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2 – 10, 30
28, 29
1 – 6, 17 – 20
7 – 16
1 – 12
SPORT | Page 1
Barwa Bank third
quarter profit jumps
43% to QR641mn
need to
raise game to
quell Oman
Latest Figures
is A R 8
AT 19
Q since
Vol. XXXV No. 9550
November 23, 2014
Safar 1, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Summit invitation to UAE president
‘Big gaps’
in Iran
In brief
REGION | Attack
Danish citizen
shot in Riyadh
A Danish citizen was shot and
wounded in the Saudi capital
yesterday but there was no
immediate word on the motive
for the rare attack. The shooting
occurred at 2pm when the Danish
man was driving away from his
work at a company in Riyadh’s
Kharj Road area, police said in
a statement in Riyadh. “He was
shot in the shoulder” by someone
who has not been identified.
The victim is in stable condition
at hospital. In October, a SaudiAmerican former employee of a US
defence contractor shot dead one
American colleague and wounded
another in Riyadh. The suspect had
recently been fired from his job.
That was the first deadly attack on
Westerners in Saudi Arabia since
several were killed in a wave of Al
Qaeda violence between 2003 and
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has received a written message from HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani, containing an invitation to attend the meetings of the 35th session of the Supreme Council of the leaders of
Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), scheduled to be held in Doha from December 9 to 10. The message was received by UAE
Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during a meeting with Qatari Minister of State
HE Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah in Dubai yesterday.
PALESTINE | Conflict
Israel told to stop
demolishing houses
Human Rights Watch yesterday
called on Israel to stop razing the
homes of Palestinians accused
of attacking Israelis, saying the
practice can constitute a war
crime. “Israel should impose an
immediate moratorium on its
policy of demolishing the family
homes of Palestinians suspected
of carrying out attacks on Israelis,”
the New York-based group said, as
the fate of three houses slated for
demolition awaits a court ruling.
Bahrainis vote for
new parliament
Page 12
KENYA | Violence
Dozens killed
in bus attack
At least 28 people were killed
yesterday in an attack by members
of the Shebaab militant group in
north-eastern Kenya. Insurgents of
the Al Qaeda-linked group hijacked
a Nairobi-bound bus in the village
of Arabia in Mandera county and
drove it towards the Somali border,
where they shot the victims in the
head, an official said. Page 13
ASIA | Disaster
Magnitude 6.8 quake
strikes central Japan
An earthquake with preliminary
magnitude of 6.8 jolted central
Japan yesterday evening. Also
yesterday, a 5.9 magnitude
earthquake struck China’s
southwestern province of Sichuan,
killing two people and injuring 60
others. Page 17
olling hours were unexpectedly
extended yesterday as Bahrainis
voted for a new parliament amid
a boycott by the Shia-led opposition,
which is demanding wider reforms in
the kingdom.
The elections are Bahrain’s first
since 2011.
The turnout has been mostly high
in pro-government districts.
“I am convinced that the new parliament will have major powers,”
Mustafa al-Sayed, a voter, said, after
leaving a polling station in the area of
Sitra, south of the capital, Manama.
“I am happy that I participated (in
voting). This is good for Bahrain,” he
told independent newspaper Al-Wasat.
But turnout was low in Shia districts. Several centres in those districts were empty.
The electoral commission extended
the balloting by two hours, so polls
would close at 10pm, Al-Wasat reported. The extension seems designed
to encourage more voters to cast their
Preliminary results are expected
today. Any run-off will be conducted
November 29.
Voters casting their votes at a polling station set up at the Seef Mall shopping
centre in Manama yesterday.
A total of 266 candidates, both
Sunnis and Shias, vied for the 40-seat
lower house of parliament.
One contender won a seat after two
rivals in his district quit the race before the voting day, leaving him the
sole candidate.
Voting is also taking place for seats
in local governments, with 153 candidates competing for a variety of posts.
Large numbers of security forces
have been deployed around the polls.
Sporadic clashes occurred in some
Shia areas between police and protesters. Some protesters also closed
roads, prompting police to reopen
The Shia opposition dismissed the
elections as fake, claiming they lacked
democratic guarantees.
“We will continue our peaceful
struggle and action until a political
solution is reached,” said a statement,
which was released following a meeting at the headquarters of the opposition Shia al-Wefaq party.
The likelihood of a final deal
by tomorrow is “very small”,
according to a European source
orld powers and Iran yesterday struggled to overcome
crucial differences that are
preventing them from ending a 12-year
standoff over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, raising the prospect of another
extension to the high-stake talks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said
“big gaps” remained with two days to
go before a self-imposed November 24
deadline for an accord, despite signs of
some headway. A European source said
the likelihood of a final deal by tomorrow was “very small”.
Diplomats said a framework accord
was still possible, but that weeks if not
months would then be needed to agree
on the all-important details of how it
would be implemented.
They made clear that continuing the
negotiations - which have dragged on for
more than a year - was preferable to letting them collapse and risking renewed
tension. However, diplomats warned
that an extension could push the talks
into a never-ending cycle of rollovers
with few prospects of a final deal.
The negotiations in Vienna are intended to resolve a long-running dispute between Iran and the West and
remove at least one source of potential
conflict from the Middle East and its
growing turmoil.
“The chances of reaching a deal in
the next 48 hours are very small,” the
European source said. “Our feeling is
that they (Iran’s negotiators) don’t have
a lot of flexibility.”
There had been “no significant”
progress on the main stumbling blocks
of Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity
and the lifting of the sanctions imposed
on Iran over its nuclear programme, the
source said.
Diplomatic sources said on Friday
that Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohamed Javad Zarif were discussing
new ideas to unblock the negotiations
between Tehran and six powers: the
US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia
and China.
Kerry, Zarif and European Union envoy Catherine Ashton met again yesterday.
Officials had said earlier in the week
that deadlock remained on key issues,
and that the deadline, already extended
by four months along with a partial
easing of sanctions, might need to be
pushed back again.
“We hope we’re making careful
progress,” Kerry said before a meeting
with German Foreign Minister FrankWalter Steinmeier. “But we have big
gaps. We still have some serious gaps,
which we’re working to close.”
Iran rejects Western allegations that
it has sought to develop an atom bomb
capability and says nuclear programme
is purely peaceful.
Western officials say Iran is not
budging on key issues such as uranium
enrichment, an activity that can have
both civilian and military uses.
They say Iran has refused to reduce
its enrichment capacity, which Western officials say would leave it with
the capacity to amass enough material
for an atomic bomb in a few months.
Washington wants this “breakout”
timeline extended to at least a year.
Another stumbling block is sanctions, which Iran wants ended swiftly
and not, as the West wants, suspended
and scrapped progressively as Iran fulfils the terms of a final deal.
Iran also objects to Western demands that such a deal should last up
to 20 years.
But diplomats say the six powers are
likely to relent on demands for full disclosure of any secret weapon work by
Tehran, in the interest of securing a deal.
Earlier yesterday, Kerry held a conference call with the foreign ministers
of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates,
Kuwait, and Bahrain, and separate calls
with the foreign ministers of Turkey
and Canada, a senior US State Department official said.
He also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly voiced his scepticism about any
rapprochement with Iran. Tehran says it
is Israel’s atomic arsenal that threatens
regional peace and stability. Page 11
Philippine official urges contract substitution victims to file complaints
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
isiting Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has
urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been victims of
“contract substitution” to file “necessary complaints” against unscrupulous
Baldoz was speaking at the inauguration of the new Philippine Overseas
Labour Office – Overseas Workers Welfare Office (POLO-OWWA) building on
“We need these people to come out in
the open and file necessary complaints
so we can investigate,” she stressed.
Complaints must be filed first at the
Baldoz said POLO had the power to
suspend the documentary processing
of foreign agencies involved in various
anomalies in the recruitment of workers from the Philippines.
Contract substitution, an irregularity in recruiting workers, is resorted to
by unscrupulous employers who collude with some recruitment agencies
back home.
Ambassador Crescente Relacion had
earlier explained that the practice referred to a job contract signed by the
candidate and processed by POLOOWWA being swapped by another one
in Qatar.
In many cases, he said the candidate
had no option but to sign another contract with lower pay and benefits when
he or she arrived in Doha.
Labour attache Leopoldo De Jesus advised OFWs who had been
treated unjustly or unfairly to seek
From left: Labour attache De Jesus, ambassador Relacion and Labour Secretary
Baldoz at the inauguration of the new POLO-OWWA building on Friday.
PICTURE: Joey Aguilar.
the intervention of POLO-OWWA
for assistance in the resolution of any
work-related grievances against their
These included those who had been
victims of “contract substitution” and
“excessive collection” perpetuated by
recruitment agencies and some employers.
Delayed payment of salaries and
keeping of passports are the two major issues being raised by workers who
come to De Jesus’ office.
De Jesus said the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration in the
Philippines had cancelled the licences
of some recruitment agencies who were
involved in contract substitution and
those who asked for placements fees
for housemaids.
However, Baldoz was also mulling to
award legitimate recruitment agencies
and employers which are performing
and doing business excellently.
“If they have a record or profile, they
can have a special lane making it less
difficult for them to do business here
at POLO,” she said. “They should be
rewarded, but for those who will continue to violate, definitely we have to
penalise them.”
The labour secretary urged OFWs
and Filipinos to learn how to adjust
with the culture in Qatar.
She said that following the laws and
conforming to the rules and regulations
of the host country would prevent them
from getting into trouble.
“By doing that, they’ll be able to
serve the full term of their contracts
without disruption,” she added.
Baldoz yesterday met with Qatar’s
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare,
HE Dr Abdullah bin Saleh al-Khulaifi,
and members of the Filipino community.
She will hold a meeting with officials
and representative of various recruitment agencies today. Page 4
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Defence Minister meets Chuck Hagel
HMC event raises awareness
about road traffic safety
HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah meeting US
Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon yesterday. They exchanged views on matters of
mutual interest. He also met the Director of the US Defence Security Co-operation Agency Joseph
W Rixey. The meetings were attended by Qatar’s ambassador to the United States Mohamed Jaham
al-Kuwari and the delegation accompanying the minister.
Plan to construct 267
pedestrian crossings
he Traffic Department
under the Ministry of Interior (MoI) is set to enhance pedestrian safety across
the roads of Qatar.
Based on a joint study conducted by MoI, the Public
Works Authority and the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), have
planned to construct 267 pedestrian crossings and paths
of various types all over the
The plan came as a result of
joint site visits by officials of
these entities, explained Siddeequ Dali, from the road safety
engineering section at the Traffic Department.
He was speaking at a seminar
by MoI to enhance road safety
among pedestrian with the presence of a number of representatives of some expatriate communities in Qatar.
Dali said that there are already
fences installed at various roads
to separate the two sides and
assign pedestrian safe crossing
Also, many are equipped
with signs that tells pedestrians
where to cross the roads and the
designated areas for them.
However, some pedestrians do
not abide by that and risk their
lives by improper crossing of the
road. This could be attributed to
cultural issues and unfamiliarity
with the road safety rules in the
amad Medical Corporation (HMC) has commemorated the World
Day of Remembrance for Road
Traffic Victims (WDR), raising
awareness about prevention of
road traffic injuries (RTIs) and
deaths in Qatar.
“Speed kills – design out
speeding” was the theme for this
year’s WDR, which was organised within the framework of the
United Nations Decade of Action
for Road Safety 2011-2020 and
its lead agency, the World Health
The WDR is marked globally
on the third Sunday of November each year to remember the
millions killed and injured annually on the world’s roads. The
day provides an opportunity for
survivors of road traffic injuries
to share their messages of hope
and support for fellow victims
and their families.
Recognising that RTIs are the
leading cause of death in Qatar, Dr Hassan al-Thani, head of
Trauma and Vascular Surgery at
HMC, said: “Beyond providing
excellent care for victims of RTIs
at HMC’s Level 1 Trauma Centre,
our dedicated team of surgeons,
nurses and allied healthcare professionals are prioritising efforts
to prevent these injuries and
deaths on the road from happening in the first place.
“We are aligning efforts of
the Hamad Injury Prevention
Programme (HIPP) – the community outreach arm of HMC’s
Trauma Surgery section – with
those of the Ministry of Interior
(MoI)’s National Traffic Safety
Committee through the ‘One
Second Campaign’, the national
road safety programme of Qatar.”
The main stakeholders in the
field of road safety in Qatar, the
National Traffic Safety Committee, the MoI and the Supreme
Council of Health (SCH), were
present to signify their support
for the activity as part of sustained multi-sectoral efforts to
improve road safety in Qatar.
Dr Mohamed al-Thani, SCH
director of Public Health, commended the work of the HMC
Trauma Centre team in ensuring that victims of RTIs get the
treatment they need without
While introducing victims of
RTIs at the WDR event, Dr Somaya al-Molawi from HMC’s
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department said at
least one out of four patients
needing rehabilitation care is a
victim of an RTI.
Abdelrahman al-Yafei and
Hassan Saleem, victims of
crashes involving a vehicle and
a motorcycle, respectively, and
Nel Balquin, a pedestrian who
was hit by a car, were present at
the event to share their experiences and highlight how speeding contributed to their accidents.
“The media has a vital role
in educating people, especially
parents, on the importance of
observing traffic safety rules and
regulations,” said Abdelrahman,
a young Qatari.
Sharing encouraging words
for fellow RTI victims who are
living with disabilities, Abdelrahman said though he has been
confined to a wheelchair since
his injury 10 years ago, he has
managed to succeed in life just
like any other individual, continuing with his studies, working
and even competing successfully
in sports.
Dr Rafael Consunji, director
of the HIPP, cited speeding as a
consistent contributor to crashes that cause severe injury and
death, as demonstrated by the
fact that more than half of the
road deaths in the country happen at the scene of the crash or
before the victim arrives at the
“The impact of collisions
due to vehicles moving at high
speeds can cause severe and fatal injuries,” said Dr Consunji.
“Requiring seatbelts for all vehicle passengers, child passenger restraint laws and reducing
speed limits in urban areas are
all proven methods for reducing
injuries and deaths from highspeed crashes. Implementing
and enforcing these measures
can go a long way towards ensuring the safety of everyone on
the roads.”
A study on seatbelt compliance among patients with orthopaedic injuries admitted to
HGH showed that only 36% of
all patients were using a seatbelt,
and that most non-users were
young males (with an average
age of 32 years) from a Middle
Eastern country, driving a fourwheel vehicle and with a crash
that occurred on a main road.
The study’s principal investigator, Dr Talal Ibrahim, senior
consultant of Orthopaedic Surgery at HGH, and his co-authors
recommended a national seatbelt campaign to increase seatbelt use among this high-risk
population of young drivers.
Guests and officials from the HMC, MoI and SCH during the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
FM meets Kenyan counterpart
HE the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah holding talks with Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed
on the sidelines of the High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia, which was held in Copenhagen, on Friday. They
discussed ways to promote and develop bilateral ties and exchanged views on the situation in Somalia.
8,600 units of streetlights
installed on internal roads
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
oad operations and
from the Public Works
Authority (Ashghal) installed 8,600 units of
streetlights and as many
lighting columns along
250km of internal roads
spread over several areas
in the previous year, according to a report carried
in the annual magazine of
New lights were installed
in places such as Al Shamal,
Ain Khaled, Al Kheesa, Al
Khor, Al Sadd, Al Aziziya,
Duhail, Freej Kulaib, Al
Gharafa, Al Mamoura and
Dafna, among others, it
Besides, more than 1,000
lights spread over 30km
were replaced. New lights
were also installed at newly
built truck parks in Al Khor,
Umm Slal, Al Kharana and
Al Wakrah.
Repairs were carried out
on more than 12,000 lamp
posts, it said, adding that
the department also attended to and resolved more
than 500 contact centre
The authority has introduced a new concept of
performance-based strategic operations, the first contract of which was awarded
for the Salwa and Dukhan
highways for approximately
The contract was completed within a year and remarkable improvements in
health and safety standards
were observed by adopting
some of the best international practices.
The report also informed
that a safety zone improvement programme was implemented near 200 schools
across Doha.
As part of implementing the programme, vehicles passing through the
neighbourhood of those
schools have been allowed
a maximum speed limit of
The schools were told
to set up standardised
gateway approaches and
formal parking bays on
adjacent roads, and provide central medians to
prevent U-turns or vehicular collisions, pedestrian crossings to link
the school entrance with
parking bays, footways
along the school perimeter and on the rear side of
parking bays for the safety
of pedestrians and roundabouts to help motorists
exit the main road.
Gulf Times
sunday, November 23 , 2014
Minister opens Qatar pavilion at Milan expo
HE the Minister of
Economy and Commerce
Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim
bin Mohamed al-Thani
inaugurated Qatar’s
Pavilion which will be
erected at the Expo 2015
which will be hosted by
Milan, Italy, between 1 May
and 31 October, under the
theme “Feeding the Planet,
Energy For Life”.
The Minister unveiled the
final design of the pavilion
in the presence of a number
of officials and senior Italian
personalities, the Qatar
Pavilion delegation as well
as the organising company
and delegations of the
countries participating in
Expo 2015, at the Expo
gateway in Milan Centre.
The Committee of Qatar
Expo 2015 Pavilion is
organising a number
cultural events. About 140
countries and international
organisations will participate
in the EXPO Milan 2015.
Doha court acquits
HGH doctors of
negligence charge
Minister meets Philippine official
Doha Criminal Court has acquitted a Jordanian consultant physician and a Sudanese doctor working at
Hamad General Hospital (HGH) of charges of causing blindness and paralysis to a Qatari lady, local Arabic
daily Arrayah has reported.
The Public Prosecution had earlier referred the case to
the court following a complaint submitted by the patient’s
brother, alleging that her condition deteriorated because
of the negligence of surgeons and doctors in charge.
He claimed that his sister was taken to the hospital after complaining of severe pain in the stomach. The doctors
there gave some medicines and sent her home, but the pain
returned and she went to the hospital again. She was given
some medication and sent home once more, according to
the report.
When she started feeling the pain yet again, her
brother took her to a private
clinic, where some tests and
check-ups were conducted.
The clinic referred the patient to HGH for an immediate surgery. Doctors there felt
she could be given medication until her condition improved and might undergo
the surgery if necessary, the
daily adds.
The doctors who
were accused in the
case denied any
wrongdoing or delay in
treatment or surgical
Eventually, her condition
worsened and she had to undergo a surgery, which was
not successful. The forensic
medical report could not determine if the outcome was a
result of negligence in terms
of delaying the surgery or a
normal development of her
illness, the report further
Further, the doctors who
were accused in the case denied any wrongdoing or delay
in treatment or surgical intervention. Accordingly, the
court found them not guilty
and acquitted them, it adds.
HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi
meeting Philippines Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in Doha yesterday. They
discussed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them, besides issues of common
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
QatarDebate Arabic
events begin today
he Arabic activities of QatarDebate Academy for
universities, organised by
Qatar Debate, will be held from
today until Wednesday.
Some 53 trainees representing 53 universities from
25 countries around the world
will take part in the event.
These countries include Qatar, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain,
Kuwait, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Australia, India,
France, Malaysia, US, Poland,
China, Korea and Kazakhstan.
This initiative of QatarDebate, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science
and Community Development, aims to enhance the capabilities of trainees on the art
of debating and improve their
skills in discussion and intellectual interaction.
Further, some non-Arabicspeaking countries will take
part in the activities, which will
enhance the status of the Arabic
language in those nations.
director of events at QatarDebate,
stressed that the event would
bring together trainees from
different countries, reflecting
positively on their linguistic
skills in Arabic.
Bid to smuggle houbaras foiled
he General Directorate of
Coasts and Borders Security
foiled an attempt to smuggle
70 houbara birds into the country
yesterday morning.
The houbaras were found during
an inspection of a boat after it was
spotted on the northern coast of the
country in a suspicious manner. A
person was trying to bring the birds
into the country illegally.
The case was referred to the authorities concerned for further investigation.
A couple of days ago, the Coast
Guard had prevented an attempt to
bring in four falcons and 87 houbaras
through the Simaisima coast. The
case was referred to the Ministry of
Environment for investigation.
Qatari delegation
holds meetings
in Canada
The boat was spotted on the northern coast of
the country.
The houbaras were found during an inspection
of a boat.
CMC panel visits polling centres
Committee of the Central
Municipal Council
elections toured polling
centres of 29 constituencies to assess the preparations.
The inspection tour of
the election centres is part
of the Interior Ministry’s
preparations for the 5th
Central Municipal Council’s elections of which the
first stage will kick off in
January 2015 with voting
to be held in May 2015.
Brigadier Majid Ibrahim al-Khulaifi, Director
of Elections Department
and Chairman of the Supervising Committee on
executive committees of
the 5th Central Municipal
Council elections, said the
committee has finalised
the selection of all electoral constituencies’ polling centres, adding that
some electoral centres of
the previous sessions have
been changed.
He underlined the importance of the selection
and preparation of polling
centres at all constituencies to provide all facilities
for the voters and to ensure
transparent and free elections.
said that, as per the electoral law, all eligible voters should be either Qatari
nationals by birth or 15
years should have elapsed
after their naturalisation;
should not below the age
of 18 years, should not have
been convicted of an offence prejudicial to honour
or trust and should be resident in the electoral constituency in which they will
exercise their franchise.
Major General Dr Abdullah
Yousuf al-Mal, Chairman of
the Preparatory Committee of
the 13th Conference on Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice
and his accompanying delegation
held a meeting with officials
at the Canadian ministries of
security, foreign affairs and
justice in preparation for the
conference, scheduled to be held
in Doha in April 2015.
During the meetings, which
were held in Ottawa, they
discussed the preparations
made by the State of Qatar to
host the conference, in addition
to the positions of the two
sides on issues on the agenda
and agreement between the
delegations of the two countries
on the draft Doha Declaration.
National Day
greetings sent
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani, HH the Deputy
Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Thani and HE the Prime
Minister and Interior Minister
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin
Khalifa al-Thani have sent cables
of congratulations to Lebanon’s
Prime Minister Tammam Salam
on his country’s National Day.
Concern over location of warehouses in residential areas
A number of citizens have urged the
authorities concerned to urgently
intervene to stop warehouses of
different companies from coming up in
residential areas, local Arabic daily Al
Sharq has reported.
Expressing concern over the spread of
the phenomenon, they argue that such
warehouses are a source of danger for
local residents, especially those who
live near such facilities, the daily adds.
The citizens point out that the
warehouses often contain flammable
materials, while some companies
keep equipment and machines there,
which causes disturbance to residents,
according to the report.
Another issue highlighted by the
citizens is that some companies instal
fences along empty spaces and convert
them into workshops where they repair
equipment and machines and even fill
them with fuel. This can cause serious
accidents, they citizens add, calling
upon the authorities to stop the spread
of such practices, the report further
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
holds workshop on ‘shelter
QRC, QC sign Charity
and settlements in emergencies’
strategic pact Q
atar Red Crescent (QRC)
and Qatar Charity (QC)
have signed a strategic
alliance to further develop their
partnership and mutual cooperation in humanitarian and
charity projects.
QRC secretary-general Saleh
bin Ali al-Mohannadi and QC
chief executive officer Yusuf bin
Ahmed al-Kuwari signed the
agreement at the QRC office,
according to a statement.
Through this strategic alliance, the two charities aim to
achieve a set of goals that include
the allocation of roles in terms
of field presence and the size of
projects in different countries,
mutual capacity-building, maximisation of resource mobilisation opportunities, co-operation
between QRC and QC in specified programmes and projects to
achieve their respective goals,
promotion of opportunities to
influence development and humanitarian issues relevant to
their scope of international and
regional work, and the development of best practices in areas of
common interest.
The agreement provides for
the development of jointly coordinated annual plans, taking
into account the objectives of
this strategic alliance in accordance with a defined methodology. The annual joint plans will
comprise a set of well-considered projects.
To ensure the effectiveness
and continuity of the alliance,
Al-Mohannadi and al-Kuwari after the agreement-signing ceremony.
QRC and QC will allocate an annual amount of QR10mn evenly
as self-financing for projects of
joint co-operation.
Al-Mohannadi said that the
strategic partnership “will have
an impact on the agreed humanitarian and development aspects”.
“QRC is happy to strengthen
and develop a partnership with
a highly experienced humanitarian organisation such as Qatar
Charity,” he added.
Al-Kuwari said: “This agree-
ment with QRC will contribute
to our joint presence, enhance
opportunities for our organisations to influence development
and humanitarian issues at the
regional and international levels,
and enable both organisations to
cope with Qatar’s leading role in
the humanitarian field.”
The agreement involves regular joint workshops to discuss
common issues, which aim to
implement initiatives, and joint
projects and programmes.
atar Red Crescent (QRC)
held a training workshop
on “Shelter and Settlements in Emergencies” in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
and the Permanent Emergency
Committee (PEC).
This year, 18 trainees from
Qatar, UK, Italy, US, the Philippines, Pakistan, Spain, France,
Switzerland, Nigeria and Australia have represented their
respective Red Cross and Red
Crescent societies, along with
the participation of four IFRC
The workshop was held at the
QRC headquarters in Doha.
Staff Major General Saad bin
Jassim al-Khulaifi, director general of public security and PEC
chairman, inaugurated the workshop in the presence of Brig Hamad al-Dohaimi, secretary of
PEC; Mohamed Johar al-Johar,
board member of QRC; and Marta
Peña, senior officer, shelter and
settlement department, IFRC.
“We all know the important role of entities involved in
emergency management and
the great responsibility they assume. This mandates providing
all necessary support to make
them achieve their tasks to the
fullest,” Brig al-Dohaimi said.
He also highlighted the impact of such workshops on
knowledge transfer and sharing,
which is considered one of the
main objectives of this training.
In his remarks, al-Johar said:
“Building capacities is one of
the national priorities that are in
line with the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030, and the only
way to build a culture of prepar-
Health professionals attend
course on research practices
Scientific research methodologies in the clinical
and biomedical fields have been highlighted
in the latest course jointly organised by the
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Weill
Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) and
Weill Cornell School of Graduate Studies (New
The course, developed as an Academic
Health System (AHS) initiative, is one
of the series, aiming to educate health
professionals on t conducting clinical and
biomedical research.
More than 300 clinical, academic and
research staff members from across the AHS
partner organisations attended the 24-lecture
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Pathology
at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical
Sciences (New York) Dr David P Hajjar presided
over the course. He said the course was
primarily designed for those who had recently
completed their doctorates or for people in
their first 10 years of research experience.
“Young clinicians, academics and researchers
gained a clear overview of research
procedures and how a proposed research
question could be transformed into a fullyrealised scientific study that would ultimately
add to an ever-improving healthcare
landscape,” said Dr Hajjar.
HMC’s chief of Scientific, Faculty and Academic
Affairs, Professor Edward Hillhouse, added that
the course was helping shape Qatar’s future
generation of clinical researchers.
Qatar’s AHS is a nationwide network integrating
research, education and clinical care to focus
on improving patient care and delivering
innovative healthcare solutions. The lecture
series on clinical and biomedical research in
Qatar aims to address national health priorities
in line with the Qatar National Research
Eight member organisations working
collaboratively in the AHS are HMC, WCMC-Q,
Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar
Biomedical Research Institute, College of the
North Atlantic - Qatar, Primary Health Care
Corporation, Qatar University and University of
Calgary - Qatar.
Participants of the workshop.
edness and readiness in response
to any disaster.
“Qatar Red Crescent is currently engaged in organising
several training programmes to
prepare a professional cadre that
can respond to any emergency in
an organised manner based on
the latest available techniques in
humanitarian action.”
Peña said: “We always think
about Qatar Red Crescent as
a very reliable partner, taking
into consideration all the good
work on shelter at the domestic
level and internationally, and the
continuous support that we always receive from them.”
The workshop is a continuation of a five-week online
training followed by a six-day
face-to-face initiative held this
year at the QRC headquarters.
This “affordable” postgraduate
professional course in “Shelter
Officials at a programme on the workshop.
and Settlements in Emergencies
(Natural Disasters)” is offered
by the IFRC in partnership with
the Centre for Development and
Emergency Practice at Oxford
Brookes University.
The course faculty comprises
leading experts from around the
humanitarian and shelter world,
presenting practical insight into
the course content and providing students with case studies
drawn from major humanitarian
emergencies. The course is also
accredited by Oxford Brookes
HMC hosts symposium on
neonatal developmental care
he importance of individualised and familycentred care in promoting the growth and well-being
of critically ill newborns and
infants was the focus of the
Developmental Care Symposium held recently at Hamad
Medical Corporation (HMC)’s
Women’s Hospital.
Some babies are born with
a high risk of medical complications and illnesses that
require highly specialised care
in neonatal intensive care units
and special care nurseries. The
developmental care approach
originates from the idea that
environmental factors play a
key role in affecting health outcomes of high-risk infants in
neonatal intensive care units.
Modifications to the nursing
environment and care practices by healthcare professionals,
parents and caregivers can result in improved quality of life
for these infants.
Dr Hilal al-Rifai, medical
director and director of the
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
(NICU) at Women’s Hospital,
said: “The symposium reflects
our commitment in ensuring
that the safest, most effective and compassionate care
is available to each and every
one of our patients. We recognise that the essence of our
work lies in the compassion
that we extend to not only the
infants requiring critical care,
but also to their families. Using
developmental care strategies,
we can provide individualised
care to preterm and high-risk
babies in order to support their
optimal growth.”
The day-long symposium
was attended by more than 150
healthcare professionals, comprising developmental care
teams, neonatologists, nurses
and other allied health professionals working in the area of
infant care. The main aims of
the symposium were to encourage healthcare professionals to assess current neonatal
care practices, learn about the
developmental needs of infants and work together with
families to ensure that they
are addressed early and more
Participants had the opportunity to learn from international expert Prof Nikk Conneman, consultant neonatologist
and director of the Sophia Neonatal Individual Developmental Care and Assessment Pro-
gramme Training Center in the
“The concept of developmental care is a necessity now.
We have learned through images gathered from a number
of Magnetic Resonance Imaging tests that the brain of highrisk or preterm babies develops
better with individualised care.
This kind of care understands
that each individual is unique
and has unique strengths, and
when provided with the right
kind of care, has the ability to
live and function normally,”
said Prof Conneman.
The symposium also highlighted the latest developments
and advances in the care of
high-risk and critically ill infants and featured lectures on
topics such as technical revolution in NICU, ways to enhance
sensory and brain development
and the importance of adopting an individualised and family-centred developmental care
Prof Conneman (third left) with some of the organisers.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
NU-Q honours
students on
Dean’s List
orthwestern University in Qatar
(NU-Q) has announced its Dean’s List for
spring 2014 that recognises
students who have excelled
in their academic studies for
the semester.
Students who secured
their spot were honoured at
a special awards luncheon
last week, where they received their certificate.
Forty-five students enrolled at NU-Q earned the
academic distinction, including
majors who achieved a 3.75
grade point average (GPA)
out of 4.0 on three graded
courses, and journalism
majors who achieved a 3.7
GPA on three graded courses or, if on residency, completed two graded courses in
addition to their residency.
“The Dean’s List is one of
the top academic honours at
NU-Q and it is a testament
to the time, effort and creativity students put in every
day, both in and outside of
school for their studies,”
said Everette E Dennis, dean
and CEO, NU-Q.
Ibrahim AlHashmi, a future graduate student with
plans to be a screenwriter,
said: “It makes me happy
as a student that my school
recognises and celebrates
academic excellence and hard
work. Being on the Dean’s List
is an honour that motivates
Ibrahim AlHashmi receiving his certificate from Everette E Dennis.
me to work harder and make
the most out of my classes
and experience in NU-Q.”
Five sophomores, nine
juniors, 20 seniors and 11
graduates earned their place
on the list.
programme students include
Hazar Adnan Eskandar,
Nawal Kamel Alirani, Mae
Ahmad al-Haroon, Dhoha
Abdelsatar, Sara Abdulaziz
al-Derham, Najwa Abdulrahman al-Thani, Taiba
Saoud al-Rodaini, Hend
Bader Darwish, Nissryne
Dib, Dina Riad Bolboul, Ibrahim AlHashmi, Menatalla
Abdalla Kamel, Jaser Alagha, Dana Jamal Abu Nahl,
Nilly Fawzy Abdel Alim, Aisha Mohamed al-Mansoor,
Layan Amin AbdulShkoor,
Yazan Emad Abu Ghaidah,
Malak Alomari, Syed Owais
Ali, Jemina Marcos Legaspi
and Valeria Vladislavova
Journalism programme
students include Zineb Abdessadok, Yara Bader Darwish, Mahgoub Hashim
Abdelrahman, Yi Wang,
Marium Wael Saeed, Gena
Bassam El Aker, Aamena
Ahmed, Jaimee Lee Haddad,
Mahdiyeh Mohd Seid Mahmoodzadeh, Maha Reyad
al-Ansari, Abir Bouguerra,
Haneen Nitham Hindi,
Reem Nassr Zubaidi, Alanna
Amna Abdulla al-Saadi,
James Zachary Hollo, Tamador Mohamed AlSulaiti,
Paulo Andre Fugen, Malak
Ahmed Monir, Nayla Rashid
al-Thani, Aamer Elsayed
Hassan, Nayab Malik and
Mohamed Shakeeb Asrar.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Imax theatres in
the Gulf region
to double by ’17
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
max Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond
has expressed confidence that the number
of Imax theatres in the Gulf region will
significantly increase in the coming years.
Speaking on the sidelines of his first visit
to Doha on November 18, Gelfond told Gulf
Times that from two theatres in 2001, they
now have 15 and he expects the number to
double by 2017.
“There are about eight opened today and
seven more scheduled to open. In 2017 we will
double, we’ll have theatres opened. This is a
very fast growing region for us and our partnership with Novo,” he said. “This is so far our
largest partnership that we have in the Gulf
Besides its theatre at The Pearl-Qatar,
Imax Corporation is also set to open theatres
in Bahrain, Dubai and other parts of the Middle East.
Gelfond described the Middle East especially the Gulf region as one of the most rapid
growing markets in the world not just for
Imax but for cinema in general.
Some of the reasons he cited include the
phase of growth, phase of disposable income
and the demand for entertainment.
He said people in the region are also “willing to pay a premium to get the best”.
Impressed by the amount of high-end construction at the Pearl, Gelfond believes the
area is a “real bright spot” for Imax theatres
He sees 2015 as a very good film year with
movies such as Fast and the Furious, James
Bond, Star Wars and the Jurassic World. He
expects average box office receipts of about
Imax Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond
(second right) with Novo Cinemas CEO,
Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen.
PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
$1.5mn per screen in the Middle East.
Imax theatres earn more per screen and a
percentage on box office receipts, according
to Gelfond.
“If you just multiply that by the number of
screens that are in Qatar, you will have an accurate assessment. I don’t know yet how quickly
we will grow, I know we will grow. We have to
know how many screens there are,” he said.
The Imax CEO noted that one of the best
strategies to achieve their goals is to build
more theatres.
He cited their experience in England where
Imax had only eight theatres five years ago.
Now, it operates at least 50 theatres.
“When the public understands how different the Imax experience is, they demand
more of it,” he said. “Though it costs more, a
little bit more, not a lot more but you get the
best experience for a little bit more.”
Gelfond also revealed that they spent about
$50mn over the last three years developing
the next generation system which is based on
laser technology.
He explained that this technology makes
the image even brighter and could be placed on
much larger screens. Designed for very large
screens over about 33m, its colours are more enhanced than the next generation sound system.
“We are discussing with Novo now whether
it makes sense to put in laser systems. I hope we
can both find the location where it does makes
sense but it hasn’t been decided yet,” he said.
Imax is expanding rapidly in South America, the Middle East and Asia especially in
China. From 13 theatres in 2010, Imax grew
significantly and it is expecting to open its
200th by the end of this year.
While China is Imax’s second largest market outside of the United States, he said it
will become their “largest market over a very
short period of time.”
While Imax opens 110 to 120 theatres a
year, he hopes to achieve a $1bn box office receipts next year amid their on-going expansion and with the opening of its thousandth
screen, also in 2015.
Imax now has 880 theatres in 60 countries.
It has presented some of 2014’s top movies including Interstellar, Marvel’s Guardians of the
Galaxy, Godzilla, The Amazing Spider-Man 2,
and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
“Next year, we’ll be knocking on the door of
the billion-dollar,” he said. “I don’t know it’s
the movie business, you maybe a little short
or you may get over there but I still think 2015
will be closed to a billion dollars on close to a
thousand screens.”
Algerian premier arrives
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal arrived in Doha yesterday on an official visit. The
Algerian premier and his accompanying delegation were welcomed upon arrival at Hamad
International Airport by HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi, Qatar’s ambassador to
Algeria, Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Sahlawi, and Algeria’s ambassador to Qatar, Abdul Fattah Zayyani.
HMC to host forum
on quality, safety
amad Medical Corporation (HMC) and
the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
(IHI) have announced the joint hosting of
the 3rd Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety
in Healthcare, the leading healthcare quality improvement conference in the region. The annual
three-day conference will be held on 29-31 May,
2015 at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha.
The conference reinforces the partnership between HMC and IHI, a not-for-profit organisation
that is a leading innovator in health and healthcare
improvement worldwide.
This year’s conference will focus on themes
centred on facilitating a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare. The four key themes include
an in-depth review of the latest knowledge in
quality and patient safety practices, the importance of patient engagement, improvement in
clinical interventions, and the benefits of improving patient flows. The world-class programme
will feature leading international experts in health
and healthcare presenting over the three days, as
well as guest speakers, interactive workshops, and
plenary sessions.
Hanan al-Kuwari PhD, managing director of
HMC expressed her delight that the yearly conference is continuing to gain momentum in the
region and commented that she expected upwards
of 3,000 attendees to register for the 2015 Middle
East Forum in Doha.
“This forum is now a key communication platform in Qatar and the region. Over the three days,
we are able to exchange our real-world learnings,
highlight successes, and challenge ourselves to
learn about the science of improvement to further
develop our healthcare services. We have an excellent partnership with the IHI and their support
has meant a great deal to a large number of healthcare professionals, including many of HMC’s own
staff,” said al Kuwari.
Maureen Bisognano, IHI President and CEO,
has praised HMC’s efforts to improve safety and
health care delivery, noting that Qatar’s public
health care system can rival any in the world.
Al-Kuwari honouring an official at the community gathering.
Meet on Rawdat Al
Khail Street projects
community gathering for representatives of businesses, residents and schools in the Rawdat
Al Khail area has been hosted by the
Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in
association with Al Jaber Transport
and General Contracting Company.
The event was aimed at updating
the community on developments in
the Rawdat Al Khail Street extension
project and procedures to be adopted
for remaining stages of construction
activities there.
A key attraction of the event was a
celebration to mark 10mn man hours
without injury in the project being executed in the area.
Nasser Ghaith al-Kuwari, manager of the Expressway Projects Department at Ashghal, Abdullah Saad
al-Saad, an official from the public
relations and communications department, and some officials responsible
for implementation of the project were
in attendance.
Al-Kuwari presented a memento to
Mohamed Jawhar, managing director of Al Jaber Transport and General
Contracting Company.
The company, as part of its efforts
to enhance safety standards in work
zones, has implemented a number of
initiatives, including a Mobile Training
As part of this, a bus has been fully
equipped with training facilities to
train workers and supervisors. The
vehicle provides a number of specialised courses on various safety issues, such as working in confined or
elevated areas. It also teaches workers
A section of the audience.
how to avoid heat-related dangers and
runs programmes to ensure the safety
of workers and visitors.At the event,
Ashghal introduced the Expressway
Programme, which the Rawdat Al Khail
Street extension project is part of.
Also, a presentation was given on
the progress of the project, traffic diversions and safety instructions for
visitors and workers during construction.
The participants asked a number
of queries during an interactive programme held on the occasion. Their
suggestions and requirements were
also taken into account.
The event is part of a community
outreach programme implemented by
Ashghal to enhance co-operation and
communication between the authority and the local communities, and to
support smooth implementation of
its projects with minimal effect on the
During the event, an initiative aimed
at enhancing the safety of students in
local schools was also held. Vital issues
such as safe accesses to schools in the
area were also discussed in the presence of their managers.
The Rawdat Al Khail Street extension project includes construction of
about 8km in both directions between
the East Industrial Road interchange
and Mesaimeer interchange. This is in
addition to developing approximately 2km from F-Ring Road, between
the Mesaimeer interchange and Abu
Hamour interchange.
The main Industrial Road comprises
four lanes in each direction, separated
by a median with parallel service roads
and auxiliary lanes.
As part of the project, four multilevel interchanges will be built along
the main Industrial Road and one
multi-level interchange along F-Ring
Road, which intersects with Wholesale
Market Street. It also includes a directional tunnel providing access to the
new Barwa development to the south
of Industrial Area Road.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Israeli threats to strike seen as diplomatic ploy
espite Israeli threats of
a strike on Iran if world
powers fail to halt its nuclear drive at talks entering an
endgame in Vienna, experts see
the sabre-rattling as largely diplomatic brinkmanship.
With tomorrow’s deadline for a
lasting agreement fast approaching, Israel has been keeping up
pressure on the five permanent
members of the UN Security
Council and Germany which are
involved in the negotiations.
Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state, sees
itself as the first potential target
if Iran develops an atomic bomb,
and has warned against striking
what it describes as a “bad deal”
with Tehran.
If an agreement is signed that
leaves Iran on the threshold of
becoming a nuclear power, “we
will preserve all options and all
our rights to do what we see fit
to defend Israel”, Intelligence
Minister Yuval Steinitz said this
But Israel “does not want war”,
said Emily Landau, director of an
arms control project at Tel Aviv
University’s Jaffee Centre for
Strategic Studies.
“By brandishing the threat
of military intervention Israel is
counting on the deterrent effect,”
she said.
“A good agreement (with Iran)
is not possible because it will not
include Iranian ballistic missiles
on which nuclear warheads could
be mounted,” she added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has previously warned
that a “bad” nuclear deal which
leaves Iran with the capability to
World powers
not expected
to seek Iran
The six powers will try to
“be creative” in finding a
formula to satisfy those
who want Iran to come
clean about any atomic
bomb research and those
who say this is unrealistic,
an official says
orld powers are pressing Iran to stop stonewalling a UN atomic
bomb investigation as part of a
wider nuclear accord, but look
likely to stop short of demanding
full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran to avoid killing
an historic deal.
Officially, the United States and
its Western allies say it is vital that
Iran fully cooperate with a UN nuclear agency investigation if it wants
a diplomatic settlement that would
end the sanctions severely hurting
its oil-based economy.
The six powers face a delicate
balancing act at talks in Vienna,
due to end by tomorrow; Israel
and hawkish US lawmakers wary of any rapprochement with
old foe Iran - are likely to pounce
on a deal if they believe it is too soft
on Tehran.
A senior US official stressed
that the powers had not changed
their position on Iran’s past activities during this week’s talks:
“We’ve always said that any
agreement must resolve the issue
to our satisfaction. That has not
Privately, however, some officials acknowledge that Iran may
never be prepared to admit to
what they believe it was guilty of:
covertly working in the past to develop the ability to build a nucleararmed missile - something it has
always denied.
A senior Western official said
the six would try to “be creative”
in finding a formula to satisfy
those who want Iran to come clean
about any atomic bomb research
and those who say this is simply
If an eventual accord does not
put strong pressure on Iran to increase co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by making it a condition
for some sanctions relief, it could
hurt the IAEA’s credibility, some
diplomats say.
While the global powers - the
United States, France, Germany,
Russia, China and Britain - want
to cut back Iran’s uranium enrichment programme to lengthen
the time it would need to build a
bomb, the IAEA has for years has
been trying to investigate allegations that Iran actually worked on
designing a bomb.
“You don’t want to undermine
the integrity of the IAEA,” said one
envoy accredited to the agency.
The IAEA issued a report in
2011 with intelligence information indicating concerted activi-
ties until about a decade ago that
could be relevant for developing
nuclear bombs. It said some of
these might be continuing.
IAEA Director General Yukiya
Amano this week said Iran had
again failed to provide the explanations needed for the IAEA
inquiry, which has made scant
headway in months.
Iran for its part has said these
“possible military dimensions”
(PMD) are an issue it will not
budge on. “PMD is out of the
question. It cannot be discussed,”
an Iranian official said.
Another Western official said
many inside the IAEA and Western governments felt uneasy
about compromising on the issue,
but added: “I believe the PMD issue is not a deal-breaker, even
though it probably should be.”
Iran denies ever harbouring
any nuclear bomb ambitions and
its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, has issued a religious
decree against atomic weaponry.
Because of this, experts say, it
is virtually impossible for Iranian
officials to make any admission of
such activity.
Tehran may also be wary of giving its enemies a rationale to attack it out of “self-defence”.
As the powers weigh how hard
to push, some officials and experts
argue that guarantees can be secured that nuclear weapons work
has been halted without insisting
on what would be an embarrassing Iranian “confession”.
Tehran says inspectors may access suspect nuclear site
Tehran is ready to allow
nuclear inspectors access to
its Marivan military site, an
Iranian official said yesterday,
a facility long suspected
of being used to develop
explosive weapons.
The Marivan site, close to the
Iraqi border, was mentioned
in a 2011 report by the
International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s alleged
pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The UN agency suggested at
the time that “large scale high
explosive experiments” may
have been carried out at the
“We are ready to allow the
IAEA controlled access to
the Marivan site,” Behrouz
Kamalvandi, spokesman
for Iran’s Atomic Energy
Organisation, was quoted
as saying by the Irna news
He said the IAEA’s view of
Marivan was based on “false”
IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor
said the watchdog “will discuss
the offer” with Tehran.
“The situation regarding a visit
to the Marivan region is not
as simple as that conveyed by
Iran,” she told AFP.
enrich uranium would be “catastrophic” and worse than no deal
at all.
Israeli media in March carried
an apparently leaked report saying
that Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon had ordered
the military to earmark a budget
reserve of nearly $3bn for a possible offensive against Iranian nuclear facilities.
In public, Yaalon took a swipe at
Israel’s US ally.
“The United States began
negotiations with the Iranians, but unfortunately in what
became a Persian bazaar, Ira-
nians are the best,” he said.
Israel has strongly opposed the
negotiations with its arch-enemy,
and has said repeatedly that it is
prepared to go it alone if necessary
with pre-emptive military action
against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
But Ephraim Kam, of Israel’s
Institute for National Security
Studies (INSS), said there is almost no chance of Israel launching an offensive against the Islamic Republic.
“For the past year the Americans haven’t talked about the
military option,” he said. “If the
negotiations are extended, of
which there is a strong chance,
Israel cannot allow itself to go into
action alone while the Americans
continue discussions with the Iranians.”
“Israel has the capacity to delay
the Iranian nuclear programme by
several years, but not to reduce it
to nothing,” he said.
The objective of the Vienna
talks is to turn an interim accord
with Iran reached a year ago into a
lasting agreement.
Such a deal, after 12 years of
rising tensions, is aimed at easing
fears that Tehran will develop nuclear weapons under the guise of
its civilian activities—an ambition
it has denied.
Nuclear expert Ephraim Asculai, formerly a senior official at the
Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said Israel “has every interest in playing the diplomatic card
so that international sanctions on
Iran are not lifted”.
“In the event that an agreement
is reached Israel will not be able to
attack a country that has an accord with the United States.”
Analysts say Israel has the military capabilities to strike Iran if it
wants to, and is also bolstering its
missile defences.
Sanaa protest
Handcuffed activists take part in a rally in Sanaa yesterday demanding the release of prisoners arrested during the uprising that toppled
president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Yemen has been dogged by instability since the Arab Spring-inspired uprising forced Saleh from power in
2012, with Houthi rebels and Al Qaeda seeking to fill the power vacuum.
US releases Saudi held for
12 years in Guantanamo
Saudi Arabian held at the
US prison in Guantanamo
Bay for 12 years has been
sent home, the Pentagon said
yesterday, leaving 142 prisoners at the jail President Barack
Obama has pledged to close.
Mohamed al-Zahrani, regarded
as a previously active member
of Al Qaeda, is the latest of seven
prisoners freed from the controversial jail in Cuba in the past three
weeks, and his release comes just
days after authorities transferred
five inmates to Georgia and Slovakia.
The 45-year-old, once considered to present a “high risk”
to American interests, was transferred from the prison on a specially chartered flight on Friday.
Zahrani was approved for removal last month by a special
review board created by Obama
in his efforts to shut the prison, a
Pentagon statement said, adding
that Congress was duly informed
of the transfer.
As part of the deal to release
him, Zahrani will take part in a rehabilitation and counselling programme in Saudi Arabia.
The review board, composed
of representatives from six government agencies, including the
State and Defence departments,
decided on October 3 that Zahrani
no longer represented a threat to
the United States.
Ian Moss, spokesman for Cliff
Sloan, the State Department envoy who negotiates transfer deals,
praised the Saudi rulers and the
“close partnership” between
Washington and Riyadh.
“Our two governments will
continue to work together to take
appropriate steps to mitigate any
potential threats that may be
posed by Guantanamo detainees
transferred to Saudi Arabia,” Moss
Of the 142 inmates remaining,
a total of 73 have been cleared for
release—some of them during the
administration of Obama’s pred-
ecessor, George W Bush—but remain incarcerated without charges or trial.
Obama has accelerated releases
in recent weeks, including sending
home the first Yemenis since 2010.
“A total of 13 detainees have
been transferred this year,” noted
Paul Lewis, Special Envoy for
Guantanamo Detention Closure,
in yesterday’s statement.
“Our two governments will
continue to work together
to take appropriate steps
to mitigate any potential
threats that may be posed
by Guantanamo detainees
transferred to Saudi Arabia”
“This strikes a responsible balance and reflects the careful deliberation the Secretary of Defence
brings to the transfer process,
and follows a rigorous process in
the interagency to review several
items including security review
prior to any transfer,” he added.
In early November, a military
official said that about 15 detain-
ees would be transferred over the
winter. Six inmates are expected
to go to Uruguay, and another four
could be sent back to Afghanistan.
The closure of the Guantanamo
prison, set up to hold detainees
from Bush’s post-9/11 “War on
Terror”, was a prominent part of
Obama’s election campaign in
Yet attempts to realise his ambition have been thwarted by domestic and international obstacles, leaving the fate of the jail and
its prisoners in limbo.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins said
after Zahrani’s release that “we are
continually moving responsibly
towards the goal of closing Guantanamo with security as a primary
The New York-based Centre for
Constitutional Rights, which has
represented some of the Guantanamo prisoners, yesterday welcomed
the flurry of releases in recent weeks
and said Obama should transfer the
remaining men who he does not intend to charge criminally.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
IS kills
25 Iraqi
US, Turkey
seek to ease
rift on Syria
Ankara has so far refused
to allow US forces to stage
bombing raids from the
Incirlik air base in southern
S Vice President Joe Biden yesterday met Turkish
Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul in a
bid to ease strains over the Syria
crisis and persuade Turkey to
step up its support for the coalition against Islamic State (IS)
The trip to Istanbul by Biden,
the highest ranking US official to
visit Turkey since Erdogan was
elected president after over a
decade as prime minister, comes
amid unusual tensions in the
traditionally strong relationship
between the two Nato allies.
The pair did not announce any
breakthrough after some four
hours of talks at an Ottoman palace in Istanbul but Biden insisted
that the relationship between the
two sides was “as strong as ever
it has been”.
Washington is frustrated by
the relatively limited role played
by Turkey in the fight against IS
fighters who have seized swathes
of Iraq and Syria right up to the
Turkish border.
Turkey in turn is upset that its
contribution in hosting 1.6mn
refugees from the Syrian conflict
has gone relatively unrecognised
and is wary of supporting the
Kurdish fighters battling IS.
“On Syria we discussed the
full range of issues and the options available to deal with those
issues,” Biden said after the talks.
“strengthening the Syrian opposition” and seeing a “transition”
from the regime of President
Bashar al-Assad.
Biden personally stung Erdogan last month by suggesting
his policies in supporting Islamist rebel forces in Syria had
helped encourage the rise of the
IS militant group, a slight that
prompted Erdogan to warn his
relationship with the US number
two could be “history”.
But the straight-talking Biden
said that openness was a key part
of the US-Turkey relationship.
“We have always had direct
and frank discussions on every
issue, that is what friends do,” he
Erdogan also praised bilateral
relations. “We want to continue
our co-operation with the United
States by strengthening it.”
So far, Turkey’s sole contribution to the anti-IS coalition has
been allowing a contingent of
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters
to transit Turkish soil to fight IS
militants for control of the Syrian
border town of Kobane.
Ankara has also so far refused
to allow US forces to stage bombing raids from the Incirlik air base
in southern Turkey, forcing them
to make far longer sorties from
the Gulf.
Turkey has set several conditions for playing a greater role in
the coalition.
It wants a clear co-ordinated
strategy to overthrow Assad, a
major training and equipping
programme for the anti-regime
Free Syrian Army (FSA), and a
security zone, backed by a nofly area, to be set up in northern
Syria along the Turkish border.
A senior US administration official told reporters ahead of the
talks that both Turkey and the
United States were in agreement
on the need to do more to combat IS militants in both Iraq and
But the official conceded that
while Washington was aiming for
a transition in Syria that did not
include Assad, its “highest priority” was to defeat IS.
This puts United States at odds
with Turkey, which wants ousting Assad to be given the same
strategic importance as defeating IS.
But the official indicated that
one of Turkey’s key demands—
the creation of a security zone
inside Syria—could be met by the
FSA if it took control of the area.
“You can imagine a scenario
in which you have a more robust
opposition on the ground that
was more capable of clearing
and holding terrain,” the official
said, emphasising it was different from having the international
community declare a safe zone.
Biden shakes hands with Erdogan at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul yesterday.
Russia accuses US of seeking to ‘surreptitiously’ topple Assad
Russia yesterday said the US-led operation against
Islamic State militants in Syria could be a guise for
trying to “surreptitiously” topple the regime of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
The comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov came days ahead of scheduled Moscow talks
between Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Syrian
“Possibly... this is not so much an operation against
Islamic State as the preparation for an operation to
change the regime surreptitiously under the cover
of this anti-terrorist operation,” Lavrov told a forum
of politics experts in Moscow, quoted by Tass news
He accused the US of having “perverted logic” over
Assad, saying Washington blamed the Syrian leader’s
regime for the flood of militants arriving in the region.
“The Americans say that Assad’s regime is a very
important factor that brings terrorists to the region to
try to topple him. I think this is absolutely perverted
logic,” Lavrov said.
Moscow has been a staunch ally of Assad’s regime
throughout Syria’s civil war and has repeatedly
thwarted UN action against him.
Lavrov claimed that his US counterpart John Kerry
told him that Washington did not get a mandate for
the anti-IS operation from the US Security Council
because this would require “defining the status of Assad’s regime somehow”.
“Syria is a sovereign country, a member of the UN. This
is not right,” Lavrov said.
“The Americans have talked and are talking even with
the Taliban. When it needs to be, the United States is
very pragmatic. So why is the approach to Syria still
ideologised to the hilt?”
The Russian foreign ministry said that Lavrov and
Kerry held telephone talks on Friday in which they
discussed the need for “renewing as soon as possible... the search for political and diplomatic ways to
overcome the Syrian crisis and unite the efforts of the
global community to fight terrorism on a stable basis
of international law”.
A Syrian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Walid
Muallem is to meet Putin in Moscow on Wednesday
to discuss a possible relaunch of peace talks with the
slamic State militants have
killed 25 members of a Sunni
Muslim tribe during their assault on a provincial capital west
of Baghdad, local officials said
yesterday, in apparent revenge
for tribal opposition to the radical Islamists.
They said the bodies of the
men from the Albu Fahd tribe
were discovered after the army
launched a counter-offensive
yesterday against IS in a village
on the eastern edge of Ramadi,
capital of Anbar province.
“While they were combing the
territories they are liberating,
security forces found 25 corpses
in the Shujariya area,” Hathal alFahdawi, a member of the Anbar
Provincial Council, said.
Albu Fahd tribal leader Sheikh
Rafie al-Fahdawi said at least 25
bodies had been found and said
he expected the total to be significantly higher. He said the bodies were found scattered around
with no signs of weapons next to
them, suggesting they were not
killed during fighting.
The killings echoed the execution of hundreds of members of
the Albu Nimr tribe last month
by IS fighters trying to break local resistance to their advances
in Anbar, a Sunni Muslim province they have largely controlled
for nearly a year.
IS, which has seized control of large parts of Syria and
Iraq, continues to gain territory
in Anbar despite three months
of US-led air strikes launched
against the group.
On Friday it launched coordinated attacks in central and
outlying areas of Ramadi in an
attempt to take full control over
a city which is already mostly in
its hands.
Lebanese form giant ‘U’ for unity in crisis
early 2,000 Lebanese gathered
in Beirut yesterday to form a
giant letter “U”—standing for
unity—as the country struggles to contain the fallout from neighbour Syria’s
civil war.
Lebanon is deeply affected by the
conflict in Syria, which has killed close
to 200,000 people since its outbreak in
March 2011.
Organised by the Beirut Celebration
non-governmental organisation, the
event marked Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day anniversary.
Due to a political crisis that has left
the country without a president and
which has delayed parliamentary elections, no formal celebrations were held
Participants form the letter ‘U’ during the event in Beirut yesterday.
yesterday to mark Lebanon’s independence from France.
The cancellation of an annual
commemorative military parade was
the first since the end of Lebanon’s
1975-1990 civil war.
Organisers said the 1,860 participants
in yesterday’s stunt were mainly children
and teenagers, and claimed to set a new
world record for the largest human letter.
Israeli demolitions Tunisia vote offers
called a war crime region hope: PM
uman Rights Watch
called on Israel yesterday to stop razing
the homes of Palestinians
accused of attacking Israelis,
saying the practice can constitute a war crime.
“Israel should impose an
immediate moratorium on
its policy of demolishing the
family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying
out attacks on Israelis,” the
New York-based group said,
as the fate of three houses
slated for demolition awaits
a court ruling.
“The policy, which Israeli
officials claim is a deterrent,
deliberately and unlawfully
punishes people not accused
of any wrongdoing. When
carried out in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, it amounts to collective
punishment, a war crime.”
The East Jerusalem families
of Muataz Hijazi, and of cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu
Jamal, killed by police after
two separate attacks in West
Jerusalem, have been served
demolition orders on their
homes but have appealed.
Their lawyer, Mohamed
Mahmud, said in a statement
that an Israeli military court
would hear their petition this
Hijazi was accused of
shooting and critically
wounding a far-right Jewish
activist on October 29. Police
shot him dead during a raid
on his home in Abu Tor the
following morning.
The Abu Jamals, from
Jabal Mukaber, were shot
dead on Tuesday after they
attacked a synagogue with
meat cleavers and a pistol,
killing four rabbis at prayer
and a policeman who responded.
On Wednesday, Israeli
forces razed the East Jerusalem home of a Palestinian
who killed two Israelis with
his car last month.
That was the first punitive demolition in Jerusalem
since 2009. It came after
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a
harsh response to the synagogue attack, Jerusalem’s
bloodiest in years.
Home demolitions have
long been used as a deterrent
punishment in the occupied
West Bank, but this is the first
time they have been adopted
as a matter of policy in annexed Arab East Jerusalem.
unisia’s first presidential election since
the 2011 revolution is
a ray of hope for Arab Spring
countries, Prime Minister
Mehdi Jomaa said yesterday,
on the eve of the historic
Today’s first multi-candidate presidential election
is seen as the final stage of
a post-revolt transition in
the birthplace of the Arab
Spring, with more than 20
candidates vying for the
The election represents
“hope, a big hope for the region”, Mehdi told AFP during a last-minute inspection
of polling stations in the
region of Beja, west of the
capital Tunis.
“We were the first to enter into this cycle of change
which they have called the
Arab Spring. We will be the
first (to make the transition)
but others will follow,” he
Tunisia has won international plaudits for
largely steering clear of the
violence, repression and
lawlessness of other Arab
Spring countries such as
The presidential election,
which follows October 26
parliamentary polls, is seen as
the culmination of an arduous transition during which
the outgoing legislature
adopted a new constitution.
Despite serious challenges, including the 2013 assassination of two opposition
politicians by suspected
Islamist militants and economic setbacks, Tunisia’s
interim rulers managed to
keep the country together.
More than 5mn Tunisians
are eligible to vote in today’s
are Beji Caid Essebsi, the
87-year-old former leader
of the anti-Islamist party
Nidaa Tounes which won
the October parliamentary
polls, and outgoing president Moncef Marzouki.
A second round is to be
contested at the end of December if the winner fails to
secure an absolute majority.
Until the revolution, the
country had known only
two heads of state: Habib
Bourguiba, the “father of
independence” from France
in 1956, and Zine al-Abidine
Ben Ali.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
calls South
report on
its 2002
senior Zimbabwean minister has slammed a report by two South African judges that said Zimbabwe’s
2002 elections, won by longtime President Robert Mugabe,
were not free and fair.
At the time of the vote, then
South African president Thabo
Mbeki glossed over observer reports of irregularities, including
violence and intimidation, to
declare it reflected the legitimate
will of the Zimbabwean people.
But two judges commissioned
by Mbeki – Sisi Khampepe and
Dikgang Moseneke – compiled a
separate assessment which was
only released this week, after a
South African newspaper won a
12-year legal battle to have it declassified.
The so-called “Khampepe report” was scathing.
“Having regard to all the circumstances, and in particular the cumulative substantial
departures from international
standards of free and fair elections found in Zimbabwe during
the pre-election period, these
elections, in our view, cannot be
considered to be free and fair,” it
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa – justice
minister at the time of the vote
– said on Friday that the Khampepe report was the product of a
racist South African justice system opposed to the seizures of
white-owned farms taking place
at the time.
“It’s rubbish. I’m telling you
it’s rubbish,” Chinamasa told
Reuters on the sidelines of an
investment conference. “It’s
not the South African government. It’s an individual judge
who is biased against us because
of the land reform programme.
You know, we’ve had a lot of bad
judgments by the South African courts, especially the white
Both Khampepe and Moseneke – now deputy chief justice – are black.
Mbeki has not commented on
the release of the Khampepe report.
Zimbabwe’s main opposition,
the Movement for Democratic
Change, has accused Mugabe,
90, of rigging elections and intimidating voters since 2000
– charges his ZANU-PF party
After re-election last year,
Mugabe’s term of office runs until 2018 and he can run again.
ZANU-PF’s leadership is currently embroiled in a battle to
succeed Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since
independence from Britain in
1980, but Chinamasa denied it
was of pressing domestic or international concern.
“He was voted in last year for a
five-year term, so why is the issue arising?” he said.
The report found that the 2002
election won by Mugabe was
not free and fair.
Shebaab murder 28 on
Kenya bus near border
Garissa, Kenya
omalia’s Shebaab Islamists
seized a bus in Kenya yesterday, executing 28 nonMuslim passengers in what they
said was revenge for police raids
on mosques in the troubled port
of Mombasa.
“I can confirm ... that 28 innocent travellers were brutally
executed by the Shebaab,” regional police chief Noah Mwavinda told AFP.
The bus, which was headed
for the capital Nairobi, was ambushed shortly after departing
from Mandera, a town lying on
the border with Somalia in Kenya’s northeasternmost corner.
Passengers on board, numbering about 60, were ordered
off and the travellers separated
by the gunmen into Muslims and
The militants then had the
non-Muslims reboard the bus
and tried to drive off with them,
but the vehicle got stuck.
“So they executed their prisoners” before escaping back into
Somalia, Mwavinda said.
Kenya’s Red Cross confirmed
the death toll in a tweet after its
team arrived at the scene.
A Shebaab spokesman said
the deadly attack was in revenge
for raids early this week on four
Mombasa mosques that added
to the simmering tensions in the
“The Mujahedeen successfully carried out an operation
near Mandera early this morning, which resulted in the perishing of 28 crusaders, as a revenge for the crimes committed
by the Kenyan crusaders against
our Muslim brethren in Mombasa,” Ali Mohamud Rage said in
a statement sent to AFP.
Police this week closed the
four mosques in Mombasa, a
largely Muslim city unlike much
of Kenya where Christians make
up 80% of the population, on
the grounds they had come under the influence of hardliners.
Both Britain and the United
States condemned the attack,
pledging to help Kenya combat
such actions.
“The United States stands
with Kenya in the effort to defeat
terrorism,” said US Ambassador
to Kenya Robert F Godec.
In London, Hugo Swire, minister of state for the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, said
“the UK stands by the Kenyan
government in its fight against
A 25-year-old passenger on
the bus, who asked to be identified only as Ibrahim, told AFP
that the vehicle came under
fire several times after leaving
Mandera, leaving one passenger
The driver tried to escape but
was finally forced to stop by the
group of around 70 assailants,
he said.
“After the bus came to an
abrupt halt due to the showering bullets ... all the passengers
were put into two groups, one
for those they thought were
Muslim, and those they thought
were not,” he said.
The attackers, who identified
themselves as members of the
Shebaab, read verses from the
Qur’an to the Muslims, urging
them to combat the Kenyan authorities.
Ibrahim said they were then
ordered to walk to a nearby village.
He said he witnessed the execution of two non-Muslim
passengers, who were shot in the
Ibrahim quoted one of the
attackers as saying: “We must
fight those persecuting Muslims
and closing our places of worship like rats found in a granary.”
Kenya has suffered a series of
attacks since invading Somalia
in 2011 to attack the Shebaab,
later joining an African Union
The site of the murders outside Mandera town. The victims are
partially seen on the lower left.
Right: The Nairobi-bound bus that was ambushed outside Mandera
town, near Kenya’s border with Somalia and Ethiopia, yesterday.
(AU) force battling the Islamists.
Mandera County Assembly
member Abdullahi Abdirahman said that local leaders “have
pleaded with the government to
provide security, but they have
turned deaf ears”.
“Today we are experiencing
avoidable massacre,” he said.
The Shebaab carried out the
September 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall,
killing at least 67 people, as
a warning to Kenya to pull its
troops out of southern Somalia.
During the Westgate attack,
some of the victims were killed
after the gunmen weeded out
non-Muslims for execution by
demanding they recite the Shahada, the Muslim profession of
The Shebaab has lost a series
of key towns and ports to the AU
force and Somalian government
army, heralded as advances that
would stem the militants’ multimillion dollar business trading
charcoal to Gulf countries.
But in a recent report, UN investigators warned that the air
and drone strikes on the militia
have done little to damage it in
the long term and that the insurgents continue to pose a serious
regional threat.
Indeed, pressure on the fighters has forced them to “become
more operationally audacious by
placing greater emphasis on exporting its violence beyond the
Fears of army influence as interim
Burkina prime minister picks team
urkina Faso army strongman and new Prime Minister Isaac Zida was set
yesterday to name his ministerial team, amid fears of continued military dominance despite
a phased return to democratic
Lieutenant-Colonel Zida, in
charge of Burkina Faso since
the ouster of veteran leader
Blaise Compaore three weeks
ago, formally handed power
to interim civilian President
Michel Kafando in a ceremony
attended by six African heads
of state on Friday.
Zida has been named prime
minister in Burkina’s interim
government, a move that will
ensure the military retains a
large say in running the country
under Kafando, a 72-year-old
former foreign minister and career diplomat.
Zida is now expected to
name army officials to the key
positions of defence, finance
and social affairs in his new
25-member government, a diplomat said.
Decisions on the make-up of
Kafando (centre) with Zida (second left) after the former’s
inauguration ceremony in Ouagadougou on Friday.
the cabinet had entered their
final “fine tuning”, an officer
close to Zida said, adding that
the results were expected to be
announced later in the day.
Some civil society representatives have voiced concern over Zida’s appointment,
while some residents of Ouagadougou called it a betrayal of
their “revolution”.
He will lead a 90-seat parliament, known as the National
Transitional Council, during a
year-long interim administration.
Both Kafando and Zida are
barred from standing in elections scheduled to be held in
November next year under the
transition deal.
But a diplomat, asking not to
be named, said: “Make no mistake, it’s (Zida) who will lead
the country.”
Kafando vowed to punish
those responsible for excesses
during the 27-year-long rule of
Compaore, who was very close
to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles
Taylor, currently jailed for war
“We will settle accounts with
all those who have abused justice and who think they can siphon off public funds,” Kafando
said. “The message of the people is clear and we have heard
it. No more injustice, no more
chaos, no more corruption.”
Six African heads of state
were present for the handover.
A seventh, Togo’s President
Faure Gnassingbe, was replaced
at the last moment by his prime
minister, as thousands of protesters – apparently inspired by
the Burkina uprising – tried to
march on his country’s parliament.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama called it “a great
day that marks the end of a period of political uncertainty”.
Zida, 49, was appointed premier by Kafando on Wednesday, a day after the former UN
ambassador was sworn in as
interim leader.
Chosen following negotiations between political parties,
the army and civil society, Kafando has emphasised his “humility” as a figure entrusted
with “power that belongs to the
His ousted predecessor,
meanwhile, flew into Morocco
on Friday on a visit from Ivory
Coast where he fled after his
long rule was ended on October
31 by a popular uprising against
a constitutional change that
could have enabled him to stay
in power.
Kafando has pledged he will
not let his landlocked nation of
17mn people become a “banana
republic”, but observers have
pointed to the powerful role the
military is set to retain.
Then second-in-command
of the presidential guard, Zida
was installed by the military in
the immediate aftermath of the
uprising against Compaore.
Under intense international
pressure and the threat of sanctions if the military retained the
post of head of state, an agreement was thrashed out to work
towards elections in November
Burkina Faso notably exports
cotton and gold, but almost
half the population lives on less
than a dollar a day and many are
subsistence farmers.
Every change of regime in the
country has been triggered by a
coup since independence from
France in 1960.
borders of Somalia” and across
the Horn of Africa, said an October report by the United Nations
Monitoring Group on Somalia
and Eritrea.
Mali records
new Ebola case
Mali has recorded a new case of
Ebola in the capital Bamako after
the friend of a nurse who died of
the haemorrhagic fever earlier
this month tested positive for
the disease, health and medical
officials said yesterday.
The nurse contracted the disease
after treating an imam from
neighbouring Guinea, who died
after being incorrectly diagnosed
with kidney problems.
This allowed Ebola to spread to
five other people in the West
African nation’s second outbreak.
“Of two suspected cases tested,
one was negative and the other
positive. The latter was placed in
an isolation centre for intensive
treatment,” a statement from the
health ministry said, adding that
another 310 contact cases were
being monitored.
East Africa force
Ten East African nations launched
yesterday a joint military force
aimed at securing the region and
supporting African Union (AU)
The African Standby Force, made
up of 5,200 troops, was launched
in the town of Adama in central
Ethiopia after almost 10 years of
planning and preparation.
The troops were contributed
by Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda,
Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and
Nigerian opposition warns against speaker’s arrest
A file photo taken on April 15 Tambuwal (centre) and Nigerian Health
Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu visiting a victim of a bomb blast at a
government-run hospital in Abuja.
igeria’s main opposition party have warned
against a plan to arrest
parliamentary speaker Aminu
Tambuwal, who quit the ruling
party last month, as tensions rise
ahead of February elections.
“The federal government will
be pouring petrol on a naked fired
by arresting the speaker,” the All
Progressives Congress (APC) said
in a statement.
The APC accused President
Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling
People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
of “the ceaseless hounding” of
Tambuwal, calling it “patently
It said the police had fired teargas to prevent Tambuwal from
entering parliament on Thursday while his deputy was allowed
inside so as to remove him as
But Tambuwal and his supporters thwarted them by scaling
the gate, the party said.
“But for the quick thinking
and action by the honourable
members who scaled the gate to
access the assembly, that plan
would have succeeded and Tam-
buwal would have been removed
as speaker, the consequences of
which no one would have been
able to foretell,” the APC added.
Yesterday the police denied
any plans to arrest the speaker.
“It is not true. Nobody has ordered the arrest of the speaker.
The police is not contemplating
such a thing. There is nothing like
that,” national police spokesman
Emmanuel Ojukwu told AFP.
Tensions are rising in the runup to the February elections in
Africa’s most populous country,
which has a history of electoral
violence and irregularities.
The International Crisis Group
(ICG) warned on Friday that the
vote might be “volatile and vicious” and advised that “an increasingly violent” political climate must be checked to avoid
widespread unrest.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Solitary confinement prisoner has conviction quashed
Guardian News & Media
New York
hen Albert Woodfox,
the longest-standing
solitary confinement
prisoner in the US who has been
in isolation almost without
pause for more than 42 years,
was told on Thursday his conviction had been overturned, he
had difficulty reading the court
ruling. Prison guards refused to
unshackle him, to free his hands.
“The guards wouldn’t release
even one shackle from his hand
so that he could turn the pages.
I had to turn them for him,” said
his lawyer, Carine Williams.
The 37-page ruling from
the US court of appeals for the
fifth circuit gives Woodfox, 67,
the only member of the “Angola Three” still imprisoned,
his greatest hope yet of release.
He has been held in a 6x8ft cell,
enduring the psychological im-
pact of isolation exacerbated by
chronic claustrophobia, for all
but three years since he was put
in “closed cell restriction” in
Woodfox was convicted of
the murder that year of a guard
in Angola prison, in Louisiana,
where he was serving time for
armed robbery. He has always
protested his innocence, insisting that he and his Angola Three
fellows were victims of a political vendetta because of their
then membership in the Black
Panther party.
The fifth circuit judges upheld a lower court’s opinion
that Woodfox’s conviction was
secured through racially discriminatory means. In 1993 he
was reindicted for the murder of
prison guard Brent Miller - after
an earlier court ruling had overturned the sentence - by a grand
jury led by a white foreperson.
The court found unanimously
that the selection of the foreper-
son formed part of a discriminatory pattern in that part of
Louisiana. Concluding that it
amounted to a violation of the US
constitution, the judges struck
down Woodfox’s conviction.
Williams, an attorney with
the New York firm Squire Sanders, said Woodfox was numb
when she told him his conviction had been overturned. “He
was shocked. He’s been so close
before, only to have it taken away
from him.”
The prisoner said he wished
he could have shared the news
with Herman Wallace, another
member of the Angola Three.
Wallace was released in October
2013, when in the terminal stages
of liver cancer and at the end of
a bitter struggle with the Louisiana authorities. He died two
days later.
In the course of almost 43
years in solitary confinement,
Woodfox has only had one period, of about three years, among
row kicks off
early 2016
poll campaign
hen President Barack
Obama unveiled his
immigration plan and
Republican rivals howled their
disapproval, the drama signalled
not just a clash of political positions: it kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign.
Several likely Republican
White House contenders - and a
very prominent Democrat, Hillary Clinton - provided some of
the most visible early reactions
to the president’s controversial
executive order.
Their statements helped draw
the battle lines of Washington’s
immigration warfare that is sure
to extend all the way to the next
national election, when Republicans will be seeking to end
their eight-year White House
And how both parties handle
the deeply divisive issue may ultimately help decide who their next
presidential nominees will be.
Obama’s Democrats appear
eager to lock in the Hispanic vote
“I support the president’s decision to begin fixing our broken
immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families,”
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic
frontrunner, said in a statement
that earned attention in part for
the swiftness of its release after
Obama’s announcement.
Clinton often declines to weigh
in quickly on sensitive issues,
keeping her options open ahead
of a likely declaration of her candidacy some time next year.
There was no hesitation on
immigration, as she justified her
support of the plan by calling
congressional inaction an “abdication of responsibility” on the
part of House Republicans.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a
potential presidential challenger
from the left, also said action
was needed due to House Republicans failing to act after the
Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill last year.
“If House Republicans won’t
do their jobs, it’s time for the
president to do his,” she said.
Republicans claim they want
to return the presidency to its
constitutional principles and
leave the legislating to Congress,
a paramount guidepost for conservatives who feel Obama has
abused his executive authority.
“President Obama is not
above the law and has no right to
issue executive amnesty,” Senator Rand Paul, a Tea Party favourite for 2016, said of Obama’s
plan to temporarily shield millions of undocumented migrants
from deportation.
“I will not sit idly by and let
the president bypass Congress
and our Constitution.”
Paul is likely in a tricky spot.
For months, he has positioned
himself as his party’s compassionate supporter of minority
But opposing Obama’s plan
could put Paul at odds with an
increasingly influential Hispanic
voting bloc, some 71% of whom
voted for Obama in 2012.
And yet in order to win the
nomination, Republican presidential contenders will need to
prevail in primary races where
core party values are front and
Conservatives, who largely
oppose immigration reform, are
often the all-important voters in
Republican primaries.
The White House is well aware
that an all-out sabotage of immigration reform by Republicans would not sit well with the
broader American electorate.
“Reality check: No one who
promises to reverse this executive order will be elected president in 2016,” David Axelrod, a
former senior advisor to Obama,
posted in a Republican-goading
Democrats may well have
fast-tracked Obama’s deportation deferment in order to force
Republicans into an internal
war, pitting House Speaker John
Boehner against his caucus’s rebellious conservative faction.
Boehner is aware that a conservative plan to insert antiimmigration
must-pass spending bills could
provoke a government shutdown, a potential disaster for
Republicans just as the party
takes control of both chambers
of Congress next January following victory in midterm elections.
Squeezed in the middle are
two Floridians: presidential
brother Jeb Bush, a former state
governor who has emerged as
a leader of substance for the
Republican Party, and Senator
Marco Rubio, a Republican author of the Senate comprehensive immigration bill loathed by
many conservatives.
Both are believed to be mulling
White House runs.
Bush called Obama’s unilateral action “ill-advised,” but also
said in a statement that “action
must come in the form of bipartisan comprehensive reform
passed through Congress.”
“We must demonstrate to
Americans we are the party that
will tackle serious challenges
and build broad-based consensus.”
the general prison population.
The rest of the time he has been
alone, spending 23 hours a day
in his cell and one hour, also in
isolation, in a concrete exercise
The ordeal of prolonged solitary confinement, which has
been likened by international
bodies to a form of torture,
is amplified in his case by his
claustrophobia. Legal documents give clues to the intensity
of his torment.
Schools in
child abuse
Los Angeles
Undocumented DREAMer Astrid Silva hugs President Barack Obama after introducing him before the
president’s remarks on his use of executive authority to relax US immigration policy during a speech
at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Plan to reach ‘far fewer’
than 4.7mn immigrants
S President Barack
Obama’s executive action easing the threat
of deportation for 4.7mn
undocumented immigrants
is unlikely to cover many of
those eligible because of practical hurdles, immigration
lawyers said.
High application costs,
requirements and lengthy
waiting periods for approval
sharply reduced participation in a 2012 executive action
aimed at undocumented immigrants brought to the US by
their parents as children, and
the process is expected to be
even more arduous this time
around, the lawyers said.
Only 44% of the 1.2mn eligible immigrants under the
2012 order had been approved
after two years, according to
the Migration Policy Institute. And 55% of those eligible
never completed the application process, according to the
Washingtonbased think tank.
A $465 filing fee, waiting
lists of more than a year and
applications requiring biometric screenings and proof
of US residency dating to
2007 contributed to the low
application rates then, advocates said.
Similar requirements are
expected under the new order,
and it could be worse this time
around as the larger pool of
eligible participants is likely
to create bigger backlogs and
deter a higher percentage of
“We’re concerned that with
all the different kinds of challenges, the number of people
who are eligible won’t step
forward,” said Greg Chen,
director of advocacy at the
American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Obama’s order, like all executive actions, does not provide additional funding that
could pay for hiring more staff
to process the applications,
potentially prolonging the
wait times.
Though application fees
help fund the programme, it is
difficult to staff up in preparation, said a person who helped
the agency get ready for the
2012 programme.
he Los Angeles school
district has agreed to pay
nearly $140mn to families
of students subjected to sexual
abuse by an elementary school
teacher who infamously took
bondage-style photos of some
pupils, school officials said on
The district and attorneys
for the families settled all remaining litigation in the case
involving the teacher as jury
selection was underway for
a trial in some of the cases.
School officials had previously
paid $30mn to settle dozens of
related lawsuits.
“Throughout this case, we
have shared in the pain felt by
these children, their families and
the community,” Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a
Mark Berndt, the 63-yearold teacher at the centre of the
litigation, pleaded no contest a
year ago to 23 counts of lewd acts
upon a child and was sentenced
to 25 years in prison.
The revelations of the abuse
by the third-grade teacher
at Miramonte Elementary
School in a working-class area
of Los Angeles touched off
protests by infuriated parents
shortly after his arrest in January 2012.
The abuse came to light
when a photo technician at a
drugstore who processed film
Berndt had dropped off became
suspicious of pictures with
blindfolded children and notified police.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs
said school administrators received previous indications of
misconduct by Berndt, years before his arrest.
The latest settlements of
nearly $140mn and the previous
agreements for $30mn that the
district reached in civil litigation over Berndt’s actions involve a total of about 150 children who were pupils of Berndt
from 2005 onward, a spokesman for the district said.
The children alleged Berndt
fed them cookies laced with semen, attorneys for the district
said in a conference call.
SUVs rule the road at Los Angeles Auto Show
Los Angeles
ith US gas prices at
historic lows and
ever-more economical engines, sport utility vehicles (SUV) increasingly rule the
road - and not only in the United
At least that’s the message
from the Los Angeles Auto Show,
which opened to the public on
“Customers feel the idea of
freedom,” said Jim Farley, vicepresident of global sales at Ford,
presenting the US carmaker’s
new Explorer at the LA show,
which runs until November 30.
“We have reached a tipping
point,” where SUVs are more
popular than sedans and have
entered the mainstream, Farley
- whose company is the biggest
SUV maker in America -told AFP.
Nearly one vehicle in five sold
globally is an SUV, while in the
United States the figure is one in
The car category has come
a long way since its early days,
when SUVs were huge things
mounted on a truck chassis,
guzzling gas and equipped with
four-wheel drive for rough terrains.
In 2008, when gas prices were
at their peak, the market appeared permanently stalled.
But these days SUVs - or
crossovers - are rarely seen off
road and are frequently built on
a car chassis.
There is a whole range of formats, from the biggest including
the Ford Escalade, Toyota Sequoia or Jeep Grand Cherokee to
the most compact like the Mazda
CX-3, the Honda CRV 2016 and
the Volvo 2015 XC90, all unveiled in LA.
US car sales rose by six percent
year-on-year in October, led by
SUVs: specialist brand Jeep (part
of the Fiat Chrysler group) is up
52%, but the trend extends to
others, including Honda, Toyota
and General Motors.
Bill Fay, vice-president of
Toyota in the United States,
said October sales were the best
monthly results in 10 years,
fueled by a strong demand for
Mid-sized 4x4s are the biggest segment of the US car
market, and there is a growing
demand for compact SUVs, said
Jack Nerad, an analyst for the
Kelley Blue Book, which surveys
US auto prices.
The spacious vehicles are also
wooing motorists with their
practicality: high driver seat for
good visibility, comfortable and
big enough even for larger families with hefty luggage.
In some countries, such as
China where SUVs are also in
high demand, they are a symbol
of success.
“In China it is less about utility, more about status. Bigger is
better,” Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with car website Edmunds.
com told AFP.
But besides seducing families
and ordinary motorists, SUV
makers also want to reach the
so-called 0.1%. Porsche has led
the charge for that wealthy seg-
ment with its highly successful
The German automakers’ toptier rivals are also trying to muscle in on the action, such as Jaguar which unveiled a prototype
crossover, the CX17, a year ago.
“The reception was phenomenal,” Jaguar North American
product manager Tim Philippo
told AFP.
The high-end brand has benefited from the experience of
its British sister company Land
Rover, which has long specialised in luxury 4x4 vehicles. Maserati and Bentley are also developing their own versions.
Bentley’s website depicts its
new vehicle heading off into
desert dunes, saying: “The new
Bentley SUV is changing how
people think about all-terrain
“In the eyes of Bentley, the
SUV is not just supremely capable in any environment, it is also
supremely comfortable - and
with new vistas on the world,
you will see through new eyes,”
it says.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport “versatile premium compact SUV” being unveiled at the Los Angeles
Auto Show media preview days. Designed to be the first in a series of Discovery vehicles, the Sport seats
seven and is outfitted with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, connected to all-wheel
drive by a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Americans urged to stop wasting food so much
n the run-up to Thanksgiving, a holiday to celebrate
bountiful harvests, Americans are being urged to stop
wasting food so much.
Some 34mn lb (15.4mn kg) of
food is thrown away in the US every year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday.
source of methane, which the
EPA on its website says has “21
times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.”
“There are actions that individuals and businesses can take
to protect the environment,” EPA
assistant administrator Mathy
Stanislaus told reporters.
The typical American family of
four, he said, could save $1,600
a year by reducing their food
That represents 21% of all
food produced, harvested and
purchased - food that is worth
an estimated $1.3bn, at a time
when one in six Americans face
The EPA launched a social media campaign last week to draw
attention to the link between
food waste and greenhouse gases
produced when unwanted food
ends up in landfills.
Such waste is a significant
On Friday the federal government agency teamed up with
prominent Washington area chef
and restauranteur Cathal Armstrong, who demonstrated how
ingredients that a homemaker
might throw away can be put to
good use.
“The trashcan is the last, last,
last resort,” said the Irish-born
chef as he whipped up a lobster
bisque in a kitchen adjoining an
ongoing exhibition about food
Buffalo digging out of snow
around the world at the National
Geographic museum.
While 40% of food waste
comes from households, 60%
originates from businesses and
institutions, such as restaurants, food retailers and hospitals.
Armstrong, who oversees
four successful restaurants and
published a cook book earlier
this year on Irish food, said an
eatery that wastes food is al-
A man clears his roof of snow in Buffalo, New York, on Friday. Warm temperatures and rain were forecast for the weekend in the
city of Buffalo and western New York, bringing the threat of widespread flooding to the region bound for days by deep snow. Areas
where several feet of snow fell last week should brace for significant, widespread flooding, the National Weather Service warned.
Cosby show goes ahead
amid sex assault claims
ill Cosby played a soldout comedy show on Friday in Florida, despite a
wave of sexual assault allegations last week that prompted
the cancellation of several upcoming shows and two major
studios to halt projects involving the comedian.
Cosby, 77, took the stage to a
standing ovation and gave the
audience a thumbs up at the
King Center in Melbourne. The
90-minute show concluded
without incident.
Police patrolled the venue
ahead of the show, while a handful of protesters joined some attendees outside the center.
“I don’t want it reported that
nobody cared, said Julie LeMaitre, 47, who carried a sign that
said, “Rape is no joke.”
Although the show was sold
out, there were patches of empty seats, including eight in the
centre of the orchestra section.
The show went ahead despite
the cancellation of Cosby’s Las
Vegas performance next week
and four other shows in Arizona, Illinois, South Carolina
and Washington state next year.
With NBC and Netflix also dropping projects with the comedian
last week, the allegations have
threatened Cosby’s wholesome
public image and future viability
in show business.
Still, many ticketholders said
they had no qualms about attending the comedian’s performance.
“It’s his personal life, and
I don’t really care,” said Melbourne resident Russ McDonald, 62, a retired teacher.
Cosby has more than 30 performances, including a Nov. 29
show in Yakima, Washington,
scheduled through May. He
performed without incident on
US actor Bill Cosby
Thursday in the Bahamas.
He has refused to address
questions about the allegations as
more women have come forward,
saying he forced himself on them
sexually, with some accusing him
of drugging them first.
The comedian has never been
charged and his lawyers have
said the assault claims were discredited and defamatory.
“The new, never-beforeheard claims from women who
have come forward in the past
two weeks with unsubstantiated,
fantastical stories about things
they say occurred 30, 40, or even
50 years ago have escalated far
past the point of absurdity,” Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, said
in a statement on Friday.
The allegations against Cosby have jolted generations of
Americans who knew him as an
actor who broke race barriers on
TV over the last 50 years, most
notably as the admired father
Dr. Cliff Huxtable on NBC comedy The Cosby Show.
Last week, Therese Serignese,
a Florida woman, said Cosby assaulted her in 1976. Model Janice
Dickinson, the most high-profile
accuser, also told the Entertainment Tonight TV programme
that she believes Cosby sexually
assaulted her in 1982.
NY taxi drivers’ group calls for
Uber to have licence suspended
Guardian News & Media
New York
ne of New York’s largest
taxi driver groups has
called for rival Uber to
have its licence suspended after
reports that it has been abusing
access to data about its passengers’ rides.
The move, the latest in a bitter
feud between the tech firm and
traditional cabs, follows a Buzzfeed report that New York general
manager Josh Mohrer had used
the company’s “God’s View”
technology to track the movements of one of its reporters.
Uber’s God’s View tool allows
Uber employees to track people’s use of the service, showing
when and where they travelled.
The company is now investigating Mohrer and has said such
access goes against its privacy
In a letter to Taxi & Limousine
Commission (TLC) chairwoman
Meera Joshi, Tweeps Phillips,
executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, wrote
she was “horrified but not surprised” by the news.
“We are calling upon the TLC
to immediately begin an official
investigation into Uber’s usage
of passenger data and the “God
View” technology. We also ask
that their licence be suspended
until the riding public can be assured that their privacy and data
are safe,” she wrote.
The move follows a report
that Mohrer told Buzzfeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan he had
been tracking her Uber vehicle
as she made her way to his office
for an interview. Mohrer also
e-mailed Bhuiyan logs of her
Uber rides to answer questions
she brought up in the interview.
Mohrer did not ask for Bhuiyan’s permission before access-
ple come to me knowing how to
make stock, but they don’t know
why we make stock,” he said,
adding by way of advice: “Never
be without stock.”
The National Geographic Society is currently looking at food
from all fronts, from its “Food:
Our Global Kitchen” exhibition
and “Eat: The Story of Food” TV
series to the December issue of
its iconic yellow-bordered magazine.
Tensions up
in Ferguson
ahead of
Brown ruling
A St. Louis County grand jury
is weighing evidence on the
disputed circumstances of the
killing of a black teenager by
a white police officer
Melbourne, Florida/Los Angeles
most sure to go under.
He lamented the failure of culinary schools to teach aspiring
chefs the economics of using
every ingredient to the maximum
extent possible.
“For the most part, chefs
have to learn (how not to waste
food) themselves,” he said, as he
stripped a lobster and put the
typically undesired bits into a
simmering pot.
“It’s shocking how many peo-
ing that information, BuzzFeed
That revelation followed a
report from BuzzFeed editor
Ben Smith reported that one
of Uber’s top executives had
suggested hiring a team of investigators to dig into the personal lives of journalists who
criticised the company.
Chief operating officer Emil
Michael singled out Sarah Lacy,
the founder of tech site PandoDaily, who has written a series
of critical articles about the
company. He said the investigators could prove “a particular
and very specific claim about
her personal life”.
Uber chief executive Travis
Kalanick and Michael have both
apologised for the remarks .
Michael remains with the company.
San Francisco window washer falls 11 storeys
A window washer was critically
injured when he fell 11 storeys
in San Francisco’s downtown
Financial District on Friday,
landing on a moving car.
Local media reported the
man was setting up window
washing equipment on the
side of a building when he
fell. Eyewitnesses said he was
covered in blood, and still
wearing his window washer’s
harness atop the green Toyota
Camry that broke his fall.
San Francisco police lieutenant
Ed De Carlo told KTVU the
man was critically injured, but
alive when police arrived on
the scene. The driver of the car
was “shaken” but apparently
uninjured, according to the
Ferguson, Missouri
ensions were high yesterday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, with a
US grand jury poised to decide
whether to prosecute a white police officer for killing an unarmed
black teenager.
US President Barack Obama
has called for calm, Missouri’s
governor declared a state of
emergency and activated the
state National Guard, and the FBI
has deployed an extra 100 personnel to the area.
Police helicopters trained
search lights over Ferguson late
Friday as a small gaggle of protesters braved the cold to demand
that officer Darren Wilson stand
trial for shooting 18-year-old
Michael Brown dead on August 9.
Brown’s killing triggered two
weeks of violence that inflamed
racial tensions in the St. Louis
suburb of 21,000, which has an
African American majority and
an overwhelmingly white police
force and town government.
“I’m here for justice. If we
don’t get justice, aint nobody gonna get no peace,” said
22-year-old Ebony, who works
in security and refused to give a
second name.
“We’re going to keep protesting until we know what’s right
gets done,” she told AFP. “I want
to see Darren Wilson go to jail.”
Brown, a high-school graduate
planning on attending technical college, was shot at least six
times by Wilson. His body was
left in the street for hours.
Wilson reportedly told the
grand jury he acted in self-defence after tussling with the
youth. Others say Brown had
his hands in the air when he was
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
says police commanders have
spent much of the last three
months since the fatal shooting
holding talks with community
and protest leaders to prepare for
the fallout of the grand jury decision, which is expected any time.
“If protesters are not violent,
police will not be aggressive. But
if some protesters turn violent or
threatening, police will respond
to keep everyone safe,” he said.
Depending on circumstances,
authorities may allow demonstrators to occupy public spaces
longer than normally allowed, he
A father of two protesting
overnight with his face hidden
behind a Halloween mask said
tensions were rising in Ferguson.
“I think there’s going to be
some angry people, that’s all I
know,” said the man, who refused
to give his name.
In the US, grand juries meet in
secret to review some cases before deciding whether criminal
charges should be brought.
The jury could indict Wilson,
meaning he could face trial, or it
could determine there is no case
for him to answer.
Few of the protesters believe
the jury will indict Wilson.
“There’s going to be violence,
I do believe,” said Jo Ann Davis,
a government employee who said
she would not take part if rallies
turn ugly.
“I think it’s going to be worse
than it was back in August because you’ve got busloads of
people that came in here from all
over the world just to protest.”
Cathy Jackson, a grandmother
of four, said people were apprehensive.
“I think everybody’s kind of
anxious, a little nervous about
what’s going to happen,” she said.
“I think the police are just amped
up way too much.”
“I don’t want to say they’re
going to riot, loot and all of that.
I know we’re going to keep protesting until something changes... racial profiling, that’s the
main thing. That has got to stop.”
On Friday, Obama called
for the demonstrations to stay
“This is a country that allows
everybody to express their views,
allows them to peacefully assemble to protest actions that they
think are unjust, but using any
event as an excuse for violence is
contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”
Brown’s father, Michael Brown
Sr, also appealed for restraint.
“Hurting others or destroying
property is not the answer,” he
said in a sombre video plea.
Michael Brown Sr. gets a hug at an annual Thanksgiving basket give
away in St. Louis, Missouri, yesterday.
Police accidentally
kill unarmed man
New York
28-year-old unarmed man
was killed after a rookie
police officer shot him in
New York’s Brooklyn borough,
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Friday.
New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio said that the shooting late
Thursday in the darkened stairwell just before midnight was unprovoked.
The race of the victim and the
shooter was not reported.
“We don’t know enough yet,
but it does appear to have been
an accident,” de Blasio at a press
conference. “This was a tragedy.”
But he cautioned that the
shooting was not like two other
cases - those of Michael Brown,
the unarmed black teenager shot
in August by a white police officer
in Ferguson, Missouri and a recent New York Case where a black
man died after police put a strangle hold on him.
“Each incident is different ...
each of them has their own dynamic,” de Blasio said. “This is a
tragic situation, that’s the bottom
De Blasio noted, however, that
relations between New York police and communities of colour
were far from healed and the city
was working to “reform those dynamics.”
Brooklyn district attorney Ken
Thompson said that the incident
warranted an “immediate, fair
and thorough investigation.”
The police officer, who had been
on the job for less than one and a
half years, has been reassigned and
stripped of his badge and gun.
According to the FBI and the
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, around 400 people
are shot and killed by police every
year across the US.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Commemoration ceremony
Widodo causes
a buzz by
flying economy
Cambodian Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong (centre), and his wife (right), pray during a commemoration ceremony at a victim stupa in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Phnom Penh municipality holds the ceremony for victims who died on the Diamond Island bridge when a stampede took place on November 22, 2010. At least 353 people
died and 395 were injured after they panicked while crossing the bridge during Water Festival celebrations.
Germans face flogging in
Singapore over vandalism
wo German men were
charged yesterday with
breaking into a Singapore
metro depot and spray-painting
graffiti on a train, offences punishable by jail time and flogging
with a cane.
Andreas Von Knorre and Elton
Hinz, both 21, were charged at a
district court with committing
trespass and vandalism in the
early hours of November 8.
Both men appeared relaxed as
the charges were read to them in
German by an interpreter.
Prosecutors told the judge the
two men will be remanded in police custody until November 28
“to assist investigations and reenact the crime scene”.
The charge sheets said Van
Knorre and Hinz broke into
the suburban depot and spraypainted graffiti on the exterior of
a metro train cabin. The depot is
a restricted zone surrounded by
fences topped with barbed wire.
The two men were extradited
by neighbouring Malaysia on
Friday after being apprehended
at Kuala Lumpur International
Airport as they were leaving for
The Straits Times newspaper
said in a report yesterday the two
men have visas to work in Australia. For trespassing they face
up to two years in jail, a fine of up
to Sg$1,000 ($800), or both.
For vandalism, they face up to
three years in jail or a fine of up
to Sg$2,000, and between three
and eight strokes of a rattan cane
- a punishment dating back to
British colonial rule.
Singapore, a leading Asian financial hub, is well-known for
its tough stance on crime.
The city-state’s vandalism
laws became global news in 1994
when an American teenager,
Michael Fay, was caned for dam-
aging cars and public property
despite appeals for clemency
from the US government.
In 2010, Swiss expatriate Oliver Fricker was sentenced to
seven months in jail and three
strokes of the cane for vandalising a train at a depot in the citystate.
Caning entails being whipped
with a rattan stick on the back
of the thigh below the buttocks,
which can split the skin and
leave lasting scars.
ndonesia’s new President
Joko Widodo caused a stir
this weekend by opting to
fly economy class to watch his
son’s high school graduation
in Singapore, drawing both
praise and criticism online.
Skipping the usual heavy
security protocol for heads
of state, Widodo and his wife
Iriana queued for check-in at
Jakarta airport like ordinary
passengers before taking their
economy seats.
Widodo is known for his
common touch, and his family have maintained a modest
lifestyle since he became leader of Southeast Asia’s biggest
economy last month.
The presence of the president, known by his nickname
Jokowi, caused a buzz at Jakarta’s airport as passengers
shouted and clamoured to
shake his hand, with some
taking selfies on their phones.
Some, though, thought it
was a publicity stunt.
“Why should he go through
the metal detector, join the
queue, etc? Sir, stop polishing
your image, just act natural,”
Rangga Aditya commented on
news portal
Harry Azet tweeted: “Living
a fake life is difficult: Jokowi
went to Singapore flying economy but slept in an expensive
Widodo stayed in a five-star
hotel on Orchard Road, Singapore’s shopping mecca, an Indonesian embassy spokesman
in Singapore said.
But his choice to fly economy also won widespread
praise, with many urging other
government officials to follow
“Jokowi sets a good example
by flying economy. Hopefully
other officials can follow in his
footsteps,” tweeted Anita Tobing.
Widodo said he did not use
the presidential private jet or
the VIP terminal because he
was travelling for personal
“I am going for family matters, a private agenda, not a
state visit -- so why should I
use the facility?” Widodo told
The president and his wife
were in Singapore to see their
youngest son, 19-year-old
Kaesang Pangarep, graduate
from the Anglo-Chinese International School on Friday
evening. The couple have two
other children.
Widodo had breakfast with
Singapore’s Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong before flying back to Jakarta yesterday
Ailing Thai king fails
to meet ministers
hailand’s revered King
missed a planned meeting with two government ministers, palace officials said, amid
ongoing public concern over the
state of the ailing 86-year-old’s
The two ministers were supposed to accompany junta
leader General Prayut Chan-
O-Cha to meet the world’s
longest serving monarch on
Friday evening to swear an oath
in front of him before taking
up office. But the palace said
his medical team had advised
against the king going ahead
with the ceremony.
“A team of royal physicians
recommended that the king is
not ready to grant an audience.
Therefore the date of the royal
audience is postponed,” a statement from the Royal Household
Bureau said late Friday.
UN presses
Myanmar over
Rohingya rights
Muslim pageant challenges Western beauty contests
The UN adopted a resolution
Friday urging Myanmar to grant
citizenship to its Rohingya
Muslim minority, ramping up
pressure on Yangon to scrap a
controversial identity plan. The
measure was adopted by consensus in the General Assembly’s
rights committee following some
wrangling with countries from
the 57-nation Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which
had sought stronger language.
The resolution expresses “serious
concern” over the plight of the
Rohingya in Rakhine state, where
140,000 people live in squalid
camps after violence erupted
between Buddhists and Muslims
in 2012. Under a controversial
government-backed plan, the
Rohingya would be forced to
identify themselves as Bengali
-- a term seen as disparaging
-- in order to apply for citizenship. Those who refuse would
be forced to live in camps. Many
in Myanmar’s government and
local Buddhists view Rohingya as
illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, but the community maintains its has ancestral
roots in the country.
The resolution urges the government to protect the rights of all
inhabitants of Rakhine state and
allow “equal access to full citizenship for the Rohingya minority,”
to “allow self-identification” and
ensure equal access to services.
Myanmar’s representative voiced
opposition to the use of term
“Rohingya” in the resolution and
warned this would stoke tensions
in Rakhine state. “Use of the
word by the UN will draw strong
resentment from the people of
Myanmar, making the government’s effort more difficult in
addressing this issue,” said the
n eclectic mix of women
from around the world
competed in the finale of
a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia Friday, seen
as a riposte to Western beauty
The women, who include
a doctor and a computer scientist, paraded in glittering
dresses against the backdrop
of world-renowned ancient
temples for the contest in the
world’s most populous Muslimmajority country.
However the 18 finalists are
required to wear the Muslim
headscarf and are judged not
only on their appearance, but
also on how well they recite
verses from the Qur’an and their
views on Islam in the modern
“We want to see that they
understand everything about
the Islamic way of life -- from
what they eat, what they wear,
how they live their lives,” said
Jameyah Sheriff, one of the organisers.
The World Muslimah Award
first drew global attention in
2013 when organisers presented
it as a peaceful protest to Miss
World, which was taking place
around the same time on the resort island of Bali.
While it remains popular in
some countries, British-run
Miss World has faced frequent
accusations that it is degrading
to women, and a round in which
contestants pose in bikinis has
been a lightning rod for criticism.
In an effort to appease hardliners, Miss World organisers
Winner of the 2014 World Muslimah Awards Fatma Ben Guefrache (right) of Tunis reacts next to runner-up Nazreen Ali (left) of India and Miss
Muslimah 2013 Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola during the grand final in Yogyakarta.
axed the bikini round for the
Bali edition, but the event still
sparked demonstrations from
British contestant Dina Torkia said she hoped this year’s
World Muslimah Award would
not only provide a contrast to
Western beauty pageants, but
would also dispel prejudices
against Islam.
“I think the most important
thing is to show that we are really normal girls, we are not married to terrorists. This scarf on
my head isn’t scary,” she said.
However the 2014 pageant
has faced challenges, with seven
finalists dropping out and others struggling with Indonesia’s
complex bureaucracy to obtain
Most who pulled out did so
because their families did not
want them to travel alone, Sheriff said. The Indian contestant
missed her initial flight as she
was being questioned by officials who were suspicious
of a woman travelling alone
and wearing a headscarf, although she managed to get on
a plane later. Others have gone
to great lengths to take part in
the fourth edition of the event,
with Masturah Binte Jamil
quitting her teaching job in
Singapore after her employer
would not give her time off to
Organisers hope to present
positive role models for Islamic women around the
world and the contestants,
who are aged between 18 and
27, include a computer scientist from Tunisia and a newly
qualified doctor from Bangladesh.
But not everyone was enjoying the final rounds, with Britain’s Torkia saying her initial
optimism had turned into disappointment.
“I came into this competition hoping that I would leave
with my faith increased, but
so far it’s been a lot about promotion and media and looking
nice,” she said.
Friday’s finale capped a
lengthy process, which included an online audition followed by two weeks of events
in Indonesia.
During their time in Indonesia, contestants have visited orphanages and nursing
homes, and had their pictures
taken at Borobudur, a famous
Buddhist temple close to Yogyakarta, Java’s cultural heart.
The finale takes place against
the backdrop of Prambanan, a
ninth-century complex of Hindu temples on the island of Java
that is a Unesco World Heritage
Hosting the event at a Hindu site was a conscious decision to show that Muslims are
accepting of other religions,
organisers said.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Beijing ‘building South China Sea island big enough for airstrip’
atellite images show China
is building an island on a
reef in the disputed Spratly
Islands large enough to accommodate what could be its first
offshore airstrip in the South
China Sea, a leading defence
publication said on Friday.
The construction has stoked
concern that China may be converting disputed territory in the
mineral-rich archipelago into
military installations, adding to
tensions waters also claimed by
Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.
IHS Jane’s said images it had
obtained showed the Chinese-
built island on the Fiery Cross
Reef to be at least 3,000 metres
long and 200-300 metres (660980 ft) wide, which it noted is
“large enough to construct a
runway and apron.”
The building work flies in the
face of US calls for a freeze in
provocative activity in the South
China Sea, one of Asia’s biggest
security issues.
Concern is growing about an
escalation in disputes even as
claimants work to establish a
code of conduct to resolve them.
Dredgers were also creating a harbor to the east of the reef “that
would appear to be large enough to
receive tankers and major surface
combatants,” it said.
Asked about the report at a defense forum in Beijing on Satur-
day, Jin Zhirui, a colonel with the
Chinese air force command, declined to confirm it but said China
needed to build facilities in the
South China Sea for strategic reasons. “We need to go out, to make
our contribution to regional and
global peace,” Jin said. “We need
support like this, including radar
and intelligence.”
The land reclamation project
Two dead as 5.9-quake
strikes China’s Sichuan
5.9 magnitude earthquake struck China’s
southwestern province of
Sichuan yesterday, the US Geological Survey said, with Chinese state media reporting two
people were killed and 60 others
The tremor shook buildings sending panicked residents
scurrying for cover, but no major damage was immediately reported.
The quake struck 39 kilometres northwest of Kangding in
the mountainous west of the
province at 4:55 pm local time
(0855 GMT) at a depth of 14 kilometres, the USGS said.
The quake was initially reported at 5.8 magnitude at a
depth of nine kilometres.
The official Xinhua news
agency reported that a woman in
her 70s died after being hit in the
head by a glass window that fell
during the tremor. It added that
60 others were injured and taken
to the Ganzi People’s Hospital,
where three were said to be in a
critical condition.
Forty-two students at a primary school in Tagong Town at
the epicentre were injured in a
stampede following the quake,
Xinhua said.
China’s national CCTV television showed footage taken with a
mobile phone of panicked residents running in the streets in
what appeared to be a commercial area.
Kangding county, with a population of about 100,000 people,
is located in an area of Sichuan
traditionally populated by ethnic
About 55,000 people have
been affected by the quake, Xinhua reported, citing the provincial civil affairs department.
A woman reached by phone in
Residents stand on a street as they stay away from buildings after an earthquake hit Kangding county, Sichuan province yesterday.
the area told CCTV that buildings around her withstood the
shaking. Xinhua reported minor
cracks in some airport buildings,
adding that flights had been unaffected.
But the quake sent household items falling onto the floor,
Xinhua quoted a resident of
Kangding as saying. He added,
however, that he did not see any
houses collapse.
“The house window was
shaking fiercely,” said a woman
in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital,
located around 300 kilometres
from the epicentre.
“Some people rushed out of
the building,” she told Xinhua.
More than 100 vehicles remain trapped on the G318 High-
n earthquake with preliminary magnitude of
6.8 jolted central Japan
yesterday evening, temporarily
trapping 21 people when their
homes collapsed and leaving 13
people injured, police and public broadcaster NHK said.
The Japan Meteorological
Agency said no tsunami warning was issued after the quake,
which was felt in the capital
Tokyo 180 km away.
A National Police Agency official said the quake destroyed
five houses in Hakuba village,
host to ski jumping and other
events during the 1998 Nagano
Winter Olympic Games, but
that the 21 villagers trapped
were successfully rescued.
At least two of them were
injured, although the degree of
their injuries was not immediately clear, he said.
NHK reported 13 people were
injured in the quake, including
five who were seriously hurt.
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Yoshihide Suga told reporters an advanced party of Japan’s military had been sent
to the area, and others were
on standby. High-speed trains
were halted but later resumed
service, Kyodo news agency reported.
There were no signs of irregularities at Tokyo Electric
Power Co’s (Tepco) Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, a
spokesman for the utility said.
The plant, where all seven reactors are currently off-line, is
the world’s largest power station. NHK quoted an official in
the village of Ogawa near the
epicentre as saying there was a
long tremor and documents fell
off shelves.
“On the second floor of our
house, the tremor was too strong
to stand,” said Sakiko Hagiwara,
an NHK employee in the area.
“Pictures fell off the wall,” she
said, adding there were no cracks
in the walls. NHK also said there
was a report of a landslide blocking roads near Hakuba.
Japan, situated on the “Ring
of Fire” arc of volcanoes and
oceanic trenches that partly
encircles the Pacific Basin, accounts for about 20 percent
of the world’s earthquakes of
magnitude 6 or greater.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0
magnitude earthquake struck
under the ocean off the coast
of the northern city of Sendai.
The quake triggered a massive
tsunami that devastated a wide
swathe of the Pacific coastline
and killed nearly 20,000.
way linking Sichuan and Tibet
after part of the road caved in,
the news agency said, adding that traffic was expected to
resume by mid-day today.
Passenger trains in affected
areas were halted by Chengdu
railway authorities but service
has now resumed, Xinhua said.
China Earthquake Networks
Center measured the quake at
6.3, according to Xinhua. China
uses a different magnitude scale
to the US.
There have been 95 aftershocks so far, Xinhua reported,
adding that medical response
teams from nearby cities had
been mobilised, while the civil
affairs department had sent
thousands of tents, quilts and
coats to those affected.
China’s southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan
are acutely vulnerable to earthquakes. The region sees frequent
seismic activity from the collision of the Indian and Eurasian
tectonic plates, which form the
vast Himalayan mountain range.
In May 2008, a 7.9 magnitude
quake rocked Sichuan, killing
more than 80,000 people and
flattening swathes of the province. It was the worst quake disaster to hit China in more than
three decades.
Last month, hundreds of people were injured and more than
100,000 displaced after a shallow 6.0 magnitude tremor hit
Yunnan province, close to Chi-
na’s borders with Myanmar and
And in August, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck Yunnan killing
more than 600 people.
More than 3,000 people were
injured, while more than 80,000
homes were completely or partially destroyed.
In 1976, the industrial city of
Tangshan, 200 kilometres east of
Beijing, was levelled by an earthquake measuring 7.5 according to
the US Geological Survey.
Beijing puts the official
death toll from that disaster at 242,000, with 164,000
seriously injured, although
Western sources say the number
of victims could have been
much higher.
activity in the disputed waters to
ease tension, saying it can build
whatever its wants in the South
China Sea. Hong Kong media have
reported that China plans to build
an air base on Fiery Cross Reef.
In August, the deputy head of
the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s
Boundary and Ocean Affairs Departments said he was unaware of
any such plans.
great white
found at
Bondi beach
Magnitude 6.8-quake
hits central Japan;
no tsunami warning
was China’s fourth in the Spratly
Islands in the last 12 to 18 months
and by far the largest, IHS Jane’s
said. It said Fiery Cross Reef was
home to a Chinese garrison and
had a pier, air-defense guns, antifrogmen defences, communications equipment, and a greenhouse.
Beijing has rejected Washington’s call for all parties to halt
wimmers were ordered
out of the water at Sydney’s Bondi Beach yesterday after a shark was seen in
the area, just hours after a dead
great white was pulled from
nets protecting bathers.
The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said the carcass, which
was found about 500 metres
from the shoreline, was the
second great white to be found
in the nets designed to protect
swimmers this week.
“A deceased male great
white shark approximately 2.15
metres (seven feet) in length
was retrieved from a shark net
off the northern end of Bondi
Beach this morning,” a spokeswoman said.
“A 1.1 metre stingray was
found alive in the net and successfully released.”
Hours later swimmers cooling off from the hot weather
were ordered out of the water
when North Bondi life savers spotted a shark just off the
Life guards launched jet skis
to attempt to chase the shark
out to sea but by the time they
reached the area, they could
not sight it, reports said, with
swimmers allowed back into
the water within the hour.
“It was a bit of excitement,
that’s for sure. Everyone got
out of the water very quickly,”
witness Karl Hayes told the
Sydney Morning Herald, adding that the shark appeared to
be about three metres long.
On Wednesday a 2.5 metre
great white was found dead
during a regular inspection
of the nets at Bondi which are
designed to protect swimmers
from the animals.
Popular beaches across
Sydney and New South Wales
state have been partially netted since 1937.
While the netting — which
does not stretch the entire
length of Bondi — is there
to create a barrier between
swimmers and sharks, it is also
designed to stop the animals
establishing territories where
people use the water.
The department said there
had not been a single fatal
shark attack on a netted Sydney beach since the nets were
catch marine animals, with
official data for the 20122013 summer showing that
more than 100 sharks became
entangled in nets across New
South Wales. Only three were
great whites. Contractors
check the nets every 72 hours,
weather permitting, and are
required to free all live marine life found in the nets if it
is practical and safe to do so.
Shark attacks in Sydney are
rare, but deaths and injuries
routinely occur around Australia.
In October two great whites
were killed after a young
surfer lost parts of both arms
in an attack off the south
coast of Western Australia.
The most recent fatality was in September when a
man was killed in front of his
wife while swimming at Byron Bay on the east coast of
New South Wales.
Lou’s Blind Massage sweeps Chinese ‘Oscars’
hinese director Lou Ye’s
drama starring blind amateur actors as massage
therapists scooped top honours
at the Golden Horse Film Awards
in Taiwan yesterday, touted as
the Chinese-language “Oscars”.
Blind Massage, a portrayal
of the romance and dreams
of visually impaired massage
therapists, was the biggest winner, with six gongs out of seven
It scooped awards including
the coveted best feature film,
best adapted screenplay and
best new performer for Zhang
Lei, herself a visually impaired
“It took a long time to shoot the
film. I want to thank everyone for
their contributions and I want to
thank the blind actors who are
not here,” Lou said after receiving the best film award at a glitzy
ceremony in Taipei’s Sun Yat-sen
Memorial Hall.
Lou was previously best known
for his politically charged love
story Summer Palace, which was
screened at the Cannes Film Festival without government approval
in 2006 and led to him receiving
a five-year ban on film-making in
Veteran Chinese actor Chen
Jianbin walked away with most
personal awards, setting a record
at the Golden Horse awards for
winning both best leading actor
Chinese director Lou Ye holds his trophy after winning the Best Feature Film at the 51th Golden Horse Film Awards in Taipei yesterday. Right:
Chinese director and actor Chen Jian-bin and his wife Jiang Qinqin display three trophies after winning the Best Leading Actor, the Best New
Director and the Best Supporting Actor during the Golden Horse Film Awards.
and best new director for playing
a farmer in his directorial debut A
Fool. He also bagged best supporting actor for his role as a homesick
soldier in Taiwanese director Doze
Niu’s military drama Paradise in
“I want to thank the Golden
Horse jury for giving me this encouragement ... I will continue to
shoot more and better works with
this encouragement,” he said.
Taiwan’s Chen Shiang-chyi
beat the critics’ favourites —Chinese stars Gong Li and Zhao Wei
— to claim the best leading actress
title for her role as a lonely mid-
dle-aged woman struggling with
family and work problems in Exit.
“I want to thank the director
for choosing me to play this role
or I won’t be standing here today... I love Taiwanese films and
as a member of Taiwan’s film (industry) I am happy to win the 51st
Golden Horse best leading actress
Another surprise winner was
Hong Kong’s Ann Hui for directing The Golden Era, which is based
on the real-life story of a famed
Chinese female writer in the early
20th century.
“I didn’t expect to win ... I don’t
know what to say,” Hui admitted
her surprise after receiving her
third best director statuette. She
last won the award in 2011 for the
family drama A Simple Life.
However, Chinese director Diao
Yinan’s cop thriller Black Coal,
Thin Ice, which led the pack with
eight nominations and was a favourite for best film, took only the
best art direction award.
Taiwan’s hit baseball movie
Kano, which had six nominations
including best film and best actor for Japan’s Masatoshi Nagase,
walked away empty-handed.
China is traditionally a strong
contender at the awards, but has
faced increasing competition
from Taiwan and Hong Kong in
recent years.
This year mainland films and
actors dominated the nominations in major categories and fared
Nearly 40 films were nominated for the 51st edition of the Golden Horse Film Awards, which are
styled on the US Academy Awards
but are decided by a jury along the
lines of the Cannes film festival.
Chinese American actress and director Joan Chen chaired the jury
this year.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Passengers stuck in
darkness for hours
Eurostar took a beating on social
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
ore than 1,000 Eurostar passengers were left stranded without
water and in total darkness for
up to nine hours Friday when two highspeed trains ground to a halt in a northern
Hundreds of Britons were among those
caught up in the drama, which comes during the 20th anniversary year of the crossChannel service.
An overhead power cable snapped, leaving one train from Brussels to London carrying 600 passengers motionless close to
the city of Lille.
It ended up standing idle from 8pm on
Thursday until close to 5am on Friday
morning, while another train from London to Paris with almost 700 passengers
was stranded for six hours.
By early yesterday morning Eurostar
said replacement diesel trains were being
sent to take the passengers back to Lille, as
furious passengers told of their frustration.
Londoner Seonaid Redden, an advertisement operations executive for Guardian news & media, said their treatment
was appalling.
She had been travelling on the 18.04
service to Brussels when the train broke
Writing on Twitter, she said passengers
had been told “lies” about their train’s status by Eurostar.
She said: “I was trapped on your train
for 9hrs. No information and in pitch
black. You waited 8hrs to bring water to
“We had to walk in darkness to get water. We think you held us past 4am not to
put us in a hotel. No staff at Lille!!
“Your twitter feed told lies about our
Train status. Compensation doesn’t come
E London
schools ‘at
risk from
Passengers were stuck for up to nine hours on the train.
close when lies have been told of 8hrs.”
Gymnastics instructor Vicky Gibbons,
from Croydon, was travelling to Paris for
her 30th birthday when the incident occurred.
Her husband, Andy, announced hours
earlier: “Packing bags as I’m taking my
wife to Paris tonight for her birthday.
There will be champagne, lots of champagne.”
But after becoming trapped for hours,
Gibbons said: “Well @Eurostar thank you
for a wonderful 30th birthday trapped on a
train, not moving and with zero information! #happybirthday.”
Another passenger, Chris Littlecott,
posted: “Left Brussels 19:52. Now waiting to enter Channel Tunnel 01:52. I only
made it on to train at last minute. Wish I
had missed it.”
Olya Dyachuk referred to a long haul
flight to the West Indies, writing that it
took “almost nine hours to get to London.
Ridiculous. I could have been on Antigua
by now!”
The BBC’s Robert van Geffen complained of a “complete black out”, while
angry passenger Fabian Darrigues tweeted: “Stopped in the middle of nowhere.
No power. No explanation. Train manager
asking for a doctor urgently. Get me out of
Eurostar said the problem was caused by
a broken overhead power cable, and that
replacement diesel trains were being sent
to ferry the passengers back to Lille.
He said it was not the case that train
doors could not be opened, but said they
were unable to let people off the trains for
safety reasons until a replacement train
had arrived to collect them.
The problem caused other Eurostar
services to be disrupted as a result, with
three cancellations this morning “fol-
lowing power infrastructure problems in
France last night”.
Passengers on the cancelled services will be able to request full refunds
or changes from their points of sale, a
spokesman said.
There have been a number of breakdowns on the cross-Channel service over
the year, with the run up to Christmas
2009 being particularly disastrous.
In late September of that year overhead
power line dropped on to a train arriving
at St Pancras station in London, activating a circuit breaker and delaying 11 other
Two days later power was lost on a section of line outside Lille, delaying passengers on two evening Eurostars.
Then, during heavy snow in December
2009, four trains broke down inside the
Channel Tunnel after leaving France, affecting some 2,000 passengers.
Nato business
upils at six independent
Muslim faith schools in
east London could be
at risk from “extremist influences and radicalisation”, Sir
Michael Wilshaw has warned.
Michael, head of Ofsted,
called for education secretary
Nicky Morgan to take “urgent
action” after a series of damning reports were published.
Inspectors found that:
-All six schools teach a narrow curriculum focussing intensively on religious knowledge at the expense of other
-Music, drama and art are
rarely taught, and history and
geography are limited to aspects relating to religion.
-Pupils are being poorly prepared for life in Britain today.
In one school pupils said
it was wrong to learn about
other religions, and in another
a five-year-old pupil told inspectors that participating in
music or dance was wrong.
In a letter to Morgan,
Michael said: “Given the evidence from these inspections,
I am concerned pupils in these
schools may be vulnerable to
extremist influences and radicalisation.” He said the physical and educational welfare of
pupils in all six of the private
schools is at “serious risk”. The
schools are Al-Mizan school,
East London Islamic school,
Ebrahim Academy, Jamiatul Ummah school, London
East Academy and Mazahirul
Uloom school.
Details were also published
about Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Red Coat Church of
England school.
The state school in Tower
Hamlets was graded “inadequate” because it failed to
respond to serious concerns
raised about social media sites
set up by the sixth form Islamic society.
Websites linked to the school
warned pupils they would face
“severe consequences” if they
attended school events such
as karaoke and the leavers’
party because they did not
“adhere to a particular religious viewpoint”, the school’s
Ofsted report said.
Michael Wilshaw
The school was also criticised for having separate entrances and exits for boys and
girls, and segregated spaces
for lunch and breaktimes.
A spokeswoman for Tower
Hamlets council said: “Of
the seven schools in today’s
reports, only one is under the
council’s control. When any
issues in our schools occur,
we have a strong track record
of intervening swiftly and
successfully to address them.
We are working with Sir John
Cass School to address the
issues identified and return
it to being an Outstanding
She added: “We would like
to make it clear that there is
no evidence or suggestion
whatsoever of an attempted
takeover, as allegedly occurred
in Birmingham under the socalled ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal,
at Sir John Cass School or any
school in Tower Hamlets.”
Lutfur Rahman, mayor of
Tower Hamlets, said: “The
council has an international
reputation for the quality of its
schools and an excellent track
record of helping turn around
maintained schools when issues occur.
“I know the council will
work with Sir John Cass’s
leadership to help it return to
being Outstanding.”
Education secretary Nicky
Morgan said: “We asked Ofsted to carry out these inspections and the findings are very
concerning. While there is no
suggestion of a co-ordinated plot, it is clear that these
schools are failing children
and this is unacceptable.
“All schools must prepare
children for life in modern
Britain. We will be demanding urgent action plans from
the independent schools and
expect to see improvements
within weeks. If changes are
not made then we reserve the
right to force the closures of
the schools involved.”
Jowell to run for mayor of London
Naval ships of various Nato countries are moored in the Canary Wharf business district in London. Nato warplanes have had to scramble 400 times this year in
response to an increase in Russian air activity around Europe not seen since the Cold War, the alliance’s chief has said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members
have sought to fill gaps in the alliance’s land, air and sea defences since Russia annexed Crimea and backed a secessionist movement in the eastern part of Ukraine.
Labour heavyweight Dame Tessa Jowell has confirmed she plans
to run for mayor of London. The former olympics minister said
she will give her “best shot” at winning Labour’s nomination
for the 2016 race. The MP for Dulwich and West Norwood told a
fundraiser in Ealing: “I keep being asked about the London mayoral
campaign. When the mayoral race starts, I’ll give it my best shot.”
“I’ll announce properly with balloons and stuff.” She told the BBC
she is “certainly planning to run” for the Labour nomination.In
a statement to the Standard, Dame Tessa said she will not make
a formal declaration until after next year’s general election. She
said: “The mayor of London has the power to make a profound
and lasting difference to the lives of millions of Londoners, and I’ve
made no secret that I’ve been preparing my plan. But my fervent
belief is that London’s best hope for a better future is a Labour
Government, so all of my campaigning energy is directed towards
helping our Labour candidates in marginal seats win in 2015.
‘Mad Dog’ sister smashed into bus after binge
Evening Standard
member of a notorious south
London crime family crashed
into a bus full of passengers
while three times over the alcohol limit
after an all-day drinking session, a
court has heard.
Louise Sonnex, 40, knocked back
rum in the morning and joined more
friends in the afternoon, who helped
her finish a dozen cans of lager.
She then jumped behind the wheel
of a friend’s car and careered into a
busy road, where she struck the double-decker and bounced into railings,
knocking herself out.
At Bexley magistrates’ court, Sonnex
admitted drink-driving and careless
driving in Evelyn Street, Deptford, on
June 22. She also pleaded guilty to driving without a full licence or insurance,
and possessing cannabis resin.
Dano Mad Dog Sonnex and Louise
Her brother, Dano Mad Dog Sonnex, 27, is serving life with a minimum
40-year tariff for the murder of French
students Gabriel Ferez and Laurent
Bonomo. The 23-year-olds were tortured and stabbed 244 times in New
Cross in 2008.
Her father Bernard, 60, has at least
26 convictions and has been to jail six
times. Another brother, Bernie Sonnex
Jnr, 41, has been in prison at least 10
times for at least 34 offences.
Louise Sonnex was given a five-year
sentence in 2009 for grievous bodily
harm, after attacking her father’s girlfriend with a golf club. She also has a
conviction for wounding, for glassing
a woman.
Prosecutor Thandi Lubimbi told the
court yesterday: “It was 7pm when
the defendant came out of a junction,
without paying attention, drove into
the side of the bus and crashed into
Sonnex was seen hanging out of the
door of the Peugeot, having smashed
her head on the dashboard. A passenger
and an off-duty paramedic gave first
aid. She was arrested, and gave a reading of 105 microgrammes of alcohol in
100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Her lawyer, who refused to give her
name to reporters, told the court: “The
night before, she had been drinking.
When she woke up went to her friend’s
house and they had drinks at 10am.
She had a few rums. The owner of the
vehicle pulled up and was invited in ...
they all had drinks into the late afternoon.
“[The car owner] invited them to
her house and Miss Sonnex remembers
having a roast dinner and more drinks.”
The lawyer said “a dozen empty cans”
were on the table. “She doesn’t remember anything ... until the collision.”
The court heard Sonnex had suffered
mental health and drug and alcohol
abuse problems. She was bailed until
December 11 for a pre-sentence report,
and given an interim disqualification.
A 18-year-old woman has admitted
causing the death of a cyclist as he participated in a charity ride while she was
Bethany Mackie struck Christian
Smith from behind and did not pull
over until more than 400 yards up the
road, police said.
The 38-year-old cyclist was struck
as he completed the last leg of a 248
mile ride in the Kent and Sussex area for
mental health charity Mind.
The father of three, from Boughton
Aluph, Kent, died when his bicycle was
hit by Mackie’s blue Peugeot 206 car on
the A2990, near Chestfield, on March
22 - just two hours from the finish.
More than £82,000 has been raised
on Mr Smith’s JustGiving webpage
since the fatal crash - eclipsing his
£1,000 target figure.
Mackie, who was more than twice
the legal drink-drive limit at the time,
admitted causing death by dangerous
driving and driving with excess alcohol
at Canterbury Crown Court today, Kent
Police said.
Inspector Martin Stevens, of the
Kent Police roads policing unit, said
afterwards: “Christian Smith was a
keen cyclist and was raising money for
a cause close to his heart.
“His death, caused by this tragic and
avoidable incident, is another reminder
to everyone of the dangers of drinkdriving.
“Mackie will have to live with the
consequences of her actions for the
rest of her life. Our thoughts are with
all those involved in this case, but of
course especially Christian’s grieving
family, at this time.”
He added: “The message about the
dangers of drink-driving is getting
through to motorists but there is still a
minority who ignore the warnings. Unfortunately in cases such as this, it is an
innocent person whose life is lost.
“Mackie’s breath contained 73 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of
breath, more than twice the limit.
“Our message is that any amount of
alcohol affects your ability to drive, so
the only safe option is not to drink alcohol if you plan to drive.”
Mackie, of Beltinge Road, Herne Bay,
will be sentenced on December 19. She
has been handed an interim driving ban
and freed on bail.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Two London
jihadis ‘killed
by air strikes’
More instances of jihadi involvement in strife
abroad are coming to light
Evening Standard
wo jihadists from London are believed to have been
killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria.
Abu Abdullah al Habashi, 21, and Abu Dharda,
20, died in US air strikes on the Syrian border town of
Kobane, it was reported.
Al Habashi, who grew up in north London in a BritishEritrean family, is thought to have converted to Islam
when he was 16.
He has appeared in several propaganda videos for ISIS
and has made comments supporting the militant group
on social media.
Al Habashi told the BBC in August that he was at the
“forefront” of fighting and claimed he was one of a few
British jihadists who have fought with Islamic State militants in both Syria and Iraq.
His family tried to convince him to return home but he
said he was happy in the Middle East and there was “no
going back”.
Dharda, who comes from a British-Somali background
and grew up in west London, is understood to have travelled to Syria in December 2013, entering via Turkey.
It is thought that 500 Britons have joined the conflict in
Syria and around 27 are understood to have lost their lives
after joining the Jihadis.
A foreign office spokesman said: “We are aware of reports of the death of two British nationals in Syria.
“The UK has advised for some time against all travel to
Syria, where all UK consular services are suspended.
“As we do not have any representation in Syria, it is
extremely difficult to get any confirmation of deaths or
injuries and our options for supporting British nationals
there are extremely limited.”
Islamic State (IS) militants have released another propaganda video featuring British journalist John Cantlie.
The latest tape is seventh such tape featuring Cantlie,
Abu Abdullah al Habashi, who appeared in ISIS
propaganda videos.
who was taken hostage by extremists in November 2012.
The photojournalist delivers an apparently-scripted
message from behind a desk wearing an orange jumpsuit
in the latest episode in a series titled Lend Me Your Ears.
The clip, which lasts for almost nine minutes, includes
the 43-year-old giving an account of what he claims was
a failed rescue attempt by American forces in July.
Cantlie also says he has accepted “long ago” that his
fate is “overwhelmingly likely” to be the same as other
Introducing the latest instalment, he says: “In this programme I will tell you about a failed raid to rescue us and
how it feels to be left for dead by your own government.”
Cantlie goes on to claim that the Americans staged an
“incredibly complex, risky and expensive” attempt to
rescue hostages in July.
He said: “The raid involved two dozen Delta Force
commandos, several Black Hawk helicopters, gunships,
Predator drones, F18 Hornet Jets and refuelling aircraft.
“It took weeks of rehearsals and must have cost tens of
millions to perform - but we weren’t there.
“The Islamic State, anticipating such a move, just put us
into cars and moved us to another prison days beforehand.”
Britain and America are accused in the video of taking
military action rather than negotiating the release of hostages through options such as ransom payments.
(L-R) Bethany Haines, Michael Haines, Barbara Henning and Lucy Henning arrive for a memorial service for murdered British
aid worker Alan Henning, at Eccles Parish Church in Manchester, northern England yesterday. British aid worker Alan Henning
was beheaded by Islamic State militants in October.
“We were left to die. It’s the worst feeling in the world being left behind like
that,” Cantlie says.
Towards the end of the video, he says:
“I will continue to speak out against this
military action ... for as long as the mujahideen allow me to live.”
In another section, he says: “Long ago
I accepted that my fate will overwhelmingly likely be the same as my cellmates
- and I’m angry about it.”
It is the seventh production featuring
Cantlie released online by IS. Most have
followed the same pattern as the latest
video, but last month the group released
footage purporting to show him in the
embattled Syrian city of Kobane.
A foreign office spokesman said: “We
are aware of a further video and are analysing its contents.”
Cantlie’s father Paul, 80, died from
complications following pneumonia last
Occupy protesters vow to remain
after police block demonstration
Evening Standard
ccupy protesters say they
plan to remain in place
outside the supreme
court until tomorrow evening after clashing with police.
Around 30 protesters from the
group slept on land outside the
supreme court building, which
overlooks Parliament Square,
after the square itself was fenced
off. Around 45 demonstrators
were still in the area this afternoon, displaying banners and
Canning Green, a grassy area
near the court, has also been
closed off by police.
Protesters said that they were
demonstrating against the bedroom tax and the privatisation of
the NHS.
One protester, Raymond Obedencio, who spent last night
on the square, said: “We didn’t
vote for the privatisation of the
NHS. We didn’t vote for TTIP
(Transatlantic trade investment
partnership). We didn’t vote for
“But all these things are happening. We all came together
and we decided that there’s
a democratic deficit. People
don’t know these things so we
Occupy protesters in Parliament Square on Friday night.
have to keep educating them.
“Unfortunately the narrative is
becoming more about the right to
The group was planning to
hold debates and talks today.
However, another protester, who
didn’t want to give his full name,
said that the low turnout was
There was a heavy police presence around the entire square.
One person was arrested yes-
terday for criminal damage to the
fence, and has now been released.
Superintendent Andy Walker
of the metropolitan police said:
“Our role here is very simply to
facilitate peaceful protest. There
will be a policing presence for as
long as the protest takes place.”
In response to concerns from
protesters about tarpaulins and
cardboard being removed, he
said: “The Police Social Responsibility Act prohibits the
use of anything for sleeping.”
At around 1pm a sofa and a
carpet were carried into the area,
prompting chants of ‘Whose
sofa? Our sofa” and “Whose
square? Our square.”
The area is owned by Westminster Council, and staff were
on site talking to protesters.
Organisers from the Occupy
movement called for supporters to gather outside the Palace
of Westminster last night for the
start of a three-day demonstration. But they were met by dozens of police officers and fencing
guarding Parliament Square after
Scotland Yard warned activists
they were banned from camping
at the landmark.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said last night that
organisers from the movement
had “failed to engage” with the
force and that it had “an appropriate and proportionate police
plan in place” for the event.
A Section 60 AA order was enforced in the area around Parliament Square which gave police
powers to force people to remove
masks where they anticipated
criminal activity. But that order
was due to expire at 2pm today.
Last month there were a series of clashes with police on
Parliament Square as supporters of the Occupy movement
stood their ground for nine days.
Green Party politician Jenny
Jones was among a group of arrested protesters.
Under the Police Reform and
Social Responsibility Act, officers can forcibly remove any protesters who decide to set up camp
in Parliament Square. The legislation was introduced after anti-war campaigners spent years
occupying the London landmark
outside Parliament.
month. His sister, Jessica Cantlie, has
previously appealed for “direct contact”
with the militants holding him.
Since August, IS has filmed and posted online the deaths of four Western
hostages. UK aid workers Alan Henning
and David Haines and American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff
were beheaded on camera by the jihadi
organisation, which is also known as
Reckless accuses
Farage of U-turn
on immigration
Evening Standard
kip MP Mark Reckless has accused his
new party leader of a
policy U-turn on immigration
- within a day of being elected.
sparked a row on Tuesday
when he suggested EU migrants may have to leave the
UK if Britain leaves the European Union.
The Rochester and Strood
MP then said Ukip leader Nigel
Farage had changed his party’s
line after the controversy.
He told the Times: “The policy changed on Wednesday and
I’m a bit sore about how I sort
of came out of that.
“Until Nigel changed it on
Wednesday, the policy of the
party was everyone can stay
for the transitional period,
no doubt about that, that
there would then be a permanent arrangement which
would be part of the EU negotiation.”
Farage suggested after his
colleague’s comments that
Reckless was referring to a
“transitional period” between
a vote to leave the EU and actual withdrawal when he sug-
gested migrants could be told
to leave the UK.
Reckless said his words had
been “twisted”.
The fallout between the two
men comes as Farage said more
Tory or Labour MPs could defect after Ukip won its second
Farage said he had been in
talks with MPs from both sides
and disgruntled backbenchers would now be crunching
the numbers following the
Rochester and Strood by-election to work out if they should
jump ship.
Ukip’s first directly-elected
MP, Douglas Carswell, predicted the party could win
“dozens” more seats and suggested it could replace Labour
as the main opposition.
Conservative Chief Whip
Michael Gove insisted he remained “100 per cent certain”
there would be no more defections to Ukip.
But Leader of the Commons
William Hague sounded less
sure, saying: “I don’t have a
crystal ball about what every
MP will do.”
And Labour leader Ed Miliband admitted: “We know we
have got a challenge in relation
to Ukip”, adding: “It’s a challenge I’m determined to meet.”
Tragic baby ‘looked like something from Auschwitz’
Evening Standard
four month-old baby looked like
“something from Auschwitz”
when she was found dead at home
by paramedics, a High Court judge heard.
The little girl was “extremely malnourished” and “profoundly dehydrated” when found in at an east London
home October 2013, justice Hayden
She was pronounced dead about two
hours after being found - but her condition was so bad paramedics thought
she was dead when they arrived.
One experienced medic who was called
to the scene had never seen a baby in such
an awful condition, the judge said. The
baby’s name, or her parents’ names and
addresses have not been revealed.
The judge only disclosed she had
lived in Tower Hamlets as he referred to
the baby as ‘W’ in a written ruling after
a hearing at the Family Division of the
High Court in which justice Hayden
was asked to consider a legal issue relating to W’s father. The litigation does
not relate to the dead baby.
Baby W’s mother had been married in
her mid-teens after being taken from the
UK to Somalia, said the judge. She had
returned to the UK about two years ago
after becoming pregnant with baby W.
“The report has concluded
that the decline of this young
woman’s mental wellbeing that
led to the death of her baby could
not have been prevented”
The judge said British embassy officials had helped her “escape” from Somalia. He said the mother, now thought
to be in her late teens, had admitted
permitting baby W’s death and neglect,
and was due to be sentenced soon.
But he said the mother appeared to
have suffered a “profound psychological
breakdown” before her daughter’s death.
And a consultant paediatrician who
produced a report in the case had been
“highly critical” of some agencies involved, the judge added.
“One of the paramedics observed that
whilst it was immediately obvious that
(baby W) was skinny, he was profoundly
shocked when upon cutting off her top
she looked - as he put it - ‘like something
from Auschwitz’,” said Justice Hayden.
“She was extremely malnourished,
very underweight and she was profoundly dehydrated. Her eyes were
sunken into her head. She was of a very
pale colour.”
The judge added: “This was a baby in a
condition beyond which this experienced
paramedic had ever seen before. “It is a
poignant fact that her weight ... was very
similar to her initial birth weight.”
A Tower Hamlets council spokesman
said: “Despite the severe difficulties
her mother had been through, she was
coping well with motherhood until very
shortly before the death of her baby.
“The independent report has concluded that, tragically, the rapid decline
of this young woman’s mental wellbeing
that led to the death of her baby could
not have been predicted or prevented.
“Nevertheless, the report identifies
several areas of multi-agency working
where processes can be improved and
the council and its partners are working closely to ensure these are all introduced swiftly.”
Sarah Baker, chairwoman of the Local
Safeguarding Children Board, vowed to
improve processes in light of the case.
She added: “This was a tragic death
which, because of the sudden decline of
this young woman’s mental wellbeing,
sadly could not have been prevented.
“Our sympathies are extended to the baby’s wider family and surviving siblings.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Portugal says Legionnaire’s outbreak is over
n outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at a Lisbon
suburb that has killed 10
people and infected over 300
others over the past two weeks
has ended, Portugal’s health
minister said on Friday.
“The source of the outbreak
has been eliminated and we can
declare that it has been put out,”
Health Minister Paulo Macedo
told a news conference.
The outbreak – which the
(WHO) last week called a “major public health emergency” –
started on November 7 with an
initial case detected in Vila Franca de Xira, about 30km north of
Lisbon, according to the general
directorate for health.
The authorities say the outbreak was very likely caused by
bacteria found in the refrigeration system of a fertiliser factory
Adubos de Portugal.
The environment ministry has
said the factory has been tested
to see if there was negligence in
maintenance and if any “environmental crime” had been committed.
A total of 336 people were infected in the outbreak, of which
seven men and three women aged
59-89 died, the health directorate said in a statement.
More than half of those infected have already left hospital
but 38 people remain in intensive
The Portugese government has
said the outbreak was the third
biggest in the history of the disease in terms of the number of
people infected.
The disease is not contagious
and cannot be spread directly
from person to person, but can
multiply in water and air condi-
tioning systems, including humidifiers, whirlpools and spas.
It is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.
Large buildings such as hotels,
hospitals, museums and office
blocks are more vulnerable to legionella contamination because
they have larger, more complex
water supply systems in which
the bacteria can quickly spread.
Legionnaire’s disease was discovered in the United States in
1976 after a convention of the
American Legion, a military veterans group, at which 29 people
Germany sees second bird flu case
erman authorities have
confirmed a second case
of the H5N8 strain of bird
flu in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with the
virus found in a wild bird.
The strain is highly contagious
among birds but has never been
detected in humans.
“For the first time, the H5N8
virus has been confirmed in a
wild bird in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,” Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in a
Portugal ex-PM held
in tax evasion case
ortuguese police have arrested former Socialist
prime minister Jose Socrates and three other people in
an investigation of suspected tax
fraud, corruption and moneylaundering, the Prosecutor-General’s office said yesterday.
The detention, the first involving a former premier in Portugal
under democracy, follows arrests
of other high-ranking officials
or prominent people in separate
inquiries in the past few months
as prosecutors intensify a fight
against corruption in a country
notorious for its slow justice system.
Socrates was brought before
a criminal judge for questioning yesterday afternoon after his
apartment was searched.
The prosecutor’s office said the
questioning and search were part
of an investigation of suspicious
banking operations and money
transfers, but would not reveal
more details.
It was not clear if the investigation was linked to Socrates’
time as prime minister between
2005 and 2011.
Police arrested Socrates, 57, at
Lisbon airport late on Friday as
he arrived from Paris.
He spent the night in a police
This 2011 file photo shows Socrates during a campaign event in
Lisbon. Socrates was arrested late on Friday as part of an inquiry into
tax fraud, corruption and money laundering, the public prosecutor’s
office announced.
station, according to a police official. The other three arrested
individuals are linked to Socrates.
Socrates resigned as prime
minister in the middle of his second four-year term in 2011 as an
escalating debt crisis forced him
to request an international bailout, which imposed painful austerity on Portugal.
His centre-left Socialist party
leads in opinion polls ahead of
next year’s general election.
Socialist leader Antonio Costa
told party militants in a message that “we are all certainly
shocked” with the detention, but
added that “feelings of solidarity
and personal friendship” should
not influence the party’s policy
or interfere in any way with the
independence of the investigation.
“The party has to focus on
mobilising Portugal in affirming
an alternative to this government
and its policy,” he wrote.
A snap election in 2011 brought
to power the current centre-right
ruling coalition, which introduced the unpopular austerity
measures such as tax hikes and
cuts in wages and pensions.
During his premiership, Socrates weathered several investigations, including allegations
that he misused his position as
environment minister in 2002 to
allow the construction of a shopping mall.
He denied wrongdoing and
faced no formal charges.
He has faced repeated questions over clearance he gave for
the construction of a shopping
mall on protected land near Lisbon when he was environment
minister, just days before a 2002
general election in which the Socialists lost power.
An investigation into the socalled “Freeport” case, named
after the shopping mall, was finally shelved in July 2010.
There have been questions,
too, over the authenticity of the
ex-premier’s university degree.
After he left office Socrates
studied at the institute of policy
studies in Paris before returning
to Portugal to start a new career
as a commentator on RTP public
Prosecutors have detained and
are investigating several prominent people in separate corruption and fraud cases.
Last week, the head of Portugal’s immigration service,
Manuel Palos, was arrested along
with several other officials on
suspicions of corruption linked
to the issuing of so-called “golden visas” to wealthy foreign investors.
The inquiry also forced interior minister Miguel Macedo to
Under the “golden visa”
scheme, foreign investors buying property worth €500,000
($620,000) or more and keeping it for at least five years receive residency rights in Portugal
and, more importantly, visa-free
travel throughout the European
Union’s Schengen zone.
Portugal rolled out the programme in 2012 while grappling
with a debt crisis.
Macedo, 55, who had been in
the job since 2011, said he “had
no personal responsibility” in the
case but his “political authority”
had been weakened by the scandal.
Deputy Prime Minister Paulo
Portas said on Thursday that it
would be a mistake to stop offering wealthy foreign investors the
“golden visas”.
The arrest of the former Socialist leader comes at a bad time
for Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa,
who was set to be named as the
main opposition party’s secretary general following a ballot in
which he was the only candidate.
Socrates led the Socialists to
their first majority in parliament
in 2005 just a year after he was
elected leader of the party.
Albanian opposition
rallies against tax
hikes, power burden
ens of thousands of Albanians protested yesterday against tax hikes in
next year’s budget, accusing the
Socialist-led government of impoverishing Albanians and falling short on its promises.
Filling Tirana’s main street,
they carried banners protesting
against lack of jobs, tax rises and
what would amount to a rise of
electricity prices next year.
Prime Minister Edi Rama’s
sweeping reforms since coming to power 14 months ago. The
European Union granted Albania
candidate status in June.
Facing a high public debt and
budget deficit, the government
signed a €330.9mn ($409.92mn)
deal with the International Monetary Fund, passed tax hikes and
started an anti-crime drive.
“I am here against unemployment, higher taxes and the rise
of power prices. It’s too much.
All over the world, it took a long
time to achieve the standards
they want to secure in two years,”
Elton Lika, a young unemployed
lawyer, told Reuters.
Lulzim Basha, head of the opposition Democratic Party, accused Rama of arrogance in a
speech to the crowd from a rostrum outside the prime minister’s office.
He joked that Rama, who was
inaugurating a communist-era
nuclear shelter turned into a museum as the protesters filed past
his office, had gone to the bunker
to avoid facing them.
statement. “With that the suspicion is strengthened that wild
birds are connected with the cases in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
as well as in the Netherlands and
Germany and the Netherlands
were working closely together
with the aim of preventing a possible spread of the virus and to
trace back its origin, the minister
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on November
4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000
birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.
Dutch health authorities were
destroying 8,000 ducks yesterday to prevent the possible
spread of bird flu, which has infected three farms in a week in
the Netherlands, a leading poultry and egg exporter.
Tests have shown that the bird
flu viruses discovered in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain are similar to one that devastated poultry flocks in South
Korea earlier this year, the World
Organisation for Animal Health
(OIE) has said.
South Korea had to slaughter
millions of farm birds to try to
contain the outbreak.
Orban’s Internet
tax plan cost ruling
party dearly: poll
upport for Hungary’s
ruling party has fallen
by one-seventh after it
announced – and then hastily
withdrew – a plan to impose a
tax on Internet usage, an opinion poll showed on Friday.
Pollster Ipsos said support
for Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party had fallen to
30% in its latest poll from 35%
in early October.
The party still has a huge
lead over its rivals, none of
whom appeared to have gained
much support at its expense.
But the loss of 400,000 supporters for Fidesz in just a few
weeks stood out in the poll results.
have been held in several cities
around the country in recent
weeks after the government
announced a plan last month
to levy a tax on Internet service
providers based on data usage.
The protests continued even
after Prime Minister Viktor
Orban shelved the proposal on
October 31.
The government’s image
was also dented after the United States refused entry to six
Hungarian officials, citing corruption allegations. One of the
officials was the head of the tax
authority. She has denied any
The US has mounted a diplomatic offensive against
Hungary to check what Western powers see as Budapest’s
dangerous drift into Moscow’s
orbit amid the Ukrainian crisis.
But Ipsos research director Tibor Zavecz said the main
reason for the fall in support
was the Internet tax debacle.
“Hungarian voters experience corruption on an almost
Orban: forced to shelve the
Internet tax plan following
daily basis so their threshold
for that is high. Only stories
stronger than that would make
them protest,” he told Reuters.
The proportion of undecided voters rose to 35% from
31%, indicating that Fidesz’s
fall in support may not be permanent, Zavecz said.
The party was re-elected
by a landslide in April, and no
general election is due until
Opposition rivals were unable to profit from Fidesz’s loss.
Support for the Socialists
dropped one percentage point
to 11%, while the far-right Jobbik gained just one percentage
point to 12%.
Those who left the Fidesz
camp were typically young,
middle class voters in cities,
who earlier supported the party because it had an image of
trying to make the life of voters
easier at the expense of multinational companies including
“The plan of the Internet
tax countered that image and
looked directly painful,” Zavecz said. “Their protest was
based on that direct impact
rather than on principles.”
Hungary teachers protest reforms
A man wears a shirt with the words ‘bread and work, not prison’, during an anti-government protest in
downtown Tirana.
“I ask you not to make the
lives of Albanians harder,” Basha urged Rama, his voice hoarse
from speaking. “Why aren’t Albanians living better when they
pay more?”
Rama wrote on Facebook that
Albanians should not think the
country could develop without
hard work.
Electricity theft and illegal
building should stop, he said.
The Democrats have boycotted
parliament since June after one
of their lawmakers was punched
twice by a fellow Socialist lawmaker, adding to the polarisation
and lack of dialogue.
Thousands of Hungarian teachers demonstrated in Budapest
yesterday against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government,
demanding a stop to funding cuts and dialogue over controversial
education reforms.
The approximately 2,000 teachers said they have been excluded
by the government from talks on an overhaul of Hungary’s
education sector since Orban took power in 2010.
The protest’s main organisers, the Teachers’ Union of Hungary
(TUH), also urged parliament not to accept the proposed 2015
budget that goes to vote in December.
“Spending cuts in the budget would lead to mass layoffs, school
closures, and less children staying in school,” Gallo Istvanne, TUH
head told AFP before handing over a petition at the ministry calling
for more dialogue with the government.
Andris Kovesdy, a 36-year-old secondary school teacher, told AFP
that if the reforms and cuts continue he would not send his two
young children to school.
“No-one from headmasters to parents has any say on anything
anymore. Everything is centralised,” he said.
The demonstration was the latest in a series of anti-government
protests to take place since October when tens of thousands
marched to demand the scrapping of a proposed tax on Internet
The unusual mass demonstrations forced Orban to scrap the plan
in his first major policy retreat since 2010.
EU extends Atalanta anti-piracy operation to 2016
The European Union decided on Friday to extend
its Atalanta mission off the Horn of Africa until
December 2016, to face off the enduring threat of
piracy despite a marked decline in incidents.
Atalanta was launched in December 2008, when
piracy and armed robbery presented a serious
challenge to vessels using the sea route through
the Gulf of Aden.
The problem has since dropped significantly,
thanks largely to international vigilance
Atalanta’s two-year extension will cost an
estimated €14.7mn ($19mn), the European Union
Twenty-one EU member states and two other
countries currently contribute to the mission.
Man opens fire at party in Greece, wounding 11
A partygoer opened fire early yesterday on fellow
guests at a Greek nightclub, wounding 11 of them,
police said.
Three of the wounded were seriously hurt when
the man opened fire with what appeared to be a
Kalashnikov assault rifle in Piraeus near Athens,
police said.
Broadcaster Skai, quoted witnesses as saying the
man had initially been taking part in the festivities
before leaving and returning with the weapon.
His image was captured on camera, and reports
said he is someone already known to the police.
A police spokesman said investigations were
Romanian prosecutors probe crime unit chief
omanian prosecutors obtained permission on Friday to detain their own
organised crime unit chief pending a criminal investigation, the
latest in a series of high-profile
corruption cases in the eastern
European state.
Anti-corruption prosecutors
had filed a request with the judicial supervisory body to detain
Alina Bica, accused of abusing
her position in a previous role at a
government agency that restores
property seized under communism to its original owners.
Bica could not immediately be
reached. The crime unit declined
to comment.
Anti-corruption prosecutors
have earned high praise for their
efforts from the European Union,
which is keeping Romania’s justice system under special supervision and has barred the country
from its passport-free Schengen
zone until its performance improves.
Earlier this week, parliament
struck down a bill aimed at keeping politicians out of jail, bowing
to pressure from incoming president Klaus Iohannis who won an
election last weekend promising
to safeguard the rule of law.
Thousands of Romanians are
still waiting for compensation or
the return of property seized under the Communist regime that
fell in 1989.
Disputes over land ownership,
inefficiency and red tape have
stalled efforts to return the land.
Prosecutors said Bica was part
of a panel that approved the
grant of compensation in 2011
to unidentified businessmen for
13 hectares of land in Bucharest
that was deliberately overvalued
by €62.5mn ($78mn).
As a result, the businessmen
were compensated with shares
worth €89mn in restitution fund
Fondul Proprietatea , a €3.2bn
company that holds stakes in a
slew of state-owned firms.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Turkish governor
sparks outcry
The governor of the Turkish
city Edirne was under pressure
yesterday after allegedly saying
that local Jews would not be
able to use a synagogue there
because of Israel’s actions at Al
Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
The 100-year-old synagogue
is undergoing renovations and
when completed “will only serve
as a museum” Edirne Governor
Dursun Sahin was quoted by local
media as saying on Friday.
Sahin reportedly said that it was
unjust that Turkey should invest
in Jewish places of worship if
Israel was infringing on Muslim
holy sites.
The Turkish state is paying
about 3.7mn liras ($1.6mn) for
the renovations, the Dogan news
agency reported.
Tensions in Jerusalem have been
rising in recent weeks between
Palestinians and Israelis, in large
part over the site in the Old City
known as the Noble Sanctuary to
Muslims and the Temple Mount
to Jews.
Aykan Erdemir, a member of
Turkey’s parliament for the
opposition Republican People’s
Party (CHP) said Sahin should
either resign or be forced from
his job “to save the dignity of his
post and Turkey’s honour”.
Turkey’s Jewish community,
estimated to number about
26,000, has largely stayed out of
controversial political matters.
The community has asked to
be able to hold special events,
such as weddings, at the Edirne
Edirne is an ancient city in the
European part of northwestern
Lavrov accuses West of
seeking regime change
ussia’s foreign minister
has lashed out at Western nations for imposing
sanctions against it for its role in
the conflict in Ukraine, accusing
them of using the situation to try
to oust the current government
in Russia.
“They want to press for a
change of the regime,” said Sergei Lavrov during a meeting on
foreign and defence policies yesterday, according to Tass.
He said that the nature of the
West’s sanctions made clear that
it wanted more than a simple
change in Russian policy.
Furthermore, he said, the
West is not even keeping its intentions secret.
“They announce openly (that)
the sanctions should be ruining
the economy and raising people’s protests,” the foreign min-
ister said, according to Tass.
The US and European Union
have imposed several rounds
of sanctions on Moscow over
Ukraine, targeting the key energy, defence and finance sectors.
As a result, the rouble has lost
just under a third of its value
against the euro since the start
of the year.
Lavrov’s comments came as
Ukraine reported at least four
soldiers dead in the last 24 hours,
despite a shaky ceasefire in the
Donbass region.
Kiev accuses Russia of sending thousands of troops over its
border with the goal of destabilising eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has continually denied the charges.
Ukrainian media reported
yesterday that government forces had received some military aid
from the US, including radar facilities, night vision goggles and
protective vests.
Some of the aid was report-
edly delivered during the visit of
US Vice-President Joe Biden to
Ukraine on Friday.
Nato has so far refused to aid
the Ukrainian army with weapons and munitions.
charged yesterday that there
were 7,500 Russian troops in
eastern Ukraine.
In Kiev on Friday, Biden accused Russia of failing to honour a peace agreement signed
in September, which included a
now tattered ceasefire for eastern Ukraine.
“So long as that continues,
Russia will face rising costs,
greater isolation,” he added.
Some 4,300 people have been
killed in the conflict in seven
months, according to the United
Nations, including 298 who died
when Malaysia Airlines flight
MH17 was shot down in July.
Nearly 1,000 people have died
since the ceasefire came into effect.
As many as 300 Swedes could
have joined the Islamic State (IS)
insurgency, whose brutal tactics
in Iraq and Syria have shocked
the world, Sweden’s intelligence
chief said yesterday.
“A hundred cases of people who
have left to join the fighting have
been confirmed, then there are
the presumed cases ... and then
there are those that have not
been counted, which brings the
total to between 250 and 300,”
said the head of the intelligence
services, Anders Thornberg, on
SR public radio.
Thornberg said the flow of youths
leaving to become jihadists in
Syria was rapidly rising.
“A certain number of young
Swedish men are leaving and
training in camps, learning
to become terrorists to use
explosives and weapons,” he said.
“They’re going beyond the limits
of human behaviour. They’re
fighting and killing other people.”
Hundreds of Germans have
left their home country to fight
alongside jihadists in Syria and
Iraq, Interior Minister Thomas de
Maiziere said.
“We estimate 550. Just a few days
ago we had 450,” the minister
told German television channel
Phoenix on Friday. “These young
people ... were radicalised in
Germany, within this society.
That’s why prevention must be
accompanied by repression.”
Most of those who have joined
the Islamic State organisation’s
jihadist cause are men, although
some women have also travelled
to the two war-torn countries.
De Maiziere said authorities
are keeping a close watch on
some 230 more people who are
considered potential threats on
German soil.
Lavrov: (The West) announce
openly (that) the sanctions
should be ruining the economy
and raising people’s protests.
the presence of a range of other
military hardware as well.
Ukraine’s new coalition declared on Friday that joining
Nato was a priority, stipulating
that a law be passed by the end
of the year confirming the intention to push for membership.
The five-party coalition,
agreed on Friday after October
elections, features the groupings
of President Petro Poroshenko,
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and former premier Yulia
But experts play down
Ukraine’s chances of joining
Nato anytime soon.
“The idea of the alliance accepting a country in armed
conflict with Russia is science
fiction,” said Vasyl Filipchuk, a
former senior Ukrainian official
who is chairman of the International Centre for Policy Studies
in Kiev.
Ukraine’s head of security operations in the east said that 20
units of Russian “military hardware” had crossed the border
yesterday, adding that they were
en route to the rebel stronghold
of Luhansk.
Thousands march
against abortion
Up to 300 Swedes
have joined IS
550 Germans in
Syria, Iraq fighting
Lavrov’s comments came after Ukraine’s Defence Minister
Stepan Poltorak claimed Russia
had thousands of troops in the
east and vowed that the cashstrapped country would boost
its military capacity.
“The presence of 7,500 representatives of Russian armed
forces in Ukraine destabilises the
situation and prevents us from
stabilising it,” Poltorak said.
A European government
source speaking on condition of
anonymity put the number of
Russian tanks in eastern Ukraine
at 140, highlighting “pressure”
on the port city of Mariupol.
Seizing Mariupol would be
vital to any separatist plan to
create a land corridor between
the Russian border and Crimea,
a region which Russia annexed
from Ukraine earlier this year.
Ukrainian military spokesman
Andriy Lysenko said it did not
have clear figures to corroborate that number but pointed to
A supporter gestures past a banner reading ‘Every life matters’ during a march against abortion in Madrid.
Tens of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Madrid yesterday, threatening to punish the government in
elections next year unless it revives a plan to restrict women’s access to abortion. Demonstrators of all
ages from across the country marched through the capital, whistling angrily as they passed the
headquarters of the ruling Popular Party.
ens of thousands of
Spaniards rallied in Madrid yesterday, threatening to punish the government in
elections next year unless it revives a plan to restrict women’s
access to abortion.
Waving white flags with
the slogan “Every life counts”,
demonstrators of all ages from
across the country marched
through the capital, whistling
angrily as they passed the headquarters of the ruling Popular
Party (PP, also known as the
People’s Party).
“Killers! Abortionists!” some
yelled. “Yes to life, no to abortion!”
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had promised before he
was elected in 2011 to tighten
Spain’s abortion law, but he
dropped the plan last September due to disagreement within
his own party.
The architect of the reform,
Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, re-
signed as Rajoy’s justice minister.
The retreat angered many
of the party’s supporters, who
threatened to abandon him in
the general election due a year
from now.
“Rajoy, we may not vote,”
read a huge white banner at yesterday’s march.
“I am disappointed. This may
change the vote,” said Jose Vicente Romero, 50, a PP activist who travelled several hours
from Alicante with a group from
his church.
“Abortion is not a right.
Abortion is a tragedy,” said
Romero, a red and yellow Spanish flag resting on his shoulder.
would have ended a woman’s
right to freely opt for an abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, standard in much of Europe.
He proposed to allow abortion only in cases of rape reported to the police, or a medically certified threat to the
mother’s physical or psychological health.
The controversy prompted
angry street demonstrations by
supporters and opponents of
the reform.
Among yesterday’s demonstrators was Amparo Bonastre,
a 17-year-old schoolgirl who
came by bus from the eastern
city of Valencia.
“It does not affect me personally because I would never have
an abortion. But if there were a
reform, lots of people would be
allowed to live, without having
their lives cut short,” she said.
“Life must be defended.”
The anti-abortion groups
that organised the rally demanded that the government
resurrect the reform and improve adoption procedures.
“The government and its
party are betraying their electoral commitments and their
voters,” they wrote in a manifesto.
Dropping the reform “would
confirm the total lack of protection for the two victims of
abortion: the unborn child, who
lacks judicial protection, and
the mother, who is given no alternative”.
33% of women globally are victims of domestic violence: WHO
urrent efforts to prevent
domestic violence are
insufficient as a third of
women worldwide are physically
abused, according to a series of
studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) published on
Between 100mn to 140mn
women are victims of genital
mutilation and around 70mn
girls are married before 18, often
against their will.
And some 7% of women risk
being raped in their lifetimes,
the study said.
The violence, exacerbated
during conflicts and humanitarian crises, have dramatic consequences on the physical and
mental health of the victims, the
study added.
“No magic wand will eliminate violence against women
and girls. But evidence tells us
that changes in attitudes and
behaviours are possible, and
can be achieved within less than
a generation,” said Charlotte
Watts, professor at the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine and co-author.
The study says that even in
places with tough, forwardlooking laws many women are
still the victims of discrimination, violence and lack adequate
access to health and legal services.
“Early identification of women and children subjected to
violence and a supportive and
effective response can improve
women’s lives and well-being,
and help them to access vital
services,” said Claudia GarciaMoreno, a WHO physician.
The study’s authors said a real
dent can only be made in the
violence against women if governments put more resources
into the fight and recognise how
it serves as a brake on economic
World leaders should also
change discriminatory laws and
institutions that encourage inequality and thus set the stage
for more violence.
Finally, the authors wrote,
governments need to encour-
Hitler watercolour is sold
for €130,000 at auction
The watercolour painting Standesamt und Altes Rathaus Muenchen (Civil Registry Office and Old
Town Hall of Munich) which was supposedly painted by Adolf Hitler, is shown at an auction house in
Nuremberg. The work was auctioned off by the Weidler auctioneers yesterday.
1914 watercolour by Adolf
Hitler fetched €130,000
at auction in the German
city of Nuremberg yesterday, the
auctioneers said.
The buyer was a private person from the Middle East who
attended the sale in person, said
Kathrin Weidler, head of the auction house. She said there had
also been inquiries from Asia and
Standesamt und Altes Rathaus
Muenchen (Civil Registry Office
and Old Town Hall of Munich),
is one of about 2,000 works that
Hitler painted between about
1905 and 1920 as a struggling
young artist.
Asked before the auction
whether it was tasteless to auction the Nazi dictator’s works,
generally considered to be of only
limited artistic merit, Weidler
said complaints should be addressed to the sellers – two unidentified German sisters in their
Weidler said the vendors had
decided to donate around 10%
of the proceeds to a charity that
helps disabled children.
Hitler’s Nazi party held mass
rallies in Nuremberg between
1933 and 1938.
In his autobiography Mein
Kampf, he wrote that, as a young
man, his hopes of becoming an
artist had been dashed by repeated rejection by Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts.
Five other Hitler paintings
have fetched between €5,000
and €80,000 at auction.
Weidler said the original
handwritten bill of sale, dated
September 25, 1916, had come
with the painting and was a rarity
for Hitler’s art.
That also explained the relatively high selling price, Weidler
age research and rapidly put into
place measures that have been
shown to work.
“We now have some promising findings to show what works
to prevent violence. Our upcoming challenge is to expand
this evidence on prevention and
support responses to many more
settings and forms of violence,”
said Cathy Zimmerman, a doctor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Lawsuit filed over
Nazi-era art hoard
A relative of late German art
collector Cornelius Gurlitt
lodged a claim on Friday for his
inheritance, a Nazi-era art hoard
which he has bequeathed to a
Swiss museum, a spokesman
The surprise move came just
days before the Museum of
Fine Arts in Bern is expected to
reveal whether it accepts the
inheritance of the spectacular
trove of more than 1,000 pieces
amassed during the Nazi era.
Uta Werner, 86, a cousin,
appealed to a court in Munich
to be recognised as Gurlitt’s
heir, with the backing of her
children and some other family
members, the spokesman said in
a statement.
Gurlitt, who died in May aged 81,
had hoarded more than 1,000
paintings, drawings and sketches,
including masterpieces by the
likes of Picasso and Chagall.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Jama Masjid Shahi Imam’s
son anointed Naib Imam
Fadnavis hopeful of Sena
breakthrough at talks
Trinamool MP Bose
sent to CBI custody
Nagaland tribal body
urged to lift book ban
More than 65% turnout
in Rajasthan civic polls
Shaban Bukhari, the 19-year-old son of Jama
Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari, was
yesterday formally anointed the Naib Imam
(deputy Imam) of the 17th century mosque at a
ceremony here. “I announce Shaban Bukhari as
the Naib Imam of Jama Masjid. I hope that he will
live up to the expectations,” Syed Ahmed Bukhari
said during the ceremony. Shaban is pursuing
his bachelor’s degree in social work at Amity
University. The ceremony was hit by controversy
after the central government and the Wakf Board
told the Delhi High Court that the anointment was
“illegal” and had no legal sanctity. The high court,
however, refused to stay the ceremony.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
yesterday expressed confidence about a
breakthrough in talks with the Shiv Sena over
sharing power in the state. At the Hindustan
Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, Fadnavis
said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
was not mediating between the Shiv Sena and
the Bharatiya Janata Party. He said the Shiv
Sena has always been a friend and will be a
friend in the future. Referring to the trust vote
in the Maharashtra assembly, which led to the
opposition crying foul, Fadnavis said: “What we
have done is absolutely legal. If no one asked for
a division, means people agreed.”
Rejecting the bail plea of arrested Trinamool
Congress Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose,
a court yesterday sent him to CBI custody till
November 26. Bose was Friday arrested for
his prima facie involvement in the Saradha
scam on allegations of criminal conspiracy,
misappropriation of funds and deriving undue
financial benefits. While his counsel pressed for
bail contending his arrest was illegal, the court of
Chief Judicial Magistrate (in-charge) P Pradhan,
after hearing the prosecution and the defence,
remanded him to custody of the Central Bureau
of Investigation (CBI) and also directed medical
check-ups of Bose by a government doctor.
A forum of journalists in the northeast has
expressed concern over the ban on a book
written by a Dimapur-based journalist by the
apex body of the Ao tribe in Nagaland, and
urged the tribal body to withdraw the ban.
The Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed
concern over the ban on Cogitating For a Better
Deal written by journalist and Nagaland Page
editor Monalisa Changkija. The ban was imposed
by the Ao Senden, the apex body of the Ao
tribe which is responsible for their welfare in
Nagaland. Changkija, who also belongs to the
Ao tribe, said it was not her intention to hurt
anyone’s sentiments through her writings.
Over 65% of 6.32mn voters cast their votes
in yesterday’s elections for 46 civic bodies
in Rajasthan including the Jaipur Municipal
Corporation. The voting percentage was higher
than 61.79% recorded five years back. “The voting
was more or less peaceful. As per tentative
figures, 65.66% voting was recorded. Only minor
incidents like fights between supporters of
political parties and allegations of bogus voting
were reported from some of the places,” a senior
official of the state election commission told IANS.
Besides Jaipur, the other municipal corporations
where elections were held included Jodhpur,
Udaipur, Bikaner, Kota and Bharatpur.
Artists from 30 nations
head to Kochi biennale
By Ashraf Padanna
Biennale artists Riyas Komu and Jitesh Kallat address a press conference in Kochi.
gin with an innovatively conceived
thayambaka ensemble and dish out a
string of art forms ranging from classical to folk to contemporary across
central Kerala, North Malabar, Canara
and eastern India before culminating
in end-March with a theatre festival.
They include Kathakali, Nangiarkoothu, Chavittu Natakam, ghazals
and a Mappila Festival from Kerala
besides Yakshagana of Karnataka and
Chhau dance from Jharkhand — in 10
venues, said performing-arts fete curator ‘Keli’ Ramachandran.
A special interactive sequence titled ‘A Day with the Artist’ will feature
both veterans and prodigies in the respective fields.
Thrissur-born K Ramachandran,
Kerala elderly check into
medical-care centres
By Sanu George, IANS
ith their children working abroad and with no
family member to look
after them, more and more elderly from rich families in Kerala are
checking into nursing centres.
Thomas (name changed) is one of
She is at a plush geriatric centre
in Kochi, lying in a vegetative state
for months. Her only daughter flies
from Britain every 45 days to see
Thomas has been at the centre ever since her husband passed
away nearly a decade ago. And for
her daughter, this has been the
There are many more rich elderly in the state passing their sunset
years in such centres. Their children live abroad and are too busy to
take care of their aged parents.
Mathew George and his wife
have two children abroad. When
the couple found it tough to manage things on their own, they had
little choice but to leave their home
near Thiruvalla and move to a geriatric centre in Kottayam district.
George is barely able to manage
on his own. His wife suffers from
dementia. They are now being
looked after by the professionally-qualified nurses at the old age
Nearly 15.3% of Kerala’s 32mn
people are the elderly. This means
New Delhi
he second edition of India’s art
biennale, the Kochi-Muziris
Biennale, will begin in the Kerala port city on December 12 featuring
94 artists from 30 countries.
Mumbai-based Jitish Kallat is curator of the new edition named Whorled
Explorations while Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, the foundercurators of the 2012 show, will remain
as chief organisers of the event at
multiple venues.
The 108-day “Whorled Explorations” will also be accompanied by a
four-month cultural shows of some
650 traditional performers at 10 venues and a series of talks and seminars conceived by the Kochi Biennale
Foundation, besides a parallel ‘Student’s Biennale’.
The Student’s Biennale opening on
December 13, will feature works of
students from government-run art
colleges across India led by young curators accompanied by performances,
collateral events, interactive projects
and films.
Addressing a news conference in
Kochi, Komu and Kallat said the performing-arts festival will showcase
the country’s rich heritage across region and centuries, collaborating with
25 cultural groups.
“An array of theatre, dance, music,
percussion and literary programmes
cutting across different cultural aesthetics of India’s south and north
from ancient to medieval to modern
times will unveil from next week,”
they said.
The venues are identified in Ernakulam and adjoining Thrissur district that trace a cultural commonality to the long-lost port of Muziris
which currently borders them and the
modern port city of Kochi which also
sports its rich heritage.
The cultural segment will be-
Doval says
fewer than
10 Indians
joining IS
there are over 4.5mn people in the
state above 60 years of age.
In a study titled ‘Situation of
Elderly in Kerala: Evidences from
Kerala Ageing Survey 2014’, done
by S Irudayarajan and U S Misra of
the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Kerala has added 1mn
elderly every year since the census
of 1981.
They also said that 2.36mn Keralites lived abroad. Of them, 90%
were in the Middle East.
It is hardly surprising then that
more and more elderly in need of
nursing are left alone to fend for
A Christian priest who preferred
anonymity told IANS that the rich
in Kerala, especially in the central
districts, face loneliness.
“Many thought the rich will not
have problems because money can
buy anything. But I have seen that
children of not so rich families care
more for their aged parents,” the
priest told IANS.
Now, there is a rush to get a
place in a good old age home. The
charges range from Rs500,000 and
above for one person for a five-year
stay. Besides, Rs.4,000 and more
is also charged in addition to the
medical bills.
Irudayarajan spoke of another
reason why the elderly go to care
“The elderly prefer to have their
freedom instead of being controlled by their children. In some cases, when they have the resources,
they opt to go into plush old age
homes,” Irudayarajan told IANS.
who has been running the ‘Keli’ cultural forum in Mumbai for the past
quarter century, said his curation
sought to ensure that the upcoming
festival presented the essence of each
“Today’s art world often faces dilution in the name of improvisation and
KMB’s cultural segment is a strong
check to this trend,” he said.
Komu, who is KMB’s director of
programmes, said the cultural segment this time highlighted festivals
as a mirror to tradition than showcasing individual artistry which was the
chief feature of a similar endeavour in
the 2012 edition of the biennale.
“No other biennales of the world
give prominence to performing arts as
we do at the Kochi-Muziris,” he said.
Kallat said the locals and visitors
to the biennale could engage with it
through a variety of cultural and intellectual platforms beyond the central ‘Whorled Explorations’ exhibition he has curated.
“While the cultural segment adds to
their reaching out, the shows also ensure reinterpretation of traditional arts
in a contemporary context,” he said.
Works of artists have started coming in from different parts of India and
abroad. They include Franceso Clemente, Anish Kapoor, Christian Waldvogel, KG Subramanyan, Sudhir Patwardhan, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh,
Adrian Paci, Andrew Ananda Voogel,
Wan Lai-Kuen, Aram Saroyan, Christian Waldvogel, Daniel Boyd, David
Horvitz, Dinh Q Lê, Shahpour Pouyan,
Shumon Ahmed, Sissel Tolaas, Theo
Eshetu, Wendelien van Oldenborgh,
William Kentridge, Wim Delvoye, Xu
Bing, Yang Zhenzhong and Yoko Ono.
The patrons include Sultan Sooud
al-Qassemi, TV Narayanan Kutty,
John Abraham, Galfar P Mohamed
Ali, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Anju Shah,
Feroze and Mohit Gujral, Geeta Kapur
and Vivan Sundaram, Priya Paul, Rami
Farook, Sangita Jindal, Sunita and Vijay Choraria, Aarti and Amit Lohia,
Kalpana Shah, Nicoletta Fiorucci and
Pheroza Godrej.
The maiden biennale received
roughly 400,000 footfalls. The visitors included John Abraham and
Mammootty, besides a host of filmmakers, stars and entrepreneurs.
The organizers expect the number
of visitors to touch a million.
Top Kerala bureaucrat
suspended over graft
By Ashraf Padanna
erala has suspended a senior
bureaucrat from service after
anti-corruption sleuths found
him having accumulated assets disproportionate to his source of income.
The southern state’s Vigilance
and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB)
found irregularities during raids on
houses of T O Sooraj, secretary of the
works department, in the state capital
and the port city of Kochi since Thursday.
During the preliminary probe,
Sooraj could not reportedly show the
source for assets worth Rs18.3mn to
the VACB officials, who quizzed him
for about three hours in Kochi.
His investments during the past ten
years are under the VACB scanner.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy,
who made it compulsory for all ministers and officials to reveal their assets
and published them on the government website every year, cleared his
suspension yesterday morning.
Sooraj was the director of industries for five years when veteran Marxist leader V S Achuthanandan was
the chief minister (2006-11). He also
worked under other ministers before
shifted to the works under Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’s V K Ibrahim Kunju.
The IUML has distanced itself from
the raids and disciplinary action saying the VACB was acting independ-
T O Sooraj ... claiming innocence.
ently while Kunju said he should have
been “cautious” while picking up officers.
Sooraj said he was being targeted for
some other reasons and he would expose those who “pretend to be great”.
He threatened to reveal whatever he
knew about them, if pushed to a corner and put under a shadow while others walk free.
“I know many things (about such
deals of officials). I can also gather
more evidences (against them),” he
told reporters here, adding that he had
explained the source of wealth, including his wife and son.
He was the second top official to
face suspension after Rahul R Nair, a
young superintendent of police (SP),
for allegedly taking a Rs1.7mn bribe
to reopen a quarry shut for ecological
Chandy said the government would
neither victimise any officer or protect
those who involved in illegal activities.
“The law would take its own course.
I am not in a position to tell anything
more about it,” he said in Kochi.
The case is now before the VACB
court in Thrissur, which authorised
the raids this week. All the five squads
that conducted searches on different premises of Sooraj and his family
members had filed separate reports.
They reportedly include 140 seized
documents such as title deeds of
properties and evidence of bank transactions.
His department awards road contracts worth billions of rupees every
year through e-tendering. No irregularities in any such specific case was
reported by the investigators so far.
He had also faced charges of failure
to act on information that he received
as the district collector of Kozhikode
about the 2003 Marad riots, in which
eight Hindu fishermen were hacked to
death in a swift attack on the beach.
But no action was initiated against
him by successive governments.
“There is strong evidence against
him. The action against him is neither vindictive nor prejudiced,” Home
Minister Ramesh Chennithala said.
“Vigilance is not a caged parrot. They
will go ahead with the probe against
ational Security Adviser (NSA)
Ajit Doval said yesterday there
were fewer than 10 cases of Indian
youth wanting to join the Islamic State and
Muslim leaders in India had unanimously
come out against the jihadist group.
Addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Doval also said Pakistan
was “using terrorism as an instrument of
state policy” and that India will have to
prepare for a “two-front war” - one engaged diplomatically and economically
with the two nuclear-armed neighbours,
China and Pakistan, and also build up its
On cases of Indian youth being drawn
to the IS, he said: “We know for certain at
least five or six cases where some youth
showed inclination, but their parents
went to police and the intelligence agencies and sought their help to prevent their
wards from joining the IS.”
He said there were two confirmed cases
- one of a youth who died and of another
youth. But the total number was below 10.
Doval said the most important factor
was that Muslim leaders unanimously denounced the jihadist group.
“Not even one Muslim religious leader
has supported the IS. All of them have issued fatwas against it, saying it is wrong
and given a very, very strong message
against it, and that it should not be done,”
he said.
The former top intelligence official said
he very strongly feels that despite the
threat posed by the IS and the Al Qaeda
and their wish to bleed India, “the inherent strength of the country is so strong
that it is not going to degrade the country”.
“Indian society has taken it in its stride.
They can bleed us, but if anyone thinks
India has been degraded, it is mistaken,
India’s inherent strength is beyond physical,” he said.
Mentioning Pakistan and China, he said
“the two are nuclear powers, both do not
have any representative democratic form
of government, both have adversity towards India”.
He said the focus was on increased economic engagement with China and Pakistan, and also to use soft power, without
losing out in national security interest.
He said the electioneering in Kashmir
for the assembly polls was peaceful and
there has been least violence in the state
so far.
“Pakistan is using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. We have to prepare for a situation of two-front war. The
challenge is to engage them diplomatically, create economic interdependence,
and engage in various other fields, and at
the same time build our deterrence capability.”
To a question on construction activities by China in Pakistan-administered
Kashmir, he said India has taken up the issue with both countries from time to time,
“and the government should prepare itself
for related consequences”.
He said cyber space was increasingly
becoming the new front for war.
“Increasingly depending on modern
means of communication, of transferring money, even chemical and biological weapons... we have to be prepared for
He said India will have to focus on technological upgrade, especially indigenous
to meet future challenges.
On upgrading of the weapons systems,
Doval said, “it is not a matter of great
pride” to be called the largest weapons
importer in the world. “It is a matter of
great disgrace.”
He said the most important factor will
be if India achieves nine% economic
growth, which will “ensure sustainable
surpluses to provide for forces, a strong
economy will serve the country”.
For this, manufacturing should be given
highest priority as that will fetch highest
number of jobs.
“India is at the cross roads, globally
there is an environment where people
want India to rise, people want to engage
with India, and wants us to address their
issues. We should make use of this opportunity”, he said.
Doval said the present government was
“strong with considerable clout in the
international arena” with a large youth
population and a huge diaspora.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
India for more
in UN Security
Council working
United Nations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally in Kishtwar, some 250km from Jammu.
End dynastic rule
in Kashmir: Modi
rime Minister Narendra Modi
yesterday exhorted people
in this Jammu and Kashmir
town to unshackle themselves from
the yoke of dynastic rule and promised to make the state the “ultimate
tourist destination in the world”.
Modi said that Jammu and Kashmir had been held hostage by two
families for over 50 years - without
naming either the Congress or the
National Conference.
“One family rules and robs the
state for five years and then after
it becomes unpopular, it gives the
power to rob the state to the other
family. They have done a political
match fixing between themselves.
“I appeal to you to unshackle
yourselves from the yoke of this
dynastic rule,” said Modi while addressing a well-attended Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) poll rally here.
He asked people to vote for the
BJP in large numbers so that the next
government in the state is formed by
the BJP on its own strength.
The state will see a staggered fivephase elections that begins November 25 and ends December 20. The
votes will be counted December 23.
Modi spoke of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision
for the state, asserting he would use
all his power to realize that dream.
“I have a vision for Jammu and
Kashmir and that vision is based on
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision of Insaniyat, Jumhooriyat and Kashmiriyat.
“There were times when Kutch
district in Gujarat was the most
backward area of the country...I
learnt a great thing by visiting
Kutch. I had then recently taken
over as the chief minister of Gujarat.
I met people there who told me they
were fed up of repeated speeches by
politicians about the looming threat
from across the border.”
He added that “people there
wanted me to speak to them about
development and progress in their
lives. I learnt there that power of
this vision in Kutch. Today Kutch is
the fastest developing district of the
India invites bids for huge
$2.4bn artillery contract
New Delhi
ndia yesterday invited bids for a
$2.4bn artillery deal while deferring a
decision on acquiring 106 Swiss Pilatus aircraft for fighter pilot training.
The bid for 814 mounted guns is the
first big artillery tender in nearly three
decades since the scandal-hit Swedish
Bofors guns deal in 1987.
The Defence Acquisition Council,
which clears high-value military procurements, issued the tender after holding its first meeting under new Defence
Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The high-value bid comes as India
seeks to replace its old 105mm light field
guns with a mix of towed, mounted and
wheeled artillery.
“The minister took stock and stressed
on fast and transparent acquisitions,” a
source in the defence ministry told AFP.
But a decision to acquire basic aircraft
trainers from Switzerland “was deferred
to a later date”, the source said.
India, the world’s largest buyer of
weapons, had signed a deal for 75 Pilatus
Basic Trainer Aircraft in 2012 and has inducted 53 of them till now.
In March, the ministry issued a “request for information” for the procurement of an additional 106 trainers under
its “buy and make” procurement category.
Under this provision, some equipment
is bought from abroad and the rest is
made domestically.
India’s government is keen on such arrangements as they involve technology
transfers and boost local manufacturing.
India is in the midst of revamping its
ageing military equipment and recently
lifted a cap on foreign investment in defence.
India’s right-wing government, which
swept to power in May, has pledged to
streamline and speed up the procurement
process which was hit by delays and corruption allegations during the previous
Congress coalition.
“It produces more electric power
than the entire state of J&K. If Kutch
can prosper, so can Kashmir. I have
come to seek your cooperation to
realize that dream for Kashmir.”
The prime minister said that development is his mantra for the entire country.
Noting that the fastest growing industry in the world today is
tourism industry, he said: “I have
to bring back Bollywood to Kashmir. I have to bring back tourism to
the state and I have to make J&K the
ultimate tourist destination in the
He spoke of the rehabilitation of
refugees who came here from Pakistan after 1947 and are living in
Aiming high!
ressing ahead with its calls for reforming the UN Security Council and
expanding its membership, India has
called for more transparency in its workings,
accountability and openess to participation
by the world body’s membership, especially
in mandating peacekeeping operations.
India’s permanent representative Asoke
Kumar Mukerji told the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday that the member states should be able to know how the
Council’s “decisions were reached, the sensitivities with which such decisions were
taken, and whether the working procedures
of the Council were applied consistently.”
Addressing the “widely held perception
that the Council uses different standards to
deal with terrorism,” Mukerji said that “it
would benefit the Council to have regular
interactive sessions with member states to
address these issues.”
As examples, he cited Council’s September resolution in foreign terrorist fighters
in September and a Presidential Statement
Thursday, and the endorsement of a policy
of “zero tolerance” for terrorism. “It is not
clear to us as to what are the working procedures applied within the Council when
it deliberates on how to counter terrorism,
which is becoming the single biggest threat
to the maintenance of international peace
and security,” he said.
He drew attention to the closed in style
of the Council’s decision-making process
and said that although nations that are not
members of the Council are allowed under
the charter to participate in its debates,
the Council resolutions or the Presidential
Statements had already been decided on
even before hearing their views. “This reduces our participation to mere tokenism,”
he said.
For improving the functioning of the
Council, Mukerji said, “a comprehensive
reform of the Council, especially expansion
in both the permanent and non-permanent
categories is required” because involving
more member states in the Council’s decision making process “will make it more
transparent, credible, legitimate and representative.”
With more than 8,000 Indian personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations, New Delhi has a special concern over
how the Council issues mandates for their
deployments. Mukerji urged the council
to consult with the nations contributing
troops as provided for in the UN Charter.
“The danger of using the UN peacekeepers to tackle what are essentially internal
conflicts or law and order problems need
not be overemphasised,” Mukerji said. “In
many member states, the use of the military
for dealing with law and order problems is
strictly regulated by law. This must be reflected in the Council as well, especially
when the provisions of the UN Charter do
not, in our view, allow such misuse of our
He said not only how the peacekeeping mandates are formulated, but also how
they are changed midstream are matters of
concern and cited the case of the Mission in
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco), where Indian troops are deployed.
Initially Monusco’s mandate was to protect civilians and humanitarian and human rights workers. In March last year, the
Council expanded the mandate and ordered
the creation of Intervention Brigades - units
that carry out offensive operations against
militias. This marked a major change in
peacekeeping operations with deployment
of special units that take on an offensive role
in a departure from the traditional defensive
Indian troops are not a part of Intervention Brigades, but still face heightened
danger. Mukerji said, “The implication of
having intervention and traditional peacekeeping units under one command with no
differentiation in physical appearance is
that it would invite attacks on peacekeepers.”
At least four Indians have been killed in
UN’s Congo operations.
Thousands head to view
saint’s relics in Goa
A wild elephant tries to reach for a branch in a tea garden in
Sonitpur district of Assam. Five people have been killed by
the herd in the last two months and it has destroyed a large
area of ripe paddy fields.
housands of Catholic pilgrims descended yesterday on the Indian
coastal state of Goa to witness the
once-a-decade exposition of the relics of
a 16th century Spanish missionary.
Devotees from around the world
formed a queue of more than one kilometre long to venerate the relics of St Francis
Xavier, which are on display until January
4 in the former Portuguese colony.
After a celebratory mass led by Indian
archbishops, the relics were taken in a procession from the Basilica of Bom Jesus in the
historic city of Old Goa, where they are permanently housed, to the nearby Se Cathedral.
Thousands had lined up to kiss the
relics even before the procession began,
amid tight security. “I felt peace and happiness,” said 25-year-old Russian tourist
Maria Stoikava.
The main feast day of St Francis Xavier
is on December 3, when visitor numbers
are expected to peak, and masses have
been arranged in various European and
Indian languages.
“With Spain being the birth place of St
Francis Xavier, a special mass in Spanish is
also scheduled on December 3,” said Father
Alfred Vaz, convenor of the exposition.
Organisers say they expect more than
5mn visitors over the month, mostly from
European and South Asian countries.
“In the days to come you will see many
pilgrims travelling here for the exposition,” said Francis Antao, an Indian pilgrim from the southern state of Kerala.
Father Vaz said arrangements had been
made to ensure that the pilgrims did not
feel rushed.
“After kissing the relics, they can be
there for few minutes before proceeding
further. We have decided to make sure
that the pilgrims are given abundant opportunity to see the relics,” he said.
One of the first Jesuit missionaries,
Francis Xavier worked extensively in Asia,
especially within the Portuguese empire
of the time, and was canonised in 1622.
Locals muck in for cleaner communities here
rmed with rakes, shovels
and carts, a group of residents in a suburb of the
northern Indian city of Ghaziabad
head purposefully for an unsightly corner of their neighbourhood.
With loud music blaring to spur
them on, the two-dozen-strong
team tackles the neglected patch
with zeal, transforming it over
the course of the morning from an
overgrown eyesore, strewn with
litter, to a clear open space.
“In this sector there has been
a complete social revolution,”
says Gireesh Sharma, one of the
founders of the group known as
the “Cleaning Express”, which
has been organising weekly tidying sessions in their local area for
the past 15 months. “People now
hate dirt. They stop each other
from throwing litter.”
Woman leaves husband’s house for lack of toilet
A woman in a Bihar village has
left her husband’s house after he
failed to construct a toilet.
She has returned to her parents’ house and made it clear that
she will not return until the toilet
is built. She has also submitted
a written petition at a women’s
police station here demanding
her husband construct a toilet.
Babli Devi, 20, left the house
early this week at Bikram in
Patna district after her repeated
demands to construct a toilet was
ignored by her husband Rakesh
“When my husband refused to
construct a toilet, I left his house.
It is matter of respect, honour and
hygiene,” said Babli who is being
supported by her parents.
Capturing this spirit, and triggering a mass movement for cleanliness
They made it clear to their sonin-law that their daughter will not
return till he constructs a toilet.
Babli was married to Sharma last
year. He works as a carpenter. “At
the time of our marriage, Sharma
promised to construct a toilet but
he is yet to construct it,” she said.
Babli said she tried to convince
her husband when she came in
the house as a newly-wed bride.
But he neglected her request and
beat her up for this demand.
She said it is a shame for a
woman to defecate outside. “A
toilet is must for every home. I
with my sister-in-law and motherin-law were forced to move to an
open field every day under the
cover of darkness to defecate,”
she said.
in a densely populated country of
1.2bn people, is the aim of the gov-
ernment’s “Clean India” campaign.
It was launched with fanfare
last month by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, who took to the
streets himself with a broom to
urge all citizens to take part.
Promising millions in central
government funding for the drive
to get the nation clean in time for
the 150th anniversary of the birth
of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019,
Modi has said eradicating filth is
a patriotic duty.
But the Ghaziabad activists say
despite their efforts in their community, the rest of the city suffers
from inadequate infrastructure
to collect and dispose of waste.
“We have very limited landfill
sites... we don’t have any place
in the colonies (residential areas)
where garbage can be dumped
properly,” said Rakesh Kumar
Singh, Ghaziabad’s municipal
“We will need more dumping
grounds and processing plants,
we will require lots of land,” he
said, referring to the challenges
resulting from rapid growth in
the city’s population, which already numbers close to 2mn.
Critics of the government’s
cleanliness drive say it glosses
over the connection between
sanitation and India’s caste system, with its rigid hierarchy of
social groups and their associated traditional occupations.
Campaigners say it fails to acknowledge that filthy cleaning
tasks, including separating rubbish and clearing drains and gutters, fall exclusively to those at the
very bottom of the caste spectrum.
“As long as you have this
caste-ist mindset, thinking
there is someone else to clean, no
campaign can get success in this
country,” says Bezwada Wilson,
founder of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, which works to free
sanitation workers from their hereditary roles.
Volunteers from the ‘Safai Express’ load debris onto a cart after
cleaning an area in Ghaziabad.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Brazil alters flight number
on clairvoyant crash call
Colombian man arrested in
case of child drug mule
Cubans sail from Caymans,
heading to Honduras
Volcano of Fire blows huge
ash cloud in Mexico
Criminal probe closed
against Bogota mayor
Brazilian airline TAM changed one of its flight
numbers after a renowned clairvoyant predicted
a plane bearing the original number would crash
shortly after takeoff. Jucelino Nobrega da Luz, who
says he predicted the deaths of Princess Diana
and Brazilian racing legend Ayrton Senna, told
authorities flight JJ3720, set to depart Wednesday
from Sao Paulo to Brasilia, would develop engine
trouble and crash on Sao Paulo’s main Paulista
drag. TAM changed the flight code to JJ4732
after receiving what it termed “indispensable
information”. Nobrega da Luz had earlier claimed
as predicting the August death in a plane crash of
presidential candidate Eduardo Campos.
A Colombian father was arrested Friday on
suspicion of forcing his 11-year-old daughter to
swallow 104 cocaine-filled capsules and trying to
use her as a drugs mule. On the run since the girl
was hospitalized last week, Diego Fernando Mancilla
Aguilar was sought on charges of attempted
murder, using a minor to commit a crime and for
drug trafficking, prosecutors said. Last weekend, the
girl complained of pain when she returned to her
mother’s house after spending time with her father.
Doctors found that she had 500-600gm of cocaine
inside her. According to authorities, the girl was
supposed to have flown to Europe - probably Spain with the capsules in her body.
A group of 15 Cuban migrants waved to
onlookers as they set sail from Grand Cayman
aboard a 14-foot homemade boat on Friday
after a brief overnight stop, hoping to make the
risky 700km journey across the Caribbean to
the north coast of Honduras. The boat, made
from metal and fiberglass with inner tubes
attached to wooden outriggers, was carrying
five woman and 10 men and set off last week
from Manzanillo, in eastern Cuba. Three other
passengers abandoned the journey and turned
themselves over to Cayman authorities for
repatriation to Cuba. Cuban officials have not
commented on the illegal boat departures.
An explosion on western Mexico’s Volcano of
Fire blew out a giant column of ash on Friday
that rained down on some towns. The ash
cloud rose 5km above the volcano in the state
of Colima, but posed no immediate threat
to the population, national civil protection
coordinator Luis Felipe Puente said. The ash
cloud travelled a distance of 25km, and a “light
ash fall” was reported in a town in Colima and
two others in the neighbouring state of Jalisco,
Puente told Foro television. An explosion had
been expected ever since a dome formed
inside the crater in January 2013, and the
formation needed to break, Puente said.
Colombian prosecutors closed a criminal
investigation Friday into Bogota’s mayor, who was
temporarily removed from office last year following
a months-long battle in court. Gustavo Petro, a
former leader of the now defunct M-19 guerrilla
group, was elected to serve as mayor of Bogota,
home to 7mn people, from 2012 to 2016. “The
closing of the criminal investigation against me is
a triumph for all of Bogota. For a democratic and
progressive Bogota,” Petro said on Twitter. Petro,
himself a former guerrilla, had argued that his
removal from office would undermine confidence
in peace talks currently under way between the
Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels.
Mexico president for
swift judicial reform
Mexico City
mbattled President Enrique Peña
Nieto called on Mexico’s states
on Friday to swiftly adopt steps to
modernise the justice system as he tries
to defuse mass protests over the apparent
massacre of 43 trainee teachers.
Peña Nieto is facing the deepest crisis of
his presidency after the students’ abduction in late September by rogue police in
league with drug gang members shone a
light on chronic corruption and impunity.
Those woes have been compounded
by a conflict-of-interest scandal after
his family home was found to belong to a
company that was part of a Chinese-led
consortium awarded a major high speed
rail contract.
“Society is rightly sick of feeling vulnerable. It is tired of impunity and crime,”
Peña Nieto said on Friday, vowing to push
for a more transparent, trustworthy justice system in Mexico. “The Mexican
state has a decades-old debt with its citizens, and it’s time to pay it.”
In 2008, Congress approved a reform
that sought to modernise the judicial system, setting a 2016 deadline for Mexico’s
32 states to end behind-closed-doors
trials and implement public proceedings
where prosecutors and defenders present
However, with less than two years to go
until the deadline, only a handful of states
have fully or even partially implemented
the measures.
A recent survey by the national statistics agency found that the vast majority of crimes went either unreported or
uninvestigated in Mexico last year, with
most people saying they remained silent
due to a lack of faith in authorities.
Police are frequently accused of drumming up evidence or torturing suspects to
win convictions. And drug gangs often pay
off police in local forces across the country.
“I want to call on the state attorney generals’ offices as well as legislative and judicial powers to accelerate the implementation of the new national penal code,” Peña
Nieto said, cautioning however that the
system would not change overnight.
While promising changes, Peña Nieto
vowed on Friday that he would not allow
the protests “to be abducted by those who
act with violence and vandalism”.
People with missing relatives stand with shovels around mass graves discovered last month in La Joya, on the outskirts of
Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico.
Former police chief arrested over abduction, murders of students
A former police chief in Cocula, the Mexican
town where witnesses say 43 missing students were massacred, was arrested for allegedly participating in handing the young
men over to a criminal gang, prosecutors
said Friday.
Cesar Nava Gonzalez was arrested on
November 16, the statement said, calling
the former official a “member of the Guerreros Unidos criminal organization.”
The teacher college students’ disappearance and presumed slaughter has
infuriated Mexicans fed up with corruption,
impunity and a drug war that has left more
than 100,000 people dead or missing since
Lawyer Vidulfo Rosales, who represents
the parents of the missing students, said
the families were told earlier Friday of the
latest arrest at a briefing with officials.
The students were taken on September
26, after the mayor of the city of Iguala allegedly ordered police to confront students,
sparking a night of violence that also left six
people dead.
Members of the Guerreros Unidos drug
gang have told investigators they killed the
students and burned the bodies after police
had handed them over.
Then-police chief Nava Gonzales, who
had been on the run since soon after the
crime came to light, has confessed to
responding to a call from the Iguala police
chief on the night of September 26, to help
with detaining the students, said lawyer
Nava Gonzales said he helped take the
students to the entrance of his town to
deliver them to the Guerrero Unidos cartel,
Rosales said.
Iguala’s police chief remains at large, but
the Iguala mayor and his wife have both
been arrested.
Prosecutors accuse the mayoral couple
of colluding with the gang and ordering the
attack over fears the students would disrupt a speech by the mayor’s wife, who was
head of the local child protection agency.
Officials have stopped short of declaring
the students dead, pending an Austrian
university’s DNA tests on charred bones.
Federal authorities continue to search for
them in Guerrero.
Highlighting their deep distrust of the
authorities, families of the missing say they
will only trust DNA test results from independent foreign forensic experts.
Petrobras scandal
undermines Rousseff
Sao Paolo
month after winning reelection, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is
battling the toughest of starts to
her second term with a huge corruption scandal at state-owned
oil giant Petrobras threatening to
engulf her government.
Investigators are looking into
claims by a detained former
Petrobras director that politicians, mostly presidential allies, received billions of dollars
in kickbacks financed by cash
creamed from inflated contracts.
There is no suggestion Rousseff was involved in the money-making scheme and she has
vowed to support the wideranging investigation.
But analysts warn the scandal
is in danger of overshadowing her
priorities - top of which are reviving an economy bogged down
in recession and cementing welfare advances from her first term,
while Brazil is also in desperate
need of infrastructure upgrades.
“This is the biggest corruption
case in the country’s history, its
political and economic consequences remain unpredictable,”
Gil Castello Branco, head of Brazil’s Open Accounts transparency watchdog, told AFP.
The alleged payment of nearly
$4bn in kickbacks to the ruling
Workers Party (PT) and other
political parties, as well as executives of construction companies and intermediaries, has
dwarfed a cash-for-payments
scandal of a decade ago.
That first scandal, dubbed
“Mensalao” - or monthly stipend - involved cash payments
totalling $50mn to persuade
politicians to back government
As a result, 25 people, including a clutch of top PT officials,
were jailed.
But the snowballing Petrobras
case is in an entirely different
Just before she secured her
election win last month in a bitter run-off, a conservative magazine published allegations by
detained former Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa accusing Rousseff - a former Petrobras
board chair - of knowing about
the kickbacks.
She denied it and vowed
Thursday not to interfere with
the wide-ranging investigation.
“I do not have, never have had
and never will have any tolerance
for corruptors or the corrupt. We
want the investigation to be total,”
she said, vowing that “Brazil will
emerge much stronger from this
process, for having respected the
rules of the state of law we live in.”
Despite her combative response, new allegations emerge
daily regarding a scandal which
Costa says saw “political agents,”
including PT officials and members of coalition allies, receive
three% of the value of overpriced contracts.
Some of his evidence to a judge
found its way onto YouTube.
“The accusations negatively
impact expectations regarding
the economy,” Rafael Cortez,
analyst with Tendencias consultancy, told AFP.
“They can affect hoped-for
investment in infrastructure,” a
major second-term challenge for
Rousseff with Brazil in dire need
of road, port and airport upgrades, Cortez noted, especially
with the eyes of the world turning to Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
“If some 70 politicians - senators, lawmakers, governors - are
implicated this will surely make
life difficult for a government
which needs political calm in
2015 to refloat the economy and
regain business confidence,” said
Ricardo Ribeiro of consultancy
The Petrobras affair comes
with the world’s seventh-largest
economy in recession, facing rising inflation as growth hovers
close to zero.
Rousseff has yet to unveil her
new cabinet - the market notably
awaits a new finance minister it
hopes will set a new, less interventionist, course.
When the Petrobras scandal
first broke, politicians queued up
to deny involvement.
But as more information has
emerged following a swathe of
arrests of businessmen “the
political community has shuddered,” says Igor Grielow, columnist with Folha daily newspaper.
As yet, the dozens detained
have not given political names.
That will only follow later probably next year - in the Supreme Court.
Jungle-covered Choco at heart of Colombia crisis
Quibdo, Colombia
hoco, the remote jungle region
where the FARC guerrillas captured a prominent Colombian
general, is resource-rich, cash-poor
and one of the areas hardest hit by 50
years of conflict.
The densely forested department,
which sits on the country’s Pacific
coast, is a microcosm of the problems
fuelling Latin America’s oldest conflict.
The poorest region in Colombia, it
languishes at the margin of the government’s control, a haven for numerous
rebel groups and drug gangs.
Las Mercedes, the small village
where General Ruben Alzate was captured last Sunday with a corporal and
an adviser - throwing Colombia’s
peace talks into crisis - is a tropical
paradise covered in lush vegetation but
lacking running water and electricity.
Locals have been surprised to find
themselves thrust into the centre of a
peace process they say is far removed
from their daily reality.
“In Choco, we’re living a different
situation than the rest of Colombia. We
don’t even realize there are peace negotiations happening,” said Juan Barreto,
the Catholic bishop of the regional
capital Quibdo.
“It’s an isolated region that’s very
vulnerable to violence because of its
poverty and abandonment by the
The population of Choco is mostly
black and more than 60% live in poverty.
They mostly survive on fishing,
farming and small-scale gold mining.
The dense tropical terrain has made
the region a haven for rebels. That plus
the proliferation of illegal mining and
the good climate for growing coca, the
raw ingredient for cocaine, also make it
attractive to drug gangs.
Choco has been particularly battered by the five-decade conflict that
has killed more than 220,000 people
and displaced more than 5mn since the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s foundation as a Marxist rebel
group in 1964.
In 2014 alone, 8,000 residents have
been forced to flee their homes because
of violence, according to officials.
“We know how to survive without
much here. But now people are afraid
to even go out and get food. They’re
afraid we’ll be displaced again like in
1999, when the whole village emptied
out and we all went to Quibdo,” said Las
Mercedes resident Senen Mosquera, 51.
Mosquera was referring to the time
an official publicly thanked the local
community for helping the military
capture nine members of one of Colombia’s since-disbanded right-wing
paramilitary groups.
The comments sparked attacks by
the captured fighters’ comrades that
forced the entire village to flee.
Villagers are nervous this history
could repeat itself, since the government has said that General Alzate was
ambushed by armed guerrillas hidden
inside people’s houses.
In Las Mercedes, as in other villages
in the area, people interrupt their conversations whenever a motorboat approaches on the river.
In this region of few roads, the Atrato
River is the main highway, and attacks,
when they come, tend to come from the
General Alzate, the head of a task
force charged with fighting rebels, drug
traffickers and illegal mining in the
region, was visiting a civilian energy
project by boat when he was captured.
His supporters in the region said Alzate had shown an interest in more than
just the military side of the job since
being named to the post last December.
“Since then he had been traveling
around the region and getting to know
our reality from the inside,” said Quibdo Mayor Zulia Mena - who said the
general could often be seen wearing civilian clothes for such visits, as he was
at the time of his capture.
“He said his biggest contribution
must be to fight injustice.”
But that is a tall order in Choco,
where “whoever has a gun faces off
against whoever doesn’t,” said Fanny
Salas, a local resident and community
leader. “You can’t stop a bullet with
A Colombian police officer frisks a motorcyclist in Quibdo.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Pakistan Air Force
plane crash kills pilot
Pakistan detains 60
Indian fishermen
Taliban claim Karachi
attack on political camp
Sindh begins enforcement
against tax defaulters
A pilot with the Pakistan Air Force was killed
when his plane crashed in the southern city
of Karachi, officials said late Friday. “Squadron
leader Tanveer Ahmed embraced martyrdom
when a Miraj aircraft crashed near Gadap Town
around 30 nautical miles from Karachi (around
55km north of Karachi),” Air Commodore Tariq
Mehmood, a spokesman for the Pakistan Air
Force said. He said the pilot was on a routine
night operational training mission when the
accident happened. Mehmood gave no reasons
for the crash and said an inquiry committee had
been formed to investigate the causes of the
accident. He said no loss of life was reported.
Pakistani marine forces have arrested more
than 60 Indian fishermen for violating territorial
waters in Arabian Sea, police said on Friday.
The fishermen strayed into Pakistani waters
yesterday and Pakistan’s Maritime Security
Agency (MSA) arrested them and handed over
to the police. “MSA has handed over 61 Indian
fishermen to us and 11 of their boats,” senior
police officer Sheeraz Nazir said. The fishermen
were handed over to the police for further legal
proceedings that generally mean months or
even years in prison. Such arrests are frequently
carried out by both countries, as the maritime
border in the Arabian Sea is poorly defined.
The Pakistani Taliban yesterday claimed
responsibility for an attack on a political party
camp in the city of Karachi which wounded at
least 15 people. Three provincial legislators were
among those wounded when gunmen hurled
hand grenades and opened fire on the Muttahida
Qaumi Movement(MQM) membership drive
meeting in the city’s restive eastern district
of Orangi Town late Friday. “At least 15 people
including three parliamentarians of the Sindh
provincial assembly were injured when gunmen
riding on motorbikes hurled hand grenades
at the camp and started indiscriminate firing,”
senior police official Irfan Baluch said.
The Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) in Pakistan’s
southeast province has launched a crackdown
against tax defaulters by suspending the sales
tax registration of a number of taxpayers, official
sources here have confirmed. The provincial
revenue authority served suspension notices
to at least four companies registered under the
Sales Tax on Services Act, 2011 and defaulter of
non-payment of due liability, as well as non-filer
of sales statement.
The companies that are put on suspension
included Taibah Enterprises, Pak Kashmir
Agencies, Havester Services Pvt Ltd and Mani
Nato supplies
A man rides a bicycle to work as fog covers
the surroundings in Phool Nagar, Pakistan,
Sharif urges US
president to
raise Kashmir
issue with Modi
US President Barack Obama
telephones Pakistan’s Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif; US
president briefs Sharif on
his upcoming visit to India;
Sharif urges Obama to raise
Kashmir issue with Indian
A man and his cart loaded with tyres on a road with trucks carrying logistic supplies for the Nato forces in Afghanistan wait for
clearance near the Afghan border in Chaman, Pakistan, yesterday. Several trucks transporting logistic supplies of Nato forces cross
into Pakistan on a regular basis, heading to Karachi for shipment back home. Nato and US forces aimed at pulling out combat forces
by the end of 2014.
Pakistan Air Force seeking
Chinese stealth aircraft
he Pakistan Air Force
(PAF) has expressed interest in procuring fourth
generation stealth fighter aircraft FC-31 from China.
Minister for Defence Production Tanveer Hussain was
yesterday quoted by Dawn
newspaper as telling it that the
matter was being discussed
with Chinese authorities.
It is for the first time that a
senior government functionary
has confirmed talks with China
over purchase of the longerrange stealth aircraft an issue
that has been a subject of speculation in defence circles since
the 10th edition of the Zhuhai
Air Show (China) held earlier
this month, when the aircraft
was unveiled.
The Jane’s Defence Weekly
had quoted an unnamed Pakistani official as saying that the
PAF was holding talks with China for the purchase of 30 to 40
of the Shenyang FC-31 fighter
planes and that discussions had
gone beyond initial inquiries.
The FC-31 is being developed
by China primarily for the export market. Chinese officials
claim that several countries
have expressed interest in the
aircraft believed to be comparable to US F-35 Joint Strike
A prototype of the aircraft,
designated as J-31, has been
flown by the Chinese aircraft
research and development firm
Shenyang Aviation Company
for a couple of years now.
What particularly interests
the PAF is that FC-31 prototype
(J-31) and JF-17 use the same
Russian Klimov RD-93 engines.
Pakistan is increasingly relying
on China as a reliable source for
its defence procurements.
Hussain said that Pakistan
was also interested in Chinese
attack helicopter Z-10. China
and Pakistan had earlier coproduced JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan has been eagerly trying to
market this fighter aircraft.
“We have nearly confirmed
orders from seven countries for
JF-17,” Hussain said. Pakistan,
which is at present producing
Block-2 of JF-17 at the Pakistan
Aeronautical Complex, Kamra,
is eyeing orders from countries
in the Middle East and Africa.
“The PAF has a requirement
of 250 aircraft, but now we have
decided that we’ll sell some of
the JF-17 Block-2 to international buyers besides fulfilling
our local demand,” the minister
The minister sounded upbeat about the upcoming fourday defence exhibition IDEAS
2014 beginning in Karachi on
December 1. Some 175 companies, including 34 local firms,
are participating in the international event this year.
Hussain said a few MoUs and
agreements on joint ventures
were expected to be signed during the exhibition, but no orders were expected at the event.
“The basic spirit behind the
exhibition is to increase interaction with defence industry
(officials) of other countries and
provide exposure to our own industry,” he said.
akistan’s Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif has urged US
President Barack Obama
to raise the Kashmir issue with
Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi during his forthcoming
visit to New Delhi in January, a
statement issued by Pakistan
Prime Minster’s Office said.
Sharif made the request when
President Obama telephoned
him on Friday evening to discuss
the “evolving situation” in the
region, it said.
“The prime minister urged
President Obama to take up
the cause of Kashmir with the
Indian leadership, as its early
resolution would bring enduring
peace, stability and economic
co-operation to Asia,” the Prime
Minister’s Office statement said
on the discussions between the
two leaders.
It said that President Obama
informed Sharif of his forthcoming visit to India in January
to attend India’s Republic Day
parade as the chief guest.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
expressed satisfaction at the direction of Pakistan-US relations
which were on an upward trajectory” and “President Obama
noted Pakistan-US relations
were strong and robust” during
their conversation, the Pakistan
foreign ministry said in a statement.
Barack Obama
Nawaz Sharif
During the call, Sharif recalled an invitation he extended
to Obama last year in Washington and conveyed the expectation of the people of Pakistan to
welcome the US president to the
country some time in the future.
“The president also assured
the prime minister that he would
undertake a visit to Pakistan at
an early date, as soon as the situation normalises in the country,”
the prime minister’s office statement said.
Sharif referred to his visit to
India earlier this year, which was
aimed at taking Pakistan-India
relations forward.
However, “Subsequent unfortunate steps on India’s part,
including cancellation of foreign
secretary level talks and the unprovoked firing across the Line
of Control/Working Boundary
(in Kashmir) resulting in civilian casualties, indicated that
India was averse to normalisation of relations with Pakistan”,
the statement quoted Sharif as
He said: “While we remain
open to the resumption of bilateral dialogue, the onus is on
India to create a conducive envi-
ronment in this regard.”
Recent exchanges of fire
across the de facto border between India and Pakistan in
Kashmir, which both countries
administer in part but claim in
full, have killed at least 20 civilians and forced thousands to flee
their homes.
The neighbours have traded
blame for the upsurge in firing
and shelling which started on
October 6.
India called off peace talks in
August after Pakistan first consulted Kashmiri separatists, a
move some saw as a sign of a
tougher stance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new rightwing government.
“The two leaders agreed
to stay engaged to further
strengthen Pakistan-US relations in their common desire to
promote peace and prosperity in
South Asia,” the ministry statement said.
The two leaders also discussed the regional situation.
The prime minister referred to
the improvement of PakistanAfghanistan relations as manifest in President Ashraf Ghani’s
recent visit to Islamabad.
Female Afghan MP injured but defiant after suicide attack
fghan women’s rights
campaigner Shukria Barakzai speaks in a tired
whisper as she recovers in hospital from an assassination attempt that nearly killed her a
week ago, but her message is
strong and clear.
“I don’t want the women of
Afghanistan to be scared,” she
said at her bedside in Kabul.
“I am waiting for my recovery
and I will go back (to work). And
this time I will work even harder
than before.
“This attack was an attack on
all women in Afghanistan— this
is not only on me.”
Barakzai, a 41-year-old member of parliament, staggered
from the wrecked remains of her
car after it was hit by a suicide
bomber on a main road near the
parliament last Sunday.
She was still carrying her mobile phone and handbags as she
was led away to safety, and she
appeared to have not been seriously injured.
But the huge impact of the
blast, which killed three nearby
civilians, took its toll and she is
being treated for shock as well as
for burns on her left hand.
Barakzai is one of the most
prominent female activists in
Afghanistan, where women’s
rights have been at the centre of
radical changes during 13 years
of international intervention
since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Women, who were confined
to the home and forced to wear
all-encompassing burqas under
the Taliban, have secured more
freedoms, but Barakzai’s proequality stance has earned her a
lot of enemies.
She has faced hostility from
Muslim men and received regular
death threats from Islamist
groups, including Taliban insurgents.
“I had lots of threats, but this
one was (nearly) successful,” she
said on Friday, sitting up in her
bed with her outstretched hand
covered in medical gauze.
“Am I such threat to them?
I’m just a women working for
women’s rights in Afghanistan.
“I’m surprised that the Taliban didn’t claim responsibility
(for the attack)... It’s someone
She says she doesn’t know
who targeted her, but wonders
if it could be related to her support for some US troops staying
in Afghanistan after Nato combat operations finish at the end
of the year.
Or perhaps it might be elements in neighbouring Pakistan,
which is often accused of fuelling violence in Afghanistan.
“God protected me. God
wants me to do more
in my job. “We want
children to go to school.
We want a normal life for
“I’m outspoken, I’m very
clear,” she said. “I would be very
surprised if Pakistan supports
my activities.”
Whoever was to blame, Barakzai said she is determined to protect and advance women’s rights
even as the multi-billion-dollar
international development effort since 2001 declines in the
coming years.
“I’m optimistic for the future
of the country. I believe things
will get back on track,” she said.
Barakzai ran a secret girls
school when the Taliban regime outlawed female education, and she has criticised any
plan to open peace talks with
the group that is now waging
a bloody war against the Kabul
She has already been pushing
the new president, Ashraf Ghani,
to come good on his campaign
promises of improving the status
of women in Afghanistan, where
they endure routine discrimination and violence.
“It’s ok when the president
visits a hospital at midnight. But
for me it’s (only) symbolism,” she
said. “He needs to take stronger
steps, very serious steps. I encourage his team.”
For now, Barakzai is counting her luck and wondering how
she will keep herself and her five
children safe.
Her twins, Usman and Toran,
bound into the hospital room
to see their mother for the first
time since the attack, sitting on
her bed and kissing her.
They will turn four on Monday.
“When you see my vehicle,
you see how very powerful the
bomb was,” she reflects.
“God protected me. God
wants me to do more in my job.
“We want children to go to
school. We want a normal life for
Afghan member of Parliament Shukria Barakzai interacts with her children Turan and Usman as she
recuperates at a government hospital in Kabul following an assassination attempt.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Filipinas ‘must learn to become empowered women’
By Euden Valdez
Manila Times
Bernardo: keen to win hearts
athryn Bernardo has
called on fellow Filipina teenagers to be their
“Best Beautiful” when they were
Kathryn shared her message
through “Olay Conversations”
with top TV host Boy Abunda
President recalls
childhood hangouts
at Araneta Centre
By Sheila Manalac
Manila Times
resident Benigno Aquino
waxed nostalgic as he
reminisced how as a youth
he spent his days shopping and
watching games at the Araneta
Centre in Cubao, Quezon City.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Araneta Centre on Friday night, the
president recalled that his family
would shop for school supplies
at the old National Bookstore,
shoes at Shoe Mart or the Marikina Shoe Expo among other
The president said he also
watched boxing matches and
UAAP basketball games at the
Araneta Coliseum with his father, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
He described himself as “batang QC,” the Aquino family having moved to Times St. in
“Guided by his vision and
perseverance, J Amado Araneta
transformed a 35-hectare property overgrown with tall grass
into a commercial, cultural and
progressive hub,” the president
guests at the celebration were
Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano
Belmonte Jr, Quezon City Mayor
Herbert Bautista, and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The president said the dreams
of the new generation of Aranetas are not yet complete.
The family and it partners are
building 18 towers of the Manhattan Garden City, the NovotelAraneta Centre Hotel, the New
Frontier Theatre, a Civic Plaza
and an Integrated Resorts Complex, which will complete the
Araneta Centre Cyberpark.
These projects could create
29,066 jobs, the president said.
Filipinos can emulate the example of the Aranetas that if they
love their country, they could realise their dreams, he said.
The Araneta Group is a group
of companies anchored on food,
leisure and property development. It has four business units:
the Araneta Centre Inc, Philippine Pizza Inc, Uniprom Inc and
Progressive Development Corp.
last Wednesday during her
launch as the newest Olay girl
at Blue Leaf in Bonifacio Global
At the event, Abunda shared
that for its third season, Olay
Conversations embarks to inspire and encourage women to
look and be the best they can be
all the time.
Abunda recalled: “In the first
Olay Conversations, we shared
her world. She is an empowered
Kathryn said: “Olay gives me
a way to share my story with
fellow teenagers. For me, being
‘best beautiful’ is a choice you
In her interview, Kathryn recounted how she was able to leap
from a showbiz extra when she
was very little, to a TV child actor, and finally a movie star—all
before her 18th birthday.
She talked about the many rejections she experienced along
her road to stardom. At such a
young age, she chose to learn
from these experiences to become the most bankable star of
her generation today.
Asked what she feels about
her “Best Beautiful,” the certified Showbiz Teen Queen replied: “When I get to share my
talent and make people happy
with my craft.”
Besides Kathryn, Olay also
launched two more beautiful ladies who go into conversations
with Abunda. They are showbiz royalty KC Concepcion and
noted accessories designer Bea
Valdes. KC, however, failed to
attend the launch as her grandmother Elaine Cuneta was laid to
rest earlier.
Artwork attraction
A Filipino janitor mops the floor in front of different versions of the ‘Mona Lisa’ painting inside a hotel in Manila yesterday. The different Mona Lisas are displayed to
entertain hotel guests. In 2012, the original ‘Mona Lisa’ painting by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci was valued around $760mn, making it one of the most
valued paintings in the world.
Some foreign journos face
ban for heckling Aquino
President Benigno Aquino at the 60th anniversary celebration of
Araneta Centre at the Gateway Tower in Cubao, Quezon City.
stories of women who are fearless—it was controversial. In
the second one, we challenged
women to be honest with their
age. Now in the third season, we
want to tell them that it’s okay if
have given your best and still not
achieved it.
Ever insightful, the King of
Talk further shared: “A woman
who is ‘best beautiful’ is a woman who knows her worth and
he Philippines said yesterday it had banned certain foreign journalists
from the country over an incident last year, when President
Benigno Aquino was taunted by
a group of Hong Kong reporters
during a visit to Indonesia.
The immigration bureau said
the journalists, whom it did not
name, were blacklisted on the
recommendation of the intelligence services over “acts committed against the president
during a summit in Bali, Indonesia”. “The rationale is that
the subject is a threat to public
safety and blacklisting minimises that risk,” immigration
bureau spokeswoman Elaine
Tan said in a statement.
Hong Kong newspapers reported that nine journalists
from the Chinese territory have
been banned ahead of the Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation
(Apec) summit to be hosted by
the Philippines next year.
In October last year Apec
summit host Indonesia withdrew the credentials of nine
Hong Kong journalists for
shouting questions at the Philippine leader, insisting they had
posed a security threat.
Hong Kong media said the
journalists and technicians
were from Now TV, RTHK and
Commercial Radio.
An Aquino spokesman at
the time said the journalists
had “crossed the line” by aggressively questioning Aquino
about a hostage siege in Manila
that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead in 2010.
When an individual “shows
disrespect or makes offensive
utterances to symbols of Philippine authority”, it is suffi-
cient ground to ban him or her
from the country, immigration
spokeswoman Tan said yesterday.
“If he (or she) submits sufficient proof to reverse the blacklist, it may be lifted accordingly.”
stressed it had not specifically
prevented anyone from covering the Apec summit in the
Philippines in November next
Herminio Coloma said the
presidential office, which is in
charge of accrediting journalists who will cover the summit,
“has not started the accreditation process for journalists”.
Relations between Hong
Kong and the Philippines were
strained for years following a
botched rescue attempt by Manila in 2010 when Hong Kong
tourists were taken hostage
inside a bus by a disgraced exManila police officer.
In April the two governments
announced they had resolved
the row.
The Manila city government
issued a formal apology while
the Philippines expressed “its
most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy”.
Lifelong struggle for Maguindanao massacre widows
or Gloria Teodoro and other
women widowed by the Philippines’ worst political massacre,
the struggle to move on with their lives
is as long and painful as their fight for
Five years since the carnage in the
impoverished farming province of
Maguindanao left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists, women thrust
into single parenthood juggle odd jobs
as they nurse deep emotional scars.
“The tragedy is that we lost our
breadwinner. We are often out of money but we manage to survive,” Teodoro,
45, widow of local newspaper reporter
Andres Teodoro, said.
“I always tell my kids to toughen up
and just hold on.”
Teodoro said she gave manicures
and helped people secure land titles
and other government documents for
a fee, just to see her two teenaged children through high school.
“I take on any job as long as it’s legal... it’s extremely difficult being a
single mother and we’ve been struggling for five years,” Teodoro said.
She said her eldest son dropped out
of college at the age of 19, three years
after the murders, to work at his father’s newspaper and help her pay the
bills. Around 80 schoolchildren lost
their fathers after the massacre and
their mothers are mostly unemployed,
said Jaime Espina, Director of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
“Most of the victims were sole
breadwinners who left their families
struggling to survive,” Espina said.
Merly Perante, widow of newspaper reporter Ronnie Perante, said she
pooled 70,000 pesos ($1,550) in donations from journalists’ groups to
build an apartment house to support
her three children. But she now has to
work as a cashier at a cockfighting arena in her hometown of General Santos
City just to survive.
“I won’t be joining other widows at
the massacre site this year because I
have to work. I know my husband will
understand,” said Perante, 41.
Every year, the victims’ families
light candles, offer flowers and say
prayers on a hill in Maguindanao province, where the 58 victims were buried
using a backhoe after a brazen daytime
The journalists’ convoy was on its
way to cover the election candidacy
filing of an local politician when they
were allegedly waylaid by a private militia led by Andal Ampatuan Jr on November 23, 2009.
His father, Andal Ampatuan Sr, had
ruled Maguindanao as governor for
about a decade under the patronage
of then-president Gloria Arroyo, who
had funded the clan’s private army
as a buffer against Muslim separatist
Ampatuan Jr is accused of leading
the militia of more than 100 gunmen
in stopping the convoy, which was carrying his political foe’s wife, relatives,
lawyers and the journalists, then gunning them down.
The Ampatuans deny all charges
against them.
With no one yet convicted and the
clan continuing to wield huge influence in Maguindanao, anger is rising
among victims’ families. The widows
are represented in the murder trial by
a handful of private prosecutors who
are helping government lawyers to lay
out the evidence -- but in the Philippines, even a simple trial involving one
accused person typically takes many
years to complete.
Perante said her eldest son, who
wanted to become an accountant before his father died, is now studying to
be a policeman.
“That’s how his father’s death affected him. He wants justice for his
father,” she said.
Perante was two months pregnant
when her husband was killed.
Her youngest son knows of his father only through pictures and clippings of his articles, she said.
“My sons tell our youngest: ‘Here is
our father. He is a journalist, and these
are the Ampatuans who killed him’,”
she said.
Perante and Teodoro said that,
ahead of today’s anniversary, their
husbands had been appearing in their
“In those dreams, we are bonding
as a family, like we did when he was
alive. It’s his way of telling us that
he’s still there for us,” Perante said.
For Teodoro, the yearly commemoration reopens old wounds. “It’s an
indescribable mix of feelings—pain,
despair, helplessness,” she said.
“I imagine how my husband and
the others must have felt when they
were murdered, begging for their
Teodoro consoles herself with the
fact that her husband’s death was not
in vain as bombings and shootings in
the region appeared to have been reduced.
Ampatuan Sr had gained a reputation as a fearsome warlord during his
time in power, ruling as many politicians do in the impoverished and
violence-plagued southern Philippines.
“Their deaths sparked change in
that hell of a place. They did not die
for nothing,” Teodoro said.
“This is an extraordinary case but
we are not losing hope.”
Gloria Teodoro, widow of local newspaper reporter Andres Teodoro, lights candles
on a marker for her husband, one of the 32 journalists killed, at the massacre site in
Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province, in the southern island of Mindanao.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Rajapakse’s party in purge
ahead of snap elections
ri Lanka’s ruling party was
set for a purge yesterday
after a senior minister declared he was challenging President Mahinda Rajapakse in snap
elections called for January.
Rajapakse’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) suspended
members who pledged support
for health minister Maithripala
Sirisena who on Friday defected
and became the main opposition leader to run against the
The five senior party members, including Sirisena, the
long-standing general secretary
of the SLFP, were stripped of
their posts, the government information department said.
“About a dozen of members
of parliaments (in the SLFP)
have been identified as poten-
tial defectors,” an official close
to President Rajapakse said,
asking not to be named. “Action
will be taken against them,” he
But to kick out the dissidents,
they will have to be formally expelled from the ruling party.
The official said a new party
general secretary had been appointed and changes were being made at the regional level
to repair damage caused by
the dissidents to the party’s
Sirisena, 63, accused his
former boss of running a corrupt and dictatorial administration and said he was confident
of toppling him.
“He projects himself as virtuous, but he leads a dictatorial regime,” said Sirisena, who
also accused the president of
nepotism and corruption.
Fisheries minister Rajitha
Senaratne, who is support-
President Mahinda Rajapakse: Facing more desertions from party.
ing Sirisena, said the ruling
party was split and he expected
“many more” to jump ship.
“The SLFP is divided. They
can’t suspend or sack us from
the party without due process,”
Senaratne said.
“There will be more MPs
joining our campaign to restore
democracy and rule of law.”
However, he said the dissidents were unlikely to block
the national budget which
comes up for a final parlia-
mentary vote tomorrow.
“The budget contained some
concessions to the people and
we don’t want to block that,”
Senaratne said.
Rajapakse, who is also the finance minister, had raised salaries, reduced taxes and slashed
utility tariffs before announcing on Thursday that he will
seek an unprecedented third
term as president — a move only
made possible after he pushed
through constitutional changes.
He called the election two
years ahead of schedule in an
apparent bid to seek a fresh
mandate before his party’s
popularity tumbles further
after dropping over 21% in
September local elections.
While Rajapakse remains
generally popular with majority-Sinhalese voters after he
oversaw the end of a 37-year
war against Tamil separatists in
2009, critics say he has become
increasingly authoritarian.
A key coalition partner,
the JHU, or party of Buddhist
monks, walked out of the government on Tuesday, accusing
Rajapakse of failing to deliver
promised democratic reforms.
Rajapakse had believed the
United National Party would
field a candidate, but Sirisena’s
entry took him by surprise as
did the unity displayed by the
one-time fractured opposition
The contest is taking place
against a backdrop of growing international pressure over
the Rajapakse administration’s
human rights record.
Rajapakse is struggling to
avoid international censure
over claims his troops killed
40,000 Tamil civilians in the
bloody finale of the fighting, an
issue that has overshadowed his
ongoing chairmanship of the
shot dead
Nepal police shot dead an Indian
national along the Nepal-India
border while he was smuggling
weapons from India.
The incident took place yesterday
afternoon in Bishnupura
village of Rupandhei district,
20km south from Lumbini, the
birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Rajendra Dhakal, superintendent
of police in Rupandhei district,
said an Indian national, Surf Raj,
30, was killed by the police while
he was trying to flee from the
police patrol.
Nepal police have beefed up
security for the upcoming
visits of Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi to Lumbini on
November 28 and President
Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka
on November 25, a day ahead of
the Saarc summit.
The police recovered two pistols
and two motorcycles with Indian
number plates.
Dhakal told reporters that the
police got a tip off that Raj and his
gang were smuggling weapons
from India through the border.
Two Nepali nationals, Hafi Uhalla
Musalman and Okil Musalman,
were also arrested. The three of
them were on the most wanted
list and the police had been
monitoring their activities for a
IAEA team Saarc panel decides to close three centres
in Dhaka to
assess safety T
for N-plant
By Mizan Rahman
team of the International
Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) is now in Dhaka to
develop the capability of Bangladeshi experts and stakeholders
in assessing the safety measures
of a nuclear power plant with its
own human resources.
The IAEA sent the team as
Bangladesh is set to kick off construction work on the Rooppur
Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).
“The IAEA has a milestone
document that needs developing 19 items (related to safety issues) by Bangladesh, to establish
the RNPP. However, the IAEA will
help Bangladesh to fulfill the needs
as per the document,” the head
of the team, Peter Wills, a technocrat of the safety assessment
section of the IAEA, said.
Wills accompanied his two
colleagues to Dhaka to conduct
a three-day workshop with the
experts of the RNPP.
The team of experts will take
technical class and discuss the
safety issues set by the IAEA,
which is mandatory for setting
up nuclear power plants anywhere in the world.
According to the Bangladesh
Atomic Energy Commission
(BAEC), the country is set to
start building a robust infrastructure based on the milestone document of the IAEA, to
establish RNPP.
“Safety is a major and main
issue for the nuclear power
project, as Bangladesh is a newcomer in this sector. So, the
IAEA will organise such programmes in future, as we need
to know the safety issues first,”
said Dr Sawkat Akbar, project
director, RNPP.
Bangladesh faces skilled
manpower shortage and funds
crunch, but following the Fukushima plant disaster, effective
steps were taken to make nuclear
power plants safer everywhere,
the workshop will be told.
The IAEA is assisting Bangladesh with help of Russian stateowned company, Rosatom, to
establish its first nuclear power
project at Rooppur.
Regarding the safety of nuclear power, the IAEA paper said
that the use of nuclear power
will continue to increase around
the world, especially in Asia and
Middle East. “So we need to be
more cautious about the safety
and awareness of the nuclear
According to the IAEA, the
demand for nuclear power will
continue to surge in the next two
decades in China, India and the
Middle East.
According to the IAEA, a total
of 434 nuclear power plants are
in operation across the globe,
while 69 new ones are under
implementation, Akbar added.
Another 80 to 90 plants
would be built in the next two
decades. Bangladesh, Jordan,
Nigeria, Turkey and Algeria are
the new entrants in the nuclear
power sector and are working on
setting up their nuclear power
he Saarc Programming
Committee, meeting in
for its 49th session ahead of
the 18th Saarc Summit, decided
to close down three regional
centres and merge four others,
bringing down the total number
of such centres from 11 to five.
The move aims to end the
duplication of work carried out
by these regional centres and to
reduce the expenditure, a statement from Nepal’s ministry of
foreign affairs said.
The committee decided to
do away with the Saarc Information Centre in Kathmandu,
Saarc Human Resource Development Centre in Islamabad and the New Delhi-based
Saarc Documentation Centre,
according to the statement.
It also decided to merge the
Saarc Forestry Centre in Bhutan, Saarc Disaster Management Centre in New Delhi,
Saarc Coastal Zone Management Centre in Maldives and
Saarc Meteorological Research
Centre in Dhaka into one.
It will be set up as the Saarc
Environment and Disaster
Management Centre.
The Saarc Information Centre in Kathmandu and the Saarc
Documentation Centre in Delhi
will be merged with the Saarc
Secretariat. It was decided to
permanently shut down the Saarc
Human Resource Development
Centre in Pakistan.
The Saarc Agriculture Centre
in Dhaka (established in 1988),
the Saarc Tuberculosis Centre in Kathmandu (1982), the
Saarc Energy Centre in Pakistan
(2006) and the Saarc Cultural
Centre in Sri Lanka (2009) will
remain open.
Joint secretaries or equivalent officers from the foreign
ministries of member countries participated in yesterday’s
meeting, which was inaugurated by Aishatah Liusha Zahir, chair of the programming
SECURITY AT SUMMIT VENUE: A police officer standing guard in front of the City Hall, the main venue for the Saarc summit in Kathmandu
yesterday. The 18th South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation summit is scheduled from November 22 to 27 in Kathmandu. Heads of
state from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Maldives will attend the main summit.
committee and the leader of the
delegation from the Maldives.
Yagya Bahadur Hamal, leader of the Nepalese delegation,
was later elected as the new
chairman of the committee.
the closure and merger of the
centres will be completed by
December 2016.
Among the issues that came
up for discussion before the
committee included a proposed
calendar of Saarc activities for
2015 and the status of implementation of the committee’s
earlier recommendations.
The committee will submit
its report to the Saarc Standing Committee, which includes
foreign secretaries from member countries, slated to meet in
Kathmandu on November 23-24.
for the 18th Saarc Summit has
reached its final stages with Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala yesterday instructing officials
to ensure fool-proof security to
visiting dignitaries.
Koirala visited Hotel Soaltee
Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu,
where Saarc heads of the state
and government will stay during
the summit which will be held
from November 26 to 27.
He is personally involved in
inspecting the main venue of
the summit and accommodation facilities being arranged for
the dignitaries.
Koirala visited the rooms
where Saarc dignitaries are being accommodated including the
suite where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will stay.
Eight special suits are being prepped up for the Saarc
dignitaries in the posh hotel.
Modi will stay at the Executive
Suit of the hotel while other seven
dignitaries will stay at Regal Suits.
Koirala has instructed officials
to ensure maximum comfort and
convenience to the dignitaries;
fool-proof security and all necessary arrangements are in place,
according to the PM aides.
Bilateral meetings are also
scheduled to take place in
the hotel on the outskirts of
The Nepalese capital has a
new look ahead of the summit.
The roads have been renovated
and black topped.
Solar lights have been put up
on several streets, flags of the
eight Saarc member countries -
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal,
Pakistan and Sri Lanka - have
been installed at various places
and main government buildings
have been white-washed.
City Hall, the main venue of
the summit, has been all decked
up for the conclave.
Security has been tightened at
the venues, government buildings and other sensitive areas.
A four-tier security will be put
in place under the command of
Nepal army during the conclave.
Nepal police, armed police
force and national investigation department have also been
involved with the security arrangements, besides the army.
The government has announced November 26 and 27
public holidays.
Employment of children rampant in Nepal’s rug industry
Guardian News Service
ged 11, Sanju was sent by
her parents in rural Nepal
to work for a carpet factory in the capital Kathmandu.
They were assured she would
be paid and well looked after.
That was the last they heard of
her. Her new employer had her
working from 4am until 8pm,
seven days a week. She stitched
knots until her fingers bled.
An animated video of Sanju’s
story forms part of a global push
to see the elimination of child
labour included in the United
Nations’ post-2015 development
goals. Launched this week to co-
incide with End Child Slavery
Week, the campaign is headed by
child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi, joint winner of this year’s
Nobel Peace prize.
Among the beneficiaries of
any such official commitment
would be the underage workers
in Nepal’s carpet industry. Illegal employment of minors is
now “very, very prevalent” in the
sector, according to Stephanie
Odegard, a New York-based rug
designer who has been sourcing from Nepal for nearly three
Precise statistics are, almost
by definition, difficult to come
by. The US Department of Labour estimates as many as one
in three children in Nepal work
(88% of whom are employed
in the agriculture sector). In
the carpet industry specifically, the number is believed
to be around 10,000 or so, according to Kul Gautam, former
of the UN and ex-deputy executive director of Unicef. Nepal’s minimum working age is
14 years old.
Factory audits and surprise
raids offer a degree of credence
to such numbers. Anti-child labour organisation GoodWeave
International (formerly known
as Rugmark) has rescued 1,075
child workers from Nepal’s carpet factories since 1996. One of
those is Sanju.
Initially set up by Satyarthi,
GoodWeave certifies rug exporters as child-labour free. The
non-profit group, which also
operates in India and Afghanistan, counts around 80 certified
exporters in Nepal. Collectively,
these represent over 400 producers, which employ roughly
13,000 people.
“Child labour was very common in the early 1990s. It went
down significantly - I think by
about 75% - thanks to GoodWeave’s work… but now, because many companies cannot
hire adult labourers, they are
employing children again”, says
Over 20,000 positions are
currently unfilled, according to
Nina Smith, executive direc-
tor at GoodWeave USA, which
recently started a programme
to train unemployed men and
women in carpet weaving.
Anti-child labour
organisation GoodWeave
International (formerly
known as Rugmark) has
rescued 1,075 child workers
from Nepal’s carpet
factories since 1996
At the same time, margins
remain tight. Nepal’s carpet industry saw demand drop significantly in the wake of the
2008 financial crisis and consequent recession. Higher costs
for material imports, plus increased competition from China
and other low-cost producing
countries, represent additional
Lack of government action
allows child labour to continue
too. According to Odegard, none
of her Nepalese producers have
ever received a visit from a state
inspector. In Gautam’s view,
the problem stems not from resource shortages but from a lack
of political will and from pervasive corruption. “There are no
kickbacks when it comes to rescuing boys and girls from child
labour”, he observes.
The fault doesn’t lie solely
with the Nepalis, however. The
country’s rug and carpet market is almost entirely-export
focused. But demand for child
labour-free products in key
markets such as the US, UK and
Germany remains sluggish.
Around 140 brands currently
carry the certifier’s label, which
retail in thousands of shops
worldwide, including US highstreet chain Macy’s and the
German online vendor OTTO.
Even so, GoodWeave comprises
only 6% of the global handmade
rug market.
“Building consumer demand
is a big job that has to be done
in the West”, says Gautam. But
he is confident that campaigns
like Stand with Sanju will begin
to hit home: “In terms of awareness, Kailash Satyarthi winning
the Nobel Prize is going to have
a positive impact.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Global economic
malaise needs
‘holistic’ treatment
The G-20 group of nations has set an ambitious
target of growing their economies at least by 2.1%
by 2018, adding $2tn to the global economy and
generating millions of the much-needed jobs in
countries that are struggling with recession or very
little growth.
At their recent meeting in Brisbane, Australia, the
group of 20 large global economies also vowed to
increase the participation of women in the global
workforce, and crack down on tax avoidance by multinational companies.
The G-20 also agreed to establish a global
infrastructure hub, based in Sydney, Australia,
with a mandate of four years that would encourage
the exchange of information among governments,
the private sector, development banks and other
international organisations, according to the
It’s a worthy objective
for the G-20 as the
global growth is still
While setting a target
and working towards it
is encouraging, many
sceptics argue that the G-20 communique may be
difficult to achieve, given that the commitments made
under the auspices of the G-20 are, by nature, nonbinding.
But the host of this year’s summit, Australian
Premier Tony Abbott said the G20 group was fully
committed to helping the global economy grow and
enhance their collective GDP growth by at least 2.1%.
Clearly, the challenges before the global economy
are huge. Many countries are battling patchy growth
even as the world faces the threat of a major European
recession. Also, growth has slowed down in five major
emerging economies or Brics nations, with China,
India, Brazil and Russia struggling to bolster it.
British Prime Minister David Cameron echoed
the sentiments and said: “There are some worrying
warning signs in the global economy that are threats
to us and our growth. If every country that has come
here does the things they said they would in terms of
helping to boost growth, including trade deals, then
growth will continue.”
The G-20 initiative to bolster global growth comes
amid diverging policies around the world with the
US tapering its monetary easing on the back of an
economic recovery, even as Europe and Japan add
further stimulus to ward off deflation.
It may be noted the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) last month cut its projection for world economic
growth to 3.8% in 2015.
At the Brisbane G-20 meeting, the mostly structural
policy commitments spelled out in each country’s
individual growth strategy include China’s plan to
accelerate construction of 4G mobile communications
networks, a $417mn industry skills fund in Australia
and 165,000 affordable homes in the UK over a four
year period.
Through their communique, the G-20 leaders have
cautioned that the global economy can no longer
afford a regime of low growth, low inflation, high
unemployment and huge debt.
But economists stress the global economic malaise can
no longer be treated by monetary tools alone. They affirm
fiscal policy, structural and, under certain conditions,
infrastructure reforms are very much required to tide over
the current crisis and bolster global growth.
We now live in a world of
evolutionary state disorder
The question for
international governance is
how to provide a framework
of institutions and rules
in a world of competing
organisational structures
By Mark Malloch Brown
his is a tricky time to be a
state, and an even trickier
time to be a citizen. The
nation-state, the classic
provider of security and basic wellbeing in exchange for citizens’ loyalty,
is under threat – both at home and as
the fundamental unit of international
New types of loyalty and association
are challenging the state’s traditional
role. Some are geographic.
In Europe alone, there at least 40
would-be Scotlands seeking separation of some kind from the countries
in which they now find themselves.
Other loyalties are based on other
kindred identities – not just religious
or ethnic, but based on shared commercial, political, or other interests.
Today, many more of us are supporters of NGOs than are members of
political parties.
In short, our allegiances, particularly in the West, have rarely seemed
more divided than they do now. Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate economist, has argued that we can learn
to live with these multiple identities
and even thrive with the diversity of
citizenship and loyalties that they
allow us.
But this diversity is not entirely
benign. Many of us work for or hold
stock in commercial organisations that
seem to pay scant regard to national
tax or regulatory authorities. And,
in much of the West, states adhere
to models of welfare provision that
increasingly disappoint their citizens
and are often unaffordable.
A global reordering of economic
growth is punishing the developed
countries’ high-cost, high-tax, highbenefits governance model.
The Western state’s shortcomings are strikingly apparent when
compared with robust survivors and
adapters in other parts of the world.
China represents what might be called
the Economic Security State: seeking to channel domestic savings into
household consumption to sustain
GDP growth and popular support,
while using its investment power
abroad to secure the commodities and
energy that underpin its industrialisation.
Under Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s leadership, India may prove to
be a semi-admiring imitator of China.
Russia, by contrast, is a more classic
National Security State, now playing
Western anxieties like a fiddle to consolidate its tightening grip on Ukraine
and suppress domestic opposition
with a tide of official nationalism.
So we live in a world of evolutionary
state disorder. While some in the West
may yearn for the return of the strong,
unifying state, most of us recognise
that it is not coming back. Indeed,
some argue that the inventiveness and
internationalism of a world networked
by interests and shared causes is likely
to be more resilient than one crammed
into the artificial – and increasingly
constraining – box of the national
In that sense, economic success in
China or India may be those states’
undoing, as middle-class political
aspirations render current arrangements dysfunctional. Conversely, we
may find ourselves in a world whose
eastern half is organised into strong
authoritarian state structures, with
the West embracing post-state models
of association.
New types of loyalty
and association
are challenging the
state’s traditional role
The question for international governance is how to provide a framework
of institutions and rules in a world of
competing organisational structures.
The politicians’ answer is depressingly
predictable: in the face of a resurgent
Russia and China, this is no time to
abandon our own states and diplomacy to their fate.
Yet the old systems no longer offer
useful answers, as Russia has demonstrated by brushing aside the UN
Security Council – the high altar of
the state-based international system
– over Ukraine and stalemating it over
And, away from the din of their
ranting politicians, what Russians, as
much as Americans or Chinese, probably want most is a peaceful, predictable international order that allows
them to provide for their families and
enjoy the benefits of a golden age of
global commerce and technology.
A world, in which states’ hard power
is contending with the soft power of
transnational ideas, invention, and
finance, needs rules. We will all pay
dearly – in defence budgets and, more
important, in lost global opportunities
– if we do not summon the courage to
design a global order in which nonstate actors have a formal role.
Otherwise, we would be inviting
states to continue pursuing a mightmakes-right approach and to shirk the
coordinated action on, say, financial
regulation and the environment that
the world now requires.
Of course, states do not have a
monopoly on bad behaviour. Transnational economic activity has been an
opportunity not only for business, but
also for organised crime and others
to liberate themselves from effective
At the moment, the US has stepped
into the breach, relying on often-Draconian extraterritorial use of its justice
system and control of the international banking system to impose a crude
frontier justice.
That is not good enough. What is
needed is a legitimate system of rules,
norms and institutions, devised by private as well as government stakeholders,
that reflects the emerging global nature
of economic, political, and social activity as the old state loses its dominance
and must coexist with a patchwork of
non-state structures of association. Project Syndicate
z Mark Malloch Brown, a former
UN deputy secretary-general and
UK Foreign Office minister of state
for Africa, is a member of the World
Economic Forum Global Agenda
Council on Global Governance.
Many countries
are battling
patchy growth
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Catalan nationalists hold pro-independence flags during Catalonia National Day celebrations in Barcelona on September 11 this year. In Europe, there at least 40
would-be Scotlands seeking separation of some kind from the countries in which they now find themselves.
Ukraine facing a debt dilemma
By Barry Eichengreen and
Dominico Lombardi
nsecurity is haunting Ukraine
– and not just geopolitical insecurity, but economic insecurity
as well. Output is in freefall. The
country’s external deficit is exploding and borrowing costs have spiked
precisely as financing has become
The International Monetary Fund
has recognised the danger, approving a $17bn loan in April to stabilise
the economy and avert default. But
the Fund was overly optimistic about
Ukraine’s prospects. It is now clear
that $17bn will not be enough.
The IMF had hoped that tensions
with Russia would ease, allowing other
lenders to step up. Instead, continuing
conflict has complicated risk assessments and curtailed Kiev’s access to
external finance, raising the likelihood
of a disruptive debt default.
Under normal circumstances, there
would be little cause for worry. As late
as last year, the government’s debt
was less than 40% of GDP. Still, for
understandable reasons, few investors
are keen to lend Ukraine more money.
These short-term liquidity problems will test the country’s ability to
meet its debt obligations. This is not
only unfortunate; it also was avoidable. Indeed, Ukraine’s struggles highlight the need for an agreed framework
to resolve sovereign-debt difficulties
and govern IMF lending.
Under the IMF’s current lending
framework, if it is “highly probable”
that a borrower’s debt is sustainable,
the Fund will extend a conditional
loan, even for large amounts, to tide it
over. But if a country fails the solvency
test, it must impose a sufficiently deep
haircut on its bondholders to bring
it to the “high probability” standard
needed to qualify for IMF assistance.
In such circumstances, restructuring is desirable, because it prevents
the money injected by the IMF from
simply going to pay off a country’s
creditors, which in Ukraine’s case includes Russia. And, because the IMF is
virtually always paid back, restructuring avoids putting domestic taxpayers
on the hook for a creditor bailout.
But, though this approach works in
some circumstances, it is poorly suited
for cases of genuine uncertainty like
Ukraine. Who, after all, can say whether
Ukraine’s debt is sustainable? The answer today could change tomorrow.
To address cases like this, IMF staff
has suggested “re-profiling” rather
than restructuring the debt. Re-profiling means lengthening the maturity
of bonds while preserving principal
and, generally, the coupons. The
country then implements a reform
programme while receiving financial
assistance from the Fund.
This approach would give the country more time to pay without forcing
it into default. The government would
have an opportunity to restore economic growth and get its debt obligations under control. The heavy social
and financial costs of an expensive
bailout or a disruptive restructuring
could thereby be avoided.
Re-profiling would not be straightforward. To avoid exciting the markets, it would have to be voluntary.
Persuading the bondholders to agree
would be challenging – even more so
in light of recent court decisions in the
US that strengthen the hand of holdout investors. But there is no superior
Ukraine’s struggles
highlight the need for
an agreed framework
to resolve sovereigndebt difficulties
Ukraine would be an ideal candidate
for re-profiling. Given uncertainty
about the country’s near-term prospects, both a mega-bailout and a fullfledged debt restructuring would be
overkill. An extension of maturities on
its debt repayments is precisely what
it needs to weather the storm.
But, in order to proceed in this way,
the IMF must address a second flaw in
its current approach: the so-called “systemic exemption” introduced in 2010.
That exemption was created for
Greece, because there was no “high
probability” that Greek sovereign
debt was sustainable, and the IMF’s
European members worried that a Greek
restructuring would spread financial
contagion to other eurozone countries.
In response to their pressure, the
Fund gave itself the right to lend to a
country whose debt is of questionable
sustainability whenever default supposedly threatens the international system.
Yet, rather than resolving the crisis,
the systemic exemption only prolonged it. Greece’s debt started out
unsustainable and it remained unsustainable. The massive IMF-European
Union bailout did nothing to catalyse
private capital inflows. When the inevitable restructuring finally came in
2012, it was, in the IMF’s words, “too
little, too late”.
Unfortunately, the same danger
arises in the context of re-profiling.
Investors may worry that if one
country re-profiles, other countries
in its position will re-profile as well.
Governments will hesitate to recommend re-profiling for fear, justified or
not, of destabilising the international
system, and will encourage the IMF to
lend large amounts instead.
IMF staff have recommended scrapping the systemic exemption. But important shareholders, not just crisishit eurozone countries, but also the
US, are reluctant to go along. The Fund
needs to act quickly to remove the
systemic exemption and create room
for the smart use of sovereign-debt
re-profiling. Countries like Ukraine
depend on it. - Project Syndicate
z Barry Eichengreen, a Centre for
International Governance Innovation
fellow, is a professor at the University
of Cambridge and the University
of California, Berkeley. Dominico
Lombardi is director of the Global
Economy Programme at the Centre for
International Governance Innovation
in Waterloo, Canada.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Political surprises in store for Britain
Britain may turn into
Europe’s most politically
unpredictable country
By Anatole Kaletsky
or the past five years, Britain
has been a haven of political
and economic stability amid
the turbulence in Europe. No
In the years ahead, Britain will
likely be Europe’s most politically
unpredictable country. This risk,
first brought to the world’s attention
by the Scottish independence
referendum in September, has been
confirmed by the defeat suffered by
Prime Minister David Cameron’s
Conservative Party in a special
election on Thursday.
Yet the loss of Britain’s safe-haven
status is not yet factored into asset
prices - especially sterling. The
pound is still near its strongest since
2008 despite the country’s currentaccount and budget deficits, the
biggest in Europe relative to gross
domestic product.
Although Britain faces an
unpredictable general election on
May 7, most investors and businesses
are still behaving as if political
uncertainty would have limited
impact on economic conditions. This
complacency seems misplaced, for
three reasons:
First, Britain could become
literally ungovernable after the
election, with no single party or
coalition of parties able to form a
majority government. Current public
opinion polls predict that neither
the Conservatives nor the Labour
Party will win enough seats to form
a majority government - even in a
coalition with Liberal Democrats.
Conservative-Liberal and
Labour-Liberal majorities may both
prove arithmetically impossible
because of the rise of previously
insignificant fringe parties. The
Scottish Nationalists look able to
boost their six seats in Parliament to
anything between 20 and 50, largely
at Labour’s expense. The United
Kingdom Independence Party is
threatening dozens of Conservative
Meanwhile, the Liberals are almost
certain to lose about half their 56seat representation. As a result, a
ruling coalition may have to include
not just two parties but three or four,
including fringe nationalist groups.
The Scottish National Party is
sure to demand another Scottish
independence referendum as its
price for supporting a coalition,
while the UK Independent Party will
likely insist on Britain’s withdrawal
from the European Union. It is
hard to imagine either Labour or
Conservatives agreeing to such
This means that a government
may have to be formed without
a majority in Parliament. While
minority governments are quite
common in continental Europe, the
British Parliament has only once
failed to produce a government
majority - during a brief interlude in
1974 under Harold Wilson. It created
seismic upheavals in Britain’s
adversarial politics.
The second reason for concern
is that a multiparty coalition or
minority government, even if it can
be patched together in post-election
haggling, will probably collapse
within a year or two. Whether the
next prime minister turns out to be
Cameron or Labour’s Ed Miliband,
he will be seen as a short-term
caretaker, passing only noncontroversial measures.
At some point in 2016 or 2017 at
United Kingdom Independence Party leader (Ukip) Nigel Farage celebrating after
his party’s candidate won the Rochester and Strood by-election at Medway Park,
Gillingham near Rochester, Kent. Britain faces an unpredictable general election
on May 7, with no single party or coalition of parties able to form a majority
Dear Sir,
This is in response to the letter,
“Monitor clinics’ staff performance”,
by DK (Gulf Times, November 3).
First, the Primary Health
Corporation (PHCC) would
like to thank all reviewers on
their continuous and effective
communication towards improving
and upgrading the quality of services
provided. We also would like to extend
our thanks to DK for his trust in the
health services provided by the State
of Qatar and his praise for the ongoing
development plans for these services.
In reference to his specific
complaint about the Al Wakra Health
Centre, we would like to inform the
The Al Wakra Health Centre is one
of the busiest clinics in Qatar because
of the steadily increasing population
of the Al Wakrah city. Because of this,
each doctor at the health centre often
has to examine between 50 and 60
patients per day.
This explains why sometimes the
reception staff runs out of tokens
after 7pm. Furthermore, the staff
at the reception have to inform
the patient that there are a certain
number of patients before him,
waiting to see the doctor, and it will
the generally pro-European Scots
would almost certainly vote to
leave. The chaotic breakup of the
constitutional status quo would then
be complete.
An EU exit might, paradoxically,
be even more likely if a LabourLiberal coalition comes to power
in May. Though both parties are
committed to keeping Britain in
Europe, a weak Labour-Liberal
government would face falling
business confidence and possibly a
sterling crisis.
So it would be even more likely to
fall in a snap election than a ToryNationalist coalition.
Meanwhile, the Tories, forced
into opposition, would undoubtedly
replace Cameron as leader with a more
hard-line euro-sceptic - possibly Boris
Johnson, the popular and populist
mayor of London. If so, the snap
election in 2016 or 2017 would probably
result in a landslide for radically eurosceptic Tories in alliance with the UK
Independence Party.
A quick referendum mandating the
new government to negotiate an exit
from the European Union would then
become an odds-on bet.
All these scenarios can, of course,
be qualified with numerous ifs and
buts. Many political surprises will
surely occur between now and 2017.
In the end, the instinctive caution
of the British electorate might well
prevail - as it did in the Scottish
referendum - preserving the status
quo of British membership in the
European Union.
But whatever ultimately happens,
outbreaks of political panic are nearcertain in the six months before
the general election. Then again
during the period of turmoil and
ungovernability leading up to a snap
election and EU referendum in 2017.
Investors and businesses in Britain
are queuing up for a roller-coaster
Weather report
The ‘busiest’
health centre
the latest, the opposition parties are
almost certain to unite in a vote of
no confidence on some major issue
- bringing down the government.
This would force a new election in
spite of the theoretical requirement
that Parliament should serve a fixed
five-year term.
The near-certainty that whatever
government emerges in May will fall
within a year or so, raises the third
and most troubling business issue. A
snap election in 2016 or 2017 is most
likely to produce an overtly eurosceptic government, committed to
taking Britain out of the European
Since a continuation of the current
coalition is almost impossible
because of Tory commitment to an
EU referendum, which the Liberals
oppose, Cameron may only be able
to lead the next government if his
party wins an outright majority or
forms an alliance with the Scottish
Nationalists, UK Independent Party
and other fringe parties.
An outright Tory majority is out
of the question, according to current
opinion polls, and time is running
out for the surge in support the
Tories were expecting as a result of
economic recovery.
A Tory government supported by
Scottish Nationalists and Ukip is a
more plausible option. But the glue
holding together such a coalition
would be an EU referendum on
membership terms that the rest of
Europe would be extremely unlikely
to accept.
Ukip would certainly press for
such an impossible negotiating
mandate and even the Scottish
Nationalists would do so for
tactical reasons. The Scots would
insist that a British vote to exit the
European Union should be followed
immediately by one on Scotland
leaving Britain.
And in this second referendum,
Three-day forecast
take certain time before his own turn
comes. That is the usual procedure
as the health centre’s management
believes that patients have the right
to be aware of the time remaining to
be checked by a doctor.
With regard to the complaint on
the “lack of the doctor’s knowledge”
of medicines’ names, one must
understand that the doctor is dealing
with the scientific names of the
medicines and these vary according to
the brands available at the pharmacy.
This does not mean a lack of
knowledge on the part of the doctor
about the medicine’s name; in fact it
proves the doctor’s keenness not to
write any name before ensuring the
availability of the medicine.
PHCC is doing its best to improve
and provide quality services to the
community. It is also committed to
train and develop staff in order to raise
their standards.
The Hayyak service has been
introduced at health centres to
help meet the needs of visitors and
to respond to their enquiries and
observations after listening to their
feedback and considering them.
PHCC welcomes suggestions and
comments which will contribute
in motivating and developing its
improvement plans.
Dear Sir,
The continuing violations of
human rights by Israel pose a big
challenge to international forums and
According to press reports, the
Israeli government has imposed a
travel ban on Norwegian surgeon and
human rights activist Mads Gilbert.
Gilbert was working in Gaza Al Shifa
hospital during the recent Israeli war
on Gaza.
More than 600 children had lost
their lives in Gaza and 80% medical
facilities there had been destroyed by
the relentless Israeli attacks.
Gilbert has openly criticised
Israel’s brutal use of force against the
Palestine’s civilian population.
Israel has just announced 20 years
of prison terms for stone-throwing
in Gaza. An order by the Israeli
prime minister to raze the homes of
suspected resistance fighters has been
widely criticised by human rights
organisations. The order is against
the Geneva convention. According
to human rights organisations, Israel
is also using capital punishment as a
weapon of war.
Despite worldwide condemnation,
illegal settlement activities by Israel
are still continuing in occupied areas.
Israeli practices like these have
turned all peace attempts into farce.
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Low: 21 C
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with scattered clouds and chance of
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Waves: 1-2 Feet
Khawaja Umer Farooq
[email protected]
Please send us your letters
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Live issues
Spelling out g-r-a-t-i-t-u-d-e
By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
his has been a difficult
year for many people,
myself included. I’m getting through it because I
sought good counsel, have supportive friends and continue to
count my blessings. I love the
Thanksgiving holiday in the United
States because it reminds us of all
that we are grateful for, despite the
temporary setbacks that life can
hand us all.
If you have your health, be happy.
Millions don’t, and those of us who
still do need to treasure it and do all
we can to maintain it. Sometimes it’s
easy to forget that this really is the most
important thing in life. Without it, the
struggle to move forward is amplified,
but even those with major health issues
can find reasons to be grateful. A loving
family, caring doctors and nurses, and
hope for the future are just a few.
If you have a family or friends who
love you, feel the joy. There are many
who have no one. That kind of loneliness is depressing, and at this time
of year, the sadness can get worse as
you compare your life with the lives of
others around you.
If you hate your life
right now, trust that
things will change
This is where you have to take care
of yourself by breaking out of your
shell and reaching out to others. A
great way to do this is by volunteering
in your community.
You will not only make a difference to
people who need your help, but you will
meet others who are caring and perhaps
in need of some company as well.
If you feel you have lost everything,
it’s time to reevaluate. You can lose
your job, your spouse, even your dog,
and any of those losses can make you
feel that life is not worth living, but
that is wrong.
The real truth is that no matter how
little you think you have, there are millions of others with less. Look at what
you’ve got and try to appreciate it.
If you think what you are going
through is the worst, imagine being in
a refugee camp, living in the dirt and
standing in line all day for water and a
little rice. Now, really, how bad do you
have it? If you are reading this, then
your life is better than most of the
people on the planet.
If you hate your life right now,
trust that things will change. In fact,
the only thing you can count on is
change - it’s the only constant in the
Hate your commute? Well, what if you
didn’t have a job to go to, a car to get there
with, and money to put gas in the tank?
You have to keep things in perspective and
be grateful for what you have.
All of us have paid our dues, had
jobs or worked with people that we
didn’t like. It is just part of life, and I
promise you that things will change
again in short order.
If you have it in your head that
you need to do something different, you have begun the process of
I have a beautiful sign above my
chair that only my clients can see. It
spells out the word GRATITUDE in
pictures of letters from old neon signs.
Everyone says something about it.
Mostly they are grateful for the reminder. It’s easy to forget that we have
so much to be thankful for.
z Dr Barton Goldsmith, a
psychotherapist in Westlake Village,
California, is the author of The Happy
Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit
One Little Loving Thing at a Time.
Follow his daily insights on Twitter at
@BartonGoldsmith, or e-mail him at
[email protected]
Around the world
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Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Dhow festival ends on a high note
Katara event draws more
than 655,000 visitors of
different nationalities
ome 655,758 people of different nationalities have
visited Katara’s fourth
Traditional Dhow Festival,
which concluded yesterday, according to the organisers.
The closing day witnessed
the announcement of winners
of the festival’s competitions
as well as a prize-distribution
ceremony, held along with the
Al Qafal celebration.
“The fourth Traditional Dhow
Festival, a leading heritage event,
achieved a number of objectives
- such as bringing generations
together and reviving Qatar’s
as well as the region’s maritime
heritage. Our maritime heritage
is a distinctive feature of our national identity. This is in harmony
with Katara’s mission as a cultural
institution, through which we
spread our culture as well as interact with other cultures,” said
Dr Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti,
general manager of Katara.
Meanwhile, festival director
Ahmed al-Hitmi said the recently announced “Fateh Al Khair 2”
dhow trip would start in early
October 2015. “After sailing off
Qatari shores, the dhow will stop
at the Khasab and Muscat ports
in Oman, after which it will reach
Ras Al Hadd port, before heading
for its final destination in India,”
al-Hitmi said, noting that “Fateh
Al Khair” will return to Katara’s
seashore with the kick-off of the
next edition of the Traditional
Dhow Festival.
According to al-Hitmi, Katara
has received many requests from
people as well as members of the
media from all over the GCC, Europe and Australia to board the
dhow on its historical trip to India. “Fateh Al Khair 2”, however,
was likely to have no more than
20 guests on board.
Yesterday’s closing ceremony
started with the Al Qafal heritage
Winners of different competitions have been honoured.
festival, which celebrated the return of the 10 teams participating
in the pearl-diving competition to
Katara’s seashore after sailing off
on Thursday. The Al Qafal ceremony featured a number of traditional dances and folk songs that
gave the competitions’ crowning
ceremony a heritage flavour.
The ‘Fateh Al Khair 2’ dhow
trip to India will start in
early October 2015
While the Fateh Al Khair team
from Bahrain won QR200,000
for collecting the highest number
of pearls (14,264) during the
three-day contest, Leshkhairah from Oman, the competition’s runner-up, was awarded
QR150,000 for coming back with
13,242 pearls.
The third place went to the Al
Sadd Al Aali team from Bahrain,
which was able to dive for 12,765
pearls, taking a QR100,000
award home.
The performances were evaluated by assigning 70% of each
team’s scores to the number of
pearls collected, while the 30%
remaining was based on the
teams’ adherence to heritage and
Meanwhile, Mohamed Abdullah al-Saada from Qatar took
home QR100,000 for winning
the free-diving contest. Al-Saada managed to hold his breath for
five minutes and 30 seconds under water. With a 21-second difference in timing, Hamad Rashid
al-Hajiri from Qatar was awarded QR80,000 for coming second.
The third place was bagged by
Abdullah Abed Omar from Qatar, who was awarded QR60,000
for staying under water for three
minutes and 43 seconds.
The sailing competition’s winners were also crowned, with
the Raslan team winning the
first place, Al Khor team finishing second and Al Maha team
third. The winners were awarded QR100,000, QR70,000 and
QR50,000, respectively.
As for the rowing competition, the teams that secured the
first four spots on Wednesday,
all from Oman, were award-
QR50,000 and QR30,000, respectively. The four other participating teams were each awarded
Finally, Qatar Museums’ Fateh
Al Khair won the Best Dhow contest, bagging a QR100,000 prize.
This year, the judges found the
contest to be highly competitive
and decided to honour two more
dhows with QR50,000 each. The
two honorees were Bahrain’s Al
Khalfaniyah dhow owned by Abdulaziz al-Shahin, followed by
the Kumzar dhow of Mohamed
Abdullah al-Kumzari from Oman.
The award ceremony was followed by the festival’s main operetta, Al Tabaa (The edition), which
revolves around the 1925 sinking
of pearl-diving boats in the Arabian Gulf after being exposed to a
strong cyclone and heavy rains.
On Friday night, Dr al-Sulaiti
and Al-Hitmi honoured the festival’s participants in a special
ceremony on the Katara beach.
Those honoured included the
festival’s artisans, dhow owners
and participating pavilions.
The event attracted a large number of visitors.
Various competitions were held as part of the festival.
OIL PACT | Page 3
US welcomes
Baghdad deal
chiefs forecast
strong dollar
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Safar 01, 1436 AH
AACO calls for
‘innovative’ steps
to ease air space
congestion in
the Arab region
Barwa Bank profit jumps to QR641mn
Sheikh Mohamed (left) with al-Subeai. Barwa Bank’s total assets surged 28% to QR36.6bn in the third quarter.
egistering “significant” growth across the
balance sheet, Barwa Bank’s net profit
reached QR641mn in the third quarter of
this year, up 43% on the same period in 2013.
The Shariah-compliant banking group has registered a third-quarter net profit of QR447mn in
Barwa Bank’s total assets grew to QR36.6bn,
a 28% increase over the same period in 2013. Financing assets showed a 31% growth to QR22bn in
the third quarter even as customer deposits grew
30% to QR22.1bn.
Earnings-per-share improved to QR2.12
compared with QR1.49 for the same period last
Barwa Bank Group chairman Sheikh Mohamed
bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said, “In only four
years, Barwa Bank Group has managed to increase
its market share in the Qatari Islamic banking industry to 15% coupled with a significant increase
in customer numbers, both corporate and personal. The board of directors, strongly supports
the expertise of the management and staff of the
group; expertise which is leading the group to position itself at the forefront of Islamic financial
service providers.”
Barwa Bank acting group chief executive officer Khalid Yousef al-Subeai said, “The group’s
strategy, focused on across-the-board expansion, service excellence and robust risk manage-
Barwa Bank’s earnings-per-share rose to
QR2.12 compared with QR1.49 last year
ment, has improved both the breadth and quality
of earnings. The impressive growth of the group
continues to be associated with progressive improvement in processes and management practices which has led to greater efficiency, improved
profitability and increasing returns on our shareholders’ investment in the bank.”
“We are keen to continue and accelerate this
positive performance in future, to meet the expectations of both our customers and shareholders alike. I would like to thank all group employees
for their dedication and perseverance which has
resulted in – with the grace of God - these excellent results,” he added.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Jumeirah Group to showcase luxury properties in Doha tomorrow
Burj Al
Arab in
Dubai, a
Jumeirah Group, the global luxury
hotel company and a member of
Dubai Holding, will showcase its 22
luxury hotels, resorts and residences
at St Regis Hotel Doha as part of GCC
roadshow tomorrow.
During the Doha event, Jumeirah
representatives will address top travel
and tour operators, travel agencies
and clients, a release said. They will
also present its ‘STAY DIFFERENTTM’
brand promise and its full range of
luxurious and innovative offerings for
business and leisure guests.
Qatar is a key source market that
registered a 37% growth in room
nights and 32% room revenue year-todate compared with the same period
last year.
Jumeirah Group will focus on
family tourism as it responds to the
international Muslim community
requirements. The roadshow will also
provide a chance to share updates on
current developments and the new
brand ‘VENU’ with strategic partners
in Qatar.
Year-to-date, the combined business
from countries in the Gulf region
accounted for 326,644 room nights
on the coast of Oman, near Muscat;
four properties in China and a hotel in
The company also signed a series
of letters of understanding in the
Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe,
which are expected to mature into
management agreements, adding
to the “robust” pipeline of new
and 22.7% of revenues. Furthermore,
the average room rates across the
company’s portfolio grew by 1.4% with
occupancy increasing by 4%, which in
turn contributed to a 7.4% growth in
revenue per available room (RevPAR).
During 2013-14, Jumeirah Group
signed management agreements
to operate a hotel in St Petersburg,
Russia; two hotels in a luxury resort
S&P keeps
US Vice President Joe Biden (left) poses with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul yesterday. In a speech that touched on energy issues from Russia to Cyprus, Biden said he was
encouraged to see a recent interim agreement between Baghdad and Arbil on managing crude oil exports and revenue sharing.
US welcomes oil deal between
Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad
Biden addresses energy summit
in Istanbul; says Europe must
continue to diversify energy
supplies; urges progress on Cyprus
S Vice President Joe Biden welcomed an agreement between
Iraq’s central government and
its northern Kurdistan region over the
management of oil exports, a step forward in a feud that has threatened the
unity of Iraq.
‘Egypt needs a
strong economy’
Egypt will offer a slew of projects to
domestic and foreign investors at a
conference in March aimed at kickstarting an economy battered by
years of political unrest, the prime
minister said yesterday.
Falling tourist revenues and slowing investments have left Egypt’s
economy in ruins after nearly four
years of turmoil that saw two presidents ousted following mass street
The premier, Ibrahim Mahlab, told
reporters in Cairo the gathering
will be the “cornerstone for Egypt’s
economic revival and aims to
provide the resources used... to
improve health care services, the
educational system and provide
energy to all.”
Among them, he mentioned at
least 10 projects in energy and
river transport, but did not elaborate.
Mahlab said the conference is a
message to the world that “Egypt
needs a strong economy that can
stabilise the whole region.
“Our economy is about to recover...
All the economic indicators point to
this... and this conference is to support the Egyptian economy.”
In August, President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi launched the construction of
a $4bn expansion of the Suez Canal
that aims to speed up traffic and
foresees the creation of 1mn jobs.
Sisi has set an ambitious target of
digging the new canal in one year,
which will run parallel to the original
one, built 145 years ago.
In a speech in Istanbul yesterday that
touched on energy issues from Russia
to Cyprus, Biden said he was encouraged to see a recent interim agreement
between Baghdad and Arbil on managing exports and revenue sharing.
After years of friction, the two sides
last week struck a deal in which Kurds
will give half of their overall oil shipments to the federal government and
Baghdad will pay overdue civil servants’ salaries in the region. Oil has been
at the heart of a feud between the government in Baghdad and the Kurdishrun northern enclave, with disputes
over oilfields, territory and crude revenues shared between the two regions.
The Kurdish autonomous region
and the Baghdad government are both
important actors in the fight against
Islamic State militants who have captured broad regions of Iraq and Syria.
Biden, who was speaking at an Atlantic Council summit, also said that
Washington supported the development of an oil pipeline from southern
Iraq’s Basra oilfields to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a project
which Turkey has long advocated despite reluctance in Baghdad.
Addressing tensions in Ukraine, Biden warned that Moscow should not
use its energy resources as a political
weapon, and said that Europe should
look for alternative energy solutions.
“I have no doubt Russia will and
should remain a major source of energy
supply for Europe and the world. This
is about energy security. To achieve it,
Europe needs to make sure it diversifies
its resources, its routes and its suppliers.”
Russia and Ukraine reached a temporary pricing deal last month after Moscow switched off the gas supply to its
ex-Soviet neighbour, amidst worsening relations over Russian support for
rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Biden also touched on the exploitation
of Cypriot gas reserves, a source of tension between Cyprus and Turkey, which
does not recognise the EU member
country. Biden said the reserves could be
a force for stability and prosperity in the
region if Cyprus developed them in cooperation with all its neighbours.
Talks between Cyprus and its politically and ethnically separate Turkish Cypriot north have broken down in
recent weeks.
Speaking shortly after Biden, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
warned that any unilateral exploitation
of gas near Cyprus would be met with
a similar response by northern Cyprus.
“That’s why parties should return to
the negotiating table as soon as possible,” Davutoglu said.
urkey remains vulnerable
to swings on global markets even after narrowing its current-account deficit,
Standard & Poor’s said as it kept
the country’s rating outlook
The country’s “vulnerability
to changes in international sentiment” is highlighted by growing foreign-currency debts held
by businesses, S&P said in a report published on Friday. Turkey’s companies have a “short”
foreign-currency position of
more than $100bn, and its banks
have more than doubled their
external debt since the end of
2010, it said.
S&P kept Turkey’s rating at
BB+, the highest junk status,
with a negative outlook signalling there’s at least a onein-three chance of a rating cut
within a year. It’s the only one
of the three main credit-rating
companies that doesn’t classify Turkish debt as investment
S&P kept Turkey’s rating at
BB+, the highest junk status
Turkey’s current-account gap
will shrink to 5.2% of economic
output this year from almost
twice that in 2011, and rebalancing of the economy, which imports most of its energy needs,
will be helped by falling oil prices, S&P said.
Threats include a shift in global markets, the wars on Turkey’s borders, and domestic
polarisation that may deepen if
unemployment rises, S&P said.
While the financial system
currently has few bad loans, a
slowdown would test the creditworthiness of companies that
borrowed in the boom, S&P said.
It may expose state banks that
engaged in “quasi-fiscal activity
that may not satisfy commercial
lending standards,” it said.
Egypt hopes to attract up to $12bn in 20
projects at investment summit in March
People talk as they stand looking over the Suez Canal in Ismailia city. Egypt’s investment conference in mid-March
would showcase master plans for the development of an industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal, which was
announced this year, and for the development of a mining zone in south-eastern Egypt.
gypt hopes to attract investment of
$10bn-$12bn in 20 projects, including in energy, transport and water,
at a major conference in mid-March, the
minister for international co-operation
said yesterday.
The conference is seen as a critical part
of the government’s economic reform plan
that has resulted in slashed energy subsidies and raised taxes. The government has
also resolved disputes with existing investors as it seeks to revive an economy battered by political turmoil since a 2011 uprising.
“For the time being we have around 20
projects and divided between three categories: PPP, private and public,” Naglaa
al-Ahwany said, referring to private-public
partnerships. “Most of them are in the areas of energy, transport, water, grain storage,” she said in an interview with Reuters.
“We plan to have projects worth from $1012bn.”
Al-Ahwany said the conference would
also showcase master plans for the development of an industrial and logistics hub
near the Suez Canal, which was announced
this year, and for the development of a mining zone in south-eastern Egypt.
However, investment opportunities in
those mega-projects were not expected to
be ready in time for the meeting, she said.
Al-Ahwany brushed aside concerns
about security, saying Egypt’s military
campaign against militants in restive
northern Sinai was far from the conference
site on the southern tip of the peninsula.
“We cannot say that unless you have
100% security you will not be able to organise a conference,” she said.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told visiting US businessmen last week that Egypt
would hold parliamentary elections before
the conference, trying to reassure them
that a delayed poll would not be put off
indefinitely amid a crackdown on political
The conference was originally slated for
February, but Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb announced yesterday that it would take
place on March 13-15 in the Red Sea resort
town of Sharm al-Sheikh.
No date for elections has yet been set but
al-Ahwany suggested investors were not
concerned about the timing of the vote,
which was originally expected before the
year end.
“We cannot say that investors will not
come unless the elections have been done.
It’s enough that we will announce that the
process is ongoing,” said al-Ahwany, leaving open the possibility that they might not
happen until the end of March.
Global investment bank Lazard and
WPP, a multinational public relations firm,
have been hired to organise the event.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Alibaba: Wall St’s favourite customer
Dow Jones
Beijing/New York
all Street has a new favourite customer: Alibaba Group
Holding Ltd.
The Chinese e-commerce company has emerged as this year’s biggest
source of fees for banks working on
capital-markets deals. After its $25bn
initial public offering in September,
the largest in history, the Chinese Internet company on Thursday sold $8bn
in bonds, one of the largest corporatebond deals of the year.
While fees weren’t disclosed, the
banks co-ordinating the sale-led by
Morgan Stanley, with assistance from
Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, JP
Morgan Chase & Co and seven others
– reaped millions of dollars for their efforts in finding buyers for the bonds.
Morgan Stanley and the other banks
co-ordinating the sale are lenders to Alibaba under an $8bn credit facility that
has already been used. Alibaba plans to
use proceeds from the bond sale to help
pay off that $8bn loan, which carries
variable interest rates tied to the overall market. The bonds sold on Thursday
mostly carry fixed rates, potentially
giving the company savings over time
should market rates rise.
When drugstore chain Walgreen
Co completed an $8bn bond sale this
month, banks on the deal reaped
nearly $40mn, according to a securities filing.
Banks have collected more than
$35bn in fees so far this year on new
stock and bond offerings, according to
data provider Dealogic, up from about
$32bn at this time last year. Alibaba is
already the largest payer of underwriting fees to banks this year, dispensing
$291mn to the arrangers of its September IPO, according to Dealogic.
Alibaba has eclipsed firms such as
Canadian energy company Encana
Corp, French telecommunications firm
Numericable Group SA and Japanese
real-estate company Mitsui Fudosan
Co to top the rankings of the most lucrative underwriting clients globally
this year, according to Dealogic figures.
The underwriting boom alone won’t
fill in the gaps for banks under pressure
Chinese online retail giant Alibaba founder Jack Ma (centre) rings a bell to start the trading of his company’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange in September. The
Chinese e-commerce company has emerged as this year’s biggest source of fees for banks working on capital-markets deals.
amid soft trading and low interest rates.
Underwriting fees are just a fraction
of the revenue generated by securities
sales and trading, for example.
In an unusual move, Alibaba insisted
that there be no lead bank on its initial
share offering. The company listed five
banks on the deal in alphabetical order- Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche
Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JP
Morgan and Morgan Stanley – to reflect
their equal base fees for the deal, with
a sixth lead bank, Citigroup, listed after them because it received a smaller
base fee, people familiar with the deal
have said. Alibaba intended the arrangement to reward each of the banks
for prior work with the company and to
maintain future relationships, though
some bankers were frustrated that the
initial pay didn’t reflect different roles
in the deal, the people said.The $291mn
IPO fee reflected a pay rate of 1.2%,
which was slightly more than the 1.1%
Facebook paid in its $16bn IPO, completed in 2012. It was still far less than
the typical 6% to 7% awarded in most
Morgan Stanley began discussing the
bond sale with Alibaba as many as 18
months before the IPO, people familiar
with the deal said. The company chose
to sell the bonds this week in part because investors had a chance to review
Alibaba’s first quarterly earnings as a
publicly traded company. Market conditions were good and the Thanksgiving holiday – when bond markets are
closed-is coming up, the people said.
Investors said demand for the Chinese company’s debt was robust, underscoring the hefty appetite for income-generating investments at a time
of uneven global growth and low interest rates. Alibaba received as much as
$55bn in orders for the debt, said people familiar with the deal, joining other
technology companies such as Apple,
Oracle and Cisco Systems in completing multibillion-dollar bond sales in
Strong demand sent yields lower.
A five-year bond, for example, was
initially offered to yield about 1.10 percentage points more than comparable
Treasurys earlier in the week, but that
figure fell to 0.95 percentage point on
Thursday, for a yield of 2.582%. In total, Alibaba’s deal came in six parts,
with maturities ranging from three to
20 years.
Kent White, director of investmentgrade research at Thrivent Asset Management, which oversees about $92bn,
said his firm purchased some of the Alibaba bonds for mutual funds, citing the
company’s strong earnings and dominant market position.
“My analyst liked it over eBay and
Amazon,” White said.
The bonds yielded a little more than
comparable companies. A 2019 bond
from eBay Inc, for example, traded recently at a yield of 2.509%.
Investors weren’t surprised at the
deal’s strong reception. The bond sale
was “broadcast for some time, so people had time to prepare for it, “ said
Michael Hyman, head of investmentgrade portfolio management at Invesco, which oversees about $241bn
in fixed-income investments. Hyman
declined to say whether his firm bought
the new bonds.
Alibaba announced last week that a
sale was in the works.
Cheap electricity for poor squeezing out solar
The villagers of Dharnai in northern
India had been living without
electricity for more than 30 years
when Greenpeace installed a
microgrid to supply reliable, low-cost
solar power.
Then, within weeks of the lights
flickering on in Dharnai’s mud huts,
the government utility hooked up
the grid – flooding the community
with cheap power that undercut
the fledgling solar network. While
Greenpeace had come to Dharnai at
Bihar’s invitation, the unannounced
arrival of the state’s utility threatened
to put it out of business.
“We wanted to set this up as a business
model,” said Abhishek Pratap, a
Greenpeace campaigner overseeing
the project. “Now we’re in course
correction.” It’s a scenario playing out
at dozens of ventures across India’s
hinterlands. Competition from state
utilities, with their erratic yet unbeatably
cheap subsidised power, is scuppering
efforts to supply clean, modern energy
in a country where more people die
from inhaling soot produced by indoor
fires than from smoking.
About as many people in India are
without electricity as there are
residents of the US, and the number
is growing by a Mumbai every year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
wants to bring electricity to every
home by 2019 by leapfrogging the
nation’s ailing power-distribution
infrastructure with solar-powered
local networks – the same way mobilephones have enabled people in poor,
remote places to bypass landlines.
“We are facing the searing impact of
climate change and we spend more
than 6% of our gross domestic product
in adapting to its consequences,”
Modi told Fiji’s parliament, saying
technologies such as wind and solar
mean “we don’t have to seek old
pathways to prosperity.” Modi’s vision
is also championed by the World
Bank, General Electric, and BlackRock
Inc-backed SunEdison Inc, which say
switching from old-style centralised
networks to microgrids is a cheaper,
faster solution to bringing 1.3bn
people, mostly in India and Africa, out
of the dark.
India’s state utilities risk crushing that
model before it gets off the ground as
they continue a policy of supplying
farmers and the poor with cheap
power. While the utilities incur huge
losses stemming from subsidies,
changing the system is a political
minefield. Bihar, for instance, has the
second-largest number of people
below the poverty line among India’s
29 states: almost 44mn living on 75
cents a day or less.
“The issue isn’t whether people can
pay for power,” said Vivek Gupta,
co-founder and director of Saran
Renewable Energy Pvt., which
suffered unannounced grid arrivals
when building microgrids in Bihar.
“They don’t want to pay because they
know the government gives it for free
if the grid comes.”
Bina Devi, 55, who squats on her
heels in a dirty beige sari, says she’s
grateful to Greenpeace for bringing
the kind of modern energy needed to
light schools, run health clinics and
refrigerate food.
“It changed everything,” she said. Yet
given the option for virtually free state
power, she’s not inclined to pay for an
alternative. “We hardly have enough
money for food. It’s difficult to pay an
electricity bill.” Husk Power Systems
Pvt., which has built microgrids to
supply about 200,000 people with
power from rice husks, has had “huge
problems” with disconnections when
the grid appears, said Chief Executive
Officer Manoj Sinha. In Tanzania, by
contrast, the state utility promised
to stay away for a decade from the
area where First Solar Inc-backed
Husk planned a microgrid. “India is
preventing innovation,” Sinha said.
The number of Indians without access
to modern energy is increasing
as population growth outpaces
electrification - rising 13mn last year to
306mn, according to the International
Energy Agency. That’s more than
triple the next- biggest unelectrified
populace: Nigeria with 85mn.
Delivering electricity the traditional
way means building more
transformers, substations and
transmission lines, as well as more
fossil-fuel plants. India can’t serve
existing customers, with shortages
of as much as 11% at peak hours, and
its distributors are saddled with more
than $32bn in debt incurred from
subsidies as well as losses from theft,
a leaky network, and slack billing.
Efforts to expand the grid have fallen
short since at least 2010, when the
government set a goal to have every
village electrified. As of September,
13% of villages were still pending,
according to the government.
On the ground, many villages
technically may be connected to
the grid but get little or no power
for years because of broken
infrastructure. Others may have one
government building tethered to a
transformer and little else.
The unreliability of grid power, which in
some places only works when people
are sleeping, makes alternatives
attractive. Renewable-based options
also offer clean, bright light in a nation
where indoor air pollution is the
second-biggest killer after high blood
pressure, according to the Centre for
Science and Environment.
Solar power can also work out
cheaper in the countryside than using
kerosene, diesel and candles - yet
subsidies distort the market. Mera Gao
Power, which has built minigrids for
20,000 households in Uttar Pradesh
state, is planning projects in Haiti and
Nepal, where its model will compete
against market-priced kerosene, unlike
India, where the fuel is subsidised.
Solar panels stand at the Welspun Energy plant in Madhya Pradesh, India. The villagers of Dharnai in northern India
had been living without electricity for more than 30 years when Greenpeace installed a microgrid to supply reliable,
low-cost solar power.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Li urges ‘new growth engines’
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for
“new growth engines” to counter slowing
growth in the world’s second largest
economy, Xinhua reported late on Friday.
The comments came as China unexpectedly
cut interest rates for the first time in more
than two years to help support its economy,
heading for its slowest expansion in 24
With factory growth stalling and a
decelerating property market hurting
demand for steel, cement and several other
products, Beijing is under pressure to drive
new areas of growth.
China should help people to set up
their own businesses and speed up the
development of new business models, Li
He encouraged Chinese manufacturers
to expand overseas, establish strong,
world-renowned brands, and launch more
innovative “Created-in-China” products and
services, the news agency said.
He also urged policy efforts to aid
small and mid-sized banks and bolster
the development of the Yangtze River
economic belt, which covers nine provinces
An employee counts yuan banknotes at a bank in Beijing. China’s latest interest rate cut is set to dent the profitability of domestic lenders, especially
mid-sized banks, which are already suffering from higher bad loans and a slowdown in profit growth.
China rate cut to
hit banks’ profits
hina’s latest interest rate cut is set to
dent the profitability of domestic lenders, especially mid-sized banks, which
are already suffering from higher bad loans and
a slowdown in profit growth.
The central bank unexpectedly cut rates late
on Friday, stepping up efforts to support small
and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which
are struggling to repay loans and access credit,
as the economy slides to its slowest growth in
nearly a quarter of a century.
It slashed the one-year benchmark lending
rate by 40 basis points to 5.6% while lowering
the one-year benchmark deposit rate by 25 basis
points to 2.75%.
The narrowing of interest rate margins will
eat into lenders’ profitability, with Cinda Securities’ chief strategist, Jiahe Chen, predicting it
will cut profits by up to 5%.
Interest margins generated from lending have
already been shrinking for second-tier lenders,
which have been squeezed by competition from
online financiers and a rise in funding costs
stemming from an industry tussle for deposits.
Fitch Ratings downgraded its credit rating of
China Guangfa Bank, a medium-sized lender,
two days before the rate-cut announcement,
and said the level of off-balance-sheet lending
among second-tier banks was a concern.
Smaller companies are considered high
risk and banks do not want to increase
their exposure to weaker borrowers
The squeeze on profits will make it tougher
for lenders to raise capital to meet new international rules designed to protect depositors
from banking collapses. Retained profits are
one way in which banks can build up regulatory
“In the past when Chinese banks disburse
loans, they mainly relied on profits from their
own capital to replenish their capital,” Jiang
Jianqing, chairman of China’s biggest commercial bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China Co, told a conference in Beijing yesterday.
The People’s Bank of China said in announcing the rate cut that it wanted to help smaller
firms gain access to credit.
While the measures may ease the financing
costs of these firms’ existing loans, it is unlikely
to encourage banks to write new loans to lowerrung borrowers, bankers said.
Smaller companies are considered high risk
and banks do not want to increase their exposure to weaker borrowers, they said.
“At the moment banks have a lot of problems
with them, they have higher rates of default ...
we’re suspicious of their creditworthiness, so
we’re very careful about lending to them,” said a
senior loan officer at a top-10 bank.
He declined to be identified because he was
not authorised to speak to the media.
Among China’s five largest banks, lending
will continue to favour China’s state-controlled companies, state-invested enterprises and
those involved with large projects overseen by
the government, bankers added.
In the third quarter, China’s banks reported
rising bad loans and slowing profit growth, amid
fears that a credit crunch could spread further.
“We’ve been moving away from SME lending over the last two years in my department.
We won’t start lending now,” said another senior loan officer at one of the country’s top five
Beijing seen reducing
rates again after
first cut since 2012
China is poised to deliver deeper interest rate cuts after
yesterday’s unexpected decision to reduce borrowing
costs for the first time since 2012.
With the world’s second-largest economy on track to
record its weakest annual growth since 1990, economists
at JPMorgan Chase & Co, Barclays Plc and UBS AG all
said the People’s Bank of China will act again to shore-up
Global stocks, oil and metal prices all rose as China sided
with the euro-area and Japan in delivering fresh stimulus.
Risk the nation will undershoot its official growth target of
about 7.5% this year, slowing inflation and elevated funding
costs suggest more action to come.
The announcement signals a “policy shift towards more
aggressive monetary easing,” said Haibin Zhu, chief
China economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “This reflects
the government concern about near-term growth and
the desperate efforts to lower the funding cost for the
corporate sector.”
In moves that take effect today, the PBoC pared its oneyear lending rate by 0.4 percentage point to 5.6%, while
the one-year deposit rate was lowered by 0.25 percentage
point to 2.75%.
The decision marked a switch from the PBoC’s recent
practice of choosing selective monetary easing and
liquidity injections over interest rate cuts. It also showed
an increased bias by policy makers toward pro-growth
policies even if they fuel a build-up of debt they previously
The economy’s slowdown deepened in October,
jeopardising the government’s growth goal. Factory
production rose 7.7% from a year earlier, the second
weakest pace since 2009, and investment in fixed assets
such as machinery expanded the least since 2001 from
January through October.
Adding to the global fears of deflation, consumer prices
increased 1.6% in October from a year earlier, matching
September’s pace that was the slowest since January 2010,
and producer prices fell for a record 32nd month.
and stretches from southwest Yunnan
province to Shanghai on the east coast.
Clean energy and modern farming are
among the areas being targeted for
expansion in the zone.
Li: Calling for policy efforts to aid small and
mid-sized banks.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Honda holding talks with
suppliers besides Takata
Dow Jones
onda Motor is in talks with
several suppliers besides
Takata Corp about securing
replacement parts for vehicles recalled over defective Takata-made
airbags, people with knowledge about
the matter said.
Whether Takata can manufacture
parts quickly enough to replace millions of airbag inflaters that are at risk
of exploding is becoming a focal point
among US lawmakers and auto safety
In the US, around 10mn vehicles
with Takata-made airbags have been
recalled over the last six years, mostly
by Honda. The inflaters inside these
airbags are at risk of exploding and
shooting out metal shrapnel, a problem that is linked to at least five deaths
and 45 injuries on Honda-made cars.
Lawmakers grilled officials from
Takata and the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration in a US
Senate committee hearing on Thursday, asking whether Takata could
meet demand for replacement parts
on its own.
Takata is producing 300,000 inflater replacement kits a month and
plans to boost that to 450,000 kits a
month, said Hiroshi Shimizu, a Takata
executive overseeing quality assurance, at the Senate hearing. The company is set to start operating two new
lines at its inflater plant in Mexico in
January. At the current pace of production, it could take two to three
years for auto makers to complete repairs for recalled vehicles, said David
Friedman, NHTSA’s deputy administrator. NHTSA has contacted two
other airbag makers, he said, without
stating their names.
Honda, Takata’s biggest customer,
said working with other suppliers
was a “consideration” but declined to
comment further. The people familiar
with the matter said this week that
Honda was now talking to other suppliers. One of the people said Honda
is close to finding at least one other
One Honda engineer said that getting alternative supplies wasn’t impossible but difficult because so
much extra engineering was needed
to ensure that the new airbag worked
with other parts of the car.
BMW, General Motors and Nissan
Motor have said in written responses to
NHTSA that quickly obtaining replacement parts from suppliers other than
Takata wouldn’t be feasible. Toyota
Motor has said it is evaluating whether
it could turn to other suppliers.
BMW, in comments echoed by
other car makers, told NHTSA that
steps needed to adopt a non-Takata
replacement part could take up to two
years and “divert the limited BMW
available resources.” Nissan said the
air bag’s volume and shape, among
other specifications, would have to
be adjusted. The cost of the design
changes would be an issue, too. It
isn’t clear who would foot the bill if a
car maker turned to another supplier
to replace a defective Takata part.
To supply enough inflater replacement kits by mid-2015, Takata needs
to manufacture one million kits a
month, said Scott Upham, chief executive of Valient Automotive Market Research and a former manager at
Takata and a rival airbag maker, TRW
Automotive Holdings.
Should auto makers and Takata expand recalls that are currently limited
to certain hot and humid US regions,
it would need to reach out to other
suppliers, he said.
“Cooperation with major competitors – TRW Automotive, Autoliv and
Daicel Corp – would be required to
produce these kits by the end of 2015,”
Upham said in an e-mail.
TRW and Autoliv of Sweden
couldn’t be reached immediately for
comment on Friday. A Daicel spokesman said the company hasn’t received
any specific requests to date.
Takata’s Shimizu said the company
believes airbag explosions involve
three factors: aged airbag inflaters,
persistent exposure to high humidity
push needs
1,000 nuke
and production problems. NHTSA’s
Friedman said the median time of
failure for these air bags is 10 years.
Akihiro Ohta, Japan’s minister of
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and
Tourism, reiterated on Friday that the
ministry has ordered Takata to investigate its problems. The ministry,
which oversees automotive safety recalls, is also instructing auto makers
to check whether additional recalls
are needed over Takata airbags, he
said. Takata shares rose 9% on Friday to ¥1,252, as investors cheered the
absence of major new damaging revelations at the Senate hearing. Takata
shares have fallen 58% since the beginning of this year.
Samsung files suit to block Nvidia chips from US
A sales assistant uses her mobile phone next to the company logos of Apple and Samsung at a store in
Hefei, Anhui. Samsung Electronics filed a complaint on Friday against Nvidia with the US International
Trade Commission in Washington seeking to block computer-graphics chips made by Nvidia from the US.
amsung Electronics Co is seeking to block
computer-graphics chips made by Nvidia
Corp from the US market, escalating a battle begun after licensing talks failed.
Samsung filed a complaint on Friday against
Nvidia with the US International Trade Commission in Washington, according to a notice on the
agency’s website. A copy of the complaint wasn’t
immediately available.
The legal battle began in September when
Nvidia filed its own ITC complaint against Qualcomm and Samsung over patented ways to improve graphics. It’s asking the agency to block imports of the latest Galaxy phones and tablets that
use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon graphics processing
units or Samsung’s Exynos processors.
Samsung retaliated November 4 with a patentinfringement suit in federal court in Richmond,
Virginia. In that case, Suwon, South Korea-based
Samsung claims Nvidia and one of its customers
infringe as many as eight patents. That lawsuit
targets Nvidia’s Shield tablet computers.
Each company has denied using the other’s
technology. In a November 11 statement, Nvidia
called Samsung’s lawsuit “a predictable tactic.”
“We have not seen the complaint so can’t
comment, but we look forward to pursuing our
earlier filed ITC action against Samsung products,’’ Hector Marinez, a spokesman for Santa
Clara, California-based Nvidia, said in an emailed statement. Also named in the ITC complaint on Friday were computer-parts manufacturers, including Biostar Microtech International
Corp and Elitegroup Computer Systems Co. Improved graphics processing units, or GPUs, are
becoming more important as smartphones and
tablet computers are increasingly used for playing games and watching movies.
The new case is In the Matter of Certain
Graphics Processing Chips, Systems on a Chip,
Complaint No. 3042 and the Nvidia case is In
the Matter of Certain Consumer Electronics and
Display Devices with Graphics Processing and
Graphics Processing Units, 337-932. Both are
with the US International Trade Commission
hina, which does nothing
in small doses, will need
about 1,000 nuclear reactors, 500,000 wind turbines
or 50,000 solar farms as it takes
up the fight against climate
Chinese President Xi Jinping
agreement last week with President Barack Obama requires a
radical environmental and economic makeover. Xi’s commitment to cap carbon emissions
by 2030 and turn to renewable
sources for 20% of the country’s
energy comes with a price tag of
The pledge would require
China to produce either 67
times more nuclear energy than
the country is forecast to have at
the end of 2014, 30 times more
solar or nine times more wind
power. That almost equals the
non-fossil fuel energy of the
entire US generating capacity today. China’s programme
holds the potential of producing
vast riches for nuclear, solar and
wind companies that get in on
the action.
“China is in the midst of a
period of transition, and that
calls for a revolution in energy
production and consumption,
which will to a large extent depend on new energy,” Liang Zhipeng, deputy director of the new
energy and renewable energy
department under the National
Energy Administration, said at
a conference in Wuxi outside of
Shanghai this month. “Our environment is facing pressure and
we must develop clean energy.”
By last year, China had already become the world’s largest producer of wind and solar
power. Now, with an emerging
middle class increasingly outspoken about living in sooty
cities reminiscent of Europe’s
industrial revolution, China is
looking at radical changes in
how its economy operates.
“China knows that their model, which has done very well up
until recent times, has run its
course and needs to shift, and
they have been talking about this
at the highest levels,” said Paul
Joffe, senior foreign policy counsel at the Washington, DC-based
World Resources Institute.
Meeting the challenge is anything but assured. China has
already run into difficulty managing its renewables. About 11%
of wind capacity sat unused last
year because of grid constraints,
with the rate rising to more than
20% in the northern provinces
of Jilin and Gansu, according
to the China Renewable Energy
Engineering Institute.
With its huge population,
China is a country accustomed
to eye-popping goals. Some
have worked, such as the rapid
growth and poverty reduction
from the market reforms of
the past two decades. Others,
though, have exposed central
planning run amok, such as Mao
Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in
the 1950s to collectivisation and
Widodo Achilles heel found in Bumi to Berau stress
Indonesia’s biggest non-oil export
has become its bond market’s
Achilles heel.
Coal miners PT Bumi Resources
and PT Berau Energy Coal extended
losses this year, making Indonesian
distressed US dollar notes the worstperformers in emerging markets.
The Jakarta-based companies were
among 13 local issuers downgraded
in 2014, as cuts at Standard & Poor’s
and Moody’s Investors Service
outstripped upgrades by the most
in at least five years. The nation
accounted for 79% of defaults in
Southeast Asia since the end of 2008.
President Joko Widodo needs to win
support from global investors as he
plans to build 25 dams in five years,
24 ports and six mass transport
systems. Indonesia delivered Asia’s
worst returns for US currency notes
over the last two months, gaining
just 0.1%, jeopardising its rank as
the region’s second-best market this
year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
indexes show. The central bank has
warned over overseas corporate debt
in an economy growing the least
since 2009.
“We don’t expect a reversal in the
ratings downgrade trend and we
remain cautious to expose ourselves
to the Indonesian coal mining
sector,” Joep Huntjens, a Singaporebased senior money manager at
ING Investment Management, which
oversees about €180bn ($225bn)
globally, said by e-mail November
14. “Policy makers seem to be
aware of the negative reputational
consequences of defaulting US dollar
Indonesian companies missed
payments on $1.78bn of US currency
notes since the end of 2008,
Bloomberg-compiled data show.
The Bakrie family dynasty’s mining,
property and phone services group,
which controls Bumi, has defaulted
on three notes totalling $1.24bn since
2010. Bumi and Berau are beset
by concerns over finances and
management after coal tumbled 26%
this year. Declines of their notes have
contributed to an average 34.9% loss
for Indonesian distressed securities
this year through Friday, the poorest
performance in a Bank of America
Merrill Lynch index of developing
Berau’s 12.5% notes due July 2015 fell
29% this month to 53.331 cents on
the dollar as at 10:35 am in Jakarta
on Friday, according to Bloombergcompiled prices. Bumi’s $700mn
of 10.75% notes due October 2017
dropped 24% over the same period to
a record low 27.625 cents.
“General discussions show creditors
understand there are no easy
fixes,” Chris Fong, a Jakarta-based
spokesman for the Bakries, said in a
November 12 e-mail. “They know the
assets are world class, prices simply
need to improve, and they will.”
While downgrades are expected in
tough times, assets held by Bumi will
survive and become even stronger,
he said.
S&P lowered its ratings and outlook
on Indonesian borrowers 11 times
this year compared with 4 upgrades,
its weakest ratio of winners to
losers since 2009, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg. Moody’s
proportion is the lowest since 2007.
Bank Indonesia is taking note. Local
companies’ foreign debt has now
surpassed the government’s, more
than tripling in the last nine years
to $156bn at the end of August, it
said in an October 30 statement.
That’s equivalent to about 54% of the
nation’s external debt.
Liquidity risk is “escalating as the
value and share of short-term private
external debt increases,” the central
bank said. “Meanwhile, a mounting
debt-to-income ratio is indicative of
an increase in overleverage risk.”
S&P lowered Berau’s rating by two
steps on November 7 to CCC+, or
seven levels below investment
grade, amid a lack of detail on
refinancing plans for its July 2015
notes. Three days later, the ratings
company declared Bumi in default
after it delayed a coupon payment on
securities maturing in 2017.
Berau postponed a plan to refinance
the $450mn of bonds in August,
citing unfavorable market conditions.
The average yield for junk-rated
local companies climbed to 6.53
percentage points above Treasuries
yesterday from 5.86 three months
earlier, according to Bank of America
Merrill Lynch.
The fallout in Indonesia remains
limited to the coal industry and the
nation’s companies aren’t the biggest
offenders in emerging markets,
according to UBS Global Asset
Management, which manages about
$679bn globally.
“It’s industry-specific, there is no
sense of overall market stress,”
Ashley Perrott, Singapore-based
head of Pan Asia fixed income at
UBS Global, said by phone November
14. “There are black sheep around
emerging markets, in Russia,
Argentina, and they’re much bigger
black sheep than what you’re getting
in Indonesia at the moment.”
The cost to insure Indonesia’s
sovereign debt against non- payment
has dropped in 2014. The fiveyear credit-default swap has fallen
93 basis points to 140 on Friday,
according to data provider CMA.
That’s higher than the 89 for the
Philippines and 84.5 for Malaysia.
The rupiah gained 0.2% this year,
compared with the 1.2% drop for the
peso and 2.2% slide for the ringgit.
Dollar bond issuance from
Indonesian companies has dropped
30% to $4.78bn this year, the
lowest since 2011, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.
To keep a lid on leverage, Bank
Indonesia has proposed tightening
rules from January 1, 2016, to
bar local companies from selling
foreign-currency debt if they are
graded weaker than BB or equivalent,
according to the October 30
The likes of Bumi and Berau will be
watching closely.
“They have one common
denominator which is the aggressive
use of debt in good times,” Xavier
Jean, a Singapore-based credit
analyst at S&P, said on November
11. “Investors get some form of
compensation through higher
interest payments.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
he Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE)
Index gained 116.23 points,
or 0.85%, during the week, to
close at 13,846.01 points. Market
capitalisation increased by 1.11% to
reach QR750.7bn as compared to
QR742.4bn at the end of the previous
week. Of the 43 listed companies, 24
companies ended the week higher,
while 19 fell. Al Khaleej Takaful Group
(AKHI) was the best performing stock
for the week, with a gain of 10.2% on
2.1mn shares traded; the stock is up
95.9% year-to-date (YTD). On the other hand, Islamic Holding Group (IHGS)
was the worst performing stock with
a decline of 5.4% on 1.4mn shares
traded; the stock is still up 290.7%
QNB Group (QNBK), Commercial
Bank of Qatar (CBQK) and Masraf Al
Rayan (MARK) were the biggest contributors to the weekly index gain.
QNBK contributed 67.0 points to the
index’s weekly gain of 116.2 points.
CBQK contributed 20.2 points, while
MARK was the third biggest contributor of 20.1 points. On the other hand,
within the QSE Index, Ezdan Holding Group (ERES), Gulf International
Services (GISS) and Qatari Investors
Group (QIGD) pulled the index down.
ERES ended the week shaving 30.5
points off the index. GISS dragged the
index down by 20.8 points during the
Trading value during the week increased by 12.2% to reach QR4.5bn
vs. QR4.0bn in the prior week. The
banks and financial services sector
led the trading value during the week,
accounting for 30.2% of the total. The
consumer goods and services sector was the second biggest contributor, accounting for 20.0% of the total
trading value. BRES was the top value
traded stock during the week with total value of QR538.6mn.
Trading volume increased by 2.1%
to reach 67.7mn shares vs. 66.4mn
shares in the prior week. The number
of transactions fell by 1.0% to reach
40,173 versus 40,576 in the prior
week. The real estate sector led the
trading volume, accounting for 36.8%,
followed by the banks and financial
services sector, which accounted for
22.1% of the overall trading volume.
BRES was also the top volume traded
stock during the week with a volume
of 10.3mn shares.
bullish during the week with net
buying of QR131.4mn vs net buying of QR153.8mn in the prior week.
Qatari institutions remained bearish with net selling of QR122.0mn
vs QR169.7mn the week before.
Foreign retail investors remained
bearish for the week with net selling of QR14.7mn vs QR5.2mn in the
prior week. Qatari retail investors
remained bullish with net investments of QR5.4mn vs net purchases
of QR21.5mn the week before. Thus
far in 2014, the QSE has witnessed net
foreign portfolio investment inflow of
QSE Index and Volume
Weekly Market Report
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
Weekly Index Performance
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
Source: Bloomberg
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
This report expresses the views and opinions of Qatar National Bank Financial Services SPC (“QNBFS”)
at a given time only. It is not an offer, promotion or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other
investments, nor is it intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. We therefore strongly
advise potential investors to seek independent professional advice before making any investment decision.
Although the information in this report has been obtained from sources that QNBFS believes to be reliable,
we have not independently verified such information and it may not be accurate or complete. Gulf Times and
QNBFS hereby disclaim any responsibility or any direct or indirect claim resulting from using this report.
Qatar Stock Exchange
Top Five Gainers
Top Five Decliners
Most Active Shares by Value (QR Million)
Most Active Shares by Volume (Million)
Investor Trading Percentage to Total Value Traded
Net Traded Value by Nationality (QR Million)
Source: Bloomberg
Technical analysis of the QSE index
he Index ended the week higher but with
slower pace. The 14,000 level is a strong
one to break. Indicators are giving mixed
signals for the week. The volumes in the recent
rise were relatively shallow; the Relative Strength
Index is going against the upward movement of
the Index. Also, the 14,000 level has gathered resistance lines around it. These lines were derived
from an older top and a resistance line stemming
from the daily activity. On the flipside, if the Index succeeds in breaching the 14,000 level and
closes higher, chances are it will make new highs.
The QSE Index continued its southbound journey for the third straight week and ended lower
losing around 889 points, caving under sustained
selling pressure. Moreover, the index penetrated
below 13,000.0 for the first time since July providing a bearish signal. Meanwhile, the sharp
losses registered on Sunday, Wednesday and
Thursday were mainly responsible for dragging
the index below many important psychological
supports along with the 55-day moving average.
This shows that the index is indicating a clear
intermediate corrective trend, as it has been
recording lower tops and lower bottoms since
mid-September. On the downside, the index has
its important psychological support at 12,900.0
which should not be breached, if it attempts to
rebound. However, any sustained weakness below 12,900.0 may result in additional selling pressure, which will drag the index toward 12,770.0,
followed by the 12,680.0 level. We believe the
bulls have now been trapped, and the bears may
continue to dominate until the index stays below
the 13,000.0 level. Further, both the momentum
indicators are in downtrend mode with no immediate trend reversal signs, suggesting the continuation of this weakness.
Definitions of key terms used in technical analysis
andlestick chart – A candlestick chart is a price
chart that displays the high, low, open, and
close for a security. The ‘body’ of the chart is
portion between the open and close price, while the
high and low intraday movements form the ‘shadow’. The candlestick may represent any time frame.
We use a one-day candlestick chart (every candle-
stick represents one trading day) in our analysis.
Doji candlestick pattern – A Doji candlestick is
formed when a security’s open and close are practically equal. The pattern indicates indecisiveness,
and based on preceding price actions and future
confirmation, may indicate a bullish or bearish trend
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
see rates
up to 15%
Aviva in talks to purchase
Friends Life for £5.6bn
viva said it’s in talks to buy
Friends Life Group Ltd for about
£5.6bn ($8.8bn) in the biggest
takeover in the UK insurance industry
in 15 years.
Aviva, Britain’s second-biggest insurer by market value, is offering 398.9
pence in stock for each Friends Life
share, 15% more than yesterday’s closing price, the company said in a statement.
Friends Life, whose shareholders
would own about 26% of the combined
company, said it’s willing to recommend the key terms of the proposed
deal to shareholders. Sales of individual
annuities have slumped after the government scrapped rules forcing retirees
to buy the product with their pension
Aviva has been seeking to attract
more funds to its investments business to cushion the decline. It said a
deal would more than double the value
of the assets it manages for company
pension plans and let it reduce costs.
“It’s an incredibly bold move,” Abid
Hussain, an analyst at Societe Generale in London, said by telephone. “It
brings in a sizable asset into the Aviva
Investors business.
There’s a bunch of expenses that can
be taken out and there are substantial
revenue synergies.”
The takeover would be the biggest
among British insurers since CGU’s
£7.4bn merger in 2000 with Norwich
Union, which created Aviva, according
to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The British takeover rules give Aviva
a deadline of December 19 to make a
formal offer or walk away and, under
most circumstances, be banned from
making another bid for six months.
‘Transformative Deal’ Aviva rose 1.2%
to 539 pence in London trading on Friday, valuing the insurer at almost 16bn
The stock is up almost 20% this
year, the best performance in the ninemember FTSE 350 Life Insurance Index. Friends Life, the second-worst
performer in the index, climbed 1.3%
to 347.70 pence, for a market value
of £4.9bn. Prudential is still Britain’s
biggest insurer, with a market value of
£38.5bn, and Legal and General Group
A pedestrian uses a mobile handset as he passes the headquarters of Aviva in London. Aviva is offering 398.9 pence in stock for each Friends Life share, 15% more than
Friday’s closing price.
the third-largest at £15bn.“It’s a transformative deal,” Edward Houghton, an
analyst at Sanford C Bernstein in London, said by telephone. “We’ve been
talking about meaningful consolidation in the UK life sector for years. This
would be it.” Mark Wilson, installed as
Aviva’s chief executive officer in January
2013 after a shareholder revolt cost his
predecessor his job, has been seeking to
turn around the business, focusing on increasing cash flow and eliminating jobs.
Wilson, 48, retreated from the US
last year by selling its operations to
Apollo Global Management’s Athene
Holding Ltd The insurer also struck
deals to pull back from Russia, Ma-
laysia and the Netherlands. Osborne
Budget Both insurers have been hurt
by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
George Osborne’s decision in March.
Aviva’s annuity sales fell 33% in the
first nine months of the year. Friends
Life’s UK unit, which sells the retirement product to individual customers,
posted a 23% slump in the value of new
business, a measure of new sales, in the
first nine months. Friends Life CEO Andy
Briggs described the annuities decision
in March as the most significant change
“for a generation” that “materially
changed the markets that we operate in.”
“Doing something like this where
you can increase efficiencies, increase
your market position, is probably a
good way to combat what’s a relatively
difficult operating environment,” said
David Havens, a managing director
at investment bank Imperial Capital.
Clive Cowdery Friends Life was created by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery
through the acquisitions of Friends
Provident, Axa’s UK life insurance unit
and Bupa Health Assurance Cowdery is
backing the sale to Aviva, which will allow him to complete his original strategy of acquiring and merging ailing life
insurers and cutting costs before finding a buyer.
In exchange for each share they own,
Friends Life shareholders will receive
0.74 Aviva shares. The combined Aviva
and Friends Life will have 16mn customers, the companies said. Aviva said
it sees “new opportunities” from servicing Friends Life’s 2bn pounds of annual pension vestings. “A combination
of Aviva and Friends Life would create
the UK’s leading insurance, savings and
asset management business by number
of customers, with a stronger balance
sheet and significantly higher cash
flows,” Aviva said.
Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Cazenove and Robey Warshaw are advising
Aviva. Friends Life is being counseled
by Goldman Sachs Group, Barclays and
RBC Capital Markets.
ompetition in the global
insurance market is driving commercial rates down
by as much as 15%, senior industry participants said, as some look
to new products such as cyber insurance to boost revenues.
Low yields in major markets
have encouraged a move away
from traditional insurance and
towards insurance-linked securities such as catastrophe bonds,
which offer a high return.
Some hedge funds have also
started offering reinsurance to
share the insurance burden of
hurricanes and other costly natural disasters, and their aggressive approach has stolen business from traditional players.
A lack of natural disasters in
recent years has also reduced
global demand for insurance to
protect property.
“This is a soft rate environment, with an average 10-15%
decrease across the board,” Dominic Burke, chief executive of
broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson
told a conference. “It’s a good
time to be a buyer of insurance.”
Many companies renew insurance policies in the fourth quarter while reinsurance renewals
are concentrated in January.
Burke said even the aviation insurance market has seen
price increases of only around
13% during the current renewal
round, despite significant losses
this year such as the downing of
a Malaysian Airlines plane over
Darren Redhead, chief executive of specialist insurance fund
manager Kinesis Capital Management, said alternative insurance products had sliced 15-20%
from the profits of traditional
players in the property catastrophe reinsurance market.
In the hunt for new business,
underwriters in the specialist Lloyd’s of London market,
where anything from rockets
to body parts might be insured,
have started to focus on protecting companies from the effects
of cyber crime.
‘Double dose’ of economic stimulus boosts markets
Commodity markets mostly rallied this
week as China cut interest rates for
the first time in more than two years,
boosting the demand outlook in the
Asian powerhouse.
Prices also won support after European
Central Bank chief Mario Draghi
signalled readiness to act quickly to
deter deflation, sparking fresh stimulus
“Markets in Europe took a double dose
of stimulus on Friday; Mario Draghi
again implied the ECB is moving
towards full quantitative easing and
shortly afterwards China cut interest
rates for the first time in two years
sending commodities and risky assets
flying,” said CMC Markets analyst
Jasper Lawler.
OIL: Crude oil raced higher after the
People’s Bank of China unexpectedly
moved Friday to prop up flagging
growth in the world’s second-largest
The PBoC cut its one-year deposit rate
by 0.25 of a percentage point to 2.75%
and reduced the one-year lending rate
by 0.40 of a percentage point to 5.6%.
“Sentiment improved as we received
fairly optimistic news from China,” said
Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou.
“Global equities markets rebounded
and crude oil prices spiked after China
cut interest rates for the first time since
2012 to boost the economy.”
Traders also focused on whether
the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries was likely to cut
output to tackle recent heavy price
Prices began the week on the back
foot, sinking on data showed Japan
sank back into recession and on
scepticism that Opec will reach a deal
to cut output.
Japan, the world’s third largest
economy, shrank 0.4% in the third
quarter. That decline followed a revised
1.9% contraction in the previous three
Weak economic data from China, Japan
and other regions has stoked fears
Gold prices soared on China’s rate hike and reports of Russian stockpiling, as the market rebounded from recent four-year lows and dragged
other metals higher
of a growing oil glut. Oil rebounded
somewhat Thursday following strong
economic reports from the US that
offset disappointing data from China
and the eurozone.
And the market also pushed higher
Friday on hopes that the Opec cartel
will overcome internal resistance to
trim output.
Despite a drop of more than 25% in
oil prices since June, Opec remains
divided on whether to take action at its
November 27 meeting in Vienna.
“We believe the question is not whether
Opec will cut, but when?” Morgan
Stanley analysts said.
“We were pessimistic about material
action in November, but now see signs
that some action is possible, or even
likely, at the November meeting.”
Oil dived last week to four-year lows on
the back of plentiful supplies, and after
remarks by Opec ministers that it was
unlikely to slash output.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental
Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for
delivery in January stood at $79.56 a
barrel compared with $78.77 one week
On the New York Mercantile Exchange,
West Texas Intermediate or light sweet
crude for December rose to $75.80
a barrel from $74.92 for the expired
December contract a week earlier.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold soared on
China’s rate hike and reports of Russian
stockpiling, as the market rebounded
from recent four-year lows and
dragged other metals higher.
“A breakout in gold has seen the price
clear $1,200, helped on its way by
China’s decision to cut interest rates,”
said analyst Chris Beauchamp at
trading firm IG.
“Putting more money into the hands
of Chinese consumers is bound to
give a lift to gold prices, while ongoing
reports that the Kremlin is stacking
up on gold reserves has emboldened
physical buyers.”
By late Friday on the London Bullion
Market, the price of gold rebounded to
$1,203.75 an ounce from $1,169 a week
Silver jumped to $16.30 an ounce from
On the London Platinum and Palladium
Market, platinum rallied to $1,230 an
ounce from $1,178.
Palladium increased to $794 an ounce
from $760.
BASE METALS: Base or industrial metal
prices also hurtled higher on the news
from Beijing.
“Copper alongside other industrial
metals surged on the back of the
Chinese rate hike,” said Lawler at CMC
“Lower borrowing costs could act to
reflate the Chinese housing market
that had been on the decline in recent
months, copper and iron ore are
primary materials used in housing and
By Friday on the London Metal
Exchange, copper for delivery in three
months increased to $6,739.75 a tonne
from $6,616.50 a week earlier.
Three-month aluminium rose to
$2,061.25 a tonne from $2,016.
Three-month lead gained to $2,063 a
tonne from $2,020.
Three-month tin rebounded to $20,295
a tonne from $19,830.
Three-month nickel rallied to $16,463 a
tonne from $15,392.
Three-month zinc increased to $2,302 a
tonne from $2,242.75.
COCOA: Prices weakened as concerns
over the Ebola outbreak continued to
dim in key producing nations Ivory
Coast and Ghana.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures
exchange, cocoa for delivery in March
fell to £1,869 a tonne from £1,877 a
week earlier.
On the ICE Futures US exchange, cocoa
for March eased to $2,821 a tonne from
$2,822 a week earlier.
SUGAR: Prices fell on the back of
favourable growing conditions in Brazil,
with additional pressure from the rising
US currency.
“Evidently the market is focusing more
at present on the somewhat better
growth conditions for sugar cane in
Brazil in the wake of recent rainfall
and on the strong US dollar,” said
Commerzbank analysts.
By Friday on LIFFE, the price of a tonne
of white sugar for delivery in March
reversed to $417.50 from $420.40 a
week earlier.
On ICE Futures US, the price of
unrefined sugar for March eased to
15.96 US cents a pound from 15.99 US
cents a week earlier.
COFFEE: Futures pushed lower on
optimism over output from key
producer Brazil.
“The Arabica coffee price fell ... after
a US Department of Agriculture
(USDA) attache upwardly revised his
estimate for this year’s Brazilian coffee
crop by 1.7mn to 51.2mn bags,” said
Commerzbank analysts.
“This estimate, which does not
represent the USDA’s official forecast, is
considerably higher than most market
estimates of well below 50mn bags.”
By Friday on ICE Futures US, Arabica
for delivery in March stood at 188.85 US
cents a pound compared with 195.80
cents one week earlier.
On LIFFE, Robusta for January slid to
$2,070 a tonne from $2,083 a week
RUBBER: Kuala Lumpur rubber prices
fell on the back of rising regional
The Malaysian Rubber Board’s
benchmark SMR20 declined to 153.30
US cents a kilo from 155.20 US cents the
previous week.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Global investment majors
see a strong dollar in 2015
nvestment chiefs at the world’s
biggest asset managers this week
unanimously forecast a stronger
dollar in 2015, but they were far more
cautious than many big banks on how
far it would rise against the euro.
Six months into a long-awaited rally for the dollar, Goldman Sachs and
Deutsche Bank are among those predicting that this is just the start of a
years-long shift in the global status quo
that will see the US currency return to
parity with the euro.
But like all consensus bets, the danger is that it could come unstuck if dollar appreciation works against the very
reason for its strength – an expected
rise in US interest rates next year.
A stronger dollar cuts the cost of
imported goods and hence cools inflation, meaning the Federal Reserve may
not have to do so by raising the cost of
money, or at least not as fast. But appreciation also increases the risk that
by hiking rates, the Fed drives the dollar
past a pain threshold for US exporters.
Aaron Cowen, chief investment officer at US-based Suvretta Capital, said
the Fed’s hand would be stayed by concern that the dollar would overshoot.
“We think rates stay low, and as a
result we think (US)equities are still
attractive on a risk-adjusted basis,”
he told the Reuters Global Investment
Outlook summit in New York.
Others were less sure. Saker Nusseibeh, chief executive of UK-based
fund manager Hermes, said the concerns about the price of imported oil
and food or the competitiveness of US
manufacturers that dominated debate
about a strong dollar in the late 1990s
were no longer applicable.
“The US is self-sufficient in food,
water, energy and cheap labour – and
they’ve managed to corner the market
in technological innovation,” he said.
“Therefore, they can afford to allow the
dollar to go up.”
The other half of the logic behind the
dollar’s rise is the growing divergence
in economic fortunes and monetary
RBS admits
to data error
in European
stress test
A neon dollar sign is hung on the wall at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC. Investment chiefs at the world’s biggest asset managers this week
unanimously forecast a stronger dollar in 2015, but they were far more cautious than many big banks on how far it would rise against the euro.
policy between Europe and the US.
Even if the European Central Bank
does not embark on full-scale government bond buying like the programme
completed by the Fed last month, President Mario Draghi has promised to
increase the size of the ECB’s balance
sheet one way or another.
“The two or three major central
banks in the world are moving in the
opposite direction. It’s very interesting
to see both the BoJ and the ECB pushing so hard to get more liquidity into
the system,” said Andrew Wilson, chief
executive for EMEA at Goldman Sachs
Asset Management.
“To some extent the clearest transmission mechanism of this liquidity policy is the weakness of the euro’s
exchange rate. We could see the euro
trading weaker from here – below
$1.20 is perfectly possible in the next 12
That figure was echoed by several
others at the summit, but it leaves relatively little room to manoeuvre from
rates of just over $1.24 on Friday. That
would back the predictions of some
that, rather than a story of simple dollar appreciation, next year will be about
making money out of greater currency
“FX will prove the place to play,” said
Pascal Blanque, chief investment officer at Amundi Asset Management in
Paris, which manages $1.2tn in assets.
“When there is pressure in a house, you
cannot keep all the windows closed pressure needs to be released. It is an
area of opportunities but also traps.”
Volatility may pick up on Wall St as many take off for Thanksgiving
New York
US stock investors are heading into the Thanksgiving holiday thankful for the
market’s recent strength, which puts major indexes on track for another year of
double-digit gains, though the swiftness of the advance has raised eyebrows.
S stock investors head into the
Thanksgiving holiday thankful for the market’s recent
strength, which puts major indexes on
track for another year of double-digit
gains, though the swiftness of the advance has raised eyebrows.
The S&P 500 is up 13.3% from an intraday low hit on October 15, and the
gains since then have been broad. Since
that bottom, all but 23 S&P 500 components are higher.
The magnitude of the rally has some
concerned. Several notable fund managers at this week’s Reuters Investment
Outlook Summit said they don’t expect
stocks to do much in 2015. Citigroup on
Thursday wrote that the market was
“on the edge of euphoria ... causing us
to be more cautious,” while Goldman
Sachs on Wednesday released its 2015
year-end target of 2,100 - just 1.8%
above current levels.
The recent stretch of solid earnings
and economic figures, however, leaves
managers puzzled over what could hurt
the market going forward.
“It’s tough for me to wrap my head
around the next big move being lower,”
said David Lebovitz, global market strategist at JP Morgan Funds. “Some people
aren’t comfortable with current levels, but
fundamentals remain strong.”
The market’s recent gains prompted
a notable commentary from the Federal
Reserve Bank of San Francisco on November 13 that pointed out certain valuation metrics look stretched. It also noted that the ratio of NYSE margin debt to
GDP in September stood at an elevated
level that, in the past, was “followed by
major downturns in stock prices.”
Jim McDonald, chief investment
strategist at Chicago-based Northern
Trust Asset Management, wasn’t buying it. He said the level of margin debt
is “more or less consistent with the
trend line over the past 20-plus years,”
though a pullback was possible.
“The primary issue facing the market is that we’ve gotten a year’s return
out of the S&P in the past month,” he
said. “Investors are more than willing to take risk off the table after such
a big run.” Volatility may pick up next
week as many take off for Thanksgiving. Markets are closed on Thursday
and will close early on Friday.
However, December has historically
been the best month of the year for the
S&P, according to the Stock Trader’s
Almanac, averaging a rise of 1.7%.
oyal Bank of Scotland admitted on Friday it submitted erroneous data for
European bank stress tests in
October and had in fact only just
scraped through, calling into
question whether it can pass a
tougher British test.
The revised result means that
RBS, which is 80%-owned by
the British government, was the
worst performing UK bank in
the European stress test, which
assessed whether banks have
enough capital to weather another economic crash.
The revelation is another embarrassment for the bank, which
has been fined in the past two
weeks for failing to stop its traders attempting to manipulate
foreign exchange rates and for
a computer systems failure two
years ago which locked millions
of customers out of their bank
RBS said on Friday it held core
capital under full Basel III rules
of 5.7% after the adverse scenarios, scraping past the minimum
5.5% required. It had initially
appeared to pass the test comfortably, holding core capital of
“We are examining how this
mistake was made, and will be
working with our regulators as
we do so,” RBS said.
Rival state-backed lender
Lloyds Banking Group was initially understood to be the worst
performing British lender, with
core capital of 6.2% under the
adverse scenarios.
The stress test by
European regulators was
based on banks’ capital
position at the end of 2013
The Bank of England’s test
will measure the resilience of
Britain’s banks if house prices
fell by 35% and interest rates
rose to 6%. The results will be
published on December 16.
Britain’s regulator told banks
just a week before the test that
they needed to use a stricter
measure to assess their capital
than they had initially anticipated. The stress test by European regulators was based on
banks’ capital position at the
end of 2013 while the BoE’s test
will take into accounts improvements made since.
RBS has strengthened its
capital this year through a stock
market listing of its US business
Citizens and other measures.
It held core capital of 10.8% at
the end of September compared
with 8.6% at the end of 2013.
The bank said on Friday that
the stress test error did not impact its latest reported capital
position or its target to hold core
capital of 12% by the end of 2016.
SEC’s director with big stock holdings stirs debate
Keith Higgins, who runs the office that
reviews public companies’ books at the
US Securities and Exchange Commission,
reported stock holdings worth between
about $2mn and $6mn last year and the
sale of stocks throughout 2014, according
to SEC disclosures viewed by Reuters.
Higgins disclosed holdings in about 90
public companies during his SEC tenure in
2013, making him the biggest investor in
individual stocks among the agency’s top
officials last year.
Since the beginning of the year, he has
reported about 60 transactions involving
sales of stocks such as Dollar Tree, Apple,
Abbott Laboratories and Raytheon, with
about two-thirds of those occurring in
late September in a flurry of sales. Higgins may no longer be the biggest stock
holder among the top SEC officials Reuters
reviewed because of these sales.
Such stock holdings are permitted by
federal and SEC ethics laws and regulations. The law already protects against
conflicts by prohibiting government officials from working on matters that could
benefit them financially.
But Higgins’ large holdings, and the
volume of trading he reported during
2013 and 2014, may stoke debate about
whether it’s proper for the Director of
Corp Finance or other top SEC officials to
be active stock market participants and
whether the SEC needs to tighten its ethics
policies to further reduce the appearance
of potential conflicts.
“The SEC should explain how and why
its procedures allowing top officials to
hold individual stock are adequate to
prevent the appearance of a conflict of
interest,” said Iowa Republican Senator
Charles Grassley, responding to questions
posed by Reuters. Grassley is a frequent
SEC watchdog and is due to become the
next chairman of the Senate Judiciary
A Reuters review of financial disclosures provided by the agency show that
while working for the SEC in 2013, Higgins
reported holding stocks, American depository shares and one specialized product
that gives shareholders certain rights after
a merger. Collectively, these investments
ranged in value from a little less than
$2mn to just under $6mn.
From those holdings, Higgins reported between about $53,000 to about
$185,000 in dividends and/or capital gains
for calendar year 2013.
An SEC spokesperson said that the
agency has a strong conflict-of-interest
policy and that Higgins’ holdings have not
resulted in many recusals. He’s complying
with the conflicts rules, the spokesperson
Higgins: The biggest investor in
individual stocks.
said. “The SEC’s stock ownership rules are
one of the most, if not the most, stringent
of any federal government agency and go
well beyond the standard prohibitions,”
the spokesperson said. “A number of safeguards are in place in order to avoid even
the appearance of a potential conflict of
interest, including the requirement that all
transactions be approved in advance and
reported to the agency’s ethics office.
“Mr. Higgins’ limited number of recusals
has had no impact on his ability to perform his responsibilities as the Director of
the Division of Corp Finance. He has and
will continue to provide his sound judgment and expertise in making decisions
on the significant matters in the division.”
Higgins declined to comment for this
story. Higgins, 63, joined the SEC in June
2013, after spending about 30 years at the
Boston-based law firm of Ropes & Gray
where he handled numerous initial public
offerings. Higgins reported a partnership
income of about $1.1mn for his work in
2013, according to his disclosures.
At the SEC, Higgins oversees the division that reviews thousands of potentially
market-moving company disclosures each
year and gives companies feedback on
their compliance with SEC disclosure rules.
The division also decides when companies can exclude shareholder proposals
from corporate ballots, and can determine
when companies that break the law can
be granted certain regulatory waivers,
such as one that lets larger, well-known
companies conduct capital-raising deals
without prior SEC approval.
Former SEC officials say Higgins’ job
typically involves higher-level policy decisions, and directors rarely get involved
in company-specific disclosures and
decisions. They also said the agency is
careful about managing conflicts through
recusals. David Martin, a former SEC
Corp finance director who now works for
the law firm Covington & Burling, said, “I
would imagine that Keith could serve his
entire time there and never be the deciding voice on a major issue for one of the
companies in which he holds stock.”
An SEC spokesperson said that some
of the stocks reported by Higgins last
year are in a trust that belongs to his
mother-in-law. She relies on the trust for
financial support, and Higgins’ wife is the
contingent beneficiary.
Under federal ethics laws, the financial
interest of these holdings would be imputed to him as well.
Richard Painter, a professor at the
University of Minnesota Law School and
former White House ethics lawyer, said
family trusts are a common problem when
trying to navigate conflicts, and sometimes the only way to resolve it is through
recusals. “It is very difficult to ask family
members and family trusts to sell stocks
when they will surely get hit with a capital
gains tax for doing so,” he said.
“The best answer is sometimes to live
with the conflict.”
The SEC declined to say how many
times Higgins has needed to recuse himself due to his financial holdings.
“To reduce the time needed to monitor
his holdings, Higgins reduced his individual stock holdings through a series of sales
in the fall of this year,” an SEC spokesperson said. “Because any stock held in his
mother-in-law’s trust continues to require
monitoring, the sales involved stocks not
also owned by the trust.”
Federal ethics rules give employees
across the government a variety of options for managing conflicts. Employees,
for instance, are not required to recuse
on matters if they own below $15,000 in a
stock. Staffers can also manage conflicts
through other means, including recusals
and seeking ethics waivers.
All US government employees are
required to recuse themselves from any
particular matter that could financially
benefit themselves, their spouse or a
dependent child.
Many government agencies have
supplemental rules tailored for them. The
Federal Reserve, for instance, bans employees from investing in banks or certain
government securities dealers.
The SEC adopted tighter ethics restrictions in 2010 that ban staff from holding
the stock of any company directly regulated by the SEC, including many banks,
which operate SEC-regulated brokerages,
asset managers or stock exchanges.
The agency staff is also prohibited from
buying and selling any stock of a company
under investigation, and they are generally subject to a six-month holding period
after purchasing a security.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Thailand medical tourism rebounds; hospital stocks skyrocket
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
Political unrest and the subsequent
military coup in Thailand this year have
certainly put pressure on the country’s
economy, but one sector – despite a few
temporary setbacks – has shown remarkable resilience so far: Medical tourism
to the kingdom and with it the private
healthcare industry.
While in May shortly after the coup
d’etat – in the wake of sliding tourism
arrivals – the hospital sector was also
hit and reported temporarily dropping
foreign patient inflow, it has since shown a
remarkable recovery.
Numbers of international patients,
among them a large part from the Middle
East, have picked up again. Leading private hospitals catering to foreign patients
have announced plans to expand their
services and open another bunch of referral offices abroad.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, owner
of the Bangkok Hospital chain popular
with foreigners, said it will spend $130mn
over the coming three years to build four
more hospitals of which one will mainly be
catering to Middle East patients. Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok,
Southeast Asia’s largest private medical center, said it aims to raise revenue
by more than 10% in 2015 due to increasing numbers of patients, among them
many from the “core markets” in the
Middle East.
Overall, Thailand welcomed some
1.8mn medical tourists (together with
those who just came for spa and wellness
services the number sums up to 2.5mn)
from overseas in 2013, earning around
$4.7bn in the period.
It is a continuation of the average
A patient is pushed through a corridor at Bangkok Hospital in Bangkok,
Thailand. Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, the company with the highest
trading volume among its peers, showed a one-year return of 42.46% as of
November 21 and even pays a dividend that currently yields 1.11%.
growth of 15% a year over the past decade.
The forecast for this year is a bit more
conservative, but in 2015 the sector is expected to return to the usual growth rate
after “a small hiccup in the short term”, as
Chatree Duangnet, CEO of Bangkok Dusit
Medical Services, puts it, referring to the
military coup.
Indeed, while the country is still under
martial law, everyday hospital life is not
affected. The flashy lounges of both Bangkok Hospital and Bumrungrad are teeming
with patients, as an on-site inspection last
week showed, and an estimated 40% are
seemingly Middle Easterners judged by
their clothing and Arabic language they
The obviously-regained buoyancy of
the medical business makes a look at the
stock price development of private Thai
hospital groups worthwhile, of which
15 are listed at the Stock Exchange of
Bloomberg data shows that they made
an average jump of a whopping 54%
year-to-date, probably enough for many
patients to recover their medical expenses
would they have added some of the best
performing companies to their stock
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PCL,
the company with the highest trading volume among its peers, showed a one-year
return of 42.46% as of November 21 and
even pays a dividend that currently yields
1.11%. Bumrungrad Hospital PCL’s shares
climbed 51.67% in the same period, and
the current dividend yield stands at 1.4%.
Samitivej PCL, another big healthcare
group, saw its shares advance 66.18%
over the past 12 months and pays out
dividends that currently yield a respectable 3.4%.
The latest addition to Bangkok’s listed
hospital groups, Srivichai Vejvivat PCL,
which operates three hospitals in the
country and went public in 2012, shows
a skyrocketing 141.69% advance over the
past year.
Local analysts say that hospital stocks
remain their top picks even after this
rally, adding positive sentiment to further
growth expectations of the entire Thai
healthcare industry.
AACO calls for ‘innovative’
methods to ease air space
congestion in the region
he Arab Air Carriers Organisation’s (AACO) 47th annual
meeting held in Dubai recently
called for innovative methods that will
ease the surging congestion of air space
in the region.
AACO executive committee chairman, Akbar al-Baker, also Qatar Airways Group chief executive presented
several key findings pertaining to air
traffic management and congestion in
the air space of the Arab world; safety
and security topics; as well as regulatory matters.
Elected to the Executive Committee
in 2011, al-Baker played a pivotal role in
broadening awareness on pertinent issues impacting the aviation industry as
it specifically relates to the Arab region.
The need for co-ordination at national levels with military authorities
for flexible use of air space by civil aviation when not required for military use,
was recommended as a prudent approach to opening up air corridors and
enabling greater traffic flow as a unified
Arab sky.
AACO secretary general Abdul Wahab Teffaha, delivered the opening
speech of the meeting, and several
working sessions took place thereafter. The working sessions of the AGM
featured the AACO secretary general’s
report on the ‘state of the industry’, as
well as several other speeches advising
and updating delegates on the industry
related to AACO’s work and common
strategic issues between members.
Held in Dubai under the Patronage of
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum,
president, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman & chief executive,
Emirates Airline & Group, and chairman Dubai Airports, this year’s AACO
AGM drew participation from more
than 300 Arab and global aviation industry experts.
Overall, increased co-ordination and
renovation of air traffic systems and
equipment was agreed as the way for-
Al-Baker: Playing a pivotal role in broadening awareness on pertinent issues.
ward to navigate through the complex
issue of heightened aerospace activity in the region.Furthermore, a topic
dutifully discussed was safety and security – particularly the subject of the
unfortunate tragedies that affected the
entire industry; that of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and MH17.
Al-Baker advocated the relentless
pursuit, which collectively the industry must be committed to, in identifying the essential facts of the cases and
Al khaliji participates
in Mena Investment
Management Forum
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
(al khaliji) has announced its
participation in the 8th Annual
Mena Investment Management
Forum held recently at the
Dubai International Financial
Head of Private Banking
Arfat Qayyum represented
al khaliji at the event where
the region’s top asset
managers, investors, and
decision makers discussed
issues covering real estate,
developed market equities,
and global emerging market.
Qayyum spoke at a panel
discussion that focused
on wealth management
distribution in the region and
on the current distribution
landscape, opportunities for
global asset managers, role
of technology, and general
investment outlook.
The discussion also sought to
develop solutions that cater to
the needs of Middle East clients
in particular.
Al khaliji has achieved
“significant success” in private
banking through a differentiated
value proposition derived
from “detailed attention to the
service of private customers, a
strong product platform, and
knowledgeable and thoroughlytrained relationship managers.”
Al khaliji said its participation
in the forum reinforces its role
as a local and regional industry
Members of al khaliji’s senior
management team were
recognised in the region for
their subject matter expertise
and were frequently invited
to conferences to share their
input and experiences with the
Al khaliji was well known for
its performance in the private
banking segment and has
frequently been awarded in this
area. Most recently, al khaliji has
won the award for “Best Private
Bank in Qatar” by The Banker
presenting them formally and publicly.
“The industry has been stunned by
the aftermath of how the investigations
of MH370 unfolded, and for the sake of
the future of the industry’s legacy and
integrity, the full case must come to
fruition and exact learnings uncovered.
In his closing address, al-Baker noted
the contributions made by all members
of AACO, particularly the roles of the
Secretariat and the Secretary General.
He said, “I would like to thank you
for your support and cooperation. I
would also like to thank my colleagues,
members of the Executive Committee, for their hard work and diligence
in supporting our collaborative efforts.
I also wish to acknowledge with appreciation the work of the Secretariat led
by the Secretary General.”
The Arab Air Carriers Organisation
celebrates its golden jubilee next year.
AACO is considered to be one the
oldest air transport organisations and
one of the foremost active organisations in the Middle East and North
Africa.Established in 1965 by the Arab
League of States and headquartered in
Beirut, AACO gathers Arab member
airlines and aims to promote cooperation, quality and safety standards
among its carriers.
In addition, AACO coordinates extensively with regional and international organisations such as ICAO and
Masraf Al Rayan to sponsor
Euromoney Qatar Conference
asraf Al Rayan has announced its
sponsorship of Euromoney Qatar
Conference 2014 to be held on November 24 and 25 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
The conference was being held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and will
be attended by HE the Minister of Finance Ali
Sherif al-Emadi and HE the Governor of Qatar central bank Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud alThani.
The conference will delve on the domestic
economy amid the global economic crisis and
the benefits and incentives offered by Qatar to
increase growth opportunities and local incomes.
It will also discuss Qatar’s plans and infrastructure programmes, including projects for
the 2022 FIFA World Cup, investments in key
sectors, foreign investments, and expansion
plans in the coming years.
Masraf Al Rayan Group CEO Adel Mustafawi
said the bank was sponsoring the event “in view
of its importance and role in providing local,
regional, and global investments in the Qatari
“The conference also enables policymakers,
businesses, and financial institutions in Qatar
to understand and analyse current issues amid
global economic and financial challenges,”
Mustafawi added.
Masraf Al Rayan has maintained strong
growth rates over the past years. Recently, it announced its nine-month financials ending September 30, 2014 with a net profit of QR1.426bn
or a 14.1% increase compared to the QR1.250bn
recorded in same period last year.
Masraf Al Rayan has maintained strong
growth rates over the past years
ICC Qatar, Qatar
Chamber host
WED event
he International Chamber
of Commerce Qatar (ICC
Qatar) has hosted a female
entrepreneurship-focused event
to celebrate Women Entrepreneurship Day (WED) on November 19 at the Qatar Chamber
(QC) offices.
The workshop, which was a
special initiative of the Global
Entrepreneurship Week (GEW),
was organised in partnership
with QC, whose mission was
to nurture and promote Qatar’s
private sector.
Qatar Shell, the Golden Sponsor of the GEW Qatar, was the
Exclusive Sponsor of WED.
Maha al-Mannai, Outreach &
University Collaboration manager at Qatar Shell, delivered
the keynote speech on behalf of
Qatar Shell and highlighted the
company’s efforts in supporting
female entrepreneurship.
“We are proud to be the Exclusive Sponsor of the Women
Entrepreneurship Day, which
was held for the first time in Qatar. The event was a great opportunity to empower existing and
aspiring female entrepreneurs
and businesswomen in Qatar
and in the region,” she said.
She added, “At Qatar Shell, we
have made it our mission to invest in Qatari talent and to support local women entrepreneurs
through various social investment initiatives that were in line
with the Qatar National Vision
2030 and the National Development Strategy to support social
and economic development in
our country.”
Ibtehaj al-Ahmadani, QC
board member said, “This event
encourages Qatari women towards entrepreneurship and to
keep pace with global trends,
inspired by the pioneering role
played by the State of Qatar in
the world.”
Businesswomen from different sectors have also participated in the interactive programme,
which was delivered in partnership with “How Women Work.”
The line-up included a panel
session that featured female
entrepreneurs in Qatar, a workshop on networking and how to
do business in Qatar, and a team
building fun session.
QNB secures 4 awards from
Global Finance magazine
QNB recently received four
awards from New York-based
financial publication Global
Finance magazine, the bank said
in a statement yesterday.
The bank said Global Finance
magazine adjudged QNB as “One
of the world’s top 50 safest commercial banks in 2014,” “Best bank
in Qatar 2014,” “Best investment
bank Qatar 2014,” and “One of
the world’s best foreign exchange
providers (Middle East) 2014.”
According to QNB, the awards
reflect the “continued successful
expansion strategy and breadth
of offering being extended to
QNB customers.”
“While all of the awards
received were prestigious in
nature and well-received by QNB,
of particular significance was
being recognised once again as
‘One of the world’s top 50 safest
commercial banks in 2014,’” the
bank said.
The awards were the result of
an annual survey based on the
evaluation of long-term credit
ratings provided by Standard &
Poors, Moody’s, Fitch Ratings,
and the total assets of the 500
largest banks worldwide. QNB
Group was among the highestrated of regional banks with
credit ratings of Standard &
Poor’s (A plus), Moody’s (Aa3)
and Fitch (A plus).
The Group also had a robust
financial performance with net
profits for a nine-month period
ending September 30, 2014 recorded at QR8.0bn (up 12.6%
on the previous year) and total
assets of QR475bn (up 8.8%), the
highest achieved by the Group.
QNB currently operates in
some 26 countries and across
three continents. It employs
14,000 employees in more than
600 office locations and has the
largest distribution network in
Global Finance Magazine was
recognised as a reliable source
of news and analysis of market
insights around the world. Its
target audience includes chairmen, presidents, CEOs, CFO’s,
treasurers, and other senior
financial officers responsible
for making strategic decisions
at multinational companies and
financial institutions.
CRICKET | Page 5
GOLF | Page 6
Australia eye
top ODI spot
on back of
sizzling Smith
Stenson and
go three clear
in Dubai
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Safar 01, 1436 AH
Rosberg surges to
pole position in
Abu Dhabi finale
Page 4
Qatar Basketball Federation Golden Jubilee
QFA President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani speaks to Qatar team members during a training session
Qatar need to
raise game to
quell Oman
Qatar qualified for the semis despite drawing all
their Group A matches in the regional tournament
By Sports Reporter
atar are hoping to find their
scoring touch when they take
on Oman in the semi-finals
of the Gulf Cup at the King
Fahd International Stadium here today.
The match begins at 5.45pm.
With luck playing a major role in
their progress to the last four phase –
they qualified despite drawing all their
three Group A matches – Qatar are well
aware that they are in a situation that
cannot continue beyond a point.
Qatar’s inability to find the net despite dominating in phases against
Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain is
a big worry, especially because they
are due to take part in the Asian Cup
in Australia in January, which is much
tougher and bigger in scope than the
regional football gala.
As a desperate measure, coach
Djamel Belmadi banned players from
talking to the media as the squad held
their training behind closed doors on
Karim Boudiaf, Ibrahim Majid and
Hassan al-Haidos were all rested from
Friday’s training session after taking
part in all the games of the tournament
so far.
Injured captain Bilal Mohamed was
also absent and Almahdi Ali is set to
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi speaks to the players at yesterday’s training
deputize for him, while Mohamed
Musa will return to the right back position.
Oman, on the other hand, have
worked up cracking form just towards
the business end of the tournament.
They thrashed Kuwait 5-0 to top
Group B thanks to a 16-minute hattrick from substitute Said Al-Ruzaiqi,
who would be hoping to
continue to carry his form into the
semi-finals. Meanwhile, the Qatari
players received a boost ahead of their
crucial match when Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani visited
them during training.
The QFA chief spoke to the players
and urged them to produce their best
form in the match against Oman.
The second semi-final will be played
between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qatar Basketball Federation President Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and other officials pose at the cake
cutting ceremony to celebrate the federation’s 50th anniversary on Friday. The celebrations at the Four Seasons Hotel
concluded with a gala dinner. See also page 10.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Bayern hammer Hoffenheim, go 7 points clear
ayern Munich opened up
a seven-point lead in the
Bundesliga yesterday as
they warmed up for their
Champions League clash at Manchester City with a 4-0 hammering of Hoffenheim.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern have already claimed their last 16 place as
group winners with two Champions League games to spare before
Tuesday’s clash with City and
have now opened an ominous gap
in the league.
Mario Goetze and Robert
Lewandowski scored first-half
goals against Hoffenheim at Munich’s Allianz Arena as the hosts
cruised into the lead.
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger was making his first
appearance of the season off the
bench, 132 days after the World
Cup final, as Bayern scored twice
in the last 10 minutes through Arjen Robben and Sebastian Rode.
Bayern’s iron grip on this season’s league title was tightened by
results elsewhere as they extended
their 21-match unbeaten run.
Second-placed Wolfsburg had
their eight-match winning streak
ended at Schalke while thirdplaced Borussia Moenchengladbach also lost ground with a 3-1
defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt to fall
10 points behind the Bavarians.
Schalke boss Roberto di Matteo warmed up for Tuesday’s visit
of his former club Chelsea, who
sacked him in 2012 just six months
after winning the Champions
League, with a 3-2 victory over
Wolfsburg’s defence completely
failed to deal with Christian Fuchs’
free-kick which bounced over
goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and
into his goal three minutes later to
leave Wolves reeling.
The visitors pulled a goal
back just before the break when
Croatia’s Ivica Olic fired home
from close-range on 37 minutes
before ex-Arsenal forward Nicklas
Bendtner made it 3-2 with 16 minutes left, but the win puts Schalke
Ten-man Borussia Moenchengladbach slumped to a second
straight defeat after Norway midfielder Havard Nordtveit had given
them a sixth-minute lead before
Frankfurt hit back to claim a 3-1
win. Marc Stendera fired home a
deserved equaliser on 54 minutes,
then captain Alexander Meier enjoyed a simple tap-in just three
minutes later after Stendera led a
superb counter-attack.
Japan’s Takashi Inui scored
their third goal before Gladbach
had Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka
sent off on his return from injury
for a second yellow card.
Borussia Dortmund, who have
already qualified for the Champions League’s last 16 in Europe,
threw away a two-goal lead to
draw 2-2 at Paderborn ahead of
Wednesday’s clash at Arsenal in
Europe to stay a point above the
relegation spots.
Having dominated with firsthalf goals by Germany winger
Marco Reus and Gabon’s PierreEmerick Aubameyang, Dortmund
slumped again as Paderborn’s Lukas Rupp pulled a goal back before
Mahir Saglik’s 81st-minute equaliser.
The single point lifts Dortmund
up to 14th after losing seven of
their 12 games so far this season.
There was more bad news for
Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp on
65 minutes when Reus, who has
only just returned from injury, was
carried off after twisting his right
ankle after a heavy tackle.
Bayer Leverkusen, who host AS
Monaco as leaders of their Champions League group on Wednesday, warmed up with a 3-1 win at
Hanover 96.
Mainz drew 2-2 with Freiburg,
while on Sunday Hamburg host
Werder Bremen in the north Germany derby with both teams in the
bottom three.
Bayern Munich bt Hoffenheim
4-0; Eintracht Frankfurt bt Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1; Bayer
Leverkusen bt Hannover 3-1; Mainz
drew with Freiburg 2-2; Paderborn
drew with Borussia Dortmund 2-2;
Schalke bt Wolfsburg 3-2
(From left) Bayern Munich’s Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski,
midfielder Sebastian Rode and Brazilian defender Rafinha celebrate Robben’s goal during their Bundesliga match against Hoffenheim, in
Munich yesterday. Bayern won 4-0 to go seven points clear at the top. (AFP)
United down Arsenal
2-1; Chelsea march on
Win helps United jump to 4th; Chelsea set new club record of 12 unbeaten games from start of season
TAKE THAT: Manchester City Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure (centre) scores his team’s second goal past Swansea City’s Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski during their Premier League clash yesterday. (AFP)
Kieran Gibbs own-goal and a
Wayne Rooney strike saw Manchester United return to the
Premier League’s top four with a
bruising 2-1 victory at Arsenal yesterday.
Arsenal subjected United’s makeshift back-four to heavy pressure
throughout the game at the Emirates
Stadium, but Gibbs’s unwitting intervention gave the visitors a 56th-minute
lead before Rooney added a late second.
Arsenal substitute Olivier Giroud
marked his comeback from a broken leg
by slamming home in the 95th minute,
but United held on to leave their rivals
15 points adrift of leaders Chelsea in
eighth place. To compound matters,
Arsene Wenger’s side lost key midfielder Jack Wilshere and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to injury, four days be-
fore an important Champions League
home game with Borussia Dortmund.
An injury blight obliged United
coach Louis van Gaal to deploy a threeman defence of Chris Smalling, Paddy
McNair and Tyler Blackett, and the
visitors then saw left-back Luke Shaw
limp off after turning his ankle.
Arsenal peppered the visitors’ goal
with shots, but United goalkeeper
David de Gea kept them at bay, notably
thwarting Wilshere and Danny Welbeck, who was making his first appearance against the club he left in September. Wilshere was forced off in the 55th
minute after turning his right ankle in
a challenge with McNair, and United
struck barely a minute later.
Szczesny collided with Gibbs as he
came for Ashley Young’s left-wing cross
and when Antonio Valencia drilled the
ball back into the box, the prone Gibbs
instinctively stuck out a leg, only to
send the ball into his own net.
Szczesny had to go off, with Emiliano
Martinez coming on, and the Argentine
was a virtual spectator until Angel di
Maria freed Rooney to run through and
chip home in the 85th minute.
Giroud fired into the top-left corner
from 20 yards mid-way through eight
minutes of stoppage time, but United
survived to give Van Gaal the first away
win of his tenure.
Earlier, Diego Costa scored again as
Chelsea established a seven-point lead
at the summit by comfortably beating
10-man West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at
Stamford Bridge.
Costa scored his 11th goal of the season in the 11th minute, chesting down
Oscar’s cross and volleying home, with
Eden Hazard adding a second before
Claudio Yacob was sent off for a twofooted challenge on Costa.
Victory saw Chelsea set a new club
record of 12 unbeaten games from the
start of the season.
Mourinho’s side are now seven
points clear of second-place Southampton, who visit Aston Villa on Monday, and remain eight points above defending champions Manchester City,
who won 2-1 at home to Swansea City.
Wilfried Bony put Swansea ahead in
the ninth minute, but Stevan Jovetic
equalised for the home side 10 minutes
later and Yaya Toure strode through to
score the winner early in the second
half. It was only City’s second win in
seven games. Pellegrini’s side host Bayern Munich in the Champions League
on Tuesday, when even victory may not
spare them from a third group-stage
exit in four seasons.
Chelsea bt West Brom 2-0; Everton bt
West Ham 2-1; Leicester drew Sunderland 0-0; Manchester City bt Swansea
2-1; Newcastle bt QPR 1-0; Burnley bt
Stoke City 2-1; Man United bt Arsenal 2-1
Man City
Man United
West Ham
Stoke City
West Brom
Hull City
Aston Villa
Leicester City
Crystal Palace
UEFA could still
field anti-Blatter
candidate in
FIFA election,
says Niersbach
Berlin: The member countries
of European football’s governing
body UEFA could still find a candidate to run against Joseph Blatter
for the role of FIFA president next
year, a leading official has said.
“I do not rule out that before
January 24 (the deadline for candidates) there will be a European
candidate,” German Football
Federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach told Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung.
“This possible option is currently being discussed inside
UEFA,” he added.
Niersbach also put forward
January 2023 for discussion as a
possible date for the 2022 World
Cup in Qatar.
In August UEFA president
Michel Platini ruled out standing
against Blatter, who is aiming to
win a fifth term as president when
the election takes place on May 29.
Blatter, who has been accused
by the European associations of
going back on his word not to
stand again, currently faces competition only from former FIFA
official Jerome Champagne, who
is considered to have little chance
of victory.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the
former president of the Chilean
Football Association, is considering whether to stand.
FIFA has recently been strongly
criticized for its handling of the
investigation into the award of
the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to
Russia and Qatar.
Football’s world governing
body is also considering moving
the Qatar tournament to winter
months to avoid high summer
Niersbach said one option for
UEFA could be staging the tournament in January 2023. This would
avoid a clash with the 2022 winter
Olympics and allow a shorter
preparatory period near to the
Christmas period.
FIFA has proposed January/
February and November/December as possible dates. The
European Club Association (ECA)
has meanwhile said the tournament could be held from late April
to the end of May.
Joseph Blatter is aiming to win a
fifth term as FIFA president in the
elections slated for May 29.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Ibrahimovic back
as PSG down Metz
for 7th straight win
‘I was always confident even after Metz equalised. I told myself we’re going to win 3-2’
PSG’s Javier Pastore (left)
celebrates his goal with
teammates Ezequiel Lavezzi,
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Yohan
Cabaye during their French Ligue
1 match against Metz on Friday.
Philippines bounce
back to beat Laos 4-1
inger Patrick Reichlet scored twice
as the Philippines
fought back from a
goal down to beat Laos 4-1 in the
opening match of the AFF Suzuki Cup yesterday.
opened the scoring for the underdogs with a sublime, curling freekick in the 21st minute as Laos
threatened an upset at the My
Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.
But the diminutive side were
pegged back five minutes before
halftime when Filipino rightback
Simone Rota rose highest to head
home a corner from the right.
Former Chelsea youngster
Phil Younghusband then took
advantage of some slack Laos
marking to put the Filipinos 2-1
ahead in first half stoppage time
with a neat header from a looping cross.
Laos enjoyed some dangerous
moments on the counter in the
second half but the Philippines
always looked more likely to add
to their lead and German born
Reichelt did just that in the 77th
minute before converting Younghusband’s cross at the end to
complete the scoring.
“For about 25 minutes we really struggled in the first half
but then the rest of the game we
created more chances and the
victory for us is ok,” Philippines
coach Tom Dooley said.
Defending champions and cohosts Singapore take on Thailand in Group A action today after Myanmar face Malaysia.
Indonesia bans players,
officials over own-goals
he Indonesian Football
Association banned 12
players and officials who
competed to score owngoals in a farcical match last
month, an official said yesterday.
The decision came after a
video footage showed goalkeepers from PSS Sleman and PSIS
Semarang making half-hearted
attempts to stop shots and walking away from the goal as the
ball approached during a playoff
match in central Java.
The 12 people include the
manager, coach and players from
the two teams.
The head of the disciplinary
committee of Indonesian Football Association, Hinca Panjaitan,
branded it “an evil conspiracy”.
“FIFA taught us to play ball to
win, and they play ball to lose...
If they play to lose, no need to
play football,” he said.
FIFA is the world governing
body of association football.
He added that the 12 must also
pay a fine, but refused to elaborate on the amount.
Local media reported that
both sides had sought to lose in
a bid to avoid facing Pusamania
Borneo FC in the semi-finals
of the Premier Division’s final
rounds as the team is believed to
be backed by gangsters.
Panjaitan said that an investigation is ongoing for possible violations as officials looked into why
the players were reluctant to play
against Pusamania Borneo FC.
The match was just the latest
controversy to hit the chaotic
world of Indonesian football,
which has been beset by numerous problems in recent years,
from leadership tussles to foreign players dying after complaining of going unpaid.
Klopp hints at move
to Premier League
hampions Paris Saint-Germain
went top for the first time this
season with a 3-2 win at mid-table Metz on Friday night, as star
forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first
start in two months.
Argentines Javier Pastore and Ezequiel
Lavezzi scored either side of a Gaetan
Bussman own-goal for the visitors, who
remain unbeaten this season.
But perhaps even better news was Ibrahimovic’s return to the starting line-up
as he managed to complete the 90 minutes, while only being denied a brace by
his Argentine teammates.
A pair of Modibo Maiga penalties had
briefly brought Metz level early in the
second half after turning around 2-0
down at the break, but they couldn’t hold
out. Although Marseille can go back to
the top by beating Bordeaux at home on
Sunday, PSG’s fifth straight league win
and seventh in all competitions puts
them top as they hunt down the earlyseason pace-setters.
“I was always confident even after
Metz equalised. I told myself that we
were going to win 3-2,” said PSG coach
Laurent Blanc.
“We were in charge in the first half
against a Metz team who had a lot of fear
and this made it easier for us.”
Metz needed only a quarter of an hour
to completely self-destruct, by which
time they were two goals down.
First up, a succession of wayward
passes and mis-controls in the centre of
the park by Bouna Sarr and Ahmed Kashi
allowed Pastore to steal the ball off Jeremy Choplin, ride a feeble tackle by Guido
Milan and delicately dink the ball over
goalkeeper Johann Carrasso.
He went to ground somewhat prematurely, just a split second before Ibrahimovic arrived to provide what would
have been a finishing touch himself.
If that comedy of errors had, nonetheless, necessitated a Parisian foot to strike
the killer blow, the second goal seven minutes later was entirely of Metz’s doing.
Brazilian full-back Maxwell won a
free-kick down the left that was swung
in by Lavezzi. But it was Metz midfielder
Guirane N’Daw who then flicked it on for
left-back Bussman to bundle in with his
thighs as Carrasso looked on incredulously.
N’Daw came close to making amends
for his part in that calamity shortly before half-time but his diving header skidded just wide.
Metz were given a lifeline early in the
second half after substitute Sergei Krivets fell in the box under minimal contact
from Adrien Rabiot, with the referee
pointing to the spot.
Maiga sent Salvatore Sirigu the wrong
way from the spot. If that spot-kick was
soft, the next one a few minutes later was
cast-iron as Gregory Van Der Wiel failed
to get his arm out of the way of a bouncing
ball. Maiga picked the same corner as be-
fore, and Sirigu again went the wrong way.
Metz were buoyant, in particular
former West Ham United forward Maiga,
and he rose highest in the box to meet
a deep right-wing cross from Romain
Metanire with his head, forcing Sirigu
into a scrambled low save.
PSG coach Blanc threw caution to
the wind with 15 minutes left, taking off
midfielder Rabiot for forward Edinson
Cavani, left out of the side in favour of
And the move paid off when Lavezzi
shot from distance forcing Carrasso to
parry his effort straight to Ibrahimovic.
The goalkeeper then got a hand to the big
Swede’s first time shot and although the
ball appeared to be bouncing in, Lavezzi
stole in to snatch the final touch from a
yard out on 83 minutes.
It could have been worse for Metz with
Cavani breaking the home offside trap,
only for Carrasso to parry his attempted
chip and then block Ibrahimovic’s halfvolleyed follow-up.
Juergen Klopp is open
to a move to the Premier
League and has said managing
in England would be the only
logical step if he were to leave the
German club.
Since taking over Dortmund
in 2008, Klopp has transformed
a side that finished a disappointing 13th the previous season into
one of Europe’s premier teams,
winning many admirers along the
way. The 47-year-old is now one
the most revered managers on the
continent, having twice led Dortmund to Bundesliga titles in 2011
and 2012 as well as the Champions League final in 2013.
This season, however, Dortmund have won just three of
their 11 Bundesliga games and sit
15th—17 points behind leaders
Bayern Munich.
Klopp said in 2013 that he had
turned down the approaches of
a number of English clubs and
he has long been touted as a potential successor for Arsenal’s
Arsene Wenger, with whom the
German shares many managerial
Klopp said he had no reason to
listen to their advances last year,
but given Dortmund’s faltering
fortunes this season he would be
open to holding talks.
“If somebody will call me,
then we will talk about it,” Klopp
told BT Sport.
“I think it’s the only country I
think where I should work, next
to Germany because it’s the only
country I know the language a
little bit and I need the language
for my work.
“When I came here I thought
‘OK now I can work as a normal
coach, two or three years—next
club, next city’. I’m really interested in life, it’s not important
for me to stay for a long time in
the same place.
Dortmund travel to Arsenal
for a Champions League group
stage match at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Ronaldo strikes twice as Real overwhelm Eibar
Real Madrid’s
Gareth Bale (left)
vies with Eibar’s
Abraham during
their La Liga
match. (AFP)
ristiano Ronaldo struck
twice to take his goal tally
for the season to a jawdropping 20 in 11 La Liga
appearances as leaders Real Madrid
subdued plucky top-flight debutants Eibar 4-0 yesterday.
James Rodriguez nodded the visitors in front in the 23rd minute at the
tiny Ipurua stadium in the Basque
Country, which holds fewer than
6,000 spectators, before Ronaldo’s
scuffed shot made it 2-0 two minutes before the break.
Karim Benzema cracked in the
third in the 69th minute and Ronaldo made it 4-0 from the penalty
spot seven minutes from time as the
European champions swept to a 14th
victory in a row in all competitions.
Mid-table Eibar, whose entire
squad is worth roughly as much as
Ronaldo’s annual wages of 20 million
euros ($24.8 million), created several
scoring chances but were outclassed
by Real’s galaxy of superstars.
Their latest success put the
world’s richest club by income four
points clear at the top with 30 points
from 12 matches during which they
have amassed 46 goals.
Atletico Madrid had earlier closed
to within a point of their crosstown
rivals when midfielder Tiago scored
one goal and created another for Diego Godin in a 3-1 win for the champions at home to Malaga.
Tiago nodded Koke’s corner powerfully into the net in the 13th minute
at the Calderon and the lively Antoine Griezmann tapped home an Arda
Turan centre three minutes before
Roque Santa Cruz set nerves jangling when he pulled a goal back for
sixth-placed Malaga just after the
hour but their chances were extinguished when forward Samuel
picked up a second yellow card in the
73rd minute.
Atletico made sure of the points
when Tiago hooked the ball to the
back post for an unmarked Godin
to head home six minutes from time
before captain Gabi picked up his
second caution in the 88th.
The champions, who won their
first top-flight title in 18 years last
season, are second on 26 points, one
ahead of Barcelona who host fifthplaced Sevilla later.
The match at the Nou Camp is the
latest chance for Barca forward Lionel Messi to equal La Liga’s scoring
record of 251 goals set by Telmo Zarra
six decades ago.
Argentina captain Messi has
been on 250 goals since netting
against Eibar on October 18. He has Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano
failed to score in three subsequent Ronaldo celebrates after converting a
penalty against Eibar yesterday. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Rosberg on pole
ahead of Hamilton
Double trouble or
double excitement?
‘This weekend is about the championship, not about pole position. It would have
been great if there was a Williams in between us, but that can always happen...’
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Abu Dhabi
German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG GP reacts after taking pole position at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.
Abu Dhabi
ico Rosberg beat title favourite
Lewis Hamilton to pole position
for the decisive Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix yesterday
as the dominant Mercedes teammates
locked out the front row in qualifying.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and
Felipe Massa failed to split the leading
two but could still play a big part in Sunday’s season-ending ‘duel in the desert’
with their cars right behind on the second row.
Hamilton, hoping to become Britain’s first multiple champion since
Jackie Stewart in 1971, leads Rosberg by
17 points but the double points on offer
means Sunday’s winner will take an unprecedented 50.
The Briton, world champion with
McLaren in 2008, was fastest in the first
two phases of qualifying but a messy lap
in the tense final shootout left him unable to deny Rosberg his 11th pole of the
19-race season.
The pole was the team’s 18th of the
campaign, with Brazilian Massa taking
the one that got away, and ensured Mercedes became the first engine manufacturer to take every pole in a season since
Ford in 1969.
“It’s only one step, a very small step,” commented Rosberg, who needs someone to
get between him and Hamilton in the race
to have a chance of winning the title if neither Mercedes has mechanical trouble.
“This weekend is about the championship, not about pole position. It would
have been great if there was a Williams in
between us, but that can always happen
Abu Dhadi GP: Starting grid
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland)
4. Felipe Massa (Brazil)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ger)
7. Daniil Kvyat (Russia)
Toro Rosso
8. Jenson Button (Britain)
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)
10. Fernando Alonso (Spain)
11. Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren
12. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso
13. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India
14. Nico Huelkenberg (Ger) Force India
15. Adrian Sutil (Germany)
16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber
17. Pastor Maldonado (Ven)
18. Kamui Kobayashi (Jap) Caterham
19. Will Stevens (Britain)
20. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus
“All I can do is try to go for the win and
keep the pressure on,” added Rosberg.
Hamilton, winner of 10 races this year
to Rosberg’s five but under increasing
pressure, has said he wants to take the title with a win and looked unhappy at the
“I generally didn’t have the best of laps
but I enjoyed the qualifying session,” said
the 29-year-old. “Tomorrow is going to
be a special day.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and four
times world champion Sebastian Vettel filled the third row with Toro Rosso’s Russian roookie Daniil Kvyat and
McLaren’s Jenson Button eighth in
what could be his last race in Formula
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard who is set to
join McLaren next year, were ninth and
10th respectively. Now to see if the race
tomorrow springs any surprises.
he fans do not like it, and
even Bernie Ecclestone is
now opposed to his own
idea, but there can be
no denying the unprecedented
prospect of double points has
spiced up today’s Abu Dhabi
Grand Prix.
The pitch by promoters has
been “double the points and
double the action” and whatever
the view, the race is a 60,000
Under the previous system,
Lewis Hamilton would be going
into the Formula One seasonender with a 17 point lead and
needing only to finish sixth.
That might have been a just
reward for the winner of 10 races
to team mate Nico Rosberg’s five
this season but instead the Briton
faces the possibility that he could
leave empty handed.
A win for Rosberg and third
place for Hamilton would make
the German only the second son
of a champion to take the title.
The word ‘travesty’ has been
bandied about, particularly in
the English speaking media, but
that has only served to put the
sport even more into the limelight and achieve commercial supremo Ecclestone’s aims.
The drivers themselves accept the situation is what it is but
the sport is walking a tightrope
“My personal view is that we
have had a big backlash from the
“I have been a racing driver
myself and if I put myself
in the situation, I wouldn’t
want to have double points
and probably the decision
which we have all taken
together wasn’t the right
one and we need to change
it for the future”
fans and many vocal personalities who don’t like the system,”
commented Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.
“I have been a racing driver
myself and if I put myself in the
situation, I wouldn’t want to
have double points and probably
the decision which we have all
taken together wasn’t the right
one and we need to change it for
the future.
“But as a matter of fact for
2014, the rules are how they are.
Whoever is going to score the
most points is going to be the
world champion and I think we
need to be realistic about that
and both drivers have been.”
It could be that double points
will not impact on the outcome,
with Mercedes chasing their 12th
one-two finish of the season, and
at least Hamilton can be thankful
the system was not in force before now.
If it had been, Brazilian Felipe
Massa would have been 2008
champion for Ferrari instead of
him. Also in the ‘what if’ category, Fernando Alonso would
have won the 2012 championship
for Ferrari and denied Sebastian
Vettel one of his four titles with
Red Bull.
Bernie apologises
for calling struggling
F1 teams ‘beggars’
Ferrari and Red Bull demand
major changes to F1 engines
level of power this year letting
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg monopolise races.
Abu Dhabi
errari and Red Bull are demanding major changes to
Formula One engine rules
next year after Mercedes’
domination of this season’s world
Ferrari and Red Bull want rule
changes to cut costs and improve their competitiveness. But
team champions Mercedes are
not keen on plans to allow their
rivals limited in-season engine
development and have indicated they will stubbornly defend
their current advantage.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner told reporters that
Formula One had to consider
ditching the current turbo powered 1.5-litre V6 engine only introduced this year. And he was
backed by Ferrari team principal
Marco Mattiacci.
“Definitely we need to look at
something different for 2016,”
said Mattiacci.
“In terms of power unit, and
in terms of regulation [for] 2015,
it is clear we will have to - at the
moment - accept the status quo,
but definitely we are not going to
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner.
accept the status quo for 2016.”
Horner whose team won the
title every year from 2010 to
2013, said: “Maybe we need to
even go as far as looking at a different engine - a new engine.
Maybe still a V6, but maybe a
more simplified V6 that controls
the cost - cost of development,
cost of supply to a team and to
the privateer teams.
“I think that’s something we
need to have a serious discussion
about during the next Strategy
The sport’s influential Strategy Group and the F1 Commission are to meet next week.
Red Bull’s Renault engines
have not produced a competitive
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff
was wary of calls for change.
“We are all talking about costs
and, if you would open up the
regulations in the way it has been
described, that clearly means
you don’t care about costs.
“That would be like digging a
grave for Formula One. We have
spent considerable amounts in
the development of the power
unit,” Wolff said.
“I think we need to be sensible and we need to come up with
solutions that enable the small
teams to survive and which still
enable the big teams to showcase
the technology.
changing the format, changing
the engines would just increase
costs. It is the opposite for what
we need for Formula One at the
current stage.”
As Hamilton and Rosberg prepare for today’s title deciding
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, half of the
F1 paddock has been more concerned by the sport’s cash crisis.
The Caterham and Marussia
teams went into administration
last month and three others talked
of a boycott at the US Grand Prix
as they pushed for an overhaul of
prize money distribution.
Caterham raised funds tojoin the fray in Abu Dhabi and
are seeking investment to survive into 2015, but Marussia has
In Brazil, Horner suggested
that the sport should consider
a return to last year’s engines to
save money. Renault and Mercedes said they would quit F1 if
that happened.
“It’s unsustainable for any
of the manufacturers to keep
spending at the level we are,”
Horner told reports on Friday.
“So we should maybe look at
simplifying the engine because
if the development costs stay as
they are then we won’t attract
new manufacturers in. We have
to ensure the sport is attractive
to new manufacturers.”
Wolff argued that Honda is returning to F1 next year as engine
suppliers for McLaren, replacing
“I fully agree we need to look
at costs,” he said. “But you can’t
turn time back.”
Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.
The Guardian
ernie Ecclestone has
apologised for using
the word “beggars” to
describe the struggling
teams in Formula One.
The sport’s chief executive,
speaking at the recent race in
Austin as Caterham launched a
crowd-funding scheme and others suggested they were ready to
boycott the race, said: “We don’t
want begging bowls. If people
can’t afford to be in Formula One
they have to find something else
to do.” But Ecclestone apologised
in Abu Dhabi yesterday during a
meeting with Force India, Lotus
and Sauber.
Ecclestone and Donald Mackenzie, the chairman of CVC
Capital Partners, the sport’s majority shareholders, invited the
three teams to a meeting before
qualifying. Lotus owner Gérard
Lopez said: “We brought it up
and there was a retraction. They
understand you can call a beggar
a beggar if he is doing nothing for
his money. That is not the case
for us. They heard and saw loud
and clear or arguments.”
Force India boss Vijay Mallya
said: “I made the point very
clearly that any such unparlia-
“When you call us beggars,
what are the beggars
saying? We are saying cut
costs and trying to explain
to fans that you cannot
have a F1 team without
spending £300m-400m.
If that is a beggar, no one
outside will understand
mentary language did not do
good for Formula One and all the
stakeholders, particularly the
sponsors. If someone holding
a rather important position in
Formula One makes a disparaging remark, it has to have consequences. The inference that
those who are paid to be here and
who do not pay to be here have
made some very arrogant and
disparaging remarks.”
Monisha Kaltenborn added:
“When you call us beggars, what
are the beggars saying? We are
saying cut costs and trying to
explain to fans that you cannot
have a F1 team without spending £300m-400m. If that is a
beggar, no one outside will understand that. If you look at the
figures, we are beyond begging.”
But the trio said that the
“penny had dropped” with
CVC and Ecclestone and they
expected talks on the future
finances of F1 to continue over
the next few days.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Australia eye top
ODI spot on back
of sizzling Smith
‘To win in Sydney would be great... To take No.1 mantle back would be outstanding’
Shehzad fit for ODIs
but Maqsood out
Abu Dhabi
akistan received some
good news on their injured key players Saturday with opener Ahmed
Shehzad set to return for the
limited over series against New
Shehzad, 22, suffered a minor
skull fracture during the first
Test against New Zealand in Abu
Dhabi on November 10 after being hit by a bouncer from seamer
Corey Anderson.
Shehzad made a career-best
176 in the match.
He was ruled out of the remaining two Tests but Pakistan
Cricket Board (PCB) said he
would be fit for the two Twenty20 matches and five one-day
internationals which follow the
Tests next month.
“Shehzad was examined by
a surgeon on Wednesday with
regard to injury which showed
he has mild tenderness over the
fracture site. On inspection,
there is no obvious asymmetry
although there is mild swelling,”
the PCB said in a statement.
“A review has been planned
on Monday. He has been advised
to avoid contact sports for a period of six weeks but he can start
his physical workout from next
The first Twenty20s against
Ahmed Shehzad
New Zealand will be played in
Dubai on December 4.
However middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood has been
ruled out of the limited over
series due to a wrist injury sustained while playing for Pakistan
‘A’ against the United Arab Emirates last month.
Paceman Wahab Riaz has recovered from the knee injury
he received in a one-day match
against Australia last month and
will be available for the limited
over series.
Riaz will have a fitness test
next week before being considered for limited overs series
against New Zealand.
Fellow paceman Junaid Khan
will also have a review of his knee
injury next week. He also got injured during the one-day series
against Australia which Pakistan
lost 3-0.
Pakistan and New
Zealand cricketers
advance in rankings
Steven Smith of Australia during the fourth one-day international match between Australia and South Africa at the MCG in Melbourne.
ustralia may have already
clinched the series against South
Africa but they have the incentive
of top spot on the world one-day
rankings in today’s fifth ODI in Sydney.
The Australians reeled in South Africa’s 267 for eight with a thrilling century
from Steve Smith to claim a three-wicket
win over the Proteas with an over to spare
in Melbourne on Friday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-game series.
While Australia have wrapped up the
series, Smith said the home side won’t
be short of motivation in Sydney, where
another win will ensure they reclaim No.1
spot from World Cup champions India on
the International Cricket Council’s ODI
rankings. “It adds a lot,” Smith told reporters after Friday’s win.
“We pride ourselves on that. We try to
get to No1 in every form of the game.
“To win in Sydney would be great and
to take that No 1 mantle back would be
Smith added that Australia’s one-day
form augurs well for the World Cup in
Australia and New Zealand in February,
especially given the quality of the opposition. “South Africa are a very good
line-up,” he said. To play the way we have
and beat them 3-1, it’s been very satisfying for us.
“It will be perfect to finish it off with a
4-1 victory and take back that No1 spot.
“It’s going to be nice playing the World
Cup in our own backyard... hopefully,
that (form) continues going into the
World Cup.”
South African coach Russell Domingo
said taking Smith’s wicket would be key
to his side finishing their limited-overs
tour of Australia with a win.
“He’s obviously a big player for Australia at the moment and we’ve got to
make sure our plans are in place when we
play against him,” Domingo said.
Proteas captain AB de Villiers looked
in pain in the final stages of Australia’s
innings on Friday, constantly feeling his
ribs, but Domingo is hopeful he will play
in today’s final ODI.
“He just fell badly on his rib and I
Australia rest pace trio ahead of India series
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday opted
to rest pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Peter
Siddle and Josh Hazlewood for the upcoming Sheffield Shield round matches,
keeping in mind the upcoming Test
series against India.
The move gave rise to the possibility that the three men have been earmarked to form Australia’s fast bowling
attack for the first Test at the Gabba.
Hazlewood, fresh off nine wickets at an
average of 14.66 runs per wicket in the
ODI series against South Africa, would
become Australia’s 440th Test cricketer
if he’s selected for the first Test against
India, starting Dec 4 in Brisbane.
Johnson is a certainty for the first Test
after an outstanding year that has seen
him claim the International Cricket
Council’s (ICC) Player of the Year award.
Siddle’s case to retain his spot in the Test
XI got strengthened following his seven
wickets for his team Bushrangers in the
last round of Shield matches, including a
second innings haul of 5-31.
Veteran pacer Ryan Harris is the other
fast bowler in contention for a spot.
Nathan Coulter-Nile has been ruled out
with a hamstring injury, joining injured
captain Michael Clarke on the sidelines.
think he took a blow there in one of the
games earlier in the series,” Domingo
“Maybe just a bit of bad bruising. I
think he should be ok (for Sunday).”
Domingo denied his side’s first oneday loss to Australia in seven ODIs at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground was a World
Cup setback and said Sunday would be a
chance for his players to nail down a spot
in the squad for that tournament.
“Sunday is another chance to see what
the right group is ... we’re pretty close to
finalising (a squad),” he said.
“It’s a great reminder of how much
work still lies ahead before we can seriously challenge for the World Cup in
three months’ time.”
akistan and New Zealand cricketers progressed in the Test
rankings following their
drawn second Test, according to
the latest International Cricket
Council (ICC) release yesterday.
Sarfraz Ahmed jumped to a
career-best ranking of 18 in the
Test batting rankings following
his scores of 112 and 24 not out
against New Zealand.
Pakistan lead the three-match
Test series 1-0 after winning the
first match and drawing the second game here Friday. The third
and deciding Test will start in
Sharjah from Wednesday.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum moved up two
places to 19th after his innings
of 43 and 45. His teammate Tom
Latham moved up 19 places to
36th position after his second
Test century - 137 runs - in the
first innings, while Mark Craig
has vaulted 28 places into 97th
after scores of 43 and 34.
In the Test bowlers rankings,
New Zealand’s Trent Boult has
climbed three places to the 10th
position after taking four wickets for 81 runs in the match.
For Pakistan, Zulfiqar Babar
gained three places and is now
in a career high 28th spot. Yasir Shah moved up five places
to 30th, while Black Caps’ offspinner Craig is another player
to progress, advancing three
places to 88th.
The batting table continues to be headed by Sri Lanka’s
Kumar Sangakkara, while Dale
Steyn leads the bowlers’ list.
Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan
is the number-one ranked allrounder.
Tendulkar once
played with tissues
in his underwear!
New Delhi
New Zealand are now improving
away from home, says coach
ew Zealand coach Mike
Hesson warned yesterday that his side are
improving and have
proved they can take on top nations away from home.
Hesson said the tense draw in
the second Test against Pakistan
that finished Friday in Dubai had
proved the point.
Pakistan batted out for a draw
after they were set a challenging
261-run target in a possible 72
overs on the fifth and final day.
Pakistan finished at 196-6, 65
short of the target to keep their
1-0 lead alive in the series with the
final Test starting in Sharjah on
Wednesday. Pakistan won the first
Test by 248 runs in Abu Dhabi.
“We certainly get confidence
from here, I think the fact that
New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum plays a shot during
the second Test match against Pakistan in Dubai.
we kept Pakistan under pressure
shows that we are improving,”
said Hesson, who took over as
coach in July 2012.
New Zealand won a crucial
toss and scored 403 to challenge
“I think the fact that we were
able to get 400 plus in the first
innings and when the pitch deteriorated got some runs in the
second innings under pressure is
a good sign for us,” said Hesson.
New Zealand were then lifted by Ross Taylor’s 104 which
helped them declare the sec-
ond innings at 250-9.
Hesson said his team is now
performing well away from
home, winning their last series
in the West Indies 2-1 in June.
“We have always been challenging at home, now we have
performing well away from home
in the last 12 months and to do
well in the subcontinent in spinning conditions show that we are
heading in the right direction.”
Hesson said his batsmen
worked hard to lift themselves
after the first Test defeat.
“Its been challenging, getting
400 plus was hard work the way
Yasir (Shah) and (Zulfiqar) Babar bowled, they were not giving
freebies away.
“We are learning and the way
Ross played against a quality
opposition on a wearing surface
was a fine innings,” said Hesson, who also praised Pakistan’s
century-maker Sarfraz Ahmed.
“To be fair Sarfraz played extremely well and that (innings)
was the turning point and it
sucked a lot of time out of the
game in terms of us getting to a
point where we could declare, he
deserved his hundred.” Sarfraz’s
112 lifted Pakistan to 393 in the
first innings.
Hesson ruled out Test return
for experienced spinner Daniel
Vettori, who is here as part of the
one-day squad.
“Dane is obviously a high
quality bowler and its nice to
see him back in the one-day
cricket but Test match might be
too far for him,” said Hesson of
the spinner who has not played
a Test since July 2012 due to injuries.
Vettori staged a comeback in
one-day cricket last month after
a 15-month gap and will be part
of the two Twenty20 and five
one-day game against Pakistan.
ndian batting legend Sachin
Tendulkar has revealed that
due to an upset stomach he
had to once play with tissues
inside his underwear!
The incident happened during the Super Sixes phase of the
2003 ICC World Cup when India
were taking on Sri Lanka March
10 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
“Here I am a bit embarrassed
to reveal a very personal secret
relating to the Sri Lanka match.
On the eve of the match I had
a bad stomach and was feeling
dehydrated. This happened because I had not yet fully recovered from the cramp I had suffered while playing Pakistan and
as a result had had a lot of isotonic drinks,” Tendulkar writes in
his autobiography Playing It My
Way which was released earlier
this month.
Just nine days previously,
Tendulkar had played a matchwinning knock of 98 against Pakistan for which he was named
man of the match at Centurion.
“I also added a teaspoon of salt
to the energy drinks, thinking it
would help the recovery, and that
caused a tummy upset. In fact,
File picture of Sachin Tendulkar
of India raising his bat after
scoring his century during World
Cup match against South Africa.
the situation was so bad that I
had to bat with tissues inside
my underwear. I even had to go
back to the dressing room during
one of the drinks breaks and was
feeling extremely uncomfortable
in the middle.”
Despite the issues, Tendulkar
went on to score a patient 97 off
120 balls, the highest score of
the match, which helped India
win the contest by a massive 183
“I somehow scored 97, but
batting with stomach cramps
wasn’t a pleasant experience. I
was pushing myself to the limits of endurance and in the end I
was glad that the effort paid off,”
Tendulkar added.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Stenson and Cabrera-Bello
go three clear in Dubai
‘It’s been a little crazy round, because I haven’t felt I’ve played perfect at all’
orld number four
Henrik Stenson is
on track to successfully
his title at the DP World Tour
Championship, but he will have
to shake off the red-hot Rafael
Cabrera-Bello after yesterday’s
third round.
The Spanish world number
104 shot a seven-under par 65
- the low round of the day for a
second successive day - and finished on 14-under par 202 after
54 holes, the same as Stenson,
who shot a bogey-free round of
It was the Swede’s 12th consecutive round in the 60s on the
Earth course of Jumeirah Golf
The leading duo are now three
clear of Englishman Justin Rose,
who leads the chasing pack at
205 following a round of 68.
World number one Rory McIlroy once again endured a difficult
day. The 2012 champion, who is
already assured of becoming the
European number one for the
season by winning the Race to
Dubai, made rare back-to-back
double bogeys en route to a twounder par 70.
McIlroy will start the final
round four shots behind Stenson
and Cabrera-Bello, tied for fourth
on 10-under par with Frenchman
Victor Dubuisson (67), England’s
Tyrell Hatton (68) and Denmark’s
Thorbjorn Olesen (69).
It was a bit of a battle for Stenson early in the day, when he
three-putted for par from 20 feet
on the par-5 second, and then
needed to make and up-anddown for par on the third before
a chip-in for his first birdie of the
day on the fourth.
After another missed birdie
chance on the par-5 seventh
hole, where he failed to make a
four-footer putt, the 38-yearold shifted gears and made three
birdies coming in for his 68.
Stenson, who is yet to win a
tournament this year despite a solid season, said: “It’s a great championship, this one, and of course it
would mean a lot to me to defend,
and to get a win this season.
“It’s still been a good one, but
still at the end of the year when
we assess it, we will always look
at the trophies and there has not
been any yet.
Rafa Cabrerra-Bello of Spain plays an approach shot to the first green during the third day of the DP World Tour Championship, the final round of the EPGA Tour, at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in the Gulf Emirate of
Dubai, yesterday.
“We’ll try and make it happen, but there are a lot of strong
players out there and Rafa seems
to be on fire. We’ll see if we can
hold him off tomorrow.
“I struck it nicely today. I
would say I was back to hitting
it really good and had quite a few
chances, but wasn’t as hot on the
greens as I was yesterday. Left a
couple shots out there but all in
all, I’ll take that round. I am still
in the race.”
Cabrera-Bello, who needed
just 21 putts to go through his
round, finished with four birdies
in his last five holes.
And the Spaniard said his
strong short game saved what
could have been an ugly round.
“It’s been a little crazy round,
because I haven’t felt I’ve played
perfect at all. I had to work really,
really hard, especially at the beginning.
“I just managed to hang in
there,” said Cabrera-Bello, winner of the 2012 Desert Classic.
“I end up shooting three-under on the front nine and I could
have easily shot two or three
over, which was very good. And
short game and putting has been
unbelievable, probably the best
day of my life for short game.”
McIlroy also did not have the
best start when he could not
make a birdie in the first four
holes, but he appeared to be
motoring along as he shot to the
top of the leaderboard with four
birdies in the next six holes.
But he then hit two wayward
shots off the tee on the 13th and
14th and was penalized with
back-to-back double bogeys.
“I definitely felt like I played
better than yesterday, even
though the score is the same,”
said McIlroy.
“The 12th and 13th, obviously, ruined that scorecard a
little bit. If I had not had those
two holes, I would be right up
there in the lead. “It makes life
a little more difficult for myself
tomorrow, but hopefully I can
get off to a fast start and try to
put pressure on the guys ahead
of me.”
Spargo leads with Scott Mardan on pole
primed to pounce
as Manila Masters
reaches climax
outh Australian journeyman Paul Spargo will take
a one-stroke lead into the
final round of the Australian Masters after shooting a oneunder 71 yesterday, with double
defending champion Adam Scott
lurking four strokes behind.
World number two Scott
rued a bogey-strewn front nine
but made up ground with four
birdies after the turn during
a hot and windy afternoon at
Metropolitan Golf Club.
Sunday is expected to bring
more of the fluky winds that
have made low scores rare at the
sandbelt course and Scott said a
good start was key to winning
an unprecedented third trophy
in the tournament.
“All the signs were good and
my swing felt the best of any
today,” the 34-year-old told
reporters after mixing four bogeys with five birdies.
“The front nine is so key ...
turning in five or six-under is
really possible and I just need to
make it happen.
“I need to turn somewhere
near the leaders.”
Paul Spargo is the leader at eight-under par, one shot clear of fellow
countryman Michael Wright, who led over the first two rounds.
Spargo, who started the day
two strokes behind overnight
leader and playing partner
Michael Wright, wobbled in
the back nine with bogeys on
the 12th and 14th but held firm
thereafter, draining a clutch
putt for par on the last to hold
the Queenslander off.
His 71 put him on an eightunder total of 208, a stroke
in front of Queenslander
Wright, who had marched out
to 11-under after a solid front
nine but dropped four strokes
coming in to fall a stroke adrift
of Spargo, ranked 1,126th in the
Local amateur Lucas Herbert profited in the relative
calm of the morning to shoot
the tournament’s best round
of 65 and was in a group of
three in third place, a further
shot back.
Former US Open champion
Geoff Ogilvy’s 71 was enough
to keep him in the frame, three
strokes behind Spargo, while
Boo Weekley remains an outside chance, six off the pace
after a 70.
Last year’s US Masters
champion Scott will still fancy
his chances of clawing back in
front, with his aura expected to
loom large over the field of local
grafters should he make an early
“Anyone sitting in my position tomorrow is going out with
no pressure,” said Scott. “Posting a number is a big thing in a
golf tournament, certainly with
some tough finishing holes
right here.
“I don’t think it crushes (the
competition) but it makes them
think and thinking can be dangerous in golf.”
Matsuyama keeps Spieth
beneath in Japan
Spain’s Ciganda shares lead
at Tour Championship
ingapore golfer Mardan
Mamat put himself on
pole position for a fourth
Asian Tour win with a
four-shot lead yesterday going
into the final round of the Philippines’ Resorts World Manila
Masters tournament.
The 47-year-old winner of the
2004 Indian Open, 2006 Singapore Masters and the 2012 Philippine Open sank seven birdies
against a single bogey for a sixunder third-round score of 66.
“I got off to a great start which
kind of gave me a good cushion.
I kept myself in my own zone. I
knew I had to stay calm to maintain my lead,” he said.
Mardan has a 17-under total
of 199 after three rounds, and a
four-shot lead over Thailand’s
Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
“It was less windy compared to
the first two rounds. I guess that
explains the low scores today,”
said Frenchman Lionel Weber.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama
kept rising American star Jordan Spieth at bay with a composed four-under-par 67 yesterday to stretch his lead to two
strokes after three rounds of
the Dunlop Phoenix tournament.
Matsuyama, who claimed his
maiden victory on the US PGA
Tour at the Memorial Tournament earlier this season,
carded a bogey-free round
while US Masters runner-up
Spieth fired a 68 as the young
guns continued their absorbing struggle on the windswept
shoreline course in Miyazaki,
western Japan.
Matsuyama will begin Sunday’s final round on 14-under
and on form the top two, who
both produced rounds of 64 on
Friday, look favourite, although
Australia’s Brendan Jones is just
three off the pace after returning
a 68.
Carlota Ciganda, who made a
move up the leaderboard in the
middle of her round, jumped
into a share of the lead after 36
holes of the windy LPGA Tour
The 24-year-old Spanish golfer fired a five-under 67 on Friday
to join first round leader Julieta
Granada at seven-under-par 137.
Paraguay’s Granada, a one-time
winner on the US Tour, carded a
one-under 71.
Ciganda is seeking her first
win on the US Tour. She has four
international victories, including three on the European Tour
which named her rookie of the
year in 2012. “It wasn’t an easy
day out there,” said Ciganda of
the breezy conditions at the Tiburon Golf Club course.
“It was pretty windy. I’ve been
playing good the last couple of
months and today my putting
was really good. So I’m very
happy with my game and really
looking forward to the weekend.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
NFL taps
to hear
Minnesota Vikings running
back Adrian Peterson’s appeal
of his suspension will be heard
on Dec. 2 by former NFL executive Harold Henderson, the
league announced Friday.
Peterson was suspended by
the NFL without pay for at
least the remainder of the
2014 season on Tuesday for
committing what it termed
“abusive discipline” on his son.
The players union appealed
the suspension, saying the
crime occurred in May but
Commissioner Roger Goodell
imposed a new disciplinary
process on Aug. 28.
Under the NFL’s Article 46
(Commissioner Discipline),
appeals of discipline for offfield conduct are heard and
decided by the commissioner
or his designee.
Henderson was the NFL’s
executive vice president of
labor relations until 2007 and
has been a hearing officer
since the summer of 2008.
The NFL told Reuters he has
heard 87 appeals since 2008
involving personal conduct
and drug issues.
He has heard cases involving such well-known players
as Brandon Marshall, Bryant
McKinnie, Josh Gordon, Wes
Welker and D.J. Williams. Since
2012, Henderson has been
president of the NFL Player
Care Foundation, which benefits former players.
Henderson’s appointment did
not sit well with the union.
“The NFL has positioned
a former NFL executive
and current consultant as
neutral,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement.
“Everybody, at this point, can
see through what they are
trying to do.”
Peterson, 29, pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas for
injuries to his 4-year-old son
caused by his use of a switch
in disciplining the child.
The switch, a thin, wooden
branch with its leaves
removed, caused cuts and
bruises over much of the
child’s body. Peterson was
originally charged with a
felony for the assault.
LeBron frustrated as
struggling Cavaliers fall
‘The most important thing for us to do is keep our heads up and keep working’
New York
truggling to come together with consistent
teamwork around superstar LeBron James,
the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered
their third consecutive NBA defeat Friday, falling to the Washington Wizards 91-78.
Even with 22 points each from
James and Australian star guard
Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers produced their lowest game total of
the season and fell to 5-6 while
the Southeast division-leading
Wizards improved to 8-3, paced
by 28 points from Bradley Beal.
“It’s going to be a challenge,”
James said. “We have some
work to do. “Right now I’m
frustrated. Tomorrow I’ll be OK.
That’s who I am. Tomorrow is a
new day.”
James, a four-time NBA Most
Valuable Player, left Cleveland
for Miami in 2010 and won two
titles with the Heat before returning to the Cavaliers last
July, teaming with Irving, big
man Kevin Love and new coach
Dave Blatt to try and bring his
home region team its first NBA
So far, it’s still a work in
“We’ve got to fix this. We have
got to get together as a team,”
Irving said. “The most important thing for us to do is keep
our heads up and keep working.
“We have to figure things
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is fouled by Washington Wizards guard John Wall while shooting the ball in the third quarter at Verizon Center on Friday. The
Wizards won 91-78.
Orlando ...............105
Phoenix ................122
Atlanta ....................99
Toronto................ 124
Memphis .............117
San Antonio .....121
Washington ....... 91
Dallas .................... 140
Denver ...................117
Golden State...101
Portland ..............105
Charlotte ............ 100
Philadelphia ....... 96
Detroit ...................... 89
Milwaukee ............83
Boston .................. 100
Oklahoma City 92
Cleveland ..............78
LA Lakers ...........106
New Orleans ......97
Utah............................ 88
Chicago ...................87
out pretty quickly. We’re going
to fix it. I still trust these guys.
We have to come out with better fight and it starts with me as
one of the leaders.”
After cracking 120 points in
wins over Boston and Atlanta
last week, the inconsistent
Cavaliers blew several fast break
chances and struggled in key
stretches of the second half.
“I’m concerned about everything right now,” Blatt said.
“We’re struggling. We’re a little bit in the dark. Ten days ago
we’re scoring the heck out of it.
It’s not a different group of guys.
“First thing is guys have to
take a good look in the mirror
and ask themselves where and
how they can impact things
positively. You’ve got to make a
change or two but not recreate
the wheel. You have to stay in
there and show grit.”
James, who ranks second in
the league in scoring with just
under 26 points a game, encouraged Blatt’s idea of selfreflection “if you need that” but
also lamented 19 turnovers that
led to 24 Wizards points.
“That was a big part of it,”
James said. “It has been a problem for us in our losses. We have
to do better.
“We can’t worry about individuals. We’ve got to improve as
a team. It’s for us to get out of it.
It’s a winning league. We’ve got
to figure out what needs to be
done to win.”
The Wizards went on a 15-2
run over a 5:08 span late in the
first quarter and early in the
second to seize a 32-23 lead and
never trailed again. Wall and
Otto Porter each had four points
in the key run.
At times, the Cavaliers were
lethargic on offense, a problem
that has hampered Love, whose
power forward play has resulted
in twice as many 3-point shots
as normal just to find a steady
place in the attack.
“We just get stagnant at some
points,” Love said. “When the
other team scores on us we
might hang our heads and slow
down. When we play with pace
we play a lot better. When we
play for each other, set screens
and roll hard, we usually free up
a great shot on the inside.”
Islanders beat Penguins 5-4 in shootout
New York Islanders’ Matt Martin (left) celebrates his first-period goal
with Casey Cizikas during an NHL hockey game against the
Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Friday.
yle Okposo scored in
the third round of the
shootout, sending New
York to a 5-4 victory at
Pittsburgh on Friday.
‘’That’s the sign of a good team,
when you don’t play well, and you
don’t stay focused, and you don’t
do the intangibles that it takes and
you still win the hockey game,’’ Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
Sidney Crosby and New York’s
Frans Nielsen scored in the second round, and Islanders goaltender Chad Johnson stopped
Brandon Sutter. Okposo deked to
his forehand, slipping a shot that
hit off Marc-Andre Fleury’s pad
and into the net for the win.
‘’He came down, I tried to
show him something, and it
didn’t work,’’ said Fleury, who
was seeking his 300th career win.
Matt Martin, Nikolay Kulemin
and Ryan Strome scored in an
impressive flurry in the first,
helping New York to the early
lead. Strome also had two assists for the Islanders, who have
won seven of eight and now trail
Pittsburgh by two points in the
Metropolitan Division.
‘’This has been one of our biggest rivals over the last few years,
so you always get up for these
games,’’ Martin said. ‘’They’re
the team we’re chasing in the
standings right now.’’
Patric Hornqvist forced overtime with his 10th goal of the
year for the Penguins, who had
won three in a row. Sutter, Blake
Comeau and Nick Spaling also
scored in regulation.
Kris Letang nearly ended it in
overtime for Pittsburgh, but Johnny
Boychuk stopped the wraparound
attempt when he got his stick on the
puck before it crossed the goal line.
NY Islanders .........5 Pittsburgh ................ 4
Boston ........................4 Columbus .................3
New Jersey ...........2 Edmonton ...............0
Al Rayyan Endurance Cup winners
The winners of the Al Rayyan Endurance Cup pose with their trophies after the presentation ceremony yesterday. The 120km and 80km Endurance Championship was conducted by the Qatar Endurance Committee at Umm Saied.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
New Zealand show
class to beat Wales
Barrett guides All Blacks past Wales to extend streak
eauden Barrett stepped
into Dan Carter’s boots
with aplomb to help
extend New Zealand’s
winning streak over Wales to 26
matches with a 34-16 victory
The world champions have
lost just once in two years,
a two-point reverse to the
Springboks in Johannesburg
last month in a dead rubber after the All Blacks had wrapped
up the Rugby Championship for
a third successive season.
And while the half-time
score at Cardiff ’s Millennium
Stadium was just 3-3, the All
Blacks showed their true class
in a stunning second-half performance in which they scored
five tries.
Julian Savea, Jerome Kaino,
Barrett (2) and Kieran Read all
crossed the whitewash, Barrett
nailing a penalty and conversion
and Colin Slade two more as the
visitors piled up 24 points in the
final 17 minutes against a flagging Welsh side.
Rhys Webb scored Wales’ sole
try, Leigh Halfpenny converting and keeping the scoreboard
ticking with three penalties as
the home side ran out of puff
after a hard-hitting first period
where defence was king.
Richie McCaw, captaining
New Zealand for the 100th time
in his 137th Test, was guilty of
giving away the first kickable
penalty when he sniffed a jackal’s chance of prising a ball loose
from a ruck.
Halfpenny made no mistake
from in front of the posts to
open the scoring to a frenetic
match marked by some brutal
defence and both sides’ willingness to run the ball.
Wales, guilty of 22 turnovers
in their woeful 17-13 win over Fiji
last weekend following a 33-28
defeat by Australia, pinpointed
Savea with a series of boxkicks,
but the giant winger proved capable under the high ball.
Paul James was being given
a torrid time by All Black tighthead Owen Franks and when he
collapsed a scrum on halfway,
Barrett, with the “rusty” Carter
handed water-running duties for
the day, made amends with his
second effort after 22 minutes.
A neat trademark show-andgo by home scrum-half Webb
almost paid dividends, as the
game then settled into a highoctane showdown in the middle
of the park.
Wales skipper Sam Warburton broke the fluster and bluster
with a sharp break, but he had
no support and Charles Piutau
put in a crunching last-man
Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones tackles New Zealand’s Beauden
Barrett during their Autumn International rugby union
match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales,
yesterday. (Reuters)
tackle, cross-code star Sonny
Bill Williams immediately displaying his offloading skills up
the end of the pitch.
Wales had obviously not
heard the surreal pro-Wales
half-time interview with former
Baywatch hunk David Hasselhoff, who has a Welsh girlfriend Hayley Roberts, as the All
Blacks scored the first try of the
game just two minutes after the
After Halfpenny was turned
over by Read after inexplicably
opting to pick and go close to his
own line, Barrett shifted the ball
left to Conrad Smith who, under
pressure from Alex Cuthbert,
produced a slick backhanded
pass to Savea.
Sexton inspires Irish to superb win over Australia
Irish fly-half Jonathan Sexton scored 16 points
as Ireland edged Australia 26-23 in a thrilling
and pulsating test match at Lansdowne Road
yesterday to give the Six Nations champions a
seventh successive victory. The Wallabies had
stormed back from going 17-0 down within the
first 20 minutes but two tries by Nick Phipps and
one from Bernard Foley got them back into it.
However the Irish, unlike last year against the All
Blacks when they lost in the final minute, held
the charging Australians at bay for the final 10
minutes after two Sexton penalties had edged
them back ahead.
Irish captain Paul O’Connell said: “Terrific end
to the campaign - to win against two southern
hemisphere teams is great for morale. “Pity we
allowed them back into the game after building a
good lead but this time we showed we can hold
the line like we did at the end and unlike against
the All Blacks.” The famous win gave the Irish
their first double over South Africa—who they
beat 29-15 a fortnight ago—and Australia since
2006. Flanker Peter O’Mahony won Ireland a
penalty in the fifth minute and Sexton, continuing the excellent form from the South Africa
match, slotted it over.
The Irish boosted by that turned on the pressure
and Australian prop James Slipper was fortunate to stay on the pitch when he took out Rob
Kearney in midair although referee Glen Jackson
awarded only a penalty but Sexton sent it wide
for his first miss in the two Tests.
Lacklustre Boks
beat Italy 22-6
Padua, Italy
oenie Oosthuizen, Cobus Reinach and Bryan
Habana provided the
only tries as South Africa claimed a record 12th straight
win over Italy, a scrappy 22-6 affair in Padua yesterday.
A week after a stirring 31-28
defeat of England at Twickenham, South Africa were expected
to steamroller a misfiring Azzurri side following a try-less 20-18
defeat to Argentina in Genoa.
But despite finishing on a high
when Habana touched over in
the 79th minute, the potent,
flowing game expected from
Heyneke Meyer’s visitors failed
to materialise.
With Italy still sorely lacking
in the try-scoring department,
all of their points came from the
boot of New Zealand-born flyhalf Kelly Haimona, who also
missed two long-range penalty
attempts in either half.
In total, Haimona kicked 35 of
Italy’s 48 points from their three
tests in November.
After a promising start from
both sides Italy spurned an early
chance to take the lead when
Haimona’s penalty stopped
short of the target.
From 50 metres out, the flyhalf’s miss was forgiven barely
two minutes later when the
Springboks’ scrum collapsed
under pressure from the Italian
pack 10 metres outside their 22.
This time, Haimona stepped
up confidently to plant the ball
between the uprights to give the
hosts a 3-0 lead on 12 minutes.
South Africa were soon back
on level terms when a series of
powerful drives inside the Azzurri 22 gave the hosts a penalty
barely 10 metres out following
an infringement on Habana.
Patrick Lambie stepped up to
level with an easy conversion on
the quarter hour.
South African had their opening try just before the half-hour,
Oosthuizen throwing the ball
over the line with one hand despite a tackle by Leonardo Sarto
a metre from the line. Lambie
missed the conversion from the
left flank.
Italy suffered a blow just be-
fore half-time when experienced
prop Matias Aguero was forced
off through injury and replaced
by Alberto De Marchi.
But at the tail end of what had
been a scrappy opening half, Italy were handed a lifeline with a
line-out on South Africa’s 22.
After waiting for the ‘Mexican-wave’ to abate, Haimona
kicked his second, and last penalty of the game to reduce arrears
to 8-6.
South Africa looked liberated
after the restart when a series of
runs and moves had the Italians
pinned inside the own 22, until
Edoardo Gori came to the rescue
when he collected a chip to kick
downfield for a lineout at the
halfway line.
The visitors could have
stretched their lead on 51 minutes but Lambie opted to kick
the ball out for a line-out at the
corner after winning a penalty
for an Italy infringement at the
The Italian crowd were on
their feet when the hosts won
the scrum and full-back Andrea
Masi launched a charge downfield to offloaded to big No 8 Sergio Parisse but he was brought
crashing down on the 22.
Italy eventually turned the
ball over and after a Boks’ infringement at the ruck the hosts
won a penalty at the halfway
line, although Haimona’s effort
came up short.
The game turned in South
Africa’s favour two minutes
later when Mismarck Du Plessis
charge found Nizaam Carr now
in space.
When he was charged to the
ground, he threw to Reinach for
the scrum half to claim his second try in a week.
From in front of the posts
Handre Pollard fired over an easy
conversion to give South Africa
a nine-point lead just before the
hour mark.
Italy battled, with Parisse notably showing some promise late
on, but the hosts simply did not
get back into the game.
South Africa finished well
when Pollard bursts up field
before finding Habana wide on
the left with a superb throw for
winger to claim his 57th test try,
with Pollard adding the easy
Botha bows out of
international rugby
Five-try Scotland see off Tonga
Kilmarnock, Scotland
ries from Blair Cowan, Stuart Hogg, Alex
Dunbar, Geoff Cross and Tommy Seymour
helped Scotland settle a two-year-old
score with an ultimately convincing 37-12
victory against Tonga on the plastic pitch at KIlkmarnock Rugby Park.
In the first international match involving a Tier
One nation played on an artificial surface, Scotland
overcame a poor first-half performance to avenge
the 21-15 defeat they suffered against the Tongans
at Pittodrie Stadium in Aderdeen in November
2012, an occasion on which they conspicuously
failed to cross the opposition try line.
In doing so, the Scots completed a satisfactory
first home series under Kiwi coach Vern Cotter,
having beaten Argentina 41-31 and pushed New
Zealand hard before losing 24-16. Scotland were on
the front foot from the off.
Fly half Finn Russell spurned a kickable penalty
in favour of an attacking line-out in the left corner
but Scotland made a mess of the set-piece opportunity.
Number Eight Johnnie Beattie also suffered a
turnover when attempting to barge through the
Tonga defence and it was the Pacific Islanders who
were first to get points on the board. In the tenth
minute fly-half Latiume Fosita bisected the posts
with a penalty from tight to the left touchline after
Hogg failed to roll away from a tackle.
That gave Tonga a 3-0 lead but they were a man
down in the 14th minute when their captain and
openside flanker Nili Latu was yellow carded by
referee JP Doyle for obstructing Richie Gray at a
ruck close to the Tongan try line. Scotland took advantage a minute later, New Zealand born flanker
Cowan scoring from the back of a driving maul to
claim his first try for his adopted country.
Scotland captain and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw
landed the conversion to give Scotland a 7-3 lead
but two penalties in as many minutes by Fosita put
Tonga back in front, 9-7, with 23 minutes on the
clock. The tourists were back to their full complement of 15 players, Latu returning from the sin bin,
when Scotland were reduced to 14.
Dunbar was yellow carded for a tip tackle on full
back Vungakoto Lilo and, while the inside centre
was in the pitch-side cooler, Fosita stepped up to
nail his fourth penalty, extending Tonga’s lead to
12-7. Scotland almost hit back in the 31st minute
but they were penalised for offside when Fosita had
a kick charged down by Laidlaw in Tonga’s in-goal
area and Russell raced to touch down the loose ball.
Two minutes later the hosts had their second try,
though. A tackle from Russell forced Tonga spill the
the ball while attacking in the Scotland 22 and Hogg
picked it up and raced 80 metres to score. Laidlaw
converted, furnishing Scotland with a 14-12 advantage at the interval.
Scotland’s Richie Gray competes in the line out with Tonga’s Hale
T Pole (R) during their Autumn International rugby union match at
Rugby Park Stadium in Kilmarnock, Scotland, yesterday. (Reuters)
South Africa’s Bakkies Botha, renowned for his fearsome physical
presence in the second row, announced his international retirement yesterday but will continue to play for French Top 14 side
The 35-year-old World Cup-winning lock made his final appearance
for the Springboks when coming off the bench in their 31-28 victory
over England last weekend and finishes his career with 85 caps,
the seventh highest total for South Africa. Coach Heyneke Meyer
had brought him out of the international wilderness in November
last year after an absence of two years as a mentor to the country’s
up-and-coming young locks.
That role, though, has now been taken by Botha’s long-time second
row partner, 37-year-old Victor Matfield, who is expected to be a
starter at the World Cup in England next year. “The news of my
retirement will probably be described as sudden and unexpected,
but it is a decision that I’ve been mulling over since 2011,” said
Botha in a press release from the South African Rugby Union
(SARU) on Saturday. “To be able to make this decision on my own
terms, knowing I’m still good enough to play Test rugby, is a huge
“I’m planning to finish my contract with Toulon and defend our
titles this season. And who knows, perhaps there is a province
in South Africa who can see me add value to their Currie Cup
campaign next year and I can play my final match in my beloved
country of birth before finally hanging up my boots at the end of
2015 at all levels of the game.”
Botha made his Springbok debut in 2002 and became known for
his sometimes overly aggressive play but alongside Matfield he
formed arguably the best second row pairing in world rugby. Together, they won the World Cup in 2007, while Botha also played in
two Tri Nations-winning seasons for the Springboks as well as their
successful British and Irish Lions tour in 2009.
Gulf Times
Sudnay, November 23, 2014
Agassi tips Nishikori to join grand slam club
ormer tennis great Andre Agassi
yesterday backed Japanese superstar Kei Nishikori to become
a grand slam winner, hailing him
as one of the greatest shot-makers ever.
Nishikori has climbed to number five
in the world after a breakout year in
which he won four titles and reached US
Open final, but Agassi insisted it was only
a matter of time before the swashbuckling 24-year-old captures one of the four
“Listen, he was one match away from
US Open,” the former world number one
told AFP after going toe-to-toe with
Nishikori in an exhibition event in Tokyo.
“Probably the biggest reason for (not
winning the title) was the physical wear
and tear over the course of the tournament, and sometimes that’s a bit unlucky.”
“There is no question in my mind he
believes he can win a slam,” added Agassi,
44, who won eight grand slam titles in an
illustrious career before retiring in 2006
-- the year before Nishikori made his
professional debut.
“I’ve seen him play with that purpose.
From a talent perspective, he’s very capable of winning a grand slam. He’s dynamic and incredibly fast.”
Agassi, who smacked several eye-popping shots past Nishikori before going
down 8-6 in an abbreviated match, insisted that the Japanese had the weapons
to topple the game’s big three of Novak
Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“He beat Djokovic on the way to the US
Open final, and if he did it once he can do
it again,” said the flamboyant American,
tipping Nishikori to be at the forefront of
any changing of the guard in men’s tennis.
“There is always a time for seasons
to change and he’s positioned to be the
one to step in. He’s one of the few players I would pay to go and watch, he’s that
‘Greatest shot-maker’
“What he’s done is very impressive in
this day and age to do the way he does
it. Kei is one of the greatest shot-makers
the game has ever seen and there’s no
reason he can’t go on further.”
Agassi, famous for his punishing
training routine, warned Nishikori
about the dangers of burn-out, however, offering some sage advice on
physical preservation to a player who
was plagued with injuries earlier in his
career, most notably in 2009 when he
feared he might not play again after undergoing elbow surgery.
“I know how hard you have to work to
make it look easy at times,” said Agassi.
“Being number one and doing it over the
course of a career requires good decisionmaking, not just talent. He’s somebody
who has to be mindful of his body, so that
he’s healthy all year.
“In tennis you don’t have to play
great—you just have to play better than
one person. Kei can play great when he
doesn’t have to, which is a good thing.
But mentally it’s much easier when you
just play good enough against most of
guys you can beat. It also helps your
durability—mentally, emotionally and
Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori (L) shakes hands with US tennis legend
Andre Agassi after their exhibition match in Tokyo yesterday. (AFP)
Federer, Wawrinka
give Swiss 2-1 lead
Algieri makes
weight on
third attempt
‘We wanted the best team on court and obviously the best team was with Roger and Stan’
witzerland made a big
step towards a maiden
Davis Cup title when
they took a 2-1 lead in
the final against hosts France
with Roger Federer and Stan
Wawrinka’s 6-3 7-5 6-4 win
in the doubles against Richard
Gasquet and Julien Benneteau
Federer, who looked in good
shape after struggling with back
problems this week, will have
the opportunity to claim the
winning point in Sunday’s first
reverse singles against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Wawrinka gave Switzerland
the first point by beating Tsonga
6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2 and Gael Monfils levelled when he thrashed
Federer 6-1 6-4 6-3 on Friday
on the Pierre Mauroy stadium’s
France, who last triumphed
in 2001, are looking to win the
Davis Cup for the 10th time but
after Saturday’s doubles the
task seems almost impossible
as world number four Wawrinka
has been playing at his best and
Federer is getting better.
Switzerland captain Severin Luthi had initially selected
Marco Chiudinelli and Michael
Lammer but unsurprisingly
changed his lineup.
“We wanted the best team
on court and obviously the best
team was with Roger and Stan,”
said Luthi.
Federer seemed much more
at ease as he knew he could also
rely on the in-form Wawrinka.
“Stan has been unbelievably supportive, Severin and the
coaching staff did a really good
job. Now I’m gonna rest and recover,” said Federer.
The pair had won the Beijing
Olympics gold medal but had
lost their four previous Davis
Cup doubles together.
They were unfazed by the
partisan crowd or the presence
of French president Francois
Hollande and retained serve
They broke in the sixth game
when Gasquet could not handle
Wawrinka’s powerful volley and
the visitors went on to take the
opening set as Benneteau fluffed
yet another forehand.
The French were more solid
in the second set as Benneteau’s
weighed in at 143.8lb
yesterday for his
welterweight world
title defence, but his opponent
Chris Algieri had trouble on the
scales ahead of today’s fight.
Undefeated American Algieri
could not make the catchweight
limit of 144lb and was still 0.20lb
over after a second attempt despite stripping down to his bare
essentials at the Saturday morning weigh-in (Friday night in the
US) at the Venetian Macau’s Cotai
Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) was
given two hours to sweat off the
remaining weight and came back
for a third attempt which saw
him finally go under at 143.6lb.
Despite the hiccup, which
would have thrown Algieri’s final preparations for today’s fight
slightly behind schedule, the
former kickboxer from Long Island predicted he would win.
“I did all the hard work I needed
to do,” said Algieri. “I know I can
count on my skills to do it. This is
dream come true and I’m ready to
rock.” Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs)
has been relaxed and confident
all week in Macau. The Filipino
eight-weight world champion
has been impressing all who
have watched him train with
the intensity and power he has
shown in his workouts.
“I’ve been preparing like the
early days in my career,” said
Pacquiao at the weigh-in. “I
want to get back the hungriness
and the aggressiveness that I had
when I was young.”
Earlier this week Pacquiao had
said he enjoyed fighting unbeaten
boxers, such as Algieri, because
he liked to teach them what it is
like to lose. But on Saturday the
Sarangani province congressman
was more diplomatic.
“I like to fight undefeated
fighters like Algieri because it’s
an honour to be in a fight like
that,” Pacquiao said.
Before Pacquiao and Algieri
Switzerland’s Roger Federer (L) celebrates with teammate Stanislas
Wawrinka after winning the doubles match on the second day of
the Davis Cup final against France in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, northern
France, yesterday. (AFP)
Chris Algieri of the US takes to
the scale naked during an official
weigh-in for his World Boxing
Organisation (WBO) international
12-round welterweight title fight
against Manny Pacquiao in Macau
square off for the World Boxing
Organization (WBO) welterweight title at around noon local
time (0400GMT) Chinese double Olympic gold medallist flyweight Zou Shiming (5-0, 1 KO)
will take on Thailand’s Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (27-0, 12
KOs) in a 12-round final eliminator for a world title shot.
Kwanpichit, an uncanny Pacquiao look-alike dubbed ‘miniManny’ by the media, and Zou
both weighed in right on the
112lb flyweight limit.
There are two other world title
contests on the undercard.
WBO featherweight champion and double Olympic gold
medallist Vasyl Lomachenko (21, 1 KO) defends his title against
Thailand’s Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33 KOs) with both
exactly on the 126lb limit.
World Boxing Association super lightweight champion Jessie
Vargas from Las Vegas (25-0, 9
KOs) weighed in on the 140lb
limit for his defence against
Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (313-1, 23 KOs) who was a little
lighter at 139.3lb.
Frenchman Lavillenie, Kiwi
Adams are Athletes of Year
level rose to Gasquet.
“Richard! Richard!,” sang the
crowd, who were to be disappointed.
The French wasted five break
points before Gasquet faded and
the Swiss, especially Federer,
regained grip on the match to
break in the 11th game and take
a two-set lead.
The Swiss broke for 3-2 in
the third thanks to Wawrin-
ka’s forehand passing shot
and France never threatened.
Wawrinka ended the French ordeal with a safe backhand volley
on the second match point.
“I’m really confident with my
game, he (Federer) was a little
bit struggling yesterday but (it
was) because he did not practice, but today we both played
really well, we both did our job,”
Wawrinka said.
No plans to reform Davis Cup — Ricci Bitti
The Davis Cup has its flaws, but it is still one of sport’s
great events and there are no plans to radically alter it,
ITF chief Francesco Ricci Bitti said yesterday.
Speaking in Lille ahead of the France-Switzerland Davis
Cup final doubles, the International Tennis Federation
president said that changes to the Davis Cup had been
considered in the past to no avail.
“We know tennis has changed. But we are the institution.
We rpresent the basic value of the sport,” the Italian said.
“Then we have to protect what is the value that we
believe is vital for the progress of our sport, in spite of
the evolution.
“It’s clear the calendar is busy. It’s clear that the players
have a more demanding season. It’s clear we have to
accept that some people are not participating.
“In any case, the value that Davis Cup brings to many nations is vital for the development of the sport, more than
many other activities.”
The format and timing for the Davis Cup has been a
heated subject of debate in tennis circles for the past few
years, with many of the top players calling for changes.
This year’s final saw the issue raised again with Swiss
superstar Roger Federer injuring his back last weekend
playing in the ATP World Tour finals.
There are clashes also with World Group first round ties
that are played in the week preceding the Australian
Open and the semi-finals which come hard on the heels
of the US Open.
Asked if it would not be better to stage the Davis Cup
in a three-week time-slot in the one place, similar to the
football World Cup, Ricci Bitti replied: “The first point is
the three weeks.
“The second week is home?and?away is very rooted in
our competition. If you provide me three weeks in the
calendar now, perhaps I can consider it. But three weeks
are not available, in general.
Ricci Bitti, however, did not rule out some cosmetic
changes to the Davis Cup format, mentioning that he
favoured starting the tie-break at 4-4 instead of 6-6 as at
present. “In my opinion, as a business?oriented man, the
peak of the attention of spectators is the end of the set.
If you have more ends, it works better,” he explained.
Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic shot
put champion Valerie Adams were named World Athletes of the
Year at an IAAF gala in Monaco on Friday.
It marked the first time that field event athletes had won both
awards and the first time a male pole vaulter or a female thrower
collected the honours, the International Association of Athletics
Federations (IAAF) said.
Frenchman Lavillenie, 28, set the world record of 6.16 metres in
the Ukrainian city of Donetsk in February, breaking Sergei Bubka’s
21-year-old mark. He also won 21 of 22 competitions.
“This is really the dream season for me,” he said when accepting the
“I think the world record contributed to the award but I won other
competitions too. I wasn’t as good as Valerie, I lost one competition,
but 21 out of 22 is not too bad in an event which is quite unpredictable.”
Adams, 30, claimed a ninth global title when she retained her world
indoor crown in Sopot, Poland.
The New Zealander was unbeaten in 2014 and boosted her winning
streak to 56 competitions, having not lost since 2010.
Adams was the only athlete to triumph in all seven IAAF Diamond
League fixtures this season.
“This is the icing on the cake for 2014. It’s been a year that’s been
physically challenging but I’m proud to be here for New Zealand and
Oceania,” she said.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The Qatar Basketball Federation on
Friday celebrated its 50th anniversary
at a gala event held at the Four
Seasons Hotel. Qatar Olympic
Committee Secretary-General HE
Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman
al-Thani, who is also the QBF
President, led the celebrations, during
which officials, players and coaches
were presented mementoes for their
services to the game. An acrobatic
dunk team kept the audience
spellbound during the event, which
concluded with a dinner.
Gulf Times
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Kelly holds off challenge
from Shane to take victory
‘I missed out on the National High Points title to Jimmy but it’s a great feeling to win the race here in Doha’
By Sports Reporter
raham Trucking’s J Michael
Kelly held off a fierce challenge from National High
Shane to snatch a dramatic win in a
thrilling five-lap Oryx Cup UIM World
Championship final in Doha Bay yesterday afternoon.
Kelly, from Bonney Lake in Washington State, stole the inside line in
pre-race milling and managed to edge
clear of the newly-crowned National
High Points champion, Shane, over five
high-octane fuelled laps of the Doha
course. He maintained his composure
throughout to reach the chequered flag
and seal a second Oryx Cup win.
“The move worked out,” said a delighted Kelly, who completed a sweep
of four heat wins and victory in the final. “The Oberto had a little bit more
speed than we had and that early move
into the inside helped us come away
with the win. I missed out on the National High Points title to Jimmy but
it’s a great feeling to win the race here
in Doha.”
Jon Zimmerman rounded off the
podium in the 9 Team Red Dot hydroplane, but 96 Spirit of Qatar’s Jean
Theoret pulled out just as the race was
about to start with fuel control issues.
J Michael Kelly had maintained his
100% heat success rate with a comfortable win over Shane in heat 3A and Cal
Phipps benefited from steering issues
on 96 Spirit of Qatar to propel 7 Graham Trucking II to victory in 3B.
A start-to-finish win for Shane in
Heat 4A was sufficient for the Maryland
driver to confirm the National High
Points title regardless of Kelly’s performance in 4B or the Oryx Cup final.
Kelly didn’t disappoint either and led
from the start to secure the win in 4B.
The final round of the H1 Unlimited
Championship has been organised by
the Qatar Marine Sports Federation
(QMSF), under the presidency of His
Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor alThani and in conjunction with H1 Unlimited, since 2009.
Shane and Kelly clashed for the first
time in the opening heat of the day and
were joined at the flying start by Zimmerman, Dave Warren and Jesse Robertson. Kelly made a perfect start and
edged clear of Shane and began to pull
away. The 1 Oberto Beef Jerky driver
was not able to close Kelly down and
the heat developed into a comfortable
one for the 1 Graham Trucking driver.
A third heat win knocked another
100 points off his deficit in the National
High Points title race, but he was still
relying on Shane failing to finish one of
the remaining two heats and the final
if he was to stand a realistic chance of
winning the championship. Zimmerman crossed the line in a comfortable
third and Warren managed to pass Robertson on the penultimate lap to snatch
Dave Villwock was not able to make the
start of 3B after his turbine engine ingested water on Friday afternoon and
this left the door open for Theoret,
Phipps, Mike Webster and a struggling
Tom Thompson to vie for top spot.
Thompson took the start with damaged
blades in his turbine and the Peters &
May team was not expecting miracles
from the 11 boat.
Theoret controlled the early stages
of the race from the inside and looked
to be heading for a comfortable heat
win, but he powered down the boat and
turned into the infield at the start of the
final lap when the steering wheel detached from the shaft.
This left the door open for a pursuing
Phipps to sail through to take the heat
win, with a resurgent Thompson passing Webster on the second lap to snatch
the runner-up spot and 300 valuable
Victory or second place would have
been sufficient for Shane to clinch the
2014 National High Points title and
the 6 Oberto Beef Jerky driver made
the perfect start using additional boat
speed from lane two to pass Zimmerman on the outside. Shane was never
troubled from then on and surged to the
chequered flag to clinch the title with
the Oryx Cup final in hand.
Zimmerman finished a comfortable second and Phipps, Thompson and
Warren followed some way behind in
third, fourth and fifth.
Kelly made an excellent start and managed to hold off the Theoret challenge
through the opening turns, although
the Qatar driver had suffered a scare
during he milling for lanes when his
turbine bogged down and he had to
fight back to gain his starting lane.
Kelly held on to take the chequered
flag and a fourth haul of maximum
points and Theoret finished well clear
of Webster. Robertson pulled up at the
end of the first lap and retired.
Kelly, Shane, Phipps, Theoret, Zimmerman and Thompson made the fivelap final, with Webster offered the role
of trailer boat at the rear of the field.
J Michael Kelly (top centre) won his second Oryx Cup final in Doha yesterday. Jimmy Shane (left) was second, while Jon Zimmerman finished third.
Kelly got his tactics just right in the
milling – ‘the race before the race’ –
and stole the inside lane from Shane
and maintained a slender lead through
the first few turns.
Zimmermann slotted into third and
Phipps headed Thompson and Webster,
but fuel control issues had sidelined
Theoret before the flying start. Shane
was no match for the flying Kelly as
the race progressed, however, and the
1 Graham Trucking driver thundered
through the remaining laps to seal his
second Oryx Cup success.
Shane held on to a comfortable second and Zimmerman headed Phipps,
Thompson and Webster to the chequered flag as the sun began to set over
Doha Bay.
Jean Theoret and Cal Phipps battle it out at Doha Bay during the Oryx Cup.
World Military Sailing Championship from tomorrow
By Sports Reporter
Commander of the Qatar Emiri
Navy, Staff Major General
Mohammed bin Nasser
al-Mohannadi, who is also
the chairman of the Supreme
Organising Committee.
he stage is set for the 47th World
Military Sailing Championship (470
Class), which will be held in Doha for
the first time from November 25th
to 28th. Qatar’s Armed Forces are organising the event, which is open to both men and
women, in collaboration with the Qatar Military Sports Association and the Qatar Sailing
Armed forces personnel from about 25
countries are taking part in the event which
is being held under the auspices of the World
Military Sports Council (CISM), a body representing 134 nations. The participating
teams arrived yesterday at the Doha Marriot
Hotel, which is the entry point for the championship. They then, along with officials,
proceeded to do a recce of the racing area.
Commander of the Qatar Emiri Navy, Staff
Major General Mohammed bin Nasser alMohannadi, who is also the chairman of the
Supreme Organising Committee, inspected
the preparations for the event and was confident that it will out to be a successful one.
“I welcome all the participants and officials for the Championship, which we are
very proud to host. All the necessary arrangements are in place. We also have made
sure that safety procedures are in order and
the medical team will be a disposal 24 hours
till the event ends,” he said.
The Qatar Sailing Federation headed by
Khalifa al-Suwaidi will provide the technical
expertise while the Qatar Armed Forces are
responsible for organising and managing the
tournament. The hosts are providing boats
Officials inspect the racing area ahead of the 47th World Military Sailing Championship.
to the sailors, with the Supreme Organising
Committee entering into a contract with a
leading company to supply 25 boats for the
The Qatar team comprises of Warrant Officer Fahad Abdulla al-Malki, Sergeant Jassim al-Sulaiti and Staff Sergeant Walled
Mahmoud al-Sharshani.
While the other nations will be fielding
women sailors, only men would represent
Qatar in the championship.
The hosts are one of the fancied team to
finish on the podium. In the last year’s edition, held in Norway where 13 countries took
part, Qatar finished third behind Ukraine
and Norway. The recent results too augur
well for the team, who are coached by Gasper
Strahovnik. They finished first in the Netherlands, second in Croatia and third in Italy
in the latest sailing meets. “We have a very
young team but they have the ability to compete at the highest level. Qatar sailors have
progressed well in the last year and I am sure
they will but a good show here,” said al-Mohannadi.
The Championship will be flagged off tomorrow evening at the Katara Cultural Village by HE the Minister of the State for Defence Affairs Staff Major General Hamad bin
Ali al-Attiyah. In total nine races will be held
on three days, starting from Tuesday with
Thursday being the rest day.
Qatar’s Armed Forces are organising the 47th World Military Sailing Championship.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
King, Greenwood win
100km IAU world titles
United States and Britain take men and women team titles respectively
By Sports Reporter
ax King made a smashing competitive 100km debut winning the IAU
100km World Championships gold
at Aspire Zone yesterday morning.
King, who ran his first competitive race over a
100km distance, took six hours 27 minutes and
43 seconds to finish his 20 laps around the 5km
course around the Aspire Zone.
In the women’s section, Ellie Greenwood of
Great Britain took the lead on the 13th lap of
the course and steadily increased her advantage
over the field to win her second world 100km
Greenwood finished the race in seven hours
30 minutes and 48 seconds to add to her 2011
100km world championship title in Gibraltar.
The race, which started at 6pm on Friday,
saw over 200 athletes from a record 39 countries participate in the world championship
“Wow, can’t believe I was able to pull off the
win and N American record. Thanks for all the
support. Blessed to have everyone pulling for
me,” King tweeted after the race.
King finished almost four and a half minutes
ahead of Sweden’s Jonas Buud (06:32:04) and
nine and half minutes ahead of Spain’s Jose Antonio Requejo.
Greenwood was accompanied on the podium
by Japan’s Chiyuki Mochizuki (07:38:23) and
team-mate Joasia Zakrzewski (07:42:02)
Yesterday’s finish was Buud’s fourth in the
second spot at IAU 100km World Championships.
Spain’s Requejo had come into the race in
Doha with a personal best time of six hours 57
minutes but managed to shave a sizeable chunk
of that time to win bronze.
Defending men’s champion Giorgio Calcaterra (08:30:00) of Italy finished 68th. Titleholder in the women’s section Amy Sproston
(08:14:02) fared slightly better at 18th.
King led United States’ charge in the team
championship, and along with Zach Bitter
(06:48:53) and Zach Miller (06:51:30) won the
gold with a time of 20:08:05.
Japan’s Hideo Nojo, who finished fourth
overall with a time of 06:39:21, along with
team-mates fifth-placed Yoshiki Takada
(06:46:47) and Koji Hayasaka (07:29:01), ensured a silver for Japan in the team’s championship.
Great Britain’s Paul Giblin (06:56:12), Steve
Way (06:57:23) and Craig Holgate (07:04:16)
took bronze for a time of total time of 20:57:50.
Greenwood, Zakrzewski and Jo Meek
(07:43:37) took women’s team gold with a total
time of 22:56:27, while Mochizuki led the Japanese charge for a silver. Mochizuki, along with
Shiho Katayama (07:49:41) and Mai Fujisawa
(07:54:28), ran the race in 23:22:32.
Russians won the women’s bronze with
Irina Antropova (07:44:26), Yulia Khazova
(08:00:46) and Oxana Akimenkova (08:08:19)
running a total time of 23:53:31.
This year’s championships were held after a
gap of one year after the 2013 edition was cancelled. That race in Jeju Island, South Korea,
saw one of its major sponsors pull out at the
last moment.
Next year, the 100km world championship
will head to Winschoten in Netherlands, while
the 50km world championships will be held in
Doha for three years — 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Max King of United States (left) and Ellie Greenwood of Great Britain (right) cross the finish line to win the IAU 100km World Championships men and women title respectively at Aspire Zone yesterday. (Below) Top
three finishers from men’s and women’s races along with IAU president Dirk Strumane, Aspire Venues and Events director Philip Templar and other officials attend the post race press conference.
Nasser al-Attiyah re-elected as FIM vice president
Hilton, Intercontinental
to host Qatar 2015 teams
By Sports Reporter
ilton and Intercontinental Doha
The City will host the world’s best
handball teams during the Qatar
2015 World Handball Championships in January. The hotels signed an agreement with Qatar 2015 Organising Committee yesterday.
Under the leadership of Organizing Committee chairman HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, a lot of effort has been going
in to ensure that some of the biggest companies in Qatar are roped in as partners and the
event is a huge success.
Finance Committee chairman Khamis
Mubarak al-Kuwari signed the contract
with Hilton Hotel general manager Adham
El Sebaey, while for Intercontinental general
manager Pascal Eggerstedt signed the contract.
Al-Kuwari said around 20 hotels will host
delegates, media and officials during the
Meanwhile, Salah Mahmoud Al-Saadi,
Head of the Game Services Committee, said
that the first teams for the world event will
start arriving on January 10, five days before
the tournament is scheduled to begin.
Qatar 2015’s Khamis Mubarak al-Kuwari at the contract signing
with Hilton (above) and Intercontinental Doha The City.
Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation president Nasser Khalifa al-Attiyah (right) with FIM Europe president Wolfgang Srb and other
officials attend the FIM general assembly in Jerez, Spain. Al-Attiyah was re-elected as FIM vice president for a second term yesterday.

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