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QATAR | Page 27
4 – 6, 26, 27
7, 8
9 – 23
24, 25
1 – 6, 13 – 16
7 – 12
1 – 11
Qatar Stars
team to take
on Bayern
Munich in
Latest Figures
he R
bl TA 978
A 1
Q since
Go Global Organisation
Conference kicks off
SPORT | Page 2
Vol. XXXV No. 9600
January 12, 2015
Rabia I 21, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
PM meets world handball federation chief
services to
get boost
QATAR | Health
SCH clarification
on Mars products
The Supreme Council of Health
(SCH) yesterday clarified that reports
circulating in the social media about
bacterial contamination of Mars
products is no longer valid. “The
news about such contamination
goes back to last August as the
company had announced a problem
with some of its products and
withdrew them from the markets,”
the SCH said in a statement. At
that time, SCH co-operated with
the competent entities in the
country to make sure that the
local markets were free from the
products concerned. Recently, SCH
collected several samples of Mars
products from the local market
to ensure their safety for human
consumption. The latest results of
laboratory tests showed that the
Mars products currently available in
the local market are safe for human
QATAR | Weather
Strong winds and
rains are forecast
Strong winds are expected to blow
across the country today when a
minimum temperature of 9C or less
in the central areas and a maximum
of 18C elsewhere have been forecast.
Mercury is expected to drop to
7C tomorrow dawn in the central
and southern areas, according to
the Meteorology Department. Low
visibility is forecast in many places
on account of dusty conditions.
Scattered rains have been forecast
as well. Page 4
SRI LANKA | Politics
Sirisena sees
a new era
Sri Lanka’s new government
yesterday promised a tolerant new
era of religious harmony and political
freedom for the nation. President
Maithripala Sirisena vowed to put an
end to the corruption and nepotism
that marred the reputation of his
predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse.
Page 23
PAKISTAN | Accident
Dozens die in
bus-tanker crash
At least 62 people were killed when
their bus crashed into an oil tanker
in southern Pakistan yesterday.
Page 21
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani meeting with International
Handball Federation president Dr Hassan Mustafa who is in Doha to attend the opening of the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship (Qatar 2015), scheduled to start in Doha on Thursday. They discussed a number of topics of joint interest
during the meeting.
Ministerial groups to
speed up major projects
E the Prime Minister and
Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa
al-Thani has set up three ministerial groups tasked with the speedy
completion of major development
projects in the country and enhancing private sector participation in
The decision follows the directives issued by HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The ministerial groups will also
tackle issues related to inflation and
rising prices.
The first ministerial group will
co-ordinate and follow-up major
projects of strategic importance.
Its tasks are:
1) Develop plans and programmes
for the implementation of major
projects, suggest priorities in light
of the Qatar National Vision 2030
and follow up their progress.
2) Review the costs of major
projects and propose financing
methods and tools.
3) Identify ways and mechanisms
to issue contracts for the implementation and management of major
projects and put models of contracts
and agreements necessary in this re-
gard, taking into account the established legal provisions.
4) Set up a detailed plan to run the
projects after their completion, including the annual financial budget,
a plan to absorb human resources
and to identify the owner and operator of these projects.
5) Any other tasks assigned by
the Prime Minister in the sphere of
The second ministerial group will
enhance the participation of the
private sector in economic development projects.
Its tasks are:
1) Identify the areas and projects
for the participation of the government and private sectors.
2) Put the policies, standards,
controls and programmes necessary
to stimulate the private sector and
its participation in the economic
development projects and follow up
their implementation after adoption, and propose the necessary solutions to overcome the difficulties
and obstacles in their implementation.
3) Propose means to support, enhance and involve the private sector
participation in economic development projects.
4) Develop models for contracts
and agreements related to the participation of the government and
private sectors, taking into account
the established legal provisions.
5) Develop a specific timeframe
for the operation of the projects put
forward for the private sector, so as
to achieve the target to attract investments.
6) Any other tasks assigned by
the Prime Minister in the sphere of
The third ministerial group will
deal with the allocation and reclamation of land for new projects.
One of the major tasks of this panel
will be to evolve a five-year plan and
propose budget that is required to
acquire and reclaim land.
The group will also:
1) Prepare the final estimate of the
actual needs of the territory for the
various sectors in the country after
the inventory of the various requirements of those authorities.
2) Review the public facilities and
services projects proposed by the
government authorities and suggest
priorities of implementation in the
light of the actual needs and available resources.
3) Propose terms, ways and mechanisms for the allocation of lands in
co-ordination with the authorities
4) Any other tasks assigned by
the Prime Minister in the sphere of
hree hospitals that are being built, exclusively for single
workers, in the Doha Industrial
Area, Mesaieed Industrial City and Ras
Laffan will have large clinics to provide
occupational health services, a top official of Supreme Council of Health
(SCH) told Gulf Times yesterday.
"These clinics will provide all occupational health services for all the
workers, thereby minimising the risks
associated with their works," explained
Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad alThani, director, Public Health, SCH, on
the sidelines of a training programme
on basic occupational and environmental health services.
“The occupational health hazards
are common to both white collar and
blue collar workers. Proper care and
services can lower the deaths due to
occupational hazards as well as accidents that might keep the employees
away from work for long time."
Pointing out that occupational
health hazards were common to all
professions, the official observed that
doctors could be affected through the
use of syringes and contract some contagious diseases whereas engineers
might face accidents on the work sites.
The training SCH is offering will help in
facing such hazards.
“The SCH is looking to build occu-
pational health capacity by training the
primary care physicians or more accurately, physicians of first contact for
expanding and improving occupational
health services to protect, promote and
maintain health of the large population
of expatriate male labourers, primarily
in the construction industry, who have
limited access to healthcare services
and may operate in hazardous environments,” Dr Sheikh Mohamed al-Thani
Dr Mohamed Ali al-Hajaj, head of
Occupational Health Services at SCH,
said that the training was done in five
modules in co-operation with the East
Mediterranean Regional Office of WHO.
“This is the second module and the
first one was completed last year," he
"The third and fourth one will be
competed in March and May and the
last one will be towards the end of the
year. We have representatives from Primary Health Centres, Red Crescent and
private hospitals,”
The SCH official also said that the
training would be an ongoing process. “
In the present module, 30 general practitioners are participating. The trained
doctors, in turn, will train the other
doctors. This will be an annual event
It is estimated that about 2.6bn people belong to the global workforce and
according to ILO, more than 2mn die
each year from occupationally related
diseases and injuries. Page 27
Dr Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani:
director, Public Health, SCH.
Dr Mohammed Ali al-Hajaj: head of
Occupational Health Services at SCH.
Three new hospitals set to have
large clinics for occupational
health services
World leaders join solidarity rally against terror attacks
orld leaders, including Muslim and Jewish statesmen,
linked arms to lead an estimated million-plus French citizens
through Paris in an unprecedented
march under high security to pay tribute to victims of militant attacks.
Paris police said the turnout was
“without precedent”.
The interior ministry said that at
least 3.7mn people had demonstrated
in France yesterday.
A ministry spokesman said that
1.2mn to 1.6mn people had marched in
Paris and about 2.5mn people in other
cities around the country.
The ministry said it was the biggest
popular demonstration ever registered
in the country.
Some commentators said the last
street presence in the capital on this
scale was at the Liberation of Paris from
Nazi Germany in 1944.
President Francois Hollande and
leaders from Germany, Italy, Israel,
Turkey, Britain and the Palestinian territories among others, moved off from
the central Place de la Republique
ahead of a sea of French and other flags.
Giant letters attached to a statue in the
square spelt out the word Pourquoi?”
(Why?) and small groups sang the “La
Marseillaise” national anthem.
Some 2,200 police and soldiers patrolled Paris streets to protect marchers
from would-be attackers, with police
snipers on rooftops and plain-clothes
detectives mingling with the crowd.
City sewers were searched ahead of the
The march mostly went ahead in
a respectful silence, reflecting shock
over the worst militant assault on a European city in nine years. For France,
it raised questions of free speech, religion and security, and beyond French
frontiers it exposed the vulnerability of
states to urban attacks.
Two of the gunmen had declared allegiance to Al Qaeda in Yemen and a
French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by heads of state, including
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, European
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, as they attend the solidarity march in the streets
of Paris yesterday.
third to the militant Islamic State. All
three were killed during the police operations in what local commentators
have called “France’s 9/11”, a reference
to the September 2001 attacks on US
targets by Al Qaeda.
“Paris is today the capital of the
world. Our entire country will rise up
and show its best side,” said Hollande.
In London, several landmarks in-
cluding Tower Bridge were lit up in the
red white and blue colours of the French
national flag in a show of support for
the event in Paris. Fifty-seven people
were killed in a militant attack on London’s transport system in 2005.
Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three
days of violence that began with a
shooting attack on the weekly Charlie
Hebdo known for its satirical articles
and cartoons. It ended on Friday with
a hostage-taking at a Jewish deli in
which four hostages and the gunman
were killed.
Hours before the march, a video
emerged featuring a man resembling
the gunman killed in the kosher deli.
He pledged allegiance to the Islamic
State insurgent group and urged French
Muslims to follow his example.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David
Cameron and Italian Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi were among 44 foreign
leaders marching with Hollande. UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Is-
rael’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were
also present.
Immediately to Hollande’s left,
walked Merkel and to his right Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
France intervened to help fight Islamist
rebels there two years ago to the day.
In a rare public display of emotion
by two major-power leaders, cameras
showed Hollande embracing Merkel,
her eyes shut and forehead resting on
his cheek, on the steps of the Elysee before they headed off to march.
After world leaders left the march,
Hollande stayed to greet survivors of the
Charlie Hebdo attack and their families.
While there has been widespread
solidarity with the victims, there have
been dissenting voices. French social
media have carried comments from
those uneasy with the “Je suis Charlie” slogan interpreted as freedom of
expression at all cost. Others suggest
there was hypocrisy in world leaders
whose countries have repressive media
laws attending the march. Page 16
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Venezuelan president arrives
Al-Attiyah meets Chinese official
Qatar sends
winter aid to
Syrian refugees
HE the Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Attiyah holding talks with Vice-Minister of the Organisation Department of the Communist Party
of China Central Committee in Doha yesterday. The meeting was attended by China’s Ambassador to
Qatar Gao Yuchen. They discussed important issues of common interest.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Doha yesterday on an official visit to Qatar. He was
received at Hamad International Airport by HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed
bin Saleh al-Sada and Charge d’Affaires at the Venezuelan embassy in Qatar Felix Alberto Moreno
pon the directives of HH
the Emir Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al-Thani, two
planes carrying relief materials for Syrian refugees affected
by the wave of cold weather in
Lebanon left Doha for Beirut
The permanent emergency,
rescue, relief and humanitarian
aid committee headed by the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya)
oversaw the preparation of the
relief materials and co-ordinated with authorities concerned to
dispatch the aid consignment to
Syrian refugees.
The aid, transported by Lekhwiya’s Search and Rescue
Team, includes a variety of relief materials, medical items,
food, blankets, and winter
clothes. Page 26
Contractors cheating house
Qatar residents
seek enhanced
recycling facilities
esidents of Qatar have
called for enhancement of
the available recycling facilities in the nation’s first ever
e-survey by Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), a member of
Qatar Foundation. Over 1,600 replies were received to the survey.
The respondents demonstrated a keen desire to live sustainably with 90% stating an interest in environmental issues, and
51% aware of the work of QGBC.
Residents voiced overwhelming support for recycling in Qatar for establishing greener communities and neighbourhoods.
Nearly 90% of the residents believe that their biggest motivator
to recycle is their care and concern for the environment.
Paper and plastic are cited
as the most recycled materials,
however, initial analysis suggests that providing accessible
recycling facilities would reduce
waste further, as approximately
two-in-every-three (65%) currently say they lack access to
convenient facilities.
Only 6% of the household
respondents possess recycling
facilities at homes, leading to a
considerable amount of waste
being dumped into landfills.
Five in ten respondents agreed
that convenient recycling facilities, either direct collection from
their houses or recycling facilities within walking distance of
home would considerably improve waste generation in the
“QGBC is working towards
creating sustainable best
practices within the built
environment through
education and various
awareness initiatives”
Initial analysis of the results
indicate major opportunities for
residents to improve energy efficiency at home by tackling inefficient use of washing machines,
air-conditioning and other electrical appliances.
9 in 10 residents use a washing
machine to clean clothes yet, on
average, over 50% of the washes
are only half full or less. Just 2 in
3 residents (65%) always turn off
air conditioning when leaving
the house, with only 1 in 25 using the timer function. 50% of
respondents only switch the TV
to high-energy standby mode –
rather than turning power at the
switch - when no longer watching.
The data also reveals that a
significant amount of water is
wasted at homes with a corresponding cost attached. QGBC
will use the findings to study
personal resources consumption
in Qatar and to find solutions for
easing Qatar’s sustainability demands and provide practical and
cost-effective solutions.
Meshal al-Shamari, QGBC
director, said: “QGBC is working towards creating sustainable
best practices within the built
environment through education
and various awareness initiatives. The analysis is providing
particularly interesting results
which will help QGBC effectively tailor its various educational
programmes for the community,
and enhance our cutting-edge
training and consultancy services used by many businesses in
any young nationals
have complained that
they are facing a lot of
difficulties in the construction
of their houses as some of the
contractors abandon the work
in the middle, claiming that
they have utilised the entire
money that they had received
as advance from potential
owners, Arrayah daily has reported.
The young citizens have said
though some contractors start
work on receiving the initial
advance of QR150,000 or so,
they not only fail to maintain
the timetable but also repeatedly bypass the terms and
conditions of the contract that
they execute with the house
As a result, the execution and
delivery of the house is delayed,
young nationals have complained, said the newspaper. Because of such issues many cases
go to the courts and litigation
consumes considerable time.
The owners become victims of the manipulations of
the contractors though such
unnecessary hassles, it is reported.
On some occasions, soon after
the foundation and columns are
built, some contractors claim
that the initial advance that they
received has already exhausted,
the paper has pointed out.
The newspaper also report
that the amount sanctioned as
loan is too small and is not adequate for the construction of a
house to meet the requirements
of a young national.
Some senior members
of the local community
and experts are now
advising the youngsters
to construct only smaller
houses to pre-empt the
issues created by the
Because of the low loan
amount, many youngsters are
forced to employ only inexperienced and cheaper hands for the
supervision of the construction, the paper has said. As a result, the quality of construction
also suffers, it said.
Some senior members of the
local community and experts
are now advising the youngsters
to construct only smaller houses to pre-empt the issues created by the contractors so that
they could complete the houses
within the loans sanctioned by
the local banks.
It is understood that approximately upto QR2mn is advanced
as the loan for the house construction of the young nationals
and the repayment has to made
only over a long period of several years.
PHCC helpline records 47% rise in Dec calls
ublic Health Care Corporation ( PHCC) has announced that it received
more than 3,800 phone calls
through the helpline (Hayyak)
107 in December 2014 which is
an increase of 47% compared to
the previous month.
The helpline 107 is a service
that was started in June 2014,
allowing people to get information and provide feedback about
the service they receive and to
make appointment in some of
the health centres.
This service is in the first
stage of implementation as
it provides easier access to
the services for the patients.
Through the call centre, the
visitors will be examined over
phone and in case of need, they
will be referred to physicians in
the health centres.
This project provides support services and information
and can be used for booking
appointment in five health centres of Abu Nakhla, Al Daayen,
West Bay, OBK, and Al Gharafah, from 7am to 2pm, and from
4pm to 11pm. These services
will be extended to all health
centres in the near future.
The helpline ‘Hayyak 107’allows the possibility of direct-
ing individuals to the most appropriate services and booking
is provided for the counselling
centre or specialist clinics.
Strong winds, scattered rains forecast for today
trong winds are expected to blow across the
country today when a
minimum temperature of 9C
or less in the central areas and
a maximum of 18C elsewhere
have been forecast.
Mercury is expected to
drop further to 7C tomorrow dawn in the central and
southern areas, according to
Qatar Meteorology Depart-
ment, under the Civil Aviation Authority.
Low visibility is forecast
in many places today on account of dusty conditions.
Scattered rains have been
forecast as well. While Abu
Samra and Dukhan areas
are expected to experience
minimum temperatures of
12C, in Mesaieed, Doha and
Wakrah, the minimum and
maximum would be 14 and
16, respectively.
The northern region covering Al Khor and Ruwais
will experience a maximum
of 18C, and the minimum at
the two places would be 13
and 15C, respectively.
The visibility is expected
to fall to 2km or even less in
some parts of the country
today. It should be some-
where between 4km and
8km in most other areas.
Onshore areas are likely
to experience 12 to 22 knots
northwesterly winds which
could touch the 30-knot
mark at times, while offshore
18-25 knots winds have been
forecast. There are also
chances of winds exceeding
the 32 knots-mark.
Stormy waves and higher
Winds uproot tree in Old Airport area
A tree that was uprooted in the strong winds yesterday blocked access to some buildings in a lane in Doha’s
Old Airport area for the entire day. Right: A vehicle trapped under the fallen tree.
PICTURES: Prashanth Prabhakar
seas are also likely onshore
with water rising between 9
and 12 feet from the normal
Inshore areas too would
be far from normal, with
the possibility of seas rising beyond the 5-feet mark.
Yesterday, visibility was
extremely poor across the
country in the morning
hours due to fog.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Palestinian deputy premier hails Qatar’s support
alestinian Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister
of Culture Dr Ziad Abu
Amr has thanked Qatar and
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al-Thani for hosting the celebrations marking
the Palestinian culture and organising a cultural event on the
sidelines of Doha International
Book Fair.
Dr Ziad Abu Amr, who is currently visiting Qatar to participate in the book fair, said during
a meeting yesterday with HE the
Minister of Culture, Arts and
Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul
Aziz al-Kuwari: “We are truly
impressed with the level of organisation of the 25th Doha International Book Fair and the
accompanying events, and also
those held within the Doha Cultural Festival, and we are happy
to see Palestine being present in
this great international cultural
Dr Abu Amr said: “Qatar, through its great support
for the Palestinian cause, is
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari with Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Dr Ziad Abu Amr yesterday.
present in every place in Palestine and in the hearts of every
toured the Bait Al Hikma
(House of Wisdom) centre at the
headquarters of the Ministry
of Culture, Arts and Heritage
which documents audio visually
‘Doha: Capital of Arab Culture’,
expressing admiration and appreciation at the contents of the
HE Dr al-Kuwari and Dr
Abu Amr, during the meeting,
discussed the need to increase
the exchange of experiences
and activities between Qatar
and Palestine. In this regard,
they discussed the possibility
of organising the ‘Jerusalem in
Memory’ exhibition in Doha.
The exhibition will display a
rare collection of photographs
of the city of Jerusalem, a
number of which date back to
more than 100 years. It will include samples of selected images from the archives of Sultan Abdul Hamid II known as
Yildiz Albums.
Dr al-Kuwari underlined that
Palestine is rich in cultural talents.
The State of Palestine is
participating in Doha International Book Fair with a large
number of publishing houses
and important cultural events,
including a symposium hon-
ouring poet Samih al-Qasim,
the Jerusalem Operate, a fashion show of Palestinian traditional clothes, and a folklore
show performed by Al-Istiqlal
University Troupe (Formerly
Palestinian Academy of Security Studies).
Voter registration for civil polls begins
he offices of election
for Central Municipal Council started
registering Qatari voters
from yesterday, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported.
The registration closes on
January 22.
The offices will receive
applications for registration to 29 constituencies
from 4pm to 7pm daily. The
elections supervisory committee has also provided
the service of registration
through Metrash.
The Ministry of Interior
A competing falcon being launched.
Four more winners of
falcon contest named
our more falconers
have won QR100,000
each in the sixth round
of the Hudud al Tahaddi
Challenge held at Sabkhet
Marmi yesterday, organisers of the Qatar Falcons
and Hunting Festival announced.
The winners, Salman
Saleh al-Ghanem, Meshlesh Issa al-Msaifri, Saleh
Jaber al-Qashouti al-Marri,
and Ali Said al-Marri, also
qualified for a chance to win
a Lexus in the event’s final
“I participated in the
Hudud al Tahaddi challenge
last year as well, where I also
managed to qualify for the
event’s exciting final round,”
al-Ghanem said.
Al-Marri added that he
“felt accomplished” that
his falcon was able to corner
the homing pigeon, allowing him to qualify in the final
member Said al-Naimi said,
“The committee has worked
hard to organise the festival
from receiving spectators
and participants to providing booklets on the festival
and detailing the events in
both English and Arabic,
which can be a great help to
those who are new to this
aspect of our cultural heritage.”
He added that organisers
also distributed souvenirs
to give visitors a memorable experience, which they
share with friends and families abroad.
Al-Naimi said there was
an increase in the number
of residents and tourists
during the event, especially
during the weekend. Spectators from Qatar and the
GCC also turned out in large
Event organisers recorded an increase in spectators and tourists. Below: Souvenirs for
guests and visitors.
numbers, he added.
The Hudud al Tahaddi
Challenge saw intense competition between competing falcons, which were
characterised by their speed
and strength when catching
homing pigeons.
This year’s edition of the
festival was organised by the
Gannas Society under the
patronage of Sheikh Joaan
bin Hamad bin Khalifa alThani at Sabkhet Marmi
near Sealine, Mesaieed.
has urged all Qatari nationals to register for the elections either at the electoral
constituencies or through
Metrash service.
Some of the conditions
for registration are that
the voter must be a Qatari
national or the voter must
have acquired Qatari nationality 15 years ago. The
voter should not be less
than 18. This is in addition
to other conditions such as
personal attendance and
registration of personal information and addresses.
The supervisory committee stated that all preparations were completed
and that a hotline (number
2342555) has been set up for
any inquiries.
The chairman of the
Central Municipal Council (CMC) Saud al-Hinzab
registered for the voting process yesterday at
Muaither, constituency no
Al-Hinazb praised the
smooth registration process and the good turnout
of voters who were keen to
register for voting at the
upcoming CMC elections
since the first day of registration.
Al-Hinzab, who is also
CMC elected member for
Muaither, stressed that
people has become more
aware of the importance
of CMC and the services
it presents to them in the
municipal field. It also
makes their voice reach the
officials in the country.
“Taking part in the voting process is a duty of every citizen,” he added.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Ooredoo takes part in UN
forum on business, rights
oredoo’s new chief business officer Sheikh Nasser
bin Hamad al-Thani has
participated in the 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human
Rights at the Palais des Nations in
The annual forum, which examines business and human rights
in the world, received more than
1,500 participants from more than
100 countries.
On behalf of Ooredoo, Sheikh
Nasser hosted delegates at the
Ooredoo booth and showcased the
importance of business and human rights as a top priority for the
“As a community-focused company, Ooredoo is guided by its vision of enriching people’s lives. We
believe that to create a truly-efficient and happy work environment,
you need to build trust and loyalty.
This is why we have a non-discriminatory recruitment policy and
hire new candidates based on their
competence and potential, as well
as pay them based on experience
and performance,” he said.
The three-day event gathered
business leaders, government
representatives, NGOs, and other
civil society groups. Sectors represented included manufacturing,
information and communications
technology, mining, oil and energy, agribusiness, and banking and
Qatar representative to the
UN Faisal bin Abdulla al-Henzab
said: “I fully support Ooredoo’s
participation in the events. As a
company crucial to Qatar, Ooredoo’s honesty and openness in
their employment protocols and
goals have helped show the world
our country’s commitment to the
subject of business and human
The forum, now in its third year,
provides an opportunity to assess
global progress in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights, endorsed in 2011 – the first
authoritative global framework to
address the impact of business on
all human rights.
This was the latest in a series of
high-profile CSR event attendances
for Ooredoo as the company aims
to enrich the lives of its customers
and communities in Qatar.
Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Thani along with the Qatari delegation to the UN forum.
Many residents
in Al Asmakh
area receive
eviction notice
and commercial
e s ta b l i s h m e n t
operators in the densely
populated Al Asmakh area
have been served notices
to vacate their properties.
The notices with a sixmonth period were served
on those running outlets
located on the southern side of the Arab Bank
roundabout starting from
the Doha Palace Hotel running up to the areas opposite to the Al Khaid Mosque.
The stretch has at least
200 outlets functioning,
mostly in the dilapidated
buildings located along
the main road.
The notices, it is understood, were also issued
to those who were evicted
from the area at the end
of June last year. However,
they were allowed to return
to their accommodations
after they approached the
municipal authorities for
an extension.
Though the latest notice
came as no surprise to most
of the establishments, for
many low-income workers
it was a rude shock.
After demolition, the
area is expected to make
way for new government
Already, work on some
projects is under way and
the authorities are looking
forward to building better
access to those sites.
However, what seems
intriguing to many residents is the fast pace at
which some new private
constructions are taking
place in the areas which
are reportedly earmarked
for urban development.
While some of the
shopkeepers have started
their hunt for alternative
locations, others are looking for compensations for
making their future move.
Inquiries with some of
the residents in the neighbourhood of Jaidah Towers
found that their landlords
have also hinted at the
possibility of receiving
notices for demolition notices in coming months.
Website launched for Volvo vehicles
AAB opens car rental at HIA
bdullah Abdulghani & Bros Co
(AAB) inaugurated its first car
rental counter at the Hamad
International Airport (HIA).
The counter provides a wide range of
latest models of Toyota and Lexus cars
aimed to meet the requirements of visitors
and businessmen on short stay in Doha.
AAB also offers chauffeur driven services from the counter which functions
AAB’s rent-a-car (RAC) division,
launched in 1999 with a fleet of 15 cars,
has now grown into a major car rental
firm in Qatar with a fleet of 9,500 vehicles providing service to corporate
Present at the launch of the HIA counter was AAB managing director and acting
CEO Dr Nasser Abdulghani al-Abdulghani,
HIA vice president (commercial and marketing department) Abdulaziz Abdullah
al-Mass, AAB chief operating officer (motor division) Murugan, RAC director Mazin
Taha and other senior officials.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nasser
said: “We are proud that as part of our
commitment to improve customer service, we have been given the opportunity to
expand our client base including the newly
arrived visitors to the country. We aim to
provide them a smooth and good experience during their stay. We hope that they
will enjoy Qatar.”
Dr Nasser al-Abdulghani and Abdulaziz al-Mass seen with other senior officials of AAB at the
opening of the counter at the HIA.
Qapco honours
Dhreima’s top
performing pupils
Qatar Petrochemical
has sponsored an
awarding ceremony recognising top performing
students of Dhreima (Qatar Orphan Foundation),
the company has said in a
Qapco said 30 students
were honoured with special prizes for outstanding
academic performance.
“The ceremony revolved
around how achievements
at school can pave the way
to a bright future, underlining that education is the key
to shape a future filled with
limitless opportunities,” the
statement said.
and enthusiastic students
that are top achievers at
school and fully-dedicated
to their studies.”
Dhreima director Khaled
Kamal thanked Qapco for
its support and for organising the awarding ceremony,
which inspired and encouraged the children to pursue
their studies with dedication and commitment.
Qapco vice chairman and
CEO Dr Mohamed Yousef
al-Mulla said: “At Qapco,
we draw strength from the
alignment of our strategy
with the Qatar National Vision 2030. Every day, our
focus is on ensuring we
participate in translating
the vision into a reality. We
believe that contributing to
Qatari society and serving
our beloved country is part
of our license to operate.
“It is our role to invest in
the future of our country by
supporting the youth of our
nation and by offering them
the tools and means to reach
their aspirations. Therefore,
we are delighted to support
Dhreima and its activities.
Dhreima’s noble mission is
essential as it strengthens
social cohesion and integration within our society by
placing emphasis on solidarity. The actions and values promoted by Dhreima
are exemplary and an inspiration to many.”
“The ceremony
revolved around how
achievements at school
can pave the way to a
bright future, underlining
that education is the
key to shape a future
filled with limitless
Kamal said: “At Dhreima,
education holds a central
place. Furthermore, we
encourage our students to
study scientific disciplines,
as we believe in the strong
benefits and many possibilities offered by a scienceoriented curriculum for
According to Kamal, Dhreima aims to support students’ enthusiastic quest
for learning and development and to encourage
them to pursue higher education in Qatar or abroad.
“As such, some of our
students are enrolled at
Qatar University and undergraduates at Hamad in
Khalifa University at Education City while others are
studying in universities in
the Arab world but some are
also pursing their academic
studies in universities in
the US and the UK. We are
immensely proud of their
success,” he added.
Kamal said one of Dhreima’s objectives is to help
students integrate into the
labour market by providing
them with relevant training,
original workshops, and by
offering hands-on professional experience aimed at
developing leadership and
general life skills.
“Education is the key
to empowering the youth.
With education, you will
develop strategic skills and
competencies and have access to rewarding jobs in
companies. With education, you will be able to
achieve your dreams,” said
al-Mulla, who congratulated the students.
Qapco has developed focused community engagement programmes as part
of its corporate social responsibility strategy, highlighting the ongoing commitment of the company to
support Qatar’s social and
cultural developments.
Its community engagement activities also focus
on supporting initiatives
that are aligned with Qatar’s
national objectives and specifically target the younger
Qapco and Dhreima officials along with this year’s top performing students.
Doha Marketing Services Company (Domasco) has
launched a website for Volvo vehicles.
The website gives a broad idea about the available cars, with each
car’s description, specifications, images and price.
The customers can book a test drive on the website itself.
They can also contact Volvo with any suggestions or
questions using the “contact us” option.
A soon-to-be launched update to the website will include
the possibility to book a service online.
“The website is an excellent addition to our existing,
popular presence in the digital space through our social
media pages,” said Andrew Parrott, head, sales and
marketing for Volvo in Qatar.
The homepage of the Volvo website.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Both brothers
in Paris attack
‘trained to use
arms in Yemen’
The brothers had met Al
Qaeda preacher Anwar alAwlaki and were trained for
three days on how to fire a
gun, sources say
oth brothers who carried
out the attack against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo
travelled to Yemen via Oman in
2011 and had weapons training in
the deserts of Marib, an Al Qaeda
stronghold, two senior Yemeni
sources said yesterday.
This is the first confirmation
by Yemeni officials that both
Cherif and Said Kouachi, who
carried out one of the bloodiest Islamist attacks on the West
in decades, had visited Yemen
where Al Qaeda’s deadliest franchise, AQAP, is based. US, European and Yemeni sources had
previously confirmed a visit by
Said Kouachi.
The Paris attack puts a fresh
spotlight on the AQAP branch
which has recently focused on
fighting enemies at home such
as government forces and Shia
rebels but still aims to carry out
attacks abroad.
A concerted government
campaign last year and repeated US drone strikes on AQAP
figures had also created a belief that it lacked the capability to launch any major attacks
abroad. Al Qaeda-linked militants have managed however,
to target Westerners, including
a Frenchman, in Yemen in the
past year.
“These two brothers arrived
in Oman on July 25, 2011, and
from Oman they were smuggled
into Yemen where they stayed
for two weeks,” a senior Yemeni
security official, who declined to
be named, said.
“They met (Al Qaeda preacher) Anwar al-Awlaki and then
they were trained for three days
in the deserts of Marib on how
to fire a gun. They returned to
Oman and they left Oman on
August 15, 2011 to go back to
A senior Yemeni intelligence
source confirmed the brothers
had entered Yemen via Oman in
2011, citing the ease with which
they entered while the security
forces were focused on the Arab
Spring protests that were convulsing the country at the time.
The source also confirmed the
brothers had met Awlaki “and
trained in Wadi Abida”, - which
is between Marib and Shabwa
provinces where Awlaki was
known to move freely.
Probe into
killing of
Cherif and Said Kouachi: trained to kill
The Kouachi brothers were
shot dead by French security
forces after they took refuge in a
print works outside Paris.
Awlaki, an influential militant recruiter, was killed by a
suspected US drone strike in
September 2011. Cherif Kouachi
told a television station he had
received financing from Awlaki
and that he had been “sent” by
Al Qaeda in Yemen.
The security official said there
had been no known communication between the brothers and
AQAP since they left Yemen.
Counter-terrorism officials
are trying to work out whether
AQAP directed or orchestrated
the attacks in any way, possibly
Four Jewish victims to be buried in Israel
Four French Jews killed during an Islamist attack
on a kosher supermarket in Paris are to be buried
in Israel tomorrow, community sources and the
Israeli premier said.
“The four families decided to bury their dead in Israel. The funerals will be held on Tuesday at 10am
at the Mount of Olives cemetery” in Jerusalem, a
Jewish community source told AFP in Paris.
The bodies of the four victims—Yoav Hattab, Philippe
Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada—
will be taken from the forensic institute in Paris today
and flown to Israel, the source said.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office confirmed he had agreed to the families’ request
they be buried in Israel and ordered government officials to help with the burial arrangements.
The four were shot dead on Friday after being
taken hostage with a group of other shoppers at
a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris by militant
Amedy Coulibaly, who was later killed during a
police raid.
Israeli national carrier El Al announced it would be
flying the bodies from Paris.
Iran nuclear chief insists
on enrichment demands
ran’s atomic agency chief insisted
yesterday on Tehran’s demands
for increased uranium enrichment,
days before the resumption of thorny
talks with world powers in Geneva.
Ali Akbar Salehi, a former foreign
minister and ex-nuclear negotiator,
said that within eight years the country would need 12 times more enriched
uranium than at present.
Iran’s level of uranium enrichment—
the process that produces atomic fuel—
has been a key stumbling block in reaching a deal with the P5+1 powers (Britain,
China, France, Russia, the United States
plus Germany) on Tehran’s contentious
nuclear programme.
“We currently produce 2.5 tons but
will need 30 tons eventually,” Salehi,
head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by
official news agency Irna.
“They refuse... and ask that we reduce
the number of centrifuges (the machines
that enrich uranium),” Salehi said.
“We must have that right in eight
years... we are ready to do this in stages. They can set the first step but we
want to set the last step.”
With a comprehensive nuclear deal
at stake by a June 30 deadline, the negotiations have stalled on key issues.
Big gaps remain on uranium enrichment and the time it will take to
lift extensive international sanctions
imposed on Iran as punishment for its
nuclear activities.
Following a preliminary agreement
in November 2013, two deadlines for a
final deal have been missed with talks
failing to pin down hard details on
what an approved Iranian nuclear programme would look like.
Under the interim deal, Iran’s stock
of fissile material has been diluted
from 20% enriched uranium to 5% in
exchange for limited sanctions relief.
This would push back the “breakout
capacity” to make an atomic weapon,
which Iran denies pursuing.
Salehi also reiterated Iran’s demand
for an eventual enrichment capacity of
190,000 SWU (separative work units),
which was first set out by Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last July.
In Geneva, US Secretary of State
John Kerry will meet Iranian counterpart Mohamed Javad Zarif on
Wednesday, with lower-level P5+1
meetings on January 18.
Salehi also pointed to a third difficulty—the time period the West
considers necessary for confidencebuilding measures to ensure Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful.
“We want this period to be less than
10 years,” he said, noting that the P5+1
powers want it to last “between 10 and
20 years”.
In a sign that difficulties lie ahead,
Khamenei last week used a public speech
to voice distrust of the United States in the
talks, citing its “arrogance” over the steps
to be taken to lift sanctions.
Khamenei, as Iran’s top authority,
will have the last word on any final
Extreme cold kills four in Syria: monitor
hree small girls and an elderly
man have died in Syria in the
past 24 hours due to bitterly
cold temperatures and a week-long
storm, a monitoring group said yesterday.
“A girl less than two days old passed
away (on Sunday) in the southern
Aleppo district of Firdous because of
the extreme cold,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami
Abdel Rahman.
“An elderly man from the Maghayir
district of Aleppo died as a result of
the poor weather and because he had
no heating,” said the Observatory.
Another small girl, aged just one,
died in the southern Damascus district of Al Hajar al-Aswad on Saturday night, while the extreme cold also
caused the death of a girl in Deir alAsafir, a town east of the capital.
Since last Wednesday, six people
have died across Syria as a result of
freezing temperatures.
All the victims lived in areas under
A man walks through a snow-covered neighbourhood in Aleppo yesterday.
opposition control, where shortages
of food, heating and medical equipment are rife.
In besieged Yarmuk of southern
Damascus, a man died of “poor living conditions and a lack of medicines
and necessary treatment”, said the
Yarmuk has been under army siege
for more than a year.
Some aid has been allowed to trickle in, but malnutrition and medical
shortages have killed dozens of civilians trapped in the Yarmuk neighbourhood which is home to a Palestinian refugee camp.
In neighbouring Lebanon, at least
two Syrian refugees died last Wednesday due to plunging temperatures and
lack of heating.
over years, or simply inspired
Al Qaeda’s most effective
English-language propagandist,
Awlaki was tied to a string of militant attacks and plots including
the killing of 13 people at the Fort
Hood, Texas, military base by a
US army major, a failed attempt
to down an airliner over Detroit,
the stabbing of a British lawmaker
and the involvement of a British
airline employee in a plot to plant
explosives in an aircraft.
Despite Awlaki’s demise,
AQAP has continued to be the
Al Qaeda wing most focused on
attacks in the West, even as it
fights domestic foes in Yemen,
diplomats say.
The wider Al Qaeda network
has been eclipsed in the past year
by the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda
offshoot which controls large
swathes of Iraq and Syria and
that has earned a reputation for
beheading foreign hostages. But
Western officials say the network is still a top threat.
Investigators have focused for
months, for example, on possible links between AQAP, renowned for its expertise in bomb
making, and Al Qaeda cells in
Syria known as the Khorasan
group, which diplomats say is
believed to be planning attacks
in West.
In Yemen, France has been the
target of security incidents.
Last May, gunmen shot dead
a Frenchman working as a security agent for the EU mission in
Sanaa. Yemen later said it had
killed the militant responsible for the attack. In April 2013,
a gunman fired shots outside
France’s embassy in Yemen.
No group has officially
claimed responsibility for the
Charlie Hebdo attack that killed
12 people.
But a prominent AQAP leader
said in an audio recording posted on YouTube on Friday that
“faithful soldiers of God” had
taught the French the limits of
freedom of speech.
Aspects of the Paris incident
suggest a degree of training and
planning, possibly with support
from a team.
The stability of Yemen, which
shares a long border with Saudi
Arabia, is important for the
United States.
Hundreds of foreigners flock
to Yemen every year to study
Arabic or Islamic theology, often
enrolling in schools run by hardline Salafists some of whom are
thought to have links to Al Qaeda.
uman Rights Watch yesterday urged the Yemeni
government to “credibly” investigate the killing of a
prominent southern separatist
while he was being arrested during a protest.
Khaled al-Junaidi, a wellknown figure in the Southern
Movement, was shot in the chest
when security forces opened fire
while trying to arrest him on December 15, activists said at the
“Yemeni authorities should
credibly and impartially investigate the apparent extrajudicial
execution of a leading political
activist,” New York-based HRW
said in a statement.
HRW noted that authorities
had announced the establishment of a committee to investigate the killing but pointed out
that no arrests had been made.
“The Yemeni government has
an abysmal record of holding security force members accountable
for serious rights abuses,” said
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East
and North Africa director at HRW.
“Failing to seek justice in the
killing of Khaled al-Junaidi will
only fuel anti-government resentment and send a message
that the security forces are beyond the reach of law,” she said.
Junaidi, 42, was killed on a
day of civil disobedience by secessionists in Aden, the capital
of formerly independent South
Junaidi was released from
prison in December after serving
five months for separatist activities and had been preparing to
take part in the day of action.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
in Sinai
Residents carry the coffins of victims of the suicide bomb attack during their funeral in Tripoli yesterday.
IS carried out Lebanon
cafe bombing: minister
Leaders from across the
political spectrum have
called for unity, warning
that the attack aimed to
ignite strife
double suicide attack
that killed eight people
at a cafe in the Lebanese
city of Tripoli was carried out
by the Islamic State group, the
interior minister said yesterday, contradicting a claim of
responsibility by the Al Qaedalinked Al Nusra Front.
Nohad Machnouk also said
he expected more instability
linked to the Syrian civil war
that has been at the heart of
repeated violence in Lebanon
over the last four years.
Al Nusra Front said on Saturday it was behind the bombing
in the Alawite neighbourhood
of Jabal Mohsen - an attack
Lebanese leaders said aimed to
ignite communal strife in a predominantly Sunni Muslim city
where long-standing sectarian
tensions have been inflamed by
the Syrian conflict.
Machnouk said investigators
were questioning men who belonged to the same organisation
as the two bombers, both of
whom have been identified as
men from Tripoli.
“The initial information so
far says that criminal state of
Daesh was the one behind the
bombing,” Machnouk told journalists in Tripoli, using a pejorative Arabic acronym for the
group that has seized wide areas of Syria and Iraq.
Lebanese security officials
have warned of plans by Islamic
State (IS) and Al Nusra Front
to further destabilise Lebanon.
Tripoli, historically a stronghold for Sunni Islamism, is seen
as particularly vulnerable.
The last major flare-up in the
city, Lebanon’s second biggest,
was in October, when 11 soldiers
and at least 22 militants were
That followed an August attack by militants affiliated to Al
Nusra Front and IS in Arsal, a
town on the border with Syria.
The militants are still holding
some two dozen members of
the security forces.
Machnouk said: “Naturally,
we expect that all the while the
fire in Syria continues, the escalation will increase more and
Lebanese flags covered the
coffins of eight victims at their
funeral and leaders from across
the political spectrum have
US pledges security support
The United States yesterday
condemned Saturday’s suicide
bombing in Lebanon and
pledged its support for the country’s security forces.
“The United States strongly
condemns yesterday’s suicide
bombing at the Omran Cafe in
the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood
of Tripoli, Lebanon,” said Marie
Harf, the State Department’s
deputy spokeswoman.
“The United States will continue
its strong support for the Lebanese security forces as they
protect the Lebanese people,
combat violent extremists, and
preserve Lebanon’s stability,
sovereignty, and security,” she
called for unity, warning that
the attack aimed to ignite strife.
The families of the two
bombers condemned the attack. “Crime has no religion,
creed, neighbourhood or family,” a spokesman for the families said, adding there would be
no mourning for the bombers.
The army released the names
of the suicide bombers yesterday.
“According to the military
experts’ initial investigations at
the scene of the explosion that
hit Jabal Mohsen, the two suicide attackers’ names are Taha
Samir al-Khayal and Bilal Mohamed al-Maraiyan,” an army
statement said.
They were both residents of
the mainly Sunni Mankubeen
district, which lies just 500m
from Jabal Mohsen, the army
A security source said Khayal, 20, had been wanted by authorities on suspicion of having
links to extremist groups and
of taking part in deadly fighting with Jabal Mohsen residents
last year.
There have been repeated
clashes between residents of
the Alawite neighbourhood and
those of adjacent Sunni districts.
Khayal’s “whereabouts were
unknown for the past three
weeks,” the source said, adding
that there were suspicions that
he had travelled to the Qalamun mountains, a stronghold
of hardline Islamist groups over
the border in Syria.
The second bomber was a
26-year-old father of one with
no criminal record, the source
A statement issued on a
Twitter feed used by Al Nusra
Front’s media arm had said the
attack was in revenge for Sunnis in Lebanon and Syria, where
the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.
Hezbollah says it is fighting
in Syria to stop jihadists reaching Lebanon. But Lebanese
critics say its role there has led
to attacks by Sunni Islamist
groups in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s own sectarian rivalries have been inflamed by
the Syrian war that pits the
state led by President Bashar
al-Assad, an Alawite, against an
insurgency dominated by Sunni
unmen kidnapped an
Egyptian police officer
yesterday in the Sinai
Peninsula, home to Islamist
militants seeking to topple the
country’s government, security
sources and the state news agency
The policeman was travelling in a bus from the north Sinai
city of Rafah to El Arish when the
gunmen stopped the vehicle and
took him away.
“This seems like a terrorist operation, not a criminal one, but
we are not sure if it is Ansar yet,”
a security official said.
Ansar is Egypt’s most lethal
militant group, which used to be
called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis before recently changing its name to
Sinai Province.
It has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline militant
group that has seized large areas
of Iraq and Syria and threatens
to redraw the map of the Middle
No group has claimed responsibility for the Sinai kidnapping.
Sinai Province has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers
since the army toppled Islamist
president Mohamed Mursi of the
Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after
mass protests against his rule.
Kidnappings of members of the
security forces are rare.
Any signs that militants are
kidnapping as a new tactic are
likely to raise fresh security concerns in Egypt, where the vital
tourism industry and economy
have suffered from violence.
Egypt’s insurgency is concentrated in the Sinai, which borders
Gaza, Israel, and the Suez Canal.
But attacks have also occurred in
cities, including Cairo.
Complicating efforts to eradicate the insurgency is the presence of Egyptian militants thriv-
ing in the chaos of neighbouring
Libya. Security sources say the
militants are opposed to the Cairo
government and have established
ties with Sinai Province.
*An Egyptian court has sentenced a student to three years in
jail for announcing on Facebook
that he is an atheist and for insulting Islam, his lawyer said yesterday.
Karim al-Banna, a 21-yearold whose own father testified
against him, was jailed by a court
in the Nile Delta province of Baheira on Saturday, lawyer Ahmed
Abdel Nabi said.
“He was handed down a
three-year prison sentence, and
if he pays a bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($140) the sentence
can be suspended until a verdict
is issued by an appeals court,”
Abdel Nabi said, adding that an
appeal was to be heard on March
Abdel Nabi said his client’s father had testified against his son,
charging that he “was embracing
extremist ideas against Islam”.
Banna’s name had appeared in
a list of known atheists in a local
daily after which his neighbours
harassed him, said Ishaq Ibrahim,
a researcher on religion and beliefs at the Egyptian Initiative for
Personal Rights.
When Banna went to file a
complaint against them at a police station, he was accused of
insulting Islam and arrested, said
Ibrahim, who has been tracking
Banna’s case.
Banna has been in custody
since November.
In December 2012, a 27-yearold blogger, Alber Saber, was
sentenced to three years in jail on
charges of blasphemy.
And last June, a Coptic Christian man was sentenced to six
years in jail for insulting Islam.
The authorities have stepped
up measures, including organising workshops, to counter atheism.
Former aide to Mursi released
A former aide to ousted Egyptian
president Mohamed Mursi of the
Muslim Brotherhood was released
yesterday after 18 months in
detention without charge, relatives
Khaled al-Qazzaz, Mursi’s former
foreign affairs secretary, was arrested in July 2013 after the army
removed the Brotherhood from
power. Qazzaz’s wife and brotherin-law said they did not know why
authorities decided to release him.
Egyptian officials were not immediately available for comment
on Qazzaz. Relatives said he
was being held under guard at a
Bashir launches re-election bid
udan’s President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir launched his bid for
re-election yesterday, facing
little threat to his quarter century
in power despite an ailing economy,
multiple insurgencies and allegations of war crimes.
Bashir’s supporters view him as a
strong hand capable of holding the
chaotic country together, while his
opponents are hounded by the security forces, marginalised inside Sudan and riven by personal rivalries.
It is unclear whether anyone will
challenge Bashir to lead the country
of nearly 39mn people that covers an
area almost one-fifth the size of the
United States.
Formal applications to register for
the April 13 vote opened yesterday,
and the electoral commission said
it had received Bashir’s nomination.
The opposition looks set to boycott the vote, with Mariam al-Mahdi, deputy leader of the Umma Party,
saying her party would not take part
in the April election.
“We believe it is a total waste not
only of the time and resources of
Sudan but also the hopes of the people,” she told AFP by telephone.
The opposition also boycotted
elections in 2010, the first contested
vote since Bashir seized power in a
1989 coup.
In 2010, opposition leaders accused the president’s loyalists of rigging ballots.
But Bashir has proven to be a political survivor.
Since 2009, the 71-year-old incumbent has defied an arrest war-
Members of Sudan’s National Electoral Commission review applications from
potential candidates for the presidential elections in Khartoum yesterday.
rant from the International Criminal
Court for alleged war crimes in the
nearly 12-year-old conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
In 2011, he oversaw a separation
from South Sudan, after it voted to
split following a 22-year civil war.
The president hinted last year
he might not stand for re-election,
raising fears of a succession struggle within his ruling National Congress Party, but in October, the NCP
announced he would seek another
“Bashir is in a strong position internally within government,” said
Ahmed Soliman, Horn of Africa research assistant at Chatham House.
He consolidated power earlier this
month when parliament granted him
the right to appoint state governors,
who were previously elected.
Bashir has worked to shed his image as an international pariah, travelling to Egypt and Saudi Arabia last
year and welcoming Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov to Sudan.
China’s foreign minister also visited Khartoum yesterday for talks
about boosting relations and the
conflict in South Sudan.
The ICC’s decision to shelve investigations into allegations of war
crimes in Darfur over UN inaction
gave him a further boost.
“The ICC’s announcement that
it was suspending its investigations
was seen as a victory by President
Bashir,” said Jerome Tubiana, senior
analyst for the International Crisis
“The NCP should win without
difficulty but all the problems will
still be left,” Tubiana added.
Sudan faces major economic challenges with nearly half of the country’s population living in poverty,
according to World Bank figures.
When South Sudan broke away,
it took with it 75% of the formerly
united country’s oil production.
Insurgents are still battling government troops in Darfur as well
as in Blue Nile and South Kordofan
states on the South Sudan border.
Last January, Bashir announced a
national dialogue to address the problems, inviting opposition groups, including rebels, to participate.
But the talks have yet to materialise, and critics view the invitations
as a bid by Bashir to buy time before
the elections.
Opponents to Bashir’s rule are
more united than they have been for
years but are still expected to struggle to challenge him.
In December, the Umma Party
joined other opposition parties and
civil society groups to sign the “Sudan Call” document demanding a
transitional government to pave the
way for free and fair elections.
Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service has
kept up the pressure on opposition
parties, arresting two signatories to
Sudan Call.
NISS has also shown it will brook
no dissent from protesters.
Its forces gunned down dozens of
Sudanese who protested against the
lifting of fuel subsidies in September
Their handling of the protests
caused divisions within the NCP,
with Bashir adviser Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani breaking away to form
his own party.
But analysts say opposition failings have played into Bashir’s hands.
“This alliance remains fragile
because these opposition groups
have for a long time been riven by
personal rivalries,” said Soliman of
Chatham House.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Belly flop!
Nigeria seeks
help to curb
Boko Haram
‘Child bombers’ hit another town
An Ethiopian Boeing 737 cargo plane sits on the runway at the Accra-Kotoka airport after it skidded off the tarmac on
landing on Saturday. The aircraft was carrying general cargo. Three crew members on board were safe.
IED hits Somalia
troop convoy
remote-controlled bomb
hit a vehicle in a troop
convoy in the southern
Somali port city of Kismayu,
killing at least three soldiers, police and residents said yesterday.
claimed responsibility for the
attack, which hit the convoy as it
drove through Gulwade village in
Kismayu late on Saturday.
“The bomb was targeted at
our convoy. Three soldiers were
killed,” said Ismail Hussein, a
police officer in the city.
Shebaab has been weakened
considerably by African Union
troops and the Somali army, losing swathes of territory in the
south of the country, but it has
been carrying hit-and-run style
attacks to show it has not been
Local residents said troops in
the convoy opened fire after the
blast went off, killing two women who were passing by.
Hussein of the local police rejected the claim: “The forces did not
kill residents after the blast,” he said.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab,
al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, said the group
was behind the bomb attack and
that it killed four senior intelligence officers.
Strife-torn Mali
names new govt
ali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita yesterday named new slimmeddown government, with cabinet
members replaced in key defence and economy
posts in the strife-torn west African nation.
The government of new Prime Minister
Modibo Keita was appointed by a presidential decree published overnight, after
his predecessor as premier resigned under
pressure on Thursday.
Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, a former foreign
minister, takes over the defence and veterans portfolio in the new government, which
has 29 members in addition to the premier,
against 31 in the previous administration.
Banker Mamadou Igor Diarra becomes
minister of economy and finance, while the
digital economy and communication portfolio went to Choguel Kokala Maiga.
The new government faces many challenges in the conflict-hit country, which descended into crisis in 2012 after Islamist groups
seized control of its vast northern desert for
several months, prompting a French-led mili-
tary intervention. “This is a war government,
but also a team that should make the return of
peace in the north its priority,” a close associate of the president told AFP.
An official close to the new prime minister told AFP that the new cabinet is primarily tasked with taking on the serious
economic and financial ills Mali suffers, but
also represents “a team that must make the
return of peace in the north its priority”
within the national reconciliation process.
But the shake-up also comes after the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) temporarily blocked development aid following its observations of irregularities in
Malian state accounts, including the costly
purchase of the presidential jet and several
military aircraft without competitive bids.
The IMF unfroze those funds after Mali revised its procurement rules, made efforts towards creating greater transparency and accountability, and looking hard at the officials
and decisions involved in the air craft purchases.
New Prime Minister Keita, appointed on
Thursday, was previously the president’s
representative in peace talks launched in
July between the government and jihadist
rebels based in the north.
igeria’s military has called
for support in tackling Boko
Haram after a major attack
on a key northeast town that is feared
could be the worst in the bloody sixyear insurgency.
There are still no independently
corroborated figures for the huge
numbers said to have been killed in
Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad in
the far north of Borno State.
But defence spokesman Chris
Olukolade said in a statement issued
late on Saturday that the description
of the assault as “the deadliest” in a
conflict that has claimed more than
13,000 lives since 2009 was “quite
“The attack on the town by the
bloodhounds and their activities
since January 3rd, 2015, should convince well-meaning people all over
the world that Boko Haram is the evil
all must collaborate to end, rather
than vilifying those working to check
them,” he said.
Nigeria’s military - west Africa’s
largest - has faced repeated criticism
for failing to end the six-year Islamist insurgency, as well as allegations
of human rights abuses.
Soldiers have complained of a lack
of adequate weapons and even refused to deploy to take on the betterarmed rebels, who want to create a
hardline Islamic state in northeast
With elections set for next month,
Nigeria’s government has also been
accused of playing politics with
the insurgency, as most of the areas worst affected by the violence are
main opposition strongholds.
But Olukolade said: “The Nigerian
military has not given up on Baga and
other localities where terrorist activities are now prevalent.
“Appropriate plans, men and re-
Two suspected child suicide bombers blew themselves up yesterday
in a market in northeast Nigeria,
witnesses said, killing three people
in the second apparent attack in two
days using young girls strapped with
The blasts struck around midafternoon at an open market selling
mobile handsets in the town of
Potiskum in Yobe state, which has frequently been attacked by the jihadist
group Boko Haram.
A trader at the market, Sani Abdu
Potiskum, said the bombers were
about 10 years old. “I saw their
dead bodies. They are two young
girls of about 10 years of age ... you
only see the plaited hair and part of
sources are presently being mobilised to address the situation,” he
said on, in the
military’s first detailed comment on
last weekend’s attack.
The military and government often
makes such statements, without giving
specific details, yet there are reports of
attacks on an almost daily basis.
On Saturday, two explosions
rocked northeast Nigeria, including
one at a crowded market in the Borno
State capital, Maiduguri, by a girl
suicide bomber thought to be just 10.
Nineteen people were killed.
The Baga attack, which local officials said forced at least 20,000
people to flee, also overran the headquarters of the Multinational Joint
Task Force made up of troops from
Nigeria, Niger and Chad.
Nigerien and Chadian soldiers
were not at the base at the time.
Olukolade said 14 soldiers were
killed and more than 30 injured as
well as “several” insurgents.
There was no credible estimate yet
of the numbers of civilians killed, after
huge numbers cited locally, he added.
the upper torso,” the trader said.
Another witness who accompanied
the ambulances taking casualties to
hospital said three people, excluding
the bombers, were killed and at least
26 people were wounded.
The town was hit by a suicide
bomber in November when at least
48 people, mainly students, were
killed during a school assembly.
On Saturday, a bomb exploded at a
police station in Potiskum.
Yesterday’s explosions came a day
after a bomb strapped to a girl aged
around 10 years old exploded in a
busy market place in the Nigerian city
of Maiduguri, killing at least 16 people
and injuring more than 20, security
sources said.
“It is necessary to reassure Nigerians that the Nigerian armed forces
and security agencies are capable of
flushing out the terrorists from Baga
and all parts of the nation’s territory
where their activities are prevalent.”
Boko Haram has seized dozens of
towns and villages in northeast Nigeria in the last six months and now
reportedly controls the border areas
of Borno state with Niger, Chad and
The territorial gains have led to
fears of a total loss of government
control in the remote region - and a
claim last year by a senior US diplomat that the military was in denial
about the situation.
Olukolade maintained on Saturday: “No portion of Nigeria’s territory has been or will be conceded to
“The use of all available resources
within the armed forces will continue to be maximised to sustain
the tempo of the counter-terrorism
campaign towards containing and
eradicating terrorism in the nation’s
Pastor gunned down in Mombasa church attack
pastor was shot dead yesterday in the Kenyan port city
of Mombasa when unknown
gunmen struck during a church
service in a neighbourhood hit by
several attacks in recent months.
The shooting took place in Majengo, a crowded and impoverished area
mainly inhabited by Muslims, and
scene of frequent clashes between
Kenyan police and radical youths.
They have battled over crack-
downs on mosques in the area believed to be recruiting and training
young people to join Islamist militants Shebaab in Somalia.
Witnesses said the two attackers
at the Maximum Revival ministries
church sneaked into the compound
through a sidegate, avoiding two
armed policemen who were manning
the main gate. “They tried to force
their way into the church, but when
some worshippers stopped them, one
drew a gun and shot the pastor,” said
Phylis Wairimu, a church member,
standing next to the dead pastor’s
body on the ground in a pool of blood.
Police described the shooting as
an isolated criminal incident saying
they had no reason to link it to Islamist militants. “We have launched
a manhunt for the assailants,” Henry
Ondiek, Mombasa criminal investigation officer, told reporters at the
Looming power blackouts threaten SA economy
By Stephanie Findlay, AFP
outh Africa’s capacity to generate electricity is shrinking due to
ageing power plants, latest statistics show, and the continent’s most
developed economy could face rolling
blackouts for years to come.
New data released by Statistics South
Africa highlight how the beleaguered
state power utility Eskom, which generates around 95% of the country’s
electricity, is unable to meet demand.
Electricity production dropped 1.4%
from January through November last
year compared with the same period in
In November, Eskom had to introduce power cuts across the country to
prevent a collapse of the grid after a
coal storage silo collapsed.
The outages escalated in December
when swathes of the economic hub of
Johannesburg were repeatedly plunged
into darkness.
Eskom, which relies on its ageing
coal stations for supply, has warned of a
high risk of more “load shedding” until
March at least.
But analysts predict that the blackouts could continue for two more years
until new power plants come on stream.
That would be bad news for South
Africa as one of the BRICS group of
emerging economies considered to
have huge potential, along with Brazil,
Russia, India and China.
Last year’s outages cost companies
millions of dollars in lost production and
business and battered South Africa’s
Locals walk in the township of Telmas, a suburb of Johannesburg, with the cooling towers of a power plant in the distance.
already-struggling economy, which was
expected to grow by 1.4% in 2014.
Growth is forecast to rise to 2.5% this
year, but that is still well below South
Africa’s potential, and the impact of
power cuts will be more widespread
this year.
“This year it’s a different situation.
It’s negatively affecting the retail sector, it’s much more across the board and
it’s much more immediate,” said Dennis
Dykes, chief economist at Nedbank.
“Unfortunately it certainly has the
potential of hurting growth, anything
between half a% to one% of GDP,” said
Dykes. “It is a real constraint on the
Senior Eskom spokesman Andrew
Etzinger summed up the situation:
“The grid is tight, and we are vulnerable.”
“There is a medium risk of loadshedding on the grid at the moment
and that will continue until the end of
summer (March),” he added.
In an effort to help slash usage, Eskom has posted energy conservation
tips on its Twitter account.
“Open windows and doors to allow
a cool breeze to circulate through the
house” instead of turning on the air
conditioning, says one tweet.
“Only boil the amount of water
in your kettle that you need for the
number of cups of tea or coffee you are
making,” reads another.
The news of more blackouts comes
after Eskom said the launch of a new
power unit will be delayed until February, one of a series of missed deadlines
that has exacerbated the shortfall.
The power company has embarked
on massive schemes to build three coalfired stations which will see the country’s generation and transmission capacity grow by 17,000 megawatts from
the current 40,000 MW.
South Africa already has one nuclear
power station and the government has
also announced plans to build eight nuclear reactors worth up to $50bn to add
9,600 megawatts of generating capacity.
To avoid outages, Eskom has been
deferring maintenance on its old fleet
of power stations, leading to a vicious
cycle of breakdowns.
“It’s like when you have a car and you
don’t service it, eventually it will fail
and this is what is happening,” said energy analyst Chris Yelland.
“You cannot keep the lights on at
any cost forever,” he said, predicting
that South Africa will experience load
shedding for at least the next two years
while it waits for new power stations to
come on stream and join the grid.
“You’ve got to balance the need to
keep the lights on with the need to do
proper maintenance, which means load
shedding,” he said.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Camel tramples two
to death in Texas
Fire extinguished at
Husky Energy refinery
Obama to host Cameron
this week at White House
Father in hospital
standoff surrenders
Top court to weigh new
religious rights case
A male camel in rut trampled two people to
death at the Camel Kisses farm in north Texas,
KFDX television station reported yesterday. A
man had entered a pen holding a male and two
female camels at the farm near Wichita Falls
on Saturday. The male then charged the man,
named as Mark Mere, 53. The farm’s owner,
Peggye McNair, 72, tried to close the gate to the
pen but was also stomped, the Wichita County
Sheriff ’s Office said. “It appears that both victims
were trampled by the camel,” police said in a
statement, according to the Times Record News
in Wichita Falls, located about 240km northwest
of Dallas.
A fire that started after a blast on Saturday at
Husky Energy’s 155,000 barrel per day (bpd)
crude oil refinery in Lima, Ohio, has been
extinguished, a source familiar with the facility’s
operations said. No injuries were reported in the
explosion, which was heard across the city and
shattered nearby windows, according to local
media reports. Sources said output at the plant
has stopped and is unlikely to resume for several
days. The blast involved the 26,000-barrelper-day isocracker unit, according to a source
familiar with the facility’s operations. At the time
of the blast, the unit was being restarted after
maintenance, a second source said.
President Barack Obama will host British Prime
Minister David Cameron at the White House on
Thursday and Friday to discuss a broad range of
issues including counterterrorism. The Islamic
State group, Ebola and Russia’s incursions into
Ukraine will all be on the table, the White House
said, hailing the “enduring special relationship”
between the two countries. On Thursday, the pair
will have a working dinner, before meeting in the
Oval Office on Friday. The White House made no
explicit mention of the attacks in France that left
17 people dead, but said Obama and Cameron who are believed to enjoy close working ties - will
discuss counterterrorism efforts and IS extremists.
A distraught father of a patient in a Texas
hospital surrendered to police after a standoff,
police said on Saturday. The sheriff ’s office for
Harris County issued a statement that the man
had surrendered and the hospital was no longer
under lockdown. Previously, the police had
said the man was holding hostages and could
be armed. Later, they said it was not a hostage
situation and the father was not armed. Police
described the father as “distraught about his
son’s medical condition.” He was with his son
in the critical care unit of the Tomball Regional
Medical Center. “The suspect has surrendered
without incident,” the sheriff’s office said.
The US Supreme Court today will take up a new
religious rights case when it considers whether
a town in Arizona discriminated against a local
church by forcing it to remove signs notifying the
public of its worship services. The justices are
set to hear an argument in an appeal filed by the
Good News Community Church, which objected
to its treatment by town officials in Gilbert. The
church says its free speech rights were violated.
The justices ruled 5-4 that owners of private
companies can object on religious grounds to a
provision of Obama’s signature healthcare law
that requires employers to provide insurance
covering birth control for women.
over leak
Golden Gate Bridge closed
Eric Holder
about lone
wolf attacks
wo prominent US lawmakers came to the defence yesterday of David
Petraeus, the retired general and
former CIA chief under an FBI
investigation for allegedly leaking classified information to his
former mistress.
The New York Times reported
on Friday that the FBI and federal prosecutors have recommended that felony charges be
brought against Petraeus, whose
exploits as the top US commander in Iraq and Afghanistan
made him one of America’s most
celebrated generals.
Attorney General Eric Holder
said in television interviews
yesterday no decision would be
made in the case until all the
evidence was in, but declined
further comment.
Pressure rose, however, for a
quick resolution of the matter
from the general’s admirers in
“This man has suffered
enough, in my view,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who told
CNN’s State of the Union that
he should not be indicted.
“He’s the four-star general of
our generation,” she said, lauding his role in suppressing an Al
Qaeda fuelled sectarian conflict
in Iraq, similar to one gripping
the country today.
“He, I think, is a very brilliant
man. People aren’t perfect. He
made a mistake. He lost his job
as a CIA director because of it. I
mean, how much do you want to
punish somebody?”
The probe focuses on whether
Petraeus, who resigned as CIA
director in 2012, gave his lover
Paula Broadwell access to his
CIA e-mail account and other
highly classified information
while she was writing a biography of him.
Petraeus denies he ever provided classified information to
Broadwell, who was 20 years his
Republican Senator John
McCain, who charged that
Petraeus’s case had been “grievously mishandled,” said he did
not know whether the general
should be indicted but slammed
the news leak about the recommendation to charge him.
“One of the great honours of
my life is to meet, have known
some great military leaders. This
man is unique. He is one of the
great leaders. Ask anybody who
served under him,” McCain said
on CNN.
“He was an architect of the
surge which turned Iraq around.
He may have saved thousands
of young Americans’ lives, and
obviously he deserves better
treatment than have a leak to the
New York Times about a recommendation, which is a violation
of his rights and any citizen’s
Obama last week launched
a campaign of US air strikes
and humanitarian air drops in
northern Iraq
S Attorney General Eric
Holder said yesterday he
is concerned about socalled lone wolf attacks in the US
by Islamist militants inspired by
Al Qaeda affiliates.
Holder met with his European
counterparts in Paris yesterday to discuss ways to prevent
violent extremism, after Islamist
militants killed 17 people in several attacks in the French capital.
Holder said on CBS’s Face
the Nation programme that the
“decimation” of core Al Qaeda
has reduced or eliminated that
group’s ability to carry out a
9/11-style attack, but he said
affiliates like Al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have
stepped in to try to inspire people to carry out smaller attacks.
“I think the possibility of such
attacks exists in the US,” Holder
“It is something that, frankly,
keeps me up at night worrying
about the lone wolf or a very
small group of people who decide to get arms on their own and
do what we saw in France this
week,” he said.
Holder said authorities have
not determined if AQAP or a
group like Islamic State, which
US to host security summit on February 18
Workers install a movable median barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on
Saturday. The famous span is closed for the weekend to complete the construction, the
longest closing in bridge’s history.
Canadian museum acquires
world’s oldest ice hockey stick
has snapped up the
world’s oldest-known
ice hockey stick - made out of
maple - for $300,000.
The “Moffatt stick” was
hewn in the 1830s in Cape
Breton, Nova Scotia, “from a
single piece of sugar maple,”
the Canadian Museum of History said.
“Hockey is Canada’s game we developed it and we cherish it like no other country in
the world,” said Mark O’Neill,
the museum president, who
called the stick an example of
the facility’s “national treasures.”
The stick was owned by one
family - the Moffatts - from its
creation until the early 1980s,
when it was given to a barbershop owner who then sold it in
2008 to the man the museum
bought it from.
The museum, located in
Ottawa’s suburbs, said that
genealogical evidence and
oral histories, as well as scientific analysis of the stick’s
“wood, wear and paint,” were
used to verify its authenticity.
will not be able to see the
stick, however, until 2017,
when renovations at the museum - Canada’s busiest with
1.2mn visitors per year - are
The US will host a summit on
February 18 on how to fight
“violent extremism around the
world” in the wake of the Paris
attacks, US Attorney General
Eric Holder said yesterday.
Speaking in the French capital
after a meeting with European
security ministers following this
week’s Islamist militant attacks,
Holder said the meeting would
take place in Washington DC
under the auspices of President
Barack Obama.
“The US is planning on holding
a summit meeting on February
the 18th in Washington DC to
be conducted by the White
House,” he said.
The gathering will “bring
together all of our allies to
discuss ways in which we
can counteract this violent
extremism that exists around
the world,” Holder said.
“Only if we work together,
through sharing of information,
by pooling our resources, will
we ultimately be able to defeat
those who are in a struggle
with us about our fundamental
has declared a caliphate and
seized large areas of Iraq and
Syria, is responsible for the Paris
The two brothers who carried
out the attack in Paris on a satirical weekly newspaper travelled
in 2011 to Yemen, where AQAP
is based, for weapons training,
two senior Yemeni sources said
yesterday. The gunman who
staged an attack on a Paris deli
appeared in a video declaring his
allegiance to the Islamic State
Holder, who appeared on several US television shows yesterday morning, said the US and
its allies need to do a better job
sharing information about possible threats.
“One nation cannot by itself
hope to forestall the possibility of terrorism even within its
own borders,” he told ABC’s This
Week programme.
President Barack Obama will
hold a global security meeting in
Washington in February to discuss domestic and international
efforts to counteract violent extremism.
Holder said Americans should
feel secure with US officials’ efforts to prevent attacks by Islamist militants.
He told CNN’s State of the
Union programme that about
150 Americans had gone or attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq
to fight with militants there, and
about 12 were there now.
25,000 march in Montreal
in solidarity with France
marched yesterday in
Canada’s French-speaking city of Montreal in solidarity
with France and in memory of 17
people killed in militant attacks
in Paris, organisers said.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and several Quebec officials
joined the French consul general
Bruno Clerc at the head of a long
procession by marchers waving
Canadian, French and Quebecois
flags, as well as signs bearing the
message “Je Suis Charlie.”
The silent march left from
the Place des Arts in downtown
Montreal and continued to the
French consulate where the
crowd sang the French national
anthem twice.
marched in provincial capital
Quebec City, where the provincial prime minister Philippe
Couillard led the procession from
parliament to the French consulate where he helped affix a massive “Je suis Charlie” banner on
the historic building.
Across Canada, rallies were
also organised in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa.
On Saturday, nearly 20,000
people stood as the French national anthem played before the
NHL match between the Montreal Canadians and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The ice was lit
in red, white and blue, like a massive, floating French flag.
Republicans to block immigration funding
epublicans in the House
of Representatives will
try to block President
Barack Obama’s immigration
initiatives this week by denying
funding for them in a security
budget bill, lawmakers said on
The decision by House
Speaker John Boehner to initiate an immigration showdown
with the White House appeared
to placate some conservatives
just three days after they tried to
oust Boehner in the most contentious leadership election in
Funding for the Department
of Homeland Security, which
spearheads domestic counterterrorism efforts, secures US
borders, airports and coastal
waters and protects the president, was left out of a $1.1bn
passed in December.
Boehner had told Republicans
he would use the DHS budget as
leverage to try to stop an executive order in November by the
Democratic president lifting the
threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.
“This is the fulfilment of a
promise by Speaker Boehner,”
Representative Kevin Cramer of
North Dakota said of the Republican plans after a closed-door
strategy session.
Representative Tim Huelskamp, one of 25 Republicans to
withhold support from Boehner
on Tuesday, said he believed the
party was unified behind Boehner’s strategy.
“Folks appreciate this,” Huelskamp said. “The question we
don’t know is what happens in
the Senate” on the provisions to
block the immigration order.
The strategy, however, risks a
cut-off in funding for DHS at a
time when domestic terrorism
concerns have been heightened
by deadly attacks by Islamist
gunmen this week in France.
“It’s a very dangerous time
and I would wonder whether the
president would have real deep
misgivings about not signing a
bill funding the Department of
Homeland Security,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky
told reporters.
The spending bill, released
by the House Appropriations
Committee on Friday, provides
$39.7bn in funding through
Sept. 30, an increase of $400mn
over the fiscal 2014 level, including big increases for US
customs and border security
It includes $553.6mn for costs
to deal with a wave of child migrants from Central America,
including costs for deterring
such journeys and temporarily
housing those detained.
The strongest, most specific
language targeting immigration will be in amendments to
the core bill. Besides banning
spending for Obama’s November order, the amendments
would seek to block Obama’s
2012 initiative deferring action
against immigrants who were
brought into the US illegally as
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Japan to seal
pacts with
and Laos
apan is set to ink bilateral
aviation accords with Cambodia and Laos to allow airlines to operate regular direct
flights between Japan and the
two countries, a report said yesterday.
Japanese vice foreign minister
Kazuyuki Nakane plans to sign
the agreements during his visit
to the two countries this week,
the Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed government
Once the agreements take effect, Japan would have aviation
pacts with all 10 members of the
Association of South-East Asian
Japan is eager to bolster relations with the member states
amid its strained ties with China
and South Korea over territorial
spats and perceptions of wartime history. Asean has vowed to
enhance connectivity for further
development toward a more integrated community in 2015.
Japan hopes the aviation
accords would enable Asia’s
second-largest economy to
“further promote personnel
and economic exchanges” with
Cambodia and Laos. Japanese
investment in the two countries
has increased sharply in recent
years, Kyodo quoted the officials
as saying.
Nakane is expected to affirm co-operation with Lao and
Cambodian government officials toward a summit meeting
that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
will host with the leaders of five
Mekong basin countries — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand
and Vietnam — in July in Tokyo.
Deadline set
for ex-Thai
hailand’s National Legislative Assembly set January 23 as the deadline for
voting on the impeachment case
against former prime minister
Yingluck Shinawatra, local media reported yesterday.
She is facing impeachment
for alleged dereliction of duty in
her government’s rice-pledging
scheme, which the anti-corruption agency said cost the country
$4bn in waste and fraud.
If found guilty, Yingluck
would face a five-year ban from
politics and a retroactive impeachment.
People watch as a section of the tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is lifted off a ship and onto the back of a truck, the day after it was lifted from the seabed, in Kumai Port, near Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan yesterday.
Indonesia divers ‘find’ crucial
black box of AirAsia aircraft
Pangkalan Bun
ndonesian divers yesterday found the crucial black
box flight recorders of the
AirAsia plane that crashed in
the Java Sea a fortnight ago with
162 people aboard, the transport
ministry said.
But they failed to retrieve it
immediately from the seabed
because it was stuck under debris from the main body of the
plane, the ministry added.
“The navy divers in Jadayat
state boat have succeeded in
finding a very important instrument, the black box of AirAsia
QZ8501,” said Tonny Budiono, a
senior ministry official.
The recorders were at a depth
of 30-32 metres (99-106 feet),
he said in a statement.
Divers will today try to shift
the position of the wreckage to
access the black box.
“However, if this effort fails,
then the team will lift part of the
main body using the same balloon technique used earlier to
lift the tail,” Budiono added.
After a frustrating two-week
An investigator examines a section of the tail of the passenger plane in Kumai Port, near Pangkalan Bun.
search often hampered by bad
weather, officials earlier yesterday raised hopes by reporting that strong ping signals had
been detected by three vessels
involved in the search.
Those signals were coming
from the seabed less than one
kilometre from where the tail of
the plane was found, Malaysian
Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar
said in a post on Twitter. Ma-
laysia’s Navy is helping in the
The Indonesian meteorological agency has said stormy
weather likely caused the Airbus A320-200 to crash as it
flew from the Indonesian city
of Surabaya to Singapore on December 28.
But a definitive answer is impossible without the black box,
which should contain the pilots’
final words as well as various
flight data. S B Supriyadi, a director with the National Search
and Rescue Agency, told reporters earlier in the day that an object believed to be the plane’s
main body had also been detected near the source of the
The search, which has involved US, Chinese and other
international naval ships, has
recovered 48 bodies so far.
Supriyadi said many bodies
were believed trapped in the
cabin, so reaching that part of
the wreckage was also a top priority.
The tail of the plane, with its
red AirAsia logo, was lifted out
of the water on Saturday using
giant balloons and a crane.
It was brought by tugboat
yesterday to a port near the
search headquarters, at Pangkalan Bun town on Borneo island.
All but seven of those on
board the flight were Indonesian.
The bodies of a South Korean
couple were identified yesterday, but their 11-month-old
baby remains unaccounted for,
Indonesian authorities said.
The other foreigners were one
Singaporean, one Malaysian,
one Briton and a Frenchman
-- co-pilot Remi Plesel. Their
bodies have not been recovered.
While the cause of the crash
is unknown, the disaster has
once again placed Indonesia’s
chaotic aviation industry under
Indonesian officials have alleged Indonesia AirAsia did not
have a licence to fly the route on
the day of the crash, although
the airline rejects the claim.
Indonesia’s transport ministry quickly banned AirAsia from
flying the Surabaya-Singapore
route. On Friday it suspended
dozens more routes operated by
five other domestic airlines for
similar licence violations.
Budget carrier tipped to surmount first major crisis
Kuala Lumpur
ntil Flight QZ8501 went
down everything had
gone right during a spectacular 13-year run of success
for AirAsia, which unlocked a
booming market of budget travellers in the region.
But as long as no serious
safety lapses emerge, analysts
say the robust and media-savvy
business built up by the Malaysia-based group should help
overcome its first major reversal.
Flight QZ8501 operated by Indonesia AirAsia — the group’s
Jakarta-based affiliate — crashed
in the Java Sea on December 28
en route to Singapore from Surabaya with 162 aboard. All are believed dead.
From the start, AirAsia’s colourful boss Tony Fernandes
publicly took responsibility, visited victims’ families, and vowed
to find out what happened.
Passengers standing near an AirAsia information board of the low-cost carrier at the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport 2 (KLIA2) in Sepang.
Such actions are critical in
restoring trust, experts say, and
stand in stark contrast to Malaysia Airlines’ fumbling, tightlipped handling of the still-unsolved disappearance of Flight
MH370 last March with 239
“This is an excellent case
of a crisis being handled well,
to show your customers that
things are being taken care of in
a hands-on manner, and that the
executives are not just sipping
their coffees in a cosy office,”
said Daniel Tsang, an aerospace
analyst with Aspire Aviation.
“While some passengers may
avoid taking (AirAsia) flights in
the short-term, AirAsia’s low-
cost proposition will keep drawing in first-time fliers to the airline.”
If investigators uncover safety
negligence on the airline’s part,
however, it could deeply undermine confidence.
The cause is not yet known,
but the plane’s Indonesian pilot
had requested a course change
from air traffic controllers
shortly before the crash to avoid
a storm.
Indonesian officials in turn
have raised questions about Indonesia AirAsia, saying it did not
have a license to fly the route that
day, but Fernandes has rejected
the claim.
Yet even if any safety lapses
are pinned on the carrier, aviation analysts said AirAsia could
mitigate the impact with an aggressive and public campaign to
address shortcomings.
AirAsia would need to “be upfront about safety lapses, own
up to error, lay out ways to avoid
future (accidents), and move on”,
said Terence Fan, an aviation expert at Singapore Management
“Unless serious lapses at the
airline were found, an airline
typically bounces back in a few
months in terms of traffic.”
Taking to Twitter, Fernandes
last week vowed all the facts will
come out. “We never hide,” he
declared. Shukor Yusof, founder
of Malaysia-based aviation research firm Endau Analytics,
said he would be surprised if a
systemic AirAsia safety problem
was found.
“AirAsia does well in costcutting but not to the extent of
foregoing safety,” he said.
Knowing the plane’s fate also
means AirAsia can bring closure
to families, so muting long-term
In contrast, the failure to find
MH370 has left many victims’
kin alleging a cover-up by Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia’s
A former record industry executive, Fernandes, 50, took over
heavily indebted AirAsia in December 2001.
He turned it into a roaring success with its rock-bottom fares
and a playful image embodied
by its baseball cap-wearing boss,
who has been called Asia’s Richard Branson.
With its corporate motto de-
claring “Now everyone can fly”,
it has won over tens of millions
of travellers in a burgeoning
Asian middle class previously
confined to more expensive regional flag carriers, snagging
several awards as the world’s
best budget carrier.
“Certainly AirAsia will recover as it is a very good airline
and this tragedy will not impact
its growth,” said AirlineRatings.
com editor Geoffrey Thomas.
That said, AirAsia is struggling to maintain growth rates as
it matures, as rivals step up competition. In the first blow to its
business, Indonesian authorities
have halted AirAsia’s SurabayaSingapore flights.
But analysts note that AirAsia
has continually proven itself the
region’s most nimble performer, and that other airlines have
bounced back from tragedy to
emerge stronger.
These include flag carriers
Garuda Indonesia and Korean
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Govt to erect
memorial for
siege dead
Tears and defiance in Australian
tribute to French attack victims
ustralia will built a permanent memorial to remember the victims of
the Sydney cafe siege, officials
said yesterday as they vowed
never to forget the two hostages
who died in the stand-off.
The memorial will also pay
tribute to the police and emergency service officers who
worked to end the 16-hour siege
in mid-December.
The siege shocked Australians, with thousands of Sydneysiders laying bouquets at a large
makeshift memorial near the
cafe in the city’s financial hub.
“The outpouring of grief
that was symbolised by a sea
of flowers in Martin Place, and
that moved hearts around the
world, was the beginning of our
recovery process,” New South
Wales Premier Mike Baird said
in a statement. “The unveiling
of a permanent memorial, on
or before the first anniversary
of the siege, will be another
significant step in that process, and will guarantee that the
memory of Tori (Johnson) and
Katrina (Dawson) lives forever
in the heart of Sydney.”
Cafe manager Johnson, 34,
barrister Dawson, 38, and
gunman Man Haron Monis,
50, died in a bloody end to the
siege. Several hostages were
also injured.
News of the memorial, which
will include compost created
from the floral tributes, came
as reports said Dawson was
struck by police bullets when
officers stormed the cafe.
undreds of people linked
hands and displayed “Je
suis Charlie” and “freedom” signs in Sydney yesteray
as they paid tribute to the Paris
attack victims just metres from
the scene of a deadly cafe siege
last month.
The crowd, led by French ambassador Christophe Lecourtier, marched in silence down
Martin Place in the “No fear, no
freedom” rally despite persistent rain.
Just a month ago, the same
area was covered by a sea of
flowers in an outpouring of grief
after two hostages held by selfstyled cleric Man Haron Monis
were killed in a 16-hour standoff. “You know what it means,
especially here in Martin Place,”
Lecourtier told the crowd, many
of whom were from the French
“Let us keep in mind what is
the spirit of Charlie. The spirit
of Charlie is -- the future belongs to those who resist, belongs to those who fight.”
Antoine and Sam Moscovitz
said they brought their children to the rally as they wanted
them to realise that the Paris
attacks, in which 17 people lost
their lives in a three-day killing
spree, were wrong.
The attacks began at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people died.
“So many people died in
the past to get freedom for the
French Republic,” Sam Moscovitz said. “We are not afraid. We
Members of Sydney’s French community gather in the heart of the city to pay tribute to the Paris attack victims, just metres from the scene of a deadly cafe siege last month in
Australia, yesterday.
cannot live in fear. We don’t know
what tomorrow will bring but we
can makes our voices heard.”
culled in
In Tokyo, more than 150 French
and Japanese nationals gathered
at a French language and culture
institute and held a one-minute
silent prayer.
They then sang the French na-
tional anthem and held aloft “Je
suis Charlie” signs.
Tributes to the victims have
been held across Asia over the
past few days ahead of a march
through Paris yesterday.
Ice festival
aiwan yesterday ordered
the slaughter of 16,000
geese and ducks to try
to curb a bird flu outbreak that
has already led to the culling of
120,000 chickens.
Aauthorities on Friday ordered
the culling of the chickens at a
farm in the southern county of
Pingtung after samples tested
positive for H5N2, one of the less
virulent strains of avian flu.
Officials yesterday ordered the
slaughter of 7,500 ducks at a farm
in Pingtung and 8,500 geese at
five farms in Yunlin and Chiayi,
two counties also in the south,
after a new variant of H5N2 as
well as the H5N8 strain were detected. “This (H5N8) has never
been discovered in Taiwan before, it probably could be brought
to Taiwan by migratory birds,”
Chang Su-san, head of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health
Inspection and Quarantine, told
The H5N8 virus had previously
hit Europe, South Korea, Japan,
Canada and the US, prompting
the culling of poultry.
Many of the duck and geese
farms were also asked to
strengthen nets to prevent contacts between poultry and wild
The island has reported
several outbreaks of H5N2 in
recent years.
Festival visitors enjoy bare hand fishing in a frozen river during the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival at Hwacheon-gun in Gangwon province, South Korea yesterday. The festival runs from January 10 to
February 1, 2015.
Shanghai cancels lantern festival after stampede
hina’s commercial hub
Shanghai has cancelled
a popular annual outdoor festival over safety concerns, after a New Year’s eve
stampede in the city killed 36
Organisers called off the
lantern festival event at the Yu
Gardens “based on considerations of safety,” they said on an
official microblog on Saturday.
A New Year’s stampede on
the city’s historic waterfront
killed at least 36 revellers and
injured dozens more, mostly
women, raising questions over
why authorities failed to enforce better safety measures.
Shanghai’s government has
since announced tougher registration procedures for large
or crowded events, which can
be cancelled if safety rules are
The Lantern Festival falls 15
days after the Lunar New Year
and can attract as many as
60,000 visitors a day, according a state media.
The event, which has been
held for more than a decade,
is known for its heavy crowds,
with local listings website
Smart Shanghai describing it
as “not for the claustrophobic”.
Shanghai’s mayor said the
New Year’s eve crush was a
“bloody lesson” for the city,
after his administration was
criticised for mismanaging the
celebrations. Several events
have been scrapped in the
wake of the Shanghai stampede, including a fireworks
display that was set to launch a
spectacular Ice and Snow festival in the northeastern city of
Harbin this week.
China detains passengers who opened plane exits
hinese police detained 25 angry
plane passengers who opened
emergency exit doors before
take-off after their flight was delayed
by snow, state media reported, the latest case of rowdy behaviour by Chinese
The passengers were forced to wait
in their seats for hours late Friday and
early Saturday after their China Eastern flight from the southwest city of
Kunming to Beijing was delayed, Xinhua news agency said.
After requesting that they be allowed off the plane for health reasons,
some passengers “opened three emergency doors in an attempt to stop the
flight” and forced the plane to return to
the terminal, Xinhua cited a passenger
as saying.
Two of the passengers surnamed
Zhou and Li were sentenced to 15 days
in detention for violating public order,
the state-run China News Service said.
They were members of a 25-person
travel group which got “overly excited”,
leading to the opening of the doors.
The other members of the group
were detained for questioning, but apparently later released.
The passenger told Xinhua that
those on board were worried that the
vice captain could not control himself
after he “swore and cursed”, the agency
The plane had already been delayed
for five hours before they boarded, only
to face further delays while ice was
cleared from the aircraft, the report
said. Others on the aircraft travelled to
Beijing by another flight.
China’s growing wealth has seen a
boom in air travel over the past decade,
but its airports are plagued with delays
and incidents of unruly passenger behaviour have risen.
Last month a budget flight from
Thailand to China was forced to return
to Bangkok after a Chinese passenger
threw hot water at a cabin attendant.
Chinese state-run media branded
four unruly passengers on board as
“barbarians,” reporting that one of
them had threatened to blow up the
plane in a row over a seating arrangement. An airport in Kunming saw cha-
otic scenes in 2013, when thousands
of angry passengers were stranded for
hours after thick fog delayed flights.
Passengers stuck at the airport for
more than a day struggled with airline
staff, damaging computer equipment
belonging to an airline, while police
broke up scuffles.
In 2012 a plane carrying 200 people from Zurich to Beijing was forced
to turn back after a fight between two
Chinese passengers.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Tories vow
tax will be
A couple walk their dog on Redcar beach past an offshore wind farm in Redcar, northeast England.
Power still down as
winds batter Britain
Strong winds are putting the skids
under power and transport networks
Evening Standard
housands of home across the UK are
enduring a third day without electricity after strong winds and snow
brought disruption to the nation’s power
and transport networks.
Gale force winds reached 113mph in
parts of Scotland with many living without electricity since Friday.
Engineers have been working in
“treacherous and worsening conditions”
to reconnect properties, while charity workers from the Red Cross have been
working to reach vulnerable people and
provide food, accommodation and generators where possible.
In England, a body has been recovered
and searches are to continue for another
man after two people were swept out to sea
in severe weather at Brighton beach.
The body of Freddie Reynolds, who was
swept out to sea as he tried to rescue his
friend Dan Nicholls, has been recovered.
Searches for his friend will resume today.
A driver died in a one-car crash in Aberdeenshire where weather has been causing
problems and police are investigating if it
was a factor.
Two people were also taken to hospital
after a car crashed with a gritter in South
Emergency crews work after a gust blew a lorry onto to its side on Clackmannanshire
Bridge over the Firth of Forth.
Weather warnings remain in place for
tomorrow with further strong winds,
snow and ice forecast.
The Met Office has yellow “be aware”
weather alerts in place for all of Scotland,
the North and Midlands of England, and
Northern Ireland for snow and ice.
The areas worst affected by power cuts
have been Inverness-shire, Oban, Perth,
Shetland, Skye and the Western Isles.
Dozens of Red Cross volunteers have
been working over the weekend with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to check
on people and drop off supplies.
Alan Broadbent, director of engineer-
ing, said: “I would like to praise the work
of our men and women out in the field
who had to put up with some of the worst
weather conditions I have ever encountered.
“I would also like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding.
My apologies, once again, for the disruption they had to endure since yesterday.”
Anne Eadie, co-ordinating the Red
Cross response, said: “For everyone affected this is an inconvenience but for
many vulnerable people it is a crisis.
“People can be vulnerable because of
age, infirmity or a degree of disability. We
have been called in to make sure these people are okay and have whatever they need
to see this through till power is restored.
“During these visits, we have been delivering gas heaters to households left
without heating and providing flasks of
hot drinks. If further help is needed, we
notify the relevant authorities.”
A gust of 113mph has been recorded at
Stornoway on Lewis, the strongest since
records at that site began in 1970, while
winds of 76mph were recorded at High
Bradfield, in South Yorkshire, and in Aberdaron, Gwynedd.
The winds also hindered efforts to recover the beached Hoegh Osaka near
Southampton with an operation to remove
water postponed due to the weather.
The Sunderland Empire had to close
and cancel last night’s performance after a
statue on its roof toppled over and was left
hanging from its base, 90ft up.
Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said:
“In the north of the UK, the wintry showers should push more eastwards and we
should see most of them easing on Sunday.
“The South East should hold on to the
largely fine conditions but we will see
showers push into Wales and south west
England, some of this falling as sleet and
snow over the moors but also to lower levels.”
The ferocious gales were stirred up by
an extra-powerful jet stream triggered
by plunging temperatures in the United
States hitting warmer air in the south.
Labour seeks energy price
cuts with polls in mind
ritain’s opposition Labour
Party said it would try to
introduce a law to give the
energy regulator the power to
force firms to cut prices in response to falls in wholesale costs,
a move it hopes will boost it four
months before a national election.
The plan, announced yesterday by Ed Miliband, the party’s
leader, will see Labour bring forward a vote on a motion to fasttrack such legislation before parliament on Wednesday.
Miliband called on the governing Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats to support the new
law. Prime minister David Cameron has balked at similar ideas
before, portraying them as meddling in the free market.
“We’ve seen wholesale costs
go down 20% in gas prices over
the last year and no reduction in
bills,” Miliband said.
“We’ll give the regulator the
power to cut prices to bring immediate relief,” Miliband told
BBC TV’s Andrew Marr Show, re-
Britain’s Labour party leader Ed Miliband with Andrew Marr.
ferring to Ofgem.
Labour’s move is meant to appeal to voters, many of whom
have felt their living standards
squeezed by inflation outstripping wages until recently, before
what is shaping up to be one of
the closest elections in decades.
A sharp drop in oil prices has
led to a fall in petrol prices in
Britain and politicians are seeking to court voters by competing to sound tougher on firms
perceived to be not cutting their
prices fast enough.
A 2013 proposal by Miliband to
freeze gas and electricity prices
for 20 months gave his party a
temporary lift in opinion polls.
It was criticised by the country’s
big six energy suppliers and business groups.
Energy UK, a group representing the industry, said yesterday
firms were already passing on
savings to consumers and that
pricing was a commercial matter
for individual companies.
“No new powers are needed,”
Lawrence Slade, chief executive
of Energy UK, said in a statement.
“When people shop around
they can easily find deals that are
over a hundred pounds cheaper
than this time last year and in line
with falls in the wholesale energy
price part of energy bills.”
Conservative finance minister
George Osborne last week said it
was vital that the lower oil price
be passed onto families “at petrol
pumps, through utility bills and
air fares”. Danny Alexander, the
Liberal Democrats’ most senior
figure in the same ministry, has
made similar comments.
While Cameron’s Conservatives want to fight the election
on their record of presiding over
an economic recovery, Labour
want to use the energy question,
among others, to highlight what
they say has been a cost of living crisis, a charge they hope will
blunt the Conservatives’ economic boasts.
Miliband yesterday called for
the introduction of a new benchmark, an “independent Living
Standards Index”, to measure
people’s well being.
An opinion poll released by
YouGov yesterday had Labour
and the Conservatives tied on
32%, the Liberal Democrats on
7%, the United Kingdom Independence Party on 18%, and the
Greens on 6%.
ritish Prime Minister
David Cameron’s Conservatives
pledged to cut inheritance tax
so it became a levy only for
“the rich” as they sought to
woo pensioners and propertyowners before a close national
election in four months.
George Osborne, the Conservative finance minister,
gave his strongest signal yet
he would reduce the tax—also
known as death duties—saying
he would set out plans before
the May 7 election to make the
system fairer.
“I have taken steps to help
with inheritance, making sure
that people can pass on their
pension to their children,” Osborne told The Sunday Times
newspaper in an interview.
“David Cameron has made it
clear, as have I, that we believe
inheritance tax is a tax that
should be paid by the rich and
we will set out our further approach closer to the election.”
Inheritance tax has become
increasingly unpopular with
many Britons as rising property prices, particularly in London, mean a greater proportion
of people are liable to pay it.
The Conservatives are keen
to portray themselves as tax
cutters and the rival opposition
Labour party as big borrowers
and spenders, a charge the leftwing party, which is narrowly
ahead in most opinion polls,
The Conservatives have
promised to deliver more than
seven billion pounds of other
tax cuts if elected on May 7,
though they have not yet explained how they would be
funded at the same time as the
country is paying down a large
budget deficit.
Yesterday, Osborne also
ruled out any rise in value added tax if his party wins the next
Before the last election, in
2010, the Conservatives promised to raise the threshold at
which the 40% inheritance tax
on estates starts being paid to
£1mn ($1.52mn) from its current level of £325,000.
There is an effective threshold of 650,000 for married
couples at the moment.
But Cameron failed to win an
outright majority in 2010 and
was forced to enter a two-party
coalition with the centre-left
Liberal Democrats who blocked
his plans.
Proposals to cut inheritance
tax are certain to appear in the
manifesto amid suggestions
they may pledge to raise the
threshold to 2mn.
Osborne will deliver the final
budget of this parliament on
March 18. His party’s coalition
with the Liberal Democrats
and Britain’s sizeable national
debts means his room for manoeuvre will be limited.
Prime minister David Cameron said yesterday that extremist violence would remain
a threat for many years to come,
as he joined a historic march
against terrorism in Paris.
“We in Britain face a very
similar threat, a threat of fanatical extremism ... It’s a
threat that has been with us for
many years and I believe will be
with us for many more years to
come,” he told British television.
Cameron said Britain had to
confront the threat “every way
we can”.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark’s PM Helle
Thorning Schmidt arrive with heads of state to attend the solidarity
march (Marche Republicaine) on the streets of Paris yesterday.
Castles in Scotland escape levy
Evening Standard
cotland’s landed gentry will get away “scotfree” without paying the mansion tax, one
of Labour’s leading mayoral candidates has
Multi-millionaires in “palatial” abodes including genuine mansions and castles will not be hit by
Ed Balls’s proposed tax even though it is meant to
target the super-wealthy, said ex-minister David
He spoke out after Labour’s leader in Scotland,
Jim Murphy, boasted that a pledge of 1,000 extra
nurses for Scottish hospitals would be funded almost entirely by homeowners in London and the
South-East through the mansion tax.
The Evening Standard has found a string of
enormous properties for sale in Scotland for well
under the £2mn threshold set by Mr Balls.
They include a “fairytale” turreted castle,
Lickleyhead, for £1,350,000; Orchardton Hall,
a “baronial mansion” with 17 bedrooms, for
£1,500,000; and Ethie Castle — the inspiration
for Sir Walter Scott’s Castle of Knockwhinnock in
The Antiquary — for £1,650,000.
None of the Scottish properties would attract
the mansion tax, while a two-bed fifth-floor flat
on sale in Knightsbridge for £2,100,000 would be
Lammy said: “Why should the landed gentry
in Scotland, or someone with a place as large as
Downton Abbey, get away scot-free?
“It makes a nonsense of a system if it simply lands the entire bill on London while ignoring people in palatial homes in other parts of the
According to property portal Zoopla, the
number of properties in Scotland worth £2mn or
Ethie Castle: Offers over £1.65 million. Ten
more is 987 — less than one per cent of the UK total. In London, 90,000 homes would be hit.
Lammy called for the tax to be changed so that
each region would keep the proceeds to help local
people. “I don’t recognise this caricature of the
streets of London being paved with gold,” he said.
“We have a massive housing crisis here and deep
However, a spokesman for Balls insisted: “It
will be a UK-wide tax.”
Among London boroughs that have more properties that will pay mansion tax than the whole of
Scotland are Camden (with 8,252), Hammersmith
and Fulham (7,798), Merton (2,522), Hounslow
(1,994), Lambeth (1,974), Haringey (1,925) and
Southwark (1,366).
Murphy said his pledge of more nurses was a
“win-win for Scotland” because 95% of the costs
would come from people in London and the south.
Labour MP Diane Abbott accused him of trying
to “expropriate money from Londoners to win an
election in Scotland”.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Fire trucks
‘being used
as makeshift
London Collections
Evening Standard
A model presents a creation by Alexander McQueen on the third day of the Autumn/Winter 2015 London Collections fashion event in London yesterday.
NHS crisis killed my
mom, says daughter
The NHS’ ability to respond to
emergencies appears to have been
Evening Standard
he daughter of a pensioner who died
of pneumonia after waiting five
hours for an ambulance and another
14 in a London A&E has blamed the worst
NHS “crisis” in a decade for her mother’s
Helen Forde waited in agony as she
watched Bridget Forde, 92, drift in and out
of consciousness after falling and breaking
her hip. Frantic for help, she dialled 999
for her mother four times.
But it was five hours before paramedics arrived – leaving the former nurse and
carer lying in agony on a cold floor at her
home in Muswell Hill, north London.
Six days later she died of pneumonia after waiting a further 14 hours in A&E at the
Whittington Hospital, in Archway, before
being admitted to a ward.
Daughter Helen, 63, today said she was
convinced that what should have been
treated as a priority resulted in her mother’s death last month from pneumonia be-
Bridget Forde, 92, died of pneumonia.
cause of the wait.
She also blasted politicians for “political point-scoring and fingerpointing” and
demanded they focus on sorting out the
“crises”, which she said is making her consider assisted-suicide abroad to avoid the
same treatment.
She said: “The last memory I have of my
mother is her lying on that floor in agony.
It’s something I can’t forgive nor forget.
“She was such a lovely lady, a commit-
ted Christian who loved thy neighbour
more than herself.
“As a nurse, child minder and then carer
for the elderly, she spent her entire life
looking after others.
“She lived here for 50 years and was the
kind of person who would always help others. She was so loved, her community gave
her an Outstanding Neighbour award.
“But when she needed help she was
treated like an animal.
“It is clear the NHS is in crisis and it’s
time the political point-scoring and finger-pointing stopped.
“I have no children of my own to help
look after me when I’m old and seeing
what happens to the elderly in today’s
NHS has been truly terrifying. When I’m
80, I’m tempted to head to Switzerland
[where euthanasia is legal].”
Figures released this week show waiting
times in England’s A&E’s are at their worst
in a decade. In the past three months,
nearly 21,000 patients have waited on
trolleys for up to 12 hours. Between October and December 92.6% of patients were
treated within four hours. The target is
Ambulance response times across London have deteriorated over the last nine
months as the number of emergency calls
Mother-of-two walks free after
pretending she had cancer
Evening Standard
fraudster has walked free from court after
pretending she had cervical cancer in order to pocket thousands of pounds in donations for fake treatment.Bank worker Danielle
Watson, 24, lied to friends and strangers about
her health so she could con them out of almost
The mother-of-two courted publicity on social
media and made local headlines as she announced
she had late-stage cervical cancer to claim donations, freebies and cut-price deals for her wedding.
She gave regular updates on the treatment she
was receiving and how her condition was progressing to continue the deceit, Basildon Crown
Court heard.
The then 21-year-old admin assistant even
brought forward her wedding by several months
to April 2012 so she could walk up the aisle before
radiotherapy and chemo made her hair fall out.
But in fact she had minor surgery for a treatable
gynaecological condition and had never been diagnosed with, or treated for, cancer.
She was given a 12 month suspended jail sentence today after admitting six counts of fraud at
the start of her trial. She was also ordered to carry
out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Sentencing her today, Recorder Gerard Pounder
told her: “You showed a supreme lack of maturity
in the way in which you conducted your life.
“It is a great testament to the many people who
dealt with you with supreme generosity because
they believed you only had a short time left on this
Rebecca Blain, mitigating, said Watson had only
confirmed to her friends and family that she had
told a lie on the day she pleaded guilty last October.
She added: “The genesis of these lies was opportunistic when she was diagnosed with polyps
and had to undergo a routine operation.
“She did this on a whim and did not think
through the wider impact of those lies.”
Watson has access to a “substantial lump sum”
and hopes to pay £80 to £100 a month back to her
victims, Blain said.
Asked to comment as she left court, Watson
said: “Just I’m sorry.”
Detective constable Rob Lewis, who led the investigation for Essex Police, said: “We would like
to thank the large number of witnesses and victims for their patience and support throughout
the investigation.
“Danielle Watson acted in a cold and calculated
manner, she be-friended and abused the trust of
kind and generous people who wanted to help a
person they thought was dying. She obtained significant financial gain, gifts and services from the
kind hearted.
“At no stage in the investigation did she demonstrate any form of remorse or shoulder responsibility for her conduct.”
has soared, with Haringey – the borough
in which Forde lived – one of the hardest
A Whittington spokesman said: “We
would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Forde and we are
sorry to hear of her experience.
“In common with other NHS Trusts we
are currently experiencing high demand
for our services including increased attendance at the emergency department
and admissions onto our wards.
“We endeavoured to make Forde as
comfortable as possible while she was in
A&E, and kept her under close and regular
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were extremely busy and
are very sorry for the delay and for any
further distress this will have caused.”
Today NHS England denied the NHS’s
111 non-emergency helpline was fuelling
the number of people turning up in A&E.
Latest figures, for October, show that 10%
of calls to 111 resulted in ambulances being
dispatched and seven per cent saw callers
get themselves to A&E.
Professor Keith Willett, director for
acute episodes of care, told the BBC: “It’s
not causing the problems in A&E. It’s part
of the solution.”
ire engines are being
drafted in to be used as
makeshift ambulances
because of overstretched accident and emergency departments, according to the Fire
Brigades Union (FBU).
FBU general secretary Matt
Wrack said it meant firefighters
were being diverted away from
their work to help ambulance
He said: “The A&E crisis is
a direct result of the Government’s failed austerity agenda.
“The public are being put at
risk because the Government
have cut staff, resources and
equipment in both the NHS
and fire and rescue service.
“In certain incidences firefighters have been diverted
away from doing their own
work to cover for mistakes
made by this Government in
the NHS.
“The knock-on effect means
that vital fire prevention work
will be compromised as well
as the ability to respond to
other fire emergencies at a
time of year where firefighters
are expecting to deal with an
increased number of flooding
incidents across the UK.
“The A&E crisis is a product of this Government’s failed
policies - they need to get a
Two firefighters have been
injured after crashing a fire engine into an office block in Canary Wharf.
The pair were taken to hospital by ambulance after suffering leg and hand injuries in
the accident in Churchill Place.
Paramedics treated one other firefighter for injuries at the
scene, the London Fire Brigade
said.A brigade spokesman said
the fire engine had been travelling to an incident which
proved to be a false alarm when
it crashed.
Witnesses posted their reaction to the accident on social
One person wrote: “Just saw
fire engine embedded in building on Canary Wharf! You
can’t make it up.”
Another posted: “How did
a fire truck just crash into a
building in Canary Wharf. The
The cause of the accident is
being investigated.
A spokesman for the London
Ambulance Service said: “We
were called at 2.17pm to reports of a road traffic collision
at Churchill Place in E14.
“We sent an ambulance
crew, a duty officer and the
hazardous area response team
(HART) to the scene.
Selfie on the bridge
A woman takes a photo using a selfie stick whilst standing on Westminster Bridge in London.
A former firefighter who was
told he might never walk again
after a car accident has said his
“second chance” inspired him
to take on extreme challenges
to raise money for children’s
On Saturday, Mark Hughes
will carry a backpack weighing up to 50lb on a 15-mile
race over 2,907ft Pen y Fan,
the highest peak in the Brecon
Beacons. The route, known as
the Fan Dance, is used in the
selection process by the SAS
and SBS. Hughes, 41, originally
from Tottenham, was driving
home after a night shift with
the London Fire Brigade when
his car was hit from behind and
doctors told him he might not
regain the use of his legs.
“The public are being
put at risk because the
Government have cut
staff, resources and
equipment in both the
NHS and fire and rescue
Hughes, a father of two,
said: “The muscles in my lower back had gone into spasm,
causing muscular and nerve
damage. I couldn’t feel my legs
for months and it took me well
over six months to get back on
my feet after intensive physiotherapy. Doctors said when I
first arrived I might not be able
to walk again. It was terrifying.”
Despite making a recovery,
Hughes, who now lives in Alfold, Surrey, left his job at a
nearby fire station because of
his fitness levels.
He said: “I fell into what I
think of as a depression. I used
to help people in my job and
now I wasn’t. It’s clichéd, but I
realised I had to help others. So
I started doing charity expeditions — specifically for children with conditions like cerebral palsy, who struggle with
walking or may never be able
to. I got a second chance with
my legs — I want to give them
a first chance.”
Hughes has raised thousands
of pounds for the Tree of Hope
children’s charity, and this
weekend will walk in support of
three-year-old Charlotte Taylor who was born eight weeks
prematurely. She had bleeding
in the brain which resulted in
quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
Hughes and three others
hope to raise £10,000 for a
selective dorsal rhizotomy for
Charlotte, which could help
her walk.
Charlotte’s father Cameron,
42, who cares full-time for
her, said: “We are so touched
to have the support of people
like Mark. We have been overwhelmed by his kindness.”
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
(From left) Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
European Union President Donald Tusk, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s Queen Rania, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
take part in the solidarity rally (Marche Republicaine) in Paris yesterday.
Paris march draws over 1mn
Demonstrators carrying a giant cardboard pencil reading ‘Not Afraid’
take part in a solidarity march in Paris yesterday.
ore than a million people flooded Paris yesterday in an unprecedented rally against terrorism, led by
dozens of world leaders walking
arm in arm as cries of “Freedom”
and “Charlie” rang out.
President Francois Hollande
linked arms with world leaders,
including the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president, in an historic display of
A sea of humanity flowed
through Paris’ iconic streets to
mourn the victims of the three
days of terror that began with the
slaughter of 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“Freedom! Freedom”, “Charlie! Charlie!” chanted the vast
crowd, in honour of the cartoonists and journalists killed at
Charlie Hebdo.
The crowd was also marking
the death of four Jews killed when
an Islamist gunman stormed a
kosher supermarket and a policewoman gunned down in cold
Emotions ran high in the
grieving City of Light, with many
of those marching bursting into
tears as they came together under
the banner of freedom of speech
and liberty after France’s worst
terrorist bloodbath in more than
half a century.
The crowd brandished banners saying: “I’m French and I’m
not scared” and, in tribute to the
murdered cartoonists, “Make
fun, not war” and “Ink should
flow, not blood.”
The interior ministry said
turnout for the Paris rally was
“unprecedented” while French
television said rallies across the
nation were unseen since the
1944 liberation of Paris from
Nazi occupation.
Isabelle Dahmani, a French
Christian married to a Muslim,
Mohamed, brought their three
young children to show them
there is nothing to fear.
Their nine-year-old daughter burst into tears watching the
news this week, Isabelle said,
adding she had asked if “the bad
men are coming to our house?”
The grieving families of those
who died in the shootings led the
march, alongside the representatives of around 50 countries.
Patrick Pelloux, a Charlie Hebdo columnist, fell sobbing into
the arms of Hollande in an emotional embrace.
With dozens of world leaders
present, security in the jittery
French capital was beefed up,
with police snipers stationed on
rooftops and plain-clothes officers among the crowd in a city still
reeling from the Islamist attacks.
“Today, Paris is the capital of
the world,” Hollande said. “The
entire country will rise up.”
More than a million also rallied
in cities outside the capital and
marches were held in several cities across Europe, including Berlin, Brussels and Madrid.
strengthening of the EU external
borders to limit the movement of
extremists returning to Europe
from the Middle East and said
there was an “urgent need” to
share air passenger information.
Hollande has warned his
grieving country not to drop its
guard in the face of possible new
Ahead of the march, he met
representatives from the Jewish
community who said authorities
had agreed to deploy soldiers to
protect Jewish schools and synagogues in France “if necessary.”
German newspaper Bild said
the bloodshed in France could
signal the start of a wave of attacks in Europe, citing communications by Islamic State leaders
intercepted by US intelligence.
France’s three days of terror
started Wednesday when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi burst
into Charlie Hebdo’s offices in
central Paris and sprayed bullets
into the editorial meeting, killing some of France’s best-known
They then slaughtered a Muslim policeman as he lay helpless
on the ground before fleeing,
sparking a manhunt that lasted
more than 48 hours.
A day later, a third gunman,
Amedy Coulibaly, shot dead a
policewoman in a southern Paris
In a video posted online yesterday, a man who appeared to
be Coulibaly said the gunmen
co-ordinated their efforts and
claimed he was a member of Islamic State who was avenging attacks by the international community on the extremist group.
The massive hunt for the attackers culminated in twin hostage dramas that gripped the
world as Coulibaly stormed into
a Jewish supermarket in eastern
Paris and seized terrified shoppers.
The two brothers took one
person hostage in a printing firm
northeast of Paris. After a tense
stand-off police shot them dead
as they charged out of the building all guns blazing.
Moments later, security forces
stormed the kosher supermarket
in eastern Paris, killing Coulibaly
but making the grisly discovery
that four innocent Jews had died
during the hostage-taking.
All four will be buried in Israel
tomorrow, the community said.
Investigators have been trying
to hunt down Coulibaly’s partner,
26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, but a security source in Turkey told AFP she arrived there on
January 2, before the attacks, and
has probably travelled on to Syria.
The attacks have raised
mounting questions about how
the gunmen could have slipped
through the net of the intelligence services despite being
known to authorities for extremism.
Coulibaly’s mother and sisters
condemned his actions. “We absolutely do not share these extreme ideas. We hope there will
not be any confusion between
these odious acts and the Muslim
religion,” they said.
French Prime Minister Manuel
Valls admitted there had been
“clear failings” in intelligence
after it emerged that the brothers
had been on a US terror watch list
“for years”.
Rallies in cities across Europe
ens of thousands of people joined rallies in cities
across Europe yesterday,
singing the Marseillaise and
holding up pens in solidarity with
France after terror attacks left 17
people dead.
Some 20,000 people marched
through the Belgian capital Brussels, holding banners saying
“United against hate” and “Freedom of speech”.
In Berlin, 9,000 joined the
march while in Madrid’s Plaza
de Sol, hundreds descended on
the streets with red, white and
blue French flags, and singing the
French national anthem.
Philippe Gelluck was at the Brussels march to show support for
murdered colleagues from the
French satirical magazine Charlie
“We have to fight on, like our
parents and grandparents did,
against religious fascism. I will
continue more than ever, in honour of my fallen friends, and the
idea of freedom,” he said.
“I know the Muslim community feels wounded and humiliated by these cartoons, but they
were not taking aim at Islam but
at fundamentalism.”
At the Madrid protest, French
student Louis Eimery, 21, said:
“We are here to say that we are
not afraid.”
The crowd stood silent, as the
names of victims - including four
of France’s most revered cartoon-
ists - who were executed by Islamist extremists were read out.
“It was a terribly barbarous attack, they attacked universal values,” said Angel Freire, a 65-yearold retired teacher who worked in
both Spain and France.
Many of the demonstrators
joined a separate rally held by
hundreds of Muslims at Madrid’s
Atocha station, the scene of the
worst terror attack in Spanish
history, to condemn violence
committed in the name of Islam.
Veiled women with young children joined groups of young men
at the rally, holding up signs that
read ‘Not in our name’ and ‘I am
Muslim and I am not a terrorist’.
“We don’t want killings carried
out in the name of Islam. I don’t
want people to give me a dirty
look on the street, I don’t want
people to avoid me,” said Driss
Bouzdoudou, 30, who has lived in
Spain for the past 14 years.
The rally was held near a
monument to the victims of the
March 11, 2004 train bombings,
when Islamist militants killed
191 people and injured nearly
2,000 in a series of coordinated
backpack bomb attacks on trains
travelling to the station.
“This is to say that we are
against all types of terrorism that
have been carried out in here in
Spain or any other country, that
you can’t commit terrorism in the
name of noble or less noble causes,” said Said Ida Hassan, the head
of the Arab Cultural Foundation,
one of the organisers of the demonstration. “If you are against
Charlie Hebdo there are legal
means. We want to encourage
dialogue, the culture of respect.”
Elsewhere in Europe, about
3,000 people turned out in driving snow and sub-zero conditions in Stockholm, many holding pens in the air.
Others were shielding candles
from the wind in a silent vigil for
the victims, according to Journalists Without Borders which
organised the Swedish rally.
“It’s important to stand up
for democracy and freedom of
expression and show solidarity with the people who were affected,” Goeran Andersson, a 72
year-old pensioner told AFP.
“This could lead to a growth
in Islamophobia, that’s what the
fundamentalists want - to polarize people. But I think France
and other countries have reacted
very well.”
Muslims hold placards in Spanish during a demonstration in Madrid
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Hundreds evacuated from
damaged Ukraine mine
Feel free to breastfeed here,
Pope says in Sistine Chapel
Turkey renames state
channel ‘Kurdish TV’
Podemos surges ahead in
Spain voter poll: El Pais
Warsaw brings back ethnic
Poles from war-torn Ukraine
Ukrainian emergency rescue workers yesterday
began pulling up hundreds of miners trapped in
a pit that lost power when a shell hit a regional
electric substation. The accident occurred in rebelcontrolled Donetsk city’s Zasyadko coal mine - one
of eastern Europe’s largest and currently operating
in the middle of a war zone. A spokesman for the
local coal miners’ union told AFP that 331 miners
had been working in the shaft when it lost power
yesterday afternoon. “The power went back up at
3.30pm and they started pulling up the miners,”
Independent Ukrainian Miners Union chairman
Mykhailo Volynets told AFP. “They have pulled out
more than 150 people so far.”
Pope Francis baptized 33 infants in the Sistine
Chapel yesterday and told the mothers to
feel free to breastfeed them if they cried or
were hungry. “You mothers give your children
milk and even now, if they cry because they
are hungry, breastfeed them, don’t worry,” he
said, departing from his prepared text. The
written text of his homily had the phrase “give
them milk,” but he changed it to use the Italian
term “allattateli”, which means “breastfeed
them.” Pope Francis also asked his listeners to
remember the poor mothers around the world,
“too many, unfortunately, who can’t give food to
their children”.
Turkey yesterday unexpectedly renamed its
six-year-old state television channel broadcasting
in the Kurdish language as “TRT Kurdish”, in an
unprecedented move that would once have
been unthinkable. The channel was until now
known just as TRT 6, as the sixth channel of state
broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corp
(TRT). The government is seeking to end the 30
year separatist insurgency waged by the Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) which has claimed tens of
thousands of lives. It also has a keen eye on the
votes of Turkey’s Kurdish community, its biggest
minority accounting for an estimated 20% of the
population, ahead of legislative elections in June.
A poll published yesterday showed that leftist
upstart Podemos was again in the lead to win
Spain’s next general election, which could result in
the formation of party pacts, or even the country’s
first coalition government. The Metroscopia poll
of 1,000 people, published in the left-leaning
newspaper El Pais, showed one-year-old Podemos
(We Can) would take 28.2% of the vote, up from
25% in December when it fell back to second
place behind the Socialists. Podemos stood at
10.7% of the vote when it was first included last
August. Most of those who told Metroscopia they
would vote for Podemos said they believed Spain
needed to get rid of its two-party system.
Poland’s foreign ministry said yesterday it was
repatriating nearly 200 Polish nationals from
separatist regions of Ukraine in the grip of an armed
conflict. “The evacuation of these people from the
Donetsk region has entered its decisive phase,”
said Konrad Pawlik, the deputy foreign minister.
The repatriation concerns ethnic Poles, mostly
families with children living in areas controlled by
pro-Russian separatists, according to Warsaw. “The
convoy has been protected by the Ukrainian army.
All these people are now in a hotel in Kharkiv.,”
Pawlik said. The group should be able to return to
Poland in “the coming days” but the details will not
be made public for security reasons, he added.
Croatians vote in tight
presidential run-off
roatians yesterday cast ballots to elect a president in a
tight run-off between incumbent centre-left Ivo Josipovic
and conservative Kolinda GrabarKitarovic, both pledging to help
kickstart the newest EU member’s
ailing economy.
The two emerged practically
neck and neck from the first round
of polling two weeks ago, with
Josipovic, a 57-year-old former law
professor and classical music composer, just one percentage point
ahead of Grabar-Kitarovic with
38.5% of the vote.
The popular incumbent, the
third president of the former Yugoslav republic since independence
in 1991, is a member of the Social
Democrats (SDP), the main force in
the ruling coalition.
His rival from the main opposition HDZ party, a former foreign
minister and Nato assistant secretary general, aims to become the
country’s first woman president.
If she succeeds she would be also
the first female head of state in the
largely patriarchal Balkans region
elected by voters as Albania’s Jatifete Jahjaga was elected by the parliament in 2011.
Turnout was 48.23% at 1530
GMT, two and a half hours before
polling stations were to close, the
electoral commission said. It was
some 12 and 10 percentage points
more than at the same time in the
first round and for elections in 2010
Although presidential powers are
limited in Croatia, yesterday’s vote
was being seen as a key test for parliamentary elections later this year
in which the HDZ is likely to make
significant gains.
Analysts believe the close firstround result reflects dissatisfaction
with the SDP-led government’s
performance and Josipovic’s failure
to criticise its economic policies.
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s government has become
hugely unpopular after failing to revive Croatia’s economy, which has
been struggling with recession for
the past six years.
“The recession ... is not only the
A child casts a woman’s vote at a polling booth during the presidential run-off election in Zagreb.
consequence of the global crisis in
2008. Problems are rather structural and the authorities have not
been solving them,” economic analyst Damir Novotny told AFP.
Hopes that entry into the European Union would be an economic
boost for the small Adriatic nation
of 4.2mn have faded.
Croatia joined the EU in 2013,
but its economy remains among
the bloc’s weakest. Unemployment
is almost 20%, half of job-seekers
under the age of 25 are unemployed
and the government forecasts a
meagre 0.5% growth this year.
Analysts say the ruling coalition
has failed to reform the huge and
inefficient public sector, improve
the business climate and attract EU
development funds.
While vying for a post that is
chiefly ceremonial, the two rivals
made campaign promises to overcome a grim economic situation.
Josipovic has vowed to initiate
constitutional changes - namely
decentralisation - as a way to revive
the economy.
Sasa Sainovski, a seller in his 30s,
said he backs the incumbent president.
“Josipovic is a modern politician.
He is an excellent legal expert with
an exceptional education and above
all a good person.”
But Grabar-Kitarovic, 46, who
represents moderates within the
HDZ, insists the first-round result
showed a desire for change.
She labelled Josipovic the “incapable and cold-hearted government’s accomplice” in bringing
about economic hardship.
“I will face with courage and
determination all problems that
Croatia is suffering from,” the
former top diplomat said after she
cast her ballot in downtown Zagreb.
“We are deciding on the direction
in which Croatia will go.”
However, Josipovic argued that
his rival would not bring the change
voters seek, given that she was a
minister in the graft-plagued HDZ
government headed by ex-prime
minister Ivo Sanader - who was
tried and jailed for corruption.
“We are in a crisis and we now
know why... You were in the government that was robbing Croatia,
the government of Ivo Sanader,”
Josipovic said.
But Srecko Lukac, a voter from
Zagreb, supports Grabar-Kitarovic,
a staunch Catholic running against
avowed agnostic Josipovic.
“Kolinda is above all a Catholic
and has an impeccable career. She
is a woman of the world, educated
and certainly a patriot,” Lukac told
Merkel says no
Ukraine summit
without progress
on peace plan
erman Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian
President Vladimir Putin late on Saturday that
a four-way summit to discuss the situation in
eastern Ukraine would not take place until there was
real progress on the Minsk peace plan.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert
said in a statement after the phone call between the
leaders that Merkel welcomed Russian efforts to find a
solution to the crisis.
Putin underlined the need to observe a ceasefire and
“to support the economic recovery of the affected regions in southeastern Ukraine”, the Kremlin said in a
It said both sides confirmed their intention to promote a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.
However, the chancellor told Putin that a summit
by leaders from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine
in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana or another city could
not be confirmed at this stage, Seibert said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has invited
the leaders of Russia, France and Germany to talks in
Astana on Thursday in an attempt to restore peace.
But Germany and France have already raised doubts
about whether such a four-way summit can take place
without further progress on the peace plan which was
agreed in the Belarussian capital Minsk in September.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia
and Ukraine will meet in Berlin today to discuss the
situation in eastern Ukraine and the implementation
of the 12-point protocol.
Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor told Putin
that all sides needed to make their contribution to
implement the peace plan. “That includes that Russia
uses its influence on the separatists in order to reach
consensual solutions,” he said.
In a separate phone call, Merkel discussed the situation in Ukraine also with Poroshenko, the spokesman said.
A four-way summit would only make sense if there
was a substantial improvement on important points
like a ceasefire and a demarcation line between the
Ukraine-Russia border, Merkel told Poroshenko, according to the statement.
More than 4,700 people have been killed in fighting between Kiev’s forces and pro-Russian rebels in
eastern Ukraine since last April. The conflict has provoked the worst crisis in relations between Russia and
the West since the Cold War.
Sweden confirms
second sighting
of mystery sub
Legendary La Dolce Vita diva Anita Ekberg dies
A January 16, 1971, file picture of Anita Ekberg walking at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome.
nita Ekberg, the striking blonde
Swedish actress whose sashay
through Rome’s Trevi fountain in
La Dolce Vita made her an icon of cinema,
died yesterday at 83 at a clinic near the
Italian capital, her lawyer said.
“She had many friends who were with
her until the end,” Patrizia Ubaldi told Reuters in reference to Ekberg, who had been
ill for two years and struggled financially
for longer.
Earning a very low retirement income,
Ekberg “didn’t live in luxury in the last few
years, but it would be wrong to say she died
in poverty,” Ubaldi said. She still owned a
large villa south of the capital, she said.
Ekberg’s funeral will be held in Rome
this week, her body will be cremated and
her ashes sent to Sweden, her lawyer said.
Ekberg, who was born in Malmo, Sweden, saw her career take shape after she
was crowned Miss Sweden in the early
But she shot to global fame in 1960 after playing the capricious actress Sylvia
opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s celebrated La Dolce Vita (The
Sweet Life), about decadent high society
in Rome.
The scene of her wading into the ba-
roque Trevi fountain in a strapless velvet
black dress, calling to Mastroianni in English, “Marcello! Come here. Hurry up,” is
among the most famous in cinematic history, and made her a sex symbol for a generation.
“I was freezing to death,” Ekberg later
told Swedish television, recalling shooting
the fountain episode.
“I thought that my legs were becoming
icicles. The water in the fountain comes
from the mountains and the film was made
in January.”
The late Fellini later directed her in Boccaccio ‘70 in 1962 and in Intervista in 1987.
Ekberg appeared in a number of films
with some of the most famous actors of the
20th century, including Audrey Hepburn
and Henry Fonda in War and Peace (1956),
winning a Golden Globe as ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ that same year.
In 4 for Texas, a 1963 comedy western,
she shared top billing with Frank Sinatra
and Dean Martin.
She had already appeared with the comedy tandem of Martin and Jerry Lewis in
movies shot in the 1950s.
Ekberg was courted by eccentric tycoon
and filmmaker Howard Hughes and subsequently married two actors from whom
she later divorced.
Later in her life, she said that Sinatra
had asked to marry her, and she had declined.
weden’s military yesterday confirmed a second
sighting in October of what appeared to have
been a submarine in waters near Stockholm city
centre, not long after a search had been launched for a
suspected Russian submarine off the coast.
In November the Swedish military released images
of tracks on the sea bed and an apparent submarine
periscope which it said proved that “a mini submarine violated Swedish territory” between October 17
and October 24 and that “at least one vessel” was involved. However, despite widespread speculation that
the submarine was Russian, the military never identified its nationality.
Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter yesterday revealed
that a member of the public also photographed what
appeared to be a submarine tower on October 31 about
3km from the city centre, close to busy ferry traffic
lanes. “We were informed of a sighting and considered it trustworthy - we had a unit in the area and sent
it to investigate,” military spokesman Philip Simon
told AFP. “We received a photograph but do not plan
to release it.”
A corvette, the HMS Malmo, carried out a search
and concluded that it was a “possible submarine” but
no other details of the previously unknown hunt have
been made public. “It looks like a black submarine
tower. You can also see several other ships that normally use this shipping route,” a military source who
had seen the photo told the paper.
“You don’t go this far in towards Stockholm for the
fun of it. This information points to a serious intrusion towards central Stockholm.”
The week-long search after the previous sighting
involved battleships, minesweepers, helicopters and
more than 200 troops scouring an area 30km to 60km
from the capital.
An opinion poll published yesterday by the state
Civil Contingencies Agency found that 73% of Swedes
were concerned about developments in Russia compared to 45% a year earlier.
For the first time the annual poll found more Swedes
were in favour of Nato membership (48%) compared
to those opposed (35%).
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Tamil Nadu
By Umaima Shafiq
Rahman dies
Leading businessman,
educationist and philanthropist
B S Abdur Rahman died of agerelated illness in Chennai on
January 7.
He was 88 and is survived by four
sons, two daughters and one of
his two wives.
Born in a pearl diver’s family
in Kilakkarai in coastal
Ramanathapuram district,
Rahman dropped out of school
and began pearl trading at the age
of 15 in Sri Lanka, where his father
was an established businessman.
However he worked as an errand
boy and mastered the skills of
trading with pearls, diamonds and
other gems. He toured Belgium
and other countries and opened
trading centres in Chennai,
Kolkatta, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 1954, he set up the Precious
Trading Company, later called the
Amana Group.
In 1962, he established the
East Coast Constructions and
Industries, a company that built
Chennai’s landmarks like the
Gemini and Kodambakkam
flyovers, Marina Light House,
Valluvar Kottam, Government
Hospital, Raheja Towers and Citi
Centre mall. In 1972 he turned this
company into ETA Ascon with its
base in Dubai.
Rahman also established the
Seethakathi Trust in Chennai for
his philanthropic activities and
expanded into education. He set
up colleges in Ramanathapuram
and in 1984 he founded the
Crescent Engineering College
later called the B S Abdur Rahman
University that is today a leading
Automatic rifle production stuck in red tape
New Delhi
parliamentary panel recently wondered why India has not been able to
produce a world-class automatic
rifle but it appears that an advanced version of this has already
been developed but is yet to see
action as it is tangled in bureaucratic red tape.
Parliament’s standing committee on defence, in a report tabled
in the winter session last month,
said it was “shocking that even 53
years of expertise has not enabled
DRDO to develop a world-class
basic product like a rifle.”
However, an advanced, deadlier version of the 5.56mm INSAS (Indian Small Arms System)
rifle, which has a greater kill capacity, has already been developed by the Defence Research
and Development Organisation
(DRDO) but has not been inducted by the Indian Army as
there are no official records of a
demand being made for it, an official explained.
“When the INSAS rifle was initially designed, the army wanted
rifles with a lower kill capability. Based on that demand the
5.56mm rifle was designed,” a
DRDO official said.
INSAS is a family of infantry
weapons consisting of an assault
rifle, a light machine gun and a
The official said the first demand for a smaller calibre rifle
came in 1982, when the army
wanted to replace the 7.62mm
SLR (self-loading rifle) that had
been in use for over 30 years.
The army then wanted a rifle
that would de-capacitate a solider instead of killing him, said the
“A low killing capacity made
sense because in war, if you kill
a soldier you have deactivated
only one person. But if a solider
is injured, at least two other soldiers will come to his aid and thus
three of the enemy will be deactivated,” the official said.
The BJP’s first list of
candidates for the Delhi
assembly election is likely to
be announced on January 18
New Delhi
A final-year engineering student
died of injuries sustained during
a violent clash among students
at the privately-owned Karpagam
University in Madukkarai in
suburban Coimbatore last week.
Karthikeyan, 21, was allegedly
beaten up with wooden bats
and iron rods when he tried to
prevent his friend getting injured.
He was in hospital for two days
but succumbed to his injuries.
Ten students were arrested
and booked for murder and
Police also found out that the
clash was the result of drunken
brawls. The university has been
shut down until January 19.
In another incident, a 24-year-old
youth was arrested for stabbing
a 14-year-old schoolgirl to death
after she spurned him at Chinna
Dharapuram in Karur district
about 130km from Coimbatore.
A 24-year-old Tiruchi-based
female devotee of Hindu pontiff
Nithyananda died in mysterious
circumstances at his ashram in
Bidadi near Bengaluru city last
Sangeetha was living at the
ashram after her graduation,
while her parents lived in Tiruchi.
Last week her parents were
informed that she had died of
cardiac arrest. They brought
her body to Tiruchi and buried
her body despite noticing injury
However they later forced police
to exhume Sangeetha’s body and
do a fresh postmortem.
The samples of her viscera were
sent for lab testing.
Drone scares
foreign tourist
A wedding photographer was
arrested for flying a drone fitted
with a tiny camera that fell
on a foreign tourist who was
sunbathing on the terrace of a tenstorey serviced apartment at MRC
Nagar in Chennai last week.
J Raj, a church musician, who had
been doing a trial shot with the
imported camera for an upcoming
wedding reportedly lost control of
the remote of the device. He was
arrested for not taking permission
from the Directorate General of
Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the device
weighing 2.5kg could have caused
serious injury.
Police said: “It is also an intrusion
into privacy as it had a camera.
Though people buy it for genuine
use, it can pose a security risk.”
kill capacity, the official said, the
army sought an update around
three years ago.
“With the army now being involved in face-to-face fighting
with terrorists, who are generally armed with AK-47 rifles, a
high kill capacity is needed. The
army asked DRDO to design a
rifle to kill, and the enthusiastic
scientists went on to modify the
INSAS,” the official said.
He explained that the longer barrel would give the bullet
higher speed and greater power
of impact.
“However, by the time the
product was ready, and we approached the army around the
end of 2013, we were told no such
requisition was officially given,”
the official said.
The official also defended the
INSAS, claiming that the problems encountered during the
Kargil war were manufacturing
issues - but agreed that the rifle
is now outdated and upgrades are
“The problems that came up
during the Kargil war were quality related, and for that the ordnance factory is responsible.
However the fact remains that
the INSAS technology is now
very old and upgrade is needed,”
he said.
However, the upgrades of the
INSAS, or a new rifle can happen
only if army asks for it.
BJP looks for
candidate to
take on AAP
chief Kejriwal
Student dies
in college clash
in Coimbatore
disciple found
dead in ashram
The DRDO developed the first
prototype of the rifle in 1986. It
was much lighter at 4.2kg than
the 7.62mm SLR that weighed
5.7kg, had a shorter barrel and
could fire a three-bullet burst at
a time compared to just one by
the SLR.
The rifle was inducted into
service in the mid-1990s after
replacing the 7.62mm SLR.
The rifle was used in the Kargil
war but was prone to malfunctioning in the cold Himalayan
conditions, getting jammed and
its polymer magazine cracking.
As the army started getting
involved in close combat with
terrorists and the requirement
changed to guns with a higher
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal interacts with a young party activist during a
programme in Bengaluru yesterday.
he Bharatiya Janata Party is
having a tough time finding
the right candidate to take
on Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind
Kejriwal in Delhi assembly polls
expected next month, sources
said yesterday.
Senior leaders are refusing to
let go their “safe seats” and the
younger ones are not showing
much interest in the “tough” contest, they said.
The sources said the BJP is now
also looking at other options, including induction of a prominent
candidate from outside the party
to contest, or persuading a young
office-bearer who has worked extensively in the New Delhi constituency.
“Those who won last time are
in no mood to let go of their seats
and even other senior leaders who
were denied tickets last time are
not too keen to contest against
him (Kejriwal),” a party leader
from the Delhi BJP said.
The New Delhi seat was a Congress bastion and former chief
minister Sheila Dikshit had won
it thrice-in-a-row until she was
drubbed by Kejriwal by over
20,000 votes in the December
2013 assembly election.
Kejriwal went on to become the
Delhi chief minister and, though
he was in office for only 49 days,
he has consolidated his position
in the constituency. He is again
the AAP candidate for the upcoming election.
While the AAP has released its
complete list of candidates for
the 70-member Delhi assembly,
the Congress has come out with
its first list of 24 names - but is
silent on the New Delhi seat. The
Congress is also looking for a formidable candidate as Dikshit will
not contest the polls.
The BJP’s first list is likely to
be announced on January 18, the
party sources said.
Some leaders of the BJP state
unit feel that former police officer
Kiran Bedi should contest against
And there are some who think
that former AAP legislator Vinod
Kumar Binny or former party
leader Shazia Ilmi should contest against Kejriwal on the BJP
“All of them have worked
closely with Kejriwal, especially
Binny and Ilmi, and they know his
strengths and shortcomings,” another party leader said.
Bedi was once Kejriwal’s ally in
the anti-corruption campaign led
by Gandhian Anna Hazare that
captured the imagination of the
country and led to the birth of the
Binny, who was elected from
the Laxmi Nagar assembly constituency as an AAP candidate in
the December polls, later rebelled
against the party and accused it of
not fulfilling the poll promises on
water and power.
The AAP expelled him in January 2014.
Ilmi quit the party in May 2014
citing “lack of inner party democracy.”
Sources said the BJP is also
scouting for young leaders who
have worked in the constituency.
Among the names doing the
rounds is that of Sunil Yadav,
the general secretary of the Delhi
unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva
Morcha (BJYM) - the BJP’s youth
Yadav has held the post of BJP
district president in New Delhi.
The name of Nupur Sharma,
another BJYM office-bearer, is
also doing the rounds.
The BJP emerged as the single
largest party in the Delhi assembly by winning 31 seats but could
not form a government as it failed
to reach the halfway mark.
Delhi has been under President’s rule since February 2014
after the Kejriwal-led AAP government stepped down, citing
lack of support for an anti-graft
bill, among others.
Parties woo women
ahead of Delhi polls
New Delhi
omen in Delhi are
being wooed by political parties like
never before, with their safety
becoming an important issue
in the assembly polls expected
next month.
Of Delhi’s 13mn voters,
women account for 44.5% the lowest proportion of female voters across the country,
according to the Election Commission.
However, their voting percentage has been rising and has
gone up from 46.41 in the 1998
assembly to over 65 in 2013.
Issues like women’s security
have become important for all
political parties and the three
main players in the national
capital - the Bharatiya Janata
Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and
the Congress - are going the extra mile to show their sensitivity
on issues concerning women.
Leaders from the three parties, as also women activists,
say that issues concerning
women, particularly their safety and education, have moved
away from the periphery and
are now part of the main political discourse.
They say that more and more
female voters are taking interest in politics and are making
their own choices in casting
their ballots, irrespective of the
thinking of their family members.
In Delhi, the issue of women’s security has added significance in view of the increasing incidents of crime against
them. The grisly gang-rape and
murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in December 2013
had forced the people to come
out on the streets.
The city reported 1,441 rapes
in 2013, according to National
Crime Record Bureau data.
The AAP and the BJP - considered the main contenders in
the upcoming polls - are holding a series of meetings to finalise their vision for the capital’s 5.8mn women.
The AAP appears to have taken a lead by conducting a dialogue with women last Novem-
ber which, the party says, was
preceded by some 300 meetings
spread across all of Delhi’s 70
assembly constituencies.
Among the promises made
by the AAP, which finished
a close second to the BJP in
the 2013 assembly polls, were
200,000 public toilets for
women, 100 new courts to
fast-track rape cases and Wi-Fi
connected CCTV cameras.
“Our party is taking women
voters seriously as they have
emerged as a new bloc, especially after the Nirbhaya (2013) incident,” prominnet AAP woman
leader Atishi Marlena said.
She admitted that the AAP,
which was born in 2013 from
an anti-corruption movement,
did not initially have a comprehensive road map for women.
“Corruption was our plank.
But we cannot ignore women
voters now as they vote independently,” Marlena added.
The BJP, which is hard-selling the development model of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
to come to power in Delhi, has
conducted a survey on women’s safety.
A blanket of dense fog covers Jammu yesterday.
Fog delays 50 trains in Delhi
New Delhi
t was a cold and windy day in
the national capital yesterday
with dense fog in the morning
which led to over 50 trains being
delayed. The weather office has
forecast a partly cloudy day today.
According to the Northern
Railway, 34 trains coming to the
city were late, while 17 trains departing from Delhi were rescheduled. One train was cancelled.
However, according to an official of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, flights were not
The visibility at 8.30am was
The days’ maximum tempera-
ture was 16 degree Celsius and
minimum was 6.6.
“There will be moderate to
dense fog today morning and the
day will be partly cloudy,” an India
Meteorological Department official said.
The maximum and minimum
temperatures are likely to hover
around 19 and 7 degrees Celsius,
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Tharoor in Delhi,
likely to be questioned
Man acquitted of
trying to kill father-in-law
Casino busted in
Gurgaon, 43 held
Manjhi to remain as
Bihar CM: Nitish
Two rhinos killed in
Assam, toll rises to 3
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor arrived in New
Delhi from Kerala yesterday and is likely to be
questioned by police in connection with the
murder of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. He did not
reply to questions from journalists, and merely
said: “I have already spoken with the media (in
Kerala).” He drove away in a car with his security
staff. Police have been deployed outside his
home in New Delhi. Pushkar, 52, was found dead
in mysterious circumstances in a luxury hotel on
January 17, 2014. On Saturday, Delhi police said
they would question Tharoor only after speaking
to people who were in the hotel and in touch
with Pushkar before she was found murdered.
The Delhi High Court has acquitted a man
accused of trying to kill his father-in-law, saying
the case presented by the prosecution remained
in the realm of suspicion and cannot be taken
as proof. Setting aside a trial court order,
Justice Sunita Gupta granted benefit of doubt
to Sunil Kumar and acquitted him. Sunil Kumar
was accused of trying to kill his father-in-law
Harbir Singh in April 2011. He was convicted by
the trial court. According to the prosecution,
Sunil Kumar and his associates fired at Harbir
Singh on April 14, 2011. Singh was, however, not
injured. But he was murdered on April 30, 2011
and another case was filed against Kumar.
Gurgaon police yesterday busted a casino and
arrested 43 people, including five women. The
casino was being run in a house. Narendra
Malhotra, the man running the gambling
den, told police he was involved in the illegal
business for the past several months. “Five
women, experts at playing cards, were
brought to India from Kathmandu,” Deputy
Commissioner of Police Deepak Saharan said.
He said the raid was conducted early yesterday.
A large quantity of foreign liquor and cash
amounting to Rs2mn were also recovered from
the house. Malhotra had hired 15 employees,
including 10 bouncers, the police officer said.
Senior Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar
yesterday said Jitan Ram Manjhi would
continue remain Bihar’s chief minister, ending
speculations over his removal. “All speculations
about his removal are wrong,” Nitish Kumar said
in Patna after his return from Delhi. The former
chief minister said he went to Delhi to meet
party president Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata
Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and Samajwadi Party
supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to discuss the
merger of Janata Parivar. “It had nothing to do
with the issue of Manjhi’s removal as reported,”
he said. Speculations over Manjhi’s removal have
been doing the rounds for the past 72 hours.
Within days of the year’s first killing of a rhino
at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam,
carcasses of two more rhinos have been
found, their horns sawed off, authorities said
yesterday. On January 9, the poachers killed a
one-horned rhino in Dhing in Nagaon district
and escaped with its horn. The recovery of the
two more carcasses yesterday has pushed the
killings of rhinos to three this year, and raised
the hackles of animal rights groups. Of the two
carcasses found yesterday, one was detected
after a gun battle between the poachers and
forest guards at Burhapahar range of the park
on Saturday night.
PM vows predictable
policies, stable taxes
Modi speaks of achievements
he hopes will help lift
hundreds of millions of
people out of poverty
Kerry looks at the bed, spinning wheel and desk of Mahatma Gandhi
as he tours his home in Ahmedabad yesterday.
Kerry praises P
‘visionary’ PM
merica’s top diplomat
John Kerry yesterday met
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, praising the man once
banned by the US as a “visionary” poised to transform India’s
The talks in Modi’s fiefdom
of Gujarat came just two weeks
before US President Barack
Obama will be guest of honour
at India’s January 26 Republic
Day celebrations - in what will
be an unprecedented second
visit to India by a sitting US
Kerry and Modi met on the
sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat
trade summit in the state capital
Gandhinagar aimed at attracting
global investment to the state - a
model which the prime minister
hopes to use to boost the nation’s economy.
Addressing the summit earlier
in the day, Kerry told hundreds
of participants that bilateral
trade between the two economic
giants has grown nearly five-fold
since 2000 alone.
Bilateral foreign direct investment now stands at nearly
$30bn, he said, describing
Modi as a “visionary prime
“Together, we can create an
environment where all of our
companies play leading roles in
bringing cutting-edge technologies, equipment, capital, and
know-how not just to India but
to countless countries that need
this growth and development
now,” Kerry said.
Modi swept to power in May
elections last year, partly on a
promise to revitalise the world’s
third largest economy.
And he pledged to the conference to slash red tape and banish
India’s reputation as a hard place
to do business.
Kerry took a rare moment off
his busy schedule of meetings
to visit the Mahatma Gandhi
Ashram, founded by the Father of the Nation in 1917 on the
banks of the River Sabarmati.
Removing his shoes, the top
US diplomat visited Gandhi’s
simple home which became the
focus of his movement of passive
“Gandhi’s example inspires all
of us to this day and for my generation helped to shape America,” Kerry wrote in the visitor’s
He later met the bosses of top
Indian companies such as the
Advani group and Reliance Industries to hear directly their
concerns about doing business
in America.
rime Minister Narendra
Modi promised yesterday to pursue predictable
policies and ensure stable taxes,
in a speech that sought to address key concerns for foreign
investors in Asia’s third-largest
US Secretary of State John
Kerry led a roll call of leaders,
including UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon and World Bank
head Jim Yong Kim, converging
on Modi’s home town of Gandhinagar for the Vibrant Gujarat
business summit. President
Barack Obama visits India later
this month.
Eight months into Modi’s
rule, his failure to lift the economy from its longest growth
slowdown in a generation has
raised questions about how
much substance there is behind
his promise of “red carpet, not
red tape.”
“We’re trying to complete
the circle of economic reforms
speedily,” Modi told the Davos-style event that he founded
when he was chief minister of
the fast-growing industrial
“We are also keen to see that
our policies are predictable.
We’re clear that our tax regime
should be stable,” Modi said,
turning on the charm in English
and making the occasional aside
in Hindi to Indians in the audience.
Along with speakers from
Japan, Canada and Singapore,
Kerry lavished praise on his
host and refrained from airing
US business gripes over barriers to entering the Indian market.
“We can do more together and
Greenpeace staff member
‘offloaded’ at Delhi airport
New Delhi
elhi airport authorities
barred a Greenpeace
India staff member yesterday from flying out of India
despite holding a valid visa, a
move the campaign group described as “bullying” by the
Priya Pillai, a senior campaigner, was on her way to London when immigration officials
stopped her and stamped “offload” on her passport, a statement from the international
environmental group said.
Officials told her she was
barred from leaving the country and they were “just following orders from the Indian government.”
“Today my right to freedom
of movement has been infringed
and there was an attempt to
treat me like a criminal,” Pillai
said in the statement.
The Indian government
tightened controls on foreign
fund transfers to Greenpeace
India in June following an intelligence report accusing activist
groups of “stalling development projects” by protesting
against power projects, mining
and genetically modified food.
“The government’s intentions are clear - they are trying
to intimidate and bully Greenpeace and its employees,” said
Samit Aich, executive director
of Greenpeace India.
“At a time when the whole
world is making a strong pitch
to safeguard freedom of speech
and democratic rights, this action by the world’s largest democracy is problematic.”
The home ministry did not
immediately comment on the
Yesterday’s incident comes
four months after another British Greenpeace staff member
was stopped from entering India and put back on a Londonbound flight.
clamped down on activist groups
over the past two years following
campaigns that delayed important industrial projects.
Greenpeace chief Kumi
Naidoo had personally appealed to Prime Minister
Narendra Modi in November
to release funds after the Delhi
High Court directed authorities
to unblock them.
Greenpeace India says it has
not received any money since
the order. A final hearing on the
matter is expected on January 20.
Tight security at Sabarimala temple
About 10,000 policemen
have been posted at Kerala’s
Sabarimala temple ahead of
‘Makare Villeku’ on Wednesday.
‘Makare Villeku’ or witnessing
the celestial light that appears
on the horizon and the sighting
of the auspicious celestial
light is the most important
event of the two-month
pilgrimage dedicated to
Lord Ayyappa. There has been
a huge influx of pilgrims and
the police are keeping in the
mind the 2011 stampede
which left 106 pilgrims
dead. On the first day of the
Malayalam calendar in January
the celestial light appears
thrice on the horizon soon
after sunset.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sits alongside dignitaries attending the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2015
in Gandhinagar yesterday.
we must do more together - and
we have to do it faster,” said Kerry, repeating a call to raise bilateral trade five-fold from around
$100bn currently.
Modi spoke of achievements
he hopes will help lift hundreds
of millions of Indians out of
poverty, including the opening
of more than 100mn bank accounts, a ‘Make in India’ campaign to promote manufacturing, and plans to expand India’s
rail, road, energy and digital networks.
Modi said his government had
already introduced a slew of initiatives since ending a decade of
rule by the Congress.
“In a very short span of seven
months, we have been able to
change the atmosphere of despair and uncertainty,” he told
the crowd of thousands of business leaders and foreign government ministers.
“Since day one, my government is actively working to revive the economy,” he said.
“We are planning to take a
quantum leap,” the 64-year-old
leader said.
Vibrant Gujarat, held every
two years, has yielded billions of
dollars in investment promises
but only a fraction of the deals
announced have come to fruition.
Modi aims to lift stagnant
capital investment that has
12 Bodo militants
arrested in Assam
welve Bodo militants were arrested yesterday from three places in Assam along
the international border with Bhutan, a
day after an insurgent involved in the massacre
of adivasis was shot dead, police said.
The activists of the anti-talk faction of
the National Democratic Front of Bodoland
(NDFB) were arrested in Chirang district in
operations jointly carried out by Assam police, the Central Reserve Police Force and the
Sashastra Seema Bal.
“The 12 cadres include a member of
the outfit’s central committee, a
deputy commander and a platoon commander,”
Inspector General of Police L R Bishnoi said.
They were being interrogated to establish
their links with the recent violence in three
districts of the state, he said.
Four AK-56 rifles, five pistols, one .303 rifle,
one .315 rifle, 12 magazines, four grenades and 785
rounds of ammunition were seized from them.
Security forces on Saturday gunned down
Jeblang alias Jagat Basumatary, platoon commander of the NDFB in Kokrajhar district,
who was involved in firing in Pakriguri area
in Kokrajhar on December 23 that left over 30
people dead.
The NDFB killed over 70 people in five locations across three districts on that day. The
violence also displaced over 200,000 people
across Kokrajhar, Sonitpur and Chirang and
Udalguri districts. Some of the violence-hit
areas are part of the Bodoland Territorial Area
Districts (BTAD).
held back India’s growth to
5.3%. That is expected to accelerate this year to 6.4%, said the
World Bank’s Kim, who called
India a “bright spot” in a mediocre global economic landscape.
Mukesh Ambani, India’s
richest man with a fortune
estimated at $19.7bn, praised
Modi’s leadership: “India is
marching forward with a clear
vision to become a global power.”
Ambani said his Reliance Industries conglomerate would
invest Rs1tn ($16bn) in Gujarat over the next year to 18
Sam Walsh, CEO of global
mining giant Rio Tinto, flagged
two potential projects: a $2bn
iron ore project in Odisha and an
investment in Madhya Pradesh
that could employ 30,000 diamond cutters.
Under the previous Congress government, investors
frequently complained about a
hostile business climate in India,
frustrated by bureaucracy and
In contrast, Gujarat won
a reputation as India’s most
investor-friendly state during the era of ‘Modi-nomics’ even if critics say he tilted the
playing field in favour of big
business through tax breaks
and subsidies.
Kerry told the gathering the
US is looking forward to stronger
trade and diplomatic ties between the world’s two largest
democracies, with American
companies primed for more investment.
“I can’t think of a moment in
all my years in public life when
our destinies are converging as
significantly as they are today,”
said Kerry, who is due to visit a
Ford auto plant in Gujarat during
his trip.
“This is a relationship where
we believe we can turn sustainable growth into opportunities
we have not seen before,” he told
the crowd.
Kerry’s visit to India, his second in six months, comes a fortnight before Obama is due in
New Delhi as Washington seeks
to warm up sometimes frosty
It is only a year since Washington ended a de facto boycott
of Modi, who was blacklisted
following deadly communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.
Modi received a rapturous
reception from members of the
diaspora on a visit to the US
last autumn and a number of
Indian-origin bosses, including MasterCard’s Ajaypal Singh
Banga, are attending the Gujarat summit.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
an energy
Panamanian tradition
World Crunch/Al Spectador
A woman wearing traditional clothing known as ‘Pollera’ dances as she takes part in the annual Thousand Polleras parade in Las Tablas, in the province of Los Santos.
According to local residents, the Pollera dates back to the 18th century and was worn by the Spanish lower classes. Today, it has become the Panamanian national costume.
The dress is made entirely by hand and the jewellery worn is pure gold and worth thousands of dollars.
Brazil’s drought may
push up coffee prices
Brazil’s output has a huge impact on
Sau Paulo
razil’s coffee harvest last year was hit
by one the country’s worst droughts
in decades, with effects on the
world’s largest producer now threatening
to spill over into this year, pushing prices
ever higher.
Brazil’s 290,000 growers produce
around a third of the world’s coffee—outproducing the country’s nearest competitor, Vietnam, by more than three times.
But last year’s total yield was down 7.7%
from 2013 and well below initial forecasts,
the ministry of agriculture said this week.
Production of high grade arabica
slumped even more drastically, by 15%.
The falling production has sent prices
soaring, with arabica up by half in 2014
and expected to keep increasing this year.
A pound of arabica for March delivery
was fetching around $1.77 on New York’s
ICE Futures US market Thursday, compared to around $1.06 a year earlier.
Unlike many crops that are replanted and
harvested each year, coffee is grown in a twoyear cycle. So initial predictions for 2014,
made before the drought took hold, had initially forecast a much stronger harvest.
“This harvest was all set to be a bumper
one, given many plantations were new and
cultivators had invested to increase productivity,” said Gil Barabach of Safras &
Mercado specialist news agency.
“At the end of 2013 we expected production to hit 60 to 65mn sacks,” Barabach
The final total, measured in 60kg bags,
was actually just 45.3mn, thanks in large
part to severe rain shortages in south and
central south Brazil, the country’s main
production centers, that stretched from the
first weeks of last year through November.
“Annual rainfall normally comes in at
between 1,600mm to 1,800mm,” said
Paulo Sergio Elias, a spokesman for a coffee growing cooperative of some 3,000
producers in Minas Gerais, north of Sao
Paulo and Rio states.
But rainfall last year “didn’t even reach
900mm”, Elias said.
The drought had a particularly severe
impact because “it happened from January
and February, just as the beans were growing larger and ripening,” Elias explained.
“It will also affect the productive potential of this coming year as plant reserves
are too weak to ensure the development of
future fruit,” he added.
In other words, given coffee’s two-year
growing cycle, the effects of last year’s
stunted growth will be seen in the bean
yield over the next 12 months.
“The plants expended a huge amount of
energy in enduring the lack of water and
high temperatures,” Elias said.
“As a result, the branches are shorter
Indigenous group trapped
by gated community
Worldcrunch/Folha de S Paulo
arge imposing walls and fences have
become a compulsory part of construction plans for the luxury gated communities mushrooming all around Brazil. But
there is one particularity about the Ecoville
Residence in Dourados, in the southwestern
state of Mato Grosso do Sul. On the other side
of its 3m electric fence sits the overcrowded
indigenous reserve of the Guarani-Kaiowá
The gate in Dourados doesn’t exactly keep
the tribe’s members out, but instead it regulates their comings and goings. Every day,
dozens of previously vetted indigenous people are indeed allowed inside the gated area
to work. They represent half of the household
employees and builders working in the residence’s mansions.
But while the domestic help is welcomed,
the same cannot be said for the numerous
carts that the Guarani-Kaiowá use to try to
sell manioc, sugar canes or potatoes in exchange for pocket change. The tragedy of indigenous tribes in the southern part of Mato
Grosso do Sul is well documented. During the
process of the region’s colonisation, under
the rule of president Getúlio Vargas (19301954), farmers and state agents expelled the
tribes-people from most of their lands, confining them to small reserves that are now
Suicide, malnutrition, murderIn Dourados, some 14,000 natives are crammed into
3,500 hectares (13 square miles), and the town
has become a symbol of the problem that this
confinement creates. The reserve, already
annexed to the ever-growing urban area,
barely has enough space for them to develop
their agriculture, not to mention their traditional way of life.
The 1990s saw the number of suicides on
the reserve increase dramatically. In the following decade, the deaths from child malnutrition caused nationwide shock. Now, the
main cause for concern is the murder rate.
But one problem doesn’t substitute for another. Instead, they pile up, creating a tragic,
self-feeding spiral.
In Dourados as in other cities, the GuaraniKaiowá are trying to recover part of their original land, thus transforming the south of Mato
Grosso do Sul into the main stage of conflicts
between natives and farmers.The ongoing
demarcation process covers 117,000 hectares
(452 square miles), which come on top of the
current 29,000 hectares of indigenous land.
Put together, that only represents 2.4% of the
southern part of Mato Grosso do Sul.
It is blocked in court by actions from farmers, who claim that the land where they live
and work was lawfully bought, which is actually true is most cases.
Minister Gilberto Carvalho recently blamed
the demarcation process delay on the current
law, which doesn’t allow the government to
compensate the farmers who would be expropriated from their land in native territory.
The fact is that during the last 12 years, the
governing Workers’ Party limited its actions
towards the indigenous people to mere palliative social programmes, perhaps even hoping to completely turn them into a helpless,
dependent people whose political support
would be guaranteed.
The walls that are being erected are the
concrete proof that this isn’t working.
than usual and hence will bear less grains.
Buds are also lacking in the clusters.”
Production was further hit last year by
frost in the southern state of Parana. The
region’s harvest slumped by two-thirds
over 2013, according to national supply
company Conab.
Plantations of lower grade robusta in
regions less affected by drought saw their
harvests rise 20 percent—but their yield
only accounts for a third of national production.
Barabach says he expects production
this year to be “similar” to 2014, but exports may be even lower, potentially pushing prices yet higher.
“The country had major reserves to call
on given weak demand and the low prices
of (2013),” explained analyst Barabach.
“Once the falloff in production was felt
and prices rose it sold off stock at a good
“Reserves will be much tighter in 2015,”
Barabach predicted.
here is always some piece
of surprising news from
Uruguay. The South
American continent’s smallest state, with barely 3.2mn
residents, it isn’t just great at
football, it’s living standards
are comparable to developed
states. And with sensitive issues such as drugs, it has decided to stop fussing and opt for
progressive policies like liberalising marijuana.
Now we can add another,
even more impressive accomplishment. Uruguay is implementing a veritable energy
revolution. The sun that shines
between the blue and white on
its flag is taking on new significance because the country is on
the verge of obtaining all of its
energy from renewable sources
— and investing 3% of its GDP
to this end. About 40% of this
clean energy is already coming
from wind, solar and biomass.
Picture this: 70% of the
loads being carried on Uruguay’s highways consist of
equipment related to harvesting energy from wind and solar n the country’s surface of
One of the architects of this
revolution is National Energy Director Ramon Méndez
Galain. Uruguay has no oil, he
points out, nor gas, and the
country has practically used
up its hydroelectric potential,
while the economy is growing
at 6% a year. At the same time it
wants to reduce poverty.
Uruguayans view the shortage of fossil fuels not as a problem but as an opportunity.
The four main political parties
reached an agreement and committed themselves to a long-
term policy. The country’s national energy strategy is now set
until 2030, and the parties must
keep to the agreed course, whoever wins the elections.
There have already been results. Uruguayans have seen
their electricity bills drop an
average of 6%. In 2012, Mexican economist Tabare Arroyo,
author of the WWF Green
Energy Leaders report, cited
Uruguay as the Latin American
country with the highest share
of GDP invested in renewables.
In 2014, it was the Latin American country with the highest
rate of increased investment in
clean energy sources.
The secret, says Ramón
Méndez, is simple: a longterm policy, the backing of all
parties, dialogue between the
public and private sectors, and
attracting the best brains. He
says Uruguay used various incentives to multiply its clean
energy researchers — tenfold.
In 2007, when the country
created an “auction” mechanism for companies interested
in producing clean energy,
many experts qualified it as
madness, he recalls. Today, 53
states use the auction model.
It basically consists of allowing
companies to bid for particular
quantities of energy production, with contracts going to
those offering the best prices.
In return, they are assured
business for at least 20 years,
along with certain technological facilities. Electricity generation prices are competitive
and have approached $60 per
megawatt hour.
“Everything was foreseen but
Uruguay’s victory,” former FIFA
chief Jules Rimet said after Uruguay won the 1950 World Cup.
The country may be looking at
another victory in the 21st century’s global renewables contest.
Bus crash kills 9, wounds 30
Nine people died and 30 more were injured when a bus plunged into
a ravine in southern Brazil around dawn yesterday, police said.
The bus carrying 41 Brazilian tourists had left from Passo Fundo,
in the far southern state of Rio Grande do Sul and was in the Santa
Catarina mountains when it crashed, the police said, adding it is still
investigating the cause of the crash. Six passengers and the driver
were killed immediately, while another two passengers died at the
hospital. The injured were taken to three hospitals in the region.
About 50,000 people died on Brazilian roads in 2013, according to
police estimates published in January. Police blame excess speed,
reckless overtaking, drunken driving and the poor state of repair of
many highways for the vast majority of traffic accidents. Brazil has
adopted UN targets stipulating it should aim to halve traffic deaths
and injuries by 2020.
Bike taxi
A bike taxi driver rides with a passenger in downtown Havana. From bus drivers to bartenders and ballet dancers, many Cubans are already
imagining a more prosperous future after the United States said it will put an end to 50 years of conflict with the communist-run island.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sharif govt to take action against ‘violent banned outfits’
f the nearly 72 organisations and outfits that
have been declared ‘proscribed’, only a handful are likely
to face action in the coming days
as part of the government’s impending crackdown on terrorists
and militant groups, sources in
the interior ministry said.
The sources say that the government’s focus, at least in the
initial stages, would be on organisations which had taken up
arms against the state.
Such organisations will not be
allowed to operate on Pakistani
soil anymore and members of
such groups who are known to
be involved in violent activities
will be arrested, an official in the
interior ministry said.
“Following their arrest and
interrogation, such individuals
will be produced before military
courts for trial under a defined
procedure,” he said.
The official confirmed that
groups which had claimed responsibility for recent terrorist attacks would be proceeded
against, but refused to give any
He said the provinces had
been asked to develop a “multi-faceted process of scrutiny”
whereby cases would be sent to
military courts, adding that the
methodology would be fine-
tuned by his ministry. Benign
It is believed that most banned
organisations do not have militant wings and the ministry
has no plans to act against such
groups. In addition, the ministry’s official said, it was ‘not
advisable’ to simultaneously act
against all banned outfits.
The provinces had been asked
to identify outlawed outfits and
keep an eye on key operatives.
They will also be looking into
groups that have re-emerged
under different names after their
original incarnation was banned
by the government.
The official said that individuals who faced criminal charges
under the fourth schedule of the
Anti-Terrorism Act would be
monitored closely.
Under the law, he added,
such persons were supposed to
report to a police station before
travelling to any other city, as
well as intimating their date of
“Following their arrest
and interrogation, such
individuals will be
produced before military
courts for trial under a
defined procedure”
He said such people were also
required to report to the police
station concerned in the city
they are travelling to, but admitted that this provision had
scarcely been enforced in the
Although he did not offer specifics on which organisations
were regarded as being an immediate threat, the official said a
comprehensive assessment was
being carried out to ascertain
how many of the 72 were active
and how many were operating
under changed names.
The National Counter-Terrorism Authority’s National Coordinator Hamid Ali Khan could
not be contacted to get his point
of view.
The government’s list features
organisations such as Al Qaeda,
the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan,
and some of its factions, including the Tehreek-i-Taliban
62 killed in Pakistan
bus-tanker crash
The accident took place
on the outskirts of Karachi
shortly after midnight, when
the passenger bus collided
with an oil tanker and caught
People look at the wreckage of a bus and tanker after they collided early yesterday, on the outskirts of Karachi yesterday.
and a compressed natural gas
cylinder was fitted in the bus,
said Talib Husain, a relative of
one of the victims.
“After the collision the bus
caught fire and, as a result, the
CNG cylinder exploded,” Husain
smashed the window from inside and rescued his family while
the bus was on fire.”
Senior police official Rao Mohamed Anwaar said the bus “hit
the oil tanker, which according to
initial reports was coming in the
wrong direction” and caught fire.
“We are trying to ascertain if
the driver of the oil tanker was
solely at fault or whether the bus
driver also showed negligence,”
Anwaar said.
Another senior police official,
Aamir Shiekh said it appeared
that the poor condition of the
single-track road contributed to
the accident.
Pakistan has an appalling
record of fatal traffic accidents
due to poor roads, badly main-
Cleric who conducted Imran’s
nikah was held for 1995 coup plot
akistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI) Chairman Imran
Khan’s nikah ceremony
was conducted by an Islamic
cleric who tried to overthrow
Benazir Bhutto’s government in
1995, it was learnt yesterday.
The nikah is thought to have
taken place several weeks ago,
and was overseen by Mufti
Saeed, a wealthy Islamic scholar
who was arrested following the
failed 1995 coup plot by Islamic
militants within the Pakistan
Army. He was later released, a
British daily said in a report.
The plot was led by Major General Zahirul Ismal Abbasi and involved officers who
planned to kill the country’s civilian and military leaders over
their scaling down of support to
terrorist groups attacking Indian
forces in Kashmir.
Imran Khan has been accused
of being soft on terrorist groups
for his recent support for negotiations with Taliban leaders. He
was also accused of being part of
a plot to oust the Pakistan government last year when thousands of his supporters occupied
central Islamabad and attacked
government buildings.
When contacted, Mufti Saeed
declined to confirm or deny reports of his role in Khan’s reported marriage or to comment
on his links to the 1995 coup attempt.
“Khan will himself reveal it
soon to the nation so why should
I comment on it? I don’t want to
confirm it or deny it”, he said.
He has been friends with Khan
for ten years and counselled him
on matters of faith.
“We have had very good
friendly relations for the last
decade. He comes to me to discuss religious issues and questions he may have”, the Mufti
Law to regulate mosque sound system in Punjab soon
The Punjab government
promulgated yesterday yet
another ordinance to regulate
use of sound systems by anyone,
allowing only one loudspeaker
to the places of worship
including mosques and only
for “azan”, Arabic Khutba and
announcements of death or lost
persons or things.
The declared purpose of
Video shows beheading
of purported Pakistani
soldier; Unclear if militants
taking orders from Islamic
the Punjab Sound Systems
(Regulation) Ordinance 2015 is
to prevent public nuisance and
the voicing of utterances of a
controversial nature likely to
cause public disorder.
It is also to regulate, control
and prohibit the use of certain
sound systems in the province
in the interest of environment,
public order, decency and the
prevention of incitement to
terrorism or the commission of
any offence.
It describes the worship places as
a mosque, imambargah, church,
temple or any other place of
worship of any sect or religion.
Violation of the law will lead to
imprisonment up to six months
and fine from Rs25, 000 to
Rs100, 000.
tained vehicles and reckless
A total of 57 people, including
18 children, were killed in November last year when a bus collided with a coal truck near the
town of Khairpur in Sindh.
After that crash police blamed
the poor condition of the road
and the lack of warning signs
and said they would investigate
the government department responsible—the first time such an
investigation has been launched
in the country.
Afghan national
football coach
survives attack
Afghanistan’s celebrated
national football team
coach was stabbed near his
residence in an upscale area
of the capital Kabul, and has
been hospitalised, police said
Mohamed Yousuf Kargar
played a central role in
rebuilding the national
football side after the 2001
fall of the hardline Islamist
Taliban regime that had
banned almost all sports and
even used the Kabul football
stadium for executions.
The motive for the attack on
Kargar on Saturday evening
was unclear but may have
been the result of a personal
dispute, they said. The case is
under investigation.
Photographs of Kargar lying in
a hospital bed were posted all
over Afghan social media, with
condemnations of the attack.
He led the national team
to its greatest success,
winning the South Asian
Football Federation (SAFF)
championship by beating
India 2-0 in Kathmandu on
September 2013.
Afghanistan has struggled
under the weight of more than
three decades of conflicts
that have severely damaged
Last April a bus smashed into
a tractor-trailer in a high-speed
collision in Sindh, killing 42
people, while in March a horrific
crash between two buses and a
petrol tanker left 35 dead, with
many burned alive when the fuel
The recovery equipment
available to Pakistani emergency
services is often basic. When
crashes happen some distance
from major towns, rescue efforts
can take time and the injured
have less chance of survival.
Jamaat, including its chief,
Ahmad Ludhianvi, had taken
part in the 2013 general elections.
Former Punjab law minister
Rana Sanaullah met Ludhianvi
more than once prior to the 2013
elections and justified his meetings by saying that members of
the Jamaatud Dawa and Sipahi-Sahaba Pakistan were not terrorists.
However, the official avoided
commenting on political parties which were said to have
links with banned outfits. In
June 2010, Ludhianvi even
claimed that at least 25 PPP
MNAs had won the 2008 general elections with his party’s
Pak soldier
beheaded by
IS supporters
Dera Ismail Khan
t least 62 people including women and children
were killed early yesterday in southern Pakistan when
their bus collided with an oil
tanker, starting a fierce blaze
which left victims burnt beyond
Initial reports said the tanker
was travelling on the wrong side
of the road along a dilapidated
stretch of highway, police said.
It was the second crash involving major loss of life in
Sindh province in less than three
Authorities transferred the
remains to a local morgue after
taking samples for DNA testing
in order to identify them.
Doctor Semi Jamali at Karachi’s Jinnah hospital said another four passengers with minor
injuries have been discharged.
The bodies were “completely
burnt and stuck to each other”,
she earlier said.
The overloaded bus was en
route to the town of Shikarpur
from the southern port city of
Karachi when the collision occurred.
“I was sitting on top of the bus
when I saw a tanker hit it, and a
minute later it caught fire,” said
Ikhtiyar Ali.
“There were three of us on the
roof of the bus. We jumped to the
ground to save our lives when we
saw the fire.”
The tanker was carrying oil
Bajaur, Tehreek-i- Taliban Mohmand and Tehreek-i-Taliban
Then there are organisations
whose names reflect their inherently militant nature, such as the
Balochistan Liberation Army,
Balochistan Republican Army,
Balochistan United Army, United Baloch Army, Balochistan
Bunyad Parast Army, the 313
Brigade and the Abdullah Azzam
brigade, among others.
When asked about banned
outfits that had taken part in the
last general elections, he said a
new procedure was being devised for registration of political
At least 40 candidates from
the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal
group of Pakistani
and Afghan militants
have beheaded a Pakistani soldier after pledging
allegiance to Islamic State,
according to a new video released online, copying execution tactics used by the Middle
East jihadist group.
Islamic State, which controls
large areas of Iraq and Syria, has
gained a foothold in Pakistan
and Afghanistan in the past
year, with a number of former
Taliban militants setting up a
new group purporting to represent IS interests in the region.
Little is known about its activities or its size. It remains
unclear whether IS-inspired
militants hiding on the Pakistani-Afghan border are acting on their own or on direct
orders from the IS leadership
in the Middle East.
In the latest Arabic-language video, whose authenticity could not immediately
be confirmed, a large group of
turbaned militants, many on
horseback and holding rifles
and black IS flags, are seen
gathered in an undisclosed
forested area.
A militant identified by
the SITE intelligence group
as former Pakistani Taliban
spokesman Shahidullah Shahid is then seen addressing the
crowd to announce pledges of
allegiance to IS from leaders of
various groups in Afghanistan
and Pakistan.
“We want to inform you that
we have brought together the
emirs of 10 groups who want to
pledge their allegiance to the
Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,”
he said, referring to the IS leader.
At the end of the 16-minute
video a man wearing a helmet,
a T-shirt and combat trousers,
identified as a Pakistani soldier, is seen being beheaded
with a machete.
According to SITE, those
present during the execution
included both Afghan and
Taliban militants but nothing was known about the beheaded soldier or how he was
“We want to inform you
that we have brought
together the emirs of
10 groups who want to
pledge their allegiance
to the Caliph Abu Bakr
IS’s radical ideology appears
to have inspired many fighters
operating across the region,
posing a possible challenge to
more established local groups
such as the Taliban.
But, while some fighters
switched sides to declare
allegiance to IS in the past
year, most Taliban insurgents remained staunchly
loyal to Mullah Mohamed
Omar, an Afghan Taliban
leader who has been at the
helm of the movement since
the 1990s.
Videos of beheadings, popularised by IS, are not commonplace in the AfghanistanPakistan region, although
the Taliban and other local
militant groups often resort
to similarly gruesome attacks
against security forces and civilians.
Fishermen protest
A Pakistani fisherman holds a model of a fish as he takes part in a protest demanding the release of
Pakistani fishermen held in Indian jails in Karachi yesterday. Arrests are frequently carried out by
both countries, as the maritime border in the Arabian Sea is poorly defined and many fishing boats
lack the technology needed to be certain of their precise location. The fishermen often languish in
jail even after serving prison terms, as poor diplomatic ties between the two countries mean
fulfilling official requirements can take a long time.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Govt ‘will build
120,000 homes for
typhoon displaced’
By Fernan Marasigan
Manila Times
housing agencies expect
to construct this year
120,000 housing units for
families displaced by Super
Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan),
Vice President Jejomar Binay
said yesterday.
The vice president, who is
chairman of the Housing and
Urban Development Co-ordinating Council (HUDCC) and
the head of the Yolanda Resettlement Cluster, added that
as of December 2014, P13.4bn
has been released for the construction of 46,129 housing
units. Of these, 37,500 have
been bid out and awarded.
“By the end of 2015, we plan
to provide disaster-resilient
housing in safer communities,
to families living in high-risk
and hazardous areas,” Binay
said in a statement.
He added that an additional
P1.3bn has been approved for
release while another P7.99bn
approved supplemental budget will generate an additional
31,752 housing units.
“These projects have been
bid out and ready for award
but could not be awarded
pending release of funds to
the National Housing Authority,” Binay said.
According to the vice
president, 205,128 houses are
needed for Yolanda victims
in 116 cities and municipalities.At the end of 2014, key
shelter agencies had completed a total of 2,100 housing units.
Binay admitted that the
government housing agencies
are facing several issues that
hamper the construction of
houses for Yolanda victims.
One of these is the difficulty
in identifying land suitable for
housing with appropriate environmental clearances.
“Administrative Order 44
was issued on October 28
which is expected to fasttrack the issuance of clearances and permits. However,
some concerned agencies are
still crafting their respective
IRRs (Implementing Rules and
Regulations) while others just
recently started operationalising their processes,” Binay
Another problem is that
Camotes Island are still classified as reserved land.
“In the case of these areas,
we are still waiting for a presidential proclamation that will
carve out areas that can be
used for housing,” Binay said.
Man detained over
killing of journalist
Manila Times
Balanga City, Bataan
ataan police have placed
under its custody a suspected gunman in the
killing of a lady reporter of
tabloid Abante on Thursday
Senior Supt. Rodel Sermonia, Bataan police director,
said he could still not identify
the suspect pending further
follow-up investigations.
“We are gathering more
evidence to make the case that
we will file airtight,” Sermonia said.He instead showed a
composite sketch of the suspect they have placed under
Sermonia said that an eye-
witness gave the composite
sketch of the gunman.
“It resembles a former prisoner who has a case of murder
but is out on bail. He is considered still to be doing gunfor-hire,” the police provincial
director said.
They are eyeing two suspects who rode a motorcycle
during the killing of Nerlita
“Nerlie” Ledesma, 47, Abante
reporter in Bataan and Olongapo City.
“One was wearing a helmet
while the other one who removed his helmet, was the one
who fired the gun,” he said.
Scene of the Crime Operatives and police investigators
recovered from the crime
scene four empty shells and a
slug from caliber .45 revolver.
Workers install Philippine and Vatican flags ahead of a visit by Pope Francis in Manila yesterday.
Rains threaten papal
mass on storm-hit island
The country’s weather
bureau has said a
low-pressure area
currently over the Pacific
Ocean was on course for
Leyte Island, touted as one
of the highlights of the
pontiff’s four-day visit
he Philippines was watching nervously yesterday as
a tropical storm threatened a typhoon-prone central
island that Pope Francis will visit
this week on his tour of the fer-
vently Catholic nation.
The country’s weather bureau said a low-pressure area
currently over the Pacific Ocean
was on course for Leyte Island,
touted as one of the highlights
of the pontiff’s four-day visit,
and could develop into a storm
by the time it enters Philippine waters on Thursday. Leyte
was the province worst-hit
by Super Typhoon Haiyan in
November 2013, and suffered
landslides and floods late last
year wrought by tropical storm
“Part of contingency planning are possible inclement
scenarios.... options are be-
ing developed,” presidential
spokesman Herminio Coloma
from the papal visit organising
committee said.
Asked if cancelling the
events on Leyte island on January 17 was an option, Coloma
said: “It’s best to wait until the
(weather disturbance) enters
the Philippines before making
specific contingency plans.”
In a best-case scenario,
the low pressure area would
turn northwards and spare
the country, but there is also
an equal chance it will intensify into a storm, state weather
forecaster Alvin Pura said.
“This may hit the Eastern
Visayas and bring rains to the
Pope’s events,” he said, referring to the island chain in
which Leyte sits.
Pura could not immediately
say how much rain was possible
on Leyte if the storm developed
and hit the island. During the
last week of 2014, the Eastern
Visayas were caught offguard
when a storm bearing relatively
weak winds brought heavy rains,
triggering flashfloods and landslides that killed 54 people.
The pontiff, who arrives in
the country on Thursday, will
be in Leyte on Saturday to give a
mass at the airport in Tacloban,
ground zero for Haiyan, and have
Millions to welcome Pope on Asia trip
ope Francis will immerse
himself in some of Asia’s
most fervent Catholicism
during a trip to the Philippines
and Sri Lanka starting tomorrow, with millions of devotees
set to turn out.
The Argentinian pontiff with
a man-of-the-people reputation could attract one of the
biggest gatherings ever for a
Pope during an open-air mass
in the Philippine capital of Manila.
The January 18 event may
draw up to 6mn people, offering
a pulsating example of Asia’s
status as a dynamic growth region for the Catholic Church
-- but also creating a security
The Pope’s trip, which begins
in Sri Lanka, comes just five
months after he visited South
Korea, signalling the huge importance the Vatican places on
Asia and its potential for more
“This second trip to Asia...
is a message in itself for this
great continent. It is necessary
to have the Pope return to this
important part of the world,”
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said as the
78-year-old pontiff prepared
for the week-long visit.
In Sri Lanka, the Pope will
preach reconciliation as the
majority Buddhist nation of
20mn people continues to endure ethnic conflict following
the end in 2009 of nearly four
decades of civil war that pitted
A Catholic priest blesses members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with holy water during a mustering of troops ahead of the papal
visit, at the AFP headquarters in Quezon city, Metro Manila yesterday.
separatist Tamils against Sinhalese.
Religious violence has continued since then, with attacks
on mosques and churches by
nationalist Buddhist groups
who say minorities have undue
influence on the island.
But he will land in Sri Lanka just days after Maithripala
Sirisena scored a stunning
peaceful election victory over
veteran strongman Mahinda
Rajapakse, a result that offers
hope for future peace prospects.
During his two-night stay,
the Pope will visit a church that
sheltered refugees from across
the religious and ethnic divide
during the civil war, and which
has a 450-year-old statue of the
Virgin Mary.
The centrepiece of the visit
will be a public mass on the sea
front in the capital of Colombo,
which is expected to attract 1mn
Catholics and followers of other
Sri Lanka has a sizeable
Catholic minority of about
1.5mn —but it is when Francis reaches the Philippines on
Thursday that he can expect to
feel the most vibrant and colourful forces of the region’s
Catholic faith.
The Philippines is one of
the Church’s modern success
stories, counting roughly 80%
of the former Spanish colony’s
100mn people as Catholics,
which has helped to offset waning influence in Europe and
the US. Anticipation has been
building for months ahead of
his trip — the fourth papal visit
to the Philippines —with the
Pope dominating the media,
billboards and sparking a merchandise frenzy.
“I’m excited, because this
Pope’s focus is on the poor,”
said human resources manager
Renita Terciano, 50, who has
booked hotel rooms near the
Manila papal mass park venue
for her family so they can attend
the event.
If the crowd is as big as expected, it could surpass the estimated 5mn people who turned
up for a mass by Pope John Paul
II at the same venue in 1995.
That event is regarded as the
biggest ever gathering to see a
Church officials say the
Pope’s visit is also a “mercy and
compassion” trip to meet survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan,
which claimed 7,350 lives when
it destroyed entire farming and
fishing communities in impoverished areas of the central
Philippines in 2013.
The Pope will spend Saturday
in Tacloban, one of the worsthit cities, and nearby areas. He
is due to give a mass to tens of
thousands of typhoon survivors
at Tacloban airport, and have a
private lunch with a small group
of others.
Erlinda Suyom, 30, who lost
her two children and her home
near Tacloban to tsunami-like
waves, said she would dearly
love to meet the Pope.
“I would like to ask for his
guidance. I also want to tell him
to ask God to ensure that my
son and daughter are happy in
heaven,” Suyom said.
Security will be a major issue
throughout the pontiff ’s Asia
trip, but Philippine Church officials have said he will not travel
in a bulletproof “popemobile”
because he wants to be closer to
his flock.
Philippine authorities have
said they are deploying nearly
40,000 security personnel in
one of the nation’s biggest ever
security operations.
“We are doing everything
humanly possible to secure the
safety of the Pope,” Philippine
presidential spokesman Edwin
Lacierda told reporters, while
stressing authorities had not
detected any specific threat.
lunch with storm survivors in
nearby Palo town.
The weather disturbance was
unlikely to affect another mass
in Manila the day after, where
millions are expected to attend,
Pura said. Partly cloudy skies
and cool weather are expected in
the capital on that day, he said.
The Philippines is hit by an
average of 20 typhoons per year,
many of them deadly.
Haiyan, the strongest typhoon
to hit land with 230-kilometre
per hour winds, brought tsunami like waves to the central Philippines, wiping out entire towns
and leaving more than 7,350
people dead or missing.
Rebels face
Manila Times
Cotabato City
embers of an insurgent
group in Mindanao
continue to extort and
threaten farmers in remote villages in Sultan Kudarat province,
officials said yesterday.
Sancho Salamanca, chairperson of Barangay Katiku, said
the Bangsmoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF) continue to extort “protection money” from
farmers who were also threatened if the demand was ignored.
Salamanca admitted that
farmers provided a share of their
production to the BIFF so they
are not “disturbed.”
But the demand of the BIFF
on the hapless farmers continue
to increase and were soon coupled with threats that no harassment will take place if the farmers shell out some sacks of palay
(unmilled rice) to the insurgency
group.“Our farmers have no recourse but to provide the bandits
with few sacks of palay per hectare,” Salamanca lamented.
However, recently the BIFF
have started demanding more and
threatened to take over the rice
fields by claiming its real owners
belonged to the BIFF,” he said.
Many farmers in Sultan Kudarat
whose rice fields are situated in
the borders of Maguindanao have
been arming themselves to prevent harassment, especially during the harvest season.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Lanka to investigate
Rajapakse ‘coup’ bid
ri Lanka’s new government
yesterday accused toppled
strongman Mahinda Rajapakse of having tried to stage
a coup to cling to power after
losing last week’s presidential
Rajapakse, South Asia’s longest-serving leader before losing
last Thursday’s polls, had been
widely praised for conceding
defeat to Maithripala Sirisena
before the final results had been
But a top aide to Sirisena told
reporters that Rajapakse had in
fact tried to persuade the army
and police chiefs to help him
stay in office with the use of
“People think it was a peaceful transition. It was anything
but,” Mangala Samaraweera,
who is expected to be named as
Sirisena’s foreign minister, told a
press conference.
“The first thing the new cabinet will investigate is the coup
and conspiracy by president
“He stepped down only when
the army chief and the police
Inspector General (N K Illangakoon) refused to go along
with him.”
Illangakoon was “very vocal
and did not want to be a party
to this coup” while army chief
Daya Ratnayake also refused to
deploy troops for Rajapakse to
seize power, said Samaraweera.
The attorney general’s department had also warned that
there would be “dangerous consequences”, he said.
Samaraweera said diplomatic
pressure had in addition been
brought to bear on Rajapakse,
who came in for international
criticism during his near-decade in office over his administration’s human rights record.
Critics also accused him of
and a culture of nepotism and
“Some world leaders also
spoke with president Rajapakse
and prevailed on him to ensure a peaceful transition,”
Samaraweera said.
“I don’t know who had spo-
ken (to him), but we know some
leaders did talk to him.”
US Secretary of State John
Kerry and even Sirisena himself
had thanked Rajapakse for quitting in the early hours of Friday,
after his defeat in an election he
had seemed certain to win when
he called it in November.
The head of the army was not
immediately available for comment. But military spokesman
Ruwan Wanigasooriya said he
was “not aware of such a coup
Samaraweera said it was important for the new administration to disclose what had happened while results were being
released, and an independent
investigation probe would be a
In an address to the nation,
Sirisena appealed for a government of national unity to carry
out the political and economic
reforms he promised in his
election campaign.
The new president wants to
establish independent commissions to run the police, the public service and the judiciary and
to transfer many of his executive
powers to parliament.
“I hope all the parties will
accept my invitation and join
hands to ensure good governance, rule of law and carry out
the reforms we have promised to
improve the quality of life for our
people,” he said from the historic
hill city of Kandy.
The president invited all parties to join his cabinet, which
is expected to be finalised by
January 19 when parliament
will open.
He reiterated a call to normalise relations with Western nations and neighbouring India.
Rajapakse had alienated many
foreign leaders by refusing to allow an international probe into
allegations of mass civilian casualties in the brutal finale to Sri
Lanka’s 37-year Tamil separatist
war in 2009.
Another top lieutenant said
Sirisena had already received
the backing of more than 40
lawmakers previously loyal to
Rajapakse, virtually assuring
approval for his programme of
radical constitutional reforms.
“We now have more than
we need in parliament,”
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena speaking outside of the Buddhist Temple of Tooth in the central
town of Kandy yesterday.
Rajitha Senaratne said.
Sirisena previously had the
backing of 89 lawmakers and
needed another 24 for a simple majority in the 225-member
The new leader, who is himself a defector from Rajapakse’s
party, has already pledged to reverse many of the constitutional
changes made by his predecessor
Cricketer gets bail after
charged with rape
angladesh cricketer Rubel Hossain was yesterday granted bail by a
Dhaka court after his previous petition was rejected by
the metropolitan magistrate’s
court in a case filed by modelactress Naznin Akter Happy.
court judge Imrul Kayes heard
the matter and granted him
bail until police submit the
charge-sheet in the court, reported.
Happy filed a case on December 13 against Rubel under the Women’s Repression
Act, 2014, alleging that the
pace bowler, promising marriage, had engaged in a physical
relationship with her.
Rubel appeared in a high
court on December 15 and
filed an appeal, asking for
anticipatory bail. The court
Rubel Hossain
granted a four-week bail.
On January 8, the cricketer
surrendered to the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court
and sought bail again.
The court turned down his
plea and sent him to jail. This
happened three days before the
expiry of his anticipatory bail.
Rubel has alleged that Happy
has been “blackmailing” him.
Happy underwent a medical
test that suggested Rubel did
not force her to sleep with him.
The court ordered a DNA
test of Rubel on December 31
last year, taking cognisance of
an appeal filed by the Mirpur
Happy claimed the two got
in touch first on Facebook and
Rubel refused to marry her after nine months of an intimate
Happy, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student at a private university, has
acted in a Bengali film.
She alleged that Rubel got
involved with another girl
while their marriage was being
She lodged the complaint
against him when he allegedly
started avoiding her.
Happy also on January 5
filed a petition in court, seeking Rubel’s expulsion from the
Bangladesh team.
The Bangladesh cricket team
is to fly off to Australia in January-end for the ODI World Cup
beginning on February 14.
Film director Chasi Nazrul dies
minent Bangladeshi film
director and producer
Chasi Nazrul Islam died
yesterday in a Dhaka hospital after prolonged illness. He
was 73.
Labaid Hospital’s assistant general manager Saifur
Rahman Lenin said Islam’s
long battle with cancer came
to an end at 6am yesterday.
He was on a life support
for a while,
Islam shot into limelight
with his first film Ora Egaro
economy hit
hard by strike,
says business
body chief
Jon (They are Eleven), the first
film based on the Bangladesh
Liberation War.
His body was taken to
his house at Jashimuddin
road in Kamalapur of Dhaka
around 9 am, said Nationalist Socio-Cultural Organisation (Jasas) general secretary
Shamsuddin Didar.
which gave huge powers to the
Even Rajapakse’s Sri Lankan
Freedom Party has said it will
support Sirisena’s constitutional
reforms, making their enactment
a formality.
Sirisena quit Rajapakse’s cabinet in November to emerge as an
opposition unity candidate in the
January 8 polls, triggering a mass
defection of lawmakers.
While Rajapakse still retains
significant support from the majority Sinhalese community, anger had been growing over rising
levels of corruption.
Rajapakse had installed relatives in some of the most sensitive posts, including his younger
brother Gotabhaya as defence
rolling transport blockade organised by the
opposition is taking
a huge toll on Bangladesh’s
economy, with the vital garment industry hit particularly
hard, a business leader warned
Opposition leader Khaleda
Zia called the open-ended
blockade of roads, railways
and waterways after she was
confined to her office by police on January 3 while trying
to mobilise anti-government
In the nine days that Zia
has been locked in her office,
supporters of her Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) have
taken to the streets in their
hundreds, torching vehicles
and even derailing trains by
removing tracks.
The country’s top business
chamber said the transport
sector alone had been losing
2bn taka ($26mn) a day since
the blockade began, with at
least 200,000 buses and lorries kept off the road for fear of
“The disruption in the
transport sector has created
immense troubles for the
passengers and also hampered supply of goods,” said
Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed,
president of the Federation of
Chambers of Commerce and
“Farmers are the worst sufferers. Their vegetables are
rotting on the fields,” he said,
adding they were “deeply
concerned” at the worsening
political crisis.
Zia leads a 20-party opposition alliance which boycotted a general election last
year on the grounds it would
be rigged. She has said the
blockade will continue until
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
agrees to new polls organised
by a caretaker government.
At least 162 buses, lorries
and cars have been torched
while hundreds more have
been damaged.
Train schedules have also
gone haywire after several
major services were derailed,
leaving at least 50 people
Yesterday one person died
in a hospital in Dhaka after
he was firebombed on a bus,
police said, bringing the toll
in the unrest to nine. At least
250 people have been injured,
including 86 policemen.
“The disruption in
the transport sector
has created immense
troubles for the
passengers and also
hampered supply of
Authorities have provided
guards for buses and lorries
carrying shipments to the
ports. The paramilitary Border
Guard Bangladesh has said it
alone has provided security to
some 3,000 buses and trucks.
Ahmed said garment manufacturers, who account for
80% of the country’s $27.3bn
annual exports, fear the worst
since a prolonged blockade
could prompt Western retailers to divert orders to other
“The impact has not been
visible yet, but the supply chain has been disrupted
and naturally garment sector
won’t be immune from the
fallout,” he said.
Bangladesh is the world’s
second largest garment exporter after China. The sector
provides jobs for 4mn people, mostly women, and has
spurred economic growth to
over six percent a year in the
last decade.
World Muslim Congregation concludes
Devotees gesturing from a departing train following the conclusion of the World Muslim Congregation, also known as Biswa Ijtema, at Tongi, on
the outskirts of Dhaka, yesterday. Muslims attending one of the world’s largest religious gatherings joined the chorus of condemnation January 9
over the deadly attack on a French satirical weekly, saying the killings ran contrary to the tenets of Islam. Bangladesh’s Biswa Ijtema is the world’s
second largest Islamic gathering after the Haj with devotees coming from all over the globe to pray and hear imams preach for three days.
Nepalese bureaucrat clinches ‘Integrity Idol’ crown
Nepalese civil servant Gyan Mani
Nepal doesn’t sing, dance or
perform magic tricks — but all
eyes were on the bespectacled
bureaucrat yesterday when he
became the country’s first Integrity
The online contest, which eschewed
the glitz of popular television talent
shows, saw nearly 10,000 people
cast their votes via text message
and Facebook in a bid to encourage
honesty in the corruption-ridden
Himalayan nation.
An education official in eastern
Panchthar district, Nepal won
praise for his efforts to increase
teacher attendance and boost
student pass rates from 14% to
60% during his 15 years in the
“I am very happy,” Nepal said after
clinching the title, which does not
come with any prizes.
“I haven’t done anything big ... I just
try to provide education to children
who need it.”
In a country where teachers at
state schools often don’t turn
up, Nepal’s initiative to share his
mobile number with students and
parents so they could inform him
about absent tutors helped to raise
attendance to 90%.
He beat four other finalists — a
social worker, a health supervisor
and two school principals — who
were shortlisted after non-profit
group Accountability Lab Nepal
launched a nationwide campaign
last April.
“This initiative aims to reward
honest individuals and inspire
others to join the civil service,”
the charity’s Nepal representative
Narayan Adhikari said.
Nepal is ranked 126th out of 175
countries in anti-graft watchdog
Transparency International’s global
corruption perception index.
Many citizens are forced to pay
bribes for essential services, and
the head of the national anti-graft
watchdog is himself currently
the subject of several corruption
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
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Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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Exhibit marks
50 years of
It has been half a century since the first spacewalk
which ushered in radical changes to space exploration.
Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) or as they are
colloquially known, spacewalks, have changed the nature
of human spaceflight.
Whereas rockets could get humans into space, the
ability for them to leave their spacecraft and work
outside made possible walking on the moon, repairing
and upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope and
assembling the International Space Station.
The first spacewalk was conducted in March 1965 by
Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who spent 12 minutes
outside his spacecraft.
Three months later, Nasa astronaut Edward White
followed suit by spending 20 minutes during a
Spacewalking is tough business. In the vacuum of
space, a small tear in a cloth spacesuit could suffocate an
astronaut. A spacewalker could also be killed if struck
by even a tiny piece of space debris hurtling through the
void at 17,400 miles per hour.
Perhaps even more frightening, an astronaut
inadvertently unlatched from a tether could float away, as
illustrated in the Oscar winning Hollywood blockbuster
The Smithsonian’s
National Air and Space
Museum in the US is
looking back at how
astronauts have ventured
outside spacecraft over
the past 50 years. The
six-month exhibit, “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of
Extra-Vehicular Activity”, which opened last Thursday,
features art, photography and artefacts flown in space,
including spacesuits from the Gemini programme.
The museum holds many of White’s equipment such
as his spacesuit and camera and even the Gemini 4
spacecraft he flew in.
The museum also got hold of Leonov’s gear, including
his training spacesuit and airlock since his spacesuit and
spacecraft are still on display in Russia.
“Outside the Spacecraft” spans the history of
spacewalks, from Leonov’s and White’s first EVAs 50
years ago to the 369th spacewalk made last June by a pair
of cosmonauts outside the International Space Station.
In the half century since the initial outings, more than
200 people have “gone EVA” on nearly 375 excursions.
Twelve of those people exited their spacecraft to walk on
the surface of the moon.
“As an achievement within the history of spaceflight,
EVA is crucial to a long-term ability to reside in space,”
said Jennifer Levasseur, the curator of the exhibit. “We
needed the capability in order to build and maintain
space equipment, as we continue to see on the space
The exhibit allows the public to further understand
the significance of the EVA when it comes to mankind’s
ability to conduct space missions. Special are the Apollo
11 objects, chronicling the historic first mission to land
men on the moon. They are Neil Armstrong’s headset,
the lunar module film camera that recorded the first
landing, and a waist tether used in the module - the
last two of which are on loan to the museum, and are
promised donations, from the Armstrong family.
What about future spacewalks? Most probably, we
would see in our lifetime scientists out exploring on the
surface of Mars, as predicted recently by John Grunsfeld,
former space shuttle astronaut and a veteran of eight
spacewalks to repair and service the Hubble Space
A comeback strategy
for European countries
Europe must work to
secure its position in the
new world order
– beginning by enhancing
its own trade and
investment ties
with the US
By Carl Bildt and Javier Solana
hen Pope Francis
addressed the European
Parliament last
November, he compared
the European Union to a grandmother
– pleasant and rich with experience,
but lacking the vitality and energy
of the past. It is high time, Francis
argued, that EU leaders shed their
dozy image, recognise the strategic
challenges that Europe faces and forge
a clear policy for tackling them.
Admittedly, the Pope’s
characterisation was alarmingly
accurate in some respects. But, despite
its seeming lassitude, Europe retains
significant strengths. It is a hub of
high-level thought and innovation; it
is home to some of the world’s most
competitive regions and industries;
and, perhaps most impressive, it
has built a community and market
encompassing a half billion people.
But the world is changing: the
Asia-Pacific region is increasingly
influencing global developments,
economic and otherwise. The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) – by which
the US and 11 other countries would
create a mega-regional free-trade
zone – would most likely accelerate
this shift (all the more so if China
eventually joins). Though the TPP
faces no shortage of hurdles to clear
before an agreement is finalised, its
potential to augment Asia’s economic
power cannot be underestimated.
Europe must work to secure its
position in the new world order –
beginning by enhancing its own
trade and investment ties with the
US. The problem is that, as the TPP
negotiations progress, talks on the
EU-US Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) have
become so deeply mired in domestic
controversies that the entire project
may well be scuttled.
Despite its seeming
lassitude, Europe
retains significant
Business leaders on both sides
of the Atlantic are convinced that a
successful TTIP agreement would
bring substantial economic benefits
– a perception that many studies
reinforce. Yet trivial issues – for
example, the use of chlorinated
chicken and settlements of investor
disputes – continue to dominate the
The TTIP’s goal is to unleash the
power of the transatlantic economy,
which remains by far the world’s
largest and wealthiest market,
accounting for three-quarters of
global financial activity and more than
half of world trade. (If the TTIP was
opened to other economies – such
as Turkey, Mexico and Canada – the
benefits would be even greater.)
Even more compelling than the
benefits of achieving an agreement,
though, are the potentially
catastrophic consequences of failure.
For starters, a breakdown of TTIP talks
would give considerable ammunition
to those in the United Kingdom
who advocate withdrawal from the
EU; conversely, if the TTIP were
implemented, the UK would be unwise
– and thus unlikely – to leave.
Moreover, the perception that the
EU’s internal squabbles had led it
to squander a strategic opportunity
would probably drive the US to
accelerate its disengagement from
the continent. And Russian President
Vladimir Putin would invariably
regard the EU’s failure as a major
opportunity to exert more influence
over parts of Europe.
All of this contributes to a starkly
fundamental strategic risk: If the
TTIP stalls or collapses, while the
TPP moves forward and succeeds,
the global balance will tip strongly in
Asia’s favour – and Europe will have
few options, if any, for regaining its
economic and geopolitical influence.
When the TTIP was first proposed,
Europe seemed to recognise its value.
Indeed, it was the EU that pushed
the US, which initially doubted
Europe’s commitment, to launch the
negotiation process in June 2013.
The ambition was to complete the
negotiations on “one tank of gas”. No
one wanted to endure protracted talks
– or the associated political pain.
But EU leaders essentially
abandoned the project, seemingly
confirming American fears. Trade
negotiators struggled to make
headway, while anti-globalisation
groups seized control of the public
discourse, presenting the TTIP as a
threat to everything from Europe’s
democracy to its health.
This is dangerously inaccurate
talk, and EU leaders must prevent
it from gaining any more traction
by making the strategic case for the
agreement. And they must revive their
commitment to conclude the talks
successfully in 2015.
This is not to say that resolving
the remaining issues in the TTIP
negotiations will be simple. But
establishing a trade agreement,
especially one that entails so many
regulatory issues, is always difficult, as
it must account for the complexity and
changeability of modern economies.
The fact is that the challenges
inherent in completing the TTIP are
no more intractable than those that EU
leaders have faced in the last few years
of crisis.
When the TTIP negotiations resume
next month, EU leaders must push
for genuine progress, with the goal of
completing a deal by the end of the
year. The good news is that the recent
midterm elections in the US might
have improved their chances.
President Barack Obama now might
get so-called fast-track negotiating
authority from Congress. If he does,
Congress would simply approve or
reject any negotiated agreement,
rather than picking it apart.
The US presidential election season
is starting, and other issues in the
new year could easily take over the EU
agenda. That is why Europe’s leaders
have no time to waste. They must seize
economic opportunity – and avert
strategic disaster. - Project Syndicate
zCarl Bildt, a former prime minister
and foreign minister of Sweden, is
a member of the World Economic
Forum’s Global Agenda Council on
Europe. Javier Solana, a former EU
high representative for foreign and
security policy and Nato secretarygeneral, is a member of the World
Economic Forum’s Global Agenda
Council on Europe.
“EVA is crucial
to a long-term
ability to reside
in space”
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A detainee walking in the exercise yard of the “Camp 6” detention facility at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Hurdles abound for Guantanamo closure
By Chantal Valery
hirteen years after terror
suspects first arrived in
Guantanamo, the US is
sending inmates out at a
faster rate than ever before - but
hurdles remain in the effort to shutter
it entirely.
In 2014, 28 detainees were freed
in “the largest single-year reduction
in detainee population” since 2009,
said Paul Lewis, the US official
charged with closing the Guantanamo
detention facility.
As the facility entered its 14th
year yesterday, Lewis told AFP the
government is striving to “maintain
momentum” of its prisoner releases.
“The road to closing Guantanamo
is clear and well lit,” wrote his
former counterpart from the State
Department Cliff Sloan in an editorial
in the New York Times.
But Noor Mir from Amnesty
International USA, is calling on the
Obama administration to work faster.
“As we count a grim 13th year since
Guantanamo opened, dozens of men
continue to languish there with no
idea when or even if their detention
will end,” he said.
The first detainees arrived at the US
prison camp in Cuba on January 11,
2002 when, some four months after
the attacks of September 11, 2001,
president George W Bush locked in
open-air cages some of the “worst
of the worst” in the country’s war on
Today, 127 Guantanamo inmates
remain, down from some 680
prisoners held in 2003. The prison
population could fall below 100 within
two months, with the aim of cutting
the population by half before the end
of the year.
“Dozens of men
continue to languish
there with no idea
when or even if their
detention will end”
However, President Barack Obama’s
administration has been hampered by
Republicans in Congress who oppose
any transfer detainees to US soil, even
for trial.
Of the prisoners remaining are
83 Yemenis. They pose the biggest
problem for Guantanamo’s closure,
due to the volatile political situation
in Yemen.
The first step for Obama, who has
reiterated his intention to close the
prison facility, is to find host countries
for the 59 Yemenis cleared for release.
“We’re trying to transfer those 59 as
soon as possible, hopefully this year,” a
senior defence official told AFP.
“It’s on a case by case, individual
basis,” the official said on the
condition of anonymity.
The official said the US is focusing
on finding destinations in South
America and then in the Middle East
and Europe.
Next week, five Yemenis are to
be transferred to two unidentified
countries. So far, nearly two dozen
countries have accepted Guantanamo
detainees originally from somewhere
US authorities seek countries that
will take the prisoners, treat them well
and monitor them.
The prisoners, who have never been
convicted of a crime, are not intended
to be treated as criminals after their
release, but they must stay in the host
country for at least two years.
The next step for the administration
would then be the 10 “high-value”
prisoners who await prosecution.
Among them is self-proclaimed
September 11 mastermind Khalid
Sheikh Mohamed and his four codefendants, who await a military
The trial has not yet begun,
dimming the prospect of closing
Guantanamo in the near future.
Finally, to close the facility any time
soon, the administration may need
to expedite the review of each of the
remaining 58 prisoners who have not
been charged or approved for transfer.
Not all are expected to be
released from prison, as some are
committed militants, according to the
But estimates say the number of
prisoners could be reduced to 40.
Obama could then turn to Congress
to obtain permission to transfer
the remaining detainees to high
security US prisons, where the cost
would be significantly less than the
$3mn per inmate spent annually in
“If he can’t bring these detainees
to the US, he will have to keep them
in Guantanamo,” said lawyer David
Remes who represents 18 Yemeni
“I don’t see Congress ever relenting
and letting him bring them to the US,
so Guantanamo will remain open,”
Remes said.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Secrets to stick to your resolutions
While people often like to set
a goal to aim for, the focus
shouldn’t be on the goal but
on making the many
behaviour changes around
achieving it
of Habit and a Pulitzer Prize-winning
New York Times reporter.
“There’s this idea that as we become
older, it becomes harder to change,”
he says. But research shows any habit
can be changed by approaching it
methodically, “so you can make it
ingrained in your daily life”.
By Martha Ross
San Jose Mercury News/TNS
1) Really, it’s all in your head
A little understanding of the science
can go a long way toward getting you
In the late 1800s, psychologist
William James theorised that we
are essentially “bundles of habits”.
More than 100 years later, cognitive
psychologists, neuroscientists and
various experiments with rats and
rewards have shown James was onto
Habits are routines - like brushing
your teeth or driving to work - that we
barely think about because they reside
in the part of the brain that automates
regular behaviours to free up the
prefrontal cortex for higher-level,
decision-making tasks.
anuary 1 has come and gone,
which leads us to ask: how are
those New Year’s resolutions
If you have yet to visit your new
gym or are white-knuckling it
through your-no-more-sugar-forever
vow, you have plenty of company.
Something like 88% of resolutions
made by Americans fail, according to
one estimate.
And the problem isn’t your lack of
willpower, your inability to set and
accomplish long-range goals or the
idea that you are too stuck in your
It’s in the nature of resolutions
themselves. Experts in the burgeoning
science of habit change say “lose
weight”, “manage stress better”, “do
better at work” and other popular
resolutions are too lofty or vague. Or,
they involve tasks people won’t stick
with because they are too difficult
or because they leave you feeling
That doesn’t mean you can’t
improve your life. You can, experts
say, and you don’t need a special date
like January 1 or furious amounts of
motivation and effort. You just need
to figure out healthy new routines you
can easily and happily incorporate into
your daily life.
Compiled here are 10 cutting-edge
concepts from leading experts in habit
change, including Charles Duhigg, the
author of the 2011 bestseller The Power
2) Make changes you want
Don’t make changes you feel like
you “should” do.
“Behaviours that feel like ‘shoulds’
rarely become habits,” says Stanford
consulting professor B J Fogg, whose
research focuses on how to use
technology to make behavioural
And, yes, people often find they
do like doing things that are good for
them, but it’s important to experiment
to figure those out, Fogg says. “That’s
one of the things that I think surprises
people but is important. They have to
find behaviours that they want to do.”
3) Identify triggers
To replace a habit with a healthy
one, you first need to dissect the
“neurological loop” that lies at the
core of each habit, Duhigg says.
do two push-ups throughout the day
after going to the bathroom.
Fogg expected himself to do only
two. But if he felt energised to do
more - and he would usually do five to
12 - he would count any above two as
“extra credit”. Over the course of a day,
he would get in 40 to 70 push-ups.
Fogg’s push-up regimen illustrates
his “Tiny Habits” method of
behaviour change. “One way to
change behaviour is to make small
changes and to feel successful for
accomplishing those,” he says.
When Duhigg began researching
his book, he identified the loop that
prompted him to visit the company
cafeteria every day between 3 and
4 o’clock to buy a chocolate chip
cookie. He repeatedly vowed to end
the habit, but once that time of
day hit, he always ended up in the
As MIT researchers told Duhigg,
the loop consists of a cue, routine
and reward. By noting the onset of
his cookie craving and emotional
state, then experimenting with
alternate routines - walking outside
- Duhigg realised he didn’t buy a
cookie because he was hungry or
hankering for sugar. He just wanted a
break from work.
4) Create new rewards
So he planned out a new routine
and devised a new reward. He set an
alarm for 3:30pm so he’d get up from
his desk and find a work friend to chat
with. He replaced the cookie habit
with something else pleasurable socialising. After six months, the new
habit became automatic enough that
he didn’t have to think about doing
it, and he didn’t miss the afternoon
5) Make small changes
When Fogg, also director of
Stanford University’s Persuasive Tech
Lab, wanted to add something new to
his fitness regimen, he told himself to
6) Don’t take on too much
As the Tiny Habits method
suggests, Fogg says people don’t need
to radically transform their lives to
achieve results.
“Small changes can have a big
impact when done right,” he says.
While people often like to set a
goal to aim for, the focus shouldn’t be
on the goal but on making the many
behaviour changes around achieving
it, he says. And, people shouldn’t try
to tackle all those changes at once.
To lose 13 kilos, for example, “there
are about 50 new skills you have to
learn”, he says. They can range from
learning how to dine out with dietary
restrictions to building time in to
exercise five days a week.
He recommends starting with three
specific and manageable changes
you’ll want to do every day for the rest
of your life and then refining those
habits or adding new ones the next
week and the next.
“It’s something very easy to repeat
and to make a habit,” he says.
7) Forget 21 days (or 28)
Conventional wisdom holds that
if you repeat a habit every day for
three weeks, it will stick. Not so, says
Christine Carter, sociologist and
happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s
Greater Good Science Centre and
author of the new book The Sweet
Spot: How to Find Your Groove at
Home and Work.
There is no hard and fast rule, but
generally, easy habits can take a few
days to adopt, while some research
suggests others can take more than
two months.
8) Don’t go it alone
Duhigg’s book shows how people
sharing their recovery success stories
in Alcoholics Anonymous inspires
others in recovery to believe they, too,
can change while Carter says family
and friends can serve as your “external
willpower” when dedication to a new
habit falters.
“Most of us care what other people
think of us and when we make our
intentions public in some way - even
if our public is just an inner circle of
close friends - our intentions have
more power,” Carter says.
9) Celebrate successes
Carter says she’s a big fan of giving
herself a “Yeah, me!” mental pat on
the back whenever she makes even a
small accomplishment, such as setting
out her exercise clothes next to her
bed at night.
Those tiny celebrations trigger
small hits of dopamine, the
neurotransmitter associated with the
brain’s reward and pleasure centre,
that tells your brain it’s a habit worth
10) Shrug off setbacks
Because it’s common to falter when
attempting new habits, Carter urges
people to forgive themselves and learn
from their lapses: Maybe it shows that
the new routine needs tweaking or the
change is too much too soon.
“Instead of seeing a relapse as
an indication that you aren’t good
enough to establish a habit, see it as a
clue that will help you better create a
good habit that will stick with you for
the rest of your life,” she says.
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I think the Traffic Department must
correct the situation at the signal. In
addition, roadworks are in progress at
the junction now, slowing down the
traffic and causing jams.
Dear Sir,
Amar Noble Singh
The Gulf Times report about traffic
lights at the Midmac Roundabout,
never switching to green, but either
remaining red or keeping blinking
amber, was timely indeed (Midmac
roundabout green signal on the blink,
January 6).
It causes confusion and despair
among motorists. There is a mad
rush to sneak through when the
signal keeps blinking amber. Those
motorists who wait for the green
signal are forced to move by those who
know that it is never going to happen.
The confusion could cause major
PO Box 2560
Fee payment
system appeal
Dear Sir,
The MES Indian school, being
my alma mater, remains close to my
heart. It’s undoubtedly one of the
best schools in the Gulf region. It
has been offering good education at
an affordable price. But recently, the
school has changed its fee payment
They now accept fees for an entire
term only instead of monthly as was
before. I do understand that this is
the norm in other schools. But its
sudden shift to term-fee has put many
parents, especially those who are
in the middle-income bracket, in a
difficult situation.
Parents having three or more
children studying at the school will
have a hard time now, I guess.
It may be noted that most parents
sending their children to the MES
don’t get education allowance from
their employers.
I request the MES, the oldest
Indian school in Qatar, to ease its rule
of term-fee payment, accepting it
monthly too.
A parent
(Name and address supplied)
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Abu Dhabi
Live issues
Kuwait City
Learning how to re-establish self respect
By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
o participate in the world and
fulfil your dreams, you need
to respect yourself. Without
self-respect, you will always
feel less than others. Self-respect is a
combination of honouring yourself,
not accepting negativity from other
people, and knowing that you are good
If you find that your self-respect is
low or missing altogether, you need to
do some inner healing. Once your selfrespect returns, life can be wonderful
Not having self-respect can
manifest in many ways, but decreased
motivation is a sure sign. How can
you ask anything of other people and
the world if you don’t feel worthy of
even your own respect? Without selfrespect, you will always want to hide.
You won’t be empowered to reach
for the stars or even go for a coffee at
Do something nice for yourself by
going somewhere you really enjoy, and
tell yourself that you deserve this.
The first step toward regaining your
self-respect is to ask yourself what
it is about yourself that you feel bad
about. What don’t you respect about
yourself? It’s important to examine
your internal dialogue, because your
brain may be telling you things that
aren’t true about yourself.
Perhaps negative thoughts about
yourself got planted when you were
Even if you have failed at one or several things, you have talents and abilities, and
you need to tap into them.
a child. You may have lost some
self-respect because of a job loss or a
personal rejection. Many things can
amplify this feeling once you let it in.
But you have the power to turn around
your life. It’s important to discover
what has caused you to lose your selfrespect. There is always an origin or
cause. Finding out where it started is
paramount to healing what’s holding
you back.
Even if you have failed at one or
several things, you have talents and
abilities, and you need to tap into
them. You can’t be inadequate at
everything. You still may not have
discovered what you’re best at, and
you need to look for it.
A lack of self-respect also can come
from living in the shadow of greatness.
If your parents or your partner is
famous and making great strides in
the world, you may question yourself,
which will only increase your selfdoubt. Many of us have worked for
people who have accomplished great
things, but could they have done it
without our help? Give yourself credit
when and where it is due.
You may be gauging your internal
feelings about yourself on what you’ve
accomplished in your life. The truth
is that you have to regain your selfrespect from the inside out. One way
to do this is to make a list of what is
good about you, honestly looking at
the person you are. Take your time,
a few days at least, and you can keep
adding to the list.
Look at this list every day. Doing
this will reinforce positive thoughts
about yourself and the emotional
boost will help you rebuild your selfrespect.
Once your self-respect returns, you
may wonder why you ever doubted
yourself. You will be able to make up
for lost time. Your energy will double
when you regain your self-respect.
zDr 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])
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Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
QC sets aside
QR36mn for
relief aid to
Syria refugees
atar Charity (QC) has allocated QR36mn for the
relief aid of Syrian people, it was announced yesterday.
The aid includes the distribution of stoves and fuel, blankets
and winter clothing for refugees
in Arsal and Shebaa and on the
Syrian-Turkish border.
The relief aid comes in conjunction with the allocation of
QR2mn emergency aid for over
73,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and on the Turkish-Syrian
border to help them face the
‘Huda’ storm.
On Friday and Saturday, QC
sent the first batch of urgent aid
for distribution to Syrian refugees across Lebanon, particularly the areas of Arsal, the Shebaa
Farms and the Syrian-Turkish
border. This is in addition to the
running of mobile clinics, at a
cost of around QR2mn, out of a
total QR4mn of emergency aid
projects for the current winter,
which will be carried out over
the coming days.
QC will provide food in the
camps in the Bekaa Valley and
the north, with an estimated 500
Syrian families in Lebanon expected to benefit over the next
A group of Syrian refugee children after receiving QC donated
blankets and winter clothing.
six months. The projects also
include sponsoring 50 families
that include orphans or widows.
QC will establish a charity
market in Al-Ashiqaa Camp in
the Bekaa region. The market
secures the basic services to the
population of the camp at the
cheapest prices. It also provides
jobs for some unemployed people in the camp.
In Iraq, QC will soon begin distributing heaters and blankets to
hundreds of Syrian refugees to
help them face the bitter cold.
One of the most important
projects that fall within the
QR36.5mn aid package is the
purchase and installation of an
electric elevator in the medical complex in Arsal, a sewing
project in Armoun residential
complex, and the ‘Pillar of Life’
project to sponsor the camps
housing Syrian refugee families, such as the Mercy Camp in
Akkar, in addition to ‘Support’, a
project to enable Syrian productive refugee families, sponsoring
50 preachers, and a programme
to provide 5,000 breakfast meals
in the Bekaa and Arsal.
Last month QC implemented
a number of health projects for
the benefit of displaced Syrians
inside Syria. These included the
vaccination of a large number of
children against polio and measles at a cost of approximately
A project for the treatment of
sick and wounded Syrian refugees was also implemented at
a cost of QR1mn, a power plant
project and the mobilisation of
oxygen for several hospitals inside Syria.
QC launched a three-month
psychological support project
for 500 Syrian refugee children
in the north of Lebanon and
Akkar province.
QC has also carried out
projects for displaced Syrians
inside and outside Syria, including a convoy of 11 trucks carrying
food aid and clothing, at a cost
of QR2mn and a number of agricultural projects related to the
cultivation of wheat and potatoes for the benefit of hundreds
of thousands of Syrians, at a cost
of approximately QR1mn, in addition to sponsoring 15 Syrian
refugee shelters in Lebanon, at
a cost of approximately QR2mn,
and the establishment of edu-
Syrian refugees queuing up to receive fuel supplies from QC volunteers.
A QC volunteer walks with a bottle of fuel through a path flanked by shelters housing Syrian refugees.
cational centres at a cost of approximately QR1.5mn. Prior to
this, QC sponsored a number of
conferences in favour of development in Syria, at a cost of approximately QR1mn.
QC’s Syria campaign focuses
on refugees and displaced persons affected by the cold, under
the slogan ‘Before they Freeze’
and runs in co-operation with
the “# Sanad_ahl_aham.” The
campaign involves the collec-
tion of winter clothes, electric
generators, blankets and other
means of heating and children’s
games, in order to offer support
to Syrians affected by the recent
snow storm.
QC has called on all Qatari
benefactors and philanthropists
to participate in this campaign by
giving donations in cash or kind.
The organisation can be contacted on 66348510 (Duhail area to
the north) 66314798 (Rayan and
its environs) 66448212 (Doha
and its suburbs) and 66467838
(Al Wakrah and its suburbs).
Donations for Syrian refugees can also be made by sending the word ‘Syria’ to 92632 to
donate QR50, to 92642 to donate QR100, to 92428 to donate
QR500 and to 92429 to donate
QR1,000. Donations can also be
made using a credit card at the
website, at Ooredoo self-service devices and at
collection points across Qatar.
More information may be had by
calling 44667711.
QC, recently named first globally in terms of relief for the
Syrian people over the last three
years, had spent QR187mn on aid
for Syria people until the end of
2014, which benefited 4,033,000
people. As much as 57% of these
projects were for Syrians within
the country and included food,
shelter, health and sponsorships.
QRC extends help under Warm Winter campaign
he Qatar Red Crescent
(QRC) is continuing its
mission to help people in
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, northern Iraq and southern
Turkey, who have been hit by the
Snowstorm Huda.
“The communities concerned are plagued with political and security instability
and large-scale displacement
in very difficult conditions,
compounded by the bitter cold
weather,” QRC said in a statement yesterday.
Under the Warm Winter campaign, QRC teams initiated urgent relief interventions for Syrian internally displaced people
and refugees. In southern Syria,
they distributed $150,000 worth
of covers and winter assistance
to 3,000 refugees in Al-Amal,
Breiqa, Beer Ajam, and Seed
refugee camps. This assistance
included 6,000 blankets, 2,000
mattresses and pillows and
1,000 mats.
Blankets were distributed in
the Zaatari refugee camp and
surrounding neighbourhoods,
where the tents were drained
and proofed against water. QRC
staff also distributed wood and
heating oil to beneficiaries inside
Syria and on the Syrian-Turkish
At the same time, QRC proceeded with the winter relief
programme for Syrian refugees
in Lebanon, launched in the
last winter in response to the
instructions of HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani, to provide urgent assistance.
Qatar offered a grant of
$30mn, comprising $20mn for
the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and $10mn for the Syrian
refugees in Turkey. QRC was assigned the task of supervising
the programme and delivering
the assistance to eligible beneficiaries.
The purpose of the programme is to distribute urgent
winter assistance to Syrian
refugees in Lebanon, including
120,000 mattresses, 120,000
blankets, 120,000 hygiene kits,
48,000 tarpaulins, 24,000 heaters, and 12,000,000 heating oil.
So far, 21,512 families have
been covered throughout Lebanon, and distribution is continuing to cover more families,
sending the total number up to
58,044 families.
With the onset of winter, the
distributions have already begun in different parts of Lebanon
under QRC supervision, in cooperation with the staff of the
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),
under an agreement signed by
the two parties in December
2013. According to the agreement, QRC would purchase
Qatari child
shows the way
QRC volunteers distributing assistance to blizzard victims.
$20mn worth of relief items in
accordance with international
standards, while UNHCR would
distribute them to Syrian families in different Lebanese districts.
Over the past few months,
QRC launched several relief
projects to help the Syrian refugees in Arsal, a town that is located near to the Lebanese-Syrian borders and where 100,000
Syrian refugees live in 61 largely
inadequate camps. At a total
cost of $407,438, some of these
projects have already been completed, while others are still in
The first project involved providing caravans for 87 Syrian
families in the “We Will Return”
refugee camp, with all necessary services such as sewerage,
drinking water, hot water, and
electricity for the caravans and
the camp in general. Other works
included installing a water tank,
building a water distribution
QRC volunteers unloading relief materials for the Syrian Winter
Assistance Programme.
control room, and preparing the
water heating system. The cost
totalled $252,609.
Another project involved rebuilding and refurnishing of 401
tents totally or partly damaged
during the recent unrest. Costing $80,829, the project serves
511 Syrian families in five camps,
by providing the metal structures, sheets of fabric, and straw
Finally, there is a project to
protect refugee camps against
floods, at a cost of $74,000 for
1,500 families. It involves digging flood canals around five
camps, digging two sewerage
landfills, covering 25 cement
rooms with metal sheets, paving walkways with gravel in 20
camps, and making 325 cement
floors in tents.
QRC has urged individuals
and institutions to support the
Syrian refugees with heating
items, by donating in one of the
following means:
The Qatar Red Crescent
yesterday announced the
sponsorship of an ambitious humanitarian initiative
launched by Qatari child
Ghanem Mohamed al-Muftah
to raise QR10mn to provide
basic needs that would help
the Syrians survive the cold
winter and snow which
have caused several deaths,
particularly among children,
over the last few days. When
the target is achieved and
the winter assistance is purchased, al-Muftah, described
as a champion of the physically challenged, will travel
to Jordan to take part in the
distribution, together with
QRC staff working there.
SMS “W” to 92766 to donate
QR100; SMS “W” to 92770 to
donate QR500; SMS “W” to
92740 to donate QR1,000; call
the hotline: 66644822; visit
QRC headquarters in Old Slata;
donate with QRC agents at City
Center Doha, Landmark, Villaggio, Ezdan, Hyatt Plaza, The
Mall, and Almeera branches; or
transfer donations to QRC bank
account at Qatar Islamic Bank
(QIB) - IBAN: QA11QISB001840
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Delegates during yesterday’s opening ceremony held at the QNCC.
Go Global Organisation
Conference kicks off
enowned leadership coach
Jack Canfield has kickstarted yesterday’s opening of the second edition of the
Go Global Organisation Conference launched by Al Qilaa for
Training and Consulting with
strategic partner, Ooredoo.
The event, which runs from
January 11 to 13 at the Qatar
National Convention Centre
(QNCC), gathered more than
250 delegates during yester-
day’s opening ceremony.
Canfield, best known as the
originator of the Chicken Soup
for the Soul business series, delivered a lecture on “Transformational Leadership”.
His proven formula for success
reached global acclaim with his
most recent national bestseller,
“The success principles: how to
get from where you are to where
you want to be.” Canfield has
more than 40 years’ experience
in coaching and training individuals, government sector, sports
teams, and other organisations.
Today’s (January 12) stage will
be managed by international
senior executive coach Mark
Thompson, who will discuss the
topic “Success built to last.”
Thompson is the CEO and cofounder of Virgin Unite Mentors,
Sir Richard Branson’s network
for executive coaching and entrepreneurial innovation. He is
also a founding patron of Virgin
Unite’s Entrepreneurship Centre.
Tomorrow, the event will conclude with the topic “What got
you here won’t get you there” by
Dr Marshall Goldsmith, who is
one of the top 10 most-influential
business thinkers in the world.
Goldsmith has developed a
reputation as a practical, insightful, and inspirational thought
leader and executive coach.
Also, professional coach and
trainer Dr Rashad Fakiha, who
served as an adviser to renowned
business leaders in the GCC region, will “spice up” the culmination of the conference.
During the opening ceremony,
Al Qilaa deputy chairman Sheikh
Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz alThani said: “Our presence here
today is a resemblance of our
faith in the Qatar National Vision
2030 where human capabilities
empowerment is a main pillar.”
Drive to clean
up deserts
and beaches
he 10th National Cleanup
Campaign was launched
by HE the Minister of Environment, Ahmed Amer Mohamed al-Humaidi at Rwadat
Al-Majidah at Al-Shammal Area
on Saturday.
The campaign is themed on
the topic “Let’s co-operate”
and aims at cleaning up all the
deserts, beaches and isles of Qatar. It focuses on the active involvement of both government
and private entities as well as expatriates and nationals in maintaining a clean environment.
HE al-Humaidi remarked that
the Ministry of Environment
(MoE) would provide all facilities
to ensure the continuation and
success of the campaign. He also
urged all expatriates and Qataris
to assume their responsibility
towards the local environment
and teach the younger generations to keep the surroundings
clean. He stressed that cleanliness is a collective responsibility
and the MoE is keen to maintain
active co-operation with members of the public in this regard.
The campaign is scheduled
Jack Canfield stresses a point during his lecture.
Q-Auto launches
new Audi A7
-Auto, the official dealer for Audi
in Qatar, has announced the launch
of the new Audi A7 at their main
showroom on Salwa Road.
“The spacious five-door coupe is now
even more powerful and attractive – thanks
to new engine configurations, new transmissions, new headlights, taillights and
new infotainment systems,” a statement
HE the Minister of Environment launching the campaign.
for two months with the support and
participation of Qatar Petroleum, the
Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of
Municipality and Urban Planning,
the Ministry of Defence, the Supreme
Education Council, and other entities. Some 100 volunteers of Qatar Red
Crescent took part at the launch of the
campaign, besides senior officials from
several ministries.
Health training programme opens
“This model gives ‘sedan’ a new
meaning, offering customers
elegance and convenience through
exclusive Audi features. Its
innovative design integrates the
classic proportions of a large, sporty
sedan with modern luxury and
pioneering technology”
The new Audi A7 embodies the design
and leadership of the Audi brand. When the
A7 debuted in 2010, Audi was already setting new standards in automotive design,
embracing an athletic aesthetic and elegance in grand style. Its long engine hood,
sporty, flowing C pillars and the sharply
dropping rear end create a dynamic overall
impression. The revised version of the fivedoor model, measuring 4.97m in length,
now has additional striking, sporty features.
The most notable changes are to the
single frame grille, bumpers, tailpipes and
headlights. LED technology is now standard; upon request, Audi can supply Matrix LED headlights, which light the road
optimally without causing glare for other
road users. Combined with the Matrix LED
headlights, dynamic turn signals are also
installed at the front; they come standard
at the rear.
The sporty style of the exterior is echoed
in the car’s interior. The dominant element
is the horizontal line surrounding the driver
and passenger. The dashboard gives an impression of lightness and elegance. The new
interior materials include the aluminium/
Beaufort walnut inlay and standard Valcona
leather. The colour palette has been redesigned, offering six colour options even for
the seats.
The TFSI technology employed in the
latest model, allows for better fuel utilisation and reduced consumption. The engine
is paired with the S tronic transmission and
Quattro permanent all-wheel drive, allowing the car to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in
5.3 seconds.
“We are excited to be bringing the new
Audi A7 to Qatar,” said Ala Makey, sales
manager. “This model gives ‘sedan’ a new
meaning, offering customers elegance and
convenience through exclusive Audi features. Its innovative design integrates the
classic proportions of a large, sporty sedan with modern luxury and pioneering
technology. The model is one of the most
eagerly anticipated models of 2015 in the
Audi range, and we’re certain that its indistinguishable features will stand out in the
local market”.
The Audi dealership gives customers a
number of options to purchase the Audi A7
which includes in-house financing, vehicle
leasing and guaranteed buyback options.
Clients can also find the best deal possible
to finance their purchase with banks recommended by Audi Qatar, including QNB,
Doha Bank and QIB.
The Supreme Council of Health yesterday inaugurated a five-day training programme on basic occupational and environmental health services
in co-operation with the East Mediterranean Regional Office of World Health Organisation. This is the second module of a five-module training
programme, launched last year. The third and fourth one will be completed in March and May and the last one will be towards the end of the year.
A total of 30 general practitioners are participating in the present module. The participants are seen with SCH’s Public Health director Dr Sheikh
Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani and Occupational Health Services head Dr Mohamed Ali al-Hajaj.
Free screening of Where The Wild Things Are
he Doha Film Institute will
continue its family-oriented
free outdoor pop-up cinema
screenings this weekend with fantasy adventure film Where The Wild
Things Are.
Taking place at the Museum of
Islamic Art (MIA) Park on Friday
(January 16) at 7pm, the screening
is free of charge and seating is on a
first-come first-served basis.
Where The Wild Things Are is the
feature film adaptation of Maurice
Sendak’s classic children’s book.
Directed by innovative filmmaker
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich,
Adaptation, Her), the film follows
the adventure of Max, a mischievous young boy who is sent to his
room after rebelling against his
However, Max’s imagination is
free to roam, and it soon transports
him to a thriving forest bordering a
vast sea. Delighted, Max sets sail for
the land of the Wild Things, where
mischief reigns and Max rules.
The film is described as a magical combination live-action, animatronics and computer generated
imagery. It stars Max Records and
Catherine Keener and features the
voices of James Gandolfini, Paul
Dano, Lauren Ambrose, Forest
Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara and
Chris Cooper.
The screening is part of the Doha
Film Institute’s ongoing Pop-up
Cinema, a series of free outdoor
screenings for film-lovers in Qatar
taking place throughout the cooler
months, and featuring the Institute’s signature mix of specialty film
programming and unique cultural
The film is in English and will be
presented with Arabic subtitles.
More information on Pop-up Cinema dates and timings and other
Doha Film Institute screenings and
events may be had from
The new Audi A7 is presented by Q-Auto official Ala Makey.
Minister vows
to make foreign
spend easier
Foreign investors
in London realty
force locals out
Monday, January 12, 2015
Rabia I 21, 1436 AH
Qatar shares drop
as IQ touches 10%
lower circuit filter
Qatar international
reserves hit record
high of $46.5bn in
November: QNB
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
uoyed up by the current account surplus, Qatar’s international reserves jumped
$6.9bn in a year and reached an
all-time high of $46.5bn in endNovember, a new report has shown.
The country’s international reserves stood at $39.6bn in November
2013, QNB said in its latest monthly
“The large increase reflects the
strong current account surplus Qatar is enjoying, despite lower international oil prices. The import cover
stood at 8.7 months at end-November 2014, well above the IMF-recommended level of three months for
pegged exchange rates,” QNB said.
Qatar’s international reserves
have been steadily rising over the
years on account of the country’s
large current account surpluses.
Going forward, QNB expects international reserves to rise further in
2015 on continued current account
The report shows that Qatar’s oil
production fell and prices declined
in November on “weaker global demand”.
The stagnant eurozone economy,
the recession in Japan and the slowdown in emerging markets are contributing to the weakness in hydrocarbon demand and a supply glut,
which is putting downward pressure
on international oil prices.
Qatar’s crude oil production has
been on a general decline, but “redevelopment plans should stabilise
output”, QNB said.
Qatar Petroleum (QP) is implementing a redevelopment programme to steady production at
its oil fields. The heavy investment
in existing oil fields such as Bul
Hanine, Al Shaheen and Dukhan,
should stabilise oil production at
about 700,000 bpd.
According to QNB, the country’s
foreign merchandise trade balance
registered a surplus of QR24.9bn in
November last year. The surplus decreased 17.9% year-on-year (y-o-y)
partly as a result of lower international crude oil prices, which reduced total exports by 10.7%.
At the same time, imports rose
strongly, 13.8% year-on-year, reflecting the growing population and
large investment spending.
Total exports in November stood
at QR35bn and imports at QR10.1bn.
Japan topped the export destination in November, accounting for
22.6% of Qatar’s exports, followed
by South Korea (16.8%) and India
The US was the largest exporter
Ooredoo plans to support more ‘smart cities’
Ooredoo has reaffirmed its commitment to enhance
the company’s leadership role in “Smart City” technologies this 2015 by building on its expertise in this
field and recognising the growing demand for related
services across its global footprint.
More than 10 major cities within Ooredoo’s footprint have been classified as “mega-cities” hosting a
population of more than 10mn, with similar communities expected to grow as rural populations move into
bigger urban areas.
To address this, Ooredoo said this year it expects to
see a rise in the number of smart cities – urban areas
that use ICT solutions to address mobile, transport,
energy sustainability, infrastructure, governance, and
security issues.
As cities worldwide deal with a growing range of
issues, including over-population, traffic congestion,
pollution, and high levels of energy consumption,
smart cities are emerging as a significant opportunity
to enrich society.
According to Ooredoo, there is a strong demand in
emerging economies across its key markets, the Mena
(Middle East and North Africa) region and Southeast
Asia. According to research group IHS Technology, the
number of smart cities worldwide will quadruple from
21 in 2013 to 88 by 2025.
Ooredoo said it supported a number of important
smart city strategic initiatives over the past year
across its operations “to stay at the cutting-edge of
this trend.”
In December 2014, Ooredoo Qatar was confirmed as
a Lead Partner in the Smart Cities Council, a leading
industry coalition formed to accelerate the move to
smart, sustainable cities. Ooredoo joined global leaders in the smart cities sector who sit on the council,
including IBM, Microsoft, MasterCard, and Cisco.
As Lead Partner in the Smart Cities Council, Ooredoo
will have the opportunity to aid the direction of the
emerging smart cities sector in Qatar, the region, and
across the world. The company will also contribute
to the Smart Cities Council’s body of knowledge
including city tools and resources, mentoring, and
Ooredoo recently introduced a host of cutting-edge
technologies such as the Ooredoo Machine to Machine (M2M) services to Qatar, enabling companies to
connect business assets directly with each other or
with a central command centre.
It also launched The Smart Living-Baytcom Project
at the recent ITU Telecom World 2014 – a “Proof of
Concept Demo House” equipped with next generation
smart living concepts.
In addition, Ooredoo’s Indosat organised a major conference on smart technology in Jakarta, Indonesia last
year, to bring together experts from across the field.
The event, “Smart ICT for your Business Success,”
saw a keynote presentation by the Mayor of Bandung,
about the application of smart city technologies in
his city, which is the second largest metropolitan area
in Indonesia with a sprawling urban population of
around 9mn.
At the event, experts and practitioners conducted
in-depth analysis of the implementation, scope, and
benefits of a range of solutions, including smart
mobility, smart connectivity, and smart IT sourcing,
discussing how to plan, implement, and operate the
smart IT ecosystem with cloud-based applications and
infrastructural choices. Indosat also launched three
smart services at the event, premiering MyApps, an
Application Marketplace; WAN Optimiser, to optimise
the Wide Area Network (WAN) bandwidth for businesses, and its own M2M Platform.
Ooredoo is already working with a number of leading
organisations to support the development of smart
cities, and has signed a strategic alliance with KT Corp
of Korea to introduce new concepts and innovations.
The company is currently implementing a cloudbased Machine to Machine (M2M) platform, which
would be rolled out in several countries across its
footprint this year. The M2M services would be available for businesses and can also play a key role in
implementing smart city technologies.
to Qatar in November (13.2%), followed by China (9.5%) and Germany
QNB’s monthly monitor shows
the country’s non-hydrocarbon
sector continues to drive economic
growth, pushing its share of GDP to
over half (50.7%) in Q3, 2014.
Real GDP (gross domestic product) growth accelerated to 6% in the
year to Q3, 2014, from 5.7% in the
previous quarter.
Growth in the non-hydrocarbon
sector reached 12% year-on-year
in Q3, 2014 (11.9% for the first nine
months of 2014).
“This is higher than our forecast of 11.2% for the full year,” QNB
On the other hand, the hydrocarbon sector declined 2.8% year-onyear in Q3, 2014 as a result of lower
crude oil production and temporary
gas production shutdowns for maintenance, the report said.
The report also said Qatar’s
overall economic outlook remains
strong and the key driver of growth
will continue to be the non-hydrocarbon sector, supporting the
continued diversification of the
Growth is expected to accelerate
further in 2015; QNB said and added
the implementation of large infrastructure projects and a large influx
of expatriates will continue to drive
double-digit growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector.
‘Gulf needs to overhaul
diversification strategies
to build on limited success’
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Economic diversification in the Gulf countries have so far met with limited success,
hence there is a need to overhaul the
strategies through reorientation of public
spending and strengthening the private
sector competition, according to a study.
“Going forward, diversification in the GCC
(Gulf Co-operation Council) will require
realigning incentives for firms and workers,” an International Monetary Fund (IMF)
working paper said.
Finding that the GCC countries have been
implementing many policies to support
economic diversification, it said while the
share of non- hydrocarbons output in GDP
(gross domestic product) has increased
steadily, export diversification has been
more limited.
Further diversification would make these
economies less reliant on volatile hydrocarbon revenues, would create high-valueadded private sector jobs for nationals,
and would establish the non-oil economy
that will be needed when oil reserves are
eventually exhausted, the paper said.
Measures could include developing
backward and forward linkages across
sectors with a comparative advantage,
and implementing labour reforms to
incentivise private sector employment of
nationals and improvements in productivity, said the paper.
At present, the distribution of oil revenues
within the economy crowds out non-oil
tradables production and producing nontradables is less risky and more profitable
for firms because they can benefit from
the rapid growth in government spending.
The easy availability of low- skilled, lowwage foreign labour has helped extract
larger rents, the IMF paper said.
The continued availability of public sector
jobs discourages nationals from pursuing
entrepreneurship and private sector
employment. In addition to measures that
improve the business environment, there
is a need to fundamentally alter these
incentives—to fill a “missing link” in current
While the GCC does not appear to suffer
from traditional Dutch-disease problems
that afflict many commodity-producing
countries via an overvalued real exchange
rate, the distribution of oil revenues within
the economy may crowd out non-oil tradables production in other ways.
The ready availability of low-wage expatriate labour in the region has meant that
high oil revenues and oil wealth have not
pushed up wages in the private sector.
Consequently, conventional Dutch- disease
effects have not been evident.
However, the distribution of oil revenues
does have important effects on the incentive structure in the economy that crowds
out non-oil tradables production. The
relatively higher wages and benefits available for nationals in the public sector often
make it a more attractive employment
choice, particularly for lower-skilled workers, compared with the private sector.
At the same time, for firms, producing
goods and services to meet the consumption and investment needs of the domestic
market, while relying on low-wage foreign
labour, is a more reliable income source
than attempting to enter riskier export
Producing in the tradables sector is
typically more challenging and riskier
because firms have to continually invest
in new technologies to be internationally
competitive; albeit, it can enable them to
grow faster if the domestic market size
is small.
In the GCC, producing non-tradables is
less risky and more profitable because
rapid growth in government spending on
infrastructure and wages has contributed
to strong growth in low-value-added sectors such as construction, trade and retail,
transport, and restaurants.
The paper said producing goods and
services to meet the consumption and
investment needs of the domestic market
has so far been a reliable income source,
made possible by recycled oil revenues.
This has provided incentives for economic
activity to shift into mostly low-skilled
sectors, contributing to declining labour
and total factor productivity. In fact, large
infrastructure projects may exacerbate
the crowding out of the tradables sector as
they increase risk-adjusted returns in the
non-tradables sector, it added.
Suggesting that reforms are therefore
needed to change the existing incentive
structure, the IMF paper said there was
a need to limit the public sector employment and strengthen social safety nets.
‘Made in China Exhibition
2015 in Doha to provide
great opportunities’
senior Qatari diplomat has said the
‘Made in China Exhibition 2015’
in Doha in December this year will
be a good opportunity for Chinese companies to open new markets in the region
and expand the Qatari-Chinese trade relationship.
Abdulla bin Saif al-Khayarin, first secretary at the Qatar Embassy in Beijing,
said in a joint press conference with senior
officials at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce that Qatar pursued a strategy aimed
at encouraging Chinese companies to invest and operate in the Qatari market, in
different sectors such as industry, trade,
communications, services, infrastructure
and other areas, where the country’s firms
have “good expertise and reputation”.
He said such an exhibition was the outcome of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani’s successful visit to China in November last year. At that time, it
was agreed to open up Qatar’s market for
Chinese companies and investors.
“The organisation of this major regional and international exhibition will
give Chinese companies an opportunity to
directly explore the Qatari market and the
other markets in the region. Further, it is a
Al-Khayarin with Qatari and Chinese
officials at a recent joint press conference
in Beijing.
practical implementation of the call made
by the leadership of both the countries to
enhance bilateral trade,” he said.
Al-Khayarin called upon Chinese companies to reserve space at the upcoming
exhibition in advance as it could be an
“excellent opportunity” for them to have
direct communication and relationship
with Qatari companies and the business
community as well as other GCC firms.
Saleh Hamad al-Sharqi, a senior executive at the Qatar Chamber, said, “We want
‘Made in China Exhibition 2015’ to be an
exceptionally distinguished one, where
Chinese companies could display their
latest innovation in technology and industry. This in turn would contribute to
our plans in Qatar and help the country in
its ongoing comprehensive development,
particularly in construction and infrastructure sectors.”
Meanwhile, Chinese officials expressed
their keenness to make the exhibition a
“great success and a real value” to their
companies. Currently, there are specialised committees discussing the creation of
a free trade zone involving China and GCC
countries. Legal frameworks for this are
expected to be finalised before June.
‘Made in China Exhibition 2015’ will be
hosted by the Qatar Chamber and supported by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. It is scheduled to be held from December 14 to 16 in Doha.
The event would focus on three major
sectors: infrastructure, technology and
construction. A senior delegation from
the QC also took part at the press briefing
in Beijing.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
QPMC enhances
washed sand
capacity to
daily 33,000
Qatar Primary Materials
Company (QPMC) has
increased its washed sand
distribution capacity to
33,000 tonnes per day (tpd).
QPMC said its decision
followed “low production”
at the Qatar Sand Treatment
Plant, which resulted in
shortages in washed sand
supply in the market.
The new capacity meant that
an additional 15,000tpd of
washed sand will be available
in the local market. Besides
meeting the needs of the
market, it will help control
the prices, the company said
Qatar Industrial
Manufacturing Company
CEO Abdulrahman al-Ansari,
praised QPMC for its support
and contribution and said,
“I would like to thank Qatar
Primary Materials Company
for its invaluable support
in this critical time; this
initiative demonstrates
high professionalism,
efficiency and collaboration.
I am extremely proud of this
partnership, sharing the same
vision to put the country’s
needs first and actively
contribute to Qatar’s national
QPMC was established
under instructions from
the government in 2006 to
ensure supplies of building
materials to the local
The company now owns and
operates strategic assets
within Qatar, and provides
complete solutions for port
management, logistics and
supply chain, storage and
delivery of key primary
materials to meet Qatar
requirements up to 2022 and
Gulf sentiment stays strong
despite plunging oil prices
Oil plunge may cost GCC several
hundred billion dollars in 2015;
some building projects likely
to be slowed or cancelled; but
data shows consumer, corporate
sentiment strong; government
reserves provide massive
support to economies; GCC could
keep growing for years in this
t’s a weekend morning at the Dubai
Mall, a glitzy complex with 1,200
stores, and the shoppers are pouring
in. A traffic jam has formed in the basement parking area. With passenger arrivals at Dubai’s airport at record highs,
retailers expect a good month.
The 55% plunge of oil prices since
last June might be expected to usher in
an age of austerity in the Gulf, which
faces a steep drop in its income.
But austerity isn’t happening. The
economic defences which the Gulf
states built up after the global financial
crisis five years ago, to cope with just
such a drop in oil, are holding.
Consumers are still spending, companies are investing, and governments
are announcing record budgets for
2015. Some economists expect growth
in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation
Council to accelerate this year.
A number of building projects are
likely to be slowed or suspended, especially in Bahrain and Oman, the smallest and financially weakest economies
in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC). If oil stays at current
levels for several years, the big GCC
economies may be forced into painful
spending cuts.
But for the foreseeable future, it’s
largely business as usual in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait, which
have accumulated such large fiscal re-
serves that they can comfortably keep
state spending at high levels.
This is sustaining consumer and corporate sentiment as oil slides. Jarir, a
top Saudi retailer, reported a 20% yearon-year jump in fourth-quarter sales.
December purchasing manager surveys
in Saudi Arabia and the UAE showed
non-oil business growing at roughly
the same pace as in June.
Iyad Malas, chief executive of Majid
Al Futtaim-Holding, one of the Gulf’s
top shopping mall and leisure operators with over 27,000 employees, said
the region’s business community was
uncertain about oil prices but expected
solid growth this year.
“Big infrastructure projects have
started and government spending is
continuing...We’re not expecting a
slowdown in retail sales this year in
Saudi or the region,” he told Reuters,
adding Majid Al Futtaim saw no rea-
son to alter investment plans. The cost
to the Gulf of cheaper oil is huge. Jason
Tuvey at London’s Capital Economics
estimates that if Brent crude averages
$60 a barrel this year, GCC states will
run a combined current account deficit
of $60bn. If oil were at $110, as it was
in June, they would enjoy a surplus of
But the structure of the Gulf’s oil
industry minimises the direct impact
of oil price changes on economies. Oil
export revenues do not flow straight to
the private sector but to governments,
which decide how much of them to
That means the key factor for economies is not the oil price but state budget
policy. Government announcements
over the past two weeks indicate state
spending may fall marginally in real
terms this year but will stay high and
near record levels.
The government of Saudi Arabia, by
far the largest GCC economy, plans to
raise nominal 2015 spending by 0.6%
from its 2014 plan. Dubai announced a
9% spending increase, and even Oman
plans a 4.5% rise.
Top officials of other GCC governments, including Abu Dhabi, Qatar and
Kuwait, have said spending on economic development will not be cut.
Some governments are using the oil
price slide to raise taxes or cut subsidies, but are stopping well short of austerity. Kuwait cut diesel fuel subsidies
but ruled out similar action for petrol;
Abu Dhabi raised utility fees.
So growth in the region looks unlikely to fall much if at all this year, and
may actually accelerate if other factors are favourable. For example the
initial, negative impact of Saudi labour
reforms, designed to push more local
citizens into jobs by making it harder
to hire foreigners, seems to be fading.
“We project real GDP growth in the
GCC region to accelerate in the range
of 5.0 to 5.5% in 2015 from an estimated
4.7% in 2014,” said Joannes Mongardini, head of economics at Qatar National
Bank, the country’s largest bank.
He added: “Unless there is a cut in
public investments - which is not expected - in the region, we do not see a
major impact on overall business sentiment” from cheaper oil.
GCC governments won’t be able to
avoid big spending cuts indefinitely if
oil prices stay low. With Brent at $50,
the current level, all of them would
probably run budget deficits.
But their financial reserves are so
large that they could cope with such
deficits for years; the GCC’s foreign exchange reserves and sovereign wealth
fund assets are worth over 160% of
gross domestic product, Capital Economics calculates.
Investment bank VTB Capital estimates that at an oil price of $60, the
assets of the four big GCC states could
fund public spending at current levels
for two to five years, or cover budget
deficits for four to 14 years - all without recourse to debt, while keeping the
GCC’s currency pegs to the US dollar.
So far, professional investors seem
equally confident. GCC stock markets dominated by retail investors have
plunged, but many fund managers
think they were over-valued. Bond and
currency forward markets have moved
little, showing investors don’t expect
financial stress in the region.
John Sfakianakis, regional director
of asset manager Ashmore in Riyadh,
said that after a boom in the past decade, the Gulf was entering a new era because of cheaper oil - an era of slightly
more modest growth, but by no means
a slump.
“There will still be good growth, not
necessarily a substantial fall - rates of
around 4.3 to 4.5%,” he said.
Egypt minister vows
to make foreign
investment easier
Bureaucracy scares foreign
investors; minister seeks
to create one-stop shop for
investors; paying debt to foreign
oil companies key: minister
gypt expects resistance to a
new unified investment law
designed to tackle stifling bureaucracy but hopes to implement it
in March nevertheless, the investment minister told Reuters yesterday.
Ashraf Salman said the law was
critical to winning the confidence
of foreign investors who currently
must secure permits from 78 government agencies to start a company
in Egypt, a process that can up to five
The idea is to create a one-stop
shop that will make life easier for
foreign investors also discouraged
by political turmoil and militant violence which have weakened the economy since a popular uprising toppled
autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Salman acknowledged that winning effective backing for the law
from numerous government agencies
could be difficult.
“I will be naive if I say no. Definitely I will be getting resistance because
this is a continuous change process,” he said Reuters in an interview.
“We are expecting that (government
agencies) imagine I am taking their
mandates. I am not taking their mandates. I am rearranging the process
and automating the process.”
Salman identified red tape as the
main impediment to more foreign
investment in Egypt, where the economic growth rate over the last three
years was around 2%, too slow to reduce widespread unemployment.
Egypt’s economy has been kept
afloat by its Gulf Arab allies Saudi
Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait after the
army’s ouster of elected former president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.
Egypt aims for economic growth of
at least 4% in 2015 and hopes to boost
this gradually to at least 7% on average for the next decade.
The cumbersome process of getting the investment law passed high-
People talk as they stand looking over the Suez Cana in Ismailia City
(file). Foreign investment in Egypt is expected reach about $2bn in the second
quarter of the fiscal year, up from $1.8bn dollars in the previous quarter. The
country hopes to attract $18bn a year by 2018 - a highly ambitious target.
lights the bureaucracy that has hurt
Egypt for decades.
The draft law was sent to 33 ministries and 16 institutions, from an
economic ministerial committee to
universities and lawyers for consultations, said Salman.
A planned “higher investment
council” will help resolve the investor disputes and bureaucratic obstacles that have hampered investment,
the minister said.
Getting the law passed before
Egypt holds an investment conference in the resort city of Sharm
el-Sheikh in mid-March—where it
hopes to secure domestic and foreign
investment of $10bn-$12bn—could
send a signal that Egypt means business.
“It should be presented to the economic committee to take a decision
to pass it to the legislative committee
in order to put it into the process to
the president to become a decree before the 10th of March,” said Salman.
The former banker said the law
would also address other concerns
for foreign investors, such as making their deals less vulnerable to legal disputes and changes in government and preserving the price of land
agreed in contracts.
Foreign investment in Egypt is expected reach about $2bn in the second quarter of the fiscal year, up from
$1.8bn dollars in the previous quarter, Salman said.
Egypt hopes to attract $18bn a year
by 2018 - a highly ambitious target.
Salman said Egypt also needed to
fight corruption and make sure billions of dollars of debts to foreign oil
companies are paid.
Sixty percent of foreign investment flows into the petroleum sector,
said Salman. The government still
owes foreign oil companies $3.2bn,
he added.
“Paying this will affect our (credit)
rating, will affect our foreign direct
investment from the oil sector, and
from other sectoral investors,” said
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Qatar shares drop
as IQ hits lower
10% circuit filter
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
ndustries Qatar notably hit
the lower 10% circuit filter;
eroding more than QR18bn
in notional wealth and leading to
a huge 292 points decline in the
country’s bourse yesterday.
More than 76% of the stocks
were in the red as the 20-stock
Qatar Index (based on price data)
knocked off 2.37% to 12,014.35
points as volume also fell.
Foreign institutions continued to be bearish, dragging the
Qatar Stock Exchange, which is
down 2.21% year-to-date.
Market capitalisation fell
2.71% to QR659.08bn with large,
micro and mid cap equities losing 2.52%, 2.36% and 1.11%
respectively; while micro caps
were up 0.07%.
Selling pressure, however,
subsided among local retail investors in the market, where
trade was highly skewed towards
realty and industrials, which accounted for more than 70% of
the total volume.
The Total Return Index shed
2.37% to 17,919.29 points, the All
Share Index by 2.27% to 3,079.92
points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index by 2.31% to 4,035.24
Industrials stocks shrank
5.32%, followed by insurance
(2.13%), telecom (1.87%), real
estate (1.27%), banks and financial services (1.23%), consumer
More than 76% of the stocks were in the red yesterday as the 20-stock Qatar Index knocked off 2.37% to
12,014.35 points as volume also fell.
goods (0.75%) and transport
Apart from IQ, the other influential shakers were Aamal
Company, Gulf International
Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Barwa, Ezdan, QNB,
Doha Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Islamic Holding Group and Vodafone Qatar. Qatar Islamic Bank
and Salam International Investment bucked the trend.
Foreign institutions’ net profit-booking fell to QR69.36mn
against QR70.79mn the previous
Domestic institutions’ net
buying sunk to QR51.5mn
compared to QR119.28mn last
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net buying strengthened to
QR12.17mn against QR7.6mn on
January 8.
Qatari retail investors turned
net buyers to the tune of
QR5.63mn compared with net
profit-takers of QR56.09mn the
previous trading day.
Total trade volume shrank
54% to 9.53mn shares, value by
39% to QR611.68mn and transactions by 42% to 6,050.
The telecom sector’s trade
volume plummeted 73% to
0.51mn stocks, value by 69% to
QR12.03mn and deals by 51% to
The real estate sector saw
its trade volume plunge 58% to
3.97mn equities, value by 62%
to QR114.68mn and transactions
by 42% to 1,632.
The banks and financial services reported a 54% shrinkage in
trade volume to 1.33mn shares,
42% in value to QR131.46mn and
45% in deals to 1,258.
The market witnessed a 51%
fall in the consumer goods sector’s trade volume to 0.33mn
stocks, value by 44% to
QR25.97mn and transactions
also by 44% to 402.
The transport sector’s trade
volume tanked 50% to 0.53mn
equities, value by 54% to
QR15.52mn and deals by 50% to
There was a 42% decline in the
industrials sector’s trade volume
to 2.73mn shares, 11% in value to
QR301.28mn and transactions
by 36% to 2,194.
trade volume deflated 32% to
0.13mn stocks, value by 31% to
QR10.74mn and deals by 64%
to 58.
In the debt market, there was
no trading of treasury bills and
government bonds.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (left) is welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh yesterday.
Venezuela’s economy contracted in the first three quarters of 2014 and its international reserves have deteriorated
sharply due to the tumbling oil prices which hit new lows last week below $50 per barrel, around half their value in
June 2014.
Venezuelan president
seeks support from
Saudi on oil prices
enezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro met Saudi Arabia’s
Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh yesterday as part of a diplomatic
tour of Opec members to discuss
falling oil prices, which have hit the
South American nation’s economy
The Saudi side in the meeting included Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and
several top princes including Deputy
Crown Prince Muqrin, intelligence
chief Prince Khaled bin Bandar and
three sons of King Abdullah, who is in
hospital, state media reported.
No details of the meeting were given by the official Saudi Press Agency
and neither Maduro nor his delegation have made any comment about
their talks. On Saturday Iran vowed
to help Venezuela stem the oil prices
Maduro’ next stop will be in Qatar,
followed by a visit to Algeria.
Venezuela’s economy contracted in
the first three quarters of 2014 and its
international reserves have deteriorated sharply due to the tumbling oil
prices which hit new lows last week
below $50 per barrel, around half
their value in June 2014. The decline
has spurred concerns that Venezuela
may default on its foreign bonds,
which in turn has pushed its bond
yields to the highest of any emerging
market nation. Maduro has denied his
country will default.
At the last Opec meeting on November 27, Saudi Arabia blocked calls
from poorer members of the Opec oil
exporter group for production cuts to
arrest a slide in global prices.
Venezuela said last month it was
considering backing a call for an
emergency Opec meeting depending
upon how oil prices perform in the
first quarter of 2015.
Al Khaliji
new dividend
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
(Al Khaliji) has announced
the implementation
of a new dividend
payment system in line
with international best
practices. Through
this system, Al Khaliji
shareholders now have
several dividend collection
options at Al Khaliji
branches, including
cash, cheque, or deposit
into the shareholder’s
account following
the submission of all
necessary documents.
The shareholder can also
make a transfer to any
local or international bank
Shareholders can visit any
of Al Khaliji branches in Bin
Omran, C-Ring, City Center,
The Pearl, or Landmark
Mall to inquire about
their dividend history
and collect dividend
cheques for all previous
years. Shareholders can
also inquire about their
dividends by calling
a dedicated number
+97444940077 anytime.
To ensure that
shareholders get their
dividends easy, safe,
and fast, Al Khaliji has
urged them to update
their records at the
Qatar Central Securities
Depository through
their main bank. Details
about Al Khaliji dividend
distribution are available
Al Khaliji shareholders
now have several
dividend collection
Most Gulf
markets rally
ost Gulf stock markets
their positive momentum yesterday, supported by good corporate news,
but major petrochemical
producer Industries Qatar
tumbled and dragged down
the Doha bourse after announcing a dividend cut.
yesterday in Saudi Arabia, where
the sector’s index edged
up 0.5%. The overall Saudi
market index rose 1.9%,
largely on the back of banking stocks.
National Commercial Bank
rose 1.9%, Al Rajhi Bank
added 4.1% and Bank Albilad
surged 4.8%. Albilad’s board
last Thursday recommended
a 0.5 riyal per share dividend
for 2014, its first dividend in
at least five years, along with
issuing one bonus share per
four shares held.
Shares in Yanbu Cement
jumped 3.2% after it said its
fourth-quarter profit had
risen 20.6%, even though
full-year profit declined
Dubai’s bourse jumped
2.7% in a broad rally led by
property-related stocks. Major developer Emaar Properties rose 5.8% and its smaller
competitors Union Properties and Deyaar climbed 4.2%
and 4.7% respectively.
The emirate’s property
stocks were beaten down in
the panic selling that engulfed the bourse during
December as oil slid, and
are attracting fresh interest as some investors realise
an international city such as
Dubai could actually benefit
from cheaper oil if that spurs
global growth. Also, having
closed their books for last
year, some funds may now be
returning to buy blue chips
such as Emaar with the new
year’s allocations.
Positive momentum in the
sector could boost another
Dubai property developer,
DAMAC, which will list on
the emirate’s main bourse today. DAMAC, currently listed
only in London, last traded at
5.9 times its 2013 earnings,
a big discount to Emaar and
Deyaar’s ratios of 20.5 and
31.8 times respectively.
Bourse operator Dubai
Financial Market surged
6.7%, continuing the leg up
which started last week after Economy Minister Sultan
bin Saeed al-Mansouri said
the UAE government would
favour a merger of the main
Abu Dhabi and Dubai bourses, although the decision was
up to the exchanges themselves.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark
was nearly flat, but developer Aldar Properties jumped
Oman’s index jumped
2.4% and shares in Oman Cables Industry rose 4.4% after
it reported a 4.9% increase
in 2014 profit. The company
earned 17.7mn rials ($46mn)
last year, slightly surpassing the estimates of analysts,
who had on average forecast
a profit of 17.0mn rials.
Kuwait’s bourse added
1.1% and Egypt’s index weakened by 0.4% as most stocks
pulled back.
Elsewhere, Kuwait’s index
added 1.1% to 6,563 points,
measure inched up 0.04% 1,426
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Saudi’s ACWA Power wins €1.7bn
Morocco solar power deal
Visitors inspect DAMAC section at the exhibition of Global Cityscape 2014, at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. DAMAC in December
received approval from the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority to list on the DFM, according to a filing to the London Stock Exchange.
DAMAC to list on
Dubai bourse today
ubai’s DAMAC will list on
the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) today, a bourse
spokesman said, after the developer
offered holders of its London-listed
global depository receipts (GDRs)
shares in its holding company instead.
DAMAC in December received
approval from the UAE’s Securities
and Commodities Authority to list
on the DFM, according to a filing to
the London Stock Exchange.
The developer offered 23.08
shares in its holding company for
each GDR held in Damac Real Estate
Development Co (DRED) in an offer
that closed last Friday.
The holding company - owner of
about 86% of DRED, Naeem Brokerage estimates - will now list on
the DFM today, a bourse spokesman
said. GDR holders own the remainder of DRED.
“We believe that the DFM listing would provide a good boost to
DAMAC’s stock profile,” Naeem
Brokerage wrote in a note.
“In general, it does make financial sense for companies to be listed
in markets where they operate, and
importantly, the move should help
improve the stock’s liquidity and
attract more retail investors.”
Naeem estimates more than 90%
of DAMAC’s property handovers
will be in Dubai.
“With such high exposure towards Dubai, management cannot
afford to ignore local listing, especially given the participation from
local/retail investors,” Naeem added, giving the stock an accumulate
DAMAC listed in London in December 2013, raising $348mn from
the GDR sale. It was the first Dubai
property firm to list on the UK exchange but joined a number of other
UAE companies to go public there
due to the Gulf country’s unfavourable regulatory regime.
DAMAC reported a 166% rise in
third-quarter profit in November,
on the back of Dubai’s buoyant real
estate market.
Al Jaber
CEO exit
Dubai/Abu Dhabi
bu Dhabi-based
Al Jaber Group
yesterday its chief executive, David Nelson, had
left the group, although
it declined to comment
on sources telling Reuters the conglomerate had
also scrapped plans to sell
its heavy lift unit.
The group, whose main
business is construction
but also has interests in
areas from retail to aviation, sealed a drawn-out
debt restructuring agreement in June which is said
to have set new terms on
around $4.5bn of obligations.
group brought in Nelson
in late-2012 as part of an
introduction of outside
personnel into senior
management aimed at reviewing and modernising
business practices after a
debt-fuelled expansion
got it into trouble.
However, a spokesman
confirmed yesterday that
Nelson had left for family
reasons and Mike Grant,
the company’s chief restructuring officer, had
assumed the position of
interim CEO.
A source aware of
the matter said Nelson
resigned around two
months ago. Grant joined
Al Jaber as restructuring
head in November 2011.
The group has seen a
number of management
changes in the last two
years. Richard Hollands,
who was named finance
head in November 2011,
resigned in April 2013.
He was replaced by Robert Palazzo, who served
as an interim CFO until
incumbent Sam Deeb
was appointed in January
A consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA
Power International has won a €1.7bn contract
to build two solar power plants totalling
350MW in the southern Moroccan city of
Ouarzazate, the Moroccan solar energy
agency (Masen) said in a statement.
The two plants are the second phase of the
500MW Ouarzazate project, which is part of
a government plan to produce 2 gigawatts
of solar power by 2020, equivalent to about
38% of Morocco’s current installed generation
ACWA Power is already building a 160MW
plant in the first stage of the project in the
Ouarzazate area.
Acwa’s consortium, which includes Spain’s
Sener, had priced its offer at 1.36 dirhams
($0.15) per kilowatt (KW) for the first 200MW
plant with parabolic mirror technology, while
it priced the plant with solar power tower
technology at 1.42 dirhams per KW.
Consortiums led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s
International Power and ACWA Power were
pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.
The three groups were also pre-qualified
for the 150 MW (Noor III) tender, along with
another consortium led by Electricite de
France (EDF).
Sources have told Reuters that consortiums
led by ACWA and Spain’s Abengoa have bid
the lowest to build the two plants. If Masen decides to combine the bids for the two plants,
the ACWA bids overall would beat Abengoa’s,
the sources added.
The plants are scheduled to start generating
power in 2017.
To finance the plants, Morocco has secured
The plants are the second phase
of the 500MW Ouarzazate
project, which is part of a
government plan to produce
2 gigawatts of solar power by
2020, equivalent to about 38%
of Morocco’s current installed
generation capacity
loans of $519mn from the World Bank,
€654mn from German state-owned bank KFW
and the rest from the African Development
Bank (AfDB), the European Commission and
European Investment Bank.
Facing an electricity demand that rises by an
annual 7% and a gaping trade deficit from
heavy reliance on fossil fuel imports, Morocco
also hopes renewable energy will enable it
to export electricity to energy-hungry trade
partner, the European Union.
Coupled with another multibillion dollar wind
energy development scheme, the solar development plan should reduce Morocco’s annual
imports of fossil fuels by 2.5mn tonnes of oil
equivalent and prevent emissions of 9mn
tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Masen is expected to announce the two next
solar plants, which would be located in Midelt
(central) and Tata (south) towns with an estimated 500MW each.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Amazon’s speedy refunds set pace
for e-commerce product returns
San Francisco
A Inc is known for its
efforts to woo consumers with
fast deliveries and vast product
selection. It turns out the Web retailer
is just as assertive when it comes to refunds for returned merchandise.
The Seattle-based company takes
1.3 days on average to return cash, the
quickest among online stores, according to new research from StellaService
Inc, which tracks e-commerce data.
While most Web stores will only pay
once a return parcel is on its way, Amazon offers instant refunds for some
purchases, issuing immediate credit
and 30 days to return a product.
Instead of tying up cash and pre-
venting customers from buying other
things, Amazon’s aim is to get people
spending again. That’s especially critical during and after the annual holiday
shopping season, when gift returns
spike and consumers are predisposed
to buy merchandise. Fast refunds are
also important in Internet commerce
because shoppers buy things they
haven’t touched or tried, making return rates higher than in retail outlets.
“Amazon is killing it on refunds and
others should follow suit,” said Eduardo Vilar, chief executive officer of
Returnly Technologies Inc, a San Francisco company that researches retail
returns. “Customers who are given the
right experience on a return are more
loyal shoppers.”
Amazon’s instant refund, which
was rolled out quietly last year, gave
the Web retailer the fastest refundprocessing time out of 40 companies
measured by StellaService.
Lisa Draper, 53, of Coatesville,
Pennsylvania, bought a laptop cover
from Amazon as a Christmas gift for
her son. After noticing a defect when
it arrived, she went to Amazon’s website and clicked the return option. The
money was credited the next day and
she bought and received a replacement before he returned to school this
“I didn’t want to have to charge the
item twice on my credit card,” Draper,
who owns an electrical-contracting
business, said. “I was not expecting
to have the refund so quickly, and that
was nice.”
After introducing instant refunds
in early 2014, Amazon has gradually
made it the default option for more
returns during the year, according
to Kevon Hills, director of research
at New York-based StellaService. In
the quarter that ended in September,
Amazon customers requesting refunds
had money credited to their accounts
in just more than a day, three days faster than the same period in the previous
year, he said.
“Other retailers are interested in
getting faster, too,” Hills said. “The
refund process is the last experience
customers have with a retailer, and you
don’t want it to be a bad experience.”
Kelly Cheeseman, a spokeswoman
for Amazon, declined to comment on
changes made to the company’s refund
“Our goal is to make sure customers
are satisfied with their experience with
Cheap oil’s
global GDP
boost offset
by Europe,
Brazil woes
lunging oil prices are giving a bump to consumer and
business spending around the world - just not enough
to increase global growth forecasts.
A darkening outlook in emerging markets including China, Russia and Brazil and geopolitical risks such as Greece’s
possible exit from the euro are overshadowing the benefits from lower energy costs. The median estimate for 2015
world expansion from economists surveyed by Bloomberg
News has been unchanged since October, when it fell to
3.5% from 3.6%.
“People are cautious in a world where they see other risks
skewed to the downside,” said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co in New York. “There’s still a
question mark out there.”
Economists’ reluctance to boost estimates underscores
the fragility of global growth after four straight years of
below- forecast expansion. JPMorgan is a case in point: It
estimates that sustained $60-a-barrel crude oil prices will
add 0.5% to global gross domestic product, yet its January
2 world expansion forecast of 2.9% for 2015 is down from a
3.3% estimate in July.
The US, with a 3.2% expansion estimate, is the only one
among the world’s 10 biggest economies that JPMorgan now
sees growing more quickly than expected in July. The bank
projects emerging markets will grow 3.9% this year, down
from its July forecast of 4.9%, reflecting markdowns for nations including Russia, Brazil and India.
Oil’s 55% decline since June, the steepest rout since the
global financial crisis, has benefited haven assets such as
US Treasuries while depressing the currencies of crude
exporters such as Russia. The MSCI All-Country World
Index of stocks has dropped about 3.6% in the same period.
Data released on Friday highlighted the relative strength
of the US in the global economy. US employment rose more
than forecast in December and the jobless rate declined
to 5.6%, capping the best year for the labour market since
Meanwhile, Germany’s industrial production unexpectedly fell in November from the previous month as energy
output slumped, while China’s factory-gate prices in December extended a record stretch of year-over-year declines with the sharpest drop since 2012.
Lower oil prices may not be the “manna from heaven”
some forecasters are expecting, HSBC Holdings economists
Stephen King and Karen Ward said in a report on Thursday.
High levels of debt in developed nations are likely to blunt
the benefits of monetary easing, while declines in oil and
other commodities are straining emerging countries, they
“The global economy was losing momentum and disinflation was building, meaning pricing power was being lost,
before anything started to happen in the oil market,” Ward,
who’s based in London, said in a phone interview.
Federal Reserve officials last month saw a mixed bag in
oil prices and the state of the global economy, according to
minutes of their December meeting, released this week in
While some policy makers said the drop in oil would have
a positive impact on overseas employment and output,
many officials “regarded the international situation as an
important source of downside risks,” especially if oil’s decline and weak growth abroad affect financial markets, the
minutes said.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that declining oil prices will increase global output by a range of 0.3%
to 0.7% this year by boosting household incomes and lowering input costs for businesses, according to a blog post
last month by chief economist Olivier Blanchard and Rabah
Arezki, the head of the fund’s commodities research.
Yet Blanchard and Arezki gave a disclaimer in their blog,
saying that the estimates of the impact from oil’s drop don’t
“represent a forecast for the state of the world economy
in 2015 and beyond.” The IMF will release an update to its
World Economic Outlook later this month.
Amazon whether they are shopping or
returning an item,” Cheeseman said.
Amazon’s closest competitors in
refund-processing speed include online furniture and home goods retailer
Wayfair Inc and personal computer
and printer-maker Hewlett-Packard
Co, which both took about three days
to issue refunds, according to StellaService. The average refund-processing time of the 40 companies tracked
by the researcher was more than nine
“A lot of retailers want to put their
energy into increasing sales and making more money, but you have to look at
making your customers happy,” Niraj
Shah, CEO of Boston-based Wayfair,
said in an interview. “That refund delay, even if we can explain it logically,
it’s still emotionally frustrating.”
An employee lifts a box
from a conveyor at the company’s
facility in Tracy, California. The
Seattle-based company takes 1.3 days
on average to return cash, the
quickest among online stores,
according to new research from
StellaService Inc, which tracks
e-commerce data.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Al Abdullatif Industrial Inv
Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran
Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev
Al Babtain Power & Telecommu
Bank Albilad
Alujain Corporation (Alco)
Aldrees Petroleum And Transp
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C
Alinma Bank
Alinma Tokio Marine
Al Khaleej Training And Educ
Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son
Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera
Almarai Co
Saudi Integrated Telecom Co
Alsorayai Group
Al Tayyar
Amana Cooperative Insurance
Anaam International Holding
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets
Arabian Pipes Co
Advanced Petrochemicals Co
Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative
Arabian Cement
Arab National Bank
Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co
United Wire Factories Compan
Astra Industrial Group
Alahli Takaful Co
Axa Cooperative Insurance
Basic Chemical Industries
Bishah Agriculture
Bank Al-Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
United International Transpo
Bupa Arabia For Cooperative
Buruj Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Airlines Catering Co
Methanol Chemicals Co
City Cement Co
Eastern Cement
Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat
Etihad Etisalat Co
Emaar Economic City
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu
United Electronics Co
Falcom Saudi Equity Etf
Filing & Packing Materials M
Wafrah For Industry And Deve
Falcom Petrochemical Etf
Gulf General Cooperative Ins
Jazan Development Co
Gulf Union Cooperative Insur
Halwani Bros Co
Hail Cement
Herfy Food Services Co
Al Jouf Agriculture Developm
Jarir Marketing Co
Jabal Omar Development Co
Al Jouf Cement
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co
Knowledge Economic City
Kingdom Holding Co
Saudi Arabian Mining Co
Malath Cooperative & Reinsur
Makkah Construction & Devepl
Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran
Middle East Specialized Cabl
Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co
Al Mouwasat Medical Services
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudi Dairy & Foodstuff Co
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co
Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran
Saudi Advanced Industries
Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co
Salama Cooperative Insurance
Samba Financial Group
Sanad Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Public Transport Co
Saudi Arabia Refineries Co
Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf
Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei
Saudi Cable Co
Saudi Chemical Company
Saudi Ceramic
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Securities Group Co
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Pearl Of Kuwait Real Estate
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
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Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
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Burgan Bank
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Al Madina For Finance And In
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Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
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Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
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Company Name
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
Al-Dar National Real Estate
Kgl Logistics Company Kscc
Combined Group Contracting
Zima Holding Co Ksc
Qurain Holding Co
Boubyan Intl Industries Hold
Gulf Investment House
Boubyan Bank K.S.C
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Al-Safat Tec Holding Co
Al-Eid Food Co
Al-Qurain Petrochemicals Co
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Union Real Estate Co
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
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Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
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National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
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Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
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Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
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Al Batinah Dev & Inv
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Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
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Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
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Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
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Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
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National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank
Abu Dhabi National Takaful C
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co
#N/A Invalid Security
Sorouh Real Estate Company
Sharjah Insurance Company
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Ras Al Khaima Poultry
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Rak Properties
Ras Al-Khaimah National Insu
Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics
Ras Al Khaimah Cement Co
National Bank Of Ras Al-Khai
Ooredoo Qsc
Umm Al Qaiwain Cement Indust
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
National Marine Dredging Co
National Corp Tourism & Hote
Sharjah Islamic Bank
National Bank Of Umm Al Qaiw
National Bank Of Fujairah
National Bank Of Abu Dhabi
Methaq Takaful Insurance
#N/A Invalid Security
Gulf Pharmaceutical Ind-Julp
Invest Bank
Insurance House
Gulf Medical Projects
Gulf Livestock Co
Green Crescent Insurance Co
Gulf Cement Co
Foodco Holding
Finance House
First Gulf Bank
Fujairah Cement Industries
Fujairah Building Industries
Emirates Telecom Corporation
Eshraq Properties Co Pjsc
Emirates Insurance Co. (Psc)
Emirates Driving Company
Al Dhafra Insurance Co. P.S.
Dana Gas
Commercial Bank Internationa
Bank Of Sharjah
Abu Dhabi Natl Co For Buildi
Al Wathba National Insurance
Intl Fish Farming Co Pjsc
Arkan Building Materials Co
Aldar Properties Pjsc
Al Ain Ahlia Ins. Co.
Al Khazna Insurance Co
Agthia Group Pjsc
Al Fujairah National Insuran
Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co
Abu Dhabi National Insurance
Abu Dhabi National Hotels
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Aviation
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Company Name
United Paper Industries Bsc
United Gulf Investment Corp
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United Finance Co
Trafco Group Bsc
Takaful International Co
Taib Bank -$Us
Securities & Investment Co
Seef Properties
#N/A Invalid Security
Al-Salam Bank
Delmon Poultry Co
National Hotels Co
National Bank Of Bahrain
Nass Corp Bsc
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Investcorp Bank -$Us
Inovest Co Bsc
Intl Investment Group-Kuwait
Gulf Monetary Group
Global Investment House Kpsc
Gulf Finance House Ec
Bahrain Family Leisure Co
Esterad Investment Co B.S.C.
Bahrain Duty Free Complex
Bahrain Car Park Co
Bahrain Cinema Co
Bahrain Tourism Co
Bahraini Saudi Bank/The
Bahrain National Holding
Bankmuscat Saog
Bmmi Bsc
Bmb Investment Bank
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C
Bahrain Flour Mills Co
Bahrain Commercial Facilitie
Bbk Bsc
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Albaraka Banking Group
Banader Hotels Co
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
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Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sony has
no plans
to sell
says CEO
Los Angeles
A man walks near Hutchison House (left) in central Hong Kong. Cheung Kong Holdings has offered $24bn in stock to buy out unit Hutchison Whampoa and will spin off its property assets in the biggest
reorganisation of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s corporate empire.
Cheung Kong to buy out
Hutchison in $24bn deal
Hong Kong
heung Kong Holdings offered
$24bn in stock to buy out unit
Hutchison Whampoa and will
spin off its property assets in the biggest reorganisation of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s corporate empire.
Cheung Kong investors will swap
their shares in the Hong Kong developer for stakes in a new holding company
called CK Hutchison Holdings, the
company said in a January 9 exchange
filing. CK Hutchison will then issue
new shares to buy out minority owners
of Hutchison Whampoa, a conglomerate which controls ports, retail and telecommunications operations.
The reshuffle will end Hutchison
Whampoa’s 37-year history as a separate listed company, which Li kept after
he became the first Chinese to control
a British colonial trading company in
1979. The deal will simplify Li’s empire
that has grown to stretch beyond Hong
Kong, allowing investors to more easily
choose between a local property business and growing global assets in more
than 50 countries.
The streamlined business also paves
the way for Li to hand the company to
his elder son, Victor, currently Cheung
Kong’s deputy chairman.
“As a person reaching a certain age,
you want the company’s successor and
all the executives here to more easily operate and to do well, so it’s not a surprise,”
Li, 86, said at a press conference after the
announcement. “I want the company to
do well not only today but also in the future. That’s my responsibility.”
CK Hutchison will offer Hutchison
Whampoa shareholders 0.684 CK
Hutchison share for every Hutchison
share, according to the statement.
Based on the January 9 close in Hong
Kong, Cheung Kong is offering the
equivalent of HK$85.36 for each
Hutchison Whampoa share, or a 2.3%
discount, data compiled by Bloomberg
In US over-the-counter trading,
Cheung Kong’s American depositary receipts gained 9.7% to $17.90 at
2:34pm in New York, after the company announced the reorganization.
Hutchison ADRs gained 9.3% to $24.61.
After the reorganisation, all of Li’s
non-property assets, including stakes
in Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd and the recently acquired
aircraft leasing business, will go into
CK Hutchison. Real estate assets that
are currently spread across Hutchison
Whampoa and Cheung Kong’s portfolios, mostly located in Hong Kong and
China, will be consolidated into Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd
Hutchison Whampoa expects the
reorganisation to be completed by the
end of June, Managing Director Canning Fok said at a separate press briefing.
Li and his family trusts currently
owns 43% of Cheung Kong, which
controls 50% of Hutchison Whampoa.
Following the reorganisation, they will
have a 30% stake in each of the new
“It is a good move for investors as it
helps to unlock the embedded value of
both companies,” Steven Leung, director of institutional sales at UOB Kay
Hian Ltd, said by phone. “CK-Hutch, the
new company, will offer a greater growth
potential whereas the property spinoff
would provide steady investment.”
After the deal, CK Hutchison will
spin off Cheung Kong Property and list
it separately on the Hong Kong stock
exchange, according to the filing.
“Property is something about which
investors are very cautious right now,”
said Lee Wee Liat, a Hong Kong-based
analyst at BNP Paribas. “They are spinning it off because they want to take out
the lesser-valued assets.”
China’s residential real estate market
has been slowing, while transactions in
Hong Kong have stalled as the government imposed several rounds of curbs
since 2010. The reorganisation is good
for both companies and reflects their
real value, Li said. He will be chairman
of both companies, according to the
He has a net worth of $28.2bn, according to Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.
Li said he hopes to increase the dividend payout this year.
The octogenarian tycoon has been
accelerating overseas acquisitions
while slowing investments at home.
Last year, Li’s group of companies
snapped up Australian gas distributor
Envestra and entered the plane-leasing
market with purchase of 45 planes for
Shares of Cheung Kong fell 0.6%
to HK$124.80 at the close of trading in Hong Kong on January 9, while
Hutchison Whampoa gained 0.9% to
HK$87.40. The benchmark Hang Seng
Index rose 0.4%.
HSBC Holdings Plc advised Cheung
Kong, according to the filing.
ony Corp has no plans to
sell the music publishing business that controls
rights to songs from the Beatles
and Taylor Swift, as was suggested by leaked e-mails, Sony
Entertainment chief executive
officer Michael Lynton said.
business, the largest in the
world, has a catalog of more
than 2mn songs. Music publishers collect songwriting royalties
from album sales, use on TV and
other performances.
E-mails and documents released in the cyber-attack on
Sony mentioned a “top secret”
plan to sell the music publishing business because it had few
growth prospects, Bloomberg
News reported last month. Top
management at Tokyo-based
Sony was concerned about the
complex ownership and governance of the business.
In an January 8 interview,
Lynton said a sale isn’t under
Music publishing accounts
for 14% of Sony’s music revenue, with recorded music
generating the larger part. The
business includes Sony/ATV
Music Publishing, a joint venture with the estate of Michael
Jackson, and EMI Music Publishing, in which Sony has a
30% stake.
Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier said in a memo to staff on
January 9 that he’s been advised
by Sony Corp that the venture
isn’t for sale, the New York Post
Sony/ATV was established in
1995 in partnership with Jackson, who had acquired rights to
the Beatles songs a decade earlier.
In 2012, Sony paid $2.2bn for
the larger EMI Music Publishing, along with investors including Jackson’s estate, Blackstone
Group’s GSO Capital Partners
LP, entertainment mogul David
Geffen and Mubadala Development Co, owned by the Abu
Dhabi government. Sony/ATV
administers EMI on behalf of the
The combined Sony publishing business represents stars
from Bruce Springsteen to
Lady Gaga and songs including
New York, New York, Jailhouse
Rock and I Heard It Through the
Sony and Jackson’s estate each
own half of Sony/ATV, which
contains more than 750,000
songs, according to a 2012 press
release. EMI Music Publishing
has 1.3mn songs in its catalog.
Volvo to sell Chinese-made cars in US this year
Volvo Car Group plans to export a Chinesemade midsize sedan this year to the US, and is
starting to weigh the possibility of building a
vehicle factory in the US, people familiar with
the Chinese-owned automaker’s plans said.
Both moves would be significant for the
auto industry and Volvo’s parent, Zhejiang
Geely Holding Group Co. So far, global automakers have chosen not to ship vehicles made
in China to the US market in any significant
numbers, and efforts by Chinese automakers
to export vehicles to the US have foundered.
Volvo is also behind rivals BMW and
Mercedes in establishing production in the
US, which insulates the German brands from
currency fluctuations.
Volvo might also export a large “strategic,
flagship” sedan based on a newly developed
underpinning technology, said the executives,
who work for Zhejiang Geely. That car would
be shipped out of China in addition to the Volvo
S60L, a long wheelbase version of the S60 sedan
Volvo began producing in the southwestern
China city of Chengdu more than a year ago.
The moves are aimed at reviving Volvo’s
momentum in the US market where volume
last year fell 8% from 2013 to 56,371 vehicles.
The US market, which has long been Volvo’s
largest market, was replaced by China last
year. China bought 81,221 Volvos in 2014, up
33%. More broadly, the moves are part of
Geely’s turnaround strategy for Volvo which
has struggled to go beyond being a brand with
an annual volume of less than a half million
vehicles. Thanks to its focus on China where
the brand expanded its distribution network
and product portfolio, Volvo sales volume is
on the rise. It sold a total of 465,866 vehicles
globally last year, up 9% from 2013.
“The S60L offers class-leading rear space,
something that has been consistently demanded by US customers. It will be made at Volvo’s
plant in Chengdu, China, and will be on show
for the first time at this year’s North American
International Auto Show in Detroit,” said David
Ibison, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based Volvo
spokesman. “The S60L forms just one part of
our US revival plan.”
Ibison said Volvo plans to launch seven
new products by 2018 and increase US sales
to around 100,000 cars a year in the medium
term. He declined to elaborate.
Exporting Chinese-produced mainstream
passenger cars to the US and other advanced
auto markets has been a long-standing goal of
China’s indigenous automakers — an objective
that has largely eluded the industry.
“It would be a big breakthrough” not just
for Geely but for China’s industry, said James
Chao, Asia-Pacific director of consulting and
research firm IHS Automotive.
“Volvo is not an indigenous Chinese brand
but it is wholly Chinese-owned. Perhaps this
is the model or strategy that finally works for
Chinese companies trying to enter the US
market and other markets.”
Chao added Volvo’s owner, Geely, could
follow Volvo into the US market with its own
products, perhaps leveraging Volvo’s manufacturing and parts supply chains.
Geely’s purchase of Volvo from Ford Motor Co five years ago surprised many in the
auto industry, who doubted that a relative
newcomer could turn around the nearly
90-year-old Swedish business while protecting
its famous brand.
The S60L was developed originally as a
China-specific model to cater to wealthy Chinese consumers who prefer cars with bigger,
comfortable rear seats because many of these
owners have chauffeurs. Volvo expects to ship
roughly 1,500 made-in-China S60L cars to the
US this year, compared with the car’s projected
volume in China this year of 26,000.
The additional car Volvo plans to export to
the US, those executives said, is a flagship large
sedan that might be called the S90 which uses
Volvo’s new vehicle underpinning technology
called “scalable platform architecture” or SPA.
The S90 will be a second vehicle based on that
new architecture, following the redesigned
XC90 sport utility vehicle based on the same
technology. Volvo announced in late 2013 that
it would produce “a large premium sedan”
based on SPA at a new plant in the northeastern
Chinese city of Daqing. At Daqing, Volvo began
producing last year the XC Classic, the previous
generation of the redesigned XC90.
Chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Li Shufu (left) and former executive vice-president and
chief financial officer of Ford Lewis Booth shake hands in front of a Volvo S60 car at the Volvo plant and
headquarters in Torslanda, Gothenburg, in this March 28, 2010, file photo. Volvo Car Group plans to export a
Chinese-made midsize sedan in 2015 to the US.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Legal challenge shows rocky path to ECB money-printing
A landmark legal opinion this week will
remind the European Central Bank of
the limits it faces as it advances towards
money printing, while a tumbling oil price
saps inflation in debt-strained Europe.
With expectations high that the ECB is
on the verge of buying government bonds
with new money to shore up the economy,
an influential adviser to Europe’s top court
will give his view on January 14 about an
earlier unused bond-buying scheme.
It is the latest chapter in a long-running
and increasingly bitter dispute about
quantitative easing (QE) between the ECB
and Germany, the largest member of the
19-country bloc, that is likely to limit the
size or scope of such a programme.
As the debate continues, the eurozone
economy is all but grinding to a halt.
Germany is expected to announce modest
growth on January 15 for last year.
In the US, fresh data on rising employment as well as retail sales is set to show just
how much its recovery has overtaken Europe. “The global economy is at a precarious
point,” said Jacob Kirkegaard of Washington
think tank, the Peterson Institute.
“The falling oil price is a huge shot in
the arm. Nonetheless, it is clear that the
ECB will have to do something. There is no
growth and the debt burden is too high.
The world will be flying on one engine, the
US, for quite some time.” Oil’s secondbiggest collapse on record has taken
the price of a barrel of benchmark Brent
crude to around $50 from $115 in the middle of last year.
That is a mixed blessing for the stuttering global economy.
While it is good news for a slowing
China and should put more money in the
pocket of motorists around the world,
cheap oil has put price inflation into
reverse in the eurozone, increasing the
burden on countries with heavy debts.
It has also compounded an economic
and currency crisis in neighbouring Russia, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters. Russia is already locked in conflict
with neighbouring Ukraine.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has
said it will conclude a review of Russia’s credit status by mid January. Any
downgrade would badge Russian bonds
as “junk” for the first time in more than a
decade. Low price inflation, a symptom
of the global slowdown, has led some to
question the rule of thumb for measuring economic health, namely that there
should be a steady up-tick in prices.
British inflation will be watched tomorrow, with analysts betting it will hit a fresh
12-year low below 1%.
Those looking for respite elsewhere
may be disappointed. The People’s Bank
of China cut the cost of borrowing in
November and loosened loan restrictions
to encourage lending. It is expected to
take further such steps, as the country’s
property market downturn continues and
local governments and companies grapple with heavy debts. Bank lending data
and a readout on economic output in the
final three months of last year are likely to
paint a glum picture.
Hopeful eyes are turning to the ECB.
But German opposition to money printing
could put a fly in the ointment.
Its Bundesbank has warned that buying
bonds issued by eurozone governments —
including politically brittle Greece — could
leave it on the hook for losses.
Next week, an adviser to Europe’s top
court will give his opinion on a challenge
by a group of Germans to an earlier ECB
bond-buying programme. If he shares any
of the concerns of Germany’s constitutional court, which referred the case to
European judges, it would be significant.
Alain Durre, an economist with Goldman Sachs, said this could lead to the ECB
setting a fixed limit on its bond-buying
plans or to take priority over other investors when it buys state bonds.
Whatever the outcome, the German
protest is likely to get louder. “The ECB has
stepped beyond its remit. The European
court should forbid the ECB from doing
this,” said Dietrich Murswiek, a lawyer
representing one of the plaintiffs.
“You can draw parallels with quantitative easing. From my point of view, QE is
also beyond its remit. This can also lead to
legal action.”
Oil slump: Norway mulls
steps to back economy
orway is considering tapping
reserve funds to shield western
Europe’s biggest oil producer
from the worst slump in crude prices in
more than half a decade.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the
government is now “on alert” to respond to the rout. “If the economic situation requires it, we can react quickly,”
she said on Saturday at a conference in
Oslo organised by Norway’s confederation of industry.
A 56% plunge in the price of Brent
crude since a June high has undermined
Norway’s currency and beaten back
its stock market. The krone has lost
20% against the dollar over the period.
Norway’s benchmark equity index is
down 9%. Oil producers including the
country’s biggest, Statoil, and service
companies have already cut thousands
of jobs to adjust and unions are calling
for government measures to protect the
“The decline has been stronger and
gone faster than we had expected,”
Eldar Saetre, chief executive officer of
state-backed Statoil, said on Saturday in an interview. “The development
we’re seeing is a reminder that we’re in
a cyclical industry, and that we need to
have a cost level in this industry that
can sustain these types of cycles and let
us be competitive over time.”
Scandinavia’s richest economy is
now facing the flipside of an oil reliance
that has supported an economic boom
over the past decade. Though successive governments have sought to avoid
overheating by channelling oil income
into the country’s $840bn sovereign
wealth fund, Norway’s plight now
shows those efforts weren’t enough to
wean it off oil.
“Right now, there’s somewhat of a
state of emergency in the oil industry
— some would call it a panic,” Walter
Qvam, CEO of Kongsberg Gruppen,
a Norwegian defence and oil services
company, said in an interview.
“Norway needs this reminder, and
it’s very good that we’re getting it now.
We’re going to stay an oil nation, but
we now need to create the next version
of Norway, because the version we’ve
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg gestures as she speaks during an interview at her office in Oslo (file). The government is now “on alert” to respond to the situation
arising from the worst slump in crude prices in more than half a decade, she said on Saturday.
been living in for the past 35 years is on
the wane.”
Solberg said her government is working on models that will help the $510bn
economy speed up its shift away from
fossil fuels and over to other industries.
“The long-term adjustments that
come from this will be good for Norway,” Solberg said. Oil and gas today account for more than one-fifth of gross
domestic product. The government
has already pledged to spend a record
amount of the nation’s oil wealth — or
about 6.4% of GDP — on expenditure
this year to support the economy.
Oeyvind Eriksen, CEO at Aker — billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke’s holding
company — said the oil price slump
could create “opportunities” for its
holdings, which include Aker Solutions
and Det Norske Oljeselskap.
“Aker has resources and is willing to
invest in our companies, provided that
it creates shareholder value for us and
our fellow shareholders,” he said in an
interview. “That goes for Det Norske
and in principle for all the other companies in our portfolio.”
Norway’s non-oil businesses are already seeing renewed investor interest.
Yara International, one of the world’s
largest makers of fertilisers, is up 24%
over the past six months and aluminum
producer Norsk Hydro has surged 21%.
“Lower energy prices are positive
for Yara,” Torgeir Kvidal, acting CEO of
Yara, said in an interview. “We export
most of our production,” so the company “benefits from a stronger dollar.”
Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO at Telenor,
the largest Nordic phone company, also
said it might not be a “bad thing” for
Norway to recalibrate its economy.
“A lot of the competence built around
the oil industry can clearly be shifted
towards other areas,” he said in an interview. “That’s going to happen. We’ve
succeeded at such shifts earlier.”
Citigroup cuts
bonuses after
weak year-end
New York
itigroup reduced the bonus pool for fixed-income and equities traders
and salespeople after their division’s lacklustre performance in
the final weeks of the year, according to a person briefed on
the matter.
The bonuses will drop 5% to
10% on average, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing compensation.
Citigroup, the third-biggest
US bank, planned as recently as
mid-December to keep the bonus pool unchanged from 2013, a
person briefed on the matter said
at the time.
Michael Corbat, who said last
month that fourth-quarter trading revenue would decline by
about 5%, is adjusting compensation for employees to fit the
bank’s performance. The bonus
cuts suggest the drop could be
steeper than Corbat predicted,
said David Hilder, an analyst at
Drexel Hamilton.
“It’s an unpleasant surprise
when it’s in the last two weeks of
the quarter and everyone has set
up their budgets,” said Hilder,
who recommends investors buy
Citigroup shares.
“To the extent you give up
revenue in the businesses where
you have a lot of variable comp,
like trading, you don’t have to
pay people as much. That’s how
it works.”
Jamie Forese, 51, who heads
the institutional clients group
that includes the trading businesses, briefed the bank’s trading-desk chiefs about the bonus
cuts earlier this week, the person
briefed on the matter said. The
adjustments were necessary because revenue failed to meet the
bank’s projections, the person
Corbat, 54, said at a December
9 conference that he expected
fourth-quarter markets revenue
to slide in the “the 5%-ish range,
maybe a bit more” from the same
period a year earlier, when the
bank brought in $2.86bn from
trading stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.
Market’s ups-and-downs spell end of low volatility era
New York
n the last month, the US stock market is down just 0.8%, but it’s been a
bumpy ride: Since December 9, the
S&P 500 has had a 4% selloff, a 6% rally, and a 4% drop that ended on Thursday with a two-day gain of 3%. Equities
were hit hard again on Friday — down
almost 1%.
Investors made queasy by the sharp
selloffs and snapback rallies might
want to prepare themselves for more
of the same. A growing number of
market watchers say the low-volatility regime that dominated in 2013 and
2014 has ended, and the roller-coaster ride going on now has become the
“This year has the potential to be a
very good year for stocks but we will
see more and bigger spikes in volatility,” said Brian Reynolds, chief market
strategist at Rosenblatt Securities in
New York.
Uncertainty about impending Greek
elections, rising credit spreads, the
possibility of a Russian default, and
how far oil prices could fall is boosting
the CBOE Volatility Index, the market’s favoured indicator of Wall Street’s
anxiety. For example, stock investors have attempted to buy up energy
shares cheap, only to be hit hard when
oil keeps falling, Reynolds said. The VIX
is a measure of how high investors perceive the risk or uncertainty about the
size of changes in a security’s value.
Investors have responded to this uncertainty by loading up on protection
through the use of options on the S&P
and the VIX. Recent increases in average daily volume in exchange-traded
funds designed to take advantage of
higher volatility — or hedge against
it — also shows investors are trying to
grapple with an up-and-down environment.
From the beginning of 2013, on average, the S&P 500’s average daily trading range was 15 points; in the last three
weeks that has jumped up to a daily average of 25 points.
A rapid expansion in open interest in
SPX options shows many investors are
hedging long stock positions as well as
speculating on further drops in the index in the near-term, said Ophir Gottlieb, chief executive of Los Angelesbased Capital Market Laboratories.
Traders are buying VIX calls in the
February and March expiration at the
25 level, said J J Kinahan, chief market
strategist at retail brokerage TD Ameri-
trade Holding Corp The VIX was last
trading at 17.82, so that implies a sharp
“We are starting to see people buying volatility as almost a type of asset
class,” Kinahan said.
That can be seen in the trading of leveraged ETFs, which seek to double the
gains or losses in the VIX on a given day.
Over the last 20 days, the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures VIX ETF,
which looks to double the daily move
in the VIX, has seen daily volume of
16.7mn shares, compared with an average of 9.66mn in the past 200 days.
A similar ETF, the ProShares Short
VIX Short-Term Futures ETF has seen
daily volume more than double, to
2.86mn shares a day in the last 20 days,
compared with 1.36mn in the last 200
Those protecting against losses are
also paying more money for this. Across
major equity indices, the skew — an
indicator of how desirous investors are
of protection — is extremely high, said
Mandy Xu, equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse. “For the S&P,
using one month options, skew is in
the 95th percentile,” she said, indicating that people are paying more money
for downside protection than at most
times in the last year.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. A growing number of market watchers say the low-volatility
regime that dominated in 2013 and 2014 has ended, and the roller-coaster ride going on now has become the norm.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Splitting banks should be
last resort: EU lawmaker
plitting consumer and trading
activities at the European Union’s
biggest banks should be a supervisor’s last resort after other crisismanagement tools fail, a key member
of the bloc’s legislature said.
Gunnar Hoekmark, a Swede who’s
leading the European Parliament’s
work on a bank-structure bill put forward last year by the European Commission, said separation should be
used only if banks deemed too big to
fail don’t take other measures such as
boosting capital or increasing issuance
of loss-absorbing debt.
Banks that can’t be safely wound
down should they fail would face “enhanced supervision, or a call for higher
levels of capital, or a change of structure, or in the end what could be separation,” Hoekmark said January 7 in an
interview in Brussels. “The key issue is
The commission’s proposal to ban
proprietary trading at the EU’s largest
banks and assess whether their trading
arms should be turned into separately
capitalised units needs considerable
work before it can be put into practice,
Hoekmark said. National governments
in the 28-nation EU are also devising
ways to streamline the measure.
A revised blueprint prepared by
Hoekmark steers “away from the original proposal calling for separation per
se,” he said. This is justified because
other laws adopted since the 2008 financial crisis have addressed key risks
in banks, because of the need to promote lending to businesses, and by the
threat that trading activities could simply shift to other, less regulated financial firms, he said.
The draft EU law would cover banks
labelled as globally systemic by the Financial Stability Board, a group of international regulators. The EU banks in the
latest edition of the FSB list, published
in November, are: HSBC Holdings,
Deutsche Bank, Barclays, BNP Paribas,
Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Banco
Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Credit Agricole, Groupe, ING Groep, Nordea Bank,
Banco Santander, Societe Generale,
Standard Chartered and UniCredit.
The regulation would also capture
banks that have total assets exceeding
€30bn ($35.4bn) in three consecutive
years and total trading assets and liabilities of more than €70bn or 10% of
total assets.
The commission’s plan sets out a
series of thresholds for moving some
trading activities into separately capitalised units, such as the importance of
investment banking to the overall business and the complexity of its derivatives business.
Hoekmark’s approach, which will
be debated soon by lawmakers in the
parliament’s Economic and Monetary
central bank
urged to consider
easing cap on franc
he Swiss National Bank
should consider easing
its three-year-cap on the
franc before Switzerland becomes too reliant on what was
conceived as only a temporary
measure, a former advisor to the
central bank said in a newspaper
interview yesterday.
The comments from Ernst
Baltensperger represent the first
time an economist of his calibre
has criticised the central bank’s
cap on the franc of 1.20 versus
the euro, which the Swiss have
so far been largely in favour of.
The cap has shielded the Swiss
economy from fallout of the eurozone crisis and protected exporters, but it has also severely
bloated the SNB’s reserves because the central bank has had to
intervene in currency markets to
defend the franc.
The central bank now faces
a renewed challenge of keeping
the franc down as the eurozone
grapples with talk of a possible
exit by Greece and the single
currency slides to lows against
the dollar.
“One could replace the
current cap with one for a
basket of currencies, for
example made up of half
euro and half US dollar”
Hoekmark says Separation should be used only if banks deemed too big to fail don’t take other measures such as boosting capital or increasing issuance of loss-absorbing debt.
Affairs Committee, “is very compatible” with bank-structure rules already
developed in France, Germany and
Belgium, he said. It would also respect
the so-called Vickers overhaul of bank
structure being undertaken in the UK.
The commission proposal has come
under attack on multiple fronts since it
was presented last January, with warnings from banks that it would increase
their costs, inhibit lending to businesses and damage the functioning of
financial markets.
The revised text should protect the
banking system’s role as finance provider to the economy, Hoekmark said.
In addition to limiting the need for separation, the lawmaker has also rewritten the metrics used to determine the
systemic risks posed by a bank to align
them better with real risks and other
EU laws, he said.
“Trading per se is not more risky
than retail banking,” Hoekmark said.
His plan may not satisfy “those that are
a little bit dogmatic about separation as
a solution to everything,” he said. “This
is a battle of are we going to get the
European banking system to work and
provide liquidity, or not.”
The European Banking Federation
said Hoekmark’s approach “shares
banks’ concerns” about ensuring that
lenders can finance the economy.
“While the EBF has expressed opposition over tackling this matter at a European level, given the many legislative
initiatives already taken which changed
the financial landscape, and the various existing national regulations on
structural reform, the report sets the
base for further discussions among colegislators,” the group said.
EU lawmakers last year were divided
over the bill, with members of the assembly’s Socialist and Green groups
calling for a more mandatory approach
to separation.
Hoekmark’s blueprint “would hollow out the commission’s proposal
on bank-structure reform and leave it
as an ineffective shell regulation,” FinanceWatch, an advocacy group, said
in a e-mailed statement.
The plan “would substantially
weaken the objectives, scope, defini-
tions, mechanism and sanctions in the
commission’s original proposal,” the
group said. “It is hard to believe that
the structure of the EU’s too-big-toofail megabanks would be improved as a
result of this text.”
Hoekmark’s approach may also lead
to a scaling back of the proprietary
trading curbs, FinanceWatch said. “The
broader definition of market making
might result in a narrower prop trading
ban,” it said.
A number of EU nations are also calling for “a greater degree of supervisory
discretion” to decide whether structural separation measures are needed at
banks, according to a December 22 note
from Italy, which held the EU’s presidency in the second half of last year.
In addition, “only very few countries
are explicitly in favour” of the proposed
proprietary trading ban, according to
that note.
Under the commission proposal, the
ban would cover “desks’, units’, divisions’ or individual traders’ activities
specifically dedicated to taking positions for making a profit for own ac-
count, without any connection to
client activity or hedging the entity’s
risk.” This ban is narrower than the US
Volcker Rule, which also bans proprietary trading, according to the commission.
Britain’s Jonathan Hill, the member
of the European Commission responsible for financial services policy, has
called for a swift deal on the law.
“The sensible thing to do is to seek
to make progress quickly” on the legislation, Hill said in a December 15 interview. “There are still areas of risk in
some of the biggest and most complicated banks that it’s sensible to try to
find a way of addressing.”
Under EU procedures, national governments seek to develop joint negotiating positions on draft EU laws, which
they then use in compromise talks with
the European Parliament, which also
prepares a negotiating stance.
Parliament is set to vote on its position in early 2015, while nations will
continue talks on their approach under
Latvia’s presidency in the first half of
this year.
Ernst Baltensperger told the
weekly Neue Zuercher Zeitung
am Sonntag that the cap was
conceived as a temporary emergency measure and that three
years on, it should be adjusted.
Any changes to the cap were
likely to become more politically
contentious over time, as complacency sets in. Also, the SNB may
struggle to offload the euros it
bought to defend the cap, he said.
The central bank could replace
its cap against the euro with one
linked to a basket of euro and US
dollar, the economist suggested.
“One could replace the current cap with one for a basket
of currencies, for example made
up of half euro and half US dollar,” Baltensperger was quoted
as saying. The franc would thus
be able to appreciate against the
euro, but only as much as the
dollar appreciated against the
franc, said Baltensperger.
“This would enable an easing
of a solely euro-focused monetary policy, without making the
franc overly attractive internationally,” Baltensperger said.
The SNB was not immediately
available for comment.
Last month, the central bank
said it would start charging
banks for deposits in francs for
the first time since the 1970s,
an additional measure aimed at
stemming a flight to the safehaven currency.
More losses loom for Russian bonds as rating heads back to junk
Fitch and S&P have placed Russia one
notch above junk; S&P to review in
mid-Jan and April; downgrade to junk ‘a
foregone conclusion’, says analyst; govt
seeks to avert downgrade; says dangers
Russia’s credit rating looks set to tumble into
junk for the first time in more than a decade, a
move that would exclude its bonds from a couple
of high-profile indexes and may set off another
wave of capital outflows.
The Fitch agency cut its rating on Russia to
‘BBB minus’ from ‘BBB’ on Friday, citing a significant deterioration in the country’s economic
outlook due to the slump in oil prices and falling
value of the rouble.
That is still investment grade, the category
that implies low default risk, but only one notch
away from so-called junk, the grade Russia rose
out of in 2004.
Bigger rival Standard & Poor’s has Russia
already at ‘BBB minus’, with a negative outlook,
meaning the next move will likely push it into
junk. It says it will review the rating in mid-January and again in April.
“A downgrade to junk for a foregone
conclusion,” said Hung Tran, executive managing
director at global industry body, the Institute of
International Finance.
A fall to junk will deal a blow both to Russia’s
already-battered economic prospects and to its
image as a global power. Peers in the Brics group
of big world economies — China, India, Brazil and
South Africa — are all rated investment grade.
Markets are already pricing Russia as junk, according to bond yields and debt insurance costs,
and as this graphic shows.
While that should cap capital outflows from
the move itself, knee-jerk losses are still likely.
Many conservative funds are barred from buy-
ing sub-investment grade securities, so loss of
this coveted rating can trigger selling of existing
securities and raises future borrowing costs for a
country and its companies.
S&P last month placed the country on “Creditwatch Negative”, implying a 50% chance of a
downgrade in the next three months. Its own
“market derived” score for Russia indicates a rating five notches below current levels.
Moody’s rates Russia two notches above junk
but with a negative outlook, and is expected to
follow S&P later in 2015.
Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s
role in the Ukraine crisis and oil’s price collapse
are tipping Russia’s economy into recession,
while central bank reserves have fallen by more
than $100bn — unlike during the 2008 crisis,
reserve volumes fall short of total debt.
“We expect Russia to fall from the investment
grade category by March or early April,” Societe
Generale strategist Regis Chatellier said, predicting some forced selling of Russian debt.
Russian officials were unavailable for comment due to the country’s extended New Year
break but Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said
late last month the dangers were “exaggerated”.
“We are working (with rating agencies) and explaining the economic situation,” he told reporters.
“It seems to me that foreign understanding doesn’t
always correspond to what is actually the case.”
An oil price bounce or a lifting of sanctions
could bring respite. But Moody’s said on December 22 it expected “limited upward pressure on
ratings”, while predicting downward moves if oil
prices stayed at “current levels”.
Since then, crude futures have tumbled another $10 a barrel.
The biggest impact would be felt with both
Moody’s and S&P cutting Russia to junk because
that would lead to the country’s ejection from
Barclays’ Global Aggregate index that is estimated to be have $2tn benchmarked against it
Adding in sovereign and corporate debt in roubles and hard currency, Russia has a 0.7% weight
that Barclays reckons amounts to $140bn.
Dedicated emerging market funds would be
less affected because most EM indexes include
non-investment grade credits. But JPMorgan said
Russia could be removed from the investmentgrade portion of its GBI-EM index for emerging
currency bonds, a portion to which around $57bn is benchmarked.
A lot of foreign funds, including those following the Barclays index, have already dumped
their Russian holdings and the cost of insuring
Russia exposure via credit default swaps (CDS)
exceeds that of Pakistan and Lebanon whose
ratings are deep in junk.
“Russian credit is already priced for three
downgrades. However if you do get an actual
downgrade to high-yield, you do get some more
capitulation,” said David Hauner, head of EEMEA
debt and strategy at Bank of America/Merrill
A BofA/Merrill study comparing CDS spreads
and ratings found that a one-notch downgrade to
junk tends to fuel a 40-60 basis point increase in
bond and CDS spreads.
Russian sovereign debt yields 630 basis points
above US Treasuries, close to Iraqi and Angolan levels. That is 400 bps above year-ago levels and more
than double the average premium paid by other
investment grade credits on the EMBIG index.
“There is always some reaction (to loss of
investment grade)” said David Spegel, head of
emerging debt at BNP Paribas. “Some people
hold on and ignore events until they find their IG
credit is now junk, and they must get rid of it.”
A downgrade will be most problematic for
companies whose spiralling borrowing costs —
reflected in a doubling of bond spreads since
January 2014 — may rise even further
About $100bn in company debt is due this
year. “A potential downgrade could intensify
the pressure on Russian corporate bonds, not
so much due to the downgrade itself but due
to further restrictions on bond holdings stemming from institutional investors,” SocGen’s
Chatellier said.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Greece to stick
with euro if
Syriza wins
polls: leader
Greece will stay in the eurozone
while also fighting against the
politics of austerity “which is
ruining Europe” if the radical
left-wing Syriza party wins this
month’s general election, its
leader said yesterday.
“It’s clear from any point of view
that the subject of Greece leaving the euro simply does not
exist,” Alexis Tsipras told Greek
weekly Realnews.
Global markets have been shaken by fears that Greece could
abandon the euro if Syriza wins
the election on January 25.
But Tsipras said the idea of
Greece quitting the eurozone
was “alarmism” dating from
2012 at the height of Greece’s
crisis which led to a €240bn
($282bn) international bailout.
“The climate is completely different now,” he said.
“The only person talking about
this eventuality is (prime minister) Antonis Samaras, but it is
denied day after day by highranking European officials,” the
Syriza chief said.
The European Commission
said last week a country’s
membership in the eurozone is
Samaras, the conservative
premier who is Tsipras’ main
rival in the election, has warned
it would be disastrous if Syriza
wins the election and ends the
austerity policies imposed on
Greece by the conditions of its
European Union-International
Monetary Fund creditors.
But Tsipras said Greece “will
lead the way in fighting against
the politics of austerity which
are ruining Europe, strengthening the far-right and plunging
the European economy into
Shire to buy NPS for $5.2bn
to add rare-disease drugs
hire Plc, the drug maker seeking
to boost growth after its proposed
sale to AbbVie collapsed, agreed
to acquire NPS Pharmaceuticals for
about $5.2bn to add medicines used to
treat rare diseases.
Shire will pay $46 a share in cash,
the company said yesterday in a statement. That’s a 9.8% premium to NPS’s
closing share price on January 9 in New
York and more than 50% higher than
its close on December 16, before news
broke of Shire’s interest. The deal has
been approved by both companies’
Adding Bedminster, New Jerseybased NPS will enable Shire to expand
in rare diseases such as gastrointestinal
and endocrine disorders.
The deal comes before NPS learns
whether its Natpara medicine to treat
hypoparathyroidism wins approval
from the US Food and Drug Administration.
A decision on the drug, which would
be the first marketed treatment for the
potentially fatal disorder, is scheduled
to be made by January 24.
NPS has “a rare-disease focus and in
addition it builds on our strong expertise in gastrointestinal diseases,” Shire
chief executive officer Flemming Ornskov said in a telephone interview. “So
it’s a strategic fit, growth enhancing,
and we can afford it. It ticks almost all
the boxes.”
It was worth the risk to move ahead
of the FDA’s Natpara decision, Ornskov
said. Shire’s due diligience included
looking at the correspondence with the
FDA and, by moving early, Shire can
also help with the drug’s introduction,
he said.
In biotechnology takeovers since the
Shire’s offices are seen at the Citywest Business Campus in Dublin. The drug maker has agreed to acquire NPS
Pharmaceuticals for about $5.2bn to add medicines used to treat rare diseases.
beginning of 2014, about one-third of
the buyers paid a premium of between
25% and 50%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Ornskov had said in November that
the company was revisiting some of
the deals it was considering before
AbbVie’s abandoned $52bn takeover.
Shire was considering a bid for NPS,
Bloomberg News reported on December 17, citing people familiar with the
matter. Shire is based for tax purposes
Foreign investors in red
hot London property
market force locals out
US funds step up presence in London;
sovereign wealth active; UK insurers,
pension funds seek opportunities in
regions; Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow
amongst favoured destinations; many
UK groups go directly through private
deals, avoid auction
ough foreign competition in the London commercial property market is
forcing local investors to invest in regional cities to tap rising rents there, with
many making purchases privately to avoid
auctions or even building office blocks from
Commercial and residential property in
London has become a popular safe haven for
investors from places such as Russia, China
and southern Europe as a result of the financial crisis, and office prices have bounced
back strongly from the lows.
From a $4bn battle for control of the Canary Wharf financial district to the creation
of the capital’s tallest building, The Shard,
thanks to oil money from the Gulf, many of
London’s landmarks have had a helpful overseas financing hand.
Last year, more than £55bn ($83.5bn) was
invested in commercial property across the
country, much of it by pension funds, insurers and sovereign wealth funds looking for
steady, long-term income.
But local investors are increasingly seeing
advantage elsewhere.
“We do need to be savvy as to where we invest, and there are some markets in the UK,
particularly prime core London, which we
see as fully priced,” said Chris Perkins, who
heads up the team managing business and
industrial property at M&G Real Estate, a
unit of insurer Prudential.
Political uncertainty about who will win in
a British May 7 election could crimp demand
for commercial property slightly in the early
part of the year, but any slowdown in overseas interest would be temporary, analysts
With London the principal target for foreign capital, British investors are seeking rising rents in cities such as Glasgow, Leeds and
Manchester as an economic recovery takes
hold across the country.
In regional centres, a patchy property development pipeline and a shortage of premium property are creating opportunities for
Skyscrapers including 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ (left) stand
on the skyline of the City of London. Commercial and residential property in London has
become a popular safe haven for investors from places such as Russia, China and southern
Europe as a result of the financial crisis.
home-grown investors. British institutions
increased exposure to the regional office market to 46% by September 2014, from 33% a
year ago, research from realtor Savills showed,
while adding in funds from property firms,
occupiers and private investors, their share of
regional commercial property was 60%.
Among the most active of the British investors, M&G signed the largest regional deal
of 2014, spending around £320mn ($499mn)
for 500,000 square feet of office space in
Manchester. Of the £3bn it spent buying
property in 2014, 60% was spent outside
The group made total returns of around
20% in 2014 and should achieve double-digit
returns this year, M&G’s Perkins said. That
stacks up well against more traditional investments, such as the blue-chip FTSE 100,
down 2.7% in 2014.
For those wanting to invest in regional cities for capital growth and lucrative rentals,
there are several routes. The most common is
to invest in a real estate investment trust or a
mutual fund, although those with a mediumterm view and the right skills could buy an
existing building or fund a new-build.
Although the value of offices outside London is lower, there has been a jump in rental
demand for offices in the country’s major
regional markets: from Bristol and Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
While prime office locations in London’s
crowded City financial district fetched rents
of about £80 per square foot by mid-2014,
Birmingham offices got roughly £30 and
Manchester £32, Savills data showed.
Yields are also higher in the regions: while
prime office space in the City returned 4.25%
in the second quarter of 2014, Birmingham
returned 5.25% and Manchester 5%.
For domestic investors looking to steal a
march on rivals, many are going directly to
local governments and companies that may
need to sell off assets, as well as retailers and
others open to leasing back their property to
free up cash.
“We spend a lot of time seeking off-market transactions where we don’t have to be in
competitive bidding,” said Bill Hughes, head
of property at Legal & General Investment
Management. “That is where you get the best
After improving a building — with a view
to holding it for an average of seven to 10
years — the investment arm of insurer Legal
& General can sell it on as a performing asset
to another long-term holder, such as a pension scheme or sovereign wealth fund.
The latter have been hesitant to invest
directly in such assets, preferring more assured returns from higher-quality ‘GradeA’ London properties which are easier to sell
The limited availability of Grade-A property assets outside London — down nearly
40% over the last four years, analyst Andy
Brunner of Morningstar said — means those
who take the risk of building the properties
from scratch could cash in.
While the lack of income from an unbuilt
property can put some off, an improvement
in the underlying economy has left others
more confident about taking on the risk, said
Michael Haddock, senior research director at
in Dublin, and Ornskov and other top
executives work in Lexington, Massachusetts. While Shire needs to focus first on completing the NPS deal,
“given the amount of cash we generate
and our ability to take on further debt,
this does not put any restrictions of
significance on our strategy to become
a leader in the biotech area,” Ornskov
said in the interview.
“Obviously that will require further
Acquisitions work best when they’re
in a disease area “you know very well,”
he said, which for Shire includes rare
diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and
opthalmology, he said.
Natpara treats a rare disorder in
which a diminished amount of parathyroid hormone causes calcium deficiencies, causing muscle pain, tingling,
an inability to focus, and anxiety or depression. In extreme cases, it can cause
NPS also sells Gattex, a treatment for
short-bowel syndrome that analysts
predict will garner more than $300mn
in sales in 2016. That would complement Shire’s existing stable of drugs for
gastrointestinal diseases.
Shire’s pipeline of experimental
drugs will add $3bn to revenue by 2020,
and acquisitions may further boost
sales, the company said on Dec. 10. The
company received a breakup fee from
AbbVie of $1.64bn, giving it extra firepower for takeovers.
The NPS offer comes after Merck &
Co’s $8.4bn agreement to buy Cubist
Pharmaceuticals, which had also been
a potential target for Shire.
Shire reported adjusted net income
of $2.93 per ADS for the third quarter
in October, beating analyst’s estimates.
The drug maker also raised its profit
forecast a third time. NPS reported a
adjusted loss of 2 cents per share in the
third quarter.
Shire was advised by Citigroup and
Lazard, as well as Davis Polk & Wardwell and Slaughter & May. NPS worked
with Goldman Sachs Group, Leerink
Partners, and Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom.
Proximity to Harrods
piles on the pounds
By Denise Marray
Gulf Times Correspondent
Newly commissioned research by Harrods Estates
has examined property sales across Prime Central
London over the past three years to determine
whether or not there is any discernible difference
in property prices within 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes’
walking distance from the Harrods store.
The research was undertaken by Dataloft which
analysed a sample of over 27,500 records of
property sales across Prime Central London from
January 2011 to the end of March 2014 sourced
from the Lonres database. Their findings show
that property values in the immediate vicinity of
Harrods (within a 5-minute walk) carry a 133%
premium in £psf (pounds sterling per square
foot) terms compared to the average for Prime
Central London, and even within a 20-minute walk
property values are 70% above the average £psf
for Prime Central London.
All properties within a 5-minute and 5-10-minute
walking distance were located in the prestigious
London areas of Knightsbridge (SW1X), Chelsea
(SW3) and South Kensington (SW7), with
properties in these areas plus Belgravia (SW1W) a
10-15-minute walk away.
Properties in Mayfair (W1J, W1K and W1S) and
those in South Kensington and Chelsea account
for the greatest proportion of sales within a
15-20-minute walk.
Proximity to Harrods adds a significant premium
to property prices. The average £psf price
achieved for properties sold within a 5-minute
walking distance of Harrods was £2,149, 133%
higher than the average £psf for all properties
sold across London (£921) and a premium of
20% compared to the average £psf price of
all properties sold within a 20-minute walking
distance of Harrods (£1,786). Properties located
5-10-minutes’ walk from Harrods commanded
a 10% premium while those located more than
15-20-minutes away from Harrods achieved
£psf values 11% lower than the average for all
properties sold within a 20-minute walk, yet
still 72% above the London average. 16% of
all properties sold within a 5-minute walking
distance have commanded £psf values of over
The report also shows the ratio of apartments to
houses is approx. 6:1 within a 5-minute walk of the
store, whilst the average for Prime Central London
is under 3:1, and that the average apartment within
a 5-minute walk of the store is 25% larger than the
average for Prime Central London.
The £psf differential in values within a 5-minute
walk of Harrods varies by type of property and is
substantially more for apartments than houses.
Apartments sold within a 5-minute walking
distance of Harrods attract a 14% £psf premium
over those 5-10-minutes away and a 60% premium
over those 15-20-minutes away. For houses, the
premiums are 1% and 15% respectively.
When sales values are considered, the values
are more variable. The average sales price of an
apartment within a 5-minute walk of Harrods is
£2.99mn, compared to £1.87mn for apartments
sold 15-20-minutes away.
The average price of a detached property within
a 5-minute walking distance is £5.3mn, compared
to £4.86mn for those 15-20-minutes away.
However, only 31 houses have been sold within
a 5-minute walk of Harrods over the last three
years. Detached properties within a 5-10-minute
walking distance have attracted the highest
average selling price of £6mn, with 19 properties
selling for over £10mn since Q1 2011. The most
expensive property sold, a 20 bedroom, 22,500
sq ft property on Lowndes Square sold in 2013 for
CRICKET | Page 5
NBA | Page 8
ton in vain as
McCullum sets
up Kiwi win
Pau Gasol’s
46 points
lift Bulls
over Bucks
Monday, January 12, 2015
Rabia I 21, 1436 AH
Federer claims
1,000th win with
Brisbane crown
Page 4
Qatar suffer huge
loss to rivals UAE
Belmadi slams Qatar
after heavy defeat
‘It was a big punch in the face and it was difficult to come back. We tried
but it was too late, we didn’t score soon enough to expect to equalise’
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
Qatar striker Khalfan Ibrahim (right) is fouled during their Asian Cup opener against UAE in Canberra yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
nited Arab Emirates stormed
back from behind to defeat Gulf
rivals Qatar 4-1 as they displayed their Asian Cup credentials with a fluent win yesterday.
Top-rated midfielder Omar Abdulrahman was at his creative best as both
Ahmed Khalil and Ali Mabkhout grabbed
a brace after “Qatari Maradona” Khalfan
Ibrahim put his side ahead.
Khalfan’s deftly taken chest and volley proved Qatar’s best moment as the
2022 World Cup hosts proved fragile at
the back, with goalkeeper Qasem Burhan
committing two costly blunders.
“I was sure they would play well, but
in football you can never be sure of the
result and I am very happy with today’s
performance,” said UAE coach Mahdi Ali.
UAE started the brightest and Mabkhout almost opened the scoring after 10
minutes when he smashed the ball into
the side-netting.
Shortly afterwards, midfielder Mohamed Abdulrahman blazed over the bar
after the ball broke kindly to him on the
edge of the box.
The Emiratis rued their misses when
the pint-sized Ibrahim took a rebound on
the chest and acrobatically lobbed goalkeeper Majed Naser to open the scoring
after 22 minutes.
Qatar grew in confidence and they almost went 2-0 up when left-back Abdelkarim Hassan drilled a powerful shot
narrowly past the post.
However, UAE always looked dangerous through the trickery and imagination
of Omar Abdulrahman, allied with qualifying top-scorer Makbhout and powerful
targetman Khalil.
And it was Khalil who grabbed the equaliser after 37 minutes after Omar Abdulrahman caused panic in the defence by
twice stealing the ball down the right.
Qatar failed to deal with the subsequent cross and after Khalil’s powerful header was cleared off the line he
knocked in the rebound to put UAE level
eight minutes from half-time.
The goal buoyed UAE and they came
flying out of the traps at the start of the
second half, before going ahead seven
minutes later.
Goalkeeper Burhan reacted too late as
Khalil’s penetrating free-kick from the
left edge of the box evaded everyone and
sailed past into the far corner.
“My second goal was certainly more
beautiful than my first,” a delighted Khalil, who was named man of the match,
said afterwards. “I hit it exactly how I
wanted to.”
Four minutes later, Burhan again failed
to deal with a setpiece and he palmed the
ball to Mabkhout, who gratefully slotted
it home for UAE’s third.
Qatar worked tirelessly to get back into
the game and they hit the post with five
minutes to go in what was their best spell
of the game.
But all-out attack left them exposed at
the back and Omar Abdulrahman combined with Mabkhout to set up the prolific striker’s second of the game on 89
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi called it a
“really bad start”.
“They showed more quality, more creativity. They scored from two free-kicks
which really put us in a bad position,”
said the Algerian.
“It was a big punch in the face and it
was difficult to come back. We tried but it
was too late, we didn’t score soon enough
to expect to equalise.”
atar coach Djamel Belmadi slammed his side’s
performance after their
4-1 defeat to the United
Arab Emirates in the AFC Asian
Cup Australia 2015 Group C opener
at Canberra Stadium yesterday,
with the Algerian saying he could
take “no positives” from the defeat.
Former AFC Player of the Year
Khalfan Ibrahim had given Belmadi’s side the opener on 22 minutes
with a sublime chipped finish but
Ahmed Khalil equalised before
half-time and the forward added a
second with a free kick to put the
Emirates in front early in the second half.
With Qatar reeling, a subsequent brace from Khalil’s strikepartner Ali Mabkhout gave the
Emirati side a comprehensive win
over the Gulf Cup champions to
put them in the driving seat in the
group and leave Belmadi fuming.
“There were no positives to take
from this game. They were better than us, showed more quality
and more creativity,” said the Algerian.
“If we analyse goal by goal there
were a lot of individual mistakes
for their equaliser and in the second half it was two free-kicks for
them that made the difference.
After that it was really difficult
to come back in the game against
good opponents like the Emirates.
“I tried to help us come back
into the game with some changes
but we didn’t do enough and it
was too late to equalise. Our players were focused and prepared for
this game, so we cannot say our
defeat was due to a lack of preparation or focus, we will have to
search for the reason for this loss.”
Belmadi’s team will need to
bounce back in their next group
stage tie when they face Iran at
Sydney’s Stadium Australia on
Thursday and the Qatar coach is
well aware of the difficulty of that
upcoming fixture following the
dispiriting loss in Canberra.
“I said on Saturday that our
group is very strong and tough
and all the teams are good. Now
we have to face Iran who were in
the last FIFA World Cup and are
a strong team so it’s another big
game. We are already under pressure because we lost the game today, so we have to make a massive
game on Thursday,” said Belmadi.
“For most of the players it’s the
first time they were participating
in this competition, we had a lot
of players playing their first international competition so of course
it’s difficult. We will not give up
even if it’s a really bad start, and it
is really bad no doubt about that,
but we will have a good reaction.”
Years together paying off: UAE coach
Lots of Qatar fans had turned up to cheer for their team yesterday.
FINAL SCORE: United Arab Emirates 4 (Khalil 37, 52, Mabkhout 56, 89) Qatar
1 (Ibrahim 22). (At half-time the teams were tied 1-1)
Qatar lose defender Bilal Mohammed to injury
QATAR’S WEEKEND woes continued
in the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015
with news of an injury to experienced
defender Bilal Mohammed that rules
him out for the rest of the tournament
following their 4-1 defeat to the United
Arab Emirates in the Group C encounter yesterday.
The 28-year-old centre back received
the injury during the final preparations
for the game against regional rivals the
UAE and he was not named among the
match day squad of 22 by Qatar coach
Djamel Belmadi.
Without the player who has been
capped more than 100 times for Qatar,
and was a member of the 2014 Gulf
Cup-winning squad, Belmadi watched
his side concede four goals against
their regional rivals with Emirati strikers Ahmed Khalil and Ali Mabkhout
netting a brace each after Khalfan
Ibrahim had given Qatar the lead.
“Bilal Mohammed got an injury in the
last training session, he will be out for
the whole tournament,” said Belmadi
following the defeat at Canberra
Mahdi Ali (right) said yesterday
that his side were finally seeing
the fruits of years of labour
after their come-from-behind
4-1 win over Qatar.
UAE got their quest for Asian
Cup glory off to a sensational
start in Canberra thanks to
braces from Ahmed Khalil and
Ali Mabkhout, and a standout
performance from silky midfielder Omar Abdulrahman.
UAE have been knocked out
of the Asian Cup at the group
stage in the last three tournaments and failed to score during the 2011 edition in Qatar.
But Ali insisted that the time
was now right for his players to
succeed after almost a decade
of working with them.
“I have been with this group a
long time, maybe around nine
years,” Ali said.
“More than 16 of them have
worked with me since 2004
when I was an assistant coach
and then since 2008 as head
“We’ve grown together, we
help each other a lot, we know
each other, we understand each
other and this is what I need to
do my job.”
Ali singled out man of the
match Khalil as an example of
what can happen when coach
and player work together for a
number of years.
“I have been working with
Ahmed since 1998, since he
was eight years old,” Ali said of
Sunday’s man of the match.
“He always plays well in big
events and in the most important games, he always makes a
difference for the team.”
But Ali insisted his squad
wouldn’t get carried away after
their opening Group C win
against their Gulf rivals.
“We always think about how we
can improve because we define
success better than yesterday
and today we played a good
game but we have to work hard.
“There are many things we have
to work harder at so we can go
far ahead in this competition.”
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Qatar Stars team
to take on Bayern
Munich in friendly
‘For us this is not just a friendly match. Bayern has a great legacy and its very own,
special style of football. We want to provide our fans with the highest level of football’
‘Crazy Englishman’
Wilkins coaching
Jordan his own way
Jordan’s head coach Ray Wilkins of Britain watches his players train
ahead of their Asian Cup match against Iraq in Brisbane.
any countries preparing for the Asian Cup
sessions in the evenings to avoid the Australian heat
but under the guidance of coach
Ray Wilkins, Jordan players are not
given the opportunity for a lie-in.
“I’m a crazy Englishman
and we train in the mornings,”
Wilkins told a media conference
yesterday ahead of today’s opening Group D match with Iraq in
“Every team I’ve been with
from Chelsea and the England
national team to the little ones
has trained in the mornings.
“I prefer to get the players up
... that is what they will have to
do when they finish football and
go to work.”
Wilkins, in charge of the team
since September, is aware that a
tough challenge awaits his players.
“We are in a very tough group
but are ready for that. Our improvement in four months has
been immense.
“Japan are undoubtedly the
strongest team (in the group)
and our first game is most important for us to win. The
minimum we hope to achieve
is to qualify through the group
In addition to Japan, it is minnows Palestine who complete
Group D. So a victory for Jordan
over 2007 champions Iraq would
put Jordan in pole position to
claim second spot, at least.
But under Wilkins results have
not yet been satisfactory. A draw
with Kuwait was the high point
and the last five friendly matches
have been lost, with just one goal
scored in the process.
Despite that, Wilkins is making the most of his return to
coaching having been dismissed
from his assistant position with
English club Fulham in February
“It is refreshing to work with
these young men,” he said. “They
do everything you ask and are responsive to everything we put in
“There are some big players in
England who are not as responsive as this group.”
Bayern Munich team during their training session at the Aspire Academy grounds yesterday.
By Sports Reporter
Tickets available online too
Tickets for the FC Bayern Munchen
and Qatar Stars Team match are
50QAR and 100 QAR.
Online tickets are on sale now at
he Qatar Stars League and
Volkswagen Group yesterday
announced the friendly match
against FC Bayern Munchen and
Qatar Stars Team which will take place
tomorrow 20:00 in Abdullah bin Khalifa
The press conference took place at The
National Teams Offices at Aspire Zone
and was attended by Ahmed al–Harami, Executive Director of Competitions
and Football Development, Qatar Stars
League and Matthais Sammar, Sporting
Director and Member of the Executive
Board, FC Bayern Munchen.
Al–Harami began by welcoming FC
Bayern Munchen and discussing the importance of the up-coming match to Qatar Stars League, “For us this is not just a
friendly match. FC Bayern Munchen has
a great legacy and its very own, special
style of football. We have been studying
not just their approach to the game but
the entire International League to see
the difference between European football and our own. We want to continue to
improve so that we can provide our fans
with the highest level of football.”
The press conference took place at The National Teams Offices at Aspire Zone and
was attended by Ahmed al–Harami, Executive Director of Competitions and Football
Development, Qatar Stars League (right) and Matthais Sammar, Sporting Director and
Member of the Executive Board, FC Bayern Munchen (centre).
Speaking on behalf of the FC Bayern
Munchen team, Sammar said, “We are
happy to be in Qatar and are looking forward to the match on Tuesday. The team
have played a fantastic first half of the
season and we are very focused and preparing to play at our best against Qatar
Stars League.”
As well as playing the friendly match
against Qatar Stars League, FC Bayern
Munchen is in Qatar for its annual winter
training camp. Samar commented, “We
are here for the fifth consecutive year
because we found optimal conditions for
training, along with the best training facilities.”
Al–Harami then spoke about Qatar
Stars Leagues long term ambitions, “I
believe we are currently amongst the top
five leagues in Asia. We want to become
number one in the years to come.”
The Qatar Stars League squad for the
match was also announced during the
press conference.
Coach Michael Laudrup chose the following players for the Qatar Stars Team
In person sales can be made at:
Al Sadd – Gate 5 Ticket Office and Al
Gharafa – Ticket Office from 4pm to
Qatar Sports Clubs – Gate 5 Ticket
Office from 4pm to 10pm.
Remaining tickets will be available
on match day from 2pm at Lekhwiya
which will play against Bayern Munich
on 13 Jan 2015 in Abdullah Bin Khalifah
Stadium: Licomte Amin, Khalifah Abu
Bakr, Chico Flores, Costa, Mendez, Murad Naji, Ahmed Fathi, Ali Sanad, Waleed
Muhy, Nadhir Belhaj, Luiz Martin, Talal al-Boloshi, Wessam Rezq, Ezequiel,
Vladimir Weiss, Pablo Hernandez, Tabata, Rumarinho and Hamdi al-Harbawi.
Ankle injury rules Australia captain
Mile Jedinak out of Oman clash
Australia captain Mile Jedinak
will miss his country’s Asian
Cup clash with Oman after
injuring an ankle during the 4-1
win over Kuwait, the team said
yesterday. The Crystal Palace
midfielder twisted his left ankle
in the first half of Friday’s opening game, although he played
on, and was seen wearing a
protective brace as he departed
Melbourne the following day.
The loss of their talismanic skipper is a blow to Australia ahead
of tomorrow’s match in Sydney
as the tournament hosts seek
to qualify from Group A, but
coach Ange Postecoglou said
the Socceroos could cope with
the loss. “We’ve decided to rule
Mile out of the Oman game
after he copped an ankle injury
against Kuwait,” Postecoglou
said in a statement.
“He’s not quite right to play, and
at this stage of the tournament
we are better to give it a few
days’ extra rest and we will
reassess where he’s at for the
game against Korea Republic.”
While Australia should be able
to cope without Jedinak against
Oman, Postecoglou will be anxious to have his grizzled skipper
back for the tougher challenges
ahead. “While it is not ideal
for Mile to miss the game I’m
confident we have the players
and depth to be able to cover
for not having him out there,”
said the coach.
“We worked hard on increasing our depth over the last six
months leading into the Asian
Cup and that has us in a good
position to be able to cover for
the loss of a player of Mile’s
Centre-back Trent Sainsbury
also expressed confidence the
green and gold had enough
cover to adapt. “We’ve got
enough depth in the squad to
still keep moving forward.”
‘Rottweiler’ bares teeth as Iran floor Bahrain
tice that they were not about to simply
roll over as their bulldozing Nigerian-born striker Jaycee Okwunwanne
blazed wide during the frenetic early
Sayed Shubbar then squandered a
golden opportunity by heading over as
Bahrain threatened to capitalise on a
sluggish start from Iran.
ran coach Carlos Queiroz let rip
at Bahrain for their “dangerous”
tackling after his side won a tempestuous Asian Cup clash 2-0
The Portuguese, described as a
“rottweiler” by former Manchester
United manager Alex Ferguson, accused Australian referee Ben Williams of failing to control the Group C
match in Melbourne.
“I was not happy because after nine,
10, 12 fouls, stopping the game systematically. The referee must take action,”
Queiroz told AFP.
“There were some aerial duels where
especially their number 12 (Faouzi
Aaish) elbowed my players, and as you
know the elbow is very dangerous.”
Ehsan Hajsafi’s sumptuous volley in
first-half stoppage time lit the touchpaper for Iran, who are seeking to end
a 39-year wait for a fourth Asian Cup
title, before Masoud Shojaei added a
second in the 71st minute to end brave
Bahrain’s resistance.
But Queiroz, who had two spells as
Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford,
was furious at what he saw as a lack of
Iranian coach Carlos Queiroz gestures
to his players, during his team’s match
against Bahrain yesterday.
Iran’s Ehsan Haji Safi celebrates after scoring against Bahrain during their football
match at the AFC Asian Cup in Melbourne yesterday. (AFP)
consistency from referee Williams.
“For a referee so quick to show a
yellow card when one of my players
didn’t hear the whistle, I was completely surprised that when he sees
Bahrain’s negative game—after 10
fouls in a row—he didn’t give them a
single yellow,” fumed the former Portugal and Real Madrid boss.
Asia’s top-ranked side, Iran almost
opened the scoring after 20 minutes
when the dangerous Ashkan Dejagah
forced a smart stop from Sayed Abbas
in the Bahrain goal.
But Bahrain had already served no-
However, Hajsafi produced a moment
of magic with almost the last kick of
the first half, expertly trapping a looping clearance with his left foot before
instantaneously smashing it past Abbas
with the outside of his right boot from
just outside the box.
“It was a brilliant, fantastic goal,”
gushed Queiroz. “A goal to grace any
stadium in the world. Bahrain made it
difficult for us but we deserved to win
and should have scored more goals.”
Reza Ghoochannejhad appeared to
be incorrectly flagged for offside for
a second time when through on goal
shortly after the interval. At the other
end, Okwunwanne almost emulated
Hajsafi with a ferocious drive that Iran
goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi did brilliantly to keep out.
Tempers flared when Haghighi
barged into Aaish, Bahrain’s waspish
“I was not happy because after
nine, 10, 12 fouls, stopping
the game systematically. The
referee must take action. There
were some aerial duels where
especially their number 12 (Faouzi
Aaish) elbowed my players, and
as you know the elbow is very
dangerous,” said Iran coach
Carlos Queiroz yesterday
playermaker with a menacing-looking
mohican who appeared to block off the
keeper as he attempted a quick throw.
But moments later Shojaei popped
up to steer a right-foot shot just inside the post from another corner
to trigger wild celebrations from a
crowd of 17,000 — most noisily supporting Team Melli.
“You saw what happened with the
goalkeeper,” said Queiroz, still simmering. “He tried for a quick transition and
the number 12 stopped him. The laws of
the game are clear—an elbow is a yellow
card, no doubt about that. For the offsides, we all make mistakes.”
Iran’s Asian Cup drought dates back
to 1976, when they won the third of
three successive titles.
Earlier, the United Arab Emirates laid
down a marker by thrashing Qatar 4-1 to
go top of the group on goal difference.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Southampton stun United,
Sanchez lifts Arsenal
Tadic’s 69th minute strike boosts Southampton’s bid to qualify for the Champions League
outhampton climbed above Manchester United into third place in the Premier
League with a shock 1-0 win at Old Trafford, while Alexis Sanchez took centrestage as Arsenal crushed Stoke 3-0 yesterday.
Ronald Koeman’s side stole the points in a dour
encounter as Dusan Tadic’s 69th minute strike
boosted Southampton’s bid to qualify for the
Champions League via a top-four finish. It was the
Saints’ first win over United since 2003 and their
first at Old Trafford since 1988.
After a wobble in early December, Southampton are firmly back on track having beaten United
and Arsenal, and drawn with Chelsea, in their last
three league matches. United, now two points behind Southampton, could have few complaints
after a lacklustre performance which condemned
them to their first home defeat since the opening
weekend of the season against Swansea.
Louis van Gaal’s team are without a win in their
last three league games and recent talk of a potential title challenge is likely to be silenced as they lie
12 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Southampton have the best defensive away
record in the top-flight and they easily frustrated
United in a dull first half in which neither side
managed a shot on target. Koeman’s side took the
Read as: played, won, drawn, lost, goals for,
goals against, points
15 4 2 46 19 49
Man City
14 5 2 45 20 47
Southampton 21
12 3 6 35 15 39
Man Utd
10 7 4 34 21 37
10 6 5 37 25 36
10 4 7 30 29 34
West Ham
6 6 32 25 33
5 7 29 27 32
6 7 26 25 30
6 8 25 33 27
5 9 22 27 26
7 9 30 34 22
Aston Villa
7 9 11 23 22
West Brom
6 10 20 29 21
Crystal Palace 21
8 9 22 31 20
11 7 18 31 20
8 9 19 33 20
7 10 20 27 19
4 12 23 37 19
5 12 20 33 17
lead in the 69th minute when Graziano Pelle’s shot
hit a post and rebounded to Serbian midfielder
Tadic, who swept his low shot past Tyler Blackett’s attempt to clear off the line. Juan Mata missed
United’s best chance, firing just wide, as the hosts
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman (right)
celebrates his team's victory over Manchester
United with goal scorer Dusan Tadic. (EPA)
pressed in vain for an equaliser.
At the Emirates Stadium, Sanchez delivered a
majestic display as Arsenal kept up the pressure in
the race for a top four finish with an emphatic win
against Stoke. Sanchez made Laurent Koscielny’s
opener and then netted his 17th and 18th goals of
the season either side of half-time to lift Arsenal
above Tottenham into fifth spot. The battle for
Champions League qualification is hotting up,
with Arsene Wenger’s side only one point behind
fourth placed United.
“Collectively, you’re happy when you score a
few goals. We had a strong start and we knew that
was vital today,” Wenger said. “Alexis Sanchez is
one of the best players. He’s a fighter with a combination of talent and fighting spirit which is very
difficult to find. “He plays with passion and you
want people to enjoy what they’re doing on the
pitch and show it as well.”
Just five weeks after Stoke’s shock home win
over the Gunners, Arsenal legends Thierry Henry
and Robert Pires watched from the stands as defender Koscielny started the revenge mission with
a sixth minute header from Sanchez’s cross. Arsenal right-back Mathieu Debuchy was forced off
with a shoulder injury after tangling with Stoke’s
Marko Arnautovic. “He has to see a specialist then
we see where we go from there. A dislocated shoulder can take a while,” Wenger added.
But the hosts struck again in the 33rd minute. It
was another moment of magic from Sanchez as the
former Barcelona forward took Tomas Rosicky’s
pass and sized up his options before cleverly beating Asmir Begovic at his near post. Sanchez wasn’t
finished yet and his deflected free-kick four minutes after the interval sealed the points.
Arsenal 3 (Koscielny 6, Sanchez 33, 49) Stoke 0
Manchester United 0 Southampton 1 (Tadic 69)
ristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or
for the second year in succession at today’s gala ceremony in
Zurich ahead of Manuel Neuer and Lionel
Messi has finished in the top two in
each of the last seven years but, despite
another prolific year in 2014, appears this
time to be lagging behind his two rivals.
A disappointing World Cup, in which he
was eliminated at the group stage with
Portugal, has not prevented Ronaldo
from staking a strong claim to win the
prize for the third time overall.
The 29-year-old Real Madrid superstar scored a remarkable 61 goals in the
calendar year as he helped his club win
the Champions League, Copa del Rey and
UEFA Super Cup before ending 2014 by
securing the Club World Cup.
Ronaldo scored a record 17 goals in last
season’s Champions League and has already netted a phenomenal 26 goals in 16
La Liga games this season.
Lyon are the new Ligue 1
leaders after comfortably
defeating Toulouse 3-0
at the Stade Gerland yesterday.
Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette extended his lead at the
top of the scoring charts with his
18th and 19th goals of the season
while Nabil Fekir added further
gloss to a perfect evening for
Hubert Fournier’s side as they
lead the table in January for the
first time since 2012.
In yesterday’s other early
match, Nantes were held to a 0-0
draw in Brittany by Metz, a result
that lifts the Canaries up to sixth
while Metz climb out of the relegation zone but only ahead of
Evian on goal difference.
Previous leaders Marseille
slumped to a 2-1 defeat at
Montpellier on Friday while
champions Paris Saint-Germain
threw away a 2-0 lead and were
beaten 4-2 by Bastia in Corisca
on Saturday. Those results left
Lyon one point clear of Marseille
with Saint-Etienne third, three
adrift, and PSG surprisingly
fourth and five points back.
“It’s great to be top after 20
matches but there’s a long way to
go and it’s not finished yet,” said
Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons.
“There are some big teams
out there and we can’t let up because you never know what can
happen in football,” added the
“Things can change quickly
and we just have to concentrate
on our objectives. Alexandre
(Lacazette) has been incredible
and he brings a lot of quality, to
score two goals in four straight
games shows what he can do and
it’s good for the club and our objectives.”
Lyon’s victory was their ninth
straight home success and fifth
straight league win as they edge
closer to a first French title since
2008 when they won the last of
seven in a row. Lacazette’s closest rival in the scoring charts is
Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac who is now seven back on 12
goals for the campaign.
“The result is logical but severe,” bemoaned Toulouse coach
Alain Casanova. “We created
some chances but made some
mistakes which cost us, especially on the first goal which
made the game more complicated for us and when they got the
third goal it was all over.
PSG’s shock defeat left them
in fourth place after SaintEtienne extended their unbeaten
league run to 10 games on Saturday, beating Reims 2-1 to climb
up to third. Elsewhere on Saturday, Nice beat Lorient 3-1 with
Carlos Eduardo’s lovely volley
rounding off the win.
Evian and Rennes shared the
spoils of a 1-1 draw, Guingamp
beat Lens 2-0 while Lille beat
rock bottom Caen 1-0.
Ronaldo hopes to hold off Messi,
Neuer to retain Ballon d’Or
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League match against Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium in London. (Reuters)
Lyon beat
to go top
of Ligue 1
Unsurprisingly, he has received fierce
support from his club, who feel that Ronaldo would be the only worthy winner of
the prize and felt compelled to publicly
criticise UEFA president Michel Platini
for his suggestions that Neuer should
take the award.
Platini said in November that a German should win the award following
their World Cup triumph, telling press: “I
already said it four years ago. A Spaniard
should have won it then because Spain
had won the World Cup (in 2010). This
year it is Germany.”
In response, Madrid expressed “surprise at (Platini’s) repeated remarks regarding his personal preferences for who
should win the Ballon d’Or”, and added
that Ronaldo was “deserving more than
ever of winning the Ballon d’Or.”
However, Neuer—the only one of six
German World Cup winners on the initial
shortlist to make the final three—makes a
good case to become the first goalkeeper
to take the prize since Lev Yashin of the
Soviet Union in 1963, and the first German since Lothar Matthaeus in 1990, the
year West Germany lifted the World Cup
in Italy. After helping Pep Guardiola’s
Bayern win a domestic double in Germany, Neuer, 28, was outstanding in his
country’s run to World Cup glory, as they
beat Argentina 1-0 after extra time in the
final at the Maracana.
Diego Maradona and 2004 winner Andriy Shevchenko have given Neuer their
backing, while Germany coach Joachim
Loew told Bild: “Any other choice than
Neuer will disappoint me.”
However, Neuer himself is remaining
cautious after seeing his widely-tipped
club colleague Franck Ribery come away
disappointed at last year’s ceremony.
“I’m certainly not favourite,” Neuer
told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
“The other two are international brands,
they’ve clearly got an advantage.”
Despite his fame, and the fact that he
scored 58 goals in 66 games for club and
country in 2014, Messi’s candidature is
not helped by the fact that he failed to
win a trophy with Barcelona.
And while he captained Argentina to
the World Cup final, the 27-year-old
failed to perform to his usual sky-high
standards in the knockout stage in Brazil,
even if he came away with the Golden Ball
award for the tournament’s best player.
City agree fee for
Bony: Reports
anchester City have
agreed a £30 million
($45 million) fee to
sign Swansea’s Ivory
Coast striker Wilfried Bony, according to British media reports
The 26-year-old is currently
preparing for the Africa Cup
of Nations, but City have been
pushing to seal a deal for the
former Vitesse Arnhem star and
it is believed the move will be
officially confirmed early next
week. Bony has proved to be a
major asset for Swansea since
arriving at the Liberty Stadium
from Dutch club Vitesse in 2013.
He has scored nine Premier
League goals already this season,
having managed 17 in the league
in the 2013-14 campaign. That
fine form has caught the eye of
City manager Manuel Pellegrini
and Bony’s agent Francis Kacou
said on Wednesday that he expected “things will be sorted in
the next few days”.
The Ivorian topped the Premier League scoring charts for
the calendar year of 2014 with
20 goals. Swansea manager
Garry Monk said on Thursday
that Bony’s goals could prove
the difference in the Premier
League champions’ title battle with Chelsea, who currently
hold a two point lead over second
placed City.
“I have spoken to the chairman of the club and the situation is ongoing, they are trying
to agree fees but they are a little way apart from each other,”
Monk said.
“We have had those discussions about what he’s worth but
the chairman is not stupid either. The club have a good understanding of these matters and
ultimately it depends on what
the club feels in terms of how
much a player is worth. I give my
input but it’s what the chairman
and the board of directors decide
is the right valuation. He could
be the difference in the title race,
couldn’t he?”
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Captain Totti brace
saves Roma blushes
Fiorentina moves into the top six after dominating a seven-goal thriller in Florence
Federer claims
1,000th win with
Brisbane crown
oger Federer brought
up his 1,000th victory at tour level in
style yesterday when
he beat Canadian Milos Raonic
in three tough sets to win the
Brisbane International.
Federer was forced to absorb some superb shotmaking and blistering serves from
the 24-year-old before winning 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 in two
hours and 13 minutes at the Pat
Rafter Arena. Federer’s glittering career now includes 83 singles titles, including 17 Grand
Slams, since his first victory
over Frenchman Guillaume
Raoux in Toulouse in 1998.
The 33-year-old is third on
the all-time list for matches
won, behind Jimmy Connors
(1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071).
“To get to 1,000 wins in front
of you two greats means a lot to
me,” Federer said, describing it
as a “special day”.
“I’ll never forget this moment,” he added as he was
presented with his Brisbane
International trophy by Roy
Emerson, as well as a special
award for his 1,000th win by
Rod Laver.
“It feels very different to
any other match I’ve ever won,
because I never thought about
anything reaching 500 or 800.
All those numbers didn’t mean
anything to me, but for some
reason 1,000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number.
Just alone to count to 1,000 is
going to take a while.”
Federer’s big win was not a
foregone conclusion. Raonic
played so well that for long
periods during the second and
third sets it looked like the
milestone would have to wait
until next week’s Australian
Open. But serving at 4-5 in the
third set the Canadian faltered,
giving Federer championship
point with a double fault, before a forehand into the net
ended the contest.
Federer said the nature of
the match made the 1,000th
win even sweeter. “Looking
back it’s almost nicer winning
this way through a tight match
with nerves and humid conditions against a great player in a
final,” Federer said.
“It means so much more
than just running away with it
with the score maybe winning
6-4, 6-4, which was looking
very likely at one stage. I guess
I was much more happy having
to go three sets in the end rather than winning in straight.”
Raonic is one of the biggest
servers in the game but in the
final he was outserved by Federer, who sent down 20 aces to
Raonic’s 12. Raonic remained
upbeat after the match, saying the performance him great
confidence leading into the
Australian Open.
“I gave myself an opportunity to be in a final here against
one of the best players in the
world and gave myself a pretty
good opportunity to win,” he
said. “I feel like I’m just going
to get better over the next eight
or nine days.”
Roma’s Francesco Totti takes a selfie as he celebrates after scoring his second goal against Lazio during their Italian Serie A match at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Reuters)
second-half brace by captain
Francesco Totti saved Roma’s
blushes in a 2-2 draw with city
rivals Lazio that pulled the Giallorossi level with Juventus at the top of
Italy’s Serie A yesterday.
Roma started the 141st ‘Derby della
Capitale’ only one point behind Juventus, who can pull three points clear with
a win away to high-flying Napoli in a late
game. Elsewhere, Fiorentina moved into
the top six after dominating a seven-goal
thriller in Florence where Spanish veteran
Joaquin’s 74th minute strike capped a 4-3
win for Vincenzo Montella’s men.
Sampdoria remained in the hunt for a
Champions League place thanks to Eder’s
49th minute strike in a 1-0 home win over
Empoli, while Cagliari gave their bid to
beat the drop a boost with a precious 2-1
win over basement side Cesena. Atalanta
and Chievo played out a dull 1-1 draw in
Bergamo, while Parma’s relegation woes
were compounded by a 3-1 defeat away to
Verona with veteran striker Luca Toni hitting his sixth goal of the campaign for the
Read as: played, won, drawn, lost, goals
for, goals against, points
17 12 4 1 35 8 40
18 12 4 2 31 13 40
18 9 4 5 33 21 31
17 8 6 3 32 21 30
Sampdoria 18 7 9 2 23 17 30
18 7 6 5 25 17 27
18 7 6 5 24 20 27
AC Milan
18 6 8 4 27 21 26
Inter Milan 18 6 7 5 29 25 25
18 6 7 5 30 30 25
18 5 9 4 20 23 24
18 6 5 7 21 24 23
18 5 6 7 21 28 21
18 4 7 7 13 19 19
18 3 9 6 17 23 18
18 4 6 8 13 20 18
18 3 8 7 14 24 17
18 3 6 9 23 35 15
18 3 1 14 18 39 9
18 1
6 11 15 36 9
Roma welcomed Lazio to a packed-out
Stadio Olimpico intent on claiming the
win that would see them go top, but Stefano Pioli’s men had other ideas. Italy
midfielder Antonio Candreva fired a warn-
ing when he turned inside to sweep a curling drive just past Morgan De Sanctis’s far
post in the opening minutes.
Lazio broke the deadlock on 25 minutes
after Radja Nainggolan lost possession in
midfield. Anderson pounced to lob the ball
over Daniele De Rossi and into the path of
Mauri for the Lazio skipper to sweep the
ball past De Sanctis from close range.
Anderson doubled Lazio’s lead only four
minutes later with a fine daisycutter that
sneaked just inside De Sanctis’s post. It
was the Brazilian’s sixth goal in his last six
matches, including one in Lazio’s 3-0 Cup
win over Varese last month.
Garcia took affirmative action at halftime, replacing Nainggolan and Alessandro Florenzi with Kevin Strootman and
Adem Ljajic respectively, and after only
three minutes Roma had reduced the arrears. Totti was unmarked when he ghosted in towards the back post for a cross
which he met first time to fire past Marchetti at the keeper’s near post.
It gave Roma some much needed impetus and minutes later Juan Iturbe was
given space to launch a vicious 30-metre
drive that stung the palms of Marchetti
and almost caught the ’keeper unawares.
Lazio remained a threat and De Sanctis
had to look lively to punch away a danger-
ous Candreva free kick.
But minutes later Totti sent the Olimpico into raptures when he again ran in at the
back post to meet Jose Holebas’s curling
delivery to send a flying acrobatic effort
past Marchetti.
It was Totti’s 239th goal in Serie A, taking the 38-year-old to within 35 of Silvio
Piola’s all-time record of 274. It was also
Totti’s 11th in the Rome derby—an absolute record.
Totti, who is in his 22nd season with the
club, celebrated by taking a telephone from
one of the Roma coaching staff and taking
a ‘selfie’ picture of himself before returning to the pitch. Earlier, former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic’s first
goal for Inter Milan secured a 3-1 win over
Genoa in their Serie A clash yesterday as
on-loan Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski
made his first start for the hosts.
RESULTS: Inter Milan 3 (Palacio 12, Icardi 39,
Vidic 88) Genoa 1 (Izzo 85); Atalanta 1 (Zappacosta 72) Chievo 1 (Lazarevic 90); Cagliari
2 (Pedro 11, Donsah 27) Cesena 1 (Brienza 89);
Fiorentina 4 (Pasqual 20, Basanta 51, Cuadrado 64, Joaquin 74) Palermo 3 (Quaison 59,
61, Belotti 81-pen); Verona 3 (Sala 39, Toni
72, Valoti 90+1) Parma 1 (Lodi 63); Roma 2
(Totti 48, 64) Lazio 2 (Mauri 25, Anderson 29);
Sampdoria 1 (Eder 49) Empoli 0
Roger Federer of Switzerland holds the trophy after winning the
Brisbane International tournament yesterday. (Reuters)
Wolfsburg’s Malanda killed in crash Wawrinka starts season
with third Chennai title
he death of Belgian Under-21
midfielder Junior Malanda has left his German club Wolfsburg devastated
but they will still go to South Africa for their training camp said
sporting director Klaus Allofs
The 20-year-old was in the
back seat of a car travelling to
join up with his teammates on
Saturday afternoon when it
smashed into a tree—the two
other people in the car survived.
“It was not an easy decision but
we think that it is the good one,”
said Allofs. “The team were totally devastated when they learnt
the news.”
Allofs said the team would fly
out later last night having cancelled their original flight scheduled for Saturday on learning the
news. “We were told of the news
when we were already at the airport (Hanover) and we decided
immediately to cancel the flight,”
said Allofs.
Dieter Hecking, coach of
A candle is placed next to a picture of Wolfsburg’s midfielder Junior
Malanda in Wolfsburg, central Germany yesterday, a day after the
Belgian died in a car accident. (AFP)
Wolfsburg, was in tears at the
press conference. “He has a left
a huge gap. But I think it was
the correct decision to distance
ourselves from Wolfsburg,” said
Wolsburg, second in the
league table behind defending
champions Bayern Munich at
the time of the winter break, will
stay in South Africa till January 17, which will include a game
against South African secondplaced league side Ajax on the
Some of the Wolfsburg entourage may fly home early if the
funeral of Malanda takes place
during their sojourn.
The Belgian FA said on their
website that the nation had lost
one of its greatest talents, pointing out he had represented the
national team at all age levels.
“Wherever he went Junior
made a good impression. Beside his footballing talent and
impressive physique he was always in a good mood. He was the
current captain of our under-21
side, which is testament to his
good character and leadership
skills,” read the statement.
Before joining the Bundesliga
club, Malanda had played at Anderlecht in Belgium and at Lille
in France. He had 15 under-21
caps with Belgium and had
played 10 German league games
this season.
Everton and Belgium striker
Romelu Lukaku said he was
stunned by the death of his compatriot who had played against
him in November when the English side won a Europa League tie
2-0 at the German club. “I love
you my brother,” wrote Lukaku
on Instagram. “Junior, why you
my brother. My brother, one of
my unique friends, I cannot believe you are not there anymore.”
tanislas Wawrinka warmed up yesterday for the defence of his Australian Open
title by winning the ATP Chennai Open
for a second straight year and for the
third time since 2011. The Swiss world number
four ended Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene’s giant-killing feats in the season-opening $450,000
event with a 6-3, 6-4 win in a 69-minute final.
Some 4,000 Indian fans at the Nungambakkam
tennis stadium cheered wildly as the popular Wawrinka, making his seventh appearance
in Chennai, outplayed Bedene. “This has been
a perfect week for me,” the genial Swiss said. “I
served well and hit the ball good. It is amazing to
win for the third time here, but I have to continue
like this in (the) future also.”
Wawrinka pocketed $73,400 and 250 ranking
points for his efforts. But his biggest gain was a
perfect tune-up for the Australian Open, which
starts in Melbourne on January 19. “I am very
happy with my game and I should have good
practice when I get to Melbourne in two days time
and will be ready when the Open starts,” he said.
The 29-year-old did not drop a single set in
the tournament, seemingly beginning the new
season with the same zeal he showed by helping Switzerland win its maiden Davis Cup title
last year. Wawrinka had followed his win over
Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France in last year’s
Chennai Open final by beating Rafael Nadal in the
Australian Open final three weeks later.
“Chennai is a lucky charm for sure,” he said.
“This is a special place for me and I always enjoy
coming back here. I hope I can do as well in Melbourne as I did last year.”
Wawrinka said he was still a long way away
from reaching the standards of players like compatriot Roger Federer or stars like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. “Guys like
those have been winning big tournaments for so
long, I have managed just one Grand Slam so far,”
he said. “Today was only my second title since
last April, so I know I have a long way to go.”
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Clarke under tight deadline to lead at World Cup
electors named Michael Clarke as captain of Australia for next month’s World
Cup yesterday, with a fitness contingency should he not be able to play following a recent hamstring surgery.
Clarke, who missed the final three Tests
against India following the surgery, has been
given until February 21 to prove his fitness for
the one-day tournament.
“Captain Michael Clarke will lead our World
Cup campaign should he recover from his injury,” chief selector Rod Marsh said. “He is one
of the world’s best batsmen and we want to give
him every chance to prove his fitness for a tournament as important as this one.”
“(By February 21) we want to be completely
and utterly settled. What we don’t want is talk
about people’s fitness. We had to draw the line
somewhere, we just couldn’t keep it hanging on
and on and on.” Marsh added.
A standby player for Clarke has not been
named though Marsh said that if he became
unavailable, George Bailey would captain the
side in his absence.
Clarke, 33, who has a history of chronic back/
hamstring trouble, admitted he has a lot of work
to do over the next six weeks, but was upbeat he
will return as captain.
“I’m confident I’ll be fit,” Clarke said. “My
focus is to get fully fit. However long that takes.
“It’s really irrelevant what I think. That’s
what the selectors have gone with. That’s the
system. I have to get fit and healthy and get myself back on the park.”
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who missed the
recent Melbourne and Sydney Tests against India with hamstring trouble, was also named in a
squad that contained few surprises.
Selectors included all-rounders Shane
Watson and James Faulkner, while the versatile
Glenn Maxwell gets his chance.
Xavier Doherty was picked as the sole recognised spinner, with Maxwell expected to provide the side’s spin in most games.
Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell
Starc and Josh Hazlewood form Australia’s pace
attack, while Brad Haddin will keep wickets.
Johnson, who missed the final Test in Sydney with hamstring soreness, will be rested
from the early stages of this month’s tri-series
against India and England.
David Warner and Aaron Finch will open
the batting for Australia, with batsmen Steve
Smith, in the form of his life after scoring 769
runs in the four-Test series against India, and
Bailey rounding out the squad.
“Mitchell (Marsh) is progressing well with his
rehab and we expect him to be available at some
stage during the tri-series with the aim to have
him well prepared for the World Cup,” chief selector Marsh said.
“These players have really gelled over the
past 18 months with their preparation geared
towards giving us the best chance of winning a
World Cup on home soil.”
Australia are chasing a record fifth ICC cricket World Cup after winning the tournament in
India in 1987, England in 1999, South Africa in
2003 and the West Indies in 2007.
Australia begin their World Cup campaign
against England at the Melbourne Cricket
Ground on February 14.
Rogers replaces injured
Hussey as PM’s XI skipper
Test opening batsman Chris Rogers has
replaced injured Mike Hussey as captain
of the Prime Minister’s XI for Wednesday’s match against England.
Hussey withdrew from the January
14 clash in Canberra with a calf injury
sustained while playing for the Sydney Thunder in the Twenty20 BigBash
League on Friday.
Rogers played a key role in the recent
Test series against India with six consecutive half-centuries.
“It’s a great honour for me to be
selected as captain,” Rogers said. “This
is an important fixture on the Australian
cricketing calendar and is steeped in tradition. I’m looking forward to following in
the footsteps of Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee
and others in leading this PM’s XI.”
PM’s XI players Pat Cummins and
Glenn Maxwell were yesterday named in
Australia’s squad for next month’s cricket
World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Australia World Cup squad
Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey,
Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner,
Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood,
Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner,
Shane Watson
Jayawardene ton in
vain as McCullum
blitz sets up NZ win
‘I thought Corey under pressure really stepped up nicely and got the job done’
New Zealand all-rounder Corey
Anderson hit a composed 81 to
star in his side’s three-wicket win
over Sri Lanka in the first ODI, at
Hagley Park Oval in Christchurch
yesterday. (AFP)
Bell, Moeen and
Taylor to lead
England line up
an Bell, Moeen Ali and
James Taylor will line up as
England’s top three for the
upcoming triangular series
in Australia and possibly in next
month’s World Cup as well.
“The top three will be Ali,
Bell and James Taylor. The
first opportunity goes to those
guys,” captain Eoin Morgan
said yesterday.
Moeen and Taylor scored
heavily in November and December’s seven-match ODI series in Sri Lanka, which England
lost 5-2, but the experienced Bell
has failed to score more than 41
runs in his last eight innings.
Bell, who has played 150
ODIs, was considered to be
competing with the explosive
Alex Hales to open the batting
but his experience told.
“Belly is a class act, somebody we’ve looked to for a long
time to score a heavy weight of
runs. He’s pretty key at the top
of the order. All three lads look
in great form. Opportunity
lands with them and we’ll see
how they go.
“I think the guts of the side
are pretty strong but there are
a couple of areas that do need
addressing so opportunities
will be there for guys to prove
Morgan also vowed not to
make too many changes from
Alastair Cook’s tenure as captain. “I don’t think it will differ in a huge amount. Over the
last seven or eight months I
think we’ve seen a considerable change in the method that
we’ve used both batting and
bowling. That will continue to
go in the same direction and
guys will be encouraged to play
with freedom.
“There will be certain
things Alastair would do that
I wouldn’t just because it is
his character and mine. When
I’ve captained in the past I’ve
tended to strip things back to
the basics. That’s my method.”
England face Australia in
Sydney on Friday in the first of
four matches against the ICC’s
number one-ranked ODI team
and world champions India.
England begin their World
Cup campaign against Australia in Melbourne on Feb 14.
Selectors put
Harris in cotton
wool for Ashes
cracking half-century
by Brendon McCullum
set New Zealand up for
a comfortable threewicket win over Sri Lanka in
their first one-day international
in Christchurch yesterday.
After McCullum’s 51 in 19 balls
had provided his side a comfortable target well under four an
over as they chased 219, Corey
Anderson stepped up with 81 to
ensure the job was done.
When Anderson was dismissed, New Zealand required
a further 10 runs which they
achieved with seven overs remaining.
“I thought Corey under pressure really stepped up nicely and
got the job done,” New Zealand
skipper McCullum said, adding
Anderson’s catch to remove Sri
Lankan centurion Mahela Jayawardene was also crucial.
“That dismissal of Mahela
when he was looking to pull the
trigger at that stage, to get him
with a very good outfield catch
from Corey allowed us to get
some momentum.”
Sri Lanka captain Angelo
Mathews believed the target
they set New Zealand was 30-40
Sri Lanka
D Karunaratne lbw Milne ................................................5
T Dilshan st Ronchi b N McCullum.............................19
K Sangakkara c Williamson b Milne ..........................4
M Jayawardene c Anderson b McClenaghan ......104
A Mathews (run out)..........................................................15
L Thirimanne c Williamson b McClenaghan.........23
J Mendis c N McCullum b McClenaghan ................23
T Perera c Ronchi b McClenaghan.............................0
N Kulasekara (not out) .....................................................6
S Senanayake c Ronchi b Anderson .........................7
S Eranga (not out) ...............................................................5
Extras (w7) .............................................................................7
Total (9 wickets, 50 overs).............................................218
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-16, 3-51, 4-82, 5-155, 6-200,
7-200, 8-200, 9-213
Bowling: T Boult 10-1-46-0 (w4); A Milne 10-1-37-2;
M McClenaghan 10-1-36-4 (w2); C Anderson 10-061-1 (w1); N McCullum 10-1-38-1
runs short of what was required.
“It wasn’t the easiest wicket
to bat on. It was a little bit twopaced. It wasn’t coming on to the
bat really well so we had to work
really hard,” he said. “The batters had to hang in there and try
and rotate the strike but we kept
losing wickets.”
Sri Lanka, electing to bat first,
posted 218-9 on the back of
Jayawardene’s 104 in 107 balls.
It was the 18th ODI century for
the 37-year-old, the fifth high-
New Zealand
M Guptill c Dilshan b Kulasekara ................................0
B McCullum st Sangakkara b Senanayake ............51
K Williamson c M Jayawardene b Senanayake ...15
T Latham st Sangakkara b Dilshan ............................15
G Elliott b Kulasekara ........................................................1
C Anderson lbw Dilshan ..................................................81
L Ronchi c Mathews b Eranga ......................................17
N McCullum (not out) .......................................................25
A Milne (not out) ..................................................................7
Extras (lb5, w2) ....................................................................7
Total (7 wickets, 43 overs) .............................................219
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-63, 3-76, 4-77, 5-101, 6-149,
Bowling: N Kulasekara 10-1-43-2 (w1); S Eranga
6-0-49-1 (w1); S Senanayake 10-0-43-2; A Mathews
2-0-17-0; T Dilshan 7-0-28-2; T Perera 7-0-29-0; J
Mendis 1-0-5-0
Result: New Zealand won by three wickets
est run-scorer in the history of
the shortened game, who was
rarely in trouble by the New
Zealand attack until caught in a
wicket meltdown late in the late
Although Jayawardene received little support in the middle, Sri Lanka had reason to
believe their modest target was
defendable when they removed
Martin Guptill on the third ball of
New Zealand’s reply.
But for McCullum that was
a signal to open up as he blazed
away to bring up his 50 in just
19 deliveries with six fours and
three sixes. It was the seventh
fastest half century of all time,
and only two behind the record
held by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya, who took 17 balls to reach
50 against Pakistan in 1996.
McCullum had no sooner
reached his 50 than his rollicking
innings was over, beaten in the
air by Sachithra Senanayake and
stumped by Kumar Sangakkara
to trigger a mini New Zealand
Three wickets fell for 13 runs
in 27 balls as Kane Williamson
(15) and Grant Elliot (one) followed McCullum back to the
pavilion. Williamson was snared
by a remarkable catch at first slip
by a diving Jayawardene who
juggled the ball twice in his left
hand before securing the wicket.
Tom Latham was stumped on
15 and New Zealand were 101-5
before Anderson and Ronchi put
the innings back on course with
48 for the sixth wicket, and Anderson with Nathan McCullum
then added 60 in their seventh
wicket stand.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had
Anderson leg before wicket, finished with two for 28 while Senanayake and Nuwan Kulasekara
both took two for 43.
Apart from Jayawardene there
was little resistance in the Sri
Lankan innings with Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis, both
23, the only other players to get
past 20.
Mitchell McClenaghan, who
dismissed Jayawardene in a spell
of three wickets in four balls late
in Sri Lanka’s innings, finished
with four for 36.
The second game in the seven-match series is in Hamilton
next Thursday.
eading paceman Ryan
Harris will miss the
World Cup with an eye
to Australia’s Ashes
campaign in England later this
year, selectors said yesterday.
Harris, who ranks among
Australia’s prominent fast
bowlers, was left out of the
World Cup squad named yesterday. It was no great surprise
given the last of Harris’s 21
one-day internationals came
almost three years ago, largely
because of fitness issues instead of form.
Harris, known for his work
ethic and high pain tolerance,
successfully returned from
major knee surgery during the
recent Test series against India.
Chief selector Rod Marsh
said he could have used the
35-year-old as a trump card in
next month’s World Cup, but
wanted him in peak condition
for the next Ashes series.
“We would really like to see
Ryan go to England, bowl his
heart out in Test cricket and
keep those Ashes,” Marsh told
reporters. “He’s that important
to the team in Test match cricket. I know there’s nothing bigger
than the World Cup, but maybe
international one-day cricket—
he’s had his time there.”
Marsh suggested Harris was
typically understanding of the
decision. “I went to speak to
him last night to tell him he
wasn’t in the team,” Marsh
said. “I said, ‘Ryano’, and he
said, ‘don’t worry mate, I
know’. I think he would have
loved to be in the side, but I
think he also realises he would
have struggled.”
Mitchell Johnson, who
missed the Sydney Test with
hamstring soreness, and Josh
Hazlewood are expected to be
rested from Friday’s tri-series
opener against England in
Sydney. Kane Richardson and
potential debutant Gurinder
Sandhu have been added to the
squad as cover.
Hazlewood played three
consecutive Tests and the
team’s medical staff are likely
to give him some time off.
However, Hazlewood, 24, is
keen to play in Friday’s ODI.
“Once the ball is coming out
well, you feel like you want to
keep bowling,” Hazlewood said.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
South Africa blown
away by Gayle storm
after Du Plessis ton
Windies chase down 232-run target with four wickets to spare to take 2-0 lead in three-match series
South Africa
R Rossouw c Ramdin b Holder ......15
M van Wyk c Pollard b Benn ...........4
F du Plessis c Bravo b Holder .........119
D Miller (run out) ..................................47
J Ontong c Holder b Bravo ..............19
F Behardien (not out) .........................8
D Wiese c Smith b Bravo...................6
K Abbott (run out) ...............................2
Extras (lb2, nb2, w7) ..........................11
Total (7 wickets, 20 overs) ..............231
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Van Wyk), 2-21
(Rossouw), 3-126 (Miller), 4-156
(Ontong), 5-222 (Du Plessis), 6-228
(Wiese), 7-231 (Abbott)
Bowling: Benn 3-0-42-1, Cottrell
3-0-47-0 (1nb), Holder 4-0-40-2 (2w),
Russell 4-0-39-0 (1nb, 4w), Bravo 4-032-2 (1w), Sammy 1-0-17-0,
Pollard 1-0-12-0
West Indies
D Smith lbw De Lange .......................17
C Gayle c Van Wyk b Wiese .............90
M Samuels c Behardien b Wiese ..60
K Pollard c Behardien b Wiese ......7
A Russell c Miller b Abbott ..............14
D Bravo c Ontong b Phangiso........10
D Sammy (not out) ..............................20
D Ramdin (not out)..............................7
Extras (b4, w7) ......................................11
Total (6 wickets, 19.2 overs) ...........236
Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Smith), 2-171
(Gayle), 3-178 (Samuels), 4-185 (Pollard), 5-198 (Russell), 6-209 (Bravo)
Bowling: Abbott 4-0-68-1 (1w), De
Lange 3.2-0-42-1 (2w), Wiese 4-0-43-3
(3w), Phangiso 3-0-33-1, Imran Tahir
4-0-29-0 (1w), Ontong 1-0-17-0
West Indies opener Chris Gayle
plays a Aaron Phangiso delivery
during yesterday’s second T20
match against South Africa
at the Wanderers Stadium in
Johannesburg. Gayle blasted a
41-ball 90 as Windies won by four
wickets chasing a formidable
232-run target to take 2-0 lead in
three-match T20 series. (Reuters)
hris Gayle blasted 90 off
41 balls as the West Indies
achieved a world record run
chase in the second Twenty20
international yesterday to beat South
Africa by four wickets.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis
hit a 46-ball century in his team’s total
of 231 for seven—their second highest
total in the shortest form of the game.
But it was overhauled with four balls
to spare on a record-breaking day at
the Wanderers with West Indies captain Darren Sammy finishing the match
with a six to take his team to 236 for six.
Man-of-the-match Gayle was again
the star for the West Indies as he shared
a second-wicket stand of 152 off 75 balls
with Marlon Samuels, who made 60.
“Cricket was the winner today,” said
Sammy. “We were dominated in the
Tests but we have different energy in
this series.”
It was astonishing batting by both
teams in ideal conditions on a field
where the world record 50-overs run
chase was achieved by South Africa
when they scored 438 for nine against
Australia in 2005-06.
The previous T20 record chase was
211 for four by India against Sri Lanka in
Mohali in 2009-10.
Du Plessis said his South African
record score of 119 off 56 balls was “bit-
tersweet”. He added: “I said at halftime that this game is very far from
finished. Nothing is out of reach. Chris
played so well up front, it is very hard to
contain him.”
“Cricket was the winner today.
We were dominated in the
Tests but we have different
energy in this series”
The tempo of the match was set when
Du Plessis and David Miller (47) put on
103 off 49 balls for South Africa’s third
Du Plessis hit five sixes and 11 fours,
while Miller’s three sixes and four fours
off 26 balls included arguably the biggest hit seen at the ground, a mighty
blow over long-on which cleared a
four-tier grandstand and sailed into an
adjacent golf course.
The West Indies replied with even
more brutality at the start of their innings. They raced to 86 for one in the
six-over power play, with Gayle and
Samuels posting a fifty partnership off
21 balls.
Gayle, who hit a 17-ball half-century in the first match in Cape Town on
Friday, was only marginally slower on
Sunday, reaching the mark off 20 deliveries with three sixes and seven fours.
The carnage continued, with Gayle
bludgeoning the bowling, while Samuels managed to play with more classical
control despite scoring his 60 off 39
balls with seven fours and two sixes.
South Africa were still in with a
chance when medium-pacer David Wiese had Gayle caught behind in the 14th
over and followed up with the wickets
of Samuels and Kieron Pollard, both
caught at long-on, in his next over.
At that stage the West Indies still
needed 47 off 25 balls.
Two more wickets fell but Sammy
clinched the win by hitting an unbeaten
20 off seven balls, finishing the match
by slamming Marchant de Lange into
the crowd beyond midwicket.
South African opening bowler Kyle
Abbott conceded a world record 68 in
his four overs.
The previous highest was 64 by Jimmy Anderson of England and Sanath
Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka.
Tauqir, 43, to
lead the UAE
at World Cup
Mohamed Tauqir was
named as captain of the
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
squad for the World Cup
yesterday with the 43-yearold Dubai native replacing
Pakistan-born Khurram
Khan at the helm.
The UAE will be playing at
the World Cup for the first
time since 1996 and have
been drawn in Pool B alongside defending champions
India, South Africa, Pakistan,
West Indies, Zimbabwe and
Tauqir has represented
the UAE in 50 international
matches, including five
ODIs—against Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, India and Sri
Lanka (twice).
Fellow 43-year-old Khan
has been named as vicecaptain for the World Cup
which is being staged in Australia and New Zealand from
February 14-March 29.
The UAE face Zimbabwe
in their opening game in
Nelson on February 19.
UAE World Cup squad
Mohamed Tauqir (capt),
Khurram Khan, Swapnil Patil,
Saqlain Haider, Amjad Javed,
Shaiman Anwar, Amjad Ali,
Nasir Aziz, Rohan Mustafa, Manjula Guruge, Andri
Berenger, Fahad Al Hashmi,
Mohamed Naveed, Kamran
Shahzad, Krishna Karate
Misbah to
retire from
ODIs after
World Cup
Pakistan’s long-serving
captain Misbah-ul-Haq has
announced he will retire
from one-day internationals
and T20 cricket after the
World Cup.
“Misbah has formally
informed us he will retire
from ODIs and not play T20
cricket after the World Cup.
He wants to focus on Test
cricket,” Pakistan Cricket
Board chairman Shaharyar
Khan said yesterday.
Misbah, 41, told Geo News
channel he informed the
board about a week ago.
“I took the decision to
retire after much thought
and feel this is the best time
to go from ODIs. The World
Cup is my last ODI venture,”
he said of the tournament
starting in Australia and New
Zealand next month.
Misbah became Pakistan’s
most successful Test captain
in the recent series against
New Zealand in the UAE.
He was appointed Test
captain in late 2010 after
the spot-fixing scandal in
England led to Salman Butt
being banned.
The board also handed
Misbah the ODI and T20
captaincy in mid-2011 after
Shahid Afridi was sacked
as captain of limited-overs
cricket. In 2012 he was
removed as T20 captain
but continued to feature in
domestic T20 matches.
Since his debut for Pakistan in 2002, Misbah has
played 153 ODIs and scored
4,669 runs at an average of
42.83 with 37 fifties. He has
led Pakistan in 78 games,
Bravo, Pollard axed; Narine returns for World Cup
St John’s, Antigua
Off-spinner Sunil Narine, whose bowling
action was deemed illegal by the ICC last
year, has been included in the WC squad.
est Indies have left out allrounders Dwayne Bravo and
Kieron Pollard from their
15-man squad for the World
Cup in February and March.
The duo are surprise omissions, but
there is a recall for spinner Sunil Narine
whose bowling action was deemed illegal during last year’s Champions League
Twenty20 competition.
Bravo led the team which abruptly
withdrew from a one-day series in India
last year over a pay dispute and the pullout prompted the Indian board to suspend all future tours with West Indies.
The squad will be captained by
23-year-old Jason Holder, who will lead
the side for the first time in their fivematch one-day international series in
South Africa starting on Friday.
Experienced batsman Marlon Samu-
els has been appointed vice-captain.
Also returning to the squad is top order batsman Darren Bravo, who had taken
time away from the game to address some
personal matters.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach has been selected despite after suffering an ankle injury in the recently completed Test series
against South Africa.
Chairman of the selection panel
Clive Lloyd, who won the World Cup
in 1975 and 1979, says they believe they
have a squad that can win the February
14-March 29 tournament.
“If they play to their potential I am
quite sure we will do very well,” Lloyd
said in a West Indies Cricket Board media
release. “I have really high hopes in this
team—I believe they can do something
special. We have the talent and if we can
play to our potential we have a very good
chance of lifting that trophy.”
The most experienced ODI player in the
squad is opener Chris Gayle with 258 appearances. Samuels (162), Denesh Ram-
din (115) and Darren Sammy (115) all have
over a hundred ODI games under their
belts while Dwayne Smith (94) could
achieve his 100th appearance during the
World Cup.
The squad has a total of 1,156 ODI appearances with only Sheldon Cottrell and
Jonathan Carter yet to debut internationally. Carter and Cottrell are both in the
ODI squad that will play South Africa in
a five-match series from Friday.
West Indies play their opening World
Cup match on February 16 against Ireland
before going on to face Pool B rivals, defending champions India, South Africa,
Pakistan, Zimbabwe and the United Arab
West Indies squad
Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels,
Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan
Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Sunil
Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach,
Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor
All-rounders Dwayne Bravo (left) and Kieron Pollard seem to have been
punished for their role in Windies team’s pull out from India tour last year.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Terranova makes
it seven from seven
for Mini in Dakar
Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah suffers from a bout of altitude sickness but still in overall lead
Al Shaqab’s
Mshawish wins
Fort Lauderdale
Stakes in Florida
l Shaqab Racing Mshawish put in a dazzling performance to take the Group II Fort Lauderdale
Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Florida on Saturday,
December 10. Despite swinging out wide on the far
turn, Mshawish was ably ridden by jockey Javier Castellano
to win his second straight stakes in the US for trainer Todd
Pletcher. Earlier Mshawish had won the Prado Stakes on December 13 for his first North American win.
Castellano took a hard hold of Mshawish and settled him
behind pace-setting Silver Freak, pouncing on the far turn
and closing well to win by a neck over Grand Tito. The winner clocked a smart timing of one minute 41.14 seconds.
Mshawish was bred in Kentucky by OTIF 2007 and is a
son of Medaglia d’Oro and the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Bayou.
“It was not exactly how we had drawn it up,”trainer
Pletcher said. “There were some strange riding tactics down
the backside. At the top of the stretch he kind of drifted a little bit. He kind of got settled in down the backside when that
horse came outside of him uncovered again.”
“He’s an extremely talented horse. He needs to be covered up a little bit. He never really got great cover today and
because of that he never got turned off. I don’t think many
horses would have won with that type of trip, so it’s a real
credit to the horse. He’s a very, very talented horse.”
Castellano also praised his mount’s ability. “It was pretty
tough today. This is a horse that is a little difficult to ride.
You need to cover him up and unfortunately today he was a
little more in the clear. A couple of jockeys smooched a little bit to be in a forward position and I just tried to cover up
my horse the best I could. The way he did it today I was very
impressed, because he fought a lot in the beginning but still
fought at the end. He really gives you everything he has. He
deserved to win the race today.”
Mshawish started seven times in Europe, where he was
twice a winner, including a score in the listed Prix de Torgeville at Deauville. From there he went to Dubai, where in
Feburary of 2014 he took the Zabeel Mile before running
fourth in the Dubai Duty Free.
Mshawish is likely to be in the line-up for the Gulfstream
Park Turf Handicap on February 7.
Argentinian driver Orlando Terranova competes on his way to a win in the seventh stage of the 2015 Rally Dakar between Iquique, Chile, and Uyuni, Bolivia, on Saturday. (EPA)
Uyuni, Bolivia
he 2015 Dakar Rally may have
swopped Chile for Bolivia on Saturday but the change of scenery
did not prevent Mini claiming their
seventh stage win out of seven.
Argentine driver Orlando Terranova
maintained the British marque’s grip on
the notoriously gruelling event for his third
stage win this year and fourth overall.
Saudi Arabia driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi came
in second in a Toyota, almost two-and-ahalf minutes behind, to cement his place in
third in the overall standings.
Saturday’s stage set off from the Chilean city of Iquique and finished in Uyuni
at the gateway to the majestic Bolivian
salt flats with amongst the tens of thousands of onlookers Bolivian president Evo
Morales told AFP that he had sent a message to his French counterpart, Francois
Hollande, to pay his respects after this
week’s Islamist killing spree left 17 dead in
“We are very sad and we share the pain of
the French people,” said Morales.
While Terranova is out of contention for
the title, his Mini teammate Nasser al-Attiyah, only seventh on Saturday, retained his
position at the top of the overall standings
despite having three minutes shaved off his
lead by South African Giniel de Villiers, who
crossed in sixth.
Al-Attiyah, the Dakar winner in 2011, was
crippled by altitude sickness during the 321
kilometre timed section.
“The stage wasn’t difficult, it was the altitude,” he said. “I had to stop three times
to vomit and I had a terrible headache every
time we went over a bump. I’ve lost some
time, but it’s no big deal. We don’t need to
push our limits.”
Al-Attiyah, who is also an Olympic
shooter, added: “The car is in good condition, so we’re only going to change the
tyres, check a few things and then go get a
rest. First I’ll go see the medical service for
a check-up.”
He is now 8min14sec clear of 2009 winner de Villiers in Toyota, with Al-Rajhi at
Terranova described his day behind the
wheel as “really difficult, tough, complicated.” He added: “But we’ve made it. Now
we’ll try and bring the car to Chile so our
crew can take care of it. We’re getting better,
but we need to work hard to avoid mistakes,
and next year we’ll be stronger.”
With the motorbike and quad competitors on a rest day, this was the first time
cars competing in rally’s toughest event had
crossed over from the Chilean city of Iquique to the world’s largest salt flats.
Sunday’s eighth stage takes Al-Attiyah
and the rest of the car competitors back to
Iquique across the salt flats.
“I had no problem crossing it, although I
was in a helicopter... We did not see any water,” Morales told the drivers.
Stage 7 (top 10)
1. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/
ARG/Mini) 3hr 31min 18sec
2. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Göttschalk (KSA/
GER/Toyota) +2:20
3. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/
BEL/Toyota) +2:28
4. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri
(POL/FRA/Mini) +2:57
5. Nani Roma/Michel Perin (ESP/FRA/Mini)
6. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/
GER/Toyota) +6:50
7. Nasser al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/
FRA/Mini) +9:48
8. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret
(FRA/FRA/Peugeot) +10:43
9. Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/
USA/Gordini) +10:48
10. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov
(RUS/RUS/Mini) +13:32
Overall classification (top 3)
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/
FRA/Mini) 23 h 11:50
2. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/
GER/Toyota) 8:14
3. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Göttschalk (KSA/
GER/Toyota) 21:16
Abdullah al-Kuwari and Ali al-Shawi win Qatar National Rally and Baja
Abdullah al-Kuwari won the Misfer Qatar National Rally organised by Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation
(QMMF) on Saturday. Qatar’s al-Kuwari, who had already secured the championship in the last round, pushed his Ford
Fiesta R5 to the limit to win the round with a total time of 1:09:38.8. Compatriot Rashid al-Naimi finished second with
a time of 1:10:53.7 in a Mitsubishi EVO 10. The trophies were presented by QMMF general secretary Mohamed Saad
al-Morrakhi and QMMF board member Sultan Zaher al-Morraikhi.
The weekend also saw the last round of Qatar National Baja. Ali al-Kitbi won the championship ahead of Ahmed al-Shawi even
as Ali al-Shawi of UAE won the final round in a Chevrolet in a time of 1:12:36.2. Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed al-Qashmi was second
with a time of 1:12:41.4.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Gasol’s 46 points lift
Bulls over Bucks
Calgary shuts
out host
‘Give a lot of credit to my teammates that made a lot of great plays for me’
pain’s Pau Gasol scored
a career-high 46 points
on Saturday to help the
Chicago Bulls overcome
the absence of Derrick Rose in a
95-87 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.
With former NBA Most Valuable Player Rose sidelined by a
sore left knee, Gasol stepped it
up a notch.
He improved on his previous career-best of 44 points,
achieved in 2006 when he played
for Memphis, and also pulled
down 18 rebounds.
“He wasn’t going to let us lose
tonight,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“It was a good overall night,”
said Gasol. “You start making
the first couple of shots, your
teammates start looking for you.
I was able to find good spots, get
in rhythm.
“Give a lot of credit to my
teammates that made a lot of
great plays for me and looked for
me a lot of times.”
Kirk Hinrich added 16 points
and Jimmy Butler contributed
nine points, eight rebounds and
10 assists for Chicago, who had
endured back-to-back defeats in
their previous two games.
The Bulls had connected on
less than 40 percent of their
shots from the floor in lacklustre
losses to Utah and Washington,
and they were little better in that
department on Saturday, shooting a collective 39.8 percent.
struggles were particularly evident as he finished with just two
points. Thibodeau acknowledged before the game that the
lack of offence was “bothersome
and concerning” but on the
night Gasol’s contribution was
enough to deliver a victory.
He scored the first seven
points of the game and 20 in the
first quarter as Chicago took a
29-19 lead.
He had 40 points through
three quarters, and finished by
making 17 of his 30 attempts
from the floor and 12 of his 13
free throws.
“It was definitely a crucial
game for us, to bounce back and
snap that two-game skid we
had,” Gasol said.
“It’s important to win at
home and regain confidence and
oni Ortio made 36 saves
for his first NHL shutout, leading the Calgary
Flames past the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Saturday
Mikael Backlund scored in the
first period for Calgary and Ortio
made it stand in his first start of
the season to help the Flames
snap a three-game losing streak.
“You just have to win those
battles down low, I guess,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins
told The Vancouver Sun. “Some
pucks are sitting around and
you just have to find a way to get
them. I think we hit four or five
posts and if one those goes in, it
certainly helps.
“I thought tonight the effort
was there. It’s a tough league and
sometimes you play well, but
you don’t win. That was the case
Ortio, a 23-year-old Finn,
was recalled from the American Hockey League Adirondack
Flames last week after Karri
Ramo went down with an upperbody injury; Ortio played a mere
nine NHL games before Saturday. The Flames came in having
lost nine straight against Van-
LA Clippers
San Antonio
110 NY Knicks
120 Dallas
98 Brooklyn
93 Indiana
109 Boston
95 Milwaukee
97 Utah
108 Minnesota
103 Orlando
A three-pointer by Milwaukee guard O.J. Mayo pulled the
Bucks within four early in the
fourth quarter.
But the Bulls, who out-rebounded the Bucks 51-37, scored
the next six points and led by at
least eight points the rest of the
Jackson shoulders blame
for reeling Knicks
NBA coaching great Phil
Jackson, in his first full season
as president of the New York
Knicks, shouldered responsibility Saturday for the club’s dismal
“This is a mea culpa,” Jackson said before his Knicks were
routed 110-82 by the Charlotte
Hornets—extending New York’s
club-record losing streak to 15
games. New York fans are getting
restive, taking out their frustrations with jeers of their own
team and sporting paper bags on
their heads at games to hide their
“I take responsibility for it,”
Jackson said, adding that he
didn’t think fans should address their ire at first-year coach
Derek Fisher.
“It’s not his fault,” Jackson
said. “Obviously I didn’t do the
right thing in picking the group
of guys that were here.”
On Saturday, the Knicks wee
again without high-priced superstar Carmelo Anthony, who
continues to rest a sore knee.
Amare Stoudemire, also nursing a troublesome knee, was also
In a season of lows, the Kicks
were especially awful on Saturday, trailing by as many as 45
points in the second half before trimming the deficit in the
fourth quarter after Charlotte
pulled their starting players.
Quincy Acy was one bright
spot for the Knicks, finishing
with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Tim Hardaway jnr added 15
points and Shane Larkin chipped
in 12.
Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol (No 16) shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second
half in Chicago. The Chicago Bulls defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 95-87. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports
NY Islanders
St. Louis
NY Rangers
3 Philadelphia
3 Minnesota
4 Dallas
2 Montreal
1 (OT)
3 Detroit
5 Columbus
5 Arizona
5 Carolina
4 (SO)
1 Vancouver
5 Los Angeles 4 (SO)
3 San Jose
couver (0-6-3), and hadn’t beaten the Canucks since a 4-2 victory on March 3, 2013, in Calgary.
Eddie Lack stopped 22 shots
for Vancouver, which has
dropped two straight after going 5-1-1 in its previous seven
Lack, who came in with a 3-00 career record against Calgary,
got the start ahead of No. 1 goalie
Ryan Miller, who wasn’t feeling well but sat on Vancouver’s
bench as the backup.
Still trailing 1-0 after giving
up a goal early in the first and
in possession of a 28-14 shot
edge through two periods, the
Canucks came out hard in the
third, but Ortio was there when
he had to be after Vancouver hit
three posts in the game’s first 40
Goalie Joni Ortio (No 37) of the Calgary Flames stops Henrik Sedin
(No 33) of the Vancouver Canucks in close as TJ Brodie (No 7) of the
Calgary Flames helps defend on the play during the third period in
NHL action in Vancouver. (AFP)
Seahawks power past Panthers for playoff win
uper Bowl champions
Seattle moved a step
closer to a return to the
NFL’s title game on Saturday with a 31-17 playoff win
over the Carolina Panthers.
Seahawks quarterback Russell
Wilson threw three touchdown
passes and defender Kam Chancellor returned an interception
90 yards for a touchdown in the
fourth quarter as the Seahawks
pulled away.
With the victory, the Seahawks advance to the National
Football Conference title game.
They’re the first reigning Super Bowl champions to win a
playoff game the next season
since the 2005 New England Patriots. They will host the winner
of NFC second-round clash between the Dallas Cowboys and
the Green Bay Packers.
Wilson completed 15 of 22
passing attempts for 268 yards
and added 22 yards on the
Jermaine Kearse caught three
passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and Luke Willson had four
receptions for 68 yards and a
TD for the Seahawks, who have
won eight straight post-season
games in front of their frenzied
fans in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett
(No 72) and Bobby Weaver (No 54)
move in to sack Carolina Panthers
Kam Chancellor (No 3) in the first
round of the NFC Western Division
Playoffs in Seattle.
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch
carried the ball 14 times for 59
yards. Panthers quarterback
Cam Newton completed 23 of
36 passes for 246 yards with two
touchdowns and two interceptions.
Chancellor was the star of another dominant defensive display by the Seahawks.
His determination was evident in the first half when he
twice leapt over his own defensive line in what ultimately
proved a futile bid to thwart a
Carolina field goal.
But he was a game-changer in
the final period.
With the Panthers trying to
whittle down a 21-10 deficit,
Chancellor stepped in front of a
Newton pass intended for tight
end Ed Dickson and rumbled
90 yards for a Seahawks touchdown.
Newton had first looked for
receiver Brenton Bersin, and by
the time he opted to throw to
Dickson, Chancellor had read
the play and made his move.
“It felt awesome,” Chancellor
said. “It felt like preparation, it
felt like everything I worked all
week for.
“That was my first return
for my career, and it felt good,”
added Chancellor, who also had
10 tackles.
“I don’t know if a strong safety can have a stronger game than
Kam Chancellor did tonight,”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll
Newton’s 15-yard touchdown
throw to Kelvin Benjamin with
just over two minutes left in the
game was notable only as the
first fourth-quarter points allowed by the Seahawks in their
last seven games.
Benjamin hauled in seven
passes for 75 yards and two
scores, while Greg Olsen caught
four balls for 58 yards in defeat.
“We made some mistakes,
we missed some opportunities,”
said Carolina coach Ron Rivera,
whose team won their final four
games of the regular season to
win the NFC South division and
book an unlikely playoff berth.
Brady leads Patriots past
Ravens in thriller
The New England Patriots fought back from 14-point deficits twice
to beat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in a thrilling playoff contest
as they advanced to the AFC Championship game for the fourth
straight year on Saturday.
The Patriots will now host the winners of Sunday’s game between
Denver and Indianapolis with a place in the Super Bowl on the line.
New England did not lead until quarterback Tom Brady connected
with Brandon LaFell for a 23-yard touchdown with five minutes to
play to give the Patriots their 35-31 advantage.
The score allowed Brady, who threw for three touchdowns, to break
Joe Montana’s record of 45 playoff touchdowns.
“We showed a lot of toughness coming back from those two deficits,” said Brady.
“It took a lot of effort, a lot of guys making a lot of good plays and
we are happy to host the championship game next week.”
The Ravens, who twice since 2000 had beaten the Patriots in playoff games, demonstrated their intent on the game’s first drive with
Joe Flacco leading them on a five-play, 71-yard drive culminating in
a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken.
The freezing Foxborough crowd were stunned when, on their
second possession, the Ravens scored again, Flacco, who threw for
four touchdowns, finding Steve Smith who beat Patriots cornerback
Darrelle Revis on a slant. Brady, who passed for 367 yards, brought
the Patriots back with a clever four-yard touchdown run.
New England pulled level at 14-14 when Brady found Danny Amendola with a 15-yard touchdown pass, the receiver evading a tackle
before a spectacular dive into the end zone.
If Baltimore were downhearted, they showed no signs of it with
Daryl Smith intercepting a Brady pass towards Rob Gronkowski.
With that possession, the Ravens advanced down the field with
Flacco finding Owen Daniels to send Baltimore in at the half with a
21-14 lead. Busted coverage from the Patriots defense in the third
quarter allowed Flacco to find a wide-open Justin Forsett with a 16yard touchdown pass that he ran in unchallenged.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Johnson in a four-way
tie at the top in Hawaii
American is tied with Jimmy Walker, Russell Henley and Bae Sang-moon
Sullivan wins
maiden title
as Schwartzel
Edenvale, South Africa
Kapalua, Hawaii
efending champion Zach Johnson was among four players tied for the lead after an ideal day for low scoring in
the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Saturday.
Johnson, who clinched last year’s title by one shot, fired a sixunder-par 67 on the hilly Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort to
finish level with fellow Americans Jimmy Walker (68) and Russell
Henley (70), and South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon (69).
Walker, a three-times winner on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, was the
only player in the elite field of 34 to get to 12 under for the tournament but he bogeyed the par-four 17th on the way to an 11-under
total of 135 on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Six players held at least a share of the lead in the second round
of the opening PGA Tour event of the year and the eighth of the
wrap-around season for 2014-15.
Zach Johnson tees off for the 11th hole during
the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of
Champions in Lahaina, Hawaii, on Saturday. (AFP)
135 - Zach Johnson (USA) 68-67, Jimmy Walker (USA) 67-68, Russell Henley (USA) 65-70, Bae Sang-Moon (KOR) 66-69
136 - Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-66, Charley Hoffman (USA) 7066, Brendon Todd (USA) 69-67, Patrick Reed (USA) 67-69, Robert
Streb (USA) 67-69
ngland’s Andy Sullivan capitalised on Carl
Schwartzel’s South African Open fourth round
implosion to claim his debut
EPGA title in a play-off yesterday.
The 2011 Masters champion
Schwartzel looked to be heading for victory, with the South
African entering the final round
at the Glendower Golf Club in
Ekurhuleni five strokes clear of
the field.
The world number 31 still had
a four shot cushion with five
holes to go.
But he then folded dramatically, dropping a shot at the 14th,
and three-putting the 16th for a
double bogey.
A poor tee shot at the 17th
triggered another bogey to leave
him level with Sullivan at 11 under par.
Sullivan held his nerve when
the pair returned to the 18th for
the first sudden death hole.
Both players failed to make the
fairway, with Sullivan recovering
brilliantly from the trees to hole
out from 10 feet for a winning
Sullivan had begun the final
round seven shots behind his
playing partner Schwartzel, but
set up his maiden win on the European Tour with four birdies, an
eagle and one bogey for a closing
“It’s unbelievable,” said the
“After Saturday I didn’t think
I stood much of a chance with
Charl getting ahead that far.
“I just dug in there yesterday
and today and found myself in
a position where I had a chance
to win. My caddie said over the
last few holes ‘no regrets’ and
I’ve definitely got no regrets over
the last few holes, especially that
play-off hole.
“Charl has won major championships, my caddie said expect
him to hole (his third shot) and he
nearly did. I was delighted just to
hit the green and have a chance
to win and I’m just glad I took it.
“I didn’t want to give him a
second chance to take the title
away from me so I am absolutely
delighted and I hope the guys at
Nuneaton Golf Club are having a
few beers for me!
“To just play on the European
Tour is something I’ve wanted
to do my whole life, so to win an
event just caps it all off and to do
it in South Africa where I have always enjoyed playing, it has just
been an incredible week.”
England’s Lee Slattery carded
a closing 69 to finish third, one
shot outside the play-off, with
Spain’s Pablo Martin another
shot back in fourth after also recording a 69.
Giteau sparks Toulon to victory over Racing Metro
sparkling performance by Matt Giteau (pictured) on his return after an
absence of over two months inspired
champions Toulon to a 32-23 victory
over Racing-Metro on Saturday and end a run of
two defeats.
The match took place in a highly-charged
atmosphere in the wake of the Islamist killing spree this week in Paris which resulted in
17 deaths—the players and spectators joined in
both a minute’s silence and applause followed
by a rousing rendition of the French national
anthem ‘La Marseillaise’.
Victory for Toulon kept them in third place,
three points behind Stade Francais, who beat
Castres 44-13 on Friday.
Clermont stayed top by running in six tries in
a 44-20 bonus-point romp against Brive.
Toulon manager Bernard Laporte said he was
delighted with how his players had reacted to
the defeat by Montpellier last weekend.
“This was a terrific match and I very much
liked the reaction of the players to the defeat last
week,” said the 50-year-old.
“On the other hand our target set at half-time
of getting the bonus point was not realised.”
Toulon got off to a superb start scoring two
tries in the opening quarter-of-an-hour.
Their first came through fullback Leigh Halfpenny—set up by Giteau who has been out since
late October with a groin injury—and the Welshman then gathered himself and converted.
Benjamin Dambielle reduced the deficit with
a penalty for the visitors but they were hit by a
second Toulon try in the 15th minute.
Former Springbok Juan Smith was responsible for it, managing to touch down at full
stretch, and Halfpenny converted for 14-3.
Racing didn’t do themselves any favours in
terms of getting back into the match as they
were reduced to 13 men in the 22nd minute
with both Jamie Roberts and Adrien Plante sin-
binned in separate incidents.
Halfpenny punished Roberts sin-binning
with another penalty and the hosts then added
a third try as Bryan Habana went over—this
time Halfpenny saw his effort cannon back off a
post—for his third try of the campaign.
Toulon lost another of their formidable South
African contingent when lock Bakkies Botha had
to go off with what looked like a broken finger.
Toulon were suddenly on the back foot too as
the visitors stormed back into the match with
tries either side of half-time firstly through
former Toulon wing Marc Andreu, who completely out-foxed Halfpenny.
Roberts got back in the good books as he sent
Habana the wrong way to go over for his first
this season three minutes into the second-half—
the hosts down to 14 men as Drew Mitchell had
been yellow-carded.
Dambielle converted them both to reduce the
deficit to five points -- 22-17 -- and they got to
22-20 when another former Toulon player fullback Benjamin Lapeyre landed a long range penalty in the 46th minute.
However, like the champions they are Toulon
responded in style.
Halfpenny kicked a penalty and then Giteau
did just enough to break a tackle and at full
Fowler, Campbell share honours at QGL golf tournament
stretch touch down over the line for his 10th try
of the season—Halfpenny converted for 32-20.
Dambielle hit back with a penalty in the 56th
minute but try as they might Racing were unable
to breach the Toulon line again.
Clermont’s try romp began after 32 minutes
through full-back Jean-Marcellin Buttin as the
home side built up an 11-0 lead from which they
never looked back.
Further tries from Benjamin Kayser, Napolioni Nalaga with a quickfire brace in the 51st
and 55th minutes, Ludovic Radosavljevic and a
penalty try sealed the points against a Brive side
who ran in three second-half tries of their own.
The victory also set up Clermont for their European Cup date against Sale next weekend.
Toulouse squeezed past rock-bottom La Rochelle 29-26 after seemingly cruising at 26-10
at the 50-minute mark. They scored four tries
with centre Yann David scoring twice.
“I felt my players were tired and La Rochelle
were more aggressive in the rucks,” said Toulouse boss Guy Noves.
England’s injured Morgan set to
miss Six Nations
London: England number eight Ben Morgan (pictured) is likely
to miss the entire Six Nations campaign after fracturing his left
leg in Gloucester’s 24-23 win over Saracens in the Premiership on
The 25-year-old Morgan, who was carried off in the second half
and given oxygen, had surgery on Saturday with Gloucester
confirming the player had fractured his lower left leg.
He will “commence an appropriate rehabilitation programme for
this type of injury over the coming weeks”, Gloucester said on
their website ( on Saturday.
Morgan, who has 27 caps, was one of England’s most consistent
players during the autumn tests. England’s Six Nations campaign
begins with a trip to Wales on February 6.
David Fowler and John Campbell emerged victorious in flight A and flight B respectively in the golf tournament organised by Qatar Golf Lovers over the weekend at the
Doha Golf Club. As many as 40 golfers participated in the first tournament of the year which was played in a strokeplay format. Albert Dalton won the second prize in flight
A while Dennis Oviatt was the runner-up in Flight B. PK Mathew won the ‘longest putt’ award, Gavin Daley won the ‘longest drive’ award, John Anthony won the ‘closest to
pin’ award and Pavan Singh won the ‘closest to rope’ award. QGL hosted a prize distribution lunch for all golfers and gave away prizes to all winners.
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Qatar can count on expert
Rivera, says legend Fritz
‘It will be real pleasure for all players and fans to see the sun when they exit the arenas’
By Sports Reporter
wo matches made Henning Fritz legendary:
the 2004 Olympic quarter-final in Athens, when
he saved three shots against Spain
in the penalty shoot-out and the
2007 World Championship final against Poland, when he was
the German tower of power. But
in the latter an injury forced him
from the court 15 minutes before
the game’s end – later his teammates carried him to the top of
the podium.
The 40-year-old Fritz was the
goalkeeper of the ‘golden German generation’, which won gold
medals at the 2004 European
championship and the 2007
World Championship, Olympic
silver in 2004 and World Championship silver in 2003.
Fritz started his career in
Magdeburg, winning two European Cup titles, then transferred
to THW Kiel, becoming EHF
Champions League winner and
a four-time German champion,
before he made it to Rhein Neckar Löwen after becoming world
His personal list of awards is
even longer. He was named best
goalkeeper of the 2003 and 2007
World Championships, the 2004
Olympic Games and the 2004
European championship. His
biggest trophy was to become
IHF World Handball Player of the
year in 2004, the first time a goalkeeper earned the distinction.
In this interview, Henning
Fritz talks about his expectations
for the 2015 World Championship in Qatar, for the German
team – and about his favourites
in Doha.
What do you expect from
the Qatar 2015 World Championship?
Henning Fritz: A warm
event! Usually all those World
and European Championships
are carried out in countries with
snow and low temperatures. In
2015 it will be a real pleasure for
all players and fans to see the
sun when they exit the arenas –
something completely new for
the last decades.
Have you ever played in
Henning Fritz: When I was
player for THW Kiel, we had
some test matches in the Gulf
Region, but unfortunately not in
Which teams are your personal main contenders to win
the gold medal?
Henning Fritz: I believe the
same teams which had been
semi-finallists at the 2014 European championship will make
it to the semis again – France,
Denmark, Spain and Croatia. But
maybe some surprises can occur,
as many more teams have a quite
realistic chance to fight for the
medals. My main contender is
France, my prediction for the final is France vs. Denmark – with
the best current goalkeepers in
the world facing each other, Thierry Omeyer and Niklas Landin.
What about the German
Henning Fritz: They have
proved that on a perfect day they
can beat all teams in the world.
But on a weak day they can lose
against any other team. They
start in a very tough group, so
my major hope for their performances is that they are able
to stand strong in defence.
Some new players will inject
fresh blood to the team, and
we can count on highly strong
wing players. So I am optimistic
that with our new coach Dagur
Sigurdsson a result is possible
which will enable the German
team to remain in the race for the
Olympic Games 2016 in Rio.
Rio is also the dream destination of the Qatari team –
can they produce a surprise
on home ground?
Henning Fritz: Qatar can
count on one of the best coaches in the world, a true expert,
Valero Rivera. And they have one
of the best goalkeeper duos in
the world with Danijel Saric and
Goran Stojanovic. Their team is
strong and I am sure that they
make it to the eighth-finals.
Macedonia aim to make it to quarter-finals
By Sports Reporter
hen the draw for
play-offs for the
2015 World Championship in Doha was taking
place, the audience in Herning,
Denmark, found its appetite for
handball thrills whetted twice:
first when the Germany vs. Poland duel was drawn and again
when the lots decided that
arch-rivals Greece and FYR
Macedonia would face-off on
their way to Qatar.
Those qualification matches
ended with two wins by the
Macedonians, victories that
qualified the nation for their
fourth World Championship. In
Qatar they will face some wellknown faces from the Balkans,
as they were drawn into the
same group with Croatia and
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Austria,
Tunisia and Iran will be their
other opponents.
“Our ambition is to make
it to the quarter-finals,” said
Zhivko Mukaetov, President of
the FYR Macedonian Handball
Federation, who was the official representative at July’s
draw event in Doha.
In our group Croatia is the
favourite, but on the other
hand we have five teams with
certain qualities. Our ambition
is to be in second or third place
in the group.”
In his squad it is all about
Kiril Lazarov, a national hero
and best scorer ever at a single
world championship (2009 in
Croatia) and European championships (2012 in Serbia). When
Lazarov scores, FYR Macedonia
World championship campaigns: 1999: 18., 2009: 11.,
2013: 14.
Olympic campaigns: –
European championship
campaigns: 1998: 12., 2012: 5.,
2014: 10.
Qualification for Qatar: winner
of the play-off matches against
Greece (27:25, 35:23)
Coach: Ivica Obrvan
Key players: Kiril Lazarov,
Renato Vugrinec.
is up; if he fails, they are down.
Lazarov, the only player who
has taken part in all five IHF Super Globe events in Doha since
2010 –and who has raised the
trophy three times— was also
twice the top scorer in the EHF
Champions League. Among his
ambitions this winter? “To take
a step towards the 2016 Olympic Games at the 2015 World
Championship in Doha.”
Croatian-born national team
coach Ivica Obrvan, in charge
since 2013 as the successor to
Zvonko Shundovski, wants to
use the recent handball hype in
FYR, Macedonia stirred by the
successful Skopje clubs Metalurg (home of most of the na-
tional team players) and Vardar,
for further success at a major
Hopes were high after their
fifth place finish at the 2012
EHF EURO, only to be shattered in the Olympic qualification tournament, at the 2013
world championship and the
2014 EHF EURO.
But with the return of their
second best shooter Naumce
Mojsovski, newcomer Renato
Vugrinec (a former Slovenian)
and as young players like Dejan Manaskov (son of legendary
Pepi Manaskov) grow, an entire
nation is beginning to feel that
its Olympic aspirations are real,
with Qatar 2015 a crucial step
forward on that path.
“We deserve to make it to the
eighth-finals in this group,”
said Mojsovski.
“It is possible, because we
have proven that we’re able to
make it. This is our third World
Championship participation,
and our generation has the experience to do so. We showed
at the 2012 EHF EURO in Serbia
and at the 2009 World Championship in Croatia that we
have quality. In the previous
tournaments we only missed by
one or two goals in some crucial
games to get ahead.”
After the successes of the
national team and the two club
sides –both quarter-finalists
in the 2013/14 EHF Champions League season—handball is
sport number one in this former
Yugoslav Republic.“After winning, all fans celebrate with us
and we mourn together after
defeats,” said Mojsovksi.
“So handball in FYR Macedonia is a highly emotional
thing. What Metalurg and
Vardar now manage on the club
level in the EHF Champions
League is just a confirmation of
the success we have as a sport.”
Mukaetov underlines the
significance of the national
team in his country: “The interest of the young generations
in the Macedonian team is continually growing.
Ever since the World Cup
in Croatia in 2009 when we
achieved great success, the
fifth place at the 2012 EHF
EURO in Serbia, when the
Macedonian gladiators were
led by captain Kiril Lazarov, we
recruited an audience that all
athletes would wish for.
The famous Macedonian fans
faithfully follow our representatives all over the world and is
an unrivalled support on the
Gulf Times
Monday, January 12, 2015
Can record medallists add to
their medal haul in Doha?
‘A draw for a World Championship is always like a lottery. No matter which teams you have to face’
By Sports Reporter
Flags of the participating nations fly outside the Lusail Multipurpose Hall in Doha.
With a capacity of 15,000 spectators is the arena the biggest of the three competition
venues for the upcoming men’s Handball World Championship 2015. (EPA)
leven medals at World
Championships – no
men’s handball team has
collected more medals
at World Championships than
Sweden. Regardless if it was
outdoor handball or indoors,
since being one of the founders
of the International Handball
Federation Sweden has always
remained near the top of the
sport. The great strength is their
endless pool of talent, as the nation has also won more medals
at Men’s Youth and Junior World
and European championships
than any other.
The Swedish youth programme
is one of the most successful and
the most strategically planned
in the world. In a country where
handball is the number three
team sport after ice hockey and
football, young people join clubs
in the hundreds and get a perfect
After some remarkable success in the old days, including
the first World Championship
title in 1958, the story of the
major successes began in 1988
when Bengt Johansson was appointed new national team
coach. With players like Magnus Wislander, Tomas Svensson,
Staffan Olsson and Ola Lindgren
the “Bengan Boys” were nearly
unbeatable. Winning 13 medals at major events (World and
European Championships, Olympic Games) from 1988 until
2002 this team dominated the
world of handball for more than
a decade.
Sweden won the World title
in 1990 and 1999 and added two
more silver and a pair of bronze
medals on the world stage amd
added four EURO titles (1994,
1998, 2000, 2002) to become
European record champions.
The only big trophy still missing
from their trophy case is Olympic gold medal. Four times – including three straight from 1992
to 2000 – Sweden made it to the
Olympic final and four times
they were defeated.
“I cannot explain why, but we
never made it. A pity,” said legendary Magnus Wislander, who was
awarded World Handball Player
of the Century.
Now he works as a radio commentator at major events and as a
postman in daily life. From Doha
he will again report on his former
teammates Staffan Olsson and
Ola Lindgren, who took over the
Swedish team as coaches in 2008,
after the ship began to sink. The
“Tre Kronor” team had missed
the 2007 World Championship in
Germany and the 2008 Olympic
Games in Beijing.
Olsson and Lindgren again
put enormous energy in improving those talents and they finally
achieved success when they again
made it to the Olympic final in
London. It was their fourth, but
the first one as coaches, but even
the fourth ended like the previous three: this time the loss came
against France.
Somehow Sweden no longer
possessed the stability which had
made them so strong, proved by
several modest results and even
a failure on their way to a World
Championship, when they were
eliminated by Montenegro from
the 2013 World Championship
in Spain. But the current team is
back to old strength. Sweden had
always been able to count on a
brilliant defence and world class
In the latter it is even hard to
decide which to choose, as Mat-
tias Andersson (Champions
League winner with Flensburg)
or the THW Kiel duo Andreas
Palicka and Johan Sjöstrand represent the top of the top. The defence is made of “Swedish oaks”
Magnus Jernemyr and team captain Tobias Karlsson, another
Flensburg Champions League
In attack, the Swedish side
mostly count on their fast counter attack specialists like Niklas Ekberg, the top scorer of the
2012 Olympic Games, and their
back court ace Kim Andersson, three times a Champions
League winner with THW Kiel.
And for some years they have
another jewel on the line player
position: Andreas Nilsson, 2013
Champions League winner and
IHF Super Globe finalist with
HSV Hamburg, who now plays
for Hungarian side Veszprem.
At the European championship
in January he missed only one of
26 shots, scoring the highest efficiency of all EURO players.
And as Sweden is the reigning
World Junior Champion, players like Hampus Wanne and Jim
Gottfridsson (two more Flensburg CL winners) are being in-
tegrated into the squad for Doha.
At the 2015 World Championship Sweden will face France,
Czech Republic, Algeria, Egypt
and Iceland.
Coach Staffan Olsson hopes
to at least reach the knockout stage. “A draw for a World
Championship is always like a
lottery. No matter which teams
you have to face, they are strong
opponents. They will be very
hard matches, but in the end we
will have to see.”
Bosnia-Herzegovina will make history in Doha
By Sports Reporter
t was the 15 June 2014, the
day every sports fan in
remember. On that day the
national football team made
their first ever appearance at a
FIFA World Cup final tournament. And despite a great fight
they lost their opener against
eventual finalist Argentina 2-1.
Four hours earlier, the Bosnian
handball team made their biggest coup in history. A wholly
unexpected 29-29 match at
Iceland made the whole nation
jump for joy as after winning
the first leg of this play-off 3332 the draw granted the Bosnians their first ever appearance
at a major event, as they booked
their ticket for the 2015 World
Championship in Doha.
“The best day of my life,” said
coach Dragan Markovic. “We
had hoped for it, but we could
only be sure when the final whistle was blown. An incredible
emotion.” His team had even
been ahead in this second leg by
an intermediate six-goal margin,
while Iceland thought they could
turn the tide easily as the biggest
Bosnian problem had been their
weakness in away matches.
But things changed in Reykjavik, in contrast to the qualification for the 2013 World Championship two years before. Then
Bosnia-Herzegovina had lost
their first leg play-off match in
Germany 36-24, and the deal
seemed to be sealed. But on
home ground they showed their
true face, winning 33-24 and
having the Germans on the edge
of elimination.
Never before had Markovic’s
team qualified for any European or World Championship,
although in previous years they
World Championship campaigns: Nil
Olympic campaigns: Nil
European championship campaigns: Nil
Qualification for Qatar: winner
of the play-off matches against
Iceland (33:32, 29:29)
Coach: Dragan Markovic
Key players: Nikola Prce, Ivan
had come close. But now they
are part of the Doha event, in
contrast to their much more
neighbours like Serbia or Montenegro, as the fourth team from
former Yugoslavia, along with
Croatia, FYR Macedonia (two of
their opponents in the preliminary round) and Slovenia.
At the draw event in Doha,
Mirza Muzurovic, director of
the Bosnian Handball Federation, was very pleased that his
schedule includes a return to
Qatar in January.
“We don’t know yet which result we can reach in this group,
but what we know is that we
will give all we can to show that
we are a deserved participant of
this World Championship. We
are proud to be at a tournament
like this for the first time, in a
beautiful place with outstanding venues.”
Handball has a long tradition
in today’s territory of BosniaHerzegovina. In Yugoslav times,
Borac Banja Luka was one of the
powerhouses in European club
handball. In the 1970’s they won
the IHF Cup (forerunner of the
EHF Cup) and in 1976 became
the first Yugoslav winner of the
Champions’ Cup (forerunner
of the Champions League) after reaching the finals one year
The list of stars who played
for Borac is long, including
names like soon-to-be World
and Olympic champions Abas
Arslanagic (now working in
Doha), Iztok Puk, Patrick Cavar,
Irfan Smajlagic and the twotime Champions League top
scorer Zlatko Sarazevic.
After the end of Yugoslavia,
Borac hit a low, much like all of
Bosnian handball. Nowadays
the club – and Bosna Sarajevo
– are back on the European
map. But nearly all Bosnian
top stars, including Ivan Karacic (Brest/Belarus), Nikola Prce
(Szeged/Hungary), Mirsad Terzic (Veszprem/Hungary) and
Muhamed Toromanovic (Plock/
Poland) play abroad, as the Bosnian league is still quite weak
compared to the top European
Now they all cruise their
maiden voyage to Doha, where
they will face Austria, Tunisia
and Iran. Markovic has prepared his team well: In the first
two duels of the EURO 2016
qualification they tied at World
Championship participant Belarus and gave two-time World
Championship finalist Denmark
a tough fight for 60 minutes,
losing by just two points 25-23.
“We are ready for Qatar, we
are ready for this great adventure – and we are hopefully
ready to be a strong opponent
for all teams in our group,” is
the mission statement of coach
Dragan Markovic, who had been
a coach and player in Germany
for several years. Before he took
over his current position, the
Bosnians had another famous
coach: Sead Hasanefendic, who
later led Tunisia to the semifinal of the 2005 World Championship on home ground and
now will face his former team,
as he again took over the African

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