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Daily newspaper - Gulf Times

2 – 7, 24
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22, 23
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as India
close in on
Page 8
Vol. XXXV No. 9586
December 29, 2014
Rabia I 7, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Hundreds trapped on
burning Italian ferry
A crude bomb exploded outside a
busy restaurant in India’s high-tech
capital of Bengaluru yesterday,
killing a woman and wounding a
man, police said. The low-intensity
blast occurred in the centre of
Bengaluru packed with yesterday
evening crowds, prompting a
security alert in other Indian cities.
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
EUROPE | Drama at sea
Woman killed in
Bengaluru blast
Police in Bahrain arrested the head
of the banned Shia opposition
movement Al-Wefaq yesterday
after he had been called in for
questioning, his party said.
After Sheikh Ali Salman’s party
announced his arrest, clashes
broke out between security
forces and hundreds of Al-Wefaq
supporters gathered at his house
in the Shia village of Bilad alQadim near Manama, witnesses
said. Police used tear gas and
birdshot to disperse the crowds
protesting against Salman’s arrest,
the witnesses said. There was no
immediate news of casualties.
INDIA | Security
Bahrain detains
opposition chief
US President Barack Obama
saluted yesterday the “milestone”
end of Nato’s combat mission
in Afghanistan, but warned the
country remains “a dangerous
place.” A low-key ceremony in
Kabul marked the formal end
of Nato’s war after 13 years of
conflict that have left the country
in the grip of worsening insurgent
violence. As of January 1, the US-led
International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) combat mission, will
be replaced by a Nato “training and
support” mission. Obama called
the ceremony “a milestone for our
country.” Page 19
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REGION | Politics
Obama salutes end of
Nato combat mission
Licensing of
set to grow
Latest Figures
Italian and Greek helicopter crews
prepared to work through the
night to airlift passengers in pairs
off a burning ferry adrift in the
Adriatic Sea, battling darkness
and bad weather that hampered
rescue efforts by other ships
throughout yesterday. Helicopters
were plucking passengers off the
Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic
and transferring them to a nearby
vessel, after a dramatic day that
began when a fire broke out on
its lower deck in the early hours.
A Greek government official said
one man had died but there were
no other confirmed reports of
casualties among almost 500
passengers and crew and as night
fell, Greek authorities said 156
people were clear of the danger
zone. Page 15
Saudi seeks to open
bourse to foreigners
SPORT | Page 1
Two members from the Indonesian Navy’s Tactical Commanding Operator help with
the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 on board a CN235 aircraft over Karimun Java in
the Java Sea yesterday.
Search halted for
missing AirAsia
jet as night falls
ndonesia called off until п¬Ѓrst light
a search for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people from Indonesia’s
Surabaya to Singapore, which went
missing yesterday just after pilots requested a change in course to avoid
bad weather.
There was no distress call issued by
Flight QZ8501, operated by Indonesian AirAsia, 49% owned by Malaysiabased budget carrier AirAsia, which
has had no crashes since it started flying in 2002.
Singapore said it would send two
planes to join the search for the missing Airbus A320-200 early today, while
the US, Malaysia, Britain, South Korea,
Australia and India offered help, from
planes and navy boats to experts and
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident,” said Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia.
“We are co-operating with the relevant
authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident.”
On board were 155 Indonesians, three
South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, plus a
French pilot.
The pilot “was requesting deviation
due to en-route weather before com-
munication with the aircraft was lost”,
the airline said.
The pilots were experienced and the
plane last underwent maintenance in
mid-November, it said. The aircraft
had accumulated about 23,000 flight
hours in some 13,600 flights, according
to Airbus.
QZ8501 fell out of contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17am (2317
GMT Saturday). It was roughly halfway
between Surabaya and Singapore when
it went missing in bad weather, somewhere from Tanjung Pandan on Indonesia’s Belitung island to Pontianak, in
West Kalimantan, Borneo.
Malaysia AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes went to Surabaya to update
dozens of relatives of passengers who
waited anxiously. The carrier swapped
its distinctive bright red logo for a grey
background on its website and social
media accounts.
“This is my worst nightmare,” Fernandes said on Twitter. “But there’s no
stopping”, he said of the search.
The incident caps a disastrous year
for Malaysia-affiliated airlines. Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 on a trip from Kuala
Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers
and crew on board and has not been
On July 17, the same airline’s Flight
MH17 was shot down over Ukraine,
killing all 298 people on board. Page 11
he number of healthcare practitioners’ licences in Qatar is
expected to grow at the rate of
27% annually for the next п¬Ѓve years,
contributing to a cumulative growth
of 140%, it was announced yesterday.
“The number of healthcare practitioners’ licences has increased by
40% from 2012 to 2014,” said Dr Jamal
Rashid al-Khanji, acting CEO of Qatar
Council for Healthcare Practitioners
Qatar has close to 16,560 licensed
healthcare practitioners at the end
of this year compared to 12,335 in
2012, he explained. Official statistics
prove that Qatar has a 22,460 healthcare professionals now against 15,135
two years ago (2012). However, only
16,560 have registered with the QCHP
and been issued licences, said Dr alKhanji.
“Owing to the growing needs of
the country in view of the continuous growth in population, the government is expecting the п¬Ѓgure to grow at
an average minimum rate of 27% per
year,” he reiterated.
While briefing journalists on the
initiatives of the QCHP to put in place
a a better system to cope with the
growing requirements of the country’s population, Dr al-Khanji said the
council was working in tandem with
a major global IT solutions provider
to ensure better customer satisfaction through the enhancement of the
present electronic system for registration and licensing.
With the introduction of a new
Dr Jamal Rashid al-Khanji speaking
about the new systems at the QCHP
yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram
electronic accreditation management
system, the QCHP hopes to ensure
that the registration and licensing
of all healthcare practitioners in the
country’s private sector would be
completed by the end of the year.
In the next two phases, which would
be carried out in the next two years, the
process of registration and licensing
of all practitioners working in semigovernment and government would
be completed in line with the goals and
objectives of the Qatar National Health
Strategy, said the QCHP official.
The council also hopes to educate
all Continuous Medical Education
and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) providers about the
accreditation policies as early as possible.
Dr al-Khanji said a technical support health desk has been allocated
to receive any technical level inquiries concerning registration/licensing
electronic system.
An electronic accreditation management system, which is linked to
the QCHP’s Registration Department,
has been set up to receive and manage
applications for accreditation, submission of documents by healthcare
practitioners, and also to providing
information about all accredited CPD
providers and communicate with all
stakeholders, it was informed.
Considering patient safety as a
top priority, the council has developed and implemented an electronic
complaint handling system at its office. This is besides a safety alert
system, that integrates with other
systems already functioning within the QCHP, Dr al-Khanji added.
Page 4
E-system to issue sick leave certificates
The Qatar Council for Healthcare
Practitioners (QCHP) has launched an
innovative electronic system (e-Jaza) to
regulate the issue of sick leaves.
This will be implemented in the private
healthcare sector from next month, Dr
Rashid al-Khanji, acting CEO of QCHP,
said yesterday.
Once the system is put in place, the
manual sick leave certificates will not be
accepted by employers, he explained.
All healthcare practitioners across the
country are being told to start using
the e-Jaza system as early as possible.
The official also informed that in the
pilot phase so far, 149 e-Jazas have
already been issued by different institutions and more and more practitioners
are currently making use of the new
Iraqi forces launch offensive on IS
raqi forces backed by Sunni tribes
advanced into the town of Dhuluiyah north of Baghdad yesterday
in a new attempt to push out Islamic
State group militants, officials said.
In October, Iraqi forces retook most
of Dhuluiyah from IS, but the militants later launched a counter-offensive and were able to seize ground they
had lost.
A Sunni tribe in the south of the
town, 90km (55 miles) north of the
capital, had been holding out against
relentless attacks for nearly six
Iraqi forces launched their latest
offensive on Friday, attacking militants’ positions on several fronts and
capturing a string of villages south of
Dhuluiyah, military officials said.
Yesterday the troops п¬Ѓnally entered
from the north backed by the air force,
and seized the airport just outside the
“The armed forces have entered
Dhuluiyah... they are reinforcing their
positions,” an army officer said.
He said soldiers were still facing
some pockets of resistance from snipers and were treading carefully to avoid
landmines sown by the militants.
A policeman who took part in the
offensive confirmed that the airport
just north of the town had been captured.
Iraqi forces are trying to tighten the
noose around the militants, he said.
Dhuluiyah is strategically located
on roads linking the eastern province
of Diyala to Salaheddin province in
the north. Page 9
SEC official proposes Indian community school
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he Qatar government is willing
to provide a purpose-built facility, free of rent, if the Indian
embassy sets up a community school
to overcome the shortage of school
spaces, a senior official at the Supreme
Education Council (SEC) has said.
Hamad Mohamed al-Ghali, director of Private School at SEC, pointed
out to Gulf Times yesterday that many
expatriate communities had their own
community schools in Qatar.
“But, unfortunately, the largest
community in the country, still has
no community school. A community
school will help in solving some of the
pressing admission worries of the Indian community.”
The official clarified that “the school
should be under the supervision of the
Indian embassy and not under any
individuals. If there is an agreement
between the Qatar and Indian governments, a purpose-built building will
be provided free of rent for the purpose.”
Al-Ghali said that the authorities concerned could send in a request to the Ministry of Education,
specifying the needs. “Once the request is received, the government
will take an appropriate decision.
This will help in solving some of
the admission worries and the new
school will be able to provide affordable education to the students of the
He also reiterated that all the schools
in the country are provided water and
electricity, free of cost.
The director stressed that many new
schools had been opened to accommodate more students.
He also disclosed that in view of
the shortage of seats in higher classes, the SEC would look at the latest п¬Ѓgures of the students in each
“By January 15, we will release a list
of schools that can admit more children in preparatory as well as in sec-
ondary classes. This, we hope, will
solve the admission problems, if there
are any.”
When asked about the rising expenses in renting out school buildings,
al-Ghali replied that the SEC also revises the fees of the schools regularly.
“We had given fee hike for several
schools last year in view of the rising
expenditure. In addition, all schools
get free electricity and water.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
PM meets Yemeni official
Es’hailSat selects SpaceX
to launch second satellite
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani holding talks with
Yemeni Human Rights Minister Izz al-Deen Said al-Asbahi in Doha yesterday. They reviewed matters of mutual
Qatar and Yemen sign
MoU on human rights
atar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and
the Yemini Ministry of
Human Rights yesterday
signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) on
co-operation in the areas
of human rights.
The MoU was signed by
NHRC Chairman Dr Ali
bin Smaikh and the Yemeni
Human Rights Minister Izz
al-Deen al-Asbahi.
It covered many areas of
co-operation between the
two parties, including issues related to the development of the human rights
system and strategies and
action plans of each party.
It also took into account the development of
future relations between
the two sides and the dissemination of concepts of
each party pertaining to
the support and protection of human rights and
the development of a bi-
lateral framework so that
each party would benefit
from the technical and institutional expertise of the
other party.
The memorandum stated that priority should be
given to activities aimed at
strengthening co-operation to develop the support
and protection of human
rights systems and the associated skills which are
related to the institutional
development of human
rights (governmental and
non-governmental), the
development of plans and
strategies, implementation
of human rights and support for capacity building.
It also dealt with the exchange of experiences in
the п¬Ѓeld of human rights
and support programmes
and activities for human
rights education, co-operation in providing consultancy and research, supporting and strengthening
co-operation in the п¬Ѓght
against trafficking in human beings and other priority areas.
s’hailSat - Qatar Satellite Company - has
announced that following international consultation, Space Exploration
Technologies (SpaceX) has
been selected to launch the
company’s second satellite - Es’hail 2 - in the fourth
quarter of 2016 on board a
Falcon 9 rocket.
Es’hail 2 is currently under construction by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
in Japan.
A high-performance satellite with Ku-band and Kaband capabilities, Es’hail 2
will be positioned at the 26
degrees East hotspot position to provide TV distribution and government services to strategic stakeholders
and commercial customers
who value broadcasting and
communications independence, interference resilience, quality of service and
wide geographical coverage,
according to a statement.
The Es’hail 2 satellite is
scheduled to launch in the
fourth quarter of 2016 from
SpaceX’s Launch Complex
40 at the Air Force Station,
Cape Canaveral, Florida, US.
Ali al-Kuwari, CEO of
Es’hailSat, said: “We are
delighted to have selected
SpaceX to launch our second satellite. Now a proven
GTO launcher, SpaceX was
able to meet our special
technical requirements and
most importantly to meet
the time-critical mission to
launch Es’hail 2 at the end of
2016. Securing the launch of
Es’hail 2 marks another key
milestone in Qatar’s satellite programme and we look
forward to working with
SpaceX on this important
“SpaceX is pleased to
have been selected to provide launch services for
Es’hailSat’s growing fleet
Es’hail 2 is scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2016 on board a Falcon 9
of satellites,” said Gwynne
Shotwell, president and
COO of SpaceX. “The two
companies worked closely
together to develop a launch
solution that enhances the
capabilities for the Es’hail
2 mission; SpaceX is proud
to partner with Es’hailSat
and we look forward to their
successful launch.”
Es’hail 1, Qatar’s first satellite, entered commercial
service on Qatar National
Day in 2013.
Through its existing and planned satellites,
Es’hailSat will broadcast
diversified and high-quality premium content with
anti-jamming capabilities
across the Mena region. Al
Jazeera and beIN SPORTS
are already using Es’hail 1
capacity for high-definition
broadcasting of their premium channels.
Ooredoo Algeria marks major milestone
oredoo Algeria yesterday
it has reached the
milestone of 3.5mn 3G
customers in 25 provinces
within the п¬Ѓrst year of the
launch of the service.
Ooredoo’s 3G network
has been ranked as the fastest network in North Africa
in 2014 by the official Network Quality Benchmark.
Ooredoo Algeria also became one of the п¬Ѓrst operators in the world to achieve
network throughput of 63MB
per second, and the п¬Ѓrst operator in Africa to deploy
400G ultra-broadband mobile access network in 2014.
Ooredoo’s achievements
were confirmed this month
when the company received
the “Best Telecom Operator
in Africa” from the African Telecom People Awards
2014; “Best African Telecom Operator” at the Telecom Review awards; and a
“Bronze Stevie Award” for
New Products and Services at the 11th International
Business Awards.
“Across our footprint,
Ooredoo’s companies
are taking the lead
in providing data
services that enrich our
customers’ lives”
Dr Nasser Marafih, Group
CEO, Ooredoo, said: “Across
our footprint, Ooredoo’s
companies are taking the lead
in providing data services that
enrich our customers’ lives.”
Joseph Ged, CEO of Ooredoo Algeria, said: “Ooredoo
rose to meet the challenges
and confirmed the tremendous potential of the Algerian market by registering
3.5mn 3G customers in less
than a year, exceeding all
In January 2015, Ooredoo’s 3G network will be
extended to 32 provinces,
covering 80% of Algeria’s
population. Ooredoo has
invested more than $2bn in
its network enhancement
programme and intends to
accelerate its ambitious investment plan to consolidate its technological leadership and make mobile data
available to all Algerians.
Ooredoo is a leading international
communications company delivering
mobile, п¬Ѓxed, broadband
Internet and corporate East
managed services across
the Middle, North Africa
and Southeast Asia.
Ooredoo has a presence in
markets such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Palestine, the Maldives and Indonesia.
The company was named
“Best Mobile Operator of
the Year” at the World Communication Awards 2013.
The company reported
revenues of $9.3bn in 2013
and had a consolidated global customer base of more
than 95mn people as of December 31, 2013.
Environmental awareness programme
The department of environmental awareness at the Ministry of Environment has concluded its awareness programme
for 2014 held at various local schools during November and December. The programme included a number of
workshop at these schools to teach students on how to maintain their local environment.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29 , 2014
Stage set for Katara awards ceremony
US envoy visits Katara
Katara, the Cultural Village, will hold an award ceremony tomorrow to announce the winners of the formative arts and photography
contests, organised on the sidelines of the 4th Katara Dhows festival, held during November 18-22. The award committee had received
23 works of art from artists hailing from Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan and other countries. In the photography contest the
committee received 1,695 photos from 306 participants. Five winners were selected in each contest and they will be announced
The US ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, toured Katara, the Cultural Village. Dr Khalid bin
Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara, briefed her on the activities and services. The envoy
expressed her admiration for Katara. She is seen receiving a memento from Dr al-Sulaiti.
QCHP set to do Upsurge in Qatar Cool production
away with paper Q
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
he Qatar Council for
Practitioners (QCHP) will do away
with paper and turn to electronic
methods in its day-to-day operations from January 2015 as
part of its efforts to promote
sustainability and to be more
The initiative will help save a
large quantity of resources and
reduce costs by nearly 96% from
the prevailing manual methods,
said Dr Jamal Rashid al-Khanji,
acting CEO of QCHP, yesterday.
The QCHP, he said, will continue to issuing the physical
medical licence cards along with
the electronic version for the
next one month, starting from
the New Year.
After the one-month period
is over the paper system will be
done away with completely and
electronic licensing would become the order of the day, said
Dr al-Khanji.
Upon expiry of a healthcare
practitioner’s licence, the word
“expired” will appear against
his or her name on the electronic
system, which the QCHP official
said would ensure credibility and
transparency in dealing with patients and the public.
Further, evaluation certificates, training and examination
letters will also be issued electronically by the QCHP. Also,
the council will issue police
clearance letters to those con-
cerned as part of an agreement
signed recently between the
QCHP and the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
Dr al-Khanji also observed
that there has been a massive
fall in the number of customers
visiting the Council’s counters
owing to the introduction of
some new electronic processes
in recent years. While there
were 11,650 counter customers
in 2012, the number has come
down to 2,600 so far this year.
Compared to the previous
year, the п¬Ѓgures came down by
58% in 2012, and the last two
years saw the numbers falling
approximately by 30% and 13%
respectively, he said.
This is because of such practices as the implementation of
the online verification, publishing the guidelines on the Supreme Council of Health (SCH)
website, and enhancement of
the registration/licensing electronic system.
Similarly there has been a
considerable fall in customer
service transactions such as
payment, replying to queries,
radiation (at health centres) and
answering incoming mails etc
between September and December this year, it was told.
While there were 1,400 payment transactions in September,
the п¬Ѓgure came down to 400 this
month. Similarly, the counter
staff had to attend to nearly 440
queries in September. The latest п¬Ѓgure showed only 150 such
queries had to be attended to this
atar District Cooling
Company (Qatar Cool)
has announced that there
has been a surge in the production of tonnes of refrigeration
(TR) over the past 12 months.
In a statement, the company
has said its three plants have had
a combined increase of 12% in
the production of district cooling energy since 2013.
Qatar Cool owns and operates two district cooling plants
in West Bay district with a combined capacity of 67,000TR.
Plant 1, which was inaugurated
in 2006, has seen a 6% increase
in production while plant 2, inaugurated in 2009, has seen a
13% rise.
The Pearl-Qatar plant, which
is the largest in the world, saw
an increase of 15% over the past
12 months.
Ahmad Shehadeh, chief п¬Ѓnancial officer and acting CEO of
Qatar Cool, said: “We anticipate
seeing an increase in demand
over the next few years as our
third plant in West Bay district
becomes operational. With district cooling being increasingly
recognised for its eco-friendliness and low cost when com-
pared to conventional air-conditioning, the demand for Qatar
Cool’s district cooling solutions
have risen significantly in Qatar
and aligns with the country’s
National Vision 2030.”
Meanwhile, the International
District Energy Association
(IDEA) has recognised Qatar
Cool for its “outstanding contribution” to the reduction of
regional CO2 emissions - about
125,000 tonnes of CO2 - through
the deployment of highly efficient district cooling services in
the Gulf region, the statement
The area of planted trees required to absorb such an amount
of CO2 is 2.7sqkm - the equivalent of around 400 football
Qatar Cool is preparing to
open its third plant in West Bay
district to meet the growing demand for district cooling. It will
be capable of providing nearly
40,000TR of cooling to commercial and residential towers in
the district.
Qatar Cool is already experiencing a rapidly growing waiting
list for its services, once the plant
becomes operational in 2016, the
Registration for falcon festival ends
egistration for the 6th Qatar International Festival of Falcons and
Hunting 2015 concluded yesterday
evening at Katara, the Cultural Village
Until yesterday afternoon the number
of applicants amounted to more than 600.
Besides, all the birds that would take part at
the festival contests have undergone medical check-up.
Most participating falconers expressed
their high expectation for this new version
of the festival scheduled from January 1-31
at Sabkhat Marmy, Mesaieed (the Sealine
For instance, Bakhit Salim, a Qatari falconer aged 71 years old and considered the
oldest among the contestants, said that he
is happy to take part in the festival and he
has been practising the sport for 60 years
without a stop. He considered the festival
as a good opportunity for the younger generations to acquire more experience in the
Participants waiting for registration at Katara.
MEC panel’s approval mandatory
for hike in price of goods, services
Thirty different types of products and services, including
food and non-food goods and services, require a committee’s
approval for price increase, local Arabic daily Al Watan has
The committee for fixing prices was formed in June 2011 and
holds regular meetings to follow up on local market conditions
and study complaints by consumers in this regard and requests
by companies and service providers to increase prices.
As stated on the website of the Ministry of Economy and
Commerce (MEC), the list of such goods and services includes
milk and dairy products, types of red meat, chicken, vegetables,
fish and seafood, cooking oil, ghee, rice, sugar, tea, coffee, eggs,
canned and frozen foods and wheat flour, according to the
Non-food goods and services include transport, vehicles and
their spare parts, children’s supplies, personal supplies, building
materials, clothes, stationery and materials, the daily further
The list also includes services such as those provided by
restaurants, cafeterias, labour recruitment offices, vehicle
agencies, electric firms, beauty salons, tailoring shops, vehicle
servicing and washing and laundries, the report adds.
Doha to host Gulf Traffic Week
The Directorate General of Traffic has started making
preparations for the Gulf Traffic Week, which will be hosted in
Doha in March, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported.
Sources have told the daily that there are plans to conduct
various events and activities at the Darb Al Saai grounds on the
occasion, including free driving tests for visitors as well as free
eye tests and driving training, the daily states.
The Gulf Traffic Week activities will also include contests
and distribution of prizes, the sources point out, adding that
awareness leaflets will be distributed for the benefit of road
users by informing them about traffic rules, according to the
The first edition of the Gulf Traffic Week was held way back in
Renovated fish yard on the Corniche
Doha Municipality is making final preparations to open a
renovated fish sales yard along the Corniche, local Arabic daily
Al Sharq has reported.
It has already equipped the place with shades that vendors
can use while selling fresh catch from the sea. There are also
wooden stands that provide fishermen with ample space to
display their catch.
statement further notes.
Qatar Cool has won multiple
international awards, including
the Best District Cooling System
in the World award 2014 from
IDEA. It was also recognised by
Kahramaa’s Tarsheed, a national
campaign to improve water and
energy efficiency, for its energy
conservation efforts in industrial buildings in Qatar. Most recently, Qatar Cool was awarded
the Best District Cooling Utility
Provider of the Year and Marketing Initiative of the Year award at
the Climate Control Awards in
Man builds house on
wrong plot, files lawsuit
against civic authorities
The Court of First Instance (Administrative
Circuit) is considering a case in which a
national has built a house on a plot of land
belonging to another Qatari due to an error
by a survey technician, local Arabic daily
Arrayah has reported.
The person who constructed the house filed
a lawsuit against the municipal authorities
demanding compensation for the error as
well as a construction completion certificate
and permission for electricity and water
connection, the daily adds.
The plaintiff said the land delivered to him
was adjacent to his actual plot and that
he did not have the financial means to
replace the new house with another. He
also argued that the house in which he
was currently staying with his family was
in a poor state and requested the court
to order the municipal authorities to give
him a construction completion certificate
so that he could get electricity and water
connection - even on a temporary basis until the lawsuit is decided, according to
the report.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
QIC’s nine Qatari employees
complete professional course
atar Insurance Company (QIC) has conferred
certificates to nine Qatari employees, who completed
the first course of Qatar Finance and Business Academy’s
(QFBA’s) professional training
The QFBA’s training programme was specifically designed for QIC’s Qatari employees across finance, legal, and
retail departments.
Ali al-Fadala, senior group
president and CEO, QIC, said:
“This initiative is aligned with
QIC’s statement of values to
enhance and develop soft skills
of its employees. We organised
this course to strengthen and
enhance communication, negotiation, selling, and customer
service skills for our Qatari
Al-Fadala said the course also
empowers Qatari employees by
providing them with “unparalleled and long-term” career development opportunities across
the organisation.
“The course helped the attendees to be competent and
better equipped to face the highly-dynamic Qatari insurance
market. Not only that, but this
initiative also supports our drive
towards Qatarisation and exemplifies the management’s efforts
in transforming QIC to be the
choicest workplace for skilled
and competent Qataris,” added
al-Fadala, who awarded the certificates in the presence of QFBA
The п¬Ѓrst course, which ran
from November 9 to December
21, was a combination of lectures,
discussions, and workshop sessions aimed at delivering pragmatic and innovative solutions
with a special focus on insurance.
It also aims to impart knowledge and increase the participants’ cognisance of insurance
according to the relevance
and demand of their respective job profiles. The training
also helped employees enhance
their customer service delivery
Weekly assessments, which
were held in between, helped to
monitor, evaluate, and assess the
progress of the attendees, who
responded well to the various
modules of the course.
QIC employees who completed the first course in finance, legal, and retail departments.
Indian community pledges support for Environment Day programmes
HE Ahmad al-Hemaidi, centre, with Indian community members.
memorandum of understanding (MoU) between
Qatar and India on environmental co-operation will be
signed soon, the Minister of Environment HE Ahmad Amer Mohamed al-Humaidi said yesterday.
Speaking to a delegation of Indian community leaders in Qatar,
the minister said that the MoU
will be ratified in the coming days.
The Indian community leaders
pledged their support for the environmental activities in connection
with Qatar National Environmental
Day on February 26 and the minister
assured full support for all the initiatives and asked for a report on certain school projects for implementing them in other schools in Qatar.
Indian Cultural Centre (ICC)
president Girish Kumar, vice president Seenu Pillai, general secretary Divakar Poojary and other
managing committee members
attended the meeting while Muhsen Zayed al-Khayarin, director,
public relations and communications, Sara M Abdelrahman and
Dileep Kumar V Pushpangadhan, environment liaison officers,
represented the ministry.
Indian community will conduct
a plethora of events in connection with National Environment
Day, including awareness programmes and competitions on environmental challenges and beach
clean-up drive.
ICC will also conduct several
programmes for its affiliate organisation for six weeks from the п¬Ѓrst
week of January with a grand п¬Ѓnale
target of �Ambassador Rolling Trophy’ on February 26. ICC has 96
affiliated organisations.
Another event will be Project
5S, (School Students Struggle for
Sustainability and to Save Environment), a school-based programme
on environment challenges. This
will be an inter-school competition
among Indian schools in Qatar conducted by the Qatar Chapter of the
Institution of Engineers (IIE Qatar
Chapter) on February 20, and the
grand п¬Ѓnale will be on February 26.
IIE Qatar Chapter will also engage
in Wakra beach clean-up drive in
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Affluent Qataris prefer �quality
experiences’ over luxury items
ew research conducted
among high net worth
individuals in Qatar has
revealed that nearly three quarters (72%) prefer to spend money
on quality experiences rather
than owning yet more luxury
The research, commissioned
by Heathrow Airport’s VIP
Service, revealed that a desire
for more privacy and saving
time in which to relax were the
main motivations for choosing
to spend money on experiences
rather than acquiring more possessions.
Some 91% of affluent individuals favouring experience
said privacy was a key factor, while nearly a п¬Ѓfth (19%)
said gaining time was also
Preferring experiences over
owning more possessions is a
growing trend among the affluent across the GCC and is particularly pronounced in Qatar, the
UAE and Bahrain. By contrast, in
Kuwait, only half (50%) of the affluent prefer experiences to more
The research showed that age
played a role in favouring experiences over items; over a third
of affluent people in Qatar (38%)
said their attitude had changed
over the last 10 years and quality
VIP Service is available to first class and business class travellers flying on any airline to or from Heathrow.
experiences had become more
important since they reached
key milestones such as having
children or achieving a long-
aspired senior position at work.
The research also found that
occupation played a part in determining how important ex-
perience was to an individual.
Those working in п¬Ѓnance, banking and professional services
were most likely to state a pref-
erence for private, luxury experiences, compared to those
working in healthcare who were
among the least likely to opt for
experience over possessions.
Chris Annetts, Heathrow’s
Commercial Services director,
said: “We know from working
closely with people from Qatar
just how important quality experiences are to people from this
region, especially when travelling. Our personal shoppers at
Heathrow Airport work with
Qatari passengers every day; so
we know that they have a love
of stylish, beautiful items. But
this research shows that in our
increasingly hectic lives, the
QU’s college celebrates
renewal of accreditation
College of Business and Economics
(QU-CBE) has celebrated
the renewal of its accreditation by the Association to
Advance Collegiate Schools
of Business (AACSB).
Making the announcement yesterday, CBE dean
Dr Nitham Hindi recalled
that the college was п¬Ѓrst
awarded accreditation status in December 2009,
placing it among the list
of elite business schools
around the world.
“AACSB accreditation is
the hallmark of excellence
in business education, and
has been earned by less than
5% of the world’s business
schools,” he explained.
QU is one of nine out of
450 universities in the Middle East that have achieved
this status, Dr Hindi said,
adding: “The college is
proud to be one of these
nine universities, and the
only and п¬Ѓrst-ever business
school with an AACSB-ac-
credited business degree
whose language of instruction is Arabic.”
The renewal is another
highlight in the college’s
accomplishments which
last year saw the establishment of a dedicated
Centre of Entrepreneurship, Business Incubator,
and Commercial Bank
The п¬Ѓnal AACSB decision on December 22 followed a continuous improvement review based
on 21 standards, as well
as a rigorous CBE selfstudy and onsite visits
by the AACSB team, Dr
Hindi said.
He also noted that
since its initial accreditation in 2009, and
without compromising
quality, the college made
tremendous strides in
the number of enrolled
students, faculty, and
academic programmes.
“Student enrolment
jumped from about 1,300
in 2010 to close to 4,700
students in 2014, with
more than 75% Qataris,
and the number of faculty increased from 36
to 102 during the same
period”, he said, adding
that the college also established the Master’s in
Accounting in 2011.
In line with the requirements of its accredited status, the college continued its efforts
of re-evaluation of its
programmes and its academic and research goals.
Activities included the
launch of its Strategic
Plan 2013-2016, and the
expansion of its MBA
programme with two
new concentrations in
business analytics, and
Planned new graduate
programmes include MA
chance to enjoy private, exclusive experiences that help us
save time is important.”
Heathrow Airport’s VIP Service is available to first class and
business class travellers flying on any airline to or from
The service includes a personal lounge where both checkin and security are taken care of
and a luxury limousine that delivers the passenger directly to
the steps of the departing flight.
For those arriving at Heathrow,
the service includes collection
from the aircraft and transportation directly to the exclusive
suite where luggage is delivered.
Al Khaliji
at QU
Dr Nitham Hindi: “AACSB accreditation is the hallmark
of excellence in business education.”
programmes in п¬Ѓnance,
marketing and innovation, and business entrepreneurship to meet the
new and emerging trends
in the business environment in Qatar.
are two research centres
- one in Islamic Finance,
the other in Business Excellence - that will support the planned graduate programmes as well
as enhance existing ones.
Other strategic areas
of mention included ongoing improvement of
administrative efficiency,
building a community
service culture, launching an Arabic Curriculum
Plan, establishing specialised learning zones
and emphasising entrepreneurship in the curriculum.
The college also established accreditation and
assessment offices, and
appointed an associate
dean for graduate studies
and research, and an associate dean for business
relations and engagement, Dr Hindi said.
Commenting on the
renewal of accreditation, QU president Prof
Sheikha Abdulla al-Mi-
snad said: “Congratulations to the college on
this significant achievement. The renewal of accreditation is particularly
significant this year as
it attests not only to the
quality of the educational programmes offered
by CBE but also to the
college’s commitment to
ensuring that students’
proficiency in both Arabic and English heightens
their readiness for the
internationalised business and п¬Ѓnance sector
in Qatar. I applaud the
efforts of the dean, faculty, staff and students
in contributing to this
Dr Hindi added: “We
at the college are proud of
this achievement which
is a stamp of recognition
of the quality of our programmes and our teaching and learning environment. We will continue
to assess and re-evaluate
our plans with the aim
to providing our students and faculty with
optimum opportunities
to achieve international
standards of excellence
and so advance the College’s profile in Qatar, the
region, and beyond.”
l Khalij Commercial Bank
(Al Khaliji)’s head of Private Banking Arfat Qayyum has addressed students of
Qatar University (QU)’s College
of Business and Economics during a discussion that focused on
private banking and its role in
Qatar’s banking sector.
This initiative, for the second
time this year, comes as part of Al
Khaliji’s corporate social responsibility programme and in line
with the bank’s efforts to support
the human development pillar
of Qatar National Vision 2030,
according to a statement.
Having representatives from
Al Khaliji at QU delivers practical and hands-on expertise to
the class-room environment, the
statement adds.
While addressing the students,
Qayyum explained the products
and solutions of private banking, onshore and offshore wealth
management, factors influencing
private banking clients as well as
the factors influencing Qatar’s
private banking market. The students also discussed a short case
study related to the market.
The session was concluded by
presenting Al Khaliji’s approach
to private banking, an area that
the bank is actively pursuing in
view of opportunities in wealth
management and structured п¬Ѓnance.
Since 2007, Al Khaliji has been
building its premium and private banking business in a highly
competitive market and has
made its footprint on the industry, the statement further notes.
Al Khaliji was recently honoured as the Best Private Bank
in Qatar by the 2014 Global Private Banking Awards organised
by �The Banker’ magazine in
conjunction with �Professional
Wealth Management’ magazine.
Symposium on molecular cancer research
research was the
focus of the recent 2014 Qatar University
Life Sciences Symposium
(QULSS), an annual forum
organised by the College of
Arts and Sciences (CAS).
Researchers, experts, and
scientists from Qatar and
countries such as The Netherlands, the US, France, Italy,
Spain, Bahrain and the UAE
attended the symposium.
The two-day forum’s
agenda was divided into
four sessions covering
epigenetics and cancer;
alternative medicines for cancer
prevention and treatment;
cancer drug discovery:
molecular approaches; and
environment and cancer.
It also featured an exhibition of nine posters of
undergraduate, graduate,
postgraduate, and post-
Dr Eiman Mustafawi
addressing the forum.
doctorate students on topics including breast cancer
cell line, hydrocarbon degrading bacterial strains for
bioremediation of petroleum pollution, and fungal
population and aflatoxin
Keynote speaker at the
forum, director of the Cancer Genomics Centre of
The Netherlands Genomics
Initiative and the Centre for
Biomedical Genetics, and
chairperson of the division of biomedical genetics
of the University Medical
Centre Utrecht Prof Johannes Bos gave a presentation
entitled: “Targeting the Ras
pathway for personalised
cancer treatment.”
He observed that Ras
genes mutations play a role
in 50% of all tumours, especially in colon, lung and
pancreatic cancer.
In her remarks, CAS dean
Dr Eiman Mustafawi said:
“This year we are focusing on the growing global
issue of cancer, a disease
that affects people across
the world and accounts for
around 10% of all deaths
in Qatar. Qatar’s National
Cancer Research Strategy
emphasises the importance
of developing a programme
of translated cancer research, and the importance
of prioritising and co-ordinating cancer research
activities in Qatar.
“By hosting this interna-
tional symposium, the College of Arts and Sciences
is supporting this national
strategy by bringing in
speakers of the highest calibre from around the world
to disseminate research and
create new connections and
Chair of the QULSS-2014
organising committee Dr
Samir Jaoua described the
symposium as a unique opportunity to address the
molecular cancer research
and exchange ideas that enhance cancer treatments.
“This event shows QU’s
commitment in offering high
quality research to serve the
community in line with Qatar’s growth and national vision to become a knowledgebased economy.”
DBES head Dr Fatima alNaemi noted that cancer research is one of the pillars of
Qatar National Vision 2030.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Techno Blue
opens 10th
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
echno Blue, a leading
distributor of electronic
products, opened its 10th
Samsung showroom in Doha
yesterday in line with its mission
to widen customer reach and expand its footprint in Qatar.
The latest showroom reflects
the company’s vision to provide
premium products and services to consumers along “easily accessible” locations in Qatar,
Techno Blue chairman Nabil Abu
Issa said.
Located near the White Palace Intersection along Al Rayyan
Road and Sheikh Suhaim bin
Hamad Street, the showroom
was designed to meet Samsung’s
global standards, which allows
customers to understand the
technology behind the products
before making any purchases, he
Issa said plans have been laid
for opening Techno Blue’s next
premium outlet, including relevant agreements with important
soon-to-open malls that would
host more stores.
He said the Al Sadd showroom
features the latest television sets,
premium appliances, cameras,
mobile phones, and tablets, as
well as electronics accessories.
It also showcases Beats headphones, La Germania and Russell
Hobbs domestic appliances, and
Remington personal care products.
Ashraf AR Abu Issa, chairman
of Abu Issa Holding, which owns
Techno Blue, said saturating the
market with satellite stores is
one of the ways the company addresses proximity and traffic issues.
“With heavy vehicular movement as among the main issues
raised by customers, we want to
spare them from the hassle of being stuck in traffic just to get to
our stores,” Issa told Gulf Times
on the sidelines of the event.
He also noted that the new
showroom sits on prime real estate, the site of future big-ticket
projects, which includes the construction of a 7-star hotel and
other developments.
“This site will soon become
a very important area, which
explains the road widening and
other ongoing expansion works.
If we would wait for two or
three years, we might miss out
on many opportunities because
this space will be more expen-
sive in the future,” he said.
“Samsung is very much involved in this showroom; they
have supplied all the furniture
and they want to make sure that
it is up to global standards and
most importantly because they
love the location.”
Asked why the company has
chosen to distribute Samsung,
Issa explained the South Korean
electronics company is a leader
in research and development
(R&D) technologies.
He also stressed that Samsung’s efforts in improving its
R&D side reflects Techno Blue’s
vision of keeping ahead of the
“As local partner, we should
also be aligned with Samsung’s
efforts to be ahead of the market.
Theirs is a worldwide evolution
in electronics and we want to
show more willingness to work
with a brand like this,” Issa said.
At the same time, Issa lauded
government efforts to engage
more with the private sector to
diversify the economy.
“Performing better in the market is a byproduct of increased
government support. They share
our vision and support the direction that the private sector is taking,” he said.
Abu Issa Holding chairman Ashraf AR Abu Issa (right) and Samsung Gulf Electronics (SGE) Qatar president Ricky Yoon jointly cut a ribbon during
the opening of Techno Blue’s 10th showroom in Al Sadd. Looking on are (from left) SGE Egypt president Ismail Yoon and Techno Blue chairman
Nabil Abu Issa.
An interior view of the new Samsung showroom.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Protests as
leader held
in Bahrain
Witnesses say police use
teargas and birdshot to
disperse crowds protesting
against Sheikh Ali Salman’s
olice in Bahrain arrested
the head of the banned
Shia opposition movement
Al Wefaq yesterday after he had
been called in for questioning, the
group said.
After Sheikh Ali Salman’s group
announced his arrest, clashes
broke out between security forces
and hundreds of Al Wefaq supporters gathered at his house in
the Shia village of Bilad al-Qadim
near Manama, witnesses said.
Police used teargas and birdshot to disperse the crowds protesting against Salman’s arrest,
the witnesses said. There was no
immediate news of casualties.
Salman had been summoned
to the criminal investigation department yesterday morning and
questioned about “violating certain aspects of the law”, an interior ministry statement said earlier.
It provided no further details.
Al Wefaq’s statement said Salman was arrested after a lengthy
interrogation at the ministry by
His lawyer, Abdullah al-Shamlan, tweeted that Salman had
been accused of “inciting hatred
against the regime and calling for
its overthrow by force”.
He said he had not been allowed
to attend his client’s questioning.
Shamlan said the Al Wefaq
chief was also accused of “insulting the judiciary and the executive branch”, of “sectarian incitement”, of “spreading false news
likely to cause panic and undermine security” and “participation in events detrimental to the
Al Wefaq demanded the immediate release of its leader, calling
his detention “a dangerous adventure that will complicate the
political situation in Bahrain”.
It said he had been detained for
more than 10 hours “for the sake
of investigation for false accusations against him”.
The statement denounced the
security forces for erecting barricades outside several Shia villages, mainly on roads leading to
the Al Wefaq headquarters in a
Manama suburb.
Salman, 49, secured a new
four-year term as Al Wefaq chief
at its general congress on Friday.
The same day thousands of Sh-
ias protested along a road linking
two of their villages near Manama
to call for the dismissal of parliament and the government.
In July, the justice ministry
sued Al Wefaq, demanding that
it rectify its “illegal status following the annulment of four general
assemblies for lack of a quorum
and the non-commitment to the
public and transparency requirements for holding them”.
The Manama administrative
court slapped Al Wefaq with the
ban on October 28 and gave it
three months to hold an assembly
to elect its leadership.
The ruling came after Al Wefaq
announced it was boycotting a parliamentary election in November.
Al Wefaq, which withdrew its
lawmakers from parliament in
protest, condemned the vote as a
It has called for an elected
prime minister who is independent from the ruling royal family.
In 2011 the authorities quelled
a month-long pro-democracy
protest led by the opposition, but
protests continue in Shia villages
outside the capital.
At least 89 people are estimated
to have been killed in clashes with
security forces, and hundreds
have been arrested and put on
trial since the uprising.
Palestinian children wait on a bus at Erez crossing in Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip yesterday, before being prevented by
Hamas from entering Israeli territory.
Hamas bars war orphans
from making trip to Israel
amas yesterday prevented dozens of children orphaned during
its 50-day war with Israel from
entering Israeli territory in a
pre-arranged trip, organisers
and officials said.
The week-long visit was
planned for 37 children whose
parents were killed by Israel in
the Gaza Strip in July and August this year. It was organised
by an Israeli kibbutz group and
local Arab-Israeli officials.
Kibbutz Movement spokes-
man Yoel Marshak said the trip
was supposed to allow the Palestinian children, aged between
12 and 15, “to circulate and learn
about Israeli children their age”.
The group had been due to
visit several Israeli kibbutzim
close to the Gaza Strip and travel to Ramallah in the occupied
West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
Marshak said.
“The Shin Bet (security service) had given the green light for
the children and their five minders to enter Israel,” he added.
But Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, said
the trip was cancelled as the
children would have “had to
visit settlements and occupied
The Islamist movement’s interior ministry said the visit was
forbidden in order to protect the
children from “the politics of
normalisation” with Israel.
turned the 37 orphans away
from the Erez border crossing
with Israel yesterday.
Nearly 2,200 Palestinians
were killed during the July-August war, mostly civilians, and
73 on the Israeli side, most of
them soldiers.
In a separate incident at the
Erez crossing, three Palestin-
ians were slightly wounded by
Israeli п¬Ѓre during clashes, the
Gaza health ministry said.
Some 300 demonstrators had
gathered near the crossing at the
behest of political movements
demanding to lift the blockade
imposed by Israel on the coastal
Palestinian enclave.
Some of the protesters began
throwing stones at Israeli forces
beyond the border, who eventually responded with live rounds,
a military spokeswoman said.
The Erez crossing was later
closed from Gaza into Israel, but
remained partially opened in
the other direction, the Israeli
and Palestinian sources said.
Palestinian ministers heading to Gaza today
Protesters, holding placards with an image of Al Wefaq secretary general Sheikh Ali Salman, shout slogans
as they gather outside Salman’s home in the village of Bilad al-Qadim yesterday.
ight Palestinian unity
government ministers are
to travel to Gaza from its
West Bank base today for only
the second time since its formation in June, a minister said.
The government was the fruit
of an April reconciliation deal
between the Islamist Hamas
movement and the Fatah organisation of Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas.
But Abbas has repeatedly
complained that Hamas has
prevented it asserting its authority in Gaza, where the Islamists have been dominant
since ousting Fatah loyalists in
The eight ministers are travelling to Gaza to “carry out their
duties”, Labour Minister Mamun Abu Shahla said.
He said security concerns
sparked by a spate of bombings
targeting the property of Fatah
officials in Gaza early last month
had prevented them from doing
so sooner.
Abu Shahla said that Prime
Minister Rami Hamdallah, who
cancelled a planned visit to
Gaza in the wake of the bombings, would not accompany the
“His duties have kept him in
Ramallah where he is continuing talks with an Arab state
which is soon going to disburse
a large sum for the reconstruction of Gaza,” the minister
He did not specify which
country was offering the aid to
rebuild the territory, which was
devastated by a 50-day summer
war between Israel and Hamas.
The eight ministers who are
travelling to Gaza from the West
Bank town of Ramallah are the
ministers of health, education,
social affairs and local government, and the heads of the water, power and environment
agencies, who have ministerial
The unity government has
only met once in Gaza—on October 9 ahead of a major donors’
conference for the territory.
Before its formation in June,
Hamas and Fatah led rival administrations in Gaza and the
West Bank.
General is unhurt in
deadly Yemen blast
Yemeni general escaped
yesterday in a bombing that killed his driver in
the southern city of Aden,
one of his bodyguards said.
“General Farej al-Atiqi,
commander of the 31st armoured battalion, was unhurt when a device that had
been hidden in his car exploded,” the man said.
But the blast in the Khor
Maksar district of the port
city killed Atiqi’s driver
and wounded two other
bodyguards, he added, and
blamed Al Qaeda for the attack.
The bomb was detonated
by remote control, the bodyguard said.
Members of the security forces in Yemen are
often the targets of attacks
blamed on Al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula, which
the United States regards as
the deadliest branch of the
global extremist network.
AQAP has exploited the
weakened central authorities in Yemen since the 2012
departure of president Ali
Abdullah Saleh following a
year-long popular uprising.
The militant group’s
presence is strongest in the
south and southeast of the
impoverished country, but
it has also launched attacks
in the capital itself.
Iran military adviser killed in Iraq
A senior Iranian military
officer has been killed while
advising Iraqi troops in their
fight against the Islamic State
group, Iran’s Revolutionary
Guards said yesterday.
“Brigadier General Hamid
Taghavi was martyred during
a mission to advise the army
and Iraqi volunteers... in the
city of Samarra,” north of
Baghdad, said a statement
from the elite Iranian military
His funeral will be held today
in Tehran, it added.
Iran has sent military
advisers to Iraq to help
train and equip army troops
and allied militias in their
counter-offensive against
IS, which seized large areas
of the country in a June
It has also armed Kurdish
forces in northern Iraq.
Iran is not participating in a
US-led coalition conducting
air strikes against IS positions
in Iraq and Syria.
Iranian media have reported
the deaths of several military
personnel in both Iraq and
Syria this year.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
IS executed
nearly 2,000
in 6 months,
says monitor
Friends and relatives of the pro-democracy activists react yesterday in Cairo after the court ruling.
23 Egypt activists’ jail
terms cut to two years
An appeals court reduces
the jail terms of young
activists convicted of
violating a law banning
protests without a permit
n Egyptian appeals
court yesterday reduced
the jail sentences for 23
pro-democracy activists found
guilty of taking part in an unlicensed protest from three years
to two, their lawyers said.
The defendants were accused of holding an illegal protest on June 21 calling for the
release of detainees and the
annulment of a law that bans
all but police-sanctioned demonstrations.
They were also accused of
vandalism during the rally near
the presidential palace in Cairo
and sentenced in October to
three years behind bars.
The appeals court cut their
sentences to two years in jail
yesterday, said defence lawyer
Ragia Omran.
The activists each have to
pay a п¬Ѓne of 10,000 Egyptian
pounds ($1,400) when released
and will be placed under police
supervision for two years, another defence lawyer, Khalid Ali,
“If their fathers were generals
they would have been acquitted,” said Ali, in reference to the
recent acquittals of police officers accused of violence.
“This verdict is harsh and
unfair. The court relied on the
prosecution’s investigation and
has not taken into account the
lack of evidence against the ac-
Policeman shot dead in Alexandria
Gunmen killed a policeman
and wounded three others in
a drive-by attack on a patrol in
Egypt’s second city Alexandria
yesterday, a security official
told AFP.
“Armed men aboard a minibus
opened fire on them and then
made off,” the official said.
Scores of policemen and
soldiers have been killed in
bombings and shootings since
the Egyptian military deposed
Islamist president Mohamed
Mursi in July last year.
Most of the attacks have been
in the Sinai Peninsula, the
deadliest of them claimed
by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a
militant group that has pledged
allegiance to the Islamic State
Libya п¬Ѓghting destroys
two days’ oil production
п¬Ѓre caused by п¬Ѓghting at one of
Libya’s main export terminals has
destroyed more than two days of
the country’s oil production, officials
said yesterday, as clashes escalated between factions battling for control of the
Opec member nation.
A missile hit an oil storage tank last
week at the port of Al Sidra during fighting between forces allied to Libya’s two
competing governments and the resulting blaze has destroyed 800,000 barrels
of crude, the National Oil Corporation
In an apparent response to the attack
on Al Sidra, forces loyal to Libya’s recognised government—now based in the
east after being forced to flee Tripoli in
the summer—staged air strikes on targets in the western city of Misrata yesterday.
The raids were the п¬Ѓrst such attacks
on a city allied to the militia group that
seized Tripoli, and whose forces have
been trying to take the eastern oil ports
from the internationally recognised
government, officials and residents said.
Libya has been engulfed in п¬Ѓghting
between the two sides, each with its own
government and parliament and each
anxious to secure a share of Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The internationally recognised Prime
Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been
forced to run a rump state in the east
since the Libya Dawn group took control
of Tripoli in August, setting up a rival
government and parliament.
An NOC spokesman said three
oil storage tanks at Al Sidra were
still on fire yesterday, while
firefighters had managed to
extinguish the blaze at three
other tanks
Al Sidra and the adjacent Ras Lanuf
terminal have been closed since a force
allied to Libya Dawn moved east from
the capital two weeks ago in an attempt
to seize the facilities.
An NOC spokesman said three oil
storage tanks at Al Sidra were still on п¬Ѓre
yesterday, while firefighters had managed to extinguish the blaze at three
other tanks.
Libya’s total oil production stands at
385,000 barrels per day, the NOC said.
NOC added that natural gas exports
from its Mellitah joint venture with Ital-
ian energy giant Eni have fallen to 60%
of the western port’s capacity.
NOC says п¬Ѓghting and the shutdown
of gas п¬Ѓelds linked to Al Sidra have
forced it to use some of Mellitah’s output
for domestic consumption.
Mohamed El Hejazi, spokesman
for armed forces loyal to Prime Minister Thinni, said his air force had
attacked Misrata’s port, an air force
academy near the airport and Libya’s
biggest steel plant, which is located
in the city.
Ismail Shukri, spokesman for forces
allied to Libya Dawn, confirmed that
air strikes had taken place but said they
caused no damage.
“The airport at Misrata is still working normally. A flight has just taken off,”
he said.
Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli, is
linked to Libya Dawn and home to a major sea port and free trade zone. The city
had so far escaped the п¬Ѓghting that has
threatened to break up Libya.
Since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted
in 2011, Libya has failed to attain stability. Former rebel brigades which once
fought side by side have now turned on
each other, aligning themselves with
rival political factions in a scramble for
Four die of bird flu
in Libya: minister
our people have died
of bird flu in Libya
in recent days, the
health minister of the
country’s internationally
Rida al-Awkali said a
п¬Ѓfth person suspected of
having contracted the virus is currently in hospital
in the far eastern city of
Three of the victims died
in the capital Tripoli, while
the fourth died in Tobruk,
he added, without saying
which strain of the disease
they caught.
Tobruk is across the
border from Egypt where
at least eight people have
died of bird flu this year,
according to health authorities in Cairo.
Awkali said that he
would visit Tobruk and
then travel on to Egypt
to meet experts from the
World Health Organisation
which closely monitors the
various strains of avian influenza.
The H5N1 strain of bird
flu has killed more than
400 people, mainly in
Southeast Asia, since п¬Ѓrst
appearing in 2003.
Another strain, H7N9,
has claimed more than
170 lives since emerging in
cused,” he added.
The rights activists include
Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif,
described by Amnesty International as “prisoners of conscience”.
Relatives of the defendants
were not allowed to attend yesterday’s hearing.
Amal Mahrus, the mother of
one detainee, said the verdict
was unfair.
“The revolutionaries are all
in prison, the corrupt and the
thieves are all free,” she said outside the courtroom.
Yesterday’s sentence can still
be appealed at the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest tribunal.
he Islamic State militant
group has killed 1,878 people in Syria during the past
six months, the majority of them
civilians, a British-based Syrian monitoring organisation said
Islamic State (IS) also killed
120 of its own members, most
of them foreign п¬Ѓghters trying
to return home, in the last two
months, according to the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
The militant group has taken
vast parts of Iraq and Syria and
declared a caliphate in territory
under its control in June. Since
then it has fought the Syrian and
Iraqi governments, other insurgents and Kurdish forces.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the head
of the Syrian monitoring group,
said IS killed 1,175 civilians, including eight women and four
He said 930 of the civilians
were members of the Sheitaat, a
Sunni Muslim tribe from eastern
Syria which fought IS for control
of two oilfields in August.
IS has publicised beheadings and stoning of many people
in areas it controls in Syria and
Iraq. These are for actions such as
adultery, homosexuality, stealing
and blasphemy.
The group, an offshoot of Al
Qaeda, has also released videos
of executions of captured enemy
п¬Ѓghters, activists and journalists.
It beheaded two US journalists, and one American and two
British aid workers this year in
attempts to put pressure on a
US-led international coalition,
which has been bombing its
п¬Ѓghters in Syria since September.
Abdel Rahman, who gathers information from all sides of
the Syrian conflict, said that IS
had also executed 502 soldiers
п¬Ѓghting for President Bashar
al-Assad and 81 anti-Assad insurgents.
He said that 116 foreign п¬Ѓghters who had joined IS but later
wanted to return home were executed in the Syrian provinces of
Deir al-Zor, Raqqa and Hassakeh
since November. Four other IS
п¬Ѓghters were killed on other
charges, Abdel Rahman said.
The overwhelming number of
the group’s victims have been
from the Syrian population.
Despite giving a breakdown,
the Observatory believes the
number killed by IS to be far
higher, given that many have
disappeared and remain unaccounted for.
The group often records such
killings on video and posts footage on the Internet, which experts say is meant to sow fear
among civilians and rival groups,
as well as to attract new recruits.
More than 200,000 people
have been killed in the Syrian
civil war, which started when
Assad’s forces cracked down on
peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2011.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
of US-aided
radio are
Protesters, demanding justice for Akai Gurley, march towards New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 75th Precinct from the site of his shooting death in Brooklyn.
Protest at funeral
wrong: NYPD chief
olice in Azerbaijan have
detained a dozen journalists working for USfunded Radio Free Europe/
Radio Liberty amid an ongoing crackdown on the outlet
that Washington and rights
groups decry.
The Baku offices of Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty
were sealed on Friday after
prosecutors and armed police
confiscated equipment and
computers during a raid.
The US state department
said it was “deeply disturbed”
by the action, and called on
Azerbaijan to respect its “international commitment to
protecting media freedom”.
Ramping up pressure on the
organisation’s Azerbaijan station, Radio Azadliq, police descended upon the homes of its
journalists Saturday and took
many in for interrogation.
“Police have forcibly taken
away around 12 of our journalists to undergo questioning in
the prosecutor’s office,” the
station’s director, Kenan Aliyev, told AFP from Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty’s headquarters in Prague.
“One of them has been forcibly dragged out from his
home in front of his children
wearing just his pyjamas,” he
said yesterday.
He added the heavy crimes
unit of the prosecutor’s office was
handling the case, noting even
the bureau’s cleaner had been
summoned for questioning.
Aliyev said the forcible seizure was unnecessary, and apparently aimed at intimidating his journalists.
“What’s happening is part
of the Azerbaijani authorities’
ongoing raid of the free press.”
A lawyer for the radio station has been stripped of his
right to defend the journalists,
and must now submit to questioning as a witness himself,
said Aliyev.
“Nearly all of the journalists
have been questioned without
a lawyer present.”
Citing prosecutors, Aliyev said that the clampdown
on the station was linked
to a probe into the work of
foreign-funded non-governmental organisations in the
energy-rich country.
“Radio Liberty is the last
island of freedom in Azerbaijan,” he said.
Rights groups say Azerbaijani authorities have been
clamping down on opponents
since the election of President
Ilham Aliyev to a third term
last year.
Aliyev, 53, came to power
in 2003 amid controversial
balloting following the death
of his father Heydar Aliyev, a
former KGB officer and Communist-era leader who ruled
newly independent Azerbaijan
with an iron п¬Ѓst since 1993.
Police unions may have overplayed
their hands by insulting the mayor
Ex-president Bush to
stay in hospital
New York
ew York’s police commissioner Bill
Bratton said yesterday it was “very
inappropriate” for officers outside
the funeral of slain cop Rafael Ramos to
turn their backs in protest as the mayor
“That funeral was held to honour Officer Ramos, and to bring politics, to bring
issues into that event, I think was very inappropriate, and I do not support it,” Bratton told CBS talk show Face the Nation.
“He is the mayor of New York. He was
there representing the citizens of New
York to express their remorse and their regret at that death,” he added.
“At the same time, it is reflective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our
Protests sparked by police killings of
unarmed black men have drawn race relations and policing into the national spotlight, with some accusing police of using
excessive force against blacks.
But the protests have also sparked anger
from some police officers. They say some
officials have been too sympathetic and
accuse them of inciting violence against
law enforcement officers.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio spoke
publicly about the counsel he gave to his
biracial son to take extra care when dealing
with police.
Some police representatives went as far
as connecting the statement to the recent
double murder of Ramos and his partner.
Bratton defended de Blasio.
“This is a mayor that cares very deeply
about New York City police officers, cares
Protesters, demanding justice for Akai Gurley, turn their backs towards the New York Police Department’s 75th Precinct.
very deeply about the divide in this city at
this time and is working very hard to heal
that divide,” he said. In a separate interview Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press,
Bratton said the mistrust of police officers
by minorities needed to be addressed.
“There’s no denying that among the
black community there are those concerns,” Bratton said. “It has to be part of
the dialogue,” the commissioner said,
adding that it wasn’t simply a race issue.
The debate is also about poverty, class
divides and unemployment, he said.
“We are the tip of the iceberg at the moment.”
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani
also criticised the protest at the funeral.
“Doesn’t matter if you like the mayor or
you don’t like the mayor; you have to respect the mayor’s position,” he told CBS.
However, he said de Blasio should apologise for his comments.
“He created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the protesters,” said the former mayor, who argued
that some of the demonstrators took their
rhetoric too far.
octors in Houston will
keep former US president George H W Bush
in the hospital through the
weekend since his bout with
shortness of breath, though
doctors “have begun discussing dates for his discharge”,
his office said Saturday.
Bush, 90, was taken by ambulance to Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday night
and admitted for observation
after experiencing breathing difficulties earlier that
evening, according to his
spokesman, Jim McGrath.
There has been no word
on whether the nation’s 41st
president is suffering from
any particular ailment. McGrath said on Wednesday that
Bush’s prognosis was positive
and that he was being kept
hospitalised as a precaution.
On Thursday, Bush received
a Christmas Day visit from his
wife, Barbara, as well as his
son Neil and daughter-in-law
Maria Bush and was described
as being in “great spirits”.
“President Bush’s condition has improved to the
point that doctors have begun
discussing dates for his discharge. He will remain at the
Houston Methodist Hospital
through the weekend for further observation,” McGrath
said in an updated message on
Bush, who was president
from 1989 to 1993, was admitted to the same hospital
in November 2012 for treatment of bronchitis and related
ailments. He was so ill at one
point that he was believed
to be near death, but he ultimately recovered and was allowed to go home after seven
The former Republican
president suffers from Parkinson’s disease and cannot use
his legs. But he celebrated his
90th birthday on June 12 by
skydiving near Kennebunkport, Maine, with the Army’s
Golden Knight parachute team.
His eldest son, former
president George W. Bush,
this year published a bestselling book about his father
titled 41 - A Portrait of My
The Interview now
available on iTunes
New York
pple Inc said its iTunes store is now carrying Sony Corp’s The Interview, the film
that angered North Korea and triggered a
cyberattack against the studio.
“We’re pleased to offer The Interview for
rental or purchase on the iTunes Store,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said in a statement.
The movie, steeped in gross-out humor depicting the travails of two journalists who get
enlisted to assassinate North Korea leader Kim
Jong Un, costs $14.99 to buy and $5.99 to rent on
iTunes, according to the website.
Apple was one of the later tech companies to
sign on to carrying the п¬Ѓlm via video-on-de-
mand, and waited four days after competitors
п¬Ѓrst released it on their digital video platforms
on Dec 24.
Sony Pictures released the movie online via
Google Inc’s YouTube and Google Play, Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming console and a Sony
dedicated website п¬Ѓrst made the movie available
last week after large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of
violence from hackers who opposed the п¬Ѓlm.The
movie was also shown in 331 mostly independent theaters, which helped generate more than $1
million in sales on Christmas day.
Until Sony discloses the online revenues, it will
be hard to know if the studio will come anywhere
near recouping the $44mn it cost to make the
п¬Ѓlm, plus the $30mn-$40mn that some estimate
was spent on marketing the п¬Ѓlm and its stars,
Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Moviegoers pose in a photo booth at a theatre in Richardson City, near
Dallas, Texas.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Flamboyant AirAsia boss
confronts п¬Ѓrst major crisis
Malaysia pledges
more flood aid
Kuala Lumpur
Pengkalan Chepa
pledged more funds
to help over 160,000
people hit by the country’s
worst flooding in decades, as
forecasters warned fresh rain
could hamper efforts to relieve
thousands left stranded by the
At least 24 killed
The worst flooding in Malaysia
in more than a decade has killed
10 people and forced nearly
160,000 from their homes and
more rain is expected, authorities
said yesterday. Among the casualties, five were in the worst-hit
state of Kelantan, in northeastern
peninsular Malaysia.
Over the border in southern
Thailand, 14 people have been
killed in the floods that began in
mid-December. Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Razak toured
some of the worst-hit areas this
weekend, following his return
from a vacation in Hawaii on
Prime Minister Najib Razak announced an additional
500mn ringgit ($143mn) after
touring parts of Kelantan state
Saturday, which along with
northeastern Terengganu and
Pahang regions has been worst
hit by the deluge.
“The country is in desperate need of more helicopters,”
deputy transport minister
Aziz Kaprawi said yesterday,
as rescue agencies warned that
shortages of fuel and clean
Local residents walk through floodwaters in Chempaka, near Kota Bahru , Malaysia yesterday.
water were hampering search
The worst flooding in 30
years has devastated much of
northern Malaysia, with some
8,000 people thought to have
been left stranded across the
impoverished Kelantan state,
where 17 areas have been cut
off by the rising waters.
From the air, state capital Kota Bharu appeared like
a vast, muddy lake and left
largely without power. Locals
said many people had turned
to looting because of a lack of
fresh food and water supplies.
Weather forecasters yesterday warned that much of Malaysia will see more storms in
the next three days.
“We expect another surge in
heavy rain followed by strong
winds brought by the seasonal
northeast monsoon, which
usually continues till March,”
a meteorological department
official said.
“It is going to take time for
the flood waters to subside.”
Anger has been mounting
across Malaysia at what is seen
as the government’s slow response to the crisis.
Truck drivers are complaining of diesel shortages as many
petrol stations have been submerged while at relief centres,
workers are struggling to cope
without enough clean water
and in the face of unsanitary
Prime Minister Najib has
faced a storm of criticism after being pictured playing
golf with US President Barack
Obama during the storms.
The premier yesterday defended his “golf diplomacy”,
with the Sunday Star newspaper quoting him as saying “it is
hard for me to turn... down” a
personal invitation by the US
head of state.
The government has since
stepped up its response to
the crisis, pledging the extra
500mn ringgit to help cope
with the crisis on top of 50mn
ringgit already allocated.
But victims of the flooding said that still wouldn’t
be enough.
For those stuck in electronics firms’
�forced labour’ there is no escape
alaysian mogul Tony
Fernandes, who transformed a floundering
carrier into Asia’s biggest budget
airline, faces his п¬Ѓrst major crisis after an AirAsia plane went
missing yesterday with 162 people on board.
AirAsia is credited with starting a revolution in the skies of
Southeast Asia and has seen
spectacular growth under Fernandes’ low-cost, low-overheads
model despite intense competition.
The ebullient tycoon is one
of Asia’s most visible entrepreneurs, carving out an image that
has seen him frequently compared to colourful Virgin Group
chairman Richard Branson.
Fernandes maintained an image of calm yesterday even as his
company plunged into its п¬Ѓrst
major crisis after an AirAsia passenger jet went missing in bad
weather en route from Indonesia
to Singapore.
“Thank you for all your
thoughts and prayers. We must
stay strong,” he tweeted as he
left for Surabaya, where most
of the passengers are from. “My
only thought (sic) are with the
passengers and my crew.”
This incident caps a disastrous year for Malaysian aviation which saw beleaguered rival
Malaysia Airlines suffer two air
tragedies in rapid succession.
A former record industry executive who acquired the thenfailing airline in 2001, Fernandes
is ranked 28th on the Forbes list
of Malaysia’s richest with an estimated net worth of $650mn.
The tycoon, a flamboyant
spirit in Asia’s staid business
world who favours blue jeans and
caps over power suits, has made
a habit of defying naysayers.
He took over loss-making Air-
Director of AirAsia Tony Fernandes (centre), President Director AirAsia
Indonesia Sunu Widiatmoko (right) and the head of Surabaya search
and rescue agency Hernanto at a press conference in Surabaya, East
Java yesterday.
Asia shortly after the September
11 attacks in the US sent the global aviation industry into a tailspin, and was given little chance
of succeeding.
He bought the airline, its
two aircraft, and 40mn ringgit
($13.4mn) in debt for the token
sum of one ringgit, mortgaging
his house to pour money into the
But with his motto “Now everyone can fly”, he turned it into
a growing force in the aviation
industry, with profits mounting
and its route system expanding
Fernandes, who is of IndianPortuguese descent and married
with two children, struck a deal
with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in
2011 for a majority stake in Premiership football team Queens
Park Rangers.
Endau Analytics aviation analyst Shukor Yusof said his entrepreneurial spirit would survive
yesterday’s apparent tragedy.
“This incident will not dampen Fernandes’ business spirit.
This is such an unfortunate in-
cident. AirAsia remains a strong
budget carrier. I think the people will rally behind AirAsia,” he
The airline, which now has
more than 120 A320s and is one
of the biggest customers for the
European aircraft maker Airbus,
is expecting nearly 360 new aircraft to be delivered by 2026.
AirAsia, which has some of the
lowest unit costs in the world,
has raked in business awards and
accolades over the years, while
expanding aggressively.
In 2013 it was ranked as Asia
and the world’s best low-cost
airline for the fifth time in a
row. After yesterday’s apparent disaster, AirAsia swiftly replaced its distinctive bright red
logo on its social media pages
with a grey background.
Malaysia Airlines Flight
MH370 disappeared on a regular flight from Kuala Lumpur
to Beijing in March with 239
passengers and crew, and in
July, MH17 was shot down over
troubled Ukraine killing all 298
on board.
Telok Panglima Garang
oiling 12 hours a day in a Malaysian electronics factory amid
broken promises on wages and
working conditions, Manu dreams of
returning to his poor Nepal village but
is restrained by invisible shackles.
His passport has been illegally confiscated by his employers at the Japanese-owned plant on Kuala Lumpur’s
gritty outskirts, and he is struggling to
pay off recruitment fees he owes them.
He faces additional п¬Ѓnes if he leaves.
Labour activists say such abuses are
rife in Malaysia’s electronics manufacturing sector, a vital link in a global
supply chain producing components
for major brands like Apple, HewlettPackard, Sony and Samsung.
Electronics account for one-third of
the country’s exports.
But at least one-third — possibly
many more — of Malaysia’s 350,000
electronics workers face indentured
servitude similar to “modern-day slavery,” a study released in September by
US-based fair-labour group Verite said.
“When I talk to my father on the
phone, I tell him I can’t take this anymore,” said Manu, a pseudonym to
protect against employer reprisals.
Up to 60% of Malaysia’s electronics
workers are estimated to be vulnerable
foreigners from impoverished countries, and Verite said 94% of foreign
labourers it surveyed had their passports seized.
“The problems are both more severe
and more numerous than we anticipated,” Verite CEO Dan Viederman said.
Nearly 36mn people worldwide are
trapped in forced labour, Australiabased Walk Free Foundation said in
November, an issue generating increasing global concern.
In early December, world religious
leaders from various faiths, including Pope Francis, signed a declaration
pledging efforts to end slavery and human trafficking by 2020.
Manu’s ordeal began in 2009 when
he paid an employment agent in Nepal
around $1,300 -- a large sum there -to arrange work on an assembly line for
electronic capacitors used in a range of
He feels it has been a litany of deception.
Manu takes home about $320
monthly -- a п¬Ѓgure which is one-third
less than the amount he says he was
promised -- following a range of vague
deductions and other costs not previously disclosed.
MTUC’s secretary-general Gopal Krishnan answering questions during his interview
at his office in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
He feels pressured to work overtime almost daily, even when sick
and claimed supervisors direct ailing
workers to a specific clinic that refuses
to authorise medical leave.
“When I was very sick with high fever for five days, the doctor still said I
was okay to work,” said Manu.
The promise of free board has not
materialised, and some workers live in
a single factory-arranged room with
up to 15 others, and one toilet.
Some said they had worked more
than six months without rest. But
quitting, applying for leave, or complaining can trigger illegal п¬Ѓnes.
“I want to tell (Indonesian President
Joko Widodo) to build more factories
and be successful, so that Indonesians don’t need to come and work in
Malaysia,” said an Indonesian worker
at the factory. The factory’s operators
declined AFP requests for comment.
Interviewees asked that the factory not
be identified, fearing retaliation.
Activists said a key exploitative factor is that many workers are paid and
managed by third-party agents, leaving labourers in a grey area that prevents them seeking recourse from factory owners.
Following Verite’s report, HewlettPackard said it would closely monitor
suppliers to ensure they directly hire
workers themselves and employ no
forced labour.
Labour unrest is rare in Malaysia but
recent incidents have sparked concern.
In August, Nepali workers went on
strike at a factory run by JCY HDD
Technology, a Malaysian manufacturer
for US hard-drive and data-storage
giants Western Digital and Seagate,
among others.
They claimed a worker had died after slow and inadequate treatment for
chest pains, blaming the factory, said
the Malaysian Trades Union Congress
(MTUC), a labour advocacy group.
Days later, 20 suspected strike leaders were transferred to another JCY
factory, where some claimed they were
physically abused, it added.
“It was a form of punishment (for
the strike),” said MTUC secretarygeneral Gopal Krishnam.
Anger boiled over, with hundreds rioting and authorities detaining dozens
of workers.
Fifteen were sentenced to more than
a year in jail, and a number of others
deported, a Malaysian official has said.
The company was cleared of wrongdoing. Malaysia’s economy is a magnet
for migrants from Indonesia, Myanmar
and Bangladesh.
An estimated 6mn foreign migrants,
most of them illegal, work in factories,
plantations, restaurants, and other
jobs largely shunned by more-affluent
But there are perennial reports of
worker abuse and lack of protection
from authorities.
The US State Department’s annual
human-trafficking report demoted
Malaysia in June to its lowest rung over
forced labour, leaving it open to possible economic sanctions.
Verite’s report was commissioned by
the US Labour Department.
The electronics sector “is facing the
single biggest threat to its survival,”
opposition lawmaker Sim Tze Tzin
said recently in calling for government
Authorities declined repeated AFP
requests for comment, but the trade
ministry said this month Malaysia opposes forced labour.
It said it would investigate the allegations and was liaising with US officials to “register our concern”, but
also said Verite’s report was misleading.
But activists accuse the government
of allowing grey areas in policy to ensure a cheap labour supply.
Be a part of the new
zing at
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Taiwan’s ex-VP
goes on hunger
strike seeking
parole for Chen
aiwan’s former vicepresident started a
hunger strike yesterday
as part of a growing campaign
for the release from prison of
ailing ex-leader Chen Shuibian.
Chen, now 63, who led the
opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to power in 2000 after 50 years of
Kuomintang rule, is serving a
20-year sentence for corruption.
He was convicted of money-laundering and bribery
related to his eight-year presidency and was sentenced to
life in prison in 2009, a term
reduced after appeals.
Chen was transferred to a
prison hospital in April last
year after being diagnosed
with severe depression, suspected Parkinson’s disease
and other conditions.
He attempted suicide in
June last year, trying to hang
himself with a towel in a bathroom of the prison hospital.
Since then his supporters
have stepped up their campaign for his early release.
His former deputy, Annette
Lu, 70, started her hunger
strike Sunday in a tent in central Taipei.
“Chen had served more
than six years (of his sentence)
and now he has been diagnosed with various diseases
and is growing thin. He is in a
critical condition,” Lu told reporters. “Since 2011, the justice ministry has repeatedly
denied the applications for his
medical parole, a move which
has violated the prison law despite his deteriorating health
Lu was joined by around 30
friends and politicians at her
tent outside a national museum while dozens of pro-independence activists chanted
slogans. A medical team assigned by legal authorities will
today evaluate Chen’s physical
and mental condition.
Chen and his family were accused of laundering millions of
dollars by sending political donations and secret diplomatic
funds abroad, and of taking
kickbacks on government contracts. The ex-leader insists
that the charges against him
are part of a politically motivated vendetta by the current
Kuomintang government, in
retaliation for his eight years in
power when he promoted the
idea of Taiwan declaring its independence from China.
Tokyo plans law to
speed up overseas
deployment of troops
apan plans to draw up a
law to speed the deployment of troops overseas for
peacekeeping operations and
to support allies, reports said
yesterday, in a move that could
strain relations with neighbours wary about Japan’s wartime history.
Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s government and his
Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) plan to draw bills early
next year aimed at facilitating administrative processes
Aussie foreign
dept says
no victims
in floods
evere flooding in parts of
Thailand and Malaysia has
not killed or injured any
Australians, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade (DFAT) said.
The floods, which have killed
at least п¬Ѓve people and displaced
more than 120,000, are the worst
to hit the region in decades, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“Heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in north-east
Malaysia and southern Thailand
has caused disruption and inconvenience for many thousands
of people,” a DFAT spokesperson
“Our thoughts are with the
family and friends of those who
have been killed and injured, and
those that have been displaced.
“At this time there have been
no reports of Australians being killed or injured. Any Australians in flood-affected areas
should follow instructions issued by local authorities.
Yesterday, DFAT updated
travel advice on the Smartraveller website, advising travellers to
check with their tour operators
on travel conditions and follow
the latest weather forecasts.
to deploy Japanese troops
abroad, the leading business
daily Nikkei and other media
The move would overwrite
the past practice of ad-hoc
legislation each time Japanese Self-Defence Forces
were deployed abroad, except
in UN peacekeeping operations and in emergencies in
Japan’s neighbourhood —
cases for which Japan already
has permanent laws.
The bills would govern the
dispatch of Japanese troops
overseas in logistical support
of multinational forces or key
ally the US.
Winter’s winged visitors
A group of white-naped cranes in Cheorwon-gun county, Gangwon province, South Korea yesterday. Several hundred of the birds, which breed in northern Mongolia and
China, migrate to wintering grounds in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea which has become a nearly untouched nature refuge.
HK raises bird flu alert
level as woman critical
Hong Kong
ong Kong hospitals
raised alert levels yesterday as a woman diagnosed with the deadly H7N9
avian flu virus was in a critical
The 68-year-old woman was
hospitalised on December 25 after returning from the southern
Chinese city of Shenzhen almost
two weeks earlier, although it
has not been confirmed where or
how she contracted the virus.
Ten people had previously
been diagnosed with H7N9 in
Hong Kong, including three who
All had contracted the virus
in mainland China, according to
Hong Kong’s Centre for Health
Protection (CHP).
The outbreak, which п¬Ѓrst
emerged on the mainland in February 2013, has reignited fears
that a bird flu virus could mutate
to become easily transmissible
between people, threatening to
trigger a pandemic.
In response to the new case
-- the city’s first since early
2014 -- Hong Kong announced
it was raising its response level
in hospitals to “serious” from
“alert,” with extra precautions
implemented in hospitals from
The rules include limitations
on visiting hours and compulsory surgical masks for those visiting patients.
There are three response levels with “emergency” the most
serious. The Hong Kong government reduced the level from “serious” to “alert” in June, after a
drop in cases.
Health minister Ko Wingman said late Saturday that
the woman had been with two
friends in Shenzhen, where she
had eaten “home-cooked chicken,” although she is not believed
to have had contact with live
poultry at markets.
She remained in a critical
condition in intensive care yesterday, hospital authorities said.
20,000 chickens in January after the virus was found in poultry imported from the southern
Chinese province of Guangdong.
A four-month ban on live
poultry imports from mainland China was then imposed to
guard against the disease.
Ko said the new response level
would not affect the import of
South Korea nuclear operator says
cyber attacks continue, reactors safe
Japan lifts
near N-plant
outh Korea’s nuclear
power operator said yesterday that cyber attacks
on non-critical operations at
the company’s headquarters
are continuing but the country’s nuclear power plants are
operating safely and are secure
from attack.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd has been intensifying
its cyber security, President
and CEO Cho Seok said. He
gave no details of the continued
cyber attacks or the company’s
response, citing security reasons.
“We cannot let cyber attacks
stop nuclear power operation,”
Cho told a news briefing. He
added that a closed network
used for reactor operations
was inaccessible from external
communication lines and impervious to cyber attacks.
“We will continue operating
nuclear plants safely against
any attempted foul play, including cyber attacks,” Cho
“Cyber attacks on KHNP’s
(headquarters) operations and
administration are still continuing now,” he added.
KHNP, part of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp ,
said last Monday that its com-
poultry for the time being, as
“rapid testing” had been introduced to check birds for the disease.
“We will closely monitor the
situation... then decide the appropriate measures,” he said.
Hong Kong is particularly
alert to the spread of viruses after an outbreak of Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
swept through the city in 2003,
killing 299 people and infecting
around 1,800.
There have been 469 cases
of H7N9 in mainland China since 2013, according to
Hong Kong’s CHP.
Cho Seok, head of South Korea’s state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP), holds a press conference in Seoul yesterday, over hackers’
recent cyber attacks on the nuke power station operator and a toxic gas leak that killed three workers last week.
puter systems had been hacked
but only non-critical data had
been stolen and reactor operations were not at risk.
Cho apologised for concerns
that had been raised by the cyber attack and data leaks but
said the nuclear plants themselves had not been affected.
South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors which supply one-third
of its electricity.
Three are currently offline
for routine maintenance or
awaiting a licence extension.
The operator and the government since last Wednesday
have been running emergency
teams on stand-by until the
end of the year as a precaution
in case of any attempted cyber
attacks on nuclear plants, after
a hacker demanded the shutdown of three reactors by last
Thursday and in Twitter messages threatened “destruction”
if the demand was not met.
South Korean prosecutors
are also seeking the co-operation of Chinese authorities in
an investigation into the cyber
attack, after tracing multiple
Internet addresses to a Chinese
city near North Korea.
They have not ruled out possible involvement of North Korea in the attack.
Pyongyang denied any role in
the cyber attacks, calling such
suggestions part of a “smear
campaign” by unpopular South
Korean leaders. North Korea
remains technically at war with
the South.
apan yesterday lifted an
evacuation advisory in areas
near a stricken nuclear power
plant in the north-eastern region, despite opposition.
The move affects 152 households in the “hot spot” of Minamisoma city, where relatively higher radiation levels were
found following a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear plant in March 2011.
Residents had been advised
to leave their homes in the areas
outside the no-go zone around
the plant since June 2011. The
government’s latest decision
means all the advisories were
lifted outside the no-go zone.
Leaders of the residents’
group in Minamisoma met government officials in Tokyo on
Friday, urging them to repeal
the decision. Yoichi Ozawa,
one of the leaders, said the government ignored their opinions
and that its decision was unilateral.
In October, when government officials met many residents in the city, all of them
were against the move, saying
levels of radiation are still high,
the group said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Harry Potter actor
David Ryall dead at 79
Tory council parking
fines blasted
John Galliano to launch
collection in London
Festive season �busy time
for marriage counsellors’
Spiderman surprise
boy Jayden dies
Actor David Ryall, who will be remembered for
playing Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter Deathly
Hallows film, died on Christmas Day aged 79.
Daughter Charlie Ryall said: “Please take a moment
to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career
outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not
just Harry Potter.” Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright
as Doge in 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows Part 1, an ally of Hogwarts headmaster
Professor Albus Dumbledore. Ryall, who joined the
National Theatre in 1962 on leaving London’s Royal
Academy of Dramatic Art, appeared in the 2004
Around the World in 80 Days; Truly, Madly, Deeply
in 1990 and The Elephant Man in 1980.
Residents in Tory-controlled boroughs and
councils are being clobbered with record
parking charges and fines, Labour has claimed.
The opposition said the Conservatives had failed
to tackle the rising bill despite Communities
Secretary Eric Pickles labelling the charges
a “shopping tax”. Labour said freedom of
information requests, responded to by 214 of
326 English councils, suggested the total bill
reached ВЈ1.38bn in 2013-14, up from ВЈ1.32bn the
year before. Based on the data received, Labour
said the average charge and fine bill per resident
in a Tory authority was ВЈ31.69, 41% more than the
average Labour council figure of ВЈ22.50.
British fashion designer John Galliano has caused
outrage in the Paris fashion industry with a timing
decision. Galliano joined Maison Martin Margiela
this year as creative designer and he’s planning to
present his first collection for the house on January
12 in London. That means he will be showing ahead
of the haute couture Paris Fashion Week at the end
of the same month. The organisation Chambre
Syndicale, which is responsible for organising
the fashion week in France, has decided to strike
Galliano’s show from its spring calendar, according
to media reports. Galliano was fired by his previous
employer Christian Dior in 2011 after an antiSemitic tirade uttered in a Paris bar became public.
Notions of the perfect couple, the perfect family
and the perfect Christmas “become this big
pressure cooker that just explodes” at this time
of year, Britain’s leading marriage guidance
service said. The charity Relate said it was
expecting a spike in demand for counselling
sessions because the festive season had become
a “really difficult time.” “People are thinking
about their lives, their relationships, and they
kind of want to go into the New Year fresh,”
Relate spokeswoman Priscilla Sim said. “It’s kind
of like, you have three choices: You either stay as
things are, you leave the relationship or you try
and change.”
A terminally ill boy who became an internet star
when his father dressed up as Spiderman to
surprise him on his fifth birthday has died, his
family confirmed. Jayden Wilson, from Basingstoke
in Hampshire, was given a year to live in September
2013 when he was diagnosed with cancer. A video
of a stunned Jayden being greeted by the comic
book character went viral and has been viewed
nearly 9mn times on YouTube. Jayden’s father
Mike Wilson said his son died peacefully in his
bed on Christmas Eve. Writing on the Hope For
Jayden Facebook page, he said: “ Jayden fought an
amazing battle. By unfortunately late on Christmas
Eve, Jayden died peacefully in his sleep.”
Govt �has
a crisis
in school
�Social supermarket’ opened
he government has created
a “crisis” in school places,
Labour has claimed after publishing statistics showing
more than 80% of free schools did
not п¬Ѓll every desk.
Shadow education secretary
Tristram Hunt said freedom of
information requests revealed free
schools had a fraction of the pupil
numbers they had planned for because they opened in areas where
there were already enough places.
He claimed the scheme ignored
areas where there was pressure on
Hunt said: “David Cameron has
created a crisis in school places,
diverting millions away from children in areas with a shortage of
school places in order to open pet
project free schools in areas where
there are already enough places.
“This is affecting standards in
schools, with class sizes soaring,
pupils being taught in makeshift
temporary classrooms, and children having to travel further and
further to get to school.
“Unlike David Cameron, Labour has the right priorities for
driving up school standards. We
will prioritise new school places
in areas where there are shortages, have rigorous local oversight of schools and ensure that
all teachers have or are working
towards qualified teacher status.”
Labour’s research found seven mainstream secondary free
schools were full on opening, and
only two mainstream primaries.
The opposition highlighted the
Discovery School in Newcastle,
which opened with only a third
of its planned pupil numbers, and
the Harris Academy in Tottenham,
which opened with 58 pupils when
it planned for 240.
It said the Trinity Academy in
Lambeth opened with 15 pupils
when it had planned to admit 120.
Overall, Labour said that of the
69 free schools that answered the
freedom of information request,
there were 2,564 unfilled places at
the start of this school year.
Guardian News and Media
Rosie Boycott at London’s first community shop in West Norwood for people on a low
Young people �do
not support Ukip’
he UK Independence
Party (Ukip) has failed
to win the support of
young people - with a new poll
showing п¬Ѓrst-time voters are
strongly pro-European and six
times more likely to choose the
Greens among less-established
Nigel Farage was by some
distance the least popular leader among the 502
17-22-year-olds asked about
their political opinions and
2015 intentions by Survation
for The Observer.
It found Labour enjoyed an eight-point
lead over the Tories among the age
group when it came
to May’s general
election, ahead by
26% to 18%.
With support for
the Liberal Democrats
Labour set for
a bloodbath
in Scotland
elections: poll
as low as 4% in the wake of the
party’s tuition fee U-turn, a
significant 17% intend to back a
party outside of the three main
Westminster parties.
But of those, almost seven
in 10 (69%) intend to give their
support to the Green Party with
only 16% plumping for Ukip
- the anti-Europe party unattractive to a group who believe
the UK is better off being a
member of the EU by 62% to
They would vote in a
referendum to remain a
member state by 67% to
And they are unimpressed by Farage with only 13% saying they thought
he was doing
a good job to
64% disagreeing - a negative net rating
of 51%, worse
even than Nick
Prime Minister David Cameron enjoyed a -6% score, Labour leader Ed Miliband -18%
and LibDem Deputy Prime
Minister Clegg -44%.
More than 3mn people will be
eligible to cast a vote in a Westminster election for the п¬Ѓrst
time in 2015.
The poll suggests they trust
the Conservatives to run the
economy over Labour by 28%
to 19% - though 29% have no
confidence in neither.
Only a slim majority (55%)
of Labour’s voters have faith in
Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls ability to look after
the country’s books.
They were split by 33% to
27% over whether the economy
was in a bad or a good state and almost as many (33%) said
the previous Labour administration was responsible for it as
did the Tory/Lib Dem coalition
Survation interviewed 503
17-22 years olds online from
December 18 to 22.
abour is on course for a
bloodbath in Scotland in
2015, according to a special
Guardian/ICM online poll.
The Scottish National party,
which took only 20% of the vote
in the 2010 general election, has
subsequently more than doubled
its vote to reach a commanding
43% of the prospective poll next
Scottish Labour, which secured a very strong 42% in Gordon Brown’s homeland last time
around, has since tumbled by 16
points to just 26%.
The Conservatives sink from
2010’s 17% to 13%, while the great
bulk of the 19% share that the Liberal Democrats scored last time
around is wiped out as they fall by
13 points to 6%.
On a uniform swing, these results - which are reinforced by a
recent Survation poll for the Daily
Record - would entirely redraw
the political map.
Labour’s band of 41 Scottish
MPs would be reduced to a parliamentary rump of just 10 members, underlining that the Scottish
party’s newly elected leader, Jim
Murphy, has a mountain to climb.
The SNP, meanwhile, would
storm ahead from the mere six
MPs it returned in 2010 to take a
crushing majority of 45 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies. The LibDems, who currently hold 11 seats,
would lose all but three, and the
Tories would continue to languish
with the single seat they currently
Such dramatic Labour losses
north of the border could easily
offset the gains Ed Miliband hopes
to make in England and Wales and
potentially put Downing Street
beyond his reach next year. But
a unique analysis, conducted for
the Guardian by professor John
Curtice, of Strathclyde University,
suggests that the crude assumption of a uniform swing could actually be understating the catastrophe facing the party.
By breaking ICM’s data into
four different categories of seat,
Curtice reveals Labour’s decline
is sharpest in those supposedly
heartland seats where it previously trounced the SNP by more
than 25 points.
Whereas Labour’s Scotlandwide vote drops by 16 points, it
falls by 22 points in these constituencies while the SNP surges
by 26 points.
That combination is sufficient
to wipe out majorities that were
always assumed to be impregnable, and Scottish Labour’s Westminster caucus is left shrivelling
to just three MPs.
“We are prospectively looking at the collapse of citadels that
have always been Labour since the
1920s,” said Curtice. “That will
seem incredible to some in England, but to those of us who paid
close attention to Alex Salmond’s
2011 landslide at Holyrood, it
would merely be the next chapter
in the political transformation of
a nation.”
He added: “It is becoming clear
that the independence referendum has reset all the dials. Previously rock-solid Labour seats
in Glasgow voted yes in the referendum, and this now appears
to be giving rise to a particular
surge of nationalist sentiment in
those parts of Scotland where it
was once assumed that the SNP
couldn’t reach.”
With the nationalists also advancing by 20-plus points in the
more competitive Liberal Democrat and Labour-held seats, they
are on course to capture all the
more obvious targets, securing a
total of 53 seats under this more
refined projection.
The LibDems are again reduced
to three and the Conservatives are
wiped out entirely.
Curtice cautions that the polling samples are small for some
categories of seat, but nonetheless believes there is enough evidence to conclude that the SNP
is “on the march in heartland Labour seats, and - if anything - to a
greater extent than elsewhere”.
ICM tested Scottish voters’
attitudes on a range of specific
policy questions, which only
confirmed the propitious mood
for the new SNP leader and First
Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as well
as for her predecessor, Salmond,
who is seeking to make a high
profile return from Holyrood to
Westminster in May.
Only 13% of voters worry that
the proposals of the all-party
Smith commission on devolution,
which include full Scottish control of income tax rates and bands,
go too far. Twenty-six percent
believe that Smith got the balance “about right”, whereas 30%
believe the plans do not devolve
One specific complaint of the
nationalists about the plans is that
London would retain control of
corporation tax, something which
Labour believes is necessary to
avoid a cross-border race to the
bottom in the rates paid by companies. But, by 53% to 23%, the
voters are on the SNP’s side, saying that Scotland should be free to
set its own corporation taxes.
Laws flays Osborne
spending plans
Laws and Osborne: gloves off
eorge Osborne’s postelection deficit reduction
plans are a “suicide note”
for the Tories - the chancellor’s
former Liberal Democrat deputy
David Laws said.
In the latest skirmish of the
governing coalition parties’ battle
to offer voters a distinct pitch at
the ballot box in May, the schools
minister said the scale of proposed
austerity was a “huge policy and
strategic blunder”.
Laws - who as chief secretary in
2010 was a keen enforcer of deep
spending cuts - spoke out after his
successor in the role, Danny Alexander, accused Osborne of seeking
the “wilful destruction” of public
They are the latest of a string
of senior LibDems to warn of
dire consequences for the UK if
the Conservatives are allowed
to implement proposals to go
beyond balancing the books to
running a surplus and making
tax cuts.
“It is easy to talk about balanc-
ing the books by cutting spending
and not raising people’s taxes and
of course that sounds popular,”
Laws told the Sunday Times.
“But when you look at what the
consequences are for the armed
forces, police and education you
realise it is a very extreme, rightwing strategy that may appeal to
marginal, Tory-Ukip swing voters
but will not appeal to the majority
of people who vote Conservative
in my constituency.”
He went on: “This will be seen
to be a very extreme and very
right-wing suicide note because
all those people who care about
the education service, about the
police, about the armed forces ...
will see that the plans they have
put forward are hugely damaging
and dangerous.”
It was taken as a nod to Michael
Foot’s 1983 left-wing Labour
manifesto which was ridiculed
by then shadow minister Gerald
Kaufman as “the longest suicide
note in history”.
“In order to deliver this scale of
savings you are talking about having to п¬Ѓnd cuts in the unprotected
budget of around a quarter in the
next parliament,” Laws said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Almost 7,000
properties to
be sacrificed
to rising seas
After the floods: one year
on, memories continue to
haunt residents
Guardian News and Media
lmost 7,000 homes and
buildings will be sacrificed to the rising seas
around England and Wales
over the next century, according to an unpublished Environment Agency (EA) analysis
seen by the Guardian.
Over 800 of the properties
will be lost to coastal erosion
within the next 20 years.
The properties, worth well
over ВЈ1bn, will be allowed to fall
into the sea because the cost of
protecting them would be far
greater. But there is no compensation scheme for homeowners
to enable them to move to a
safer location.
In December 2013, a huge
tidal surge flooded 1,400
homes along the east coast
and saw numerous homes
tumble into the ocean. Earlier
this month, the Environment
Secretary, Liz Truss, visited
Lowestoft on the anniversary
of the surge, which flooded the
“Last winter’s storms saw
the eastern seaboard overwhelmed,” said coastal community campaigner Chris
Blunkell, who lives on the
North Kent coast at Whitstable. “If government won’t
defend all people living on the
coast, then it must make sure
that they can move elsewhere,
and that means compensating them for their loss. It’s
wrong that the costs of climate
change should be borne by the
most vulnerable.”
Coastal erosion expert
Professor Rob Duck, at Dundee University, said: “It is a
very difficult issue, but we
can’t defend everything at all
costs. There are just not the
resources to do it and keep on
doing it. But it is not just about
money, often people have lived
in places for generations and
there is a lot of history and
The local authority in which
most homes are expected to be
lost in the next 20 years is Cornwall, with 76. Cornwall also
tops the list for homes lost in 50
years, with 132.
Looking 100 years ahead, six
local authorities are expected
to lose more than 200 homes
each: Great Yarmouth (293),
Southampton (280), Cornwall
(273), North Norfolk (237), East
Riding of Yorkshire (204) and
Scarborough (203).
Duck said the east coast from
Yorkshire down to Essex is “soft
and vulnerable” and that the
stronger storms and rising sea
level being driven by climate
change will increase their vulnerability.
A recent EA document stated: “It is widely accepted that
(climate change) will lead to an
acceleration of coastal erosion
due to more aggressive marine
The EA analysis assumes that
funding for shoreline management plans - a mix of holding
the line and managed retreat
- is maintained. Without this,
the number of properties lost
within 100 years would increase tenfold to over 74,000.
The central estimate for properties lost even with continued
coastal defence is 7,000, but the
EA analysis found there is a 5%
chance this could rise to almost
9,000 if the weather was particularly extreme.
Currently, the department
of environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) states that
“there are more than 200
homes at risk of complete
loss to coastal erosion in the
next 20 years”. But the newly
revealed EA analysis puts the
number at 295, and at 430 in
the extreme case.
“It is not feasible or affordable to protect every household
now or in the long term, especially given the likely consequences of sea level rise,” said
the EA and Defra, in a recent
response to enquiries from
Friends of the Earth.
The EA and Defra added:
“There is no statutory recourse
to compensation for property
lost or damaged due to coastal
communities affected by climate change is simply a matter
of social justice,” said Friends of
the Earth’s Guy Shrubsole. “At
the moment, the government
is dumping these costs on individual households and vulnerable communities.”
“During last year’s tidal
surge, the biggest since 1953,
some people on the east coast
were evacuated from their
homes and given a biscuit in the
church hall,” said Blunkell.
“Yet Londoners could sleep
easy protected by the Thames
Barrier. A biscuit for some and a
barrier for others is unjust, and
such injustice will grow with
rising sea levels.”
A Defra spokeswoman said:
“We are spending more than
ВЈ3.2bn over the course of this
parliament on flood management and protection from
coastal erosion - half a billion
more than in the previous parliament.”
Icy conditions
A woman walks dogs wearing jackets during icy conditions in Newtown Linford, central England, yesterday
Illegal drugs sales soar as
gangs exploit Net market
Gangs using smartphone
apps and social media to sell
erectile dysfunction drugs
and slimming pills at low risk
and high profit
Guardian News and Media
he rise of social media
and greater Internet access through smartphones are behind a massive
upsurge in illicit sales of drugs,
according to the chief enforcement official at Britain’s medicines regulator.
Criminal gangs have become
adept at using smartphone apps
and social media to sell lifestyle
drugs to a mass market of potential buyers at minimal risk and
cost, said Alastair Jeffrey, head of
enforcement at the Medicines and
Healthcare Products Regulatory
Agency (MHRA).
This year, he said the MHRA
had seized 1.2mn doses of illegally supplied erectile dysfunction drugs, 383,000 slimming
products and 331,000 doses of
sleeping pills, tranquillisers and
antidepressants - mostly origi-
nating from China and India. For
the п¬Ѓrst time, the MHRA pursued
YouTube accounts and removed
18,671 videos that directed viewers to websites offering illicit
Many gangs operate through
websites that claim to be bona п¬Ѓde
online pharmacies. They focus on
medicines that people might be
reluctant to discuss with their GP
or pharmacist, such as Viagra and
other erectile dysfunction drugs,
as well as slimming pills and hair
loss treatments.
Sales of anabolic steroids for
bodybuilders and cognitive enhancers, some of which have not
been tested in humans, are also
“This is something we are
looking at now in a serious way.
There is a phenomenal market out there,” said Jeffrey, a
former detective chief superintendent who ran the Met’s child
abuse investigation command.
“Smartphones have allowed
people greater access to the Internet, and all of a sudden this
accessibility, combined with social media, has made a significant
difference in how criminals reach
Criminals have moved into
the area of prescription drugs
and similar treatments because
the profits to be made far outweigh those to be made from
narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis. The risks are
lower, too, with jail sentences
for handling unlicensed or fake
medications a fraction of those
doled out for dealing in class A
Bernard Leroy, director of the
International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines in Paris, said gangs that sold
counterfeit drugs stood to make
€200-€500 for every single euro
In 2010, the World Customs
Organisation estimated that
the global market for counterfeit drugs was worth $200bn
(ВЈ130bn), putting it ahead of
prostitution. The combined heroin and cocaine markets are worth
About half of the drugs sold on
the internet are counterfeits, according to the World Health Organisation.
Criminal groups use a number
of different approaches to make
money from prescription drugs.
Probe launched into
London rail chaos
n investigation has been
launched after thousands of passengers’
Christmas travel plans were
plunged into chaos when engineering works overran.
Police were brought in to control re-routed crowds as trains in
and out of two of London’s busiest rail hubs - King’s Cross and
Paddington - were cancelled on
situation a “disgrace” while
Transport Secretary Patrick
McLoughlin demanded answers
from rail bosses.
Network Rail said it was
“deeply sorry” for the disruption while the Office of Rail
Regulation (ORR) promised an
investigation into the debacle.
Services at King’s Cross station were back to normal yesterday.
As pressure mounted on
Network Rail, Robin Gisby,
managing director of network
operations, apologised for the
He said: “I’m deeply sorry for
the delays, upset and upheaval
caused to passengers impacted
by our overrunning improvement work outside King’s Cross.
“We’ve had an army of 11,000
engineers out over Christmas
Day and Boxing Day at 2,000
locations nationwide. Over 90%
have been completed and handed back to-time but I realise this
is no consolation for the thousands affected.”
He said Network Rail would
pay compensation to train operators, but would not be drawn
on whether affected customers
will be in line for pay-outs.
His comments came after a
day where thousands of travellers were hit by delays and
cancellations, or crammed into
King’s Cross’ normally busy
concourse was almost deserted
as trains were scrapped or redirected to Finsbury Park.
But the north London station
was quickly overwhelmed by the
sheer number of passengers and
also temporarily closed, leaving
passengers queuing in the freezing cold for around two hours.
Police were called to deal with
the crowds, which stretched
some 300 metres along the side
of the station along Seven Sisters
Metal barriers were also
erected to avoid people getting
George Hallam, a semi-retired economics lecturer from
Lewisham, was among the
crowds waiting to get on a train
at Finsbury Park.
He said: “Any civil engineering contractor would have realised probably weeks ago that
they were going to overrun and
they must have realised they
would be п¬Ѓned.
“They could have solved that
by putting on more resources,
more people, more machines
- but if the cost of that is more
than the п¬Ѓne then they would
choose to pay the fine.”
Fake pills can be made from
scratch from various powders,
including harmful ones, and
sold on. They can be laced with
a small amount of the drug’s active ingredient to ensure they
pass chemical tests. Other gangs
obtain discarded out-of-date
drugs and repackage them with
fresh dates, or buy cheap generic
drugs and resell them after replacing the labels and packaging to make them look like topbrand medicines.
In Britain, the MHRA works
with internet domain registries, credit card companies,
Interpol and sites such as
YouTube, Amazon and eBay
to identify rogue traders, take
down their websites and close
their accounts.
Raids organised with the
MHRA have found drugs ready for
shipment stored in appalling conditions. “In many cases they are
not stored properly at all. We have
had cases where there have been
mouse and rat droppings around
the blister packs. These people are
not interested in sanitary conditions, they are in it for the money,”
said Jeffrey.
Besides the obvious risks of
taking medicines made from rat
poison and other substitutes used
by gangs, there are also dangers in
taking medicines without proper
“There are definitely health
risks because a patient might
have a condition that means they
should not take a certain drug. The
problem we have is identifying
people who are victims because
they don’t say �I bought sildenafil
on the Internet and suddenly got
heart palpitations’,” Jeffrey added.
Leroy said the European commission had compounded the
problem by allowing e-pharmacies to operate online. This had
led mafia groups, mainly from
former Soviet Union states, to
set up websites that duped visitors into thinking they were registered European e-pharmacies,
he said.
“We are in a situation where
internet usage is growing so fast
that we are at risk of losing control,” Leroy told the Guardian.
“This will become a major issue for public health in coming
years. People are more and more
focused on obtaining these medicines and people are going to the
internet for them.”
Govt allows online
access to wills archive
Patrick McLoughlin: demands answers from rail bosses.
ome 41mn British wills
dating back to 1858, including those of Winston Churchill and Princess
Diana, were made available in
an online database.
The government’s full archive of wills from England and
Wales, stretching back more
than 150 years, has been put on
uk website.
It includes the wills of World
War II prime minister Churchill; novelist Charles Dickens;
Diana, princess of Wales; children’s writer A A Milne; codebreaker Alan Turing; writer
George Orwell and author Beatrix Potter. The digital copies of
the wills cost ВЈ10 but basic details for some of them are available online.
“This fascinating project
provides us with insights into
the ordinary and extraordinary
people who helped shape this
country, and the rest of the
world,” said Courts Minister
Shailesh Vara.
“It is a fantastic resource not
only for family historians but also
for anyone with an interest in social history or famous figures.”
Previously the archives had
only been publicly available to
search in person.
In Churchill’s will he gave
ВЈ304,044 - worth more than
ВЈ5.1mn nowadays - to his family.
When Dickens died in 1870
he left a will written in cursive
script that laid out highly specific directions for his funeral.
“I emphatically direct that
I be buried in an inexpensive,
unostentatious, and strictly
private manner,” he wrote, adding that mourners must not
wear scarves, cloaks, long hatbands, “or other such revolting
Orwell, who died in 1950, insisted that his archive of papers
be preserved, while economist
John Maynard Keynes, who
died four years earlier, wanted
most of his papers destroyed.
Milne, who wrote “Winnie
The Pooh”, gave shares of his
future royalties and copyright
to his favourite London club
and Westminster School when
he died in 1956.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Rescuers race to save people
from burning ferry off Greece
There is hope for the
passengers with several
rescue ships on the spot
escuers battled in the dark
yesterday to save more
than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry
as coastguards reported the п¬Ѓrst
death in the high-seas drama.
As darkness fell, teams from
Greece, Italy and Albania who
had coped with gale-force winds
and billowing smoke earlier in
the day, pressed on with efforts
to retrieve more passengers.
The Italian coastguard confirmed the first death in the
disaster, saying it had plucked
a man’s body from the water
around the ferry.
The unnamed victim, a Greek
national, was being transferred
to the Italian port of Brindisi on a
patrol boat.
Greek officials said a Greek
woman who had been in the same
part of the stricken �Norman Atlantic’ as the deceased man had
been rescued.
The blaze on the ferry was said
to have started on the car deck
when the vessel was some 44
nautical miles northwest of the
Greek island of Corfu.
In an update at 1630 GMT, the
Italian navy said 317 of the 478
passengers and crew were still
The car ferry Norman Atlantic burns in waters off Greece. Right: A person rescued from the Norman Atlantic vessel arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi.
aboard the ferry.
Desperate passengers pleaded
by mobile phone live on TV to be
saved from the vessel which was
travelling from the Greek port of
Patras to Ancona in Italy.
“I cannot breathe, we are all
going to burn like rats—God save
us,” cried one of the ship’s cooks
in a call to his wife, she told journalists.
As a flotilla of rescue vessels
arrived from Greece, Italy and
Albania, Greek army Super Puma
helicopters winched passengers
two by two from the bridge to the
Italian ship, Europa, which is coordinating the rescue.
A Greek journalist aboard the
ship said rescuers were also trying to attach rope ladders to the
ferry so passengers could climb
down onto tug boats.
A Greek army helicopter made
repeated attempts to save two
passengers who fell from an escape chute and were at the mercy
of six-metre waves. Their fate
was unknown.
Greek Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said an attempt
would be made to tow the vessel.
Italian navy spokesman Riccardo Rizzotto said the weather is
“so bad we need an extraordinary
level of support, which is effectively what is being put in place”.
He also said a 58-year-old man
had been airlifted to Italy suffering from hypothermia.
Freezing passengers huddled
on the top deck and bridge of the
ship told of their terror in calls to
Greek television stations.
“We are on the top deck, we
are soaked, we are cold and we
are coughing from the smoke.
There are women, children and
old people,” passenger Giorgos
Styliaras told Mega TV.
Another told the station that
“our shoes were melting” from
the heat of the п¬Ѓre when they
were mustered in the ship’s reception area.
Haulage company boss Giannis Mylonas, who was in contact
with three of his drivers on the
vessel, said there were between
20 and 25 tanker trucks п¬Ѓlled
with olive oil on board.
The captain of the ferry was
named as 62-year-old Italian Argilio Giacomazzi.
“I can’t wait to give him a hug,”
his daughter Guilia told ANSA
news agency.
Vessels close to the ANEK
Lines ferry rushed to give assistance after picking up its distress
signal at 0200 GMT, the Greek
coast guard said.
The Greek maritime ministry
said 268 of the passengers were
Greek, with the crew made up of
22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the
rest of the passengers were made
up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss,
nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals.
Among those rescued and
evacuated to hospitals near Lecce on Italy’s southwestern heel
were a two-year-old Swiss boy,
his four-year-old sister and their
seven months pregnant mother,
according to Italian media.
Two children aged 11 and 12
were reported to have been evacuated while their respective parents were still on the boat.
The Norman Atlantic left the
Greek port of Patras at 1530 GMT
on Saturday and made a stop at
Igoumenitsa, before heading to
the Italian port of Ancona when
the п¬Ѓre took hold.
The car deck of the Italianflagged ferry was believed to have
been holding 195 vehicles when
the п¬Ѓre broke out.
According to rescued passengers, the intense heat rapidly affected the rest of the ship.
However, passengers stranded on
the ship later seemed to be more
worried by the storm, telling
Greek TV the flames were subsiding.
The ship’s Greek operators
ANEK Lines did not say how the
п¬Ѓre started.
Editor of Russian
magazine faces jail
Traffic bound for French Alpine ski resorts moves slowly along the highway in the direction of MoГ»tiers from Albertville.
Heavy snow brings chaos
to Europe, skiers rejoice
eavy snowfall brought
both chaos and joy across
15,000 people stranded overnight yesterday in the French
Alps while skiers revelled in the
fresh powder blanketing slopes.
A winter storm left thousands
of Britons without power, sent
trucks sliding across icy highways in Germany and caused
airport delays and traffic disruptions across the region.
In the Savoie region in the
French Alps roads were iced over
or buried under snow, creating
havoc for holidaymakers rushing
to and from ski resorts for their
end-of-year vacations.
Savoie authorities said nearly
15,000 people had been housed
in emergency shelters, while others were forced to spend the night
in their cars.
“It took us 10 hours to go
130km,” said Kevin Clavel who
was stuck in his car with four
On the flip side the abundant
snowfall has created idyllic conditions for skiers and resorts who
have anxiously been watching
bare slopes as temperatures remained unseasonably warm in
recent weeks.
But the heavy snows also
brought the threat of avalanches,
and one person died yesterday
after being buried in a torrent of
snow in the southern French Alps.
Icy conditions also caused
the death of a 27-year-old man
whose car slid into a ravine in the
Belledonne mountain range.
France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged drivers
“to exercise the utmost caution”
and asked those who could delay
their trips to do so.
The storm also hit Britain
where more than 100,000 homes
were left without power.
In Germany heavy snowfall
was also welcomed in the Alps,
and turned the picturesque Black
Forest region into a winter wonderland where children delighted in building the season’s first
snowmen.Police, however, reported dozens of weather-related
accidents on Autobahn highways
and country roads, with trucks
sliding across icy lanes and creating a 20km traffic jam near the
western city of Stuttgart.
The country’s biggest airport,
Frankfurt, cancelled 20 of yesterday’s more than 900 scheduled
flights and reported widespread
delays as runways had to be
cleared of snow and jets de-iced.
As temperatures plunged in
Italy, more than half the country was covered in snow, to the
delight of ski resort operators
from the Alps down to the lesserknown mountains of Abruzzo,
east of Rome.
The cold snap is expected to
dig in across Europe into the New
Year, with temperatures in Britain likely to drop as low as - 10
degrees Celsius next week.
Despite the chaos, the arrival
of fresh white powder was a boon
to European ski resorts which
had been unable to fully open
during the key holiday season.
“What joy! It is a gift from the
sky,” said Gilbert Blanc-Tailleur
of the Courchevel ski resort in
the French Alps.
“Snow is coming. Winter is
finally here!” said the La Bresse
ski station in the eastern Vosges
mountains on its website.
In Austria ski resort operators
also breathed a sigh of relief as
much of the country was blanketed in white. The Oesterreich
daily declared the ski season
saved on Saturday, headlining
with: “Hurray! The snow is here.”
Meanwhile in France, winds
also wreaked havoc, with storms
packing gusts of up to 160kph
forcing the temporary closure on
Saturday of France’s port of Calais on the English Channel and
the suspension of car ferries to
and from Britain.
A few kilometres outside the
industrial northern city, thousands of illegal migrants living
in makeshift camps struggled
through a second night of freezing temperatures.
“The conditions outside are
hellish,” said David Lacour, the
director of Solid’R, which is running a care centre to help migrants survive the cold.
“The storm blew away a lot of
tents—some now have nothing.”
he editor-in-chief of Russia’s top opposition magazine, The New Times, has been
accused of disobeying traffic police and
faces up to 15 days in jail amid ever-shrinking
tolerance for dissent.Writing on Twitter, Yevgenia Albats said a court would hear her case tomorrow.
“Over what?” she said in a tweet late Saturday.
“Over nothing.”
Reached by AFP yesterday, Albats declined to
She said earlier that traffic police had stopped
her car on a busy Moscow street on Saturday and
requested to see her identification.
She said she had complied but had nevertheless been accused of disobeying police.
“I have not violated a single law,” Albats said
on the popular Echo of Moscow radio where she
also hosts a show.
She indicated her case may be politically motivated but declined to elaborate.
Albats would be represented in court by her
lawyer, she said.A spokesman for Moscow police
confirmed to AFP that Albats had committed an
administrative offence but declined to provide
further details.
Disobeying police or other representatives of
the Russian authorities is punishable by a п¬Ѓne or
up to 15 days in jail.
State-controlled television channel NTV aired
what it said was “exclusive” footage showing the
journalist’s exchange with a traffic policeman.
The channel, which has been behind a number
of smear campaigns against anti-Kremlin figures, said that Albats was returning from a “party
at a Georgian restaurant”.
NTV said she initially refused to pull over and
police were forced to give chase, adding that the
editor then bickered with officers.
With a relatively small print run, the weekly
magazine known for its searing covers and uncompromising anti-Kremlin stance, punches
above its weight.
Along with the opposition newspaper Novaya
Gazeta, Internet TV channel Dozhd and a handful of other outlets, the magazine has served as
a safety valve of sorts, giving Kremlin critics a
platform to air their views.
Tensions are mounting in Russia as international isolation is growing and the country is
sliding into a full-blown crisis under the pressure from falling oil prices and Western sanctions
over Ukraine.
The patriotic euphoria triggered by the seizure
of Crimea from Ukraine in March is ebbing as
concerns over shrinking salaries and savings take
centre stage.
Polls shows that most Russians support Putin while a minority disagrees with his policies,
claiming the country is hurtling towards political
and economic catastrophe.
The raging tensions with Ukraine and the West
has left Russian society hugely polarised, with
critics accusing the Kremlin of using national
television to whip up aggression and hatred towards dissenters.
Authorities are further tightening the screws
against key members of the beleaguered protest
movement while anti-opposition activists are
hounding them with ever-growing impunity.
In an episode broadcast on television, proKremlin activists last week distributed condoms
featuring the images of prominent Putin critics
including Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.In an eyebrow-raising statement that made
many cringe, Putin in 2011 compared the white
ribbons opposition supporters pinned to their
lapels as a symbol of protest to condoms.
Hackers �copied German
minister’s thumbprint’
embers of the Chaos Computer Club
said Saturday they had copied the
thumbprint of German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen. Jan Krissler, speaking
in Hamburg at the club’s 31st annual convention, said he planned to publish an image of the
thumbprint soon on the Internet.
Krissler said making the copy didn’t require an
object that von der Leyen’s thumb had touched.
Instead a commercially available software called
VeriFinger was used along with a photograph of
her right thumb taken at close range during a
news conference in October.
Krissler showed a partial image of the defence
minister’s thumbprint, saying he was able to
complete the missing parts of the image using
photographs taken from other angles.
The German news website Zeit Online п¬Ѓrst
reported on research Krissler and fellow hacker
Tobias Fiebig have conducted at the Technical
University of Berlin into weaknesses in biometric
security systems.
It was a repeat of something Krissler did in
2008 when he published a п¬Ѓngerprint belonging
to Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was Germany’s interior minister at the time.
Biometrics that require a user’s fingerprint or
an iris scan are being used more and more in security systems. Krissler has shown how many of
these systems can be outsmarted. One example
is a facial recognition device that is fooled by a
photograph of the person’s face. Another is a fake
п¬Ѓngerprint that Kissler says can dupe the iPhone
п¬Ѓngerprint sensor.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Tamil Nadu
Walk for unity
Education is
key to ending
child labour,
says Satyarthi
By Umaima Shafiq
Police search
for orphanage
officials over
children’s abuse
Police are on the lookout
for the trustees of a private
orphanage who abandoned 33
children fearing legal trouble in
The children from the 30-yearold old Sarojini New Life Centre
were brought in a car and left
on the WCC road. They showed
physical bruises caused by hot
iron, beatings and starvation.
Police sent them back to
their guardians in Tirunelveli,
Ramanathapuram and other
districts. The matter came to
light when neighbours informed
the police about the children’s
The district administration
has sealed the orphanage and
also inspected several others
for similar discrepancies.
Kanyakumari has 88
orphanages of which only one is
government owned, the others
are run by private trusts.
Meanwhile, ten boys including a
murder accused, escaped from a
juvenile remand home at Kellys
in Chennai. One of the boys
hit a warden with a tube light
injuring his hands and the others
escaped in the confusion. Police
have launched a manhunt.
Our children cannot stay
trapped in workplaces, says
Nobel Peace Prize winner
New Delhi
Bank issues
notice to Rajini’s
wife over loan
The Chennai branch of Export
Import Bank of India has issued
a notice to Tamil film star
Rajinikanth’s wife Latha over
non-payment of loans taken for
his previous film Kochadaiyaan.
Latha reportedly stood
guarantor for a loan issued to
Mediaone Global Entertainment,
who were co-producers of
the film. She had been asked
to pay Rs220mn in July 2014.
The bank has also taken
possession of Latha’s property
in Kanchipuram.
A Mediaone spokesman said,
“We have been negotiating with
the banks from December and
will pay before March 31, 2015.”
Kochadaiyaan produced by
Rajini’s daughter Saundarya,
was delayed for three years
and bombed at the box
office because the fans were
disappointed by an animated
portrayal of their icon.
Five killed in
Salem road crash
Five people were killed and six
injured when a Salem-bound
lorry collided with a bus and
a scooter at Sandhiyur on the
Tiruchi-Namakkal highway last
The lorry driver reportedly
jumped a median hitting the
bus and smashing its front
portion. The scooter rider
was caught between the two
vehicles and dragged for some
In another incident, a lorry
driver was killed and six others
injured when his vehicle
rammed into a government
bus on the Tiruchi-Pudukottai
Kumaresan was overtaking
another truck when a bus
coming in the opposite direction
swerved and hit a nearby wall
injuring its passengers.
Police blamed the lorry drivers
for not taking sleep breaks and
driving continuously.
Storyteller dies
aged 83
Popular Tamil dramatist and
master storyteller Koothapiran
alias Nagapattinam Vittal Iyer
Natarajan died of heart attack in
Hyderabad last week.
He was 83 and is survived by
wife and two sons.
Born at Chidambaram in
coastal Cuddalore district,
Koothapiran adopted his pen
name on his wife’s advice. He
moved to Chennai in 1947 and
trained as a theatre artiste. He
joined the All India Radio and
began conducting children’s
programmes. He soon coordinated Siruvar Solai, a
popular storytelling session
that was aired for three decades
earning him the nickname of
Vannoli Anna.
Besides this he has authored 20
children’s books and novels and
acted in about 6,500 plays. His
funeral was held in Chennai.
abolition of child labour in all
its forms. Children can’t remain
trapped in workplaces, mines,
and in bonded labour.”
Satyarthi termed the problem
of child labour in the country as
Members of the Akhila Bharatiya Ekta Manch (all India unity front) participate in a �Walk for
Bengaluru’ in the southern city yesterday.
obel laureate Kailash
Satyarthi has said child
labour in India is a “serious” problem, and felt the delay
in enacting and enforcing a ban on
all its forms is akin to “destroying childhood” as our “children
cannot remain trapped in workplaces.”
But in the same breath he
sounded optimistic that the
scourge would become history
during his lifetime and the key, he
said, was “quality education.”
“One can’t say for sure how
many children work as labourers,
but there is a general consensus
that there are about 5mn trapped
in this unlawful activity,” the
Delhi-based child rights advocate
“We can’t say with confidence
that India is on the path of
progress. So education is the key.
Quality education has a direct
link with substantial economic
growth. An educated workforce
and growth require good quality
education,” said Satyarthi, who
founded the Bachpan Bachao
Satyarthi, 60, who shared this
year’s Nobel Peace Prize with
Pakistani child rights activist
Malala Yousafzai, was happy that
the government was concerned
about the issue and was laying a
special emphasis on education.
However, “quality education
is impossible without the total
“One can’t say for sure
how many children work
as labourers, but there is
a general consensus that
there are about 5mn trapped
in this unlawful activity”
Firm in his stand on the
Child Labour (Prohibition and
Regulation) Amendment bill,
2012, which has been stuck in
parliament for over two years,
Satyarthi said: “The delay
in enacting and enforcing
such progressive laws means
destroying childhood of millions
of children.”
“I have been urging the
amendment bill. It prohibits
all forms of child labour up to
age 14 and prohibits hazardous
child labour till the age of 18,”
said Satyarthi, who is also a cofounder of the Global March
Against Child Labour that is
active in 144 countries.
Stressing on the need for
banning child labour, Satyrathi
said over 70 countries have passed
the international law to combat
the worst forms of child labour.”
“This awareness has become
part of the corporate social
responsibility as well. They can’t
ignore the issue of child labour
any more. It has emerged as a
huge issue in talk and practice.
The trend is positive,” Satyarthi
Narrating his journey of
struggle, he said: “My biggest
achievement so far is that I made
child labour an issue in India and
globally. But it was never easy
for me three decades ago when
child labour was a non-issue
and people wouldn’t take me
“I would then be reminded of
Mahatma Gandhi’s words. He
had once said, �First they ignore,
then they laugh, then they п¬Ѓght,
and then they finally win’. So I
won’t claim that I have won the
battle, the war is very big. But I
am sure that in my lifetime, I will
see the end of child labour,” said
“Generations to come will read
in history books that there was an
evil called child labour in India.
“It’s not just my optimism but
based on concrete evidence and
trends. Globally, 15 years ago, there
were some 260mn child labourers.
It has come down to 168mn now.
The trend is clear,” he said.
In Satyarthi’s opinion, the
Nobel Peace Prize is a potent
signal to all the child rights
activists across the world that the
award belongs to all of them.
On his experience sharing the
honour with the Pakistani girl,
Satyarthi said: “It was more like
family bonding as a daughter and
a father. She said I was like her
aboo (father).”
With several interests in
common to discuss, they agreed,
in principle, “to push forward our
common agenda, especially the
education of girls.”
RSS open to re-conversion of willing Goan Catholics
n the midst of a nationwide
row over the issue of re-conversion, a senior Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh official
said the organisation was willing to facilitate the �Ghar Wapsi’
(re-conversion) of those willing Goan Catholics, whose ancestors were forcibly converted
during the colonial Portuguese
Speaking to a select group of
journalists in Goa, on the sidelines of a training camp for RSS
volunteers, Sharad Kunte, who
heads the rightwing organisa-
tion’s intellectual wing for the
western region, also said that
the RSS was not actively seeking
to re-convert people, but only
serving as a facilitator or guide
to those who wanted to come
back into their original religious
“If they want to come back,
we are ready to welcome them...”
Kunte said, when asked about
the RSS position on Hindus who
had been converted by the Portuguese centuries earlier.
He spoke about Goa’s colonial
past and the conversions to Catholicism, which had taken place
under the erstwhile Portuguese
“It’s like this, the Portuguese
had forcibly converted thousands of Hindus. They (those
converted) are not around now,
but I think their later generations are...” Kunte said, adding
that even if present day Catholics in Goa did not wish to reconvert the RSS had no issues
with it.
Goa was a Portuguese colony
for more than 450 years until it
was liberated in 1961 by the Indian army.
In the earlier part of the Portuguese regime, a large number
of Goans were converted, often
by force by Catholic missionaries, according to documented
historical texts.
Goa has a population of 1.5mn
Will resolve all differences,
says Kerala’s Congress chief
fter hitting a low for an
adamant stand over Kerala’s tweaked liquor policy,
state Congress president V M
Sudheeran yesterday said differences of opinion in the party was
nothing new and that he would
go forward by resolving all issues.
“The Congress party has always discussed and debated
issues that affect people and
differences of opinion on such
issues are bound to come up and
it is quite natural,” he said.
“On some issues, the solution
comes easy while on others it
takes time. What has happened
in the party here (over liquor
policy) recently is nothing personal,” Sudheeran said at the
anniversary celebrations of the
Congress at the party’s state
headquarters here.
He said he would go forward
by resolving all issues within the
The amended liquor policy
came out last week. According
to it, 418 bars that have not been
opened in this п¬Ѓscal year can be
converted into wine and beer
parlours and it was decided to
revoke the decision to make all
Sundays non-liquor or dry days.
When the policy was unveiled
in August, there was a huge
public outcry as the people felt
that it was not practical because
under the new policy more than
700 bars would not be allowed to
serve liquor and Sundays will be
dry days.
Sudheeran was miffed when
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy decided to tweak the liquor
policy to make it more practical.
Chandy got the full support of
the state’s ruling United Democratic Front (UDF).
Sudheeran, opposing the
changes, even went to the extent
of saying that the state government was forced to tweak the
liquor policy because of “external influences.”
He became a loner within the
Congress’s state unit after he
found that 31 of the 39 Congress
legislators assembled at the residence of Chandy last week and
pledged full support to the chief
minister’s approach.
Home Minister Ramesh
Chennithala speaking at the
Congress anniversary event said
Chandy and Sudheeran should
stand united and it would give
a major boost to the fortunes of
the party in the state.
“It is the responsibility of each
and every leader in the party to see
that unity is maintained because
that is what the people expect.
Every leader should work on the
positives that they have in them
and that will benefit the party
only,” Chennithala said.
out of which more than 26% are
Kunte said that the RSS’s
�Ghar Wapsi’ programme had
nothing to do with converting
people by force.
“For those who want to come
back (to their original religion),
we are only showing them the
way,” Kunte added.
Kunte was speaking to reporters after conducting a session on Saturday at the training
camp which was attended by
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant
Parsekar and Goa legislative assembly Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, among others
A nationwide controversy
erupted recently after a few
rightwing Hindu organisations,
some of which owe allegiance to
the RSS, organised re-conversion programmes in some north
Indian states to re-convert nonHindus to Hinduism.
The opposition, which had
stalled the proceedings of the
Rajya Sabha for several days over
the issue, has accused the Hindu
organisations of offering money
as well as government perks to
those who reconverted or were
potential re-converts.
Meanwhile, Congress leader
defended people’s right to practice their religion and propagate
it, and said many organisations
have been engaged in sectarian-
ism since the country’s partition
despite the fact that Hinduism
has nothing to do with religion.
Speaking on the occasion of
130th Foundation Day of the
Congress party, he favoured
people’s right to practice personal religious faith and propagate his religion.
“Equality of all religions is our
constitutional heritage. Every
person has the fundamental
right to practice his religion and
propagate about it. But the way
efforts are being made to divide
the country in the name of Hindutva and religion, it can only
keep alive politics not the country,” the Congress general secretary said.
Foundation day
Congress activists take a pledge during a programme organised to mark the foundation day of
the party in Patna yesterday.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Two held with 35 stolen
mobile phones in Delhi
Man who beheaded
son arrested in Bengal
Human skulls found in
Manipur school complex
Minister accused in
scam taken back to jail
Over 60,000 visit
Kochi Biennale
Two people were arrested with 35 stolen high-end
mobile phones which they were planning to sell
in Nepal, New Delhi police said yesterday. Vipin
Kumar, 42, and Sudhir, 38, were arrested from
Anand Vihar in east Delhi, on Saturday. Thirty-five
mobile phones were recovered from them, the
police said. Vipin Kumar told police he would
buy stolen mobile phones from petty criminals
in Jama Masjid area. He would then contact
Sudhir, a shopkeeper in Uttrakhand, to sell
such phones in Nepal and Uttarakhand. “Before
selling the mobile phones, they used to get IMEI
(International Mobile Station Equipment Identity)
number changed, so that these phones may not
be traced during surveillance,” the police said.
A man who was on the run after beheading his
infant son in West Bengal’s West Midnapore
district has been arrested, police said yesterday.
The incident took place in Mathurahati village
near Kharagpur earlier this month when
Biswajit Rana decapitated his one-and-a-halfyear-old son and threw the body in a ditch. “We
arrested Rana yesterday night and presented
him before a court today which remanded him
in police custody,” an official said. According to
a complaint filed by the mother, Rana suspected
the child to be illegitimate and following an
argument, he snatched the baby from her and
went away. The child’s decapitated body was
found in the ditch on December 20.
Eight human skulls were recovered from
an abandoned Manipur school complex
where paramilitary forces had set up a base
camp during the 1980s, a police official said
yesterday. “The skulls were extracted from the
Tombisana High School complex (in Imphal
West district) during digging work on Friday
and Saturday,” the official said. He said police
had launched an investigation. The skulls have
been sent for forensic test. Police suspect
the skulls were believed to be of people aged
between 17 and 40 years. NGOs and civic
groups have urged Chief Minister O Ibobi
Singh to order a judicial inquiry. They have
demanded DNA tests of the skulls.
West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan
Mitra, who was arrested in connection with the
multi-billion rupee Saradha scam, was yesterday
brought to the Alipore Jail after being discharged
from a hospital. “He was brought to the Alipore
correctional home in the morning,” a jail official
said. Mitra who was arrested on December 12 for
his alleged complicity in the scam, was admitted
to a government-run hospital after he complained
of chest pain on December 19. A medical board
on Saturday decided to discharge after his
examinations failed to reveal anything significant.
“He was admitted with problems related to
cardiology, and tests so far have not revealed
anything significant,” the hospital said.
More than 60,000 people have so far visited
the second edition of the Kochi Biennale, which
features 100 artworks by 94 artists from India
and abroad, after its opening on December
13, organisers said yesterday. Kerala Culture
Minister K C Joseph who visited the event
yesterday said he was wonderstruck by the
pieces of art on display and remarked that the
government and society were obliged to keep it
going. “Remarkable installations have been put
up with the limited facilities here. I congratulate
them for it. What the government can do, we
will do. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has
already suggested that it was important to
support the biennale,” said Joseph.
IIT Delhi
quits amid
New Delhi
he head of Indian Institute
of Technology Delhi said
he had resigned amid controversies over matters involving
cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and
Bharatiya Janata Party leader
Subramanian Swamy.
The government, however,
sought to dispel reports that it had
pressed R K Shevgaonkar to quit.
“I have resigned,” Shevgaonkar told reporters on the
sidelines of an event here but refused to give details.
A media report alleging government pressure as a reason
for Shevgaonkar’s resignation
evoked a clarification from the
human resource development
ministry which termed the news
item as “factually inaccurate and
Tendulkar and Swamy also
slammed the report.
The report had said that Tendulkar was reportedly keen on
setting up a cricket academy at
the IIT ground but the cricketer
denied it.
“I am appalled to read the stories that suggest some land has
been asked from IIT-D for academy in my name,” Tendulkar said in
a tweet. “I have not even planned
any academy neither do I want
any piece of land for any purpose.”
“Wish that basic facts are
checked from me before publishing such п¬Ѓction using my
name,” he added.
Swamy said he was serving a
legal notice on a newspaper after
it reported that one of the reasons for the IIT director’s exit
was pressure allegedly mounted
by the central government on the
institute to pay him back dues.
The news item said that
Swamy, whose services as a professor were terminated in 1992
and later reinstated following a
court order, had been demanding his salary dues during the
period with 18% interest which
both the IIT and the ministry
had initially rejected.
It also said that Shevgoankar
was against any out-of-court
settlement on the issue.
Swamy said in a tweet that
his lawyer friend was “preparing a Contempt of Court petition against IIT Delhi Director
and one BoG (Board of Governor)
He alleged Shevgoankar had
resigned as he was involved in
a controversy over a decision to
set up an institution on the lines
of IIT Delhi in Mauritius.
In its clarification, the ministry dismissed the report that the
IIT director had resigned owing
to government pressure.
It said that Shevgaonkar’s resignation had been forwarded on
December 26 by the IIT Delhi
chairman to the “appointing
authority” for a decision. It also
said that the decision will have to
go to President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval as he is a Visitor to IIT Delhi.
The ministry also said there
was no request from Tendulkar
“for ground of IIT for running
a cricket academy nor any instruction from the ministry to
provide the same” and the ministry has not forwarded Swamy’s
request to IIT Delhi “nor given
any direction to make payment
of arrears.” It said the views of
the department of personnel and
training and п¬Ѓnance ministry
have been sought in the matter.
“The news item reported is
factually inaccurate and incorrect and unnecessarily drags the
ministry into issues where no
direction has been issued by the
ministry,” it added.
Swamy told Times Now news
channel that the director does
not come in the picture and the
matter of arrears was between
the government and the board of
governors of IIT.
“The government would give
the money and the board of governors would give me the cheque.
That was it. In the meantime,
the director was found to have,
in 2011, gone quietly to Mauritius and set up an institute in the
name of an affiliate of IIT Delhi,”
he claimed.
An explanation was asked
from the director, and, “in order
to hide the facts that would certainly lead to termination of his
directorship, he did it to make a
political capital out of it,” he alleged.
Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed congratulates Raghuwar Das after he was sworn in as the chief minister in Ranchi yesterday.
Jharkhand gets its
п¬Ѓrst non-tribal CM
Das was elected the BJP
legislature party leader on
Friday after the party won
37 seats in the 81-member
eteran Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) leader Raghubar Das yesterday
took oath as Jharkhand’s 10th
chief minister, the п¬Ѓrst nontribal to occupy the post.
The 60-year-old Das, who
will head a two-party coalition,
received thunderous applause
from thousands of supporters
as he arrived to be sworn in.
But the crowds thronging the
Morabadi football ground here
were disappointed as Prime
Minister Narendra Modi did
not attend the function as he
could not leave Delhi due to bad
A thick fog in northern India
also prevented Bharatiya Janata
Party president Amit Shah, party veteran L K Advani and Home
Minister Rajnath Singh from
making it to Ranchi.
Governor Syed Ahmad administered the oath of office
and secrecy to Das and four
ministers - three from the BJP
and one from the All Jharkhand
Students Union (AJSU).
The BJP ministers are Neelkanth Singh Munda, C P Singh
and Louis Marandi, who defeated outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren in Dumka.
The AJSU representative in the
ministry is Chandra Prakash
This is п¬Ѓrst time a non-tribal
will lead the government in
Jharkhand. All previous nine
chief ministers were tribals.
A п¬Ѓve-time legislator, Das
was elected the BJP legislature party leader on Friday
after the BJP won 37 seats in
the 81-member assembly. The
AJSU got п¬Ѓve seats to give the
two parties a majority in the assembly.
Das joined the BJP in 1980,
the year it was formed following
the break-up of the Janata Party. He has been the Jharkhand
BJP president twice.
Das, a law graduate, was
elected a legislator for the first
time in 1995 from Jamshedpur
east to the then Bihar state assembly. When Jharkhand was
carved out from Bihar in 2000,
he became labour minister in
Babulal Marandi’s government.
He was a minister in Arjun
Munda’s government too. After
the 2009 assembly polls, Das
became the deputy chief minister in the Shibu Soren government.
Jharkhand has become the
eighth state to come under the
BJP rule. The party is a part
of ruling alliance in two other
states - Punjab and Andhra
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters: “It is the happiest moment
that a BJP government has been
formed in Jharkhand. Now the
state will develop. Chhattisgarh
and Jharkhand were created together (in 2000).”
The BJP is also determined
to snatch the Hindi heartland
states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as well as hilly Uttarakhand
and Himachal Pradesh.
According to BJP sources, the
party is hopeful that its victory
in all these states will translate
into a higher number of MPs in
the Rajya Sabha in two years.
The government is now in a
minority in the upper house of
According to data available
with the BJP, the party now
has 1,058 legislators across
the country. This is more than
the 949 of the Congress, In-
Curfew relaxed in
violence-hit areas
Cold wave continues
unabated, UP toll 125
New Delhi
t was a bone-chilling day
across northern India yesterday, as Jammu and Kashmir’s
Leh recorded its coldest temperature at minus 17 degrees Celsius
and Delhi saw the season’s coldest day at 2.6 degrees.
While seven people died in Bihar, the toll due to the extreme
cold in Uttar Pradesh rose to 125,
officials said.
Dense fog in Delhi brought
down visibility below 50m and
delayed 78 trains and 73 flights.
Road traffic was also hit due to
the dense fog.
“It was literally impossible to
drive my bike in the fog. I was
unable to see beyond 10m. It’s
a bone-chilling day,” said Ram
Kishore. Yesterday’s maximum
temperature was 18.3 degrees
Leh town yesterday recorded
its coldest overnight temperature at minus 17 degrees. Srinagar saw a low of minus 4.7 degrees, Jammu 3.8 degrees.
Kargil was the second coldest
place in Jammu and Kashmir at
minus 15.2 degrees, followed by
Pahalgam (minus 7.6) and Gulmarg (minus 3.7).
Water bodies in and around
Srinagar were frozen, and people
could be seen burning п¬Ѓres around
water taps to de-freeze them.
Highly slippery conditions
prevented motorists from taking
to the roads.
Rajasthan continued to shiver yesterday, as temperatures
dipped up to п¬Ѓve degrees below
normal and dense fog affected
both train and flight services.
Churu recorded a minimum
temperature of 1.4 degrees,
while Mount Abu, the only hill
station in the desert state, shivered at 2.4 degrees.
Dense fog and cold wave conditions continued unabated in
Uttar Pradesh. At least 25 people
died since Saturday, taking the
toll due to the extreme cold to 125.
Regional Met director J P Gupta
said the state would be enveloped
in dense fog on New Year’s Eve
and foggy conditions would prevail for the next few days.
Agra was the coldest place in
the state with 2.8 degrees Celsius followed by Shahjahanpur
(3.2), Kanpur (3.6) and Lucknow
dia’s oldest political party.
This is the п¬Ѓrst time the BJP
has more legislators than the
Modi could not attend the
swearing-in ceremony due to a
thick fog in Delhi which reduced
visibility to less than 50m.
Many in the crowd expressed
unhappiness at not seeing Modi
on the dais.
“We voted the BJP to power in
the name of the prime minister.
Bad weather turned out to be
the villain,” moaned Naveen, a
resident of Ranchi who attended the ceremony.
Among the VIPs who attended the event were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra
Fadnavis, central ministers M
Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, and former chief ministers
Arjun Munda of the BJP, Hemant Soren of the Jharkhand
Mukti Morcha, and Babulal
Marandi of the Jharkhand Viks
A cycle rickshaw passes by trucks on a cold and foggy morning in New Delhi yesterday.
Curfew was relaxed for a few
hours yesterday in Assam’s
violence-hit districts where the
death toll in ethnic violence
now officially stands at 75,
officials said. Tension persisted
in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur
districts in particular which
accounted for most killings,
Home Secretary Pratik Hajela
said. Hajela added that the army
and other security forces had
intensified their operations
against Bodo militants who
massacred unarmed adivasis on
December 23 in three districts,
inviting retaliatory violence. The
security crackdown is taking
place along the border with
Bhutan. “We hope the situation
will improve soon,” Hajela said.
The army has deployed 66
columns for the operation. The
central government has sent
50 companies of paramilitary
forces to Assam. Another official
said the district administrations
yesterday relaxed the curfew
imposed after the violence for
a few hours but said the night
curfew will continue.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
In Cuba’s sea of classic cars, the truly valuable are elusive
uis Abel Bango spent seven years searching for his
dream car, a 1957 Chevy
Bel Air. He п¬Ѓnally found it on
Cuba’s far western tip, buying it
off the original owner for $7,000.
“I went everywhere looking
for what I wanted. Out in the
provinces, central Cuba. I had to
store shuts
over milk
agnosis and new paint job.
Around 60,000 vintage cars
have run on Cuba’s roads since
before the 1959 revolution led by
Fidel Castro, but п¬Ѓnding a collectible of value is a challenge.
For every hidden gem, there
are thousands of beaten up clunkers, largely stripped of their
original parts.
Cuba and the United States
agreed last week to restore diplomatic ties that were cut off af-
go to the end of the island to п¬Ѓnd
this one,” Bango said.
The black-and-white fourdoor had been kept intact by the
original owner, complete with all
the chrome bits such as the rocket-like hood ornaments that give
a ’57 Chevy its style and make it a
collectors’ favourite.
“The whole package was
nearly complete,” said Bango,
although he still needed take
the car apart for a complete di-
ter the revolution, when the tail
п¬Ѓn was still a recent innovation
in automotive design.
Under the rapprochement, US
President Barack Obama plans to
remove economic sanctions imposed against the communistrun island. In a land of chronic
shortages made worse by those
sanctions, Cubans kept the prerevolution cars on the road, using makeshift parts and considerable ingenuity.
Charity run
n ice-cream store listed
in the Guinness World
Records book for its 863
different flavours has become
the latest victim of Venezuela’s
economic crisis.
“We are closed during the
season due to shortage of milk,”
the famous Coromoto ice-cream
store in the highland town of
Merida announced on its Facebook page.
Locals confirmed that the
shop, hugely popular among
tourists for its exotic and strange
flavours had been closed since
Christmas Eve. A sign on the
door asked customers’ forgiveness “for not attending you due
to the lack of milk.”
Venezuelans have been suffering acute shortages of basic
goods, from toilet-paper to spare
tyres, all year due to an economic
slowdown, the highest inflation
in the Americas, and the impact
of strict currency controls.
President Nicolas Maduro’s
socialist government says foes
in Venezuela’s opposition and
wealthy elite are exacerbating
economic problems by hoarding and price-gouging in what
he terms an “economic war”
against him.
Four rescued from
stranded boat
A woman and child participates in a 5km Santa Claus Run in La Paz, Bolivia, yesterday. The
Bolivians who participated donated a gift for poor children of the city.
Petrobras hit with
US class action suit
razil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro
SA and some of its executives were hit with a US class
action lawsuit by investors in
$98bn of the company’s securities over an alleged kickback
and bribery scheme.
Petrobras has already been
sued by several US investors
who bought American Depositary Receipts sold by the company in New York.
The latest case was п¬Ѓled on
December 24 in Manhattan’s
federal court by the Labaton
Sucharow law п¬Ѓrm on behalf of the city of Providence,
Rhode Island, which invested
in Petrobras.
The lawsuit proposes to cover $98bn of securities Petrobras sold since 2010, and any
judgment or settlement would
benefit the investors who purchased those securities.
Allegations include that the
company made material misstatements about the value of
its assets in bond offering documents.
Such an allegation does not
require proof that misstatements were made knowingly,
and allows plaintiffs to name
as defendants the Brazilian and
international banks that managed the sale of those bonds.
Unlike the previous class actions by ADR holders, the latest
lawsuit also names as defendants Petrobras executives, including chief executive Maria
das Gracas Foster.
In Rio de Janeiro, a Petrobras
spokeswoman said the company had not received a citation
from the reported class action
suit п¬Ѓled on Christmas Eve.
On the Sao Paulo stock
market, Petrobras’ shares fell
4.5% last week, pummelled
by Moody’s placing its credit
rating on review for a possible
downgrade and news of the latest US class action suit.
So far 39 people have been
indicted on charges that in-
clude corruption, money laundering and racketeering in the
Petrobras graft scheme that
allegedly funnelled money to
political parties, including
Rousseff ’s Worker’s Party and
its allies in Congress.
The case has shaken the
government of President Dilma Rousseff, who served as
chair of the Petrobras board
for seven years until 2010. She
has denied any knowledge of
the scheme.
On Monday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said there
was no evidence that Petrobras
senior management was involved in the graft scandal.
According to the Brazilian
Federal Police the group under
investigation moved more than
$3.9bn (ВЈ2.5bn) in what police
describe as “atypical” financial
Brazilian courts have blocked
around $270m in assets belonging to various suspects.
Federal agents revealed contracts worth $22bn are regarded
as suspicious.
tive, would turn off any purist.
Convertible roofs are often replaced with sheets of plastic and
many original motors have been
replaced with diesel engines because they are cheaper to run.
“What you see are a lot of cars
that are just kind of rolling hulks
held together with duct tape and
chicken wire,” said Lance Lambert, host of US television show
Vintage Vehicles.
Alejando Torres, a Cuban me-
chanic, bought a ’57 Chevy with
only 74,000 miles on it from its
original owner 10 years ago.
In what would be shocking in
the US, he put in a Mitsubishi
diesel engine because the old gas
guzzlers are just too expensive to
Torres said he has turned
down $50,000 for it, although
in the US the listed value on
that car in excellent condition is
Mystery over
53 inmates to
be released by
Cuba continues
Argentina and Chile joined forces
to rescue four people who were
trapped after their Polish-flagged
vessel got stuck on King George
island on the edge of Antarctica,
Chile’s navy said. The yacht “had
run aground with four people
aboard on the north side of King
George island without anyone’s
life being endangered or any
fuel spill,” a navy statement said.
Polish officials at their Arctowski
base in Antarctica reported the
problem to Chilean officials, who
then informed their Argentine
Still, American collectors who
envision a wave of classic cars
coming onto the market will
need to temper their expectations. Even if the US completely
lifted its trade embargo, a 2010
Cuban law bans cars being taken
off the island.
More importantly, most of
the vintage cars, the backbone
of urban transit, have suffered
heavily on pothole-п¬Ѓlled roads
and the repairs, although inven-
uba’s most prominent
dissidents say they have
been kept in the dark by
US officials over a list of 53 political prisoners who will be released from jail as part of a deal
to end decades of hostility between the US and Cuba.
For years, dissident leaders have told the US which opponents of Cuba’s communist
government were being jailed or
harassed, but they say they were
not consulted when the list of
prisoners to be freed was drawn
up or even told who is on it.
The lack of information has
stoked concern and frustration
among the dissidents, who worry that the secret list is flawed
and that genuine political prisoners who should be on it will be
left to languish.
“We’re concerned because
we don’t agree with the silence,
because we have a right to know
who they are. Who are they?”
said Berta Soler, leader of the
Ladies in White dissident group,
which marches in Havana on
Sundays to demand the release
of prisoners.
“There are not just 53 political
prisoners, there are more, and
we are concerned that the US list
might have common criminals
on it,” she said in Havana.
US officials have so far been
tight-lipped about how the list
of 53 was assembled and who
was consulted inside Cuba. It
also is not clear if some prisoners were kept off the list because
the Cuban government refused
to release them.
A US official said Washington had asked Cuba to release a
Shootout probe
specific group of people jailed on
charges related to their political
activities, but declined to answer
further questions.
Neither the US nor the Cuban
governments have said when
the prisoners would be released.
Cuba declined to comment on
why more details have not been
publicly released.
The dissident Cuban Commission on Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, which
keeps track of activists in the
different opposition groups,
counted in June a total of 114 political prisoners, although it includes 12 who are on parole after
being released from jail plus several others who have since been
The group’s veteran leader
Elizondo Sanchez, says at least
80 peaceful dissidents are on
that list, including some whose
only crime was to demonstrate
or scribble anti-government
Others include soldiers who
deserted with their weapons,
former government officials,
people who tried to hijack an
airplane to the US and eight militants jailed for entering Cuba
from the US and trying to start
US President Barack Obama
announced a new era in USCuba relations on December 17,
saying they would restore diplomatic ties broken more than п¬Ѓve
decades ago and he would begin
to unravel economic sanctions
that were aimed at forcing the
communists from power.
US officials said that Cuba
agreed as part of the deal to release 53 people that Washington
considered political prisoners.
Some dissidents say that, so far,
none of the 53 have been named
Third priest killed in
troubled Mexico state
Tribune News Service
Mexico City
A vigilante (white cap) embraces family members before
leaving to voluntarily co-operate in a shootout investigation
in La Ruana, Michoacan. Authorities said a shootout on
December 16 between rival vigilantes in Mexico’s western
Michoacan state left 11 dead, in the clearest sign yet of
renewed unrest in an area President Enrique Pena Nieto’s
government said had been pacified.
and no one has been freed since
the deal was announced.
Reuters spoke with п¬Ѓve of the
most influential dissident leaders in Cuba - Sanchez and Soler
as well as Jose Daniel Ferrer, Martha Beatriz Roque and Guillermo
Farinas. All said US officials have
been in contact with them but
have given them no information
about the 53 prisoners.
Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic
Union of Cuba (UNPACU) dissident group, said he has been in
close contact with deeply concerned relatives and that some
inmates have called from prison
to see if they are likely to be released.
The wife of one prisoner called
Ferrer late on Friday.
“She asked me if I thought her
husband would be among those
to be freed, and I told her the
same thing I told other families:
We don’t have any certainty and
no clues to reach a conclusion
about who they are,” Ferrer said.
UNPACU describes 42 of its
activists as political prisoners.
Cuba says it has no political prisoners but, announcing
the deal with the US, President
Raul Castro said his government
would be releasing some inmates
who were of interest to the USs.
It has said nothing else about
them since.
Within Cuba, one who has
generated popular interest is
hip-hop artist Angel Yunier Remon, alias “The Critic,” who had
actively demonstrated against
the government.
He has been in prison since
his arrest in March 2013 after a
confrontation with police and
demonstrators. Prosecutors are seeking
an eight-year prison sentence,
Sanchez’s commission says.
or the third time this year
in the violent Mexican
state of Guerrero, a Roman Catholic priest has been
abducted and killed, prompting
a vehement reproach of government authorities by the church
The body of Father Gregorio
Lopez Gorostieta was discovered
on Christmas Day, a bullet to the
head; he had been seized by gunmen yesterday, church and judicial officials said.
“Enough already of so many
murders, so many hatreds, so
much crime.... Enough of injustice and corruption,” the bishop
overseeing Lopez Gorostieta’s
dioceses, Maximo Martinez,
said in a statement. “We are all
brothers and not slaves.”
The priests worked in Guerrero
state, where 43 college students
were abducted and presumed
killed. The remains of only one of
the students has been identified.
Federal police and military
launched a security operation
in the region after the students
disappeared, but kidnappings,
highway robberies and other
violence remain common, the
church said.
The body of another priest,
Father John Ssenyondo, originally of Uganda, was found in
September in a clandestine
grave, one of dozens unearthed
in Guerrero when authorities
began searching for the missing
students. He had been intercepted by gunmen in late April
and vanished. There were reports that the motive for his killing might have been his refusal
to perform a wedding for drug
traffickers, something that often
gets rigorous clerics into trouble.
Also in September, the body of
Father Ascension Acuna Osorio
was found battered and floating
in a river in Guerrero.
The Conference of Mexican
Bishops issued a demand that
the authorities п¬Ѓnd those behind
the killings “and the many other
crimes” terrifying Mexicans.
The church for many years
generally kept to the sidelines of
drug-trafficking and violence,
and even on occasion turned a
blind eye to criminals and accepted money to build chapels.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Pak anti-terror courts too busy trying politicians
t least 10 cases pending
with the anti-terrorism
courts (ATCs) of Pakistani cities of Islamabad and
Rawalpindi are against �terrorists’ such as politicos Imran
Khan and Tahirul Qadri and a
host of other politicians and
members of parliament.
Court officials say that the total current caseload of the ATCs
in Rawalpindi and Islamabad is
130. But of these, only 20 cases
- a mere 15% - deal with actual
incidents of terrorism. At least
90 cases are currently pend-
ing before the two Rawalpindi
ATCs, of which 12 are related
to incidents of terrorism, while
two are registered against politicians. The rest of the cases,
court officials say, are related
to crimes such as kidnapping,
aerial п¬Ѓring, manhandling of
government officials and other
The most high-profile cases
pending with the ATC are those
registered against the leaders of
the two protesting parties that
descended upon Islamabad in
August of this year. At least eight
FIRs have been registered in Islamabad against politicians from
Khan’s PTI, Qadri’s PAT and
other parties where police in-
serted sections of the Anti- Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.
However, no sections of the
ATA are included in the cases
п¬Ѓled against the government at
the request of PTI and PAT leaders over the Aug 30 violence on
Constitution Avenue. Khan and
Qadri were also declared proclaimed offenders by the Islamabad ATC in September, in the
matter of the attack on Senior
Superintendent of Police Asmatullah Junejo.
Another major case pending
before the ATC deals with the
attack on Parliament House.
Here too, the Islamabad ATC
has issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of politico
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, PTI leaders Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir
Tareen, Asad Umar, Shaukat
Yousafzai, Shafqat Mehmood,
Arif Alvi and PAT leaders Raheeq
Abbasi and Assef Ahmed.
“This has happened a
number of times in the past
and those matters were
referred back to ordinary
The Rawalpindi ATC has also
declared Qadri a proclaimed offender for an alleged attack on
police officials near airport and
for taking policemen hostage
near the Lillah interchange on
the M2 Motorway.
Cases dealing with actual incidents of terrorism include the
Nato containers attack case, the
murder of police officer Raja
Saqlain and the Ashura clashes
of 2013.
In the Islamabad ATC, only
eight cases currently pending
deal with incidents of terrorism,
including the Mumbai attacks,
the Bhara Kahu Imambargah attack and the attack on the district courts in Sector F-8.
However, one of the most
cases currently pending before
the Rawalpindi ATC is the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
Here, the Federal Investigation
Agency (FIA) has implicated
Nato ends its 13-year
war in Afghanistan
US General John Campbell (centre), commander of Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), folds the flag of the ISAF during the
change of mission ceremony in Kabul, yesterday.
ual handover of responsibility
to the 350,000-strong Afghan
forces, who have been in charge
of nationwide security since last
But recent bloodshed has undermined claims that the insurgency is weakening and has
highlighted fears that the international intervention has failed
as Afghanistan faces spiralling
The United Nations says that
civilian casualties hit a record
high in 2014, jumping by 19%
with 3,188 civilians killed by the
end of November.
Afghan’s police and army have
also suffered a grim death toll,
with fatalities soaring to more
than 4,600 in the п¬Ѓrst 10 months
of 2014 - far higher than all ISAF
deaths since 2001.
“The US and Nato mission
was an absolute failure as today’s ceremony shows,” Taliban
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid
“They are fleeing from Afghanistan. They have not
reached their goals in defeating
the Afghan mujahideen.”
US and Afghan commanders insist the national security
forces can hold the line against
the Taliban despite concerns of a
repeat of Iraq, where an American-trained army virtually collapsed in the face of a jihadist
“Our sons and daughters of
ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) are in the lead, п¬Ѓghting to protect security interests.
God willing, they will prevail,”
national security adviser Mohmed Hanif Atmar said at the
Since 2001, billions of dollars of aid have been spent in
Afghanistan on new schools,
hospitals, roads and promoting women’s rights, but corruption has been endemic and
progress limited even in the
This year’s presidential election, which was meant to be the
keystone legacy of the development effort, was marred by
fraud and a prolonged stand-off
between the two poll rivals that
fanned further unrest.
emerged as the new president in
a power-sharing deal with Abdullah Abdullah.
But their “unity government”
has failed to appoint any new
ministers three months after
taking power.
Ghani hopes to bring peace
to Afghanistan after decades
of conflict, saying he is open to
talks with any insurgent group.
Hamid Karzai, president from
2001 until 2014, opened preliminary contacts with the Taliban
but they collapsed acrimoniously last year.
The US will continue to provide some air support for the
Afghan military, and may extend
operations if required to prevent
rapid Taliban advances.
“In just a few days, our combat mission in Afghanistan will
be over,” US President Barack
Obama said in his Christmas
Day address. “Our longest
war will come to a responsible
Recent insurgent targets in
Kabul have included foreign
guesthouses, diplomatic convoys and Afghan army buses.
In such matters, the ATC
judge can order the deletion of
the terrorism-related offence
from the FIR.
“This has happened a number
of times in the past and those
matters were referred back to ordinary courts,” he added.
Syed Tayyab, a police special
prosecutor, admitted that there
were lacunas in the investigation
But he maintains that after
police register an FIR, it is the
responsibility of the prosecutor
to examine the nature of the offences and ensure that only cases
related to heinous offences and
incidents of terrorism be п¬Ѓled
before the ATC.
Schools asked to
prepare emergency
evacuation plan
US-led mission in Afghanistan
ends combat role; thousands
of foreign troops remain
ato formally ended its
war in Afghanistan
yesterday, holding a
low-key ceremony in Kabul
after 13 years of conflict that
have left the country in the
grip of worsening insurgent
The event was arranged
in secret due to the threat of
Taliban strikes in the Afghan
capital, which has been hit
by repeated suicide bombings
and gun attacks over recent
“Together... we have lifted the
Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them
hope for the future,” Nato commander US General John Campbell told assembled soldiers.
“You’ve made Afghanistan
stronger and our countries safer.”
On January 1, the US-led International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) combat mission,
which has suffered 3,485 military deaths since 2001, will be
replaced by a Nato “training and
support” mission.
About 12,500 foreign troops
staying in Afghanistan will not
be involved in direct п¬Ѓghting,
but will assist the Afghan army
and police in their battle against
the Taliban, who ruled from
1996 until 2001.
When numbers peaked in
2011, about 130,000 troops from
50 nations were part of the Nato
military alliance.
“I hope you take great pride in
the positive impact you’ve made
and will continue to make upon
the Afghan people,” Campbell
said in a speech released by ISAF
on Twitter as live broadcasts
were banned for security reasons.
Campbell folded up the ISAF
flag and unveiled the flag of the
new mission, named Resolute
Yesterday’s ceremony — held
in a sports hall at Nato headquarters — completed the grad-
former president retired General
Pervez Musharraf as one of the
Legal experts are of the opinion that by distracting the ATCs
with litigation not relating to
actual incidents of terrorism,
actual terrorists’ trials have been
delayed. They attribute this
chiefly to the incompetence of
the investigation officers concerned.
Abdul Qayyum, a lawyer who
deals with the terrorism-related
cases, says that investigation officers sometimes accept bribes
parties in exchange for inserting terrorism-related offences
in FIRs registered against their
he educational institutions in Pakistani
capital Islamabad have
been asked by the city police
to prepare an evacuation plan
for their students and faculty
members in case of an emergency.
The step has been taken
keeping in view the prevailing
security situation in the country, a police officer said here
yesterday on the condition of
He said the police had offered assistance to the administrations of the educational
institutions in preparing the
evacuation plan.
Some of the schools visited
by a team of police were also
told to make alterations in
their buildings to facilitate the
emergency evacuation plan, he
added. In some of the institutions, there were no separate
emergency exits.
After meeting the representatives of the institutes,
separate standard operating
procedures (SOPs) were prepared for the administrations,
students and the security
guards of the institutions.
According to the SOP, the
administration of each institute would carry out an evacuation drill for the students,
faculty members and staff
every month.
If the exercise is not possible every month, it should be
arranged at least once in three
months. The emergency exits
should always remain clear.
Fire and emergency equipment should also be installed
in the buildings and the students should be informed
when there is an emergency. Besides, CCTV cameras
should also be installed inside
and outside the buildings.
The walls of the school
buildings should be raised up
to eight feet on which barbed
wire should be installed to
further increase the height by
about two feet.
The administration or the
principal concerned should
also brief the students and
staff on the prevailing situation on a weekly basis.
The school administrations
were also asked to arrange lectures by religious scholars to
educate the students on the
differences between jihad and
the acts of terrorism.
The administrations will issue security cards to the students, teachers and guards and
staff members.
The ID cards would carry
the photograph and the endorsement seal and monogram
of the institute.
The educational institutions would have to get prior
permission from the district
administration before conducting any function or programme. Walk-through gates
will also be installed at the entry gates where watchmen or
guards will be deployed with
metal detectors.
The drivers of the vehicles
giving pick-and-drop service
to the students should search
their vehicles before allowing
students to board. Carts, unconcerned vehicles and taxis
should not be parked near the
The SOP for the students
stated that they should not
talk to anyone about the evacuation plan, emergency exit,
the location of their schools
or colleges, school timings and
They should wear their
identity cards and inform the
administration if they spot any
suspect and suspicious activity around their institution.
The students should not make
any contact with strangers and
unconcerned people while
going to school or returning
They should also avoid
jumping the walls of their educational institutions.
The students should also
ensure that no person should
embark their vehicles along
with them.
The students should also be
asked to avoid going outside
the school during halftime,
and also not to assemble outside the building.
During free period, the students should also remain inside the classrooms and avoid
going outside and gathering in
the veranda, lawns and playgrounds.
They should avoid discussing political, sectarian or religious issues.
15 committees to execute Pakistan’s new counter-terror plan
o ensure the implementation of the new National
Action Plan (NAP) to
counter terrorism and extremism, the Pakistan government
has formed 15 committees to deal
with proposals given in the plan.
ministers, senior government
officials and top army and intelligence officials such as the
directors general of the InterServices Intelligence (ISI) and
Military Operations (MO). The
following are the committees
and their tasks and members.
Umbrella Committee: This
will be headed by Sharif himself
and will supervise the overall
implementation of the plan and
include the federal ministers for
interior, п¬Ѓnance, planning, information, defence, States and
Frontier Regions, the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa governor and the
PM’s adviser on foreign affairs.
Committee on Militias:
The interior minister heads this
committee, which will deal with
the issue of eliminating armed
militias from the country.
Speech: This will be headed by
the interior minister and tasked
with making recommendations
on how to counter hate speech
and extremist material.
Committee on Proscribed
Organisations: This will be
headed by the interior minister
and tasked with stopping the
re-emergence of proscribed organisations by other names and
Committee on Counter
Terrorism: This will be head-
ed by the interior minister and
tasked with ensuring the deployment of a dedicated counter-terrorism force by May 31,
2015. Members will include the
ministers for п¬Ѓnance and defence, the chief of MO, the secretaries of п¬Ѓnance, interior and
the Nacta co-ordinator.
Committee on Religious
Persecution: This will be
headed by the interior minister
and tasked with recommending
steps to counter persecution of
religious minorities. Members
will include the minister and
secretary for religious affairs,
the interior secretary, all provincial police chiefs and the police
chiefs of GB, AJK and Islamabad,
as well as all home and Auqaf
department secretaries and the
Nacta co-ordinator.
Committee on Madrassas:
This will be led by the interior
minister and tasked with the
registration and regulation of
over 30,000 madrassas. Members will include the minister
and secretary for religious affairs, the state minister for education and all home and Auqaf
department secretaries.
Committee on Terror on
the Internet: This will be led by
the interior minister and tasked
with recommending steps for
dismantling terrorists’ communication networks online
and suggest tangible measures
against the abuse of internet and
social media for terrorism. Other
members will be announced
Committee on Karachi:
This will be led by the interior
minister and tasked with dealing
with the Karachi law and order
situation. Members include the
Sindh chief minister and gover-
nor and the chiefs of the Rangers
and city police.
Committee on Punjab: This
will be led by the interior minister and tasked with checking
militancy in parts of Punjab.
Members include chiefs of ISI
and IB, provincial home secretary and police chief.
Committee on Sectarianism: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with
making recommendations dealing with sectarian terrorism.
Members will include the chief
of IB, all provincial police officers, home secretaries and heads
of counter terrorism departments as well as the interior secretary and Nacta co-ordinator.
Committee on Afghan Refugees: This will be led by the
interior minister and tasked with
making policy guidelines to deal
with Afghan refugees. Mem-
bers will include the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, minister
for states and frontier regions,
and the chief of National Database and Registration Authority
Committee on Terror Financing: This will be led by
the п¬Ѓnance minister and tasked
with making recommendations
on choking terrorists’ financial
networks and terrorist organisations.
Curbs: This will be led by the
information minister Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and
tasked with making recommendations on banning the glorification of terrorism and terrorist
organisations through print and
electronic media.
Committee on Fata Reforms and IDPs’ Return:
This will be led by the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa governor and
tasked with making recommendations on administrative
and development reforms in
the tribal areas with an immediate focus on return of
IDPs. Members will include
the ministers of п¬Ѓnance, planning & development and states
& frontier regions, economic
affairs secretary, Corps Commander 11 Corps Peshawar and
Fata chief secretary.
Committee on Justice System Reforms: This will be led
by the information minister
and tasked with making recommendations on how to reform
the criminal justice system and
strengthen counter-terrorism
Members will include the
interior secretary, federal and
provincial law secretaries, and
chiefs of ISI and IB.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Campaign against use of firecrackers
Drilon seeks
inquiry into
traffic chaos
By Jefferson Antiporda
Manila Times
n 11-hour ride to Baguio City has riled Senate President Franklin
Drilon so much, that he now
wants an inquiry into the capability of tollway operators
to maintain the smooth flow
of vehicular traffic in their respective areas.
Drilon said it took him more
than 11 hours to travel from
Manila to Baguio City last week
and he blamed the delay on the
long rows of vehicles near toll
“It is the first time that it
took me this long to travel to
Baguio, and this is despite the
existence of three major tollway systems,” Drilon said in
a radio interview aired over
The senate president was
referring to the NLEX (North
Luzon Expressway), SCTEX
Group to challenge
train fare hike in court
Animal lovers and other advocates make noise with their paper horns as they urge the public to refrain from using firecrackers to welcome the New Year, in Manila
yesterday. Animal rights advocates are encouraging the public to use alternative noise-makers rather than loud firecrackers which can hurt and traumatise animals
during the New Year revelry, a statement from the group said.
Cebu Pacific, agency face
probe over flight delays
By Reina Tolentino
Manila Times
called for an investigation of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and Cebu
Pacific for the flight cancellations and delays suffered by
travellers during the Christmas holidays.
On Saturday, Cebu Pacific
offered a refund to passengers
affected by flight cancellations and delays between December 23 and January 5, after
chaos erupted at the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport
(NAIA)’s Terminal 3.
But Neri Colmenares of
Bayan Muna party-list said the
refund is not enough because
it was just a ploy “to pacify
complaining passengers.”
“What should be done is to
impose sanctions on airlines
that foul up,” he added.
“While it is good that the CAB
will start their investigation
to get to some of the details of
the continued inconvenience of
airline passengers, I think that
the CAB should also be probed
for not doing its duty to regulate
these airlines and protect airline
passengers,” Colmenares said.
Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento
of Western Samar, vice chairman of the House Committee
on Transportation, said CAB
should investigate Cebu Pacific
to п¬Ѓnd out if the airline is complying with the air passenger
bill of rights.
He added that the aeronautics board should “submit recommendations to improve the
carrier’s ground service as a
template to all the players in the
Colmenares said he will п¬Ѓle a
resolution seeking an investigation when Congress resumes its
session on January 5.
He noted that in a privileged
speech that he delivered on December 16, he decried excessive air fares, delays and dismal
service of airline companies as
well as CAB for failing to protect
Colmenares said his bill will
address queues, delayed and
cancelled flights, overbooking
as well as “expensive” rebooking fees and penalties.
He also noted that when
cancelling or changing schedules, the airlines do not give
refunds to passengers.
“Another problem particularly for Cebu Pacific passengers is that they offer a deceptively low initial base fare but
in the end the fare shoots up
due to big tax and surcharges
that are even higher than that
of Philippine Airlines (PAL).
They also charge passengers
(Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) and the TPLEX (TarlacPangasinan-La Union Expressway) that supposedly would
allow motorists to travel faster.
Drilon sees the failure of tollway operators to come up with
an efficient way to collect tolls
from motorists as the reason behind the long lines of vehicles.
He said the senate should look
into the inefficiencies of toll road
operators, and п¬Ѓnd out if operators have some plans on how to
avoid traffic jams caused by slow
toll collection.
The senate chief said he wants
to know if it is possible for toll
operators to come up with a onetime toll payment in order to
prevent delays.
At present, motorists who
use the three tollways will have
to pass thru three different
toll boots (NLEX, SCTEX and
TPLEX). Class 1 vehicles will
have to shell out a total of P654
from Balintawak to Carmen exit
in Rosales, Pangasinan.
with a web administration fee
that is ridiculous,” the lawmaker added.
In many instances, he said,
airlines do not use the passenger tube even if passengers have
paid for its use, thus making it
difficult for the elderly and the
sick as they have to go down the
“It would be better if the
committee on transportation
would just call for a motu propio
hearing to probe these issues
during the break but if not, then
I hope that it would immediately be scheduled on the resumption of sessions so that these
airlines would improve their
services,” Colmenares added.
By Reina Tolentino
Manila Times
s the Palace stood п¬Ѓrm on
its decision to increase
fares of the Light Rail
Transit 1, LRT 2 and Metro Rail
Transit 3 (MRT 3), opposition
group Bayan Muna said it will
question the decision before the
Supreme Court.
The group warned that it has
no choice but to launch protest
actions if the fare adjustment,
which will take effect on January 5, is implemented.
“It just goes to show that the
Aquino administration favours
the profit of big businessmen
rather than the interest of the
people,” Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares said
in a text message to Manila
“If the executive would still
push through with this fare
hike, then we have no choice
but to launch protest actions
and go to the Supreme Court to
stop it,” Colmenares added.
The group earlier sought a
probe in connection with the fare
hike, saying they are not against
development or the extension
of the rail systems but against
“passing government irresponsibility and corporate greed not
to mention corrupt practices
onto hapless commuters.”
Storm alert in Visayas, Mindanao
Fourteen provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao were under storm alert as
Tropical Depression Seniang approaches, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported.
Storm Signal Number 1 was raised in Leyte, Bohol, Siquijor, Surigao del Norte,
Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Norte, Davao
Oriental, Compostela Valley, Camiguin Island, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon,
Pagasa said.Seniang is expected to come ashore near Tandag, Surigao del Sur
today morning with 45 kilometre-per-hour winds, Manila Times reported. The
storm will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains to the affected areas that
could last for two to three hours, Pagasa said.Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas as well as Eastern Visayas and the rest of Mindanao especially
Caraga Region, were alerted to possible flashfloods and landslides.
Aquino faced tough times from fund critics during year
By Joel M Sy Egco
Manila Times
he controversies surrounding
the Disbursement Acceleration
Programme (DAP), the “selective justice” on the alleged misuse of
lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the corruption
issue involving suspended Philippine
National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and the traffic congestion at the
Port of Manila were among the toughest challenges that President Benigno
Aquino faced in 2014, according to a
Palace spokesman.
In an interview with Manila Times,
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the
DAP topped these challenges because
it even dragged down the president’s
“The Supreme Court (SC) ruling on
the (DAP) was one of the most difficult
challenges for the president in 2014.
This also brought on the president’s
lowest performance and trust ratings
since mid-2010,” he explained. Coloma was referring to the downtrend
in Aquino’s ratings since the SC ruling.
He noted that in the fourth quarter,
however, the numbers rebounded.
The High Tribunal’s decision declaring the DAP unconstitutional can
also be blamed for the uncertainty in
government spending, which slowed
down the country’s economic growth.
This newspaper earlier reported that
the SC was bound to uphold its earlier
decision and junk the motion for reconsideration п¬Ѓled by the Office of the
Solicitor General. The voting on the
matter, however, was deferred until
the resumption of en banc sessions in
Besides the DAP, Coloma said President Aquino was also affected by the
negative public opinion brought by his
supposed defence of the PNP chief,
who was ordered suspended for six
months by the Office of the Ombudsman over a contract he signed with a
delivery п¬Ѓrm.
“In regaining his lofty approval ratings in the fourth quarter, the president also overcame criticism on how
he responded to negative publicity
surrounding PNP director general Alan
Purisima,” Coloma said.
“There were also attempts to discredit the administration on account of
alleged �selective justice’ in the investigation and prosecution of legislators
said to be involved in anomalies related
to the disbursement of PDAF or �pork
barrel’ funds but these were eventually
hurdled, too. The serious port congestion in Manila was addressed through
a broad-based, multi-stakeholder approach,” he added.
On the other hand, Coloma said
among the government’s greatest
achievements in 2014 was the sharp
drop in unemployment, which meant
that nearly 2mn people found new jobs.
“Before the end of the year, the
DOLE (Department of Labour and Employment) reported that unemployment has been reduced to 6% from
6.4%, on the back of the creation of
more than 1.6mn new jobs,” he noted.
Coloma said the country’s investment grade ratings were affirmed during the year and the deleterious effects
of the disasters, including Super Ty-
President Benigno Aquino has survived tough challenges during the year.
phoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, were
overcome by the middle of 2014.
“The president sailed through the
mid-point of his six-year tenure with
flying colours. The extensive European and US tour he conducted also
contributed significantly to building
goodwill for the Philippines as well as
enhanced support for its rules-based
approach to the peaceful resolution of
the South China Sea maritime entitlements dispute. Asean centrality and
the adoption of a legally binding Code
of Conduct—issues which the presi-
dent almost single-handedly advocated until late 2012—have gained traction
and broad-based acceptance among
regional leaders,” he added.
Despite the challenges facing the
administration in its last years in
power, the Palace official was op-
timistic that Aquino will deliver in
2015 on the promises he made during
the campaign and his last four years
in office.
“In 2015, President Aquino wants
to demonstrate the full fruition of the
promises he made to the people in
terms of making them believe that it
is possible to dream and realise a better future for themselves and their
country,” Coloma said.
“He believes that the foundations
for inclusive growth have been established, especially in terms of sound
macroeconomic fundamentals that
have earned the country investment
grade ratings. Hence, there has been
a significant change in the country’s
image from being the �sick man of
Asia’ to being �Asia’s rising star,’” he
Among Aquino’s top priorities in
2015 are the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the visit of Pope
Francis in January and the hosting of
the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit.
“He (Aquino) is determined to implement the key programmes and reforms that will ensure sustainability
of the gains already achieved in terms
of reducing poverty; increasing social protection (universal education
and health care, socialided shelter);
mitigating the ill-effects of calamities and drastic climate change; and
delivering justice for all without fear
or favour,” Coloma said.
“By actions and deeds, the president has led the way in showing that
government has the political will
to do the right things and do things
right,” he added.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Lanka Muslim party quits
govt ahead of snap polls
Rauf Hakeem announces
his resignation as justice
minister and says he would
now work for the victory
of opposition candidate
Maithripala Sirisena in the
January 8 election
ri Lanka’s main Muslim party yesterday quit
the government and
pledged support to the opposition in a move seen as the
biggest setback yet to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s
re-election bid.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem also
announced his own resignation
as justice minister and said he
would now work for the victory of Maithripala Sirisena,
the opposition candidate in the
January 8 election.
Hakeem said they left the
government because of festering differences over a 2010 law
that lifted the two-term limit
on the presidency and gave Ra-
japakse wide powers over the
police, the judiciary and the
civil service.
“Good governance is the
main issue for us,” Hakeem
told reporters. “We are guilty
of compliance (in voting for the
2010 statute), but now we want
to redress the situation.”
There was no immediate
comment from the government. But a ruling party source
said the defection of the Muslim party was the biggest blow
to their campaign.
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.
Hakeem becomes the second
Muslim minister to quit Rajapakse’s government after industry and commerce minister
Rishad Bathiudeen resigned.
Sirisena himself defected to
the opposition last month af-
Rescue mission
ter giving up his portfolio as
minister of health.
The main Buddhist party of
monks quit the government
before Sirisena’s defection and
has since supported his bid to
topple President Rajapakse,
who came to power in 2005 and
is South Asia’s longest serving
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 which he called
two years ahead of schedule.
However, Rajapakse has received the support of a radical
outfit known as the Bodu Bala
Sena (BBS), or Buddhist Force,
which has been accused of instigating religious hate attacks
in the past two years.
The BBS has formed an alliance with Myanmar’s 969
Movement, a Buddhist group
linked to anti-Muslim riots in
that country.
Rauf Hakeem speaking during a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
By Mizan Rahman
Sri Lankan army personnel engaged in rescue missions in the
flooded Vanni area in Polonnaruwa, 229kms from Colombo.
Reports state that at least 21 have died and thousands of
people have been displaced due to the rains and heavy floods
in many areas of the island.
China seeks free trade
accord with Bangladesh
hina yesterday proposed a free trade
agreement (FTA) with
Bangladesh to boost trade
ties further between the two
Foreign Minister Mahmood
Ali led the 19-member Bangladesh side while his Chinese
counterpart Wang Yi headed
a 13-member China team at a
meeting that reviewed the entire
gamut of bilateral relations.
“China wants to start negotiation on FTA. We’ll explore the proposal,” foreign
secretary Shahidul Haque
said, adding that no decision
has been taken yet whether
Bangladesh will start the
negotiation right now.
He said the Chinese side expressed satisfaction over the
process of establishing an exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
for Chinese investors.
“They think there’ll be a
solid decision next year on
the matter, and hoped that
it’ll take off,” said the foreign
BNP calls
strike today
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a meeting with
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dhaka yesterday.
He said the Chinese side indicated that they are considering a big investment in the
economic zone.
Haque said Bangladesh proposed rail and road connectivity through Chittgaong-Cox’s
proposed it, and the Chinese side responded positively, especially on the road
connectivity,” he added.
Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, the Chinese
side appreciated Bangladesh’s
role, said the foreign secretary.
Responding to a question,
the foreign secretary said China
reiterated its interest for building a deep seaport but Bangladesh is still considering all the
proposals and new locations
are in the discussion, too.
He said Bangladesh proposed hosting the foreign office consultation (FOC) next
The Chinese foreign minister appreciated Bangladesh’s
socioeconomic advancement
under Prime Minister Sheikh
saying it is a role model of other
developing countries.
Apart from trade, investment and infrastructure development issues, people-topeople contact, cooperation
in defence, maritime and energy and other areas like agriculture and climate change
were also discussed in the
three-hour bilateral meeting that continued during the
lunch time too.
There were substantive discussions on all issues on the
agenda, the foreign secretary
said, adding that there will be
lots of programmes next year
to commemorate the 40th anniversary of establishment of
diplomatic relations between
Bangladesh and China.
State Minister for Foreign
Affairs M Shahriar Alam and
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were present at
the meeting. Representatives
from relevant ministries and
foreign ministry officials also
took part in the meeting.
Wang Yi arrived in Dhaka
on Saturday evening and met
President Abdul Hamid and
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He will also have a meeting
with BNP chairperson Khaleda
Zia during his stay in Dhaka.
pposition parties in
former prime minister
Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have called
a countrywide dawn-to-dusk
strike today, media reports said.
The strike has been planned
to protest against the denial of
permission for BNP’s rally in
Gazipur and to demand the release of BNP leaders, including Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, reported.
Bangladesh’s opposition alliance, meanwhile, enforced a
day-long strike in Gazipur after
the local administration disallowed any gathering at Khaleda
Zia’s proposed rally venue in the
town on Saturday.
The BNP-led alliance had boycotted the January 5 general election and has since been pressing
for a snap election.
Today’s strike will be its second this year, after it had enforced a shutdown protesting
against the 16th constitutional
The BNP blamed the government for thwarting its Gazipur
rally and “implicating” their
leaders in “false cases” and allege that the government was
trying to keep Khaleda Zia away
from politics by implicating her
in false cases.
The party also condemned the
cases п¬Ѓled over the December 24
clashes at Bakshibazar between
the BNP and Bangladesh Chhatra League activists, in which a
number of BNP leaders including
Roy have been accused.
Police had arrested the BNP
leader and a court had sent him
on a three-day remand.
Meanwhile, accusing the government of resorting to enforced
disappearance and repressive
acts to perpetuate its illegal rule,
BNP spokesman Mirza Fakhrul
Islam Alamgir yesterday said the
current �illegal’ prime minister
must be made accountable for
every extrajudicial killing and incident of enforced disappearance
in the future.
“We’re holding the current illegal government responsible for
committing crimes against humanity by resorting to enforced
disappearances. Their men have
forcefully and unlawfully picked
up our boys and men,” he said.
He renewed the BNP’s allegation that the government during their movement before the
January 5 elections unlawfully
killed 310 opposition leaders and
activists and made 65 others disappeared.
“The seven-murder incident
in Narayanganj city has proved
the government has committed these killings and enforced
disappearances using members
of elite Rapid Action Battalion
(RAB) and other law enforcement
agencies,” he added.
Nepal capital loses ancient taps to construction
rom early morning, housewives carrying buckets
and brass pots queue in the
back streets of Nepal’s capital
for the free water pumped from a
network of ancient stone spouts.
A lifeline in a city with erratic government supplies and
expensive private alternatives,
Kathmandu’s intricately carved
communal spouts have survived
invasions and earthquakes.
But the centuries-old water
taps are now suffering from a
much more modern threat, the
rapid development of the chaotic capital, to the despair of thousands of Kathmandu’s residents
who depend on them.
“We don’t have the luxury of
buying water for everyday use ...
I don’t know what I will do if this
stone spout dries up,” motherof-three Namita Maharjan, 34,
said as she waited to collect
water near her home.
The population of sprawling
Kathmandu has expanded by
60% in a decade, according to
Nepal’s 2011 census, with some
2.5mn people requiring 350mn
litres of water per day.
But the struggling city’s government is only able to meet
about half that demand and private companies charge up to $11
for 1,000 litres (264 gallons) an unaffordable price for many
residents - making the free taps
a critical part of Kathmandu’s
For Maharjan, whose husband
earns just $150-200 a month,
the threat of losing her neighbourhood spout — which she
describes as a “blessing” — is
Already more than half of the
valley’s 389 spouts have fallen
into disrepair, according to a 2006
survey by the Kathmandu-based
NGO, Forum for Urban Water and
Sanitation (NGOFUWS).
More are expected to dry up as
unregulated construction blocks
underground water channels,
which has prompted some residents to dig their own tube wells
Hotels, construction п¬Ѓrms
and private industries are also
digging their own wells, which
has caused an alarming dip in
the groundwater table. Between
1995 and 2013, levels fell by an
average of 2.5m (98 inches) per
year, according to government
and over-extraction of groundwater is crushing the ancient
supply system of the spouts,”
Anil Sthapit.
The spouts dotted throughout Kathmandu date back to
the sixth century when the city,
now a traffic-clogged concrete
jungle, was home to hundreds of
A prince belonging to the Licchavi dynasty built the taps,
known as “dhunge dhara” in
Nepali, in a bid to provide clean
drinking water to citizens.
The spouts, adorned with
carvings of Hindu and Buddhist
deities, were often built near the
myriad of temples, and continue
to play a key role in religious
rituals today.
“Water from the spouts is considered very pure... daily rituals
in many temples begin with an
offering of water to the gods,” says
Sandhya Khanal, who is currently
pursuing a PhD focused on the
history of the stone taps.
“Despite this, they are allowed
to disappear.”
Once the heart of the neighbourhood, where women gathered to gossip, the last tap built
in Kathmandu, the gold-plated
A view of the Sundhara Spout (known as the “golden spout” in Nepali), part of a dried up ancient water
system in Kathmandu.
Sundhara, or “golden spout”, was
cherished by the poor.
But it began to run dry in 2003
soon after builders dug the foundations for one of Kathmandu’s
п¬Ѓrst malls, blocking the underground channels that fed the tap.
“Low-income communities
depend most on the spouts because the water is free. When the
tap dries up, it directly affects the
poor,” NGOFUWS campaigner
Sthapit said.
“The rich have alternatives,
the poor don’t.”
NGOFUWS is attempting to
raise groundwater levels and revive worn-out taps by promoting
rainwater harvesting and running
public awareness programmes to
keep the spouts clean.
But Sthapit said the government has done little to preserve
the still functioning ones.
“We are doing what we can,
but enforcing building construction rules so that underground
canals aren’t destroyed ... is beyond our jurisdiction,” he said.
In the past, communal govern-
ing bodies called “guthis” supervised maintenance of the spouts,
but most are no long active today,
leaving the government in charge.
The government itself has
placed the blame back on residents, while bemoaning its own
lack of resources.
“Stone spouts are important
cultural sites that need to be
conserved,” said Shriju Pradhan, chief of the government’s
heritage division.
“The local community is not
pro-active in protecting the
spouts...and unfortunately we
don’t have enough resources or
the expertise to conserve them,”
Pradhan said.
Housewives Shanti Nakarmi
and Pramila Lama have little
sympathy, as they fret over their
local spout on the fringes of the
city’s iconic Durbar Square,
which is offering less and less
water each month.
“We sweep the courtyard occasionally and try to keep it
clean. What more can we do...
(when) we don’t know where the
water source or channels are,”
Nakarmi said.
Lama added: “If the government cannot give us water, the
least it can do is save what our
ancestors left us.”
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
P.O.Box 2888
Doha, Qatar
Telephone 44350478 (news),
44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery)
Fax 44350474
Ashghal streets ahead
but motorists call for
adequate signboards
Upholding the motto, �Qatar Deserves the Best,’ the Public
Works Authority, Ashghal, has embarked on an ambitious
programme to upgrade the infrastructure in the country.
Ashghal is responsible for the planning, design,
procurement, construction, delivery, and asset management
of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar.
Ashghal’s key responsibilities include governing the
design, construction, and management of major projects
including roads, drainage and buildings such as public
buildings, schools and hospitals.
Adhering to the Qatar National Vision 2030, the Ashghal
contributes to the economic and social development of
Qatar, with projects worth over QR100bn to be delivered
within the next п¬Ѓve to seven years.
Two road projects, opened recently to traffic, are the
F-Ring Road and the East Industrial Street, aimed at
alleviating congestion at some key areas in the country,
especially in and around Doha.
The F Ring Road is intended to ease traffic flow to Hamad
International Airport (HIA) and many other locations in
Doha – particularly between Al Thumama Area and its
surroundings, and the Airport Street apart from enhancing
connectivity between
HIA and both Al
Wakrah and the
Industrial Area.
However, as some
Qatari nationals have
pointed out through
local Arabic daily
Arrayah, there seems
to be more traffic
signals than required
on the F-Ring Road, which according to them is likely to
aggravate congestion, especially on the routes leading to Al
Wakrah and HIA.
They said that it is incorrect that the F-Ring Road is
completely opened as claimed by Ashghal as barriers are
placed at the intersection of Barwa-Mesaimeer which force
motorists to take a diversion suddenly in order to avoid
collision with these barriers.
Nationals suggested Ashghal should have used bridges
and tunnels instead of a large number of traffic signals.
Qatari national Hassan al-Imadi lamented the “absence of
future vision when the projects such as the F-Ring Road are
planned and executed.”
He believed that congestion will be aggravated when
the new projects in Al Wakrah, such as Al Wakrah market
and the games city, are completed. Another Qatari citizen,
Abdullah Mohamed, complained about a lack of adequate
signboards to guide motorists.
While coming from HIA to Doha, some motorists pointed
out that the F-Ring Road abruptly ends in the vicinity of the
Religious Complex, forcing road users to take a U-turn and
an unnecessary detour to connect to the Main Industrial
Street or to proceed to the city.
Notwithstanding the drawbacks, Ashghal ought to be
commended for constructing a world-class eight-lane
7.2km carriageway, with four lanes in each direction, in
addition to a two-lane service road on both sides of the
main road and all other facilities.
The East Industrial Street is also a commendable project,
but Ashghal should have ensured that the diversions from
the 3km mainline road to streets of Doha Industrial Area
were also opened simultaneously or adequate signboards
installed to inform motorists about the absence of the same.
As a result, motorists coming from Al Forousiya Street, are
unaware that they should proceed to the main interchange
in the area if they want to reach any of the streets from 10
to 33. Instead, most take the underpass and end up with no
option but to travel to the end of the newly opened street,
which is also congested at the joining point with the Main
Industrial Area Road. Urgent remedial action is needed in
this regard too.
Projects worth
over QR100bn
to be delivered
within the next
five to seven years
To Advertise
Telephone 44466621 Fax 44418811
Telephone 44466609 Fax 44418811
2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved
Napa’s surprise fault line
triggers earthquake study
The Napa County area is
becoming a laboratory for
scientists trying to better
understand how faults
work and the damage they
can create
By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia
Napa, California
hen a magnitude-6.0
earthquake hit
California’s wine country
this summer, scientists
rushed to California Highway Patrol
helicopters to survey the scene. The
results were surprising.
The earthquake tore up to the
surface, producing a 9-mile-long scar
that sliced through vineyards, asphalt
and even homes. A buried earthquake
fault had awoken along a trail never
before documented or mapped by
scientists, stunning homeowners
who found houses spun off their
foundations and broken, with one side
of the home higher than the other.
It marked the п¬Ѓrst time since the 1971
Sylmar earthquake that a temblor in
California has caused surface rupture
in a residential area.
Now, the Napa County area is
becoming a laboratory for scientists
trying to better understand how faults
work and the damage they can create.
“We are going to be taking a really
hard look now,” said state geologist
John Parrish. “Everyone should always
be aware of where all of these faults are
when they’re building.”
Homeowners in one Napa
neighbourhood said they had no idea
they lived on top of an earthquake fault.
The closest, previously mapped fault
was farther away and considered by
state officials to be too old to be active,
last rupturing more than 11,000 years
But inactive faults can awaken. And
faults can exist even if there are no
clues. Evidence of recent movement
can be washed away, or, as in the case
of this section of Browns Valley, buried
deep underneath soil deposits eroding
from the mountains. And scientists
often have limited access to dig
trenches and study possible faults in
areas п¬Ѓlled with homes that were built
decades ago.
Scientists had their suspicions that
a fault could be buried in this area of
Napa, but held back from mapping
it because there was not enough
“We can’t go around just doing it on
a gut feeling,” Parrish said. “We draw
the lines with the best information that
we have available.”
So it took an earthquake to answer
questions scientists and homeowners
didn’t even know they had.
The fault began moving directly
underneath the home of Tim and Ann
Whitlock around 3:20am on Aug. 24, a
They awoke to the earthquake fault
Scott Whitlock walks over a stretch of buckled sidewalk while helping his parents move out of their earthquake-damaged
home on Aug. 24, 2014 in Napa, California.
rupturing, as one block of earth pushed
past another.
Suddenly, what was once a solid
foundation fractured in two. It sounded
like one big explosion. The western
half of the house moved 9 inches to the
north. The eastern half jumped, and
ended up more than half an inch higher
than the western half.
“Ann and I just grabbed each other
and screamed,” said Tim Whitlock,
a veteran of the Vietnam War who
served 33 years in the US Air Force and
28 years as an American Airlines pilot.
“It was one of those things when you
have no control whatsoever. And you’re
shaking. And you’re thinking at any
moment, the house could come apart
and flatten. That’s a terrifying thing,”
Whitlock said.
The damage was so bad that the city
of Napa ordered the Whitlocks out of
their house.
But neighbouring homes suffered
virtually no structural damage,
underscoring how different it could be
if the home is just a few feet away from
the fault. There were only shattered
dishes and fallen shelves at the home of
next-door neighbor Dolores Hibbert,
86, she said.
Bill Bolton, 70, who shares his
backyard with the Whitlocks, saw the
fault split their backyard fence but
skirt into his side yard, avoiding his
home before heading into the street,
rupturing a water pipe and splitting
apart another neighbor’s lawn.
Said Whitlock: “Everywhere to the
east and west, they got the rumble. And
we got the damage.”
Evidence is now emerging that the
fault system that caused the earthquake
had perhaps three to four large quakes
before this one, said Tim Dawson, an
engineering geologist for the California
Geological Survey.
The agency has begun to officially
map and zone this section of the West
Napa fault, which could restrict or limit
future construction in the areas where
scientists pinpoint the fault.
The fault kept moving even after
the earthquake and aftershocks
stopped, further complicating the
region’s recovery. It’s the first time
this phenomenon has been observed
extensively in a highly populated area in
The fault movement was easy to
see on Highway 12, where the double
yellow line in the middle of the
road grew farther apart from each
other in the hours and days after the
earthquake. Scientists drove a truck up
and down the Napa Valley, using lasers
to measure the “afterslip” shifting
roadways and vineyards.
The work led to an afterslip forecast
- the п¬Ѓrst of its kind. The earth could
move between 2 and 6 inches in the
next several years, said Ken Hudnut,
a geophysicist for the US Geological
Survey. Scientists will be updating the
forecast in February.
Scientists hope such a prediction
would help homeowners strategise
about repairs, and it could prove useful
in future quakes. A good prediction
could tell a train commuter system or
water utility to hold off on immediate
repairs because of anticipated fault
movement, or plan for multiple repair
jobs over several years.
The predictions already could help
the 20 or so owners who now know
their homes are on top of the newly
ruptured Napa fault. It may come
too late for those who have already
completed repairs, but could be helpful
for those who haven’t begun. A 2-inch
movement probably wouldn’t cause
more damage, but a 6-inch movement
might require new п¬Ѓxes later on.
The city of Napa has already
allowed some homeowners to begin
repairs after rigorous underground
investigation. The city has been
recommending homeowners to, when
possible, completely move their new
foundation away from the fault. But
if they can’t, because the property is
too small, the city has been requiring
much stronger, enhanced foundations
that can survive some movement, said
Rick Tooker, head of Napa’s community
development programme.
As of December, more than 160
buildings were still red-tagged, or
severely damaged, and more than
1,640 yellow-tagged, or moderately
damaged. The city has issued about
980 earthquake repair permits, with
many homeowners still waiting to see
whether they can get some federal help
for the repairs, Tooker said.
Whitlock said he was a little
surprised that the city had allowed him
to begin repairs to his house, which
involved raising the home by 6ft to put
in a new, stronger foundation.
“But if they said I had to move, who
would buy it? ... We’re just hoping it
doesn’t happen under our footsteps
again,” said Whitlock, who had to
withdraw from his retirement savings
to help pay for the repairs, expected
to cost about $400,000. “Hopefully,
it will hold together while we’re still
Parrish, the state geologist, said it’s
risky to rebuild any structure across the
surface trace of an active earthquake
fault. He said stronger foundations
haven’t been proven to prevent
structural damage in the future,
because “there is no way to predict the
amount of surface rupture movement,
and thus it is impossible to build
(within reasonable costs) a foundation
that will accommodate an unknown
amount of rupture,” he said in an email.
The uncertainty has caused some to
seek a home elsewhere.
“We will be moving,” said Edward
Mays, 85, a former US Marine and
retired land surveyor for the East
Bay Municipal Utility District,
who lives across the way from the
Whitlocks. His home was pushed off
its foundation; his garage floor split by
a giant crack.
“They say we’re right on the fault
line, and at our age, it’s ridiculous to
try to put a whole lot of money into
redoing it.” – Tribune News Service
Liberals rise, but at a cost to Democratic Party
By David Lightman
he Democratic left is rising,
and it’s unclear whether that
will help the embattled party
prosper or sink.
Ideology-driven movements and
candidates tend to seize the spotlight in
party presidential nomination contests,
and so far, the left has the momentum.
Its anointed candidates, though, have
a problem: Being too closely identified
with a party’s ideological wing usually
means general election trouble.
A preview of the good and bad times
ahead surfaced in recent weeks.
The Democrats’ progressive wing
this month led a strong but ultimately
unsuccessful push to strip from the
congressional budget bill provisions
easing restrictions on п¬Ѓnancial
Activists have launched an energetic
effort to boost Democratic Sen.
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
for president, but Warren says she
isn’t running. Polls show significant
disenchantment with mainstream
Democrats, but mainstream icon
Hillary Clinton retains a huge lead
among Democrats for the 2016
presidential nomination.
Progressives interpret all this
differently, saying it helps create
awareness of their mission. “We want
to unrig the playing п¬Ѓeld. We want
people to not feel the п¬Ѓx is in on every
level,” said Adam Green, co-founder
of the Progressive Change Campaign
They paint even the recent setbacks
as detours on their path to progress.
The December McClatchy-Marist poll
found that in the 2016 Democratic
nomination contest, Clinton won 62%
support from Democrats, while Warren
got 9%. Among liberals, Warren rose
to only 11%, while Clinton’s number
doesn’t move.
Liberals read the poll differently.
They see 38% of voters who are
considering an alternative to Clinton.
They also note that liberals are
uneasy - 48% said they disapproved
of the job congressional Democrats
are doing, compared with 45% who
approved. Political Action
launched a petition drive Dec. 10
promoting a Warren candidacy and
has more than 100,000 signatures.
“This moment was made for Senator
Warren,” said Ilya Sheyman, the
group’s director.
Democracy for America, a
progressive Democratic political
action committee, donated $250,000
to the draft-Warren effort. Warren is
“Democrats’ most powerful voice in
the fight against income inequality,”
said Charles Chamberlain, the group’s
executive director.
Warren п¬Ѓrst gained public notice
while a Harvard University law
professor advocating a consumer
п¬Ѓnancial protection bureau. The DoddFrank п¬Ѓnancial regulatory overhaul
of 2010 established the agency, and
Warren won a Senate seat two years
The 2014 budget bill eased some of
the restrictions imposed on п¬Ѓnancial
institutions in the Dodd-Frank
measure. Warren was outraged and
helped rally congressional Democrats
against the change.
But the outcome was also a
cautionary tale, because the budget
measure passed with a bipartisan
majority and the provision intact. Nor
are liberal initiatives likely to get much
legislative traction next year.
The liberals’ Social Security
expansion, for example, would be
funded by lifting income caps on taxes.
Currently, once one’s income tops
$113,700, he or she pays no more Social
Security taxes this year.
Such measures have little chance
in a House of Representatives where
Republicans will control 247 of the 435
seats, the party’s biggest majority since
1931. In the Senate, where it usually
takes 60 votes to get much done,
Republicans will control 54 of the 100
Democrats also face the kind of civil
war between liberals and center-left
stalwarts likely to rage not only in
Congress but also throughout the 2016
presidential primary season. Centrists
want the party to provide economic
incentives for people to succeed,
relying less on wealth redistribution
through higher taxes or guaranteed
incomes. Nor do they see mobilising
voter outrage as a useful general
election strategy.
“Americans don’t want angry,
defensive п¬Ѓgures running for
president,” said Will Marshall,
president of the centrist Progressive
Policy Institute.
In more conservative states,
Democrats don’t share the liberal
views. The more the left defines
the party, say centrists, the more
Democrats will suffer in the South and
perhaps elsewhere.
Party officials are taking a hard look
at the future. A Democratic National
Committee panel is undertaking a
top-to-bottom analysis of the party,
with a preliminary report due in
February. “We’re not presupposing or
pre-concluding what is wrong,” said
party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman
Centrists and liberals do agree on
this much: The key to Democratic
success is convincing middle-class
voters that the party understands them
and wants to help.
“The first thing the party has to do is
stand for something, and the primary
focus needs to be an economic agenda,”
said Roger Hickey, co-director of the
Campaign for America’s Future, a
liberal group.
That could be tough, said Republican
pollster Ed Goeas. The middle class
agrees “the rich are getting richer,” he
said, “but they think the poor get all
the (government) benefits.”
The party’s image is already tainted,
moderates argue. They point to
Democratic losses across the South
this year, as former South Carolina
Gov. James Hodges, a Democrat,
warned that the party needs to break
away from its reputation as liberaldriven.
“If Democratic candidates in the
South had the coattails of JFK and FDR
today, we’d still have lost,” he said. –
Tribune News Service
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
�Break up Citigroup’ campaign
From the perspective
of anyone seeking the
nomination of either of
America’s political parties,
here is an issue that cuts
across partisan lines
By Simon Johnson
Washington, DC
merica’s presidential
campaign is already well
underway. The election is
not until November 2016,
and very few candidates have formally
thrown their hats into the ring, but the
competition to promote and develop
ideas – both behind closed doors and
publicly – is in fully swing.
Earlier this month, Citigroup took
advantage of this formative political
moment by seizing an opportunity to
score a tactical victory – but one that
amounts to a strategic blunder. Using
legislative language apparently drafted by
Citi’s own lobbyists, the firm successfully
pressed for the repeal of some of the
2010 Dodd-Frank п¬Ѓnancial reforms. The
provision was then passed after it was
attached to a last-minute spending bill –
a tactic that ensured very little debate in
the House of Representatives and none at
all in the Senate.
At a stroke, Citi executives
demonstrated both their continued
political clout in Washington and their
continued desire to take on excessive
amounts of п¬Ѓnancial risk (which is
what this particular legal change
permits). Lobbying to be allowed to
load up on risk is exactly what Citi
did during the 1990s and 2000s
under presidents Bill Clinton and
George W Bush – with catastrophic
consequences for the broader
economy in 2007-09.
As a result, breaking up Citigroup
is under serious consideration as
a potential campaign theme. For
example, in a powerful speech –
watched online more than a halfmillion times – Senator Elizabeth
Warren responded uncompromisingly
to the megabanks’ latest display of
muscle: “Let’s pass something –
anything – that would help break up
these giant banks.”
Defenders of the megabanks – Citi,
JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America,
Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and
Morgan Stanley – dismiss Warren as
an avatar of left-wing populism. But
this is a serious misconception; in fact,
Warren is attracting a great deal of
support from the centre and the right.
Senator David Vitter of Louisiana
is the most prominent Republican
member of Congress in favour
of limiting the size and power
of the biggest banks, but there
are others who lean in a similar
direction. Similarly, the vice chair
of the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, Thomas Hoenig, a
political independent, consistently
warns about the dangers associated
with megabanks. And former FDIC
Chair Sheila Bair, a Republican from
Kansas, argues strongly for additional
measures to rein in the biggest banks.
From the perspective of anyone
seeking the nomination of either of
America’s political parties, here is an
issue that cuts across partisan lines.
“Break up Citigroup” is a concrete and
powerful idea that would move the
п¬Ѓnancial system in the right direction.
It is not a panacea, but the coalition
that can break up Citi can also put
in place other measures to make the
financial system safer – including
more effective consumer protection,
greater transparency in markets, and
higher capital requirements for major
From the left, the emphasis has
been on the megabanks’ abuse of
power and the great rip-off of the
the recent “Citigroup Amendment”
implies: Bankers get rich whether they
win or lose, because the US taxpayer
foots the bill when their risky bets fail.
Potential Republican presidential
candidates have hesitated to take up
this issue in public – perhaps feeling
that it will inhibit their ability to raise
money from Wall Street. Among the
Democrats, however, the opportunity
seems to be much more compelling;
indeed, avoiding a confrontation
with Wall Street might actually create
problems for a candidate (as Hillary
Clinton may well п¬Ѓnd out).
The Progressive Change Institute
is currently running “The Big Ideas
Project,” whereby people can vote on
what they regard as the most important
policy proposals. Three of the top ten
ideas under “Economy & Jobs” are
about imposing greater constraints
on the big banks – and there is a sharp
upward trend in support for Break Up
Citigroup (full disclosure: I suggested
this item for the website).
This idea would play well in the
Democratic primary elections (which
start in early 2016). And, because
it forms the basis for responsible
policies, it would attract support
from centrists. And voters on the
right like proposals that offer a
credible way to end the favouritism
– if not outright corruption – that
has come to define the relationship
between the top levels of government
and Wall Street.
“Break up Citigroup, end dangerous
government subsidies, and bring
back the market.” The US presidential
candidate who says this in 2016 – and
says it most convincingly – has a good
chance of winning it all. - Project
middle class. From the right, the stress
is on the hazards of crony capitalism,
owing to the massive implicit
government subsidies that these banks
Noncitizens voting? It’s only fair
receive. But both left and right agree
on the fundamental asymmetry that
zSimon Johnson is a professor at MIT’s
Sloan School of Management and the
co-author of White House Burning:
The Founding Fathers, Our National
Debt, And Why It Matters To You.
Weather report
Three-day forecast
By Ron Hayduk
Los Angeles
he contemporary immigrant
rights movement has
commanded attention
through civil disobedience,
student walkouts and intensive
lobbying. But there’s another tactic increasing immigrant clout by allowing
all noncitizens to vote - that also
deserves serious consideration.
Many Americans understandably
question why immigrants should be
able to vote before they become US
citizens. They know citizenship is
required for federal elections, and
they attested to their status when
they registered. But what most don’t
know is that the right to vote in this
country has never been intrinsically
tied to citizenship. And even now, in a
few jurisdictions and on some issues,
noncitizens have a limited right to vote.
As it turns out, voting by noncitizens
is as old as the Republic. From 1776
until 1926 in 40 states and federal
territories, residents who weren’t
citizens could vote in local, state and
sometimes federal elections. They
also have held public office; Indiana
and Louisiana elected noncitizen
aldermen and coroners, for example. In
a country where “no taxation without
representation” was the rallying cry
for revolution, and where government
theoretically rests “on the consent of
the governed,” allowing all residents to
vote only makes sense.
Today, immigrants here legally
and illegally work in every sector of
the economy. They own homes and
businesses, attend colleges and send
children to schools. They pay billions
According to the US Census Bureau,
more than 22mn adults in the US are
barred from voting because they lack
US citizenship.
in taxes each year, and make countless
social and cultural contributions to
their communities. They are subject to
all the laws that govern citizens, serve
in the military and even die defending
the US But most are without formal
political voice.
Their numbers are staggering.
According to the US Census Bureau,
more than 22mn adults in the US are
barred from voting because they lack
US citizenship. In some districts and in some whole cities and towns
- noncitizens make up 25% to 50% of
voting-age residents. In Los Angeles
they make up more than one-third of
the voting-age population; in New
York City, they are 22% of adults.
Such levels of political exclusion
approximate the exclusion of women
prior to 1920, African Americans
before the Voting Rights Act of 1965
and 18-year-olds prior to 1971.
Sadly, America knows all too
well what can occur when groups
don’t have a formal political voice:
discriminatory public policy and
private practices - in employment,
housing, education, healthcare,
welfare and criminal justice.
Noncitizens suffer social and
economic inequities, in part,
because policymakers can ignore
their interests. The vote is a proven
mechanism to keep government
responsive and accountable to all.
But why don’t they just become
citizens? Most immigrants want to,
but the average time it takes for the
naturalisation process is eight years
and sometimes longer. That’s a long
time to go without a vote.
Besides, many who are here legally
are barred from pursuing citizenship
by the terms of their visas; they are
students or green card holders who
are nonetheless members of their
community who deserve a voice in its
policies. And, of course, those who
are here illegally, who overstayed a
visa or never had one have no practical
pathway to citizenship.
But do noncitizens possess
sufficient knowledge of our political
system to vote responsibly? If political
knowledge was a criterion for voting,
many US citizens would be out of
luck, as public surveys regularly
show. Moreover, as it is, a citizen can
move from New York to Los Angles
and register and vote within 30 days,
even if he or she doesn’t know a
thing about the candidates or ballot
proposals. So why should literacy tests
or restrictive residency requirements
be able to disenfranchise noncitizen
There are now a handful of US
jurisdictions where noncitizens have
a right to vote in some elections. In six
towns in Maryland since the 1990s,
all residents (except felons serving
sentences or those judged mentally
incompetent by a court) can vote in
local elections. Chicago permits all
noncitizen parents of schoolchildren
to vote in local school council
elections. In California, all parents can
participate in “parent trigger” votes
to change the administration of their
children’s schools.
Next year, the New York City
Council will take up a bill - which has
broad political support - that would
allow noncitizens lawfully residing
in the US to vote in local elections. In
March, Burlington, Vermont voters will
decide on a similar ballot proposition
to let legal permanent residents vote
in local elections. The District of
Columbia has a similar bill pending.
The right to vote helps keep our
democracy inclusive and fair, and
resident voting is the next logical
step toward creating a truly universal
franchise. It is what America’s past and
future as an immigrant nation requires.
Noncitizen voting is the suffrage
movement of our time. – Tribune
News Service
High: 29 C
Low: 18 C
Slight dust and some clouds
High: 25 C
Low : 17 C
High: 23 C
Low : 17 C
Fishermen’s forecast
Wind: NW 05-15/20 KT
Waves: 2-4/6 Feet
Wind: NW 03-10 KT
Waves: 1-2 Feet
Around the region
Abu Dhabi
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zRon Hayduk, a professor of political
science at Queens College, City
University of New York, is the author
of “Democracy for All: Restoring
Immigrant Voting Rights in the US.” He
wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.
Live Issues
A �new’ dwarf galaxy in our own backyard
By Amina Khan
Los Angeles
stronomers searching the sky
with Nasa’s Hubble Space
Telescope have discovered an
odd little dwarf galaxy in our
very own backyard - a mere 7mn light
years away.
The п¬Ѓndings, described in the
Monthly Notices of the Royal
Astronomical Society, add a new
member to the more than 50 galaxies
in our Local Group (part of the
Laniakea supercluster), which includes
Andromeda and our own Milky Way.
While only just recently discovered
using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for
Surveys, the galaxy known as KKs3 has
been around a long while. Astronomers
led by Igor Karachentsev of the
Special Astrophysical Observatory in
Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, showed
that some 74% of KKs3’s star mass was
formed in the universe’s early years, at
least 12bn years ago. Most of the tiny
galaxy’s stars are old and dim, making
it a fascinating fossil that could help
astronomers understand what ancient
galactic environments looked like.
Carrying just 23mn solar masses’
worth of star-stuff, KKs3 holds just
one ten-thousandth of the stellar
mass of the Milky Way. As a dwarf
spheroidal galaxy, it lacks any
distinctive spiral arms.
The dwarf spheroidal galaxies
that are found near massive galaxies
are typically poor in gas and dust,
because they’ve been stripped out by
the gravitational pull of their much
more massive neighbours (such as the
Andromeda galaxy).
But KKs3 is far away from the
thieving gravitational tug of a
neighbouring galaxy - and yet, for
some reason, it also seems to be
missing hydrogen gas. KKs3, in that
way, is a much rarer breed, called an
isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxy.
These isolated dwarf spheroidal
galaxies are really hard to п¬Ѓnd, in part
because they’re missing those tell-tale
nebulae full of hydrogen gas that could
have helped feed star formation. In
fact, the only other one found in the
Local Group, KKR 25, was found by the
same research group way back in 1999.
KKs3 seems to have an interesting
life history that could shed light on
the strange processes that formed it.
Though most of its stars are 12bn years
old or older, there appear to have been
two smaller periods of star-formation
around 5bn years ago and even more
recently, around 2bn years ago or less.
Given that these isolated dwarf
spheroidal galaxies are so hard to
п¬Ѓnd, there could be many more of
these fascinating galactic fossils just
hanging out in the darkness of our
own intergalactic neighbourhood, just
waiting to be found, the authors wrote.
“Since the detection of such objects
is difficult, the number of them
within (32.6mn light years) may be
considerable,” the study authors wrote.
Future space telescopes, including
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
set for launch in 2018, could help
hunt down more of these mysterious
objects in the heavens. – Tribune
News Service
Around the world
Cape Town
Hong Kong
New Delhi
New York
Sao Paulo
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Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Kahramaa annual business meet
reviews plans for 2015-2019
atar General Electricity
and Water Corporation
held the annual business planning forum under the theme
“Transformation towards Business Excellence”.
The forum chaired by Kahramaa president Essa bin Hilal
al-Kuwari was held to review
department plans for the next
п¬Ѓve years, 2015-2019.
The two-day meeting was attended by directors, managers
and heads of different sections.
It reviewed and discussed department plans and projects for
2015-2019 and compared it to
the period ending this year.
The strategic meeting sets
a road map to meet electricity and water challenges within
the development the State witnesses and achieve business
excellence through the strategic transformation.
While hailing the corporation’s
achievements in the last п¬Ѓve
years, al-Kuwari highlighted the
п¬Ѓnancial and technical performance in 2014 where it managed
to meet the electricity and water
demand based on the highest international quality standards.
Al-Kuwari said “the forum
comes within the various challenges the electricity and water
Senior officials at the annual business planning forum of Kahramaa.
sector faces. Kahramaa has to be
ready to transform these challenges into opportunities through
long-term strategic planning to
achieve the objectives of Qatar
National Vision 2030”.
Kahramaa started the strategic development at the begin-
ning of 2014 by approving the
new update of its corporate mission, vision and values.
The corporation’s plan for
2015-2019 includes giant water
reservoirs for increasing strategic storage and Phase VII of the
electricity network expansion.
As for customers, Kahramaa
plans to transform into a smart
corporation by 2015-2016. Besides, 2015 will witness the con-
struction of the п¬Ѓrst solar plant
for electricity generation on the
Kahramaa premises, to be followed by other plants.
Participants of the Qatargas forum with officials.
Qatargas organises forum for national graduates
atargas recently organised the
annual Qatarisation Forum for
its national graduates.
Two separate sessions were held for
those based in Ras Laffan and Doha.
Coaches assigned to guide and mentor
the national graduates during their individual development phase also participated in the forum.
This year’s forum was held under the
theme “Coaching National Graduates”.
The forum gave nationals and coaches an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges in Qatargas.
Coaches and national graduates who
have moved into established positions
shared their experiences and success
stories and also encouraged the new
national graduates to take advantage of
the learning opportunities provided by
Qatargas and to take ownership of their
The forum also focused on enhancing communication and feedback between the coaches and national graduates to have a better understanding of
each other’s roles and responsibilities.
As part of the forum, the group activity this year was facilitated by young
nationals from the Learning & Devel-
opment Focus Group. They chose the
“Start, Stop, Continue” model to facilitate communication between the
nationals and coaches.
The focus group plays an active role
in discussing issues and concerns with
national graduates and in communicating these regularly to the Qatarisation and National Development Division.
At the forum, the Learning & Development Focus Group members who
completed their term (2012-2014) were
recognised for their outstanding efforts
and contribution to the national graduate community.
The forum is one of several platforms
providing an opportunity for Qatari national graduates to engage in open discussions with the head of Qatarisation
and National Development to ask questions or raise concerns and suggestions
related to their training and development programmes.
The annual Qatarisation Forum reflects the commitment of the Qatarisation and National Development Division and the Learning & Development
Department to the continuous development of its national workforce.
PHCC trains
Hayyak staff
on use of sign
rimary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has organised, in collaboration
with the Qatari Centre of Social
Cultural for the Deaf, a training course for PHCC staff from
the Hayyak team on using sign
language in preparation for the
launch of new services targeted
at the deaf and mute group.
The corporation will also
provide intensive training for
a number of receptionists and
customer services employees on
visual instant conversation techniques using sign language in the
future, in line with a timeline set
on the instructions of Dr Maryam
Abdul Malik, managing director
of PHCC.
Dr Mohamed al-Kilani, head
of the Non-Clinical Training
Department at PHCC, said:
“This course stems from PHCC’s vision and mission, which
aim to provide integrated and
comprehensive services to all
segments of the society by
training PHCC staff to use sign
language in order to be able to
receive and communicate with
people with disability.
Training Department is keen on
delivering such courses, which
are part of an integrated plan
towards establishing a comprehensive staff development
programme, in addition to raising awareness about the importance of effective communication with all stakeholders,
Participants of the course with officials.
especially those with disabilities, to meet their needs.
Amani Ibraheem, training coordinator at PHCC, added: “The
training course’s duration is four
hours a day, spread over a period of four days and attended by
40 employees from the Hayyak
service divided into two groups.
“The first group attended the
course from December 14 to
17 and the second group from
December 21 to 24. The course
covered topics such as specifications, standards and means of
disability, with the ultimate goal
of the course being to teach the
Hayyak service staff how to use
sign language in order to receive
disabled people and communicate with them.”
One of the Hayyak employ-
ees demonstrated an example of
providing help to a patient with
hearing disability who fainted and felt dizzy. The Hayyak
employee explained the patient’s
case to the doctor and immediately interpreted the medical diagnosis provided by the
doctor to the patient by using
sign language.
Representatives of the Qa-
tari Centre of Social Cultural
for the Deaf - board member
Abdul Rahman al-Suwaidi and
director of Public Relations
Meshal Dad Allah - expressed
satisfaction at the performance
demonstrated by the trainees,
which contributes to facilitating communication at health
centres with people suffering
from hearing disabilities.
The course concluded with
the distribution of certificates
of appreciation to participants
and supervisers by the Workforce Training Department. In
addition, the training instructors
were honoured by PHCC as the
corporation presented certificates of appreciation to lecturers
Najee Mohamed Zakarneh and
Maysam Bader.
OIL SLUMP | Page 4
Sony restores
service for
PS4 console
Monday, December 29, 2014
Rabia I 7, 1436 AH
Qatar stocks gain
1.46% on local
buying support
Saudi may open bourse
to foreigners in April ’15
audi Arabia is seeking to
open its $509bn stock exchange to foreign investors in April, according to three
people briefed on the country’s
The Capital Market Authority informed brokers and fund
managers of the timeline in
London last month, two of the
people said, asking not to be
identified as the meeting was
Saudi Arabia isn’t planning
significant changes to draft rules
published in August, the people
said. The country announced in
July that it would open the market in the п¬Ѓrst half of 2015.
The world’s biggest oil exporter is removing barriers to one of
the world’s most-restricted major stock exchanges as it pursues
a $130bn spending plan to boost
non-energy industries. Opening
the market may prompt MSCI to
include the bourse in its emerging market gauge by 2017, luring as much as $40bn of foreign
cash, Schroders said in July.
A spokesman for the CMA
said yesterday the regulator
continues to expect the market
to open to foreign investors in
the п¬Ѓrst half of next year, though
no specific date has been set.
The Saudi Stock Exchange
is the largest equity market in
the Middle East. Investors from
outside the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council aren’t allowed
to buy shares directly and have
to access the market through equity swaps and exchange-traded
Under the August draft regulations, foreign investors with
a minimum of 18.75bn riyals
($5bn) of assets under management and at least five years’ experience in the business will be
eligible to trade Saudi stocks.
The regulator said it may reduce
the minimum for those assets to
11.25bn riyals.
The Riyadh-based regulator
may also cap foreign ownership
of a single stock at 49%, according to the draft rules. Qualified
foreign investors, or QFIs, would
face a 5% ownership limit in a
single stock, and a 20% ceiling
for all QFIs and approved QFI
clients combined, it said. The
QFIs’ holdings may not exceed
10% of the market’s value, including interests under swaps,
according to the draft rules.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All
Share Index advanced 1.1% at
1.25pm in Riyadh.
Traders look at electronic information screens inside the offices of the Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh. The Capital Market Authority expects the market to open to foreign
investors in the first half of next year, a CMA spokesman said yesterday.
Islamic Bank of Britain
is now Al Rayan Bank
Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the
UK’s only wholly Shariah-compliant
retail bank, will hereafter be known
as Al Rayan Bank.
The change signifies the beginning
of a new chapter for the lender as
the European subsidiary of Masraf
Al Rayan, the second largest bank in
Qatar by market value.
Al Rayan Bank’s activities will
continue to be monitored by an
independent Shariah supervisory
committee and a dedicated Shariah
compliance officer. It will continue
to operate as a UK regulated bank,
and customers’ deposits will remain
protected by the financial services
compensation scheme.
Communications regarding the
anticipated rebranding activity
from IBB to Al Rayan Bank began
in October 2014, and shareholder
approval has now formalised the
change. As a result, the bank has
introduced new Al Rayan Bank logo
and brand identity which are being
implemented across its website,
literature, branches and other
“After 10 years as Islamic Bank
of Britain and IBB, the bank has
The Al Rayan Bank logo. The
lender will continue to operate
as a UK-regulated bank, and
customers’ deposits will remain
protected by the financial services
compensation scheme.
changed its name to Al Rayan Bank,
mirroring its strong and successful
parent, Masraf Al Rayan,” Sultan
Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank,
Al Rayan Bank received a ВЈ100mn
capital investment from its new
parent company in January 2014,
which has enabled it to significantly
boost its capabilities and resources.
To support the increased focus on
corporate and real estate finance, Al
Rayan Bank will develop its presence
in London, where its commercial and
Gulf Cooperation Council operations
will be based.
Arab Dairy
takeover bid
gypt’s financial regulator has
extended until January 15 the
deadline for bids to acquire Arab
Dairy, which is at the centre of a takeover battle involving Europe’s biggest
dairy group, Lactalis.
The extension allows rivals to make
counteroffers as a bidding war for Arab
Dairy intensifies.
Lactalis offered 66 Egyptian pounds
($9.2) per share in November, topping
at least two rival bids for the Egyptian
Saudi Arabia’s Arrow Food Distribution and financial firm Pioneers Holdings, which already owns 25% of Arab
Dairy, are among the other bidders.
Denmark’s Arla Foods decided to
drop its bid this month after conducting due diligence.
Sheikh Faisal: Active role.
Largest pipes and
cast unit in Qatar
starts production
Qatar has commenced production from its largest pipes and
cast unit, a joint venture of
Aamal Company and Saudi
Arabia-based Lokma Group, as
part of its strategies to support
the growing demand in infrastructure upgrade in Qatar as
well as the wider Gulf region.
The QR200mn Advanced
Pipes and Cast Company (APC)
commenced production from its
newly constructed, state-ofthe-art factory in Mesaieed. It
specialises in the manufacture
of concrete pipe products to
supply infrastructure and pipeline projects in Qatar and across
the region.
The factory is considered the
largest in Qatar with a built-up
area of 85,000 sqm and has an
annual production capacity of
450,000 tonnes.
It will produce a range of
infrastructure and construction products including jacking
pipes, reinforced concrete
pipes, circular precast concrete
manholes and precast concrete
box culverts, which is considered a new product that will be
manufactured in Qatar for the
first time.
“Aamal is committed to playing an active role in the diversification of the industrial base in
Qatar. With such a large number
of projects underway dedicated
to upgrading the infrastructure
in Qatar and the region, we expect to see significant continuation of growth in demand for the
specialised concrete and other
pipes which APC is now able to
meet,” its chairman Sheikh Faisal
bin Qassim al-Thani said.
In line with its strategy for
diversification into new, high
growth revenue streams, Aamal
anticipates significant demand
for its new concrete pipe
products driven by their wide
range of applications to Qatar’s
rapid infrastructure development including sewage, drinking
water, raw water and irrigation,
drainage, hydro power, thermal
power cooling and industrial
uses, in addition to use in highway and railway projects.
Established as a 50:50 joint
venture between Aamal and a
Saudi Arabian subsidiary of the
Lokma Group, APC will manufacture reinforced concrete
pipes using the most up-to-date
Asserting its constant endeavour to adhere to best practice
environmental and safety standards and that APC has obtained
ISO 14001 and 18001 certificates;
Tarek M El Sayed, managing
director of Aamal Company, said
“this is another important milestone for Aamal as we further
diversify into new, high growth
revenue streams.”
“I am positive that APC will
add great value to the market
and help in the development of
the infrastructure in the country.
Our depth of experience in the
pipes industry will ensure that
APC is considered a benchmark
in terms of quality, best practice
and commitment,” according
to Ahmed Lokma, chairman of
Lokma Group.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Google’s YouTube goes
beyond cat videos
with The Interview
San Francisco
A signage is displayed at the Sony Pictures Entertainment studios in Culver City, California. Sony Corp restored service for the PS4 game console on its PlayStation Network for
Microsoft on December 26, while it briefly returned online on Saturday for the PS3 and PS Vita game consoles.
Sony restores PS4 service
on PlayStation network
New York
ony Corp restored service
for the PS4 game console
on its PlayStation Network, according to a company
statement on its website yesterday in Tokyo. The recovery came
three days after Sony’s online
gaming operation and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live were hit by
connection failures on Christmas Day.
Service was restored for Microsoft on December 26, while
the PlayStation Network briefly
returned online on Saturday for
the PS3 and PS Vita game consoles. Sony said on Saturday
some users were experiencing
difficulty logging into the network. Hackers calling themselves Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the disruptions.
The game networks were attacked on the same day Sony
released The Interview online
and in independent theatres,
after major US cinema chains
decided not to show the movie
following hacking incidents
at the company’s film and TV
studio last month. A different group called Guardians of
Peace claimed responsibility for
infiltrating Sony Pictures Entertainment’s servers, destroying data, exposing Hollywood
secrets and forcing the studio
temporarily to cancel the film’s
“It’s not yet clear whether it’s
just an outage of the PlayStation Network or if some personal
data has been stolen too,” Hideki
Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst
at Ace Research Institute, said
on December 25.
Lizard Squad, which took
credit for an attack on Sony earlier this year, said on its Twitter account that it was behind
the incidents. The group said it
would “stop hitting” the services if users called attention to
the hack by retweeting its statements.
The Interview, a comedy
about a п¬Ѓctional assassination
of North Korean leader Kim
Jong-Un, was shown in more
than 300 locations on Christmas Day without incident, and
was also available for rent and
purchase at the Xbox store, a
Sony website and Google Play,
among others. It topped the
charts of the Xbox store and
YouTube’s movie store. The
limited release brought in more
than $1mn in ticket sales on
Christmas Day, Sony Pictures
US President Barack Obama
blamed North Korea for orchestrating the attacks against Sony
Pictures and vowed to respond.
North Korea has said it doesn’t
know the identity of the hackers claiming responsibility for
breaking into Sony’s computer
North Korea blamed the US
for an Internet outage it experienced, calling Obama “reckless in words and deeds” and
charging him with forcing the
release of the movie. “US Presi-
Colombia to grow faster than
peers even as oil tumbles
Colombia’s diversified economy
will enable it to grow faster than
most Latin American countries
next year, even after oil prices
slumped, Finance Minister
Mauricio Cardenas said.
Oil accounts for just 16% of
the central government’s
revenue, Cardenas said in a
phone interview from Antioquia
“Colombia is much less fiscally
dependent on oil than other
oil exporting countries and the
reason is that Colombia has a
much more diversified source of
tax revenue,” Cardenas said.“In a
nutshell, what we will have next
year is a much more balanced
growth across sectors of the
The government lowered its 2015
growth forecast to 4.2% from
4.8% this week, while maintaining
its 4.7% target for this year. The
reduction came after the price of
crude, which accounts for about
55% of exports, fell 48% in the past
six months.
Investors should differentiate
Colombia from other oil
exporting countries that are
more dependent on oil revenue,
Cardenas said.
The peso has weakened 15% in
the past three months to 2,367.35
per dollar, making it the worst
performing emerging market
currency after the Russian rouble.
Yields on Colombia’s benchmark
peso bonds due 2024 have
increased 46 basis points, or
0.46 percentage point, to 7.15%,
according to data from the central
President Juan Manuel Santos said
earlier this week that the country
is prepared for a 9tn-peso ($3.8bn)
shortfall in 2015 due to lower oil
prices. The government is aiming
to reduce its structural deficit to
1.9% of gross domestic product by
2018, from 2.3% this year.
A tax bill approved this year by
Congress will allow the Andean
nation to have the “necessary
revenue to keep public investment
at the current levels and at the
same time comply with the fiscal
rule despite the reduction in oil
prices,” Cardenas said.
“This is crucial, this is what makes
Colombia different,” he said.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg
expect Colombia’s GDP to grow
4.3% next year, compared to
3.4% in Mexico, 2.9% in Chile and
0.9% for Brazil. Only Peru, with
an estimated 4.8% expansion, is
forecast to grow more among
major Latin American countries.
The manufacturing industry will
lead growth in 2015 with a 4%
expansion as it benefits from the
weaker peso, faster US growth
and strong domestic demand,
Cardenas said. Financial services,
tourism, telecommunications and
transport will also post “robust”
growth, he said.
dent Obama is the chief culprit,”
the National Defence Commission said in a statement carried yesterday by the North’s
official Korean Central News
Agency. When Sony Pictures
said it would withdraw the п¬Ѓlm,
“Obama urged it to unconditionally screen the movie,” the
statement said.
Satoshi Nakajima, a spokesman for Sony’s games unit, said
the company was investigating
whether the attack on the PlayStation Network was related to
the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack.
E-mail and voice-mail messages to David Dennis, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, weren’t
By streaming the comedy via
the Web, Microsoft and Sony
took the risk of provoking denial-of-service hacking attacks.
The hackers had warned that
they intended to target the companies with such incidents on
Christmas Day.
can be difficult to deflect, even
if a company has ample warning they’re coming, because
they’re executed by thousands
of hacked computers performing normal yet database-intensive activities, such as running
searches or downloading videos,
all at the same time.
Cybercriminals targeted Sony
in 2011 after it sued a young researcher when he exposed security vulnerabilities in the PlayStation 3 console. The 2011 hack
involved the theft of personal
data on 77mn PSN users.
“Last time the network was
down for a month and PS4 sales
were little affected,” Ace Research’s Yasuda said. “A network
outage won’t prevent people
from buying the PS4. And this
time it comes after the peak
shopping season, too.”
Sony shares fell 0.3% to
ВҐ2,550.5 at the close on December 26 in Tokyo, compared
with a 0.4% advance by Japan’s
benchmark Topix index.
Google’s agreement to show
Sony Corp’s The Interview gave
its YouTube video-streaming
website a chance to show that
it’s more than just a destination
for amusing cat videos.
The controversial movie,
available on Christmas day
on Google Play and YouTube
Movies for $5.99 to rent and
$14.99 to own, topped the
charts on YouTube’s movie
store. The Interview added to
a growing collection of films
offered by Google that include
Divergent and The Lego Movie,
and is part of its drive to bolster
premium content to compete
with Apple’s music and video
library. Google, which runs the
most popular Internet-search
engine, is also seeking to
keep users coming to its Web
properties as digital rivals such
as Netflix and Hulu draw more
Internet traffic.
The Interview gave Google
the chance to prove to a
wider audience that it can sell
premium content, according to
James McQuivey, an analyst at
Forrester Research.
“Google has needed a way
to show love to studios for a
long time and this will do it,”
McQuivey said in an interview.
“Most people don’t think of”
YouTube “as a distribution
platform for feature film. It
might get a film up there after
it’s been out for a year or two,
so this is a good move.”
The online rollout marked the
highest-profile feature film
to debut on the Internet and
followed Sony’s last-minute
efforts to get the movie out.
Hackers linked to North Korea
launched a cyber-attack on the
studio’s computers last month
and threatened violence if the
film — a satire starring Seth
Rogen and James Franco with a
plot to kill North Korean leader
Kim Jong-Un — was shown.
In response to the warning,
major theatre chains cancelled
the film’s debut on Christmas
Day. The Web debut of The
Interview, also available
Microsoft Corp’s Xbox video
console and a site owned by
Sony, may be what’s needed
for film-watchers such as
Debbie Reed, 62, in Newton,
New Jersey, to give YouTube’s
pay service a try. The retiree
said she’s more accustomed to
watching YouTube videos for
knitting and other crafts.
“I didn’t know you can do it
from YouTube — it’s usually
Netflix or Apple,” Reed said. “It’ll
be interesting to find out what
all of this hype has been about.”
The unconventional rollout
of The Interview gave the
simultaneous theatrical and
online release its first big test.
Typically, such debuts have
been reserved for smaller films,
such as independent movies
that may not have enough
widespread appeal to warrant
a big theatrical marketing
budget, according to Paul
Dergarabedian, a senior media
analyst at Rentrak, a marketresearch firm that tracks the
movie business.
More than 300 theatres — many
of them independent — rallied
around the US to show the film
beginning December 25. The
film took more than $1mn in
ticket sales on the first day.
Previously, low-profile releases
such as 2011’s Margin Call,
which starred Kevin Spacey,
and 2012’s Arbitrage and
“Bachelorette” were released
simultaneously via video-ondemand services and in movie
theatres. “We’ve seen some
successes for VOD on the same
day as the theatrical release,
but it’s always been for smaller
movies,” Dergarabedian said.
While Google may see
increased attention for its
video services, it’s also another
example of the Mountain View,
California-based company
taking a stand on political
grounds. “After discussing all
the issues, Sony and Google
agreed that we could not sit
on the sidelines and allow a
handful of people to determine
the limits of free speech
in another country,” David
Drummond, Google’s senior
vice president of corporate
development and chief legal
officer, wrote in a blog post.
More than 6bn hours of video
are watched on the YouTube
service each month, reaching
more US adults of ages 18-34
each month than any cable
network, according to the
company’s website. Google
bought YouTube in 2006 for
$1.3bn, seeking to add more
user-generated video content.
“Knowing Google’s mantra
regarding access to
information, I would assume
the primary motivator is
providing the public with an
opportunity to see the film,”
said Colin Sebastian, an analyst
at Robert W Baird & Co in San
The companies that streamed
the comedy via the Web took
the risk of provoking denial-ofservice hacking attacks. Xbox
Live and Sony’s PlayStation
Network, Internet services
that video gamers use to
play online, were both hit by
connection failures, with the
hackers Lizard Squad claiming
responsibility. The group had
threatened disruptions on
Christmas Day. The Interview
garnered a rating of 54% on
the Rotten Tomatoes website,
and Peter Travers, a reviewer
for Rolling Stone, said that
while the movie was “stupid”
and in “bad taste,” it was also
“killer funny.”
Goldman Sachs may seek remedies
on Banco Espirito Santo decision
oldman Sachs Group said yesterday it may challenge the Bank of
Portugal’s decision not to transfer Banco Espirito Santo’s debt to a special-purpose vehicle to Novo Banco, the
bank that emerged from the breakup of
Lisbon-based Banco Espirito Santo.
Oak Finance Luxembourg was set up
by New York-based Goldman Sachs to
raise funds for Banco Espirito Santo in
July, said Fiona Laffan, a spokeswoman
for Goldman Sachs in London. The Bank
of Portugal’s Resolution Fund bailed out
the bank on August 3.
“On August 11, 2014, a senior representative of the Bank of Portugal explicitly confirmed to us in writing the transfer of these obligations,” Laffan wrote
in an e-mailed statement. “In addition,
Novo Banco also confirmed in writing
that Oak Finance had been transferred
as one of its liabilities.”
Novo Banco said in a December 23
regulatory п¬Ѓling that the Bank of Portugal had decided not to transfer the Oak
Finance liability to Novo Banco, adding
that this decision boosted Novo Banco’s
reserves by €548.3mn ($668mn).
After Banco Espirito Santo’s €4.9bn
rescue, the central bank moved the
lender’s deposit-taking operations and
most of its assets to Novo Banco Junior creditors stayed with the old bank,
After Banco Espirito Santo’s €4.9bn rescue, the central bank moved the lender’s deposit-taking operations and most of its
assets to Novo Banco Junior creditors stayed with the old bank, which is getting no state money, until it can be shut down.
which is getting no state money, until it
can be shut down.
“The Bank of Portugal’s unexpected
public announcement earlier this week
to retroactively return these obligations
contravenes market expectations and
damages multiple investors, including
pension funds, who were offered these
investments in reliance on these prior
representations,” Laffan said.
“Absent the Central Bank’s reconsidering its position in light of the damage
it will be causing to our clients and п¬Ѓnancial markets, we plan on pursuing all
appropriate remedies.”
Spokesmen at the Bank of Portugal
and Novo Banco didn’t respond to calls
seeking comment.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Dubai Investments plans
$2.7bn property projects
NCB proposes H2 dividend of 0.65 riyal
Chairman of the board of directors of National Commercial Bank (NCB) Mansour al-Maiman signs during the listing ceremony at the Saudi Stock
Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh on November 12. NCB proposed a dividend of 0.65 riyal per share for the second half of 2014, it said in a bourse
statement yesterday. The bank, the country’s largest, listed on the Riyadh bourse after the largest-ever initial public offer of shares in the Arab world.
Dubai Investments plans 10bn dirhams
($2.7bn) of real-estate projects in the
next five years as it seeks to benefit from
resurgent property demand.
Developments include Mirdiff Hills, a 2.5bn
dirham project in Dubai that will include
1,500 homes, a 230-room hotel, shops
and 200,000 square-feet of office space,
chief executive officer Khalid bin Kalban
said in an interview. The company’s Dubai
Investment Real Estate Co unit will start
tendering for the development in the next
two months, he said.
Dubai Investments, whose largest
shareholder is state-owned Investment
Corp of Dubai (ICD), is seeking to profit
from a market recovery in the emirate after
one of the world’s worst property crashes
during the financial crisis in 2008. Local
developers are reviving projects amid a
surge in prices and new measures such
as limiting mortgages and a doubling
of transaction fees which have helped
stabilise the market.
“We don’t think there will be need to
borrow” for Mirdiff Hills, bin Kalban
said. “We’ll be able to sell the project
easily because of its size, location and
components.” Still, the company may
need bank or debt-market funding for
a 7bn-dirham project planned in Dubai
Investment Park.
The 13mn square-feet village with homes,
shops, offices and hotels, may require
the company to raise cash either through
loans, Islamic bonds or by seeking
investors to take a stake in the project,
according to bin Kalban.
“We are talking to a major investor to come
on board and help,” he said. “They will
either pay us rental or take over the project
within a certain number of years. ��We are
discussing seriously the option of rent to
own with them.’’
Work started two weeks ago on an 800mndirham business park in Fujairah, bin
Kalban said. The park will include a 220room hotel, 200,000 square feet of offices,
150,000 square feet of retail space and
some apartments. It’s set for completion
within two and half years, he said.
Al Taif Investment, a 60%-owned unit of
Dubai Investments and developer of the
business park, secured a 300mn dirham
loan from Al-Hilal Bank for the project.
Dubai Investments is also in talks with
owners of several unfinished buildings
within Dubai Investment Park to take over
and complete the stalled construction, he
said, without naming them.
Saudi budget assuming
$80 crude price is seen
as belief in the rebound
Kuwait City
audi Arabia’s 2015 budget is probably assuming an oil price of $80 a barrel, and will
be seen as a sign of confidence in the market, according to a former economic adviser to
the country’s government.
The assumption is down from $103 a barrel
for this year, John Sfakianakis, who used to be
chief economic adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance, said by phone after the budget
was announced on Thursday. The world’s biggest
crude exporter set 2015 spending at 860bn riyals
($229bn) with revenue falling to 715bn riyals from
1.046tn riyals in 2014, the Finance Ministry said.
Oil, which has slumped 47% this year to $60.23 a
barrel in London, accounted for 89% of its 2014
Brent crude tumbled into a bear market this
year as the US pumped the most oil in more than
three decades, leading the UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei to urge producers from
outside the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to trim output. Iraq, the secondbiggest producer in Opec, said last week its 2015
budget is based on $60 oil.
“Everyone was expecting to see a budget built
on a price around $60 but that would have sent a
negative message to the oil market,” Sfakianakis
said from Riyadh. “With a fiscal break even price
of $80 a barrel, the government is sending a message to the market that we are expecting to see a
rebound in oil prices.” Sfakianakis is Middle East
director at London- based Ashmore Group.
A handout illustration of the Fujairah Business Park released to the media yesterday.
The park will include a 220-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of offices, 150,000 square
feet of retail space and some apartments. It’s set for completion within two and half
UAE’s Marka to buy retail outfit from Dubai World for $60mn
Saudi Arabia is confident that crude prices will rebound with global economic growth boosting
demand as high-cost producers cut back, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on December 21. “I’m 100%
sure prices will go up, they have no other direction but to go up.”
cording to data compiled by Bloomberg. Iraq, the
second-biggest producer, was pumping 3.35mn
Opec’s decision to maintain output at its November 27 meeting in Vienna fanned speculation
that Saudi Arabia and other members want North
American shale drillers and other producers outside the group to be the п¬Ѓrst to cut production.
Saudi Arabia and Iran this month cut the official
price levels of their main light crude grades for
sale to Asia to the lowest in at least 14 years.
Saudi Arabia is confident that crude prices will
rebound with global economic growth boosting
demand as high-cost producers cut back, Oil
Minister Ali al-Naimi said on December 21. “I’m
100% sure prices will go up, they have no other
direction but to go up.”
US stockpiles climbed 7.27mn barrels in the week
ended December 19 as imports surged, according to
the Energy Information Administration.
Saudi Arabia has 265bn barrels of oil reserves,
with production of 9.65mn bpd in November, ac-
Lower oil price
sword’ for Egypt
he fall in global oil prices will cut Egypt’s fuel subsidy
bill but could hit the п¬Ѓnances of oil-exporting Gulf
allies who have showered it with billions of dollars in
Oil has dropped dramatically over the past six months,
with Brent crude trading at $60.87 a barrel on December 23,
down 47% from this year’s peak just over $115 in June.
If it stays at that level, the government expects to save
30bn Egyptian pounds ($4.2bn) on fuel subsidies for its
86mn people in the 2014-15 п¬Ѓscal year. But that is less
than half the total Gulf aid it received in the last п¬Ѓscal year
“This is a double-edged sword,” said Justin Dargin, a
Middle East energy expert at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
“If oil prices remain low, it is likely that its Gulf patrons
will be forced to reduce some of their funding.”
Turmoil sparked by the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran leader Hosni Mubarak has battered Egypt’s economy.
Cash and oil products worth $10.6bn arrived from the Gulf
in 2013-14, bolstering the economy and giving Cairo space
to reform the subsidy system that had turned it from energy
exporter into net importer in recent years.
Gulf allies are also set to play an important role at an international conference in March, where Egypt hopes to attract billions of dollars in investment.
Ashish Khanna, lead energy specialist at the World Bank
in Cairo, said Egypt stood to benefit overall from oil’s decline and would save upwards of 20bn pounds even if prices
nudge back closer to $80.
Marka, a retailing and restaurants start-up,
has agreed to buy a sporting goods retail
firm from state-owned conglomerate
Dubai World for 220mn dirhams
($60mn), in a move that will make Marka
operationally profitable in 2015, it said
The acquisition of Retailcorp, a subsidiary
of Dubai World’s investment unit Istithmar
World, will be funded by the Marka’s own
funds and bank facilities, said the UAE-
based company, which listed in Dubai
earlier this year.
The deal will give Marka a network of 15
sporting goods outlets across the UAE, and
Marka aims to expand the chain across the
country and the region, it added.
Dubai World, which signed a $25bn debt
restructuring agreement in 2011 after it
was hit hard by the global financial crisis,
has gradually been selling off assets to
help it meet the terms of the restructuring.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Bahrain sukuk battered amid oil drop
umbling oil prices are battering Bahrain’s Shariahcompliant bonds.
The Gulf nation’s dollar-denominated sukuk that mature in
2018 have dropped 1.3% since the
end of September, compared with
an average 0.8% gain for more
than 30 Islamic sovereign dollar
bonds tracked by Bloomberg. Only
the п¬Ѓve-year $1bn sukuk issued by
Pakistan have performed worse.
The decline underscores how
oil’s 45% slide since last year is
hurting a country where Standard
& Poor’s estimates crude accounts
for 65% of п¬Ѓscal revenue and yet
has oil reserves that are less than
0.1% of neighbouring Saudi Arabia’s. The retreat threatens to
jeopardise some of the $30bn of
infrastructure projects the government is planning to sustain
economic growth, according to
“Bahrain is a bit more sensitive because they don’t have a lot
in reserves as Saudi or others to
keep supporting their projects,”
Apostolos Bantis, a credit analyst
at Commerzbank in Dubai, said by
phone on December 17. “They will
have to cut costs and stop some of
the projects they’re working on.”
Low oil prices will “exacerbate”
structural weaknesses in Bahrain’s
public п¬Ѓnances and may lead to a
10% decline in government revenue next year, S&P said in a December 12 report, revising the
country’s debt outlook to negative
from stable.
Bahrain requires an average oil
price of about $120 a barrel to balance its budget, according to S&P.
The smallest crude oil producer in
the Gulf, Bahrain witnessed some
unrest in the region amid turmoil
triggered by revolutions in Tunisia
and Egypt.
Last month the island state held
parliamentary elections. “Many
of the newly elected members of
the parliament are not seen as bu-
reaucrats as they are not former
government officials and come
from different backgrounds, which
means they come fresh to the role
with no added baggage,” Hassan
Jarrar, chief executive officer of
Standard Chartered Bahrain said
in an e-mail on December 3. The
new government can be “a force”
in moving infrastructure plans
forward, he said.
Bahrain plans to invest “up to
$30bn” in public projects over
the coming years across a range
of industries including transport,
housing, manufacturing, energy,
healthcare and education, according Jarmo Kotilaine, a chief economist at the Manama-based Bahrain Economic Development Board
who projects growth of more than
4% in 2014.
spending is an important driver
while even the oil sector has surprised on the upside,” he said by
e-mail on December 21.
Among its plans, Bahrain is
spending $743mn for three power
plants, $82mn on a 120-bed oncology centre and constructing more
than 4,000 residential homes.
The yield on Bahrain’s 2018 Islamic notes jumped 54 basis points
to 2.7% in the quarter through
December 19, compared with an
average 17 basis-point increase to
4.4% for Middle East sukuk, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co
Bahrain and Oman will be the
countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council most susceptible to
lower oil prices, Moody’s Investors Service said in its report this
month. Bahrain has reserve assets
of about $5.4bn, including gold
and foreign currencies, compared
with $745bn for Saudi Arabia,
government data show. Its deficit may widen to more than 7% of
gross domestic product next year,
Moody’s said.
“Running a deficit for one year
is not a big deal and manageable,”
Bantis said. “But if they keep running deficits then they will be in
big trouble.”
An oil pump operates in the Awali oil field in Bahrain (file). The country requires an average oil
price of about $120 a barrel to balance its budget, according to S&P.
With oil
GCC seen
to Islamic
he almost 50% plunge in oil this year is set to unleash
a wave of Islamic bond sales as Gulf Co-operation
Council nations seek to compensate for slumping
Sukuk issuance across the region in 2015 will surpass this
year’s $14.8bn, according to Emad Mostaque at Ecstrat Ltd.
The 2014 п¬Ѓgure is the lowest in three years, data compiled
by Bloomberg show. The Gulf states may sell sukuk to help
meet planned expenditure, including to fund infrastructure
projects at home, said John Sfakianakis, Middle East Director at Ashmore Group.
With Saudi Arabia and Qatar planning more than $700bn
of spending during the next seven years, boosting sales of
sukuk will help compensate for oil prices that are about 25%
below the $80 a barrel the International Monetary Fund says
governments in the region need to balance their budgets.
The six-nation GCC includes four members of Opec, which
supplies 40% of the world’s oil.
“There will have to be a balance between spending and
debt issuance in order to cover for a lot of the capital and
current expenditures,” Sfakianakis said by phone from Riyadh on December 16. “It’s reasonable to expect sovereign
debt issuance to increase”.
Brent crude, used as a benchmark for more than half the
world’s oil, may decline to $50 a barrel in 2015, according to
a Bloomberg survey of 17 analysts.
Islamic bonds from
Bahrain and Oman are seen the GCC, which comply
most susceptible to lower oil with the ban on interprices and are likely to issue est, account for more
than a quarter of all
sovereign debt to finance
sales in a market worth
their fiscal deficits
about $310bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain are regular issuers.
“Sovereigns in the GCC may increasingly rely on sukuk
as a means to support government funding at a time of decreasing oil revenue,” Jonathan Fried, capital markets partner at law firm Linklaters in Dubai, said in an e-mail on December 16. Linklaters advised the Luxembourg government
on its debut sukuk sale earlier this year. “There is an evergrowing demand for sukuk products in the GCC.”
That hasn’t stopped yields climbing as oil prices collapsed. The yield on Shariah-compliant bonds from the
Middle East jumped 14 basis points last week, the steepest increase since August last year, according to JPMorgan
Chase & Co indexes. That compares with a 22 basis-point
decline in the benchmark 10-year Treasury.
“In the short term, I don’t think there will be any noticeable impact on any of the governments’ strategies,” Thomas
Christie, the head of п¬Ѓxed income at Prometheus Capital
Finance Ltd, a Dubai-based investment advisory company,
said by phone on December 15. “If the oil price continues in
the downward trend, in the long term, in the next five years,”
there may be an impact to sales, he said.
Bahrain and Oman will be most susceptible to lower oil
prices and are likely to issue sovereign debt to п¬Ѓnance their
fiscal deficits, according to a Moody’s Investors Service report last week. The ratings agency said earlier this year the
sovereign sukuk market will reach about $30bn globally in
2014, and it expects growth to continue in 2015.
Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, sold a $600mn sukuk last month. Oman’s
Central Bank head Hamud Sangur al-Zadjali said in October
the country may sell 200mn rials ($519mn) of Islamic bonds
next year, its debut sale.
While “less resilient” GCC states with fewer fiscal buffers
like Bahrain and Oman are likely to issue, “all of them should
see an increase in sovereign debt issuance over the next year
or two,” Ashmore’s Sfakianakis said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 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
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
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 Pjsc
Arkan Building Materials Co
Aldar Properties Pjsc
Al Ain Ahlia Ins. Co.
Al Khazna Insurance Co
Agthia Group Pjsc
Al Fujairah National Insuran
Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co
Abu Dhabi National Insurance
Abu Dhabi National Hotels
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Aviation
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
United Paper Industries Bsc
United Gulf Investment Corp
United Gulf Bank
United Finance Co
Trafco Group Bsc
Takaful International Co
Taib Bank -$Us
Securities & Investment Co
Seef Properties
Sudan Telecommunications Co$
Al-Salam Bank
Delmon Poultry Co
National Hotels Co
National Bank Of Bahrain
Nass Corp Bsc
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Investcorp Bank -$Us
Inovest Co Bsc
Intl Investment Group-Kuwait
Gulf Monetary Group
Global Investment House Kscc
Gulf Finance House Ec
Bahrain Family Leisure Co
Esterad Investment Co B.S.C.
Bahrain Duty Free Complex
Bahrain Car Park Co
Bahrain Cinema Co
Bahrain Tourism Co
Bahraini Saudi Bank/The
Bahrain National Holding
Bankmuscat Saog
Bmmi Bsc
Bmb Investment Bank
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C
Bahrain Flour Mills Co
Bahrain Commercial Facilitie
Bbk Bsc
Bahrain Telecom Co
Bahrain Ship Repair & Engin
Albaraka Banking Group
Banader Hotels Co
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Lt Price
% Chg
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Mizuho cautious on outlook in 2015
izuho Financial Group, set to
become the biggest underwriter of Japanese corporate
bonds in 2014, is cautious on the outlook for next year as yields approaching
zero% put off investors.
Mizuho overtook Nomura Holdings
earlier this month, managing 22.5% of
ВҐ7.32tn ($61bn) in sales excluding selfled issues, according to data compiled
by Bloomberg. Deals decreased 3.3%
from a year earlier. Billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Corp issued ¥1.1tn
in notes to individuals this year to help
fund acquisitions, accounting for 13%
of total offerings.
The Bank of Japan’s increased bond
buying since October has pushed average corporate yields to a record low
0.27% and four-year sovereign debt
yields below zero, forcing top-rated
issuers to offer extra premiums. Company notes are at risk of falling again
next year if investors and sellers aren’t
capable of п¬Ѓnding mutually-acceptable
terms, according to Mizuho.
“While it is going to be much more
difficult than before under these very
low interest rates, п¬Ѓnding exactly the
point that is satisfactory to both investors and issuers is going to be important,” Satoru Yamaguchi, a senior executive at Mizuho Securities Co, a unit
of Japan’s third-largest bank, said in an
interview. “With interest rates falling
so far, we’ve hit a point in Japan where
it is like �where do we go from here?’”
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co, a joint- venture of Morgan
Stanley and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
The head offices of Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank in Tokyo. Mizuho Financial Group is cautious on the outlook for
next year as yields approaching 0% put off investors.
Group, Japan’s biggest bank, ranked
third at 18.8% of deals, while Daiwa Securities Group was fourth at 16.7%.
Nomura, which underwrote 21.7%
of this year’s total, was the leader from
2011 to 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mizuho’s lead over
Nomura is even greater when group
company note offerings are included.
Mizuho Financial, the holding com-
pany, and Mizuho Bank, the largest
banking unit, sold ВҐ520bn in debt this
year, second only to SoftBank in terms
of issuances.
Four-year Japanese government
bond yields were at minus 0.02% last
week, and yields as long as seven years
were less than 0.1%. With the BoJ offering deposit-taking institutions an
interest rate of 0.1% on excess funds
placed with it, that level has become
a floor for pricing regardless of previous credit spread levels. No corporate
bond issuer has offered less than that
this year.
Companies with high debt scores
such as Sekisui House, graded AA by
Japan Credit Rating Agency, and Nissan Motor’s auto credit subsidiary both
sold three-year bonds at 0.11% last
month. The two, which have offered
yield premiums of less than 10 basis
points in previous sales, are in effect
compensating investors for disappearing base interest rates by offering higher spreads than that.
“Higher-rated issuers such as government agencies and municipalities
are being forced to price bonds regardless of spreads,” said Masanori Azuma,
the head of the debt capital markets
department in Tokyo at Nomura Securities Co, Japan’s biggest brokerage.
“Sales that should really be discussed
in terms of spreads are now being restricted by absolute yield levels when
priced because of the effects of monetary policy.”
The city of Kobe, rated AA by Japan’s Rating & Investment Information, sold five-year notes on December 11 at 0.101%, showing that
investors are chasing even 1/10 of a
basis point more than the BoJ’s deposit rate for lenders.
If the bond market moves too far to
pricing terms favourable to issuers,
investors won’t buy, and if investors
demand too much, issuers will turn
to bank loans, according to Mizuho’s
Yamaguchi. Issuers are likely to sell
more 10-year notes as they still give
positive yields, with better-rated borrowers offering debt as long as 20 years,
he said.
Companies aren’t taking on unneeded debt even at current levels and have
plentiful cash, according to Nomura’s
Azuma. That will probably cap sales
next year, he said.
“With the exception of government
bonds, we’re not likely to see much of
an increase in sales next year,” said Mizuho’s Yamaguchi.
Japan to �steadily
reduce’ new bond
issue next year
Japan’s government said it
would “steadily reduce” new
government bond issuance for
the next fiscal year from that
planned for the current year
ending in March 2015 in a bid to
curb runaway public debt.
In a draft budget outline
submitted to the top economic
council, Tokyo also pledged to
“do its utmost” to meet its goal
of halving the country’s primary
budget deficit in the next fiscal
year. The outline, to be endorsed
by the cabinet by year-end,
highlighted the delicate balance
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must
strike in reviving the economy
while reining in public debt.
Japan’s public debt tops twice
the size of its economy, by far the
worst in the developed world.
In a show of Abe’s resolve to
keep Japan’s public finances
from deteriorating further, the
government will lower new
bond issuance for the next fiscal
year for a third straight year.
Based on the budget outline,
the government is expected to
draft an annual budget for the
next fiscal year in January.
In the draft outline, the government reiterated its pledge
to bring the primary balance,
excluding new bond sales and
debt servicing, into the black by
the fiscal year to March 2021.
“We will create a positive
cycle between economic
revival and fiscal consolidation
by achieving a strong economy
to boost tax revenue while
accelerating efforts to curb
spending without making any
sector sacrosanct,” it said.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Oil fall may
hit GCC
Qatar stocks gain 1.46%
on local buy support
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
he Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday opened the week on a
stronger note, lifted by real estate, consumer goods, industrials and
telecom stocks.
Local retail investors’ buying interests led the 20-stock Qatar Index
(based on price data) gain for the
third consecutive session by 1.46%
to 12,631.42 points as volumes also
There was an across the board buying – particularly in the real estate,
consumer goods, industrials, telecom and transport counters – in the
bourse, which is up 21.69% year-todate.
Market capitalisation rose 1.67%
or more than QR11bn to QR690.66bn
with micro, mid, small and large equities gaining 3.87%, 1.3%, 0.94% and
0.9% respectively.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seem gaining faster
than the other indices in the market,
where trade was highly skewed towards
realty and banks, which alone accounted for more than 68% of the total trade
The Total Return Index gained 1.46%
to 18,839.65 points, All Share Index by
1.72% to 3,218.26 points and Al Rayan
Islamic Index by 2.24% to 4,269.84
Real estate stocks appreciated 3.96%,
consumer goods (2.24%), industrials
(2.09%), telecom (2.04%), transport
(1.87%), insurance (1.29%) banks and
п¬Ѓnancial services (0.63%).
More than 90% of the stocks extended gains with major movers being
Mazaya Qatar, Ezdan, Aamal Company,
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Industries Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, Widam
Food, Salam International Investment,
Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Islamic Bank,
Commercial Bank, Doha Bank and Alijarah Holding.
Qatari retail investors turned net
buyers to the tune of QR16.14mn compared with net sellers of QR99.37mn
the previous trading day.
Domestic institutions’ net buying weakened to QR13.88mn against
QR89.89mn last Thursday.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net
buying fell to QR4.45mn compared to
QR12.39mn on December 25.
Foreign institutions’ net profit
booking surged to QR34.47mn against
QR3.01mn the previous trading day.
Total trade volume rose 23% to
28.02mn shares, while value was down
4% to QR872.7mn. Transactions gained
23% to 10,612.
The consumer goods sector’s trade
volume tripled to 2.19mn equities, value surged 77% to QR77.44mn and deals
by 82% to 1,079.
The transport sector’s trade volume
more than doubled to 1.59mn stocks,
value gained 70% to QR76.99mn and
transactions by 74% to 661.
The telecom sector witnessed 41%
surge in trade volume to 2.84mn shares,
The Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday opened the week on a stronger note, lifted by real estate, consumer goods, industrials and telecom stocks.
value by 50% to QR58.44mn and deals
by 74% to 999.
The industrials sector’s trade volume
grew 39% to 2.06mn equities but value
shrank 34% to QR70.24mn. Transactions rose 26% to 1,434.
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services
sector reported 20% expansion in trade
volume to 3.55mn stocks but on 22%
fall in value to QR150.64mn and 19% in
deals to 1,712.
The real estate sector’s trade volume
rose 6% to 15.53mn shares, while value
fell 10% to QR420.32mn. Transactions
soared 23% to 4,465.
However, the insurance sector’s
trade volume was down 7% to 0.25mn
shares but value rose 2% to QR18.64mn
and transactions by 21% to 262.
In the debt market, there was no
trading of treasury bills and government bonds.
Gulf bourses rise despite weakness in oil prices
Gulf stock markets rose yesterday despite
oil’s weakness as Saudi Arabia’s plan to
maintain government spending at a high
level boosted investor confidence.
The Saudi government released a 2015
state budget last Thursday that provides
for a 0.6% increase in spending from this
year’s plan. That cheered the retail investors who dominate Gulf stock markets;
they had feared falling oil revenues would
trigger spending cuts across the region.
The new mood of optimism in the
Gulf helped investors largely ignore the
fresh decline in the price of Brent crude
oil, which closed below $60 a barrel on
Friday. The main Saudi index rose 1.2% in
active trade as most sectors gained. Saudi
Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) surged
7.8% to 33.10 riyals, continuing the leg up
which started late last week when Riyad
Capital lifted its price target for the stock
to 49riyals from 46riyals.
But National Commercial Bank, the
kingdom’s biggest lender, lost 1.2% after
proposing a dividend of 0.65 riyal per
share for the second half of 2014.
Dubai’s index jumped 2.6% to 3,987
points as most stocks gained. The benchmark rose briefly above the psychologically important 4,000 point mark but
then gave up some of its gains.
Shares in retail start-up Marka surged
QNB wins two awards from
Ethos Integrated Solutions
meet today
NB has won the “Best
Customer Experience –
Overall Bank in Qatar”
and “Best Customer Experience – Overall Branch in Qatar”
awards from Ethos Integrated
Solutions during the 10th Annual Customer Experience
Benchmarking Index ceremony
held in Burj Al Arab Hotel in
QNB Group GM Retail Heba
al-Tamimi said, “These prestigious awards reflect our commitment to deliver the highest
level of customer service. We
continue to п¬Ѓnding innovative,
creative and compelling new
ways to engage with customers
in a fast and efficient way.”
The Customer Experience
Benchmarking Index 2014
(CEBI 2014) is an extensive
customer experience benchmarking study in the GCC,
which aims to provide the retail
banking industry with a methodology of benchmarking their
products and services against
the competition to drive constant improvement.
Ethos Integrated Solutions
uses professional researchers
to focus on real life scenarios of
a prospective customer using
the bank and exchange house
QNB bagged two new awards from Ethos Integrated Solutions
during the 10th Annual Customer Experience Benchmarking
Index ceremony.
services by visiting and testing the service provided in its
customer delivery channels
namely branches, call centre,
and online.
The studies, which were
conducted between May and
November 2014, were based on
evaluating four key variables of
service provision: reliability,
responsiveness, assurance, and
QNB Group currently op-
erates in 26 countries across
three continents. The bank was
recently recognised as “Best
Bank in The Middle East” by
Euromoney Magazine.
It also received the “Best
Bank in Qatar” and “Best
Bank in the Middle East 2014”
awards from the Banker Magazine. QNB maintains its recognition as “One of the World’s
Top 50 Safest Banks” by the
Global Finance Magazine.
he South Korean embassy,
in co-operation with the
Qatar Chamber (QC), will
host the Korea-Qatar business
networking meeting today at the
St Regis Hotel Doha.
In a statement, the embassy
said the meeting is part of the
40th anniversary celebrations
that commemorates the establishing of relations between
South Korea and Qatar.
The meeting is expected to
be attended by prominent leaders from the Qatari business
community, including QC vice
chairman Mohamed bin Towar
al-Kuwari and Qatar Stock Exchange CEO Rashid bin Ali alMansoori.
The event is also expected to
gather executives of several top
businesses, trade organisations
and companies, as well as members of the Korean and Qatari
business community here, the
embassy added.
Aside from anniversary celebrations, the embassy noted that
the event aims to promote bilateral business relations, serve
as a platform to further develop
stronger economic ties, and encourage networking between
Korean and Qatari businessmen.
12.0% after it said it had agreed to buy
sporting goods retail firm Retailcorp from
Dubai World for over 220mn dirhams
($60mn). The move will make Marka,
which listed this year, operationally profitable in 2015, it said.
Abu Dhabi’s index rose 1.3% on the
back of blue chips such as National Bank
of Abu Dhabu and First Gulf Bank, up 1.1
and 2.1% respectively. Outside the Gulf,
Egypt’s bourse moved little as key stocks
were mixed and Commercial International Bank , the biggest listed entity, was flat.
Trading volume remained low.
Elsewhere, Oman index added 0.04%
to 6,436 points, Kuwait index climbed
1.5% to 6,679 points and Bahrain index
edged up 0.1% to 1,415 points.
prolonged period of
weakened oil prices is
likely to hit the construction market in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region,
whose economies by and large
depend on petrodollars, according to a study.
“If oil prices remain subdued
for an extended period, government п¬Ѓnances could be strained,
which may lower the prospects
of the (construction) sector in
the longer term,” Global Investment House said in a report.
Over the past few months, oil
prices in the global markets have
tumbled with Brent currently
trading at $60 per barrel, down
from more than $100 in June
To counter the strong supply potential from the Western
countries, Opec (Organisation of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is still maintaining status
quo on the supplies.
“Even as low oil prices are a
concern for government spending, the near term impact is expected to be minimal due to the
strong fundamentals of most
GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) nations, including historic
п¬Ѓscal surpluses and low external
debt,” the report said.
The value of new construction
projects to be awarded in 2014 is
expected to rise to about $180bn
(2013: $156bn), the highest in the
last six years. Moreover, low debt
in most GCC countries, historic
fiscal surpluses, and diversification measures could underpin
government spending for the
construction sector in the near
However, budgets may be
trimmed in the long term if oil
prices remain subdued for an extended period (considering they
are already slightly below п¬Ѓscal
breakeven levels), it said.
The GCC’s construction industry continued to expand in
third quarter (Q3) of 2014 with
a 4.8% year-on-year (y-o-y)
growth in order backlog. However, the sector’s profits, following an uptrend for four consecutive quarters, started falling in
the second quarter (Q2) of 2014
and declined 21.4% y-o-y to
$35mn in Q3, 2014.
The construction sector’s
gross margin stood at 10.8% in
Q3, 2014, down from 11.4% in
Q3, 2013. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, gross margin contracted from 11.3% in Q2, 2014.
Finding that operating margin contracted to 3.1% in Q3,
2014 from 4.4% in Q3, 2013;
Global said “this trend supports
our view that the sector would
continue to record margin decline in the near term (due to
high construction costs and stiff
competition), before starting to
Citi Qatar holds 2nd Bourse Game Seminar
iti Qatar has recently held its second
Bourse Game Seminar here, which aims to
train local treasury, п¬Ѓnance, and investment officers from corporate and government
entities in the country.
The п¬Ѓve-day seminar was an intensive introduction to money markets and foreign exchange,
which utilises practical learning techniques and
promotes a stimulating learning environment.
The Doha version of the seminar featured 18
trainees from more than eight major corporations
and covered main money market and foreign exchange topics, including structure of rates, FX
swaps, and interbank dealing while trainees spent
hours on a simulated trading floor learning the
п¬Ѓner points of foreign exchange trading.
“Bourse Master” Theodore Leventis, who has
been running the Bourse Games for both Citi staff
and customers for the last 35 years in more than
70 countries around the world, conducted the
During the seminar, the trading floor was busy
as teams representing fictitious banks held foreign exchange trading and money market activities with “traders” in discussions over hedging and investment strategies. The seminar was
concluded with the awarding of prizes for the top
three “banks” and certificates for all attendees.
Citi Qatar CEO Carmen Haddad said, “The
Bourse Game is part of Citi’s mission to answer
to clients’ needs. It reflects our commitment to
training local professionals and teaching them
hands-on skills to develop a more insightful understanding of investment opportunity as well as
risk and the way markets work on a global scale.”
Citi has been present in the Middle East and
North Africa since 1955 and offers full scale corporate and investment banking services in Qatar,
Kuwait, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Pakistan.
Citi’s institutional capabilities in the region include treasury and trade solutions, corporate and
investment banking, capital markets origination,
global markets, and Islamic banking.
Participants in the Bourse Game with members of the Citi Qatar team and Theodore Leventis.
NBA | Page 8
Chelsea run
aground at
Lowry outplays
Paul, Raptors
easily beat
Monday, December 29, 2014
Rabia I 7, 1436 AH
Beckham’s dream of
stadium in Miami
still not a reality
Page 7
Rahane, Kohli hit tons as
India close in on Australia
Kohli savages the Australian bowlers, particularly Johnson, for his third ton of the series, while Rahane hits his best score
Ajinkya Rahane (left) and Virat Kohli led India’s
fight with both scoring an attacking century
and added 262 runs for the fourth wicket
against Australia in the third Test at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. (AFP)
ndia counter-punched their
way back into the third Test on
the back of centuries from Virat
Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in a
record stand at the Melbourne Cricket
Ground yesterday.
Kohli savaged the Australian bowlers, particularly Mitchell Johnson,
for his third ton of the series, while
Rahane hit his highest Test score of
147. The pair piled on 262 runs for the
fourth wicket, a record for the fourth
wicket by any pair at the MCG. It
eclipsed Michael Clarke and Shane
Watson’s 194 against Sri Lanka two
years ago.
Kohli was out in the last over of the
day, brilliantly snapped up by Brad
Haddin off Johnson for 169 in 380
minutes off 272 balls with 18 fours.
At the close India were 462 for eight,
trailing by 68 runs with two days remaining. Mohammed Shami was nine
not out.
“I’m very proud of the way we
played. We backed ourselves throughout. I’m not disappointed at all (at
getting out in the last over),” Kohli
told the reporters.
Australia paceman Ryan Harris said
early wickets on the fourth day would
be crucial. “Now that we’ve got eight
wickets down the quicker we get them
in the morning the better, and hopefully have a bit of lead and bat and see
where we go from there,” he said.
The last time India put on a 250-
plus stand in an overseas Test was the
353 by Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S.
Laxman for the fourth wicket in Sydney in 2004. Rahane was п¬Ѓnally out
leg before wicket to Nathan Lyon for
147 in the 108th over.
He batted for four hours and faced
171 balls with 21 fours. The pair were
particularly severe on Johnson, with
Kohli crunching three fours off one
over and Rahane repeating the dose
in Johnson’s subsequent over. The last
time Johnson (1-133) had been punished as severely was 0-104 against
England at the Gabba in 2010.
Rahane raised his highest Test score
with a cross-bat four off Johnson, bettering his 118 against New Zealand in
Wellington in February. Their running
between the wickets was impressive
as was their array and placement of
shots to neuter the Australian attack.
India’s cause was aided by a poor day
in the п¬Ѓeld for Australia, with three
dropped catches.
Lyon bungled a regulation twohanded head-high chance off his
own bowling when Rahane was on
70 and Watson put down Kohli (88)
at п¬Ѓrst slip off Johnson. Substitute
п¬Ѓelder Peter Siddle made it three with
a dropped two-handed chance off
Lokesh Rahul. But the debutant was
out off Lyon’s next ball, caught by Josh
Hazlewood for three.
“I don’t remember the last time
I’ve seen them be inconsistent in the
п¬Ѓeld. They have very high standards
with slip catching and ground fielding,” Kohli said. “It might just be one
of those off days.”
FOR 1)
M. Vijay c Marsh b Watson
S. Dhawan c Smith b Harris
C. Pujara c Haddin b Harris
V. Kohli c Haddin b Johnson
A. Rahane lbw Lyon
K. L. Rahul c Hazlewood b Lyon
M. Dhoni c Haddin b Harris
R. Ashwin c and b Harris
The ragged Australian п¬Ѓelding was
in contrast to the morning session
when Brad Haddin took a stunning
catch to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara
off the second ball of the day.
The veteran wicketkeeper, who
missed a far easier chance off Pujara
late on Saturday, pulled off one of the
catches of the series, flinging himself
to his right to take a spectacular acrobatic catch as the batsman failed to
add to his overnight 25.
Skipper MS Dhoni was out late in
the day, caught behind off Harris for
11, and the lion-hearted Harris took
a tumbling caught and bowled to dismiss Ravi Ashwin for a duck.
There was a chilling moment as
Murali Vijay on 63 turned his head to
avoid a searing Johnson bouncer and
took a blow on the side of his helmet
early in the day. It was eerily reminiscent of the blow Australian batsman
Phillip Hughes took when he was fatally struck by a similar delivery in a
domestic game last month.
Vijay batted on but was out п¬Ѓve
runs later when he was caught by
Shaun Marsh at п¬Ѓrst slip off Watson.
Johnson was also involved in a flash
point when he hurled the ball back
at Kohli, striking the batsman on his
back. Kohli collapsed to the ground.
Johnson quickly apologised but the
mood soured, with the umpires intervening to ease tensions between the
two. India, trailing 2-0, are striving to
win the Melbourne Test to stay alive
in the four-match Border-Gavaskar
Trophy series. But they have not won
at the MCG for 33 years.
M. Shami not out
Extras (lb1, w1)
Total (8 wickets; 126.2 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Dhawan), 2-108
(Pujara), 3-147 (Vijay), 4-409 (Rahane),
5-415 (Rahul), 6-430 (Dhoni), 7-434 (Ashwin), 8-462 (Kohli)
Bowling: Johnson 29.2-5-133-1, Harris 257-69-4 (1w), Hazlewood 25-6-75-0, Watson
16-3-65-1, Lyon 29-3-108-2, Smith 2-0-11-0
Ajinkya Rahane (right) plays a shot.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Boult double keeps
New Zealand in control
Kohli hits out
at Aussies on
and off the field
Sri Lanka reduced to 293-5 at stumps, still 10 runs from making New Zealand bat again
irat Kohli blasted a
brilliant 169 to help
India claw back into
the third Test yesterday and was still п¬Ѓring missiles
at the Australian team well
after the close of play on day
three. The flamboyant batsman has not taken a backward
step on the tour, compiling
three defiant centuries and
п¬Ѓghting п¬Ѓre with п¬Ѓre in the face
of Australia’s verbal pot-shots.
He was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson to п¬Ѓnish play at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground,
but subjected the paceman
to his worst day in the п¬Ѓeld in
years, smashing him to the
fence in three consecutive balls
in one over. Having driven India from a position of some
peril in the morning to 462-8
at stumps, a tough-talking
Kohli raised the stakes again for
the rest of the series, saying he
respected only “some” of the
hosts’ players.
“They were calling me a
spoilt brat,” Kohli told reporters. “I said �maybe that’s the
way I am—I know you guys
hate me and I like that’. I don’t
mind having a chat on the п¬Ѓeld
and it worked in my favour, I
guess. I like playing against
Australia because it’s really
hard for them to stay calm. I
don’t mind an argument on the
п¬Ѓeld. It really excites me and
brings the best out of me, so
they don’t seem to be learning
the lesson.”
Having struggled on tour in
England and brought a middling batting average of under
39 Down Under, Kohli now has
the record to match the swagger. Not even retired great
Sachin Tendulkar managed
three Test centuries on tour of
Australia and the last Indian
batsman to achieve the feat
was Sunil Gavaskar in 1977.
Kohli’s average has soared
above 44 and his imperious
262-run stand with fellow
centurion Ajinkya Rahane (147)
was a record fourth-wicket
partnership at the MCG.
It was also the third-best by
any Indian team in Australia
and the eighth highest by any
touring outfit in the country.
When Kohli strayed from his
crease, Johnson raised the tension by flinging a shot at the
stumps that struck the batsman in the back. Kohli winced
but got back to his feet and after smashing Johnson for four,
strode up to the 33-year-old to
express his displeasure.
Kohli leaped for joy when
he notched his ton, blowing a
kiss off his bat to his glamorous
girlfriend and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma watching in the stand. After a lofted
off-drive for four off Johnson,
he blew two kisses at the bowler. “I respect a few of them but
if someone doesn’t respect me
I’ve got no reason to respect
them,” added Kohli.
Australia paceman Ryan
Harris, who took 4-69, appeared surprised when he
heard the comments and reminded Kohli to keep the chatter out in the middle. “We try
not to say too much to him,
but sometimes he brings it on
himself I guess when he starts
it,” Harris said. “It’s never personal, it’s always a bit of fun.
“It’s interesting to hear
him say that. It’s probably a
good thing. If he’s worrying
about stuff like that, hopefully
his batting goes down hill. If
that (banter) doesn’t stay out
there... he needs to have a look
at that.”
New Zealand's Trent Boult (right) celebrates with captain Brendon McCullum after dismissing Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (left) in Christchurch. (AFP)
wo late wickets by Trent Boult put
New Zealand back in control of the
п¬Ѓrst Test against Sri Lanka yesterday after a maiden Test century by
Dimuth Karunaratne had briefly given the
tourists a glimmer of hope. Sri Lanka were
closing in on wiping out their 303-run п¬Ѓrst
innings deficit with seven wickets in hand
when Boult brought their cautious progress
at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval to a halt.
He removed the defiant Karunaratne for
152 and Niroshan Dickwella for four as Sri
Lanka were reduced to 293-5 at stumps,
still 10 runs from making New Zealand bat
again. Angelo Mathews is not out 53 with
Tharindu Kaushal on п¬Ѓve while Boult, New
Zealand’s chief wicket-taker, has three for
62. Karunaratne was annoyed with his dismissal which came as he was about to appeal
against the fading light. “The light was a bit
low. Boult was bowling beautifully at that
time. I wanted to tell the umpires it was difficult to bat and just get to the dressing room,”
he said.
Karunaratne believed a lead of 150 was
possible for Sri Lanka and would be competitive on a turning wicket. But New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling said Boult’s
late double strike kept the initiative with the
Black Caps. “To make the bang-bang tonight
put us back in the position where we look
comfortable,” Watling said.
“They obviously fought hard and played
some good cricket but, all-in-all, 200 runs
and five wickets in a day and they’re still behind us that’s good for us.”
Karunaratne’s wicket was vital for New
Zealand after the 26-year-old had stood in
87-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne
(25) for the third wicket and then a 97-run
stand with Angelo Mathews. The left-hander had been under enormous pressure after
making a four-ball duck in Sri Lanka’s first
innings paltry 138 in reply to New Zealand’s
441 and were forced to follow on. But he easily surpassed his previous Test best of 85. Sri
Lanka were in trouble when they lost two
quick wickets at the start of the third day,
including another failure by the world’s topranked batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who fell
for one. But if New Zealand’s hopes were up
with Sri Lanka at 94-2 and trailing by 209,
Karunaratne had other ideas.
With survival foremost in his mind he batted for a shade over eight hours and faced 363
deliveries in his marathon knock which included 17 fours. Karunaratne started the day
on 49 with Sri Lanka 84-0 and reached his
п¬Ѓfth half century with a single off the second
ball. Kaushal Silva was caught behind four
balls later without adding to his overnight 33
and Sangakkara followed soon after. It was a
disappointing outcome for Sangakkara, the
most prolific batsman in the world this year
with 1,493 runs from 22 innings, including
a п¬Ѓfty in each of his past nine Tests.
He could only manage seven from his two
innings and remains six runs short of becoming the п¬Ѓfth member of the exclusive
group of Test cricketers to score more than
12,000 runs.
D. Karunaratne b Boult
K. Silva c Watling b Southee
K. Sangakkara c Watling b Boult
L. Thirimanne c Watling b Neesham25
A Mathews not out
N. Dickwella c Neesham b Boult
T. Kaushal not out
Extras (lb19, nb1)
Total (5 wickets, 125 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-85 (Silva), 2-94
(Sangakkara), 3-181 (Thirimanne),
4-277 (Karunaratne), 5-287 (Dickwella)
Bowling: Boult 30-8-62-3, Southee
25-5-54-1, Wagner 27-6-67-0 (1nb),
Craig 34-10-67-0, Neesham 7-2-20-1,
McCullum 1-0-3-0, Williamson 1-0-1-0
Virat Kohli (centre) exchanges words with Mitchell Johnson on
the third day of the third Test in Melbourne. (AFP)
Brathwaite, Samuels defy South Africa pace attack
Port Elizabeth
raigg Brathwaite and Marlon
Samuels hit half-centuries as
the West Indies fought back
on the third day of the second
Test against South Africa at St George’s
Park yesterday.
Brathwaite made 65 not out and
Samuels was unbeaten on 60 as the
West Indies reached 144 for two in
reply to South Africa’s 417 for eight
declared. Morne Morkel was the only
successful South African bowler, taking two wickets in two balls.
He ended a 55-run opening partnership between Brathwaite and Devon
Smith by having Smith caught at п¬Ѓrst
slip, with Leon Johnson edging the
next delivery to third slip. Bad light
ended play with 16 overs remaining after rain delayed the start of play by an
With most of the second day lost to
rain, South Africa were hoping to score
quick runs on Sunday morning before
making inroads into a potentially fragile West Indian batting line-up. But
they were frustrated on both counts.
The West Indies took four wickets before lunch, including the prize scalps
of Amla and AB de Villiers, who were
dismissed in successive overs.
Only 80 runs were scored during the
South African fast bowler Dale Steyn (right) delivers a ball during the third day of the second Test against the West Indies
at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth yesterday. (AFP)
morning but Dale Steyn went on the
rampage after the interval, thrashing
58 off 28 balls with six fours and п¬Ѓve
sixes. Amla declared when Steyn was
caught attempting another big hit off
left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn.
Amla hit two fours in the п¬Ѓrst over of
the day, bowled by Jerome Taylor, but
only added ten to his overnight score
of 23 before he was trapped leg before
wicket by a ball from Jason Holder
which nipped back off the pitch.
New cap Temba Bavuma scored
a boundary off his п¬Ѓrst ball, when a
defensive shot flew to third man off
a thick edge from Holder but De Villiers was out in the next over, bowled
by Taylor. De Villiers survived a failed
review after a leg before appeal was
turned down by umpire Paul Reiffel but
was bowled next ball when he tried to
work a full-length delivery to leg.
The scoring rate slowed as Bavuma
and the similarly inexperienced Stiaan
van Zyl, playing in his second Test,
could only add 21 in 10.2 overs before
Bavuma (10) gloved a bouncer from
Shannon Gabriel to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin. Van Zyl made 29 before
he was caught behind, playing a loose
drive against the left-armed Kenroy
Steyn transformed the tempo of the
innings as he launched a brutal assault
on fellow fast bowler Taylor immediately after lunch. He reached his second
Test п¬Ѓfty off 26 balls, the joint fourth
fastest in Test history. Brathwaite and
Smith made a solid start, seeing off
the new ball pairing of Steyn and Vernon Philander. The tall Morkel troubled Smith several times after coming
on as п¬Ѓrst change and п¬Ѓnally tempted
the left-hander into edging a drive to
Hashim Amla at п¬Ѓrst slip. Johnson followed immediately.
Samuels batted soundly but had an
escape on 20 when he was given out
lbw to Morkel by umpire Reiffel but
a review showed the ball was going a
centimetre or two above the stumps.
H. Amla lbw Holder
A. de Villiers b Taylor
T. Bavuma c Ramdin b Gabriel
S. van Zyl c Ramdin b Peters
V. Philander not out
D. Steyn c Holder b Benn
Extras (b4, lb5, nb8, w6)
Total (8 wkts dec, 122 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Petersen), 2-226
(Elgar), 3-274 (Du Plessis), 4-300
(Amla), 5-304 (De Villiers), 6-325 (Bavuma), 7-348 (Van Zyl), 8-417 (Steyn)
Bowling: Taylor 30-7-114-2 (2nb, 2w),
Peters 20-7-69-2, Holder 22-7-43-1 (1nb),
Gabriel 21-0-80-2 (4nb), Benn 28-4-1021 (1nb), Samuels 1-1-0-0
K. Brathwaite not out
D. Smith c Amla b Morkel
L. Johnson c Du Plessis b Morkel
M. Samuels not out
Total (2 wkts, 44 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Smith), 2-55
Bowling: Steyn 9-2-36-0, Philander
11-2-30-0, Morkel 8-1-24-2, Imran Tahir
15-1-52-0, Elgar 1-0-5-0
West Indies trail by 270 runs
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Lloris curbs Man
United’s title surge
Platini pushes
�white card’
idea again
�We could have scored four or five goals and we didn’t reward ourselves’
EFA president Michel
Platini yesterday reiterated his desire to introduce a �white card’
that would lead to a player being
The 59-year-old Frenchman
п¬Ѓrst presented his concept in
October only to be met by п¬Ѓerce
opposition from football’s world
governing body (FIFA) president
Sepp Blatter.
However Platini was sticking
to his guns at the 9th edition of
the Dubai International Sports
“The white card is a new initiative. It is related to the behaviour of football players. Playacting, criticism on the field,
these are not accepted by people
who love the game.
“Yellow cards will still exist
too but it might be interesting to
have another card.
“This white card would send
off a player for a few minutes,
maybe п¬Ѓve or 10. This would be a
way to promote the game among
fans who don’t want to see this.
“With a white card, there
would be no suspension. I think
we should learn from other
sports, like rugby, who have used
this system.”
Former Nancy, Saint-Etienne
and Juventus playmaker Platini,
who led France to the 1984 European championship and two
World Cup semi-п¬Ѓnals, said
the offside rule also needed to
be simplified in order to reach a
larger audience.
“There are different types of
offside rules. It is difficult to п¬Ѓnd
common and ethical standards
to simplify the offside rule. We
need to allow people who are in
front of the TV to understand
offside, too.” added Platini.
“Now we have to convince
Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris saves a shot on goal during their
English Premier League match against Manchester United at White
Hart Lane in London yesterday. (Reuters)
anchester United’s
efforts to force their
way into the Premier League title
race faltered as they were held to
a 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.
An outstanding display by
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris
together with wasteful United п¬Ѓnishing meant Louis van
Gaal’s side were denied an
eighth victory in nine games.
“We lost two points I think,”
United manager Van Gaal told
BT Sport. “We had the best performance of Manchester United
this season in the п¬Ѓrst half. We
could have scored four or п¬Ѓve
goals and we didn’t reward ourselves.” Had United claimed
three points, they would have increased the pressure on top two
Chelsea and Manchester City.
Instead they were left to reflect on a missed opportunity,
but Spurs, who п¬Ѓnished the
game strongly, also had cause
for regret after failing to enhance their own challenge for a
top-four finish. Van Gaal’s decision to name an unchanged
side for the п¬Ѓrst time since he
took charge at Old Trafford was
a clear indication of the manager’s growing satisfaction with
his team’s efforts after some
good recent results.
Results, however, have told
only part of the story, with United having failed to convince on
occasion. Their defensive struggles, which have allowed goalkeeper David de Gea to shine,
gave Tottenham grounds for prematch optimism, particularly
with Harry Kane in such good
form. The 21-year-old striker
had scored in his four previous
appearances and quickly demonstrated he was capable of
unsettling United’s back three
of Phil Jones, Paddy McNair
and Jonny Evans. An excellent
threaded pass from the recalled
Andros Townsend almost allowed Kane to get in behind the
visitors’ back-line, but McNair
was alert enough to smother the
danger. That, though, proved to
be a rare example of the home
side’s attacking threat as United
assumed control to the extent
that Tottenham would have been
out of the game before half-time
had it not been for Lloris.
Mata hits post
With Antonio Valancia and
Ashley Young п¬Ѓnding space on
the flanks and Juan Mata and
Wayne Rooney buzzing around
in midfield, United repeatedly
opened up a route to Lloris’s
goal, but neither Rademal Falcao nor Robin van Persie could
п¬Ѓnd a п¬Ѓnishing touch.
Mata came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 22ndminute free-kick that struck the
post and when the ball bounced
towards the goal-line, Vlad
Chiriches hacked it away from
the feet of Falcao and Van Persie. Falcao saw an angled shot
parried by Lloris, moments
before the Spurs goalkeeper
snuffed out an opportunity for
Van Persie after the striker had
deftly brought down Michael
Carrick’s chipped pass.
Then, in the п¬Ѓnal minute of
the half, the France international produced an acrobatic, fullstretch save to tip Young’s curling cross-shot around the post.
The goalkeeper’s heroics had
kept Spurs in it and his teammates responded after the restart by adopting a more ambitious approach.
Townsend had been Spurs’
player and the England international became even more
prominent as the game wore on,
testing De Gea with a swerving
20-yard shot that the Spaniard
did well to hold. The winger’s
pace was troubling United and
he appeared to have caught out
Young in the 70th minute when
he got behind the wing-back
only to be hauled back.
Young had been booked 15
minutes earlier for a foul on
Nacer Chadli, but although
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino and his players were convinced he should have received
a second caution, referee Jon
Moss waved play on.
Moments earlier, Mata had
fired over from Rafael da Silva’s
cut-back, but that proved to be
United’s last clear chance as the
momentum of the game tipped
in Spurs’ favour, with Christian Eriksen and Federico Fazio
threatening. Van Gaal withdrew
the unconvincing Evans in favour of Chris Smalling, while
Luke Shaw replaced McNair,
but although the visitors hung
on, it was amid a growing sense
of panic.
UEFA President Michel Platini speaks during the opening session of the
9th Dubai International Sports Conference in Dubai yesterday. (AFP)
McDowall says sorry after Rangers thrashing
angers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall said sorry to the
Glasgow club’s support
after his п¬Ѓrst match in charge
ended in a 4-0 thrashing by Hibernian.
It was a painful start for
former assistant boss McDowall, who was handed the reins
earlier in the week after manager Ally McCoist was placed on
gardening leave.
It followed yet another turbulent week off the pitch at the
Glasgow giants, who gained
approval for a new share issue
to raise the ВЈ8mn it needs to
continue trading for the next 12
months at a stormy AGM earlier
this week.
“I’m hugely disappointed,
especially for our support who
were here today. I think the
best team won and I don’t have
any excuses at all,” a clearly despondent McDowall said.
“Obviously finding yourself
2-0 down after 12 minutes isn’t
an ideal start. All the work that
we done during the week went
up in the air after that.
“Normally you get a response
when there is a change in management but that didn’t happen
for us today.
“It was very disappointing
and I’d just like to apologise to
our support for letting them
down. It’s been a very difficult
The hosts dominated the
match at Easter Road while the
visitors looked dispirited and
McDowall said he would
shoulder the blame for the result but said the players needed to take more responsible
for their performances on the
“Obviously heads are down
in there and we’ll have a chat on
Monday and go over the game
again,” the Gers gaffer said.
“They just did not look or-
ganised at times. They were not
where they should have been on
the park.
“I will accept the responsibil-
ity for the result. I set the team
up and the boys will accept responsibility for the performances. It was not good enough.
“At the moment we’ve got to
keep working away. I’ve been
told to carry on so I’ll need to try
and get the players up and ready
for their next game.”
The defeat, Rangers’ fifth in
just 17 matches, all but ends
their hopes of beating Hearts to
the one automatic promotion
spot back to the Premiership,
with the Jambos opening up a 15
point lead at the top of the table
with their 1-0 defeat of Livingston.
It leaves Rangers in the unenviable position of trying to gain
promotion via the play-offs.
“I was under no illusions that
this was going to be easy. I’ve
been working with Ally McCoist
and Walter Smith and it’s always
been tough,” McDowall said of
the task facing the Ibrox club.
“It’s a tough job anyway at
the best of times even when it’s
going well so I knew it was going
to be a tough job.”
First half strikes from David
Gray and Jason Cummings followed by goals from Scott Robertson and Liam Craig after the
break helped secure Hibernian’s
biggest margin of victory over
Rangers since 1912 and closed
the gap between the clubs to
four points.
“I think when you are standing in this position very rarely
do you talk about a complete
performance. But I feel as if today the lads have just produced
a complete performance,” Hibs
manager Alan Stubbs said.
“We’ve worked hard all week
on where and how we were going to hurt Rangers and it’s nice
when everything comes together.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Celtic
increased their lead at the top of
the Premiership to п¬Ѓve points
despite a goalless draw with
bottom of the table Ross County
after nearest challengers Dundee United lost 2-1 to St Johnstone.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Shot-shy Chelsea run
aground at Southampton
Southampton’s Italian striker Graziano Pelle (L), Chelsea’s Brazilian
defender Filipe Luis (C) and Chelsea’s Brazilian-born Spanish striker
Diego Costa (R) contest a high ball during the English Premier League
match at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton yesterday. (AFP)
winning streak came
to an end in a 1-1 draw
at Southampton yesterday, although the point was
enough to keep them at the Premier League summit.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring for the hosts, who impressed
in the п¬Ѓrst half but did little but
defend for the second period as
Chelsea, who levelled through
Eden Hazard just before halftime, launched attack after attack. Southampton midfielder
Morgan Schneiderlin was sent
off in the closing stages, but the
hosts held on.
The п¬Ѓnal whistle was greeted
joyously by the home fans, who
have seen Southampton prosper
under new head coach Ronald
Koeman, who previously worked
alongside Chelsea manager Jose
Mourinho at Barcelona.
Chelsea manager Mourinho
complained that his players were
being unfairly treated by referees
following a recent spate of diving
“The reality is there are penalties and penalties—this one was
a huge one,” he told Sky Sports.
“Match after match, coaches
are saying Chelsea players are
diving. I will go to the referee and
wish him a good year and tell him
he will be ashamed.”
Chelsea made three changes
to the side that beat West Ham
United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge
on Boxing Day, with Filipe
Luis, John Mikel Obi and Andre
Schurrle coming in for Cesar
Azpilicueta, Willian and Oscar.
Jose Fonte returned from suspension for Southampton, 3-1
winners at Crystal Palace that
day, but Ryan Bertrand was ineligible to face his former club
and fellow full-back Nathaniel
Clyne was unavailable due to
The hosts were fortunate
early on when goalkeeper Fraser
Forster failed to collect a corner, but John Terry, scorer of the
opening goal in Chelsea’s two
previous matches, could not direct his header on target.
Forster was second to the
ball again when Schurrle burst
into the box on the left, but the
German could only poke wide
from a tight angle. Southampton almost took the lead when
Schneiderlin and then Mane
connected with a corner, only
for Terry to prevent Fonte from
tapping in at the back post.
But Chelsea’s defence was
caught out by the next Saints
attack as Mane, put through
by Dusan Tadic, kept calm and
flicked his shot past goalkeeper
Thibaut Courtois as if it were a
training exercise.
Fabregas booked for diving
Chelsea’s response was a run
from Cesc Fabregas, but Schurrle, right in front of goal, could
not get on the end of the former
Arsenal captain’s deflected
cross. Chelsea levelled in п¬Ѓrsthalf stoppage time when Hazard
underland coach Gus
Poyet has hit out at the
Premier League’s jampacked festive fixture
schedule, branding the arrangement “a disgrace” in comments
published by several British
newspapers yesterday.
Following a full programme
of matches on Friday, all 20 topflight clubs will play again on
Sunday and Monday, with another round of games scheduled
for New Year’s Day.
Poyet’s side won 1-0 at Newcastle United last weekend before losing 3-1 at home to Hull
City on Friday and ahead of
Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa, he
warned that his players were
struggling to cope.
“We shouldn’t be playing on
the 28th,” said the Uruguayan,
who represented Chelsea and
Tottenham Hotspur during his
player career and previously
coached Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I’ve been in England for a
long time and I know that Boxing
Day games are a tradition and I
accept that and think we should
maintain it.
“But I think that then playing on the 28th is a disgrace. We
shouldn’t be playing then, we
shouldn’t. If you want to see the
best players performing well,
you need to make sure you are
not playing every two days.
“It is not needed. That is not
tradition and anyone who says it
is is not telling the truth.”
�The reality is there are penalties and penalties — this one was a huge one’
a disgrace,
says Poyet
Spurs double-winning
defender Henry dies,
aged 80
out-paced Maya Yoshida on the
left and cut inside to beat another defender before curling
past Forster to convert his side’s
п¬Ѓrst shot of the afternoon.
Mourinho made a change at
the break, with Willian replacing the ineffective Schurrle.
The newcomer saw two shots
blocked in quick succession be-
fore referee Anthony Taylor had
a decision to make when Fabregas went down in the box under
Matthew Targett’s challenge.
The official ruled it had been
a dive and booked the Spaniard,
much to Fabregas’s consternation. Hazard fired across goal
and narrowly wide after chesting down a pass as Chelsea be-
gan to take control of the game.
Stout defending blocked Diego Costa’s shot and he was
joined up front by Didier Drogba
for the п¬Ѓnal 15 minutes, with
defensive midfielder Mikel the
man to make way. Southampton
had hardly threatened all half,
such was Chelsea’s domination
of possession, but the home side
continued to defend bravely and
in numbers.
They were fortunate, too,
with Costa losing his footing in
the box after a mis-placed pass
from substitute James WardProwse put him in on goal.
The home team had to see
out the п¬Ѓnal two minutes a man
down when Schneiderlin, previ-
ously booked for a foul on Hazard, hacked Fabregas down and
received another yellow card.
This they managed despite
Drogba twice threatening to
п¬Ѓnish off balls into the six-yard
box, while Forster had to react
sharply after a clearance struck
one of his team-mates and rebounded towards him.
Tottenham Hotspur’s doublewinning defender Ron Henry
has died at the age of 80.
“We extend our condolences
to his family at this sad time,”
the Premier League club
said on their website (www. on
Saturday. Henry, who won
one cap for England, was a
member of the Spurs side that
won the league and FA Cup
double in 1961.
The left back also played in
the team that beat Burnley in
the 1962 FA Cup final and featured when Spurs overcame
Atletico Madrid in the 1963
European Cup Winners’ Cup
Asian champions Wanderers stay win-less
sian club champions Western Sydney Wanderers remain win-less in Australia’s
A-League this season after a
1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix yesterday.
The Wanderers are stranded in last
place on the standings after in-form
Fijian striker Roy Krishna scored the
winner from the penalty spot.
While Ante Covic saved Krishna’s
initial spot-kick, the Phoenix forward
followed up to tuck away his п¬Ѓfth goal
of the campaign.
Wellington’s win consolidated a
place in the top four, п¬Ѓve points above
п¬Ѓfth-placed Sydney FC.
Sydney suffered their third straight
home loss, to Adelaide United, on Friday. Adelaide rebounded from two
straight losses of their own to win
3-0 through late goals by Bruce Djite,
Spaniard Pablo Sanchez and Awer
Melbourne Victory snatched a late
1-0 win on Saturday, with Brazilian
Gui Finkler’s brilliant late free-kick
sinking the Newcastle Jets.
Melbourne City held leaders Perth
Glory to a 1-1 draw on Friday, with
Richard Garcia’s header cancelling
out Aaron Mooy’s opener. Glory hold
a four-point lead over Victory after
12 games. The A-League continues
through the New Year break, with
two full rounds in the next nine days
before breaking for the Asian Cup in
Wellington Phoenix players celebrate after scoring
a goal against Sydney Wanderers yesterday.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Arsenal survive
West Ham test to
boost top-four bid
Palace show
fight in QPR
Wenger’s side secures second successive win over the festive period to move up
rsenal withstood a second-half
onslaught from West Ham to
boost their Champions League
charge with a 2-1 victory at Upton Park yesterday.
Arsene Wenger’s side secured their
second successive win over the festive
period to move up to п¬Ѓfth in the Premier
League, behind fourth placed Southampton only on goal difference.
West Ham, surprise contenders for
the coveted European places, had been
punching above their weight all season
but back-to-back defeats have dented
their challenge heading into 2015.
They were undone by two goals in
three minutes late in the п¬Ѓrst half by Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck.
Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate scored his first West Ham goal to give
the hosts renewed hope in the second
half but, despite mounting pressure, the
Gunners held on for a hard-fought win.
West Ham midfielder Alex Song
thought he had opened the scoring
against his old club in the sixth minute.
Song’s 25-yard shot through a crowd
left Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stranded, but his view was obstructed
by two West Ham players standing in an
offside position.
Replays suggested the assistant referee
had made the right call but Song protested angrily following the decision.
Wenger had opted to call up French
centre-back Laurent Koscielny to help
combat the aerial power of burly West
Ham striker Andy Carroll.
But Carroll shrugged off the attentions
of Koscielny before the former Liverpool
player saw his low shot scrambled clear.
Arsenal had barely got out of their own
half but Alexis Sanchez sparked them
into life when he was afforded too much
room before driving a deflected shot just
wide of Adrian’s left-hand post.
Glorious chance
West Ham were still in control with
James Tomkins wasting a glorious chance
when he blazed over from a good position. But the Hammers would regret not
taking their chances as Arsenal opened
the scoring through Cazorla in the 41st
Cazorla was tripped up by Winston
Reid’s trailing leg for a clear penalty
which the Spanish midfielder calmly
converted. And it went from bad to worse
for the hosts as Welbeck struck two minutes later. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s
cross saw the England striker have the
simple task of slotting in at the far post in
the 44th minute.
Stewart Downing should have done
West Ham United’s English defender Aaron
Cresswell (R) beats Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (L) in the air during the
English Premier League match in London
yesterday. (AFP)
anagerless Crystal
Palace responded to
the sacking of boss
Neil Warnock with
a gritty display in a 0-0 draw
against fellow strugglers QPR
Palace chairman Steve Parish
ended Warnock’s five-month
reign on Saturday after the south
London club slumped into the
Premier League relegation zone,
but caretaker manager Keith
Millen convinced his players to
ignore the turmoil and they delivered an improved performance at Loftus Road.
The Eagles, linked with moves
for former Tottenham boss Tim
Sherwood and ex-Porto chief
Vitor Pereira, remain in the bottom three on goal difference,
while QPR are two points above
the drop zone.
Millen, in his third spell as
caretaker, made one change
to the Palace team beaten by
Southampton on Boxing Day,
with Wilfried Zaha replacing
Fraizer Campbell up front as the
Eagles looked to register a п¬Ѓrst
win in seven matches.
Both teams looked short of
confidence and composure in a
scrappy opening and QPR striker
Charlie Austin should have done
better than shoot straight at Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Yannick Bolasie produced Palace’s first real moment of quality
when he unleashed a powerful
strike which Robert Green was at
full stretch to keep out.
The visitors went even closer
in the 21st minute when Joe Ledley picked out Jason Puncheon
and the Palace winger curled in a
п¬Ѓrst-time effort that beat Green
but rebounded to safety off the
After failing to build any momentum in a drab п¬Ѓrst half, QPR
went close to breaking the deadlock soon after the interval when
Leroy Fer’s volley flew just wide.
Fer forced Speroni to show
his athleticism to get a hand to a
powerful strike from the Dutch
midfielder as QPR finally found
some rhythm.
Austin had a goalbound
header blocked from a corner
soon after and Puncheon’s shot
was tipped over by Green at the
other end. Millen responded to
his side’s struggles by sending
on Campbell for Zaha midway
through the half.
But Harry Redknapp’s side
went agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 75th minute
when Steven Caulker nodded
goalwards from Joey Barton’s
corner, only for James McArthur
to alertly head clear from under
the crossbar.
And QPR spurned one last
chance when Junior Hoilett
failed to hit the target with a
clear sight of goal.
Diouf double keeps West
Brom in trouble
better than shoot wide just before the
break as West Ham tried to respond.
But just eight minutes into the second-half, Kouyate gave Allardyce’s men
a lifeline. Tomkins found room to deliver
a cross and Kouyate rose above Arsenal
right-back Mathieu Debuchy to scramble his header home. The hosts dominated possession as they pressed for an
equaliser, but West Ham’s Adrian was the
busier goalkeeper. He kept out Cazorla’s
shot and then denied Oxlade-Chamber-
lain’s 74th minute header. Sanchez and
Welbeck wasted chances to give Arsenal
some precious breathing space but, despite surviving a scare when Enner Valencia headed over in the п¬Ѓnal attack of
the game, the visitors held on.
Senegal’s Mame Biram Diouf scored twice as Stoke City sharpened
the focus on West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine with a 2-0
win in the Premier League yesterday.
Former Manchester United striker Diouf struck twice in 15 secondhalf minutes at the Britannia Stadium to give Stoke back-to-back
wins for the first time this season after Friday’s 1-0 success at Everton. It was a third defeat in a row for West Brom, who have won only
once in nine games, and follows Irvine’s admission that he feared for
his job at the Hawthorns.
The defeat saw Irvine’s side fall one place to 16th and left them just
a point above the relegation zone ahead of a trip to high-flying West
Ham United on New Year’s Day.
While Stoke manager Mark Hughes made only one change, replacing Jonathan Walters with Peter Crouch, Irvine drafted Brown Ideye,
Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and Chris Baird into his starting XI.
The visitors enjoyed the best of the first half but it was Stoke who
went closest to breaking the deadlock, with Bojan Krkic fizzing a
shot narrowly wide in the 14th minute.
Bojan has been one of Stoke’s most impressive performers in recent
weeks and he was the catalyst for the home side’s opening goal in
the 51st minute. The former Barcelona forward sprayed a pass wide
to Erik Pieters on the Stoke left and the Dutch full-back’s low cross
was in turned in by Diouf via a slight deflection off Joleon Lescott.
Irvine responded with a double change, sending on Saido Berahino and Silvestre Varela, and saw his side hit the woodwork when
Gareth McAuley stabbed a shot against the post following a goalmouth scramble.
Barnes thunderbolt keeps Man City trailing
shley Barnes’s dramatic 81stminute equaliser earned struggling Burnley a 2-2 draw at
Manchester City yesterday,
preventing the defending champions
from closing on Premier League leaders
First-half goals from David Silva and
Fernandinho had apparently put Manuel
Pellegrini’s side well in control as they attempted to close the gap behind Chelsea
to a solitary point. But with influential
City midfielder Yaya Toure absent, presumably rested, goals from George Boyd
and Barnes earned Burnley an improbable
draw and denied Pellegrini’s side a clubrecord 10th consecutive win.
The supposed gulf in class between the
sides was highlighted by the manner of
City’s opening goal in the 23rd minute,
as Silva п¬Ѓnished clinically to register his
fourth goal in the last three games.
It came from a darting run down the
right by the energetic Jesus Navas, who
reached the dead-ball line and pulled the
ball back for Silva.
The former Valencia player switched
feet neatly, swivelled and sent an unstoppable п¬Ѓnish past Tom Heaton in
the Burnley goal. Yet the goal followed
a promising flurry of attacking activity
from the visitors.
Kieran Trippier’s cross into the box was
just missed by Danny Ings, Dean Marney
shot straight at Joe Hart and Ings was
guilty of a wasteful 22-yard attempt when
there were better options available.
It was not difficult to see why Burnley
had scored just 12 goals in their previous
18 league games and the contest looked
likely to follow the form book despite City
starting without an orthodox forward.
The stand-in �false nine’ James Milner
shot over from six yards, Martin Demichelis had an effort blocked by Jason
Shackell from similar distance and Navas’s angled drive rose over the bar before
the opening goal.
Game of two halves
Once again without the predatory Sergio Aguero in their side, City turned to an
unlikely source for their second goal in the
33rd minute. The visiting defence stood
off the hosts on the edge of their own area,
allowing Samir Nasri to move the ball
along to Fernandinho.
With time and space, the Brazil midfielder switched the ball to his right foot
and deposited a magnificent shot in off
the underside of the crossbar from a step
outside the 18-yard box.
With leaders Chelsea having earlier
drawn 1-1 at Southampton, this appeared
a perfect opportunity for City to close the
gap and improve their goal difference.
But City were hugely disappointing,
and Burnley much improved almost immediately from kick-off in the second
Pablo Zabaleta failed to tackle Ings and
the forward’s low, driven shot was glanced
into the goal by Boyd, despite replays suggesting the Scotland international did so
from an offside position.
Had Ings’s first touch not let him down
moments later as he attempted to carry Barnes’s through ball towards goal,
Burnley might have claimed an equaliser
even earlier.
Instead, Heaton was required to keep
his team in the contest with a one-handed save at the foot of his right-hand post
from Nasri. Unmoved, Shackell headed
just over and Ings shot narrowly wide for
the visitors, prompting Pellegrini to bring
on Stevan Jovetic and Frank Lampard.
Neither move improved matters greatly
and Scott Arfield wasted a glorious chance
to equalise after 78 minutes when his shot
was blocked by Demichelis from only six
No matter for Burnley. Within two
minutes, Shackell’s long free-kick into
the City area was poorly defended and the
ball rebounded kindly for Barnes to lash
a deadly 12-yard shot into the top-left
Burnley’s English striker Ashley Barnes (C) celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League
football match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester yesterday. The game finished 2-2. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Wild Oats XI clinch
record eighth Sydney
to Hobart honours
�It was our toughest race. To have a boat (Comanche) so close is always difficult, especially when they are going
faster than you. We managed to pull it off and I just said to the guys, we have just got to hang in there, hang
tough, minimise the losses and wait for the first opportunity we could to attack and we did and it paid off’
collapse hits
Ferrari hard
London: Ferrari and McLaren
stand to lose millions as a result
of the collapse of the Marussia
F1 team, the Sunday Telegraph
newspaper reported yesterday.
The paper said documents from
administrators FRP Advisory dated
December 18 showed that Ferrari,
Formula One’s oldest and most
successful team, were owed 16.6m
pounds ($25.81m) for engines supplied. McLaren, who had a technical partnership with Marussia, were
owed 7.1m pounds ($11.04m).
The newspaper said Lloyds
Development Capital (LDC), the
private equity division of taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group,
was owed 13.2m pounds which
was secured on all of Marussia’s
assets, unlike money owed to
more than 200 other creditors.
FRP managing partner Geoff
Rowley was quoted as saying LDC
had priority over other creditors
but the estimated payout was
unlikely to exceed 1.6m pounds.
Marussia ceased trading in
early November, with some 200
staff made redundant, and the
team missed the last three races
of the 2014 season.
Much of the team’s kit has been
auctioned off already but another
sale date is scheduled for January
21, when the three 2014 cars
—minus the engines—will go
under the hammer.
The team scored just two
points in five years, with those
coming in Monaco this year
thanks to French driver Jules Bianchi, who subsequently suffered
severe head injuries in a Japanese
Grand Prix crash.
Hector opens
World Cup
account with
win in Kuhtai
Wild Oats XI (left) tries to get past Comanche during the course of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The bluewater classic race, in its 70th year, was won by Wild Oats XI for a record eighth time. (AFP)
upermaxi Wild Oats XI won its
eighth line honours in the Sydney to Hobart race yesterday,
officials said, to become the
most successful yacht in the history of
the competition.
100-footer crossed the п¬Ѓnish line ahead
of American newcomer Comanche in
the gruelling 628 nautical mile (1,163
kilometre) race down the east coast
of southern Australia, organisers the
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said.
The nine-year-old yacht crossed the
line after two days, two hours, three
minutes and 26 seconds at 3.03pm
(0403 GMT), while Comanche п¬Ѓnished in two days, two hours, 52 minutes and 44 seconds.
“It was our toughest race. To have
a boat (Comanche) so close is always
difficult, especially when they are going faster than you,” Richards told
reporters in Hobart after the yacht
crossed the line at Battery Point.
“We managed to pull it off and I just
said to the guys, we have just got to
hang in there, hang tough, minimise
the losses and wait for the п¬Ѓrst opportunity we could to attack and we did
and it paid off.”
Wild Oats XI, one of five supermaxis—the biggest and fastest yachts—in
this year’s race was also first across the
line every year from 2005 to 2008 and
in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
It surpassed the record of Morna/
Kurrewa IV, which won seven line hon-
ours titles in the 1950s and in 1960.
But choppy seas during the race
meant the leaders were unable to challenge the race record set by Wild Oats
XI in 2012 of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
Comanche, owned by American technology entrepreneur Jim Clark, had a
stellar start when it flew out of Sydney
Harbour at the start on Friday, followed closely by Wild Oats XI.
But as the boats turned south they
encountered choppy seas, prompting
the fleet to spread out as they tried to
avoid the worst of the weather.
By morning the winds had eased,
giving an advantage to the slim-line
Wild Oats XI, owned by billionaire
Bob Oatley, which broke away from the
wider-bodied Comanche on Saturday
Wild Oats XI extended its lead on
the second night, taking advantage of a
high-pressure ridge in the Bass Strait,
although Comanche narrowed the gap
to 10 nautical miles at Tasman Island
“It all went really, really well. To win
a Hobart is such a great honour, but to
win an eighth one, it’s just wonderful,”
Richards said. “The opportunity to
rewrite a bit of sailing history doesn’t
happen every day of the week, that’s
for sure. Just a very exciting moment.”
Oatley said his yacht would “definitely be back next year”, adding: “It’s
a miracle... she is the best boat in the
world, she’s proved that.”
Clark said he was not sure if Comanche would be back to race next year,
but praised Wild Oats XI and its crew.
Australian yacht Wild Oats XI races ahead in the Sydney to Hobart race. The nine-year-old yacht took two days, two
hours, three minutes and 26 seconds to complete the gruelling 628 nautical mile (1,163 kilometre) race, ahead of its
American challenger Comanche, which finished in two days, two hours, 52 minutes and 44 seconds. (AFP)
“Wild Oats and Mark Richards ran
one hell of a race and it’s a really excellent boat,” he said.
The Sydney to Hobart was Comanche’s first major ocean race, with accomplished American skipper Ken
Read admitting before the start that
the yacht—which is broader than its
class rivals and has a towering 150foot mast set further back than most—
was not perfect for the competition.
Perpetual Loyal, another supermaxi, was the most high-profile retirement after withdrawing with hull
damage, while Brindabella, a former
line honours winner, also pulled out
after it started taking on excess water
due to damage to rudder bearings.
The 70th Sydney to Hobart bluewater classic drew its biggest fleet since
1994 of 117 yachts.
Kuhtai (Austria): Sweden’s Sara
Hector opened her World Cup
account yesterday when winning
the giant slalom at Kuhtai in
Austria. The 22-year-old clocked
a time of 2 minutes 17.61 seconds
to see off Anna Fenninger of
Austria, who took silver at nine
hundredths of a second and
American Mikaela Shiffrin.
Hector set off for her first run
in poor visibility but still managed
to place second at 27 hundredths
of a second behind Shiffrin.
Hector then made up time towards the end of her second run.
“They told me the slope was
gentle here, that’s what I’d heard,
but it’s not true!” she told the
post-race press conference.
Hector was building on her
bright showing when claiming
second in the last World Cup giant slalom at Are. Up to then her
best placing was fifth.
She added: “It’s not easy to put
into words the emotions I’m
feeling right now. I know how
to ski, I’m not perfect but I can
always improve.”
Hector’s win reflected the open
nature of the discipline as she
was the fifth different woman
in four races—Fenninger and
Shiffrin double-heating in Sölden,
Eva-Maria Brem winning in Aspen,
Tina Maze in Are and now Hector
in Kuhtai.
The leader of the World Cup
overall standings, Maze of Slovenia, had to settle for a share of
seventh place. She comfortably
leads the classification however
on 692 points from Fenninger
(487) and Shiffrin (345).
The giant slalom standings are
led by Austria’s Brem who was
fourth on the day.
Ganong surprise winner of men’s downhill in Santa Caterina
Santa Caterina, Italy
ravis Ganong of the United States was the surprise winner of the men’s
downhill in Santa Caterina yesterday, beating Austria’s
Matthias Mayer into second place.
Ganong claimed the п¬Ѓrst World
Cup victory of his career on a
shortened course due to strong
winds and poor visibility in a time
of 1 minute, 32.42 seconds, п¬Ѓnishing 0.09 seconds clear of Olympic
champion Mayer.
Italy’s Dominik Paris completed the podium placings, crossing
the line 0.21 seconds slower than
The victory is a perfect boost for
Ganong with less than six weeks to
go before his home world championship race in Beaver Creek.
“I had a superb run and am delighted. It’s a sensational end to
the year,” said the 26-year-old.
“I didn’t have any expectations after performing so poorly
in training. Today I attacked and
enjoyed myself.”
Mayer was happy with his podium place after failing to п¬Ѓnish
in recent races. “It doesn’t hurt to
get to the end once in a while,” he
said. “I knew that we were all racing well.”
Overall World Cup leader Kjetil
Jansrud of Norway, meanwhile,
п¬Ѓnished down in 17th place.
“What goes up, must come
down,” tweeted Jansrud, winner
of two downhill races already this
season. “Today was a rough day at
work. As said before: Lot’s of great
skiers out there. One mistake and
you are gone.”
Jansrud still managed to extend
his lead in the overall standings
by 14 points. The Norwegian has
624 points, followed by Austria’s
Marcel Hirscher on 576 and Paris
on 405.
The men’s World Cup continues
with a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia,
on January 6.
Surprise winner
Travis Ganong of
the United States
beat Austria’s
Matthias Mayer
to claim the first
World Cup victory
of his career
on a shortened
course due to
strong winds and
poor visibility.
Ganong clocked
1 minute, 32.42
seconds, finishing
0.09 seconds
clear of Olympic
champion Mayer.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
A year later, Beckham’s
dream of soccer stadium in
Miami still not a reality
�It makes it easier to sell a known product. Until we figure out a stadium plan, I think we’ve got to get a team on the field’
David Beckham attempts to tour the Kendall Soccer Park in February this year after announcing that he planned to get a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami. (Miami Herald/TNS)
By Patricia Mazzei
Miami Herald (TNS)
avid Beckham’s business team
swooped into Miami a year ago, full of
irresistible excitement and lofty ideas,
and got politicians to agree to negotiate a location for a new Major League Soccer
An enthusiastic Miami-Dade County Commission voted unanimously on December 17,
2013, to authorise Mayor Carlos Gimenez to sit
down with Beckham’s representatives and try to
п¬Ѓnd a home for a professional soccer franchise
to be owned by the retired English footballer,
one of the world’s most-famous celebrities.
Twelve months after that vote, there is still no
stadium site. Beckham’s group has stayed largely silent since June, regrouping — and, some
supporters fear, reconsidering — after feeling
burned by politicians who eagerly proposed potential sites on public land only to quickly back
away from them.
The county and city commissions nixed stadium proposals at PortMiami and on a boat
slip north of AmericanAirlines Arena, stinging
Beckham’s team and forcing them to question
whether they really wanted to come here.
The Miami Beckham United organization,
which at п¬Ѓrst said it would take three months to
weigh its remaining options, says it’s still hunting for a stadium location, though quietly this
time, with private property owners. After being denied twice, the group appears reluctant to
openly discuss a new one until a deal — assuming one can be reached — is firmly in place.
“We have made very meaningful strides in the
last couple of months,” John Alschuler, Beckham’s real estate adviser and lead negotiator,
said in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. “While
nothing in this complex equation can be taken
for granted, I am optimistic that there will be
several positive announcements in the п¬Ѓrst
quarter of the next year.”
The county and city
commissions nixed stadium
proposals at PortMiami and
on a boat slip north of
AmericanAirlines Arena,
stinging Beckham’s team
and forcing them to
question whether they
really wanted to come here
Meantime, County Commissioner Juan C.
Zapata, a Beckham supporter, said he plans to
propose legislation in the new year asking Beckham to consider temporarily locating his team
at Florida International University’s main campus in West Miami-Dade, which is in Zapata’s
district. Once there’s a team for fans to cheer,
negotiating a stadium may not be as difficult,
Zapata said.
“It makes it easier to sell a known product.
And it doesn’t look good for us to not be proac-
tive,” he said. “Until we figure out a stadium
plan, I think we’ve got to get a team on the field.”
Beckham and MLS want to launch a Miami
franchise with a new stadium and not a shortterm location. But the league has been inconsistent, allowing the expansion New York City
FC to play temporarily at Yankee Stadium.
“I think it’s obvious that the MLS isn’t going
to get what they want,” Zapata said.
Other politicians have tried to float possible
locations, with little success. County Commissioner Xavier Suarez likes the former Bertram
Yacht headquarters and surrounding properties
east of Miami International Airport. So does
Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago,
who wants Beckham’s stadium to also house the
University of Miami’s football team.
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff
pushed for the Miami Herald’s former downtown
headquarters, now owned by Malaysian casino
giant Genting. Beckham’s representatives had
eyed the site early on but concluded it wouldn’t
be financially viable, since it would require a significant land investment in addition to the cost
of building a stadium with mostly private funds,
which Beckham has pledged to do.
Earlier this year, Beckham exercised an option
in his player contract to purchase a franchise for
a deeply discounted $25 million after his retirement. However, it’s unclear how long he has to
come up with п¬Ѓnancial and stadium plans. MLS
has required new franchises to build soccer-specific facilities — preferably in urban, downtown
locations — to replicate the business model that
has worked in cities such as Seattle and Portland.
Beckham and the league had indicated there
was a short time frame for a stadium deal to
come together. But the passing months have
shown there was no hard deadline, at least not
for 2014. An MLS spokesman did not respond
this week to emailed requests for comment.
League Commissioner Don Garber told Reuters
earlier this month that Beckham’s search “can’t
go on forever.”
Beckham and the league
had indicated there was
a short time frame for
a stadium deal to come
together. But the passing
months have shown there
was no hard deadline, at
least not for 2014. League
Commissioner Don Garber
told Reuters earlier this
month that Beckham’s
search “can’t go on forever”
Worried fans have held their breath every
time another city, such as Las Vegas or San Antonio, has said it wants a professional soccer
team. When MLS shut down its ailing Chivas
USA franchise in Los Angeles, the city where
Beckham used to play for the LA Galaxy, a rumour posited that Beckham would pack his bags
and head back west. He didn’t. Overtures from
Broward County and Florida Atlantic University
in Boca Raton seem to have been greeted with
polite thank yous from Beckham’s representatives, but no real interest.
MLS has been hesitant to try its luck again
in Miami after the Fort Lauderdale-based Fusion folded in 2001. The league’s president has
scorned a possible location next to Marlins Park
in Little Havana because it’s not downtown —
even though MLS and the city of Miami wrote
draft agreements to build a stadium there six
years ago.
One of Beckham’s investors — his manager,
Simon Fuller — has called the site “spiritually tainted” by the unpopular public financing for the Marlins’ ballpark, though the group
has never taken the location entirely off its list.
Marlins President David Samson declined to say
last month whether he’s been approached by
Beckham’s group.
Privately, politicians have continued to say
that site offers Beckham the best shot at leasing public land at a discount so he can afford to
build a stadium on his own — especially since
returning to the home of the old, beloved Orange Bowl might entice UM to share the expense.
“That’s the only place that we have that they
might be able to use,” Daniel Alfonso, Miami’s
city manager, said last week. But, he added, no
Beckham representative has sat down with the
city in the months after the bayside boat slip site
was rejected.
“We have not heard from them since,” he said.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
for violating
team rules
Lowry outplays Paul,
Raptors beat Clippers
New York: Wide receiver
Josh Gordon was suspended
on Saturday by the Cleveland
Browns, who elevated wide
receiver Phil Bates from the
practice squad to replace
Gordon, general manager Ray
Farmer announced.
Gordon was suspended
for violating team rules. He
appeared in five games this
season and caught 24 passes
for 303 yards. Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel and
Gordon were absent from
the Browns’ walk-through
Saturday morning, and the
team had trouble locating
them, a source told ESPN.
The Browns did not mention
Manziel in their release, and
players on injured reserve are
not required to attend walkthroughs. Manziel sustained
a hamstring injury in last
week’s loss to Carolina.
Gordon served a 10-game
suspension earlier this
season for repeated drug
violations. The Browns also
promoted defensive lineman
Jamie Meder and quarterback Connor Shaw from the
practice squad to the active
roster after waiving linebacker Eric Martin and tight end
Ryan Taylor.
Toronto improves to 23-7, the best record in the Eastern Conference
New York Jets coach Rex
Ryan has already cleaned out
his office at the team’s practice facility in Florham Park,
New Jersey, in anticipation of
being fired, reported
on Saturday.
Ryan has not been informed by the team that he
will not return, according to
the report, but did find out
that Jets consultant Charley
Casserly has started contacting potential replacements.
The Jets (3-12) finish the
season on Sunday in Miami
against the Dolphins.
Kyle Lowry (right) of the Toronto Raptors gets past Jordan Farmar of the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)
Los Angeles
yle Lowry and the Toronto
Raptors didn’t look like they
were on a long road trip. And
Chris Paul and the Los Angeles
Clippers didn’t look like they were on a
long homestand.
Lowry scored 25 points on Saturday as he outplayed Paul and the Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter
for a 110-98 victory over the Clippers,
who had an eight-game home winning
streak snapped. Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds
for the Raptors, who began a six-game
trek with Monday’s loss at Chicago and
still have visits to Golden State and
Portland on their itinerary.
Toronto improved to 23-7, the best
record in the Eastern Conference, and is
10-4 since losing All-Star guard DeMar
DeRozan to a groin injury.
“We can’t make excuses because
DeMar’s not playing,” said Lowry, who
added seven assists and three steals.
“It’s all about the next man up. We’re a
very deep team.”
Lowry got the better of Paul, considered by many as the best point guard in
the NBA. Paul made just 3-of-12 shots
and scored 10 points, matching his season low. “It felt like we ran out of gas
before the game even started,” said Paul,
who added eight assists.
The Clippers (20-11) had not lost at
home since Nov. 17 and began a ninegame homestand - the longest in the
NBA in 35 years - with a Christmas win
over league-leading Golden State. They
may have been thrown off by the early
afternoon start.
“A few of us said at 12:30, right before tip-off, we were like, �Man, it feels
like we played last night,’” said Clippers
guard JJ Redick, who scored 23 points.
“It’s not an excuse. Toronto played
amazing, great second half.” The Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter
without the help of Lowry, who scored
just two points in the period. Toronto
got a huge boost from reserves Greivis
Vasquez of Venezuela (16 points),
Patrick Patterson (10), and Lou Wil-
liams (9). “We’ve got a great bench and
we feed off of each other,” Vasquez said.
The Raptors opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 burst featuring a threepointer from Patterson and two from
Vasquez for a 93-80 lead with 9:03 to
play. Williams drained a pair of threepointers 30 seconds apart before a basket by Valanciunas made it 103-86 with
4:54 to go. “We did break down in a lot
of areas,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers
said. “They do a great job moving the
ball. They stretch you out.”
Terrence Ross scored 11 points and
Amir Johnson grabbed 12 rebounds for
the Raptors, who made 13 three-pointers and had 25 assists. Blake Griffin
scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford added
20 and DeAndre Jordan swept 20 boards
for the Clippers, who made 12 threes but
committed 15 turnovers.
Spanish star Marc Gasol had 22 points
and 10 rebounds as the visiting Grizzlies
snapped a four-game slide. Dwyane
Wade scored 25 points for the Heat.
Jimmy Butler scored 33 points to power
the host Bulls to their sixth straight win.
Chicago native Anthony Davis had 29
points, 11 boards and six blocks for the
Rodney Stuckey was in brilliant form as
he scored 20 points to lead seven players
in double п¬Ѓgures as the visiting Pacers
stopped the Nets’ three-game winning
Stephen Curry scored 25 points for the
Warriors, who improved to 11-1 at home
and dealt the Timberwolves their eighth
straight setback.
Jeff Teague collected 25 points and seven assists as the Hawks avenged a home
loss to the Bucks one night earlier.
Former Celtics Kris Humphries and
Paul Pierce scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lift the host Wizards to
their eighth win in 10 games. Boston has
lost four in a row.
Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11
boards as the visiting Magic overcame a
career-high 42 points by Kemba Walker.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker
Rolando McClain will not
play against the Washington
Redskins because of an illness. McClain, the Cowboys’
second-leading tackler this
season, did not make the trip
to Washington. McClain participated in practice Thursday
and Friday.
The Minnesota Vikings
placed rookie linebacker Anthony Barr on injured reserve
and promoted linebacker
Josh Kaddu from the practice
squad. Barr has missed the
past three games with a knee
injury. The team decided to
shut him down.
DeMarcus Cousins scored nine of his
season-high 39 points in overtime as
the host Kings overcame 36 points
by Carmelo Anthony and handed the
Knicks their seventh consecutive loss.
Derrick Favors and Trey Burke scored 17
points each for the Jazz, who have won
four of п¬Ѓve overall and beat the 76ers for
the 10th straight time at home.
Josh Gordon
Stepan’s hat-trick leads Rangers to eighth straight win
New York
erek Stepan scored his third career hat-trick as the New York
Rangers earned their eighth
straight win by beating the New
Jersey Devils 3-1 in the National Hockey
League on Saturday.
New York’s longest winning streak since
winning eight in a row 40 years ago spoiled
the debut of New Jersey co-coaches Scott
Stevens and Adam Oates.
Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross celebrates after scoring a
goal against the Edmonton Oilers. PICTURES: USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Sabres produced a brilliant
comeback with three unanswered goals in
the third period before Tyler Ennis scored
the lone goal in the shootout for a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders.
The Sabres looked likely to extend their
four-game losing streak when they fell behind 3-0 in the second period, but rallied
for three goals in barely п¬Ѓve minutes.
Peter Laviolette’s Nashville Predators
scored a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia
Flyers, the team that п¬Ѓred him as coach
last season.
Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher each
bagged a power-play goal and an assist for
Nashville (23-9-2), who have not lost consecutive games this season.
Power-play goals from defensemen Trevor
Daley and Jason Demers in the second period carried Dallas to a 4-3 victory over the
St. Louis Blues as the Stars posted their
п¬Ѓrst win in 11 games against Central Division opponents this season.
The loss extended the Blues’ winless
streak to four games (0-3-1), their longest
of the season.
Scott Hartnell had two goals and the Columbus Blue Jackets scored four in the
second period for a 6-2 win over the Bos-
ton Bruins. Columbus continued their
recent hot streak, improving to 9-1-1 in
December and ended a seven-game losing
streak against Boston.
The Detroit Red Wings twice came from
behind before defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime. Winger Gustav
Nyquist held the puck for almost half a
minute before sliding a low shot home for
the winner.
Shane Doan scored in a shootout despite
breaking his stick on the shot to give the
Arizona Coyotes a 2-1 victory over the
Anaheim Ducks, the п¬Ѓrst team in NHL history to get to 50 points before the holiday
Andrew Ladd scored a strange goal in
overtime to lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3
victory over the Minnesota Wild.
Ladd’s shot missed the net and hit the
glass but bounced back off the top of the
net and hit Minnesota goalie John Curry in
the back before landing in the net to give
the Jets their fourth win in п¬Ѓve games.
Braden Holtby had his third shutout of the
season and Eric Fehr scored twice as the
Washington Capitals beat Pittsburgh 3-0
for their п¬Ѓrst victory over the Penguins in
nearly three years.
Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist as
the Chicago Blackhawks beat Colorado 5-2
on the road, ending the Avalanche’s threegame winning steak.
Goalie Ben Bishop made an emphatic
return to the net after missing four games,
stopping 24 shots to guide Tampa Bay
Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Carolina.
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Olympics and World Cup
get all the attention in 2014
German players Mario Goetze (left) and Andre Schuerrle celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony in Berlin July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. (EPA)
he Olympics and football World
Cup dominated the sporting
year 2014 as expected, but also
made big waves outside the
Hosts Russia topped the п¬Ѓnal medal
table at the most expensive Winter
Games ever in Sochi while Brazil ended
their home World Cup battered and
bruised in fourth place after a historic
7-1 thrashing by later champions Germany in the semi-п¬Ѓnals.
But Sochi’s overall 51-billion-dollar
prize tag was also one reason why cities like Oslo and Stockholm from traditional winter sport countries withdrew
bids for 2022; and the IOC reacted with
an Olympic Agenda 2020, approved on
December 8, under which bidding is to
be made easier and cheaper, and new
sports to п¬Ѓnd easier entry.
The reform also includes future hosts
having to abide by anti-discrimination
rules, seen in connection with Russia’s
controversial anti-gay legislation.
FIFA, meanwhile, was in shambles
at the end of the year in connection
with the probe of possible corruption
in the bid process for the 2018 and 2022
World Cups. Summary of the Michael
Garcia report by ethics committee cochairman Hans-Joachim Eckert cleared
hosts Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing.
The 2014 World Cup went well and
beyond all expectations from Rio’s Copacabana to the jungle of Manaus from
an organising point of view.
On the п¬Ѓeld, Manuel Neuer kept a
clean sheet against Cristiano Ronaldo
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix on November 23, 2014. (Reuters)
and Lionel Messi en route to winning
the World Cup with Germany, and is
now challenging for the World Footballer of the Year award as well against
the two who have won the famous
award the past six years.
The biggest individual prize in football will not be awarded until January
12, just under six months after Neuer
and his team-mates lifted the World
Cup trophy in Rio de Janeiro on July 13
after beating Messi’s Argentina 1-0 in
extra time.
Joachim Loew’s team opened 4-0
against Ronaldo’s Portugal but the biggest win was to come in the memorable
7-1 against hapless Brazil whose talisman Neymar could only watch injured
from the sidelines.
That result was even more stunning
than a Dutch 5-1 drubbing of title holders Spain who went out in the group
stage while Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was
banned for biting an opponent.
The World Cup raised optimism that
Brazil will now be well-prepared to stage
At the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 7, 2014, one of the five Olympic rings malfunctioned. (AFP)
a great Olympics 2016 in Rio as well.
The Sochi Games meanwhile were
hailed by Olympic supremo Thomas
Bach as “The Athletes’ Games” and
saw Norwegian biathlon king Ole Einrar Bjoerndalen become the most decorated Winter Olympian with two more
golds for an overall tally of 8-4-1.
Compatriot cross-country skier
Marit Bjoergen, Belarussian biathlete
Darya Domracheva and Russian short
track skater Viktor Ahn won three golds
each; Tina Maze got double alpine ski
gold for Slovenia; the rampant Dutch
snatched 23 of the total 32 speed-skating medals; and hosts Russia topped
the п¬Ѓnal medal table.
But there was also bad news for Russia when it came under п¬Ѓre over allegations of systematic doping in the
country via a German TV documentary
which has prompted investigations by
the World Anti-Doping Agency and
ruling athletics body IAAF.
Russia also staged its maiden Formula One race, in Sochi’s Olympic Park,
where Briton Lewis Hamilton won one
of his 11 season races en route to the
world title in a п¬Ѓerce duel with teammate Nico Rosberg from totally dominant Mercedes.
Big F1 news were also the move of exchampion Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari for
2015, taking the place of McLaren-bound
Fernando Alonso, and the п¬Ѓnancial
struggles of Caterham and Marussia.
The F1 community held its breath
after Jules Bianchi’s life-threatening
crash in Japan, and was also hoping for
good news from record champ Michael
Schumacher who almost lost his life in
a skiing accident in late 2013.
Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes
died of injuries after being hit in the
head by a ball; and football legends
Eusebio and Alfredo di Stefano were
among other famous sports people who
passed away.
Back on the football pitch, Messi
smashed the Champions League and
Spanish league scoring records but has
Ronaldo on his heels just three goals
behind in Europe.
Ronaldo helped Real claim “La Decima” in the Champions League at last,
4-1 in extra time over crosstown rivals
Atletico, who however pipped Real and
Barca for the Liga title. Spain also won
the Europa League in the form of Sevilla.
Manchester City snatched the Premier League crown in a dramatic title
race with Liverpool, Juventus got another Serie A title, while Neuer’s and
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich won
another Bundesliga title in record time.
Europe won golf’s Ryder Cup in convincing fashion over the US at Gleneagles while the majors went to Rory
McIlroy (PGA Championships, The
Open), Bubba Watson (Masters) and
Martin Kaymer (US Open).
Tennis saw new Grand Slam winners in Stanislas Wawrinka (Australian
Open) and Marin Cilic (US Open), with
Rafael Nadal the familiar French Open
champ and top-ranked Novak Djokovic the Wimbledon winner. On the
women’s side Li Na won the Australian
Open before retiring later in the year,
and number one Serena Williams won
another US Open. Maria Sharapova and
Petra Kvitova won French Open and
Wimbledon respectively.
Frenchman Renauf Lavillenie sensationally bettered Sergey Bubka’s indoor
pole vault world record to 6.16m, and
Dennis Kimetto was the latest Kenyan
to lower the marathon world record to
now 2:02:57 hours.
Usain Bolt graced the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with his
presence, helping Jamaica to relay gold;
and China dominated the Asian Games
in Incheon as expected.
In US sport, the San Antonio Spurs
won another NBA trophy, the Seattle
Seahawks a п¬Ѓrst Super Bowl, the San
Francisco Giants the World Series and
the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup.
A tourist jokes in front of an advertisement with the portrait of Uruguay forward Luis Suarez at Copacabana beach in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil. Suarez was banned for four months for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini during their World Cup match. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
Qatar Club down Wakrah
in thriller; Arabi beat Ahli
Al Wakrah’s Cage Calvin (left)
Qatar Club’s Cox Torrington Wallace (18) was in great form yesterday as he ended up his team’s top scorer with 32 points during the team’s
thrilling 90-95 win over Al Wakrah in the Qatar Basketball League yesterday. Wallace’s teammate Farrington Scott Arrindell (17) was the second
highest scorer with 21 points. For Wakrah, Cage Calvin managed to score 37 points, the highest of the match. PICTURES: Othman Iraqi
Wind plays truant on opening day of Qatar Optimist Cup
In the second match of the day Al Arabi comfortably beat Al Ahli 97-73. For Arabi, Rogers Kevin
La’Charles (7) and Pigram Courtney Ray Leonard were the top scorers with 33 points each. For
Ahli, Mcneal Tyronne (52) got his team’s highest score with 20 points but that was in vain.
Qatargas Open
badminton from
January 21-28
By Sports Reporter
The opening day’s race for the Qatar Optimist Cup 2014 was started in light winds at Katara’s Cultural Village beach, but later due to
shifty winds, the race was abandoned by the race officer yesterday. The races will start at 10:00am today and will be held as per
scheduled. Sailors from 11 countries are taking part in the competition.
The Qatargas Open badminton, sponsored by Qatargas
and organised by Qatar Badminton Association (QBA),
will be played from January
21 to 28, 2015 at the Qatar
Table Tennis Association
training centre in Ras Abo
Competitions will be held in
both senior and junior categories. The closing date for
entries is January 15, according to a release from Gamal
Rasmi, QBA board member.
The entry forms are available
at the QBA’s reception desk of
the Qatar Squash Federation,
in the premises of Khalifa
Tennis & Squash Complex.
Details are available on the
Facebook page of QBA (fb.
com/qatarbadminton). Alternatively, those interested to
take part in the event may
send an e-mail to
Gulf Times
Monday, December 29, 2014
nicol david
Monday, December 29, 2014
We feel confident: Muftah
�Now that we are in clearly good form, we are looking at something better – we are looking at the Asian Cup’
By Sports Reporter
he big 3-0 win over Estonia has
boosted the morale of the players
ahead of next month’s Asian Cup,
Qatar left back Khalid Muftah said
on Saturday.
This was Qatar’s first appearance since
winning the 2014 Gulf Cup last month.
Qatar beat regional giants and hosts
Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the Gulf Cup п¬Ѓnal in
“Qatar football has developed at all levels,” Muftah said in an interview. “Now
that we are in clearly good form, we are
looking at something better – we are looking at the Asian Cup,” he added.
“As a player, I want to participate at the
Asian Cup and I hope we win in Australia,”
he added.
“We must be humble as we are not a
major power in Asia. But winning the Gulf
Cup and following it with a display like tonight’s motivates us to do better,” the Lekhwiya player said.
Qatar featured in the quarter-п¬Ѓnals of
the last Asian Cup held in Doha in 2011.
Managed by Bruno Metsu, Qatar lost to
eventual champions Japan in 2011.
“We must continue to work seriously
and make appropriate plans,”
Muftah said. “We know our level of
play and we know what needs to be done,
our moral is high and we feel confident,”
he said.
Qatar will head into the AFC Asian Cup as
one of the form teams in the tournament
after continuing their strong run of results
with a 3-0 victory over Estonia.
The 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations champions extended their unbeaten streak to ten
matches with a dominant victory over a
team ranked 14 places higher than them.
The goals came in a 13 minute period in
the opening half with Mohammad Muntari
opening the scoring on 23 minutes.
Abdul Karim made it 2-0 on the half
hour mark before Mohammad Ismail put
the match beyond Estonia’s reach nearing
half time.
Djamel Belmadi’s men have now won
seven of their past ten including a 1-0 victory over AFC Asian Cup hosts Australia
and a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in the Gulf
Cup п¬Ѓnal.
Qatar will now head to Australia and
play their final friendly on New Year’s Eve
when they face Oman in Canberra.
They will then be confident of progressing through a group that features Iran,
Bahrain and the UAE.
Qatar defender Khalid Muftah (right) on his arrival with the rest of team in Canberra yesterday for the AFC Asian Cup. The Annabis play their first match on January 11 against UAE. PICTURES: Fadi Al-Assaad
Jordan welcomed in style in Mulgrave
Oman name squad for Asian Cup
The Jordanian national team have been
welcomed in style by the students of
Mazenod College after being the first
AFC Asian Cup side to arrive in Australia.
Jordan will set up camp at the Mulgrave
based facility in the lead up to Asia’s
biggest football tournament as they
look to claim their first continental title
in Australia.
Hundreds of students turned out to
get up close and personal with some of
Asia’s top players and many had the opportunity to be put through their paces
on the pitch by some of Jordan’s best.
“For a proud school, this is a remarkable
day,” said former student and esteemed
ABC sports commentator Gerard
Goalkeeper Ali al-Habsi will lead
Oman’s 23-man squad at next
month’s Asian Cup as they bid to
advance to the knockout stage
of the tournament for the first
Coach Paul Le Guen and the
squad will reach their Canberra
base on Sunday and play warmups against Qatar and China
before starting their campaign
for continental glory in Group A
against South Korea on Jan. 10.
The �Red Warriors’, who were
unbeaten through qualifying,
will have a tough task to make
it to the knockout stage with
Australia and Kuwait the other
“It is time to demonstrate the values that
are taught and cherished here, and to
experience the unifying power of football like never before on these shores.”
Jordan will take on the UAE on January
30 before the Mazenod students will
have a chance to see Ray Wilken’s men
in action when they take on Mazenod
United on January 3.
They will then face Bahrain in their final
friendly before opening their bid for a
maiden AFC Asian Cup title against 2007
winners Iraq on January 12 in Brisbane.
With their final two group matches
against Palestine and Japan in Melbourne there is no doubt that some of
the Mazenod faithful will be there cheering on Jordan in full voice.
members of the group.
Goalkeepers: Ali al-Habsi, Mazin
al-Kasbi, Mohannad al-Zaabi
Defenders: Abdul Salam Amir,
Mohammed Mussallami, Saad
Suhail, Jaber Owaisi, Ahmed
Saleem, Nasr al-Shimli, Ali alBusaidi
Midfielders: Ahmed Mubarak,
Eid al-Farsi, Ali Saleem, Raeed
Ibrahim, Ali al-Jabri, Hassan
Mudhafar, Mohsin Johar
Forwards: Imad al-Hosni,
Abdulaziz Muqbali, Saeed alRazaiqi, Mohammed al-Siyabi,
Yakoob Abdulkarim, Qasim
El Jaish announce Sabri
Lamoushi as new coach
By Sports Reporter
l Jaish have announced
that Frenchman Sabri
Lamoushi will be their
new head coach. He will
succeed Tunisian Nabil Maloul
who moved to Kuwait to coach
their national team. Lamoushi
will arrive in Doha in the coming days and the club will hold a
press conference to announce the
A delegation from El Jaish
headed by Dr Thani Abdul Rahman al-Kuwari, the General Secretary and CEO travelled to the
French capital city Paris to п¬Ѓnalise the contract.
Dr Thani stated to the Club’s
official website: “The Club Administration has signed on Sabri
Lamouchi to lead the first team.”
Lamoushi was born in Lion
city in France on 1971.
He started his career with the
amateur team Alice, and then
moved to Auxerre for four sea-
sons until 1998, during which he
participated in 129 matches and
scored 19 goals. After which he
transferred to Monaco for two
seasons and participated in 54
On 2000 he became more famous in Europe by joining the
Italian Club Parma. For three
seasons Sabri participated in 90
matches and scored seven goals.
Then he moved on loan to Inter Milan for two seasons and
then Jenoa. In 2005 he returned
to France to join Marseille for one
season and played in 36 matches
and scored п¬Ѓve goals. In 2006 he
started his adventure in the Qatari league by joining Al Rayyan,
Umm Salal and Al Kharaitiyat. He
was the Head Coach of Kharaitiyat for one season.
Lamouchi played 470 matches
and scored 79 goals during his
football career, while on the national team level he represented
France in 19 matches with only
one goal. Lamouchi was the head
coach of Ivory Coast Team during 2014 FIFA World Cup.
QSL organises session about
integrity for Qatar team in the
presence of Hani Balan
By Sports Reporter
atar Stars League
convened a session for
Qatar National Team
players, technical staff and officials about the risks of football integrity and match-fixing
before the inauguration of AFC
Asian Cup Australia 2015 on the
9th of Jan.
Hani Balan, QSLM CEO, participated in this session, while
Maksat was the official instructor
approved by the Interpol.
Qatar National Team Manager Farid Mahbob, Qatar National Team Head Coach Djamel
Belmadi and all of the players
attended the session. Maksat
spoke about the risks of matchfixing and the lack of integrity
in sports.
While talking to Balan, he
commented that this session
was convened out of AFC keenness on this issue as well as the
workshop previously convened
for the professional leagues, especially those participating in
AFC Asian Cup.
He added: AFC didn’t only
focus on the national team, but
also included all football stakeholders such as coaches, officials and referees to warn them
about the risks of match-п¬Ѓxing.
Balan wished Qatar National
Team all the best during the
AFC Asian Cup as the team now
is witnessing their best moments as well as the spectators’
confidence, which makes us
aiming at reaching the furthest,
level possible. He also said that
the Qatari football п¬Ѓnished the
2014 with many accomplishments and titles for both the
Qatar National A Team and Qatar National Youth Team.
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