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SPORT | Page 12
QR18mn vehicle
inspection centre
opens in Mesaimeer
Latest Figures
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Iran wary of
Qatar in
Asian Cup
Group C
Vol. XXXV No. 9603
January 15, 2015
Rabia I 24, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Finishing touches
Doha-based team
in cancer research
In Brief
Emir to open
Handball World
H the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani will patronise
the opening of the 24th IHF
Men’s Handball World Championship – Qatar 2015, in the presence of a
number of heads of state and chiefs of
delegations of the countries participating in the tournament, at the Lusail
Multipurpose Hall this evening.
HE the chairman of the Organising
Committee of 2015 Men’s Handball
World Championship, Sheikh Joaan
bin Hamad al-Thani, yesterday said
the 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship would be an “exceptional
event locally and internationally”.
Describing the event as “a legacy
that lends Qatar a strong reputation”,
Sheikh Joaan said that Qatar always
fulfilled its promises and pledges. He
noted that this was the п¬Ѓrst time the
championship was being held in one
city, a matter which would facilitate
movement of teams and fans.
He said the organising committee of 2015 Men’s Handball World
Championship enjoyed full support
of the International Handball Federation (IHF) and its president, Dr Hassan Mustafa.
He stressed that Qatar’s objective
was to make the world championship
“as an everlasting and unique event
for all athletes, sport officials, media
representatives, fans, volunteers and
national and international sport federations”. Sport Pages 1, 2, 3
Given that tens of thousands of
women die from ovarian cancer
each year, any improvement in the
therapies used could be of huge
A worker putting the finishing touch to Fahed, the Qatar 2015 mascot, outside the
Lusail Multipurpose Hall yesterday. The opening ceremony will take place in the
Lusail Multipurpose Hall, with a seating capacity for more than 15,000 spectators.
ancer researchers at Weill
Cornell Medical College in
Qatar (WCMC-Q) have made
a breakthrough that could lead to
improved treatments for ovarian
cancer, which causes the death of a
large number of women across the
Dr Bella Guerrouahen, a postdoctoral associate in genetic medicine
at WCMC-Q, has discovered one of
the aspects of how and why a patient
may build up resistance to the popular cancer drug bevacizumab, sold
commercially as Avastin.
Avastin prevents the growth of
blood vessels to the tumour, thereby
cutting off its food and oxygen supply. It does this by targeting VEGF
(vascular endothelial growth factor) – a protein that stimulates the
growth of brand new blood vessels,
and the creation of new blood vessels from existing ones. The VEGF,
produced by the cancer cells, then
attracts the endothelial cells which
form new blood vessels around the
But despite initial success where
Avastin works and prevents the
growth of new blood vessels, pa-
Dr Bella Guerrouahen in the lab at
tients often suffer from a build-up
of resistance to the drug, causing
the blood vessels to begin growing
again. This allows the tumour to
thrive and potentially spread.
Dr Guerrouahen and her research
team discovered that it was the endothelial cells – cells that line the
walls of blood vessels – that were
essentially building up a resistance
to Avastin. Because the VEGF was
being neutralised by Avastin, the
cancer cells instead produced more
FGF (fibroblast growth factor), another protein involved in the creation of blood vessels. This allowed
the production of new blood vessels
to re-start and eventually the tumour continued to grow.
Given that tens of thousands of
women die from ovarian cancer each
year, any improvement in the therapies used could be of huge significance.
“What my paper showed was that
patients would benefit from a combination of therapies – when you use
an anti-FGF in tandem with Avastin,
you get better results. This could
apply to other cancers as well,” Dr
Guerrouahen said.
The objective is to optimise and
improve treatments for the disease.
It can help to build new translational
research as combination therapies
can be studied in trials.
Dr Guerrouahen explored the
reasons behind the phenomenon,
working in the research laboratory
of Dr Arash Rafii, associate professor of Genetic Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at WCMC-Q.
She received funding from Qatar
National Research Fund under the
Junior Scientists Research Experience programme, and support from
Dr Ahmed Saleh from the pharmacy
at Qatar’s National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR),
Dr Rafii added that the success
of the research relied on strong collaboration between WCMC-Q and
Hamad Medical Corporation.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Cabinet issues
draft law on
protection of
workers’ wage
he Employer must transfer workers’ wages to
their accounts at п¬Ѓnancial institutions in the State,
and the annual or monthly
wages of recruited workers are
to be paid at least once a month,
and the wages of all other
workers are to be paid at least
once every two weeks, as per a
draft law issued by the Cabinet
The Weekly Cabinet meeting,
chaired by HE the Prime Minister
and Minister of Interior Sheikh
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa
al-Thani at the Emiri Diwan, has
issued the draft law amending
some provisions of the Labour
Law which was issued by law No
14 of the year 2004.
The Cabinet then reviewed
the Advisory Council’s recommendations on the draft law.
The Minister of Labour and
Social Affairs has issued the regulations to protect the workers’
The Cabinet approved draft
decision of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs on the
wages protection system of
workers who are subject to the
Labour Law.
Under the project, the Labour
Inspection department in the
Ministry of Labour and Social
Affairs, shall take the measures
to implement the Wage Protection System (WPS) for workers
under Labour Law.
The WPS aims to ensure that
employers fulfil their obligation
of paying the workers’ wages in
a timely manner, and in accordance with their contracts and
the applicable regulations in the
Employers are obliged to
transfer wages of workers to п¬Ѓnancial institutions in the State,
within seven days from the due
The Labour Inspection department may request a detailed
report, from the employer, on
the payment of the workers’
The Minister or his authorised
representative may bring against
an employer who violates the
provisions of this resolution, any
of the following:
1. Cease granting new work
2. Or, Cease all dealings with
the Ministry, excluding attesting
the labour contracts.
The WPS aims to ensure
that employers fulfil their
obligation of paying the
workers’ wages in a timely
manner, and in accordance
with their contracts and the
applicable regulations in
the State
Cessation is to be lifted by the
Minister or his delegate, after
the submitting proof of payment
of all outstanding wages.
The Cabinet also approved a
draft Cabinet decision amending the regulations of some administrative units which make
up Qatar Tourism Authority,
and a draft decision of the Minister of Economy and Commerce on creating sections in
the administrative units that
make up the Qatar Tourism Authority and setting their terms
of reference.
The Cabinet approved the
proposal of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning
on extending lease contracts for
non-residential purposes, for
one year as of 15/02/2015.
The provisions of the mentioned legal extension excludes:
the administrative headquarters
of commercial companies and
other legal persons engaged in
private trade, offices of lawyers,
accountants, engineers, veterinarians, clinics and the offices of
agriculture, animal husbandry
and п¬Ѓshery experts.
The Cabinet also approved
Accession to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising
from their utilisation annexed
to the Convention on Biological
The Cabinet also approved a
draft agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and
prevention of п¬Ѓscal evasion
with respect to taxes on income
between the government of
Qatar and Japan, and the protocol attached to it and a draft
air services agreement between
the governments of Qatar and
The Council reviewed the following topics and took appropriate decisions:
1. A letter by the Minister of
Justice on the proposal to amend
Article 182 of the Penal Code
promulgated by Law No. (11) for
the year 2004.
2. Memorandum of the Minister of Finance on the results of
11th Conference of the Federation of the tax authorities in the
Islamic States which was held in
Tunisia during the month of December 2014.
3.Letter of the Ministry of
Communications and Information Technology on the outcome
of the 18th meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers of Communications and Information Technology, which was held in Cairo
in December 2014.
First batch of �Al Firjan’ markets opens
he п¬Ѓrst batch of the commercial complex, consisting of several retail
shops, referred to as �Al Firjan’
or neighbourhood markets, was
opened recently, according to Al
Sharq newspaper.
The exact location of the
newly opened market, however,
has not been mentioned by the
Waseef, the real estate utilities leasing management п¬Ѓrm of
the Barwa Real Estate Company
is supervising and managing �Al
Firjan’ markets.
The company handed over the
first batch of shops to its benefi-
ciaries, the paper reported.
The market, it is hoped, will
contribute to the growth of the
commercial sector in the country and will considerably ease
the shopping issues and concerns of the residents of those
localities which have no adequate shopping avenues and
The setting of such markets
is also expected to check the
unreasonable hike in the shops’
rents these days, it is understood.
At the opening of the п¬Ѓrst
market some of the beneficiaries thanked the Waseef manage-
ment for providing them with
outlets on schedule and also at
affordable rents, the paper has
While hailing the whole initiative, Waseef’s Manager of Sales
and leasing Mohamed Ali alHamdi said the neighbourhood
market project is a novel initiative, backed by some social objectives and obligations. Waseef
is managing almost 50% of the
645 odd shops at the neighbourhood markets, said the official.
In the coming months, a
number of new neighbourhood
markets would be ready for
opening, said al-Hamdi.
Macedonian president arrives in Doha
Defence Minister
reviews bilateral
ties with Iran
HE the Minister of Youth and Sports Salah bin Ghanim bin Nasser al-Ali receiving the
Macedonian President Georgi Ivanov in Doha yesterday. President Ivanov is in Doha to attend
the opening of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship Qatar 2015. Qatar’s Ambassador to
Macedonia Zaid Hassan Abdullah al-Mahmoud was also present on the occasion.
FC Bayern Munich players
visit Q-Auto showroom
C Bayern Munich stars
Thomas MГјller and Dante
Santos, currently in Doha
along with the rest of the team
to participate in the annual
training camp, visited Q-Auto
showroom to meet fans.
More than 300 people
queued up to get a glimpse of
the stars, an autograph and
have their picture taken with
Q-Auto, the official importer of Audi and Volkswagen, is
hosting FC Bayern Munich at
the nine-day camp, which runs
until Saturday, with six members of the World Cup-winning
team in attendance.
The Bayern Munich team –
including Mario Goetze, the
game-winning goal scorer, have
returned to Qatar for their п¬Ѓfth
annual training camp, held at
Qatar’s Aspire Academy, a globally recognised national sports
Other members of the World
Cup-winning team taking part
in the training camp including
Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng,
Bastian Schweinsteiger and
Thomas Mueller and the semifinalists Arjen Robben (Netherland) and Dante (Brazil).
Yann Lassade, managing director, Q-Auto said: “Hosting
Germany’s best team, FC Bayern Munchen, gives us and our
customers the opportunity to
meet international and World
Cup winning football stars.”
HE the Minister of State for
Defence Affairs Major General
Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah met
the Iranian Border Guards
Commander Brigadier General
Qassem Rezayee and the
delegation accompanying him
The two sides exchanged views
on issues of mutual concern and
discussed ways of enhancing
relations between the two
Iranian Ambassador to Doha
Mohamed Jawad Asayish
attended the meeting along with
a number of senior Qatari armed
forces officers.
Meanwhile, Public Security
Director General, Staff Major
General Saad bin Jassim alKhulaifi, held separate meeting
with Iranian Border Guards
Commander Brigadier General
Qassem Rezayee.
They reviewed aspects of cooperation in issues of common
interest and ways of enhancing
Labour Minister
meets Pakistan,
Mauritania envoys
HE the Minister of Labour and
Social Affairs Dr Abdullah Saleh
Mubarak al-Khulaifi met Pakistani
Ambassador to Qatar Shahzad
Ahmed yesterday.
The meeting reviewed bilateral
relations and ways of boosting
and developing them in addition
to issues of common concern.
The Minister of Labour and Social
Affairs also met Mauritanian
Ambassador to Doha Sidi
Mohamed Laghdaf yesterday.
They reviewed bilateral relations
and ways of developing them
in addition to issues of mutual
Speaker receives
message from UAE
council president
FC Bayern Munich stars MГјller and Santos interact with fans at Q-Auto showroom in Doha.
Porsche Cayman 991,
Boxster models recalled
Ministry to enforce Qatari
standards for cosmetics
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce
(MEC) has announced the recall of Porsche
Cayman 991 and Porsche Boxster 2014 and
2015 models in co-operation with its dealer in
The free recall and repair campaign is due to
the possibility that motorists could sustain harm
because of a defect in the upper seal of the engine
cover that makes it unstable, the MEC explained in
a statement.
MEC monitors the local auto market closely
and co-ordinates with all distributors in the
country to maintain the best possible practices
of consumer protection.
Qatari General Authority for Standards and
Standardisation, at the Ministry of the Environment
(MoE), has decided to start enforcing from
February 15 technical regulations for cosmetics
and perfumes containing Ethanol.
Perfumes should not include more than 90%
Ethanol and should contain a substance that make
it undrinkable. The content of Methanol should
not exceed 0.05%. The bottles for sale should not
exceed 250ml and should be equipped with a
sprayer or valve that cannot be removed by hand.
It should be labelled in red in Arabic and English
“For External Use Only”. The label should be
conspicuous on the bottle.
HE Advisory Council Speaker
Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi
yesterday received a message
from UAE Federal National
Council President Mohamed
bin Ahmed al-Murr pertaining
to bilateral parliamentary ties
between the two countries and
means of developing them.
UAE Ambassador to Qatar Saleh
bin Mohamed al-Amri delivered
the message to HE al-Khulaifi
HE Advisory Council Secretary
General Fahad bin Mubarak alKhayareen attended the meeting.
Maldivian leader
receives envoy’s
Maldivian President Abdulla
Yameen Abdul Gayoom
yesterday received the
credentials of Qatar’s nonresident ambassador Rashid bin
Shafie al-Marri yesterday in Male.
Ambassador al-Marri conveyed
the greetings of HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
and HH the Father Emir Sheikh
Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to the
Maldivian president.
Doha Youth Forum to be held along with UN crime prevention congress
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he �Doha Youth Forum’
will be held in connection
with the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which
is scheduled to take place in Doha
from April 12-19 this year.
This is the п¬Ѓrst time a youth
forum is organised along with
the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
The forum will be held from
April 7 to 9 at the Qatar National
Convention Centre.
The Doha Youth Forum is offering students in Qatar an opportunity to participate in a UN
event and express their ideas
and hopes for a sustainable and
prosperous future. The Doha
Youth Forum will consider a
parallel agenda and will draw up
relevant proposals which may be
presented to the Congress.
An orientation session was
held for the participants of the
Doha Youth Forum at the Student Centre of the Hamada Bin
Khalifa University ( HBKU) yesterday.
Officials of the UN Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) and
the Ministry of Interior briefed
the participants on the youth forum and their role in shaping the
Ambassador Ahmed Hassan
al-Hammadi, vice-president of
the Preparatory Committee of
the UN Congress, gave an overview of the youth forum and the
expectations from the youth.
He explained that the Doha
Youth Forum, purely a Qatari
initiative, is the п¬Ѓrst of its kind
in 60 years in the history of
UN Congress on Prevention of
The forum will provide opportunities for the youth to discuss
several issues such as cyber or
environmental crimes and come
out with suggestions and recommendations to counter them
in the fast changing universe.
Dr Khalid al-Khanji, vicepresident, Student
HBKU said that an opportunity
was given to the youth to voice
their concerns, aspirations,
hopes and vision.
Dimitri Vlassis, executive secretary of 13th UN Congress on
Crime Prevention and Criminal
Justice, highlighted the strong
political will of the government
of Qatar in organising the congress and explained some of the
salient features of the congress.
“The congress takes stock of
the last 5 years and plan for the
next 5 years. We need to work in
close co-ordination for a sustainable and prosperous world.
Doha is not supposed to be the
point of arrival, it is supposed to
be the point of departure. That
sets the bar very high.”
Sheikha Amal al-Thani, HSSE
executive director, Qatar Foundation talked about the role of
Qatar Foundation in supporting
the youth of Qatar.
Some of the participants at the orientation programme yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
FM receives new ambassadors’ credentials
QDA getting ready to host
spring camp for children
HE the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah yesterday received copies of the credentials of the ambassadors of Albania
and Spain to Qatar, Edmond Chasha and Escobar Grario, respectively. The Foreign Minister wished the two ambassadors success in their
assignments and the relations between Qatar and their countries further progress and prosperity.
New taxi meters will ensure
fair deal, says Mowasalat
owasalat has said the
installation of sensoraided new meters in
the company’s taxis would ensure not only a fair deal to the
customers seeking their services
but also protect the needs of the
company’s taxi drivers.
Reacting to a report that
the Gulf Times published on
Tuesday about a section of the
Mowasalat taxi drivers staying
away from work at the Hamad
International Airport (HIA),
protesting against the installation of the new meters, the
company said those who had
refused to do duties on Monday
have now resumed work after
the company management ex-
plained its position on the issue.
The drivers returned for work
after Mowasalat CEO Khalid
al-Hail and senior officials held
deliberations with their representatives.
At the meeting the drivers
were explained about the advantages of the new meters, including the additional benefits that
they stood to get with its effective use by improving the company’s revenues, the company
said in a statement yesterday.
The statement said there were
several complaints earlier from
the public as well as the Central Municipal Council members about the higher rates being charged by Mowasalat taxis,
most of which allegedly done by
the drivers’ who reportedly tampered with the meters.
The company installed new
meters in their taxis not only
to overcome this critical issue
of overcharging but also in the
hope of improving their services,
it said.
“We are duty bound to ensure 100% satisfaction to our
taxis’ customers by providing
them with comfortable and affordable services,” explained
The company said the new
meters have many advanced and
sophisticated features which
would help the drivers as well as
the customers locate their destinations without any issues.
“Through such innovative technological solutions, the company is also ensuring the safety of
the taxi passengers. Unlike what
it used to be there will not be any
complaints in future about drivers not knowing the customers’
destinations,” hoped Mowasalat.
The company hoped that the
new sensor-aided GPS meters
would also ensure that the customers received the right receipts for their journeys. It said
the installation of new technologies would not be linked to the
wages, and other benefits of the
“On the contrary, drivers are
now benefited if they deliver
better services to the customers,” it was pointed out.
atar Diabetes Association (QDA), a member
of Qatar Foundation
for Education, Science and
(QF), has started п¬Ѓnal preparations for its 15th annual Al
Bawasil International Spring
Camp for children with diabetes.
The camp is part of a variety of QF initiatives that promote healthcare in the State of
Qatar through education and
awareness of prevalent health
problems, as well as providing effective ways to deal with
Al Bawasil, which takes
place from January 31 to February 5 at Aspire Academy in
Doha, is the largest camp in
the region that brings together
children with diabetes from
across the Mena region and
beyond for a week-long learning and activity-driven experience.
The camp is part of a
variety of QF initiatives
that promote healthcare
in the State of Qatar
through education and
awareness of prevalent
health problems
The programme is designed
to help participants lead a
healthy lifestyle, build their
confidence in managing the
condition and grow to become
active members of their community.
Al-Bawasil Camp has a
daily programme of education and fun activities supervised by a specialised medical
team. Workshops and other
activities will also form part
of the camp, with some being held in collaboration with
Aspire Academy highlighting the importance of sport
in controlling the effects of
Children from Qatar, Sudan, Afghanistan, Morocco,
Pakistan, Iraq, India, Lebanon, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Palestine will participate. Children from UAE,
Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and
Libya are also expected to
Registration is still open for
both boys and girls from Qatar,
aged 7-11, to participate in the
camp. QDA may be contacted
on 44547311 or 44547333. Registration for the camp will close
on January 20.
Civic body urged to tackle stray
dogs’ menace in Industrial Area
isitors to Doha Industrial Area and residents of
the accommodations in
the densely populated localities
there have sought the urgent
intervention of the municipal
authorities for п¬Ѓnding an effective solution to the growing
stray dog menace in the entire
area, Arrayah newspaper has
The paper has said the stray
dogs are multiplying in the
sprawling area as each day
passed and they posed a big
threat to the lives of the residents as well as visitors.
The situation has led to panic
among the residents, especially
those in the accommodations
and others frequenting to the
area as part of their daily work,
the paper has reported.
It has been pointed out that
the presence of a multitude of
dogs has created a scare among
the residents and incidents of
dogs attacking pedestrians are
reported at regular intervals in
the Industrial Area.
The situation has led
to panic among the
residents, especially those
in the accommodations
and others frequenting to
the area
Dogs take shelter under the
abandoned vehicles, found
in large numbers in many
streets, and they emerge out
from the cover of such vehicles at times for attacking the
Some of the residents have
complained that stray dogs
are flocking at night to such
places as automobile workshops, companies’ residential
accommodations and a few
of the abandoned compounds
on some streets and they take
shelter in such places despite
the residents’ efforts to scare
them away.
The residents warned if a
solution is not found to the
critical issue on a war footing, it
would go out of control.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Tala’a event’s first round winner Mohamed al-Temtam al-Marri with his falcon. Right: Abdulhadi al Mahran al-Marri
Mohamed, Abdulhadi post
victories at falcon festival
ohamed al Temtam alMarri and Abdulhadi al
Mahran al-Marri won the
first round of the Tala’a event yesterday morning at the sixth Qatar
International Falcons and Hunting
Festival at Sabkhet Marmi in the
Sealine area of Mesaieed.
Fahed al-Musaifri entered the
п¬Ѓnal round of the Hudud al Tahaddi challenge in the afternoon, after
his falcon cornered the homing pigeon causing it to land. The Tala’a
event and Hudud al-Tahaddi challenge will continue today.
The Tala’a event tests the falcon’s speed and ability to identify the location of its prey, and
involves an electronic Habari bird
(or bustard) which is placed at a
distance of one kilometre. The
qualifying time is then counted
from the moment the falcon is released.
In the Hudud al Tahaddi challenge, falcons seek to obstruct the
flight of homing pigeons especial-
ly trained to fly away, and instead
causing them to land.
Ibrahim al-Nasr, a member of
the Shura council, underlined the
important contribution of the festival in supporting the sport of falconry, an important part of Qatar’s
national heritage.
He highlighted the festival’s effectiveness in bringing amateur
falconers together and motivating
them to adhere to their traditions,
thus raising a generation with an
interest in their heritage. He also
commended the organisers.
Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Ali,
head of the Tala’a organising committee explained that 100 contestants were subdivided into four
groups of 25 each, with one group
competing each day, with the top
10 participants in the event qualifying to compete in a п¬Ѓnal round.
The festival is being organised
by the Gannas Society under the
patronage of HE Sheikh Joaan bin
Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Fahed al-Musaifri entered the final round of the
Hudud al Tahaddi challenge.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Al Khaliji promotes
Al Dhameen scheme to
help private sector
l Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) has launched a
media campaign for its Al
Dhameen Guarantee Programme, which provides
project financing for Qatar’s growing number of
small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs).
Al Dhameen is an indirect
loan facility established by
Qatar Development Bank
(QDB) to guarantee commercial bank loans to private
sector companies.
The launch of the campaign comes after QDB and
al khaliji signed an agreement to enable interested
enterprises and startup
Fahad al-Khalifa, Group
CEO, Al khaliji
companies in the п¬Ѓelds of
manufacturing, education,
tourism, healthcare, and
value-added services to be
part of the programme and
obtain funding.
Through Al Dhameen
companies can get п¬Ѓnance from up to 85% of
the project cost with a
preferential interest rate.
As part of its commitment to supporting Qatar’s SME sector, the Al
Dhameen programme helps
SMEs establish a credit history with banks for future
credit facilities without the
need for large collateral and
encourages п¬Ѓnancial institutions to understand the
importance of Qatar SMEs
and develop closer business
relationships with them.
Al khaliji Group CEO
Fahad al-Khalifa said: “Al
khaliji bank supports the
State of Qatar’s development strategy and aims to
help build the country’s diversified economy and sustaining financial prosperity.
The programme is a clear
indication of al khaliji’s
commitment to enhance
the local economy and
help in achieving the Qatar
National Vision 2030.”
He added: “We are hoping
that our campaign, in cooperation with QDB, will enhance the private sector and
entrepreneurial capabilities
and innovation and create
more opportunities for the
next generation.”
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Two hurt as false ceiling collapses at mall
A portion of the
false ceiling at
a section of the
Landmark Mall
collapsed last
night. At least two
people suffered
minor injuries,
according to a
witness. “Suddenly
there was a loud
crash and then it
turned out that
some large pieces
from the ceiling
had fallen,” the
witness said. The
collapse happened
around 10pm at an
open area in one of
the main corridors
of the shopping
HMC, QBRI in pact
to boost patient care
amad Medical Corporation (HMC) has signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), which will
enable both entities to harness their combined medical research capabilities.
The agreement will also enhance an environment in which
clinical discoveries will be translated into practical applications for the benefit of patients more quickly.
The MoU was signed by Hanan al-Kuwari, managing director, HMC and Dr Hilal Lashuel, executive director, QBRI.
The new agreement will boost the resources of existing research teams studying health problems like diabetes, cancer,
degenerative diseases and genetic disorders and pave the way
for new research studies.
The MoU is expected to lead to further development of a
skilled national healthcare workforce, providing numerous
career and professional development opportunities for clinicians, researchers and faculty.
Dr al-Kuwari said the agreement emphasises the dedication of HMC and QBRI to improving patient outcomes
through research and innovation. “HMC and QBRI have
shown a commitment to fostering a culture of translational
research and evidence-based care, which will ultimately
Scientists and executive management from QBRI and HMC
after the signing of the MoU.
lead to better overall patient outcomes across Qatar,” said alKuwari. Dr Lashuel said the initiative was demonstrative of
the country’s strengthening scientific and medical research
“This agreement is a catalyst for cutting-edge biomedical
research, an essential element in today’s complex and evolving healthcare landscape. It reinforces Qatar’s position as a
regional leader in biomedical research and scientific discovery,” said Dr Lashuel.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Qatar Airways flights
to Sofia from March
atar Airways is continuing its 2015 expansion programme across
Europe with the launch of new
direct flights from Doha to Sofia
from March, a destination currently served by the airline via
The launch of flights to Sofia will add an additional level
of choice and more options
for passengers when travelling to any of the 146 destina-
tions around the globe served
by Qatar Airways, from the
state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport. Likewise,
those passengers travelling
from Asia Pacific and Africa
now have even more connection
opportunities, the airline said
Frequencies are also increasing from Doha to Ankara, which
will be served by a six weekly
flight connection instead of five
Survey to assess opinions on
sport practices
In co-operation with the Qatar Olympic Committee, the
Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics has
launched its annual survey aimed at knowing the opinions
of citizens and expatriates on the various sport practices.
The survey can be accessed through the websites www. or
The objective is to gather information about the number
of participants in sport activities by age category, level of
spending on sport by individuals, as well as the favourite
venues and times for the practice of sport, in addition to
the scope of participation in the National Sport Day (NSD),
in the previous year.
The results of the survey will be made public during the
NSD activities on February 10.
Both the ministry and QOC have urged all citizens and
expatriates to participate in the survey as it will help
define precisely the services and sport activities that the
community would need, in order to promote the culture of
sport and physical activities in the society, thus achieving
the objectives of the NSD.
The QOC is keen to achieve these objectives through
various programmes and initiatives such as the Qatar Active
Campaign, which helps spreading the �Sport for All’ concept.
The Olympic Running Day, the Paralympic Festival,
the Girls Sport Day, the Fishing Festival, the Tele Match
competition, the Diplomatic Day, the Corporation Sport
Day and the Fitness programme for women and girls,
the Ramadan Sport competition, the Electronic Games
competition, the Heritage competitions and contests, the
Islamic Triathlon, the Ministries and Corporation League,
the Aquatic Games and the Indoor Footsall competition are
among the programmes.
from March 1, while capacity
will increase to Zagreb with an
additional direct flight a week,
increasing the frequency from
four to five flights weekly.
Qatar Airways Group Chief
Executive, Akbar al-Baker, said:
“Qatar Airways is expanding
rapidly, not only in terms of new
destinations and our network
offering, but also with the service we offer. Complementing
our п¬Ѓve-star service in the skies
are our transfer facilities at the
newly unveiled state-of-the-art
Hamad International Airport,
coupled with the experience
of flying on board one of the
youngest fleets in the industry.”
The further expansion by
the airline into Eastern Europe
comes shortly after the news
that Qatar Airways is increasing the frequency on its DohaIstanbul (Sabiha Gökçen Airport) route to a double-daily
service as of March 29.
Qatar Airways currently operates to three destinations
in Turkey - Istanbul Sabiha
Gökçen Airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Ankara.
With the launch of these
additional frequencies, passengers from the Middle East,
Asia Pacific and Africa can now
“take advantage of additional
connections” to all these European cities via Doha.
Al-Khor Fly-in
sponsored by QA
atar Airways sponsored
and participated in the
Al-Khor Fly-in Day 2015
which took place at Al-Khor
airfield on January 9-10.
More than 40 light aircraft
were on display during the annual event which п¬Ѓrst started
in 2008 as a gathering for aviation enthusiasts from Qatar and
other GCC countries.
“The Al Khor Fly-in has become a popular event which
promotes aviation as a sport and
a hobby,” Qatar Airways said in a
statement yesterday.
The event attracted a large
crowd of aviation enthusiasts
and families, all of whom enjoyed the display of different
light aircraft as well as many
entertaining activities.
QIB opens evening
branch at Fanar
atar Islamic Bank (QIB)
has added Fanar to its
network of evening shift
branches to extend banking
services to more clients.
The move was in response to
requests from QIB customers,
who, due to their work schedules,
are not able to transact business
during regular banking hours.
Furthermore, the Fanar branch
“has the added bonus” of being
strategically-located along Doha’s
business district, QIB said in a
The Fanar branch will be
open in the evenings, Sunday to Wednesday, from 5pm
to 7:30pm and Saturdays from
9am to 12noon. The branch will
be providing a complete range of
services for QIB clients, similar
to those provided during regu-
lar daytime hours such as new
accounts, п¬Ѓnancing, receiving
debit and credit cards, and a host
of Takaful services.
“The extended working hours
in the evenings will enable more
QIB clients to do their banking
requirements that meet their
customers can benefit from using the services provided by the
bank anytime, all days of the
week with more than 160 ATMs
QIB said.
Working hours at Fanar, Salwa
Road, Gharrafa, Al Sadd, Old Airport Road, and Al Rayyan branches are as follows: Mornings (Sunday to Thursday) from 7:30am
to 1pm; and evenings (Sunday to
Wednesday) from 5pm to 7:30pm
while working hours on Saturdays
start from 9am to 12 noon.
Additionally, the Group branch
operates Sunday to Thursday
from 8am to 1pm and 4pm to
8pm. The branches at both Dar Al
Salam Mall and City Center are
open Saturday to Thursday from
9am to 2:30pm and from 3:30pm
to 9pm. Friday working hours
for the two branches are from
4pm to 9pm.
QIB’s network comprises 30
branches located all over Qatar.
With the addition of Fanar, the
bank has a total of nine evening
branches in its network.
Customers can also transact business using QIB Internet banking at https://ibank. and using the QIB
Mobile application, which is
compatible with all devices and
operating systems.
Paragliders descending on the Al Khor airstrip during the event.
Call for legislation to protect National Societies
apacity building is crucial
for National Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies, particularly those facing challenges, recommended
the Mena Red Cross and Red
Crescent Consultative Meeting, which concluded in Doha
The three-day meeting,
hosted by Qatar Red Crescent
(QRC), was attended by senior officials from 31 Mena and
non-Mena National Societies,
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), and the Arab
Red Crescent and Red Cross
Organisation (ARCO).
The meeting pointed out
that National Societies, such as
the Libyan Red Crescent, that
country’s only humanitarian
organisation, is suffering scarce
resources, lack of local and foreign support, and security and
political instability.
Local funding is as important for National Societies as
foreign support, to strengthen their capability and role
in community service, it was
Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa bin
Ahmed al-Thani attended the
Participants at closing session of the meeting.
The seven fundamental principles of humanitarian action
must be respected, humanitarian
action must not be politicised,
and internationally unaddressed
humanitarian crises must take
priority, as is the case with Libya.
The International Humanitarian Law must be respected in
armed conflicts, and relief and
medical workers must be protected. National Societies must
be seen as auxiliaries to their
states, as they are in place to
reach out to disaster-stricken
The meeting urged governments to enact legislation as a legal framework to protect the Red
Cross and Red Crescent emblems
and enforce their respect among
A focal point will be appointed
by each participating National
Society to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations until the Amman
touched upon the arrangements
and recommendations for the
World Humanitarian Summit
(WHS) to be convened by the
United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016, and how to engage
the Mena National Societies
strongly in preparing for it and
contributing to its success.
In an opening speech, Samir
al-Hawari from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Regional Office for the Middle
East and North Africa, said that
WHS is an initiative announced
by UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon, in 2013 to formulate
a new humanitarian agenda in a
changing world that witnesses
many unprecedented universal
phenomena, including climate
change, increasing natural disasters, and aggravated human
conflicts, which require a different global humanitarian action plan to cope with this new
Marwan Jilani, IFRC head of
delegation and permanent observer to the UN, reviewed the
results and recommendations
of other regional consultations
in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), North and South-
East Asia (NSEA), and West and
Central Africa (WCA), mainly
reinforcing the role of states
and regional organisations in
humanitarian action, empowering affected communities by
strengthening their resilience
and managing risk, transforming through innovation and how
to use technology in humanitarian action, and enhancing access
to humanitarian assistance and
During discussions, Dr Mohamed bin Ghanem al-Ali alMaadheed, QRC chairman,
Kahramaa promotes
conservation at fair
atar General Electricity & Water
Corporation (Kahramaa), represented by
conservation and energy
is participating at the
Doha International Book
Fair at the Qatar National
Convention Centre.
Kahramaa booth includes various activities for
children and other visitors.
The corporation is presenting the visitors with tips on
conservation. The stall is
also holding several other
activities including painting, clay, and puzzles.
The corporation’s Tarsheed programme has considerable visibility at the
Somaya al-Mutawa, head
of community awareness at
Kahramaa, said Doha International Book Fair is a good
opportunity to disseminate
the corporation’s message
on conservation culture
need to be developed by the
The booth also presents
the winning stories in Tarsheed Contest 2014 in the
preliminary, preparatory,
and secondary categories.
Community awareness
Children at the Kahramaa pavilion at Doha International
Book Fair.
co-ordinator Maryam alJaber said: “We endeavor
to deeply root the culture
of conservation in the society through our activities,
stories and gifts.”
stressed the importance of
playing a stronger role not only
in WHS itself but also in its
preceding consultations.
Highlighting the seriousness of holding to the same old
methodologies without reform
or updating, which would put
the Mena National Societies behind the new system emerging
in today’s world, he called for
well-defined mechanisms to restructure the whole humanitarian system, fulfilling the needs
of distressed populations, and
identifying who would cover
what, under the overall strategic
goal of preserving the relevance
and advantages of National Societies, particularly in armed
Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa bin
Ahmed al-Thani, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of
the Arab League for Humanitarian Affairs, said: “ I believe that
this important meeting comes in
the context of a series of national
and humanitarian meetings. In
doing their mission, humanitarian organisations need continuous coordination, especially
as they are preparing for WHS
and the currently critical Arab
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
US journalist’s case goes to revolutionary court
he case of a US-Iranian
correspondent for the
Washington Post who has
been detained since July is to go
before the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary court, Tehran’s prosecutor general said yesterday.
closed, the charge sheet has been
drawn up and the case of Ja-
son Rezaian has been sent to the
revolutionary court,” said Abbas
Jafari-Dolatabadi, quoted by Fars
news agency, without giving details or any date.
The US State Department reacted swiftly by renewing calls
for his release.
“We are aware of Iranian press
reports stating that US citizen
Jason Rezaian’s case has been
referred to a court,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“We continue to monitor the
situation closely and are seeking
further information. We continue to call for his immediate
release,” she said in a statement,
also calling for other Americans
held in Iran to be freed.
Iran’s revolutionary court
normally handles cases involving political or national security
Rezaian’s mother, who is in
Iran, has been able to see him
twice, according to the prosecutor general.
Earlier yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad
Zarif told reporters in Geneva
ahead of talks with US Secretary
of State John Kerry that Tehran
hopes the case can be resolved,
but stressed it was a matter for
the courts.
Rezaian, a dual national and
the Washington Post’s bureau
chief in Tehran, was charged in
early December after a lengthy
court appearance.
But the specific accusations
against him remain unclear, according to the Post, and it is not
known when he will next appear
in court.
“The government is doing its
best to be of assistance. This is a
judicial matter,” Zarif said. “We
will have to wait for the judiciary
to move forward, but we try to
provide all we can in assistance.”
Rezaian, 38, was arrested with
his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who
was freed on bail in October. In
December, Iranian authorities
said Rezaian’s detention would
be extended for up to 60 days.
“He’s still not 100 percent
sure” what the accusations are,
Rezaian’s brother, Ali Rezaian,
told the Washington Post this
week, adding he is only aware of
п¬Ѓve charges relating to alleged
“activities outside the bounds of
Mary Rezaian, the mother, has
said she was concerned by her
son’s appearance when they met
in Tehran’s Evin jail.
“He looked very different,” she
told the Post. “He had lost 40
pounds (18kg).”
She said her son was also suffering from health problems, including an eye infection and back
pain from having to sleep on a
Rezaian is no longer being held
in solitary confinement and is allowed regular exercise—including outdoor activity—but he has
still not been given access to a
lawyer, his family said.
Iraq seeks
more help
in п¬Ѓghting
IS militants
raq has told President Barack
Obama’s envoy that the US-led
coalition battling Islamic State
needs to do more to help Iraq defeat the militants controlling large
areas of the north and west of the
Parliament speaker Selim al-Jabouri said he delivered the message
in a closed meeting with retired US
Marine General John Allen, who
visited Baghdad this week for talks
with Prime Minister Haidar alAbadi’s government.
“Until now our feeling is that
the international support is not
convincing,” Jabouri said in an interview yesterday. “We might see
participation here or there, but it is
not enough for the tough situation
we are passing through.”
Islamic State (IS) п¬Ѓghters swept
through north Iraq last June, seizing the city of Mosul in a lightning
offensive and approaching the
capital Baghdad as Iraq’s army disintegrated.
The IS advance was contained
by Shia militia allied to the Baghdad government and Kurdish
peshmerga п¬Ѓghters, backed by
US-led air strikes. US soldiers who
withdrew from Iraq in 2011, eight
years after invading to overthrow
Saddam Hussain, have also returned to help re-train Iraqi forces.
But Jabouri, one of Iraq’s most
senior Sunni politicians, said he told
Allen that the international community must “activate its role” because
Iraq feels that, despite air strikes and
other assistance, it is п¬Ѓghting largely
on its own.
Jabouri’s frustration echoed the
more guarded comments issued
by Shia Prime Minister Abadi after his own meeting with Allen on
A statement from Abadi’s office
after the talks said US-led alliance
should “increase the tempo of
the effective air strikes on Islamic
State positions”, and also called for
the training programme for Iraqi
security forces to be expanded.
Abadi’s official Twitter account
said the two men had agreed on
both those points.
For his part, Allen painted an
optimistic picture yesterday of the
ongoing war against IS.
“Our global coalition to counter (IS) grows stronger as does
our collective commitment to the
people of Iraq and the country of
Iraq,” he told reporters in Baghdad,
describing his travels to build an
international alliance against IS.
The war in Iraq started one year
ago amid clashes between then
prime minister Nuri al-Maliki’s
Shia-dominated security forces
and Sunni protesters and tribesmen in western Anbar province.
IS, which already controlled
swathes of eastern Syria, took advantage of the violence to move
into Anbar’s two main cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.
In June, IS seized the north’s
largest city of Mosul and towns
across northern Iraq fell to the militants. The militants also expanded
their control of large swathes of
After IS nearly overran Iraq’s
Kurdish region in the п¬Ѓrst week
of August, Obama ordered air
strikes on IS and assembled a
coalition of Western and Arab
countries against the group. The
US government has described
Iraq as the central battleground
in the war.
A former US official recently
described the White House’s approach to Iraq as “passive tough
love” - not allowing the United
States to get to drawn into Iraq, but
still helping the country defeat IS.
Kerry and Zarif shake hands as they meet in Geneva yesterday.
US, Iran in �substantive’
talks on nuclear dispute
The Kerry-Zarif sessions
precede the resumption
of collective discussions
involving all seven countries
on January 18
S Secretary of State John
Kerry and Iran’s Foreign
Minister Mohamed Jawad Zarif held intensive talks
on Tehran’s disputed nuclear
programme yesterday, returning
for an evening session, officials
Iran and six world powers
have renewed their quest for an
elusive nuclear deal—seen as
crucial to reducing the risk of a
wider Middle East war—after
negotiators failed for the second time in November to meet a
self-imposed deadline.
Kerry and Zarif “had substantive meetings for approximately five hours today and they
discussed a broad range of issues with a small group of staff
from each side”, a senior State
Department official said.
But Kerry later unexpectedly
returned to the Geneva lakeside
hotel for a third meeting with
Zarif after briefing senior US
negotiators ahead of their technical-level talks scheduled with
Iranian counterparts for today
in the Swiss city.
Earlier Zarif said that serious dialogue with the West
would be easier if it respected
Muslim sensitivities, ruffled
by the latest Charlie Hebdo
Speaking to reporters before
talks began, Zarif said the meeting would help gauge whether
both sides were ready to advance
toward a deal to curb Iran’s nu-
clear programme in exchange
for sanctions relief.
“I think it’s important. I think
it will show the readiness of the
two parties to move forward and
to speed up the process,” Zarif
told reporters as he waited for
The two men met for about
п¬Ѓve hours over the course of the
day, including a 15-minute joint
stroll through downtown Geneva during the afternoon.
“We are working hard,” Kerry told a journalist during the
walkabout, which took them
along the Rhone River flowing
out of Lake Geneva, according
to a US official.
The Kerry-Zarif sessions
precede the resumption of collective discussions involving all
seven countries on January 18.
The sought-after agreement,
whose new deadline is June 30,
would gradually lift tough п¬Ѓ-
nancial and trade sanctions
imposed on Iran since 2006 in
exchange for verifiable limits
on its enrichment of uranium to
ensure it cannot be put to developing nuclear weapons.
Iran says it wants only civilian
energy from enrichment, denying Western suspicions of a latent bomb agenda.
Asked if he hoped they could
nail down an agreement by July
1, Zarif said: “That’s why we are
here. We’ll see.”
Zarif also sought to explain
why Iranians are dismayed by
the cover of French satirical
weekly Charlie Hebdo’s January
14 edition.
“We believe that sanctities
need to be respected,” Zarif said.
“We won’t be able to engage in a
serious dialogue if we start disrespecting each other’s values.”
Mohamed Nahavandian, top
aide to Iranian President Hassan
Cancer sufferer’s pupils shave heads
t is a disease that strikes tens of
thousands of Iranians each year,
but for 300 pupils news that their
teacher had cancer prompted an unusual response—they shaved their
heads in sympathy.
“They did it out of respect to a
teacher and a champion,” Abdollah Jafari, an education official in
Hamedan province who witnessed
the pupils’ gesture after morning
classes yesterday, told Mehr news
Pictures on state media showed
the teacher, Mohamed Reza Ghaderi, a former top cyclist and national
champion several times in the 1990s,
surrounded by dozens of smiling
children who now had matching bald
After a cycling career that included appearances in major championships, Ghaderi, now 36, became a
physical education teacher and now
works at Ayatollah Masoumi School
in Hamedan, around 300km from
“I am so happy to have the pupils’
affection and love. I feel God has given
me a new life,” he was quoted as saying
by the agency.
The report did not specify what kind
of cancer he was suffering from.
One of his friends arranged the
head-shaving ceremony.
“Mohamed Reza spends the money he earns from teaching on buying
balls, bicycles and sportswear for his
pupils. He loves his pupils,” said the
friend, Majir Khezriyan.
“I wanted to lift his morale so I
talked to the school’s officials and they
welcomed the idea,” he added.
Cancer is the third-highest cause of
death in Iran and mortality rates have
risen in recent years.
The chairman of the Cancer Research Centre of Iran, Mohamed
Esmail Akbari, told state media in
January 2014 that 41,000 Iranians die from different cancers each
Around 85,000 new cancer sufferers are diagnosed annually, he said at
the time, with 18% of cases relating to
children and 50% of those cases become fatal.
Air pollution from substandard
fuel used in cars and at powergeneration facilities is thought be a
major cause in Iran’s rising cancer
Saudis organise public run to tackle rising obesity
Levels of diabetes and obesity are rising in Saudi Arabia,
an official said yesterday, as Riyadh announced its first
publicly organised run to promote a more active lifestyle.
The “Run 4 Riyadh” will take place in the Saudi capital on
February 28 over 5km, from King Abdullah Park to Prince
Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.
Running will not be obligatory—participants can also walk
or jog, organisers said.
The run “is a great motivation towards a healthier, more
active life”, Riyadh governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah said
at a press conference.
The run is only open to males and a separate women’s
event organised by a local university will be held on a different date.
The kingdom is confronted by the “epidemic spread of
several diseases such as diabetes, obesity, blood hypertension and high cholesterol levels”, Adnan bin Sulaiman
al-Abdulkarim, Riyadh’s director general of health affairs,
said in a statement.
Over the past 30 years, diabetes has spread from 2% of
the population to 13%, he said, while obesity affects around
one-third of men and women.
Organisers said they hope the run, which costs 50 riyals to
enter, will be held annually.
Rouhani, struck an upbeat note
before the talks: “The government has taken on a constructive attitude toward the nuclear
issue and there is great hope to
reach good results.”
Diplomats fear time may be
running out.
The new Republican-controlled Congress is already
considering a bill which would
slap new sanctions on Iran despite attempts by the Obama
administration to hold them
Washington’s UN envoy Samantha Power warned on Monday that “imposing new sanctions will almost certainly end
a negotiations process that has
not only frozen the advance of
Iran’s nuclear programme, but
that could lead us to an understanding that would give us
confidence in its exclusively
peaceful nature.”
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Palestinian rift hits Gaza work, statehood hopes
scalating tension between Hamas and Fatah
has pushed their “unity”
government to the brink of collapse, harming efforts to rebuild
the Gaza Strip and complicating Palestinian statehood ambitions.
Five months after a devastating war with Israel, Gaza’s residents are still occasionally jolted
by explosions. But the blasts now
are more often the result of the
internal conflict tearing at the
fabric of Palestinian politics.
Hamas, which seized Gaza in
a brief civil war in 2007, remains
the dominant force in the territory - even after it agreed last June
to a “reconciliation government”
that would assert control and
oversee post-war reconstruction.
That government’s inability to
fully carry out its work has stalled
rebuilding in Gaza, where around
100,000 homes were damaged or
destroyed in the war, and undermined a Palestinian statehood
bid at the United Nations.
In recent weeks the HamasFatah standoff has spiralled
into violence, although it is
not always clear who is behind
it. On Friday, bombs exploded
at a major Gaza bank used by
the unity government to pay
most of the 70,000 public sec-
tor workers hired before Hamas
took over the narrow, coastal
At the weekend, pictures
emerged of Fatah activists in
Gaza who said they had been
stripped, beaten and left in freezing temperatures by Hamas security men. Hamas, meanwhile,
accuses Fatah of rounding up its
party members in the West Bank,
where the Fatah-led Palestinian
Authority (PA) prevails.
“Whenever Hamas is with its
back against the wall, it reacts
with some fighting,” said Mattia
Toaldo, a Middle East expert at
the European Council on Foreign
Relations, although he described
that as a worst-case scenario
that remained unlikely for now.
Hamas MPs
meet, hit out
at Abbas as
unity frays
Senior Hamas leader
Mahmoud Zahar says the
unity government has been
a “failure” and should either
take up its responsibilities
or resign
Gaza City
amas MPs in Gaza held
an exclusive meeting
yesterday apparently
defying the Palestinian Authority and criticised President
Mahmoud Abbas, in a further
sign of a failing unity pact.
They were meeting for the
п¬Ѓrst time since the April unity
deal, which ostensibly put an
end to years of infighting between Gaza rulers Hamas and
Abbas’s Fatah party.
Even months after Hamas
PLO—which in turn dominates
the PA—appointed a mutuallyagreed central government,
disputes that emerged shortly
after the deal appear to be worsening.
“Neither the president nor
anyone else can forbid parliament from meeting,” Hamas
MP Salah al-Bardaweel said in a
symbolic statement.
Hamas holds 78 of the Palestinian parliament’s 132 seats,
and 25 of its MPs live in the Gaza
Another 20 non-Hamas MPs
live in Gaza, but did not attend
the meeting.
Last year’s reconciliation
pact was meant to pave the way
for Palestinian general elections
by the end of 2014, and to hand
over control of Gaza in the interim from Hamas to the unity
government, which took oath
early June.
But there have been no sign
of elections or a real transfer of
power, despite Hamas’ stated
willingness to relinquish its authority.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, also present, said
the new government was a
“We send a clear message:
either the government must
take up its responsibilities or
resign,” he said.
Zahar blamed Abbas specifically for failing to get a resolution passed at the UN Security
Council last month that called
for Israel’s withdrawal from the
occupied Palestinian territories.
“Neither the president nor
anyone else can forbid
parliament from meeting”
A bloody 50-day summer war
in Gaza between Hamas and Israel delayed implementation of
the Palestinian unity deal.
But even before that, cracks
had emerged.
Hamas immediately demanded the new government
pay the salaries of the 50,000
civil servants Hamas recruited after its takeover of Gaza
in 2007, who took the jobs of
70,000 Fatah employees.
Partial payments of $1,200
each were made to 24,000 Hamas civil servants in late October. But the other 26,000, who
work in security functions, have
received nothing.
Hundreds of Hamas employees began a sit-in in front of the
headquarters of the unity government in Gaza on Tuesday,
vowing to stay until their salaries are paid.
Hamas MP Yahya Mussa said
at yesterday’s meeting that
“Abbas and his government
are committing a crime against
Gaza workers”.
Another Hamas member
warned that the Gaza Strip
could become a breeding
ground for extremism unless
reconstruction is accelerated.
“Our message to the world,
which is scared of terrorism
and extremism, is that the delay in rebuilding Gaza and the
continuing blockade against it
will make it a ripe environment
for the spread of extremism and
terrorism,” Khalil al-Haya told
the meeting.
“We warn of the consequences,” he said, without
Israel and Hamas, which the
Jewish state brands a terrorist
organisation, fought a July-August war in the besieged coastal
strip that killed almost 2,200
Palestinians and damaged tens
of thousands of Gazan homes,
leaving around 100,000 people
More than four months after
the July-August conflict ended,
reconstruction has barely begun, with experts saying it will
take years even if Israel significantly eases its eight-year
blockade on Gaza.
Israel, which controls two of
the three crossings into Hamascontrolled Gaza, maintains
tight curbs on entry of building material, fearing they could
be used by militants to make
weapons or attack tunnels.
Hamas has joined in international condemnation of last
week’s killing of 12 people in
an attack on Paris satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo by
French Islamists, insisting that
“differences of opinion and
thought cannot justify murder”.
Palestinian Prime Minister
Rami Hamdallah, who is based
in the West Bank, says his technocrat government cannot begin
to administer Gaza until Hamas
fully relinquishes control, including over border crossings
with Egypt and Israel.
But there is no sign of that
For its part, Hamas accuses
Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas, who leads Fatah and controls the PA budget, of trying to
throttle the group into submission, including by refusing to
pay its 50,000 public-sector employees.
“Abbas must first show solidarity with his own people,
whom he deprives of salaries
and rebuilding,” said Mahmoud
Zahar, a senior Hamas official.
The Islamist group has also
lambasted Abbas for not visiting Gaza since the war with Israel.
The upshot is that the Palestinians are now as polarised
as ever, with Hamas overseeing
Gaza and its 1.8mn people, while
Fatah is in charge in the West
Bank, just 60km to the northeast,
where 2.8mn live.
Foreign governments that last
October contributed $5.4bn to
a fund for the Palestinians have
indicated that they cannot fully
follow through on their commitments until the unity government is in charge as a single
The risk for Hamas is that if it
gives up power now it may not
regain it - while it won the last
Palestinian elections in 2006,
there are no signs of a new vote
being held.
For Fatah, if it does not exert
itself via the Palestinian Authority, it cannot hope to be taken
seriously by the rest of the world
as it prepares to join the International Criminal Court and make
another statehood attempt at the
United Nations.
What is more, even if that bid
makes progress, opinion polls
show Hamas will win the next
elections, whenever they are
held, greatly complicating the
statehood agenda.
Hamas is formally sworn to
Official visit
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo yesterday. Abbas is on an official visit to Egypt.
Netanyahu’s pushiness in
Paris draws п¬Ѓre at home
mages of Israel’s premier elbowing his way to the front
row of world leaders in Paris
sparked both embarrassment and
amusement back home—providing rich pickings for opponents
in the upcoming election.
A welter of headlines and columns were prompted by Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
pushing to the front of Sunday’s
march in Paris and unsuccessfully trying to jump to the head of
a queue waiting for a bus.
Many joked that such “pushiness” is a quintessentially Israeli
trait, but Netanyahu has still faced
a storm of criticism for his behaviour, with some alleging he was
trying to make political hay for
the general election due in March.
“We would expect the prime
minister to represent us with dignity and not to disgrace us,” wrote
Shimon Shiffer in the top-selling
Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
“I was embarrassed to see the
Israeli leader push his way to the
п¬Ѓrst bus of the leaders, and then
elbow himself into the front row
of state leaders,” he wrote.
Sunday’s event saw world
leaders join several million
marching in solidarity in Paris
after extremists killed 17 people in attacks targeting satirical
weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.
One of the enduring images
from the march was Netanyahu
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walking in the front
row on either side of President
Francois Hollande.
Israeli media have reported
that France asked Netanyahu to
stay away from the march, but he
ignored the request and attended
After joining others at Hollande’s Elysee Palace, Netanyahu
tried to edge his way into the п¬Ѓrst
bus taking officials to the starting
point of the march but failed.
Once he was at the march,
Netanyahu deftly manoeuvred
his way from the second row
to the п¬Ѓrst by way of a friendly
handshake with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita—
whose country does not have
diplomatic relations with Israel.
“It was embarrassing, not to
mention disgraceful, to see Israel’s prime minister... trying
to push his way onto a bus that
he was not supposed to board,
making his way determinedly
from the second row to the row
of leaders walking in front,” said
Ben Caspit of the Maariv daily.
He accused Netanyahu of behaving like he was at an election
rally and of “taking advantage of
the French in a typically crass and
unnecessary Israeli way”.
Left-leaning daily Haaretz
even compared the prime minister to an unruly tourist.
“Just as you can sometimes
identify Israeli tourists abroad
by their loud voices, poor manners and gauche behaviour, none
of the hundreds of millions of
people around the world who
watched Sunday’s Paris rally
on television had any problem
locating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Yossi
Verter of Haaretz wrote.
Members of the youth wing
of the opposition Labour party
Lieberman calls Erdogan an �anti-Semitic bully’
srael’s foreign minister called
Tayyip Erdogan an “antiSemitic bully” in a meeting with
Israeli ambassadors yesterday and
said Europe was being cowardly in
not taking him on.
In an address to Israeli envoys
based in Europe and Asia, Avigdor
Lieberman, the leader of far-right
party Yisrael Beitenu, was withering about Erdogan, a staunch
critic of Israeli policy towards the
“Civilised, politically correct
Europe’s silence over an antiSemitic, neighbourhood bully
like Erdogan and his gang takes us
back to the 1930s,” said Lieberman, referring to the persecution
of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
“We have to tell the truth and
Israel’s destruction and opposes
the PA’s independence strategy
because it would not mean a state
in all of historic Palestine and it
believes critical issues, such as
the right of return for refugees,
are not included.
Hani al-Masri, an independent political analyst based in the
West Bank, worries that if the
Hamas-Fatah tensions are not
reined in, the results could be
devastating, especially for the
people of Gaza, desperate to rebuild their lives after the war.
“It might lead to unrest and
bring closer the moment of a
potential explosion that neither
Hamas nor anybody else could
contain, and could even spread to
the West Bank,” he said.
speak plainly, put it on the table,”
he said.
A former nightclub bouncer
who was born in Moldova and
migrated to Israel in the 1970s,
Lieberman was also critical of Europe’s reaction to last week’s Islamist attacks in Paris, saying the
anti-Semitic nature of them had
been downplayed.
“In the world and in Europe,
most of the discussion was about
freedom of expression, extremism
and Islamophobia,” he said of the
fallout from the attacks that killed
17 people, including four French
Jews at a kosher supermarket.
“But the Jewish and anti-Semitic aspects were hardly mentioned
and this is particularly grave.”
Relations between Israel and
Turkey have declined markedly
over the past п¬Ѓve years, since Israeli forces stormed a Turkish
ship, the Mavi Mamara, as it sailed
towards Gaza as part of a flotilla
challenging Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave in 2010.
Nine Turkish activists were
killed on board in confrontations
with the troops.
Erdogan was highly critical of
Israel during his time as prime
minister and again since becoming president last year.
Lieberman, who has broken off
his alliance with Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, has stepped
up his rhetoric on a range of issues
in recent days as he tries to rally
support for his party ahead of parliamentary elections on March 17.
Netanyahu yesterday hit back
at Erdogan who blasted him this
week for “daring” to attend an anti-terror solidarity march in Paris.
“I believe his shameful remarks
must be repudiated by the international community, because the
war against terror will only succeed if it’s guided by moral clari-
ty,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him
as telling visiting leaders of the US
pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
At a news conference in Ankara
on Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Erdogan
said he could “hardly understand
how he (Netanyahu) dared to go”
to the march.
The Turkish president urged
Netanyahu to “give an account for
the children, women you massacred” and accused him of leading
“state terrorism” against the Palestinians.
In his retort yesterday, Netanyahu said: “I’ve yet to hear any
world leader condemn the comments by Erdogan, not one.”
“He said that Israel should
not have been represented in the
march in Paris, and the reason he
gave, was our actions to defend
our citizens against the thousands
of rockets hurled at our cities by
the terrorists of Hamas,” he added.
even created an online game using Netanyahu’s nickname called
“Push the Bibi”—in which players have 30 seconds to manoeuvre the Israeli leader from the
back of the crowd to the front.
At the end of the game a message reads: “When Bibi wins,
everyone else loses. We need a
different leadership that will put
Israel in the front row, without
Some commentators did jump
to Netanyahu’s defence.
Writing in Haaretz, Tal Niv
said the premier “doesn’t deserve the scorn heaped on him”.
“It’s not pleasant to see him
inserting his unflattering hairdo
into the crowds at the rally, but
the front-row picture ... is the
picture that could return him to
the prime minister’s office,” she
“Contempt for his stressed
appearance or his pushiness
shouldn’t obscure the fact that
he succeeded in sending a clear
message... �Come home. I’ll protect you’,” she said, referring to
Netanyahu’s appeal to French
Jews to move to Israel.
Algeria says terror
cell suspects held
Twelve suspected members of a
“terrorist cell” planning attacks in
Algeria have been arrested in the
south of the country, the defence
ministry announced yesterday.
It said the arrests were carried out
during the past two weeks in army
operations in Ghardaia, Laghouat
and In Amenas, all several hundred
kilometres from the capital Algiers.
The cell had been “preparing
to carry out terrorist acts in the
country with the complicity of
other terrorist groups operating
on the other side of the country’s
southern border”, it said in a
statement, without specifying
whether it was Mali or Niger.
The ministry said there were
“no human losses” during arrest
operations. In January 2013, the
takeover by Islamist militants of
Tiguentourine gas facility in In
Amenas led to the deaths of 40
hostages, many of them foreigners,
during a rescue operation by
security forces.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
South Sudan
war costing
billions, say
UN special envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon (centre) poses with delegates for a group photograph after a news conference at the Palais des Nations in Geneva yesterday.
UN launches �long and
difficult’ Libya talks
The talks are aimed at
reaching agreement on a
unity government to replace
rival administrations
he United Nations yesterday kickstarted peace
talks between Libya’s
warring factions in Geneva
with a warning they could be
the last chance to prevent allout chaos in the country.
The North African nation
has been gripped by deepening
conflict since the overthrow of
Muammar Gaddafi in a Natobacked uprising in 2011, with
rival governments and powerful militias battling for control
of key cities and the nation’s
oil wealth.
It has taken the UN months
to get the opposing sides back to
the negotiating table after a single round of talks in September.
“It’s going to be a long process, it’s going to be difficult,”
the UN special envoy for Lib-
ya, Bernardino Leon, said.
“We are not expecting to
have a breakthrough tomorrow
or the day after tomorrow,”
said Leon, who is overseeing
the dialogue in the Swiss city.
“There is a gap between the
parties, which is becoming
more complicated with more
fighting on the ground.”
Analysts warn that the negotiations are unlikely to
have any real impact unless
the leaders of all the armed
groups—some of whom are
absent from the negotiations—
become directly involved.
The talks are aimed at reaching agreement on a unity government to replace the rival
administrations, whose battle
for power has left hundreds
dead over the past six months.
They also seek to “put in
place the necessary security arrangements for bringing about a total cessation of
armed hostilities” and to “secure a phased withdrawal of all
armed groups from all major
towns and cities”.
Libya’s internationally rec-
ognised government decamped
last summer to the eastern city
of Tobruk after an Islamistbacked militia alliance seized
the capital Tripoli and set up its
own administration.
The alliance known as Fajr
Libya (Libya Dawn) also holds
the third city, Misrata. It
launched an offensive in December to seize control of key
oil terminals but was repelled
by the army.
Most countries pulled out
their diplomats from Tripoli
after the city was taken by
Libya Dawn.
Although all factions are
represented in Geneva, according to Leon, the Tripoli
arm of Libya Dawn is holding
out and will only take a decision on attending on Sunday.
“If you refuse to talk the
only alternative is war. This is
not acceptable to the international community and to many
Libyans,” Leon said, adding he
hoped to start talking to the
“military actors” in the conflict “as early as next week”.
Political analyst Mohamed
al-Ferjani predicted however
that the dialogue would fail
“because the UN has not chosen the right actors”.
“The participants are politicians and have no presence or
influence on the ground,” he said.
Leon warned that Libya was
“running out of time” and the
Geneva talks could be a crucial
last-ditch bid to avert what he
called “total chaos”.
“Financial and economic
collapse may be a matter of
days or weeks,” he said, adding
there were “terrorist attacks...
very strong fighting in different areas and some international calls for military intervention”.
Speaking on the eve of the
talks the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
urged the various factions to
seize “an opportunity the Libyans cannot afford to miss”.
“I want to praise both sides
participating and encourage all
those in Libya that have not yet
decided on participation... to do
Representatives of the most
powerful commander on the
recognised government side,
Khalifa Haftar, have not been
invited to Geneva.
A former Gaddafi general
turned rebel leader, Haftar established a militia in eastern
Libya that was initially disavowed but later embraced by internationally recognised Prime
Minister Abullah al-Thinni.
Haftar has led repeated offensives against Islamist militias in Libya’s second city
Benghazi since May, which
have succeeded in wresting
back control of large areas.
Those militias are led by
the Ansar al-Shariah group,
blacklisted by the United Nations for its links to Al Qaeda.
The battle for Benghazi, a city
of about 1mn people, has killed
hundreds of civilians, drawing
repeated calls from the United
Nations and Western governments for a ceasefire.
The Islamic State group that
has seized large areas in Iraq
and Syria is also thought to
have gained a foothold in eastern Libya.
Militants execute
woman accused of
adultery: monitor
Kerry meets with de Mistura in Geneva yesterday ahead of the latter’s upcoming trip to Damascus.
Kerry supports Syria
peace push by Russia
S Secretary of State John
Kerry yesterday voiced backing for a Russian-led bid for
new talks to end Syria’s devastating
Kerry, who is in Geneva for discussions with his Iranian counterpart
to accelerate a deal on reining in Tehran’s nuclear programme, met with
UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura for
talks on the Syrian crisis and lauded his
“The United States is particularly
concerned about the continued catastrophe that is unfolding in Syria where
nearly three-quarters of the entire
country are displaced people,” Kerry
He said de Mistura was “engaged in
a very complicated but very important
effort to try to move the process of Syria” starting with Aleppo, the country’s
former economic hub, which has been
ravaged by п¬Ѓghting since mid-2012.
Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been trying to relaunch peace talks involving de Mistura that would include
meetings between representatives
of the regime and the fractured opposition.
It invited 28 opposition п¬Ѓgures, including individual members of the
internationally-recognised Syrian National Coalition, as well the opposition
leaders tolerated by Assad.
But several leading opposition figures, apparently doubting Moscow’s
credibility as a mediator, said they
would not attend.
“It is time for the Assad regime
to put their people first and to
think about the consequences of
their actions which are attracting
more and more terrorists to Syria,”
Kerry said.
“So we hope that the Russian efforts
could be helpful, we hope that the UN
efforts led by special envoy de Mistura
can have an effect.”
Kerry said de Mistura was “headed
to Damascus next week”, adding: “This
issue still remains very much on our
front burner.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday Syrian opposition
representatives would risk losing influence in peace efforts if they do not
attend the planned talks in Moscow.
“Those who decide not to take part
in this event, they will lose in terms of
their positions in the peace talks process as a whole,” Lavrov told a news
In rejecting the invitation to Moscow, the Syrian National Coalition said
on January 7 it would sit down to talks
only if they would lead to Assad giving
up power.
Moscow says the emphasis should
instead be on fighting Islamist militants and that Assad’s exit should not
be a precondition to peace talks that
stalled early last year.
Al Qaeda-linked militants
have publicly executed a
woman accused of adultery
in northwestern Syria, a monitoring group said yesterday.
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights said that in
total 14 people had been
executed for alleged adultery
or homosexuality in the wartorn country since July, half of
them women.
It released a video showing
fighters from Al Nusra Front,
Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, tying up a woman and shooting
her in a square in the town of
Maaret Masirin in the province of Idlib.
A crowd of civilians and fighters are seen watching, as a
militant accuses the woman
of “corrupting the earth, and
Other cases of execution documented by the
Observatory include a man
accused of adultery who
was stoned to death by
Al Nusra Front and other
Islamist groups in the town
of Saraqeb in Idlib.
The rival Islamic State (IS)
organisation is also accused
of executing several women
and men for alleged adultery
or homosexuality.
Another Islamist group threw
a man thought to be gay off
a building in the northern
province of Aleppo.
Observatory director Rami
Abdel Rahman said that more
executions might have taken
place elsewhere in Syria that
were not documented.
Nusra Front controls 70-80%
of Idlib, Abdel Rahman said.
Hardline groups such as IS
and Nusra Front have become
the most powerful insurgent
forces in Syria’s nearly fouryear conflict, undermining
rebel fighters the United
States and its allies say they
want to train and equip.
ar in South Sudan will
cost the country up to
$28bn if it continues
for п¬Ѓve more years, with regional
nations risking even more, economists warned yesterday.
“If the conflict continues
for another one to п¬Ѓve years, it
will cost South Sudan between
$22.3bn and $28bn depending on
its severity,” the joint report read,
claiming that should the war be
stopped, it would save the international community $30bn in
peacekeeping and aid.
The report was produced by
Europe-based Frontier Economics, Uganda’s Centre for Conflict
Resolution, and South Sudan’s
Centre for Peace and Development Studies at Juba University.
At the regional level, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and
Uganda could save $53bn in the
coming years should the war end
in 2015, the report added.
“Without a swift end to the
п¬Ѓghting, South Sudan runs the
risk of becoming a failed state,”
said the report, released in the
Kenyan capital Nairobi. “Worse
still, it could become the epicentre
of a full-blown regional conflict.”
“To ensure this is not the trajectory for South Sudan will require African leaders, with the full
backing of the international community, to take swift and decisive
action, and to sustain that action,”
it said.
Salim Ahmed Salim, a former
Tanzanian prime minister, introduced the report by saying he
hoped it would “focus the minds
of political leaders on the stakes”
of failing to end a war in which
tens of thousands have already
been slaughtered.
Fighting broke out in December
2013 when President Salva Kiir
accused his sacked deputy Riek
Machar of attempting a coup.
Since then oil production—
around 300,000 barrels a day at
independence—has been slashed
by at least a third to 160,000.
Trade with landlocked South Sudan has been cut and almost half a
million refugees are in neighbouring nations.
East Africa’s IGAD-bloc, which
has mediated a string of failed
ceasefire deals, should follow
through on its repeated threats of
sanctions should war continue,
the report added.
South Sudan has been riven by
war for decades—including conflict from 1956-1972 and again
from 1983-2005, before breaking away from northern Sudan in
War broke out again in December 2013, and the report provided
grim estimates of the cost of the
conflict continuing.
“The price of failing to bring
about lasting peace in South Sudan could be $158bn over the next
two decades,” it added.
South Sudan’s annual gross
domestic product was estimated
at $11.08bn in 2013, according to
World Bank data.
Woman dies in Egypt of H5N1 bird flu
A 65-year-old Egyptian woman
has died from the H5N1 strain of
bird flu, the health ministry said
yesterday, the second victim of the
virus this month.
The World Health Organisation
(WHO) says there has been a
recent jump in the number of
H5N1 infections in people in
Egypt, but says there does not
appear to have been any major
genetic change in the flu strain to
explain the rise in human cases.
The latest victim came from the
central province of Assiut, the
health ministry said in a statement.
Egypt’s H5N1 cases have largely
been in poor rural areas in the
south, where villagers tend to keep
and slaughter poultry in the home.
Seven other cases are currently
being treated and three have
recovered this year, the ministry
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2014
Malawi floods kill 48,
displace thousands
Guinea mob lynches two
over �spreading Ebola’
AU troops take custody of
ICC-bound Uganda rebel
Cameroon ex-minister
jailed for corruption
Strikers at South African
mine want CEO removed
Flooding sparked by heavy rains has killed 48
people and displaced nearly 70,000 others
in Malawi, local media reported yesterday,
prompting calls on donors to resume aid they
had suspended over corruption. President Peter
Mutharika declared a third of the southern African
country a disaster zone on Tuesday. Floods have
hit the south the hardest, with officials saying
many of the victims died in Mangochi district,
100km south of capital Blantyre. “Infrastructure
like roads and bridges have been affected and
crops washed away. I call for the assistance of civil
society, private sector as well donor agencies and
UN,” the president said.
Two men were killed and their bodies burned
by an angry mob in Guinea convinced that the
victims infected a local with Ebola, in the latest
violence spurred by the deadly disease, police
said yesterday. Residents of the western village
of Dar-es-Salaam attacked a group of three
police officers and their driver who stopped
there Saturday while on their way to a funeral.
During their visit, one in the group gave a
sedative to a local healer who was suffering from
an undescribed illness. After the healer died his
wife called for help from locals, who responded
violently, Guinea police Commissioner Boubacar
Kasse told AFP.
Captured Lord’s Resistance Army rebel chief
Dominic Ongwen was handed over yesterday
to African Union troops to be sent to trial at the
International Criminal Court for crimes against
humanity, Uganda’s army said. Ongwen, who
surrendered last week and was in the custody of
US special forces in the Central African Republic,
has been sought by the ICC for almost a decade
to face charges including war crimes, murder,
enslavement, inhumane acts and directing
attacks against civilians. Ugandan army
spokesman Paddy Ankunda said that Ongwen
had been handed over to Ugandan troops, that
are part of the AU force in CAR hunting the rebels.
Cameroon’s former finance and economy minister
Polycarpe Abah Abah was sentenced yesterday
to 25 years in prison by a special criminal court
for embezzling 6bn CFA francs ($11mn) to buy a
string of houses and cars. The court will seize 30
properties, eight vehicles and three tractors as well
as bank accounts worth 26mn CFA francs from
Abah Abah, who was convicted with three others
including Pascal Manga, who was sentenced in
absentia. Abah Abah served as minister from
2004 to 2008 and before that headed the finance
ministry’s tax department. He told journalists at the
court late on Tuesday that the ruling was a “joke”
and said he would appeal.
Striking South African miners at Northam
Platinum want the company’s chief executive
Paul Dunne removed for what they say are unfair
hiring and firing practices, a spokesman for the
National Union of Mineworkers said yesterday.
Livhuwani Mammburu also told Reuters that 5,200
workers were involved in the strike at Northam’s
Zondereinde mine in the northern Limpopo
province. “The management there wants to
reverse all progressive policies. There was a white
female employee hired without following proper
procedures,” Mammburu said. South African
companies are required by law to give preference
in hiring to blacks disadvantaged under apartheid.
Witch doctors
are banned to
deter Tanzania
albino killings
By Kizito Makoye, Reuters
Dar es Salaam
Former Commonwealth secretary-general Emeka Anyaokwu (centre) with Nigerian President and ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Goodluck
Jonathan (left) and leading opposition All Progressive Congress presidential candidate Mohamed Buhari at a workshop in Abuja.
Nigeria troops repel
Boko Haram attack
igerian security forces yesterday
repelled an attack by Islamist
rebels on the northeastern town
of Biu, killing several of the insurgents,
witnesses and the military said.
Several dozen п¬Ѓghters belonging to the
Boko Haram militant group drove into Biu
in pick-up trucks and on motorcycles,
witness Yahaya Mshelliza told Reuters by
“They came shouting �Allahu Akbar’
and shooting everywhere, but confronted
by the soldiers for three hours, most them
were killed,” Mshelliza said. “At the mo-
ment only three escaped into the bush
and are being pursued by the soldiers.”
Growing insecurity linked to Islamist
militants is a major issue for President
Goodluck Jonathan a month before polls
in which he faces a rival, Mohamed Buhari, who was seen as tough on security
when he was a military ruler in the 1980s.
Nigeria’s military headquarters, which
rarely comments on attacks, confirmed
the incident on its Twitter account.
It was the second attack on a major
town by Boko Haram militants in the past
two weeks.
“Terrorist attack repelled by the military in Biu,” the military tweeted. “Troops
in pursuit of fleeing terrorists.”
It said that п¬Ѓve Boko Haram п¬Ѓghers had
6 die as Kenya troops
battle Shebaab rebels
ne Kenyan soldier and
п¬Ѓve suspected Islamists insurgents loyal to
Somalia’s Al Qaeda-affiliated
Shebaab п¬Ѓghters were killed
yesterday in a battle in Kenya’s
coastal Lamu district, the army
Kenyan troops, part of
the UN-backed African Union force in Somalia п¬Ѓghting
the Islamists, were travelling
northwards close to the Somali border when they were
“A firefight ensued and five
suspected Shebaab militants
were killed,” army spokesman
David Obonyo said in a statement, adding that one Kenyan
soldier was killed and three
others wounded.
“Some militants escaped
with multiple injuries, and
immediately an operation was
launched in pursuit.”
southern Somalia in 2011 to
п¬Ѓght the Shebaab rebels, later
joining the AU force.
The Shebaab are п¬Ѓghting to
overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government,
but have also carried out a
string of revenge attacks in
neighbouring Kenya.
Kenya’s government has
been under п¬Ѓre since Shebaab
gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi
in September 2013, in which at
least 67 people were killed.
In December the Shebaab
executed 36 non-Muslim
quarry workers in a Kenyan
border town, following an attack in November when they
killed 28 passengers on board
a bus.
Yesterday’s attack took
place on the mainland in Lamu
country near Basuba, over
60km north of Lamu island,
a Unesco World Heritage site
dependent on tourism for its
economy, that has been badly
hit with visitors scared off by a
string of attacks.
been captured as well as two anti-aircraft
Witness Mohamed Idi said he saw at
least 17 bodies of Boko Haram п¬Ѓghters
“littered on the road” near the Biu army
barracks after the attack.
The group’s fighters seized the military
base and town of Baga, on the shores of
Lake Chad, on January 3. Baga was the
headquarters of a multinational force
with troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The militants have killed scores and
razed dozens of homes there, with the
military putting the death toll at 150,
while some local officials have put it as
high as 2,000.
The rebels remain in control of Baga,
which Nigerian forces backed by air
power have tried so far unsuccessfully to
“The military has not given up on Baga
or any part of the country,” it said on its
Twitter feed late on Tuesday.
The US said on Tuesday it sees the
February 14 election in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, as a factor behind the sharp rise in attacks by Boko
Haram, a group which has killed thousands since launching an uprising five
years ago.
On Tuesday, a suicide bomber blew
himself up outside a mosque in the
northeastern city of Gombe, killing at
least two other people and wounding 14
during prayers.
anzania has banned witch
doctors in a bid to curb a
rising wave of attacks and
murders of albinos whose body
parts are prized for witchcraft
after a four-year-old albino girl
was kidnapped from her home by
an armed gang.
More than 70 albinos, who
lack pigment in their skin, hair
and eyes, have been murdered
in the east African nation in the
past decade for black magic purposes, according to UN п¬Ѓgures,
many hacked to death and body
parts removed.
The government has accused
witch doctors of fuelling these
killings by luring people to bring
albino body parts which they
grind up with herbs, roots and
sea water to make charms and
spells that they claim bring good
luck and wealth.
The nationwide ban come
less than a week after UN officials urged the government
to step up efforts to end the
discrimination and attacks
after a girl was abducted last
month from her home in northern Mwanza region. She is still
Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe said the
government has formed a national task force involving the
police and members of the Tanzania Albino Society to arrest
and prosecute witch doctors defying the ban.
“We have identified that witch
doctors are the ones who ask
people to bring albino body parts
to create magical charms which
they claim can get them rich. We
will leave no stone unturned until
Tanzania says ready to
take on Congo rebels
Dar es Salaam
A Zimbabwean villager weeps in front of burning and demolished makeshift shelters at Manzou
Farm in Mazowe. About 200 families are facing eviction from a farm near Harare after the
government stated that the land was earmarked for a game park and was declared a national
heritage. But critics say the villagers - who have occupied the land since 2001 at the height of
invasion of white-owned commercial farms by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF supporters
- are being forced out to make more space for the president’s wife, Grace, who already owns the
adjacent land. The villagers have been granted a court order stopping the evictions.
we end these evil acts,” Chikawe
told reporters.
Chikawe said the operation
would begin in two weeks’ time,
initially targeting п¬Ѓve regions,
including Mwanza, Tabora,
Shinyanga, Simiyu and Geita,
where the government believes
attacks against albinos are most
prevalent. The operation would
be expanded to other areas later.
He said the task force will also
have the mandate to review previous court cases of albino attacks and killings to gather new
evidence and further research
the motive for attacks. The Director of Public Prosecution
would prioritise these cases.
The government has previously
been widely criticised for failing to
act to stop these macabre murders.
The Tanzania Albino Society welcomed the move, saying
it would help end the worsening
plight of albinos.
“I believe we can work together to end these acts of pure evil,”
said spokesman Ernest Kimaya, a
sufferer of the pigment disorder.
But Rashid Mauwa, a traditional healer from the Bunju area
of Dar es Salaam, said he feared
the ban would lead to victimisation of healers of whom only a
few engage in witchcraft.
“I am not engaging in any
witchcraft. I am only using traditional herbs to help people who
do not respond to conventional
medicines. Why am I being punished?” he told the Thomson
Reuters Foundation.
Albinism is a congenital disorder which affects about one in
20,000 people worldwide, according to medical authorities.
It is, however, more common in
sub-Saharan Africa, affecting
an estimated one Tanzanian in
anzania is ready to take on
Rwandan rebels in eastern
Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), President Jakaya
Kikwete said, suggesting a joint
offensive with UN-backed, South
African forces is imminent.
In a statement on Tuesday
night after talks with South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula, Kikwete dismissed talk he was reluctant to
send in troops against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Rwanda (FDLR).
The UN Security Council
backed plans a week ago for a
3,000-strong South African,
Tanzanian and Malawian intervention force to begin military
operations against the guerrilla group, which has been at the
heart of years of conflict in central Africa’s Great Lakes.
“There are people who pretend
to read Tanzania’s mind,” Kikwete said.
“They claim that Tanzania has
no intention of taking on rebel
groups in the DRC. These are bizarre people because Tanzania,
like South Africa and Malawi, has
troops in the DRC with a п¬Ѓrm UN
South African President Jacob
Zuma was in Luanda yesterday
for talks with his Angolan counterpart, Jose Eduardo dos Santos,
that are expected to focus on security in eastern Congo, home
to an estimated 1,400 seasoned
FDLR guerrillas.
The militia, which includes
ethnic Hutu soldiers responsible
for carrying out Rwanda’s 1994
genocide, failed to meet a January deadline to disarm and surrender.
South Africa’s foreign ministry did not comment on Zuma’s
discussions. But in a statement
after the UN Security Council
backed military action, Pretoria said it was committed to the
“neutralisation of negative forces in the eastern DRC”.
The UN has been under pressure to take out remaining guerrilla movements in eastern Congo after the intervention force
defeated a 5,000-strong force of
M23 rebels in 2013.
However, its Office for the
Coordiation for Humanitarian
Affairs said the offensive being
planned with the assistance of
Congolese government troops
would affect hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Earlier this month, UN and
strikes against remnants of a
smaller Burundian rebel group
that a diplomat said was aimed at
clearing the way for an offensive
against the FDLR.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Obama seeks enhanced laws to п¬Ѓght hackers
resident Barack Obama
sent a bill to Congress on
Tuesday to strengthen
US cybersecurity laws to protect government, businesses and
consumers while protecting privacy, after recent hacking attacks
against Sony Pictures, Home Depot Inc and Target Corp, and on
Monday the federal government
“We’ve got to stay ahead of
those who would do us harm. The
problem is that government and
the private sector are still not always working as closely together
as we should,” Obama said.
During a tour of a “war room”
at the Department of Homeland
Security’s cybersecurity nerve
centre, Obama said the attacks
highlighted the threat to п¬Ѓnancial
systems, power grids and healthcare systems that run on networks connected to the Internet.
Congress has tried for years
to pass legislation to encourage
companies to share data from cyberattacks with the government
and each other. Liability issues
raised by companies and privacy
concerns of civil liberties groups
contributed to the failure to implement such laws.
Obama’s proposed legislation
looks to balance needs with concerns by offering liability protection to companies that provide
information in near-real-time to
the government, while requiring
them to strip it of any personal
On Monday, the Twitter and
YouTube accounts of the US military command that oversees operations in the Middle East were
hacked by people claiming to be
sympathetic toward the Islamic
State militant group being targeted in American bombing raids.
Obama said the attack, which
is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, did
not seem to affect classified information.
Obama has moved cybersecurity to the top of his 2015 agenda,
seeing it as an area where cooperation is possible with the Republican-led Congress.
He discussed the legislation
on Tuesday with House Speaker
John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and
said they agreed cybersecurity
needed to be addressed. Reaction
from other congressional leaders
was also positive.
Preparing for Winter Jam
The leading Republicans and
Democrats on the Senate and
House Homeland Security committees said in a joint statement
that Obama’s proposal would be
The White House will also try
to build support for the legislation
at a cybersecurity summit scheduled for Feb. 13 at Stanford University. Obama proposed legislation in 2011 that died in Congress.
“Foreign governments, criminals and hackers probe America’s computer networks every
single day. We saw that again
in the attack on Sony,” Obama
said. The US has blamed that
What appears to be a huge snowstorm in Central Park in New York yesterday, is actually workers making artificial snow in preparation
for the annual Winter Jam. The Winter Jam, to be held on January 24 is the ultimate snow day, a free winter sports festival for New
Yorkers of all ages, where you can go skiing, snowshoeing, shop in a winter market, and sledding in fresh snow, right in the heart of
New York City.
Man who threatened to
murder Boehner charged
n Ohio bartender suspected of wanting to
poison US House of
Representatives Speaker John
Boehner has been charged with
threatening to murder the Republican politician, court documents showed on Tuesday.
Michael Hoyt, who served
Boehner at a country club in
Ohio and checked into a psychiatric facility after he was
questioned by police on Oct. 29,
was indicted on the charge last
Wednesday, court papers said.
“Speaker Boehner is aware
US House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner
of this situation, and sincerely
thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and local authorities in Ohio
for their efforts,” his spokesman,
Michael Steel, said in a statement.
A description of Hoyt’s al-
nies share with the Department
of Homeland Security.
Obama’s proposal would give
law enforcement agencies broader power to investigate and prosecute cybercrime, with an eye on
deterring the theft of personal
data. And it would make selling
stolen credit card information
overseas a crime and would allow
authorities to prosecute the sale
of botnets, computer networks
linked to cybercrime.
He also wants to require companies to tell consumers within 30
days from the discovery of a data
breach that their personal information has been compromised.
Alarm sends
to shelter at
space station
hacking on North Korea
Privacy advocates applauded
the proposal to require companies to strip private information
from data they share, and cautiously welcomed a call for new
privacy rules that would determine how federal agencies are allowed to use and store such data.
“It is a thoughtful proposal
but ... there are still many gaps
that need to be filled,” said Harley Geiger, senior counsel at
the Center for Democracy and
Technology. Privacy advocates
remained concerned about the
access intelligence agencies may
have to the information compa-
leged plot was laid out in an
arrest affidavit п¬Ѓled in federal
court on Nov. 6 and unsealed
just over a month later. The case
was п¬Ѓrst reported by a Cincinnati television station on Tuesday.
Hoyt dialed 911 on Oct. 29 and
gave the operator his п¬Ѓrst name
and asked that his father be told
he was sorry.
A police officer checked on
Hoyt at his home in Deer Park,
Ohio, and Hoyt told the officer
he had lost his job at a country
club where Boehner is a member, court papers said.
“Hoyt advised that he had
been п¬Ѓred from his job at Wetherington Country Club in West
Chester, Ohio, and did not have
time to put something in John
Boehner’s drink,” the affidavit
Hoyt also told the officer he
was going to kill Boehner because the speaker was mean to
him and was responsible for the
Ebola outbreak, court papers
An attorney for Hoyt could
not be reached for comment.
A federal judge last month
ordered that Hoyt be transported to a facility run by the
US Bureau of Prisons for a psychiatric evaluation requested
by his attorneys. It was unclear
on Tuesday if the evaluation
had been done.
stronauts at the International Space Station
rushed to take shelter yesterday after a system failure signalled a possible ammonia leak,
but Nasa said later it may have
been a false alarm.
The six-member crew donned
emergency masks and hurried to
the Russian side of the orbiting
lab two separate times after the
problem was noticed at around
4am (0900 GMT).
At п¬Ѓrst, it seemed that high
pressure outside the space station could have led to ammonia
leaking inside, so the crew put on
breathing masks and moved to
the Russian side for safety.
Ammonia is used in the cooling and heating systems at the
orbiting outpost.
The crew was allowed to come
briefly back to the US side, but
when Nasa noticed that pressure
in the cabin was rising, the crew
returned to the Russian side and
closed the hatch behind them.
While the Russian space agency told news outlets in Moscow
that the cause was a toxic ammonia leak, Nasa said there was no
data to confirm that, and stressed
that the crew was safe.
“At this time the team does
not believe we leaked ammonia,”
ISS program manager Mike Suffredini said.
“There was never any risk to
the crew,” he added.
“We were watching the data
and trying not to isolate them,
but we isolated them twice pretty
Earlier, Nasa’s Jim Kelly at
mission control in Houston said
a review of the data appeared to
show a sensor problem or a computer relay issue could have led to
the alarm.
“It is becoming a stronger case
that this is a false indication,
which is great news,” Kelly said to
US astronaut and space station
commander Barry Wilmore in an
exchange broadcast on Nasa television.
The six astronauts taking shelter in the Russian segment have
enough food for at least a week,
Nasa said.
“Hey everybody, thanks for
your concern. We’re all safe &
doing well in the Russian segment,” European Space Agency
astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who is from Italy, said on
Suffredini said the goal is to
get the two Americans and one
European astronaut back to their
regular quarters by this evening.
“While it is inconvenient for
the crew to be in Russian segment it is certainly not unhealthy
for them,” he added.
The problem became apparent when flight controllers in
Houston “saw an increase in
pressure in the station’s water
loop for thermal control system
B then later saw a cabin pressure
increase that could be indicative
of an ammonia leak in the worst
case scenario,” Nasa said on its
The International Space Station is a rare area of US-Russian
cooperation that has not been
hit by the crisis in Ukraine,
which has prompted Washington to impose sanctions on
In total 16 countries work on
the ISS, whose cost is mainly
shouldered by the US.
Since Nasa phased out the
space shuttle system in 2011, it
depends entirely on Russia to
send its astronauts to the ISS.
The Expedition 42 crew had
been awake for about two hours
before the alarm sounded, and
was at work unloading the
SpaceX Dragon cargo carrier
which arrived days ago with more
than 2.5 tonnes of supplies and
science experiments.
Suffredini said some freezers had to be temporarily turned
off, but that no research had been
Two women and four men are
on board the space station, making up a crew that hails from
Russia, the US and Italy.
US judge denies Boston trial delay over Paris attacks
A US judge yesterday denied
a request from the Boston
bombings suspect to delay
jury selection in his trial on the
grounds that the Paris attacks
could influence potential jurors.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s legal team
filed the unusual motion at the US
district court in Boston more than
a week after jury selection began.
The court papers were published
by US media.
The US attorney’s office for the
District of Massachusetts said
yesterday the defendant’s motion
to suspend jury empanelment had
been denied by the judge.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death
penalty if convicted over the
April 15, 2013 attacks on the
Boston Marathon that killed three
people and wounded 264 - the
worst such incident in the US
since 9/11.
What the colour of your car says about you
By Peter Stebbings/AFP
he next time you buy a car,
you might want to pause
a while longer to decide
what colour you choose.
Top automakers throw millions
of dollars at researching what the
latest tastes are, and say the colour of a vehicle is so important to
customers that it can be the difference between buying or not.
The ongoing auto show in
Detroit saw many of the classic colours - reds for Porsches
and other sports cars - and a few
less conventional (a Nissan Titan pickup truck decked out in
“forged copper”).
But there was no mistaking the
pre-eminence of white. Particularly at the Volkswagen stand,
where several cars, the stairs and
much of the furniture was white.
In a multibillion-dollar indus-
try, nothing is put to chance and
nothing is done by mistake, of
At least two designers in Detroit referred to the “Apple effect” - the Californian tech giant
- to explain the propensity for
white vehicles.
Sitting at a white table, on
white chairs, in a white room,
Oona Scheepers of Volkswagen
said: “White for cars really peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, and
then all of a sudden disappeared.
“But in the last 10 years we
have noticed an increase again
in white. And it definitely came
with the Apple iPod era because
Apple started to do everything
with white, and a lot of nice
chrome or metal п¬Ѓnishes.
“In combination it was really
nice and fresh. But before that,
white was really not selling in
Europe because people associated it with delivery cars and it
looked cheap.
“But the combination with
metal and chrome looks fresh and
completely new. White is booming worldwide.”
However, Scheepers, head of
design, colour and trim, said
black was still Volkswagen’s
best-seller - but only just.
So if one were to choose a
black vehicle over a white one,
what kind of person would that
make you? “You could be sporty.
But people in hot countries like
“White definitely deflects
heat, but if you have a black car
it can get damn hot inside. And
then in a country like South Africa you often have to overtake
into direct, oncoming traffic, but
white is very visible.
“So it’s a safety feature as well
in some countries. Metallic grey
or black just melts into the colour of the tar, so it is not that
Susan Lampinen, chief de-
signer, colours and materials,
at Ford, said the colour was so
crucial to some people that they
would buy a car purely because of
that - never mind the design of
the vehicle.
She too identified an Apple
ripple effect in propelling white
to a best-seller worldwide for
“White is very clean, very
technical, very modern. So most
cars look good in white,” she said
in Detroit, adding other popular
colours included blacks and silvers, while blue is also on the up.
Lampinen identified only
“slight differences” in preferences in different countries because,
she said, of globalisation.
Environment, culture and
climate can all effect what colour car someone might buy, she
Scheepers, however, saw stark
contrasts between some countries, particularly when it comes
to the United States and China.
“China is going for very, very
bold colours. America is still
quite subdued. White sells extremely well here and there is
still a preference for champagnetoned body colours and a movement towards the reds in America as well,” she said.
“But China is going for gold,
extreme greens - it’s a mixture
of a green and a brown - very expressive.
“There is a new awareness in
China, they are becoming very
self-confident, and they are expressing themselves.”
That also applied to vehicle interiors, said Scheepers, with Chinese consumers going for much
bolder designs.
Volkswagen research turned
up a surprising anomaly, said
Scheepers. It found that younger
buyers want more sober-coloured vehicles - while older consumers go for brighter ones.
The Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE concept SUV is presented during
the media preview of North American International Auto Show at
Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
10 dead as Texas prison bus plunges off highway
bus carrying 15 prison inmates and staff plunged off
a Texas highway overpass
and onto railway tracks below,
where it was hit by a train yesterday, killing 10 people.
“Two correctional officers and
eight offenders have died from injuries sustained in the accident,”
a spokesman from the Texas Department of Corrections said in a
statement, adding that п¬Ѓve people
were hurt.
“One staff member and four offenders have been transported to
the Medical Center in Odessa and
are receiving medical treatment,”
the statement said.
Jason Clark, director of public
information for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told
AFP that the accident occurred on
a busy stretch of highway shortly
after dawn, as the bus carried inmates from one prison facility in
Abilene in western Texas to another in the city of El Paso.
“The bus left the roadway and
made contact with the train,” Clark
said. Officials said they did not
know what caused the bus to leave
the roadway, but said that visibility
at the time was poor and the roadway was slick, with temperatures
hovering around freezing.
“The conditions were less than
favorable this morning,” Sergeant
Gary Duesler of the Ector County
Sheriff’s Department said.
“For whatever reason, whether
it was for icy conditions or whatever, it went down the embankment and into the path of an oncoming train,” Duesler said.
Officials said the accident scene
was horrific. “It’s as bad as you can
imagine. In 32 years it’s as bad as
anything I’ve seen,” Kavin Tinney,
chief of a firefighter battalion, told
the Odessa American newspaper.
Texas prison officials, who said
an investigation was underway,
lamented the loss of life.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we
mourn the loss of those killed and
injured this morning in a tragic
“Their loved ones will be in
our thoughts and prayers,” Brad
Livingston, Executive Director of
the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice, said in a statement.
Duesler said sheriff’s deputies
worked to secure the scene as the
investigation continued.
“We’ve got the road closed
off because it’s a major accident
scene,” he said.
“There are some inmates that
were transported to the hospital,
and of course, they’re still inmates, so we’re providing security
for them,” he said.
House votes to
block Obama
reform plan
he US House yesterday
defied President Barack
Obama by adopting Republican measures blocking his
controversial immigration reform efforts, but the bill is unlikely to survive in its current
Lawmakers voted 236 to 191 to
fund the Department of Homeland Security through September 30, the end of п¬Ѓscal year
But the bill included several
amendments torpedoing the
plan Obama unveiled last November, which authorised the
administration to provide work
permits for millions of undocumented workers.
One amendment would also
freeze the program Obama
launched in 2012 that shields
certain undocumented minors
from deportation. Another prioritises expulsions among certain categories of undocumented
criminal offenders.
“We do not take this action
lightly, but simply there is no al-
ternative,” House Speaker John
Boehner said.
“This executive overreach is
an affront to the rule of law and
to the constitution itself.”
Some 11.3mn people were living illegally in the US as of March
2013, the Pew Research Center
The last comprehensive immigration reform by US lawmakers
dates back to 1986.
Since then, all attempts at major revisions have failed, most recently in 2013 amid conservative
Democratic lawmakers, labor
unions and rights groups have
complained bitterly about the
obstruction, but they let loose
yesterday over what they believe
is a misguided Republican focus
on deportations.
“It makes no sense to divert
Homeland Security measures
to hunt down and deport such
individuals,” the large Service
Employees International Union
The White House has promised a presidential veto of the
amended legislation, which has
virtually no chance of passing
the Senate where Democrats
have a blocking minority.
“Republicans have only been
in control for a week and already
they are picking an unnecessary
political п¬Ѓght that risks shutting
down the Department of Homeland Security and endangering
our security,” said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
“Republicans should stop
playing games and pass a clean
bill to fund (DHS).”
The House action sets up a
showdown between newly empowered congressional Republicans and Obama.
Congress has until February
27 to formalise funding for DHS,
which oversees border security,
immigration and customs, and
the Secret Service tasked with
protecting the president.
Democrats used the example
of last week’s deadly Paris attacks to denounce the Republican tactics.
“Homeland security is the last
thing in this body that should be
subject to a political compromise. Not after the attacks on
France, not after 9/11 when we
pledged to keep the American
people safe,” Democrat Steve Israel told the House.
Climbers make final push to top of El Capitan
Two climbers trying to scale
a sheer granite face of the
3,000ft (900m) El Capitan rock
formation in Yosemite National
Park without climbing tools
made a final push toward the
summit yesterday, hoping to
reach the top by late afternoon.
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin
Jorgeson were making “great
progress” as they sought
to become first to climb El
Capitan’s so-called Dawn Wall
without bolts or climbing tools,
spokeswoman Jess Clayton
Caldwell and Jorgeson, who
began their climb on Dec. 27,
were expected to celebrate
privately with their families at
the summit before speaking to
reporters in a Yosemite meadow
the following day.
The Dawn Wall of El Capitan is
divided into 32 climbing pitches,
which are varying lengths of rock
that the climbers are trying to
master with only their hands and
feet. The wall has been scaled
before, first by legendary climber
Warren Harding in 1970, but
never before without climbing
Caldwell and Jorgeson had
reached the final 11 pitches on
Tuesday after working their
way past some of the toughest
stretches on the rock.
Jorgeson struggled for several
days last week on difficult pitch
15, at one point being forced to
rest for two days while the skin
on his fingers healed after being
ripped off by razor-sharp ledges.
The two climbers are using
safety ropes in case of falls, and
using ropes and other tools to
move back and forth from their
campsite perched high on the
Because the warmth of the day
can cause their hands and feet
to perspire, the two often start
climbing at dusk.
An updated Google Translate application enables smartphones to translate signs, menus and more into English. The California-based
Internet titan is hoping that, along with making it easier for people to understand one another on their travels, Google Translate will serve
as a useful tool for teachers, medical personnel, police and others with important roles in increasingly multi-lingual communities.
Google turns smartphones
into real-time translators
San Francisco
oogle yesterday began
into real-time language
translators - of both written and
spoken content.
The California-based Internet titan is hoping that, along
with making it easier for people
to understand one another on
their travels, Google Translate
will serve as a useful tool for
teachers, medical personnel,
police and others with important roles in increasingly multilingual communities.
The company began rolling out a new version of a free
Google Translate application
that, in part, lets people point
Android or Apple smartphones
at signs, menus, recipes or other
material written in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish and see it in
“We’re letting you instantly
translate text using your camera, so it’s way easier to navigate street signs in the Italian
countryside or decide what to
order off a Barcelona menu,” the
Google Translate team said in a
blog post.
The feature builds on Word
Lens technology that Google acquired last year when it
bought Quest Visual, a startup
founded by former video game
developer Otavio Good.
Word Lens uses video mode
Plants vs ants: voracious
vegetation is victorious
tricky insect-eating plant
from Borneo is living proof
that one need not have a
brain to outsmart the opposition.
Scientists say the tropical carnivorous plant regularly exploits
natural weather fluctuations to
adjust the slipperiness of its pitfall traps in order to capture and
dine on batches of ants at a time
rather than individual ants.
The research involved an Asian
species of pitcher plant, so named
because its leaves form cupshaped insect traps that look like
a pitcher.
When the rim of the plant becomes wet, it gets extremely slippery and ants walking on the surface fall victim to the voracious
In hot, sunny weather, however, the surface dries and becomes
safe for ants to visit. Individual
ants serving as scouts for their
colonies discover and collect
sweet nectar from the trap and return to their nest to tell their fellow ants where to п¬Ѓnd a nice meal.
Numerous ants then march unwittingly into the trap in search of
food and are captured because the
plant has made its trap slippery
and inescapable. So by letting
the individual scouts escape, the
plant eventually manages to capture much more prey.
To control when its trap is slippery, the pitcher plant secretes
sugary nectar that primes the
trapping surface to become wet
through condensation at lower
humidity levels than other plant
surfaces. That activates the trap
during afternoons when many
day-active insects are still out
and about.
“Of course a plant is not clever
in the human sense - it cannot
plot. However, natural selection
is very relentless and will only reward the most successful strategies,” said biologist Ulrike Bauer
of Britain’s University of Bristol,
who led the study being published
yesterday in the scientific journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society
There are about 600 species of
carnivorous plants known worldwide. The pitcher plants generally
grow in nutrient-poor habitats,
which is why they capture animal
prey to feed on. Most species trap
insects. A few attract small mammals and collect their faeces for
“What superficially looks like
an arms race between nectar robbers and deadly predators could
in fact be a sophisticated case of
mutual benefit,” Bauer said.
“As long as the energy gain
(eating the nectar) outweighs the
loss of worker ants, the ant colony
benefits from the relationship just
as much as the plant does.”
in smartphone cameras to scan
scenes, identify writing and
then display it as if it were written in English, a demonstration
by Good revealed.
“If you are looking at a restaurant menu, it’s nice to see which
thing on the menu you are looking at so you can point at it when
you order,” Good said as he used
his iPhone to scan and translate
an Italian pasta recipe.
Word Lens in Google Translate operates independent of the
Internet, avoiding data charges
from telecommunication service providers, he explained.
The new Google Translate
also features a conversation
mode that uses voice recognition and the power of the Internet cloud to translate both
sides of a chat between people
speaking different languages,
the demonstration showed.
People pair any two of 38
language options, then smartphones listen in and convert
them during chats. An automated voice speaks translations, which are displayed in
writing on smartphone screens,
while transcripts of chats can be
Computing power for translating conversations comes
from Google servers, so connections to the Internet through
WiFi or telecom carriers are
The team at Google is working to expand available languages and capabilities, according to
Canada arrests three
over �serious’ threats
A worker ant collects sweet nectar from the trap of an insecteating Nepenthes pitcher plant in this undated handout picture
courtesy of Dr. Ulrike Bauer, University of Bristol, United
Kingdom. Researchers have found that, by �switching off’ its
traps for part of the day, the plant ensures �scout’ ants survive
and are able to lead large numbers of followers to the trap.
When the trap gets wet, it suddenly becomes super-slippery and
captures all visitors in one sweep.
anada arrested three
men on terrorism-related charges in as many
days because they represented
a “serious” potential threat, the
country’s top public safety official said on Tuesday.
“If accusations are laid, it’s because there’s a serious reason to
believe they are potential terrorists,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told CBC television.
On Monday, authorities in Ottawa arrested Suliman Mohamed,
21. He faces charges of participating in the activities of a terrorist
group, and conspiring to participate in terrorism with 24-yearold twin brothers who were arrested on Friday.
Carlos Larmond was apprehended at Montreal’s international airport just before departing to “travel overseas for terrorist
purposes,” the police said.
Ashton Carleton Larmond was
charged with “facilitating terrorist activity” and participating in a
terrorist group. Carlos was headed to Syria, the CBC reported.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Jennifer Strachan earlier said the arrests
underscore that there are Canadians “who have become radicalised to a violent ideology, and
who are willing to act upon it.”
The justice system will move on
these cases, Blaney said.
“We have to be under no illusion that those breaking the
criminal code will face it,” he said.
The arrests come after Islamist
attacks in France killed 17 people,
including 12 people at the satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo.
In October, two soldiers were
killed in separate attacks in Canada. In one, a soldier was fatally
shot while standing watch at the
War Memorial in Ottawa. His attacker then stormed into parliament and exchanged п¬Ѓre with police before being shot dead.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Tourism campaign
Malaysian girls who
hugged K-pop band
threatened with arrest
Kuala Lumpur
Women dressed in traditional costumes perform on the street during a parade to promote tourism during the Thailand Tourism Festival 2015, a military junta government
campaign to boost the tourism industry, in Bangkok yesterday.
Singapore navy п¬Ѓnds main
body of crashed aircraft
Pangkalan Bun
Singaporean navy ship
yesterday located the
main body of the AirAsia plane that crashed into the
Java Sea late last month, raising
hopes that bodies of most of the
162 victims will now be found.
Underwater photos showed
the cracked fuselage and part
of a wing of Flight QZ8501, that
went down on December 28 in
stormy weather during a short
trip from the Indonesian city of
Surabaya to Singapore.
The discovery of the fuselage
is the latest boost in a lengthy
search operation in Indonesian
waters hampered by bad weather. Just 50 bodies have so far been
recovered with most of the victims believed to be trapped inside the Airbus 320-200’s main
It followed the retrieval this
week of both the plane’s black
boxes, which contain vital information to help investigators determine what caused the crash.
AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes
confirmed the fuselage had been
found in a tweet, saying: “It is so
so sad though seeing our aircraft.
An image believed to be of the fuselage of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, taken
by an underwater remotely operated vehicle provided by the
Singaporean Navy, is shown during a news conference in Jakarta.
I’m gutted and devastated.”
“We hope all our guests are
there,” he added.
Singapore’s Defence Minister
Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook
post that the MV Swift Rescue
had located the wreckage, which
was 26 metres (85 feet) long
and about two kilometres from
where the plane’s tail was found
On the photos accompanying the post, taken by the ship’s
Criticism as Cambodia PM
marks 30 years in power
Phnom Penh
ights groups have lambasted
for using “violence, repression and corruption” to keep
his grip on power as he marked
three decades as prime minister
The former Khmer Rouge cadre became the world’s youngest
premier when he took office on
January 14, 1985 at the age of 32.
But his administration has
been mired in graft and he is frequently criticised for ignoring
human rights and stamping out
In a report released Tuesday Human Rights Watch accused the 62-year-old of ruling
through violence, control over
the security forces and manipulated elections to become the
world’s sixth-longest serving
political leader.
“For three decades, Hun Sen
has repeatedly used political
violence, repression, and corruption to remain in power,” said
Brad Adams, HRW Asia director,
in a statement.
“Cambodia urgently needs
reforms so that its people can п¬Ѓnally exercise their basic human
rights without fear of arrest,
torture, and execution. The role
of international donors is crucial
in making this happen,” he said.
When Cambodia fell into
civil war in 1970, Hun Sen became a foot soldier for what later
emerged as the Khmer Rouge -the genocidal regime that killed
up to 2mn people.
He rose to the rank of deputy
regional commander before defecting to Vietnam and eventually returning with Vietnamese
troops to oust the regime, later
climbing to the top of the Hanoiinstalled government in Cambodia.
As his country emerged from
conflict, Hun Sen abandoned the
communist dogma of his Vietnamese patrons, embracing the
free market and seeking out alliances with more powerful nations.
Yet while Cambodia now
enjoys relative stability, the
authoritarian premier “has
nurtured a system in which political power is based on alliance
to the ruling party”, said Sopheap
Chak, executive director of the
Cambodian Center for Human
Rights in Phnom Penh.
remotely operated vehicle, the
words “now” and “everyone”
are visible, apparently from
AirAsia’s motto “Now Everyone
Can Fly” painted on the plane’s
Indonesia’s national search
and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said that divers would
head to the main body today.
“It is already dark so we will
carry out the dive tomorrow
morning with the target to п¬Ѓnd
the victims which may still be
around it or trapped in the body,”
he said.
“If the divers have any difficulty, the next step will then be
to lift the body and the wing.”
He added that two more victims were found yesterday,
meaning 50 bodies have so far
been retrieved.
The Singapore navy ship was
part of a huge international hunt
for the plane, which also included US and Chinese ships.
The so-called black boxes which are actually orange in colour - have been flown to Jakarta,
where Indonesia’s National
Transport Safety Committee
is leading a probe into the accident, helped by experts from
countries including France and
the US.
The country’s meteorological
agency has said bad weather may
have caused the crash but only
the black boxes will be able to
provide definitive answers.
Investigators have started retrieving data from the recorders
and converting it into a usable
format, which will take around a
week, before the lengthy analysis process can begin, committee
head Tatang Kurniadi said.
The flight data recorder holds
a wealth of information about
every major part of the plane,
with details such as the jet’s
speed and the direction it was
heading in, while the cockpit voice recorder stores radio
transmissions and sounds in the
The committee has said a
preliminary report on the accident will be produced within a
month, and a п¬Ѓnal report after a
At a port near Pangkalan Bun,
the search headquarters on Borneo island, Indonesian investigators and their French counterparts also began examining the
tail, which was lifted out of the
water at the weekend.
Before take-off, the plane’s
pilot had asked for permission to
fly at a higher altitude to avoid a
major storm but the request was
not approved due to other planes
above him on the popular route.
In his last communication, the
experienced pilot said he wanted
to change course to avoid the
storm. Then all contact was lost,
about 40 minutes after take-off.
All but seven of those on board
the flight were Indonesian. The
foreign nationals were from
South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France.
group of girls in Malaysia were threatened
with arrest yesterday
after a video emerged showing
them hugging members of Kpop boy band B1A4, local media reported.
The incident has prompted
a public outcry in the Muslim
majority country, with conservatives denouncing both
the popular Korean K-pop
genre and the girls.
Official religious purity enforcers have given the girls
one week to turn themselves
in or face arrest, local media
In the video, the band members are shown bringing fans
wearing headscarves up on
stage during an event in Kuala
Lumpur last weekend, crooning to them and cuddling
them, with one band member
kissing a fan on the forehead.
Malaysian religious civil law
includes strict codes of conduct when it comes to public
displays of affection.
“This video shows how
many of our girls are ignorant
about our religion and do not
know the boundaries...” said
one Facebook user.
“The girls should be punished,” another said.
A local group is claiming
K-pop is part of a Christian
agenda to infiltrate and influence youngsters.
Amid the controversy, a
satirical cartoon with Malay
language captions appeared
on Facebook, glorifying women who joined militants in
Syria but condemning female
K-pop fans as degrading the
religion. It had received more
than 13,000 likes by yesterday
While many condemned the
girls’ actions, others felt authorities were overreacting.
Prominent human rights
activist Ambiga Sreenevasan
tweeted that if the girls were
arrested, it would “traumatise
them for the rest of their lives”.
Organisers of the concert
have apologised for the incident.
Despite the language barrier, scores of young Malaysian
women and teenagers are ardent fans of heavily styled Kpop with its teen-idol groups,
glossy hooks and meticulously
choreographed dance moves.
Earlier in 2013, K-pop sensation Psy performed his
�Gangnam Style’ megahit in
Malaysia after being invited by
prime minister Najib Razak’s
Barisan Nasional coalition, a
move aimed at drumming up
political support, according to
some observers.
Fourth ship to join
search for missing jet
fourth search vessel
equipped with a sophisticated underwater
drone is set to join the search
for missing Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH370, the Australian
search co-ordinator said yesterday.
Months of searches have
failed to turn up any trace of
the Boeing 777 aircraft, which
disappeared on March 8, carrying 239 passengers and crew
shortly after taking off from
the Malaysian capital of Kuala
Lumpur, bound for Beijing.
The current phase of the
search is focusing on a rugged and previously unmapped
60,000-sq-km patch of sea
floor some 1,600km west of
the Australian city of Perth.
Dutch engineering п¬Ѓrm Fugro has deployed three vessels
to map and then search the sea
floor in the area.
The new search vessel, Fugro Supporter, is equipped
with a Kongsberg HUGIN
4500 autonomous underwa-
ter vehicle (AUV), which is
pre-programmed with an area
to search and then released,
rather than tethered to a ship
via a cable. “The AUV will be
used to scan those portions
of the search area that cannot
be searched effectively by the
equipment on the other search
vessels,” Australia’s Joint
Agency Coordination Centre
(JACC) said in a statement.
More than 14,000 sq km of
sea floor has been searched,
JACC said, and the search of
the current area could be completed as early as May, provided there are no delays.
Fugro Supporter is expected
to arrive in the search area in
late January.
On July 17, the same airline’s
Flight MH17, also a Boeing 777,
was shot down over Ukraine,
killing all 298 people on board.
Another Malaysian-affiliated aircraft, an Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-200, crashed
on a flight from Indonesia to
Singapore on Dec 28 with the
loss of all 162 people on board.
Its wreckage has been found
and its flight recorders are being examined.
US couple go on trial over Bali murder
n American man and his
teenage girlfriend went
on trial on Indonesia’s
resort island of Bali yesterday
charged with murdering the
woman’s mother and stuffing
her body into a suitcase outside
an exclusive hotel.
Heather Mack, who is pregnant, and Tommy Schaefer
could face the death penalty if
found guilty of the premeditated murder of Sheila von Wiese Mack, 62, whose body was
found in the case in the boot of
a taxi in August.
Prosecutors alleged that
Schaefer, who wept as he entered court, “blindly hit” Von
Wiese Mack with a bowl in a п¬Ѓt
of rage after she directed a racial
slur at him during an argument.
Schaefer is black.
overwhelmed with emotion and
anger, picked up the glass fruit
bowl and swung it at her face,”
prosecutor Eddy Arta Wijaya
told the district court in the Balinese capital Denpasar, as he
read out the 21-year-old’s indictment.
“Wiese tried to push the handle towards Schaefer and it hit
US citizen Heather Mack is led from a court in Denpasar, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Right: Tommy Schaefer listens to an interpreter
while sitting in the court .
his mouth, making him angrier
and more emotional. Using
both hands, Schaefer blindly hit
her as hard as he could between
her eyes and nose with the fruit
bowl.” He then continued hitting her face on the bed “until
she stopped moving”, he added.
The indictment said that
19-year-old Heather Mack hid
in the bathroom during the attack before the couple stuffed
the victim’s body in a suitcase.
Mack and Schaefer, who went
on trial separately, refused to
speak to reporters after the trial. The next hearing will be on
January 21.
The victim and the suspects
are all from the Chicago area.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
100 held in
on infant
Poachers intercepted
A handout photo released by New Zealand Defence Force shows the HMNZS Wellington (L) seen in a standoff with a suspected poaching ship Kunlun in Antarctic waters.
The New Zealand navy was involved in a high-seas standoff with two suspected poaching ships in Antarctic waters yesterday after the vessels used ”evasive tactics” to
thwart boarding attempts, officials said.
Stampede victims
demand answers
The government is facing some hard
questions on the tragedy
elatives of the 36 people killed in a
New Year’s Eve crush in Shanghai—
who are now closely supervised
by the government—have made a formal
written demand for a proper account of
the disaster, AFP has learned.
New Year revellers, many of them young
women, were trampled after flocking to
celebrations on Shanghai’s historic waterfront known as the Bund, with severe
overcrowding raising questions over why
authorities failed to enforce stronger safety measures.
A petition drawn up by the family of one
of the victims and seen by AFP blames
Shanghai government officials, police and
medical personnel for the accident and
emergency response. By doing so in writing it escalates the dispute.
“Lack of a plan, poor exchange of information, an inadequate estimate for security work are the direct causes leading to
the entire incident,” states the document,
which has been circulated among victims’
It urged the Shanghai government to
“satisfy requests of family members for
the handling of funerals and relevant requirements for compensation”.
Popular anger at authorities has increased after Caixin magazine reported
that officials of Huangpu district, where
the crush took place, had dinner at “high-
Shanghai Bund
class” Japanese restaurant near the site of
the stampede on the night it took place.
“On one side, some were enjoying a
gluttonous feast. On the other side, some
were experiencing the п¬Ѓnal moment of
their lives,” said a microblog posting under
the name Xiaoyu’er Aishang Yangguang.
Shanghai’s Communist party corruption watchdog is investigating the dinner,
which took place against the backdrop of
a government austerity campaign, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.
Attempts by AFP to reach the original
drafter of the petition, the family of vic-
tim Gu Yinli, were unsuccessful. Gu, a
25-year-old white collar worker, had gone
to the Bund with four friends, the Beijing
News reported.
“Gu Yinli was in the first group of injured sent (to the hospital), she should
have had a great chance of survival. A lack
of timely treatment led to the loss of her
life,” the letter said.
Petitioning is a time-honoured method
of seeking redress for grievances in China,
from imperial times to the present. Under Communist Party rule, it is often the
channel used when other avenues fail.
Other families confirmed they had received the document. Relatives said they
were now completely “isolated”, housed in
designated hotels and followed by government minders when they go out.
The undated petition also alleged that
the death toll was higher than the official
tally. That claim could not be verified.
Shanghai Communist Party Secretary
Han Zheng, the city’s highest leader, has
pledged an investigation into the crush.
Chinese media have reported that the
central government’s State Council, or
cabinet, which usually handles major accident investigations, will not do so in this
case, apparently leaving the inquiry in the
hands of the local government accused of
being responsible.
Some of the controversy has focused on
the relocation of a light show on the Bund,
with many revellers not properly informed
or still going to the Bund, a large public
space where people traditionally gather.
Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai told a government safety meeting that the accident
had an “extremely bad” social impact, in
the strongest official condemnation of the
Speaking on January 7, Huangpu party
chief Zhou Wei said he and other district
officials should “bear the responsibility” for the accident, Shanghai television
reported, in the п¬Ѓrst such admission. But
observers say the question is whether
higher level officials will share the blame.
Under China’s rules for workplace accidents, those with death tolls above 30 are
classified as “extremely large”, and punishments for officials responsible include
suspension, resignation or removal.
Detained residents sew lips shut
at Australian refugee camp
undreds of asylum seekers have
gone on hunger strike at an Australian immigration detention
centre in Papua New Guinea, rights groups
said yesterday, with some sewing their lips
shut to highlight fears for their security.
Australia uses offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and the tiny
South Pacific island nation of Nauru to
process would-be refugees trying to reach
the country, often in unsafe boats after
paying people-smugglers in Indonesia.
The detention centre on Manus Island in
Papua New Guinea was the scene of deadly
riots in February 2014, in which one asylum
seeker was killed and more than 70 injured
after residents overran the camp, attacking
detainees with makeshift weapons.
The protests began after detainees were
told they would be moved into new accommodation, which they feared they
make them more vulnerable to attack, said
An asylum seeker with his lips sewn
together in the Manus Island detention
centre in Papua New Guinea.
Ian Rintoul, executive director of the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Things have just come to a head. It’s
impossible to exaggerate the real fears that
people have for their safety and for their
lives,” he told Reuters.
Manus Island is one of the poorest regions of Papua New Guinea and residents
have repeatedly expressed anger at the
prospect of refugees being resettled in a
community already lacking jobs.
Many of the detainees have been in the
camps as long as 18 months and a technical problem has left them without running
water for bathing.
A photograph provided to Reuters yesterday shows what appears to be a detainee
with his lips stitched shut. Others also had
their lips sealed with stitches, a source
with knowledge of the camps said.
“Refugees inside the Manus Island detention camp are clearly suffering and have
resorted to self-harm in an act of desperation,” opposition Greens Party senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement.
Prime minister Tony Abbott’s tough line
on people smuggling has been credited
with grinding the trade to a virtual halt,
but thousands remain in camps like Manus
Under new laws instituted by former
prime minister Kevin Rudd, none of the
asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea will
ever be eligible for resettlement in Australia, even if they are found to be genuine
The government says that the camps
have helped to remove the п¬Ѓnancial incentive for people smugglers, in the process
saving hundreds of lives that might otherwise have been lost at sea in rickety boats.
A spokesman for immigration minister
Peter Dutton did not respond to requests
from Reuters for comment.
Settling in Papua New Guinea would
also appear to be out of the question.
“There simply is no safe arrangement
for resettlement in Papua New Guinea. It
is a gaping hole at the end of the Australian government’s offshore processing arrangement and as long as that exists, there
isn’t a remedy,” Rintoul said.
hinese police have
busted several trafficking rings for selling
newborn babies and children,
some of them kept in squalid
conditions in a disused mortuary, state-run media reported yesterday.
Police arrested more than
100 suspects in the crackdown, with one group in the
eastern province of Shandong
suspected of housing pregnant women in a factory and
selling their newborns, the
state-run Global Times daily
Police found some trafficked children “hidden in the
mortuary of an abandoned
hospital for infectious diseases, where they were badly
treated with instant noodles
as food”, it said.
China has long struggled
to rein in a lucrative market in
babies, fuelled by a preference
for male children and the “one
child policy”, which limits the
number of children couples
can have.
A total of 103 traffickers
from eight gangs were arrested in several cities, during a
two-month investigation, the
report said.
“Boys are more expensive
than girls,” one suspect surnamed Wu was quoted as saying, added that the price for a
male baby could reach 60,000
yuan ($9,700).
The paper reported that 37
babies were rescued, including seven who were confirmed
to have contracted sexually
transmitted diseases from
their parents.
Chinese police official Chen
Shiqu was quoted as saying
that “it has become a new
criminal pattern for human
traffickers to take pregnant
women to give birth to babies
at a specific place for their
The official Xinhua news
agency said that one of the
groups was suspected of
selling more than 20 babies,
while another in Yanzhou
in Shandong was accused
of selling 12 newborns since
China has seen multiple
cases of human trafficking in
recent years, Xinhua said. In
March 2013, Chinese police
rescued 92 children and two
women and detained 301 suspects.
“Trafficking in women and
children remains a significant
problem in several provinces,”
in China, the United Nations
Inter-agency Project on Human Trafficking says on its
Prostitution ring
busted in Macau
olice in the Chinese
gambling enclave of
Macau have busted a
major prostitution ring and
arrested more than 100 people, including the nephew of
gaming tycoon Stanley Ho,
city authorities said yesterday.
The syndicate sourced
prostitutes online, mostly
from mainland China, to solicit at a Macau hotel, turning
an estimated annual profit
of 400mn patacas ($50mn),
Vong Chi-hong, spokesman
for the city’s Judiciary Police
told AFP.
It is the largest prostitution syndicate to be broken up
since the former Portuguese
colony was returned to China
in 1999, “both in terms of
money involved and number
of prostitutes”, he said.
Vong said prostitutes had
to pay a 150,000-yuan membership fee ($24,200) to join
the group and were allowed to
solicit at a hotel after paying a
monthly fee.
Alan Ho, a nephew of casino
tycoon Stanley, was arrested
with several other alleged
ringleaders and 96 prostitutes
in a raid on Saturday, a government source confirmed.
A photograph in the South
China Morning Post showed
him handcuffed and being led
away by police.
According to a police statement, one million patacas in
cash was discovered during
the bust and a computer containing a list of 2,400 prostitutes was seized.
The southern Chinese city,
the only place on Chinese soil
that allows gambling, overtook
Las Vegas as the world’s casino
capital in terms of revenue after the sector was opened up to
foreign competition in 2002,
and now enjoys gambling revenues multiple times that of
the American city.
Dubbed the “King of Gambling”, the ailing Stanley Ho,
93, secured a monopoly on
Macau’s casinos for four decades in the 1960s before licenses were granted to rival
п¬Ѓrms including some major
global players.
Driving school to pay
for tsunami deaths
Japanese driving school
was ordered Tuesday to
pay damages for failing to evacuate students and
staff quickly enough ahead of
the 2011 tsunami, local media
The school in the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi must pay 1.9 billion yen
($16.1mn) to relatives of 25
students and an employee
who died, the Sendai District
Court ruled, according to a
Kyodo news agency.
After the magnitude-9
quake struck on March 11, 2011,
the driving school п¬Ѓrst kept pupils and staff on the premises,
about 750m from the shore in
Yamamoto town, for an hour
before deciding to evacuate.
But they were too late
to escape the waves that
caught 23 of the people in
fleeing cars, two still on
foot and one member of
staff who had been told to
stay at the driving school
and clean up.
The school had failed in its
“duty to foresee the tsunami
and transport the students to
safety”, presiding judge Kenji
Takamiya was quoted as saying.
The damages suit is the
fourth п¬Ѓled by families of disaster victims against schools
or businesses to make it to a
district court ruling, Kyodo
About 18,500 people were
left dead or missing by the
disaster, which also triggered
a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Page linked
to N Korea
airline п¬Ѓrm
An elderly woman pushes a walking aid in Tokyo’s Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly. Prime minister Shinzo Abe\’s cabinet approved on Wednesday
a record $812 billion budget for the coming fiscal year while cutting new borrowing for a third straight year in a bid to balance growth and fiscal reform. The largest budget item,
social welfare spending, will rise 1tn yen to a record 31.53tn.
Japan clears biggest
ever defence budget
Premier Abe has shown that he is not
afraid of confronting China
apan approved its largest-ever defence
budget for the next п¬Ѓscal year yesterday, as hawkish prime minister Shinzo
Abe looks to strengthen surveillance of
territorial waters in the face of a continuing spat with China.
For the year to March 2016, Tokyo will
spend 4.98tn yen ($41.97bn), the government said, indicating a budget rise for the
third straight year.
“This is the largest budget ever,” said
a defence ministry official, adding the
highest allocation previously was 4.96tn
yen earmarked in 2002.
The trend reflects Abe’s wish to build
a more active military, a push supporters
say is in response to the raising of tensions
with China, with which Tokyo is at odds
over the ownership of islands in the East
China Sea.
Japan is increasingly wary of Beijing,
which is seen by several countries in the
region as becoming aggressive over various sovereignty claims.
But detractors point to Abe’s desire to
bolster the military more generally, and
to shrug off the shackles of pacifism.
China responded cautiously to the an-
Prime minister Shinzo Abe is surrounded
by press after a cabinet meeting at his
official residence in Tokyo
nouncement, urging Tokyo to pay heed
to the past.
“Japan’s moves in its military and security policies have long drawn the attention of its Asian neighbours and of the
international community. They indicate
whether or not Japan can follow the path
of a peaceful development,” said foreign
ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
The premier had wanted to alter the
constitution to reduce restrictions on the
armed forces, but was unable to muster
sufficient public support, and moved instead to reinterpret the relevant clause to
allow the military to come to the aid of an
ally under attack.
“We hope that the Japanese side will
regard history as a mirror and follow the
path of a peaceful development and play
a constructive role to promote regional
peace and stability.”
Among items on the Japanese defence
ministry’s shopping list are 20 “P-1”
maritime patrol aircraft, with a combined
price tag of 350bn yen.
It will also buy five V-22 “Osprey”—
crossover aircraft, which have the manoeuverability of helicopters and the range
of aeroplanes—along with six high-tech
F-35A stealth п¬Ѓghters.
The ministry is looking to obtain a
fleet of “Global Hawk” drones over a
five-year period, and part of the purchase will come out of this budget, officials said.
The ministry is also buying 30 units of
amphibious vehicles and one E-2D airborne early-warning aircraft to be assigned to protect fringe areas, including
the Nansei Shoto islands which lie between the East China Sea and the Pacific
The cash will also go towards the construction of one Aegis destroyer, and fund
the deployment surveillance units around
the southern islands of Okinawa and
The Abe cabinet decided in late 2013 to
set aside roughly 24.7tn yen between 2014
and 2019 to spend on kit including drones,
submarines, п¬Ѓghter jets and amphibious
vehicles, in a strategic shift towards the
south and west.
Japan and China have routinely butted
heads over the ownership of the Tokyocontrolled Senkaku Islands, which Beijing
claims as the Diaoyus, with official Chinese ships and aircraft regularly testing
Japanese forces.
Separately, Chinese naval ships and
military jets are seen increasing their
activities around Japan, while an unpredictable North Korea continues its missile and nuclear programmes.
Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping
met in last November, the п¬Ѓrst face-toface encounter since each came to power,
and agreed to work towards easing tensions over the sovereignty of the islands.
On Monday, defence officials from
the both sides resumed talks on building a hotline, for the п¬Ѓrst time since June
2012, in an effort to avert unexpected
clashes in the East China Sea, the government said.
But conservative ideologue Abe has
also travelled abroad tirelessly to reinforce ties with foreign leaders, particularly those in Southeast Asia, in a bid
to counter China’s efforts to expand its
sphere of influence.
Abe has also worked to strengthen Japan’s military alliance with the US.
The defence expenditure makes up more
than five percent of Japan’s general budget
for the next п¬Ѓscal year, which comes in at a
record-high 96.34tn yen, up from 95.88tn
yen the previous year.
HK leader warns of anarchy as
opposition disrupts session
Hong Kong
ong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying
warned pro-democracy protesters
yesterday they risked “anarchy”
as he sought to bolster his support in his
п¬Ѓrst policy address since demonstrations
rocked the п¬Ѓnancial hub last year.
Before Leung gave his annual speech,
opposition lawmakers disrupted proceedings, calling on him to step down. Some
held up banners demanding full democracy and then walked out of the legislature
under yellow umbrellas - a symbol of the
The session had be adjourned briefly as
security guards hauled off two democratic
lawmakers. About 70 pro-democracy protesters gathered outside the Legislative
Council, along with dozens of Leung’s
The policy blueprint has been a key
platform for leaders in the Chinese-controlled city to hand out billions to the lessadvantaged in the form of tax breaks, or
to signal shifts in economic, property and
political policies.
“As we pursue democracy, we should
act in accordance with the law, or Hong
Kong will degenerate into anarchy,” Leung,
dressed in a dark suit and sky-blue tie, told
city legislators.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Raymond Chan
is taken away by security guards after
he protested against Hong Kong chief
executive Leung
The former British colony returned to
China in 1997 under a “one country, two
systems” formula that gives it some autonomy from the mainland and a promise
of eventual universal suffrage. Beijing has
allowed a free vote for city leader in 2017,
but insists on screening candidates.
Protesters demanding full democracy
occupied parts of the city for more than
two months late last year with Leung himself a target of their anger.
He must now try to boost his ratings
among a population that knows that, under Beijing’s watchful gaze, he is unable
to offer anything significant in the way of
democratic reform.
At the same time, he must perform a
balancing act by healing divisions, main-
taining strong ties with Communist Party
rulers in China, on which Hong Kong’s
economy overwhelmingly depends, and
ensuring that the city’s economy - expected to grow about 2.2% this year - remains
on a steady keel.
Leung reiterated that Beijing leaders
had absolute authority over the city, and
the screening of candidates for Hong Kong
leader by a nominating committee stacked
with Beijing loyalists was the only option.
The opposition wants open nominations.
“Hong Kong autonomy under �one
country, two systems’ is a high degree of
autonomy, not an absolute autonomy,” Leung said.
In a speech lacking major initiatives, Leung focused on bread-and-butter issues
including housing - an important topic in
the densely populated city of 7.2mn - and
said he would seek to boost the supply of
land in one of the world’s costliest markets.
“Increasing and expediting land supply
is the fundamental solution to resolve the
land and housing problems,” he said.
He gave no specifics amid speculation
the government may seek to open up parks
to limited development, which would likely infuriate environmentalists.
In a surprise move, the government
scrapped a “Capital Investment Entrant
Scheme” in place since 2003. The scheme
had been seen as a back-door for affluent
mainland Chinese to get Hong Kong residency and squirrel away their wealth.
At a time when China’s economy remains vulnerable to a protracted slowdown, Hong Kong has struggled on many
fronts given its growing ties with the
Initial public offerings, crucial to its
п¬Ѓnancial sector and broader economic
health, have dried up, including from China. The offshore yuan market has slowed
markedly thanks to more offshore yuan
hubs coming on stream.
Even п¬Ѓnancial services have seen torrid times as global institutions struggle.
Standard Chartered Bank recently shut
its global equities operations and laid off
some Hong Kong staff.
Leung said Hong Kong would forge
deeper ties with China’s capital markets
including the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock
Connect and further develop the offshore
yuan market. Meanwhile, more foreign
professionals would be lured by an acrossthe-board lowering of entry criterion.
The city government will earmark HK$1
bn to help Hong Kong п¬Ѓrms tap the mainland market while about HK$5bn will also
be pumped into a fund to beef up the city’s
innovation and technology sector.
For the city’s less well-off, Leung announced that the minimum wage was
being raised from HK$30 an hour to
ackers declaring support for Islamic State
jihadists appeared yesterday to have taken over a Facebook page promoting North
Korea’s state-run airline Air
Koryo, deriding the communist nation’s leader Kim JongUn as a “crying pig”.
The hackers replaced the
page’s photo banner with the
black and white flag of the Islamic State (IS) group, which is
also known as ISIS, and п¬Ѓlled
its timeline with pictures declaring support for the jihadists and mocking Kim’s regime.
One image showed Kim
weeping at his father Kim
Jong-Il’s funeral in 2011, with
the caption “crying pig”.
The page’s profile picture
was changed to an image of a
п¬Ѓghter with his face wrapped
in a scarf, captioned “CyberCaliphate” and “I love you
Another photo showing IS
fighters was captioned: “North
Korea the communist thug nation and the Chinese communist thugs will pay a price for
their collaboration with the
enemies of the muwahideen.”
It is not confirmed that the
Facebook page, which has
some 8,000 “likes”, is run by
the airline.
South Korean news agency
Yonhap described the page as
Air Koryo’s Facebook account
and said its earlier posts had
been deleted by the hackers.
A report by the website
NK News in September said
the page, which previously
posted schedule information
and news on aviation tours to
North Korea, was operated by
airline enthusiasts.
The hacking came two days
after a group styling itself as
the CyberCaliphate, using the
same “I love you ISIS” profile
picture, hacked US Central
Command’s social media accounts, forcing the military
to take down the command’s
Twitter feed.
The websites of major North
Korean propaganda outlets
and the homepage of Air Koryo were blocked for days last
month after US president
Barack Obama pledged a “proportional” response to a massive cyber-attack against Hollywood studio Sony Pictures.
The FBI has said North
Korea carried out the Sony
hacking in retaliation for the
studio’s comedy “The Interview”, which centres on a plot
to assassinate Kim, and the
US government slapped new
sanctions on Pyongyang this
North Korea has repeatedly
denied involvement in the cyber-attack against Sony.
Seoul arrests woman
for �pro-North talk’
outh Korean authorities
arrested a former member of a leftist political
party yesterday for breaking a
state security law by making
favourable comments about
the North, the same law under which a Korean-American
woman was deported four days
Hwang Seon, a unification
activist who rose to prominence in 2005 when she had a
baby in Pyongyang, was taken
into custody early yesterday,
said a prosecution official who
asked not to be identified.
The prosecution official said
a Seoul court on Tuesday granted a request to detain Hwang on
charges of breaking the National Security Law. Hwang denied
the charges as she entered the
court for a hearing. The law,
enacted after Korea was split at
the end of World War Two but
before the 1950-53 Korean War,
prohibits South Koreans from
publicly praising the North Korean regime.
It is considered obsolete by
liberal critics, who say it is often used by conservative governments to stifle political opposition and suppress freedom
of speech.
South Korean president Park
Geun-hye said on Monday the
law was still needed as a way
to protect the South from the
North, with which it technically remains at war under a
truce that suspended п¬Ѓghting
in the Korean War.
The US, a key ally of Seoul,
expressed concern about the
application of the National
Security Law, saying the law
“as interpreted and applied in
some cases, limits freedom of
expression and restricts access
to the Internet.”
10 Turks held for
passport racket
olice in Shanghai have
arrested 10 Turkish nationals suspected of
supplying fake passports to
ethnic Uighurs from China’s
far-western region of Xinjiang
who were described as terrorist
suspects by state media.
Hundreds of people have
been killed in resource-rich
Xinjiang, strategically located
on the borders of central Asia,
in violence in the past two
years between the Muslim Uighur people and ethnic majority Han Chinese.
Another 11 people, including nine Xinjiang “terror suspects”, were also detained in
November while trying to leave
China after paying 60,000
yuan ($9,700) for altered Turkish passports, the state-run
Global Times newspaper reported. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei did
not elaborate on the case but
told a news conference yesterday the report was “extremely
Mother reports bomb in son’s room
Police detonated what was thought to be a homemade bomb
yesterday after a mother called the bomb squad about an object
she found in her son’s bedroom in Sydney.
The mother told police the object looked suspicious because it had
a mobile phone taped up with wire hanging out of it.
Police removed the object and blew it up in a nearby football pitch.
They were questioning the 20-year-old son.
Earlier yesterday, a suspected homemade bomb discovered
outside a school in Bundaberg, north Queensland, was destroyed
by police.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Google battles lawsuit by
Mosley over photographs
Support for Irish coalition
shows signs of recovery
Dog finds a home
after seven-year hitch
Think-tank’s green belt
homes proposal flayed
Singer’s mansion plans
opposed by neighbour
Google yesterday sought to block a lawsuit filed
against it by Max Mosley in the High Court in
London over access through its search engine to
images of the former motor racing chief taking
part in a sex party. Google wants to avoid a legal
obligation to monitor and limit the flow of data
on the Internet. Mosley, who was present in court,
argues the firm is breaching his fundamental right
to privacy by allowing users to access the pictures.
The images were first published in 2008 by Rupert
Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World. Max
Mosley later won ВЈ60,000 in damages from the
newspaper. He launched legal action against
Google in July last year.
Support for Ireland’s governing parties showed
tentative signs of recovery in the first opinion poll
of the year as Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine
Gael rose above Sinn Fein as the most popular
party in the country. With just over a year to go
until the next election, Kenny’s centre-right party
ended 2014 in third place in some polls after a
series of political blunders as frustration over an
uneven economic recovery spilled into street
protests. The Paddy Power/Red C poll put support
for Fine Gael at 24%, up 3 percentage points from
the last Red C poll in December and the party’s
first increase in four polls. Junior coalition partner
Labour rose 2 points to 8%.
A dog called Jed has found his forever home
after setting a likely British record by being
rejected by over 14,000 potential new owners
who looked him over during his seven years at a
pet rescue centre in Darlington. “We’re missing
Jed but it’s nice that he’s found a lovely couple,”
DogsTrust manager Judith Davidson said
yesterday. “You do have a tear in your eye but it’s
a tear of joy when they get their final home.” The
skinny Lurcher was brought in as a 4-month-old
puppy in 2007 and had been in the re-homing
centre on and off since then. “We’ve tried and he
did come back a couple of times,” Davidson said.
“We don’t know why because we love him.”
A plan to tackle the housing crisis by building a
million homes on London›s green belt was blasted
by MPs yesterday. The Adam Smith Institute called
for the development of 3.7% of city green belt
land within 10 minutes walk of a railway station.
The Right-leaning think-tank argued that this
designated special protection is damaging other
parts of the city. But Greenwich and Woolwich
Labour MP Nick Raynsford said: В«The idea you can
nibble away at the green belt without long-term
consequences is wrong. The reason it was put
in place is to safe- guard England from urban
sprawl.В» The institute branded the current planning
structure out-of-date and called for radical reform.
Singer Robbie Williams is embroiled in a planning
dispute with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page
over the re-development of his ВЈ17.5mn London
mansion. The former Take That star’s 46-room
house in Holland Park was previously owned by
the late film director Michael Winner. Williams,
40, wants to turn the Grade II* listed Victorian
property into a “functional family home” for his
wife Ayda Field, 35, and their two children. Plans
have been submitted to Kensington and Chelsea
council. But Page, 71, claims the building work
could cause “vibrations and possible structural
damage” to his nearby property, where he has
lived since 1972.
launched over
Ripa changes
Guardian News and Media
n urgent campaign has
been launched for a
“freedom of expression” law to protect confidential journalists’, MPs’ and
laywers’ phone and communications records being secretly
snooped on by the police.
Senior editors and lawyers
condemned as “wholly inadequate” safeguards put forward
by Theresa May in December
to meet concerns over the police use of surveillance powers
in a code of practice linked to
the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).
The critics of the draft code
fear that the police will still
have sweeping powers allowing
them to authorise themselves
to access the phone and e-mail
records of professionals such
as journalists, lawyers, doctors,
MPs and priests who handle
privileged, confidential information.
More than 3,000 national
and regional editors are being
asked to sign a joint letter from
the Society of Editors and Press
Gazette, the industry’s journal,
condemning the Home Office
joint code for failing to recognise “the overarching importance of protecting journalists’
The campaign comes as the
prime minister, David Cameron, called for an extension
of the laws that give snooping
powers to security services with
a plan to ban encrypted messages in the wake of the Charlie
Hebdo Paris attacks.
Bob Satchwell of the Society
of Editors added: “It is vitally
important that everyone in the
media makes it clear just how
important this issue has become. Journalism isn’t a crime
and should not be treated as
May had offered to provide
guidance over the existing police powers after it emerged
that the Metropolitan police
had secretly accessed the phone
records of Sun journalist Tom
Newton Dunn in order to п¬Ѓnd
people who had leaked him information in the Plebgate affair.
But Dominic Ponsford of
Press Gazette warned: “The
government’s draft Ripa code
is a licence for the state to spy
on journalists’ phone records
at will. It allows police forces
to approve their own requests
for journalists call records provided they make a note of their
target’s profession.
“It means that police forces
will be able to continue to track
down and punish lawful journalistic sources (as was the
case with the Met Police and
the Sun’s Plebgate sources),” he
said. “The guidance makes no
mention of the overriding public interest in protecting journalists’ sources.”
Alistair MacDonald, QC,
chairman of the Bar Council,
said that the Charlie Hebdo
attack should not allow such
spying powers to go through
unchallenged: “The Paris murders by extremist gunmen who
were known to the security and
police services, have already attracted considerable support
for an extension of surveillance
powers,” said MacDonald.
“That surveillance can save
lives seems undeniable. However, it is one of the objectives
of extremists who are willing to
commit barbaric crimes, that
the hard-won liberties of the
civil population should be curtailed and that a wedge should
be driven between those in society with different views about
the degree to which personal
freedoms should be sacrificed
on the altar of public safety,” he
However, despite the emerging objections Home Office ministers look set to back
changes next week that would
allow the police to carry on secretly snooping on confidential
professional phone and web
records at will.
People walk in the snow in Pitlochry, central Scotland, yesterday. The Meteorological Office has issued warnings that parts of the country will be struck by gales and snow.
Snow, storms sweep
across much of UK
Blizzards and storms force
schools and roads to close, as
severe weather continues to
cause problems
Guardian News and Media
now and ice in northern
Scotland has forced more
than 90 schools and nurseries to shut down, the closure of
roads and the suspension of several rail routes.
The blizzards followed last
week’s fierce storms which left
120,000 properties without power in Scotland. The homes have
since been reconnected but BT is
continuing to п¬Ѓx phone lines in
the Highlands and Islands. Re-
pair efforts have been hampered
by fallen trees, ferry cancellations
and traffic restrictions.
Road operator Bear Scotland said its teams were working
around the clock to keep routes
clear, while Police Scotland said
drivers should ask whether their
journey is really necessary before
getting behind the wheel. A lorry
jackknifed on the A9 south of
Newtonmore in snowy conditions
causing delays for a time.
“If you do decide to travel, ensure your vehicle is well prepared
before setting off, make sure your
windscreens are completely free
of snow and ice, and your lights
are working and clean,” said chief
inspector Louise Blakelock.
Heavy snowfall blocked the railway line in the Highlands between
rime Minister David
Cameron came under
concerted pressure yesterday from political rivals to
join a series of pre-election
TV debates he has said he will
boycott unless the smaller
left-leaning Green Party is
also included.
Cameron’s refusal has seen
opponents accuse him of using
a questionable pretext to avoid
a debate they say he fears. His
foes also accuse him of showing disdain for what they say is
a healthy democratic exercise
ahead of the May 7 national
election, which is expected to
be unusually tight.
Cameron, whose rightleaning Conservative Party
has little in common with the
Greens, has said he wants the
debates to happen but that
“you can’t have some minor
parties in and not other parties in”.
In separate but almost identical letters, the leaders of the
main opposition Labour Party,
the anti-EU UK Independence Party (Ukip) and the Liberal Democrat Party, Cameron’s
junior coalition partner, wrote
to him urging him to reconsider.
“It would be unacceptable
if the political self-interest of
one party leader were to deny
the public the opportunity
to see their leaders’ debate in
public,” the letters read.
“Therefore, if you are unwilling to reconsider, the
three party leaders who have
committed to participate will
ask the broadcasters to press
ahead with the debates and
provide an empty podium
should you have a last-minute
change of heart.”
The spat follows a provisional
ruling from the broadcast regulator Ofcom saying the Green
Party, which currently has one
lawmaker in parliament and a
small number of local councillors, did not qualify for major
party status.
Conservative strategists are
thought to be sceptical about
any upside for Cameron from
the TV debates, fearing they
could allow Labour leader Ed
Miliband to improve his poor
leadership ratings and appear
as a credible prime ministerin-waiting.
With the country’s mostly
right-leaning press regularly
deriding Miliband as a sociallyawkward nerd, the TV debates
are a rare high-profile opportunity for him to prove his detractors wrong, which is why he
wants to ensure they happen.
Cameron has less to gain
since Nigel Farage, Ukip’s media-savvy leader, is targeting
Conservative voters in particular and is likely to zero in on
him during TV debates. If the
Greens were included, Conservatives believe Labour and
the Liberal Democrats would
face more robust scrutiny.
Recent opinion polls have
shown Cameron’s party either
narrowly behind or level with
worst of the storms have passed.”
In Northern Ireland, more than
100 schools were forced to close
after heavy snowfall mainly in
western parts of the region. The
counties worst hit by the severe
weather were Derry, Fermanagh
and Tyrone. In Derry city, the
snowfall was so deep overnight
that some local taxi п¬Ѓrms suspended services yesterday morning.
At the main hospital in the city
some staff were forced to stay on
site overnight because of road
closures and disruption to public
A spokesperson for Altnagelvin
hospital said: “A small number
of staff had to stay in, we have
planned arrangements in place for
such eventualities. Public access
to the hospital at this stage is like
everywhere else in Derry: difficult
but accessible.”
Rail and bus services in the west
of the province were disrupted as
is the ferry between Ballycastle
and Rathlin Island with all sailings
cancelled from half past nine yesterday morning.
Meanwhile across the border in
the Irish Republic, western counties were also being badly affected
by the snowfall.
Schools in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and parts of the Irish Midlands were closed. All secondary
schools in Sligo town were closed
as a result of the snow and high
The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” alerts for most of
the UK.
Barring private cabs
from bus lanes �legal’
PM under pressure to
appear in TV debates
Blair Atholl and Drumochter as
snowplough trains worked through
the night in an attempt to keep the
rail network open.
Network Rail said a limited
number of train services had been
suspended from noon yesterday
because of heavy winds. No trains
will run on the Dumbarton Central to Helensburgh Central and
Glasgow to Oban lines until 6pm
today. The Kyle to Dingwall and
Kilwinning to Ardrossan line was
also suspended.
David Dickson, route managing director for Scotland,
said: “Safety has to be our first
consideration during severe
weather. Where conditions are
predicted to be most severe, we
have agreed to withdraw a limited number of services until the
Cameron: decision derided
llowing London’s trademark black cabs to use
bus lanes while excluding other minicab companies
does not constitute state aid,
the European Union’s highest
court ruled yesterday.
The decision ends a lengthy
dispute between the capital’s
transport authority, Transport
for London (TfL), and Eventech, which owns a minicab
fleet used by cab firm Addison
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said black cabs and
minicabs were not comparable
because of their different “factual and legal situation” and
therefore only allowing black
cabs to use bus lanes did not
give them a selective economic
Only black cabs can be
waved down by customers on
the street and are subject to
strict standards regarding their
vehicles, fares and knowledge
of London, the Luxembourgbased court said.
Eventech, which previously lost its case in Britain’s
High Court, had argued that
TfL’s bus lane policy was an
infringement of the freedom
to provide services and also
amounted to illegal state aid essentially a subsidy - favouring black cabs.
The court rejected that view
as the policy does not involve
any transfer of public money.
EU law prevents governments
from giving state aid to companies that could distort competition.
But the court recognised
that the TfL policy could make
the provision of minicab services less attractive and thus reduce the ability of competing
providers to penetrate London’s market.
The dispute has coincided with growing concerns
among traditional cab companies over what they see as
unfair competition from alternative taxi providers such
as the car-sharing service
Uber. The conflict has led to
Europe-wide taxi strikes and
temporary bans on Uber in
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Blair defends IRA letters
as vital for N Ireland peace
Boris deputy vows to
reverse Tube fare rises
Tower’s field of poppies
voted top cultural event
More foreign-born war vets
seeking help to stay in UK
Massereene to be
ВЈ161mn science park
Former prime minister Tony Blair apologised for
failings in the scheme that led to an IRA bomb
suspect walking free, but insisted peace could not
have been achieved in Northern Ireland without it.
John Downey is believed to have carried out a 1982
attack in London’s Hyde Park but his trial collapsed
last year after it emerged prosecutors had sent him
a letter guaranteeing he would never face trial. The
letter was one of 228 sent out to militants as part of
negotiations to keep the peace in Northern Ireland.
Giving evidence to the committee investigating
the scheme, Blair said that only people deemed
by prosecutors to have a lack of evidence against
them were meant to have received the letters.
Boris Johnson’s own deputy yesterday pledged
to reverse the Tube fare hikes of recent years if he
becomes mayor. Tory hopeful Stephen Greenhalgh
included the promise as one of 15 challenges he
would address if he won the top job at City Hall.
Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing,
told the Standard: “Ordinary working Londoners
should not have to pay more every year in fares
as they strive to take advantage of the jobs and
growth London is creating. We need to make
Tube and bus fares cheaper from 2016 so that
Londoners, especially those who keep the city
running — the nurses, teachers and paramedics —
can pay less for the effort of getting into work.”
The Tower of London’s field of ceramic poppies
has been voted the capital’s top cultural event
of 2014. Artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper
were honoured yesterday with a “Contribution
to London’s Cultural Excellence” prize at
an awards ceremony celebrating London’s
achievers. The pair filled the Tower’s moat with
888,246 ceramic poppies to mark lives lost in
World War I, drawing 4mn visitors. Baroness
Jo Valentine, head of business group London
First which runs the awards, said half of the
people who took part in a vote chose the
poppies display, which “cast a global spotlight
on the city”.
The number of foreign-born veterans seeking help
to stay in Britain after serving in the Armed Forces
has risen sharply, according to a charity. Veterans
Aid, one of the charities at the heart of the Evening
Standard’s homeless veterans campaign, has seen
calls from ex-servicemen and women seeking its
help with immigration issues more than double in
the space of a year. “We started keeping records
in 2007 and there were 13,” said chief executive
Dr Hugh Milroy. “In 2013 we took 167 calls for help
and in 2014 this rose to 338.” The charity, based in
Victoria, said it is “concerned” about the increasing
number of Foreign and Commonwealth veterans,
and serving personnel, seeking help.
A former army barracks where two soldiers were
shot dead by dissident republicans is to be turned
into a science park by an international medical
diagnostics firm. The entrance to the heavilyfortified Massereene base in Antrim was the scene
of the Real IRA gun attack that claimed the lives
of English sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick
Azimkar, 21, in March 2009. Randox Laboratories
announced a ВЈ161mn investment, including the
creation of 540 jobs. Randox managing director
Dr Peter FitzGerald said: “Randox innovation
underpins our achievements, allows us to
diversify and allows us to target fresh markets.
Randox Science Park will be at its core.”
Jews fear
future in
states poll
Coach Core Graduation event
Females held
at Yarl’s Wood
�are routinely
quarter of Jews in Britain
have considered leaving
the country in the last two
years and well over half feel they
have no long term future in Europe, according to a survey published yesterday.
Additionally, anti-Semitic beliefs are widely prevalent among
the wider public with 45% of Britons agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment, the YouGov
poll for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) group found.
The survey comes a week after
four French Jews were killed in an
attack on a Kosher supermarket
in Paris which led to police stepping up security at synagogues
and other Jewish venues across
“Whilst anti-Semitism in Britain is not yet at the levels seen in
most of Europe, the results of our
survey should be a wakeup call,”
said Gideon Falter, chairman of
the CAA in a foreword to its report.
“Britain is at a tipping point:
unless anti-Semitism is met with
zero tolerance, it will continue
to grow and British Jews may increasingly question their place in
their own country.”
Last July, the Community Security Trust, which provides security advice to Britain’s estimated
260,000 Jews, said anti-Semitic
incidents in Britain had risen to a
near record level amid п¬Ѓghting between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the CAA’s poll of
2,230 British Jews, 58% felt Jews
might have no long-term future in
Europe, 45% felt their family had
been threatened and more than
half had witnessed more antiSemitism in the last two years than
ever before.
The survey of the wider public
found a quarter of Britons believed
“Jews chase money more than
other British people”, and one in
six agreed that “Jews think they
are better than other people” and
“Jews have too much power in the
Guardian News and Media
Prince Harry is presented with a basketball shirt and size 15 basketball shoe by NBA
basketball player Carmelo Anthony during a Coach Core Graduation event at St James’s
Palace in London yesterday. The Coach Core model, a year’s apprenticeship, aspires to
produce well qualified sports coaches to work in the community. The graduation ceremony
celebrates the partnership between The Royal Foundation and the NBA which was
announced during The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s trip to the US in December 2014.
Iraq inquiry unlikely
to report before polls
London Evening Standard
nger grew yesterday as
new evidence emerged
that the delayed Iraq War
inquiry may not be published
until after the general election.
The Evening Standard has
learned that one witness received a formal letter inviting a
response to criticism only last
month, which suggests the report is far from completion.
Other witnesses are said to be
still waiting for documents in
order to comment on them, indicating that chairman Sir John
Chilcot and his team are far behind schedule.
One figure who has had close
dealings with the Chilcot inquiry believed letters only began to be issued in the autumn,
adding: “There’s no way it can
be published before the election
at this rate. It will not reflect
well on the inquiry.”
Senior Whitehall sources are
coming to that view - though
the inquiry, which has cost
more than ВЈ9mn, had its last
public hearing in February 2011.
One official said: “The sense
I get is that there is some real
substance still to go.” Another
said: “Put it this way, there is
no sense in Whitehall of people
gearing up for a publication any
time soon.”
The situation means that
voters are now likely to go to the
polls on May 7 with no official
verdict on the 2003 invasion,
which claimed at least 100,000
lives in fighting plus many more
in a bloody aftermath.
The inquiry has been studying whether former prime minister Tony Blair made secret
promises to ex-US president
George Bush, as well as looking at the notorious claims that
Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussain
had weapons of mass destruction and preparations for the
A Westminster source told
the Standard of being astonished to discover that a witness was only sent a so-called
“Maxwell letter” in December.
By law, anyone who will face
criticism from a public inquiry
must be sent a letter warning
them of the contents, so that
they are able to challenge any
negative findings.
These so-called “Maxwellisation” letters are named after a
court challenge by the crooked
former Daily Mirror tycoon
Robert Maxwell, who managed
to overturn the verdict of a critical report in 1969.
The source, an individual
familiar with the workings of
inquiries, said: “Until then I
assumed that the delay was
because of a ping-pong between lawyers. I also thought a
nudge from Parliament might
be enough to get things moving.
“However, if Maxwell letters
were being sent out quite recently then it is hard to see the
report being published quickly.”
Any inquiry must give adequate time for people to respond to Maxwell letters or it
could face judicial review.
omen detained in the
Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre
are routinely humiliated by male
staff who monitor them while they
are dressing, showering and using the toilet, or are naked in their
rooms, a report into the treatment
of female asylum seekers reveals.
The report, by the charity Women for Refugee Women, noted that
many female asylum seekers detained at Yarl’s Wood, in Bedfordshire, have been victims of sexual
violence in their home countries.
Nineteen of the women interviewed said they had been raped,
and 28 women in total indicated
they had experienced forced marriage, forced prostitution or some
other form of sexual violence before coming to the UK.
The report also found high levels of depression among detainees,
with 19 of the 38 interviewed saying they had been put on suicide
watch for all or part of their time
at the centre. The study also raises
concerns at the use of solitary confinement.
The report follows earlier research into sexual assaults by staff
on detainees in Yarl’s Wood.
In June 2014, the centre’s management said 31 allegations of
sexual contact had been investigated and a number of staff were
Serco, the outsourcing п¬Ѓrm that
runs Yarl’s Wood under contract to
the Home Office, had its contract
renewed last November to run the
centre for another eight years.
In a statement, Serco said the
Glitter trial
allegations were “uncorroborated”.
Norman Abusin, Serco’s contract
director at Yarl’s Wood, said: “We
take all complaints seriously and
we have strict procedures for dealing with them. They are always
fully investigated and, if appropriate, disciplinary action is taken.”
The decision to detain women
who have been trafficked, tortured
or suffered sexual abuse has already caused controversy and Labour has promised to prohibit the
detention of pregnant women and
women who have experienced torture or sexual abuse if it wins the
“We take all complaints
seriously and we have
strict procedures for
dealing with them”
Researchers focused on the
problem of male staff intimidating detainees, by routinely invading their privacy. “Almost all (of
the women interviewed) said men
watched them in intimate situations, such as while naked, partly
dressed in the shower or on the
toilet,” the report says.
“Of the 38 women, 33 said they
experienced men seeing them in
these situations.”
Serco guidelines say staff should
not enter detainees’ rooms for
searches without knocking. The
women said such searches made
them scared, uncomfortable, angry and ashamed. Detainees also
reported high levels of bullying,
with 29 saying they felt they had
been bullied and 25 saying a member of staff had been racist.
“They always come in without
knocking … even if you are in the
shower or toilet,” one woman said.
Nearly 800 gifts
for Prince George
Former glam rock star Gary Glitter arrives at
Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday. The
former singer, whose real name is Paul Gadd, is
appearing on charges relating to historic sex offences
against two young girls.
“Men enter your room without
knocking and see you in bed every
day,” another detainee said.
“One day I was in the bathroom
taking a shower, they asked me to
come out,” another told researchers.
A fourth woman said: “Because
of sexual abuse, I used to feel very
uncomfortable with male officers
in my room when I was in bed. I
felt very vulnerable. They said they
don’t have to give you warning.
They all enter and search.”
Researchers interviewed “Margaret”, not her real name, who fled
to the UK two years ago from the
Democratic Republic of Congo,
after being kidnapped and questioned by soldiers about her brothers’ political affiliations; she was
later repeatedly gang-raped by her
She was detained in Yarl’s Ward
a month after arriving in Britain
and claiming asylum.
“I came here only just to ask
asylum, I’m not a criminal,” she
said. “I am so depressed, that they
think I am going to kill myself here,
and I am watched by men and
women night and day.
“When the men watch me it
makes me have so many bad feelings about myself and my body. I
feel full of shame about what happened to me and what is happening to me. Being in prison here is a
torture in my head.”
Detainees report requesting
that female staff should carry out
searches, and being told this was
not possible.
Abusin said: “Our male staff are
not allowed to enter women’s bedrooms and bathrooms without any
warning nor do they watch women
showering, nor when in the toilet.
rince George of Cambridge
was showered with nearly
800 official gifts last year more than 600 of them during his
tour of Australia.
Kensington Palace published
its annual list of presents received on overseas tours for the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,
George and Prince Harry, as did
Buckingham Palace and Clarence
House for the rest of the royal
The young prince, who turned
one in July, was given some 774
gifts during 2014 - 603 of them
in Australia, including, from
members of the public 121 items
of clothing, 120 books, п¬Ѓve textile
items, one piece of stationery, 18
pieces of sporting equipment, one
plaque, three pictures, seven photographs, four perishable items,
one musical instrument, п¬Ѓve ornaments, one piece of jewellery,
nine household items, 219 games
and toys, two DVDs, two coins and
four CDs.
Other gifts he received in Australia included a possum skin cloak
from the Gundungurra Tribal
Council Aboriginal Corporation,
who also gave William and Kate a
decorated kangaroo skin and three
His presents - which totalled
more than seven times the number
the Queen received - ranged from
a bucket and spade, a car sticker
and a toothbrush to a skateboard
and a surfboard.
In New Zealand, George was
given 120 gifts including numerous items from the public, most
notably “one piece of furniture”. He received his own miniature amphibious boat by the firm
The Prince of Wales returned
from an official tour of Canada
with more than two dozen official
gifts for his young grandson Prince
George - including two dream
catchers, a plastic toy camel and
a leather flying jacket, and in Colombia he was given two presents
for George.
William came home with seven
official gifts from Malta for the
prince and 14 from the US, where
President Barack Obama and First
Lady Michelle Obama gave Kate a
basket of honey, William two unnamed books and George, who
stayed at home with his nanny in
the UK, a soft toy.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Russian cop gets life for
murdering 22 women
Bulgaria to extend border
fence to combat illegals
Germany urged to lead on
EU defence spending
Norwegian man fined for
�fraud’ in contract killing
Armenians protest slaying
of family by Russian soldier
A retired Russian policeman was jailed for life
yesterday for raping and murdering 22 women
after he claimed he wanted to cleanse his Siberian
hometown of prostitutes. Mikhail Popkov, who
worked as a police officer at the time of most
of the murders, raped and stabbed the women
late at night in the city of Angarsk after offering
to give them lifts in his police car, investigators
said. “Investigators managed to gather evidence
implicating Popkov in 22 murders and two
attempted murders of women,” the Investigative
Committee said in a statement after his
sentencing. Popkov will serve his sentence in a
special prison colony for former law enforcers.
Bulgaria yesterday announced plans to extend a
30km fence along its border with Turkey, a major
entry point for migrants trying to get into the
European Union. The existing fence topped with
razor wire along the easiest part of the border to
cross cut the number of refugees making it into
Bulgaria to around 6,000 in 2014 from 11,000
in 2013, interior ministry data showed. But at
the same time, authorities noted the number
of attempts to cross Bulgaria’s 275-kilometre
border with Turkey doubled to 38,500. “We need
to extend it... by 82 kilometres, costing about
90mn leva ($54mn),” Prime Minister Boyko
Borisov told parliament.
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg yesterday urged
Germany to mirror its leadership role in Europe
as the bloc’s biggest economy in its defence
spending. Stoltenberg stressed the need for
members of the US-led alliance to bump up
investment amid challenges such as the Islamic
State jihadist group or the Ukraine crisis.
“We are also looking for German leadership
when it comes to investing in defence,” he
alliance chief told a joint press conference with
Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We need to invest
in our defence to be able to protect all our allies
and to maintain the security and stability of
A 21-year-old Norwegian man was fined 10,000
crowns ($1,300) for fraud because he accepted
a contract killing job without intending to carry
it out, police told Reuters yesterday. The man
agreed to take cash to kill a 17-year-old youth,
but authorities could not prove any intent to
complete the task, so he could only be charged
with defrauding his client, police said, adding
that the man has already paid the fine. Another
21-year-old, who ordered the killing, was
sentenced to two years in prison but most of the
sentence was suspended after he confessed,
saying the teenager he wanted killed had
rejected his romantic advances.
Hundreds of angry Armenians protested yesterday
near a Russian military base, demanding that a
soldier accused of murdering a family of six be
delivered to Armenian justice authorities for trial.
Russian conscript Valery Permyakov is suspected
of having shot dead an entire family in the city of
Gyumri, including a two-year-old child. Another
infant was gravely injured. About 200 cars from
around the country converged on Gyumri, where
funeral services were held for the Avetisyan family.
About 2,000 protesters gathered near the base
yesterday evening yelling “Shame!” and waving
signs reading “We demand that the murderer is
given over to Armenia”.
Berlin tightens
travel ban
for suspects
A boy lights a candle in front of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
New Charlie Hebdo
flies off the shelves
harlie Hebdo made a defiant return
yesterday with a new issue that
sold out across France in record
time, as Al Qaeda posted a video claiming
last week’s deadly attack on its cartoonists.
The satirical magazine featured a turbaned
man on its cover - but with a tear in his eye,
holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the
headline “All is forgiven”.
Many Parisians joined long queues
outside newspaper kiosks in the predawn cold to get their hands on one of
700,000 copies released in a run that
will eventually total 5mn.
“This issue is symbolic, it represents
their persistence, they didn’t yield in
the face of terror,” said Catherine Boniface, a 58-year-old doctor, disappointed to have come up empty-handed at
one Paris newstand.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch (AQAP)
A sign reading �Charlie Hebdo - Sold
Out’ being displayed at a newsagent in
claimed responsibility for the attack
by gunmen on the Paris offices of the
weekly last Wednesday that left 12 people dead including the country’s bestloved cartoonists.
“(AQAP) was the party that chose
the target and plotted and п¬Ѓnanced the
plan... It was following orders by our
general chief Ayman al-Zawahiri,” said
one of its leaders in the video, adding it
was “vengeance” for the weekly’s cartoons of the Prophet.
Islamic State yesterday described
Charlie Hebdo’s decision to print another cartoon as “extremely stupid”.
Some global Muslim leaders have
criticised the new cartoon, with the
Qatar-based International Union of
Muslim Scholars saying “it is neither
reasonable, nor logical, nor wise to
publish drawings and п¬Ѓlms... attacking
the Prophet of Islam.”
But many have taken a nuanced
stance and tried to calm tensions, with
French Muslim leaders urging their
communities - which have already been
targeted - to “stay calm and avoid emotive reactions”.
The government said yesterday it has
instructed prosecutors to get tough on
people who condone terrorism or carry
out racist and anti-Semitic attacks.
Over 50 cases for condoning terrorism have been opened since the attacks
that claimed 17 lives, including the ar-
rest yesterday of controversial comedian Dieudonne Mbala Mbala.
He wrote “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” on Facebook on Sunday - mixing
the popular “Je Suis Charlie” homage to
the slain journalists with a reference to
the supermarket gunman.
Under France’s ultra-fast-track court
system, a 21-year-old in Toulouse was
sent to prison for 10 months on Monday
for expressing support for the militant
while travelling on a tram.
Distributors quickly boosted the
print run from an initial 3mn after the
sales rush yesterday - dwarfing its normal run of around 60,000 copies, and
the edition will also be available in English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.
Proceeds will go to victims’ families.
A version was published in predominantly Muslim Turkey as an inset in the
opposition daily Cumhuriyet, but the
government announced it would block
websites featuring the cover.
ermany will tighten a foreign
travel ban on known Islamists to stop them heading to
war zones such as Syria, the cabinet
decided yesterday, a week after the
Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The law is the п¬Ѓrst of a host of previously planned security measures
which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
government wants to speedily pass
through parliament in the coming
weeks following the bloodshed in
“The horrific events in Paris...
showed once more, in a depressing
manner, that we must strongly defend our democratic constitutional
order with all legal means against
international terrorism, fanaticism
and radicalisation,” said Merkel’s
spokesman Steffen Seibert.
German authorities can already
confiscate the passports of known
militant, but under the new law they
will also be able to take away their
national identity cards, which can be
used for travel to Turkey and within
the EU Schengen no-visa area.
Suspects will instead be handed
replacement ID cards for periods of
up to three years that are stamped
with a no-travel advisory in several
More than 600 German citizens
have taken part in the п¬Ѓghting in
Syria and Iraq, and about 60 have
died there, the newspaper Rheinische
Post reported, citing security sources. About 180 are believed to have
returned to Germany.
At least 20 Islamists used their
identity cards to reach the war zone
after having their passports confiscated, Die Welt daily reported on
They travelled either overland or
by air, some via Belgium or the Netherlands to obscure their movements,
and mostly on to Turkey to cross the
porous land border into Syria, according to the interior ministry.
The bill must still pass parliament,
where the government has a strong
Opposition parties have objected
to what they have dubbed the new
The far-left Linke called the
measure “disproportionate” and
stigmatising for suspects, while
Greens party lawmaker Irene Mihalic warned that suspected radicals who are asked to give up their
ID cards “may move immediately to
realise their sinister plans”.
Germany also plans this month to
criminalise any planning to join militants п¬Ѓghting or weapons-training
abroad, tightening a law from 2009
that punishes offenders only when
they return.
The law would target, for example,
suspects trying to leave Germany
with weapons, bulletproof vests or
night vision equipment.
“There will be a new law to make
it a crime for jihadists to leave the
country,” Justice Minister Heiko
Maas said, adding that it would bring
Germany into compliance with a UN
resolution to stop so-called foreign
Maas also wants to push through a
bill to toughen penalties for terrorist
п¬Ѓnancing, even when the amounts
are very small.
Anti-Islam Pegida surfaces in Spain too
An anti-Islamic movement that is
growing in Germany has opened a
branch in Spain following last weeks
attacks in France, the group said
The Spanish wing of Pegida was
launched on Twitter on January 8,
the day after an attack by Islamist
gunmen on French satirical magazine
Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12
people dead including some of the
country’s best-loved cartoonists.
“Islam has no place in free and
democratic societies like Europe,” the
group said in one of its first Twitter
messages that day.
The Spanish branch of the “Patriotic
Europeans Against the Islamisation of
the Occident” (Pegida) has just over
800 followers on its Twitter page and
over 2,700 likes on its Facebook page.
“We are preparing a demonstration
by Pegida Spain, where members of
Pegida Germany will attend. We will
publish the date on Twitter and announce it by e-mail,” the group said in
an e-mail sent to AFP.
It had initially planned to hold its
first demonstration on Monday outside Madrid’s main mosque but called
that off after government authorities
refused to grant permission and suggested a different location.
The Spanish Pegida’s Twitter
account is already following those
of several far-right Spanish groups
including the Falange, the nationalist
party that provided the ideological
basis for Francisco Franco’s 1939-75
Napolitano quits in fresh headache for PM Renzi
taly’s veteran President Giorgio Napolitano resigned yesterday, setting
the stage for the election of a new
head of state, a thorny process which
could prove a political headache for
Matteo Renzi’s government.
The 89-year old had announced in
December that he would be leaving office well before the end of his term in
2020 because of his advancing age.
He had been persuaded in 2013 to stay
on for an unprecedented second term
after deadlocked elections sparked a
political crisis in the eurozone’s thirdlargest economy - but had always been
expected to step down early.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi paid
tribute to the outgoing president, expressing “gratitude and emotion for
what Giorgio Napolitano has done over
the past nine years, showing quality
and political intelligence”
His words were echoed by Martin
Schulz, president of the European Parliament, who said Napolitano “steps
down today, but his legacy will be everlasting, in Italy and in Europe.”
Not everyone was sorry to see the
president leave.
The right-wing Giornale newspaper
led with the headline “He’s gone. Finally”, while the anti-establishment Five
Star movement hailed the departure of
“one of the worst presidents.”
Parliament will meet on January 29
along with 58 regional deputies for the
п¬Ѓrst round of voting to choose the next
Potential candidates include former
prime ministers Romano Prodi and
Giuliano Amato, as well as Economy
Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, Defence
Minister Roberta Pinotti and former
Rome mayor Walter Veltroni.
European Central Bank chief Mario
Draghi yesterday rejected speculation
that he had his eye on the job.
“The election of the president of the
Republic, just like the election of the
Pope, is completely unpredictable, but
unlike a conclave (papal election), it
doesn’t even have the help of the Holy
Spirit,” said Luigi La Spina, editorialist
for La Stampa daily.
While the post of president is largely
ceremonial, it takes on vital importance
during times of political crisis when the
president can help steer the formation
of a new government.
“Napolitano has been president in
one of the most difficult phases in our
country, not just politically but economically,” Francesco Clementi, professor of constitutional law at the Luiss
University in Rome, told AFP.
“I think the presidential election will
certainly be complex... the government
will have to work hard” to find a figure
who will suit parties from across the
political spectrum, he said.
The election does carry political risks
for Renzi, and Europe will be watching his diplomatic overtures closely,
with any in-fighting in the recessionhit country bound to inflate fears of a
knock-on effect on a still delicate eurozone.
The successful candidate must win
the votes of two-thirds of lawmakers in
both houses of parliament - and Renzi
will need to keep the more rebellious
wing of his party in line to ensure he
gets his favoured candidate.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano gets a formal farewell as he leaves the
Quirinale presidential palace in Rome.
The 40-year-old will want a president who can help bridge political differences which otherwise threaten to
scupper the PM’s ambitious reform
Renzi would also need someone
willing to dissolve parliament and call
snap elections if, as experts suggest, he
might favour fresh polls as a last resort
to push through his reforms.
“Choosing an unassuming and bland
figure would be a mistake,” political
watcher Michele Ainis said in the Corriere della Sera daily.
“Firstly, because the stay in the president’s palace always ends up revealing
its resident’s true colours, and secondly
because the storm is not over. We are
right at its heart,” he said.
investors would be watching closely
“after the recent experience of Greece,
where the pro-reform government
tripped over presidential elections on
29 December, triggering snap elections
that look set to be won by the radical
“Failure to elect a president would
probably force a new election, maybe
even a change of leadership in the ruling Democratic Party,” he said.
In order to stave off a crisis, Renzi
may be forced to clinch a deal with the
opposition, particularly former premier Silvio Berlusconi - a likely but
controversial move bound to spark a
heated response from those on the far
left of his Democratic Party.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Spain’s former king now
faces a paternity suit
Intelligence employee
stole 3,500 spy aliases
Defunct Cyprus Airways
name and logo up for sale
Greeks urged to be wary of
�impossible’ promises
Operator says can extend
life of French reactors
Spain’s Supreme Court has agreed to examine a
paternity suit against former king Juan Carlos by
a woman who claims to be his daughter. It is the
first lawsuit to be allowed against Juan Carlos,
77, since he lost his total immunity when he
abdicated last year, and the latest in a string of
scandals to hit the Spanish monarchy. The court
“agreed to examine one of the paternity suits
brought against Don Juan Carlos de Borbon,”
a case brought by Belgian housewife Ingrid
Jeanne Sartiau, the official, who asked not to
be named, told AFP. A spokesman for the royal
palace said it would make no comment on the
Germany suspects that an employee of its
intelligence service stole a list containing the
names and cover identities of 3,500 agents, Bild
newspaper reported yesterday. It is not known if
the “top secret” list, which dates from late 2011,
was turned over to a foreign intelligence service,
the report said. The names and aliases were
reportedly found on a hard drive belonging to a
former employee of Germany’s BND intelligence
agency who was arrested on espionage charges
in July. Bild said investigators believed the man,
a mid-level clerk, had handed over 218 scanned
documents to the Americans. The BND was not
immediately available for comment on the report.
The Cypriot government decided yesterday
to try to sell off the name and logo of national
carrier Cyprus Airways, shut down last week
after breaking EU state aid rules. Deputy
government spokesman Victor Papadopoulos
said the aim was to find an investor to create
jobs for some of the airline’s 550 axed staff. Legal
and financial advisers are to oversee the sale to
private investors of the name and the logo - a
mouflon mountain sheep which Cyprus says is
native to the island. A precondition of the sale is
that the new airline would be based in Cyprus,
although there has been no immediate interest
from investors.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy yesterday
told Greeks to stick with tough policies and
disregard “impossible” promises, intervening
barely two weeks before a snap election to
back Greek leader Antonis Samaras. Breaking
with the custom of not expressing a view on
other countries’ elections, Rajoy flew to Athens
yesterday in a show of support for Samaras, whose
conservative party is trailing in opinion polls. Rajoy
said economic reforms were “tough” and “difficult”
decisions that governments generally do not like to
make. “But they have been necessary and essential
and have produced results,” Rajoy said at a joint
news conference with Samaras.
EDF’s new chief executive said yesterday that
he is confident that it will obtain approval to
extend the service life of its reactors in France by
up to 20 years. The comments by Jean-Bernard
Levy came a day after Energy and Environment
Minister Segolene Royal endorsed building new
reactors to replace ageing plants in the first
signal that the Socialist government will keep
nuclear a major component in France’s energy
production. “France’s existing reactors have an
average age of 30 years, and I am confident of
EDF’s capability along with its main partners
their service life in complete security up to 50
years or even 60,” he told a Senate committee.
Ukraine rebels
go on offensive
Dressed in traditional garb, Kosovo Serbs wait to welcome Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to their village
of Pasjane.
Serb PM marks Orthodox
New Year in Kosovo
erbian Prime Minister Aleksandar
launched a highly symbolic
Orthodox New Year visit to Kosovo,
the former Serbian province that
unilaterally seceded in 2008 despite
п¬Ѓerce opposition from Belgrade.
Vucic’s landmark stopover, which
will not include meetings with Kosovo’s leaders, started in the village of
Pasjane, a Serb enclave in the country’s east.
Several hundred fellow Serbs
greeted the premier upon his arrival to inaugurate a maternity ward
Later in the day he visited Strpce
and Gracanica, two other significant
Serb enclaves, scattered throughout
the breakaway territory of nearly
2mn that is 90% ethnic Albanian.
Two-thirds of the 120,000-strong
Kosovo Serb minority live in enclaves, while some 40,000 live in the
north, near the border with Serbia.
The premier’s entourage also included Serbia’s ministers of defence,
interior, justice, health and work.
Unlike more than 100 other countries, including the US and most of
the EU’s 28 member states, Serbia
refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence, but both Belgrade and
Pristina have been forced to normalise ties if they want to progress
towards EU membership.
Kosovo’s leaders in Pristina said
they approved the visit which is both
“humanitarian and religious” in nature, Foreign Affairs Minister Hash-
Chain-mailed warriors
to remain in Ankara
im Thaci told reporters.
“We strive to intensify visits on
both sides, we must not be afraid to
communicate,” Thaci added.
Links between Belgrade and Pristina have improved since their relations were put on a more formal
footing in 2013 with an agreement
brokered by the European Union.
Following the 1998-99 war between Serbian forces and ethnic
Albanian guerrillas, a Nato bombing campaign forced Serbian troops
to withdraw from Kosovo and cede
control of the territory.
After the recent election of a new
Kosovo government that ended a
six-month political crisis, new talks
between Belgrade and Pristina on
deepening their relations are expected to take place in Brussels in
early February.
ro-Kremlin insurgents yesterday
unleashed a massive rocket assault in Ukraine as Kiev and Moscow traded blame for a bus shelling that
killed 12 in the war’s bloodiest incident
since a September truce.
The heavy calibre shells and grenades
whistled through the sky every few minutes and dug huge craters in the snowy
п¬Ѓelds along a front line that skirts a devastated village 10km northwest of the
eastern rebel stronghold Donetsk.
Blasts inside Tonenke itself - abandoned by all but a handful of its 300 residents - flattened buildings and mangled
paved roads that stretch toward a disputed airport on the edge of Donetsk.
“This is all-out war,” a volunteer soldier who adopted the nom de guerre
�The Pastor’ told AFP on his way out
of a Donetsk suburb used by Ukrainian
troops to support a skeleton force holding on to the airport since May.
“The attacks start early in the morning and end deep into the night. There is
a quiet spell of one or two hours at most.
It has never been like this before.””
The type of long-distance exchanges
piercing the skies around the militants’
capital yesterday have caused hundreds
of civilian casualties throughout the
nine-month campaign.
A long-range Grad rocket killed 12
people on Tuesday when it exploded
near a commuter bus travelling toward
Donetsk from a government-controlled
city on Ukraine’s southeast coast.
Images of the yellow bus’s shattered
frame standing in a п¬Ѓeld of bloodied
snow underscored how distant a truce
remains after the death of more than
4,700 people and effective destruction
of Ukraine’s industrial base.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
told the nation that Tuesday’s rocket
was п¬Ѓred by rebels, while responsibility
rested on “those who stand behind them
- those whose hand feeds them and arms
them, drills them and inspires them to
commit bloody crimes.”
The transparent reference to Moscow
- charges which President Vladimir Putin rejects - was followed by Kiev claims
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addresses the nation in a televised speech
late on Tuesday.
that the п¬Ѓghters employed a massive
30-barrel flamethrower, a type used by
Russia but not Ukraine.
Kiev said insurgents used it for the
п¬Ѓrst time overnight to attack the eastern
village of Vesele.
This type of system “only exists in the
operational service of the Russian army.
It is not operated by us,” said Ukrainian
defence ministry spokeswoman Viktoria
Russia issued no immediate comment.
But the foreign ministry’s rights envoy
called the bus incident “another crime of
the Kiev military”.
“We are outraged. This undermines
all peace settlement efforts,” Konstantin
Dolgov told the TASS news agency.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later softened those comments by
conceding that “there are... several versions (of the incident). We need to examine them.”
Tuesday’s incident marked the biggest
single loss of civilian life since the warring sides signed a September 5 ceasefire
that only partially stemmed the п¬Ѓghting
and did little to resolve the insurgents’
independence claims.
The rocket strike also damaged Poro-
Mum’s the word!
Sweden far-right
challenges PM
arriors from Turkic history, some in chainmail and
others bearing spears, will be a regular feature of
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s welcome for foreign leaders, sources at his office said, after their first outing
drew ridicule from opponents.
Months after the inauguration of a vast new palace complex,
Erdogan’s efforts to imbue more pomp into the previously largely ceremonial role of head of state took an unexpected turn during this week’s visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Official pictures from the welcome ceremony on Monday
showed Abbas and Erdogan posing at the bottom of a staircase,
with 16 soldiers arrayed behind them in a range of historical costumes, complete with ornate helmets, swords and spears.
The pictures sparked a storm of reaction on social media some of it ridicule - with digitally altered mock-ups replacing
the costumed guards with characters from the п¬Ѓlms Star Wars
and Lord of the Rings.
Leading Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, who lost to
Erdogan in last year’s presidential poll, told local TV channel
Haberturk that Erdogan could have completed the picture by
dressing up as �Ibrahim the Mad’, a 17th century sultan.
Presidential sources said each soldier represented a period of
Turkic history, from the central Asian Hunnic Empire of 200 BC
all the way through to the Ottoman Empire that was dissolved
in 1922. They also said the soldiers would be a feature of future
welcoming ceremonies.
Celebrating Turkic historical might is not without its supporters, particularly among nationalists loyal to the ruling AK
Party, keen to bolster its support in the run-up to parliamentary
elections in June.
“Those who are disturbed by the 16 guardians at the presidency, tell them to go join a crusader army,” wrote one prominent
AKP supporter on Twitter, likening the Queen of England’s carriage to that of Cinderella.
Polar bear Giovanna and her twin polar bear cubs Nela and Nobby sit in their enclosure at the Munich Zoo.
shenko’s efforts to set up a peace summit where Putin could personally sign a
truce under which the Kremlin assumes
responsibility for disarming the militias
and dispelling their independence claims.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel the West’s main mediator in Europe’s
deadliest conflict since the Balkan wars
of the 1990s - argues that such a meeting would be premature with violence
still raging.
Putin has argued that the revolt in
western Ukraine was a natural response
by ethnic Russians to their “persecution” by the more nationalist leaders
who ousted a Moscow-backed administration in Kiev in February last year.
Kiev now also plans to apply for Nato
membership - a defensive shift that the
Kremlin views as both confrontational
and a global security threat.
A new Nato delegation arrived in
Ukraine yesterday for a week-long visit
focused on “military and technological
The vague diplomatic term usually
refers to arms deliveries. Kiev defence
officials said the Nato delegation would
visit Ukraine’s main arms manufacturer
and the Antonov aviation plant.
he anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party
yesterday called a vote of no confidence against
Prime Minister Stefan Loefven in yet another
attempt to rattle his minority government.
The Sweden Democrats wreaked political havoc
in the Nordic country in December when it brought
down the centre-left government’s budget over the
issue of immigration, with a snap election only averted by a last-ditch deal with the centre-right opposition.
“The SD chose a quarrelsome strategy in the budget
vote that they are now continuing. At the same time
they have burned many bridges,” political scientist
Henrik Oscarsson at Gothenburg University told AFP.
The deal between the opposition and Loefven’s
government - struck in December - undermined the
SD kingmaker role by ensuring that even minority
budgets will be passed until 2022.
The SD - which more than doubled their seats in
September’s elections, winning 13% of the vote - said
in December it would vote against any budget that
does not cut immigration to Sweden. Sweden is expected to receive a record number of between 80,000
and 105,000 asylum seekers this year.
The far-right party - Sweden’s third largest - rose
in opinion polls after striking down the minority
budget and which almost caused a new election.
“He (Loefven) has broken a number of important
promises and above all denied the Swedish people the
opportunity to have their say,” Sweden Democrats
acting leader Mattias Karlsson told news agency TT.
Prime Minister Loefven said yesterday that the farright party was using “parliament as its own playhouse”.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Unemployed man
sets himself ablaze
Three rhino poachers
killed in Kaziranga
Chandy to open
Kerala diaspora meet
Parigi named group
CEO of Network 18
Sanskrit scholar wins
Sahitya Akademi Award
An unemployed youth yesterday set
himself afire at a rally of Punjab’s ruling
Shiromani Akali Dal in Muktsar district.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was
present at the rally. The man - identified
as Hitesh Kumar of Ferozepur district
- attempted to immolate himself in the
presence of thousands of people who had
come for the rally on the occasion of the
religious Maghi Mela. Police officials and
some other people immediately tried to
put out the fire. The man was rushed to
hospital with burn injuries. Sources said
the man was an unemployed linesman
and was protesting with others seeking
a job.
Three rhinoceros poachers were shot dead
by forest guards in Kaziranga National Park
in Assam, yesterday. Guards and poachers
exchanged fire early yesterday in more than one
area of the park, NDTV news channel and the
Assam Times reported. Two rifles, gun-silencers
and a pistol were found after the operations.
Poachers kill rhinos for their horns, which many
believe have aphrodisiac qualities, and are used
in traditional medicines in Asia. According to
the report, poachers have killed and de-horned
nearly 200 rhinos in Assam over the past 13
years; 20 were killed last year. In 2014, the forest
department killed 22 poachers in the state.
Kaziranga is considered to hold the largest
concentration of one-horned rhinos in the world.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will
inaugurate the two-day Global Non-Resident
Keralites (NRK) meet in Kochi tomorrow, State
Minister for the Diaspora K C Joseph said
yesterday he said the meet is being organised by
the Department of Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs
(Norka) and its field agency Norka-Roots. “This
would be an interactive meeting with around
1,000 people, and would revolve around policy
formulation and economic growth, besides issues
relating to NRKs who have had to return to Kerala
for various reasons and their rehabilitation,”
Joseph said. Nearly 450 NRKs from around 20
countries, including the Gulf, the UK, the US,
Canada, Germany, France, Kenya, Libya, Singapore
and Thailand have registered as delegates.
A P Parigi, who built the Radio Mirchi brand for
the Times Group, has been named group chief
executive of the Reliance Industries-controlled
Network 18. “Parigi has built a raft of customerfacing brands, technologies, businesses and
management teams. His wisdom and leadership
is sure to take N18 to the next level,” Adil
Zainulbhai, chairman, said in a letter. With over
40 years’ professional experience, the bulk of
it in the Indian media and entertainment scape,
Parigi served as a director in the broadcast and
TV arm of the Times Group, besides Eros Media
and BPL Mobile. “N18 is fortunate to have the
world’s leading media brands as partners and
I am keen to enhance each of these valuable
relationships,” said Parigi.
Eminent Sanskrit scholar Prabhu Nath
Dwivedi has been conferred the prestigious
Sahitya Akademi Award for 2014 for his
Kanakalochanaha collection of short stories.
The collection comprises 16 short stories that
touch upon various social issues eroding the
system. “This is my fourth collection. I have
previously written three books. But all of them
are based on the issues that are prevalent in
the society,” Dwivedi said. Diwedi has been
teaching in various universities for over three
decades. This book was selected by a threemember jury. Other winners, announced last
month include poet and critic Adil Jussawalla,
who won the award for his poetry book Trying
to Say Goodbye.
to Shimla,
Parrikar: no
over DRDO
chief’s ouster
imachal Pradesh’s capital
Shimla and popular tourist resort Manali yesterday got another spell of snowfall,
turning the hill stations more
As news of the snowfall flashed
across the plains, tourists started
arriving at Manali and Shimla,
hospitality industry sources said.
“Shimla and its nearby tourist
spots have been receiving snowfall since this morning,” an official of the meteorological office
The residents of Shimla shivered as icy winds brought down
the minimum temperature to 1
degree Celsius.
It started snowing in Manali
around midnight, much to the
delight of those in the hospitality
industry. The snow was certain to
draw tourists and visitors, they
said, though the minimum temperature in the town slipped to
0.8 degrees.
Shimla’s nearby tourist spots
like Kufri and Narkanda and the
ski slopes in Solang in upper
Manali also experienced a fresh
spell of snowfall.
The snowfall, however, blocked
highways and roads in many parts
of the state.
Towns in upper Shimla hills
were cut off as heavy snow piled
on roads, officials said.
Traffic movement beyond
Dhalli, 10km from Shimla, was
suspended since a large stretch
of Hindustan-Tibet Road disappeared under a thick layer of snow.
The entire Kinnaur district and
towns in Shimla district such as
Narkanda, Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumarsain, Kharapathar, Rohru and
Chopal are cut off due to snow, a
government official said.
“High-altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, Kullu, Kinnaur, Sirmaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing
moderate to heavy snow,” said the
Met official.
Rain lashed lower areas of the
state such as Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una,
Hamirpur and Mandi, pulling
down both night and day temperatures.
Chander is widely known
as the man behind the Agni
series of missiles
New Delhi
People walk through a snow-covered street at Naddi village near Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh
SC sets aside stay on
Salman’s conviction
New Delhi
n a setback to Bollywood actor
Salman Khan, the Supreme
Court yesterday set aside an
order of the Rajasthan High Court
putting on hold his conviction in
the blackbuck hunting case, and
asked the high court to consider
the matter afresh.
The high court on November
12, 2013 had suspended the conviction of Khan on the actor’s plea
it was coming in the way of the UK
Border Agency issuing him visa to
travel to Britain for a п¬Ѓlm shoot.
Khan was convicted in the
blackbuck hunting case on April
10, 2006.
Britain’s immigration rules say
“entry clearance to the UK is to be
refused if an applicant has been
convicted of an offence for which
he has been sentenced to a period
of imprisonment of at least four
years.” Supreme Court judges S J
Mukhopadhaya and Adarsh Kumar Goel sent the matter back to
the high court for fresh consideration.
“It would be open to the respondent (Khan) to show that
if the order of conviction is not
stayed it will cause irreversible
consequences/injustice to him
which cannot be undone if he ultimately succeeds,” the court said.
“It would be open to the state
(of Rajasthan) to oppose such
prayer on the ground that nonsuspension of conviction will
not cause any irreversible consequences or injustice to the respondent and the same can be
undone if he (Khan) ultimately
The top court’s verdict came on
a plea by the Rajasthan government
challenging the high court order.
Mukhopadhaya said: “If some
foreign country is not grant-
ing permission to visit the said
country on the ground that the
respondent (Khan) has been convicted of an offence and has been
sentenced for п¬Ѓve years of imprisonment under the Indian law, the
said order cannot be a ground to
stay the order of conviction.”
“If an order of conviction in
any manner is causing irreversible consequences or injustice to
the respondent, it was open to the
court to consider the same.
“If the court comes to a definite
conclusion that the irreversible
cause to the accused which could
not be restored, it was well within
the domain of the court to stay the
The court also noted that the
high court while passing its order
did not give any finding that “if
the conviction is not stayed, irreparable harm/irreversible consequences or injustice would be
caused to the respondent.”
younger person should
head the Defence Research
& Development Organisation, Defence Minister Manohar
Parrikar said yesterday.
Parrikar added it was on his
recommendation that DRDO
chief Avinash Chander was
Congress leader Digvijaya
Singh questioned the sudden decision.
Parrikar, however, said there
was no “controversy” in Chander’s removal.
“I recommended that a person
on contract should not be occupying such a senior position. This
senior position should be п¬Ѓlled
by other eligible senior persons.
There is no controversy here,”
Parrikar said.
“I believe DRDO should be
headed by a younger man... I had
proposed for his removal and they
have agreed to it.”
The Appointments Committee
of the Cabinet (ACC) approved
the termination of Chander’s
contract with effect from January 31.
A notification was put up on
the Department of Personnel and
Training (DoPT) website, but removed later.
DRDO officials said they did
not receive any official information on Monday on Chander’s
Chander, widely known as the
man behind the Agni series of
missiles, retired on November
30, 2014, at the age of 64. The
government, however, agreed
Bird campaign
Chander: shock exit
that he could continue on contract thereafter and the contractual term was to end on May 31,
Digvijaya Singh questioned
the government’s decision, and
sought an explanation on Chander’s sudden removal.
“Avinash Chander DRDO Chief
dismissed 15 months before his
term expired. Would Government
please explain?” Digvijaya Singh
Chander was the secretary of
Defence Research and Development, director general of DRDO,
and scientific adviser to the defence minister.
Asked if the sudden termination of the DRDO chief without
informing him was right, Parrikar
said, “I also got the information
from you, from paper and TV.”
“The tenure of DRDO chief
would normally have ended in
November but the previous cabinet had approved a three-year extension to his term, with the additional years being on contract,”
Parrikar told reporters.
The minister added that the
post would be п¬Ѓlled by someone
for now till a permanent replacement was found.
“As of now, the person to replace him has not been decided.
We will п¬Ѓll the post temporarily
Kerala students develop
200-km-a-litre vehicle
Nationalist Congress Party leader Chitra Wagh takes part
in a �Save Bird Campaign’ in Mumbai yesterday.
by someone who has the urge for
Government sources said nuclear scientist Sekhar Basu is
likely to be named the new DRDO
Basu, who heads the Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre, is the
man behind the nuclear system
that is driving the Arihant-class
submarines of the Indian Navy.
A search panel headed by the
cabinet secretary will pick Chander’s replacement from among
top DRDO scientists.
The DRDO had faced criticism
from Prime Minister Narendra
Modi August last year, when he
said the “chalta hai” (laidback)
attitude will not help and asked
the organisation to come up with
cutting edge technology.
In the same speech, Modi also
laid emphasis on promoting
young talent in the DRDO.
The DRDO was set up in 1958
to develop indigenous military
technology and cut back on arms
The Bharatiya Janata Party
government headed by Modi has
been emphasising on promoting
“Make in India” in defence sector.
India meets nearly 80% of its
defence needs with foreign imports.
India is the world’s ninth biggest military spender, according
to Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute’s (SIPRI) report on world military expenditure for 2014.
DRDO, which is India’s premier
agency in defence research, has
several projects marred by delays.
These include light combat
aircraft Tejas, the Kaveri engine,
long range surface-to-air missile,
helicopter version of third generation anti-tank guided missile
Helina, and air-to-air missile Astra among others.
hree mechanical engineering students here have
designed and developed
a prototype vehicle which runs
more than 200km on a litre of
“It is a wonderful innovation
and needs to be promoted considering the energy crisis and rising oil prices,” B Anil, principal
of Government Engineering College, Barton Hill in Thiruvananthapuram said yesterday.
The prototype will be shipped
tomorrow for the International
Fuel Efficiency Contest, “Shell
Eco Marathon,” to be held in the
Philippines from February 26 to
March 1.
“This is the only entry from
Kerala for the competition in
which more than 120 teams from
16 countries will take part,” said
Bibin Sagaram, the team leader of
the project.
The vehicle is powered by a
Honda GX35 engine and uses
light weight materials, advanced
aerodynamic techniques besides
advanced tuning for extreme efficiency.
The design of the body of the
vehicle is inspired by the golf ball
which has a highly aerodynamic
construction. The vehicle weighs
just around 50kg. The other
two students Ronith Stanly and
SVishnu Prasad along with a faculty member will be taking part in
the competition.
The project was undertaken
under the guidance of two of their
teachers - Santhosh Kumar and
Anver Sadath.
Santhosh Kumar said this
project was part of a study that
was funded by the Kerala State
Council for Science, Technology
and Environment (KSCSTE) under the Technology Development
and Adaptation Programme.
“The trial run was conducted
and this is a vehicle that will
take one passenger and has two
wheels in the front and one at the
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Community fishing
French team
due in India
to rescue
Rafale deal
New Delhi
French delegation will
visit New Delhi this
month to salvage an
agreement to supply 126 Rafale п¬Ѓghter jets to the Indian
Air Force that has hit a snag
over the local assembly of the
planes, threatening to derail
one of the world’s biggest defence deals.
India is insisting that
France’s Dassault Aviation
take full responsibility for the
production of the aircraft at a
state-run facility in Bangalore
under the 2012 bid offer, Indian defence ministry officials
France has said it will help
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd
stick to delivery schedules, but
that it cannot give guarantees
for production of the aircraft
made at a facility over which
it has no administrative or expert control.
Military experts say the
deal could cost India $20bn,
double the original estimate,
because of the benchmarking
of aircraft prices and a roughly
5% annual cost increase.
The Rafale п¬Ѓghter beat the
Swedish Gripen, the Russian
MiG-35, and the US-built
F-18 and F-16 and п¬Ѓnally the
Eurofighter in a decade-long
selection process for a new
Indian multi-role combat aircraft, as Dassault was the lowest bidder on up-front and lifecycle costs over 40 years.
But three years on, the sides
are far from signing the contract and an Indian defence
source said price negotiations
were on hold until the issue of
licensed production was resolved in line with the original
request for proposals (RFP)
floated by the Indian defence
“We are saying that the RFP
has to be honoured totally,
there can’t be deviations,” said
the source.
“Once the RFP aspects are
done, only then can we sit
down for price negotiations,”
the source added.
An “empowered” delegation
from France, with the authority
to make decisions on key points
rather than refer them back
to Paris, is expected to arrive
shortly to work on the disputed
issues, according to the source.
Dassault and the French
defence ministry were not immediately available for comment.
For the French, the deal
would be a major boost for domestic defence manufacturing,
with the п¬Ѓrst 18 Rafale planes
built in France and the remaining 108 produced in India.
For the Indian Air Force, the
planes are critical to arrest a
decline in its operational preparedness, already down to 25
active п¬Ѓghter squadrons compared with a government approved strength of 42.
Half of the operational fleet
is Mig-21 and MiG-27 planes
due to retire beginning this
year until 2024, a parliamentary defence committee said in
a report last month, stressing
the need for an early induction
of new combat planes.
“The credibility of India (as
an arms buyer) is already pretty shaky and it’s going to get
shakier (if they cancel the Rafale deal),” said Rahul Bedi, a
defence analyst at IHS Jane’s.
“It would be a big blow to
the armed forces. The armed
forces have been banking on
the Rafale for a long time.
They have said there is no plan
Another Delhi church vandalised
A Delhi church was vandalised
before dawn yesterday, the
fourth such incident in the
capital in seven weeks, police
The incident, which took place
around 4.20am, was captured
by a CCTV camera installed
inside the Our Lady Of Graces
Church at Vikaspuri in west
“The CCTV footage shows that
two people came on a scooter.
One entered the church’s
premises and smashed a
glass window. He also threw
the statue of Mother Mary on
the floor,” Father Balraj of the
church said.
Additional Deputy
Commissioner of Police
Monika Bhardwaj said a case
had been filed against two
unidentified men for deliberate
and malicious acts intended to
outrage the religious feelings.
Bhardwaj said the police have
a clear picture of one of the
culprits who toppled the statue
of Mother Mary and smashed
the glass window. “He might be
in his late 30s.”
Father Savarimuthu Sankar,
a spokesman of the Delhi
Catholic Archdiocese, said: “We
see a clear pattern in these
He said the attacks on
churches occurring at regular
intervals had unnerved
Christians in Delhi. He said
the attacks took place most
on the city’s outskirts and at
four different directions within
44 days. “We cannot say if
these incidents are related to
the (coming Delhi) elections
or the handiwork of some
fundamentalists. But it is a
matter of concern and police
should take proper action,” he
Villagers with their fishing nets participate in a community fishing event at a lake on the eve of Bhogali Bihu festival at Sonapur area in the northeastern state of Assam
yesterday. The annual festival marks the end of the winter harvesting season.
Probe ordered after 80
bodies found in Ganges
The discovery of so many
bodies in one place has
sparked environmental and
health concerns
round 80 bodies have
been found floating in a
stream of Ganges, sparking renewed concerns yesterday
about the health of the sacred
river where millions of Hindus
cremate their dead, an official
The bodies were discovered in
a shallow tributary of the Ganges near a cremation area in the
northern state of Utter Pradesh,
police and a local official said
who added the state government
has ordered a probe.
Television footage showed
dogs and birds feeding on the
bloated and decaying bodies
floating in the stream, whose
waters are thought to have receded recently.
An official estimated that 80
bodies have so far been retrieved
but warn the п¬Ѓgure may rise.
“There could be around 100
bodies but we are yet to get an
exact number,” district magistrate Saumya Agarwal said by
phone from Unnao district.
“It seems that as the water
level has receded in the river,
these bodies have surfaced.
“We are trying to figure out
the reason. We have sent a team
of doctors on the spot to collect
the samples from bodies to investigate the case,” she added.
Inspector General of Police
Satish Ganesh said the bodies
were probably given river burials upstream at a cremation area
known as Pariyar Ghat before becoming stranded in shallow water.
Millions of Hindus practice
open-air cremation, with the
ashes of loved ones scattered in
the revered but heavily polluted
The government of Prime
Minister Narendra Modi has
vowed to clean up the river.
Poor families who cannot afford enough wood and other materials for the burning ceremony
sometimes place the bodies in
the water, while others are not
cremated entirely.
Court allows marine
to extend stay in Italy
New Delhi
he Supreme Court yesterday
allowed an Italian marine
detained for the 2012 killing of two п¬Ѓshermen another three
months at home to recover from
heart surgery amid a diplomatic row
over the case.
The court had originally refused
to extend Massimiliano Latorre’s
leave after allowing him to spend
four months in Italy to recover from
cerebral ischaemia - a restricted
blood supply that can lead to a
Latorre was due to return to India in January, but his lawyers approached the court in Delhi again
this month seeking an extension,
saying the 47-year-old marine had
now undergone heart surgery.
“He was advised by the doctors in Italy not to travel for three
months and to take complete bed
rest,” K T S Tulsi, a lawyer for the
marine, said.
“Considering the fact that the
Union of India (government) has
no objection, the time is granted to
Latorre to return to India. An extension of three months’ time is given,”
justice Anil R Dave said.
Dave added that the Italian ambassador to India would have to sign
a document assuring that Latorre
would fly back in April.
Latorre and fellow marine Salvatore Girone are accused of shooting
the п¬Ѓshermen while serving as part
of an anti-piracy mission on an Italian-flagged oil tanker off the coast
of Kerala in February 2012.
Girone is living at Italy’s embassy
in Delhi.
The Italian sailors say they mistook the п¬Ѓshing boat for a pirate
vessel and п¬Ѓred what were intended
to be warning shots.
Italy says the pair should be tried
on home soil since the shootings
involved an Italian-flagged vessel
in what it insists were international
India, however, maintains the
killings took place in waters under
its jurisdiction.
Rome last month threatened to
withdraw its ambassador from India
after the court rejected the appeal
over the leave.
The marines were granted home
visits to vote in national elections
in 2013, but India was furious when
the Italian government initially said
it would not send the men back.
A subsequent U-turn, which followed intense Indian diplomatic
pressure, triggered the resignation
of Italy’s then foreign minister.
In April 2012, Rome paid
$190,000 to each of the victims’
families as compensation. In return,
the families dropped their cases
against the marines, but the state’s
case has yet to come to trial.
The bodies of some holy men
are also placed in the river instead of being cremated, in accordance with tradition.
But the discovery of so many
bodies in one place has sparked
environmental and health concerns.
Kanpur Inspector General of
Police Ashutosh Pandey said the
bodies belonged to families who
could not afford a decent cremation and dumped them in the
The district administration
used JCB machines to п¬Ѓsh out
the decomposed bodies from the
river bed, a step opposed by residents and the BJP.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpayi, who visited the
site where the bodies have been
found, rang up senior officials at
night and protested the “inhumane treatment” being meted
out to the dead.
Officials said all bodies will be
cremated as per tradition by the
district administration.
An activist said damming including in the upper reaches of
the Ganges basin - meant there
was not enough water to flush
the bodies downstream and help
with their breakdown.
“The problem is that there
is not enough river flow that is
being maintained for the Ganga
river,” said Mallika Bhanot of
the non-profit Ganga Ahvaan,
which is working to preserve the
“These traditions (of placing
the dead in the river) are actually becoming a health hazard
with the dead bodies rotting
instead of flowing off in the
river,” she told CNN-IBN news
“Earlier it used to flow into the
river and the п¬Ѓshes and everything used to feed on it and it was
something that was going (on)
harmoniously (with nature).”
Meanwhile, the Supreme
Court yesterday asked if the government intended to complete
the task of cleaning the Ganges
in its present term or carry it to
the next term and keep the issue
The court also sought details
on the status of various sewage
treatment plants (STP) that were
being set up to prevent untreated
Muslim man excels
in Mohiniyattam
man in Kerala has become the п¬Ѓrst Muslim to
receive a doctorate in a
classical dance rooted in Hindu
mythology which is traditionally the preserve of women.
K M Abu, 47, has performed
Mohiniyattam at more than
50 venues in Kerala in the past
three decades and says that he
had never been ostracised for
daring to break with tradition.
“It shows that the people
are interested in the performance rather than the performer,” said Abu, who teaches the
dance form at a university in
the town of Kalady.
Mohiniyattam is believed to
have originated 500 years ago
and is a solo recital with several parts played by the woman
performer, usually dressed in
a pristine off-white sari with
a rich golden border. Abu said
he tries out various costumes.
Abu is the only man among
eight dancers to get a doctorate
from the Kerala Kalamandalam,
a major centre for the Indian
performing arts. He wrote his
thesis on the life of Kalyanikutty
Amma, a 20th-century dancer
who popularised Mohiniyattam.
The increasing participation of non-Hindus in traditional Hindu dance forms
is being seen as a sign of religious tolerance in Kerala, a
progressive state with a high
rate of literacy.
“People have realised that
art has no religion,” said P N
Suresh, vice-chancellor of the
Kerala Kalamandalam.
But it was not always so.
Kalamandalam Hyderali, a
Muslim singer famous for his
association with the classical
dance-drama of Kathakali till his
death in 2006, was often forced
to sing from outside the temple
while dancers were performing
effluent from flowing into the
“You want to do it (cleaning
the river) in this term of the government or the next or keep the
issue alive,” judges T S Thakur,
R K Agrawal and Adarsh Kumar
Goel asked Solicitor General
Ranjit Kumar as it sought the
verifiable road map of the government’s plan to clean the Ganges.
“What is that you are going
to do that we can monitor,” the
court asked the solicitor general,
telling him: “We want verifiable
progress, be it (over a stretch) of
Seeking the status of various
sewage treatment plants (STPs)
which are under construction
or in tendering stage, the court
said, “You have already spent
Rs2,000 crore and money is not
a constraint for you.”
As the solicitor general told
the court that 16 STPs being set
up in Uttrakhand would take
three years to complete, the
court sought the status report
on 31 STPs on which work is in
progress and on 15 STPs which
are in the bidding process stage.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Children’s beauty pageant
sparks controversy
Cuba denies previously
reported Wi-Fi rollout
Brazil tax hikes won’t harm
growth: finance minister
Argentine president �tried
to cover up 1994 bombing’
Mayor faces charges in
kidnapping of 43 students
A children’s beauty pageant in Colombia
sparked outrage online, but local officials are
defending the contest in which eight-yearold girls parade in skimpy swimwear. In the
pageant, held Sunday in Barbosa, Santander
department, young girls competed in bikinis as
part of the annual Festival del Rio Suarez. “We
would never induce the girls to make inappropriate or vulgar acts,” insisted Barbosa mayor
Rocio Galeano. “The competition is shameful
and totally violates the rights of the girls! How
horrible and irresponsible of the parents,” Cristina Plazas, director of Colombia’s family welfare
institute, tweeted.
Cuba will not begin offering wireless service
despite reports of a planned Wi-Fi rollout in its
second-largest city, Santiago de Cuba, state-run
telecommunications provider Etecsa said. Cuba,
where the Internet is largely limited to government offices and pricey pay-by-the-hour access
at cafes and hotels, allows only some locals
such as journalists, doctors and athletes to have
Internet at home. But anyone who wants their
own router for a Wi-Fi signal needs permission
from the Communications Ministry first. Etecsa
clarified that a new “intranet” Wi-Fi service was
being installed but would only be available at
select official sites.
Brazil’s finance minister said a programme of targeted tax increases was designed with the intention
to not harm fragile growth in Latin America’s largest
economy. “We have no intention of producing a bag
of tricks or packages -- but we shall have to take
some measures,” Joaquim Levy said as he set about
devising a strategy to lift an economy struggling
after four years of low growth. “Any movement (in
tax rates) will be compatible with our objectives,” he
insisted. Brazil is looking to rein in its public deficit
running at 63% of GDP in November. After posting
a first annual trade deficit in 14 years last week,
the world’s seventh biggest economy announced
budget cuts of $8.4bn a year.
An Argentine prosecutor yesterday accused President Cristina Fernandez of trying to orchestrate a
cover up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994
bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre
in Buenos Aires. State prosecutor Alberto Nisman,
investigating the blast that killed 85 people, said
Fernandez has pushed to drop the charges and
normalise relations as a way of tapping Iranian
oil needed to narrow Argentina’s $7bn per year
energy gap. Oil would be exchanged for Argentine grains under the government’s plan, he said.
Nisman added he issued a request that a judge
interrogate Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman.
The former mayor of the southwestern city
of Iguala has been charged with last year’s
kidnapping of 43 students who are feared to
have been killed, a top security official said.
Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations
at the federal attorney general’s office, said that
prosecutors had obtained an arrest warrant for
former mayor Jose Luis Abarca and 44 others
on charges of kidnapping the 43 students.
President Enrique Pena Nieto is facing his deepest crisis over the government’s handling of
the investigation. Anger over the case spurred
sometimes violent demonstrations around the
country late last year.
Haiti enters
an uncertain
political phase
he Haitian parliament was
dissolved on Tuesday after
the failure of last-ditch
negotiations for a deal to extend
the terms of its members to avert
a political crisis in the Caribbean
Haiti has not held legislative
or municipal elections for three
years, and the lack of a working parliament effectively leaves
President Michel Martelly to rule
by decree.
lastminute negotiations, but failed
to convince a group of opposition
senators to approve a US-sanctioned plan to extend parliamentary terms for several months
until new elections can be held.
On Tuesday, the United Nations “Core Group,” which includes countries working closely
with Haiti, such as the US, Brazil, Canada, and the European
Union, issued a statement saying it “deplores the fact that the
Haitian parliament has become
dysfunctional,” while offering its
support for Martelly.
“I’ve started consultations
with political parties to
compose my government,
but the consensus is not
easy to get”
“In these exceptional circumstances, the �Core Group’
trusts that the Executive and all
the political actors will act with
responsibility and restraint,” it
Martelly, whose term in office
runs out next year, last month
tried to calm opposition critics
by appointing former Port-auPrince Mayor Evans Paul as the
new prime minister, but the parliament shunned his pick and refused to ratify him.
“I was expecting to be invited
by the parliament. It did not
happen, but it’s not me who refused to introduce myself,” Paul
said in an interview. Now as de
facto prime minister, he said he
still planned to try to form a new
“I’ve started consultations
with political parties to compose
my government, but the consensus is not easy to get,” he said.
For weeks, opponents to Martelly have mounted street protests in the capital accusing the
president and his family of corruption. The demonstrations
took a more aggressive turn in
recent days, with some protesters calling for a civil war.
On Monday, Haiti marked the
п¬Ѓfth anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed tens
of thousands of people in the
capital. Many Haitians are still
On Sunday, with negotiations
still underway to avoid an institutional vacuum, the US embassy in Haiti issued a statement
offering its support to Martelly.
“The US will continue to work
with President Martelly and whatever legitimate Haitian government institutions remain to safeguard the significant gains we have
achieved together since the January 12, 2010 earthquake,” it said.
In a weekend interview with
the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Paul said he had to work on
securing the trust of the international community.
“It’s not easy because the crisis of confidence is based on a
tradition of people not keeping
to their word.”
The country’s political divisions have led to a “chaotic
atmosphere,” he said in an interview at the prime minister’s
official residence late on Saturday as street protests continued.
It is unclear when new legislative and municipal elections can
be held.
A tentative agreement late last
month would have extended the
terms of the deputies until April
24, and senators until September
9, allowing time to pass an electoral law and appoint an elections council.
The political accord had been
favourably received by Haiti’s
largest foreign donors, particularly the US and the UN, which
have expressed concern that the
poorest country in the western
hemisphere is again on the brink
of political chaos.
Former international director of Petrobras, Nestor Cervero, arrives at the Federal Police in Curitiba yesterday.
Ex-Petrobras executive
held in corruption probe
Rio de Janeiro
razilian police early yesterday arrested another former executive at
state-run oil company Petroleo
Brasileiro SA after prosecutors accused him of continued
involvement in corruption and
money laundering.
Nestor Cervero, former international director of the company
known as Petrobras, was detained at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport as he returned
from a trip to London, prosecu-
Give US, Cuba space
to negotiate: OAS chief
mproving relations between
the US and Cuba will take
time, and both sides should
be given the space to negotiate
without outside interference,
the head of the Organisation of
American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, cautioned.
“It would be very unhelpful
to try to artificially push for immediate results in every area,”
Insulza said as US and Cuban officials prepare for talks next week
in Havana aimed at normalising
diplomatic ties after decades of
“I think we should let Cuba and
the US negotiate their matters and
their problems and be as helpful as
possible,” he said. “I don’t think
you can make the clock run faster
by pushing from the outside.”
The thawing of ties between
Washington and Havana would
ease years of tensions that have
often played out at annual meetings of the 35-member OAS and
allow for greater regional co-
operation and trade, said Insulza.
Washington’s policy toward
Cuba has increasingly polarised
a region where many countries,
including allies like Colombia
and Mexico, believe the US’ 50year trade embargo has outlived
its usefulness.
“This opens the door
for everyone. We can
now deal with matters
together. It releases
a lot of tensions and
A meeting of the Americas in
Panama in April will bring together all countries, including
leaders from Cuba and the US,
for the п¬Ѓrst time ever.
“This opens the door for everyone,” said Insulza, a former
Chilean foreign minister. “We
can now deal with matters together. It releases a lot of tensions and pressures.”
He said he expected easing of
US travel, trade and п¬Ѓnancial restrictions against Cuba to be announced shortly.
“I expect this to move quickly
on matters that were agreed on,
but then the lifting of the embargo will have to wait, although I
hope for not too long,” he added.
The OAS, with headquarters
in Washington, suspended Cuba
in 1962 for being Communist.
While the OAS agreed in 2009
to lift the Cold War ruling, Cuba
declined to rejoin the group.
Insulza said he hoped that as
normalisation talks progress
Cuba will be willing to fully come
into the OAS fold.
“I hope to have (that conversation with Cuba) very soon,” said
Insulza. “We are open to a relationship with Cuba and to help
it come back. The door is open.”
Insulza said the release of 53
political prisoners by Cuba under a deal with the US showed
that both sides are serious about
normalising ties.
“We should feel optimistic because the Cubans have already
released some prisoners, but also
realistic because probably not all
of them will be out tomorrow,” he
said. “We must also be practical.
More negotiation may be necessary.”
tors said in a statement.
They said the arrest had been
approved during a federal court
recess and was based on “strong
evidence” that Cervero had tried
to transfer real estate and funds
to family members and drastically understated the value of
the transactions.
Cervero is one of 39 people
whom prosecutors indicted last
month for forming a cartel to
funnel bribes from Petrobras
construction projects to the ruling Workers’ Party and its allies
in a scandal that has shaken Brazil’s economy.
Ribeiro, said his client had informed investigators of his
trip to London. Cervero had
tried to transfer 500,000 reais
($188,679) to his daughter and
had transferred ownership of
three apartments, Ribeiro said.
“There is no criminal activity
in these two acts,” said Ribeiro,
adding he would seek habeas
corpus for his client.
Last month, the same prosecutors in the southern city of
Curitiba indicted Paulo Roberto
Costa, another former Petrobras
executive, and leaders of top
Brazilian engineering п¬Ѓrms.
Cervero, along with a consult-
Angry workers
ant and lobbyist, were accused
of paying out $40mn in kickbacks to political parties, executives and contractors, as well as
accepting $13mn in bribes from
Korean shipbuilder Samsung
Heavy Industries.
Samsung Heavy Industries
never responded to request for
Concern over the corruption
scandal is driving shares and
bonds of Petrobras to multiyear lows and spurring concerns of a slowdown in muchneeded infrastructure projects
in Brazil.
The team of prosecutors in
Venezuela states ban
nighttime shop queues
Workers of German carmaker Volkswagen listen to their
union leaders during an assembly rally yesterday on
the ninth day of an indefinite strike after 800 jobs were
cut back by the company at the Anchieta plant in Sao
Bernardo do Campo, 25km south of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Workers at the Anchieta plant walked out on strike on
January 6. The plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo on the
outskirts of Sao Paulo is the biggest of four VW has in
Brazil, with 13,000 workers.
Curitiba has vowed to expand
their investigation, and the Supreme Court in Brasilia in February is expected to reveal the
names of politicians who allegedly received kickbacks.
President Dilma Rousseff was
Petrobras’ chair from 2003 to
2010, when much of the graft
took place, but has denied any
knowledge of the scheme or
Cervero, whom Petrobras п¬Ѓred
in March, held various positions
there. He was international director when it purchased a Pasadena, Texas, refinery that critics say it overpaid for.
overnors in three Venezuelan states have banned
nighttime queuing as
huge lines continue to snake
around shops across the scarcity-plagued Opec nation.
Shortages of basic products
from milk to toilet paper have
worsened since a lull in distribution over the Christmas holidays,
prompting many Venezuelans
to wait from the early hours on
pavements - or in hammocks before shops open.
The ubiquitous lines and frequent jostling for places when
doors open are an embarrassment and irritation to many
Venezuelans across the political
There have also been scattered
protests and arrests.
“We are going to prohibit
queues outside commercial establishments,” Falcon state governor Stella Lugo said. “Security
forces have been instructed.”
She joined two other governors, in Bolivar and Yaracuy, who
have announced the same meas-
ure in recent days. Zulia state authorities are also considering it.
“Nighttime queues are dangerous for the people,” Bolivar
governor Francisco Rangel said.
In some places, authorities are
also limiting access to shops to
certain days according to the consumers’ identity card numbers.
The shortages have hurt President Nicolas Maduro’s popularity which, according to local
pollster Datanalisis, hit 22% in
Foes say 15 years of socialism
under him and predecessor Hugo
Chavez are to blame for Venezuela’s economic recession, the
highest inflation in the Americas, and shortages.
But Maduro, 52, who won election to replace Chavez last year,
says a wealthy elite and opposition
activists encouraged by Washington and foreign media are carrying
out an “economic war” involving
hoarding and price-gouging.
“It’s a strategy to try and upset
the people and turn them to extremes, to destabilise the country,” Maduro said. “But the people are defeating it in the street,
and the government is working in
the street.”
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Imran faces protest
at Peshawar school
The parents tried to stop
Khan’s vehicle from entering
the school premises; Leader
of group that attacked school
put on US terror list
ricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and
his wife faced protests
yesterday when they visited the
school in Peshwar where terrorists massacred over 140 children
on December 16.
Families of the children who
were massacred shouted slogans
against the Tehreek-e-Insaf
leader as he reached the Army
Public School, the Dawn and
other Pakistani media reported.
Accompanying Imran Khan
was Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief
Minister Pervez Khattak, who is
from the same party.
Holding posters and banners,
the parents tried to stop Khan’s
vehicle from entering the school
The demonstrators complained that it took Khan a
month to come to Peshawar after
the massacre.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid
said Khan faced slogans of “Go
Imran, Go!” because of his negative approach in politics.
He accused Khan of creating hurdles in the way of implementing the national agenda
Relatives and parents of victims of school massacre shout slogans against Imran Khan, head of
opposition political party Pakitan Tehrik-e-Insaf and ruling party in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, during a
protest outside the Army Public School in Peshawar yesterday.
against terrorism.
On December 16, terrorists
stormed the school in Peshawar and sprayed bullets, leaving more than 140 students and
teachers dead.
In a related development, the
leader of a Taliban group that
killed scores of students in the
attack at the school last month
has been added to Washington’s
official terrorism list, the State
Department said yesterday.
Maulana Fazlullah, sometimes
known as Mullah Fazlullah, has
been the leader since November 2013 of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has
claimed responsibility for the
Peshawar school shooting and
numerous other attacks.
He has claimed to have ordered the 2012 shooting that
gravely injured Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, last year’s
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, ac-
cording to the State Department.
The terror designation comes
the same day that US Secretary
of State John Kerry was to visit
the school in Peshawar, where
the horrific December 16 shooting rampage took place.
The State Department said
Fazlullah has been named a
“specially designated global
terrorist” — a label meant to
target “terrorists and those
providing support to terrorists
Series of suicide
attacks foiled
in Afghanistan
Pakistani men read a local edition of the International New York Times with a blank space that was
supposed to be reporting on the first issue of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo since last week’s
attack, in Islamabad, Pakistan, yesterday. At the bottom of the blank space the newspaper said:�The
article was removed by our publishing alliance in Pakistan’. An Islamic cleric in Pakistan on 13
January offered funeral prayers for two Muslim brothers who killed 12 people at the office of French
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and led a rally to commemorate them.
series of co-ordinated
suicide attack plots were
foiled by the Afghan national security forces in capital
Kabul late on Tuesday night.
According to Kabul police officials, the attack plots were foiled
following joint military operations by the Afghan police and
the intelligence operatives.
Hashmat Stanikzai said the operations were conducted in Bagrami district where several suicide attack vests and 17 terrorists
were arrested, according to the
Afghan Khaama Press.
He said only one suicide bomber was killed during the gun battle
with the security forces and no
one else suffered any injuries.
or acts of terrorism.”
Considered to have close ties
to Al Qaeda and listed as a terrorist group by Washington since
September 1, 2010, the TTP is a
loose coalition of jihadist militants that has killed thousands
of Pakistanis since its formation
in 2007.
The organisation, which was
formed in reaction to a raid by
Pakistani authorities on a radical
mosque in Islamabad, declared
a holy war against the Pakistani
government which it accuses of
helping the United States in its
“war on terror.”
Fazlullah has acknowledged
being behind the killing of Pakistani Army Major General
Sanaullah Niazi in September
The State Department said Fazlullah also was responsible for
the beheading of 17 Pakistani soldiers after an attack in June 2012.
In addition, he allegedly ordered the targeted killings of
elders who led peace committees
against the Taliban.
The United States was to unveil some $250mn in aid to back
Pakistan’s fight against militants
and develop its unruly tribal areas.
Washington has pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out
the militant sanctuaries in lawless tribal areas such as North
Waziristan, which have been
used to launch attacks on Nato
forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Court indicts
Musharraf over
rebel’s murder
Pakistani court yesterday indicted Pervez
Musharraf over the
2006 killing of a separatist
leader, the latest legal hurdle
facing the former military ruler since his return from selfimposed exile two years ago.
The charges by the court
in the southwestern city of
Quetta are unlikely to cause
any immediate problems for
the 71-year-old, who has not
attended a single hearing in
the case since it began in 2013.
He was previously indicted
for treason in March last year
over his imposition of emergency rule in 2007, but proceedings have stalled since
then as the country’s civil authorities and judiciary appear
to lack the will to take on the
powerful military.
“The anti-terrorist court
has indicted Musharraf along
with former interior minister
Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao
and former home minister (of)
Baluchistan province Shoaib
Nosherwani in Nawab Akbar
Bugti’s murder case,” public
prosecutor Taimur Shah said.
Shah added the court would
resume hearings in the case on
February 4.
Baluch nationalist leader
Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed
in a military operation in
2006, sparking deadly nationwide protests and inflaming
a separatist insurgency in re-
Pervez Musharraf
source-rich but impoverished
Baluchistan province.
Musharraf has been staying
with his daughter in Karachi
where he travelled for tests at a
navy-run hospital in April last
year and the indictment took
place in his absence.
He is on bail in four other
major cases linked to his time
in power including the 2007
assassination of opposition
leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun
and suicide attack.
Facing impeachment following the 2008 elections,
Musharraf resigned as president and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai.
Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif’s authority has been
eroded since a movement to
topple him over alleged election fraud began last year, and
analysts believe his government now lacks the will to offend the military by pushing
for Musharraf’s prosecution.
Pakistan govt in a п¬Ѓx over
issue of Afghan refugees
aught between a rock
and a hard place is how
officials describe the
predicament of the federal government which is looking at the
problem faced by the presence
of millions of registered and
unregistered Afghan refugees
with apprehensions about the
role India could play in the even
to Pakistan taking steps which
may displease Kabul.
Repatriation of the refugees
to Afghanistan at the expiry of
the umpteenth-time extended
deadline, government officials
warn, may annoy Kabul and
push it back into the Indian fold.
Everyone at a Jan 6 meeting
on the issue was clueless, said
an official who attended the recent huddle in Islamabad.
“Everyone agreed that the
continued presence of Afghans
poses a grave national security
challenges, but how to deal with
the issue, no-one seems to have
any answer,” said the official.
The meeting presided over
by the secretary of state and
frontier regions had been called
to discuss the issue of unregistered Afghan nationals and also
of the registered refugees.
According to sources, the
government is likely to conduct
a “temporary” registration of
undocumented Afghans before
sending them back to their country and a summary for the purpose was awaiting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s approval.
According to the sources, the
federal government is in a п¬Ѓx
over the issue of registered and
unregistered Afghans. At the
meeting some senior functionaries expressed apprehensions
that a tough decision might annoy Kabul at a time when both
sides wanted to improve relations and that India could take
advantage of the situation.
Kabul may not co-operate
with Islamabad on the issue
of acting against outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan chief
Mullah Fazlullah and other
wanted persons if Pakistan
presses for immediate expulsion of the refugees.
Pakistan has been asking
Afghanistan to hand over Fazlullah whose group has been
accused of being involved in
terrorist attacks in Pakistan,
including the Peshawar Army
Public School massacre.
Killing propaganda: Lab tests declare polio vaccine Halal
he polio vaccine being
used to п¬Ѓght the crippling
disease in Pakistan is Halal, official report said.
A laboratory controlled by the
Drug Regulatory Authority of
Pakistan (DRAP) has tested the
vaccine and certified that, according to information gathered
from official sources and documents.
Officials of the Ministry of
National Health Services (NHS)
said polio vaccines were registered in the country only after
the expert committee on biological drugs and the Drug Registration Board of DRAP “thoroughly
evaluated” them.
Yet, many parents refuse the
vaccination to their children under the notion that it is Haram.
Anti-polio campaign documents say the notion has been
persisting since 2004 when obscurantist elements in the society spread the concoction that
certain human hormones were
deliberately added to the oral
polio vaccine (OPV) to make
children sterile.
Sadly, many polio workers
paid with their lives or limbs
for daring to carry on the battle
against the disease.
But worse was the reversal
that the battle against polio suffered as simple folks refused the
vaccine, more out of fear of the
obscurantist elements and the
outlawed Taliban than the logic
of their concocted claims.
This disturbing trend gained
great strength, particularly in
the tribal areas, after the revelations that it was a false hepatitis
vaccine programme conducted
by Pakistani physician Shakil
Afridi in the neighbourhood
of Osama bin Laden’s hideout
in Abbottabad that helped the
American CIA to hunt down and
kill the Al Qaeda leader in May
In June 2012, the Taliban
banned polio vaccination in the
Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (Fata). And the vaccine
became �Haram’ and unwanted
even for the people not sympathetic to the Taliban.
Since then, new polio cases
have risen to record 300, earning
Pakistan the notoriety of being
“the hub of polio virus”.
Officials said in a bid to erase
the misconceived �Haram’ tag,
three vaccine lots MONO OPV1
Batch No. 132719 manufactured
by Novartis, Italy; Polio Sabin
Batch No.
AOP4A393AA and Batch No.
A health worker administers Polio vaccine to children in Quetta, Pakistan, on 11 January. More than 65
polio worker and security personnel have been killed by the militants, according to Health Minister Saira
Afzal Tarar.
AOPVB996BA, both manufactured by GSK, Belgium, were
sent to National Control Laboratory for Biologicals (NCLB) in
Islamabad for testing.
Director NCLB Abdul Samad
Khan certified that the samples
were tested using methods that
detected the human hormones
in minute quantities. OPV
dose is two drops and in this
quantity none of the six pos-
sible hormones detected - not
even at concentration as low as
The NCLB report showed that
the samples passed the viral activity and sterility tests with no
detectable level of human hormones.
Related documents contained
answers to the frequently asked
questions. They say the question generally asked is if the OPV
contained hormones estrogen
and progesterone that may cause
infertility. None of the two hormones was detected.
Another question asked is
that OPV is produced in monkey
kidney cells and can become the
cause of different diseases. The
answer given is that the World
Health Organisation (WHO)
thoroughly discussed the parameters for the production of
polio vaccine and found no virus
in the vaccine which could cause
a disease.
Still another question usually asked is that why OPV is
not produced in Pakistan? The
answer is that polio vaccine was
manufactured in the country
from 1980 to 2003 from imported concentrate using old formulation of six drops per dose.
That vaccine was difficult to
administer and often spilled
outside the mouth of a child. The
present vaccine is two drops per
dose, is more stable and easy to
Though polio vaccine can be
manufactured locally as before,
but in the near future OPV will
be replaced with an injectable
one. So it is preferable to import
the vaccine.
At present, only Indonesia,
Belgium, India, Italy and France
manufacture OPV.
Pakistan purchases the vaccine from manufacturers prequalified by the WHO, which
also inspects the manufacturing
and testing laboratories.
Though there is no need to test
the quality of the vaccine, it can
be, and occasionally is, tested
locally for safety, say the documents.
Medical specialist and vice
chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims)
Dr Javed Akram agreed that
there was no need to do lab test
because the vaccine was made
by genetic engineering in which
DNA of virus was taken and
“Genetic engineering has
nothing to do with Halal and
Haram,” he said, hoping that the
sceptics would put more confidence in the vaccine after the report and start vaccinating their
National Manager Expanded
Programme on Immunisation
Rana Safdar hoped that the report would satisfy the religious
elements who had been objecting to the polio vaccination.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Presidential office
accused of deception
over train fare hike
By Llanesca T Panti
Manila Times
lawmaker has accused
Malacanang of lying
in its attempt to defend recent fare increases in
elevated trains plying Metro
Manila routes.
“There has been treachery and deception on Malacanang’s part because they
have not been forthright
about these issues and are
still doing all they can to justify the fare increases,” Rep.
Neri Colmenares of Bayan
Muna party-list said yesterday.
“Hopefully, the Supreme
Court (SC) will issue a TRO
Order) even before oral arguments (on the fare adjustments are heard),” Colmenares added.
He and Rep. Carlos Zarate, also of Bayan Muna, are
preparing a supplemental
pleading in their bid to convince the tribunal to issue a
TRO against the fare hikes in
Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3),
Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT
The Bayan Muna lawmakers, both petitioners against
the train fare increases, made
the move since the High
Court did not stop the fare
hikes and instead asked the
Aquino administration to file
its comment on the matter.
Since January 4, fare for
an LRT1 ride from Baclaran station in Pasay City to
Roosevelt station in Quezon
City went up to P30 from
P20; fare for an LRT2 ride
from Recto station in Manila to Santolan station in
Pasig City increased from
P15 to P25; and fare for an
MRT3 ride from North Avenue station in Quezon City
to Taft station in Pasay City
rose to P28 from P15.
“The government is made
(by the Supreme Court) to
explain the hikes. This (order) only means that our
arguments against such increases have basis,” Zarate,
a lawyer, said.
“We believe that hiking
the (train fares) is beyond
the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
We will file a supplemental
pleading based on DOTC
Undersecretary Jose Lotilla
(saying last week) that the
department lacked authority to do so,” he added.
The two lawmakers noted
that the January increases
would only be the beginning since contracts entered
into by the government provide that fare adjustments
can be implemented every
two years.
Call to cancel deal
with п¬Ѓrm for repair of
vote count machines
By Robertzon F Ramirez
Manila Times
multi-sectoral group
held a protest rally at
the Commission on
Elections (Comelec) to assail
the poll body’s decision granting Smartmatic, an extended
warranty for the repair of
82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines
that will be recycled for the
2016 polls.
The group, composed of
IT organisations and experts,
Church leaders, members of
the academe, non-government organisations (NGOs),
people’s organisations and
civic groups demanded the
revocation of a Comelec resolution approving an extended
warranty agreement proposed
by Smartmatic for the repair
of the PCOS machines that
the poll body bought in 2012.
“We are appalled by the
fact that the Comelec resolution smacks of a midnight deal
and cutting of corners based
on unacceptable reasons that
compromise the provisions
of the procurement as well as
election laws,” the group said
in a protest letter.
“It was in disregard of the
urgent concerns raised in
recent Joint Congressional
Oversight Committee hearings on the Automated Election System calling for thorough reports from Comelec
on the latest discoveries and
explanations, by no less than
the Technical Evaluation
Committee of the Department
of Science and Technology
on the digital distortions of
ballot images from the PCOS
machines that, according to
the official report, �could have
affected the results (counting)
of the elections’ and �would be
difficult to clean,’” the group
Aside from the scrapping
of the extended warranty to
Smartmatic, the group also
asked the poll body to defer
the award of the diagnostic
contract until after the retirement of Comelec chairman
Sixto Brillantes Jr and senior
commissioners Elias Yusoph
and Lucenito Tagle.
Brillantes, Yusoph and Tagle are set to retire in February
Student activists participate in a �colour splash’ ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Manila yesterday. In their statement, the students urged the Pope to support the Filipino people in their fight
against poverty, corruption and social injustice in the country.
Father-priests seek papal
blessing in Catholic nation
very Sunday morning,
dozens of Roman Catholics gather at a small
chapel on an island in the central Philippines to listen to Father Jess Siva share his personal
experiences as a priest, and as a
Siva, 54, has been celebrating
Mass in the town of Lambunao
for the past 15 years, giving communion, performing last rites for
the dying, hearing confessions
and officiating at marriages.
But while his small flock admire him, Church leaders in the
Philippines consider him persona non grata for failing to adhere
to one of the most important
tenets of the priesthood — abstaining from sex.
“This is a very serious problem within the Church,” said
Siva, who is the father of two
boys from a relationship with a
member of his congregation’s
choir. “I hope Pope Francis will
recognise us.”
Although celibacy is not expected to be directly raised during the Pope’s visit to the Philippines this week, some in the
Church hope that the pontiff will
in time listen to their pleas for
In the Philippines, which accounts for about half of Asia’s
Roman Catholics, Siva is not
alone. A handful of priests have
Roman Catholic priest Father Jess Siva poses with his common law wife
Bemma and children in Iloilo city on Panay island in central Philippines.
been asked to leave the priesthood for fathering children.
On Jan 11, Siva baptised the
п¬Ѓve-month-old son, and fourth
child, of fellow Catholic priest
Hector Canto. Siva officiated at
Canto’s marriage in 1997.
There are already high hopes
the Argentine Pope will change
the Church’s traditional approach to issues such as sexual
morality by becoming more
welcoming to gays and easing
restrictions on divorced and remarried Catholics.
Last year, Francis said he believes priests should be celibate
but that the rule, which dates
back over a thousand years,
could be changed someday.
“Celibacy is not a dogma,” he
said when asked by a reporter
whether the Church might consider allowing priests to marry as
they can in the Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox Churches.
“It is a rule of life that I appreciate very much and I think it is a
gift for the Church but since it is
not a dogma, the door is always
open,” he said.
The Church teaches that a
priest should dedicate himself
totally to his vocation, essentially taking it as his spouse, in order
to help fulfill its mission.
Some have cited celibacy as
one reason for the decline in men
entering the priesthood.
In Africa, Catholic priests
have openly questioned the celibacy rule, saying it is incompatible with their culture.
African Archbishop Em-
manuel Milingo was famously
excommunicated in 2006 for
ordaining four married men
as priests as part of his group
“Married Priests Now”. Milingo
himself married a Korean woman.
Africa and Asia have the fastest growing Catholic populations, and today they are home
just over a quarter of the world’s
more than 1.2bn Catholics.
The rule of celibacy has also
been questioned in the Pope’s
own backyard.
Last year, 26 women in love
with priests in Italy wrote a letter urging him to make celibacy
optional, describing the “devastating suffering” caused by
Siva, who was ordained a
priest in 1986 and started living
with his partner 12 years later,
is making little headway in persuading the Church’s local leadership that it is time to change.
The archdiocese of Jaro, which
includes the town of Lambunao,
frowns upon his actions, saying
the priestly activities of Siva,
Canto and another priest, Elmer
Cajilig, are “illicit”.
“They are on their own,” Jaro
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo
said. “They have violated our
rules on celibacy. We do not recognise them.”
But Filipino Catholic bishops
have done nothing to stop the
ministry of the three priests who
have openly violated the Church
Monsignor Victorino Rivas of
the neighbouring Archdiocese
of Bacolod said cases of priests
with families are confidential
and that there are no statistics
on their numbers.
Siva said there were two more
priests in Iloilo City who may
join his self-styled ministry
called “Compania de los Padres
de Familia” (The Company of
Priests with Families).
There are more than 3,000
priests in the Philippines, where
about 80% of the 100mn population is Catholic.
Celibacy surfaced last year
during a bitter battle over a contraceptive law, as supporters of
the bill exposed priests who fathered children.
Priests who break the celibacy rule are usually put on
sabbatical leave, suspended,
transferred, made to undergo
“formation”, and advised to
leave the priesthood to marry
and start a family.
On Sunday, before the Pope’s
visit to Asia, Siva and the two
other unchaste priests celebrated a mass to dramatise an
appeal to him to show “mercy
and compassion”, the theme of
his pastoral visit to the country.
In many remote communities, residents accept priests
who fathered children because
of the shortage of clerics.
“What’s more important is
there is a priest in our village,”
said Jeremy David, a member of
the Lambunao chapel choir.
Troops face security �nightmare’ for Pope Francis visit
hilippine troops are facing a security “nightmare”
during Pope Francis’ visit
starting today, with potential
stampedes, militants and lonewolf assailants all concerns.
Nearly 40,000 soldiers and
police are being deployed to
protect the pontiff during his
п¬Ѓve-day trip to the Philippines,
a majority Catholic nation where
attempts have been made to kill
visiting Popes twice before.
“For this year, this will be the
greatest security nightmare that
we can have,” Philippine military
chief General Gregorio Catapang
said as he readied his troops for
the pontiff ’s arrival.
Authorities have stated the
huge crowds of devout Catholics
are their main worry, with up to
6mn people expected for a mass
in Manila on Sunday.
Giant throngs are also expected along his motorcade
routes in the capital, while a
one-day trip to typhoon-devastated communities in the
Police stand along a highway in Manila yesterday during security preparations ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.
central Philippines will pose its
own problems.
In a nationally televised address on Monday, President Benigno Aquino pleaded with his
countrymen planning to join the
crowds to remain calm and avoid
creating a stampede that could
endanger the Pope.
“I ask you, do you want history to record that a tragedy involving the Pope happened in
the Philippines,” Aquino said.
Aside from a crowd poten-
tially crushing the Pope, Aquino
also warned that blocking his
motorcade would make him an
easy target for an assailant.
The president referred to the
threat of “terrorism” and an assassination attempt on John
Paul II at the Vatican in 1981, as
he called on all Filipinos to help
protect Francis in the Philippines.
Adding to the concerns, the
78-year-old pontiff has insisted
he will not travel in a bulletproof “Popemobile” so can he be
closer to his flock.
Highlighting the priority
Aquino has placed on security,
he personally led a late-night dry
run on Tuesday of the motorcade
journey that the Pope will make
from the airport after he arrives
— with thousands of police lining the roads.
There have also been two attempts or plots to kill pontiffs
visiting in the Philippines that
Aquino did not refer to in his televised address.
On the п¬Ѓrst-ever papal visit to
the Philippines in 1970, Bolivian painter Benjamin Mendoza
donned a priest’s fake cassock and
swung a knife at Pope Paul VI as he
arrived at Manila airport.
Paul VI was wounded but continued his trip without disclosing his injury.
Then, one week before John
Paul II’s visit in 1995, police
uncovered a plot by foreign extremists to kill him by bombing
his Manila motorcade route.
They then planned to set off
explosives on 11 US jetliners
over the Pacific Ocean that they
hoped would kill thousands.
The plot was detected only
because bomb-making material
caused smoke at the apartment
that was being used to store the
Pakistani Ramzi Yousef, who
carried out the 1993 World Trade
Centre bombings in the US, and
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, one of
Al Qaeda’s most senior figures
who planned the September 11,
2001 attacks, were among those
involved in the plot.
Aside from foreign extremists,
Philippine security forces have
for decades struggled to contain
local militants with links to Al
The most well-known, the
Abu Sayyaf, operates mostly
on southern islands populated
by the nation’s Muslim minority many hundreds of kilometres
from Manila.
But it is accused of carrying
out the Philippines’ deadliest
terrorist attack, the bombing of
a ferry in Manila in 2004 that
killed more than 100 people.
Senior Abu Sayyaf senior
leader Khair Mundos, who was
on the US government’s most
wanted list, was also arrested
while living at an apartment near
the Manila airport just seven
months ago.
While the government has insisted no specific plots have been
detected against the Pope, he is
undoubtedly a tempting target
for Filipino militants, according to Rommel Banlaoi, director
of the Philippine Institute for
Peace, Violence and Terrorism
Research, a Manila think-tank.
“For violent groups opposed to
the rule of the Catholic Church,
attacking the Pope is like a trophy, a major accomplishment,”
Banlaoi said.
“The most challenging threat
would come from a lone-wolf
attack. It is easier to monitor bad
elements coming from identified
violent groups.”
Still, Banlaoi said Philippine
security forces had proved it
could secure visits by Popes and
US presidents.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Police probe
coup charge
Onlookers surrounding the wreckage of a burnt bus allegedly set on fire by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) supporters during a blockade in Rangpur yesterday.
Bus п¬Ѓrebombing kills
four in Bangladesh
п¬Ѓrebomb attack on a bus
killed four people yesterday, including a young
child, while an aide to opposition leader Khaleda Zia survived
an assassination attempt in a
new upsurge of political unrest
in Bangladesh.
The attack on the bus in the
northern town of Mithapukur
was carried out as anti-government activists tried to enforce
a transport blockade as part of
efforts to force the downfall of
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
It was the deadliest incident
since an outbreak of violence at
the turn of the year when Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
leader Zia was confined to her
office after calling for Hasina to
stand down. Zia remains stuck in
the compound.
The police chief in Mithapukur, Rabiul Alam, said the
packed bus was п¬Ѓrebombed as
it travelled to the capital Dhaka,
blaming the attack on followers
of an Islamist party which is part
of a BNP-led alliance.
“At least 14 people were burnt
in the attack. Four of them died,
including a child whose body was
charred beyond recognition,”
Alam said. “Three of the victims
are in a very critical condition.”
Eight activists from the radical Jamaat-e-Islami party had
been arrested over the attack,
Alam added. The BNP has denied that any parties in its opposition alliance were involved
in the bus attack.
“At least 14 people were
burnt in the attack -four
of them died, including
a child whose body
was charred beyond
recognition while three of
the victims are in a very
critical condition”
In Dhaka, police confirmed that
Riaz Rahman, a state minister for
foreign affairs when Zia was premier, had been seriously injured
on Tuesday night after unidentified attackers shot at him.
“He was shot four times from
close range by at least three unidentified attackers. They also
firebombed his car. His condition is now stable,” Dhaka police
inspector Rafiqul Islam said.
The 74-year-old Rahman has
been advising Zia since 2007.
In the past week, unidentified
attackers have п¬Ѓrebombed the
houses of several of Zia’s aides.
The bus attack took the death
toll in the latest unrest to 17 with
hundreds more injured.
Zia ordered the blockade last
Tuesday as part of a campaign
push to force Hasina to stand
down in favour of a neutral government that would organise
fresh elections.
She blamed the government
for the attack on Rahman, terming it “an act of cowardice and
terror.” In protest, her party
called a nationwide strike today.
In a statement the United
States said it was “shocked and
saddened” by the attack, calling
it “outrageous and cowardly”.
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint and eschew violence
and intimidation, and we urge the
government to ensure people can
freely exercise their right to peaceful political expression,” it said.
British High Commissioner
to Bangladesh Robert Gibson
expressed concern at the violence and urged all parties “to
come together in a dialogue to
break the cycle of violence and
ri Lanka’s police opened
an investigation yesterday into allegations that
former president Mahinda
Rajapakse tried to use military
force to remain in power after
losing last week’s election.
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) said it
was responding to a complaint
from new Foreign Minister
Mangala Samaraweera.
“We have recorded a statement from the minister and
investigations have begun,” a
police spokesman said.
Samaraweera said he wanted police to investigate allegations made by top aides to new
President Maithripala Sirisena
that Rajapakse tried to use the
military to disrupt the vote
count, arrest top election officials and declare a state of
emergency to remain in power.
tweeted a denial of the allegations, which came after
Sirisena and other world leaders thanked him for a smooth
transition of power.
The investigation is a fresh
blow to Rajapakse’s chances
of a political comeback after an opposition party п¬Ѓled
a complaint against the toppled leader and 11 relatives and
associates, alleging massive
bribery and corruption.
The JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, has lodged complaints against Rajapakse, his
legislator son Namal and two
brothers — Basil and Gotabhaya
— who held powerful positions
in the former president’s administration that was ousted
after last week’s elections.
The election was partly fought
on claims of misuse of public
funds and nepotism, with the
Rajapakse family accused of
amassing huge wealth during the
former president’s 10-year rule.
“The main objective of our
complaint is to ensure that the
Rajapakse family is brought to
justice,” JVP lawmaker Sunil
Handunetti said. “We want to
prevent them from fleeing the
country and escaping justice.”
In another blow to the family,
the former president’s nephew,
Nepal risks return
to conflict without
charter, says UN
Pope Francis
gives Lanka
п¬Ѓrst saint
ope Francis gave Sri Lanka
its п¬Ѓrst saint at a waterfront Mass for more than
half a million people in Colombo yesterday, calling 17th
century missionary Joseph Vaz
a model of reconciliation after
the country’s recent civil war.
The Pope, who on Tuesday
was tired after starting his trip
under a blazing sun, looked relaxed against a sparkling backdrop of rolling waves as he told
the hushed crowd that Vaz was
an example of religious tolerance relevant to Sri Lanka today.
“Saint Joseph shows us the
importance of transcending religious divisions in the service
of peace,” he said in his homily,
delivered to a nation recovering
from a long war between mainly
Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu
Vaz, who was captured as a
suspected spy after he crept into
the tropical island in disguise,
was born in 1651 in India’s Goa,
then a Portuguese colony.
He travelled south at the
age of 36, dressed as a beggar, to a country then divided
into kingdoms and European
colonies after hearing about
the persecution of Catholics
by the Dutch. He worked for
years under the protection of a
Buddhist king.
On Monday, Francis called on
the Buddhist-majority country
to uncover the truth about its
bloody civil war that ended in
2009 with the army’s crushing
defeat of Tamil rebels and the
deaths of tens of thousands of
Francis’ visit, the first by a
Pope in 20 years, has added to
the sense that a new chapter is
opening on the island, which
voted the wartime leadership
out of power last week.
Francis, speaking slowly in
English, said Christians should
follow the example of Vaz to
build peace, justice and reconciliation. Catholics make up
about 7% of Sri Lanka’s 20mn
population, while 10 times as
many people follow Buddhism.
“We really need people like
him to ensure peace and harmony in this country,” a woman
who identified herself as Fathima, wearing traditional Muslim
dress, said of the Pope.
About 10% of the population
follow Islam. They faced rising attacks from Buddhist extremists under the government
of former president Mahinda
Earlier, Francis stepped out of
his popemobile to greet people,
placing his hands on childrens’
He was due to go by helicopter to a shrine in the north that
was shelled in the war, then
move on to the Philippines to-
Sashindra Rajapakse, was toppled yesterday as head of a
southern provincial council after his Sri Lanka Freedom Party
lost a majority when lawmakers
defected to the opposition.
“I have sworn in (local opposition leader) Harin Fernando
as the new chief minister because he now has the support
of 18 out of the 34 members (of
the council),” Uva provincial
governor Nanda Mathew said.
On the corruption complaints, Handunetti said a total of 12 individuals have been
named as alleged offenders
including former п¬Ѓnance secretary Punchi Banda Jayasundera and former central bank
governor Nivard Cabraal.
They have been accused of foreign exchange fraud, land grabs
and misusing state property.
The anti-corruption unit, a
statutory body, has been ineffective since its inception due
to political interference, but
new President Maithripala
Sirisena has pledged to introduce laws making it more independent and giving it more
power to prosecute offenders.
Rajapakse on Tuesday said
he would not flee the country
and wanted to stay in politics,
while also denying allegations
he attempted a coup to retain
power after it became clear
that he had lost the election.
The new government has
vowed to investigate claims
made by Sirisena’s top aides that
Rajapakse tried to mobilise the
military to keep him in office.
The new government is also
investigating the disappearance
of a fleet of luxury cars from the
president’s office as Rajapakse
vacated his official residence.
His family has been accused
of massing wealth as they
controlled nearly two thirds of
the country’s national budget.
During the election campaign,
allegations emerged that the Rajapakse family had padded the
price of a new highway to $16mn
per km — allegedly more than
double the actual cost.
The family was also accused
of inflating the cost of a new
Chinese-built railway to more
than 12 times the actual price
at $18mn per km. An Indian
company built an equivalent
track for $1.5mn per km.
A handout picture made available by Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis leading the Canonisation Mass of
Joseph Vaz at Galle Face Green in Colombo yesterday.
day as part of a week-long tour,
his second trip to Asia, to shore
up the Church’s presence in developing nations.
The canonisation is an example of Francis’s no-nonsense
approach to creating saints to
meet the demands of the flock
for new holy п¬Ѓgures, particular
in parts of the world where the
Church is still growing.
He bent Church rules and dispensed with a regulation that
normally requires a second miracle to be attributed to a candidate for sainthood. Vaz was beatified by Pope John Paul during
a visit to Sri Lanka in 1995.
Vaz spent п¬Ѓve years secretly
preaching in the lush lowlands
before making his way to the
fortress-like kingdom of Kandy
in the hill district’s rainforests,
where he was captured and accused of espionage for Portugal
under the guise of religion.
He was detained for nearly a
year until he convinced the powerful king that he was a priest,
according to texts from the
17th century cited on a website
run by Sri Lankan Catholics.
Vaz remained in Kandy until
his death in 1711, by which time
the Church says he had almost
single-handedly re-established
Catholicism in Sri Lanka.
Some nationalists highlight
the violence of the Church’s
early years and say it led to the
destruction of many Buddhist
“The Church is legally responsible,”
Goonatilake, president of the
Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, who says Francis should offer
an apology.
572 prisoners released to mark papal visit
Sri Lanka released nearly
600 prisoners and
reduced jail terms for
others yesterday to mark
Pope Francis’ visit and his
proclamation of the country’s
first saint.
“We released 572 prisoners
who were arrested for minor
offences,” Prison Commission
General Chandraratne
Pallegama said, adding that
some were older than 75. The
sentences of an unspecified
number of other prisoners
were reduced.
“All this was done one to mark
the visit by His Holiness.”
The former British colony
usually releases prisoners
arrested for minor offences
on the island nation’s
Independence Day on
February 4.
Nepal risks a return to
“confrontation and conflict” if its
leaders fail to agree on a post-war
constitution due next week, a
senior UN official said yesterday.
The Himalayan nation has
endured prolonged political limbo
since the end of a decade-long
civil war in 2006 as parties have
struggled to complete a draft
constitution expected to cement
the peace process.
The UN’s under secretary general
for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman
told reporters in Kathmandu
that while Nepal faced “risks in
terms of opportunities lost (by)
not concluding the constitution
... there are risks that go beyond
simply lost opportunities”.
“There are risks of confrontation
and conflict,” said Feltman, who
was on a two-day visit to the
Political infighting has seen the
ruling coalition threaten to put
disputed issues to a vote in the
constituent assembly in a bid to
publish a draft document by the
January 22 deadline.
Opposition parties, led by former
Maoist rebels who waged a tenyear insurgency before laying
down arms in 2006, responded by
shutting down the capital Tuesday
and have warned of further strikes
if voting goes ahead.
Feltman said he had met with
party leaders and urged them “to
neither threaten a walk-out nor
force a vote, but rather to conclude
the process through compromise,
flexibility, and inclusivity”.
“Time, according to the calendar
set by the leaders themselves,
is running out ... it is essential
for political leaders to seize the
moment,” he said.
Despite extensive discussions
since national polls in November
2013 and the appointment of a
new prime minister last February,
parties have failed to agree on
major issues.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
P.O.Box 2888
Doha, Qatar
[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
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Fax 44350474
Tendulkar venturing
into the world of movies
After 25 years pleasing
cricket lovers around the
world, India’s master
batsmen Sachin Tendulkar is
set to star in a feature-length
movie about his life
Africa Cup of
Nations is welcome
plug for its ruler
It is not unknown for African rulers to raise their
hands when it comes to the opportunity of holding a
big sports event in their battered countries.
It was no surprise then when Equatorial Guinea, a
tiny country on the West African coast, came forward
in November to host the Africa Cup of Nations.
Originally Morocco were designated as tournament
hosts. However the Moroccan government wanted the
tournament postponed in view of the Ebola epidemic
which has caused some 8,000 deaths in parts of West
The government feared the virus could be spread
by visiting fans. However the African Football
Confederation CAF insisted the January 17-February 8
tournament should go ahead as planned.
As a result the tournament was taken away from the
North African kingdom and its team expelled.
“If we postpone this event, it will be very deadly for
African football,” CAF president Issa Hayatou said.
Most people in Africa are mad about football,
with even those who hardly have enough food to live
following important matches in front of cracking
televisions in bars.
No country
immediately came
forward to replace
Morocco, so it was
relief for CAF to
п¬Ѓnd a willing host in
Equatorial Guinea.
Its national team now
takes part although
it had actually been
expelled from the
tournament in July for п¬Ѓelding an ineligible player
during qualifying.
The country has the stadiums in place after cohosting the tournament with Gabon in 2012.
The question remains as to whether it is ethically
justified in hosting what should be a joyful sports
event in a country ravaged by poverty with, according
to critics, one of the world’s worst human rights
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who gained
power in a military coup in 1979, has ruled longer
even than Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. Human rights
organisations accuse 72-year-old Obiang and his close
followers of corruption and repression of opposition.
Lisa Misol, a Human Rights Watch expert, said
after the CAF decision: “The situation in the country
is as bad - in some ways worse - as during the 2012
“Anyone who looks past the shiny new construction
near the stadiums will see that nearly half of the
population lacks clean water and basic sanitation.”
The school and health systems are also poor. It is
estimated that 20% of the country’s children die
before the age of п¬Ѓve. Political opponents are allegedly
arrested and tortured and press freedom suppressed.
After Nigeria and Angola, the country is the
continent’s third largest oil producer.
The state press bureau dismisses the international
criticism as “absurd accusations”. Obiang needs
no promotion because his achievements for the
development of the country speak for themselves, a
statement said.
By Updesh Kapur
ast week, it emerged one of the
world’s greatest sportsmen
would be entering an exciting
new phase of an illustrious
and distinguished career.
Already a politician, writer, TV
pundit, businessman and advertising
icon, he is once again in the spotlight
by fronting the cameras for very
different reasons.
He is venturing into the world of
movies – and this is no ordinary film.
After 25 years pleasing cricket lovers
around the world, India’s master
batsmen Sachin Tendulkar is set to star
in a feature-length movie about his life.
He is to play himself becoming the
п¬Ѓrst Asian sports star to hit the silver
screen with his own story capturing
his cricket and personal life.
The makers of the movie did not
want to make a documentary or a
typical biopic of the celebrated star,
but instead opted for a feature п¬Ѓlm
after the now retired cricketer himself
gave the go-ahead to the project and
agreed to be part of it.
Bollywood, the renowned Indian
п¬Ѓlm industry, has tried knocking
on his door unsuccessfully for his
services for years, and especially since
he retired from the game in 2013. The
movie fraternity has now managed
to entice him on this project but in
no way is it typically associated with
It will not be a characteristic
Bollywood flick of music, song, dance
and colour as most movies are across
India’s buoyant film industry.
Production has already begun
by a Mumbai-based film outfit.
The two-hour epic which features
contributions by personalities from
the world of sport and showbusiness,
is due for release by the end of the
The film will track the
phenomenal rise of
An international sports
broadcasting company has already
picked up the marketing rights for the
film’s global release. James Erskine,
the London-based award-winning
writer, director and producer, has been
tasked to direct the п¬Ѓlm based on his
years of experience making sportsbased movies.
His latest project will be a nonfictional film that captures Tendulkar’s
life, his ups and downs and, of course,
his on п¬Ѓeld battles.
Tendulkar is a modest, humble
individual who hit the international
cricket circuit as a teenager aged 16.
The rest they say is history with a
career that has seen record after record
broken in the “gentleman’s game”.
Here is a sporting icon who has
packed stadiums around the world for
his elegant and masterful strokes on
the pitch.
Tendulkar retired with more than
15,000 Test runs and nearly 20,000
one-day international runs to his
name, and is the only batsman in
history to have notched up 100
international centuries.
His achievements include winning
the one-day international World Cup
in 2011 that capped a glorious career
earning him the Bharat Ratna, India’s
highest civilian honour.
With п¬Ѓlms made on sports stars
from basketball’s Michael Jordan and
Formula One’s Ayrton Senna to the
numerous over the years on boxing
legend Muhammad Ali, one on Sachin
Tendulkar is seen as a prize asset that
has been touted around for years.
Not even the stories of soccer’s
David Beckham, nor Cristiano
Ronaldo have yet hit the big screen,
but are likely at some stage.
The life of Brazilian football legend
Pele is п¬Ѓnally taking shape after many
years in the pipeline.
Having missed a release date ahead
of the 2014 FIFA Word Cup in Brazil,
the п¬Ѓlm is now slated to secure its
long-awaited cinema release soon.
Pele has global appeal, but it is
Tendulkar’s movie, likely to be simply
called Tendulkar that will for sure send
India’s cricketing fans into hysteria,
and likely to show to packed cinema
News of Tendulkar’s movie debut
comes just weeks after the former
batsman released his long-awaited
autobiography Playing It May Way
that became a huge seller in the
cricketing world.
The п¬Ѓlm will track the phenomenal
rise of Tendulkar, and probe areas of
his life never been heard of, or seen
before. From his life as a young boy
living in the suburbs of Mumbai, his
early days of school and cricket, his
life outside the game, to his marriage
and his global following will all be part
of the movie, aside of course the game
he played for many years.
It is perhaps a natural progression
for a personality of his status. But it
is likely to be a one off rather than a
stepping stone for more movies in the
Many sports celebrities have tried,
but few have succeeded to carve a
successful career out of п¬Ѓlms.
Former American football star O
J Simpson, ex-professional wrestler
Dwayne Johnson, soccer player Eric
Cantona have all tried in recent years,
making little impact.
For Tendulkar, a one-off п¬Ѓlm
should be it. He would not want to
be ridiculed for performances on the
screen that would take the shine off a
fantastic career as a cricketer.
Like Pele, who has successfully
developed an ambassadorial role
around the world for more than three
decades after hanging up his boots,
Tendulkar would do well to follow suit.
Take a leaf out of David Beckham’s
book. He has meandered his way
through a high-profile career in sport,
business, on the catwalk and in the
advertising world.
Beckham’s ambassadorial interests
would fit well with the cricketer’s
profile. Tendulkar’s appeal would
widen, image enhanced and he would
continue to maintain his legendary
status across India.
He is as much loved today as he was
during his playing days. Let’s hope
movies remain singular as a one-off
for the cricket legend.
zUpdesh Kapur is a PR &
communications professional,
columnist, aviation, hospitality
and travel analyst, social and
entertainment writer. He can be
followed on twitter @updeshkapur
Nguema has
ruled longer
than Robert
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2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved
Sachin Tendulkar: a sporting icon, he has packed stadiums around the world for his elegant and masterful strokes on the pitch.
Pentagon learns perils of social media exposure
By Phil Stewart
f so-called “cyber militants”
want to launch another social
media attack on America’s
military, they will have plenty of
targets: the US Army alone lists more
than 2,000 links to feeds on Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube and other accounts.
In the wake of Monday’s breach
of US Central Command’s Twitter
and YouTube feeds by apparent
sympathisers of the Islamic State
militant group, US officials updated
passwords and some distributed tipsheets to help bolster online security.
But they showed no sign of shifting
a social media strategy that has seen
thousands of Facebook, Twitter and
other accounts blossom as the world’s
most powerful military establishes an
Internet presence that matches the
global reach of its forces.
That large online profile carries
unique risks for the military.
“It’s their public face,” said Ben
FitzGerald at the Center for a New
American Security think tank.
“So someone sitting in Baghdad
isn’t going to necessarily pick up the
nuance that this is a non-military
network and not a significant hack.
So they’re looking silly and they’re
looking weak.”
The US Department of Defence has
“thousands and thousands” of social
media accounts, said Colonel Steve
Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. They
are seen as a fast and effective way for
the US military to communicate with
its own personnel and families about
everything from on-base social events
to power outages.
“We are certainly looking at our
systems and will refine them as
needed,” said Warren.
Although a review of the incident
was under way, he said, there had
been no specific department-wide
instructions issued since Monday
to strengthen security across social
The Twitter and YouTube breach
is far different than the one in 2008,
when malware believed to have been
crafted by a foreign intelligence
service infiltrated Central Command’s
internal computer systems.
That attack was a dramatic
illustration of the risks to military
and defence-related networks
critical to US security, and triggered
a massive expansion of cyberdefense efforts.
Monday’s hack also did not lead to
any theft or disclosure of classified
information, officials said. But it
delivered a highly symbolic blow
by compromising the social media
accounts of the military command
overseeing sensitive operations in Iraq
and Syria during a time of conflict.
It was a reminder of the perils of
social media for an institution that
prides itself on its vast security and
image of unrivalled global power.
The hackers posted what officials
said appeared to be authentic, but
unclassified, rosters of current
and retired top brass, including
some private email addresses. They
also posted messages, including:
“American soldiers, we are coming,
watch your back.”
Unlike most high-profile accounts,
the Twitter feeds used by Central
Command were not “verified”, which
would have added another layer of
security and required harder-to-break
government email accounts to be set
up, officials told Reuters.
Still, it is unclear such steps would
have prevented the hack, which is
being investigated by the FBI and the
A source familiar with the inquiries
said investigators were examining
whether cyber attackers sent
“phishing” messages that tricked
Central Command personnel into
revealing shared logins and password
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Europe must change its ways now
The EU’s malaise is
self-inflicted, owing to an
unprecedented succession of
bad economic decisions
By Joseph E Stiglitz
New York
t long last, the US is showing
signs of recovery from the
crisis that erupted at the
end of President George
W Bush’s administration, when the
near-implosion of its п¬Ѓnancial system
sent shock waves around the world.
But it is not a strong recovery; at best,
the gap between where the economy
would have been and where it is today
is not widening. If it is closing, it is
doing so very slowly; the damage
wrought by the crisis appears to be
long term.
Then again, it could be worse.
Across the Atlantic, there are few signs
of even a modest US-style recovery:
The gap between where Europe is
and where it would have been in the
absence of the crisis continues to
In most European Union countries,
per capita GDP is less than it was
before the crisis. A lost half-decade is
quickly turning into a whole one.
Behind the cold statistics, lives
are being ruined, dreams are being
dashed and families are falling apart
(or not being formed) as stagnation –
depression in some places – runs on
year after year.
The EU has highly talented,
highly educated people. Its
member countries have strong legal
frameworks and well-functioning
societies. Before the crisis,
most even had well-functioning
economies. In some places,
productivity per hour – or the rate of
its growth – was among the highest
in the world.
But Europe is not a victim. Yes,
America mismanaged its economy;
but, no, the US did not somehow
manage to impose the brunt of the
global fallout on Europe.
The EU’s malaise is self-inflicted,
owing to an unprecedented succession
of bad economic decisions, beginning
with the creation of the euro. Though
intended to unite Europe, in the end
the euro has divided it; and, in the
absence of the political will to create
the institutions that would enable a
single currency to work, the damage is
not being undone.
The current mess stems partly
from adherence to a long-discredited
belief in well-functioning markets
without imperfections of information
and competition. Hubris has also
played a role. How else to explain the
fact that, year after year, European
officials’ forecasts of their policies’
consequences have been consistently
These forecasts have been wrong
not because EU countries failed to
implement the prescribed policies,
but because the models upon which
those policies relied were so badly
In Greece, for example, measures
intended to lower the debt burden
have in fact left the country more
burdened than it was in 2010: the
debt-to-GDP ratio has increased,
owing to the bruising impact of п¬Ѓscal
austerity on output. At least the
International Monetary Fund has
owned up to these intellectual and
policy failures.
Europe’s leaders remain convinced
that structural reform must be their
top priority. But the problems they
point to were apparent in the years
before the crisis, and they were not
stopping growth then.
What Europe needs more than
structural reform within member
countries is reform of the structure of
the eurozone itself, and a reversal of
A poster of the anti-austerity Syriza party bearing a slogan which translates as “the hope is coming” in central Athens. The
left opposition Syriza party, which is committed to renegotiating the terms of Greece’s EU bailout, is ahead in opinion polls.
austerity policies, which have failed
time and again to reignite economic
Those who thought that the euro
could not survive have been repeatedly
proven wrong. But the critics have
been right about one thing: unless the
structure of the eurozone is reformed,
and austerity reversed, Europe will not
The drama in Europe is far from
over. One of the EU’s strengths is
the vitality of its democracies. But
the euro took away from citizens
– especially in the crisis countries
– any say over their economic
destiny. Repeatedly, voters
have thrown out incumbents,
dissatisfied with the direction
of the economy – only to have
the new government continue on
the same course dictated from
Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin.
But for how long can this
continue? And how will voters react?
Throughout Europe, we have seen
the alarming growth of extreme
nationalist parties, running counter
to the Enlightenment values that have
made Europe so successful. In some
places, large separatist movements are
Now Greece is posing yet another
test for Europe. The decline in Greek
GDP since 2010 is far worse than that
which confronted America during
the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Youth unemployment is over 50%.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s
government has failed, and now,
owing to the parliament’s inability
to choose a new Greek president, an
early general election will be held on
January 25.
The left opposition Syriza party,
which is committed to renegotiating
the terms of Greece’s EU bailout, is
ahead in opinion polls. If Syriza wins
but does not take power, a principal
reason will be fear of how the EU
will respond. Fear is not the noblest
of emotions, and it will not give rise
to the kind of national consensus
that Greece needs in order to move
The issue is not Greece. It is Europe.
If Europe does not change its ways – if
it does not reform the eurozone and
repeal austerity – a popular backlash
will become inevitable.
Greece may stay the course this
time. But this economic madness
cannot continue forever. Democracy
will not permit it. But how much
more pain will Europe have to endure
before reason is restored?- Project
zJoseph E Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate
in economics, is university professor
at Columbia University. His most
recent book, co-authored with Bruce
Greenwald, is Creating a Learning
Society: A New Approach to Growth,
Development, and Social Progress.
Weather report
Three-day forecast
any supermarket trolley giving
the shopper a series of open and
upright bags into which to sort their
shopping,” according to a report.
I request authorities in Qatar to urge
supermarkets to introduce such bags and
to promote their use among shoppers.
Confusing signals
at roundabouts
Dear Sir,
I feel that the flashing amber
lights at many roundabouts in Doha
should be stopped during busy
times and allowed only during offpeak hours.
Many a times, vehicles enter
roundabouts when the amber lights
are flashing, only to stop suddenly
after seeing a speeding vehicle
coming from the left. Also when
the traffic lights turn red after
crossing the amber, vehicles in the
roundabout have to stop, affecting
the traffic flow.
If the flashing amber lights are
switched off during peak hours, this
confusion at roundabouts could be
Byju Vasantha Chandran
(e-mail address supplied)
Rakesh Verma
(e-mail address supplied)
in store
Dear Sir,
Dear Sir,
Supermarket shopping is in for a big
change with the introduction of new
trolley bags which could see the end of
plastic carrier bags.
Trolley bags are reusable and п¬Ѓt on
to shopping trolleys to help organise
goods at the checkout counter.
“In one simple action, the
system spreads out and rests on
The Nato has ended its 13-year-long
combat mission in Afghanistan. Nato
forces have already handed over major
security installations and detention
facilities to Afghan forces.
US President Barack Obama has
described the Nato mission as a
success and according to him, it has
made the world a safer place.
But despite the claim of success, the
High: 23 C
Low: 14 C
ground realities are different indeed.
According to new reports, militant
attacks in Afghanistan last year had
increased by 60%. Civilian casualties
were record high in 2014. More than
4,000 security personnel had also lost
their lives in different parts of country
last year. At the same time, political
uncertainty remains high in the country.
Khawaja Umer Farooq
[email protected]
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Or Post
Letters to the Editor
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All letters, which are subject to editing,
should have the name of the writer,
address and phone number. The writer’s
name and address may be withheld by
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How often should I weigh myself?
By Dr Luisa Dillner
ow is that New Year diet
going? Weighed yourself
lately? How often should
you do so? Weight Watchers
recommend that you weigh yourself
once a week, while some dieting sites
suggest throwing away your scales so
as not to become demoralised.
Scales can seem extraordinary п¬Ѓckle
at times, with weight fluctuating by
nearly 1kg from day to day. So it is
timely that research in the journal
PLOS One has come up with the
optimum frequency for stepping on
the scales.
The answer, however, may be
surprising. The researchers say that
dieters who weigh themselves daily
lose the most weight – the average
period between weight checks without
gaining weight being 5.8 days. Elina
Helander, the lead author from the
Tampere University of Technology
in Finland, points out that cause and
effect isn’t clear. It may be that the
most serious dieters are the ones who
keep hopping on the scales because
they like what they see.
So should you weigh yourself more
often or do you have better things to
This particular study analysed
2,838 weight measurements from 40
people attending a health promotion
programme, who wanted to lose
weight. It is a small group, but the
authors say it reflects findings from
other studies, including those looking
at keeping off the weight.
Most dieters are back to their
previous baseline weight within three
to п¬Ѓve years.
A study in the New England Journal
on maintaining weight loss in 314
successful dieters (who had lost an
average of 19.3kg in the past two
years) found that those who weighed
themselves daily were less likely to
gain 2.3kg or more over the next 18
months. The authors argued that there
is little evidence for frequent weighing
lowering self-esteem or having
negative effects.
Another study, in the journal
Obesity, examined data from 3,003
people on a national weight control
registry and found that more frequent
weighing was associated with greater
“cognitive restraint” and those who
weighed in daily were less likely to
increase their fat intake than those
who got on their scales less than once
a week.
But even if you just get on the
scales out of curiosity, studies
confirm what you probably already
know, that weight fluctuates during
the week, increasing over the
weekend as people eat bigger meals
and move less.
The authors of the PLOS One study
also published a paper in Obesity Facts
(although, again, the study was small)
showing that people whose weight
fluctuated the most over the week
were actually the most likely to keep
their weight steady – perhaps because
this is actually the normal rhythm
of our weight. - Guardian News and
zDr Luisa Dillner, a writer and
doctor, heads BMJ Group Research and
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Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
QR18mn car
centre opens
in Mesaimeer
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
atar Fuel (Woqod) inaugurated its second vehicle inspection centre
(Fahes) in Mesaimeer yesterday.
Woqod chairman HE Sheikh
Saoud bin Abdulrahman alThani and CEO engineer Ibrahim Jaham al-Kuwari led the
ribbon-cutting ceremony. Senior officials of the company,
representatives from the Traffic
Department, other government
authorities and guests also attended.
In a press statement, al-Kuwari noted that the QR18mn
facility occupies a 6,500sq m
area, the second among Woqod’s
smart Fahes inspection projects.
The п¬Ѓrst centre was inaugurated
in December 2014 at Wadi Al Banat (towards north of Qatar University).
The CEO recently announced
that four new technical inspection centres, which are in the design and approval stages, will be
built in Al Shahaniya, Al Shamal
City, Al Khor and Al Wakrah. Woqod expects the centres to be fully
operational during 2015-2016.
As part of their plans, al-Ku-
wari said they will build several
smart inspection centres in their
fuel stations in Qatar.
“We also have to consider the
space that will be used in establishing these facilities,” he noted.
Al-Kuwari added that the
centres are constructed based on
the highest modern standards of
the single window system, making the vehicle inspection process faster.
“Here, you will witness how
your vehicle is checked,
we have monitors that will
show you the progress and
what may be wrong”
Some of the Fahes technical staff told Gulf Times that
it would take only about п¬Ѓve
minutes to п¬Ѓnish the inspection. These include checking the
emission, lights, brakes and suspension, among others.
“Here, you will witness how
your vehicle is checked, we have
monitors that will show you
the progress and what may be
wrong,” said one staff. “Everything is transparent.”
Fahes smart inspection centres use a centralised system of
inspection that prevents any
staff or other agencies from ma-
nipulating the data.
“This ensures high reliability
of the electronically-produced
reports since paper reports have
been completely replaced,” said
Clients, if they are required to,
can also settle traffic violation
tickets and pay insurance premiums through the single window
system at Fahes.
Woqod wants to continue developing the smart inspection
systems being applied at its main
facility in the Industrial Area and
other branches.
These systems, according to
al-Kuwari, aim to further improve the services by making the
process easier, faster and convenient.
Woqod is also currently building 13 fuel stations in different
parts of the country including
one at the new Hamad International Airport.
The CEO earlier said that they
had plans to build a fuel station
along the newly-opened F-Ring
Road. More car wash facilities
are also expected to be built to
serve thousands of vehicle owners.
Woqod thanked the public and
civil authorities that contributed
to the completion of the project.
Woqod chairman HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (centre) led the inauguration of their second Fahes in Mesaimeer yesterday. He
was joined by the CEO, engineer Ibrahim Jaham al-Kuwari (fifth left), representatives from the Traffic Department and Woqod board members.
PICTURES: Jayaram.
Woqod senior officials observe the inspection process of an SUV at the new centre yesterday.
JET FUEL | Page 11
Airlines set
to hedge for
more savings
Germany boasts
balanced budget,
resists stimulus
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Rabia I 24, 1436 AH
Mideast investments
at stake as Malaysia
debt concerns mount
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
ounting troubles at Malaysia’s
strategic investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, which has a focus on
promoting foreign direct investment
in Malaysia, have caused alarm bells
ringing for two of its main investment
partners from the Middle East, the
Qatar Investment Authority and Abu
Dhabi’s Aabar Investment.
1MDB was up in 2009 by Malaysian
Prime Minister Najib Razak “to drive
strategic initiatives for long-term
economic development” in Malaysia
and has been focused on development
projects in the areas of energy, real
estate, tourism and agribusiness. But
lately more on high-profile projects
which came under п¬Ѓre from opposition politicians and media such as the
Tun Razak Exchange, a new п¬Ѓnancial
district in Kuala Lumpur named after
Najib Razak’s father and partly funded
by Aabar, and the 200-hectare Bandar
Malaysia project, an integrated urban
development also in Kuala Lumpur,
of which one of the partners is the
QIA. The value of Middle Eastern investment in these two projects alone
is $8bn: Qatar has pledged $5bn for
Bandar Malaysia, and Aabar has raised
$3bn through its 50:50 joint-venture
with 1MDB called Abu Dhabi Malaysia
Investment Company.
However, both projects are way behind schedule, and the Middle East
partners have reportedly become displeased with the lack of transparency
in sharing 1MDB’s plans and strategies
with investors, as well as with delays
that are causing п¬Ѓnancing costs to
rise. According to sources quoted by
various Malaysian newspapers, both
Qatar and Abu Dhabi are considering
to step back from the projects, as is an
Islamic bank from Kuwait, reportedly
Kuwait Finance House, and US-based
Insurance company Prudential.
Things became worse for 1MDB
Pedestrians seen at the business and banking district in Kuala Lumpur (file). Critics argue that debt-ridden investment
fund 1MDB has become a “threat” to Malaysia’s entire financial system where 45% of sovereign debt is being held by
foreign creditors, mainly in sukuk and other Islamic financial instruments.
when the fund missed a loan-repayment of $563mn due end-December
2014 to Malaysian Banks Maybank and
RHB, causing concerns that the fund
might have trouble to manage its total
borrowings of $11.8bn. 1MDB also had
to repeatedly delay the planned initial public offering of its power plant
unit which was expected to reduce the
fund’s debt burden. However, a longer-than-expected due diligence process and debt refinancing negotiations
lead to another delay.
Early January, Mohd Hazem Abdul
Rahman, 1MDB’s managing director
and chief executive officer, stepped
down after less than two years in the
position. He has been under п¬Ѓre for the
huge debts the fund accumulated, as
well as for certain investment decisions
and high fees for consultants. Rahman
was replaced by Abu Dhabi-based Malaysian investment banker Arul Kanda,
formerly executive vice president and
head of investment banking at Abu
Dhabi Commercial Bank.
It is quite obvious that the decision
to replace the CEO with an experienced Abu Dhabi banker was driven by
1MDB’s strategic partners in the Gulf
after rumours of a possible default of
1MDB started spreading.
“It would upset lot of people including Malaysia’s strategic partners in the
Middle East if a default happens,” the
Malaysian Insider newspaper quoted a
QP planning feasibility study to
utilise Qatar’s ethane feedstock
Al-Kaabi: For the best utilisation of
Qatar’s natural resources.
atar Petroleum will conduct
feasibility studies to see how
it can utilise the “available”
ethane feedstock after the decision
not to go ahead with the multibillion
Al-Karaana Petrochemicals Project.
Announcing the decision to hold
the feasibility studies, Qatar Petroleum (QP) president and CEO Saad
Sherida al-Kaabi said it was a “step
forward aimed at promoting the
growth of the petrochemical industry
in Qatar.”
The studies will be carried out by
QP in co-operation with Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco), Qatar
Chemical Company (Q-Chem) and
Ras Laffan Olefins Company (RLOC),
with the aim to expand and further
develop the petrochemical plants
under Industries Qatar (IQ) and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company (MPHC).
“This significant step was driven by
QP’s efforts to achieve the best utilisation of Qatar’s natural resources,
particularly in the petrochemical sector and in a manner that supports local industries, and maximises its contribution to the national economy.
“Based on the results of the studies, the best option will be selected in
a manner that ensures that maximum
economic benefits to Qatar and to all
shareholders in these companies in
the long term,” QP said in a statement
Al-Kaabi stressed that “this approach would also maximise the
benefit from available synergies by
utilising the existing facilities and
infrastructure in this sector, and will
significantly reduce capital and operational costs.”
According to Reuters, Qatar Petroleum would have had an 80% stake in
the venture with the remainder held
by Shell.
Existing partnerships between Qatar Petroleum and Shell include Pearl
GTL, the world’s largest integrated
gas-to-liquids plant, at Ras Laffan.
Singapore banking source as saying.
Critics argue that the debt-ridden
investment fund has become a “threat”
to Malaysia’s entire financial system
where 45% of sovereign debt is being held by foreign creditors, mainly
in sukuk and other Islamic п¬Ѓnancial
instruments. Foreign investors also
have started to worry about the sovereign credit rating of the country which
is currently A3/A- but could possibly
drop to the level of Thailand’s Baa1/
BBB+ in case of continued refinancing
problems of 1MDB or even a necessary
bailout by the government. This would
be a huge embarrassment for Malaysia’s
prime minister who is also chairman of
1MDB’s board of advisers.
World Bank cuts global
growth outlook with
US the lone bright spot
Qatar annual inflation
gains 2.7% in December
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Qatar’s inflation rose 2.7% year-onyear (y-o-y) in December 2014 on
higher rents and costlier furniture and
garments, according to official figures.
The CPI (consumer price index)
inflation, which for the last time
uses 2007 as the base year, was,
however, down 0.3% compared to
the previous month in 2014, even as
rents remained unchanged, said the
Ministry of Development Planning
and Statistics (MDPS). From this
year onwards, the base year has
been reset to 2013.
The rent, fuel and energy group which is the most influential with
the maximum weight of 32.2%
in the CPI basket - recorded an
increase of 7.3% y-o-y in December,
2014. The index was unchanged
from the November levels.
The MDPS had said cost of living
in Qatar is set to nudge up to 3.5%
this year and 3.7% in 2016 on rising
rents, especially in affordable
housing for the low-to-middleincome segment.
“The expanding population will
continue to exert pressure on local
non-traded services, particularly
residential rents,” the ministry said
in its Qatar Economic Outlook 201416 Update.
After eliminating the effect of rent,
the overall index was down 0.3%
from the previous month’s level
and showed an increase of 1% when
compared to December, 2013, said
the ministry figures.
According to QNB projection, the
country’s inflation is expected
to rise to 3.8% in 2014 as higher
infrastructure spending will result
in a large inflow of workers, putting
pressure on housing and prices.
The transport and communication
group, which has a weight of 20.5%
in the CPI basket, saw its index
surge 1.2% y-o-y in December, 2014.
The index was down 0.5% from
November level.
The entertainment, recreation and
culture group - which carries a
weight of 10.90% in the CPI basket
- saw its group index rise 0.4%
y-o-y in December, 2014 but fell 1%
against the previous month.
The furniture, textiles and home
appliances group - which has a
weight of 8.2% in the CPI basket saw its group index soar 3.6% y-o-y
in December, 2014. It was down
0.3% from the previous month.
The miscellaneous goods and
services group, which carries 7.2%
weight in the CPI basket, saw the
grouping become costlier by 0.4%
y-o-y in December, 2014. The index,
however, was unchanged from the
previous month’s level.
The garments and footwear group,
which carries 5.8% in the CPI
basket, saw their price spurt 2.6%
y-o-y in December, 2014, while it
was down 0.1% month-on-month.
The medical care and medical
services group, which has a 2%
weight, reported a 0.8% increase
y-o-y in December, 2014 and the
index was unchanged from the
previous month’s level.
However, the food, beverages and
tobacco group - which has a weight
of 13.2% in the CPI basket - saw 0.4%
fall y-o-y and it was also down 0.4%
from the previous month’s level.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Gulf markets close
mixed; cheap oil
fuels Egypt rally
ost Gulf stock markets were neutral to slightly positive yesterday,
although negative news and earnings reports dragged down some individual
Egypt’s bourse extended its winning
streak on the back of cheap oil.
Saudi Arabia’s index added 0.7%, partly
because of a rebound in beaten-down petrochemicals. Shares in Yanbu National Petrochemical Co (Yansab) surged 4.8% after
it reported a 39.7% rise in fourth-quarter
net profit.
Yansab, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries,
which climbed 1.0%, made a net profit
of 617.8mn riyals ($164.6mn) in the three
months to December 31 while analysts
polled by Reuters had on average forecast
558.3mn riyals.
Much of the rise, however, was due to
a temporary plant shutdown in the yearearlier period, so Yansab’s earnings did not
indicate that Saudi petrochemical п¬Ѓrms can
remain unaffected by the plunge in oil prices, which threatens their margins.
Saudi Investment Bank climbed 6.5%,
having reported a 14.8% rise in fourth-quarter profit, in line with analysts’ estimates.
Dubai’s market was nearly flat but builder Arabtec, which dominated trading, rose
1.6%. Arabtec will hold a board meeting today to discuss the company’s projects and
investors may be expecting an update on its
giant $40bn project to build 1mn housing
units in Egypt.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark inched down
0.1% with a roughly equal split between
gainers and losers. Oman rose 1.0%, while
Kuwait’s index edged up 0.2%.
Traders are seen working below the Egyptian Stock Exchange bell at the bourse in Cairo.
Egypt’s bourse continued its rally yesterday, jumping 2.5% to 9,544 points, just below
major technical resistance at 9,572-79 points, the peaks in November and December.
Shares in Kuwait Foods Co, also known
as Americana, tumbled 3.6% after sources
familiar with the matter told Reuters on
Tuesday that the firm’s sale was close to
being put on hold, partly due to differences
on price.
Private equity funds KKR and CVC were
among the main contenders for the business; last September, Saudi Arabia’s Savola
Group said it had appointed JP Morgan to
advise on a potential purchase of a stake.
Savola fell 1.0% yesterday.
Americana is part of Kuwait’s Kharafi
family business empire. Shares in another
Kharafi firm, National Investment Co, fell
Egypt’s bourse continued its rally, jumping 2.5% to 9,544 points, just below major
technical resistance at 9,572-79 points, the
peaks in November and December.
Car assembler and distributor GB Auto
surged 4.8% after rising its daily 10% limit
in each of the two previous sessions, following its announcement of plans to invest $1.5bn in new factories and carry out a
$134mn rights issue.
“Oil going down is positive on the fiscal
side for us,” said Allen Sandeep, director of
research at Naeem brokerage in Cairo.
“We are expecting some major decline in
subsidy burdens for the government. And
also people are trying to gauge what might
actually come out of the economic conference in March.”
Egypt hopes to attract investment of
$10bn-$12bn in 20 projects, including in
energy, transport and water, at the summit.
Brent crude stayed below $47 per barrel
yesterday after the World Bank cut its global economic growth forecast.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Bahrain’s index
edged up 0.3% 1,426 points.
Telecom, industrials,
bank stocks drive
Qatar bourse losses
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
he Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday strolled
back into the negative trajectory, mainly
dragged by telecom, industrials and banking
Domestic institutions were brisk in selling as the
20-stock Qatar Index (based on price data) fell 0.5%
to 11,877.43 points as trade volumes also fell.
Large and micro cap equities were seen the hardest
hit in the bourse, which is, down 3.32% year-to-date.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks
was seen melting slower than the other indices in the
bourse, where real estate, banking and industrials
stocks cornered about 86% of the total trading volume.
Market capitalisation fell 0.65%, or more than
QR4bn, to QR648.52bn with large, micro and mid cap
equities losing 0.61%, 0.55% and 0.15% respectively.
The Total Return Index shed 0.5% to 17,715.07
points, the All Share Index by 0.45% to 3,049.94
points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.16% to
3,970.65 points.
Telecom stocks plunged 0.73%, followed by industrials (0.64%), banks and п¬Ѓnancial services (0.52%),
realty (0.41%) and insurance (0.07%); whereas consumer goods and transport rose 0.28% and 0.08%
More than half of the traded stocks were in the
red with major losers being QNB, Industries Qatar,
Vodafone Qatar, Ooredoo, Aamal Company, United
Development Company, Ezdan, Alijarah Holding and
International Islamic; even as Qatar Islamic Bank,
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Barwa, Mazaya
Qatar and Nakilat bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net sellers to the tune
of QR5.76mn against net buyers of QR67.37mn the
previous day.
Qatari retail investors’ net selling fell to QR6.81mn
compared to QR48.68mn on Tuesday.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net selling weakened to QR8.36mn against QR21.81mn on Tuesday.
Foreign institutions’ net buying rose to QR20.92mn
compared to QR3.06mn the previous day.
Total trade volume fell 16% to 9.13mn shares; while
value rose 18% to QR618.9mn. Transactions were
down 3% to 6,610.
Islamic Holding 2014 profit jumps 78%
Islamic Holding Group, a Shariah-principled stock broking
firm, has reported 78% increase in net profit to QR16.1mn
in 2014 and declared 30% cash dividend.
The results confirm that the Islamic Group Holdings is on
the right track and is working to consolidate its position
in the local market, its chairman Yusuf Ahmed Hussein
He said the group was reviewing its investment strategy
in the light of growth opportunities provided by the
national economy.
Net brokerage and commission income shot up 89% to
Net operating income grew 45% to QR26.18mn despite
income from savings account with Islamic banks falling
76% to QR0.44mn and dividend income by 91% to
General and administrative expenses rose 12% to
Total assets were valued at QR563.64mn, comprising
current assets of QR557.85mn and non-current assets
of QR5.79mn. Total shareholders’ equity stood at
QR67.77mn on a capital base of QR40mn and earningsper-share was QR4.02 at the end of December 31, 2014.
The consumer goods sector saw its trade volume
plummet 71% to 0.15mn stocks, value by 58% to
QR12.2mn and deals by 44% to 219.
The telecom sector’s trade volume tanked 47% to
0.81mn equities; value by 49% to QR16.47mn and
transactions by 31% to 415.
The real estate sector saw its trade volume plunge
37% to 2.93mn shares, value by 40% to QR92.87mn
and deals by 32% to 1,240.
However, the insurance sector’s trade volume more
than doubled to 0.1mn stocks and value also more
than doubled to QR8.37mn on a 71% jump in transactions to 70.
The industrials sector saw its trade volume soar
45% to 2.39mn equities, value by 74% to QR252.23mn
and deals by 23% to 2,488.
The transport sector’s trade volume expanded 13%
to 0.26mn shares, value by 6% to QR7.09mn and
transactions by 9% to 140.
The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services reported a 10%
surge in trade volume to 2.49mn stocks, 37% in value
to QR229.79mn and 13% in deals to 2,038.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Low oil price could delay Egypt
payments, says Dana Gas CEO
�Egypt considers gas imports from Israel’
Egypt is open to importing gas from Israel,
its oil minister said in state-owned media
yesterday, another sign that it may lean on its
neighbour to help tackle its energy troubles.
Egypt is going through its worst energy crisis in
decades and is seeking fresh sources of natural
gas, which powers most of its homes and factories, including Algeria, Russia, and Cyprus.
But importing gas from Israel is more controversial. Popular mistrust of the Jewish state
runs high following three wars with Egypt and
its continuing occupation of the Palestinian
land. Oil Minister Sharif Ismail said gas imports
from Israel were a possibility, when asked in
an interview by the state-owned Al Mussawar
“Anything can happen. Whatever achieves the
best interests of Egypt, and of the Egyptian
economy and the role of Egypt in the region...
That will determine the decision to import gas
from Israel,” he said.
Companies are already negotiating to bring
Israeli gas to Egypt, but any deals will hinge on
approval from Cairo. Egypt became the first
Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel
in 1979, following three decades of intermittent
conflict since Israel’s creation in 1948.
While many Egyptians still view Israel with
suspicion, relations have improved since the
army toppled former president Mohamed
Mursi, an Islamist, in 2013 after mass protests
against his rule.
The two countries also have a shared interest
in maintaining stability in the Sinai Peninsula
where security has deteriorated since Mursi’s
Egypt, which once exported gas to Israel and
elsewhere, has become a net energy importer
over the last few years.
The government has attempted to improve the
energy landscape by slashing subsidies, paying
down its debt to foreign energy firms, and
negotiating import agreements.
The operators of Israel’s offshore Tamar gas
field said they had plans to build a pipeline to
Egypt’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the
north-eastern port of Damietta, run by a joint
venture of Spain’s Gas Natural and Italy’s Eni.
Israel’s Delek Drilling, one of the operating
partners, said in November that if an agreement is signed, gas supplies to Egypt could
start flowing in 2017.
he collapse in oil prices could
prolong the efforts of UAEbased Dana Gas to recover
overdue receivables from Egypt, its
chief executive said yesterday.
Egypt, which has fallen behind
on oil payments during four years
of political instability, signed a deal
with Dana in September allocating
the company additional condensate
production that it could sell on the
international market, to offset the
Chief executive Patrick AllmanWard told reporters in Dubai that
the amount owed had fallen to
around $160mn, from $280mn in
September, and that he hoped to
clear the debt by mid-2018.
But he also said that the oil price
fall could prolong the process.
Benchmark Brent crude prices have
fallen by half since the end of September to below $47 a barrel.
“Clearly our calculations were
based at $85, which we thought at
the time was a very conservative assumption - clearly we are not there
at the moment,” he said.
He said he believed that oil prices
would rebound to above $80 a barrel in nine to 18 months.
“It is going to take us six months
anyway to start seeing significant
volumes of liquid production hitting our production profiles, so
hopefully by that time the oil price
will be in a better place,” he said.
“It will impact but it will not have
a particularly significant or severe
Egypt, which has fallen behind on oil payments during four years of political instability, signed
a deal with Dana in September allocating the company additional condensate production that it
could sell on the international market, to offset the debt
Allman-Ward said Dana was still
receiving $2.65 per million British
thermal units (mmBtu) for gas, and
that there was a provision in the
concession agreement to increase
this price if it was not commercially
“We are in discussions with the
Egyptian government to see if we
can come to an agreement to make
NCB Q4 profit rises
1.7%, misses forecast
Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB), the kingdom’s
largest bank, posted a 1.7% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, it
said yesterday, but missed analysts’ forecasts.
The lender made a net profit of 1.83bn riyals ($487.6mn) in the
three months to December 31, compared to 1.79bn riyals in the
same period of 2013, it said in a bourse statement.
This was below the average forecast of three analysts polled
by Reuters, who had predicted a quarterly profit of 1.94bn
It attributed the rise in quarterly profit to increase in operating
income, which gained 10% to 4.03bn riyals, without elaborating.
It is the first time the lender has posted earnings since it completed the largest-ever initial public offer of shares in the Arab
world in November, raising 22.5bn riyals.
Its net profit for 2014 was 8.66bn riyals, a 10.2% increase on
the previous year.
Saudi British Bank
Saudi British Bank (SABB), the kingdom’s sixth-largest bank by
assets, posted a 0.6% drop in fourth-quarter net profit yesterday, missing analyst forecasts as operating expenses rose.
The bank, an affiliate of HSBC Holdings, made a profit of
969.4mn riyals ($258.3mn) in the three months to December
31, according to a bourse statement. This compares with a
profit of 975.5mn riyals in the same period a year earlier.
SABB’s net profit for 2014 was 4.27bn riyals, up 13% on 2013,
which it attributed to higher operating income.
The bank in December recommended a cash dividend of 1.05
riyals per share for 2014, slightly higher than the 1 riyals per
share it paid for 2013.
Loans and advances at the end of December stood at 115.22bn
riyals, gaining 8.6% from a year earlier, while deposits rose 5%
to 145.87bn riyals over the same period.
National Bank of Oman
National Bank of Oman (NBO), the sultanate’s second-largest
lender by assets, reported a 29% rise in fourth-quarter net
profit yesterday, beating analyst forecasts.
The lender made a net profit of 13.2mn rials ($34.3mn) in the
three months to December 31, according to Reuters calculations based on financial statements, up from 10.2mn rials in
the same period last year.
Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast NBO would make
fourth-quarter profit of 10.8mn rials and 12.7mn rials respectively.
The bank, which appointed Ahmed al-Musalmi as chief executive in May, reported an annual net profit for 2014 of 50.3mn
rials, up from 41.4mn rials in 2013, a bourse filing yesterday
Saudi Cement
Saudi Cement reported an 8.9% rise in fourth-quarter net
profit yesterday, beating forecasts as cement sales increased.
The kingdom’s largest cement company by market value
made a net profit of 269mn riyals ($71.68mn) in the three
months to December 31, according to a bourse filing. This
compares with a profit of 247mn riyals in the corresponding
period of 2013.
(it) economically viable,” he said
yesterday, adding several options
are being discussed including either
raising the п¬Ѓxed price or link it to
prices on the international market.
Dana has been in talks with the
Egyptian government to secure a
higher price for some of the natural
gas it extracts since November.
Cairo is also negotiating in-
creased gas prices with other energy firms including Italy’s Eni and
Germany’s RWE DEA, particularly
in cases where prices are not high
enough to cover the costs of production.
Egypt’s Oil Ministry said in November it hoped to repay the $4.9bn
it owed to foreign oil and gas companies by May.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Oil recovery seen by Kuwait, UAE
Kuwait City/Abu Dhabi
il oversupply that sent prices to a п¬Ѓveyear low probably will persist until at
least the second half when demand is
set to recover, according to Kuwait’s oil minister and the Opec governor of the UAE.
Faster global economic growth will be
needed to help absorb the oil surplus estimated at 1.8mn bpd, Kuwait Oil Minister
Ali al-Omair told reporters in parliament on
Tuesday. A demand-led recovery is seen in
the second half, the UAE’s Governor to Opec
Ali al-Yabhouni told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
Oil fell about 40% since the Organisation
of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its production target at a November
27 meeting, seeking to defend market share
rather than prices. The UAE and Kuwait are
Opec members. Slowing economic growth
contributed to lower prices, al-Omair said.
“We are expecting that this situation will
continue until the surplus oil is absorbed and
the world economy improves,” al-Omair said.
“Forecasts indicate that this will not happen
before the second half.”
Opec produced 30.2mn bpd of oil in December, down from 30.36mn barrels in November, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
China’s gross domestic product climbed 7.4%
last year, the slowest expansion since 1990,
according to economist estimates compiled
by Bloomberg.
Demand for oil is seen rising in China and
elsewhere in Asia, UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. It is shale oversupply that needs to be
corrected, and Opec will stand by its decision
not to cut its crude output, he said.
Crude tumbled into a bear market last year
as oil extraction soared at shale formations
in Texas and North Dakota in the US Drilling
activity has now slowed to in “core US shale
regions,” Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Julius Baer Group Ltd, said in
an e-mailed note.
“We are watching the movement of oil price
and indeed it has reached a level that even experts did not expect,” Kuwait’s al-Omair said.
Opec isn’t planning any meetings before its
scheduled gathering in June, he said. “This is
OK because even if we now cut some of our
production it will not be more than the surplus which is existing in the market.”
Oil prices have fallen about 40% since the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its production target at a November 27 meeting,
seeking to defend market share rather than prices.
Saudi aiming to tax undeveloped land, says housing minister
Saudi Arabia’s housing ministry is moving to
tax undeveloped land, official media quoted
the housing minister as saying, in a policy that
could help to end a shortage of homes and spur
economic growth.
Much urban land in the kingdom is owned by
wealthy individuals or companies who prefer
holding it as a store of value, or trading it for
speculative profits, to the process of developing it.
The government has been considering for
years whether to use taxes to push owners into
developing or selling such land; last September
the issue was referred to the Supreme Economic
Council, a top policy body chaired by King
Housing minister Shuwaish al-Duwaihi’s
comments this week, quoted by the Saudi Press
Agency, suggested increasing momentum for
Saudi oil
with US
audi Oil Minister Ali
al-Naimi met US Deputy Energy Secretary
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall on Tuesday in Riyadh
where they discussed oil
markets, the official Saudi
Press Agency (SPA) reported.
SPA gave no specific details about the meeting in
a brief statement but said
the officials looked into cooperation on energy and environmental issues, climate
change, solar energy use and
mutual investments.
A US energy department
spokesman said in addition
to those areas, the two officials discussed global oil
The trip was SherwoodRandall’s first as deputy energy secretary.
“She chose to make her
п¬Ѓrst visit to Saudi Arabia
given our strategic partnership and our shared interest
in continuing the close cooperation between our two
governments on a range of
energy issues,” the energy
department spokesperson
US crude hit a near sixyear low of $44.20 on Tuesday.
Nicolas Maduro was in Algeria on a diplomatic push
to persuade reluctant fellow
members of Opec to prop up
a sinking market by cutting
Saudi Arabia, Opec’s
dominant member state and
the world’s biggest oil exporter, has repeatedly said
the group will not cut production.
the tax, which could provide the government
with welcome revenues to offset the plunge of oil
“The housing ministry is pushing towards passing
a law to tax undeveloped land,” al-Duwaihi said.
“The ministry has submitted a detailed study in
this regard, in which it supported fast approval of
the decision, which will have a positive impact on
land price hikes and the monopolisation of land.”
Al-Duwaihi was speaking after he attended a
session on Monday of the Advisory Body to the
government, to give details of the country’s
housing programme and answer members’
Riyadh is at the top of the list of Saudi cities
suffering a shortage of land supply, al-Duwaihi
said, adding that some of the land which the
ministry had acquired to build housing so far was
in villages and places far from urban areas.
Many less well-off Saudis cannot buy their homes
or afford rising rents. After social discontent
prompted unrest elsewhere in the Arab world
in 2011, King Abdullah announced a $67bn plan
to build 500,000 homes over several years,
but bureaucracy as well as land shortages have
delayed the scheme.
Al-Duwaihi said this week that over 750,000
Saudi families were eligible for housing aid and
that a timetable would be worked out to deliver
assistance to them “in the shortest period
He said the ministry had adopted a mechanism
to cooperate with the private sector on providing
housing. The first such project will be the
construction of apartments in multi-storey
buildings in Riyadh, he said without elaborating.
This may reflect a shift in strategy, as so far there
are few multi-storey residential buildings in the
In the last few weeks, local media have reported
that the justice ministry has cancelled ownership
certificates for large parcels of land totalling
some 2bn sq m, on the grounds that the land was
owned in illegal ways.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Al Abdullatif Industrial Inv
Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran
Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev
Al Babtain Power & Telecommu
Bank Albilad
Alujain Corporation (Alco)
Aldrees Petroleum And Transp
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C
Alinma Bank
Alinma Tokio Marine
Al Khaleej Training And Educ
Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son
Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera
Almarai Co
Saudi Integrated Telecom Co
Alsorayai Group
Al Tayyar
Amana Cooperative Insurance
Anaam International Holding
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets
Arabian Pipes Co
Advanced Petrochemicals Co
Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative
Arabian Cement
Arab National Bank
Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co
United Wire Factories Compan
Astra Industrial Group
Alahli Takaful Co
Axa Cooperative Insurance
Basic Chemical Industries
Bishah Agriculture
Bank Al-Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
United International Transpo
Bupa Arabia For Cooperative
Buruj Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Airlines Catering Co
Methanol Chemicals Co
City Cement Co
Eastern Cement
Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat
Etihad Etisalat Co
Emaar Economic City
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu
United Electronics Co
Falcom Saudi Equity Etf
Filing & Packing Materials M
Wafrah For Industry And Deve
Falcom Petrochemical Etf
Gulf General Cooperative Ins
Jazan Development Co
Gulf Union Cooperative Insur
Halwani Bros Co
Hail Cement
Herfy Food Services Co
Al Jouf Agriculture Developm
Jarir Marketing Co
Jabal Omar Development Co
Al Jouf Cement
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co
Knowledge Economic City
Kingdom Holding Co
Saudi Arabian Mining Co
Malath Cooperative & Reinsur
Makkah Construction & Devepl
Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran
Middle East Specialized Cabl
Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co
Al Mouwasat Medical Services
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudi Dairy & Foodstuff Co
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co
Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran
Saudi Advanced Industries
Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co
Salama Cooperative Insurance
Samba Financial Group
Sanad Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Public Transport Co
Saudi Arabia Refineries Co
Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf
Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei
Saudi Cable Co
Saudi Chemical Company
Saudi Ceramic
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
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
#N/A Invalid Security
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
#N/A Invalid Security
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 Kpsc
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
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Company Name
Microsoft Corp
Exxon Mobil Corp
Johnson & Johnson
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Procter & Gamble Co/The
General Electric Co
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Pfizer Inc
Chevron Corp
Verizon Communications Inc
Coca-Cola Co/The
Merck & Co. Inc.
Intel Corp
At&T Inc
Walt Disney Co/The
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Intl Business Machines Corp
Cisco Systems Inc
Home Depot Inc
United Technologies Corp
3M Co
Unitedhealth Group Inc
Boeing Co/The
American Express Co
Mcdonald’s Corp
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Nike Inc -Cl B
Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours
Caterpillar Inc
Travelers Cos Inc/The
Lt Price
% Chg
FTSE 100
Company Name
Wpp Plc
Wolseley Plc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Whitbread Plc
Weir Group Plc/The
Vodafone Group Plc
United Utilities Group Plc
Unilever Plc
Tullow Oil Plc
Tui Ag-New
Tui Ag-Di
Travis Perkins Plc
Tesco Plc
Taylor Wimpey Plc
Standard Life Plc
Standard Chartered Plc
St James’s Place Plc
Sse Plc
Sports Direct International
Smiths Group Plc
Smith & Nephew Plc
Sky Plc
Shire Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Schroders Plc
Sainsbury (J) Plc
Sage Group Plc/The
Sabmiller Plc
Rsa Insurance Group Plc
Royal Mail Plc
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-B Shs
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-A Shs
Royal Bank Of Scotland Group
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc
Rio Tinto Plc
Reed Elsevier Plc
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc
Randgold Resources Ltd
Prudential Plc
Persimmon Plc
Pearson Plc
Old Mutual Plc
Next Plc
National Grid Plc
Mondi Plc
Meggitt Plc
Marks & Spencer Group Plc
London Stock Exchange Group
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Legal & General Group Plc
Land Securities Group Plc
Kingfisher Plc
Johnson Matthey Plc
Itv Plc
Intu Properties Plc
Intl Consolidated Airline-Di
Intertek Group Plc
Intercontinental Hotels Grou
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hargreaves Lansdown Plc
Hammerson Plc
Glencore Plc
Glaxosmithkline Plc
Gkn Plc
G4s Plc
Friends Life Group Ltd
Fresnillo Plc
Experian Plc
Easyjet Plc
Dixons Carphone Plc
Direct Line Insurance Group
Diageo Plc
Crh Plc
Compass Group Plc
Coca-Cola Hbc Ag-Cdi
Centrica Plc
Carnival Plc
Capita Plc
Burberry Group Plc
Bunzl Plc
Bt Group Plc
British Land Co Plc
British American Tobacco Plc
Bp Plc
Bhp Billiton Plc
Bg Group Plc
Barratt Developments Plc
Barclays Plc
Bae Systems Plc
Babcock Intl Group Plc
Aviva Plc
Astrazeneca Plc
Associated British Foods Plc
Ashtead Group Plc
Arm Holdings Plc
Antofagasta Plc
Anglo American Plc
Aggreko Plc
Admiral Group Plc
Aberdeen Asset Mgmt Plc
3I Group Plc
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Inpex Corp
Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd
Sekisui House Ltd
Kirin Holdings Co Ltd
Japan Tobacco Inc
Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
Toray Industries Inc
Asahi Kasei Corp
Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd
Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Kao Corp
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Astellas Pharma Inc
Eisai Co Ltd
Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd
Fujifilm Holdings Corp
Shiseido Co Ltd
Jx Holdings Inc
Lt Price
% Chg
Lt Price
Dow Jones Indus. Avg
S&P 500 Index
Nasdaq Composite Index
S&P/Tsx Composite Index
Mexico Bolsa Index
Brazil Bovespa Stock Idx
Ftse 100 Index
Cac 40 Index
Dax Index
Ibex 35 Tr
Nikkei 225
Japan Topix
Hang Seng Index
All Ordinaries Indx
Nzx All Index
Bse Sensex 30 Index
Nse S&P Cnx Nifty Index
Straits Times Index
Karachi All Share Index
Jakarta Composite Index
European mining companies saw their share prices dive yesterday, with Glencore plunging 9.28% to 244 pence.
Company Name
Bridgestone Corp
Asahi Glass Co Ltd
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Meta
Sumitomo Metal Industries
Kobe Steel Ltd
Jfe Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries
Smc Corp
Komatsu Ltd
Kubota Corp
Daikin Industries Ltd
Hitachi Ltd
Toshiba Corp
Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Nidec Corp
Nec Corp
Fujitsu Ltd
Panasonic Corp
Sharp Corp
Sony Corp
Tdk Corp
Keyence Corp
Denso Corp
Fanuc Corp
Rohm Co Ltd
Kyocera Corp
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd
Nitto Denko Corp
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Nissan Motor Co Ltd
Toyota Motor Corp
Honda Motor Co Ltd
Suzuki Motor Corp
Nikon Corp
Hoya Corp
Canon Inc
Ricoh Co Ltd
Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd
Nintendo Co Ltd
Itochu Corp
Marubeni Corp
Mitsui & Co Ltd
Tokyo Electron Ltd
Sumitomo Corp
Mitsubishi Corp
Aeon Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Gro
Resona Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdin
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Gr
Bank Of Yokohama Ltd/The
Mizuho Financial Group Inc
Orix Corp
Daiwa Securities Group Inc
Nomura Holdings Inc
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdin
Ms&Ad Insurance Group Holdin
Dai-Ichi Life Insurance
Tokio Marine Holdings Inc
T&D Holdings Inc
Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd
Sumitomo Realty & Developmen
East Japan Railway Co
West Japan Railway Co
Central Japan Railway Co
Ana Holdings Inc
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
Kddi Corp
Ntt Docomo Inc
Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc
Chubu Electric Power Co Inc
Kansai Electric Power Co Inc
Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc
Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc
Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
Secom Co Ltd
Yamada Denki Co Ltd
Fast Retailing Co Ltd
Softbank Corp
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Zee Entertainment Enterprise
Wipro Ltd
Ultratech Cement Ltd
Tech Mahindra Ltd
Tata Steel Ltd
Tata Power Co Ltd
Tata Motors Ltd
Tata Consultancy Svcs Ltd
Sun Pharmaceutical Indus
State Bank Of India
Sesa Sterlite Ltd
Reliance Industries Ltd
Punjab National Bank
Power Grid Corp Of India Ltd
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
Ntpc Ltd
Nmdc Ltd
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
Lupin Ltd
Larsen & Toubro Ltd
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd
Itc Ltd
Infosys Ltd
Indusind Bank Ltd
Idfc Ltd
Icici Bank Ltd
Housing Development Finance
Hindustan Unilever Ltd
Hindalco Industries Ltd
Hero Motocorp Ltd
Hdfc Bank Limited
Hcl Technologies Ltd
Grasim Industries Ltd
Gail India Ltd
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Dlf Ltd
Coal India Ltd
Cipla Ltd
Cairn India Ltd
Bharti Airtel Ltd
Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
Bharat Heavy Electricals
Bank Of Baroda
Bajaj Auto Ltd
Axis Bank Ltd
Asian Paints Ltd
Ambuja Cements Ltd
Acc Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Europe markets fall sharply
on deflation fears in region
urope’s leading stock markets fell
sharply yesterday as deflation
fears swept across the region,
while tumbling commodity prices sent
mining and oil share prices crashing.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index tumbled 2.35% to 6.388.46 points,
as shares in mining groups collapsed
after copper prices slumped to near
six-year low points.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 closed 1.25%
down at 9,817.08 points and the CAC 40
in Paris shed 1.56% to 4,223.24 points.
Crude futures were stuck around the
lowest levels since 2009.
“It was a sea of red for European equities on Wednesday even with a cautious green light for QE (quantitative
easing) from the European Court of
Justice after the World Bank slashed
its world and European growth outlook
despite the potential benefits from
falling oil prices,” said Jasper Lawler,
analyst at CMC markets.
The rate of return on 10-year French
government bonds fell to a record low
level yesterday in the wake of weak
inflation data and as expectations
mount that the European Central Bank
will unveil more stimulus at its policy
meeting next week.
The yield on German, Italian and
Spanish bonds also fell.
ECB president Mario Draghi said the
central bank does not have many options left apart from sovereign bond
purchases to ward off deflation in the
euro area.
One possible problem for an ECB
stimulus programme of a large-scale
buying of government bonds known as
QE was removed yesterday.
A senior lawyer at the EU’s top court
found that a hugely controversial earlier bond-buying programme readied
by the European Central Bank is legal.
Advocate General Cruz Villalon at
the European Court of Justice said in
an opinion that the programme was
“in principle” in accordance with European treaties, after a legal challenge
by German politicians and academics
who charged the ECB was overstepping
its powers.
“The reason why this ruling was so
important was because of the implications it could have had for QE, which
the ECB is expected to announce next
week,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari trading group.
The euro п¬Ѓrmed despite rising expectations that the ECB would pump
more money into the economy, rising
to $1.1802 from $1.177 late in New York
on Tuesday, when the World Bank cut
its global growth forecast for this year
to 3% from 3.4%.
For developing countries which have
been the biggest contributors to global
growth in recent years, the World Bank
cut its 2015 forecast by 0.6 percentage
points to 4.8%.
The price of copper tumbled
Wednesday in reaction.
Copper for delivery in three months
plunged in Asian trading hours to
$5,353.25 per tonne, a level last seen in
July 2009. That marked an 8.0% slide
from Tuesday’s close.
“With little respite for inves-
Company Name
Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of East Asia
Bank Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of Communications Co-H
Belle International Holdings
Boc Hong Kong Holdings Ltd
Cathay Pacific Airways
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd
China Coal Energy Co-H
China Construction Bank-H
China Life Insurance Co-H
China Merchants Hldgs Intl
China Mobile Ltd
China Overseas Land & Invest
China Petroleum & Chemical-H
China Resources Enterprise
China Resources Land Ltd
China Resources Power Holdin
China Shenhua Energy Co-H
China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd
Citic Ltd
Clp Holdings Ltd
Cnooc Ltd
Cosco Pacific Ltd
Esprit Holdings Ltd
Fih Mobile Ltd
Hang Lung Properties Ltd
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
Henderson Land Development
tors amid deflation concerns and the
World Bank lowering its outlook for
the growth prospects of the global
economy, the volatility of late is set to
continue,” said Andy McLevey, head of
dealing at stockbroker Interactive Investor.
Mining companies saw their share
prices dive yesterday, with Glencore
plunging 9.28% to 244 pence, Anglo
American tumbling 8.99% and BHP
Billiton retreating 5.31%.
World oil prices meanwhile remained close to six-year lows after
major crude producers stressed they
would maintain output levels despite global oversupply, while traders
awaited the latest update on US crude
In late afternoon deals in London,
Brent North Sea crude for February delivery lost 33 cents compared with Tuesday’s close to stand at $46.26 per barrel.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February rose 8
cents to $45.97 a barrel.
Energy company shares were down
sharply, with BP shedding 3.57% and
Shell losing 3.32%.
Wall Street opened down after data
showed that US retail sales fell 0.9%
from the previous month in December,
the prime holiday shopping month of
the year, although the data were influenced by the tumbling fuel prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 1.39% to 17,369.05 points in the п¬Ѓrst
п¬Ѓve minutes of trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 tumbled
0.91% to 2,004.69, while the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.61%
to 4,632.96.
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Hong Kong & China Gas
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H
Li & Fung Ltd
Mtr Corp
New World Development
Petrochina Co Ltd-H
Ping An Insurance Group Co-H
Power Assets Holdings Ltd
Sino Land Co
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Swire Pacific Ltd-A
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Wharf Holdings Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Doha Securities Market
Saudi Tadawul
Kuwait Stocks Exchange
Bahrain Stock Exchage
Oman Stock Market
Abudhabi Stock Market
Dubai Financial Market
Lt Price
“Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The
accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended
as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank
or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on
this data.”
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Airlines to hedge more jet
fuel to lock in huge savings
lobal airlines, looking to lock in huge savings, are preparing to hedge more jet fuel to
п¬Ѓx prices as they bet a slide in crude oil to
six-year lows may peter out near $40 a barrel.
Some airlines have already stepped up hedging,
especially after benchmark Brent crude slipped
below $50 a barrel earlier this month, fuel traders
and brokers said.
In Europe, airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair are aiming to take advantage of the low oil
prices to lock in fuel costs into 2016 and beyond.
Thai Airways plans to hedge 100% of its fuel purchases this year.
“If you a sensible hedger, you have to look at this
as an excellent opportunity,” said Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at Energy Aspects.
Current crude output can’t be sustained at these
prices, Campbell said, and with “some increase in
demand and some reduction in supply ultimately
the price will be forced higher”.
Jet fuel can account for between 20 and 50% of
an airline’s operating costs, and swings in oil prices can mean a huge boost or hit to profits. In December, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said lower fuel prices could mean that
airlines globally will report their strongest profit
margins in more than п¬Ѓve years in 2015.
Still, Brent crude slipping 60% since June has
caught many by surprise.
US airlines that hedged based on higher oil prices, such as United Airlines, have had to dump losing bets and are now reviewing their strategies for
protecting themselves from oil market volatility.
“Over the last six months of 2014, very few airlines
were brave enough to go into the market and if they
did, it was in very small volumes,” said Shukor Yusof,
founder of aviation research п¬Ѓrm Endau Analytics.
At least one Asian carrier, South Korea’s Asiana
Airlines, has stopped hedging since November due
to recent price volatility, while Germany’s Air Berlin
has said it is considering reducing its hedging rate.
Now, hedging interest has picked up, according
to brokers and traders, although some airlines remain skittish because of free-falling prices.
In line with benchmark crude, jet fuel prices
have fallen about 50% over the last six months
to around $60 a barrel this week, Reuters data
“Even though hedging volumes have picked up,
they are still limited,” said a fuel trader with a Singapore-based bank handling hedges for airlines.
In Europe, airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair are aiming to take advantage of the low oil prices to lock in fuel costs into 2016 and beyond.
Airlines typically hedge some of their fuel needs –
or buy fuel in advance at pre-determined prices –
to reduce the impact on earnings from wide swings
in the market.
But many carriers, particularly in Asia, have
been cautious about hedging since 2008, when
airlines scrambling to lock in fuel costs as crude
surged above $100 a barrel for the п¬Ѓrst time saw oil
plummet to less than $40 before year-end.
And with prices dropping, airlines may see buying in the spot market as a better option than possibly getting caught on the wrong side of a longterm hedge, Yusof said.
Big iron ore miners’ supply
strategy working partially
By Clyde Russell
Launceston, Australia
China’s record imports of iron ore in
December capped a year of strong
growth, while also proving that the
strategy of the big miners is at least
partially working.
China brought in 86.85mn tonnes of the
steel-making ingredient in December,
bringing the total for 2014 to 932.5mn
tonnes, a gain of 13.8% over the previous
The jump in iron ore imports isn’t
because China is producing more steel,
with output of crude steel rising a mere
1.9% in the first 11 months of 2014 over the
same period in 2013, according to official
It’s also not because huge stocks of iron
ore are being built up in warehouses, with
inventories monitored by the Shanghai
Futures Exchange dropping to 99.85mn
tonnes in the week to January 9, the
lowest in 11 months.
The most logical explanation is that the
47% decline in the Asian spot iron price
in 2014 is displacing some high-cost
Chinese domestic output.
This has been the strategy of the big
three iron ore miners, Brazil’s Vale and
the Anglo-Australian pair of Rio Tinto and
BHP Billiton.
Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have
repeatedly argued that the ultimate
impact of the massive expansions of
their Western Australia mines would be
to force high-cost producers to leave the
This has already been seen in producers
outside China, with smaller miners in
Australia and elsewhere struggling to
compete with the big three.
It now appears to be working in China as
well, with even the notoriously unreliable
official iron ore output numbers showing
production dropped 7.5% in November
from the year-earlier month.
The issue for the big three miners is
whether enough high-cost production
is being displaced, and it’s here that the
doubts lie.
The gap between the increase in China’s
iron ore imports and the gain in its steel
output is about 11 percentage points.
A rough calculation implies that this
means that just over 100mn tonnes of
domestic iron ore output, on the basis
of an iron content of 62%, has been
displaced by imports.
This sounds significant, but pales
when compared to the 400mn tonnes
of additional supply the big three are
bringing to the market within the next
three years.
Some of this new supply hit the market
last year, with severe consequences
for the spot price, which dropped to
a five-year low of $65.60 a tonne on
December 23, from which it has risen only
marginally to $67.90 on Tuesday.
With more supply coming onstream in
the next few years, the large miners must
be hoping that more high-cost operations
are forced to shut down.
While many smaller iron ore miners
are undoubtedly doing it tough, the
experience from the coal sector shows
that output is slow to leave the market,
even though it’s loss-making.
More Chinese domestic production
may be idled, but the bigger mines,
which are largely owned by the statecontrolled steel companies, are likely to
keep going.
Production in other parts of the world
may also drop, but it’s unlikely this will
be by enough to offset the increase in
China’s detailed import figures for iron
ore show that shipments from Australia
rose 30.7% in the first 11 months of 2014
from the same period in 2013, while those
from Brazil gained 11%.
This does confirm that the low-cost
output of Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Vale,
and to a lesser extent of fourth-ranked
miner Fortescue Metals Group is winning
market share.
But they aren’t the only winners, with
Sierra Leone boosting exports to China
by 52.4% and Ukraine by 11.4%.
While their total iron ore exports to China
are tiny compared to those from Australia
and Brazil, it does show that smaller
producers still appear able to compete
with the big three.
This means that iron ore prices may have
further to fall if the big three really are
determined to use their low-cost supply
to drive competitors out of the market.
Of course, they could be rescued by
a strong rise in steel demand, but this
seems unlikely, even if China does
accelerate some infrastructure projects in
order to bolster economic growth.
The more likely scenario is that the
oversupply of iron ore continues to
grow, making a price recovery a distant
Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. The
views expressed are his own.
Air India, for instance, which goes largely unhedged, projected it could shave as much as
$375mn off its annual fuel costs of about $1.5bn
based on savings made since prices started to fall
in June 2014, according to its director of п¬Ѓnance S
Venkat. Still, Air India is starting to consider hedging between 30 and 40% of its fuel needs, or about
300,000 barrels a quarter at current jet fuel prices,
Venkat said.
Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Thai Airways are also
among those looking to use the low oil price to
extend their hedges. Aer Lingus said last week it
had increased its hedging, with 90% of its require-
ments for 2015 now hedged at an average jet fuel
price of $830 per tonne (about $104 a barrel), compared with $954 a tonne for 2014.
Ryanair said in December, that in addition to
current hedges, it was hedging 20% of its fuel purchases in the п¬Ѓrst half of the year to March 2017 at
about $810 per tonne.
Other carriers – including Korean Airlines
along with Europe’s biggest airlines Lufthansa,
British Airways owner IAG and Air France-KLM
Group – have said they are not planning major
changes to their hedging strategies in response to
oil price falls.
China allows full
foreign ownership
of e-comm firms
in Shanghai FTZ
China has allowed foreign
investors to fully own
e-commerce companies in
Shanghai’s free trade zone
as part of a pilot scheme,
the official Xinhua news
agency said yesterday,
citing the Ministry of
Industry and Information
Foreign investors
previously required a
Chinese joint-venture
partner to operate an
e-commerce firm in the
highly competitive market.
The pilot scheme could
provide an easier route
for overseas companies to
enter the ring and fight for
a slice of one of the world’s
biggest e-commerce
authorities in Shanghai
will regulate the scheme
and the foreign investors,
according to a Ministry of
Industry and Information
Technology (MIIT)
statement reported by
Since the launch of the
free trade zone (FTZ) in
September 2013, policy
makers have trumpeted
reforms and relaxed
regulations to boost
China’s e-commerce
industry, dominated by
Alibaba Group Holding
But foreign e-commerce
firms have struggled in
China against the likes of
Alibaba and No.2
Inc Inc only
holds a sliver of the market,
while eBay Inc pulled out of
the country in 2006 after a
long and bitter battle with
In August, Amazon said it
would set up shop in the
Shanghai free trade zone,
hoping to benefit from less
stringent trade regulations
to sell a wider range of
products in the country.
Going in the opposite
direction, Alibaba has
been making forays into
the US, as it looks to link
up American retailers and
merchants with Chinese
Samsung launches Tizen
smartphone in India
Seoul/New Delhi
outh Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co has launched the
п¬Ѓrst smartphone powered by
its Tizen operating system, a major
development in the tech giant’s aim
to build a software ecosystem to rival Google Inc’s Android.
The Z1 device went on sale in
India yesterday for Rs5,700 ($92)
each, targeting first-time smartphone buyers, the world’s No.1
smartphone maker said in a statement. The no-nonsense handset –
one of Samsung’s cheapest – sports
a 4-inch display, a plastic body and
a simplified user interface.
The launch is a key step in the
company’s strategy to break free
from the Android platform, which
powers Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices and most other smartphones on the market.
At less than $100, the Z1 will be
able to compete with low-price
offerings by manufacturers like
Micromax Infomatics in India.
The price will also help convince
first-time smartphone buyers to
try a Tizen-powered device, analysts said.
“Samsung has better chances of
success with п¬Ѓrst-time smartphone
users, who may have limited exposure to the huge ecosystem offerings
from Android or (Apple Inc’s ) iOS,”
IDC analyst Kiranjeet Kaur said
ahead of the launch.
While India is already the world’s
third-biggest market for smartphones, most consumers in the
country do not yet own one of the
devices, meaning the growth potential is huge.
A Samsung spokeswoman said
the п¬Ѓrm had not decided whether
to launch the Z1 in any other countries. Samsung is however pushing
to grow Tizen on other platforms
such as televisions.
Until now, Tizen has been deployed only in Samsung smartwatches and cameras, leading
some analysts to doubt if it would
ever power devices in the crucial
Hyun Chil Hong, president and chief executive of Samsung India (right), and Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi
hold the company’s new Z1 smartphones at its launch in New Delhi yesterday.
smartphone business. The mobile
division as a whole accounted for
about 68% of the firm’s operating
profit in 2013. Delays in a Tizen
smartphone launch undermined
confidence and dissuaded thirdparty developers from creating
software applications needed to
populate a Tizen ecosystem. Samsung says more than 1,000 apps
will be available for download
in the Tizen Store – a tiny fraction of the number of offerings on
Google Play. The Z1 comes with
pre-installed apps and web links
to services like, Flip-
kart, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
Yahoo and YouTube.
Z1 buyers will also get free data
from Indian mobile operators Reliance Communications and Aircel
for six months, as well as free music and video content worth a combined Rs1,750 per year.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Sunrise to raise $1.3bn
in Swiss market debut
wiss mobile telecoms company
Sunrise plans to raise around
1.35bn Swiss francs ($1.3bn)
in a stock market debut, potentially
Switzerland’s biggest flotation since
Switzerland’s No.2 telecoms operator behind Swisscom said yesterday the
move – the latest planned capital raising in a lively start to 2015 for European
equity markets – would help to cut its
A person familiar with the matter
said it could also make it easier in the
longer term for the п¬Ѓrm to merge with
Orange Switzerland to create a stronger
competitor to Swisscom, though the
source added there were no current
plans for this.
Orange Switzerland was recently
bought by telecoms tycoon Xavier
Niel’s NJJ Capital.
Sunrise said it expected the initial
public offering (IPO) to take place in the
п¬Ѓrst six months of 2015, but declined to
be more specific or indicate how much
shares would cost.
The source said the listing would be
in three to four weeks if everything ran
smoothly, adding the shares were likely
to be priced at a modest discount to
Swisscom’s enterprise value (equity plus debt) is around eight times its
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). Using the same multiple, Sunrise would
be valued at more than 5bn francs, the
source said.
If it goes ahead as planned, the IPO
would be Switzerland’s biggest since
Petroplus’ flotation in November 2006,
according to data from the SIX Swiss
Sunrise was bought by private equity
п¬Ѓrm CVC in 2010 for 3.3bn francs, and
People walk past an outlet of Sunrise in Zurich. Swiss mobile telecoms company plans to raise around $1.3bn in a stock market debut, potentially Switzerland’s biggest
flotation since 2006.
over the last three years has invested
more than 1bn francs in its network.
CVC will make shares available in a
so-called greenshoe, which, if exercised in full, would increase the IPO
size by a standard 15%.
Sunrise said it was unclear whether
CVC would retain a majority stake after
the IPO.
Sunrise plans a dividend of 135mn
francs for 2015 which will be paid in
2016. From 2016, it hopes to achieve a
dividend pay-out ratio of at least 65%
of equity free cash flow.
For 2014, it expects 2-3% year-onyear growth in revenue and adjusted
Deutsche Bank and UBS are joint
global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the IPO, with Morgan Stanley
and Berenberg additional joint bookrunners. Vontobel is co-lead manager,
while Lilja & Co is the independent adviser to CVC and Sunrise.
�No major hurdles to ECB bond-buying’
European Central Bank bondbuying plan floated in 2012
would not break EU law subject
to certain conditions, a top adviser to
the European Union’s highest court
said yesterday.
Pedro Cruz Villalon, advocate general at the court, said while the ECB
was entitled to buy bonds and that the
scheme outlined was “necessary” and
“proportionate”, it would first have to
spell out its justification and remove
itself from any direct aid programme
to a eurozone member state.
That would make it difficult for the
ECB to continue as a member of the
troika of inspectors that supervises
Greece and Cyprus with an emergency aid programme if they were also to
benefit from bond-buying.
“The Advocate General ... considers that the OMT programme is necessary as well as proportionate in the
strict sense, since the ECB does not
assume a risk that will necessarily
make it vulnerable to insolvency,” the
court said in a statement.
Although yesterday’s opinion looks
at a bond-buying blueprint from
2012, designed at the height of the
crisis to avert a break-up of the euro,
it could shape future QE (quantitative
easing) to buy state bonds in order to
avert deflation.
The adviser’s opinion is another
milestone in a long-running dispute
about printing money between the
ECB and Germany, the largest member of the 19-country bloc.
The ECB is on the verge of announcing a scheme as soon as next
week to buoy falling prices and put
the struggling economy back on a
steady footing. The adviser fired a
shot across the bows of the German
Constitutional Court, which had referred the question to Europe’s top
court, saying it was hard for courts to
call the ECB into question as they had
little expertise to do so.
Indian equities drop on metal shares
Indian stocks fell for the second day, led by metalmakers,
after copper-led commodities to a 12-year low.
Sesa Sterlite, the nation’s biggest copper refiner, slumped to
its lowest level since May, while aluminium producer Hindalco
Industries tumbled the most in four months. ITC, the largest
tobacco company, slid the most since November after a
report that the health ministry may ban sales of single or
loose cigarettes. Hindustan Unilever rose to a record.
The S&P BSE Sensex lost 0.3% to 27,346.82 at the close.
Copper and oil headed for their lowest prices since 2009 as
the World Bank cut its global growth outlook, citing weak
growth in Europe and China. The rout in commodities may
boost the appeal of bonds versus riskier emerging-market
equities, according to ETX Capital, a London-based brokerage.
“As global growth concerns get highlighted more and more
people are going to push money away from emerging
markets into very boring treasuries and ultra-safe assets,”
Joe Rundle, the head of trading at ETX, told Bloomberg TV
India yesterday. “It’s almost a stampede out of commodities
at the moment.” Foreigners sold $312mn of local shares so far
this year, versus a net inflow of $16bn in 2014. Indian stocks
and bonds may attract about $18bn to $20bn in 2015, versus
last year’s combined inflows of $42.5bn, according to Credit
Suisse Group AG.Sesa Sterlite plunged 8.1% to its lowest since
May 9, while Hindalco tumbled 6.3%, the most since August
25. Tata Steel decreased 3.7%. The S&P BSE Metal Index
declined 3.5% to its lowest level since May 7 and the biggest
loss among the 13 sectoral indexes compiled by the BSE.
ITC decreased 3.4%, the most since November 25. India’s
health ministry is also seeking to raise the fine on smoking
in public places, Press Trust of India reported, citing no one.
Rival Godfrey Phillips India Ltd fell 1.9%.
Hindustan Unilever jumped 4.5%, taking the month’s rally
to 22%, the best start to the year since at least 1991, data
compiled by Bloomberg show. The Sensex has dropped
0.6% so far this year and is valued at 15.1 times projected
12-month earnings, compared with the MSCI Emerging
Markets Index’s multiple of 11.2.
Myanmar to open п¬Ѓrst stock exchange
yanmar’s deputy finance
minister has said the country will launch its п¬Ѓrst official stock exchange by October, as the
emerging economy takes another step
towards opening up after decades of
Maung Maung Thein said the former
junta-run nation was on track to launch
the bourse in the country’s main commercial hub of Yangon.
“Our target date is October 2015 at
the latest. But it may be earlier,” he
told AFP on Tuesday from the capital
Naypyidaw, adding that “no more than
five companies” would be listed on the
stock exchange to begin with.
Myanmar’s central bank signed a
joint venture agreement with Japan
Exchange Group and Daiwa Institute
of Research, the research arm of Daiwa
Securities Group, last month to set up
and run the Yangon Stock Exchange
following years of discussions.
Myanma Economic Bank will own
the controlling 51%-stake in the Yangon Stock Exchange Joint-Venture
Company with the remainder divided
between the Japanese partners, the
state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar reported yesterday.
The newspaper quoted Maung
Maung Thein as saying Myanmar was
one of only nine countries in the world,
including North Korea and Brunei,
without a stock exchange.
“The ECB must have a broad discretion when framing and implementing the EU’s monetary policy,
and the courts must exercise a considerable degree of caution when
reviewing the ECB’s activity, since
they lack the expertise and experience which the ECB has in this area,”
the statement said.
However, it may limit ECB President Mario Draghi’s room for manoeuvre as he tries to make good a
promise to do �whatever it takes’ to
save the euro.
Opponents of QE may seize upon
the judgment that the OMT programme was designed in a way that
the ECB would not take on risk that
could make it vulnerable to insolvency. That could raise a question
about an open-ended bond-buying
programme with new money and potential losses the ECB could suffer
if those bonds were defaulted upon.
One option being considered is for
eurozone national central banks to do
the bond-buying rather than the ECB.
The euro tumbled after the court
opinion was published, as investors
took the view that the ECB could push
ahead with its plans without much
“There is nothing in this ruling
that blocks QE,” said Marc Ostwald,
a strategist at ADM Investor Services
bounce on
bets asset
sale to be
Shares in Portugal Telecom
jumped yesterday on
speculation shareholders will
ultimately approve the sale
of its former operations by
its merger partner, Brazil’s Oi,
without raising the risk of the
merger’s reversal.
Shareholders on Monday
postponed a meeting to
decide on the €7.4bn ($8.7bn)
sale of assets by Oi to Altice.
But they refused to cancel
it or modify the agenda of
the next meeting to vote
on dissolving the merger,
as proposed by Portugal
Telecom’s workers union and
the assembly chairman at
one point.
The initial reaction to the
postponement to January 22
was to sell off Oi and Portugal
Telecom shares, but the latter
recouped most of their initial
losses on Tuesday to close
only about 2% lower, after two
sessions in which trade was
“Looks like the market’s bet is
that the most likely scenario
is that shareholders will
approve the sale at the next
meeting without reversing
the merger,” said Sergio
Vieira, a trader at brokerage
Orey Financial in Lisbon.
Portugal Telecom’s only
valuable asset after the
merger would be its 25.6%
stake in the enlarged Oi,
which should benefit from
the sale and help Portugal
Telecom’s valuation.
“It’s a convoluted way around,
but the asset sale ultimately
helps PT,” said Allan Nichols,
senior analyst at research firm
The sale would give Oi more
flexibility and muscle for a
telecom sector consolidation
in Brazil and should pave the
way for further disposals of
former PT assets in Africa
and Asia.
“All that should get the
sentiment improving for Oi
and help PT ... At this point
your best bet is to vote for
the deal. They don’t have a
lot of choice. Anything else
it’s ugly, especially unwinding
the merger, which would be
really difficult,” Nichols said.
Portuguese media and
telecom holding company
Ongoing, which is a major
shareholder in Portugal
Telecom, said it saw no valid
alternative to the asset sale
and the merger is not at
Asian bourses hurt as
oil prices fall further
il prices fell further yesterday, heading to six-year lows,
while crude’s weakness continues to test investor confidence,
pushing the yen up and weighing on
Asian equities.
The euro edged up against the dollar after diving Tuesday on comments
from a key member of the European
Central Bank that fanned expectations
it will unveil a bond-buying scheme at
its policy meeting next week.
On oil markets US benchmark West
Texas Intermediate for February was
down 58 cents at $45.31, a level not
seen since March 2009, and Brent
slipped 54 cents to $46.05, its lowest
since April 2009.
Both contracts were hammered
Tuesday after two members of Opec
said the cartel could not prevent
prices from plunging further, despite
losing more than 50% since June.
Ministers from the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait also said prices could
drop further unless there was a cut in
booming shale oil output in the US.
Analysts say richer Opec members
– such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia –
have been ready to accept falls in the
hope they will force higher-cost shale
producers out of the market. The weak
prices have hit buying sentiment for
global equities, with the Dow, S&P 500
and Nasdaq all sinking in New York.
Tokyo tumbled 1.71%, or 291.75
points, to п¬Ѓnish at 16,795.96, while
Sydney sank 0.95%, or 51.1 points, to
5,353.6 and Seoul fell 0.18%, or 3.48
points, to 1,913.66. Shanghai – which
surged more than 50% last year on
hopes for government measures to
boost the economy – fell 0.40%, or
12.86 points, to end at 3,222.44, while
Hong Kong slipped 0.43%, or 103.37
points, to 24.112.60.
On currency markets a flight to safer investments saw the yen advance.
The dollar was at 117.14 yen yesterday, down from 117.90 yen in New
York and well off rates above 118 yen
seen in Tokyo earlier Tuesday. The
euro was at 138.35 yen compared with
138.84 yen in US trade.
“The drop in oil prices is quite
severe, so whenever there’s some
weakness in oil we tend to see risk
aversion,” Hiroichi Nishi, an equities
manager at SMBC Nikko Securities
Inc in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
“It’s also heightening concerns of
a negative influence on materials and
infrastructure-related industries in
the US, which would lower inflation
and push out the timing of a possible
interest-rate hike.”
The euro edged up against the dollar, buying $1.1800 against $1.1777 in
US trade.
The single currency took a hit on
Tuesday after Ewald Nowotny, a governor of the Austrian central bank and a
member of the ECB governing council,
highlighted the need for policy makers
to tackle the threat of deflation.
“It is important that one takes deflation risks seriously and addresses
them,” Nowotny said, according to
Bloomberg News, adding that the
bank was weighing several stimulus
measures. “We shouldn’t wait too
long with a reaction.”
Analysts said the remarks were a
sign the ECB may act when it meets
on January 22, in part because Nowotny is not known for being particularly interventionist.
Gold, meanwhile, was $1,228.48 an
ounce, compared with $1,238.84 on
In other markets, Bangkok fell
0.76%, or 11.73 points, to 1,523.24;
Malaysia’s main stock index dropped
0.39%, or 6.89 points, to end at
1,742.01; Jakarta closed down 1.05%,
or 54.69 points, at 5,159.67; Singapore down 0.45%, or 14.91 points, at
3,326.16; Taipei shed 0.56%, or 51.57
points, to 9180.23; Wellington added
12.02 points, to 5,648.63 and Manila
surged 91.88 points, to 7,490.88.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Japan’s govt approves
record $812bn budget
Spending at record ВҐ96.34tn; new debt at
ВҐ36.86tn; tax income seen at 24-yr high of
ВҐ54.53tn due to recovery; Japan seen to halve
deficit; budget-balancing goal still distant;
budget highlights balancing act for growth
and fiscal reform
apanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet
approved yesterday a record $812bn budget for
the п¬Ѓscal year starting on April 1, while cutting
new borrowing for a third straight year in a bid to
balance growth and п¬Ѓscal reform.
The ВҐ96.34tn ($812.45bn) general-account
budget draft, the third since Abe swept to power in
late 2012, marks a rise from this fiscal year’s initial
¥95.88tn, reflecting higher welfare spending and
military outlays.
A projected rise in tax revenue to a 24-year high of
ВҐ54.53tn on an expected economic recovery allows
Tokyo to cut new bond issuance to a six-year low of
ВҐ36.86tn. That accounts for 38.3% of the budget, a
six-year low.
With Japan’s public debt above twice its gross domestic product (GDP), the industrial world’s heaviest burden, Abe sought to restore fiscal health while
lifting growth in the world’s third largest economy.
“I believe the budget will contribute to achieving economic revival and fiscal consolidation at the
same time,” Abe told reporters.
Abe said Japan is on course to meet his promise of
halving the primary budget deficit – excluding new
bond sales and debt servicing – in the next fiscal
year from levels seen in 2010/11. But the improvement is largely a result of the tax revenue windfall
from rising corporate profits under the easy-money
policies of “Abenomics.”
Fitch Ratings last month threatened to cut its A
plus rating on Japan’s government debt if the budget
did not offset revenue from Abe’s delay of a planned
sales-tax hike.
“This budget underlines slowness in fiscal consolidation and it highlights the risk of relying too
much on growth to cover rising spending,” said Yasuhide Yajima, chief economist at NLI Research Institute. “It’s impossible to achieve a primary budget
balance without credible measures for spending
An elderly woman pushes a walking aid as she walks on a street at Tokyo’s Sugamo district. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved yesterday
a record $812bn budget for the coming fiscal year.
restraint.” Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at
Nomura Securities, said the budget is neutral for
his 2.2% GDP growth forecast for next п¬Ѓscal year.
The budget projects the primary budget deficit will
narrow by ВҐ4.6tn to ВҐ13.4tn. But Finance Ministry
projections show that without further efforts, the
Long, tough road
to make India
�easiest’ place
to do business
New Delhi
arendra Modi may have
pledged to make India the
“easiest” place to do business
but experts remain sceptical about
how the prime minister intends to
overcome obstacles such as corruption, red tape and an arduous tax regime.
Hundreds of executives gathered
this week in Modi’s longtime fiefdom of Gujarat to hear him promise
to transform India’s business climate,
with “unlimited” reforms designed to
attract foreign investment.
Everyone from World Bank president Jim Yong Kim to US Secretary
of State John Kerry publicly heaped
praise on Modi’s efforts to kickstart
economic growth since his rightwing party stormed to power at elections in May.
But behind the scenes at the major
“Vibrant Gujarat” summit, the mood
among some was more cautious while
economists rattled off a string of substantial reforms the government still
needs to tackle.
India currently ranks 142 out of 189
on the World Bank’s “ease of doing
business survey”, behind its arch rival Pakistan, and even dropping two
places on the list last year.
Kerry hailed Modi as a “visionary”
in his address at the summit, enthused
by his government’s promises to cut a
swathe through red tape and simplify
a tax regime that often leaves foreign
business in despair.
But, speaking on the sidelines of the
gathering, one of Kerry’s own officials
struck a more cautious wait-and-see
note. “I think there are companies who
are sort of watching to make sure that
what’s projected actually happens,” a
senior US State Department official
said in the Gujarati capital Gandhinagar.
“And there’s no reason to believe
it won’t, but at the same time these
are very entrenched things that take
a while to change,” he said.
Also speaking at the three-day
gathering, Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley defended his government’s
pace of reforms so far and stressed
that Modi’s pledge to make India the
“easiest” place to do business was
not an empty slogan.
Jaitley pointed to moves to fasttrack changes to land purchases – a
major business bugbear – and steps
to introduce a national sales tax to
replace myriad confusing duties imposed by state and national governments. “I see investments significantly moving up in days to come,”
said Jaitley.
Economist Rajiv Kumar applauded Modi’s efforts but said more was
needed to remove cumbersome and
often opaque rules and regulations for
every kind of business, from private
schools to major industries, operating in India. Kumar also said India’s
notoriously inert and labyrinthine
bureaucracy charged with imposing
those regulations needed to be overhauled.
“It’s a paradigm shift that’s needed.
It’s not incremental,” Kumar, a senior
fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for
Policy Research think tank, told AFP.
And he was brutal about India’s
“completely arbitrary” taxation regime, which he blamed for keeping international investors away
and which the government has also
promised to п¬Ѓx. British mobile giant Vodafone is embroiled in a bitter,
$2.4bn battle with India’s tax authorities who are sometimes accused by
business of acting capriciously, while
Finnish company Nokia had a plant in
India seized over a tax dispute. While
he agreed there was “still a long way
to go”, Kumar said he was optimistic
the government could transform the
economy “because India will never
have another chance like this and
Modi understands that”.
India needs $800bn a year in investments, well above the current
$200bn, to help the economy accelerate to seven% growth, the government’s financial services secretary
told the summit.
government can’t keep its promise of balancing the
budget by 2020/21.
The largest budget item, social welfare spending,
will rise ВҐ1tn to a record ВҐ31.53tn.
Defence spending also hit a record ВҐ4.98tn, up
about ВҐ100bn from this п¬Ѓscal year and rising for
a third straight year, reflecting Abe’s ambition to
counter China’s rising military might.
Despite the narrower budget deficit, the growing stock of outstanding debt will push interest
payments and redemptions up ВҐ200bn to a record
opening up
gas markets
in 2017
Japan’s $20bn-a-year retail city
gas markets should be fully
liberalised in 2017 to foster
competition and curb user fees,
the country’s trade ministry
committee has recommended in
a report.
City gas sales to large industrial
users, accounting for 62% of total
sales, were earlier liberalised
in stages starting from 1995.
Now, the committee said, the
remaining portion of the market –
more than 25mn households and
small businesses representing
2.4tn yen ($20bn) in annual sales
– should be opened up beyond
the regional monopolies who
now control it.
About 35 companies, including
power utilities and oil firms,
have already entered the city
gas markets for large users, and
the same are likely to enter the
retail gas market, too, when it is
liberalised, industry sources said.
The increased competition
would likely push down Japan’s
residential retail gas prices,
which are now about four times
as expensive as in the US.
The trade ministry is set to
introduce a bill based on the
committee’s recommendations
in the next Diet session, which
starts on January 26. Naohiko
Yokoshima, the ministry’s director
of the gas market division, said
the government and ruling
parties would make the final
decisions on how to allocate
existing infrastructure and
pipeline networks.
The committee had discussed
separating the pipeline networks
of major suppliers, Tokyo Gas,
Osaka Gas and Toho Gas, but
it failed to reach a conclusion,
leaving the task in the hands
of the government and
China’s CRCC likely to clinch
$3.75bn Mexico train project
Mexico City
hina Railway Construction Corp
(CRCC) looks poised to clinch a
contract to build a $3.75bn Mexican high-speed train system even after
its original winning bid was revoked
when it became engulfed in a political
scandal, say sources with knowledge of
the bidding.
Mexico will reveal the fresh bid terms
for the tainted train project linking
Mexico City with the wealthy, industrial city of Queretaro, which was meant
to be one of Mexican President Enrique
Pena Nieto’s flagship infrastructure investments.
People close to the Chinese rail giant
or familiar with rival bids say CRCC is
still likely to win, given its broad п¬Ѓnancing plan, its cheap high-speed technology and political support in Mexico.
Last week, CRCC, which did not immediately respond to request for comment, said it was confident of winning.
In the last tender, state-backed lender
Export-Import Bank of China agreed to
п¬Ѓnance 85% of the project.
Since taking office in 2012, Pena Nieto has courted Chinese money to wean
Mexico off its dependency on the US.
China has in recent years expanded its
footprint in Latin America and is promising investments of $250bn over the
next decade.
Both Mexico and China have stressed
the importance of the project, which
would produce Latin America’s first
high-speed trains, and showcase China’s expertise after it built the world’s
largest high-speed rail network at home
in less than 10 years.
After 16 п¬Ѓrms, including Siemens,
Bombardier and Mitsubishi pulled out
of the tender, leaving a consortium led
by state-controlled CRCC as the de facto winner, it led to awkward questions
last year.
“The process was compromised
from the outset, that’s without question,” said a person on the Chinese side
of the original bid, who asked to remain
anonymous. The source said the tender
favoured the Chinese.
The controversy exploded when it
surfaced that Grupo Teya, one of the
Mexican п¬Ѓrms in the CRCC-led consortium, was a subsidiary of a government
contractor that owned a multi-million
A suburban train passes by a house in the Tlalnepantla de Baz borough of Mexico City. China Railway Construction Corp
looks poised to clinch a contract to build a $3.75bn Mexican high-speed train system even after its original winning bid was
revoked when it became engulfed in a political scandal, say sources with knowledge of the bidding.
dollar home Pena Nieto’s wife was in the
process of buying.
The government revoked the contract on November 6, a few days before
the Teya revelations were published. It
has grappled with a conflict-of-interest
scandal ever since.
Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza told lawmakers in late December
that none of the Mexican п¬Ѓrms in the
original consortium will take part in the
new tender, and it remains to be seen
with which companies CRCC will now
An executive from a major European
train manufacturer that pulled out from
the earlier tender said the Chinese bid’s
п¬Ѓnancing made it highly competitive.
He added that his company could only
п¬Ѓnance building the trains, but not the
tracks, stations and other infrastructure like the Chinese. His company is
banking on continued public outrage to
scupper the Chinese bid.
“The financing they have access to
allows them to offer much more favourable terms than any other group,” said
Gerardo Flores, a senior member of the
Senate transport and communications
committee with Mexico’s Green Party, a
coalition ally of Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.
“I’m worried it might appear it’s a given that this group will win,” he said, adding any doubts over the tender would set
a bad precedent as Mexico’s government
seeks to open up its energy sector to for-
eign investment. The Mexican government denies the process was designed to
benefit the Chinese, and has welcomed
the decision by CRCC to bid again.
Specific terms of the CRCC financing
could not be immediately learned. This
time, though, China will offer less generous terms, said a person with knowledge of Beijing’s thinking, as it believes
its original winning bid was unfairly
revoked over a home-grown Mexican
political spat it had nothing to do with.
The executive from the major European train manufacturer said that
CRCC would be almost guaranteed to
win if it joins forces with a less controversial, publicly listed Mexican builder,
like ICA. If that happens, he said his п¬Ѓrm
would pull out.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Banks’ withdrawal opens doors for niche financiers in gold sector
Struggling gold miners are turning
increasingly to alternative sources of
finance for funds as banks and equity
investors shy away.
Stream financing and royalty deals and
investments by private individuals are
throwing a lifeline to some bullion miners
but critics say it comes at the expense of
future returns, damaging the industry’s
longer-term appeal for more conventional
They may also be keeping alive production that would not be viable at current
spot prices, delaying a rebalancing of
supply and demand. Gold shed around a
quarter of its value in the last two years
after a more than decade-long bull run.
“We have never been busier,” said
David Harquail, chief executive of royalty
and streaming company Franco-Nevada.
“Our office is now full and we spend all our
time trying to juggle which projects we
can devote resources too.”
Large European banks, which have
withdrawn en masse from commodity
trading, have also tightened gold mine
financing and equity investors have lost
confidence in a sector that squandered
money on costly expansion during boom
times but failed to control costs. Gold
companies have underperformed the
price in the last four years.
According to a PwC global survey of
gold, silver and copper mining companies,
the number of miners that were able to
raise capital in the equity market in the 12
months to November 2014 has halved and
project financing has declined by about
a fifth.
In a royalty deal, a company buys the
right to receive an annual share of a producer’s revenue while in streaming, firms
make a payment upfront in exchange for
an annual a slice of the miner’s production
at a fixed, discounted price.
The first royalty deals were done in
the 80s and 90s and streaming deals
began in the early 2000s but both have
gained prominence in the last three to
four years.
Although still niche as a financing tool,
the PwC survey shows that about 5% of
the companies polled have signed royalty
deals and an equal number has agreed a
streaming arrangement, up from around
four and 3% respectively.
Royalty and streaming firms — most of
which strongly outperformed the gold equity sector in 2014 — say they expect more
business in coming months. They see gold
prices near multi-years low as the perfect
opportunity to bag low-cost deals before
the market turns. Randy Smallwood, the
head of the largest company specialised
in streaming, Silver Wheaton, said they
had looked at twice as many opportunities
in 2014 than in 2012 and expected 2015 to
be even busier.
“Timing is everything... We do think that
we are close to a bottom here now, just
by virtue of the cost to produce metals,”
he said.
The deals on offer are evolving as
demand rises. While initially mainly
struck for by-products, now streaming
companies are able to buy the primary
product too. And while initially most of
them focused on financing new projects,
deals are now also happening with more
mature companies that are looking to
make acquisitions or to repay their debt.
About a year ago, miner Teranga Gold
struck a streaming deal with Franco
Nevada and used the upfront payment
to complete an acquisition in Senegal
and to cut its debt. A $648mn streaming deal with Franco Nevada in October
also helped miner Lundin Mining to buy
a majority stake in a mine in Chile from
The risks are great. If one of the companies they strike a deal with goes out of
business, they can see their investment
wiped out. If the metal price falls, they
may lose money too. Some have been
burnt in the past.
Advocates say they help miners cope
with a volatile market. For critics, the
appeal to such investment structures only
underlines the stresses bearing down on
much of the gold mining industry.
“We have seen some pretty aggressive
royalty and streaming structures coming
up into the market. They effectively just
keep the companies alive but put them
under pressure and essentially take away
Goldman writedown
of Portugal loan hurts
profit, some bonuses
New York
oldman Sachs Group Inc
had to write down its loan
to the troubled Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo
in the fourth quarter, cutting the
bank’s profit and some employees’ bonuses, people familiar
with the matter told Reuters.
The writedown came late in
the quarter after a December 22
decision by Portugal’s central
bank that effectively wiped out
certain Banco Espirito Santo
On Christmas Eve, a group of
senior Goldman executives held
a conference call to discuss the
writedown and how it would affect employee bonuses, people
familiar with the matter said.
About 15 to 20 people worked on
the Banco Espirito Santo deal,
but because of the way Goldman
structures its bonuses, up to 50
people in the broader group will
be affected.
Goldman and some of its clients lent Banco Espirito Santo
$835mn in July using an entity it
created called Oak Finance Luxembourg. The Bank of Portugal
stepped in with a €4.4bn ($5.2bn)
bailout of Banco Espirito Santo in
August and split it into two parts
— a new, healthy bank called
Novo Banco, and a legacy entity
that is being wound down.
Banco Espirito Santo’s collapse came after it unveiled
losses on loans made to an assortment of companies run by
its founding family. The broader
Espirito Santo group, which
included tourism, health and
agriculture companies, sought
bankruptcy protection and began liquidating last year. Portuguese prosecutors have since
launched an investigation into
the company’s collapse. New
management put in place at
A view of the Goldman Sachs Group headquarters in New York. The writedown of loan to Portuguese
bank Banco Espirito Santo by Goldman Sachs came late in the fourth quarter after a December 22
decision by the central bank that effectively wiped out certain creditors.
Banco Espirito Santo by the central bank has said they suspect
the lender engaged in illegal behaviour.
Goldman officials believed
that the Oak Finance loan would
be protected in the new structure, in part because a senior
Bank of Portugal official said so
in writing, Goldman spokeswoman Fiona Laffan said. But on
December 23, Novo Banco said
in a regulatory п¬Ѓling that the
Bank of Portugal decided not to
transfer the Goldman-backed
loan to the new entity.
As a result, the prospects of
Goldman and its clients being
repaid have dimmed and Goldman’s finance staff had to write
down the value of the loan.
It could not be learned how
much of the $835mn loan came
directly from Goldman Sachs,
how big the writedown was, or
how much bonuses would be
affected. Laffan declined to provide those details, as did other
sources who requested anonymity because they were not
authorised to discuss the matter
It’s not clear who at Goldman
Sachs had chief responsibility
for originating and structuring
the loan to Banco Espirito Santo, though such a commitment
typically has to move through
the п¬Ѓrmwide capital committee,
which includes senior executives
like chief п¬Ѓnancial officer Harvey
Schwartz and chief risk officer
Craig Broderick.
Those involved with the loan
at Goldman came from the securities division, as well as the
п¬Ѓnancing group, which sits
within the investment banking
division. The securities business is overseen by co-heads
Isabelle Ealet, Pablo Salame and
Ashok Varadhan, while the п¬Ѓnancing business is overseen by
co-heads Jim Esposito and Marc
Vice chairman Michael Sherwood and Co-Head of Investment Banking Richard Gnodde,
who together run Goldman
Sachs International, were also
apprised of developments regarding the Banco Espirito Santo
One person said the earnings
effect of the writedown isn’t
“material,” meaning the bank
will not have to disclose it in detail on Friday when it announces
results. Goldman hedged its exposure to the loan, which helps
reduce the potential for losses.
But another source said Goldman was the “lead” participant
— meaning it provided the biggest chunk of financing — and
that it wasn’t able to distribute
as much of the loan as it initially
planned because Banco Espirito
Santo’s finances deteriorated so
Goldman has said “multiple
investors” participated in the
loan, including pension funds.
After the Bank of Portugal’s decision, Goldman said it would
pursue “all appropriate remedies” to recoup money for itself
and its investors, unless the central bank changed its mind.
The reduction in bonuses due
to a bad bet on Banco Espirito
Santo comes at a time when
many traders are already expecting lower bonuses.
In a report on Tuesday, Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg
said he expects Goldman to say
it paid out less revenue to employees last year to ensure that
profits for shareholders are at
reasonable levels. On average,
analysts expect the bank to report earnings of $4.35 a share for
the fourth quarter, versus $4.60
a share a year earlier.
Trader bonuses at Citigroup
will be down 5% to 10% compared with 2013, after market
tumult in the last two weeks
of the year hurt revenue, Reuters reported last week. Bank of
America Corp is also reducing
bonuses for investment banking
and trading staff, the Wall Street
Journal reported.
Pay consultants say they expect overall bonuses in the banking sector to be flat-to-down.
the upside from the (mining) equity investors,” Randgold Resources chief executive
Mark Bristow said.
Private investment firms founded in
the last few years by industry experts are
also eager to step into the gap and invest
in the down cycle hoping for longer term
Lloyd Pengilly — head of mining fund
QKR Corp — is convinced the gold sector
holds the best opportunities in mining.
In June QKR bought the Navachab Gold
mine in Namibia from AngloGold Ashanti.
It is now in talks with a number of gold
companies for potential acquisitions, joint
ventures and funding deals.
“It is definitely fertile ground,” Pengilly
told Reuters, talking about the gold sector.
“I am seeing distressed prices, below net
asset value, and that’s a rare event. In
copper, iron ore, these companies are still
trading at a premium.”
Peugeot helped
by Chinese
appetite for
mass-market cars
Says 2.939mn cars sold
in 2014; sales of Peugeot
branded cars up 43.1% in
China; overall group sales
in China up 31.9%; analysts
say VW, Peugeot could be
beneficiaries of China sales
rench carmaker PSA
Peugeot Citroen’s 2014
sales rose 4.3% thanks
to a 32% jump in deliveries
in China, in a sign that mass
market producers were outperforming premium brands
during an economic slowdown
in the country.
PSA said China became
its largest market, reaching 734,000 vehicles in 2014,
or 25% of overall deliveries,
thanks to the addition of 100
dealership networks and as
customers snapped up midsized crossover vehicles like
the Peugeot 3008.
China is a key part of efforts
by PSA chief executive Carlos
Tavares to revive the company
after the French state and China’s Dongfeng took 14% stakes
in the company as part of a
€3bn ($3.8bn) bailout.
The alliance with Dongfeng
has helped Paris-based PSA to
reduce its reliance on Europe
and expand in the world’s largest car market where manufacturers shift large volumes
despite sales growth slowing
from 14% to 6.9% in the past
The Chinese expansion is
timely as PSA seeks to cut costs,
streamline its model lineup and
raise pricing in pursuit of a 2%
operating profit margin in 2018.
PSA п¬Ѓgures published yesterday indicated that mass
carmakers may be taking less
of a hit from slower China
sales than premium brands like
BMW, which faces demands for
rebates from disgruntled dealers.
Peugeot branded car sales
rose 43.1% in China last year
to 386,565 cars. BMW and
Mini saw sales in mainland
China rose by 16.7% last year,
with a total of 455,979 deliveries.
“We prefer mass over premium exposure in China in 2015,”
Stuart Pearson, an autos analyst at Exane BNP Paribas said
in a note yesterday.
“While growth in financial
services should support the
overall market, we fear that the
1mn plus units of new premium
capacity added over 2014-15
will continue to pile pressure
on pricing.”
China sales are critical for
the earnings of European carmakers, accounting for over
50% of global earnings for each
of the German manufacturers
in 2014, analysts at Bernstein
Research said in a note, adding that Volkswagen could be a
beneficiary while BMW may be
losing momentum.
changes suggest (BMW) CEO
Norbert Reithofer felt it was a
good time to bow out on a high.
At the risk of sounding too
cynical, it could be argued that
investors would be well advised
to follow his lead,” Bernstein
China now contributes more
than €500mn to PSA’s 2014
group profits, including JV
profits, parts sales to its joint
ventures, and royalties, Bernstein said.
PSA made a net loss of
€2.32bn in 2013 and said after
its rescue last year it might not
return to positive cash flow until 2016.
In Europe car registrations
rose 5.5% in the п¬Ѓrst 11 months
of 2014, but Peugeot sales in the
region have been been squeezed
by the increasing popularity of
value brands like Skoda and
Dacia and the expansion of premium brands.
Overall, PSA sales rose to
2.9mn cars in 2014, the company said. Group sales of the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands
in Europe rose 8.1% to 1.76mn
JPMorgan profit hit by legal costs, drop in fixed-income revenue
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest
US bank by assets, reported a 6.6%
drop in quarterly profit as legal costs
exceeded $1bn in the wake of government probes into alleged currency
manipulation and fixed-income
revenue fell.
The bank agreed in November to pay
$1bn in penalties over its conduct in
foreign exchange markets. Investigations into that and other areas of the
bank’s business are continuing.
However, while legal expenses rose
to $1.1bn in the fourth quarter, from
$847mn in the same quarter last
year, total legal costs of $2.9bn for
the year were far less than the $11.1bn
recorded in 2013.
Profit last year was hit by government penalties for failing to report
suspicions of fraud by Ponzi-schemer
Bernie Madoff.
Revenue in JPMorgan’s fixed-income
business fell 23% to $2.5bn, although
the drop was 14% after adjusting for
the sale of the bank’s physical com-
modities business and accounting
The results from JPMorgan — the first
big US bank to report for the quarter
— are a pointer to the performance of
its competitors, which are also struggling to adjust to stricter trading
rules in the aftermath of the financial
Money set aside to cover bad loans
also rose — to $840mn, from just
$104mn a year earlier.
Like other banks, JPMorgan has also
been investing heavily to improve
risk controls and system security.
The bank revealed in October that
names, addresses, phone numbers
and email addresses of the holders of
about 83mn accounts were exposed
when its systems were hacked.
Net income fell to $4.93bn, or $1.19
per share, from $5.28bn, or $1.30 per
share a year earlier. Revenue on a
managed basis fell 2.3% to $23.55bn.
Analysts on average had expected
earnings of $1.31 per share on
revenue of $23.64bn, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The results
for both periods included special
The bank’s shares were down 1.9%
before the bell.
Revenue from home loans fell by
$405mn to $1.9bn while investment
banking fees rose 8% to $1.8bn,
driven by record debt underwriting
fees of $1.1bn.
JPMorgan said it paid its investment
bank employees 27% of revenue in
2014, down from 33% in 2013, in a
record year for both IPOs and mergers and acquisitions.
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest US
mortgage lender, reported a slight
increase in quarterly profit as it lent
more to commercial and industrial
Wells Fargo’s total loans rose 2.8% to
$862.6bn in the fourth quarter.
The bank’s commercial and industrial
lending rose 15.5% rise, while its
credit card loans increased 16%.
Mortgage lending, however, fell to
$44bn from $50bn a year earlier and
$48bn in the third quarter.
Wells Fargo shares were down 1.5% in
premarket trading yesterday.
Net income applicable to the bank’s
common shareholders rose to
$5.38bn, or $1.02 per share, from
$5.37bn, or $1per share, a year earlier.
Well Fargo’s net interest income rose
3.5% to $11.2bn due to growth in total
loans and higher income from investments and trading assets.
Revenue increased 3.3% to $21.4bn.
Analysts on average had estimated
earnings of $1.02 per share and
revenue of $21.23bn, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Wells Fargo had mortgage applications of $26bn in the pipeline at the
end of the fourth quarter, compared
with $25bn at the end of the prior
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Russian п¬Ѓnance minister warns on spending as crisis deepens
Economy hit by low oil price,
sanctions; Russia needs �a radical
turn in economic policy’, says head
of Russia’s biggest bank; finance
minister says Moscow must control
Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov attends the Gaidar Forum
2015 �Russia and the World: New Dimensions’ in Moscow yesterday.
Russia’s budget for next year will lose 3tn roubles (£30bn) in
revenues if the oil price averages $50 a barrel, Siluanov said.
ussia’s finance minister called yesterday for a cut in planned spending to weather an economic crisis,
warning of a more than $45bn drop in
revenues this year if the average oil price is
$50 a barrel.
In comments underlining the government’s growing concern at the downturn,
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said all
budget expenditure should be cut by 10%
except defence, a priority for President
Vladimir Putin.
Adding to the gloom, Economy Minister
Alexei Ulyukayev said there was a “pretty
high” chance Russia’s credit rating would
be downgraded to junk and a deputy, Alexei Vedev, said he expected inflation to peak
at 15-17% in March/April.
A steep fall in the rouble, low prices for its
main oil export and Western sanctions over
Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis have hit
Russia’s economy hard, and Siluanov said
overall expenditure in 2015 must increase
by 5%, not the 11.7% previously budgeted.
“The state cannot have the kind of spending it used to have with economic growth ...
(and) with the oil price at $100 per barrel,”
Siluanov told a conference of state officials,
economists and business chiefs.
But with Russia being starved of investment, pressure is mounting for stronger
government action to pull it out of crisis.
“We need a radical turn in economic
policy,” said German Gref, the head of
Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, demanding a “breakthrough” to improve the dire
investment climate, stymied by state
pressure on business and weak rule of law.
Ulyukayev also highlighted the problems facing small and medium businesses,
saying they must be supported to try to
spur Russia’s oil-dependent economy,
which the World Bank expects to contract
by 2.9% this year.
“The global economy will never again
be what it used to be in 2000-07 and the
situation in Russia will never be the same,”
Ulyukayev said, referring to the economic
boom years under Putin when the global
oil price soared. “It will be much more
complicated. It already is much more.”
Russia’s 2015 budget was based on an oil
price of $100 a barrel but prices are now
close to six-year lows at just above $46 a
“Regardless of having already curbed
2015 spending, we will ask parliament to
cut by 10% all expenditure apart from defence spending,” Siluanov added.
He said Russia needed to husband its reserves to overcome difficulties as the price
of oil looked set to continue at low levels.
The rouble, which fell about 40% against
the dollar in 2014, has also continued its
decline this year.
“We think that with the (average) oil
price at $50 per barrel (in 2015) ... we will
lose some 3tn roubles in revenues,” he said.
Siluanov said the Reserve Fund, a rainy
day fund of around $90bn to cover budget
holes, would be increased by 370bn roubles ($5.60bn) from last year’s savings,
but Russia would need to spend more than
500bn roubles from it in 2015 to cover the
budget gap.
The 500bn, currently invested in foreign currency assets, would be converted
gradually on the forex market.
Siluanov said the ministry could invest
part of the Reserve Fund in rouble bank accounts to take advantage of the weak rouble and earn high interest.
“We need to have a lot more resources so
as not to spend, not to burn up the reserve
funds,” he said.
Germany boasts balanced
budget, resists stimulus
ermany has boasted it
had balanced its budget
for the п¬Ѓrst time since
1969 and pressed eurozone
partners to follow its austere
example rather than try to stimulate their stagnant economies
with borrowing or central bank
Berlin had been aiming to achieve the so-called
“schwarze Null” (zero deficit)
in 2015, but strong tax revenues
and lower debt service costs
due to rock-bottom interest
rates helped it meet the goal a
year early in 2014, the п¬Ѓnance
ministry said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
government has rebuffed calls
from EU partners led by France
and Italy and international organisations such as the IMF and
the OECD to spend some of the
п¬Ѓscal windfall on growth-promoting public investment.
The announcement came
nine days before the European
Central Bank may decide to
launch large-scale purchases of
eurozone government bonds in
an effort to boost growth and
avert deflation in the 19-nation
currency area.
Headline inflation fell below
zero in December, and core inflation, excluding energy and
food, was stuck at 0.7%, far
below the bank’s target of just
below 2%. Persistent low inflation makes it harder for highly
indebted governments and
households to reduce the burden.
ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure told German
newspaper Die Welt that the
bank was ready to take a decision when it meets on January
22. However, he held open the
possibility of a delay, while saying Greece’s general election
on January 25 would not influence the bank’s monetary policy
“The discussion is far ad-
A view of the Bundesbank headquarters in Frankfurt. Germany had been aiming to achieve zero deficit in 2015, but strong tax revenues and
lower debt service costs due to rock-bottom interest rates helped it meet the goal a year early in 2014, the finance ministry said.
vanced,” said Coeure. “Last
week, we discussed a lot of
technical details.”
In a Reuters poll this week,
eight out of 20 money market
traders forecast the ECB’s Governing Council would launch
bond purchases this month,
with almost all the rest expecting an announcement at the
next ECB meeting in March.
Germany’s influential Bundesbank and conservative financial establishment oppose
so-called quantitative easing
(QE) — creating money to buy
securities and stimulate the
They question the need for
monetary stimulus at a time
when falling oil prices are bringing an economic boost, and
argue that buying government
bonds raises legal and moral
hazards, and could bring future
losses for German taxpayers.
Whether the ECB presses
ahead with full-blooded QE
despite German misgivings depends partly on a legal opinion
to be delivered in the European
Court of Justice yesterday. This
concerns another plan which
ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled after he promised in 2012
to do whatever it takes to save
the euro, but never launched.
If the court’s legal adviser
п¬Ѓnds the bank exceeded its
treaty mandate by creating the
unused OMT plan to buy the
bonds of troubled eurozone
countries that accept a bailout
programme, or suggests curbs
on such debt purchases, he
could make it harder for Draghi
to push through QE.
Some ECB sources expect the
bank’s Governing Council to
approve a limited form of QE in
which the ECB would buy some
bonds centrally but national
central banks would do most
purchases of their own countries’ bonds at their own risk.
The European Commission
set out detailed rules on Tuesday for a planned €315bn investment programme over the
next three years, involving no
new public money in deference
to German objections.
Public investment and structural reforms could win limited
leeway for countries breaking
EU budget rules, it said. That
reduces the likelihood of tough
penalties on France or Italy, the
eurozone’s second and third
largest economies, when their
п¬Ѓscal plans are reviewed again
in March.
Countries that put capital
into a proposed European Fund
for Strategic Investment would
not be penalised if it tips them
over the EU’s deficit limit of
3% of gross domestic product.
However, those that already
have an deficit in excess of the
ceiling would win no indulgence.
The mood of self-congratulation in Berlin over the balanced
budget made any easing of п¬Ѓscal policy seem unlikely, even
though the German economy is
expected to slow this year.
Far from using the leeway to
invest more in creaking public
infrastructure or cut taxes to
stimulate weak domestic demand, politicians in Merkel’s
conservative CDU party said the
government should now focus
on paying down the country’s
CDU deputy parliamentary
floor leader Michael Fuchs told
Handelsblatt that Germany
still had huge a debt pile to clear
currently at around 75% of GDP,
and needed to keep saving as a
duty to future generations.
CDU general secretary Peter
Tauber said the “historic success” sent a clear signal to the
rest of Europe that Berlin was
leading by example and spending only money in its coffers.
“This marks a turning point in
financial policy: We’ve finally
put an end to living beyond our
means on credit,” he said.
Germans still harbour deepseated fears of inflation due to
the hyperinflation of the 1920s
that wiped out an entire generation’s savings, and many have
an aversion to debt.
Italy’s X’mas
shoppers help
zone’s factory
output in Nov
urozone factory output
rose slightly more than
expected in November
despite stagnant production
in Germany as Italy, the bloc’s
third largest economy, proved
more resilient at the start of the
Christmas shopping season.
Industrial production in the 18
countries sharing the euro rose
0.2% in November, following
small gains in October and September, the EU’s statistics office
Eurostat said yesterday. That was
better than the flat reading expected by economists in a Reuters
poll. Facing deflation and nearrecord unemployment, the eurozone is hoping its weak recovery
picks up in 2015, but its debt crisis has badly damaged confidence
and many investors say that only
a US-style bond-buying programme will lift the economy.
The fragility of the recovery
was evident in the monthly and
annual November production
data, with Germany, Europe’s
largest economy, still struggling
to emerge from crisis.
Compared to the year earlier,
industrial production slid 0.4%,
dragged down by Germany,
France and Italy, which make
up two-thirds of the eurozone’s
factory output and all fell.
On a monthly basis, only Italy
of the larger economies rose in
November, climbing 0.3%, its
best result since June.
The fall in world oil prices
weighed on the index as energy
production fell almost 1% on a
monthly basis. Capital goods, or
machinery used to make other
machinery and a sign of future
demand, also fell 0.2%. But in the
build-up to the busiest shopping
season of the year, eurozone factories posted the highest production of durable consumer goods,
such as televisions and washing
machines, in more than a year.
Non-durable consumer goods,
including food, also rose 0.5%.
Fourth-quarter growth data for
the eurozone is due on February
13, but the signs are that the bloc
ended the year on a weak note and
eurozone consumer prices turned
negative in December.
Deutsche Bank mulls retail float, tie-up with foreign banks
Float would separate risk-taking
from deposit-taking; it would enable
foreign bank to take a stake, says
Deutsche Bank is considering splitting off
its retail division and listing it on the stock
exchange should German lawmakers approve
measures forcing banks to isolate risky trading activities, a person with knowledge of the
discussions said.
Under this scenario, Deutsche would keep
investment banking and asset management
while floating its retail operations in stages, in
the hope of joining forces with a foreign partner willing to do battle in Germany’s highly
competitive market for consumer banking,
the source said.
Deutsche Bank said: “We have been transparent that the bank will review and update
its strategy over the course of the coming
year. It is irresponsible to speculate on the
sale of any business.” The considerations
are at a purely theoretical stage, the source
said, and being undertaken in case regulators impose restrictions that erode incentives for a big investment bank like Deutsche
to maintain full ownership of a retail chain.
In Berlin, a source close to the federal
government said Deutsche has been “very,
very busy” lobbying for a watered-down
version of a draft German law requiring divisions between banks’ risk- and deposit-taking
Some German lawmakers regard the law
as essential to rein in banks whose market
bets helped to bring about the 2007-2009
financial crisis in which taxpayers bailed out
lenders at huge expense.
One possibility was to sell part of Deutsche’s retail operation to a large foreign partner alongside a stock market flotation, said
the source with knowledge of the discussions,
who declined to be named because he is not
authorised to speak to the media.
Discontent has risen among Deutsche’s
shareholders as its share price has lagged
those of other major investment banks and it
falls far short of its profit targets, which were
already watered down once in 2014.
Germany’s largest lender began a
strategic review earlier this month, saying it
would examine its business lines and profit
targets. The bank has not ruled out selling its
Postbank-branded retail unit, which it bought
in steps starting in 2008.
A top 10 shareholder, who declined to be
named, said a Postbank sale made sense, in
part because Deutsche no longer needs access to its large deposit base.
“We would welcome a Postbank sale. The
bank was bought in a time when liquidity was
scarce. That’s no longer the case today. Today,
the important thing is trimming back and
getting fit,” he said.
In public, the bank has said that its
strategy of offering a wide range of products
worldwide was correct. “We’ve always been
very, very clear to emphasise that the global,
universal bank model is what we consider to
be the right one for us,” co-chief executive
Juergen Fitschen said on Germany’s N24
television station yesterday.
Under the scenario being discussed, a
flotation would allow a foreign bank to buy a
stake, joining forces in one of Europe’ most
competitive retail banking battlefields, the
source said. The eurozone’s largest bank,
Spain’s Santander, and French flagship BNP
Paribas could be possible participants in the
flotation, strengthening their positions in
Europe’s largest economy, the source said.
Both banks declined to comment.
A bank official said it could make sense to
sell down the group’s retail exposure gradually in a way that raises capital while reducing
the group’s exposure to Germany’s brutally
competitive retail market.
It would also distance the risk-taking investment bank from the deposit-taking retail
operation, a move some regulators may welcome as a means of protecting retail clients.
No concrete decisions have been made,
the first source said.
A spokesman for the finance ministry said
the government was considering moves to
bring German regulations closer to those being debated at the European Union level.
The EU is considering a law that would
force banks to separate trading activities
above a certain size so their collapse in any
future market meltdown wouldn’t hurt customer accounts. But some proposals call for
the proposal to be watered down.
Deutsche would keep investment banking and asset management
while floating its retail operations in stages, in the hope of joining
forces with a foreign partner willing to do battle in Germany’s highly
competitive market for consumer banking, a source said.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Qatar Airways Cargo launches industry’s first �Pharma Express’
A Qatar Airways A330 freighter. Qatar Airways Cargo will launch
twice weekly Airbus 330 freighter services to Basel on January 28,
marking its first freighter service this year.
In a first of its kind in the industry, Qatar
Airways Cargo will commence a �Pharma Express’ service this month, offering air freight
to the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
The Pharma Express service will link two
key pharmaceutical manufacturing centres
— Brussels and Basel (Switzerland) — with
the extensive Qatar Airways’ network, via
Basel has a large pharmaceutical industry
and is home to the headquarters of many
major pharmaceutical companies, while
the Swiss chemical industry also operates
largely from there.
Brussels and the region of Flanders in
Belgium, house some 146 life science companies with biotech activities, of which 50
are related to healthcare, 46 are active in the
bio-based economy and 50 are life science
The Pharma Express route will be served
by the Airbus 330 freighter and will operate
from Brussels to Basel with a final stop in
Doha on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Qatar Airways Cargo will launch twice
weekly Airbus 330 freighter services to Basel on January 28, marking its first freighter
service this year.
Qatar Airways chief officer (Cargo) Ulrich
Ogiermann said, “We are delighted to launch
the Pharma Express and our first destination
for 2015, Basel, Switzerland. The pharmaceutical industry is witnessing rapid growth
each year, and with the rising demand there
is the need to ensure that pharmaceuticals
and healthcare products are transported
with the utmost care while avoiding any
temperature fluctuations.
“By investing in sophisticated technology
and a team of highly qualified staff, Qatar
Airways Cargo can now offer healthcare
companies and their logistic partners a
state-of-the-art service for shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals all over the
world, while maintaining the integrity and
quality of their products throughout the
supply chain.”
In January 2014, Qatar Airways Cargo
launched QR Pharma — an air freight
service for pharmaceutical and healthcare
products. QR Pharma offers both, active
and passive solutions. The active solution
provides temperature-controlled containers, which are designed to maintain a
constant temperature throughout the
entire transportation chain, and the passive solution keeps the product within a
defined temperature band at all stages of
the journey.
As an industry leader, Qatar Airways
Cargo offers the fastest airline transfer
at Doha through its Quick Ramp Transfer
(QRT) solution. It is the only carrier in the
Middle East to offer refrigerated or �reefer’
truck services for ramp transfers at its
home hub.
Sensitive commodities are collected
from and delivered directly to the aircraft
by specialised temperature-controlled
vehicles, ensuring that the cool chain process is seamless, thereby eliminating risk to
temperature exposure.
World Bank cuts global
growth outlook with
US the lone bright spot
Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Tuwar is heading the QC delegation at
the GCC-Tanzania Investment forum in Dar es Salaam.
Qatar Chamber
taking part in
Investment forum
he Qatar Chamber (QC)
is taking part in the п¬Ѓrst
GCC-Tanzania Investment forum that is being held
today and tomorrow in Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania.
The QC delegation to the
forum is headed by Mohamed
bin Ahmed bin Tuwar, QC’s
vice-president, accompanied
by Mohamed bin Ahmed alUbaidly, board member and
Yahya Ibrahim, business council coordinator at QC.
The forum is organised by
the Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC), in co-operation
with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa
(BADEA), under the sponsorship of the President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete.
The forum aims at devel-
oping Africa-GCC business
relations in general and the
GCC-Tanzania relations in
particular. Officials from the
participating parties would
look into the best ways to increase the volume of joint investment and trade exchange
between Tanzania and the
GCC countries. It would particularly focus on the promising investment opportunity in
Tanzania for GCC businessmen. Experts from Tanzania
would give presentations on
the possible and available investment opportunities in the
country, where GCC investors
could play an important role.
The forum is expected to
enhance the GCC’s economic
presence in Africa, Tanzania in
Boeing says no plans
to match Airbus
with long range 737
Boeing Co said it sees no
business case for offering an
extended-range version of its
largest 737 jet, the forthcoming
737 MAX 9, to compete with a
long-range plane that rival Airbus
launched on Tuesday.
Airbus released 2014 sales and
production figures on Tuesday,
showing it beat Boeing on orders,
but lost on the number of planes
actually delivered.
Airbus also said it had won 30
orders for an extended range
version of the A321neo from
lessor Air Lease Corp The
A321neo is outselling Boeing’s
competing 737 MAX 9.
The A321neo is larger and with
longer range, there’s little Boeing
can do to improve the MAX 9’s
appeal, said Scott Hamilton,
analyst at consulting firm
Leeham Co.
“The 737 MAX 9 is markedly
inferior doing an apples-to-apples
comparison,” Hamilton said.
Boeing said both its existing
737-900 jet and the MAX 9
exceed the A321’s range so the
long-range Airbus plane will
simply catch up with what Boeing
already offers. The A321 seats 185
passengers in a typical two-class
configuration, versus 180 for the
737 MAX 9. A321neo sales stand
at 755 versus 286 for the MAX 9.
Boeing said it doubts Airbus’
market projections the longerrange plane, which aims to fill a
gap left by the out-of-production
Boeing 757. A market for 1,000
airplanes of that size is “frankly
a little bit laughable,” Randy
Tinseth, Boeing’s vice-president
of marketing, said on a call with
“But it’s a market space we’re
looking at,” added John Wojick,
senior vice president of global
sales and marketing.
Boeing plans to replace the 737
MAX by 2030 with a carboncomposite airplane that will
likely be larger. In Hamilton’s
view, that means “Boeing has
basically conceded that they
will be second fiddle in the
single aisle market sector for 15
He sees the A321 market
including replacement of 757s,
of which 1,050 were built, along
with new routes for that type of
aircraft, and replacement of MAX
9s and older A321s.
Airbus said on Tuesday it
received net orders of 1,456,
which topped Boeing’s tally of
1,432 net orders. Wojick said
Boeing aims to beat Airbus on
aircraft deliveries, since that
generates revenue and cash that
investors want.
he World Bank cut its
forecast for global growth
this year, as an improving
US economy and low fuel prices
fail to offset disappointing results from Europe to China.
The world economy will expand 3% in 2015, down from a
projection of 3.4% in June, according to the lender’s semiannual Global Economic Prospects
report, released yesterday in
The report adds to signs of a
growing disparity between the
US and other major economies
while tempering any optimism
that a plunge in oil prices will
boost output. Risks to the global
recovery are “significant and tilted to the downside,” with dangers
including a spike in п¬Ѓnancial volatility, intensifying geopolitical
tensions and prolonged stagnation in the euro region or Japan.
“The global economy yesterday is much larger than what it
used to be, so it’s a case of a larger
train being pulled by a single engine, the American one,” World
Bank chief economist Kaushik
Basu told reporters on a conference call. “This does not make
for a rosy outlook for the world.”
The Washington-based lender upgraded its forecast for US
growth to 3.2% this year from a
3% estimate given in June. It reduced its projections for the euro
area and Japan, citing lingering
effects from the п¬Ѓnancial crisis
and “structural bottlenecks.” It
also cut its forecast for China,
saying the world’s second-biggest economy is undergoing a
“managed slowdown.”
The World Bank is the latest
institution to lower its global
estimate amid a recovery that
has repeatedly disappointed
policy makers. The International
Monetary Fund trimmed its 2015
outlook in October to 3.8%, citing weak demand and residual
debt from the п¬Ѓnancial crisis.
The IMF plans to update its global forecast next week.
The 19-nation euro area is
projected by the World Bank to
grow 1.1% in 2015, down from
a June estimate of 1.8%. China
will expand 7.1%, down from the
7.2% pace the bank projected
in October and a 7.5% estimate
in June. Japan will expand at a
1.2% clip, down from the 1.3%
projected in June, according to
the bank. It also cut its forecast
for global growth in 2016 to 3.3%
from 3.5%.
The bank sees average oil
prices falling 32% this year, a
decline that’s historically associated with a boost to global
GDP of about 0.5%. Yet the impact on growth may be smaller
in 2015 and 2016 because of
other headwinds including weak
confidence that encourages saving rather than spending, and a
“significant” income shift from
oil-producing countries to those
that are net consumers, the
World Bank said.
Cheaper fuel, development costs add
pressure on hybrid, electric cars
ew models of hybrid and electric
cars will roll off assembly lines
in the coming years as automakers hustle to meet government-mandated
emission standards that take effect over the
next 10 years.
But just as the cars improve in almost
every way — from price to interior styling
and roominess — and become more mainstream, it was clear this week at the North
American International Auto Show (NAIAS)
in Detroit they face new challenges.
Falling fuel prices, improvements in the
amount of fuel used by standard combustible engines and persistent questions about
performance and range were among the
questions raised.
At least one industry leader, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) chief executive Sergio Marchionne, wondered whether the
2025 deadline to meet the strictest standard might be pushed back.
Hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) п¬Ѓgured into some of the major announcements at the NAIAS.
Hyundai announced it will produce a
plug-in hybrid in 2016, General Motors
announced a redesign of its existing Volt,
a hybrid, and a new EV, the Bolt, to begin
selling in 2016 and Honda said it would
produce an all-new plug-in EV, a new hydrogen fuel cell car and a new EV by 2018.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the more popular cars, selling about 30,200 in the US in
2014 at a price of about 30,000 dollars.
Nissan announced at the show that it plans
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive
Sergio Marchionne wonders whether
the 2025 deadline to meet the strictest
standard might be pushed back.
to introduce an electric vehicle with a range
of around 300km, similar to that of the Bolt
and Tesla’s Model 3.
“Obviously, we will be competing,” Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters. He doesn’t consider Tesla, whose
cars are more than double the price of the
Leaf, a competitor.
Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, predicted his company would sell “a few million cars” by 2025. The company has only
one model on the market so far, the Model S
luxury electric. It sold about 33,000 of them
in 2014 and expects 50% growth this year.
But pressure is coming from many directions for all hybrid and EVs. Overall US
sales in the segment fell 8.8% to 452,152 in
2014, according to The
leading car in the category, the Toyota Prius
fell 11.5% to 207,372 last year, while sales of
the Chevrolet Volt fell 18.6% to 18,805.
“It’s going to be a really tough market,”
in 2015 for hybrid and electric cars, said
Michelle Krebs, speaking at an industry forum during the NAIAS.
Even though some hybrid car sales were
up in 2014 — Ford’s Fusion Energi plug-in
more than doubled sales to 10,761, for example — the numbers make clear that the
Obama administration’s goal of 1mn battery-only and plug-in electric vehicles on
US roads by 2015 will not be achieved.
Gas prices have dropped to a national average of just $2.10 per gallon (about 52Вў per
litre), according to a fuel report produced by
the leading US auto club. Meanwhile, the
average fuel economy of cars and trucks increased to 25.5 miles per gallon in 2014.
All this has some industry officials wondering whether government regulators
will be forced to rethink some of the more
stringent fuel economy standards that the
auto industry is trying to meet. The 2025
mandate of an average 54.5 miles per gallon
was questioned during NAIAS.
Automakers can meet that number, Marchionne said on Tuesday at an industry event
sponsored by the magazine Automotive
News. “The question is, at what a price?”
Automakers are investing billions of dollars into electric vehicles and other forms
of fuel efficient technology. According to
one estimate, as much as $10,000 of the
price of a hybrid or EV goes toward research and development.
Marchionne said existing regulations
should be broader to reward other technology in addition to electric vehicle development.
The government’s deadline of 2025
might not be a realistic date, Marchionne
said. “Fifty-four will not change. The date
of implementation might.”
Cyprus Airways
trade name,
logo up for sale
Cyprus will put the trade name
and logo of now-defunct state
carrier Cyprus Airways up for
sale after the airline suspended
operations on Jan. 9, officials
said yesterday.
Cash-starved Cyprus Airways
was shut down after the
European Commission ordered
it to repay more than €65mn it
received in illegal state aid.
Cyprus Airways, which employed 550 people, had been
losing money and market
share for years, after cheaper
competitors started muscling
in on its previously lucrative
routes. Several attempts to turn
it around failed.
“Our attempts are focused
on improving Cyprus’s air
connectivity, finding jobs for
Cyprus Airways staff and using the trade names,” deputy
government spokesman Victor
Papadopoulos told reporters.
Government officials said a
process to find a buyer would
have to be “immediate” since
the commercial value of the
airline’s trade name and its logo
— which depicts a species of
mountain sheep endemic to the
island — could erode over time.
There would be an open competition to appoint advisers on the
sale, he said. Authorities have
not speculated on who might
be interested in bidding.
TENNIS | Page 5
NBA | Page 9
�Worlds will
have great
impact on
our society’
gun for more
Oz glory
Yang debuts
at Commercial
Bank Qatar
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Rabia I 24, 1436 AH
Lights, camera, action...
Hosts Qatar to meet Pan-American rivals Brazil in the opening match of the World Handball Championships today
By Yash Mudgal
fter numerous inspections by the
highest-ranked IHF representatives
and following the hosting two major
test events—the IHF Super Globe in
September and the Asian Clubs’ League championship in November and December—Doha is
indeed ready for the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship, which will get underway today
at the Lusail Multipurpose Arena.
Under Spanish coach Valero Rivera, who led
Spain all the way to the top of the winners’ podium in his home town of Barcelona two years
ago, Qatar will take on Brazil in the opening
match of the championship which will be a duel
between two Spanish-born coaches, as Brazil’s
head coach Jordi Ribera also comes from the
famous handball school of the Iberian country.
Qatar, placed in Group A along with defending champions Spain and fourth-place
holders Slovenia, are entering the п¬Ѓeld full of
confidence as they had already proved their
ambitions for the international stage by winning both the Asian Championship and the
Asian Games handball tournament, each for the
п¬Ѓrst time in 2014. The opening encounter will
hold the key to the fortunes of the hosts in the
championship as they are eager to pave the way
to their best ever result of the hosts at a World
Championships—the pre-quarterfinals spot.
The п¬Ѓrst four teams of all the four groups will
qualify for the pre-quarterfinals and it’s Rivera’s goal to be among those.
“This would mean the best result ever at the
World Championships for Qatar, and I am confident that we can manage it,” he said.
This is the п¬Ѓfth appearances for Qatar in the
World Handball Championships and their best
result was in Portugal (2003) when they п¬Ѓnished 16th.
On the other hand, Brazil, who have already
booked their ticket for Rio 2016 being the host
country of the event, are hoping to show their
improvement after reaching the pre-quarterfinals at the 2013 World Championships as the
only Pan American team.
They missed advancing to the quarter-п¬Ѓnals
after a narrow defeat against Russia.
Brazil, who were runners-up to Argentina in
the continental battle for this edition, have an
ace marksman in Felipe Ribeiro, who has 530
goals to his name from 150 matches for the national team. Also, Santos Maik under the bar is
another player to watch out. The goalkeeper has
played in 185 matches for the Brazilian team and
would be a big threat to the Qatari strikers.
For the hosts, their goalkeeper Sanijel Saric
has the potential to change the game with his
brilliant anticipation and reflexes.
The presence of Eldar Memisevic, who has
played 84 matches, and Wajdi Sinen, with 221
goals to his name, can inspire the hosts and
spark the victory in the п¬Ѓrst match.
Qatar’s towering pivot Borja Vidal, who
stands about 190cms tall, is another exciting
player to watch out. Playmaker Rafael Da Costa
has the capability to п¬Ѓre from long range.
Belarus and Chile are the other two teams in
the group. Everything but Spain taking the п¬Ѓrst
place in the group will be a huge surprise.
For the second and third positions, we could
see a п¬Ѓght between Slovenia and Belarus,
though Slovenia carry a slight advantage.
The preliminary round match against his
former team Spain will also be a very emotional
moment for Rivera. Qatar is the fourth country
outside of Europe to host a Men’s World Championship after Japan (1997), Egypt (1999) and
Tunisia (2003).
The 24 teams will start in four preliminary
round groups, which will be contested in three
venues—the Duhail Sports Hall, Lusail Multipurpose Hall and Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena.
The four best ranked from each group proceed
to the pre-quarterfinals where the group winners will face the fourth-ranked teams and the
second ranked will duel with the third ranked.
The teams that п¬Ѓnish in positions п¬Ѓve and six in
each group will compete in the Presidents’ Cup
in the Duhail Sports Hall for ranking positions
17 to 24. The knockout stage will be completed
by the quarter-п¬Ѓnal and semi-п¬Ѓnal rounds, the
bronze medal match and the final—and, in contrast to the 2013 World Championship in Spain,
with a placement round for positions 5 to 8.
This determination of the п¬Ѓnal ranking is of
crucial importance for the road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
While the new world champions will book a
direct ticket for the Olympic handball tournament as the п¬Ѓrst team after hosts Brazil, the
teams that п¬Ѓnish in positions two through seven
will qualify for the Olympic Qualification Tournaments to be played in 2016.
In addition to the world champions, the winners of the continental qualifications from Asia,
Africa, Pan America and Europe will also be
awarded with a direct spot to Rio 2016.
Jan 15: Qatar vs Brazil (8.30 pm)
Jan 16: Spain vs Belarus; Slovenia vs Chile
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
World handball a pointer to
Qatar’s sporting ambitions
�The established perception needs to be changed and reversed. What
Qatar needs is tangible proof that its strategy (of investing in sport
events) is working. Such events as the World Handball are important
for Qatar to demonstrate it can manage high-profile events’
ost countries hosting
sporting events build
several new stadiums
and refurbish a few
old ones, but such an approach
was never likely for uber-ambitious Qatar.
The super-rich Gulf state has
gone considerably further by beginning work on building an entire new city from scratch in the
desert—Lusail—that will eventually host the football World
Cup п¬Ѓnal in 2022.
This week the $45 billion (38 billion euro) project, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of the capital
Doha, faces its first high-profile
test when it plays host to the World
Handball Championships.
Twenty-four teams will contest for a cup made of pure gold.
France, Denmark and Spain are
among the favourites and Qatar’s national team is predicted to
make the quarter-п¬Ѓnals.
But it is what happens off the
handball court that is arguably
far more important for Qatar’s
sporting ambitions.
The tournament provides
a chance for Qatar not only to
show that it can successfully host
a World Cup, but also begin to
reverse the negative press which
has surrounded its sporting ambitions, especially in the West,
feels Simon Chadwick, professor of sports business strategy at
Coventry University.
“The established perception needs to be changed and
reversed,” he says. “What Qatar
needs is tangible proof that its
strategy (of investing in sport
events) is working.”
The Handball World Championships provide an opportunity
for people to “get to know Qatar
for running high-profile sports
events rather than being a country
in the desert with lots of money
and accused over FIFA scandals,”
Chadwick adds.
It is the Lusail Multipurpose
Hall which will provide that litmus
test for Qatar’s aspirations. The
opening ceremony, opening game,
п¬Ѓnal and many of the major games
that take place, beginning today
till February 1, will all be played at
the hall, a dome-like $300 million
structure that rises improbably
out of the Qatari sands.
A somewhat bizarre sight, it
is surrounded at present—like
a small airport—by little more
than vast car parks, and tended
to by hundreds of workers making last-minute preparations for
the start of the tournament.
Beyond the very modern
structure lays the desert. But in
a few years’ time the stadium,
which can hold more than 15,000
fans, will be just one tiny part of a
gigantic urban development.
The scale of the project, even
in a country where building
works take place 24 hours a day,
is unmatched.
It is the largest single development ever undertaken in Qatar
and one of the largest underway
anywhere in the world. When п¬Ѓnished in 2019, more than 200,000
people will call Lusail home.
It will be the п¬Ѓrst green city in
Qatar, a 38 square-kilometre (15
square-mile) metropolis that will
be home to 22 hotels, 36 schools,
luxury waterfront homes, a blue
lagoon, two golf courses, an underground metro link, tunnels
carrying chilled water pipes to cool
buildings and shopping malls.
At its heart will be the 86,250seat Lusail Iconic Stadium that
will host football’s 2022 World
Cup п¬Ѓnal.
Work at the hall has continued
until the very last moment, with
hundreds of labourers and security guards fanned out across
the site, including on the hall’s
gleaming and distinctive white
and blue roof. As the п¬Ѓnishing
touches were being carried out,
Chadwick said the Handball
Worlds provided Qatar with an
important chance to start winning over its many doubters.
“Such events as the handball
are important for Qatar to demonstrate it can manage high-profile events,” he says.
Interior view of Ali Bin Hamad al-Attiya Arena at Al Saad Club, one of three venues of Handball Worlds. (EPA)
France sought security guarantee
Olympic handball champions France sought security guarantees from Qatar before leaving for the
World Championships following the Paris attacks,
a team official said yesterday.
“The players needed to be reassured,” said
French technical director Philippe Bana. “We reassured them. We had very precise details on the
measures and that reassured them.”
The Handball World Championships start in
Doha today and the French team are feeling vulnerable due to fears caused by the militant attacks
in Paris last week that left 17 dead.
“In security terms, we have had all the assurances, from the foreign affairs ministry, the embassies,
the Qataris themselves,” said Bana.
“The (security) level is very high, Olympic
standard. So from this point of view we are very
reassured,” the director added.
Coach Claude Onesta said he has “no fears”
about the competition and that he was sure the
organisation would be “high level”, but added that
not all the French men, who have won the last two
Olympic finals, are happy to be playing in Doha.
“We will have to do our job in a place where
sometimes you wonder if everything is alright. It
is not a place where you would like to live,” added
Onesta who said he was speaking in a strictly
personal capacity.
The 24-nation competition for a pure gold trophy donated by Qatar runs until February 1.
A general view of the Ali Bin Hamad Al-Attiya Arena at Al Saad Club, which is one of three venues for the Qatar 2015 Handball World Ch’ships. (EPA)
The Qatar Museums yesterday unveiled three new artworks especially commissioned to celebrate
the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championships in Doha. Thanks
to the collaboration between
Qatar Museums and the Qatar
2015 Organizing Committee, the
artworks are installed at the Lusail
Multipurpose Hall as part of an
ongoing public art programme
designed to bring culture to the
streets of Doha.
The pieces include two murals
created by Qatari artist Mohamed
al-Nasif, inspired by different
elements of Qatari culture and
the country’s development and
progress. The second artwork is
a large bronze sculpture entitled
�The Challenge 2015’, and was produced in just five months by noted
Iraqi artist Ahmed al-Bahrani.
The third artwork is a �calligraffiti’ piece by renowned Tunisian
artist El Seed who blends tradi-
tional Arabic calligraphy with contemporary street art. The work
includes poetry quotes by Sheikh
Jassem Bin Mohamed Bin Thani,
the Founder of Qatar.
This is his second project in
Qatar. His first, in 2013, involved
painting four underground tunnels on Salwa Road with artistic
graffiti themes and quotes focusing on themes of identity, education, history and several other
aspects of life in Doha.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
�Handball Worlds will have
great impact on our society’
HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad
al-Thani (fourth from left),
President of Qatar 2015
Organising Committee,
inspects the facilities at Losail
HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad alThani, President of Qatar 2015
Organising Committee, speaks
about the 24th Men’s Handball
World Championship that begins
at the brand new Lusail Multipurpose Hall from today.
The first ever Men’s Handball
World Championship in Qatar
starts today. How strong is your
personal anticipation?
I have been counting down the days
with great anticipation! It is a mixture
of excitement and the knowledge that
we did our best. I believe that the work
and achievements of the State of Qatar
along with 2015 Men’s Handball World
Championship are a manifestation of
our effort towards a healthy society
while spreading awareness on the importance sports have in our life.
The championship will have a great
impact on our society as it opens up
working opportunities for experts in the
п¬Ѓeld of sports and gives the young and
talented an opportunity to contribute to
a great event at the heart of our country.
And with the continuous efforts of
the Qatar National Olympic committee and the various sports associations,
the calendar of international top sports
events is expanding. Qatar in my opinion is the new home of sportsmanship. We are working hand in hand to
make the Championship an unforgettable event to be added to the book of
achievements of Qatar.
We are working to be the perfect host
for all 24 teams, all officials, all fans
and all media representatives by creating a perfect atmosphere in the arenas,
by showing our well-known hospitality. We want the world to remember a
unique and spectacular event.
tracted such a big and diversified group
of volunteers offering their best to the
organisation of the game of the fast!
Which means a huge legacy for
Handball and for Qatar?
The legacy will be a strong reputation that Qatar keeps its promises and
delivers what it has promised to the
world’s handball community. The 24th
Men’s Handball World Championship
will be a top event that the local and
international handball community will
never forget—including the amazing
arenas built aesthetically and in compliance with IHF regulations, not forgetting to mention the new handball
trophy that has been conceptualised
and designed in Qatar. In addition, we
have motivated the local talents to get
involved in this event.
The World Championship will bring
together handball fans from all over
the world—a great chance for Qatar
to showcase their abilities and combine it with hospitality...
Qataris have sport in their hearts and
the World Championship will be yet another proof of our dedication to Sport.
Sport is not only brings people together,
but also it brings cultures. Everyone is
welcome to learn about Qatar’s traditions, hospitality and more. Qatar is
widely known for hospitality and Qataris
have welcomed the world on numerous
occasions in the past. We have specially
tailored travel packages that are reaching
out to all fans around the world. We want
to welcome the world in Qatar.
Which interaction do you expect
for the Qatari people?
An integral part of our strategy is
engaging the fans by inviting schools,
sports clubs and people from various
communities to engage in various activities. The main objective is to enhance sports education in a fun and
exciting way while introducing handball to the young generation perfectly
meets this purpose.
How critical was role of volunteers?
Volunteers are indispensable and absolutely necessary for every sports’ organisation event. In our case volunteers
proved to be an organic part of the success of the test events and of the preparation for the main championship. We
are very satisfied that Handball has at-
What, in your opinion, is the
unique selling point of the 2015
Men’s World Championship?
The event in Qatar will be the п¬Ѓrst
ever World Championship to be held in
one city, this offers a clear advantage for
teams and spectators. All venues, accommodation and city landmarks are
within a short drive. The weather conditions in Qatar during the month of
January are like a “summer in the heart
of winter”. This will enable fans that will
travel from all over the world to experience not just a celebration of handball
but also explore the unique beauties
our nation has to offer. Qatar2015 also
enjoys the full support of the IHF and
the IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa,
who often said that Qatar will host “the
best World Championship ever”.
What is your vision on this event, the
vision of the Qatar governing bodies?
We want to leave a lasting legacy. Qatar has showcased its commitment to
sports excellence on many occasions.
We share common goals with local, regional, continental and global stakeholders to make sure that the World
Championship will offer a unique opportunity for the development of sport.
Our goal is to turn the World
Championship into a memorable
milestone and a unique experience for everyone: the athletes,
the sport officials, the media, the
fans, the volunteers, the national
and international federations. We
carefully studied how we could
use the existing infrastructure
and what our additional requirements would be for the event.
Our goal is to turn the World Championship into a memorable milestone and
a unique experience for everyone: the
athletes, the sport officials, the media,
the fans, the volunteers, the national and
international federations. We carefully
studied how we could use the existing
infrastructure and what our additional
requirements would be for the event. We
have identified what the athletes want to
see in a handball venue; they are the protagonists and we made sure to cater their
needs in the best possible way.
You have permanently been inspecting the Qatar 2015 venues
during the record-breaking fast
construction process. What is your
impression on those arenas?
Sustainable development is one of
the most important aspects we take
into very serious consideration in Qatar. We will have three brand-new and
state-of-the-art arenas with capacities ranging between 5,000 and 15,000
seats. Those will be the key pillars in
future bids for various sports and will
remain active sports hubs.
Lusail Multipurpose Hall, the largest
of all new arenas, is being built in order
to be able to host sports as well as cultural
events. Ali bin Hamad al-Attiyah Sports
Hall in Al-Sadd district of Doha, with a
capacity of 7,700 seats. Duhail Handball
Sports Hall in Duhail district of Doha
with a planned capacity of 5,500 seats.
The hall is part of the Qatar Handball Association (QHA) complex. All three venues of the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship are designed and built in
compliance with the guidelines provided
by the International Handball Federation (IHF). In addition, they use sustainable green technology specifically for the
cooling and ventilation that will help to
minimise the carbon footprint and environmental impact when the stadia are
in use. We are proud to confirm that all
the progress in Venue Construction are
achieved without a single major accident.
What is the perspective of the Qatar
team who will have home advantage?
The Qatar Handball Association has
won gold medals with its youth, junior and senior teams in the previous
years at all Asian Championships. The
men’s team of head coach Valero Rivera even managed to win double gold in
2014, raising both trophies at the Asian
Championship and the Asian Games
for the п¬Ѓrst time in history.
So we are all confident and optimistic that the team will play with all their
capabilities to ensure the best World
Championship result. The World Championship will be a milestone from the
sports point as well, not the п¬Ѓnishing
line, as we hope to launch a great future
for Qatar Handball.
Hosting the World Championship
is the highlight of our master plan, but
our potential goes beyond this event.
The number of handball players in Qatar is significantly increasing since we
have been awarded to host the 2015
World Championship. International top
coaches; headed by Valero Rivera, the
most successful coach in handball, have
come to Qatar knowing the huge potential for handball in Qatar. In general, we
are confident that by bringing the most
important Handball global event in Qatar, we will open a new perspective for
the development of the sport.
In spring, you and IHF President
Dr. Hassan Moustafa unveiled Fahad, the mascot of the event. What
does Fahad represent and characterize, in your opinion?
Fahed is more than a mascot. He is a seven-year-old boy and the first humanfigured mascot to become the handball
ambassador for Qatar. He showcases the
hospitality, our traditions, the friendship, and the sporting ambitions of
Qatar in a highly positive and charming
way. Fahad will be the face of the World
Championship; he will transport our
ideals and dreams to the spectators in
the venues and via TV all over the world.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Pak spinner Ajmal
clears unofficial
bowling action test
�I cleared the private test. The tests were conducted in Edgbaston (England) and all
my deliveries including the �doosra’ (his trademark swing) were within 15 degrees’
I want to play for
England again, says
Kevin Pietersen
File picture of Kevin Pietersen.
xiled batsman Kevin Pietersen says he is still in
the dark as to why England dumped him and
remains determined to force his
way back into the team.
The controversial 34-year-old
was dropped last February and
subsequently released an autobiography in a blaze of publicity
claiming the England dressing
room had been beset by a bullying culture.
“I was sacked... I don’t know
why I’m not playing for England. I haven’t got a clue,” he told
former Australian skipper Ricky
Ponting, now a commentator, in
a wide-ranging interview during
an Australian Big Bash League
broadcast on Tuesday night.
“Never (have I been given a
reason). They’re not allowed
to—for legal reasons, they’re
probably weren’t allowed to, and
they still haven’t embellished on
“(But) I know that the current
captain would love to have me in
the England team.”
Eoin Morgan replaced Alastair
Cook as skipper of the one-day
side in December in the lead up
to next month’s World Cup in
Australia and New Zealand and
had previously spoken out in de-
fence of Pietersen before taking
the role.
When pressed on his assertion that Morgan would welcome
him back into the fold, Pietersen,
who is playing for the Melbourne
Renegades in the Big Bash, did
not back away from the claim.
“I think he probably would,
yeah,” he said. “I don’t see why
not, I’m hitting it okay and I
get along pretty well with most
of the guys in there, if not all of
them, so yeah, I don’t see why
In his book, South Africa-born
Pietersen blasted former coach
Andy Flower and several players, saying a “bullying culture”
had been created in the dressing
room. Other players denied the
He told Ponting this had now
“The majority of those guys
are gone—they’re not in the side
anymore,” he said, adding that he
wants to play for England again.
“I want to play for England. If
I get the opportunity to play for
England, I’m 34 years of age, Kumar Sangakkara is (37) and he’s
just scored a double hundred,”
he said.
England play a triangular oneday series this month against
Australia and India ahead of the
World Cup. They face a Prime
Minister’s XI in Canberra later
File picture of Pakistan cricketer Saeed Ajmal (second right) during a practice session at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle, Sri Lanka.
uspended Pakistan spinner Saeed
Ajmal yesterday claimed to have
cleared a private bowling action
test, but it remains uncertain
whether he will feature in next year’s
World Cup.
The private test was conducted in a
laboratory in Edgbaston in England and
Ajmal now needs to clear an official reassessment in an International Cricket
Council (ICC) accredited laboratory in
Chennai, India on January 24.
The 37-year-old was suspended over
illegal bowling action in September last
year and last month withdrew from the
World Cup to be held in Australia and
New Zealand in February-March.
His withdrawal came after remedial
work carried out under former Pakistan
spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to alter his
bowling action fell short.
Ajmal said he is confident he can clear
the official test after success in the private assessment.
“I cleared the private test,” Ajmal told
AFP. “The tests were conducted in Edg-
baston and all my deliveries including
the �doosra’ (his trademark swing) were
within 15 degrees.”
Under the ICC rules all bowlers are allowed to straighten their bowling arm by
15 degrees, beyond which the action is
deemed illegal.
Ajmal’s first assessment in August last
year revealed his arm extension went to
43 degrees.
Ajmal, however, remained unsure
whether he would be able to feature in the
World Cup or not.
“Look, I want to be as confident in my
bowling as I was before (suspension) and
want to be effective, so (whether) I can
still play the World Cup or cannot play,
remains to be seen.
“I want to do what is best for my country and for my team.”
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman
Shaharyar Khan on Tuesday ruled out
Ajmal’s participation in the World Cup,
saying it was too late to consider it.
Ajmal was included in the preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup,
but after his withdrawal was dropped
from the 15-man party announced last
However, under the ICC rules all teams
can replace a player before the February
7 deadline, a week before the World Cup
Pakistan team will play its п¬Ѓrst match
against title-holders India in Adelaide on
February 15.
Pakistan cricket authorities yesterday
retained the suspended spinner Saeed
Ajmal while also adding the newcomers
fast bowler Sohail Khan and the leggie
Yasir Shah in their list of central contracts.
The 37-year-old Ajmal is under suspension for illegal bowling action since
September last year and will appear in a
reassessment test in Chennai, India on
January 24.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the
central contracts will run from January to
March 31 this year.
Ajmal was retained in “A” category
along with Test and one-day captain
Misbah-ul Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Junaid
Paceman Junaid was lucky to be retained in the top category despite being
sidelined through injury since October
last year.
“PCB has extended central contracts
up to March 31, 2015 the central contracts
awarded for the year 2015 will be awarded
in April,” said a PCB release.
Shah and Sohail—both part of Pakistan’s 15-man squad for next month’s
World Cup -- have been awarded central
contract in Category �D’, the release added.
The term of the previous contracts expired Dec. 31, 2014.
Category �A’ (6): Misbah-ul-Haq,
Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed
Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan.
Category �B’ (3) : Ahmed Shehzad,
Umar Akmal, Umar Gul.
Category �C’ (6): Asad Shafiq, Azhar
Ali, Adnan Akmal, Khurram Manzoor,
Nasir Jamshed, Abdul Rehman
Category �D’ (18): Sohaib Maqsood,
Sarfraz Ahmed, Bilawal Bhatti, Sharjeel
Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Fawad Alam, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz,
Raza Hasan, Umar Amin, Haris Sohail,
Rahat Ali, Shan Masood, Mohammad
Talha, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah and Sohail
Williamson absence could be a
blessing in disguise for the Kiwis
ane Williamson’s absence for possibly the
next three matches
against Sri Lanka
could be a blessing in disguise
for New Zealand, with the batting order given the opportunity to п¬Ѓne tune plans for the
World Cup.
Test opener Tom Latham
will bat in Williamson’s place
at number three in the second
game against Sri Lanka in Hamilton on Thursday, top-order
batsman Ross Taylor said yesterday.
Williamson, who is out for
about seven to 10 days with
a slight shoulder injury, has
scored 722 runs, including seven
half centuries and one century,
at 72.20 in the past 12 months
File picture of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson batting during the
first ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
and is considered crucial to the
co-hosts World Cup hopes.
New Zealand co-host the Feb.
14-March 29 World Cup with
“It’s probably a good thing,”
Taylor said of Williamson’s enforced absence. “We want to see
how these guys handle themselves under pressure.
“Kane has been the go-to guy
for the last 12-18 months. It will
be different but exciting as well
to see how (these guys) go under
pressure, (which) bodes well for
the World Cup.”
New Zealand must also explore options at number п¬Ѓve,
with Latham and Grant Elliott
thought to be contesting the
spot for the global showpiece after captain Brendon McCullum
reverted to opening the batting.
He belted a 19-ball half century in the п¬Ѓrst match in Christchurch, which gave the hosts a
flying start in pursuit of the 219
runs needed for victory.
The recalled Elliott batted at
п¬Ѓve in the three-wicket win in
the п¬Ѓrst match at Hagley Oval and
was expected to play there today,
added Taylor, though the allrounder was absent from training
due to a family issue yesterday.
A decision on his availability
may not be made until today.
Elliott’s selection at five was
not an indication he had the
inside track on the job for the
World Cup, Taylor said.
Statistics suggest Latham’s
best position is at the top of the
order, where has time to build an
Latham has scored 146 runs
at 24.33 in his last eight ODI innings, all in the middle order,
while his highest career score,
86, came as an opener.
“I wouldn’t say because Grant
is batting there at the moment
that he has the number on Tom,”
Taylor said.
“Tom gets to bat up the order and that gives you a little bit
more time. Five is a difficult spot
to bat but three has a little bit
more time and hopefully he can
take his opportunity there.”
Bell smashes 187 as
England crush PM XI
England’s Ian Bell reacts after reaching his century yesterday.
pener Ian Bell plundered 187 off 145 balls
and Stuart Broad captured four wickets as
England crushed the Prime Minister’s XI by 60 runs in Canberra
Bell starred in England’s imposing 391 for six to set the PM
XI a run chase of almost eight
runs an over at Manuka Oval.
Bell was out on the penultimate ball of the innings, caught
by Australian Test batsman and
PM XI skipper Chris Rogers off
paceman Jason Behrendorff as
England made full use of winning the toss.
England then bowled out the
home side for 331 off 48.1 overs in
an encouraging hit out ahead of
Friday’s opening tri-series oneday international against Australia in Sydney.
Paceman Broad snaffled four
for 40 off 8.1 overs, including
two wickets in two balls and was
denied a hat-trick late in the PM
XI innings.
Bell said the English side
couldn’t have asked for a better
preparation ahead of their triseries opener. “Template-wise,
today—it was perfect,” he said.
England have put their disappointing Ashes campaign last
year behind them and were making good strides forward, he said.
“There are not many guys in
that dressing room from that
Test series,” he said. “This is a
new group and a group that has
moved on, really.”
There were plenty of positives
for England, working towards
next month’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with
opener Moeen Ali and number
three James Taylor both contributing 71.
Bell and Ali put on 113 for the
п¬Ѓrst wicket before Bell combined
with Taylor in a stand of 141 for
the second.
Bell hit 20 fours and three sixes
in the highest score by a batsman
for England in a 50-over match
against an attack that included
two of Australia’s World Cup
squad members, Pat Cummins
and Glenn Maxwell.
Fast bowler Cummins went
wicketless for 52 off six overs,
while spinner Maxwell captured
one for 63 off nine overs.
But Maxwell gave his World
Cup hopes a major boost with
136 from only 89 balls.
Maxwell has been struggling
in the Big Bash League and has
been public about his fears the
slump would have cost him a
place in the World Cup squad.
He was the star attraction for
the PM’s XI, belting 20 fours and
six sixes. But he was forced to
play a lone hand with 18-yearold Jake Doran the home side’s
next top score on 37.
Brief Scores: England XI 391/6
(Bell 187, Ali 71, Taylor 71, Behrendorff 4-79) beat Prime Minister’s XI 331 (Maxwell 136, Broad
4-40) by 60 runs
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Sharapova and
Federer gun for
more Aussie glory
Sharapova beat Ivanovic in 2008 to win her only Australian Open title so far
Nishikori, Verdasco
score wind-blown
Kooyong wins
apan’s Kei Nishikori and
Spanish veteran Fernando
Verdasco scored a pair of
opening victories amid a
“little typhoon” to begin final
Australian Open preparations at
the Kooyong Classic yesterday.
US Open п¬Ѓnalist Nishikori
fought past a tough Australian
challenge from Jordan Thompson to post a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (74) result while Verdasco beat
Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2,
7-6 (7/4).
Nishikori, ranked п¬Ѓfth in the
world, was forced to work hard
in swirling conditions at Kooyong Club for just over two hours.
“It was tough for both of us—
like a little typhoon out there,”
said the Tokyo-born player now
based in Florida. “But it was a
good match for me: three sets
and some good tennis.”
The eight-man warm-up
event for the Australian Open
starting on Monday is considered prime preparation for the
п¬Ѓrst major of the season.
“Conditions made it tough
to play,” added the 25-year-old
“It was difficult for me to be
aggressive. But I played a good
tie-break and I’m happy to win
Verdasco also took charge of
his game as he was tested by the
The 33rd-ranked Spaniard
collected the п¬Ѓrst set against Simon in 27 minutes and thwarted
the Frenchman as Simon served
to level at a set each.
Instead, he was broken to
love, with Verdasco eventually
winning a tie-breaker on a concluding Simon backhand error.
“This wind is tough for everyone,” said the Spaniard. “You
need to be focused and hit every
ball with confidence—if not it
flies everywhere.
“Despite the conditions, this
is perfect preparation for the
Open. I like the hot conditions
but you never know here.”
France’s Richard Gasquet,
meanwhile, beat Feliciano Lopez
7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-2, with Gasquet п¬Ѓnishing with 28 winners
and three breaks of serve.
“I’m feeling good on the
court,” he said. “What I need is
matches. After being injured last
year, I need to keep my п¬Ѓtness if
I’m to return to the top 10. If I
can stay fit, I have a chance.”
Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov also beat Filip Krajinovic
of Serbia 6-4, 6-3.
Nishikori came to Kooyong
after a semi-п¬Ѓnal last weekend
in Brisbane, where he lost to
Canadian Milos Raonic in three
tie-break sets.
After winning the opening
set thanks to a break in the п¬Ѓrst
game, Nishikori’s level slipped
as Australian world number 273
Thompson made his move in
the second set, winning it via
a break of serve in the fourth
The third set was halted for
a short time due to a passing
When the players returned
Nishikori failed to serve out for
victory at 5-3, the set eventually going to a tie-break after
Thompson saved a match point
in the 12th game.
Nishikori took his п¬Ѓrst match
point in the tie-break as the
Australian double-faulted.
Tennis players Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia (centre L) and Maria Sharapova of Russia (centre R) take a “selfie” with 380 ball boys and girls aged between 12 and 15 as they
prepare for the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne. The Australian Open runs January 19 to February 1.
eterans Roger Federer and Maria
Sharapova head into the opening
Grand Slam of 2015 next week as
the form players, but there is a
heady mix of youth and experience snapping at their heels.
Evergreen Swiss great Federer, 33,
brought up a jaw-dropping 1,000th victory on Sunday by beating Canadian Milos Raonic to win the Brisbane International, laying down the Australian Open
gauntlet to arch-rivals Novak Djokovic
and Rafael Nadal.
The world number two is now aiming
for a 1,007th win, which would give him
the title at Melbourne Park.
“Yeah, I do believe that,” Federer said
when asked if he could claim a п¬Ѓfth Australian Open and his 18th Grand Slam.
“Then again, it’s just talk. At the end of
the day, I’ve got to do the running, I’ve got
to do the clutch play when it matters the
In contrast to his flying start to 2015,
world number one Djokovic’s preparations were cut short by giant Croatian Ivo
Karlovic in the Qatar Open quarter-п¬Ѓnals.
It was even worse for Nadal, who suffered a shock defeat in his п¬Ѓrst match of
the season in Doha to German qualifier
Michael Berrer as he continues to recover
from appendix surgery.
Roger Federer
The Spaniard, a 14-time Grand Slam
winner, has played few matches since
Wimbledon last July but brushed off his
shaky start.
“It’s a big motivation to be back at my
best level as quickly as possible, and that’s
what I am trying to do,” he said.
Swiss Stan Wawrinka is the defending
men’s champion after his breakthrough
four-set win over Nadal last year and
spearheads a host of challengers, including Britain’s Andy Murray and new guard
Raonic and Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Sharapova, who has been a п¬Ѓxture on
the tennis circuit since 2002, continues
to shine with victory over Ana Ivanovic in
Brisbane handing her a 34th career title.
She won her only Australian Open in
2008, beating Ivanovic in the п¬Ѓnal.
The Russian’s closest rival, world
number one Serena Williams, is gunning
for a sixth Australian Open title but was
unimpressive at the mixed-teams Hopman Cup in Perth this month.
The American, aiming for a 19th Grand
Slam crown, spluttered her way through
with moments of brilliance interspersed
with extended periods of erratic play.
“I do feel like I am getting back into the
groove, I am not moving as well as I was
last year,” said the American, who is the
defending US Open champion but has not
won the Australian Open since 2010.
“I am going to try and improve that and
I know I can so but I am getting there.”
Along with a revitalised Ivanovic, world
number three Simona Halep of Romania
is shaping as a threat after winning the
warm-up Shenzhen Open on Saturday,
although she pulled out of this week’s
Sydney International with gastroenteritis.
The dangerous Agnieszka Radwanska is
another to watch, having beat Williams in
China’s Li Na won the women’s crown
last year, battling past surprise package
Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, but has
since retired.
There is plenty of incentive to win with
the prize money bumped up to a record
Aus$40 million (US$32 million), with the
singles winners taking home Aus$3.1 million each.
Held in the height of the southern
hemisphere summer, weather is always a
wildcard in Melbourne with temperatures
known to fluctuate up to 20 Celsius from
one day to the next.
Last year, extreme heat forced organisers to suspend play for several hours following days of complaints about “inhumane” conditions which left some players
fainting and vomiting.
At the time Murray warned organisers
were risking a tragedy as temperatures hit
42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit), while Canada’s Frank Dancevic said he hallucinated
a vision of cartoon dog Snoopy before
blacking out.
Temperatures for the opening day on
Monday are forecast to be a mild 21 Celsius.
The impact of the weather will be minimised this year with the installation of a
third retractable roof at Melbourne Park.
The Rod Laver and Hisense Arenas already had this facility and Margaret Court
Arena has now joined them.
Del Potro extends his run with win over Fognini
uan Del Potro extended his successful injury
comeback yesterday as he knocked out top seed
Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 at the Sydney International.
The Argentine is back in action after an 11-month
absence due to left wrist surgery. The sudden decision
to get up off the couch at home in Tandil and try to play
looks like paying immediate dividends.
“I thought I played better,” said the former ATP
number four. “I felt better on the court, especially at the
end of the match.
“I served well, I hit good forehands and my backhands
improved from yesterday ... I need to keep playing with
these guys, hitting the ball as fast I can, and keep trying.”
Del Potro is swinging freely after assurances from his
American doctors that he could do his joint no more
damage by competing in the Australian summer.
He hopes to use Sydney as a test bed to get his game
back up to speed in time for Monday’s start of the Australian Open.
“My wrist is not getting worse, so I have confidence
with that.”
Del Potro moved into a quarter-final against qualifier
Mikhail Kukushkin, who beat sixth seed Pablo Cuevas
7-5, 7-5.
In other results, Italy’s Simone Bolelli beat second
seed David Goffin of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes.
Argentine eighth seed Leonardo Mayer saved a match
point in the 12th game of the п¬Ѓnal set, knocking out Jerzy
Janowicz 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) a day after the Pole beat
Australian hope Nick Kyrgios. Serb Viktor Troicki advanced past Spain’s Pablo Andujar 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
On the women’s side Karolina Pliskova beat Carla
Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 with the help of 15 aces to
reach the semi-п¬Ѓnals.
The Czech winner has achieved her best result at a
WTA Premier level event, staging a comeback after losing the first set. She finished with a flourish - four aces
in the п¬Ѓnal game.
The ace count may not have been a surprise for a player who struck 432 in 2013, just 20 less than powerhouse
Serena Williams.
“I’ve improved my movement on the court and my
serve as well, and I’m more solid than I was aside from
the serve, so overall I’m a better player and can beat the
top players,” said Pliskova.
“Whoever my next opponent is it’ll be a tough match,
though. I’ll have to be ready.”
Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria defeated Barbora
Zahlavova Strycova 6-4, 6-1.
Kei Nishikori of Japan hits a shot behind his back against Jordan
Thompson of Australia during their men’s singles match at the
Kooyong Classic in Melbourne yesterday.
More withdrawals
hit Auckland Open
he Auckland Open suffered a double blow
yesterday when third
seed Roberto Bautista
Agut withdrew during his second round match against Adrian
Mannarino, while п¬Ѓfth seed
Tommy Robredo pulled out
without hitting a ball.
Agut, who was reportedly
suffering from jet lag after he
made the Chennai Open semifinals, withdrew while trailing
Mannarino 6-2 2-1 shortly after
Robredo had held a media conference saying he would not play
at all.
The 32-year-old Robredo
withdrew from his second round
match with New Zealand’s
Michael Venus with an adductor injury, which could place his
Australian Open in jeopardy.
“Two days ago I was in the gym
working hard and then practising
and suddenly I felt something in
my adductor,” Robredo told reporters in Auckland.
“I have been one and a half
days without practice and trying
to recover to play here but I’m
not ready to play a match.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the
players or the tournament to go
onto a court and play four or п¬Ѓve
games and as soon as I feel something withdraw.
“I wouldn’t be able to play
here good and the people would
be disappointed and also it could
make me worse for next week.”
The world number 17 follows
last year’s champion John Isner
(fatigue), France’s Gael Monfils
(personal reasons) and four-time
champion David Ferrer, who
won last week’s Qatar Open, to
withdraw from the ATP Tour
250-level event.
After initially attracting seven of the top-20 players, world
number 13 Ernests Gulbis and
number 16 Kevin Anderson were
the only two left in the draw on
South Africa’s Anderson had
earlier advanced to the quarterfinals after he overcame Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(6)
Tournament director Karl
Budge was disappointed with the
loss of so many players, though
the late withdrawals were not the
only issue. Many of the top men
had opted not to play in the week
prior to the season-opening
grand slam at Melbourne Park.
“You’re seeing less top-20
players our week and it’s a trend
that crept in the last four or п¬Ѓve
years,” Budge said when Ferrer
withdrew on Sunday.
“We need to look at something, whether that’s the tour
trying to п¬Ѓnd a way to regulate
it more or we look at how we can
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Bentley astride Arraab puts
in a strong finish to win the
Sprinters Championship
�It has been another great day for me. To have six winners is fantastic and I am happy for my owners. Botanica and Arraab
did very well today as I had expected them to. Even Khafouqi, Awattan, Lieutenant Kafee and Bayalina impressed me’
1st race: Khafouqi (Stephane Ladjadj) 1, Sirat Al Naif 2,Dheram Al Naif
3, Ghazwat Dukhan 4. Won by: 3, 4,
2 ВЅ. Time: 1:20.91. Trained by: Jassim
al-Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail bin
Khalifa al-Kuwari
2nd race: Awattan (Harry Bentley)
1, Inis Airc 2, Golden Zephyr 3, Song
Beam 4. Won by: 1 Вј, 1 ВЅ, Nk. Time:
1:14.18. Trained by: Jassim al-Ghazali.
Owned by: Abdullah Mohammed Al
Kuwari Sons
3rd race: Lieutenant Kafee (Harry
Bentley) 1, Mindblowing 2, Nile
Knight 3, Zakon 4. Won by: 3, Shd,
ВЅ. Time: 2:02.85. Trained by: Jassim
al-Ghazali. Owned by: Khalifa bin
Sheail al-Kuwari
4th race: Charlie’s Wish (Marco
Monteriso) 1, Dark Leopard 2, Man
Amongst Men 3, Tarrafal 4. Won by:
1 ВЅ, Nk, 1 ВЅ. Time: 1:34.35. Trained by:
S. Ibido. Owned by: Abdulla Mana
5th race: Bayalina (Harry Bentley) 1,
Al Koufa 2, Nahla 3, Zakkarya 4. Won
by: 2, Вѕ, 1. Time: 1:46.79. Trained by:
Jassim al-Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail
bin Khalifa al-Kuwari
6th race: The Scuttler (Cedric
Segeon) 1, Sunley Pride 2, River
Goddess 3, Tachophobia 4. Won by:
Nk, Hd, 1 ВЅ. Time: 1:12.56. Trained
by: Mohammed Salama. Owned by:
Zakhir Stud
Minister of State HE Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser bin Jassim al-Thani (centre) and QREC chairman HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Faleh al-Thani are seen with the winners of the Sprinters Championship at the Qatar
Racing and Equestrian Club yesterday. PICTURES: Juhaim
By Chris Hoover
H Sheikh Mohammed bin
Khalifa al-Thani owned Arraab (Harry Bentley up) put
in a terrific stretch run to demolish the hopes of his rivals to clinch
the Group III Pure Arabian Sprinters
Championship, which featured the
races at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club yesterday. Trainer Jassim
al-Ghazali who saddled the winner
was in the limelight with six winners,
while jockey Bentley also dazzled with
four winners for the day.
TM Reagan Bret shot into the lead
and was closely followed by the rest.
Bentley had Arraab in the rear of the
п¬Ѓeld, bidding his time to make the
move. As the п¬Ѓeld entered the business
end of the race, Arraab was alighted to
the task on hand. His response was immediate as he shot past the front runners and went away to win by half a
length in a smart timing of one minute
12,57 seconds. Mutazz improved towards the п¬Ѓnish to take the runner-up
berth from Tuyoorna, while Harran
was a close fourth.
Botanica owned by Khalifa bin Sheail
al-Kuwari had to extract every ounce
of her energy to overhaul the spirited
challenge of stable mate City Zen and
Makruma to win the Al Khariab Cup,
a Thoroughbred Conditions race for
Fillies and Mares, which was the other
added attraction of the day.
Jockey Stephane Ladjadj astride City
Zen was quick to make headway and
easily went past the п¬Ѓeld to take charge.
Making his own pace, Ladjadj had the
Ghazali trainee upfront and travelling
well. Entering the homestretch, City
Zen quickened the pace and kicked
clear but was soon challenged by Botanica. With a power packed ride by
jockey Richard Mullen, Botanica got
ahead of her stablemate and then held
off the challenge of Makruma, who п¬Ѓnished with a rush but failed to go past
the winner.
“He jumped out and travelled very
well. He had won over seven furlongs
last time and he just about managed to
hold on in this mile race. I had to save a
bit for the п¬Ѓnal onslaught as he is very
keen in the beginning. I was lucky that
I got him just behind the leader and
travelled very easy. When I asked for an
effort, he quickened very well. I think
this distance is just as far as he wants
to go. Seven furlongs would be his best
distance. It was a good performance by
Jockey Harry Bentley rides Arraab to victory in the Sprinters Championship yesterday.
QREC chairman HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Faleh al-Thani presents a memento to Minister of State HE Hamad bin Nasser bin
Jassim al-Thani, who was the chief guest at the 24th days races at the QREC yesterday.
Botanica to win the way he did,” jockey
Mullen told the Gulf Times.
“It has been another great day for
me. To have six winners is fantastic
and I am happy for my owners. Botanica and Arraab did very well today as I
had expected them to. Even Khafouqi,
Awattan, Lieutenant Kafee and Bayalina impressed me with their performances. I am looking forward for tomorrow’s races,” trainer Ghazali said.
Ghazali saddled Khafouqi (AmerAl Jazeera) broke through the maiden
ranks with a start to п¬Ѓnish victory in
the Local Bred Pure Arabian Maiden
Plate. Making her 11th appearance
on the race track, Khafouqi (Ladjadj
up) hot the front and made every post
a winning one as she checked three
lengths ahead of Sirat Al Naif, who was
in futile chase of the winner. Ghazwat
Dukhan was a further four lengths behind in third.
Awattan was another which came
up with a dazzling display to clinch
her maiden win. The Ghazali trained
Awattan with jockey Harry Bentley in
the saddle, put in a forceful gallop to
win the Thoroughbred Maiden Plate.
Awattan came with telling strides in
the п¬Ѓnal furlong and thwarted the late
bid of Inis Airc to win by over a length.
The Ghazali trainee was up with the
pace throughout and then capped it
with a power-packed п¬Ѓnish.
Ghazali and Bentley went on to
record two more victories. Lieutenant
Kafee took his п¬Ѓrst win in Qatar, while
7th race: Botanica (Richard Mullen)
1, Makruma 2, City Zen 3, Carina
Palace 4. Won by: Shd, Shd, ВЅ. Time:
1:36.63. Trained by: Jassim al-Ghazali. Owned by: Khalifa bin Sheail
8th race: Arraab (Harry Bentley)
1, Mutazz 2, Tuyoorna 3, Harran
4. Won by: ВЅ. ВЅ, Hd. Time: 1:12.57.
Trained by: Jassim al-Ghazali.
Owned by: HH Sheikh Mohammed
bin Khalifa al-Thani
decimating the opposition in the Thoroughbred Handicap for horses rated 55
to 75. Bentley settled Lieutenant Kafee
in midfield as Roman Myst set a fast
pace for the 2,000 metres contest.
Coming from way off the pace, Lieutenant Kafee covered a lot of ground
before unleashing a terrific in the final 100 metres. The Ghazali trainee
flew past the front runners to win by a
widening margin of three lengths from
Mindblowing and Nile Knight. The
manner of this victory suggests that
Lieutenant Kafee is capable of an encore when saddled next.
Sporting the colours of Sheail bin
Khalifa al-Kuwari, Bayalina asserted
her superiority with a fluent win in the
Pure Arabian Graduation Plate for Fillies and Mares. The talented Bentley
rode a confident race on the winner.
In the day’s other action, Mohammed Salama trained The Scuttler kept
aside the challenge of Sunley Pride to
win the Thoroughbred Handicap for
horses rated 50 to 70, while Charlie’s
Wish was a comfortable winner of the
Thoroughbred Maiden Plate.
Minister of State HE Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser bin Jassim al-Thani (right)
presents the Al Khariab Cup to Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari after Botanica had
won the event at the QREC yesterday.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Sadd launches �Qatar Mega
Marathon’ with an eye on
Guinness world record
�The idea behind organising �Qatar Mega Marathon’ is to send a message to the whole world presenting Qatar’s ability to
challenge and create miracles. Therefore, we accept the challenge to prove that Qatar is the region’s sports capital’
By Sports Reporter
l Sadd Sports Club launched
the huge sporting event
�Qatar Mega Marathon’ under the patronage of HH
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin
Hamad al-Thani, Chairman of Al
Sadd Sports Club. During a press
conference that was held yesterday
in its premises and attended by Jassim al-Rumaihi, General Secretary of
Al Sadd Sports Club and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of
the Marathon and Fahed al-Kuwari,
Board Member and a former star of
Al Sadd Sports Club and Guinness
World Records Representative.
Al-Rumaihi asserted that organising
Qatar Mega Marathon represents the
club’s commitment to the vision of His
Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani, Emir of the State, sheds light
on the importance of sport in the lives
of nations and societies, represents
the club’s commitment to the Pillars
of Qatar National Vision (2030), aiming to an advanced society capable of
sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for all
its people. It encourages the spirit of
sharing and volunteering in the social
events, in order to fulfil the aspect of
social responsibility as well as adapting a healthy lifestyle.
He stated that �Qatar Mega Marathon’ – (Run With Qatar) is an international event that will be held for the
п¬Ѓrst time in Qatar and the Arab World
targeting all segments and all ages of
the Qatari society. The event will be
held on Friday, 6th February 2015 and
the closing ceremony will be on the
National Sports Day, Tuesday 10th
February 2015.
Al Sadd Sports Club is attempting
to break the world record and allow the
State of Qatar to enter Guinness World
Records with regards to the most runners participating in a marathon.
Al-Rumaihi said: “The idea behind
organising �Qatar Mega Marathon’ is to
send a message to the whole world presenting Qatar’s ability to challenge and
create miracles. Therefore, we accept
the challenge through �Qatar Mega
Marathon’ to reflect the true image of
the State of Qatar to the whole world
and to prove that Qatar is the region’s
sports capital.” Stating that the event
is encouraging the youth to participate
in sporting events and adapt a healthy
Jassim al-Rumaihi, Secretary General, Al Sadd, and chairman of the Organizing Committee of Qatar Mega Marathon, at the press conference announcing the launch of the global race. Also present at the press
conference were Fahad al-Kuwari, member of the Board of Directors of Al Sadd Club, Rashid al-Ansari of Qatar Athletics Federation and Pravin Patel, adjudicator from Guinness Book of World Records.
Al-Rumaihi asserted that, “Qatar
Mega Marathon embodies the true
spirit of sport, which holds respect
of winning and losing, durability, patience and challenge. Therefore, the
goal doesn’t stop at breaking the world
record. And if we couldn’t break the
record, the honour of the attempt will
be enough. We will accept the results
with sporting spirit and promise to repeat the attempt.”
Responding to a question on the
possibility of achieving this challenge
on the ground, al-Rumaihi said, “Qatar has always accustomed to the challenge and making miracles. There is no
doubt that this marathon in the way
that we look forward to achieve is a
considerable challenge. For this I invite
everyone to participate in the marathon and run forward with Qatar.”
The Qatar Mega Marathon 2015 also
announced yesterday that it has
brought on board the International
Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) to
help safeguard the event.
Building on its previous involvement
with various large-scale mass participation events including the Boston
Marathon, the ICSS will add its global
sport safety and security expertise to
The Qatar Mega Marathon is a
great chance to show another
side of sport in Qatar and this
collaboration reinforces our
strong commitment at the ICSS
to enhance best practice in sport
safety and security, particularly
at the high-profile events being
held in the country.”
the event, which will attempt to break
the world record for the �Most Runners
in a Marathon in the World’.
As part of the partnership with the
Qatar Mega Marathon 2015, the ICSS’s
Save the Dream initiative with also
collaborate with the Qatar Mega Marathon 2015 to promote and protect the
core values of sport amongst young
people, as well as participants involved
in the event.
Making the announcement al-Rumaihi conveyed his delight in having
International Centre for Sport Security join the Qatar Mega Marathon 2015,
saying: “It takes the Marathon to an
international level and we give thanks
to ICSS in joining such a huge event
taking place on the eve of National
Sport Day 2015.”
Also speaking at the press conference, Mohammed Hajaj al-Shahwani
(Vice President, ICSS) praised the idea
of organising the Qatar Mega Marathon 2015 as one of the key events taking place in the context of National
Sport Day 2015 events.
He added: “The ICSS is proud to cooperate and contribute to the success
of this joint initiative between Al Sadd
Sports Club and Qatar Athletics Federation. The Qatar Mega Marathon is
a great chance to show another side of
the sport in Qatar and this collaboration reinforces our strong commitment
at the ICSS to enhance best practice in
sport safety and security, particularly
at the high-profile events being held in
the country.”
“As well as our involvement supporting the safety and security of the event,
the ICSS is also proud to extend its other
expertise to the Qatar Mega Marathon
through our Save the Dream programme.
Snapshots: QREC Awards Ceremony
Qatar’s Sami appointed
as WAHO consultant
“They felt a representative from Qatar
would be very good as we have been
in the forefront in promoting the Pure
Arabian breed on the world stage.”
By Chris Hoover
atar Racing and Equestrian Club
general manager and International
Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities chairman Sami
Jassim al-Boenain has been appointed as a
consultant to the World Arabian Horse Organisation (WAHO). The unanimous decision was taken by the WAHO Executive
Committee meeting recently.
The European Conference of Arab Horse
Organizations (ECAHO) is already a member of the board in WAHO. With the inclusion of IFAHR in the committee, there
would be better co-ordination amongst
the three to achieve their common goal,
which is preserving the intergrity of the
Pure Arabian breed.
“It is very important for us to be a part
of WAHO. I had suggested a few names to
WAHO for their consideration, but they felt
that a representative from Qatar would be
very good as we have been in the forefront
in promoting the Pure Arabian breed on the
world stage. Since I was the chairman of
IFAHR, it made sense to have us on board,”
Sami told the Gulf Times.
“It means a lot to me personally as well as
Qatar. It is very important that IFAHR, EC-
Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club general
manager and International Federation of
Arabian Horse Racing Authorities chairman
Sami Jassim al-Boenain.
AHO and WAHO work together in its common goal. Being in the international п¬Ѓeld
for such a long time, this opportunity would
definitely clear the hurdles that we faced
earlier. There will be better co-ordination
between the organisations. We could share
our thoughts and sort out the various issues.
The future of Pure Arabian horses look very
bright and we will ensure that we will work
together for the betterment of Pure Arabians
around the world.”
The World Arabian Horse Organization
(WAHO) is the world organisation for the
preservation, improvement and preservation of Arabian horses. WAHO grants membership to nations after examination of national breeding stud books, and review of
regulations for each country.
Qatar became a full member of WAHO in
1990 and since then it has witnessed spectacular progress in the development of the
Arabian horse. Qatar has 2000 living Arabians from all blood-lines, with approximately 250 new foals born each year. Qatar offers
many and varied activities for the Arabian
horses and their owners, including world
class racing, endurance and showing.
Snapshots from Racing and Equestrian Club’s Award Ceremony and gala dinner.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Phoenix Suns hold
off Cavs to spoil
James comeback
�I was making shots down and they were feeding me’
King” James was back on court from
a two-week injury absence but the
Phoenix Suns spoiled his comeback.
Markieff Morris poured in a career-high 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting Tuesday as the Suns held off LeBron
James’ Cleveland Cavaliers 107-100.
“I was making shots down and they
were feeding me,” Morris said.
James had 33 points, seven rebounds
and п¬Ѓve assists after missing eight games
with back and left knee strains, but visiting Cleveland (19-20) lost its sixth in a row.
“I couldn’t make those moves two weeks
ago, so for me to come back and feel like
myself again was pretty cool,” said James,
who hit 11-of-18 shots in 37 minutes. “I
know I can get out there and turn the corner. That’s what I was going for.”
Cavs coach David Blatt said: “I thought
he laid it out there and that wasn’t an easy
thing to do because he hadn’t played a
competitive game in eight games. He was
The Suns shot out to a 19-point third
quarter cushion but then flirted with disaster.Behind James and streaky-shooting
JR Smith, who hit eight triples en route to
29 points, the Cavs put together a spirited
They led 97-96 on James’ driving layup
with 3 minutes 53 seconds remaining. But
the Suns responded with a 7-0 surge to regain the upper hand. Eric Bledsoe hit three
free throws, Alex Len added a tip-in and
Morris made a pair from the stripe, making it 103-97.
A three-point play by James cut the
lead in half with 51 seconds left. But PJ
Tucker made two hustle plays, leading to
four free throws around a missed threepoint attempt from James, and the Suns
escaped with their 11th win in the last 15
•Atlanta Hawks 105, Philadelphia 76ers
87: Al Horford collected 21 points, 10 re-
bounds and 10 assists for his п¬Ѓrst career
triple-double, and the Eastern Conference-best Hawks (30-8) - minus rested
starters Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll - soared to a ninth straight
victory after beating the Sixers (7-30).
•Minnesota Timberwolves 110, Indiana
Pacers 101: Mo Williams п¬Ѓred in a careerhigh and franchise-record 52 points - the
most in the NBA this season - and the visiting T-Wolves (6-31) snapped a 15-game
slide with their п¬Ѓrst win since December
10 after trimming the Pacers (15-25).
•Golden State Warriors 116, Utah Jazz
105: Stephen Curry scored 15 of his 27
points in the decisive 44-27 third quarter to go along with 11 assists, sending the
league-best Warriors (30-5) past the hosting Jazz. Derrick Favours topped Utah (1326) with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
•Washington Wizards 101, San Antonio Spurs 93: John Wall scored 25 points,
Kevin Seraphin added 17 off the bench, and
the Wizards (26-12) broke a 17-game losing streak to the visiting Spurs with their
п¬Ѓrst win over the reigning NBA Champs
since November 12, 2005.
•Dallas Mavericks 108, Sacramento
Kings 104: Monta Ellis scored six of his 28
points in overtime, and Tyson Chandler
added 16 with 17 rebounds as the visiting
Mavericks (27-12)rallied past the Kings for
their sixth win in the last eight outings.
DeMarcus Cousins collected 32 points,
16 boards and nine assists before fouling
out late in the fourth quarter for Sacramento (16-22), who dropped their п¬Ѓfth
straight in the series.
•Miami Heat 78, LA Lakers 75: Mario
Chalmers scored nine of his 19 points
in the fourth quarter, Hassan Whiteside
added 15, and the visiting Heat (17-21)
overcame a second-half loss of star guard
Dwyane Wade (left hamstring strain) to
hold off the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant netted 12 points but missed
16-of-19 shots, including the potential
game-trying triple in the п¬Ѓnal seconds, as
the Lakers (12-27) lost for the eight time in
the last 11 games.
he Nashville Predators
improved to 17-2-1 at
home with a 5-1 win
over the Vancouver
Canucks, pulling away with a
flurry of goals in the third period.
The Predators blew it open
with three goals in a 4:07 span
when Filip Forsberg, Mike
Fisher and Craig Smith scored.
Islanders 3, Rangers 0
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak
stopped 27 shots as the New
York Islanders dominated
the New York Rangers 3-0 at
Madison Square Garden.
The Islanders got goals from
Anders Lee, Nikolai Kulemin
and Frans Nielsen.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29
of 32 shots and was removed
from the game by coach Alain
Vigneault to start the third
period. Cam Talbot made 12
saves in relief.
The Islanders have won six
of eight and sit in second place
in the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers had their п¬Ѓvegame winning streak snapped
but have won 13 of their last
15 games and remain in fourth
place in the Metropolitan.
Bruins 4, Lightning 3
David Pastrnak delivered
his second straight two-goal
game, powering Boston past
Tampa Bay 4-3.
The 18-year-old who had
seven shots on goal in his eighth
NHL game, had a couple of
prime chances to п¬Ѓnish the hat
trick but came up short. Milan
Lucic and Brad Marchand also
scored for Boston, who got two
assists apiece from David Krejci
and Torey Krug.
Penguins 7, Wild 2
David Perron scored twice
for his п¬Ѓrst multi-goal game
with Pittsburgh as the Penguins beat Minnesota 7-2,
sending the Wild to their seventh consecutive loss.
Chris Kunitz, Marcel Goc,
Brandon Sutter, Paul Martin
and Kris Letang also found the
back of the net for Pittsburgh.
Sidney Crosby had three assists and Evgeni Malkin added
two, while goaltender MarcAndre Fleury made 30 saves.
Hurricanes 3, Avalanche
2 (shootout)
Carolina rookie Victor Rask
scored his п¬Ѓrst career shootout goal and goalie Anton
Khudobin remained brilliant
in shootouts as the Hurricanes
topped Colorado 3-2.
Jordan Staal and Patrick
Dwyer scored in regulation
for Carolina and Khudobin
stopped 28 shots.
Red Wings 3, Sabres 1
Nyquist and Tomas Tatar
scored to lead Detroit to a
comfortable 3-1 win over Buffalo.
Goalie Petr Mrazek made
25 saves for Detroit as the
Red Wings improved to 3-2
on their six-game road trip,
which ends Thursday night in
St. Louis.
Blues 4, Oilers 2
Vladimir Tarasenko scored
his 24th goal of the season
and assisted on another as St.
Louis extended their winning
streak to п¬Ѓve games with a 4-2
victory over Edmonton.
Schwartz and Alexander
Steen also scored for St. Louis. Jori Lehtera earned assists
on both goals and defenseman Barret Jackman added
two assists.
Nashville Predators players celebrate after a goal by center
Filip Forsberg (9) during the third period against the Vancouver
Canucks on Tuesday.
Broncos to Manning:
�we want you back’
enver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was noncommittal about his NFL
future after his team’s playoff
loss on Sunday but there was
no ambiguity concerning the
team’s general manager when
it came to the future Hall of
Manager John Elway told reporters on Tuesday he believes the
38-year-old Manning, who led
Denver to a Super Bowl berth
and three division titles since
joining the team in 2012, has
another season left in him.
“The bottom line is we want
him back and it’s going to come
down to what Peyton wants to
do,” said Elway, adding that he
will give Manning a month consider his plans.
New York
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (2-R) shoots as he is defended by Miami Heat players Chris Bosch (R), Luol Deng (2-L) and Hassan Whiteside (L) in the second half during
their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Los Angeles
“I did have a great conversation with Peyton (on Monday).
We talked about the game. I
said, �The last thing we’re going
to do at this point in time, having been through what you’ve
been through, is talk about your
“I told him, �Just know how
much we want you back, but
you need time to get away from
Manning, a п¬Ѓve-time league
most valuable player chasing a
second Super Bowl title, completed 26 of 46 passes for 211
yards and one touchdown in his
team’s 24-13 divisional playoff
loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
After the game, when Manning was asked by reporters if he
would be back next season, the
record-setting quarterback was
noncommittal about returning
to Denver for a fourth season.
Elway confirmed reports that
Manning played Sunday’s game
with a thigh injury but did not
comment on the severity of it.
“He did have a strain in one
quad but he said it felt fine,” said
Elway. “Whether he reinjured it
during the game or not, I don’t
know. I don’t know how much
it did affect him or didn’t affect
Nuggets acquire Nelson from
Celtics for Nate Robinson
Los Angeles
eeking an experienced leader in the backcourt, the Denver Nuggets acquired
Jameer Nelson from the Boston Celtics in
exchange for Nate Robinson, in a swap of
reserve guards.
“We are excited to add a player of Jameer’s calibre to our roster,” Denver general manager and
executive vice president Tim Connelly said on the
Nuggets website.
“We have no doubt that his experience and veteran leadership will be of value to our team.”
Nelson, a 10-year-veteran, is expected to spell
starting point guard Ty Lawson in the rotation.
It’s the second time Nelson has been traded in
less than a month.
The former All-Star spent his п¬Ѓrst nine years
with Orlando before signing with Dallas as a free
agent in the off-season.
But the Mavericks moved him to the Celtics as
part of the deal that brought them Rajon Rondo on
December 18. But with a surplus of guards, Nelson
played in just six games for Boston.
For his career, Nelson own averages of 12.3
points and 5.3 assists.
The Celtics, meanwhile, pick up the streakyshooting sparkplug Robinson, who averaged 8.4
points and 2.5 assists in his two-plus seasons in
For his 10-year NBA career, the journeyman
Robinson has averaged 11.1 points and 2.4 assists
in 607 games with Denver, Chicago, Golden State,
Oklahoma City, Boston and New York.
“I want to thank Nate for his time here with us
in Denver,” said Connelly. “He always came ready
to play and brought that same intensity every day
in practice. We wish him the very best as he continues in his career.”
New York: Amid renewed reports that owner
Mikhail Prokhorov is exploring a sale of the NBA’s
Brooklyn Nets, a spokesman for the Russian billionaire said Tuesday no such sale is imminent.
“As we have said for many months, ownership is
always open to listening to offers—that’s just good
business,” Ellen Pinchuk said in a statement.
“There is nothing imminent in terms of a sale of
any stake in the team.”
Bloomberg had reported that Prokhorov has retained Evercore Partners to sell the team. The Nets
have not commented.
Multiple media outlets reported in October that
Prokhorov, who bought an 80 percent stake in the
then-New Jersey Nets for some $200 million in a
sale п¬Ѓnalized in 2010 -- was entertaining offers
from potential buyers. In November Prokhorov
said he did not want to give up control of the team.
However he acknowledged that the sale of the
Los Angeles Clippers for an astonishing $2 billion
to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, п¬Ѓnalized in August, made him feel it would be
foolish not to sound out the market.
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Swede Stenson seeks
�Desert Slam’ feat
Stenson has featured in all editions of the tournament since its inception in 2006
orld number two Henrik Stenson feels
upbeat about his chances of winning
the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship this
week, and thus become the п¬Ѓrst player
to complete the Desert Slam on the European Tour.
The 38-year-old Swede has won the Dubai
Desert Classic (2007), Qatar Masters (2006) and
the DP World Tour Championship twice (2013 and
2014), but despite holding the course record at the
National course of Abu Dhabi Golf Club (a 10-under-par 62 in 2006), the best he has been able to
п¬Ѓnish in the UAE capital is runner-up twice (2006
and 2008).
Stenson missed the cut last year in what has traditionally been his season-opening tournament (he
has featured in all editions of the tournament since
its inception in 2006), but said he is much better
prepared for the task this year.
Speaking on the eve of the tournament, Stenson
said: “It is the one missing, and I would like to have
it, and I probably fancy my chances a little bit more
this time around.
“The game feels in pretty good shape at this time.
In the previous years, I feel like I’ve been trying to
get going and trying to п¬Ѓnd my game a little bit. If
the way I’ve been hitting the ball in practise the last
couple of days is any sign, I’ve got the chance to
have a good week.”
But Stenson will not have it easy as a strong п¬Ѓeld
has assembled in the UAE capital for what is the
10th anniversary celebration of the tournament.
World number one Rory McIlroy leads the star
parade, which also includes number six Justin Rose
of England, number 10 Rickie Fowler of the United
States and number 12 and three-time Abu Dhabi
champion Martin Kaymer of Germany.
There are a lot of expectations from Fowler, especially after his stunning 2014 season, in which he
п¬Ѓnished inside the top-п¬Ѓve in all four majors, and
his battles with McIlroy.
The 26-year-old Fowler, who has been paired
with McIlroy and 22-year-old Matteo Manassero,
is making his debut in the Middle East and said:
“Playing worldwide is something I want to do, and
I want to play different parts of the world and become a bit more of a global player.
“I will be the old guy in that group. Doesn’t
happen very often but we’ll have a good time. I’ve
gotten to play with both of them quite a bit before.
Obviously, Rory and I got to play a bit last year, a
couple of final groups, and we’ll see if we can make
it a little bit more fun this week.”
Rose starts his season for the second time in the
Middle East, having п¬Ѓnished second in his п¬Ѓrst attempt in 2013.
“I am very excited to be back here in Abu Dhabi. I
was meant to be here last year, was looking forward
to starting here last year, but my shoulder didn’t re-
ally allow that. It was on my schedule to be back,”
said the 34-year-old Englishman, who admitted to
still having a niggle in his shoulder, but nothing that
impedes his golf swing in any way.
“I thought it’s a really good place to start the
season. Good golf course and in good condition...
You sort of get reliable conditions out here, which I
think is very important when you’re trying to get a
read on your game early in the season.”
Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal is the defending champion of the tournament.
Fowler confident
Rickie Fowler was golf’s nearly man in 2014 as
Rory McIlroy re-established himself as the sport’s
top player, but the American is confident last year’s
consistency can help him challenge his friend and
rival this season.
Fowler п¬Ѓnished two shots adrift of McIlroy at
the British Open and US PGA Championship, the
Northern Irishman winning both to take his career
majors tally to four, while the Californian was also
joint-п¬Ѓfth at the US Masters and joint-second at
the US Open.
Fowler had a combined score of 32 below par for
2014’s four majors - five shots better than McIlroy
- yet he is still searching for a п¬Ѓrst tournament win
since 2012’s Wells Fargo Championship, his solitary
US tour victory.
That record compares unfavourably with world
number one McIlroy, who is п¬Ѓve months his junior.
“I don’t feel like my game is any weaker than his,”
Fowler, 26, told a news conference ahead of the Abu
Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which begins today.
“I feel I’ve putted better than he did through the
summer last year. He has strengths that maybe outweigh mine: when he is on top of his driving game
he is very tough to beat and he drove it well through
the summer. I think it frees up the rest of his game
to play some fairly effortless golf.
“I’m looking forward to 2015, having some great
match-ups with him.”
Fowler’s consistency led him to break into the
world top 10 for the п¬Ѓrst time in September and
he hopes to become a household name outside the
United States.
“I want to play different parts of the world and
become more of a global player,” said Fowler ahead
of his Abu Dhabi debut.
Fowler was part of the US team humbled at last
year’s Ryder Cup, with Europe’s five-point victory
- the continent’s eighth victory in 10 competitions
- prompting the PGA to form a task force to see how
the US can improve.
“Their main goal is to have more players involved
in the process and feeling like we field the team together as one,” added Fowler.
“In the final year leading up, I don’t think you
can really over-prepare as far as spending time as a
team...because if you go into that week without any
kind of preparation and just go �you’re going to play
with this guy’, it’s hit-or-miss.”
ilipino ring icon Manny
Pacquiao has laid out
the terms under which
he would п¬Ѓght Floyd
Mayweather, although a deal
for the long awaited mega-п¬Ѓght
isn’t done, US media reported
Carl Moretti, vice president of
Pacquiao promoters Top Rank,
told that it remains
to be seen if Mayweather would
agree terms for a May 2 bout in
Las Vegas.
“Top Rank and Manny have
agreed to the terms on our side.
I don’t know about the other
side,” Moretti told the sports
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum
told Yahoo Sports that Pacquiao
had agreed to terms for the п¬Ѓght,
which is one boxing fans have
long clamoured for.
Citing an unnamed source involved in the negotiations, ESPN
reported Pacquiao has agreed to
a 40 percent cut of the revenue,
leaving Mayweather with the
remaining 60 percent of a п¬Ѓght
widely expected to shatter all
box-office and television revenue records.
According ESPN, Pacquiao
has agreed not only to a purse
split but also to the gloves to be
used and to a drug testing protocol.
Drug testing was one of the
issues that caused a PacquiaoMayweather showdown to fall
through when it was being negotiated in 2009 and early 2010.
Moretti told ESPN that Pacquiao has agreed to be tested by
the US Anti-Doping Agency, a
sign of his eagerness to make the
The eyes of the boxing world
have long been on a showdown
between the unbeaten American
Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) and eight-division world
champion Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38
knockouts) two of the greatest
boxers of their generation.
Talk of the super-п¬Ѓght gained
steam in December, when Mayweather proposed the May 2 date
and Pacquiao vowed to chase
him into submission.
“This fight is about legacy,
this is about making the fans
happy and, above all, this is for
the good of boxing,” Pacquiao
said last month.
Asian pioneer Yang debuts at
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
By Sports Reporter
orean legend YE Yang, Asia’s
first and so far only male Major winner, will make his tournament debut at next week’s
US$2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar
Yang, who held off Tiger Woods to win
the 2009 US PGA Championship, will be
part of a strong Asian contingent at Doha
Golf Club that also includes six-time European Tour winner Thongchai Jaidee of
Thailand and young compatriot Kiradech
Defending champion Sergio Garcia,
Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose – three
of the world’s top six – are among the
tournament favourites.
Yang, who turns 43 today, and Rose,
the 2013 US Open winner, are among several Major winners in the п¬Ѓeld, including
Ernie Els (2002 and 2012 Open Championship; 1994 and 1997 US Open), Darren
Clarke (2011 Open Championship), Charl
Schwartzel (2011 Masters Tournament)
and Paul Lawrie (1999 Open Champion-
New York
Henrik Stenson: aiming to break his Abu Dhabi jinx.
Abu Dhabi
for Floyd
ship), a two-time winner in Doha.
In November 2006, Yang won his п¬Ѓrst
European Tour title at the HSBC Champions in China and in March 2009 became only the second Korean to win on
the US PGA Tour when he claimed the
Honda Classic. After his Major breakthrough at the PGA Championship in
August 2009, he won his third European
Tour title at the Volvo China Open in
April 2010.
“I’m very honoured to be playing in the
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the
п¬Ѓrst time and hope I can play well on my
debut,” said Yang, who won four Japan
Tour titles from 2004 to 2006, the year
he also won the Korea Open.
“I’ve heard the Doha Golf Club is a
very good course and that there are many
top players competing this year, which is
a tribute to the tournament. I’ve played
in many countries across the world, but
this will be my first time in Qatar, so I’m
really looking forward to visiting and enjoying some new experiences.”
Thongchai is coming off one of his п¬Ѓnest seasons, spending much of last year
in the world’s top 40 after winning his
sixth European Tour title at June’s Nordea Masters in Sweden, where he beat
Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher
in a playoff.
Last month, Thongchai started his
2015 European Tour season with a jointseventh place п¬Ѓnish at the Nedbank
Golf Challenge in South Africa and the
45-year-old Thai hopes to continue that
form in Doha, where he will be competing for the 13th time in his career.
“I had a really good season and I’m
hoping to continue playing consistently
in 2015. I had good results in Thailand
and South Africa last month, so now I’m
looking forward to playing well at the
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters,” said
Thongchai, who posted ninth-place п¬Ѓnishes in Doha in 2007 and 2013.
Easter and Cipriani
making cases for
England call
ick Easter and Danny
Cipriani, two familiar
faces under previous
England regimes, are
both eyeing surprise call-ups into
coach Stuart Lancaster’s Six Nations squad next week.
number eight Easter, out of the
picture since the 2011 World Cup,
has been in outstanding form for
his club and the broken leg suffered by Ben Morgan last week has
opened the door for an England
return at the age of 36.
In-form Sale fly-half Cipriani,
once touted as the new wonderboy of English rugby but with only
nine caps to his name since his
debut in 2008, has also been doing and saying all the right things
as Lancaster ponders his options
with only eight games to work
with before the World Cup.
Cipriani, who made two sub-
stitute appearances against New
Zealand in June, is likely to be
selected for the second-string
England Saxons side against the
Irish Wolfhounds on Jan. 30, offering him the ideal showcase to
convince Lancaster he has left his
long list of off-п¬Ѓeld issues behind
him. Selecting Easter would represent less of a gamble.
He has been overlooked since
an ill-advised comment after
England’s 2011 World Cup quarter-final defeat by France when
he said “35,000 pounds down the
toilet” but Morgan’s bad luck and
a drop in form of Billy Vunipola
has opened the door.
“There is massive unfinished
business for me as far as England
is concerned,” Easter, who has 47
caps, told the Daily Telegraph yesterday.
“My hunger to play for England
is as strong as it has ever been,
stronger probably. I believe that I
am much better player than when
I was last capped. I make far better
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Ibra’s winner eases
pressure on Blanc
�I am neither more reassured, but on the other hand neither am I very worried’
latan Ibrahimovic’s hotly-contested second-half goal gave
holders Paris Saint Germain a
place in the last four of the League
Cup after a 1-0 win over St Etienne on
Ibrahimovic’s 72nd minute goal, which
he chested over the line despite the efforts of goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier to
claw it away, was disputed both by the
home players and the spectators.
Angry fans hurled projectiles on to
the pitch, including a plastic water bottle thrown at a linesman, and St Etienne
coach Christophe Galtier urged the crowd
to calm down.
The match was held up for around 10
minutes while order was restored.
The victory, though, is welcome both
for PSG and especially for the coach Laurent Blanc, who has come under pressure
in the past four weeks after a series of disappointing results and player trouble.
PSG came into the game on the back of
a 4-2 league defeat by modest Bastia last
Saturday, with Blanc having disciplined
big name players Edinson Cavani and
Ezequiel Lavezzi for returning late from
Blanc, who has guided PSG into the
Champions League last 16 where they
will play Chelsea, said that he had not
been very confident before the match after what he had seen against Bastia.
“After the Bastia match I had the impression that we no longer knew how
to play and there was a bad atmosphere
within the squad,” said Blanc.
“Tonight, though, I saw positive things
and we have won at a place where it is difficult to do so.
“However, I am neither more reassured
than I was before the match, but on the
other hand neither am I very worried.”
Earlier, Bastia continued their good
run of form, recovering from going a goal
behind early on to storm into their п¬Ѓrst
PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) celebrates his goal with teammates Blaise Matuidi (centre) and Thiago Motta during the French Ligue
Cup match against Saint-Etienne in Saint-Etienne on Tuesday. (AFP)
League Cup semi-п¬Ѓnal since 2000 with a
3-1 victory over Rennes.
The Corsican side, who unusually for a
top tier side in Europe these days, п¬Ѓelded
six homegrown players in their starting
line-up and another п¬Ѓve on the bench,
were helped considerably by their oppo-
nents having two men sent off.
Former France international striker
Djibril Cisse rounded off a joyous night
for Bastia as the 33-year-old п¬Ѓred home a
powerful shot a minute from time.
“I am happy for the players for all the
work they have put in in recent weeks,”
said Bastia coach Ghislain Printant, who
is bidding to become only the second
coach in the club’s history to land a trophy with their sole piece of silverware
coming in the 1981 French Cup.
“This semi-final is a deserved reward
for them.”
Espanyol, Malaga reach Copa del Rey last eight
arcelona coach Luis Enrique is insisting a future without star player
Lionel Messi has never
been considered as speculation
over the Argentine’s future continues to mount.
Tensions have been simmering at Barcelona with the coach
insisting Messi play a wider role
in the line-up.
Messi had appeared to rule
out a move following a stunning
individual performance in Sunday’s 3-1 win over La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
“I have never demanded anything to ensure that I stay because I have never had any intention of leaving,” he told Barca TV.
However, the following day
he fuelled the rumour mill once
more by saying “I don’t know
where I’ll be next year” during
a press conference ahead of the
Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.
“I don’t know what the future
will bring,” said Enrique when
asked if he thought Messi would
win a fifth Ballon d’Or whilst at
“We all think that Messi will
be at Barcelona for the coming
years, it is what all the fans want.
We are not even planning a squad
without Messi.”
The speculation has arisen due
to a reported breakdown in communications between Messi and
Messi was left on the bench as
Barca fell to a shock 1-0 defeat in
their opening game of the year
away to Real Sociedad and then
missed training the next day,
claiming to have suffered from a
stomach bug.
Later that day he followed
Chelsea and two of their players
Thibaut Courtois and Filipe Luis
on social media site Instagram
and sources in the Catalan press
then claimed Messi had met with
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to ask for the former Barca
captain Enrique to be replaced as
Both Messi and Bartomeu have
since denied those claims, with
the former particularly aggrieved
that the reports surfaced in the
Catalan press.
“It hurts me because it comes
from here, from Barcelona, from
people that love the club, or say
they do. It doesn’t come from
Madrid like it has in the past,”
said Messi.
“It is not good that they look
for rivalry between Luis Enrique
and I because there isn’t any.”
And Enrique repeated his assertion that there is no division
in the dressing room ahead of a
demanding schedule in the coming weeks as Barca battle to advance in the Copa del Rey and the
Champions League, as well as
clawing back a one-point deficit
on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
“The dressing room is united.
We avoid the controversy and
look for the best atmosphere
“That is what we look for, although we know that things can
change in five seconds. I see unity in every aspect.”
Enrique’s men are back in action tonight when they face
Elche in the second leg of their
last 16 of the Copa del Rey.
The match should be a mere
formality with Barcelona having
won the п¬Ѓrst leg 5-0 last week and
Enrique confirmed that a host of
the club’s academy players would
get a chance to prove their worth
with a much tougher test in either
Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid lying in wait should Barca progress
to the last eight.
Patience key to Real
revival: Ancelotti
ness,” Nuno told a news conference.
“It’s very tough when you are a man
down,” added the Portuguese. “But this
team has shown that it recovers after a
bad result and we have to give our fans
some joy on Saturday,” at home to Almeria in La Liga.
spanyol’s Felipe Caicedo came
off the bench and netted two late
goals to secure a 2-0 win at home
to 10-man Valencia on Tuesday that sent the Barcelona-based club
through to the King’s Cup quarter-finals
3-2 on aggregate.
Valencia won last week’s last 16, first
leg 2-1 at their Mestalla stadium but were
dealt a blow in the 14th minute of the return when defender Shkodran Mustafi
was shown a straight red card for hauling back Sergio Garcia when the Espanyol
captain was through on goal.
The visitors held out against waves of
Espanyol attacks until the 80th minute
when Caicedo outjumped goalkeeper
Yoel and nodded into the empty net.
The powerful Ecuador forward made it
2-0 a minute from time when he controlled the ball in the penalty area and lashed
a low shot into the net.
The victory for the 2006 winners set
up a likely last-eight clash against Sevilla,
who will start with a 2-1 lead over Granada when they host their Andalusian rivals
on Wednesday.
“It was a perfect night for all Espanyol
fans,” Garcia told reporters.
“The players showed they want to give
some joy to the supporters and that we
take this competition seriously,” added
the former Spain international.
“The sending off was a key moment but
that does not detract from our achievement. We played a great match.”
Barca planning
future with
Messi: Enrique
Malaga’s Jose Luis Garcia celebrates his goal against Levante on Tuesday. (EPA)
Valencia’s exit from the competition
they have won seven times, most recently
in 2008, came a day after coach Nuno extended his contract until June 2018 and
effectively ended their hopes of silverware this season.
The club failed to qualify for Europe
last term but hopes are high they can revive past glories in coming years following a recent takeover by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim.
“Obviously it’s a day of pain and sad-
Malaga joined Espanyol in the last eight
despite throwing away a 2-0 lead and losing 3-2 at Levante, a 2-0 victory in the
п¬Ѓrst leg securing a 4-3 aggregate success
for the Qatar-owned club.
Levante substitute David Barral scored
twice for the home side to level the match
before he earned a second yellow card and
was sent off in the 89th minute when he
handled the ball into the net in search of
his hat-trick.
Malaga, who have never reached the п¬Ѓnal, will probably meet Athletic Bilbao in
the last eight.
The Basque club’s tally of 23 Cup triumphs is only bettered by Barcelona’s
26 and they host Celta Vigo on Wednesday after winning the first leg in Galicia
Atletico Madrid have a 2-0 lead over
holders Real Madrid ahead of their second leg at Real’s Bernabeu stadium on
Thursday, with the winners almost certain to play Barca in the quarters.
The Catalans hold a 5-0 advantage over
Elche heading into Thursday’s second leg.
This season’s edition of Spain’s domestic Cup competition is the first since
1969-70, when teams from lower divisions began competing, that only topflight sides reached the last 16.
Rangers continue
to contest fine
�No grudge against
Wenger abuse �out
of order’: Henry
United creating
new style: Angel
City complete
Bony signing
Glasgow: Cash-strapped fallen
Scottish giants Rangers said
yesterday they would continue
to challenge a ВЈ250,000 fine
connected to undisclosed payments after losing an appeal.
The club is adamant they should
not pay the fine, issued by a
commission appointed by the
Scottish Premier League to look
at the Rangers’ use of Employee
Benefit Trusts when they were
still a top-flight side. This fine
was imposed before a financial
collapse saw Rangers go into
liquidation and a new company
formed to oversee club affairs.
Doha: Bayern Munich
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer holds
no grudge against teammate
Robert Lewandowski for not
picking him but Cristiano
Ronaldo in the World Player poll.
Neuer said yesterday at Munich’s
winter break training camp in
Qatar that “it is legitimate that a
striker votes for another striker.
I have no problem with this”.
Neuer added Lewandowski’s
choice also showed that the poll
is fair without any backroom
dealings. Real Madrid star
Ronaldo was elected World
Player a third time on Monday.
London: Arsenal great Thierry
Henry has criticised fans who
verbally abused the club’s
manager Arsene Wenger in
comments published by several
British newspapers yesterday.
A small group of supporters
were caught on camera barracking Wenger as he boarded a
train following Arsenal’s league
defeat at Stoke City last month.
“You can be upset, I totally
understand that. But when I saw
what happened at Stoke I was
like, �That’s totally unnecessary.’
What I saw after the Stoke City
game was out of order,” he said.
London: Manchester United
winger Angel di Maria yesterday
urged supporters to support the
new style being introduced by
manager Louis van Gaal. United
were renowned for swashbuckling wing play under Alex
Ferguson, but under Van Gaal it
is the wing-backs who provide
the width, with the midfielders
playing narrowly. “We’re beginning something new here. We’ve
got a new style, we’ve got a new
manager and we’re all working
hard to make sure we’re putting
Manchester United back where
it belongs,” the Argentine said.
London: Manchester City have
completed the signing of striker
Wilfried Bony from Swansea
City. Bony, 26, signed a four-anda-half year deal through 2019,
City said on their website.
“It’s a great feeling for me, it’s a
big honour to be here and it’s a
great challenge,” Bony said. “As
a player it’s always good to be
part of one of the biggest clubs
in the world and it’s a good
opportunity for me to be in that
situation now - I’m really proud.”
Bony scored 34 goals in 70
matches at Swansea. He led the
League with 20 goals in 2014.
eal Madrid boss Carlo
Ancelotti (pictured)
has called on his players to approach today’s
Copa del Rey last-16, second leg
tie against Atletico Madrid with
a cool head if they are to overturn
a 2-0 first leg deficit.
Since downing Atletico in the
Champions League п¬Ѓnal in May,
the European champions haven’t
been able to beat Diego Simeone’s men in four attempts so far
this season, but the Italian urged
his side not to go for broke early
on with the threat of an away
goal making their task almost
“We know how to play against
Atletico because we know each
other very well. We need to be
intense, but we also need to have
a cool head because we have
90 minutes to do it,” he said on
“We don’t need to rush, we
can’t lose our confidence and need
to play with intensity. Atletico is a
team that defends very well. They
are the best team in Europe to defend a lead because they are very
well organised.”
Ancelotti confirmed he had all
of his squad bar long-term injury
absentee Luka Modric available,
including Cristiano Ronaldo who
picked up the third Ballon d’Or
of his career in Zurich earlier in
the week. However, the former
Chelsea manager insisted that
the Portuguese’s continual thirst
for more will ensure he is in contention to win the prize again
this time next year.
“I think individual awards motivate him. I don’t think he will
relax having won the Ballon d’Or.
Tomorrow he will start working
again to win it for a fourth time.”
Ronaldo beat four-time winner Lionel Messi into second
place for the second consecutive
year and Ancelotti responded to
speculation surrounding the Argentine’s future by claiming he
would love to partner him and
Ronaldo, although he acknowledged it is highly unlikely Messi
would ever swap the Camp Nou
for the Santiago Bernabeu.
“You have to think that Cristiano is the flagship player of Real
Madrid and Messi of Barcelona.
Each one has their own history,
it would be a great thing for us
to have the two in the same team
but it is difficult to think they are
going to move.”
Ancelotti also backed Gareth Bale after he was whistled
by large parts of the Bernabeu
faithful for failing to pass to Ronaldo when squandering a simple chance in Saturday’s 3-0 win
over Espanyol.
“It seemed to me very difficult
to pass the ball at that time so I
didn’t need to speak with Gareth.
“He is playing very well. I
think he is in optimal physical condition. Tomorrow he will
have a great game.”
Gulf Times
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Bahrain keeper
prepared to face
UAE danger men
�After losing the first game, we now have the chance have to get a positive result’
�Not impossible’
to reach Ronaldo
level, says Honda
apan’s Keisuke Honda has
become the latest player to
aspire to the lofty heights
of Real Madrid superstar
Cristiano Ronaldo at an Asian
Cup seemingly full of them.
The playmaker told Japanese
media yesterday that he felt he
was not far off the level of Ronaldo, who won his third world
footballer of the year award earlier this week.
“There is supposed to be a
limit to how many goals one
player can score but (Ronaldo)
keeps knocking down those limits,” Honda told the Sankei Sports
newspaper after scoring from
the spot in Japan’s 4-0 thrashing
of Palestine in their Asian Cup
“But he’s just a human being,
just like me, so I don’t want to say
it’s impossible (to reach Ronaldo’s
level),” added the AC Milan player,
who scored from the spot against
in Monday’s game. “That’s what
I’m always striving for.”
Several players at the Asian
Cup have been compared to Ronaldo, including South Korea’s
Son Heung-Min who has been
dubbed “Sonaldo” by his Bayer
Leverkusen teammates.
Honda was waxing lyrical, his
Japan teammates have displayed
a more relaxed demeanour and
were spotted sipping espressos
at the airport on Tuesday as they
made their way to Brisbane for
their second game of the tournament.
Iraqi and Bahrain are among
teams at the Asian Cup fancifully
boasting their own �Ronaldo’
but Honda appears determined
to leave his mark on the competition after Japan’s World Cup
flop last year left him in floods of
Holders Japan, winners of a
record fourth Asian Cup title after beating Australia in the 2011
п¬Ѓnal, face Iraq in their second
Group D game and are joint favourites to win the competition
along with the host Socceroos,
who have scored eight goals in
two games.
Honda rather grumpily tore
into the standard of refereeing after Japan’s rout of Palestine and as he prowled around
Newcastle airport in designer
sunglasses, the rest of the team
posed with fans and signed autographs, stopping for a cup of coffee before boarding their flight.
Japan’s final group game will
be against Jordan in Melbourne
on January 20.
UAE’s Ali Mabkhout celebrates his goal against Qatar during their Asian Cup match in Canberra on Sunday. (AFP)
ahrain goalkeeper Mohamed
Abbas says that he is ready to
face the challenge from Asian
Cup hotshots Ali Mabkhout and
Ahmed Khalil when his side take on the
United Arab Emirates today.
“As a goalkeeper, I am aware of this
player (Ali Mabkhout), as well as Ahmed
Khalil,” Abbas told a news conference
“They are good players who are very
dangerous. But we have the strategies and
a specific style which can help us stop the
UAE attack.”
Mabkhout and Khalil both bagged
braces in the UAE’s 4-1 victory over Qatar
in the opening Group C matches. With no
other players hitting doubles, they shared
the honour of being tournament top
scorer after the п¬Ѓrst round of games.
Bahrain lost 2-0 to Iran and were left
frustrated at conceding both goals from
set pieces.
“Tomorrow we need to focus more and
not concede the same kind of goals,” Abbas said.
Bahrain coach Marjan Eid is refusing to
panic after the Iran defeat and instead believes his side are capable of getting back
on track against Qatar.
“After losing the first game, we now
have the chance have to get a positive result,” he said. “We are not afraid to play
against any team.
“We played well and had a lot of opportunities to get a goal. Iran scored because
of two mistakes and the players realised
this after the match. They played well and
believe they can repeat that performance
for the next match.”
Meanwhile, UAE coach Mahdi Ali
warned his players not to rely too much on
sparkling midfielder Omar Abdulrahman in
the Asian Cup clash against Bahrain.
Abdulrahman, whose frizzy mop of
hair has similarities with Manchester
United’s Marouane Fellaini, but whose
play is more reminiscent of Barcelona’s
Neymar, starred in UAE’s opening Asian
Cup 4-1 thrashing of Qatar.
The silky playmaker looked dangerous
throughout, showing trickery and imagination as the Emiratis came from a goal
down to run out clear winners against
their Gulf rivals in Canberra on Saturday.
A win against Bahrain today would all
but see UAE progress to the quarter-finals from Group C. Ali expects 23-yearold Abdulrahman to shine again—but he
called on every player to do their bit.
“Of course Omar is a talented player,
he’s one of the main players in the team,”
Ali told reporters.
“I was very happy that he played 90
minutes against Qatar because he has
come back after one-and-a-half months
out injured.
“But we are playing as a team and Omar
is a member of the team. For him to be
doing his best and showing all his qualities and abilities he needs support from
the team,” the manager added.
Bahrain must get something from the
match if they are to have any chance of
making the knock-out stages after losing
2-0 to Iran in their п¬Ѓrst game.
Brazilian clubs seeking slice of American pie
Sao Paulo
lined the importance of marketing and
TV coverage, with the Florida Cup games
being broadcast live to 125 countries.
The Brazilian clubs also believe they can
make money from their own fans by selling package deals to see the games as well
as to watch training sessions and even fly
with the team.
“In addition to what the club will receive
for competing in the Florida Cup, we can
also generate revenue from pitch-side advertising, TV rights and the sale of travel
packages that include tickets to the game
and for visits to the training centre to watch
training sessions,” said Alexandre Ferreira,
Corinthians’ marketing manager.
Fluminense have a partnership with
Gatorade, and Corinthians have deals
with Fox Broadcasting to advertise The
Simpsons and with Disney.
The other blossoming relationship
comes in ownership. In addition to Silva
at Orlando, three Brazilians own Fort
Lauderdale Strikers.
Orlando make their MLS debut in
March, while the Strikers play in the
North American Soccer League (NASL),
the second level of US football.
Former Brazil, Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo last month
snapped up a piece of Fort Lauderdale
and declared he was looking to the future.
“There are no doubts that the beautiful
game is growing exponentially in the US,
and I guarantee you that the NASL will
play a key role in the rise of professional
soccer here,” Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo played for Corinthians and
the Sao Paulo side are using the Strikers’
training centre as their US base.
uropean teams have been making
inroads into the US with transfer
deals, franchise partnerships and
pre-season tours and now Brazilian clubs are seeking a slice of the action
on and off the п¬Ѓeld.
Brazilians are investing in US clubs and
two Brazilian teams are in Florida this
week for pre-season training and challenge matches against German sides.
Edu Gaspar, the former Arsenal player
who is now Corinthians Director of Football, said: “For a long time now the club
has been looking for an opportunity to
promote itself in the US.”
“We have managed to find an important competition with clubs that are
equally important and under conditions
that suit us.”
Corinthians will this week play in the
Florida Cup, a four-team tournament
that includes Bayer Leverkusen, 1. Cologne and Rio de Janeiro’s Fluminense.
Corinthians play Cologne and Fluminense face Leverkusen in Orlando today. Two days later Corinthians take on
Leverkusen and Fluminense meet Cologne in Jacksonville.
The Brazilian clubs will use the games
as warm-ups for the state championships
which begin at the end of the month but
more important than facing top European
sides are the commercial possibilities.
The US game is growing in stature, with
New York City FC signing a franchise deal
with part-owners Manchester City and
Former Brazil, Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo last month snapped up a
piece of North American Soccer League team Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
top players like Liverpool captain Steven
Gerrard signing for LA Galaxy, who he
will join after the Premier league season.
Brazilian football, meanwhile, is in the
doldrums on and off the pitch thanks to
decades of mismanagement.
Almost all the top clubs are heavily in
debt, with many owing players and managers months of back pay.
Even with 12 new stadiums built for
the World Cup, the average п¬Ѓrst division
crowd last year was 16,562, less than in
Japan, Mexico, China—and the US.
Brazilian clubs can see US football is
growing—some Major League Soccer
matches are now broadcast live in Brazil—and they want to form closer ties
with the country.
“This is one more opportunity for the
club to establish a presence in the North
American market, showing off its brand
and its players,” Marcelo Teixeira, Fluminense’s executive director of football,
said of the Florida tour.
US clubs are waking up to the interest,
with Orlando creating a Portuguese-language website and tourism packages for
“After Canadians, Brazil represents the
biggest group of foreign visitors to Orlando,” Orlando City’s Brazilian president
Flavio Augusta da Silva told Reuters in an
“Brazilians spendbns of dollars each
year in Florida. And Orlando City will be
an integral part of Brazil’s most beloved
tourism route.”
Fluminense and Corinthians under-
Keisuke Honda
of Japan.
AFC prez backs refs
despite criticism
FC president Shaikh
Salman bin Ebrahim
(pictured) has ignored the
complaints of players and coaches about the standard of officiating at the Asian Cup and praised
the work of the referees.
The Bahraini, accompanied
by Asian Football Confederation
general secretary Alex Soosay,
met with officials in Sydney on
Tuesday, a day after Japan’s Keisuke Honda slammed the performance of the Qatari referee in
their 4-0 win over Palestine.
“Shaikh Salman relayed his
trust in the referees’ ability and
his hope that they would continue
their positive contributions to the
tournament, something which
would greatly help further enhance the reputation of referees in
Asia,” the AFC posted in a release.
Honda had described Abdulrahman Hussain style of officiating as “basketball like” after
what he felt was another substandard performance by Asian
referees at the show piece.
Hussain dished out п¬Ѓve yellow
and one red card to the Palestinians, who produced some rough
and tumble tackles in Newcastle
with Ismail al-Amour fortunate
not to also be sent off after a
studs in the chest challenge.
“I don’t want to complain
but they have to change something about the level of referees,”
Honda was quoted as saying by
Kyodo News.
“During the game I don’t want
to say that because I don’t want
to waste my energy but it was like
basketball, right? If we touched
their bodies it was a foul.”
Honda’s compatriot Ryuji Sato
also had a poor game officiating
Australia’s 4-0 win over Oman
on Tuesday.
The Japanese referee only
booked Ahmed Mubarak for a
dangerous two-footed lunge on
Tim Cahill in the п¬Ѓrst half, while
he questionably pulled back play
for a penalty to the hosts despite
Mark Milligan already putting
the ball in the net.
Iran boss Carlos Queiroz also
voiced his complaints that Australian official Ben Williams, the
2013 AFC referee of the year, allowed too many strong tackles in
the 2-0 win over Bahrain.
“I was not happy because after
nine, 10, 12 fouls, stopping the
game systematically. The referee
must take action,” the former
Portugal and Real Madrid boss
“For a referee so quick to show
a yellow card when one of my
players didn’t hear the whistle,
I was completely surprised that,
when he sees Bahrain’s negative
game, after 10 fouls in a row, he
didn’t give them a single yellow.”
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Iran wary of wounded
Qatar but focused on
their own effort
�After the good competition at Gulf Cup, we expected something different’
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi (second from right) speaks to his players on the eve of their Asian Cup match against Iran yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
ran are aware they face a wounded
Qatar in their Asian Cup Group C
clash in Sydney today but they are
intending to focus on their own team
rather than worry about the opposition.
“Definitely, we have a difficult game
against Qatar tomorrow,” midfielder Andranik Teymourian told a news conference yesterday.
“They lost their first game against the
United Arab Emirates and they’ll try their
absolute best tomorrow because it’s their
п¬Ѓnal chance if they want to qualify for the
knock-out stages.”
Teymourian did not train with the team
on Tuesday, instead going through checks
with medical staff, but dismissed concerns over his п¬Ѓtness.
“After the Bahrain game, I felt a little fatigued in my leg muscles,” he said. “With
the team doctor and staff, I did attend training in the п¬Ѓtness room. We went through
check-ups and I’m feeling completely fine.
I will train with team today.”
With Teymourian recovered, coach
Carlos Queiroz could potentially name
an unchanged eleven from that which defeated Bahrain 2-0 in the opening game.
But the Portuguese hinted that some
tactical alterations could be made, even
if he would not contemplate wholescale
“The decisions I’m going to make for
tomorrow are based on tactical adjustments,” Queiroz said. “Our group is quite
different from Australia’s group, in our
group, we have four candidates with the
Red letter day
for China, North
Korea exit
uper-sub Sun Ke п¬Ѓred
China into the Asian Cup
quarter-п¬Ѓnals yesterday
as North Korea crashed
Sun’s superb solo effort after
68 minutes, moments after coming on, gave China a pulsating 2-1
victory over Uzbekistan and sent
them into the knock-out stages
for the п¬Ѓrst time since 2004.
China coach Alain Perrin
promised to crack open some
expensive bubbly later back the
team hotel as his players celebrated by diving into ice baths
after securing top spot in Group
“I will open maybe two bottles
of good champagne,” beamed the
Frenchman. “I think I will ask my
players to join us.”
However, there was bitter disappointment for North Korea,
who scored their п¬Ѓrst Asian Cup
goal for 23 years but still lost 4-1
to Saudi Arabia and were eliminated.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz,
who launched a scathing attack
on match officials after his side’s
2-0 win over Bahrain, reacted
sarcastically after being asked by
the Asian Football Confederation
not to comment on referees in his
official news conferences.
“I don’t know if we’re entitled
to give opinions about refs,” said
the former Real Madrid manager,
dubbed �Rottweiler’ by former
Manchester United boss Alex
Ferguson during two spells as assistant at Old Trafford.
“After 32 years of my work in
football I was never told I cannot
give an opinion about the game.”
It was a red letter day for the
Chinese, runners-up in 1984 and
again as hosts in 2004 and now
suddenly dark horses for a п¬Ѓrst
Asian Cup title.
China did it the hard way, going behind to Odil Ahmedov’s
deflected shot after 22 minutes.
They dragged themselves back
into the match, however, Wu Xi
equalising with a sharp п¬Ѓnish
10 minutes into the second half
before Sun’s cracker triggered
wild celebrations on the Chinese
China’s barnstorming comeback
spelled doom for North Korea at
the other end of the table, while
the Saudis breathed new life into
their campaign after being upset
1-0 by the Chinese.
North Korea took an early lead
when Japan-based midfielder
Ryang Yong-Gi slammed in the
rebound after Pak Kwang-Ryong’s fierce drive had been parried by goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah.
But Naif Hazazi equalised with
a clinical п¬Ѓnish against the run
of play eight minutes before the
interval. The Saudi forward’s joy
was unbridled, having fluffed
a penalty against China at the
Mohamed al-Sahlawi poked
the Gulf side in front seven
minutes after the break, before
profiting from some horror defending to roll in a third as North
Korea began to unravel.
Nawaf Alabid added a fourth
and Saudi Arabia, who won the
last of their three Asian Cup titles in 1996, face 2011 semi-п¬Ѓnalists Uzbekistan for the right to
join China in the knockout stages
on Sunday.
“I knew North Korea would be
dangerous and they gave us trouble,” he said. “But I was confident
we would wear them down. We
had to take some risks. Sometimes you have to assume risks
to win.”
Pyongyang frequently lavishes
cars and apartments on athletes
who bring glory to the state, but
the North Korean players at least
had the consolation of being
cheered to the rafters by a crowd
of 12,000 in Melbourne for their
plucky display.
“We began well but we conceded a soft second goal and that
caused us a lot of mental stress,”
Jo said. “After that we just lost
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz (left) and midfielder Andranik Teymourian.
possibility of reaching the second round
so we cannot take chances.”
Queiroz said Qatar’s 4-1 loss in their
opening match was not a true reflection
of their ability and that he expected a
tough challenge.
“It will be a difficult game for both
teams,” he said. “We know that we face a
well prepared and motivated Qatar team
after their success in the Gulf Cup.
“We just once again try to oppose the
team of Qatar with our football, our attitude, and try to do our best to be the best
team on the pitch.”
players after they lost big to UAE despite
opening the scoring through “Qatari Maradona” Khalfan Ibrahim.
“We played like a friendly game. It
wasn’t our day. Especially after the good
competition we had at the Gulf Cup, we
expected something different,” he said.
“But now it’s in the past and we need
a reaction. Of course we are all disappointed and the players more than anyone. They have now the ambition to make
a different game tomorrow.”
Belmadi added that it was a “decisive”
match for Qatar against Carlos Queiroz’s
Iran, who contested a World Cup last
year. But he said the task was not beyond
his players.
“I know this group that I have. I chose
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi said his biggest job had been to lift Qatar’s downcast
Iran players take part in a training session on the eve of their Asian Cup match against Qatar yesterday.
them and I know that we are able to
change things and I know that we can do
much much better, even when things look
difficult, for some people impossible. For
us it’s not impossible,” he said.
Belmadi deflected questions about his
future with Qatar.
The Algerian won the Gulf Cup with
the future World Cup hosts in November but his Asian Cup plans threaten to
unravel after last week’s 4-1 reverse to
neighbours UAE.
Despite the Gulf Cup win, Belmadi,
who was appointed last March, will be
aware that 30 different coaches have taken the hot seat since 1990.
“You would have to ask the Qatari football federation,” he said.
Jordan striker Hayel
mistreated in drug
test, says JFA
triker Ahmad Hayel was
mistreated during a doping test following the 1-0
loss to Iraq in the Asian
Cup on Monday, the Jordanian
Football Association said yesterday.
Hayel arrived back at the team
hotel “suffering from semi-coma, general weakness, and hypothermia”, the Jordanian Football Association (JFA) said in a
statement, adding they had п¬Ѓled
a complaint to the Asian Football
Confederation (AFC).
The 30-year-old “tired” player vomited in the doping room,
which was too cold, and failed
to complete the test after playing the full 90 minutes in the Iraq
loss, the JFA said.
Citing evidence from their
medical officer who accompanied Hayel, the JFA added the
player was only given water to
drink, “without salts or electrolytes” in the four hours he spent
waiting to give a sample.
“He was in a semi-coma status
suffering low blood pressure, and
at the end the player was sent to
the hotel by a car and not with
an ambulance and carried to a
wheelchair while he was unconscious,” the JFA said.
The AFC defended the antidoping procedure and said the
player should not have consumed so much water.
“The AFC Medical Officer always recommends players selected for doping control to drink
water as per normal practice,
especially for the player who has
played for 90 minutes,” said doctor Paisal Chantarapitak who attempted to conduct the test.
“It is at the player’s discretion
to follow the recommendation
or not. The player is not forced
Jordan’s Ahmad Hayel (left) vies
for the ball with Iraq’s Yaser Safa
Kasim during their Asian Cup
match on Monday. (EPA)
to drink plenty of water in short
The AFC added that the doctor
decided to cancel the test after
Hayel experienced “some dizziness, felt nausea and vomited
after his second attempt, which
was an hour after his first”.
Earlier, a JFA spokesman said
Hayel had been ruled out of tomorrow’s Group D match against
Palestine in Melbourne after the
“cancelled” doping test but the
player could yet feature.
“Due to the previously mentioned conditions that resulted
in Hayel’s bad health condition
and the lack of medical care at
the doping room, the player
might be unable to play Jordan’s
next match against Palestine,”
the body said.
Experienced striker Hayel has
represented his country more
than 60 times and plays his club
football in Kuwait with Al Arabi.
FIFA presidential candidate
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, the
head of the JFA, wished Hayel a
speedy recovery, the body said.
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