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SPORT | Page 4
Bid to acquire Fujairah
building materials firm
aims for
2 – 5, 28
8, 9
26, 27
1 – 8, 13 – 16
9 – 13
1 – 12
BAHRAIN | Politics
Opposition chief
to go on trial
Prosecutors yesterday charged
Bahrain’s Shia opposition chief
with attempting to overthrow
the regime and sent him to trial.
Sheikh Ali Salman will stand trial
from January 28 on charges of
“promoting the overthrow and
change of the political regime by
force,” prosecutor general Nayef
Mahmud said in a statement.
Salman, head of the Al-Wefaq
bloc, has been in custody since
December 28. Salman was also
charged with inciting disobedience
and inciting hatred against a part of
the population in public statements.
Page 6
ASEAN | AirAsia
No evidence of
terrorism in crash
Indonesian investigators said
yesterday they had found no
evidence so far that terrorism
played a part in the crash of
an AirAsia passenger jet last
month that killed all 162 people
on board. They said the team of
10 investigators at the National
Transportation Safety Committee
(NTSC) had found “no threats” in
the cockpit voice recordings to
indicate foul play during AirAsia
Flight QZ8501. Page 13
BRITAIN | Movies
Oscar boost for
coming-of-age film
Coming-of-age film Boyhood has
scooped three prizes at the London
Critics’ Circle awards, bolstering the
real-time drama, nominated for six
Academy Awards at next month’s
Oscars. Shot over 12 years, the
critics group awarded Boyhood film
of the year, best director for Richard
Linklater and best supporting
actress for Patricia Arquette – the
same categories it won at the
Golden Globes earlier this month.
Page 17
INDIA | Probe
Police quiz Tharoor
over wife’s death
Delhi police yesterday questioned
a former high-flying UN diplomat
and Indian government minister in
connection with his wife’s murder,
a case that has dominated local
media headlines. Page 21
Latest Figures
Warm welcome for rally ace al-Attiyah
Shia militia surrounds
Yemeni PM’s residence
hia militiamen surrounded
Yemen’s premier in his Sanaa
residence after firing on his
convoy during deadly clashes with the
army yesterday as pressure mounted
on his embattled government.
The heavily-armed Houthis were
in control of all three entrances to the
Republican Palace, a building Prime
Minister Khaled Bahah has lived in
since taking office in October, a government spokesman told AFP.
The spokesman, Rajih Badi, called
for an “urgent meeting” this morning
in order to create a “roadmap” to end
violence, after a day of clashes between the Houthis and the army.
The Shia militia appears to be tightening its grip on Sanaa after abducting an aide to President Abd-Rabbu
Mansour Hadi, in the biggest challenge yet to his rule.
At least nine people were killed,
including fighters from both sides,
as the militia fired on Bahah’s convoy, seized an army base near
the presidential palace in Sanaa
and took control of state media.
A ceasefire that came into effect after
several hours appeared to be holding.
The Arab League, Britain and
the United States expressed concerns about the clashes, which were
the most intense in Sanaa since the
Houthis overran it on September 21.
Since then strategically-important
Yemen has been wracked by unrest.
Yesterday, the Houthis claimed
to have seized an army base on a hill
overlooking the presidential palace.
Information Minister Nadia alSaqqaf said they had also taken total
control of state television and the official news agency.
“Yemeni satellite channel is not
under state control, nor is state news
agency Saba. The Houthis have completely controlled them and are refusing to publish any government statements,” she tweeted.
This prompted head of the news
department at Yemen state television
Tawfiq al-Sharaabi to announce his
resignation on Facebook.
Saqqaf said Houthis had also fired
on Bahah’s convoy as he left the presidential residence but that he was unharmed.
Qatar among the last 16 after shock win
Witnesses said the fighting erupted
early yesterday after the militia deployed reinforcements near the presidential palace.
The military presidential guard
sent troops onto the streets surrounding the palace and outside Hadi’s residence.
A security official said the army
intervened when the Houthis began
to set up a new checkpoint near the
presidential palace.
But a prominent Houthi chief, Ali
al-Imad, accused the presidential
guard of provoking the clashes.
“Hadi’s guard is trying to blow up
the situation on the security front
to create confusion on the political
front,” he said on Facebook.
Tensions have been running high
in Sanaa since the Houthis abducted
Hadi’s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad bin
Mubarak, in an apparent move to extract changes to a draft constitution
that he is overseeing.
Mubarak is in charge of a “national
dialogue” set up after veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced
from power in February 2012 following a year of bloody Arab Spring-inspired protests. Page 6
EU to work with
Arab countries
Vol. XXXV No. 9608
January 20, 2015
Rabia I 29, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Project to
offer new
insights into
local history
The Qatar National Library already
provides students, researchers and
the general public with free online
access to over half a million pages
of historic archive and manuscript
Qatar rally ace Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah posing with HE the Minister of Youth and Sports Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali (second
from left), HE the Qatar Olympic Committee secretary-general Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (fourth from left),
Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation president Nasser Khalifa al-Attiyah (second from right) and others at the Ministerial
Lounge of the Hamad International Airport last night. Al-Attiyah, who won the Dakar Rally for the second time on Saturday,
showed no hint of fatigue after a 13-hour flight from Sao Paulo and spoke to the media at a brief function where a cake was
cut to celebrate his success. Al-Attiyah, who first claimed the Dakar title in 2011, led from start to finish to win the 9,000km
rally, considered the toughest motor race in the world. PICTURE: Mamdouh
he R
bl TA 978
A 1
Q since
atar Foundation for Education,
Science and Community Development (QF), Qatar National
Library (QNL) and the British Library
yesterday announced the second phase
of their ongoing partnership.
The next stage of this productive
collaboration, which will last until
December 2018, follows on from the
initial partnership announced in 2012
which has raised awareness of Gulf and
Middle Eastern history.
Phase two will see the digitisation
of 1,125,000 pages of rare, historical
documents that will be shared with
the public through QNL’s online Qatar
Digital Library (QDL) in a bid to significantly enhance current understanding
of the Islamic world, Arab culture and
the Gulf’s regional history.
QF’s mission is to foster a progressive, engaged society that is appreciative of its heritage and traditions, and
interested in furthering learning and
knowledge in support of the nation’s
priorities as set out in Qatar National
Vision 2030.
As a member of QF, QNL’s vision
is bridging Qatar’s past and future
through knowledge, and it does this
by sharing valuable information and
cultivating creativity through an exceptional selection of printed and
digital resources, regular training programmes, and social engagement initiatives.
The second phase will focus on
digitising historical documents from
Britain’s Indian Office Archive including papers of the Political and Secret
Department, political and military
records, letters, photographs, maps
and medieval manuscripts relating to
Gulf and Arab regional history.
Building on the success of the first
phase of this collaboration, the QDL
will add an additional 970,000 pages
from the India Office Records dating from the mid-18th century to 1951
as well as historical maps and photographs.
Further highlights will include
56,000 pages of Arab Islamic Sciences manuscripts, and approximately
100,000 pages from private papers
including those of Lady Anne Blunt,
thought to be the first woman to cross
the Arabian Desert in the 19th century.
Following digitisation, the material will be added to the QDL, which
originated out of the first phase of the
partnership and was launched in October 2014. The QDL already provides
students, researchers and the general
public in any part of the world with
free online access to over half a million
pages of precious historic archive and
manuscript material.
The QDL’s unveiling received an
exceptional reaction from the online
community with nearly 780,000 page
views in the first month alone.
QF president Saad al-Muhannadi
said the planned new material will preserve and add rich new insights into the
history of Qatar, the Gulf region and
Arab and Islamic history and culture.
“This project is a testament to the
commitment of QF to fostering greater understanding of Qatar’s heritage, and to sharing this precious collection of resources with the whole
The many digital images of historical
documents related to this region, once
completed, will provide an informative
source for anyone seeking to learn more
about the region.
“The aim of this partnership is to
explore, and raise awareness about the
history of the Gulf and the wider region
while creating one of the world’s most
ambitious and accessible resources for
studies into Gulf History and Arab Islamic Sciences,” said Dr Claudia Lux,
project director of QNL.
“The second phase of this partnership will add further value to QNL’s
existing databases and collections as
we remain steadfast in our commitment and support of Qatar Foundation’s mission to preserve and bridge
Qatar’s and the region’s past and future
through knowledge.”
Roly Keating, chief executive, of the
British Library, said: “One of the purposes of the British Library is to work
with partners across the world to advance knowledge and mutual understanding.
“The goal of this collaborative
project with the Qatar National Library
is to create a 21st-Century online library to transform the study of both the
modern history of the Gulf and Arabic
Richard Gibby, Head of British Library - Qatar Foundation Partnership,
said: “Our goal in launching the Qatar
Digital Library was to create a resource
which will advance world knowledge
and understanding of the Gulf region’s
cultural heritage. The second phase of
our partnership, adding over a million
extra pages in the next four years, will
add depth and breadth, stimulating new
research and enabling new discoveries.”
Fans celebrating Qatar’s win in the Men’s Handball World Championships preliminary round Group A match with Slovenia
at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall in Doha yesterday. Rafael Capote’s 12 goals helped hosts Qatar pull off a major shock at the
championships when they defeated highly-fancied Slovenia 31-29 to virtually assure themselves of a place in the last 16 place.
In a pulsating and physical encounter, the Qataris held on in a tense final few minutes, to spark wild celebrations at the end
of the game. The victory means Qatar, joined world champions Spain at the top of Group A with three wins out of three,
and the tournament’s hosts may now set their ambitions higher than a last 16 berth after defeating a Slovenia team which
reached the semi-finals of the last World Cup. The game’s star was Cuban-born Capote whose tally included a crucial goal
with less than two minutes remaining to give Qatar a slender two goal advantage. Capote even outshone Slovenia’s Dragan
Gajic, the tournament’s leading scorer coming into this game, but who was restricted to just three this time out.
Sport pages 1, 2, 3 PICTURE: Jayan Orma
he EU said yesterday it will
launch anti-terror projects
with Muslim nations and
boost intelligence sharing following the Paris attacks.
Foreign ministers meeting in
the shadow of the militant attacks
and a wave of arrests across Europe
agreed on the need to work with
Arab nations and Turkey in particular to counter the growing threat.
After talks in Brussels with
the Arab League chief and European ministers, EU foreign policy
chief Federica Mogherini said that
“probably for the first time there
was real deep awareness of the
need to work together”.
“We are looking at specific projects
to launch in the coming weeks with
some specific countries to increase
the level of co-operation on counterterrorism,” she said. Pages 19, 23
A 1934 aerial view of Doha (British Royal Air Force photograph) from the file “Air-route
to India: Arab coast route; emergency landing ground at Qatar”.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Chilly weather to continue, showers cause waterlogging
he intensity of winds
across the country is likely
to be less today compared
to the last two days, Qatar Meteorology Department has said.
However, the chilly weather
is expected to continue and the
temperatures are likely to dip
Abu Samra will continue to be
the coldest place in the country,
recording a possible minimum
temperature of 11C. Al Khor, Doha,
Wakrah and Mesaieed are expected to record a minimum of 12C.
Today’s maximum temperature could be 18 or 19C, according to the Met office. In Ruwais
and Dukhan the maximum may
be a notch below those figures.
Northwesterly winds between
12 and 20 knots have been forecast inshore along the country’s
coast, with wind speed reaching
28 knots at times. At night, the intensity of wind may drop considerably, reaching 5 to 15 knots.
In the offshore areas, the winds
are expected to be stronger, although not as intense as in the
previous 48 hours. A maximum
Palms swaying in the wind on Doha Corniche yesterday. PICTURE: Najeer Feroke.
of 28 knots has been forecast.
The visibility across the country may be between 5 and 10km.
While the sea is expected to
be stormy and tides are likely to
rise between 9 and 12 ft offshore,
in the inshore areas water levels
may not show any significant
rise. Tides on the southern side
A view of a street flooded in the showers that lashed the country on Sunday evening and night.
would be stronger between 5am
and 4.45pm and on the north,
they could be more intense be-
tween 4.30am and 5.15pm.
Sunday’s showers have caused
waterlogging in many areas in
Cold weather
Over 7,000 delegates to
attend Doha UN Congress affects retail
ore than 7,000 delegates from all around
the world will take part
in the United Nations Congress
on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in Doha.
The 13th UN Congress on
Crime Prevention will take place
at the Qatar National Convention Centre from 12 to 19th April
this year.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Ambassador Ahmed Hassan alHammadi, vice-president of the
Preparatory Committee of the
UN Congress said that preparations for the Congress are in the
final stages.
Al-Hammadi said that the
preparations are in full swing
and in two fields of logistics and
the substantial topics to be discussed in the Congress.
He explained: “The logistics part is almost complete and
the preparations are in the final
stages. The convention Centre,
transportation, hotels and accommodation are all completed.”
“We expect more than 7,000
delegates from almost all the UN
members to attend the Congress.
We have been working on this for
almost two years. We have covered all the regional meetings in
Ahmed Hassan al-Hammadi
Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.”
have been made ready for all the
participants. We have already
signed contracts with more than
43 hotels all over Qatar. Similarly, we have also made arrangements for transportation of the
delegates. It will be a smooth affair altogether.”
As for the Doha Declaration
of the Congress, al-Hammadi
said: “The whole declaration
will revolve around law enforcement in the whole programme of the United Nations
beyond 2015. It aims for sustainable development and to
meet with crime prevention as
well as sustainable economic
and social growth focusing on
youth and education.”
He added that an informal
meeting is going on in Vienna for
preparing the Doha Declaration
which is expected to complete
90% of the draft by next month.
The official pointed out that
the Congress also will think of
ways to deal with crime in a different way.
“We are trying to fight crime
in another way. By punishing
alone, we can not do away with
the crimes. We are proposing
economic empowerment programmes and empowering the
youth through education to meet
the challenges to make people
get rid of the path of crime.”
When asked about the emerging threats to safety and security of individuals from different
corners, al-Hamamdi pointed
out that the Congress will discuss most of the issues.
“We will cover all such activities dealing with crime in our
deliberations and try to find particular solutions in this regard.
We will follow up our declaration
until 2020.”
The vice-president pointed
out that there will be a youth forum prior to the Congress which
will be held from 7 to 9th of April.
He explained: “The Doha Youth
Forum, purely a Qatari initiative,
is the first of its kind in 60 years
in the history of UN Congress on
Prevention of Crimes.
The forum will provide opportunities for the youth to
discuss several issues such as
cyber or environmental crimes
and come out with suggestions
and recommendation to counter them in the fast changing
ith mercury dropping
across Qatar over the
last three days, many retail establishments are closing earlier than usual in the evening.
Sources in the retail industry told Gulf Times that
the number of customers
has dwindled late in the evenings on account of the colder
In some Doha locations,
where many shops stay open
late into the night, most establishments other than grocery
shops, restaurants and supermarkets, are now winding up
their daily operations earlier.
Some of the gents beauty
saloons in such areas as Najma
and Umm Ghuwaliana, usually open until midnight, have
been closing early over the
past three days. At least three
operators said it is meaningless to expect customers late in
the evenings, given the colder
weather conditions.
In business locations as
Souq Al-Haraj and Souq AlJaber also retail operators
are closing their shops early.
Those who are in the retail distribution of essentials to groceries too have curtailed their
evening activities in a big way.
Some such suppliers are also
starting their daily activities
a little late. One of them said
some of his clients (groceries)
who usually begin their daily
operations before 6am are now
opening late.
In some Doha locations
most establishments are
now winding up their
daily operations earlier
Many small tailoring shops,
patronised mainly by the locals, especially in the evenings,
are also ending their day much
Inquiries also found very
few viewers are present in
some of the multiplexes even
for shows starting between
5.30 and 6pm.
Though most eateries remain open until midnight, the
number of customers has drastically fallen, it is learnt.
Road accident victim identified
One of the three victims of the accident involving a mini van in the
Industrial Area last Friday was identified yesterday as 28-year-old Sri
Lankan expatriate Rajeeb.
He was the driver of the ill-fated vehicle, it is understood. All the
three killed were Sri Lankan expatriates, as Gulf Times reported
yesterday. The van had turned on its side and caught fire, killing the
three on the spot. Three others were injured in the accident.
The other two victims were not identified until yesterday evening,
sources said. Both were new to the country and their visas were not
stamped. The bodies of all the three victims were charred beyond
Katara set to launch winter festival
Katara, the Cultural Village, is getting ready to launch the second
edition of the winter festival “Leshtah” on Thursday. A number of
public and community entities are taking part to organise the fiveday event.
The Childhood Culture Centre will provide a miniature village with
five small houses inside it for children to view the various activities
of local households. Qatar Heritage and Identity Centre will present
an interactive theatrical show which talks about winter in Qatar and
its particular daily activities.
There will be a number of workshops that aim to engage children
and families and enhance their knowledge and improve their skills.
Folk games and songs will be featured throughout the festival
duration, besides other popular contests with prizes for the winners.
The festival will be held at Katara Esplanade.
AJCS selected to launch global report
Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS), a member of The Think Tanks
and Civil Societies Programme (TTCSP), was selected to be part
of the 60 institutions around the world to launch the Global Go To
Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2014 report in the region.
The global launch will take place simultaneously around the world
on January 22. The United Nations and the Carnegie Council for
Ethics in International Affairs will host the panel discussion and
global launch of the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index in New
AJCS will host the launch and a panel discussion in Doha at the RitzCarlton Doha on January 22 at 6pm.
Training course for municipal staff
A seven-day judicial control training course for municipal inspectors
of State properties began here yesterday at the Ministry of
Municipality and Urban Planning. The academic programme of the
course comprises several lectures on the concept of judicial control
terms in the field of state properties, inspection forms and records
used in the apprehension and documenting violations of state
properties and the authorities of the state properties inspectors.
QRC’s fourth Springboard course
for women’s empowerment ends
nder the slogan “Make
Your Future by Yourself,” Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) has celebrated the
graduation of the fourth batch
of trainees in the Springboard
programme, organised by QRC
in co-operation with the British
Council in Qatar and Springboard UK.
The programme aims at
achieving professional, economic, and social empowerment
of Qatari women, under the umbrella of human development
pursued by Qatar National Vision 2030.
The closing ceremony was attended by Rashid bin Saad alMohannadi, Director of QRC
Social Development Department
and Al-Khor Branch, Hanadi alMoallem, head of Empowerment
at QRC, Marwa al-Tanbouli,
Springboard Programme manager at the British Council; and
programme staff from QRC Community Development Section.
Taught by the instructor
Rana Marawan al-Qatami over
four weeks at Millennium Hotel
Doha, the course was attended
by 18 women from poor families
in Qatar. During its four courses
held so far, the programme has
received 72 women from Qatari
low-income families, at a total
cost of QR 148,000.
Some of the course participants with their certifiates.
Awarding certificates to the
said, “We are proud to graduate
the fourth batch of 18 women
of our low-income families.
Thanking our partner, the British Council, which is a leading
and well-known training institution, I would like to thank
our low-income families for
making the programme a success, as well as QRC staff for
their considerable efforts. I
hope that the graduates will
apply the experience and
knowledge they have learnt in
their careers.”
In her comment, al-Moallem said that this QRC-British
Council partnership helps advance the low-income families
and empower them to face the
challenges on the labour market, which, as evident, is rapidly
changing due to the dramatic
developments worldwide.
This requires continuous updating of individual capabilities
and skills. According to her, this
course proved effective in developing women’s skills and making
them more interactive with, and
open towards, their society, and
even better contributing to its
inputs and influencing its outputs.
the country. It rained for many
hours on Sunday night in Doha
and several other regions.
FM receives
credentials of
Tunisian envoy
HE the Foreign Minister Dr
Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah
yesterday received a copy of the
credentials of the Ambassador of
Tunisia to Qatar Salah al-Salhi.
Al-Attiyah wished the new
ambassador success in his
mission and the bilateral relations
further development and
Culture Minister
meets Lebanon’s
grand mufti
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts
and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul
Aziz al-Kuwari yesterday met
Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Abdul
Latif Darian and the delegation
accompanying him in Doha.
They exchanged views on a
number of cultural issues. The
grand mufti endorsed Qatar’s
support of Lebanon. The
Minister and the grand mufti also
exchanged views on efforts in
promoting cultural and religious
Advisory Council
holds meeting
The Advisory Council held its
weekly meeting yesterday
chaired by HE the Advisory
Council Speaker Mohamed bin
Mubarak al-Khulaifi.
HE the Advisory Council
Secretary-General read out
the agenda which has been
approved. The Council also
endorsed the previous session’s
The council then reviewed the
following memorandums:
• A memorandum from the
Cabinet General Secretariat
addressed to the Ministry of
Municipality and Urban Planning
on the Advisory Council’s
recommendations on the
Comprehensive Urban Plan for
the State of Qatar.
• A memorandum from the
Cabinet General Secretariat
addressed to the Ministry of
Interior on the Advisory Council’s
recommendations on streets
congestion in Doha.
The council then took note of
The council also discussed
the Cultural and Media Affairs
Committee report on a draft
law regulating sports clubs
and decided to return it to the
committee again for further
Meanwhile, tThe Advisory
Council’s Financial and Economic
Affairs Committee also met
yesterday under its Rapporteur
Mohamed Ajaj al-Kubaisi.
The Committee studied a draft
law on the commercial, industrial
and public stores and vendors
and decided to submit a report to
the Advisory Council.
ties reviewed
HE the Assistant Foreign Minister
for Foreign Affairs Mohamed
bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi met
the visiting Venezuelan Deputy
Foreign Minister Rimmon Karodelz
yesterday. They discussed bilateral
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
QU’s centre picks winners
of Al Bairaq competition
atar University’s Centre
for Advanced Materials
(CAM) has announced
the winners of the 8th cycle of
its “I am Discovering Materials” module of Al Bairaq programme in a recent ceremony in
which 430 students presented
their ideas and 88 products were
The winners were: Art in Science - Al Khor Independent Secondary School for Girls (Group
Dalton); Best Poster - Al-Bayan
Complex for Girls (Group Geniuses); RasGas Al Bairaq - Al
Khor Independent Secondary
School for Girls (Group Gold);
Most Active Social Media - Al
Shamal Independent Secondary
School for Girls (Group Altatweer); Most Popular Social Media - Arwa Bint Abdulmotaleb
Independent Secondary School
for Girls (Group Stars); InstaBairaq Social Media - Al-Khor
Independent Secondary School
for Girls (Group AL-KhorGold8).
Prizes were also given for Most
Co-operative Teachers and Best
Participant School.
The judging panel comprised
RasGas head of Well Work and
Completion Engineering Fahad
al-Qadi, Ministry of Culture,
Art and Heritage’s Research &
Cultural Studies Department director Dr Marzook bin Marzook,
Qatar Shell outreach and university collaboration manager Maha
Sultan al-Mannai, Qatari National Committee for Education,
Culture and Science secretary
general Hamda al-Sulaiti, Qatar
Rail CEO Saad al-Muhannadi,
Qapco Learning and Development Manager Abdulla Naji, and
QPI Gas Technologies manager
Idrees Mustafa.
CAM Director Dr Mariam
al-Maadeed said: “Al Bairaq
contributes to fostering scientific development by promoting
scientific culture and research,
which raises its value as a means
of knowledge to solve problems
and achieve a sustainable development.”
RasGas head of National Development Thamer al-Kaabi
said the company is committed
to proactively meeting the need
for engaging Qatari high school
students in applied sciences,
engineering and mathematics,
which are essential to ensure a
long-term development of their
educational and professional future.
“We are pleased to continue
supporting this programme and
our judges are very impressed by
the level of innovation and creativity exhibited by the students
this year.”
Maersk Oil Qatar deputy managing director Sheikh Faisal bin
Fahad al-Thani said: “Scientific
and technical education as well
as research and innovation are
closely aligned with our commitment to develop the skills and
capacity of future generations, in
order to achieve a strong, diversified and healthy knowledgebased economy in Qatar.”
Qatar Shell’s Maha al-Mannai
said the sponsorship of young
scientific talent and improving
the skills of Qatari researchers,
who are essentially the individuals that will go on to lead the
country’s research and development efforts, ensure the fulfilment of Qatar National Vision
Al Bairaq is supported by
Unesco Doha Office, Qatar National Committee for Education,
Culture and Science (partners),
RasGas (platinum sponsor),
Maersk Oil Qatar (gold sponsor)
and Shell Qatar (silver sponsor).
Two students who participated in the contest.
Good demand for locally-grown
organic vegetables at Mazrouh
vegetables have been on sale
at Al Mazrouh Yard, heralding the official introduction
of such farm produce, which are
excellent in quality as they are free
from the use of any chemicals.
“The production of organic
vegetables is closely and constantly monitored by the Ministry
of Environment (MoE) to ensure
quality,” according to a statement
issued yesterday.
The price of the locally produced organic vegetables offered
at Al Mazrouh Yard is considerably low and reasonable, compared
to similar products at different
shopping centres.
The first seven weeks of the
third season for selling local products at Al Mazrouh, Al Khor and Al
Zakhira and Al Wakrah Yards have
seen a variety of wide collection of
fresh vegetables and fruits.
More than 25 varieties of fresh
fish were also on display. The
yards were able to maintain a
comprehensive agriculture open
market with the introduction of
goats, sheep, poultry and animal
The period in focus saw around
972 tonnes of fresh vegetables being sold, in addition to 398 tonnes
of fresh fruits, 33 tonnes of fish,
456 goats and sheep and 4,775 domestic birds.
The MoE has started distributing subsidised animal fodder to
Qatari farmers. The fodder stores
will be open daily from 7am to
5pm. Recently, more than 15,000
sacks of fodder were sold.
MoE plans to ban
tungsten lamps
The Ministry of Environment is
considering to ban the import
of the tungsten lamps into
the country and replacing it
with energy saving LED lamps,
Arrayah daily has reported
quoting the ministry’s Assistant
Under Secretary of the
Laboratories and Standardisation
Affairs Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari.
Al-Kuwari has said the decision
to ban tungsten lamps is being
made as they are found to be
at least 30% more energyconsuming and studies have
found the lamps are making
enormous amounts of thermal
emissions which contribute to
harm the environment.
The official said the ministry has
completed the procedures for
adopting Qatar standards and
specifications for the modern
lighting systems that would help
conserve the environment and
save energy. Such decisions are
within the framework of the
implementation of the standards
of sustainability and new Qatar
construction code.
The Qatar construction code,
said al-Kuwari, adopts standard
specifications in respect of
energy consumption in all
buildings in order to conserve
human safety, support
sustainable development and
national economy.
Ooredoo launches
new promotion
Locally produced organic products were in big demand from customers.
Al Mazrouh Yard also sells sheep and goats.
QM launches
three books
at Doha fair
Ooredoo has announced a
25% discount on the monthly
subscription charges of mobile
broadband for up to 12 months
for customers who purchase the
new 4G+ My-Fi device.
The 4G+ My-Fi device should
be purchased from an Ooredoo
Shop and any of the Shahry
Mobile Broadband packages
activated to avail the offer.
The promotion, available until
March 15, 2015, is also valid for
existing Ooredoo Shahry Mobile
Broadband customers who
purchase a 4G+ My-Fi device from
an Ooredoo Shop for QR999.
The device is designed to work
with Ooredoo’s bigger and faster
4G+ network, which offers speeds
of up to double the average 4G
Customers purchasing the 4G+
My-Fi device will receive the
mobile broadband discount
automatically in their monthly
With the Ooredoo 4G+ My-Fi
device customers can enjoy a
high speed surfing experience for
up to 10 devices.
atar Museums (QM),
the body responsible for developing,
promoting and sustaining
Qatar’s cultural sector under
the guidance of its chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa
bint Hamad bin Khalifa alThani, launched a range of
new books during the justconcluded 25th Doha International Book Fair.
The publications were
What’s in the Sand?, Fatimid
Woodwork, and Architecture
QM Family Programmes’
first publication, What’s in
the Sand? by Qatari writer
Shaikha Alzeyara and Qatari
illustrator Mai al-Kubaisi, is
a book for young children.
A story of adventure, imagination and a mother’s love
and support for her children,
What’s in the Sand? is available in both English and Arabic. The book is designed
to encourage children’s literacy from an early age and
highlight the importance of
a mother’s bond with her
young children to learn and
play together.
To mark the book release,
a number of events were
organised at the book fair,
including story reading,
hands-on activities and an
author and illustrator signing.
Maram al-Mahmoud, museums co-ordinator-families, QM Family Programmes,
recalled that the idea of the
book sprang from a workshop
for local mothers and young
children aged 0-4.
“As it was a great pleasure to work with such an inspiring group, we realised
the need for a publication to
support family learning. It is
an honour to have launched
the book at this year’s book
fair as it’s important to highlight all the great Qatari cultural content that is on offer,
as well as to support Qatari
writers and illustrators.”
Shaikha Alzeyara, the author of What’s in the Sand?
explained that the story
urges mothers to enrich the
imagination of their children through play, discovery and sharing moments.
She thanked Qatar Museums
for their innovative ideas in
nurturing children’s culture
in modern ways and through
interactive programmes.
Illustrator Mai al-Kubaisi
said What’s in the Sand? was
her first peek into the world
of children’s books. “It was
exciting to be a part of it and
I really felt the lightness,
simplicity and joyful nature
of the story. It was a unique
experience that I will cherish
for days to come.”
Fatimid Woodwork and
are the latest books of Fatema al-Sulaiti, associate
deputy director for collection at QM.
Fatimid Woodwork highlights a unique craft and medium of design in the Fatimid
Era. It presents examples of
the finest Fatimid woodwork
of both Islamic and Coptic
origin and aims to show that
Fatimid art is a historic style
in its own right.
Architecture Development
provides insight into how
traditional Islamic towns and
cities were conceived, organised, and developed over long
periods of time, following
simple rules that were based
on religious and ethical values.
The books are now available for purchase at QM retail
outlets located at the Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf:
Arab Museum of Modern
Art at Qatar Foundation, Al
Zubarah, QM galleries at Al
Riwaq and Katara and at Virgin Megastore and WH Smith
outlets in Doha.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Al Jazeera to launch
new online portal
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
l Jazeera Media Network
will be focusing more
on its digital platform
this year to reach many people
across the world, Al Anstey,
managing director of the English channel, said yesterday.
“We will soon launch a new
version of our online portal,, with “far richer
and more dynamic content” to
audiences, especially those who
seek stories using smartphones
and tablets,” he said.
“We achieved some notable
progress in the past 12 months,
resulting in month-on-month
growth in our digital audiences.
Our social following continues
to climb,” Anstey claimed at a
media briefing yesterday.
The new pages
will feature breaking news and
extra in-depth material that tells
that full story, giving the viewers
the background and context.
Anstey said their content
such as stories, photos, blogs
and programmes will all be accessible online – optimised to
fit electronic devices. It can
also be easily shared on social
media such as Twitter and
Al Jazeera currently has more
than 5mn followers on Facebook and 2.25mn followers on
Using a smartphone, the
broadcast station’s bureaus,
correspondents, and producers
will be able to send contents to
the online portal faster.
“This is a huge opportunity
for us to tell stories in many
different ways. With a “multiplatform engaged community,
Al Jazeera wants to reach more
people from across the globe
especially the young audiences
who often get their information from social media or digital
platform. Not necessarily from
the TV set that we all know days
past,” he added.
“Some parts of the world
Al Anstey speaking at the press conference yesterday.
PICTURE: Jayaram
are mobile heavy, some parts
are more on desktop which
is more traditional,” Anstey
pointed out. “We have to reach
out to all the people who want
to see our content, interact
with our content at a time and
place of their choosing, on a
device they want to see us on.”
This year, the station will
also launch a number of new
weekly show from Washington DC hosted by Mehdi Hasan. It will be the same “challenging style” of Head to Head
Action on workers’ evacuation sought
he Central Municipal Council (CMC) has demanded action on National Human
Rights Committee’s (NHRC) call for
evacuation of labourers from family
residential areas.
The NHRC had warned that the
presence of labourers poses many
dangers to the community such as social, health, and environmental risks,
local daily Arrayah reported.
Due to differences in culture,
habits, and traditions, CMC members called for “quick and strict
procedures” to move labourers
to housing cities that have integrated utilities and services, the
report said.
Another danger cited was excessive consumption of utilities such
as water and electricity due to overcrowded houses. There were also
some cases where young men were
influenced to use suwaka tobacco
and narcotics by labourers, the
report added.
CMC member Hamad Lahdan
al-Mohannadi noted that a law was
passed four years ago calling for the
transfer of labourers to other residential sites but noted that nothing
was implemented due to the lack of
show but in a new format.
In the next six months, Al
Jazeera will also come up with
an online show titled “Review”
which will later be launched
on TV.
Besides big coverages this
year, the television station is
mulling to open new bureaus in
areas not traditionally covered.
Anstey said they are currently installing state-of-theart technologies that will enable
them, as an editorial team, to
perform well.
“It enables us to do the job
that we do as journalists with
greater reason, greater functionality,” he explained. “But
also it also enables us to collaborate with the other network
channels from a technical perspective and from a collaborative editorial perspective to far
greater extent.”
These technical changes, he
added, will further improve
the look and feel of the channels in the offering in the digital
HMC conducts 900
obesity surgeries
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) conducted
900 bariatric surgeries in 2014, local daily
Al Sharq has reported.
This is a 55% increase compared to 2013,
revealed Dr Mutaz Pasha, consultant and chief
of the department of bariatric surgery.
Dr Pasha said that HMC has introduced the
most modern balloon techniques in obesity
surgeries. The new technique avoids the
complications and side-effects caused by the
old procedure.
The old technique sometimes caused some
patients to suffer from a heavy stomach and
vomiting due to the weight of the old balloon
and the leak of salt solution from the balloon.
“The new technique uses gas or air instead of
the salt solution to protect the patients from
the side effects of the balloon weight. Dr Pasha
also referred to the need for adopting certain
dietary habits to avoid the occurrence of
obesity, once the balloon is removed.
Mesaimeer to run Patient
Triage System tomorrow
The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC)
is all set launch the Patient Triage System in
Mesaimeer Health Centre tomorrow.
The service was introduced in Al Sheehaniya
Health Centre last week. The Patient Triage
System, first launched in July 2014 in Abu
Nakhla Health Centre, is to be rolled out to all
PHCC health centres by August.
Under the system, patients who attend the
health centre without a prior appointment will
be assessed by well trained and professional
nurses who will ‘sort’ the patients according to
clinical need.
Those who, based on their assessment, need
to be treated by a physician as a priority will be
seen first. The remaining patients, with more
routine needs, will be allocated an appointment
on the same day or at a later date.
Patients can book an appointment directly
at the health centre reception or through the
Hayyak Appointment Helpline (107). Those who
have booked an appointment will be directed to
the required clinic/service without any delay.
In health centres where Triage has already
been implemented, the majority of patients
(91%) are reporting shorter waiting times and
benefiting from the new appointment system
that is implemented alongside the Triage
Al-Baker and Reiche at the celebratory dinner in Frankfurt.
QA chief holds talks
with German official
atar Airways Group chief
executive Akbar al-Baker
welcomed German parliamentary state secretary of the
federal ministry of transport and
digital infrastructure, Katherina
Reiche in Frankfurt, Germany on the
sidelines of the recent inauguration
ceremony of the A350.
They discussed the mutual
interests and growth of the aviation industry and related sectors
between Qatar and Germany.
The meeting highlighted the incremental commitment of Qatar to Germany to increase its
ties with the country, and provide more opportunities for the
Central European nation.
Al-Baker hosted a celebratory dinner with key dignitaries, stakeholders and trade
members in the travel industry
on the back of the highly successful launch of its first A350
commercial service to the
German city of Frankfurt.
Qatar Airways selected Frankfurt as its first A350 destination
as it currently flies to the city
double-daily, and underscores
the long tenure of the route on
the airline’s network. Qatar
Airways first started flying to
Frankfurt in 2002.
Frankfurt is one of the top key
German economic centres and
one of the most important air
traffic hubs in Europe, and Qatar
Airways A350 XWB’s significant capacity will amply provide
for the comfort of the route’s
business and leisure travellers.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid
growth in just 18 years of operation, to the point where today it
is flying a modern fleet of 146
aircraft to 146 key business and
leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa,
Asia Pacific, North America and
South America.
FC Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben is seen with Q-Auto brand ambassador
Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari and officials.
Q-Auto hosts FC
Bayern Munich
-Auto, the official dealer
of Audi and Volkswagen
in Qatar, hosted the world
champion football club, FC Bayern
Munich, during their annual nineday winter training camp at Aspire
Sports Academy this month.
Q-Auto provided the international team with Audi and
Volkswagen transportation during their stay. The fleet comprised Audi Q7, A8 and eight
Volkswagen Touareg models.
Visiting Qatar for the fifth
consecutive year, Germany’s
most successful football club
arrived with seven members of
the World Cup winning team in
attendance, including Manuel
Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Bastian
Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muel-
ler, Arjen Robben, Dante and
Mario Gotze, the game-winning
goal scorer.
Popular BEIN sports journalist
and Q-Auto brand ambassador,
Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari
gave his support by attending
one of the team’s forums at the
Grand Heritage Doha.
Yann Lassade, managing director of Q-Auto, said: “Hosting a team of this magnitude is
a great honour and we have been
more than happy to accommodate the club’s players and associates during their stay. Overall,
it has been a wonderful experience welcoming the prestigious
team to Qatar again and we wish
them all the best in their pursuit
of success for the year 2015.”
All set for ‘Be Fit’ programme
he Qatar Olympic Committee
(QOC) on Sunday met with the
participants in the second edition of the ‘Be Fit’ programme. The
programme was launched by QOC
within the activities of the National
Sport Day, in co-operation with VLCC
Wellness Centre.
The second edition of the event
found more participants joining the
programme in various categories as
more nationalities took part in it. The
programme aims at encouraging participants to make positive changes in
their lifestyle and behaviour and to
permanently adopt those changes,
contributing in increasing general
awareness in their communities.
Karan Rekhi, VLCC director for the
Gulf region, affirmed that VLCC has
always been ready to provide every
possible help to enable the participants getting rid of the extra weight.
He said that the programme has
been very successful in Qatar and
abroad and Qatar has taken the initiative due to the willingness of its
leaders to promote the health of
The VLCC director added that the
objective of the centre was not limited to reducing weight but aims to
eradicating the illnesses related to
He noted that the programme
will continue through Qatar National Sport Day and will be further
developed so that it attracts more
Khalid al-Muqaddam, VLCC diet
specialist, said that the programme
represents the start of a new life where
the participant could become healthy
and active and avoid the bad diet habits which lead to overweight.
Upgrade for LG smartphones available
Donation campaign by Katara
LG electronics has announced
that customers in Qatar
can now upgrade their G3
smartphone to the latest
Android operating system,
Lollipop 5.0 using the LG
mobile support tool.
This tool can be downloaded
to a PC and the upgrade
Katara - the Cultural Village yesterday launched an
in-kind donation campaign to help the people of Syria
who are suffering from a harsh winter this year.
Katara has allocated 10 trucks to collect such
donations and assigned volunteers for each area
so donors could reach them easily. In addition, 10
containers are placed at the southern part of Katara
where donors could drop their contributions of winter
clothes and blankets.
can be done by connecting
the phone to the PC using
a USB cable. Detailed steps
can be followed from this
Over the air update (OTA) is
also available from the update
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Authorities urged
to increase local
farm production
HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Ghanim bin Shaheen al-Ghanim distributing
certificates to the graduates of Ahmed bin Mohamed Military College yesterday.
Defence Minister attends military
college graduation ceremony
hmed bin Mohamed Military College yesterday
distributed certificates to
the graduates of the tenth batch
of officer cadets and military
sciences diplomas to university
The ceremony was attended
by HE the Minister of State for
Defence Affairs Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah,
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Ghanim bin Shaheen
al-Ghanim, who distributed
certificates to the graduates. The
ceremony was also attended by a
number of Armed Forces officers
and parents.
In a statement to reporters
on the occasion, HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs
congratulated the graduates and
their families from Qatar and
friendly states wishing them
success in their careers and the
service of their countries.
ocal businessmen and
several members of
the Central Municipal
Council (CMC) have called
upon the authorities to set in
place strategic plans to attracting and encouraging the
private sector to invest in the
country’s agricultural sector,
reported Arrayah daily.
The paper has said the two
sections have also asked the
authorities to consider implementing useful, workable and
productive plans for achieving
self reliance in the local agricultural production, notably in
the vegetables.
Highlighting that the country
cannot always rely on the imports of vegetables to meet the
local requirements, members of
the CMC said owing to such issues as inclement weather conditions in the countries from
where they are imported the
vegetable supplies are hit and
there has been frequent rise in
their local prices.
The members pointed out
that more than 90% of the local vegetable requirements are
met through imports as the
local production is bare minimum.
While requesting the local authorities to help develop
plans to boost the local vegetable production the members
also said those engaged in agriculture should be encouraged
so that there would be a phenomenal growth in the local
11,143 register for
civic council polls
HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Ghanim bin
Shaheen al-Ghanim receiving mementos at the graduation ceremony yesterday.
He said: “Under the directives
of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al-Thani on the need
for investment in education, we
in the armed forces are in constant evolution and, we intend
to establish a maritime college
in addition to a technical college.
We are looking forward to seeing
these edifices in the near future.”
The four-year course was held
for 92 officer cadets of various military sectors and friendly states.
The courses taught at the College’s military section include
military and police sciences and
parachuting, while the academic
section teaches disciplines including business administration, law, accounting and information systems.
The university’s one-year
graduate course was held for
nine students. They obtained a
diploma in military science.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Commander of the College Brigadier Hamad Ahmed alNuaimi handed over souvenir to
HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs and to HE the Chief
of Staff.
egistered Qataris for
the Central Municipal
Council elections have
reached 11,143, the committee supervising the executive
committees for the upcoming
polls announced.
Using Metrash 2 and
through the 29 electoral constituencies, the committee
recorded 6,354 male and 4,789
female Qataris since registration started on January 11, local
Arabic daily Arrayah reported.
The headquarters of the
electoral constituencies said
it is still receiving applica-
tions for registration. Applicants who will turn 18 by
February 5, 2015 are qualified
to register.
The committee is also urging other Qatari nationals to
register before the January 22
deadline. It added that nationals must register personally
and bring their IDs to prevent
anyone from registering in
more than one electoral constituency.
Also, the committee described the increased number
of female registrants as a “positive development.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Saudi says
to be shot
on sight
Battles erupt
in Sanaa as
Houthi coup
bid alleged
Information Minister
Nadia al-Saqqaf says the
presidential palace came
under “direct attack” in
what she describes as an
attempted coup
emen’s powerful Houthi
movement fought artillery battles with the
army near the presidential palace in Sanaa yesterday, throwing the fragile state deeper into
turmoil and drawing accusations that the militia fighters
were mounting a coup.
Explosions echoed across
the city and smoke hung over
downtown buildings as the most
intense clashes since the Shia
Houthi movement seized the
capital in September brought
everyday life to a halt.
The Houthis had seized the
state news agency and television
station, but by evening a ceasefire
was in force, government ministers said.
Medical sources said five people had been killed and more than
20 wounded. Final numbers were
likely to be higher.
The battles marked a new low
for Yemen, plagued by tribal divisions, a separatist challenge in
the south and the threat from a
regional wing of Al Qaeda.
The Houthis’ September takeover made them the country’s de
facto top power, a development
that has scrambled relationships
and raised tensions across the
political spectrum ever since.
Information Minister Nadia
al-Saqqaf, a critic of the Houthis,
said the presidential palace had
come under “direct attack” in
what she described as an attempted coup.
“If you attack the presidential
palace ... This is aggressive, of
course it is an attempted coup,”
she said.
Saqqaf did not specify who had
attacked the palace, but said the
Houthis, friends with Iran, were
now in control of the state news
agency, Saba, and state television.
The palace is defended by the
military’s presidential protection
In the early evening, Saba
quoted Interior Minister Jalal alRoweishan as saying a ceasefire
had gone into effect. Residents
reported that the intense artillery
and gun battles of earlier in the
day appeared to have tailed off.
Tensions between the Houthis
and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had been growing since
Saturday when the Houthis abducted his chief of staff, Ahmed
Awad bin Mubarak, to gain leverage in a bitter dispute over a proposed new constitution.
But residents were uncertain
about the immediate cause of the
violence, which began in the early
morning with explosions near
the palace and the home of the
national security chief. Hadi was
believed to have been at home in
another district at the time.
Saqqaf said Houthi fighters later fired on Prime Minister Khaled
Bahah’s motorcade after he left a
meeting with Hadi and a Houthi
adviser that had been called to try
to resolve disagreements over the
draft constitution.
A government spokesman described the shooting at Bahah’s
armoured convoy as an assassination attempt.
Residents said army gunners
had shelled a housing compound
used as a Houthi base.
Heavy gunfire and explosions
shook the Hadda district in the
diplomatic quarter in Sanaa’s
south. A Reuters witness saw
gunmen in Al Khamseen Street,
home to some senior government
Houthi fighters take up position during clashes near the presidential palace in Sanaa yesterday.
security officials, including the
defence minister.
“On my way to work in the
morning in Hadda street, there
were gunmen swarming everywhere. They were in military
fatigues. Their bazookas bore
‘Death to America, death to Israel’ signs, which is the Houthis’
sign,” said a hotel worker.
Widely seen as Iran’s ally, the
Houthis—now part of Yemen’s
government—said they would
“escalate the situation” if their
demands for a fair stake in a new
constitution were not met.
The Houthis want more rights
for the country’s Zaidi Shia sect
and say they are campaigning
against corruption.
In a move that stunned the
Arab world, they seized Sanaa
in September and advanced into
central and western regions of
Yemen, where Sunni Muslims
A deal signed later that month
between political parties and the
Houthis called for the formation of a new unity government
followed by the withdrawal of
Houthi combatants from the
capital. The fighters have remained in place, however.
In what he said was an attempt
to defuse the violence, Saleh
al-Sammad, a Houthi member
appointed by Hadi as a political
adviser in September, issued a
statement with a list of conditions addressed to the government.
The conditions include a
“fair” and inclusive partnership
with Ansarallah, the political
wing of the Houthi movement,
and omitting sections of the
draft constitution that he said
violated September’s political
“If the previous agreement is
not honoured, there is commitment to escalate the situation ...
and it is difficult to undo the escalation, which will come at a big
cost,” he said.
The draft, launched on Saturday, aims to resolve regional, political and sectarian differences
by devolving authority to the regions, but has been opposed by
the Houthis who fear it will dilute
their power.
audi border guards have
been given orders to shoot
infiltrators on sight after
three troopers were killed on the
Iraqi frontier earlier this month,
a spokesman said yesterday.
The orders apply to guards patrolling the southern border with
Yemen as well as the northern
frontier with Iraq, Major General
Mohamed al-Ghamdi said.
Senior commander General
Odah al-Balawi was among the
three border guards killed in the
January 5 clash with four Saudi
infiltrators, two of whom blew
themselves up.
“After that, we will not negotiate with anyone,” Ghamdi said.
“We will shoot them directly
without any warning, without any
He said security officers on the
Iraqi side had been told of the new
No group has claimed responsibility for the border clash but
Saudi Arabia is among Arab countries taking part in US-led air
strikes against the Islamic State
militant group in Syria, raising
concerns about possible retaliation inside the kingdom.
Ghamdi said he did not know if
the “terrorists” belonged to IS, but
they came from the direction of Iraq
and tried to enter through an official
crossing in the Arar region.
Officers tried to stop the infiltrators after spotting them on
infra-red cameras, shooting two
of them dead.
Thousands of riyals were found
on their bodies, suggesting they
had hoped to reach a target elsewhere in the kingdom, Ghamdi
Bahrain Shia leader to
go on trial from Jan 28
rosecutors yesterday charged
Bahrain’s Shia opposition chief
with attempting to overthrow
the regime and sent him to trial despite
international calls for his release.
Sheikh Ali Salman will stand trial from
January 28 on charges of “promoting the
overthrow and change of the political regime by force”, prosecutor general Nayef
Mahmud said in a statement.
Salman, head of the influential Al Wefaq bloc, has been in custody since December 28 and his detention has sparked
near-daily protests across the kingdom.
Salman was also charged with inciting
disobedience and inciting hatred against
a part of the population in public statements.
The prosecutor said Salman had confessed under questioning to making the
statements in speeches in which he allegedly referred to meeting with groups
abroad who offered to back an armed
Iran has been accused of interfering
in Bahrain since its government crushed
protests led by Al Wefaq in 2011 seeking a
constitutional monarchy.
Salman: charged with attempting to
overthrow regime
Salman was given “all legal guarantees” such as assistance from a team
of lawyers and family visits during his
questioning, Mahmud said.
In an e-mailed statement, Al Wefaq
rejected the accusations against Salman
which it described as “unrealistic” after
he himself “categorically rejected” them
during investigations.
Al Wefaq described Salman’s trial as
“political” and said the authorities had
taken out of context his speeches and
used them against him.
“There is no real case and no legal or
moral excuse to detain or try” Salman, it
Salman’s arrest sparked condemnation from Iran, the United States and international rights groups.
Heroin smuggler
executed in Saudi
audi Arabia yesterday
beheaded a convicted Pakistani heroin
smuggler, the third person
from his country executed
for the crime this year.
Ahmed was executed in
Makkah, the interior ministry said in a statement
carried by the official Saudi
Press Agency.
“Investigations led to his
confession and after a trial
he was sentenced to death,”
the ministry said.
Ahmed is the 11th person,
and the third Pakistani, to be
executed in the kingdom this
The interior ministry has
said it is battling narcotics
because of the “great harm”
they do to society.
The Gulf has become
an increasingly important
market for illicit drugs in
recent years, the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime says.
On Sunday, the interior
ministry said Saudi and UAE
security agents had disrupted a heroin trafficking
Two truck drivers from
Pakistan were arrested.
The Pakistani city of Karachi is a key transit point
for heroin from Afghanistan.
Human Rights Watch on Sunday
urged Bahrain’s Western allies to press
the kingdom to release detained activists
including Salman.
The New York-based organisation had
said the authorities had failed to present
any evidence against Salman that would
justify his detention.
And Amnesty International said
meanwhile that if convicted, it would
consider Salman “a prisoner of conscience”.
Al Wefaq has claimed that a man had
died from what it said may have been
teargas inhalation following clashes on
Saturday between protesters and police
in Salman’s village of Bilad al-Qadeem.
But the cause of the death of the
man identified as Abdulazziz Salman Alsaeed remains unclear, with
the authorities remaining silent on it
so far.
Last week, former MP Jamil Kazim,
an Al Wefaq member, was sentenced to
six months in jail for a tweet over election bribes, referring to November polls
which were boycotted by his movement.
Meanwhile, prominent Shia activist
Nabeel Rajab will stand trial today over
tweets deemed insulting to public institutions, in an another case that has been
criticised by rights groups.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Iran minister blasts ‘lies’ over sanctions impact
launched a rare attack
yesterday on Iran’s downplaying of the impact of international sanctions, saying that
“lying” to the public over the
measures had left the country
Mohamed Reza Nematzadeh,
the industry, mining and trade
minister, delivered the broadside
at a conference in Tehran, claiming years of statements about
sanctions not hurting the country were false.
“Why should we abandon
logic and swear instead or have
empty gestures?” Nematzadeh
asked. “Do you think the world
doesn’t get it that our gestures
are empty? That our remarks are
The comments alluded to
former president Mahmoud Ah-
madinejad, whose tenure was
dominated by tension over Iran’s
disputed nuclear programme and
the sweeping economic sanctions that followed.
After long denying sanctions
had harmed Iran’s economy,
Ahmadinejad admitted in 2012
that they had indeed caused
“Using bad language and
swearing is not strength,”
Nematzadeh said, to loud applause, in a barely veiled barb at
Ahmadinejad, who was regularly
criticised in Iran for using vulgar
words in his speeches.
Iranian politicians are known
for taking a combative stance on
issues such as sanctions—many
lawmakers continue to downplay
their effect—but the strength of
Nematzadeh’s remarks in a public forum was rare.
“Why should we say war has
no effect or sanctions have no
effect?” Nematzadeh said. “Our
educated youths can tell if you’re
lying. Why should we teach
young people to lie?
“I told a person ‘what if your
hands and legs are tied up?
Would it have no effect on you
He praised current President
Hassan Rouhani for taking a different approach.
“We’ve been subjected to injustice. Mr Rouhani referred to
‘unjust sanctions’. I heard this
first from him,” he added
Nematzadeh, now in his fourth
government having also served
under Ahmadinejad, cited economic progress made by former
presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohamed Khatami,
arguing that people ought to be
better off because of their policies.
“If we consider sanctions as a
blessing, then we should be constantly asking for more sanctions,
which in fact happened... we kept
saying: ‘sanctions have no effect’.
“Let’s put some cotton in their
ears, scotch tape on their mouth.
Why do you lie? It does have an
effect. The country has become
backward. There’s inflation, recession. Why should young people be unemployed?” he said.
Since Rouhani took office in
August 2013 the inflation rate
has halved to less than 20% and
the government has stressed it
is open to foreign investment
should sanctions be lifted under a nuclear deal currently being negotiated by Iran and world
Kurds seize
key hilltop
in the battle
for Kobane
Hezbollah members raise their fists and rifles while carrying the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut’s suburbs yesterday.
Iranian general killed in
Israel raid on Hezbollah
Iran’s elite Revolutionary
Guards confirm the death of
one of their generals in the
n Israeli strike on Syria
killed an Iranian general,
Tehran confirmed yesterday, as thousands of supporters
of Lebanon’s Hezbollah gathered
to bury one of six fighters killed in
the same raid.
The attack on Sunday near
Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights
enraged Hezbollah’s supporters,
but analysts said the group would
avoid a major escalation with Israel.
Guards confirmed the death of
one of their generals in a statement on their website.
“General Mohamed Ali Allahdadi and a number of fighters
and Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah) forces were attacked by the
Zionist regime’s helicopters,” it
“This brave general and some
members of Hezbollah were martyred.”
A source close to Hezbollah said
six Iranians had been killed in the
attack. Hezbollah told AFP that it
was not the source of that toll.
Among Hezbollah’s dead was
Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of an
assassinated commander from
the group, and Mohamed Issa, a
commander responsible for Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and
Once solely focused on fighting
Israel, Hezbollah is now deeply
involved in the war in neighbouring Syria, where it backs President
Bashar al-Assad.
With its forces spread thin, and
little appetite in fragile Lebanon
for a new conflict with Israel, analysts said Hezbollah would seek to
respond to the raid without provoking a full-on war.
Yesterday afternoon, thousands of mourners gathered in
Hezbollah’s southern Beirut
stronghold for Mughniyeh’s funeral.
“God willing, the resistance
will retaliate but the leadership
of the resistance will be the one
to decide the nature and timing,”
said Hassana Sadaqa, as she prepared to pay her respects.
Mourners chanted “Our party
is Hezbollah, our leader is Nasrallah” as the coffin was carried
through the streets and shots
were fired into the air.
Mughniyeh was buried in the
same cemetery as his father Imad,
who was killed in a 2008 car
bombing that Hezbollah blamed
on Israel.
As the crowds marched through
the streets, residents threw confetti down from their balconies,
celebrating what they see as the
fighters’ “martyrdom”.
Hezbollah’s Al Manar television said the six were killed as
they carried out reconnaissance.
But an Israeli security source
said an Israeli helicopter carried
out a strike on “terrorists” who
were preparing an attack on the
Jewish state.
The strike came days after
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to retaliate against
Israel for its repeated strikes on
targets in Syria and boasted the
movement was stronger than
He touted its sophisticated
arsenal, including Fateh-110
missiles, which have a range of
200km or more and are capable of
hitting much of Israel.
Analysts said the precision Israeli strike, days after Nasrallah’s
bellicose remarks, stood to embarrass Hezbollah.
“What happened is that the Israelis called Hezbollah’s bluff last
night,” said Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the
American University in Beirut.
But he said Hezbollah’s response was likely to be limited
“because if it retaliates, it will be
another war. Hezbollah is in Syria
and it is not ready for another war
against Israel.”
Walid Charara, an analyst close
to Hezbollah, said he had “no
doubt” that the group would respond, either from Lebanese or
Syrian territory.
Khashan said Hezbollah could
resort to small-scale attacks, like
a roadside bomb on the ceasefire line with Israel it claimed last
year, but would avoid a more serious response.
Speaking to reporters at the funeral, Mahmud Qmati, a member
Syria starts razing
chemical arms sites
Drones flew in breach
of ceasefire, says UN
United Nations
N peacekeepers stationed
in the Golan Heights
along the Syrian-Israeli
border observed drones coming
from the Israeli side before and
after an air strike that killed top
several Hezbollah figures, the
United Nations said yesterday.
The flight of the drones in the
airspace over the Golan Heights
was a violation of the 1974 ceasefire agreement between Syria and
Israel, UN spokesman Farhan
Haq told reporters.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on
Sunday that an Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed one of its
commanders and the son of the
group’s late military leader Imad
Haq was asked if the UN observer mission deployed in the
so-called area of separation in
the Golan Heights, known as
UNDOF, had seen anything. He
said UNDOF had “observed two
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
flying from the Alpha side and
crossing the ceasefire line”.
The Alpha side refers to the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan.
Haq said UNDOF saw the drones
moving towards UN position 30,
after which the UN observers lost
track of them.
An hour later, he said, they saw
smoke coming from position 30,
though they were unable to identify the source of the smoke.
“Subsequently, UNDOF observed UAVs flying from the general area of position 30 and over
Jabbata crossing the ceasefire
line,” Haq said. “This incident
is a violation of the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces.”
“We criticise all violations,”
he added, noting that the UN
called on all sides to refrain from
actions that could exacerbate already existing tensions.
of Hezbollah’s political bureau,
said all-out war was unlikely, but
that “the war of (limited) strikes,
assassinations and intermittent
confrontation continues”.
But another Hezbollah official,
MP Bilal Farhat, refused to say
what might happen next. “Let’s
wait and see,” he said.
Lebanese media weighed the
prospect of conflict, with the Al
Safir newspaper saying Hezbollah
needed something “more than a
reply and less than a war”.
In Israel, analysts made the
same calculation.
“Hezbollah doesn’t want a fullfledged war,” said Yoram Schweitzer, a former Israeli military
counter-terrorism chief.
“It has a number of possibilities
to respond in different arenas. We
assume that it currently does not
want full contact,” he said.
Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for 22 years until 2000 and
the two countries are still technically at war.
In 2006, Israel fought a bloody
war against Hezbollah that killed
more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some
160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
urdish fighters battling
the Islamic State militant
group in Syria’s Kobane
have captured a strategic hilltop,
giving them line of fire over the
town, a monitor said yesterday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said
the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had seized the
Mishtenur hilltop after fierce
clashes overnight.
“The military operation led to
the deaths of at least 11 Islamic
State fighters, and the seizure of
large quantities of weapons and
ammunition,” the Observatory
Observatory director Rami
Abdel Rahman said the advance
was a key strategic victory for the
YPG, putting IS resupply lines to
Aleppo in the west and Raqa in
the east within their line of fire.
IS has been battling to capture
Kobane, on the Syrian-Turkish
border, since mid-September,
and at one point seemed poised
to overrun the Kurdish town.
But Kurdish fighters backed by
massive air raids by the US-led
coalition against IS have gradually pushed back the militants,
who now hold around 15% of the
The setback has knocked the
momentum out of the militants’
advance and dashed their hopes
of a swift expansion of their territory, analysts say.
Around 1,600 people have
been killed in the fighting, at
least 1,000 of them militants, but
IS has continued to pour in reinforcements in a bid to win the
high-profile battle for the town.
“Kobane has become a
huge symbol. Everyone knows
Kobane, it’s where the Kurds
stopped IS,” said Kurdish affairs
analyst Mutlu Civiroglu.
“They (IS) lost hundreds of
fighters, millions of dollars of
weapons, and the image that
wherever IS goes no one can stop
them,” he said.
On the ground in Kobane, it is
militiamen of the YPG who have
been battling IS, but analysts say
the air support provided by the
US-led coalition has been key to
their successful defence of the
“Seventy-five percent of all US
strikes in Syria were on Kobane.
You give any force on the ground
that kind of aerial support and
they will get the upper hand,”
said Thomas Pierret, a Syria specialist at the University of Edinburgh.
Without the strikes, Pierret
said, IS “would have taken
over Kobane completely, because it has the means to bring
more forces to the fight than the
Mustefa Ebdi, a Kurdish activist from Kobane, said “IS did
not expect such an intense aerial
campaign”, as evidenced by the
discovery of “dozens of bodies
of jihadists in liberated districts”.
Civiroglu said the air strikes
had prevented the Kurdish fighters being outgunned by the much
better armed militants.
“They provided support that
the YPG did not have, the mission of eliminating IS’s heavy
weaponry. The air strikes also
limited IS’s mobility, IS’s movement and IS’s capability of
force,” he said.
Kurdish forces have also benefited from fighting on familiar
IS has had to fight without
any network of local sympathisers and informers like those who
helped the group to capture Raqa
in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, analysts say.
With the battle going their
way, the Kurds “now have a clear
policy of advancing bit by bit,
street by street, to the east and
the south”, said Observatory director Abdel Rahman.
But despite the battlefield reverses, IS has shown no signs of
abandoning the fight.
The group has committed
heavily to the battle for Kobane,
which it refers to as Ain al-Islam,
a play on the Arabic name for the
town, Ain al-Arab.
On Friday, IS supporter Abu
Abdullah al-Shami tweeted that
the town was “one of the most
important battles” for the group
since it emerged in Syria.
The Hague
Peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon stand
next to an armoured vehicle in the southern Lebanese town of
Adaysseh, near the border with Israel, yesterday.
yria has begun destroying its remaining chemical
weapons production sites,
despite being hampered by bad
weather and logistical problems,
the world’s chemical watchdog
said yesterday.
“Destruction operations commenced in December,” Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) spokesman
Peter Sawczak said in The Hague,
without elaborating.
Syria had said previously demolition of the 12 hangars and tunnels would begin in November,
but work stalled when the contractor pulled out.
Two other Syrian companies
were given the project but the
firm tasked with destroying five
tunnels had to wait for deliveries of explosives and equipment,
Syria told the United Nations in
November, after running months
behind schedule.
The OPCW, which is overseeing the dismantling of Syria’s
chemical weapons programme,
in July gave Damascus 60 days to
finish demolishing the sites.
“The destruction has begun.
They are starting on the tunnels,” confirmed a Hague-based
source yesterday, asking not to be
“There was a bit of a delay on
the pouring of cement because of
the snow,” the source added, saying “they aim to tackle one tunnel
each month.”
Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar
Jaafari has said the destruction
process will be completed by June.
Syria finished disabling the
production sites by October 2013,
but the structures that house
them still needed to be destroyed.
A total of 1,300 metric tonnes
of chemical weapons have been
removed from Syria, with the majority being destroyed aboard the
US Navy ship MV Cape Ray.
After an August 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus that much
of the international community
blamed on President Bashar alAssad’s government, the regime
agreed to turn over its chemical
The United States threatened
military action against Damascus over the attack, but held off
following the chemical disarmament agreement.
Damascus and the rebels
have accused each other of using chemical weapons, including
chlorine, in the nearly four-year
war that has killed more than
200,000 people.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
EU to appeal
removal of
Hamas from
terrorism list
Hamas slams as “immoral”
the EU appeal to keep it on
the bloc’s terror blacklist, a
month after a European court
ordered its removal
he EU will appeal a controversial court decision
ordering the removal of
Hamas from the bloc’s terrorism
blacklist, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said yesterday.
Foreign ministers from the 28
European Union member states
decided to appeal the decision at
a meeting in Brussels focused on
the Islamist threat after the Paris
attacks this month, she said.
Hamas will remain on the
EU’s terrorism register pending the result of the appeal by
Brussels against the December
17 ruling by the bloc’s second
highest court, a spokeswoman
Hamas, which was first blacklisted in 2001, said the decision
to appeal was “immoral”.
Israel was enraged by the decision to remove Hamas and the
ruling had threatened recent attempts by Brussels to play a big-
ger role in reviving the moribund
Middle East peace process.
Mogherini said EU ministers
have “now decided to challenge
some of the findings of the court
regarding the procedural grounds
to list terrorist organisations”.
“This ruling was clearly based
on procedural grounds and did
not imply any assessment by the
court of the merits of designating the Hamas as a terrorist organisation.”
Last month’s ruling by the
General Court of the European
Union had said that the blacklisting of Hamas was based not
on sound legal judgements but
on conclusions derived from the
media and the Internet.
Hamas, which has been in
power in Gaza since 2007, had
appealed against its inclusion on
the blacklist on several grounds.
In Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the
decision to appeal “is an immoral
step, and reflects the EU’s total
bias in favour of the Israeli occupation”.
Hamas’s military wing was
added to the European Union’s
first-ever terrorism blacklist
drawn up in December 2001 in
the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The EU blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003.
Apart from Hamas, the EU
has also blacklisted the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah,
which has ties to Hamas.
spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer
confirmed that Hamas will stay
on the blacklist during the appeal
as the “effects of (the) judgement
are suspended”.
Hamas’ funds in Europe have
remained frozen since the December decision.
At the time of the initial ruling,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said it showed Europeans had learned nothing from
the Holocaust.
A vote by the European Parliament backing the recognition in
principle of a Palestinian state
just hours after the Hamas decision, following a series of such
votes in European nations, added
fuel to the fire.
“The fight against terrorism
remains a priority for the European Union,” Mogherini said,
adding the “EU is determined to
stem the financing of terrorism”.
An expert on EU law said Brussels has until February 17 to file
its appeal, a process that would
then take around 16 months.
Barred from home
Palestinian Zahira Dandees , 85, argues with Israeli soldiers as they are sealing off the door
of her house to prevent her from accessing it after they said a Molotov cocktail was thrown
from her roof yesterday in Al Shuhada street near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa, in
the West Bank town of Hebron.
Japan’s PM offers tough
advice on Mideast peace
apan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
held talks with top Israeli officials
in Jerusalem yesterday in a bid to
deepen economic co-operation while
also bringing a tough message on peace.
Abe said Tokyo would continue to
have an “active engagement” in efforts to broker peace in the region as he
held separate talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President
Reuven Rivlin.
His visit to Israel, the first by a Japanese premier since 2006, is primarily
aimed at bolstering the bilateral relationship, particularly in the economic
But Abe, who travels today to the
West Bank town of Ramallah, said he
was also to give some tough advice to
both Israel and the Palestinians.
“As a genuine friend, I might offer
advice that may not be easy to swallow
to both of the parties,” he told reporters
on meeting Netanyahu.
He did not elaborate further but the
embassy said he would be urging both
sides to find ways to return to the negotiating table after the collapse nine
months ago of the latest round of peace
A Japanese government official said
Abe would communicate the same
message to both sides.
“The prime minister... believes that
hatred does not help anything, and that
both sides should refrain from taking
unilateral actions that would exacerbate the situation... and (undermine)
the two-state solution,” he said on condition of anonymity.
For Israel, this referred to “issues like
the settlements” as well as to the Jewish
state’s freezing of Palestinian tax monies.
Earlier this month, Israel blocked
the transfer of $127mn to Ramallah as a
punitive measure after the Palestinians
applied to join the International Criminal Court where they can potentially
sue Israel for alleged war crimes.
The move drew sharp international
criticism, including from the United
States and the European Union.
Both issues are likely to come up
when Abe meets Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah today.
“In terms of the Palestinians ... becoming a member (of the ICC) and the
indictment of Israelis does not really
help to pursue this (two-state) solution,” the Japanese official said.
“He would say that both sides should
refrain from taking these actions.”
At the start of the meeting with Abe,
Netanyahu said Israel would continue
Abe and Netanyahu hold a joint news conference in Jerusalem yesterday.
recalled to
army duty
in Libya
to defend itself against any threats
and would not be deterred by the ICC,
which has begun a preliminary examination of a Palestinian complaint relating to Israeli actions last year.
“Israel is adamant that it will have
the right to defend itself against all
those who wish to propagate terror
and other attacks against its citizens,
against its territory,” he said.
“We will not have our hands tied by
anyone, including the ICC. We will do
what is necessary to defend ourselves
wherever we need to do so.”
Earlier, Abe visited the Yad Vashem
Holocaust museum in Jerusalem as the
world marks 70 years since the end of
the Nazi genocide.
“This year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II
and the liberation of Auschwitz, I make
a pledge that we should never ever let
such tragedies be repeated,” he said.
“Today, I have learned how merciless
humans can be by singling out a group
of people and making that group the
object of discrimination and hatred,”
he said after laying a wreath in the Hall
of Remembrance.
After meeting Abbas in the West
Bank today, Abe will return to Japan,
wrapping up a six-day tour of the region which began with a visit to Egypt
and Jordan.
has recalled retired general
Khalifa Haftar to army duty, officials said yesterday, cementing
its alliance with him in a struggle against a rival administration
claiming national authority.
The decision shows the increasing influence of military
figures in the official government and parliament, which
has been forced to operate from
the east of the country since an
armed group called Libya Dawn
seized the capital Tripoli in
Frustrated with the loss of
Tripoli and lack of an efficient
army or police, the elected parliament and its allied Prime
Minister Abdullah al-Thinni
have gradually built up a military
alliance with Haftar.
Haftar, a former general under Gaddafi, is one of dozens of
commanders of irregular forces
which have refused to disarm
after the ousting of Muammar
Gaddafi in 2011.
In May he launched his own
war against Islamist fighters in
the eastern city Benghazi.
But his warplanes have also
attacked commercial airports
and a steel plant in western
Libya. They hit a Greek-operated fuel tanker in Derna this
month, killing two seamen,
after Haftar’s forces claimed
it was carrying Islamist fighters.
A copy of an official decree obtained by Reuters recalled Haftar
and 108 other former Gaddafiera army officers for active army
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
45 churches torched in
Niamey cartoon demos
Mozambican president
swears in new cabinet
Senegal ex-president’s son
ends hunger strike over trial
Guinea reopens schools as
Ebola infections slow
Forty-five churches were torched over the
weekend in Niger’s capital during deadly
protests over the publication of an offensive
cartoon by the French satirical weekly Charlie
Hebdo, police said yesterday. The protests,
which left five people dead and 128 people
injured in Niamey, also saw a Christian school and
orphanage set alight, Adily Toro, a spokesman for
the national police, told a press conference. Similar
unrest sparked by the French satirical weekly,
which was targeted by a bloody Islamist raid on
January 7, saw five people killed in the southern
city of Zinder, where 45 were wounded. “The
French flag was burned,” Toro said.
Mozambique’s new president, Filipe Nyusi,
yesterday swore in a trimmed-down cabinet,
saying it would focus on the fight against
corruption. The number of ministries was
reduced from 27 to 22 to cut costs, Nyusi
said. Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, a former
agriculture minister and ambassador to
Indonesia, will serve as prime minister. Foreign
Minister Oldemiro Baloi retained his post.
Two ministries which had been criticized for
corruption and poor performance, environment
and tourism, were merged with other ministries.
Nyusi’s party Frelimo has governed since
independence from Portugal in 1975.
Karim Wade, son of Senegal’s former president
Abdoulaye Wade, has ended his hunger strike
begun in protest at the conditions of his trial
for corruption, one of his lawyers said on
Monday. Karim Wade, his father’s right-hand
man during his 2000-2012 rule and the head of
four ministries, is accused of illegally amassing
a fortune of 117bn CFA francs ($240mn). He has
denied the charges and says he has not been
given a fair trial. Lawyer Madicke Niang told
Reuters Wade ended the hunger strike after four
days on the advice of his spiritual leader from
the Mouride brotherhood that has become one
of the country’s most influential organisations.
Guinea yesterday reopened schools closed for
the past five months due to the Ebola outbreak
that has killed more than 8,400 people across
West Africa, but fear kept many students at
home. The government’s decision came as the
number of new infections slowed substantially
and a national Ebola commission published
security guidelines. All public schools will
receive hand sanitizers and thermometers, said
commissioner Sakota Keita, while the parents of
private school children will have to supply the
materials themselves. “The reaction this morning
was an overwhelming joy,” Unicef education
specialist Sayo Aoki told DPA.
A Guinean student gets his temperature checked
as he enters the Oumou Diaby school in Conakry
2 injured as
police fire on
Students from Langata primary school demolished a perimeter wall erected by a private developer around their school playground in Nairobi.
Kenyan police gas kids
at playground protest
enyan police yesterday fired
tear gas into a crowd of Nairobi schoolchildren as youngsters and adults protested against
what they call an illegal confiscation
of a playground.
A police spokesman said authorities
were investigating the incident and
planned to initiate disciplinary pro-
Cameroon frees 24
Boko hostages
ceedings against the officers involved.
“Apparently a level of force which
is not commensurate to the persons
involved was used,” said Masoud
Mwinyi, adding that four adults had
also been arrested.
Police were seen firing at least
three canisters of tear gas just outside the Langata Primary School as
several hundred students attempted
to knock down a wall surrounding
the playground.
They were protesting what they
called an illegal “land grab”, and a
plan to turn the space into a car park.
Children wearing bright green
school uniforms dashed away from
the scene, some coughing and choking
and covering their faces with bits of
clothing. Activists said they believed
eight children were hospitalised for
exposure to tear gas and other injuries.
“They were trying to access that
playground, and it’s actually their
playground,” said activist Boniface
Mwangi, who took part in the pro-
test. “We are very happy that the
kids were brave enough to bring
down the wall.”
A jubilant crowd of children eventually made their way onto the land,
where they danced and began an impromptu football match.
Many Kenyans took to social media to express outrage over the incident using the Twitter hashtag “OccupyPlayGround”.
Macharia Njeru, chairman of the
Independent Policing Oversight Au-
Fleeing floods!
ameroon’s army yesterday
freed 24 people kidnapped
by suspected members of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
The freed hostages were part of
a group of about 80 civilians who
were abducted by insurgents in
northern Cameroon on Sunday
in what was the country’s largest
hostage-taking to date.
“The 24 people regained their
freedom as the soldiers were chasing the Boko Haram militants. The
insurgents were fleeing back to
Nigeria from whence they came,”
regional governor Mijiyawa Bakary
told DPA on the phone from Maroua, the capital of the far-north
On Sunday, hundreds of insurgents attacked the villages of
Mabass and Makxy in the MayoTsanaga Division, near the border
with Nigeria, said Bakary. The villages were burned down and three
residents were killed.
Hundreds of Chadian troops
entered Cameroon on Saturday
to help the country fight Boko
Haram, which killed thousands
of people in northern Nigeria last
President Paul Biya declared war
on Boko Haram last May, after the
group started frequently infiltrating Cameroon from neighbouring
thority, said the incident would be
investigated. “Teargassing children
is inexcusable,” he said.
Mwangi said a “school playground
is a necessity, not a privilege.”
Yesterday was the first school day
since the wall was built during the
Nairobi, a city of more than 3mn
people, is rapidly growing and land
prices are rising at some of the fastest rates anywhere on the continent,
according to real estate experts.
EU okays new security missions
to Mali, Central African Republic
A family displaced by recent floods carry their belongings to the local M’bwazi Primary School
after crossing the flooded Ruo river in Malawi’s southern Nsanje District.
t least two students were wounded yesterday when police opened fire on thousands of protesters opposed to extending
President Joseph Kabila’s hold on power in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
The students were shot near the University of
Kinshasa after police warned they would open
fire if protesters failed to leave, an AFP correspondent and witnesses saw. Opposition sources said security forces shot and wounded a third
person as they broke up a crowd demonstrating
near the parliament building in the capital.
Hundreds of rock-hurling youths battled
with police, who responded by firing tear gas
in neighbourhoods around the capital as tyres
burned at several main intersections and a police
helicopter buzzed overhead.
The protesters had been called into the streets
by DRC opposition leaders outraged by an elections bill that would delay presidential and parliamentary polls beyond late 2016, when Kabila
is meant to step down.
Leaders in several African nations have sought
in recent months to extend their hold on power by changing the constitution and have met
stiff opposition. Burkina Faso’s president Blaise
Compaore was chased from power in October
when he tried to change the constitution.
In several corners of Kinshasa, the normally
bustling city took on a ghost town-like feel. Streets
were deserted, public transit was interrupted and
many children were kept home from school.
At 8am, police and elite troops of the Republican Guard sealed off the parliament building,
where the lower house on Saturday passed the
controversial bill.
The legislation was due to go for debate yesterday before the Senate, the upper house of
parliament, while police and soldiers were stationed at every major road junction in the Gombe district, where ministries and administrative buildings are located.
Police also surrounded the headquarters of
the third biggest opposition party, the Union for
the Congolese Nation (UNC), after members of
all leading opposition parties urged Kinshasa
residents “massively to occupy” parliament to
hamper the debate.
“It is impounding of democracy by the political allies of Mr Kabila,” UNC president Vital
Kamerhe said of the police presence around his
Kabila has ruled over the vast and troubled
central African country since he was catapulted
into office as a young soldier by Kinshasa politicians in 2001, days after his father, then president Laurent-Desire Kabila, was assassinated.
The opposition accuses Kabila of trying to
delay elections by insisting that a new census
must first take place - a process that analysts say
would take as long as three years.
he European Union yesterday approved
two new missions to the African continent, giving the final go-ahead for a
police training mission to Mali and agreeing to
establish a military reform operation for the
Central African Republic (CAR).
The bloc is already active in both countries,
which have suffered recent conflicts.
In Mali, a 2012 military coup was followed by
an Islamist insurgency, while CAR has sought to
contain clashes between its Muslim and Christian communities. The Mali mission will train
and advise police forces, to help the state “ensure constitutional and democratic order, put
in place the conditions for lasting peace as well
as maintain its authority throughout the entire
territory,” a statement said.
“It will work with Mali’s three law enforcement branches, the police, the gendarmerie and
the garde nationale,” it said.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
said the operation “will help bring a long-term
solution to Mali’s security challenges.”
The Bamako-based mission, which was initially agreed by EU defence ministers last April,
is to last until next January.
The EU is already conducting a military
training mission in Mali. The bloc is also active
in neighbouring Niger, helping the authorities
fight organized crime and terrorism.
The bloc’s foreign ministers, meeting in
Brussels yesterday, also approved a new mission
to CAR, aiming to help strengthen the country’s
security sector. A separate decision will be necessary for the final launch of the operation.
“EUMAM will advise on the reforms necessary
to make CAR armed forces a more multi-ethnic,
professional and republican army,” Mogherini
said, using the codename for the mission.
EU experts will offer advice on training the
army, while the 12-month mission, led by
French Brigadier General Dominique Laugel,
could also “conduct limited non-operational
training,” a statement said. It is to comprise
up to 60 staff, and has an estimated initial
12-month budget of 7.9mn euros.
The EU dispatched soldiers to CAR last year,
to help maintain the peace alongside UN, African Union and French forces.
The foreign ministers also turned their attention to the recent upsurge of violence in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where dozens
of armed groups have been fighting for control
over the region’s rich natural resources.
The ministers condemned ongoing human
rights violations in the country, stressing that
“gender-based violence and the recruitment
and use of child soldiers, whether conducted
by armed groups or other actors, are absolutely
unacceptable and must end.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Amazon eyes the big screen after TV successes
A Inc is getting
into the movie business,
building on some early
successes in TV productions, the
latest sign of the Internet retailer’s eagerness to build itself into
a major Hollywood player.
Amazon said yesterday it was
aiming to produce close to 12
movies a year for theatrical release which would then be available on its Prime video service
within two months, a huge drop
from the roughly one-year wait
it normally faces to stream Hollywood releases.
Amazon expects to focus on
“indie” movies with budgets
of between $5mn and $25mn,
spokeswoman Sally Fouts said.
While that’s modest compared
with Hollywood blockbusters, it
will add further to spending at
Amazon, potentially unnerving
investors concerned about the
company’s lack of profitability and skimpy disclosure of its
The move shows Amazon’s
growing ambitions in digital
media, coming just days after
the online retailer signed director Woody Allen to create a TV
series and one of its existing series won a Golden Globe Award,
a first for Internet TV services.
Unlike rival Netflix Inc, a
standalone Internet TV service,
Amazon’s Prime video service
comes bundled with the Internet retailer’s two-day delivery
for items purchased on the site,
which costs $99 a year, a key
driver of revenue for the company.
It remains unclear whether
Amazon believes the movie
business can make money on its
own, but most of its other ventures are ultimately aimed at
bolstering its underlying retail
The move into movie production ups the ante against Netflix, which said in September it
would jointly produce a sequel to
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
and in October signed a deal for
comedian Adam Sandler to star
in and produce four films to be
shown exclusively on the service.
Amazon said it has hired Ted
Hope, a producer of independent movies including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and
Academy Award-nominated Eat
Drink Man Woman, to spearhead
the effort.
“Our goal is to create close to
twelve movies a year with production starting later this year,”
Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios, said.
If successful, the venture could
further threaten traditional big-
screen movie theatres, which have
been coping with dwindling audiences. Sony Pictures’ recent success in releasing its comedy The
Interview through video on demand services after threats from
hackers was also seen as a blow to
their business.
While Hope is known for making independent movies rather
than big-budget Hollywood
blockbusters, Amazon Studios
has succeeded in the world of
television in part by aligning itself with directors like Allen and
Steven Soderbergh of Ocean’s
Eleven fame.
The company spent an estimated $2bn on content in 2014
with about $200mn of that used
to develop original shows, according to Wedbush Securities
analysts. Such projects include
Mozart in the Jungle and the
multi-Golden Globe Awardwinning Transparent.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is
known for his hunger to tackle
new markets but the company
has had a mixed track record in
some ventures, including the recent Amazon Fire phone, whose
price tag it has slashed after
weak sales.
behind State
of the Union
Alan Gross, the US contractor released from prison in Cuba last month; and Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly
(right), who will launch in March to the International Space Station; will be among 23 guests of First Lady
Michelle Obama as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight.
Special guests put faces
to president’s policies
lan Gross, the US contractor released from prison
in Cuba last month, will
be among 23 guests of First Lady
Michelle Obama as President
Barack Obama delivers his State
of the Union address, the White
House said yesterday.
Others invited to watch the
annual presidential speech to
Congress from the First Lady’s
box tonight include an astronaut, a 13-year-old boy from the
South Side of Chicago and an
army veteran who lost both legs
in Afghanistan.
The White House traditionally
invites special guests the presi-
dent can single out for mention
during his speech, putting faces
to his policies.
Highlighting Obama’s surprise agreement to begin normalising US relations with Cuba
after 50 years as adversaries will
be Gross and his wife Judy.
Gross, who was freed December 17 as part of the deal, spent
five years in Cuban jails for distributing laptops and communications equipment to the island’s small Jewish community
as a subcontractor for the US
Agency for International Development.
“For five years, from thousands of miles away, Judy fought
every day for Alan’s release and
never gave up hope,” the White
House said.
Others on the list are ordinary Americans who exemplify
aspects of the administration’s
programmes - a community college student, an auto
worker, a woman who trained
to be a construction worker, a
small business owner, a college student brought to the US
as a child by her undocumented
Many first came to the attention of the White House
because of letters written to
Obama, but 13-year-old Malik
Bryant of Chicago got notice
with a letter to Santa: “All I ask
for is for safety I just wanna be
safe,” he wrote. A non-profit
forwarded the letter to the
White House.
Jason Gibson met Obama
‘US penetrated North Korea
computer systems in 2010’
he US secretly penetrated
North Korea’s computer
systems four years ago - a
breach that allowed Washington to insist Pyongyang was to
blame for the recent cyberattack
on Sony Pictures, the New York
Times reported yesterday.
Citing former US officials and
a newly released National Security Agency (NSA) document,
the Times detailed how the US
spy agency in 2010 “penetrated
directly” into the North’s systems via Chinese networks and
connections in Malaysia favored
by North Korean hackers.
Primarily aimed at gathering information on the reclusive
nation’s nuclear programme,
the NSA’s clandestine operation
switched focus to the growing
threat posed by North Korea’s
hacking capabilities following a destructive cyberattack on
South Korean banks in 2013.
Hidden US software provided an “early warning radar”
for North Korean activities, and
provided the evidence that persuaded President Barack Obama
that Pyongyang was behind the
Sony hack, the Times said, citing an anonymous official familiar with the NSA mission.
US investigators concluded
that North Korean hackers spent
two months mapping Sony’s
computer systems in preparation for what became the biggest
cyberattack in US corporate history.
Hidden US software
provided an “early warning
radar” for North Korean
North Korea denies any involvement, although it had
publicly threatened Sony if it
released the comedy film The
Interview about a CIA plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-Un.
Given that threat and the reported level of US penetration,
the Times report raised the question of why the NSA was unable
to warn Sony in advance.
According to one US official
cited by the newspaper, the intelligence agencies “couldn’t really understand the severity” of
the attack that was coming.
While North Korea’s conventional military hardware is
largely outdated and unsophisticated, its cyberwarfare capabili-
ties have long been considered a
significant threat.
South Korean intelligence believes North Korea runs an elite
cyberwarfare unit with at least
6,000 personnel, trained in secret government and military
A number of experts suggest
the North’s cybercapacity is heavily reliant on China, in terms of
both training and the necessary
software and hardware.
They say telecommunications
giant China Unicom provides
and maintains all Internet links
with the North, and some estimate that thousands of North
Korean hackers operate on Chinese soil.
According to South Korea’s
National Intelligence Service,
more than 75,000 hacking attempts were made against South
Korean government agencies between 2010 and September 2014
- many of them believed to be
from Pyongyang.
The Times interviewed a
former North Korean army programmer who said the North
began training computer “warriors” in earnest in 1996, despatching many to undergo two
years’ training in China and Russia.
while recovering from war
wounds at the Walter Reed
military hospital in Washington - an ordeal that involved 21
“Despite losing both legs and
being unable to use prosthetics,
he took up surfing and skiing,
completed multiple marathons
on a hand cycle, and even obtained his pilot’s license,” the
White House said.
Also on the guest list is astronaut Scott Kelly, who will launch
in March to the International
Space Station, on a mission to
become the first American to
spend a year living and working
on the orbiting platform.
Republican Senator Marco
Rubio, meanwhile, said he had
invited Rosa Maria Paya, the
daughter of a Cuban dissident
Oswaldo Paya who was killed in
a 2012 car crash in Cuba to be his
guest at the speech.
“While I disagree with the
president’s new Cuba policy, I
hope Rosa Maria Paya’s presence
on Tuesday night will at least remind him that her father’s murderers have not been brought to
justice, and that the US is now,
in fact, sitting at the table with
them,” Rubio said.
Cuban authorities ruled that
the driver, a Spanish activist
Angel Carromero, was speeding
and lost control of the car.
But Paya’s daughter and Carromero have charged that the
accident was deliberately caused
by another vehicle that rammed
the car from behind.
ay after day from
morning to night, a
small cadre of wordsmiths searches for the right
message, tone and cadence for
the US president to speak to
the American people.
When President Barrack
Obama delivers his State
of the Union address today
in Congress, it will be the
capstone of weeks of work
for a team of White House
“It is a massive undertaking, the process starts really early around Thanksgiving (November 26),” said Jeff
Shesol, a State of the Union
speechwriter for former president Bill Clinton.
The White House currently
has nine speechwriters. A
number of them also work for
First Lady Michelle Obama
and other officials and bodies
in the executive.
At the White House, aboard
Air Force One, between hotels,
they live their lives just behind
the scenes of the president’s
hectic schedule.
The job is traditionally discreet, and often demanding,
given the president’s need to
speak on breaking news as well
as in formal settings such as
the all-important State of the
Union address delivered in the
heart of Congress.
“should be possessed of high
competence, great physical
vigour, and a passion for anonymity,” according to the position’s description in a 1937
The job can be gruelling, but
speechwriters know their time
at the White House makes for
an effective springboard for
the rest of their career in politics or the private sector.
“It’s an extraordinary job,”
said Adam Frankel, who was
part of Obama’s writing team
until 2011 and highlighted
the president’s taste for good
“He is a gifted writer and
he also has respect for the
writing process and understands what that process is
like. He is very involved in
the writing process from the
very beginning.”
Cody Keenan, 33, a principal speechwriter for the president writing the State of the
Union, compared the work to
graduate school.
“You get a paper assignment, you might pull an allnighter or come in really early
to finish, and you hand it in
and then you get his marks
back and find out whether he
likes it or not,” Keenan said.
“The good thing is he’ll
make detailed edits when he
gets the speech, and he’s generous with his time - he’ll walk
us through the edits and explain why he made them.”
The difference, Shesol
pointed out, “is that you just
don’t get a grade and move on
to the next assignment, you
are going to rewrite this one
again and again.”
In their small and exclusive
world, a few figures hold a
special place for speechwriters, including president John
F. Kennedy, whose speeches
resonate beyond their time.
Ted Sorensen was one of
the few writers who got to
pen words for Kennedy. He
was also one of his chief advisers.
At Kennedy’s side daily, Sorensen was in a prime position
to understand the presidents
mind, and exchange ideas with
him as well.
For all his successors, the
question of access to the president, if not always easy, is
central to the job.
Waterway cleanup
Volunteers with the environmental groups Anacostia Riverkeeper and Pope Branch Park Restoration Alliance sort trash they
removed from around Pope Branch Creek, a tributary to the Anacostia River, in Washington, DC, yesterday. Environmental groups
routinely list the Anacostia as one of the most polluted waterways in America.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
US to seek
end to Cuba
travel curbs
he US will urge Cuba to lift
travel restrictions on US
diplomats and agree to establish US and Cuban embassies
in historic talks in Havana this
week aimed at restoring relations, a senior State Department
official said yesterday.
The talks on Jan. 21-23 will be
led by Roberta Jacobson, the top
US diplomat for Latin America,
in the first visit to Cuba in 38
years by a US assistant secretary
of state.
“We are looking forward to the
Cubans lifting travel restrictions,
to trying to lift the caps on
the number of our diplomatic
personnel, to trying to gain
unimpeded shipments for our
mission and to the free access
to our mission by Cubans,” the
official told a conference call.
later clarified the official was
referring to travel curbs on US
diplomats, who are typically not
allowed outside Havana except
for special requests. The same
applies to Cuban officials in
The official said Washington
hoped to restore its embassy in
Havana in “the coming months.”
After breaking ties between
the countries the US converted
its six-story embassy into an
interests sections.
The official said it was hard to
know what could be achieved in
the first round of normalisation
talks and all depended on how far
Cuba was willing to go.
“It is hard to know exactly
what will come out of this first
conversation,” the official said. “I
am not oblivious to the weight of
The official said the hope
was to accelerate the pace of
normalisation talks with Cuba
following the initial meeting
to include other areas such as
settlement of claims by Cuban
Americans and US businesses
“We are ready to
accelerate the pace of
engagement as it regards
our interests and the
Cuban people but a lot will
depend on the tolerance
of the Cuban government
for that engagement”
whose assets were confiscated.
US President Barack Obama
and Cuban President Raul Castro
on Dec. 17 announced plans
to restore relations between
the Cold War foes, with a view
to ending the 54-year-old US
economic embargo against the
communist-led island.
In initial moves in recent
weeks, Cuba released 53 political
prisoners and the US said it
would ease some trade and
investment restrictions.
Washington has said it will
press Cuba to release more
political prisoners and end
short-term detentions.
The official said Obama’s
new policy depends on “mutual
consent” between the US and
“We are ready to accelerate
the pace of engagement as it
regards our interests and the
Cuban people but a lot will
depend on the tolerance of the
Cuban government for that
engagement,” the official said.
The first day of talks will focus
on migration issues, including
cases of Americans who have
fled to Cuba, which has regularly
returned US fugitives since 2008
but US authorities say dozens
In a letter to Obama yesterday
on the eve of his State of the
Union address, a group of 78
policy experts and former US
official urged the administration
to work with Congress to update
Cuba legislation.
A US congressional delegation,
led by Senator Patrick Leahy,
arrived in Cuba on Saturday
to get a sense of what the
“normalisation” of relations
could look like. Congressional
approval is needed to fully lift the
US embargo on Cuba.
Passengers wrap their luggage in layers of plastic - a move to prevent theft and tampering - before boarding a charter flight to Cuba at Miami International Airport yesterday. As the US and Cuba begin negotiations to normalise diplomatic relations, US restrictions on the importation of goods are
beginning to melt away.
Washington and Havana
are set for historic talks
he US and Cuba will hold
their highest level talks in
decades tomorrow, ditching decades of Cold War-era hostility to pave the way to reopen
embassies and normalise ties.
Senior US and Cuban officials
will meet over two days in Havana
to discuss immigration issues and
a roadmap to return ambassadors
to each other’s nation, more than
half a century after full diplomatic
relations broke off in 1961.
The talks in the Cuban capital
come five weeks after US President Barack Obama and Cuban
counterpart Raul Castro simultaneously made the momentous
announcement that their coun-
tries would seek to normalise ties.
Roberta Jacobson, the US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, will head
the American delegation while
the Cubans will be represented by
the foreign ministry’s director for
US affairs, Josefina Vidal.
As the two nations get closer,
one person has been noticeably
quiet and absent: The 88-yearold retired leader Fidel Castro has
not reacted publicly to the rapprochement, sparking speculation about his health.
The first day of the talks will
centre on migration - an issue
that has vexed both nations for
decades, with Cubans hopping
on rickety boats to traverse 145km
of shark-infested waters to reach
Then on Thursday, the two
sides will discuss the process to
re-establish diplomatic relations
and bring back their embassies.
“I think that Jacobson’s visit is,
without a doubt, historic and it
will bring changes, but it’s important to be aware that you can’t expect sudden miracles,” said Peter
Schechter, Latin America analyst
at the Atlantic Council, a US think
Cubans have voiced hope that
the warming ties will translate
into improvements in their daily
lives in a country where supermarket shelves are bare and people make around $20 a month.
In the US, most Americans approved Obama’s move, with a
survey released Friday showing
that two-thirds favour lifting the
But some lawmakers on both
sides of the partisan divide have
criticised Obama’s decision, with
Republican senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, saying
the White House had “conceded
everything and gained little” from
the Castro regime.
The Obama administration already took a major step on Friday
when it used executive powers to
loosen some travel and trade restrictions.
While the move will allow more
Americans to visit Cuba and do
business with the communist
country, the US Congress still has
the final say on ending a five-decade-old embargo.
For its part, the Cuban government completed this month the
release of 53 political prisoners
who were on a list provided by the
US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (5th left) and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (5th right), along with Harry Johnson,
President and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation participate in a wreath laying at the Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial during a ceremony on the National Mall yesterday in Washington, DC.
Tributes and protests mark
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
New York
Issued in Public Interest by
ributes to civil rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. were held
around the US yesterday as protests over the treatment of minorities
by law enforcement rolled on across
the country.
Observers of Martin Luther King
Jr. Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent
months during demonstrations over
police brutality: “Black lives matter.”
In a pre-dawn rally in Oakland,
California yesterday, about 40 people
converged on the home of Mayor Libby
Schaaf, calling for harsher punishment
of police who use violence against civilians. They chalked outlines of bodies on the tree-lined street, played
recordings of King’s speeches and projected an image of the slain civil rights
leader with the words “Black lives
matter,” on the mayor’s garage door.
Other protests were planned in
major cities such as Dallas and New
York, where the family of Eric Garner,
who died after being placed in a police
chokehold, was set to lay a wreath on
the Brooklyn street where two uniformed officers were ambushed in
December by a gunman claiming to
avenge Garner’s death.
Decisions by grand juries not to indict officers in the deaths of Garner
and Michael Brown, an unarmed black
US President Barack Obama works on a literacy project with children during a day
of service at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, in celebration of the
Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday yesterday.
man shot dead by a white police officer
in Ferguson, Missouri, touched off
months of protests across the country.
The sentiment resounded even at
traditional events honoring King that
were under way elsewhere, including a
King commemoration at the Ebenezer
Baptist Church in Atlanta, where King
once preached.
“We all need to remember him this
day because we still don’t have complete freedom,” said Kelly Pongee, 50,
of Jonesboro, Georgia, who was among
hundreds of people who waited for
hours to attend the service.
“Look at what they’re doing to the
voting rights. Look at Ferguson and
those other places. Black people and
poor people are still treated differently,” Pongee said.
Fellow churchgoer Arthur Williams, 60, of Atlanta, said King was
a guiding light in the ongoing efforts
toward equality for minorities in the
“The struggle hasn’t stopped,” Williams said. “Even with a black president in the White House, people of
my hue are still the recipients of injustices.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Jakarta must toughen laws to combat IS: think-tank
ndonesia could help combat
the threat of homegrown extremism by banning its citizens from travelling abroad to
fight with organisations such as
the Islamic State group, a thinktank said yesterday.
The Jakarta-based Institute
for Policy Analysis of Conflict
(IPAC) said new laws banning
any involvement with foreign
militant groups overseas were
necessary to help stem the flow
of fighters from Indonesia to
battlegrounds in the Middle
More than 500 Indonesians
have gone to Syria and Iraq to
fight alongside IS militants, according to the country’s counter-terror chief, prompting
President Joko Widodo to consider new measures to combat
the threat of homegrown radicalism. Indonesia, the world’s
most populous Muslim-majority nation, has already banned
support for IS and its ideology.
But in its latest report, IPAC
said police efforts to prevent future jihadists from travelling to
Syria and Iraq would continue to
face hurdles without appropriate
“As long as joining foreign
military or terrorist organisations is not a crime, it is difficult
to prosecute,” the report said.
There are concerns internationally about the impending
release from Indonesian jails
this year and next of 130 inmates
convicted of terrorism offences,
a fear exacerbated by the presence of former prisoners among
Indonesia’s IS ranks.
Though IPAC found only a minority of the 270 people convicted
of terror offences in Indonesian
jails supported IS, it said some
more extreme prisoners main-
tained strong links to outside
groups and posed a serious threat.
Indonesia’s most notorious
radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir
swore allegiance to IS along with
23 other inmates at a Java prison
in July.
Widodo is reportedly considering revoking the passports of
Indonesians who have left for
Syria, and is exploring other ways
of charging those trying to join IS.
Indonesia has waged a crackdown on extremist groups for
more than a decade following attacks against Western targets including the 2002 Bali bombings —
a campaign that has been credited
with weakening key networks.
There are fears that fighters returning from Iraq or Syria could
revive these networks.
Cambodia PM urges
prosecution of
opposition lawmakers
Phnom Penh
Personnel from Indonesia’s national disaster agency transfer a body bag containing the recovered remains of a passenger from AirAsia flight QZ8501 at the port of Kumai, in central
Kalimantan on Borneo island yesterday.
Indonesia says no evidence
of terrorism in aircraft crash
Investigators have heard
whole flight voice
recording; Only half
transcribed so far; Initial
report on crash
expected later in January
ndonesian investigators said
yesterday they had found no
evidence so far that terrorism played a part in the crash
of an AirAsia passenger jet last
month that killed all 162 people
on board.
Andreas Hananto told Reuters
that his team of 10 investigators
at the National Transportation
Safety Committee (NTSC) had
found “no threats” in the cockpit voice recordings to indicate
foul play during AirAsia Flight
The Airbus A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec
28, less than halfway into a twohour flight from Indonesia’s
second-biggest city of Surabaya
A police officer stands near part of the fuselage of the crashed aircraft
inside a storage facility at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun.
to Singapore. There were no survivors.
When asked if there was any
evidence from the recording that
terrorism was involved, Hananto
said: “No. Because if there were
terrorism, there would have been
a threat of some kind.”
“In that critical situation, the
recording indicates that the pilot
was busy with the handling of
the plane.”
Investigators said they had
listened to the whole of the recording but transcribed only
about half.
“We didn’t hear any voice of
other persons other than the pilots,” said Nurcahyo Utomo, another investigator.
“We didn’t hear any sounds
of gunfire or explosions. For the
time being, based on that, we
can eliminate the possibility of
Thai premier says has not ordered
legislators to vote against Yingluck
hai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said
yesterday he had not
ordered his military-dominated legislature to vote against
ousted former Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra when her
impeachment hearing concludes this week.
Yingluck’s supporters and
former members of her cabinet
say the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will vote against
the former premier in a bid to
try to end the political influence
of her powerful family, including her brother, former Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prayuth denied those allegations. “I have never sent any
signal. Never. There has never
been an order,” Prayuth told re-
porters in Bangkok.
All 220 members of the NLA
were hand-picked by the junta,
known as the National Council
for Peace and Order. Around
100 of them are former or currently-serving military officers.
A decision to ban Yingluck
from politics would require
three-fifths of the vote.
The hearings, which began on
Jan 9, concern Yingluck’s role
in a controversial rice subsidy
scheme. The NLA will vote on
Jan 23 whether it finds Yingluck
guilty of negligence over the
scheme, a flagship policy of her
If found guilty, Yingluck
would be banned from political
office for five years.
Yingluck, Thailand’s first female prime minister, came to
power in a landslide election in
2011, backed by farmers mostly
in the north and northeast of
the country. She was removed
from office in May, after a court
found her guilty of abuse of
power, days before the military
staged a coup after months of
street demonstrations in Bangkok aimed at ousting her government.
A day after she was removed,
Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commision found her
guilty of mishandling the rice
scheme. The scheme paid farmers well above market rates for
their crops and caused losses of
more than $15bn to the state.
Thailand has been convulsed
by bouts of political turbulence
ever since Thaksin was removed
in a previous putsch in 2006. It
remains divided between supporters of Yingluck and Thaksin
and the royalist-military establishment which sees Thaksin, a
populist former telecommunications tycoon, as a threat.
terrorism.” Utomo said that investigators could hear “almost
everything” on the recording
contained in one of the flight’s
two “black boxes”.
The other is the flight data
recorder, and both have been
recovered from the wreckage at
the bottom of the Java Sea.
He declined to give details
about what was said during the
doomed flight’s final moments,
citing Indonesian law.
Indonesian authorities have
said that bad weather was likely
to have played a part in the disaster.
According to Hananto, evidence also showed that an explosion was unlikely before
the plane crashed, disputing a
theory suggested by an official
from the National Search and
Rescue Agency last week.
“From the (flight data recordings) so far, it’s unlikely there was an explosion,”
Hananto said.
“If there was, we would
definitely know because certain parameters would show it.
There are something like 1,200
parameters.” The final minutes
of the AirAsia flight were full
of “sounds of machines and
sounds of warnings” that must
be filtered out to get a complete
transcript of what was said in
the cockpit, said Hananto, who
has been an air safety investigator since 2009.
The first half of the twohour long cockpit voice recording has been transcribed. That
includes audio from the previous flight and the beginning of
Flight QZ8501, which crashed
around 40 minutes after takeoff. The team, which is working
with French, Singaporean and
Chinese air safety investigators, hopes to finish transcribing the recording this week,
Hananto said.
With seven computers and
various audio equipment, the
small NTSC laboratory dedicated to the AirAsia investigation is split into two rooms; one
for the cockpit voice recorder
and the other for the flight data
ambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that seven opposition lawmakers charged
with insurrection, which is
punishable by up to 30 years
in jail, would not be “spared”
from prosecution.
The politicians, who had
not been sworn in as MPs at
the time, were arrested after a
violent protest last July. Their
detention was thought to have
spurred the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party
(CNRP) to end its year-long
boycott of parliament.
The politicians were released on bail shortly after
talks between CNRP leader
Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen, with
Rainsy saying his party would
take up its seats in the National Assembly in return for
a promise of electoral reforms.
But yesterday Hun Sen said
the seven lawmakers, who
were sworn in as legislators
last August, would not be
granted parliamentary immunity. He urged the courts to
move forward with their prosecution.
“All seven lawmakers will
not be spared from prosecution because they received
only after the court charged
them,” he said in a speech
broadcast on state-run TVK.
“I appeal to the court to pros-
ecute them quickly.”
The seven politicians were
arrested along with several
other CNRP members following July 15 clashes at a
demonstration against the
closure of Phnom Penh’s
main designated protest site.
At least 40 people, mostly
security guards employed by
local authorities, were injured during the clashes.
The lawmakers — including prominent MP Mu Sochua — were charged with
movement, masterminding
violence and inciting criminal acts. The insurrection
charge alone can carry a prison sentence of between 20
and 30 years.
Twelve other CNRP members were also arrested after the clashes on the same
charges, with six of them still
in custody.
Rights groups at the time
described the charges as
trumped-up. Analysts said
they may have been an attempt by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to prod
the opposition into ending its
Hun Sen, 62, who marked
three decades as premier last
Wednesday, has previously
vowed to stay in power until
he is 74.
He has been accused by
rights groups of stifling the
opposition, stamping out
dissent and ignoring human
rights abuses.
Government defends death
penalty for drug convicts
ndonesia yesterday defended the death penalty after
the Netherlands and Brazil
withdrew ambassadors from
Jakarta over the executions of
their citizens.
Six convicted traffickers one each from Malawi, Brazil,
Nigeria and the Netherlands,
Vietnam and Indonesia —
were shot by firing squads on
Sunday, in the first executions
since 2013.
“The withdrawal of the ambassadors for consultation is
the right of the countries that
sent them,” Foreign Ministry
spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.“Regarding the death
penalty, all the legal process
has been followed,” he said.
“Indonesia is a democratic
and sovereign country that is
based on the rule of law.”
Arrmanatha said the drug
problem in Indonesia had
reached an emergency level.
He said drug abuse killed an
average 40 people in Indonesia each day, and the estimated
number of drug addicts is expected to reach 5.8mn people
this year. “This is especially
frightening because the future
of the young generation is at
stake,” Arrmanatha said.
Myanmar peace process in
rebel hands: army chief
yanmar’s army chief
said peace in the warravaged nation is in the
hands of ethnic rebels, in an interview broadcast yesterday, as a
fresh surge in unrest in northern
Kachin state casts doubt over
ceasefire efforts.
Senior General Min Aung
Hlaing said peace was the “only
path” if the country is to continue its democratisation and
development, in a rare interview with Singapore’s Channel
“Do they really want peace?
If they really want peace, there
is no reason that they cannot
have it,” he said, referring to the
country’s many ethnic minority
armed groups who have fought
for greater autonomy for decades.
“We cannot keep disagreeing.
Disagreeing hinders the country’s development,” added the
army chief, whose troops have
engaged in sporadic heavy fighting with rebels from the Kachin
Independence Army (KIA), despite ongoing efforts to reach a
nationwide ceasefire.
Tensions in Kachin, where a
17-year ceasefire between rebels
and the government splintered
in 2011, have overshadowed efforts to call an end to the multiple civil wars in Myanmar’s ethnic minority borderlands that
have blighted the country for
more than half a century.
Reaching a nationwide cease-
fire deal with some 16 rebel
groups is seen as a cornerstone
of reforms by Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government, which
replaced outright junta rule in
But while the government has
pinned its hopes on reaching an
agreement within weeks, the
peace process continues to stumble on decades-old mistrust and
the Kachin conflict.
Activists say hundreds of people have been caught up in clashes
since last week around Kachin’s
Hpakant township, a jade-rich
area near the border with China,
which officials have blamed on the
“There are so many reasons to
believe that elements within the
KIA who do not want peace have
intentionally tried to disturb the
nationwide ceasefire accord process,” Information Minister Ye Htut
said in a post on his Facebook page.
The latest unrest was sparked on
January 15 with the brief abduction of the Kachin state transport
minister, who was later released,
and three policemen believed still
to be held.
Several attempted bomb attacks on security forces and mining firms have been reported in recent days in the area, according to
the state-backed Global New Light
of Myanmar newspaper yesterday,
although most were unsuccessful.
Local activists said a consortium of religious and civil society
groups had sent some 200 cars to
try and remove civilians from the
area but had been prevented from
getting through to the village by
the national army.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
HK’s cadet force is
‘modelled’ on PLA
Similiarties with the PLA are creating
disquiet in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
ong Kong has created a new army
cadet force modelled partly on the
Chinese military, sparking fears of
tighter controls over the city’s youth in the
wake of student-led pro-democracy protests.
“Through drills and training camps,
the new voluntary uniformed youth group
aims to promote civic awareness,” China’s
state-run China Daily reported yesterday
about the formation of the Hong Kong
Army Cadets.
An inauguration ceremony was held
Sunday at one of the bases of the People’s
Liberation Army (PLA) in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city.
The South China Morning Post reported
that only pro-Beijing media were allowed
to cover the event. It said the wife of the
city’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying
was reportedly the cadet force’s commander-in-chief.
The China Daily said the cadets’ uniform “largely resembles” the regular summer uniform of the PLA.
The Chinese military took over British
army bases after the city’s 1997 handover
to Beijing under a formula promising Hong
Kong a “high degree of autonomy”.
It was Hong Kong’s “first uniformed
youth group to follow Chinese foot drill
protocols”, the China Daily said.
Protesters calling for fully free elections
for the city’s next leader blocked some
major roads for 79 days until the sites were
cleared by police in December.
In his annual policy speech last week,
city leader Leung said young people must
be given “advice” on Hong Kong’s relations with China.
Critics of the cadet force said it showed
China’s intention to “re-educate” the
city’s youth in the wake of the mass protests.
“Linking a uniformed group with the
PLA is obviously a sign of building a
stronger sense of national identity,” Fung
Wai-wah, head of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, told AFP.
Fung described the move as “dangerous”.
Democratic Party lawmaker Emily Lau
called the new cadet force a “worrying”
sign that would fuel fears China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong.
“The (Chinese) military have for years
been quite self-restrained. They don’t get
involved in local things. Suddenly to do it
in such a high profile way, of course people
are very worried,” Lau said.
Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong
could not be reached for comment on the
cadet force.
A 14-year-old girl who was arrested
for chalking flowers on the wall of a Hong
Kong democracy protest site and faced
being taken into care will be allowed to
stay with her family, a court ruled yesterday.
City authorities had been seeking a
“care and protection” order for the teenager, who was sent to a children’s home
after being caught scribbling on the “Lennon Wall” at the city’s main protest site in
Although she was later allowed to return
to her father on bail and under curfew, the
case sparked fears authorities are carrying
out a clampdown on protesters after the
end of two months of rallies for free leadership elections.
“After considering the facts and based
on suggestions made by social workers,
there is no need to make such an order
now,” Hong Kong magistrate Winnie Lau
said yesterday.
Prominent pro-democracy veteran
Martin Lee, who represented the girl, said
the teenager “should be happy today.” The
girl herself was not available for comment.
The arrest of the teen—dubbed “Chalk
Girl” in local media—comes as authorities
face accusations of mounting a campaign
of harassment against prominent prodemocracy figures after the camps were
cleared last month.
“I can’t think of any other reason (for
the arrests) other than creating white terror or a politically motivated one,” student
leader Alex Chow said on Sunday after becoming the latest figure to be detained and
released by police.
Other leading figures have been asked to
attend police stations this week, including
outspoken media tycoon Jimmy Lai and
the three founders of the Occupy Central
Police had also sought a care and protection order for another teenager, a
14-year-old boy who was arrested during
the clearance of one of the protest camps
in November.
The secondary school student, who
asked not to be named, said his treatment
was “extremely unethical” and “politically
“What the government is doing is below
the belt because they are using all means to
try to stop young people from carrying out
political campaigns. But it will just make
us more determined,” he told AFP after the
Beijing has pledged that Hong Kong can
choose its own leader for the first time in
2017 but insists on vetting candidates—an
arrangement protesters dismiss as “fake
Hong Kong and Beijing have consistently branded the protests illegal.
Iron horse
shot dead
at Vietnam
olice in southern China
shot dead two Uighurs
trying to cross the border into Vietnam, state media
reported yesterday, with rights
groups saying repression at
home causes members of the
ethnic minority to flee.
Officers discovered a group
of Uighurs near a highway toll
gate Sunday evening and two
who “assaulted” the officers
with knives were shot dead,
the government-run China
News Service said.
Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking and mostly Muslim ethnic
minority, whose resource-rich
homeland Xinjiang has seen
intensifying and increasingly
sophisticated attacks, sometimes spreading beyond it.
Two more people were detained while police were still
searching for a fifth in Pingxiang city in the southern region
of Guangxi, the official Xinhua
News Agency reported.
Calls to the Pingxiang municipal public security bureau
by AFP went unanswered.
At least 200 people have
been killed in a series of clashes over the past year linked
to Xinjiang, with authorities
blaming religious extremists and separatists in the far
northwest region.
Rights groups argue that
harsh police treatment of the
Uighur minority, as well as
government campaigns and
bans against religious practices such as the wearing of veils
have led to violence.
“China is using extreme
means like shooting and killing
these people in order to intimi-
date other Uighurs who wish
to escape,” said Dilxat Raxit,
spokesman for the Munichbased World Uyghur Congress.
“There is a direct relationship between China’s repressive policies and the increase
in those trying to escape.”
Hundreds of people believed
to be Uighurs were detained
in Thailand last year, claiming
they were Turkish citizens in
order to avoid being sent back
to China. Chinese authorities
launched a crackdown on illegal emigration in the wake of
their case.
Police have seized 352 alleged human smugglers and
detained 852 suspects who
tried to cross China’s southwestern border since moves to
stamp out illegal immigration
were launched in April, Xinhua
A knife rampage last March
at a train station in Kunming,
capital of the southwestern
province of Yunnan, where 31
people were killed, was blamed
on “Xinjiang separatists”, with
some officials saying that the
group launched their attack
after failing to leave the country.
Uighurs are frequently denied passports for travel by
officials and have sought to
cross China’s southern border,
where established humansmuggling networks operate.
Xinjiang’s militarised frontiers
and harsh mountain terrain
also discourage illegal migration directly to Central Asia.
Beijing has responded to
Xinjiang-related violence with
a severe crackdown in recent
months, with hundreds of arrests and around 50 executions
and death sentences publicly
announced since June.
S Korea president’s
former aide denies
‘tryst’ in court
Su Daocheng rides his home-made mechanical horse vehicle on a street in Shiyan, Hubei province. Su spent 2 months making this 1.5m high and 2m long horse, which
weighs 250kg with 4 legs and 2 supportive wheels, local media reported.
China’s corruption-busters target
state firms ahead of reform
watchdog has stepped up
inspections of state-run
conglomerates, focusing on strategic firms, as Beijing prepares to
implement its most ambitious
reform of government industry
in nearly two decades.
Anti-graft inspectors are targeting 53 strategic central government-owned groups, where
top executives hold the rank of
deputy government ministers,
a state industry source familiar
with the matter told Reuters.
Chinese president Xi Jinping
has warned that the problem of
official graft is serious enough to
threaten the Communist Party’s
legitimacy and has vowed to go
after powerful “tigers” as well as
lowly “flies”.
Graft-busters have gone after business leaders and politicians alike. On Friday, one of the
country’s top spy chiefs became
the latest official to be caught in
the dragnet, signalling that the
boldest crackdown on corruption
in decades had spilled over into
China’s powerful intelligence apparatus.
The Central Commission for
Discipline Inspection (CCDI),
the ruling Communist Party’s
top anti-corruption body, said it
would inspect all central government state-owned enterprises
(SOEs) this year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on
In November, the CCDI announced it had dispatched teams
to eight big SOEs, including China Southern Airlines Co , China
Unicom, Dongfeng Motor Corp
and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, or Sinopec .
On Friday, the anti-graft body
said it would prosecute Zong
Xinhua, the former head of China
Unicom’s e-commerce and information technology unit.
China Southern Chief Finan-
cial Officer Xu Jiebo along with
three other top executives at the
carrier were put under investigation and sacked for suspected
criminal wrongdoing earlier this
President Xi Jinping has
warned that official graft is
serious enough to threaten
the Communist Party
The SOE anti-graft efforts coincide with China’s imminent
roll-out of ambitious new guidelines to overhaul the country’s
inefficient state sector.
The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the ministrylevel body that directly oversees
112 central government industrial
and service conglomerates, is expected to publish the reform plans
before the end of March.
“Currently the anti-corruption fight at central SOEs remains severe and complicated,”
SASAC Chairman Zhang Yi said
at an internal meeting last year,
according to a post on the CCDI’s
website earlier this month.
The SASAC needs to be the
“eyes” of the Party and stand
in the “vanguard” to curb the
spread of corruption, Zhang said.
On Tuesday, Xi told a meeting
of anti-graft authorities that they
must step-up supervision, inspection and audits of state-owned
enterprises and strengthen the
Party’s control over those firms.
“State-owned assets and resources are hard-earned, the
shared wealth of the people of
this country,” Xi said, according
to the official People’s Daily.
“We must complete the state
asset supervision system to
toughen oversight of departments and positions that are rich
with power, capital and resources,” he said.
Anti-corruption efforts at
China’s most strategic conglomerates are likely to be part of an
ongoing campaign rather than a
one-time event, the state indus-
try source said.
Anti-graft authorities have
sent inspection teams into 36
central government-owned state
conglomerates over the last two
years, placing 21 executives under investigation for wrongdoing, according to statistics compiled by Reuters.
In December, the SASAC held
a general meeting to discuss a key
document concerning the role
of company insiders and avoiding the loss of state assets during
SOE reforms, the government
body said in an online statement
early this month.
Those plans are expected to
encourage the separation of business from politics through the appointment of independent company management and boards
of directors, answerable to independent state asset managers.
The government is expected to
promote so-called “mixed ownership” by backing the sale of
enterprise stakes to portfolio and
private investors.
former aide of South
Korean President Park
yesterday at the defamation
trial of a Japanese reporter to
deny rumours of an ill-timed
tryst with his old boss.
Jeong Yun-Hoe had worked
as an adviser for Park while she
was still a lawmaker, but quit
his position in 2007 -- several
years before she successfully
ran for president.
Tatsuya Kato, who until recently was Seoul bureau chief
of the conservative Sankei
Shimbun newspaper, is on
trial over an article he wrote
regarding Park’s whereabouts
on the day the Sewol passenger
ferry sank in April causing the
loss of 300 lives.
The August article suggested
the unmarried president had
disappeared for a tryst with
Jeong at the time of the sinking.
In court yesterday, Jeong
dismissed the report as a “ridiculous” fabrication that had
“seriously tarnished” his reputation.
“It is clearly a false claim,” he
said, testifying that he had not
seen or spoken to Park in years,
save for a brief congratulatory
phone call after she won the
Kato has denied criminal libel, which could see him jailed
for up to seven years, saying
his sole objective had been to
report the public perception of
Park in the wake of the Sewol
South Korean defamation
law focuses on whether what
was said or written was in the
public interest—rather than
whether it was true.
Kato has argued that he was
only echoing existing South
Korean media reports, but
Jeong said the Sankei article
had presented “groundless
slander” as fact rather than
“Certainly, he should be
punished,” Jeong said.
The Sankei, a robust centre-right daily that has campaigned to reverse an apology from Japan for forcing
Korean women into wartime
brothels, has suggested it is
being singled out by Korean
Jeong is also a central figure
in a separate scandal in which
he allegedly meddled in state
affairs by receiving regular
briefings from presidential officials, despite having no official position in the administration.
In his testimony yesterday,
he denied having any influence
whatsoever over Park’s policy
Chung Yoon-Hoiarrives to attend the trial of Kato.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Abe could apologise
for WWII: ex-PM
Abe may use an apology to reduce
tension with neighbours
rime Minister Shinzo Abe could help
remove international doubts about
Japan’s stance towards its wartime
past by apologising over World War Two
in a statement he plans to mark the 70th
anniversary of the war’s end, said former
premier Yasuo Fukuda.
The statement by Abe, whose conservative agenda includes adopting a less apologetic tone toward the wartime past and
bolstering Japan’s defences, will be closely
parsed in China and South Korea, where
memories of Japan’s past militarism run
Washington, which wants better ties
between Japan and its Asian neighbours,
will also be keenly watching.
Abe has said he intends to express remorse over the war in his statement and
that his cabinet upholds past apologies,
including the landmark 1995 remarks by
then-premier Tomiichi Murayama and
similar comments by Junichiro Koizumi in
But it is unclear whether Abe would
himself repeat the “heartfelt apology”
contained in those statements.
“Naturally, to say one upholds the Murayama and Koizumi statements means
Former Japanese prime minister Yasuo
Fukuda during an interview with Reuters
at his office in Tokyo.
this is included,” Fukuda, who helped broker a Sino-Japanese summit late last year,
told Reuters in an interview.
“But I think it would be good to repeat
this,” he said.
“If we could be persuasive simply by
saying that for 70 years we have been a
peaceful country and made great efforts,
that would be fine. But to give firmer support to what we have done, we should refer
to what went before,” added Fukuda, who
was premier from 2007-2008 and is seen
as a diplomatic dove.
Fukuda also said Abe would likely be
cautious about visiting Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, a
move that would be especially touchy this
anniversary year.
In the run-up to the November breakthrough meeting between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing had
sought assurances Abe would not repeat
his December 2013 pilgrimage to the
shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted
as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are
honoured there along with war dead.
But Abe has declined to say if he would
go again.
“I think one should not do something
provocative towards international opinion at this juncture, and I think that prime
minister Abe is thinking quite cautiously
about whether to go to Yasukuni Shrine,”
Fukuda said.
Fukuda, who met Chinese officials and
Xi to help lay the groundwork for the summit, also said he had conveyed this view
to the Chinese side ahead of the leaders’
China yesterday lodged a protest with
Tokyo after Japanese media quoted Japan’s
foreign minister as saying that a disputed
border region between China and India
belonged to India, in the latest source of
friction between the two Asian rivals.
Japan’s foreign ministry played down
the issue, saying it could not confirm Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida’s reported remarks. It added that it hoped India and China could resolve their dispute
Tensions between China and Japan have
risen in recent years, fuelled by a row over
a chain of uninhabited islets in the East
China Sea. Their relations have long been
poisoned by what China sees as Japan’s
failure to atone for its occupation of parts
of China before and during World War
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, a conservative
daily, quoted Japanese Foreign Minister
Fumio Kishida as saying in New Delhi on
Saturday that Arunachal Pradesh that lies
on the contested border was “India’s territory”.
China disputes the entire territory of
Arunachal Pradesh, calling it south Tibet,
especially Tawang, a key site for Tibetan
Buddhism. The historic town briefly fell
into Chinese hands during their 1962 war
before Beijing retreated.
Kishida’s reported remarks drew an angry response from China, which called on
Tokyo to “understand the sensitivity of the
Sino-India boundary issue”.
“(We) have lodged solemn representations with Japan and have asked Japan
to make clarifications and immediately
eliminate the negative effects that have
resulted from this,” foreign ministry
spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news
Hong said that Japan has told China “it
will not intervene” in the border dispute.
A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman
said “the statement was made considering
the reality that Arunachal Pradesh state is
basically in reality controlled by India and
that China and India are continuing negotiations over the border dispute”.
“Japan hopes that the dispute will be
peacefully resolved by negotiations between the two countries,” he said, adding
he could not confirm Kishida’s remarks
which were made during a Q&A session.
Digital art
A boy looks at the digital art installation ‘Light in Dark’ created by teamLab, a collaborative of Japanese digital artists, during a special exhibition of ‘Shake! Art Exhibition!
and Learn and Play! teamLab Future Park’ at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (or Miraikan) in Tokyo.
Car limit sparks debate in China
ordes of people rushed to buy cars
late last month in the southern
Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen,
after officials gave the public a 15-minute
warning before setting new limits on the
number of licence plates they would issue.
Some paid thousands of dollars extra to
car dealers taking advantage of panicked
buyers, while those who heeded rumours
about the impending curbs purchased cars
earlier in the month: 42,000 new registrations were recorded from December 1 to
December 20, according to official figures.
From December 29, the government
would only issue 100,000 licence plates a
year via auctions and lotteries to residents
living in the sprawling city of over 7mn.
Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, is
the eighth city in China to restrict vehicle
registration, joining Beijing - which introduced a cap in 2011 - Shanghai, Hangzhou,
Tianjin, Guangzhou, Guiyang and Shijiazhuang.
Additional traffic control methods
adopted by most cities include licence allocation through lotteries and restrictions
on non-local cars from driving into the
city at certain times.
Alternating restrictions are sometimes
applied to certain licence plate numbers,
such as being barred from driving in the
daytime or being able to drive only on either even-numbered or odd-numbered
The pandemonium and outrage felt by
many citizens in Shenzhen sparked a nationwide debate over the effectiveness of
such restrictions, as well as their legal basis.
There are over 160mn registered private
cars in China, and in notoriously smoggy
cities such as Beijing, emissions from vehicles make up over a quarter of locally
emitted pollutants, according to official
The licence caps are aimed at reducing
vehicle emissions and congestion, according to state media.
But, as carmakers welcomed record
sales last year in the world’s largest car
market, experts say the policy has not
made a significant impact so far.
Yearly passenger car sales in China have
jumped to nearly 20mn units from 2mn
cars a year a decade earlier. Sales in 2014
increased by 9.9% to 19.7mn compared to
sales in 2013.
As the purchasing power of China’s
middle class continues to grow and the
country rapidly urbanizes, the volume of
new drivers has overwhelmed authorities’
efforts to control mushrooming traffic volumes.
“Car restrictions stimulate sales and
have a negative impact on the pollution
and congestion,” said Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary of the Joint Advisory Committee of China Passenger Car Market
“When car restrictions are applied to
one city, it is interesting to see that more
cars are being sold in that city,” Cui told
In the southern city of Guangzhou,
where licence restrictions were introduced
in July 2012, car sales actually increased to
1.7mn in 2013, a jump of 22% from 2012
sales figures, according to the Guangzhou
Academy of Social Sciences.
A maximum of 120,000 new car registrations should be issued each year in the
city, according to the July 2012 restrictions.
“Car restrictions stimulate sales
and have a negative impact on the
pollution and congestion”
Foreign carmakers say their sales receive
a boost in Chinese cities before licence restrictions come into force, while local,
lower-end carmakers are more likely to see
a drop in sales after the restrictions come
into force.
A spokesman for German carmaker
BMW said the company has been successful in adapting to the impact of licence registration restrictions with “countermeasures” such as promoting part-exchange
services and expanding into smaller cities.
“From our past experiences this change
will have a reaction to the market by limiting purchases for the initial stage, however
in the long run the luxury segment seem to
be least affected as licences become cherished and is more of a luxury, customers
tend to be more selective and are willing to
upgrade their purchase and trade-in,” the
BMW spokesman said.
Consumers are adapting as well, sometimes illegally. There are reports of drivers
getting around regulations by purchasing
licence plates from neighbouring prov-
inces, “renting” licence plates from car
dealerships, and buying used cars to use
the previous owner’s licence plates.
Environmentalists say the government
should look to more holistic measures to
tackle the problem of vehicle emissions
and congestion.
“We cannot only rely on controlling
the number of vehicles, as higher quality gasoline and better city planning to
reduce traffic congestion on roads can
also reduce vehicle emissions,” said
Zhang Kai, assistant manager of climate
& energy campaign for Greenpeace East
A report from the China Academy of
Transportation Sciences recommended
that the Beijing government encourage changes to social norms, such as
promoting flexible working hours and
working from home, in addition to car
use restrictions.
Electric cars in China are exempt
from licensing and driving restrictions,
and the sector has expanded in recent
years. But, as in other countries, the
sector remains very small, with numbers still in the tens of thousands.
Despite the dubious progress made
by the unpopular licence plate limits,
some say they are better than having no
curbs at all.
“Not only am I stuck in traffic all day
I am breathing this air too,” said a taxi
driver in Beijing on Thursday during
the capital’s worst smog of the winter.
“I can understand why other cities in
China don’t want to become like Beijing,” he said.
may recall
envoy over
ustralia could recall its
ambassador to Indonesia if Jakarta executes
two Australian citizens convicted of drug trafficking, foreign minister Julie Bishop said
yesterday, further straining
fragile relations between the
two neighbours.
Brazil and the Netherlands
withdrew their ambassadors
from Indonesia, which has
some of the strictest drug trafficking laws in the world, after two of their citizens were
among six people executed for
drugs offences at the weekend.
Australia has been seeking
clemency for the two members of the so-called Bali Nine,
who were arrested in 2005 on
charges of smuggling heroin
into Australia, but Bishop said
Indonesia had not been receptive to its pleas.
Asked if Australia would follow Brazil and the Netherlands
in withdrawing its ambassador
from Jakarta if the executions
of the two Bali Nine members
went ahead, Bishop said she
would not rule it out.
“I won’t ... speculate as to
what would happen should the
Indonesian government carry
through its threat to execute
Australians. What we will continue to do at this point is make
representations where we can,
how we can,” she told Sky News.
Citizens from Vietnam, Nigeria and Malawi were also
among the five foreigners and
one Indonesian executed at the
It was not immediately
clear when the executions of
the Bali Nine members might
take place, or when Indonesia
might hold its next round of
executions. Indonesia resumed
executions in 2013 after a fiveyear gap.
Australia and Indonesia
have a long history of diplomatic tensions, which have
periodically complicated cooperation on regional issues
including people smuggling
and intelligence.
Indonesia recalled its envoy
and froze military and intelligence co-operation in 2013
after reports that Canberra had
spied on top Indonesian officials, including former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s wife.
Full diplomatic co-operation was restored in May last
Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
The case of the Bali Nine,
who were found guilty of attempting to smuggle more
than 8kg of heroin, has enormous resonance as a domestic
political issue in Australia.
Bali is a popular tourist destination for Australians, who
are broadly opposed to the
death penalty, especially in a
case involving young people
who are viewed to have made a
tragic youthful mistake.
Sentences in the case ranged
from 15 years’ jail to death.
“The prime minister (Tony
Abbott) has written again to
President (Joko) Widodo,”
Bishop said.
“The Australian government
will continue to make representations at the highest level.”
Widodo who took office
in October has voiced strong
support for capital punishment.
One of the Australian pair,
Myuran Sukumaran, had his
clemency appeal rejected last
month but authorities say he
will be executed with fellow
Australian Andrew Chan as
they committed their crime
Chan is still awaiting the
outcome of his clemency appeal.
Bishop said the foreign
ministry had recently replied
to her own letter “rejecting
our representations on the
basis that Indonesia claims
it is facing a crisis in terms
of drug trafficking and it believes that the death penalty
should apply”.
“It is a long-standing position of Australian governments
that we oppose the death penalty and we oppose the execution of Australian nationals by
another country,” she said.
“I don’t believe executing
people is the answer to solving
the drug problem.
“However, this is Indonesian
law and it is a sober reminder
that drug related offences carry very, very heavy penalties in
other countries, particularly in
Widodo pledged in December there would be no pardons
for drug traffickers on death
row, including foreigners.
Beijing rejects jet
hack accusations
hina dismissed accusations it stole F-35
stealth fighter plans
as groundless yesterday, after
documents leaked by former
US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on a cyber attack were published by a German magazine.
The Pentagon has previously
acknowledged that hackers
had targeted sensitive data for
defence programmes such as
the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,
but stopped short of publicly
blaming China for the F-35
Defence experts say that
China’s home-grown stealth
jets had design elements resembling the F-35.
The Pentagon and the jet’s
builder, Lockheed Martin
Corp, had said no classified
information was taken during
the cyber intrusion.
Spiegel on Saturday published
a cache of Snowden documents, including a top secret
US government presentation
that said China stole “many
terabytes” of data on the F-35
programme, including radar
designs and engine schematics.
“The so-called evidence
that has been used to launch
groundless accusations against
China is completely unjustified,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
Hong said the “complex nature” of cyber attacks makes it
difficult to pinpoint the relevant attacker, adding that China wanted to work with other
countries to prevent hacking.
“According to the materials presented by the relevant
person, some countries themselves have disgraceful records
on cybersecurity,” Hong added.
Snowden’s 2013 revelations
of the broad reach of the National Security Agency’s (NSA)
spying programme sparked international outrage.
China unveiled its highly
anticipated J-31 twin-engine
fighter jet at an air show late
last year in a show of muscle
during a visit to the country by
US President Barack Obama.
The aircraft’s maker, Aviation Industry Corp of China,
caused a stir when its president, Lin Zuoming, said the
jet could “take down” the
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Schoolgirl held over Syria
trip ‘was doing aid work’
Body found in park after
search for diabetic mother
Govt seeks to wipe out
tuberculosis problem
Chinese names sought for
London tourist attractions
Jilted honeymooner
raises money for charity
The family of a schoolgirl suspected of travelling
to Syria to fight against Islamic State yesterday
insisted she had been carrying out humanitarian
work in the war-torn country.
Sixth-former Silhan Ozcelik, 18, from Highbury, was
released on bail on Saturday after she was held by
counter-terrorism police as she arrived at Stansted
Airport last Friday. She was arrested on suspicion
of the preparation of terrorist acts and of being a
member of a proscribed terrorist organisation. Police
are investigating whether Silhan left her Kurdish
family›s home to join the YPJ, an all-female militia
fighting Islamic State militants. Her family yesterday
told the Standard she had gone as an aid worker.
Police were yesterday investigating the death
of a diabetic mother after a body was found in
a park. Bronwyn Davies, 61, was last seen on
CCTV walking along the Grand Union Canal in
Hayes on New Year’s Day. A body was found by
a member of the public just over a mile away in
Lake Farm Country Park, Hillingdon, on Sunday
night. Davies’s disappearance sparked a major
police hunt as fears grew that she could become
disorientated without insulin to treat type-1
diabetes. Retired physiotherapist Davies, of West
Drayton, had left home without her phone or
money. A police spokesman said, Davies’s next of
kin had been informed of the death.
Health authorities yesterday launched an £11.5mn
plan to tackle Britain’s persistent tuberculosis
(TB) problem, seeking to wipe the contagious
lung disease out altogether. Britain has one of the
highest TB rates in western Europe and London
is known as the continent’s “TB capital”. TB rates
in the UK are nearly five times those in the US. If
current trends continue, England alone will have
more TB cases than the whole of the US in two
years. “TB should be consigned to the past, and yet
it is occurring in England at higher rates than most
of Western Europe,” said Paul Cosford, a director
at the government’s health agency, Public Health
England (PHE). “This situation must be reversed.”
London tourism officials are trying to find Chinese
names for some of the biggest sights in the capital.
The organisers asked people on Chinese social
media platform Weibo to suggests suitable titles.
Big Ben is to be called “Da Ben Zhong” while
Shakespeare is “Sha Weng” and Buckingham
Palace is “Bai Jin Han Gong”. A total of 101
attractions that do not have Chinese names will
receive a designation as a result of the campaign,
which runs until next month and is supported by
the home ministry. It illustrates the importance
of Chinese travellers abroad. On the “as-yetunnamed” list are the Loch Ness Monster, the
Scottish dish haggis and Stilton cheese.
A man dumped by his fiancee just weeks before
the wedding has found a woman to go on
honeymoon with - and raised cash for a cancer
charity in the process. John Whitbread, who lives in
Donishorpe, had a two-week trip to the Dominican
Republic booked. The 32-year-old was shocked
and surprised when the half-honeymoon he put
on auction site eBay brought in four times its face
value. The difference is to go to charity. Whitbread,
who says he is happy to sleep on the hotel room
couch, will only meet the winner at Manchester
airport when they fly to the Caribbean next month.
“I decided to do this because the idea of letting it
go to waste broke my heart,” he said.
Irish groups
learning from
Taliban, Isis:
police officer
Bill Kerr says groups plan
upsurge in attacks before
the UK general election and
the 100th anniversary of
the 1916 Rising
Guardian News and Media
rish republican dissidents
have updated their technical expertise by studying
improvised explosive devices
used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamic Stateinspired militants in Iraq,
according to the most senior
police officer in charge of antiterrorist operations in Northern Ireland.
Assistant chief constable
Bill Kerr added that dissident
groups planned an upsurge in
attacks before the UK general
election and the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
Kerr said that in the past
other terrorist organisations
across the world had copied
the Provisional IRA’s technical
abilities. But now the New IRA,
Continuity IRA and ONH were
learning new IED skills from the
Taliban and other movements
through the Internet.
“We have seen an upsurge
in their capabilities over the
last 12 months. In practical
terms some of the devices that
have been used against some
of our patrols in the last year,
the weapons called EFPs (explosively formed projectiles) or
home-made rockets fired horizontally are potentially very fatal. In two EFP attacks we were
very lucky last year not to lose
police officers,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
“Some of this technology
has been tried and tested in Afghanistan and Iraq as there is
some open source material you
can see as to how these devices
are constructed. There is no
doubt that some of these dissident groups have looked at the
IED development internation-
ally. In terms of either meeting
others in Iraq or Afghanistan or
simply looking along the Internet I would say it was more the
The Provisional IRA developed a horizontally fired homemade rocket towards the end
of the 1980s and early 1990s,
known as a Prig, which it used
to kill police officers. However,
Kerr said that the republican
dissidents’ EFP-devices were
“far more effective” than the
Prigs fired by the Provisional
Kerr said that the majority of
members of the groups were in
favour of war despite growing
calls from some of their political
allies that they end the violence.
Asked if those in “war mode”
were in the majority, Kerr said:
“Oh, very much so and they are
likely to remain that way for the
foreseeable future. This is not
a threat that is going to dissipate any time soon. There are
enough centenary anniversaries not only limited to but including the 1916 Rising. These
events will give these groups
fertile ground for a justification
for their armed campaigns.”
He said there was “certainly
an ambition” by the anticeasefire republican armed
factions to ratchet up their violence in the run up to the general
election in May.
As well upgrading their technology, Kerr said he was very
concerned at the number of 17
and 18-year-olds being arrested
for crimes connected to dissident attacks.
He pointed out that there
were a “hard core of several
hundred” who were keeping the
republican armed campaigns
going and who still saw targets
in Britain as key to their struggle particularly coming up to
the election.
“These groups act without
concern for the community or
community support. They exist
only at the edge of their communities,” Kerr said.
Cold spell to continue
Cars make their way along the A62 whilst surrounded by snow-covered hillsides near the village of Uppermill, in northern England, yesterday. Weather forecasters warned
the cold temperatures, below the seasonal average, could continue until later in the week.
Govt letter to imams
stirs controversy
uslim groups yesterday accused the government of copying
the language of the far right
and of stoking Islamophobia
after ministers wrote to clerics
asking them to explain to Muslims how Islam is compatible
with being British.
In a letter to over 1,000 imams last Friday, Eric Pickles,
the minister for local government and communities, asked
them to explain to Muslims
Hard-core criminals
freed to offend yet again
London Evening Standard
hard core of serial
criminals released back
onto London’s streets
are committing thousands of
offences, including stabbings
and other violent attacks, the
Evening Standard has learned.
New official statistics, compiled from an analysis in eight
London boroughs, show 418
criminals freed into the community have carried out about
20,000 offences between them
— an average of around 48 each.
The most prolific criminals
have an even worse record: eight
register more than 150 offences
apiece. Another 21 have been
responsible for at least 100 each.
Nearly half of the 418 had
committed at least one serious
offence such as robbery, wounding or other violent crime. The
figures, obtained from Deputy
Mayor for Policing Stephen
Greenhalgh, will fuel debate
about the failure of rehabilitation policies, and the impact on
law-abiding Londoners and the
public purse.
They follow separate Ministry of Justice statistics, obtained
by the Standard in March, which
showed that 554 criminals, each
with at least 50 previous convictions, had reoffended after being freed during one 12-month
period. Their crimes included
burglary, sex assault, racially or
religiously aggravated attacks,
wounding and knife crime.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling admitted that offenders and
victims were being let down by a
“crazy system” which gave exprisoners little or no chance to
turn their lives around.
City Hall’s new figures suggest the problem remains severe.
Greenhalgh called for a radical overhaul in which control of
London’s entire criminal justice
system would be switched from
Whitehall to the mayor. He said
the reform, which would mirror New York’s system, would
allow him to speed up prosecutions, ensure probation staff
maintained a proper “grip” on
offenders once they were free,
and hold the justice system accountable.
“These shocking figures show
how a small group of prolific offenders are victimising scores of
Londoners repeatedly, at huge
cost to the capital’s criminal justice system,” he said. “Crime is
falling but we can’t afford to go
with a system that fails to grip
the offender.
“The mayor is best placed to
hold London’s criminal justice
agencies to account. Where he
has been able to challenge the
system and there is a clear line
of accountability, we have seen
Where he has not, London lags
the rest of the country.”
Greenhalgh conceded any
transfer of power to City Hall
might take time. In the meantime, private company MTCNovo will take over the running
of London’s probation services
next month.
He added “We need London’s
new probation providers to up
their game by working much
more closely with the police and
how Islam can be “part of British identity”, arguing they had
a duty to do more to fight extremism and root out anyone
preaching hatred.
Muslim groups said the letter
unfairly singled them out.
“The letter has all the hallmarks of very poor judgment
which feeds into an Islamophobic narrative, which feeds into a
narrative of us and them,” Tahla
Ahmad of the Muslim Council of
Britain (MCB) told Sky News.
The row, which underscores
tensions between the government and Muslims, comes as
security forces warn an attack
on Britain by militants is highly
likely. Jews and Muslims say
they are fearful, for different
reasons, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris.
Harun Khan, deputy secretary
general of the MCB, said his organisation would be writing to
the government to complain.
“Is Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the
far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from
British society?,” said Khan.
Mohamed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the letter was patronising, factually incorrect,
Key views
and “typical of the government only looking at Muslims
through the prism of terrorism
and security.”
Britain’s 2.8mn Muslims have
been mostly praised by politicians for peacefully condemning
the Paris shootings, though Sajid
Javid, the most senior Muslim in
government, has said Muslims
have “a special burden” to track
down extremists.
In the letter, Pickles said imams needed to help the government do something it couldn’t
achieve on its own.
“You have a precious opportunity, and an important
Rider thrown from
superbike dies
London Evening Standard
New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key delivers a speech on New
Zealand at Chatham House in London yesterday. Key explored
the values and views that define New Zealand.
responsibility: in explaining
and demonstrating how faith
in Islam can be part of British
identity,” the letter read.
“We must show our young
people, who may be targeted,
that extremists have nothing to
offer them.”
Prime Minister David Cameron defended the letter, saying
he agreed with its message.
“Anyone frankly reading this
letter who has a problem with
it, I think really has a problem,”
he said. “I think it’s the most
reasonable, sensible, moderate
letter that Eric could possibly
have written.”
biker was killed when
he was thrown from his
superbike and hurled
into a tree at the roadside.
The victim, whose name has
not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene after neighbours and paramedics
fought to save his life following
the accident in Kennington last
His 1,000cc Honda continued for more than 100 yards before ending up on its side in the
middle of the Kennington Lane.
Witnesses described how the
biker, said to be in his thirties,
was trying to overtake another
motorcyclist when he lost control at 5.35pm on Sunday.
Local residents tried to save
him for several minutes before
paramedics arrived but he was
pronounced dead at the scene.
Mohamed Ali, 31, a school
finance officer, said: “It looked
like the superbike might have
been trying to overtake. He was
going pretty fast and he just fell.
I ran into the street and he was
lying in the middle of the road.”
Music teacher Mathies Richet, 32, said his fiancée ran
to give first aid. He said: “She
rushed over and was trying to
help. She got him into the recovery position, there was so
much blood. She knew he was
in a bad way.”
A shopkeeper said: “Lots
of people have told me there
were three of them riding in
a convoy and the guy who fell
was trying to overtake one of
the other bikers. If you look
how far down the road the bike
ended up, he had to be going
pretty fast. It’s a dangerous
road and people speed down it
all the time.”
The crash was the third
within a one-mile radius in the
past eight days. Last Sunday, a
40-year-old moped rider was
killed outside Kennington Tube
station, 200 yards from Sunday’s crash, while last Monday a
Southwark council worker was
killed while riding his motorbike to work in Borough.
A police spokesman said that
a post-mortem examination
will be held and that there had
been no arrests.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Pregnant woman ‘used friend’s passport to get free NHS care’
London Evening Standard
pregnant Nigerian woman’s plan to use the NHS
as an ‘International Health
Service’ to deliver her baby and
then have the child declared a British citizen was foiled when she was
exposed as a fraud, a court heard.
Oluwaseun Adenubi, 30, used
the passport of her friend, 32-yearold Rita Ogunkunle, to obtain free
Huge rise
in patients
‘stacked’ in
care. After the delivery the friend
and her boyfriend Michael Adebambo, 46, registered the baby as
However, staff at Farnborough’s
Princess Royal University Hospital
realised the medical records of the
genuine Ogunkunle, who had received acne treatment there, conflicted with the pregnant patient
claiming to be her.
“The probation service think
this is a plot to use the ‘International Health Service’ and then
take further advantage - the residency that comes with that and
everything else,” said Croydon
crown court Judge John Tanzer.
Adenubi, who was granted a
family visit visa which allows
her to stay in the UK for up to six
months, pleaded guilty to fraud
against the hospital between April
and July last year.
Ogunkunle and Adebambo,
both of Orpington, pleaded guilty
to wilfully giving false information
about the registration of a birth by
claiming to be the parents of Moses
Adenubi, at Bromley Civic Centre.
The couple have now fallen out
with Adenubi, who claims she
found Ogunkunle’s passport on
a bench. Ogunkunle said it was
snatched from her home and used
behind her back.
Prosecutor Alexandra Bushell
told the court: “Maybe there was a
motivation to secure the nationality of the child as a British citizen
and free NHS treatment. After the
baby was born in June staff realised
Academy inauguration
Ex-mayor of Doncaster
Martin Winter claims
‘bumbling oddball’ Miliband
knew about 2008 economic
crash before it happened
Guardian News and Media
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, formally opens Kensington Aldridge Academy in London
ail on Sunday executives are standing behind the newspaper’s
extensive serialisation of the
memoirs of an ex-mayor of
Doncaster, which claimed to
give “a worrying glimpse of the
real Ed (Miliband)”.
In a front-page story and
across five pages inside, the
newspaper published what it
billed as a series of “bombshell”
claims by Martin Winter, a onetime friend of the Labour leader
who fell out with the party after
leaving office in 2009.
Under the headline My 9½
weeks of Calamity Ed, the serialisation recounts stories about
how “bumbling oddball” Miliband accidentally set fire to a
carpet and privately “agonised
about his better looking brother
Winter, who helped Miliband
to win the Doncaster North seat
in May 2005, wrote that his
10-year-old daughter gave his
former ally a lesson in economics and how Miliband nearly
missed a meeting with Gordon
Brown by locking himself in a
However, the most politically toxic claim was that
Miliband and Ed Balls knew
about the economic crash of
2008 a year before it happened
Guardian News and Media
he parents of a fiveyear-old
have been invoiced
for failing to attend a school
friend’s birthday party and
have been threatened with legal action if they do not pay.
Derek Nash and Tanya
Walsh found a brown envelope with a £15.95 “no show
fee” left in their son Alex’s
schoolbag last week, sent by
his classmate’s mother Julie
Lawrence claims that Alex’s
failure to attend her child’s
birthday party has left her out
of pocket, and that his parents
had her details to tell her that
their son would not be attending.
Nash said he had been told
he would be taken to small
claims court for refusing to
It all started with an invitation to the birthday party just
before Christmas at the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre. Alex – who
attends a local nursery in
Torpoint, Cornwall – told his
parents he wanted to go, so
they confirmed he would be at
the party.
However, his parents realised on the day that Alex had
been double-booked to spend
time with his grandparents.
His mother told the Plymouth Herald, “Julie Lawrence and I weren’t friends,
we didn’t talk to each other
at school, but I felt bad about
Alex not going to the party.
“I searched for the party
invite afterwards and I’m not
sure we even had one.”
She added: “But to be in-
voiced like this is so over the
top – I’ve never heard of anything like it. It’s a terrible way
of handling it – it’s very condescending.”
Nash said he did not have
the contact details of Julie
Lawrence, and so could not let
her know on the day.
After he found the letter he
visited Lawrence, as her address was on the invoice, and
“told her I would not be paying her the money.
“It was a proper invoice
with full official details and
even her bank details on it.”
He added: “I can understand
that she’s upset about losing
money. The money isn’t the
issue, it’s the way she went
about trying to get the money
from me.
“She didn’t treat me like a
human being,” he said.
In a short statement, Lawrence said: “All details were
on the party invite. They had
every detail needed to contact
“(Adenubi) claimed she was
fleeing a violent partner in Nigeria
and claimed to have no family here
and no contact with her family in
Nigeria. She said she arrived with
nowhere to go and met a Nigerian
man at the airport and others via a
church, but had no details of those
she stayed with.
“She claimed to have found
Ogunkunle’s passport on a bench
and only used it to get free medical services.” All three were bailed
until a date to be fixed.
but kept it a secret.
A spokesman for Miliband
said: “This report is untrue. It
is tittle-tattle, a third-hand
report of a conversation more
than seven years ago. Complete
nonsense. No one had any sense
of the scale of the global banking crisis which emerged in
A spokesman for the shadow
chancellor also denied the claim
made by Winter, who resigned
as Doncaster mayor in March
2009 after Balls, then children’s
secretary, ordered the council
to bring in a new management
team after the deaths of seven
children in the area.
“This report is untrue. It is
tittle-tattle, a third-hand
report of a conversation
more than seven years
Labour figures pointed out
that Winter was lambasted in
the Mail on Sunday in 2009 in a
piece on Doncaster, a town described by the paper at the time
as “the rotten borough they call
the Haringey of the north”.
But senior Mail on Sunday insiders stood by the serialisation.
“It’s good stuff, entertaining,”
said one executive, conceding
that it was “quite conceivable”
people may never have heard of
“He may be obscure but Ed
Miliband isn’t. (Winter) is not
a famous person himself but
he happened to have interesting periods with someone who
went on to be famous.”
In a leader column, the Mail
on Sunday said Miliband’s
“accident-prone and clumsy
bumbling, his awkwardness
with children and poorly chosen
gifts are exactly what one might
expect from a Hampstead intellectual suddenly confronted
with the outside world”.
It added: “Of course, we are
all human, and there are worse
failings. But Winter’s central
revelation is much worse. It is
not just that Miliband burned
a hole in his host’s carpet. It is
that he might burn a hole in the
nation’s future.”
Calls to Winter for a response
went unanswered. The Mail on
Sunday said his memoirs, titled
Fallout: By Martin Winter, The
Man Who Made Ed Miliband An
MP, go on sale in April.
John Wellington, the Mail on
Sunday managing editor, declined to confirm whether Winter was paid for the serialisation: “Anything like that would
be confidential. We don’t discuss payments.”
Damian McBride, who was
special adviser to then-prime
minister Gordon Brown at the
time, rubbished Winter’s claim
that Miliband and Balls knew
about the economic crash a year
before it happened but kept
it secret. “In all the countless
conversations about whether
to call an election in 2007, not
once did the prospects of the
economy come up. Not once,”
he said on Twitter.
Boyhood sweeps
Critics’ awards
Parents asked to pay after
boy misses birthday party
The parents of Alex Nash
have been sent an invoice
for failing to attend
the birthday party and
threatened with legal
action if they do not pay
pregnant and had no friends,” added the prosecutor. “She told police
she was angry at Adenubi using
her identity and tried to beat her to
it by registering the child.”
Bushell went on: “(Adebambo)
said his girlfriend asked him to go
to the register office to register a
birth and said she told him she did
not want another woman to use
her identity.
“He said he did it out of love
for his girlfriend and was very remorseful.”
Paper defends
memoirs about
Ed Miliband
London Evening Standard
atients were stuck in ambulances for more than
half an hour on over 4,400
occasions in London last month
because hospitals had run out of
Figures passed to the Standard
show a 66% rise in the number
of emergency vehicles “stacking” outside hospitals. A total of
4,407 patients waited between
30 and 59 minutes to be transferred to an A&E cubicle last
month — up from 2,655 in November, according to NHS England statistics.
The NHS target is for patients
to be offloaded within 15 minutes.
Campaigners have written to
the department of health calling
for more beds to be opened, and
warning of a “crisis” if temperatures plummet.
Malcolm Alexander, chairman of the Patients’ Forum for
the London Ambulance Service,
called the situation “in-tolerable”, saying: “Ambulance staff
are under 100% pressure, with
long shifts, staff shortages, no
lunch-breaks. They are at the
edge of a precipice. Staff are being recruited from Australia but
this is a short-term solution.”
Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour
chairman of the London Assembly health committee, said: “Rising waiting times, ambulances
queuing and patients waiting on
trolleys are symptoms of a system
which has reached crisis point.
There are simply not enough
beds. Lives are being put at risk.”
Last month the capital saw
more people attend A&E than
ever, including a record high of
77,199 in the week before Christmas. NHS England’s London director, Dr Anne Rainsberry, has
launched an investigation into
the causes of the unprecedented
The greatest number of
queues was at Queen’s Hospital
in Romford — 636 waits of between 30 to 59 minutes, followed
by St George’s in Tooting (531),
Northwick Park in Harrow (475),
and North Middlesex in Edmonton (454).
something was not right because
Ogunkunle has severe scarring,
which the baby’s mother did not
have, and there were two different
blood types for the same patient.”
Ogunkunle was arrested in August and claimed Adenubi took
her passport after moving into her
spare room.
“She admitted falsely registering the birth of the baby and said
she had been introduced to Adenubi by a friend of her mother’s and
took pity on her because she was
Actress Miranda Richardson poses with the Dilys Powell award for
Excellence in Film at the 35th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards in
oming of age film Boyhood scooped three prizes at the London Critics’
Circle awards, bolstering the
real-time drama, nominated
for six Academy Awards at next
month’s Oscars.
Shot over 12 years, the critics
group awarded Boyhood film of
the year, best director for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette
- the same categories it won at
the Golden Globes earlier this
Linklater said that the award
from the critics’ association
meant a lot to him.
“To me it’s the top of the top
because they’re people who
know film history and they see
every film,” the director said.
“Not to be elitist, but in this
world of film, those writers are
important because they know
quite a bit about what they’re
talking about, so you take it more
seriously, and it’s that much
more of an honour.”
The circle awarded Michael
Keaton best actor for his role as
a former star making a theatrical
bid to revive his career in Birdman, a rival to Boyhood at the
Oscars with nine nominations.
Meanwhile stylish comedy The
Grand Budapest Hotel, another
top Oscar contender with nine
nominations, was awarded best
screenplay for writer and director Wes Anderson.
“To me it’s the top of
the top because they’re
people who know film
history and they see every
Julianne Moore won actress of
the year for her performance as a
professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice.
Rosamund Pike, who is nominated in the best actress category
at the Oscars, was awarded British actress of the year for her
work in thriller Gone Girl and
British comedy What We Did On
Our Holiday.
Timothy Spall, who missed
out on an Oscar nomination, won
best British actor of the year for
playing the artist JMW Turner in
Mr Turner.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Five corpses discovered
in Alexander-era tomb
Ex-ETA head rearrested
after controversial release
Turkey intercepts ship with
more than 330 migrants
Trial begins in theft of 12th
century Church manuscript
Mild sentence handed down
to WikiLeaks whistleblower
The remains of at least five people have been
discovered in an ancient tomb in northern
Greece dating from the time of Alexander the
Great, Greece’s Culture Ministry said yesterday.
DNA tests revealed that skeletons discovered
last year in the northern Greek town of
Amphipolis are that of a woman aged 60, two
men aged between 35 and 45, and a child. Some
550 bone fragments have been recovered from
the tomb, the ministry said in a statement. Of
these, 57 have so far been tested and cataloged.
Workers unearthing it have revealed twin
sphinxes, a pair of Cartylids - or sculpted female
figures - and an elaborate mosaic floor.
Spanish police yesterday arrested a former
head of the armed Basque separatist group ETA
who was behind its deadliest attack, just weeks
after his early release from jail angered victims.
Officers detained Santiago Arrospide Sarasola,
known as Santi Potros, in Lasarte in the northern
Basque Country, under a court order. Potros was
not initially due to be released until 2030 but he
was freed on December 4 after a court ruled that
the 13 years he had spent in jail in France could
be deducted from his sentence in Spain. Judge
Fernando Andreu of Spain’s High Court on Friday
ordered his arrest, accusing him of having taken
part in another ETA attack in 1987.
The Turkish coastguard has intercepted in
Mediterranean waters a ship carrying 333
mainly Syrian migrants bound for the European
Union, the official Anatolia news agency said
yesterday. In an operation employing over 300
coastguard personnel, the coastguard captured
the commercial vessel in open water off the
Turkish port of Mersin in the northeastern
Mediterranean. The migrants were taken back
to Mersin after the overnight Sunday to Monday
operation. Four Turks and 11 Syrians have been
detained over the incident. The 88m Togoflagged Burcin was raided after the coastguard
received a tip-off about migrants on board.
Proceedings started yesterday in the trial of
a man accused of stealing a priceless 12thcentury manuscript from the cathedral of
Santiago de Compostela in Spain in 2011. The
former electrician at the cathedral is accused of
stealing the Codex Calxtinus along with other
valuable pieces of art from the cathedral. He
first confessed but has since since recanted. The
Codex Calixtinus is named after Pope Callixtus II,
because the authors prefaced the document with
a forged letter purportedly signed by the pontiff.
The book is a sort of guide for pilgrims going to
the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which is
believed to house the tomb of Saint James.
A prominent Swiss private banker-turned
WikiLeaks informant was found guilty yesterday
in Zurich of having violated banking secrecy, but
received only a mild sentence. A Zurich court
found sufficient evidence that Rudolf Elmer had
passed on client data of Bank Julius Baer to the
online whistleblower platform in 2008. Elmer
received a sentence of 45,000 Swiss francs
($52,000) - which is the equivalent of 300 days
in prison in the Swiss justice system - which was
suspended on probation. The prosecutor had
called for a prison term of three and a half years
but the judge acquitted Elmer on several of the
Ukraine claims Russia
troops crossed border
poradic shelling hit a hospital in Donetsk yesterday and
shook other parts of the region
while Ukraine alleged that hundreds
of Russian troops crossed the border
to help rebels fighting for control of
the country’s east.
Ukraine’s fresh charges of Russia
backing the rebels comes after each
side blamed the other for a complete
breakdown of a September truce
in recent days, with heavy combat having rocked the area around
Donetsk airport.
Kiev and Moscow traded blame
for the breakdown of the ceasefire
as the airport battle raged, while
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
voiced alarm and called for an immediate end to the violence.
Ukraine and Western nations
say Russia has supported the rebels
with troops and weapons, charges
Moscow strongly denies despite
witness claims to the contrary.
Kiev issued further accusations
yesterday, saying some 700 Russian troops had crossed the border
into rebel-held territory earlier in
the day.
“This morning, two groups of
armed forces from the Russian Federation crossed the border,” Lysenko
told AFP.
Despite the sporadic explosions
yesterday, the overall violence
was far less than in previous days,
when heavy clashes rocked the area
around the airport northwest of the
city after Ukraine launched a major
counter-offensive to push back the
The hospital hit yesterday is located in the centre of the city, and
rebel officials who control the area
reported six wounded including one
doctor and five patients. The building’s front was damaged and windows were blown out.
A university across from the hospital was also hit.
“I walked out of a store and took
two steps, then I heard ‘boom!
boom! boom!’” said 35-year-old
Denis Rybkine. “By reflex, I lay
A local man surveys the remains of his home damaged by shelling in Donetsk.
down on the ground, and I saw red
bricks (from the hospital) fly and
windows explode.”
Larissa Polyakova said students at
the university barely missed being
hit. “Shells fell on the window,” she
said. “Miraculously, the students
had left the room 15 minutes before.
Can you imagine what would have
happened if they were still inside?”
Elsewhere, in Debaltseve some
60km north of Donetsk, artillery
fire killed three people and wounded
Ukraine’s military reported at
least three soldiers killed over
the last 24 hours and another 66
wounded, but claimed to be in control of the airport.
“We are not giving them the airport,” said military spokesman Andriy
Lysenko. “It is under our control.”
Rebels have disputed Kiev’s account and there was no independent
confirmation, with journalists unable to approach the site.
The blackened and wrecked airport has been hit by repeated on-off
clashes, and control has often been
divided between a new and old terminal and other installations.
An army spokesman told AFP
that the counter-offensive had accomplished its goal.
“It’s much more calm today,” said
Vladislav Selezyov. “Our soldiers
had a concise task: Push back the
rebels who were attacking us. The
Spain’s anti-austerity activists look
with hope to Greece’s Syriza
n election win for Greece’s
far-left Syriza party on Sunday could mark a turning
point in Europe where other populist parties, starting with Podemos
in Spain, are hoping to launch their
own anti-austerity revolts.
Syriza and Podemos are united
in blaming Europe’s ills on budget
austerity measures imposed by the
so-called “troika” - the European
Commission, the European Central
Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece’s snap election this
weekend is being followed especially closely in Spain, which sees
the contest as a preview of looming campaigns for local elections
in May and a general election expected in November.
Both Syriza and Podemos top
their respective opinion polls.
Jorge Lago, a member of Podemos’s “Citizens’ Council”, says Syriza’s potential victory is inspiring a
mix of “hope and prudence”.
“Hope because alternatives to
austerity policies have a chance of
coming to power in Europe..., but
also anxiety over the possible response from bodies that have not
been democratically elected like the
European Central Bank, the IMF
- the ‘troika’ - which have already
clearly opted for the politics of fear.”
Spain, like Greece, has imposed a
harsh austerity program to try and
rescue the government’s desperate
financial plight.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano
Rajoy’s conservative government
put in place a painful program of
spending cuts and tax rises in order
to save 150bn euros ($173bn) between 2012 and 2014.
The cuts come against a background of growing poverty, with
nearly one in four workers, 23.7%,
unemployed in Spain, second only
in the European Union to Greece,
where joblessness reaches 25.8%.
Both nations are timidly emerging from recession, with Spain predicting 1.4% growth in 2014 and
Greece forecasting growth of 0.6%
and the conservative governments
in both nations warning that leftwing protest parties could derail
the recovery.
“We are starting to merge from the
crisis, we need stability, not instability,” Rajoy warned during a visit to
Athens last week to back his Greek
counterpart Antonis Samaras.
The secretary general of Podemos, pony-tailed university professor Pablo Iglesias, has also waded
into the Greek election campaign by
backing Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras.
“2015 will be the year of change
in Spain and in Europe. We will
start in Greece. Let’s go Alexis, let’s
go!” he wrote in a Twitter message
after the Greek snap election was
called last month.
Syriza and Podemos have “distinct trajectories,” said Lago.
Founded in 2000, Syriza brings
together former Marxists, Social
Democrats, Trotskyists and antiestablishment groups.
Podemos was born in January
2014 out of the protest movement
against the austerity cuts put in place
in Spain. It rejects being labelled as a
left-wing party even though its policies are distinctly leftist.
A victory by Syriza in Sunday’s
general election would be “very important for Podemos and all other
anti-establishment parties” in Europe, said Jose Ignacio Torreblanca,
a senior analyst at the European
Council on Foreign Relations.
It would send the message that
there is a “real possibility” that
they will govern, “that it is not a
utopian project,” he added.
After Greece and Spain, Ireland
is due to hold a general election no
later than April 2016. There too the
anti-austerity left is expected to
make gains.
93rd airport brigade accomplished
it. The separatists can no longer fire
on our positions at close range.”
With rebels at one point claiming to control the airport, Ukraine
launched a massive counter-offensive with tanks and other heavy artillery on Saturday that continued
into Sunday.
Intense clashes followed, with
repeated heavy explosions ringing
out from the area surrounding the
airport, while some were also heard
closer to the city centre.
The recent upsurge in violence in
eastern Ukraine has been centred
around Donetsk airport and has left
in tatters an often violated September truce, which was followed by
another accord in December.
Russia is under heavy sanctions
from the West over its alleged actions in Ukraine, and the UN Security Council is due to discuss the
worsening crisis at a meeting on
The conflict has killed more than
4,800 people since April last year
and has become Europe’s worst humanitarian crisis since the Balkan
wars of the 1990s.
Thousands of people held a common prayer and peace march on
Sunday in the capital Kiev attended
by President Petro Poroshenko, who
vowed the country would not yield
to rebels he says have been backed
by Russian troops and weapons.
ayyip Erdogan yesterday became the first
Turkish president to chair a cabinet meeting
in more than a decade, furthering his drive for
a stronger presidency and fuelling concern among
critics that he is accumulating too much power.
Erdogan, who had already dominated Turkish
politics for a decade as prime minister when he won
the presidency last August, has made no secret of
his desire to transform the previously largely ceremonial role.
He has made clear he believes the direct nature of
August’s vote, in which he won 52% support, hands
him more powers without constitutional changes
to Turkey’s parliamentary system, enabling him to
maintain his presence at the heart of politics.
Erdogan’s tightening grip has unnerved some
Western allies as well as his opponents at home,
who fear the erosion of checks and balances on his
authority is taking Turkey further from Western
standards on the rule of law and free speech.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Reuters
that Erdogan was within his rights to chair a cabinet meeting and rebuffed suggestions that his own
powers were being eclipsed.
“Any time he can call for a meeting, just to get a
briefing, and for consultations. This is something that
is normal according to the constitution and normal
according to Turkish political tradition in the last 50
years,” Davutoglu said in an interview on Friday.
“In the future, if there is any constitutional
change, we will see. But at the moment this is the
division of power which is clear from the perspective of legality and from the perspective of political
responsibility,” he said.
Aksam and other pro-government newspapers
quoted Erdogan as again telling senior members
of the ruling AK Party late last week that Turkey
needed a full presidential system, which would require constitutional change.
The cabinet meeting is being held in Erdogan’s
controversial new presidential palace, a vast 1,150room complex on the outskirts of the capital. Presidents have chaired cabinet meetings in the past,
but almost exclusively in times of crisis.
“We see no reason ... Normally, the president
should explain why he wants to chair the meeting,”
said Hursit Gunes, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party.
“His hunger for power is unlimited. We see a
unification of powers not in the hands of an institution, but in the hands of one person,” Gunes added.
Istanbul marchers demand justice for Dink
housands of people marched yesterday through central Istanbul
calling for justice over the murder
of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant
Dink who was shot dead in broad daylight
eight years ago.
Holding signs in Turkish, Armenian
and English reading “Justice for Hrant”,
they rallied around the offices of the Agos
newspaper, a bilingual Turkish and Armenian weekly, which he edited.
The memorial rally - an annual event but
considerably larger than in previous years
- coincided with the arrest by the Turkish
authorities of a senior police officer accused of failing to prevent the killing.
Dink, 52, was shot dead with two bullets
to the head in broad daylight outside the offices of Agos on January 19, 2007 in Turkey’s
most notorious murder of recent times.
Ogun Samast, then a 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout, confessed to
the murder and was sentenced to almost
23 years in jail in 2011.
But the murder grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that the security forces
knew of a plot to kill Dink, but failed to act.
A court yesterday remanded in custody
Ercan Demir, who was police intelligence
chief of the Black Sea Trabzon region
where the gunman and his suspected accomplices came from. He is accused of
failing to act on intelligence that could
have prevented the murder.
Demir had been controversially named
People hold placards reading on ‘We are all Armenian, we are all Hrant’ during a rally to
mark the eighth anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder in front of the Agos newspaper in
police chief of the southeastern Sirnak
province but an arrest warrant was issued
for him last week and he turned himself
into the police in Ankara.
Turkey had last week arrested two other
lower ranking policeman on charges of negligence for failing to prevent the murder.
Dink, a major figure in Turkey’s tiny but
prominent Armenian community, has long
pushed for a reconciliation between Turks
and Armenians after decades of bitterness.
Armenians accuse Ottoman forces during World War I of carrying out a genocide against their forebears that left an
estimated 1.5mn people dead. But modern
Turkey has always vehemently resisted
terming the mass killings as genocide.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of
the tragedy and the date appeared to give the
Dink memorial march additional impetus.
Some held banners referring to the
events such as “become conscious of the
genocide along with Hrant Dink”. Others held cards reading: “We are all Hrant
Dink, we are all Armenians.”
Less than 10% of Turks believe their
government should recognise the mass
killings of Armenians in World War I as
genocide, according to a survey published
on Tuesday.
Supporters of Dink’s family have long
feared that those behind the murder were
protected by the state and have asked for a
deeper investigation.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
EU seeks Muslim help in terror fight
European Union counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove (left) talks with Spain’s Foreign
Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo (centre) and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica
Mogherini at the start of a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday.
U foreign ministers yesterday called for an alliance
with Muslim countries
to fight the growing Islamist
militant threat as anger over the
Charlie Hebdo cartoons fed fresh
protests and violence.
Foreign policy head Federica
Mogherini met Arab League chief
Nabil al-Arabi to urge better
cooperation in the wake of last
week’s deadly Paris attacks and
anti-terrorism raids in Belgium.
On the other side of a widening
divide, hundreds of thousands of
people rallied in Russia’s Chechnya while dozens of churches
were torched in Niger during
protests over the publication offensive caricatures.
In jittery Brussels, where
Belgian troops guarded the EU
headquarters and other sensitive
buildings, ministers were dis-
cussing how to prevent battlehardened jihadis returning home
from the Syria and Iraq.
“Terrorism and terrorist attacks are targeting most of all
Muslims in the world so we need
an alliance,” Mogherini told reporters.
“We need to strengthen our
way of co-operating together,
first of all with Arab countries
but also internally. The threat is
not only the one we faced in Paris
but also spreading in many other
parts of the world.”
Al-Arabi, the Arab League secretary general, added that “every
country in the world is suffering
from terrorism.”
“It is not just a military or security issue, it covers the intellectual, cultural, media and religious spheres and that is what we
are trying to get,” he said.
Europe is on high alert after
three French gunmen killed 17
people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish
supermarket in Paris earlier this
month, claiming they were acting
on behalf of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. Two suspected
militants were also killed in a police raid in Belgium on Thursday.
Many of the ministers will
meet again on Thursday in London when US Secretary of State
John Kerry co-hosts talks with
some 20 countries, including
Arab states.
The EU meeting yesterday was
to prepare for a special European
summit on February 12 dedicated
to fighting terrorism.
But so far many EU states have
been reluctant to open up their
intelligence networks to anyone
except their most trusted allies
for fear of harmful leaks, let alone
with the Arab world.
Efforts to push through a system
for exchanging air passenger information which many states say
would help track suspected militants have also been held up by a
sceptical European Parliament.
German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier said
however in Brussels that the Paris attacks had “changed Europe
and the world”, calling for “possibly increased exchanges with
Muslim countries.”
His British counterpart Philip
Hammond made the same point
and pressed the need for progress
on the passenger data system.
Belgian authorities meanwhile
were still hunting for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, considered the
brains behind an Islamist cell
plotting to kill Belgian police that
was broken up last week.
Greek prosecutors are considering a Beglian extradition
request for a suspect arrested in
Athens on Saturday who could be
linked to the cell.
In Germany, police banned a
rally by the anti-Islamic Pediga
movement in the eastern city of
Dresden after a reported threat
from IS on the movement’s leader Lutz Bachmann.
Merkel vows to uphold
the rights of protesters
hancellor Angela Merkel said
yesterday she had a duty to protect the right to demonstrate in
Germany, regardless of the issue, and
offered federal security support after
an anti-Islam march was cancelled because of a terrorist threat.
Police in the eastern city of Dresden
banned all outdoor public gatherings
yesterday, including one by the Patriotic
Europeans Against the Islamisation of
the West (Pegida), a group that attracted
25,000 people to its rally last week.
The weekly Pegida demonstrations
began last October as a local protest
against the building of new shelters
for refugees, and have been growing
in size. Prominent members of a rising
right-wing party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), are considering associating the AfD with Pegida.
However, counter-marches have
taken place across Germany, with far
larger numbers, and Merkel has condemned the group in unusually strong
language as racists “with hatred in
their hearts”.
But at a press conference yesterday, she defended the right to protest:
“Such a precious principle has to be
protected. That is why everything will
be done ... to ensure that the freedom
to demonstrate is secured everywhere
in Germany.”
She offered federal help, if requested, to the regional state authorities,
who are responsible for policing.
Security authorities said last Friday
they had specific warnings of a risk of
militant attacks on central railway stations in Berlin and Dresden.
Local police, citing information from
Germany’s BKA federal crime bureau,
then said assassins had been called up
to mingle among the Pegida protesters
and murder one of the leaders.
Pegida leaders deny they are racist and say they distinguish between
the secular majority among Germany’s 4mn Muslims and those trying to
spread Muslim values.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who
has called the marches a disgrace for
Germany, said in a statement: “Our
democracy can cope with Pegida. The
vast majority in Germany reject them
and have taken to the streets in recent
weeks to protest against them. This
must continue to be possible.”
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a ceremony for business and employment sector representatives
at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday.
French support rises for
Hollande after attacks
Co-founders of the Dresden Pegida movement Lutz Bachmann and Kathrin Oertel address a press conference in
Dresden yesterday.
Anti-Islamisation movement pledges to rally next week after yesterday’s demo is banned
Germany’s “anti-Islamisation” movement
Pegida yesterday vowed at its first press
conference to take to the streets again
next week after a march was cancelled
over a terrorism threat.
Asked about plans for future rallies in
the eastern city of Dresden, the leader of
the populist group, Lutz Bachmann, said
that “next Monday obviously there will
be another one, that’s the state of play
right now”.
In future, said Pegida spokeswoman
Kathrin Oertel, “we won’t be deprived of
the right to assembly and free speech”.
The self-styled Patriotic Europeans
Against the Islamisation of the Occident,
founded three months ago, have drawn
up to 25,000 people on to the streets in
weekly rallies they dub “evening strolls”.
At the press conference, Bachmann
and Oertel sought to reach out to what
they have long dubbed the “lying press”
and to try to moderate the group’s image, saying it was not against foreigners
or Islam but against “Islamisation”.
They distanced themselves from
crude racist slurs, signs reading
“Islam=cancer” and the presence of neo-
Nazis at past rallies, insisting that most
of their supporters are citizens fed up
with contemporary politics.
In a list of six core demands, they
called for immigration reform modelled
on the Canadian system, to attract more
skilled professionals and fewer refugees,
and for more steps to “integrate”
They said “Islamists and religious fanatics must be expelled and not allowed
to return”, while also calling for “direct
democracy” through referenda and for
tighter domestic security.
resident Francois Hollande is seeing a spectacular revival in his
dismal popularity ratings as two
major surveys yesterday showed French
voters applauding his handling of the
country’s most deadly Islamist attacks.
The boost for Hollande and his government, however temporary, prevented the anti-immigrant National Front
party of Marine Le Pen from capitalising
on this month’s Paris violence as some
analysts had predicted, one of the surveys showed.
But while the Socialist leader’s improved image could help him combat
resistance to his economic deregulation
drive that is going through parliament,
both poll groups said the downbeat jobs
outlook meant the respite might not last.
Three gunmen killed 17 people in Paris two weeks ago, including staff at the
satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, before
they themselves were shot dead by security forces.
An emotional Hollande led world
leaders and over 1mn Parisians through
the capital in a January 11 march that
some commentators likened to the outpouring of relief after France’s 1944 liberation from Nazi rule.
Hollande’s poll rating shot up to 40%
in the Ifop telephone survey for Paris
Match and Sud Radio carried out on
January 16-17 - an unprecedented gain
of 21 points on his December rating and
his highest level for nearly two years.
“For the French, Francois Hollande was
equal to the task, he answered the accusations of lack of leadership and firmness,
he donned the presidential costume and
reaped the rewards,” deputy general director of Ifop France told Reuters TV.
A separate poll released over the
weekend by pollsters BVA confirmed
the rebound, with Hollande leaping 10
points to 34%, his best score in that survey since May 2013.
Hollande’s ratings have crashed as
low as 13%, the weakest in polling history, largely on his failure to tackle unemployment rooted above 10% and due
to a series of tax hikes introduced during
his first two years in power.
Significantly, the BVA survey showed
the number of those with a favourable
opinion of Hollande’s Socialist Party
gained four points to 30%, putting the
party ahead of Le Pen’s FN, flat on 28%,
for the first time since last September.
Some analysts had predicted the Islamist affiliation of the gunmen and
their family ties with Algeria and West
Africa would play into the hands of
the anti-immigrant party, but Le Pen’s
voice was largely drowned out by the
outpouring of emotion.
“It hasn’t helped the FN because in
the end, the French have come together
over the shared, core values of the Republic,” BVA Opinion director of studies Eric Bonnet said of the mass rallies
called to denounce terrorism and reassert civil liberties.
Both Dabi and Bonnet cautioned the
ratings were highly volatile and did not
mean Hollande’s Socialists - which last
year received drubbings in city hall and
European elections - would fare any
better in March’s local ballots.
Dabi noted the last time a French
president’s ratings took off so dramatically was for Francois Mitterrand during
the 1990-1991 Gulf war - a gain he was
to lose again months later.
Yet Bonnet suggested Hollande’s 69%
positive rating within his own Socialist
Party - 13 points up on the score BVA
recorded just before the attacks - could
help him face down parliamentary allies
who have vowed to block a new bill set
to extend Sunday trading and ease rigid
French labour laws.
“His image has been enhanced on the
left, and that was the problem before,”
Bonnet said of the mood of mistrust created when Hollande in early 2014 adopted
a more centrist, pro-business line than
that taken during his 2012 campaign.
Chechens protest against offensive Hebdo cartoons
undreds of thousands of
people protested yesterday
in Russia’s Chechnya region
against what its Kremlin-backed
leader called the “vulgar and immoral” cartoons published by French
newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Mixing pro-Islamic chants and
anti-Western rhetoric, Chechen
leader Ramzan Kadyrov criticised
Europe to chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ as
the protesters stood along the main
thoroughfare of Chechnya’s capital,
Some carried signs declaring “I
love my Prophet Muhammad” in
English and others waved flags, as
security service helicopters flew
overhead and police stood by.
In a sign that it had President
Vladimir Putin’s backing, the rally
was shown live on state television.
The Kremlin may see the protest as
a way to vent pressure from Russia’s Muslims after a similar rally was
banned in Moscow.
“If needed, we are ready to die to
stop anyone who thinks that you can
irresponsibly defile the name of the
prophet,” Kadyrov said, wiping away
tears on stage.
“You and I see how European journalists and politicians under false
slogans about free speech and de-
mocracy proclaim the freedom to be
vulgar, rude and insult the religious
feelings of hundreds of millions of
believers,” he said.
The rally ended when a call to
prayer was blasted over loudspeakers.
Russia’s Interior Ministry said
800,000 people had attended the
rally - about 60% of Chechnya’s
population. Reuters witnesses put
the number at several hundred thousand.
Kadyrov is fighting against an insurgency aimed at creating an Islamist state in the North Caucasus
and depends on Russian money and
security forces to maintain an uneasy
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov speaks at a rally against French weekly Charlie Hebdo in Grozny.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Himalayan Railway
is back on track
NHRC issues notice
over liquor deaths
Ex-deputy CM
Patil has cancer
BJP accuses BJD of
resorting to violence
Over 8mn to take
holy dip at Sangam
Trains are once
again running
the entire
length of the
Railway after repairs to damaged parts of the
track, which originally opened in 1881. A landslide
four years ago forced the operators to close
portions of the railway, which was built by India’s
British colonial rulers and now is part of a Unesco
World Heritage programme. Tickets for rides
along the 87km stretch between Siliguri and
Darjeeling are available online. The train travels
each way once a day.
The National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC) yesterday served a notice to senior
officials of the Uttar Pradesh government
over hooch tragedy in Unnao and Malihabad
that claimed 49 lives. Terming it a “serious
issue of human rights violation,” the panel
issued notices to Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan,
Inspector General of Police Subhash Chandra
and District Magistrate Rajshekhar, seeking
their response to the incident within a
fortnight. The tragedy which took place last
week has so far claimed 49 lives and more
than 100 people are still undergoing treatment
in various hospitals in the state capital
Lucknow. The state government has ordered a
magisterial inquiry into the tragedy.
The condition of former Maharashtra deputy chief
minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader
Raosaheb Ramrao Patil, who was diagnosed with
cancer recently, was “stable and improving,” a
spokesman said yesterday. Patil was admitted to
the Breach Candy Hospital a couple of months
ago and underwent surgery for cancer, NCP
spokesman Nawab Malik said. The 58-year-old
Patil is now in Lilavati Hospital in Bandra for
post-surgical treatment. “He is undergoing
chemotherapy and his condition is improving,”
Malik said. A hospital spokesman added: “Patil is
under treatment for cancer. Radiation therapy is
over. Now, he is undergoing chemotherapy and
responding well to treatment. There is no cause
for concern. He is stable and improving.”
The Odisha state unit of the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) yesterday accused
the state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of
resorting to violence against its workers.
BJP leader Arun Singh alleged that such
acts were being carried out due to the
party’s rising popularity in Odisha. “The
ruling party is in a desperate situation
after the successful visit of BJP national
president Amit Shah. It has now resorted
to violence and is assaulting our party
workers on finding that the popularity
of BJP is rising in the state,” Singh said.
He cited some instances where the BJD
workers allegedly assaulted BJP activists
in the state.
More than 8mn people are likely to take a holy
dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers
Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati
in Uttar Pradesh on the occasion of Mauni
Amavasya today, an official said yesterday.
Mauni Amavasya is one of the most crucial days
for taking a holy dip during the 44-day Magh
Mela. The Allahabad district administration
has tightened security around the area where
people will take the dip, a district official said.
The North Central Railways has deployed
security personnel on foot overbridges and
platforms. Additional District Magistrate S K
Sharma yesterday inspected the ghats and
reviewed preparations to receive millions of
people for Mauni Amavasya.
Kerala sees
Waiting with hope
Bar owner’s
tapes suggest
leaders knew
of Mani bribe
erala witnessed an increase in tourist arrivals,
revenue and the number
of rooms during 2014, a minister
said yesterday.
Final figures for the calendar
year 2014 are being finalised,
Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar
said while outlining the tourism
department’s plans for 2015.
“The figures for the first three
quarters of 2014 showed a jump in
both arrivals and revenue, though
the industry suffered a setback
for a while in the last quarter on
account of the bird flu scare. But,
on the whole, for the year, there
has been an increase and very
shortly we will be releasing the
complete figures,” Kumar said.
Kerala Tourism is readying a
new plan for boosting tourism in
the fiscal year starting April 1.
“We will concentrate on markets like China and the Middle
East. These are the areas where
there is a huge market waiting for
us to tap. Already we have made
inroads into the Middle East. China is one market where we will be
holding road shows,” Kumar said.
The peak Kerala tourist season
starts towards the last quarter
in the calendar year and tails off
around the first week of February.
“Over the years, investment
in the tourism industry has been
growing at a good pace with the
total number of rooms in the state
growing from 40,000 in 2010 to
75,000 in 2014. But we need more
rooms and this where there is a
business opportunity for people
to turn their homes into home
stays. We will see that the certification process for home stays is
done quickly,” said Kumar.
On the much-talked about
seaplane operations, he said
that talks are going on to resolve
several issues as this is one area
which offers a lot of scope.
“We are now all set to announce
promotional schemes for the benefit of tourists as we are confident
that the private sector will also
come forward to give special offers
for all tourists visiting the state in
the one year campaign that begins
in April. The government sector
has already cleared this proposal.
Competition is there for us from
Sri Lanka and we are also speaking with airline companies to give
special fares to tourists. Already
two private airlines are doing it,”
added Kumar.
Kerala Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy denies
charges, says said no one can
destabilise his government
By Ashraf Padanna
Police keep a watch as landless women gather outside the office of Hyderabad’s collector
after hearing rumours that the authorities were distributing documents to acquire land, in the
southern city yesterday.
Kudankulam nuclear plant
restarts power generation
ower generation at the
Power Project (KNPP) has
restarted after the first unit’s
reactor and turbine tripped on
January 14, Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSCO) said yesterday
According to POSCO, power
generation at the first unit of
1,000 MW KNPP commenced
on Sunday.
The atomic power unit
touched a peak generation of
658 MW since it was restarted
on Sunday and the average generation for the day was 168 MW,
POSCO said.
India’s atomic power plant
operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) is
setting up two 1,000 MW Rus-
sian reactors at Kudankulam
in Tirunelveli district, 650km
from Chennai.
The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of
the fission process, in July 2013.
Subsequently it was connected to the southern grid in
October 2013.
However, commercial power
generation began only on December 31, 2014. Since then the
unit was generating an average
of 940 MW till it tripped on
January 14.
According to G Sundarrajan,
an anti-nuclear power activist who had filed a case against
the setting up of the Rs170bn
KNPP, the atomic power company suffers at least Rs80mn
loss per day of plant outage.
“Ever since the first unit at
KNPP started commercial generation on December 31, 2014
it has been producing around
940 MW per day or around 2.25
crore units per day,” Sundarrajan said.
He said the actual per unit
commercial tariff for the first
unit is still unclear with different officials giving out different
figures, ranging from Rs3.50 per
unit to Rs4.
“Even at Rs3.50 per unit,
NPCIL is suffering a revenue
loss of around Rs7.89 crore
per day of plant outage,” he
Though KNPP’s first unit has
started commercial power generation, NPCIL curiously still
classifies the unit as under construction on its website and not
under the head ‘plants under
NPCIL officials were not
available despite repeated attempts to get clarifications on
the recurring technical snags
suffered by the unit.
he ‘bar bribery’ scam that
has rocked Kerala took a
new twist yesterday with
the “whistleblower” hotelier releasing tapes of his phone conversations with senior political
Biju Ramesh, who runs nearly
a dozen liquor bars in the state
capital, some of them shut for
poor standards, had in November
accused Finance and Law Minister K M Mani of taking bribes for
reopening the bars.
In the tapes, P C George, the
government’s chief whip in the
state legislative assembly, laughs
approvingly while R Balakrishna Pillai, a senior leader of the
Congress Party-led coalition,
is heard encouraging Ramesh to
take Mani to court.
They also talk about the powerful minister taking money from
jewellers and bakeries for not increasing taxes and from contractors for clearing work bills.
Following the “revelations,”
opposition leaders renewed their
demand for Mani’s resignation
and threatened not to allow him
to present the state’s annual
budget next week.
“Mani should be arrested immediately. He should go to jail,”
said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a top
leader of the Communist Party
of India (Marxist) that leads the
Left Democratic Front opposition.
Mani’s nine-member Kerala
Congress faction lends crucial
support to the government and
the opposition was actively wooing him to topple Chief Minister
Bus catches fire
Mani: more trouble
Oommen Chandy until the scam
The bribery charges forced the
adjournment of the state assembly last month with the opposition pressing for his resignation.
George, also vice-chairman
of Mani’s party, while inviting
Ramesh to a personal meeting, is
heard clarifying that he was under pressure to “save” his leader.
He also promises to tell more
when they meet.
The telephone conversation
was recorded hours after George
publicly taunted Ramesh on television.
Pillai tells George that he
had warned Chandy about
Mani’s activities including taking Rs150mn from bar owners
for renewal of bar licences and
Rs190mn from jewellers for tax
Another Rs20mn was allegedly taken from rice mills to clear
their bills.
“Don’t let it go. You should
move the court seeking a CBI
(Central Bureau of Investigation)
probe since he’s the state’s law
minister,” says Pillai, whose onemember Kerala Congress faction
also supports the government.
Chandy however, rejected the
claims saying Pillai had not made
any such complaints with him
and the allegations were aimed at
destabilising his government.
5mn expected to
join ‘Run Kerala Run’
A luxury bus on fire in Zahirabad in Medak district of
Telangana yesterday. No one was injured in the fire, according
to sources.
“My government’s strength is
not the thin majority in the assembly but the support of the
people. People have reposed
their trust in us - in the by-elections and parliamentary elections,” he said.
“We are not bothered about
this kind of allegations as long as
people are with us. Nobody will
succeed in their efforts to destabilise the government.”
Pillai later clarified that he had
met the chief minister before
Ramesh raised the allegations
while George, who confirmed it
was his voice in the conversations, claimed that he was trying
to “save” Mani.
On Sunday, Ramesh had
claimed that Jose K Mani MP,
the minister’s son, and Irrigation Minister P J Joseph, had
also pressured him to retract the
bribery charges being investigated by the Vigilance and AntiCorruption Bureau (VACB).
He said he had 14 hours of
phone recordings with him to
prove his bribery charges and
relevant portions would be released after submitting to the
VACB investigators. He also
threatened to go to court do demand a CBI probe.
The controversy began after
the United Democratic Front
(UDF) government decided not
to renew the licences of 418 bars
and decided to allow only 310
luxury or semi-luxury hotels to
run bars.
The government later decided
to shut all non-five star bars,
which are allowed to remain
open by the Kerala High Court
until February 20. The bars were
also licensed to sell light alcoholic beverages like beer and wine.
The Vigilance and AntiCorruption Bureau is probing
Ramesh’s allegation made three
months ago that Mani took
Rs10mn in two instalments.
n what is believed to be the
largest gathering to join in a
run worldwide, the curtainraiser event to the 35th National
Games, “Run Kerala Run” will be
held across the state today with
an estimated 5mn people expected to take part.
The January 31-February 14
National Games will be held at 30
venues across seven districts of
the state.
Kerala’s Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the
response has gone beyond the
government’s expectation and
they were certain the event would
get an entry into the Guinness
World Records for the number of
people taking part.
“The response is such that
when we began planning for this
event, it was supposed to have
7,000 starting locations for the
run and now that it has crossed
10,000,” Radhakrishnan said yesterday.
He said he would himself be
running along with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, the goodwill ambassador of the upcoming
“Kerala Governor P Sathasivam
will be flagging the main run that
will take place in front of the state
secretariat and will include Tendulkar, Chief Minister Oommen
Chandy and numerous high profile people, cutting across various
political parties,” Radhakrishnan
The run would start at 10.30am
across more than 10,000 locations and each group was expected to cover an average distance
of 500m. The Kerala government
has given a one-hour break to its
employees to take part in the run.
“The 14 district collectors are
overseeing the conduct of the
event in their zones,” said Radhakrishnan.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Police quiz
Tharoor on
wife’s death
New Delhi
elhi police questioned
Congress MP Shashi
Tharoor late yesterday
in connection with his wife’s
murder, a case that has dominated media headlines.
Sunanda Pushkar was found
dead in a five-star hotel room
in the capital last January, two
days after she alleged on Twitter that her husband had been
having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
Pushkar, married to the
former high-flying UN diplomat and former minister since
2010, had been taking medication for various illnesses and
early autopsy results suggested she may have overdosed on
anti-depressants and sleeping
But earlier this month, Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim
Sain Bassi said new medical
reports had led investigators
to register a case of murder
“against unknown persons.”
Television footage late
Monday showed 57-year-old
Tharoor leaving his New Delhi
residence flanked by security
guards, pursued by a huge media scrum.
Later images showed him sitting across from a few officers,
gesticulating with one hand, at
a police station near the luxury
Leela Palace hotel where his
wife’s body was discovered.
Some reports indicated
that the interrogation could
resume today.
Earlier in the day Bassi told
reporters: “We have issued notice to Tharoor. He will be questioned tomorrow or day after.”
The police commissioner
said a Special Investigation
Team (SIT) set up to probe the
case has already questioned
many people.
“He (Tharoor) has not been
questioned. I would like to tell
you that everybody who has
information in this case, we
will talk to them and look at
specifics which throw light,”
Bassi said.
The SIT has questioned at
least 12 people, including Tharoor’s security staff members
and domestic help, who were
present in the hotel where
Pushkar was found dead on
January 17, 2014.
Bassi said the process of
sending the viscera of Pushkar
to the US for special investigation was on.
Days after his wife’s death
was registered as a murder,
Tharoor described himself as
“a bereaved husband” who
would not engage in “public polemics,” adding that he
would fully co-operate with
Pushkar’s death had initially triggered intense speculation that she had committed
suicide after being humiliated
by her husband.
But a year on, dozens of 24hour news stations have devoted relentless coverage and
analyst debates over Tharoor’s
possible role in the murder,
prompting the former minister to term it a media trial
where he was “being defamed
now day in and day out.”
Her death dealt a severe
blow to the image of Tharoor,
who was a cabinet minister at
the time and remains a member of parliament for the Congress Party which lost elections last May.
Also an acclaimed author,
Tharoor served as under-secretary general during Kofi Annan’s leadership of the UN and
was a candidate to replace him
as secretary-general in 2008.
After being beaten to the post
by Ban Ki-moon, he then entered Indian politics as a member of parliament for Kerala.
Tharoor had to resign from
his first ministerial post in
2010 after revelations that his
then-girlfriend Pushkar had
been given a free stake in a new
Indian Premier League cricket
In this photograph taken on March 12, 2012, former minister of
state for external affairs and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and
his wife Sunanda Pushkar arrive at parliament for the opening
of the budget session. Police yesterday questioned Tharoor in
connection with his wife’s murder.
BJP leader Kiran Bedi takes part in a party road show in New Delhi yesterday. Bedi’s induction into the BJP has boosted the morale of party workers who were stunned by the
aggressive campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Bedi is BJP’s trump
card for Delhi polls
Many in the BJP hope that
Bedi will prove a tough
match for Kejriwal, who too
has strong anti-corruption
New Delhi
he Bharatiya Janata Party’s projection of India’s
first woman police officer
Kiran Bedi as its face in Delhi has
divided the party, with one section overjoyed and the other left
Some also feel that while the
decision was right, it may have
come a little too late for the party to score its first victory in assembly elections after 1993.
The move took even some
leaders in the BJP in Delhi by surprise but has boosted the morale
of workers who were stunned by
the aggressive campaign of the
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), party
sources said.
“The BJP has definitely found
the right candidate (Bedi) and it
will help the party’s prospects as
she has decades of administrative
experience and knows how to get
things done,” party spokesman
Ashwini Upadhyay said.
“She has worked on international assignments with the UN
as well as on the streets to help
children through her NGO,” he
Another party leader, however, said some leaders were sulking as their ambitions had been
Arivind Kejriwal’s AAP finished a surprise close second
in the December 2013 election
winning 28 seats against the
BJP’s 31. The Congress finished a
distant third with just eight seats
in the assembly of 70.
Before Bedi was brought in,
opinion polls were predicting
another hung house in Delhi although the BJP was seen doing
marginally better than in 2013.
Many in the BJP hope that
Bedi, 65, will prove a tough
match for Kejriwal, who at age
46 too has strong anti-corruption credentials.
Bedi has been an anti-corruption activist, a former tennis
player and her stint as a Delhi
police officer is still widely remembered in the city. Bedi initiated prison reforms in the Tihar
Central Jail.
She has won the Ramon Magsaysay award, an honour she
shares with Kejriwal. Both were
part of the anti-corruption
movement led by Gandhian
Anna Hazare.
Since her induction into the
BJP, Bedi has talked about her
priorities - as a likely candidate
to lead the party’s campaign.
BJP leaders say that while the
party has considerable support
among the middle class, it needs
to work harder to woo the poor
and the working class.
They also said that the BJP
could not have gone without
a local face after the Congress
named Ajay Maken as its campaign chief.
“AAP had Kejriwal and the
Congress named Maken. We
were the only ones left without
a prominent local face. It would
have been better if the decision
(about Bedi) had been taken earlier,” another leader said.
The leader added: “The BJP
conducted an internal survey
which showed that Kejriwal’s
anti-corruption credentials and
the BJP not having a prominent
face were working against the
The BJP continues to bank on
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
appeal but now Bedi is a new face
in the party’s propaganda campaign.
resident Pranab Mukherjee yesterday told lawmakers to stop disrupting
parliament with protests, saying
a “noisy minority cannot be allowed to gag a patient majority,”
as the government has struggled
to pass legislation despite its
strong mandate.
Mukherjee said there was a
growing tendency for lawmakers to resort to holding up parliament with protests, after a
winter session in which the new
government failed to push a
number of key reforms through
the house.
“The cardinal principle of
parliamentary democracy is that
the majority has the mandate to
rule while opposition has right to
oppose, expose, and if numbers
permit, to depose,” Mukherjee
said in a video address to students at national universities
across the country.
“But, under no circumstances
should there be disruption of
“A noisy minority cannot be
allowed to gag a patient majority.”
Regular suspension of parliamentary proceedings is common
in the world’s largest democracy,
where opposition lawmakers often resort to obstruction to denounce government policies and
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) won the biggest mandate
in 30 years last May, raising
hopes it will be able to ensure
the smooth passage of legislation.
But the government was only
able to pass 10 out of 37 bills it
had listed in the winter session,
which ended last month.
Many of these bills have now
been delayed until the next session that begins in February.
The president also warned the
government against the excessive use of ordinances or emergency executive orders to implement its key policies.
“The constitution confers
limited power upon (the) executive for ordinances to meet exigencies,” he said.
The president said parliament stands for the will and aspirations of the people and “it
is the platform where through
debate and deliberations, this
‘will’ and ‘aspirations’ have to
be prioritised and translated into
laws, policies and concrete programmes of action.”
“When that does not happen, an important element in the
functioning of a democracy gets
compromised to the disadvantage of the people.”
The president said a legislature is effective “only if it is
able to address the differences
amongst stakeholders and succeeds in building a consensus
for the law to be enacted and
enforced. When the parliament
fails in discharging its law-making role or enacts law without
discussion, it breaches the trust
reposed in it by the people. This
is neither good for the democracy nor for the policies anchored
in those laws.”
He said in the past decade,
referring to the time when the
Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power,
“people have been given entitlements for right to information,
limited job security in rural areas, education and food through
legal guarantees. Each legislative
intervention has resulted in a
shift in policy towards the objectives laid down in our constitution and in furthering human
candidate in 2013 but he is now
in the Modi cabinet.
Pradeep Kumar Dutta, who
teaches at Delhi University,
said Bedi was a strong and effective administrator and her
joining the party “will beef
up support among the middle
class and the government employees who previously voted
for Kejriwal.”
Senior journalist Kuldip Nayar said the BJP “has got a face”
in Delhi with Bedi’s induction
and this will help it to get swing
Congress leader Tirath joins BJP
In a jolt to the Congress
ahead of the Delhi assembly
polls, Krishna Tirath, who was
a minister in the previous
government, yesterday joined
the Bharatiya Janata Party,
saying there was “discipline
in this party.” Tirath, who met
BJP president Amit Shah,
said her role will be decided
by the party leadership. “I
joined the BJP because there
is discipline in this party... My
role will be towards public
service,” Tirath said. She also
said the Congress leadership
should seriously think why
party leaders were leaving and
joining other parties. “There
is lack of discipline and vision
in the Congress. The party
needs to think why its leaders
are quitting.” She also praised
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Reacting to Tirath crossing
over, Congress leader Ajay
Maken said it showed the BJP’s
“nervousness and desperation.”
He said the BJP has to “import
leaders from other parties
because they have no faith in
their own leaders.”
Nine arrested after
three burnt alive in
communal violence
President urges MPs not
to disrupt parliament
New Delhi
“It would be very tough for
AAP to target Bedi. The BJP
needed such a face in Delhi,” another leader said.
Delhi goes to the polls on
February 7. The BJP is keen on a
victory after losing face in 2013
when the AAP went on to form a
minority government and ruled
the city for 49 days before Kejriwal resigned.
Delhi has been under President’s rule for the past 11
The BJP had named Harsh
Vardhan as its chief ministerial
Burnt wreckage of vehicles, set on fire by a rioting mob, is seen in
front of a charred house at Sareya village in Muzaffarpur district
of Bihar yesterday.
olice have arrested nine
people after a mob torched
a house and burnt to death
three men thought to be Muslims in an outbreak of communal
violence in Bihar, an official said
Police in riot gear were patrolling
a village where Sunday’s hourslong rampage and attack occurred.
The attack was triggered by
the discovery of the body of a
teenage Hindu boy, allegedly
murdered by family members of
a Muslim girl who objected to the
pair’s suspected relationship.
“We have identified the attackers and nine accused have
been arrested,” said Paras Nath,
inspector general of police in
Muzaffarpur district.
“The hunt is on for others.
Three persons were burnt alive,”
Nath said. “One accused in the
murder of the teenage boy has
also been arrested,” he added.
The body of 19-year-old
Bhartendu Kumar was discovered on Saturday in his native
village of Saraiya, 102km from
the state capital Patna, after he
disappeared days earlier.
A mob armed with sticks and
other sharp weapons attacked
the house of one of the people
suspected by Kumar’s family of
kidnapping and murdering him,
police said.
Rioters set his house on fire,
killing three residents, thought
to belong to the Muslim community and injuring two others.
Police said 10 adjoining houses were also gutted and 15 vehicles damaged in the violence,
which lasted for four hours on
Sunday morning.
“The situation is tense but under control,” Muzaffarpur district
official Anupam Kumar said.
More than 60 people were
killed in riots between Hindus
and Muslims in the northern
state of Uttar Pradesh in 2013.
Couples from different religions in India are often targeted
by their families and community
members for supposedly bringing
“dishonour,” sometimes resulting
in confrontations and even deadly
violence and full-scale riots.
Critics say Hindu hardline
groups have become more emboldened since the Bharatiya
Janata Party stormed to power at
elections in May.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Torrential rains in
Bolivia leave 15 dead
Dozens held in Rio
for attack on police
Globetrotting Pope Francis
to travel to Latin America
Venezuela ex-mayor moved
from jail to home arrest
Colombian govt, rebels
to discuss peace deal
At least 15 people have died and some 10,400 families
have suffered property damage as a result of the intense rains and flooding affecting Bolivia, especially in
six of the country’s nine regions, a government official
said. Oscar Cabrera, vice minister for civil defence, said
seven people died in the central region of Cochabamba, another five in Potosi, two in Chuquisaca and one
in Santa Cruz. “To date, we’ve got a figure of 10,400
families” with property damage, he added. He said
that the areas that have been “seriously affected” and
where the risk of further property damage or worse
continues are the northern part of La Paz and the
Potosi municipality of Cotagaita.
Security forces in an exclusive area of Rio de Janeiro
arrested 48 people after an attack on a police patrol.
The arrests occurred after the attackers, most of
them minors, threw stones at a police vehicle in the
Leblon section of the Brazilian city, the news portal G1
said, quoting police. Earlier in the day they went on a
rampage in a bus. The 48 people who were arrested
were suspected of taking part in raids in recent days
along the beaches of the metropolis. Youths have
repeatedly stormed sections of the beach and robbed
sunbathers. Police have increased their patrols and set
up checkpoints at entrances to the beaches, which
were crowded over the weekend.
Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, will
return to the region in July when he visits Bolivia,
President Evo Morales said, adding that Paraguay
and Ecuador are also on the Pope’s itinerary.
Morales told the newspaper La Razon that he communicated directly with the pontiff, who confirmed
his travel plans. “I have received this message: I will
be there in July,” Morales told the daily. Morales has
long expressed a desire for a visit from Francis, 78,
hoping he might play a role in resolving a longstanding maritime dispute with neighbouring Chile.
The Argentine Pope was born Jose Bergoglio on
December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires.
Venezuelan judicial authorities have allowed a
former opposition mayor jailed during a wave of
anti-government protests in 2014 to swap his cell for
house arrest because of poor health. Relatives and
supporters of Vicencio Scarano, former mayor of
San Diego in central Carabobo, welcomed his freedom from jail, but the move did not seem to signal
any wider release for other jailed opponents of President Nicolas Maduro. Scarano was detained last
March for failing to clear street barricades during a
wave of protests against Maduro that left 43 people
dead and hundreds injured, including demonstrators, government supporters and security officers.
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla group
announced their willingness to strike a peace deal
to end a five-decade-old conflict, a media report
said yesterday. In a joint statement, they announced
that they will hold talks from February 2-10 in Cuba
to negotiate a definitive cease-fire agreement and
discuss reparations for victims of the conflict, Xinhua
reported. In the past two years, the two sides have
reached partial agreements on several issues,
including agrarian reform, participation of rebels in
politics, and Farc’s ties to drug trafficking, but they
are yet to reach a definitive peace deal.
injured in
Balancing act
who accused
found dead
Rio de Janeiro
hree workers were seriously hurt in an explosion
on Sunday at Petrobras’
323,000-barrel-a-day Landulpho Alves Refinery (RLAM) outside Salvador, Brazil, the second
serious accident at the country’s second-largest refinery in
a week.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as
state-run Petrobras is formally
known, said in a statement yesterday that the workers were
injured during maintenance
services at the refinery’s U-35
topping unit. They suffered between 10% and 75% burns and
are being treated at a hospital.
Petrobras declined to say if oil
processing or fuel output at the
plant was affected by the accident. The company said the accident will not affect fuel supplies to Brazilian consumers.
The accident revives safety
concerns at Petrobras’ 14 Brazilian
refineries which have been operating near full capacity to meet
domestic demand that has grown
faster than its ability to supply it.
While a nearly 50% drop in
crude prices since June means
that Petrobras is no longer losing
money on gasoline and diesel imports, the company may still not
be able to shut units and perform
upgrades, union officials said.
A recent price-fixing, bribery
and political kickback scandal
has cut Petrobras out of capital
markets and led the company to
stop paying for or working with
some of the country’s most important construction and engineering firms. Many of those
firms are the same ones which
build, expand and repair Petrobras refineries.
“Thousands of contract workers at the refineries are being laid
off and work is shutting down,”
said Simao Zanardi, head of legal
and institutional affairs for FUP,
Brazil’s national oil workers’
“It is our feeling that most of
Petrobras’ refineries are not operating as safely as they should be.”
Buenos Aires
A man crosses on a slickline installed over the water during sunset at Apoador beach in Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil.
Haiti announces
new government
aitian President Michel
the formation of a new
government via Facebook late
Sunday in a bid to rescue the
impoverished Caribbean nation
from political crisis.
Martelly on Friday promised
to use his executive authority to
form a consensus government
after parliament was dissolved
last week due to the failure to
hold elections.
Despite promising a new government, Martelly kept several current cabinet members in their posts
including the ministers of health,
tourism, education, foreign affairs,
defence and public works.
He also appointed several allies
to key positions, including the
new minister of planning, Yves
Germain Joseph, and the secretary of state for public security,
Carel Alexandre.
The 18 ministers and 16 secretaries of state were sworn in yesterday afternoon.
In a major speech on Friday,
Martelly urged anti-government
demonstrators to maintain order
as he seeks to steer the country
toward new elections. He also
swore in a new prime minister
on Friday night, former Port-auPrince mayor, Evans Paul.
After the dissolution of parliament, some observers worry that
Some observers worry
that Haiti, with its history
of coups, uprisings and
dictatorships, is once
again on a slippery
slope towards political
Haiti, with its history of coups,
uprisings and dictatorships, is
once again on a slippery slope towards political instability.
The country has witnessed
weeks of street protests against
government corruption and
Martelly’s perceived autocratic
tendencies, as well as perceived
US political meddling.
A last minute, US-brokered
proposal to extend the life of
parliament and call elections fell
apart last week after opposition
political parties decided not to
show up for a crucial vote to approve the deal.
In a phone call with Martelly on
Friday, US Vice President Joe Biden
expressed disappointment with the
collapse of parliament and voiced
his support for Martelly.
Haiti remains heavily dependant on US financial aid and
Washington fears that a political
collapse could spark mass migration to the US.
Haiti is the poorest nation in
the hemisphere and is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in Jan 2010 that destroyed
large parts of the capital, Portau-Prince.
Haiti has not held legislative
or municipal elections for three
years, leaving parliament without a quorum as terms expired on
January 12.
Haiti is scheduled to hold
presidential elections at the end
of the year. Municipal and legislative elections could be held this
summer, though Martelly has not
announced a date yet and must
first form an Electoral Council.
n Argentine prosecutor
found dead just hours before giving what was expected to be damning testimony
against President Cristina Kirchner appears to have committed
suicide, the nation’s top security
official said yesterday.
“All signs point to suicide,”
said Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni following the
death of Alberto Nisman, 51,
whose body was found overnight
in his apartment in the trendy
Puerto Madero neighbourhood
of the capital.
Nisman, who had accused
President Cristina Kirchner of
obstructing a probe into a 1994
Jewish centre bombing, was found
dead of a gunshot wound just
hours before he was due to testify
at a congressional hearing.
Officials said a .22-calibre
handgun was found beside his
body, which was discovered by
his mother in the bathroom of
his 13th floor apartment after
his security detail was unable to
contact him.
Nisman since 2004 had been
investigating the 1994 van
bombing of the building of the
Argentine Jewish Charities Federation, or AMIA.
The bombing left 85 people
dead and 300 others injured in
the worst attack of its kind in the
South American country.
Nisman last week had asked
for an investigation into possible
obstruction by Kirchner and was
due to speak at a congressional
hearing yesterday to provide evidence of his assertions.
New term to begin
He was also expected to lodge
accusations against her foreign
minister Hector Timerman.
Anibal Fernandez, secretary
general for the presidency, said
he was “dumbfounded” by Nisman’s death, saying there was
“absolutely nothing normal”
about it.
Israel’s foreign ministry issued
a statement expressing sorrow
over Nisman’s death, praising
him as a courageous jurist who
“worked with great determination to expose the attack’s perpetrators and dispatchers.”
“The state of Israel hopes Argentina’s authorities will continue Nisman’s work, and take every possible
effort to bring those behind the Argentina attacks to justice.”
The prosecutor had accused
Iran of being behind the attack
and said Kirchner hampered the
inquiry to curry favour with the
Islamic republic and gain access
to its oil.
The government has categorically denied the accusations.
Nisman had also accused
former president Carlos Menem
(1989-99) of helping obstruct an
investigation into the bombing,
which has never been solved.
Since 2006, Argentine courts
have demanded the extradition of eight Iranians, including
former president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, former defence minister Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen
Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural
attache in Buenos Aires.
Argentina charges that Hezbollah carried out the attack under orders from Iran, which Tehran denies.
Nisman had said he had phone
recordings that show the Kirchner government and Argentine
Argentina farmers’
soy hoarding flayed
Buenos Aires
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales speaks during a news
conference at the presidential residence in La Paz
yesterday. Morales is due to begin his third term as Bolivia’s
president on January 22.
authorities had bowed to Iranian
demands after the republic dangled lucrative commercial contracts.
Nisman was supposed to
present proof of his allegations
that Kirchner and Timerman had
a “plan of impunity” to “protect
the Iranian fugitives.”
In addition to his complaint,
Nisman had ordered the freezing of assets worth some $23mn
of Kirchner, Timerman and other
Jewish community members
had cautiously welcomed Nisman’s complaint, but also requested he make public evidence
to back up his assertions.
Opposition lawmaker Patricia
Bullrich said she was shocked
by Nisman’s death, calling it “a
grave affront to the country’s institutions.”
Bullrich said she’d spoken to
Nisman on the phone on Saturday on three occasions and he
said that he had received several
Elisa Carrio, leader of the Civic
Coalition, an opposition party,
bluntly called Nisman’s death “an
assassination,” saying she did not
accept that it was a suicide.
In 2013, Argentina’s Congress
approved, at the request of the
executive branch, an agreement
with Tehran to form a truth commission to investigate the bombing, consisting of five members
from neither Argentina nor Iran.
It also authorised an Argentine
judge to travel to Iran to question
the former officials accused of
The Jewish centre bombing
came two years after an attack
against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people.
rgentine growers hoarding soybeans to protect
themselves from inflation
are hurting both state and farm
income in the world’s No. 3 exporter of the oilseed, a top government official said.
The South American country
pioneered the use of plastic horizontal silos to stockpile grains.
Growers are hanging onto soybeans, which are priced in US
dollars, as a hedge against annual
inflation estimated by the government at 24% but seen as much
higher by private economists.
“Farm groups have opportunistically begun speculating against
the government by advising growers to hoard grains at the same
time that prices are going down,”
Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich
told a news conference. “This generates a loss of income for both the
country and for growers.”
The white bags that run for
tens of metres and have come to
dot the Pampas grains belt are
sometimes ripped open by vandals. Asked about the vandalism
by a reporter, Capitanich said it
was a problem for local police,
not the national government.
“Farmers are free to do what
they want, but they are also responsible for every one of their
actions,” he said.
International shipments of
soybeans, Argentina’s main cash
crop, are taxed at 35%, and currency controls force Argentine
exporters to convert dollar income into local pesos.
The farm sector is a key source
of central bank foreign reserves
used by President Cristina Fernandez to finance Latin America’s
ailing No 3 economy. Repeated
sovereign bond defaults and
heavy-handed trade controls
have pushed gross domestic
product into negative territory
while inflation rages.
Fernandez has been at loggerheads with the farm sector since
her government was shaken by
massive protests against her tax
policies in 2008. The feud deepened recently when the country’s main state-controlled bank
cut off credit to growers found to
be stockpiling soy and corn.
The Rosario grains exchange
in Argentina forecasts the country’s 2014-15 soy harvest at a
record 55mn tonnes.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Facing public ire, Pakistan promises to solve fuel crisis soon
facing public anger over
severe petrol shortages,
promised yesterday the crisis
that has led to long queues outside petrol stations would be
solved within a week.
Already frustrated by crippling electricity and gas shortages, Pakistanis have accused
the government of not acting fast
enough to preempt a decrease in
domestic fuel supplies at a time
of falling global oil prices.
The crisis started this month
when the cash-starved state fuel
importer slashed petrol imports
by half and skipped overseas fuel
oil purchases altogether, worsening power cuts and leading
to petrol shortages around the
“From today we have
started buying 15,000
metric tonnes of petrol
and in the next 5-6 days it
will be much easier to buy
“This is the height of incompetence and gross mismanagement by the government,” said
opposition senator Saeed Ghani.
The anger over the government’s handling of the crisis has
added to the list of problems facing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his authority already weakened by months of opposition
protests last year.
At a meeting chaired by Sharif
yesterday, the government decided to buy additional petrol to
defuse the crisis.
“From today we have started
buying 15,000 metric tonnes of
petrol and in the next 5-6 days
it will be much easier to buy
petrol,” said Petroleum Minister
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The state importer says it
buys up to 90% of fuel oil and
petrol abroad, but this month it
was forced to cut purchases because it had not been paid by its
customers on time.
The government subsidises
electricity, but rarely pays the
subsidies to power companies on
time. They, in turn, cannot pay
for their fuel imports, leading to
a buildup of unpaid bills referred
to as “circular debt”.
Some ambulance services
were forced to suspend their
work because of fuel shortages,
media reported. On the streets,
disgruntled motorists said they
were running out of patience.
“This government should be
ashamed of itself,” said one man,
Akhlaq Ahmed. “How can they
run this country if they can’t
even manage petrol distribution
in the capital?”
Pakistani motorists queue at a petrol station in Lahore. Delayed oil consignments have left large areas of
the country facing major fuel shortages.
of Lakhvi
by 30 days
Cop guarding
polio workers
shot in Karachi
wounded a policeman
who was guarding a
polio vaccination team in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi,
the latest in a series of attacks
on the teams in the country.
The attack took place on
the first day of a four-day
local anti-polio campaign
in the western neighbourhood of Orangi. Unidentified
gunmen riding a motorbike
opened fire at the team and
then fled, police said.
“Two gunmen opened fire
at the policeman who was on
duty to guard the vaccinators,” Ali Asif, a senior police official in the area, said,
adding that the vaccination
campaign in the area had now
been postponed. The policeman is critically ill.
akistan government yesterday extended the detention of Zakiur Rehman
Lakhvi, Mumbai terror attack
‘mastermind’, by 30 days under
the Maintenance of Public Order
(MPO), a media report said.
Lakhvi has been behind bars
since February 19, 2009, after
an FIR was registered with the
Federal Investigation Agency
against him for allegedly training terrorists and facilitating the
2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Yesterday, the federal government, however, extended his detention in the Adiala Jail under
the MPO ordinance, the Dawn
During the hearing, Islamabad’s Deputy Commissioner
(DC) Mujahid Sher Dil informed
the court that Lakhvi’s detention has been extended by the
government under the MPO ordinance for 30 more days.
The high court bench, hearing
a plea filed by Lakhvi’s counsel
against the detention under the
MPO, had sought the government’s reply over it. The case will
be heard again January 26.
Earlier in the day, a division
bench of the anti-terrorism
court here, comprising Justice
Noorul Haq and Justice Shaukat
Aziz Siddiqui, resumed the hearing on a plea filed by the government against grant of bail to Lakhvi.
Federal Investigation Agency’s
prosecutor Mohamed Azhar
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi
Chaudhry told the court that two
countries have demanded handing over of Lakhvi to India.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui
replied that this was a diplomatic issue, which needs to be
addressed by the government.
An FIA petition had challenged the December 18 decision
of an anti-terrorism court (ATC)
in Islamabad which granted bail
to Lakhvi.
Chaudhry urged the court to
hold hearings against grant of
bail to Lakhvi on an urgent basis.
Lakhvi was arrested in February 2009 and indicted along
with six others on November 25,
2009, for planning and helping
to carry out the Mumbai terror
attack. The six other men facing
trial for their alleged involvement are Hammad Amin Sadiq,
Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal
and Abdul Majid.
At the time of the attacks,
Lakhvi was believed to be the
operational head of the banned
Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) that has
been accused by India of being
the perpetrator.
Afghan demonstrators set a French flag on fire during a protest against the printing of satirical sketches of the Prophet Muhammad by
French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Jalalabad yesterday.
Anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters
burn French flag in Afghanistan
undreds of people in
demonstrated yesterday against the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, burning a
French flag and calling for the
government to cut diplomatic
relations with France.
The demonstrators in the
city of Jalalabad, the capital of
Nangarhar province, chanted
anti-France slogans and vowed
to defend Islam after the magazine featured a cartoon of the
Prophet Muhammad on the
cover of its first issue following
the deadly attack on its Paris
office by two jihadist brothers.
“I call on the Afghan government and other Islamic countries to cut off their diplomatic
ties with France,” Matiullah
Ahmadzai, 25, one of the demonstrators said.
“We want the French Embassy in Kabul closed. France
should apologise to Muslim
countries,” he said.
Another protester Noor Ahmad Noorani said they had taken to the streets “to defend the
holy religion of Islam”.
The protesters also carried
placards reading “I love you
Muhammad” and “We wont
keep silent”.
A few hundred people demonstrated last week in the central Afghan province of Uruzgan, praising the gunmen and
criticising President Ashraf
Ghani’s condemnation of the
On January 7th, two gunmen with ties to jihadist groups
in Yemen and Syria attacked
Charlie Hebdo’s office, killing 12
people, including the editor of
the magazine.
The attackers were shot dead
by police after a three-day
The satirical magazine had
enraged many Muslims around
the world with its repeated
publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.
In neighbouring Pakistan,
protests against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
were held across the country on
Sunday as thousands of people
in almost all major cities chanted slogans against its printing
of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Afghan Taliban last week
also condemned the publication
of the cartoons, and praised the
two brothers who were behind
the deadly attack.
Afghan leader
in Cabinet
he Afghan president’s
bid to form a cabinet
nearly four months after taking office ran into fresh
trouble yesterday after his
candidate for finance minister withdrew and doubt was
cast over as many as 11 nominees believed to hold dual
President Ashraf Ghani is
hoping to finalise a 25-member ministerial team after
overcoming disagreements
with his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, who shares
control over appointments
under the deal to share power following a disputed election.
Psychological support needed for school attack victims
anyal Ali, a student at
the Army Public School,
has grown quiet. The 4th
grader who saw the massacre of
his class fellows at the hands of
militants last month has been
exhibiting “visible behaviour
changes”, according to his father.
“Danyal used to be an active
and naughty child”, said his father, Mushtaq Ali. “But since
the attack he has grown absentminded and reflective.” Danyal’s response to the massacre
is indicative of the community’s
psychological state.
On December 16, seven militants stormed the Army Public
School, killing 151 people including 134 children. The Tehrik-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), a major
militant group fighting Pakistani
security agencies, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The carnage at the school in
Peshawar, capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, shocked the world. It will
have far-reaching psychological
impact and consequences for
children that witnessed the gory
incident and families that lost
children, according to psychiatrists.
Dr Mian Iftikhar Hussain, a
Peshawar based psychiatrist,
said that the incident will continue to haunt the children, their
parents and family members for
a long time to come.
“Students and their parents
have developed post-traumatic
stress disorder, depression and
anxiety”, said Iftikhar.
Numan Khan, a sixth grade
student, was traumatized to the
extent that he did not speak for
two days after the incident. “He
is still very afraid,” said his father
Haroon Khan. “We had to struggle to get him to talk so he can
come out of the shock.”
Haroon Khan had two sons
who were at the school when
militants attacked. The family
says both are still traumatized
and scared. “They ask me not
to leave home, something they
never did in the past”, Haroon
Children may have been visibly traumatised the worst, according to the psychiatrist Dr
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, but their
parents are equally suffering, albeit silently.
File photo of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accompanied by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, visiting a
victim of the Peshawar Army School attack.
Haroon, for instance, is having trouble sleeping at night and
his appetite has disappeared conditions that are symptoms of
depression and anxiety, according to Dr Iftikhar.
“I can’t sleep at night”, said
Haroon. “I keep thinking about
the security of my children and
the incident, which I’ll never
forget for the rest of his life.”
Like most parents exhibiting
post-traumatic stress, Haroon
has vivid memories of that day
that continue to haunt him: “I
reached the school immediately
after the attack. I heard gunshots and blasts but could not
do anything. I will never forget
the helplessness, insecurity and
sadness I felt during the hours I
waited outside the school, hoping and praying my children
would come out safe.”
According to Iftikhar, feeling
of hopelessness, helplessness,
grief and vulnerability has increased among the parents. He
said the attack was devastating
and unprecedented and would
have immediate, short and longterm psychological impact upon
children, parents, their friends
and family members.
Arshad Alam, a lawyer who has
two nephews in the school that
survived the incident, said that
the attack has shattered his sister, the boys’ mother. “She has
become so insecure that she has
decided to join the school as a
helper so she can be with her kids
all the time,” said Arshad Alam.
In view of the severity of the
incident, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS)
will soon be starting counselling sessions on “post-traumatic
stress management” for children
who survived the attack, said an
NHS release.
The ministry of NHS has
formed a committee with members from the Army Medical
Corps, psychiatrists from Peshawar and Islamabad and representatives from the UN agencies
- the World Health Organization
and Unicef, the United Nation’s
fund for children.
The committee will chalk
out a plan for comprehensive
counselling of children from the
Army Public School and their
parents. It will also organise
counselling sessions for children
of other schools.
Iftikhar stressed the need for
immediate psychological treatment of parents and students
that were injured and survived
the attack.
“Immediate intervention will
help prevent post-traumatic
stress disorder and full-blown
psychological disorders in future”,
said Dr Iftikhar. “Psychological
support should also be provided
to children in other parts of the
country who, although geographically distant, may still be troubled by the gory incident.” According to a 2009 World Health
Organisation report “Mental
Health System in Pakistan”, Pakistan only had 342 psychiatrists
and 478 psychologists.
“The government needs to put
together all its resources and immediately start rehabilitation of
children and their families,” said
Dr Abdul Ghafoor, the former
Director Health Services, Khyber
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Nation confronts
teen pregnancies,
unsafe abortions
Pope Francis passes Catholic devotees in his “Popemobile” on his way to Villamor Airbase in Manila yesterday.
Pope Francis concludes
record-setting tour to Asia
asses of cheering believers in the Philippines turned out to bid
farewell to Pope Francis yesterday, a fitting end to a week in
Asia that saw him draw record
crowds and campaign relentlessly for the poor.
The pontiff visited Sri Lanka
as well as the Philippines on
his second trip to Asia in five
months, seeking to promote the
Catholic Church in one of its
most important growth regions.
More than 1mn people gathered along his motorcade route
in the Philippine capital of Manila yesterday morning for a final glimpse of Francis, the city’s
planning agency chief, said
Francis Tolentino.
showed no signs of fatigue from
a gruelling week on the road,
smiling and waving to the crowds
from an open-air “Popemobile”
on the way to the airport.
President Benigno Aquino
then led a red-carpet farewell on
the tarmac, as children sang and
danced, before the Pope gave
a final wave to the Philippines
and boarded his plane to return
Sunday saw one of the highlights of his Asian journey, with
Students perform during the departure of Pope Francis at Villamor Air Base in Pasay city, Metro Manila.
6mn people turning out in Manila as he celebrated mass — a
world record for a papal gathering. The Philippines is famed as
the Catholic Church’s bastion
in Asia, with 80% of the former
Spanish colony’s 100mn people
following the faith.
But even the Pope was
stunned at the size of the crowd,
which surpassed the previous
world record of 5mn set during a
mass by John Paul II at the same
venue in 1995.
“I cannot fathom the faith of
the simple people,” Francis said,
according to the archbishop of
Estrada ‘close to winning
disqualification case’
By Jomar Canlas
Manila Times
anila Mayor Joseph
“Erap” Estrada is reportedly one vote shy
of the needed number of votes to
win his disqualification case at
the Supreme Court (SC).
Sources at the High Court told
Manila Times yesterday that at
least six associate justices do not
want Estrada disqualified.
The SC en banc is set to vote
tomorrow (January 21), on
whether to disqualify or retain
Estrada as Manila mayor.
Alicia Risos-Vidal, the lawyer of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who also intervened
in the case, filed the disqualification case against the former
president. Estrada needs at least
seven votes to win since only
14 of the 15 justices will decide
on the case. Associate Justice
Francis Jardeleza earlier decided
to inhibit himself. Meanwhile,
two associate justices have al-
ready circulated their dissenting
opinions against the draft decision penned by Associate Justice
Marvic Leonen, who wanted to
disqualify Estrada.
Leonen, who was designated
to study whether Estrada should
be ousted, has opined that the
Manila mayor should be disqualified because of his conviction for
the crime of plunder. He said the
presidential pardon given to Estrada by then-President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo was conditional, not absolute.
Associate Justice Jose Catral
Mendoza has submitted to the SC
en banc his draft opinion, which
dissents from the Leonen draft,
the High Court sources said. Associate Justice Arturo Brion has
also circulated his dissenting
opinion against the Leonen draft,
the sources added.
This newspaper has learned
that Mendoza’s dissenting opinion states that Estrada should not
be disqualified because the pardon bestowed by Arroyo was an
“absolute pardon.”
Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio
Tagle, who acted as the pontiff ’s
chaperone during his five days in
the Philippines.
Throughout his stay in the
Philippines -- where a quarter
of the population lives on 60 US
cents a day or less -- the Pope
spoke out against the forces that
entrench poverty.
In a speech at the presidential
palace, the leader of the Catholic Church lectured the nation’s
elite, calling on political leaders
to show integrity and do something to end the nation’s “scandalous social inequalities”.
He again implored people to
do more to eradicate poverty,
after an emotional encounter in
Manila with a 12-year-old girl
who asked why God would allow
children to become prostitutes.
He said superficial compassion for the poor shown by many
in the world, which amounts to
just giving alms, was not enough.
“If Christ had that kind of
compassion, he would have just
walked by, greeted three people, given them something and
moved on,” he said.
The Pope said the main reason for visiting the Philippines
was to meet survivors of super
typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm ever recorded on land
which hit the country in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350
people dead or missing.
He flew on Saturday morning from Manila to Leyte island,
ground zero for the typhoon, and
celebrated a deeply emotional
mass with 200,000 survivors.
“Some of you have lost part of
your families. All I can do is keep
silent. And I walk with you all
with my silent heart,” he said.
Francis had planned to spend
a full day in communities where
homes were flattened by monster winds and tsunami-like
ocean surges, but was forced to
return at lunchtime to Manila to
avoid another tropical storm.
Still, he was deeply moved
by his shortened visit to the typhoon areas and felt privileged
to have made the trip, Cardinal
Tagle told reporters.
Shortly after the Pope left,
Tagle said the pontiff ’s message
during the trip was clear.
“The centrality of love for the
poor. The centrality of appreciating children who are helpless.
How do we face the inequalities,”
Tagle said.
The Pope began his Asian
tour with two days in Sri Lanka,
where he canonised the country’s first saint in front of another record crowd.
dna Rabanito teared
up as she recalled the
names she picked for her
child, had she not terminated
her first pregnancy five years
Now a mother of two, Rabanito said she prays and
lights a candle for her unborn
child whenever she can.
“I still wonder whether
it would have been a boy or
a girl,” the petite and lively
20-year-old said, blinking
away the tears.
“If I had a boy, I wanted
to name him John Felix after
mine and my husband’s father’s. If I had a girl, it would
have been Sophia Kristine.”
Rabanito said she was only
15-years-old when she got
pregnant by her boyfriend,
with whom she now has two
The couple share a tiny
room with their children and
relatives in a rundown building in the slum community of
Tondo in Manila. She works
at a Catholic training institute sewing stuffed toys,
while her 26-year-old boyfriend does odd jobs at construction sites.
“I wasn’t ready when I first
got pregnant so I decided
to abort the baby,” she said.
“I was already four months
pregnant when I finally went
through with it.”
Abortion is illegal in the
Philippines and the Catholic
Church condemns the termination of pregnancies even in
circumstances when the life
of a mother is endangered.
While he has taken what
some see as a softer line
on the issue of gays in the
Church, Pope Francis — who
visited the Philippines — has
described abortion as “horrific” and a “sin against the
Despite the ban, an estimated half a million abortions are performed each
year, with a growing number
of them involving unwanted
teenage pregnancies, according to health advocates.
Nearly 40% of complications arising from unsafe
abortions occur among the
youth, the health department
The Philippines has the
highest rate of increase in
teenage pregnancy compared
to other South-East Asian
countries in recent years,
according to the National
Youth Commission.
“More than 12% of mothers who gave birth in 2010
are 19-years-old and below,” commissioner Percival
Cendana said. That was up
7% from 10 years earlier.
“What is more alarming is
while the country is registering a spike in incidence, the
rates of teenage pregnancy
in other countries in the region are actually declining,”
he said. Cendana blamed the
spike on the lack of reproductive health education and
youth services.
But he said he hoped a
contraceptive law approved
in 2012 but only put into effect in April would help protect young women.
The law requires the government to allocate funds to
provide free contraceptives
for poor women, and mandates the inclusion of reproductive health and sex education in school curricula.
Health Secretary Janette
Garin warned that pregnant
teenagers face high risks of
health complications that
could lead to maternal death,
neonatal death, premature
births and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Teenage pregnancy increases the risk of girls dropping out of school and facing
limited economic opportunities in the future because
child care demands keep
them out of school,” she said.
Garin said the 2012 law —
adopted despite strong opposition from the Catholic
Church and long-delayed in
practice due to legal challenges — meant thousands
more girls now had access to
information on how they can
avoid getting pregnant.
“We can no longer just tell
them to abstain from sex,”
she said.
“We need to give them the
correct tools and information to overcome the desires
that the young have.”
Rica Butlig was only
16-years-old when she got
pregnant by her boyfriend,
who was married to someone
The mother of a threemonth-old girl said she did
not know about methods to
stop herself getting pregnant.
“I had to drop out of school
and now I don’t know if I will
ever be able to study again,”
said the 17-year-old whose
dream was to be a teacher.
“I lost so much with one
mistake of mine and I really
regret it.”
Butlig admitted that she
thought about getting an
abortion, but changed her
mind when her parents
promised to support her.
“I would have committed a
bigger sin if that happened,”
she added.
The father is now in jail for
selling drugs.
While she no longer has
a boyfriend, Butlig said she
hopes to soon get a birth
control implant to protect
her from getting pregnant for
three years.
“I want to be able to raise
my daughter well, so I need
to get a job,” she said.
“I want to be able to provide for her needs. I need to
think about her now.”
For Rabanito, her abortion
still haunts her conscience
Euphoria quickly fades in typhoon zone
incent Basiano sang and
cheered along with a sea
of other joyous typhoon
survivors as Pope Francis celebrated mass on a rainy Philippine day, but all too quickly the
euphoria passed.
Basiano lost his shanty home
when super typhoon Haiyan,
the most powerful storm recorded on land, claimed thousands of lives in poor fishing
and farming communities 14
months ago.
As soon as the Pope heard
about the disaster, he vowed to
travel to the mainly Catholic
Philippines and visit the millions of survivors.
On the weekend he fulfilled
that commitment, celebrating a
deeply emotional mass with Basiano and about 200,000 other
people in Tacloban, one of the
worst-hit cities.
“While I was there in the
presence of the Pope, the joy
was overflowing,” Basiano, 32,
Pope Francis has lunch with some typhoon Haiyan survivors at the
archdiocese in Palo near Tacloban airport on Saturday.
said a few hours later as heavy
rain fell on his new shanty made
of scrap wood and tin.
“But when I got home, it
was back to reality. Here comes
another typhoon. We try to
take this reality in stride, being vulnerable to the dangers of
typhoons, but we also need to
The Pope had to cut short
Saturday’s trip to Tacloban and
other areas devastated by Haiyan because of another storm,
and he flew back to Manila leaving millions like Basiano to continue with their struggle.
In Basiano’s Anibong village
in Tacloban, 500 families are
crammed into shanties and they
were all preparing for another
brutal night as Tropical Storm
Mekkhala passed.
Haiyan killed or left missing more than 7,350 people, in
the deadliest natural disaster
of 2013, and it will take many
years if not lifetimes for the
region to recover. Scars from
Haiyan are still visible across
Tacloban, with many still living in temporary shelters, while
ruins of homes, buildings and
decapitated coconut trees line
the roads.
In Anibong, the bow of a ship
lies beached dozens of metres
(yards) from the shore, almost
touching the highway, a reminder of Haiyan’s monster
winds and tsunami-like waves
that wiped out entire villages.
“If the Pope had visited here,
he would have been shocked
with what he saw,” said Ofelia Villarmenta, a 37-year-old
mother of eight.
Villarmenta said she would
have loved to have gone to the
mass and been blessed by the
Pope, but she stayed home to
pack her family’s clothes before they moved out of their tiny
home to a storm shelter.
“We have not rebuilt our
homes here because we have
no money,” said Villarmenta,
whose fish vendor-husband was
out of work for almost a year after Haiyan struck.
Basiano said he was out of
work for more than a year after
Haiyan as the huge waves demolished the computer school
where he taught, forcing him to
rely on his meat vendor father,
who supports a household of 14.
“We didn’t buy clothes and
other material things for a year,
just rice,” said Basiano, who
only found work, as a community worker with an aid group, this
month. Villarmenta said she and
her husband relocated to Manila
after Haiyan but returned to Tacloban several months later.
“We ended up selling fish in
Manila like we do here, so we
just went home so we can be
with family,” she said.
Still, Basiano said the Pope’s
visit had given renewed hope to
storm survivors, and he said he
expected it jolt the government
to quicken the painfully slow
pace of rebuilding the region.
“Because of the sympathy
showed by the Pope. We Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors are holding on to hope,” he said.
“He gave us a voice and
strengthened our faith,” he said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Bangladesh police end
confinement of Zia
angladeshi police arrested four suspected
members of Islamic
State in the capital, Dhaka,
yesterday, including a regional
co-ordinator for the militant
group who told police they had
been trained in Pakistan.
Reports of the growing influence of Islamic State, which
controls territory in Syria and
Iraq, have raised alarm bells
across South Asia, though it
remains unclear whether militants organising under the Islamic State name in the region
are acting on their own or as
part of a centralised initiative
coming out of the Middle East.
“We arrested them in the
city early on Monday, carrying
a huge number of leaflets related to militancy for training,
a laptop and other materials,”
Shaikh Nazmul Alam, deputy
police commissioner with
Dhaka’s detective and criminal intelligence division, told
The suspected co-ordina-
ended its confinement of
opposition leader Khaleda Zia after a surge in political
violence left 27 people dead, but
her party vowed to continue a
nationwide transport blockade.
Zia had been barred from leaving her office for the last 16 days
to prevent her from spearheading protests aimed at toppling
her arch-rival, Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina.
Zia’s office in Dhaka’s upmarket Gulshan district were stood
down yesterday, while two police
vans and a water cannon parked
outside were removed.
“We’ve withdrawn the additional security from her office after midnight,” local police
chief Rafiqul Islam said, adding that the former two-time
premier was now free to leave.
The siege at her office sparked
a renewed upsurge in political
unrest around the country that
left 27 people dead and hundreds
Zia’s opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) confirmed the security had been
removed but vowed yesterday
to push ahead with the transport blockade which she called
during her confinement.
The blockade has seen opposition activists firebomb buses,
cars and lorries across the country, while police have retaliated
by firing bullets and tear gas.
“The BNP-led 20-party opposition alliance’s transport
blockade will continue until the
government agrees to our demand,” said party spokesman
Sayrul Kabir Khan.
“At the moment, there is no
security outside her office,”
Khan added.
The blockade has hit the im-
4 suspected
IS members
tor, whom police identified
as Mohammad Sakhawatul
Kabir, told police that he and
the other three men had received training in Pakistan,
Alam said.
The Pakistan army was
not immediately available for
Alam said Kabir told police
while under interrogation that
the cell he ran from Dhaka was
planning to collect funds and
weapons for attacks on Bangladesh government targets.
“The aim of the attacks was
to establish a caliphate state in
Bangladesh,” Alam said.
Police in Bangladesh,
which has been in the throes
of a political crisis since
controversial elections last
January, have arrested eight
people for suspected involvement with Islamic State
in the past year.
“Of course this is a growing
concern, particularly at a time
when the country has been experiencing a politically unstable situation,” said Sakhawat
Hussain, a retired army brigadier and a security analyst in
More online messaging services blocked
A rickshaw-puller ferrying schoolchildren past the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) office after police ended the confinement of
opposition leader Khaleda Zia and its personnel withdrawn from the premises’ vicinity in Dhaka yesterday.
poverished nation’s economy
hard, with shipments of garments from its thousands of
factories disrupted. Bangladesh
is the world’s second largest
garment exporter after China.
Transport operators estimate
they are losing $26mn a day,
while millions of dollars worth of
crops have rotted in the fields.
A total of 238 vehicles have
been torched since January 4 and
another 307 damaged, according
to Bengali daily Prothom Alo.
Zia wants Hasina to call fresh
polls after last year’s controver-
sial general election, which was
boycotted by opposition parties on the grounds it would be
rigged and was marred by deadly
The boycott meant most
members of the 300-seat parliament were returned unopposed,
handing Hasina another five
years in power.
Zia has also demanded the release of opposition officials and
leaders detained in a crackdown
against the latest violence. The
BNP says at least 2,000 of its activists have been arrested.
Yesterday police arrested
Nadim Mostofa, a BNP leader in the northwestern city of
As part of the crackdown, authorities have blocked smartphone messaging services Viber
and Tango to prevent protesters
from co-ordinating attacks.
Hasina has accused bitter rival
Zia of trying to trigger “anarchy”
and ordered the security agencies to hunt down the protesters
behind the firebombings.
Facing relentless opposition
protests, Hasina’s government
has also threatened to bring
murder charges against Zia for
inciting violence.
Hasina and Zia, who have between them ruled Bangladesh for
most of the last three decades,
have a notoriously poisonous
The United States, Britain and
the European Union have expressed concern over the unrest.
The EU, the nation’s biggest export destination, has urged Hasina’s government and the opposition to hold talks to resolve
the crisis.
Bangladeshi authorities ordered
the suspension of three more
mobile apps services yesterday
after requests by law enforcement
agencies, officials said.
The Telecommunication
Regulatory Commission told
the mobile phone operators
and other internet service
providers to suspend voice and
text message services through
WhatsApp, Line and mypeople.
“The services will remain
suspended until further notice,”
commission secretary Sarwar
Alam said.
Regulators are also watching
other online services, he said.
On Sunday, the government
blocked services through mobile
apps Viber and Tango over
security concerns.
The voice and messaging
services were reportedly used by
vandals earlier this month to coordinate criminal activity without
being traced by police.
The move came after more than 20
people were killed following a call
by opposition leader Khaleda Zia for
a nationwide transport blockade.
Zia, who has been seeking a fresh
election under a non-partisan
caretaker administration, called
the strike after she was prevented
from joining a rally on the first
anniversary of the election that
she boycotted.
Lanka bans top judge from
conference over coup claim
ri Lanka’s attorney general barred the country’s
chief justice from attending a regional conference yesterday after allegations he tried
to help the former president retain power illegally.
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris
is under growing pressure to
stand down after he was implicated in an alleged coup
attempt by former president
Mahinda Rajapakse, who lost
power in an election earlier this
Sri Lanka’s bar association had threatened to boycott
the Conference of Attorneys
General, held in Colombo
yesterday, if he attended.
“We have a written confirmation from the AG (attorney
general) that the chief justice
(Peiris) was de-invited,” the
head of the bar association
Upul Jayasuriya said.
“We said we will walk out if
Mohan Peiris is present, and
that would have been a big
Rajapakse appointed Peiris
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, centre, attending the
Conference of Attorneys General in the capital Colombo yesterday.
after impeaching the previous
chief justice Shirani Bandaranayake when her rulings went
against his administration.
New President Maithripala
Sirisena, who was sworn in on
January 9, has vowed to restore
Bandaranayake to the role.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into claims
that the defeated strongman
Rajapakse tried to use military
force to stay in power.
There was no immediate
comment from the chief jus-
tice, who was with the president as the elections results
began to emerge and is accused
of trying to legitimise a state of
The new Sri Lankan government yesterday said it would
keep the army stationed in the
northern part of the country
and give priority to national
Sri Lankan State Minister
of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena said that after President
Maithripala Sirisena won the
January 8 presidential election, there were several false
reports that the army would be
withdrawn from the north.
According to a Xinhua report, Wijewardena said President Sirisena had made it
clear from the day he won the
presidential election that he
will not allow the country to
be divided.
There were concerns over
a possible withdrawal of the
army from north Sri Lanka after
Sirisena won the presidential
election, as he was supported
by the country’s main minority
Tamil political party, the Tamil
National Alliance, which has
been pushing for a reduction in
the army presence in the north,
following the end of the war
with the rebel Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The rebels were defeated in
May 2009, but the former government had refused to diminish the army’s presence in the
Wijewardena said the new
government would ensure that
the security forces were treated
with respect and given all the
facilities they might require.
China hopeful of further co-operation with Lanka
hina said yesterday it
hoped for continued
“co-operation” with Sri
Lanka despite a pledge by the
new government in 5Colombo
to review Chinese infrastructure projects awarded under the
previous administration.
The remarks by China’s foreign ministry come two days
after a junior Sri Lankan minister said President Maithripala
Sirisena’s government would
look at benchmarks for Chinese
infrastructure costs using independent audit firms.
That move is bound to please
Indian and Western powers
concerned about Beijing’s access in the island state.
Chinese foreign ministry
spokesman Hong Lei said cooperation between China and
Sri Lanka was “based on mu-
tual benefit and in the common
interests” of the two sides.
“We hope and believe that
the relevant co-operation between China and Sri Lanka
can further press ahead with
a healthy and stable development,” Hong told reporters.
On Friday, Sri Lanka said it
would review a $1.5bn port deal
with China Communication Construction Co over concerns about
the Chinese company getting
land on a freehold basis in a high-
security zone. That port project
had been of particular concern for
India, the destination for the majority of the transshipment cargo
through Colombo.
Former president Mahinda
Rajapakse, who was unseated
on January 8, heavily depended
on China for infrastructure in
the wake of a devastating civil
war. He has borrowed over
$6bn for mega projects since
the end of a 26-year conflict in
May 2009.
Demonstrators holding torches try to break through a police barricade as they take part in a torch
rally in Kathmandu yesterday. The rally was called by various opposition parties, including the Unified
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to demand that the draft of the new constitution is done on time
through consensus.
Nepal Maoist chief warns
of conflict over charter
epal’s Maoist leader
warned yesterday of
“conflict” if ruling parties try to push through a constitution by a Thursday deadline
without opposition agreement,
and promised to press ahead
with a general strike.
The Maoists have ordered
factories, schools, colleges and
public transport to shut down on
Tuesday to protest at what they
say are the ruling parties’ plans
to hold a parliamentary vote
on disputed issues in the draft
The Maoists, now in opposition, say discussions must continue until a deal is hammered
out — even if that means missing
Thursday’s deadline.
“We are trying to forge con-
sensus ... there has to be consensus,” said Pushpa Kamal Dahal,
at a press conference.
“If the coalition takes a
forceful step towards a (vote)...
the country will move towards political conflict, and
we cannot let that happen,”
Dahal said.
Nepal has endured prolonged political limbo since
2006, when the Maoists ended
their decade-long insurgency
and signed a peace deal which
paved the way for elections two
years later.
Despite extensive discussions
since a November 2013 election and the appointment of a
new prime minister last February, political parties have failed
to make headway on disputed
issues in the national charter.
A key sticking point concerns internal borders, with
the opposition pushing for new
provinces to be created along
lines that could favour historically marginalised communities
such as the “untouchable” Dalit
caste and the Madhesi ethnic
Other parties have attacked
this model, calling it too divisive
and a threat to national unity.
Police arrested more than
70 protesters last week for
attacking vehicles or coercing shopkeepers to close
their stores during a Maoistled strike in the Himalayan
nation’s capital.
Dahal warned security forces
against cracking down on his
supporters on Tuesday, saying
the state would “be responsible
for the consequences”.
The strike is backed by a hardline group which split from the
main Maoist party in June 2012,
accusing its leaders of betraying
their radical principles.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
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Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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Qatar comes under
pressure after dismal
Asian Cup show
Qatar’s dismal showing at the Asian Cup will add to
the pressure on coach Djamel Belmadi and the football
federation as the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup
If Qatar fail to make it to the next World Cup in
Russia in 2018, they would be the first hosts since
the earliest days of the tournament never to have
competed in a finals before welcoming soccer’s
showpiece event to their own shores.
In very different times, Italy hosted the 1934 World
Cup without taking part in the first World Cup in
1930 but ever since, the host nation have earned the
right to play in a finals at least once before qualifying
automatically for their own tournament.
Qatar’s failure to progress beyond the group stage at
the Asian Cup after three defeats against just the sort
of countries they will need to beat to qualify for the
2018 World Cup makes this scenario now look highly
The man currently charged with building a squad
capable of competing at the very top table in 2018 and
2022 is former Marseille midfielder Belmadi, who took
over after Qatar failed
to reach last year’s
finals in Brazil.
The Algerian has
enjoyed some success in
his brief time in charge,
winning the West Asian
Football Federation
Championship last
January and the Gulf Cup in November, but his squad
simply foundered in Australia.
Stunned 4-1 by the United Arab Emirates in their
opener and beaten 1-0 by an effervescent Iran in their
second match, they spurned a string of chances and
lost 2-1 to Bahrain on Monday.
“We wanted to win a game here at least, we came
with a lot of expectation, we lost all three so obviously,
we are very disappointed. For the positive things, I will
think of those later,” Belmadi said.
“We had three competitions this year, we won two
of them. I’m not sure the Asian Cup performance is
about our level, maybe it is too much for us to play too
many competitions in one year.”
With an eye to the future, the Algerian brought a
young squad to Australia with only one of his 23 over
the age of 30.
“There are many things we need to fix in our country
and with our league, our federation, to give a chance to
these players to improve,” he added.
Further complicating Belmadi’s work is the fact that
the majority of forwards in the cash-rich domestic
league are foreigners, leaving him a dearth of talent,
especially in the attacking department, to select from.
The Qataris came closest to qualifying for the World
Cup in 1997 when, needing a draw from their last
qualifier against Saudi Arabia to get to France ‘98, they
lost 1-0.
Having gone through almost a coach a year since
then, Belmadi might not make it through to qualifying
for the 2018 World Cup, let alone the 2022 campaign.
“If you want to talk about football, talk to me. If you
want to talk about the future, talk to the Federation.”
We will know about that soon.
A ‘Merkel Plan’ will restart
economic growth in Europe
Burdened by the public debts
resulting from past mistakes,
eurozone governments know
what they need to do but not
how to do it
By Bill Emmott
ver since Europe’s economic
crisis erupted more than
four years ago, politicians
and pundits have clamoured
for a grand solution, often invoking
the example of America’s postwar
Marshall Plan, which, starting in 1948,
helped to rebuild Western Europe’s
shattered, debt-ridden economies.
But the political moment has never
been ripe. That could be about to
Europe’s situation today bears some
similarities to the 1940s. Burdened
by the public debts resulting from
past mistakes, eurozone governments
know what they need to do but not
how to do it. They mistrust each other
too much to collaborate.
Meanwhile, demand in most of
the European Union is weak, ruling
out the economic growth needed to
repay debts and offer hope to the 25mn
Parochial suspicion has been the
main obstacle to a grand solution. No
country’s taxpayers have wanted to
feel that they are paying for others’
excesses: the single currency did not
impose shared responsibility.
So creditor countries, led by
Germany, have sought to do the
minimum necessary to keep the euro
alive, while debtors have grumbled
impotently about Germany’s
insistence on fiscal austerity.
The two sides disagree about the
nature of the European sickness, and
when there is no agreement on the
diagnosis, it is hard to agree on a cure.
Yet a convergence may be at hand,
owing to developments in Greek,
Spanish and British politics, as well as
to the simple passage of time.
Greeks look poised to elect on
January 25 a government dominated
by the far-left Syriza party, which
once stood for repudiation of the
euro but now pledges to negotiate a
restructuring of Greece’s debts.
Spain’s most popular party ahead
of the general election due at the end
of this year is Podemos, which was
founded only in January 2014 and has
views similar to Syriza’s.
Europe’s situation
today bears some
similarities to the
And the United Kingdom’s election
in May will rock the European boat
by focusing on the question of when
Britain should hold a referendum on
whether to leave the EU.
These political rumbles worry
creditor countries, which is reflected
in the frequency of warnings from
Germany that any new Greek
government must adhere to existing
agreements. That is a sure indicator
that Germany fears that Syriza will not
do so. The bargaining has begun.
The passage of time ought to help
with this bargaining. Germany’s
formula for the euro crisis has been
to insist on fiscal belt-tightening
and structural reforms to reduce
future public spending on pensions
and wages, make labor markets more
flexible, and boost productivity, all in
return for emergency loans.
Since the crisis began, the main
recipients – Greece, Ireland, Spain,
and Portugal – have been following
that formula.
As a result, it is becoming possible,
in political terms, to say that the
debtors have taken their punishment
and have made their economies more
Economic growth has rebounded
strongly in Ireland, mildly in Spain
and Portugal, and meagerly in
What is now holding back these and
other European economies is weak
demand in the eurozone as a whole.
That is why a modern version of the
Marshall Plan is needed. Politically, it
would be smart if German Chancellor
Angela Merkel were to take the
initiative in proposing such a grand
solution, rather than being forced into
piecemeal, reluctant concessions by
new governments in Greece, Spain, or
It would be even smarter to share
that initiative with the leaders of
Europe’s other big economies: French
President François Hollande, who,
following the terrorist attacks earlier
this month, is perhaps especially
receptive to efforts to promote unity
and economic growth, and British
Prime Minister David Cameron, who
would welcome signs of European
A modern Marshall Plan should
have three main components:
First, sovereign debt in the eurozone
would be restructured to ease the pain
suffered by Greece and Spain.
Second, a collectively financed
public-investment program
would focus on energy and other
Third, a timetable for the
completion of single-market
liberalising reforms – notably for
service industries and the digital
economy – would be established.
In Germany, debt restructuring
would be the most controversial
component. But Germans should be
reminded that, along with Marshall
Plan funds for Western Europe, the
other big boost to Germany’s postwar
economic recovery came from debt
The London Agreement of 1953
cancelled 50% of Germany’s public
debt and restructured the other half
to give the country much longer to
Though a write-off of eurozone
debts would be politically difficult,
it would be possible to refinance a
large proportion with longer maturity
Eurobonds, which all eurozone
countries would underwrite.
What is crucial is that such a
remedy is extended to all eurozone
members, rather than singling out one
country (Greece).
By including the other components
of public investment and singlemarket completion, the Merkel Plan
(or, better, the Merkel-HollandeCameron Plan) would be able to restart
economic growth while opening
countries to more trade and greater
This addresses one of the principal
British complaints about the EU:
that it has so far failed to complete
the single market, a project partly
initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the
Of course, a modern Marshall
Plan would face a wall of scepticism
and obstruction by national interest
But, by standing together, European
officials could win that battle. And if
it is not tried, tomorrow’s Europeans
may never forgive today’s leaders. Project Syndicate,
zBill Emmott, a former editor of The
Economist, is executive producer of
The Great European Disaster Movie, to
be broadcast by the BBC on February 8
and Arte shortly thereafter.
Qatar finished
the tournament
with three
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many matches
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Iranian security forces standing guard during a protest against the printing of offensive sketches by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, outside the French
embassy in Tehran yesterday.
Internet fuels Charlie Hebdo conspiracy theories
By Tupac Pointu
ould the January 7 Charlie
Hebdo attack have been a
secret service operation,
or perhaps an anti-Muslim
plot? Many conspiracy theories found
their way onto the Internet within
hours of the Paris bloodbath.
Just as it did in the wake of the
September 11, 2001, attacks in the US,
the rumour machine moved into top
gear from the very moment the first
reports emerged.
Among the most frequently
mentioned is the apparent change in
colour of the rearview mirrors of a car
used by the Kouachi brothers - white
on an image taken near the Charlie
Hebdo office where they killed 12
people and black in a later image of the
abandoned vehicle.
Experts put the change down to
the fact that the mirrors were made
out of chrome, a material that can
change colour according to the light.
Other details providing rich material
for the conspiracy theorists included
the identity card mislaid by one of the
Kouachi brothers and the telephone
receiver not properly put back on
its hook at the supermarket where
gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four
people during a hostage siege two days
“We need education
about social
Even the route of the January 11
solidarity march through Paris has
been given dubious significance in
the minds of some, with claims that
it mirrored the outline of Israel’s
Emmanuel Taieb, a professor at
the Sciences-Po Lyon university in
central-eastern France and a specialist
in conspiracy plots, said that for many
the official interpretation of events as provided by the police, politicians
and analysts - was simply too dull.
“It is considered poor,
disappointing. So it is ruled out
or questioned in favour of a more
appealing, worrying analysis,” he said.
Observers say that young people,
for whom the Internet is their main
source of information, are particularly
vulnerable to believing everything
they read online.
Mohamed Tria, 49, a business
executive and president of the La
Duchere football club in a tough
area of Lyon, said the mainstream
interpretation of the attacks was far
from the norm in some places.
“I met around 40 kids aged between
13 and 15 in my club. I was astounded
by what I heard,” he said.
“They had not got their information
from newspapers, but from social
networks, it’s the only accessible
source for them and they believe what
they read there as if it is the truth,” he
Others said adults now have far less
control over what young people opt to
“For 30 years, 90% of what children
learned came from either their parents
or school. Now, it’s the other way
round. We need education about social
networks,” a teacher at a roundtable
discussion in the northern Paris
suburb of Sarcelles said last week.
For Guillaume Brossard, co-founder
of the website, a
site that allows people to check the
validity of information, it is as if the
self-expression made possible by
the Internet was custom-made for
rebellious teenagers.
“Adolescence is a time when one
needs to assert oneself and rebel
against adults, the established order,
society etc... Alternative theories are
therefore a wonderful area of selfexpression for them,” he said.
“The explosion of social networks
has seen what would once have been
classroom discussions take place on
Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram,” he
Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer in
information science in the western
city of Nantes, noted that established
media such as the daily Le Monde
responded fairly quickly on social
networks with counter-arguments
knocking down the various conspiracy
Speed was of the essence if a
balanced picture was to emerge, he
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Needed: more responsive policymaking
With the regulatory
system failing to evolve
accordingly, the
potential effectiveness of
some macro-prudential
policies has been
By Mohamed A El-Erian
Laguna Beach
hen I consider the
prospects for the global
economy and markets,
I am taken aback by
the extent to which the world has
collectively placed a huge bet on three
fundamental outcomes: a shift toward
materially higher and more inclusive
global growth, the avoidance of policy
mistakes and the prevention of market
Though all three outcomes
are undoubtedly desirable, the
unfortunate reality is that they are
far from certain – and bets on them
without some hedging could prove
exceedingly risky for current and
future generations.
The first component of the bet
– more inclusive global growth –
anticipates continued economic
recovery in the United States, with a
3% growth rate this year bolstered by
robust wage growth.
It also assumes China’s annual
growth rate will stabilise at 6.5-7%,
thereby enabling the risks posed
by pockets of excessive leverage
in the shadow-banking system to
be gradually defused, even as the
economy’s growth engines continue
to shift from exports and public
capital spending toward domestic
consumption and private investment.
Another, more uncertain
assumption underpinning the bet
The second component of the
collective bet – the avoidance of
policy mistakes – is similarly tenuous.
The fundamental assumption here
is that the untested, unconventional
policies adopted by central banks,
particularly in advanced countries,
to repress financial volatility and
maintain economic stability will
buy enough time for governments to
design and deliver a more suitable and
comprehensive policy response.
This experimental approach
by central banks has involved the
conscious decoupling of financialasset prices from their fundamentals.
The hope has been that more
buoyant market valuations would
boost consumption (via the “wealth
effect,” whereby asset-owning
households feel wealthier and
thus more inclined to spend) and
investment (via “animal spirits,”
which bolster entrepreneurs’
willingness to invest in new plant,
equipment, and hiring).
The problem is that the current
economic and policy configuration in
the developed world entails an unusual
amount of “divergence.”
With policy adjustments failing to
keep pace with shifts on the ground,
an appreciating dollar has assumed
the role of shock absorber.
But history has shown that such
sharp currency moves can, by
themselves, cause economic and
financial instability.
The final element of the world’s
collective bet is rooted in the belief
that excessive market risk-taking
has been tamed. But a protracted
period of policy-induced volatility
repression has convinced investors
that, with central banks on their side,
they are safe – a belief that has led to
considerable risk-positioning in some
segments of finance.
With intermediaries becoming
reluctant to take on securities that are
undesirable to hold during periods of
financial instability, market corrections
on more inclusive growth is that the
eurozone and Japan will be able to
escape the mire of low growth and
avoid deflation, which, by impelling
households and businesses to
postpone purchasing decisions, would
undermine already weak economic
Finally, the bet assumes that
oil-exporting countries like Nigeria,
Venezuela, and especially Russia will
fend off economic implosion, even as
global oil prices plummet.
These are bold assumptions –
not least because achieving these
outcomes would require considerable
economic reinvention, extending far
beyond rebalancing aggregate demand
and eliminating pockets of excessive
The fact is that
central banks do
not have the tools
to deliver rapid,
sustainable, and
inclusive growth on
their own
While the US and China are
significantly better placed than
others, most of these economies – in
particular, the struggling eurozone
countries, Japan, and some emerging
markets – would have to nurture
entirely new growth engines. The
eurozone would also have to deepen
That adds up to a tough reform
agenda – made all the more
challenging by adjustment fatigue,
increasingly fragmented domestic
politics, and rising geopolitical
tensions. In this context, a determined
shift toward markedly higher and
more inclusive global growth is far
from guaranteed.
can compound sudden and dramatic
price shifts, disrupting the orderly
functioning of financial systems.
So far, central banks have been
willing and able to ensure that these
periods are temporary and reversible.
But their capacity to continue to do
so is limited – especially as excessive
faith in monetary policy fuels
leveraged market positioning.
The fact is that central banks do
not have the tools to deliver rapid,
sustainable, and inclusive growth on
their own. The best they can do is extend
the bridge; it is up to other economic
policymakers to provide an anchoring
destination. A bridge to nowhere can go
only so far before it collapses.
The nature of financial risks has
morphed and migrated in recent years;
problems caused by irresponsible
banks and threats to the payment
and settlement systems have been
supplanted by those caused by risktaking among non-bank institutions.
With the regulatory system
failing to evolve accordingly, the
potential effectiveness of some
macro-prudential policies has been
None of this is to say that the
outlook for markets and the global
economy is necessarily dire; on the
contrary, there are notable upside risks
that could translate into considerable
and durable gains.
But understanding the world’s
collective bet does underscore the need
for more responsive and comprehensive
policymaking. Otherwise, economic
outcomes will remain, as former US
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke
put it in 2010, “unusually uncertain”. Project Syndicate
zMohamed A El-Erian, chief economic
adviser at Allianz and a member of its
International Executive Committee, is
chairman of President Barack Obama’s
Global Development Council and
the author, most recently, of When
Markets Collide.
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The six principles of sticky ideas
By Ahmed al-Akber
ow do you
make an
idea stick?
Twain noted: “A lie can get halfway
around the world before the
truth can even get its boots on.”
Meanwhile, people with valuable and
important ideas, struggle to make
their ideas stick. In the book Made
to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive
and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath
write about six principles to make
your ideas stick and help you get
your point across.
Simplicity: The essential core
of the idea needs to be explained.
Arguing a set of 10 points, even if
they are very strong ones, would not
be as effective as one outstanding,
universally understood point. The
Heaths cite a military concept called
Commander’s Intent (CI), a succinct
high-level statement of objectives
that accompanies any plan or order. A
sample CI might be “Break the will of
the enemy in Sector A”, which would
then be translated into more detailed
CI statements at the lower tactical
Commander’s Intent manages to
align the behaviour of soldiers at all
levels without requiring play-byplay instructions from their leaders.
“When people know the desired
destination, they’re free to improvise
as needed in arriving there.”
The goal of simplicity is to boil
ideas down to their absolute core.
Southwest Airlines does this when
they claim to be THE low-cost
airline. So much so that they have
been consistently profitable for
decades. What happens when
a marketing idea like serving
complimentary Greek Salads is
offered up to management? The
person with the idea is reminded
of their mission – which makes the
decision to say no much simpler.
Unexpected: How do we get an
audience to give us their attention?
We need to shake up conventional
ways of thinking. Telling them
what they already know won’t work
here. It needs to be unconventional,
surprising, and even disruptive. It
needs to get them curious, to the point
where they ask for more information.
One of the most powerful
speeches by Ronald Reagan was the
speech he gave at the Berlin wall,
trying to unify Germany, which
had been a divided country. The
most memorable words of that
speech came when he said to the
president of the then-USSR the
following words: General Secretary
Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you
seek prosperity for the Soviet Union
and Eastern Europe, if you seek
liberalisation, come here to this gate.
Mr Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr
Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Concreteness: Making your ideas
clear is another principle of sticky
ideas. Concrete ideas have no room
for the abstract and too much detail.
Here’s an example:
A simple mixture of salts and sugar
- oral rehydration therapy (ORT) - in
water can save lives in the developing
world. Instead of giving facts and
figures about how many can be saved,
its promoter carries with him a packet
of the power and whips it out to, say,
a group of prime ministers and says
“Do you know that this costs less than
a cup of tea and it can save hundreds
of thousands of children’s lives in your
To make ideas concrete, use sensory
information. Describe the sight,
sound, smell, touch and taste. For
years, KFC was known for its slogan
“Finger lickin’ good” and M&M’s used
“Melts in your mouth, not in your
Saying that the Moon is 384,000km
away from the Earth may sound like
a lot, but its difficult for the average
person to appreciate how far away
that is. We tend not to deal with those
kind of distances on a regular basis.
By making it more concrete, it can be
understood better. Saying that if you
drove that distance at highway speeds,
it would take you 145 days of solid
driving to get there. That makes the
concept more concrete, as it is a little
easier to imagine.
Credibility: Another challenge in
effective messaging is to get people
to believe in your ideas. Sticky ideas
need to be credible, and credibility
comes with providing proof. Why do
we need proof to begin with? Because
we group together in society. When
we see someone doing or choosing
something, especially if they are
similar to us or in our peer group, then
we tend to make the same choices
they make. That’s why high school
teenagers dress alike.
Similarly, when we look to make
a purchase decision, we look for
evidence before we decide as to
whether the decision to buy is a right
one. That’s why product reviews on are so critical to many.
In selling more complex services,
testimonials and case studies are a
way to provide credibility. These are
highlight reels, showing what other
people who were just like you are now
experiencing as a result of making a
decision to buy something that you
have the option to buy too.
Facts and hard figures are important
credibility tools. How much money
does your product save your average
client company? Using that in your
communication will greatly enhance
how its credibility.
Emotions: Why should people
care about your ideas? We buy with
our emotions, so our ideas should
trigger emotions. Emotions make your
audience care.
Think of advertisements you have
seen where a charity portrays someone
in need. They share with you their
hardships with you. Then they share
facts and figures about how many
people have these same hardships.
Finally, you are told about how you can
make a difference but contributing in
some way.
Business guru Alan Weiss says:
“Logic makes people think. Emotion
makes them act”. Speaking only to
people’s logical mind is the mistake
that a lot of marketers make when
they lead with the features of their
products and services. De-emphasise
those and make the emotional benefits
stand out.
Stories: This is where you empower
prospects to use an idea through a
narrative, by telling stories. Hearing
stories acts as a kind of mental flight
simulator preparing us to respond
more quickly and effectively. A
prospect can understand how you can
help them far better through a story
than a detailed explanation of what
your product or service does. Here’s
the difference:
1)“This is how we help people.
First we do this, and then we do that”.
Communicating like this is very
subjective, and doesn’t always trigger
the kind of interest that you would
want from a prospect.
2) “This is how we helped one
specific client. They had these kind of
problems, and we did this and that to
help solve them. They then had these
kind of results.” Communicating like
this, with stories, helps prospects to
understand how you can help them
much better.
zAhmed al-Akber is the managing
director of ACK Solutions, a
firm that helps companies to
improve their marketing and sales
results by offering more effective
ways attracting customers and
significantly better products
and services. Ahmed has worked
internationally in marketing, sales,
and strategic planning at companies
such as the Coca-Cola Company,
Philip Morris International and Dell.
Questions or comments can be sent to
Ahmed on
[email protected]
High: 19 C
Low: 12 C
Strong wind
High: 20 C
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High: 20 CC
Low : 14 C
Fishermen’s forecast
Wind: NW 18-25/28 KT
Waves: 6-9/12 Feet
Wind: NW 05-15 KT
Waves: 1-3/4 Feet
Around the region
Abu Dhabi
Kuwait City
P Cloudy
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Around the world
Cape Town
Hong Kong
New Delhi
New York
Sao Paulo
P Cloudy
S Showers
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Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
QU’s medical
college woos
atar University (QU) yesterday welcomed 179 prospective students interested in joining the new College of
Medicine (CMED). Admission to
the college will begin from February 22 to July 9.
The event drew over 250 attendees and was an opportunity
for the students and their parents
to meet the dean Dr Egon Toft,
faculty and staff, to learn more
about the college, its programme
and curriculum, and to articulate
their expectations and concerns.
The event followed an online
marketing campaign by the college which is seeking to admit up to
50 students in the first year. More
than 400 students, including over
50 Qatari nationals, have registered
their interest so far. Priority will
be given to Qatari students, and
to outstanding international students, especially long-term residents and students born in Qatar.
A presentation by CMED associate dean for Clinical Affairs
Dr Egon Toft giving a presentation.
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal gave the
students an insight into the world
of medicine and its contribution
to a healthy society and by extension, to national development and
progress. Ghada al-Kuwari, assistant dean for Student Affairs
explained admission criteria, student life and addressed students’
questions related to admission
and transfers.
A sideline exhibition featured information booths from
QU Admissions Department,
Scholarships Office, Honours
Programme, and Student Activities Department as well as HMC
“Doctors of the Future” programme that aims to attract students to the medical profession.
Dr Toft said: “This is a historic
day as it marks the first event for
the first national medical college
in the history of Qatar.”
Pointing to the college’s slogan
“National focus. International
standards”, he explained: “We are
national because our priorities
are based on the needs of the local
society; but we are also international because we are committed
to international quality standards
in everything we do from curriculum design to teaching and
research methods.”
He told the students that while
the English medium of instruction will give them access to the
latest advances in the medical
field, the focus on Arabic communication will enhance their ability
to communicate effectively with
patients. He added that the curriculum will be based on international best practice and that national traditions and culture will
be embraced within the teaching
and learning environment.
Dr al-Khal said: “I am confident that the College of Medicine will play a significant role in
helping Qatar meet its need for
highly-knowledgeable, compassionate and competent medical
doctors to support the health of
the community.”
Jaguar XE and Range Rain waterlogged roads cleared
Rover Sport SVR for A
Qatar Motor Show
aguar Land Rover Mena and
its exclusive importer in Qatar, Alfardan Premier Motors
Company, will reveal two of the
newest vehicles, Jaguar XE and
the Range Rover Sport SVR, to
the region in the fifth edition of
the Qatar Motor Show, scheduled
from February 6 to 10 at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
The new aluminium-intensive
Jaguar XE, described as the lightest, stiffest and most aerodynamic Jaguar saloon ever built,
will be on display. Bringing levels of innovation never seen before to the midsize segment, the
Jaguar XE is a true sports saloon
with class-leading dynamics, refinement and technology. With
its lightweight construction
expertise, sophisticated chassis technology in addition to the
new family of Ingenium engines,
the Jaguar XE is redefining the
concept of the sports saloon.
The Range Rover Sport SVR is
the first model to wear the SVR
designation being adopted by future Land Rover and Jaguar highperformance models. Accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.7
seconds with a top speed electronically limited to 260km/h,
the Range Rover Sport SVR is the
fastest and most powerful Land
Rover ever produced. Designed,
engineered and built in Britain,
this vehicle amplifies the engineering integrity; robustness and
attention to detail that are Land
Rover hallmarks.
Showcased along these stunning
models will be Jaguar Land Rover’s
2015 model year range of vehicles,
one of the company’s most exciting
line-ups to date. Following its regional launch in Dubai in November, motoring fans will get a further
glimpse of Land Rover’s hotly anticipated Discovery Sport.
The new Discovery Sport has
been billed as the world’s most
versatile and capable premium
compact SUV, unique to its segment. Ensuring comfort, the
Discovery Sport also retains the
breadth of class-leading allterrain capability for which Land
Rover is world-renowned.
Speaking about the event,
Bruce Robertson, managing director for Jaguar Land Rover
Mena, said: “We are proud to be
part of the Qatar Motor Show
once again this year showcasing
some of our most exciting vehicles and unveiling two of our
newest launches to the region’s
car enthusiasts. We are confident that with our line-up this
year including the Jaguar XE, the
Range Rover Sport SVR and the
new Discovery Sport, will resonate with our customers in Qatar
and the rest of Mena.”
Alfardan Premier Motors general manager Rabih Ataya, said:
“Over the years, we have witnessed the Jaguar Land Rover brand go from strength to
strength and have seen its loyal
customer base in Qatar growing. We are very proud to be Jaguar Land Rover’s partner here
and are excited to showcase the
brand’s products at the Qatar
Motor Show once again. This
event is one of the best platforms
to interact with motoring fans
and customers and I am confident there will be something for
everyone at the show.”
number of municipalities
have cleared waterlogged
streets following rains in Qatar on Sunday, local Arabic daily Al
Arab reported yesterday.
The Ministry of Municipality and
Urban Planning has been ready for
the rainy season since last September and there is a 24-hour section in
the ministry to receive complaints
from nationals.
The Traffic Department at the
Ministry of Interior has called on
motorists to be cautious while driving, especially in the evening. It assured that the department has taken
all the measures to ensure their
A source in the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning said
that after the rains, there was
prompt communication between
the ministry and different municipalities and all the municipalities
were ready for action.The communication with the municipalities
was meant to measure the quantities of rain water in their areas and
whether the equipment were sufficient for removal of water.
The source said that the ministry’s website has the service for receiving requests online for removal
of water and that the municipalities
immediately respond to such requests. He also pointed out that
there is co-ordination with all the
authorities concerned to make sure
of the safety of the roads, the sewage networks, lighting systems and
A municipal worker about to clear the rain water from a Doha street yesterday. PICTURE: Najeer Feroke
A SUV traversing a flooded street yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
Falcon contest postponed
The Range Rover Sport SVR
The competitions of the Sixth Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival at Sabkhet Marmi in the Sealine area of Mesaieed has
been postponed until Friday because of bad weather, the Supreme Organising Committee announced yesterday. The launch of the Dau
event was scheduled yesterday. A total of 242 competitors had registered for the contest. During the event, a falcon is required to cross
400m in the shortest time towards its owner, who is signalling the bird to approach, from the finish line. The festival, being organised
by the Gannas Society under the patronage of HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, runs until January 31.
The Jaguar XE
GOVT ORDER | Page 15
laws sought
Air India to
cut costs by
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Rabia I 29, 1436 AH
Qatar Airways
Cargo to launch
freighter service
to Ahmedabad
Qatari firm joins consortium to buy
Fujairah building materials company
tate Holding, a Qatari company has
joined a consortium of investors to
acquire a building material firmOryx Industries in Fujairah.
First Equity Partners (FEP), a Mena
private equity firm and strategic partners
have collectively committed AED500mn
to the venture as of end-December 2014.
The initial acquisition of a 50% stake will
be followed by a full acquisition by the end
of the first quarter this year.
The consortium of investors who have
joined forces with FEP to execute this
acquisition include: Sheikh Abdulla alSharqi (Chairman, Oryx Industries),
State Holding (Qatar), Rawabi Holding
(Saudi Arabia) and Al Waab Real Estate
A press conference held in this connection in Dubai recently was attended among
others by Adnan Ashkanani, Executive
Management member, State Holding.
Established in 2007, State Holding focuses on Mena and Europe-based investments, primarily in the industrial and real
estate sectors.
The acquisition supports the ambitious
Ashkanani (left) with others at the press conference in Dubai that announced a
consortium of investors acquiring building material firm Oryx Industries in Fujairah.
expansion plan of the construction materials producer, which has delivered robust
growth in the recent past. It also capitalises on the GCC construction boom, driven
by significant investment in large-scale
real estate and infrastructure projects,
such as the Dubai World Expo 2020 and
Qatar World Cup 2022. This is set to boost
the demand for imports of construction
materials in coming years.
Qais al-Maskati, managing director
and CEO of FEP referred to the acquisition
as “a timely investment with strong upside potential”.
He said, “FEP is proud to play an integral role in the future of Oryx Industries
— a uniquely positioned organisation
that is set to benefit from the increasing demand for basic building materials
in the construction sector. FEP is able to
identify first-rate opportunities and Oryx
Industries is no exception. As a regional
industry leader in the areas of aggregate
production, trading and bulk transport
and logistic services; Oryx Industries is
expected to play a vital role in many of
the large-scale GCC real estate and infrastructure projects in the coming years.”
Oryx Industries is a regional industry
leader in the production of aggregates and
ready-mix. It holds a 50% share of the
ready mix concrete market in Fujairah and
a 20% share of Fujairah’s aggregate export
Sheikh Abdulla and al-Maskati expressed their enthusiasm and optimism
regarding the acquisition, given the lucrative market potential, which was supported by the increasing demand for building
materials in the construction sector.
Osman Ibrahim, Group President and
CEO of Rawabi Holding said, “We are
excited to be part of this consortium and
look forward to working with FEP and the
other strategic partners to realise the full
potential of this opportunity. The Gulf
region witnessed unprecedented levels of
growth supported by the high level of government spending, which had a positive
impact on construction related sectors
and the companies operating in this field.”
QEWC unit Nebras
Power constructing
Shams Ma’an solar
power plant in Jordan
Nebras Power, in which
Qatar Electricity and Water
Company owns 60% stake,
along with other shareholders,
is constructing a Shams Ma’an
solar power plant with an
installed capacity of 52.5 mega
watt (MW) in Jordan.
Diamond Generating Europe
(wholly owned subsidiary of
Mitsubishi Corporation) and
Kawar Group are the other
partners of the project, whose
construction is expected to
start in the second half of
March 2015 and commercial
operation start by end of July
The financing of the
project is jointly done by
a group of international
banks and export credit
agencies including Japan for
International Cooperation
(JBIC), Nippon Export and
Investment Insurance (NEXI),
Mizuho Bank and Standard
Charter Bank.
The project’s importance
comes from being one of
the first renewable energy
projects and the largest of its
kind in Jordan. Shams Ma’an
Power Generation company
has already signed power
purchase agreement with
National Electric & Power
Company (Nepco) of Jordan
in March 2014 where Nepco
will buy the full capacity of
the plant and also signed an
engineering, procurement
and construction contract
and operation & maintenance
contract with First Solar of the
US in July 2014.
This project will support
meeting the power demand
requirements in Jordan and
will have positive impact on
the continuous development
in Jordan.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Sheikh Thani receives Dentons Award for social impact
Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah has received
the 2014 Dentons Award in recognition
of his accomplishments, contributions,
and global projects in social,
humanitarian, and charitable services.
Denton Law Firms global executive
director Matthew Jones handed the
award to Sheikh Thani at a ceremony
held at the Ezdan Hotel here recently
in the presence of Dentons Law Firm
Middle East officials and other senior
“I am glad and honoured to receive this
award knowing that our humanitarian
and social efforts have been recognised
by a world-renowned organisation.
This means that we have succeeded
by God’s grace to serve the poor, the
destitute, and the needy not only
locally and regionally but also globally,”
Sheikh Thani said.
The award, he added, reflects the
humanitarian and social perspective
“that people should follow regardless
of race or social status.”
“This also coincides with the wise
directives of the Qatari leadership, who
is always advising local businessmen
to contribute towards the world
community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jones said, “Sheikh Thani is
not like any other Qatari businessman
but rather a generous human being
recognised for his humanitarian and
charitable global contributions that
were evaluated by a special Dentons’
Dentons Middle East CEO Safwan
Moubaydeen said, “This international
award from Dentons demonstrates
the impact of Sheikh Thani’s social and
humanitarian projects for the welfare
of the global community, especially
that his humanitarian organisations
have no geographical boundaries in
order to reach out and feed the hungry,
give to the poor, and generally extend
a hand to those in need regardless of
their affiliation and background.”
He added, “The extreme generosity
of Sheikh Thani was extended to
start these non-profit organisations
to help the needy and destitute
locally, regionally, and globally, and
is considered the largest non-profit
charitable organisation in Qatar.”
According to Moubaydeen, Denton’s
operations spans 225 years and has
offices in more than 80 countries.
It employs lawyers from various
nationalities with clients from
governments, international and global
corporation, decision makers, and
Sheikh Thani receiving the Dentons Award for social impact from Denton Law
Firms global executive director Matthew Jones. Looking on is Dentons Middle
East CEO Safwan Moubaydeen.
Selling pressure in
telecom and banks
stocks extends
bearish spell on QSE
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
elling pressure, especially in the telecom and banking stocks, yesterday
extended the bearish spell on the Qatar Stock Exchange for the second day.
Domestic institutions’ strong profit
booking and their foreign counterparts’
weakened buying interests led the 20-stock
Qatar Index (based on price data) fall 0.21%
to 11,891.46 points amid more than doubled
trade volumes.
Local retail investors were however seen
bullish in the bourse, which is, down 3.21%
The index that tracks Shariah-principled
stocks was seen melting much slower than
the other indices in the bourse, where realty,
banking and industrials stocks corner about
86% of the total trading volume.
Market capitalisation shrank 0.34% or
more than QR2bn to QR647.86bn with large,
small and micro cap equities melting 0.74%,
0.31% and 0.18% respectively; while mid
caps rose 0.4%.
The Total Return Index fell 0.21% to
17,736.01 points, All Share Index by 0.26% to
3,049.62 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index
by 0.01% to 4,011.52 points.
Insurance stocks lost 1.06%, telecom
(0.74%), banks and financial services
(0.62%), consumer goods (0.35%) and industrials (0.31%); whereas real estate and
transport rose 1.16% and 0.21% respectively.
Major losers included Industries Qatar,
QNB, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding,
Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank and
Ooredoo; even as Barwa, Gulf International
Services, Mazaya Qatar, United Development Company, Gulf Warehousing and Islamic Holding Group bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net sellers
to the tune of QR91.69mn against net buyers of QR3.19mn the previous day.
Foreign institutions’ net buying sunk
to QR23.24mn compared to QR32.57mn
on Sunday. However, Qatari retail investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR64.45mn against net sellers of
QR44.32mn on January 18.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net
buying sunk to QR4.01mn compared to
QR8.56mn the previous day.
Total trade volume more than doubled
to 13.18mn shares and value also more than
doubled to QR626.33n on 37% jump in
transactions to 6,209.
The real estate sector’s trade volume more
than doubled to 7.86mn stocks and value
also more than doubled to QR305.22mn on
86% expansion in deals to 2,353.
Gulf soft as oil slips
Most Gulf equity markets pulled back
yesterday as oil prices slipped again
and negative fourth-quarter earnings
weighed on Saudi Arabia’s bourse. Saudi
Arabia’s main index slid 0.6%, Dubai’s
index slipped 0.2%, Abu Dhabi’s index
edged up 0.3%, Egypt’s index added 0.7%
to 9,599 points, Kuwait index lost 0.4% to
6,623 points, the Oman index rose 1.0%
to 6,655 points and the index in Bahrain
inched down 0.1% to 1,432 points.
The banks and financial services reported
more than doubling of trade volume and
value to 2.03mn equities and QR138.83mn
respectively on 59% rise in transactions to
1,459. The consumer goods sector saw its
trade volume surge 69% to 0.22mn shares
but value shrank 30% to QR9.07mn. Deals
rose 21% to 215.
The market witnessed 64% jump in the
industrials sector’s trade volume to 1.44mn
stocks, 72% in value to QR125.23mn and 2%
in transactions to 1,414.
The transport sector’s trade volume expanded 53% to 1.07mn equities, value by
16% to QR29.48mn and deals by 11% to 318.
However, there was 30% shrinkage in
the insurance sector’s trade volume to
0.07mn shares and 39% in value to QR4mn
but on 7% rise in transactions to 72.
The telecom sector saw its trade volume
decline 9% to 0.49mn stocks but value rose
14% to QR14.49mn. Deals were down 10%
to 378.
In the debt market, there was no trading
of treasury bills and government bonds.
Mena companies ‘cautiously
optimistic’ in sourcing funds
through IPOs despite positive
macroeconomic factors: EY
The Middle East and North African (Mena)
companies, awaiting clarity in the global
energy market, are “cautiously optimistic”
in sourcing funds through initial
public offerings (IPOs) despite positive
macroeconomic factors, according to
Ernst and Young (EY).
“Although there is a healthy pipeline of
IPOs for 2015, companies are adopting
a “wait-and-see” approach until markets
have settled. The interest is still there,
but companies are watching the markets
closely, waiting for the right window of
opportunity to float,” Phil Gandier, Mena
Transaction Advisory Services Leader, EY,
Cautioning that the decline in oil prices has
left regional and international investors
puzzled on possible curtailment of future
sovereign spending on infrastructure,
education and healthcare, it said this
would have an impact on companies
operating in these sectors in the short run,
and investors would be cautious to raise
money through IPO in the first quarter of
However, 2015 GCC (Gulf Co-operation
Council) budgets announced so far have
been expansionary in nature for other
than non-essential items, it said, adding
the fiscal reserves of some of the countries
in the Mena region such as Kuwait, the
UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, can cover
government budget deficits for the
foreseeable future. “(Mena) investors will
continue to be guarded if the price of oil
hasn’t stabilised. Regional companies will
be analysing the markets, waiting for oil
price volatility to settle down before they
can launch their IPOs,” Gandier said.
Market fundamentals still remain positive
however, and developments in regulatory
reforms are still expected to drive IPO
growth in Q1 2015, drawing new liquidity to
the region, he said.
An increasing number of regional
governments are looking to diversify
their economies which will encourage
companies in the non-oil sector to expand
through the IPO route, according to him.
The Mena companies raised $11.5bbn in
2014 through 27 IPOs, almost four times
more than the 3bn raised in 2013 through
25 IPOs, according to the EY Mena IPO Eye:
Q4 2014.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the two
most active IPO markets in the region in
2014 with them collectively raising about
$10bn in IPOs. Industrial manufacturing
was the most active sector in 2014 with
five IPOs, followed by three IPOs each in
food and beverages, oil and gas and real
estate sectors.
The last quarter of 2014 alone witnessed
high activity, raising $7.4bn through eight
“The strong Q4 performance closed 2014
on a positive note, as investor confidence
in the region remains high despite the
backdrop of volatile equity markets and
falling oil prices. The impact of this has
been felt in the regional stock exchanges
in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and
Bahrain, which have tumbled over the past
few months,” according to Mayur Pau,
Mena IPO Leader, EY.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Arab International Women’s Forum founder calls
for gender-neutral business and property laws
By Denise Marray
Gulf Times Correspondent
he founder and chairwoman of
the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), Haifa Fahoum al-Kaylani, has called for “gender neutral business and property
laws to be enacted” in order to create
a level playing field for women to engage in business across the Mena region. In an interview with Gulf Times,
she outlined the key issues which
need to be addressed to enable women
to participate to their full potential in
the workforce.
These include addressing inadequate policy environments and legal
structures related to entrepreneurship
in the region; providing access to finance for entrepreneurs; giving equal
pay for equal work; ensuring that laws
governing women’s rights to maternity
leave and pay are followed; providing flexible working terms that allow
women to meet both work and family obligations and, last but not least,
breaking down cultural resistance to
women working.
Al-Kaylani makes her observations
as a person with extensive, first-hand
experience of the region. In her capacity as AIWF chairwoman, and as
a board member of the Arab British
Chamber of Commerce in London, she
understands the issues and constraints
from the perspective of policy makers
and the women striving to participate
in their respective economies. That
could be a woman with no formal education trying to make a living on a market stall, to a high flying professional
striving to make her way in a workplace
where prejudice can still put a halt on
talent. Both want the same thing — to
be given a fair chance of achieving their
She emphasised the critical role of
the leadership within the respective
countries in creating a positive environment to enable women to participate in the economy. She cited Qatar
Rabiha Diab, Minister of Women’s Affairs in the State of Palestine, presenting an award to AIWF chairwoman Haifa al-Kaylani at Birzeit University in May 2013.
as setting a strong example in this respect.
“I think the environment for women in Qatar is very progressive and
amongst the most progressive in the
region. I hear from our AIWF members
and women leaders in Doha how empowered they are by their government
and by the leadership, and how much
has been invested in them in terms of
their education. They have some of the
best universities in the region. Qatar is
also investing in promoting its women
into public office and into organisations such as Chambers of Commerce.
Women, furthermore, are encouraged
to participate in business delegations
and to start up their own businesses.
The focus is on building an economy of
entrepreneurship and diversification.”
She noted: “The percentage of
women in the workforce in Qatar is the
highest in the region — it has reached
51%, and the UAE is 47%. These statistics represent significant progress
within a short timeframe. HH Sheikha
Moza has been a tremendous role
model for women in Qatar, the Arab
region and globally through the many
valuable initiatives she has established
to support and enhance the human
capital in Qatar. Certainly, the leadership in Qatar, at the highest levels, is
fully supportive of the empowerment
Tunisia seen as strong prospect if
foreign investment can be unlocked
our years after Tunisia sparked
off the Arab spring uprisings the
country is seen as a rare regional
success story, but its prospects hinge
on it deepening reforms and attracting
foreign investment.
The North African country of 10mn
people suffered its share of political
and economic woes after the 2011 revolutions that swept much of the Maghreb and the Middle East, toppling several long-standing leaders including its
own Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali who fled
Tunisia four years ago last week.
But Tunisia’s democratic election
last year and a surging stock market are
a contrast with the bloody turmoil in
neighbouring Libya and Egypt.
So much so that Tunisia has just
kicked off investor meetings for a Eurobond, its first standalone post-Arab
spring deal that will come without US
While the bond will be a key test of
investor appetite, Tunisia’s stock market has already reaped the benefits of
political stability. The Tunis index rose
more than 16% in 2014 and trades just
10% below record highs hit before the
Arab Spring.
Joseph Rohm, portfolio manager in
Investec’s frontier markets team, is
one of the investors looking to increase
exposure to stocks again after reducing
holdings in 2011.
“Tunisia has enormous potential to
reform,” Rohm said. “However (it) is in
desperate need of foreign direct investment to drive economic growth and job
Tunisia has yet to form a government, expected to happen in coming
weeks, but political stability and steps
toward reform make Tunisia worth a
fresh look, said Jefferies’ analyst Richard Segal, noting positive comments
from ratings agency Fitch.
“Trends are likely to remain market
friendly on balance for the next two
to three months,” Segal told clients.
“Therefore, we’d be more likely to be
positive than neutral about Tunisia.”
Tunisia signed a two year deal with
the International Monetary Fund in
2013, agreeing to follow certain economic policies such as keeping its deficit under control, making the foreign
exchange market more flexible and
structural reforms.
The government has already cut fuel
subsidies, imposed new taxes and let
the dinar depreciate to re-build foreign currency reserves, but more reforms are needed. Ratings agency Fitch
points to Tunisia’s banking sector representing a key structural weakness
and ripe for an overhaul.
Furthermore, investors worry in
particular about its current account
deficit, especially as foreign direct investment — at 1.5bn Tunisian dinar
($780mn) last year according to official
data — remains well off pre-2011 levels.
Ratings agency Fitch estimates Tunisia’s 2014 current account deficit at
8.3% of gross domestic product due to
energy imports. This compares to 6.7%
in Morocco.
Some relief for the deficit could
come from oil prices which have slid
60% since June, said Florence Eid,
CEO of think tank Arabia Monitor. Yet
that could equally weigh on foreign
direct investment from oil exporting
countries in the Gulf.
“Tunisia will benefit in terms of lower energy prices, but will not accelerate
the pace of investment as much as it
could have done,” Eid said.
Robert Ruttmann from the investment office at Julius Baer, is doubtful
Tunisian shares can repeat last year’s
“Tunisian earnings will have to improve substantially this year in order to
justify any further index price rises,” he
said, adding he was not recommending
Tunisian stocks to clients.
IILM re-issues
$860mn sukuk
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia-based International
Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) has reissued
$860mn worth of threemonth Islamic bonds, or
sukuk, the organisation said
yesterday. The auction drew
11 bids worth $1.065bn, with
the sukuk priced at a profit
rate of 0.553%, according
to a filing on the website of
Malaysia’s central bank.
The IILM last went to the
market in November when
it increased its outstanding
sukuk programme, rated A-1
by Standard and Poor’s, to
$1.85bn from $1.65bn.
IILM sukuk are designed to
meet a shortage of highly liquid, investment-grade financial
instruments which Islamic
banks can trade to manage
their short-term funding needs.
of Qatari women in both the public and
private sectors and the professions.”
Al-Kaylani was asked for her assessment how women in Palestine are faring, given all the pressures and obstacles they have to contend with.
She responded: “Having chaired
our first AIWF Conference in Palestine at Birzeit University in May 2013
on Young Palestinian Women Leaders,
I was impressed by the dynamism and
optimism of the Palestinian women
attending the conference, despite the
difficult situation. The situation for
women in Gaza is even harder: they
need to be supported and encouraged
through skills building programmes
and education and job opportunities.
“We need to help them access investment funds from the GCC, Arab
regions and the EU to help them set up
their businesses. We should also help
to open markets for them so if they
have some produce we need to help
them access markets in the Arab region
and the EU.
“Open markets for them, help them
expand their horizons, enhance their
incomes and make it possible for them
to contribute to their local economies
and help their families.
“We need to ensure that the jobs are
there; in Palestine, the private sector is
very important, but opportunities for
its young people are of course inhibited
by the difficult political situation.”
Looking at the wider Gulf region,
and the pressures now being felt due
to the fall in oil prices, al-Kaylani
commented that now, more than ever,
women are needed to help create dynamic, diverse economies.
“I think the oil price crash reminds
the oil producing countries in the region even more forcibly about the need
for diversification in the economy.
Clearly this is necessary to build sustainable economic growth for their
“Who is going to create the new
businesses and industries other than
the young educated men and women in
whom these countries have made such
huge investments? They have the innovative ideas; these are not limited to
the oil and energy sectors but to a wide
range of business activities and enterprises.”
In the coming year, AIWF will have
a new focus on key health issues that
are important for all in the Arab region. Law will also feature large, with
AIWF collaborating with the International Bar Association on a conference
in Jordan on ‘Arab Women in the Law’.
Always at the heart of the work are initiatives to facilitate job creation, education, leadership training, capacity
building and development for women
throughout the Arab region through an
Arab International framework.
There will be a continuing development of the mentoring programme
with the support of senior businesswomen in leading international companies. Opportunities for women
to attend high level leadership programmes such as the Bucerius Summer
School on Global Governance in Hamburg, Germany, will also be supported.
In March, AIWF will attend the International New York Times ‘Art for
Tomorrow’ conference in Doha which
will be opened by Her Excellency
Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and
Reach Out to Asia.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Centrica cuts British household gas prices by 5%
Britain’s largest energy supplier British
Gas, owned by utility Centrica, will cut
household gas prices by 5% from February
27, becoming the second provider to
pass on a fall in wholesale prices and put
pressure on rivals to follow suit.
The cut announced yesterday will result in
an average energy bill reduction of £37 a
year for British Gas customers, playing into
the hands of Prime Minister David Cameron
ahead of Britain’s national election in May.
“It’s welcome to see British Gas cutting
prices. We’ll continue to encourage energy
firms to pass on falls in wholesale prices
to customers,” Cameron said in a post on
social media network Twitter.
Wholesale crude and gas prices in Europe
have taken a tumble in recent months on
the back of a global supply glut, reducing
some of the energy purchase costs utilities
Finance minister George Osborne this
month urged energy companies to pass
on those savings to customers, saying that
action could be taken if they failed to do so.
“We’ve been watching this (price fall) for
many weeks and months and it really hasn’t
been driven by anything in the politics,”
British Gas Finance Director Michael Uzielli
said on a conference call with reporters.
Oil price plunge drags
down Russia economy,
says EBRD bank report
ussia’s battered economy will
shrink by a far worse-thanexpected 4.8% this year, as
plunging oil prices add to fallout
from the Ukraine crisis, the EBRD
development bank forecast yesterday.
The London-based European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) sharply revised
its September prediction for a 0.2%
contraction for the economy of the
key oil producer in 2015.
“A sharp fall in the price of oil has
piled pressure on an already fragile Russia, and is hitting growth in
energy exporters and other emerging nations with close links to eastern Europe’s largest economy,” the
EBRD said in its economic outlook
for the bank’s investment zone.
Oil prices have slumped by almost
60% since June, hit hard by global
oversupply, the strong dollar and
weak crude demand arising from the
stuttering world economy.
Russia’s economy is also buckling
under the weight of Western sanctions over the Kremlin’s actions in
Ukraine - which remains plagued by
unrest — and tit-for-tat sanctions
imposted on the West in response.
Russia has strongly denied sending weapons and troops into the war
zone despite witness claims to the
At the same time, Russia’s economy has been plagued by the tumbling value of its rouble currency,
separate data showed yesterday.
Net capital outflows from Russia more than doubled in 2014 to
The headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development in London. The EBRD yesterday sharply revised its September
prediction for a 0.2% contraction for the Russian economy in 2015.
$151.5bn, prompted by the Ukraine
crisis and the plunging value of the
rouble, according to statistics from
the central bank.
Russia in 2013 had already seen its
high level of capital flight, a recurring problem for the country, reach
The outflow was accelerated by
the payment of debts owed abroad
by Russian banks and companies,
which have had their access to capital markets cut by sanctions.
The EBRD added yesterday that
Ukraine’s shattered economy is
predicted to shrink 5.0% this year,
down from September’s forecast for
a contraction of 3.0%.
That followed a 7.5% collapse in
Gross Domestic Product in 2014.
“The Ukrainian economy remains
in a particularly precarious state,”
the London-based institution said.
“In addition to the impact of the
conflict in the east of the country,
there is currently uncertainty about
the volume and timing of international financial assistance.”
The EBRD, founded in 1991 to
help ex-Soviet bloc countries such
as Russia and Ukraine make the
transition to free-market economies and democracy, added however
that some nations would win a boost
from the tumbling cost of crude.
The bank’s investment zone —
comprising mainly former communist nations across central and eastern Europe but which now includes
also Turkey and emerging economies in north Africa and the Middle
East — was expected to contract by
an overall 0.3% in 2015.
That was a major downgrade
from the prior forecast for 1.7% expansion in the operating region that
comprises more than 30 countries.
“Even this forecast is subject to
considerable risks,” cautioned Hans
Peter Lankes, the EBRD’s acting
chief economist.
Those risks included the impact
of any further large falls in the oil
price, a further escalation in the
Ukraine/Russia crisis, and any potential increase in uncertainty in the
eurozone, according to Lankes.
Plunging oil prices were however
expected to boost countries in central and southeastern Europe and in
the south and eastern Mediterranean region, offsetting weak demand
arising from eurozone uncertainty,
the bank added.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
‘Grexit’ risk may be underestimated, say Greek officials
The idea that a Greek eurozone exit
could be handled without much
damage to the rest of the bloc is
met with disbelief in Greek government circles.
With elections just six days away,
leftist Syriza leads the opinion
polls and is intent on cancelling
the austerity terms of a bailout
from Europe and the International
Monetary Fund and also wants a
big debt write off.
That has prompted a succession of German politicians and
economists to proclaim that Greece
risks being cut loose from the euro,
although Syriza insists it wants
to stay in. With almost 80% of
Greek debt now held by eurozone
governments and the European
Central Bank poised to embark
upon a government bond-buying
programme, the risk of contagion
via the financial markets would be
limited, the argument runs.
“Greece is no longer of systemic
importance for the euro,” the head
of the influential Ifo economics
research institute Hans-Werner Sinn
said, summing up the view of many
conservative German policymakers.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
has been busy talking up the dangers of “Grexit” during the election
campaign in an attempt to win over
voters. Government officials say the
risks stretch far beyond Greece’s
borders and insist their view is not
merely shaped by electioneering.
“Just the threat of Greece
defaulting will shake up eurozone’s
economies in a very fragile period,”
said one senior Greek official.
“Eurozone policymakers don’t have
a risk management plan in place if
things go crazy after the elections
and that’s a mistake.”
Officials in Brussels say they are
not taking the prospect lightly and
say there would be unpredictable
Given Syriza wants to stay in the
eurozone, they believe there is will
on all sides to make that happen
but if the situation got out of hand,
unlike in 2012, there are firewalls
to contain contagion, the markets
mood is different and the ECB
looms large.
Some analysts say, while the
risks of a repeat of the chaos seen
in 2012 are minimal in the short-
term, the longer-term repercussions of a Greek eurozone exit
should not be underestimated.
“A ‘Grexit’ would not cause serious problems for the eurozone in
the short term,” said Nikos Vettas,
head of IOBE, Greece’s most influential think tank.
“In the medium term however,
it would pose the question as to
whether there is cohesion within
the eurozone and if the ultimate
aim of integration is attainable.”
Despite more robust financial defences, the departure of a eurozone
member would transform what was
designed as a permanent, unbreakable union into an open-ended
Colin Ellis, Moody’s chief credit
officer for Europe, said the risk of a
Greek exit was “materially lower”
than it was in 2012 but would have
unforeseeable consequences.
“Yes, contagion channels have
been reduced but European
authorities would still need to act
swiftly and resolutely in order to
contain the pressures arising in
the event of a Greek exit because
the impact would be very hard to
The warnings from Brussels and
the IMF are coming thick and fast.
European Commission President
Jean-Claude Juncker told Reuters
any new Greek government would
have to deliver on the commitments
of its predecessors, and IMF chief
Christine Lagarde said debt restructuring would have consequences.
“Defaulting, restructuring,
changing the terms has consequences on the signature and the
confidence in the signature,” she
said yesterday.
The Greek government privately
plays down the odds of a “Grexit”,
but warn that a series of wrong
moves could put the country
close to the edge with the bailout
expiring at the end of February and
leaving little time for negotiation.
“We won’t have a ‘Grexit’. It’s not
like in 2012 but we could get close
to what happened then, especially
if there are signs of a bank run,” the
official said.
Signs of trouble within the banking system have already emerged
in recent days, with bankers saying
about €3bn of deposits were withdrawn in December — the steepest
fall since June 2012. That helped
push two major Greek lenders to
apply to tap emergency funding
Bundesbank is striving to put
limits on ECB money-printing
ermany’s Bundesbank is mounting a last-ditch drive to limit
money-printing by the ECB,
hoping either to soften the blueprint
or delay decisions on key parts beyond
this week, people familiar with the debate say.
With markets primed for a European
Central Bank announcement on Thursday, Germany’s central bank is worried
that a programme to buy government
bonds would leave it on the hook for
any losses.
No final decision on the plan has been
made and the Bundesbank is still seeking safeguards, including a likely move
to make national central banks rather
than the ECB bear much of the risk for
buying the bonds of eurozone member
The size of the programme to buy
bonds, known as quantitative easing,
and a possible delay to its launch are
also part of the debate.
“What exactly comes and in what
dosage, that’s where the real action is at
the moment,” said one person familiar
with Bundesbank thinking. “It could be
that the decision is taken with details to
Although the Bundesbank’s position within the ECB carries huge weight
because Germany is the bloc’s biggest
economy, its allies are few in number on
the 25-strong Governing Council.
The ECB’s Executive Board, the
six-person team that is at the core of
decision-making, will meet today to
prepare recommendations to the wider
group including central bankers from
Athens to Rome, who gather from tomorrow.
A view of the Bundesbank building in Frankfurt. With markets primed for an ECB announcement on bond buying on Thursday,
Germany’s central bank is worried that the decision would leave it on the hook for any losses.
By postponing the announcement
of elements of the plan, ECB president
Mario Draghi could avoid a clash — at
least for now — with Bundesbank chief
Jens Weidmann and his supporters, but
at the risk of a dangerous market backlash.
Investors are already jittery after the
Swiss central bank’s surprise move last
week to scrap a cap on the franc.
The ECB declined to comment.
The Bundesbank wants national central banks to bear the risk, an idea that
some critics say heralds the disintegra-
tion of the euro but which may nonetheless be part of the final plan, sources
have told Reuters. It also wants a limit
on bond-buying.
“The Bundesbank’s position has not
changed,” said another person familiar
with the matter. “This would be noth-
Germany continues
to repatriate gold
The German central
bank or Bundesbank said
yesterday that it stepped
up the repatriation of
its gold reserves from
overseas storage last year.
“The Bundesbank
successfully continued
and further stepped up
its transfers of gold,” the
central bank said in a
“In 2014, 120 tonnes of
gold were transferred to
Frankfurt from storage
locations abroad: 35
tonnes from Paris and 85
tonnes from New York.”
Germany’s gold reserves
are the second-biggest
in the world after those
of the US and totalled
3,384.2 tonnes this month,
according to the latest
data compiled by the
World Gold Council.
According to the German
central bank’s data, 1,447
tonnes are stored at the
Federal Reserve Bank in
New York, 438 tonnes at
the Bank of England in
London and 307 tonnes
at the Banque de France
in Paris.
After World War II and
the export revival of West
Germany’s “economic
miracle” in the 1950s, the
central bank accumulated
dollars it swapped for
gold at the Federal
Reserve. With Germany
split between capitalist
west and the communist
East German state until
1990, storing most of the
gold abroad was a way to
keep it out of Soviet reach
during the Cold War.
But surging mistrust of
the euro during Europe’s
debt crisis fed a campaign
to bring home Germany’s
gold reserve from New
York and London.
Under the Bundesbank’s
new gold storage plan in
2013, it decided to bring
back 674 tonnes from
abroad by 2020 and store
half of its gold in its own
“Implementation of our
new gold storage plan
is proceeding smoothly.
Operations are running
very much according
to schedule,” said
Bundesbank executive
board member CarlLudwig Thiele. “We also
called on the expertise of
the Bank for International
Settlements for the
spot checks that had
to be carried out. As
expected, there were no
irregularities,” Thiele said.
Since the transfers began
in 2013, the Bundesbank
said it has relocated a
total of 157 tonnes of gold
to Frankfurt — 67 tonnes
from Paris and 90 tonnes
from New York.
ing less than eurobonds by the back
Speaking last week, Weidmann signalled that his critical position was unchanged.
“I think that it is likely that there will
be an announcement on Thursday, with
details following later,” said Francesco
Papadia, the former head of the ECB’s
financial market operations.
“It is in keeping with Draghi’s salami-type communication style.”
International Monetary Fund chief
Christine Lagarde said QE should involve as much risk-sharing as possible.
“The more efficient it is, the more
mutualisation there is the better,” she
told a news conference in Dublin.
Many in German Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s political camp are privately
critical of a move to print fresh money,
believing it can do little to lift sagging
economic growth or encourage bank
Nonetheless, the government would
be loath to attempt publicly to put a
brake on the ECB.
Merkel downplayed the likely impact
of the ECB’s decision and Greek elections three days later, saying she did not
view this week as one of “destiny for the
But one senior lawmaker from Merkel’s conservatives, Norbert Barthle,
told Reuters he was “not convinced of
the need for a massive programme to
buy state debt”.
“The sensible thing would be to wait
for the measures taken already to have
their effect first,” said the budgetary affairs spokesman for the conservatives in
the lower house.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert
declined to give details of her meeting
with ECB president Mario Draghi last
from the national central bank.
Greece’s funding obligations
pose another problem. Syriza
says cash reserves are enough to
meet obligations of €3.5bn over
the February-March period. The
government, however, has warned
that state coffers could struggle
if tax revenues continue to fall as
they did in December.
Either way, the next government
will have to negotiate an agreement
to secure a final bailout tranche
worth €7.2bn ($8.7bn) or risk a
funding crunch in the summer.
With Greece once again effectively shut out of debt markets after
a tentative return last year, a total
of €1.5bn in principal and interest
fall due in June with further payments of €4.7bn in July and €3.6bn
in August.
Deflation not
around the
corner in
Sweden: official
Hong Kong
weden is not facing an immediate threat of deflation
even though consumer
prices in the country have fallen
well below the central bank’s
target of 2%, Riksbank Governor
Stefan Ingves said yesterday.
The Swedish annual CPI came
in at -0.3% in December. Yet, if
one were to strip from the figure
the impact that recent rate cuts
on interest payments on mortgages and the effect of a sharp
fall in energy prices, that number
would be 1.1%, Ingves said.
“One should not put too much
emphasis on that number,” Ingves
told Reuters on the sidelines of the
Asian Financial Forum in Hong
Kong. “Inflation is way below
our target of 2%, but on the other
hand we just do not see deflation
around the corner,” he said.
Oil prices, which have
dropped by more than half since
last June as production around
the world has soared while demand slows, are overall having
a positive impact on Sweden’s
economy, despite the downward
pressure on inflation. “The very
sharp fall in oil price has been
a very big surprise, but the net
effect should be positive for the
Swedish economy,” Ingves said.
Ingves said the fall in oil price
would also be positive for Europe,
which is slowly on the mend after
the eurozone crisis of three years
ago threatened the integrity of
the single currency bloc.
Yet, the eurozone continues to
face some headwinds, in particular as anti-bailout party Syriza is
seen winning polls.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Malaysia set to unveil new
policy to manage oil slump
Kuala Lumpur
alaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will announce policy changes, including likely
budget revisions, today to help its oil
exporting economy adjust to the impact of slumping global crude prices.
Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy relies on oil and gas export revenues to maintain strong growth and
control a mountain of debt, and the
adverse turn in the crude market has
put its current account balance under
strain, and ruined budget projections.
A 10% fall in the ringgit currency
during the past four months reflects investors’ mounting worries, as the government’s budget for 2015 was based on
overoptimistic forecasts for oil prices
and economic expansion.
Quoted by state-run Bernama news
agency yesterday, Najib flagged the
need for change to meet the more
straitened times.
“An accurate and wise approach is
necessary to mitigate the effects of the
oil price slump on economic growth,
national revenue and the value of the
ringgit,” Najib said.
Bernama reported that he would announce “economic modifications and
interventions” today. A government official told Reuters that Najib, who also
runs the finance ministry, was also likely to announce a revised 2015 budget.
The country’s 2015 budget, tabled in
October 2014, was presented with the
assumption that oil prices would have
kept to $100 a barrel, whereas the price of
Brent crude has fallen by more than half.
Aside from the impact a plunging oil
market, Malaysia is also feeling the chill
from slowing economic growth in China, the second-largest export market.
A budget revision could help assuage investors’ concerns, if it commits
reducing its fiscal deficit by cutting
spending to counter the loss of revenues from the commodities sector.
Malaysia’s stock market fell 3.8%
over the past year, taking its biggest
hit in December when the decline in oil
prices became more acute. Its government bond market could see further sell
off as foreign investors hold 46% of the
country’s bonds.
The Malaysian ringgit was emerging Asia’s worst performing currency
Najib: Shaping strategies to mitigate the effects of oil price slump on economy.
in 2014, and having lost 1.9% since the
start of this year it still holds that unwanted ranking.
The decline in oil prices has hit Malaysia’s state oil firm Petronas, which
accounts for most of the government’s
oil and gas revenue. The company
warned in November that payments
to the government in the form of dividends, tax and royalties could be 37%
lower next year if oil stays around $75
a barrel.
“Petronas will make capital expenditure deferments and reductions in operational expenditure in response to the
Beijing’s services
sector push risks
growth stagnation
Beijing’s efforts to put China’s
economy on a more sustainable
growth path are focusing on
shifting from investmentintensive manufacturing jobs to
the services sector, but clumsy
attempts to force the transition
could do more harm than good.
As China looks set to post
its slowest annual economic
growth in decades today,
officials hope that a rapidly
expanding service sector will
generate more than enough
jobs to offset losses in inefficient
“sunset” industries which have
been heavily reliant on export
By doing so, they hope to mimic
the success of the US, which
started out as a manufacturing
powerhouse but ended up with
80% of its economy driven by
services – in particular in finance
and software.
But some fear China’s approach
may risk duplicating failed
attempts in Latin American
countries, where halving the
share of manufacturing in their
economies in favour of services
failed to pay off, leaving them in
the infamous “middle-income
trap”, where wages have risen
but economic growth slows.
“It’s too early for China to give
up manufacturing,” said Zhu
Baoliang, chief economist at
the State Information Centre, a
top government think tank in
Many believe that China is
headed straight into this trap,
given signs that its productivity
growth has gone into reverse
since the global financial crisis.
Services accounted for 46.9%
of the economy in 2013, while
will cut
prices to
boost sales
the secondary sector – which
includes manufacturing and
construction – accounted for
The issue, economists say, is that
not all services jobs are created
equal; most laid-off factory
workers are not being retrained
for higher paying jobs in finance
or software, but rather made
into minions at restaurants and
amusement parks.
That may keep official
unemployment statistics low,
but the long-term economic
contribution is debatable.
“Services have become a key
driver of employment, but the
problem is services are less
productive than manufacturing,”
said Qu Hongbin, chief China
economist at HSBC in Hong
Kong, adding he thinks the trend
could be a “prelude” to China’s
economy becoming more
similar to South America’s than
North America’s.
Hebei is a standout example
of the risks involved of forcing
such a transformation too
quickly. The province, which
abuts Beijing, is China’s biggest
steel producer and home
to seven of the country’s 10
smoggiest cities.
As such, the central government
has pushed it to shut down
factories and incubate services
instead, thus reducing the
pollution that routinely chokes
Beijing and creating jobs for
the nearly 600,000 workers
predicted to become redundant
as factories idle.
Services in Hebei grew by
10% in 2013, far above its
economic growth rate of 6.5%,
and matching a nationwide
expansion in jobs led by
the services sector even as
manufacturing employment
has slid.
recent steep 60% decline in oil prices,”
it said in a statement on Sunday night.
Analysts were uncertain how far Najib would change policies, but expected
him to reaffirm commitment to bringing down the fiscal deficit.
“It’s a tough balancing act but the
preference would be to try to stick to
their fiscal target as much as they can,”
said Euben Paracuelles, economist at
Nomura Holdings.
Malaysia’s fiscal deficit target for
2015 is 3% of gross domestic product,
reduced from a target of 3.5% for 2014.
The government is likely to hold on
to its 3% fiscal deficit target by using
savings derived from the elimination
of fuel subsidies and earnings gained
from a consumer tax set to be introduced in April. The goods and services
tax (GST), is set at 6% and is expected
to bring in a revenue of 23bn ringgit this
“This offers a buffer and flexibility
for the non-essentials in terms of operating expenditure. It’s still possible
for them to get 3%,” said Paracuelles,
adding that the government risks a ratings downgrade if its fiscal deficit goes
beyond 4%.
Analysts believe the government
needs to reduce its growth forecast,
as an unrealistic assumption will lead
a sharp rise in Malaysia’s debt to GDP
The government has forecast a 5%
to 6% growth for this year, whereas
market forecasts are for around 4%
“Najib may hint that a five to six
per cent growth may not be achievable in part of the global oil price
plunge but it’s likely the official figure
would only be released in March,” said
industan Unilever, the
Indian arm of AngloDutch consumer group
Unilever, saw a smaller-thanexpected rise in quarterly sales
volumes as urban shoppers
reined in spending in a sluggish economy, sending its shares
down more than 5% yesterday.
The maker Dove soap, Sunsilk shampoo and Lipton tea said
it aimed to revive demand by
bringing down prices on some of
its products, passing on to consumers the benefits of lower material costs such as oil.
“We had to stop sales for a few
days as we cleared the pipeline
to get the fresh prices in stores.
Without that, we expect volumes
would have been in the range of
what was expected,” chief financial officer PB Balaji said.
“We don’t see market volumes changing in a big way, but
there will be some pick up in the
future,” he said. Hindustan Unilever is Asia’s largest consumer
goods maker by market capitalisation and has a large distribution
network that goes beyond towns
and cities to villages and rural
parts, making it a barometer of
Indian consumer sentiment.
For the quarter ended December 31, the company posted a
3% rise in volumes. Analysts, on
average, were expecting growth
of about 6%. Hindustan Unilever makes about 60% of sales
to urban consumers. During the
quarter, rural shoppers bought
more than their city counterparts, but those purchases were
mostly in low-priced small
packs and sachets, Balaji said.
The company has been hurt
in the last few quarters by weaker consumer demand in Asia’s
third-largest economy that grew
less than 5% in the past two fiscal years. The weak volumes are
likely to reflect on parent Unilever, which makes more than half of
its sales in emerging markets and
is set to announce results today.
‘China 2015 growth to slip further’
hina’s economic growth rate is likely to cool further this year, restrained by sluggish lending, a
housing slump and weak global demand, a Reuters
poll showed.
The world’s second-largest economy is predicted to
grow 7% in 2015, and slow further to 6.8% next year, according to the median consensus of over 40 economists
polled on January 15-19.
Today, data are likely to show China’s economy expanded 7.2% in the final quarter of 2014, the slowest pace
since the depths of the global financial crisis.
Beijing is in the midst of its worst downturn in a generation, induced in part by government efforts to transform
the economy away from a heavy reliance on investment
and exports and towards consumption and services.
But a falling property market, brought on by oversupply
and over-investment fuelled by an unprecedented borrowing binge that helped China through the worst of the
global crisis, was not planned.
If the Reuters consensus forecast for fourth quarter
growth is met, that would mean full-year growth for 2014
will have undershot the government’s target of 7.5% and
mark the weakest annual expansion in nearly a quarter
While only a matter of sums now that 2014 is over, that
would increase the clamour for Beijing to ease policy even
Economists in the poll predicted the People’s Bank of
China will cut banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by
50 basis points each quarter until October, to free up more
cash for banks to lend.
That follows an interest rate cut to 5.6% late last year.
Economists predict the benchmark lending rate will likely
be lowered again to 5.4% in the second quarter.
A further slowdown in China could throw into risk
chances of a revival in global growth in 2015, which right
now is being led by what the World Bank calls the “single
engine” of strong hiring and economic activity in the US.
Indeed, economists in a Reuters poll last week said weaker growth than previously forecast in China and the eurozone were the biggest risk to the global economy this year.
“Even with continuing public sector investment and
the significant benefits accruing to lower-priced oil imports, the softening in real estate activity alongside efforts to rein in lending highlight the risk of even slower
growth,” said Sacha Tihanyi, economist at ScotiaBank in
Hong Kong.
Investment flows into China are an important gauge of
the health of the global economy. They rose just 1.7% last
year, sharply lower than the 5.3% growth in 2013.
Credit growth has also lagged expectations despite
the surprise rate cut by the central bank in November as
cautious banks remained reluctant to lend due to a spike
in companies’ debt levels and bad loans. Beijing has tra-
A vessel is seen under construction at the Waigaoqiao shipyard in Shanghai. An expected slowdown in China’s
economic growth means full-year growth would undershoot the government’s 7.5% target and mark the weakest
expansion in 24 years.
ditionally relied on credit to fuel the economy but the
broader slowdown has also diminished industries’ appetite for fresh loans.
The central bank on Friday said it would lend 50bn yuan
($8.1bn) to banks for the purpose of lending the money
on to farmers and small businesses, areas of the economy
that are usually short of cash.
The protracted slowdown is also compounded by fears
China’s property market correction might turn into a
crash that would ripple through the highly leveraged
The housing sector makes up about 15% of the economy and cooling activity there has crimped demand in
40 sectors ranging from steel to cement and furniture,
becoming the single biggest drag on domestic activity.
Since September, house prices in China’s largest cities
have on average been falling on a year-earlier basis and
data on Sunday showed new home prices fell significantly last month. Consumer price inflation is also likely to
remain muted through the year, largely due to sluggish
domestic demand and a slump in global energy and commodity prices.
The poll showed inflation will likely average 2% this
year and 2.5% in 2016.
That mirrors a disinflation trend currently gripping the
largest economies - prices have begun falling outright in
the eurozone - and could pose a threat to economic activity, economists said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Company Name
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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
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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
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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
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Company Name
Securities Group Co
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Pearl Of Kuwait Real Estate
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
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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
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Company Name
Exxon Mobil Corp
Microsoft Corp
Johnson & Johnson
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Procter & Gamble Co/The
General Electric Co
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Pfizer Inc
Verizon Communications Inc
Chevron Corp
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
Mcdonald’s Corp
American Express Co
Nike Inc -Cl B
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
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
Traders work in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The index grew 0.73% to a record high of 10,242.35
points yesterday.
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
European stocks rise on
new ECB stimulus hope
urope’s main stock markets
closed higher yesterday, the start
of a pivotal week for the region
with the ECB forecast to announce
fresh stimulus measures and Greece
holding a snap election.
In London the benchmark FTSE 100
index climbed 0.54% to end the day at
6,585.53 points compared with Friday’s
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 grew 0.73% to a
record high close of 10,242.35 points,
while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.35%
to 4,394.93 points.
“European stock markets are starting the new trading week on a positive
note seeing some early follow-through
buying after last Friday’s steep gains,”
said Markus Huber, senior analyst at
broker Peregrine & Black.
“Increasing optimism that the ECB
will finally announce QE (stimulus)
during their monthly meeting later this
week is continuing to drive investors
into stocks. In addition a weak euro
combined with low oil prices is stirring
hopes that a sustained recovery for the
eurozone isn’t far off.”
Stock indices had rallied Friday on
fresh signals that the European Central
Bank will launch a bond-buying stimulus programme this week, news that
has weighed heavily on the euro.
The chronically low level of inflation across the single currency bloc has
fuelled concern the region could slip
into deflation – a sustained and widespread drop in prices. Britain, which is
not part of the eurozone, also risks falling into deflation later this year.
While falling prices may sound good
for consumers, deflation can trigger a
vicious spiral in which businesses and
households delay purchases, throttling
demand and causing companies to lay
off workers.
Such concerns have fuelled speculation that the ECB could launch a programme of sovereign bond purchases
known as quantitative easing or QE
when it holds its first policy meeting of
the year on Thursday.
The expectation weighed on borrowing costs, with 10-year Spanish
and Italian bond rates striking record
low levels yesterday. The Spanish
note dropped to 1.470% before rebounding to close at 1.513%, and Italy
closed at 1.664% after hitting a low
of 1.619%.
The euro recovered following its 11year low against the dollar on Friday.
At 1700 GMT yesterday, the European
single currency bought $1.1630 compared with $1.1566 late in New York on
At one point ahead of the weekend,
the single currency tumbled to $1.1460
– the first time it had traded under
$1.15 since November 2003.
“The main event this week is the
ECB’s policy meeting and press conference on Thursday,” noted Neil
MacKinnon, economist at financial
group VTB Capital.
“The markets expect the ECB to an-
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
nounce a QE programme of anything
up to €600bn ($696bn) consisting of
purchases of eurozone government
Stocks rallied on a weaker euro,
which boosted shares in companies
reliant on exports. The single currency
is feeling the force of expected ECB
stimulus as it reduces the prospect of
higher eurozone interest rates any time
Also on the radar this week is a snap
general election in Greece on Sunday.
The looming election has raised
concerns that a victory by the leftist
Syriza party will force eurozone member Greece to renegotiate its bailout
with international lenders.
The euro meanwhile has been hit also
by a soaring Swiss franc. The franc has
jumped by about 20% against the euro
since the Swiss central bank stunned
markets Thursday with its bombshell
decision to abandon the minimum rate
of 1.20 francs against the European
common currency.
The Swiss National Bank had since
September 2011 been defending the
exchange rate in a bid to protect the
country’s vital export industry, including by buying massive quantities
of foreign currencies.
Switzerland’s main stocks index
closed up 3.21% yesterday after plunging 14% last week following the central bank’s shock decision to scrap its
three-year bid to hold down the value
of the franc.
Wall Street was closed yesterday due
to a US national holiday.
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Hong Kong & China Gas
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H
Li & Fung Ltd
Mtr Corp
New World Development
Petrochina Co Ltd-H
Ping An Insurance Group Co-H
Power Assets Holdings Ltd
Sino Land Co
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Swire Pacific Ltd-A
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Wharf Holdings Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Doha Securities Market
Saudi Tadawul
Kuwait Stocks Exchange
Bahrain Stock Exchage
Oman Stock Market
Abudhabi Stock Market
Dubai Financial Market
Lt Price
“Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The
accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended
as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank
or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on
this data.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Renault sales rise on European car market recovery
Boulogne-Billancourt, France
rench car maker Renault
Group expects higher sales
this year after a 3.2% increase in 2014, when recovering
demand in Europe helped to offset slowing emerging markets.
The group said yesterday it
sold 2.7mn passenger cars and
light trucks last year, driven by
demand for small and cheap vehicles in its core European market, which is emerging from a
six-year slump.
Its vehicle registrations rose
12.5% in Europe, outpacing
5.4% growth in the market as a
whole, thanks to strong sales of
the Renault Clio and Captur as
well as the Dacia Sandero and
By contrast, Renault’s new
registrations outside Europe
fell 5.9%, with a 10.7% drop in
volumes in the Americas and a
9.2% decline in Africa, the Middle East and India.
Unlike European rivals such
as BMW and Mercedes, Renault
does not have significant exposure to the two largest growth
markets in the industry at the
moment — China and North
America — leaving it heavily
dependent on its domestic footprint.
Renault is counting on market
share gains in Europe to deliver
continued growth in 2015, even
as sales in Russia, its third-largest market, are expected to fall
between 20 and 25% this year,
the company said.
“We are forecasting an increase in our global volumes,
the strengthening of our position in Europe and improvements in our positions on our
main emerging markets,” Jerome Stoll, Renault’s executive
committee member responsible
for sales and marketing, said in
a statement.
Inw China, the group recorded only 34,067 new registrations
in 2014. It is preparing to launch
locally manufactured vehicles
in 2016 after the creation of
Dongfeng Renault Automotive
Company (DRAC), a joint venture with Dongfeng.
In the Americas, where Renault Group sells cars in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, the
company saw registrations fall
10.7% last year.
Overall, Renault sees the global market growing by 2% this
year, with Europe seen growing
1% to 2% and France remaining
stable, it said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Asia markets mostly up,
Shanghai plunges 7.70%
Hong Kong
sian stock markets mostly rose
yesterday following a rally on
Wall Street and a jump in oil
prices, but Shanghai plunged almost
8% after regulators punished three major brokerages for breaking rules.
The euro continued to struggle
against the dollar and yen before this
week’s European Central Bank (ECB)
meeting, which is expected to unveil a
vast bond-buying scheme to kickstart
the eurozone economy.
Tokyo rose 0.89%, or 150.13 points,
to 17,014.29, Sydney gained 0.19%, or
9.86 points, to 5,309.1 and Seoul closed
0.77% higher, adding 14.49 points to
However, Shanghai was hammered,
diving 7.70%, or 260.15 points, to close
at 3,116.35 – its biggest fall since June
2008. Hong Kong fell 1.51%, or 365.03
points, to end at 23,738.49.
China aside, regional investors were
given a positive lead from New York,
where all three main indexes finished
last week on a high thanks to a pick-up
in oil prices.
Crude gained after the International
Energy Agency said there were signs
“the tide will turn” in the market after
prices tumbled towards six-year lows.
While it predicted that prices will
fall in the short-term, the Paris-based
agency said it expected the market to
rebalance in the second half of the year.
The comments sent US benchmark
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February surging $2.44 on Friday, while
Brent for March jumped $2.50. However,
on Monday the two contracts retreated
slightly. WTI eased 68 cents to $48.01 a
barrel and Brent fell 53 cents to $49.64.
In Shanghai shares plunged after the
China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Friday suspended three
brokerages from opening new margin
trading accounts for three months after
they violated market rules.
The news was a blow for Chinese
stocks, which surged more than 50%
last year helped by an interest rate cut
in November.
The market was also driven by ample
liquidity and margin trading – when in-
gas trading
on EEX
rose 24%
in 2014
lectricity and gas trading on European energy
bourse EEX rose 24% in
2014, helped by new products and
co-operation with other operators, but carbon trading fell due to
the removal of certificates from
the market, the exchange said
Trading volume in the EEX
flagship contract, European power forwards, rose 24% in 2014
compared with the year before,
to 1,570 terawatt hours (TWh),
it said, with especially strong
growth in the French market and
in its new Italian business unit.
Germany-based EEX’s market
share in the German power trading market, Europe’s biggest, increased by 5% to 25% in 2014 from
a year earlier, partly as tighter
regulation drives more over-thecounter trading volumes onto
Exchange-based trading of gas
nearly trebled over the year to 282
TWh in its gas market unit Pegas,
EEX said. EEX, continental Europe’s biggest power bourse, took
a majority stake in French rival
Powernext on January 1, helping
it to better compete with its larger
gas rival Britain’s National Balancing Point (NBP).
The spot gas volume traded in
2014 was 196.4 TWh and futures
85.4 TWh, still small relative to
Germany’s actual gas consumption of 823 TWh in the year.
Carbon emissions rights trading fell by 37% year-on-year, EEX
said, citing “backloading” – the
politically steered removal of
permits from the market to boost
A stock investor gestures as he checks share prices at a securities firm in Fuyang, Anhui province. Chinese shares yesterday plunged after regulators punished several
brokerages for violating rules for margin trading, which has fuelled an extended market rally.
vestors borrow funds to trade with only
a small deposit. The three brokerages –
Citic Securities, Haitong Securities and
Guotai Junan Securities – are among
the country’s biggest.
“The CSRC’s punishment of the
three brokerages for rule violations for
margin trading business last Friday was
a punch to the market,” BOC International analyst Shen Jun said.
Eyes are now on the release today
of Chinese economic growth data for
2014. An AFP survey predicted expansion of 7.3%, down from 7.7% in 2013,
which would be the slowest annual rate
since 1990, a year after the Tiananmen
Square crackdown.
On currency markets, the euro
fetched $1.1563 and 135.42 yen, against
$1.1566 and 135.87 yen in New York Friday. The single currency is facing selling pressure before the ECB meeting
on Thursday. Analysts are forecasting
it will see the introduction of massive
sovereign bond purchases, known as
quantitative easing.
The scheme essentially entails the
bank printing euros to boost lending
and fight off deflation. However, with
more cash in circulation, the value of
the single currency falls.
On Friday, the unit sank below
$1.1500 for the first time since November 2003. The dollar changed hands at
117.11 yen, compared with 117.46 yen in
New York Friday. Gold fetched $1,275.51
an ounce, against $1,257.60 late Friday.
In other markets, Taipei rose 0.39%,
or 35.77 points, to 9,174.06; Wellington added 0.38%, or 21.41 points, to
5,638.14; Manila was marginally lower,
dipping 5.56 points to 7,485.32; Bangkok rose 1.16%, or 17.63 points, to
1,535.37; Kuala Lumpur added 0.56%,
or 9.74 points, to end at 1,753.31; Jakarta ended up 0.07%, or 3.71 points, at
5,152.09 and Singapore rose 0.21%, or
7.02 points, to close at 3,307.7.
John Laing plans London listing
ritish infrastructure investor John
Laing Group is to list on the London Stock Exchange to raise money for new investments and step up its
expansion in the US.
The group said yesterday it expected to raise gross proceeds of around
£130mn ($197mn).
John Laing, which was taken private
by investment firm Henderson in 2007,
could be valued at up to £1bn in the deal,
a source familiar with the matter said.
The firm deals mainly in Public Pri-
vate Partnerships (PPP), where private
investors fund and deliver government
projects, and has expanded into continental Europe and Australia as well as
the US.
Chief Executive Olivier Brousse said
the company would focus on building
its profile in the US before looking to
new locations. He added that the firm
hoped the UK market would revive in
coming years following the financial
“It’s been subdued in the last couple
of years in the UK,” Brousse said. “But
we believe that there is so much infrastructure to be built that government
will need the private sector to fund the
projects and also deliver them.”
Consulting firm McKinsey has estimated that $57tn of global infrastructure investment is needed between 2013
and 2030 as the world grapples with a
growing population and the congestion
of existing infrastructure, as well as rising energy needs. The UN projected in
2013 that the current world population
of 7.2bn could hit 9.6bn by 2050.
John Laing’s projects include the
60,000 seat New Perth Stadium in
Australia and Britain’s £4.7bn Intercity Express Programme. The firm had
an investment portfolio book value of
£781mn as of September 30 last year.
The model of contracting out pub-
lic projects to private firms has proved
controversial in the past, with critics
saying some have resulted in poor deals
for taxpayers and left governments unable to renegotiate contracts following
the global recession.
John Laing only invests and manages
new projects, including hospitals, trainlines and bridges. The firm has taken on
over 100 projects in the past three decades.
The firm’s issue will consist of new
and existing shares. The initial public
offering (IPO) is being run by Barclays
and HSBC. RBC Capital Markets is acting as lead manager, while Greenhill is
financial adviser.
ndian stocks rose for a third
day after Wipro reported
profit that beat estimates and
as crude oil traded in New York
had its first weekly gain since
Wipro, the third-biggest
software exporter, rallied the
most in 18 months. Reliance Industries, owner of the world’s
largest refining complex, rose
for a third day. Axis Bank
jumped to a record. Hindustan Unilever tumbled the most
since January 2011 after reporting the slowest sales growth in
three quarters.
The S&P BSE Sensex gained
0.5% to 28,262.01, the highest
close since December 5. European Central Bank President Mario
Draghi may announce a €550bn
($635bn) bond-purchase programme on Thursday, according to a Bloomberg survey. The
Sensex last week had its biggest
weekly jump in more than two
months after Reserve Bank of
India Governor Raghuram Rajan
cut borrowing costs in an unscheduled move.
“Markets have stabilised globally, and we should have the ECB
quantitative” this week, Ajay
Srivastava, managing director of
Dimensions Consulting Pvt., told
Bloomberg TV India yesterday.
“A benign international environment and a very aggressive local
environment is a potent combination. We should get at least 1%
to 2% rate cut in 2015.”
Wipro jumped 5.3%, the most
since July 2013. The company
reported quarterly net income
of Rs21.9bn ($355mn) after the
market had closed on January 16.
That exceeded the Rs21.6bn estimate of 35 analysts compiled by
Reliance added 1.1% to
Rs879.65, erasing an intraday
loss of 1.3%. The company reported its first profit decline in
nine quarters after trading ended
on January 16 as oil’s rout over
the last six months drove down
the value of stockpiles and pared
its refining margin.
Meanwhile, rupee advanced
for a third day as foreign investors stepped up purchases of the
nation’s bonds.
Global funds bought $1.3bn
more rupee-denominated sovereign and corporate debt than
they sold last week through
January 15, the latest exchange
data show. That took inflows
for this month to $1.8bn, following a record $26bn in 2014.
India’s central bank cut interest rates last week for the first
time since May 2013 to spur the
The rupee climbed 0.3%
to close at 61.7075 a dollar in
Mumbai, according to prices
from local banks compiled by
Bloomberg. It reached 61.4850
on January 15, the strongest level
since November 13. The currency has gained 2.2% in 2015, the
best performance in Asia, data
compiled by Bloomberg show.
Derivatives watchdogs likely to agree swaps rules’ reprieve
Hong Kong
Maijoor: Expecting a new timeline for introducing margin requirements for privately-traded derivatives.
Derivatives watchdogs are expected to
agree a new timeline for the introduction
of margin requirements for swaps
transactions after strong resistance from
the international banking industry, Europe’s
top securities regulator said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia
Financial Forum in Hong Kong yesterday,
Steven Maijoor, chair of the European
Securities and Markets Authority, told
Reuters the European regulator hopes
to agree a new timeline for introducing
margin requirements for privately-traded
derivatives in the coming weeks.
An extension to the agreed December 2015
deadline would mark a reprieve for global
banks, which have said there is not enough
time to do the operational and legal work
necessary to implement the post-crisis
rules that may add $800bn to the global
financial industry’s cost of doing business.
“We understand as a European regulator
that we need to look into that time
schedule. I cannot at this stage say
anything definitive but it’s high on our
agenda to look at this new timeline. As a
regulator it’s important to have clarity on
this deadline, just like market participants
want to have clarity on this deadline,”
Maijoor said.
Reuters reported in August that the
International Swaps and Derivatives
Association (ISDA), which represents the
over-the-counter derivatives market, had
written to the Basel Committee on Banking
Supervision (BCBS) and the International
Organisation of Securities Commissions
(IOSCO), requesting a delay to rules that
aim to make trading OTC derivatives safer.
Maijoor said regulators are discussing
the timeline within IOSCO, adding it was
unclear at this stage if they will agree a
new timeline for all or just some margin
requirements. “That is part of the ...
discussions and we hope within the first
quarter of this year we’d get clarity on this,”
he added.
After the global financial crisis, regulators
pledged to make trading OTC derivatives
safer by pushing them through clearing
houses, which sit in between a trade to
guarantee payment should a counterparty
However, around $127tn of the global
$600tn OTC derivatives market are too
complex to be cleared, ISDA estimates.
New guidelines outlined by BCBS-IOSCO in
September 2013 aim to reduce the risk of
non-cleared trades by requiring banks to
take margin from a counterparty.
Keith Noyes, regional director, Asia Pacific,
at ISDA, said it would be “supportive of a
revised timeline” which would allow banks
to transition to the new rules “in a safe
and efficient way that minimises market
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Oil price slide expected to
boost euro firms’ earnings
Carrefour’s sales growth is expected to accelerate in the fourth quarter as consumers spend less at the pumps and more in the shops on falling oil prices.
with the question of how contained the
negative impacts of the oil price fall will
be. Energy companies account for less
than 10% of the total earnings of Europe’s top 600 firms, but it is still unclear exactly how oil costing less than
$50 a barrel will feed through the global
economy if prices and consumer habits
get locked into a broader deflationary
Lorne Baring, managing director at B
Capital Wealth Management, said the
rapid pace of oil’s fall had led to fears of
a hit to economic demand rather than a
more benign supply correction.
“The steep decline in oil prices is
now creating an economic and financial
markets inflection point,” Baring said.
Although the full impact of the sector’s pain has yet to be felt – BP and
ConocoPhillips last week announced
hundreds of job cuts in the North Sea –
it is unlikely to make a big dent in overall European earnings because of the
bigger number of sectors set to profit,
analysts said. While energy companies’ earnings are likely to fall by nearly
16% in the fourth quarter, according to
Thomson Reuters StarMine, a positive
outlook for European retail, automo-
bile, technology and travel and leisure
companies lifted their shares. Each
sector gained between 5 and 12% in the
fourth quarter, against an 18% drop for
the energy sector.
“The net effect, after taking into account a hit on the energy sector, will be
positive for European earnings,” said
Robert Parkes, strategist at HSBC Global Research.
Dot-com IPOs fading in 2015 after record year
New York
ebut US stock sales by Chinese
Internet companies are poised
to drop by about half from last
year’s record as the pool of mature
startups shrinks and their larger peers
are more apt to provide them with
needed funding.
About a half-dozen of the companies may hold initial public offerings in
New York this year, according to analysts at 86Research, Rosenblatt Securities, and JG Capital Corp. Among the
most likely candidates are Dianping.
com, a consumer review website akin
to Yelp in the US, and,
which runs a discount site similar to
Groupon, they said.
After about 60 Chinese Internet
stock sales in the US since 2000, including 12 IPOs last year, the biggest
names in e- commerce, search, travel
and social networking have already
listed, leaving fewer nascent firms
ready to go public. Startups looking
for capital are finding a crowd of deeppocketed companies such as Alibaba
Group Holding and Baidu eager to invest in smaller rivals.
Airline plans jet-fuel
hedging for first time
New Delhi
Air India is conducting
large scale hedging of
jet fuel for the first time,
as the state-run carrier
seeks to take advantage
of lower crude oil prices,
a person with direct
knowledge of the matter
Air India is hedging 2mn
barrels of aviation turbine
fuel annually at $75 per
barrel, which should
cover more than a fifth of
its fuel requirements, the
person said. The company
doesn’t expect oil prices
to fall any further, he said.
Crude oil prices slumped
almost 50% last year as
the US pumped oil at
the fastest rate in more
than three decades while
Opec resisted calls to cut
supply. That resulted in
boosting economies of
import-driven countries,
while providing a
breather to airlines, which
typically operate on tight
n oil price slump to multi-year
lows, along with a weakening
euro, is expected to boost most
eurozone firms’ earnings, even though
economic growth is slowing and the energy sector itself will get squeezed.
The benefits of cheaper commodities,
lower input costs and export-boosting
currency moves for firms are expected
to lift European companies’ earnings by
25% for the fourth quarter of 2014 alone
and by 10% throughout 2015, according
to Thomson Reuters data.
Travel and tourism companies in
particular will profit: Moody’s recently
changed its outlook for the global airline industry to “positive”.
Retailers too are enjoying a knock-on
effect as consumers spend less at the
pumps and more in the shops.
Carrefour’s sales growth accelerated
in the fourth quarter, Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion
retailer, saw higher sales growth than
expected in December, and Metro, Europe’s fourth-biggest retailer, said a
recovery gained pace at three of its four
businesses in the important Christmas
While earnings momentum for the oil
and gas sector has fallen to multi-year
lows, according to Thomson Reuters
Datastream, analysts expect earnings
momentum for non-energy sectors to
improve in the coming months, implying more analyst upgrades than downgrades.
“Analysts have been focusing on the
short-term negative impact from the
drop in oil prices, but longer term it
will be a big positive factor,” said Alain
Bokobza, head of strategy, global asset
allocation at Societe Generale.
A fall in the euro against the dollar – mainly on expectations of further
quantitative easing by the European
Central Bank – is also expected to help.
The euro has fallen more than 7%
against the dollar in the past month and
is down around 17% since mid-2014.
Analysts say that a drop of 10% in the
euro could translate into a 6 to 8% rise
in company profits as a weaker domestic currency makes exports cheaper.
Investors are nonetheless grappling
Egypt to
issue $1.5bn
in April
Cheaper oil prices may
help Air India save
Rs20bn ($324mn) for
the year ending March
31, 2016, and also may
help the company break
even before its target of
turning a profit by 2019.
Jet fuel in Singapore
traded at $63.05 a barrel
on January 16, data
compiled by Bloomberg
showed. Indian federal
and state taxes make jet
fuel in the nation Asia’s
most expensive.
Some airlines, which had
hedged jet fuel prices at
higher prices, have failed
to take advantage of the
recent slump, and may
actually end up losing
money from the sudden
Some Asian carriers, like
Singapore Airlines, have
hedged fuel at an average
of $116 a barrel of jet fuel,
when spot market rates
are about $85. That can
result in losses on paper
as airlines will have to
account for their hedges
or pay charges to unwind
contracts prematurely.
“Most of the Chinese Internet names
that meet the criteria for an IPO have
already listed,” Jun Zhang, the head of
China equity research at Rosenblatt,
said by phone on January 14. “Some
companies have dropped IPO plans after being bought by top- ranked companies in the sector. The big guys’ acquisitions also made it harder for some
startups to compete.”
UCWeb Inc, a Web browser maker and application distributor that
had sought a public listing in 2012,
scrapped that plan after Alibaba
bought it last year, Zhang said.
Video streaming company PPStream
Inc was acquired by Baidu, owner of
China’s biggest search engine, in June
2013 for $370mn. That buyout also put
an end to its IPO plans, according to Ella
Ji at Oppenheimer & Co in New York.
“The acquired targets include both
listed companies and unlisted companies which had originally planned for
individual IPOs,” Ji said by phone on
January 14. “Some of the firms with
relatively large customer bases and
brand recognition, like Meituan and
Dianping, may still want to go public
on their own even with investments
from top players, but it’s a different
case for small ones.” Hangzhou-based
Alibaba last week became the majority
shareholder in AdChina Ltd, a webbased advertising platform, without
disclosing details of the transaction.
AdChina withdrew its IPO application
in February 2013 after it filed a prospectus a year earlier.
Hangzhou Kuaidi Technology Co, a
mobile taxi-booking service provider,
raised $600mn last week from a group
of investors that was led by SoftBank
Corp and included its existing shareholder Alibaba. Kuaidi prefers to pursue an initial public offering rather
than be taken over, the company said
in July.
gypt plans to issue a $1.5bn
Eurobond in April and
hopes to return regularly to
international capital markets in
years to come as it tries to rebuild
the country’s battered finances, a
finance ministry official said yesterday.
The dollar-denominated issue
is likely to be split, said Hanan
Salem, first deputy minister for
economic and financial policies
at Egypt’s Ministry of Finance.
“We are looking to probably
divide this into two tranches ...
Our intention is to create a yield
curve, so we might have one
tranche that is ten years, and another tranche that is different,
that is on the longer end,” Salem
“This will be Egypt’s re-entry
to the international capital markets after a gap of four years now,”
Salem told Reuters in an interview during an investment conference in London.
The Arab world’s most populous country has been trying to
repair an economy battered by
political upheaval, street protests
and militant violence since 2011,
when a popular uprising toppled
autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The
turmoil has shut Cairo out of international debt markets.
Egypt was looking to issue
more Eurobonds over the years to
come, and was also exploring sukuk issuance, though that would
require regulatory change, Salem
said. “It is always good to have a
continual presence in the international market and it’s good to
create liquidity and our external
debt indicators are very low so
we have room to add to our external debt,” Salem said. Cairo will
inform investors of its mediumterm borrowing plans before the
issue, she said.
Egypt has mostly relied on the
local money market to finance its
deficit since being frozen out of
international markets, but Hanan
said feedback from investors was
“There is a really strong appetite for Egypt,” Salem said,
adding she expects the country’s
credit rating to be upgraded soon.
“We should at least be a full rating notch above where we are
currently rated,” she said.
In December, ratings agency
Fitch upgraded Egypt’s sovereign debt to a ‘B’ rating with a
stable outlook after the government took steps to cut subsidies
and raise taxes as part of a fiscal consolidation plan. Moody’s
changed its outlook to stable
from negative in October.
Looking at economic growth,
Hanan expected annual gross
domestic product for the second
quarter of the fiscal year 20142015 to come in above 5%.
Central bank data showed GDP
stood at an annual 6.8% in the
first quarter of the financial year,
which started in July, its strongest
growth since 2008.
Air India to cut costs by $226.6mn
New Delhi
Air India, once India’s monopoly airline, has not reported an annual profit since 2007, and received a $5.8bn bailout package
from the government in 2012.
tate-owned carrier Air India is attempting to cut
annual costs by Rs14bn ($226.6mn) after the government ordered the loss-making airline to improve its finances.
Air India said surplus staff should be identified and
overtime and expenses slashed, while flights not meeting their fuel costs should be cut.
“The ministry of civil aviation has directed that a 10%
cut be imposed...” said its chairman and managing director Robit Nandan in a circular to senior staff.
Staff travel and hospitality have also been restricted
and “wage increases for local staff... will not be entertained”, said the circular, dated January 15 and sent to
AFP yesterday.
Air India, once the country’s monopoly airline, has
not reported an annual profit since 2007, and received
a $5.8bn bailout package from the government in 2012.
The carrier now holds just 20% of the passenger market as once-loyal travellers fly nimbler private-sector
rivals who last year were embroiled in a cut-throat price
Air India has also been keen to improve its reputation after a string of recent technical glitches, including
in July last year when an India-bound flight from New
Jersey in the US was forced to return when an engine
caught fire.
Air India pared its financial losses last year thanks to
a better all-round performance, reporting a net loss of
Rs53.8bn ($894mn).
All but one of India’s main half-dozen carriers is losing money, smarting from fare rivalry, high fuel costs
and hefty debts. Indigo is the exception.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
GCC region remains largest source of remittances to India in ’13: Seetharaman
Dr R Seetharaman at a panel session
at the recent Airtel and the Economic
Times Global Business Summit in New
CC region remained the largest
source of remittances to India in
2013 accounting for nearly 35%
of the total remitted amount of $71bn
that year, said Doha Bank Group CEO
Dr R Seetharaman.
“India’s currently attracts more remittances than foreign direct investment (FDI) and hence the remittances
should be chanellised into various infrastructure projects through investment schemes,” he said at a panel session held as part of the Airtel and the
Economic times Global Business Summit in New Delhi recently.
He said, “IMF October outlook
states India was expected to grow at
5.6% in fiscal year 2014-15 and 6.4% in
fiscal year 2015-16. India’s GDP grew
at 5.3% in the July – September, 2014
“India’s consumer price inflation
(CPI) rate was at 5% in December
2014. The current account deficit
eased to $32.4bn, 1.7% of the GDP
in fiscal year 2013-14. For 2014-15, it
is expected to be $39 bn, 2.2% of the
country’s GDP.
“India’s fiscal deficit during the
2013-14 fiscal was $86.08bn or equivalent to 4.5% of the GDP. The target
for 2014-15 is 4.1% of GDP. In a surprise move the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut interest rates by 25 basis
points recently yielding to signs of
slowing inflation, while acknowledging government efforts to contain the
fiscal deficit. Monetary and fiscal pol-
icy should be aligned to enable India’s
Highlighting foreign direct investment and remittance trends in India, he
said, “FDI inflows into India from April
to October 2014 have surged by 26%
percent to $17.34bn when compared to
same period previous year. Power sector attracted $486mn and construction
development attracted $645mn. India
had attracted $28bn FDI in 2013.”
India’s 2014 budget opened up the
railway infrastructure segment for foreign direct investment. In October last
year, in a boost to cash-starved real estate industry, the government relaxed
rules for FDI in the construction sector. India needs to attract more FDI in
its infrastructure and require strong
regulatory framework where laws and
contracts are to be properly enforced;
rights and responsibilities are well defined.
On solutions to “unlock India’s potential” through revival of India’s infrastructure, he said, “A single window
system can reduce the delay and make
the life easy for any entrepreneur including a foreign entrepreneur. Open
the bidding stage to as many investors as possible. It’s important that the
process is transparent and favouritism
to be avoided. The government has already pitched India’s story in Japan
and China and more such efforts to be
pursued. India needs to further develop
its debt market with further measures.
In Public Private Partnership projects
Qatar Airways Cargo to
launch freighter service
to Ahmedabad on Feb 3
atar Airways Cargo is
continuing its expansion programme in India
with the launch of the seventh
freighter destination in the
Starting February 3, Qatar
Airways Cargo will commence
freighter services to Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city.
The twice weekly Airbus
A330 freighter service will depart Doha on Tuesdays and
Fridays with a stop in Mumbai
before heading to Ahmedabad.
Departure from Ahmedabad to
Doha is scheduled on the same
Qatar Airways Cargo will operate the twice weekly freighter
service alongside the daily
passenger flights that the air-
The twice weekly Airbus A330 freighter service will depart Doha
on Tuesdays and Fridays with a stop in Mumbai before heading to
line operates to Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad has emerged as an
important economic and industrial hub in India, and textiles, chemicals, automobiles
and pharmaceuticals are some
of the city’s major industries.
Ahmedabad also has a growing
biotechnology industry with
the presence of more than 50
biotechnology companies and
around 66 support organisations. The city is renowned as
the largest supplier of denim
and one of the largest exporters of gemstones and jewellery
in India.
Qatar Airways chief officer
(Cargo) Ulrich Ogiermann
said: “We are looking forward
to commencing operations
to Ahmedabad - our seventh
freighter destination in India.
We already carry cargo on the
lower deck of daily passenger
flights to this city and being
the only international carrier
to provide freighter services
to Ahmedabad, we will be able
to provide even more capacity
into and out of this important
industrial city and to the state
of Gujarat.” The year 2014
was a highly productive one
for Qatar Airways Cargo with
the launch of QR Pharma for
pharmaceuticals and healthcare products and QR Fresh for
perishable products; and the
migration to the fully automated, state-of-the-art cargo
facility at Hamad International Airport.
Qatar Airways Cargo also
launched 11 dedicated freighter
destinations in 2014, including
Delhi and Hyderabad in India.
In 2015, the airline has commenced operations to the Swiss
city of Basel and launched the
Pharma Express route, linking the pharmaceutical hubs of
Brussels and Basel via Doha to
the expanding network.
Al Khaliji Group CEO Fahad al-Khalifa with other officials during the awards ceremony.
Al Khaliji wins 4 accolades from ‘Banker
Middle East Qatar Product Awards 2014’
l Khalij Commercial Bank
(Al Khaliji) has earned
four accolades from the
“Banker Middle East Qatar Product Awards 2014” in the “Best
Premium Banking Service,” “Best
Branch Design,” “Best Premium
Banking Proposition,” and “Best
Premium Credit Card” categories.
The Banker Middle East Product Awards recognises banking
products and services that are either “exceptionally innovative”
or have generated “excellent financial results.”
The awards were based on a
peer-vote process. In 2013, the
awards programme saw more
than 15,000 voters cast 630,000
votes across the categories to select the best products and services offered by the financial sector
in the Middle East.
Al Khaliji Group CEO Fahad
al-Khalifa said, “We are delighted to win four accolades from the
Banker Middle East Qatar Product Awards. Such recognition is
the result of the hard work of Al
Khaliji’s dedicated and committed team members, who are thoroughly invested in offering the
best service and propositions to
Al Khaliji received the “Best
Premium Bank Proposition” for
its unique service — “New to Qa-
tar,” a programme that provides
new expatriates access to hasslefree banking upon arrival to the
New clients utilising the service will know first-hand their respective relationship managers,
have access to a fully-functioning bank account, receive a local
mobile number for ease of communication on arrival, receive a
complimentary discount voucher on car hire worth QR1,500, as
well as a pre-approved vehicle
loan and credit card.
In addition, customers will
receive a welcome pack that includes a personalised debit card
from Al Khaliji’s Premium rela-
tionship manager. Furthermore,
Al Khaliji focuses its Personal
Banking attention on Premium
and Private Banking clients.
The bank’s award-winning
Premium Banking service offers
a series of facilities packaged
under one brand. The components of this service include a
dedicated relationship manager,
access to upgraded and exclusive
Premium lounges, preferential
rates on all types of loans and
deposits, choice of Premium positioned credit cards with multiple benefits to suit an individual’s
life style, including access to over
500 airport lounges worldwide.
In addition, all of Al Khaliji’s
new branches are designed to
provide customers with a 5-star
Premium journey where comfort
and privacy are paramount. High
quality materials and cuttingedge design combine to provide a
bright, spacious and comfortable
branch that creates an exclusive
ambiance for clients.
Recently Al Khaliji was named
“Best Private Bank in Qatar” in
2014 by the Global Private Banking Awards, organised by The
Banker Magazine in conjunction with Professional Wealth
Management Magazine and for
the second consecutive year, the
bank won Best Premium Bank in
the Middle East Awards.
Qatar Chamber to attend investment forum in Manama
Qatar Chamber (QC) is taking part in
the First International Entrepreneurs
Investment Forum and the International
Green Economy and Technology Forum
at Manama.
QC chairman and president, Federation
of Chambers of GCC, Sheikh Khalifa
bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani,
is heading QC delegation at both
forums. The forums will discuss how to
encourage creative small and medium
enterprises in the region and the
pioneer businesspersons in their fields,
in addition to looking into the various
strategies and methods of effective
finances for these to help them develop
and grow.
The forum will also address the
infrastructure requirements to foster
creative businesses in the region and
what should be done to support them.
QC is also taking part at the first ArabEuropean Communication Conference
at Amman Jordan during the same
period. The conference aims at opening
a dialogue among all the concerned
parties to enhance the role of different
chambers of commerce and industry in
providing small and medium enterprises
with the necessary services and facilities
to help them develop, in particular at the
Middle East and North Africa Region. The
main topics of dialogue include finances,
non-finance services, creative approach
to establish such projects and maintain
(PPP), India should develop sector specific regulatory mechanism and bring
more traction to power projects.”
Bad loans in the Indian banking system rose to 4.03% of total advances in
2013-14 from 3.42% in 2012-13. Effective April 1, 2015, the Reserve Bank of
India’s regulatory forbearance under
which banks were allowed to qualify
restructured assets as standard, will
come to an end.
Currently banks are setting aside 5%
of the value of the loan to cover the risk
of default on any restructured assets.
Starting in the next financial year, when
all restructured assets will be termed as
non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad
loans, the requirement will increase to
a minimum 15%, Seetharaman added.
Weakening oil prices
may lead to reduced
debt raising through
sukuks, says S&P
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Weakening oil prices and
expected lower US Fed rates
may lead to reduced debt
raising through Shariahprincipled instruments or
sukuks this year, according
to global credit rating agency
Standard and Poor’s (S&P).
“Headwinds are emerging,
however, specifically from the
expected increase in the US
Federal Reserve interest rates
and lower oil prices, which
could result in lower sukuk
issuance in 2015,” the agency
Sukuk issuance reached
$116.4bn in 2014 compared
with $111.3bn in 2013, and
“we expect total issuance to
cross the $100bn mark again
in 2015” but at lower levels,
it said.
The US Fed appears on
track to start increasing its
benchmark interest rate in the
second quarter of 2015, which
may reduce liquidity in global
capital markets, including
emerging markets.
Another obstacle for the
sukuk could come from the
continued drop in oil prices,
which could reduce economic
growth and ultimately
borrowing in core sukuk
markets, especially if prices
decrease further.
“We continue to adjust our
macroeconomic forecasts
in line with our oil price
assumptions, already resulting
in lower growth and public
expenditures expectations for
some GCC (Gulf Co-operation
Council) countries. Despite
significant fiscal and external
buffers in a number of these
countries, the oil price
decline could lead to a drop
in confidence and decrease in
sukuk issuance,” it said.
However, S&P said the
implementation of new
regulatory requirements,
particularly Basel III, and the
lack of high-quality liquid
assets in the Islamic finance
industry might increase
sovereign and central banks’
issuances and provide the
Islamic finance industry with
much-needed instruments to
manage liquidity.
Supporting sukuk issuance
is the still-positive economic
performance of core markets
such as nations in the GCC and
Malaysia, the implementation
of new regulatory
requirements such as the
Basel III liquidity coverage
ratio, and increasing interest
in sukuk from countries that
have not yet tapped the sukuk
market looking to diversify
their investor base.
Sukuk issuance can give
governments access to a
new investor class and so
diversify sources of funding,
it said, adding countries with
both fiscal and trade deficits,
attracting foreign investors to
sovereign sukuk could provide
fiscal funding, as well as help
cover external financing needs
and support reserve-building.
“In some cases, we believe
governments plan to issue
sovereign sukuk not with a
view to funding needs, but to
establish a benchmark for the
development of an Islamic
finance market,” it said.
A study by the Islamic
Financial Services Board found
that a sample of 32 Islamic
banks in seven countries
was compliant with Basel
III liquidity coverage ratio
requirements, thanks to their
cash holdings and reserves at
their central banks. Standard
& Poor’s believes some central
banks in core sukuk markets
may follow the Malaysian
example, where a few years
ago Bank Negara became
the largest issuer of sukuk
CR for 1,637 fast food
joints, vegetable and
fruit shops in 2014
ew commercial registration (CR) for as many
as 1,637 fast food joints
and vegetable and fruit shops
were issued in 2014, data issued
by the Ministry of Economy
and Commerce (MEC) show.
Some 115,175 new commercial registrations for different
categories of companies were
approved and issued by MEC
in 2014, the ministry said in a
statement yesterday.
The number of new commercial registrations issued to
major companies during the
period was 4,107, representing 30% of the total number.
Other registrations were classified by MEC as 16 joint stock
companies, 37 public joint
stock companies, four holding
companies, 2,234 one-person
companies, 82 foreign companies and 7,204 limited liability
companies, which represents
52.6% of the total number of
new registrations.
MEC said that the sum of the
total capitals of these new registrations for 2014 amounted to
nearly QR16bn.
The total capital of one person companies was in excess of
QR1bn; corporate companies
QR600,000; holding companies QR40mn; limited liability companies QR1.64bn; joint
stock companies QR2.19bn.
MEC report indicates that
the largest percentage of the
new commercial registrations
approved last year was for
contracting companies, which
amounted to 3,435, representing 17% of the total.
Fast food joints, and vegetables and fruits shops amounted
to 1,637 shops (8%); building materials firms 1,545 (7%);
laundries 920 (4%); groceries
789 (4%); general trade and
clothes 787 (4%), electric appliances and electronics 708
(3%), and other commercial activities amounted to 53% of the
newly approved registrations
for last year.
Municipality saw 3,117 new
commercial registrations, Al
Rayyan 3,069, Al Wakrah 437,
Umm Salal 231, Al Khor 174, Al
Shammal 46 and Al Dayyin 15.
TENNIS | Page 5
CRICKET | Page 7
FOOTBALL | Page 10
adds to his
tally, Nadal
wins too
David Warner
defends his
‘speak English’
asks fans to
stop mocking
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Rabia I 29, 1436 AH
‘We knew it would be very complicated against a team of
Slovenia’s class, but this is the result of hard work of the boys’
Qatar team celebrate after their win over Slovenia in their Group A match of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship
which was held here at the Lusail Multipurpose Arena yesterday. PICTURE: Anas al-Samaraee
By Yash Mudgal
osts Qatar stunned Slovenia in a thriller to reach
pre-quarterfinals of the
24th Men’s Handball World
Championship at Lusail Multipurpose
Arena yesterday.
In a dramatic finish Qatar handed
Slovenia, who finished fourth in the
last edition of the championship,
their first defeat in the championship (31-29).
This is Qatar’s second entry in the
pre-quarterfinals after 12 years. Qatar lost to Spain 15-40 in 2003 edition of the championship in the last
16 stage.
“I am very, very happy with this
victory that secures our spot in prequarters. I think our attacking play
was good today, but we won this
game with our hearts and a bit with
our tactics,” Qatar coach Valero Rivera said.
“We knew it would be very complicated against a team of Slovenia’s
class, but this is the result of hard
work of the boys,” he said.
The focus of the Group A match
was supposed to be on two leading
goal scorers of the tournament -Slovenia’s right wing Dragan Gajic
(24 goals in two matches) and Qatar’s
right back Zarko Markovic (17 goals
in two matches) -- but Qatar’s Rafel
Capote’s shooting efforts stole the
limelight from them.
Capote netted 12 goals in 17 attempts and in the process secured
third consecutive victory for his
team and a place among the last 16 of
the championship.
Capote shooting efforts was also
lauded by Gajic.
“He was almost unstoppable today.
And I thinks he was the difference
between the two teams today,” the
30-year-old right winger Gajic said.
“It was a tough game for us. Qatar played superbly today. I think
they have shown more energy than
us throughout the game,” the Slovenian added.
After Qatar took the lead at the
start, Slovenia took their first lead
at 8-7 after 12 minutes and later extended it to 10-7, before Qatar came
back again in what was a rather turbulent game.
Centre back Kamalaldin Mallash
was back in the Qatar team after the
injury he had sustained in the opening match against Brazil, and he celebrated his comeback to the tournament in style.
He scored seven out of his team’s
first 14 goals, and together with Goran
Stojanovic in goal he played a great
part in Qatar going back into a two goal
lead shortly before half time.
Before the two teams went to their
locker rooms, that lead had been increased to three, as Qatar were leading 18-15 after the first 30 minutes.
From the start of the second-half,
the score changed between a three
goal lead for Qatar and Slovenia reducing the deficit to one goal.
It was still Qatar who had the
initiative, though. They were good
at shutting down the Slovenians’
dreaded counter attacks, which
meant that Gajic did not play nearly
is dangerous as he had been in his
team’s first two matches, where he
scored a total of 24 goals.
Qatar got up by five goals at 2419, but Slovenia fought back to a one
goal distance, and with five minutes
left, Jure Dolenec even equalised to
The Slovenians did not get any further, though, as three goals in a row
from Qatar changed the score to 31-28,
which meant that the last Slovenian
goal only had cosmetic effect.
“This was a historic victory for us
today. Congratulations to everyone
in and around the team, without the
team effort this had not been possible,” Qatar’s right back Abdullah alKarbi said.
“It was a difficult match against a
well organised Slovenian team, which
contains some of the best players in
the world. However, we followed all
the instructions that our coach had
given us, and step by step we will go
toward the championship.”
Right back Jure Dolenec scored
eight goals for Slovenia.
Expressing his feeling on reaching knock-out stage Qatar goalkeeper Goran Stojanovic said: “A
great result for Qatar against such a
strong opponent as Slovenia, which
puts us to the next round. Nobody
expected us to win our first three
games, we are in euphoria! Today
we celebrate, but we need to bring
ourselves down to earth again,
since there are two more games left
to finish our group games. ”
The hosts won against Brazil 28-23
on Thursday and on Saturday defeated
Chile 27-20. The next two matches
are against world champions Spain on
January 21 and Belarus in the concluding group match on January 23. Slovenia will play Brazil on January 21 and
two days later with Spain.
Croatia and Macedonia also entered the pre-quarterfinals from
Group B with their victories over
Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia won 41-22, while Macedonian won 25-22.
“I am very, very
happy with this
victory that
secures our spot
in pre-quarters.
I think our
attacking play
was good today,
but we won
this game with
our hearts and
a bit with our
tactics,” Qatar
coach Valero
Rivera said.
Qatar in pre-quarters after
gritty victory over Slovenia
Pos. Team
Pos. Team
Czech Rep.
Pos. Team
Pos. Team
Saudi Arabia
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Spain make short
work of Chile, Brazil
get their first points
Qatar 2015 building
block for Brazilians
for the Rio Olympics
‘It was a great game for Spain. Very difficult to say what went wrong for us. We let the
opponents do what they wanted. Spain clearly showed us we’ve got problems’
Brazil head coach Jordi Ribera (left)
By Sports Reporter
Jorge Maqueda of Spain celebrates during the Qatar 2015 24th Men’s Handball World Championship match between Spain and Chile at the Duhail Handball Sports Hall, Doha.
By Yash Mudgal
efending champions Spain gave
a short shrift to Chile (37-16)
to clinch its third consecutive
victory and rolled into the prequarter-finals of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship at Lusail Multipurpose Arena yesterday.
The Chileans, who qualified for the
championship in dramatic fashion scoring in the penultimate second against
Uruguay in their match for the qualification place, did not have any chance
against the sensational Spanish defence.
Chile pivot Marco Oneto admitted his
side’s shortcomings as he said: “It was a
great game for Spain. Very difficult to say
what went wrong for us... We played like
kids and let the opponents do what they
wanted. Spain clearly showed us we’ve
got problems.”
The Spaniards, who scored victories
over Brazil and Belarus in their first two
Group A matches, punished every Chilean mistake in attack by counter-attacks
and highly efficient shots from the back
court area.
“This game was played differently in
the first and the second half. In the first
period we demonstrated good defence
and in the second we attacked well. We
achieved an impressive goal adifference,”
Spain coach Manuel Cagenas said.
“We have qualified and now we will be
concentrating on further stages of the
tournament,” he said.
However, the Chileans opened the
score in the fifth minute showing all signs
of being the enthusiastic dark horses.
It took the Spanish armada almost two
minutes to pull one back.
After that Spain decided to accelerate a
little bit and took a confident lead.
Chile was not showing signs of bowing under pressure as until the last 10
minutes of the first-half the defending champions advantage was only more
than three points. The Chileans demonstrated good strategies in both attack
and defence to cope with the challenge
reasonably well.
Still the Spanish were gradually increasing their lead in the second-half,
doing it quite confidently without
putting any extra visible efforts into it.
The tempo of the game dropped significantly in the second-half and it looked
like the Chileans were trying to keep the
goal difference to single figures but the
European side increased the lead to more
than 20 points.
Spain’s top scorer was Valero Rivera
with seven goals in eight attempts while
Guillermo Arraya and Javier Frelijj were
the joint top scorers for Chile with three
goals apiece.
In an encounter between two teams who
were in desperate need of points, Brazil
defeated Belarus 34-29 to secure its first
victory in the championship.
It was the day of the Brazilian wingers
Fabio Chiuffa, Felipe Ribeiro and Lucas
Candido together scored 17 goals – half
of the Brazilian total in the match.
“We knew in advance how important
that match would be after we had lost our
first two matches. Therefore I am very
happy with our first two points in the
tournament. We knew after our defeats in
our first two matches, that we were in for
four ‘finals’ about going on in the tournament. Now we have won the first of those
finals,” Brazil coach Jordi Ribera said.
Both teams opened with scoring
problems, and it took more than three
minutes before Belarusian right wing
Dzianis Rutenka scored the first goal of
the match.
However, after Belarus took the lead at
the beginning, Brazil had the upper hand
for most of the first half. Their aggressive defence obviously bothered the Belarusians, and so did the fast and elegant
right wing Fabio Chiuffa at the other end
of the court.
In the first-half itself he scored five
goals – from the wing, on counter attacks
and on penalty shots, before spending
the first 20 minutes of the second-half
on the bench.
Chiuffa’s teammate on the opposite
wing, Felipe Ribeiro, also scored five goals
in the first-half, and with nine goals in
total became Brazil’s top scoring player.
Brazil soon got up by three goals, and
that lead was even increased to five before
being back to four again after the first 30
minutes, at which point Brazil were leading 16-12.
Even while having two players less on
the court at the beginning of the secondhalf, the Brazilians managed to score, and
after they regained full strength, they
went back to increasing their lead which
was at six when it was it highest.
laying or representing
the hosting nation at the
Olympic Games is one of
the greatest experiences
for any sportsman or sportswoman regardless the discipline.
The Brazilians will have this opportunity in 2016 when Rio de
Janeiro will be the host city for
the Olympic Games.
Brazil is putting huge effort
into preparing their athletes in
all the sporting disciplines for
these games. In terms of handball the best result thus far for
the Olympic host nation was the
women winning gold at the 2013
World Championship in Serbia.
It is now the men who are trying
to make it into the spotlight at
the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship in Qatar.
Spanish born coach Jordi Ribera is spearheading this movement for more than five years
now, but his side is still a work in
“At the 2013 World Championship in Spain we put a focus
on development and aimed to
reach the eighth-finals. This was
our first step,” commented Ribera, who also has coached junior
teams in the past with the goal of
improving handball at underage
level throughout Brazil.
His team in Qatar is a mixed
bag with varying levels of talent and experience. In their first
two matches in Doha, Brazil were
neck and neck with their opponents Qatar and Spain, but left
the court both times emptyhanded.
“We still have three matches
ahead of us and we know that we
have to win at least two to make
it to the knock-out stage – this
is our main goal in Doha,” commented back court player Thiago
Other Results
Belarus 29-34 Brazil
Spain 37-16 Chile
Bosnia & Herzegovina 22-25
FYR Macedonia
Croatia 41-22 Iran
Austria 25-25 Tunisia
Santos after their defeat against
Spain on Saturday. Brazil will
face Belarus, Slovenia and Chile
in their upcoming matches.
Despite two defeats the Brazilian players are happy with the
experience they have gained in
Doha thus far: “We don’t have
too many competitive matches
back home,” says top star Felipe
Ribeiro. “With the Olympic
Games in 2016 in mind playing
at a World Championship with
matches against teams from all
continents is an ideal way to improve and to learn,” Ribeiro continued.
Coach Ribera shares this opinion: “Of course we are getting
ready for Rio 2016 and Qatar 2015
is a very important step on this
road. We are taking our preparations for Rio very seriously so
Qatar is really great preparation
for us.”
Coach Ribera shares this
opinion: “Of course we are
getting ready for Rio 2016
and Qatar 2015 is a very
important step on this road.
We are taking our preparations for Rio very seriously so Qatar is really great
preparation for us.”
But his focus definitely is not
only on Rio, but also on the here
and now in Doha. “We are here
in Qatar, and of course, we will
concentrate on this competition.
This is logical. But our preparations for the Rio Olympics are far
reaching and contain many stages. Qatar 2015 is definitely one of
the most important stages in our
journey to Rio 2016.”
While the main objective of
the men’s team is to make it to
the quarter-finals, the women
can aim for a medal. If they succeed in taking a medal at the next
Olympic Games, they would go
down in history as only one of
a few host nations to take silverware at an Olympic handball
event – Spain being the last to do
so with their bronze at the 1992
Games in Barcelona.
To understand the importance of the event for the Brazilians they have even sent
Daniela Coelho who is the competitions manager for handball
in Rio 2016. She will be on-site
right throughout the tournament in Doha inspecting the
various venues and the operations management.
Josoor Institute trains more than 75 National
Handball Federation General Secretaries
By Sports Reporter
n 16-17 January, Josoor Institute successfully organised
a bespoke senior leadership
workshop in Doha for the
Secretary Generals and senior representatives of continental, member and
national federations affiliated to the International Handball Federation (IHF).
The two-day senior leadership
workshops were attended by more than
75 senior leaders and covered a variety
of topics including operational effectiveness for national sports federations, leading change and fostering innovation in sports organisations, sports
marketing for federations and sports
The workshops were delivered by
Ryan Bowd, Director of Education and
course facilitator from Josoor Institute
Dr Hassan Moustafa, IHF President (right) with Ryan Bowd, Josoor Institute’s
Director of Education.
who was joined by Dr Nicholas D. Theodorakis, Assistant Professor of Sport
Management at Qatar University, Nick
Wilkinson, Head of Asian Operations at
Wasserman and Tom Cross from Leaders Consulting.
The course is the latest example of
how Josoor Institute is fulfilling its role
as the driving force behind the development of sports and events industries
across the Mena region and supporting current and future generations of
sports and events professionals.
Elaborating on the significance of the
workshops Mushtaq al-Waeli, Executive Director (acting) at Josoor Institute
said, “We are delighted to have partnered with the International Handball
Federation to organise these bespoke
workshops against the backdrop of the
ongoing 2015 World Men’s Handball
Championship in Qatar. This reiterates
our commitment of being a catalyst for
transforming the sports and events industries in the region and setting new
standards globally.”
Delegates attending the workshops
examined current practice and under-
standing within their sports organisations, as well as learnt about new
perspectives and ways to manage and
capitalise on existing resources.
Commenting on the participation of
the Secretary Generals and senior representatives from the IHF, Amal Khalifa, Managing Director of the IHF said,
“It was really great. I am sure there is a
lot they can take back and apply in their
respective federations. I thank Josoor
Institute for hosting all of us.”
Sauda Babirye, Secretary General of
the Uganda Handball Federation who
attended the workshops commented,
“This has been so wonderful. Through
the workshops, we have been able to
identify a number of gaps that exist
within our organisation. As a result of
the knowledge and skills that we acquired from these sessions, we will be
able to address these once we return
home. Josoor Institute has taught us
how to measure effectiveness and this
is something that we were missing.” He
further elaborated, “We can now clearly articulate our objectives and evaluate the effectiveness of our organisation. Additionally, Josoor Institute has
taught us how to initiate the necessary
change to take us from where we are
to where we want to be, how to create
effective marketing and to reach out to
potential sponsors for our sports organisation.”
Josoor Institute’s bespoke workshops are designed to support sports
organisations such as the IHF by imparting the necessary knowledge, skills
and expertise in order to successfully
manage sports organisations and host
major sporting events.
To date, more than 800 delegates
from the sport and events industries
in Qatar and the Mena region have attended courses offered by Josoor Institute in collaboration with its institutional partners.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Qatar 2015 welcomes fans
from around the world
‘The match environment has been very exciting, and Duhail arena is amazing. I play handball myself, and I can tell you
that this facility is among the finest I have seen anywhere in the world,’ said Alexander Kashirin, a Russian national
A supporter of Bosnia and Herzegovina poses with mascot
‘Fahed’ at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena in Al Sadd, Doha.
Brazil fans cheer during their team’s match against Belarus yesterday. PICTURE: Anas al-Samaraee
against Saudi Arabia.
“I was only able to watch last night’s
opening ceremony on television, but I
was very impressed - particularly with
the way that the importance of improving the lives of children was woven into
the storytelling. It was very touching,”
he added.
By Sports Reporter
Doha, Qatar
he first weekend of the Men’s
Handball World Championship
succeeded in bringing a diverse
range of fans to Qatar, with many
registering their surprise and delight at
the warm welcome they have received.
Handball brings an incredible selection
of nations together in competition, and
for many visitors, Qatar 2015 has been
their first visit to Qatar – or even to the
Middle East. In particular, the Championship has welcomed a large contingent
from Eastern Europe and Russia.
Excited Bosnian handball fans took off to
the Lusail Sports Arena to cheer on their
team, as they appeared in their debut
World Cup game against Iran on Friday.
Coming from all over the Gulf region, as
well as Europe and Australia, fans came
dressed in Bosnia’s blue and yellow colours and were delighted with the outcome of the match.
The third most popular sport in Bosnia after football and basketball, handball has great community support in the
small Eastern European country. Many
fans have made the trip to Doha to support their team’s efforts here. Bosnia and
German fans cheer for their team against Russia at the Duhail Handball Sports Hall.
Herzegovina qualified for its first major
international competition when it earned
a place at the 24th Men’s World Handball
Layla Suljic, a Bosnian national and
resident of Doha, was especially excited
for her team. “I always expected that our
team would win and I’m so happy to see
them win here. The stadium and the organisation has been amazing!” she said.
Damir Kartal, who travelled to Doha
from Dubai specifically to watch Bosnia’s
opening match was impressed with the
event. “I’m here for this weekend, and if
Bosnia continues to win then, I will definitely come back to see them. The facilities and organisation of this event have
been fantastic. To see this many Bosnians
turn up to support our team is so amaz-
ing. As a debutante at a World Cup, to
win the first match is great and I hope it
gives them confidence to win the next
games they play,” he said.
A boisterous and happy crowd of Russians were present at the Duhail Handball
Sports Hall on Friday afternoon to watch
the showdown with Saudi Arabia.
“The match environment has been
very exciting, and Duhail arena is amazing. I play handball myself, and I can tell
you that this facility is among the finest
I have seen anywhere in the world,” said
Alexander Kashirin, a Russian national,
who has lived in Doha for three years. He
was delighted by Russia’s 27-17 defeat
Lusail Multipurpose Hall saw one of
the largest crowds on Friday, as FYRO
Macedonia took on Tunisia. Although
significantly outnumbered by Tunisian supporters, the Macedonian fans
were able to match them for volume and
cheering. Known as the “Macedonian
Phalanx”, the fans travel around the world
with their team and are highly committed
to the game –they even received a certificate of appreciation from the IHF for
their devotion towards their team
A Macedonian fan who lives in Doha
said, “Everyone follows handball in Macedonia. It’s a really big sport for us. I came
here expecting Macedocnia to win, since
we have a really strong team this year.
There are 20-30 people here from Macedonia to cheer our team on and especially
Kiril Lazarov - he’s the team’s superstar.”
After the match, the Macedonian
fans were thrilled as they beat Tunisia 33-25, and thanks to Lazarov, who
scored ten goals.
Javier Frelijj of Chile in action against Viran Morros de Argila
(left) and Gedeon Guardiola (right) of Spain at the Duhail
Handball Sports Hall in Doha yesterday.
The Spanish defence tries to block a free throw during their
match against Chile at the Duhail Handball Sports Hall, Doha.
Brazilian dancers add the spice
Spain fans cheer their team at the Duhail Handball Sports Hall.
By Sports Reporter
Macedonia fans cheer during their team’s match against Bosnia and
Herzegovina yesterday. PICTURE: Thajudeen
he Brazilians definitely
know how to add zing
to life.
The Qatar 2015, 24th
Men’s Handball World Championship, witnessed just that when
36-year-old Alexandre Luiz and
his 31-year-old dancing partner
Claodemir Da Cruz along with
their group members took to the
arena during a timeout while
Brazil were busy trouncing Belarus at the Lusail Multipurpose
Hall, here yesterday.
The two exponents of Brazilian dance form called ‘Capoeira’
got busy with their precise dance
moves even as the Brazilian fans
dressed in bright yellow and green
heightened the tempo with their
singing and rhythmic drum beats.
Brazilian dancers perform ‘Capoeira’ at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall.
Capoeira combines elements
of dance, acrobatics and music, and at time is referred to as
a game.
Even categorised as martial
arts, the Capoeira involves close
and precise movements with the
dancer often swimming his leg
over the head of his partner and
the latter reciprocating the same
in split of a second.
Developed in Brazil, probably
during the beginning of the 16th
century, the Capoeira is known
for quick and complex moves,
using mainly power, speed, and
leverage for a wide variety of
kicks, spins, and highly mobile
“I have been practising the
dance for the last 24 years,” said
Luiz, who now teaches the “Capoeira Movement” at a school
dedicated to the dance form in
Asked how he came to Qatar,
Luiz replied that he is a professional dancer and is often approached by event management
companies for major sporting
and other related events.
About Qatar, Luiz said, “This is
my first time in Qatar and I am
completely awestruck by the
level of professionalism shown
by them in conducting such a
major event.”
“Their culture is very different and fascinating. Hope I
get enough time to explore the
countryside,” he added.
Cleary Luiz and Cruz’s dance
moves rubbed on to the Brazilian team spirit as Brazil went
on to beat Belarus 34-29 at Qatar 2015, 24th Men’s Handball
World Championship at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Commercial Bank
to sponsor Qatar
Masters until 2018
Walker soars to
victory in Hawaii
The 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters begins tomorrow at the
Doha Golf Club, which has hosted the event since its inauguration in 1998
Jimmy Walker celebrates with his sons Mclain and Beckett after
winning the Sony Open in Honolulu on Sunday.
Keith Waters (left), Chief Operating Officer of The European Tour, Abdulla Saleh al-Raisi (third from right ), CEO of Commercial Bank, and Hassan al-Nuaimi (third from left), President of the Qatar Golf Association, along with golfer Sergio Garcia and other officials at the announcement yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram
By Sports Reporter
ommercial Bank yesterday announced a three-year extension
as title sponsor of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, one
of The European Tour’s marquee global
events with a US$2.5 million prize fund.
Commercial Bank is this year marking
its 10th year as title sponsor of the event,
from 2006, and announced its latest extension with the Qatar Golf Association
yesterday. The new agreement will cover
title sponsorship from 2016 through to
The 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar
Masters begins tomorrow at the Doha
Golf Club, which has hosted the event
since its inauguration in 1998.
Abdulla Saleh al-Raisi, CEO of Commercial Bank, said: “This year Commercial Bank is celebrating its 40th year
as Qatar’s largest private bank and 10th
year as title sponsor of the Commercial
Bank Qatar Masters. Commercial Bank is
now proud to announce a three-year extension to our sponsorship of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, one of The
European Tour’s most prestigious and
established events.”
“We have worked for a decade with
our partners including the Qatar Golf
Association, Qatar Olympic Committee,
The European Tour and Doha Golf Club
to help establish the Commercial Bank
Qatar Masters into one of Qatar’s greatest sporting spectacles and our continued support is part of our commitment to
the Qatar National Vision 2030. Based on
Commercial Bank’s simple but powerful
promise that ‘everything is possible’, we
look forward to the tournament’s future
with ambition and confidence.”
Hassan al-Nuaimi, President of the
Qatar Golf Association, said: “We are
delighted that our valued partner Commercial Bank has extended its sponsorship of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters through to 2018. The tournament has
grown immeasurably since Commercial
Bank signed as title sponsor in 2006 and
we’re now proud to host one of The European Tour’s most popular events. Commercial Bank’s continued title sponsorship will ensure the tournament goes
from strength to strength and enhances
Qatar’s position on the global sporting
Sergio Garcia defends his title this
week and is among a host of famous stars
to lift the Mother of Pearl Trophy over the
past 18 years, including Henrik Stenson,
Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Thomas Bjørn
and two-time winners Adam Scott and
Paul Lawrie.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer
of The European Tour, said: “The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has been fortunate to have such a strong title sponsor
for 10 years, so this three-year extension
is fantastic news for the tournament and
everyone at The European Tour thanks
Commercial Bank for their continued
commitment. The Desert Swing has been
a key factor in the growth of golf in Qatar and the Middle East, and Commercial
Bank’s support of the Qatar Masters is
key to this development.”
immy Walker slammed
the door on his competition and rebounded from
last week’s disappointment with a tournament-record
nine-stroke victory in the Sony
Open at the Waialae Country
Club in Honolulu on Sunday.
Walker, the tournament’s defending champion, started the
day with a two-stroke lead but
strung together three consecutive birdies midway through the
round and finished with a sevenunder 63 and a total of 23-under
par 257.
The previous mark for largest
margin of win at the tournament
was seven strokes.
Walker’s victory comes a week
after he blew a golden chance of
capturing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in neighboring Kapalua, where he led eventual winner Patrick Reed by four
strokes with four holes to play
before losing in a playoff.
This time Walker showed no
sign of letup as he finished his final round with seven birdies and
no bogeys.
“I wanted to finish out the day
like I didn’t last week,” Walker
told reporters after finishing off
the largest win on the PGA Tour
since Brian Gay’s 10-stroke romp
at the RBC Heritage in 2009.
“It was really fun. The wind
picked up but I kept hitting good
shots and making putts.”
After leading Matt Kuchar by
two strokes for most of the front
nine, Walker collected three
straight birdies starting with
the eighth hole and left the field
playing for second place.
Scott Piercy took runner-up
honours after a 66 left him at
14-under while Kuchar, Harris
English and Gary Woodland all
ended up at 13-under.
Kuchar was the closest contender to start the day, but failed
to make a single birdie en route to
a 1-over 71.
Piercy charged up the leaderboard late but never placed any
real pressure on the winner.
“He’s one of the hottest players in the world,” Piercy said.
“What he’s done the last year
or two years, nobody’s catching
him. It’s just a cake walk.”
The 36-year-old Walker, who
played on the US Ryder Cup team
last September, has compiled all
four of his career wins in the past
15 months after the early part of
his career was blighted by injury
and poor form.
“I’m just more confident and
more comfortable,” Walker said.
“I have good people (around me).
It’s quite a bit different, really.”
says injuries
will heal
Honolulu: Robert Allenby
says he is still trying to recover from injuries suffered
in a brutal attack in Honolulu
and doesn’t know when he
will return to the golf course.
The Australian golfer says
he was beaten and robbed
after being kidnapped from a
wine bar on Friday night near
“Medically, I thankfully didn’t
suffer anything major beyond
some bumps and bruises that
will take a bit of time to heal,”
Allenby said on Sunday.
The 43-year-old from Melbourne plans to travel to the
US mainland from Hawaii and
then see how he feels before
making a decision about
whether or not to try and play
in next week’s PGA Tour event
near Palm Springs, California.
“My plan currently is to fly
back to the mainland and
at that point, evaluate my
ability to play next week at
the Humana Challenge,” he
said. “Whatever the outcome
regarding my ability to play
next week, I anticipate a successful rest of the 2014-15 PGA
Tour season.”
Allenby said he is working
with Hawaii law enforcement
to try and piece together the
events of Friday and catch the
people who attacked him.
Garcia aims for encore at Qatar Masters
ergio Garcia will seek to hold
off the likes of World No. 2
Henrik Stenson and World
No. 6 Justin Rose in Doha next
week as the popular Spaniard bids to
become the first player to win backto-back titles at the Commercial Bank
Qatar Masters.
Garcia, currently World No. 5, won a
dramatic playoff against Mikko Ilonen
last January to capture the US$2.5 million event in his eighth successive appearance at Doha Golf Club from 2007.
The popular Spaniard, who turned 35
on January 9, will begin his bid to retain
the Mother of Pearl Trophy tomorrow,
as the 11-time European Tour winner
tees off in his first tournament of the
year. However, Garcia has admitted two
of his Ryder Cup-winning teammates
will be among his main challengers in a
field dominated by three of the world’s
top six.
“I would love to win the Commercial
Bank Qatar Masters again as it’s one of
my favourite events. In each tournament
I always look to finish as high as I can and
Spaniard Sergio Garcia tees off during a practice round at the Doha golf Club yesterday.
after winning in Qatar last year, I’d like
to lift the trophy once more. I like the
course in Doha as it suits my game and
I also came close to winning in 2013, so
I’m confident of doing well again,” said
Garcia, who has posted six top-10 finishes in his last seven appearances in
“This year it’s a really strong field
with players like Henrik [Stenson] and
Justin [Rose], who have been among
the world’s best players in recent years.
They’ll obviously be among the players to watch out for. Henrik has won the
tournament before and both guys finished last year really well, while there
are many other players who can win this
Garcia’s win in Doha was one of several highlights last year, when he also
recorded his 19th top-10 finish at a major with a joint runner-up finish at The
Open Championship, a second place at
the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, two
further runner-up finishes on the PGA
Tour and his fifth Ryder Cup victory in
seven appearances.
“I’m excited about starting my 2015
season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and hope it can lead to another good year,” said Garcia, who will
be making his 10th appearance in the
event, having made his Doha debut as a
19-year-old in 1999.
“I’ve always felt comfortable and really welcome playing there, the fans are
great, the weather’s ideal and hopefully
I can be in the mix on the final day and
compete for the trophy again.”
Like Garcia, Stenson is also among
those hoping to join former World No.
1 Adam Scott (2002, 2008) and Paul
Lawrie (1999, 2012) as a two-time winner
of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Stenson, who will compete in Doha
for the 15th straight year, won his ninth
European Tour title at last November’s
season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and finished second behind Rory McIlroy in The Race to Dubai.
Stenson, 38, had eight other top-five
finishes on The 2014 European Tour
International Schedule, including third
at November’s Turkish Airlines Open,
second at October’s Volvo World Match
Play Championship, third at August’s
US PGA Championship and fourth at
June’s US Open Championship.
Rose, 34, also finished the year
strongly, with a runner-up finish at the
DP World Tour Championship, Dubai,
helping him finish third in The Race to
The Englishman will compete at the
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for
the second time in three years after a
2014 season that included his seventh
European Tour title at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July
and fourth-place finishes at the WGCBridgestone Invitational and BMW
Hassan al-Nuaimi, President of the
Qatar Golf Association, believes the
presence of three of the world’s top six
offers spectators at this year’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters a special opportunity.
“To have Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, three of the world’s
top six, headline the field for the 18th
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is truly
a special highlight for everyone involved
in the event, especially for spectators
who may never have had such an opportunity before,” al-Nuaimi said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Nadal keeps
calm and
carries on
Federer adds to
tally; joins Nadal,
Murray in round 2
The Swiss legend won in straight sets over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun, but was embroiled
in a tussle in the final set before prevailing 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena
Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny in
their first round match yesterday.
Roger Federer of Switzerland fails to hit a return against Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan during their men’s singles first round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.
oger Federer made it win number
1,001 as he joined Grand Slam
rivals Rafael Nadal and Andy
Murray in the second round at
the Australian Open yesterday.
The Swiss legend won in straight sets
over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun, but was
embroiled in a tussle in the final set before prevailing 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 at Rod Laver
Federer, who has a record 17 Grand
Slam titles but hasn’t won a major since
Wimbledon 2012, has yet to lose in the
first round in Melbourne at his 16th visit.
Chasing a fifth Australian Open crown,
he joined 14-time Grand Slam winner
Nadal and two-time major champion
Murray in the next round where he will
face Italian Simone Bolelli.
“I’m very pleased to make this one here
tonight. Winning first round, it’s always a
bit of a relief. So it was nice to get 1,001
here now tonight,” Federer said.
Nadal, a beaten finalist to Stan
Wawrinka last year, turfed out Russian
Mikhail Youzhny in an uncomplicated
straight sets victory, while Murray began
a campaign hoping to end the heartbreak
of three runners-up finishes in Melbourne.
The Scot emerged a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
winner over India’s Yuki Bhambri.
Rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov,
seeded 10, also swept to victory over Germany’s Dustin Brown in just 69 minutes,
while Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych
blew away Alejandro Falla.
Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis upset 11th seeded Latvian Ernests
Gulbis in a dramatic late night five-setter,
while Spain’s 15th seed Tommy Robredo
retired just five games into his match with
Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Spanish world number three Nadal was
delighted with his straight forward win
over Youzhny, a former US Open semi-finalist, and will next play American qualifier Tim Smyczek.
“Very positive result for me. I think a
very good start. Very important,” Nadal
Youzhny was considered a testing firstup opponent as the Spaniard searches for
matches to work his way into the men’s
But the third seed only conceded one
break point on his serve, while claiming
six service breaks on the Russian in a convincing win.
Nadal has had only seven matches since
Wimbledon last July due to ongoing back
and wrist injuries and an appendectomy.
His lack of match fitness was apparent
in Qatar this month when he was humiliated in the first round by German Michael
Berrer, a qualifier ranked outside the top
Murray, who is bidding to become the
first player to win the Australian Open after losing three finals in Melbourne, paid
tribute to former junior world number
one Bhambri.
While the 22-year-old Indian was the
lowest-ranked player in the men’s draw
at 317, Murray was effusive about his future prospects.
Murray said that Bhambri was “way
better than ranked 300 in the world.”
The Scot, who has been working for the
last seven months with two-time Grand
Slam winner and coach Amelie Mauresmo, was pleased with the state of his
game ahead of his next challenge against
Australian Marinko Matosevic.
Dimitrov was fast out of the blocks
and never had a break point against him
as he powered to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over
Brown in just 69 minutes.
afa Nadal was all about
day of the Australian
Open as he emerged onto Rod
Laver Arena in a hot pink shirt
and trounced Russian veteran
Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-2 6-2
to gain a welcome dose of confidence. Undercooked and on the
comeback trail after a long layoff due to injury and illness, the
third-seeded Spaniard needed
only a handful of games at Rod
Laver Arena before clicking into
grand slam gear.
Needing less than two hours
to account for former top-10
player Youzhny, he prowled
around the centre court like
an uncaged tiger, blazing winners and pumping his fists in an
emphatic return to Melbourne
“Very positive result for me,”
the 28-year-old told reporters.
“Always before the first match
you always have the doubts, especially in this situation I’m arriving here.
“Every match is very important for me today. (It) was a
comfortable victory that give me
some confidence.”
The year’s first grand slam
has doled out more heartbreak
than glory for the 14-time major
winner in recent years, and after
missing the 2013 tournament
with illness, he carried a back
injury into last year’s final and
lost to Stan Wawrinka.
Having had encouraging runs
at Melbourne Park cut short by
injury flare-ups, Nadal was at
pains to play down his Youzhny
demolition as just one victory on
a long road back.
He also showed a Zen-like
resignation in the face of his
many long-term injuries, which
have forced him to re-boot his
career three times after long
“At the end, you know that you
not going to be at 100 percent, so
the most important thing when
you are coming back is accept
all the challenges, the weeks,
months, that you didn’t have the
chance to be able to practice, to
compete,” said Nadal, who faces
American Tim Smyczek in the
next round.
“Accept that you’re going to
be a little slow, a little out of
rhythm. You can practise a lot.
I did. I practised I think enough
and with the right attitude,
but at the end what you need is
matches.” A famously fidgety
player, Nadal’s short-tugging
antics between points have been
a hallmark of his play, so it was
with some curiosity that he appeared in a shorter pair at Rod
Laver Arena.
“I feel more comfortable here,
more fresh,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good to have some
changes, to try different things.
But seriously, I prefer this way.”
Garcia’s team wins Qatar Masters Challenge
By Sports reporter
orld No. 6 Sergio Garcia won the Commercial
Bank Qatar Masters Challenge Match for the second
straight year, as his four-man team beat
sides led by World No. 2 Henrik Stenson
and World No. 5 Justin Rose.
‘Team Garcia’ recorded a score of
25.4 in a Texas Scramble format, beating ‘Team Rose’ (27.4) and ‘Team Stenson’ (29.2). Each Challenge Match team
featured one pro and three Qatari juniors.
Garcia, 35, was reunited with Sami
Qush, who was part of the Spaniard’s
winning team last year, while the
winning side also featured Abdullah
Khamis, 16, and Ahmed al-Mutawa, 13.
“We had a lot of fun again and the
players did really well. It’s nice to win, but
it’s more important to see that the young
guys have been taught good basics and
are enjoying the game,” said Garcia, who
is the defending champion at this week’s
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
“I remember Sami well from last year
and he’s made some nice improvement.
All the guys played well today and it’s
great that the Qatar Golf Association
has a growing youth programme.”
Qush, 16, said he had improved a lot
in the past 12 months – and said Garcia
had also played better than last year.
“This is my second year winning the
trophy. Sergio is one of the best players in the world and one of my favourite
golfers. He gave me some tips, so that
will be useful for me,” the youngster
“I feel like I played much better than
last year and Sergio also played much
better than last year, so hopefully he
wins the Qatar Masters again this year.”
Rose was participating for the first
time in the Challenge Match, which
was inaugurated last year, and was full
of praise for his team, which featured
Saoud al-Muhanadi, Arnab Jain and
Sheik Abdulrahman al-Thani.
“It was great fun. It was great to get
out there with the juniors. They’re very
keen on their golf and they play it in exactly the right way,” said Rose, the 2013
US Open champion.
“You can tell they’ve been brought up
really well with the etiquette and traditions of the game, and they’re playing
exactly as they should. They were a lot
of fun to be around and they holed a lot
of good putts, which saved me a lot of
grey hair today!
“They know the greens really well
and I was learning some of the lines
from them. We had a really good time
and everybody played their part. Everybody contributed a nice shot or two and
made a nice difference to our score.”
Team Stenson featured Abdulrahman al-Naimi, Abdulrahman al-Dahaimi and Nada Mir, Stenson, Rose
and Garcia are the top-ranked players
at this week’s Commercial Bank Qatar
Masters, which tees off on Wednesday
at Doha Golf Club.
Four-time Major winner Ernie Els
and 2011 Masters champion Charl
Schwartzel are among the other big
names in the tournament’s 18th edition, while Gary Stal will also be in the
spotlight after his sensational comefrom-behind victory in Abu Dhabi,
where the young Frenchman beat Rory
McIlroy and Martin Kaymer.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Sharapova turns
it on but Ivanovic
ousted in opener
Retired star Li Na
tells Aussie crowd
she is expecting
Ivanovic, seeded five, was bundled out in a humiliating 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to qualifier
Lucie Hradecka, while third seed Halep was forced to dig deep to avoid defeat
In this photograph taken on January 16, 2015, Australian Open 2014
women’s singles champion, Li Na of China, (R) arrives with the trophy
ahead of the official draw for the tournament.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova returns during her match against Croatia’s Petra Martic in their first round match at the Australian Open yesterday.
econd seed Maria Sharapova
powered into the Australian
Open second round Monday as
fifth ranked Ana Ivanovic crashed
out in a day of upsets in the seasonopening Grand Slam.
A total of eight women’s seeds were
eliminated on the first day of action at
Melbourne Park, with former world
number one Ivanovic the highest profile
Ivanovic, seeded five, was bundled
out in a humiliating 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss
to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka, with
third seed Simona Halep forced to dig
deep to avoid a similar fate.
Angelique Kerber (seeded nine), Lucie
Safarova (16), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
(23) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (27) were
also among the day-one departures,
while Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard (7)
and Ekaterina Makarova (10) negotiated
their way through.
Sharapova, who can regain the coveted number one ranking from arch-rival
Serena Williams if she wins a second title
at Melbourne Park, said she was aware of
the carnage before she faced Petra Martic of Croatia.
“There were quite a few upsets today. Of course I was very well aware of
that... I certainly didn’t want to be one of
them,” she said.
The five-time Grand Slam champion
need not have worried, crushing Martic
6-4, 6-1 to make it a 24th birthday to
forget for the Croat.
“I made a few too many unforced errors but overall I’m glad I got through,”
said Sharapova, who showed signs of the
sizzling form that won her the French
Open last year and the Brisbane International warm-up tournament earlier this
There was only despair for her opponent in the Brisbane final Ivanovic,
whose fine form ahead of the Open deserted her.
The Serb, who won her only major at
the French Open in 2008, was hoping to
re-establish her Grand Slam credentials
at the Australian Open, where she enjoys
huge popularity among the home fans.
“It’s really disappointing. It’s probably
the worst thing could happen,” she said,
admitting she felt “lost” on centre court
as world number 142 Hradecka recovered
from a woeful start to outclass a player
137 places above her.
Hradecka, who won a silver medal in
doubles at the London Olympics and has
three Grand Slam doubles titles, showed
no signs of being intimidated, continually wrong-footing Ivanovic as she attacked the net.
World number three Halep also produced a stuttering first-up performance,
with the Romanian admitting nerves almost got the better of her, but managed
to regroup and down Italy’s Karin Knapp
6-3, 6-2.
Despite the emphatic scoreline, Halep struggled to impose herself on world
number 50 Knapp and was relieved to
advance, saying nerves were always going to be an issue so early in a Grand
“I’m sure that next time I’ll play better,” said the 23-year-old, who is looking
to build on a breakthrough 2014 when
she reached the French Open final and
the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
“I was thinking a lot—maybe too
much—yesterday about this match, (so)
I’m really happy I could win this.”
Seventh seed Bouchard described her
6-2, 6-4 defeat of Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam as “solid” but was confident
she would improve.
“I feel good mentally and I’m just so
ready to fight and leave everything on the
court. I don’t feel tired at all,” she said.
Kerber of Germany lost to IrinaCamelia Begu of Romania 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.
Meanwhile, Australian Jarmila Gajdosova finally broke a demoralising run
at her home Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-4
win over Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru,
taking her through the opening round for
the first time in a decade of trying.
Williams, who won the last of her five
Australian titles in 2010, opens her campaign on Tuesday against Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck.
Bouchard looks to improve
eventh seed Eugenie Bouchard
said there was plenty of room
for improvement after booking a
berth in the Australian Open second round on Monday with a “solid” win
over Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam.
The 20-year-old Canadian,a semifinalist at Melbourne Park last year,
downed Friedsam 6-2, 6-4, cruising
through the first set in 30 minutes then
grinding out the second over 48 minutes.
“I started strong and it was a little bit
windy,” she said. “I was happy to stay
solid but there’s still lots of things to improve.”
She said she always felt in control
against the world number 98 and was enjoying her tennis afer a long off-season
that ended when she played the Hopman Cup this month and defeated world
number one Serena Williams.
“I haven’t played an official match in
two-and-a-half months, so it really does
give your brain a break,” she said.
“For me, it makes me so excited to play.
I feel good mentally and I’m just so ready
to fight and leave everything on the court.
I don’t feel tired at all.”
Bouchard rose to prominence when she
reached the semi-final of last year’s Australian Open then followed up with ap-
pearances in the final four at Roland Garros and the Wimbledon decider.
The world number seven took some
time to warm up, conceding break points
on her first three service games as unforced errors mounted but managed to
hold on and stay on even terms.
Her radar finally kicked in at 3-2, when
her returns began to find their range and
she ran Friedsam around the court, rattling off five consecutive games to quickly
wrap up the first set.
The second was a see-sawing affair as
Bouchard tried to push the pace, snatching a break in the opening game.
But her attempts at spectacular winners frequently went wide or into the net
and Friedsam seized her opportunity with
a double break back.
Bouchard refocused to take control
again and closed out the match when
Friedsam pushed her return wide, sparking celebrations among the vocal “Eugenie Army” in the stands.
“It’s never easy playing a first round,
especially of a Slam, so I’m happy I was
able to get through it,” the Canadian said.
“The support over here is crazy, I don’t
know what it is but you guys make me feel
so special, thank you.”
Bouchard will play Kiki Bertens of the
Netherlands in the second round.
“I’ve never played against her (and) I
actually don’t really know much so I’ll ask
my coach,” she said.
ioneering Chinese tennis
star Li Na announced she
was pregnant Monday in
front of 15,000 cheering
fans at the Australian Open.
The two-time Grand Slam
winner, hugely popular at the
Australian Open where she won
the title last year and reached the
final in 2011 and 2013, unexpectedly retired in September.
She is a guest of honour at
Melbourne Park this year and
told the crowd in Rod Laver
Arena ahead of Roger Federer’s
opening match that she was expecting her first child.
“Dennis and I are so excited.
Our first child will arrive in the
summer,” she said to huge cheers
and congratulations from Maria
“I think she’d be a great mum.
I think it’s a really exciting new
chapter in her life,” said the Russian world number two.
“It’s something that I believe
she’s wanted for a really long
time. It’s really nice to be able
to settle down and focus on her
family and her husband and her
future child.”
In statement, Li said she was
“A mere 12 months ago, I stood
on this court clutching the Aus-
tralian Open trophy tightly in
my hands, a huge grin on my
face, overwhelmed with joy and
a sense of accomplishment that
I shared with everyone who had
helped me along the road to this
incredible achievement,” she
“Today, all of those emotions
came back to me, yet I had extra
butterflies in my stomach because I wanted to share a very
special secret with the Australian
Open fans.
“Over the years, they have
supported me and truly helped
my success, so it felt just right
to let them in on a little secret
I’ve been holding on to for a few
months now.
“This summer, Dennis and I
are expecting our first child. We
are overjoyed! And it really feels
like this baby is going to enter
the world already having about
15,000 friends.”
Li, who won nine titles in her
career, is credited with introducing tennis to the masses in China.
She became a sporting pioneer in her homeland when she
decided to break from the state
sports system in 2008 with a
group of up and coming players,
in a move dubbed by local media
“fly alone”.
The move meant she was able
to choose her own coaches and
keep most of her winnings rather
than giving them to the government.
Men’s singles 1st round: Grigor
Dimitrov (BUL x10) bt Dustin Brown
(GER) 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 Joao Sousa (POR)
bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-4, 7-6
(7/5), 6-4 Martin Klizan (SVK x32) bt
Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-4
Marinko Matosevic (AUS) bt Alexander
Kudryavtsev (RUS) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 4-6,
7-5, 6-3 Kevin Anderson (RSA x14) bt
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 7-6 (7/5),
7-5, 5-7, 6-4 Lukas Lacko (SVK) bt
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5,
6-7 (4/7), 6-1 Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
bt Igor Sijsling (NED) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2),
6-7 (6/8), 6-4 Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt
Denis Istomin (UZB) 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (FRA x29) bt Borna
Coric (CRO) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 Andy
Murray (GBR x6) bt Yuki Bhambri (IND)
6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) Richard Gasquet (FRA
x24) bt Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 6-1, 6-3, 6-1
James Duckworth (AUS) bt Blaz Kavcic
(SLO) 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 6-2 Rafael
Nadal (ESP x3) bt Mikhail Youzhny
(RUS) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 Tomas Berdych
(CZE x7) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 6-3,
7-6 (7/1), 6-3 David Goffin (BEL x20)
bt Michael Russell (USA) 6-3, 6-3, 5-7,
6-0 Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) bt
Tommy Robredo (ESP x15) 3-2 retired
Lukas Rosol (CZE x28) bt Kenny De
Schepper (FRA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3,
6-4 Phillip Kohlschreiber (GER x22) bt
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Tobias Kamke
(GER) 7-5, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-2 Leonardo
Mayer (ARG x25) bt John Millman
(AUS) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 Marcos Baghdatis
(CYP) bt Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)
6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 Tim Smyczek
(USA) bt Luke Saville (AUS) 7-6 (7/2),
7-5, 6-4 Jurgen Melzer (AUT) bt Victor
Estrella Burgos (DOM) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 Dudi
Sela (ISR) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 Sam Groth (AUS)
bt Filip Kranjinovic (SRB) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4),
6-4 Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Jiri Vesley
(CZE) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 Ivo Karlovic
(CRO x23) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
6-4, 6-2, 6-4 Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt
Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 Simone
Bolelli (ITA) bt Juan Monaco (ARG)
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 Malek Jaziri (TUN) bt
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-2, 6-3, 2-6,
7-6 (7/3) Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) bt
Ernests Gulbis (LAT x11) 5-7, 6-0, 1-6,
7-6 (7/2), 8-6 Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt
Federico Delbonis (ARG) 7-6 (7/2), 3-6,
6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3
Women’s singles 1st round: Julia
Goerges (GER) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI
x32) 6-2, 6-1 Simona Halep (ROU x3)
bt Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-3, 6-2 Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) bt Renata Voracova
(CZE) 6-1, 6-2 Magdalena Rybarikova
(SVK) bt Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-4, 6-4
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) bt Alexandra
Dulgheru (ROU) 6-3, 6-4 Peng Shuai
(CHN x21) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-4,
7-5 Klara Koukalova (CZE) bt Storm
Sanders (AUS) 7-5, 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Sabine
Lisicki (GER x28) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Lucie
Hradecka (CZE) bt Ana Ivanovic (SRB
x5) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 Caroline Garcia (FRA)
bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x27)
6-4, 6-2 Karolina Pliskova (CZE x22)
bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 7-5, 6-1
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) bt Chanelle
Scheepers (RSA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Polona
Hercog (SLO) bt Wang Qiang (CHN)
3-6, 6-3, 6-2 Bethanie Mattek-Sands
(USA) bt Duan Ying-ying (CHN) 6-4,
3-6, 6-3 Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x23)
4-6, 6-3, 6-3 Katerina Siniakova (CZE) bt
Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-2, 7-5 Oceane
Dodin (FRA) bt Alison Riske (USA) 7-6
(7/5), 3-6, 6-3 Stefanie Voegele (SUI) bt
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Monica Puig (PUR) bt Arina Rodionova
(AUS) 6-0,-6-3 Christina McHale (USA)
bt Stephanie Foretz (FRA) 6-4, 1-6, 12-10
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x10) bt AnSophie Mestach (BEL) 6-2, 6-2 Zarina
Diyas (KAZ x31) bt Urszula Radwanska
(POL) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 Sara Errani (ITA x14)
bt Grace Min (USA) 6-1, 6-0 Eugenie
Bouchard (CAN x7) bt Anna-Lena
Friedsam (GER) 6-2, 6-4.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Australia’s Bailey
suspended for
over-rate violation
BRISBANE: Australia one-day
captain George Bailey has been
slapped with a one-match suspension for a second over-rate
offence in 12 months, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said
In his absence, Steve Smith is
likely lead the hosts, who will
seek a hat-trick of tri-series
match victories against England
at Hobart on Friday.
Bailey, who is leading the side in
place of injured regular skipper
Michael Clarke, has also been
deducted 20% of his match fee,
while his players were docked
10% of theirs.
“(Match referee) Andy Pycroft...
imposed the suspension on
Bailey after Australia was ruled
to be one over short of its target
at the end of the match when
time allowances were taken into
consideration,” the ICC said in a
Bailey led Australia in the first
ODI against South Africa in Perth
in November, in which both
teams were fined for slow over
Under the ICC code of conduct,
in the case of a second such
over-rate offence in the same
format within 12 months, the
captain receives a one-match
Anderson salutes
de Villiers’ ‘hell of
an innings’
JOHANNESBURG: Corey Anderson saluted AB de Villiers yesterday for a “hell of an innings”
after the South African broke
the New Zealander’s record for
the fastest century in a one-day
De Villiers took just 31 balls to
smash his way to 100 against
the West Indies in Johannesburg
on Sunday, five balls faster than
Anderson when he set the record
against the same opposition in
Queenstown a year ago.
“Records are there to be broken
and congratulations to AB, it was
obviously a hell of an innings,”
Anderson said in Nelson where
New Zealand are preparing for
the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka.
De Villiers went on to score 149,
including 16 sixes and nine fours,
from just 44 balls which impressed Anderson whose 131 not
out against the West Indies came
from 47 deliveries and included
14 sixes and six fours.
“To get 149 off 44 is probably
even more special,” said the
big-hitting New Zealander who
described breaking records as
just “one of those things that
“You’re in the zone I guess and
you feel like every ball’s probably
going to go to the boundary,
and when you mis-hit it, it sort of
misses a fielder and it tends to
go for four. It’s one of those days
where it all comes off.”
As incredible as de Villiers performance was, Anderson does
not believe the new record is
“Never say never. Thirty-one balls
is very quick so I’m not too sure.
We’ve got the World Cup coming
up around the corner, so it could
be a good chance for someone
else to take it down.”
Australia’s Clarke
on track to return
during World Cup
MELBOURNE: Australian skipper Michael Clarke is recovering
well from hamstring surgery and
is on track to play a part in the
World Cup, physiotherapist Alex
Kountouris said yesterday.
The 33-year-old badly tore his
right hamstring during the first
Test against India last month,
ruling him out of the following
three Tests and threatening
his involvement in the one-day
tournament which begins next
Clarke had surgery in December
and Kountouris said a review by
the surgeon in Melbourne on
Sunday had been positive.
“Michael is progressing well in
his rehab and is currently running on a regular basis and has
commenced batting,” Kountouris
said in a statement.
“He remains on track for a return
to play by February 21, the date
we spoke of when the squad for
the ICC Cricket World Cup was
Australia are scheduled to play
Bangladesh on February 21
after beginning their World Cup
against England on February 14.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann
earlier Monday said Clarke
was ahead of schedule with his
David Warner defends
‘speak English’ sledge
‘If people get on the wrong side of me, I’m not going to back down’
opener David Warner
a heated on-field exchange with Indian batsman
Rohit Sharma in which he demanded the Indian cricketer
“speak English”.
Warner said the verbal fireworks at a one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket
Ground on Sunday earned him
a fine of 50% of his match fee
from the International Cricket
The Australian fielders had
taken offence when the Indians
went for a single off an overthrow which they wrongly believed was in breach of cricket
“When I went over to say
something to him, he sort of said
something in their language and
I said ‘speak English’ because, if
you’re going to say something
for me to understand, theoretically I cannot speak Hindi,”
Warner told Sky Sports Radio.
“So I did the polite thing and
asked him to speak English,
therefore he did and I can’t repeat what he said.”
Asked whether there was
anything wrong in the manner
in which he asked the question, Warner said: “I thought I
was OK by asking him to speak
English and I am going to say it a
couple of times if he keeps saying it in Hindi.”
Warner admitted he should
not have confronted Sharma but
said the pair had been engaging in “friendly banter” during
the match, which Australia won
with six balls to spare despite
a century by Sharma, and he
didn’t feel the need to apologise.
“No, because we were actually going at each other anyway
during the game,” he said.
During the summer’s Test
series against India, which saw
tense sledging, Warner said he
Umpires come forward to intervene as Australia’s David Warner argues with India’s Rohit Sharma during their one day international tri-series match at the Melbourne Cricket
Ground in Melbourne on Sunday.
would not be toning down his
“banter” and he repeated that
stance yesterday.
“If people get on the wrong
side of me, I’m not going to back
down,” he said.
‘Hard and fair’
“We’re always there to play
hard aggressive cricket, but you
know what comes with that—
that’s what happens, some-
times you are going to get fined.
“We’ve got to keep trying not
to cross that line, and we’ve got
to work hard at that, and that’s
what we’re all about—playing
cricket the right way.”
He was backed up by coach
Darren Lehmann who said Australia would play “hard and fair”.
“If the ICC decides we cross
the line, then they’ll come down
on us—we all know that,” Lehmann said.
“We’re always going to teeter
pretty close to it—that’s the way
that we play—we’ve just got to
make sure that we don’t cross it.”
Lehmann supported Warner’s competitive character.
“It’s just making sure he does
the right thing on the ground.
He knows that better than most,
MacGill sues Cricket
Australia for $2.1mn
etired bowler Stuart MacGill is suing Cricket Australia claiming he
is owed Aus$2.6mn dollars
(US$2.1mn) in match payments, prize money and interest.
Lawyers for the spinner,
who retired from international
cricket in 2008 with 208 Test
wickets at an average of 29.02,
filed the details in a writ in the
Supreme Court of Victoria
It alleges that Cricket Australia failed or neglected to
pay MacGill injury payments
for 104 weeks from May 2008
when he “ceased being able to
perform his obligations under
the CAPC (Cricket Australia
Player Contract) due to injury”.
payments, including for 15 away
Test matches and 11 home
Tests, his annual retainer
and prize money. He is also
seeking Aus$984,534 in interest.
“We are aware of the media reports and at this stage
we’re not in a position to
comment further,” a spokesman for Cricket Australia
told AFP.
MacGill, who played 44
Tests, suffered a string of injuries as a player before his
career ended abruptly in May
Former Australian leg-spin bowler Stuart MacGill has begun legal
action against Cricket Australia (CA), suing his former employers
for more than A$2.5mn ($2.05mn) over lost earnings.
The writ states that MacGill
had one-year contracts with
Cricket Australia from 1998
to 2007 and claims that in
June 2007 the organisation
had hired him for another year
and offered him a contract for
2008 to 2009.
It says that when MacGill
had been injured and unable
to play on previous occasions
up until 2006 - suffering an
ankle fracture, broken nose,
displaced discs in his spine,
knee cartilage damage, nerve
damage in his hands and
wrists, an elbow fracture and
other injuries—Cricket Australia had continued to pay
But in May 2008 he spoke
to the Australia team manager and the captain while
on tour in the West Indies
about numbness and pins
and needles in both hands,
knee and shoulder pain and
was advised to return to
“The team medical officer
was not available to be consulted by MacGill or notified
during the Test match as he
was not in attendance due to
his own personal illness,” the
writ said.
MacGill says in the writ
that when he failed to receive payments on returning home, the Australian
Cricketer’s Association had
entered into negotiations
with Cricket Australia on
his behalf but the sporting body denied liability
and refused further dispute
anyway. We’ll work with him
with that.”
Australia have won their first
two games in the triangular
one-day series against England and India and face England
again in Hobart on Friday.
Australia failed to complete
their overs within the allotted
time on Sunday, and skipper
George Bailey—standing in for
an injured Michael Clarke—is in
danger of an ICC ban.
Lehman was upbeat on
Clarke’s recovery from hamstring surgery which could
sideline him from next month’s
World Cup, saying his progress
was ahead of schedule.
“He’s had a couple of bats in
the nets, which is a really good
thing for us,” he said.
Root backs call for yellow
cards to curb misbehaviour
BRISBANE: Having been on
the receiving end of Australian
opener David Warner’s fiery
temper, England batsman Joe
Root sees logic in Kiwi great
Martin Crowe’s call for a soccerlike card system to curb player
Warner’s growing reputation
as a hard-hitting batsman has
coincided with the pugnacious
southpaw’s increasing fondness
to get involved in on-field spats,
making him a regular visitor to
the match referee’s room.
The latest, against India’s Rohit
Sharma in Sunday’s tri-series
contest, cost him half his match
fee and a reprimand from his
own board, who have asked the
28-year-old “to stop looking for
“...there is a growing concern
that David Warner’s thuggish
behaviour has gone too far,”
former New Zealand captain
Crowe wrote in his ESPNCricinfo column.
“Soon one day, it will lead to
an incident that will sully the
game for good,” added Crowe,
convinced fines can no longer
act as a deterrent.
“You have to take them out of
the game for extended periods.
Two yellow cards should result
in a red card, which should ban
any player for six months,” he
The confrontation with Rohit
follows Warner’s spat with another Indian, Shikhar Dhawan,
in the Adelaide test last month,
after which both players were
Root felt Crowe’s suggestion
made a lot of sense.
“At the minute, people aren’t
happy with the way people are
holding themselves on the field
and if that is going to sort it
out then why not?” asked Root,
famously punched by Warner in
a bar in 2013.
“You are out there to either
score runs or take wickets, if
that is not your main focus then
you are not doing your team a
full service,” Root said ahead
of Tuesday’s tri-series one-day
international against India.
“It’s about mutual respect for
each other.”
Crowe said players such as
Warner risked getting punched
by opponents but Root felt
that was a mark no one was
prepared to overstep.
“I can’t (foresee such a situation), to be honest. Someone
would have to be in a really bad
place to do that,” the 24-yearold added.
“There have been a few things
that have happened over the
last six months and that is not
good for the game.
“But I can’t really see it going
that far to lead to a punch-up...
it’s not ice hockey.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Seahawks, Patriots book
Super Bowl showdown
‘We put a lot of work in, worked our tails off to get to this point. It’s nice to close the deal’
Los Angeles
uper Bowl champions
Seattle stunned Green
Bay 28-22 in overtime on
Sunday to book a return
to the NFL championship showcase, where they’ll face the New
England Patriots.
Seahawks quarterback Russell
Wilson shook off four interceptions and hit Jermaine Kearse
with a game-winning 35-yard
touchdown pass on the opening
possession of the extra period
as Seattle rallied for the victory
in the National Football Conference title game.
There was no such drama in
where superstar quarterback
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and LeGarrette
Blount rushed 30 times for 148
yards and three TDs as New
England routed the Indianapolis
Colts 45-7 to win the American
Football Conference crown.
The Patriots took charge early,
taking a 14-point lead in the first
quarter. They broke the Colts
with three touchdowns in the
third quarter and added another
early in the fourth.
Brady reached the sixth Super
Bowl of his career—surpassing
the record five reached by John
Elway as a starting quarterback.
Now New England will try
to prevent the Seahawks from
becoming the first team to win
back-to-back Super Bowls since
the Pats themselves repeated 10
years ago.
“Unbelievable game today,”
Brady said. “My teammates, I
couldn’t be more proud of them.
We put a lot of work in, worked
our tails off to get to this point.
It’s nice to close the deal. “We’ve
got one more to go,” he added.
Super Bowl 49 will be played
on February 1 in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.
For much of Sunday afternoon, it certainly didn’t look like
the Seahawks would get there.
Seattle trailed 16-0 at halftime and 19-7 early in the fourth
quarter but scored two touchdowns in less than a minute late
in the final period of regulation
to keep their repeat dream alive.
“I’m honoured to be on this
team. We’re going to the Super
New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount runs the ball against Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman during the fourth quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
Bowl again” a tearful Wilson said
as he was mobbed on the field.
Wilson’s one-yard touchdown
dash with 2:09 left in the fourth
quarter pulled the Seahawks
within 19-14.
Seattle then recovered the
ensuing onside kick, as Steven Hauschka’s effort bounced
through the hands and off the
helmet of the Packers’ Brandon
Seattle’s Chris Matthews
seized the ball at midfield to
launch the Seahawks on a drive
capped by Marshawn Lynch’s
24-yard touchdown run and
Luke Willson’s catch of a twopoint conversion heave from a
madly scrambling Wilson.
That gave the Seahawks a 22-
19 lead—their first of the game—
with 1:25 remaining in regulation.
The Packers responded, with
quarterback Aaron Rodgers
guiding a drive that ended with
Mason Crosby’s fifth field goal
of the game, a 48-yarder that
knotted the score at 22-22 with
14 seconds remaining.
Seattle won the overtime coin
toss and Wilson capped their
87-yard opening drive with a
textbook toss over the middle to
Kearse, whose only catch of the
contest was the game-winner.
The Patriots and Seahawks
have never met in the post-season. The teams last played on
October 14, 2012, when Seattle
notched a narrow 24-23 home
Evans caps late rally as Nash scores twice,
Pelicans stun Raptors Rangers thump
New York
Penguins 5-2
yreke Evans outduelled
three defenders to sink
layup with one second
left as the New Orleans Pelicans
rallied in the fourth quarter to
beat the Toronto Raptors 9593.
Evans attracted the attention of a trio of Raptors but
still managed to get his sweeping layup to fall from in close in
front of a crowd of 19,800 at the
Air Canada Center on Sunday.
Despite playing without
injured stars Anthony Davis
and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans
looked to Evans and reserve
centre Alexis Ajinca, who tallied 26 and 22 points.
Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan missed a fadeaway threepoint attempt at the buzzer.
Evans also had five rebounds
and five assists, while Ajinca
came off the bench to shoot 10of-13 from the floor in 34 minutes of playing time.
New Orleans
Oklahoma City
San Antonio
95 Toronto
127 Orlando
89 Utah
Toronto Raptors point guard Greivis Vasquez drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans
forward Ryan Anderson at Air Canada Centre on Sunday. The Pelicans beat the Raptors 95-93.
Eric Gordon scored 14 points
for the Pelicans, who improved to
2-2 on their five-game road trip.
DeRozan, who was playing in
his third game since returning
from a groin injury, paced the
Raptor attack with 22 points.
Lou Williams scored 17 points
and Greivis Vasquez added 16
and nine assists, as Toronto lost
for the seventh time in their last
nine contests.
The Pelicans led by 14 at the
half but trailed 71-64 heading into
the final quarter as Toronto scored
the final six points of the third.
Elsewhere, Tiago Splitter became the 12th different player
to lead the Spurs in scoring this
season, recording a game-high
14 points in a comfortable 8969 victory over the Utah Jazz.
The Spurs (26-16) have won
eight straight games against
Utah (14-27) in San Antonio
since a last home loss to the Jazz
in January 2010.
Guard Danny Green scored 13
points for the Spurs, all in the
fourth quarter, when he made
three three-point baskets.
Reserve center Rudy Gobert
led Utah with 13 points, a career-best 18 rebounds and four
blocks. Forward Gordon Hayward scored 10.
ick Nash and Derek
Stepan each scored
twice as the New York
Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 to claim
their 15th win in their last 18
Nash raised his season total to 28 goals after being held
without a point in his previous
three games. That had followed a
stretch of nine goals in 14 games.
Derrick Brassard added a goal
and an assist for New York (2613-4), who improved to 13-3-1
in the Metropolitan Division and
won the season series against
Pittsburgh 3-0-1.
The Penguins’ goals were
scored by Sidney Crosby and
David Perron, with defenseman
Kris Letang assisting on both.
Meanwhile, Henrik Zetterberg
had three goals and an assist as
the Detroit Red Wings rallied for
a 6-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Red Wings (26-11-9)
trailed 3-0 after the first period
and scored five consecutive goals
New York Rangers’ Rick Nash cannot get a shot past Pittsburgh
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with Sidney Crosby defending
during the first period of the game in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
in the second and third.
Mrazek allowed three goals on
seven shots before being pulled
with 6:23 left in the first period.
Tom McCollum replaced him
and made seven saves for his first
career win.
Tyler Ennis had two goals and
an assist while Drew Stafford
and Chris Stewart also scored for
Buffalo (14-30-3).
NY Rangers
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Quartet target greatness, Wiggins his tour de force
mouth-watering fourway tussle for the Tour
de France title and Bradley Wiggins’s challenges on the Paris-Roubaix and
the hour record promise to make
2015 a vintage year for cycling.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, 2013 winner Chris
Froome, double champion Alberto Contador and the indefatigable Nairo Quintana are
expected to fight it out for the
yellow jersey on a Tour tailormade for pure climbers.
Spaniard Contador is planning to take the toughest road to
Paris as he will also compete in
halted as
opes of reviving the
failed Marussia Formula One team grew yesterday after an auction
of their cars and equipment was
postponed to allow talks with a
potential new investor.
The 2014 cars, spares and race
equipment had been due to go on
sale on Wednesday but administrators FRP Advisory said it had
been “halted to allow for discussions to continue with a third
“Given the confidential nature
of the negotiations underway we
are unable to provide further details,” they added in a statement.
John Booth, who was principal
of the Banbury-based team when
they went into administration
and missed the last three races
of 2014, told the BBC he hoped
there could be a deal in time for
the start of the new season on
March 15.
He said talks were “at a fairly
advanced stage with a new investor, a credible investor.
“Postponing the auction gives
us a bit more time to explore it,”
he added.
Although Marussia ceased
trading in November, with staff
made redundant, they still have
an entry to the 2015 championship as Manor Grand Prix but
would need last year’s cars to
The governing FIA has said it is
willing to allow struggling teams
to race with 2014 cars if that
helped them to survive.
Booth said the cars remained
in Abu Dhabi, where they were
sent at the end of last season in a
failed attempt to compete, and it
would be ‘fairly straightforward’
to ready them for Melbourne.
Marussia were one of two
teams that went into administration in October, with tail-end
rivals Caterham also missing two
races but returning for the finale.
They are also looking for a new
owner, with hopes of competing
receding as the start of the season draws nearer.
If Marussia do find a buyer
they will still have to do a deal
with Ferrari who provided the
team with engines and are owed
16.6mn pounds ($25.15mn) for
last year’s supply.
Rosberg to get first test of
new Mercedes
Nico Rosberg will be first and
world champion Lewis Hamilton
second when it comes to testing the new Mercedes Formula
One car in southern Spain next
Mercedes said yesterday that
Rosberg, the German beaten to
the title last year by his British
team mate, would be first to drive
the F1 W06 hybrid car after it is
unveiled on the opening day of
pre-season testing in Jerez on
Feb. 1.
Hamilton, chasing a third title
this year after winning 11 races in
2014 to Rosberg’s five, will drive
it on the second and third days.
the Giro d’Italia, looking to become the first rider since the late
Marco Pantani in 1998 to achieve
that particular double.
“He knows how to get ready
for them and if anyone can back
up the Giro/Tour then I would
say he’s the guy to do it,” Briton
Froome told Cycling Weekly.
“It’s not only difficult, it’s
risky,” Contador, one of only six
men with wins in all three grands
tours, said.
Like Froome, Nibali will avoid
a heavy race schedule ahead of
the Tour in order to stay as fresh
as possible.
The Italian, who was dominant on all terrains in last year’s
race, will face increased scrutiny
as his Astana team are on the radar of the International Cycling
Union (UCI) following a string of
doping cases last season.
Having abandoned hope of
securing a second Tour title after
his 2012 triumph, Wiggins, who
reverts to track cycling midway
through the season with an eye
on the 2016 Olympics, is taking aim at the Paris-Roubaix in
April—tackling the cobblestones
prior to the wooden boards of
the velodrome.
Victory in the Queen of the
Classics, added to his road and
track Olympic gold medals and
his Tour de France crown, would
make the Briton one of most versatile riders of all time, especially if he goes on to break the hour
The revamped hour record
is currently held by Austrian
Mathias Brandle but it is not
expected to withstand the challenges of Australians Rohan
Dennis and Jack Bobridge, before
world time trial champion Wiggins has his tilt.
The Team Sky rider will then
leave the road for good to focus
on his 2016 Olympic challenge,
leaving it to Froome to help the
British outfit show more than
last year, when Dave Brailsford’s
squad disappointed on the Tour.
The world’s greatest cycling
race will also reveal whether the
French renaissance led by JeanChristophe Peraud and Thibaut
Pinot, who finished second and
third respectively in 2014, is the
‘real deal’ and not just a flash in
the pan.
Their performances indicate
a revival is gathering pace and
there could be more to come
with Warren Barguil showing
at last year’s Vuelta that he too
would be a force to be reckoned
with in the French ranks.
This season will also be the
occasion for Slovakian prodigy
Peter Sagan, who joined Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo team, to
show he has what it takes to
win one of the ‘Monument’
German Marcel Kittel, the best
sprinter in 2014, will have to hold
off the fresh challenge of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, while
Briton Mark Cavendish will be
looking to fight his way back to
the front having massively underperformed last season.
Other sprinters to watch in
2015 include Germans Andre
Greipel and John Degenkolb
as well as France’s Arnaud
Demare and Nacer Bouhanni,
who are not on the same team
anymore after the latter left
FDJ for Cofidis.
With one year to go before
the 2016 Olympics, the track
championships being held in France next
month will be of greater importance to those seeking to hone
preparations ahead of the Rio
Italian Ulissi gets nine-month doping ban
PARIS: Italian Diego Ulissi
has been handed a backdated
nine-month suspension
after testing positive for the
asthma-inhaler drug salbutamol, his Lampre team said
“Ulissi informed the team
that he has received from the
Swiss Olympic Association
notification of a nine-month
suspension starting from 25
June 2014,” Lampre said in a
The ban was issued by the
Swiss Olympic Association because Ulissi, who
has won three Giro d’Italia
stages, is based in that
Vonn claims a record
63rd World Cup victory
‘It will be good going into the World Championships with more interest from the American public’
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
superstar Lindsey Vonn,
watched by her admiring golf star boyfriend
Tiger Woods, claimed a record
63rd World Cup success with
victory in the women’s super-G
at Cortina d’Ampezzo yesterday.
The 30-year-old ski great had
set herself up for the historymaking feat when drawing level
with Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Proell’s previous
record women’s tally of 62 wins
between 1970 and 1980 at the
Italian resort 24 hours earlier.
The Olympic downhill champion in 2010 and world champion in the discipline in 2009
could have reached the landmark earlier but for a lengthy
absence due to injury.
The four-time overall World
Cup champion rewrote the
record books when beating Austrian Anna Fenninger (00.85s)
and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein (00.92) on the slope
where she had first climbed a
World Cup podium 11 years previously.
“It’s amazing - words can’t
describe my feeling. 63 feels incredible,” Vonn told the US Ski
Federation website.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve
done and I’m excited about the
“I definitely felt like the pressure was off today. I just wanted
to go out and have a good run
“I was relaxed and cool and I
think it showed in my skiing. I
honestly didn’t know if I would
be fast enough. I made some
mistakes. “I was shocked I was
in the lead but very, very happy.”
Vonn, who also achieved a
dream when she starred in the
last episode of her favourite TV
series Law and Order, said she
hoped the landmark would earn
the sport the attention she feels
it deserves in the US.
Lindsey Vonn of the USA (centre) celebrates on the podium after winning the women’s FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup Super G race in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, yesterday. Vonn’s
record 63rd World Cup victory puts her at the pinnacle of alpine skiing as one of the greatest skiers in the sport’s history.
They host the world championships in Vail, Colorado, beginning in early February.
“America is very record centric. Hopefully this will bring
more attention to the sport,”
she said.
“It will be good going into
the World Championships with
more interest from the American public.
“I try to promote the sportit’s an amazing sport. “To have
Tiger here at this race on this
occasion was really special for
me. “Everyone (her family were
there as well) important to me
is here.”
Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who
leads the overall standings,
came in fourth, almost one second behind.
Vonn has enjoyed considerable success on Cortina’s Olympia delle Tofane slope, her backto-back wins over the past 24
hours taking her tally here to
eight wins.
“It’s a piste that I like a lot. I
got my first podium here (3rd in
the downhill, January 18, 2004)
in the World Cup and I have a
really good understanding of
the hill,” said Vonn, fourth in the
overall standings.
Twenty of her 63-win haul
have come in the super-G, a
discipline that did not exist
when Moser-Proell was racing.
Moser-Proell was fulsome in
her praise for Vonn’s achievement, saying that no doubt she
would have other records in her
“Nothing better could have
happened in the world of skiing,” said Moser-Proell.
“Vonn has taken the sport
to another level. Times have
changed and each era has their
“Lindsey is also a charming
person,” added the five-time
world champion (three downhill
and two combined) and 1980
Olympic downhill champion.
Vonn had had to put her career on hold for a year-anda-half following a high speed
crash in early 2013.
The American speed queen
tore her right knee ligaments
and broke a bone in her leg in a
super-G crash in February 2013
at the alpine World Championships.
She returned to racing nine
months after the accident but
her comeback was cut short
when she re-injured the knee,
forcing her to miss the Sochi
Olympics where she had hoped
to defend her 2010 Olympic
downhill title.
She made a triumphant return in the downhill at Lake
Louise in December.
The men’s World Cup record
of 86 wins is held by Sweden’s
Ingemar Stenmark.
Umm Qarn’s Qannasah gets highest bid at Mid-Season Auction
By Sports Reporter
mm Qarn’s Qannasah
(DjebbelMaleehah) garnered
the maximum price
QR340,000 at the Mid-Season
Auction sale organised by Qatar
Racing and Equestrian Club on
Saturday. The Djebbel progeny
was purchased by Ali Mohammed Rashed al-Ali.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin
Khalifa al-Thani owned Farah (Amer-Feline Du Cassou)
took the second biggest bid of
QR340,000 and was picked by
Al Shaqab Stud.
A Thoroughbred being paraded in the paddock during the auction
on Friday
A Pure Arabian paraded in the addock during the Mid season Auction
Sale held at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club on Saturday
A total of 119 Pure Arabian’s
came up for the auction and 79
of them came under the hammer
for a total price QR6,072,000,
making it a very successful auction. Though there were buyers
from Saudi Arabia, Oman and
United Arab Emirates, it was the
local buyers who evinced more
interest in the sale and picked
most of the horses on sale.
In the Thoroughbred Auction held on Friday, Al Ghazali
Stud purchased Statesmanship
for QR110,000 as the highest
priced horse in the auction. Stataesmanship was earlier owned
by Dr Fahad Bin Abdullah Al
Attiya and Sons. Serenity Now
went for QR55,000, while Al
Shaqab was bid for QR50,000
by Al Ghazali Stud.
A total of 91 Thoroughbreds
came up for auction, out of
which 51 were sold for a total
price of QR1,040,000.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Europe fuels scoring engine at Nations Cup
Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea
alf of the eight goals scored
so far at the African Nations
Cup came from Europeanborn players, highlighting the
growing dependency of the region’s
national teams on footballers from the
Only two of the 16 countries at the
finals drew their 23-man squads exclusively from home-born players.
South Africa’s captain Dean Furman
was raised in London and has never
played for a South African club.
However, like many others, he has
been snapped up to play for the national team because of his profile as an
ex-Chelsea apprentice and his readymade potential for international duty.
The majority of African countries
now actively pursue emerging talent
among the immigrant communities in
Europe, believing the players have had
much better coaching and offer more in
terms of discipline and tactical acumen.
Algeria and Equatorial Guinea have
15 European-born players each at this
year’s tournament, focusing their selection policy on the best talent they
can find among immigrant offspring in
France and Spain respectively and filling the gap with locals.
Saturday’s Nations Cup opening day
saw goals by Spanish-born Emilio Nsue
for Equatorial Guinea and an equaliser
from Congo’s Thievy Bifouma, born
within sight of the Stade de France.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, born
in France, brought up in Italy and now
playing in Germany, scored for Gabon
in their 2-0 win over Congo in the second game of the tournament.
Yannick Bolaise, who was born in
Lyon, found the net for the Democratic
Republic of Congo in Sunday’s draw
with Zambia.
The profile of most of the players is
similar. They are the offspring of either
one or two parents from Africa, born
in countries like Britain, France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain, and
playing at a high domestic level.
Many have played at junior level for
the land of their birth but have not
made the full national team and have
changed their allegiance to the countries from where they descend.
FIFA’s statutes were changed in 2003
to allow a player who had represented
one country at junior level to choose
to play for another country, as long as
he was eligible for dual nationality and
had not played a full A international.
This was all at the behest of Algeria,
who felt a dip in performance in the
1990s could be solved by strengthening their squad with players of Algerian
descent from France’s junior teams.
They are now Africa’s top-ranked
team and their best performer at last
year’s World Cup, where they reached
the second round for the first time, was
former France under-21 international
Yacine Brahimi.
It is unlikely that teams such as
Equatorial Guinea and the Cape Verde
Islands could be competitive at the
Nations Cup without their foreignborn players.
However, moves by countries like
Nigeria, which has a population well
above 100 million, to set up scouting structures in Britain and the US
to find immigrant talent undermines
their internal structures and reduces
the chances of African-born children
reaching the highest levels of the game.
South Africa captain Dean
Furman is among a majority
of players at the Africa Cup
of Nations who have been
raised in European countries
Mourinho asks
Chelsea fans to stop
mocking Gerrard
‘He is a historical player for Liverpool, a historical player for the Premier League and an
opponent I have always admired and respected. We did everything to try (to sign him)
and it was almost there. I was dreaming of Makelele, Gerrard and Lampard in midfield’
FIFA presidential candidate
Champagne struggling to get
support for filing nomination
FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne does not yet
have the letters of support he needs from five football associations with the deadline for his nomination to be accepted only 10
days away, the Frenchman said yesterday.
Champagne, the 56-year-old former FIFA deputy secretary
general, who opened his campaign in London a year ago this
week, has sent an open letter to the heads of FIFA’s 209 member
associations appealing for their support before the January 29
deadline. “I do not yet have all the five letters,” he wrote in a
statement headed ‘The Moment of Truth’.
“The feeling exists that the final result of the election is set, and
that it would be risky to sign them. There is also the fear of being
singled out or punished,” he says alluding to the idea that most
people believe, despite all of the controversies surrounding FIFA,
that ageing incumbent Sepp Blatter will win a fifth term of office.
Champagne began his campaign on January 20 last year. Prince
Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan declared his intention to run earlier this
month. Last Friday, former France international footballer David
Ginola said he was also standing, so—despite his campaign being
widely regarded as a publicity stunt backed by a bookmaking
firm—as it stands, there are three challengers to Blatter.
The election will be held at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29.
Sub Sow snatches
late Senegal winner
Chelsea manager Jose
Mourinho has said failing
to sign Steven Gerrard
(left) remains one of his
greatest regrets
helsea manager Jose Mourinho
has said failing to sign Steven
Gerrard remains one of his greatest regrets as he urged Blues fans
to stop mocking the Liverpool captain.
The two Premier League clubs will clash
again when they meet at Anfield today in
the first leg of a League Cup semi-final,
with Gerrard having already announced
he will leave Merseyside at the end of this
season to join US Major League Soccer
side LA Galaxy.
During his first spell as Chelsea manager,
Mourinho was on the verge of bringing midfielder Gerrard to Stamford Bridge in 2005
but the former England captain ultimately
decided to stay with his home town club.
His decision arguably cost Gerrard the
chance to win the Premier League title,
something he has not yet managed in his
illustrious career and a feat he is unlikely
to achieve this season given Liverpool are
currently a huge 17 points behind leaders
“He (Gerrard) is a historical player
for Liverpool, a historical player for the
Premier League and an opponent I have
Chelsea captain John Terry says the fact
the club are chasing trophies on four
fronts won’t mean anything unless they
actually win something. Terry’s team
travel to Liverpool for the first leg of their
League Cup semi-final today in bouyant
mood after a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea
left them five points clear in the Premier
League at the weekend.
Chelsea then face third-tier Bradford
in the fourth-round of the FA Cup on
Saturday, and have a mouth-watering
last-16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain in
the Champions League to look forward
to as well.
“We’ve got top, top players but, as I’ve
said before, until we go and win things, it’s
not there yet,” central defender Terry said
yesterday. “That will be the test. We’ve
shown during the first half of the season
always admired and respected,” Mourinho said. “We did everything to try (to
sign him) and it was almost there. I was
dreaming of (Claude) Makelele, Gerrard
and (Frank) Lampard in midfield.
“We were playing in a proper triangle
that we’re capable of pushing the top
sides and that’s what we aim to do.
“There is a motivation in the dressing
room to win the league and push on in
the Capital One (League) Cup, Champions
League and FA Cup. At this stage, to still
be involved in all competitions is where
you want to be, and it’s down to big players to step up.”
Last weekend’s match at the Liberty
Stadium was former England captain
Terry’s 649th appearance for Chelsea and
took him into third place on the Blues’
all-time list.
Now the former England captain is
hoping for a repeat performance at
Anfield, although he expects Liverpool to
prove stern opponents despite the Reds
being 17 points behind Chelsea in the
Premier League.
without a number 10 and playing Maka
in front of the defenders. Me, Mr (Roman)
Abramovich (Chelsea’s owner) and Peter
Kenyon (the Blues’ then chief executive)
at that time, we dreamed of that.
“His people were open to him joining a
top side like Chelsea. But to me personally
he never said he would come. Never. He
(Gerrard) was always a Red and I think the
decision was right.”
Mourinho, asked if failing to bring Gerrard to Chelsea was his biggest transfer
regret, said: “Yes, but I have another one
when I was trying (to bring) Lampard to
Inter. I was almost there and it didn’t happen too. I had a couple of disappointments
and that’s normal in football.”
Gerrard’s unfortunate slip against
Chelsea at Anfield in last season, which
allowed Demba Ba in to score and set up
a 2-0 win for Mourinho’s side, proved to
have a key bearing on the title race.
Chelsea’s victory paved the way for
eventual champions Manchester City to
take the Premier League title and Gerrard’s
stumble has become the subject of a cruel
taunt chanted by Blues fans at Stamford
Bridge. However, Mourinho urged Chelsea
supporters to no longer sing that song, saying Gerrard deserved their respect.
“The song that my fans have I don’t
like at all,” Mourinho said. “A couple of
times it is good fun but to go and go and
go, especially with a player like him who
deserves respect, I don’t think you don’t
need that. We have so many other songs,
you don’t need that one.”
ubstitute Moussa Sow
snatched a stoppagetime winner as Senegal
hit back to defeat Ghana
2-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations
Group C opener yesterday.
It was a deserved triumph for
the Teranga Lions, who overcame a sluggish start to dominate the second half and wasted
several chances before securing
maximum points.
Andre Ayew scored with a
penalty on 14 minutes for fourtime champions Ghana and
2002 runners-up Senegal levelled through Mame Diouf after
58 minutes. Several neat touches close to the penalty area created space for Turkey-based
Sow to fire past goalkeeper Razak Braimah three minutes into
additional time.
Both teams missed key strikers, with mild malaria ruling
out Ghana skipper Asamoah
Gyan and a calf injury sidelining
Senegalese Sadio Mane.
Experienced midfielder Andre Ayew took over the Black
Stars captaincy and younger
brother Jordan Ayew also made
the starting line-up.
Senegal left Newcastle United goal-poacher Papiss Demba
Cisse on the bench, preferring
Diouf of Stoke City as the lone
Concerns that the tournament in Equatorial Guinea
would not draw crowds proved
unfounded for the third consecutive day with Estadio Mongomo packed to its 15,000 capacity in hot, dry conditions.
Ghana had much more early
possession and took the lead
when Andre Ayew calmly converted the penalty.
Senegal goalkeeper and captain Bruno Coundoul, who conceded the spot-kick by pulling
down Christian Atsu, dived to
his left as Ayew struck the ball
into the middle of the net.
The pace of Ghana was troubling the big Senegal defenders
and Atsu almost doubled the lead
midway through the opening
half. Jordan Ayew burst through
the defence and passed for Atsu
to beat Coundoul only to see his
shot go wide of the far post.
The frustrations of the Senegalese Teranga Lions—desperate to avoid a third consecutive
first-round exit—showed when
playmaker Dame Ndoye was
yellow-carded for a late tackle
on Atsu.
Strangely subdued Senegal
finally sprang to life just before
the half-hour as a fierce Kara
Mbodj header rattled the crossbar and rebounded to safety
with Braimah helpless.
Senegal players celebrate their 2-1 win over Ghana in the Africa
Cup of Nations match, in Mongomo yesterday. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
It’s that man
Messi again
ionel Messi struck a stunning hattrick to ensure Barcelona maintained
the pressure on La Liga leaders Real
Madrid with a 4-0 win away to Deportivo la Coruna to cut the gap at the top to
one point.
Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo rounded off a
week where he was named World Player of
the Year for the third time by scoring twice
as Madrid struck three times in the final half
hour to beat Getafe 3-0.
Atletico Madrid, who dumped Real out of
the Copa del Rey in midweek, moved back to
within four points of their city rivals in third
as goals from Mario Mandzukic and Raul
Garcia handed them a 2-0 win over managerless Granada.
In a change from his much criticised rotation policy, Enrique named the same side
that beat Atletico 3-1 at home last weekend
and was rewarded with another bright display illuminated by Messi’s class in front of
The Argentine’s first effort of the game was
brilliantly saved by Fabricio after a well-worked
corner, but the Deportivo goalkeeper was helpless when the four-time World Player of the
Year opened the scoring after 11 minutes with
a thunderous header from Ivan Rakitic’s cross.
Messi then showed a more subtle touch
for his second with a delicate chip over the
prone Fabricio to double Barca’s advantage
from Neymar’s pass.
However, by contrast, Luis Suarez’s troubles in front of goal continued as he fluffed
his lines twice in the first-half with just Fabricio to beat.
Messi showed the Uruguayan how it
should be done once more when he rounded
off his 30th hat-trick for the club after the
break when he cut inside onto his favoured
left foot and fired into the far corner before
an own goal from Deportivo defender Sidnei
rounded off the scoring.
Reports have been swirling about a rift
between Messi and coach Enrique, with
the Argentine apparently unhappy with the
Barca coach’s management style and tactics
and said to be seeking an exit from the club
he joined at the age of 13.
The frosty relationship reportedly detoriated further when Messi was left on the
bench for his side’s 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad earlier this month.
Messi responded by saying he was not
thinking of leaving but he has not explicitly
denied claims his relationship with Enrique
has broken down.
Whatever the reality of the situation, if
Messi continues his prolific scoring form
Barca will have a good chance of returning
to winning ways this term after failing to win
major silverware in 2013-14 for the first time
in six years.
“He has been playing at a phenomenal
level the whole season,” Enrique told a news
conference on Sunday. “He has not dropped
off at any moment,” added the former Barca
and Spain midfielder, who took over from
Messi’s compatriot Gerardo Martino at the
end of last season.
However, Enrique is still looking for further improvements if the Catalans are to
continue their pursuit of honours on three
fronts this season. “Winning is good for the
players’ confidence but there are still many
things to improve, both in attack and defence. We still need to improve in both areas
because that is the only way to challenge for
all the titles,” the Barca boss said.
One of the reported reasons for the dressing room discontent with Enrique has been his
much criticised rotation policy. The 44-yearold named a different line-up for the 29th consecutive game, but maintained the same eleven that started against Atletico last weekend.
However, he refused to admit he had bowed
to pressure from his players for a more settled
side. “I am not faithful to one single manner
of doing things. I played the 11 I think will
work best. We will be stronger the more players we have contributing to the cause.”
And Barca’s captain on the day, Andres
Iniesta, backed his coach’s intention to keep
all his players heavily involved throughout
the campaign.
“I don’t think the rotations are bad, that
way we all feel useful and important,” said
the Spanish international. “It also makes
sure we are in a good situation to get to the
end of all the competitions in better condition. In the end what matters is what the
coach says and we have to execute it in the
best way possible.”
Barca’s attention now turns to tomorrow’s
meeting with Atletico, the first leg of their
Copa del Rey quarter-final tie. “We have an
exciting few weeks ahead of us, but it is a very
intense and tough tie against a difficult opponent in Atletico. We need to be at our best
without committing errors,” said Enrique.
Messi’s treble was his 22nd in La Liga, one
fewer than Real Madrid’s Portugal forward
Ronaldo, who beat Messi into second place
to win a third FIFA Ballon d’Or award last
Monday. Messi, voted the world’s best player four times between 2009 and 2012, has hit
30 hat-tricks for Barca in all competitions
and three for Argentina.
Real, who have a game in hand, top La Liga
on 45 points at the halfway point of the season, with Barca second on 44 and Atletico
third on 41.
Elsewhere, Sevilla moved to within two
points of Atletico in fourth with a 2-0 win
over Andalusian rivals Malaga thanks to
goals either side of half-time from Carlos
Bacca and Denis Suarez.
Torres return lifts Atletico spirits
Chinese billionaire
Wang agrees to buy
20% stake in Atletico
hen Fernando Torres left
Atletico Madrid for Liverpool in 2007, the idea of the
Spanish capital’s second club
being favourites to beat record winners
Barcelona in a two-legged King’s Cup tie
would have been unthinkable.
Now that the 30-year-old Spain forward is back in his boyhood team on loan,
he has seen at first hand how coach Diego
Simeone has shaken up the status quo and
transformed Atletico into genuine contenders at home and in Europe.
While Barca may still be expected to
edge the Cup quarter-final ahead of tomorrow’s first leg at the Nou Camp, the
way Atletico have been playing under the
inspirational Argentine the past couple of
seasons means they have every chance of
progressing to the last four.
Torres struck twice in last week’s 2-2
draw in their last 16, second leg at Real
Madrid as Simeone’s men dumped the
holders out 4-2 on aggregate.
The return of ‘El Nino’ (The Kid) has
lifted the Atletico players, as well as longsuffering fans already on a high after the
club won La Liga last season for the first
time in 18 years and lost out to Real in the
Champions League final.
“The arrival of Fernando is very good for
us,” midfielder Raul Garcia told Spanish television after Sunday’s 2-0 La Liga win at home
to Granada. “He gives the team extra options,” added the Spain international. “Good
players always understand each other.”
Barca, who thrashed Elche 9-0 on aggregate in the last 16, also warmed up for to-
Argentine striker’s
stunning hat-trick, in
his side’s 4-0 win over
Deportivo, ensures
Barca keep pressure on
La Liga leaders Real
Madrid by cutting the gap
at the top to one point
RETURN OF THE NATIVE: Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres (right) fights for the ball with Granada’s Chilean midfielder Manuel
Iturra during their La Liga match in Madrid on Sunday. Atletico won 2-0 to jump to third in the standings with 41 points. (EPA)
morros’s clash with a win, Lionel Messi netting his 22nd hat-trick in Spain’s top flight
in a 4-0 success at Deportivo La Coruna.
Victory in Galicia came a week after Barca
beat Atletico 3-1 at the Nou Camp in La Liga
but Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta warned
against taking another win for granted.
Villarreal or Getafe await in the last
four, while on the other side of the draw
Sevilla play Espanyol and Malaga meet
Athletic Bilbao, whose 23 Cup triumphs
are bettered only by Barca’s 26.
“These will be a fun couple of weeks but
it will be a very intense tie and Atletico are
tough opponents,” Iniesta told reporters.
“We will have to do things as well as possible without making any mistakes,” he
Barca last won the Cup in 2012 and
Atletico beat Real to secure their 10th triumph in 2013.
hinese billionaire
Wang Jianlin has
agreed to buy a 20
percent stake in La
Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Spanish media reported
The deal with Wang, who
controls the Dalian Wanda
Group conglomerate and is
a keen soccer fan, will be announced in Beijing tomorrow,
according to the reports in
sports dailies Marca and As.
Wang has a net worth of $13.2
billion, Forbes magazine said in
October, putting him fourth on
China’s rich list after he topped
the ranking the previous year.
His investment in Atletico is
worth around 40 million euros
($46.34 million), Marca and As
said, without identifying the
source of their information.
Wanda have called a news conference for tomorrow but did
not provide further details.
The club have declined to
comment on the Wang deal
when contacted and a spokesman could not immediately be
reached yesterday.
Atletico would be the latest
La Liga team to attract significant investment from outside
Spain following the likes of
Malaga and Valencia.
Malaga were bought out by a
member of the Qatar royal family in 2010, while Singapore billionaire Peter Lim recently took
a majority stake in Valencia.
La Liga heavyweights Real
Madrid and Barcelona, the
world’s richest clubs by income,
have lucrative deals with investors from Qatar and the United
Arab Emirates (UAE).
Atletico’s recent success on
the pitch has made Madrid’s
second club an attractive
partner and they already have a
deal with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei and a shirt
sponsorship agreement with
the Azerbaijan tourist board.
Like many Spanish clubs, they
have struggled to keep their
finances under control in recent
decades while striving to remain
competitive, racking up debts of
more than 500 million euros.
With the future looking
brighter, however, they have
ambitious plans and are looking
to move from their crumbling
Calderon stadium to a new
70,000-capacity arena at La
Peineta near the main airport in
a couple of years.
They are also planning to
build a new training complex
including offices, a 15,000-seater stadium for the second and
third teams and facilities and
shops for fans.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Qatar end dismal campaign
with baffling loss to Bahrain
‘This goal had a little bit of luck but also the player had the vision in that situation—he saw the goalkeeper off his line’
ayed Ahmed scored a glorious late
chip as Bahrain shattered Qatar 2-1
and left the 2022 World Cup hosts
ruing a string of missed chances in
their Asian Cup dead rubber yesterday.
With both teams already eliminated,
the match in Sydney was heading for a
draw until Ahmed spotted Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan off his line and embarrassed him in the 82nd minute.
“This goal had a little bit of luck but
also the player had the vision in that situation—he saw the goalkeeper off his line,”
said Bahrain coach Marjan Eid.
The defeat was a disaster for Gulf Cup
champions Qatar, who came to Australia
with high hopes but leave with much to
ponder as they build towards the 2022
World Cup.
“If you create chances and you don’t
score, this is what happens most of the
time, in my experience,” said Qatar boss
Djamel Belmadi.
With little but pride at stake at a cool,
damp and sparsely attended Stadium
Australia, both sides showed little caution
as chances flowed at both ends.
Qatar’s Ali Asadalla had the goal at his
mercy but chose to pass, and striker Mohamed Muntari nearly scored three with
his head in the first half, crashing one effort off the post.
Hasan al-Haydos had a shot cleared off
the line while at the other end, Bahrain’s
Iran players banned from ‘selfie’ pics with female fans
Iran players at the Asian Cup have been
banned from posing for ‘selfie’ pictures
with female fans.
“Players are not allowed to pose for
selfies with female fans,” the Telegraph
quoted Iranian Football Association official Ali Akbar Mohamedzade as saying.
“They (the women) may later use these
photos for political ransom against our
country or sue the players for harassment.
If the players refuse to act according to our
clear instructions then we will be left with
no option but to deal with them strictly,”
Shubbar also shuddered the upright with
a header before he made the breakthrough
on 32 minutes.
The Moroccan-born Faouzi Aaish ran
through a crowd of defenders and cut back
to Shubbar, who checked before picking
his spot and ramming Bahrain ahead.
Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi forced a
point-blank save from Hamed Aldoseri
before half-time, and their frustrations
grew after the break when Muntari had a
goal ruled out for offside.
The eventual equaliser was soft, as alHaydos’s grass-cutting free-kick crept
under the leaping wall and into the bottom right corner on 68 minutes.
Muntari kicked the post in anger when
yet another flying header sailed over, and
he was guilty of a howling miss on 78 minutes when he shot wide from six yards out.
Mohamedzade added.
Iran have been backed at the Asian
Cup by thousands of enthusiastic, colourful and loud fans who have been widely
praised by the squad en route to earning
a quarter-final place.
But many of the fans are expats living
in Australia. And as the sex segregation
rules which prevent women watching
matches in Iran do no apply, many of the
supporters are women dressed for the
hot summer in Australia, rather than in
the usual attire worn in Iran.
And Qatar were made to fully regret their
missed opportunities eight minutes from
time, when Ahmed saw his chance and
chipped perfectly past the stranded Burhan.
‘Gucci’ grabs vital win for Iran
In the other match of the day, substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad scored in the
first minute of stoppage-time to give Iran
a thrilling 1-0 win over the United Arab
Emirates and take top spot in Group C.
Ghoochannejhad, nicknamed ‘Gucci’,
headed the ball past goalkeeper Alireza
Haghighi after a scramble in the box to
send the majority-Iranian crowd of more
than 11,000 into raptures.
The win means Iran will now play the
runners-up in Group D in the quarter-finals,
probably Iraq or Jordan, and avoid a likely
clash with defending champions Japan.
The entertaining match looked headed
for the first draw of the tournament until
the Charlton Athletic forward popped up
with the winner, beating the offside trap.
“It was good win against, in my opinion and my football appreciation, the
best football team in West Asia,” said Iran
coach Carlos Queiroz.
But UAE boss Mahdi Ali was left fuming, claiming the goal was offside and that
Iran’s players had hoodwinked Japanese
referee Ryuji Sato.
“At the end of the game when the goal
was scored he (Sato) was hesitating because
he didn’t know what to do. The linesman
didn’t know what to do,” Ali said. “In our
opinion it was offside but it took him too
much time to say it was, because the Iranian
players were very clever and they ran.”
It was a thrilling end to a match that
produced some of the most exciting football of the tournament as the two teams
went for all-out attack.
UAE’s Khamis Esmaeel unleashed a blistering shot from 25 yards out that just sailed
wide, before teammate Omar Abdulrahman
caused Iranian flutters when he ghosted
into the box on the 10-minute mark.
However, the Iranians came storming
back and they had two great chances of
their own. First, Sardar Azmoun’s shot
was deflected for a corner and then Alireza Jahanbaksh headed straight to ’keeper
Majed Naser. UAE went close again three
minutes before the break when Ali Mabkhout fired a dangerous ball across the
face, but a sliding Habib Al Fardan arrived
just too late to meet it.
I am the Qatar coach, at
least for now, says Belmadi
Djamel Belmadi cast doubt
over his future as coach of
trigger-happy Qatar after the
future World Cup hosts’ poor
Asian Cup campaign ended
with a third defeat, a 2-1 loss to
Bahrain, in Sydney yesterday.
The stony-faced Algerian said
he was coach “at least for the
moment” when discussing his
choice of goalkeeper Qasem
Burhan, at fault for the goal
which gave Bahrain a 2-1 win.
“I’m the coach, at least for
the moment. You never know
the future,” said Belmadi, who
is the 30th coach in the Qatari
hotseat since 1990.
Belmadi led Qatar to West
Asian Cup and Gulf Cup wins
last year but their Asian Cup
campaign flopped badly
with defeats to UAE, Iran and
Bahrain leaving them at the
bottom of Group C.
They now have a repair job
before qualifying starts for the
2018 World Cup, Qatar’s last
chance to play their way to the
sport’s biggest stage before
hosting the event in 2022.
Just before making his frank
admission about his future,
the feisty Belmadi had grumpily refused to discuss it when
questioned by a journalist.
“My future? Talk with the
federation. If you want to talk
about football, talk about football. If you want to talk about
jobs, be serious,” he shot back.
Qatar missed a hatful of
chances, mainly to 21-year-old
striker Mohamed Muntari,
before Burhan was embarrassingly caught off his line by
Sayed Ahmed’s late chip.
But Belmadi defended both
players and said star man Khalfan Ibrahim, the ‘Maradona of
Qatar’, was left out because of
a knee injury.
Bahrain players celebrate their 2-1 win over Qatar at the Asian Cup in Sydney yesterday. Qatar ended their campaign with three defeats from three games. Pictures: Noushad Thekkayil
QMMF set challenging route for MERC opener
By Sports Reporter
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah, who last week won the 2015 Dakar Rally, is seen in action at last year’s Qatar International Rally in Doha.
vent officials at the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation have finalised the route
for the 2015 QMMF Qatar International
Rally, round one of the FIA Middle East
Rally Championship, that gets the international
rallying season off to a flying start in the Gulf region
from February 5 to 7.
Held under the presidency of Nasser Khalifa alAttiyah, FIA Vice-President for Sport MENA, the
three-day event features a 2.27km super special
stage on Thursday, February 5, and a further 12 gravel
stages in the Qatar desert on February 6 and 7.
After scrutineering and documentation at
QMMF headquarters on Salwa Road in Doha, the
rally itself gets underway with a ceremonial start
on Doha Corniche from 7pm on Thursday evening.
Teams will then immediately tackle the super special stage before heading off to the Qatar Aqua Park
where the cars will be kept overnight.
The meat of the competitive action starts the following morning. Teams will tackle special stages at
Umm Wishah, Al-Shabana and Al-Kharsaah before returning to the Qatar Aqua Park for a midday
regroup and service. The three demanding gravel
stages will be repeated in the afternoon.
Six further special stages are planned for Saturday
(February 7). The popular Mekanes special precedes
a stage at Salwa and a third timed test of 27.56km
(the longest of the rally) supported by the QMMF.
Another late morning regroup and service precedes a repeat of the three specials on Saturday
afternoon, before teams return to the headquarters
of the QMMF for the ceremonial finish podium and
post-event press conference. In a total proposed
route of 539.84km, rally organisers have planned
263.27 competitive kilometres.
“We have been running the event as the traditional opening round of the FIA Middle East Rally
Championship for many years and are continuously evolving and making small improvements to
the rally itself and the special stages,” said Nasser
Khalifa al-Attiyah. “This year we have extended the
championship from six to eight rallies and are looking forward to getting the season off to a safe and
successful start in Qatar.”
Entries officially close on Thursday (January 22).
The QMMF is offering a generous assistance package
to international entrants. Teams will be offered five
nights’ free accommodation for driver and co-driver
(room and breakfast) at the Century Hotel in Doha.
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