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Daily newspaper - Gulf times

SPORT | Page 4
4 – 8, 28
10, 11
26, 27
1 – 8, 14 – 16
9 – 13
1 – 12
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 Minister of Interior
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin
Khalifa al-Thani sent cables of
congratulations to Beji Caid Essebsi
on the occasion of winning the
Tunisian presidential election,
which was held on Sunday. They
wished him success. Meanwhile,
welcoming the election results, the
Foreign Ministry expressed Qatar’s
aspirations that this victory would
contribute to building a state of
institutions and maintaining the
security, stability and prosperity
of Tunisia, in a way that fulfils the
aspirations of the Tunisian people.
It also stressed Qatar’s full support
to Tunisia’s government and
people. Page 11
Vol. XXXV No. 9580
December 23, 2014
Rabia I 1, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Qatar Airways
takes delivery
of its п¬Ѓrst A350
BRITAIN | Horse racing
Goodwood in 10-year
deal with Qatar
Goodwood has announced a 10year partnership with Qatar that the
racecourse describes as “the single
biggest sponsorship deal ever
done for the benefit of British horse
racing”. More than £2mn ($3.12mn)
will be invested in eight key races
at the south of England track
while the July 28-Aug 1. Glorious
Goodwood meeting is to become
the Qatar Goodwood Festival, with
prize money of ВЈ4.5mn.
Essebsi congratulated
on Tunisian polls win
QATAR | Official
he R
bl TA 978
A 1
Q since
In brief
Latest Figures
Napoli lift Italian Super Cup
Total CEO sees oil at
$100 in medium term
Ferrari on
spree after
dismal year
HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa
al-Thani presents the Italian Super Cup trophy to Napoli captain Marek Hamsik in
Doha yesterday. After 18 penalties, Napoli edged out Juventus 6-5 in the shootout
to win the cup. The match was tied at 2-2 after extra-time. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Sport Page 1
atar Airways yesterday received the first of its 80 A350
XWB aircraft, of which the
airline is the global launch customer.
The announcement was made by
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar alBaker during a press conference held
at the Airbus Delivery Centre in the
French city of Toulouse yesterday.
In attendance at the press conference and delivery ceremony in
Toulouse were Airbus President and
CEO Fabrice Bregier, Rolls-Royce
Aerospace President Tony Wood,
and Qatar’s Ambassador to France
Sheikh Mishaal bin Hamad al-Thani, witnessing the arrival of the airline’s first A350 XWB aircraft.
Speaking at the press conference, al-Baker explained about Qatar Airways’s rapid expansion plans,
boosted by the arrival of this latest
aircraft type. “Today marks a momentous occasion in the history of
our airline. Not only are we welcoming a new aircraft type into the Qatar
Airways fleet, but as global launch
customer for the A350 XWB, we are
receiving the newest and most modern aircraft that the world will see
for at least another decade.”
The Airbus A350 XWB taxis during a delivery ceremony to Qatar Airways in
France yesterday.
“With our significant order as
launch customer for 80 of this aircraft type, it has enabled Airbus
to create an aircraft that not only
considers every aspect of passenger comfort, but also features the
cutting-edge light-weight carbon
composite design, which in turn allows fuel consumption and noise to
be reduced, along with many other
leading features.
“I am confident that with our passenger insight, the aircraft that has
today been welcomed into our fleet
will be the footprint for all future
aircraft design, both with regard to
technological advancements and the
passenger journey itself,” he added.
For his part, Bregier said that
delivering the first A350 XWB is a
“significant step in Airbus and aviation history” as the aircraft becomes
the “most modern aircraft in serv-
ice, developed with our excellence
established over 45 years in meeting
our customers’ needs.”
“The A350 XWB is the latest Airbus aircraft to join the skies, revolutionising our industry and redefining the way people fly,” Bregier said,
adding: “It’s with tremendous pride
that we are delivering our first A350
XWB today to our launch customer,
Qatar Airways. It’s a perfect match
to be handing over the first of an allnew world-class aircraft to a leading
world-class airline.”
The first commercial service on
the new aircraft will be deployed on
the Doha-Frankfurt route in January. The delivery of the A350 XWB
is the second significant fleet milestone for the Qatari carrier in recent past, having taken delivery of
its first A380 aircraft in September.
Business Page 16
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23 , 2014
PM meets head of Qatari-French society
Deputy PM meets Algeria’s envoy
UK, French
surgeons to
visit HMC
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani
meeting Maurice Leroy, head of French-Qatari Friendship Society, in Doha yesterday.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid
al-Mahmoud meeting the outgoing Algerian Ambassador to Qartar Abdel Fattah Ziani yesterday.
They reviewed bilateral relations in all fields. The Deputy Prime Minister wished the ambassador
success in his future assignments and the relations between the two countries further progress and
QC takes lead in relief efforts
atar Charity (QC) has
been named п¬Ѓrst in the
world in terms of relief
for Syria, Palestine and Somalia, the organisation has said in a
The announcement came in
a Financial Tracking of International Relief Report of the
United Nations Office for the
Co-ordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) and refers to the
organisation’s performance over
the last three years.
QC projects valued at over
QR185,455,000 were carried
out for the benefit of around
2,128,000 displaced and refugee
Syrians, including QR62.5mn
on food for the benefit of around
1,353,000 Syrians, QR45mn on
shelter and non-food items,
projects and QR17.6mn in the
п¬Ѓeld of education. More than
half of these projects were directed inside Syria.
QC projects in Pales-
tine amounted to around
QR145mn went towards projects
in the Gaza Strip, while in Somalia QC spent QR25,522,000 on
projects that benefited around
680,000 people.
The projects focused on ensuring the most basic necessities
of life in terms of food, medicine and shelter, in addition to
income generation in order to
provide job opportunities for the
unemployed, orphan sponsorship and disaster relief.
The Financial Tracking Service (FTS) is a global database
managed by OCHA, which
records all contributions to international humanitarian aid,
including non-government organisations and their contributions, covering bilateral and inkind aid and private donations.
FTS focuses on strategic response plans and response plans
for refugees, which cover all major humanitarian crises.
FTS is managed by OCHA using data provided by donors and
beneficiary organisations.
QC is characterised by a large
number of international partnerships and a wide п¬Ѓeld presence made possible due to its 18
offices on three continents.
The partnerships include
eight with the UN as well as a
number of other international
bodies, specialised organisations and charities, including
25 non-intergovernmental and
three banks and development
funds, as well as ministries and
technical interests of its subsidiaries in the countries where
it operates.
These number some 150 partners in addition to relationships
with around 350 local non-government organisations.
QC works in 60 countries on
three continents through its offices where present or via its
partners in the countries where
it does not have offices.
wo top orthopaedic surgeons from the UK and
France will visit the Orthopaedic Surgery Department
at Hamad Medical Corporation
(HMC) to conduct patient consultations and perform surgeries.
Scoliosis expert, Dr Colin Nnadi, from the UK, will be
available at the HMC facilities
from 27 to 30 of this month. Dr
Nnadi is a consultant spine surgeon from the UK’s Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.
He is scheduled to conduct surgery on 27 December and will be
available for patient consultations from 28 to 30 December at
the Bone and Joint Centre’s Outpatient Clinic at Hamad General
Hospital ( HGH).
Dr Marius Scarlat, consultant
and shoulder and elbow surgeon
from Clinique, St Michel in Toulon, France, will conduct surgery
and lecture at a session for medical residents. He will be available for patient consultations on
1 and 2 February at the Bone and
Joint Centre’s Outpatient Clinic.
Patients interested in booking an appointment with either
physicians, should visit the Bone
and Joint Centre at the HGH
Outpatient Department (OPD)
Annex between 7am and 3pm.
Wakra Hospital
honours South
Security Dept
Projects and initiatives carried out by QC.
Shahry Smart in new offer
Smart has introduced a new offer,
enabling new users to benefit from a 50% discount
on their Shahry Smart
subscription charge.
Existing customers who
upgrade to a higher Shahry
Smart pack will also be
eligible to access the 50%
discounted rates until
March 21, 2015, saving up to
QR1,125 during the period.
Shahry Smart packs
offer a host of local and
PM holds talks
with envoys
HE the Prime Minister
and Minister of Interior
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser
bin Khalifa al-Thani met
the outgoing Spanish
Ambassador to Qatar
Carmen De La Pena. The
Prime Minister wished the
ambassador success in
her future posting and the
relations between the two
countries further progress
and prosperity. Ambassador
De La Pena thanked the Prime
Minister and State officials for
the co-operation accorded to
her during her tenure in Qatar.
The Prime Minister also met
the Ambassadors of Eritrea,
Sweden to Qatar Ali Ibrahim
Ahmed and Ewa Bjorling,
respectively. Talks dealt with
means of developing bilateral
cables sent
HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh
Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani
and HE the Prime Minister
and Minister of Interior
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser
bin Khalifa al-Thani have sent
cables to the Emir of Kuwait
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed
al-Jaber al-Sabah condoling
the death of Sheikha Sabah
Nasser al-Sabah.
international minutes/
SMS, data and free access to the 4G network for
“superfast” mobile data
Packs come in denominations of QR15, 35, 55,
100, 150, 250, 450 and 750,
as well as Ooredoo’s VIP
service Al Nokhba.
Shahry Smart pack 250
and onward customers can
enjoy unlimited local calls
and SMS as well as at least
1GB of monthly data for
their phone.
More information could
be had from an Ooredoo
Shop or from
Al Wakra Hospital’s (AWH)
administration has honoured the
South Security Department for its
role in watching over residents of
Al Wakrah.
AWH officials Ali al-Muftah (head,
Engineering Department) and
Charlotte Hamilton (assistant
executive director, Business
Development ) jointly presented
an appreciation plaque to Brigadier
Mohamed Jassim al-Sulaiti (head,
South Security Department) and
Major Yousuf Mohamed al-Obaidly
(assistant head) during a reception
held in their honour at Al Wakra
Hospital. Many doctors and other
staff members of the hospital
attended the event.
Speaking on behalf of Ali
al-Khater (executive director,
Corporate Communications
Department, Hamad Medical
Corporation), Mohamed al-Dosari
(acting head of Public Relations,
AWH), said that presenting the
award also demonstrated the
importance of co-operation
among the business community.
Brigadier al-Sulaiti thanked the
administration team at AWH for
the award.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Ports, border posts equipped
to handle radioactive materials
A view of the Al Ruwais port. The first phase of operations at Al Ruwais port will start on January 1. The
authorities have taken all measures so that the port can start receiving vessels on that date.
Al Ruwais port set
to receive vessels
he п¬Ѓrst phase of operations at Al Ruwais port
will start on January 1,
the Marine Department in the
Ministry of Transport has announced.
Qatar Ports Management
Company has carried out necessary co-ordination with the authorities concerned so that the
port can start receiving vessels
on that date.
The development plan for Al
Ruwais port seeks to ease the
entry and exit of ships, cargo and
travellers to boost trade (export
and import) and other forms of
commercial transactions among
the countries of the region.
All marine works at the port
have already been completed,
such as deepening of the water
passage, creation of platforms
and navigation aids, and general
expansion of the port and service facilities such as government
buildings and п¬Ѓshermen service
The Al Ruwais port development project aims to make the
port compliant with relevant
international standards in the
The main works of the project
included deepening of the water
passage to 5m and creation of
marine basins (7m deep), besides
six marine platforms stretching
over 1,414m.
HMC’s stroke service gets JCI accreditation
Hamad Medical Corporation’s
(HMC) stroke service has become
the first of its kind in the Middle
East to be accredited by the Joint
Commission International (JCI).
JCI accreditation is based
on quality and safety across
all clinical and management
functions and is considered
the gold standard in global
healthcare. All HMC’s network
of hospitals, as well as the
Ambulance Service and Home
Healthcare Service, have been
accredited by JCI.
Stroke is one of the leading
causes of mortality and the
number one cause of chronic
disability in the world. Due to
the high prevalence of many risk
factors for stroke among Qatar’s
population, including diabetes,
obesity, high cholesterol,
hypertension and inactivity, the
incidence of stroke is high in the
The JCI accreditation follows
significant recent improvements
in care for stroke patients, with
the opening of a dedicated stroke
ward at Hamad General Hospital
in March 2014, playing a key
role in these improvements. The
multi-disciplinary nature of the
care has contributed greatly to
ensure that stroke patients in
Qatar receive the safest, most
effective and compassionate
he Ministry of Environment (MoE)’s radiation and
chemicals protection department has started equipping
and preparing the country’s ports
and border posts for more effective handling of the import and
export of radioactive materials.
This is being implemented in
collaboration with the Ministry
of Interior.
The aim is to exercise tighter
control over the movement of all
types of nuclear and radioactive
materials entering or leaving the
country, particularly in terms of
potential illegal operations with
such materials.
Meanwhile, the MoE conducted a training workshop for
the staff of Qatar’s ports, where
they were briefed on the nature
of radioactive and nuclear materials. Besides, they were given
a detailed explanation of related
equipment at ports and principles of personal protection while
handling such substances.
The staff members were also
trained on how to trace sources
of any illegal attempt to pass radioactive materials and methods
of detecting them within various cargo containers. Eventually, a practical training was held
at the Doha port and another at
the Abu Samra checkpost. This
would be followed by similar
training at Hamad International
Airport, Al Ruwais port and Ras
Laffan port.
Staff members who have already received this specialised
training number 20 trainees employees of different border
posts around the country.
More training workshops in
this regard would be held by the
MoE in collaboration with the
International Atomic Energy
Agency to suitably equip staff
working in the п¬Ѓeld and prepare
them to ensure the early detection of any suspected hazard.
Training for the border staff will enhance their capabilities to handle radioactive materials.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
QRC –Al Khor
holds contests,
games to mark
National Day
Gez Garai receiving a cheque worth 100,000 reward points during an awarding ceremony at the bank’s headquarters.
IBQ announces
monthly prize
draw winner
nternational Bank of Qatar (IBQ) has named Gez Garai as the December winner of the bank’s monthly
prize draw for the IBQ loyalty programme, thanq.
With the draw taking place before the holidays, Garai
received 100,000 thanq reward points in a ceremony held
at the bank’s headquarters in the presence of deputy head
of branches Muhanad Abu al-Wafa.
“We are delighted that Gez Garai is the latest lucky
winner of our December thanq prize draw, with a timely
win before the holiday season. The thanq programme is
our way of rewarding our valued customers to show we
appreciate their commitment to our brand and banking
relationship. thanq offers them a unique opportunity to
travel anywhere in the world with special travel offers
that are second to none in Qatar,” al-Wafa said.
The thanq rewards programme allows IBQ customers
to accumulate points across a wide range of IBQ products
and services and then redeem them by booking flights
on more than 800 airlines, accommodation in 160,000
hotels, and car rental services worldwide.
atar Red Crescent
(QRC) – Al Khor
has participated in
Qatar National Day celebrations held countrywide to
mark the special occasion
on December 18 and cater to
the public who go out to celebrate and enjoy the different artistic, cultural, heritage and recreational events.
QRC ambulances and
staff provided medical coverage in the celebration area
to ensure the safety of all
visitors and provide instant
intervention in case of an
The branch organised
recreational events at Al
Khor Cultural Centre, including competitions and
games for adults and children, serving of traditional
dishes, henna tattooing,
face painting and a best folk
costume competition.
Prizes were distributed to
the winners.
A special QRC corner was
set up to distribute educational printouts and gifts
to the public, train them in
the basics of п¬Ѓrst aid and
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), inform them of
QRC’s mission in the service
of the Qatari and other societies, and conduct medical
examinations (blood sugar
and pressure) for free.
The corner attracted a
large numbers of visitors,
particularly children. Its
services covered up to 200
families that visited Al Khor
Cultural Centre.
Rashid bin Saad alMohannadi, director of
QRC’s Social Development Department and Al
Khor branch, said: “QRC is
pleased to support different
social centres and organisations that host National Day
celebrations in the city of Al
Khor, for the pleasure of all
Al Shamal society members,
in accordance with QRC’s
philosophy and vision of
social responsibility and
social work.”
Al-Mohannadi explained
that the purpose of such
participation is to spread
joy and happiness everywhere, keep in touch with
people of all groups and
ages and promote QRC’s
humanitarian and social
image, thereby reinforcing
its community presence
and enabling it to perform
its developmental and
charitable role as an international humanitarian organisation and an auxiliary
to the State of Qatar in its
humanitarian policies, both
locally and internationally.
A QRC volunteer guiding children on cardiopulmonary resuscitation technique.
Celebration of diversity and
inclusiveness at RasGas
asGas celebrated Qatar National Day on
Wednesday with its
employees in Doha, Ras Laffan, offshore and at its office
in South Korea. To mark the
occasion, a giant billboard
was also set up on the RasGas headquarters building
in Doha.
Hamad Rashid al-Mohannadi, chief executive officer, RasGas, said: “At RasGas, the Qatar National Day
is an occasion to celebrate
the big strides that the State
of Qatar has made in the
economic, social and cultural sectors. People are our
biggest strength and we are
very proud of the dedication
and commitment of all our
employees, which enables
us to continually support
RasGas officials with employees at Ras Laffan during the Qatar National Day celebrations.
the Qatar National Vision
At Ras Laffan, the CEO was
joined by Hamad Mubarak
al-Muhannadi, chief operations officer, in a cake cutting
ceremony in the presence of
the other members of RasGas executive leadership
team. The celebrations took
place in the newly built garden area in front of the administration building.
A traditional Qatari village was set up on the 10th
floor open area at RasGas
headquarters building in
Doha, complete with handicrafts and cultural activities.
Traditional Qatari dance
Traffic Tech named
Sub-contractor of Year
raffic Tech (Gulf) has been
named sub-contractor of the
year at the GCC edition of the
Construction Week Awards 2014 held
in Dubai recently.
Traffic Tech emerged the winner
among other shortlisted companies
from Qatar and other GCC countries.
“The judges said that Traffic Tech’s
submission was “particularly impressive” and that it managed to stand
out as an organisation with a proven
track record of delivery,” according to
a statement.
Husam Musharbash, president and
CEO of Traffic Tech Group, received
the award from Simon Moon, CEO at
“We have been in business for 28 years
and we have won a lot of awards, but this
is one of the most important ones for us.
We have been doing a lot of fast-track
projects and the project that I think won
us the award is the Doha Corniche traffic signals project that we did in a very
short period of time and that was very
challenging to us,” he said.
The Construction Week Awards are
was performed by school
students. A food stall was
also set up where traditional
dishes were offered.
As a celebration of the
diversity and inclusiveness
of RasGas, the employees
were encouraged to wear the
traditional clothing of their
country on the day.
Musharbash (right) receiving the
award from Moon.
an annual series of events that recognise and reward the best the GCC construction industry has to offer. Other
winners this year include ALEC – Contractor of the Year; WSP – Consultant
of the Year; AECOM – Commercial
Project of the Year; and Qatar Foundation and ASTAD Project Management –
Sustainability Initiative of the Year.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
QIB employees
mark National
Day with Arda,
photo contest
mployees of Qatar Islamic
Bank (QIB) celebrated this
year’s Qatar National Day
with a large family celebration.
The celebrations included
Arda, a Qatari outfit contest
showcasing the traditional attire and a photography contest
for staff.
The photography contest was
aimed at encouraging talented
employees to put their skills and
artistic abilities on display by
taking pictures that depict life in
Qatar. Five winners for the best
submitted photographs were
announced during the event and
awarded gifts in appreciation of
their contribution.
QIB Group CEO Bassel Gamal
said the bank was proud to involve all its staff members in the
National Day celebrations. “QIB
is the golden sponsor of Qatar’s
National Day celebrations across
the country. By encouraging
our employees’ participation,
it gives them an opportunity
to reaffirm QIB’s commitment
towards Qatar, the land of benevolence and compassion,” he
“Qatar’s National Day is not
just a date for Qatari nationals to
celebrate; it is an inclusive event
for all our staff, whatever their
nationality, to celebrate an international bond across all boundaries. The holiday means a lot to
our dignity as a people and we
are honoured to mark this special
day. In light of this, QIB actively
QIB National Day celebrations.
promotes interaction with the
community in addition to numerous social activities and initiatives
that serve to benefit the community, here in Qatar,” he added. “On
the occasion of National Day, I
would, on behalf of the bank, like
to send greetings and congratulations to both HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and
HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad
bin Khalifa al-Thani.
“QIB is keen to show that our
corporate responsibility to the
Qatari society is always our top
priority and that the spirit of the
Qatar National Day celebrations
reaches out not just to Qatari nationals, but to all expatriates in
the country as well.”
Nakilat staff visit Darb Al Saai
Nakilat officials and employees at the National Day celebrations.
Nakilat has celebrated Qatar
National Day with festivities at its
office locations and a visit to the
Darb Al Saai grounds in Al Sadd.
On the occasion, Nakilat managing
director Abdullah al-Sulaiti
accompanied employees to the Darb
Al Saai grounds for a celebration of
traditional Qatari culture.
The company’s employees enjoyed
an insight into the old way of life in
Qatar, including demonstrations of
local cuisine, insights into traditional
crafts such as the preparation of
leather, explanations of popular
hunting methods, a traditional souq
and displays of horses and camels.
The visit to Darb Al Saai allowed
Nakilat’s international employees to
observe local customs and heritage,
thereby helping improve their
understanding of Qatar’s origins and
traditions. Nakilat also celebrated
Qatar National Day at its office
locations in Ras Laffan.
“Qatar National Day is an important
occasion for citizens and residents
of Qatar alike. Our Qatari employees
are proud to share their culture and
heritage with their international
colleagues and to celebrate the
achievements of our great country
on this momentous day,” said alSulaiti.
Nakilat is a Qatari marine transport
company providing the essential
transportation link in Qatar’s LNG
supply chain.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Advisory Council calls weekly meeting
he Advisory Council yesterday held
the weekly meeting of its 43rd Ordinary Session under the chairmanship of the Speaker HE Mohammed bin
Mubarak al-Khulaifi.
At the outset of the meeting, the
agenda was read and then approved.
Later, the Council endorsed minutes
of the previous Session.
The Advisory Council also dis-
cussed a report of the Finance and
Economic Affairs Committee on a
draft law on the State’s financial system and decided to refer its recommendations to the Cabinet.
Total holds National
Day photo contest
otal has concluded its
yearly Qatar National
Week celebrations,
featuring a variety of Qatarthemed events to promote
the national spirit among
all in the company.
Qatar employees of the
oil and gas company who
organised the celebrations transformed the office canteen and halls of
the company into a majlis.
All employees were invited
to experience Qatari hospitality in the majlis while
indulging in Reyooq, a Qatari breakfast, and a Qatari
Wafaa al-Saffar, an employee of Total, said: “As
a Qatari, it gives me great
pleasure to share my culture with my expatriate
colleagues, and Qatar National Day gives us a great
platform to do so. It was
an opportunity to highlight Qatar’s rich heritage
and understanding of our
Wafaa al-Saffar: “As a Qatari,
it gives me great pleasure to
share my culture...”
Guillaume Chalmin,
managing director, Total
E&P Qatar and Group
history, customs and why
we do things a certain way,
and this in turn promotes a
greater appreciation of our
The week commenced
with Karak and Swalif,
where questions related to
Qatar’s traditions were answered over a cup of karak.
were invited to participate in a drawing competition, where they were
encouraged to let their
imagination soar under
the theme “My Qatar”.
My National Day photo
competition, suited for
adult participants, was
also launched, calling upon
them to capture the essence
of Qatar and the spirit of
National Day celebrations.
The winners of the two
competitions will be commemorated in a special
ceremony during the Total
Marhaba Day celebrations,
which is equivalent to Family Day, due to take place
late next month.
Finally, in a bid to portray employees’ creativity, they decorated their offices with the National Day
theme. The best decoration
will be entitled to a special
prize and will be passed on
the trophy from last year’s
managing director of Total
E&P Qatar and Group representative, said: “I would
like to extend my sincere
congratulations to all the
citizens and residents of
Qatar for the National Day,
and to wish them continued strength, happiness
and prosperity. I would
also like to congratulate
the organisers of our Qatar
National Week celebrations for their successful efforts in promoting a
sense of unity among both
Qataris and non-Qataris
through events, which also
honour the rich traditions
of Qatar.”
Barwa Bank honours п¬Ѓve nationals
arwa Bank gathered
its staff together to
celebrate Qatar National Day during a special
ceremony held at its headquarters on December 17.
Barwa Bank management and employees expressed their collective
sense of national pride and
patriotism and celebrated
Qatar, its proud history
and heritage and its people and extended warm
greetings to HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani, HH the Father
Emir Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani and the
Qatari people.
On the occasion, Barwa
Bank also presented п¬Ѓve
Qatari nationals with special awards for completing the п¬Ѓrst contingent
of the obligatory military
In a statement, Barwa
Bank said: “It is a privilege
Qatar National Day celebrations at Barwa Bank headquarters.
for us to contribute to the
National Day celebrations
and convey a message of
solidarity, loyalty and pride
on this glorious occasion.
We look towards 2015 as a
continuation of the growth
and prosperity for the bank
as well as the continuing success and achievement enjoyed by this great
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
shot dead
in south
Cricket stirs
passion, eases
hardships of
UAE Pathans
Pathans come in large
numbers to watch sixes and
boundaries in a Twenty20 or
a one-day international
or 59-year-old taxi driver
Kamal Khan, cricket is war
without the shooting.
Like most Pathans, known for
their tough, battle-hardened
nature, defeat is unacceptable.
They may not know all the
rules of the game, like the Barmy
Army fans of England or India’s
Swami Army but Pathans watch
cricket out of passion for the
sport and for the love of Pakistan.
Kamal, like most of his fellow
Pathans, often skips his taxidriving duties to watch cricket
in the United Arab Emirates, the
neutral venue where Pakistan
have been forced to play since
2009’s terror attacks on the visiting Sri Lanka team back home.
A 30-dirham ticket gives fans
a comfortable seat in the stands
or a place on the mound and the
rest is enjoyment.
“Cricket is the only entertainment for us in this country,”
Kamal, who has been driving a cab
in Abu Dhabi for 13 years, said.
The 9/11 attacks on the United
States, and the ensuing war in
Afghanistan and around Pakistan’s north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, forced
hundreds of Pathans to move to
the Gulf in search of a more lucrative and peaceful way of life.
A taxi driver like Kamal earns
4,000 to 7,000 dirhams a month
but the 24/7 job takes its toll.
“Most of the taxi drivers have
kidney stones because they
don’t drink much water to avoid
going to the toilet,” said Kamal.
“Life is tough and there was no
enjoyment but since cricket arrived here we are very happy that
we can watch our players.”
Needless to say, the Pathans
demand aggression and passion
on the п¬Ѓeld.
They come in large numbers to
watch sixes and boundaries in a
Twenty20 or a one-day international.
And that is the reason that allrounder Shahid Afridi, who hails
from the Khyber Agency, is the
star attraction even after 18 years
in the game.
“We just come to watch Afridi,” said Taif Khan, who drives
a taxi in Sharjah.
“I got my money’s worth when
I watched the third one-dayer
(against New Zealand) last Friday because Afridi got a fifty.”
Afridi hit a 25-ball 55 to help
Pakistan reach 364-7 and went
on to win the match by 147 runs.
New Zealand, however, took the
п¬Ѓve-match series 3-2.
“Our cricket begins and ends
with Afridi,” said Wahid Khan, a
trader from Miranshah in North
Waziristan Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of
“I lost millions in the recent
operation in Miranshah,” said
Wahid, referring to the military
operations by the Pakistan army
aimed at clearing the area of
Those military sweeps resulted in his shops being razed.
Wahid now lives in Abu Dhabi
and п¬Ѓnds solace in cricket.
“Cricket is a way of forgetting
our pains,” he said. “By default
we are watching our players here
and it’s great entertainment.”
Afridi acknowledges the support he receives.
“They love me very much,”
said the 34-year-old Afridi.
“Most of them drive taxis and
whenever I get time I meet them.
It’s their love and affection that
drives me.”
south Yemen separatist
was shot dead yesterday
when police intervened
to disperse protesters observing
a day of civil disobedience in the
formerly independent region,
witnesses and a medic said.
Clashes erupted in Ataq, the
main city in Shabwa province,
when police opened п¬Ѓre at protesters who tried to block a road,
killing one protester and wounding others, witnesses said. A medical source confirmed the death.
Confrontations also flared in
Aden, the former capital of south
Yemen, and Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadramout, where
riot police opened п¬Ѓre to disperse protests and reopen roads
blocked with burning tyres and
concrete blocks, witnesses said.
Most businesses and schools
were shut yesterday in response
to a call for protests made by the
separatist Southern Movement.
A senior separatist п¬Ѓgure,
Khaled al-Junaidi, was shot dead
by security forces earlier this
month during a previous day of
civil disobedience.
Man beheaded
for child rape
Pathan spectators clad in traditional garb dance during the match between Pakistan and New Zealand
at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 19.
Saudi Arabia yesterday beheaded
a child rapist. The interior
ministry said Suleiman bin
Abdullah had been found guilty
of kidnapping a male child, tying
him up “and performing the
obscene” act.
Authorities carried out the
sentence against him in Buraydah
city, northwest of Riyadh, the
ministry said in a statement carried
by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Syria crisis has cost Lebanon $20bn: minister
early four years of civil
war in Syria have cost
Lebanon more than
$20bn, the social affairs minister
said yesterday.
“Several factors brought on
by the Syria crisis have caused a
loss of more than $20bn” since
March 2011, Rashid Derbas said.
“Because of this, infrastructure planned to last for 15 years
will now have to be changed in
just two because of intensive
use” due to the presence of
1.1mn refugees from Syria, he
He also cited the use of energy
resources, primarily electricity,
by refugees unable to pay for it.
Tourism has also been hit
hard, Derbas said of some
500,000 tourists who used to
arrive overland via Syria.
He expressed regret that much
of the international aid pledged
to help Lebanon cope with the
influx has yet to materialise.
“We have received just half of
the amount promised for 2013
and only 44% this year,” Derbas
Lebanon currently hosts more
than a million Syrians who have
fled the brutal war that has ravaged their country for nearly
four years.
Refugees now account for a
quarter of Lebanon’s population and cost Beirut $4.5bn a
year, Central Bank governor Riad
Salameh said in June.
Basing this estimate on a
World Bank study, he said “the
direct cost to the Lebanese state
is around a billion dollars per
annum, with an indirect cost of
*Seven people suspected of
abducting members of Syria’s
opposition in Lebanon and turning them over to the Damascus
regime have been arrested, a security official said yesterday.
The seven, all members of the
Baath party which has ruled Syria for 50 years, were detained last
week, the official said, speaking
on condition of anonymity.
Among them was a Baath “official” from the Bekaa region
of eastern Lebanon bordering
He confessed to having kidnapped a member of the Syrian
rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, and
is also suspected of abducting a
Syrian opposition member more
than a month ago in eastern
Lebanon and a sheikh he handed
over to the Syrian authorities.
Many opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, from peaceful activists
to rebels, have found refuge in
The conflict has deeply divided Lebanon between supporters
and opponents of the Syrian regime, which held sway over its
neighbour for nearly 30 years.
Iraq: Jordan
training for
soldiers to
begin soon
People watch from the Turkish border as smoke rises from Kobane, in this October 26 file photo.
100 days on, Kobane
holds off Islamic State
Against all odds, the mostly
Kurdish town of Kobane in
northern Syria is holding its
ground against the onslaught
by Islamic State militants
hort of weaponry and food
supplies, Syria’s mostly
Kurdish town of Kobane
has been able to hold back repeated attempts by the Islamic
State militant group to capture it
since mid-September.
Kobane is strategically situated in northern Syria close to the
Turkish border. To Syrian Kurds,
the town is a symbol of resistance
and pride.
“Kobane will make history by
this unprecedented resistance
and the steadfastness of its people
despite the deteriorating humanitarian situation day after day,”
Khaled Barkel, a local Kurdish official, said.
Fighters from the People’s Protection Units, a key Kurdish militia, are leading the battle against
Islamic State, which also controls
territory in other parts of Syria
and neighbouring Iraq.
The Kurds are backed by USled air strikes that started against
the extremist group in Syria in late
In October, Kobane’s fighters
were joined by some 150 members of the battle-hardened Iraqi
Kurdish peshmerga forces - a reinforcement that has helped the
Kurdish fighters halt the jihadists’ advance in Kobane in recent
Should Kobane fall to Islamic State, it would give the
Al Qaeda splinter group control
over an area of at least 100km
near the Turkish-Syrian border, which could become a major supply route for the radical
Barkel said a few families had
in the past few weeks returned
to Kobane, after Kurdish п¬Ѓghters
liberated districts in the southern
part of the town from the militants.
“Maybe we can say that 10 to
15% of the people of Kobane has
returned,” Barkel told DPA by
phone from inside the town.
By September 22, an estimat-
ed 200,000 residents had fled
Kobane towards the Turkish border, fearing an incursion and mass
atrocities by Islamic State.
“Life inside Kobane for those
returnees is not easy at all.
Food and medicine are rare to
п¬Ѓnd. Sometimes families inside
Kobane suffer from a shortage
of milk for their children,” Barkel
“But our people are known to
survive against all the odds. The
world should do more to help.
They should open humanitarian
passages for our people.”
Idriss Nassan, another Kobane
official, said the Kurdish п¬Ѓghters
have fared well in recent weeks
against the better-equipped militants.
“Our fighters need more weap-
ons to continue the battle. The
150 peshmerga, who have come to
Kobane with their weapons, have
made a difference. But this is still
not enough.”
However, Kurdish п¬Ѓghters like
Halaa Kobane are optimistic. She
believes that victory for Kurds
there is imminent.
“We just want the world to
know that we are п¬Ѓghting because
we love freedom and not because
we love war. We are peaceful people. We are п¬Ѓghting aggressors
who started a war on us,” she said,
speaking by phone from inside
“We have lost brothers and
sisters in the battle. But we know
that with our determination and
high morale, we’ll regain our land
and live in dignity.”
ordan will begin training the
п¬Ѓrst group of army troops
from neighbouring Iraq in
the next few weeks as part of
the international effort to п¬Ѓght
Islamic State, the Iraqi defence
minister said yesterday.
Speaking after meeting Jordanian King Abdullah, Khaled
al Obeidi said Amman would
also supply the Iraqi army with
arms needed for its drawn-out
fight against the radical Islamists who have seized wide
swathes of the north and west
of his country.
Obeidi aims to rebuild the Iraqi
army, which fell apart last summer in the face of Islamic State’s
blitz across northern Iraq during
which at least four Iraqi divisions
“I think in the next weeks the
п¬Ѓrst batch of Iraqi army will get
training in Jordan,” the defence
minister said in Amman. “The
arms warehouses of Jordan from
weapons and ammunition will be
open to the Iraqi army.”
King Abdullah, a US ally whose
country has joined the military
campaign against IS militants in
Syria, said on Sunday it was crucial to support both Iraqi and Syrian tribes threatened by Islamic
State п¬Ѓghters.
Jordan has in recent months
beefed up its troops along the
180km border with Iraq, where IS
п¬Ѓghters have control over stretches of the Baghdad-Jordan highway, a major Middle Eastern trade
Obeidi was due to visit Jordanian army camps today. He said his
talks with the army’s chief of staff
would focus on ways of regaining control of the crucial overland
trade and passenger artery.
The fall of large parts of Anbar province bordering Jordan to
IS poses a major security risk for
the kingdom, officials say. Tribes
currently п¬Ѓghting the militants
in Anbar have long-standing ties
with Jordan.
Obeidi speaks to the media in Amman yesterday.
Five militants killed in shootout with Egypt police
ive members of Egypt’s deadliest militant group, Ansar
Beit al-Maqdis, were killed
yesterday in clashes with police, the
interior ministry said.
The militants, who have pledged
allegiance to the Islamic State (IS)
group, “opened fire” after security
forces stormed a farm where they
were hiding and preparing bombs,
the ministry said in a statement.
“An exchange of gunfire then
took place, causing the deaths of
five members of the terrorist cell
while a police officer was injured,”
it added.
The farm was located in the Nile
Delta province of Sharqiya, northeast of Cairo.
A car bomb found at the scene
was detonated by remote control,
the statement said. Police also
seized suicide belts, weapons and
Three of the militants killed in
the raid were identified as Abdel Fattah Ayed Marzouk Salman,
Hamdeen Salman Saad and Mouaz
Ibrahim Abdel Rahman—the son
of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis leader Ibrahim Abdel Rahman who is currently in prison.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) has claimed an
October 24 suicide bombing that
killed 30 soldiers in North Sinai, a
brazen attack that sparked a state
of emergency.
The militants say their attacks are to avenge a government
crackdown targeting supporters
of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi that has left at least
1,400 people dead.
The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group
that has captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.
Wait at border
Coca-Cola factory
being built in Gaza
Palestinians await permission to enter Egypt as they gather at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and
southern Gaza Strip yesterday. Around 630 Palestinians left Gaza through the Rafah crossing the previous day
after Cairo authorised a temporary reopening of the border, a Palestinian official said.
Coca-Cola yesterday began
construction of its first plant in
the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army
Construction of the factory which will take three years to
build at a cost of $20mn - began
yesterday after nine trucks with
building materials and supplies
entered the coastal enclave.
Once complete, the plant is
expected to create 1,000 jobs in
the industrial complex of Karni,
where it will be based.
One of the men responsible
for the venture is Palestinian
businessman Zahi Churi, who
already runs a Coca-Cola factory
in Ramallah.
“The only enemy of extremism
is good jobs,” Churi told the
Jerusalem Post.
Coca-Cola secured Israeli permits
for the necessary materials to
enter the enclave before the
country’s 50-day with Gaza over
the summer.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
veteran says
youth is a
state of mind
eteran politician Caid
Beiji Essebsi, officially
confirmed as Tunisia’s
new president yesterday, had
been the favourite to become
the new head of state of the
country that launched the Arab
Essebsi - now 88 - held key
posts under Habib Bourguiba,
the father of Tunisian independence, but also under dictator
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who was
deposed in 2011.
An anti-Islamist lawyer, Essebsi became prime minister
after the revolt and organised
parliamentary elections later
that year.
Born on November 29, 1926,
he denied before the presidential election—the first time Tunisians had been able to freely
choose their own head of state—
that his age was a hurdle to assuming the nation’s highest office.
“I have the age that I have,” he
told AFP, describing youth as “a
state of mind”.
His detractors had accused
him of seeking to restore the
regime of Ben Ali, who clung
to power for 23 years before
fleeing, combining authoritarian rule with a degree of prosperity and stability for his people.
But Essebsi stood his ground,
saying that former Ben Ali regime figures had the “right”
to play a role in governing Tunisia alongside all political factions.
Born in Sidi Bou Said, a
northern suburb of Tunis, the
founder and chairman of the
Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) party studied law in Paris
Essebsi: shrewd politician
and began practising in 1952.
After independence from
France in 1956, he became an
adviser to Bourguiba, holding a
number of key jobs under him
and later under Ben Ali.
Over the years, Essebsi was
director general of the national
police and interior minister. He
later held the defence portfolio
before becoming ambassador to
After a subsequent posting
as Tunisia’s envoy to Germany,
he was named foreign minister.
He also served in parliament,
holding the speakership in 1990
and 1991.
When Ben Ali skipped the
country for exile in Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011, prime
minister Mohamed Ghannouchi
declared himself president.
But just a day later, parliament
speaker Fouad Mebazaa took the
reins of power.
Ghannouchi remained premier for another six weeks, before Mebazaa called on Essebsi to
replace him and head an interim
government until elections for a
constituent assembly could be
Those polls, in December
2011, were won by the Islamist
party Ennahda, and new interim
president Moncef Marzouki appointed Ennahda’s Hamadi Jabali to replace Essebsi.
In October this year, Nidaa
Tounes emerged as the winner
in parliamentary elections, with
Ennahda coming in a close second.
Essebsi has acknowledged
that Ennahda is “part of Tunisia’s political life”, and his Nidaa
Tounes does not rule out collaborating with it.
He is a shrewd politician
whose communications style is
to mix Qur’anic verses with old
Tunisian proverbs.
It is also difficult to corner
During the campaign he was
taken to task for the way he responded to criticism by a female
Islamist member of the constituent assembly.
“She’s just a woman,” he said,
explaining later that he said that
out of gallantry, not wanting to
criticise a woman.
“No one can doubt the
fact that I consider Tunisia’s
women to be the guarantors of
the democratic process. And I
am one of those who participated in the liberation of women by
Bourguiba,” who introduced the
Arab world’s most liberal legislation on women’s rights.
Essebsi is married and has two
sons and two daughters.
A supporter of Essebsi celebrates in Tunis yesterday.
Essebsi wins Tunisia
presidential election
Essebsi takes 55.68% of the
vote to defeat incumbent
Moncef Marzouki in Sunday’s
eteran anti-Islamist politician Beji Caid Essebsi
was declared the winner
of Tunisia’s first free presidential election yesterday, capping
off the transition to democracy
in the birthplace of the Arab
But in a sign of the challenges
ahead, police п¬Ѓred teargas to disperse hundreds of youths protesting against the result.
former official in previous Tunisian regimes, took 55.68% of the
vote to defeat incumbent Moncef Marzouki in Sunday’s runoff,
the electoral commission said.
Essebsi had claimed victory shortly after polls closed
but Marzouki, a long-exiled
69-year-old rights activist, refused initially to concede defeat.
Yesterday, however, Marzouki’s spokesman said on Facebook
the outgoing president had congratulated his rival.
Essebsi thanked Marzouki and
told him: “Tunisia’s future lies
in consensus and it needs all its
children, without exclusion or
discrimination,” a party statement said.
Speaking on national television later, Essebsi pledged to be
“president of all Tunisians”.
“The campaign is over and we
must all look to the future.”
Marzouki urged his supporters, especially those in the south
protesting against the outcome,
to respect the result and return
to their homes “in the name of
national unity”.
“These are the rules of the
democratic process,” he said on
national television, calling for
A п¬Ѓrst round of voting on November 23 had seen Essebsi in
the lead with 39% of the vote, six
points ahead of Marzouki.
Participation in the second
round was 60.1%, electoral commission chief Chafik Sarsar said.
US President Barack Obama
congratulated Essebsi and hailed
the vote as “a vital step toward the
completion of Tunisia’s momentous transition to democracy”, a
White House statement said.
Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini of the European
Union, which sent an observer
mission for the election, praised
Tunisians for sending “a message of hope to all the people
who, like them, aspire to a future
that’s more peaceful, democratic
and prosperous”.
President Francois Hollande
of France, Tunisia’s former colonial ruler, also praised the people
for their “determination, sense
of responsibility and spirit of
The vote was seen as a landmark in Tunisia, which sparked
the Arab Spring mass revolutions with the 2011 ouster of
long-time strongman Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali.
However, the campaign was
bitter and divisive, with Marzouki insisting an Essebsi win
would mark the return of Tunisia’s old guard.
Essebsi accused his rival of
representing the moderately Islamist party Ennahda that ruled
after the revolution and which
installed him as president.
Continued divisions were
clear as some 300-400 protesters clashed with police at
El Hamma in the south, where
Marzouki had widespread support.
The interior ministry said
16 killed in Benghazi clashes
lashes yesterday between
and Islamist militiamen
in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi killed 16 people and wounded dozens, security sources and
medics said.
Forces loyal to former general
Khalifa Haftar and to internationally recognised Prime Minister
Abdullah al-Thinni have been battling for weeks against Islamists
who have taken control of much of
Libya’s second city, and the capital
The Benghazi Medical Centre said
it received the bodies of seven people and 35 wounded in the clashes,
while Al Jala hospital said it took in
four bodies and 25 wounded.
An injured soldier receives medical treatment in Benghazi yesterday.
Medical sources said the casualties were all from Haftar’s ranks and
pro-government forces.
Islamist militias rarely report
their casualties.
The п¬Ѓghting raged in southern and central Benghazi, security
sources said.
Farther east, in the Islamist
stronghold of Derna, п¬Ѓve soldiers
were killed yesterday when gunmen
attacked a checkpoint in the city’s
western suburb of Dahr el-Ahmar, a
military spokesman said.
Earlier this month the Islamists
staged a military parade in Derna
with tanks and combatants carrying
black flags.
Three years after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed
in a Nato-backed revolt, Libya is
awash with weapons and powerful
militias, and run by rival governments and parliaments.
protesters torched two police
stations and that the clashes,
which erupted late Sunday, continued yesterday.
Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes party
said protesters in Tataouine, also
in the south, had tried to burn
one of its offices.
The vote was the п¬Ѓrst time
Tunisians have freely elected
their president since independence in 1956.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in neighbouring Algeria also
congratulated Essebsi and hailed
the “maturity” of the electorate.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Essebsi’s victory “reflects the valuable trust
placed in him by the Tunisian
The weekly Tunis Hebdo said
the vote would “enhance Tunisia’s reputation as the only Arab
Spring country that has managed to survive”.
The revolution that began in
Tunisia spread to many parts of
the Arab world, with mass protests in Egypt, Libya, Syria and
In every country except Tunisia the revolution was followed
by violent turmoil or, as in Syria’s case, a devastating civil war.
Sunday’s vote was largely
peaceful, though troops guarding ballot papers in the central
region of Kairouan who came
under attack shot dead one assailant and captured three, the
defence ministry said.
Ahead of the vote, jihadists issued a videotaped threat against
Tunisia’s political establishment.
Nidaa Tounes won parliamentary polls in October and Essebsi
promised to begin the process of
forming a government after the
presidential vote.
Ennahda came second in the
general election and has not
ruled out joining in a governing
Under a new post-revolution
constitution, presidential powers have been curbed to guard
against a return to dictatorship.
The next government will face
major challenges.
Tunisia’s economy is struggling to recover from the upheaval of the revolution and there are
fears that widespread joblessness
will cause social unrest.
A nascent jihadist threat has
also emerged, with militant
groups long suppressed under
Ben Ali carrying out several attacks including the killings of
two anti-Islamist politicians.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Zuma says
in �perfect
outh Africa’s President
Jacob Zuma yesterday
declared that he was in
“perfect condition,” in his first
comments allaying concerns
over his health following his
hospitalisation in June.
Zuma told the public broadcaster SABC television in a
year-end interview that the
elections earlier in the year
had taken a toll on him after he
went into “overdrive.”
“We did overstretch ourselves, and I think there was
fatigue thereafter,” he said in
the interview broadcast on
Sunday night.
“Indeed there was a period
where I really took it easy. I
couldn’t say my health was in
its perfect condition... (but)
I’m in perfect condition now.”
“We did overstretch
ourselves, and I think
there was fatigue
Due to the exhaustion the
72-year old was forced at one
time in June to hand more duties to his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president who has
visibly lost weight in recent
months, also dismissed public
sentiments that he might be
lining up Ramaphosa to take
over as he appears to be delegating him more tasks than
There is “no hidden agenda,” he said. “The deputy
president has the energy, has
everything that it takes that
you can... delegate without
any worry,” he said.
Zuma last week assigned
Ramaphosa to oversee the
running of three troubled state
companies, including the energy provider Eskom following weeks of rolling electricity
blackouts that have cost the
country hundreds of millions
of dollars.
Power shortage is regularly
cited as one of the weaknesses hampering South Africa’s
Africa’s second biggest
economy is expected to expand by just 1.4% this year.
Zuma also vowed to stop
opposition lawmakers, who
had hounded him out of parliament, to disrupt the national assembly.
The president was in August
forced to abandon his speech
and leave parliament when
lawmakers from the radical
Economic Freedom Fighters
(EFF) party yelled “Pay back
the money.”
The heckling came as Zuma
was being grilled over the
$23mn of taxpayers money
spent on “security upgrades”
at his private residence.
In November, the national
assembly again descended
into chaos ahead of a debate
over the president’s palatial
Nkandla country house in the
southeast of the country.
But in the interview on
Sunday, Zuma said that these
incidents would no longer be
“That’s not going to be allowed,” he said. “It can’t happen, otherwise it will be chaos
in this country.”
“We have a country, we
have authority here, we have
to do the governing of the
country,” he said, without
outlining the measures he
plans to take.
Zuma is due to deliver his
state of nation address to parliament on February 12 next
A report by South Africa’s
public protector had called
on Zuma to repay some of the
millions spent on items such
as a swimming pool, amphitheatre and cattle pen at his
rural home in Nkandla.
Zuma said he had not violated any regulations.
“The president did absolutely nothing wrong in the
Nkandla (case). Three reports
have not found anything,” he
The country’s ombudsman
concluded that Zuma and his
family had unduly benefited
from the refurbishments.
“That’s not committing
any crime. The president did
nothing, the president did not
ask any benefit from anyone,”
he said.
Muslims trapped in CAR: rights group
Hundreds of Muslims are
trapped in the west of the
Central African Republic in
miserable conditions after
fleeing Christian militiamen,
Human Rights Watch said
yesterday, accusing UN
peacekeepers of collaborating
with the authorities in
preventing them from leaving.
The rights group said about
1,750 Muslims - many of them
ethnic Peuhl herders - are
trapped in Yaloke, Carnot and
Boda, where they arrived when
fleeing attacks by the largely
Christian anti-Balaka militia in
late 2013 and early 2014. The
conditions are the worst in
Yaloke, where 42 people have
died from malnutrition and
diseases since February. The
Central African Republic was
plunged into civil war after
largely Muslim Seleka rebels
overthrew president Francois
Bozize, a Christian, in March
Keeping a safe distance
An Ebola patient, who only provided his first name as Peter (right), talks to his wife from within the quarantined zone in the Kerry town Ebola treatment centre outside
Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, yesterday.
20 die in Nigeria bus
station bomb attack
While experts agree that
isolated bombings are
extremely difficult to
stop, the broader military
response to the extremist
uprising has been widely
bombing at a bus station in northeast Nigeria
killed at least 20 people
yesterday, as Boko Haram was
blamed for a separate attack in
the embattled region.
Violence in the northeast is
escalating ahead of Nigeria’s
February 14 general elections,
with many concerned that voting will be impossible in large
parts of the region.
The blast hit the Dukku
motor park on the outskirts
of Gombe city, capital of Gombe state, at roughly 10.50am
(0950GMT), officials said.
State secretary for the Red
Tanzania minister sacked
over energy graft scandal
Dar es Salaam
anzanian President Jakaya Kikwete п¬Ѓred a
senior cabinet minister
yesterday over a graft scandal
in the energy sector that has
already led to the resignation
of the African country’s attorney general.
Kikwete said he had dismissed Anna Tibaijuka, minister of lands, housing and human settlements development,
for accepting a $1mn payment
from a Tanzanian businessman linked to a controversial
energy deal.
Tibaijuka, a former undersecretary-general of the UN
and executive director of the
UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), had
rejected calls for her resignation from parliament, saying
the money was a donation for a
school where she serves as the
main fundraiser.
“There were ethical shortfalls in her conduct ... that is
why we agreed to ask the minister to give us the opportunity
to appoint someone else in her
position,” Kikwete said in a national address late yesterday.
“One of the biggest questions raised is why this money
was not paid directly to the
school and was instead deposited in a personal bank account
in her name.”
Tibaijuka said she had received the donation in good
faith and presented it to the
The Tanzanian president
said the government was still
investigating allegations of
impropriety against the country’s energy minister and his
permanent secretary and
would make a decision on their
fate after the conclusion of the
Tanzania’s parliament last
month called for the dismissal
of senior officials, including
the lands and energy ministers,
over graft accusations.
Attorney General Frederick
Werema resigned on December
17, becoming the п¬Ѓrst political
casualty in the scandal that has
led Western donors to delay aid
and weakened the country’s
The attorney general denied
any wrongdoing and said he
was stepping down because his
legal advice on the transfer of
at least $122mn of public funds
to a private company was misunderstood.
The funds came from an
escrow account held jointly by state power company
TANESCO and independent
power producer IPTL and went
to IPTL’s owner, Pan Africa
Power (PAP) in 2013.
Kikwete yesterday defended
the transfer of funds, saying there was no wrongdoing
by government officials in the
deal and PAP said the payment
was legal.
A group of 12 international
donors have said they will only
pay outstanding pledges of
budget support worth nearly
$500mn to aid-reliant Tanzania if the report of the graft
investigation is published and
appropriate action is taken.
Cross Abubakar Yakubu Gombe
said his staff sent 20 body bags
to the scene and “they have all
been exhausted.”
“We are still looking for more
bodies among the carnage,” he
said, adding that another 18
people with “serious” injuries
had been taken to hospital.
The attack happened as reports emerged that Boko Haram militants had torched the
town of Geidam in neighbouring Yobe state at the weekend.
The bomb in Gombe was
planted near a bus that was filling up with passengers, said
Mato Yakubu of the National
Orientation Agency, a government body responsible for the
The city was hit by a triple
bombing blamed on the Islamists on October 31.
The state shares a border
with Borno and Yobe, two of
the states worst affected by
Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency which has cost more than
13,000 lives.
The Islamists have claimed a
number of attacks at bus stations, often targeting people
who are heading to Nigeria’s
mainly Christian south.
Witness Awwalu Lame said
a mob formed at the station
shortly after the blast went off,
with locals throwing stones at
the security services.
Anger has risen across northern Nigeria amid complaints
that the security services have
repeatedly failed to contain the
While experts agree that
isolated bombings are extremely difficult to stop, the
broader military response to
the extremist uprising has been
widely criticised.
stormed Geidam in Yobe on
Sunday, setting fire to several
buildings and forcing residents
to flee to the bush, witnesses
“They were firing shots and
throwing bombs,” said resident
Adamu Shehu.
“We spent a night in the bush
but from afar we could see in
the darkness flames and smoke
coming from the town,” he said.
Geidam in the hometown of
Yobe’s governor Ibrahim Geidam and his home was also
razed, witnesses said.
The attackers rampaged late
into the night and reportedly
faced no resistance from the
While some people fled, others locked themselves in houses
that were later torched and locals were going door-to-door
to see if any lives were lost.
“Our town is a mess,” said
resident Brema Umar, who reported that scores of people
had fled overnight, many towards Yobe’s capital Damaturu,
180km to the north.
Details of attacks in the remote region often take several
days to emerge due to the poor
mobile phone network.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running for a second
term, has on several occasions
claimed that Boko Haram’s defeat was imminent, even as the
violence has escalated.
The insurgency has forced
more than 1.5mn people from
their homes, straining resources in the embattled northeast,
as communities struggle to
care for those displaced.
Underscoring the severity of
the crisis, 185 people, mostly
women and children, were kidnapped on December 14 from
the town of Gumsuri in Borno.
The attack recalled the kidnapping of more than 200
girls from a school in the town
of Chibok in April, a mass abduction that Jonathan vowed
would not happen again.
The president’s opponent
in February polls, ex-military
dictator Muhammadu Buhari from the mainly Muslim
north, is seen by some as better placed to contain the Boko
Haram threat, but experts say
he may struggle to unseat an
incumbent with the backing of
a wealthy ruling party.
Close encounter
brother held
Visitors look on as an elephant and calf cross a road inside Zimbabwe’s Hwange National
Park. According to park officials, Hwange is home to over 53,000 elephants and as a result of
overpopulation, the country is now considering selling part of the herd to buyers in France, the
United Arab Emirates and China.
Authorities in the central
African nation of Burundi said
yesterday they had arrested
the brother of a man who was
killed in France after a suspected
Islamist-motivated attack. A
spokesman for Burundi’s National
Intelligence Service said Brice
Nzohabonayo was detained in
the capital Bujumbura shortly
after his brother Bertrand
Nzohabonayo attacked a police
station in the central French
town of Joue-les-Tours. Bertrand
Nzohabonayo was shot dead
on Saturday after entering the
police station armed with a knife,
seriously wounding two officers
- slashing one in the face - and
hurting another. “We arrested
Brice Nzohabonayo on Saturday
while he was staying with one
of his uncles in Bujumbura.
He had come from France and
was spending several days
here,” intelligence spokesman
TГ©lesphore Bigirimana said.
“He has been detained in
our premises and he is being
questioned,” the official added,
saying Burundi’s intelligence
service was in contact with its
French counterparts. He added
that Burundi had told France last
year that the two brothers - who
regularly visited Burundi - should
be considered suspect because
of their extremist religious views.
Mugabe fires more cabinet ministers
Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe has fired two cabinet
ministers and five deputy
ministers, the presidency
announced late Sunday, in an
apparent purge targeting allies
of his former deputy Joice
Mujuru. The move came after
months of political upheaval in
Zimbabwe over the succession
to 90-year-old Mugabe when
he dies or steps down. Mugabe,
who is currently holidaying
in Asia, dismissed Flora Buka,
minister of state for presidential
affairs and Sylvester Nguni,
minister of state in the office of
the vice president, saying “their
conduct and performance were
below expected standards,”
according to a presidency
statement. The two were seen
as allies of former vice president
Mujuru, who was dismissed two
weeks ago along with seven
cabinet ministers and a deputy
minister. Five deputy ministers
- for health, justice, rural affairs,
work and transport - were also
dismissed on Sunday. Once
seen as favourite to step into
Mugabe’s shoes, Mujuru has
since come under constant
attack, notably from Mugabe’s
increasingly powerful wife
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
expose rift
mayor and
NY police
New York
Police officers line-up to pay their respects at a memorial during a vigil for the two New York City police officers.
De Blasio calls for
pause in protests
Mayor De Blasio is attempting to bring
his estranged police force back into the
New York
ew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
sought to ease tensions with the
police force on Monday, calling for
a suspension of protests against the use of
excessive force until after the funerals of
two officers killed by a gunman over the
De Blasio, a Democrat who has come
under intense criticism from some police
unions for his handling of protests over
police killings of unarmed black men,
asked the city to stand by families of the
officers slain on Saturday.
“It’s a time for everyone to put aside
political debates, put aside protests, put
aside all of the things we will talk about
in due time,” de Blasio said in a speech to
a charity with close ties to the New York
Police Department. “Let’s comfort these
families, let’s see them through these funerals. Then debate can begin again.”
The US Justice Department condemned
the attack in which a 28-year-old man
with a troubled history ambushed two officers while they were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, apparently to avenge
the killings by white officers of unarmed
black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New
York City. The gunman then killed himself.
Earlier yesterday, police commissioner
William Bratton urged an easing of tensions
after some in his force accused de Blasio of
being insufficiently supportive of police.
“This issue is really starting to go down
partisan lines, Republican/Democrat,”
Bratton told NBC’s “Today” programme.
This is something that should be bringing
us all together, not taking us apart.”
De Blasio had sympathised with protesters who took to the streets after grand
juries declined in the last few weeks to
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio arrives to speak at the Police Athletic League Luncheon in New York City.
charge white officers in the killings. De
Blasio was elected last year on a promise
to advance civil rights after two decades of
his predecessors emphasizing law and order policies that helped New York shed its
reputation for violent crime.
Several police officers turned their backs
on de Blasio in protest when he arrived at the
Brooklyn hospital where the two officers were
taken after they were shot. The police union
said the mayor had blood on his hands.
Bratton said he considered it inappropriate for police officers to turn their backs
on the mayor. He said labour talks and
pension concerns were fuelling their discontent.
De Blasio and Bratton earlier yesterday
visited the families of both officers.
The grand juries that investigated the
killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and
Eric Garner in New York found that the
police officers involved broke no laws. On
Monday, a Milwaukee prosecutor said that
a police officer would not be charged for
the April fatal shooting of a black man.
The officer in the Milwaukee shooting,
who like the officers in Ferguson and New
York incident was white, was п¬Ѓred in October for failing to follow police procedure.
US deputy attorney general James Cole
called the killings of police officers in New
York a “heinous and cowardly” attack.
“There’s just no reason that we should
have to be dealing with this,” Cole told
reporters. “One of the main focuses that
we’ve had in the department of justice
is officer safety and making sure that we
have procedures in place and training in
place to encourage that.”
Investigators are checking into whether
the gunman, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, attended any of the protests against
excessive police force and said the suspect
had made “anti-police” comments online.
A foundation established by late New
York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner
will pay for the education expenses of the
two children of slain officer Rafael Ramos,
a spokeswoman said yesterday.
Ramos, 40, and his partner, Wenjian
Liu, 28, were shot dead in the BedfordStuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
Liu had recently married and did not have
any children.
Former police officer not charged
in Milwaukee shooting death
former Milwaukee police officer
who fatally shot an unarmed black
man was acting in self defence and
will not be charged, the district attorney
said yesterday, two days after dozens of
demonstrators calling for justice in the
case were arrested.
Christopher Manney, who was п¬Ѓred
from the Milwaukee police force, shot
Dontre Hamilton 14 times during a struggle in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on April 30, Milwaukee District
Attorney John Chisholm said in a statement.
ew York’s police commissioner sought yesterday to ease a damaging
rift between Mayor Bill de Blasio
and the largest police force in the
United States in the wake of the
murder of two officers.
Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael
Ramos, 40, were shot in the head
through the window of their
patrol car in broad daylight in
Brooklyn on Saturday following
weeks of anti-police protests.
Police named the shooter as
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who fled to
a nearby subway station and shot
himself dead on the platform.
Officers described Brinsley as
an extremely disturbed individual with a clear anti-police bias.
Some police lashed out at de
Blasio, accusing him of creating
a dangerous mood by allowing
demonstrators to shut down New
York streets in protest at recent
police killings of unarmed black
De Blasio, who has biracial
children, has been criticised for
allegedly not being sympathetic
enough to the problems police
face in п¬Ѓghting crime and too
sympathetic to protesters.
Police commissioner Bill Bratton went on NBC’s flagship Today
show yesterday to admit that de
Blasio had lost the trust of some
officers, but defended the mayor
against the avalanche of critism.
“I think he has lost it with
some officers,” Bratton said, going so far as to say the last time
he remembered such tension in
New York was in 1970.
He told NBC that he doesn’t
believe “at all” that de Blasio
increased the threat to police officers by allegedly not expressing
enough sympathy for them by
siding with demonstrators.
He welcomed an extra
$400mn in the budget that had
been set aside to improve police
training, facilities and to acquire
new technology that would equip
every officer with a smart phone.
Former New York governor
George Pataki and former mayor
Rudy Giuliani, both Republicans,
have been among the most critical of de Blasio and US President
Barack Obama, both Democrats.
“It’s starting to shape up along
partisan lines, which is unfortunate,” Bratton said.
De Blasio was last seen in
public attending a mass at St
Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on Sunday accompanied by
his wife and Bratton.
Yesterday, his office announced that he would deliver
remarks on “strengthening the
bond between police and the
community” at a police lunch at
1:15 pm (1815 GMT.)
Perhaps in an effort to calm the
situation, NYPD unions decided
not to comment on the situation
until further notice.
A representative for Ed Mullins, president of the New York
City Sergeants Benevolent Association, said he would not available for interviews “until further
Giuliani criticised de Blasio
for allowing protesters to shut
down mayor streets in New York
and for participating in “hate
speech” against police in the last
two or three months.
“Let’s give the police a break.
This has been three months of
anti-police hatred, rhetoric, anger,” he told CNN.
“I don’t hold the mayor responsible for deaths, but three to
four weeks ago I’m telling people
a cop is going to get shot here.
“They were yelling it in the
streets. The mayor was allowing
them to take the streets. When I
was the mayor, nobody took my
Amid fears of copycat attacks,
patrols by a volunteer auxiliary
police—a uniformed but unarmed force—have been reportedly suspended temporarily for
the п¬Ѓrst time since the 1970s.
On Sunday, an intruder was
charged with assault after reportedly pushing his way into
a police station in Harlem and
attacking two officers—one of
whom needed medical attention.
Other threats were phoned
into a police station in Staten
Island, where black father of six
Eric Garner died after being held
in a police chokehold in July, and
made on Facebook.
The New York Post also reported that police cars were sabotaged in The Bronx and that a
Bronx teenager pulled the trigger
of his gun at officers after emptying the weapon shooting out
“My decision ... does not depreciate the
very legitimate concerns raised any time a
law enforcement officer uses deadly force
against a citizen,” Chisholm said later during a news conference.
The Hamilton family called for the US
department of justice to investigate. “This
is a п¬Ѓght that we are going to endure. We
are going to stay strong. We’re not going
to waver,” Dontre’s brother Nate Hamilton
Protests have been held in Milwaukee since the incident occurred. On
Friday, 74 people were taken into custody after an evening demonstration
spilled onto a highway and stopped
rush hour traffic.
Demonstrations against the use of ex-
cessive force by police have been held
around the United States in the wake of
recent cases in which unarmed black men
were killed by white policemen.
“We cannot allow all police officers in
this nation and all police officers in this
city to be demonised. This is a time for
peace,” Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett
Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn
announced the п¬Ѓring of Manney on October 15. He said Manney had acted without
malice but that he had failed to follow police policies when addressing mentally ill
“It’s very, very hard to charge a police
officer with homicide if he does exactly
what he is trained to do,” Chisholm said.
Manney told investigators that he found
Hamilton, who had a history of mental illness, lying on the ground in the park. After
Hamilton stood up, he and the officer got
into a п¬Ѓght, according to the statement
Manney gave police.
Hamilton took Manney’s baton and hit
him in the neck, Manney’s statement said.
Manney then shot Hamilton, according to
“He feared Hamilton would attack him
with the baton and that he �would be dead’
as a result,” the statement said.
Local media reported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker granted a request by local
law enforcement officials to deploy National Guard troops in the city if protests
became violent.
Commissioner Bratton visits a makeshift memorial where the police
officers were fatally shot
US urges N Korea to
compensate Sony
he United States urged
North Korea yesterday to admit it ordered
a cyberattack on the Hollywood studio Sony Pictures and
to pay for the damage it had
“If they want to help here
they could admit their culpability and compensate Sony for
the damages that they caused,”
deputy State Department
spokeswoman Marie Harf told
Pyongyang of being behind the
hack that led to the release of
embarrassing company emails
and caused Sony executives to
halt the debut of the comedy
action film “The Interview.”
The п¬Ѓlm about a п¬Ѓctional
CIA plot to kill the country’s
leader infuriated North Korea,
although Pyongyang has repeatedly denied it was behind
the cyber assault.
Washington is “confident
the North Korean government
is responsible for this destructive attack”, Harf insisted.
Asked about threats from
Pyongyang to hit back if it is
sanctioned over the Sony affair,
Harf said: “We do urge North
Korea to exercise restraint, to
refrain from further threatening actions at this time.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Indonesia jails cleaners
in school abuse scandal
ive cleaners were jailed
yesterday over the sexual
abuse of a young boy at
one of Indonesia’s most prestigious international schools, in
a scandal that has rocked Jakarta’s expatriate community.
In separate hearings, judges
told the South Jakarta district
court that four male cleaners —
Agun Iskandar, Virgiawan Amin,
Zainal Abidin, and Syahrial, who
goes by one name — were “proven
legally and convincingly guilty of
committing sexual abuse and violence on minors”.
They were each sentenced to
eight years in jail and a п¬Ѓne of
100mn rupiah ($8,000).
Afrischa Setyani, the only
female cleaner among the п¬Ѓve
defendants, was earlier yesterday “found guilty of assisting in
violence and sexual abuse of children”, presiding judge Mohamed
Yunus said.
“We sentenced her to seven
years in prison and a п¬Ѓne of
100mn rupiah ($8,000),” he
Their sentences were lower
than the prosecutors’ recommended 10 years.
Their trials began in August,
following the п¬Ѓrst allegation in
April that cleaners had raped
the six-year-old nursery school
boy at the Jakarta International
School, which has long been
favoured by expatriates and
wealthy Indonesians but is now
facing the worst crisis in its 60year history.
Several of the cleaners who
Virgiawan Amin (left), one of five cleaners, listens to the judge’s verdict in Jakarta yesterday during his hearing over sexual abuse and violence on minors.
originally confessed have since
recanted, claiming they were
beaten by police.
The family of the abused boy
is suing the school and seeking
$125mn in damages.
Their lawyers said their clients were innocent and would
Phnom Penh
ambodian prosecutors said they
charged an unlicenced medical
practitioner with murder yesterday, alleging he spread HIV among at
least 106 villagers in the country’s remote northwest.
talks with
rebels begin
yanmar and ethnic
rebels yesterday resumed ceasefire talks
that were postponed in November when the army shelled
a Kachin rebel training camp in
the north of the country, killing
were not due to attend the talks
in Yangon, which were expected
to focus on the shelling, an official said.
“Unless there is a good explanation for the attack, it might be
very difficult to move forwards
on the peace talks,” said Khun
Okka, member of Nationwide
Ceasefire Co-ordination Team
(NCCT). The NCCT, an umbrella group of several ethnic armed
factions, postponed the seventh
round of talks planned for November after the army’s assault
on the training camp near the
border town of Laiza, the headquarter of Kachin Independent
Army (KIA) on November 19.
The military says the artillery shell was just a warning
shot which inadvertently hit the
Conflicts with several ethnical rebel groups have intensified since peace talks collapsed
Union Peace Working Committee (UPCW) and NCCT in
September. In early December,
ethnic Kokang rebels of the selfproclaimed Myanmar National
Democratic Alliance Army killed
seven soldiers in northeastern
Myanmar’s Shan State, news reports said.
Kuala Lumpur
Thai woman was sentenced to death yesterday
after a Malaysian high
court found her guilty of trafficking drugs, Bernama news
agency reported.
Duangchit Khonthokhonbari,
33, who had been working in
Malaysia as a maid, was caught
with 2.81 kilogrammes of methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur
International Airport in March
last year.
Anyone with at least 50 grams
of methamphetamine is considered a trafficker in Malaysia and
subject to the death penalty.
Defence lawyers could not
be reached for immediate comment, but Duangchit is expected
to appeal against the death sentence, which is carried out by
hanging in Malaysia.
The verdict comes just days
after an Australian mother-offour, Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto,
was also charged with drug trafficking in Malaysia.
A customs check at the airport
on December 7 discovered 1.5
kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” in a hidden
compartment in her bag.
Her lawyers insist she was innocently duped into carrying
a bag that appeared to contain
only clothing by a stranger in
Exposto is due to appear
in court again on January 23,
when a chemist’s report on the
suspected drugs will be submitted.
Hundreds of Malaysians and
foreigners are on death row in
the Muslim-majority country, many for drug-related offences, though few have been
executed in recent years.
Two Australians were hanged
in 1986 for heroin trafficking —
the first Westerners executed
in Malaysia — in a case that
strained bilateral relations.
Last year Dominic Bird, a
truck driver from Perth, was
acquitted on drug trafficking
charges after he was allegedly
caught with 167 grams of crystal methamphetamine.
Woman dies after
cops п¬Ѓre on protesters
appeal. The school’s workers
union in a statement said medical reports from four hospitals “stated that there was no
evidence of sexual abuse” and
called for the cleaners and their
families to appeal to the High
Court. “We believe the truth is
there and there will always be a
way to uncover it,” union representative Rully Iskandar was
quoted as saying.
A sixth cleaner was implicated in the case but
reportedly died in custody.
Police have said he commit-
ted suicide by drinking floorcleaning fluid. Canadian Neil
Bantleman, an administrator
at the school, and Indonesian
teaching assistant Ferdinand
Tjiong, are also on trial separately, accused of sexually assaulting children.
Cambodia charges unlicenced doctor for spreading HIV to people
Thai maid sentenced
to death for drugs
Authorities detected the local epidemic of HIV, or human immunodeficiency
virus, on Dec 9 when they started testing
in the community in Battambang province and found children as young as two
and people in the 80s had contracted the
They were alerted after a 74-year-old
man tested positive in November and
started convincing others who had also
visited the same practitioner, 55-yearold Yem Chrin, to get tested.
“We charged him with spreading the
HIV virus to others, brutal murder and
operating a medical service without a licence,” Nuon San, the provincial court’s
chief prosecutor, told Reuters by telephone. Yem Chrin admitted to routinely
re-using syringes and was a well-respected local doctor who provided cheap
services to the poor, according to provincial deputy police chief Chet Vanny.
“He used the same syringes again and
again,” Chet Vanny said. “And he even let
villagers owe him the money for the services,” he said, adding the accused was
also regarded as having healing powers.
The case is a blow to Cambodia’s so far
successful efforts to cut the rate of HIV
yanmar police п¬Ѓred on
protesters near a mine
at the centre of a longrunning land dispute yesterday,
killing one person and wounding
20 others, media reports said,
as the China-linked company
announced plans to expand the
A Myanmar television station
and website, the Democratic
Voice of Burma (DVB), said that
one person was killed during
the protest near the Letpadaung
copper mine in central Myanmar. Khin San Hlaing, a parliamentarian with the opposition
National League for Democracy,
cited witnesses as saying a woman died after being struck in the
head by a bullet.
The mining company, Myanmar Winbao, confirmed a person
was killed.
“The events leading up to her
death are still unclear,” company
Medical tourism booms in Asia
Kuala Lumpur
he lines snaking into
overwhelmed hospitals are
often so long, says Nusrat Hussein Kiwan, that they extend
into the street outside -- too
many patients seeking too few
quality doctors.
So, through a Google search,
the wife of a Bangladeshi construction executive chose a
Malaysian hospital for her heart
bypass surgery.
“It’s peaceful here, and my
doctors are good,” Kiwan, 65,
said during a post-op check-up
at a Kuala Lumpur private hospital, looking full of life in an
orange headscarf and sparkling
gold bracelets.
“I didn’t expect to be as good
as before. But I’m better.”
Kiwan spent $20,000 on
the procedure earlier this year,
joining a booming global medical tourism market that is seeing particularly rapid growth in
Southeast Asia.
US-based industry resource
Patients Beyond Borders estimates the world market is expanding by 25% per year -- it
reached $55bn with 11mn medical tourists in 2013.
International medical tourism began to gain ground in the
1980s as Latin American countries such as Costa Rica and
Brazil offered relatively cheap
dental, cosmetic and other
procedures to US and European
patients driven south by high
But the onetime niche market has developed into a multibillion-dollar industry as developing-world health systems
improve, global aviation links
spread, and the Internet broadens patients’ horizons.
Alexandria Garvie from Australia poses following a tummy-tuck operation at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur..
Procedures vary widely from
fertility treatments in Barbados, to cosmetic surgery in
Brazil, heart and eye operations
in Malaysia, and gender-reassignment in Thailand.
The sector benefits from a
“perfect storm of an ageing
global population, rising affluence and greater choice in quality hospitals,” said Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond
Borders. “This is particularly
true in Asia, where disparities
in quality of care are driving
millions of patients to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan -- and
even the US and UK -- in search
of medical treatment not yet
available in their homelands.”
“The near-term growth potential is significant,” he said.
Increasingly, major Asian
players like India, Malaysia,
Singapore and Thailand are
aggressively promoting treatments at up to 80% savings
compared to developed nations, with some companies
arranging package trips that
combine a nose job with a little
beach time.
Southeast Asia, in particular,
is considered a medical-tourism “sweet spot,” with decades of solid economic growth
creating high-quality medical
systems that remain competitively priced.
Patients come from both
rich and poor nations, the
former driven by high costs at
home, and the latter seeking
better-quality care.
Malaysia’s market has nearly doubled since 2010, reaching 770,000 patients and
$200mn in revenue last year,
according to government figures.
“We are behind Thailand
for sure, but we are giving
Singapore a good fight,” said
T Mahadevan, head of the Association of Private Hospitals
of Malaysia.
Thailand says it attracted
2.53mn medical tourists in
2012. Though its figures in-
clude spa tourists, that’s a
one-third increase in just two
years, a period in which revenues nearly doubled to around
In Singapore, medical tourists spent $630mn last year,
a figure likely inflated by the
modern city-state’s relatively
higher costs.
Patients Beyond Borders estimates Singapore draws more
than a half million treatmentseekers annually, mostly from
where health systems lag.
Malaysia set up a special
body in 2009 to streamline
and organise industry players.
Patients Without Borders
calls Malaysia “medical travel’s best-kept secret”, noting
the widely spoken fluent English and far cheaper medical
costs compared to Japan, the
US, Europe and other key clientele sources.
“I would come back here
again. I would definitely recommend it,” Alexandria Gar-
vie, 61, said from her hospital
bed in Kuala Lumpur after a
tummy tuck.
The $5,000 procedure -around one-quarter of what
she would have paid at home
in Australia -- was performed
at the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre.
The company also recently
opened a new branch near the
border with Singapore to entice patients from the more
affluent city-state.
Most medical tourists to
Malaysia, however, are wellheeled visitors from less-developed Indonesia, followed
by Indians, Japanese and
Chinese. Future growth is expected from the wealthy Middle East. Ancillary businesses
have sprouted.
Beautiful Holidays, based
on the northern Malaysian
island of Penang, connects
overseas clients with local
cosmetic surgeons, arranges
their accommodations, and
shepherds them to pre- and
post-op check-ups.
But it also arranges drinks,
dining and sightseeing in
Penang, know for its historical sites, beaches and cultural
melange. “The idea is to have
people come here for holidays
- sun and silicone, that kind
of thing,” said Tony Leong, the
company’s programme director.
Ashley Higgins, a 30-yearold American, has used the
company twice, first for a
breast augmentation, then
a nose job. She was initially
wary of going under the knife
on the other side of the globe,
but price concerns won out.
“The hard part is trusting people when you are
1,000 miles from home. I felt
comfortable coming here,”
she said.
spokesman Cao Desheng said in
a statement. “We understand the
police were at the scene, and we
hope they will start investigating
this event.”
Local police contacted by Reuters said they had no information about the protests.
Earlier yesterday, Wanbao,
which is a unit of the Chinese
weapons manufacturer China
North Industries Group Corp, said
it would “be extending its working
area in the Letpadaung copper
project to comply with requirements of its investment permit”.
“Construction is proceeding as
a result of broad community support for the project,” the company
said in a statement, adding that
two% of the mine’s profits would
be spent on community development.
The deadly protest comes as
Myanmar’s semi-civilian government, which took power in 2011
after 49 years of military rule,
faces criticism for rights abuses
including cracking down on journalists and against protests.
Illegal trade
in wild cat
parts thriving
he illegal trade in tiger and
other wild cat parts from
Myanmar into China has
grown, a survey said yesterday,
while the same trade into Thailand has diminished.
In Tachilek on the MyanmarThailand border, shops selling
wild cat parts including tiger
and leopard skins and skulls,
fell from 35 in 2000, to just six
in 2013, UK-based wildlife NGO
Traffic said in a press release.
“However in Mong La, at the
China border, such shops more
than trebled from six in 2006,
to 21 in 2014. Mong La caters almost entirely to customers from
China,” Traffic said.
“Most of the cat parts on sale
were claws, skulls, canine teeth
and skins,” said the survey.
Over 2,000 wild cat parts, the
majority of them skins, were recorded.
The decrease in Tachilek could
be due to greater enforcement
action in Thailand while the increase in Mong La may be linked
to the rising buying power of
China’s consumers, and the apparent ease in smuggling illegal
wildlife parts into China from
Mong La, the report said.
“It’s time for the relevant
enforcement authorities to live
up to their international commitments to address wildlife
crime,” said co-author Dr Vincent Nijman, professor of anthropology at Oxford Brookes
The study looked at trade in
the two border towns over two
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Court reopens case of
wrongful execution
Beijing says officials should
learn minority languages
Jackie Chan’s son
hit with drug charge
Parliament weighs tough
curbs on tobacco adverts
AC/DC drummer says he
wants to keep his job
The mother of a man executed 20 years ago for a
murder to which another person later confessed
appeared in a Chinese court Monday, as pressure
builds to correct errors of justice. The court’s
reopening of the case of Nie Shubin, executed by
firing squad in 1995 at the age of 20 for rape and
murder, comes just a week after another court
declared innocent a teenager executed on the
same charges in 1996. The ruling Communist
party is trying to ease the resentment caused
by mistaken verdicts, which are fuelled by police
reliance on forced confessions and the lack of
effective defence in criminal trials.
Officials from China’s majority Han population
who work in ethnic minority regions need to
make an effort to become conversant in their
languages, the government said yesterday, calling
for better understanding of minority cultures.
China has more than 50 minority groups, many
of whom have their own distinct cultures, ranging from groups with large populations like the
Tibetans and Mongols to tiny minorities with
threatened languages, including the shamanistic
Evenki. While Mandarin is the country’s official
tongue, minority languages are taught at school
and in some cases widely used.
The son of kung fu star Jackie Chan has been
charged with providing a venue for others to use
drugs, the state Xinhua news agency reported, citing
prosecutors. Jaycee Chan, who like his father has
worked as an actor and singer, was detained in August after police said they found 100 grams of marijuana in his Beijing home. Prosecutors will now bring
the evidence against Chan to a court, which can still
decide whether or not to accept the case. Prosecutors had no information on the latest development
on their website late Monday. The younger Chan and
Ko Chen-tung, a Taiwanese actor also known as Kai
Ko, both tested positive for marijuana.
China’s parliament is considering tough curbs on
tobacco advertising as the world’s top consumer of
cigarettes looks to kick its smoking habit, state media reported yesterday. The Standing Committee of
the National People’s Congress (NPC) is weighing an
amendment to China’s advertising law that would
“protect minors” from harmful ads, including cigarette ads, Xinhua news agency said. If the amendment is approved, all tobacco ads will be banned
except those posted in tobacco shops, Xinhua said,
citing an official at the NPC Law Committee. Ads
would be banned in public places, hospitals and
schools, and public transport facilities.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd described allegations he
tried to hire a hitman as “ludicrous” yesterday and
said he wanted to keep his job with the top-selling
rock band. Rudd faces charges of threatening to
kill and drug possession in New Zealand and fellow
band members, including guitarist Angus Young,
have hinted he will be dropped for AC/DC’s upcoming world tour. The 60-year-old drummer said he
wanted to remain part of the band he first joined in
1975 after his arrest last month. “I want my job back
and I want my reputation back and I’m going to get
them,” he told TVNZ.
Beijing criticises
�cyber terror’ as
Obama pledges
Pyongyang review
hina condemned “cyber terrorism”
yesterday after US President Barack
Obama pledged to consider officially
labelling North Korea, accused by Washington of hacking Sony Pictures, a state sponsor
of terrorism.
The Chinese foreign ministry statement
came after talks Sunday between Foreign
Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart John
Kerry and followed calls by Washington for
China and other nations for help in deterring future attacks.
Obama, while saying that the alleged
hack was not an act of war, has promised an
unspecified “proportionate” response.
South Korea’s nuclear power plant operator, meanwhile, launched a two-day drill
to test its ability to thwart a cyber attack,
though the exercise did not appear to be
directly linked to the US-North Korea row.
In Beijing, a foreign ministry statement
yesterday said the country “opposes cyber attacks and cyber terrorism in all of
its forms,” without referring directly to
China’s ally North Korea. China “opposes
any country or individual using facilities
in other countries to launch cyber attacks
toward a third country,” it said.
Washington accuses Pyongyang of being
behind the hack that led to the release of
embarrassing company emails and caused
Sony executives to halt the debut of the
comedy action film The Interview.
The film about a fictional CIA plot to
kill the country’s leader infuriated North
Korea, although Pyongyang has repeatedly
denied it was behind the cyber assault.
Despite calls from Republican critics
for a robust response to the alleged hack,
Obama told CNN in an interview: “I don’t
think it was an act of war. I think it was an
act of cyber vandalism that was very costly,
very expensive. We take it very seriously.”
He also promised to “review” whether to
return North Korea to the US list of state
sponsors of terrorism.
Bbut added: “We’ve got very clear criteria as to what it means for a state to sponsor
terrorism. And we don’t make those judgments just based on the news of the day.”
The hermit state threatened to hit back
at the White House and other US targets if
it was sanctioned over the alleged hacking.
The North’s National Defence Commission, in a statement on the official news
agency, said its army and people “are fully
ready to stand in confrontation with the US
in all war spaces including cyber warfare
space to blow up those citadels.”
According to the FBI, there is “significant overlap” between the Sony Pictures
attack and other “malicious cyber-activity” with direct links to Pyongyang, including an attack last year on South Korean
banks blamed on the North.
The South’s Korea Hydro and Nuclear
Power Co (KHNP) yesterday began conducting drills at its four nuclear plant complexes after a series of online information
leaks by a suspected hacker.
The hacker, using an account entitled
“president of the anti-nuclear reactor
group”, published a variety of information
on Twitter, including designs and manuals
for two reactors as well as personal information on some 10,000 KHNP employees.
There did not appear to be any link between the drill and the Sony Pictures hack,
and North Korea says it has never attempted or made a cyber attack on South Korea.
Govt probes former senior aide to Hu over graft
hina’s ruling Communist
Party announced a corruption investigation into
a one-time senior aide to former
president Hu Jintao yesterday, as
President Xi Jinping opens another front in his sweeping battle against deep-rooted graft.
In a terse and brief statement
on its website, the party’s anticorruption watchdog said that
Ling Jihua was being investi-
gated for “suspected serious
discipline violations”, the usual
euphemism for graft. It gave no
other details. But two sources
with ties to the leadership said
that Ling, who heads a party
body charged with reaching out
to non-Communists and holds a
rank equivalent to a vice premier,
may escape prosecution.
“He is under investigation,
but it does not necessarily mean
he will be prosecuted,” one
source with ties to the leadership
told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This is Xi
Jinping being fair,” the source
added, meaning that the president is keen to show his campaign will target anyone and
that nobody is safe, no matter
what their party affiliations.
Several allies of another
former president, Jiang Zemin,
have also been targeted, including former Chongqing
party boss Bo Xilai and former
domestic security chief Zhou
“Xi is not targeting a specific faction,” said the second
source. “Hu Jintao’s men are
also being investigated.” Ling
Jihua was demoted in September 2012 after sources said his
son was involved in a deadly
crash involving a luxury sports
The car, a Ferrari according
to some of the sources, crashed
in Beijing in March 2012 in an
embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party, which
is sensitive to perceptions that
children of top party officials
live rich, privileged lifestyles
completely out of touch with
the masses, the sources said.
People look at the floral tributes left outside the Lindt cafe (rear) in Sydney’s Martin Place, one week after
a siege at the cafe which saw two hostages and the gunman killed yesterday.
Aussie court orders partner of
Sydney hostage-taker jailed
n Australian court yesterday ordered bail revoked for the partner of
a self-styled Sheikh who last
week stormed a Sydney cafe at
gunpoint, sparking a 16-hour
hostage crisis that left three
people dead, including the
Amirah Droudis, on bail after
being charged with the murder
of hostage-taker Man Haron
Monis’ wife, was ordered by a
Sydney court returned to jail
to await trial. Monis, who had
been charged as an accessory to
the murder, had also been free
on bail.
The perceived failure of the
justice system to prevent a
convicted felon who was well
known to authorities from
seizing a cafe in the city’s financial district in broad daylight has sparked calls for a
Abbott under п¬Ѓre for women comments
ustralian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was
accused yesterday of
craving “a world where men do
the big jobs and women do the
ironing” after saying his biggest
achievement for females was
reducing household bills by axing a carbon tax.
The backlash came after he
unveiled sweeping changes
Sunday to his ministry, dumping Defence Minister David
Johnston, promoting Immigration Minister Scott Morrison
and appointing only his second
woman to cabinet. It followed
recent opinion polls showing
his personal approval rating and
that of his conservative government had plunged over tough
spending cuts and perceived
broken promises since coming
to power late last year.
Abbott hit the airwaves yesterday to sell the reshuffle as
a “reset and refocus” for the
new year, but found himself
the brunt of criticism after saying his biggest achievement for
Tony Abbott: facing criticism
women this year was repealing
the carbon tax.
“As many of us know, women
are particularly focused on the
household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a
Aus$550 ($447) a year benefit
for the average family,” Abbott,
who doubles up as minister for
women, told the Nine Network.
In opposition Abbott, who
was accused of sexism by
former leader Julia Gillard in
an infamous speech about misogyny, claimed repealing the
tax would help women by low-
ing electricity costs associated
with ironing.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese told Fairfax
Media Abbott was stuck in a
time warp. “The problem isn’t
that Tony Abbott’s stuck in the
past, it’s that he wants the rest
of Australia to go back there
and keep him company in a
world where men do the big
jobs and women do the ironing,” he said.
Labor Senate leader Penny
Wong added: “I think we can
safely say that time and time
again, over and over again,
Tony Abbott just reminds us
how out of touch he is with
the lives of women in modern
His comments spawned
numerous digs on social media as women pondered what
they would do with the extra money, with the hashtags
#PutYourIronOut and #ministerforwomen trending, with people
posting pictures of irons.
“Was planning to write paper for Astrophysical Journal
today but too distracted by
household budget,” tweeted
scientist Lisa Harvey-Smith.
Another said: “#thankstony,
with the Carbon tax repeal I
can buy a new apron,” while
tweeter Willa McDonald added: “I know where I’d like to
put my ironing board.”
Since assuming power in
September 2013, the government has announced savings
across the board to rein in a
growing budget deficit.
But critics have slammed
some of the measures, which
include slashing health and education spending while tight-
ening welfare benefits, as broken pre-election promises and
too harsh. There has also been
criticism of the government’s
ability to adequately explain
why the cuts were needed, but
Abbott denied the reshuffle was
damage control.
“No,” he told the Seven Network when asked if this was the
case. “This is a good way to end
the year after a year of considerable achievement.
“The vital challenge of government next year is more jobs,
more prosperity for families,
but the way to achieve that is to
build a stronger economy and
that means continuing our work
to get the budget back under
control,” he added.
Among the cabinet changes,
Morrison was moved to the social services ministry with Abbott making welfare reform one
of his key priorities.
Johnson was replaced by
Health Minister Peter Dutton while Assistant Education
Minister Sussan Ley assumed
the health and sport portfolios,
doubling the number of women
in the ministry. Julie Bishop is
Foreign Minister.
tightening of the bail system.
Last year, Droudis was freed on
bail after being charged in connection with the stabbing murder of Monis’ ex-wife, who was
set alight in a Sydney apartment block.
Chief Magistrate Graeme
Henson cited her prior convictions, the particularly heinous
nature of the alleged offence
and the slight possibility she
might skip bail as factors in deciding to remand her in custody
until trial.
“I find there is an unacceptable risk that cannot be properly
mitigated by a further extension of bail,” Henson said following the hearing at a Sydney
Droudis’ lawyers argued that
the case was “frivolous” and
their client was effectively being swept up in the public anger surrounding the cafГ© siege,
in which she did not take part.
Droudis, who was mobbed by
reporters and television crews
when she arrived at the court,
just blocks away from the cafГ©,
sat impassively for much of the
hearing. She will next appear in
court in February.
Last week, the commissioner
of police in New South Wales
state, Andrew Scipione, said
he was concerned that Monis
had been granted bail on earlier
charges, leaving him free in the
community, sparking calls for a
wider review of the bail system.
Henson took the unusual
step of admonishing a courtroom packed with journalists
not to speculate on Droudis’
guilt, reminding them that the
decision to revoke her bail had
no bearing on her guilt or innocence.
“Suspicion, wild accusation,
deficiencies in evidence cannot be translated into accepted
truths simply because an agency of prosecution says so or a
media who wants something to
be true says it must be without
due process,” he said.
House where eight kids
killed to be demolished
he house where an Australian mother allegedly
killed eight children, most
of them her own, will likely be
demolished in keeping with indigenous culture to make way
for a memorial, a government
official said yesterday.
The fate of the house in the
tropical northern city of Cairns
was being discussed while a judge
denied a request to transfer the
murder case against 37-year-old
Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday to
Queensland state’s Mental Health
Thaiday is the mother of the
four boys and three of the girls
who were slain. The eighth child
was her niece.
The Queensland government
agreed to the demolition of the
home because of the horrific nature of the killings and in keeping
with indigenous cultural beliefs,
Queensland MP Gavin King said.
“After extensive consultation
we will remove the house behind
me,” King said as he spoke to the
media in a park where the dead
children used to play.
King said the government
would liaise with the community
on what form a memorial would
take. Thaiday was charged on
Sunday with eight counts of murder over the deaths of the children,
aged between two and 14 years.
Magistrate Alan Comans declined a request from Thaiday’s
lawyer, Steven MacFarlane, to
have the case moved to the Mental
Health Court.
Comans said during a brief
hearing at the Cairns Magistrates
Court yesterday it was too soon
for such a request.
No plea was entered at the
hearing on behalf of Thaiday, who
remains under police guard in
hospital. She is being treated for
stab wounds.
MacFarlane said he was not
sure how long his client would remain in hospital, where she is also
awaiting psychiatric assessment.
Police have asked that media
abide by the cultural protocols of
the indigenous Torres Strait Islander community.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Socialite arrested
at Heathrow airport
Cameron warned on
wooing Ukip defectors
Lion King is still
the maine attraction
Safety fears as
councils cut lights
Seal found stranded
in inland field
Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has been
cautioned by police after a “disturbance” at
Heathrow Airport. The 42-year-old “It girl” was
arrested by armed officers following her reaction
to being refused access to a first-class lounge,
The Sun said. Video footage filmed by a witness
showed her sobbing, swearing and tearing out her
hair extensions during the incident on Saturday,
the newspaper said. Palmer-Tomkinson, who has
battled drug problems in the past, was taken to a
west London police station and accepted a caution
under the Public Order Act. Following her arrest,
the former reality television star told The Sun that a
panic attack triggered her behaviour.
David Cameron risks alienating moderate
Conservative voters by trying to be more like the
UK Independence Party in the hope of wooing
back defectors, a former Tory treasurer has
warned. And Lord Ashcroft cautioned that talking
about Europe and immigration with the aim of
winning over Ukip supporters might actually
undermine the Tory lead on other issues, by
highlighting areas where voters think they are
unable to make much difference. The billionaire
Conservative peer, who has made major donations
to the party in the past, was discussing the key
findings of national opinion polls he has conducted
on a weekly basis throughout 2014.
Despite running in the West End since 1999,
The Lion King has kept its crown as the show
families want to see. The musical has topped
a list of the most popular theatre and family
events, according to Ticketmaster. Based on
the Disney film of the same name, the show
has been seen by more than 75mn people
worldwide and still proves a hit for British
audiences at the London Lyceum and on
tour. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came
second ahead of The Phantom of the Opera,
now in its 29th year at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Also in the top 10 are Mamma Mia! and Les
Significant areas of the country are being
“plunged into darkness”, it has been claimed,
as research showed that more than 1.3mn
street lights are being switched off or dimmed
by councils attempting to save money.
Motoring and pedestrian groups have raised
concerns about the move, suggesting that
accident rates on darkened roads in towns
and cities are rising, and is leaving walkers
feeling unsafe. Labour claimed the squeeze on
budgets coupled with high electricity prices
were leading councils to turn off or dim almost
a quarter of all lights, compared with under 3%
in May 2010.
A seal has been found stranded in a field. Police
said a dog walker reported to them that she had
seen the animal on land in Newton-le-Willows, near
St Helens, Merseyside, at about 9.45am yesterday.
The seal has since been contained by officers, with
conservation experts at the location, but police
warned members of the public to stay away for
their own safety. In a statement, Merseyside Police
said: “Police in St Helens were called at around
9.45 yesterday morning by a dog walker, reporting
that she’d seen what appeared to be a seal in the
middle of a field in the St Helens area. ” It is thought
the animal may somehow have arrived in the field
from the estuary of the River Mersey.
Nightmare for
shoppers as
websites crash
London Evening Standard
hoppers were yesterday
left fearing they will be
without food for Christmas after supermarket websites crashed under the strain
of unprecedented volumes of
online orders.
Sainsbury’s and Asda customers vented their anger on
Twitter and Facebook as delivery slots booked weeks ago
were scrapped, while others
waited more than an hour to get
through to customer service call
The meltdown came as the
West End experienced a frenzied п¬Ѓnal shopping weekend,
with stores reporting sales up
by between п¬Ѓve and 15% on last
Shoppers who had ordered
home deliveries of groceries in the final days before
Christmas fell victim to a
glitch as the Sainsbury’s
website was shut down for
half an hour.
One shopper, Matt Richardson, said on Twitter: “@sainsburys have let us down 100%.
Delivery slot booked two weeks
ago. Sainsbury’s make a unilateral decision to delete our order.
Merry Xmas.”
Another Sainsbury’s customer, Peter Dunbar, tweeted:
“Had an e-mail last night cancelling our Xmas shop delivery.
Website glitch. No delivery slots
left now. What will you do to
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson
said: “We experienced a brief
technical issue with our website
on Sunday night which has now
been fixed.” Asda customers
experienced similar problems,
with customers losing slots
booked weeks in advance when
they attempted to amend orders
On Facebook, one shopper wrote: “Keeps asking us
to amend our order and book
a new slot. We booked the
slot on December 4 and held
it open with just a bottle of
champagne until now. Now all
it looks like we’re getting is a
bottle of champagne. It won’t
let us amend our order, and just
wants us to book a new slot. An
hour on the phone to South Africa (where Asda’s call centre is
based) and they can’t help either.”
On Twitter, another Asda
customer wrote: “A problem
with your website has cancelled
my order and delivery for tomorrow!!! I could cry.” An Asda
spokeswoman said: “A handful
of customers were affected over
the weekend and we’re investigating.
“We’re contacting those
customers to reassure them
they will be getting their
orders, and to offer a little
something extra for their
appear to have been unprepared for the huge boom in
online shopping this festive
Sainsbury’s said more than
30% more food orders had
been placed over the internet for the week leading up to
Christmas Day this year than
last. The supermarket said
it was preparing to deliver
more than 100,000 orders in
the three days to December
A spokesman said: “Some
customers experienced difficulties with booking or amending their delivery slot; we’re
very sorry for the inconvenience caused. We would like to
reassure customers who did not
experience issues on the website on Sunday night that their
confirmed orders will be delivered as expected.”
Analysts predict shoppers
will spend £6.5bn at the UK’s
leading grocers in the two weeks
up to Christmas.
West End traders were braced
for another huge surge of shoppers yesterday after Saturday
saw numbers up 6.7% on last
The rubbish truck (right) is seen wedged into the wall of the Millennium Hotel in George Square in central Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.
Several killed as lorry
hits Glasgow shoppers
everal people were killed
and a number of others injured in Glasgow yesterday
when a bin lorry ploughed into
Christmas shoppers in the city
centre, police said, in what appeared to be a tragic accident.
One eyewitness described the
vehicle knocking people down
“like pinballs” as it veered out of
control over a distance of around
300 metres, only stopping when
it crashed into the side of a hotel.
“There have been a number of
fatalities and people injured,” a
police statement said, adding that
emergency services were at the
scene and it had been declared a
“major incident”.
Police would not comment on
a report on Sky News television
that six people had died, although
a spokesman said “at least” seven
people had been seriously injured.
Some media reported that the
driver may have suffered a heart
The spokesman said he was
being treated in hospital, without giving any further details.
“The bin lorry just lost control.
It went along the pavement,
knocking everyone like pinballs,”
eyewitness Melanie Greg told
Sky News.
“People were trying to run
out of the way but when something was coming out behind
them like that, how can they run
out of the way?” she said. She
added: “There was noise, bangs,
screams and everything. It was
just horrific.”
The rubbish truck, owned by
Glasgow City Council, mounted
the pavement and hit the п¬Ѓrst
pedestrian outside the Gallery of
Support for new Gatwick
runway fading: mayor
London Evening Standard
oris Johnson believes
the chance of a political deal for a second
runway at Gatwick is fading,
leaving attempts to solve the
South-East aviation capacity
crisis in potential deadlock.
The mayor has told friends
that he thinks political splits
will block expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, regardless
of the official recommendation due next year from Sir
Howard Davies’s Airports
“I was told earlier there was
this big political consensus
emerging around Gatwick, but
now I’m not sure it will happen,” Johnson is understood to
have said.
His remark will pile pressure
on Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats to rethink their stance on
Clegg planned to endorse
Gatwick in a compromise designed to meet business demand for more flights, while
continuing to oppose a third
runway at Heathrow. But his
scheme was blocked when LibDems staged a rebellion at the
party conference in October
and voted against any new runways in the South-East.
“I was told earlier there was
this big political consensus
emerging around Gatwick,
but now I’m not sure it will
Business Secretary Vince
Cable, whose Twickenham
constituency is on the Heathrow flight path, is said to be
deeply unhappy with the vote,
fearing it lacks credibility with
business and could increase the
likelihood of a third runway at
Johnson’s own preferred option is a new four-runway hub
airport in the Thames Estuary,
but that has been rejected as
too costly by the Davies Commission. The mayor then shifted behind Gatwick expansion
as a temporary compromise.
Last month, the Standard
revealed he had held private
talks with Gatwick bosses,
and in an interview with the
Standard in July he described
a second Gatwick runway as “a
Johnson plans to campaign
for his Estuary plan if, as expected, he is elected as a Conservative MP in May. He also
intends to champion infrastructure projects and tackling
low pay.
He wants a big increase in
the “measly and pathetic”
compensation paid to people
whose homes are blighted by
schemes such HS2.
Johnson, who has been
mooted at an infrastructure
secretary, thinks the government should buy homes outright, selling them when disruptive construction work is
completed and property values
return to normal.
He also wants to encourage
п¬Ѓrms to pay the ВЈ8.80 London
rate of the Living Wage, with
one idea cutting business rates
for those that pay it. “It should
be front and centre of our programme,” the mayor has argued
Modern Art on Queen Street at
about 2.30pm (1430GMT), police said. It struck several more
as it continued at speed for another two blocks, crashing at
the Millennium Hotel on George
Square, near Queen Street station. The incident took place the
day after a driver with psychiatric problems in the French town
of Dijon ploughed into pedestrians, injuring 13. He was later
Scottish police said there
was nothing “sinister” about
the Glasgow incident, calling it an accident. “It is a road
traffic collision with multiple fatalities,” the spokesman
said, adding: “It does not look
to be a criminal or deliberate
The accident happened near
the Scottish city’s main shopping hub, where shoppers filled
the streets just three days before
Christmas Day. Prime Minister
David Cameron said he was being
kept informed of developments,
while Scotland’s First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “My
thoughts with everyone involved
in dreadful George Square incident”.
PM’s tax cuts plan not
affordable, feel voters
London Evening Standard
Johnson: �political splits will block expansion at Gatwick.
ore than half of Londoners believe David
promise of ВЈ7bn of tax cuts in the
next Parliament is unaffordable,
an exclusive poll for the Standard revealed yesterday.
The YouGov survey found that
53% think the prime minister was
making a pledge which the country cannot afford, compared with
23% who believe it can.
Lower taxes, though, are generally popular and despite worries
about affordability, more Londoners backed the cuts than opposed them.
Cameron announced his postelection tax-cutting agenda at the
Tory party conference in Birmingham in the autumn, promising to
raise the 40p income tax threshold to ВЈ50,000 and the personal
allowance to ВЈ12,500.
Labour has said that the Tory
plan is unfunded and will require
more borrowing or deeper spending cuts.
When this was put to Londoners, 42% said they supported the
policy and 35% opposed it.
Strikingly, 84% of Conservative supporters were in favour,
compared with 22% of Labour
backers, 27% of those intending
to vote Liberal Democrat and 43%
of those saying they will vote for
Men are noticeably keener on
the tax cuts than women, by 44%
to 39%. But pressed further on
whether Cameron was making a
promise that Britain could afford,
more than twice as many Londoners said �no’ than �yes’, with people
aged 40 and over the most sceptical.
Nearly 80% of Labour supporters and about 60% of LibDem and Ukip backers believe
Britain is not in a position to
pay for the tax cuts, while 15%
of people intending to vote
Conservative shared this view.
“While many would like the tax
cut outlined by the prime minister it is by no means a majority
and there is a notable sense of
caution among Londoners about
such a move,” said Tanya Abraham of YouGov.
YouGov interviewed 1,385
adults between December 15 and
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Photographer Bown
dies aged 89
Rapper stabbed to death in
mother’s flat following row
Grieving mum reunited
with precious laptop
CCTV cameras do not
deter crime, feel police
Flash flooding
traps shoppers
British photographer Jane Bown, who captured
Samuel Beckett, John Lennon and Queen Elizabeth
II in iconic black and white portraits, has died
aged 89, her former employer The Observer
reported. The newspaper employed Bown in
1949, and she came to the office each week for
over half a century, continuing to work with
35mm film and becoming part of the “DNA” of the
newspaper, according to editor John Mulholland.
“She produced some of the most memorable
and insightful images of prominent cultural and
political figures taken during the 20th century,”
Mulholland said. “Her beautifully observed pictures
have become part of our cultural landscape.”
A DJ and rapper who hosted a weekly music show
on an online radio station was stabbed to death in
his mother’s flat after a row. Luke Jackson, 33, was
found dead at Elizabeth Jackson’s £850,000 flat
in Pimlico. Elizabeth Jackson, 65, was arrested but
released on bail after questioning. An 18-year-old
man was arrested on Sunday as he attempted
to board a flight at Heathrow and was being
questioned on suspicion of murder. Jackson, who
co-presented a drum-and-bass show on London’s
Vision Radio, was a carer for his mother. In
2008, he enrolled at the new London Urban Arts
Academy where he was named “star student” and
toured secondary schools teaching rap.
Bereaved Irish mother Lynda McCance had her
faith in humanity restored when a thief returned a
laptop containing the final photographs of eightyear-old Chloe. On her Facebook page yesterday
was a “big thank you” for the return of a computer
taken when her Bangor home was burgled last
week just days after Cloe’s funeral. McCance had
made a public appeal for the return of the laptop,
promising no recriminations and even a reward.
She said she had come home from getting a Chloe
tribute tattoo to discover her house ransacked.
Chloe was diagnosed with the rare degenerative
illness Batten’s Disease at 18 months. McCance did
not reveal how the laptop had been returned.
A police force is considering plans to stop
monitoring live CCTV cameras after a report found
there was “little evidence” that they deterred
crime. Dyfed Powys Police, which covers more
than half of Wales, could have funding reduced
to actively monitor security cameras after an
independent investigation found their removal
“did not result in a significant rise in crime”. The
report was ordered by the force’s police and crime
commissioner Christopher Salmon who said he
was looking to put “more bobbies on the beat”.
“We must spend every pound where it delivers,”
he said. “I’m giving the public what they ask me for
- more bobbies on the beat.”
Flash flooding has caused major disruption in parts
of Scotland, with dozens of people rescued from
a supermarket and one passenger injured after a
train hit water on the line. Firefighters attended 11
flood-related incidents in Ayrshire as crews worked
to rescue people and clear water from homes after
heavy overnight rain. In Kilmarnock, 42 customers
and staff were ferried to safety after becoming
stranded by floodwater at an Asda supermarket
shortly after 6.10am. Part of Queen’s Drive Retail
park had become flooded after the River Irvine
burst its banks. Water rescue crews from Polmadie
and Ayr used two rigid inflatable boats to carry
those stranded from the store.
dies after
moped in
cop chase
Helping hand
Anger at plan
to lengthen
response time
London Evening Standard
talented teenage footballer died when he crashed
his moped during a police
Henry Hicks, 18, was pronounced dead in hospital just
over an hour after the accident in
Wheelwright Street, near Pentonville Prison in Islington.
Scotland Yard said it happened after Henry failed to stop
for police and crashed into a car
near the junction with Roman
Way. The incident on Friday has
been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate.
Henry, a trained carpenter and
former London Nautical School
pupil, was a close friend of Joe
Walker, 18, who died in a moped
crash two months earlier, over
which a number of his friends
now face criminal charges. The
two had played football together
alongside Arsenal and England
under-17s striker Kaylen Hinds.
A huge shrine of bouquets and
balloons were laid at the scene in
Henry’s memory, as more than
50 friends and family gathered
on Sunday night. Members of
Henry’s family, who he lived
with in Islington, yesterday
paid tribute to a “good-natured
His older sister Claudia said:
“He was the love of my life, just
the most wonderful, lovely, caring brother you could ask for.
Our family is in shock.”
His younger sister wrote on
Twitter: “Life’s not fair. Henry
was the best brother anyone
could ask for.” His friends revealed he had planned to sell his
moped on Gumtree the day of
the crash but the sale had fallen
through because police warned
the buyer it was part of an investigation. His best friend said:
“He did everything for his family, he had so much respect for
his mum and dad. They are just
heartbroken. No one should
have to bury their children.”
Three-year-old Henry Butterworth skates with ice marshal Matt Nolan on the rink at the Natural
History Museum in London.
Govt �sabotaging inquiry
into child abuse scandals’
London Evening Standard
n MP yesterday accused
the government of “deliberate mistakes” to
stop the official inquiry into
child abuse scandals getting to
the truth.
The bombshell allegation
of sabotage was made by Labour’s Simon Danczuk, who
laid bare the abuse of boys by
late Liberal Democrat grandee
Sir Cyril Smith. “You can’t help
thinking that they aren’t intent
on getting this right,” the MP
commented after a leaked letter revealed that Home Secretary Theresa May told inquiry
members their panel might be
“There’s a catalogue of mistakes that have been made,
some of them fairly basic.”
Danczuk said some survivors
of child abuse were wondering
if the number of setbacks was
linked to the fact that some
allegations involved “highprofile figures”. He added: “You
can’t help thinking that some
of this is quite deliberate mis-
takes by people in central government. They don’t want to
get to the truth, that would be
the allegation.”
The current inquiry has seen
two chairs appointed by May
— Fiona Woolf and Baroness
Butler-Sloss — resign because
of family or social connections
with people linked to the scandal. In addition, a dossier written by MP Geoffrey Dickens in
the Eighties about alleged VIP
abusers has gone missing at the
Home Office.
Dozens of child abuse survivors yesterday urged the government to replace the inquiry
with a more powerful body.
May may set up a new inquiry panel under statutory
In a letter to the panel members, she said: “I am currently
considering these options and
I appreciate this has implications for members of the panel.”
Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People
Abused in Childhood, told BBC
radio: “I have yet to encounter
any survivors who have any
faith in the process, or in the
panel as it is currently constituted. We need to have a transparent, open recruitment or a
panel with appropriate skills
and expertise, all done out in
the open, nothing to do with
nepotism or connections with
people already in the Establishment.”
A Home Office spokesman
said: “The home secretary is
determined that appalling cases of child sexual abuse should
be exposed so that perpetrators
face justice and the vulnerable
are protected. She is absolutely
committed to ensuring the Independent Panel Inquiry into
Child Sexual Abuse has the
confidence of survivors.”
Former children’s minister
Tim Loughton criticised Danczuk’s claim that the government could have undermined
the inquiry. Pointing out that
May was instrumental in setting it up, he added: “She wants
it to succeed, she wants it to get
to the bottom of the truth.”
Danczuk said he had previously made clear that he believed May was committed to
getting to the bottom of the allegations.
mbulance services said
proposed changes to
response times would
benefit all patients as a row
continued to rage over the
Labour attacked Health
Secretary Jeremy Hunt, demanding more information
and claiming he had treated
Parliament with contempt.
The department of health
said “no decisions have been
made” and Hunt would only
agree to plans that improve
response times for the most
urgent cases.
A leaked document, obtained by the Press Association, included plans to change
the response time for some
“Red 2” patients - those with
“serious but not the most
life-threatening” conditions
- from eight to 19 minutes in
It said the proposals have
been approved by Hunt, subject to confirmation from the
medical directors of 10 ambulance trusts.
The current target is for an
emergency vehicle to reach
those in life-threatening situations within eight minutes.
According to the leaked
memo, drawn up by the Association of Ambulance Chief
Executives (AACE), NHS England has agreed “in principle”
to relax the maximum wait for
some Red 2 incidents, which
include a range of serious
problems including strokes
and seizures.
The only higher category
Winter solstice
is Red 1 - “immediately lifethreatening” incidents such
as cardiac arrest, choking and
major bleeding.
The changes would see
about 40% of Red 2 incidents
move to a 19-minute response
target while the proposed date
for implementing the plans is
the п¬Ѓrst week of January.
The AACE said in a statement that plans for change
would improve the care provided to the most seriously ill
and injured patients and release resources which would
be used to improve ambulance
waiting times for all.
It added: “AACE supports
the plans, which have been
developing over the last 18
months, and medical directors
of all 10 ambulance trusts in
England have been closely involved in their development.
“They will expand the
number and type of calls that
come into the most serious
category (Red 1) so that those
who have life-threatening
emergencies get an even faster
response than is currently enjoyed.
“In addition, they will allow
us to ensure that only those
patients who truly need a response in eight minutes receive one.”
And it said: “At this stage,
these are only proposals and
they will not be formally approved until NHS England and
the secretary of state are convinced, as we are, that they
are clinically safe and that
they offer better care for our
“We have been surprised
by some of the reaction given
that over the last three months
Actress Whitelaw
dies at the age of 82
A reveller wearing a golden cape celebrates as the sun rises
during the winter solstice at Stonehenge on Salisbury plain in
southern England yesterday. The winter solstice is the shortest
day of the year, and the longest night of the year.
the principles of what we are
proposing and the benefits
for patients that we envisage
have been shared with Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats and we have
received no negative feedback
on the thrust of those principles.”
A Labour spokesman said:
“We have never given any
support for this plan. When
raised in passing, (shadow
health secretary) Andy Burnham explicitly warned of the
need for caution and consultation.
“The evidence needed to be
produced first and it hasn’t
been. Instead, ministers are
forcing it through from January, in the middle of a crisis,
without proper planning.”
Burnham wrote to Hunt
yesterday to demand immediate answers on the plans
and ask why Parliament was
“treated with contempt” three
days after he signed them.
He said: “Jeremy Hunt
was dragged before Parliament last Thursday to answer
questions on NHS winter
planning but treated it with
“It is outrageous that he
decided to keep MPs and the
public in the dark about a decision he had already taken
and one which will have farreaching implications across
the NHS. “Patients are already
waiting hours on end for ambulances to arrive. People will
struggle to understand how, in
the middle of a crisis, it makes
sense for the government to
make a panic decision to relax
999 standards and leave patients waiting even longer.”
ritish actress Billie
Whitelaw, famous for
her intense collaboration with playwright Samuel
Beckett who wrote several
roles for her, died on Sunday aged 82, her son told the
as the “perfect actress”,
Whitelaw became the playwright’s muse and they created a series of experimental
performances together.
One of the most famous
was in a Beckett’s monologue “Not I” in which only
her mouth was visible to the
theatre audience.
“This relentless mouth
that wouldn’t let go”, she told
a later interview. “He was so
demanding, he was so meticulous, if you said an “oh”
instead of an “ah”... from
the stalls you’d hear “Oh
lord” or you’d see his head
going down into his hands,”
Whitelaw said.
“But because I knew he
was radiating love and he
cared and he wanted you to
be perfect, and it’s not possible but he wanted you to
be perfect, it didn’t upset
The two had a close relationship until his death in
1989, after which she gave
lectures on his drama.
Whitelaw’s career on stage
and screen won her a series
of awards and spanned over
half a century, from playing
the mother of the notorious gangsters in The Krays
to her most recent appearance in comedy Hot Fuzz in
One of her most famous
roles was as a demonic nanny
in horror film The Omen.
She was married to British actor Peter Vaughan from
1952 until 1966, and later to
writer Robert Muller.
Whitelaw’s son Matthew
Muller told the BBC she had
died at a nursing home in
London on Sunday. “I could
not have asked for a more
loving mum,” Muller said.
“She had an incredible career
- but first and foremost she
was my mum, and that’s who
I will miss.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Snack attack
party gains
Activists throw fries and mayonnaise on Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. The protest action was organised by feminist group LilithS (formerly the Belgian branch of
Femen), at the Cercle de Wallonie, in Namur.
Russia’s allies build
ties with Ukraine
Russia is losing support rapidly in its
Nazarbayev followed his Belarussian counterpart to Ukraine yesterday as Moscow’s old allies built bridges to
Europe while Russia’s financial crisis and
diplomatic isolation grew.
Both visits were ostensibly made to
kickstart stalled peace negotiations between Kiev and the two Russian-speaking
regions of eastern Ukraine that rebelled
against Kiev in April. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko hosted such
talks in September and is hoping to do so
again in Minsk in the coming days.
But Nazarbayev has no evident link to the
eight-month conflict and remains a prominent member of a Russian-dominated economic union that includes Belarus and once
had aspirations to enlist Ukraine.
A senior Ukrainian official told AFP that
both leaders—criticised in the West for
their intolerance of political dissent—were
now trying to shake off the Kremlin and
forge partnerships in Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin “is weak”.
Some political analysts in Russia agreed.
“This is an unambiguous signal to Putin,” said Konstantin Kalachyov of Moscow’s Political Expert Group think tank.
“Both Kazakhstan and Belarus fear that
their union with Russia will be engulfed by
(an economic) crisis.”
Putin angrily rejects backing Ukraine’s
separatist п¬Ѓghters and calls the waves of
Western sanctions a remnant of Cold Warera thinking designed to contain Russia
and possibly even topple his team.
The veteran Kremlin leader is due today
to receive both Nazarbayev and Lukashenko for a summit of leaders from neighbouring nations that have formed a loose
military bloc.
But his relations with Lukashenko have
been strained by the Belarussian strongman’s refusal to let Russian industrial giants take over his state companies in return for discounted energy deliveries.
And Nazarbayev has balanced his Central Asian country’s interests evenly between those of Russia and China—its
southeastern neighbour and increasingly
important trading partner.
“Kazakhstan has equal regard for both
Russia and Ukraine,” Nazarbayev said on
the eve of his visit to Kiev.
“We have no conflicts of interest. I am
what they call an honest broker.”
Lukashenko also appeared keen to cast
himself as someone ready to stand up to
Russia if their views did not coincide, during talks with Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko on Sunday.
He appeared to be referring to Putin
when he told the Ukrainian leader: “They
keep saying that Lukashenko is afraid of
someone. But I am not afraid.”
Belarussian state media then quoted
Lukashenko as saying that he supported holding “secret” negotiations about
building stronger cross-border ties with
“Let’s not say anything to anyone at all
but do it in secret—just as long as there
is progress in this direction,” Lukashenko
was quoted as saying.
The US and EU sanctions have cut off
Russia’s biggest companies from Western
money markets and put them in danger of
going bankrupt.
And the Kremlin’s ability to provide
their rescue has been limited by a recent
plunge in the global price on Russian oil
and gas exports.
But the Western restrictions have hardly
dented Putin’s domestic approval—still
estimated at around 80% —or dramatically altered his public approach to Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama on Sunday
dismissed the notion that Putin was “the
chess master and outmanoeuvring the
West and outmanoeuvring Obama and
this and that and the other”.
“Right now, he’s presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction,” he
told CNN.
“That doesn’t sound like somebody who
has rolled me or the USA.”
The authoritarian leader of Belarus flew
into Kiev on Sunday hoping to revive stalled
Ukrainian peace talks he has been hosting
to calm Europe’s volatile eastern edge.
But a high-ranking Ukrainian official
said Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko was just as keen to use the trip
to build bridges to Europe that ease his
dependence on an increasingly isolated
Two major rounds of negotiations in the
Belarussian capital Minsk in September
Italians break up
neo-fascist group
talian police yesterday arrested 14 people they
said were members of a neo-fascist movement
that was planning attacks on politicians, prosecutors and the police.
The suspects were rounded up in raids around
Italy on charges including attempted terrorism,
attempted subversion of democracy and instigating racial violence, the national Carabinieri police
said in a statement.
Italy is still reeling from the “Mafia Capitale”
scandal involving a network of corruption based
in Rome that investigators said was run by a
former right-wing extremist with long-standing
ties to the capital’s underworld.
Police said they had disbanded the “New Order Vanguard”, calling it a clandestine organisation which modelled itself on the far-right “New
Order” movement active in widespread political
violence in Italy in the 1970s.
Mario Parente, head of the special Carabinieri
unit which has conducted the so-called “Black
Eagle” investigation since 2013, told reporters that
New Order Vanguard aimed to break up Italy’s so-
cial order and found a new political party at a time
of rising social tensions as the economy has deteriorated badly.
“We believe we have intervened before the organisation could put its plans into action,” said
prosecutor Fausto Cardella. “The plans were in
place and we couldn’t run the risk of only discovering afterwards how concrete they were.”
As well as the 14 arrests, 31 other people were
formally placed under investigation.
The police statement said the group was led by
Stefano Manni, a 48-year-old former policeman
with long-standing far-right connections who
was active in planning its strategy and disseminating racist propaganda. He was under arrest.
A sharp increase in social unrest in Italy in recent months is often attributed to falling living
standards and record unemployment following six
years of stagnation and recession.
The far-right Northern League party has seen a
surge in its support as it has capitalised on growing hostility towards immigrants and Roma people.
The Black Eagle operation involved wiretaps
and undercover agents who infiltrated New Order
Vanguard which police said was targeting politicians and other public п¬Ѓgures.
produced deals on a truce and partial selfrule for the two Russian-speaking regions
of eastern Ukraine that rebelled against
Kiev in April.
The agreements stemmed the worst
п¬Ѓghting but were still followed by at least
1,300 more deaths. The toll from Europe’s
worst security crisis since the Balkans
wars of the 1990s now stands at 4,700 — a
п¬Ѓgure UN officials warn is a conservative
Lukashenko’s first visit to Kiev since its
historic shift westward last winter comes
as EU efforts to get the peace talks back on
track are in full swing.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
overnight held his third conversation with
German Chancellor Angela Merkel since
last weekend about the continued delay of
the talks.
The conference was п¬Ѓrst pencilled in for
September 9 and has since been stalled by
Kiev’s refusal to discuss the resumption
of social payments to militia-run regions
that Poroshenko cut off last month.
Poroshenko and Merkel agreed that the
new talks should “produce a demarcation
line and establish a roadmap for withdrawing troops and releasing hostages,”
the Ukrainian president’s office said.
It added that Poroshenko still expected
the meeting to happen “soon”.
EU heads of state and Poroshenko had
most recently hoped to see the Minsk talks
convened in the presence of European and
Russian envoys on Sunday.
But two top rebel negotiators told AFP
that no talks were scheduled for the immediate future.
ore than one third of
many in the oncehostile south—are ready to
vote for the anti-EU, anti-immigration Northern League, a
poll showed yesterday.
Matteo Salvini, the youthful leader of the right-wing
regional party, confirmed his
status as the rising star of Italian politics with approval ratings of 35% in a Demos & Pi
poll published by La Repubblica newspaper—up 5% on
Salvini, 41, who launched
a bid to extend his party’s appeal to the poorer south of the
country amid much fanfare
on Friday, came second in the
poll to Prime Minister Matteo
Renzi, 39, who it said has the
confidence of exactly half of
His rise is often compared
with that of France’s far-right
leader Marine Le Pen, who
has tried to steer the National
Front closer to the mainstream
in a bid for power.
But Salvini has had to overcome Italy’s much wider regional divisions and his party’s
demands that the wealthier
north, which he calls “Padania”, be allowed to break away.
The party has also traditionally held the rest of the
country south of Tuscany in
contempt. Even so the poll
seems to show the party’s centre of gravity shifting south on
the back of Salvini’s popularity.
In fact, 19% of voters in
the centre of the country said
they would vote for it—one per
cent higher than in its northern heartlands—with 7% of
southerners saying they would
support it.
Italy has seen an unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants this year, with more
than 150,000 rescued from
rickety boats attempting to
reach its southern shores from
north Africa.
The poll appears to show
support for the government
stabilising, with Renzi’s popularity, which stood at 69% in
June before falling back to 43%
in November, bouncing back
to 46 in December.
letters are
orway’s prison authorities said yesterday they had seized
over 200 letters from mass
murderer Anders Behring
Breivik to prevent him from
setting up a network outside
jail. Breivik killed 77 people in
a bombing in Norway’s capital
Oslo and in a shooting rampage on a nearby island in July
He said he committed the
attacks to prevent a “Muslim
invasion” of Norway.
“We have refused to send
some letters from Breivik for
reasons of security. We’re
talking about roughly 220 letters,” Yling Faeste, a spokesman for the prison administration, told AFP.
“We control his communication, and he is not allowed
to set up a network that could
commit even more crimes.”
Breivik, who is now aged 35,
committed the worst carnage
in recent Norwegian history
on July 22, 2011.
After setting off a bomb in
Oslo’s government district
that killed eight, he went on
to attack a Labour Party youth
camp on the island of Utoeya,
where another 69 people died,
most of them teenagers.
He was sentenced to 21 years
in jail in August 2012, but his
jail term could be extended
indefinitely if he is deemed a
danger to society.
Breivik now claims he has
been “converted” to democracy, saying he wants to establish
a political party to promote his
ideas, without having to resort
to violence.
He has said he has been inspired by the electoral success of the neo-Nazi Golden
Dawn party in Greece. Breivik
himself contacted the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang
to complain about the curbs
placed on his correspondence.
His lawyer Geir Lippestad
told the paper his client has
appealed the decision to intercept his letters. Faeste declined to describe the content
of the letters to AFP.
Rouble in tatters
Russia’s Communist Party supporters dressed as white bears, symbol of pro-President party United Russia, saw a model of a one Russian
rouble coin during a rally against the rouble’s fall in front of the headquarters of the government in central Moscow yesterday. Deep
recession, skyrocketing prices and a fragile banking system: although the rouble seems to have stabilised after its abysmal drop this past
week, Russia still faces the heavy consequences of the turbulence.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Dresden at sunset
Pope flays
with ills’
The brilliantly lit promenade along the embankment of the Elbe river in Dresden,
Hollande urges calm
after France attacks
French officials are striving
to avoid linking probably
unconnected events
resident Francois Hollande
yesterday urged the French
not to panic as authorities
probed the motives and profiles
of two men who committed brutal weekend attacks.
The country is reeling from the
violence, which saw a man killed
Saturday when he assaulted police officers in the central town
of Joue-les-Tours and a driver
plough into pedestrians Sunday
in Dijon in the east, leaving 13 injured in a scene one witness described as “apocalyptic.”
Both men reportedly shouted
an Islamic phrase that has previously been used by extremists
when waging violent attacks—
prompting speculation the assaults were motivated by radical
But Hollande told a weekly
cabinet meeting that people
should not panic, calling on authorities to exercise “utmost
Stephane Le Foll stressed that
there was no link between the
two incidents, warning against
“lumping them together”.
In Saturday’s attack, Bertrand
Nzohabonayo, a French convert
to Islam who was born in Burundi, was shot dead after entering a
police station in Joue-les-Tours
armed with a knife, seriously
wounding two officers—slashing one in the face—and hurting
The assault prompted the government to step up security at
police and п¬Ѓre stations nationwide.
Nzohabonayo had previously
committed petty offences but
was not on a domestic intelligence watch-list although his
brother Brice is known for his
radical views and once pondered
going to Syria.
Brice was arrested in Burundi
soon after the Saturday incident,
intelligence services there said
“He has been detained in our
premises and he is being questioned,” intelligence spokesman
Telesphore Bigirimana told AFP.
The anti-terror branch of the
Paris prosecutor’s office quickly
took over a probe into the attack
amid heightened vigilance over
potential “lone wolf” attacks by
individuals heeding calls for violence by the Islamic State jihadist
The radical group has repeatedly singled out France for such
attacks, most recently in a video
posted on jihadist sites.
Bertrand Nzohabonayo, who
had taken the name Bilal when
he converted to Islam, had posted
a flag of the Islamic State group
on his Facebook page Thursday,
although people who knew him
said at the weekend they refused
to believe the attack was spurred
by radical Islamism.
The second attack on Sunday
also saw the assailant shout a slogan witnesses told police.
The driver targeted groups of
passers-by at п¬Ѓve different locations in Dijon in a rampage that
lasted around half an hour, before
being arrested.
Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited the town
yesterday, said 13 people were injured in the rampage though none
of the victims are critical.
Calling for “caution” and “restraint”, he said the motives of the
assailant had not yet been established.
A source close to the investigation told AFP that the man, born
in 1974, was “apparently unbalanced and had been in a psychiatric hospital”.
A witness to his rampage,
meanwhile, described an “apocalyptic scene”.
“We were going home, we
saw four people on the ground...
who weren’t moving at all,” said
the witness, who refused to be
“Cars stopped to give them
first aid. Very quickly, firefighters
and emergency medical workers
A Frenchman who ploughed
into pedestrians had been to psychiatric hospital 157 times and
had no known links to jihadist
groups, a prosecutor said, easing
concerns the attack was inspired
by Islamic extremism.
The driver targeted groups of
passers-by at п¬Ѓve different locations in Dijon in a rampage that
lasted around half an hour, before
being arrested.
Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited the town on
Monday, said 13 people were injured in the rampage though none
of the victims are critical.
Local prosecutor MarieChristine Tarrare told reporters that the man, born in 1974,
had a “long-lasting and severe
psychological disorder” and had
visited psychiatric hospital 157
She said he told police that he
ploughed into people due to a
sudden “outburst of empathy for
the children of Chechnya”.
“He was not guided by religion
but because he felt that politically he had to react,” she said, adding that nothing had been found
at his parents’ home that would
suggest he had any interest in the
Islamic State group or other extremist gatherings.
Authorities in the central African nation of Burundi said Monday they had arrested the brother
of a man who was killed in France
after a suspected Islamist-motivated attack.
A spokesman for Burundi’s
National Intelligence Service said
Brice Nzohabonayo was detained
in the capital Bujumbura shortly
after his brother Bertrand Nzohabonayo attacked a police station in the central French town of
Bertrand Nzohabonayo was
shot dead Saturday after entering the police station armed
with a knife, seriously wounding
two officers—slashing one in the
face—and hurting another.
“We arrested Brice Nzohabonayo on Saturday while he was
staying with one of his uncles in
Bujumbura. He had come from
France and was spending several
days here,” intelligence spokesman Télesphore Bigirimana told
“He has been detained in our
premises and he is being questioned,” the official added.
Turkey’s president Erdogan
slams birth control as �treason’
urkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan described efforts to promote
birth control as “treason”, saying
contraception risked causing a whole
generation to “dry up”, reports said yesterday.
Erdogan made the comments on Sunday, directly addressing the bride and
groom at the Istanbul wedding ceremony
of the son of businessman Mustafa Kefeli,
who is one of his close allies.
He told the newly-weds that using birth
control was a betrayal of Turkey’s ambition to make itself a flourishing nation
with an expanding young population.
“One or two (children) is not enough. To
make our nation stronger, we need a more
dynamic and younger population. We
need this to take Turkey above the level of
modern civilisations,” Erdogan said.
“In this country, they (opponents) have
been engaged in the treason of birth control for years and sought to dry up our generation,” Erdogan said.
“Lineage is very important both economically and spiritually. I have faith in
you,” he said in comments reported by the
Dogan news agency, which also posted a
video of his speech.
Erdogan went on to praise marriage in
front of the couple, who were declared
man and wife by Istanbul’s mayor Kadir
“Marriage is a long journey. There are
good days and bad days. Good days become more frequent as we share them and
bad days п¬Ѓnally bring happiness if we are
patient,” said Erdogan.
He added: “One (child) means loneliness, two means rivalry, three means balance and four means abundance. And God
takes care of the rest,” he added.
Erdogan’s government has long been
accused by critics of seeking to impose
strict Islamic values on Turks and curtailing the civil liberties of women.
The president—who has two sons and
two daughters—has angered feminist
groups for declaring that every woman
should have three children and saying that
women are not equal to men.
He has also made proposals to limit
abortion rights, the morning-after pill and
Caesarian sections.
But this appears to be his strongest attack yet on the principle of birth control.
Erdogan has repeatedly warned that
Turks must have more children to prevent
the rapid ageing of the population.
Turkey’s population has risen exponentially in recent decades to over 76mn but
the birth rate has begun to slow.
Erdogan’s latest remarks gave fresh ammunition to critics who argue he is trying
to raise the profile of Islam in secular Turkey.
Opposition lawmaker Aylin Nazliaka
said in a written statement that Erdogan
portrayed women as “incubators” rather
than “individuals”, leaving them exposed
to violence.
“Erdogan has become the president but
he continues to act like a guardian. Would
he talk so blatantly about the female
body if he was capable of giving birth to a
child?” she said.
Health minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu,
a doctor with two children, had at the
weekend also caused controversy by declaring pregnant women did not have the
right to decide how they would deliver
their child.
“It is the duty of the midwives and the
doctors to prepare them for the birth. The
patients cannot say �I want a Caesarean’.
They don’t have such a right,” he said.
“The doctors’ job is to fulfil their medical responsibilities not to follow the patients’ demands. Doctors must give the
medical treatment that the patients have a
right to. The C-section is not one of those
ope Francis lambasted
the Vatican’s bureaucracy yesterday, saying
some within the Church lusted
for power and suffered from
“spiritual Alzheimer’s” in
comments likely to outrage his
The Argentine used a
Christmas speech to cardinals, bishops and priests to
list a catalogue of ailments
plaguing the the very top of
the Church.
He said the Vatican was
riven with “existential schizophrenia”, “social exhibitionism”, “spiritual Alzheimer’s”
and a lust for power, all of
which made for an “orchestra
that plays out of tune”.
The outspoken pope also
warned against greed, egoism
and people who think they are
It is not the п¬Ѓrst time the
78-year-old has taken on the
Curia, and called for them to
renounce gossip and act responsibly.
But rarely has he used such
vivid terms to describe the sins
he says afflict the heart of the
Italian-dominated body, and
the speech was very stonily received.
He slammed those who are
slave to their “passions, caprices and manias” as well as
those who “possess a heart of
stone and a stiff neck”.
He bemoaned the “scandal”
caused by infighting and those
who live a “double life”—their
public one and a “hidden and
often immoral” one.
He pitied those who, ridden with jealousy, “feel joy in
seeing others fall down” and
urged top officials to help him
find a “cure”.
The pope advised red-hatted cardinals full of their own
self-importance to “pay a visit
to the cemeteries” to look at
those “who thought they were
immortal, immune and indispensable!”
And with relish, he also returned to one of his favourite
themes: the evils of gossip.
Backstabbing by “cowards
who don’t have the courage
to say things openly” is tantamount to “murder in cold
blood”, he said.
The diatribe will doubtless fuel the opposition to the
reform-minded Francis which
has been growing within the
Church, according to Vatican
But religious expert Gianni
Valente told La Stampa’s Vatican Insider that he would also
be applauded for “calling the
diseases which plague his surroundings by their names”.
His performance “foiled
once more the stereotype of
Pope Francis blesses a child
during a special audience for
Vatican employees.
the �Latin American martian’ who is unaccustomed
to the Roman and European
�complexities’ with which
his detractors and aspiring
courtiers try to neutralise
him”, he said.
Francis was elected in March
last year on a mandate to overhaul the Vatican and put an
end to decades of infighting
within the powerful but troubled body.
Since then he has establish
a series of specialist bodies
to tackle corruption and poor
management, including the
naming of eight cardinals from
around the world to advise him
on the Curia’s overhaul.
Francis’s attempts to kickstart dialogue within the
Church earlier this year over a
possible new approach to remarried, divorced people and
homosexuals sparked an outcry in some quarters.
His most vocal critic, the
American cardinal Raymond
Burke, was later demoted.
But Vatican watcher Andrea
Tornielli said the speech did
not herald “the start of witchhunting season”, with other
red hats ready to roll.
In particular, the pontiff
spoke against the “hoarding
disease” that sees members of
the clergy “amassing material
goods, not out of need, but to
feel safe.”
In what was seen as an oblique reference to Cardinal
Tarcisio Bertone, who is about
to move into a 500-squaremetre flat, Francis recalled the
story of a young priest who
was mocked by his superior for
loading too many possessions
on a truck ahead of moving
“These moves are a symptom of our [hoarding] disease,”
the pope said.
Bertone was secretary of
state, the Vatican’s secondhighest position, under Pope
Benedict XVI. Under his
watch, the Roman Curia suffered from cronyism, infighting and financial mismanagement, as exposed by the
VatiLeaks scandal.
On the weekend, Bertone
was stripped of the title of Camerlengo of the Roman Catholic Church .
Francis later addressed the
Curia’s lay staff, pleading forgiveness “for my failings and
those of my advisors, and also
for some scandals, which are
very hurtful. Forgive me”.
Princess Cristina to
stand trial for fraud
ristina de Borbon, sister
of Spain’s King Felipe
VI, is to stand trial on tax
fraud charges as soon as next
year, becoming the п¬Ѓrst Spanish
royal to face prosecution.
Princess Cristina’s father
Juan Carlos abdicated in June
after a series of scandals, and
his son Felipe is riding high in
opinion polls. He has tried to
modernise the monarchy and
has taken away rights and duties from his two sisters, neither
of whom is now formally part of
the royal family.
Prosecutors have been conducting an investigation into
the affairs of Cristina’s husband,
former Olympic handball player
Inaki Urdangarin, for four years.
They have ordered Cristina,
49, Urdangarin and 15 others to
stand trial in the case involving
his Noos Foundation charity,
the High Court of the Balearic
Islands said yesterday.
Graft investigations in Spain
have exposed high-level corruption among politicians, trade
unions and bankers among others, and have eroded Spaniards’
faith in their institutions after
a major economic crisis and a
government austerity drive.
As Spain heads into a general
election year, corruption will
be high on the political agenda.
Polls show the issue as Spaniards’ second biggest concern
after sky-high unemployment.
New anti-establishment party Podemos - “we can” in Spanish - has already benefited from
the disaffection, and threatens to eat away at support for
mainstream political leaders,
including those from the ruling
centre-right People’s Party (PP)
and the opposition Socialists.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
9 policemen injured
in attack by residents
Teenager dies weeks after
self-immolation bid
Poultry farm owner
attacked, looted
CRPF to battle Maoists
with new strategies
3 children die after
eating contaminated meal
At least nine policemen were injured when they
were attacked by residents of a locality in New
Delhi where a sex racket was being allegedly
being run from a house, police said yesterday.
Police detained some people for rioting, Deputy
Commissioner of Police Vikramjit Singh said.
Police said the residents threw stones when a
police team came to conduct searches at the
house in west Delhi’s Narela area on Sunday
night. “The team was led by station house
officer Ghulam Sabbir. Nine policemen, including
Sabbir, were injured when the residents attacked
them,” Vikramjit Singh said. “The residents also
vandalised five police vehicles. Some people
have been detained for rioting,” he said.
A14-year-old boy from Faridabad died yesterday
weeks after sustaining burns during a selfimmolation bid, officials said. “The boy had
suffered 40% burns. Despite treatment, his
kidneys and lungs stopped functioning. He died
5.25am today (Monday),” a doctor at Delhi’s
Safdujung Hospital said. Kaustubh Pandit, a
student of a private school in Faridabad, had
set himself on fire on November 26. Police
said though the actual reason was yet to be
established, the initial investigation showed the
boy was allegedly harassed by his teacher in
front of his classmates, leading him to take such
an extreme step. “The boy got the fuel from a
petrol pump in a bottle,” a police officer said.
Four unidentified people yesterday attacked a
poultry farm owner near Gurgaon and looted
Rs2.75mn from him, police said. The suspects
came in a car, forced Sumer Singh, 53, to stop his
car on a road at Kankrola village near Manesar
in Gurgaon district. “Sumer Singh was going to
Gurgaon city to make payments to his business
partners. He was forced to stop on a road near
his village (Kankrola) by the four men,” a police
officer said. “The criminals attacked Sumer
Singh, broke the windscreen of the car and
fled with the bag containing the money,” the
officer said. Police have registered a case and an
investigation is underway, the officer said. Sumer
Singh has been admitted to hospital.
The Central Reserve Police Force, the country’s
largest paramilitary force, will unleash new
strategies to combat Maoist guerrillas, new CRPF
chief Prakash Mishra said yesterday. Mishra, who
took charge as CRPF director general yesterday,
said: “We will adopt new counter strategies to
combat Maoism. CRPF personnel will be trained
accordingly.” He said his special focus would be
on curbing the growing Maoist threat along the
borders of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
There was a need to ensure fewer casualties among
security personnel during anti-Maoist operations,
he added. Mishra, a former chief of Odisha police,
said his Odisha experience would be useful in other
states while dealing with the Maoists.
Three children died while another is battling
for life at a hospital in a village in Bihar’s
Muzaffarpur district after eating contaminated
food. The incident was reported from Gaurea
village, about 70 km from Patna, officials said
yesterday. “Two to three hours after eating
dinner on Sunday night, four children fell ill as
they complained of stomach pain followed by
diarrhoea and vomiting. Three of them died,” a
district official said. “One boy has been admitted
to Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in
Muzaffarpur. His condition is serious,” the official
said. “Preliminary inquiry suggested that the
food turned contaminated.” Villagers said the
children ate rice and spinach for their dinner.
States on
alert for
bird and
swine flu
Intense cold
continues in
N India, Delhi
shivers at 4C
New Delhi
onfirmed cases of bird and
swine flu have prompted
widespread alerts in India,
officials said yesterday.
Officials in the northern city
of Chandigarh culled over 100
birds around the popular scenic
Sukhna Lake after some of 22 migratory geese found dead there
tested positive to avian influenza
or H5N1, municipal public relations official Nidhi Bhatia said.
Lakes and farms in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana states
were being monitored, IBN news
channel reported.
Northern Uttar Pradesh state
banned all import of poultry
products from other states and
ordered an inspection of its own
4,000 poultry farms.
Chief Veterinary Officer Vipin
Kumar Agarwal said the veterinary doctors of the state government were sensitised on the issue.
R P Singh, director of the animal husbandry department said
that till further notice, import of
chicken and eggs from other states
has been completely banned. This,
he added, had been necessitated
after reports of bird flu filtered in
from other parts of the country.
The state government has ordered the sampling of all chickens and formation of Rapid
Action teams in all districts to
ensure vaccination.
An official said that the state had
4,000 big and small poultry farms.
An earlier outbreak of bird flu
in Kerala had been contained
after more than 260,000 ducks
in three districts were culled,
NDTV reported.
Pradesh were on alert after three
deaths from swine flu were reported on Wednesday at the
Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad,
the capital of both states.
“The patients came in at a
very advanced stage of the disease,” K Narasimhulu, the doctor
in charge of the swine flu wards
at the hospital said.
Swine flu cases have also been
reported from Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
and Rajasthan.
New Delhi
People walk down Raj Path on a cold foggy morning in New Delhi yesterday. Dense winter fog
enveloped the Indian capital with the low visibility affecting road, rail and air traffic.
New airline Vistara to
start flights from Jan 9
New Delhi
ndia’s newest airline announced yesterday it would
start flying next month and
was “enthusiastic” about the
future, even as rival carriers
bleed red ink.
The new airline, called Vistara - a Sanskrit word meaning
“limitless expanse”- will make
its first flight on January 9.
The airline is 49% owned
by Singapore Airlines, one of
the world’s top-rated carriers.
Mumbai-based Tata conglomerate, one of India’s best-respected brands, controls 51%.
“We’re enthusiastic. There
are no doubt challenges, but
we believe in the immense potential of the Indian aviation
market,” Vistara chief executive
Phee Teik Yeoh told reporters.
The 46-year-old former
senior executive of Singapore
Airlines, added he had felt like
“breaking into song” ever since
Vistara cleared the п¬Ѓnal hurdle
to start flying, obtaining its Air
Operators Permit from the government earlier this month in
India’s highly regulated market.
While airline analysts say
India’s aviation future belongs
to low-cost carriers, Yeoh said
there was also room for fullservice airlines.
“We’re here to redefine the
flying experience” and “create
a demand for a kind of personalised travel” that doesn’t exist,
he said, referring to the “massification” of the Indian travel
Vistara will operate the
148-seater Airbus A320-200
with 16 seats in business class,
36 in premium economy and 96
in economy.
Once it takes off, Vistara will
be the third full-service carrier
after state-run Air India and Jet
Airways, which are both making chronic losses.
The new carrier will start
with Delhi-Mumbai flights and
then include the western city of
Ahmedabad. It will add routes
as its current two-plane Airbus
fleet grows.
The carrier expects to have
п¬Ѓve planes in a month and 20
Airbus planes within four years.
The launch comes after the
debt-laden no-frills airline
SpiceJet was grounded briefly
last week for failing to pay fuel
India’s air passenger market has expanded at breakneck
speed but many airlines are laden with debt and beset by cutthroat fare wars, high fuel taxes
and shoddy infrastructure.
IndiGo, India’s largest passenger carrier, is a budget operation and the sole one among
the country’s four biggest airlines consistently to report
Kingfisher, a full-service
airline owned by liquor tycoon
Vijay Mallya, was grounded by
huge losses in 2012.
Tata also holds a stake in an
Indian low-cost carrier which
started flying in June, operated
by Asia’s biggest-budget airline AirAsia.
The previous Congress government began allowing foreign
airlines to buy up to 49% stakes
in Indian carriers in 2012.
everal states in north India
continued to reel under an
intense cold wave yester-
Residents of Delhi woke up to
the coldest Monday in the last
п¬Ѓve years, marked also by a dense
fog, which reduced visibility to
50m. Fifty trains and 16 flights
were delayed.
The minimum temperature
was recorded at 4.2 degrees Celsius, four degrees below the season’s average, the weather office
“Due to the poor visibility, the
arrival of 50 trains from various parts of the country to the
national capital has been delayed while 12 trains have been
rescheduled and one has been
cancelled,” said an official of the
Northern Railway.
The fog also hit flights - 16 departures were delayed by more
than 15 minutes. But no flights
were diverted or cancelled, an
official at the capital’s Indira
Gandhi International Airport
Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb
Jung made an emotional appeal to Delhiites to help the
city’s homeless by giving them
clothes, saying that displaying
“yeoman kindness” was a rare
opportunity in life.
According to the Delhi government, there are nearly
60,000 homeless in the capital
city itself, but NGOs estimate
them to be over 150,000.
The Delhi government has
established 221 night shelters
True friendship
for homeless people with basic
facilities such as clean drinking water, toilets, blankets and
The cold wave also affect life
across Bihar and people are unlikely to get any respite over the
next 24 hours, weather officials
“Icy winds with foggy conditions have forced people to
stay indoor,” R K. Mohapatra,
regional weather official, said in
Patna .
He said fog and cold wave will
aggravate in the coming days.
“Cold wave will intensify in the
last week of December.”
Mohapatra said icy winds
with cloudy sky will keep the
cold wave condition more or
less the same in the next fourfive days.
Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh
continued to shiver as the cold
wave further intensified yesterday, leading to the closure of
all schools in the capital Lucknow.
Icy winds blowing from
the neighbouring hill state of
Uttarakhand worsened the
situation which had already
been compounded by a dense
Footfalls at Agra’s Taj Mahal
have fallen considerably due to
the cold wave, guides said.
The day temperatures in Agra
fell to around 14 degrees Celsius,
as the city was enveloped in a
thick blanket of fog.
Himachal Pradesh experienced more snow.
The minimum temperature in
Shimla was 6.2 degrees Celsius
and 0 degrees in Manali.
Kalpa, some 250 km from
Take steps to control
encephalitis: states told
New Delhi
A still image taken from a video shows a monkey shaking
another monkey which fell unconscious after being hit by a
live electric wire in the northern city of Kanpur on December
20. The monkey fell on to rail tracks and lost consciousness.
Immediately another monkey came to its rescue, tried to
revive it by hitting, biting and dipping it in water. After more
than 20 minutes the unconscious monkey showed signs of
life and started to move.
Shimla, saw a minimum temperature of minus 0.6 degrees
Celsius. It was 5.2 degrees Celsius in Dharamsala, the seat of
the Tibetan spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama.
The desert state of Rajasthan
also experienced severe cold.
Mount Abu, the only hill station in the state, was the coldest place, recording the minimum temperature of 2 degrees
Celsius, 2 degrees below what
is normal for this time of the
Churu and Bikaner recorded
minimum temperatures of 4.2
and 4.5 degrees respectively.
State capital Jaipur recorded
6.4 degrees2 degrees below normal.
The southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also
continued to be in the grip of a
cold wave.
Mercury plummeted to one
degree Celsius in Lambasingi,
a tribal area in Visakhapatnam district while the lowest
temperature of 4 degree was
recorded in Adilabad in Telangana state.
Lambasingi in Chintapalli
mandal, about 110km from
coastal city of Visakhapatnam,
on Sunday chilled at zero degree.
The temperature in most parts
of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana continue to be below 10
The Indian Meteorological
Department (IMD) has attributed the cold wave to cold dry
northerly winds blowing into the
two states. The IMD has forecast
that temperature might further
dip in the coming days.
he central government
will ask Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu from where
Japanese encephalitis cases
have been reported, to utilise
funds meant for the disease’s
prevention, Health Minister J
P Nadda told parliament yesterday.
Asked about the deaths of
children due to the dreaded disease, Nadda singled out contaminated ground water and lack
of general immunisation as the
causes for the disease.
“It is a matter of grave concern. The issue is of implementation of the funds at the grassroots level which lies with the
state governments,” he said.
The health minister said the
matter would be taken up at the
inter-ministerial meeting to be
held later this month.
“I will talk to the health ministers of all five states and also
visit the states,” he said.
The minister was replying
to Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adi-
tyanath, whose constituency
reports the maximum number
of deaths of children due to encephalitis.
Nadda said the prevention and
control of both acute encephalitis syndrome and Japanese
encephalitis requires concerted
and co-ordinated action along
with expeditious setting up of
infrastructure to control the disease.
“This entails effort by all
stakeholders including the central and state governments, local self-governments, medical
fraternity and non-government
organisations,” he said.
“The programme for prevention and control of encephalitis is being regularly monitored
and I appeal to the state governments to utilise the funds already released or being released
to them,” he added.
Nadda said the funds released
under National Vector Borne
Diseases Control Programme
during 2014-15 to the п¬Ѓve affected states were Rs9.16 crore for
Assam, Rs28.57 crore for Bihar,
Rs15.61 crore for Tamil Nadu, Rs
23.76 crore for Uttar Pradesh and
Rs18 crore for West Bengal.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Despite intelligence, 26/11 attack wasn’t foiled: NYT
New Delhi
n one of the “most devastating near-misses in spycraft,”
intelligence agencies of India,
the US and Britain failed to stop
the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack
despite information from hightech surveillance and other tools,
The New York Times reported
The daily said it had pieced together the story from classified
documents, court п¬Ѓles and dozens of interviews with current
and former Indian, British and
American officials.
According to the NYT,
30-year-old computer expert
Zarrar Shah “roamed from outposts in the northern mountains
of Pakistan to safe houses near
the Arabian Sea in the fall of
2008, plotting mayhem in Mumbai.”
The lead conspirators were
alleged to be Shah, another
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief
Sajid Mir and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, reported Pro Publica, which
conducted the investigation
along with the Times.
Shah, the technology chief of
the Pakistani terrorist group, and
fellow conspirators used Google Earth to show terrorists the
routes to their targets in the city,
it said.
Videos, maps and reconnaissance reports had been supplied
to Mir by David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani-American who
scouted targets.
“(Ajmal) Kasab was trained to
locate everything in Mumbai before he went,” said Deven Bharti,
a Mumbai police official who investigated the attacks, said.
“He (Shah) set up an Internet phone system to disguise
his location by routing his calls
through New Jersey,” the Times
report said.
“Shortly before (the) assault
(on Mumbai) that would kill 166
people, including six Americans,
Shah searched online for a Jewish
hostel and two luxury hotels, all
sites of the eventual carnage,” the
report said.
But he did not know that by
September the British were
spying on many of his online
activities, tracking his Internet searches and messages, according to former American and
Indian officials and classified
documents from former American security contractor Edward
J Snowden.
Shah also drew similar scrutiny from an Indian intelligence
agency, according to a former
official briefed on the operation,
the Times said.
“The US was unaware of the
two agencies’ efforts, American
officials say, but had picked up
signs of a plot through other
electronic and human sources,
and warned Indian security
officials several times in the
months before the attack,” it
The Times said: “What happened next may rank among the
most devastating near-misses in
the history of spycraft.
“The intelligence agencies of
the three nations did not pull together all the strands gathered by
their high-tech surveillance and
other tools, which might have
allowed them to disrupt a terror
strike so scarring that it is often
called India’s 9/11.”
The reason: no one fully
grasped the developing Mumbai conspiracy. “They either
weren’t looking or didn’t understand what it all meant,” said one
former American official who
had access to the intelligence and
would speak only on the condition of anonymity. “There was a
lot more noise than signal. There
usually is.”
The daily quoted India’s
former national security adviser
Shivshankar Menon as saying:
“No one put together the whole
picture. Not the Americans, not
the Brits, not the Indians.”
Menon added that only after
the shooting started in Mumbai
in November 2008 did everyone
share what they had, largely in
meetings between British and
Indian officials, and then “the
picture instantly came into focus.”
The British had access to a
trove of data from Shah’s communications but contend that
the information was not specific
enough to detect the threat.
“The Indians did not home in
on the plot even with the alerts
from the US,” the Times said.
Pro Publica said that the CIA
on November 18 — eight days before the terror attack in Mumbai
— reported the location of a Pakistani vessel linked to a Lashkar
threat against the city to Indian
counter-terror agencies.
“It turned out to be Pakistani
waters, so we could not do much
more,” a senior Indian counterterror official was quoted as saying.
The Times said that Headley,
who scouted targets in Mumbai,
exchanged incriminating e-mails
with plotters that went unnoticed until before his arrest in
Chicago in late 2009.
“US counterterrorism agencies did not pursue reports from
his unhappy wife, who told
American officials long before
the killings began that he was a
Pakistani terrorist conducting
mysterious missions in Mumbai.
“That hidden history of the
Mumbai attacks reveals the vulnerability as well as the strengths
of computer surveillance and
intercepts as a counterterrorism
weapon,” it said.
However, later co-operation
among the spy agencies helped
analysts retrospectively piece
together “a complete operations
plan for the attacks”, a top-secret
NSA document said.
PM has failed to
fulfil promises,
say leaders of
socialist parties
New Delhi
eaders of the socialist �Janata Parivar’ raised the issue of black money both
inside and outside parliament
yesterday, hitting out at the government for failing to fulfil its
promise of bringing back illegal
cash stashed abroad.
They also accused the government of fomenting communal
Political heavyweights from
the Janata Parivar, comprising
the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Indian
National Lok Dal (INLD), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) gathered in the Jantar Mantar area in
the heart of the capital to address
a rally denouncing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
“Why has the NDA government failed to fulfil its promises made before the (Lok Sabha)
election?” asked JD-U leader Nitish Kumar.
“Where is the black money it
promised to bring back?”
“The prime minister has campaigned across the nation. He
had said that he would bring back
black money; what happened
to the promises he made? They
are spending money on religious
conversions, they made false
promises during poll campaign,
and now they are diverting people’s attention,” said the former
Bihar chief minister.
He accused Modi of not acting
tough against rightwing Hindu
groups charged with religious
conversion of Christians and
Muslims and said the country
should not be divided on religious grounds.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD
leader Lalu Prasad Yadav were
equally critical.
Mulayam Singh said: “They
promised jobs to all the youth
and Rs15 lakhs to everyone (from
the black money they would
bring back). They even asked
people to open bank accounts.
But where is the money?”
“The BJP’s conspiracy is to
engineer riots so that attention is shifted away from the
government’s failures,” said
the former Uttar Pradesh chief
“The Agra incident was just
a beginning. They will do such
things across the country,” Mulayam Singh said, referring to
the conversion of 300 Muslims
families in his state.
Lalu Prasad alleged that Modi
was attempting to cause religious divide in the country by
tacitly encouraging religious
“The minorities have also
fought for India’s independence and the Modi government
engages in �ghar vapsi’ (homecoming),” he said.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav
said: “Janata Parivar is protesting at the venue (Jantar Mantar)
against the government over
black money. You promised good
days, employment.”
The issue was raised again in
both houses by members of these
parties. In the Lok Sabha, they
also staged a walkout over the issue. Members of the Samajwadi
Party and the Trinamool Congress also held protests in the
parliament premises.
In the lower house, Mulayam
Singh accused the government
and Modi of not fulfilling the
promises made to people who
voted him to power.
Members of the RJD and the
JD-U also demanded a statement
from the prime minister over the
The SP chief said promises
were made that farmers would
get money in their accounts and
that land encroached by China
and Pakistan would be taken
back. But “these promises have
not been fulfilled.”
Both houses of parliament
have debated the issue of black
money during the winter session.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav and others stage a protest against the government at the Parliament House in New Delhi yesterday.
Conversions row sets
back reform agenda
Venkaiah Naidu says neither
the government nor the BJP
is involved in conversions and
asks state governments to
take action
New Delhi
rime Minister Narendra
Modi’s reform agenda
suffered a setback yesterday as protests erupted in parliament and in the streets over
a campaign by Hindu hardliners
linked to his party to convert
Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.
Opposition members threw
papers and swarmed to the centre of the Rajya Sabha, the upper
house of parliament, forcing the
suspension of the session and
effectively preventing the government from tabling a bill to
increase foreign participation in
the insurance sector.
The long-pending insurance
legislation to raise the cap on
foreign investment to 49% from
26%, and another bill to replace a
decree to overhaul the coal sector,
were considered low-hanging
fruits that Modi hoped to push
through parliament’s winter session, which ends today.
But comments by the head of
the rightwing Hindu group, the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,
that India was a “Hindu nation”
provoked a storm of criticism,
snuffing out any chance of opposition support for government
business in the Rajya Sabha,
where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata
Party lacks a majority.
The main opposition Congress
staged a walkout from the Lok
Sabha, the lower house, over the
Parliamentary Affairs Minis-
ter M Venkaiah Naidu said neither the government nor the BJP
was involved in such acts and the
state governments should take
action if anyone violates the law.
He said the government does
not support conversion or reconversion.
“The government is nowhere
in the picture, the party (BJP) is
nowhere in the picture. If any individual does it, action has to be
taken by the state government,”
he said.
“This is an attempt to divide
the society,” Janata Dal (United)
leader and former Bihar chief
minister Nitish Kumar told hundreds of people at a protest in
New Delhi, referring to religious
“The government is not capable of resolving the core issues
of our country, so they want to
divide the society and distract
Modi is facing a backlash for
not doing enough to rein in hardline affiliate groups that have
become emboldened in their
pursuit of a Hindu-dominant
agenda, threatening India’s secular foundations, critics say.
Trouble erupted this month
after a group of Muslims complained they had been tricked
into attending a conversion ceremony by Hindu groups. A Hindu priest-turned-lawmaker of
Modi’s party had planned a mass
conversion ceremony on Christmas Day, but that has been put
However, the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) yesterday vowed
to convert 200 Christians to
Hinduism in Kerala on Christmas
Aneesh Balakrishnan, the coordinator of VHP’s helpline to
prevent conversions of Hindus,
said his office had received nearly
Another Japan
award for Singh
Make in India to be a key
topic at PBD event: Swaraj
New Delhi
he government’s key programmes, including Make
in India, would be highlighted during the January 7-9
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)
being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj said yesterday.
Over 3,000 people of Indian
origin are expected to attend the
The annual PBD is being held
in Gandhinagar to mark the centenary of the return of the “sarva
sreshtha pravasi Bharatiya” or
foremost Indian diaspora mem-
ber, Mahatma Gandhi, to India
from South Africa, said Swaraj
who is also minister for Overseas
Indian Affairs, said
An exhibition on Mahatma
Gandhi and his contribution to
India’s independence would also
be inaugurated besides other
events to mark the centenary of
Gandhi’s return to India.
South Africa Foreign Minister
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has
also been invited, but her confirmation is awaited, Swaraj said.
The chief guest of the 13th PBD
would be Guyana President Donald Ramotar.
PBD is the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin aimed at enhanc-
ing networking and reinforcing
commercial linkages. There are
25mn people of Indian origin residing outside India.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
would be “different” from earlier
PBDs, Swaraj said.
The PBD would be hosting
some special events, including a
special session for the diaspora
youth and also four special sessions. These are - to deal with the
concerns of Indian expatriates
living in the Gulf, for those living
in Francophone countries, a session for countries where the descendants of Indian indentured
labour live and another session to
address concerns of the associations of Indian diaspora, she said.
200 requests for conversions
at various centres it runs in the
“We have also received a few
requests from Muslim converts
as well. We intend to step up
our efforts to bring back more
people to their original faith,”
Balakrishnan, who also campaigns against interfaith marriages, said in Thiruvananthapuram.
But president of the Kerala unit
of the Congress V M Sudheeran
warned people against “organised efforts at conversions” by
Hindu fundamentalist groups
aimed at “communal polarization.”
“Everybody should unite
against it. This is an attempt to
divide people on communal lines.
All secular parties should come
together and defeat it,” he said.
“This is a place where different
communities live in harmony.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gives details about the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at a press
conference in New Delhi yesterday. Also seen Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, Minister of State for
Statistics and Programme Implementation V K Singh and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports
Sarbananda Sonowal.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has been conferred
another prestigious Japanese
award - the Second Asia Cosmopolitan Award - for “transforming
India’s economy and its integration with the broader East Asian
economy throughout his tenure.”
The Second Asia Cosmopolitan
Award includes two scholars on
East Asia and two cultural icons.
The award ceremony was held
on Sunday at the Nara Prefectural New Public Hall in Nara, Japan.
In a video message, Singh said
he receives the prestigious award
with “great gratitude and great
humility.” In November, Singh was
awarded one of Japan’s highest
civilian honours - The Grand
Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers - for his contribution towards building Japan-India
relations. Singh served as finance
minister from 1991 to 1995 and
as prime minister from 2004 to
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
US-Cuba thaw �boosts odds
of getting back fugitives’
Drug trafficker with
alleged Farc links held
Venezuela blasts
EU resolution
Separated by deportation,
couple wed at border
UN offers to verify
ceasefire in Colombia
US deputy attorney General James Cole yesterday
said the historic new ties between the US and Cuba
make it more likely that the Cuba government will
return fugitives sought by US officials. “Certainly,
we’re working with that country and every country
to get back fugitives who we have charges
against,” he told reporters at a department of
justice press briefing. “I think the fact that we’re
going to be having better relationships with Cuba
will increase our likelihood of being successful
in getting those people back.” Cole’s comments
came in response to a question about the chances
of Cuba returning a US fugitive who fled there after
being convicted of killing a police officer.
Colombian authorities have arrested a suspected
drug trafficker alleged to have links with the
Farc rebel group and wanted by the US, the
army said. Hermes Casanova, also known as
“Mega” or “Megatronico” is accused of working in
collaboration with Colombian guerrilla group Farc
and Mexico’s Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels.
He is wanted by US authorities for working with a
drug trafficking and money laundering cartel that
exports nearly 100 tonnes of cocaine every year.
Colombia said Casanova’s arrest was a major hit
for the cartel. “It is a crushing blow to international
organised crime and drug trafficking,” army
commander Jaime Lasprilla told reporters.
Venezuela has reacted angrily to a European
Parliament resolution accusing the Latin
American nation of persecuting the opposition,
saying Europe is trying to divert attention from its
own financial woes. Lawmakers at the European
Parliament in Strasbourg passed a motion last
week urging Caracas to withdraw arrest warrants
against opposition politicians, and to disarm and
dissolve pro-government associations. European
Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said
she was concerned by the arrests of opposition
leaders. In its statement, the foreign ministry
blasted the European Parliament resolution as
“interventionist and deeply disrespectful.”
A couple separated by deportation have
realised their dream of getting married in
a ceremony at a fence dividing the cities
of Tijuana in Mexico and San Diego in the
US. Cecilia Garcia travelled from Chicago to
Mexico to reunite with her now husband, Hugo
Enrique Velazco, who was deported to Mexico
in 2012 after living in the US for 27 years. “It is
a blessing to finally get married,” declared the
couple at the end of the ceremony, in which
they exchanged vows with Garcia standing
on the US side of the fence and Velazco on
the Mexican side in Friendship Park which
straddles the border.
The UN has the willingness and the experience
to oversee a ceasefire in Colombia if the parties
involved so request it, UN representative in
Colombia Fabrizio Hochschild has said. “The
United Nations has the competency,” Hochschild
said in reference to the indefinite unilateral
ceasefire announced by the leftist rebels of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(Farc) at the end of the last round of peace
negotiations this year. The ceasefire took effect
on Saturday. The rebel group has said that the
ceasefire must lead to a truce, warning that it
would be terminated if it was found that the
guerrillas have been attacked by security forces.
stands by
Bull run
of controversial
canal kicks off
razil’s President Dilma
Rousseff yesterday said she
has no plans to replace the
chief executive officer of staterun oil п¬Ѓrm Petrobras, saying
there was no evidence that senior
management was involved in a
graft scandal at the company.
Speaking at a year-end breakfast with reporters in Brasilia,
Rousseff also said she will take
“drastic” measures next year
to get Brazil’s economy back on
track and voiced confidence in a
rebound, regardless of how the
global economy performs.
She was coy about what the
measures might entail, though
she played down speculation
she would raise taxes to shore up
government п¬Ѓnances.
The widening Petrobras scandal has overshadowed the debate about what economic steps
Rousseff will take when she is
sworn in for a second term on
New Year’s Day and has dominated the president’s agenda in
recent weeks. It has forced her
to vet Cabinet appointments to
avoid picking anyone implicated.
Yesterday, she said the pessimism surrounding Petroleo
Brasileiro SA , as the company is
formally known, was overblown
and that the recent plunge in its
shares was exaggerated.
The stock has fallen about 24%
since police last month arrested a
second former Petrobras director and scores of executives from
engineering and construction
companies accused of paying
bribes skimmed from overpriced
contracts. Petrobras shares pared
gains after Rousseff’s remarks.
The president has come under
pressure to replace CEO Maria
das Graças Foster, who has offered to resign. But Rousseff said
she stands by Foster, despite recent allegation by a former company manager that the CEO knew
about overpriced contracts.
“I see no signs of any wrongdoing by the current Petrobras
executive board,” Rousseff said.
She rejected the suggestion that
keeping Foster on would undermine Petrobras’ credibility.
A Spanish recortadore jumps over a bull during a show in Cali, Colombia.
Haiti health minister
is new interim premier
aitian Health Minister
Florence Duperval Guillaume has been named
interim prime minister to replace Laurent Lamothe, who
resigned a week ago following
several weeks of protests.
The announcement is part of
an effort to resolve a mounting
political crisis over long-delayed elections.
Under Haiti’s constitution,
Guillaume can hold the interim position for up to 30 days
before a permanent choice is
nominated for approval by parliament.
Lamothe was forced to resign
after President Michel Martelly
accepted the recommendations of a special commission
appointed to defuse the crisis,
including calling for the prime
minister to go.
It also came after international warnings from the US
and the United Nations that the
impoverished Caribbean na-
tion was on the brink of political chaos again.
Haiti, the poorest country in
the western hemisphere, is still
recovering from an earthquake
п¬Ѓve years ago that leveled much
of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Guillaume is widely
respected by international
aid agencies
In recent weeks, demonstrators in several cities have accused the government of corruption. If elections are not held
before January 12, the п¬Ѓfth anniversary of the earthquake, parliament will shut down, leaving
the country without a functioning government until presidential elections in late 2015.
Guillaume, a career health
worker whose official title is
minister of public health and
population, is seen as close to
Haiti’s First Lady Sophia Martelly, and has overseen efforts
to rebuild the country’s fragile
medical services, including by
starting new hospitals and handling a cholera epidemic and
long-running HIV-Aids treatment.
Named health minister in 2011,
Guillaume is widely respected by
international aid agencies. She
was previously deputy chief of
management science for Health
in Haiti, an organisation working with government and private
groups across a wide range of
medical problems.
She told a Harvard Kennedy
School forum last year that her
biggest challenge is reaching the
40% of Haitians not covered by
basic health care, according to
the official Harvard Gazette.
Martelly still has to п¬Ѓnd a
permanent replacement for
prime minister, who must be
approved by parliament before
it expires.
Chinese company broke
ground yesterday on a
$50bn canal across Nicaragua, an ambitious rival to the
Panama Canal that critics condemn as a pipe dream and protesters say will wreck the environment.
President Daniel Ortega and
the Chinese telecoms magnate
behind the canal, Wang Jing,
inaugurated the project at an
evening ceremony in the capital
But the actual construction
will begin some 130kms away,
with the п¬Ѓrst access roads at the
mouth of the Brito River on the
Central American country’s Pacific coast.
Wang’s Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Investment
(HKND) п¬Ѓrm says 300 workers
will build the roads and a port,
the п¬Ѓrst of 50,000 people who
will be hired to construct the
massive 280km waterway connecting the Pacific Ocean and
the Caribbean Sea.
The п¬Ѓrm estimates the project
will take п¬Ѓve years. That is half
the time it took the US to complete the Panama Canal 100
years ago, considered one of the
greatest engineering triumphs of
the 20th century.
Nicaragua, which fought Panama then to host the п¬Ѓrst canal
across Central America, has now
re-emerged as a modern-day rival.
Panama earns about $1bn a
year - six percent of its economy - off its canal, which spans
Ortega, the leftist president
who has ruled Nicaragua for 18
Royal visit
of the past 35 years, hopes the
project will make his country the
richest in Central America.
“What has been a centurylong dream for many generations
in Nicaragua has today started to
become a reality,” said Telemaco
Talavera, spokesman for the
country’s Canal Commission
and HKND.
The canal route crosses Lake
Nicaragua, the largest freshwater reserve in Central America,
then runs through rainforest and
at least 40 villages before terminating at the mouth of the Punta
Gorda River in the southern Caribbean, where another port will
be built.
Both ports and the canal will
be designed to handle the modern mega-ships favoured by global shipping п¬Ѓrms, which can
carry up to 25,000 containers.
That dwarfs the current capacity of the Panama Canal to
the south, which can only handle
ships carrying 5,000 containers.
Even after completion of an ongoing $5.25bn project to upgrade
the Panama Canal with a new set
of locks - scheduled to be п¬Ѓnished in early 2016, after a series
of delays and a dispute over cost
overruns - the century-old waterway will only be able to handle
ships carrying up to 12,000 containers.
The Nicaragua project also includes construction of an international airport and a free-trade
zone with residential and tourism facilities.
Nicaragua has kept the canal’s
technical, environmental and п¬Ѓnancial studies secret.
Environmentalists warn the
canal could destroy sensitive
habitats and cloud Lake Nicaragua’s waters. Three billion cubic
meters (106 billion cubic feet) of
Zoo orangutan wins
right to freedom
Buenos Aires
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima pose with
their daughters Amalia (left), Ariane (right) and Alexia, at the
Bosque de Arrayanes (Myrtle Forest) near Villa La Angostura,
Neuquen, Argentina, yesterday.
earth will have to be excavated
for the canal, which will be between 230 and 520 meters wide
and 30 meters deep, allowing it
to handle ships of up to 400,000
tonnes. That threatens local
wildlife, including sea turtles,
activists warn, while scientists
say the area is susceptible to
The project will also displace
30,000 farmers and indigenous
people from the Rama and Nahua ethnic groups who live
along the canal route. Thousands of them have marched
against the canal in the past
three months, rejecting the “10
hens and a rooster” that community leader Octavio Ortega
said the government offered
them in exchange for dropping
their protests.
Last week, hundreds of farmers protested against the presence of army soldiers sent to
southern Nicaragua to escort
Chinese workers. The contract
conditions, which allow HKND
to operate the canal for 100
years, have also drawn criticism
and from some in the political
and business community.
Congress passed a law in 2013
giving Wang hiring and land
expropriating powers and exempted his company from local
tax and commercial regulations.
Wang, 42, heads more than
20 companies, including Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group,
which controls Chinese state
telecoms п¬Ѓrm Datang Telecom
Technology & Industry Group.
He entered Nicaragua in 2012
with a contract to build a cell
phone network, estimated to be
worth $2bn. He set up HKND
that November and won the licence to build the canal in June
2013 with no competition.
n orangutan held in an
Argentine zoo can be
freed and transferred to
a sanctuary after a court recognised the ape as a “non-human
person” unlawfully deprived
of its freedom, local media reported.
Animal rights campaigners
п¬Ѓled a habeas corpus petition - a
document more typically used to
challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment
- in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo.
In a landmark ruling that
could pave the way for more
lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal
Rights (AFADA) argued the ape
had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated
as an object.
The court agreed Sandra, born
into captivity in Germany before
being transferred to Argentina
two decades ago, deserved the
basic rights of a “non-human
“This opens the way not only
for other Great Apes, but also for
other sentient beings which are
unfairly and arbitrarily deprived
of their liberty in zoos, circuses,
water parks and scientific laboratories,” the daily La Nacion
newspaper quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying.
Orangutan is a word from the
Malay and Indonesian languages
that means “forest man.”
Sandra’s case is not the first
time activists have sought to use
the habeas corpus writ to secure
the release of wild animals from
A US court this month tossed
out a similar bid for the freedom
of �Tommy’ the chimpanzee,
privately owned in New York
state, ruling the chimp was not
a “person” entitled to the rights
and protections afforded by habeas corpus.
In 2011, the animal rights
group People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (Peta)
п¬Ѓled a lawsuit against marine
park operator SeaWorld, alleging
п¬Ѓve wild-captured orca whales
were treated like slaves.
A San Diego court dismissed
the case.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
500 terror convicts to be
executed in coming weeks
Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif’s government has
announced a plan to hang
around 500 convicted
terrorists after the recent
school massacre
akistan plans to execute
around 500 militants in
coming weeks, officials
said yesterday, after the government lifted a moratorium on
the death penalty in terror cases
following a Taliban school massacre.
Six militants have been hanged
since Friday amid rising public
anger over Tuesday’s slaughter
in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which left 149 people
dead including 133 children.
After the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history, Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif ended
the six-year moratorium on the
death penalty, reinstating it for
terrorism-related cases.
“Interior ministry has finalised the cases of 500 convicts
who have exhausted all the appeals, their mercy petitions have
been turned down by the president and their executions will
take place in coming weeks,” a
senior government official told
AFP on condition of anonymity.
A second official confirmed
the information.
Of the six hanged so far, п¬Ѓve
were involved in a failed attempt
to assassinate then military ruler
Pervez Musharraf in 2003, while
one was involved in a 2009 attack on army headquarters.
In Karachi, the Sindh High
Court suspended the death warrants of two terror convicts just a
day before they were due to go to
the gallows.
“The Sindh High Court suspended the death warrants of two
terrorists today,” additional advocate general Mustafa Mehsar said.
Defence attorney Abdul Razaq
confirmed the news.
“We had filed a petition in the
Sindh High Court and the second review petition is pending
in the superior courts and till
Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan meets family members of slain schoolchildren on the premises of an army-run school in
Peshawar yesterday.
the decision of the petition, the
death penalty could not be implemented,” Razaq said.
Both the accused were sentenced
to death in July 2004 for killing a
doctor in Karachi in July 2001.
Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party leads
the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which
Peshawar is the capital, faced
tough questions yesterday from
the relatives of those killed.
Angry parents accused PTI
of neglecting its duties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in favour of
months of protests in Islamabad
aimed at bringing down the national government.
Shahabuddin, the father of
one student killed in the attack,
told Khan: “We had voted for you
to bring about a change, but you
gave us nothing but politics of
dharna (sit-in protest).”
Police, troops and paramilitary rangers were deployed
across the country and airports
and prisons put on red alert during the executions and as troops
intensify operations against Taliban militants.
Sharif has ordered the attorney general’s office to “actively
pursue” capital cases currently
in the courts, a government
spokesman said.
The “prime minister has also
issued directions for appropriate measures for early disposal of
pending cases related to terrorism,” the spokesman said, without specifically confirming the
plan to execute 500 people.
Pakistan has described Tuesday’s bloody school rampage,
claimed by the Tehreek-e-Tal-
Terrorists will be hunted
down: prime minister
akistan Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif yesterday chaired a high-level
meeting on counter-terrorism,
which decided to crush rising
terrorism in the country with
full force.
The meeting reviewed all existing anti-terror laws and decided to bring necessary amendments in order to toughen these
laws, Dawn online reported.
The prime minister’s Special
Assistant Khawaja Zaheer and
Law Secretary Barrister Zafarullah briefed the meeting about
Appeal delayed
against bail
order for Lakhvi
the existing anti-terror laws and
pending cases before various
The meeting also considered
a proposal relating to establishment of special military courts
for conducting speedy trials of
Sharif said the Zarb-i-Azb
operation was going on in
North Waziristan and other operations would be carried out
across the country against terrorists who were hiding in cities
and villages.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman
Imran Khan said yesterday that
the war on terror can be won
through unity of the nation, Ra-
dio Pakistan reported.
The war is difficult but not
impossible, Imran Khan said
during a press conference in Peshawar yesterday.
The PTI chief demanded
restoration of the original role
to the Frontier Constabulary,
legislation to ban illegal SIMs,
better border management to
regulate movement on Pakistan-Afghanistan border, immediate repatriation of illegal
Afghan refugees, and п¬Ѓrm plans
for repatriation of the registered ones.
He also proposed provision
of more funds for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to handle internally displaced persons.
iban Pakistan (TTP), as its own
“mini 9/11,” calling it a gamechanger in the fight against extremism.
Political and military leaders vowed to redouble efforts to
stamp out the scourge of terror
in the wake of the attack, which
the TTP said was revenge for
the killing of their families in
an army offensive in the tribal
The offensive against longstanding Taliban and other militant strongholds in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal agencies has
been going on since June.
But a series of fresh strikes
since the Peshawar attack, in
which dozens of alleged militants were killed, suggest the
campaign is being stepped up.
The decision to reinstate executions was condemned by
human rights groups, with the
United Nations also calling for
Pakistan to reconsider.
Human Rights Watch on Saturday said the executions were
“a craven politicised reaction to
the Peshawar killings” and demanded no further hangings be
carried out.
Pakistan began its de facto
moratorium on civilian executions in 2008, but hanging remains on the statute books and
judges continue to pass death
Before Friday’s resumption,
only one person had been executed since 2008 - a soldier
convicted by a court martial and
hanged in November 2012.
Rights campaigners say Pakistan overuses its anti-terror laws
and courts to prosecute ordinary
Pakistani government
prosecutor said yesterday he had been forced
to delay his appeal against a
court order which grants bail
to the alleged mastermind
of the 2008 terror attacks in
A judge in an Islamabad
anti-terror court last week
granted bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused over
the siege on India’s commercial capital that left 166 people dead and was blamed on
the banned Pakistani militant
group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The bail decision triggered
a furious response from New
Delhi and Pakistani prosecutors swiftly announced they
would appeal against it.
The challenge was due to
be п¬Ѓled yesterday but government prosecutor Mohamed
Azhar Chaudhry said he had
been unable to proceed.
“I have not yet received
copy of the court (bail) order,
which is essential to complete
legal formalities,” Chaudhry
He said he would challenge
the order after examining the
bail order.
Relations between Pakistan
and India worsened dramatically after the Mumbai carnage, in which 10 gunmen at-
tacked luxury hotels, a popular
cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre.
Lakhvi remains in custody
in the high-security Adyala
prison in the garrison city of
Rawalpindi after the authorities ordered his detention —
following the court’s bail decision — under public order
Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi told lawmakers last week that the bail order came “as a shock to all
those who believe in humanity
world over”.
It took the authorities three
days to regain full control of
Mumbai and New Delhi has
long said there is evidence that
“official agencies” in Pakistan
were involved in plotting the
charge but LeT’s charitable
arm Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD),
seen as a front for the militant
group, operates openly in the
Seven Pakistani suspects
have been charged with
planning and п¬Ѓnancing
the attacks but the failure
to advance their trials has
been a major obstacle to
better ties between Pakistan and India.
Delhi accuses Islamabad of
prevaricating over the trials,
while Pakistan has claimed
that India failed to hand over
crucial evidence.
Suspects held over school massacre
Police in Pakistan have
arrested suspects believed to
have abetted Taliban gunmen
who killed 135 children at a
school last week, an official
said yesterday, warning that
militants might be planning
more “savage” attacks.
The official told DPA on
condition of anonymity that
the arrests were made in and
around Peshawar and that six
suspects including a woman
were picked up from a remote
town in central Punjab
“A few suspects who were
facilitators in one way or the
other have been taken into
custody,” Interior Minister
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
told media in the capital
Islamabad late on Sunday.
Seven Taliban gunmen
stormed an army-run school
in the north-western city of
Peshawar last Tuesday, killing
148 people including 135
students in the deadliest such
attack ever in Pakistan.
All the assailants were killed
by army commandos.
Afghan forces launch offensive
in areas bordering Pakistan
fghan security forces
have launched an operation against militants in
an eastern province seen as a
rear base for the Pakistani Taliban which carried out a school
massacre last week, officials
said yesterday.
Pakistan’s army chief met
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
in Kabul in the aftermath of the
school attack in the Pakistani
city of Peshawar which killed
149 people, mainly children.
The army chief sought
Ghani’s support in defeating
the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan
TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah
is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan’s Kunar province,
which borders Pakistan’s restive
tribal areas.
Kunar has been the scene of
п¬Ѓerce п¬Ѓghting between local
forces and the Afghan Taliban
for the past 10 days.
“Afghan security forces have
launched a joint anti-militant
operations in several parts of
Dangam district of Kunar province,” Dawlat Waziri, deputy
defence ministry spokesman,
“So far in the operation, 21
armed insurgents have been
killed and 33 others wounded,” Waziri said, adding that
seven security personnel were
“Afghan security forces
have launched a joint
anti-militant operations in
several parts of Dangam
district of Kunar province”
Kunar governor Shujaul Mulk
Jalala said more than 1,500 Afghan Taliban п¬Ѓghters attacked
remote villages in Dangam.
Jalala said Pakistani Taliban
and Lashkar-e-Taiba militants
were also battling Afghan security forces in Dangam.
Pakistan has repeatedly asked
Afghanistan to capture and
hand over Fazlullah.
Each nation has long accused the other of allowing
militants to shelter in the border region and launch bloody
attacks that threaten regional
The Afghan Taliban have
stepped up their attacks as Nato
wraps up its combat operations,
which end on December 31.
A follow-up mission of about
12,500 US-led Nato troops will
stay on to train and support Afghan security forces.
Scaffold looms for Pakistani convicted as teen
ondemned for murder
when he was a teenager,
Shafqat Hussain could be
one of the next to go to the gallows in Pakistan’s wave of executions that follows a Taliban
school massacre.
The country last week ended
its moratorium on the death
penalty in terror cases in the
aftermath of the slaughter at an
army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Heavily-armed Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP) gunmen
murdered 149 people, 133 of
them schoolchildren, in an attack that shocked the world and
brought promises of swift and
decisive action by the government and military.
Six prisoners have gone to the
gallows since Friday and government officials said on Monday
there are plans to execute another 500 in the coming weeks.
Pakistan set up anti-terrorism
courts in 1997 to speed up trials,
which often drag on interminably in the sclerotic and overloaded justice system.
But critics say the special
courts are often misused to try
ordinary criminal cases and
many of those convicted have no
connection with militant groups
— although they now face the
hangman’s noose.
Rights groups say Hussain’s
case typifies the way anti-terror
courts are being misused.
“Who are we hanging? Let
there be no doubt that many of
those who are set to be led to the
gallows are simply not terrorists,” said Sarah Belal of the Justice Project Pakistan, a human
rights law п¬Ѓrm which works with
death row cases.
In April 2004 Hussain was
working as a watchman in Karachi, Pakistan’s sprawling and
violent port metropolis, when
a seven-year-old boy named
Umair went missing from the
A few days later Umair’s family received calls from Hussain’s
mobile demanding a ransom of
half a million rupees ($8,500 at
the time), according to legal papers seen by AFP.
The family reported to police
and Hussain was arrested. During his п¬Ѓrst interrogation he ad-
mitted kidnapping and killing
Umair, whose body was found in
a plastic bag in a stream.
“The authorities applying
the death penalty to
terrorists, no problem for
me, but they’re going down
the wrong road executing
ordinary criminals”
He later withdrew his confession, saying he had made it
under duress, but the case came
before an anti-terrorism court
which sentenced him to death.
He was aged only 15 at the time,
according to court documents.
Therefore he should have been
tried in a juvenile court and not
been given the death penalty,
which cannot be imposed on
minors in Pakistan, according to
Amnesty International.
The case went to appeal but
Hussain’s age was not seen as any
reason to overturn the sentence.
His family wrote to urge the
president to commute Hussain’s
sentence to life imprisonment,
but without success, and Hussain’s name came up again after
the six-year moratorium was
Jail authorities in Karachi,
where Hussain has now been
held for a decade, asked on Friday for his death warrant to be
signed, to the horror of his family and groups supporting him.
“The authorities applying the
death penalty to terrorists, no
problem for me, but they’re going
down the wrong road executing ordinary criminals,” Hussain’s older
brother Gul Zaman said by phone.
AFP reporters tried to meet
Husain in prison last year but jail
authorities refused permission,
citing security threats.
Amnesty International’s Chiara Sangiorgio said Hussain’s
case was not isolated — at least
seven other death row prisoners
claim they were under 18 when
they committed their offences.
Two were convicted by anti-terrorism courts.
“The majority of people in
Pakistan do not have a birth certificate, so it becomes very difficult for them to prove that they
are juvenile... unless they have a
good lawyer,” she said.
In the trauma that has gripped
Pakistan since last Tuesday’s
attack, rights campaigners fear
justice will be sacrificed in the
name of the п¬Ѓght against terror.
On Saturday, the day after the
п¬Ѓrst hangings, Human Rights
Watch denounced them as “a
craven politicised reaction to the
Peshawar killings”.
Anti-death penalty campaign
group Reprieve says Hussain
was tortured into confessing and
warned his death would do nothing to alleviate the pain of those
who lost children in Peshawar.
“Killing a man who was arrested as a juvenile and tortured
into a �confession’ will not bring
justice — it will merely add to the
tragedy of the Peshawar school
attack,” Reprieve’s director Clive
Stafford Smith said.
For now, Reprieve says, Hussain’s family wait outside the
prison every day. They have been
told that preparations for his
hanging have been п¬Ѓnalised.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Sealing of firearms ceremony
Pope to meet
Muslim and
Buddhist leaders
during visit
Female members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) hold their service pistols that are covered with tape during the sealing of the muzzles of firearms at the National
Capital Region Police Office in Taguig, Metro Manila yesterday. A police officer said all policemen in the country are ordered to seal their firearms muzzles to prevent the
indiscriminate firing of their weapons during Christmas and New Year holidays celebrations.
Justice dept urged to dismiss
murder case by US Marine
US Marine facing trial for
the murder of a Filipino
transgender urged the
Philippine Department of Justice yesterday to dismiss the case
against him.
In a petition п¬Ѓled with the
department, the lawyer for Private First Class Joseph Pemberton argued that prosecutors did
not present enough evidence to
charge him with the killing of
Jennifer Laude.
The body of Laude 26, also
known as Jeffrey, was found at
a cheap hotel in the red light
district of the northern port of
Olongapo in October after she
checked in with Pemberton, police in that city said.
But the petition argued that
the evidence linking Pemberton to the killing was “based
on nothing but conjectures and
ope Francis will meet
with leaders of various religions when he
visits the Philippines next
month, pushing a message of
tolerance in order to combat
global religious conflicts, a
church official said yesterday.
The pontiff will hold a 10 to
15-minute dialogue with the
dean of the Philippines’ largest Islamic studies centre and
a Taiwan-based Buddhist
leader on January 18, according to Father Carlos Reyes, a
member of the committee organising the Pope’s visit.
He will also meet with the
Hong Kong-based regional
head of the Greek Orthodox
Church, as well as a Hindu
leader, Protestant bishops,
and a Manila-based rabbi,
Reyes told reporters.
The dialogue will be held
at the 400-year-old churchrun University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where the
pontiff will also address a
crowd of 25,000 youths.
“The church is Catholic,
it is universal, we are in dialogue with the world,” Reyes
“It is our job as men and
women of religion not to allow the fundamentalists or
Detained ex-president
Arroyo granted
Christmas furlough
This handout photo shows Private First Class Joseph Pemberton at the Olongapo police station. Right: Marilou Laude (centre), sister of Jennifer
Laude, 26, also known as Jeffrey, speaks during a protest after attending a court hearing in the city of Olongapo, north of Manila yesterday.
“There was no evidence presented as to the details of the
purported assault during the
preliminary investigation other
than the surmises and conjectures of the supposed witnesses
and the baseless conclusions of
the (Olongapo) police,” the petition argued.
The murder case against Pemberton was п¬Ѓled with an Olon-
gapo court which issued a formal
arrest warrant for him last week.
However a petition to the justice department is also an option
for the accused in such criminal
Pemberton also wanted court
hearings suspended pending a
decision on his petition.
But Philippine prosecutors
argued that this would delay
proceedings, which under a USPhilippine agreement must be
completed in a year.
In Olongapo a lawyer for the
Laude family, Harry Roque, said
Pemberton’s petition was “not a
basis for suspension, especially
for cases like this”.
The high-profile case has inflamed anti-US sentiment in the
Philippines and strains in rela-
tions between the longtime allies, which both sought custody
of the suspect.
The US government has refused to hand over custody to
Philippine authorities even after
prosecutors charged Pemberton
with murder.
He is currently under US military guard at a Philippine military base in Manila.
extremists to hijack the religion.”
The event comes as the
largely-Catholic Philippines
is implementing a peace
deal signed last March with
its main rebel group to create an autonomous area for
the Muslim minority in the
southern islands.
It also comes as the government fights a small band
of hardliners that have reportedly pledged allegiance
to the Islamic State group,
which has taken control of
a swathe of territory across
Iraq and Syria.
The military has in recent
weeks intensified offensives
against the Al Qaeda-linked
Abu Sayyaf, which is holding
several hostages, including
foreigners, in the troubled
Pope Francis will arrive in
the country amid tight security on January 15 for a
four-day visit highlighted
by a mass in Tacloban City,
ground zero for Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.
Haiyan’s monster winds
spawned tsunami-like storm
surges that wiped out entire
towns and left more than
7,350 killed or missing.
The pontiff’s visit has the
theme “mercy and compassion” and is expected to draw
millions of the faithful to the
public events.
Philippines court ruled
yesterday that ailing
former president Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo, detained
on corruption charges since
2012, can spend Christmas
with her family at home, although police guards will be
posted at the residence.
Arroyo was barred from
leaving the country in October 2011, and has been
detained in a military hospital since 2012 on corruption charges over the misuse
of charity funds. She wears
a neck brace and has lost
The 67-year-old has de-
nied any wrongdoing. Her
lawyers argue the cases
against her are weak and
cannot be proven, but the
administration of President
Benigno Aquino continues to
cite her cases as example of
anti-corruptipn drive.
Arroyo’s Christmas furlough will begin on Dec 23
and will end of Dec 26 but the
court banned her from using
mobile phones and computers at home. She was also
barred from giving press interviews and guards will be
posted at her side.
The Sandiganbayan court
cited mercy and compassion,
the theme of Pope Francis
pastoral visit to the Philippines next month, in allowing Arroyo’s request.
Binay favourite to replace Aquino as president: survey
By Fernan Marasigan &
Jefferson Antiporda
Manila Times
ice President Jejomar
Binay remains the people’s top choice to succeed President Benigno Aquino,
edging out Interior Secretary
Manuel Roxas and Sen. Grace
Poe by a wide margin, a new
survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS)
The nationwide survey conducted from November 27 to
December 1, showed that 37%
of the respondents believed
that Binay is the best leader to
succeed Aquino when he steps
down in 2016. Poe got 21% and
Roxas, 19%.
The poll asked the 1,800 respondents the question: “According to the Constitution, the
term of President Noynoy (the
incumbent leader’s nickname)
Aquino is up to 2016 only, and
there will be an election for a
new president in May 2016. Who
do you think are the good leaders who should succeed Aquino
as president? You may give up to
three names.”
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago got 10%; Sen. Francis Escudero and Manila Mayor Joseph
Estrada each got 9%; Davao City
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, 5%;
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 3%;
former senator Manuel Villar Jr,
Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson each got 2%.
Senate President Franklin
Drilon, Sen. Loren Legarda,
Presidential Assistant for Food
Security and Agricultural Modernisation Francis Pangilinan
and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao each got 1%.
The survey has sampling error margins of В±2% for national
percentages; В±6% each for
Metro Manila, “Balance Luzon”
and Mindanao; and В±3% for the
The vice president’s ardent
detractors — senators Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter
Cayetano — got 5% and 3%, respectively.
The SWS conducted the survey using face-to-face interviews of adult respondents. No
lists were provided to the respondents who were asked to
name three of their favourite
leaders who are likely to succeed
President Aquino.
There were 300 respondents
in Metro Manila, 900 in the
Visayas and 600 in Luzon and
According to Binay, he is honoured and humbled by results of
the SWS poll. “I am grateful for
the kind recognition of my worthiness to assume the country’s
highest public office. To my fellow Filipinos, thank you very
much for this warm Christmas
greeting,” the vice president
said in a statement.
He added that the poll results are an important guide
and an inspiration to further
improve his work in governance “despite the efforts of
some quarters to distract me
from fulfilling my mandate and
my promise to serve our people.”
“Public service is after all a
never-ending profession. We
must persevere in fulfilling our
mission to promote the welfare and provide comfort to the
greatest number of Filipinos,”
Binay pointed out.
“In this joyous season of
harmony and compassion, I
urge all my colleagues in government to renew our resolve
in staying the course of good
and effective governance. We
owe it to ourselves, to our families, to our people, and to the
country we all love and cherish,” the vice president said.
In an earlier survey conducted by Pulse Asia, Binay
remained the top choice for
president despite a 5% drop in
his rating.
The vice president was recently investigated by the senate on accusations of wrongdoings, which Binay’s camp
described as investigation “in
aid of demolition.”
Binay has said the attacks
against him and his family are
meant to pull down his high
survey ratings and destroy and
eventually weaken the opposition party United Nationalist
Alliance. Poe also expressed
her appreciation to the trust
given to her by the people but
noted that she is more interested in her legislative duty
than the 2016 elections.
Top notcher of the 2013 senatorial race, she said she would
rather focus on crafting laws
that will benefit the public than
her personal political ambition.
The senator has declared that
she has no plans to seek higher
office, noting that those who
aspire to be president must not
only be prepared to face challenges but also be capable of addressing problems of the country.
“I took my oath as a member
of the senate and I believe that
I’m doing my job as lawmaker
properly. It will not be proper
for me put my personal ambition first than doing my job as a
legislator,” Poe said in an earlier
The nationwide survey showed that 37% of the respondents believed that Jejomar Binay is the best
leader to succeed President Benigno Aquino when he steps down in 2016.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Muslim minister quits in
major blow to Rajapakse
Rishad Bathiudeen accuses
President Mahinda
Rajapakse of failing to
restrain a pro-government
radical Buddhist group
ri Lanka’s President Mahinda
Rajapakse suffered a setback
to his re-election hopes yesterday when a key minister and his
minority Muslim party quit the
coalition government.
Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said
he was switching allegiance to
Maithripala Sirisena, the main
opposition candidate seeking to
topple Rajapakse in a January 8
It is the latest in a series
of blows for the 69-year-old
president, who was seen as the
favourite when he called snap
polls last month but has seen his
former health minister Sirisena
garner significant support.
Bathiudeen accused Rajapakse of failing to restrain a
radical Buddhist group accused
of attacking mosques, churches
and businesses run by religious
minorities in the Buddhistmajority country.
“I asked the president to stop
these religious hate attacks, but
he failed to take action against
offenders,” Bathiudeen told
reporters in Colombo.
He accused the government of
being behind an attack on Muslims in the coastal resort town
of Aluthgama in June that left
at least four people dead.
And he said some 69 elected
representatives from his All
Ceylon Makkal (People’s) Congress (ACMC) were joining the
opposition in a mass defection
of Muslims politicians from the
Muslims, the second largest minority in the island after Hindu Tamils, account for
about 10% of the electorate and
could emerge as king-makers in
January’s presidential election if
the majority Sinhalese are split
down the middle.
Both Rajapakse and Sirisena
are members of the majority
Sinhala Buddhist community.
However, Sirisena is seen securing the support of ethnic and
religious minorities who feel alienated during Rajapakse’s rule
in the past nine years.
The Tamil National Alliance,
the main party representing
Hindu Tamils, has not formally
pledged support to either of the
two main Sinhalese candidates,
but has strongly hinted that it
will support Sirisena.
That would make it even more
difficult for Rajapakse to win an
election that he himself called
two years ahead of schedule.
The country’s main party of
Buddhist monks, the JHU, supports Sirisena, while a more
radical outfit known as the Bodu
Bala Sena, or Buddhist Force,
favours Rajapakse.
Three killed and
500,000 displaced
in Lanka floods
Sri Lanka’s Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen
addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
t least three people
have been killed and
over 500,000 displaced
in Sri Lanka after three days
of heavy rain and flooding,
officials said yesterday.
The eastern, northcentral
and northern provinces were
the worst-affected over the
weekend, a spokesman for the
Disaster Management Centre
(DMC) said.
Water overflow from major
irrigation tanks in the Anuradhapura district - 180kms
northeast of the capital caused additional flooding
yesterday with authorities
calling on locals to evacuate
areas close to the river and
canal banks.
Batticaloa district - 303kms
east of the capital - was the
worst affected yesterday, with
more than 320,000 people
Several other areas in the
eastern and the northern
provinces have also been hit
by floods.
“We have made arrangements to provide accommodation for more than 50,000 people who have been displaced,”
for the DMC, said.
Officials from the provinces
said that many of those displaced were in need of temporary accommodation as it
would take several days for
water levels to reduce.
“The safety of pilgrims and
foreign visitors is being given
priority. They have been evacuated from hotels near major
tanks while pilgrims were removed from the sacred city,”
Anuradhapura district secretary
Mahinda Seneviratne said.
Heavy rains are expected to
continue during the Christmas week, dampening relief
Those areas had seen a
drought from August to
November that destroyed a
large part of the harvest.
President Hamid Act against criminals irrespective
visits Ajmer shrine of their political ties, says Hasina
angladesh President Abdul Hamid on Sunday
visited the Dargah of
Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty in
Ajmer, and prayed for peace and
harmony in the subcontinent,
the shrine’s officials said.
“He (Hamid) visited the
dargah at around 3:35pm and
stayed for 15-20 minutes, offering prayers,” Syed Manovar
Chisty, a khadim (servitor) at
the shrine, over 140km from
the state capital Jaipur, said.
“He prayed for peace and
harmony in the subcontinent
and strong bilateral relations
between India and Bangladesh,” said a source close
to Syed Akil Ahmed Chisty,
the khadim who helped the
president to offer prayers.
President Hamid, along with
a 25-30 member delegation,
reached Ajmer by helicopter
and went straight to the state
government’s circuit House
where after some rest he went
to the dargah where the dargah
committee welcomed him in
traditional style.
He also offered a marooncoloured chador at the shrine.
Looking to the visit of Bangladesh president, the administration had beefed up security
arrangements at the dargah,
which was vacated fully.
Hamid was accorded a warm
welcome earlier on his arrival
at the Jaipur’s Sanganer airport by state minister Arun
Chaturvedi and senior police
and administrative officials.
President Hamid arrived in
Kolkata yesterday on a twoday visit to West Bengal state
of India.
He was received at the airport by Minister for Urban
Development and Municipal
Affairs Firhad Hakim.
West Bengal Governor K
N Tripathi will host a dinner
in honour of the Bangladesh
President at Raj Bhavan this
evening, Raj Bhavan officials
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also attend the dinner, a government official said.
Hamid will visit Santiniketan today and come back to
Kolkata the same day before
flying back to Dhaka.
The Bangladesh president
had arrived in Delhi on December 18 on a six-day official visit during which he held
talks with the Indian leadership with an aim to further
strengthen the already close
bilateral relations between the
two countries.
Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid during his visit to the Amber Fort, near Jaipur in India.
By Mizan Rahman
n an unequivocal stance
against terrorism, Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the law enforcement agencies to take stern actions against those indulging in
crimes, including terrorism, militancy, drug smuggling and anti-social activities, irrespective
of their party affiliations.
“We must maintain the law
and order situation ... stern actions must be taken against
those indulging in terrorism,
militancy, drug smuggling or
anti-social acts, no matter who
they are,” she said.
The prime minister’s strong
directive came during a videoconferencing with members of
Barguna and Lalmonirhat district development co-ordination
committees, Rangpur division
commissioner and the deputy
inspector general (DIG) of police
of Rangpur range, the Barisal divisional commissioner, the DIG
Barisal range and Barisal metropolitan police commissioner and
public representatives of Barguna and Lalmonirhat districts.
While interacting with the
Rangpur divisional commissioner and the DIG of Rangpur
range, Hasina recalled the killings unleashed by BNP-Jamaat
in 2013 in that area to thwart the
January 5 polls and said her government wants no reoccurrence
of such incident.
“Punitive measures are being
taken against those responsible
for such killings,” she said.
Referring to the recent killings of Jubo League (youth front
of ruling Awami League) and
Sramik League (workers’ front)
leaders, Hasina said: “There’s a
clear directive, I don’t want to
know who (criminal) belongs
to which party. You’ll (law enforcement agencies) arrest those
committing crimes ... just remain careful so that no one is
She said the problem of staying in power is that some people
label themselves as permanent
government party and thus the
blame for the crime goes to the
government. “Get tough and
spare no one … you don’t need to
work seeing someone’s face, you
must work neutrally. If a peaceful environment prevails, development works in the country
will get accelerated.”
Mentioning that the poverty rate has now come down
to about 24%, Hasina said her
government has been implementing various schemes to
further reduce the poverty rate
by another 10% and thus change
the fate of each of the country’s
people through ensuring better
livelihoods for them.
She also directed the administration
distribute warm clothes to people
preferably above 60 and the
physically-challenged ones.
Hasina directed the local administration to stay alert so that
development projects are implemented properly and in time,
and he sought the co-operation
of all in this regard.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina: “We must maintain the law and order
situation ... stern actions must be taken against those indulging in
terrorism, militancy, drug smuggling or anti-social acts, no matter
who they are.”
Tsunami brothers plan centre for Lanka children
By Belinda Goldsmith/Reuters
hen British brothers
Rob and Paul Forkan
survived the Indian
Ocean tsunami 10 years ago that
killed both their parents, they
knew they had to use their lives
to help other children in need.
On December 26, 2004,
the then teenagers awoke in
a beachside hotel room in Sri
Lanka as a wall of water ripped
through coastal communities in 14 countries, claiming
230,000 lives.
Their parents, Kevin and
Sandra, had taken the brothers
and two of their four siblings
out of school for four years to
travel and volunteer on humanitarian projects in India and
were spending Christmas in a
п¬Ѓshing village called Weligama.
When disaster struck, the
family was split up. Rob and
Paul stayed together, clinging
to trees, and eventually found
younger siblings Matt and
Rosie but their parents were
swept away.
The siblings hitchhiked their
way to safety, despite having no
passports and no money, and
managed to get a flight back to
Realising how lucky they
were to survive and to have family to help them, the brothers’
desire to give back led them in
2011 to set up Gandys, an ethical
footwear company that makes
colourful, funky flip-flops from
natural materials.
10% of its profits into funding projects for orphans and
underprivileged children.
Using this money, bolstered
by fundraising and donations,
the brothers are marking the
10th anniversary of one of the
most devastating humanitarian
disasters in recorded history by
opening a centre for children in
Sri Lanka through their Gandys
Foundation that runs their “Orphans for Orphans” mission.
The centre in Mau Gama,
near the capital Colombo, once
completed around February,
will provide medical treatment,
nutrition and education for
about 400 children.
“We want to help children
and give them an education,”
said Paul, 25, at the company’s
office near Wimbledon in south
“It’s been hard work getting
it off the ground because at п¬Ѓrst
people thought we were weird
for wanting to do good when
most fashion brands want to
be hot and sexy but things are
changing and consumers are
becoming more ethical.”
His brother Rob, 27, said it has
been difficult to grow the company that started from his onebedroom flat in south London
and now employs 15 people.
The idea was sparked when
Rob woke up at a music festival saying his “mouth felt like
one of Gandhi’s flip-flops”. The
spelling was modified and the
brand was born.
The rubber flip-flops are produced in China with the brothers looking at opening a factory
Rob and Paul Forkan launched Gandys flip-flops to raise money for
projects for orphans and underprivileged children.
in Sri Lanka too and are sold in
some leading Britain’s shops, in
Australia, Japan, Dubai, Thailand and a growing list of countries. They hope to expand to
the US soon.
In the past three years the
company and the driven, charismatic brothers have won
praise and support from British billionaire entrepreneur
Richard Branson, Prime Minister David Cameron, and various celebrities including singer
Jessie J.
“It is good to see that we are
starting to get impact but next
year it will be even harder work
as that will enable us to do more
projects like the one in Sri Lanka,” Rob told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, surrounded by
thousands of zany flip-flops.
Returning to Sri Lanka next
week to check in on their project
as the world commemorates
that massive loss of lives 10
years ago, will be an emotional
journey for the brothers whose
story is told in the recentlypublished book Tsunami Kids.
It is only the second time they
have returned since the tragedy
but they are convinced that surviving that day and the experiences with their parents in India, volunteering in slums and
children’s homes, had enabled
them to cope.
“Doing the volunteering
work we always saw children
worse off than we were,” Paul
said, adding that living through
the tsunami had given them a
“no fear” approach to life.
“Now we just want to grow
Gandys so we can open another
centre after this one and then
Verdict on war
crimes accused
The International Crimes Tribunal
(ICT) has set Today to pronounce
judgment in the crimes against
humanity case against Syed
Mohammad Qaiser, a former state
minister for agriculture.
“Let this matter to fix Tuesday for
judgment,” said Justice Obaidul
Hassan, chairman of the threemember panel of ICT-2. The tribunal
also asked the prison authority to
present the accused in due time at
the tribunal.
On August 20, 2014, the ICT-2 kept
the date of the verdict on CAV
(curia advisory vault, a Latin legal
term meaning court awaits verdict),
saying it can be passed on any day.
The tribunal also cancelled the bail
of 73-year-old Qaiser and sent him
to jail on that day.
The tribunal passed the order as
the prosecution pleaded death for
Qaiser for his �Dragon’ type role
in 1971.
“Qaiser played the role of a Dragon
in the crimes that took place in
the areas of Habiganj, Madhobpur
and Brahmanbaria in 1971. We are
pleading maximum punishment,
which is death for heinous crimes,”
prosecutor Rana Dasgupta
had said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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Sony hack: threats to
N Korea may merely
provoke an escalation
Sony Pictures’ decision to cancel the release of
The Interview, its much-trailed comedy about the
assassination of Kim Jong-un, the eccentric North
Korean dictator, has raised concerns ranging from the
trivial to the deadly serious.
Cyber attacks on computer systems at Sony’s
Hollywood studios by anonymous hackers led to
publication of gossipy company e-mails about stars
such as Angelina Jolie and Barack Obama’s taste in
movies. This was embarrassing, but hardly earthshattering. But when North Korea insisted the п¬Ѓlm
constituted an act of war and when the hackers, styling
themselves the Guardians of Peace, threatened terror
attacks on American cinemas, the affair suddenly
assumed a higher order of magnitude.
The ensuing confused and panicky reaction in the US
has been unedifying. Major cinema chains and distributors
declared they would not screen or market The Interview out
of fears for customer safety, obliging Sony to cancel not just
the film’s cinema, but also its home movie, release. Michael
Lynton, Sony’s CEO, said it had not backed down and hoped
the п¬Ѓlm would be shown.
So far, no
distributors have
volunteered their
services. Although
it has already
been publicly
premiered in Los
Angeles, this
ill-starred movie
seems destined
to become a
collector’s item, possessed by the supposedly fortunate
Maybe Sony and the distributors believed they were
acting altruistically, in the wider national interest. Or
maybe they just got cold feet in the face of potentially
large п¬Ѓnancial losses and the prospect of liability lawsuits
should violent attacks result. Whatever their motivation,
those in the US responsible for preventing the п¬Ѓlm being
screened have, in effect, handed a significant victory
to the hackers, to blackmailers, to actual and would-be
terrorists of every stripe and to the North Korean regime
that, despite its denials, has been identified by the FBI
and South Korea as the dark force behind the hack
This victory for intimidation amounts to a defeat
for America’s cherished principle of freedom of
speech and expression that cannot be allowed to
stand, as Obama rightly said when he п¬Ѓnally focused
on the affair on Friday. “We cannot have a society in
which some dictator some place can start imposing
censorship here in the United States… Or even worse,
imagine if producers and distributors and others
start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t
want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose
sensibilities probably need to be offended,” he said.
It should come as no surprise that isolated, insecure
and paranoid North Korea, suspected of a previous
cyber attack on South Korea, should also be expanding
and perfecting its cyber capabilities. This development
makes it more important than ever that the US and
Japan, with China and Russia, work more urgently to
bring this dangerous regime in from the cold.
Obama refused to say what retaliatory action he
may take. But more threats, more sanctions or likefor-like cyber attacks will not work in the long run
and, if attempted, may merely provoke an escalation.
Mockery of North Korea’s oddball leader, however
deserved, is no substitute for a thoughtful, grown-up
policy of diplomatic engagement.
Major cinema chains
and distributors
would not screen
The Interview out of
fears for customer
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Young Cuban-Americans
emerge as Obama allies
Obama is going to need
that support as he faces
opposition from his
Republican rivals and the
Cuban-American political
establishment that opposes
closer ties with Cuba
By David Adams/Reuters
or a handful of CubanAmericans, President Barack
Obama’s new Cuba policy
wasn’t much of a shocker.
For months, they quietly advised
the White House in hopes of shaping
a new policy towards the communistrun nation.
“A lot of what the president announced is what we, and others in
Miami, have been doing for a long
time,” said Felice Gorordo, co-founder
of Roots of Hope, a non-partisan
group of Cuban-American university
students and young professionals.
Their mission: closer contact with
the island to build mutual understanding - a point of view that’s
often at odds with their parents and
But they offer much more than policy advice. Obama is counting on this
organisation, and others like them, to
help pave the way for his new policy
that includes measures from promoting private sector entrepreneurship, to
modernising the island’s telecommunications infrastructure and restoring
access to US banking services.
“There is a clear understanding
in the White House that politically
they are going to have to focus on and
cultivate the younger generation of
Cuban-Americans who are mobilised
and out there supporting the president’s decision,” said Frank Mora, a
Cuba scholar at Miami’s Florida
International University, and a former
top Pentagon official for Latin America
in the Obama administration.
Obama is going to need that support
as he faces opposition from his Republican rivals and the Cuban-American
political establishment that opposes
closer ties with Cuba.
Gorordo co-founded Roots of Hope
in 2002 while studying government
affairs at Georgetown University after
a visit to Cuba where he was inspired
by the number of educated youths
hungry for change. The group п¬Ѓrst
gained notice in Miami in 2009 when
it got behind a controversial peace
concert in Havana by Colombian rocker Juanes who lives in Miami. Now, it
says, there are some 9,000 members, a
Miami office and three staffers.
As far as politics is concerned, the
organisation said it is bipartisan. Indeed,
its leaders added, not all its members
support normalisation of relations with
Cuba. Members include second-generation Cuban-Americans born in Miami,
as well as recent arrivals from Cuba.
“We are not here to push political agendas. We are seeking to be a
platform for anyone who cares about a
better future in Cuba,” said Raul Moas,
the group’s director.
Still, while respectful of their par-
A group of Cuban-American friends play dominoes in Miami, Florida. News on Wednesday that the US will restore full
diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half century rippled through
the 1.5mn-strong exile community in the US, many of them lifelong opponents of communist rule.
ent’s bitter memories, they say it’s
time to move on.
“The pain is real,” said Gorordo.
“We inherit this baggage and carry it
like a backpack. It gives us the ability
to empathise with our parents’ struggle, and we also know when to take
off that backpack in order to see the
change we all desire.”
Roots of Hope’s main focus is what
they call “people-to-people connectivity” with the island. It sends
smart phones to Cuba. It encourages
Cuban-Americans to visit the country
and reconnect with lost relatives and
discover their heritage.
They have also worked with Silicon
Valley executives at Google, Twitter,
Facebook and Apple to improve digital
services in Cuba, where the Internet is
strictly limited by the Cuban government. It was, for example, instrumental in helping Google win US permission in August to make its Chrome
browser available to users in Cuba.
“In order to be able to advance you
have to be able to engage,” said Gorordo, 31, a former White House fellow in
2011-12 who is also chief executive of
Clearpath, a tech company for online
immigration п¬Ѓlings.
The Obama administration confirmed its involvement with Roots of
Hope. It has consulted with the organisation on “the kinds of action they
thought might contribute to greater
openings in Cuba,” said Bernadette
Meehan, spokesperson for the National Security Council, the president’s
advisory body on foreign policy.
Roots of Hope, as far as young
Cuban-Americans are concerned,
aren’t the only game in Miami. In an
e-mail Meehan also credited another
Miami-based group, CubaNow, with
urging the White House “to focus on
helping improve conditions for Cuban
citizens,” while continuing to promote
human rights and democracy.
CubaNow, launched in April, is
backed by a handful of deep-pocketed
benefactors, including Ralph Patino,
a Miami lawyer and Democratic party
fundraiser who contributed $78,800
to the Obama campaign in 2012.
“We have to do everything possible
to ensure these gains survive the next
election and work with Congress to
see how we can continue updating
our policy to Cuba,” said Ric Herrero,
36, CubaNow’s director. The group
describes itself as a political advocacy
organisation led by young CubanAmericans. It has urged Obama to
use his executive authority to refocus
Cuba policy away from punishing the
Cuban government to empowering the
Cuban people.
The White House outreach began
shortly after Obama visited Miami in
November last year for a fundraiser at
which he said US Cuba policy might
need an “update.”
But Wednesday’s announcement
was met with scorn from many older
Cuban exile leaders who strongly oppose relaxing pressure on the Cuban
government which they believe is on
its last legs.
In addition, the new groups are
largely dismissed as bit-players by the
well-heeled, conservative CubanAmerican political establishment.
US Representative Mario DiazBalart said media reports have
talked for decades about “a change
in perception,” but he noted that no
Cuban-American has been elected
who supports normalisation. “So
where are all these people? You might
want to interview them.”
Other older Cubans are even less
flattering. “It’s sad that young people
can be so ignorant. They must be
communists,” said Laura Vianello, 68,
a Cuban exile with the hardline Miami
group Vigilia Mambisa.
That point of view, though, seems to
be softening. Street protest in Miami
were small this week, a sharp contrast
to the large demonstrations in 2000
when the Justice Department ordered a
six-year-old rafter boy, EliГЎn GonzГЎlez,
returned to his father in Cuba.
Recent opinion polls show a marked
shift among younger Cubans, as well
as a growing group of middle-aged
Cuban-Americans frustrated with 50
years of failed efforts at regime change
in Cuba.
A poll released on Friday showed
Cuban-Americans evenly split over
Obama’s new policy. About 52% of
Cubans under 65 support normalisation, according to the poll by Bendixen
& Amandi International, with 67% of
those over 65 opposed.
“For more than 50 years we’ve tried
it one way. The time has come for a
different approach,” former Miami
mayor Manny Diaz, a Democrat,
declared in an email blast this week.
Diaz, 60, whose father was a political
prisoner in Cuba, is a former hardliner
who led the legal effort to keep EliГЎn
in the US.
But it is the young Cuban-Americans who have most at stake.
“It’s been an ecstatic week,” said
Maria Carla Chicuen, 26, the daughter of an electrical engineer and a
doctor, who left Cuba with her family
in 2002 when she was 14. After only
four years in high school in Miami she
was awarded a near full scholarship at
Harvard to study history, before earning a masters at the London School of
“Cuba is full of potential and very
talented professionals,” said the
education specialist who returns
frequently to Cuba. Last year, she
married a childhood friend from her
old barrio in a ceremony at Havana’s
“Given the opportunity,” she added.
“They can do wonders.”
The need for radical transparency on US torture
By Joseph Margulies
Los Angeles
ere’s a radical idea: Let
the people decide. Since
the release of the Senate
Intelligence Committee
report on torture last week, we have
been treated to a predictable barrage
of overheated hyperbole. The left
says the CIA programme was utterly
pointless and needlessly brutal; the
right says it was completely successful and entirely appropriate. Many
have demanded prosecutions; many
more have attacked the report as
partisan and incomplete. Both sides
squared off before most had even
read the report, let alone studied it
And even if people had access to
it, they would be studying a heavily
redacted summary of a much larger
report that remains secret. There
are no plans to release the rest of the
report or to reveal the content of the
redactions. More important, no one as far as I know - has even suggested
releasing the underlying documentation so people could form their own
And so we are left with a bitter but
inconclusive debate about one of the
most important programmes in our
nation’s history.
But what if, instead of vapid п¬Ѓngerpointing, we let the American people
п¬Ѓgure it out for themselves? What
if we gathered everything about the
programme - not just the summary
but the entire report, as well as all
the underlying documentation - and
let Americans make up their minds?
What if, in other words, we tried radical transparency instead of mindless
Scholars would probably take the
deepest dives. Sociologists, political
scientists, historians, psychologists
and legal academics could plumb the
depths of the material for decades,
mining it for countless invaluable insights about the nature of the US and
the world in the 21st century.
Journalists also would be interested
and could п¬Ѓll in gaps in the record, not
simply by asking the questions they
are paid to ask, but by digging deeper
and unearthing the humanity of the
men and women touched by the torture programme. They’d thereby put
a human face on the report’s lifeless
bureaucratic prose.
But in many ways, the professionals are the least important audience.
It would be valuable for high school
students writing term papers, elementary school teachers developing
lesson plans and just plain curious
Americans who want to figure things
out for themselves rather than be
told what to think by talking heads
on TV. This is the audience that
matters. The knowledge would be
available to everyone.
Surely much of this material could
be made available immediately. When
CIA Director John Brennan addressed
the report he emphasised that the episode was long past and encouraged the
country to move on. The programme
ended years ago and the techniques are
no longer in use.
Indeed, the CIA insisted on redacting names and places that are already
known. Psychologist James Mitchell, for instance, is one of the two
principal architects of the “enhanced
interrogation” programme. He has
given a number of interviews freely
acknowledging his role, yet his name
is redacted in the report or a pseudonym is used.
This is not a technologically challenging project. Virtually all this
material is digitised, which means it
can be organised and easily searched.
Nor would it be particularly expensive
to do.
So, is there any chance of this
happening? Absolutely not. The
odds of meaningful transparency
surrounding this programme are
zero. In the US today, no major political actor and precious few media
outlets are interested in transparent
debate about contentious issues. We
should pay close attention to this
resistance because it reveals something important about the nature of
American democracy.
Selective dissemination of the
sort surrounding the torture report
encourages partisan п¬Ѓnger-pointing.
From the perspective of the major
political parties, this has the salutary
effect of invigorating their core constituencies. To put it plainly, selective
dissemination gets those who care to
care even more.
And since the major parties depend
on these people for money and support,
there is a chronic demand that the core
stay molten hot. The parties thus have
no incentive to encourage transparency because it tends to reveal nuances
and complexity and therefore appeals
primarily to the more moderate, and
politically disengaged, middle.
The result is a predictable polarisation. Elites within each party
who espouse the most radical views
become the media darlings du jour,
which encourages them to swing for
the fences in their public remarks.
Fed a diet of raw meat, the energised
extremes within each party grow
increasingly enraged at the apparent
depravity and evident hubris of the
The result? Dick Cheney, the man
the left loves to hate, makes the run of
TV talk shows gleefully assuring the
faithful he would do it all again. Cue
Radical transparency is not just a
campaign slogan. It is a prescription
for democratic repair. And that’s a pill
the major parties will never swallow.
zJoseph Margulies, a visiting professor of law and government at Cornell
University, is counsel for Abu Zubaydah. He wrote this for the Los Angeles
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Collecting rain helps ease drought for some
For most Californians, raincatching is a seasonal hobby
and not practical enough to
eliminate dependency on
snowmelt, reservoirs and
By Lisa M. Krieger
Los Gatos, California
hen rain drenches Mark
Wialbut’s mountain
home, it sprouts inspiration.
His vast network of gutters, pipes,
tanks and п¬Ѓlters has captured more
than 10,000 gallons so far this month,
with more to come - enough for his
family to be self-sufficient this winter
in their Los Gatos aerie.
For most Californians, raincatching is a seasonal hobby and
not practical enough to eliminate
dependency on snowmelt, reservoirs
and groundwater.
But for Wialbut - and the growing
number of collectors like him rainwater systems are enough to
weaken drought’s fierce grip.
“The water is used for everything,”
said Wialbut, a salesman at Applied
Power Technology at work but a water
sanitation specialist, maintenance
mechanic and troubleshooting
technician at home.
“It tastes great,” he said. “And
this morning, I took a nice long hot
In the East Bay, Tony Poeck of
Indira Designs reports a 30% revenue
increase this year for sales of rainwater
and “grey water” (to reuse household
water) collection system equipment,
design and consultation.
Several 20,000-gallon systems enough to supply an average family for
about 115 days - are being installed in
San Francisco, Marin and the East Bay,
he said.
The big systems can cost as much
as $70,000, which might explain
why smaller cisterns are even more
popular. In North Oakland, Elizabeth
Doughtery has п¬Ѓlled her three large
cisterns with a total of 1,100 gallons,
and she plans to hook up more to boost
capacity another 1,000 gallons.
“Any amount of water saved is
worth our while,” said Poeck. “And
when people have a cistern, they see
how fast it goes. They start thinking
about conservation.”
The maths is simple: For every
100 sq ft of roof, 1 inch of rain yields
60 to 100 gallons of water. So if you
have a 1,000-sq-ft roof, an inch
of rain will give you 600 to 1,000
In places where the average annual
rainfall is 12 inches of precipitation,
it is possible to collect 10,000
gallons annually from a 1,500-sq-ft
residential roof or 700,000 gallons
annually from a 100,000-sq-ft
commercial building, according to
the American Rainwater Catchment
Systems Association.
Some opponents of rainwater
harvesting have argued that it deprives
flow to streams and aquifers, where
it is needed for wells. But proponents
say it eases pressure on other sources
of water, as well as helps manage
storm-water runoff.
For Wialbut, whose home is perched
1,400ft high in one of the wettest
spots in the Bay Area, collection
required just a bit of ingenuity - and
about $8,000.
Far from municipal systems, his
home had poor well water - “ugly
and smelly,” he said - and its supplies
were unreliable after the 1989 Loma
Prieta earthquake fractured the
aquifer. So he had to buy water by
the truckload, delivered at $340
each. (He still relies on trucked-in
water in the summer.)
Mark Wialbut checks the water level in one of two 5,000-gallon tanks that collect rainwater from the roof of his home in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.
Rain that falls on his large composite
roof is captured and conveyed via
gutters and 60ft of piping. From there,
it empties into two 5,000-gallon
tanks, fitted with microfilters, and
secured on a flat gravel pad.
“It was nerve-racking,” he said. “I had
visions the night before of them rolling
and smashing into thousands of pieces.”
Then, because the tanks are
downhill from his home, a powerful
pump sends the water uphill to a third
tank, where ozone kills bacteria and
any other pathogens.
Its final stop is a smaller pressure
tank, designed to prevent erratic
surges to his modern plumbing.
Then it goes to his home, his
Immigration as political theatre
By Benjamin W. Powell
resident Barack Obama’s
recent executive order on
immigration has caused a
political uproar. Congressional Republicans have introduced
legislation to kill the order, 24 states
are challenging it in federal court, and
a federal district court judge in Pennsylvania has suggested the executive
order may be unconstitutional.
While this blowback indicates how
emotionally charged immigration
issues have become, in truth the
executive order changes very little, for
good or ill.
The most substantial changes
involve the existing Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals programme,
which the president would expand,
and a new programme called Deferred
Action for Parental Accountability.
DACA defers deportation hearings
for immigrants brought here as
children and temporarily authorises
them to work here legally. So far,
about 500,000 young adults have
taken advantage of the programme.
The executive order expands who is
eligible to apply and increases the
employment authorisation from two
years to three years. DAPA creates
the same deportation deferment and
employment authorisation for illegal
immigrant parents of US citizens and
lawful permanent residents.
Congressional Republicans
claim that the president is failing to
enforce immigration law as written,
in violation of his constitutional
duty. Judge Arthur Schwab of the US
District Court for the Western District
of Pennsylvania, in a Dec. 16 ruling
in a deportation hearing, seems to
agree, saying that “President Obama’s
unilateral legislative action violates
the separation of powers provided
for in the US Constitution as well as
the Take Care Clause and is therefore
However, more than 11mn illegal
immigrants reside in the US. No one
expected that Obama, or anyone else,
had the will or ability to deport all of
them over the next few years. So some
form of selectivity regarding who is
processed for deportation, even if
random, was inevitable. The executive
order does not change that. All it does
is make explicit who will be targeted
for deportation and who won’t.
Targeted are those immigrants
suspected of terrorist ties and those
who have committed serious crimes
in the US. Not targeted are the 3.7mn
to 5mn who might qualify for DACA or
DAPA. The work authorisation simply
allows these people, who are going
to be here anyway, to come out of the
shadows and work legally.
Although the executive order
does not change the total number of
undocumented immigrants in our
country, it does create some modest
benefits. The most obvious is the
temporary security it provides to those
immigrants who qualify.
But native-born Americans will
benefit as well. Allowing illegal
immigrants to work openly and legally
allows them to use their skills in the
jobs and industries where they can
contribute the most value, rather than
working off the books in occupations
where black market employment is
harder to detect. This alone, the Fiscal
Policy Institute estimates, should
boost the wages of those immigrants
who qualify to work legally by 5% to
10%, which indicates that they are
creating more valuable goods and
services for the rest of us.
The Council of Economic Advisers
calculates that, if the executive order
were in force for 10 years, these better
jobs would add $90bn to $210bn to the
overall US economy.
Some worry that immigrants are
a tax burden. But in this case the
immigrants are already here. Granting
them legal working status would
increase tax revenue by growing the
economy and by bringing their work
into the open where it can be taxed. Tribune News Service
garden and his large koi pond.
The occasional mishap - such as a
weakened pipe thread - has caused
“It’s definitely trial and error,” he
said. “Imagineering!”
The only frustration, he said, is its
size. With so much rain this month,
he’s had to release thousands gallons
Weather report
Three-day forecast
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Waves: 1-3/4 Feet
Around the region
Abu Dhabi
Kuwait City
Live issue
of water deep underground. So he
plans to double capacity, ultimately
saving enough water to last all year
“We are creating a solution, like
people do it all over the world,” he
says. “There’s no water in the ground,
so we get it from the sky.” – Tribune
News Service
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Why we buy – 11 generic customer needs
By Ahmed al-Akber
ustomers buy
things for
reasons. Our job
as marketers is to
understand the
needs that motivate
customers to take
action, including
buying action. Brian
Tracy outlines 11 needs customers
have to purchase something in his
book The Psychology of Selling. Once
your customer needs are understood, the goal of your marketing and
sales efforts become to convince the
prospect that your product or service
satisfies those needs better than anything else they get in the market and at
that price.
Here are the 11 generic customer
needs. Which ones does your product
or service satisfy enough to trigger a
desire to buy?
1. Money. Does your product or
service help customers make or save
money? This could be in increasing
their sales or profits, or helping to cut
costs. This is a very fundamental need
that appeals to most people.
2. Security. According to Brian Tracy,
this can be п¬Ѓnancial, emotional, or
physical, and can go beyond just the
customers security (for example, if
can be for his family’s security). It is a
very basic need that appeals to almost
3. Being liked. Everyone likes to be
respected and liked by others. If your
product or service can help improve
a customer’s likability, that could
improve their need for belonging,
self-worth, or improvement in their
relationships with others.
4. Status and prestige. Many
customers want to feel important or
valuable. A economy-range car fulfils
the need to get from point A to point B.
However, a luxury sports car not only
has the features that make it faster,
but also offers customers the ability
to improve their social status – they
are subtly telling others that they have
excess disposable income and are
5. Health and fitness. Helping others
to achieve their health and fitness
goals is a really important need.
Everyone wants to live longer and
enjoy the benefits of a healthy body.
There is a lot of money to be made
for a product or service that can
help people safely lose weight, break
unhealthy habits, and improve their
overall health.
6. Praise and recognition. Everyone
wants to be recognised for their
accomplishments. It is a basic human
emotion – and remember, customers
buy with their emotions. If your
product or service can trigger enough
of an improvement for the buyer to
receive praise and recognition from
friends, family, peers, management, or
others, then you have a better chance
of selling to him.
7. Power, influence, and popularity.
People are willing to do and buy most
things that will enhance their power
and influence. Selling a product or
service that helps achieve that will
arouse a buying desire.
8. Leading the п¬Ѓeld. For some people,
there is a lot of merit in being a
pioneer in something. Being the п¬Ѓrst
to own or use a product or service
carries a lot of value. You’ll see some
of these early adopters go to great
lengths, take considerable risk, and
spend a lot of money to be �the first’.
Early adopters are the ones that stand
outside the Apple store waiting for
hours and sometimes days to purchase
the latest iPhone.
9. Love and companionship.
According to, over
75% of single people in the United
States have tried online dating. It is a
huge industry with annual revenues
of well over a billion dollars. Similarly,
cosmetics sells in the hundreds of
billions of dollars worldwide each year.
What this tells you is that people want
love and companionship and will п¬Ѓnd
it in whatever way they can!
10. Personal growth. Helping people
to achieve their development goals is
another very powerful buying trigger.
If your product or service helps them
become more competent, increase
their skills, or gets them closer to
achieving self-actualisation, then you
can generate a desire to purchase.
11. Personal transformation. This is
again a very powerful need that most
people have – the need to re-engineer
an important part of their work or life.
This could be to improve someone’s
ability to transition from a negative
to a positive mindset, or to show
someone how to overcome tough
situations in life.
The next time you talk to a prospect,
remind yourself of the needs that your
product or service fulfils and how to
position it clearly so you have a better
chance of turning him or her into a
paying customer.
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]
Around the world
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Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
An exterior view of the hypermarket.
Sheikh Hassan bin Khaled al-Thani opening the new outlet in the presence of a large number of dignitaries. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
LuLu Group opens 111th branch
he LuLu Group opened its latest
hypermarket at Barwa City in Doha
yesterday, taking the total number
of LuLu outlets across the world to 111.
The latest hypermarket, the sixth LuLu
outlet in Qatar, was inaugurated by Sheikh
Hassan bin Khaled al-Thani in the presence of Thailand’s Ambassador Piroon Laismit, Bosnia’s Ambassador Tarik Sadovic,
Vietnam’s Ambassador Nguyen Hoang,
Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman,
LuLu Group managing director Yusuff
Ali M A, CEO Saifee T Rupawala, executive director Ashraf Ali M A and director
M M Althaf.
Several prominent businessmen, government officials and other dignitaries
were present on the occasion. A large
number of nationals and expatriates also
witnessed the opening event. “We are
very clear in our approach to expansion
and I am very confident about the economic situation of Qatar and have full
trust in the vision of HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. We are fully
committed to continue our march forward with more outlets in the near future,” Yusuff Ali said on the occasion.
The Barwa City outlet offers a
convenient choice for residents
of places in and around Abu
Hamour, Mesaimeer, Wukair,
Wakrah and the Industrial Area
The 200,000sqft hypermarket showcases a fresh food section comprising
fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat,
п¬Ѓsh and hot and cold ready-to-eat food.
A major highlight of the newly opened
store is that it has an exclusive store-instore for all “free from worry” food range
that offers an extensive import line of
gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free,
yeast-free, wheat-free, vegan, organic,
fat-free, nut-free, soy-free, salt-free,
GM-free, egg-free, free range, no sugar,
no additives, no preservatives, no hy-
drogenated fat and other specialty food,
imported from all around the world.
The hypermarket also features the
widest choice of world-class brands and
offers a wide range of shopping with a
good selection of brands and product
lines under one roof. “LuLu’s formula
of value for money and quality shopping
will be a matter of delight for customers as the outlet offers a great shopping
experience as well as great economical
benefits,” according to a statement.
The hypermarket has got a good
tenant mix, including several leading
brands such as KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Damas, Baskin Robbins and Early
Learning Centre, among others.
The new outlet is located in Barwa
City, which is surrounded by the Religious Complex, Newton School and
Birla Public School, offering a convenient choice for residents of places in and
around Abu Hamour, Mesaimeer, Wukair, Wakrah and the Industrial Area.
Bin Omran outlet will be
largest in region: Yusuff Ali
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he LuLu Group will open the
largest hypermarket in the region in Doha’s Al Messila area,
Bin Omran, by mid-2015, the group’s
managing director Yusuff Ali M A told
Gulf Times yesterday.
“We will also open another outlet in
Wukair at the same time, taking the total number of outlets to eight in Qatar,”
he explained on the sidelines of the
opening of the group’s latest hypermarket in Barwa City.
Work on the outlets is progressing
fast. “The upcoming hypermarket in
Bin Omran will be able to match any
of the international standards for
Yusuff Ali said the group is working
on a massive expansion plan in Qatar.
“We plan to add more outlets in Qatar
in the coming years. By 2020, we will
reach the double digit in the number
of outlets in the country. There is
a great potential for investment in
Qatar as the country is progressing
day by day under the wise leadership
of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani.”
�We plan to add more outlets in
Qatar in the coming years. By
2020, we will reach the double
digit in the number of outlets
in the country’
The LuLu Group managing director
highlighted that the new hypermarket
in Barwa City has several special features. “One of the specialties of the
hypermarket is an organic division for
food items, which makes it different
from other hypermarkets. We will follow this practice in other hypermarkets also soon. The equipment in the
Sheikh Hassan and Yusuff Ali taking a tour of the new hypermarket.
A section of the crowd at the opening ceremony.
outlet are of a higher standard and of
an upgraded version. We want to give
good service, good quality and good
price to the people of Qatar.”
He added that the LuLu Group
would train Qatari nationals in retail
marketing. “We are going to train Qatari nationals in the retail trade. This
will enable them to get equipped for
managerial positions.”
The LuLu Group is also making its
first retail push in Southeast Asia,
with new hypermarkets in Malaysia
and Indonesia, along with a planned
investment of $500mn. The first
LuLu hypermarket in Malaysia is
expected to be opened by the third
quarter of 2015.
Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority, the world’s most successful land development and resettlement agency, has partnered with the
LuLu Group for the establishment of
LuLu hypermarkets in Malaysia.
TESCO PLAN | Page 14
China offers
Russia help
with swap
Boss keeps
investors and
staff guessing
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Rabia I 1, 1436 AH
Al Faisal Holding
unit buys Boscolo
Aleph hotel in Rome
Total CEO sees oil at $100 in medium term
Despite surging unconventional oil
supplies from the US, satisfying the
medium and long-term demand would
be “extremely challenging,” says global
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
lobal oil price will rebound to $100 a
barrel in the medium term as global demand grows and fossil fuels dominate
the world energy scene for the foreseeable
future, says Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s global
“Forecasts show fossil fuels will still meet
75% of the world’s energy needs in 2030,”
PouyannГ© said in an interview with Gulf Times
here. “We rediscover that oil is a commodity
and that the oil price is volatile…It is not clear
how long a period of low price could be. But,
in the medium term, it is commonly accepted
that fossil fuels will dominate the world energy scene for the foreseeable future, forecast
to still be meeting 75% of world energy needs
in 2030. This is good news for the Middle East
because, as a region rich in hydrocarbons, it
looks certain to continue having a key role in
meeting world demand,” Pouyanné said.
Oil price, he said, would go back to higher
level because even if unconventional oil from
the US is bringing new supplies onto the market, satisfying the medium and long-term demand would be “extremely challenging”.
“Total is reacting, but not over reacting.
We have launched reduction programmes
before the Brent started to decrease. We are
now looking at further short-term flexibility
to get through this weaker environment period. Don’t forget that those kind of periods
can also be seen as beneficial for robust integrated companies like Total as cost saving
programmes will make us more stronger, more
lean and also because opportunities can always emerge from low tides,” Pouyanné said.
On the factors that have led to the current
low oil price, Pouyanné said, “Different elements have led to low prices: less demand in
the world than anticipated, more supply in
the world than anticipated, psychology of the
markets, Opec position to defend its market
share at 30mn bpd, and Russia’s decision to
maintain its production as well.
“We still keep the view that on the medium
term, price should come back to $100 a barrel
because we will need to put into production
more complex п¬Ѓelds in order to meet the world
Total, PouyannГ© said, would obviously pre-
fer to see oil prices higher than they currently
are and reflecting more the actual cost of producing marginal barrels.
“Low prices naturally have an impact on our
revenues but we see no reason to over react
because Total is in a very good п¬Ѓnancial shape
and has a strong balance sheet. We have gone
through cycles before and are used to adjusting and managing our way around the situation.
“In addition, although there can be a timelag, low oil prices should ultimately translate
into lower production costs which have been
spiralling out of control in recent years.”
To address this issue of rising costs, Total has already launched a multibillion-dollar cost reduction programme because, one
way or another, there must be some industry
movement to restore margins and profitability
necessary to launch new projects, PouyannГ©
said. This cost saving plan will be achieved
with absolutely “no compromise on safety”,
PouyannГ© stressed.
He said, “It must also be underlined that
Total works on a long-term strategic horizon.
While short-term fluctuations in the oil price
may create temporary inconveniences, past
experience shows that they must not distract
us from our longer-term goals or prompt any
knee-jerk changes in direction.” Page 3
Pouyanné: Fossil fuels’ dominence.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Iraq to boost
oil output
next year as
Opec seeks
to defend
market share
Abu Dhabi
Artic acquires Boscolo
Aleph hotel in Rome
l Rayyan Tourism and Investment (Artic), the
international hospitality subsidiary of Al Faisal
Holding Company, has announced its acquisition of the п¬Ѓve-star Boscolo Aleph Hotel in Rome.
The Boscolo Aleph Hotel is Artic’s latest luxury hotel acquisition, growing its portfolio to 24 premium
properties across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and
North America, in line with the company’s expansion
strategy focused on high quality assets in prime city
centres and resort locations.
Located at the centre of Rome and just 100m from
Via Veneto, the 6,500sq m hotel comprises 96 rooms
and suites over six floors, a roof garden, spa and a range
of hospitality and dining facilities.
Created in 2002 from a historic palace that housed
the former offices of an illustrious credit house, the
splendidly renovated, the hotel was designed by the
famous architect Adam D Tihany and is a winner of
the Villegiature Awards for the best interior design in
Artic chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani
said, “With its exquisite architectural design, historical value and prime location, the Aleph hotel is a perfect fit with our long-term investment strategy and is a
valuable addition to our portfolio, which also expands
our European footprint to Rome, one of Europe’s and
the world’s leading luxury tourist destinations. We will
continue to enhance Artic’s portfolio of premium hotels in line with the company’s medium-term plans for
a flotation on one of the international stock exchanges.”
Executive board member Tarek M el-Sayed said,
“Artic’s acquisition of the Boscolo Aleph Hotel underlines our investment focus on properties in the key cities of the world that meet our exacting standards for
asset quality, location, and architectural design.”
He added, “This acquisition marks another important step in Artic’s international expansion, progressing from Mena (Middle East and North Africa),
to Europe, and the US. We look forward to the further
enhancement of our portfolio in future as we pursue
our ambition to build one of the world’s leading hotel
investment groups.”
Artic CEO Rutger Smits added, “Artic is a fast growing global hospitality company with long-term investment outlook. The Aleph Hotel has many appealing
characteristics, which make it an attractive investment opportunity and destination for both tourists
and business travellers.”
Iraq plans to boost its crude
production to 4mn barrels a
day next year as Opec nations
intend to defend their market
share against other suppliers,
Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul
Mahdi said.
Opec’s number two producer
will have output of 4mn bpd
and export 3.3mn barrels
a day next year, Abdul
Mahdi said in an interview
in Abu Dhabi. Its production
accounted for 10% of Opec’s
output in November at
3.35mn bpd, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Not all of what we are
planning to produce is
going to be exported to the
international market,” he
said. “Iraq plans to consume
between 1.5 to 2mn bpd.”
Iraq has been building its oil
infrastructure and surpassed
Iran to become the secondlargest producer in the
Organisation of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries in 2012.
By 2024, the nation will
produce about 8mn bpd,
Abdul Mahdi said. Opec has
produced about 30mn bpd
since January 2013 while
global supply climbed more
than 2mn bpd, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg.
Opec’s decision on November
27 to maintain its output
at 30mn bpd was intended
to defend its market share
against other suppliers, Abdul
Mahdi said. Opec’s decision to
cut output to support prices
in 2008 didn’t prevent a
decline in the group’s market
share, he said.
The Boscolo Aleph Hotel in Rome is Artic’s latest luxury hotel acquisition.
Drop in oil prices to persist, Al Hodaifi Rocks signs
supply deal with Oryx
help global growth: IMF
he recent drop in oil prices
should persist, helping to
boost global economic activity by up to 0.7 percentage points
next year, two senior IMF economists wrote in a blog yesterday.
Brent prices have fallen more than
46% since the year’s peak in June of
above $115 per barrel, sped up by the
November decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) not to reduce production.
Saudi Arabia has also convinced
its fellow Opec members it is not in
the group’s interest to cut oil output, however far prices may fall, the
kingdom’s oil minister said.
“Overall, we see this as a shot in
the arm for the global economy,”
Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief
economist, and Rabah Arezki, head
of the commodities research team,
said in the blog.
The boost to the global economy
would be between 0.3 and 0.7 percentage points above the Fund’s
baseline world growth forecast of
3.8% from October.
Lower oil prices should boost China’s gross domestic product growth
by 0.4 to 0.7 percentage points above
the Fund’s 7.1% baseline estimate,
assuming steady policies. In 2016, it
could mean an extra 0.5 to 0.9 percentage points of growth.
For the US, the GDP boost would
be 0.2 to 0.5 percentage points above
the Fund’s baseline estimate of 3.1%
for 2015. In 2016, it could add 0.3 to
0.6 percentage points to growth.
Oil futures are down over 20%
since the start of the month, a drop
that, if sustained, would be the biggest monthly loss in four years, further evidence lower prices should
The IMF economists said 65% to
80% of the price decline owed to
supply factors, including an unexpectedly quick return to Libya’s oil
production and Iraq’s steady supply.
But they said both supply and demand remain uncertain as it’s unclear what is motivating Saudi Arabia’s supply decisions and how lower
oil prices could affect oil production
Falling oil prices also have raised
risks to financial stability, affecting banks with claims on the energy
sector and the currencies of oil-importing countries. The IMF warned
volatility in prices and exchange
rates could prompt global risk aversion.
“Currency pressures have so far
been limited to a handful of oil exporting countries such as Russia,
Nigeria, and Venezuela,” the economists wrote. “Given global financial linkages, these developments
demand increased vigilance all
Industries for 2.6mn
tonnes quarry products
materials producer Oryx Industries has signed in Doha a
new takeoff agreement with Qatarbased Al Hodaifi Rocks for the import, transport, storage, and delivery
of building materials.
Under the agreement, Oryx Industries will supply Al Hodaifi Rocks
with 2.6mn tonnes of quarry products over the course of one year
commencing from the signing date.
Building materials will be delivered
to Qatar through the Port of Fujairah.
As the second largest global importer for gabbro products in 2013,
Qatar currently accounts for almost
90% of the UAE’s gabbro exports.
Furthermore, the government has recently removed the importing limits
of 150,000 tonnes per company allowing Qatari businesses to import
even greater levels of construction
Al Hodaifi Rocks, which has a rising capacity of materials-handling
operations in the Qatari market, has
been a key building material trader
supplying materials needed by Qatar’s construction industry since
Central to the construction sector
boom in Qatar is the upcoming 2022
FIFA World Cup, which will see the
country spending more than $312bn
on projects ahead of the tournament.
At least eight new sports stadiums
are planned, many of which are currently under construction and many
more existing stadiums are planned
to be refurbished ahead of the opening.
Raw materials needed to accomplish the upcoming World Cup
projects are expected to rise sharply,
with a doubling of aggregate requirements in the next three years, increasing further as more projects get
In addition to the construction of
sporting projects is the infrastructural development required to host
an estimated 3.7mn tourist arrivals,
which is expected to receive $65bn to
$200bn in government investment
across tourism, leisure and hospital-
Khalaf (right) and Ghandour shake hands after signing the agreement.
ity sectors, in addition to associated
projects such as roads and walkways
to supply the added tourism demand.
Oryx Industries vice chairman
and Group CEO Majdi Khalaf said,
“Our mission has always been to become the regional leader in building
materials production, trading, and
bulk transport logistic services. We
expect to play an important role in
laying the foundations for many of
the large-scale real estate and infrastructure projects anticipated
throughout the GCC in the coming
Khalaf noted that supplying raw
materials for big-ticket projects
would rely heavily on the development of strong relationships and
agreements with local suppliers of
construction aggregate.
Al Hodaifi Rocks managing director Saoud Ghandour said, “With the
current strong pipeline of construction projects in Qatar, Al Hodaifi
Rocks is seeking strong partnerships
to secure its escalating needs for
building materials.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Total exploring for more Qatar opportunities: Global CEO
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
Qatar constitutes one of Total’s largest integrated platforms for refining and petrochemicals activities, split between
Messaied and Ras Laffan, says Pouyanne.
Global energy major Total, which has a
“strategic relationship” with Qatar, looks
for more opportunities in the country,
from upstream to downstream including
marketing and solar energy, said Global
CEO Patrick PouyannГ©.
“The Middle East as a whole is extremely
significant for Total, and Qatar is a very
important part of those Middle East
operations. We have been in this country
for nearly 80 years and today have a
wide range of activities here,” Pouyanné
told Gulf Times in an interview.
Total’s interests in Qatar Upstream
include Qatargas 1 and Qatargas 2 as well
as in Dolphin Energy. But in a country
where the energy industry is somewhat
dominated by gas and liquefied natural
gas (LNG), Total also has a key asset in
oil: the Al Khalij field.
Discovered by Total in 1991, it began
production in 1997. In 2013, Total signed
a new 25-year concession agreement;
the company now has a 40% operating
interest with Qatar Petroleum (QP)
holding the remaining 60%.
Qatar also, PouyannГ© said,
constitutes one of Total’s largest
integrated platforms for refining and
petrochemicals activities, split between
Messaied and Ras Laffan.
�I’m just succeeding de Margerie’
“I don’t replace Christophe de Margerie. I’m just succeeding him. I’ll be as I am,” said
Patrick Pouyanné, who was appointed Total’s global chief following the death of de
Margerie in a plane crash in Russia in October. “I have been chosen to do the job so I
have to continue to be as I am. I know I have 100,000 persons around the world who
are waiting for some guidance from me. But my main message today is that we are a
strong company, very united, we have a good strategy and let’s move on after these sad
days,” Pouyanné said when asked whether his appointment meant a “decisive shift” in
company’s focus and policies.
Pouyanné said, “What is important above all is that Total has demonstrated mutual
support and strength at the time of this tragic accident. The board was able to take a
decision in a day and a half and to unanimously ask me to take the job of CEO. But I am
not alone: I have a strong team with me, at the executive committee level.”
Qapco was established in 1974 in
Mesaieed and since has been expanded
several times. Since 2011, Ras Laffan
Olefin Company (RLOC) has been
producing ethylene in Ras Laffan that
is transported through a pipeline to
Mesaieed and partly used by Qatofin, a
JV between Qapco and Total.
Laffan Refinery 1, located in Ras Laffan,
is a condensates refinery with a capacity
of 146kb/d. An expansion to double this
capacity (Laffan Refinery 2) is underway
for a start-up in the second half of 2016,
Total’s global CEO said.
“Our interests in Dolphin Energy,
Qatargas 1 and Qatargas 2, Al Khalij,
Qapco, RLOC and Laffan Refinery
underline our commitment to the
country. These are long-term licences
and agreements that will last for many
years to come, and we would also
consider taking on new business or
entering into additional agreements if we
think we can add value,” Pouyanné said.
“We have a strategic partnership with
Qatar. Not only we intend to maintain
it, but also we are always looking for
new opportunities from upstream to
downstream including marketing and
solar energy.
“Qatar is a very special country for me
as I have held the position of managing
director of our upstream affiliate here
and group representative from 1999
to 2002. My visit here has, of course, a
special meaning,” said Pouyanné during
his first visit to Doha after assuming
charge as Total’s Global CEO.
India real GDP growth to
reach 6.8% in 2016-17 on
Modi reforms, says QNB
ndia’s real GDP growth may accelerate to 6.3% in the next financial year on the back of Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s reform
agenda, QNB has said in its �India
Economic Insight 2014’.
The report, which examines recent
developments and the outlook for
the Indian economy says the South
Asian country’s real GDP will climb
to 6.8% in 2016-17 as reforms start
to pay dividends.
The Modi administration has
identified a number of priority areas
for reforms including phasing out
food and energy subsidies, easing
land acquisition laws, reviving the
power sector, introducing a uniform
federal sales tax and reforming the
labour market.
The majority of the reforms are
projected to be implemented during
the 2015-16 budget, thus starting
to pay dividends over the next two
years by increasing investments in
the economy, QNB said.
The country’s CPI (consumer price
index) inflation is forecast to reach
the target set by the Reserve Bank of
India (RBI) of 6% by January 2016 on
continued tight monetary policy and
favourable external conditions.
Labour market reforms are expected to reduce inflation by increasing labour force participation
and lowering wage inflationary pressures.
Falling international oil prices and
a good monsoon season are likely to
moderate energy and food price inflation (comprising half of the CPI
basket) in the short term. The current account deficit is projected to
decline to 1.1% of GDP by 2016-17
on further rupee depreciation and
tighter п¬Ѓscal policy, the QNB report
The implementation of reforms is
expected to attract additional foreign investments, implying that the
п¬Ѓnancial account is likely to enjoy a
healthy surplus.
The accumulation of international reserves is projected to rise to
7.9 months of import cover by endMarch 2017, supported by smaller
current account deficits and larger
net capital inflows
India’s double-digit growth in assets, loans and deposits is expected
to continue at least until 2016-17,
reflecting further banking penetration, higher economic activity and
reduced corporate deleveraging,
QNB said.
Lending growth is expected to rebound and NPLs (non-performing
loans) to fall in 2016-17 as structural
reforms begin to materialise and
banks’ balance sheets are cleaned up.
India’s deposits are expected to
continue growing robustly, despite
the slowdown in inflation driven by
a high savings rate and the government’s financial inclusion initiative,
QNB said.
Gulf markets rise on oil and Saudi
budget hopes, but uptrend slows
Most Gulf equity markets continued rising
yesterday but their uptrend slowed, suggesting the benefits of stabilising oil prices
and expectations for a large Saudi Arabian
state budget had now largely been factored
into stocks.
The main Saudi index closed 0.3% higher,
after jumping 16% over the previous three
days. Turnover remained active but dropped
by about a fifth from Sunday’s level.
Brent crude climbed over 1% to above $62
per barrel yesterday. Analysts said Brent
had received broad support after testing
$60 a barrel earlier this month, and that a
consensus was growing that prices would
likely remain above that level for the rest
of the year. This has improved sentiment
among Gulf stock market investors, even
though the long-term outlook for oil prices
remains murky and fresh falls cannot be
ruled out next year.
Also, contrary to the stock markets’ earlier
fears, Saudi Arabia’s 2015 budget is not
expected to cut spending much if at all in
response to the recent slide of oil prices.
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf reassured the markets last Wednesday when
he said his government would continue
spending strongly on development projects
and social benefits in the budget.
The budget was originally expected to
be announced yesterday afternoon, but
Saudi media reported the release would
occur later this week, after a special cabinet
Yesterday saw profit-taking in some stocks
which led the recent rally such as property
developer Dar Al Arkan, which fell 0.8% and
was again the most heavily traded Saudi
stock. On Sunday, Dar Al Arkan had soared
The Dubai index climbed 2.3% after jumping
9.9% on Sunday and 13.0% on Thursday.
Bourse operator Dubai Financial Market
soared 10.1%, a fresh sign that investors believe the bruising downtrend in Gulf equities
of recent weeks has ended and that investor
activity will revive.
Oman’s market climbed 3.7%. It has outperformed most of the Gulf since the executive
president of the State General Reserve Fund,
the country’s largest sovereign wealth fund,
told Reuters at the end of last week that the
SGRF had boosted its buying of shares in
the local market because prices had slid to
attractive levels.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi’s index fell
0.9% to 4,478 points; Kuwait’s index rose 1.1%
to 6,503 points, while Bahrain’s index edged
down 0.3% to 1,406 points.
GWC looks
to raise
rights issue
ulf Warehousing Company
(GWC), which recently
won the right to construct
Bu Sulba logistics hub for small
and medium enterprises, is seeking to raise as much as QR476mn
through a rights issue.
The company, which manages
bespoke logistics hubs in several
strategic and dynamic locations in
Qatar, is planning to issue 11.89mn
shares or 25% of its current capital
at QR40 (including the premium)
each in order to further reinforce
its capital base in view of the fast
paced development works in the
GWC, with a capital base of
QR475.61mn, had reported net
profit of QR102.38mn in the first
nine months of this year.
The company will convene an
extraordinary general assembly
early next year to seek shareholders approval for the �priority” issue
of shares.
“The price of shares has been
set based on studies prepared by
our consultants Ernst & Young,”
a GWC spokesman said in a communiquГ© to the Qatar Stock Exchange.
Total assets were valued at
QR2.05bn comprising current assets of QR0.37bn and non-current
assets of QR1.68bn at the end of
September 30, 2014.
GWC is the second entity to
raise capital through rights issue
this year, after Doha Insurance,
which had in July raised as much as
QR436.68mn by offering 24.26mn
shares at QR18 a piece.
Realty, insurance stocks pace
QSE rebound as oil prices surge
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
trengthening oil prices had a
profound impact on the Qatar
Stock Exchange, which gained
another 392 points, amply supported
by buying interests particularly in the
real estate and insurance stocks.
Domestic institutions turned bullish to lift the 20-stock Qatar Index
(based on price data) by 3.26% to
12,421.22 points as there was rising hope that oil prices have found a
short-term floor and the market believes that oil may stay range-bound
over $60 a barrel for the rest of the
However, selling pressure was seen
intense among local and foreign retail
investors in the bourse, which is up
19.67% year-to-date.
Market capitalisation expanded
2.44%, or more than QR16bn, to
QR677.82bn with small, micro, mid
and large cap equities gaining 3.88%,
3.8%, 3.27% and 2.45% respectively.
The index that tracks Shariahprincipled stocks gained much faster
than the other indices in the market,
where trade was highly skewed towards realty, which alone accounted
for more than 48% of the total trade
The Total Return Index vaulted
3.26% to 18,526.14 points, the All
Share Index by 2.83% to 3,153.65
points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index
by 4.16% to 4,100.29 points.
Realty stocks appreciated 5.04%,
followed by insurance (4.96%), banks
and п¬Ѓnancial services (2.88%), industrials (2.16%), telecom (1.72%), consumer goods (1.49%) and transport
More than 74% of the stocks extended gains with major movers being QNB, Gulf International Services,
Vodafone Qatar, Doha Bank, Qatar
Islamic Bank, International Islamic,
Masraf Al Rayan, Dlala, Al Meera,
Barwa, Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar, United
Development Company and Dlala.
However, Commercial Bank, Aamal
Company, Gulf Warehousing and Islamic Holding Group bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net
buyers to the tune of QR15.67mn
against net sellers of QR120.45mn the
previous day.
Foreign institutions’ net buying sunk to QR75.84mn compared to
QR161.15mn on Sunday.
Qatari retail investors’ net profitbooking rose to QR74.74mn against
QR60.73mn on Sunday.
Non-Qatari individual investors
turned net sellers to the extent of
QR16.68mn compared with net buyers of QR20.16mn the previous day.
Total trade volume was down 5% to
24.72mn shares and value by 20% to
QR1bn, while transactions rose 16%
to 10,931.
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services sector reported a 44% plunge in
trade volume to 4.21mn equities, 55%
in value to QR289.05mn and 14% in
deals to 2,758.
The transport sector saw its trade
volume plummet 25% to 1mn stocks,
value by 20% to QR45.13mn and
transactions by 19% to 462.
The consumer goods sector’s trade
volume tanked 19% to 1.09mn shares,
while value rose 28% to QR84.57mn
and deals by 14% to 840.
There was a 16% decline in the
telecom sector’s trade volume to
3.29mn equities and 15% in value to
QR73.12mn but on an 81% plunge in
transactions to 1,344.
The industrials sector’s trade
volume was down 1% to 2.93mn
stocks; whereas value was up 4% to
QR221.9mn and deals by 18% to 2,268.
However, the real estate sector’s
trade volume surged 35% to 11.93mn
shares, value by 46% to QR272.69mn
and transactions by 47% to 3,040.
The insurance sector’s trade volume grew 23% to 0.27mn equities,
value by 33% to QR18.05mn and deals
by 6% to 219.
In the debt market, there was no
trading of treasury bills and government bonds.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Saudi Arabia confident in oil
rebound on global growth
Abu Dhabi
audi Arabia, the world’s largest
oil exporter, is confident that
crude prices will rebound with
global economic growth boosting demand.
Prices will recover from a slump
due to a glut created by a lack of cooperation from producers outside the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries, Saudi Arabia Oil Minister
Ali al- Naimi said at a conference in
Abu Dhabi. Al-Naimi ended his speech
showing the confidence as he jumped off
the stage and smiled.
Brent oil tumbled into a bear market
this year as the US pumped the most
crude in more than three decades and
economic growth slowed from China to
Germany. The increase in global crude
demand was about 700,000 barrels a
day this year, below the projected 1.2mn
bpd, al-Naimi said.
“The oil market will recover,” al-Naimi said. “Fossil fuel will remain the main
source of energy for decades to come.”
Oil surged from a п¬Ѓve-year low at the
end of last week after al-Naimi said the
slump in prices was temporary. West
Texas Intermediate climbed 4.5% to
$56.52 a barrel on December 19 and
Brent advanced 3.6% to $61.38 a barrel. Yesterday, Brent rose 1.4% and WTI
gained 1.3%. Saudi Arabia accounted for
about 13% of global oil output last year,
BP estimates.
Money managers are the most bullish
since August about the rout being over.
The net-long position in West Texas Intermediate rose by 26,455 contracts to
217,723 futures and options in the week
ended December 16, the most since
mid-August, US Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data show.
Lower oil prices won’t have a major
effect on Saudi Arabia’s economy, alNaimi said. Economic growth will ex-
Al-Naimi: Upbeat on global oil demand growth.
pand 4.3% this year and 3.6% next year,
according to analyst estimates compiled
by Bloomberg.
Lack of co-operation from non-Opec
producers and wrong information in the
market hit prices, al-Naimi said. Saudi
Arabia’s oil policy doesn’t target other
countries, he said. If non-Opec producers were to offer cuts, Opec probably
wouldn’t follow suit, he said. “If they
want to cut they are welcome. We’re not
going to cut. Certainly Saudi Arabia is
not going to cut.”
High prices in the past three years
and technological developments contributed to increased production, resulting in lower oil prices, al-Naimi
said. Brent averaged $100.61 a barrel
this year, down from $108.71 in 2013
and $111.68 in 2012.
Output in the US is the highest in
three decades as companies split rocks
to produce shale oil. Current prices
won’t stimulate investment in energy
in the long run, al-Naimi said. Less efficient oil producers will be affected by
low oil prices, he said.
Shale oil costs between $30 to $90 a
barrel, al-Naimi said. “The rocks in the
earth are not homogeneous, they have
some sweet spots, where the oil is easier to get out, and sour spots, where it’s
more difficult.”
Saudi Arabia has 265bn barrels of oil
reserves, and will increase refining capacity to 3.3mn bpd by 2017 from 2.1mn
barrels in 2014, al-Naimi said. It’s also
looking to more joint ventures in downstream projects abroad, he said.
The nation wants to become an international hub for climate change and
carbon emissions research, he said.
Al-Naimi attended UN global warming
talks in Lima, Peru, this month.
budget to
be released
later this
Saudi Arabia’s 2015 state
budget will be revealed after
a special cabinet meeting
later this week, local media
Previously, media had said
the ministry was expected
to make its 2015 budget
statement yesterday.
But private Saudi-owned
television broadcaster Al
Arabiya, as well as Saudi
news website Sabq, quoted
unnamed sources as saying
the announcement was now
expected to come later in the
week after a special cabinet
Officials at the Ministry
of Finance could not be
contacted for comment.
The budget is anxiously
awaited by financial markets
because it will be the first
detailed look at how Saudi
Arabia intends to handle
the economic impact of this
year’s oil price plunge.
Stock markets in Saudi Arabia
and around the Gulf plunged
earlier this month because of
fears that Riyadh would react
to cheaper oil by sharply
cutting back its spending
on infrastructure and other
projects, hurting corporate
But Saudi Finance Minister
Ibrahim Alassaf reassured
the markets last Wednesday
when he said his government
would continue spending
strongly on development
projects and social benefits in
the budget.
Huge fiscal reserves will allow
the government to cover
budget deficits for years to
Libya oil output drops
as п¬Ѓghting spreads
ibya’s oil output fell below its
own consumption as п¬Ѓghting
spread to Mellitah, a region that
hosts the country’s fourth largest oil
port, the state petroleum company
National Oil Corp already this
month declared force majeure at two
export terminals, Es Sider and Ras
Lanuf, after an attempt by militias to
capture them. Force majeure is a legal
status that protects a company from
liability when it can’t fulfil a contract
for reasons beyond its control.
National Oil reported clashes in the
Mellitah area, Libya’s westernmost oil
port. “There is no damage to the facilities till this hour, and the port of Mellitah is still open,” said Mohammed Elharari, the spoksman of the company,
by phone in Tripoli, without giving an
estimate for the nation’s current oil
The US Energy Information Administration estimates Libya’s consumption was 239,000 barrels of oil a day
in 2013. The last estimate of the country’s production, on December 15, was
350,000 bpd, according to two people
with direct knowledge of upstream
Sitting on Africa’s largest oil reserves, the North African country
produced about 1.6mn bpd before the
2011 rebellion that ended Muammar
Qaddafi’s 42-year rule.
“National Oil Corp is following with
deep concern the events that happened over past two days in the region
of Mellitah and their implications for
the oil and gas complex,” the NOC said
in a statement on its website.
Libya is divided after its internationally recognised government, led
by Abdullah al-Thinni, sought refuge
in the country’s eastern region after
militias took over Tripoli about п¬Ѓve
months ago.
Omar al-Hassi set up a rival government in the capital with the backing
of militants. Thinni announced plans
this month to assert his government’s
control of oil payments made by foreign companies, prompting the Islamist forces backing his rival to try to
seize the oil terminals protected by the
Petroleum Facilities Guard.
“The current picture of ports and
producing facilities is a harbinger to
dangerous consequences should the
crisis not be solved soon,” NOC said,
and called on rival forces to “spare the
petroleum industry, the livelihood of
all the Libyans.”
The п¬Ѓghting near Mellitah also affected gas exports to Italy, by curbing
gas production at the offshore Bahr
Essalam п¬Ѓeld, one of the two reservoirs that feed the sub-sea pipeline
that takes the fuel across the Mediterranean Sea, according to NOC.
The other п¬Ѓeld is Wafa, onshore,
according to documents on the website of Eni Spa, the Italian pipeline
While gas exports to Italy are continuing, the volumes have dropped,
NOC’s Elharari said.
Gas flows from Libya at Italy’s Gela
entry were at 12.4mn cubic metres on
December 20, down from 20.3mn cubic meters a week earlier, according to
data from Snam, the Italian grid, on
Libya has nine oil export terminals, of which two, Jurf and Bouri,
are offshore and relatively immune
to the fighting. Zawiya, the secondlargest, and Zueitina, the sixthlargest, are not exporting because
they’re not receiving crude from
fields upstream as a result of protests
or military clashes. The other ports,
Brega and Hariga, are open, according to NOC’s Elharari.
Borsa trades SASX-10 index futures for first time
Turkey’s state-run stock exchange Borsa Istanbul has
started trading index futures of 10 companies from the
Sarajevo Stock Exchange as part of expansion plans ahead
of an initial public offering expected in the first half of 2016.
Borsa Istanbul is trying to increase links with other
exchanges in the region such as those in Sarajevo and
Montenegro as it prepares for the listing.
“We developed this project to create a network of
financial institutions where Istanbul will function as a
hub, so local markets will have the ability to have an
access to a larger pool of liquidity,” Ibrahim Turhan, the
president of the Borsa Istanbul managing board, told a
news conference.
Turhan said the Istanbul bourse planned to have an initial
public offering of its own shares in the first half of 2016.
“In the first half of 2016, we will go for the IPO,” Turhan
said. “The Turkish government has authorised Borsa as the
organiser and operator of the IPO.”
He said that Borsa Istanbul had signed a strategic
partnership last year with Nasdaq in the US and expected to
bring on board some other “strong names.”
Borsa Istanbul, which owns five% or 308 SASE shares, has
announced it wanted to acquire a further 1,563 shares when
they go on sale next month and increase its SASE stake to
Turhan said Borsa Istanbul wanted to help small regional
exchanges, such as the Sarajevo and Montenegro bourses,
survive in a highly competitive market.
The Sarajevo exchange’s SASX-10 includes among others
Bosnian majority state-owned telecom companies BH
Telecom and HT Mostar, and power utilities EPBiH and
HZHB Mostar.
SASE General Manager Tarik Kurbegovic said the first
transactions in the SASX-10 index futures at the Borsa have
been conducted, and Bosnia’s local capital market should
benefit from the visibility of its companies on such a large
SASE has already clinched a deal with the Borsa Istanbul
on the data distribution. It plans next year to tie up with
the Turkish partner via an order-routing system, enabling
investors in both countries to directly trade on both
The officials said they also planned a dual listing of both
Turkish and Bosnian firms on both bourses hopefully next
The Borsa is Turkey’s only exchange, created from the 2013
merger of the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Gold Exchange and
Derivatives Exchange ahead of a planned privatisation.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Low costs to propel long-term eurozone bond sales in 2015
Eurozone governments are preparing
to sell a record amount of bonds next
year, tilting towards more long-term
debt as they try to lock in historically
low borrowing costs.
Analysts estimate the bloc’s biggest
sovereign borrowers will sell a third
more debt than in 2014, with Germany
the notable exception as it aims to
eliminate its budget deficit.
Investors, on the other hand, will seek
higher yields from lower-rated issuers
such as Italy, Spain and Portugal,
reassured by expectations that the
European Central Bank will become a
buyer in 2015.
The prospect of the ECB expanding its
asset purchases to include sovereign
bonds early next year has given fresh
impetus to a 2-1/2-year rally in eurozone
debt that has driven borrowing costs
to all-time lows. “The treasuries are
very keen to lock in these ultra-low
yield levels and extend duration,”
said Michael Leister, a strategist at
Commerzbank. “Demand is still there
even at these yield levels, especially
with the ECB most likely coming in as a
structural buyer.”
The governments with lower credit
ratings are anxious to exploit the
benign market conditions to increase
the average life of their debt stock.
That means re-funding will be required
less often, an advantage as at some
point the era of ultra-low ECB interest
rates, originally imposed to tackle the
financial crisis, must come to an end.
Ten-year Spanish and Italian 10-year
yields are less than 2% , below those of
US Treasuries, as the threat of deflation
in the eurozone exacerbated by sliding
oil prices pressures the ECB to begin a
programme of quantitative easing (QE).
At the height of the eurozone crisis,
investors were reluctant to buy
anything longer than five-year bonds
from troubled governments. However,
those worries have dwindled since ECB
President Mario Draghi promised first
to save the euro and then, last month,
to tackle excessively low inflation by
whatever means necessary.
In a recent Reuters poll, 25 out of 27
economists expected the ECB to start
buying sovereign debt under a QE
programme, probably early next year.
Analysts say Spanish and Italian bonds
still look relatively attractive against
German benchmarks, on which yields
have dropped to all-time lows below
0.60% and could fall to 0.50% in the
next few weeks.
The eurozone’s 11 biggest government
borrowers are forecast to issue bonds
worth €927bn ($1.1tn) in 2015, up about
34% from this year’s projected total,
according to an average estimate of six
Germany, the region’s biggest economy,
is alone in bucking the trend. It plans
to cut issuance to its lowest since 2002
next year as it seeks to present its first
balanced federal budget in almost half
a century.
Although countries such as Spain have
made progress in cutting their budget
deficits, they still plan to increase
issuance to cover maturing debt
estimated by analysts at €86bn, up
Oil’s 50% drop from
high of 2014 spurs
bet by hedge funds
New York
he slump in oil that drove US
prices down as much as 50%
from this year’s high is spurring the most bullish bet by hedge
funds in four months.
Speculators expanded their netlong position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 14% in the week
ended December 16, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission
data show. Long wagers increased
the most since February.
Money managers have increased
their net-long position by 34% in
three weeks, even as prices kept
tumbling as Opec ministers reiterated pledges to keep pumping.
Their bullishness is also reflected in
exchange-traded funds that track
oil, which attracted the most money
in four years this month.
“People are starting to feel that
we not only hit the bottom but we
are turning around,” Michael Lynch,
president of Strategic Energy &
Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by phone
December 19. “The fundamentals
haven’t really changed.”
WTI fell $7.89, or 12%, to $55.93
a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered
by the CFTC report and touched
$53.60, the lowest since May 2009.
Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali alNaimi said it’s “difficult, if not impossible” for his country and Opec
to give up market share, the Saudi
Press Agency reported December
18. The “temporary” instability in
oil markets is being caused mainly
by a slowing global economy, he was
reported as saying.
The International Energy Agency
on December 12 cut its forecast for
global demand next year and raised
its estimate for non-Opec supply.
US output, already at a three-decade high, will continue to rise, the
Paris-based IEA said.
“Short-term supply is still
stronger than demand,” Gareth
Lewis-Davies, a London-based analyst at BNP Paribas, said by phone
December 18. “There is nothing that
convinces me that we are not going
to have a quite significant supply
An oil rig in Taft, California. The slump in oil that drove US prices down as much as 50% from this year’s high is
spurring the most bullish bet by hedge funds in four months.
build in the first half of next year.”
The four biggest US exchangetraded products tied to oil, including the US Oil Fund and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil,
received a combined $859.3mn this
month as of December 18, according
to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s
the most in any month since May
Oil plunged 23% since November
26, the day before the 12-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries decided to maintain its
output target. The group pumped
30.6mn barrels in November, above
its 30mn-barrel quota for a sixth
month, according to data compiled
by Bloomberg.
“Opec is no longer relevant,”
Francisco Blanch, head of global
commodities and derivatives research for Bank of America, said on
Bloomberg TV. “Saudi has pulled
the plug and is letting the market
balance itself.”
US crude production reached
9.14mn barrels a day in the week
ended December 12, the most in EIA
weekly data from 1983.
Net-long positions for WTI
climbed by 26,455 to 217,723 futures
and options in the week ended December 16. Long positions gained
6.7% to 274,740. Short bets decreased 14% to 57,017.
In other markets, bullish bets
on gasoline rose 1.2% to 49,416
contracts. Futures tumbled 11% to
$1.541 a gallon on Nymex in the reporting period.
Regular retail gasoline dropped
2.6 cents to average $2.409 December 20, the cheapest since May
2009, according to AAA.
Bearish wagers on US ultra-low
sulfur diesel increased 6.2% to
24,113 contracts as the fuel sank 6%
to $1.96 a gallon.Net-long wagers
on US natural gas fell 36% to 27,260
lots, the lowest since October.
The measure includes an index of
four contracts adjusted to futures
equivalents: Nymex natural gas
futures, Nymex Henry Hub Swap
Futures, Nymex ClearPort Henry
Hub Penultimate Swaps and the ICE
Futures US Henry Hub contract.
Nymex natural gas dropped 0.9% to
$3.619 per million British thermal
WTI for February delivery added
31 cents, or 0.5%, to $58.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New
York Mercantile Exchange.
“These low prices are bringing
value seekers out of the woodwork,”
John Kilduff, a partner at Again
Capital, a New York-based hedge
fund that focuses on energy, said.
“But there is more oil continuing to
enter into the market.”
Wall St sees its best year for IPOs since 2000
New York
Wall Street in 2014 enjoyed its best
year for initial public offerings since
2000, thanks to the record-setting
flotation of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba and a barrage of biotech deals.
Activity was “uninterrupted” and
proved largely immune to forces
that at times rattled equity markets,
Renaissance Capital said in a report
this week.
“While various global events, such
as Russia’s incursion into the Ukraine
and conflicts in the Middle East,
caused nervousness in global markets,
they largely failed to disrupt the US
IPO applecart,” Renaissance said.
Renaissance said there were 273
stock debuts in 2014, up 23% from
2013. Dealogic released similar numbers, counting 291 offerings, up 27%
from 2013.
Analysts are gearing up for another
heady year in 2015, citing a deep pipeline of securities filings from leading
prospects and investor zeal for such
hot names such as apartment rental
website Airbnb and app-based taxi
service Uber.
New entrants to US equity markets
raised $85bn in 2014, according to
Renaissance, about 55% more than
in 2013. “What is behind the growth
is that companies are really growing
and need more capital to continue
to accelerate their growth,” Bob
Greifeld, Nasdaq chief executive, said
on CNBC. “That is great for the overall
The year 2000 remains the best
on record for IPOs, with 406 offerings
raising $96bn, Renaissance noted.
Paradoxically, while the US and
China spar for the distinction of the
world’s biggest economy, the Chinese
Internet marketplace Alibaba emerged
as a key player behind New York’s
banner year. Alibaba in September
became the biggest IPO in history,
raising $22bn.
Besides Alibaba, nine other companies raised more than $1bn in 2014.
They included Citizens Financial, a unit
of British bank Royal Bank of Scotland,
with $3.0bn gained, and Synchrony
Financial, which was spun out of
General Electric, with $2.9bn.
A big chunk of this year’s IPOs came
out of the health sector, with biotechs
comprising 25% of total deal volume
at 69 offerings, Renaissance said.
Biotech offerings also accounted
for eight of the top 10 IPOs in terms of
return to shareholders. However, the
health sector also was responsible for
five of the 10 worst-performing new
stocks. In all, the average new stock
finished 16% higher at the end of the
year compared with its IPO price. That
was well below the 40.8% gain in 2013.
Renaissance cited the sell-off in
energy IPOs in the latter part of the
year as oil prices tanked, as well as a
correction in high-multiple tech stocks
in March and April, for the year-overyear decline.
Twice as many deals were postponed in 2014 compared with the
prior year and 40% came to market
below the proposed pricing range, the
report said.
Experts expect another strong year
in 2015, owing to a heavy number
of securities filings from companies
disclosing plans to do offerings.
Renaissance has a private company
“watchlist” of 255 companies that
could go public.
More than 80% are in the tech sector. The list includes web registration
company GoDaddy and subscriptionbased music streaming service
Spotify. “Overall positive returns and a
large pipeline suggest that consistent
deal flow should continue into 2015,
tempered by disciplined pricing,”
Renaissance said.
from €62bn this year. Spain was even
more aggressive than neighbouring
Italy in issuing short-term debt in 2011
and 2012 to tap into demand created
by the ECB making crisis loans to
commercial banks.
Madrid faces a similar refinancing
hump in 2016, making it vital for it to
lengthen the average maturity of its
The Tesoro, Spain’s debt management
office, is scheduled to announce its
2015 funding needs in the first week of
January but gross issuance is forecast
at €144bn on average, up from €133bn
this year.
“We expect the Tesoro to continue
increasing its average debt maturity
which is planned to climb to up to 6.4
years in 2015 from 6.28 years currently,”
Nomura analysts said in a note.
Belgium’s equivalent agency also plans
to issue more long-term debt in 2015
as it needs to refinance more maturing
bonds next year.
Last week, the head of France’s
AFT debt agency said he expected
growing demand for longer maturities
to continue next year, adding it was
looking into adding a new 15 or 20-year
benchmark. “Financing conditions
today are exceptional,” AFT chief
Ambroise Fayolle said.
France is expected to keep borrowing
at low interest rates despite possible
downgrades to its AA rating from
Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s next
year. The deep liquidity of its markets
and expectations that it will keep
a relatively high rating make it an
attractive alternative to Germany,
analysts said.
Top Russian oil п¬Ѓrm Rosneft
repays around $7bn in debt
ussia’s top oil producer Rosneft said
yesterday it had met a $7bn loan repayment, partially easing fears among
investors that Western sanctions banning
major Russian п¬Ѓrms from access to European and US capital could prompt mass defaults.
Shares in the company rose 2.5% in Russian trade after Rosneft confirmed it had
made the payment – part of a two-year
$12.7bn loan it used to buy oil п¬Ѓrm TNK-BP
– from its own cash reserves.
Rosneft, which produces more oil than
Iraq or Iran, has asked for 2.5tn roubles
($44.07bn) from the government to help it
weather sanctions and refinance its debts.
But the government is yet to decide how
much money to give from the National
Wealth Fund, resulting in speculation last
week – denied by Rosneft – that it was buying foreign currency on the domestic forex
Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin said
yesterday: “To service its debt the company
does not need to enter the currency market,
because it generates enough foreign currency earnings. Surplus balances are used on
the market, in such a manner.”
Analysts say Rosneft is too big for the
state to allow it to fail and point to its successful sale earlier this month of 625bn roubles worth of domestic bonds – the bulk of
the company’s current planned debt refinancing.
“As for other companies, there is still concern, but I do not expect large-scale defaults
on the public debt market,” said an analyst
at a major Russian bank who declined to be
named. The company continues to face a severe squeeze from a collapse in oil prices and
the rapid devaluation of the rouble, which
has lost 45% of its value against the dollar
as a result of the sanctions, an approaching
economic recession and a the dramatic fall in
the value of oil, upon which the state budget
Rosneft must make a second loan repayment of $6.9bn in February.
Its bridge loan providers were BNP Pari-
bas, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Bank, Citi,
Credit Agricole CIB, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, JP Morgan, Mizuho Corporate Bank,
Natixis, Societe Generale and UniCredit, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
Meanwhile Rosneft said yesterday it had
to abandon plans to purchase the oil trading
business of US bank Morgan Stanley after
failing to win regulatory approval.
The December 2013 deal for an undisclosed amount covered Morgan Stanley’s
Global Oil Merchanting business that included agreements on stockage capacity as
well as physical oil inventories.
Rosneft said it and Morgan Stanley were
abandoning the transaction “due to an objective impossibility to complete the deal
that has arisen as a result of regulatory
clearances being refused.”
Rosneft has asked for 2.5tn roubles
from the government to help it
weather sanctions and refinance debts
Rosneft said in a statement that both
companies regretted having to drop the deal
and that they will “continue to cooperate in
other spheres”.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley said it “will
now consider a variety of options for the unit
that take into account the interests of the
firm’s shareholders, clients and employees.”
Rosneft, the top quoted oil company by production volume, is led by Igor Sechin, a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin
who was placed on US and EU sanctions lists
over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and
support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Rosneft has long affirmed that the sanctions will not affect its cooperation with its
principal partners: Britain’s BP which holds
nearly 20% of its capital and US company
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
China offers Russia help with
currency swap suggestion
Hong Kong
wo Chinese ministers offered
support for Russia as President
Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up
the rouble without depleting foreignexchange reserves.
China will provide help if needed and
is confident Russia can overcome its
economic difficulties, Foreign Minister
Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a December 20 report by Hong
Kong-based Phoenix TV. Commerce
Minister Gao Hucheng said expanding
a currency swap between the two nations and making increased use of yuan
for bilateral trade would have the greatest impact in aiding Russia, according
to the broadcaster.
While the offer won’t relieve the
main sources of pressure on the rouble
– capital outflow tied to plunging oil
prices and sanctions linked to Russia’s
annexation of Crimea from Ukraine –
the currency gained 3.1% against the
dollar in Moscow. The Micex Index was
little changed, and the yield on Russia’s 10-year bond fell 30 basis points
to 13.3%, according to data compiled by
“In the current conditions, any help
is very welcome,” Vladimir Miklashevsky, a strategist at Danske Bank,
said by e-mail. “Yet, it can’t substitute
the losses of the Russian banking system and economy from western sanctions.”
Russia, the biggest energy exporter,
saw its currency tumble as much as
59% this year. Putin asked business
leaders last week to report on plans to
sell foreign currency revenues and to
engage in responsible foreign exchange
operations, Vedomosti newspaper reported today.
Former Economy Minister Alexei
Kudrin said Russia was entering a fullfledged economic crisis.
A Chinese Commerce Ministry news
official, who asked not to be named
as part of the rules, said his department declined to comment on the
Phoenix TV report, and a faxed question to the Chinese central bank went
unanswered. President Xi Jinping last
month called for China to adopt “big-
An employee counts rouble notes at a private company’s office in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Russia, the biggest energy exporter,
saw its currency tumble as much as 59% this year.
country diplomacy” as he laid out goals
for elevating his nation’s status as the
world’s second-largest economy.
“Many Chinese people still view
Russia as the big brother, and the two
countries are strategically important
to each other,” said Jin Canrong, As-
sociate Dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University
in Beijing, referring to the Soviet Union’s backing of Communist China in
its first years. “For the sake of national
interests, China should deepen cooperation with Russia when such co-
operation is in need.”China and Russia
signed a three-year currency-swap line
of 150bn yuan ($24bn) in October, an
agreement that can be expanded with
the consent of both parties. The People’s Bank of China published a chart
detailing how such an agreement works
in a microblog dated December 19 and
the official People’s Daily newspaper
said that the explanation was provided
to address concerns the nation could
suffer losses if Russia used the facility
to obtain funds.
“As all we pay out and receive in return are renminbi, we don’t have to bear
exchange-rate risks,” the PBoC said
in the microblog, using an alternative
name for the yuan. The swap amount
can be adjusted to allow for changing
circumstances and prevailing exchange
rates, rather than pre-determined, are
used, it said.
China is promoting the yuan as an
alternative to the dollar for global trade
and п¬Ѓnance and the PBOC has signed
currency- swap agreements with 28
other central banks to encourage this.
The nation’s foreign-exchange reserves of $3.89tn are the world’s largest
and compare with Russia’s $374bn.
“Russia is an irreplaceable strategic
partner on the international stage,”
according to an editorial today in the
Global Times, a Beijing-based daily
affiliated with the Communist Party.
“China must take a proactive attitude
in helping Russia walk out of the current crisis.”
Still, “China’s help for Russia will be
limited,” the editorial said. While China
can offer capital, technical and market
support, it can’t address Russia’s economic structure and excessive reliance
on energy exports, the editorial said.
China signed a three-decade,
$400bn deal to buy Russian gas earlier
this year. Oil imports from Russia hit an
all-time high in November, according
to China’s General Administration of
Russia isn’t in talks with China about
any п¬Ѓnancial aid, said Dmitry Peskov, a
spokesman for President Putin, on December 20.
Russia wouldn’t be the first country
in п¬Ѓnancial strife to turn to China for
support this year.
Argentina’s central bank utilised a
cross-currency swap with the PBoC to
stem a slide in the peso, which dropped
24% against the greenback this year
as the government defaulted on dollar
bonds. The peso has weakened 0.3%
this month following a similar decline
in November.
Desperate Chinese banks offer �valuable gifts’ to attract customers
Chinese banks, desperate to attract
customers who are finding alternatives
for their savings, are turning to
giveaways. On offer at one branch in
Beijing: an iPhone 6 Plus or a MercedesBenz.
Cash rebates, trips abroad, interest
rates at the highest premium ever over
the official benchmark rate, even free
vegetables are among other goodies
banks are dangling to get Chinese
savers to deposit their yuan in savings
accounts. The competition is expensive.
“Chinese banks are haemorrhaging
their deposits,” said Rainy Yuan, a
Shanghai-based analyst at brokerage
Masterlink Securities Corp “There is no
fix for this. All the efforts they made to
win savers back will only push up the
costs, so it’s a losing battle to fight.”
Higher returns from Internet funds and
investment products such as trusts,
combined with the promise of a soaring
stock market, have China’s banks
feeling the drain.
They lost 950bn yuan ($154bn) of
deposits in the three months through
September, the first quarterly drop
since 1999. In the first 11 months, new
deposits were 23% lower than in the
same period last year, People’s Bank of
China data show.
The iPhone promotion, by Shenzhenbased Ping An Bank Co in October
at a branch in Beijing, offered a
128-gigabyte iPhone 6 Plus in lieu
of interest payments for depositing
38,000 yuan for five years. For
parking 903,000 yuan for the same
period, savers could pick one of four
Mercedes-Benz models. A Mercedes
A180, which costs 252,000 yuan,
would give investors the equivalent
of an annualized return of almost 7%,
compared with the benchmark rate of
4% on five-year deposits. The China
Banking Regulatory Commission in
September banned what it called
“illicit” deposit-gathering practices,
including gifts and rebates on deposits.
Banks that flout the curbs could face
punishment, the regulator said, without
clarifying whether product giveaways
in lieu of interest payments qualify as
A spokesman for Ping An Bank in
Shenzhen declined to comment on the
China’s investors have been pouring
money into online money-market funds
offered by the likes of Alibaba Group
Holding and Baidu.
Yu’E Bao, pioneered last year by
Alibaba affiliate Alipay, drew 535bn
yuan in its first 15 months of existence
from 149mn customers, more than
the populations of France and the UK
combined. Users simply tapped a few
buttons on their mobile phones to
secure an annual rate of return that
soared as high as 6.8% before falling to
about 4% recently.
Meanwhile, households put 12.9tn
yuan into high- yield trust products
as of September 30, making them the
fastest- growing segment of what China
defines as shadow banking, or financial
activity outside the banking system.
Trusts, which allow individuals to invest
in real estate and other projects for
returns of more than 10%, saw assets
under management surge more than
10-fold since the start of 2009.
The Shanghai Composite Index’s 43%
surge over the past six months also
has savers plunging into equities. In
the first week of December, Chinese
investors opened almost 600,000
stock-trading accounts, a 62% increase
over the previous week, according
to China Securities Depository and
Clearing Co.
To stimulate the economy, China’s
central bank on Nov 21 announced a
cut in benchmark interest rates for the
first time in more than two years, to
2.75% from 3% on one- year deposits. At
the same time, the maximum interest
rate banks can pay customers was
raised to 20% over the benchmark
from 10%, allowing lenders the biggest
leeway to set their own rates in modern
Chinese history.
Ping An Bank, China Citic Bank Corp
and Bank of Ningbo Co immediately
alerted customers through text
messages that they would offer the
highest interest rates allowed, or 3.3%.
While Beijing-based Industrial &
Commercial Bank of China and its four
closest state-controlled peers first
decided to pay 3%, their plan lasted just
two weeks. Some branches in major
cities, including Shanghai and Beijing,
then boosted one-year deposit rates to
the 3.3% ceiling.
Taiwan Nov
export orders
slow, but on
track for a
record in 2014
aiwan’s export orders
grew slower than expected in November,
amid global uncertainties, and
the island’s economics ministry slightly trimmed its forecast
for this year’s total, which still
should set a record.
Export orders in November
rose 6% from a year earlier, below the 8.8% forecast in the
Reuters poll as well as the ministry’s expectations for around a
10% gain.
Still orders for information
communication goods, the main
driver for Taiwan’s exports,
posted a record monthly high of
$13.69bn in November.
This underpinned hopes for
the technology export-driven
economy to wrap up a bumper
year of orders fuelled by popular demand for Apple’s newest
Taiwan’s export orders are
an indication of the strength of
Asian exports and of global demand for technology.
Lin Lee-jen, statistics director of the Ministry of Economic
Affairs, said Taiwan’s export
orders for this year could total around $470bn, down a bit
from the estimated $480bn she
offered last month, but still a
record level.
November orders totalled
$43.51bn, down from October’s
$44.9bn - also a record high –
because of falling demand for
petrochemical goods, the ministry said.
Orders from the US and Europe rose by strong double digit
year-on-year percentages, however orders from China, including Hong Kong, fell 3.4% from a
year ago.
The decline came as China’s
economy slows and as the mainland, trying to nurture the development of its own industries,
takes fewer orders from Taiwan,
Lin said.
Taiwan’s statistics agency
last month cut its forecast for
2015 exports, citing below-par
growth expected for China and
the European Union.
This year, the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 was the biggest economic fillip to Taiwan,
whose companies make a sizable share of the gadget’s circuitry.
Many of the technology orders are handled by Taiwanese-owned factories based in
China, with the final goods
being exported from the mainland to consumers in the US
and Europe.
Due to the high base from this
year boosted by demand for the
new iPhones, the monthly yearon-year growth in export orders
next year will likely slow, said
Shawn Shih, economist with Sinopac Securities in Taipei.
Shih said as long as the
monthly order value remains
slowdown in the growth rate
shouldn’t be a concern for the
trade-reliant island economy.
Sensex gains for third day; rupee rises marginally
ndian shares rose for a third session
yesterday, led by gains in defensive
stocks such as ITC on worries the
selling spree by foreign investors might
continue till year-end, while higher Asian
shares underpin the broader market.
Foreign investors sold nearly $1bn
worth of shares over nine consecutive
sessions of selling, amid a brewing п¬Ѓnancial crisis in Russia and a crude oil
slump, regulatory data show. They still
remain net buyers of Indian equities
worth $16.5bn in 2014 so far.
Volatility may rise due to expiry of
equity derivatives on Wednesday while
progress on key reforms such as the
opening up of insurance and coal sectors and tabling of a bill on nationwide
sales tax in parliament’s winter session
that ends Tuesday, are key ahead of the
federal budget in February.
Asian shares took their cues from
Wall Street and kicked off a holidayshortened week on a strong footing
yesterday. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan extended gains
and was up 1.1%. “Value-buying by
domestic investors is supporting the
market on hopes the insurance bill and
GST would go through during the winter session itself,” said Deven Choksey,
managing director at K R Choksey Securities.
The NSE index rose 0.22% to
8,242.80, while the benchmark BSE index gained 0.23% to 27,435.13, trading
around their respective 50-day moving
ITC rose 1.3%, Hindustan Unilever
was up 1.4% while in utilities, NTPC
rose 2.4% and Gail India rose 3.2%.
Select lenders such as State Bank
of India also gained as Prime Minister
Narendra Modi may consider using an
executive order to push through laws
overhauling the insurance and coal
Meanwhile the rupee gained marginally while bonds were steady yesterday as investors stayed on the sidelines in a holiday-shortened Christmas
week likely to see diminishing foreign
fund flows.
Foreign funds are usually light on
their investments towards the yearend and prefer to start investing fresh
funds only at the beginning of the New
Year, leading to lower volumes in most
markets globally. Both debt and foreign
exchange markets saw significantly
low volumes in India but sharp gains in
the domestic share market helped the
rupee edge up.
Traders said the rupee could come
under pressure on month-end demand
from importers. For bonds, the movement in global crude oil prices will be
“Some month-end and quarter-end
demand should push the rupee down
later this week and next,” said Hari
Chandramgethen, head of foreign exchange trading at South Indian Bank.
“The rupee’s fall will be limited at
around 63.60 levels.” The partially
convertible rupee closed at 63.24/25
per dollar, slightly stronger than its
Friday close of 63.2950/3050, while
the benchmark 10-year bond yield
closed steady at 7.96%.
Indian shares rose more than 1% to
mark a third consecutive day of gains,
while higher Asian shares and hopes of
progress on key reforms underpinned
the broader market. In the overnight
indexed swap market, the benchmark
п¬Ѓve-year swap rate closed 2 basis
points lower at 7.31%, while the oneyear rate fell 1 basis point to 7.88%.
Asia markets up in thin trade, tracking Wall Street cues
Asian markets rose in thin trade yesterday ahead of the
festive season, tracking cues from Wall Street where stocks
surged in a Federal Reserve-fuelled “Santa Claus rally” last
week. Stabler oil markets also provided support, with crude
prices ticking higher as analysts predicted the sector had
bottomed out after plunging almost 50% since June.
Sydney soared 1.94%, or 103.35 points, to 5,442, Seoul gained
0.68%, or 13.14 points, to 1,943.12, Hong Kong climbed 1.26%,
291.94 points to 23,408.57 and Shanghai was up 0.61%, or
18.85 points, to 3,127.45.
Tokyo closed flat, edging up 13.74 points to 17,635.14.
In other markets, Wellington rose 0.25%, or 13.99 points,
to 5,541.74; Fletcher Building was up 1.23% at NZ$8.25 and
Warehouse Group added 0.98% to NZ$3.08.
Taipei added 1.06%, or 95.48 points, to 9,095.0; Taiwan
Semiconductor Manufacturing Co added 0.36% to Tw$138.5
while Hon Hai Precision climbed 2.8% to Tw$88.0.
Manila gained 0.19%, or 13.64 points, to 7,139.27; top-traded
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co rose 0.36% to 2,824
Trading is expected to be thin this week at the start of the
holiday season, with many traders away for Christmas and
New Year celebrations. The gains in Asia come after US
stocks went from famine to feast last week, starting out
fearful of crashing oil prices and finishing it smiling at a
“Santa Claus rally”.
Worries about tumbling oil prices and the crashing Russian
rouble, which has lost nearly half its value in 2014 against
the dollar, prompted grim sentiment among investors.
But markets began reversing course as the US Federal
Reserve left in place market expectations that it may raise
interest rates only in the middle of 2015 - and not sooner—
and gave a fairly upbeat assessment of the world’s biggest
Following a two-day meeting, Fed Chair Janet Yellen offered
reassurances that sharply lower oil prices are a net positive
for the economy and that economic fallout from Russia’s
struggles is likely to be limited.
US stocks rose for the third day in a row on Friday, with the
blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 0.15% at
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.46% to 2,070.65, about five
points below its record. The dollar stayed firm after Yellen’s
The greenback was at ВҐ119.51 in Asian trade, up from ВҐ119.43
in New York on Friday. While the Fed did not accelerate
its timeline for raising interest rates, currency traders are
betting the US will increase borrowing costs more quickly
than other major central banks, which would tend to boost
demand for the dollar.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Al Abdullatif Industrial Inv
Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran
Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev
Al Babtain Power & Telecommu
Bank Albilad
Alujain Corporation (Alco)
Aldrees Petroleum And Transp
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C
Alinma Bank
Alinma Tokio Marine
Al Khaleej Training And Educ
Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son
Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera
Almarai Co
Saudi Integrated Telecom Co
Alsorayai Group
Al Tayyar
Amana Cooperative Insurance
Anaam International Holding
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets
Arabian Pipes Co
Advanced Petrochemicals Co
Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative
Arabian Cement
Arab National Bank
Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co
United Wire Factories Compan
Astra Industrial Group
Alahli Takaful Co
Axa Cooperative Insurance
Basic Chemical Industries
Bishah Agriculture
Bank Al-Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
United International Transpo
Bupa Arabia For Cooperative
Buruj Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Airlines Catering Co
Methanol Chemicals Co
City Cement Co
Eastern Cement
Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat
Etihad Etisalat Co
Emaar Economic City
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu
United Electronics Co
Falcom Saudi Equity Etf
Filing & Packing Materials M
Wafrah For Industry And Deve
Falcom Petrochemical Etf
Gulf General Cooperative Ins
Jazan Development Co
Gulf Union Cooperative Insur
Halwani Bros Co
Hail Cement
Herfy Food Services Co
Al Jouf Agriculture Developm
Jarir Marketing Co
Jabal Omar Development Co
Al Jouf Cement
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co
Knowledge Economic City
Kingdom Holding Co
Saudi Arabian Mining Co
Malath Cooperative & Reinsur
Makkah Construction & Devepl
Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran
Middle East Specialized Cabl
Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co
Al Mouwasat Medical Services
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudi Dairy & Foodstuff Co
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co
Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran
Saudi Advanced Industries
Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co
Salama Cooperative Insurance
Samba Financial Group
Sanad Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Public Transport Co
Saudi Arabia Refineries Co
Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf
Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei
Saudi Cable Co
Saudi Chemical Company
Saudi Ceramic
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
United Industries Co
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Pearl Of Kuwait Real Estate
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
Al-Dar National Real Estate
Kgl Logistics Company Kscc
Combined Group Contracting
Zima Holding Co Ksc
Qurain Holding Co
Boubyan Intl Industries Hold
Gulf Investment House
Boubyan Bank K.S.C
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Al-Safat Tec Holding Co
Al-Eid Food Co
Al-Qurain Petrochemicals Co
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Union Real Estate Co
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
National Pharmaceutical-Rts
National Pharmaceutical
National Packaging Fac
National Mineral Water
National Hospitality Institu
National Gas Co
National Finance Co
National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
Dhofar Intl Development
Dhofar Insurance
Dhofar University
Dhofar Power Co
Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu
Dhofar Cattlefeed
Al Batinah Dev & Inv
Dhofar Beverages Co
Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
Bank Dhofar Saog
Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
Areej Vegetable Oils
Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
Al-Omaniya Financial Service
Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank
Abu Dhabi National Takaful C
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co
Sudan Telecommunications Co$
Sorouh Real Estate Company
Sharjah Insurance Company
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Ras Al Khaima Poultry
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Rak Properties
Ras Al-Khaimah National Insu
Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics
Ras Al Khaimah Cement Co
National Bank Of Ras Al-Khai
Ooredoo Qsc
Umm Al Qaiwain Cement Indust
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
National Marine Dredging Co
National Corp Tourism & Hote
Sharjah Islamic Bank
National Bank Of Umm Al Qaiw
National Bank Of Fujairah
National Bank Of Abu Dhabi
Methaq Takaful Insurance
#N/A Invalid Security
Gulf Pharmaceutical Ind-Julp
Invest Bank
Insurance House
Gulf Medical Projects
Gulf Livestock Co
Green Crescent Insurance Co
Gulf Cement Co
Foodco Holding
Finance House
First Gulf Bank
Fujairah Cement Industries
Fujairah Building Industries
Emirates Telecom Corporation
Eshraq Properties Co Pjsc
Emirates Insurance Co. (Psc)
Emirates Driving Company
Al Dhafra Insurance Co. P.S.
Dana Gas
Commercial Bank Internationa
Bank Of Sharjah
Abu Dhabi Natl Co For Buildi
Al Wathba National Insurance
Intl Fish Farming Co-Asmak
Arkan Building Materials Co
Aldar Properties Pjsc
Al Ain Ahlia Ins. Co.
Al Khazna Insurance Co
Agthia Group Pjsc
Al Fujairah National Insuran
Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co
Abu Dhabi National Insurance
Abu Dhabi National Hotels
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Aviation
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
United Paper Industries Bsc
United Gulf Investment Corp
United Gulf Bank
United Finance Co
Trafco Group Bsc
Takaful International Co
Taib Bank -$Us
Securities & Investment Co
Seef Properties
Sudan Telecommunications Co$
Al-Salam Bank
Delmon Poultry Co
National Hotels Co
National Bank Of Bahrain
Nass Corp Bsc
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Investcorp Bank -$Us
Inovest Co Bsc
Intl Investment Group-Kuwait
Gulf Monetary Group
Global Investment House Kscc
Gulf Finance House Ec
Bahrain Family Leisure Co
Esterad Investment Co B.S.C.
Bahrain Duty Free Complex
Bahrain Car Park Co
Bahrain Cinema Co
Bahrain Tourism Co
Bahraini Saudi Bank/The
Bahrain National Holding
Bankmuscat Saog
Bmmi Bsc
Bmb Investment Bank
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C
Bahrain Flour Mills Co
Bahrain Commercial Facilitie
Bbk Bsc
Bahrain Telecom Co
Bahrain Ship Repair & Engin
Albaraka Banking Group
Banader Hotels Co
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Lt Price
% Chg
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 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
The euro yesterday rose to $1.2254 after sliding as low as $1.2220 in earlier Asian deals, matching Friday’s two-year trough
that was reached as the Federal Reserve signalled it may raise US interest rates in the middle of 2015.
Europe stocks rise on
modest oil recovery
urope’s main stock markets rose
strongly yesterday in a renewed
“Santa rally” powered by a modest recovery in oil prices early in the
day, dealers said.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.48% to 6,576.76 points,
the Paris CAC 40 added 0.30% to
4,254.43, and in Frankfurt the DAX 30
rose 0.81% to 9,865.76.
The euro rose to $1.2254 after sliding
as low as $1.2220 in earlier Asian deals,
matching Friday’s two-year trough
that was reached as the Federal Reserve
signalled it may raise US interest rates
in the middle of 2015.
“For the moment many of the
worldwide indices have chosen to side
with Santa, and have continued to rally
despite oil’s renewed slip,” said Spreadex trader Connor Campbell.
Oil prices rebounded modestly in
early trade, but later turned down.
London’s Brent crude for February
delivery shed $1.35 to $60.03 per bar-
rel in late trading, and US benchmark
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for
February fell $1.68 to $55.45 a barrel.
Oil prices had rebounded on Friday,
wiping out losses earlier last week that
saw prices hit fresh п¬Ѓve-year lows on
the back of ample supplies and mounting demand worries.
Oil has however shed about half
its value since June, and a decision in
November by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec)
to maintain output levels despite falling prices has weighed heavily on the
Trading volumes meanwhile remained low with many investors away
from their desks for the traditional
Christmas and New Year holiday shutdown.
The Frankfurt stock market closes
for Christmas at the end of trading today, while London and Paris will shut
down at lunchtime tomorrow.
“As we head towards the Christmas
break and a short week, the main focus
going forward is likely to remain on the
recent volatility in the oil price, particularly if we get a fresh bout of selling
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
pressure,” said CMC Markets analyst
Michael Hewson.
He added there were widespread
concerns that further oil market declines “could prompt instability in oilproducing countries like Venezuela,
Angola, Nigeria and Ecuador, and of
course not forgetting Russia, as these
countries struggle to balance their
books, against a weakening currency,
and a much weaker oil price.”
Wall Street stocks were mostly higher ahead of a heavy day of economic
data releases today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 0.45% to 17,885.33 points in
midday trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 edged
down 0.02% to 2,070.32, while the
tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index
added 0.08% to 4,768.99.
Investors were looking ahead to today’s economic reports, which include
the third estimate of third-quarter
gross domestic product and durable
goods orders for November.
On the London Bullion Market,
gold slid to $1,195.25 per ounce from
$1,195.50 on 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 23, 2014
UK to extend Libor
manipulation laws
to cover gold,
oil and silver
Draghi starts squaring QE
circle in persuasion month
ario Draghi has one month to
win consensus on quantitative easing by reassuring those
worried the European Central Bank
risks losing its own money.
As officials prepare to consider sovereign-bond purchases on January 22,
the ECB president is working to get as
many policy makers and as much of the
public on his side as possible.
One concession being debated is to
require national central banks to be responsible for at least some of their own
credit risk, according to people familiar
with the talks.
Draghi’s chief mission in the next 31
days will be to counter arguments that
a QE package designed to revive inflation will instead see the ECB loading up with junk assets at high prices
to bail out negligent governments.
While he might never convince more
vocal opponents such as Bundesbank
President Jens Weidmann, he can
strengthen his position by crafting a
programme that addresses the concerns of doubters.
“In case of sovereign QE, it’ll be difficult to square the circle to make everybody happy,” said Marco Valli, an
economist at UniCredit in Milan. “But
they are trying to make it as consensual
as possible, bringing on board some of
the smaller states. It would be important for the credibility of any sovereign
QE program to reduce dissent as much
as possible.”
Weidmann has argued that aside
from the question of whether government bond purchases are legal, there’s
no need for more action now. He has
said a slump in oil prices will provide a
“mini-stimulus” to the economy. Yet
the same slide is proving a concern for
Draghi because of the risk that it feeds
through into inflation expectations and
tips the euro area into a deflationary
The ECB wants to prevent a “dangerous vicious circle of declining prices,
rising real wage costs, falling profits,
shrinking demand and further declining prices,” Vice President Vitor Constancio said in an interview with Wirt-
ECB president Mario Draghi’s chief mission in the next 31 days will be to counter arguments that a QE package designed to
revive inflation will instead see the ECB loading up with junk assets at high prices to bail out negligent governments.
schaftswoche published on December
Not responding in defence of its
mandate to keep prices stable “would
be illegal,” Draghi said on December
4 after strengthening the Governing Council’s official statement to say
stimulus is intended to expand the
ECB’s balance sheet by as much as €1tn
In a preview of the disagreements he
might face, that change — the council
previously said stimulus was “expected” to boost the balance sheet — was
opposed by a quarter of the 24 policy
makers, including half the six-person
Executive Board. While some of those
opponents are still likely to support QE,
reservations remain on how it would
gel with government reforms, risk distribution, and an EU ban on monetary
“We need to design a solution in a
way that mitigates the concerns of as
many people around the table as possible,” Executive Board member Benoit
Coeure told the Wall Street Journal last
week, according to an ECB transcript.
“No instrument is perfect.”
One example of how Draghi can steer
policy makers towards a compromise,
if not unanimity, is the Outright Monetary Transactions bond-buying plan
announced in 2012. The Italian managed to limit the number of opponents
to just one, Weidmann, by agreeing to
concessions such as the maturities of
bonds to be bought and purchasing
pauses during reviews.
OMT, which has never been used,
still came under legal scrutiny. Germany’s Constitutional Court said the ECB
overstepped its authority and asked the
EU’s highest tribunal to decide on its
legality. A non-binding opinion will be
published on January 14, with a ruling
four to six months later.
That may spur policy makers to narrow the liability for national central
banks this time, according to Anatoli
Annenkov, senior economist at Societe
Generale in London.
“We expect measures to limit credit
risk,” he said. Options range “from
Basel watchdog wants standardised assessment of banks’ capital
Global regulators have outlined
measures to ensure capital held by
banks does not fall below a certain
level and to adopt a more consistent
approach across the industry to
measuring risk.
Regulators on the Basel Committee,
which sets rules for the industry
worldwide, are concerned that
inconsistencies in the way big
banks calculate the size of their
capital buffers undermines investor
confidence in their capital ratios, a
key measure of lenders’ financial
They are also seeking to avoid any
repeat of the 2007-09 financial crisis
which saw under-capitalised lenders
being rescued by taxpayers.
The regulators are proposing a
standardised approach to assessing
risk and a stricter “floor” on the
capital which banks must hold. “The
Committee’s proposed floor would
ensure that the level of capital across
the banking system does not fall
below a certain level,” it said in a
statement yesterday. However, it said
it had yet to determine where that
floor would be set.
The Committee also wants to
standardise the methodology used by
big banks to apportion risk weightings
to different assets they hold. It said
the proposals would reduce risks
associated with banks basing their
calculations on internal models, and
make it easier to compare the capital
strength of banks.
The measures would also reduce
reliance on external credit ratings
when assessing risk and instead be
based on a bank’s capital strength
and the quality of its assets.
The Committee is proposing a
tightening of the criteria required for
consumer-facing banks to qualify
for preferential treatment when
apportioning risk weightings to
Home loans would no longer
receive a 35% risk weighting.
Instead they would be weighted
based upon the size of the loan
compared with the value of the
property and the borrower’s level
of debt.
The Committee published a
consultation paper yesterday and
has given banks and other interested
parties until March 27 to respond.
Regulators in Britain and the US
have criticised Basel’s rules for being
too complex and have put greater
emphasis on blunter restraints on
banks such as the leverage ratio, a
measure of capital that disregards
levels of risk.
The reforms are unlikely to take
effect before 2019, when changes
already made to bank capital rules
have been fully implemented.
buying only the highest-rated bonds,
to letting national central banks keep
the credit risk on their own balance
sheets, and/or maintaining senior status in case of a debt restructuring,” he
Other considerations may include
limits on purchases relative to each nation’s outstanding debt and the size of
its economy. Central banks in countries
such as Greece and Portugal could be
required to set aside extra money or
provisions to cover potential losses,
Reuters reported on December 19, citing unidentified officials.
In a sign Draghi may also be reaching
out beyond policy makers, he was due
to give a rare interview to Handelsblatt
this month. The article has yet to be
Draghi still faces stiff resistance from
German politicians.
“I’m not convinced of the need for a
large-scale government-bond purchase
program,” Norbert Barthle, the senior
budget lawmaker in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, said in an
interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung published yesterday.
The euro area, which expands to 19
member states when Lithuania joins
on January 1, lacks a common, riskfree asset such as the US Treasuries
the Federal Reserve bought in its QE
programme. That leaves the ECB looking at a hodge-podge of covered bonds
and asset-backed securities, which it
started buying this year, or corporate
bonds and government-agency debt,
which some policy makers have said are
possible targets.
Should officials decide that size
matters in convincing investors
though, government bonds offer by far
the largest and most liquid debt market. More than 6tn euros of sovereign
assets are eligible at the ECB as collateral, and so probably for any purchase
“Our base case assumes that Mr
Draghi will implement sovereign QE
boldly,” said Huw Pill, chief European
economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc
in London. “But we entertain a variant
scenario where Mr Draghi seeks compromise with the QE-sceptics. Such a
compromise has the potential to disappoint markets.”
Britain will widen the scope of
laws which make the manipulation of market benchmarks
a criminal offence to include
seven more rates covering the
currency, gold, oil and silver
markets by April 1, the government said yesterday.
The move is the latest by the
Conservative-led government to
clamp down on malpractice in
the City of London whose reputation has been tarnished by an
interest rate-rigging scandal and
claims that traders colluded to
manipulate currency rates.
“Ensuring that the key rates
that underpin financial markets
here and around the world are
robust, and that anyone who
seeks to manipulate them is
subject to the full force of the
law, is an important part of our
long-term economic plan,” finance minister George Osborne
said in a statement.
Under the law, people
found guilty of
manipulation can be
handed jail sentences of
up to seven years
Under the law, people found
guilty of manipulation can be
handed jail sentences of up to
seven years. It was originally
introduced to cover the London
Interbank Offered Rate (Libor)
market after a global manipulation scandal which resulted in
banks being fined billions of
The finance ministry said seven
benchmarks including the WM/
Reuters 4pm London fix — the
dominant global benchmark
in the $5.3tn-a-day currency
market — would be subject to
the law, pending a consultation
by Britain’s financial watchdog.
The European Union has criminalised the rigging of financial
market benchmarks after the
Libor scandal, but those laws
will not take effect until 2016.
A former trader from RBS was
arrested on Friday in connection with a criminal investigation into allegations that bank
traders tried to manipulate
currency markets.
Dutch insurer п¬Ѓned over
using confidential info
he Dutch central bank slapped a
multimillion-euro п¬Ѓne on insurer
Delta Lloyd yesterday and ordered
it to dismiss its chief п¬Ѓnancial officer for
profiting from confidential information.
The DNB fined Delta Lloyd €22.8mn
($27.9mn) after it in mid-2012 allegedly
used confidential information to cut back
on interest rate risk hedges, a week before the DNB announced it was making
changes in interest rate calculations on
insurance liabilities.
Delta Lloyd “carried out transactions
based on confidential information and
thereby gained financially,” the Amsterdam-based DNB said in a statement.
The DNB imposed a €1.2mn fine plus
ordered it to pay €21.6mn it said Delta
Lloyd made as a result.
“The DNB also confirms that it has
asked Delta Lloyd to dismiss its chief financial officer,” the central bank said.
But Delta Lloyd said it would appeal
the п¬Ѓne in court.
Tesco masterplan? New boss keeps investors and staff guessing
The new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis — despite having no retail experience — is keeping management
on a tight rein and personally taking charge of key areas of the business, sources say.
hen Phil Clarke was
sacked as Tesco’s CEO,
senior executives hoped
his 0700 strategy meetings would
go with him. They did — new boss
Dave Lewis starts his at 0630.
Parachuted in from Unilever in
September, Lewis soon faced the
task of making the shock announcement that a ВЈ250mn ($391mn) hole
had been found in Tesco’s profits,
in an accounting scandal that led to
the departure of several senior executives.
Now the CEO — despite having no
direct retail experience — is keeping management on a tight rein and
personally taking charge of key areas
of the business, sources say. And as
he conducts a vast review of Tesco’s
operations to come up with a strategy to revive its fortunes, he is giving
little away — even to insiders.
The 49-year-old has promised to
give some details on January 8 about
the measures he plans to take, but
all the contents of his blueprint have
not yet even been seen by senior
management at the п¬Ѓrm, according
to a source close to the situation.
In fact the only member of the
leadership team to be consulted on
the new strategy is another new-
comer to the firm, chief financial officer Alan Stewart, the source said.
Key internal talks around п¬Ѓnancials, customer issues and products
have been kept to separate teams,
with all big decisions taken by Lewis
and Stewart, the former п¬Ѓnance
chief at Marks & Spencer.
“He tends to operate keeping everything compartmentalised, so he
keeps his own counsel on the masterplan,” said the source, who did
not wish to be named. “He doesn’t
have a core п¬Ѓve or six people that he
discusses everything with.”
Tesco declined to comment for
this story.
Lewis arrived in the worst crisis in
the grocer’s 95-year history.
Nicknamed “Drastic Dave” after
п¬Ѓxing units of Unilever with cost
cuts and innovative marketing, he
will have to show similar resolve to
improve Tesco’s competitiveness
and strengthen the balance sheet
of the п¬Ѓrm which issued its fourth
profit warning in five months two
weeks ago.
After two decades of growth,
Tesco has lost its way — distracted
by an expensive overseas expansion
strategy when it needed to respond
to the rise of discount grocers; and
wrong-footed by a boom in convenience stores and online shopping.
Lewis has said there is no quick п¬Ѓx,
and favours steady customer-focused
improvements. Price cuts, major asset
disposals and a cash call to п¬Ѓx creaking п¬Ѓnances are all options.
His decision to take over temporarily the day-to-day leadership of
the UK operation — whose boss left
after the accounting scandal — is illustrative of his hands-on approach,
punctuated by e-mails п¬Ѓred off to
staff around the clock.
Earlier this month, according
to an industry source, he personally took charge of meetings with
Tesco’s top 25 suppliers, instead of
newly promoted commercial director Jason Tarry, to the surprise of
some attendees.
Incorrectly booking payments
from suppliers was at the centre of
the accounting debacle, which is
being investigated by Britain’s accounting watchdog and Serious
Fraud Office.
With Tesco’s share price having
halved in a year, the spotlight is on
what it must do to revitalise a business still the UK market leader but
now steadily losing share.
However, company insiders say
challenges also lie much closer to
Lewis at his head office in Cheshunt,
north of London.
During Clarke’s disastrous threeyear-and-a-half year tenure, Tesco’s management talent pool was
irresponsibly reduced, according to
former company directors.
Lewis now heads a team depleted
further still by suspensions and exits, and retaining talent could be a
difficult task.
“Him keeping ... everyone sort
of slightly in the dark feeds uncertainty. Nobody is quite sure whether
they are in the gang or not,” the
source close to the situation said.
Investors will hope that in his
January 8 update Lewis will ditch
the corporate jargon which — despite an army of PR advisors — has
proved a hindrance both internally
and externally.
The Financial Times this month
ran a “Dave Lewis jargon-buster” to
help readers decipher phrases such
as “rebasing relationships with suppliers”.
Analysts, drawing parallels with
Tesco’s current plight, say when
Lewis returned to Unilever UK in
2005 it was suffering from declining market share, had an uncompetitive cost base and a weak image
with customers. Nine years on, it’s
One unnamed former UK Tesco
director, who knows Lewis, said he
was a “formidable” fighter.
“I think he’s getting a good grip of
things and I think he’ll do a decent
job,” he told Reuters. “The big issue
is how he sets his stall out for the
next two to three years, not the current focus on profits.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Google challenges Amazon with same-day deliveries during holiday
San Francisco
Google Inc is gaining ground in the
market for same-day package deliveries,
stepping up competition with Amazon.
com, EBay and a host of startups during
the busy holiday shopping season.
The service, called Google Express
and available in big US cities, handled
50% more toys in the two weeks after
the Thanksgiving holiday, the peak of the
year-end shopping season. Sales of books
rose more than 30%, according to Google.
“It saved me from having to run an
errand myself,” said Aimee LaFont Leifer,
a resident of San Francisco who used
Google Express to order gifts, including a
Lego brick set, for a charity event earlier
this month. “It was good to be able to just
keep working.”
As more people shop on the Web and
on their mobile devices, they’re bypassing
Google and going straight to Amazon and
other online retailers to find merchandise,
robbing Google of an opportunity to
make money by showing advertisements
alongside search results. The portion of
shoppers who used Amazon to begin their
search for online purchases doubled in
the third quarter to 39% from 2009, according to Forrester Research Inc.
“More consumers are shopping on-thego — they have more options,” said Colin
Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W Baird
& Co, who estimates that 30% to 40% of
Google’s core search business — which
makes up more than half of the company’s
annual revenue of about $60bn — is tied
to e-commerce. “Google needs to defend
its turf.”
Google Express, which debuted as a
free test feature last year, now looks more
like a permanent endeavour. Three new
cities — Chicago, Boston and Washington
— were added in October on top of the
existing areas of San Francisco/Northern
California, New York and Los Angeles.
Google also started charging shoppers
$95 a year or $10 a month for unlimited
deliveries or $4.99 per eligible order.
Same-day or overnight shipping for orders
of more than $15 is free for members.
In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, home
of Google’s Mountain View, California,
headquarters, white cars adorned with the
Google Express umbrella logo can be seen
parked outside shops and buildings.
Google added more than 15 new
merchants to the service in the past
few months, including PetSmart Inc and Inc, bringing the total
to about 40. Target Corp, Costco Wholesale Corp and Staples Inc also sell goods
via Google Express.
“We continue to demonstrate how
we’re going to make it scale,” said Brian
Elliott, a business development manager
at Google. “There’s a very strong commitment behind that today.”
Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman and former chief executive officer,
has said that Seattle-based Amazon is
Google’s biggest competitor in search
because many consumers visit the ecommerce service first when they want to
buy items.
Amazon has wooed consumers with
millions of products and its Prime service
that gives users two-day shipping and
access to digital content for $99 a year.
The Web retailer has also been expanding delivery services, including same-day
service for groceries in some cities. Last
week, Amazon began offering a one-hour
package service in Manhattan, covering
tens of thousands of household goods.
Amazon said it will expand the service to
more cities in 2015.
Kelly Cheeseman, a spokeswoman for
Amazon, didn’t respond to requests for
As more people shop at home, the
total US delivery market is projected to
expand 12% to $82bn in 2016, according
to Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting
Group Inc, a research firm in Sewickley,
Consumers are also demanding
speedier deliveries, according to Joshua
Hubbard, an industry consultant at AlixPartners LLP. Just 35% of consumers
are willing to wait a full week for free deliveries, down from 50% two years ago, a
survey by the firm found earlier this year.
“People are more and more comfortable buying online, and much of the
purchasing is delivered,” Hubbard said.
EBay has also rolled out a delivery service promising merchandise in as little as
two hours. Called EBay Now, it’s debuted
in several cities, including Boston, New
York and Los Angeles.
Startups are also eyeing the quick
delivery space. Instacart Inc lets consumers order groceries, which are picked up
and delivered by a shopper hired by the
Postmates Inc offers goods from shops
and restaurants in more than 15 cities.
The San Francisco-based company, which
has done more than 1mn deliveries, is
counting on quick shipments of less than
an hour to help it stand out in the market,
according to CEO Bastian Lehmann.
“You pay for having access to a product
within minutes,” Lehmann said. “That
really is the appealing thing. You press a
button and a couple of minutes later, a
MacBook arrives.”
Guitar Center Inc, a Google Express
partner, is seeing purchases of lighter
products such as guitar strings or keyboard stands. Instruments are still usually
bought in stores, according to Jeff Wisot,
the retailer’s vice president of enterprise
digital marketing.
“We’re very motivated to offer our customers as many options as we can,” Wisot
said. “For a company to build it internally,
it would be pretty expensive.”
Google has the technology to make
deliveries more efficient, using mapping
data to help route drivers in the fastest
way possible, according to Elliott.
“What we’re doing pretty successfully is
proving to retailers that we can help them
drive more sales to their existing customers.” Elliott said.
Sydney shopping spree helps
brighten Australian gloom
ustralia’s two-speed economy is
back — only this time Sydney is
leading an east coast boom while
mining states lag.
Australia’s biggest city contributed
38% of the country’s growth in the year
through June, up from an average of
22% in the past 24 years, consultancy
SGS Economics & Planning Pty said in
a November 27 report. Companies such
as retailer Dick Smith Holdings Ltd are
making hay as data showed sales of
homewares, electrical goods and garden
supplies in New South Wales state surged
in October by the most in 14 years.
The conundrum for central bank
governor Glenn Stevens is that recordlow interest rates designed to rebalance
growth are too low for Sydney, where
house prices have soared, and too high
for the rest as mining investment falls,
new jobs fail to keep pace with population growth and confidence slides. As
the brakes on growth override the drivers, two of Australia’s four major lenders forecast policy makers will cut the
benchmark rate next year, having held
it at 2.5% for 16 months.
“Sydney has been the epicenter of
residential investment that has driven
up house prices and provided a wealth
effect,” said Stephen Walters, JPMorgan
Chase & Co’s Sydney-based chief economist for Australia. “Elsewhere, households are suffering income compression
as falling terms of trade suppress wages
and squeeze the budget, requiring benefit cuts and tax increases.”
That’s a reverse from the peak of the
resource boom in 2010-11 when Stevens
ran developed-world high interest rates
as Australia’s north and west vacuumed
up labour to build mines, while the south
and east, including Sydney, stagnated.
Challenged over tight monetary policy
at the time, the governor said the Reserve Bank of Australia had to set rates
on an aggregate basis for the economy.
Government data released this
month showed that every Australian
state shrank or stagnated last quarter
in п¬Ѓnal demand terms, which exclude
exports, apart from New South Wales,
of which Sydney is the capital. Mining
powerhouse Western Australia contracted 2% while manufacturing hub
Victoria dropped 1.6%.
“Sydney’s role as a major financial hub
has also provided access to global capital
flows” as markets over the past few years
Row of houses are seen in the Millers Point district of Sydney as Lend Lease Group’s Barangaroo South redevelopment stands under construction. Sydney has led the
housing boom with prices up 13.2% in November from a year earlier, according to CoreLogic RP Data’s home value index.
have been “flooded with liquidity,” Terry
Rawnsley, an economist at SGS, said in
the report. “The strong growth in Sydney’s largest industry and low interest
rates helped support growth.”
The divergent trends in the national economy have prompted a split in
economists’ forecasts. Seven are predicting the RBA’s board will cut rates to
a new record low in 2015, nine are forecasting increases and 11 see unchanged
borrowing costs.
Traders are pricing in at least one
25 basis-point rate cut in the next 12
months, swaps data compiled by Credit
Suisse Group show.
The economists predicting rate cuts
highlight the falling terms of trade, or
export prices relative to import prices,
as the price of iron ore plunges. They
also predict unemployment, which is
already at a 12-year high, will increase
Data on employment by industry
from November showed 44,200 mining jobs and 20,900 manufacturing
positions have been lost from a year
earlier. Over the same period, 58,700
construction jobs have been created as
the RBA’s loose monetary policy boosts
home prices and encourages residential
building. Sydney has led the housing
boom with prices up 13.2% in November from a year earlier, according to
Planned Australian LNG projects
threatened by energy price crash
Planned Australian liquefied natural gas
(LNG) export projects, including the costly
Scarborough floating vessel, are at risk as
sinking energy prices make investments
unviable, analysts said.
A nearly 50% slump in Asian LNG prices this
year has pressured any project without a Final
Investment Decision (FID). Just last week,
Woodside Petroleum Ltd delayed the FID for its
$40bn Browse floating project with Royal Dutch
Shell and BP.
The next cab off that rank could be ExxonMobil
and BHP Billiton’s $10bn Scarborough project.
Scarborough will be “commercially challenging”
to justify given a raft of competing LNG projects,
said Noel Tomnay, global gas and LNG research
head at Wood Mackenzie.
“China’s growing pains as well as slugs of LNG
coming into the market: that’s a fairly wicked
combination. It would take a very brave soul to
ignore the prevailing market.”
BHP and ExxonMobil were not available for
The future for other Australian LNG projects
without FID is also uncertain.
GDF Suez and Santos are seeking alternatives for
their Bonaparte floating project, Woodside has
indefinitely delayed its Sunrise project, while Shell
has yet to commit to its Arrow project where it
has cut hundreds of positions.
“I suspect most people will be hunkering down
and trying to get a real handle on how long and
how far this situation will persist,” Origin Energy
CEO Grant King said, referring to falling energy
Origin plans to start-up the $25bn Australia
Pacific LNG project next year and has taken steps
to shore up its cash position.
For existing or under-construction projects, low
prices mean smaller operating margins.
CoreLogic RP Data’s home value index.
Sales growth at Dick Smith, Australia’s largest own-store electrical goods
retailer, is running about 4 percentage
points higher in New South Wales than
the rest of the country, according to
David Cooke, director of investor relations and corporate affairs. Whether
the state continues to outperform depends on several factors, he said.
“If housing remains strong, yes,”
Cooke said by phone. “But if housing
comes off the boil a little bit, which there
is some talk of, then maybe that 4-point
differential might come down a bit.”
Similarly, Ikea of Sweden AB plans to
open its third store in Sydney next year
with sales in New South Wales having
climbed 9% in the period since September 1, the retailer’s country manager in Australia, David Hood, said in
an interview.
“New South Wales has been very
strong for us,” he said. “A buoyant
housing market will generally be favourable to Ikea” no matter where it is
in the world, Hood said.
The strength of Sydney’s economy
prompted the state government to last
week revise up its budget forecast and
predict a surplus for the п¬Ѓscal year that
began July 1 from a June forecast of a
deficit, fuelled by a 12% rise in revenue
from levies on home purchases.
US existing
home sales
hit 6-mth low
S home resales tumbled
to a six-month low in November after two straight
months of strong increases, underscoring the uneven nature of
the housing market recovery.
The National Association of
Realtors said yesterday existing
home sales dropped 6.1% to an
annual rate of 4.93mn units, the
lowest level since May.
November’s steep decline
probably does not signal the
start of a weakening trend and
in part reflected stubbornly low
inventories, which touched an
eight-month low, giving buyers
limited options. Sales were up
2.1% from a year ago. “The report suggests that the housing
market remains on a somewhat
rocky footing as data remains
quite choppy,” said Gennadiy
Goldberg, an economist at TD
Securities in New York.
Housing has struggled to shift
into higher gear after stagnating in the second half of 2013 in
the wake of a jump in mortgage
rates, which have since pulled
back from their peaks.
It has lagged an acceleration in
economic activity as tepid wage
growth, a shortage of properties
available for sale and higher home
prices sidelined п¬Ѓrst-time buyers.
But there optimism that a
broadening of job gains will
translate into stronger wage
growth in 2015 and stimulate
demand for housing. Household
formation, a key ingredient for a
healthy housing market, is running at about 500,000 a year,
well below the more than one
million that is considered ideal.
Economists polled by Reuters
had expected sales to fall only to
a 5.20mn unit pace.
The dollar slipped against a
basket of currencies after the report. US stocks held their gains,
though the housing index was
trading down 0.3%. Prices for US
Treasury debt were little moved.
First-time buyers are wading back into the market, accounting for 31% of transactions
last month. That was the biggest share since October 2012
and was up from 29% in October. Economists and real estate
agents say a share of 40% to 45%
is required for a strong housing
Natural gas tops commodity losers
as inventory surplus emerges
atural gas declined to the lowest in
16 months as mild weather and rising production left inventories above
year-earlier levels for the п¬Ѓrst time since 2012.
Futures fell as much as 5.7% to the lowest since August 13, 2013, making the fuel
the worst performer among 22 raw materials in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. US
temperatures were forecast to warm over the
weekend and to be above normal in the early
part of this week, forecaster MDA Weather
Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said in
e-mailed report December 19.
Gas in storage sites in the week ended
December 12 were 3.295tn cubic feet, 47bn
more than a year earlier, government data
showed. While Morgan Stanley says the surplus will widen to more than 150bn by the
end of the month, JPMorgan Chase & Co
says inventory surplus will “balloon to just
shy of 200bn cubic feet” by the start of 2015.
“Supply growth and mild weather returned working gas storage to a year-onyear surplus for the first time since December 2012,” Morgan Stanley analysts including
New York- based Adam Longson said in a report e-mailed yesterday. That “adds to nearterm downside risk.”
Natural gas for next month fell to as low as
$3.266 per million British thermal units on
the New York Mercantile Exchange before
trading at $3.278 per million Btu by 5:38am
in New York. The volume of all futures traded was more than triple the 100-day average
for the time of day.
Prices have fallen 23% this year, heading
for the biggest annual loss since 2011. While
“headwinds” are set to persist though the
end of the year, prices have the potential to
rebound early 2015 as early weather forecasts
point to the likelihood of colder weather, according to Morgan Stanley.
“With managed money net positioning
near two-year lows, the potential for cold
weather to produce upside swings and volatility also increases,” Longson said.
Colder changes to the weather forecasts
in January mean gas inventories at the end
of the season will be at 1.65tn cubic feet, JPMorgan analysts Scott Speaker and Shikha
Chaturvedi said in a December 18 report emailed yesterday.
An estimated 49% of US households use
gas for heating, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Flying back on course: the inside
story of the new Airbus A350 jet
New carbon jet competes with
Boeing 787; earlier version of A350
failed to win over customers
en years ago, the boss of Qatar
Airways, who took his п¬Ѓrst new
A350 jet yesterday, warned Airbus it was flying off course.
Boeing was knocking on his door
with a “super-efficient” jet boasting
30% fuel savings thanks to a carboncomposite design.
In Toulouse, some Airbus engineers,
riding high after overtaking Boeing and
suspecting a short-lived marketing
stunt, laughed off the future 787 with a
“tail like a dolphin”.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker
urged Airbus to take the 787 seriously
and said its draft response, a quick п¬Ѓx
to its A330 with new General Electric
engines, was inadequate.
As Qatar Airways planned for rapid
regional and long-haul growth, alBaker recalls, “there was a requirement for an aircraft that has capacity
that is optimal on two fronts: customer
comfort and technologically forwardthinking”.
That clamour for both cabin comfort and better economics eventually
forced Airbus into a fundamental shift
in strategy.
But after al-Baker’s warning, it took
another two years of sales setbacks
and doubts at the highest management
level before Airbus agreed to build the
A350 XWB to be delivered yesterday.
That story is revealed here after interviews with customers, suppliers and
industry sources. Airbus declined comment.
The fluctuating, decade-long journey from half-hearted tinkering to an
all-new family of jets highlights a chess
game still being played out as Airbus
and Boeing battle each other in the
wide-body market, valued at $1.9tn
over 20 years.
Next month, the A350 will start
competing with the 787 in the skies,
having garnered 778 orders against
1,055 for the 787.
To build the carbon-plastic jets,
plane makers have tested themselves to
the limit. But they have also carefully
avoided a head-on collision, searching
for pockets of empty space in the twinjet market by unveiling variants that
rarely have precisely the same capacity
as their competitor’s.
Some analysts say that may help
support their profit margins, though as
the A350’s story demonstrates, competition for sales is intense.
“I think they are now pretty well
matched,” said Steven Udvar-Hazy,
who as CEO of lessor ILFC at the time
was the world’s biggest buyer of commercial jets and would prove to be an
important influence on the A350s development.
A decade ago, air travel was changing. Planes with two engines were able
to fly further, and proving more efficient than big jets with four engines.
Boeing’s twin-engine 777 was beating Airbus’s four-engine A340 in the
market for big planes, and Airbus’s
huge four-engine A380, the biggest
airliner ever, had yet to enter service.
Airbus was strong in the market for
small wide-body jets, doing well with
its twin-engine A330. But fast-growing
airlines like Qatar and Emirates were
demanding more comfortable cabins
with space to install new lie-flat beds.
That might have suggested a new fuselage, a decision plane makers rarely
take more than once every couple of
But Airbus was behind in new materials technology, focused on п¬Ѓnishing
the A380, and hoarding resources to
improve its most profitable cash cow,
the A320 small jet, in case Boeing refreshed its 737 model, people familiar
with the matter said.
When Boeing launched the mediumsized 787 to compete with the A330,
Airbus responded defensively. It’s answer, the A350, was basically an A330
with carbon wings and new engines,
rather than a new plane.
“People were cringing at the time,
saying it was inelegant or �how can you
put a patch on a broken leg’,” said Henri
Courpron, chairman of Plane View
Partners and former head of Airbus
North America.
Soon, Airbus customers in Boeing’s
backyard, like Northwest Airlines and
Air Canada, were writing cheques for
787s. Airbus found itself straining to
compete with both flagship Boeings.
In December 2005, pressure reached
boiling point with two big Boeing wins.
Qantas chose the 787; Cathay Pacific
picked the 777.
An internal post-mortem on Qantas
laid out the problem: the original A350
was “reactionary” and Airbus had lost
Airbus chief executive Gustav Humbert called in his 43-year-old strategy
chief Olivier Andries and gave him a
delicate task.
“I asked him to take the best guys and
set up a long-range policy team,” Humbert, who is now retired, told Reuters.
Humbert urged him to consider
whether Airbus could capture 50% of
the big-jet market, up from 35-40%, by
straddling the largest 787 and smallest
777: around 300 seats.
“I was encouraged to think outside
the box ....about the whole long-range
strategy,” said Andries, now chief executive of engine firm Turbomeca. He
declined to discuss details.
Monitored by a team of retired “Wise
Men,” the group of 10 drew up confidential scenarios from makeovers to
bold new jets.
In March 2006, Udvar-Hazy, who
now runs Air Lease, piled on pressure
by urging Airbus to drop its cautious
“We looked at the economics and
concluded it was not a contender in a
meaningful way. So I felt it would get
a silver medal and didn’t deserve to get
built,” Udvar-Hazy told Reuters.
In Toulouse, it was proving hard to
make the business cases stick, but one
proposal labelled “1d” looked promising.
It dived deep into a plane maker’s armoury of wings, cockpit, cabin, engines
and the all-important wider fuselage.
It would cost about €11bn to build
rather than the 4bn budgeted for the
original A350, while setting Airbus
up for 20 years with projected sales of
2,000 planes instead of 800. But it was
still a step behind Boeing’s 787: the tube
would be in metal rather than carbon.
Meanwhile, an internal crisis cast a
new shadow over the proposals.
Delays to the A380 hit share prices
in June 2006 and forced Humbert to
resign. The Farnborough Airshow was
looming and a divided board was not
ready to commit to a new project.
“No decision was taken to discontinue the original A350,” Andries said.
“Most senior executives at the time
were against the Extra-Wide Body.
Even in the summer of 2006 the decision was not secure.”
Airbus nonetheless took the risk of
presenting the concept at the July 2006
show. Even as it called the plane a “step
ahead of the 787” it made little reference to the metal shell.
Humbert’s replacement, aerospace
outsider Christian Streiff, took top Airbus managers to a converted French abbey to reflect.
Over dinner, according to a person
familiar with the event, he asked them
to raise their hands if they thought Airbus should build the very plane they
had publicised weeks earlier. Only a
handful did, including sales chief John
Leahy and Andries.
Nevertheless, the engineers pressed
on. Soon, they came up with a cost-effective way to make an all-carbon body
assembled from panels, which they felt
would be cheaper to build than the single giant piece in the Boeing 787.
In December, 2006, the reversal was
complete: the board approved the new,
all-carbon A350XWB.
Meanwhile, the battle of the air goes
on. Whether Airbus can meet Humbert’s challenge of 50% wide-body
market share depends partly on the
success of Boeing’s latest move - a larger and upgraded 777, Udvar-Hazy said.
The answer may lie in a drawer in
Toulouse. Industry sources say Humbert’s planners drew up, but discarded,
a variant for a larger version of its new
jet called A350-1100. That could provide a clue to Airbus’s options next
Airbus to step up Qatar
A350 deliveries; plays
down A380 revamp
Bloomberg, Reuters
From left: Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus Group; Akbar al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group; and Rolls-Royce’s President of Aerospace Tony Wood, attend a press
conference during the first delivery of the new Airbus A350 XWB passenger jet to Qatar Airways in Toulouse, southwestern France, yesterday.
An air hostess poses inside of the first Airbus A350 XWB before a flight during its
delivery to Qatar Airways, in Colomiers, Southern France, yesterday.
Journalists sit aboard the A350, during an hour-flight over France yesterday.
The Airbus A350 XWB stands on the tarmac during its delivery to Qatar Airways, in Toulouse.
Airbus Group indicated it will bring
forward deliveries of its newest A350
model to first customer Qatar Airways
while playing down prospects for an
early commitment to upgrading its
flagship A380 superjumbo.
A350 slots available after Dubaibased Emirates scrapped an order last
year leave scope for accelerating Qatar Air handovers “to a limited extent,”
Fabrice Bregier, who heads Airbus’s
planemaking unit, said in an interview,
while Qatar’s chief executive, Akbar
al-Baker, said he aims to expedite
Qatar Airways received the first
A350 yesterday at a ceremony
delayed from last week by what alBaker said were issues with the quality
of buyer-furnished equipment, or
customisation specified by the airline.
Bregier said the jet offers 25% lower
fuel burn than Boeing Co’s 777, while
adding that there are no plans to add
a bigger version and deemphasising
prospects for an upgrade of the flagship A380 superjumbo.
“We think we don’t need another
stretch of the A350 family; I don’t say
it will never happen but this is clearly
not in our plans,” he told Bloomberg Television from Airbus’s base in
Toulouse, France. “We are not at all
in a hurry to look for upgrades of the
A380. This is not the yearly priority.”
Airbus is instead determined to
persuade more airlines to buy the
existing version of the A380, with a
a Neo variant sporting new engines
likely only “later on” and a stretch
model adding more seats possible in
the “very long term.”
The idea of stopping production of
the A380 is “just crazy”, Bregier said.
He admitted, however: “Clearly our
challenge is to get more customers”,
while insisting that the Airbus order
book was “largely filled”.
The remarks came after an official
at parent company Airbus Group suggested that the A380 would be wound
down by 2018 because of a lack of
The comment caused Airbus shares
to nosedive on December 10 and 11,
losing nearly 15% of their value.
Airbus, which aimed to sell 30
A380s and deliver the same number
this year, met the delivery goal but not
the sales target.
The CEO said the trend was towards
bigger planes like the A380 because
global air traffic is expected to double
every 15 years.
“The A380 has a bright future as
the market is getting bigger,” Bregier
He said one option for making the
plane more attractive was to replace
the engines with more fuel-efficient
ones such as those used in the midrange A320neo (new engine option)
and long-haul A330neo.
Meanwhile, al-Baker said the airline
might buy more than the 14 A380s it
has already ordered, of which three
have been delivered.
“Qatar Airways is very satisfied with
this airplane. And I don’t know what
more Airbus can do... It’s a very well
defined aircraft,” he said.
Bregier said his chief challenge is
to ramp up production of the A350 as
fast as possible, with no new delivery
slots available before 2021. A build
rate of three planes a month will
rise to 10 by early 2018, with Airbus
offering the existing A330 to clients
in regions such as China to bridge
the gap.
At Qatar Airways, al-Baker said
the rollout plan for 80 A350s on
order will see the twin-engine plane
replace older A330s on existing
routes while also opening up new
“We want our aircraft as soon as
possible because we have a fleet
replacement program,” he said in a
Bloomberg TV interview.
“If I can get it yesterday, I would be
The delay in the handover — which
the manufacturer said yesterday
had still met its target of falling
within 2014 — “had nothing to do with
Airbus,” al-Baker said, relating only
to a “small issue” that’s now been
resolved. The glitch follows a similar
holdup in Qatar taking receipt of its
first A380.
The A350 is scheduled to operate
its first route to Frankfurt and will also
be deployed to destinations on the
US east coast and to Japan and other
markets in Asia, as well as to Russia, alBaker said, adding that it will become
the “backbone” of the fleet, together
with the older 777.
The CEO concurred that a stretch
version isn’t necessary, with the largest A350-1000 an “absolute perfect
Qatar Airways would be interested
in a Neo upgrade of the A380 if it became available, he said. Still, even the
conversion of three order options that
the carrier has in hand won’t come
before the double-decker has been in
operation with its fleet for at least a
year, he said. Qatar has 10 firm orders
thus far, with four of those planes
already in the fleet.
Rolls-Royce Holdings, the only turbine supplier on the A350 and one of
two on the A380, said in Toulouse that
options for upgrading the superjumbo
span engine enhancements, a basic
re-engining, or the design of a wholly
new powerplant.
“It would depend on the business
case,” Tony Wood, head of the UK
company’s aerospace arm, said at
in an interview on the fringes of the
A350 ceremony. The timescale and
cost would vary in each case, he
said, adding that Rolls is undertaking
enhancement research all the time on
various engines.
Bregier said that whether Rolls,
General Electric or Pratt & Whitney are
undertaking work doesn’t mean that a
particular offering will necessarily be
brought to market.
TENNIS | Page 7
Liverpool on
track for top
four, says
Federer raises
$1.3mn from
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Rabia I 01, 1436 AH
Tendulkar named
ICC World Cup
2015 Ambassador
Page 2
Napoli beat Juventus on
penalties to lift Super Cup
Napoli’s Higuain and Juventus’ Tevez scored two goals each as the match went into extra time
Napoli players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Juventus to win the Italian Super Cup final at the Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad stadium in Doha yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
Joe Koraith
ne of the key subplots of the 2014
Supercoppa was the battle of supremacy between two Argentinian strikers – Gonzalo Higuain,
playing for Napoli and Carloz Tevez, playing
for Juventus. And in the end it was Higuain,
who snatched the bragging rights yesterday
as his team emerged champions 6-5 in the
penalty shootout at the Sheikh Jassim bin
Hamad stadium. The thrilling encounter
had ended in 2-2 after extra time, with 18
penalties required to п¬Ѓnd the winner.
Right from the start of the match, the star
was Tevez, who gave his team a lead as early
as in the fourth minute after he latched on to
a botched clearance attempt and slotted the
ball coolly under Napoli goalkeeper Rafael to
score the opener.
Higuain had a couple of chances in the
first half but couldn’t convert them. It took
him till the 67th minute to get his team level.
Jonathan de Guzman set off on another one
of this runs down the left flank and sent in
a cross at a perfect height for Higuain, who
headed it perfectly into the far corner for
the equaliser. Great cross and an even better
finish. Whether it was a sign or not, it can’t
be said but the Napoli goal came just one
minute after star playmaker Andrea Pirlo
was replaced by Roberto Pereyra. The Metronome’s presence was surely a reassuring
factor for Juve.
Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring one of his two goals.
Despite a flurry of activity from both
sides towards the end of regulation time,
neither side was able to п¬Ѓnd the back of the
net. Then it was the turn of Tevez to step up
again. In the 106th minute, the diminutive
striker got a great pass from Paul Pogba and
Tevez calmly slotted it in the far corner for a
great п¬Ѓnish.
Four minutes later, Higuain had a great
chance when he found himself in a one-onone position against Gianluigi Buffon but it
was the Juve goalkeeper who won. Then in
the 115th minute, Higuain claimed that he
was brought down in the box but the referee
waved off the penalty claims.
And then п¬Ѓnally, in the 118th minute,
Higuain redeemed himself with a lunging
strike to bring Napoli back on level terms
again. Jose Callejon sent the ball into the
middle and Higuain rifled a shot into the box
from inside the six yards and Buffon had no
chance. The match extended to penalties
after both the teams were deadlocked at 2-2
after extra time.
The penalty shootout didn’t begin well
for Napoli. Jorginho opened the proceedings
and his shot was saved by Buffon. But the
pivotal moment came when Tevez failed to
score after his shot hit the post, with Napoli
keeper Rafael Cabral’s tactics to distract the
striker paying off.
Then both teams scored their shots till
the score reached 5-5 which included Higuain scoring. And then the drama began.
First Napoli’s Dries Mertens had his shot
blocked by Buffon. But then for Juventus
Giorgio Chiellini’s shot was saved by Cabral. Napoli missed again as Callejon’s shot
was palmed off Buffon. And to even matters
Pereyra hit over the bar. Napoli defender
Kalidou Khoulibaly п¬Ѓnally scored, despite
hitting the post and then Simone Padoin’s
shot was saved by Cabral, setting off wild
celebrations in the Napoli camp.
Napoli coach Rafael Benitez had once
again proved his mettle in a knockout competition and gave his team their second Supercoppa title. And defeating Juventus who
they had lost to in 2012 was simply the perfect way to do it.
Juventus will feel like they had controlled the game for most part but they couldn’t
control Higuain and he proved to be the difference in the end.
At the start, as the two teams had entered
the pitch, their respective songs were played
- Thunderstruck by AC/DC for Juventus
and Go West by the Pet Shop Boys for Napoli. And in the end, it was Juve who were
left �thunderstruck’ by Higuain & Co.
Juventus’ forward Carlos Tevez (top) vies for the ball with
Napoli’s Christian Maggio during the Italian Super Cup final.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Test of India’s resolve
on Boxing Day at MCG
Tourists need to retain the fighting spirit they showed in Adelaide and Brisbane
India will be keen to avoid their seventh straight loss in Australia in the third Test starting from Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground . (AFP)
ith all hope of a п¬Ѓrst
series triumph in
Australia gone after
defeats in the п¬Ѓrst
two Tests, India need to draw
on their reserves of pride and
motivation to avoid a seventh
straight Test loss on Australian
soil this week.
If the tourists can retain the
п¬Ѓghting spirit that has made the
Adelaide and Brisbane Tests anything but one-sided contests,
however, they could record a
victory of some significance at
the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Since they triumphed in Perth
in January 2008, neither side
has won a Test match in the other’s country with Australia suffering 2-0, 2-0 and 4-0 defeats
on the sub-continent and India losing all four tests on their
2011-12 tour.
There have been signs too that
Australia, for all the confidence
that back-to-back Test victories
will bring to any side, have a fragility to their batting order that
India’s pace attack can exploit.
Prolific opener David Warner
has a bruised thumb that could
hamper him if he is passed п¬Ѓt to
play, veterans Shane Watson and
Brad Haddin are in poor form,
while injured all-rounder Mitch
Marsh has been replaced by the
uncapped Joe Burns.
Quite how Australia will line
up when the Test starts in front
of the traditional bumper crowd
on Friday is matter of some conjecture with coach Darren Lehmann suggesting Burns could
slot in anywhere in the top six.
Against that instability, there
is the sparkling form of stand-
in skipper Steve Smith and the
mercurial menace of paceman
Mitchell Johnson, whose performances with bat and ball
turned the Gabba Test.
Fast bowler Ryan Harris has
recovered from a thigh strain
and should return in place of
left-arm quick Mitch Starc
alongside Johnson and Josh
Hazlewood, who took 5-68 in
his п¬Ѓrst innings in Test cricket.
India look the more settled of
the two sides, though, with the
fast bowlers working as unit and
taking wickets, while the top six
batsmen have all got into the
runs at some stage of the series.
Just how long the unrest
caused by opener Shikhar Dhawan’s decision not to bat on day
four in Brisbane after injuring
his arm in the nets continues to
unsettle Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dressing room remains to be
ri Lanka pace spearhead Lasith Malinga
is recovering well from his ankle surgery
and should be back in action during the
later stages of the one-day international
series in New Zealand next month, according to
coach Marvan Atapattu.
The mercurial Malinga underwent surgery
on his left ankle in September and missed the
team’s one-day series against India and England.
The 31-year-old, whose yorkers delivered with a
sling-shot action at times makes him almost unplayable, will be crucial for Sri Lanka’s chances
in the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New
Zealand. “Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to
plan,” former Sri Lanka batsman Atapattu said.
“He will return for the last two ODI games in New
Malinga, who has taken 271 wickets in 177
ODIs, has been named in Sri Lanka’s provisional
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan
is fit to play in the third Test
against Australia starting Dec
26 at the Melbourne Cricket
An Indian team spokesperson yesterday said Dhawan
and vice-captain Virat Kohli
had recovered from the injuries sustained in the Gabba
nets before play on the fourth
morning of the second Test
and would be fine for the
ookie all-rounder Akshar Patel will replace
the injured Ravindra
Jadeja in India’s squad
for the remaining two Test
matches in Australia, the Indian
cricket board announced.
Patel, who turns 21 in January,
is a left-arm spinner and useful
left-hand batsman like Jadeja.
He has taken 14 wickets in nine
one-day internationals, but has
yet to play a Test. Jadeja has a
shoulder injury and will return
home to undergo a rehabilitation
programme, the board said in a
It remained unclear if Jadeja, who did not play in the п¬Ѓrst
two Tests, will be available for
the World Cup that opens in
Australia and New Zealand on
February 14. Australia lead the
four-Test series 2-0. The third
Test starts in Melbourne on December 26 and the fourth will be
played in Sydney from January 6.
India are also due to take part in
a triangular one-day series with
Australia and England ahead of
the World Cup.
A few weeks after they were left
out of the 30-member preliminary squad for the 2015 World
Cup, Gautam Gambhir and
Yuvraj Singh were yesterday
dropped from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
contracts list while medium
pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was
promoted to a Grade A contract.
Pacer Mohammed Shami,
Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane have been promoted from
Grade C to Grade B, while Gambhir, Yuvraj, Dinesh Karthik and
Jaydev Unadkat have been struck
off the contracts list. Both Yuvraj
and Gambhir were part of Grade
A contracts last season.
Several players who did not
have a contract last season have
been absorbed in Grade C this
time around, including Varun
Aaron, Stuart Binny, Pankaj
Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Parvez
Rasool, Axar Patel, Robin Uthappa, Manoj Tiwari, Karn Sharma,
Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav
and K L Rahul.
Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan,
Umesh Yadav, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit
Sharma have been kept back
in Grade B, while Amit Mishra,
Wriddhiman Saha, Vinay Kumar
and Mohit Sharma remained in
Grade C.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel
said in a release that players who
do not have contracts but feature
for India in any of the three formats would be given a Grade C
contract once they debut.
The BCCI statement did not
specify how much the players
will be paid under the new contracts. Last season, a Grade A
contract came with an annual
retainer of Rs 1 crore for Grade A
players (US$ 158,000 approx), Rs
50 lakh for Grade B players (US$
79,000 approx), and Rs 25 lakh
for Grade C players (US$ 39,000
BCCI contracts list for 2014-15
Grade A: Mahendra Singh Dhoni,
Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Grade B: Pragyan Ojha, M. Vijay,
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra
Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav, Rohit Sharma,
Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu,
Md. Shami.
Grade C: Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron,
Wriddhiman Saha, Stuart Binny,
Pankaj Singh, R. Vinay Kumar, Mohit
Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Parveez
Rasool, Axar Patel, Manoj Tiwary,
Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma, Sanju
Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, K L Rahul.
Boxing Day Test, reports the
Sydney Morning Herald.
Dhawan returned later to
score 81 with a bruised wrist.
India fell apart like a pack of
cards in the Gabba Test owing
to an onslaught from leftarm pacer Mitchell, losing six
wickets in the morning session.
Dhawan helped India set Australia a modest target, which
the home side reached with
four wickets to spare.
But if Dhoni, who has been
criticised for appearing less than
convinced of the importance of
the longest form of the game,
can lead his team to victory, he
could make a considerable addi-
tion to his legacy as skipper.
His predecessor Anil Kumble
rated the 72-run victory at the
WACA in 2008, when India were
also 2-0 down in the series, the
best of his 132-Test career.
Akshar Patel has
taken 14 wickets in
nine ODIs, but has
yet to play a Test.
Malinga to return from
injury during Kiwi ODIs
India opener Dhawan fit to
play in Boxing Day Test
India call up
Patel to replace
injured Jadeja
30-man squad for the World Cup. Sri Lanka, who
п¬Ѓnished runner-up to India at the 2011 World
Cup, will play seven one-dayers in New Zealand
to warm up for the Feb 14-March 29 tournament.
The Island nation will also play two warm-up
matches, against South Africa and Zimbabwe,
before their opening match of the tournament
against co-hosts New Zealand on Feb 14.
Joe Burns, who is set to make his international
debut for Australia in the third Test against the
Indians at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
starting on Friday, said he was “disappointed”
that his father did not believe his selection in the
Australian squad.
“My Dad didn’t believe me, so that’s a little bit
disappointing,” Burns was quoted as saying by
the Courier Mail website. “I am a massive Australian cricket fan who just happens to play cricket himself. I am a cricket nuffy. I follow the game
closely and I love it. That makes Boxing Day even
more special, knowing how big this day is in the
Australian sport calendar,” he added.
Burns has scored 439 runs in the Sheffield
Shield at 54.87 this season for his domestic side
Queensland. The 25-year-old is a fan of Australian coach Darren Lehmann and said he was looking forward to working with him.
“I am looking forward to having Boof (Lehmann) as Australian coach as I really enjoyed
playing underneath him,” Burns said. “In terms
of the pressure I think I will just enjoy the experience and enjoy the moment. It is something
that I’ve always dreamed of, and now I’m pinching myself thinking it may become a reality,” he
added. Australia lead the four-match series 2-0.
Tendulkar named ICC World
Cup 2015 Ambassador
he International Cricket
Council (ICC) yesterday
named Indian legend
Sachin Tendulkar as
the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
It will be the second successive time that the Indian maestro
will be the Ambassador of ICC’s
pinnacle tournament, after he
fulfilled the role in the previous
event, which was co-hosted by
Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka
in 2011.
In his role as ICC Cricket
World Cup 2015 Ambassador,
Tendulkar will promote and
support a variety of ICC initiatives to enhance the profile
of the tournament, which is the
third biggest sporting event in
the world and will take place in
Australia and New Zealand from
Feb 14 to March 29.
Tendulkar retired from international cricket last year after
representing his country in 200
Tests, 463 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and one Twenty20
International. In a career spanning 24 years, the 41-year-old
scored a total of 34,357 interna-
tional runs and 100 centuries.
Tendulkar added the missing World Cup title to his long
list of achievements in his sixth
attempt in 2011. He is the alltime leading run-getter in World
Cup history with 2,278 runs
in 45 matches at an average of
56.95. For his 673 runs in the ICC
Cricket World Cup 2003, he was
awarded player of the tourna-
ment as India п¬Ѓnished runnerup to Australia.
Commenting on his appointment, Tendulkar said: “I am
delighted and honoured to be
appointed ICC Cricket World
Cup Ambassador for the second
successive time. After playing in
the last six editions, the upcoming World Cup will be a different
experience as I will follow it from
the sidelines. It could probably
be comparable to the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 where I was a
ball boy, enthusiastically cheering every ball.”
“The image of the champion
team lifting the World Cup inspires many youngsters around
the world and gives them a
dream to chase - a dream which
I fulfilled after 22 years of relentless pursuit by being part of the
victorious Indian team in 2011,”
he added.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “The ICC is delighted to once again have Sachin
as an Ambassador for its biggest
and most prestigious tournament. Sachin is not only an inspiration to cricketers but to all
sportspeople for his endurance,
perseverance, talent, personality
and commitment to the game.”
The 11th edition of the World
Cup kicks off in Christchurch
Feb 14 when co-host New Zealand take on former champion
Sri Lanka. On the same day
at the picturesque Melbourne
Cricket Ground, four-time
world champion Australia will
square-off against England, who
reached the п¬Ѓnal the last time
the event was staged in Australia
and New Zealand in 1992.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Griezmann hat-trick
leads Atletico to
comeback triumph
�This was my best match since I’ve been here. I need to keep on this path and keep working’
rance international Antoine Griezmann scored
a hat-trick as Atletico
Madrid produced a
stunning second-half display
to hammer Athletic Bilbao 4-1
away on Sunday and move to
within four points of La Liga
leaders Real Madrid.
The Spanish champions
looked on course for back-toback league defeats for the п¬Ѓrst
time since April 2012 when
Mikel Rico gave Athletic a deserved half-time lead.
straight from the kick-off at the
start of the second period and
completed his hat-trick after
Raul Garcia had put the visitors
ahead from the penalty spot.
Victory moves Atletico back
to within three points of Barcelona, who were 5-0 winners
over Cordoba on Saturday, in
second. However, Real have a
game in hand on their two main
title rivals as they won their
fourth trophy of the year in the
Club World Cup п¬Ѓnal against
Argentine side San Lorenzo in
Morocco on Saturday.
“This was my best match
since I’ve been here. I need
to keep on this path and keep
working,” Griezmann said.
At the new San Mames both
sides were missing a number
of key players with Aymeric
Laporte and Ander Iturraspe
banned for the hosts, while
Atletico were without the suspended duo of Koke and Mario
Mandzukic, as well as Miranda through injury. It was the
Basque outfit who settled much
quicker, and went ahead after 17
minutes when Markel Susaeta’s
free-kick was expertly nodded
into the far corner by the unmarked Rico.
Atletico failed to create anything of note in the opening 45
minutes, and could have been
even further behind at the
break had Aritz Aduriz decided
to shoot when he was released
clear on goal by Susaeta rather
than trying to turn inside before being crowded out. However, the champions emerged a
different side after an inspired
Atletico Madrid’s French midfielder Antoine
Griezmann celebrates after scoring against
Athletic Bilbao during the Spanish Liga match
in Bilbao on Sunday. (EPA)
half-time pep talk from Diego
Simeone and equalised straight
from the kick-off as former Real
Sociedad winger Griezmann
came back to haunt his old
Basque rivals once more with
a precise header from Juanfran’s cross. Seven minutes later
Atletico completed the comeback in controversial circumstances as the referee pointed to
the spot when Tiago hit the floor
under minimal contact between
he and Mikel San Jose inside the
area. Once the protests from the
home fans and players had п¬Ѓnally subsided, Garcia kept his
cool to send Gorka Iraizoz the
wrong way from the spot.
If Ernesto Valverde’s men
felt hard done by at the penalty
decision, they were handed a
reprieve 22 minutes from time
when Iker Muniain was extremely fortunate to escape
with just a yellow card after
a reckless studs high challenge into the knee of defender
Jose Gimenez. That decision
wasn’t to prove too contentious,
though, as Atletico wrapped
up the points п¬Ѓve minutes later
when Griezmann pounced on a
slip by Carlos Gurpegi to calmly
stroke the ball past Iraizoz.
The Frenchman sealed his
п¬Ѓrst Atletico hat-trick nine
minutes from the end thanks
to more generous officiating
as he tapped into an empty net
despite clearly being in an offside position after the ball ricocheted off Garcia.
Elsewhere, Villarreal and Malaga remained in the hunt for
the top four with victories over
Deportivo la Coruna and Elche
,respectively. It was a more
comfortable afternoon for Villarreal at home to Depor as they
recorded a seventh straight win
No retirement
in sight for
timeless Cahill
ustralia’s all-time leading goal-scorer Tim
Cahill is feeling as п¬Ѓt as
ever and thinks he could
continue playing for another four
seasons into his 40th year.
With his weight and body fat
ratio unchanged since he was 17,
Cahill said he would be looking
for a two or three year contract
when his deal with Major League
Soccer (MLS) club New York Red
Bulls expires next year.
The 35-year-old forward, in
Australia to prepare for next
month’s Asian Cup, said he
could yet return to the English
Premier League, where he spent
nine years with Everton before
making the switch stateside.
“The future’s bright,” Cahill
told the Australian Associated
“I’ve got another year left on
my New York Red Bulls contract.
The main feeling for me is every
time I’m at a club, I like to be
there for a long time.
“To be totally honest, I could
have gone back to the Premier
League on loan after the World
Cup and I decided to stay with
Red Bulls for the remainder of
the season and still (have) options to go back to the Premier
League if it’s the right one for
“So when you put everything
into one, the decision I make
will be a methodical one, like
I’ve always made it. It will take
a month or so but I think people
will be quietly impressed with
what I’m trying to do.”
Playing for his country, for
whom he has scored at the last
three World Cup and 36 goals
in total, remains a key factor in
his considerations over where to
“I’ve gone to the MLS because
that allows me to play internationally,” he added.
“The next decision that I
make will still allow me to play
internationally. I average 30 or
40 games every season since I
was 17 years old and nothing’s
Cahill’s importance to the
Socceroos is borne out by the
fact that he has been responsible
for eight of the 12 goals Australia
have scored since coach Ange
Postecoglou took over in 2013.
The host nation will be looking to Cahill for a good few more
from Jan. 9-31 as the Socceroos
look to win Asia’s biggest tournament for the first time at the
third attempt.
“Physically, I feel great,” he
said. “Mentally, I’m always
switched on. I’m ready to go.”
in all competitions 3-0 thanks
to Jonathan dos Santos’s first
goal for the club and two second-half strikes by the in-form
Luciano Vietto.
Malaga, meanwhile, had to
come from behind to record a
third consecutive league win
after falling behind to David
Lomban’s header on the verge
of half-time. However, secondhalf goals from Ignacio Camacho and on-loan Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto mean they
join Villarreal and Sevilla on 30
points, just one off Valencia in
Lazio go third as Inter save Mancini blushes
п¬Ѓrst-half brace from
Felipe Anderson was
enough to secure third
place for Lazio in Serie A prior to the festive break
on Sunday in a hard-fought 2-2
draw away to Inter.
Inter only claimed their maiden win under Roberto Mancini,
their п¬Ѓrst in six games, last week
but had the worst possible start
at the San Siro where Anderson
hit the п¬Ѓrst of his goals after just
two minutes.
Anderson, who broke his Serie A duck last week, beat Samir
Handanovic with a п¬Ѓne angled
strike after collecting Stefan
Radu’s assist in the box.
The Brazilian almost had his
brace moments later when he
sprung the offside trap to п¬Ѓre
over but made amends minutes
before half-time after collecting
on the halfway line and carrying
the ball all the way before beating Handanovic at the keeper’s
near post.
Inter emerged doubly determined after the break and after
Mateo Kovacic and Mauro Icardi
tested Federico Marchetti in the
Lazio goal it was the former who
reduced arrears in spectacular
Kovacic was just outside the
box when a headed clearance
fell kindly for the Croatian, who
struck on the volley to see his
shot sting the palms of a flailing Marchetti before hitting the
back of the net.
Mancini replaced Colombian Fredy Guarin with Federico
Bonazzoli and two minutes later
the highly-rated Inter youth
player had a hand in Inter’s 80th
minute leveller.
Bonazzoli’s free kick found the
head of Danilo D’Ambrosio in the
box and after the ball rolled into
the path of Rodrigo Palacio the
Argentinian blasted past Marchetti from close range.
The draw left Inter in 11th
place at 18 points adrift of leaders and champions Juventus,
four behind city rivals Milan and
six behind Lazio in the third and
п¬Ѓnal Champions League qualifying spot.
But Mancini warned he will
expect improvements when
Inter resume after the festive
“We can’t become a team like
Barcelona or Bayern in the space
of a month. We’re having a few
difficulties but we need to get
over them,” said Mancini.
“Let’s hope we can improve
over our coming games.”
Lazio coach Stefano Pioli
admitted Kovacic’s goal had
changed the prospects for his
“Teams like Inter have a certain kind of quality and Kovacic’s goal set them up well for the
rest of the game,” said Pioli, who
admitted third place was a п¬Ѓrm
“It’s early yet but we’re doing
very well. Now we have a chance
to recharge our batteries for January which will be crucial for us.
But the lads have shown they are
up to the job.”
Juve lead
The draw was one of six in
the п¬Ѓnal weekend of the year,
which left Juventus top of the
pile with a three-point lead on
Roma, who lead Lazio by nine
Earlier, Italy striker Manolo
Gabbiadini confirmed he could
quit Sampdoria in the January
transfer window after heading
a late equaliser to secure a share
of the spoils in a 2-2 home draw
with Udinese.
Gabbiadini has been linked
with a move to Napoli and the
highly-rated 23-year-old told
Sky Sport after the game: “I
don’t know if this will be my
last goal in a Sampdoria shirt,
I always honour the shirt that
I’m wearing.”
Sampdoria are 12 points behind Juventus, who will face
Napoli in the Italian Super Cup
final in Doha on Monday with
a chance for a double Christmas celebration after Roma
were held to a scoreless draw at
home to Milan on Saturday.
Alberto Paloschi struck late
to secure the points as Chievo
beat Verona 1-0 in the city derby to give them some breathing
space in the battle for relegation.
Torino had defender Kamil
Glik to thank for a brace of goals
in a precious 2-1 home win over
Genoa which secured just their
fourth win of the campaign.
Argentinian striker German
Denis, meanwhile, struck a
brace including a late leveller as
Atalanta fought back to claim a
point from a 3-3 draw with visitors Palermo.
Fiorentina were sent on
their way towards a seventh
win of the campaign after Juan
Manuel Vargas struck on the
stroke of half-time, only for
Lorenzo Tonelli to level just before the hour to secure a point
for visiting Empoli.
Inter Milan’s Rodrigo
Sebastian Palacio (R) vies
for the ball with Lazio’s
Felipe Anderson during
the Serie A match in Milan
on Sunday. (EPA)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Celtic must make
chances count: Deila
�We are not taking our chances. That’s our main issue just now’
Hostile reception for
Rangers chief at
annual general meet
angers chairman David Somers yesterday
lashed out at an �antiRangers’ feeling he
claims is prevalent in Scottish
football as the troubled Glasgow
side held an ill-tempered annual
general meeting at Ibrox.
Somers and other board members were greeted with a round of
boos and insults as the meeting
got underway just hours after
the announcement that manager
Ally McCoist had been removed.
Somers, Derek Llambias and
brothers James and Sandy Easdale were greeted with chants of
“out, out, out”, “sack the board”
and “scumbags”.
Rangers are mired in п¬Ѓnancial
turmoil and need to recoup most
of their ВЈ8.3million (10.5million
euros) annual losses before the
end of the season just to keep the
club afloat.
Despite the boos, Somers said
that much of the blame for the
club’s plight lay elsewhere outside of the board. “In these past
12 months, I have been surprised
at a number of things. Firstly, the
highly negative aspect of most
of the media reporting regarding
Rangers,” he said.
“Secondly, because it is clear
to me that a stronger Rangers is
good for Scottish football, I have
been very disappointed to realise that outside of Ibrox, there
sadly still exists a great deal of
anti-Rangers feeling, perhaps
(although I hope not) even in the
football establishment.”
Somers also claimed that a
season ticket boycott launched
by former director Dave King
and backed by fans has put the
club in fresh peril.
The club had 36,000 season
ticket holders last term but home
attendances this campaign have
dropped as low as 19,000.
“Rangers’ return to the top
flight of our game, I am sure you
will agree, will be more easily
achieved if everyone who cares
about the club works together
for the betterment of Rangers.
“This turbulent year has seen
people calling for a season ticket
boycott, seen the disruptive creation of a season ticket trust for
a while and other negative ideas.
“Such negativity is expensive
for Rangers as it reduces season
ticket and overall ticket sales, increasing the likelihood that I will
have to borrow money to cover
the shortfalls created.
“Our path to restoring Rangers to where we all want the
club to be can only be achieved
with the continued support of
all supporters, shareholders and
business partners.”
McCoist’s removal as manager
came on Sunday evening with
Somers placing assistant manager Kenny McDowall in charge
of п¬Ѓrst-team affairs until the end
of the season. The 52-year-old
was already working a 12-month
notice period after handing in
his resignation last week.
“Rangers would like to announce that Ally McCoist is
relinquishing his duties as
manager and will serve out the
remainder of his 12 month notice
period on gardening leave,” said
a club statement.
The Glasgow side, with 54
league titles won in their glory
days, suffered a series of п¬Ѓnancial problems with a liquidation
crisis seeing them banished to
the third division in 2012.
They are currently second in
the Scottish second division but
are nine points behind leaders
Hearts who also have game in
Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths scores against Dundee United during their Scottish Premier League match at Tannadice Park Stadium in Dundee on Sunday. (Reuters)
eltic manager Ronny
Deila took a swipe at
his ineffectual forwards
after the Hoops’ winning streak came to an end following a 2-1 defeat to Dundee
United on Sunday.
Despite his side chalking up
eight successive victories in the
Scottish Premiership prior to
Sunday’s defeat, Deila has repeatedly called on his strikers to
be more clinical in front of goal.
And after the reigning champions managed 17 shots, seven
of them on target, compared
to just six for their hosts in the
defeat at Tannadice, the Norwegian again highlighted his
side’s wastefulness. “We are not
taking our chances. That’s our
main issue just now,” the Celtic
manager said.
“We lost the game because we
weren’t effective enough. It’s
a challenge we’ve faced in the
last three or four games where
we’ve created a lot of chances
but don’t take them.
“We gave two easy goals
away. We let them go inside and
into the box instead of pushing
them wide. “We can talk about
creating chances but we have
to be more effective. In the last
three or four matches we have
created 10 to 15 chances in each
but in the end if you don’t score
then you lose matches and that’s
what happened today.
“I’m not disappointed in
the way we played. I think we
played quite well especially in
the п¬Ѓrst half. We pressed them
and were all over them and created chances but we gave away a
stupid goal. All that was missing
was putting the ball in the net
and that’s the most important
thing in football.”
Stefan Scepovic looked to
have pulled one back for Celtic
in the 81st minute after Nadir
Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong
had given United a commanding
However, the Serbian’s effort
was ruled out for offside despite
Blair Spittal appearing to play
him on.
The decision disappointed
Deila, whose side did pull one
back through substitute Leigh
Griffiths late on, and he felt his
side had enough chances to get
something from the game.
“Of course we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the goal,
which would have given us a
good chance to get some points
in the end,” he added.
“But we had a lot of other
chances as well to put the ball
in the net and if we kept missing
them we will lose points.”
The win moves United up to
second in the Premiership table,
just four points behind Celtic
at the summit. With just two
wins in their previous 60 meetings with the Glasgow giants
the odds were stacked against
United before kick-off but victory gains them some revenge
for their 6-1 thrashing at Celtic
Park back in August. Despite
closing in on Celtic at the top,
United boss Jackie McNamara
believes any talk of becoming
title challengers is premature.
“I don’t think you can say
that now. You’ve got to perform
like that with a bit of luck week
in, week out,” said McNamara,
whose team go to St Johnstone
next weekend and then host
neighbours Dundee on New
Year’s Day. “It’s a big ask. Aberdeen will say the same. We can
only do our best and see where
we are at the end of the season.
“You look at the gulf even
with the substitutions that
Celtic made with Leigh Griffiths
coming on and Kris Commons,
who had 31 goals last year, on
the bench.
“They also brought on a
ВЈ3mn ($4.7mn) striker Stefan
Scepovic and it’s hard to compete with that.”
Blatter �invigorated’ after executive panel meet
epp Blatter is �invigorated’ after last week’s
committee meeting in Marrakech and has every intention
of standing in next year’s FIFA
presidential election, a source
close to the FIFA leadership said
“He was invigorated by the
whole event and he is п¬Ѓnishing
the year on a high note,” said
the source, adding that he had
not heard any suggestion that
Blatter would change his mind
about standing. “That is not our
information at all,” he said.
On Friday, FIFA’s executive
committee bowed to public
opinion and agreed to publish
a redacted version of an ethics committee investigation
into the bidding process for the
2018/2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Blatter then told the media:
“If there are problems inside
FIFA as we have faced, then it’s
not the moment for the president, the man at the helm of
FIFA, to say he will abandon his
Yesterday, Blatter said in a
statement published by FIFA
that soccer’s world governing
body had to restore credibility.
“Public opinion is important
because football is the greatest
game in the world; connecting
people, giving emotions, passion and hope in this world.
“It’s very important for me
personally at the helm of football to restore credibility and to
breathe the New Year again with
good attitude for the upcoming
Blatter, FIFA president since
1998, has until January 29 to
confirm that he will stand for a
п¬Ѓfth mandate at the May election when he will be 79.
Egypt to allow limited number
of fans at league matches
Egyptian authorities will partially lift a ban on supporters at domestic stadiums, ending three years of league football being played in
empty arenas, the country’s football association announced.
There had been a blanket ban on supporters following the Port Said
riot on February 1, 2012, when 74 people were killed during clashes
between supporters of the Al Masri club and the country’s most
popular team, Al Ahli.
However, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) confirmed that
from the start of the second round of the 2014-15 league season
after the African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea, a limited
number would be able to gain entry.
A total of 10,000 supporters will be able to attend games held in the
larger Cairo and Alexandria venues, and 5,000 in smaller stadiums
in the rest of the country.
Not all teams will benefit from the ruling as a complete ban will
remain in place at matches involving the six leading teams in the
country: Al Ahli, Zamalek, Al Ittihad, Ismaili, Al Masri and Damanhur.
Fans making us jittery, says
coach after Benfica win
Coach Jorge Jesus said impatient Benfica fans were making his
players nervous after the leaders struggled to a 1-0 win over bottom club Gil Vicente on Sunday.
Nicolas Gaitan scored the only goal on the half hour, firing into an
empty net after Maxi Pereira’s shot hit the post, to keep Benfica
six points clear of Porto at the top of the Primeira Liga after 14
Pereira appeared to be offside as he ran on to Ola John’s pass
before chipping the ball over goalkeeper Adriano Facchini.
The supporters clearly expected more from Benfica as they
toiled against the only team yet to win a league game this season.
“The fans made the team nervous,” Jesus told Benfica TV. “They
usually help the team when we are playing badly but, on the contrary, that did not happen today.
“We need their support to continue in first place and reach our big
target which is to win the title for a second season in a row.”
Gil Vicente finished with 10 men after Diogo Viana was sent off in
stoppage time.
Porto beat Vitoria de Setubal 4-0 on Friday, making them the only
team to score more than one goal in the top flight this weekend.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Liverpool on track
for top four, says
coach Rodgers
�There’s a bit of work to do, but at least we’re moving in the right direction again’
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers catches the ball
during their English Premier League match against
Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool on Sunday. (Reuters)
Brendan Rodgers felt his
the character necessary
to revitalise their challenge for a
top-four Premier League п¬Ѓnish
in their last-gasp 2-2 draw with
After Philippe Coutinho’s
opener was swiftly cancelled
out by Mathieu Debuchy in
first-half stoppage time at Anfield on Sunday, Olivier Giroud
struck in the 64th minute to set
Arsenal up for an opportunistic
But having earlier required
treatment for a head wound
inflicted by Giroud that left
him with a bandaged head and
led to nine minutes of injury
time, Martin Skrtel claimed
an equaliser with an emphatic
97th-minute header in front
of the Kop. The point was the
least Liverpool deserved after
restricting Arsenal to a 36 percent share of possession—their
worst performance in that domain since passing statistics
began to be compiled in 2003.
And although Liverpool trail
leaders Chelsea by 17 points
and lie nine points adrift of
the Champions League places,
Rodgers is convinced that last
season’s runners-up are on the
right track.
Asked if Liverpool could sustain a challenge for a top-four
finish, he told reporters: “Yes,
“It was always going to be a
big challenge. Of course we’ve
got to make up points over the
next part of the season, but we
have shown this is a group that
can go on a run of games (wins).
“In the second half of last
season we went on a run of 11
games and if we can put a run
of games together, that can very
quickly move you up.
“The most important thing
is the confidence and the ability
in the team. You bring (injured
striker Daniel) Sturridge back
in January, then you get back to
being that team we have been in
the last few years.
“There’s a bit of work to do,
but at least we’re moving in the
right direction again, which is
what we want.”
�Bad memories’
Rodgers was pleased with the
“intensity” and “arrogance with
the ball” Liverpool showed, but
he was less complimentary
about his side’s defending.
Citing the build-up to Debuchy’s goal, when the hosts
were beaten in the air three
times after Alexis Sanchez
curled a free-kick into the box,
he said: “A lot of the goals we
give away are poor goals.
“I didn’t think it should
have been a free-kick. I think
Sanchez has dived once he realised he wasn’t getting the ball,
and the referee fell for it.
“But when it comes in, we
lose three one-v-one headers in
the box. We have to be better at
that. That’s not about organisation. That’s about winning the
Rodgers said he had “no complaints” about the injury-time
dismissal of substitute Fabio
Borini, who collected yellow
cards for dissent and a high boot
against Santi Cazorla.
He also paid tribute to Slovakian centre-back Skrtel, who
stayed on to score the winner
despite having been left with
an ugly gash on the back of his
head after Giroud unintentionally caught him with his studs.
“He’s a real warrior, Martin,” said the Northern Irishman, whose side registered 27
attempts on goal. “He showed
great character and determination to stay on.”
Arsenal had been destroyed
5-1 on their previous visit to
Anfield in February, when they
conceded four times in the п¬Ѓrst
20 minutes, and beaten manager Arsene Wenger suggested
the memory had played on his
players’ minds.
Asked to explain a sluggish
п¬Ѓrst-half display, Wenger cited
“tactical and psychological reasons” and explained: “Maybe
(there were) bad memories from
last year. Some players were not
at their best. I think we played
with the handbrake too much in
the first half.”
He added: “Overall it’s a fair
result, but it’s also a frustrating
result for us because they came
back at a moment in the game
when we had plenty of defenders on the pitch.
“Today (Sunday) was frustrating because they came back
to 2-2. But overall it’s not the
most frustrating day of the season.”
ecorated Real Madrid
defender Sergio Ramos
has dubbed 2014 “the
best year of my life” after playing a key role for the Spanish giants as they swept to four titles including a record-extending
10th European crown.
A no-nonsense centre back
whose strength in the air regularly
yields goals, Ramos scooped the
player of the tournament award at
the Club World Cup after scoring
dam Johnson played
the decisive role in
Sunderland’s 1-0 win
at Newcastle United
in the Premier League, but only
after persuading manager Gus
Poyet to let him stay on the pitch.
Poyet was preparing to substitute the winger after he missed
an excellent chance in the closing stages, but changed his mind
and was rewarded by Johnson’s excellent goal in the 90th
“The manager told me that
I would be coming off, but told
him I was alright to stay on,” said
the match-winner.
Their reward came when
Johnson held off a challenge
from Moussa Sissoko as a Newcastle attack broke down and
found support from Steven
Fletcher and Will Buckley as he
broke forward 50 yards.
Fletcher kept the move going, then Buckley played a perfect pass inside to Johnson, who
rifled his shot past Newcastle’s
third-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
It was a п¬Ѓtting goal to decide a
high-octane derby.
“It’s a massive win for us and
gives us a great boost, but I think
it has been coming for weeks,”
added Johnson.
Poyet has come out on top in
his last п¬Ѓve meetings with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew
while in charge at Brighton and
Sunderland, but was reluctant
to gloat.
“I need to be careful and show
respect to everyone at Newcastle,” said the Sunderland boss.
“I hope everyone will understand our feelings. It is great,
incredible and something to remember all your life. It is a special moment for the club.
“There is no more confidence
than you can get from beating
your local rivals at their place, so
there are no excuses now for next
Newcastle have now lost three
games in a row, but this was not
a repeat of their capitulations at
Arsenal and Tottenham in the
past week.
They created several opportunities and Pardew’s adventurous substitutions left them with
three strikers on the pitch in the
closing stages.
“Sunderland have caught us
on the break before and they did
it again. It is painful,” admitted
the Newcastle boss.
“I think my players were
wrapped up in the emotion of
the derby in the п¬Ѓrst half, but
we caused them problems in the
“If there was one fault today
it was that we over-committed
at the end, but this club wants to
see goals.
“I’m never going to be a manager who accepts a draw at
home as a positive result, but we
should still have the discipline to
do the job.
“It was our defenders who
over-committed, but I am not
here to criticise my team. They
gave everything and tried to win
“If you are going to lose, it’s
good to do it in the right manner
by trying to push for a win.”
Sunderland badly needed this
win after a succession of draws
which had left them worryingly
close to the relegation positions,
while Newcastle continue their
difficult holiday programme
with a trip to Manchester United
on Friday.
Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet (R) greets goalscorer Adam
Johnson after their their English Premier League match against
Newcastle at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Sunday. (Reuters)
S Korea name 23-man squad for Asian Cup
Ramos caps �best year’ with
Club World Cup award
Poyet for
leap of faith
in the semi-п¬Ѓnal win against Cruz
Azul and the victory over San
Lorenzo in Saturday’s final.
The standout moment on the
pitch in a year during which he
also became a father for the п¬Ѓrst
time was his last-gasp equaliser
against Atletico Madrid in May’s
Champions League п¬Ѓnal before
Real went on to beat their city rivals 4-1 after extra time.
His goals against Cruz Azul,
San Lorenzo and Atletico were
typically athletic headers from set
pieces and cemented the Sevilleborn 28-year-old’s status as a
hero to Real fans.
The heavily-tattooed Ramos
was also an important member
of the Spain team that won backto-back European Championship
crowns in 2008 and 2012 and a
maiden World Cup trophy in between.
Spain’s abject failure to defend
their title at the World Cup in Brazil in June was a major blemish but
Ramos nonetheless declared 2014
as “the most important of my life,
both professionally and on the
personal side”.
“I had the unique experience of
becoming a father and in the professional sphere I was able to win
four titles and that Champions
League we all wanted so much,”
he told the radio station Cadena
Ser late on Sunday.
“To win awards is gratifying
but it is down to the work of my
team mates and if an individual
player shines it is only thanks to
their efforts.”
Ramos, whose partner is glamorous Spanish television journalist Pilar Rubio, praised Real
coach Carlo Ancelotti who he has
a much more harmonious relationship with than he did with the
Italian’s predecessor Jose Mourinho.
South Korea yesterday named its final 23-man
squad for next month’s Asian Cup in Australia,
selecting a side that leans heavily on players
from overseas leagues. Some 17 members of
the national side play abroad, including six
based in Europe, while just one—Lee JeongHyeop—has no international experience. Lee, a
little-known forward for South Korea’s military
club Sangju Sangmu, was selected as one of
the three forwards, after domestic league strikers Lee Dong-Gook and Kim Shin-Wook were
ruled out due to injuries. Coach Uli Stielike said
Lee would act as the “target man” on the front
line despite his lack of experience. “My philosophy in selecting players is that their health
comes before everything,” said the German
coach, who took charge of the national team
in October. Stielike said he picked “versatile”
players who could play multiple positions,
adding that some defenders like Park Joo-Ho of
Mainz 05 and Jang Hyeon-Soo of Guangzhou
R&F will play as “defensive midfielders”. Six
of the squad’s players are based in Europe,
including Swansea City midfielder Ki SungYueng, Bolton Wanderers’ Lee Chung-Yong, and
Bayer Leverkusen winger Son Heung-Min, who
has netted 11 goals in club competitions this
season. Defender Cha Du-Ri, who plans to retire
from international play after the Asian Cup, is
the oldest member of the team at 34. Park ChuYoung, who has gone six matches without a
goal for his Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab, was
left off the side. South Korea is grouped with
Australia, Oman and Kuwait in the Asian Cup.
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-Gyu (Ulsan Hyundai),
Kim Jin-Hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Jung SungRyong (Suwon Samsung)
Defenders: Jang Hyeon-Soo (Guangzhou R&F),
Kim Chang-Soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Kim YoungGwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Kwak Tae-Hwi
(Al-Hilal FC), Kim Jin-Su (TSG Hoffenheim), Cha
Du-Ri (FC Seoul), Park Joo-Ho (FSV Mainz 05),
Kim Ju-Young (FC Seoul)
Midfielders: Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City),
Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton Wanderers), Son
Heung-Min (Bayer Leverkusen), Han KookYoung (Qatar SC), Nam Tae-Hee (Lekhwiya SC),
Koo Ja-Cheol (Mainz 05), Kim Min-Woo (Sagan
Tosu), Han Kyo-Won (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Myung-Joo (Al Ain)
Forwards: Cho Young-Cheol (Qatar SC),
Lee Keun-Ho (El Jaish SC), Lee Jeong-Hyeop
(Sangju Sangmu).
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Relations with Cuba could
have huge impact on MLB
Major League dreams of many Cuban ballplayers usually started out as nightmares. Now that will change
By David Lennon
Newsday (TNS)
he historic announcement by President
Barack Obama last week about restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba
soon brought to mind the huge impact it
could have for Major League Baseball.
Closed off to the United States for a halfcentury, the small island nation has managed to
produce some of the sport’s most talented players. But the only way we’ve seen them is through
the sacrifice and hardship they endured to get
Whether it was life-threatening boat trips in
the middle of the night or facing extortion and
worse from what amounted to human traffickers, the major-league dreams of Cuban ballplayers usually started out as nightmares.
Now that will change.
Maybe not tomorrow. But as the two longtime adversaries hammer out the details of this
new policy, it will be interesting to see how this
might smooth the path for the next wave of Cuban stars. And for the 30 major-league teams,
how they can better facilitate acquiring that talent.
Former Mets general manager Omar Minaya,
now the senior VP of baseball operations for the
Padres, remembers being one of the п¬Ѓrst to extensively scout the Dominican Republic in the
early 1980s. Minaya п¬Ѓgures seven or eight teams
had a foothold there at the time — he worked for
the Rangers then — but it was a relatively new
Now, with many teams having set up baseball
academies on the island, the Dominican influence is profound. Of the 853 players on Opening
Day rosters this past season, 83 — or nearly 10
percent — were from the Dominican Republic,
more than any other country outside the US
Cuba had the third-most at 19, a record for that
Cuba, with its own large pool of talent,
presents a different challenge, however. Minaya
compared it to an “oil well” because of the vast
reserves and the difficulty in tapping into them.
And just because President Obama is ready to
open the door to Cuba, that doesn’t mean dozens of potential Cuban All-Stars will be able to
walk through unimpeded.
“Nobody’s seen what the real plan is yet,”
Yankees president Randy Levine said. “Where
does baseball fit in? What’s the timeline? I think
depending on whatever the п¬Ѓnal regulations are,
it will lead to easier access for players. I think it
could lead to getting down there to help developing players early.
“Maybe an academy-type of system like in
the Dominican Republic. Maybe they’re subject
to the draft. That all gets worked out in collective bargaining. But as we’ve seen, there’s a lot
of great talent down there.”
Others caution that it would be overly optimistic to believe the Cuban government would
simply allow Major League Baseball to set up
shop there — or sign its players — without a significant financial stake in those contracts. This
could not be more different from the Dominican
Republic in that respect.
One possibility is that Cuba will set up a posting fee system like the one used by professional
leagues in Japan and Korea. Under that system,
MLB teams bid for the negotiating rights to a
player — with the money going to his former
club — and then work out a contract.
MLB is not a fan of that system, for obvious
Jose Abreu (left) debuted with the White Sox in 2014, batting .317 with a .383 on-base percentage, MLB-leading .581 slugging percentage and 36 home runs. He won the AL Rookie of the Year award, was a
Silver Slugger winner, an All-Star and finished fourth in MVP voting. (Kansas City Star/MCT)
reasons. Teams don’t want to essentially pay an
extra finder’s fee. But it remains in place, with
some recent adjustments, for the sake of diplomacy between MLB and the Asian professional
Believing that Cuba would approve some
form of free agency, like the Dominican Republic, or have its players subject to MLB’s first-year
player draft seems unrealistic at this early stage.
With the contracts signed lately by Cuban players, the potential п¬Ѓnancial windfall for the government, or the state-run baseball federation, is
too immense.
Roenis Elias debuted in 2014, going 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA in 29 starts for the Mariners. (MCT)
The White Sox signed Jose Abreu to a sixyear, $68 million deal in 2013, a contract that
included a $10 million bonus. Abreu rewarded
them with a Rookie of the Year season in 2014,
batting .317 with 36 home runs, 107 RBIs and a
.964 OPS.
In 2012, the Dodgers signed Yasiel Puig to a
seven-year, $42-million contract. The mercurial slugger compiled a slash line of .305/.386/.480
in two seasons and п¬Ѓnished in the top 20 in the
MVP voting each year.
Who’s next? Yoan Moncada, a switch-hitting
19-year-old shortstop, was declared a free agent
by MLB last month after establishing residency
in Guatemala. But while the market for Cuban
players continues to soar, Moncada’s free agency falls under rules that are different from the
ones that Abreu and Puig faced.
With the new CBA, international free agents
under the age of 23 with fewer than п¬Ѓve years in
a professional league must be subject to the restrictions of MLB’s international bonus pool. In
short, clubs are taxed for going over their pool
amount to sign players — and heavily penalized
for going above by 15 percent or more.
Despite such artificial restraints on spend-
ing, teams still manage to come up with the cash
for future stars such as Moncada. If this historic
agreement between the U.S. and Cuba proceeds
at a brisk pace, we’ll be seeing more and more of
them sooner rather than later.
As Minaya pointed out, things moved pretty
quickly once the wall came down in Eastern Europe. Cuba stood as one of baseball’s last barriers, and it could take some time to be cleared.
The important thing is that it п¬Ѓnally will be.
“I think what happened this week, at least it
brought attention and hope to the situation being resolved,” Minaya said. “That’s what it did.”
In 2012, the Dodgers signed Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42-million contract. (Los Angeles Times / MCT)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Ferrari on restructuring spree after dismal year
Maranello (Italy)
errari have recruited Jock Clear,
the Mercedes engineer who
helped Lewis Hamilton win
this year’s Formula One world
championship, as the last key element
in the Italian team’s rebuilding after a
dismal year.
Ferrari failed to win a race in 2014,
their п¬Ѓrst blank season since 1993,
while dominant Mercedes won 16 of
the 19 grands prix and took both titles.
The sport’s oldest and most successful
team have carried out a major restructuring, with a host of senior staff leaving
and Maurizio Arrivabene now installed
as their third principal of the year.
Arrivabene told a news conference at
the team’s Fiorano test track yesterday
that Clear would be taking the departed
Pat Fry’s job as head of engineering
with his arrival date still being negotiated with Mercedes.
“We respect agreements and regulations,” he added.
Clear, who also worked with Jacques
Villeneuve at Williams when the Canadian won the 1997 world championship, will bring invaluable knowhow to
Gerrans breaks
collarbone, out of
Tour Down Under
Australian cycling star Simon
Gerrans has broken a collarbone in a training accident and
will not defend his Tour Down
Under title, his team Orica
GreenEdge said yesterday.
Gerrans, who won a recordbreaking third Tour Down
Under title earlier this year, will
undergo surgery with his focus
now shifting to the European
spring classics.
The 34-year-old, who has
achieved a string of big wins
at home and in Europe since
joining Orica GreenEdge, said
he was disappointed with the
Australian road championships
also out of the question.
“Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how well the recovery goes
from here, I don’t think I am
going to be in any condition to
be racing at a high level in January,” he said in a statement.
“It’s a big blow not to be able
to line up in the national championships and Tour Down Under
and defend my titles. They are
races that I really enjoy and I
know how important they are to
the team,” he added.
Gerrans was completing
a training session near his
home in Victoria state when he
crashed on Sunday.
“I knew straight away as I hit
the ground that I had broken
my left collarbone,” he said.
Orica GreenEdge sport director Matt White said he expected
Gerrans to bounce back for the
top European races.
“Simon is one of our key
riders and the Australian summer, particularly the national
championships and Tour Down
Under, were a real goal for him
again next year,” he said.
“But he is the ultimate professional; he will be back on the
bike in no time and hunting
down his next victory before we
know it,” White added.
Gerrans was set to go
head-to-head with fellow
Australian and Tour de France
winner Cadel Evans in the Tour
Down Under.
The Tour Down Under, the
first UCI World Tour event of
2015, will be staged in and
around Adelaide from January
17 to 25.
Jock Clear, the Mercedes engineer who helped Lewis Hamilton win this year’s F1 world
championship, has been hired by Ferrari as the last key element in the Italian team’s
rebuilding after a dismal 2014 during which it failed to win a single race.
Ferrari from Mercedes at a time when
the Italian team are playing catch up.
Arrivabene dismissed speculation
that former Mercedes technical direc-
tor Bob Bell, who resigned in December
2013, could also be moving to Maranello and said Ferrari now had the right
people in place.
“The team is there,” he said. “There
is no great news to be announced, no
surprises. We have to believe in the
people we have.”
Spain’s double world champion
Fernando Alonso has left for McLaren
and been replaced by quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull,
with 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen
Asked what he expected from Vettel,
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne
smiled: “I expect the same thing from
a German driver as I do from a Spanish
driver. To drive the hell out of the car
and win races. “Their role in life is to
race and to win.”
Arrivabene, who previously worked
for team sponsor Philip Morris, said he
was looking to the German to lead and
motivate a team that п¬Ѓnished fourth
overall this year.
“No man is an island,” he said. “I am
not a magician, there are no miracles
to be made. We have to work as a team,
this is the most important thing.
“I don’t believe in individual success. I believe in team success,” he
added. “Drivers become the stars of
the show but they must be treated like
employees. They must work as a team
and help rebuild the team.”
Ferrari, Formula One’s oldest
and most glamorous team, have
made sweeping changes as they
regroup for 2015 after their first
season without a win since 1993. A
timeline of the key changes:
Dec 22: Ferrari confirm that senior
Mercedes engineer Jock Clear is to join
as engineering director, replacing the
departed Pat Fry.
Dec 19: Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne,
dropped by Toro Rosso in November,
replaces Spaniard Pedro De la Rosa as
a test driver.
Dec 17: Tyre expert Hirohide Hamashima, a former Bridgestone motorsport
tyre development boss, leaves Ferrari.
Dec 16: Ferrari announce the departures of chief designer Nikolas Tombazis
and engineering director Pat Fry, two of
the key men responsible for designing
the 2014 car. James Allison handed
responsibility for the technical side.
Dec 15: Mexican Esteban Gutierrez,
dropped at the end of the season by
Sauber, is appointed test and reserve
driver for 2015.
Nov 24: Maurizio Arrivabene takes
Federer raises
$1.3mn from African
fund-raising event
The fact that we were able to raise such a large amount for the foundation makes the
evening even more special. A hearty thank you to Stan that he made this possible’
Roger Federer (centre) and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka (2nd left) pose with members of the South African Ibuyamo Orchestra group after �The match for Africa 2’ charity tennis
match in Zurich on Sunday. The Swiss pair took to the court on behalf of Roger Federer Foundation, which aids disadvantaged children in Africa and Switzerland. (Reuters)
oger Federer heads into Christmas week hoping to take his
African charity’s aid to at
least one million children
after a blockbuster fund-raising tennis exhibition on Sunday night with
Stan Wawrinka, which raised close to
1.3 million dollars.
The pair of 2014 Davis Cup champions from Switzerland—both fathers
themselves, with Federer and wife
Mirka the parents to two sets of identical twins—took to the court on behalf
of the Roger Federer Foundation, which
aids disadvantaged children in Africa
and Switzerland.
The Hallenstadion was п¬Ѓlled to
capacity with 11,000 spectators eager to see their heroes in the flesh after
what for both had been record-setting
2014 ATP seasons, with the entire exercise accompanied by the rhythms of
African music.
“The evening was a great experience
for me. Stan and I were given a wonderful reception in the stadium,” said Federer, who finished number two behind
Novak Djokovic this season on the ATP,
winning п¬Ѓve titles.
“The fact that we were able to raise
such a large amount for the foundation
makes the evening even more special. A
hearty thank you to Stan that he made
this possible,” added the 33-year-old.
“It was a lot of fun and a great end to
the season,” said Wawrinka, preparing
to defend his Australian Open title in
less than a month.
“It was a wonderful year with lots of
special moments. It means a lot to me to
be able to close the season here in Zurich,” he added.
Since its establishment more than a
decade ago, the charity effort has raised
around 17 million dollars for education
programmes, and helped 285,000 children in six countries in southern Africa
and in Switzerland.
By the end of 2018 the foundation
aims to reach one million children.
“With the proceeds from “The
Match for Africa 2” we can reach another 30,000 children and improve the
quality of over 200 kindergartens and
primary schools in southern Africa,”
added charity managing director Janine
Haendel. Federer will begin his 2015
season in Brisbane in early January prior
to the Australian Open.
US skier Lindsey Vonn watches the
tennis exhibition match between
Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer
in Zurich. (EPA)
over as team principal, replacing
Marco Mattiacci, who leaves the
Nov 20: Ferrari announce that double
world champion Fernando Alonso
is leaving and will be replaced by
quadruple world champion Sebastian
Vettel, who joins from Red Bull on a
three-year deal. He will partner Kimi
Raikkonen, the 2007 champion.
Sept 10: Ferrari chairman Luca di
Montezemolo says he will leave on
Oct 13, handing over to Fiat Chrysler
chief executive Sergio Marchionne.
Montezemolo had been chairman
since 1991 and also worked with team
founder Enzo Ferrari.
Aug 1: Ferrari confirm the departure
of engine designer Luca Marmorini.
Mattia Binotto takes his place.
May 11: Ferrari go a year without a win.
April 14: Stefano Domenicali, appointed team principal in 2008, resigns after the new V6 turbo era starts
with nothing better than two fourth
places from three races. He is replaced
by Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari’s North
America president.
Asian outlook for
golf positive again,
says tour chief
Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr
says the outlook for golf in the
continent is positive again after
a difficult few years which saw
tournaments scrapped and
sponsors hard to find.
The region received a boost
last month when the European
Tour announced it had added
a new “Asian swing” to its 2015
schedule with events in Malaysia, Thailand and India.
February will see the longestablished Maybank Malaysian
Open followed by two new
co-sanctioned Asian Tour and
European Tour events—the $2
million Thailand Classic and the
Hero Indian Open.
“It really highlights that Asia
is where the growth is going to
be,” Kerr said.
“If you look at the two more
established markets, the US and
certainly western Europe, they
are fairly saturated,” he added.
“You’re going to get organic
growth in those markets but
you’re not going to get many
new tournaments.”
The Asian Tour enjoyed a
boom period before leaner economic times and greater competition after the arrival of the rival
OneAsia tour in 2009 hampered
the growth of its schedule.
Two flagship events—both cosanctioned with the European
Tour—suffered. The Singapore
Open, once touted as “Asia’s
major”, was sidelined and the
Hong Kong Open left without a
title sponsor.
Hong Kong still lacks a headline backer but the European
Tour has underlined it’s importance with a key slot on next
year’s calendar—just before the
season-ending �Final Series’.
“The co-sanctioned programme has been very successful
for us,” said Kerr. “It allows Asian
players to play against some
of the best in the world. I see
us working closer and in more
tournaments and more markets
around the world in the future.”
The European Tour has also
added a new China date to its
calendar for next year, with the
Shenzhen International, which is
not sanctioned by the Asian Tour,
set to debut in April the week
before the Volvo China Open.
And in November, two of the
European Tour’s Race to Dubai
�Final Series’ events will again
take place in Shanghai, China—
the WGC-HSBC Champions and
the BMW Masters.
Kerr said the Asian Tour was
also looking to increase the
number of its stand-alone events,
pointing out that the Vascory
Classic in Malaysia had been
added to next year’s calendar.
“Am I happy with where the
Asian Tour is at the moment? I
think I am. Obviously we would
love to have more tournaments,
more purses, and more opportunities for the players but it
takes time,” he said.
“What we want to do is
develop a sustainable tour. We
don’t want a flash-in-the-pan
event coming in and off the
schedule which has in some
ways happened in the past,”
he added. “Certainly over the
past couple of years we’ve had
a fairly rough time and things
have been quite tight but I think
we can see that we are starting
to come out of that situation.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Waiters sparks late run
as Cavaliers cruise past
short-handed Grizzlies
He’s a young guy and learning every day. We needed a spark and he gave us
a big lift off the bench. He was aggressive, decisive and played a great game’
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters slips while driving the baseline against Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee in the second quarter of their NBA game on Sunday. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles
ion Waiters doesn’t start for
the Cleveland Cavaliers anymore but he knows how to
п¬Ѓnish. Waiters netted 13 of
his 21 points in the п¬Ѓnal quarter and
the Cavaliers beat the short-handed
Memphis Grizzlies 105-91.
A starter early this season, Waiters has struggled and is now coming
off the bench. He seems to be settling
into his new role and he found his form
Sunday against the Western Conference powerhouse.
“He’s a young guy and learning every day,” said LeBron James, who led the
Cavs with 25 points and 11 assists. “We
needed a spark and he gave us a big lift
off the bench. He was aggressive, decisive and played a great game.”
Brazil’s Anderson Varejao scored 18
points, Kyrie Irving had 17 with 12 assists, and Cleveland (16-10) shot a season-best 61 per cent from the п¬Ѓeld in
the wire-to-wire win. “The way Dion
played tonight was amazing,” Varejao
said. “When we play like we did tonight we’re a pretty good team.”
Spanish centre Marc Gasol had 23
points with 11 rebounds for Memphis
(21-6), which lost its second in a row
after a six-game run without starting forward Zach Randolph (swollen
right knee) and top reserve Tony Allen
(scratched right eye).
“We play who we have,” Gasol said.
“Whoever’s not here is not here. Trust
me, we have enough talent in this locker room not just to win tonight, but to
win the same amount of games we’ve
won so far.”
Without their top rebounder and
best defender, Gasol carried the load,
especially in the third quarter with
13 points to trim an 11-point halftime
deficit to 77-70.
The Grizzlies drew to within 79-74
with a minute gone in the fourth quarter before Waiters led the Cavs on a
game-breaking 21-9 blitz.
During the spree, Waiters hit a cou-
ple of triples and converted a threepoint play. He added a nifty layup, a
corner jumper and sent a lob pass over
to the soaring James for a ferocious
dunk, as Cleveland opened up a 10083 cushion with just under п¬Ѓve minutes left en route to its 11th win in the
last 13 games. “When I come back in I
have to be mentally locked in,” Waiters
said. “When you’re on a roll they keep
feeding you. I just made shots, we rode
the wave and got the win.”
New Orleans Pelicans 101, Oklahoma City Thunder 99: Anthony Davis
had 38 points with 12 rebounds, and
the visiting Pelicans (14-13) escaped
the short-handed Thunder when
Russell Westbrook missed a potential
game-winning three-pointer with two
seconds left. Westbrook п¬Ѓnished with
28 for Oklahoma City (13-15), which
was playing its second straight game
without league MVP Kevin Durant because of a right ankle sprain.
Phoenix Suns 104, Washington
Wizards 92: Eric Bledsoe scored
seven of his 17 points in a game-sealing 9-0 run in the п¬Ѓnal 2:40, Markieff
Morris also had 17, and the Suns (15-4)
snapped the Wizards’ (19-7) six-game
winning streak.
Philadelphia 76ers 96, Orlando
Magic 88: Michael Carter-Williams
scored 21 points, and the league-worst
Sixers (3-23) rallied past the Magic
(10-20), which wasted a 19-point,
17-rebound effort from Nic Vucevic.
Brooklyn Nets 110, Detroit Pistons
105: Mason Plumlee had 21 points
with 12 rebounds, Joe Johnson made
four free throws in the п¬Ѓnal 12 seconds,
and the Nets (11-15) sent the visiting
Pistons (5-23) to their 17th loss in the
last 19 games despite Andre Drummond’s 18-point, 20-rebound effort.
Toronto Raptors 118, New York
Knicks 108: Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams tossed in 22 points apiece, and the
East-best Raptors (22-6) rolled to their
sixth straight victory, while sending the
reeling Knicks (5-25) to their 15th loss in
the last 16 games despite Carmelo An-
thony’s game-high 28 points.
Miami Heat 100, Boston Celtics
84: Luol Deng scored 23 points, James
Ennis added 10 of his 16 in the п¬Ѓnal
quarter, and the Heat (13-15), without
starters Dwyane Wade (bruised right
knee) and Chris Bosh (left calf strain),
stopped a п¬Ѓve-game slide after bouncing the visiting Celtics (10-15).
Sacramento Kings 108, LA Lakers
101: DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points
with 14 rebounds, Rudy Gay netted 24,
and the Kings (12-15) went on a decisive 18-2 fourth-quarter run to end a
п¬Ѓve-game slide after beating the visiting Lakers. Nick Young had 26 points
and Kobe Bryant added 25 for the Lakers (8-19), losers of three in a row.
Indiana Pacers 100, Minnesota
Timberwolves 94: CJ Miles scored
nine of his season-high 28 points
in the п¬Ѓnal 3:15, and Pacers (9-19)
trimmed the T-Wolves to stop a seven-game road slide. Mo Williams had
24 points and 10 assists for Minnesota
(5-21), which lost for the 11 time in the
last 12 games.
Cavaliers’ trade
assets limited
between now
and Feb deadline
By Jason Lloyd
Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)
hen the Cavaliers
watched Corey
Brewer pack his bags
and move from Minnesota to Houston last week, they
made the difficult decision to pass
on a useful wing who could help
them now. But at what cost?
The Cavs could’ve acquired
Brewer if they were willing to burn
a first-round pick, but that would’ve
been a drastic overpay for a journeyman guard who has averaged
10 points per game throughout his
career. As the NBA’s trading season
commences, the flurry of moves
the Cavs made last summer and at
the start of training camp has left
them with precious few assets left
to complete trades.
The picks they would’ve needed
to acquire Brewer were previously
sent to the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers over the summer to
create a $5.3 million trade exception. But they wouldn’t have had
the cap space to acquire Brewer
without the exception. Once LeBron
James signed his max deal, the Cavs
were out of cap space.
In order to have any flexibility
this season, they needed to create
a trade exception. So they took
Carrick Felix’s guaranteed contract
and sent it to the Utah Jazz for a
handful of nonguaranteed deals.
They were forced to attach their
second-round pick in the upcoming draft to entice the Jazz to take
Felix’s guaranteed dollars.
Then they took those nonguaranteed deals and sent them to
the Celtics in exchange for Keith
Bogans, who they had no interest
in keeping and were simply using
to maximize the value of a future
trade exception. The price for that
deal was second-round picks in
both 2016 and 2017. Then they
dumped Bogans on the 76ers and
came away with the trade exception. The price? Another secondround pick in 2018.
Add it all up and the Cavs spent
four second-round picks to create
the $5.3 million exception needed
to acquire a player like Brewer,
but they didn’t have the assets left
to obtain him without drastically
overspending. Their next available
second-round pick to use in a trade
isn’t until 2019.
Similarly, the July trade made
with the Celtics to clear enough
cap space to bring back James was
particularly costly. It’s difficult to
call anything that ends with James
on the roster a bad trade, but it was
a high price to pay.
The Cavs essentially gave away
a 7-foot rotational big man in Tyler
Zeller and a 2016 first-round pick
to the Celtics just to move Jarrett
Jack’s contract and create the
space necessary to sign James.
After a slow start, Zeller is averaging 11.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and a
block per game since moving into
the starting lineup 11 games ago.
The Cavs, meanwhile, continue to
shop for a rim protector. Although
in fairness, defense was never Zeller’s strength.
The pick stings, too. Since the
Cavs cannot trade first-round picks
in consecutive drafts under the
Stepien Rule, they cannot trade
their first-round pick in June’s draft
because it would leave them without a pick in �15 and �16. The next
available draft the Cavs could trade
a first-round pick is 2018. That isn’t
very appealing to an opposing general manager who knows he might
not even have that same job three
seasons from now.
The outlook isn’t completely
dire. It’s not as if the Cavs have no
upcoming draft picks and no paths
to infuse young talent. All of which
leaves the Cavs with four viable
trade assets between now and
February: Dion Waiters, Joe Harris,
Brendan Haywood and a future
first-round pick from the Memphis
Grizzlies that could eventually
become a lottery pick.
Avalanche inflict 6th straight loss on Red Wings
enters Nate MacKinnon and Matt Duchene
and right winger Jarome Iginla scored in a
nine-round shootout to give the Colorado
Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red
Wings on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena. It was Detroit’s sixth consecutive loss. Defenseman Erik Johnson scored for Colorado and goaltender while Calvin
Pickard made 34 saves in the first 65 minutes.
Stars 6, Oilers 5 (SO)
In the worst loss of a season that already features
27 losses in 34 games, Edmonton blew a three-goal
lead on home ice and lost to Dallas in a shootout.
Forwards Shawn Horcoff, Erik Cole, Jamie Benn and
Tyler Seguin (twice) scored for Dallas in regulation
while Horcoff added the winner in the shootout.
Edmonton left winger Taylor Hall and center Mark
Arcobello scored two goals each and right winger
Ted Purcell once for Edmonton.
Rangers 1, Hurricanes 0
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh scored the game’s
lone goal, and goaltender Cam Talbot made 18 saves
as the New York Rangers defeated Carolina at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers (17-10-4) earned
their sixth consecutive win. The Hurricanes (9-20-4)
lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Blackhawks 4, Maple Leafs 0
Forward Patrick Kane scored a goal and added two
assists, while fellow forward Patrick Sharp added
three assists and Chicago shut out Toronto at the
United Center. Backup goaltender Antti Raanta,
spelling No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, stopped all 31
of Toronto’s shots in the game.
Bruins 4, Sabres 3 (OT)
Just when their slide looked like it was going to
continue, Boston pulled out a dramatic win over
Buffalo. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who had an
earlier goal in the game, forced overtime with his
second goal with 1:31 remaining in regulation and
right winger Loui Eriksson scored with 2:46 left in
overtime, giving the Bruins a victory. Forward Chris
Kelly scored the other goal for Boston.
Stars 6, Oilers 5 (SO)
In the worst loss of a season that already features
27 losses in 34 games, Edmonton blew a three-goal
lead on home ice and lost to Dallas in a shootout.
Forwards Shawn Horcoff, Erik Cole, Jamie Benn and
Tyler Seguin (twice) scored for Dallas in regulation
while Horcoff added the winner in the shootout.
Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (31) makes a save on Detroit Red Wings
center Gustav Nyquist. Colorado won 2-1. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
World Cup winners,
Hoefl-Riesch, Harting
win German awards
�In those six weeks in Brazil we had no inner stress’
Harting apologetic
after criticism on
Sportsman of the
Year award
Baden-Baden, Germany
obert Harting’s third
Sportsman of the Year
award has been criticised because he had left behind
Winter Olympics champions,
and the discus throw star himself
was slightly embarrassed as well.
The world and Olympic champion Harting won a European
title in 2014 but agreed that the
Sochi Games gold from Nordic
combined skier Eric Frenzel and
the double gold from luge slider
Felix Loch were worth more.
“I am not quite sure how to rate
this. I apologised immediately
to the winter sports athletes,”
Harting said after Sunday’s gala
in Baden-Baden where the result from the annual poll among
1,200 German sports journalists
was announced.
“I believe that Olympic success tops European titles. The
boys won gold there, even worse
that I am now on top.”
Harting won the German
award a third straight year with
a slim margin ahead of Frenzel,
with Loch further back in third
Retired three-time Olympic
ski champion Maria-Riesch, who
won the women’s award, said
“you have to accept the vote” but
added the result is “very sad for
winter sport, and to a certain extent a proof of inadequacy.
“I consider it quite disturbing
that a European champion from
the summer (sports) is worth
more than an Olympic champion
from the winter. Even more now
that he has won it a third time.”
Riesch nonetheless expressed
respect for Harting, whose win
comes four years Sebastian Vettel
also beat men’s Winter Olympians
for the 2010 award after his п¬Ѓrst of
now four Formula One titles.
However, the previous winners were winter athletes
Michael Greis (biathlon, 2006),
Sven Hannawald (ski-jumping,
2002), Georg Hackl (luge, 1998)
and Markus Wasmeier (alpine
skiing, 1994) ever since the Winter Olympics took place in different years than Summer Games.
On the women’s side, swimmer Franziska van Almick was
the only summer athlete to get
the award in those years in the
same period, with Riesch being
named Sportswoman of the Year
in 2010 and 2014, and past winners also including skier Katja
Observers, and Harting as
well, suggested that his win was
not only based on his results on
the athletics п¬Ѓeld.
The 30-year-old is very outspoken, had his name removed
from a Athlete of the Year shortlist by the ruling body IAAF because it included former doping offender Justin Gatlin, and
is among the initiators of a new
lottery which is to start next
month and to support athletes in
a better way.
“I feel like in primary school
where I won a competition at
the age of eight or nine, and the
classmates didn’t like me any
more the next day,” Harting said.
German national football team coach Joachim Loew (right) receives a test tube filled with sand taken from the beach near the team’s 2014 World Cup base camp Campo Bahia
in Brazil from TV host Katrin Mueller-Hohenstein (left) after the team was awarded Germany’s Sports Team Of The Year 2014 in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Sunday. (Reuters)
Baden-Baden, Germany
ermany’s World Cup winning
football team, retired Olympic
ski champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch and discus thrower Robert
Harting won the nation’s Athlete of the
Year awards on Sunday.
Germany’s footballers coached by
Joachim Loew won the team award a 10th
time overall in the wake of a fourth World
Cup title in July.
Hoefl-Riesch, who quit skiing after
the past season, topped the women’s list
a second time after 2010 in the wake of a
third career Olympic gold in Sochi; and
the 2014 European champion Harting
won the men’s award a third straight year.
The awards, based on a poll among
some 1,200 sports journalists in Germany, were announced at the annual gala in
the resort of Baden-Baden.
Germany’s footballers were always the
favourites to succeed treble winners Bayern Munich in the team award after their
World Cup triumph 1-0 on July 13 against
Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, which followed a historic 7-1 drubbing of hosts
Brazil in the semis.
“It was their team spirit; it was the
team,” said German Football Federation
Former Alpine skier Maria Hoefl-Riesch (right) receives the �Sportswoman Of The
Year’ trophy from IOC President Thomas Bach during an awards gala in Baden-Baden,
Germany, on Sunday. (Reuters)
president Wolfgang Niersbach, reflecting on the World Cup competition. “In
those six weeks in Brazil we had no inner
The footballers topped the bill with
4,660 points, more than double the 1,846
the Olympic ski-jumping team champions from Sochi received. The volleyball
world championship bronze medallists
were third with 1,115.
Hoefl-Riesch, 30, was also the big favourite on the women’s side thanks to her
super-combined gold and super-g silver
in Sochi, plus the World Cup downhill title in her п¬Ѓnal ski season.
She received 3,147 points to win from
two-time luge gold medallist Natalie
Geisenberger (1,830) and Carina Vogt
(1,782), who became the inaugural women’s ski-jumping Olympic champion in
Hoefl-Riesch said she thought about
her decision to retire for a long time.
“It was a difficult decision, but I believe
to this day that it was the right one,” she
Harting, 30, meanwhile was a surprise
winner despite his long list of merits including three world titles and Olympic
gold, as his 2014 highlight was only a
continental championship.
However, personality may have been a
factor as well as the outspoken Harting
for instance had his name removed from
the final list of nominees for World Athlete of the Year because he didn’t want
to be on the same list that included doping offender Justin Gatlin of the United
Harting earned 2,100 points, which
was just good enough to edge Nordic
combined skiing Olympic and World Cup
champion Eric Frenzel (2,055), and twotime Olympic luge champion Felix Loch,
who was third (1,467).
Ahonen not nominated, Stoch doubtful for Four Hills
ecord winner Janne Ahonen has not been nominated and world and Olympic champion Kamil
Stoch is doubtful in the wake of ankle surgery to
compete at the upcoming ski-jumping Four Hills
Ahonen, 37, who came out of retirement last year, has
only jumped at one World Cup stop this season, and his
29th and 32rd п¬Ѓnishes in Ruka were not good enough to
make the Finnish team for the Four Hills which he has won
п¬Ѓve times. The Finnish ski federation said yesterday that
Ahonen will instead prepare for the world championships
in February in Falun, Sweden.
The worlds are also the main target for Poland’s Stoch,
who damaged his ankle just ahead of the season-opener
in November and required surgery. He expressed doubts
about returning for Sunday’s Four Hills opener in Oberstdorf, Germany.
“At this point I can’t say that. I hope that it’ll work, but as
I said, I still need some time,” the two-time Sochi Olympics
champion told the website of the ruling body FIS in an interview published on Monday.
“The world championships are the highlight this season,
I don’t want to risk missing that. I will not start jumping
again until I’m completely sure that everything is okay. The
recovery process is most important for me right now.”
Finland’s Janne Ahonen has only jumped at one World Cup stop this season. (Dallas Morning News/KRT)
German discus thrower Robert Harting (right) celebrates being
awarded Germany’s Athlete of the Year 2014 with his grandmother
Renate Seidel on Sunday. (Reuters)
Cate Campbell named Australia’s
Swimmer of the Year again
Sydney: World 100 metres freestyle champion Cate Campbell
was named Australia’s Swimmer
of the Year yesterday after winning four golds at the Pan Pacific
Championships and three at the
Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The 22-year-old, who also won
the award last year, holds the
fastest time in the world this year
for the 100m freestyle (52.62
seconds) and joint fastest time
for the 50m freestyle (23.96).
Campbell also teamed up with
her sister Bronte, Melanie Wright
and Emma McKeon to win the
4x100m freestyle relay gold
at the Commonwealth Games
in a world record time of three
minutes, 30.98 seconds, shaving
almost a second off the previous
Her long-term mentor Simon
Cusack was named Coach of
the Year at the ceremony in
Brisbane, while Campbell also
won the Swimmer’s Swimmer
award, which is voted for by the
Australia team.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
A dunk into
the best and
worst of 2014
By Robert Silverman
The Guardian
The Spurs dance round Oklahoma
he San Antonio Spurs won their п¬Ѓfth title in the last 17
seasons, and have rattled off an unfathomable winning
percentage of .686 since Gregg Popovich was named head
coach in 1996. It’s the closest the NBA has seen to a dynasty
on par with Bill Russell’s Celtics of the 1960s. Considering Red Auerbach never had to navigate the salary cap you
could make the case that this run is even more impressive.
For years, the Spurs were dismissed as “boring,” but as they
transformed from a grind-it-out, low post offence to the
apotheosis of Mike D’Antoni’s then-revolutionary pick-androll, pace and space churn, they’ve honed their craft such
that it can seem as if they have unlocked the secret to nearperfect, unselfish ball.
This year’s Spurs model might be the best. They ran rampant through a brutal Western Conference playoff gauntlet,
and topped it off by slicing up LeBron and Co with a tsunami
of perfectly executed passes, dogged, deft cuts and precise rotations on defence. There are literally hundreds of
YouTube’d clips and/or gifs you could select to sum up the
totality of this magnificent team, but I’m going to go with
this sequence against Oklahoma City in which the ball and
the players practically dance in unison. If you have a friend or
colleague that isn’t much of a hoops fan, show him or her a
few of these. See if they don’t get hooked.
The end of Donald Sterling
e already knew who and what Donald Sterling was well
before his ranting, bile-strewn �conversation’ with his
then-mistress was leaked by TMZ. For decades this leathery,
unreconstructed bigot ran every business he’s owned like
a modern-day plantation, Justice Department and sexual
harassment lawsuits be damned.
Of course, there’s a difference between culling the back
pages of the sports section to read that Sterling would
routinely bring women into the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker
room and lecherously declare, “Look at those beautiful black
bodies,” or delving into depositions to discover out that he’d
asked of one of the tenants of his slums, “Is she one of those
black people that stink?” and actually hearing his racist dreck
for yourself.
Thankfully, even a phalanx of lawyers and bottom feeding
�investigators’ couldn’t prevent him from being booted from
the league for good, and the team was sold to ex-Microsoft
honcho Steve Ballmer after his estranged wife Shelly had
Sterling declared mentally unfit to own the Clippers.
everyone knew that they’d be awful; that was never in doubt.
But even after a scorched-earth campaign last season, they
doubled down, punting on the 2014 NBA draft altogether
by selecting two players that, either via injury or because of
overseas commitments, won’t be suiting up until the 2015-16
season at the earliest.
The degree of their awful-by-design-ness even prompted
the NBA to try to change the lottery rules mid-stream to
thwart their п¬Ѓendish plot, which points to the larger question
here: Whether or not you accept the conventional wisdom
that dumping assets in the hope of accumulating draft picks
is the way to rebuild – even if said strategy hasn’t really been
shown to work – the fact remains that the NBA as it’s currently structured rewards failure.
Kobe’s highlight reel
nd then there’s Kobe Bryant. It’s hard to pick out one
moment that encapsulates this late-career heel turn. As
he’s proved more vulnerable to injury, and lost a step or two,
the Kobe-ness of his personality has come full force, calcified
into something else; something meaner or harder, as if he
could stave off the ravages of time by sheer force of will.
It’s almost as if he’s become a parody of himself, sniping
at ESPN over the perceived indignity of being ranked the
league’s 40th best player. Following team-mate Nick Young’s
pre-season injury he dismissively grumped, “You reach,
you’re going to get hurt.” You can practically taste the raw,
simmering rage with which he described how he’d be �mentoring’ rookie Julius Randle, “It means he can’t [expletive] it
up. Seriously. You [expletive] this up, you’re a really big idiot.”
Or the leaked snippets of him berating his team-mates
during a practice, and barking at GM Mitch Kupchak, “I
thought we’re supposed to practice to get better, Mitch.
These [expletive] ain’t doing [expletive] for me.”
Even while basking in the glory of passing Michael Jordan
on the scoring list, he ascribed his success to the teachings of
Anakin Skywalker: “That’s just the reality of it; you can’t get
to a supreme level without kind of channelling the dark side.”
The Lakers are a mess, and if nothing else, watching Kobe’s
unquenchable competitive desire come face to face with that
reality – the Lakers are actually significantly better without
Kobe in the lineup – has made for great theatre.
Jason Collins, doing work
The players get a worthy leader
n 23 February 2014, Jason Collins became the п¬Ѓrst openly
gay athlete to play a pro game in one of the four major
US sports. What he did on the floor was in no way remarkable, and more or less the same as during his 13-year career;
he played solid, rugged defence in the low post, using all the
unglamorous tools of his trade to nudge bigger, stronger,
more athletically gifted opponents a few inches away from
their preferred slots on the floor.
And... nothing. Save for a rumoured slur or two, there were
no massive protests or “distractions”. Collins wasn’t shunned
like some kind of social leper nor did he set the world aflame
with archaic panicking about showering with other men.
The painfully slow arc towards justice bent just a little bit,
as sports fans watched him go about the daily business of his
job and maybe, just maybe came to the realization that gay
people are, well, people. But the fact that �nothing’ occurred
should in no way diminish the importance of his actions.
“Jason Collins is living, screen-sliding, proof. This is
news because we need it to be news. This is news because
your children, or friends of your children, or children that
your children know, or children that you might be coaching
in a rec league, need to know that Jason Collins will become
a productive player on a pro basketball team. While liking
who he likes. While loving who he loves,” Kelly Dwyer wrote
at Yahoo. “Because conflicted teenagers need to know that
it’s just fine for men to love other men. That while this stuff
shouldn’t matter at all, in these early stages we should make
�news’ out of it.”
A star is born
The Silver King is enthroned
peaking of which, not much was known about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver before he ascended to David Stern’s
throne, but he came storming out of the gate, acting quickly
decisively to quell an impending wildcat strike and sponsorbased rebellion in the wake of L’Affair Sterling, and working
out a new $24bn agreement for the league’s broadcast rights
with ESPN and TNT starting in the 2016-17 season, close to
three times the annual amount of the previous deal. But it’s
worth remembering that press conference in which he banned
Sterling for life was far from the obvious or expected decision. Save for the always-outspoken Mark Cuban, no owner
was willing to say so it publicly, but you have to imagine that
the idea that they could lose their team because of a private
conversation didn’t sit very well with the other 31 millionaires.
It didn’t matter. And while we’ll never know what backroom
negotiations were held to maintain consensus, Silver brought
down the hammer, ditching a litigator’s calm veneer and
sounding downright enraged. Good for him.
very time the National Basketball Players’ Association has
gone toe-to-toe with the league, they’ve got whomped
like the Washington Generals. We’re a long way off from
the next potential work stoppage (the collective bargaining
agreement is set to expire after the 2016-17 season) but the
new head of the union, Michele Roberts is already staking
out her turf. In response to Silver’s assertion that a third of
NBA teams aren’t profitable, she said, “I initially just started
laughing, to be honest with you.”
If nothing else, Roberts is debunking all of the old pro
sports labour myths. From the validity of the salary cap: “I
don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where
there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because. It’s incredibly un-American” to the age limit: “There is no other profession that says
that you’re old enough to die but not old enough to work.”
None of this means another work stoppage is inevitable,
but Roberts at least gives the players a general that is willing
to put up a п¬Ѓght.
LeBron’s homecoming
fter four straight trips to the п¬Ѓnals and two championships brought back to the shores of South Beach, LeBron
James shocked the basketball world by deciding to return to
his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I
was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where
I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special
place in my heart,” James explained in a Sports Illustrated article he wrote with Lee Jenkins. “In Northeast Ohio, nothing
is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
As was the case when LeBron joined up with Dwyane Wade
and Chris Bosh in 2010, the results out of the gate have been
mixed at best. But LeBron’s paean to the place he grew up was
so nakedly human and vulnerable, if practically Hollywoodscripted, that you couldn’t help but root for him to succeed,
and п¬Ѓnally bring a title to long-suffering Cleveland fans.
The tank
t the other end of the spectrum, we have the Philadelphia 76ers, losers of a record-26 consecutive game. Sure,
here’s something special about witnessing a highly touted
player begin to harness his full potential. But the best thing
about watching Anthony Davis is that we don’t even really
know what his ceiling might be. “It’s been over a decade since
a player of any age has averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds
and three blocks. It’s been two decades since a 20-year-old
player has accomplished the incredible feat — the last under-21 player to do it was Shaquille O’Neal,” SB Nation’s Drew
Garrison wrote. “Only Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson
have ever п¬Ѓnished a season also averaging at least 1.5 steals per
game on top of the rebound, scoring and block averages.”
Shaq, The Admiral, The Dream. Yeah, that’s pretty good
company to keep. But the best Anthony Davis moments come
when he just plain seems to defy the laws of physics themselves, his Plastic Man-like arms extending higher and higher
to snag an alley-oop attempt that seemed destined to land in
the pricey seats.
He stretches (often literally) the boundaries of the possible,
and the anticipation or hope that anything can and will happen, makes slogging through a meaningless mid-November
game against an also-ran absolutely worth it.
Damian Lillard in the nick of time
Spurs-Mavericks tilt that went the full seven games,
with Vince Carter turning back time to drain an incredible, game-winning fadeaway three pointer. The dazzling
brilliance of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook versus the
grit and grind, brutish Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors and
the Clippers п¬Ѓghting tooth and nail while the world awaits
Sterling’s demise.
2014 gave us the best п¬Ѓrst round of the playoffs in NBA
history, with every night an endless parade of the league’s
greatest players, eye-popping performances and unforgettable moments – a never-ending euphoric cycle of goodness
for NBA junkies.
And the absolute cherry was Damian Lillard’s series-winning bomb with nine tenths of a second remaining as Mike
Tirico bellowed, “It’s Lillard … HE GOT THE SHOT OFF …
LILLARD GOOOD. GOOOOOOD. And the Blazers win the
series ... for the first time in FOUR-TEEN-YEARS!!!!!”
LeBron James shocked the
basketball world by deciding
to return to his hometown
Cleveland Cavaliers.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Napoli fans cheer for their
team before the match.
It was a festive atmosphere at the Italian Super Cup match between Juventus and Napoli last night, as
Italian dancers performed at the Al Sadd stadium in Doha. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
Abu Issa aims for podium
finish at Dakar Rally
By Our Correspondent
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Al Rayyan beat Shamal 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-22) in the Qatar Premier League at Al Arabi Sports Club yesterday. PICTURES: Jayaram
dramatic Dakar Rally debut saw Mohamed Abu Issa steer his quad towards a
top п¬Ѓve п¬Ѓnish and a Rookies Cup win. The
Qatari rider is now focused on pushing for
even more honours when the next edition of the
race gets going in Buenos Aires in a few week’s time.
It may have only been a year since Abu Issa arrived in South America to compete in his п¬Ѓrst ever
Dakar, but a lot has changed in that time. Before
his Dakar debut there was little expectation surrounding the 23-year-old student, who stated his
pre-race ambitions as hoping to reach the п¬Ѓnish
line. After two weeks and 13 gruelling stages, Abu
Issa not only fulfilled his desire to complete the race
but surprised everyone by п¬Ѓnishing fourth overall
to become the best placed debutant.
Now Abu Issa’s talent is no secret in the bivouac
of the Dakar and expectations for his upcoming
performance has risen significantly. Following the
withdrawal of the Patronelli brothers (four-time
winners between 2010-2013) Abu Issa now п¬Ѓnds
himself within a select group of riders with a realistic shot at the quad title in 2015.
Emulating his countryman Nasser al-Attiyah, by
winning the Dakar remains Abu Issa’s ultimate ambition and earlier this year the two shared top spot
of the podium at the Sealine Cross Country Rally.
The duo delighted race fans in their native Qatar
with victory on home turf as belief surged through
the crowd that the pair can repeat their winning
performances at the upcoming Dakar.
Abu Issa said: “My first Dakar was a lot harder
than I imagined it would be. A month before the
race I broke my arm so I rode the rally with titanium
plate in there. Now I know what to expect when I
arrive at the race and this will help a lot. I feel my
preparation is much better this time and my ambition is to win. The minimum I’m aiming for is a
podium п¬Ѓnish because I want to show that there are
others in Qatar, not just Nasser (al-Attiyah), who
can compete at this level. It will not be an easy race
but I’m ready to do my best.”
Nasser will have to get the most out of his MINI
ALL4 Racing if he is to collect another car race title
and the task ahead of Abu Issa in the quad category
is also far from simple. There are a total of four marathon stages lying in wait for the quads at this next
edition of the Dakar, meaning that riders must do
all repairs themselves before starting the next day’s
racing. With 9,000km of perilous terrain between
himself and glory it’s clear that Abu Issa will need
to be in top physical and mental condition for the
entire two weeks if he is to take home the big prize.
In another match, Al Khor scored an easy win over Qatar SC 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-18) in the Qatar Volleyball League.
Qatari rider Mohamed Abu Issa steers his quad during the Dakar Rally last year.
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