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Vol. XXXV No. 9613
January 25, 2015
Rabia II 5, 1436 AH
www. gulf-times.com 2 Riyals
Deputy Emir and PM offer condolences
Metro ‘to
ease traffic
in Doha’
QATAR | Weather
Rise in temperature
likely from Tuesday
Fog is expected to hit life in the early
morning from today, Qatar’s weather
office said yesterday. There will be a
gradual rise in temperature starting
from Tuesday when the maximum
is expected to be 25 degree Celsius.
As the mercury is expected to climb
further, the maximum temperature
in the weekend will be in the range
of 26-29 degree Celsius in Doha. The
minimum temperature is expected
to be between 15-18 degree Celsius.
Starting from last night, the country
is being affected by high pressure
associated with the northwesterly
wind, leading to strong wind and
high seas.
SPORT | Event
Al-Attiyah expects
‘a great’ Qatar 2022
Car-racing champion Nasser
al-Attiyah yesterday pledged his
full support to World Cup 2022.
Speaking to Al Kass TV, al-Attiyah
expressed his confidence that
World Cup 2022 would amaze
the world “in all aspects”. He said
that he expected an “exceptional
opening ceremony” for that
competition. Al-Attiyah said that
Qatar’s infrastructure projects in
preparation for the World Cup had
been admired by the whole world.
He added that Qatar had shown its
excellence in organising sporting
events with the way it is hosting
the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship. He praised the
Qatari handball team for the strong
performance so far.
QATAR | Property
Seminar on real estate
brokerage draft law
The Ministry of Justice today holds
a seminar on the new draft law of
real estate brokerage. The seminar,
organised by the Department of
Real Estate Registration, aims to get
acquainted with proposals of the
stakeholders in the sector and their
opinions to serve the profession
and to end practice by unauthorised
brokers and the consequent abuses
committed by “outsiders”.
EUROPE | Tension
EU warns Russia
over relations
The European Union yesterday
denounced rocket attacks that
killed at least 30 people in Ukraine’s
strategic Maruipol port, warning that
the escalation in fighting will harm
EU-Russia relations. Page 16
Qatar which is now in the process
of building a massive rail network,
including a metro, stands to gain
much from the service, according
to an expert
HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani offered condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef
bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Riyadh yesterday. HE the Prime Minister
and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani also offered his condolences to the family of the
late king. The Deputy Emir and the Prime Minister were received by Majid bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Qatar’s
ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah bin Thamer al-Thani, on their arrival at the Riyadh Airbase earlier. Pages 3, 8
Top banker ‘highly optimistic’
about Qatar despite oil drop
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
atar’s economy is very well
diversified and the country’s
major projects are government’s investments into the future,
says International Islamic CEO Abdulbasit A al-Shaibei.
“For most oil producers, the number
one source of revenue is crude oil. So
the oil price drop will obviously impact
these countries. But the strengthening dollar will provide some sort of
cushion, especially to those countries
whose currencies have been pegged to
the dollar,” al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times.
The drop in oil price, he said, should
boost many economies, especially in
Europe and the US.
“Europe is struggling. Many European countries face issues relating to
growth. But the falling oil price should
provide relief to these countries and
help grow their economies.
“Similarly in the US, consumer
consumption accounts for about 75%
of the country’s GDP. With lower oil
price, there will be a growth in disposable income in the US, which will
drive consumer consumption as well
as economic growth,” al-Shaibei
pointed out.
Call to stop targeting
media professionals
he Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) has
called for the creation of a
safer work environment for media persons after the
Hebdo attack and warned against
using the assault as a pretext to
harass Muslim minorities in the
DCMF affirmed that differences
in the evaluation of media content
should never be used to justify targeting media professionals. Further, it urged media corporations
to commit themselves to professionalism and objectivity in their
DCMF has recently organised
a meeting to discuss the serious
consequences of Charlie Hebdo
incident and the wave of violence
around the world that accompanied it.
The participants at the meeting
stressed unanimously that “what
happened should not be used as a
ruse to incite violence and hatred
against a cross section of Arabs
and Muslims, living in the West, or
deprive them of their valid rights
to freedom, dignity and respect”.
Accordingly, they decided to
form a follow-up committee to
call for the building of local and
international partnerships with all
concerned parties to enhance the
culture of dialogue and reject hatred. “Further, media professionals should adopt the language of
reason to initiate an open and free
dialogue among different people
and faiths.”
Al-Shaibei: International Islamic CEO
Asked whether the lower oil price
would force Qatar to review some of
the major projects, the International
Islamic CEO said: “I don’t think so.
Qatar economy is very resilient. It
can absorb shocks generated by the
lower oil price. Impact, if any, will be
very minimal. Also, our government is
committed to infrastructure upgrade
and other major projects.
“These are not expenses…but are
investments into Qatar’s future.”
Al-Shaibei was “very much optimistic about Qatar in 2015”.
He said: “Our economy is very well
diversified….we have multiple streams
of revenue…from our God-given natural resources and investments.
“In 2008, when the global economy was in turmoil, we were on solid
ground. It was great depression at
that time; we did not even notice it.”
On International Islamic’s proposed expansion plans, the CEO said:
“We are still looking at different markets…eager to expand abroad…and
are studying few proposals at hand.
“We went to the Central Asia, North
Africa and some other countries. That
said, we cannot go everywhere, at one
go. We are studying a few proposals…
and hopefully, will pick up the right one.
“In Qatar too, we are expanding.
This year, we are hoping to open five
new branches in Qatar. Geographically, we have to be everywhere in Qatar.”
Al-Shaibei said he was encouraged
by the response to the “second career
day” hosted by the bank at the Sheraton last week.
“I have seen many young Qataris,
both male and female, attending our
Qatarisation drive…and many came
with a passion to pursue banking as a
career. Many of these young Qataris
are graduates.
“We have an excellent career development programme for Qataris, which
we do in association with the Ministry
of Labour. The society has clearly recognised our Qatarisation initiative.”
He said: “Currently we have a Qatarisation rate of about 40% in the
top management level and an overall
20%. We wish to increase this further.” Page 4
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
metro train can move around
60,000 people per hour in one
direction which is equivalent to
the traffic on 30 lanes in a road network
or the number of passengers carried by
some 30,000 cars, an expert in the field
said yesterday.
Qatar which is now in the process
of building a massive rail network, including a metro, stands to gain much if
the service is used properly by the public, he opined.
Speaking exclusively to Gulf Times,
Jitendra Tyagi, director of works, Delhi
Metro Rail Corporation, (DMRC), India, said metro rail is safer, cheaper,
faster and environment-friendly when
compared to road transport in cities.
Tyagi was in town to speak at a technical seminar organised by ANECX Qatar, an Indian expatriate organisation.
According to him, Doha metro can
help in easing the traffic congestion
experienced in most parts of the city
during peak hours and lead to development of areas far away from the city.
Tyagi said: “A metro has great environment benefits and can bring down
pollution levels in a big way as the
engines work on electricity. A metro
train can carry around 60,000 people
per hour in one direction which in effect will take away thousands of cars
and other passenger transport vehicles
from the roads, thus cutting down environmental pollution and traffic congestion.”
Jitendra Tyagi: Doha visit
Grace wins Qatar Masters
The official said that there were two
reasons for constructing a metro rail.
“One is when the road traffic becomes
unmanageable; the other is when the
project has been included in the development plan of a city which is called
transit oriented development.”
He explained: “If you extend the
metro to distant places from the downtown, people will be interested in constructing houses or developing their
own businesses in those areas so as to
avoid the traffic congestion in the city.
This will enable development of places
away from a city. People will start establishing new businesses, offices,
residential compounds, entertainment
centres and other facilities in these areas and that is how the metro system
serves as the engine of development.”
However, he pointed out that metro
stations would have to provide connectivity to nearby places that people
wanted to reach. “Reliable and comfortable public transportation from
the metro stations has to be part of
the metro project as people cannot be
asked to walk to their final destinations.”
Tyagi pointed out that convenience,
safety and affordability were the major advantages of a metro rail system.
“People can get connected to different
places in the city at a cheaper cost. It
is faster than road transport in cities
which witness heavy traffic. Moreover,
it is very safe compared to road transport.”
He admitted that even in cities where
the metro was available, many people
still preferred to travel in their own vehicles. “But in New Delhi, young people
have shown great fascination for metro
transport. They find it faster than road
transport and less tiring than driving
through the busy roads.”
The Indian rail official said that about
2.5mn people travelled by Delhi Metro
every day. “The number of cars on the
city roads has come down in a big way.
If the metro had not been in place, the
whole city of Delhi would have come to
a standstill now. Because of the metro,
traffic congestion in the nation’s capital
city has been reduced to a great extent.
Now, Delhi is comparatively in a better
position - transport wise - than Mumbai or other major cities in the country.”
The metro train service was introduced to Delhi in 2002.
Thousands in
South Africa’s Branden Grace posing with the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters trophy at the Doha Golf Club yesterday.
Grace prevailed by one shot over Scotland’s Marc Warren after shooting a 19-under par 269 to become the fourth South
African winner of the tournament following Darren Fichardt (2003), Ernie Els (2005) and Retief Goosen (2007). To his left is
Qatar Golf Association president Hassan al-Nuami, while Alfardan Group chairman Hussein al-Fardan applauds on his right.
PICTURE: Jayaram Sport pages 11, 12
housands of Yemenis took to
the streets yesterday in the biggest demonstrations yet against
the Shia Houthi group, two days after
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s
resignation left the country in political
Houthi gunmen shot and wounded
four people at a protest in the Red Sea
port of Hodeida, residents said. In
Sanaa, two intelligence agents were
shot dead by gunmen on a motorbike,
two security sources told Reuters.
Witnesses said a crowd estimated
at up to 10,000 people marched from
Sanaa University towards Hadi’s home
some 3km away and back, repeating
chants denouncing both the Houthi
group and Al Qaeda. Page 8
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Students taking part in the anti-smoking campaign.
QCS launches ‘no smoking’
drive in schools, universities
atar Cancer Society ( QCS)
launched an anti-smoking
Wednesday for school and university
students which highlighted the harmful effects of smoking.
QCS began its campaign with a lecture by Dr Mahasen Okasha for 30
students of College of North Atlantic
in Qatar which focused on the adverse
effects of smoking. The QCS health
education department also organised a
lecture about smoking and its harmful
effects in the Philippine International
School in the presence of 700 students,
teachers and school administrators.
Dr Maha Othman of QCS spoke at
the event about cancer in general, lung
cancer and its causes in particular,
pointing out that smoking cigarettes or
other types of tobacco products such
as cigars, pipes and shisha increased
the chances of developing lung cancer.
She also said that smoking could affect all members of the community, especially children, as they always seek to
imitate their parents,which increased
the chance of their smoking in the fu-
ture. This also increases their vulnerability to cancer as children mingle with
smokers often and may start smoking
at the early stages of life, making them
always susceptible to the disease.
The sessions also stressed the need
to educate the whole community about
the serious consequences of smoking
and its effects on the individual health
and the people around the smokers.
It underlined the fact that the smokers affected not only their health but
also the health of all the people around
them through passive smoking.
Emir congratulates new Saudi king
Deputy Emir, PM offer condolences
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani sent yesterday
a cable of congratulations to King of Saudi Arabia Salman
bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,
after Saudis pledged their allegiance to the new king. The
Emir also sent cables of congratulations to Prince Muqrin
bin Abdul Aziz on becoming the new Crown Prince and
Deputy Prime Minister and Prince Mohamed bin Nayef bin
Abdul Aziz al-Saud on being appointed Deputy Crown Prince,
Second Deputy Prime and Minister of Interior. HH the Deputy
Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani and HE the Prime
Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser
bin Khalifa al-Thani sent similar cables of congratulations.
HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani
and HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani offered in
Riyadh yesterday condolences to King of Saudi Arabia
Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques; Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz
and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef bin
Abdul Aziz al-Saud on the death of King Abdullah
bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. HH the Deputy Emir who was
accompanied by HE the Prime Minister and Minister
of Interior and a number of their excellencies Cabinet
members later left Riyadh.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Career day
International Islamic deputy CEO Jamal al-Jamal, Human Resources and General Services chief Ali al-Mesaifri and chief
operating officer Ehab Eshehawi and senior executives screen young Qataris during the three-day ‘Career Day’ at the
Sheraton. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Ooredoo Pehla subscribers to
get cricket World Cup for free
oredoo announced yesterday that Mozaic TV will offer
free access to the OSN Sports
Cricket channel for all Pehla Variety
customers until April 1 allowing cricket
fans to enjoy the upcoming 2015 ICC
Cricket World Cup.
With the offer, subscribers to the Mozaic Pehla Variety package will receive
the higher tier package - OSN Pehla
Spice Plus, free of charge and includes
the OSN Sports Cricket, together with
Ten Cricket, OSN Sports 4, ITV Choice
HD, Nat Geo Wild HD, Nat Geo HD, Nat
Geo People HD, and Star Movies.
The offer was extended to new and
existing subscribers of Mozaic TV, together with a subscription to the Pehla
Variety Package priced at QR70 per
month, saving customers more than
QR40 compared to OSN Pehla Spice
With Next Generation Mozaic,
cricket games can be viewed at the
user’s preferred time, with features
including series recording, live pause,
and catch-up TV to avoid missing any
of the action and even games played at
The 12th ICC Cricket World Cup will
be hosted by Australia and New Zealand and kicks off on February 14 with
49 matches played across 14 venues all
available in HD via Mozaic.
to the OSN Pehla Spice Variety package by pressing the blue button on their
remote when watching OSN Sports
Cricket channel 634. To subscribe to
Mozaic TV, dial 111 or visit any Ooredoo
Details of Ooredoo’s Mozaic TV
services is available online at www.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Qatar’s minister
holds talks in Davos
E the Minister of Economy and Commerce
Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani has
met several world leaders and
heads of major international
companies on the sidelines of
the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.
They included Turkish Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and
Swiss Minister of Economy Johann Schneider-Ammann.
The Qatari minister and Turkish prime minister discussed
bilateral relations and means of
developing them, particularly in
the economic, commerce, and
investment fields.
The Turkish premier praised
his country’s ties with Qatar,
pointing to the significant increase in investment and trade
between them.
HE the minister of economy
expressed Qatar’s keenness on
cementing economic partnerships between the two countries.
In his meeting with the Swiss
minister, HE the minister of
economy and commerce discusses means to boost economic
and investment relations between the two countries.
Trade between Qatar and
Switzerland was QR3.4bn in
2013, 5.1% of which is Qatari investments in Switzerland, while
the Swiss investments in Qatar
are represented in 15 companies
wholly owned by Swiss businessmen in addition to 45 companies jointly owned by the two
The two ministers discussed
steps necessary for implementing the free trade area agreement
between GCC states and members of the European Free Trade
Association (EFTA).
The Minister of Economy
and Commerce discussed with
Chairman and Director of MasterCard Richard Haythornthwaite the company’s regional,
global and local activities.
Sheikh Ahmed reviewed
with Chief Executive of Maersk Group Nils S Andersen economic issues and the company’s
projects in Qatar.
Anderson expressed the company’s intention to develop its
business in Qatar in the light of
country’s great economic development in various sectors.
He also met Benoit Potier,
Chief Executive Officer of Air
Liquide, to discuss the regional
and global economic situation
and developments in Qatar’s
economy and the business climate.
HE the minister also attended
an interactive session on ruling and managing trade, which
dealt with developments in the
World Trade Organisation, and
the need to support the organisation’s programmes in light
of developments that occurred
after the last ministerial conference in Bali, in addition to the
future of the Doha negotiations.
Qatar-US ties reviewed
HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah yesterday met in Doha
the Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd J Austin III, and his accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on matters of common concern, especially the
developments in the region, and ways to strengthen relations between Qatar and the US. The meeting
was attended by HE the Chief of Staff of the Qatari Armed Forces Maj Gen. Ghanim bin Shaheen alGhanim, US Ambassador Dana Shell Smith as well as a number of senior officers of the armed forces.
HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani meets
ministers and officials attending the World Economic Forum
annual meeting in Davos.
HMC shortlisted for awards
he Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has been
shortlisted in three categories of the Arab Health Awards
shortlisted in Excellence in Patient Centred Care, Young Surgeon of the Year and Excellence
in Radiology. HMC officials said
it was a reflection of its commitment to providing the safest,
most effective and most compassionate care to patients.
The Arab Health Awards recognise outstanding achievements by individuals and organisations that have contributed
to the growth and development
of the healthcare industry in the
Middle East.
HMC’s Enaya Specialised Care
Centre in Medical City has been
shortlisted in the first award
opinion poll on
water quality
he Qatar General
Electricity & Water
Corporation (Kahramaa), in co-operation
with the Ministry of Development Planning and
Statistics, is launching
an opinion poll on drinking water quality in the
The poll is one of the
of “Mayna
Zain” initiative that Kahramaa undertakes under
the patronage of its president Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari, to highlight the high
quality of drinking water
supplied by the corporation.
The opinion poll on
water quality, the first
step in the initiative, is an
important tool to measure
customers’ trust in Kahramaa water, a statement
issued by the corporation
Customer “centricity”
is one of Kahramaa’s corporate values which place
the customer at the heart
of decision-making in the
Customers can take
part in the poll by visiting Kahramaa website
www.km.com.qa and the
Ministry of Development
Planning and Statistics
qa. Participants can enter their e-mail or phone
number to answer a questionnaire that contains 12
Mayna Zain initiative
is an endeavour to increase customers’ trust
in Kahramaa drinking
water. Kahramaa said it
exerts relentless efforts to
maintain the high quality
of drinking water it provides to customers.
and controls water at all
stages - from production,
to transmission, pumping
stations and distribution
networks until it reaches
customer premises. It
employs state-of-the-art
technologies for quality
Kahramaa said it welcomed the participation
of all customers as every
single feedback counts.
The poll will take less
than 5 minutes to complete. Kahramaa hopes to
receive substantial boost
with the participants’
support through their fair
and honest feedback.
category - Excellence in Patient Centred Care. This builds
on Enaya’s recent success in the
2014 Hospital Build Awards for
the Best Hospital Design in the
Middle East and the Best Healing Environment.
Formerly known as the Skilled
Nursing Facility, it was officially
renamed Enaya to highlight the
scope of services offered since its
recent refurbishment. Enaya offers patients multi-disciplinary
care within the state-of-the-art
facilities and amenities, providing a calmer environment for
more therapeutic healing.
Another HMC project shortlisted by the Arab Health Awards
selection committee is MRIguided brachytherapy, which
was entered into the Excellence
in Radiology Award category.
This project has led to signifi-
cantly improved probability of
cure compared to conventional
brachytherapy practice by enabling individualised application
technique and treatment planning for cervical cancer - one of
the most common female malignancies and the world’s second
cause of female cancer mortality.
Another award category in
which HMC has been shortlisted is the Young Surgeon of the
Year in which Dr Tariq Abbas, a
paediatric surgical specialist at
HMC is one of the contenders.
Dr Abbas has published in a
large number of medical journals and has participated in
many ongoing research projects
focused on child health. He has
also worked in the war-torn
Darfur region of Sudan on an
internationally-funded health
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Citizens slam fines
for parking violations
This illegally-built first floor of a villa, made using gypsum, in Madinat Khalifa, accomodates many tenants like many others in the area.
PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Unscrupulous agents thrive
on ‘partitioned’ residences
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
hough reports of exploitation of tenants of residences by unscrupulous
real estate agents and others is
not new for the country’s residents, it has reached a new high.
Capitalising on the helplessness of the expatriates with
limited or low incomes, such
agents continue to ruthlessly
dictate terms to customers.
Residential properties across
Doha continue to be in great
demand despite massive residential compounds coming up
in areas such as Wukair, Wakra
and the Barwa properties in
different locations.
This is happening at a
time when the municipal
authorities have issued
strict guidelines and
instructions in the
country’s newspapers
against partitioning of villas
A lot of residential properties, a majority of them
old buildings, were vacated
by their previous tenants in
such areas as Farig Bin Omran
and Madinat Khalifa as they
moved to the accommodations provided by their employers.
Capitalising on these developments, various groups
of agents latched on to the
buildings in the above locations and effected all kinds
of partitioning that one could
think of, in violation of all
municipal guidelines on partitioning of villas.
Potential tenants, mainly
bachelors and low income
families are asked to pay as
much as QR2,500 for each
room, built from cheap materials like gypsum and plywood, which provide absolutely no safety and security
to the occupants, in the event
of an untoward incident. This
is happening at a time when
the municipal authorities
have issued strict guidelines
and instructions in the country’s newspapers against partitioning of villas.
Similar reports of unauthorised extensions on top of
buildings are also coming in
from different areas. An aerial
survey will reveal the enormity of such additions in many
While it was hoped at the
start of this year that there
would be a fall in domestic
rents across the country, the
reports coming from such areas as Bin Omran and Madinat
Khalifa are proving contrary
to expectations.
he absence of adequate
parking facilities around
many government offices and the “ruthless” imposition of fines on those leaving
their vehicles in no-parking
zones and other locations have
come in for sharp criticism.
The criticism was expressed
by a number of nationals during a weekly talk on civic issues, broadcast on Qatar Radio earlier this week.
People interviewed by the
radio on the issue made a
strong plea to the authorities to be a little more lenient towards those compelled
to leave their vehicles in such
places for very brief durations, say up to 15 minutes or
so. They said such practices
are resorted to by people only
when there is no other option
Some of those interviewed
were apparently very vocal
in their criticism of the traffic fines being imposed on
those forced to leave their
vehicles at the Hamad Hospital premises. Unable to find a
place to park , several people
leave their vehicles in such a
way that they block the path
of other vehicles. This is seen
mostly between 8am and 2pm.
Similar criticisms were also
levelled against the fines being imposed on vehicles left
behind by owners for short
durations in West Bay’s Tower Zone, which experiences
acute shortage of parking
space. However, it has also
been found that the upper levels of some of the multilevel
parking facilities in the same
area are lying under-utilised .
While seeking an effective
solution to the issue, participants suggested the traffic authorities to explore the
possibility of introducing the
system of issuing returnable
tokens, against a nominal fee
for those leaving vehicles in
no-parking zones for short
They pointed out that if
the owners did not return on
time to take their vehicles
back, fines could be levied at
a specified rate for every 30
This could be effectively
worked out, if proper monitoring is carried out in busy
parking areas by security personnel, felt the citizens.
Reacting to the radio discussion on parking woes, a
resident said if those leaving
vehicles in no-parking zones
and blocking paths of others also leave behind their
mobile numbers, the woes of
affected customers would be
drastically reduced. He said
this practice is widely seen in
some of the European Union
City residents also advocated imposing a fee for parking in all open grounds near
government offices which are
currently used for the purpose. This, they felt, would
prevent many vehicle owners
from misusing these facilities.
Participants in the CEO Forum.
Msheireb Properties hosts forum for top contractors
Msheireb Properties hosted a CEO Forum attended
by the leading contractors and consultants engaged in Msheireb’s Downtown Doha project.
The objective of the forum was to encourage the
leaders of all the firms to exchange views about the
project, to share best practice, and to identify areas
where closer collaboration could deliver greater
benefits and results. The forum, believed to be the
first-of-its-kind in the real estate industry, produced
a lively and constructive discussion across a broad
range of issues. Delegates who attended were
unanimous in their welcoming of such an opportunity to discuss the project with their partners.
Abdulla Hassan al-Mehshadi, CEO of Msheireb
Properties, commented: “It was an extremely useful
session and helped us to identify a number of
important areas where a closer degree of collaboration would produce real benefits. Regular dialogue
between all the partners in a massive project can
only be helpful in our view.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
rally against
Shia militia in
Yemen capital
Protesters wave signs calling
for “a real government”
and burn portraits of militia
leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi
housands of Yemenis took
to the streets of Sanaa
yesterday in the biggest
protest yet against a Shia militia
takeover of the capital that has
plunged the country into turmoil.
The demonstration came as regions in the formerly independent
south stepped up their defiance
after the Shia militiamen, who hail
from Yemen’s northern highlands
and are known as Houthis, tightened their grip on Sanaa.
“Down, down with the
Houthis’ rule,” chanted protesters
who rallied following a call by the
Rejection Movement—a group recently formed in provincial areas
to challenge the militia.
Women and children joined
angry young men on the streets,
waving signs that called for “a real
government” and burning portraits of the militia leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi.
Demonstrators gathered at
Change Square before heading to
the Republican Palace, the residence of Prime Minister Khaled
Bahah who fled it on Wednesday
after a being surrounded by the
militia for two days.
But the protesters changed
their route and marched toward
the home of embattled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
to express their “rejection of his
resignation”, according to organisers.
Hadi, a key US ally in the fight
against Al Qaeda, tendered his
resignation along with Bahah
on Thursday, saying he could no
longer stay in office as the country
was in “total deadlock”.
Those who took to Sanaa’s
streets yesterday also demanded that Hadi “impose
the authority of the state” in
face of the powerful Houthis,
said the protest organisers.
Houthi gunmen backed by armoured vehicles were deployed
along Sittin Street, where the
president lives, but they only
watched on as the protesters
The protest ended with the return of demonstrators to Change
Large demonstrations also took
place in the cities of Taez, Ibb and
Hudaida, organisers said.
Houthi gunmen, however, later
rounded up dozens of youths who
took part in protests in Sanaa and
Ibb, according to families and witnesses.
Meanwhile, armed tribesmen
arrived in Sanaa to force the release of Defence Minister Mahmud al-Subaihi and other top officials whose residences have been
surrounded, tribal sources said.
Parliament is set to hold an
extraordinary meeting today to
discuss Hadi’s resignation offer,
which needs to be approved by
lawmakers to take effect.
After heavy fighting between
Germany ‘will
work to resolve’
flogging case
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier has vowed that
Germany will do all in its power
to resolve the fate of the
blogger sentenced to 1,000
lashes in Saudi Arabia.
Raef Badawi has been
sentenced to be lashed for
insulting Islam and is serving a
10-year jail term.
He received the first 50 lashes
of his sentence outside a
mosque in Jeddah on January 9.
“You can be sure that we will
continue to do everything we
can to promote a solution,” to
the Badawi case, Steinmeier
said in comments to appear
today in the Bild am Sonntag
weekly newspaper.
He added that “the question
of human rights plays a very
important role in discussions
between Berlin and Riyadh,
even outside of this matter.”
Supporters of the Houthi movement clash with protesters during the rally in Sanaa yesterday.
government forces and the
Houthis this week that killed at
least 35 people, the UN Security
Council and Gulf states had voiced
support for Hadi’s continued rule.
The European Union warned
the events put the “remarkable
promises of the Yemeni transition in jeopardy”, referring to the
political process that followed
a year of bloody protests that
drove former autocratic president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of
France condemned the “forced
resignations” of Hadi and Bahah,
demanding an “immediate” pullout of militiamen from the capital,
according to a foreign ministry
The situation escalated on
January 17 when the militiamen
seized Hadi’s chief of staff, Ahmed
Awad bin Mubarak, in an apparent
bid to extract changes to a draft
constitution they oppose because
it would divide Yemen into six
federal regions.
The Houthis still hold Mubarak
and maintain a tight grip on the
capital despite a deal struck late on
Wednesday to end what authorities called a coup attempt.
The Houthis and their allies
“must now take clear public responsibility for their actions”, said
EU foreign affairs chief Federica
Mogherini, urging them to release
Mubarak and reject violence.
In return for concessions over
the disputed draft constitution,
the Houthis had pledged to vacate
the presidential palace, free Mubarak, withdraw from areas surrounding the residences of Hadi
and Bahah, and abandon checkpoints across the capital.
The fall of Hadi’s Westernbacked government would raise
fears of complete chaos engulfing
Yemen, strategically located next
to Saudi Arabia and on the key
shipping route from the Suez Canal to the Gulf.
Oxfam warned on Friday that
16mn people—more than half the
population—were in need of aid in
“A humanitarian crisis of extreme proportions is at risk of un-
folding in the country if instability
continues,” the aid group said.
In the south, separatists yesterday seized police checkpoints
in Ataq, the provincial capital of
Shabwa, as other regions declared
they would defy Sanaa following
the resignation of Hadi, who is a
Gunmen in Ataq raised the
flags of the formerly independent
South Yemen on the seized checkpoints.
Yemen has been riven by instability since the Arab Spring-inspired uprising that forced Saleh
from power in 2012.
Saleh has been accused of
backing the Houthis, as has Shiadominated Iran.
World leaders arrive in Saudi
orld leaders converged
on Saudi Arabia yesterday to offer condolences
following the death of King Abdullah, with US President Barack
Obama cutting short a trip to India
to pay respects.
Obama will travel to Riyadh on
Tuesday to meet new King Salman, the White House said.
One after another, foreign aircraft landed at a Riyadh military
base where leaders from Africa,
Europe and Asia descended a redcarpeted ramp to be welcomed by
Saudi officials and served a traditional cup of Arabic coffee.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif made a rare
visit to the kingdom to offer condolences,
Others guests included French
President Francois Hollande,
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf
Ghani, Indonesian Vice President
Jusuf Kalla, Spain’s King Felipe VI
and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron came from
Britain, while Russia sent Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
They gathered at the Al
Yamamah Palace, the royal court,
to line up and greet King Salman
and his heir Crown Prince Muqrin,
television pictures showed.
Outside, a helicopter patrolled
overhead and four lanes of cars—
everything from luxury Bentleys
to everyday models—inched to-
French President Francois Hollande and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are welcomed by the Governor of
Riyadh Province, Turki bin Abdullah al-Saud, during a ceremony after arriving in Riyadh yesterday.
wards the palace grounds carrying Saudi well-wishers past
guards with pistols strapped to
their thighs.
Away from the palace and
nearby roadblocks, shops were
open and life continued with almost no indication that a new era
had begun, except for billboards
expressing condolences for Abdullah’s death.
The government declared today
a holiday so citizens throughout
the country could offer condolences and pledge symbolic allegiance to their new monarch.
Abdullah died on Friday at the
age of about 90 after being hospitalised with pneumonia.
World leaders have praised him
as a key mediator between Muslims and the West.
“Saudi Arabia is a partner, both
economic and political,” Hollande
Iranian MPs drafting law to
step up nuclear enrichment
ran’s parliament has started to draft a
law that would allow the country’s nuclear scientists to intensify their uranium enrichment, a step that could complicate ongoing talks with world powers.
The move, announced yesterday by parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy
Committee, comes after US lawmakers said
they were planning legislation that could
place new sanctions on Iran.
The negotiations between Iran and the
permanent members of the UN Security
Council—Britain, China, France, Russia and
the United States—plus Germany, face a June
30 deadline for a final deal.
But with two deadlines already missed last
year both sides have admitted big differences
remain on the hard detail of what a comprehensive agreement would look like.
Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, committee
spokesman in Tehran, told the Isna news
agency that draft legislation was under way.
“This bill will allow the government to
continue enrichment, using new generation
centrifuges,” he said, referring to more modern machines that would speed up production.
“The parliament’s nuclear committee is
working on the technical issues and details of
this draft,” he added.
A key stumbling block in any final deal is
thought to be the amount of uranium Iran
would be allowed to enrich and the number
and type of centrifuges Tehran can retain.
Under an interim deal, Iran’s stock of fissile
material has been diluted from 20% enriched
uranium to 5% in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
said before his arrival in Riyadh
with Defence Minister Jean-Yves
Le Drian.
Other presidents and prime
ministers were present on Friday
for Abdullah’s traditionally simple
funeral and burial.
Obama paid tribute to Abdullah
as a “valued” ally while the State
Department indicated co-operation between Washington and
Riyadh would continue.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Woman killed
at rally on eve
of Egypt revolt
The interior ministry says it
is investigating the death,
and suggests Islamist
“infiltrators” were to blame
was killed in clashes with
Egyptian police during a
rare left-wing protest in central
Cairo yesterday, the eve of the
anniversary of the 2011 uprising
against Hosni Mubarak, an official
A health ministry spokesman
said the woman died of birdshot
wounds. Fellow protesters said
she was hit with birdshot fired by
police to disperse the march.
The clash took place hours before state television aired a prerecorded speech by President
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to mark the
fourth anniversary of the popular
“I salute all our martyrs, from
the beginning of January 25 (2011)
until now,” said Sisi.
The speech appears to have
been taped in the presidential palace before Sisi left for Saudi Arabia
to offer his condolences over the
death of King Abdullah.
Islamists have called for protests today in a bid to revive what
they say was the “revolution” that
overthrew Mubarak and briefly
brought to power Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, toppled
by the then army chief Sisi in July
Mursi’s supporters often hold
small rallies that police quickly
An 18-year-old female protester had been killed on Friday in
clashes in the Mediterranean city
of Alexandria.
Police have warned they would
confront protests “decisively”.
Authorities have cracked down
on the Islamists since the military
overthrew Mursi after a year in
power, and hundreds have been
killed in clashes.
Scores of policemen and soldiers have also been killed in militant attacks.
The crackdown has also extended to left-wing and secular
dissidents who initially supported
Mursi’s overthrow but have since
turned against the new authorities, accusing them of being authoritarian.
Yesterday’s central Cairo protest was organised by the Socialist
Popular Alliance party.
“The party decided to hold a
symbolic protest to commemorate the anniversary of the January
25 revolution,” said member Adel
Police “fired teargas, birdshot
and arrested the party’s secretary general and five other young
members”, he said.
Shaima al-Sabbagh, a member
of the party, was hit in the head
with birdshot, and was taken to a
hospital where she was declared
The interior ministry said it was
investigating the death, and suggested Islamist “infiltrators” were
to blame.
The 18-day anti-Mubarak revolt had been fuelled by police
abuses and the corruption of the
strongman’s three decade rule,
but the police have since regained
popularity amid widespread
yearning for stability.
Activists, including those who
spearheaded the anti-Mubarak
revolt, have accused Sisi of reviving aspects of the former autocrat’s rule.
Sisi and his supporters deny
such allegations, and point to his
widespread popularity and support for a firm hand in dealing
with protests, which are seen as
damaging to an economic recovery.
Visitors look at photos taken by Syrian refugee children at the exhibition in Beirut on Friday.
Syria refugee children’s
photos depict joy, pain
he photos on display at a
Beirut theatre show Syrian refugees chopping
wood, getting married, and
playing in a Lebanese field. They
are the work not of professionals, but Syrian refugee children.
The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long project
that gave cameras to 500 Syrian
refugee children in Lebanon, allowing them to document lives
turned upside down by their
country’s nearly four-year conflict.
In many cases the children
turned their cameras on each
Tut mask damage ‘reversible’: expert
he damage caused by a botched
repair of the mask of Tutankhamun that left dried glue on the
priceless relic may be undone with careful treatment, a German conservator
said yesterday.
The golden funerary mask, one of the
main tourist attractions at the Egyptian
Museum in Cairo, bears the sticky aftermath of what appears to have been
overzealous use of glue to fix its beard in
The beard had fallen off accidentally
when the mask was removed from its
case last year to repair the lighting in the
case where it is displayed, officials said.
“There is no actual endangering of
the mask... the measures that have been
taken are reversible,” Christian Eckmann, who specialises in conserving
archaeological glass and metal objects,
told reporters at a press conference at
the museum.
Eckmann said that when the lighting in the display case was being repaired in August 2014, “the mask was
touched and the beard fell... due to the
glue which was used during the first
restoration of the mask in 1941”.
He said he was unaware what kind of
epoxy was used in the repair, but epoxy
“is not the best solution” to fix artefacts
even if it is often used.
However, the glue was applied improperly and its remains were visible on
the braided beard piece, he said.
“It can be reversed. It has to be done
very carefully, but it is reversible,” said
Eckmann, who has now been appointed
by the antiquities ministry to oversee the
mask’s repair.
Describing the botched repair work,
Eckmann said “there was an attempt to
glue (the beard) with another resin”.
Israel ‘illegally
razes’ homes of
77 Palestinians
The United Nations has
accused Israel of illegally
demolishing the homes
of 77 Palestinians, mostly
children, this week in
annexed East Jerusalem
and the occupied West
“In the past three days, 77
Palestinians, over half of
them children, have been
made homeless,” the UN
Office for the Co-ordination
of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) said in a statement
issued on Friday evening.
“Some of the demolished
structures were provided
by the international
community to support
vulnerable families.
“Demolitions that result
in forced evictions and
displacement run counter
to Israel’s obligations under
international law and create
unnecessary suffering and
tension. They must stop
immediately,” said OCHA.
The demolitions took place
in East Jerusalem and
the districts of Ramallah,
Jericho and Hebron, it
OCHA said that during 2014
Israel carried out a record
number of demolitions in
East Jerusalem and a zone
of the West Bank under full
Israeli control known as
Area C.
“In 2014, according to
OCHA figures, the Israeli
authorities destroyed
590 Palestinian-owned
structures in Area C and
East Jerusalem, displacing
1,177 people.”
other, showing images of warming hands over a fire, peeking
through a hole in a tattered tent
and standing barefoot in a muddy field.
The project is a collaboration
between Lebanese foundation
Zakira and the UN children’s
agency Unicef, and builds on a
similar project done with Palestinian refugee children in Lebanon.
There are more than 1.1mn
Syrian refugees in Lebanon,
many living in dire conditions in
makeshift camps. About half of
them are children.
“Syrian children living in the
camps have suffered war and
displacement. They need any
kind of help that they can get,”
said veteran Lebanese photographer Ramzi Haidar.
“With a camera, the children
can be happy,” Haidar, who directed the project and taught the
children how to use the disposable cameras, said.
At the Thursday night opening of the exhibition, entitled
Lahza (Moment) 2, 14-year-old
photographer and refugee Abdel
Salam beamed proudly.
His photo shows a group of
refugee children huddled together to pose for the camera,
smiling despite the harsh conditions in Lebanon’s claustrophobic and underequipped camps.
“When I grow up, I want to be
a photojournalist,” Abdel Salam
“It’s hard to have fun in the
camp. When we lived in Syria,
we lived in houses. Here, we
live in tents. This project gave
me the chance to take pictures
of children smiling and having
Held at Beirut’s prestigious Al
Madina Theatre, the opening of
the exhibition brought together
refugee children and their parents, Lebanese and Syrian civil
society activists, UN officials
and photography fans.
The project, implemented in
80 informal camps in Lebanon,
was also documented in a film
that included interviews with
child photographers and footage
of their living conditions.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Eritrea releases six
journalists, says RSF
Davos hails Rwanda
on gender equality
wanda was held up yesterday as a beacon for gender
equality as the business
and political elite at the Davos
forum underlined the importance of achieving parity in ending poverty.
The central African country, which two decades ago was
struggling to recover from genocide that claimed 800,000 lives,
became the first country in 2008
to have a parliament dominated
by women.
Today, female lawmakers make
up 64% of parliament, outperforming the world average of one
in five.
“In 20 years, so much can
happen in a country because of
leadership,” said UN Women
head Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“The culture in Rwanda is not
different from other parts of Africa. But people take the cue from
the leader.”
“If you send the right message,
people do change,” said MlamboNgcuka, former deputy president
of South Africa.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said that his government
made a conscious decision to
push for the participation of
women in the country’s recon-
Gates, Kagame, and Solberg at a panel session on the last day of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World
Economic Forum (WEF), in Davos yesterday.
struction following genocide.
“During the process of liberation and cleaning up the mess after the genocide, the first thing
to come to our minds is how to
bring everyone in the country to
participate in the kind of change
we want in the country.
“There you have to bring in
women as well ... we thought
that in our policies and politics
we need to involve everybody,”
he said.
A quota of 30% was put in
place for parliament that eventually led to women dominating.
Highlighting how having females in official positions has
helped, Kagame cited the justice
system where women are present
in all levels of law enforcement.
“If a case (of violence against a
girl or a woman) happens, it is reported in real time, and the combination of police and attorney
deals with the case and prosecute
in a very short time,” he said.
Philanthrophist Melinda Gates
drew the link between the role
played by women in slashing
child mortality in Rwanda.
“President Paul Kagame’s
country has the steepest decline in childhood deaths in the
world,” she told the Davos forum.
Rwanda’s child-mortality rate
more than halved in the five years
between 2005 and 2010.
Gates added that there is also
a strong economic argument in
pushing for females to have the
same rights as men.
“If you invest in a girl or woman, you’re investing in everyone
else. Because she’s the centre of
the family, she’s the nurse ... for
every dollar she gets, she ploughs
99% back into the family,” said
Gates. “So we know it’s fundamentally important to make sure
her health is there. Make sure she
has the decision-making voice
in the family and that she gets an
“If she’s educated, she’s twice
as likely to educate her daughter,”
said Gates.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna
Solberg however questioned the
necessity of bringing out an economic argument in the quest for
gender parity.
“We always make an argument
about why we should invest in
women. I think it’s very easy –
it’s just fair. It’s a human right.
“It’s more provocative that
we’re not doing it than we’re doing it.”
Lungu leading in Zambia presidential election
ambia’s ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu maintained a slim lead yesterday
after most votes had been counted in this week’s presidential
poll, but his closest rival said the
election had been “stolen”.
The ballot was triggered by the
death last October of the incumbent president, Michael Sata.
With the results counted from
146 out of 150 constituencies,
Patriotic Front candidate Lungu
led rival Hakainde Hichilema
47.96% to 47.17%, according to
figures released by the Electoral
Commission of Zambia.
The final tally is due later in the
day and the remaining four constituencies are considered traditional strongholds for the ruling
Lungu: ruling party candidate.
Patriotic Front Party.
Hichilema, one of Zambia’s
wealthiest businessmen, accused
the commission of manipulating
the results in favour of Lungu –
the defence and justice minister
in the southern African state.
“The stolen election does not
reflect the will of the people of
Zambia,” he said. “If Edgar Lungu
is sworn in, he should know that
he is an illegitimate president.”
Turnout for the election was
around 32% as heavy rains disrupted voting across much of the
landlocked country. Observers
said the ballot was conducted in
a fair manner.
With another election scheduled for late next year when
Sata’s term had been due to end,
the winner will have little time to
turn around a stuttering economy in one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets.
Zambia has averaged 6-7%
growth as the mining sector
boomed but that slowed to 5.5%
last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, and could
ease further with the price of
copper reaching a six-year low
this month.
Lungu, a former lawyer with
ix Eritrean journalists
have been released from
jail after six years, Reporters Without Borders (RSF,
Reporters Sans Frontieres) said
on Thursday, calling it “exceptional” news in a country
ranked worst in the world for
press freedom.
The journalists, who worked
for government radio stations,
were rounded up during a
“wave of arrests” in 2009.
Around 50 people were arrested in one station alone
which broadcast educational
programmes, Radio Bana.
“The release of these six
journalists ... is an exceptional
development in the terrible
conditions prevailing in Eritrea,” RSF said in a statement.
The six freed were named
by RSF as Bereket Misghina,
Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu,
Basilios Zemo, Meles Negusse
Kiflu, Girmay Abraham, and
Petros Teferi.
At least seven other journalists arrested in 2009 were released last year.
There were no details given
as to why, or exactly when,
they were released, and there
was no immediate response
from Eritrea’s information
Tens of thousands have fled
the autocratic Horn of Africa
country, escaping open-ended
conscription and the iron-grip
rule of President Issaias Afeworki.
Rights groups say people are
struggling under Asmara’s repressive government.
RSF has placed Eritrea last
on its press freedom index
for seven years running. The
France-based watchdog says
at least 16 other journalists remain in prison.
Many are held in secret locations, although reports indicate several may have died
after being held for years in
horrendous conditions.
Swedish-Eritrean journalist and author Dawit Isaak is
perhaps the most famous case
He was arrested in September 2001 along with nine other
journalists and 11 opposition politicians in a draconian
purge by Issaias.
Boko Haram kills 15 in Nigeria village
Boko Haram fighters have killed 15 villagers near Maiduguri, the city
which is the epicentre of the Islamist group’s six-year insurgency
and where President Goodluck Jonathan is to launch his re-election
campaign yesterday.
The killings near the embattled city took place on Friday, on the eve
of the president’s visit, security sources and residents said.
“The terrorists attacked Kambari village which is less than 5km to
Maiduguri around 5am. They killed 15 people and set the entire
hamlet ablaze,” said a security source who requested anonymity.
“After fruitless efforts to enter Maiduguri through Konduga without
success, the terrorists took a different route and attacked Kambari.”
Maiduguri and its environs in the volatile northeast have been
repeatedly attacked by the extremists who began their deadly
insurgency to impose Shariah in the mainly-Muslim north in 2009.
Tanzanian energy minister resigns
Tanzania’s energy minister has quit, becoming the third top
government figure pushed out of office over a multi-million-dollar
energy corruption scandal, although he insisted he was “not a
Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo denied any
wrongdoing but said he resigned to “bring to an end this debate on
the scandal” and, with general elections due in October, to “let our
nation focus on other important issues”.
The scandal broke after an audit uncovered the fraudulent
payment of around $120mn in state funds to a private company.
Soweto calm after week of looting
Hichilema: The stolen election does not reflect the will of the people
of Zambia.
a laid-back, populist style, has
used his campaign to tap into the
grassroots support of his predecessor Sata, promising voters
cheaper food and fuel.
Hichilema has said that if he
wins, he will draw on his experience in the private sector to
attract foreign investment and
diversify an economy, where
copper accounts for 70% of export earnings.
Calm returned to Soweto streets yesterday after a week on looting
and violence against foreign shopkeepers in South Africa’s iconic
township, police said.
Residents of the populous township southwest of Johannesburg
had gone on a rampage after a foreign businessman shot dead a
local teenager who had allegedly tried to rob him on Monday.
The killing saw mobs storming foreign-owned shops forcing
owners to vacate the area, in violence described as xenophobic.
Nearly 200 have been arrested on charges of public violence and
Western envoys push Kabila on poll law stand-off
estern diplomats met
of the Congo President
Joseph Kabila yesterday in a bid
to persuade him to drop plans for
amending the country’s electoral
law, officials said, after the measure
drew violent protests earlier this
Under Kabila’s proposed law, a
national census would have to be
completed before the next presidential elections, expected in 2016.
The government argues that a
census is long overdue and would
allow better management of the
But the opposition says the new
bill is a ploy to keep Kabila, 43, in
power beyond the end of his mandate in 2016, as a census would take
years to complete in an impoverished country the size of Western
Kabila’s proposed bill has angered
people across the country.
Kabila: accused of trying to extend
his rule.
He has been in power since 2001,
when he took from his father after
the latter was killed.
Kabila’s last re-election in 2011
was marred by widespread rigging,
according to observers, and there
is simmering discontent over prevailing poverty despite the Congo’s
Congo speaker admits police ‘lapse’ in deadly protests
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s parliament speaker has admitted –
briefly – security services “lapses” during protests against President Joseph
Kabila that left around 40 people dead.
“Never again will we allow police to fire live bullets on demonstrators, students
or others in DR Congo,” Aubin Minaku, the speaker of the country’s National Assembly, said in a tweet.
“There was a lapse, no supposed authority can give an order to fire on its people,”
he said, a sentence that was deleted from his Twitter account a short while later.
According to rights groups, at least 40 people have died in protests over the past
week against a proposed bill that could extend Kabila’s hold on power in the vast
African nation. The government has put the death toll at 12.
In a statement yesterday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that security forces
used excessive force during the protests and then tried to remove evidence.
A police officer inspects damage outside a police station that was attacked
during violent protests in Kinshasa.
riches in minerals, including copper,
diamond and gold.
Some 42 people were killed in
protests since Monday in the capital Kinshasa and other major cities,
rights groups say.
Protest leaders have called for
new demonstrations unless the entire law is withdrawn.
The envoys, representing the
United States, Britain, France, Belgium, the European Union and the
UN peacekeeping mission in the
Congo, met with Kabila at his Kinshasa residence, said a Western diplomat, who asked not to be named.
“The ambassadors met the president ... to warn him of the risk of
things getting out of control over
the modification of the electoral law
that has provoked so much tension,”
the diplomat said.
The same envoys have met the
presidents of the Senate and Na-
tional Assembly to urge them to
drop the census provision.
Last weekend, the assembly approved the bill with the census requirement, while the Senate voted
on Friday to exclude it from the proposed legislation.
A joint commission from both
houses has been meeting since Friday to reconcile their differences on
the bill, according to a deputy familiar with the proceedings.
The envoys were due to meet opposition leaders later, the diplomat
In a statement released yesterday, the US campaign group Human
Rights Watch (HRW) said that the
DRC government had deployed “unlawful and excessive force” against
The government spokesman was
not immediately available to respond.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Measles outbreak spreads to more US states, Mexico
Los Angeles
measles outbreak centred around Disneyland
in California has spread to
six more US states and Mexico,
and an international visitor to
the theme park likely sparked
the health alert, officials said on
Fifty-one confirmed cases of
measles have been reported to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since late
December, the US government
agency said in a statement, most
in California but others as far
afield as Nebraska and Washington states.
The CDC said those who
had fallen ill were aged from 10
months to 57 years and only a
tiny fraction were vaccinated
against measles, in the face of an
anti-vaccination trend that has
emerged in recent years, particularly in North America.
Opponents fear the MMR
(measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine causes autism, even though
an array of studies have ruled out
any link.
Measles has been officially
eradicated from the US since
Potential 2016
gather in Iowa
Des Moines
or Republicans, the long
road to the 2016 presidential election began in
earnest yesterday in Iowa when
a group of potential candidates
competed for support among
conservatives in the state that
will hold the country’s first
nominating contest.
As many as eight possible
candidates are to take part in
the Iowa Freedom Summit, a
marathon day of back-to-back
speeches organised by Iowa’s
conservative Republican Steve
King, a member of the US House
of Representatives.
“Do you believe that the next
president of the US is going to be
speaking from this stage today?”
King asked in an introductory
speech. “As do I,” he agreed
when the audience clapped.
Early speakers were Republicans who do not harbor 2016
ambitions. They criticised Democratic President Barack Obama,
accusing him of bungling the
fight against Islamic State and
violating the Constitution by
unilaterally easing US immigration policy.
“The president is not above
the Constitution,” said Iowa
Senator Chuck Grassley.
The key names to watch are a
pair of governors, Chris Christie
of New Jersey and Scott Walker
of Wisconsin, who were speaking in the afternoon.
Christie is viewed skeptically
by many conservatives, and how
he crafts his message here could
be critical. Many Republicans
see Walker as a person to watch
in spite of the early attention
on the potential candidacies of
Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee,
and former Florida Governor Jeb
There are a variety of other
people who will be at the event
and who could emerge as major 2016 players, such as former
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who
ran for the nomination and lost
in 2012, and former Arkansas
Governor Mike Huckabee, who
won Iowa in 2008 but lost the
Texas Senator Ted Cruz will
also speak along with former
Democrats set
early presidential
convention date
S Democrats will convene the week of July 25,
2016 for their national
convention to nominate the
person they hope will succeed
Barack Obama as president, a
party leader said on Friday.
The decision moves the convention about six weeks earlier
than the 2012 gathering which
took place in early September.
“This is the next step to finalise where and when we will
nominate the 45th president
of the US, highlight the Democratic Party’s agenda of fighting
for expanded opportunity and
contrast it with the Republican Party’s commitment to the
fortunate few,” said representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
head of the Democratic National
Democrats have yet to choose
a host city. They are deciding between New York, Philadelphia,
and Columbus, Ohio.
The convention date is the
earliest in the presidential cycle
for Democrats since 1992.
The move aligns with the Republicans’ decision announced
last week to hold their convention a full month earlier than
they did in 2012.
Republicans will hold their
2016 national convention beginning July 18, one week ahead of
the Democrats.
The Republican convention
was criticised last year over a divisive drawn-out primary process. Democrats did not have that
problem as they were focused on
the re-election of a sitting president.
E-cigarettes in checked
luggage ‘pose fire risk’
-cigarettes in checked
luggage could cause
a fire in airliners, the
US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned on
both inside and outside the
transportation industry, ecigarettes have overheated
or caught fire when the
heating element was accidentally activated,” the FAA
said in a safety alert issued
to airlines.
The FAA said it was recommending to airlines that
e-cigarettes be carried in the
aircraft cabin instead of in
checked luggage that goes
into the cargo hold where they
could cause a serious fire in
E-cigarettes use batterypowered cartridges to produce
a nicotine-laced vapour.
Hewlett-Packard Co Chief
Executive Officer Carly Fiorina, physician Ben Carson and
former Pennsylvania Senator
Rick Santorum.
Steering clear of the event
were Bush, Romney, Florida
Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Iowa holds the first nominating contest of 2016 when
Republicans and Democrats
gather early next year for caucuses. Republicans here have
not picked the eventual nominee since they went for George
W Bush in 2004. But the caucuses do serve a valuable role in
winnowing the field.
“This will serve as sort of the
unofficial kickoff to the Iowa
caucus season for 2016,” said
Tim Albrecht, an Iowa Republican strategist. “It’s a great first
look at how potential candidates
stack up against each other.”
Today, Cruz will join Rubio
and Paul in Palm Springs, California, where about 450 people
are attending a winter “seminar”
organised by a network of groups
founded by brothers Charles and
David Koch.
2000 while remaining widespread in other regions including
Europe, Africa and Asia.
“In addition to the US cases,
one case was reported from
Mexico in an unvaccinated child
who visited Disneyland Resort
Theme Parks on December 17
and December 20, 2014,” the
CDC said.
While health officials have yet
to isolate the source of the out-
break, “it is likely that a traveler
(or more than one traveller) who
was infected with measles overseas visited one or both of the
Disney parks in December during their infectious period,” the
CDC added.
Most - 42 - of the 51 cases are
in California, but three more have
been found in Utah, two in Washington, and one each in Oregon,
Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona.
Measles is highly contagious
and can be spread through the air
without physical contact. Infection usually begins with a fever
followed by a cough, runny nose,
conjunctivitis and a rash.
Complications can include
blindness, hearing loss, pneumonia and death. One to two
children of every 1,000 infected
with measles will die from it, the
CDC said.
Eradication means the disease
is no longer native to the US, but
there were 644 measles cases in
the US last year, an enormous
jump from 173 cases in 2013.
An analysis by the Los Angeles Times last year found that
9.5% of kindergarten children
in an Orange County school
district were exempted from
vaccinations because of personal beliefs.
Snowstorm in Cambridge
A snow shoveler crosses a street during a winter snowstorm in Cambridge, Massachusetts yesterday. Up to 8in of snow is expected
to fall over parts of the Northeast this weekend, and a wintry mix could make for a messy tomorrow morning commute in New York,
Boston and other cities, the National Weather Service said.
Colorado teen gets four years for
plotting to aid Islamist militants
19-year-old Colorado
woman and Muslim
convert who admitted
that she planned to travel overseas to join Islamic State militants was sentenced on Friday
to four years in federal prison as
she renounced the violence of
Shannon Maureen Conley
has been held without bond
Supreme Court
to hear case on
executions drug
he US Supreme Court agreed on Friday
to consider whether a drug used in executions violates a constitutional ban
on cruel and unusual punishment.
The high court will hear an appeal by three
inmates in the central state of Oklahoma who
are challenging their sentences, arguing that
one of the three drugs used in executions does
not operate as intended.
The drug in question, midazolam, is intended to render inmates unconscious before
they are put to death using other drugs.
But their lawyers argue that midazolam
leaves the inmate capable of feeling pain, violating the rights of those being executed. Executions have been conducted with a different
combination of drugs than those used in the
past after drug companies refused to supply
other drugs for the procedure.
Oklahoma executed inmate Charles Warner
earlier this month using the combination of
drugs, and three other inmates are appealing
their sentences. The Supreme Court declined
to intervene in Warner’s case.
Questions about the drug combination rose to national prominence after the
lengthy execution in April of Clayton Lockett in the state.
Car found in canal tied to
1978 missing persons case
A badly decayed car found in a south Florida
canal may be the key to unlocking the fate of
two teenagers who mysteriously disappeared
nearly four decades ago, according to the
Broward County Sheriff ’s Office.
The car was discovered by a utility worker on
Wednesday and hauled out of the water by
the Sunrise Police Department. When they
ran its identification number they found it
was registered to Harry Wade Atchison III, a
19-year-old who vanished with his 15-year-old
girlfriend, Dana Null, on Oct. 7, 1978.
No bodies were found inside the car, Broward
Sheriff ’s Office spokeswoman Veda ColemanWright said on Friday.
since federal agents arrested
her in April at Denver International Airport as she prepared
to board a plane bound for Germany.
pleaded guilty in Denver federal court to one count of conspiracy to provide material
support to Islamic State, designated by the US government
as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Islamic State, also known as
ISIS, is a militant group that has
seized large swaths of Iraq and
Syria and has beheaded several Western captives. In recent
online videos, the group has
threatened to kill two Japanese
nationals unless paid a $200mn
Conley read a prepared statement in court before she was
sentenced, pausing at one point
to compose herself as she became emotional.
In her statement, she expressed gratitude to the FBI for
“potentially saving my life” by
intervening to arrest her and
said she rejected the violent
ideology espoused by Islamic
“I believe in true Islam,
where peace is encouraged,” she
said, her voice cracking.
Conley, from suburban Denver, struck up an online relationship last year with a Tunisian man, identified as Yousr
Mouelhi, who said he was a
member of the insurgent group,
according to an FBI arrest warrant affidavit.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
team fails
to float jet
ndonesian salvage teams
failed to raise the fuselage of
AirAsia Flight 8501 from the
sea bed yesterday, but recovered four more bodies from the
wreckage of the crashed jet.
The bid to raise the fuselage
came a day after divers were able
to enter the main section of the
plane, which crashed in the Java
Sea last month, for the first time.
Difficult weather conditions
for the past week had stopped
rescuers reaching the main part
of the Airbus A320-200 since
it was spotted on the seabed
by a military vessel earlier this
“We were not successful today. The sling snapped off so the
main body fell back to the sea
floor,” S B Supriyadi, a rescue
agency official, said, adding several bodies fell from the fuselage
when the piece of wreckage sunk
once again.
The operation to lift the main
body will resume today.
The rescue agency official also
said a sonar scan had detected
an object “suspected to be the
cockpit” of the plane about 500
metres away from the fuselage.
But the search teams will prioritise floating the main body
before verifying the object sus-
pected to be the cockpit, Supriyadi added.
Just after dawn yesterday,
divers began descending to the
sea floor to tie floatation bags to
the fuselage, said Rasyid Kacong,
the navy official overseeing the
lifting operation from onboard
the Banda Aceh warship.
Four bodies believed to have
come from inside the fuselage
were retrieved as the team tried
to lift the main section, bringing
the total number of bodies recovered to 69, officials said.
The previous day, a jumble of
wires and seats floating inside
the fuselage prevented the divers
from entering further to find
more bodies.
“The divers said it was dark
inside, the seats were floating
about and the wires were like
a tangled yarn,” Supriyadi said.
The rescuers hope that once
the fuselage is lifted, it will be
easier to inspect the inside of
the main section, he added.
The jet’s black boxes — the
cockpit voice recorder and
flight data recorder — were recovered last week, and investigators are analysing them.
Flight QZ8501 went down on
December 28 in stormy weather, during what was supposed
to be a short trip from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to
Singapore. There were 162 people on board.
Deputy Chief of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Bambang Widjojanto (centre) prepares to address supporters upon his arrival at the headquarters of the anti-corruption
body in Jakarta yesterday, after his release from police detention.
Indonesia police free anti-graft official
ndonesian police released a
top anti-corruption official
yesterday, the day after detaining him over an old perjury
case that many believe was fabricated.
The arrest of Bambang Widjojanto, deputy chairman of
the Corruption Eradiction
Commission (KPK), triggered
a public outcry and prompted
concerned citizens to mobilise
online to demand his release.
Hundreds gathered all night
outside the commission headquarters in central Jakarta to
show support for the agency.
The arrest came a week after
the announcement that it would
investigate the new nominee for
police chief Budi Gunawan over
57bn rupiah ($4.5mn) that he
apparently received from a private company in 2005-06.
“We have to strengthen solidarity and unity considering
that there are forces that are
trying to sabotage KPK,” Bambang told supporters after his
release in the early hours of yes-
terday. Bambang was accused
of pressuring witnesses when
he was a defence lawyer in an
election dispute case in 2010.
His arrest sparked speculation
of an inter-gency feud.
Police said Bambang remained a suspect and would
be questioned again tomorrow. They denied any vendetta
against the anti-corruption
agency, saying they had new
evidence to charge him.
President Joko Widodo nominated Budi for the top police
job last month, but suspended
the nomination for the enquiry.
The appointment raised
questions about Joko’s determination to fight corruption, a
key campaign promise.
Bambang’s legal trouble is the
latest in what many see as a attempt to sabotage the KPK by
forces threatened by its vigorous anti-corruption drive.
Last week, photos apparently
showing KPK chairman Abrahan Samad kissing the winner
of the 2014 Miss Indonesia pageant circulated online, in what
was widely seen as a smear
Joko on Friday called on the
More than 400 child soldiers ‘freed
from Myanmar army in 2014’
yanmar’s military freed more
than 400 child soldiers last
year, the UN has confirmed, a
record number since the “tatmadaw”
army signed a 2012 pact with the UN on
the issue.
There are no verifiable figures on how
many children are currently serving in
Myanmar’s huge military, which has
faced a slew of accusations over rights
abuses, including the forced recruitment
of children to work as porters or even
human mine detectors.
Since the pact was signed, a total of
595 children have been been freed, with
70% of the releases — 418 — taking place
in the last twelve months, including 42
on Friday, the UN said.
“Within a one year period of time, this
is a record number of children coming
out of the Armed Forces, reflecting the
accelerated efforts of the Government
of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw to put an
end to the harmful practice of recruiting
and using children,” Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN resident co-ordinator in Myanmar, said in a statement.
All those released by the military so far
were under the age of 18 when the pact
with the UN was signed in June 2012.
While human rights groups have welcomed the gradual release of child soldiers, many have decried the fact that
Myanmar’s military has yet to completely halt their use.
In October, US President Barack
Obama decided to keep Myanmar on a
list of nations subject to US sanctions
over its use of child soldiers.
The law prevents US military assistance to or the sale of licences for commercial military sales to cited nations.
The UN says at least seven rebel
groups in Myanmar are also known to
recruit child soldiers.
The country’s quasi-civilian government is struggling to ink a nationwide
ceasefire deal as part of its reform drive
since replacing outright military rule
in 2011.
police and KPK to follow due
procedure and avoid “friction,”
but many criticised his comments as “waffle.”
The powerful anti-graft
commission has prosecuted
former ministers, governors,
legislators and central bank
chiefs, with a conviction rate of
nearly 100% since it was established in 2003.
Indonesia ranked 107th out
of 175 countries in the 2014
corruption perception index
released by Transparency International, with number one the
least corrupt.
Officers suspended
for forcing singer
to sing in custody
Malaysian police suspended two
officers who allegedly forced a
popular local singer to sing while
handcuffed in custody, a senior
police official said yesterday.
The officers asked Zamani
Ibrahim, vocalist of a leading
Malaysian band in the 1990s, to
sing one of his famous songs.
A video recording of the incident
was uploaded on social media,
triggering a public outcry of
police mistreatment and abuse.
“The inspector-general of police
has given the department the
green light to remove the officers
who were involved in the matter
from active duty, pending an
investigation,” senior deputy
commander Zubaidah Ismail was
quoted by the Star newspaper as
saying. “We are not just questioning them but their supervisors as
well, as to how a lapse in police
procedure could occur,” she said.
Zamani, 43, was arrested with a
32-year-old female companion
Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur
for alleged possession of illegal
Wealth of the sea
A Myanmar woman chooses fish displayed at a wholesale market during early morning in Yangon.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Japan slams IS ‘execution’
apan yesterday condemned a
recording purporting to announce the execution of a
Japanese citizen held by Islamic
State militants and demanded
the immediate release of another
captive depicted as appearing on
the image.
“This is an outrageous and
unacceptable act of violence,”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told
reporters as he arrived at his office after midnight. “We strongly
demand the immediate release”
of the remaining captive, Kenji
He later said the government
would spare no effort to secure
the release of the remaining captive.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga condemned what he
said was “a video showing what
appears to be a murdered Japanese, Mr Haruna Yukawa, as well
as Mr Kenji Goto.”
Relevant government ministers would meet to discuss the
situation as the government
gathers information, Suga told
reporters, declining to take questions.
Reuters could not independently verify the audio message,
‘More Australian women joining Islamic State’
Increasing numbers of young
women are altering the profile
of Australians joining the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and
Syria, Australian Attorney-General
George Brandis said yesterday,
enticed by the “false glamour” of
the organisation.
“At an earlier time, perhaps
even six months ago, we were
concerned almost entirely about
young men,” Brandis said, according to the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation (ABC).
“But a more recent estimate
by the national security agencies
suggests that a growing number
of young women are travelling to
participate in that fighting as well.”
Brandis said about 90
Australians were now believed
to be caught up in the conflict,
compared to 70 last year, the ABC
reported. Ever more young people
were being “enticed and ensnared
here in Australia with the false
which if confirmed would be the
first time the group, which has
beheaded several foreign hostages, has issued an audio message
rather than a video showing the
actual event.
A deadline by Islamic State
militants for Japan to pay a
glamour of participating in the civil
war on behalf of ISIL, or Daesh,” he
added, using alternative acronyms
for the group. “The Australian
people should be aware that this is
a real and growing problem.”
Canberra has passed a law
criminalising travel to terror
hotspots without good reason,
fearful that nationals will pose a
risk when they return radicalised.
Under new laws, anyone who
heads to nominated areas will
face up to 10 years in jail.
In December, Senator Brandis
accused Islamic militants of using
foreign fighters as “cannon fodder” and “propaganda tools” as he
revealed 20 Australian nationals
had been killed in Syria and Iraq,
where IS militants control huge
swathes of territory.
The problem was not exclusive
to Australia in the region, he said,
but one also faced by Indonesia,
Thailand and Malaysia.
$200mn ransom for Yukawa and
Goto expired on Friday.
The recording yesterday purported to show Goto saying Yukawa had been executed and that
the militants would release him
in exchange for the release of Al
Qaeda linked attempted female
suicide bomber Sajida Rishwai,
an Iraqi held in Jordan.
In the video, Goto allegedly
pleads for his life, saying his captors no longer wanted money for
his release.
“These could be my last words.
Don’t let these be my last words
you ever hear,” Goto allegedly
says in English.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama, who was heading Japan’s efforts to rescue its
two nationals out of Jordan’s
capital Amman, told reporters: “It
is a very difficult path to see their
release, despite a variety of routes.
“We are focusing on scrutinising information over again. We
will never give up. We will bring
them home.”
The Japanese media has rallied around Goto, a respected and
experienced war reporter whose
work has appeared on domestic
television channels.
In video footage he filmed
around the time he entered Syria,
he holds identification papers and
his Japanese passport and explains that he is aware of the risks.
“Whatever happens, I am the
one who is responsible,” he says.
“I am asking you, Japanese people, do not place responsibility
on the people of Syria. Please.
I am sure I will come back alive
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters
in Tokyo.
Hong Kong protest leaders arrested
Hong Kong
he original founders of Hong
Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy
movement were arrested and released yesterday as the city’s police chief
defended the investigation into mass
protests, saying it was not “a show”.
A number of protest leaders have
been arrested and released without
charge, with some calling the investigation harassment.
Occupy founder Benny Tai said that
he, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming
had been formally arrested on accusations of organising and participating in
an illegal assembly, but were not charged.
They were released after three
hours. “Three of us were showed some
videos and articles... we were released
unconditionally,” he said.
More than two months of street
rallies calling for fully free leadership
elections ended in December when
protest camps were cleared, but police
have vowed to investigate the “principal instigators”.
While other protest leaders have
questioned police motives, Tai said he
“trusted” the rule of law.
“I still trust the police and the pros-
Dumping on
Reef banned
ecution... will strictly follow the requirements of Hong Kong laws in any
Dozens of supporters outside the
station, including lawmakers, held
up banners and yellow umbrellas the symbol of the democracy movement. “I absolutely believe that Hong
Kongers will not give up,” Tai said in a
speech to the crowd before he went in
to the station.
Both Chow and Wong questioned
the process, saying police should
charge them if they had the evidence.
The Occupy movement was the first
to galvanise support for civil disobedience over political reforms, but as the
protests went on the group faded into
the background as students took over.
Tai has said it would now take a different approach to promoting democracy, including through education.
ustralia has ordered a ban on
dumping dredge waste on most
of the Great Barrier Reef, the environment minister said yesterday, as
part of a push to stop the UN declaring
the site in danger.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt
said he had ordered the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Authority to develop
regulations to stop waste from capital dredging being dumped in the park
“once and for all”.
“We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the marine park,” he
said, referring to waste created by enlarging shipping channels, berths and
Conservationists say dumping waste
in reef waters damages it by smothering
corals and seagrasses and exposing them
to poisons and high levels of nutrients.
The UN Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (Unesco) has
threatened to put the reef, which is a
World Heritage area, on its danger list.
The body has given Australia until
February 1 to act and Hunt said he would
travel to Europe next week to consult on
long-term plans for the natural wonder.
Hunt said the government had put
together “a strong defence of the management of the Great Barrier Reef...
concluding that it should not be listed
as in danger”.
The reef also faces threats from climate change, nutrients washing into
the sea and the destructive crown-ofthorns starfish, and the government was
working on each of them, he added in a
But he said water quality was improving, coral-eating starfish were being
culled and stricter management regimes
have been put in place for shipping and
developments, including ports.
“Australians are proud of the reef
and it remains one of the great natural
wonders of the world,” he said. “We are
determined to protect and manage the
Great Barrier Reef not just for the coming decades, but for coming centuries.”
The ban will now be subject to public consultation, with final approval expected by mid-March.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Syria linked terror
arrests rise six-fold
The threat of a lone wolf attack by a
person returning from the conflict
remains high
Evening Standard
yria related terror arrests have increased six-fold since last year, new
figures have revealed.
Police made a total of 165 arrests across
the country for offences such as terrorist
financing, commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and attending a terrhttp://
size.pngorist training camp, Scotland Yard
said. This compares to 25 Syria-related arrests in 2013.
The number of arrests for terrorist offences totalled 327 in 2014, a 32% increase
compared with the previous year.
Senior national co-ordinator for counter terrorism policing Helen Ball said:
“Last year’s arrest figures demonstrate
a considerable increase in volume, range
and pace of counter-terrorism activity in
the UK.
“We have been running exceptionally high numbers of investigations, the
likes of which we have not seen for many
“Several attack plots have been disrupted, of various sophistication, from
individuals planning to carry out lone attacks to more complex conspiracies, the
majority seemingly directed by or inspired
by terrorism overseas.
“The partnership between police and
MI5 is very effective, and we are experi-
Moshiur Rahman, Yousaf Bashir, Mohamed Alamgir and Munim Abdul
encing very strong support from the communities.
“We will continue with this vital work
to protect and work with the UK public to
combat terrorism in all its forms.”
The terror threat level in the UK was
raised from substantial to severe last August against a backdrop of increasing concerns over hundreds of aspiring British
jihadis travelling to Syria and Iraq to learn
terrorist “tradecraft”.
Fears of a terrorist attack on Britain’s
streets have heightened in the wake of
the rise of Islamic State (IS), the extremist group that has taken over large swathes
of Iraq and Syria and attracted thousands
of foreign jihadists to its cause, including
more than 500 Britons.
A new counter-terrorism and security
Bill, containing a range of draconian pow-
ers including new orders that can block
suspected British fighters from returning
to the UK, is passing through Parliament.
Last May, father of two Mashudur
Choudhury became the first person in the
UK to be convicted of terrorist offences in
connection with the Syria conflict.
The 31-year-old went to the Middle
Eastern country with the intention of joining a terrorist training camp last October.
A group of men have been served with a
three-year Asbo for threatening violence
during rallies in central London.
A judge at the Old Bailey restricted what
they were allowed to do when attending
a Dawah - a public event where Islam is
They were banned from being in groups
of more than five people and those which
are carrying a flag pole or burning items
other than for smoking or to keep warm.
The Asbo comes after the men were all
convicted of public order offences following disorder which broke out in London
at a march in Edgware Road and a Dawah
event in Oxford Street, in May 2013.
One of the group, Jordan Horner, 31, was
already subject to an Asbo for taking part
in vigilante patrols in east London calling
for a Sharia State in the UK.
Judge Paul Worsley QC heard a day-long
argument from lawyers for the men who
suggested the Asbo would breach their
right to religious expression.
But he ruled: “I am entirely satisfied
that an order to limit the conduct of these
defendants is appropriate in each case.”
He added: “They have demonstrated
by their conduct in May 2013 that they are
prepared to behave in a way which is wholly
unacceptable and which involved violence
or the threat of violence to members of the
public who were going about their day to
day activities in busy London streets such as
Edgware Road and Oxford Street.”
The Asbo was handed down to Mirza
Ali, 40, Kamran Khan, 30, Mohan Uddin,
37, Munim Abdul, 33, Jalal Ahmed, 26, Abu
Aziz, 32, Yousaf Bashir, 34, Moshiur Rahman, 33, Qadeer Ahmed, 30, Naseer Khan,
30, Mohammed Alamgir, 35 and Horner.
London’s policing supremo is demanding an extra £20mn of police counterterror funding to keep the public safe after
a rift with the government over “pennypinching” in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Deputy mayor Stephen Greenhalgh
said that the money currently earmarked
for counter-terrorism policing was “not
enough” to cope with the increasing threat
posed by returnees from the Syria conflict.
Anti-nuke protest
Nurse who
got ebola
makes full
British nurse who contracted ebola while
working as a volunteer
in Sierra Leone said she was
“happy to be alive” as she was
discharged from hospital yesterday having made a full recovery.
Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey was diagnosed in Glasgow on December 29 before
being transferred to Britain’s
only isolation ward for ebola
patients at London’s Royal Free
While there, her condition
became critical but she later
showed signs of improvement
and was taken off the danger
list on January 12.
“Ms Cafferkey has made a
complete recovery and is now
free of the virus,” said a statement from the London hospital yesterday.
In her first public comments
since contracting the disease,
the nurse revealed she still “did
not feel 100%”, but that she
was “just happy to be alive”.
“I feel quite weak, but I’m
looking forward to going
home,” she added.
Cafferkey thanked the hospital staff who “saved my life”
Pauline Cafferkey
and credited her recovery on
music and Irn Bru, a fizzy drink
popular in Scotland.
The hospital’s infectious
diseases team leader Michael
Jacobs said: “We are delighted
that Pauline has recovered and
is now well enough to go home.
“I am very proud of the staff
who have been caring for her. It
is because of the skill and hard
work of the entire team that
she is now able to go home.”
She had contracted the disease while working as a volunteer at a British-built Ebola treatment centre in Sierra
The ebola outbreak in West
Africa has killed nearly 9,000
people, according to WHO figures.
However, it appears the disease is now on the retreat with
the United Nations saying yesterday that Liberia was dealing
with just five remaining cases.
Churchill’s 50th death
anniversary marked
Anti-nuclear protesters gather in central London calling for the government to abolish the Trident nuclear missile programme.
ritain yesterday marked
the 50th anniversary of
the death of Winston
Churchill, the iconic cigarchomping prime minister who
led his nation in defying Nazi
Germany during World War II.
Churchill, who died aged 90
on January 24, 1965, was Britain’s prime minister through
the war years of 1940 to 1945,
and again in peacetime from
1951 to 1955.
Prime minister David Cameron led tributes, describing
Churchill as Britain’s “greatest
ever prime minister” in a video
tribute in which he called on
people to share their favourite
Churchill quotations on social
“Churchill was our greatest ever prime minister and we
owe him everything. In May
1940 that crucial decision to
fight on against Hitler saved
our country and arguably
saved the world.”
“I think this year we should
also all remember the many
great things that he said.”
Churchill’s “we shall never
Churchill’s statue in front of
surrender” speech.
“My favourite quotation
from Churchill is the one he
made shortly after that momentous decision in May 1940:
‘We shall defend our island,
whatever the cost may be.
“We shall fight them on the
beaches, we shall fight them on
the landing grounds, we shall
fight them on the streets and in
our fields, we shall fight them
in the hills. We shall never surrender’.”
To mark his passing, personal items from Churchill’s
family, including the last photograph of the wartime leader,
have gone on public display
for the first time at his former
residence Chartwell in Kent,
southeastern England.
On Friday, the 50th anniversary of his state funeral, a
remembrance service will be
held at London’s Houses of
Passer-by tackles machete-wielding robber
Evening Standard
machete wielding robber was
tackled by a passer-by after a
smash-and-grab raid on a luxury City jewellers.
The smartly dressed City worker
leapt on the back of the raider in the
middle of a crowded street in front of
lunchtime shoppers yesterday.
The brave man struggled with the
raider who then pulls the two foot long
machete from his trousers and wields it
menacingly over his head.
The extraordinary drama unfolded
outside the exclusive Carr Watches and
Diamonds store in Liverpool Street at
2.30pm yesterday.
Dramatic footage taken by a passerby on a camera phone also shows a police officer in plain clothes drive his unmarked car at the scooter raiders in an
attempt to block their escape.
The unarmed City of London police
officer - who was on duty and passing
The man leaps on the raider’s back as
he fled the shop in Farringdon.
the scene by chance - also chases after
the man but is forced to retreat after he
too is threatened with the machete.
The suspect, clad in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet, had been
abandoned by his two accomplices who
sped away on two mopeds when police
He was later traced by armed police
to a nearby underground car park where
he was arrested. The other two suspects
remain on the run today.
Eyewitnesses described how the
three raiders struck at the luxury jewellery store shortly after 2.30pm when
many City workers were on the street
returning from lunch breaks.
Three employees at the jewellers,
which sells high-end pieces by Rolex,
Franck Muller and Audemars Piguet for
as much as £50,000, watched terrified
from their desks as the gang fled in “a
matter of seconds”.
The gang used a concrete slab to
shatter the toughened glass door before smashing open glass cases using
sledgehammers to steal watches worth
thousands of pounds.
Staff at Carr jewellers today paid
tribute to the have-a-go hero - who the
Standard is not naming - who tried to
tackle the robbers.
Ish Ahmet, 30, was working when
the gang stormed in and started to grab
luxury goods.
He said: “It was all a shock, it was
over so quickly. The City worker chased
after them, it was pure instinct. He
tried to grab one.
“It was a brave thing to do. He was
tough and is back at work today, he is
OK. They came in the shop and then
it was a bit of a blur obviously it was a
shock for us.”
The shop was re-opening today and
Ahmet added: “We are not sure what
they got away with, some watches we
think maybe Rolexes but we are not sure
at the moment. I have been through this
other times at other jewellery stores in
London where I have worked. You just
have to get back on with it.”
An eyewitness who works nearby
said: “I could not believe what I was
seeing in the middle of Liverpool Street.
I heard a crash and looked and there was
a guy swinging a sledgehammer.
“It was surreal like something out
of a Hollywood movie. The next thing
a smartly dressed man tried to tackle
one of the robbers but was then threatened with a massive machete. We were
all looking on in total shock and horror,
it did not last long but everything was
total chaos.
“The man who tried to stop them
was a real have a go hero. He could have
been killed. He looked tough but when
you are against a machete you have no
chance. At least he slowed them down
Another witness said : “It was crazy,
like Grand Theft Auto. It all happened
so fast.
“Suddenly the gang were smashing
through the window with a huge brick
and then smashing a glass box inside
the shop with a sledgehammer.
“The men grabbed some jewellery
and two of them got on a Vespa each
and sped off but one had been left behind. “
David Williams, 47, who runs a key
cutting shop opposite the crime scene
said: “I heard a big crash but at first
thought it was from the construction
site next door. Robbers have hit another
jewellers on this street but this was
something else.
“It was very brazen to raid a store in
the daytime. I guess they thought they
could get away easily by wending their
way through the narrow City streets. It
has been a shock for us all down here.”
Police arrested the robbery suspect
in an underground car park 300m away
in Gravel Lane.
A City of London Police spokesman
said: “Police called at 2.34pm to reports
of a smash and grab in progress at a
jewellers in Liverpool Street.
“Officers attended to find three men
on two mopeds outside the jewellers.
“An officer at the scene was threatened with a machete when he confronted the group.
“Officers followed the suspects to a
car park in Gravel Lane where one was
arrested. The machete has also been
recovered. Armed officers also attended.
“The group used sledgehammers
to smash windows of the jewellers. A
sledgehammer has been recovered.
There are no reports of any injuries at
this time. Two men remain outstanding.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Rebels hit Ukraine port city
t least 20 people were
killed by shelling in the
east Ukrainian port city
of Mariupol yesterday, regional
police said, as a rebel leader said
separatists were launching an
offensive on the city, the news
agency RIA reported.
The separatists have rejected
more peace talks and fighting
has surged to its most intense in
The United Nations said on
Friday that 262 had been killed in
the previous nine days.
“Today an offensive was
launched on Mariupol. This will
be the best possible monument
to all our dead,” RIA quoted rebel
leader Alexander Zakharchenko
as saying at a memorial ceremony in the rebel-held city of
He said that the separatists
plan to encircle Debaltseve, a
town northeast of Donetsk, in
the next few days, the Russian
news agency Interfax reported
him as saying at the same event.
Mariupol city council and regional police said rebels fired
rockets from long-range GRAD
missile systems killing at least 20
and injuring 83.
Interfax earlier said rebels had
denied the attack.
Government-controlled Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, lies on
a coastal route from the Russian
border to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine
last March.
Ukrainian media showed images of burning cars with a plume
of black smoke rising over the
Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk condemned the incident
as a deliberate attack on peaceful citizens by the rebels, but said
that the real threat lay beyond
separatist territories.
“The world needs to stop the
Russian aggressor threatening
Ukraine, Europe and global security. The problem is in … Moscow
– Kremlin, Vladimir Putin,” he
said at a meeting of senior security and defence officials.
Yatseniuk demanded a crisis meeting of the UN Security
Council to discuss the situation
in the war-torn east.
A car burns on the street yesterday after shelling by separtist rebels at a residential sector of Mariupol.
The renewed fighting eroded
any hope for a peaceful solution
to the conflict, which has deteriorated since a meeting of the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France in Berlin
on Wednesday.
Dozens of civilians have been
killed since the meeting.
Despite international calls for
a ceasefire, Zakharchenko vowed
on Friday that his forces would
push on with a new offensive, as
the UN said the conflict, which
began in east Ukraine more than
nine months ago, was now in its
“most deadly period” since a
peace deal was agreed last September.
At the defence meeting in
Kiev, Ukrainian Defence Minister
Stepan Poltorak said in the past
24 hours there had been a serious
escalation in fighting at frontlines across the conflict zone.
“Starting from Luhansk region and ending in Mariupol,
everywhere illegal armed groups
together with Russian units are
going on the offensive,” he said.
In Mariupol, the attack started
in the early morning, 76-yearold pensioner Leonid Vasilenko,
who lives in the eastern suburbs
of Mariupol, said by telephone.
“The walls were shaking, the
window frames were shaking,
paint started to crumble off the
house. I hid in the basement.
What else can you do? I took the
dog and the cat. In the basement
you could hear the earth tremble,” he said.
President Petro Poroshenko
said last week Russia had 9,000
troops inside Ukraine and called
on Moscow to withdraw them,
blaming it for an armed aggression.
Moscow denies sending forces
and weapons to east Ukraine,
despite what the West says is irrefutable proof.
On Friday Russian President
Vladimir Putin blamed “criminal
orders” by Ukrainian leaders on
Friday for the surge in the conflict.
Dozens of civilians have been
killed in recent days in the region
of Donbass, which has been hit
the hardest by the unrest.
The most recent attack was on
a bus stop in Donetsk on Thursday, in which at least 13 people
UN says death toll may be
higher than known 5,000
he known death toll in the
Ukraine conflict that began last April now exceeds
5,000 and may be far higher, the
United Nations human rights office said on Friday.
Fighting has intensified over
the past 10 days with the leader of pro-Russian separatists
quoted on Friday as saying they
would pursue a military offensive
in Ukraine’s east and not initiate
ceasefire talks with the Kiev government.
“The significant escalation of
hostilities since January 13 has
taken the toll to 5,086 individuals
and we fear the real figure may be
considerably higher,” UN human
rights spokesman Rupert Colville
told a news briefing in Geneva.
The toll, based on official data
on casualties collected by UN
human rights monitors, includes
262 people killed in fighting between Ukrainian government
forces and the rebels in the past
nine days, “the most deadly period” since a ceasefire was declared on September 5, he said.
The truce did not take hold.
The toll did not include yesterday’s attack on Mariupol.
Asked why the uncertainty
over the real death toll, Colville
said: “We don’t necessarily get
all the military casualties.”
He said the toll included civil-
Spain arrests four militant suspects
olice in Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta arrested four men yesterday,
suspected of belonging to a militant Islamist network that may
have been planning an attack in
Spain, the interior ministry said.
Spain has stepped up security
as well as efforts to prevent the
radicalisation of young Muslim
citizens following attacks in Paris this month in which Islamist
gunmen killed 17 people.
“The four men, of Spanish
nationality and Moroccan origin, have a very similar profile to
those who carried out the attacks
in Paris,” the interior ministry
said in a statement.
Video released by the police
showed around a dozen heavilyarmed officers shining searchlights into windows before
storming two houses in the narrow streets of Ceuta before dawn
“They are two pairs of brothers, highly radicalised and highly
trained,” Interior Minister Jorge
Fernandez Diaz told reporters.
The brothers, as part of a network, carried out aggressive
campaigns on Internet forums
using Islamic State (IS) slogans
to recruit people to fight in Syria
and Iraq and carry out attacks in
Western countries, the ministry
Spanish police are deployed yesterday in the El Principe suburb of Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in northern
Africa, hours after they arrested four alleged militants.
said. Their activities are still under investigation.
“They formed part of a jihadist cell fully prepared and willing to launch an attack in Spain,”
the statement said. It did not say
whether the four had made any
concrete plans for an attack.
“They have acquired a high
level of radicalisation and are
even prepared to die in committing a terrorist act,” the statement said.
Spain is among a number of
European countries struggling
to deter young Muslim citizens
from becoming jihadists in Syria
or Iraq, fearing they might return
to plot attacks on home soil.
The Spanish cabinet has said it
will put forward a plan to counter radicalisation among Muslim
citizens at its weekly meeting
next Friday.
Spanish and Moroccan police
arrested seven people in December in a joint operation to prevent
the recruitment of women to go
to Syria and Iraq to support IS insurgents there.
Last September, Spanish police arrested nine people suspected of belonging to a militant
cell linked to Islamic State in Melilla, another Spanish enclave on
the northern coast of Africa.
Police seized a nine-millimetre
automatic pistol and machetes
among other items during yesterday’s raids on two properties.
They were the latest in a string
of arrests in Ceuta and Spain’s
other north African territory,
Melilla, where authorities have
been monitoring suspected extremist cells.
Separately, Spanish authorities are investigating suspects
linked to the attacks in Paris and
other foiled plots in Belgium who
are said to have travelled to Spain.
Spanish police have arrested
about 50 suspected jihadists over
the past year, the ministry said
this month. Many of them are
suspected of planning to join IS.
Fearing a rise of “homegrown”
and “lone wolf” extremists in
Spain, the government has been
cracking down on their recruitment online.
On March 11, 2004, Al Qaeda-inspired bombings killed 191
people in an attack on Madrid
commuter trains.
Muslim leader says attacks against mosques rising
iolence against Muslims
and their places of worship is on the rise in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, chairman
of Germany’s Central Council of
Muslims, said in a report on an
online magazine yesterday.
“Insults against Muslims, often women with a headscarf,
vandalism against mosques and
violence against imams have become a daily occurrence,” Mazyek told Online Focus.
Attacks on mosques in Germany are happening every week,
he added.
Mazyek blamed the anti-Islam
Pegida movement for the rise in
“Pegida has led directly to the
lowering of many people’s inhibitions about discriminating
against and attacking Muslims,”
he said in the article.
Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans
Against the Islamisation of the
West, claims that it is opposed
to Islamist violence and denies it
opposes Muslims who integrate
or that it is xenophobic.
It has organised weekly rallies in the eastern city of Dresden
for months, drawing as many as
25,000 supporters.
Mazyek said his organisation was unable to cope with
the amount of work needed to
prevent young German Muslims
from being radicalised.
“We need more support from
society and politicians. For example, imams need to be better
educated so that they know how
to deal with radicals and recognise the signs of radicalisation
earlier,” he said in the report.
ians and fighters but full figures
are not always available quickly.
At least 10,948 people have
also been wounded since April.
The UN rights office was
concerned about “the continuing presence of foreign fighters
in the east, allegedly including
servicemen from the Russian
Federation, as well as the presence of heavy and sophisticated
weaponry in populated areas under the control of armed groups”,
Colville said.
Russia denies any direct involvement in the conflict.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR said that new Ukrainian
government security regulations
requiring special passes were
hampering efforts to deliver aid
to conflict zones in the east and
making life harder for the displaced fleeing the fighting.
It called for unimpeded access
to eastern Ukraine.
“These restrictions on movements within Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of the
country further complicates an
already difficult situation for
those forcibly displaced and
made worse by the intensified
fighting we have seen in recent
days,” UNHCR spokeswoman
Karin de Gruijl told reporters.
Asked to explain the obstructions, she said: “We have been
stopped at checkpoints, sometimes for security reasons, sometimes for reasons that were not
entirely clear to us.”
Daimler worker in
trouble over support
for Paris killings
worker at German carmaker Daimler faces
dismissal from his position on the works council for
supporting the terrorist attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Facebook
posts, German press reports
said yesterday.
The works council, an official body where workers and
employers meet together to
discuss pay and conditions, the
IG Metall trade union and the
employer confirmed to DPA
that the case would be presented before the industrial
court in the southwestern city
of Karlsruhe.
The man, who works at a
nearby plant in Rastatt, wrote
on Facebook: “Every person
pays for their deeds! Some
sooner, some later ... [email protected]#k
Charlie Hebdo.”
The posting caused an uproar among his fellow staff
members, the union said.
The union said the com-
ments went well beyond any
normal expression of opinion,
showing a mindset that “murder was justified as a legitimate
means to settle political differences”.
On January 7 in Paris, 12
people were killed in the terrorist attack on the magazine,
which often features caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad along with other religious
The magazine returned to
the newsstands the following week with a cartoon of the
Prophet on its front page.
The union and the works
council asked the man to distance himself from the comments, but he refused, council
chair Ullrich Zinnert said.
If the case is upheld, the
man will lose his position on
the works council, but will be
able to continue to work at the
A spokesman for Daimler
said opinions expressed on Facebook were private and that
the man had not broken any
rules relating to his behaviour
and performance at work.
Father of three arrested and charged with
inciting his children to acts of terrorism
A father of three, suspected of bombarding his children with violent
images glorifiying jihad, has been charged with “inciting acts of terrorism”, prosecutors in southeastern France said yesterday.
The man was also indicted for parental violence against minors
under 15 and shirking legal obligations as a parent, the prosecutor’s
office in the town of Valence said.
An investigation was launched in November 2014 after one of the
three children, who are aged between six and 10, complained to
school authorities of being abused while spending the weekend with
their father.
The children, whose parents are divorced, had also complained of
being forced to watch images of “extreme violence that justified terrorism”, according to a source familiar with the case.
The father, who lives in Valence, was arrested on Wednesday after a
complaint was lodged by his ex-wife.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
on greater
urkey’s ex-president Abdullah Gul has broken a
months-long silence to
call for greater democracy, in an
apparent message to his strongman successor Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a report said on Friday.
Gul – who had not spoken
about politics since he handed
over the presidency to Erdogan in August – also suggested
Turkish leaders should adopt
a less confrontational style in
“There are enormous threats
ahead of us, numerous threats
against Turkey. The only way
out is to raise the standards of
democracy,” Gul told a meeting
of former lawmakers in Istanbul,
the Hurriyet daily reported. “We
have come a long way in democracy, most of the restrictions
were lifted. But we need to raise
the standards a bit more.”
“We need to expand opportunities for democracy, human
rights and the rule of law,” he
Gul and Erdogan co-founded
the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) but their alliance has frayed because of differences over such controversial
issues as bans on social media
sites and the government’s handling of mass street demonstrations in 2013.
Gul had kept a low profile since
leaving office, having the door
slammed shut on his chances of
becoming premier in what many
saw as ruthless humiliation by
his enemies in the AKP.
But there has even been speculation that Gul might join a new
political movement or make a
comeback as party leader if the
current team fails.
His comments came amid
doubts over party unity ahead of
key legislative elections in June
in the tight-knit AKP.
Scores of lawmakers from the
AKP, which has a comfortable
majority in parliament, defied
their party line on Tuesday in a
key vote on whether to send to
trial four former ex-ministers
accused in a 2013 graft investigation.
Gul said the politicians should
understand that “having a majority in parliament does not
mean political stability”.
“We shouldn’t use up our energy on endless fights,” he said.
Turkey is set to hold parliamentary elections in June, with
the AKP aiming for a thumping
majority to change the constitution and boost Erdogan’s presidential powers.
Gul said parliament’s role
should also be strengthened if
the constitution is changed.
“Every regime has its rules,”
he said.
Gul performed a largely ceremonial role during his seven-year term as president, in
contrast to Erdogan who has
rushed to emphasise that he is
the country’s number one in all
areas of policy.
‘Turning point’ general
election in Greece today
reece stood yesterday on
the brink of a make-orbreak general election
that could sweep the anti-austerity Syriza party to power and
set the country on a collision
course with its international
Syriza wants to renegotiate Greece’s massive €318bn
($356bn) debt and put an end
to years of wage cuts and public
spending reductions linked to an
international bailout.
The possibility of Alexis
Tsipras’ left-wing party winning
today’s vote has sparked fears
that Greece could fail to keep up
its debt repayments and leave
the euro.
Syriza have a lead of at least
four points over the incumbent
conservative New Democracy
party of Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras, according to opinion
In his final appeal to voters on
Friday, Tsipras pledged to restore
“dignity” to Greece.
Samaras told his party’s supporters in his closing rally that
it would be crazy to elect Syriza
just when the fiscal reforms he
has supported could be about to
pay off.
“Syriza will turn all of Europe
against Greece. They don’t understand Europe, they don’t believe in Europe,” he said.
Greece has endured deep
budget cuts tied to its €240bn
bailout from the so-called troika
– the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
European Central Bank (ECB).
Unemployment is around 25%
and the economy has shrunk by
a quarter since the start of the
eurozone crisis.
Tsipras has said he wants to
work out a solution on the debt
with the ECB by July, and has
promised to cut the amount by
Nevertheless, Evdokia Kasoli, a pensioner in central Ath-
Tsipras: has pledged to restore
‘dignity’ to Greece.
ens, expressed doubts yesterday
about whether Syriza would be
able to keep their pledges.
“Tsipras is presentable, personable and a sweet-talker. But
what can he achieve in the situation we’re now in?” she said.
Other voters though were pinning their hopes on a new approach, even if does represent a
leap into the unknown.
“We don’t know if Tsipras
will manage to cut the debt but
we hope he will be able to make
it more manageable,” said Paris
Lizos, a 59-year-old unemployed father of two, at Syriza’s
final rally on Thursday.
Campaigning is banned on
the eve of a Greek election, so
Tsipras met journalists covering
his campaign.
A Syriza official told AFP the
party was heading for victory
and was confident of forming a
coalition government if necessary.
“Polls show we are five to 10
points ahead of New Democracy. What remains to be seen is
whether we will have a clear majority,” the official said.
Samaras was greeted by a media scrum as he visited New Democracy party workers in rainy
central Athens.
He said up to 14% of voters remained undecided and predicted
they would choose the “stability” he represented.
Samaras addressing the crowd during the last pre-election rally of the New Democracy party in Athens on Friday.
Greek newspapers said the
country was at a potentially crucial point in its modern history.
“Fasten your seatbelts” said
the Proto Thema weekly.
It warned that Greece would
have “one foot outside the eurozone” if it failed to stick to the
ECB’s debt repayment schedule.
The pro-government Kathimerini newspaper said whichever party won, Greece faced “suffocating deadlines” imposed by
its international creditors.
In Germany, widely seen by
Greeks as the driving force behind the stringent cuts linked to
the bailout, the weekly centreleft Die Zeit newspaper said if
Tsipras won, he could no longer
be “demonised”.
“Tsipras ... could be the man
to give Europe’s austerity policy
the legitimacy it has so far lacked
with the Greek people. (ECB
chief Mario) Draghi senses this,
and as yet nobody has come up
with better proposals,” the paper
said in an editorial.
A victory for Syriza could pave
the way for other anti-austerity
parties to break through in Europe.
The leader of Spain’s radical
Podemos movement, Pablo Iglesias, appeared with Tsipras at an
Athens rally this week.
German Chancellor Angela
Merkel on Friday appealed to
Greece to remain in the eurozone.
“At the heart of our principles
lies solidarity. I want Greece, despite the difficulties, to remain
part of our story,” she said.
A MRB poll for private Star
television put Syriza at 31.2%,
followed by New Democracy
with 26%.
Another survey by Skai television saw Syriza leading by 6.5
percentage points.
Surveys show between 9%
and 19% of voters are unsure
which party to vote for.
The extreme-right Golden
Dawn party, whose leadership in
imprisoned while awaiting trial
for operating a criminal organisation, is running neck-andneck with the centrist To Potami
party for third place, followed by
the Communist Party.
Refugee boy beaten
for eating leftovers
Protesters throw red ink at a Burger King restaurant in Ankara yesterday. A Syrian refugee child has
been beaten by a Burger King manager in Istanbul after eating a customer’s leftover fries, according
to media reports. The incident precipitated a massive reaction against Burger King after eyewitnesses
shared details and photos showing the child sitting in blood after the incident.
Syrian refugee child has
been beaten by a restaurant manager in the
Turkish city Istanbul for eating a customer’s leftovers, local
media reported yesterday.
A photo circulating on social
media shows the 11-year-old
boy sitting bloodied on stairs
after having been beaten on
Wednesday by the manager of
fast food chain Burger King’s
outlet in the Sirinevler district.
The reason for the beating,
accounts say, was the boy eating a customer’s leftover chips.
Halil, who fled to Turkey
with his family from Aleppo,
Syria two years ago said that
he wanted to grab leftovers because he was starving, but the
manager punched him in the
face and kicked his feet, the
Milliyet newspaper reported.
The boy said that he was
begging in the streets of Istanbul to earn a living.
Burger King said the manager was fired after the attack.
“This incident is unacceptable,” it said.
Turkey is home to nearly
2mn Syrian refugees. Many
reside in camps along the border, but others are scattered
throughout the country, including big cities like Istanbul
and Ankara.
Spain ETA victims slam govt ‘betrayal’
undreds of Spaniards rallied
in Madrid yesterday accusing the government of betraying them by allowing the release
of jailed convicts from the armed
Basque separatist group ETA.
It was the first major demonstration by victims’ groups on the sensitive issue of imprisoned ETA members in 2015, a year of regional and
national elections.
Under red and yellow Spanish
flags and placards reading “No more
betrayals”, the crowd of more than
1,000 people rallied on the central
Plaza de Colon.
They accused Prime Minister
Mariano Rajoy’s government of
breaking its electoral promise to
crush ETA and defend its victims.
“We feel betrayed by this government,” said Angeles Pedraza, leader
But of the three parties only
Potami, which has indicted that
it is willing to work with Syriza
or New Democracy under certain conditions, appears to be
the likeliest partner.
The party founded by former
television journalist Stavros
Theodorakis says Greece’s position in the Eurozone should not
be put at risk but different bailout conditions, such as an easing of primary surplus targets,
should be carried out.
Another possible coalition
partnership for Syriza could be
the populist right-wing Independent Greeks, who are also
strongly opposed to Greece’s
bailout but disagree on almost
all other issues.
of the Association of Victims of Terrorism, which organised the protest.
“The same leaders who joined
us in mourning our dead are not by
our sides now,” she told the crowd.
“More than 100 ETA members have
come out of prison and they are received like heroes.”
ETA is blamed for the deaths of
829 people in a four-decade campaign of shootings and bombings
to create an independent homeland
in northern Spain and southern
In October 2011 it declared a “definitive end to armed activity” but
has not formally disarmed and disbanded as the Spanish and French
governments demand.
A 2013 ruling by the European
Court of Human Rights prompted
Spain to release scores of convicted
ETA members earlier than planned.
Others have been released after a
Spanish judge ruled that years spent
in jail in France could be deducted
from their sentences in Spain.
On the other hand, authorities have cracked down on certain
Basque suspects in recent weeks in a
series of arrests.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez
Diaz insisted the government was
set on crushing ETA and reached out
to the protesters.
“The victims of terrorism are important examples to us. Their dignity and their ethical and moral standing are absolutely indispensable,” he
told a conference of the ruling People’s Party.
The party faces regional elections
in May and a general election due in
At yesterday’s demo, Chon Lopez,
68, held a photograph of her brother
Francisco, a Civil Guard lieutenant
who she said was killed in an ETA
bomb attack in 1980.
“I have always been a member of
the Popular Party, but I will not vote
for them this time,” she told AFP.
Protesters hold a banner reading in Spanish, ‘I break with Rajoy’ during a demonstration
called by the Victims of Terrorism Association (AVT) in Madrid yesterday under the slogan
‘No more betrayals’ (No mas traiciones).
Serial killer’s head
The head of serial killer Fritz
Haarmann has been incinerated
after lying in storage for almost
90 years at a central German
university, a newspaper reported
The medical department at
Goettingen University told the
Goettinger Tageblatt daily that
it wanted to close a gruesome
chapter in the history of science
by getting rid of the head, which
it said it had cremated and buried
anonymously in the spring.
Frequent requests had been
made in the past to bury the
preserved head because it was
no longer considered relevant to
science, the report said.
It was once thought that
criminals could be identified by
the physiognomy of their heads,
a field known as phrenology.
After Haarmann was beheaded
in 1925 for the killing of at least
two dozen young men from
1918 to 1924 in Hanover, his head
was preserved in formalin and
donated to Goettingen University.
Police seize 11
tonnes of hashish
Spanish police have seized 11
tonnes of hashish and detained
55 people as part of an operation
targeting a Moroccan drug
trafficking ring, sources said on
The operation was launched
throughout the country, including
Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and
the Spanish exclave of Ceuta in
Seven firearms were also seized
during the operation.
Spain’s proximity to north Africa,
a major source of hashish, and its
close ties with its former colonies
in Latin America, a key cocaineproducing region, have made it
the main gateway into Europe for
Since June 2013, Spanish
authorities have seized more
than 100 tonnes of hashish in
various operations.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Two Russians held for
suspicious activities
170 foreign buyers
to attend coir fair
Company director held
in chit fund scam
Woman who triggered
bomb blast identified
NCW records statement
of torture victim
Two Russian nationals have been detained for
suspicious activities in Odisha’s Cuttack district,
police said yesterday. They were detained on
Friday evening and taken to Puri for questioning
yesterday. Villagers handed over Vasil Lu
Fair and Maratha Galimura to the police after
becoming suspicious about their activities. They
stayed in Puri for four days. They had come
from Mumbai with a tourist visa. They had air
tickets for Bangkok for January 26. “Preliminary
investigation shows that the two are engineering
students and have a genuine visa and passport.
They were staying inside a makeshift tent along
the seashore in Puri,” the police said.
The upcoming Coir Kerala 2015 trade fair would
see the participation of 170 foreign buyers from
53 countries, a minister said yesterday. The fifth
edition of the fair, billed as the world’s biggest
trade event on coir and natural fibres, will be
held in Alappuzha from February 1 to 5. Minister
for Revenue and Coir Adoor Prakash said the fair
has now become a sought-after event for foreign
buyers as there will be a one-to-one discussion
for placing orders. The event brings together
scientists, researchers and policymakers to
discuss strategies and new projects to create
jobs and improve the conditions of workers in
the traditional coir industry.
Pravat Dash, the director of 15 companies of the
Seashore group and the brother of the group’s
chief Prashant Dash, was arrested yesterday
for his alleged links to the chit fund scam in
Odisha. The Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) arrested Pravat after questioning him in
the morning. He is accused of embezzling about
Rs30mn which was transferred to his account
from Seashore. He is the director of Seashore
Securities Ltd which had collected money
from investors in the state assuring them of
high returns. Pravat Dash, however, denied the
charges. “I don’t have any involvement in the
misappropriations,” he said.
The woman who triggered a bomb blast in the
Ara civil court in Bihar’s Bhojpur district that
killed two people has been identified, police said
yesterday. Rina Gaudh, a middle-aged woman,
carried the bomb, the police said. She and a
police constable were killed and more than a
dozen injured when the bomb went off. “The
police team probing the case is now trying to
find out her motive and her relationship with
two prisoners who escaped taking advantage
of the incident,” a police official said. Bhojpur
District Magistrate Pankaj Pal said it was not a
terror attack but was aimed at helping the two
undertrial prisoners escape.
A National Commission for Women (NCW) team
led by chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam
yesterday recorded the statement of a woman
who was allegedly tortured by police in
West Bengal’s Birbhum district. The victim, a
homemaker, had alleged that a police team
accompanied by local Trinamool Congress
leaders had forcibly taken her away to a jungle
on January 17 and tortured her to extract
information about her nephew, a local Bharartiya
Janata Party leader wanted over his involvement
in clashes in Parui in the district. The complaint,
filed by the victim’s family, claimed that her
entire body was slashed with blades.
is again
Bedi: BJP has
given strong
message to
fringe groups
olice have re-arrested a
human rights campaigner
staging a 14-year hunger
strike just hours after she was
released on court orders, drawing condemnation from fellow
Irom Sharmila, known as the
Iron Lady of Manipur for her unwavering and non-violent protest
against human rights abuses in
India’s northeast, has spent years
in judicial custody over her fast.
The 42-year-old was released
on Thursday after a court in Imphal, capital of Manipur state,
struck down charges of attempted suicide by fasting.
But on Friday, authorities took
her into custody again, using the
same charge.
“Sharmila has been arrested (for) the same crime of attempted suicide. She has been
put on a nasal drip at a hospital
on medical grounds,” a police officer said.
In the last five months,
Sharmila has been released and
re-arrested twice. Last August,
another Manipur court ordered
her release, stating that her hunger strike was a “political demand through lawful means.”
Rights group Amnesty said the
fresh arrest was an “absurd ritual”
that made “a mockery of the Indian criminal justice process.”
“A hunger strike is not attempted suicide, and it is baffling why authorities repeatedly
bring the same charge against
Sharmila that courts have
thrown out,” India programmes
director Shemeer Babu said in a
statement yesterday.
Sharmila began her hunger
strike in November 2000 after allegedly witnessing the army kill 10
people at a bus stop near her home
in Manipur, which is subjected to
the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
The act, which covers large
parts of the northeastern India
and Kashmir, gives Indian forces
sweeping powers to search, enter
property and shoot on sight, and
is seen by critics as a cover for
human rights abuses.
The chief ministerial
candidate says the prime
minister cannot be expected
to speak on every issue
New Delhi
Kiran Bedi is seen with BJP veteran L K Advani in New Delhi. The party’s chief ministerial candidate
met Advani to seek his blessings.
haratiya Janata Party’s
chief ministerial candidate in Delhi, Kiran Bedi,
has said rightwing activists orchestrating alleged conversion
have been reined in by the party
“They are fringes. Fringes
have been stopped, they have
been given the message. The
message has been conveyed
in the party leadership’s own
style,” Bedi said during the Aap
Ki Adalat TV show yesterday.
Asked about Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s silence on the
campaign for ‘gharvapsi’ (homecoming), she said: “How do you
know Modi is silent? The problem is, some things are conveyed
through media, some other things
are decided within the party. I
think the leadership should have
this right and the PM should not
speak on every issue.”
The former police officer said
the prime minister “is trying to
solve the nation’s problems seriously and he speaks very carefully
about what to say publicly and
who to say in the Sangh, in the
party. Sangh, or sangat, is a collective. But the message is very
clear, the agenda is single ‘Sabka
Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (all together
for everyone’s benefit),” Bedi said.
However, she also said that
homecoming was not a crime.
“Neither is gharwapsi a crime,
nor conversion a crime. Everybody in India has the right
Qatar students impressed
by Kochi art exhibition
By Ashraf Padanna
he cosmopolitanism of
the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) international
exhibition of contemporary art
and this ancient city has fascinated a group of faculty and
students from Qatar’s Virginia
which specialises in courses related to art.
The organisers of the art exhibition said in a statement yesterday that the 25-strong group
considered the event a “perfect
opportunity to look at the continuity of history and the cultural
exchange that came from trade.”
“We love the idea here of
looking beyond Eurocentric
models,” the statement quoted
Dr Dina Bangdel, associate professor and director of art history
who organised the two-day trip,
as saying.
“This was a good opportunity
to undo the stereotype of the exotic and study the confluences
of culture and cosmopolitanism
here. This biennale is a perfect
microcosm of the issue.”
The students, who are doing
courses in art history, painting and printmaking and fashion design, were keen to look at
“the potential of replicating this
dynamic production of art and
how art is involved in the community.”
“These students are the future
of art in Qatar,” said Dr Bangdel.
“So, we were keen to bring them
here to ask how they saw themselves in these roles.”
The group was amazed by how
the old spaces had been adapted
to contemporary art. Some of the
students had seen Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum’s ‘Undercurrent’ at a gallery in Qatar, but here
“the same work is redefined and
seemed so powerful in the space.”
“It is good to come with the
students and talk and reflect on
the works,” said Dr Jochen Sokoly,
the German director of the university’s gallery and art history
professor. “In this space, the installations seem more tangible.
It is on a very human scale unlike
galleries, which seem distant.”
Lewis found the KMB’14 ambitious and inspiring in how it
connects with the world. “I am
always looking to familiarise
students with the works of new
artists,” said the American, who
is a painting and printmaking
“I will go back and use the
works of biennale artist Shumon
Ahmed and Khalil Rabah as references to take an experimental
photography class,” he added.
KMB ’14 director of programmes Riyas Komu said there
were “no strong cultural relationships in contemporary art,
or in fact other arenas.”
“We hope to build ties and start
residency programmes and exchanges, particularly with Mathaf,
the museum of modern and contemporary art in Doha,” he said.
“Amit Jain, who did one of
our collateral projects and has
worked there, has been very
proactive in building this relationship. Historically, Kerala has
had these relationships and we
need to rethink how we can take
these ahead today.”
to convert from one religion to
another voluntarily, but the law
say, conversion through coercion is crime”, she added.
“The BJP says if there is any
problem with conversion let there
be a debate and a law be enacted.
But you can’t ban conversions.
You’ve to give the right of choice.”
Fielding questions about
Muslims being wary of her, Bedi
said she has not practiced discrimination in her career. “Ask
any Muslim brother, whether I
practiced discrimination in any
of my work. For me, Hindus,
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians all
are same.
“Twenty-one years ago, when
I was filling up the All India Civil
Services form, I wrote ‘humanity’
against the religion column. Humanity encompasses all religions.
Muslims are Indians. We have
made our nation as a bouquet.”
Asked if Muslims were wary
about the BJP, Bedi said: “It’s the
party which has nominated me.
Am I different from my party?”
Bedi criticised Aam Aadmi
Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, saying he had not only lied
to Delhi voters but even misled
social activist Anna Hazare before he staged a hunger strike
against corruption.
“He (Kejriwal) sat on fast
without taking permission from
Anna, then called Anna. ...You
can ask him… Anna didn’t even
know what the fast was meant
for. He (Kejriwal) was adamant
over sitting on fast. His motive
was to reach parliament. So the
very foundation (of his entering
politics) was based on a lie.”
On Kejriwal’s remark that she
was not a challenge to him, but
for the BJP leaders, Bedi said:
“He has many challenges. He
just doesn’t understand. The
main challenge is from the public, the voters, whether they will
trust him again or not.”
“The voters are wary, whether
he will run away again and force
another election. His motive was
always - sadak (road) to sansad
(parliament). Let’s still wish
him well. But will the voters forget his list of lies? The list is too
long. I have seen him lie.”
She also criticised Kejriwal for
asking voters to take bribes from
BJP and Congress, and vote for
AAP. “He is teaching corruption
to the people, he is corrupting
them. Why didn’t he say, refuse
money if you are offered, and
vote for me?”
Bedi said reports that some
BJP leaders were dissatisfied
with her projection as the chief
ministerial candidate were “exaggerated.”
Asked how BJP leaders who
had served the party for 40 years
would tolerate her as a chief ministerial candidate who is a new
entrant, Bedi replied: “I have seen
one good quality among them.
The credit goes to their history,
the workers. Once a collective decision is taken, they all fall in line,
in the sense, they all work together. It is a disciplined party.”
She also revealed that it was
senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley who
facilitated her entry into the party.
“Arun Jaitley played a strong
role in my entry, that’s the truth.
And not him alone, others too...
but he played an instrumental
role in my coming into the BJP.”
Outlining her 6P agenda for
the people of Delhi, she said the
“6Ps” include principals and
parents, community policing,
prison reforms, fast prosecution
and the press.
Father was not a silent
man: Singh’s daughter
Students from Qatar’s Virginia Commonwealth University admire
Shanthamani Muddaiah’s installation titled ‘Backbone’ at KMB ‘14.
uthor Daman Singh,
daughter of former prime
Singh, yesterday said she failed
to understand why people label
her father as “silent” and revealed she was coming up with
a collection of “everything” he
said in the last 10 years.
“One of the comments that
comes up over and over again is
‘what a silent man he is’. This is
something which I have not really understood completely.
“These days, I am putting
together a collection of everything my father said in the last
10 years,” Daman Singh said at a
discussion on her book Strictly
Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan at the Tata Steel Kolkata
Literary Meet here.
The book traces the journey of
the former prime minister and
his wife from the 1930s to 2004.
Describing the contents of
the collection, Daman said it
includes his speeches - both ex-
tempore and prepared - as well
as records of his interactions
with the media.
“There are about 800 speeches which run into about 5,000
pages. These are both extempore and prepared speeches on
all sorts of occasions. They also
include about 80 interactions
with the members of the media
in which people were absolutely
free to ask him whatever they
“These are both in India and
abroad, on all kinds of occasions.
There is a record of all the questions and there is a record of all
the answers,” Daman said.
Defending her father, she said
Singh always answered questions from the media during his
travels in India and abroad.
“So I should also point out
that every time my father travelled, he always had a team of
media people who accompanied
him. He always had many press
conferences, either on the way in
or on the way out.
“Honestly, I don’t really understand why people label him
as silent,” she said.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Ramdev declines
Padma Vibhushan
New TV channel to
launch on March 2
Colors, Rishtey to
telecast R-Day parade
NIA clears Shah
of terror charges
Yoga guru Ramdev yesterday
declined the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, saying that while he
was grateful for being chosen
for the honour it should be
given to someone else and not
a “sanyasi.” Ramdev, in a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, said he was grateful that the
government thought of his name, which he got to
know from media reports, but the honour could
be given to some other great person.”I urge you
to give this honour to somebody doing something great. I would be grateful to you,” he said.
&TV, the newest entrant in the Hindi general entertainment channel space, will go on air on March 2,
also marking the launch of Bollywood superstar Shah
Rukh Khan’s new reality TV show India Poochega…
Sabse Shana Kaun? The show will be aired Monday
to Friday at 9pm, said a statement. The new channel
promises to celebrate the spirit of living through its
wide array of fiction, non-fiction shows, Bollywood
movies and marquee events. The content line-up
includes a mix of fiction shows like Razia Sultan,
Begusarai and Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai? However, the
highpoint of the channel is India Poochega - Sabse
Shana Kaun?, a game show adapted from the Who’s
Asking? international format.
The 66th Republic Day parade tomorrow and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to
the country will be telecast live for Indian and
international audiences on the Colors and Rishtey
channels, the feed originating from national
broadcaster Doordarshan. This is the first time
the two channels will telecast the Republic Day
celebrations along with Doordarshan. The telecast
will also reach out to the international markets in
the Middle East and North African countries, Britain and the US. “The iconic Republic Day parade
and the Prime Minister’s message to the nation is
content that drives cohesive viewing in families,”
Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors TV said in a statement.
The National Investigation Agency yesterday
cleared Sayyed Liyaqat Shah alias Liyaqat Bukhari
of terror charges. He was arrested by the Delhi
police on the charge of coming to India to put
into force a conspiracy and execute attacks in
Delhi in March 2013. “The investigation conducted
by the NIA has revealed that the charges against
the accused were not proved and that he was
coming into India to obtain the benefit of the
surrender policy of the government of Jammu
and Kashmir,” the agency said. Shah was arrested
on March 20, 2013 while he was returning from
Pakistan-ruled Kashmir to the Kashmir Valley via
Nepal. He was later released on bail.
A dead vulture lies outside the Panidihing Bird
Sanctuary in the Sivasagar district of northeastern
Assam yesterday. At least 60 endangered vultures
were found dead in the area after consuming a
dead cow. Samples of the dead birds and the cow
would be sent to forensic laboratories for tests to
ascertain the cause, forest officials said.
Obama’s Taj Mahal visit is off
US president cuts short India
trip to meet new Saudi king
New Delhi
Obama has cut short his
visit to India, cancelling a
planned trip to the Taj Mahal, to
“pay respects” to new King Salman in Saudi Arabia, the White
House said yesterday.
Obama was scheduled to go
to India’s famed monument to
love accompanied by First Lady
Michelle Obama at the end of a
three-day visit to the country,
during which he is to be chief
guest at tomorrow’s Republic
Day celebrations.
Instead, the White House said
Obama would travel to Riyadh
from New Delhi on Tuesday
morning to meet the new monarch after the death of King Abdullah on Friday.
“The president regrets that
he will be unable to visit Agra
during this trip,” said White
House press secretary Josh Earnest in a statement, referring to
the town where the Taj Mahal is
Earlier yesterday, Indian officials told reporters that US security teams stationed in Agra had
told them about the change in
Obama’s schedule.
The Obamas had intended
to visit the Taj on a trip to India
back in 2010 as well. But owing
to their packed schedule, they
instead visited the medieval Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, on which
the architecture of the Taj is said
to be based.
The cancellation of the Taj
Mahal visit will deprive the
country’s top tourist attraction
of publicity at a time when the
government is trying to boost
visitor numbers.
Twitter users rushed to thank
the president for orchestrating a
clean-up of the mausoleum built
by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
for his beloved empress who died
during childbirth in 1631.
“It was just Obama’s clever
plan to get Agra cleaned up.
Thank you Obama,” posted one
under the name Anamika.
Obama has a packed schedule
right from the moment the presidential plane, Air Force One,
lands in New Delhi.
The president has seven engagements today, including talks
with Modi.
The Air Force One would touch
down at the Air Force Station,
Palam, at 10am.
The presidential entourage
would then drive down to the
ITC Maurya, where the US first
couple would be staying.
The super luxury hotel has
been made out of bounds for
other guests until the duration
of the visit and a stringent security blanket thrown around
the hotel and its surrounding
The presidential car, The
Beast, has also arrived in the
A Cadillac limousine, The
Beast’s armour plating is said to
be 8 inches thick and its doors
weigh as much as those on a
Boeing 757 aircraft. It has 5 inch
thick bulletproof windows with
at least five layers to foil any effort by subversives.
The Beast’s trunk is reported
to contain everything from firefighting equipment and oxygen
tanks to a cache of the president’s blood type.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal
as minister-in-waiting for the
visit would receive Obama at the
airport as well as escort and assist him through the visit.
It is not yet known if Modi
would go to the airport to receive
the Obamas.
At noon, the US president will
be accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential
palace, during which Modi will
be present.
At 12.30pm, Obama will go to
the Raj Ghat to lay a wreath at the
memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
He will also plant a sapling at the
Police personnel stand guard as members of a wedding band walk through the grounds of New Delhi’s Hotel ITC Maurya where Obama will stay during his visit.
At 1pm, Obama will attend a
luncheon meeting with Modi at
Hyderabad House.
At 2.15pm, the two sides are
to hold delegation-level talks at
Hyderabad House and at 3.05pm,
the two leaders will address the
media at the Ballroom of the
At 7.30pm, Obama will call on
President Pranab Mukherjee at
Rashtrapati Bhavan and attend
the banquet hosted by him at
The banquet will see some
special cuisine dished up for the
US president and formal speeches by the two presidents.
In between the Hyderabad
House talks and his visit to
Rashtrapati Bhavan, Obama is
to head back to the hotel and
meet the staff of the US mission
Tomorrow, Obama will proceed to Rajpath to attend the Republic Day parade. He is the first
US president to be chief guest at
the Republic Day pageantry during which India’s military might
and cultural diversity are showcased in a two-hour open air
It is not known if Obama will
drive to Rajpath in Mukherjee’s
black limousine or in The Beast.
The US Secret Service is believed
to be unwilling to allow Obama to
travel in any vehicle other than
The Beast.
At 3.49pm, Obama will attend
the traditional “At Home” reception hosted by Mukherjee on the
expansive lawns of Rashtrapati
The event will be attended by
senior politicians, diplomats, envoys and intellectuals.
At 5.30pm Obama and Modi
are to address the India-US CEO
Forum Meeting at the Shahjehan
Hall of Hotel Taj Palace.
At 6.40pm, the two leaders are
to attend the India-US Business
Ansari in Riyadh to offer condolences
New Delhi
ice President Hamid Ansari
arrived in Riyadh yesterday
as the head of an Indian government delegation to offer condolences following the death of King
Abdullah died on Friday aged 90.
The Indian government declared a
day’s mourning yesterday and flags
were flown at half-mast.
An official statement said “the
government and people of India
have received with deep sadness and
shock” the news of Abdullah’s death.
“India has maintained close and
friendly relations with Saudi Arabia
under the leadership of King Abdullah. These bonds have been especially strengthened by the presence
of the large expatriate Indian community which has found a home in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the
statement added.
Vice President Hamid Ansari is received by Riyadh Governor Turki bin Abdullah
al-Saud at the airport yesterday.
Ansari served as Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1995 to
President Pranab Mukherjee and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi have
sent messages of condolence to new
King Salman.
“In his passing away, Saudi Ara-
bia has lost a beloved leader, India a
close friend and the world an elder
statesman,” a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
“King Abdullah had genuine
warmth and affection for India and
our people. He was personally committed to improving bilateral ties
with India,” it added.
Modi described the late king as
a guiding force, and said: “In King
Abdullah, we have lost an important voice, who left a lasting impact on his country. I condole his
“Our thoughts are with the people of Saudi Arabia, who have lost a
guiding force in King Abdullah, during this hour of grief. A few days ago
I spoke to (then) Crown Prince Salman and inquired about King Abdullah’s health. News of King Abdullah’s passing away is saddening,” he
India’s energy security depends a
lot on Saudi Arabia which accounts
for 20% of the country’s oil imports.
Maharashtra govt to buy Ambedkar’s London home
The Maharashtra government has
decided to buy a residential property
in London where B R Ambedkar lived
in the 1920s, and convert it into a
memorial-cum-museum, a minister
said yesterday.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod
Tawde, currently in London for a global academic conference, finalised the
deal and made the announcement.
According to an official, the deal for
the 2,050 sq ft home, which was up
for sale for the past few months, is
expected to cost around Rs400mn.
The residential property, where the architect of the Indian constitution, lived
as a student of the London School of
Economics in 1921-1922, is situated at
10, King Henry’s Road, NW3, London.
“By April, we plan to complete all the
formalities and throw it open as a permanent museum-cum-memorial for
the public,” Tawde said in a statement
from London.
“When we heard that the home was up
for sale through an estate agent, I spoke
with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,
who is in Davos and he immediately
gave the green signal,” Tawde said.
The minister then met representatives
of the Federation of Ambedkarites &
Buddhist Organisations (FABO) and
other Indian officials to finalise the deal
for the historic home.
A meeting was held at India House,
the Indian diplomatic mission in
the UK, in the presence of Indian
High Commissioner Ranjan Mathai,
Santosh Das of the FABO and other
officials and it was decided to buy the
He added that the memorial would
inform people about Ambedkar’s life,
works and contribution to the country’s freedom struggle and subsequent
public life.
The property, where a plaque on its
historic importance is also displayed,
was put up for auction by the owners
six months ago.
The auction notice had created furore
among various Dalit and Ambedkarite
groups around the world who had demanded that the state or central government intervene in the matter as the home
had a historical significance for all Indians.
Summit at the Durbar Hall of Taj
There have been reports that
the Obamas are keen to eat at the
Bukhara restaurant.
Obama had stayed at the Maurya during his previous trip in
2010 and had relished an Indian
style dinner.
On January 27, Obama will address an invited gathering at the
Siri Fort auditorium at 10.30am
on the subject “India and America: The future we can build together.”
At 1.50pm, the US president
and his entourage will take off for
A technician checks the CCTV
camera at the roadside near
the Rashtrapati Bhavan as
preparations for the Republic Day
parade take place.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
US diplomat meets
Cuban dissidents
The Cuban authorities are
unlikely to take this move
senior US diplomat in
Cuba for negotiations
on restoring long-frozen
diplomatic relations met a group
of dissidents on Friday, seeking
to underline Washington’s concern over human rights but irritating the island’s communist
US Assistant Secretary of State
Roberta Jacobson, the highestranking US government official
to visit the island in nearly 40
years, held a breakfast meeting
with the dissidents a day after
talks with Cuban government
officials. The State Department
said it was an opportunity for
Jacobson to exchange views and
hear their perspectives.
But Havana has stressed that
efforts to normalise ties should
not be accompanied by what it
sees as meddling in its internal
affairs. Cuban officials expressed
concern beforehand over the
planned meeting, a US official
told Reuters.
The head of the Cuban delegation to the talks, Josefina Vidal,
was dismissive of the meeting
“This is exactly one of the differences we have with the US
government because for us, this
is not just genuine, legitimate
Cuban civil society,” Vidal, who
Roberta Jacobson with opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez during a
meeting in Havana.
is Jacobson’s counterpart at the
Cuban foreign ministry, told the
MSNBC television show Andrea
Mitchell Reports, referring to the
“This small group of people
don’t represent Cuban society,
don’t represent the interests of
the Cuban people. So that’s a big
difference with the United States
government,” she added.
The Cuban government rarely
comments on dissidents, and
when it does, it often charges
them with being unrepresentative of the population and puppets of the United States.
Thursday’s talks about reestablishing diplomatic ties,
severed by Washington in 1961,
were the first since US president
Barack Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro announced on
December 17 they would seek
to reverse decades of hostility.
Obama has loosened a series of
restrictions on travel and business with Cuba and wants Congress to lift a decades-old trade
embargo on the island.
But the issue of political
freedoms was bound to be a point
of friction.
Castro has said that restoring ties with its old Cold War foe
does not mean Cuba intends to
give up its socialist principles.
In a statement on Thursday on
the talks, the Cuban government
said relations between the countries should be based on mutual
respect and non-interference in
internal affairs.
Nonetheless, Jacobson told
reporters after her meeting with
the dissidents that human rights
and free speech were a priority
for the United States.
“There is no doubt that human rights remains the center of
our policy and it is crucial that
we continue to both speak out
about human rights publicly and
directly with the Cuban government,” she said, adding that
Washington has “profound disagreement” with Havana over democracy and human rights.
Her meeting with dissidents
took place at the residence of
the chief of the US Interests
Section, Jeffrey DeLaurentis. The house was built by the
United States in the early 1950s
to represent the importance the
State Department placed on its
relationship with Cuba at the
time. That was just years before
the revolution led by Raul Castro’s older brother, Fidel Castro,
that ousted dictator Fulgencio
Batista in 1959.
Among the activists who met
with Jacobson was Jose Daniel Ferrer, founder of the Union
Patriotica de Cuba (UNPACU),
many of whose members were
part of 53 political prisoners released earlier this month under a
US-Cuba deal to launch the talks.
But the US policy shift has split
dissidents between those who
support ending US sanctions and
those who want improved human
rights to be a condition of talks.
The leader of the Ladies in
White, who march in Havana
every Sunday to demand prisoner releases, boycotted the
breakfast meeting because, she
said, the Americans were favor-
ing those dissidents who agreed
with US policy.
Other dissidents said they
would join Ladies in White leader
Berta Soler in boycotting a reception with Jacobson later on
Jacobson told reporters that
rebuilding relations would be
long and complex, cautioning that it was too soon to judge
whether the initial talks could
lead to normalisation of ties.
“I have learned ... it is never
a good idea to draw conclusions
after the first discussion,” Jacobson said. She added that while
in Havana she did not receive
any direct messages from either
Raul Castro or Fidel Castro, who
handed over power to his brother
in 2008 because of ill health.
While re-establishing diplomatic ties is a matter of mutual
consent between the two countries, the broader goal of normalising trade and travel faces
greater obstacles.
As part of the loosened restrictions, MasterCard Inc said on Friday it would become the first company to remove a block on the use
of US-issued credit cards on the
island, starting on March 1.
MasterCard said in a statement
Friday that the move, effective
March 1, follows renewed guidance from the US department of
treasury’s office of foreign assets
Though most US tourists are
still barred, the US government
this month eased travel and trade
restrictions to the communist island.
Protest against fare hike
A demonstrator shouts slogans during a protest against fare hikes for city buses, subway and trains in Sao Paulo.
The ex wife of Argentine late prosecutor Alberto Nisman,
federal judge in San Isidro Sandra Arroyo Salgado, leaves the
prosecutor’s office after giving testimony to prosecutor Viviana
Fein for more than eight hours, in Buenos Aires.
Travel ban
on ‘slain’
Buenos Aires
colleague who says he
gave a gun to an Argentine prosecutor found
fatally shot earlier this week
has been barred from leaving
the country, justice officials in
Buenos Aires said.
Authorities said Diego Lagomarsino, a computer expert
and colleague who said he
brought prosecutor Alberto
Nisman a handgun Saturday
night at his request, has been
barred from leaving Argentina.
Nisman was found dead
with a a bullet to the head in
his Buenos Aires home Sunday, just before he was to go
before a congressional hearing
to accuse president Cristina
Kirchner of shielding Iranian
officials implicated in a bomb
attack on a Jewish community center in 1994 that left 85
Investigators, who initially
said he appeared to have committed suicide, have not ruled
out homicide or “induced suicide”, while Kirchner has said
she believes Nisman was murdered in a plot to implicate her
government in a cover-up.
Prosecutor Viviana Fein,
who is leading the investigation, said yesterday in a statement that investigators are
“waiting for completion of
ballistics analysis, including
a DNA comparison and to see
whether the bullet taken from
the body corresponds to the
.22-caliber weapon found at
the scene”.
Before his demise, Nisman
had filed a 280-page complaint
charging that Kirchner had issued an “express directive” to
shield a group of Iranian suspects in the 1994 bombing.
Nisman contended that
the government had agreed to
swap grain for oil with Tehran
in exchange for withdrawing
“red notices” to Interpol seek-
ing the arrests of the former
and current Iranian officials
accused in the unsolved case.
The United States has called
for a “complete and impartial”
investigation into the death of
Argentine prosecutor Alberto
Investigators have said he
appeared to have committed
suicide—though they have
not ruled out homicide or “induced suicide.”
devoted much of his professional life” to going after those
responsible for the attack in
Buenos Aires, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki
“Judicial authorities are investigating his death and we
call for a complete and impartial investigation.
“For over 20 years, the United States... we have continued
to work closely with the international community and the
Argentine government seeking
Meanwhile a report by the
newspaper Clarin has analysed
the involvement of Iranian intelligence in the bomb attack.
Given Iran’s record, the intelligence community worldwide is now wondering about
the possibility — entirely
theoretical at the moment —
that Iranian agents or their allies might have had some role
in the death of Nisman. Most
agree that the accusations
he was about to make public
would have been harmful to
Iranian interests.
Questions abound. Could
pushed Nisman toward suicide by threatening to kill one
of his children? Did they have
information that was damaging to the prosecutor? Did they
penetrate the security cordon
of Nisman’s residential block
in the Puerto Madero district,
using an agent who could stage
a suicide without raising suspicions?
Venezuela’s woes a threat to US corporate profits
economic troubles, and
in particular the weakness of the bolivar and restrictive currency controls, have
hurt US corporate profits for
the fourth quarter of 2014 and
are set to inflict further pain
this year.
In a likely sign of things to
come from a number of companies this results reporting season, Ford Motor Co on Friday said
it was taking a pre-tax charge of
$800mn for its Venezuela business. It blamed Venezuelan exchange control regulations that
have restricted the ability of its
operations in the country to pay
dividends and obligations in US
dollars. Ford also said that it was
unable to maintain normal production in Venezuela with the
availability of vehicle parts constrained.
Also on Friday, diaper and tissue maker Kimberly-Clark Corp
said it took a fourth-quarter
Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro eats a traditional arepa while
visiting a market in downtown Caracas.
charge of $462mn for its Venezuelan business. That was after
it concluded that the appropriate
rate at which it should be measuring its bolivar-denominated
monetary assets should be a Venezuelan government floating exchange rate - currently at around
50 bolivars to the dollar - rather
than a fixed official rate of 6.3 to
the dollar that it had previously
been using. Kimberly-Clark
blamed increased uncertainty
and lack of liquidity in Venezuela
for the move.
Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday
he was shaking up the complex
currency controls in the socialist-run country, where dollars
are sold on the black market
for about 184 bolivars to the US
dollar instead of the country’s
three-tiered exchange rate system that has ranged from the 6.3
official rate to two other rates,
currently at about 12 and the one
at around 50.
Those latter two tiers of the
system would be merged, he said,
though it is not immediately
known at what rate that would
happen. Maduro also announced
that another new rate would be
introduced into the system to offer dollars via private brokers to
vie with the black market rate.
The latest moves may catch
some companies flat-footed particularly regarding the size
of the hit they may have to take
to their earnings as they revalue
assets at a much weaker bolivar
exchange rate.
“They may be surprised by
the magnitude of the move but
not by the direction,” said Marc
Chandler, global head of market
strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. “But many shied
away from hedging in the past
because it is very expensive.”
Companies often need approval from Caracas to raise
prices amid soaring inflation.
Sometimes that approval is delayed or the price hikes don’t
keep pace with a 12-month in-
flation rate currently at nearly
64%, threatening losses because
of a mismatch between costs and
Before the move by Maduro,
some well known US companies,
including Procter & Gamble,
General Motors, Baker Hughes
Inc and Brink’s had already reported financial hits related to
the bolivar over the past year.
“A wide swath of multinational
companies with large operations
in Venezuela will suffer from
having to hold currency that is
stuck in the country and depreciating in value,” said Erik Gordon,
professor of law and business at
the University of Michigan.
For Ford, conditions are so
tough in the South American
country that it also announced
on Friday that it will make an accounting change that will allow it
to isolate the rest of the company
from its Venezuela operations.
“In future periods, our financial
results will not include the operating results of our Venezuelan
operations,” it said in a corporate
Bob Willens, a veteran ac-
counting expert on Wall Street,
said other companies might follow Ford’s lead. “Who wouldn’t
want to deconsolidate a Venezuelan subsidiary?” he asked.
Cleaning and household products maker Clorox last year decided to exit Venezuela altogether.
CEO Don Knauss told analysts in
October that Venezuela’s government was slow to approve price increases and when it did they were
not as high as promised.
“We saw no hope that we could
create a sustaining business in
that country,” Knauss said during
an October conference call.
Overall, foreign companies
have an estimated $16 billion in
outstanding dividends listed on
their balance sheets that they
have not been able to return to
headquarters, according to Caracas-based research firm Ecoanalitica. The actual value of those
assets could, though, be considerably less, depending on the exchange rates.
At the end of the third quarter,
for example, American Airlines
Group Inc, had $721mn held in
the Venezuelan currency, at a
weighted average exchange rate
of 6.41 bolivars to the dollar.
Theoretically, if the airline
tried to repatriate all of that
money into dollars at the current
black market rate of 184 bolivars
per US dollar as quoted by the
website dolartoday.com, it would
only receive about $25mn.
“For a business like American
Airlines, they have a bank account full of worthless monopoly money, and the only way it
is worth something is if they can
get an exchange,” said Russ Dallen, head of Caracas Capital Markets in Miami. “But the government doesn’t have any dollars to
exchange, in size. They can’t pull
out because not only will they
not get the dollar at the original
rate promised but the Venezuelan government said they would
take the travel routes and never
let them back into the country if
they did.”
A spokeswoman for American
Airlines said the company will
have guidance on its Venezuela
operations with its fourth-quarter results, which are expected
next week.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Islamabad to
squeeze its
ity managers of Pakistani
capital Islamabad keep
looking for new revenue
generation sources instead of
streamlining and improving their
dismal performance in collecting
municipal taxes and other dues
from existing sources.
A review of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA)
performance in the previous financial year exposes the civic
agency’s inability to manage its
The CDA’s finance wing has
opted to go for the easy way out
by levying additional taxes instead of going after tax evaders.
Under the CDA Ordinance, the
civic agency is an autonomous
body and a self-accounting entity. It generates its income from
taxes collected under revenue
accounts and other sources such
as land auctions.
The figures for the financial
year 2013-14 show that the CDA
collected only Rs2.95bn in municipal taxes against a target of
Rs6.6bn for the same year - almost 55% less than the target.
The taxes include property
taxes, municipal services, environment and horticulture receipts, toll tax, allied receipts,
and interest on deposits.
Besides revenue accounts, the
CDA also remained fail to achieve
targets under the self-financing
account - most notably in land
sales. For FY2013-14, the CDA
generated just Rs13.8bn against a
revenue target of Rs27.2bn.
CDA finance member Arbab
Sher Bahadur acknowledged the
failings in revenue collection.
“Generally speaking, it mirrors the prevailing tax collection
situation in the country, where
people seem reluctant to pay to
the government for the services
facilities it provides,” Bahadur
He later spoke of plans to revise tax rates, saying that prop-
erty taxes were last revised in
2001, while property charges
were last revised in 2000.
The CDA had plans to revise
these charges in FY2013-14 and
a proposed revision effect was
incorporated in its budget estimates, but the changes never
materialized, further widening
the gap between estimates and
actual collection.
“The situation is not ideal. But
it’s much better than previous
years,” the CDA board member
The authority has been mulling how to collect taxes imposed
in FY2013-14 on private housing
schemes and high rise buildings
in the city. Both sectors are currently excluded from the CDA
tax net with regard to property
transfer and houses layout approval fees.
“There are about 50 private
housing schemes comprising of
60,000 units within the CDA’s
municipal limits. The civic agency has decided to levy building
control fees on them,” the finance member said, adding that
for the FY2014-15, the CDA has
estimated it would raise Rs50mn
under this head.
Similarly, he said, transfer
fees on apartments in high-rise
buildings would also be collected
from now and the authority has
a target of Rs500mn under this
Bahadur said a variety of factors, including a staff shortage,
had been delaying fee collection.
Bylaws exist for private
schemes and high-rise buildings, but when it comes to tax
collection, the owners refuse to
pay, Bahadur said, adding that
societies and high-rise buildings
owners were resisting the move,
but they would have to pay taxes
for the services they are provided.
Bahadur said municipal tax
collection estimates for the ongoing financial year have been
kept realistic to reduce the between targets and actual collection.
Woman kills 25 Taliban to avenge son
An Afghan woman has killed
at least 25 Taliban militants to
avenge the murder of her son
who was a police officer in western Farah province.
Afghan Khaama Press said
-Reza Gul was forced to pick up
arms after her son was shot dead
by Taliban militants in front of her
eyes. Her son was leading a small
group of police forces in a check
post located in a village of Farah
She was supported by her
daughter and daughter-in-law
during the gun battle which
lasted for almost seven hours that
left at least 25 Taliban militants
dead and five others injured.
Sediq Sediq, spokesman for
the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said
the armed campaign by women
against the Taliban militants is a
symbol of a major revolution and
public uprising against the group.
The Taliban militants group has
not commented regarding the
incident so far.
Farah is among the volatile
provinces in western Afghanistan
where anti-government armed
militants are actively operating in
its various districts and frequently
carry out insurgency activities.
Offensive portrayal
Pakistanis burn tyres during a protest in Peshawar against a decision by controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish a caricature of the Prophet.
Opposition starts to
jockey for Senate seats
ive opposition parties in the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Assembly have started backchannel contacts to win the
maximum number of seats in the Senate
polls scheduled for March 3 as the smaller
group can play a crucial role in the contest.
A member of the opposition said yesterday that Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl,
the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the
Pakistan People’s Party and Qaumi Watan
Party had held an informal discussion to
bring joint candidates for the Senate polls
instead of contesting it separately.
“Opposition can win five to six seats if
it remains united in the elections,” a lawmaker said. He, however, said if the opposition parties remained scattered, then
every party would be at the losing end.
The lawmaker said the opposition parties totalled 53 MPAs, which were sufficient for winning at least five of the 12
He said smaller groups in the assembly
like PPP and ANP, which had five seats
each, could not be ignored in the polls.
“Bigger parties in the opposition side
would have to accommodate PPP and
ANP because their strength could play
very important role in the election of
senators,” he said.
JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Gul
Naseeb Khan said that his party had been
in informal discussion with opposition
parties to form alliance for the polls.
He said JUI-F central executive was
meeting in Islamabad next week in which
the plan for the Senate elections, including alliance with other political parties,
would be finalised.
Asked whether JUI-F and PTI would
cooperate with each other in Senate polls,
Maulana Gul Naseeb replied: “nothing is
impossible in politics. Our party can negotiate with every party including PTI.”
The opposition has 53 seats in the
124-member house with JUI-F having 17
MPAs, QWP 10, PML-N 16, and ANP and
PPP five each.
To bee or not to bee!
All 124 members in the house will cast
vote to elect 12 new senators.
Elections will be held for filling seven
general seats, including two each reserved
for women, ulema and technocrats, and
one reserved for minorities.
Of the 12 senators, who are completing
their tenure on March 11, six belongs to
ANP, five PPP and one JUI-F. After elections, JUI-F, Jamaat-i-Islami and PML-N
will increase their strength in the Senate.
The ruling coalition in the province
comprising Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf,
Jamaat-i-Islami and Awami Jamhoori
Ittehad Pakistan has 69 seats in the assembly and enjoys support of two independents.
The PTI being the major partner of the
coalition has 56 seats in the house.
The PTI, which has yet to decide about
whether to contest the Senate elections,
will be the new entrant in the Senate if it
takes part in it.
Similarly the AJIP, a small political
group with vote bank in Swabi district,
has total five seats in the provincial as-
Karachi Literature festival attracts
delegates from nine countries
An Afghan bee keeper displays his honey bees at a farm in Jalalabad. Although keeping bees can be difficult in Afghanistan due to
low winter temperatures, many farmers produce honey using modern beehives, either for sale or consumption at home, and to help
pollinate crops.
sembly. The group can occupy one seat in
the Upper House of Parliament if it makes
some adjustment either with its coalition
partners or opposition parties.
Sources said some MPAs of QWP and
PPP were in favour of evolving a joint formula for the polls to elect senators both
from treasury and opposition unopposed
to discourage money factor in elections.
“All groups in the assembly should
evolve a joint formula to elect senators
unopposed in order to check the sale and
purchase of votes,” said PPP parliamentary leader Syed Mohamed Ali Shah Bacha.
He said the PPP would demand one
seat in the polls despite having a small
number of MPAs and that it would be up
to the larger parties whether to accept
their demand or not.
The PML-N favours alliance among
opposition parties for the Senate polls but
eyes two seats, said parliamentary leader
of the party Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha.
He said after the filing of nomination
papers, the opposition parties would hold
formal talks to finalise formula for polls.
ook launches, 100 years of
Sindhi fiction, fiction and
non-fiction prizes, panel
discussions, mushaira, dastangoi, art exhibitions, storytelling sessions for children, ghazal
evening, drama presentations
and readings are some of the
highlights of the 6th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) scheduled
for February 6-8.
This was announced yesterday
by the founders of the festival,
Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Saiyid and
Dr Asif Farrukhi, at a press conference at the Gulrang Hall in the
Arts Council.
Saiyid said the 2015 edition of
the festival would be a three-day
event with panel discussions,
talks and book launches.
She said: “There will be 210
speakers, 173 from Pakistan,
37 from nine countries.” There
will be 85 sessions and 28 book
Saiyid mentioned that Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s
first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and cousin of Indira Gandhi, as
the keynote speaker at the KLF.
“She has written many books,
her biography has just come out.
She is a wonderful speaker.”
Poet Zehra Nigah would be
the other keynote speaker, added
According to Dr Farrukhi, everyone will find sessions based on
their interest. “There will be a
mushaira, dastangoi, 100 years
of Sindhi fiction, classical Urdu
poetry, there is everything for
Saiyid also announced the
award of best fiction and non-fiction book prizes, and peace prize
from the platform of the 6th KLF.
The details of those prizes were
given by the foreign embassy officials and other sponsors present
at the festival presser.
German Consul General Dr
Tilo Klinner, sponsoring the KLF
Peace Prize, said: “We are proud
of creating this important prize
last year that emulates the pres-
tigious Frankfurt Peace Prize.
The peace prize is awarded to
those authors who are promoting
tolerance and harmony in society
and international community.
This prize is not political; it encompasses a broad sense of artistic work.
There are 18 books under consideration which will be shortlisted on Tuesday and the announcement of the winner will
be made at the festival.”
The French embassy is sponsoring the Best Fiction prize.
Zohair Ali of Coca Cola read
out a message on behalf of Rizwan
Ali Khan, country manager of his
company, sponsor of the KLF Best
Non-Fiction Book Prize.
“We are delighted to support
such an initiative. We will be setting up a book bank at the KLF
where we will encourage visitors
to donate used textbooks, which
we will then donate it to The Citizens Foundation.”
Earlier, Saiyid said they expected this time round the festival would attract nearly 100,000
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Govt denies hiding
homeless from Pope
he Philippine government
yesterday denied allegations that it hauled off
hundreds of homeless people
to hide them from Pope Francis
during his recent visit to the predominantly Catholic country.
The social welfare department
admitted taking about 500 people off the streets of Manila to
a resort in Batangas province,
south of the capital, before the
78-year-old pontiff arrived on
January 15.
But the government insisted
that the curiously timed trip was
designed to evaluate whether
they were eligible to be beneficiaries of social programme.
“They’re not being hidden,”
said deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigal Valte.
“This was a step to help them
under a modified conditional
cash transfer programme for
people without permanent addresses. “They were being evaluated if we can help them by giving them assistance for housing.”
Some of the families returned
to the streets of the capital and
revealed that they were deliberately moved out of sight during
the papal visit.
“When we were at the resort, we were told that the Pope
wanted the streets to be cleared
and did not want to see us,” one
woman identified only as Joy
told DZMM radio station.
Another woman who declined
to be identified said she was told
the same thing.
“They told us that we should
stay in the resort because the
Pope was arriving and he didn’t
want to see many homeless people,” she told the radio station.
A member of the House of
Representatives has called for an
investigation into what he called
a “clearing operation” to hide
rampant poverty in the Philippines.
“This is truly horrendous, given the fact that Pope Francis visited our country to see and talk
to the poor,” said Congressman
Terry Ridon, a representative for
a party-list group Kabataan.
About one-quarter of the
Philippines’ estimated 100mn
people live on about $1 a day,
even though the economy has
been one of the fastest growing
in Southeast Asia.
Public connect
Comelec member
claims contract
with Smartmatic
is ‘overpriced’
By Robertzon Ramirez
Manila Times
member of the advisory
council of the Commission on Elections
(Comelec) has revealed that
the P300mn contract awarded
to Smartmatic for the “diagnosis” of 82,000 old Precinct
Count Optical Scan (PCOS)
machines was grossly overpriced.
Angel Averia Jr, president
of the Philippine Computer
Emergency Response Team
(PhCERT) and member of the
Comelec advisory council,
said it would have been better
if the poll body held a public
bidding for the project.
He explained that the annual maintenance rate of warranty for brand new computers ranges between 12% and
16% of unit cost.
quotation for the diagnostics alone
is 16.67% of the more than
P1.8bn (contract) for second
hand machines. The 12%-16%
that I have mentioned was for
annual maintenance,” he explained.
means the client is guaranteed
with parts replacement and
services but for this (quotation), it was diagnostics only.
It does not include parts replacement,” he added.
At P300mn, he said the
diagnostic cost per unit of
the 82,000 PCOS is a hefty
The counting machines
which were used in the 2010
polls were bought by the
Comelec for P1.8bn. They will
again be used for the 2016 national elections.
On December 23, 2014,
the Comelec issued a resolution approving Smartmatic’s
P300mn offer to diagnose the
82,000 PCOS machines used
in the 2010 and 2013 polls.
Comelec chairman Sixto
Brillantes said the contract
only covered the diagnostics
of the counting machines.
However, Averia insisted
that it would be best for the
poll body to bid out the contract since other companies
are also capable of doing
maintenance work on the machines.
“The Comelec is trying to
justify why there was no bidding. They’re trying to make it
appear that the lease contract
is still valid but as far as I’m
concerned, this is only legal
gymnastics to extend the contract,” he said.
“There are many companies
that are competent enough to
do the maintenance if it is bidded out..,” he added.
Brillantes had said that they
decided not to hold a public
bidding for the diagnostics
because Smartmatic, being
the supplier of the PCOS machines, is in the best position
to discover glitches in the machines.
Two commissioners, Luie
Tito Guia and Arthur Lim,
dissented from the majority
opinion in the awarding of the
contract to Smartmatic.
Brillantes backs Lim
as replacement
By Robertzon F Ramirez
Manila Times
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (centre) distributes schoolbags to dozens of pre-schoolers at the Dapitan Sports Complex, after he won his disqualification case at the
Supreme Court. The bag distribution is one of the projects of the city government.
Call centre outsourcing is
nation’s new success story
he Philippines is increasingly the new destination of choice for international companies wanting to
outsource their call centres.
In a room lined with rows of
computers, everyone here is
wearing a headset and is busy
answering phone calls from
other parts of the globe, working all night long while everybody else is asleep.
Jana Kleibert, a lecturer from
the University of Amsterdam,
explains the advantage of using Filipino call centres. “The
main attraction lies in the fact
that there is a very large talented work force that is English-speaking — and Englishspeaking with an accent that is
very understandable, especially
to North Americans,” she said.
“The second thing is the
work force is also well educated, which makes it easier to
transfer service-based tasks.
And there’s a cultural affinity
with North America that also
helps in communicating and
performing customer services.”
According to The Wall Street
Journal, Philippine outsourcing is second only to India in
terms of scale. A story in the
Workers at a call centre.
newspaper recently noted that
outsourcers there have hired
their onemnth employee after
emerging as a new industry 10
years ago. The business generated $16bn in revenue last year,
or 6% of the national GDP.
Put another way, the call
centre industry in the Philippines is now the third-largest
dollar earner after tourism and
remittances and is able to offer salaries of at least $400 a
Maria Concepcion Andres,
24, is a communications graduate who joined the call-centre
industry four years ago. “To be
quite honest, it’s really for the
pay,” she said. “From what I’d
experienced before with local jobs, they give you a very
low salary, and the benefits are
not very competitive. Foreign
companies that are based here
give better benefits, so I prefer
to work for them than for local
But it comes with a great deal
of stress, says Louie Delostrico,
another call-centre worker.
“First of all, this means
sleeping during daytime because you have to work during
nighttime,” she said.
“And then there are the cus-
tomers themselves, because a
lot of them are irate. You need a
lot of patience, especially when
a customer is swearing at you,
using profane language.”
There are health consequences, says Leian Marasigan,
a researcher on labour issues
at the University of the Philippines.
“It’s the nature of the work,”
Marasigan says. “You answer
calls all the time. There are adverse health impacts — on the
throat, for example — and then
of course, there’s the stress of
dealing with angry customers
most of the time because this is
customer service.”
One advertisement from a
leading call centre company
describes its workers as a new
breed of heroes for sacrificing their family and social lives
to contribute to the country’s
economy and their families’
welfare. Unusual working hours
means having fun at strange
times of the day.
It’s 9am and Rory Zachs has
just finished bowling after work
with his colleagues. “I come to
work at 10pm,” he says.
“I stay all night like everybody else and work very hard.
But if you don’t mind I’m going to cut this discussion short
now — because I’m going to go
to sleep.”
ommission on Elections
chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr wants Commissioner Christian Robert Lim to be
his successor, if Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will not
be named to his post when he
retires next month.
Brillantes said Lim is
qualified to head the commission because the latter is
a “senior commissioner.” “If
you ask me, if not Leila, it
should be Lim because he’s
the most senior,” he said.
Brillantes explained that it
is better to appoint someone who already knows the
“If you put someone there
who has no experience the
period of adjustment will be
long,” he added.
He however admitted that
naming his replacement is
the prerogative of President
Benigno Aquino.
Security tightened after two
dead and 54 injured in blast
ecurity was stepped up in
the southern Philippines
yesterday after a suspected
car bomb killed two people and
wounded 54, authorities said.
The blast occurred Friday outside a bus terminal and a karaoke
bar in Zamboanga City, 875 kilometres south of Manila.
Agrimero Cruz Junior, a regional
police director, said he had ordered more random checkpoints
and deployed more officers on
patrol.Zamboanga City Mayor
Maria Isabelle Climaco said she
suspects that the Al Qaedalinked Abu Sayyaf rebel group
was behind the attack.
She said the city jail has 52
high-risk inmates, mostly Abu
Sayyaf militants, among 1,500
Police and military bomb experts retrieve debris from the site of a suspected car bomb explosion along the
highway in Zamboanga City, southern Philippines.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Bangladesh violence
claims more lives
t least 34 people have died
in Bangladesh and scores
have been injured, most
of them in firebomb attacks,
amid rising political unrest
fuelled by a stand-off between
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
and the main opposition leader.
The renewed political turmoil
could cause a delay in shipments by the country’s $24bn
garment industry, already under pressure after a string of
fatal accidents.
Khaleda Zia, whose opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the
election on January 5 last year,
has demanded that Hasina and
her government step down for
a new vote under a caretaker
Hasina has refused, instead
tightening her grip by arresting key opposition leaders and
clamping down on critical media as anti-government protests spread. The violence has
worsened sharply since January 5, the first anniversary of
the vote.
Police said at least 25 people have died in arson attacks,
including two on Friday. Eight
more were killed in clashes with
police, and one died following injuries from a crude bomb
blast, they added.
At least 50 people were injured, some critically, after opposition activists firebombed
several vehicles in the capital,
Dhaka, and surrounding districts, police and witnesses said.
In Dhaka, at least 29 people
suffered burns after attackers
Zia’s younger
son dies in
Firefighters trying to extinguish fire of a burning bus during the nonstop blockade called by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Dhaka.
hurled petrol bombs at a bus,
police said.
“Nine are in critical condition,” said Mohammad Sajjat
Khandakar, a doctor at Dhaka
Medical College Hospital, which
has been struggling to deal with
growing numbers of the injured.
More than 7,000 opposition
activists have been detained
since the anniversary, Industry
Minister Amir Hossain Amu, the
head of a government law and
order panel, has said.
The opposition called for another 36-hour countrywide
strike from today to protest
against the arrests and “oppression” of its leaders during an
indefinite transport blockade it
Zia called the blockade after
she was prevented from holding a mass rally in Dhaka on
the January 5 anniversary.
Legal action could be considered against Zia for ordering the
killing of innocent people, said
Health Minister Mohammed
“They should immediately stop
the killing of innocent people,
children, woman, labourers,” he
told reporters on Saturday after
visiting the burns victims.
BNP leaders were not imme-
diately available to comment on
the threat of legal action.
Hasina and Zia have alternated
as prime minister for most of
the past two decades in a fierce
rivalry marked by periods of
widespread political violence.
The United States, the European Union and Britain have
voiced concern and urged all
Bangladeshi parties to engage in
angladesh Nationalist
Party (BNP) chairperson and former premier
Khaleda Zia’s younger son
Arafat Rahman Koko died of
heart failure yesterday, the
party confirmed.
Zia’s press secretary Maruf
Kamal Khan told bdnews24.
com that Koko, 45, died
while he was being taken to a
hospital in Malaysia.
Koko, convicted in a money-laundering case, was staying abroad since 2008.
He was sentenced to six years
in prison and fined 190mn taka
(about $2.5mn) for laundering money to Singapore between 2004 and 2006, when his
mother was prime minister.
Press wing official Shamsuddin Didar told reporters
that Koko’s funeral would be
held at Kuala Lumpur’s Masjid
Negara on Sunday after Zuhr
Koko was arrested along with
his mother on September 3,
2007 at their cantonment home
during the emergency rule. He
went to Thailand for treatment
on July 19 next year after the
military-run caretaker government released him on parole.
He moved from Bangkok to
Malaysia. He stayed at a rented
house in Kuala Lumpur with
his wife and two daughters.
The Awami League-led coalition that came to power in
2009 decided against extending his parole further.
Koko defied court summons
leading to his trial and conviction as a fugitive from justice which meant he could not ap-
Nepal PM blames
Maoists for missed
charter deadline
epal’s Prime Minister
Sushil Koirala has accused opposition Maoists of turning parliament into
a battleground and derailing
efforts to secure agreement
on a new constitution before a
midnight deadline expired on
“The constituent assembly
has become a showcase for
agitation, vandalism and chaos,” said Koirala, at the end of
a week which saw lawmakers
come to blows in parliament as
tensions rose over the delayed
“Some political parties ...
have taken the route of strikes
and protests, seriously obstructing efforts to write the
constitution,” Koirala said in a
televised address to the nation.
Nepal’s parties have spent
years locked in a stalemate
over the charter while political
power plays have confounded
efforts to reach an agreement,
analysts say.
Opposition lawmakers led
by former Maoist rebels this
week blocked parliamentary
proceedings, storming into
the well of the main chamber and shouting slogans, in
a bid to prevent ruling party
politicians from proposing a
vote on disputed issues in the
constitution based on consensus,”
lawmakers chanted.
Parliament Speaker Subhash
Nembang on Friday urged lawmakers to end the disruption
and instructed them to hammer
out an agreement or be prepared
for a vote, before adjourning the
assembly until Sunday.
“People want answers from
us, they are watching us and
they are waiting,” Nembang
As political rifts have widened, the impoverished Himalayan nation has sunk deeper
into paralysis and anger has
spilled over on to the streets,
with opposition parties staging a nationwide strike last
The constitution was intended to conclude a peace process
begun in 2006 when Maoist
guerrillas entered politics, ending a decade-long insurgency
that left an estimated 16,000
people dead.
But six prime ministers and
two elections later, political infighting has crippled efforts to resolve the deadlock,
analysts say.
“Individual leaders are cynically holding the constitution
hostage to their petty interests
... they are basically jockeying
for future positions as PM and
president while negotiating our
future,” said Kunda Dixit, editor
of the Nepali Times weekly.
“Their ambitions have overwhelmed any push for an agreement... and they are unable to
compromise because of a ‘winner
takes all’ attitude,” Dixit said.
A key sticking point concerns
internal borders, with the opposition pushing for provinces to
be created along lines that could
favour historically marginalised
Other parties have attacked
this model, calling it too divisive
and a threat to national unity.
The ruling parties and their
allies have the two-thirds
parliamentary majority they
he World Bank (WB) is
set to provide $775mn
for implementation of
two development projects - one
for improvement of primary
education and another for construction of multipurpose disaster shelters in Bangladesh’s
coastal belt.
The government and the
World Bank Board will sign two
financing agreements in this
regard - one worth $400mn
as additional financing for the
Third Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP3) and another $375mn for the
multipurpose disaster shelter
project (MDSP) - today and
tomorrow, respectively.
Economic relations division (ERD) senior secretary Md
Mejbahuddin and WB country director Johannes Zutt are
expected to sign the deals.
Talking to newsmen yester-
day, an ERD official said the
PEDP-3 has been able to constantly improve primary education benefiting some 19.5mn
children with quality learning
and completing their primary
school cycle.
He said the project also goes
on with the introduction of
pre-primary education, especially in disadvantaged areas,
improving school facilities and
PEDP-3 helped boost the
peal against his sentence. But
the BNP says the case aimed to
settle political scores.
BNP’s senior vice chairman
Tarique Rahman was also arrested in 2007 and slapped with
a slew of corruption charges.
Later accused of trying to kill
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,
he was also released by the
2007-8 caretaker regime on parole and has been staying in the
UK since 2008 with his family.
Never the one for political
showmanship, the youngest son
of Bangladesh’s first military
ruler Gen Ziaur Rahman and
three-time prime minister Khaleda chose to play the second
fiddle to his elder brother and
their presumed political heir.
But in 2001, when his
mother led an amalgamation
of Jamaat-e-Islami and other
parties to power, Koko, was
surprisingly installed as an
adviser to Bangladesh Cricket
Allegations have it that
Koko and his cohorts ‘occupied’ BCB shunting out an
elected committee by forming
an advisory panel.
He took the chair of the
cricket board’s development
committee removing then BCB
chief Saber Hossain Chowdhury from his post.
in Lankan
Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala delivers an address to the nation in Kathmandu.
need to approve a constitution
without Maoist support.
But the former insurgents
have warned of further conflict
if they fail to take opposition
views into account.
Prime Minister Koirala
said his party would make
every effort “to forge consensus on the basis of team
work and understanding”.
A missed deadline will prolong instability and deliver yet
another blow to an economy
which has seen annual GDP
growth plummet from 6.1% in
2008 to 3.6% in 2013, according
to World Bank data.
“How will the country
progress like this?” said Pra-
deep Jung Pandey, president
of the Federation of Nepalese
Chambers of Commerce and
“If there is no new constitution and all we will have are
protests and instability, how
can anyone make new investments or expand existing ones?”
Pandey said.
$775mn WB loan for education, disaster shelters
By Mizan Rahman
Arafat Rahman Koko
number of primary schools receiving textbooks within the
first month of the school curriculum year to 93% in 2013 from
32% in 2010.
The project was originally approved in August 2011 with a total outlay of 221.96bn taka. But
its cost got reduced by 40.42bn
taka in its first revision in a recently held high-level meeting since two componentsschool feeding and stipend
programmes have been left out
from the project.
Two separate projects have
already been carried out for
these two programmes with
33.51bn taka for stipend and
19.57bn taka for school feeding.
The official said the multipurpose disaster shelter project
(MDSP) aims to reduce the vulnerability to natural disaster of
some 14mn coastal populations
in nine districts. Multipurpose
disaster centres are identified
as high priority for the disasterprone coastal districts to build
long-term disaster resilience.
Under the project, 552 new
multipurpose disaster shelters
will be constructed, while 450
existing shelters along with
connecting roads and communication networks will be renovated for easy accessibility to
nine coastal districts - Barisal,
Bhola, Pirojpur, Patuakhali,
Feni, Lakshmipur, Noakhali,
Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar.
The MDSP will introduce
the first-ever steel shelter design in Bangladesh for quality
construction and longevity.
ri Lanka’s new government
said yesterday it is scrapping compulsory military
training for school teachers and
The three-week army training,
mandatory under ousted leader
Mahinda Rajapakse’s administration, had resulted in at least
three deaths in recent years and
was deeply unpopular among
student and teacher unions.
The new government that
came to power following the
January 8 presidential election,
won by Maithripala Sirisena, has
vowed to reduce the role of the
military in Sri Lankan society.
Education Minister Akila Viraj
Kariyawasam said the government had “concluded that military training is not necessary for
school teachers”.
The government has decided
to remove the military ranks
given to school principals, the
minister told reporters.
Sri Lanka’s security forces
wielded huge influence in civil
society after they crushed Tamil
rebels in May 2009 and declared
an end to decades of ethnic conflict that had claimed 100,000
lives between 1972 and 2009.
After the war ended, the military was deployed to run even
the country’s main performing
arts centre, while army officers replaced civil servants at key
The previous government also
used the military in retail trade,
including the sale of vegetables
and fish and in the operation
of hotels, travel companies and
even barber saloons.
Former president Rajapakse
and his immediate family members, including his retired colonel brother Gotabhaya Rajapakse
who was the then defence secretary, face allegations of abuse of
power and huge corruption.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
P.O.Box 2888
Doha, Qatar
[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery)
Fax 44350474
Qatar government
must look beyond
Diversifying government revenue beyond hydrocarbons,
although challenging, will enhance Qatar’s economy and
create a thriving investment environment in the country.
Persistent drop in crude price remains a major challenge
for all oil producers, both Opec members and non-Opec
nations. Oil producers with well-diversified economies
will be hit only marginally, whereas others are ought to
face rough weather during the low price regime.
Qatar has a resilient oil and gas sector due to the
country’s leading position in the LNG market and new gas
sector developments.
Substantial government investments in improving
the country’s basic infrastructure and developing
other sectors such as health, education, transport and
tourism will help the non-oil and gas sector outpace
Qatar’s target is to get an “AAA” credit rating clearly in
view of its growing economic strength and expansion of
the non-oil GDP portfolio.
The country’s non-hydrocarbon sector is expected
to continue growing strongly following an 18% average
annual growth rate between 2008 and 2013, a recent PwC
report showed.
The non-hydrocarbon sector will receive further
impetus with Qatar
earmarking $182bn for
project implementation
over the next five years,
of which $27.4bn will
have been utilised in the
current fiscal, QNB data
Qatar’s projected
population growth,
resilient oil and gas sector, non-energy sector growth and
stable inflation should help the country’s real GDP growth
maintain the desired momentum in the short to medium
term. And many economists believe Qatar is one of the
“best placed” GCC countries to weather the current fall in
oil prices.
But Qatar will have to further strengthen its macrofiscal capabilities to steer clear of the dark clouds in the
global economic horizon.
To meet the nation’s non-hydrocarbon financing goal,
a larger non-hydrocarbon revenue base is required.
Increased governmental expenditure and growth in
governmental services are key to the diversification efforts
of the Qatari government.
Experts have recommended speeding up the process of
deepening Qatar’s capital markets and sources of funding;
expanding the government’s revenue base; and managing
government expenditure efficiently.
One of the prerequisites for an effective monetary
policy, they say, is a deep and liquid local capital market
and active sovereign debt market.
Qatar’s equity market is the third largest by market
capitalisation in the GCC and has attracted more trading
volumes following its graduation into the emerging
countries group by MSCI in May 2014.
However, the number of equities listed on the stock
exchange is low at 43 with only one IPO in the last four
years, suggesting a scope for further growth, PwC points
It is suggested that Qatar Central Bank accelerate the
deepening of capital markets and develop its liquidity
framework to increase the potency of monetary policy
and combat the threat of potentially rising and volatile
These measures will help Qatar to achieve the most
sought-after AAA credit rating, develop a business
environment attractive to private and international
investors, diversify the economy and ensure prudent
management of governmental expenditure.
Persistent drop
in crude price
remains a major
challenge for all
oil producers
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Key ingredients needed for
a successful growth strategy
The key to a successful
growth strategy is to
ensure that policies
reinforce and enhance one
By Michael Spence
t a time of lacklustre
economic growth, countries
around the world are
attempting to devise and
implement strategies to spur and
sustain recovery.
The key word is strategy: to
succeed, policymakers must ensure
that measures to open the economy,
boost public investment, enhance
macroeconomic stability and increase
reliance on markets and incentives for
resource allocation are implemented
in reasonably complete packages.
Pursuing only some of these objectives
produces distinctly inferior results.
China provides a telling example.
Before Deng Xiaoping launched the
policy of “reform and opening up” in
1978, the country had relatively high
levels of public-sector investment.
But the centrally planned economy
lacked market incentives and was
largely closed to the global economy’s
major markets for goods, investment
and technology.
As a result, returns on public
investment were modest, and China’s
economic performance was mediocre.
China’s economic transformation
began with the introduction in the
1980s of market incentives in the
agricultural sector.
These reforms were followed
by a gradual opening to the global
economy, a process that accelerated
in the early 1990s. Economic growth
surged ahead and returns on public
investment soared, reaching an annual
growth rate above 9% of GDP, shortly
after the reforms were implemented.
The key to a successful growth
strategy is to ensure that policies
reinforce and enhance one another. For
example, boosting returns on public
investment – critical to any growth
plan – demands complementary
policies and conditions, in areas
ranging from resource allocation to the
institutional environment.
In terms of effectiveness, the policy
package is more than the sum of its
Of course, the specific portfolio of
policies varies depending on the stage
of a country’s development; earlystage growth dynamics are distinctly
different from those in middle-income
and advanced countries. But the
imperative is the same.
Just as a developing China
achieved rapid growth only when a
comprehensive policy package was
implemented, the advanced countries
struggling to restore sustainable
growth patterns today have found that
incomplete policy packages produce
slow recoveries and below-potential
growth and job creation.
In terms of
effectiveness, the
policy package is
more than the sum
of its parts
Consider the post-crisis
performance of the European Union
and the United States. Though both
have had their share of problems, the
US is performing somewhat better
(though it still faces major challenges
in generating middle-income
The difference is not that the
US launched a large fiscal stimulus
focused on public-sector investment;
no such stimulus was implemented,
though many economists, including
me, believe that it would have
generated a faster recovery and
stronger long-term growth.
Nor is the difference greater
political effectiveness; few would say
that the US government is functioning
well nowadays, given rising
partisanship and sharp disagreement
about its proper role.
The US economy has benefited
from two factors: its greater structural
flexibility and dynamism relative to
Europe, and the broader mandate
of the US Federal Reserve, which
has pursued a far more aggressive
monetary policy than has the
European Central Bank.
Though analysts differ on the
relative importance of these two
factors – and, indeed, it is difficult
to weight them – it is safe to say that
both played a role in facilitating the US
Europe is now placing a large
bet on an increase in public-sector
investment, using a combination
of EU-level funding and national
investment programmes, perhaps
augmented by a modification of the
EU’s fiscal rules.
Given that public-sector
underinvestment is a common cause
of subpar growth, this is a step in the
right direction.
But public investment is not enough.
Without complementary structural
reforms that encourage private
investment and innovation – and thus
enable economies to adapt and compete
in a global, technology-driven economy
– a public-investment programme will
have a disappointingly weak impact on
Instead, debt-financed public
investment will produce a short-run
stimulus, at the cost of longer-term
fiscal stability.
The problem is that structural
reforms are notoriously difficult to
implement. For starters, they face
political resistance from short-run
losers, including the companies and
sectors that existing rigidities protect.
Moreover, in order to ensure that
such reforms ultimately benefit
everyone, there must be a strong
culture of trust and a determination
to prevent more flexible arrangements
from leading to abuses.
Finally, structural reforms
require time to take effect. This is
particularly true in the eurozone,
whose members abandoned a crucial
tool for accelerating the process –
exchange-rate adjustments to account
for different economies’ productivity
levels – when they adopted the
common currency.
ECB president Mario Draghi
recently argued that, because
individual EU countries’ growthretarding policies have negative
external effects, perhaps they should
not have unimpeded control in certain
policy areas.
Though member countries’
financial supervisory authority
is already being limited through
centralisation of bank regulation and
resolution mechanisms, Draghi’s
suggestion is more far-reaching.
One wonders if Draghi’s proposal is
politically feasible in the EU context.
Even if it were, would it be necessary?
All economies have sub-units across
which economic productivity, growth,
and dynamism vary considerably.
Indeed, differentials in the quality
of governance and policies seem
persistent, even in economies that
perform pretty well overall.
Perhaps part of the answer is to
prevent sub-units – in the EU’s case,
member countries – from falling short
on reforms. But centralisation carries
its own costs.
Given the risk inherent in betting on
policy convergence, labour mobility –
which enables highly valuable human
capital, especially well-educated young
people, to leave lagging regions for those
that offer more and better employment
opportunities – could prove to be a
critical tool for adjustment.
As it stands, labour mobility
is imperfect in the EU. But,
with language training and the
implementation of something like the
Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs
(which aimed to create an innovative
“learning economy”, underpinned by
inclusive social and environmental
policies), mobility could be enhanced.
But more fluid labour mobility
is no panacea. As with every other
element of a growth strategy, mutually
reinforcing efforts are the only way to
achieve success.
Half a loaf may be better than
none, but half the ingredients do not
translate into half of the hoped-for
results. - Project Syndicate
zMichael Spence, a Nobel laureate in
economics, is professor of economics
at New York University’s Stern School
of Business and senior fellow at the
Hoover Institution. His latest book is
The Next Convergence – The Future
of Economic Growth in a Multispeed
Public health challenges in the Middle East
By Dr Cesar Chelala
New York
espite modest growth and
poverty reduction, some
important gains in the health
status of the population
have been achieved in the Middle
East, thanks to improvements in
technology, health service delivery and
public health programmes. However,
the whole region still faces important
public health challenge.
For example, although the region
has decreasing rates of communicable
diseases, it has increasing rates of
non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
This is a group of diseases, also known
as chronic diseases, are not passed
from person to person and tend to be
in general of slow progression.
The four main types among these
diseases are cardiovascular diseases
(like heart attacks and stroke), cancers,
chronic respiratory diseases (such as
chronic obstructed pulmonary disease
and asthma) and diabetes.
These diseases are driven by factors
that include ageing, rapid unplanned
urbanisation, and the globalisation of
unhealthy lifestyles. Among the latter
are unhealthy diets, tobacco use, lack
of physical activity and obesity. They
may lead to raised blood pressure,
increased blood glucose levels, and
elevated blood lipids.
The economic costs of these
diseases can be considerable.
In low-resources households,
health care costs for cardiovascular
diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases
and diabetes can quickly drain
those resources and drive families
into further poverty and hinder the
countries economic development.
Some relatively new diseases
are emerging, such as HIV/Aids
and, in some areas old diseases
are re-emerging, as is the case
with tuberculosis. Although HIV
prevalence rates are low in the
countries in the Middle East, the
risks for further spread exist. Should
this happen, the infection could
have significant social and economic
Communicable diseases, by
contrast, spread from one person to
another or from animal to person.
The spread usually happens via
airborne viruses or bacteria, but also
through blood or other body fluids.
Among this group of diseases are
malaria, tuberculosis, measles, HIV/
Aids, Ebola, influenza, hepatitis and
Malaria, tuberculosis and measles
are responsible for a significant
proportion of the region’s morbidity.
The conflicts afflicting the region
have provoked an increase in the
incidence of communicable diseases.
This is the case in Gaza, where the
recent conflicts have led to outbreaks
of water-borne and food-borne
diseases as a result of contamination
of drinking water with raw sewage.
International health organizations
confirmed these facts.
The wars in some countries such as
Syria and Iraq have led to a substantial
emigration of doctors which has added
to the problems of already insufficient
qualified health personnel. In Iraq,
the amount of physicians has been
decimated by the continuing conflict
in that country.
In addition, the conflicts have led
to the destruction of a significant part
of the health infrastructure in the
Although progress has been made
in the health status of mothers and
children in most countries in the
region, disparities within these
countries persist, making this progress
inequitable, as has been reported by
“The health and well-being
of mothers and children is often
determined not by the country they
live in, but by their income and where
they live within a country,” said Shashia
Azfar, Unicef Regional Director for the
Middle East and North Africa.
Most health services in the region
are still based on a curative model,
which is expensive to maintain and
also inefficient in addressing new
health challenges.
That is why health-care services
will have to increasingly include the
provision of preventive and promotion
services and improve primary health
care to attend the most immediate
health needs.
Although some countries have
the economic resources to face this
challenge, they have to be redirected in
a way to make them more effective.
Because the Middle East region is
composed of a diverse mix of countries
ranging from very poor ones to
wealthy oil exporting countries, there
are no solutions that uniformly apply
to all of them. A thorough evaluation
of the situation in each country,
however, can provide the information
to apply the best approach to solve the
health problems in each of them.
zDr Cesar Chelala is an international
public health consultant, and a winner
of an Overseas Press Club of America
award, and a national journalism
award from Argentina.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The social science of medicine
The growing capacity of
pathogens to resist
antibiotics and other
antimicrobial drugs
is turning into the greatest
emerging crisis in
contemporary healthcare
By Jeremy Farrar
hen I was a medical
student in the mid1980s, I contracted
malaria in Papua
New Guinea. It was a miserable
experience. My head ached. My
temperature soared. I became
anaemic. But I took my medicine
and I got better. The experience
wasn’t pleasant, but thanks to cheap,
effective malaria drugs I was never in
very much danger.
The pills that cured me, chloroquine
tablets, do not work anymore.
Even at the time I was taking them,
the parasite that causes malaria
had already become resistant to
chloroquine in many parts of the
world; Papua New Guinea was one
of the last places where the pills
continued to be effective, and even
there they were losing their potency.
Today, chloroquine has basically
disappeared from our medical arsenal.
The growing capacity of pathogens
to resist antibiotics and other
antimicrobial drugs is turning into
the greatest emerging crisis in
contemporary healthcare – and it is a
crisis that cannot be solved by science
Other pharmaceuticals are
following in chloroquine’s wake.
Multi-drug-resistant strains of
tuberculosis, E. coli, and salmonella
are now commonplace. Most
gonorrhea infections are untreatable.
Superbugs, like methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) and Clostridium difficile, are
proliferating. In India, antibioticresistant infections killed more than
58,000 newborns in 2013.
Today, malaria is often treated with
a combination of artemisinin – a drug
derived from a Chinese herb – and
other antimalarial drugs. But these
revolutionary medicines are now
in danger of following chloroquine
into obsolescence; resistant strains
of malaria have been documented in
Southeast Asia.
This is more than a medical
problem; it is a potential economic
disaster. Research commissioned
by the Review on Antimicrobial
Resistance, headed by the economist
Jim O’Neill, has calculated that
if current trends continue, drugresistant infections will kill 10mn
people a year by 2050 and cost the
global economy some $100tn over the
next 35 years.
Even that dramatic prediction
may be a substantial underestimate,
as it includes only the direct costs
in terms of lives and wellbeing lost
to infections. Many other aspects
of modern medicine also rely on
antibiotics. Cancer patients receiving
chemotherapy take them to suppress
bacteria that would otherwise
overwhelm their weakened immune
Many surgical operations now
considered routine, including joint
replacements and Caesarean sections,
can be performed safely only when
antibiotics prevent opportunistic
The origins of drug resistance
are a well-understood matter of
evolution. If pathogens are exposed to
the selective pressure of toxic drugs,
eventually they will adapt.
The Wellcome Trust, which I
lead, has invested hundreds ofmns
of dollars into researching these
mechanisms, improving diagnoses,
and creating new drugs.
In order to address the problem
effectively, this effort must be
extended beyond the realm of
biological science to areas not
traditionally associated with
In rich and poor countries alike,
we have become systematic abusers
of antibiotics. The key to combating
resistance is to delay the rate at which
the pathogens can adapt.
But, by overprescribing antibiotics
and failing to complete the required
courses of treatment, we are exposing
germs to just enough medicine to
encourage resistance. In effect, we are
vaccinating germs against the drugs
we want to use against them.
That is because we have come to
regard antibiotics almost as consumer
goods – ours to demand from doctors,
and ours to take or stop taking as we
see fit.
Even the most informed patients
misuse these wonder drugs. Research
in the United Kingdom has found
that even people who understand
how resistance develops often
contribute to the problem by taking
antibiotics without a prescription
or giving their drugs to members of
their family.
Changing such destructive
behaviour will require that we better
understand the social and cultural
factors that drive it. Disciplines
like history, psychology, sociology,
anthropology, economics, market
research and social marketing can
This is true not only for
antimicrobial resistance. It also
applies to outbreaks like the Ebola
epidemic. Combating the virus
requires knowledge about its biology,
the epidemiology of its transmission
and the drugs and vaccines that could
potentially be deployed against it.
But it also requires an
understanding of the behaviours that
have allowed infection to spread in
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Explaining what made these
societies so vulnerable requires
learning about the region’s recent
history and understanding why people
there are deeply distrustful of public
authorities. Isolation of patients and
safe burial of the dead are crucial to
containing Ebola, but both need to be
introduced with cultural sensitivity
– not just explanations of the science
behind them.
Today’s great public-health
threats have profound economic
consequences. Minimising the risks
they pose requires recognising that
they are intertwined with the social,
behavioural, and cultural landscape.
Science provides powerful tools.
But we need more than science to
use these tools effectively. - Project
zJeremy Farrar is director of the
Wellcome Trust, a global charitable
foundation dedicated to improving
Weather report
Three-day forecast
Please allow
roadside parking
Dear Sir,
On Fridays and Saturdays most
of the roads around City Center in
Doha are comparatively free from
traffic as they are public holidays.
Most of the roadsides in the area
have parking spaces on these days.
So it is but natural that some of the
visitors to the City Center shopping
complex leave their cars alongside
the roads because of non-availability
of parking space in the designated
areas. Vehicles left on the roadside
don’t block the traffic or cause any
problems to pedestrians.
But traffic police often impose
fine on such vehicles. The Traffic
Department must realise that
drivers are leaving their vehicles on
the roadside as there is not enough
parking for the large number of people
visiting City Center on holidays. They
must allow roadside parking in the
area at least on Fridays and Saturdays.
If they don’t do so, then most of us
will be forced to stay at home rather
than visit places like City Center on
our holidays.
[email protected]
Speed limit
Dear Sir,
The Traffic Department’s decision
to reduce speed limit on February
22nd Street to 80km from 100km has
come as a surprise, not because it is
not a wise move but because of its
abruptness (Gulf Times, January 24). It
is essential that the public is informed
about such changes before they
actually come into effect.
Such sudden changes, without
properly announcing them
beforehand, will cause more problems
to road users. At least a week’s advance
notice must be given to motorists if
speed limits are being revised on any
major roads.
That being said, the decision to
reduce the speed limit on February
22nd Street is a welcome move,
one feels. It is extremely difficult
to control a car going at the speed
of 100km an hour. As this is a busy
road, especially during peak hours,
the 80km speed limit there will make
it a safer stretch.
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By e-mail
[email protected]
Fax 44350474
Or Post
Letters to the Editor
Gulf Times
P O Box 2888
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Waves: 1-2/3 Feet
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[email protected]
Around the region
Live issues
Abu Dhabi
Dispense with fears and make more friends
If you’re looking for a
conversational topic that’s less
personal, you can talk about what’s
happening in the world. There’s
always plenty to talk about. And being
in agreement isn’t necessary.
In fact, not being of the same
opinion can make for a much more
interesting conversation, but
remember never to put other people
down or write them off just because
they have a different outlook on some
To make or be a good friend, you
have to keep your values high and
extend yourself if someone you know
is in need. By just answering a simple
question or helping a person lift a
box, you can start a conversation and
create a friendship, but you have to put
yourself out there a little.
So the next time you see someone
you’d like to get to know better,
look for an opportunity to say so by
lending a hand or sharing something
meaningful. The results will be
beneficial to both of you.
It’s also important to remember
that when you feel the need, you can
always reach out to someone you know
who cares about you. By pushing past
your fears, you will develop great
By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
he energy you get from all the
people who care about you is
a gift. People who have close
relationships and friendships
with others generally live longer and
fuller lives. However, sometimes it
can be very scary to try to make a new
It’s important to realise how very
much we need each other to get along
in this world. And I firmly believe that
we are meant to interact and have
relationships with one another. If not,
then why are there so many people on
the planet?
We are not meant to be alone,
though there will always be
misanthropes who don’t like other
people. The desire to have someone to
relate to or bond with is human nature
and rooted deeply in our DNA. When
we long for contact with others and
have little or none at all, it can make
for a very depressing life.
They say the best way to make a
friend is to be one, and I agree. When
people do nice things for each other,
everyone feels good, and trust begins
to develop.
Most friendships start off slowly
and grow over time. A relationship or
friendship that fires up too quickly
may tend to burn out at the same pace.
Workplaces can be a great place to
start, as most people want to grab a
bite or have a drink after their day is
done, so it can be an easy way to find
someone to hang with. It will be easy
for you to make conversation because
you already have work in common.
Office gossip is always available
to get a chat started, though I don’t
recommend you make it your entire
interchange. People get to know each
other by asking questions and sharing
stories about their lives.
Have you told your story to others?
What questions do you have for some
of your coworkers?
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 email
him at
[email protected]
Kuwait City
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Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Al Bawasil camp for children
with diabetes begins on Jan 31
hildren from 18 countries are preparing to
converge on Doha for the
15th annual Al Bawasil camp for
children with diabetes, being
held this month by the Qatar
Diabetes Association – Qatar
Foundation. The children will
learn about the latest medical
information about managing
diabetes, while making new
friends from around the region
in the process.
Maersk Oil Qatar has once
again thrown its support behind
the Al Bawasil camp at Aspire. A
total of QR400,000 was raised
to fund the camp by participants in the recent Maersk Oil
and Qatar Petroleum (MOQP)
Challenge event.
Dr Abdulla al-Hamaq, executive director of Qatar Diabetes
Association – Qatar Founda-
tion, said: “The efforts of the
27 teams that took part in the
Maersk Oil and Qatar Petroleum Challenge in donating
funds through registration fees,
and the assistance of Maersk
Oil Qatar in particular through
its support for the challenge
and also for Action on Diabetes,
has been invaluable. The most
vivid example of this will be the
look of delight on the children’s
faces during and after the Al Bawasil camp.”
The Al Bawasil camp, which
runs for six days from January
31, is a safe and positive environment for children with Diabetes, to help them address the
emotional and physical pain
caused by diabetes, and to give
them the confidence to reach
their full potential. Doctors,
nurses, nutritionists and so-
cial specialists will run educational sessions for the 75 children, in addition to fun physical
Lewis Affleck, managing
director of Maersk Oil Qatar,
said: “Diabetes is one of Qatar’s greatest health challenges.
That is why the Al Bawasil Children’s camp is so important.
Maersk Oil Qatar is delighted to
support such initiatives as part
of our commitment to meaningful programmes, aligned
to the Qatar National Vision
2030. During the past 20 years
Maersk Oil Qatar has become
specialists in operating one of
the most complex fields in the
world – the Al Shaheen field –
which produces around a third
of Qatar’s daily oil production. But we also aim to make a
broader contribution to society
through our support for partnerships like Action on Diabetes which, among other results,
screened over 17,000 people
in Qatar for Diabetes last year
The MO&QP Challenge in
November last year saw some
150 people from 27 teams representing private and government organisations in Qatar
take to the desert to compete
and raise money for the Al Bawasil camp. Teams completed
five demanding stages over two
days. For the first time, challenges included both mountain
biking and kayaking, as well as
orienteering by GPS, completing construction projects, navigating in the desert at night
and solving challenging team
problems to promote problem
solving and develop team skills.
Children participate in last year’s 14th annual Al Bawasil Camp.
All activities at the MOQP
Challenge were themed around
diabetes and promoted healthy
lifestyles, demonstrating the
benefits of adopting a healthy
lifestyle, including maintaining
healthy fitness level, balanced
diet and stopping smoking.
Boom time for
tour accessory
It is boom time for those selling
tour accessories such as tents,
carpets and mattresses as spring
vacations for local schools begin,
local daily Arrayah reported.
According to the report, shops
selling such goods for tours have
been seeing an increase in the
sales for the past several days.
Qataris prefer to go outdoors
like desert safari and nature
camping during this time of
the year and many of them
spend their entire holiday there,
camping in tents.
Similarly, the Falcons Market is
also witnessing a robust sale as
nationals, who are passionate
followers of the sport, flock
the place to buy birds and
accessories for them.
Besides tents, mattresses and
carpets, the vacationers also
purchase cooking utensils, fuel,
meat grills and such other items
prior to their tours, said the
Many nationals feel that
camping in the deserts during
the holidays revives the
memories of the past and gives
the youngsters an opportunity
to remember the sacrifices made
by their parents to bring
them up.
QC panel preparing report
on private school fees
Simulator is a groundbreaking innovation for cleft lip surgery.
WISH to showcase
surgery simulator
at Feb summit
he World Innovation
Summit for Health
(WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF),
will showcase Smile Train’s
virtual surgery simulator - a
cleft lip and palate surgical
training tool - as one of the 20
newest and most groundbreaking healthcare innovations, being presented at the second
WISH summit next month.
Smile Train developed the
virtual surgery simulator in
collaboration with technology
company BioDigital to address
the challenge of training cleft
surgeons around the world. A
game-changer in surgical education and training, the simulator is a 3D, web-based, interactive tool that provides users
with essential information and
training on cleft anatomy and
cleft surgical repair techniques.
The free, web-based tool
offers a sustainable, accessible approach to cleft surgical
training and advances Smile
Train’s mission to provide a
long-term, scalable solution to
the global challenge of treating
cleft lip and palate.
Since its founding in 1999,
Smile Train has performed
more than 1mn cleft repair surgeries around the world. The
organisation currently reaches
more than 350 children each
day and 128,000 every year.
Susannah Schaefer, CEO of
Smile Train, said: “Smile Train
is thrilled to be participating
at the WISH 2015 summit to
showcase our virtual surgery
simulator alongside other innovators in global health. We’re
excited to share the simulator
and our sustainable training
model with experts tackling
some of the most pressing and
serious global health challenges facing governments, health
systems and populations.”
WISH’s Innovation Showcases offers a platform for
smaller, independent start-ups
to share healthcare innovations that have the potential to
transform lives and save governments’ money.
Prof the Lord Darzi of Den-
ham, executive chair of WISH,
said: “Smile Train is an example of healthcare innovation
that cleverly utilises technology to reduce the burden of
costs on suppliers and ease
the channel of distribution for
practitioners. The end result
is better patient care, faster
treatment, reduced costs and
improved results. That is what
our Innovation Showcases
aims to highlight, ways to simply and effectively improve
global healthcare for all.”
Only in its second year,
WISH’s Innovation Showcases
was opened up to global applicants and has received 80 applications from 26 countries.
The selection was made
by the Innovation Showcases
curation team, consisting of
Prof the Lord Darzi of Denham,
Dr Hanan al-Kuwari, managing director of Hamad Medical Corporation; Tim Brown of
global ideas consultancy IDEO;
and Bright Simons, president
of mPedigree Network, social
innovator and entrepreneur.
Field tour for food inspectors
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) has organised a field tour for its food inspectors, as
part of its training course on food safety. The tour covered many food outlets to acquaint the inspectors with
the external inspection of food items and the sampling procedures, besides, the reporting and documentation
of food violations. The field tour was organised as part of the programme aiming for enhancing the efficiency
of food inspectors.
study, being prepared
by the Qatar Chamber
(QCEC), will address the issue
of private school fees and enforce Qatari laws in this regard.
QCEC discussed the formation of a committee and subcommittees in a meeting last
week. The meeting was presided
over by Qatar Chamber deputy
chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed
bin Tuwar.
It agreed that the main function of the committee will be to
act as a link between the private
education sector and the authorities concerned to improve
the quality of school education
and boost its efficiency with
special focus on the knowledgebased economic objectives of
the country.
QCEC also looked into the
preparation of students with
disability before enrolling them
at various regular schools. It
stressed the importance of making more laws regarding the sup-
The Qatar Chamber Education Committee during the meeting recently.
port and protection of the rights
of such category of students.
The meeting discussed the
functions of the recently established consultative committee of
private schools.
QCEC members sought to
maintain communication chan-
nels open with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to get more
information on such committees
and see the possibility of including
representatives of QCEC in it.
QCEC also approved the
creation of a specialised education subcommittee comprising
of legislations and regulations
team, quality and control team,
projects and partnership team,
and research and study team.
QCEC will also conduct regular visits to the entities and host
the competent officials to discuss
related issues.
Municipality project to eliminate rodents
he Al Rayyan Municipality
has launched an anti-rodent project to eliminate
rodents in farms, ranches and
housing complexes across the
The municipality said it has
set up a specialised company to
eliminate rodents and insects at
3,823 ranches and 1,281 farms in
the country.
The company will implement
the project for three years and
the first phase has already hit the
ground running.
Muqbil al-Shemari, director, services affairs department at the Al Rayyan
Municipality, said that the
implementation of the project
is mandatory for all farms and
ranches. “If the owner denies
entry to the anti-rodent team,
the licence of the place will be
Al-Shemri announcing the anti-rodent project.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Charity spends QR25.5mn
on relief projects in Somalia
Work on this model village is in the final stages.
QC’s model village
for displaced Syrians
to house 100 families
atar Charity (QC) is preparing for the opening of
a new model village for
displaced Syrians. The village,
which is the fourth of its kind
in Syria, will house 100 families
with essential public services
and facilities.
QC has also announced opening of a number of other model
villages in the country soon.
The model village is in the final stages of construction and
includes a number of essential services. It is being built as
part of the ‘Before They Freeze’
campaign for the benefit of displaced and refugee Syrians who
have been affected by the recent
The model project has been
funded by donations from benefactors and philanthropists
in Qatar, who have donated
QR33mn to date.
The village will comprise
apartments for 100 Syrian families (around 600 people), who
are currently sheltered in tents.
Each apartment covers an
area of 17.5 m2 in addition to a 70
m2 kitchen for the village, a 140
m2 mosque, a 140 m2 school,
separate bathrooms for men and
women, laundry rooms, playgrounds for children, water distribution and rubbish collection
All apartments are fully
equipped with carpets, mattresses, blankets, pillows and
kitchen equipment, and residents will also receive free meals
every day, education services,
primary healthcare, religious
lessons and laundry services.
QC is working on the implementation of a number of
projects to help offset the worsening conditions the Syrians
are experiencing at home and in
neighbouring countries.
About 57% of QC’s recent aid
for Syria has been directed to the
Syrian interior, due to the harsh
conditions of the displaced Syrians at home, whose numbers are
growing daily, and whose suffering is increasing, with many
finding it difficult to gain access
to them.
In 2014, QC spent over
QR187mn on relief projects for
the Syrian people, benefiting
4,033,000 displaced and refugee
QC has given special priority
to food and medicines, in light of
the urgent need for them. About
34% of the total aid was spent on
food projects and 33% on health,
while shelter projects and nonfood items amounted to 25% and
education 8%.
QC’s ‘Before They Freeze’
campaign continues and will
include a new relief convoy.
Donations can be made by
calling the campaign hotlines
55524646 and 70700792, or the
call centre on 44667711. Donations also can be made through
QC website qcharity.org. They
can also purchase an entire
apartment for QR9,000 without services and for QR10,000
with services.
Individuals can contribute by
purchasing a family food basket
for QR500 by sending ‘ES’ to
Ooredoo 92428, a winter family bag at a cost of QR1,000 by
sending ‘FS’ to 92429, a winter
bag for children at QR500, by
sending ‘CS’ to 92428, bread for
a family at QR50, by sending ‘AS’
to 92632, a fuel heater at a cost
of QR250 or a blanket for QR100,
by sending ‘BS’ to 92642.
atar Charity has continued its longstanding commitment to
the people of Somalia through
the provision of life-saving
relief, recovery and rehabilitation programmes worth
More than 40 water wells
were drilled in the Somalia regions of Hiran, Lower Shabelle
and Middle Shabelle where the
need for water is great amongst
both the native and displaced
communities residing there.
Other project interventions
ranged from free food distributions to the rehabilitation
of health centres and schools,
from the sponsorship of more
than 7,000 orphans and other
at-risk families and students
Residents queue up for water at a facility built by Qatar Charity.
Children at a school in a Somalian town.
to the provision of Shariahcompliant income-generating
Income-generating projects
included the donation of 40
modern fishing boats to the federal government of Somalia and
the establishment of a range of
1,500 other income generating programmes, many of them
focused on animal husbandry.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
QBRI in tieup
to promote
in the region
atar Foundation Research and Development’s (QF R&D)
Qatar Biomedical Research
Institute (QBRI) and the International Brain Research
Organisation (IBRO) have established the IBRO-Middle
East/North Africa (Mena)
sub-regional headquarters in
Qatar and designated QBRI
as the host organisation.
The announcement comes
out of a memorandum of understanding signed in Doha
by QBRI and IBRO, one of
the world’s leading global
scientific, education and advocacy organisations in neuroscience.
The agreement supports
Qatar Foundation’s mission to promote a culture of
excellence in Qatar and the
region, and innovate and
build capacity to underscore
Qatar’s pioneering role as an
emerging centre for healthcare innovation in support
of the Qatar National Vision
2030. Improved healthcare
diagnosis, treatment and
preventative approaches for
different disorders, including illness relating to the
brain, are a key area of focus
of healthcare research conducted by QBRI.
The MoU jointly supports
planning, organisation and
management of high level
neuroscience schools, symposia, conferences or any
other research and educational activities throughout
the Mena region. It further
encourages the development
of partnership and networking opportunities between
relevant regional stakeholder
groups, including academia,
industry, NGOs and government organisations.
IBRO has pledged financial
support and will provide annual funding for IBRO-Mena
Committee activities. The
committee’s objective is to
support and promote the
field of neuroscience suited
to the needs of the Mena region, and Dr Hilal A Lashuel,
QBRI executive director, has
been named as chair, and
Dr Omar El-Agnaf of Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin
Khalifa University (HBKU)
has been chosen to serve as a
Last month QBRI hosted
the IBRO-Mena Neurogenetics School, “Genetic Basis of Neurologic and Psychiatric Disease,” with the
support of IBRO funding
where students from Qatar
and across the Mena region
undertook theoretical and
practical studies in neurogenetics.
Dr Lashuel commented:
“This strategic partnership
complements and extends
ongoing QBRI neuroscience
activity and offers unique opportunities for young scientists in Qatar and the Mena
region. The partnership aims
to create and support education and training programmes
that are suited to local needs
and promote neuroscience
careers for young researchers
in the region.”
Pierre J Magistretti, IBRO
president, added: “We look
forward to this very important collaboration with QBRI
to promote neuroscience in
the region. IBRO very much
appreciates the commitment
of QBRI to host the MenaIBRO office, a commitment
that is a guarantee for success for this initiative”
As part of its activities,
QBRI also has a dedicated
research programme focused
on the understanding of the
genetic causes of diseases
and conditions in Qatar with
a particular focus on autism,
intellectual disability and
ACD envoys call on Foreign Minister
Indonesian Ambassador Deddy Saiful Hadi, who is the current chairman of Asean Committee in Doha (ACD) has paid a visit to Qatar’s Foreign
Minister, HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah. During the meeting, besides introducing himself as chairman of ACD in 2015, Deddy introduced two
new Asean ambassadors -- Piroon Laismit of Thailand and Nguyen Hoang of Vietnam. He said that 2015 was a “milestone year” for the bloc which
is starting the implementation of the Asean Community that is based on the three pillars of Political Community, Economic Community and SocioCultural Community this year. The new era marks the progress of the union as an integrated region where the movement of goods and services,
capital and people will be more free and flexible, the ambassador said.
AAB opens new service centre
bdullah Abdulghani & Bros.
Co. (AAB), sole agents for
Toyota vehicles, has opened
a new service centre at the AlNayef Petrol station in Al-Rayyan.
The opening of the new Quick
Service Centre, located near Jarir
bookstore and Al-Rayyan immigration department, brings the
number of AAB service centres in
Qatar to eight. The new service
centre was officially inaugurated
by Osama Abdullah Abdulghani
al-Abdulghani, Chairman of AAB,
in the presence of Norihiro Yoshida, Project General Manager, Field
Operations, Toyota Motor Corporation - Bahrain Representative Office and senior officials from AAB.
Toyota enjoys the highest market share in Qatar. AAB, as part of
their policy to provide best after
sales service, has opened service
centres in different parts of Qatar.
With eight units, AAB has the widest service network in the country.
The AAB centres are based at the
Industrial Area (Main Service Centre), Falcon Petrol Station (D-Ring
Road), Madinat Khalifa Petrol Station, Abu Hamour Petrol Station,
Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Golf Club and
now at Al-Nayef Petrol Station.
The service centres at Falcon
Osama Abdullah Abdulghani al-Abdulghani inaugurating the new centre in the presence of Norihiro Yoshida.
Petrol Station, Abu Hamour and
Madinat Khalifa are open 24 hours.
The new service centre is open
from 7am-6.30pm.
Service appointments can be
made by calling the hotline 800
1800, or logging in to their website
www.toyotaqatar.com or through
Facebook fan page “ToyotaQatar”.
Dr Hilal A Lashuel and Pierre J Magistretti shake hands after signing the MoU in Doha.
AAB and Toyota officials at the opening of the new service centre.
Vodafone launches exclusive plans for youth
odafone Qatar has launched
the Vodafone Falla Club and
Falla plans exclusively for
customers under 24 years old, designed for the youth in Qatar and
packed with data, local calling, and
discounts on lifestyle benefits.
The new Vodafone Falla Club is
an exclusive group for all Vodafone
customers, which comes free for
customers to opt-in and is packed
with member benefits.
Benefits include a free 10GB data
bonus valid for the first month after joining, a buy-one get-one free
cinema ticket and standard snack
combo (popcorn and beverage) on
every Vodafone Tuesday offer, and
exclusive deals on food delivery
through Qatar’s leading food delivery App – Foodonclick. Additionally, Vodafone Falla Club Members
will get to enjoy their favourite
tunes with a free membership to
The new Falla prepaid and post-
paid plans offer amazing data and
local calling bundles. Postpaid Vodafone Falla customers can choose
between two plans: Vodafone Falla
M, offering 1,000 local minutes
plus 2GB of local data at QR70 per
month and Vodafone Falla Postpaid L, offering 5,000 local minutes
plus 5GB of local data at QR140 per
Anyone buying or upgrading to
a Vodafone Falla postpaid plan will
also be offered a QR1,000 discount
on star number of their choice.
Vodafone Falla prepaid plan offers
customers 100 minutes plus 1GB of
local data for only QR20 per week.
Vodafone Qatar head of Consumer Marketing Luke Longney
said: “Vodafone recognises that the
needs of the youth are different and
we feel that there is a real opportunity to offer something unique
and fun while providing them the
chance to stay connected with their
families and friends.
“The youth in Qatar have greater
use for local data and local calling
hence, we decided to upgrade our
existing propositions to offer a lot
more on that front and ensure exclusive benefits to our young customers for what they love doing
such as cinema, food, and Internet.”
Vodafone Falla is Qatar’s first telecom plan that appeals to the youth
with great mobile deals, exciting
activities, and direct youth engagement. Longney said Falla is a Qatari
expression that means “enjoying
the moment” – a feeling that Vodafone wants to create for young
people in Qatar.
For more information and terms
and conditions, visit www.vodafone.qa/FallaClub.
BIG THINGS | Page 15
Asean set for
single market
amid delays
After wave of
QE, onus shifts
to the leaders
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Rabia II 5, 1436 AH
South Korea is
upbeat on medical
tourists from the
Middle East
Saudi oil policy seen unchanged
ing Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new ruler,
will keep Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in his
post, bolstering expectations that he will
continue the policy of maintaining crude output to preserve market share even as prices have
Salman, 79, issued a royal decree to retain
current ministers, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. Al-Naimi led Opec’s November 27 decision to maintain its crude production
even as shale supplies spurred US output to the
highest in three decades. Salman said on Saudi
national television that he will maintain the
policies of his predecessor.
With production of 9.5mn bpd and exports
of 7mn, Saudi Arabia accounts for more than a
10th of global supply and a fifth of crude sold
internationally. The country’s refusal to surrender market share to rising US output has
contributed to the worst slump in prices since
the global credit crisis of 2008.
“The Saudi leadership has already taken the
tough decision to live with lower oil prices,”
Florence Eid-Oakden, chief economist at London-based consultants Arabia Monitor, said
by phone. “Naimi is well established, he is respected and there shouldn’t be a change as long
as the current cabinet is in place.”
Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, rose
as much as 2.6% to $49.80 a barrel in London
on Friday, before paring gains to $49.38 at 10.37
am local time. West Texas Intermediate rallied
as much as 3.1%.
The price increase following the death of
King Abdullah will be temporary because it
won’t alter the nation’s policies and US oil output will continue rising, Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, said
in a television interview with BloombergHT in
Davos Friday.
In signs of a smooth succession, Salman
was named king and Prince Muqrin, 69, another half-brother, has been chosen as Crown
Prince. Salman appointed Prince Mohammed
bin Nayef, the country’s Interior Minister, as
deputy crown prince and his son Mohammed
bin Salman as defence minister, Saudi State
Television reported yesterday.
In his previous capacity as crown prince,
King Salman read a speech on behalf of the late
king on January 6 that confirmed the continuity
of the country’s oil policy in the face of market
“tensions” caused by slow growth in the global
Al-Naimi: Well established and respected.
“These tensions aren’t new to the oil market,
and we’ve dealt with them in the past with a
solid will, with wisdom and experience, and we
will deal with the current developments in the
oil markets in the same way,” he said.
Oil slumped 48% in 2014 as Opec’s 12 members refused to cut output and yield market
share in the face of rising US production. West
Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, fell on
January 5 to less than $50 a barrel for the first
time since April 2009.
In theory, Saudi oil decisions are made by a
Supreme Petroleum Council headed by the king
and made up of senior members of the royal
family, ministers and industry leaders.
In practice, decisions seem to have been left
in al-Naimi’s hands, said Simon Henderson in
an October research note for the Washington
Institute. “Although he is in his late seventies
and said to be looking forward to retirement,
Naimi retains a firm grip,” Henderson said.
Al-Naimi, who has driven decision-making
since 1995, has said he’d like to devote more
time to his other job, chairman of the science
and technology university named after the late
sovereign. While no member of the ruling AlSaud clan has ever served as oil minister, Prince
Abdulaziz bin Salman, a son of the new king, is
assistant oil minister and a regular participant
in Opec meetings.
With oil revenue accounting for 46% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP, “it is possible that this policy
could be relaxed in 2015 because it is very costly
financially and is taking its toll on many Arab
countries that Riyadh doesn’t wish to destabilise,” said Francis Perrin, the director of Parisbased energy consultants Stratener, in a January 6 e-mail.
Al-Naimi, 80, led the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to its November 27
decision to keep production unchanged, ignoring pleas for a cut in the group’s output by Ven-
ezuela, Algeria and other members that depend
on higher oil prices to balance their budgets.
“If I reduce, what happens to my market
share? The price will go up, and the Russians,
the Brazilians, US shale oil producers will take
my share,” al-Naimi told the Middle East Economic Survey last month. “Whether it goes
down to $20 a barrel, $40 a barrel, $50 a barrel,
$60 a barrel, it is irrelevant.” Saudi crude production averaged about 9.7mn bpd last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The kingdom, with a population of 29mn, has
$736.23bn in reserve assets, or 6% of the world’s
total, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The
government forecast its budget deficit for this
year will widen to 145bn riyals ($39bn) from
54bn riyals in 2014.
The country will plug the deficit by borrowing and drawing on its financial reserves and
will continue to spend on major projects including railroads, electricity, desalination and
universities, the official Saudi Press Agency reported December 25, citing Economy Minister
Mohammad al-Jasser.
The 2015 budget forecast revenue falling to
715bn riyals from 1.046tn riyals in 2014, assuming an oil price of $80 a barrel, John Sfakianakis,
who served as an adviser to the Saudi finance
ministry, said on December 26.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
South Korea upbeat
on medical tourists
from the Middle East
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
he rapidly growing
medical tourism industry in South Korea
is putting its focus on Middle Eastern health tourists
after it turned out that the
latter are the heaviest spenders on medical treatment in
the country. According to a
statement issued by the Korea Tourism Organisation last
week, health tourists from the
Middle East spent the largest
amount of money per person
on medical services in South
Korea last year, with those
from the UAE on top of the
list. This is compared to other nationalities that choose
South Korea for medical
procedures such as Chinese,
Americans, Russians, people from Asean countries as
well as medical tourists from
Mongolia and Kazakhstan
who have a traditional preference for South Korea when
looking for medical treatment
The Korea Tourism Organisation determined that visitors from the UAE spent an
average of $16,271 on medical services in South Korea
in 2014, which makes them
by far the biggest individual
spenders. Medical tourists
from Kazakhstan and Indo-
A staff of BK Plastic Surgery is walking at hallway in the guest house of hospital in Shinsa-dong,
Seoul(file). According to a statement issued by the Korea Tourism Organisation last week, health
tourists from the Middle East spent the largest amount of money per person on medical services
in South Korea last year, with those from the UAE on top of the list.
nesia came second and third,
having spent an average of
$4,191 and $1,773, respectively.
The centre of South Korea’s
medical tourism industry
is Seoul. According to latest numbers from the Seoul
Metropolitan Government,
178,519 patients from abroad
sought treatment in hospitals and clinics in Seoul in
2013 – an increase of 40,607
foreign patients from 2009 –
and spent $260mn. As in the
whole country, the top average spend was by health tourists from the UAE, with Kaza-
khstan the second. The UAE
spending was up 370% over
2013, the regional government’s statistics show. Most
popular treatments were
surgery, including cosmetic
surgery, and dermatology.
For example, it is known that
the UAE – and also the Saudi
Arabian – royalty are regular
visitors of the upscale Chaum
Medical Center in Seoul’s
Gangnam district.
While spending from Middle Eastern visitors is indeed
high, their absolute number
remains low, and that’s why
the Korea Tourism Agency
is keen to lure more Muslim
tourists to the country, acknowledging the fact “that a
majority of VIP tourists who
spend big are from Muslimmajority nations”, as the organisation puts it. In December 2014, it published a halal
food guidebook for Muslim
tourists visiting Korea, and it
also plans to provide a halal
tourism guidebook shortly to
travel agencies, hotel managers and tourism industry
officials to get them accustomed with Muslim touristic
While South Korea is
competing hard in health
tourism with other countries in the region, such as
Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan
and Singapore, it has earned
a reputation as a hub for
high-quality cosmetic surgery, building on the fact
that the country has the
highest rate of cosmetic surgery by percentage of population of any country in the
world. Tour operators sell
travel deals that combine
plastic surgery in one of the
many specialised hospitals
or clinics with shopping and
sightseeing trips.
The South Korean government has approved an annual
budget of $4mn to promote
the medical tourism industry with its 3,800 hospitals
and clinics involved in the
sector. Expectations are that
the number of health tourists
would grow from 399,000 in
2013 to about 1mn a year by
2020 – with Chinese travellers representing the largest
segment – and receipts from
health tourism to increase to
$3.2bn in 2020 from $930mn
in 2013.
This would be a solid
share of around 10% in global health tourism revenue,
which is forecast to reach
$32.5bn by 2019 according
to US-based business intelligence firm Transparency
Market Research, up from the
$10bn in 2013.
QIB honoured for
SME programme,
co-branded card
Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has
received the “Best SME Islamic
Finance Provider for the GCC &
Mena 2014” and “Best Co-Branded
Credit Card Qatar 2014” awards from
Global Banking & Finance Review, an
online portal that target key players
in the banking and finance industry.
It has been rated as one of the most
influential Internet banking websites,
which claims a readership that
includes presidents, CEOs, CFOS,
and senior decision makers within
Fortune 500 companies.
The first award reflects the launch of
QIB’s “Aamaly Programme,” which
was introduced to provide tailored
services to the country’s small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
offering them financial benefits,
guidance, and advice in line with the
Qatar National Vision 2030.
The Aamaly Programme benefits
SMEs with specialised relationship
managers, dedicated SME-centric
banking centres, 24-hour banking,
payroll services, cash and cheque
collection, overnight vaulting and
time deposits, together with flexible
financing options.
Independent analysts believe
the SME sector in Qatar will grow
rapidly and plays an important role
in the country’s growth. QIB has
said it already supports a sizeable
individuals and corporate base with
a strong branch presence across
the country to meet all customer
Meanwhile, the QIB-Qatar Airways
co-branded card, which offers many
value added features for its holders,
has been widely recognised as
one of the most rewarding cards
available in the market. It offers
bonus Qmiles every time clients use
the cards, which can be redeemed
from on Qatar Airways, or from
other redemption options from the
Qatar Airways Privilege Club.
Platinum cardholders receive
automatic insurance against loss,
QIB’s Aamaly Programme benefits
SMEs with specialised relationship
managers, while the QIB-Qatar
Airways co-branded card offers
many value added features for its
theft or damage, as well as extended
warranty on all card purchases. They
also get free membership to Priority
Pass with access to more than 600
airport lounges worldwide.
Currently, all card holders can enjoy
a 7% discount on Qatar Airways
holiday packages and earn double
Qmiles when purchasing tickets
from the Qatar Airways website.
Turkey courts high-speed
traders amid competition
urkey’s stock exchange will rev
up its trading engine this year
with Nasdaq OMX Group’s
help, seeking to court the latest generation of computerised strategies.
The upgrade of the core trading
software at Borsa Istanbul’s equities market using Nasdaq technology
will go live on September 21, according to chief executive officer Ibrahim
Turhan. The exchange is offering colocation, which lets high-frequency
trading firms react faster to price
“All market operations will take
place on that infrastructure,” Borsa
Istanbul’s CEO said during an interview in London on Tuesday. “We are
going to start co-location services,
and, as an extension to that, highfrequency trading and quantitative
The project comes as foreign market operators armed with the most
advanced technology, Bats Global
Markets and London Stock Exchange
Group, seek to enter the $266bn
Turkish stock market. As computerised trading techniques have become
enmeshed with the global financial
system, market operators have been
forced to evolve with them, upgrading to faster platforms and providing
After enhancing its equity market,
Borsa Istanbul plans a second phase
The Turkish national flag, left, and the Borsa Istanbul flag hang alongside
financial data displayed on electronic boards inside the Borsa Istanbul (file).
The upgrade of the core trading software at Borsa Istanbul’s equities market
using Nasdaq technology will go live on September 21, according to chief
executive officer Ibrahim Turhan.
of the project: shifting its derivatives,
fixed-income and commodities markets over to the new technology in
2016, Turhan said.
Nasdaq bought a 5% stake in Borsa
Istanbul as part of the agreement,
which was announced a year ago.
Nasdaq has similar arrangements
with markets around the world. This
week, it revealed a project to upgrade
a Japanese derivatives market.
Under co-location agreements,
traders put their computers in the
same building as the exchange’s servers, shaving off fractions of a second
between trades and enabling speedier
strategies. The service is a hallmark
of modern trading. While Borsa Istanbul is currently the only market
for Turkish securities, that probably
won’t last.
“It will be inevitable that competition will come,” said Steve Grob,
global director of group strategy at
Fidessa Group. “They’re going to
have to compete with more contemporary venues, which will be an opportunity and a threat for them.”
Bats Chi-X Europe and London
Stock Exchange Group’s Turquoise
both hope to enter Turkey. Both have
established themselves as pan-European rivals to more traditional exchanges.
Carrefour franchisee to pursue Egypt growth
The owner of Carrefour’s franchise for the Middle East will
pursue expansion in Egypt after business at a shopping
mall in Cairo’s suburbs recovered from looting during the
2011 revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
“There is probably no worse challenge than 2011 when
the mall was looted,” Iyad Malas, chief executive officer of
Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said in an interview at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We decided to
reinstate the asset, all the tenants came back, trading has
come back, actually it’s better than pre-crisis level.”
The company, known by its acronym MAF, will open
another mall, called Mall of Egypt, in the first quarter of
2016, Malas said. It will also start construction on a project
near Cairo’s airport this year and expand its existing mall
in the country. “Egypt continues to be a big investment
market,” the CEO said.
Egypt’s economy has been stuck in its deepest slump for
two decades since the 2011 revolt, as persistent turmoil
deterred foreign investment and tourism. Oil-rich states
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contributed billions of
dollars to bolster the economy of Egypt. MAF, which
operates shopping malls, supermarkets or hotels in 14
countries, is seeking to maintain the pace of revenue
generation of the past two decades, doubling sales every
five years, Malas said. The decline in oil prices should help
retail business in Egypt, a fuel importing country, he said.
“2013 was a good year, 2014 again was a good year
and then for 2015, our expectation is that it should be
a good year,” he said, commenting on the company’s
performance. MAF, which reported 1.9bn dirhams
($517mn) in attributable profit for 2013, is yet to announce
its results for 2014.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Right fiscal response needed to halt
global disinflationary dynamics: QNB
isinflationary dynamics is
likely to continue this year, and
possibly beyond, unless governments around the world prop up
aggregate demand through an appropriate fiscal response, QNB has said in
a report.
“The global economy has started
2015 on the wrong foot,” QNB said.
The sharp decline in oil prices
pushed the eurozone into deflation
in December 2014 and resulted in a
significant slowdown in inflation in
Japan, the UK and the US. More worrisome, there is growing evidence that
these disinflationary pressures are affecting wages and, to a lesser extent,
asset prices. This is leading global investors to further hedge against deflation by buying long-term government
bonds, pushing yields down to historic lows. Going forward, unless this
disinflationary spiral is stopped, the
world economy is likely to enter a prolonged period of deflation, also called
the ‘Great Deflation’.
“Now, the reality of global deflation
is upon us,” QNB noted.
The eurozone slipped into negative
inflation in December 2014 (-0.2%) on
lower energy prices. At the same time,
the UK registered the lowest inflation rate (0.5%) since 2000, while US
inflation slowed to 0.8%, the steepest monthly slowdown in six years.
Japan’s inflation was barely positive
(0.7%) in November 2014, excluding
the one-off effects of the consumption tax hike in April.
Going forward, the expectation is
that the eurozone will remain in deflation for the whole of 2015, despite
the expanded Quantitative Easing
(QE) adopted by the European Cen-
tral Bank last Thursday. Japan is projected to fall back into deflation as
lower energy prices feed into other
consumer prices. The expectation
is also that both the UK and the US
will experience negative inflation for
at least a portion of 2015. This would
imply that more than half of the global economy will be in deflation in
A more worrisome development is
that these global disinflationary dynamics are starting to impact the wage
setting behaviour across the globe. In
the US, average hourly earnings declined 0.2% month-on-month in December. Across the Atlantic in the UK,
they similarly declined 0.1% monthon-month in November. Eurozone
data on average hourly earnings is only
available on a quarterly basis with a
significant lag, but the latest available
Oil price plunge to boost global
M&A activity in 2015, says EY
he oil-price collapse will
facilitate increased global
transaction activity in 2015
as companies revise and implement
new strategies, according to a quarterly report on the industry published by Ernst & Young (EY).
“On one hand, upstream companies with strong balance sheets
operating in low-cost basins will be
well-positioned to not only weather
the dip in prices, but also scoop up
assets from those with less liquidity or more capital intensive assets,”
Mitch Fane, EY oil and gas transaction advisory services leader, said in
the report. “At the same time, companies across the O&G segment will
be pressured to review and reshape
their portfolios to optimise capital
and create higher returns.”
During fourth quarter last year,
activity rebounded as total reported
deal value increased 10% quarteron-quarter and 67% year-on-year.
However, total deal volume was
down 39% quarter-over-quarter and
20% year-on-year. Global upstream
deals followed a similar trend, as values rose 21% and volumes lost 22%
from the previous year.
Midstream transactions continued to dominate with some 19 deals
in North America alone for $56.6bn.
Capital expenditures in 2015 from
oil field services companies, meanwhile, may be cut as much as 20%25% as companies seek to keep debt
levels under control and slow production growth, the EY report said.
Petrol prices are shown at a Shell station in Encinitas, California. By the
second half of 2015, the oil-price collapse is expected to cause US
production growth to slow somewhat, but not to reverse, according to EY.
Upstream operators are expected
to put significant pressure on oil
field services supplies to cut costs.
In response, oil field services firms
will fight to retain market share
through both innovation and consolidation.
Based on current forecasts of oil
demand and non-Opec supply, in
this year’s first half, the market is
expected to need substantially less
than 30mn bpd of crude from Opec,
which is the amount the group has
been producing and vowed to keep
If Opec continues to produce
more than 30mn bpd and there are
no unexpected supply outages, the
market could see a surplus of as
much as 1.5mn-2mn bpd in the first
half, EY said.
By the second half, the price collapse is expected to cause US production growth to slow somewhat,
but not to reverse. Seasonal demand
increases will also play a role in the
slightly improving supply-demand
fundamentals, the report said.
The sharp decline in prices has
also impacted global gas markets, as
oil-linked LNG has fallen to levels
on par with hypothetical US LNG
export prices.
Although US natural gas prices
have weakened less than oil, they
are still declining due to continued
high production, weak early-winter
demand, relatively high gas storage levels, and the decline in NGL
(natural gas liquids) prices, the report said.
Due to their link to oil prices,
global gas prices also declined in
fourth-quarter 2014. Most notably,
the oil-price collapse has minimised the advantage of spot-priced
gas since oil-linked LNG trading
prices are now essentially on par
with hypothetical US LNG exports.
“Despite the weakening price
spread, US LNG projects are still
very competitive due to their low
capital costs and the supply is attractive for flexibility and diversity,” said Deborah Byers, EY’s US oil
and gas leader. “However, the LNG
projects that don’t yet have contracts for their outbound gas will
face much more pressure, as Asian
buyers have less incentive to sign
new contracts.”
Refining margins declined in the
fourth quarter, except in Asia, but
2014 was a solid year overall, EY
said. Average annual margins across
the globe were down slightly except
in the US East and Gulf Coasts.
Refiners in the US Midwest had
another strong year, EY said, although their advantage lessened as
transportation bottlenecks were removed. Notional cracking margins
on a New York Mercantile Exchange
3-2-1 basis recovered to around $25
for a barrel during the year before
sliding again in the fourth quarter.
Saudi Telecom plans
acquisitions to
expand kingdom’s
data business
audi Telecom Co, the biggest phone operator in the
oil-rich kingdom, plans to acquire companies to help
expand data services in Saudi Arabia, according to its
chairman Abdulaziz Alsugair.
The Riyadh-based company plans to partner with or acquire at least five information and communication technology firms in the kingdom or abroad, he said in an interview
at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday. STC
has no plans to acquire
other telecommunications
companies, he said.
“As for acquisitions, we
will be proactive as it relates to the strategy to grow
our ICT business both for
commercial companies and
government,” Alsugair said,
declining to give details
about possible targets. “We
expect that by the end of
this year we will be probably acquiring some companies in
Saudi Arabia and maybe smaller companies outside.”
Saudi Telecom earlier this week appointed Khalid bin
Hussain Biyari as chief executive officer, a position that
was left vacant since 2013. During this period, the company
“was transformed from a slow moving organisation, with
lots of silos focusing on their departments, into an organisation focused on customers,” said Alsugair, who oversaw the
change as chairman.
The phone operator reported an 11% increase in 2014
profit to 11bn riyals ($2.93bn). The mean estimate of 11 analysts was for a profit of 11.7bn riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
data shows a moderate increase (1.2%)
in Q2 2014.
Japanese average hourly wages were
barely growing in November 2014.
This weakness in wage growth suggests that expectations about future
deflation are already affecting wage
setting behaviour. If this becomes entrenched, the positive effects of lower
oil prices on consumption will be offset by reduced expectations of future
income, thus putting further negative
pressure on an already weak aggregate
demand. The impact on growth from
lower oil prices would therefore ultimately be negative, QNB said.
There is also growing evidence that
disinflationary pressures are hitting
asset prices. The latest available data
shows that house prices are falling
in China, the eurozone, Japan and
Singapore and they are significantly
slowing down in the UK and the US.
Going forward, house prices are likely
to decline further as deflation and
lower wage growth set in.
In London, for example, estate
agents expect house prices to drop by
up to 5%, according to the UK Royal
Institute of Chartered Surveyors. In
addition, global equity prices have
fallen by about 5% since their peak in
early July 2014, according to the MSCI
World Advanced and Emerging Markets Index.
While this is still within the normal
volatility range, it suggests that equity
markets are also pricing in the impact
of deflation on global growth.
In summary, QNB said deflation
was starting to spread into lower global consumer prices, depressed wages
and, to a lesser extent, softer asset
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Global bonds jump on ECB-linked scarcity before Greece votes
New York
Government bonds rallied around the
world as investors bought sovereign debt
on speculation the European Central
Bank’s quantitative easing will shrink the
pool of high-quality assets already limited
by years of purchases from other central
US debt was supported as investors sought
refuge as polls show an anti-austerity party
will win Greek elections after a vote this
weekend. Benchmark 10-year yields, which
offer 0.87 percentage point more than
other Group of Seven nations, dropped
for a second day. Germany’s 10-year yields
reached a record-low 0.345% on Friday, and
the nation’s five-year yield dropped
below zero.
“The lack of supply given what the ECB is
going to be doing on a monthly basis will
be driving euro-rates to zero or negative
rates,” said Thomas di Galoma, head of
fixed-income rates at ED&F Man Capital
Markets in New York. “It’s going to be tough
for US rates to rise, given the fact that rates
in Europe are so low.”
The US 10-year yield fell six basis points, or
0.06 percentage point, to 1.80% at 3:47 pm
New York time, according to Bloomberg
Bond Trader data. The 2.25% note due in
November 2024 rose 18/32, or $5.63 per
$1,000 face amount, to 104. The yield has
declined four basis points since January 16,
set for its fourth consecutive weekly drop.
Thirty-year bond yields dropped six basis
points to 2.38%, approaching record lows
of 2.35% reached on January 21.
“Relative to peers, there’s still value in the
US Treasury market,” said Sean Simko, who
oversees $8bn at SEI Investments Co in
Oaks, Pennsylvania. There’s “the view of
inflation pressures being pushed out.”
The International Monetary Fund cut
its outlook for consumer-price gains in
advanced economies almost in half to 1%
for 2015, the Washington-based lender said
in its quarterly global outlook released
Jan. 19. The core US personal consumption
expenditure is forecast to advance 1.6% in
2015, below the Fed’s 2% target.
The difference between yields on two-year
notes and 30-year bonds was 189 basis
points. It touched 185 basis points on
January 21, the lowest in six years.
Treasuries have returned 1.7% this month,
after gains of 6.2% in 2014, according to
Bloomberg US Treasury Bond Index.
Hedge-fund managers and other large
speculators reduced positions that profit
from a decline in 10-year note to the least
since November, US Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data showed. Netshort positions totalled 145,598 contracts
as of January 20.
Greek voters will decide whether Europe’s
most-indebted country sticks to an
austerity programme that ensures its
financial lifeline from creditors such as
Germany. The opposition Syriza group,
which has vowed to abandon the budget
constraints that underpin the support while
keeping Greece in the currency union, is
projected by polls to gain about 32% of
the vote compared with about 27% for the
ruling New Democracy party.
Italy’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to
1.52% and touched 1.413%, the lowest level
since Bloomberg began collecting the data
in 1993. Japan’s 10-year yield dropped nine
basis points to 0.23%, unwinding its surge
on Thursday.
“The yield declines are all the more gaspinducing,” said Jim Vogel, head of agencydebt research at FTN Financial in Memphis,
Tennessee. “You’ll see people re-evaluating
their portfolio objectives the longer yields
continue to shrink.”
The ECB will buy government bonds as part
of an asset-purchase programme worth
about €1.1tn ($1.24tn), or €60bn a month,
President Mario Draghi announced on
Thursday in Frankfurt, sparking a jump in
European bonds.
Canada and Denmark both cut interest
rates this week. The Bank of Japan boosted
a lending program and stuck to its plan to
increase the monetary base at an annual
pace of ¥80tn ($678bn).
The Federal Reserve is forecast to leave
interest rates unchanged when policy
makers meet next week. Investors have
been buying US debt even as Fed Chair
Janet Yellen has signalled that momentum
in the labour market will likely enable the
central bank to increase interest rates this
The chance of a Fed interest-rate increase
by its October meeting was at 52%, futures
data show. The central bank has kept its
target for the fed funds rate at virtually
zero since 2008 to support an economic
Demand for US assets pushed the
Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index to its highest
level since the gauge’s inception on
December 31, 2004.
The US will sell $26bn in two-year notes,
$35bn in five-year notes and $29bn in
seven-year debt on three consecutive
days starting on January 27. The two-year
sale was reduced by $1bn from the prior
auction, further limiting the amount of high
quality debt available. Sales of the maturity
peaked at $44bn from October 2009
through April 2010.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
he Qatar Stock Exchange
(QSE) index declined by 163.65
points, or 1.38%, during the
week, to close at 11,698.86. Market
capitalisation fell by 1.55% to reach
QR637.7bn compared to QR647.8bn
at the end of the previous week. Of
the 43 listed companies, 23 ended
the week higher, while 19 fell and 1
remained unchanged. Islamic Holding Group (IHGS) was the best performing stock for the week, with
a gain of 31.95% on 2.1mn shares
traded; the stock is up 2.17% yearto-date (YTD). On the other hand,
QNB Group (QNBK) was the worst
performing stock with a decline of
6.81% on 1.0mn shares traded; the
stock is down 10.71% YTD.
QNB Group (QNBK), Qatar Islamic
Bank (QIBK) and Gulf International
Services (GISS) were the biggest
contributors to the weekly index decline. QNBK was the biggest contributor to the index’s weekly decline
with 141.1 points to the index’s weekly decline of 163.65 points. QIBK
contributed 22.9 points, while GISS
contributed 18.5 points to the decline. On the other hand, Barwa Real
Estate (BRES), Ezdan Holding Group
(ERES) and Doha Bank (DHBK) positively contributed to the QSE Index.
BRES contributed 34.6 points closely
followed by ERES (10.4 points) and
DHBK (10.1 points).
Trading value during the week decreased by 3.0% to reach QR2.8bn vs.
QR2.9bn in the prior week. The real
estate sector led the trading value,
accounting for 35.0% of the total. The
banks and financial services sector
was the second biggest contributor
to the overall trading value, accounting for 34.0%. BRES was the top value
traded stock during the week with total of QR703.1mn.
Trading volume increased by 22.5%
to reach 58.4mn shares vs. 47.7mn in
the prior week. The number of transactions fell by 0.9% to reach 31,964
versus 32,261 in the prior week. The
real estate sector led the trading volume, accounting for 49.6%, followed
by the banks and financial services
sector, which accounted for 23.3%
of the overall trading volume. BRES
was also the top volume traded stock
during the week with total of 15.8mn
Foreign institutions remained sellers during the week with net selling of QR11.7mn vs. net selling of
QR133.3mn in the prior week. Qatari
institutions turned bearish with net
selling of QR131.8mn vs. net buying of
QR187.2mn the week before. Foreign
retail investors remained bullish for
the week with net buying of QR21.1mn
vs. net buying of QR2.0mn in the prior
week. Qatari retail investors turned
bullish with net buying of QR122.6mn
vs. net selling of QR55.6mn the week
before. In 2015 YTD, foreign institutions sold (on a net basis) $98.2mn
worth of Qatari equities.
QSE Index and Volume
Weekly Market Report
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
Weekly Index Performance
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
Source: Bloomberg
Source: Qatar Exchange (QE)
This report expresses the views and opinions of Qatar National Bank Financial Services SPC (“QNBFS”)
at a given time only. It is not an offer, promotion or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other
investments, nor is it intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. We therefore strongly
advise potential investors to seek independent professional advice before making any investment decision.
Although the information in this report has been obtained from sources that QNBFS believes to be reliable,
we have not independently verified such information and it may not be accurate or complete. Gulf Times and
QNBFS hereby disclaim any responsibility or any direct or indirect claim resulting from using this report.
Qatar Stock Exchange
Top Five Gainers
Top Five Decliners
Most Active Shares by Value (QR Million)
Most Active Shares by Volume (Million)
Investor Trading Percentage to Total Value Traded
Net Traded Value by Nationality (QR Million)
Source: Bloomberg
Technical analysis of the QSE index
nother week passes by with lower volatility on the QSE Index. Uncertainty
remains to be the common attitude to
the index. Technical Indicators, on the other
hand, are showing bearish signs. The MACD
is below the zero line and is pointing down-
wards, while the RSI is trending down with
no sign of reversal thus far. The immediate
support is located at 11,600 then 11,200. On
the flipside, if the Index manages to close
above the 12,350 level then it will face resistance at the 12,800 level.
Definitions of key terms used in technical analysis
andlestick chart – A candlestick
chart is a price chart that displays
the high, low, open, and close for a
security. The ‘body’ of the chart is portion
between the open and close price, while
the high and low intraday movements
form the ‘shadow’. The candlestick may
represent any time frame. We use a oneday candlestick chart (every candlestick
represents one trading day) in our analysis.
Doji candlestick pattern – A Doji candlestick is formed when a security’s open and
close are practically equal. The pattern indicates indecisiveness, and based on preceding price actions and future confirmation, may indicate a bullish or bearish trend
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
centre to
be ready
by June
he Telangana government
on Friday began work on
T-Hub, which promises
to be India’s biggest incubation
Telangana Information Technology Minister K Tarakarama
Rao laid the foundation stone for
the facility at the International
Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Gachibowli in
Expected to be operational by
June this year, it would be the
largest centre for start-up and
entrepreneurship activities in
the country.
The T-Hub is being set up in
collaboration with IIIT Hyderabad, the Indian School of Business (ISB) and the NALSAR University of Law.
While NALSAR would help
in intellectual property and related areas, ISB and IIIT would
provide business mentoring
and technology mentoring respectively. Phase I coming up at
IIIT at a cost of Rs350mn will
be spread over 60,000 square
feet and can accommodate 400
start-ups by 2017.
In the second phase, to commence 2017 onwards, the centre would have its own campus
of over 300,000 square feet. To
be built at an estimated cost of
Rs2,000mn, it will house various stakeholders like start-ups,
investors and service providers.
The second phase will come
up on three acres of land already
identified by the government in
Raidurgam near Hitec City, the
IT hub.
Rao said Union Minister of
State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary responded positively to the request for support
from the central government for
the second phase.
The hub will incubate 1,000
start-ups by 2020.
It is expected to generate annual employment for 3,000 people by 2017 and 10,000 by 2020.
The minister said the fund
corpus of T-Hub would be
Rs3,000mn by 2017 and would
be doubled to Rs6,000mn in
three years.
“We are planning a venture
capital fund. We are in discussion with various venture fund
groups and evolving a model
wherein the government may
directly contribute some money
but expect more from private
players to make adequate funds
available for start-ups,” he said.
To be headed by Harpareet
Singh, secretary (IT) of the government of Telangana, the THub will have BVR Mohan Reddy,
chairman of Cyient, Sashi Reddy
of Sri Capital and CP Gurnani,
chairman and managing director
of Tech Mahindra, as directors.
The minister said this was one of
the key initiatives of the government to make Telangana the most
preferred technology investment
destination in the country. He
was confident that the T-Hub
would make Hyderabad the startup capital of India.
‘Asean will declare single
market by this year-end’
Kuala Lumpur
sean will officially call itself a
single market by year’s end, but
“big things” like seamless travel
within the 10-nation bloc would only
come in 2020, Malaysia’s trade minister
told AFP in an interview.
“We’re going to declare ourselves as
an Asean Economic Community,” said
Mustapa Mohamed, whose country
holds the rotating presidency of the
Southeast Asian bloc this year.
“We don’t have complete integration
or harmonisation yet, 2015 is laying the
stage for bigger things to come,” he said
on the sidelines of the World Economic
Forum in Davos.
“We’re going to get almost there by
2015 but the big things like seamless
travel... would come in 2020.
“What’s important is that we’re
committed, I’m not saying that we’re
backtracking,” added the minister.
The Southeast Asian bloc, a market
of about 600mn people, had set 2015 as
a deadline for integrating the region’s
vast economies into a single European
Union-style market, with tariffs abolished and free movement of skilled
But there is much scepticism that the
targets could be met, as the bloc is made
up of countries in vastly different stages
of economic development.
Myanmar, for instance, is just opening up its economy after decades of
isolation over its outright military rule
which came to an end in 2011.
At the opposite end of the spectrum
is Singapore, which ranks among the
world’s richest nations.
Mustapa acknowledged that it would
only be “in 2020 that you’ll see more
progress in Asean economic integration” in term of the abolishing of nontariff barriers, and flow of skilled labour.
By year’s end, there will be “freer
movement of goods and services but
Mustapa: Committed to Asean economic integration.
not free movement of goods and services.” The business community has
been pushing political leaders to move
faster on integration, but Mustapa said
the Asean model is gradual.
“The business community wants
Asean to be integrated as one entity.
The fact is that there are border issues,
customs, immigration, and different
regulations,” he said.
In addition, there is little understanding among the general public on
how a single market can change their
lives, said the minister.
“Some fear that they would be robbed
of their jobs, that come December 2015,
I’ll be out of job because my Malaysian
friend is coming over,” he said.
“We need to do a lot more in terms of
Asked if Europe’s recent economic
woes over heavily indebted member
states like Greece had put off integration plans, Mustapa said that “from day
one, we know that we’re not going to
adopt the EU model”.
A single currency or a parliament
were never part of the bloc’s plans, he
said. Asean groups together Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Vietnam.
Australia, China open skies in landmark pact
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a press conference after signing a free trade agreement in
Canberra last November. Both countries on Friday announced an air services pact which allows more flights with each other, and paving
the way for new routes.
ustralia and China are allowing more flights with
each other, and paving
the way for new routes, in an air
services pact that follows a historic free trade agreement they
struck last year.
China is Australia’s top trading partner and its most valuable tourism market, with almost 800,000 tourists spending
some A$5bn ($4bn) in the last
financial year.
The new pact, which Australia announced on Friday, lets
both countries’ carriers immediately add 4,000 seats a week
to current caps between Australia’s major gateway cities and
the Chinese cities of Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou.
An additional 7,000 seats will
be phased in weekly over the
next two years.
“Last year, 100mn Chinese
travelled abroad, and this is set
to double to some 200mn by
2020,” said Australia’s Trade
and Investment Minister An-
drew Robb. “Tripling aviation
capacity from China into Australia over the next two years
will ensure we are well placed to
capture this growth,” Robb said
in a statement.
The free trade pact signed last
November had been more than
a decade in the making, and
boosted ties significantly.
The air services deal also allows for the expansion of traffic
rights to airlines to fly beyond
the two countries by October
2016, paving the way for new
The pact recognises the
sharp growth of emerging markets in China, allowing airlines
from both countries the same
increase in capacity between
gateway cities besides Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Existing unlimited passenger services between China and
Australian locations such as
Cairns, the Gold Coast, Adelaide
and Darwin will continue.
The agreement cuts regulations Australian airlines face in
China, by dropping a requirement for government approval
of air fares.
Hutchison’s Li to face off with Brussels over UK phone bid
Hong Kong
Li: Facing tough times.
Li Ka-shing is no stranger to sparring with Europe’s
regulators and as he prepares to merge two of
Britain’s biggest mobile operators, he may have to
make significant concessions.
When Spain’s Telefonica SA combined its German
unit with E- Plus last year, it offered to sell as
much as 30% of its network capacity to get a deal
past Brussels. Some lawyers and analysts say Li’s
Hutchison Whampoa could need something similar
to win approval for merging its British unit Three
with Telefonica’s O2.
The £10.25bn ($15bn) acquisition would create the
biggest UK wireless provider, cutting competition
from four big mobile carriers to three.
“The blueprint is Germany and Ireland and both
countries went from four to three operators,”
said Emanuela Lecchi, a lawyer at Watson, Farley
& Williams LLP in London. “It’s likely that similar
concessions will be made” in the Three-O2 deal.
As well as Telefonica’s German merger, the
European Union has imposed remedies on
Hutchison tie-ups with mobile carriers in Ireland
and Austria. The EU forced it to cede wireless
spectrum in Austria and offer network access in
both countries to so-called mobile virtual network
operators – which resell services to their own
Even after concessions, Austria’s
telecommunications regulator complained that
consumer prices went up subsequently, while
Ireland’s said the EU remedies were insufficient.
Britain’s Ofcom will want to make sure such
problems don’t happen in the UK, analysts said,
although it cedes the lead role on mergers to
antitrust agencies.
“Ofcom has worked hard to maintain the UK as
a four-player market and would have significant
reservations,” Kester Mann, an analyst at CCS
Insight, wrote in a note yesterday, adding that
the European Commission is likely to make the
final judgment. “Having agreed to a similar deal in
Germany last year, it may have set a precedent that
could see the deal receive the green light, albeit
with significant concessions,” Mann said.
The Telefonica purchase of E-Plus in Germany is
probably the model regulators will follow if they
approve the Three-O2 combination, Macquarie
Research analyst Guy Peddy said in an interview.
That takeover created Germany’s largest mobile
operator by customers.
Hutchison believes the deal’s approval will rest
with Brussels, with an expected closing date of
mid-2016, finance director Frank Sixt said yesterday.
A European Commission spokesman declined to
comment, as did Ofcom and the UK Competition
and Market Authority.
“The concern will be that you’re effectively losing
Three as a maverick,” said Lecchi, who added that
the UK could seek to examine the deal instead
of the EU, alongside a review of BT Group Plc’s
acquisition of wireless operator EE. Competition
from Hutchison-owned Three has pushed bigger
operators to cut fees and offer better data access in
the UK, Lecchi said.
The UK’s 83mn mobile customers paid about
£15.63 a month on average for a mobile
subscription in 2013, 49 pence lower than the
year before, according to the latest market report
from Ofcom. That compares to average monthly
bills of about $70 in the US, according to GSMA
Sunday, January 25, 2015
FXCM sees record trading volume on asset sale plan
New York
FXCM Inc, the currency brokerage that
almost failed last week, is on pace to
set a record for trading volume and
plans to sell non-core assets to start
paying back its $300mn bailout from
Leucadia National Corp.
FXCM said yesterday in a statement
that its average retail trading volume
this month is $27bn a day, on pace
for the most ever. The company said
it plans to expand its core business
while selling other units. The firm
expects that proceeds from the sales,
together with earnings, “can meet both
near- and long-term obligations of
our financing,” FXCM Chief Executive
Officer Drew Niv said in the statement.
FXCM, the largest US retail foreignexchange broker, lost more than
$200mn after the Swiss central bank’s
surprise decision last week to let the
franc trade freely against the euro.
The bailout that saved the company
also gave Leucadia, the owner of
investment bank Jefferies Group, the
right to force a sale and keep most of
the proceeds. Leucadia can charge
as much as 20.5% interest for its
bailout loan, FXCM said on Friday in a
regulatory filing, amending an earlier
disclosure that said the rate wouldn’t
exceed 17%. The rate on the loan starts
at 10% and rises 1.5% each quarter.
The companies are still negotiating
final terms of the agreement, according
to the filing. Richard Handler, Leucadia’s
CEO, said in the statement that he’s a
long-term investor.
“We view FXCM as our next
opportunity to work with an investee
company to create long-term value for
all stakeholders,” Handler said.
Among the assets FXCM is considering
selling is electronic-trading platform
FastMatch Inc, the Wall Street Journal
reported earlier Friday, citing people it
didn’t identify.
The brokerage owns about a third of
FastMatch, which is based in FXCM’s
offices in New York. Dmitri Galinov,
FastMatch’s chief executive officer,
said the platform is in the process of
legally separating itself from FXCM. He
declined to comment on FXCM’s plans
for its stake.
FXCM’s stock dropped to $1.60 on
January 20 from $12.63 at the end
of the preceding week. The shares
closed Friday at $2.37 in New York and
were the most active of any company
whose stock is worth more than 1
cent, according to data compiled by
That activity may be driven by poorly
informed day traders, said William Katz,
a Citigroup Inc analyst. The shares
are worth 75 cents each because
about 95% of the proceeds of a sale
will probably go to Leucadia and debt
holders, said Katz, who recommends
investors sell the stock.
“It’s difficult to make the case the stock
is worth where it is today,” Katz said in
a telephone interview.
After wave of QE, onus shifts
to leaders to bolster economy
entral banks have done their
best to rescue the world economy by printing money and
politicians must now act fast to enact
structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central
bankers said yesterday.
Two days after the European Central Bank launched a bold bond-buying
drive to revive inflation in the eurozone, a top ECB official warned that
Europe’s common currency project
could come unstuck if the bloc limped
on with sluggish growth and mass unemployment.
“We can’t do everything for Europe,
we did our part on Thursday, others
have to do their part. There is nothing
we can do as the ECB to lift growth in a
lasting way,” member of the Executive
Board of the European Central Bank
Benoit Coeure said.
Reviewing the global economic outlook at the World Economic Forum
in Davos, speakers from the IMF, the
ECB, the Bank of England and the Bank
of Japan said their ultra-loose monetary policy could only buy limited time
for politicians.
The ECB announced on Thursday a
massive programme of buying government bonds with printed money over
18 months from March in a drive to
raise the inflation rate from the current
0.7% towards its target of close to but
just below 2%.
“The political foundation of the European project is being weakened,” Coeure said, pointing to low growth and
high unemployment.
Separately, ECB President Mario
Draghi, who did not attend Davos this
year, urged governments to redouble
efforts to create a “genuine” economic
union. In an advance text of a contribution for the WirtschaftsWoche
magazine, Draghi also said reforms
were needed to raise competition, cut
bureaucracy and improve labour market flexibility.
Other central bankers in Davos
praised the ECB’s bold action, which
comes after similar measures in the
US, Britain and Japan, designed to revive the economy and avert deflation.
Bank of England governor Mark
Carney said there was a greater danger
of reckless risk-taking in the financial
industry when interest rates were at
rock bottom, but regulators were now
bonus for
Dow Jones
New York
From left: Joaquim Levy, Brazil’s Finance Minister; Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan and Benoit Coeure, member of the Executive Board of the European
Central Bank attend the session ‘The Global Economic Outlook’ in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos yesterday.
more aware of the problem and poised
to respond.
With doubts abounding as to
whether Western economies face
long-term stagnation and prolonged
ultra-low inflation, Carney sought to
reassure British consumers and savers
that the BOE had the means and the
will to get inflation, currently at just
0.5%, back up to 2% within a two-year
Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko
Kuroda described the ECB move as
“significant” and predicted it would
greatly improve the world economic
outlook because the eurozone was the
biggest economic area on the globe,
oustripping the US. Kuroda voiced
optimism about the developed economies, saying he expected Japan to have
2% growth in the 2015 fiscal year and
the US was the fastest growing region
of the industrialised world.
However Larry Fink, chief executive
of BlackRock, the world’s largest money
manager, noted that the mood in Davos
this year was more pessimistic than in
2014, when the euro zone seemed on
track to recover from its deep financial
and economic crisis. Since then, a range
of geopolitical risks have surfaced and
growth in Europe has stalled.
Asia’s ‘undisputed loser’ from oil takes steps that avert panic
Kuala Lumpur
The plunge in oil prices that spurred a currency
crisis in Russia and endangered Venezuela’s
leadership is also roiling markets in Malaysia, a
net oil exporter in Southeast Asia. Economists
say it’s not time to panic, yet.
For one thing, Malaysia’s oil and gas products
account for about 22% of its exports, compared
with more than 70% for Russia’s energy. For
another, Prime Minister Najib Razak is buying
some fiscal breathing room by abolishing
decades-old energy subsidies and introducing
a 6% goods and services tax in April, according
to Nomura Holdings. That would allow Najib to
keep close to his budget goals even as declining
investor confidence pushed the currency this
week to its lowest level since April 2009 and
boosted the cost of insuring the nation’s debt.
“Unless oil prices fall significantly further
from here, our view is the pressures can
be manageable,” said Euben Paracuelles, a
Singapore-based economist at Nomura. “Thanks
to the few steps that they’ve already taken in
the last two or three years, I think they should
be able to respond effectively.”
With crude prices at half the level of a year ago,
the pressure will be on him to accelerate the
restructuring of an economy grappling with a
cash squeeze and elevated household debt and
further reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.
“The oil-price slump does underline the
importance of pressing on and perhaps
hastening some of the fiscal reforms,” said
Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based economist
at Mizuho Bank. “Najib has some room to
breathe, but he will do well to announce
forward plans.” While Najib has cut the budget
deficit as a percentage of gross domestic
product every year since he came to power
in 2009 and reduced the government’s
dependence on hydrocarbons, oil and gas
still make up about 30% of state income,
according to Wellian Wiranto, a Singaporebased economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking
Corp. “Arguably, they should have done more in
terms of reducing the dependence on oil even
more or introducing the GST even earlier,” said
Wiranto. “But hindsight is 20/20.” Lower crude
prices are eroding the ability of state-owned
Petroliam Nasional Bhd., known as Petronas,
to pay dividends to the government, Chief
Executive Officer Shamsul Azhar Abbas said on
November 28.
Assuming an unchanged Petronas dividend,
the fiscal deficit will exceed the government’s
target of 3% of gross domestic product if Brent
crude oil averages less than $60 a barrel in
2015, according to Philip McNicholas, a senior
economist at BNP Paribas SA in Singapore.
Brent has averaged about $50 so far this year.
“Short-term, growth will be under pressure,”
said McNicholas, a former lead sovereign rating
analyst on Malaysia at Fitch Ratings. “The
government’s going to struggle to provide the
kind of fiscal support they may have wanted to.
In the meantime you still have the problem of
excessively leveraged households.” Malaysia’s
household debt was 86.8% of GDP as of end2013, according to central bank data. It grew by
12.7% annually from 2003 to 2013, a report by
the bank showed.
“Malaysia is Asia’s undisputed loser from the
collapse in oil prices,” said Nicholas Spiro,
managing director at Spiro Sovereign Strategy
in London. “The sharp fall in prices is exposing
balance sheet vulnerabilities in the context of
what has been a dramatic increase in public
and household indebtedness over the last
several years. The government needs to take
bolder measures to rein in public spending and
improve the transparency and credibility of
fiscal policy.”
Removing fuel subsidies will save the
government about 12bn ringgit ($3.4bn), said
YeeFarn Phua, Singapore- based Associate
Director, Sovereign & International Public
Finance Ratings at Standard & Poor’s. “I still
believe that the Najib administration is very
serious about fiscal consolidation.” The
economic risks and the prospect of lower
revenue from energy exports have put pressure
on the currency. The ringgit has fallen more
than 11% against the dollar since the start of
September, while five-year credit-protection
costs touched a 16-month high on January 13,
according to CMA New York data.
The economic outlook and slower credit growth
also contributed to the collapse of a proposed
three-way merger to create the nation’s biggest
bank, according to Fitch Ratings.
CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., RHB Capital Bhd.
and Malaysia Building Society Bhd. said on
January 14 they would scrap their proposed
merger, citing economic conditions. The
combination would have been the biggest Asian
merger transaction announced in the fourth
quarter, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The nation’s banks are charging one another
the most to borrow in six years as the oil-price
slump, a falling ringgit and default concerns
dent confidence. The three-month Kuala
Lumpur interbank offered rate, a gauge of
funding availability, rose to 3.87% in December,
62 basis points more than Bank Negara
Malaysia’s benchmark rate and the biggest
gap since January 2009, data compiled by
Bloomberg show.
1Malaysia Development Bhd., a state investment
company, missed two repayment deadlines
for a 2bn ringgit loan and has been given a
grace period until the end of January, The
Edge newspaper reported on January 6, citing
unidentified people. 1MDB said on January 13 it
redeemed its $2.32bn investment in a Cayman
Island fund following criticism from opposition
lawmakers the money wasn’t managed
Government finances were also hit by the
country’s worst floods in decades in December
that forced the evacuation of more than
200,000 people from their homes and left at
least 10 people dead. The damage from the
disaster may cost billions of ringgit, Deputy
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said this
month, according to the Malaysian Insider.
Working in Najib’s favour are rising palm oil
prices, which have rebounded 24% since
hitting a 5-year low in September on the Bursa
Malaysia Derivatives. Exports of the commodity
earned Malaysia 3.4bn ringgit in November,
compared with 2.8bn ringgit for crude oil,
organ Stanley awarded
its chairman and chief
executive, James Gorman, restricted shares valued at
$4.5mn for his performance this
past year.
Gorman received 127,884
shares, according to a regulatory
filing. The stock bonus is part of
a pay package that will at least
match the $18mn that Gorman
took in a year earlier.
Morgan Stanley paid its CEO a
$1.5mn salary in 2014. He also received a cash bonus. While the total cash payout won’t be disclosed
until later this year, it will comprise a bigger slice of Gorman’s
total bonus thanks a decision the
firm made last month to pay more
of the awards immediately.
Gorman is also expected to
receive long-term incentive
awards that pay out at a future
date if certain performance goals
are met. The latest incentive plan
will be disclosed later this year.
By many measures, Gorman’s turnaround plan gained
steam in 2014. Profits more
than doubled, revenue rose by
5%, and the firm inched closer
to its return-on-equity target.
Excluding fluctuations in the
value of its own debt, Morgan
Stanley posted an 8.1% return
last year. While that’s below
Gorman’s 10% goal and well
short of what some of Morgan
Stanley’s rivals returned, it’s
also well above the 5% the firm
produced in 2013.
Morgan Stanley’s board had
praised Gorman’s work that
year, stating in the firm’s annual statement last spring that
he had exceeded their expectations in 2013. The New York
firm paid Gorman a $1.5mn salary for his work that year. His
bonus was divided between
$5.4mn in cash and $5.1mn in
company shares that vest over
three years. Morgan Stanley
also awarded him $6mn in
long-term incentive pay; Gorman can collect 100% of that
figure after if Morgan Stanley
averages a 10% return on equity
from 2014 to 2016.
Morgan Stanley announced
its move to quicker bonus payouts in early December, arguing the shift to higher deferred
pay in the wake of the financial crisis-and the practice of
expensing those delayed payouts gradually, and produced a
hangover effect on its results.
In a memorandum to employees, Gorman wrote in the
memo that Morgan Stanley’s
financial performance in prior
years “required us to defer far
more bonus compensation than
we felt appropriate from a competitive viewpoint....Our outsized deferrals over those years
created a burden on future year
Gorman: Windfall bonus.
TENNIS | Page 4
NBA | Page 6
Serena and
Venus show
makes Grand
Slam return
sets record
as Warriors
rout Kings
City, Chelsea
shocked out
of FA Cup
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Rabia II 5, 1436 AH
Argentina reach knockouts;
France remain unbeaten
‘It was a good win for Argentina. They wanted to win more
than us. They proved it on the court’
24th Men’s Handball World Championship Group Standings
Federico Pizarro of Argentina (left) celebrates a goal as Egor Evdokimov of Russia looks on during their 24th Men’s Handball
World Championship preliminary round match in Doha yesterday. Pizarro scored nine goals. (Reuters)
By Yash Mudgal
rgentina tamed Russia 30-27
in a Group D match to enter pre-quarterfinals of the
24th Men’s Handball World
Championship at Duhail Sports Hall
Argentina will now take on Olympic
and European champions France, who
defeated Sweden 27-25 in a Group C
match at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena, in tomorrow’s knock-out round.
“We are very happy to go through to
the next round. I am proud of the victory against such a strong team as Russia. And now we are ready for the new
challenges,” Argentina coach Eduardo
Gallardo said.
Argentina, who needed only a draw
to advance, opened the scoring in the
second minute and doubled the score
a minute later. The Russians replied
with one goal before Argentinians
started to mount pressure increasing
their lead quite masterfully.
Diego Simonet, a major weapon in
the Argentinian arsenal was particularly active in his team’s scoring efforts. However, the Russians did not
look particularly shocked and even
managed to take the lead midway
through the first half.
Pavel Atman was instrumental in
Russia’s efforts to catch up with the
One of Argentina’s key players Sebastian Simonet saw a straight red
card in the 16th minute after hitting
Russia’s Daniil Shishkarev in the face.
This send-off kick-started the Argentinian team’s efforts to regain control of the game.
In the end the Argentinians managed to retake the lead at 17-16 towards
the end of the first period due to coor-
dinated team efforts.
Both the teams started the second
half at a frantic pace. The score stayed
neck-to-neck for most of the second
half (23-23 in the 44th minute).
At the end of the match, the Argentinians consistently held a 2-3 goal
lead, while the Russians looked nothing but tired.
“We showed in this game we can
play on the highest level to the best of
our abilities. Our next game is incredibly important,” Argentina’s right wing
Federico Pizarro said.
Shishkarev was Russia’s top scorer
with seven goals, while Pizarro was the
most prolific scorer for Argentina with
“It was a good win for Argentina.
They wanted to win more than us.
They proved it on the court,” Russia
coach Oleg Kuleshov said.
In a replay of the Olympic 2012 final at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena,
Sweden put up some high quality defence against France from the start.
The starting trio of the French team
– Daniel Narcisse, Nikola Karabatic
and Alix Nyokas – faced difficulties beating Mattias Andersson, who
was in good shape between the posts,
thanks to the aggressive defensive
block in front of him. The opening goal
for France came just after their timeout in the seventh minute, when Guillaume Joli netted the first of his four
seven-meter throws.
But Karabatic and his teammates
made it 4-4 as strong defence also provided chances from fast-breaks. The
biggest threat for the net of Thierry
Omeyer, alongside prolific left wing Jonas Kallman, was youngster Viktor Ostlund, who put his team four goals up at
9-5 by the 18th minute of the match.
Towards the end of the first half,
Michael Guigou and Joli levelled things
at 11-11 before Fredrik Petersen scored
his third for a Swedish lead.
Two world class goalkeepers –
France’s Omeyer and Sweden’s Andersson – became a vital part of their
teams, as both the team’s defences underperformed as the match progressed
to an end.
Kallman showed his class with a series of powerful goals (eight in total),
even from the left back position. Sweden led at 18-15 at the 43th minute.
The French created seven-meter
chances for the unstoppable Joli (top
scorer with nine goals), who had nine
out of nine in the end.
France overtook Sweden after a goal
by Xavier Barachet from a fast break in
the 56th minute (24-23), but that was
just an indication of the furious finish. With 20 seconds left on the clock,
French left wing Kentin Mahe scored
the decisive goal.
In the last match of the day at Lusail hall, twice runners-up Denmark
defeated Poland 31-27 to finish second in Group D and will face Iceland
in pre-quarterfinals tomorrow. Right
wing Hans Lindberg scored six goals
for the winning Danes, while right
back Andrzej Rojewski scored five for
Poland, who will play Sweden in the
next round.
Czech Republic also defeated Algeria 36-20 in Group C match at Duhail
Sports Hall. Filip Jicha was the Czech
team’s top scorer with seven goals and
Algeria’s joint top scorers were Ayatallah Hamoud and Hichem Daoud with
five goals each.
At Lusail Multipurpose Hall
Qatar vs Austria 6.30pm
Spain vs Tunisia 9.00pm
Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena
FYRO Macedonia vs Slovenia 6.30pm
Croatia vs Brazil 9.00pm
Czech Republic
Saudi Arabia
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Fans from
Arab World
add fervour
to Qatar 2015
Sigurdsson leads
Iceland to victory
over Egypt
Germany stay unbeaten in Group D after posting a 36-19 win over Saudi Arabia
Egyptian fans have been some of the most vocal ones at the 24th
Men’s Handball World Championship. PICTURE: Jayaram
ports fans from across
the Arab world have electrified the 24th Men’s
Handball World Championship, bringing their passionate
support for national teams on
their home turf.
With a diverse set of countries competing against one another in a round-robin, fans from
around the world, and especially
from Arab nations, have been
cheering on their national teams
with fervour, while also praising the event’s organisation and
world-class arenas.
Iceland’s Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (right) celebrates a goal with team-mate Arnor Atlason during their match against Egypt yesterday. Sigurdsson scored 13 goals to help his team
win the match 28-26. PICTURE: Othman al-Samaraee
By Yash Mudgal
celand secured third place in the
Group C after defeating Egypt 28-25
in their last preliminary round match
of the 24th Men’s Handball World
Championship yesterday.
Egypt will take on Germany, who defeated Saudi Arabia 36-19 earlier in the
day at Lusail Multipurpose Hall to remain
unbeaten and topped Group D, in the prequarterfinals tomorrow.
The Egyptians, motivated by the
stands full of their fans at Ali Bin Hamad
Al-Attiya Arena, opened the match in the
best possible manner.
Egypt right back Mamdouh Abou Ebaid
had a leading role in the first 10 minutes,
scoring twice for a 4-1 lead, but the European outfit didn’t give up, as victory was
their only option to reach the eighth-finals.
Iceland’s most experienced players,
Valur Gudjon Sigurdsson and Alexander
Petersson, took the responsibility of the
destiny of the 2008 Olympic finalists,
together with right back and wing Asgeir
Orn Hallgrimsson, who scored his second
goal to level at 5-5 after 15 minutes.
That was just the beginning of a furious second part of the first half, in which
Iceland presented classy handball with a
lot of running and shooting. One of the
world’s best left wings of the last decade, Sigurdsson ended the first 30 minutes with eight goals, netting five in a row
to put his team five goals up at 14-9 two
minutes from the buzzer.
Ten minutes into the second half, the
situation was pretty similar, as Iceland
was on 22-16, with another player involved in maintaining the huge lead — left
back Gunnar Steinn Jonsson, who netted
three goals in this period.
However, Egyptians began to use the
same recipe as in their previous matches
— an aggressive defence with a charismatic Karim Handawy between the
posts. Playmaker Eslam Issam was unstoppable for the next 10 minutes, scoring four goals. It was Sigurdsson who
showed his class in decisive moments,
to put his team three goals up at the end.
That was enough to keep the Icelanders
in the competition. Sigurdsson was the
top-scorer with 13 goals, while Mahmoud
Radwan netted five for Egypt.
This result sent Czech Republic and
Algeria to the President’s Cup.
Germany had already qualified for the
pre-quarters, but they still needed a win to
top the group, while Saudi Arabia was sure
to finish last irrespective of the result of the
game. Just as expected, Germany got the
win they needed without any trouble.
With 68 goals in their first four matches, Saudi Arabia was the lowest scoring
team in the tournament till yesterday.
Yesterday, they scored 19 goals, their
second highest haul in the tournament.
This may partly be due to the fact that
the Germans didn’t even find it necessary
to go forward into their usual 5-1 defense,
and their coach Dagur Sigurdsson used
the opportunity to give match practice to
his substitutes.
This did not make the German game
any less efficient, though, and in between
the Germans entertained the crowd with
spectacular goals.
A more aggressive Saudi defense managed to briefly confuse the Germans, but
still Germany could take a comfortable
18-8 lead into the break.
Five Saudi Arabian goals in succession
early in the second half brought them
within eight goals of Germany, but with
timeout, Dagur Sigurdsson made sure
that they did not get any closer before
Germany landed a 17-goal victory.
Left wing Matthias Musche scored 11
goals for the winners, while three players
scored three each for Saudi Arabia.
“We understand the situation of the
Saudi Arabian team, and that it was a difficult day for them. I also realise there is a
certain distance between Saudi Arabia and
the European teams, and it must have been
difficult for them after four matches against
such strong opponents. Our players were
fresh, and I am happy that we got through
the match without injury,” German coach
Sigurdsson said.
Chanting songs, banging drums,
and waving flags –thousands
of Egyptian fans living in Qatar
celebrated the hard-fought wins
of ‘The Pharaohs’ against North
African rivals Algeria and the
Czech Republic. Egypt currently
stands third in Group C and drew
its last match against Sweden
and has qualified for the prequarterfinals of the 24th Men’s
Handball World Championship.
Handball is the second most
popular sport to football in Egypt
and its popularity is evident from
the number of Egyptian nationals coming to show their support
for the team. The stadia are filled
with waving flags, non-stop
cheers and passionate reactions
to every play.
Anas Hazzaa, an Egyptian national who lives in Doha, and a
self-professed “ultra-fan” for
Cairo’s Zamalek Sporting Club,
attends every Egyptian sporting
match in Qatar.
“All of the Egyptians in Qatar
came to the match against Algeria,” he said. “It’s special because
there are many matches between
the two countries; this is like a
derby for the Middle East. Egypt
has a very good handball team,
and I expect we will win the
Draped in their green and red
flag colours, Algerian fans living
in Qatar and traveling from home
pumped up the “Greens”. Ooredoo Algeria, the Algerian arm of
Qatar-based communications
company Ooredoo, flew over
more than 100 of Algeria’s most
passionate fans to Qatar specifically for the event.
Aidel Salima, a handball coach
in Algiers, was sponsored by
Ooredoo Algeria. “Algerian fans
are very passionate and expressive about sports,” she said.
“There are a lot of possibilities
in Qatar for sport and handball
– there is strong organisation,
many stadiums, and good hotels
for fans.”
Tunisia, nicknamed the ‘Eagles
of Carthage’, had their wings
clipped in their opening match
against Macedonia. Despite the
loss, fans remained hopeful that
the runners-up to the 2014 African Men’s Handball Championship would continue their success at Qatar 2015.
Dr Abdulrahman El Qadi, a
Tunisian national who has lived
in Qatar for 12 years, has bought
tickets to all of Tunisia’s matches. “I wish the best for the other
Arab teams,” he said. “The opening ceremony was amazing, and
the Lusail Multipurpose Hall is
one of the best, I’ve ever seen in
my life.”
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fought hard in their opening
losses in Group D but loyal fans
continue to show support for the
Handball has grown in popularity significantly in the MENA
region in recent years, and this
year’s Championship provides
an important platform to compare the progress made by national teams on the pitch. Fans
from Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and
Saudi Arabia have come to show
their support and thanks to the
organising committee, more
people from across the region
are discovering the excitement of
Jicha, the Czech king who would even play goalkeeper
s time goes by, Filip Jicha is
trying hard to remain on top
and confirm his status as one
of the best players in handball’s modern era. Five years after he
was awarded the ‘IHF World Handball
Player of the Year’ prize, the 33-yearold Czech left back, who recently
moved to play at the line, is ready to
produce another difficult battle in order to keep his national side on the Qatar 2015 track.
It doesn’t depend only on you for
your team to make it the eighthfinals, but in any case the last day
of the first stage will end with a
Filip Jicha: This is the reality. It is hard
to accept an early elimination, but I am
optimistic that everything will be fine.
Since it is not enough for us to beat Algeria, I hope that Egypt will win over
Iceland and help us to make it to the
next phase. They also need to get the
victory for having a better placement.
How do you feel because the whole
team’s performance has been affected by your illness and the inability to help them in the first two
FJ: It is a terrible feeling, but I couldn’t
doubt that France has to be considered
as the main title contender. They are
the dominating team in the last decade
and you expect them to be there in the
critical situations.
avoid it. I had to spend all my time in
my hotel room lying in bed. I also had
high fever and when it went down, I had
a stomach ache. I lost a lot of weight
and energy and I was feeling weak.
However I managed to come back and
help my team to win over Iceland.
What is the key to success in such a
high level competition?
FJ: To stay focused and dedicated to
your mission. All the teams can be
competitive, but the main factor which
separates the good from the best is the
team spirit and the ability to handle the
crucial moments and to accomplish
your task under pressure.
Come on, it was not insignificant
help. You netted 11 goals!
FJ: I am happy because after a late and
negative start, we came up big to beat
Iceland and keep our hopes to advance
to the next round. We were disappointed because of the three losses in a row,
but playing against Island we had the
opportunity to show our potential. The
good thing is that I am getting better
and better, so I can perform my game.
It is quite interesting that you play
your game in a different position.
FJ: That’s right. Coach asked me here
to play at the line because they need me
there rather than in my usual left back
position. I got the challenge, which is
not a “terra incognita” for me. I played
as a line player in my club, THW Kiel,
when Marcus Ahlm was injured and I
am familiar with this. But, to be honest,
if it serves for the benefit of my team, I
have no problem to play in any position,
including goalkeeper!
the sport progressing throughout this
World Championship.
How do you describe yourself as a
handball player?
FJ: I am not exactly the same player as
I used to be. In the past I was playing
with full speed and high energy, but it
can’t last forever. As I become an old
man, my preparation is more mental. I
am not going deeply to a fight, but I try
to use my experience and control the
situations with my mind.
Do you see any clear favourite to
win it all?
FJ: I like the new team of Germany,
because they are hungry to be back on
top. Sweden is playing great so far and
proved they can go high, but there is no
You are a legendary player who has
lived unforgettable moments in
club level, including two Champions League titles, one EHF Champions Trophy and the IHF player
of the year award. Amongst all of
Filip Jicha in action during the handball Worlds in Doha. PICTURE: Anas Khalid
Although it is early to evaluate the
Tournament, are you satisfied with
its level of play?
FJ: First of all I have to say that I love
Qatar and I am very happy to be back
and compete here, where my international club career had started. For
me Doha is always a nice destination
and I am looking forward to watching
them, is something very special
that you might use as the cover of
your biography?
FJ: I am having a great journey which
makes me feel happy and proud. I consider the IHF player of the year was
an amazing, almost incredible, accomplishment, as it has been won by a
player who is not coming from a really
traditional and big handball country. It
is something I had never dreamed of.
What did handball offer to your
FJ: A dream that came true. I started
with handball at age six in my birth
place, Plzen and I will always remember what my mother said to me when
I asked her to also try football. “You
can play whatever you want, but try to
have one priority and keep the others as
hobbies.” Then I realised that handball
was in my blood and I got stuck with it.
Do you see some kind of Filip Jicha
in any young player?
FJ: My teammate in THW Kiel Aron
Palmarsson is a player who has the
full package to become a super star.
Apart from his talent he has work ethics and the ideal mentality. My advice
to him is to keep working hard and
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Saudi Arabia’s Hassan Aljanabi holds a banner paying tribute to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who passed away on Friday, ahead of the
match against Germany. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Denmark’s Mads Mensah Larsen in action against Poland during their match yesterday. Larsen scored
three goals in his team’s 31-27 win. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Algeria’s Hichem Daoud (left) in action against Czech Republic yesterday. Daoud scored seven goals even
as Czech Republic scored a 36-20 win. PICTURE: Anas Khalid
Germany’s Johannes Sellin (left) takes a shot on goal during the match against Saudi Arabia yesterday. Sellin scored 11 goals in his team’s 36-19
win. (AFP)
Czech Republic fans watch the match against Algeria yesterday.
PICTURE: Anas Khalid
Argentina’s Diego Simonet (centre) is tackled by Russia’s Egor Evdokimov (right) during their match yesterday. Simonet scored 7 goals in his team’s 30-26 win. PICTURE: Anas Khalid
Fans enjoy the Handball Worlds action yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Serena and Venus show
makes Grand Slam return
‘I do feel I played better than I was playing two years ago... I think my game evolved’
he Serena and Venus
show that dominated
women’s tennis for years
returned to the Australian Open yesterday with an
unheralded American teenager
joining the evergreen Williams
sisters in the last 16.
In a banner day for the Stars
and Stripes, top seed Serena
advanced despite conceding
her first set of the tournament,
with Venus also battling through
and Florida-based 19-year-old
Madison Keys sending fourth
seed Petra Kvitova home.
Serena and Venus, aged 33 and
34 respectively, have 25 Grand
Slams between them but will
not have it all their own way in
a tough half of the draw including comeback queen Victoria
Azarenka, a two-time Australian
Sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska and last year’s finalist
Dominika Cibulkova also burnished their title credentials
with easy wins, while the Lindsay Davenport coached Key provided the only upset.
Serena, chasing her sixth Australian crown, was at a loss to explain why she zoned out for the
second time in as many matches
against Ukrainian 26th seed
Elina Svitolina before storming
home 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
“I’m not sure. I need to figure
that out,” said Williams, vowing to intensify her focus against
dangerous Spanish 24th seed
Garbine Muguruza in the fourth
Venus rising -She said the
catalyst for her comeback was
Venus’ 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win
over Italy’s Camila Giorgi, the
first time her older sister has
been in the last 16 of a major
since 2011, when she was diagnosed with the energy-sapping
Sjogren’s Syndrome.
“She’s been through so much
with her illness, with everything
that she’s had to do. Gosh, if she
can do it, I’m perfectly healthy,
I’m fine. I should be able to do it,
Venus Williams of the US hits a return against Camila Giorgi of Italy during the women’s singles on day six
of the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.
too,” said Serena, who was monitoring Venus’ progress during
her own match.
Venus won her last Grand
Slam at Wimbledon in 2008 but
boasts an 8-0 record in 2015,
including a title in Auckland,
saying she was not just in Melbourne to make up the numbers.
“I’ve won big. It’s not like
I haven’t done it before,” said
the American, who will be out
to avenge consecutive losses to
Poland’s Radwanska in the next
round. “This little cat has a few
tricks left,” she said.
Radwanska, a semi-finalist
last year, is emerging as the tournament dark horse under the
tutelage of her new coach, the
legendary Martina Navratilova
after downing American Varvara
Lepchenko 6-0, 7-5.
The 30th seed became the
Pole’s third consecutive victim
to taste the dreaded 6-0 “bagel”,
with Radwanska, 25, attributing
her success to the tweaks 18time Slam champion Navratilova
has made to her game.
Azarenka sounded a warning
after beating Czech 25th seed
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in
straight sets to confirm her status as the draw’s most dangerous
unseeded player.
“I do feel I played better than
I was playing two years ago... I
think my game evolved,” said the
2012 and 2013 champion, who
is returning from a horror 2014
when she battled injury and depression.
The former world number one
will meet Cibulkova, seeded 11,
who has done little since losing
last year’s decider but appears to
be gathering steam again at her
favourite Grand Slam venue.
Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, went down
6-4, 7-5 to Keys, who punished
the Czech’s misfiring serve for
the biggest victory of her career.
“My hands are still shaking,
right now I can’t even process
this, I’m just so excited,” said
Third round: Agnieszka Radwanska
(POL x6) bt Varvara Lepchenko
(USA x30) 6-0, 7-5 Garbine Muguruza (ESP x24) bt Timea Bacsinszky
(SUI) 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 Venus Williams
(USA x18) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 4-6,
7-6 (7/3), 6-1 Serena Williams (USA
x1) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x26) 4-6,
6-2, 6-0 Dominika Cibulkova (SVK
x11) bt Alize Cornet (FRA x19) 7-5,
6-2 Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x25)
6-4, 6-4 Madison Brengle (USA)
bt Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-3,
6-2 Madison Keys (USA) bt Petra
Kvitova (CZE x4) 6-4, 7-5
This is me, says grunting,
cursing Azarenka
wo-time grand slam
Azarenka will no longer
bite her tongue or try
to fit into any media-trained
“image” as she makes her way
on the tennis tour, the Belarusian said at the Australian Open
Azarenka advanced to the
fourth round at Melbourne Park
with a 6-4 6-4 win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, a brilliant return to grand slam tennis after her 2014 season was all
but wiped out by injury.
The Belarusian has already
distinguished herself from
some of her more introverted
rivals, wearing a loud fluorescent yellow outfit on court and
swearing like a trooper at herself during matches when disappointed with her play.
Azarenka took it to another
level on Saturday, when she
cursed during her courtside interview in front of some 7,000
fans at Margaret Court Arena,
using an obscenity to describe
her dismay at missing an attempted lob when serving for
the match.
The 25-year-old told her interviewer the word could be
“bleeped out” and later made
no apologies for the ‘sailor talk’.
“I’m having a lot more fun,”
Azarenka, wearing a multicoloured pair of leggings and a
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts after beating Barbora Zalhavova Strycova of Czech Republic in
their women’s singles match on day six of the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.
trucker’s cap backwards, told
reporters of her new season.
“I’m just being me. I say what
I want to say. I laugh when I want
to laugh. I play how I want to play.
I grunt when I want to grunt.
“I don’t think I’ve changed
as a person. I think I grew as a
person. I think I’m able to speak
my thoughts more freely, which
before I think I was holding
back and really was trying to fit
into some kind of image that a
lot of people, a lot of players do.
“I think it’s very important to
stay original, to stay yourself,
true to yourself, to who you are.
“So I think I had to learn that
and just be able to live with that
and accept who I am as a person. I still have a lot of room
to improve, but I love the way
where I’m heading.”
A happy Azarenka is likely
to mean a tough match for
her next opponent Dominika
Cibulkova, the pint-sized
Slovakian who was a surprise
finalist last year.
Though a fierce challenger
on court, Azarenka said she
was also going out of her way
to be more friendly in the locker
room, reaching out more to her
“I just think we all have to
forget that tension off the court
and really enjoy it,” she said. “If
we look at other sports, there’s
so much incredible bond and
just relations that I think on the
tour we can do much better.”
Serena Williams of the US reacts against Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in their third round match at the
Australian Open Grand Slam in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.
tweaks give
an Open edge
Agnieszka Radwanska
revealed Saturday that tips
from the legendary Martina
Navratilova were turbocharging her quest for a maiden
Grand Slam after the Polish
sixth seed moved into the final
16 without conceding a set.
Radwanska has rattled
through her opponents at
this year’s tournament, with
American Varvara Lepchenko
her third consecutive victim to
taste the dreaded 6-0 “bagel”
in their third round match.
She won 6-0, 7-5 against
the world number 30 and
looms as the dark horse at
Melbourne Park, attributing
her success to minor tweaks
made by 18-time Grand Slam
champion Navratilova.
“On this level, I think it’s just really small details that are very
important,” said the 25-yearold, who hired Navratilova as a
consultant coach last month.
“Of course everybody can
play great tennis, but if you
want to win a match or Grand
Slam, you really have to do
everything right.
“That’s what we’re working on,
just to focus on very important
things and talking on and off
the court, and just to figure out
everything just to win those
seven matches in a row.”
Radwanska was a semi-finalist at
Melbourne Park last year and has
made the quarter-finals an additional four times but is desperate
for a breakthrough major.
She has not been seriously
challenged in the opening
three rounds, although that is
set to change when she faces
a resurgent Venus Williams on
Brengle slops on
sunscreen and slips
into fourth round
conceivably be the new
face of advertising
campaigns Down Under that
urge people to ‘slip, slop, slap’
during the scorching summer
months to help Australians and
New Zealanders to lower the
risk of skin cancers.
The 24-year-old American,
who made the fourth round of
a grand slam for the first time
yesterday with a surprise 6-3
6-2 victory over compatriot
Coco Vandeweghe, was lucky
to be in Australia at all.
She was only given the all
clear to travel in early January
after she had a tumour cut out
of her knee in late October.
“It obviously was not a fun
time hearing that,” Brengle
said of being told the spot on
her knee that she discovered
before last year’s US Open
needed to be removed.
“But you deal with it. A lot
of people have to go through
so much worse. “They found it
really, really early. We took care
of it (and) I have a nice scar on
my leg to show for it.”
Cancer organisations in
Australia and New Zealand,
which have some of the highest rates of melanoma in the
world, encourage people to
‘slip’ on a shirt, ‘slop’ on sunscreen and ‘slap’ on a hat during the summer months.
Brengle said her own cancer scare should be a lesson to
warn of the dangers of being
out in the sun for extended periods, which is an occupational
hazard for professional tennis
“I think it should probably
be a little bit of a wake-up call
to people to wear sunblock
when you’re out there,” she
“I think it’s part of being out
in the sun. I mean, I’m not the
tannest person in the world. I
get freckles. It happens.
“(But) they caught it quite
early. As long as the margins
are clear when they take it out,
you’re good to go.
“I’m reapplying the sunblock, but I’m totally clear.”
Brengle, who made the final
in Hobart after playing qualifying in Tasmania, will move
inside the top-50 after the
Australian Open and said she
felt she was now in an upward
curve in her career.
“I’ve been decently confident for a while now,” she said.
“I go out, and I’m trying a lot
to play to win instead of being
afraid to lose.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Federer far from done in Slams, say rivals
ivals believe Roger Federer can still add another Grand Slam to
his record tally after his
shock early defeat at the Australian Open.
The Swiss maestro made his
earliest exit from the tournament in 14 years when he suffered a four-set loss to Italian
veteran Andreas Seppi in the
third round on Friday.
The defeat meant the 33-yearold star has now not won a major title since Wimbledon in
2012, raising fresh doubts as to
whether he can add to his record
17 Grand Slams.
Federer, the world number
two, said there was nothing to
read into his latest Grand Slam
Open to
start later
afael Nadal would like to
see the Australian Open
start later in the year
to allow players more
down time, but admits it is not
likely to happen.
From the end of season ATP
Tour Finals to the start of the
new year, many of the top players
barely had five weeks off before
having to start all over again.
Roger Federer revealed that he
took just eight days off during
the off-season, with exhibitions
and other commitments narrowing his free time considerably.
He was sensationally knocked
out of the Australian Open on
Friday in the third round by unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi.
Nadal said it was natural for
players who travel the world
constantly to want to stay at
home with family around the
Christmas and New Year period, but most have tournaments
starting early January to prepare
for Melbourne.
The Spanish world number
three, who is on the comeback
trail after a three-month injury
layoff, said it would be better to
start the opening Grand Slam of
the year later, perhaps in February.
“For us, it is important to
spend the new year at home. It
important to spend Christmas
at home with family. Those dates
are very important,” he said.
“Players have family, players have small kids. You want to
spend that time with them.
“With this calendar, it is tough
to have and enjoy this period of
time with your family. It is true
that if we went two weeks (later),
it would be better.”
He also said playing just one
warm-up tournament ahead of
a gruelling Grand Slam was not
“Two tournaments would be
the right period of time before
the tournament to play,” he said,
while admitting that for all the
talk, nothing would change.
“Today we are talking for
talking, because I don’t see a
change in that calendar for the
loss and that he was still feeling
fresh and playing at a high level.
“It’s not like I’m playing
shocking or I’m feeling shocking. If I were you, I wouldn’t read
very much into that,” he said.
Seppi had lost all his previous 10 encounters and had only
taken one set off the Swiss before
dumping him out.
Britain’s Andy Murray, who
has been beaten by Federer in
three of his five losing Grand
Slams, said his rival still has it in
him to win more majors.
“If I had to bet I would probably bet that he would win another one,” Murray said.
“He’s still playing great tennis. But Roger knows more than
anyone how difficult these competitions are to win.
“Obviously, when he was
playing at his peak he made it
look extremely easy, but it’s not.
Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after losing against Andreas Seppi of Italy in their third round match
at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday.
Djokovic blasts into
last 16 as Wawrinka
stays under radar
‘I did serve well and that helps when you are playing big servers like Fernando’
orld number one
served up a storm
to advance to the
fourth round as defending
champion Stan Wawrinka kept
under the radar at the Australian Open yesterday.
The Serb endured a tough
workout before inflicting a 7-6
(10/8), 6-3, 6-4 defeat on tenacious Spanish 31st seed Fernando VerdasCo
Verdasco, who had beaten
Djokovic in four of their previous 10 encounters, failed to
prise a service break from the
top seed’s 16 service games.
Djokovic’s precision serving
was a feature, winning 82% of
his first serves.
“I did serve well and that
helps when you are playing big
servers like Fernando, who put
a lot of pressure on your service
games, so you have to stay composed and hang tough,” he said.
“I tried to go more for accuracy and precision and al-
Third round: Stan Wawrinka (SUI
x4) bt Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 6-4,
6-2, 6-4 Feliciano Lopez (ESP x12)
bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 7-6 (8/6),
6-4, 7-6 (7/3) Milos Raonic (CAN
x8) bt Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-4,
6-3, 6-3 Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) bt
Steve Johnson (USA) 6-7 (7/9), 6-1,
6-2, 6-3 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
(ESP) bt Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-2,
6-4, 6-4 Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x31) 7-6
(10/8), 6-3, 6-4 Gilles Muller (LUX)
bt John Isner (USA x19) 7-6 (7/3),
7-6 (8/6), 6-4 David Ferrer (ESP x9)
bt Gilles Simon (FRA x18) 6-2, 7-5,
5-7, 7-6 (7/4)
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a shot during his men’s singles match against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco on day six of the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.
low myself to have an easy first
ball and managed to have a lot
of free points, which definitely
Djokovic will now play Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller for a
place in the quarter-final after
Muller knocked out American
19th seed John Isner in straight
Djokovic is the favourite for
his fifth Australian Open title
following Roger Federer’s shock
exit in Friday’s third round.
Wawrinka, who made his
Grand Slam breakthrough in
Melbourne last year, said he was
happy flying under the radar after easing into the round of 16
and nominated Djokovic and
Rafael Nadal as title favourites.
The Swiss fourth seed cruised
through 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 over
Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen on
Rod Laver Arena and will now
play Spain’s Guillermo GarciaLopez.
“I’m feeling good since the
beginning of the tournament,”
he said.
“For sure I’m not the focus on
the tournament because there’s
Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal
coming back from injury, as was
Roger Federer before he lost.”
Japan’s fifth seed Kei
Nishikori battled back from a
set down to oust American Steve Johnson and reach the last 16.
Nishikori won 6-7 (7/9),
6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in 2hr 29min on
Hisense Arena and will next
face Spain’s David Ferrer, who
knocked out French seed Gilles
Simon in four long sets.
The 25-year-old, a superstar at home, was nervous in
the opening set before a cheering pro-Japanese crowd, but
he gradually wore down the
38th-ranked American to reach
the round of 16 for the fourth
straight year.
“It was a nice battle and I was
playing solid in the last couple
of sets, so it was a very good win
today,” Nishikori said.
Power-serving eighth seed
Milos Raonic smashed 22 aces
on the way to a straight sets
demolition of Benjamin Becker.
The Canadian defeated the
German 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in just
1hr 41min on Hisense Arena to
ease into the round of 16 where
he will face Spanish 12th seed
Feliciano Lopez.
Raonic, 24, is on track for a
likely semi-final with Djokovic
if he can get past Lopez.
Lopez apologises to injured ball-boy for low blow
High ranking sits uncomfortably on Nishikori’s shoulders
break-out 2014 season and a career-high
ranking of five has
added extra weight to
Kei Nishikori’s shoulders, with
the US Open finalist already
bearing the burden of huge expectations in his home country
Nishikori became the first
man from an Asian country
in the draw before his loss.
“It’s hard not to think about
playing possibly the greatest of
all time. Everyone wants to play
Roger,” Kyrgios said.
“I can only dream about what
Seppi is feeling to beat him in
four sets on Rod Laver. That’s
massive for him. But I get to play
another great guy that’s been on
tour for a long, long time.”
Fellow Aussie young gun Bernard Tomic, who could have
faced Federer in the semi-finals,
saw no great shock in his demise.
“It’s tennis, man. Everyone
is playing. Everyone’s trying to
win. It’s not easy. Everyone is
here for a reason,” he said.
“Everyone in this position of
the tournament is ready to play
the Grand Slam. Roger lost,
which is a big upset, but everyone can play tennis.”
It’s not an easy thing to do.
“You can easily lose against
guys that are in the top 100 in
the world. They’re all very, very
good players.
“Roger was one of the favourites at the start of the event, he’s
definitely still got chances to win
Grand Slams.”
Murray was on course to face
the second seed in the quarterfinals and shapes as one of the
major beneficiaries of his absence.
He first must get past Bulgarian young gun Grigor Dimitrov
in the fourth round before a
potential quarter-final against
Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios or Seppi.
Kyrgios, 19, who toppled Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last
year, said he had found it difficult
to put aside the thought of potentially facing Federer further
to reach a grand slam final at
Flushing Meadows and though
the 25-year-old wears the distinction with pride, he also feels
the pressure to take the extra
Nishikori reached the fourth
round of the Australian Open on
Saturday with a 6-7(7) 6-1 6-2
6-3 win over much-improved
American Steve Johnson at the
Hisense Arena.
But the fifth seed still has
a huge mountain to climb at
Melbourne Park with top seed
Novak Djokovic and defending
champion Stan Wawrinka likely
to stand in the way of a maiden
final in Australia.
“Obviously number five is a
different feeling than outside
of the top 10 because you still
feel a lot of confidence, but you
feel other things off the court,”
Nishikori told reporters.
“I think I feel more pressure
than before. I try not to think too
much. But you obviously feel a
little bit. It’s still not comfortable for me to be this ranking.
“But I think I need more time
to get used to it. If I can play
good tennis, I think I have a lot
of chance to stay here this whole
year. You know, practise hard
and prepare good. Hopefully I
can do good this week and next
Nishikori will have one less
distraction at Melbourne Park
before his fourth-round match
against David Ferrer, with Japan’s national soccer team
bombing out of their Asian Cup
title defence in Australia.
The defending champions
lost a penalty shoot-out to underdogs United Arab Emirates
in Sydney on Friday much to
the disappointment of huge fan
“Yeah, (I’m) disappointed
because I think they really had
a chance of winning the whole
thing. So really sad to see,” he
“I hope tennis gets bigger in
Japan, Asia. But I love soccer. So
I hope lot of kids start playing
soccer, too.”
Spaniard Feliciano Lopez
showed a compassionate streak
in addition to a dangerous
serve by apologising to the ballboy he struck in the groin at the
Australian Open.
Lopez, seeded 12th at Melbourne Park, unleashed a 196
kmph serve which hit local
teenager Sam Day during his
second round match with
Adrian Mannarino on Thursday.
Lopez grimaced when he saw
Day doubled over in pain and
both he and Mannarino approached the ball-boy out of
concern. Day was escorted off
court for a while but came back
to stoically complete his duties.
Video of the incident went viral
on social media.
The 33-year-old Lopez advanced to the fourth round on
Saturday by beating Pole Jerzy
Janowicz in straight sets and
told reporters he had caught up
with his victim the previous day.
“I just wanted to apologise
and to make him happy for a
while,” Lopez said. “I gave him
a T-shirt and a wristband from
the match.
“Yeah, it was very funny because he became very famous
with his mates at school.
Everybody was watching the
video on YouTube. Thousands
of viewers, I’ve heard.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Lakers delay
on injured
LOS ANGELES: The struggling Los Angeles Lakers will
wait until tomorrow before
making a final decision
on whether five-time NBA
champion Kobe Bryant will
require shoulder surgery and
miss the rest of the season.
Bryant, 36, who hurt his right
shoulder during Wednesday’s game against the
Pelicans in New Orleans, was
examined in Los Angeles on
Friday by Lakers team physician Steve Lombardo.
“Dr. Lombardo confirmed the
diagnosis of a torn rotator
cuff and discussed options,
including the possibility of
surgery, with Bryant,” the
Lakers said in a statement.
“Bryant is scheduled to be
examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday,
and a decision is expected to
be made at that time.”
Bryant, who in his 19th
season in the NBA, tweeted:
“This is what happens when
I pass too much! #ShoulderShock thank u all for ur
thoughts and prayers.”
A preliminary exam of his
shoulder on Thursday in San
Antonio had revealed a tear,
though its severity could be
confirmed only by further
Bryant injured the shoulder
on a dunk and avoided using
his right arm after returning
in the fourth quarter.
“I felt fine when I went up,
didn’t feel too good when
I came down,” the highscoring guard told reporters,
adding that his shoulder had
long been troubling him.
He ended the game with 14
A former league Most Valuable Player, twice an NBA
scoring leader and a twotime most valuable player of
the NBA Finals, Bryant had
sat out eight of the previous
16 games for “rest” reasons.
The Lakers standout, who
earned his 17th All-Star
selection on Thursday, is averaging 22.3 points through
35 games this season and is
signed through next season
after agreeing to a twoyear extension in 2013 for
Bryant played in only six
games last season due to
knee and Achilles tendon
injuries as the Lakers struggled to a 27-55 record.
He is the fourth Laker to suffer a long-term injury this season and the team has fared
even worse, posting a 12-31
record to sit second to last in
the Western Conference.
Thompson sets record
as Warriors rout Kings
‘Honestly, I was just really focused, hitting some tough shots and in a great flow’
Oakland, California
lay Thompson made
history by setting a
Friday with 37 third quarter
points as the Golden State Warriors hammered the Sacramento
Kings 126-101.
Thompson finished with 52
points after leaving at the 9:28
mark of the fourth quarter but not
before he had set a league record
for most points in a quarter.
Thompson carried the Warriors on his back in the third in
front of a crowd of 19,600 at
the Oracle Arena as he singlehandedly turned a Kings’ lead
into a Golden State blowout.
“I never shot like that,”
Thompson said. “Every time I
touched the ball I was going to
shoot it. “Honestly, I was just
really focused, hitting some
tough shots and in a great flow.
“Even I am shocked. That’s
Thompson made all 13 of his
shots in the third, with nine of
them coming from three-point
The previous record was 33
points in a quarter by George
Gervin in 1978 and Carmelo Anthony in 2008.
During a 5:25 span of the
third, Thompson poured in 19
straight Golden State points and
potted five triples during the
blitz. He outscored the Kings
37-22 in the period.
Thompson finished 16-of-25
from the field overall and was
11-of-15 from three point range.
Thompson was also just
one three-pointer away from
matching Kobe Bryant and
Donyell Marshall’s record of 12
triples in a contest.
With 4.9 seconds in the third,
Thompson hit two free throws
that gave him 50 points for the
game to become the 12th player
in franchise history to score at
least that number.
His previous career highs
were 41 points against the Los
Angeles Lakers in November
and eight three-pointers last
season in Sacramento.
Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors drives on Rudy Gay and Nik Stauskas of the Sacramento Kings at ORACLE Arena on Friday in Oakland, California.
His teammates congratulated
him by drenching him with an
ice cold bucket of Gatorade in
the Warriors’ dressing room.
“They just kept wanting to
see the show. That’s what they
kept telling me,” Thompson said
of his teammates.
Marreese Speights had 19
points off the bench, while
Stephen Curry added 10 points
and 11 assists for Golden State,
who have won four straight and
12 of its last 13 games.
DeMarcus Cousins finished
with 28 points and 11 rebounds
to lead the Kings, who have lost
six consecutive games.
Elsewhere, Paul Millsap scored
11 of his 22 points in the final
quarter and the high-flying Atlanta Hawks pulled away for their
franchise-record 15th straight
victory Friday, 103-93 over the
visiting Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jeff Teague tossed in 17 points,
Al Horford had 14 with 12 rebounds, while DeMarre Car-
roll and German-native Dennis
Schroder netted 13 for Eastern
Conference-best Atlanta (36-8)
winners in 29 of its last 31 contests.
The Hawks carried a 79-75 lead
into the fourth quarter. After a
Kevin Durant free throw drew the
Thunder to within three, Schroder sparked an 8-0 run, with six
points and assisted on Horford’s
basket to open up an 87-76 lead.
A three-pointer by Serge Ibaka pulled the Thunder to within
87-79. But Millsap ran off all his
Toronto.................... 91
Atlanta ...................103
Cleveland ...........129
Miami .......................89
NY Knicks ............113
New Orleans..... 92
San Antonio ......99
Boston ..................100
Houston ................113
Golden State...126
Philadelphia ...... 86
Oklahoma City 93
Charlotte ..............90
Indiana ....................87
Orlando ...............106
Dallas ....................... 98
LA Lakers .............85
Denver.................... 99
Phoenix ...................111
Sacramento ......101
Scandal-hit Patriots try to shift
focus to Super Bowl
Los Angeles
Bowl-bound New
England Patriots
engulfed in a scandal over the use of under-inflated balls, some of the team’s
players were trying on Friday to
get the focus back on the NFL’s
showcase game.
The team has faced intense
media attention since clinching
a Super Bowl berth with Sunday’s win over the Indianapolis
Colts and the NFL said on Friday
the team used balls that were
under inflated during the game.
“We went out there and won a
game in the AFC championship
and got the right to play in the
Super Bowl,” said Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty.
“That should be the focus and
the topic so that’s what I want
to talk about today, the Super
Bowl and the opportunity to go
out there and win a big game.”
New England dominated Indianapolis 45-7 during a rainy
AFC championship game where
a firm grip on a slippery ball
could have helped.
The NFL’s ongoing probe has
ruled that illegal balls were used
by New England in the first half,
where they established a 17-7 lead,
but were properly inflated for the
second half, during which the Patriots outscored the Colts 28-0.
team’s points in a 9-2 burst as
the gap widened to 96-82 with
five minutes 20 seconds left.
The Hawks stayed in front by
double digits the rest of the way
and eclipsed the previous franchise mark for consecutive wins
set by the 1993-94 squad.
Russell Westbrook had 22
points and 11 assists, while
reigning league MVP Kevin Durant netted 21 as the Thunder’s
(22-21) four-game winning
streak ended.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stands on the platform and waits for his team to be presented
with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the Patriots defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game
at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on January 18, 2015. The NFL is investigating whether
the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in
Sunday’s rain-soaked AFC Championship Game. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 and will face the Seattle
Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona on February 1, 2015.
The team leaves for Arizona
on Monday ahead of the Feb. 1
Super Bowl versus the defending
champion Seattle Seahawks, who
have been flying under the radar
all week while their upcoming
opponent deals with fallout from
the ‘deflate-gate’ controversy.
“(We’ve) got to be able to
eliminate all distractions right
now,” Patriots defensive tackle
Vince Wilfork told reporters.
“We can’t let anything take
our excitement away. We worked
hard to get here and everybody
in that locker room is excited to
play this game, and we need to
be, we should be. You’re not going to take that away from us.”
Patriots quarterback Tom
Brady, who threw three touchdown passes during Sunday’s
game, and head coach Bill Belichick have professed innocence regarding the deflated
ball issue.
who calmly spent his entire
30-minute news conference on
Thursday answering questions
about the ball scandal, and Belichick, who did the same during
his 11-minute stint with media,
were applauded by the team.
“They did a good job of handling it and I think everything
that needs to be talked about
on that subject has been discussed,” said offensive lineman
Dan Connolly. “I’d like to focus
on the game we have next week
against Seattle.”
Porte wins 5th stage
but Dennis retains
Down Under lead
asmanian Richie Porte
blew the Tour Down Under field wide open on
Willunga Hill yesterday
but just failed to overhaul Rohan
Dennis as overall leader of the
UCI season-opening race.
Just as he had in 2014, Porte
launched a stunning attack on
the second and final climb up the
notorious Willunga Hill to win
the 151.5-kilometre stage in 3hr
37min 32sec.
Dennis crossed the line nine
seconds behind Porte to retain the
leader’s ochre jersey by two seconds heading into the final stage
through the streets of Adelaide.
Spaniard Ruben Fernandez
(Movistar) finished third, ahead
of Dennis’s BMC team-mate
Cadel Evans and Tom Dumoulin
“I know this climb quite well—
but I didn’t quite get the (leader’s)
jersey which is disappointing,”
Porte said. “Full credit to Rohan,
though. I gave it to him as much
as I could and he didn’t crack.”
The fifth stage traditionally
begins in the wine growing region of McLaren Vale and consists of three circuits through
the vineyards and along Aldinga Beach, before two climbs up
Willunga Hill.
Early race leader Jack Bobridge
(UniSA) attacked from the opening kilometre, intent on staying
ahead long enough to take King
of the Mountain points on the
first ascent of Willunga Hill.
He was joined by fellow Australian Jordan Kerby (Drapac)
and New Zealander Greg Henderson (Lotto Soudal) with the
three opening up a five-and-ahalf minutes lead after 30 kilometres of racing.
The three leaders held on for
more than 100 kilometres until
Kerby dropped off the pace as they
left Aldinga Beach for the final time.
The peloton, led by the BMC
team, did all the chasing and
slowly closed Bobridge and
Henderson down, the Kiwi finally giving up at the bottom of
Willunga Hill.
But Bobridge held on and
crossed the summit 50 seconds
ahead to claim the points.
He was soon overhauled on
the descent and with 20 kilometres remaining the race was on
in earnest. At the bottom of the
final climb a group of about 40
riders remained in contention.
Orica GreenEDGE wound up
the pace as they tried to set the
race up for Daryl Impey, but
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas took
over at the front and increased
the tempo.
All the main contenders were
still in touch until the final 1.2
kilometres when Porte attacked
with a withering burst of speed.
Evans, Dennis and Dumoulin went with him, but Evans
cracked first and then Dumoulin
fell away.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Schmid makes it a
double in Porsche
GT3 Cup third round
confirms for
2015 Qatar
Total Open
‘To be 10 points clear at the half way stage is a great position’
By Sports Reporter
By Sports Reporter
ne of the most popular
players on the women’s
tennis tour has been
added to the already
strong player field for the 2015
Qatar Total Open. Denmark’s
Caroline Wozniacki (pictured), the world No8 ranked
player, has been granted a wildcard into the main draw of the
23-28 February event to be held
at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.
Wozniacki has previously been
as high as No 1 in the world and is
on a strong surge up the rankings
after a powerful finish to 2014
which saw her reach the final of
the US Open and the Year-End
She won her 22nd career singles title in 2014 with victory
at Istanbul and was also a finalist at Tokyo as well as reaching
semi-finals of five events; Dubai,
Monterrey, Eastbourne, Cincinnati and Wuhan.
The 24-year-old also finished
the year in the top 10 rankings for
the seventh straight time.
She started 2015 with a finals
appearance at Auckland before
losing to Venus Williams in three
sets and has continued her popularity on the tennis circuit with
fans around the world.
“The Qatar Tennis Federation is extremely happy to have
Caroline Wozniacki returning
to Doha, she is a very well-liked
player with the crowd and had
a strong record in the past 12
nder glorious sunshine at the
Losail International Circuit
in Qatar, Al Nabooda Racing’s
Clemens Schmid was a shining
example with a perfect weekend leading
from start to finish in Race 2 of Round 3
in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
The second successive victory in as
many days gave the UAE resident an even
larger lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, extending the gap to 10 points from
rival at the symbolic halfway stage of the
series from Kuwaiti star and defending
champion Zaid Ashkanani who finished
second yesterday. Fahad Algosaibi was
third with Skydive Dubai’s Saeed alMehairi fourth and his teammate Sheikh
Hasher al-Maktoum fifth.
Just as he did in Race 1, Schmid had a
powerful start to Race 2 but was immediately under pressure from his closest rival
Ashkanani. Despite a few anxious moments where he almost lost control of the
car the UAE resident kept his composure
to hold off the Kuwaiti in what was an exciting and close competition. The victory
sees Schmid build a healthy 10 point lead
over Ashkanani in the drivers’ standings
with three rounds gone but three more
still to come.
Although Schmid backed up his win in
the opening race with another victory it
was a lot harder to earn as the Al Nabooda
driver explained:
“That was a very tough race for so
many reasons but it’s the perfect result for me, but more importantly for
Al Nabooda Racing as today we won for
the team. I really struggled to get temperature into the front tires which made
the car slide and hard to control. Yesterday’s race was a lot easier for me. Today I
drifted wide twice but fought had to stay
ahead. I could feel Ashkanani closing in
but I worked hard and in the end it was a
sweet victory. I hope we can do the same
again in two weeks’ time, win the races
and win for the team when back in Qatar.
To be 10 points clear at the half way stage
is a great position.”
After starting from fifth on the grid
Saeed al-Mehairi had a sensational start
which saw him and his Skydive Dubai
teammate, Shaikh al-Maktoum, both
jump two places to third and fourth respectively. A mistake in the early laps
meant al-Mehairi dropped down to fifth
at the expense of his Emirati partner but
with just after the halfway stage was able
to squeeze past and secure fourth, nearly
capturing third.
Speaking after Race 2 Saeed al-Mehairi
commented: “That was a really good week-
months performing at the top
level,” said Qatar Total Open
Tournament Director Saad alMohannadi.
We now have six players who
have entered with top 10 rankings, all of them are from different nationalities. This alone will
make for a special tournament,
plus there are other players such
as Venus Williams and Sam Stosur who are in the top 20 and will
be title contenders,”
Wozniacki has played in Doha
five times previously with her
best result in 2011 where she
reached the final before falling to
Vera Zvonareva.
Already confirmed for the
Qatar Total Open are five other
top 10 ranked players; world No
3 and defending champion, Simona Halep, current Wimbledon
champion and No 4 ranked Petra
Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska
from Poland at No 6, Germany’s
Angelique Kerber at No 9 and
Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova the
world No 10.
Also in the player acceptance
list are seven-time Grand Slam
winner Venus Williams, former
US Open winner Sam Stosur
from Australia and two-time
Grand Slam winner Svetlana
The tournament will be held at
the Khalifa International Tennis &
Squash Complex, 23-28 February
with qualifying taking place 21-22
February. Tickets are now available online at www.qatartennis.
org and at City Center, Landmark,
Lagoona, Villaggio and on-site at
the Khalifa International Tennis &
Squash Complex.
Al Nabooda Racing’s Clemens Schmid leads the pack during the second race of the third round of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
Middle East at Losail International Circuit yesterday. (Below) Schmid with the winner’s trophy.
end for me personally and for the team. Not
only do we have confidence in the car we
have real belief that this is where we belong
and that we are capable of winning even on
tracks outside of Dubai. That’s a real step
forward. Although the result wasn’t as
good as yesterday it was a strong performance. I was on used tires and every driver in
front of me was on a new set. I have to be
happy as I kept pace with those at the front
and also fought back from sixth at one point
to come fourth. We are desperate to win the
team title for the first time and that it’s a
real possibility if we keep results coming
like this.”
Race 1 of Round 3 had shown just how
important a good start can be and in Race
2 the frontrunners all got away from the
start line well. Zaid Ashkanani was unable to get passed Clemens Schmid on
pole and settled in tightly behind the UAE
resident on turn one.
The Skydive Dubai duo of Saeed alMehairi and Sheikh Hasher al-Maktoum
had the best start as they moved from
fifth and sixth up to third and fourth.
With Qatari resident Charlie Frijns right
on their tail.
In the early laps Schmid made two
slight mistakes allowing Ashkanani to
close the gap piling the pressure on the
championship leader. Despite narrowing
Schmid’s advantage in the closing laps
Ashkanani couldn’t quite get passed his
rival and had to settle for second.
Further back in the field the competition between the Skydive duo and Charlie
Frijns allowed Ahmad Al Harthy to close
in from seventh and also Raed Raffii from
eighth, but the pair were unable to challenge the drivers up ahead and finished as
they had started.
The region’s leading drivers will lineup in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup again as
the star attractions at Losail International Circuit for Race 1 and Race 2 of Round 4
on February 5 and 6.
Holroyd extends lead in Qatar Challenge
Khan eyes clash
with Pacquiao
Mark Holroyd (right) leads Pavel Nedobity (left) before the Qatar Challenge race was restarted due to a red flag yesterday.
By Sports Reporter
ark Holroyd extended his lead
in Qatar Challenge (QCH)
with his third win of the season at Losail International
Circuit yesterday.
Holroyd, who started the race behind
pole-sitter Pavel Nedobity, overtook the
Lotus driver soon after the start at the
first turn of the race.
Holroyd and Nedobity were locked in
an intense battle during the first half of
the race but in the sixth lap of the race,
Saif al-Naimi suffered a mechanical
problem and he stopped the car, forcing
the race to stop temporary. Peter De Vido
was third at the moment of the red flag.
After the restart, Holroyd began up
front and crossed the chequered flag
ahead of Talal Wehbe and David Walker.
“It was the most exciting race I’ve seen
in Qatar Challenge and that is thanks to
Pavel, Peter and the guys for pushing the
cars really hard. If it wasn’t for the restart, I think Pavel would have beaten me
if I am very honest, but I gave my best. I
was very defensive, it was a very good test
of my defensive skills and fortunately at
the end of the race I came in first. I am
looking forward to the next race,” Holroyd
said after his win.
Wehbe was ecstatic with his secondplace finish. “I am super excited about
this result because it is my first race in
group N, and I am also happy that my
best lap time was the second fastest in the
second race. It was an amazing close race
between me and Peter,” Wehbe said after
the race.
In the Radical Middle East Cup, Russian driver Sergey Shalunov of team Arloid IntraHouse won both the races.
The next round of Radical ME and Qatar Challenge will be at Losail International Circuit on February 5-6.
Amir Khan (pictured)
revealed a fight against
Manny Pacquiao could
be on the cards after a meeting
with his former sparring partner
on Friday.
Khan trained alongside Pacquiao for several years under his
old mentor Freddie Roach and
had previously maintained they
would never fight.
But, despite their warm relationship, both men are now open
to a bout following their get-together at the Fitzroy Lodge boxing club in London.
“It was great seeing Manny
again as it’s been a while since we
last met up,” Khan said on Friday.
“He’s a good friend and we
chatted about the past when we
were training together, his visit
to London and also a bit about
the future.
“Even though we have that
friendship, if it makes sense then
it’s a fight that can certainly happen between us. I want to fight
the biggest and best names out
there and Manny is definitely
among them.
“Within the next few weeks, who
I’m fighting should be a lot clearer. I
want to give the fans the most exciting and entertaining fights in 2015 so watch this space.”
Khan and Pacquiao have both
spoken recently of their wish
to fight the world’s top fighter,
Floyd Mayweather, without actually securing a shot with the
But in the meantime they
could meet each other in the ring
after Khan, 28, delivered arguably a career-best performance
when he won a landslide decision
victory over American Devon Alexander in December.
Pacquiao, 36, seems to be
past his peak but remains a
massive draw in the sport and
he too would be happy to fight
“Yes, there’s a big possibility,
nothing personal, we’re just doing our job in the ring,” he said on
Sky Sports News.
“It’s not difficult for us because we respect each other.”
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
impudence sets
tone for UAE upset
S. Korea,
Iraq feel
weight of
After extra time failed to break the 1-1 deadlock, though, Abdulrahman stepped up to
take his country’s first penalty in the shootout and set the tone for the 5-4 triumph
Younus Mahmood of Iraq (10) celebrates scoring against Palestine
during their Group D AFC Asian Cup match.
Omar Abdulrahman (R)
of the UAE has been in
excellent form during the
ongoing AFC Asian Cup
ven in an Asian Cup quarter-final
upset of champions Japan that relied more on grit than guile, United Arab Emirates midfielder Omar
Abdulrahman still managed to contribute
a moment of impudent skill to his country’s cause.
The 23-year-old, who has attracted
the attention of European clubs with his
performances in Australia, had precious
few opportunities to show his creativity
as the Emiratis faced a barrage of attacks
from Japan in the 120 minutes of open
After extra time failed to break the 1-1
deadlock, though, Abdulrahman stepped
up to take his country’s first penalty in the
shootout and set the tone for the 5-4 triumph.
In a situation that would leave many
a young player overawed, Abdulrahman
showed no signs of nerves as he delicately
chipped the ball over Japan goalkeeper Eiji
Kawashima in the style made famous by
Czech Antonin Panenka nearly four decades earlier
“It was a fantastic penalty,” coach Mahdi Ali told reporters. “I think this was good
because it makes the goalkeeper’s motivation go down, and we saw after that he just
stayed in the goal.
“We were very happy for this fantastic goal but I told him never to do it again
because it made my heart stop,” Mahdi
added to laughter.
That Saudi-born Abdulrahman made
it through the 120 minutes against Japan
was good news for Mahdi after his playmaker struggled with injury for much of
the three months leading up to the Asian
“Amoory” has become something of a
cult figure at the Asian Cup for his languid
skills, Mahdi had asked his team to display a different side to their game against
Determined not to suffer the same fate
as they had against Iran in their last group
game, where they were mugged by a stoppage time goal, he asked for, and received,
hard work and doggedness.
“We played a fantastic game against
Iran but we lost the game,” he said.
“Today I told the players, ‘You don’t always have to play nice football to win the
game. Sometimes you have to play with
your heart, with your spirit’.
“Sometimes football is not fair, it was
not fair for us against Iran, and today I
think we deserved to reach the semi-final.”
Next up for the Emiratis is a trip up
the New South Wales coast to Newcastle
to take on the hosts in the semi-finals on
Tuesday, the first time they have made the
final four since 1996 on home soil.
“Of course winning against Japan will
give the players more confidence for the
next game,” Mahdi added.
“We fought for 120 minutes in this
game. Playing against Australia in Australia will also be tough and we have only
two days and Australia have three days.
“We’ll try to make a good recovery and
do a good job in the next match.”
Ghana toast Gyan heroics, South Africa on brink
ust days after being taken to hospital with malaria, Asamoah Gyan
lit up the Africa Cup of Nations on
Friday with a late winning goal as
Ghana beat Algeria 1-0.
Ghana’s win and the 1-1 draw between
Senegal and South Africa later in the day
in Mongomo leave the two qualifying
spots in Group C still up for grabs ahead
of the final round of matches next Tuesday, although Bafana Bafana appear very
much up against it.
Gyan is Ghana’s captain and talisman
and he was missed in Monday’s last-gasp
loss to the Senegalese, with coach Avram
Grant judging the striker unfit to play
having been hospitalised last weekend
after contracting a mild bout of malaria.
The 29-year-old came straight back
into the line-up on Friday and Grant decided to keep him on the pitch despite
him visibly tiring towards the end.
A scrappy match of few chances on a
poor surface was set to end goalless until,
in the second minute of injury time, Gyan
latched onto a hopeful long ball downfield and outpaced Carl Medjani before
firing across goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi and
into the net from a tight angle.
It was his seventh Cup of Nations goal,
allowing him to equal the record mark
set by Osei Kofi, a veteran of the Black
Stars side that won the continental title
in 1965.
The goal also means Gyan has now
scored at eight consecutive major tournaments, stretching back to the 2006
World Cup, and Grant was full of praise
for his superstar forward afterwards.
“Asamoah has a fantastic attitude. He
wasn’t fit and he hadn’t been training.
He is one of the greatest players I have
worked with,” said the Israeli after his
first competitive win in charge of Ghana.
Ghana now know that they will qualify
for the quarter-finals as long as they can
beat South Africa on Tuesday, while Algeria also know that a win against Senegal in
Malabo will definitely take them through.
“It is cruel to lose the match in the last
minute, but that will not change our fundamental approach to the last game: even
with a draw we would still have needed to
win,” said Algeria’s French coach Christian Gourcuff, before blaming the conditions for his side’s display.
“We never managed to get into any
rhythm because of the state of the pitch
and the weather conditions. In Malabo
against Senegal, I think the surface will
allow us to play a much more fluid game.”
Senegal are in pole position and are just
a point away from the quarter-finals after
coming from behind to draw with Bafana
For the second game running South
Africa took the lead but failed to see out
a result, with Oupa Manyisa opening the
scoring just after half-time.
Senegal had a Sadio Mane equaliser
disallowed for offside but they were level
on the hour mark when Kara Mbodji met a
free-kick from the right flank with a towering header into the net.
“We take a lot of confidence from the
way we have played in these two matches, even if we have not got the results
we hoped for,” said Dean Furman, the
captain of a South Africa side who must
now beat Ghana in their last match to
stand any chance of progressing to the
last eight.
“We just have to hope that a win in
our last game will be enough for us to go
Senegal’s French coach Alain Giresse
said: “Nothing is settled. The final day
will be fatal. That shows how difficult a
group this is.”
The action in Equatorial Guinea continues on Saturday with a double-header
of games in Group D, as the Ivory Coast,
without the suspended Gervinho, take on
Mali and Cameroon meet Guinea in Malabo.
Elephants coach Herve Renard will be
looking to Yaya Toure to produce a captain’s performance after laying down the
gauntlet to the Manchester City star on
“I expect a better second game from
him than the first one. If he is not able to
improve his level it will be difficult for the
team,” said Renard.
raq will continue their run at
the Asian Cup as underdogs
when they face South Korea
in the semi-finals Monday,
but the side can draw on a famous victory from 2007 for inspiration.
The South Koreans on the
other hand continue their search
for a first title since 1960 and a
first appearance in the final for 27
The match will take place in
the 84,000-capacity Stadium
Australia. Both teams have been
backed by large numbers so far
and the fans are set to turn out
again. Iraq’s followers will hope
for a repeat of the 2007 semifinal when Iraq defeated South
Korea on penalties and then went
on to lift the trophy.
“Korea are a very strong team
and a good team,” Iraq captain
Younus Mahmood said. “But my
memory is going back to the 2007
Asian Cup when we played them
in the semi-final. I hope 2007 can
happen again.”
Iraq have been dealt a blow
as influential midfielder Yaser
Kasim is suspended, having collected another booking in the
semi-final win over Iran.
That was a grueling battle for
120 minutes and penalty kicks,
and the players are well aware
of what football means to their
troubled country. The win over
Iran was greeted by wild celebrations in Baghdad and they are
not lacking motivation for South
“Our country needs the win,”
defender Dhurgham Ismail said.
“The next match is a very important match and we’re there to
bring happiness to our country.”
South Korea are also a country
under pressure in football terms,
with the team’s followers back
home desperate for success after
a long drought in the competition.
“If you haven’t won for 55
years, then we think it’s the
time to go for this Cup,” coach
Uli Stielike said before the
tournament started. “This is
our potential and what we are
working for, this is what everybody who is in this group is
working towards and at least we
have to br ing the performance.”
So far, their performances have
been steady if unspectacular.
But crucially, they have been
getting stronger as the tournament progressed and the side
have yet to concede a goal in
more than six hours of play.
Iraq’s followers will hope
for a repeat of the 2007
semi-final when Iraq defeated South Korea on penalties and then went on to lift
the trophy
“I think we can discuss a lot
about our technical quality,”
Stielike said after the 2-0 extratime win over Uzbekistan. “In
the first half, we missed a lot of
passes and chances. About the
technical quality we can discuss,
no doubt about it.
“What we cannot enter into
discussion about is the mentality, the sacrifice of our boys. I am
not sure that a lot of teams after
three games and with two of their
best players out of the competition like us (could compete).
“A lot of teams would lose their
mentality if you take two leaders
out of their group.”
The players Stielike refered to
are Mainz’s Koo Ja Cheol and Lee
Chung Yong of Bolton, who both
had to return home with injuries
during the group stage.
The squad also had to cope
with a bout of illness which laid
low Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung Min among others.
But Son recovered to score
both goals against Uzbekistan
and the Bundesliga star is sure
to be key as South Korea look to
reach a first final since 1988.
Japan set to stick with embattled Aguirre
Sydney: Less than 24 hours
after Japan’s shock Asian Cup
quarter-final defeat to United
Arab Emirates, the Japan Football Association said it would
retain the services of coach
Javier Aguirre, who is currently
embroiled in a match-fixing
Aguirre was among 41 people
named by Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutor, who filed a case
in a Valencia court in December
following a probe into Real
Zaragoza’s 2-1 win at Levante
on the final day of the 2010-11
The victory ensured Zaragoza,
coached by Aguirre at the time,
avoided relegation.
The prosecutor alleges that
the Levante players were paid
a total of 965,000 euros ($1.2
million) in cash to deliberately
lose the game with the Mexican
named as one of three people
who distributed the money to
their opponents.
Aguirre has repeatedly denied
the claims and the JFA conducted its own probe of the
While Japan’s early exit from the
Asian Cup will no doubt add to
calls for Aguirre to step down,
JFA chief Kuniya Daini said on
Saturday they were not cutting
the Mexican loose.
“When the initial report that the
court case had been accepted
came out, usually in these situations the report tends to be
right,” Kyodo News quoted Daini
as saying yesterday at Sydney
airport before flying back to
“We are checking every day
to see if the case has been accepted or not and so far we have
not been able to confirm it and
we are sticking with Aguirre.
“Once we know for sure whether
it has or has not been accepted
we will explain our position.
From our point we are praying
that the case has not been accepted.”
Defending champions Japan
crashed out of the Asian Cup
in a shootout on Friday after a
game they dominated from start
to finish.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Shock and awe as
Chelsea, Man City
humbled in FA Cup
Odds were against
United, says Van Gaal
Mourinho’s words came back to haunt him as the League One team pulled off
an upset that brought to mind their stunning run to the League Cup final in 2013
manager Louis van
Gaal declared that he
was not concerned
by his side’s performance after
their 0-0 draw at fourth-tier
minnows Cambridge United in
the FA Cup.
Van Gaal selected a strong
team for the trip to the Abbey
Stadium, but despite the presence of Angel di Maria, Radamel
Falcao and Robin van Persie,
United could not prevent the
fourth-round tie going to a replay.
Although the visitors were 76
places above their opponents in
the English league system, Van
Gaal claimed that it was actually 11-time cup-winners United who had been playing against
the odds in Friday’s game.
“Every aspect of the match
is against us,” said the Dutchman, whose team had overcome
third-division Yeovil Town 2-0
in the third round.
“We have to come here, the
pitch is not so good, but that can
influence also that you play in
another playing style.
“The opponents are always
giving a lot more than normally
and defending is always easier
(than) attacking, and then you
have seen the referee.
“It’s always the same. Everywhere I have coached these
games and I have coached them
also with other clubs. It’s always
the same.”
Asked to elaborate on his remarks about referee Chris Foy,
he replied: “You can give your
own opinion. I cannot give.”
Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata
were omitted from United’s
match-day squad, but Van Gaal
said that both players had simply been rested and were not
carrying injuries.
Van Gaal reverted to a 4-4-2
formation with a diamond midfield—after United’s fans had
protested against his preferred
3-5-2 system during last weekend’s 2-0 win at Queens Park
Rangers—but he said that tactics alone could not explain his
side’s failure to click.
“When I know the statistics
of our former performances,
then you could see that we create more chances (with a 4-42),” he said.
“But it’s not only the system.
It’s also the performance of the
system and what you see now in
the first half is more or less the
same as what we did with the
other system (3-5-2).”
Bradford City’s Andy Halliday (top) celebrates winning against Chelsea after their FA Cup fourth round match at Stamford Bridge in London yesterday.
remier League title challengers Chelsea and Manchester City
both crashed out of the FA Cup
after being sensationally beaten
by lower-league opponents in the fourth
round yesterday.
A weakened Chelsea team threw away
a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 at home to thirdtier Bradford City in one of the biggest
upsets in the competition’s recent history, while City lost 2-0 to Championship
high-fliers Middlesbrough at the Etihad
With Southampton beaten 3-2 by Crystal Palace, it means that none of the Premier League’s top three teams will feature
in Monday’s fifth-round draw, blowing the
competition wide open.
Manchester United, who are fourth in
the Premier League, face a replay against
fourth-division Cambridge United after
a 0-0 away draw against the League Two
club on Friday.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had
warned prior to kick-off at Stamford
Bridge that it would be a “disgrace” if his
side were beaten by Bradford.
But his words came back to haunt him
as the League One team pulled off an upset
that brought to mind their stunning run to
the League Cup final in 2013.
Chelsea made nine changes to the team
that had drawn 1-1 with Liverpool in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg and
4th rd: Birmingham 1 (Grounds 45)
West Brom 2 (Anichebe 25, 35) Blackburn 3 (Taylor 23, Gestede 78, Conway
89) Swansea 1 (Sigurdsson 21) Cardiff
1 (Jones 25) Reading 2 (Norwood 64,
Robson-Kanu 88) Chelsea 2 (Cahill 21,
Ramires 38) Bradford 4 (Stead 41, Morais 75, Halliday 82, Yeates 90) Derby
2 (Bent 20, Hughes 82) Chesterfield
0 Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough
2 (Bamford 53, Garcia 90) Preston 1
(Gallagher 19) Sheffield United 1 (De
Girolamo 68) Southampton 2 (Pelle 9,
Dann 16-og) Crystal Palace 3 (Chamakh
11, 39, Sanogo 21) Sunderland 0 Fulham
0 Tottenham 1 (Townsend 19-pen)
Leicester 2 (Ulloa 83, Schlupp 90)
Played Friday: Cambridge United 0
took a 21st-minute lead when Gary Cahill
flicked in Oscar’s corner.
Ramires made it 2-0 in the 38th minute
after a one-two with Mohamed Salah, but
Jon Stead replied for Bradford three minutes later and former Chelsea youth player
Filipe Morais equalised 15 minutes from
A money-spinning replay beckoned for
the team who are currently seventh in the
third tier -- 51 places below Chelsea—but
they went ahead in the 82nd minute when
Andy Halliday found the top corner from
18 yards.
Mourinho introduced Willian, Cesc Fa-
bregas and Eden Hazard from the bench,
but it was Bradford who had the final say
as substitute Mark Yeates calmly slotted
home to claim his own piece of FA Cup
“I repeat a word I used before this
match—it’s a disgrace for a big team to lose
to a small team from a lower league,” said
Mourinho. “We must feel ashamed. Me
and the players must feel ashamed.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini was
left to face questions about his side’s midweek trip to Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp after they were eliminated
by Middlesbrough. Currently second in the
Championship, Middlesbrough weathered
heavy pressure in the first half before capitalising on some farcical defending to take
a 53rd-minute lead through on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford.
Fernando’s back-pass sold Willy Caballero short and after the City goalkeeper
collided with Albert Adomah, Fernando
slid in to clear, only to play the ball against
Bamford, whose touch took the ball in.
After Lee Tomlin had hit the post for Middlesbrough, with Frank Lampard replying in
kind, substitute Kike secured victory for the
visitors in stoppage time by finishing off a
counter-attack led by Bamford.
“I can’t find words to explain my feelings today,” said Middlesbrough coach Aitor Karanka.
“But I’m proud of the players, the crowd,
the fans, the staff and the club.”
City, who visit Chelsea in the league next
weekend, have now lost successive home
games for the first time in three years, hav-
Chelsea made nine changes to
the team that had drawn 1-1 with
Liverpool in Tuesday’s League
Cup semi-final first leg and took a
21st-minute lead when Gary Cahill
flicked in Oscar’s corner
ing lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal last weekend.
Alan Pardew ended former club Southampton’s cup run as his Palace side twice
came from behind to win 3-2 at St Mary’s,
with Marouane Chamakh scoring twice
and on-loan Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo
opening his account for the club.
In the day’s other all-Premier League
game, Leonardo Ulloa and Jeffrey Schlupp
scored in the last seven minutes as Leicester City fought back to win 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur. Victor Anichebe scored
both goals as West Bromwich Albion won
2-1 at Birmingham City, while Sunderland
drew 0-0 at home to Fulham.
Earlier, Rudy Gestede and Craig Conway scored the decisive goals as secondtier Blackburn Rovers dumped nine-man
Swansea City out of the competition with
a 3-1 win at Ewood Park.
Swansea had Kyle Bartley sent off in the
sixth minute for impeding Josh King, only
to take the lead in the 21st minute when
Gylfi Sigurdsson found the top-left corner
from 30 yards.
But after Chris Taylor hooked in an
equaliser, goals from Cardiff City old boys
Gestede and Conway took Blackburn
through, while Sigurdsson also saw red for
an ugly challenge from behind on Taylor.
Holders Arsenal emboldened
rsenal manager Arsene
Wenger says his side
have been strengthened by their victory
over Manchester City last weekend, as they continue their FA
Cup defence at Brighton and
Hove Albion.
The north London club travel
to Championship outfit Bright-
on today, seven days on from
their superb 2-0 win over Premier League champions City at
the Etihad Stadium.
Wenger believes that landmark success—Arsenal’s first
away win against either City,
Manchester United or Chelsea
since October 2011—will allow
his side to become better as the
season progresses.
“We had a very controlled
performance with a great solidarity and a great togetherness—
that’s always a very good basis,”
said the Frenchman.
“Everybody contributed with
hard work, great work-rate. Can
we keep that focus on our qualities and improve our technical
level? We can only get stronger.
“What happened over the weekend helps the team to strengthen
our confidence, of course. I think
the attitude of the players since the
start of the season, on their desire
to do well and their solidarity, has
been extremely good.
“The basics have not
changed. We certainly have
more belief and more strength
in our belief.”
Arsenal travelled to the Amex
Stadium at the same stage of the
competition two years ago and
required a late Theo Walcott goal
to secure a 3-2 victory.
And Wenger is well aware
of the challenge that Chris
Hughton’s men will pose on the
English south coast.
“It’s always difficult in the
Championship away from home
and we remember Brighton from
two years ago,” Wenger said.
“I remember that it was a very
difficult game against a team
who were on the way up. They
were fighting at the top level
with Gus Poyet.
“It was a very difficult game.
We needed to dig deep to get out
with a positive result. We know
that it will be another big challenge for us to go there and come
home with a good result.”
Celtic extend lead
with unconvincing
County victory
eltic needed a huge slice
of luck to secure a narrow 1-0 away victory
over Ross County which
extends their lead at the top of
the Scottish Premiership to three
In an unconvincing performance the Hoops, who were held
to a goalless draw by their hosts
last month, struggled to break
down a stubborn County defence
which is statistically the worst in
the league.
It was County, desperately
fighting for their Premiership
survival, who went close first
with a shot from Craig Curran
before the forward had a penalty appeal dismissed after he
appeared to be pushed off the ball
by Emilio Izaguirre.
Leigh Griffiths and John Guidetti both conspired to miss
great opportunities to fire Celtic
in front before they eventually
made the breakthrough in the
52nd minute when a wicked deflection from Paul Quinn took
a Kris Commons long distance
shot beyond County ‘keeper Antonio Reguero.
The win moves Celtic further
ahead of Aberdeen, who dropped
points in Friday’s 1-1 draw with St
Johnstone, with the Hoops also
having a game in hand over their
It was a fifth consecutive clean
sheet for Celtic, who will resume
their Old Firm rivalry with Rangers for the first time since 2012
when they clash in the League
Cup semi-final at Hampden next
“Ross County defended well
like they did at Celtic Park. It’s
a small pitch so it wasn’t easy to
get the tempo up but the attitude
of the boys was very good,” Celtic
manager Ronny Deila said.
“We should have scored more
today so it’s not right to say that
getting the goal was luck.”
County manager Jim McIntyre
was proud of his players.
“I thought the boys were ex-
cellent and showed a real desire
to fight for each other,” McIntyre
“I thought our shape was good
and denied Celtic space. It was a
cruel way to lose it.”
It was the hosts who had the
first chance of the match when
Curran let fly from 30 yards but
his shot whistled just wide.
Adam Matthews then fed
Commons whose curling shot
failed to trouble County ‘keeper Antonio Reguero before the
former Scotland international
headed Izaguirre’s cross high
over the bar.
Izaguirre then fired a shot over
before being involved in a penalty
claim for County at the other end.
Scott Boyd’s header was making
its way to Curran at the back post
when Izaguirre appeared to push
him off the ball but referee Kevin
Clancy ignored the appeals of the
County players. Graham Carey’s
dipping effort from 25 yards out
resulted in an awkward save from
Craig Gordon before Commons
took a free-kick which produced
a superb save from Reguero.
Celtic should have taken the
lead moments after the restart
when Guidetti slipped a pass to
Griffiths but his weak shot was
blocked by Reguero with Guidetti’s follow-up being turned
out for a corner after it cannoned
off the back of defender Jamie
Reckord. The Hoops eventually
made the breakthrough in the
52nd minute with a huge slice of
luck. Commons took aim from
30 yards out and his low strike
took a wicked deflection off the
out-stretched leg of Quinn and it
spun over the head of the helpless
Liam Henderson’s bouncing
shot from the edge of the area
was then turned round the post
by Guidetti as Celtic looked for
a second their dominance deserved.
Celtic stopper Gordon hadn’t
had much to do in the second
half but he was called into action in the 83rd minute to stop
a decent half-volley from Boyd
which looked to be heading into
the bottom corner.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Bale nets winner
as Ronaldo sent
off, Barca hit six
Real got off to the worst possible start when Ramos handled the ball in the penalty area
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (C) reacts as Cordoba’s Edimar Fraga lies on the pitch during their Spanish First Division soccer match at El Arcangel stadium in Cordoba
yesterday. Ronaldo got a red card for kicking Fraga.
areth Bale scored a late winner
from the penalty spot after Cristiano Ronaldo had been sent off
for the ninth time in his career
as Real Madrid came from behind to beat
Cordoba 2-1 yesterday.
Barcelona remain just a point behind the
European champions having played a game
more as Neymar and Lionel Messi both
scored twice in a 6-0 win at 10-man Elche.
Madrid got off to the worst possible start
when Sergio Ramos handled inside his own
area and Nabil Ghilas slotted home the resultant penalty.
Karim Benzema levelled from James Rodriguez’s corner midway through the firsthalf, but Ronaldo’s frustration at a poor
performance seemed to have cost his side
the chance of victory when he lashed out at
Edimar seven minutes from time.
However, the numbers were levelled up
when Fede Cartabia was shown a second
yellow card for handling Bale’s free-kick
inside the area, and in Ronaldo’s absence,
the Welshman took responsibility from the
spot to secure all three points.
“I apologise to everyone and especially
to Edimar for my rash act in the game today,” Ronaldo wrote on his official Twitter
“I haven’t seen it yet and I still haven’t
spoken with him so I can’t judge,” Madrid
Barcelona’s Brazilian striker Neymar Jr. (L) scores past Elche’s Polish goalkeeper
Przemyslaw Tyton during their La Liga match Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, eastern
Spain, yesterday.
boss Carlo Ancelotti said of Ronaldo’s dismissal.
“We suffered in this game, but it is was
important to get the three points and we
managed to do it.”
The enthusiasm generated by Madrid’s
first visit in 44 years ensured there was a
full house at the Nuevo Arcangel and the
home fans had plenty to cheer within the
first two minutes as Manchester United reject Bebe saw his shot cannon off Ramos’s
arm and Ghils converted from the spot.
Slowly, though, Madrid began to find
their feet and drew level on 27 minutes
when Rodriguez’s corner was flicked on by
Bale and Benzema slammed home his 15th
goal of the season from close range.
However, Cordoba will rue not making
the most of a host of opportunities to seal
a famous win after the break.
Cartabia was desperately unlucky to see
his shot from the edge of the area fly just
wide before a scintillating run by Bebe took
him past a host of Madrid defenders but his
weak shot was easily held by Casillas.
The best chance of all fell to Florin Andone when he pounced on a poor header
by Raphael Varane, but Casillas did just
enough to turn his attempted lob on to the
Ronaldo’s frustrations then boiled over
when he was rightly dismissed for kicking
out at Edimar.
Yet, Ancelotti’s men still managed to
grind out a vital victory when Bale made no
mistake from the spot after Cartabia clearly handled his initial free-kick.
It was a far more comfortable evening for
Barcelona once Gerard Pique had chested
down Xavi Hernadez’s free-kick to open
the scoring 10 minutes before half-time.
A slick counter-attack 10 minutes after
the break handed the visitors the chance to
double their advantage when Neymar was
scythed down by Sergio Pelegrin inside the
area and, unlike when he missed from the
spot against Atletico Madrid in midweek,
Messi confidently slotted home the penalty.
Faycal Fajr was then shown a second yellow card to leave the hosts a man short in
the final half hour.
And it showed as Messi teed up Neymar
to sweep home the third and better was
to come from the South American duo 19
minutes from time when Messi’s lofted
pass was volleyed high into the net by the
Brazilian for his 19th goal of the season.
EPL millionaires
face penury over
tax demands
By David Conn and Daniel
The Guardian
ore than 100 footballers including
players are in severe financial
difficulties and even face bankruptcy, due to demands from
Her Majesty’s Revenue and
Customs for repayment of huge
disputed tax reliefs, the Guardian has learned. Some players who earned six-figure and
million-pound-plus salaries
during good careers in English
football’s current boom time
face losing everything.
Around 100 players, said to
be in financial “dire straits”,
are understood to have sought
help from the players’ union,
the Professional Footballers
Association. Xpro, the welfare
organisation for former players, is representing 40 more,
according to its chief executive, Geoff Scott. He said all
40 are seriously affected by
HMRC demands for the repayment of tax reliefs granted on
various investment schemes,
with around 20 facing potential bankruptcy and some even
Scott said the players signed
up to the schemes, which gave
them large reductions in tax
bills, because financial advisers targeted high-earning footballers and it became a culture
within the game.
“Many entered into them
because they saw their teammates doing it,” Scott said.
“They considered their job was
on the pitch, and their advisers
were looking after them off it.
We are representing 40 players,
many are divorced, houses are
being repossessed, some guys
have gone bankrupt already,
and we know of 20 facing bankruptcy or an individual [insolvency] voluntary arrangement
principally because of tax demands.”
The footballers, who include
stars of the game and solid exprofessionals, have become
targets for a crackdown by
HMRC on what it sees as tax
avoidance. HMRC has challenged a number of schemes
that, it argues, took advantage
of reliefs aimed at boosting
investment in the British film
Two of the film schemes being disputed, which were set up
and run by the London firm Ingenious Media, had around 70
former and current footballers signed up, including stellar names, which are publicly
recorded at Companies House,
such as Gary Lineker, David
Beckham, Steven Gerrard and
Wayne Rooney. Those stars
are all thought to be wealthy
enough to cover any HMRC
demands but the investors
also included lesser famed and
earning players, some of whom
are seriously struggling to pay.
One footballer who invested
with Ingenious, and spoke to
the Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said he had
played for a Premier League
club for several years. He said
he signed up for the investment schemes when he was
earning his Premier League
salary, on the recommendation of financial advisers and
English football on course for record sackings
ore managers will be sacked
in the Premier League and
Football League than ever
before if current trends
continue, according to the League
Managers Association’s (LMA) quarterly report.
As of the end of December, 27 managers—more than a quarter of the Premier
League and Football league’s 92 clubs—
had been dismissed from their clubs.
The tally is three more than at the same
stage last season.
A further seven managers resigned or
departed by mutual consent.
“If the trend continues we are on
course to exceed the total dismissal
record of 46 set in 2006-2007,” the
LMA report stated.
“The managers dismissed so far this
season have been in post for an average
of only 1.04 years.”
Premier League dismissals are down
six from last season, however, as only
Crystal Palace’s Neil Warnock and West
Bromwich Albion’s Alan Irvine were
sacked by the New Year.
Twelve clubs in the Championship
(second tier) dismissed managers up to
Dec. 31, with the average tenure of current managers in the division standing
at an alarming 0.82 years.
Leeds United are on their third permanent manager of the season having
appointed Neil Redfearn in November
after the sackings of David Hockaday
and Darko Milanic.
Five managers were sacked in League
One (third tier) and eight in League Two
(fourth tier).
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger remains
the longest serving current manager at
18.26 years, while West Ham United’s
Sam Allardyce is the second longest
serving Premier League manager at 3.5
Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp, who has spent time in charge
of West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur, holds the record for most
games managed by a current manager at
1,383 matches.
XPro chief Geoff Scott
because “everybody else was
doing it”. He has received four
large demands for tax repayment from HMRC and, only
recently retired from football,
is divorced, facing bankruptcy
and needed the PFA to help
provide him with somewhere
to live.
At the time he signed up, the
player said, financial advisers
were attaching themselves to
high-earning footballers, winning their trust and friendship,
and were frequent visitors to
training grounds. He acknowledged there was “a little bit
of greed” about investing in a
scheme that resulted in large
tax reliefs but argues he did so
quite casually, without fully
understanding them, and said
his advisers did not fully explain that HMRC could rule
such a scheme invalid.
“I am in trouble; there is no
way I can pay the sums being demanded,” he said. “It
is a really difficult period for
me. I wouldn’t say it cost me
my marriage but the pressure
contributed to it. Your career
comes to a very abrupt end and
now, if I don’t go bankrupt, I
will be close to it.”
The player, who did not
want to be named because he
is concerned it will affect the
low-level employment he has
recently found in football, said
that after divorcing and leaving the family home, he found
himself in severe trouble and
asked the PFA for help. Five
or six former players at his old
club are suffering similar financial wipeout from tax relief
claw-back demands, he said.
“There are so many of us
in trouble; with my ex-colleagues, we want to be talking
about the good times, but this
is the topic of conversation
everywhere. I am not looking
for sympathy, I blame myself
for trusting advisers – and I
do think something should be
done about them – and probably for being greedy as well,
making a few grand from the
The footballers were among
hundreds of wealthy investors who signed up in the
early 2000s for similar investment schemes. The standard
schemes gave a large upfront
payment of public money, but
it was effectively only deferring tax due in later years, and
many investors found they did
not have the money when the
demands rolled in.
schemes, which the company
is determinedly defending in
the upper tax tribunal in the
royal courts of justice, were
different, operating more as
standard investments in the
British film industry. Large
numbers of people, including
the footballers, invested some
of their own money which was
often, although not always,
matched by almost double the
money in the form of a loan.
The value of each film was
written down substantially in
the first year, on the basis that
films are risky ventures, and
this produced a tax relief at the
then higher rate of tax, 40%, of
that first-year loss. In a standard example, this tax relief was
as much as the actual cash the
investor had put in, and could
be used to reduce tax owing on
other investments.
Gulf Times
Sunday, January 25, 2015
2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters champion Branden Grace of South Africa poses for a group picture with the event’s volunteers, after the prize giving ceremony at the Doha Golf Club yesterday. PICTURES: Jayaram
Branden Grace and
playing partner
Bernd Wiesberger
(right) shake hands
with their caddies
after the final round
Branden Grace with Commercial Bank CEO Abdulla Saleh al-Raisi and other officials
In-form Kuchar moves one stroke clear
La Quinta, California
resh from a tie for third at
last week’s Sony Open in
Hawaii, American Matt
Kuchar maintained his
red-hot form to grab a one-shot
lead after Friday’s second round
of the $5.7 million Humana Challenge at La Quinta.
The world number 11 took advantage of another gorgeous day
in the California desert as he fired
a sparkling eight-under-par 64
on the Nicklaus Private course at
PGA West, one of three venues
hosting the pro-am event.
Kuchar, a seven-times winner on the PGA Tour known for
his remarkably consistent play,
mixed seven birdies with an eagle
and a lone bogey to post a 15-under total of 129.
Overnight leader Michael
Putnam was a further stroke back
after carding a 67 on the Palmer
Private layout, ending a day of
near-perfect scoring conditions
level with fellow American Bill
Haas, who shot a 63 at La Quinta
Country Club.
“Today was better even than
yesterday,” Kuchar, the highestranked player in the field who had
opened with a 65 at La Quinta,
told Golf Channel.
“I had a nice round over in
La Quinta, and that may be the
toughest of the three courses,
just how tight and narrow it is.
Here you’ve got a little more
space and reachable par-fives.
“I am continuing the good golf
from last week. It was nice to get
in the mix last week ... I’m just
trying to keep the form going and
have some fun out here.”
Fellow American Ryan Palmer raised hopes of shooting a
rare 59 before tying the course
record with a 61 on the Nicklaus
layout to finish three strokes off
the pace.
Palmer’s electrifying tilt at a
sub-60 score came up short after
he narrowly missed an eagle putt
from 15 feet on his penultimate
hole, the par-five eighth, and a
birdie attempt from nine feet at
the ninth.
“It was almost surreal,” said
Palmer, who rocketed up the leaderboard with a stunning eighthole stretch of 10 under from the
par-four 12th to the first.
“I holed out from 97 yards on
12 ... and then just kept hitting
it close, made a few putts. It was
one of those stretches you get
in and you almost don’t realise
what’s happening. You cherish
those moments.”
Phil Mickelson, playing his
first event on the 2014-15 PGA
Tour, birdied his last five holes
for a 66 to finish at seven under.
Matt Kuchar fired an
eight-under-par 64 to take the
halfway lead at the PGA Tour
Humana Challenge on Friday.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Branden holds off a spirited
challenge from Marc Warren
to land his sixth European Tour
title and second of the season
Branden Grace poses with the Mother of Pearl Trophy after winning the Qatar Masters yesterday. He is the fourth South African winner of the event after Darren Fichardt (2003), Ernie Els (2005) and Retief Goosen (2007). PIC: Jayaram
By Satya Rath
ince 2012, when Branden Grace won the
Joburg Open for what was his first European Tour title, he has maintained an
enviable record—of not losing a tournament when leading or sharing the lead going
into the final round.
Yesterday, the South African did it yet again,
and for the sixth time in his career.
Sharing the lead with three others going into
the final round of the US$2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Grace never let his
guard down even once, opening and closing
with birdies, with an eagle on the 16th being the
icing on the cake. His bogey-free 66 gave him a
four-day total of 19-under-par 269, which despite a valiant attempt by brave Scot Marc Warren and a spirited challenge by playing partner
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, proved one shot
too far in the end.
Grace becomes the fourth South African to
lift the Mother of Pearl Trophy—following Darren Fichardt (2003), Ernie Els (2005) and Retief Goosen (2007)—as he followed up a win in
South Africa last month to move to third place
on the Race to Dubai rankings.
The 26-year-old, who burst onto the world
stage with four European Tour victories in 2012,
was presented with a cheque of US$416,660
by Abdulla Saleh al-Raisi, CEO of Commercial
Bank, which earlier in the week announced a
three-year extension of its title sponsorship of
the European Tour event.
“It was a great day, a great week, and it’s another trophy to put in the cupboard. This is def-
initely one of the tournaments I wanted to win,
so I’m proud of myself that I managed to do it,”
said Grace, who finished joint-sixth in 2013 and
tied for 13th last year.
“The Middle East is one of the places I’ve always wanted to win. I started off the season well
in 2012 as well, so hopefully this will be a good
season and it just continues forward.”
Grace, playing in the penultimate pairing,
started the day from the front nine at 13-under
and made a gain on the opening hole itself. After
10 straight pars, Grace shared the lead with five
other players before making a move with birdies
on the 12th and 14th.
He was in a share of the lead with Wiesberger
and Warren before powering clear with a spectacular eagle on the 295-yard, par-four 16th,
when he drove to six feet from the flag.
After a par on the short 17th, Grace laid up on
the par-five 18th and nailed his third shot to six
feet. While walking to the green, Grace became
aware that Warren had made gains on the 16th
and 17th to draw level on 18-under, so the South
African was under pressure to sink a crucial
birdie putt that ultimately secured the title.
“I started with a nice birdie and then the
round didn’t go really my way, but I just stuck to
my guns and made a couple of birdies. Making
that eagle putt on the 16th and par putt on the
17th was the key.
“On the final hole, the putt was actually a
similar distance and similar break, so I just told
myself: ‘You just made one on 17, you can do it
again’. You make it, you think you’re going to
win, and if you miss, you know that pretty much
you’re not going to win. I had a nice putt, but
then the wait starts and I watched the television
as Marc finished his round,” Grace added.
Grace started the week ranked 79th but could
return to the world’s top 50 after his latest success, putting him in contention for Majors and
WGC events. Yesterday’s win was his sixth victory in his 124th European Tour event, and his
second victory of the 2015 season, following his
win in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
It’s the second time in his European Tour career that he has recorded multiple victories in
the same season. The other year was 2012, when
he won his first four titles: Joburg Open, Volvo
Golf Champions, Volvo China Open and Alfred
Dunhill Links Championship.
He also becomes the 16th different winner of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in
the 18 years the event has been played, and the
second-youngest South African to win six European Tour events, aged 26 years and 249 days.
The youngest is Charl Schwartzel, aged 26 years
and 138 days.
Warren, who started the day with back-toback birdies, saw his title charge stall when he
double-bogeyed the short eighth after his tee
shot found the water. The Scot recovered well
to sink six more birdies on the back nine but
faltered on the 18th when his 10-feet birdie putt
missed the pin by a whisker.
Wiesberger (68) finished third at 17-under,
a week after the Austria No. 1 finished sixth
in Abu Dhabi, while young Englishman Eddie
Pepperell (67) was fourth on 16-under.
Rising Korean star Ben An Byeong-hun enjoyed his best European Tour result as he shot a
65 to lie 15-under, sharing fifth place with Gregory Bourdy (65) of France and young Argentine
Emiliano Grillo (70).
World No. 2 Henrik Stenson, the top-ranked
player in the field, carded a 66 to finish on
10-under and was joined by Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose (68), the World No. 5.
Ernie Els (71), the four-time Major champion, finished eight-under, while defending
champion Sergio Garcia shot his third 69 of the
week to finish four-under, with his title defence
undone by a third-round 77.
269 ......Branden Grace (RSA) 67-68-68-66
270 ......Marc Warren (SCO) 71-65-67-67
271 ........Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 69-66-68-68
272 .......Eddie Pepperell (ENG) 69-71-65-67
273 .......An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 67-69-72-65, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 67-69-67-70, Grégory Bourdy
(FRA) 70-68-70-65
274 .......Alejandro Cañizares (ESP) 67-70-68-69
275 .......Alexander Norén (SWE) 67-71-72-65
276 .......Oliver Fisher (ENG) 65-73-69-69, Benjamin Hébert (FRA) 72-68-69-67
277 .......George Coetzee (RSA) 68-67-70-72
278 .......Justin Rose (ENG) 68-73-69-68, Henrik
Stenson (SWE) 70-71-71-66, Magnus Carlsson
(SWE) 71-69-70-68, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 7465-69-70, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 73-70-67-68,
Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 70-73-67-68
279 ...... Anders Hansen (DEN) 71-69-70-69, Julien
Quesne (FRA) 70-72-69-68, Andy Sullivan (ENG)
71-68-70-70, Seve Benson (ENG) 70-71-69-69
280 ......Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 73-65-74-68,
Matthew Baldwin (ENG) 70-68-70-72, Thongchai
Jaidee (THA) 69-73-69-69, Ernie Els (RSA) 67-7270-71, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 67-70-71-72, Felipe
Aguilar (CHI) 71-68-72-69, Álvaro Quirós (ESP)
281 .......Ricardo González (ARG) 69-70-73-69,
Michaël Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 70-70-69-72, Ross
Ben An posts best-ever finish on European Tour
By Sports Reporter
en An Byeong-hun
finished as the highest placed Asian at the
Commercial Bank Qatar
Masters after a brilliant closing 65
and a 15-under-par total secured
a share of fifth place, for his bestever finish on the European Tour.
Thailand No. 1 Thongchai Jaidee,
a six-time European Tour winner,
closed with a 69 to share 23rd
place on eight-under, three shots
ahead of the remainder of the
Asian contingent at Doha Golf Club.
Thai slugger Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a 69 to finish five-under
and was joined by Indian duo Jeev
Milkha Singh (70) and Shiv Kapur
(73), with all three finishing in a
group sharing 38th place.
An, the leading Asian on all four
days of his tournament debut,
started the final round five shots
off the pace and partnered with
former champion Darren
Fichardt in the seventh-last group
of the day.
After soaring up the leaderboard
with birdies at three, four and six,
the tall 23-year-old then challenged
the leaders after an eagle on
the par-five 10th and a birdie on
the 11th.
Although a bogey on the 15th set
him back, the laidback Korean responded with back-to-back birdies
on the 16th and 17th before a par
at the last helped him set an early
clubhouse lead.
“I still did pretty well today. I’m
happy with it,” said An, competing in his rookie season on the
European Tour after three years on
the Challenge Tour. “If I had taken
all my chances, I might have had a
chance of winning. I did have many
chances, but I missed a couple of
birdie putts. It could have been better, but 65, I’ll definitely take it.”
An finished 12th in Abu Dhabi
last week and continued an excellent run of form that was kick-started by finishing as the top Asian at
The Open Championship last July,
before he became the first Korean
to win on the Challenge Tour the
following month.
“My goal was a top 10 this week
and I did it, so I’m quite happy,”
said An, who stands almost six-foot
three-inches tall.
“It’s a good start to the season,
definitely. Last week I missed out
on the top 10 by a shot, but I kept
the momentum going.”
Having moved to the USA a
decade ago and claimed the 2009
US Amateur Championship at the
age of 17, An surprised many when,
a year after turning pro in 2011, he
started to ply his trade on the Challenge Tour in Europe.
However, it all paid off last year,
when he finished third in the
money list to earn a full European
Tour card for 2015.
“The Challenge Tour definitely
helped me a lot. The last three
years, I definitely felt it developed
my game and definitely helped me
a lot, as it helped me get prepared
for the big tour,” said An.
Fisher (ENG) 70-70-73-68
282 ...... Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 67-71-72-72,
Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 71-70-70-71, Pablo Larrazábal (ESP) 71-71-67-73, Rafael Cabrera (ESP)
66-73-70-73, Stephen Gallacher (SCO) 68-75-72-67
283 ...... Thomas Pieters (BEL) 73-68-68-74, Brett
Rumford (AUS) 69-72-73-69, Richard Green (AUS)
70-67-76-70, Renato Paratore (ITA) 69-69-70-75,
Shiv Kapur (IND) 70-68-72-73, Jeev Milkha Singh
(IND) 70-70-73-70, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 69-73-7269, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-71-75-69
284 ......James Morrison (ENG) 68-70-75-71,
Dawie Van der Walt (RSA) 72-69-70-73, Peter
Lawrie (IRL) 70-68-73-73, Sergio García (ESP) 6969-77-69, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-68-73-72,
Paul Lawrie (SCO) 67-73-73-71
285.......Michael Hoey (NIR) 71-69-74-71, Edouard
Espana (FRA) 70-73-70-72, Mark Foster (ENG)
67-73-70-75, Andrew Johnston (ENG) 69-73-7271, Tom Lewis (ENG) 72-71-69-73, Jason Barnes
(ENG) 72-70-72-71
286 ......Peter Uihlein (USA) 69-73-71-73, Damien
McGrane (IRL) 68-72-74-72, Grégory Havret
(FRA) 70-69-75-72, Eduardo De La Riva (ESP)
287 .......Jorge Campillo (ESP) 72-70-73-72, Mark
Tullo (CHI) 69-74-73-71, Robert Karlsson (SWE)
288 ......Jake Roos (RSA) 75-68-72-73, Moritz
Lampert (GER) 67-74-77-70, Scott Jamieson
(SCO) 68-73-72-75
289 ......Adrián Otaegui (ESP) 73-70-73-73, Matthew Nixon (ENG) 72-71-74-72
290 ......Richard Finch (ENG) 71-72-75-72, Paul
Waring (ENG) 70-72-76-72
293 .......Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 68-71-77-77,
Wade Ormsby (AUS) 74-69-71-79
294 ......Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 73-70-77-74
66 Branden Grace’s flawless final round
secured the South African a second
European Tour title this season and the
sixth of his career
26 At 26 and 248 days, Grace is secondyoungest South African to win six European
Tour titles (Only Schwarztel was younger)
54 Grace is now 54 under-par for this
season (16 rounds)
54 Events between his first and most
recent European Tour victories
100 Per cent win record for the Pretorian
when leading or co-leading heading into the
final round
353,257 Euros heading Grace’s way for
his troubles over the last four days
Where Grace moves to in the 2015
Race to Dubai on 629,654 points
Shots under-par Marc Warren was for
the final 10 holes, yet still had to settle for
second place
Shots under-par Englishman Eddie
Pepperell was over the closing two rounds.
He finished fourth
Bogey-free holes to finish for
Emiliano Grillo
70 Hole bogey-free streak from Alejandro Canizares came to an end on the third
hole in round four
602 Days since Alex Noren last shot as low
as his 65 on Saturday
216 Total birdies for the week on 16. But
it was an eagle that made the difference for
Grace on Saturday