world-class gateway to
the world, is preparing for the
influx of departing passengers
during the winter season and
celebrating Qatar National Day
on Thursday.
To celebrate National Day,
HIA will be decorated in this
year’s theme of a traditional
dhow. The images throughout
the state-of-the-art airport will
show the cultural significance of
the dhow and Qatar’s history of
the dhow as used in pearl diving.
HIA will be distributing special, themed gifts for younger
passengers and will have a dedicated photography area set up
behind the world-famous Lamp
Bear by Urs Fischer, where passengers can have their photo
taken next to a traditional dhow
To ensure passengers have
an enjoyable and relaxing time
at the airport during National
Day, HIA is advising passengers to arrive at the airport
three hours before their flight
departure time and that checkin will close 60 minutes prior
to departure. To save time at
the airport, Qatar Airways and
many other airlines operating from HIA offer passengers
online check-in.
Badr al-Meer, chief operating
officer, HIA, said: “We at HIA
are delighted to be celebrating
our п¬Ѓrst National Day in our superb new facility. As passengers
from Qatar and all over the world
travel for National Day and the
festive season, this is a great
opportunity for us to showcase
Qatari hospitality, and we would
like to wish everyone safe travels
and a happy National Day.”
Members of the public dropping off and collecting pas-
sengers are advised that HIA
offers free parking for the п¬Ѓrst
30 minutes in the short-term
car park. The short-term car
park is charged at QR5 per hour
after the п¬Ѓrst 30 minutes. Free
parking can be found in the
long-term car park for passengers who drive their own car to
the airport. The long-term car
park provides a bus ride to the
bus terminal at HIA. All unattended vehicles parked on the
curb side throughout the HIA
facility will be towed away by the
Passengers looking for further information on the airport,
flights and airline operations can
now visit, or alternatively check
for updates via HIA’s new social media channels including;
Twitter (@HIAQatar), Facebook
(Hamad International Airport)
and Instagram (HIAQatar).
UCQ nursing
students sing
A large crowd of nursing students
and University of Calgary in Qatar
(UCQ) partners, staff, faculty,
families and friends gathered this
week on the grounds of UCQ to
celebrate Qatar National Day.
To start the event, UCQ dean and
chief executive officer Dr Kim
Critchley spoke to the audience,
expressing her gratitude to
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani for the honour
of serving the state through the
delivery of “gold-standard nursing
education” to the people of Qatar.
Hissa al-Aali, associate director
of the College of Nursing
Programme, further inspired
the many nursing students
present with a strong sense of
pride in their futures as nursing
professionals in this country,
and praised the impact their
commitment will have on its
In a poem, UCQ Master of Nursing
student Shaika al-Qahtani
expressed her gratitude to HH
the Emir and HH Sheikha Moza
bint Nasser for their vision and
leadership, and pledged to use
the skills and knowledge she has
acquired at UCQ to “make Qatar
the best”.
The National Day celebration at
UCQ showcased Qatari culture
through food, an Arda and a folk
show. One of its highlights was
10-year-old Mohamed Khalifa, who
brought along his young falcon
and inspired national feelings in
everyone there with a beautiful
recitation celebrating Qatar.
oredoo has officially
launched its Qatar National Day campaign,
inviting customers to share the
reasons why they are proud to
live in Qatar to get the chance
to win an iPhone 6 and be published in the Ooredoo Qatar
National Day book.
The “Book of Legacies” will
include the best submissions
from the public and Ooredoo
employees and will be distributed for free to everyone who has
content published in the book.
People can take part in the legacy campaign by visiting the dedicated website,, or posting their
stories via social media (Facebook,
Twitter and InstaGram) with the
hashtag #QatarsLegacy. Submissions can include stories, pictures,
songs, videos and artwork.
Fatima Sultan al-Kuwari, director of community and public
relations at Ooredoo, said: “Qatar
National Day is a chance for us to
celebrate our roots and the beautiful country we are proud to be a
part of. We are inviting all of our
customers, social media followers and everyone who logs onto
our National Day website to share
their stories of pride about Qatar,
not just to win an iPhone 6 or be
part of our book, but to connect
with the people of Qatar.”
Posts published in the “Book
of Legacies” and on the web-
The celebrations in progress.
HIA preparing for influx
of departing passengers
Ooredoo’s legacy
campaign invites
comments from
Mowasalat pavilion brings
back old-world charm
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
visit to the Mowasalat
pavilion at Darb al-Saai,
the main centre of Qatar
National Day celebrations, will
give visitors an idea about the
public transport that existed in
the country several years ago.
With an exhibition of old buses
that were in use in the country
before Mowasalat buses hit the
country’s roads in October 2005,
the transport company’s pavilion
has attracted the attention of hundreds of citizens and residents.
Students from city schools
are guided to the place by their
teachers from early in the morning and most of them seem
amazed seeing the old model
that on display at the pavilion.
Though visitors are not allowed inside the buses many
of them choose to get photographed with the vintage buses.
While some of the old-timers
may have seen buses resembling
the exhibited GMC vehicle which
was in use until a decade ago and
a few may have also ridden it to
such places as Al Jamaliya, Industrial Area and Al Khor. Also
on show is a right-hand drive
Bedford, one of the very few
public transport buses operated
This right-hand drive Bedford bus on display at Mowasalat pavilion at Darb al Saai. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
along some of the country’s roads
until the beginning of the 1970s.
Ever since the authorities
moved the vehicle to the transport company’s workshop a few
years ago, its one and only entry
and exit door has been done away
with and that portion is now
joined with the rest of the body.
An old orange and white taxi
car is also on display. Even after the Karwa’s turquoise taxis
Ashghal connects with youngsters
An Al Meera official handing out gift hampers to students.
Al Meera makes
its presence felt
l Meera Consumer Goods
Co is an active presence
at Darb al-Saai, the main
centre for Qatar National Day
The kiosk it has set up in the
ward of Souk Waqef, is providing
snacks and drinks needed by the
visitors to the fair grounds.
Dr Mohamed Nasser alQahtani, deputy CEO of Al
Meera, said: “Our initiative
comes as part of Al Meera’s
keenness to keep strong bonds
with its customers ever since
the company was established
and share enjoyment on this
meaningful occasion”.
visiting Darb al-Saai during the
morning are given water bottles, pocket tissues, biscuits,
juices, a notebook and a pen at
Al Meera kiosk.
The outlet is open from 8am to
noon and from 4pm to 10pm.
site will be selected by a team of
dedicated Ooredoo employees.
Those chosen to be part of the
book will be contacted via email at a later date.
As part of the campaign,
Ooredoo will also give away
three iPhone 6 devices to customers with the best submissions. The winners will be
announced via social media.
To celebrate Qatar National
Day last year, Ooredoo created a
giant mural consisting of 5,000
individual reasons why people
love Qatar. The mural, which
was displayed at Landmark Mall
during the festivities, was recorded as the largest opinion
response the company has ever
had for a single campaign.
“We aim to beat last year’s
record and really capture the diverse population of Qatar’s voices. By publishing the anthology
of posts in a book, we are giving
everyone who took part a lasting
token,” added al-Kuwari.
As well as the Pride is our Legacy campaign, Ooredoo will announce a special Qatar National
Day offer for customers in the
coming week.
The company will also hold
employee celebrations to mark the
important occasion, with a special event also held for the teams
that continue to work during
the day of celebration to ensure
that Qatar stays connected.
s part of the celebrations being organised
by the Public Works
Authority, Ashghal, to mark
Qatar National Day, groups
of schoolchildren visited its
The initiative, “Ashghal in
the eyes of our children,” is a
part of the efforts to enhance
its communication with the
young generation, and to encourage their interests, and
make them aware of their
key role in developing the
Students were welcomed
by Ashghal’s officials and engineers, who gave them a field
tour to introduce them to the
important areas of Ashghal’s
roads, buildings, and drainage
The visit also included a tour
to Ashghal’s Heritage Village,
which was held for the п¬Ѓrst
time this year. The village is
A group of students during a visit to Ashghal headquarters.
a model of the old Qatari village with its diverse cultural
elements. There is also a traditional market featuring shops
and boutiques of traditional
crafts and occupations that
were practised in the past.
Abdulla Saad al-Saad, manager, public relations and
communications department,
Ashghal, said: “We believe
that National Day is all about
strengthening patriotism and
spirit of belonging in the hearts
of the new generation.”
Activities this year include
a new initiative under the slogan “Qatarna - Our Past and
Present” which aims at creating the largest album showcasing images of Qatar’s past and
hit the roads for the п¬Ѓrst time
in September 2004, orange and
white taxis continued for almost
two more years until they were
completely withdrawn towards
the end of 2006.
al khaliji kicks off
social media drive
Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) has
achieved great success with its recently
launched social media campaign on
platforms such as Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram, an initiative especially
marking Qatar National Day 2014.
“Participants from across Qatar have
expressed their love for the country
through sharing �selfies’ showcasing
some of their favourite places and
landmarks in the country,” al khaliji said
in a statement yesterday.
The contributions have so far been
various, impressing and rich with Qatar’s
most appealing locations. The chance
remains open for all those who would
like to join the campaign and pay a
unique tribute to Qatar.
Interested participants are invited
to visit
Alkhalijcommercialbank/, https://twitter.
com/khalijibank, and http://instagram.
com/alkhalijibank/ to discover Qatar and
upload exclusive pictures.
Anyone can take a �selfie’ at a favourite
location in Qatar and post it on al khaliji’s
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages
with the hashtag #alkhalijiselfie. The
photos with the most likes will receive
recognition in the media and online.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani and other dignitaries watching cultural performances by children, which marked the launch of the second Mal Lawal exhibition.
Father Emir opens second
Mal Lawal exhibition
H the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad
bin Khalifa al-Thani led the launch
of the second Mal Lawal – Biennale exhibition yesterday at Doha Exhibition Centre (DEC).
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and
Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz alKuwari, Qatar Museums (QM) deputy
chairman of the Board of Trustees Sheikh
Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani,
government officials and other guests also
attended the opening.
A number cultural performances by
groups of children were staged on the
HH the Father Emir toured the exhibition, during which he was briefed on the
personal collections of Qatari and GCC
citizens as well as collections of Arab and
Islamic heritage.
HH the Father Emir toured a number of
halls, including the amber and pearl halls,
as well as the photography pavilion.
HH Sheikh Hamad also toured the pavilion of the historic and contemporary
arts collections, in addition to rare Islamic
manuscripts and ancient п¬Ѓshing tools.
A one-of-its-kind event in the region, Mal Lawal - meaning “from the
old days” - features around 4,000 rare
collections gathered by more than 110
Qatari private collectors and 42 from the
wider GCC region.
The exhibition, which runs until February 28, 2015, is organised by QM under the patronage of HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The initiative
is made possible under the guidance and
leadership of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint
Hamad al-Thani, chairperson of the Board
of Trustees of QM.
“The event is a unique showcase of private collections, which blends heritage
and culture and celebrates historically and
socially significant objects and antiques,”
QM said in a statement.
Following the success of the п¬Ѓrst event
in September 2012, the much-anticipated biennale has grown in size and scale.
It now occupies more than 8,000sqm
at DEC.
Organised into nine categories, most of
the collections on display include manuscripts, weapons, Islamic collections, old
maps, ethnographic/heritage items, antiquities, jewellery, clothing and accessories, and other rare items from Qatar and
the rest of the GCC region.
This year, a number of new elements
have been introduced to the programme
to make the event even bigger and more
Four Majlis settings will give visitors an
intimate glimpse into the heart of a traditional Qatari home. Specially-created live
video links will deliver a virtual experience of eight “home museums” and their
A collection of old cameras displayed by a Kuwaiti collector.
Collectors have showcased a number of shisha pipes and metal boxes.
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari (second, right) and popular Qatari singer Fahad al-Kubaisi
(third, right) join young cultural performers at the opening of the second Mal Lawal exhibition yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
private collections of unparalleled quality.
More than 100 “oral histories” captured
in mini-п¬Ѓlms will document and celebrate
the memories and observations of venerable Qatari elders.
The biennial design has also been conceived to be as family-friendly as possible, setting up a food court, series of cafes serving traditional Qatari dishes, and
a specially-created children’s area with a
movable cinema installation.
Inspired by the traditional streets, villages and avenues of old Qatar, or “Al
Fergan”, the walls of the exhibition are
shaped as arcs extending in some cases
to 40m to accommodate the many thousands of pieces.
“We are delighted to present the second edition of Mal Lawal this year, which
launches in conjunction with Qatar National Day celebrations and highlights
Qatar’s unique heritage,” said Sheikh
Hassan. “By raising awareness of such
objects’ importance and instilling a love
of preserving their historical, social and
cultural worth, Mal Lawal perfectly encapsulates Qatar Museum’s strategy of
focusing on art, creativity and heritage
to honour the traditions of the past while
embracing the future.”
Nasser al-Hammadi, Mal Lawal Biennale chairman and curator, hopes the exhibition strengthens the spirit of national
A number of carpets with unique designs.
A cultural performance by a group of girls at the opening ceremony.
participation. “It is the ideal initiative to
promote a passion for collecting antiques
and artefacts, particularly for the next
generation,” he said. “We hope it will ignite renewed interest in linking the riches
of our past with a fast-evolving present, as
well as paving the way to our future.”
Stephen Kelly, president and general
manager of Oxy Qatar (main sponsor of
Mal Lawal biennial), said the uniqueness
of the artefacts displayed at the exhibition
allows people to learn about Qatar and the
region’s traditions by taking them on a
journey through time and history.
“We hope the unique sense of engagement and community that Mal Lawal creates will further enhance public awareness
and appreciation of local art and cultural
heritage, particularly among the younger
generation in Qatar,” he stressed.
Old jars are among the 4,000 rare collections at Mal Lawal.
Symposium gathers 12 local and international artists
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
he Al Asmakh International Sculpture Symposium 2014 brings together
12 local and international artists
who are showcasing their ingenuity by “capturing the beauty of
Qatar through visual arts”.
Two Qataris, Mohamed alAtiq and Talal al-Dhefairi, join 10
artists from Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Sudan, Oman, Tunisia, France and Italy, who will
also participate in various activities, including a series of lectures
and museum visits during the
fortnight-long event.
The cultural event is organised
by Regency Art and Wyndham
Grand Regency Doha under the
patronage of HE Sheikh Faisal bin
Qassim al-Thani and with support from the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
At a press conference yesterday, Hassan Ibrahim Hassan
al-Asmakh, vice-president of
Regency Group Holding, told
reporters that they conducted a
thorough screening in selecting
the artists and their works.
He said Regency Art, a nonprofit organisation, wants to bring
unique workshops to the country
as they try to differentiate them
from other companies within
Qatar. “We decided to test out a
sculpting symposium initially with
the first batch, you are (the) founders, initiators of this programme,”
al-Asmakh told the artists.
He noted that all artworks
from the programme will be exhibited at a reception in Wyndham Grand Regency Doha’s lobby
Regency Group Holding vice president al-Asmakh (centre) joins local and international artists in announcing the launch of Al Asmakh
International Sculpture Symposium 2014 yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram
on December 24, from 5.30pm to
7.30pm. The masterpieces will
not be for sale but will stay with
them as part of the symposium.
Also, Regency Art’s five-year
forecast does not involve the sale
of any of the works but rather for
collection and display only.
Hotel guests will also have the
opportunity to meet the talented
and award-winning artists who
have travelled from various parts
of the world.
Al-Asmakh hopes the event
will be one of the historical and
cultural pillars of their art programme “in the near future” as
it offers talented artists and professionals the opportunity to express their creativity.
Citing the negative perception
of some people about the Middle East, he said the programme
helps entrench the status of Qatar on the “map of art”.
“Sculpting as an art form has
changed over the years,” he noted. “Now it is more of conveying
a message using different media.”
About the venue of the symposium, al-Asmakh said they chose
their farmhouse due to its accessibility to the main road, which is
a factor in transporting the pieces
with ease.
“The venue has a lot of greenery and a pond; that was the location we chose because of the ease
of access,” he explained. “We are
ready to store and move the pieces without them being damaged,
and also to have a direct link to
the highway for the artists.”
Wyndham Grand Regency Doha
hosted the second edition of the Al
Asmakh International Symposium
of Art 2014 in March this year.
The week-long cultural event
had gathered more than 40 artists from a diverse range of countries such as Russia, Sweden, the
Netherlands and Morocco.
Ooredoo facing
new competitor
in Myanmar
Autos unveils
new BMW X6
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Safar 24, 1436 AH
QSE bounces back
as bank, consumer
goods stocks surge
Ezdan Holding gets nod to hike
foreign ownership limit to 49%
HH the Emir’s
directive to
QSE-listed companies
to enhance the foreign
ownership limit “is
a welcome move
that could bolster
investment in the
domestic market
and contribute to the
national economy,”
Ezdan Holding
chairman Sheikh
Khalid bin Thani bin
Abdulla al-Thani said
zdan Holding, which plans to launch
several major real estate projects over
the next year, will soon allow up to
49% foreign ownership, a move that will
have a “positive impact” on the local bourse
and the business sector in Qatar in general.
At the extraordinary general assembly,
shareholders yesterday approved the board’s
proposal to hike the non-Qatari ownership
limit to 49% from the present 25%.
The company’s initiative follows HH the
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s
directive to the listed companies to enhance
the foreign ownership limit with a view to
improving the liquidity in the market as well
as attracting higher foreign investments.
“It (the directive of HH the Emir) is a welcome move that could bolster investment in
the domestic market and contribute to the
national economy,” Ezdan Holding chairman
Sheikh Khalid bin Thani bin Abdulla al-Thani told the shareholders.
GECF 16th Ministerial Meeting in Doha today
The 16th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting
Countries Forum (GECF) will be held at the forum’s
headquarters at the Tornado Tower in Doha today.
During the ordinary meeting, member countries will
examine the evolution of international gas markets, the
reports of activities of the executive council and the
forum secretariat as well as “other matters” relating to
the forum and the industry as a whole. Established in
2001, Doha-headquartered GECF brings together major
gas exporting countries: Qatar, Algeria, Russia, Iran,
Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Libya,
Egypt, Bolivia, Venezuela and Oman.
The observer countries are Norway, the Netherlands and
Qatar’s affordable
housing demand may
grow at 3.75% CAGR
until 2022: Markaz
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
he demand for “affordable
housing” in Qatar has been projected to grow at a compounded
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.75%
until 2022, a new study has shown.
According to Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) almost the entire demand
for affordable housing in Qatar is expected to “remain concentrated in the
urban areas” of the country.
Markaz has stressed that affordable
housing had not “received its due share
of concern from the policymakers”.
“There is a pressing need to look at
the issue of affordable housing shortages in the GCC (Gulf Co-operation
Council) region and the factors inherent in the system leading to such a
chronic shortage,” Markaz said.
The GCC’s population is estimated
to have reached 49.3mn last year and
poised to grow at a higher rate than
developed and developing countries,
it said.
This, combined with a growing
workforce in the region, puts “severe
pressure” on “matching supply and
demand” for affordable housing in the
GCC. The region has become one of the
most urbanised areas in the world with
more than 75% of its population living
in cities.
Unemployment levels across the
countries remain on a higher side. The
level of unemployment in Bahrain and
Oman is about 15% of the working population, while in Saudi Arabia it stands
at 10.5%. The GDP (gross domestic
product) per capita of GCC nations are
comparable to that of developed nations, and fares much better compared
to emerging market economies like
China, India, and Brazil.
“The high GDP per capita of the
nations is also translating into rising
demand for housing, including affordable housing. The commitment of GCC
economies towards diversification to
usher in future growth of the region,
will eventually create more demand for
low-cost housing, as the people from
lowest income groups п¬Ѓnd themselves
able to afford a house of their own,”
Markaz said. The demand for affordable housing is estimated to be high
across all the GCC member states, the
report said. The total demand for affordable housing in Saudi Arabia is
estimated for more than 3mn in 2014
with approximately 82% of this demand pertaining to urban areas.
The ever-widening gap between the
demand and supply of affordable housing in GCC countries is pressing the
governments in the region to have an
urgent look at the issue. The GCC’s affordable housing industry faces many
challenges, such as tough credit markets terms, volatility in the prices of
building materials, and shrinking margins of developers.
Moreover, supply-side bottlenecks
in the form of lack of housing п¬Ѓnance,
delays in approvals, inefficient urban
planning system, high-cost construction priority (such as villas and highend apartments), and long waiting
lines of government housing schemes
pose additional pressure on the sector
to deliver.
However, the recent initiatives are
encouraging, where governments are
coming forward to provide land in good
locations and at reasonable prices.
GCC governments also provide incentives to developers, as well as formation
of urban development bodies in the region, the report said.
There has been a higher acceptance
of public-private partnership (PPP)
in the GCC, in recent years, due to the
enhanced ability of the private sector
to execute housing projects on a largescale. But prospective developers need
to feel confident of generating stable
income flows from low-cost housing
Consolidation of industry players
through mergers and acquisitions will
improve economies of scale, and serve
to address cost and margin issues in low
cost housing projects. It will also lead to
easier access to liquidity for the developers than most competitors worldwide, and enable effective and quick
implementation of the projects.
“The issue of affordable housing in
GCC is serious and needs to be dealt
with on an urgent basis. An effective
plan of action needs to focus towards
integrating economic, social and cultural issues along with physical planning and development by the adoption
of a national housing policy that considers providing accommodation for
future population growth in large cities and encourages their decentralisation towards other organised suburban
centres,” Markaz said.
Ezdan Holding Group CEO Ali al-Obaidly
said an increase in non-Qatari ownership
limit would enhance the group’s standing in
the market in line with the Qatar National
Vision 2030.
“It could bring in more foreign investments, supporting the development of the
country and providing economic opportunities to new institutions,” he said.
Sprucing up its diversification efforts,
Ezdan Holding has in this year acquired more
than 20% stake in Qatari Investors Group,
purchased up to 20.16 % stake in Widam
Food (formerly Mawashi) and more than 20%
in Islamic Holding Group, a Shariah-principled Qatar Exchange-listed stock brokerage.
In 2015, Ezdan Holding plans to launch
several major realty projects such as Ezdan
Mall Al Wakra, the п¬Ѓrst of its kind in the area
where the population has been growing exponentially.
The group is also constructing Ezdan Ho-
tel Al Shamal. It is part of the QR1.5bn complex, being built on Al Shamal Road behind
Landmark Mall, spread over around 115,000
sq m. The sprawling complex includes 129
luxury villas, 256 apartments and a 220room four-star hotel - the п¬Ѓrst of its kind on
North Road.
The QR4.5bn residential project comprising 11,000 residential units in Al Wakrah and
being built in partnership with SAK Holding
Group, will be completed by 2017.
Ezdan Holding owns more than 18,000 diverse real estate units in Doha and other vital
locations like Al Wakrah, which are run by its
real estate arm.
Highlighting that its core strategy has been
to achieve diversity across its operations, alObaidly had earlier said the objective is to
“dissociate” from the real estate sector to
reinforce the group’s investment portfolio in
other sectors in a “balanced manner” without getting exposed to concentration risks.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Saudi billionaire prince to
launch Arab news channel
Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is to
launch an Arab satellite news channel on February 1, vowing to
“break the mould” in a crowded field.
Bahrain-based Alarab News Channel, broadcasting in Arabic,
said yesterday it would usher in “a completely new style of
news programming in the Middle East and beyond”.
Through his Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co, Alwaleed has
diversified investments that include luxury global hotels as
well as international media firms News Corp and Time Warner.
Alarab will enter a market revolutionised by Qatar-based Al
Jazeera almost 20 years ago when it became the region’s first
pan-Arab news television broadcaster.
Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, belonging to the MBC Group owned
and chaired by Sheikh Waleed al-Ibrahim, a brother-in-law of
Saudi Arabia’s late King Fahd, followed in 2003.
“Alarab will break the mould of news presentation, becoming
a platform for transparent presentation and discussion of the
region’s most intractable issues,” it said in a statement.
Alarab’s general manager is Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi
journalist forced to step down from the helm of the kingdom’s
Al-Watan daily in 2010.
Alarab will also be competing against other relative newcomers such as Sky News Arabia, France 24 in Arabic and the BBC’s
Arabic service.
Through his
Kingdom Holding
Co, Alwaleed
has diversified
investments that
include luxury
global hotels as well
as international
media firms News
Corp and Time
A woman talks on a mobile phone at a market in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. Despite Myanmar still being a country largely underserved by mobile services at a current penetration
rate of some 11%, future competition between the four operators could turn out to be a tough one and put prices further under pressure.
Ooredoo is facing a new
competitor in Myanmar
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
he upcoming launch of a
fourth mobile phone operator in Myanmar means a
new challenge for Qatar’s telecom
group Ooredoo which is currently
building up a nation-wide network in the country seen as one
of the world’s last telecoms frontiers, with Telenor and incumbent
Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) as its current
News broke last week that Viettel, Vietnam’s largest mobile
network operator and a government-owned enterprise wholly
owned and operated by Viet-
nam’s Ministry of Defence, will
invest around $1.8bn in Myanmar
to set up a mobile phone network
on its own. In a п¬Ѓrst step, Viettel will create a joint venture
with Myanmar’s Yatanarpon
Teleport, holder of the fourth
mobile phone licence, and bring
in $800mn in the deal. The rest,
$1bn, should come from an unnamed foreign partner, it turned
out at shareholders’ meeting of
Viettel held on December 3.
Viettel – together with Ooredoo and Telenor – was one of the
bidders in Myanmar’s 2013 mobile
phone licence auction but failed
to secure a licence. However, its
deputy general director Le Dang
Dung said after the auction that
the company will continue to seek
“co-operation opportunities with
winning bidders to launch services in the country.”
In turn, Yatanarpon Teleport
has been looking for foreign companies to establish a partnership
in the telecommunication sector
ever since it received the licence.
The company is majority-owned
by MPT at 51%, with the rest being held by local private investors,
among them Elite Tech Co, part of
the influential conglomerate Htoo
Group of Companies of business
tycoon Tay Za, believed to be Myanmar’s richest businessman but
also a prominent name on the US
sanctions list against Myanmar
business people.
Before deciding to tie up with
Viettel, Yatanarpon Teleport
has reportedly mulled partnerships with Thailand’s True Corp
Kurdistan failed
to pay $100mn,
says Dana Gas
Dana Gas, one of the largest investors in Iraq’s Kurdistan,
said yesterday the semi-autonomous region had failed to
pay $100mn as instructed by a London arbitration court,
prompting Dana to ask the court to enforce the order.
“An application to the English Court has been made for
enforcement of the order, with the prospect of sanctions
being imposed on the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government)
for non-compliance,” Dana said in a statement.
The case is part of much bigger “multibillion dollar” claims
that the Pearl consortium, led by Dana, brought against
Kurdistan for breach of contractual commitments and which
it says are due to be heard in London next April.
The consortium, which also consists of Crescent Petroleum
of the UAE, Austria’s OMV and Hungarian oil and gas group
MOL, had filed an arbitration case in London in October 2013,
seeking to confirm its contract rights and to obtain payments
for production.
The case is closely watched by other companies active
in Kurdistan, whose untapped oil and gas reserves and
lucrative production-sharing contracts have attracted major
international oil companies in recent years.
Dana has said it is had not received any significant payments
from the KRG.
The KRG has previously rejected claims, saying Dana’s
statement about London court rulings were “misleading” and
it was the consortium that owed it billions of dollars.
Yesterday, Dana said the London Court of International
Arbitration had ordered the KRG to pay the consortium
$100mn, which the KRG failed to do by the stipulated
deadline of November 17, 2014.
Dana said it had therefore applied on December 12 to the
court for enforcement of the order.
The Pearl consortium has invested more than $1.2bn in
Iraqi Kurdistan, according to the statement, and currently
produces an average of over 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent
per day, including 320mn cubic feet per day of gas.
and Axiata from Malaysia, both
large telecoms in their respective countries, but the talks were
unsuccessful. Yatanarpon currently offers pre-paid mobile
services and Internet packages
as well as satellite communication. Ironically, its majority
owner MPT will turn a competitor itself as it also holds a mobile
phone licence and has recently
partnered with Japanese firms
KDDI Corp and Sumitomo Corp,
which have said they will invest
$2bn in their own mobile phone
Despite Myanmar still being a
country largely underserved by
mobile phone services at a current penetration rate of some 11%,
future competition between the
four operators could turn out to be
a tough one and put prices further
under pressure. Ooredoo and Telenor launched their new mobile
services in August and September
this year, respectively, and since
prices for SIM cards have plummeted from $150 to $1.50. Both
companies paid very high bids for
their licences and need to invest
billions of dollars in mobile phone
tower construction and other telecommunications infrastructure,
along with massive marketing incentives.
Adding to the situation is Myanmar’s current devaluation of
the national currency, the kyat,
which brought with it rising inflation for consumer goods and lower purchasing power for Myanmar
people, decelerating the speed of
mobile phone customer growth.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
QSE bounces back on bank
and consumer goods stocks
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Local retail investors’ increased penchant for equities led the 20-stock Qatar Index to surge 3.11% to
11,460.02 points yesterday.
Barwa building QR750mn warehouse for Manateq
Barwa Real Estate Company is building a
�low cost’ warehouse at an estimated cost of
The company has been awarded a tender to
build, operate, and transfer the warehousing for
Manateq (Economic Zones Company); a Barwa
spokesman confirmed the development in a
communiquГ© to the Qatar Stock Exchange.
The announcement comes close on the heels
of Gulf Warehousing Company announcing its
order to develop Bu-Sulba Logistics Hub, which
aims to serve small and medium enterprises in
Qatar, at an estimated cost of QR685mn.
Barwa will develop low cost warehousing
solutions, within a period of 24 months, and
under a lease agreement of 25 years. The letter
of intent was executed on Sunday among
Barwa Real Estate, Ministry of Economy and
Commerce, and Manateq.
The project aims at increasing the presence of
Barwa in the local Qatari market, and diversity
its investments in line with the nature of its
business and activities, the spokesman said.
This project will also lead to reinforce Barwa’s
financial position, through the income from the
operating activities for the 25 years lease period,
it said, asserting that there is no conflict of
interest between it and Manateq.
he Qatar Stock Exchange
yesterday bounced back
with 346 points gain to inch
near the 11,500 mark, mainly lifted
by banking and consumer goods
Local retail investors’ increased
penchant for equities led the
20-stock Qatar Index (based on price
data) to surge 3.11% to 11,460.02
points as volumes also rose.
Both domestic and foreign institutions chose to book profit in
the market, which is, however, up
10.41% year-to-date.
The index that tracks Shariahprincipled stocks was seen gaining faster than the other indices in
the market, where capitalisation
swelled 3.13% or more than QR19bn
to 633.99bn.
The Total Return Index rose
3.11% to 17,092.52 points, the All
Share Index by 3.17% to 2,925.2
points and Al Rayan Islamic Index
by 3.46% to 3,788.59 points.
Consumer goods stocks vaulted
4.61%, followed by banks and п¬Ѓnancial services (4.31%), industrials (2.76%), transport (1.94%), real
estate (1.79%), telecom (1.6%) and
insurance (1.17%).
More than 90% of the companies extended gains to investors
with major gainers being Industries
Qatar, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank,
Marfa Al Rayan, Masaya Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, Gulf International
Services, Doha Bank, Birwa, Gulf
Warehousing and Nabila. However,
Dallas and Islamic Holding Group
were seen bucking the trend.
Qatari retail investors turned net
buyers to the tune of QR83.59mn
compared with net sellers of
QR68.05mn the previous day.
Non-Qatari individual investors
Woqod plans 7 more CNG fuel stations by 2017
Senior officials and Woqod executives during the one-day �CNG workshop’ at the La Cigale hotel in Doha yesterday.
Woqod plans to commission some seven more compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelling stations in the country by 2017
with the support of Qatar Petroleum, the exclusive fuel distributor said yesterday. “There are plans for a much wider
roll out of CNG availability, both through Woqod service stations and at the home base of large fleet operators,” the
company said in a release. Currently, Woqod has one CNG station, fuelling some 66 Mowasalat buses in Doha’s New
Industrial Area. According to Woqod, Mowasalat had agreed to provide a feedback on the usage of CNG in its buses.
Yesterday, Woqod held a one-day �CNG workshop’ at the La Cigale hotel in Doha. Commenting on the event, Woqod
CEO Ibrahim Jaham al-Kuwari said, “I am pleased and honoured to open the first workshop we are holding on the
introduction of CNG as an alternative road transportation fuel in Qatar.”
also turned net buyers to the extent
of QR28.83mn against net profittakers of QR65.18mn on December
However, domestic institutions turned net sellers to the tune
of QR35.18mn compared with net
buyers of QR131.59mn on Sunday.
turned net sellers to the extent of
QR77.32mn against net buyers of
QR1.63mn the previous day.
Total trade volume rose 12% to
25.21mn shares, value by 5% to
QR1.01bn and transactions by 13%
to 11,034.
The consumer goods sector’s
trade volume almost tripled to
4.74mn equities, value rose 28%
to QR155.16mn and deals by 11% to
The transport sector’s trade volume more than doubled to 2.87mn
stocks with value also more than
doubling to QR112.47mn on a 56%
jump in transactions to 860.
There was a 20% expansion in
the telecom sector’s trade volume
to 3.53mn shares, 7% in value to
QR75.91mn and 28% in deals to
The industrials sector’s trade
volume expanded 13% to 3.12mn
equities, value by 5% to QR217.76mn
and transactions by 53% to 2,733.
However, the insurance sector’s
trade volume plummeted 97% to
0.01mn stocks, value by 74% to
QR5.48mn and deals by 43% to 140.
The real estate sector saw its
trade volume plunge 21% to 5.86mn
shares, value by 11% to QR142.5mn
and transactions by 13% to 1,877.
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services
sector reported a 15% slippage in
trade volume to 4.98mn equities,
10% in value to QR298.76mn and
2% in deals to 2,765.
In the debt market, there was no
trading of treasury bills and government bonds.
Most Gulf markets stabilise
amid pause in crude plunge
Most Middle East stock
markets became more stable
yesterday, after plunging in
previous days, as the price
of oil recovered slightly. But
fund managers said it was
by no means clear that any
sustained recovery of stock
prices was starting.
Brent crude climbed above
$62 per barrel, after hitting
5-1/2-year lows of $60.28
earlier, as traders began
pricing in expectations
of improving global
manufacturing data to be
published later this week.
Dubai’s stock index inched
up 0.1% as most shares in the
emirate gained. The market
rose as much as 4.8% during
the day before giving up
almost all those gains by the
end of the session.
The Dubai index had tumbled
14.4% in the two previous
sessions as oil’s plunge
triggered panic selling.
With the outlook for oil still
uncertain, very few people are
willing to call a bottom for Gulf
stock markets.
“It’s just a normal technical
rebound, there’s nothing more
at this stage,” Sebastien Henin,
head of asset management
at The National Investor in
Abu Dhabi, said of yesterday’s
equity market trading. “It is
not a game changer.”
Abu Dhabi and Oman also
gave up all their intra-day
gains and closed down
0.7% and 0.9% respectively.
Renaissance Services, which
provides services to the
oil and gas sector, was the
biggest loser in Muscat,
tumbling 8.8%.
Gulf bourses have been closely
correlated with oil prices for
the last few weeks as investors
became worried that a sharp
decline in oil revenues could
trigger large government
spending cuts and thus slow
non-oil growth.
Analysts and fund managers
believe this is unlikely to
happen in countries other
than Oman and Bahrain, since
the big Gulf economies have
huge fiscal reserves. But stock
markets may remain under
pressure from retail investor
selling until there is clear
evidence that government
spending and corporate profit
growth is staying strong.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark,
on the other hand,
underperformed the region
and dropped 2.6% as an initial
recovery gave way to a fresh
sell-off across the board. The
market’s year-to-date gains,
which peaked at 30.6% in
September, have now turned
into a 7.4% loss.
Analysts say many Gulf
investors may continue selling
into any strength for a while.
“Upcoming catalysts which
will help determine the
direction of markets will be
the 2014 results, along with
the announcement of the
Saudi budget for 2015,” Sherif
El Haddad, manager of the
EFG-Hermes Middle East and
Developing Africa Fund, said in
a monthly report on Monday.
Saudi Arabia is expected to
announce its budget near
the end of this month, and
possibly next Monday.
“Looking ahead, we suspect
that the big falls in equities
have probably now happened,”
Jason Tuvey, London-based
Middle East economist with
Capital Economics, said in a
note on the Gulf.
“But if oil prices settle at $60$65 per barrel over the coming
years, as we expect, a sharp
rebound in stock markets
across the Gulf seems unlikely.”
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s
index edged up 0.4% to 6,302
points, while Bahrain’s index
lost 0.3% to 1,378 points.
Egypt’s index rose 1.3% to
8,832 points.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Shetty gets loan of up
to $800mn for
Travelex purchase
A loan of up to $800mn
to help Abu Dhabi-based
entrepreneur BR Shetty
acquire a majority stake in
foreign exchange operator
Travelex has been completed,
two sources aware of the
matter said yesterday.
The facility, arranged by
Goldman Sachs and QNB, will
last for 18 months, according
to one of the sources. The
second source said the cash
would be borrowed through
an entity owned by Shetty
called BRS Ventures and
Holdings Ltd. Shetty declined
to comment when reached by
Reuters. Both sources spoke
on condition of anonymity as
the information isn’t public.
Three other banks — Doha
Bank, National Bank of
Fujairah and Commercial
Bank International — joined
the loan, the first source said.
Travelex, the world’s largest
foreign exchange specialist,
was set up as a bureau de
change in the 1970s and now
trades in over 80 currencies
and more than 50 countries.
It said in May that Shetty and
Abu Dhabi private equity
house Centurion Investments
would buy the firm from
its shareholders including
Chairman Lloyd Dorfman and
Apax Partners.
Traders watch dealing on the Tehran Stock Exchange in this file photo dated December 21, 2003. The bourse has lost 20% in 2014 and is set for the first yearly decline since 2008 as petrochemical companies and
lenders plunged. Over the previous five years, shares soared 910%, or about 300% in dollar terms after factoring in the rial’s declines.
Iran’s 300% stock rally fades
as nuke deal eludes Rouhani
he п¬Ѓve-year rally in Iranian
stocks is coming to an end as
optimism fades that President
Hassan Rouhani can resolve an international standoff over the country’s
disputed nuclear programme.
The Tehran Stock Exchange Index has
lost 20% in 2014, set for the п¬Ѓrst yearly
decline since 2008, as petrochemical
companies and lenders plunged, bourse
data show. Over the previous п¬Ѓve years,
shares soared 910%, or about 300% in
dollar terms after factoring in the rial’s
Progress on talks with world powers
stalled last month, undermining confidence that Rouhani’s election in June
2013 would spur a detente with the US
The two sides announced November
24 they’d need another seven months
to try to end a decade of international
sanctions that are throttling the econo-
my. The six-month plunge in oil, Iran’s
biggest income source, deepened the
“After the spike on the back of the
potential for rapprochement, continued negotiation extensions have
weighed on” stocks, Emad Mostaque,
a London-based strategist at Ecstrat
Ltd, said by e-mail on December 12.
“The market retains significant upside
potential in the medium and long term,
but low oil prices and continued economic adjustment are likely to weigh in
the short term.”
Trading slid this year, with $102mn
shares changing hands on average by
December, compared with $203mn a
year earlier. By comparison, stock trading in Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest
market, averaged $2.3bn, data compiled
by Bloomberg show.
While foreigners can invest in Iranian stocks, regulations vary depending
on how they’re categorised. Overseas
money managers are classified as �portfolio investors’ if they hold up to 10% of
a company’s shares, or �strategic investors’ if they own from 10% to 100%,
according to Tehran-based investment
boutique Turquoise Partners.
Equities more than doubled last year
as Rouhani, considered the most liberal of presidents approved by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reached an interim
accord with the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia in November
2013 to ease sanctions on crude exports in exchange for caps on nuclear
The exchange’s market value climbed
38% since 2011 to $120bn, compared
with $484bn for Saudi’s exchange.
Saderat Bank, subject to European Union sanctions since 2010, and Parsian
Oil & Gas this year tumbled more than
31% from 53-week highs.
“There were positive expectations
and hopes as we approached the deadline,” Homayoun Darabi, an individual
investor, said in Tehran on December 7.
“The fact that there was then no agreement meant that people pulled out.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad
Javad Zarif said earlier this month talks
are near a “successful end.” Negotiators
will meet again on December 17.
Iran’s revenue from crude sales fell
30% because of oil’s plunge, which
could put pressure on the budget, Rouhani said on December 8.
The government, which assumed a
price of $100 for a barrel in the п¬Ѓscal
year through March, is basing its 2015
spending plan on an average of $72.
Brent fell to $61.85 last week, extending
the drop from this year’s peak to about
“It is hard to say which had a bigger
impact - the negotiations or oil - but
in my view, the biggest factor was disappointment that came after weeks of
optimism on a potential nuclear deal,”
Ramin Rabii, managing director at Turquoise, said by e-mail on December 9.
This year’s decline “was a very natural
market correction,” he said.
The $7bn in sanctions relief secured
last year spurred bets Iran’s $366bn
economy would recover from a recession. The relief has proven less valuable
than initial expectations, a US administration official said in November.
With crude comprising 15% of gross
domestic product and “significant”
foreign-exchange reserves, Iran can
“fund the full oil income portion of the
budget for a year even with zero oil income,” according to Rabii.
Iran’s economy will expand 1.5% in
2014 after shrinking 5.6% and 1.7% in
the previous two years respectively,
according to International Monetary
Fund estimates in April, prior to crude’s
slide. The IMF forecasts inflation will
slow to 23% in 2014 from 35% last year.
The 420-member Tehran Stock Exchange fell 8.4% the past month and
traded at 5.5 times reported earnings at
the end of November. That compares
with 14.6 for Saudi stocks.
“Euphoric rally buying can only last
so long,” Ecstrat’s Mostaque said. “The
final hurdles are primarily on the political side.”
Aldar to cut
debt by over
a third in two
years: CFO
bu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties will cut its debts by
more than a third over the
next two years, its chief п¬Ѓnancial
officer said yesterday, extending
a trend that has already led to
credit agencies upgrading their
ratings on the company.
Aldar, 34%-owned by Abu
Dhabi government fund Mubadala Development Co, had
9.6bn dirhams ($2.6bn) of debt
as of September 30 - down from
13.8bn at the end of 2013 and set
to fall to 6bn over the next two
The reduction is down to
Aldar, which merged with statebacked Sorouh Real Estate in
June 2013 and which ranks as the
emirate’s largest developer, using some of the money due from
Abu Dhabi’s government to repay debt, chief financial officer
Greg Fewer told Reuters.
Smartphone generation: Mena’s overnight mobile Internet revolution
By Khaldoon Tabaza
What is the single indicator related to the
online market opportunity in the UAE
and Saudi Arabia that beats all other
developed and developing countries?
Just take a look at people in coffee shops,
malls, or even at family gatherings, you’ll
notice immediately that everyone has a
smartphone. To be specific, 74% of all mobile phones in the UAE and Saudi Arabia
are smartphone devices, beating South
Korea, which comes in second place with
a penetration rate of 73%. Other emerging
online markets such as Russia and Brazil
have smartphone penetration rates of
only 36% and 26%, respectively.
The fierce competition between the GCC
(Gulf Co-operation Council) and South
Korea in this regard becomes even more
interesting when you know that the total
population and gross domestic product of
the GCC are very similar to those of South
Korea. The contrast, however, is that
South Korea has produced mobile gaming and application companies that are
worth billions of dollars, and is starting to
spread the products of those companies
worldwide. So what’s in it for local and
regional online businesses in our region?
The proliferation of 3G and 4G networks,
in addition to Wi-Fi networks in public
places, has enabled successful online
businesses with strong strategies to
capture mobile users, wherever they are.
For example, leading online food ordering
business, Hellofood, receives almost 80%
of its orders via mobile in Saudi Arabia.
OpenSooq, an online classifieds business,
gets approximately 50% of its traffic via
its mobile site and its application, which
was downloaded more than 2.5mn times
in less than 6 months. A random look at
some of the recent listings on OpenSooq
show a user who captured a photo of a
camel at the outskirts of Saudi Arabia
with his smartphone, offering it for sale
in a couple of clicks, and a landlord who
took photos of his apartment in Kuwait,
offering it for rent on the online platform.
In fact, certain online business models
are built almost exclusively for mobile
applications, including mobile taxi hailing,
mobile messaging, and mobile gaming.
Not only do smartphones offer users
the freedom to perform online actions
anywhere and anytime, they also offer
specific capabilities that are not always
available on desktops and laptops, including location-based services, operator billing (overcoming the challenges of online
payments), and a much easier integration
of voice, photos, and videos.
In many ways, smartphones have brought
online services to a new category of users
in the Middle East, who were not users of
desktop computers of laptops. In fact, users in some countries such as Iraq where
the mobile infrastructure has leapfrogged
the fixed lines infrastructure, were first
introduced to the Internet through their
mobile phones, not desktops.
Even in more mature online markets, new
users including teenagers and elderly
people view smartphones and connected
smart devices as their primary online
device, contrary to the traditional view
that mobile is just an ancillary channel
in users’ eyes. In a couple of years -if not
earlier- we should not be surprised if
smart devices become the primary online
channel for all users.
However, embracing online users isn’t
exclusive to smart websites, but has
extended to include “smart governments”. Here it’s important to mention the
UAE’s e-government programme, which is
quickly making the UAE the first country
in the world to extend almost all government services to smartphone devices in
record time.
The most notable sector that is lagging
behind in optimising and focusing on mobile strategies in the region is traditional
media, because while online versions of
traditional media are available online,
mobile presence is poor. We are yet to see
a powerful second-screen application that
leverages the power of smartphones for
leading TV or radio stations, and advertisers have not yet explored the powerful
benefits of being able to interact with
users who watch their TV or hear their
radio advertisements while holding their
smart devices. Additionally, print media
that produced mediocre web versions
have not invested beyond producing simple mobile sites and applications, while
mobile screen advertising is yet to be fully
leveraged to reap meaningful returns.
The old saying in the online industry that
“mobile is the future, and it will always
be,” has finally become outdated, with
the future being here today. It happened
overnight, taking many media and commerce operators by surprise, and there is
no turning back.
Khaldoon Tabaza is the founder and
MD of iMENA Holdings, an investor and
operator of online businesses in the
Middle East and North Africa. The views
expressed are his own.
Men use smart mobile devices in front of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC). The proliferation of 3G and 4G
networks in the Gulf, in addition to Wi-Fi networks in public places, has enabled successful online businesses with strong
strategies to capture mobile users.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
An exterior view of the airport in Lodz. Poland is not the only country in Europe to have built airports that struggle to attract flights. Around 80 airports in Europe attract fewer than 1mn passengers a year, and about three-quarters of those are in the red,
according to industry body Airports Council International.
European Union funds help
Poland build �ghost’ airports
Lodz, Poland
he European Union has given
Poland more than €100mn
($125mn) to build at least three
“ghost” airports in places where there
are not enough passengers to keep
them in business.
The result is gleaming new airport
terminals which, even at the peak of
the holiday season, echo to the sound
of empty concourses and spend millions trying to attract airlines.
Poland is not the only country in Europe to have built airports that struggle
to attract flights. Around 80 airports in
Europe attract fewer than 1mn passengers a year, and about three-quarters
of those are in the red, according to industry body Airports Council International. Some cost much more to build
than the Polish projects. One airport in
eastern Spain, open for three years, has
so far received not a single flight.
But Poland is striking because the
country received so much money for
its projects from EU funds.
Poland received €615.7mn in EU
support for airports between 2007 and
2013, according to п¬Ѓgures supplied to
Reuters by the European Commission.
That was almost twice as much as the
next biggest recipient, Spain, and more
than a third of all member states’ money for airports. The government declined to provide all the information on
which it based its decisions to invest in
the airports, but Reuters has reviewed
data on three sites where traffic fell
dramatically short of forecasts.
Poland is often touted by Brussels
as one of the most efficient users of
EU aid, and there is no suggestion the
country used EU airport money corruptly. European help has been vital
in improving Poland’s aviation infrastructure, only a small share of the
country’s airport spending has been
on white elephants, and passenger
shortfalls may have been exacerbated
by the 2008 global п¬Ѓnancial crisis.
Spokespeople at some airports said the
projects could be considered a success
because they were creating jobs, bringing in tourists, and driving investment
in the regional economy.
But it is clear mistakes were made in
Poland, planning officials and aviation
executives say. The whole experience
raises questions about how the government will handle the next big injection of EU money, which it expects to
be €82bn over the next seven years.
The problem is most striking at the
recently rebuilt Lodz passenger terminal, where passenger numbers in 2013
fell almost one million short of forecasts, according to European Commission documents examined by Reuters.
On a relatively busy day this summer, just four flights arrived and four
departed. In between, the place was
almost deserted. In the early afternoon
a single passenger, a woman in a blueand-white striped T-shirt, sat in a 72seat waiting area. Outside on the tarmac, п¬Ѓve sets of movable steps stood
waiting for a jet to land.
Where there aren’t enough passengers to make an airport viable, local
governments keep them on life support through subsidies, according to
a report by CEE Bankwatch Network,
a non-governmental watchdog. The
beneficiaries have often been the airlines that use them.
Jacek Krawczyk, the former chairman of the board of Polish national
airline LOT who sometimes advises
the European Commission on aviation policy, said Poland was no worse
than other EU countries at building
airports, but the sheer volume of EU
money it was trying to absorb in a short
space of time explained some problems. The European Union has now
tightened up the rules on state aid that
airports can receive.
Krawczyk, who was not directly involved in planning any of the airport
investments, said that in those Polish
cases where things did go wrong,
“there was no corruption, just wrong
Between 2007 and 2013, the European Union promised funding to help
build and upgrade 12 Polish airports.
Some of the projections underlying the
plans were highly ambitious.
The government declined to detail
its predictions for passenger numbers.
But п¬Ѓgures for three of the airports
— Lodz, Rzeszow and Lublin — are
contained in letters on a related topic
sent by the European Commission to
the Polish foreign minister. The letters show Polish authorities projected
combined passenger numbers for the
airports to be more than 3mn passengers a year. In 2013, the actual number
was just over 1.1mn.
Together, the investments in the
three airports totalled about €245mn.
Around 105mn of that came from the
European Union. The rest came from
central government in Warsaw, local
governments and the airports themselves.
The airport with the biggest projected traffic was in Lodz.
In its heyday, the city was a thriving textile manufacturing centre. Now,
many of the elegant 19th-century
merchant’s houses lining the main
drag, Piotrkowska Street, are crumbling.
Jerzy Kropiwnicki, mayor of Lodz
between 2002 and 2010, wanted to attract foreign investment and tourists.
The city had a small airport that handled domestic flights; but Kropiwnicki
felt a big international terminal would
revive the local economy.
“I used to endlessly answer questions like: �How do we get to you?’ and
�How do we fly there?’” Kropiwnicki
told Reuters.
Poland, which had joined the Eu-
ropean Union in 2004, was gearing up
for a massive injection of EU cash to
be spent on development projects between 2007 and 2014. To get the funds,
the country had to prepare a strategic
plan for civil aviation. At the Transport
Ministry, this task fell mainly to Andrzej Korzeniowski.
He was given three months to draft
the plan and meet the EU funding
deadline. “I slept on a camping mattress under my desk,” Korzeniowski,
now retired, told Reuters. “I had no
time to eat.”
Looking back on the 160-page document he drafted, Korzeniowski says it
was, under the circumstances, a good
programme. But it had a big shortcoming: It let local governments decide
where new airports should be built,
and how big they would be. “That was
the biggest mistake, for which we’re
now paying the price,” he said. “The
local governments decided, �I’m a
prince in my domain, the government
doesn’t tell me what I’m supposed to
do, we do what we want.’”
By 2005, passenger numbers in Lodz
were shooting up. Wojciech Laszkiewicz, an adviser to the mayor who went
on to be deputy chief executive of the
airport, said the team decided to rebuild the terminal entirely.
The airport commissioned a feasibility study from advisory п¬Ѓrm Ernst
& Young (EY), published in November, 2009. EY predicted a minimum
of 1.042mn passengers in 2013 for
Lodz. That was less than the government forecast but many more than the
353,633 who actually passed through
the airport last year. EY declined to
Lodz’s mayor, Kropiwnicki, left office in 2010, two years before the new
terminal opened. The aim of the airport was to help stimulate the local
economy, he said, and it is achieving
that. “From my point of view, the airport wasn’t supposed to make a profit.”
The problem, say aviation industry
officials and consultants, is that passenger numbers for any individual
airport are impossible to predict with
confidence. Even if national forecasts
hold true, local factors can pull passengers away from one airport and attract them to another.
Lodz quickly became a victim of this
“cannibalisation,” as the airline industry calls it, because Warsaw airport
was also upgraded, and a new highway
built which brought the capital within
50 minutes’ drive of Lodz.
“To have an airport in Lodz from
that point of view makes no sense at
all,” said Krawczyk, the former airline
chairman. He is now president of the
Employers’ Group of the European
Economic and Social Committee, a
Brussels-based consultative body that
advises on EU decision-making.
In a statement, a spokesman for the
Ministry of Infrastructure and Development said it could issue guidelines,
but could not directly influence local
authorities: “A decision on expanding
or building an airport for a particular
region is the prerogative of the local
Under EU rules, though, the initial
cash for airports comes from national
governments. They are reimbursed by
the EU when it approves a scheme.
Only investments worth over
€50mn have to seek the Commission’s prior approval, and many of
the Polish airport investments were
below that threshold. The Commission has since said its approach to
funding the airports will undergo a
radical change. In February, it introduced stricter criteria, and said
loss-making airports will be forced to
wean themselves off state aid. It did
not name any countries.
For now, the Polish airports still
need help, and that can be expensive.
Senior managers in the Polish aviation industry said the cost of running
a small regional airport would be at
least €3mn a year. At the moment in
Europe, they are often propped up
through п¬Ѓnancial injections from local
authorities, which are often their biggest shareholders.
The state also has indirect methods
of helping the airports, in particular by
giving money to the airlines — mainly
low-cost carriers like Ryanair.
“In practice, these payments serve
as an incentive for airlines,” CEE Bankwatch Network, the non-governmental watchdog, said in its report.
Lodz and Rzeszow airports did not
respond to questions about how much
they pay airlines. A spokesman for Lublin airport said only that it was successfully boosting communications to
help the local economy.
But public records for Podkarpackie, the mountainous, forested region
where Rzeszow airport sits, show that
between 2011 and 2014 its government
paid €5.7mn to Ryanair in exchange for
advertisements promoting the region,
which appeared on Ryanair’s web site
and in its in-flight magazines. Podkarpackie spent another €3mn to advertise with Polish carrier Eurolot over a
three-year period.
In all, 70% of the region’s 2013 promotional budget went to airlines that
fly into Rzeszow airport.
These payments are problematic,
say several people involved in Polish
aviation, because the airports are at
the mercy of the airlines. With so many
airports to choose from, airlines can
easily shift routes.
“The relationship between the local
airports and low-cost carriers is suicidal,” said Krawczyk, the former airline chairman. For low-cost carriers,
he said, “nothing will ever be enough.
... At some point they will say, �If you
don’t give us more, we’ll go.’ And they
A spokesman for the region where
Rzeszow is located said the deals were
good value because they allowed it to
target the kind of travellers it wants. He
said tourist numbers in 2013 were double the level in 2010. A Eurolot spokeswoman said such marketing deals were
widely used in the aviation business in
Europe. She said the airline provided
marketing exposure for the region, for
example by painting its jets in the region’s colours.
Ryanair chief executive Michael
O’Leary told Reuters such advertising
was a good deal for local governments
because the Ryanair website reached
a huge audience. He said Ryanair
brought economic benefits to places
that are off the beaten track, in part
by flying in tourists. But “if the airport
doesn’t want me, that’s fine. I’ve 80
other airports in Europe who want the
growth. We don’t force any airports”
to pay.
“If Rzeszow has enough low fares,
Rzeszow can grow to 1mn visitors, 5mn
visitors, 10mn visitors,” said O’Leary.
“They provide — well, I don’t know
what Rzeszow is famous for, but it’s famous for something.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 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
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
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
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
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
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
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Company Name
Exxon Mobil Corp
Microsoft Corp
Johnson & Johnson
General Electric Co
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Chevron Corp
Procter & Gamble Co/The
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Verizon Communications Inc
Intl Business Machines Corp
Pfizer Inc
Coca-Cola Co/The
At&T Inc
Merck & Co. Inc.
Intel Corp
Walt Disney Co/The
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Cisco Systems Inc
Home Depot Inc
United Technologies Corp
Mcdonald’s Corp
Boeing Co/The
American Express Co
3M Co
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Unitedhealth Group Inc
Nike Inc -Cl B
Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours
Caterpillar Inc
Travelers Cos Inc/The
Lt Price
% Chg
FTSE 100
Company Name
Wpp Plc
Wolseley Plc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Whitbread Plc
Weir Group Plc/The
Vodafone Group Plc
United Utilities Group Plc
Unilever Plc
Tullow Oil Plc
Tui Travel Plc
Travis Perkins Plc
Tesco Plc
Standard Life Plc
Standard Chartered Plc
St James’s Place Plc
Sse Plc
Sports Direct International
Smiths Group Plc
Smith & Nephew Plc
Shire Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Schroders Plc
Sainsbury (J) Plc
Sage Group Plc/The
Sabmiller Plc
Rsa Insurance Group Plc
Royal Mail Plc
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-B Shs
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-A Shs
Royal Bank Of Scotland Group
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc
Rio Tinto Plc
Reed Elsevier Plc
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc
Randgold Resources Ltd
Prudential Plc
Petrofac Ltd
Persimmon Plc
Pearson Plc
Old Mutual Plc
Next Plc
National Grid Plc
Mondi Plc
Meggitt Plc
Marks & Spencer Group Plc
London Stock Exchange Group
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Legal & General Group Plc
Land Securities Group Plc
Kingfisher Plc
Johnson Matthey Plc
Itv Plc
Intu Properties Plc
Intl Consolidated Airline-Di
Intertek Group Plc
Intercontinental Hotels Grou
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc
Imi Plc
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hargreaves Lansdown Plc
Hammerson Plc
Glencore Plc
Glaxosmithkline Plc
Gkn Plc
G4s Plc
Friends Life Group Ltd
Fresnillo Plc
Experian Plc
Easyjet Plc
Dixons Carphone Plc
Direct Line Insurance Group
Diageo Plc
Crh Plc
Compass Group Plc
Coca-Cola Hbc Ag-Cdi
Centrica Plc
Carnival Plc
Capita Plc
Burberry Group Plc
Bunzl Plc
Bt Group Plc
British Sky Broadcasting Gro
British Land Co Plc
British American Tobacco Plc
Bp Plc
Bhp Billiton Plc
Bg Group Plc
Barclays Plc
Bae Systems Plc
Babcock Intl Group Plc
Aviva Plc
Astrazeneca Plc
Associated British Foods Plc
Ashtead Group Plc
Arm Holdings Plc
Antofagasta Plc
Anglo American Plc
Aggreko Plc
Admiral Group Plc
Aberdeen Asset Mgmt Plc
3I Group Plc
#N/A Invalid Security
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Inpex Corp
Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd
Sekisui House Ltd
Kirin Holdings Co Ltd
Japan Tobacco Inc
Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
Toray Industries Inc
Asahi Kasei Corp
Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd
Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Kao Corp
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Astellas Pharma Inc
Eisai Co Ltd
Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd
Fujifilm Holdings Corp
Shiseido Co Ltd
Jx Holdings Inc
Lt Price
% Chg
Lt Price
Dow Jones Indus. Avg
S&P 500 Index
Nasdaq Composite Index
S&P/Tsx Composite Index
Mexico Bolsa Index
Brazil Bovespa Stock Idx
Ftse 100 Index
Cac 40 Index
Dax Index
Ibex 35 Tr
Nikkei 225
Japan Topix
Hang Seng Index
All Ordinaries Indx
Nzx All Index
Bse Sensex 30 Index
Nse S&P Cnx Nifty Index
Straits Times Index
Karachi All Share Index
Jakarta Composite Index
Company Name
Bridgestone Corp
Asahi Glass Co Ltd
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Meta
Sumitomo Metal Industries
Kobe Steel Ltd
Jfe Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries
Smc Corp
Komatsu Ltd
Kubota Corp
Daikin Industries Ltd
Hitachi Ltd
Toshiba Corp
Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Nidec Corp
Nec Corp
Fujitsu Ltd
Panasonic Corp
Sharp Corp
Sony Corp
Tdk Corp
Keyence Corp
Denso Corp
Fanuc Corp
Rohm Co Ltd
Kyocera Corp
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd
Nitto Denko Corp
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Nissan Motor Co Ltd
Toyota Motor Corp
Honda Motor Co Ltd
Suzuki Motor Corp
Nikon Corp
Hoya Corp
Canon Inc
Ricoh Co Ltd
Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd
Nintendo Co Ltd
Itochu Corp
Marubeni Corp
Mitsui & Co Ltd
Tokyo Electron Ltd
Sumitomo Corp
Mitsubishi Corp
Aeon Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Gro
Resona Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdin
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Gr
Bank Of Yokohama Ltd/The
Mizuho Financial Group Inc
Orix Corp
Daiwa Securities Group Inc
Nomura Holdings Inc
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdin
Ms&Ad Insurance Group Holdin
Dai-Ichi Life Insurance
Tokio Marine Holdings Inc
T&D Holdings Inc
Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd
Sumitomo Realty & Developmen
East Japan Railway Co
West Japan Railway Co
Central Japan Railway Co
Ana Holdings Inc
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
Kddi Corp
Ntt Docomo Inc
Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc
Chubu Electric Power Co Inc
Kansai Electric Power Co Inc
Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc
Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc
Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
Secom Co Ltd
Yamada Denki Co Ltd
Fast Retailing Co Ltd
Softbank Corp
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Zee Entertainment Enterprise
Wipro Ltd
Ultratech Cement Ltd
Tech Mahindra Ltd
Tata Steel Ltd
Tata Power Co Ltd
Tata Motors Ltd
Tata Consultancy Svcs Ltd
Sun Pharmaceutical Indus
State Bank Of India
Sesa Sterlite Ltd
Reliance Industries Ltd
Punjab National Bank
Power Grid Corp Of India Ltd
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
Ntpc Ltd
Nmdc Ltd
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
Lupin Ltd
Larsen & Toubro Ltd
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd
Itc Ltd
Infosys Ltd
Indusind Bank Ltd
Idfc Ltd
Icici Bank Ltd
Housing Development Finance
Hindustan Unilever Ltd
Hindalco Industries Ltd
Hero Motocorp Ltd
Hdfc Bank Limited
Hcl Technologies Ltd
Grasim Industries Ltd
Gail India Ltd
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Dlf Ltd
Coal India Ltd
Cipla Ltd
Cairn India Ltd
Bharti Airtel Ltd
Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
Bharat Heavy Electricals
Bank Of Baroda
Bajaj Auto Ltd
Axis Bank Ltd
Asian Paints Ltd
Ambuja Cements Ltd
Acc Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
An employee leans on a glass wall above the main atrium of the London Stock Exchange. The benchmark FTSE 100 index
retreated 1.87% at 6,182.72 points yesterday.
Europe markets tumble
on oil price worries
uropean stocks tumbled yesterday, wiping out gains early
in the day spurred by a modest
and short-lived rebound in oil prices,
as concerns over global crude demand
Low oil prices and the impact of
Western sanctions especially took a
toll on Russia, which saw its rouble
plummet by 9.5% amid warnings of a
steep economic contraction of 4.8%
next year if crude prices do not climb.
After slight increases earlier in the
day, Brent North Sea crude for delivery
in January was down 44 cents at $61.41
in late London trading. US benchmark
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January declined sharply, down $1.15 to hit
$56.66 in midday trading in New York.
Both had hit their lowest levels since
2009 previously during Monday’s
The oil market has now collapsed by
50% in value since June, weighed down
by plentiful supplies, the stronger dollar and weak demand arising from the
struggling global economy.
Renewed worries over oil prices
wiped out gains earlier in the day
in European stocks, with London’s
benchmark FTSE 100 index retreating
1.87% to end the day at 6,182.72 points.
The Paris CAC 40 fell 2.52% to
4,005.38 points, its lowest level since
October 20 and its sixth-consecutive
drop. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 lost
2.72% to 9,334.01 points.
European equities fell sharply last
week as traders tracked the dizzying
plunge in oil prices, which hurts the
profits of energy companies.
“If ever a reminder was needed that
oil is by some distance the most important commodity in the world the last
few weeks have provided it,” said analyst David Hufton at energy brokerage
PVM Oil Associates.
A potential new political crisis in
Greece also spooked European markets
last week, with concerns over the possibility of snap elections which could
jeopardise tough austerity measures.
“The move in oil was shown to be a
dead-cat bounce and prices rolled over
and erased most stock market gains
with them,” said Jasper Lawler, an analyst at CMC Markets UK.
“After such a sharp drop last week,
it’s not surprising there wasn’t much in
the way of confidence to hold onto the
morning’s share price gains going into
the afternoon,” he added.
Lawler said “lower oil prices almost
unequivocally boost demand in the
Company Name
Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of East Asia
Bank Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of Communications Co-H
Belle International Holdings
Boc Hong Kong Holdings Ltd
Cathay Pacific Airways
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd
China Coal Energy Co-H
China Construction Bank-H
China Life Insurance Co-H
China Merchants Hldgs Intl
China Mobile Ltd
China Overseas Land & Invest
China Petroleum & Chemical-H
China Resources Enterprise
China Resources Land Ltd
China Resources Power Holdin
China Shenhua Energy Co-H
China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd
Citic Ltd
Clp Holdings Ltd
Cnooc Ltd
Cosco Pacific Ltd
Esprit Holdings Ltd
Fih Mobile Ltd
Hang Lung Properties Ltd
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
Henderson Land Development
longer term but the realisation is setting in for markets that part of the reason prices are falling rapidly right now
is because global demand is slowing.”
In a sign of the ambivalence, stock
markets in most Gulf Arab states shed
the majority of the gains they made at
the start of trading yesterday to close
lower or flat following days of heavy
Asian markets fell on the back of the
low oil price, while investors in Japan
shrugged off Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s decisive re-election and focused
instead on the faltering economy.
A strong report on US industrial production in November helped push Wall
Street stocks higher in early trading after last week’s heavy losses, but markets
were back in the red by midday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 0.71% to 17,158.04 points.
The broad-based S&P 500 lost
0.92% to 1,983.89, while the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.99% to
In foreign exchange deals, the euro
stabilised against the dollar, climbing
to $1.2460 from $1.2455 late in New
York on Friday.
The British pound fell to 79.60 pence
to the euro and $1.5655.
Gold was at $1,209.25 per ounce
compared to $1.217 late Friday.
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Hong Kong & China Gas
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H
Li & Fung Ltd
Mtr Corp
New World Development
Petrochina Co Ltd-H
Ping An Insurance Group Co-H
Power Assets Holdings Ltd
Sino Land Co
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Swire Pacific Ltd-A
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Wharf Holdings Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Doha Securities Market
Saudi Tadawul
Kuwait Stocks Exchange
Bahrain Stock Exchage
Oman Stock Market
Abudhabi Stock Market
Dubai Financial Market
Lt Price
“Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The
accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended
as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank
or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on
this data.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Chinese п¬Ѓrms seek control
deals in outbound M&A
Hong Kong
hinese п¬Ѓnancial п¬Ѓrms are targeting purchases of distressed
banking assets coming on the
market in Europe, having been urged
by Beijing to expand their reach beyond
emerging markets.
The п¬Ѓrst Chinese purchase of a European investment bank was announced
last week, with Haitong Securities
agreeing to pay €379mn ($470mn) for
an investment bank in austerity hit
Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento (BESI) is being sold by Novo Banco,
the bank carved out of Banco Espirito
Santo after it was rescued in August.
For China’s second largest brokerage it’s a modest-sized deal, equivalent
to just 1.5% of Haitong’s market value.
But it demonstrates the changing character of acquisitions by Chinese п¬Ѓnancial п¬Ѓrms.
These days they mostly seek controlling stakes, and now they are scouting
Europe for opportunities, avoiding anything too big.
“Increasingly, Chinese financial
п¬Ѓrms are seeking control deals as a
way to expand their global footprint,”
Mayooran Elalingam, head of Deutsche
Bank’s Asia-Pacific M&A said.
“Several distressed opportunities are
available in eurozone economies and
we expect the Chinese financial services sector to be active in these situations,” he added.
Such deals can help Chinese banks
gain treasured European banking licences as well as expertise, notably in
debt markets, that can be transferred
back home, whereas growth through
opening overseas bank branches can be
a slow process.
This year, the government began encouraging Chinese stock brokers and
п¬Ѓnancial п¬Ѓrms to acquire greater international reach, according to investment bankers.
“The government is encouraging the
outbound M&A push,” a Hong Kong
based M&A banker said.
The drive for geographic spread reflects China’s efforts to build up overseas bank outlets as the yuan currency
Employees work inside a branch of Haitong Securities Co in Beijing. Chinese financial firms are seeking control deals as a way to expand their global footprint.
gains a greater share of global trade.
Haitong’s purchase of BESI, Portugal’s
biggest debt underwriting п¬Ѓrm, will
give it control of a business that earned
247mn euros in revenues in 2013, according to analysts at Daiwa Capital
Markets, and a ready-made investment
banking network in Europe.
“As regulators liberalize the financial
industry in China, banks, insurers and
securities п¬Ѓrms would be on the lookout
for asset managers, private banks and
wealth managers,” said Bernard Teo,
head of п¬Ѓnancial institutions group investment banking in China with Gold-
man Sachs. Some M&A bankers do not
rule out the possible acquisition of a
European commercial bank.
Struggling Italian lender Monte
dei Paschi di Siena, the worst-performing European bank in a recent
asset quality review by the European
Central Bank, could attract Chinese
bids, according to Hong Kong-based
M&A bankers.
Chinese buyers could also be interested in Novo Banco, which Portugal’s
authorities hope to sell in the п¬Ѓrst half
of next year, they added.
Until now Chinese financial firms’
strategy has been based on organic
growth and sporadic purchases of minority stakes in foreign п¬Ѓrms, mostly in
the emerging market sphere.
So far this year, they have announced
$3.2bn worth of overseas deals, threequarters of which were majority stake
purchases, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The total spend on overseas deals is
way below the record $17.9bn posted
in 2007, but back then only 4.3% of the
deals were for majority stakes.
In 2007, just before the global п¬Ѓnancial crisis erupted, Chinese п¬Ѓnancial
п¬Ѓrms and sovereign wealth fund bought
stakes in publicly listed global п¬Ѓnancial
companies, including a $5bn investment in Morgan Stanley.
The stock market losses from the illtimed deals created a headache for executives back home.
“Chinese financial institutions are
likely to shy away from large transformational deals as they have learnt
valuable lessons from the investments
made during the financial crisis,” Goldman Sachs’ Teo said. Their main goal
now, Teo said, is to serve Chinese Corps
expanding globally.
Only EM reformers will keep investors as tide turns
popularity with investors is ebbing as a
strong dollar lures money away
and commodity prices fall, but some
governments promising tough economic reforms may stem the flow of
capital leaving.
India and Indonesia currently look
the most promising, fund managers
say, following the election of pro-business governments on a ticket to introduce reforms that will open up state
companies to foreign investment and
cut red tape.
“Reformers are performers,” said Bill
Street, head of investments for Europe,
the Middle East and Africa at State
Street. “You need to differentiate your
exposures in emerging markets .. We
have some select funds that pull out reformers. We’ve seen some good reform
happening in India and Indonesia”
In India, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s government plans to sell state
stakeholdings in major companies,
shake up labour laws and cut populist
subsidies on fuel.
Craig Botham, an emerging markets
economist at UK fund manager Schroders, said he expected success on those
fronts “to lead to greater investment,
picking up momentum going into
2016” but was only “cautiously positive” on similar claims by the government in Indonesia.
So far the two countries have had
mixed success in retaining foreign
portfolio capital.
According to Lipper – a Thomson
Reuters company that tracks the funds
South Korea’s Iran
oil imports rise 6.5%
outh Korea’s imports of
Iranian crude oil rose
6.5% in November from
a year earlier, but shipments
for the first 11 months of the
year were still below the 2013
average, in line with international sanction requirements.
Preliminary customs data
from the world’s fifth-largest
crude oil importer showed
yesterday that Seoul bought
567,611 tonnes of crude oil
from Tehran last month, or
138,686 barrels per day (bpd),
compared with 532,851 tonnes
a year ago.
Iranian crude shipments
between January and November were 5.65mn tonnes, or
124,012 bpd, down 7.6% from
a year earlier and 7.5% below
the 2013 average of 134,000
bpd, according to the data
in 2013’
and Reuters calculations.
Iran has suspended highergrade uranium enrichment
and big Asian buyers, including South Korea, should hold
their crude imports from Tehran at end-2013 levels under
a preliminary deal between
Iran and six powers agreed in
November 2013.
Talks between Iran and the
six powers – the US, China,
Russia, Britain, France and
Germany - failed last month
to resolve a 12-year stand-off
over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions as the sides agreed to
extend the talks till June 2015.
South Korea’s SK Energy
and Hyundai Oilbank import
Iranian oil and their imports
fluctuate each month.
Overall, South Korea imported 11.1mn tonnes of crude
last month, or 2.71mn bpd.
The total was 8.7% higher
than the 10.2mn tonnes imported in November last year,
the customs data showed.
industry – net sales for India themed
investment funds domiciled in Europe
amounted to €303mn in September,
making them the one of the fastest selling emerging market investment products.
In contrast, Indonesian-themed
funds saw an outflow of €64mn. The
country’s president Joko “Jokowi”
Widodo, who was elected in July, does
not hold a parliamentary majority –
limiting his ability to deliver on his
promises to liberalise the economy and
attract more foreign investment.
Investors are also unenthusiastic
about prospects for Turkey, where politicians hoping to win elections scheduled for mid 2015 are unlikely to inflict
economic pain on voters despite recommendations by the IMF to tighten
п¬Ѓscal and monetary policy, as recommended by the IMF.
“Economic populism remains a risk
in Turkey, and the country’s structural
reform agenda will likely remain stalled
ahead of parliamentary elections in
June,” JP Morgan said in a research note.
European equity funds focusing on
Turkey saw a net outflow of €68.5mn
in September, according to Lipper – a
trend also reflected in the falling value
of the Turkish lira in 2014, down around
5% against the dollar.
South Africa, which has seen demand for its commodity exports sink
as key customer China slows down, is
also out of favour with investors – as a
result of which the rand currency has
fallen more than 10% against the dollar
since May.
Brazil is another country losing
friends in the City of London and on
Wall Street following the re-election of
left-leaning president Dilma Rousseff,
who some doubt has the political clout
to curb a budget deficit and control inflation.
One voice countering those others however is veteran fund manager
Mark Mobius, who runs the Templeton
Emerging Markets Investment Trust.
He said he thought Brazil could
well bounce back next year and also
suggested Russia – whose economy
is crumbling beneath the combined
weight of Western sanctions, falling oil
prices and the collapse of the rouble –
could stage a recovery if it embraced
“We believe both Russia and Brazil have the resources to bounce back
strongly should more appropriate policies be adopted,” Mobius wrote to clients, noting he had big holdings of Brazilian banks Itau Unibanco and Banco
rivately owned Xiaomi Technology booked
347.5mn yuan ($56mn) in
net profit last year, according to
a regulatory п¬Ѓling that showed
the world’s No.3 smartphone
maker grappling razor-thin
The п¬Ѓgure casts new light on
the growth of a company that
reached third place in just four
years thanks to handsets lauded
for balancing quality and affordability. Only this month did
momentum п¬Ѓnally stall when a
patent challenge in India halted
Valued by private investors
at more than $10bn, Xiaomi recorded revenue of 26.6bn yuan
and an operating margin of just
A Xiaomi spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of the filing,
but said it did not cover the entirety of Xiaomi’s business.
“They’re growing so fast and
so lean, I wouldn’t be surprised
even if they were losing money,”
said Forrester Research analyst
Bryan Wang. “The current market is so competitive that I don’t
think it’s sustainable without
Xiaomi brands itself an “Internet company” that eschews
traditional marketing and sells
hardware at low prices as a distribution channel for its real
moneymaker: software and
But the п¬Ѓnancial strain of such
a business model, and whether
Xiaomi can generate sustainable profit, has been a subject of
long-running speculation in the
technology industry.
All but leading smartphone
makers Samsung Electronics
Co and Apple are likely to see
profitability dwindle in coming years due to pricing pressure
from low-margin companies like
Xiaomi, Fitch Ratings said last
Samsung’s mobile division
reported an operating margin of 18.7% last year, whereas
Apple reported 28.7% for the
business year ended September
2013. LG Electronics’ mobile
business posted a margin of
just 0.5%.
South Korea’s LG lost its position as the world’s third-biggest
smartphone maker during the
third quarter of this year when
Xiaomi claimed a global market share of 5.6%, according to
Strategy Analytics.
Xiaomi’s financial results
were included in a п¬Ѓling made on
Monday to the Shenzhen Stock
Exchange by Midea Group Co.
Xiaomi bought 1.3% of the electrical appliance manufacturer
for 1.27bn yuan.
Xiaomi has been investing
heavily in such companies with
the aim of building an ecosystem
of Internet-connected devices
and appliances to extend its
reach beyond smartphones.
Indonesia central bank steps in to arrest rupiah fall
The Indonesian rupiah tumbled to
its lowest level since August 1998
yesterday as declining risk appetites
and increasing demand for dollars to
settle year-end foreign loan payments
put pressure on the country’s currency,
bonds and shares.
Bank Indonesia said that it was acting
in both the foreign exchange and bond
markets to help stabilise prices, as
emerging markets from Europe to Latin
America suffer sharp outflows of capital.
The rupiah fell to 12,695 rupiah before
paring its losses to 12,665 per dollar.
The currency was down 1.7% on the day –
its biggest one-day drop in more than four
months – and 4.3% this year.
Analysts attributed the fall to a
combination of factors including how
the sharp drop in oil prices has increased
pessimism about global growth, and a
steady rise in the dollar on expectations
the US central bank will begin raising
interest rates next year.
“The US continues to post positive
economic data which in turn hit the
rupiah,” said Royke Tumilaar, head of
treasury at Bank Mandiri.
“High foreign ownership in our capital
The Indonesian rupiah tumbled to its lowest level since August 1998 yesterday as
declining risk appetites and increasing demand for dollars to settle year-end foreign
loan payments put pressure on the country’s currency, bonds and shares.
markets makes us really exposed to a
strengthening dollar,” he added. The yield
of the 10-year government bond rose to
8.203% from 8.087% on Friday.
Traders said they believed state banks
were buying bonds amid heavy foreign
At 0740 GMT, the benchmark index for
Indonesian shares was down 1.2%.
Moves in rupiah’s non-deliverable
forwards suggest selling by overseas
investors is behind the rupiah’s latest
drop, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global
markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui
Banking Corp in Singapore.
“There are some visible signs of currency
hedging against rupiah weakness,”
Okagawa said.
Divya Devesh, foreign exchange strategist
for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore,
said that on top of weak risk appetites,
year-end corporate demand for dollars
plus profit-taking in Indonesian bonds may
be weighing on the rupiah.
“We have seen massive inflows into
Indonesian bonds this year, and there
seems to be a minor selloff in bonds, so
people might be taking profit ahead of the
year-end,” Devesh said.
Wellian Wiranto, economist at Singapore’s
OCBC Bank, said the rupiah “has been
hit because of the relatively high degree
of foreign ownership in its government
bonds, which is not a plus point given the
anticipation of broad strength in the US
economy and dollar.”
Data from Indonesia’s Finance Ministry
shows an outflow of 11tn rupiah
($869.22mn) between December 1 and
December 11, during which foreign
ownership of total tradable bonds fell
to 38.6% from a record high 39.5%.
Indonesia’s credit default swaps contacts
were major underperformers yesterday.
The 5-year contract or the cost of insuring
sovereign debt for 5 years rose 12 basis
points (bps) to 167/177 basis points (bps)
compared with the broad market index
which widened by 6 bps.
The rupiah’s fall comes shortly after Bank
Indonesia (BI) showed increasing concern
about the level of foreign borrowing by
Indonesian companies.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
BoJ survey shows business mood fragile in fourth quarter
onfidence among Japanese
slightly in the fourth quarter
and п¬Ѓrms expect conditions to deteriorate more, highlighting the challenges
Premier Shinzo Abe faces in reviving
the economy a day after his big win in
Sunday’s snap election.
The headline index measuring
big manufacturers’ sentiment stood
at plus 12, down 1 point from three
months ago and worse than a median
market forecast of plus 13, the Bank of
Japan’s closely-watched “tankan” survey showed yesterday.
Big manufacturers expect their sentiment index to fall to plus 9 in March,
partly showing companies are concerned that Abe and the BoJ’s efforts to
weaken the yen are pushing up import
costs too much.
The sentiment among big servicesector п¬Ѓrms improved, the survey
showed, suggesting consumer spending is gradually recovering from a sales
tax hike in April.
However, underlining the patchy
economic recovery after Japan’s slip
into recession in the third quarter,
non-manufacturers expect business
conditions to worsen slightly three
months ahead.
“The decline in sentiment at manufacturers shows some companies are
worried about the yen weak pushing
up input costs,” said Hidenobu Tokuda,
senior economist at Mizuho Research
Institute. “Capital expenditure plans
are healthy and sentiment at nonmanufacturers is improving, which
suggests the economy can continue to
recover gradually.”
Abe’s election win gives him a fresh
mandate to pursue policies aimed at
ending 15 years of deflation and sparking durable growth.
That task became even more stiff
after the economy unexpectedly
slipped into recession in the third
quarter due partly to the hit from the
April tax hike.
Inflation is currently running at
0.9%, lagging the BoJ’s 2% goal which
it wants to hit in the п¬Ѓscal year starting April 2015. But Japan has little room
to deploy massive п¬Ѓscal stimulus given
its huge public debt, while the central
bank is already aggressively printing
money under its quantitative easing
programme launched in April last year
and expanded in October.
Policymakers hope that big manufacturers, which saw profits boom
thanks to the weak yen and sliding oil
prices, will spend more on wages and
capital expenditure, helping to broaden the economic recovery.
The tankan showed big companies
plan to increase capital expenditure by
8.9% in the п¬Ѓscal year ending in March
2015, compared with a median forecast
of a 8.0% rise.
Japan’s inbound tourism
growth boosts retailers
and railroad operators
nvestors are snapping up Japanese
stocks in the retail and transportation
sectors, thanks to a weaker yen that
has lured a record number of foreign visitors in one of the few bright spots for the
The yen has tumbled to seven-year
lows making Japan cheaper for tourists
and helping companies that cater to tourists such as railway operators and certain
Tourism spending is a boon to Japanese firms battling a stagnant domestic
economy, which slipped into recession
in the third quarter, and a declining
Foreign visitor numbers hit a record
11mn from January to October, up 27%
from the previous year, according to the
Japan National Tourism Organisation.
These tourists spent ВҐ1.468tn in that
period, surpassing last year’s full year
п¬Ѓgure of ВҐ1.417tn, according to the Japan Tourism Agency. In July-Sept alone,
they spent a record 550.5bn yen, up 41.2%
“The trend has just started. Foreigners will continue enjoying bargains in
Japan as a weak-yen trend is likely to
last,” said Daiju Aoki, senior economist
at UBS Securities. “We expect doubledigit growth in tourism spending to
The yen has lost about a third of its
value over the past two years since Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed through
monetary easing and government spending to revive the economy.
Railroad companies are among the
stocks that investors say benefited. Keisei
Electric Railway Co, which connects Tokyo’s downtown and the Narita Airport,
hit a 23-year high recently and is up 43%
this year, compared to a 5.3% rise in the
Nikkei share average.
Central Japan Railway Co, which runs
bullet trains between Tokyo and cities in
Western Japan including Kyoto, a major
tourist attraction, has hit a multi-year
high, and is up 37% this year.
Other beneficiaries include Oriental
Land Co, which operates Tokyo Disney
Resort, which hit a record high this month
and is up 74% year-to-date.
Shinkansen bullet trains sit on the platform at Tokyo station. Central Japan Railway Co, which runs bullet trains between Tokyo and
cities in Western Japan including Kyoto, a major tourist attraction, has hit a multi-year high, and is up 37% this year.
Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
that invest in hotels are also booming.
Japan Hotel Reit Investment Corp hit a
multi-year high this month and is up 56%
this year.
Some shares have risen so much that
some investors think they are now fully
For instance, Oriental Land is already
one% above the target price of analysts
at Nomura, which recommends shares as
“Some of these stocks’ valuations are
expensive,” said Makoto Kikuchi, the
chief executive of Myojo Asset Manage-
ment, adding that income from foreigners accounted for only a small portion of
the group’s sales. However, some other
shares, such as retailers that have been
stepping up efforts to woo foreign tourists, could rise more.
To encourage foreign shoppers the
government in October expanded taxfree items for foreign tourists to include
consumables such as snacks, drinks and
cosmetics on combined purchases over
“Retailers like Bic Camera are worth
looking at as more foreign tourists buy
Japanese goods such as candies and
pens,” Masashi Oda, chief investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.Bic
Camera Inc’s inbound sales for the first
quarter through November soared 2.5
times on the year, the company’s spokesman said.
Their shares rose 100% so far this year
to ВҐ1,182. But SMBC Friend Securities
think the shares could rise to ВҐ1,500.
“Since consumables became tax free,
sales of alcohol beverages and drugs has
been rising dramatically.
We are also seeing sales growth in cameras and watches as the number of foreign
visitors is increasing,” he said.
Tokyo п¬Ѓrms promise
Abe �utmost efforts’
to raise wages
apanese business leaders have promised Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe to do
their “utmost” to raise wages
and allow suppliers to pass
on higher costs, while also
urging him to push through
labour reforms, said a draft
agreement between the government, business and labour
Abe and business leaders,
including Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of Toray Industries Inc and the Keidanren
business lobby, are scheduled
to announce the plan today
after a meeting in Tokyo, according to a draft seen by Reuters.
The agreement, the broad
terms of which were п¬Ѓrst reported by the Yomiuri newspaper on Saturday, were
hammered out in advance of
the election landslide that returned Abe and his ruling coalition to power on Sunday.
Wage growth is crucial to
the success of the “Abenomics” agenda aimed at breaking
a cycle of slow growth and deflation through monetary and
п¬Ѓscal stimulus and pledges of
structural reform.
For a second year, Abe is
pressuring major companies
to raise base pay in the п¬Ѓscal
year from April. Some major unions have signalled that
they will ask for a wage hike of
over 2% in base pay.
Abe’s Liberal Democratic
Party and its junior partner
won a two-thirds majority in
a lower-house election that
the prime minister called a
referendum on his economic
policies at a time when consumption has sputtered and
business confidence faltered.
Adjusted for inflation,
overall wages fell for the 16th
straight month in October,
down 2.8% from the previous
In addition, Japanese business confidence barely improved in the fourth quarter, according to a closely
watched Bank of Japan survey, suggesting a slow climb
from recession despite gains
for stock prices and a steep
fall in the yen.
On Tuesday, Abe, Sakakibara and representatives of
smaller companies and a national labour group are set to
meet at the prime minister’s
A draft of the agreement
ready to be announced after that meeting commits all
parties to work together to
“sustain a positive economic
cycle” in Japan’s economy, the
world’s third largest.
“To sustain a virtuous cycle between company profits,
wage increase and consumption growth, and to ensure an
end of deflation, companies
need to use increased profits to
raise wages and make investments,” the draft accord said.
“The business community
will make the utmost efforts to
raise wages,” it said.
The meeting will also include Nobuaki Koga, the president of the Japanese Trade
Union Confederation, known
as Rengo in Japan, a labour
group that represents almost
7mn workers.
Abe held a similar meeting with business and labour
leaders last year. In spring
wage negotiations, some
larger п¬Ѓrms agreed to wage
increases. Others, like Sony
Corp, have moved to implement more flexible pay arrangements that could cut average pay.
To improve profits at smaller firms and encourage them
to raise wages, companies
will pledge to allow suppliers
to pass on higher input costs,
caused in part by the weaker
Business leaders also renewed a call for the Abe administration to press ahead
with labour reforms without
detailing specific steps.
The draft urges changes
that would make it easier to
pay workers for performance
rather than based on seniority
and to improve productivity
in the service sector, which
employs seven in 10 workers
in Japan.
In June, Abe announced
limited labour market reforms
that stopped short of changes
sought by foreign investors.
The biggest change eliminated compulsory overtime for
workers earning the equivalent of $100,000 per year.
Glencore’s Pacorini entrenches LME warehousing position
By Andy Home
Load-out queues in the London Metal
Exchange’s (LME) warehousing network
fell across the board last month.
The backlog to remove aluminium from
Detroit, the most acutely impacted location, shrank by 30 days to 641 days, while
the wait to remove other metals stuck
behind the wall of aluminium fell from 111
to 93 days.
The reduction in waiting times was
even sharper at the Dutch port of Vlissingen, a drop from 637 to 555 days, according to the LME’s latest monthly report.
A “flash” queue to load out zinc at New
Orleans, meanwhile, almost disappeared
in November, dwindling to just 10 days
from 71 days at the end of September.
All good news, it appears, for the LME,
which has been lambasted by industrial users for its dysfunctional physical
delivery system and its disputed part in
fracturing the aluminium market’s pricing
model. True, the problem can hardly be
described as fixed given you’d still have to
wait well over a year to get aluminium out
of either Detroit or Vlissingen, but at least
things are moving in the right direction
even before the exchange’s new rules
linking load-in to load-out rates (LILO) kick
in from February.
However, the simple metrics of queue
length mask a redrawing of the battle-lines
in the LME’s ongoing campaign against its
warehousing companies.
One in particular, Pacorini, the metal
logistics arm of Glencore, is steadily increasing its dominance of the global LME
storage system.
Its share of LME-registered metal, both
on-warrant and awaiting departure, has
grown from just under 50% in April to 54%
in November. Even that figure, though, understates the influence Pacorini now has
in terms of exchange stocks of aluminium,
copper and zinc.
Metro, the LME warehousing operator
owned by Goldman Sachs , took centre
stage in the recent US Senate hearings
on the impact of the load-out queue at its
Detroit sheds on the aluminium price.
And the Detroit aluminium queue is still
the longest, although any direct correla-
tion with soaring physical premiums has,
for now at least, broken down.
But Metro has been out of the queuecreation game for many months now. Its
Detroit operations have received just 1,725
tonnes of aluminium since April. A total
537,000 tonnes have been loaded out
over the same period. Goldman Sachs said
in June it was voluntarily complying with
the LME’s LILO rule, even while its enactment was held up in the UK legal system.
Such good behaviour may also have
something to do with ensuring operational stability during a sales process which is
thought to be entering its final stages.
Recent fluctuations in the Detroit queue
have been all about fresh cancellations
of metal stored in Metro sheds. But that
process is now also pretty much done.
The amount of non-cancelled aluminium
in Detroit is just 16,075 tonnes and it’s by
no means certain all of that is in Metro
The pricing point has passed to Vlissingen, where Pacorini holds all but 900
tonnes of the total 1.9mn tonnes of LMEregistered metal.
That shift in power is evident from the
flurry of reverse cancellations at Vlissingen during the November aluminium
The movement of 116,175 tonnes of
metal back onto LME warrant is the main
reason why the load-out queue at Vlissingen fell so sharply in November.
Unlike Detroit, open aluminium tonnage at the Dutch port is high at a current
704,425 tonnes.
Only Rotterdam holds more “live”
aluminium but it is split across several
different operators and a good part of it is
thought to be locked down under rental
agreements. As aluminium drains steadily
from the LME system, the game is determined by the amount of free-float metal
available through the clearing system and
much of it, if not most of it, appears to be
located at Vlissingen.
Also, unlike Metro Detroit, Pacorini
Vlissingen has started loading in more
aluminium in recent weeks. It received
76,950 tonnes last month and another
36,725 tonnes so far this month.
A one-off related to the spread stress
of last month or a re-modelling of load-in
and load-out rates before the February
deadline? Only time will tell but it’s a disconcerting development from the LME’s
Metro’s foot-print in New Orleans has
also been steadily diminishing.
That “flash” zinc queue in September
resulted from the mass cancellation of
stocks in Metro sheds. The company
currently holds just 775 tonnes of noncancelled tonnage of all LME metals in
New Orleans.
Andy Home is a Reuters columnist. The
opinions expressed are his own.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Rouble hits new
record lows as
US threatens
fresh sanctions
he rouble hit further
record lows yesterday
and Russian shares
fell, hurt by investor concern
about possible new US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
The central bank was probably intervening yesterday,
traders said, in what has become nearly a daily action
since the start of the month.
weakened beyond 59 roubles
per dollar for the п¬Ѓrst time.
At 1203 GMT it was around
2.3% weaker at 59.53 against
the dollar and 2.4% weaker at
74.04 versus the euro.
A modest recovery in oil
prices, whose sharp fall has
together with sanctions been
the main cause of the rouble’s
over 45% slide against the dollar this year, prevented further
After Russian markets
closed last week, the US Congress passed a bill setting out
tougher sanctions on Moscow
and authorising the supply of
military aid to Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama
has yet to sign the bill into law
and has said he opposes further sanctions on Russia unless Europe is on board.
The bill “will be negative for
market sentiment,” analysts
at Sberbank CIB investment
bank wrote in a note.
Russia’s central bank said
yesterday it had conducted
$478mn worth of forex market
interventions on December 11,
taking the total the bank has
spent defending the currency
this month to almost $6bn.
“The policy response from
the Russian authorities has
been close to non-existent
– weak, feeble FX intervention, and no appetite to raise
policy rates in any meaningful way,” Tim Ash, head of
emerging markets research
at Standard Bank in London,
said in a note.
The central bank raised its
main lending rate by one percentage point last week, but
the move did little to buttress
the currency.
Brent crude was trading
over 1% higher at $62.60 a
barrel in afternoon trading in
Moscow, offering support for
oil which is one of Russia’s
chief exports.
Russian shares slipped,
mirroring developments elsewhere in emerging markets.
The dollar-based RTS index
was 3.4% lower at 771 points
but the rouble-traded MICEX
was up 0.1% at 1,460 points.
Russian dollar bond spreads
crossed the 600 basis-point
level, while debt insurance
costs touched 500 basis
points, according to Markit.
The headquarters of Bank of America Corp in Charlotte, North Carolina, the US. The second-biggest US bank by assets has captured 9.8% of Asian equity trading adjusted by
commissions, according to Greenwich Associates.
Bank of America and
CLSA named top
Asia brokers in 2014
Hong Kong
ank of America Corp and
CLSA were named the
year’s top equity brokerages in Asia as they won the most
business from fund managers in
the region, according to Greenwich Associates.
Bank of America, the secondbiggest US bank by assets, captured 9.8% of Asian equity trading adjusted by commissions,
while CLSA had 9.6%, according
to the report e-mailed to news
organisations yesterday. The
market share of the top 10 brokerages has fallen to 76% from
an estimated 83.5% in 2007, the
report showed.
“Over the coming years, foreign banks will face tougher
competition in Asia from emerging banks,” said Andrew Clarke,
director of trading at Mirabaud
Securities Asia in Hong Kong.
“Chinese, Hong Kong, Singaporean, Malaysian and Australian
п¬Ѓrms are all out for more Asian
business and they will get it.”
Bank of America and Hong
Kong-based CLSA, a unit of
Citic Securities Co, led their rivals in a year where Japanese
and Hong Kong trading volumes
have faltered as China’s economy slows and optimism over
Japan’s stimulus policies fades.
Average daily volumes for
2014 on the Nikkei 225 Stock
Average are down 33% from a
year earlier, while those on Hong
Kong’s Hang Seng Index have
dropped 1.3%, data compiled by
Bloomberg show. The MSCI Asia
Pacific Index lost 4% this year,
poised for its п¬Ѓrst annual drop
since 2011.
UBS Group was third in
Greenwich’s brokerage ranking
with a 9% market share, followed by Credit Suisse Group’s
8.3%. Morgan Stanley was next
with an 8.1% share, while Goldman Sachs Group rounded out
the top six brokerages with 7.6%.
The study was based on interviews with 238 Asian equity fund
managers and analysts, 110 traders, and 35 users of equity derivative products at institutions
based in Asia.
“These rankings do matter to
some brokers as their bonus depends on it,” Mirabaud’s Clarke
For Asian equity research
and advisory services, Hong
Kong- based CLSA won 9.3% of
the commission-weighted vote
from survey respondents, the
Greenwich report showed. Bank
of America, based in Charlotte,
North Carolina, had 9.1%.
“As attractive as the Asian equity business appears, attempting to crack the ranks of leading
brokers at this point is a daunting task requiring sizable outlays
just to enter a playing п¬Ѓeld already crowded with entrenched
competitors,” Greenwich said in
the report.
The п¬Ѓrm, based in Stamford,
Connecticut, was started in 1972
and provides research and advisory services to the п¬Ѓnancial
services industry.
Asia markets slump; Tokyo leads losses
Sensex edges lower;
rupee weakens
Indian shares edged lower
after earlier hitting their lowest
levels in 1-1/2 months as software
services providers fell after Tata
Consultancy Services’ tepid comments on its outlook, while other
blue-chips were hit by global risk
Oil prices touched fresh 5-1/2year lows yesterday, spurring
an emerging market selloff as
demand for the safe-haven yen
picked up while European stocks
stabilised after their worst week
since 2011.
Foreign investors sold shares
worth Rs8.65bn on Friday,
bringing their total outflow to
nearly $280mn over the last four
consecutive sessions of sales,
regulatory data showed.
The 50-shares NSE index has
started looking oversold after
falling for six out of the past
seven sessions and closing below
its 50-day moving average on
Monday for the first time in nearly
two months.
“We believe the downside is
limited from the current levels in
index and expect consolidation or
technical rebound in the coming
session prior to any further fall,”
said Jayant Manglik, president at
Religare Securities.
The benchmark BSE index
ended 0.11% lower at 27,319.56.
The broader NSE index closed
down 0.05% at 8,219.60, closing
below its 50-day moving average
for the first time since October 21.
Both indexes earlier declined
to their lowest intraday level since
October 30.
Software stocks led the decliners after sector leader TCS on
Friday said seasonal trends would
sian markets fell yesterday as oil
remained near п¬Ѓve-year lows,
while investors in Japan shrugged
off Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decisive
re-election and focused instead on the
faltering economy.
Sydney shed 0.64% as a hostage crisis
erupted in the heart of the city, with terrified people cowering inside a cafe where
an Islamic flag was displayed against a
window, sparking a security lockdown in
an area home to government and corporate headquarters.
Stocks on the Australian market
dropped 33.5 points to close at 5,186.1,
while in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 index
closed down 1.57%, or 272.18 points, at
Seoul finished flat, falling 1.35 points to
Hong Kong lost 0.95%, or 221.35 points
to close at 23,027.85, but Shanghai ended
0.52%, or 15.25 points, higher at 2,953.42.
In other markets; Wellington fell
0.29%, or 15.88 points, to 5,499.07;
Fletcher Building was off 0.62% at
NZ$8.05 and Air New Zealand was down
1.21% at NZ$2.44.
Taipei fell 41.70 points, or 0.46%, to
8,985.63; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co п¬Ѓnished 0.74% higher at
Tw$136.0 while Hon Hai Precision Industry shed 2.12% to Tw$87.7.
Manila п¬Ѓnished up 0.71%, or 51.41
points, at 7,275.62; Philippine Long Distance Telephone lost 0.14% to 2,840 pesos while Universal Robina rose 1.24% to
196.40 pesos.
Bangkok closed down 2.41%, or 36.46
points, at 1,478.49; media operator BEC
World plunged 5.66% to 50baht, while oil
company PTT Exploration and Production sank 5.33% to 106.50 baht.
Kuala Lumpur fell 1.8%, or 31.17 points,
to 1,701.82; Malayan Banking slid 2.49%
to 8.60 ringgit, while AMMB Holdings
dropped 3.28% to 6.19.
Jakarta closed down 1.01%, or 52 points,
Businessmen are reflected on a share prices board in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 index closed down 272.18 points to 17,099.40 yesterday.
at 5,108.43; car maker Astra International
lost 2.09% to 7,025 rupiah, while food
producer Indofood Sukses Makmur rose
0.38% to 6,575 rupiah.
Singapore closed down 0.90%, or
29.99 points, to 3,294.14; oil rig maker
Keppel Corp fell 1.24% to Sg$8while Singapore Airlines п¬Ѓnished down 0.43% at
Tokyo slipped after Abe’s widely expected election win in a snap poll on Sunday that he had billed as a referendum on
his economic policies.
“The elections are a net plus for the
market, but really came as no surprise and
thus are not likely to be a very large factor in today’s trading,” said Nomura Securities equity market strategist Junichi
“Analysts are essentially back to where
they were before—hoping for a thorough
fleshing out of Abe’s plan to revitalise the
economy,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Investors were also focused on the Bank
of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey that
showed confidence among major Japanese
manufacturers edged down in the three
months to December.
The slide in Asian markets comes after crashing oil prices dragged US stocks
to one of their worst losses of the year on
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell
1.79% and the S&P 500 tumbled 1.62%.
It was the S&P 500’s first weekly loss in
nearly two months and its worst singleweek decline - 3.5%—since May 2012.
Oil prices bounced back somewhat in
Asian trade Monday but remained near
п¬Ѓve-year lows.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 49 cents to $58.30 while Brent
gained 68 cents to $62.53 in afternoon
trade, reversing losses in both contracts in
early trading.
Lower oil prices benefit consumers, but
traders have been unnerved by the speed
of the freefall in crude prices, which could
put projects on hold in the oil sector and
hurt energy companies and banks.
Oil prices have plunged more than 50%
since June.
On forex markets the dollar was lower,
buying ВҐ118.23 in early Monday trade
against ВҐ118.79 in New York on Friday afternoon.
The euro fell to ВҐ147.31 from ВҐ148.05
and to $1.2453 from $1.2464 in US trade.
Gold was at $1,210.54 an ounce at 1035
GMT compared with $1,225late Friday.
impact its Q3 revenue. TCS fell
3.8%, Tech Mahindra ended down
3.6%, Wipro lost 0.3%, Infosys
ended 0.7% lower and HCL Technologies closed 1.8% down.
Metals and mining stocks fell
tracking lower Chinese rebar
futures and spot iron ore prices.
Tata Steel fell 0.4%, Jindal Steel
and Power lost 2%, JSW Steel
ended down 1.4% while Sesa
Sterlite fell 2.8%.
In other blue-chips, Bharat
Petroleum Corp fell 4.7% and Axis
Bank lost 1.4%.
Meanwhile the rupee posted
its biggest single-day fall in more
than four months, tracking steep
losses in emerging market currencies while domestic data showing
an unexpected contraction in industrial output sparked concerns
about economic growth.
The falls pushed the rupee to
a new 10-1/2 month low against
the dollar on Monday, in a session
when the Indonesian rupiah hit
a 16-year low amidst a slump in
crude prices and worries about
US rate hikes expected next year.
The central bank was seen
as having stepped in to prevent
more losses in the rupee.
“Today, RBI sold dollars at
62.70 to contain rupee’s rapid fall
but the dollar demand was huge,”
said Param Sarma, chief executive
officer at NSP Forex, a consultancy and brokerage firm.
“While one can expect the
central bank to intervene regularly to halt the rupee’s fall, rupee
could possibly weaken to 63.30
or thereabouts by end-December
before any recovery is seen,” he
added. The partially convertible
rupee closed weaker at 62.94/95
per dollar, after hitting 62.95, its
lowest level since January 28
compared with Friday’s 62.29/30
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
BT wireless comeback has
sellers competing in talks
T Group Plc’s negotiations to acquire one of Britain’s two largest
wireless operators gained momentum over the weekend, with the
owners of O2 and EE jostling with each
other to reach a deal with the former
telecommunications monopoly, according to people familiar with the
BT, which wants to expand into mobile services, may announce exclusive
talks with Telefonica, which controls
O2, or Deutsche Telekom and Orange,
the shareholders of the venture called
EE, as early as later yesterday, said the
people, who asked not to be identified
because deliberations are private.
While the British п¬Ѓrm was leaning
toward O2 last week, it has continued
negotiations with EE’s owners as it
tries to solicit a better price and structure, said the people. To alleviate BT’s
concern about EE’s more complicated
ownership, Paris-based Orange and
Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom offered
terms that would see the French exit
entirely with the Germans selling only
part of their 50% stake, one of the people said.
“There’s a need for consolidation in
the UK market and everyone wants to
move,” said Stephane Beyazian, an analyst at Raymond James. “BT has some
flexibility on price in this case, because
there are at least two potential sellers.”
Assuming a valuation of 7 times the
targets’ adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, O2 is worth £9.4bn ($14.8bn) and
EE ВЈ11bn, according to estimates by
Citigroup analysts.
Representatives for London-based
BT, Madrid-based Telefonica, Parisbased Orange and Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom declined to comment on
the talks.
BT, which said last month it had received expressions of interest from the
owners of two UK carriers for a deal,
is eyeing wireless targets so it can sell
fuller service packages to help boost
phone bills and retain customers. BT
has become popular because it controls the country’s biggest fibre network.
Without a deal, Telefonica, Orange
and Deutsche Telekom would be left
lacking a nationwide broadband net-
BT is eyeing wireless targets so it can sell fuller service packages to help boost phone bills and retain customers.
work to offer bundles of mobile, Internet and TV services in the UK.
Shares of BT rose 0.8% at 8:05am
in London, as Telefonica fell 0.3% in
Madrid. Orange lost 0.6% in Paris
and Deutsche Telekom added 0.2% in
Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison
Whampoa is also considering whether
to pursue a deal for its UK mobile unit
Three, which trails EE, O2 and Vodafone Group by customers, people familiar with the situation have said. If
Three decides to make an acquisition,
that would mean the “one-buyer situation” won’t persist, Beyazian said.
Deutsche Telekom and Orange have
been debating what to do with their
four-year-old venture. In January, they
agreed to freeze talks over an initial
public offering of EE as executives worried about the impact the service-bundling trend would have on the market.
EE has started selling broadband
service through a wholesale arrangement with BT, while BT had planned to
extend its mobile service — currently
available to businesses through a re-
sale agreement with EE — to consumers next year. BT has been expanding its
own TV offers, bidding against Rupert
Murdoch’s Sky Plc for the most popular
soccer matches and buying out ESPN’s
channel in the UK last year. That put BT
in a stronger position to offer so-called
quadruple-play packages.
For Telefonica, a sale of O2 would
generate proceeds to repay some of its
€45bn ($56bn) in net debt as it tries
to maintain its ratings, said Carlos
Winzer, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, which ranks the compa-
ny’s debt at Baa2, the second-lowest
investment grade.
Telefonica could also use the money
to help fund takeovers in the faster
growing Brazilian market.
BT’s expansion plan has sparked
talks across the UK as other carriers
looked for ways to defend their positions. Besides Hutchison, Vodafone is
also considering its options, including
a combination with Liberty Global Plc,
which runs the Virgin Media broadband
and TV business in the country, people
familiar with the matter have said.
Australia needs
budget steps to
absorb shock to
exports: Treasurer
Australia will take budget measures to cushion an economy
facing its worst decline in terms
of trade in more than half a century, Treasurer Joe Hockey said
yesterday, with the government
poised to unveil large cuts to
services and spending.
The budget cuts are expected
to be announced today alongside a mid-year economic
outlook that will factor in the
heavy hit Australia’s resourcedependent economy has taken
from a sharp fall in commodity
prices in recent months.
“If we don’t use the budget
as a shock absorber for this
extraordinary fall in the terms of
trade, then Australians will lose
jobs, and we’ll lose our prosperity,” Hockey told reporters in
“The forecast decline in the
terms of trade this year is the
largest since records were first
kept in 1959,” he said.
Economic growth is forecast to
stay at 2.5% and rise to 3% over
the next few years, Hockey said,
while unemployment is likely to
rise to levels “a tick higher” than
forecast in May.
On Saturday, Finance Minister
Mathias Cormann confirmed
in a television interview that
jobs would be cut, after the
Australian newspaper reported
that 175 government agencies
are expected to be axed and the
number of government workers
reduced to levels seen eight
years ago.
“The overwhelming objective here is to ensure that we
streamline the operation of the
public service. If you reduce the
number of government bodies,
there will be an impact on jobs,”
Cormann told Sky News.
The mid-year review is
expected to show the budget
deficit for the fiscal year ending
in June 2015 had blown out
by around A$5bn ($4.2bn) to
nearly A$35bn.
The ruling Liberal-National
coalition has failed to get many
of the savings measures it set
out in its annual May budget
through a hostile parliament.
Just a year into office, Prime
Minister Tony Abbott’s government has suffered record low
approval ratings, with the
economy running into strong
external headwinds.
Rising salaries give Kuroda, Yellen and Carney reasons to smile
ank of Japan Governor Haruhiko
Kuroda is п¬Ѓnally getting a pay
raise — and so, too, are a growing
number of workers throughout the industrial world.
Wages are beginning to climb in the
US, Japan, the UK and Germany as
tightening job markets force employers
to pay workers more. That’s good news
for households already benefiting from
a steep fall in oil prices.
The raises aren’t big — Kuroda, for
example, is getting a 1.3% bump — and
labour has a long way to go to get back
to where it was before the US recession
hit at the end of 2007. Yet the increases
are a welcome sign for policy makers that the world economy is on the
mend and primed for potentially faster
growth.“It’s a very desirable development,” said Peter Hooper, chief economist for Deutsche Bank Securities
Inc in New York and a former Federal
Reserve official. “It’s what the central
bankers want to see.”
The bigger pay checks will help lift
output as workers spend the extra money they’re getting — and falling energy
prices reinforce their purchasing power.
Global gross domestic product will rise
3.5% in 2015 after expanding 3.2% this
year, according to the median forecast of
38 economists surveyed by Bloomberg
News from December 5 to 10.
“A pickup in pay should be supportive of a further acceleration in consumption,” said Neville Hill, co-head of
global economics and strategy at Credit
Suisse Group in London.
The stepped-up salaries eventually
may lead to faster inflation as companies raise prices to make up for their increased labour costs. That’s something
central bankers including Kuroda will
embrace rather than dread, given their
determination to avoid deflationary
slumps in their economies.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues will be taking a close look at
what’s happening to wages and inflation when they gather December 16 in
Washington for their last two-day policy-making meeting of the year. Up for
Kuroda, Yellen and Carney: All smiles.
consideration: whether to drop their
stated intention to hold short-term
interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after they ended their assetpurchase programme in October.
The last increase for the benchmark
federal funds rate came in 2006.
In Japan, Kuroda and Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe — who won a sweeping victory in elections December 14 — have
been urging companies for months to
boost wages, arguing that such action is
needed to break the country’s decadeslong economic funk. Kuroda’s pay increase, to ¥34.7mn ($294,000), was the
п¬Ѓrst for a BoJ governor in nine years.
There are signs that businesses are
starting to follow the central bank’s
example. Base salaries rose 0.4% in
October from a year earlier, a п¬Ѓfth consecutive increase, based on data from
the Ministry of Health, Labour and
Large companies are set to boost
winter bonuses by an average 5.8% this
year, the most since 2008, after lifting
summer payouts by 7.2%, according to
preliminary results from a survey by the
Keidanren business lobby group.
Behind the budding wage pressures is
a taut job market, with Japan’s shrinking and aging population causing the
worst shortfall in two decades. The
unemployment rate, at 3.5% in October, matches the lowest since 1997, and
there were 1.1 positions available for
every applicant.
“It’s a structural change, so the labour shortage will continue for a long
time,” said Minoru Nogimori, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc in Tokyo. It is “producing conditions where
prices tend to rise. It’s an ideal situation
for the BoJ as it aims for 2% inflation.”
The job market is super tight even
though Japan has been in a recession,
with GDP contracting the past two quarters, noted Jonas Prising, chief executive
officer of ManpowerGroup. He said the
Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based staffing
company is having trouble п¬Ѓnding the
workers its Japanese clients want.
Labour income as a share of the
economy has fallen significantly over
the past few decades in a wide range of
countries, including the US, Japan and
Germany, according to research published last year by University of Chi-
cago economists Loukas Karabarbounis
and Brent Neiman. They attributed
much of the drop to declining prices
for computers and other capital goods,
which induced companies to replace
workers with machines.
Other researchers, including Fed
economists Bart Hobijn and AysegГјl
Sahin, trace the fall in the US more to
globalisation, in particular the expansion of supply chains outside America.
Both those forces may be waning.
The relentless decline in computing
costs has slowed, lessening the attractiveness of information-technology
equipment to corporate purchasers.
Computer and peripheral equipment
prices have fallen by a cumulative 6.7%
during the past three years, after dropping by more than two-thirds in the
previous decade, according to data
from the Commerce Department in
World trade growth also has slackened to about 3% in each of the past two
years, compared with an annual average of 7.3% in 2000 through 2010, data
from the International Monetary Fund
in Washington show. Deutsche Bank’s
Hooper said the creation of global supply chains seems to have plateaued,
while global talks to liberalise trade
have floundered.
Cyclical forces are starting to work in
labour’s favour as well. At 5.8% in November, the US jobless rate is closing
in on the 5.2% to 5.5% range most Fed
policy makers reckon is the equivalent
of full employment.
“We’re very close to the tipping
point,” Prising said. “I don’t see a rapid
acceleration, but I do think we’ll start to
see some upwards movement” in wage
That already may be happening. As
measured by the Labor Department’s
employment-cost index, wages and
salaries rose 0.8% in the third quarter
— an increase that hasn’t been exceeded since the first three months of 2007.
Ellen Zentner, senior US economist
for Morgan Stanley in New York, sees
wages rising around 2.5% next year, after increasing 2% this year, lifting consumer spending and the economy.
Yellen has made no secret of her desire to see compensation rise at a faster
clip, telling reporters on March 19 that
increases of 3% to 4% “would be normal” and consistent with the Fed’s 2%
inflation target.
The pick-up in salary growth will
allow policy makers to begin raising
short-term interest rates in June after
holding them effectively at zero since
December 2008, Deutsche Bank’s
Hooper said. The US central bank
“won’t need to have its foot on the accelerator quite so heavily,” he added.
The story is much the same in the
UK, with the Bank of England expected
to begin tightening policy next August,
according to Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec Securities Ltd in London.
BoE Governor Mark Carney said last
month that officials are “seeing the
п¬Ѓrst tentative signs of the long-awaited
pickup in wage growth.” He predicted
real incomes “will be further supported” by lower energy and food prices.
UK average weekly earnings excluding bonuses grew faster than inflation
in the third quarter for the п¬Ѓrst time
in п¬Ѓve years, advancing 1.3% from the
previous year. The minimum wage was
lifted 3% in October to ВЈ6.50 ($10.23)
an hour.
Meantime, Germany is introducing a minimum wage of €8.50 ($10.60)
an hour in January. That, along with
higher pay increases, should bolster effective wages by about 3.5% next year,
according to Morgan Stanley.
Such a jump may be welcomed even
by the inflation-loathing Bundesbank,
whose president, Jens Weidmann, has
praised wage growth this year and said
it reflects a tighter labour market. The
hope is that if Germans spend more, it
will help boost the economies of neighbouring nations where wages still are
under pressure.
“With most of Germany enjoying virtual full employment, German
wages are rising nicely,” said Holger
Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank. “Workers are reaping the rewards of their previous wage restraint.”
The increases across advanced nations are “a welcome step forward,”
said Joseph Lupton, an economist at
JPMorgan Chase & Co They’re a sign
the world economy is “getting back to
some sense of normalcy.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Early slowdown signs emerge for US oil states after crude slide
New York
After leading the US economic
recovery out of recession, some of
the nation’s top oil states are showing early signs of a slowdown as a
result of the plunge in crude prices.
In Houston, Texas, the first
oil industry layoffs have been
announced, with realtors there predicting a sharp decline, up to 12%, in
home sales next year.
Alaska’s 2015 fiscal year budget
revenue forecast will have to be lowered by almost $2bn, according to
Fitch Ratings, because of the sharp
drop in the state’s forecast crude
prices. That will widen Alaska’s
budget gap to almost $3.4bn, Fitch
said in a December 11 report.
States such as Texas, North
Dakota, Alaska, Oklahoma and New
Mexico are all likely to feel strains
next year, Wells Fargo Securities
municipal analyst Roy Eappen said
in a recent report.
Meanwhile, household sentiment
in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and
Arkansas where memories of the
catastrophic 1980s oil crash are still
fresh, weakened in October more
than any other region, according
to a report by Decision Analyst Inc.
The Texas-based research company
surveys monthly thousands of
homeowners in the Census Bureau’s nine regional divisions.
The West South Central division,
comprising those four states, had
seen the strongest growth for four
years, but in October survey lagged
the rest of the nation, with economic gauges improving in six regions
and two recording no change.
“The fact that the economic
index is in decline in this region signals that the economy in these oil
states is heading for an economic
slowdown,” said Jerry Thomas,
president of Decision Analyst.
Responding to a more than 40%
drop in crude prices since June, at
least a dozen US energy companies
have cut spending plans for next
year — bad news for states that
rely on jobs, wealth and tax income
they provide.
As a result, while most states
expect a tailwind from cheaper oil
and its boost to consumption, it is
the oil states’ turn to act as a drag
on the nation’s overall economic
Thanks to the shale oil boom
North Dakota’s economy grew by
a fifth in 2012 and almost 10% last
year. Texas economy expanded by
nearly 7% in 2012 and 3.7% in 2013
compared with nationwide rates of
2.5% and 1.8%, respectively. That is
about to change.
In a sign of things to come,
Houston-based Hercules Offshore
Inc recently notified the authorities
of planned “mass layoffs.” In an
October 30 letter, a copy of which
has been obtained by Reuters, the
company said it would be perma-
nently laying off 324 workers in its
Gulf of Mexico operations due to
the anticipated closure of four rigs.
According to company filings, it has
2,200 employees.
Hercules Offshore did not respond to a request for comment.
The number of well permits fell
almost 40% nationwide in November, according to industry data firm
Drilling Info Inc, which means fewer
jobs and less related business.
Bud Weinstein, an energy
economist at Southern Methodist
University in Dallas, said the downturn in production will affect related
industries such as transportation,
cement, metal parts and food
For example, it takes up to 2,000
truck trips to build one new well,
Weinstein said.
An informal tally by Reuters of
announced plans for US drilling rig
operations shows at least seven
firms plan to cut the number of rigs
they operate now by a total of more
than 50 in 2015, with each rig estimated to employ 50-60 workers.
Another concern is dwindling
sources of funding that would help
companies ride out the downturn.
Prices of some of the junk-rated
bonds that helped energy companies finance their expansion during
boom years have been tumbling
and banks in oil-producing regions
are expected to curb lending to the
energy sector.
Russell Evans, an Oklahoma City
University economist, said the 1982
oil crash has left deep scars in Oklahoma where oil and gas industry
accounts for about 20% of all jobs
and two-thirds of those created
since 2008.
Evans expects Oklahoma to
weather the current price slide better because of a strong long-term
outlook for the industry, but the
history of booms and busts keeps
many on edge. “There is a fair
amount of anxiety here,” he said.
For Karr Ingham, whose firm
Ingham Economic Reporting monitors rig counts, permits and the oil
economy in Texas, there is no doubt
that hard times are just round the
corner. “A slowdown is coming,
period. It’s just a matter of time.”
PetSmart agrees
to be bought by
BC Partners
in $8.3bn deal
New York
An employee works to manufacture diesel truck engines at the Cummins Mid-Range Engine Plant in Columbus, Indiana. US factory production increased 1.1% last month after an
upwardly revised 0.4% advance in October, the Federal Reserve said yesterday.
US factory production
accelerates in sign of
economy’s strength
Manufacturing output jumps
1.1% in November; factory
capacity use highest since
December 2007; New York
state factory activity brakes
sharply in December
S manufacturing output recorded its largest
increase in nine months
in November as production expanded across the board, pointing to underlying strength in the
Factory production increased
1.1% last month after an upwardly revised 0.4% advance
in October, the Federal Reserve
said yesterday.
“There is little evidence here
that weaker global growth or
a stronger dollar has hurt US
manufacturing,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ
Economics in New York.
The upbeat factory data joined
bullish employment and retail sales reports in suggesting
strength in the economy, even
as growth in the fourth quarter
is expected to moderate sharply
after two back-to-back quarters
of robust expansion.
Wall Street had expected
manufacturing output to rise
only 0.5% in November after a
previously reported 0.2% gain in
But the optimism over the
manufacturing sector was tempered somewhat by a second
report from the New York Federal Reserve showing its Empire
State general business condi-
tions index fell to -3.58 in December, the п¬Ѓrst contraction
since January 2013, from a reading of 10.16 in November.
Economists said the New York
Fed survey was volatile because
of limited factory activity in the
“On balance, however, the
weak reading is consistent with
slower manufacturing activity late in the quarter,” said Jesse
Hurwitz, an economist at Barclays in New York.
A third report showed homebuilder sentiment ebbed in
December, though builders remained more optimistic than in
the п¬Ѓrst half of the year.
The data comes a day before
Federal Reserve officials gather
for a two-day meeting to assess
the economy’s health and deliberate on monetary policy.
Economists expect the US
central bank to open the door a
bit wider to interest rate hikes
next year after the recent run of
bullish data.
US stocks were trading slightly lower, while prices for Treasury debt fell. The dollar was up
marginally against a basket of
Overall manufacturing output
increased broadly in November,
with a 5.1% jump in automobile
production after three straight
months of decline. There were
also solid gains in machinery,
apparel and leather, and petroleum and coal products.
Mining output slipped 0.1%
last month, while utilities production jumped 5.1% as a cold
snap boosted demand for utilities.
The gain in manufacturing
and utilities combined to lift
overall industrial production by
1.3% in November, the largest
increase since May 2010.
The amount of manufacturing
capacity in use last month rose
to its highest since December
2007. Overall industrial capacity
use hit its highest level in more
than 6-1/2 years.
“The sharp rise in pace of capacity utilisation is of particular
interest as it could be seen as an
indication of accelerating resource slack absorption in the
US economy,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at
TD Securities in New York.
Officials at the Fed tend to
look at capacity use as a signal
of how much “slack” remains
in the economy and how much
room there is for growth to run
before it becomes inflationary.
etSmart Inc agreed to
be bought by a group led
by BC Partners for about
$8.3bn in the largest leveraged
deal for a US company this year.
The group will pay $83 a
share, or about 39% more than
the company’s price on July 2,
before activist investor Jana
Partners began pushing for the
sale, according to a statement
yesterday. Including debt, the
total value of the deal is about
$8.7bn, the statement shows.
BC Partners beat other bidders including Leon Black’s
Apollo Global Management and
KKR & Co to close the deal after a weeks-long auction that
came down to negotiations
over the weekend, people with
knowledge of the matter said.
BC Partners struck a deal on
Sunday, after making a п¬Ѓnal
offer a day earlier that topped
other bids, the people said,
asking not to be identified discussing private information.
“It was a very competitive
auction,” Raymond Svider, a
managing partner at BC Partners, said in a telephone interview. “The company should
never have been put in play.
Growth slowed and the market
overreacted. We feel fortunate.”
A spokesman for Apollo
declined to comment, as did
a representative for Jana and
a spokeswoman for KKR. In
addition to BC Partners, the
consortium includes Caisse de
DГ©pГґt et Placement du QuГ©bec
and StepStone.
The sale is a victory for Jana
and Longview Asset Management, which also urged the retailer to sell itself as its business
waned. Same-store sales at the
pet-supply company were flat
last quarter after falling in the
previous three months for the
п¬Ѓrst time in at least a decade,
as competition from Amazon.
com Inc and other retailers intensified.
Until Jana, the $10bn hedge
fund run by Barry Rosenstein,
began its campaign on July 3,
PetSmart’s shares had tumbled
18% in 2014. Longview, which
controls about 9% of PetSmart,
said later that month it also
backed a sale. Longview supports the sale to BC Partners,
according to the statement.
Shares of Phoenix-based
PetSmart have now gained
6.8% this year, closing at $77.67
on December 12, compared
with an 8.3% gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Including debt, the buyout
group is paying about 9.3 times
PetSmart’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and
amortisation in the 12 months
through November 2, data
compiled by Bloomberg show.
That compares with a median
of 8.9 times historic Ebitda
paid in 24 buyouts of US consumer companies over $1bn in
the last п¬Ѓve years.
The private-equity deal tops
Blackstone Group LP’s $5.4bn
purchase of industrial-products maker Gates Global LLC in
July, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
PetSmart made a good buyout candidate because of its
high free-cash-flow yield — a
measure of how much cash
from operations the business
generates relative to its share
price, analysts have said. Petco
Animal Supplies Inc, a PetSmart competitor, was acquired
by private-equity investors led
by Leonard Green & Partners
in 2006, and buyout п¬Ѓrms also
may be interested in PetSmart
thanks in part to an attractive
п¬Ѓnancing market, Jana said in
The $8.3bn deal for PetSmart, struck on Sunday, is the
largest leveraged deal for a US company this year
Sony hack reveals health information on employees, children
New York
Documents stolen from Sony Corp
by hackers include detailed and
identifiable health information on
more than three dozen employees,
their children or spouses — a sign of
how much information employers
have on their workers and how easily it can become public.
One memo by a human resources executive, addressed to
the company’s benefits committee,
disclosed details on an employee’s
child with special needs, including
the diagnosis and the type of treatment the child was receiving. The
memo discussed the employee’s
appeal of thousands of dollars in
medical claims denied by the insurance company.
Another document leaked in
the hack is a spreadsheet from a
human resources folder on Sony’s
servers that includes the birth
dates, gender, health condition and
medical costs for 34 Sony employees, their spouses and children who
had very high medical bills. The
conditions listed include premature
births, cancer, kidney failure and
alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The document doesn’t include employees’
A Sony spokesperson didn’t
respond to a request for comment.
The health documents are
part of a devastating computer
attack on the company’s Culver
City, California-based unit Sony
Pictures that sent thousands of files
circling the Web between various
file-sharing sites used by hackers.
The information revealed has included the salaries of thousands of
employees and e-mails taking shots
at President Barack Obama and at
Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie.
The release of the health information could be some of the most
damaging material, said Deborah
Peel, director of Patient Privacy
Rights, a non-profit group.
“This stuff will haunt all those
people the rest of their lives. Once
it’s up on the Internet it is up in
perpetuity,” Peel said.
“This is a thousand times worse
than that other stuff,” she said,
referring to salary information and
personal e-mails. “Health information is the most sensitive information about you.”
Hackers who call themselves
Guardians of Peace have been
releasing batches of documents
every few days since the breach
garnered global headlines November 25. Sony is conducting
an internal probe that has linked
the attack to hackers known as
DarkSeoul, according to two people
familiar with the company’s investigation. Media reports have tied the
group to North Korea. Tokyo-based
Sony hasn’t made that association
One e-mail between Sony’s
insurer, Aetna, and its human resources department over a denied
claim contains the name of an
employee and the type of surgery
the worker’s spouse had. Another
between health insurer Anthem
and Sony’s human resources department includes the name of an
employee and an unresolved claim
for speech therapy sessions.
In the memo discussing denied
claims for the employee’s specialneeds child, Sony’s human resources department went into great
detail on the type of treatment the
child was getting, how the child was
faring, the location of the facility
and conversations the insurer had
with the child’s care providers. Peel
said that level of detail shouldn’t
have been shared, especially the
child’s name, which isn’t relevant
to making a determination about
the claim.
“This is the absolute worst nightmare for this employee and their
family,” said Peel. “Why they are doing this with the name and location
and all the identifiable information
is beyond me.”
Carol Olsby, who has worked in
human resources at mid-sized and
large technology companies, said
employers who aren’t self-insured
may receive aggregate financial
data for unusually large medical
claims if the insurance broker is
justifying a significant rate increase.
For example, if a company had
employees who’d developed costly
chronic conditions, like a type of
cancer or kidney failure, or had
a premature baby, those would
be considered serious medical
conditions and the insurer could
argue that rates should rise. She
said employee names and personal
information wouldn’t be shared.
Olsby, who now runs consulting
firm Carol Olsby & Associates, also
said some employees may e-mail
the company’s human resources
department with medical information if a claim is denied. Human
resources would investigate the
situation and determine if they
need to contact the insurance company. The information would only
be provided to those “who would
have a need to know.”
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Alfardan Automobiles
unveils new BMW X6
fter introducing the new
BMW X6 model at the
�BMW M meets X’ drive
event at the Losail International
Circuit last month, Alfardan Automobiles, the official BMW Group
importer in Qatar, has unveiled the
second generation of the Sports
Activity CoupГ© at the BMW showrooms.
The new BMW X6, the previous
generation of which posted global
sales of almost 250,000 units, enjoys
a special status among its rivals. The
design of the new BMW X6 blends
the robustness and versatility of a
BMW X model with the sporting elegance typical of the brand’s coupés.
The interior combines generous
space with model-specific sports
features and a luxurious ambience, while attractive design and
equipment packages further highlight the exclusive style of the new
Mohamed Kandeel, chief operating officer, Alfardan Group
– Automotive Operations, said:
“The new BMW X6 combines the
vigorous body and versatility of a
BMW X model with the sporting
elegance found in BMW’s Coupés.”
The new Design Pure Extravagance equipment package adds
striking, high-quality accents to
both the interior and the exterior.
The M Sport package includes
specially selected features that
enhance the vehicle’s dynamic
character. Also available are model-specific features from BMW Individual.
The new BMW X6 comes with
an exclusive roster of standard
equipment, which goes beyond
that of the previous model: 19inch light-alloy wheels, automatic
tailgate operation and the 8-speed
Steptronic sport transmission
with steering wheel shift paddles
are all included, as are leather trim,
two-zone climate control and auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The
40: 20: 40 split/folding rear seat
backrests, allow load compartment capacity to expand from 580
litres to 1,525 litres (75 litres more
than the predecessor model.)
The new BMW X6 offers a line-
up of engines including the latestgeneration V8 developing 450hp
for the BMW X6 xDrive50i. The
BMW X6 xDrive35i 306hp is set to
join the range in Q1 2015.
Ensuring that the noticeably
increased performance of the new
BMW X6 is accompanied by an up
to 22% reduction in average fuel
consumption are BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, the standard-п¬Ѓtted eight-speed Steptronic
sport transmission, extensive
BMW EfficientDynamics technology, weight-saving optimisations
and enhanced aerodynamics.
The standard – and permanently active – intelligent allwheel-drive system BMW xDrive
optimises traction, directional
stability and cornering dynamics, as the situation requires. For
improved dynamics, xDrive can
optionally link up with adaptive
suspension packages, including
Dynamic Performance Control.
For increased performance, Dynamic Performance Control is offered together with Dynamic Drive
active roll stabilisation as part of
the Dynamic adaptive suspension
package to deliver a targeted improvement in the car’s sporty handling attributes. Further enhanced
ride comfort can be achieved thanks
to of air suspension at the rear
axle and the Adaptive M suspension (part of the M Sport package),
which also offers bespoke, sportsoriented suspension tuning.
Adaptive LED headlights, Comfort Access (including hands-free
tailgate opening and closing) and
other high-class options underline the innovative character of the
new BMW X6. Driving pleasure
and long-distance comfort, meanwhile, can be further enhanced by
features including the Navigation
System Professional with Touch
A wide variety of features are
available through BMW ConnectedDrive. This includes items
such as the BMW Head-Up Display, Driving Assistant and Surround View, as well as all BMW
ConnectedDrive services and Online Entertainment.
The design of the new BMW X6 blends the robustness and versatility of a BMW X model with the
sporting elegance typical of the brand’s coupés.
Ooredoo wins major
awards at �CommsMEA
Awards 2014’ in Dubai
Ooredoo has received a
average 4G speed.
string of major awards at the
The company has made
CommsMEA Awards 2014, held
good progress on its network
in Dubai recently.
modernisation programme
The group’s major investment
across its footprint, in order to
in 4G and fibre technology
stay ahead of rising demand
received the prestigious
for mobile Broadband services,
“Technology investment of the
and has taken a lead in 3G
year” award, while its groundservices in Algeria, Tunisia
breaking “Simply do wonders”
and even its newest market of
campaign with football star
Myanmar in 2014.
Leo Messi received “Marketing
Ooredoo’s innovative approach
campaign of the year”.
was further demonstrated
In addition, Ooredoo’s Asiacell
by its “Simply do wonders”
operation received “Corporate
campaign, which included an
social responsibility campaign of
advert starring Leo Messi and
the year” for its on-going work
an attention-grabbing social
with refugees and internallymedia contest.
displaced people in
The company’s
operations in
Qatar were highly
commended in the
“Customer service
provider of the year”
section, while its
Mobile Health Clinic “These awards demonstrate the
range and incredible impact of
initiative was also
Ooredoo’s initiatives”
commended in the
“Corporate Social
Responsibility” division.
It began airing across a range
Ooredoo Group CEO Dr Nasser
of pan-Arab and international
Marafih said, “These awards
channels during the FIFA
demonstrate the range and
World Cup 2014 in June
incredible impact of our
2014. The advert received
initiatives across our footprint.
more than 11mn views
Whether it is pioneering
online, making it the most
network technology, engaging
popular and most-watched
marketing campaigns that
advert from the region, with
inspire young people, or
particularly strong viewing
dedicated programmes
figures in Indonesia, Qatar,
to support underserved
Algeria and Kuwait — four of
communities, Ooredoo strives
Ooredoo’s key markets.
to make a difference and
Asiacell’s work with refugees
enrich people’s lives in every
and internally displaced people
market that we operate in.”
has delivered significant
Ooredoo’s investment in 4G
benefits in 2014. The company
services has enabled the
has worked hard to keep
company to become the
communication channels
Middle East’s leader in the
open within conflict areas
provision of ultrafast 4G
by distributing 10,000 free
services, offering 4G in Qatar,
SIM cards equipped with a
Kuwait and Oman, and to hold
free SMS notification service
leading positions in mobile
offering vital information for
data across its markets.
internally displaced people and
Qatar has second highest
refugees. It also established
level of household broadband
a call centre in Sulaimanyah,
of any developing country
aiming to connect people with
after Korea, according to the
the dedicated organisations
most recent UN Broadband
and programmes that provide
Commission report, with
support, as well as donating
Ooredoo most recently
handsets to refugee camp
launching 4G Plus (Advanced
representatives to enable
LTE), delivering speeds of up
families to contact each other
225 Mbps, nearly double the
across conflict zones.
The interior of the New BMW X6.
Qatar Executive displays Bombardier Global 5000 Vision private jet in Dubai
Sheikh Ahmed with Edwards at Qatar Executive’s booth at the Middle East Business Aviation Show, MEBA, at the Dubai World Central
exhibition site. Right: The interior of Qatar Executive’s new Bombardier Global 5000 Vision private jet.
Qatari family п¬Ѓrms set to be key
driver of GCC growth: Report
atari family п¬Ѓrms are
set to be the key driver
of the GCC growth in
2015, says a new research report, which estimates that family п¬Ѓrms outperform non-family
п¬Ѓrms by an average of 15%.
The “unique strengths” of
Qatari family п¬Ѓrms hold important insights for economic
forecasters, policy planners and
business leaders looking for
growth. Family п¬Ѓrms represent
around 75% of the private sector
economy in the GCC, so their
continued success is a vital contributor to overall GCC growth,
Oxford Strategic Consulting
(OSC) said.
The research found that Qatari family п¬Ѓrms possess particular advantages that give them a
unique competitive edge. Firstly, 50% of GCC family-owned
п¬Ѓrms are involved in more than
п¬Ѓve sectors, which means that
they spread the risk, are more
resilient to downturns in one
sector, and can rapidly move
into growth markets — although
they can be spread too thinly.
“Qatari family companies
also benefit from a distinctive
leadership style,” which, OSC
said, focuses on relationships
and loyalty.
The most successful family
firms are also unusually integrated with the government
and consequently more aligned
with their country’s objectives. Much of their economic
success is related to providing
stability and a strong cohesive
link between national and private sector strategies and objectives.
“Yet Qatari family firms do
face challenges. For example, a typical family business
in GCC must grow at a rate of
18% a year in order to maintain
the same family wealth across
generations. Family п¬Ѓrms also
face difficulties when assessing
family members, which can be a
touchy subject, and ultimately
determining a successor. Similarly, family firms often struggle with how to �fast-track’
sons into important leadership
“It is clear that not all Qatari
family п¬Ѓrms follow strategies as
they appear in traditional business textbooks. A family’s business strategy may, for example,
be more concerned with preserving the family name rather
than generating profits. It is
precisely the unique qualities of
these family п¬Ѓrms that enable
these companies to continue to
defy expectations and serve as
key drivers of regional growth.”
atar Executive displayed
its brand new Bombardier
Global 5000 Vision private jet at this year’s Middle East
Business Aviation Show — MEBA
— at the Dubai World Central exhibition site.
The biennial show was officially inaugurated by Sheikh Ahmed
bin Saeed al-Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation
Authority, chairman and CEO of
Emirates Group and Chairman of
Dubai Airports, who also visited
Qatar Executive’s booth during
his tour of the show.
Qatar Executive’s Bombardier
Global 5000 Vision attracted
many visitors during the threeday show, all of whom were given
the opportunity to see the elegant
aircraft interiors and refined cabin features of this technologically-advanced aircraft.
Qatar Executive executive
vice-president, David Edwards,
said, “Qatar Executive continues to go from strength to
strength and MEBA is a great
opportunity for us to showcase
our rapidly expanding fleet and
demonstrate our industry leading offerings to partners and
customers alike.”
The Global 5000 jet combines
luxury and unsurpassed performance, and features one of
the widest and most spacious
cabin interiors in the world of
super-large business jets. Able
to fly non-stop from Doha to
destinations such as Tokyo,
the aircraft offers high levels of
comfort through its two-cabin
configuration and allows for
seven passengers to sleep comfortably.
The three-day event allowed
Qatar Executive to showcase its
growing business aviation serv-
ice portfolio and raise interest
for its new General Aviation Terminal (FBO), which is currently
being constructed at the new
Hamad International Airport
and is set to open in the п¬Ѓrst half
of 2015.
Apart from strengthening relations with customers, brokers and
suppliers and establishing new
business relationships, the Qatar
Executive team, used the show
to reinforce the ground-breaking
announcement recently made by
the company to purchase up to
20 Gulfstream aircraft, including
the manufacturer’s all-new G500
and the G650ER.
Since its inception just п¬Ѓve
years ago, Qatar Executive has
seen rapid growth and is currently flying a top-notch fleet of eight
business jets, which can reach
most destinations in the world
Barwa Bank wins two awards at Islamic Business & Finance Awards
Barwa Bank has been named “Best Sukuk Arranger” and “Best Corporate Bank” at the Islamic Business & Finance Awards 2014. Barwa
Bank executive general manager and chief business officer Khalid Mahdi al-Ahbabi accepted the awards on behalf of the bank in a
ceremony held at the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel in Dubai. In a statement, Barwa Bank said, “We are delighted to be recognised with these
awards, leading credence to our effective innovative approach to Shariah-compliant banking. These awards are a testament that we
have been very successful in balancing the traditions and compliance requirements of Shariah-compliant banking with a contemporary
approach to customer service and product development.” The CPI Financial awards was established in 2005 to recognise the best
performing institutions in a variety of regions where Islamic finance is either already developed or is rapidly expanding. Picture shows
Barwa Bank executive general manager and chief business officer Khalid Mahdi al-Ahbabi receiving the awards at the Islamic Business &
Finance Awards 2014 in Dubai.
CRICKET | Page 5
NBA | Page 7
Waqar wants
to remove
tag of Pakistan
Bryant has
Jordan in points
... and nastiness
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Safar 24, 1436 AH
PSG suffer shock
loss but Marseille’s
defeat softens blow
Page 3
PSG to face Chelsea in last 16
Manchester City to tackle Barcelona
in the other high profile clash
ose Mourinho’s Chelsea were
drawn yesterday against Paris
Saint-Germain and Manchester City tackle Barcelona in two
blockbuster Champions League last 16
Chelsea’s �reward’ for sailing into
the knockout stages unbeaten was a
testing match-up against the Qataribacked French champions who they
beat on away goals in last season’s
Chelsea secretary David Barnard
told Sky Sports News: “PSG are known
to us as we played them in the quarters
last year and they’ve got David Luiz
playing for them too.
“It’s a good draw logistically too for
our supporters.
“Both sides have very different
squads from last year, so if it was PSG
or anyone else, it would’ve been the
same situation.”
PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi
told AFP his club had to learn from last
season’s meeting with the 2012 winners.
“Last year was an apprenticeship
which must not be repeated.”
He added: “Chelsea are a good draw
for us. I am very confident. I’ve got
confidence in my manager and in my
players that they’ll show on the pitch
the best of PSG.”
Like PSG, English champions City
will be out for revenge after being
brushed aside 4-1 on aggregate by
Barca at this stage in the 2013/2014
City’s director of football, former
Barcelona player Txiki Begiristain, said:
“We have plenty of confidence with the
way we qualified beating Bayern Munich
at home and Roma away, so the players
will be working hard to get п¬Ѓt and arrive
in confidence for those games.
“We have improved our squad from
last season and we have some real
quality up front.”
Barcelona representative Andoni Zubizarreta said: “It is the same draw we had a
year ago, it was a very difficult game and
we are going to look forward to it.
“Manchester City have an outstanding squad with a very good coach, a
very good team and are very competitive.”
The last 16 draw staged at UEFA’s
headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland,
gave holders Real Madrid a palatable pairing against German side
Schalke 04, coached by Roberto Di
Matteo, who was in charge of Chelsea when they were crowned kings
of Europe.
Real met Schalke in last season’s last
16, easing through 9-2 on aggregate, en
route to their tenth title.
“We have the utmost respect for
Schalke, a club with whom we have a
great relationship. They are very competitive, one lapse in concentration can
take its toll,” said Real director Emilio
“The balls come out as they come
out, of course, we are the outsiders, but
there is always the old football saying;
“form beats class”,” said Schalke board
member Peter Peters optimistically.
Last year’s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid come up against Bayer
Arsenal, п¬Ѓnalists in 2006, face their
coach Arsene Wenger’s old club Monaco, Italian champions Juventus will
have to overcome Borussia Dortmund,
and German giants Bayern Munich,
who beat Borussia in the 2013 п¬Ѓnal,
play Shakhtar Donetsk.
“Donetsk are the least known side
in the last 16, so it won’t be so easy to
prepare for this game,” said Bayern
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
“I think it’s goood to finally play
someone different and not Arsenal
again,” Dutch winger Arjen Robben
Arsenal are appearing in the
knockout stages for the 17th successive season, and club secretary David
Miles reflected on their favourable
“As the draw came out, it was evident a lot of the big teams had gone, so
we’re pleased to have avoided them.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Champions League draw reaction
In-form United are
�forcing luck’, says
coach van Gaal
�It’s not for nothing that we scored the way we have scored today. You need luck, but
you can force luck, and we are forcing luck now. That was not the case at the start’
PSG president Nasser AlKhelaifi: “Last year was an
apprenticeship which must
not be repeated. Chelsea are
a good draw for us. I am very
confident. I’ve got confidence
in my manager and in my
players that they’ll show on the
pitch the best of PSG.”
Chelsea secretary David Barnard: “PSG are known to us as
we played them in the quarters
last year and they’ve got David
Luiz playing for them too. It’s
a good draw logistically too
for our supporters. Both sides
have very different squads
from last year, so if it was PSG
or anyone else, it would’ve
been the same situation.”
City’s director of football
Txiki Begiristain: “We have
plenty of confidence with
the way we qualified beating
Bayern Munich at home and
Roma away, so the players will
be working hard to get fit and
arrive in confidence for those
games. We have improved our
squad from last season and
we have some real quality up
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique: “It is a very tough and
difficult opponent, one of the
most difficult in the draw and
one of the contenders for the
Champions. A lot can happen
between now and February.
But it will certainly be a balanced match. I always think
positively and I am only thinking about beating Manchester
City in the knockout stage.”
Bayer Leverkusen CEO
Michael Schade: “Atletico
Madrid is a very difficult opponent. You have to be realistic
and we will go into this tie as
the clear underdogs. We have
to put in a 100 percent effort
in both matches, better still a
few percent more. If we have
two very good days and twice
put in a full performance, then
perhaps we have a chance.”
Atletico Madrid managing
director Clemente Villaverde
“We know Leverkusen well.
We faced them in the Europa
League (in 2011) and it is a club
we have good relations with
and we know the potential
they have.”
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reacts during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at the Old Trafford, in Manchester.
anchester United manager
Louis van Gaal felt that his
side’s 3-0 Premier League
victory over Liverpool proved
that his methods are beginning to take
effect at Old Trafford.
Sunday’s win, secured by goals from
Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van
Persie, was United’s sixth in a row and
galvanised their grip on third place in the
table, but there were rough edges to the
hosts’ display.
Liverpool created a host of chances,
with David de Gea earning the man-ofthe-match award for a series of spectacular saves, while Mata’s goal should have
been ruled out for offside.
It had been a similar story last Monday
when United won 2-1 at Southampton
despite registering only three attempts
at goal.
But van Gaal believes that United are
now a different team to the one that slithered to a seventh-place п¬Ѓnish last season
following their travails under his hapless
predecessor, David Moyes.
Asked for the secret to United’s current form, the decorated Dutch coach
told his post-match press conference:
“Because we have a way of playing that
always takes into account the qualities of
the opponent.
“I have a staff that always are looking
for the way we can do pain to the opponent. And we found this today (Sunday)
“It’s not for nothing that we scored
the way we have scored today. You need
luck, but you can force the luck, and we
are forcing the luck now. That was not the
case at the start.”
Rooney, who played in midfield, set
United on their way in the 12th minute by
sweeping home a cut-back from Antonio
Mata headed home five minutes before half-time—a goal described with
some justification by Liverpool manager
Brendan Rodgers as “clearly offside”—
and then teed up van Persie for United’s
third in the 71st minute.
An injury to Marcos Rojo obliged van
Gaal to deploy midfielder Michael Carrick as one of three centre-backs in a defensive set-up that mirrored Liverpool’s.
The visitors regularly found a way in
behind United’s defence, with De Gea
thwarting Raheem Sterling and substitute Mario Balotelli three times each, but
van Gaal felt his players adapted well to
the enforced changes.
“Only yesterday (Saturday), Rojo in
a training session got injured and then I
have to change my line-up again, which I
have to do every week,” he said.
“But the most important thing is my
philosophy and when you stick by your
philosophy, every player can do that because every player has played already in
that philosophy.”
Defeat completed a miserable few days
for Liverpool, who were knocked out of the
Champions League by Basel last Tuesday
and now trail United by 10 points.
Rodgers admitted that his squad had
lost some of the team spirit that saw
them come within a whisker of pipping
Manchester City to the title last season.
“For me, the whole scenario is about
looking to build a team again,” said the
Northern Irishman, who lost Luis Suarez to Barcelona in the close season and
is currently without striker Daniel Sturridge due to injury.
“We had a team that was growing for a
couple of years that has changed now, the
squad and injuries and whatnot.
“But we’re having to recapture the
team ethos again and that’s something
we’re looking to build towards.”
Rodgers sprang a surprise by dropping
goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, whose form
has come under scrutiny, and he confirmed that Australian Brad Jones would
remain in goal for tomorrow’s League
Cup quarter-п¬Ѓnal at Bournemouth.
“Simon has been fine. He’s a really good professional. I spoke to him
the other day and he accepted it,” said
Reds set sight on League Cup
the moment, and I don’t like to
compare the teams until the season is finished.”
Derby, coached by former
England manager Steve McClaren, currently sit third in the
Championship, a point below
Bournemouth and second-place
Middlesbrough, and are bidding
to reach the semi-п¬Ѓnals for the
п¬Ѓrst time since 2009.
remier League leaders Chelsea and beleaguered Liverpool will
be among the teams
bidding to take a step closer to
Wembley when the League Cup
reaches the quarter-п¬Ѓnal stage
this week.
Both sides face second-tier
opposition, with Chelsea visiting Derby County today and Liverpool travelling to new Championship leaders Bournemouth
In the only all-Premier League
tie, Tottenham Hotspur host
Newcastle United, while the
third division’s sole representatives, Sheffield United, host outof-form Southampton.
The League Cup holds special
significance for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, as he won
the 2005 tournament in his п¬Ѓrst
season at the club and went on to
lift the trophy for a second time
in 2007.
Liverpool’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers.
Chelsea have made a sensational start to the campaign,
losing only one of their п¬Ѓrst 24
games in all competitions, but
goalkeeper Petr Cech says they
cannot be compared to the great
teams of the past until they win
“This team has huge potential,” said the Czech, who stood
in for the injured Thibaut Courtois in Saturday’s 2-0 win over
Hull City and is expected to keep
his place for the trip to Pride
“It has been doing really well
this season, we are top of the
league and have been doing
some brilliant games.
“But we are empty-handed at
While Chelsea have been in
cruise control since mid-August, Liverpool’s campaign has
lurched from one disaster to another.
crashed to a demoralising 3-0
defeat at arch rivals Manchester
United in the league on Sunday,
days after limping out of the
Champions League in the group
As such, a positive result
at Bournemouth would help
to banish some of the stormclouds gathering over the club,
but Eddie Howe’s team are rid-
ing the crest of a wave after sinking Cardiff City 5-3 on Saturday
to claim top spot in the Championship.
“Everybody that works here
works extremely hard,” Bournemouth assistant coach Jason
Tindall told BBC radio.
“That’s our ethos, that’s our
philosophy, and it’s nice to see
we’re performing well and getting our rewards for all the hard
work that everybody has put in.”
Bournemouth, who famously
dumped holders Manchester United out of the FA Cup in
1984, will be appearing in the
League Cup quarter-п¬Ѓnals for
the п¬Ѓrst time.
Tottenham and Newcastle approach their encounter at White
Hart Lane tomorrow on the back
of contrasting results in the
Spurs climbed to seventh
place in the table after Christian
Eriksen scored an 89th-minute
winner in a 2-1 win against
Swansea City on Sunday, whereas Newcastle crashed to a 4-1
defeat at Arsenal.
Juventus director Pavel
Nedved: “For us, the draw has
been quite kind. I won’t say
Juve are going to qualify, but
we believe in our qualification
Dortmund CEO HansJoachim Watzke: “When
you are in the last 16, you
already know you will face an
ambitious opponent. Juve are
marching at the front of the
Italian league and have a lot
of experience, that’s a tough
Schalke director Peter
Peters: “The balls come out as
they come out, of course, we
are the outsiders, but there is
always the old football saying;
“form beats class”. Real are the
best team and we want to do
better than we did last year. It’s
important that we prepare well
for the coming year after many
Real director Emilio
Butragueno: “We have the
utmost respect for Schalke,
a club with whom we have a
great relationship. they are
very competitive, one lapse in
concentration can take its toll.”
Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin: “We need to play
against strong opponents. Because only strong opponents
will make us strong. And it will
also show our weaknesses.”
Bayern Munich winger Arjen
Robben: “I think it’s good to
finally play someone different
and not Arsenal again. But we
need to be careful, a few Brazilians play there who are really
good. We will analyse the opponent well and concentrate
on the game.”
Arsenal secretary David
Miles: “As the draw came
out, it was evident a lot of the
big teams had gone, so we’re
pleased to have avoided them.
We’re certainly not taking
anything for granted though
against Monaco. It’s the first
time we’ve played them in a
competitive match, so Arsene
Wenger will be delighted to
go back to one of his former
Monaco coach Leonardo
Jardim: “Arsenal are a great
side with many quality players.
It’s going to be a tough match.
But I believe anything is possible. Arsenal are favourites
Basel coach Paulo Sousa: “We
are up against a club used to
playing European matches.
Porto are a very big side, with
a winning mentality and a well
established football philosophy. But we’ve shown in the
group stage we can match any
Porto on Twitter: “FC Porto
and @FC_Basel have never met
before. How is going to be in
the @ChampionsLeague round
of 16? #UCLdraw”
Guardiola relishing
Donetsk clash
ayern Munich coach
Pep Guardiola admitted
yesterday he is relishing
facing Shakhtar Donetsk
in the Champions League when
the clubs meet for the п¬Ѓrst time
in the last 16.
Due to Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia, yesterday’s
draw means the п¬Ѓrst leg will be
moved from Donetsk to Lviv,
on the border with Poland, on
February 17 with the return leg
at Munich’s Allianz Arena on
March 13.
It will be the first time 2013
Champions League finalists
Bayern have played Mircea
Lucescu’s Donetsk, but Guardiola has prior knowledge of
the Ukraine outfit from his four
years as Barcelona coach.
Bayern reached the last 16 as
group winners while Donetsk
qualified as group runners up
and their Brazilian striker Luiz
Adriano is the competition’s top
scorer with nine goals in his п¬Ѓve
matches so far.
“Bayern have never played
against Donetsk, but I have п¬Ѓve
times, four times in the Champions League and once in the Super Cup, and I even lost to them
once,” said Guardiola.
“Mircea Lucescu is one of the
best coaches in Europe.
“They have many good Brazilians, young talented players who
always like to attack.
“I am looking forward to the
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.
ties and I think it will be an excellent match as both teams like
to attack.
“I have a lot of respect for the
Donetsk are п¬Ѓve points behind leaders Dynamo Kiev in
Ukraine’s Premier League and
last reached the last 16 in Europe
in the 2012/13 season.
Most of Bayern’s Germany
stars have no experience of playing Ukrainian opposition, but
Arena Lviv is where Germany
beat Portugal and Denmark in
the group stages of Euro 2012,
which goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
takes to be a good omen.
“Donetsk are the least known
side in the last 16, so it won’t be
so easy to prepare for this game,”
said Neuer.
“The club from the Ukraine
has a lot of money and they have
invested very well in the team.
“Anyway, I am quite confident
we’ll reach the quarter-finals,”
the keeper added.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
PSG suffer shock
loss but Marseille’s
defeat softens blow
Milito hails Racing
�dream’ with new
Argentine title
�We’re really upset. We’re just not used to losing and now that’s two in a week’
Racing Club’s captain Diego Milito celebrates after defeating Godoy
Cruz and clinching the Argentine First Division tournament.
Buenos Aires
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) of PSG vies for the ball against Lars Jacobsen (front) of EA Guingamp during the French Ligue 1 match at the Roudourou Stadium in Guingamp, France.
tar-studded Paris Saint Germain
slumped to a second defeat in a
week as they lost their unbeaten
French Ligue 1 record when lowly
Guingamp beat them 1-0 on Sunday.
But the shock reverse was softened
when league leaders Marseille, on 38
points, also lost 1-0 at Monaco in Sunday’s late game, leaving the champions
second just a point adrift of the top and
Lyon third on 36 points.
Victory would have made Marseille
�Champions of Autumn’, league leaders
going into the winter break, but Bernardo
Silva’s precise shot from the edge of the
area on 68 minutes handed Monaco a deserved win.
Fresh from securing their passage into
the last-16 of the Champions League
as group winners on Tuesday, Monaco’s disciplined display left the usually
swashbuckling Marseille frustrated.
Rod Fanni missed a simple chance for
the visitors with an open goal begging
just before half-time, and Marseille’s star
striker Andre-Pierre Gignac was kept
PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi had
been furious as his side lost 3-1 in Barcelona on Wednesday.
But Sunday’s performance was far
Jeremy Pied got Guingamp’s goal with
a flying header on the edge of the sixyard box in the 11th minute with the Paris
central defence of Thiago Silva and David
Luiz nowhere to be seen.
“It was poor marking all round, even
me I got it wrong,” said PSG midfielder
Blaise Matuidi.
“We’re really upset. We’re just not
used to losing and now that’s two in a
Edinson Cavani had hit the crossbar
in the second minute and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had the ball in the net in the 35th
minute only to see an offside flag go up.
PSG had ten wins and seven draws going into the game and, despite dominating, Guingamp’s bloody-minded resist-
ance was eventually more than a match
for the Qatari-backed PSG side.
“This is not just a bad week, it’s a
dreadful one,” said PSG coach Laurent
“If we lose because the other side were
good that’s one thing, but this we cannot
Lille, dumped out of the Europa League
in midweek, picked up three welcome
points with a 3-0 win over Toulouse,
thanks to goals from Djibril Sibide, Ryan
Mendes and Nolan Roux.
Earlier, Saint Etienne coach Christophe Galtier was left with a bitter taste
after a 0-0 stalemate with Nice saw his
midfielder Ismael Diomande sent off for
a second yellow after a clash with Nice’s
Carlos Eduardo, who was also given a
straight red for his studs in the face challenge.
“He got kicked in the face, I can’t explain it,” said Galtier of the second yellow. “The guy from Nice deserved his red
On Saturday a freak own goal helped
Nantes to a 2-1 win over Bordeaux to end
a three-match losing run thanks to Jordan Veretout’s opener, cancelled out by
Kian Hansen’s own goal.
In the 66th minute Bordeaux’s young
Slovenian reserve keeper Azbe Jug haplessly scored the decider when the ball,
rebounding off a post, struck him on the
head and ended up in his own net.
Rennes were thwarted 2-0 at Bastia,
playing much of the game a man down
after Fallou Diagne’s 26th minute red
A п¬Ѓrst half stoppage time goal from
Ryad Boudebouz and Yannick Cahuzac’s
effort nine minutes from time earned
Bastia a precious fourth win of the season.
Reims’ Brazilian midfielder Rigonato
scored either side of the break in Reims’
pulsating defeat of Evian, while on a
high-scoring day in the French top flight
Lens came from behind to salvage a 3-3
draw at Montpellier.
On Friday, Ligue 1’s leading scorer Alexandre Lacazette grabbed a brace as
Lyon beat bottom club Caen 3-0 to make
it eight consecutive home wins.
iego Milito said it had
been “a dream come
true” to return to his
п¬Ѓrst side Racing Club
and help them to win their п¬Ѓrst
Argentinian title for 13 years.
Racing beat Godoy Cruz 1-0
on the п¬Ѓnal day of the championship on Sunday to claim their
eighth national crown and spark
wild celebrations among their
Milito, now 35, decided to return to his п¬Ѓrst side after leaving
Inter Milan in June. The striker
inspired Racing to win eight of
their last nine games to take the
crown ahead of Buenos Aires rivals River Plate, the title holders.
“This is a dream come true,”
said Milito amid the celebrations
in which tens of thousands of
Racing fans took to the streets of
the capital, taking over the Obelisk monument which is the traditional rallying point for football commemorations.
“This is special, because I
love this club. I started here and
learned everything here. That
allowed me to build my career,”
Milito added.
“I feel privileged. I am very
proud of this group, to join this
team has been fantastic,” added
the player known as �The Prince’.
Milito spent п¬Ѓve seasons at Inter and was a member of the team
that won the Champions League,
World Club Cup, Italian title and
Italian Cup in 2010.
He was also a member of the
Racing side that won the title in
2001 but he could not have imagined such a dramatic return to
the club of his youth. Some fans
are now demanding that a Milito
statue be put up.
Despite being one of Argentina’s big five clubs, along with
River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente and San Lorenzo, Racing have had repeated troubles in
recent decades.
Their glory days were in the
1960s. They beat Scotland’s
Celtic in a brutal Intercontinental Cup п¬Ѓnal in 1967 that needed
a playoff in Montevideo. But
they went bankrupt in 1999 and
had to п¬Ѓnd new owners. They
bounced back from that by winning the 2001 title, their п¬Ѓrst in
35 years.
Racing twice narrowly avoided
relegation in recent years but
reached the Argentina Cup п¬Ѓnal
in 2012 in a sign of their resurgence.
Coach Diego Cocca has also
only been at Racing for six
months and made controversial
decisions such as signing striker
Gustavo Bou to partner Milito.
Bou finished as the club’s top
“I’m happy because we have
made history,” Cocca said. “At
times it has cost a lot, but this
team has balls on the big stage.”
Cocca had infuriated fans
when after losing a derby to
п¬Ѓerce local rivals Independiente,
he said: “I would rather lose to
Independiente but win the title.”
In the end he was proved right.
Bou dedicated the victory to
his recently deceased mother.
“Before she died she gave me
advice so that I could celebrate
today. I wish she was here today,”
Bou said.
Spurs’ coach hails
strength of character
Bad day at home for Atletico
unday turned out to be a
surprisingly bad day for
Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, who had been looking forward to moving up the
Spanish league table with home
Instead, Atletico crashed 1-0
at home to sixth-place Villarreal, after Sevilla had been held
0-0 by Eibar.
The results left Sevilla in
fourth place with 40 points,
two points below third-place
Atletico. Atletico are three
points behind second-place
Barcelona and seven behind
leaders Real Madrid.
“The game was interesting
between two good teams,” said
Atletico coach Diego Simeone,
who refused to pass judgement
on the referee.
“[Villarreal] won thanks to a
clever counterattack. ... This is
clearly a setback for us, but we
just have to pick ourselves up.”
Atletico Madrid’s Mario Mandzukic reacts during his team’s La Liga
match against Villarreal at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid.
Villarreal dominated the п¬Ѓrst half
but were denied a clear penalty for
handball by Atletico captain Gabi.
Atletico seemed to have taken
the lead when Mario Mandzukic
headed in a centre from Arda
Turan - only for the goal to be
disallowed for an alleged push
on defender Mario Gaspar.
The only goal was calmly put
away six minutes from time by
the promising Vietto, after taking an excellent pass from Denis
Cheryshev. It was Atletico’s first
home loss since May 2013.
Earlier Sunday, Sevilla were
held 0-0 at home by defiant
Eibar on Sunday.
Sevilla coach Unai Emery
raised eyebrows by starting with
Colombian striker Carlos Bacca
on the subs’ bench, and the Sevilla attack lacked precision and
On the few occasions when
the hosts managed to break
through the solid Eibar defence,
they were kept at bay by promising goalkeeper Xabier Irureta.
“I can only congratulate my
players for this performance,”
Emery said.
“They worked very hard
throughout the match and, with
a bit more luck, would have won
quite easily.”
In their п¬Ѓrst ever season in the
top flight, Eibar were everyone’s
summer favourites for relegation but are now sitting pretty in
ninth place.
Earlier Sunday, Granada went
back toward the danger zone
with a late 2-1 defeat at midtable
Espanyol. Ecuador striker Felipe
Caicedo gave Espanyol the lead
in the 34th minute after the Granada defence had failed to clear a
centre from Lucas Vazquez, only
for Youssef El-Arabi to level for
the visitors on the hour by turning in a clever near-post centre
from Pit.
Granada’s plan to hold out
for a draw went up in smoke 10
minutes from time when leftback Juan Carlos was sent off.
Super-sub Christian Stuani won
the game for Espanyol in stoppage time by turning in another
excellent cross from the promising Vazquez.
The win took Espanyol up to
11th and pulled Granada down to
16th, just two points above relegation.
It was “very hard” to leave
without a point, Granada boss
Joaquin Caparros said.
“We deserved a draw at the
very least, I think,” he said. “To
concede a winning goal in injury time is horrible, just horrible.”
Espanyol hero Stuani said: “I
was really keen to get onto the
п¬Ѓeld, to help the team. I knew
I was going to have one or two
chances to score with them reduced to 10 men.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
was delighted with the
strength of character
shown by his Tottenham side after their last-gasp
2-1 Premier League victory over
Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Christian Eriksen earned the
visitors all three points with an
88th minute goal, after Wilfried
Bony had cancelled out Harry
Kane’s early header.
It was enough to lift Tottenham into seventh place in the
table and earn them a п¬Ѓrst win in
four games.
“It was an important win, but
it is also important to show character and fight and we did that,”
said Pochettino.
“They are a very good side
with good players and it’s not
easy to get three points here.
“We scored a late goal, but in
football it happens. Swansea pushed
us after their goal and maybe they
were better than us in that period.
But we were always alive in the game
and it was a great goal.”
He added: “When you arrive at
a new club, with different players, you need time to try and put
your ideas across to the squad.
However, we are in a good place
and I’m very pleased today that
we showed that character.
“Christian is still young and this
is only his second season in England, but he is a great talent and a
very important player for us.”
Having made changes after
the midweek Europa League trip
to Besiktas, Pochettino said: “We
needed to manage our players
after the game in midweek. If
you make changes and you win,
you are an unbelievable manager,
but if I had have changed things
and we had have lost, it wouldn’t
have been like that.”
Swansea manager Garry Monk
lamented his team’s lack of a killer punch in front of goal.
“It was sickening. I couldn’t
see that coming to be honest,
but two individual errors have
cost us. And, of course, we were
not clinical enough at the other
“After we scored it was one way
traffic. If it was a boxing match,
they would have called it off.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Smith replaces
injured Clarke as
Oz Test captain
�He is an exceptional young man who is highly regarded not only for his fine
performances with the bat but also his maturity and clear leadership potential’
Steven Smith (left) will captain Australia’s
Test team for the rest of the series against
India, with regular skipper Michael
Clarke’s (on the ground) career in serious
doubt due to persistent injury problems.
teven Smith will captain Australia’s Test team for the rest of the
series against India, with regular
skipper Michael Clarke’s career
in serious doubt due to persistent injury
Batsman Smith, aged 25 years and
195 days, becomes Australia’s youngest
Test captain since Kim Hughes who was
named in 1979 at 25 years and 57 days, and
the third-youngest of all-time.
Smith was in a two-horse race with
wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to replace the
33-year-old Clarke, who suffered yet another hamstring strain during Australia’s
victory charge on day п¬Ѓve of the п¬Ѓrst Test
in Adelaide on Saturday.
Haddin, who will deputise for Smith
as vice-captain, had been seen as a viable
short-term replacement for Clarke, but at
37 and in waning form with the bat, was
not a long-term prospect.
Smith’s selection ahead of Haddin suggests Clarke’s hopes of leading Australia
or even playing again remained in grave
doubt, as Clarke himself suggested to re-
Clarke to undergo surgery on injured hamstring
Australian captain Michael Clarke will
undergo surgery on his injured hamstring
today, leaving him in a race against time
to be ready for next year’s World Cup.
Clarke’s decision to go under the knife
has ensured he will definitely miss the
three remaining Test matches against
India and possibly the World Cup, starting
in mid February.
Cricket Australia team doctor Peter
Brukner said in a statement yesterday
that the 33-year-old’s injury was “substantial” and it was too early to say when he
may be able to make a comeback.
“Whilst surgery is not always required
with hamstring injuries, Michael has
substantial damage to a key part of the
porters after Australia won the Adelaide
Test by 48 runs.
With Clarke sidelined, Smith could also
be in line to lead Australia into the 50-over
World Cup starting in February on home
soil. The initial squad is due to be named
on January 7.
Smith will be a popular choice as captain, a position dubbed the “second high-
hamstring tendon and it was felt the best
course of action was to surgically repair
the damaged area,” Brukner said.
“His recovery and the timing of his
return to play will be dependent on the
surgeon’s advice and how well he recovers in the coming weeks.”
Clarke injured his hamstring while fielding during Australia’s first Test win over
India on Saturday. He also suffered back
pain while batting in the first innings, forcing him to retire hurt before he returned
to complete a century. They were just the
latest in a series of chronic problems he
has had with his back and hamstrings over
the past two years and prompted him to
speculate that he many never play again.
est office” after that of the Prime Minister
in cricket-mad Australia.
The right-handed batsman and parttime legspinner has scored a mountain of
runs over the past 12 months and shown
an impressive poise under п¬Ѓre at odds
with his boyish features.
“We congratulate Steve on the wonderful honour of leading his country,” chair-
man of selectors Rod Marsh said on Cricket Australia’s ( website.
“He is an exceptional young man who is
highly regarded by the National Selection
Panel not only for his п¬Ѓne performances
with the bat but also his maturity and
clear leadership potential.”
Smith has prior experience as a skipper,
leading New South Wales state in domestic competition and the Sydney Sixers in
the local Twenty20 league.
Since carving up Sydney’s grade cricket
scene as a teenager, Smith has long been
marked for big things, and made his п¬Ѓrst
class debut for New South Wales at the
age of 18.
By 21, he had represented Australia in all
test, one-day international and T20 teams,
making his test debut against Pakistan at
Lord’s in 2010, and scoring 77 in his second
Test against the same opponents at Leeds.
He brings impressive form into his debut as
captain, the second Test starting in Brisbane on Saturday, having blasted an unbeaten 162 in the п¬Ѓrst innings in Adelaide
and 52, also unbeaten, in the second.
Australia lead the four-test series 1-0.
The teams play the third test in Melbourne
on December 26 and the п¬Ѓnal match in
Sydney from January 6.
History favours
Australia at Gabba
where they have
not lost in 26 years
ustralia, under new
captain Steve Smith,
take a one-nil series
lead over India into
tomorrow’s second Test in
Brisbane where they have not
lost a Test in 26 years.
The Australians have proved
formidable in steamy Brisbane
where the pace and bounce
of the Gabba wicket troubles
touring sides, none more so
than India who have not won
in п¬Ѓve attempts.
Australia’s last Gabba Test
loss was against the Viv Richards-led West Indies by nine
wickets in 1988.
India will also likely have a
new captain with Mahendra
Singh Dhoni expected to return to the leadership role after missing the series opener
to recover from a fractured
It is bitter-sweet for India
with Dhoni taking the reins
from stand-in skipper Virat
Kohli whose twin centuries
had the tourists on the cusp of
a remarkable come-from-behind victory in Adelaide until
a late clatter of wickets on the
п¬Ѓnal day.
“I would be very happy that
he (Dhoni) is going to be п¬Ѓt and
available for the second Test,”
Kohli said. “It doesn’t matter if I have the �c’ in front of
my name or not. That doesn’t
change anything as far as my
mindset is concerned.”
But former Australia Test
captain Ian Chappell believes
Kohli should be installed as
India’s full-time skipper.
“Kohli’s performance over
three-and-a-half days must
have tempted the selectors into
thinking now is the right time
to elevate him to full-time Test
captaincy,” Chappell said.
“There’s no doubt that MS
Dhoni has passed his use-bydate as a Test captain, and this
seems the perfect time to en-
act the changeover.”
The teams have to back up
from a three-day turnaround
and the Australians are tinkering with freshening up their
pace attack with Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc vying
for starting roles.
“We will see how they pull
up,” coach Darren Lehmann
said on Sunday of the bowlers
who performed in Adelaide.
“We will pick the best team
to get 20 wickets. A couple
of them are sore but the next
day or two will tell. It’s a quick
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon is
also expected to п¬Ѓgure prominently at the Gabba, where he
has taken 15 wickets in three
Tests at 21.87.
Lyon captured a careerbest 12 wickets in the match,
including seven for 152 in the
second innings at the Adelaide
Oval, triggering a п¬Ѓnal-session
collapse to steer Australia to
“He did a really good job
(in Brisbane) last year against
England, got some key wickets,” Lehmann said. “He enjoys
the bounce at the Gabba.”
India’s pace attack of Varun
Aaron, Mohamed Shami and
Ishant Sharma will also relish
bowling at the Gabba, while
Ashwin is in line for a return.
The Indian management’s
decision to hand a debut to
rookie leg-spinner Karn Sharma ahead of the more experienced Ashwin in Adelaide
came in for some post-match
While off-spinner Lyon
picked up 12 wickets and delivered a dramatic victory to
the home team on the last day,
wrist-spinner Sharma ended
with match п¬Ѓgures of 4 for 238.
Despite India’s record at the
Gabba, it is a match that the
tourists must at least draw to
still have a chance of winning
the series ahead of the third
Test beginning Boxing Day in
Virat Kohli (right), who led India in the first Test, will make way for
regular skipper MS Dhoni for the remaining three Tests of the series.
New captain promises aggressive approach
Smith takes over as captain of
Australia against India at the Gabba tomorrow with a promise to
pursue an aggressive style of cricket.
“We’ve been playing some very good
cricket and we’re going to continue playing
that aggressive, positive brand of cricket,”
Smith, who has played 23 Tests, told reporters. “As a captain first and foremost I’ll
try to lead from the front with my performance on the field.”
Smith, who becomes the third youngest man to lead his country, smashed 162
not out in the п¬Ѓrst innings and was 52 not
out in the second in Adelaide. He vowed
Australia’s in-your-face attitude will not
change. “When we cross the line there are
no friends. We’re not friends with the opposition,” Smith said.
CA looked to the long term and п¬Ѓrst officially
appointed Smith as vice-captain to Clarke yesterday before confirming he would therefore
lead the Test side in Clarke’s absence.
Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who
captained Australia on the п¬Ѓnal day in Adelaide, will serve as deputy in Brisbane.
Smith’s appointment means Cricket
Australia have accelerated succession
planning for Clarke’s eventual departure,
which may become clearer over the next
couple of days after surgery on his troublesome hamstring.
The sight of Smith and his boyish features ordering around seasoned teammates
like 37-year-old vice captain Haddin and
35-year-old paceman Ryan Harris may
seem curious at п¬Ѓrst.
Haddin helped guide Australia to a
nerve-jangling victory on day п¬Ѓve of the
Adelaide Test when Clarke limped off the
п¬Ѓeld injured and was fancied as a good
short-term replacement by the country’s
high performance chief Pat Howard.
But the hard-bitten wicketkeeper will
be an important sounding board for Smith,
who has led state team New South Wales
and claims the respect of senior players.
Much of that respect has developed only
in the past 12-18 months as Smith has cemented his place with a mountain of runs
after three years of hard graft on the fringes
since his 2010 debut as a raw 21-year-old at
Lord’s against Pakistan.
“I think I’m just getting better every
day,” said Smith, who was unbeaten in both
innings at Adelaide, scoring 162 and 52. “I
am (ready). I’m extremely excited. I think
when I’m just a player on the field I try to
have my brain thinking like a captain all the
time. Obviously it’s a different kettle of fish
(leading) Australia, but I’m really looking
forward to the challenge.”
National selector Rod Marsh said:
“These are difficult circumstances given Michael’s injury and the fact that we
don’t know how long he will be out of the
“What we do know is that it won’t be
an overnight п¬Ѓx so after a lot of thought
we have taken the opportunity to appoint
an emerging young leader as captain until
such time as Michael regains п¬Ѓtness and
returns to the side.
“We congratulate Steve on the wonderful
honour of leading his country. On Wednesday he will become Australia’s 45th Test
captain and at the age of 25 will become one
of our youngest leaders.”
Marsh paid tribute to Haddin, saying he
had “done an exceptional job as vice-captain since assuming the role last year and
will provide strong support to Steve just as
he has done for Michael.
“There was a strong argument for Brad
to assume the captaincy until Michael returns, but given we don’t know how long
that will be, we felt the time was right to
take a longer-term view and give a young
player this chance.”
Clarke is now focusing on getting п¬Ѓt for
the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which starts on February 14.
He was disconsolate following Australia’s 48-run first Adelaide Test win over
India after being forced off with a torn right
Born June 2, 1989 in Sydney.
Started his career as a promising legspin bowler and middle
order batsman but is now primarily a batsman.
Made his debut for Australia aged 20 in a Twenty20 match
against Pakistan on Feb 2010, taking two wickets and scoring
eight runs. He has gone to play 21 T20s for Australia, with a high
score of 34 and best bowling figures of 3-20.
Made his one-day international debut for Australia in Feb
2010, against the West Indies, taking two wickets but did not bat.
Has since played 45 ODIs, scoring 921 runs at an average of
31.75. He has scored two hundreds and three 50s.
He was picked for Australia’s Test team in mid 2010, aged
21, against Pakistan at Lord’s. Has played 23 Tests, scoring 1,749
runs at an average of 46.02 with five hundreds, nine half-centuries and a high score of 162 not out, against India at Adelaide
Oval last week.
Smith was dropped from the Test team in early 2011 after
making just two half-centuries from his first five Tests. He was
recalled to the team just over two years later, making 92 on
return. He scored his first Test century, an unbeaten 138, in the
fifth Ashes Test at The Oval last year, then two more in the 201314 Ashes series in Australia.
Was named Australia’s 45th Test captain yesterday, taking
over from Michael Clarke after he injured his hamstring in the
first Test with India.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
WI bosses, players blamed for India tour fiasco
Former Windies fast bowler Wes Hall was part of
the task force set up by the WICB.
Task Force Recommendations
est Indies cricket bosses, players
and their union representatives
have all been blamed for October’s
catastrophic abandonment of the
tour of India.
The West Indies team left India four matches
into a п¬Ѓve-game one-day series after a pay dispute between players and the board, with the
п¬Ѓfth one-dayer, a subsequent Twenty20 international and three Tests abandoned.
It was a decision which prompted India
to demand $42 million in compensation and
A task force set up by the West Indies Cricket
Board (WICB) has spread the blame for the debacle and laid out a raft of recommendations ranging
from clear guidelines for players’ contracts to ap-
Contracts must be given to players at
least three weeks before a tour and signed
one week before the tour or players will be
disqualified from selection
The WICB should recruit a sports psychologist for touring parties
The WICB should convene bonding
sessions twice yearly between players,
management and the board
pointing a team psychologist for touring parties.
It also insisted on “bonding sessions” between officials and players to help rescue the
battered reputation of a team which was once
the most feared in the world.
“There is something fundamentally wrong in
sending a team to faraway places with only an
historical view of their terms of employment
and then to radically change those historical
terms after they arrive in that distant place,”
said the report by the task force which was
made public late on Sunday.
“It was the conclusion of the players in India
that their compensation would be reduced by
some 70 percent,” it added.
The task force, which included lawyers
Michael Gordon and Richard Cheltenham as
well as legendary former fast bowler Wes Hall,
said that it was wrong for the players to be left
in the dark over their contractual entitlements.
On this point, both the WICB and the West
Indies Players Association (WIPA) were at fault.
“The Board and WIPA were attempting a seachange in the financial arrangements for West
Indian professional cricketers without ensuring
that there was understanding and acceptance
by the WICB’s employees, the touring cricketers,” added the task force.
“They both erred significantly in failing
to ensure that their vision for the future
of West Indies cricket with its ramifications for the sharing of sponsorship money
and the concomitant changes in the level of
remuneration for both the senior cricketers and the new class of professional players was clearly understood and the vision
However, the national team players, many
of whom have been locked in long-running
disputes with the WICB, did not escape censure for abandoning the India tour despite
knowing that David Cameron, the president of
the WICB, and WIPA chief Wavell Hinds were
due to fly to India to hold talks aimed at ending
the crisis.
“A significant proportion of the blame for the
termination of the tour must also lie with the
players, and in particular their leaders,” added
the statement.
Proteas relishing
red ball return
against the Windies
The first Test starting tomorrow will be the first outing for West Indies since they cut
short their tour of India in October after a dispute between the players and their board
Waqar hopes to
remove Pakistan’s
�unpredictable’ tag
oach Waqar Younis
wants to remove the
�unpredictable’ image
linked to his Pakistan
side ahead of this week’s final
two one day internationals
against New Zealand.
Pakistan routed New Zealand by 147 runs—their second
biggest win over the rivals—in
the third day-night international in Sharjah on Sunday.
That came two days after
Pakistan went down by four
wickets in an unimpressive
show in the second match, also
played in Sharjah.
With Pakistan leading the
п¬Ѓve-match series 2-1, Waqar
wants consistency in the п¬Ѓnal
two matches in Abu Dhabi tomorrow and on Friday.
“We have to remove that
tag,” said Waqar yesterday.
“Saying that it’s (lack of consistency) no more a problem
would be wrong but the effort is to develop a good team
which can do well abroad.”
Pakistan posted 364-7 in
50 overs—their highest total against New Zealand in all
one-day cricket—before dismissing their rivals for 217 in
38.2 overs.
Waqar stressed he wants to
develop a good team.
“We have not become world
beaters by winning the match
big, there is plenty to work and
if we win consistently our performance should be so good so
that even if we lose we are not
hurt,” said Waqar, a former Pakistan captain.
The Pakistan coach described skipper Misbah-ul
Haq’s hamstring injury which
ruled him out of the last three
games as a setback.
“We wanted him to be fit and
play in this series but I hope he
will be back in three weeks and
we have started working on
that,” he added.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi
replaced Misbah as skipper
for the remaining games and
celebrated the occasion with a
п¬Ѓery 26-ball 55 besides taking
three wickets on Sunday.
“When you win, everything
looks good and Afridi led the
team well but saying it (the
win) came because of change
in captaincy would be unfair,”
said Waqar.
Waqar said the team management was trying to overcome
the loss of Mohammad Hafeez
as bowler after his suspension
last week for illegal action.
“We are trying to develop
players who can bowl as well
as bat so we will also work on
(Ahmed) Shehzad and try to
get the best out of him as a
bowler, we are trying to get
Hafeez cleared before the
World Cup, so we have all our
resources in the mega event,”
said Waqar.
Left-handed batsman Haris
Sohail п¬Ѓlled in as left-arm
spinner, taking three wickets
each in the last two matches.
Waqar hoped senior batsman Younis Khan will show
form. “I think Younis did well
in the last match,” said Waqar
of Younis who made 35 on Sunday. “We are looking for someone around whom others can
bat, he has an amazing record
in Tests and technique but I feel
he needs runs to get his confidence back in one-day and I am
sure it’s just round the corner.”
South African batting will revolve around AB de Villiers (left) and Hashim Amla, who have to shoulder much of the burden after the retirements of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith.
Cape Town
op-ranked South Africa play their
п¬Ѓrst Test in п¬Ѓve months when they
face an unfamiliar West Indies
in the opening contest of their
three-match series in Pretoria tomorrow.
It will also be a п¬Ѓrst outing for islanders
since they cut short their tour of India in
October after a dispute between the players and their board.
Having last played each other in п¬Ѓveday cricket in 2010, South Africa coach
Russell Domingo said he had to do some
extra homework against a team without
experienced stalwarts Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo and Darren Sammy, who retired
from tests in May.
“We haven’t played a Test since our tour
to Zimbabwe in August so that is nearly
five months,” Domingo told reporters.
“It gives us some time away from the
white ball to re-energise that aspect of our
game; we have played a lot of ODI cricket
over the last year.
“We need to do our homework on them.
West Indies cricket has a proud reputation
and a proud record. We know that they are
one of the best one-day sides in the world
and they are a team that will be desperate
to do well in the test format.”
South Africa will hand a debut to
27-year-old right-handed batsman Stiaan
van Zyl, usually a number three at provincial level for the Cape Town-based Cobras,
but likely to п¬Ѓll in at seven in the place of
the injured JP Duminy for this series.
The tour will be a challenge for the West
Indian batsmen against South Africa’s
vaunted pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne
Morkel and Vernon Philander, with Proteas
opener Dean Elgar suggesting it is the toughest country in the world to face the new ball.
Elgar, a replacement in the opening positions for the retired Graeme Smith, believes
the side is at peace with the loss of their
former captain and Jacques Kallis, who retired from international cricket last season,
and are looking forward to the years ahead
under new skipper Hashim Amla, who debuted in the role in Sri Lanka in July.
“That era has come to an end now,” Elgar said. “The guys who are in the team
appreciate what has happened and are
mature and professional enough to understand that it’s the time for another
opening pair to start things out.”
The Proteas have dominated the tour-
ists since losing their п¬Ѓrst Test meeting in
1992, having claimed 16 wins to three in
the 25 tests between the sides.
Amla, who leapfrogged ODI captain AB
de Villiers to be given the Test captaincy
following the retirement of long-serving
Graeme Smith last season, would be aiming to notch his п¬Ѓrst win as captain on
home soil.
Under Amla’s leadership, South Africa
gained away wins against Sri Lanka and
Zimbabwe earlier this year and his team
will be strong favourites to continue the
winning run.
The West Indies have lost ten of 12 previous Tests in South Africa, managing just
one win and one draw. They currently languish in eighth place on the International
Cricket Council Test rankings, while
South Africa are number one.
There are some question marks about
the home side’s batting order, however,
following the retirements of Smith and
Kallis, their all-time leading run-scorer.
The opening pair of Alviro Petersen and
Dean Elgar may be vulnerable against experienced West Indian fast bowlers Kemar
Roach and Jerome Taylor, with Petersen
not having made a century in 23 previous Test innings, which have yielded only
three п¬Ѓfties, while Elgar is a relative newcomer to the Test opening role.
South Africa still have world-class performers in Amla and De Villiers, who are
expected at four and п¬Ѓve.
On a pitch that usually favours fast
bowlers, the West Indian bowling looks
reasonable but a perennial problem for
the tourists has been inconsistent batting.
With Darren Bravo missing for personal reasons and Chris Gayle because
of injury, they are likely to rely greatly on
Marlon Samuels, who hit a double century
in a warm-up match last week, and the
40-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
South Africa (likely): Hashim Amla
(captain), Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf
du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Stiaan van Zyl,
Quinton de Kock (wk), Robin Peterson or
Kyle Abbott, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn,
Morne Morkel.
West Indies (from): Denesh Ramdin (captain, wk), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith,
Leon Johnson, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine
Chanderpaul, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason
Holder, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Sheldon Cottrell, Assad Fudadin,
Shannon Gabriel, Chadwick Walton (wk)
Gillespie wants Test status for Ireland
London: Ireland should be
given full Test-playing status
to help put some excitement
back into cricket’s traditional
format, according to former
Australia bowler Jason
With Test match crowds
dwindling, Gillespie believes
the time is right for the
International Cricket Council
(ICC) to get Ireland and their
fan club, the �Blarney Army’
on board.
“Let’s face it, outside of
Australia and England—and
to a lesser extent South
Africa—people don’t turn up
to watch test cricket. That’s
just the way it is. And it’s sad,”
Gillespie, now coach of English county Yorkshire, said.
“One fantastic way to give
test cricket a lift straight away
would be to give Ireland full
test status.
“It’s something that should
happen sooner rather than
later from the ICC. Imagine if
Ireland were given test status:
that would be huge news in
world cricket, and it would be
a massively positive story for
the world game.
“The ICC and all the national boards talk a lot about
the importance of protecting
the integrity of test cricket. If
it is that important, then we
should look to improve it, and
in my view including Ireland
would improve it.”
Ireland are established in
one-day internationals and
are preparing for next year’s
World Cup where they are in
a pool including West Indies,
Pakistan, India and fellow outsiders United Arab Emirates.
At the 2011 World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,
Ireland pulled off a stunning
pool victory over England and
also beat the Netherlands.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Rome to lead Italy
bid for 2024 Games
�We will do everything we can until 2017 when the final decision is made’
Italian Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi
announces Italy’s and
Rome’s candidacy
to host the 2024
Olympic Games next
to Italian swimming
champion Federica
Pelligrini during a
press conference at
the Italian Olympic
Committee (Coni)
headquarters in Rome
yesterday. (AFP)
Hamilton wins BBC
Sports Personality
of the Year award
ouble Formula One
Lewis Hamilton,
who won 11 grands
prix for Mercedes in 2014, was
named BBC Sports Personality
of the Year against the odds on
The award is widely regarded as Britain’s most prestigious cross-sports accolade.
“I am so speechless,” said
the 29-year-old after a British
public vote that overturned the
betting form, with bookmakers having golfer Rory McIlroy
as their clear favourite.
“I really was not expecting it. Dude, you had such an
amazing year,” he told McIlroy
at the ceremony in Glasgow.
“Never in a million years
did I think I would be up here
standing with the greats,” added Hamilton, who had walked
the pre-event red carpet with
his bulldog Roscoe.
McIlroy, who won two majors in 2014 and helped Europe
retain the Ryder Cup, was a
with European 10,000 metres
champion Jo Pavey third.
Bookmakers William Hill
had listed the Northern Irishman at 2/5 earlier on Sunday
with Hamilton, who was runner-up for the award in 2007
and again when he won his п¬Ѓrst
title with McLaren in 2008,
the 7/4 second favourite.
Hamilton is the п¬Ѓfth racing
driver to win the award in 61
years, with champions Damon
Hill and Nigel Mansell winning
it twice after Stirling Moss and
Jackie Stewart before them.
The Team of the Year award
went to England’s World
Cup-winning women’s rugby
players while Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup captain Paul
McGinley was coach of the
year. Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo took the overseas
personality of the year prize.
Williams name Steve Nielsen
as new sporting manager
ome will spearhead an Italian bid
for the 2024 Olympic Games,
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
said yesterday vowing a strong
campaign to win the event.
Italy is the п¬Ѓrst country to announce a
bid taking advantage of new International
Olympic Committee (IOC) rules allowing
events to be staged in more than one city.
Rivals in Europe and North America are
expected to quickly emerge though.
Renzi announced at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) headquarters that
Rome would be the centrepiece of the
Games bid but that “all the cities, from
Florence and Naples to Sardinia” could
be involved. “This is a challenge we would
like to win. We will do everything we
can until 2017 when the п¬Ѓnal decision is
made,” said Renzi.
No specific details were released, although one report said the sailing events
could be held around the millionaires’
paradise of Sardinia.
Rome, which held the Summer Games
in 1960, shelved plans to bid for the 2020
event two years ago due to concerns over
rising costs as the country battled an economic crisis. Turin held the Winter Olympics in 2006.
Renzi said there would be a campaign
“committed to making sure Italy wins
this match”. “Rome will be the centrepiece
of the project, then it will be up to CONI
to decide which other cities will be involved,” he added.
The IOC last week passed new rules allowing the Games to be held in more than
one city and encourages the use of existing facilities so hosts can spread and cut
CONI president Giovanni Malago said
Italy’s bid would be dynamic but lowcost. “Less expenditure, more ideas and
total transparency—our bid will revolutionary and led by a youthful team,” said
Malago, who admitted the IOC’s new
rules had encouraged Rome.
He said Italy would “exploit the expansion of existing infrastructure.”
Critics of the plan quickly hit out
though. In a flash poll on the website of
Gazzetta dello Sport daily, 64% of readers
voted against the bid.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing
Lega Nord party, on Sunday said that
some venues built for the 2006 Winter
Games remain unused and that the country is still paying for the world swimming
championships in Rome п¬Ѓve years ago.
Salvini took aim at Renzi, who comes
from Florence.
“It would be better if the phenomenon from Florence thought more about
the thousands of amateur Italian sports
clubs that are at risk of closure thanks to
the government, rather than fantasising
about an unlikely Olympics,” said Salvini.
Antonio Di Pietro, a former Italian senator and a prosecutor known for his anticorruption work, appeared to take Renzi’s
government to task when he said the future canoe-kayak events could be “held in
the streets of Genoa”.
In October, hundreds of people were
evacuated and millions of euros of damage caused to the northern city by heavy
flooding. Rome can expect a tough competition for the 2024 Games.
The US Olympic Committee is to decide
this week between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston or Washington for a probable American bid.
Germany has said that Berlin or Hamburg will be put forward for the 2024 or
2028 Summer Games.
Paris is to decide in January whether
to stage a bid and the Azerbaijan capital,
Baku, and Doha—both beaten by Tokyo
in the bid to host the 2020 Games—are
potential candidates. South Africa could
have a bid by Durban or a joint Johannesburg-Pretoria bid.
Cities must make applications by September 15 next year. The IOC will choose
a п¬Ѓnal list of candidate cities in May 2016
and make a п¬Ѓnal decision in Lima in mid
The IOC last week passed reforms to
make hosting the Games more attractive
and more affordable. The Games can now
be hosted by two cities, or two countries.
The cost of bidding will also be cut.
IOC President Thomas Bach called the
new rules “historic” and “a major step
forward in the organisation of the Olympic Games.”
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi cost
Russia an estimated 50 billion dollars and
IOC members believe the spiralling costs
have put many countries off hosting the
four-yearly showpiece.
Steve Nielsen has been appointed sporting manager of
Williams with immediate effect, the official Formula One
homepage quoted the British
team as saying yesterday.
Nielsen joins directly from
Toro Rosso and he has previously worked with Caterham,
Tyrrell, Honda, Arrows and
“I’m delighted to be joining
a team of Williams’ history
and stature in what is a very
exciting time for everyone at
Grove after a very impressive
2014 season,” Nielsen said in
a statement.
Williams were third in the
2014 constructors’ championship, behind Mercedes and Red
Bull, to record their best finishing position in several years.
“Steve brings a wealth of
experience of the sporting
side of Formula One and will
help us as a team as we aim
to climb further up the championship table,” technical
officer Pat Symonds said.
For the 2015 season, which
starts with the Australian
Grand Prix in Melbourne on
March 15, Williams have retained drivers Valtteri Bottas
and Felipe Massa.
Gutierrez signs for
Ferrari as test driver
Esteban Gutierrez has signed
for Ferrari as a test and
back-up driver for 2015, the
Italian Formula One team said
yesterday. The 23-year-old
Mexican raced the last two
seasons for the Sauber team,
which had Ferrari engines,
but was released at the end of
this campaign.
“We are pleased to be able
to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young,
has plenty of experience
relating to the new generation of Formula 1 cars,” team
principal Maurizio Arrivabene
said. “I am sure that, with his
experience, he will make an
important contribution to
the development work of the
team in the simulator.”
Ferrari’s two starting drivers for the 2015 season are
former world champions
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Comanche set for Sydney to Hobart debut
he sleek new 100-foot supermaxi
Comanche may be the most anticipated
yacht of this year’s Sydney to Hobart
race, but accomplished American skipper Ken Read says it will be far from an ideal п¬Ѓrst
voyage for the boat.
The incredible superyacht, built in Maine at
a cost of millions of dollars for technology billionaire entrepreneur Jim Clark and his wife
Kristy explicitly to break records, is broader
than its class rivals and has a towering 150-foot
mast set further back than most.
In the right conditions, the state-of the-art
boat is expected to be tough to be beat. But the
weather is everything in the Sydney to Hobart
which can see yachts face mountainous seas and
brutal gales—or left becalmed by a lack of wind.
Last year fellow supermaxi Perpetual Loyal was well ahead after the п¬Ѓrst day but was
stalled by a lack of wind and left helpless as it
was overtaken by eventual line honours winner
Wild Oats XI.
“And I’ve told Jim and Kristy this—that we
really couldn’t have chosen a worse race for
its first race,” Read told AFP from onboard the
Comanche in Sydney. “But it’s been the goal
from the start.”
The 53-year-old Read is one of the world’s
most decorated sailors. Twice named United
States Yachtsman of the Year, Read has won
nine world championships, been at the helm in
America’s Cups and Volvo Ocean Races and has
won the Admiral’s Cup.
But he will sailing in uncharted waters in his
п¬Ѓrst foray into the gruelling 628-nautical mile
(1,163km) race down the east coast of Australia
from Sydney Harbour to the Tasmania capital of
Hobart, past the perilous Bass Strait.
“First of all, you can’t build a boat to be the
best in all conditions, so you’ve got to pick and
choose your conditions,” he said of Comanche,
which will be competing for overall handicap
and line honours among the supermaxis - the
biggest and fastest class of yacht in the race.
“The boat’s real goal is to try to break some
records eventually,” Read said. “In all honesty,
this boat isn’t really perfect for the Sydney to
Hobart. But it is the best all-round option for
all the rest of the stuff we want to do.”
The race begins on Boxing Day, December 26,
and Read will spend Christmas in Sydney before
making his debut in Australia’s most famous
sailing race.
“Obviously I’ve followed it,” he said of the
Crew members on the new French-designed 100-foot US supermaxi Comanche during sea trials
in Sydney yesterday. The sleek new 100-foot supermaxi Comanche may be the most anticipated
yacht of this year’s Sydney to Hobart race, but accomplished American skipper Ken Read says it
will be far from an ideal first voyage for the boat. (AFP)
fabled event. “I know a lot about it—its history,
the passion around here for it, but I’ve watched
it on the Internet like most other people.”
The experienced yachtsman is also acutely
aware of the dangers of the race, including the terrible events of 1998 when п¬Ѓve yachts sank and six
people died after the race was hit by wild weather.
Comanche, which was transported to Australia by container ship, has had little sailing
time and Read said even decisions to take it on
training runs were not taken lightly.
“I’m worried about absolutely everything on
this boat getting damaged,” said Read, admitting that the boat was unproven and untested.
This year’s race, the 70th edition, has a fleet
of 118—the largest since 1994—with five of
them supermaxis—Comanche, Wild Oats XI,
Perpetual Loyal, Ragamuffin 100 and RIO 100.
But to Read, it is his black and red vessel
which is “spectacular”. “I keep telling all the
guys, we have to keep sailing because every day
we go sailing the boat gets smaller; you know
it’s not so intimidating.
“Because I can tell you the first few days of sailing
the boat were like, �Dear Lord, what have we done?’
It’s just a big, angry monster. And the more we sail
it... it makes the boat less intimidating. She’s a
good girl though, right? Right sweetheart?” he says
as he pats the boat gently. “Hang in there baby.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Bryant has matched Jordan
in points... and nastiness
To compete with the man many consider as greatest ever, Bryant has become more aggressive than Jordan ever was
By Hunter Felt
The Guardian
NBA’s leading
f Kobe Bryant has spent his career
chasing Michael Jordan, then this
past week may be the culmination
of that quest in more ways than
one. On Sunday night, in the 100-94
win over the Minnesota Timberwolves,
the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard
scored 27 points, putting him ahead of
Jordan’s 32,292 career total. Bryant is
now third on the NBA’s all-time points
list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (No1)
and Karl Malone (No 2).
Earlier in the week, Bryant п¬Ѓrmly
cemented his reputation as an even
more abrasive team-mate than the
infamously prickly Chicago Bulls legend. On Thursday, Bryant went on an
epic rant during off-day practice, ripping fellow Lakers for being “soft like
Immediately afterwards, he brought
his complaints directly to general manager Mitch Kupchak, in front of gathered media members, saying “these
[expletives] aren’t doing [expletive] for
(The phrase, amusingly enough,
comes off as even more profane when
left as Mad Libs than п¬Ѓlled in with the
curse words in question.)
It feels п¬Ѓtting that Bryant would both
out-shoot and out-trash talk his idol in
such a short timeframe. In his possibly
quixotic quest to compete with the man
considered by many to be the greatest
basketball player of all time, Bryant’s
path has made him more aggressive
than even Jordan ever was, both on and
off the court.
Obviously, it’s hard to say he hasn’t
had a lot of personal and team success
trying to out-Jordan Jordan. Bryant is
one of the 10 best players in basketball
history. He’s a 16 time NBA All-Star
who has won п¬Ѓve championships with
the Lakers. To even bring up the fact
that he is headed to the Basketball Hall
of Fame as soon as he’s eligible does
disservice to his legacy. Of course he is.
He’s Kobe Bryant!
Still, even though Bryant may be
above him on the scoring list, there are
few who would put him on par with
MJ. Sunday night’s achievement comes
with the asterisk that Jordan left some
of his prime years on the table by leaving the game twice, once during the
peak of his career, before п¬Ѓnally retiring for good. Plus, Bryant came into
the league straight out of high school
while Jordan played three years of college basketball at North Carolina before
making his NBA debut. In short,
Bryant has had more time to put up
the numbers.
Beyond that, statistics tend to back
the judgment that Jordan was the superior offensive player, particularly when
efficiency enters the equation. Let his
latest accomplishment not hide the fact
that it was just last month that Bryant broke a much more ignoble record
by setting the all-time NBA record for
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2. Karl Malone
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Michael Jordan
5. Wilt Chamberlain
6. Shaquille O’Neal
7. Moses Malone
8. Elvin Hayes
9. Dirk Nowitzki
10. Hakeem Olajuwon
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw during the NBA game against
Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sunday. (AFP)
missed п¬Ѓeld goal attempts.
Defensively, there’s very little debate that Jordan holds a significant
edge over Bryant. If one wants to go
by championships, which is probably
a silly measurement but it’s something
we fans love to do, Bryant has five, Jordan six. Considering Bryant’s age and
the current state of the Lakers, they are
both equally likely to win another.
Meanwhile, Bryant’s off-the-court
reputation suggests that he has been
under the sway of the idea that a big
part of what made Michael Jordan
“Michael Jordan” was his almost sociopathic desire not just to win, but to
crush and humiliate others while doing so. It’s telling that both have been
(positively!) described as “two raving
lunatic competitors that could really
score the basketball.”
In certain NBA circles, they celebrate Jordan’s darker side, a side which
clashes violently with the popular conception of Michael Jordan: Charismatic
Winner/American Icon/Beloved Corporate Brand. The real Jordan would
п¬Ѓght with team-mates, occasionally
physically, hold grudges for years over
the flimsiest pretexts and generally
treat people like targets he needed to
demolish. Some writers have theorised that these antisocial tendencies
weren’t a toxic side product of Jordan’s
basketball genius, but rather a necessary component of it. To be a winner,
the Myth of Jordan proclaims, means
having to be the bully, even towards
those on your own side.
If that was the key to Jordan’s great-
ness, maybe Bryant’s attempt to outdo
him in sheer unpleasantness was his
way of attempting to best him. If Jordan
could be contentious with team-mates,
Bryant’s relationship with his was often
downright adversarial. Bryant would unleash his wrath on both the scrubs – he
once informed notorious league flameout Smush Parker that he couldn’t even
talk to him – with the same ease as he
could with the all-time greats. His conflict with Shaquille O’Neal eventually
forced LA to trade the massively popular
centre to the Miami Heat.
The joke might be on us sceptics, after all Bryant did help lead п¬Ѓve teams
to championships. Again, though, it’s
hard to say that his way worked better than Jordan’s. Phil Jackson, who
coached both players to multiple titles,
noted sharp differences between how
the two functioned as leaders in his
book Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success. One of the biggest differences
between the two stars from my perspective was Michael’s superior skills
as a leader. Though at times he could be
hard on his team-mates, Michael was
masterful at controlling the emotional
climate of the team with the power of
his presence. Kobe had a long way to go
before he could make that claim.
Bryant, of course, maintains that
Thursday’s incident at practice was an
example of him “challenging guys”. If
one wanted to go the “correlation equals
causation” route, it should be noted
that in Friday’s game, Nick Young, the
main target of Bryant’s abuse, made the
game-winning three pointer in a 112-
110 overtime victory over the defending
champion San Antonio Spurs. Maybe if
he hadn’t been compared to toilet paper
the day before he would have thrown up
an airball instead.
Even assuming that it works, is this
kind of Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant
approach really the best way for a team’s
best player to get the most out of his fellow players? The current crop of NBA
superstars, a generation removed from
Jordan, seem to suggest that basketball
greatness doesn’t necessarily require
embracing one’s inner misanthrope.
Nobody could deny that LeBron
James and the Kevin Durant have substantial competitive drives and the
egos one would expect from two of the
very best at their profession. Neither of
them, however, seem to come from the
same mould as MJ or Kobe. James has a
more selfless, team-based approach to
the game.
Durant’s humility shone through his
2014 MVP speech, where he thanked
every basketball-playing humanoid he
ever played with in any capacity.
Maybe it’s that times have changed. In
today’s media-saturated environment,
every perceived misstep immediately becomes the top trending topic on Twitter.
Considering this, it’s hard to see any current or upcoming MVP caliber NBA player challenging Bryant when it comes to
cultivating a combative public persona.
At the very least, it would be an ongoing
PR nightmare for handlers.
Who knows? It might not even be
possible for a player to go any further.
Hours after Bryant’s rant went viral,
Charmin’s official Twitter account
made it into a punchline, a sign that he
may have crossed over into the realm of
Bryant has taken Jordan’s “killer instinct” and pushed it to its absolute
limits, into the realm of absurdity
Yes, Bryant has established himself
as Jordan’s true successor, surpassing him on the all-time points chart
only confirmed this. The fallout after
Thursday’s embarrassment, however,
suggests that this line of succession has
already reached its end. We may not see
another NBA superstar base their game
on the concept that you can bully your
way to greatness. As many predicted,
Bryant was, in fact, the Next Jordan. He
also could be the Last Jordan.
That might be for the best.
Why Clarke bowing out now could be a fitting end to a great career
By Russell Jackson
The Guardian
n the preface to his new book, Cricket As I
See It, former Australian Test captain Allan
Border pauses to consider the nondescript,
anti-climactic manner in which his Test
career ended on a foreign field during his side’s
1994 Test tour of South Africa.
In that game at Durban it wasn’t so much a
case of raging against the dying light as a man
coming to terms with the frustrations of a game
that had gripped and absorbed him for decades
but which he was now prepared to leave behind.
It was the fault of the Proteas thought Border,
that the Test was heading for a dull draw so
he “batted out the last day with that firmly in
mind, almost out of spite for the way South Africa had played its first innings.” He walked off
Kingsmead Oval knowing his time was up.
He mightn’t have considered it at the time,
but an attritional draw was perhaps a п¬Ѓtting
way for Border to go. It was AB vs the rest of the
world, rugged and grumpy AB proving one last
point, bloody-minded AB having the last say.
It was ugly in a sense that, with the benefit of
hindsight, seems poetic and apt.
Not every Test captain bows out in a manner that reflects their character but there would
be something equally symbolic about Michael
Clarke – now at a crossroads after his body
failed him again in Adelaide – departing Test
cricket much the same as he’d come in, with a
nation’s eyes fixed upon him and delivering a
captivating century in a win against India.
There might be a far more compelling story to
come out of the Adelaide Test, one that shows
us more accurately the physical hell Clarke put
himself through not just in making that determined century but by taking the п¬Ѓeld at all.
His primped and preened exterior has long
obscured the physical turmoil that each innings
places him under, but not even Clarke can affect
an illusion of vitality now.
The hamstring has gone again but it’s the
dodgy back that’s troubled him his entire career, an ailment that has gradually worsened in
a curve running the opposite direction as his
public approval rating. The irony at play here
is that a man nicknamed “Pup” and for whom
youth and glamour always seemed bywords
should gradually succumb, after 108 matches
and 8,432 runs at an average of 50.79, to an injury of gnarled old-timers.
Many Test captains go out as Clarke might do
now – their bodies completely defeating them
before opponents or waning hunger had. Beyond cricket, there is perhaps a more accurate
comparison to be considered between twilight
period Clarke and late-career
NBA legend Larry Bird, a team-defining superstar hobbled so badly by degenerative back
injuries that he spent the last years of his career
lying on the ground beside the bench because
sitting was too painful.
Bird too spent entire seasons railing against
his certain fate, performing at a superhuman
level even when debilitating pain and a drastically limited range of movements had made
something fragile of his classical talents. That
must have been a torturous frustration for
Australia captain Michael Clarke leaves the ground with a stump after beating India on the final day
of the first Test at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. (AFP)
an athlete who’d once bounced around with
spring-heeled vigour and taken for granted the
gift of contorting his body into rubbery shapes.
Not long after his body said �no’, Bird also lost a
teammate and protГ©gГ©, Reggie Lewis, in tragic
On Saturday evening Clarke spoke to the press
with an almost relaxed frankness that seemed to
speak volumes. It looked like a dress rehearsal.
Only two weeks back and against general consensus, the hobbled Australian skipper seemed
hell-bent on getting his own way and playing in
the opening Test of the summer. That his employer publicly contradicted him was a significant embarrassment blown away by the swirling
winds of grief.
Yet in the afterglow of that magnificent win
at the weekend, after everything that he and his
teammates have been through in the most testing fortnight of their careers, he appeared resigned and philosophical at the fact that it might
be all over. Publicly-expressed self-doubt is not
Clarke’s normal style.
If he does finish up, and there’s certainly no
guarantee he will, Clarke would leave an ageing
but reinvigorated team in an assuredly better
place than when he п¬Ѓrst took the job. In almost
every sense he could feel something like closure
and a relief that might never quite set in should
he battle on to next winter’s Ashes.
No-one could begrudge Clarke listening to
what his body is telling him in less than subtle
terms. Into his place for at least the remainder
of the Australian summer steps 25-year-old
Steven Smith, a player now remarkably assured
for his age. If his nimble footwork and ceaseless п¬Ѓdgeting at the crease are a measure of his
mind’s dexterity and restlessness, he’ll be as
proactive in the п¬Ѓeld as the man he succeeds.
There is another section in Border’s book
when Australia’s longest-serving Test captain runs the rule over Clarke’s leadership. His
strength, says Border, is that he never lets a
game drift, that he gambles with creativity and
flair to conjure results like the one we saw in Adelaide on Saturday.
That judgment and the ability to read the
mood, you also sense, might perhaps now come
to the fore as Clarke considers his own cricket
mortality. The Australian captain, Border concludes with some poignancy, “has a feel for
those things”.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
National Football League roundup
Knicks have another
rough ending, fall to
tough Raptors
Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks don’t connect, missing 7 of 8 shots in overtime
Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was carted off the
field in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis
Colts with what was called a fractured left leg by multiple media
When asked after the game if Fitzpatrick’s left leg is broken, Texans coach Bill O’Brien would neither confirm nor deny the report.
If Fitzpatrick’s leg is broken, he is expected to miss the rest of the
season, leaving the offence in the hands of rookie Tom Savage.
Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, who had replaced Fitzpatrick
as the Texans’ starting quarterback, is out for the season with a
torn pectoral.
The San Francisco 49ers lost two running backs on Sunday. Frank
Gore was ruled out for the rest of the game after suffering a concussion in the first half. Carlos Hyde limped off the field late in the
third quarter after sustaining what appeared to be a knee injury.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker left Sunday’s game
against the New York Jets because of an injury with 1:58 left in the
first half and did not return. Locker, after being hit by Jets defensive end Quinton Coples, fell hard on his left shoulder and jogged
off the field after a short delay.
NFL owners will vote in March on a proposed new playoff system
that will expand from 12 teams to 14 and include reseeding, ESPN
reported. In addition to first-round byes for the teams with the
best record in the AFC and NFC, two divisional champions in each
conference will be guaranteed a home game under the proposal.
The remaining four teams in each conference will be seeded
based on win-loss record.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s job appears safe, ESPN reported. Garrett is in the final year of his contract and the team has
finished 8-8 the past three seasons. The Cowboys, who entered
Sunday at 9-4, have slowed down after a hot start but are still
guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis plans to make major changes
to the team, according to ESPN.
Those plans include spending lots of money and overhauling the
organisation in an attempt to build a winning team. The changes
could include firing general manager Reggie McKenzie.
The Raiders are expected to hire a new coach. Tony Sparano
replaced fired coach Dennis Allen in the interim after an 0-4 start.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne broke the franchise’s record for games played Sunday.
Wayne, 36, played his 209th career game, breaking former teammate Peyton Manning’s record. Manning, now with Denver, played
his 208th game as a Colt in 2011.
Penguins’ Crosby
diagnosed with mumps
New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (left) shoots for three over Toronto Raptors’ Patrick Patterson during their NBA game in New York on Sunday. (USA TODAY Sports)
Newsday (TNS)
New York
he Knicks, eventually, will п¬Ѓgure
out how to п¬Ѓnish games against
a quality opponent. But Sunday
night was another missed opportunity because of too many misses and
With a chance to beat the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks couldn’t connect. They
missed 7 of 8 shots in overtime and had a
costly turnover, leading to a 95-90 defeat
to Toronto at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony led the Knicks (5-21) with 34
points, but he was 0-for-3 in the extra
period with a turnover. He shot 11-for-24.
The Knicks shot 37.2 percent, committed
25 turnovers and lost for the 11th time in
12 games.
Terrence Ross had 22 for the Raptors
(18-6) and Kyle Lowry 21.
The Knicks were without Iman Shump-
ert because of a dislocated left shoulder.
J.R. Smith was penciled in to start despite
a partial tear of his left plantar fascia, but
he was limited during a pre-game workout and couldn’t play.
Tim Hardaway Jr., who started at
shooting guard, came down hard on his
leg on a drive to the basket in the third
quarter. He was hobbling and left the
game but eventually returned and п¬Ѓnished with 18 points.
In the overtime, the Raptors took a
91-87 lead on a Lowry jumper with 3:33
to go. It stayed that way until Amar’e
Stoudemire’s foul shot with 2:18 left.
Lowry then hit a tough baseline fadeaway
to put Toronto up п¬Ѓve.
Anthony missed two 3-pointers on the
next possession, leading to an Amir Johnson layup to make it 95-88 with 1:05 left.
Following a timeout, the Knicks had
a п¬Ѓve-second violation because they
couldn’t inbound the ball. The Knicks’
only basket in the overtime was a Hardaway layup with 5.2 seconds remaining.
In regulation, Ross hit a jump shot with
2:38 left that gave the Raptors an 86-84
lead. The Knicks had four different opportunities to tie it but their next four
possessions went this way: Stoudemire
turnover, Calderon missed jumper and
two straight Anthony misses.
After Anthony’s second miss with 37.9
seconds left, the ball went out of bounds
off the Raptors. It was close, but the officials reviewed it and said it was Knicks’
ball. This time, Anthony came through,
driving to the basket to tie the game at 86
with 28.7 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Lou Williams missed a three-pointer but Patrick
Patterson got the offensive rebound and
the Raptors called timeout with 2.7 seconds remaining. Lowry got the inbounds
and had a chance to win it. He drove and
his off-balance fadeaway from the baseline didn’t hit the rim.
Anthony scored 15 consecutive Knicks
points spanning the third and fourth quarters. Shane Larkin ended the run — with
Anthony on the bench — with a 3-pointer
that made it 74-all with 9:21 remaining.
Later in the fourth, with the Knicks
down 80-79, they misfired on four
chances to take the lead. Larkin missed a
floater in the lane and Anthony an open
3-pointer on the same possession. Following a stop, Calderon couldn’t convert
on a three and Hardaway missed a layup.
Lowry made four foul shots on the
Raptors’ next two trips to make it 84-79.
The Knicks ended an 0-for-6 drought on
their next time up the court as Stoudemire
threw down a Calderon feed.
Anthony connected on a three on the
ensuing trip to tie it at 84 with 2:54 left.
Golden State..........128
Washington ..............93
LA Lakers ................100
Oklahoma City ..... 112
Toronto ..........................95
San Antonio ............99
New Orleans .. 122 (OT)
Miami .....................................75
Utah ........................................ 84
Minnesota ........................94
New York.............90 (OT)
Denver ...................................91
star Sidney Crosby has
joined the list of NHL
players diagnosed with
mumps as the team confirmed
his mystery illness was the viral
infection causing concern in the
The Penguins made the announcement on Sunday, just two
days after saying Crosby would
miss two games as a precautionary measure because he had not
been feeling well.
On Friday the team said they
had no indication Crosby had
the mumps, but on Sunday they
confirmed the diagnosis and said
he would sit out Monday’s game
against Tampa Bay.
“We’re concerned about it
(spreading), it’s a disease that’s
going throughout the league,”
Penguins general manager Jim
Rutherford said.
“You just don’t know far it can
spread. We’re watching this on a
regular basis.”
Crosby has nine goals and 26
assists for 35 points in 27 games
this season.
The mumps struck NHL teams
across the country this season,
with confirmed cases among the
Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles
Kings, New Jersey Devils, Min-
nesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.
The viral illness, better known
as a childhood disease, can cause
a characteristic swelling of the
salivary glands, but also causes
fever, fatigue and muscle aches.
NHL Deputy Commissioner
Bill Daly told the Chicago Tribune this month that the league
had been in touch with team
doctors to discuss “best practices” to contain the spread of
the virus, and some teams had
offered immunization boosters
to players.
Dharmesh Vyas said Crosby’s
case took time to diagnose because he didn’t have severe
symptoms, but medical staff
continued to monitor him closely
because of the outbreak in the
“Every indication was that he
was well protected against the
disease,” Vyas said, noting that
Crosby received an immunization booster before competing
for Canada at the Sochi Olympics in February.
Other players and staff who
showed low antibodies were immunised two weeks ago, Vyas
“We’re trying to stay ahead of
it,” he said.
Shootout shutout costs Kings in 4-3 loss to Maple Leafs
By Lisa Dillman
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
t was shootout karma. Or something like that.
You can guess what happened a
day after Los Angeles Kings Coach
Darryl Sutter ripped shootouts after
practice here, saying, “I don’t have the
time of day for them.”
The Kings were forced to have the
time of day with the shootout Sunday
but didn’t have any success against
Toronto goalie James Reimer. Reimer
stopped Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown
and Anze Kopitar of the Kings, and
the Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul scored
against Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to
give Toronto a 4-3 victory at Air Canada Center.
This particular shootout certainly
won’t be remembered for its artistic
merit. Lupul was the only one of six
shooters to convert.
Considering the Kings trailed 2-0 after the п¬Ѓrst period, picking up one point
could be considered a small measure of
improvement after regulation losses in
three of their last four games. Toronto
is 9-1-1 since Nov. 18, having won its
last п¬Ѓve games.
“We battled back,” Sutter said. “It’s
tough to get points, especially in this
There’s a fine line between talking
about positive signs and being mindful
of the bottom line of wins and losses.
“You’ve got to be careful when you
lose, that you don’t say that’s OK,” Sutter said. “You’ve got to find ways. You
soldier on and get ready for the next
one, that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Scoring for the Kings were Justin
Williams (eighth of the season), Dwight
King (third) and Gaborik (fifth). Williams had the primary assist on Gaborik’s goal, which made it 3-2 at 1:02
of the third period. He has been one of
the more consistent Kings forwards in
terms of scoring, and this was his second multiple-point performance of the
King scored his п¬Ѓrst goal since Nov.
6, and for Gaborik, it was his п¬Ѓrst goal
since he returned to action after his
latest go-round with an upper-body
“It’s been awhile,” King said. “I just
tried to take it to the net, wasn’t too
much time left in the period. A little
fortunate with the bounce off the goalie. But I’ll take it.”
Toronto tied it 3-3 when it scored a
quick goal on the power play at 8:49, a
mere eight seconds after going on the
man advantage when Trevor Lewis went
off for high-sticking David Booth. The
Kings gave up a quick power-play goal in
Montreal, too, shortly after a faceoff.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (left) tries to get by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr (centre)
and forward Jeff Carter during their NHL game in Toronto on Sunday. (USA TODAY Sports)
“We played as well as we can,” Sutter said. “We’re a different team than
we were last year. We need great goal-
tending, and we need guys to score big
goals. Usually that comes out of your
top guys. The best thing taken out of
tonight is that Gabby scores.
“We’re 30-some games into the year,
and he’s finding his way.”
Kopitar and Jeff Carter have had their
scoring woes, of late.
“Jeff plays the same way every night,”
Sutter said. “He’s a guy that _ in the
scoring part _ has run hot and cold his
whole career, it’s not right now. That’s
how he’s been. He’ll come out of it as
long as he continues to do all the little
things, stay on top of it and work the
way he works.”
On Saturday, Kings defenseman
Drew Doughty talked about the need
for urgency. They have shown the knack
for flipping the switch at the necessary
“When we’re playing desperately,
our team is very good,” Doughty said.
“And when we are kind of just going
through the motions, playing games
that way, we’re not very good. We need
to start playing desperate because we’re
losing points and slowly getting out of a
playoff spot.”
Doughty said that the п¬Ѓrst period on
Sunday served as a distinct wake-up
call. “We came in after the first period
and we were down 2-0, and I think we
all were frustrated, no doubt about it,”
he said. “We knew we weren’t playing
the way we’re supposed to be playing.”
Edmonton .................... 0 NY Rangers .................. 2
Chicago............................ 2 Calgary ................................1
Toronto.............................4 Los Angeles ....3 (SO)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Fernando Alonso looks at an old McLaren Honda Formula 1 car in a picture posted by McLaren Honda on Facebook.
Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton (left) was adjudged BBC
Sports Personality of the Year while former British cyclist Chris
Hoy was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hoy tweeted this
pic and wrote: “Photo with the champ. #yourtrophysbiggerthanmine @LewisHamilton”.
Tickets for the Italian Super Cup match between Juventus and Napoli to be played in Doha on December 22 are on sale at a booth in
Villaggio Mall. PICTURE: Anas al-Samaraee
The Ballon d’Or 2014 trophy is displayed at the Mellerio jewellery workshops in Paris along with the
names of the nominees — Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Bayern Munich’s German
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. (AFP)
Two-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo drives a Ferrari 458 GT3 Challenge Evo during ther 12-hour
Abu Dhabi endurance event. Lorenzo come out on top in the �Gentleman’ category for Kessel Racing,
accompanied by teammates Liam Talbot, Marco Zanuttini and Jacques Duyver. (
Tennis player Roger Federer (right) and ski racer Dominique Gisin are adjudged Switzerland’s sportsman and sportswoman of the year in
Zurich, Switzerland, on Sunday. (EPA)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Mohanad al-Yaqout trained Aseer was brilliantly ridden by Tadgh O’Shea for his fifth success on the talented colt
QREC vice-chairman Abdulaziz al-Malki (centre) and QREC general manager Sami Jassim al-Boenain (second from right) are seen with the winners of the Ad Dibal Cup, which featured the eight event card at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club
yesterday. PICTURES: Juhaim
By Chris Hoover
l Jeryan Stud’s Aseer continued to dazzle with yet another superlative performance to annex the Ad Dibal Cup,
which featured the races at the Qatar
Racing and Equestrian Club yesterday. The Mohanad al-Yaqout trained Aseer was brilliantly
ridden by Dubai based jockey Tadgh O’Shea for
his п¬Ѓfth success on the talented colt.
Jeem led them all the way into the straight and
Aseer slipped in through the rails improving position all along the turn. On entering the home
stretch, O’Shea had Aseer take charge and the
Yaqout trainee quickly went away to establish an
useful which eventaually held him in good stead.
Though Moaddie came charging in the п¬Ѓnal 100
metres, Aseer was unrelenting and held on to
win by a length. Sraab also п¬Ѓnished with a late
burst but could only п¬Ѓnish third.
“He is a very special horse to me. I have ridden him in all his five victories. He is very tough
and genuine and likes a п¬Ѓght. Today, they went
faster than I thought, so I rode him in check and
reserved him for the п¬Ѓnal onslaught. Once Aseer
quickened in the straight, he was not willing to
give up. Everytime I ride he seems to be getting
better and better and the credit goes to trainer
Yaqout for keeing him in great shape. It was a
great performance by Aseer and I am thrilled to
be a part of this victory in the main event,” jockey O’Shea told the Gulf Times.
Trainer Yaqout was elated with the fine performance of his ward. “I have worked hard to
keep Aseer п¬Ѓt. We are targeting him in a few important races only. He is a brilliant horse as he
has always come out and performed well for us.
It is a great feeling to be a part of this success
Julian Smart saddled Rabha put in a determined gallop in the straight to win beating Ladys Sandman in a keen tussle in the Pure Arabian Handicap for horses rated 60 and below.
Selhab Al Naif was in the thick of things until
the home turn before Ladys Sandman and Ra-
QREC vice-chairman Abdulaziz al-Malki (right)
presents the Ad Dibal Cup to Al Jeryan Stud
trainer Mohanad al-Yaqout after his ward Aseer
had won the event at the QREC yesterday.
bha came alongside. The duo matched strides in
the п¬Ѓnal strides of the race but it was Rabha with
Tadgh O’Shea in the saddle, which produced an
electrifying run to win by a neck.
Zohair Moghsen’s Archers Prize put in a dazzling display while decimating the field in the
Thoroughbred Graduation Plate. Archers Prize
recorded a comfortable victory in the hands of
jockey Suerland. Haayil was a well beaten second, while Khuduoa and Dartford completed the
In the opener, Mohammed Riyaz trained Sahaba Al Uraiq was a runaway winner of the Local Bred Pure Arabian Maiden Plate. The three
year old grey п¬Ѓlly was quickly off the blocks and
set her own pace before skipping away from her
seven rivals to win by a widening margin of п¬Ѓve
Jockey Tadgh O’Shea rides Aseer to victory in the Ad Dibal Cup at the QREC yesterday. This was the fifth successive win for O’Shea astride Aseer.
lengths. Sirat Al Naif chased the winner all the
way to п¬Ѓnish second ahead of Nazal Al Naif, who
was a further six lengths behind in third.
Istara (Akbar-Shebaa) having profited from
her fifth to Fiteen in her previous start, the Hassan Ali Hassan al-Matwi’s five year old bay mare
came good in the Pure Arabian Maiden Plate.
After taking over the running at the midway
mark, Istara (Evert Pheiffer astride) gallloped
on resolutely to thwart the challenge of the late
п¬Ѓnishing Meghwaar to win by three fourths of a
length. Al Hattal was beaten close home to third
place by his stable mate.
Abdullah al-Jaber’s Al Mostarsil pulled off a
hard fought victory and jockey Marvin Suerland
did well to get the maximum out of the eight
year old chestnut horse in the Pure Arabian
Handicap for horses rated 50 to 80. Al Mostrasil
darted into the lead and had a slight upper hand
when Kassiba arrived to challenge.
The duo were engaged in a neck and neck п¬Ѓght
with the former unrelenting to the pressure.
Suerland managed to wriggle free and moved
ahead in sight of the winning post to win by a
Jockey Suerland continued his good form to
take his third win, while steering Moghsen’s
Emaad to a start to п¬Ѓnish victory in the Thoroughbred Handicap for horses rated 55 to 75. After hitting the front, Suerland cleverly dictated
the pace and skipped away from the pack to win
by three lengths. Sunley Pride came with a late
dash to pip Freckenham to the runner-up berth.
Suerland was once ahain in the forefront as
he guided Al Murqab Stud’s Pearl Bridge to a
thrilling victory in the Thoroughbred Conditions race, run over nine furlongs. One Cool Bex
was quick at the start and led the п¬Ѓeld, closely
followed by Pearl Bridge and Mefraas. One Cool
Bex continued to call the shots until the п¬Ѓnal
furlong but was soon challenged by Pearl Bridge.
Once he got the nod from Suerland, Pearl Bridge
quickly covered ground and went past the front
runner to win by a length to give its rider, his
fourth win of the day.
Trainer Mohanad al-Yaqout and jockey Tadgh O’Shea lead in Aseer after a victorious outing in the
Ad Dibal Cup yesterday.
1st race: Sahaba Al Uraiq (Declan Cannon) 1,
Won by: 5, 6, 11. Time: 1:18.77. Trained by: Mohammed Riyaz. Owned by: Sheikh Faisal bin Hamad
bin Jassim bin Thani al-Thani
2nd race: Istara (Evert Pheiffer) 1, Meghwaar 2,
Al Hattal 3, Ankor Class 4. Won by: Вѕ, ВЅ, 11. Time:
2:06.91. Owned and trained by: Hassan Ali Hassan al-Matwi
3rd race: Al Mostarsil (Marvin Suerland) 1,
Kassiba 2, Nomaas 3, Al Jeali 4. Won by: Nk, ВЅ,
Hd. Time: 1”19/01. Trained by: Abdullah al-Jaber.
Owned by: Abdullah Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber
4th race: Archers Prize (Marvin Suerland) 1,
Haayil 2, Khuduoa 3, Dartford 4. Won by: 3 ВЅ, 2
ВЅ. ВЅ. Time: 1:55.68. Trained by: Zohair Moghsen.
Owned by: Khaifan Mohammed Ali Sheban
5th race: Al Nefor (Richard Mullen) 1, Ladys
Sandman 2, Al Nefor 3, TM Tasha 4. Won by: Nk,
3 ВЅ, 8. Time: 2:07.61. Trained by: Julian Smart.
Owned by: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa
6th race: Emaad (Marvin Suerland) 1, Sunley
Pride 2, Freckenham 3, Galaxy 4. Won by: 3, Nk,
1. Time: 1:55.25. Trained by: Zohair Moghsen.
Owned by: Hussain Ali Bukanan
7th race: Pearl Bridge (Marvin Suerland) 1, One
Cool Bex 2, Exodus 3, Mefraas 4. Won by: 1, 1, 2
ВЅ. Time: 1:53.18. Trained by: Zohair Moghsen.
Owned by: Al Murqab Stud
8th race: Aseer (Tadgh O’Shea) 1, Moaddie 2,
Sraab 3, Manayer 4. Won by: ВЅ, Hd, Distance.
Time: 2:04.32. Trained by: Mohanad al-Yaqout.
Owned by: Al Jeryan Stud
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Zaqhwan crowned
SuperSport champ
in season finale
�You dream about being champion and dedicate your whole life to it’
Action from the thrilling Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship season finale at the Losail International Circuit in Doha on Sunday.
By Sports Reporter
aqhwan Zaidi clinched the SuperSports 600cc title to become
the youngest rider to win the
premiere class in a thrilling PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship
season п¬Ѓnale at the Losail International
Circuit in Qatar on Sunday.
The Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing rider was third in the standings with
a 22-point disadvantage heading into the
п¬Ѓnal round and was able to secure the
title having п¬Ѓnished Race 1 second and
Race 2 as champion. Retiring Katsuaki
Fujiwara (BEET Kawasaki Racing) who
initially led the standings missed out
on his second SuperSports title, after
he completed both races outside top-10
following technical difficulties with the
front-end suspension.
It was a dramatic end to an enthralling
season and gave Honda, who sealed the
SuperSports 600cc team awards with
Zaqhwan’s victory at the floodlit desert
circuit, their third riders’ title after Ryuichi Kiyonari (2012) and Azlan Shah
Kamaruzaman (2013).
The п¬Ѓnal standings had Zaqhwan on
top with 170 points, one point ahead of
Yuki Ito (Hong Leong Yamaha) in second
and 15 above retirement-bound Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Racing) in third
place.“You dream about being champion and dedicate your whole life to it, so
when it comes true it is very special and
amazing! I’m just really happy to make
my country proud,” said an emotional
Zaqhwan after the race.
“Honestly we did not expect to win
because this is only my third year racing in the premiere class. But when we
Zaqhwan Zaidi (right) celebrates after winning the SuperSports 600cc title of the
Asia Road Racing Championship at the Losail International Circuit.
saw Yuki and Fujiwara п¬Ѓnish outside top
п¬Ѓve in Race 1, it became clear we actually
stood a chance so Zamri and I cooked up
a strategy together,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gupita Kresna became
the п¬Ѓrst Asian 130cc champion despite
crashing during the sprint to the п¬Ѓnish
line in Race 1. Closest title contender,
Norizman Ismail retired from Race 1
having encountered technical issues
with his Honda
This is the п¬Ѓfth consecutive year an
Indonesian rider has won the intermediate category. Gupita secured the title
having п¬Ѓnished Race 1 in 13th position
following a huge collision with Kazuki
Masaki (Team Honda RSC) on the front
straight during the dash for the п¬Ѓnish
line. Both riders escaped the horrific
crash uninjured and picked up their bikes
to complete the race, with Gupita pushing his Kawasaki to the п¬Ѓnish line.
Fortunately for the Kawasaki KYT
Rextor Manual Tech rider, immediate title rival, Norizman Ismail (Harian Metro
Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing) retired from
the race due to a broken exhaust pipe and
the three points he picked up was enough
for him to clinch the title.
Gupita’s compatriot, Reza Fahlevy
(Faito Factory Racing) won Race 1 in
18’04.320s with Ahmad Fazrul Sham and
Rusman Fadil completing the podium
steps in 18’04.330s and 18’04.338s respectively.
Boosted by his championship win,
Gupita went on to secure his maiden
victory for the season in a hectic Race 2.
In a breathtaking photo-п¬Ѓnish, Gupita
crossed the line in 18’04.860s, 0.118 seconds ahead of Fazrul Sham with Mohd
Amirul Ariff Musa (T.Pro Yuzy Honda
NTS) 0.002 seconds behind.
It was a superb display of clever race
craft by Gupita, who battled a persistent pack. He started the п¬Ѓnal lap in 15th
place, in the slipstream of his rivals and
passed Amirul on the fast, sweeping back
section and timed his flying finish to perfection. Picking up 28 points from this
round, Gupita puts an end to the 2014
Underbone 130cc title chase with 176
points, while T.Pro Yuzy Honda NTS’
Taiga Hada and Amirul Ariff rounded up
top three with 127 points and 126 points
T.Pro Yuzy Honda NTS won the Underbone 130cc team award with 180
points followed by Kawasaki KYT Rextor
Manual Tech second and Harian Metro
Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing third with 176
points and 163 points.
Meanwhile, Khairul Idham Pawi bid
farewell to the Asia Dream Cup on a high
as he chalked up another double win in
the Asia Road Racing Championship.
Having already wrapped up the championship title in Thailand (Round 5),
Khairul could afford to relax in Qatar,
but it would simply see him perform better as he snatched lead at the п¬Ѓrst corner and disappeared into the distance in
Race 1, completing the nine-lap race in
Nasser Khalifa al-Attiyah, QMMF
President and FIM Vice President, expresses his happiness that the п¬Ѓnal round
of the season was held in Qatar. “I am
very happy to host the п¬Ѓnal round of this
championship for п¬Ѓfth year and I wish all
the best to all the riders for the future,”
al-Attiyah said in the grid.
Tough Asian
draw for
By Sports Reporter
Kuala Lumpur
atar Stars League’s
Lekhwiya and Saudi
champions Al Nassr,
who are returning to
AFC Champions League after a
three-year absence, have been
paired in Group A along with
Iran’s Persepolis and a team advancing from the play-offs following yesterday’s draw.
Lekhwiya, is the lone club
from Qatar which has earned
direct qualification to the continent’s premier club competition.
Two other clubs, El Jaish and Al
Sadd, will take the play-off route
to force their way into the main
draw, which features 32 top clubs
from Asia including defending champions Western Sydney
Wanderers of Australia.
Elsewhere in the East, Korean
champions and 2006 winners
Jeonbuk Hyundai will meet Chinese FA Cup holders Shandong
Luneng and Vietnamese champions Becamex Binh Duong in
Group E in addition to a team
from the play-offs.
And in Group F, 2008 champions and J League winners Gamba
Osaka will face two-time Asian
champions Seongnam FC, Thailand’s Buriram United as well as
the п¬Ѓnal play-off winner. In the
West, last year’s finalists Al Hilal
will look to go one better starting with a Group C that includes
Foolad Khouzestan from Iran as
well as Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv
Tashkent and one of four playoff winners from the West.
Defeated by Al Hilal in last
year’s semi-final, Al Ain from
the United Arab Emirates will
also be keen to go further having come so close in the previous
The inaugural AFC Champions League winners have been
drawn in Group B alongside
Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab, Uzbek
League champions Pakhtakor
and a play-off winner.
The eight outstanding places
in the group stage of the AFC
Champions League will be decided by the play-offs which
take place over four rounds at
the start of February with the
п¬Ѓrst group stage matches set for
February 24 and 25.
Al Kharaitiyat terminated the
contract of coach Bertrand
Marchand, it emerged on Sunday. The Frenchman was told his
services were no longer required
following the 3-3 draw against
Qatar SC on Saturday.
Marchand had took over
Kharaitiyat halfway through
the previous season in a brilliant unbeaten run which kept
the relegation threatened side in
Qatar’s elite football league for
another season. But Saturday’s
result was the team’s fifth match
in a row without a win, a fact
which the club’s administration
was not happy about.
Syrian coach Yassir Sobaie has
been put in charge of the side.
Kharaitiyat are currently 12th
in the Qatar Stars League table
with 13 points.
Thousands turn out to watch
top tennis stars at the IPTL
Doha: Thousands of tennis
enthusiasts turned up in Dubai
last weekend to cheer the most
iconic stars in tennis at the
sports’ latest and most exciting spectacle, the Coca-Cola
International Premier Tennis
League (IPTL) presented by
Qatar Airways.
Indian Aces, who charmed
tennis lovers in Manila, Singapore and New Delhi over
the previous two weeks, were
crowned champions on Saturday at the last step of the tour
in Dubai, after an exhilarating
finale match witnessed by thousands of fans.
IPTL brought the excitement
of the league format to a sport
followed by millions across the
world by featuring current and
former ATP and WTA players
in its inaugural season from 28
November until 13 December
2014. In this quicker and exciting format the League broke
the traditional etiquette of
tennis with first time features
such as time-outs, Happiness
PowerPoints, shoot-outs, a
running shot clock and exciting
live in-game entertainment.
Qatar Airways Group Chief
Executive, Akbar al-Baker said:
“We are delighted to have
received such an encouraging
response from sports aficionados in all four cities as part
of this new League. Partnering
with IPTL reaffirms our longstanding history of associating
with large-scale sporting events
which allow us to connect with
supporting fans and legendary
sports stars around the globe,
and this event was a perfect
example of that.”
The championship featured
renowned players such as
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic,
Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic,
Sania Mirza and others playing
for four franchises – the Manila
Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Indian Aces and the UAE
Royals, each of which had a
team of sports legends and
current stars. In its capacity as
Presenting Sponsor, Qatar Airways secured exclusive booths
at the stadiums in Dubai and
New Delhi with an activity area
where tennis enthusiasts and
the airline’s loyal customers
got a chance to take pictures
against backdrop images of
Qatar Airways’ A380 aircraft.
Qatar’s Carella, Torrente in thrilling three-way title showdown
By Sports Reporter
he Qatar Team’s Alex Carella and Shaun
Torrente will go head-to-head with
Frenchman Philippe Chiappe in a gripping three-way п¬Ѓght to decide the outcome of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship
at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Sharjah.
Attention will focus on what promises to be
an intense battle on the Khaled Lagoon course,
with Chiappe heading into Friday’s race with
a three-point lead over defending champion
Carella and a six-point lead over Carella’s
teammate Torrente.
A win for either Chiappe or three-time
champion Carella would give them the world
title, but Torrente needs to win outright and
hope that Chiappe does not п¬Ѓnish second if he
is to take the crown. A Torrente win and a second place for Carella would also be sufficient for
the American to claim his п¬Ѓrst crown.
“This is going to be one of the most exciting races in history,” said Khalid bin Arhama
al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar
Marine Sports Federation (QMSF). “It is very
important that we п¬Ѓnd the right propeller for
the guys. We didn’t have the unofficial twohour free practice in Abu Dhabi and that made
us suffer to п¬Ѓnd the right propeller. They (race
officials) have also changed the course in Sharjah but we will have two hours of unofficial free
practice and that is a big value for us.
“Our plan is simple. Team Qatar wins the
World Championship. I say to Alex and Shaun,
go out there and win the title for the people
who worked so hard to bring you to the top.
It’s a perfect course for our boats and hopefully, we will have some luck and win it like last
While all eyes will be on the battle between
Carella, Torrente and Chiappe, Finland’s double
World Champion Sami Selio is due a change in
fortune and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani al-Qamzi
and Ahmed al-Hameli will be hoping to end a
disappointing season with a win. The ingredients are there for an explosive п¬Ѓnish to the year.
“I’ve struggled a bit recently,” admitted
Carella, who holds a one-point lead over Torrente in the fight for the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship. “The past few weeks have
given me time to plan my strategy and I really
feel I’m in a great place physically and mentally
and ready to take my fourth straight championship. I like it here. I beat Jay (Price) back in 2011
and Shaun and Philippe last year, so I’ve had
good luck on Khaled Lagoon.”
Torrente is also upbeat about his chances:
“I’m feeling the heat, but it’s all about going out
Alex Carella will be aiming
for a fourth UIM F1 H2O World
Championship title for the
Qatar Team on Friday.
and having a good race. It’s that simple really.
Qualifying is so very important here and I’ll be
ready for the challenge, believe me!”
Khalid Abdullah al-Kuwari and Mohammed
al-Obaidly took control of two new Danishbuilt Molgaard F-4S boats in Qatar and they
have quickly adapted to their new race craft, as
their second and third places in Abu Dhabi last
month proved.
They will be hoping to end the season with
a п¬Ѓrst outright win in a pair of F-4S Trophy
races where Germany’s Mike Szymura takes
a 25-point lead over young Australian Briney
Rigby on to Khaled Lagoon. A win for the German in Thursday’s opening race would be sufficient for him to claim the title with one race
to spare.
Teams will be permitted to carry out two
hours of unlimited free practice from 15.00hrs
(UAE time) tomorrow afternoon.
F-4S free practice and time trials take centre
stage from 09.00hrs on Thursday and the п¬Ѓrst
of the F-4S Trophy races at 14.30hrs precedes
the vital Pole Position competition for the main
entrants, starting at 15.30hrs.
Further free practice and F-4S time trials
are scheduled for Friday morning and the п¬Ѓnal
F-4S Trophy race п¬Ѓres into life at 14.30hrs. The
Grand Prix of Sharjah will bring down the curtain on the season from 16.00hrs.
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