Emir arrives in Munich; to address security conference today QNA

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1 Friday 16 February Jumada 1 I rd Best News Website in the Middle East BUSINESS 17 SPORT 24 Qatar & Turkey Al Duhail crush to boost tourism Umm Salal in cooperation goal fest Volume 22 Number Riyals Enjoy the best Wi-Fi coverage with Orbi! Get it now from Ooredoo. Emir arrives in Munich; to address security conference today QNA MUNICH: Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived yesterday in Munich in the Federal Republic of Germany to participate in the 54th session of the Munich Security Conference, which will start today and continues until Sunday. The Emir and his accompanying delegation were welcomed upon arrival at Munich International Airport by head of the research institution associated with the Munich Security Conference, Ambassador Harald Braun, Qatar s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and members of the Qatari embassy. The Emir will deliver a speech today at the opening session of the conference. Al Arabiya surrenders Ofcom licence over QNA hacking coverage QNA LONDON: Al Arabiya News Channel has surrendered with immediate effect its licence with the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom, which received a complaint over the channel s involvement in covering the crime of hacking Qatar News Agency (QNA), British law firm Carter-Ruck said. QNA had hired Carter-Ruck to submit a complaint at Ofcom against Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia for broadcasting fabricated and false statements attributed to the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani after QNA s website was hacked on May 24, 2017, a crime that the four countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt used to justify the siege that they have been imposing on Qatar since June 5, Based on the complaint, Ofcom, which regulates the conduct and output of broadcasters who broadcast in the United Kingdom and elsewhere within the European Union, had announced that it was taking measures to handle such issues. The surrendering of the licence by Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite broadcaster owned by Saudi businessmen, was to avoid an investigation which could have resulted in the imposition of substantial fines and Following the surrender of its licence, Al Arabiya is no longer able to broadcast in the UK or elsewhere in the European Union. other penalties and even in the revocation of the license due to previous violations. Al Arabiya had previously been heavily sanctioned by Ofcom in relation to a material broadcast in On that occasion, Ofcom found Al Arabiya to have breached its regulatory obligations to treat subjects fairly and justly and not to intrude upon privacy in unwarranted circumstances. Among other sanctions, Ofcom imposed a fine of GBP 120,000. Following the surrender of its licence, Al Arabiya is no longer able to broadcast in the UK or elsewhere in the European Union. In addition, it has placed itself outside the community of those responsible broadcasters who, by placing themselves within a reputable regulatory regime such as that administered by Ofcom, ensure that they comply with codified industry standards relating to bias and fairness. The move also confirms that Al Arabiya has been a vehicle for the propaganda of the four siege countries in terms of broadcasting fake news against Qatar. SEE ALSO PAGE 2 Qatar and UK to strengthen cultural ties QNA DOHA: Minister of Culture and Sports H E Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali met here yesterday with British Parliamentary delegation headed by MP Alistair Carmichael at the Museum of Islamic Art. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen cultural cooperation between Qatar and UK, and to activate the role of cultural centers and museums in promoting the rapprochement between the two cultures. The Minister addressed cultural variables on the international scene and the Ministry s vision of dealing with those variables, by embracing a clear vision that seeks to build a society that is conscious of a genuine conscience and a healthy body. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 Qatar condemns US school shooting DOHA: The State of Qatar expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of the shooting incident at a high school in Florida, which left a number of people killed and injured. The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, reiterated Qatar s firm stance on rejecting violence and criminal acts regardless of motives and reasons. The statement expressed Qatar s condolences to the families of the victims and the government and people of the United States, wishing speedy recovery for the wounded. Qatar keeping up with digital age advancements SACHIN KUMAR DOHA: Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani attended the first annual ceremony of the Ministry of Transport and Communication on Qatar Digital Government Training Program (QDGTP) yesterday. More than 3,000 participants have been trained under QDGTP since its launch in The ceremony, which took place at Four Seasons Doha Hotel, yesterday, witnessed the graduation of the first class of students from Mada Assistive Technology Centre, which aims to enable all persons with a disability in Qatar to reach their full potential through information and communication technology. Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti said under Seasonal Dates Market opens at Souq Waqif DOHA: Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani inaugurated yesterday the Seasonal Dates Market, which provides an opportunity for traders, entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises to display their dates and related industries products. It is organised by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce in cooperation with Souq Waqif. The market, which opened yesterday and runs through mid-march, is the largest date festival with 85 local and foreign companies specialised in the production, supply and distribution of dates from Kuwait, Oman, Iran, Tunisia, the wise leadership of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar is moving towards developments and is keeping up with the advancements in digital age. He said the advancement of the country is a collective responsibility of all residents. Al Sulaiti added that the wise leadership of Qatar spares no effort in raising awareness regarding the needs of persons with disabilities and the need to make use of their abilities and potentials. The Minister added that based on the directives of the Emir, QDGTP was launched by the Prime Minister, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MoTC). The program aims to build highly qualified management and leadership capabilities of technological personnel. Minister of Economy and Commerce, H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, visiting a stall after inaugurating the Seasonal Dates Market at Souq Waqif, yesterday. Algeria and other countries. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the event comes within the framework CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani at the first annual ceremony of the Ministry of Transport and Communication on Qatar Digital Government Training Programe, at Four Seasons Doha Hotel, yesterday. of the Ministry s efforts to support and promote Qatar s drive towards achieving selfsufficiency in all sectors, especially the food sector. He pointed to the role of the market in promoting the production of dates in the country and giving information on different types, as well as providing the opportunity for local and foreign companies to sell their production directly to the public, which positively affects the volume of their sales and enhances their ability to increase production. The Minister added that the Seasonal Dates Market represents an opportunity to consolidate trade and investment cooperation between local and foreign companies and exchange experiences in the fields related to the dates sector, thus enhancing the competitiveness of national products in local and international markets. Speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the seasonal market, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, President of the Qatari Businessmen Association, said that the partnership between the public and private sectors in Qatar has grown significantly, pointing that there are many Qatari youth who have embarked many advanced commercial fields enriching the structure of the Qatari market with the presence of young people equipped with knowledge and experience. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

2 02 HOME Qatar keeping up with digital age CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The program also aims to enhance the technological and professional capabilities and skills of staff, prepare personnel of high-caliber technological cadres and provide them to government agencies to ensure the implementation of digital transformation plans in the country and the strategic goals of Qatar Digital Government Al Sulaiti praised the Prime Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti at the Qatar Digital Government Training Program yesterday. PIC; BAHER AMIN / Minister s diligent follow up to implement this strategy, for the advancement of the ministries and governmental entities to develop their performance and increase their productivity. This will then achieve the vision of benefiting all individuals and businesses from communicating electronically with government agencies which seek to provide more transparent and effective services, Al Sulaiti added. Al Sulaiti stressed the commitment to seek to improve the lives of persons with disabilities at all levels through Information and communications technology (ICT) and merge them in the society to ensure to benefit from their abilities and contribution to the advancement and development of the State of Qatar. He highlighted that the program of Mada Assistive Technology Centre on access to jobs, confirms this and implements the plan. Al Sulaiti said the Mada program seeks to qualify people with disabilities in order to integrate into the labour market and develop their various skills to contribute to the building of the country. Speaking at the event, Assistant Under Secretary for Digital Community Development Affairs in the Ministry of Transport and Communication Reem Mohammed Al Mansouri said that the Qatar E-Government training Programme has made important achievements in the field of training the IT personnel. She explained that 1,150 staffs Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani at the first annual ceremony of the Ministry of Transport and Communications on Qatar digital government training programme. have received the training and obtained 199 internationally recognised certificates in the field of information technology, bringing the overall achievements, since beginning of the programme in 2016, to over 3,000 trainees and 266 international certificates, through 178 training courses. She added that the Qatar E-Government s digital training Programme has designed two specialised training Programmes, the executive managers training (CTO) and the Talent Training Programme (IT Talent). She pointed that the two programmes are among the first of its kind in the Middle East region, and that they were developed in cooperation with HEC Paris University. Al Mansouri added that 25 executives IT officers representing 20 bodies joined the CTO programme. The Qatar E- Government program also trained 32 staff in the first batch of IT Talent training program, she added explaining that after the success of the first batch, 25 staff members and employees were registered for the second batch. Reem Al Mansouri also presented the training plan for the first quarter of 2018, where 38 training courses were introduced in cooperation with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. Maha Al Mansouri, CEO of Mada Centre for Assistive Technology explained that many people with different disabilities who were not fortunate enough to have access to suitable opportunities, have joined the Access to Jobs program, which is specially designed to meet the individual needs of its members through specialised trainers and consultants. She highlighted the importance of this program as a practical solution to reduce the gap between the educational system and effective employment and a role model. She added that it aims to find immediate solutions to address the issues of employment for persons with disabilities, identify the challenges facing them and then design programs with the necessary partnerships to overcome these challenges. The Mada Center s CEO stressed that, in partnership with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, the Center will follow up on its members to provide necessary training to enable them succeed in performing the tasks required of them in the best possible manner. Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra concert at Katara tomorrow DOHA: Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra will play concert Kitajenko Conducts Shostakovich 10, which will take place tomorrow at Katara Cultural Village Opera House. Antonin Dvorak wrote his Cello Concerto in 1894 and 1895, during his time in New York as the Director of the National Conservatory of America. Scholars have debated the depth of American influence on other famous works he wrote there, including the New World Symphony and the American String Quartet, but there s nothing American about the Concerto. However, its origin is in part due to a performance Dvorak heard in Brooklyn of the Cello Concerto of Victor Herbert, a faculty member at the Conservatory. Dvorak was impressed how Herbert, a cellist as well as an operetta composer best known for Babes in Toyland, enabled the cello to stand out in relation to the orchestra. Taking on this challenge himself, Dvorak created one of the most poetical of 19th-century concertos. Conductor of honour of the concert Dmitrij Kitajenko is one of the great conductors of our time. Equally esteemed in eastern and western Europe, he regularly conducts prestigious orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Dmitrij Kitajenko was born in Leningrad, where he studied at the renowned Glinka School of Music and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. He went on to study with Leo Ginzburg in Moscow and in the legendary conducting class of Hans Swarowsky and Karl Osterreicher in Vienna. He obtained distinctions in each case. In 1969 he won the first International Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin and was appointed principal conductor of the influential Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow at the age of only twenty-nine. In the early 1970s he very successfully conducted a great number of operas in Moscow and in cities such as Vienna, Munich and Brussels in Western Europe. He became principal conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic in 1976, making it one of the leading orchestras in the world during the fourteen years of his direction and appearing with it in the most important musical centres of Europe, the USA and Japan. Surrender shows channel committed crime DOHA: Youssef Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al Maliki, Director-General of Qatar News Agency (QNA) said that the surrendering of licence of Al Arabiya News Channel to Ofcom that is looking into the complaint against the way of coverage of the Channel the crime of hacking QNA, indicates that the channel has committed punishable crime. The action of Al Arabiya for broadcasting fabricated and baseless statements attributing to the Emir after hacking of QNA on May 24, 2017, despite clarification by Qatari official authority that the these statements were fabricated, indicates bad intention of the channel because such coverage breaches all rules, ethics and morality of the media. PM inaugurates new headquarters of QNA QNA DOHA: Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani inaugurated yesterday the new headquarters of Qatar News Agency (QNA) in the towers area in Al Dafna. The Prime Minister then toured QNA s sections and departments in its new building which is characterised by keeping up with the latest international media and technological foundations, in order to achieve its goals in the coverage of news of various local, Arab and international events accurately and quickly. The Prime Minister listened to a detailed explanation by QNA Director-General Youssef Ibrahim Al Malki about the Agency s current and future plans to achieve continuous The Prime Minister listened to a detailed explanation by QNA Director-General Youssef Ibrahim Al Malki about the Agency s current and future plans. development of its performance in the framework of its media mission that is committed to credibility and professionalism. He was also briefed on QNA s achievements in various fields in spite of the crime of piracy and its keenness to continue its mission in accordance with the highest professional and ethical standards. Seasonal Dates Market opens at Souq Waqif CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, stressed on the importance of the seasonal dates market in providing date products to consumers in the local market especially during the holy month of Ramadan. He pointed out that this event should be organised twice a year to meet the local market needs throughout the year. He added that the seasonal dates market has attracted many companies from neighboring countries, which confirms the strength of the Qatari market and its importance to the majority of regional companies in all fields and commercial sectors. He noted the participation of a number of Qatari farms and companies in the seasonal dates market and exhibiting high quality products, noting that some of these companies also export dates products to many countries. Ali bin Hilal Al Kuwari, Executive Vice-President of Hassad Food Company said that the company s presence in the seasonal dates market stems from its keenness to be one of the main participants in this market, as well as presenting the capacities of Hassad as it owns the largest dates packaging factory in the region, which has a productive capacity reaching about 3000 tonnes. He pointed out that during the last period, Hassad was able to export its first shipment of dates to India, noting that the shipment received positive reactions from importers and consumers. There are new agreements to be signed soon and will be announced, he said pointing out that the company as a government company strives to support local farmers on commercial bases through some agreements and facilities between the company and farmers without any conflict or competition with the private sector. In order to provide the opportunity for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs to display their products from dates and related industries, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce invited foreign companies to participate in the seasonal dates market to provide them with the opportunity to present their products and conclude agreements and partnerships that open up new markets. the Ministry enabled local investors in the date sector to market their products to foreign markets and to identify the capabilities and expertise of the participating countries to take advantage and to boost the quality of the local product and enhance its position in foreign markets. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce has invited the public to visit the seasonal dates market, where various date varieties and related products are exhibited. Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani yesterday inaugurating the Dates Seasonal Market, which is an opportunity for companies to display and promote their different varieties of dates products, in addition to the food and industrial products associated with this sector.

3 QU-CAS hosts Safety Awareness Week HOME 03 DOHA: The Safety Team at Qatar University College of Arts and Sciences (QU-CAS) held the CAS Safety Awareness Week from February 11 to 15, which was aimed at raising community awareness on health, safety and environmentrelated issues. The event s programme included numerous presentations delivered by Health experts attending to a visitor during the event. Health experts were on hand to provide visitors with blood pressure and sugar level tests. CAS safety team Chair Jalal Hamdan, Professor of Physical Chemistry at CAS Department of Chemistry and Earth Sciences Prof Jan Kwak, Environmental Safety Officer at QU Facilities and General Services Department Eng Abdulaziz Al-Yahri, QU Environmental and Sustainability Specialist Eng Husameldin Talballa, and Manager of Environmental Health and Safety at Texas A&M University at Qatar David Onchagwa. They discussed a wide range of issues such as Health and Safety make it A PART not apart, Laboratory Safety at Qatar University; A responsibility for all, Hazardous Chemical and Biological Waste Management, Sustainability Initiative, and Health and Safety in the Laboratory. It also included a booth presented by QU Health Clinic under the theme Know your numbers. Health experts were on hand to provide visitors with blood pressure and sugar level tests. Also on the program were hands-on sessions on virtual firefighting and raising the fire alarm, given by QU Facilitates and General Services Department. Jalal Hamdan said: On its first year anniversary, CAS Safety Team organised a successful Safety Awareness Week campaign that targeted students, faculty and staff and brought together speakers from QU and external institutions. We were able to raise community awareness about health, safety and environmental issues. Minister of Culture and Sports H E Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali with British Parliamentary delegation headed by MP Alistair Carmichael at the Museum of Islamic Art. Qatar and UK to strengthen cultural ties CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The meeting was attended by officials of the Ministry and representatives of the Youth Advisory Committee of the Ministry. The Minister spoke about the eight perspectives adopted by the Ministry in realising its vision, namely, the vision of man, science, nature, life, time, afterlife, within the community and far from the communities, and measuring the movement of progress and effectiveness within society, and identifying the most important foundations of progress and renaissance in societies.he stressed the importance of the role of young people in building the state of Qatar and their contribution to leadership in various locations in the country, explaining that the Ministry of Culture and Sports pays great attention to youth, and that they are represented and have an active role in the various programs and projects of the Ministry. The Youth Advisory Committee takes the problems and aspirations of young people ideas and turns them into reality in future programs and initiatives. Members of the British Parliamentary delegation expressed their admiration for the architectural design of the Museum of Islamic Art. The delegation moreover commended the vision of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which is concerned with contemporary variables and their interest in youth, and expresses their hope for greater cooperation between the State of Qatar and UK on cultural and Youth Affairs. QC provides drinking water to 350,000 Somalis DOHA: Qatar Charity has drilled and rehabilitated 316 artesian and surface wells last year to provide safe drinking water to as many as 350,000 people in Somalia, which made 2017 the most abundant year yet in the field of water and sanitation. Qatar Charity implemented these projects in needy and poor areas of Somalia to help those affected and underprivileged people cope with chronic and widespread drought and lessen the effects. Qatar Charity pays a great attention towards providing safe drinkable water, as it is one of the main areas of its work, where it very actively works, especially in countries that have major problems in this vital aspect of life, such as Somalia where only a small percentage of the population has access to clean water, due to drought and drying up of springs, rivers and old wells, and fluctuation in rainfall seasons in general. Drilling of these wells and the efforts of health awareness about sanitation carried out and made by Qatar Charity in Somalia, coincided with its ongoing relief operations in Somalia, which included the distribution of dry foodstuffs and potable water through tanks transporting water to remote areas. Qatar Charity signed a cooperation and partnership Dukan Bedaya hosts 25 start-ups on NSD Qatar Charity-funded drinking water project in Somalia. DOHA: Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (Bedaya Center), a joint initiative by Qatar Development Bank and Silatech, through its Dukan Bedaya initiative, took part on Sport Day at the Katara Cultural Village. This year Dukan Bedaya showcased 25 health and sports related projects. The participation of Bedaya Center was in line with its mission to support highly sought startups working in the health and sports sectors. This support is reflected by inviting the public to know about these successful businesses and thereby raise awareness on the nature of their work and promote them in the best possible way. The 25 projects were displayed around the Katara corniche or near the Dukan Bedaya. Furthermore, the Bedaya Center team distributed free health fresh juices to all visitors and participants and invited Katara visitors to dribble and shoot at the mini basketball court established for the occasion near the Dukan. The participating projects varied between health and sports this year under the umbrella of Bedaya Center. The list of participants included Ever Green Organics the first full vegetarian café in Qatar, offering vegetarian dishes and many options for customers with fresh gluten and sugar free foods. Mrabrab the Qatari mobile application for smart phones that helps users to monitor their sporting activities and their overall health was also one of the participating projects. Memos Factory which combines the healthy traditional hospitality with a global touch, whose products are known to be free of preservatives and artificial ingredients, showcased their products to the public. In addition to this, Al Reem for dairy products which manufactures all its products from 100 percent fresh cow milk also displayed their products. Other notable participants were The Cage Sport, the sports centre specialised in agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia at the end of last year in the capital Mogadishu, to organise the cooperation in the humanitarian and development fields. Qatar Charity is keen to integrate its humanitarian and development efforts to respond to the basic needs of the Somali people and to serve the priorities of the Somali Government in the transition from the humanitarian People attending Sport Day activities. training in various combat games for all age groups, Juice N it the fresh juice outlet specialised in the field of organic juices using the latest methods and technologies in this field and Jaraa the importer of a variety of high quality food and beverage products from Macedonia. Adding to the list of participating projects were Raw ME, which provides a variety of food and beverage products and specialized services to help community members to pursue a healthy lifestyle. BMI Fitness the 5-star fitness club showcased its upscale services through its new facilities and its independent women section and Doesn t response to supporting the development and the stability efforts in Somalia. According to the agreement, the interventions of Qatar Charity will help the Somali Government bring about the sustainable development and will focus on a range of priorities including the provision of drinking water and taking the advantage of technology in this field to provide this service to the largest possible number of beneficiaries. Qatar Charity and UNHCR have announced, through a partnership and cooperation agreement signed between them last October last year in Geneva, that they will work together on the reintegration of the Somali returnees, internally displaced persons and receiving communities through the construction and rehabilitation of the public infrastructure in the water sectors, in addition to education, shelter and sanitation, to benefit nearly 100,000 people. stop the burger wagon displayed its grilled dishes which included healthy items low on calories with fresh vegetables. On this occasion, Reem Al- Sowaidi, General Manager of Bedaya Center, said, We strive to participate annually in the activities of the National Sport Day as it represents a moral support for all members of society to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This year, the start-ups specialising in health food and sports had a unique opportunity and a platform to showcase their products and projects to the public, Dukan Bedaya opted to host different sorts of start-up projects, she added. Al Hammadi meets Somalia official Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H E Dr Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi, with the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ali Mohamad Ali. During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations, means of boosting them, as well as matters of mutual interest. Experts discuss issues in chemistry and chemical engineering DOHA: Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco) sponsored the 10th edition of the annual Qafco Texas A&M University Conference in association with Texas A&M University at Qatar, and in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Qatar Candidate Chapter, which hosted experts from around the world yesterday at Education City, Doha, Qatar. Held under the patronage of Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, the conference highlighted the pressing need for policy makers, industry and academia to work together to develop new knowledge and create scientific solutions that have direct impact on the world around us. Al Sada said, The series is significant because it places Qatar at the genesis of an expanding knowledge pipeline. This year s conference focused on the theme Emerging Frontiers in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Qafco CAO Dr Hamed Al Marwani expressed, The QAFCO Texas A&M Conference 2018 is a confluence of ideas. I believe conferences such as these can help give better insights into issues wherein institutional learnings of industry and academia can mutually benefit. I hope the conference becomes the platform for sharing ideas to find solutions for short and longterm issues facing us. Dr César O Malavé, Dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, It is critical for industry and academia to work together to solve the real-world problems that will affect our future. For the past 10 years, Texas A&M at Qatar and Qafco have partnered to host the annual Qafco Texas A&M University at Qatar Conference to encourage the exchange of knowledge, ideas and expertise that is essential to fuel innovation and new thinking. We are grateful to Qafco, our longtime friend and partner, for its visionary leadership in driving the success of this annual event. Qafco has been an exclusive sponsor of the conference series since Over the past decade, the conference has attracted a steadily increasing audience of chemists and engineers from all over the globe, covering a wide range of topics and discussions related to chemistry and chemical engineering.

4 04 MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA Oman Minister pays rare visit to Jerusalem JERUSALEM: An Omani Minister made a rare visit by an Arab official to a Jerusalem holy site yesterday after holding talks with Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank. Yusuf bin Alawi, Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, visited the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. His visit comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel s capital on December 6, a move that angered the Muslim world. Such a visit would usually require coordination with Israeli officials. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said he was unaware of the visit and could not immediately comment. Oman and Israel do not have official diplomatic relations, as is the case with most of the Arab world. The Al Aqsa mosque compound is the thirdholiest site for Muslims and the scene of regular tensions between Palestinians and Israeli authorities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken Yusuf bin Alawi, Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, visited the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. repeatedly of improving ties with Arab nations in recent months, but there was no sign of a link to the minister s visit. Bin Alawi visited the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque at the compound and said it is a duty of Arabs to visit the mosque if they can. Jerusalem s status is perhaps the most sensitive in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians want Jerusalem s eastern sector as the capital of their future state. Bin Alawi met Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah earlier in the day. After the Al Aqsa compound, Bin Alawi also visited the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Ramaphosa is South Africa President AP JOHANNESBURG: Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday was sworn in as South Africa s new President after the resignation of Jacob Zuma, whose scandals brought the storied African National Congress to its weakest point since taking power at the end of apartheid. I will try very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa, Ramaphosa said in ending his speech to parliament shortly after ruling party lawmakers elected him. He said the issue of corruption is on our radar screen. Ramaphosa was the only candidate nominated for election after two opposition parties said they would not participate. The two parties instead unsuccessfully called for the dissolution of the National Assembly and early elections. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the parliamentary election and congratulated Ramaphosa, who had been Zuma s deputy and in December was narrowly elected leader of the ruling party over Zuma s ex-wife. Zuma resigned after years of scandals that damaged the reputation of the ruling ANC, which had instructed him this week to step down or face a parliamentary motion of no confidence that he would almost certainly lose. Zuma denies any wrongdoing. South Africa s new President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) reacts as he is sworn into office by South Africa s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng after being elected by the Members of Parliament at the Parliament in Cape Town, yesterday. Ramaphosa is South Africa s fifth President since the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule in He is expected to deliver the state of the nation address today that had been postponed during the ruling party s days of closeddoor negotiations to persuade Zuma to resign. The country s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, will cooperate with Ramaphosa if he acts in the interests of the South African people, said party leader Mmusi Maimane. We will hold you accountable and I will see you in 2019 on the ballot box, Maimane said. Members of a smaller opposition party walked out of parliament before the election, saying the ANC plan to choose a new President was illegitimate. Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party, said ANC lawmakers had failed to hold former Zuma to account for alleged corruption and had therefore violated the constitution. Ramaphosa now is challenged with reviving the reputation of the ANC, Africa s most prominent liberation movement, which fought apartheid and has been in power since the first all-race elections in The party s popularity fell as anger over corruption allegations grew and it suffered its worst showing at the polls in municipal elections in The foundation of Nelson Mandela, South Africa s first black President, welcomed Zuma s departure but said the state must act against networks of criminality that have hurt the country s democracy. Turkish army, FSA liberate 3 villages in NW Syria ANATOLIA ANKARA: Turkish military and Free Syrian Army liberated another three villages in northwestern Syria from PYD/PKK terrorists. The villages of Karri, Sharbanli and Shadia, which are located northwest of Afrin s Rajo town, were liberated during the operation. On January 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and IS terrorists from Afrin. Since the beginning of the operation, 58 different strategic areas have been captured from the clutches of terrorists. They included a town centre, 40 villages, three rural areas and 14 strategic mountains or hills. According to the Turkish General Staff, the Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along Turkey s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty. The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its selfdefence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria s territorial integrity, it said. The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and utmost care is being taken to avoid harming civilians. Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight. Ethiopian PM resigns following mass protests ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (pictured) resigned after longrunning political turmoil, an unprecedented move in the vast East African country. The decision by Hailemariam, in power since 2012, comes after months of escalating anti-government protests and signs of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters fly a drone in Northern Afrin, Syria, yesterday. growing splits within the country s ruling coalition. In a broadcast on state television, Hailemariam said he had worked hard to solve the problems in Ethiopia, but that he believed his resignation was also part of the solution. My decision is to be part of the ongoing reform programmes, Hailemariam said, according to state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate. I believe my party and government will make history again by conducting (a) peaceful power transition, he added. Hailemariam will remain in power until parliament and the full council of the ruling coalition party, the Ethiopian People s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), confirm his resignation. It remains unclear who will take over after that. The streets of the capital Addis Ababa were calm following the surprise announcement. Ushered into office after the death of former prime minister Meles Zenawi, a one-time Marxist who had led the rebellion that overthrew the Communist Derg regime, Hailemariam transformed from a relatively little-known politician to a technocrat and influential leader. Top IS leader returned to Iraq from Turkey BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities said they have managed for the first time to have a top leader of the Islamic State group extradited from Turkey. Ismail Alwan Salman Al- Ithawi, 55, was tracked to Turkey s Sakarya region, detained and returned through cooperation between Turkish, Iraqi and US intelligence agencies, a senior official in the interior ministry s Falcons unit hunting IS members said. The break came after his unit had infiltrated the highest levels of the group, he said. A native of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Ithawi was the group s minister in charge of religious edicts and headed a IS committee that decided on senior appointments. He had fled the group s now-shattered caliphate in Syria and was living under his brother s name in northern Turkey. We asked our ambassador in Ankara to intervene with the Turkish authorities by providing the arrest warrant issued by Iraqi courts and recent photos of Ismail, the official said. Grief as Zimbabwe opposition icon Tsvangirai dies HARARE: Zimbabwe was plunged into grief yesterday following the death of veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, roundly praised as a hero, champion of democracy and symbol of resistance who will be hard to replace. The former trade union stalwart who posed the most formidable challenge to the ruling ZANU-PF party s nearly fourdecade hold on power, died on Wednesday in a hospital in neighbouring South Africa where he was being treated for colon cancer. He was 65. Zimbabwe s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa lauded his party s arch-rival as a strong trade unionist and opposition leader and vowed free elections in honour of Tsvangirai who was assaulted, jailed and humiliated under Mnangagwa s predecessor Robert Mugabe. We remember him for his insistence on free, fair and peaceful elections which we must validate in the forthcoming (elections) in tribute to him and to our democracy, Mnangagwa said. This we owe him as political leaders of all contesting parties in our country which deserves unfettered peace and stability, he said. Tsvangirai s death firmly places Mnangagwa, the ZANU-PF veteran who took over after ousting veteran ruler Mugabe, on the path to victory in elections to be held before July. Infighting over Tsvangirai s successor is threatening to tear apart his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. MDC s acting chairman Morgen Komichi told reporters that the party had decided to appoint one of Tsvangirai s three deputies, Nelson Chamisa, as acting leader for 12 months. We have lost a doyen of democracy, an icon... a crucial soldier, Chamisa told hundreds of party supporters, speaking from a balcony on the party HQ in downtown Harare. We are just four months away from an election and we have lost a commander but what I can tell you is that we do not have a (leadership) crisis... We will win this election, he vowed. Dressed in the party s trademark red, supporters cheered with some openly weeping as Chamisa addressed them from a balcony, vowing to win the elections. The crowd filled the street, bringing traffic to a standstill, chanting songs praising the man who came closest to ending Mugabe s stranglehold on power for his bravery and commitment to the struggle against oppression. Supporters of the Zimbabwe opposition party MDC hold banners of Morgan Tsvangirai reading Hero outside Harvest House, the party headquarters, in Harare yesterday following the death of the veteran opposition leader.

5 ISLAM Man and human development in Islam SPAHIC OMER M an, according to the Islamic message, is not a fallen being as the Christianity asserts. His existence on earth is not a sentence passed on to him by God on account of what transpired between Adam and his wife Eve in the Garden of Eden. On the contrary, man is a vicegerent on earth (khalifah) entrusted with the honourable task of inhabiting the earth in accordance with the divine guidance given to him. This terrestrial life to man serves as a platform either for elevating his status over that of angels, should he abide by the divinely prescribed rules and regulations, or for debasing his self lower than the rank of animals, should he turn away from truth and dazed and lost wander aimlessly amid the innumerable and awesome wonders of creation. Man is the crown of God s act of creation. God created man by His own Hands and in His own image. (Sahih Muslim) For man and his principled assignment as vicegerent everything else on earth has been created, and to him and the expediency and services of his mission everything else has been subjected. God created man with the primordial natural disposition (fitrah) to thirst for and worship his Creator. God, therefore, knowing best the character of man, his needs and weaknesses, on sending Adam and Eve to the earth to assume their duty of vicegerency, revealed to them that He will never forsake them and their progeny. God promised that His guidance and signs will be coming to mankind to guide them and will perpetually stay with them, and Whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Baqarah, 38) Whosoever follows My guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall in misery. (Ta Ha, 123). By God s guidance and signs it is meant the religion of Islam which was preached by every prophet from Adam as the first messenger, to Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last and seal of all messengers. God s divine guidance enables man to remain strong, rational, content and responsible while on earth. It makes him capable of keeping up the focus of his undertakings on worshipping his Creator and Master in his every action, word and thought. God says in the Quran that He has created both Jinns and men only that they may worship and serve Him. (al-dhariyat, 56). On the other hand, in the event of man s rejection of God s messages and guidance, the repercussions will be costly. The Quran says: But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be Companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein. (Baqarah, 39) But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. (Ta Ha, 124) Furthermore, man is created as a social being endued with free will, passion and emotions, which could lead him either to the highest or drug him to the lowest ebb of creation. Humanity is but a big family with the same origin, mission and purpose. People have been divided into nations and tribes only to know each other, learn from each other, and cooperate at various levels in righteousness and piety, not that they may loathe each other, conspire against and exploit each other. They are to explore the universe and within a conceptual framework rendered to them by revelation try to make their existence on earth as convenient, meaningful and productive as possible, that is, to create and leave behind a virtuous legacy in the form of virtuous cultures and civilizations. However, no sooner does this universal equilibrium become impaired and vitiated, than man s relationship with God, his peers and the whole of the environment starts to degenerate. God says about this: O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Hujurat, 13) And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know. (Rum, 22). Islam with its unique tawhidic (God s Oneness) worldview champions that Muslims are brothers to each other and their similitude is like a wall whose bricks enforce and rely on each other. They are like a solid cemented structure held together in unity and strength, each part contributing strength in its own way, and the whole held together not like a mass, but like a living organism. Muslims are furthermore related to each other in such a way that if one of them (a part of an organic and formidable formation called the Ummah, Community) is troubled by a problem of any kind, the rest of the body parts will remain disturbed and restless until the matter became solved. (Sahih Muslim). Man, it follows, stands at the centre of all creation. He, likewise, stands at the centre of all his cultural and civilization legacies. They are all created by him and for him, and are meant only for him. The idea of man, therefore, is indicative of productivity, discovery, creative force and continuous cultural and civilizational evolutions and outputs. Not only for his own bequests, but also for the whole of the earth, is man responsible and will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. Such are the profundity and scale of his earthly mission that if the earth is sustained and kept clean, healthy and intact, that would imply that man has lived up to the requirements of his noble mission. However, if the earth is dealt with irresponsibly and avariciously, resulting in it to become ravaged and uninhabitable, that would imply that man has betrayed his Creator and Master and the mission entrusted to him, and that he has been untrue to himself and his primordial inborn moral fibre. Indeed, it was due to all this that when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, aiming to create a dynamic prototype Islamic city and lay down the foundation of a first example of sustainable Islamic architecture, sustainable Islamic urban development and, by extension, sustainable Islamic culture and civilization, he focused first and foremost on human development. He taught that without adequate and holistic human development, no other development in a long and demanding community building process will genuinely prove successful. He also taught that society is an organisation whose most basic and, at the same time, most significant configuration substance is its people or individuals. For that reason, a relationship between society and its substance and basic units or blocks is a causal one, the latter, namely individuals as the basic social units, being the cause, and society with its wide spectrum of tasks and aspirations, being the effect. This means that the health or the development of a society depends mainly on the health and development of its substance and basic units or blocks, that is, its people as human capital. An improvement in the minds and souls of individuals inevitably and proportionately leads to an improvement in society. Likewise, any degeneration in the minds and souls of individuals inescapably and proportionately leads to a degeneration of society. It stands to reason that the best method in diagnosing and remedying the ills of a society is by identifying the overall wellbeing and the contributions and roles of individuals as part of its focal interest, that is to say, the method that seeks out and deals with the root causes of a problem. For the reason of creating and nurturing human capital in the nascent city-state of Madinah the Prophet (PBUH) upon arriving disclosed to the assembled crowd some of the paths that invariably lead towards Jannah (Paradise) in the Hereafter, as well as towards individual and collective felicity in this world. The paths are: 1) implementing and spreading peace and concord wherever possible and by whatever lawful means; 2) sharing and compassion; 3) maintaining good relations with relatives (as well as with others); and 4) praying at night when everybody else is asleep. For the same reason the content of the Prophet s (PBUH) sermon during the first Friday prayer (Jumu ah) in Madinah as well as the contents of his other sermons at that juncture emphasised the importance of faith (iman), taking hold of the good and leaving the evil, brotherhood, sincerity, steadfastness, gratefulness for the blessing of Islam, the significance of helping one another in righteousness and piety and not in sin and rancour, the common cause of Muslims, and the like. Some of the underlying societal qualities and features of Islam, such as commitment to the established cause, justice, equality, and mutual understanding and cooperation, have also been demonstrated as early as during the exercise of determining the site of the Prophet s mosque and the marking out of its boundaries. The Prophet s (PBUH) scheme of personality and community building reached its climax when he legislated the system of mu akhah (brotherly association) among the Migrants (Muhajirs) from Makkah and the Helpers (Ansar) of Madinah. The mu akhah included 90 men, 45 from either side. So binding was the treaty that the Migrants for sometimes were the heirs of the Helpers, and vice versa, instead of their own kindred by blood. However, verse 33 of the Quranic chapter Al Nisa was revealed and the matter of the Migrants and Helpers inheriting from one another was rescinded. Nurturing exemplary community members in Madinah as human capital was additionally dealt with by God s direct intervention, which prescribed directives that targeted at both men s and women s steady spiritual development, and defining their roles and standing in the society s speedy growth. For instance, in the night of al-mi raj, which occurred sometime between one and two years before the Hijrah, the institution of prayer (Salah) was prescribed to the Muslims. Initially, the prayers of those not travelling and of those travelling had been of two rak ahs (units) except for the Maghrib (sunset) prayer which was always three rak ahs. But about a month after the arrival of the Prophet (PBUH) in Madinah two rak ahs in Zuhr (noon), Asr (mid afternoon) and Isha (evening) prayers were added to the prayers of those who were not travelling. Certainly, this addition had scores of benefits for the spiritual maturity of many Muslims. Some of them had just entered the fold of the new life code and were exposed to the unprecedented community building challenges, given that the task of one s prayers is to restrain oneself from shameful and evil deeds (al- Ankabut 45), and to foster honesty, goodness, conformity and dedication. As the Prophet Speak a good word or remain silent he significance and seriousness of words cannot by any means be Tignored. Words are the means of communication, the tool of prosperity, the door of change, the way of development and the path of success. Words are your choice, so make it the best. The Quran has confirmed the importance of words as it likens the good words to the good trees whose roots are firmly established and whose branches are very high, and the bad words are likened to ruined trees. Allah says: See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember. And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability. (Ar-Ra`d 14:24-26) Actually, one may not touch on any deeper and very well-coined parable that appreciates the value and significance of words as the Quran did. Some of the exegetes of the Quran illustrated People have been divided into nations and tribes only to know each other, learn from each other, and cooperate at various levels in righteousness and piety, not that they may loathe each other, conspire against and exploit each other. that the goodly tree here refers to the palm tree whose fruits and parts are equally beneficial in addition to its firm establishment. The verses tell us that words are fruitful and productive. They develop trunk, branches and fruits, which is only true for good words. Words involve great responsibilities, charges and even hazards. In Islam just a single bad word is enough to recall the wrath of God and the Hellfire, and a single good word can draw the pleasure of God and His Paradise. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A slave of Allah may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave of Allah may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire. (Bukhari) Almighty Allah states that every word one utters is recorded by a watchful angel, then one will be called into account for them, if good, the reward will be good and if not, it is for God to punish or forgive, Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). (Qaf 50:18) This point is further confirmed in a hadith narrated by Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported, The Prophet (PBUH) said: Shall I not inform you of the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak? I said, Yes, O Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) said: The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said: Shall I not tell you of the foundation of all of that? I said, Yes, O Messenger of Allah. So he took hold of his tongue and said, Restrain this. I said, O Prophet of Allah, will we be taken to account for what we say with it? He (PBUH) said: May your mother be bereaved of you, O Muadh! Is there anything that throws people into the Hellfire upon their faces or: on their noses except the harvests of their tongues? (Tirmidhi) Moreover, Almighty Allah informs us that the body parts will give their testimony before God on the Last Day about what their owner caused them to do whether good or bad, topped by the tongue, then the hands and legs. God says, On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their legs or feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do. (Fussilat 24:24) Once, `A ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I said to the Prophet (PBUH): Such and such thing of Safiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) is sufficient for you. (She means to say that Safiyyah was a woman with a short stature). The Prophet (PBUH) said: You have indeed uttered a word which would pollute the sea if it were mixed in it. (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi). To that extent, a single bad word is abhorred in Islam which pays attention to the gravity of using a word in an evil way. A true follower of Islam should be careful about his own tongue and not to utter any word that incurs the displeasure of Allah because it may entail grave punishment. Almighty Allah has blessed us with the power of speaking while other creatures are deprived from this faculty. Thus, we are supposed to make use of it in the good way. Abu 05 (PBUH) experienced a midnight journey from Masjid Al Haram to Masjid Al Aqsa (Al Isra ), whence he travelled to the seven heavens (Al Mi raj) where the prayer commandment was decreed, every human soul, similarly, ought to undergo a journey of its own in its religious growth in life. Praying five times a day at the divinely appointed times and as many rak ahs as prescribed denotes the most precious asset that one may possess all through the long and thorny journey. Every single prayer is expected to elevate its executor a step, or a degree, off the wickedness and confines of this world and towards the spiritual fulfilment. So, the bigger the number of those who are willingly and enthusiastically on the said spiritual journey, ever ready to better themselves and those around them, the better the prospects for their ideals to materialize and flourish become. For the purpose of creating healthy and upright individuals who will constitute a healthy and righteous society, the prescription of Adhan (calling to prayers), Siyam (fast), Zakah (the alms), Sadaqah Al fitr (charity of fastbreaking), Jihad (struggle for the holy cause), and some other legislative moves with regard to halal (lawful) and haram (forbidden) -- all these came about during the earliest Madinah period. Finally, shortly after arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) also organised the relationship between the various inhabitants of Madinah, including the Jews, and recorded it in a document dubbed the Constitution of Madinah. The commitments of each group within Madinah and their rights and duties were comprehensively enshrined in the document. To the critical significance of human development and human capital in generating cultural and civilizational value attests the following story. The second Caliph, Umar bin Al Khattab, was sitting with a group of companions and he asked: Let each one make a wish! Someone said: I wish if this house was filled with gold so I could spend it for the sake of Allah. Umar asked the people again: Make a wish! Someone else said: I wish if this house was filled with pearls and with every kind of precious gems so I could spend them in charity for the sake of Allah. Umar asked again: Make a wish! They replied: O Amirul Mu minin, we truly do not know what else to wish for. Umar then said: I wish if this house was filled with men like Abu Ubaydah b. al- Jarrah so I could use them for the sake of Allah (on Allah s path). A true follower of Islam should be careful about his own tongue and not to utter any word that incurs the displeasure of Allah. Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent. (Muslim). Islam has attained precedence in laying down the noble values and codes of ethics. Islam cared for and balanced between the spiritual as well as the material sides which is the secret behind its excellence. The Quran illustrates that good words are means of success in this life and the hereafter as Almighty Allah says, O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment. (Ahzab 33:70-71). Anas said, The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was neither coarse nor a curser nor a reviler, He used to say when he wanted to censure someone, What is wrong with him? May his brow be dusty! (Bukhari)

6 06 ASIA Indian bank scam: Raid on billionaire s offices MUMBAI: Indian investigators yesterday raided the premises of a billionaire jeweller accused of defrauding one of the country s biggest banks amid reports he and his family have left the country. Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers searched the Mumbai offices of Nirav Modi after he was accused of cheating state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs2.8bn ($43.8m). Footage broadcast on Indian television news channels showed officers entering one of Modi s jewellery showrooms in India s financial capital. Investigators searched four locations in Mumbai, including Modi s home, as well as stores in New Delhi and Surat, India s diamond trading hub, according to an ED directive being shared by journalists on WhatsApp. A spokesman for the ED refused to comment when contacted by. Modi is one of India s richest men. He is worth $1.73bn according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India s rich list. The 47-year-old is the founder of jewellery giant Firestar Diamond. His high-end Nirav Modi brand has stores in several of the world s major cities. Yesterday s raids came a day after the ED registered a money laundering case against Modi and a few others, including Enforcement Directorate officers searched four locations in Mumbai, including Nirav Modi s home, as well as stores in New Delhi and Surat, India s diamond trading hub, after he was accused of cheating stateowned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs2.8bn ($43.8m). members of his family, a business associate and two employees of PNB. It followed PNB s complaint last month to India s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that it had been defrauded of 2.8bn rupees. The bank, India s secondlargest state-owned lender, announced on Wednesday that it had also detected fraud of almost $1.8 billion at a single branch in Mumbai, sending its shares plummeting. It made fresh allegations against Modi to the CBI, according to PTI. The news agency, citing officials, reported on Thursday that Modi and his family had left India in early January, before the bank detected either of the two fraud cases. It reported that Modi and his brother left on January 1. The officials added that Modi s wife and Mehul Choksi, his uncle and business partner, left on January 6. All are being investigated by the CBI. In late January, shortly before the fraud allegations were made, Modi was photographed alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The two are not related. Cabinet minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Nirav Modi was not part of the prime minister s delegation at the global gathering in Switzerland. He went to Davos on his own. He joined a photograph of Indian businessmen. In no way does it show any connection, Prasad told reporters. Modi, the third generation of his family to go into the diamond trade, has not commented on the allegations. Firestar Diamond has previously said the earlier case was not connected to the company. The trouble comes as India s government is trying to reduce the crippling debts of the country s embattled lenders, including PNB. It recently announced a $32-billion recapitalisation plan for state-owned banks to help them clean up their books. PNB shares closed down almost 12 percent yesterday. Telangana state Governor E S L Narasimhan shaking hands with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rowhani, at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, yesterday. The Iranian President is on a three-day official visit to India. Iranian President arrives in India IANS HYDERABAD: Iranian President Hassan Rowhani arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit to India. Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir received him at Begumpet Airport in the city. Telangana Governor E S L Narasimhan, Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and other officials also welcomed him and other members of Iranian delegation. The visiting dignitary later left for Taj Krishna, a five-star hotel in Banjara Hills, where he will stay over next two days. Rowhani will address a meeting of religious scholars of various sects, academicians and other eminent people. Today, he will offer prayers at the historic Makkah Masjid and later address the congregation. Rowhani will be the first head of a state to address a congregation at the 17th century mosque, one of the biggest in India. He is also scheduled to visit Salarjung Museum, famous for the world s largest one man collection of artefacts. Rowhani is also likely to visit Qutub Shahi Tombs, the mausoleums of Qutub Shahi rulers, who had Iranian lineage. After two-day stay here, he will leave for New Delhi, where he will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind tomorrow. Nepal gets new Communist PM KATHMANDU: The leader of Nepal s largest Communist party was sworn in as prime minister yesterday, two months after leading his party to a thumping victory in landmark elections billed as a turning point for the impoverished Himalayan nation. K P Sharma Oli will head the first government elected under a new national constitution that cements Nepal s transformation from Hindu monarchy to a federal republic 11 years after the end of a brutal Maoist insurgency. An alliance of Oli s main Communist party and the former Maoist rebels trounced the incumbent Nepali Congress party in last year s polls, winning a strong majority in both houses of parliament and six of the seven provincial assemblies. The Communist leader was sworn in as prime minister by President Bidya Bhandari on Thursday afternoon. Nepal s post-war charter sets out a sweeping overhaul of the political system, devolving significant power from the centre to the seven provinces. But the handover of power after last year s polls was delayed by disagreements over how the new election rules in the constitution should be implemented. The long delay has China slams Modi s visit to disputed region BEIJING: Beijing will lodge a stern protest with New Delhi over a trip by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a disputed area, an official said yesterday, months after the nuclear-armed neighbours ended a tense border standoff. Modi paid a low-key visit to dampened the optimism that accompanied the polls, when many voters cast their ballots hoping a new government would bring much-needed stability and development. Nepal has cycled through 11 prime ministers since the civil war ended in 2006, allowing corruption to flourish and growth stagnate. Sher Bahadur Deuba, who resigned as prime minister earlier Thursday, spent just eight months in office. Rules under the new constitution make it harder to oust the premier, raising hopes that the next government could last a full five year term. During Oli s last term in office in 2015, relations between Kathmandu and its traditional ally Delhi soured after protests over the constitution led to a blockade of the Nepal-India border. The blockade caused a crippling shortage of goods in the landlocked Himalayan nation as it was still reeling from a devastating earthquake that hit earlier that year killing nearly 9,000 people. Oli blamed the blockade on Delhi and tilted Nepal s diplomatic relations towards China, stoking nationalistic sentiment. Beijing responded by pumping vast sums of money into Nepal in the form of largescale infrastructure projects. the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday, where he inaugurated a local convention centre, but the trip was quickly criticised by China, which also claims the area. The Chinese government has never recognised the socalled Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader s visit to the disputed area, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Nepal s newly-elected Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli (right) is sworn in by President Bidhya Bhandari as outgoing Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba (left) looks on at the President s House in Shital Niwas in Kathmandu, yesterday. Analysts say Oli will likely take a more pragmatic approach to balancing relations with Nepal s two giant neighbours this time around. He used the nationalistic platform for elections. Now he doesn t need to bait India to get support, said Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times newspaper. Both Oli and New Delhi appear keen to rebalance relations between the neighbours. India s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj was recently in Kathmandu for meetings with the government-in-waiting and there has been talk of a visit to spokesperson Geng Shuang. We will lodge stern representations with the Indian side. Last year, hundreds of Chinese and Indian troops faced off on the Doklam plateau, a small strip close to the intersection between China, India and Bhutan. The border dispute began in mid-june after Chinese troops started building a road on the Himalayan plateau. India has an army base nearby and Nepal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Where Oli makes his first overseas visit will be closely watched. He is expected to continue to court Beijing, with an eye on investment for a long-mooted Himalayan rail link and energystaved Nepal s hydropower system. The 65-year-old s health is a cause of concern within political circles. He had a kidney transplant about 10 years ago and regularly flies to Bangkok for health checkups. Some say he downplays the severity of his health problems. moved soldiers into the flashpoint zone to halt the work, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese territory. The two nations finally pulled back their troops in mid- August, averting a full-blown crisis. Arunachal Pradesh is a strategically important border district and came briefly under Chinese control during the 1962 war between the neighbours. NEWS BYTES Panel to decide future of Sri Lanka s unity government COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government said that it had appointed a special committee to decide on the future of the unity government after the two ruling parties suffered a defeat in local elections. Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa said the ruling United National Party (UNP) and its coalition partner, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), had decided to set up the committee. A report was expected to be submitted to the leaders soon. The UNP led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP led by President Maithripala Sirisena have been facing days of political unrest after their defeat in the local government polls on February dead in Bengaluru building crash BENGALURU: Three construction workers were killed and at least 15 others were feared trapped under the debris after a four-storeyed under-construction building collapsed here yesterday, an official said. Three men were killed and seven others injured after the building crashed at 4 p.m. in Kasavanahalli (a south-eastern suburb), city Mayor Sampath Raj told the media. At least 15 others are still trapped under the debris and are being rescued by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel. The injured have been admitted to different hospitals. 2 dead as Indian Air Force plane crashes NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force said two of its pilots were killed after their plane crashed in a remote northeastern state. The microlight plane crashed soon taking off for a routine sortie from Johrat airbase in Assam state. An air force official said the pilots attempted an emergency landing but the plane crashed and burst into flames. China confirms first human case of H7N4 HONG KONG: China has confirmed the first human case of H7N4 bird flu, prompting Hong Kong to issue a health warning for those travelling to the mainland during the busy Lunar New Year holiday The strain was identified in a 68-year-old woman from the eastern province of Jiangsu who was admitted to hospital after falling ill on December 25 but had since recovered, according to China s National Health and Family Planning Commission. Verdict on Cauvery dispute likely today NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce today its verdict on a batch of cross petitions by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry challenging the 2007 Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal award. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had approached the top court soon after the 2007 award was announced, assailing it on several counts. Congress for CBI probe into Kannur murder KANNUR: The Congress party in the southern Indian state of Kerala has decided to approach the High Court with a petition to seek a CBI probe into the killing of Youth Congress worker Shoaib in Kannur district, a party member said. Former Congress MP and State Minister K Sudhakaran, who is leading the protest, said nothing was going to come out if the Kerala Police probed this murder, and hence only a CBI probe would bring out the truth, for which we will go forward.

7 Pakistan slipping out of US influence: Report INTERNEWS ISLAMABAD: Seventeen US intelligence agencies have warned Congress that Pakistan will continue to slip out of America s influence and into China s orbit in 2019, and will become a threat to Washington s interests in the South Asian region. The review is part of an annual report that Director of US National Intelligence Daniel R Coats presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, underlining worldwide threat assessment of the American intelligence community. The 17 agencies that jointly produced this report include Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency. In their report on Pakistan, the agencies warned that the country will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to militants, restricting counterterrorism cooperation, and drawing closer to China. The report claimed that Islamabad-backed militant groups will continue to take advantage of their alleged safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests. The agencies also warned Pakistan s perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad s pursuit of actions that run counter to US goals for the region. In a brief assessment of Islamabad s nuclear programme, US intelligence agencies informed Afghan civilians increasingly targeted in 2017: UN report KABUL: More and more Afghan civilians are being deliberately targeted by militant attacks and suicide blasts, new UN figures published yesterday show, as the Taliban and the Islamic State group ramp up their assaults on urban areas. The number of civilians killed or wounded across the country dipped by a welcome nine percent overall in 2017, the report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) showed, with 10,453 total civilian casualties including 3,438 deaths and 7,015 wounded. But as the Taliban and the Islamic State group have come under more pressure they have increasingly carried out indiscriminate assaults in cities, with casualties from suicide bombings and attacks jumping by 17 percent. The agencies also warned Pakistan s perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate longheld fears of isolation and drive Islamabad s pursuit of actions that run counter to US goals for the region. Nearly 2,300 civilians were killed or wounded in suicide bombings and attacks in Afghanistan last year, more than any previous year of the conflict on record, the report said. The figures come after US President Donald Trump said last August the American presence in Afghanistan would remain open-ended and Washington stepped up air strikes on rural militant strongholds recorded the highest number of civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks in a single year in Afghanistan, the report said, with 605 killed and 1,690 wounded from such incidents. Afghan civilians have been killed going about their daily lives travelling on a bus, praying in a mosque, simply walking past a building that was targeted, Zeid Ra ad Al Hussein, UN high commissioner for human rights, was quoted as saying in the report. When we see civilians being deliberately targeted, you wonder how long that this (has) to go on, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN s special representative in Afghanistan, told a press conference in Kabul Thursday. Militants claim to represent Afghan interests but are killing people in the most appalling manner, creating terror and suffering, he said. The capital remained a top target, with 16 percent of all casualties during the year a total of 1,831 people killed and wounded occurring in Kabul alone. Things have not improved so far in 2018, and Yamamoto warned the UN is concerned it will see greater harm this year. Since January 20, militants have stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street and raided a military compound in Kabul, killing more than 130 people. Congress that Pakistan continues to produce nuclear weapons and develop new types, including short-range tactical weapons, seabased cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer-range ballistic missiles. These new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region, the report added. US agencies also expect relations between India and Pakistan to remain tense, with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the Line of Control. The agencies informed Congress that in 2019, relations between India and China will remain tense and will possibly deteriorate further, The majority of the victims in 2017 were killed or wounded by anti-government insurgents, according to the report. However pro-government forces, including international despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August. This elevates the risk of unintentional escalation, the report added. The US intelligence community expects the overall situation in Afghanistan to deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Talibanled insurgency, unsteady Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) performance, and chronic financial shortfalls. The agencies warned that the National Unity government in Kabul probably will struggle to hold long-delayed parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for July 2018, and to prepare for a presidential election in The ANSF probably will troops, were responsible for 20 percent of the civilian casualties a seven percent increase from The casualties by pro-government forces were partly ASIA 07 maintain control of most major population centres with coalition force support, but the intensity and geographic scope of Taliban activities will put those centres under continued strain, the agencies assessed. The agencies believe that Afghanistan s economic growth will stagnate at around 2.5 percent per year, and Kabul will remain reliant on international donors for the great majority of its funding well beyond US intelligence agencies see Russia as bringing pressure on Central Asia s leaders to reduce engagement with Washington and support Russian-led economic and security initiatives, and believe that concerns about [the militant Islamic State group] in Afghanistan will push Moscow to strengthen its security posture in the region. An Afghan doctor (right) assisting a survivor of a landmine blast at a hospital run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for war victims and the disabled in Kabul. More civilians were killed in suicide bombings and complex attacks in Afghanistan in 2017, a UN report said yesterday. caused by the increase in aerial bombings by Afghan and foreign forces, the UNAMA said. The US is the only international force known to be carrying out air strikes in Afghanistan. 10 cops die in Afghan attack; blast leaves two children dead AP KABUL: Attacks blamed on the Taliban in northern and western Afghanistan killed at least 10 members of the country s security forces, officials said yesterday, while a land mine explosion in western Herat province killed two children. In western Farah province, police commander Abdul Razaq Alkhani said a Taliban attack killed seven policemen on Wednesday night. The Taliban hit a police post in Bala Buluk district and the hours-long fighting also killed three insurgent before the Taliban were pushed back, Alkhani said. In northern Faryab province, Karim Yuresh, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said a Taliban attack killed three policemen in Qaysar district, also on Wednesday night. Ten Taliban insurgents were also killed in the ensuing gunbattle, he added. The two children killed in a land mine explosion in western Herat province were children of a local Taliban figure, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman of the provincial chief police. He blamed the Taliban but did not provide more details. The Taliban have not claimed responsibility for either of the two attacks. Duterte offers bounty for rebels to save on war costs AP MANILA: The Philippine president offered a nearly $500 bounty for each communist rebel killed by government forces to save on antiinsurgency costs and said insurgents are easier to hit than birds because they have bigger heads. President Rodrigo Duterte s latest crass remarks, which the government issued to reporters late on Wednesday, came after human rights groups condemned him this week for saying troops should shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals to render them useless. You kill an NPA today and I ll pay you 25,000 pesos, Duterte said in a speech at an air base in central Cebu city, referring to New People s Army guerrillas. I was computing that if this drags on for four years... it ll be very expensive because it s war. If I ll just pay 25,000 for a life, I can save about 47 percent, he said to laughter from the crowd. There was no elaboration on Aman faces trial in Jakarta court how he came up with those figures and whether or how the government would pay for claimed kills. Backing up his offer, the brash-talking president encouraged state forces to go for the kill. If you work really hard to crawl across the forest, you ll surely be able to shoot even just one. If you can shoot a bird above you, then how much more an NPA whose head is so big? Duterte said, again eliciting laughter from the crowd. Regional rebel commander Indonesian police escort radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman as he arrives at the South Jakarta court in Jakarta yesterday, for his first appearance over his role in a 2016 suicide bombing. Abdurrahman is considered the de facto leader of all Islamic State (IS) supporters in Indonesia. Jaime Padilla, who uses the nom de guerre Ka Diego, said Duterte wouldn t scare the guerrillas into ending their uprising even if he offers a million pesos for each rebel killed because the rebellion has been fueled by deep social ills such as poverty for nearly a century. These are not remarks of a sane president, Padilla said by telephone. These are words of a thug or a goon, who reigns like a king in our country. He said the guerrillas remain open to resuming stalled talks with the Malaysia maid death case: Two held in Indonesia KUPANG, INDONESIA: Two people have been arrested in Indonesia on human trafficking charges in connection with the death of a maid allegedly abused by her employer in Malaysia, police and a lawmaker said yesterday. Indonesian authorities said the employment recruiters an unidentified husband and wife used forged documents to send 20-year-old victim Adelina Sau to Malaysia in The woman s mother said she disappeared from their village in impoverished East Nusa Tenggara province after her family rebuffed a recruiter s job offer for their daughter. The domestic helper died at a Malaysian hospital on Sunday, a day after being rescued by a migrant workers protection group, according to local reports. administration despite the president s fascist style. Human Rights Watch said Duterte s remarks encourage government forces to commit war crimes instead of instilling a culture of accountability in accordance with international law. Duterte s pronouncements normalize the idea that government security forces can do as they wish to defeat their enemies, including committing summary executions and sexual violence, said Carlos Conde of the rights group. Her head and face were swollen and she had raw wounds on her hand and legs, a police document and Malaysian lawmaker said. The doctors said the maid died of multiple organ failure, said Steven Sim, a Malaysian politician from the Democratic Action Party. She was made to sleep in the car porch near a dog which was on a leash... It is a senseless loss of a life. The Indonesian recruiters were taken into custody on Wednesday on trafficking charges, while another suspect is being pursued, police said. A brother and sister, as well as their mother, who employed Adelina, have been arrested in Malaysia. Some 2.5 million Indonesians work in neighbouring Malaysia, which is a magnet for migrant workers but salaries are low and employees are not protected by labour laws.

8 08 VIEWS ESTABLISHED IN 1996 CHAIRMAN SHEIKH THANI BIN ABDULLAH AL THANI EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DR. KHALID BIN MUBARAK AL-SHAFI ACTING MANAGING EDITOR MOHAMMED SALIM MOHAMED EDITORIAL Helping for a cause Q atar has always been in the forefront when it comes to aiding the needy all around the world. The leadership of the country has been generous with donating funds to countries for rebuilding after wars or natural disasters over the last so many decades. Doha, once again, showed the large heartedness and pledged to provide a package of loans and in-vestments in infrastructure and reconstruction projects in Iraq worth $1bn. This was announced at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Reconstructing Iraq in light of the current challenges it faces is a responsibility that all donor states and regional and international organizations should effectively take part in. Qatar s participation in the conference comes as part of its continuous support to Iraq and its people to reconstruct it, the Minister said. The pledges at the conference, which concluded on Wednesday in Kuwait City, will help Iraq to get back on its feet after the destructive fight with the Islamic State group. Qatar has never shied away from providing aid for worthy causes in the region and have funded many projects for the welfare of the people through various bodies like Qatar Charity, Qatar Fund for Development, Red Crescent, Qatari Gaza Reconstruction Committee and many other international humanitarian bodies. Qatar has Qatar has been one of contributed $4.5bn biggest funder for to international reconstruction of Gaza Strip. aid to more than Over the past five years, Qatar has pledged $1.4bn worth of 100 countries in reconstruction support in Gaza the world from Strip. This has helped some of 2012 to mid-2017, the most high-profile projects, the Government including an $84m highway running the 40-kilometre Communication Office length of Gaza, a $114m highrise development in southern had revealed last year. This figure is set Gaza and a $17m state-of-theart rehabilitation hospital. to climb many times A week back, Emir H H it the coming days as Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Qatar always extends Thani had directed to provide its helping hand to $9m as emergency aid of those in need. medicines, foodstuff and fuel to operate hospital generators in Gaza Strip. Qatar also funds international humanitarian organizations working under the umbrella of United Nations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UN agency received contributions worth over $26m from Qatar, over the past year, making it the largest donor from the Middle East and North Africa region. The generous donations helped UNHCR secure lifesaving assistance for hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced women, children and men globally, including uprooted families in Iraq, Yemen, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Somalia and others. Qatar has contributed $4.5bn to international aid to more than 100 countries in the world from 2012 to mid- 2017, the Government Communication Office had revealed last year. This figure is set to climb many times it the coming days as Qatar always extends its helping hand to those in need. QUOTE OF THE DAY We have welcomed 3.5 million Syrians, we have shared our bread with them... Our hands are clean, we know what we are doing. Binali Yildirim Turkey s Prime Minister UNESCO: Yemen war threatens history AL JAZEERA T HE nearly 3-year-old Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 2 million and helped spawn a devastating cholera epidemic. Amid its humanitarian crises, Yemen s culture and historical sites have also been affected. The Awwam Temple links a region now on the front lines of the Saudi-led war against Houthi rebels to Arabia s pre-islamic past. Experts fear the temple, as well as other historic and cultural wonders across Yemen, beyond those acknowledged by international authorities, remains at risk as the country s stalemated war rages on. All the villages are historic in a way, said Anna Paolini, the director of UNESCO s regional office in Qatar that oversees Yemen and Gulf Arab nations. They re still heritage of the country. It s sad to see what s happening. Saudi-led air attacks have destroyed historic mud homes in Saada, the birthplace of the Houthi rebels. Air attacks have also hit the over 2,500-year-old Old City in Yemen s rebel-held capital of Sanaa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its intricately decorated, burntbrick towers. Shelling and air attacks have struck museums and other sites in the country. In 2015, air attacks damaged part of the Great Marib Dam, near the Awwam Temple and built by the same civilization, according to UNESCO. Just the shockwaves of an explosion in the distance can be enough to damage delicate structures. UNESCO has shared coordinates of some 50 historical sites with militaries involved in the fighting, to try to protect the sites, Paolini said, though many remain unguarded now in the chaos of the war. Although we ve seen less collateral damage and targeting of heritage, it still happens, she said. Foreign historians and archaeologists also fled the country over the fighting, halting work at sites like the Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis. Scholars believe the temple, with parts dating to the 7th century BC, served as a shrine to the Air attacks have also hit the over 2,500-yearold Old City in Yemen s rebelheld capital of Sanaa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its intricately decorated, burntbrick towers. Shelling and air attacks have struck museums and other sites in the country. god. The nearby city of Marib was the capital of the Saba dynasty, which ruled the area for centuries before the birth of Christ. The kingdom built the Great Marib Dam and controlled spice and incense trade routes. The legendary Queen of Sheba, said in the Bible and the Quran to have visited King Solomon in the 10th Germany s new grand coalition has one vital job BLOOMBERG ORE than four months after German voters Mpunished their coalition government at the polls, the two main parties have agreed to try again. If the Social Democratic Party s rank and file approve the proposed new pact with Angela Merkel s Christian Democratic Union, which cannot yet be taken for granted, Germany will be ruled once more by a grand coalition. It s a hopeful development another chance for the country s leaders to show Germany, and Europe as well, that pragmatic centrist government works better than populism and militant nationalism. Yet Merkel and her ministers have some pitfalls to avoid if they re to make GroKo, as the coalition is called, a success. The composition of the new cabinet would tilt the coalition in the SPD s favor: The center-left century BC, has been linked to Saba, though Ethiopians claim her as their own. She gave the king... gold, large quantities of spices and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon, the enigmatic story goes. King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for... Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country. The Holy Quran says Queen of Sheba was invited by King Solomon to abandon the worship of the sun and accept monotheism, to which she agreed. The Sabaean dynasty later succumbed to challenges from other kingdoms, and the Great Dam gave away in the 6th century AD, which the Holy Quran attributes to the Sabaean abandoning the worship of one God. Soon after, Islam quickly spread across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Marib, which has grown into a city where many displaced by Yemen s war now live, and gunfire echoes through the day and night, has never been a particularly easy place in modern history. Famed American archaeologist and oilman Wendell Phillips began excavation of the Awwam Temple in 1951, but had to abandon all his equipment and flee raiding Bedouin tribesmen with his team. Associated Press correspondent Wilton Wynn and his photographer wife Leila visited the temple in 1957 on a royal tour of the then- Kingdom of Yemen, apparently becoming the first Americans since Phillips to see the ruins. Wynn described Marib at the time as so remote our plane was lost for more party gets not just one of the powerful finance and foreignaffairs ministries, but both. On paper, this could be a good thing. Germany could use a little less of the CDU s stern fiscal conservatism and a little more of what the SPD is calling for more public investment and bolder reform of the European Union. The parties policy agreement appears to tick these boxes. Putting it into effect, though, will be another matter. The more leftleaning mix adds to the risk that the promised increase in public spending will go too far, or be frittered away on unproductive programs. It s to be hoped that the new finance minister, Olaf Scholz, can combine higher public investment with effective fiscal discipline. Greater emphasis on infrastructure would help. Germany spends a smaller share of national income on infrastructure investment than most other advanced economies Experts fear the temple, as well as other historic and cultural wonders across Yemen, beyond those acknowledged by international authorities, remains at risk as the country s stalemated war rages on. than a half hour trying to find it. After the dam burst, the city of Sheba was drowned and the kingdom never recovered, Wynn wrote in his AP dispatch. Its population drifted away, leading to tribes moving to Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine. Today, a simple fence surrounds the temple, just off a heavily guarded road leading to a Saudi coalition airbase and an oil refinery. A watchman lives in a small makeshift shack against the fence with his children. Foreign journalists and officials on a recent tour of Yemen organised by Saudi Arabia slipped through a large hole in the fence to marvel at the ancient South Arabian script inscriptions on stones inside. Some still bore what appeared to be red paint. Eight limestone pillars towered over the site, though weathered, chipped and marred by the occasional bit of graffiti. A Yemeni militiaman with a Kalashnikov assault rifle over his shoulder quickly shimmied up between two pillars, looking down with a smile at was once one of ancient Yemen s holiest sites. -- and the country certainly isn t lacking in the savings needed to finance worthwhile projects. The greatest threat, though, is that the coalition loses sight of the real prize -- restoring faith in German centrism and leadership. Coalitions are loveless marriages at the best of times. And the SPD, dismayed by its performance in the election, is divided against itself: The party even forced its leader, Martin Schulz, to drop his bid to become foreign minister. Sealing the pact is only the first step. Making it work will demand effort and restraint all round. A coalition that squabbles and fails won t just hurt the parties prospects in the polls next time. It will strengthen the insurgent farright AfD, endanger Germany s record of economic dynamism, and lessen the prospects for making the European Union work better for all its members. A lot is at stake if and when GroKo gets down to work.

9 Mass shootings shows President s glaring deficiencies JENNIFER RUBIN THE WASHINGTON POST JENNA MCLAUGHLIN FOREIGN POLICY T HE horrific mass shooting on Wednesday at a South Florida high school in which 17 were killed highlighted President Donald Trump s glaring deficiencies. Rather than face the nation, he hid. He did not come out to speak to the country; his press secretary had no briefing on Wednesday. All he could manage were perfunctory tweets on Wednesday and again Thursday morning. ( My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting, he said Wednesday. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school. ) This morning he was the impassive observer, already spinning to cast this W ITH talk of a bloody nose strike against North Korea being debated in Washington, public attention has focused on conventional military preparations for a US attack on Pyongyang. Less noticed, but possibly even more telling, is the surge in recent months of intelligence resources. Senior officials have made no secret of the fact that the administration is ramping up its intelligence capabilities to focus on the Korean Peninsula, but six sources familiar with US planning described a nearly unprecedented scramble inside the agencies responsible for spying and cyber warfare. In fact, the initial strike against the North Korean regime could be digital rather than physical, according to two former intelligence officials with knowledge of the preparations. The first shot will be cyber, one of the former officials said. As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un flaunts his nation s strides in missile development, the US government for the All eyes on North Korea As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un flaunts his nation s strides in missile development, the US government for the past six months has covertly begun laying the groundwork for possible cyberattacks on North Korea in countries including South Korea and Japan. past six months has covertly begun laying the groundwork for possible cyberattacks on North Korea in countries including South Korea and Japan. This process involves installing fiber cables as bridges into the region and setting up remote bases and listening posts, where hackers may attempt to gain access to a North Korean internet that s largely walled off from external connections. Preparations for a cyberattack reflect a larger issue: America s spies are pivoting the magnifying glass, funneling much of the weight of billions of dollars in technical infrastructure and trained professionals toward Pyongyang, current and former intelligence officials told Foreign Policy. The national technical focus is being switched, one former intelligence official with knowledge of the developments told FP. There are wholesale shifts worth billions of dollars redirecting signals intelligence, overhead imagery, geospatial intelligence, and other technical capabilities, toward Pyongyang. The preparations, according to those sources, include military intelligence analysts on reserve status being called back into service to focus on North Korea. as a mental health crisis. So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again! Was he blaming victims, or just blathering? He could muster only a written statement directing flags be flown at half-staff. Again, his only reaction is in writing. One cannot imagine Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush or Bill Clinton behaving in such a fashion. The role of consoler in chief is utterly beyond Trump. It s hard to envision him delivering a moving eulogy, as presidents before him have done. He channels and elicits anger, and he has no compassion to provide. His inability to address bloodletting in American schools which takes many more lives than do Islamistinspired terrorists underscores his priorities. It is never the right time to talk about a response to school shootings; yet before facts are known in the wake of a jihadist-inspired slaying, he s always at the ready to devise anti-immigrant measures. Trump is content to say that nothing can be done about mass slayings (we must be resigned to evil in the world, he would have us believe). Military and intelligence contractors have posted a number of job announcements in recent months seeking analysts with Korean-language skills, including positions to identify and recruit human intelligence sources. In November 2017, rumors flew around the halls at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, that the agency would also be surging analysts of all disciplines to work at the brand-new Korea Mission Center, established in May of that year, a symbol of serious potential for military action, one former intelligence official told FP. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has publicly confirmed that he s funneling workers there. The Administration has made North Korea a top priority, and the CIA established its Korea Mission Center to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency to address the threat posed by Kim Jong Un and his regime, CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu wrote in an . We shift resources as appropriate to tackle our most pressing challenges. The Defence Intelligence Agency had an oh, shit moment after the holidays, another source described to FP, when contingency planning to shift resources toward East Asia kicked off in earnest. Some experts working on areas such as counterterrorism and counternarcotics are suddenly getting new assignments, or fear they soon might, and are being told to shift their gaze to the Korean Peninsula instead, yet another source indicated. The Defence Clandestine Service, an espionage wing of the DIA, has ratcheted up its presence in the region. The government is working on putting the elite of the elite on the peninsula to collect and respond, a separate former military intelligence official told FP. Pivoting to high-priority regions to serve the military is the DIA s calling, said an agency spokesman, James Kudla. DIA has the unique role of ensuring warfighters, defense planners and national policy makers understand foreign military capabilities and operational environments so they can prevent or decisively win wars, he wrote in an to FP. These moves in the intelligence world mirror the reported military preparations for possible war with North Korea. But in the flurry of shifting intelligence resources, multiple current and former intelligence officials told FP, there is concern that the laser focus on North Korea could come at the expense of other hot spots, such as Syria or Iran. How does that leave us vulnerable? one military intelligence source asked. The defense budget passed by Congress ultimately doesn t end up matching the areas where the United States is spending the most, and resources In the case of white supremacists or disturbed teenage murderers, any proposal regarding guns is flyspecked and dismissed if it would not have prevented this particular attack; with Islamist terrorism, no such causal relationship is required (i.e. he used the October 2017 terror attack in New York as an excuse to propose doing away with family reunification immigration). And then there is Congress. More than four months after the mass slaying in Las Vegas, the Republicancontrolled Congress has done exactly nothing, even on the limited issue of banning bump stocks. There is no gun-oriented reform (expanded background checks or preventing people on the no-fly list from buying guns, for example) that is deemed acceptable; no inconvenience to gun owners, no matter how small, can be tolerated. On the budget front, Republicans are unwilling to fund common-sense measures that might prevent gun violence or enhance school safety. To the contrary, in its mode of hollowing out government, Congress rolls back existing funding. ( President Donald Trump s newly unveiled budget would cut millions of dollars from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun dealers use to verify if someone is banned from buying a gun before selling it to them. ). It tries to harass so-called sanctuary cities by threatening funding rather than supporting local priorities, which might include school safety. Congress might be willing to pay $10 million to $30 million for a parade, but new money to train school officials or retrofit schools with bulletproof glass, door blocks for classrooms, security cameras and alarm systems? Not interested. It has lost the revenue in voting for cuts for the rich and corporations, you see. (Trump is also proposing significant cuts in the Education Department s budget.) Republicans, including Trump, like to say that the gun problem is really a mental health problem. But on that front, Republicans want to do less, not more. As part of health-care reform, the GOP-led Congress wanted to scale back Medicaid, which in 2015, for example, covered 22% of nonelderly adults with mental illness and 26% of nonelderly adults with serious mental illness. (In addition, Medicaid covers many inpatient and outpatient mental health services, such as psychiatric treatment, counseling, and prescription medications. Medicaid coverage of mental health services is often more comprehensive than private insurance coverage. ) In his aren t unlimited. We have what we have. The CIA described the concern about limited resources as misplaced. The CIA is no stranger to tackling multiple priorities and executing its mission aggressively. We are always mindful of our obligation to keep America safe from threats from all over the world, wrote Liu, the agency spokesman. Joseph DeTrani, the former associate director of national intelligence and mission manager for North Korea, said the intelligence community s focus on North Korea has ebbed and flowed over the years. I think we surged slightly a little more in 1999, when we confronted them with the uranium enrichment program, he said. In 2017, North Korea made rapid progress in developing advanced missiles - testing more than 20, though not all were successful. Kim Jong Un is a showman when it comes to missile testing, according to DeTrani. [The North Koreans] want us to know they have these missile and nuclear capabilities, he added. DeTrani, who served as US special envoy at the six-party talks with North Korea between 2003 and 2006, said the Donald Trump administration is making the regime and its nuclear program very clearly priority No. 1. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed the increasing focus on North Korea but declined to provide specifics. North Korea has long been a very high priority for the Intelligence Community, Timothy Barrett, a spokesman for the office, wrote in a statement to FP. Given this challenge and the high policy focus on this topic, the Intelligence Community has added priority, focus, and resources to our North Korea efforts over the past several years, he continued. We continue to make adjustments to our North Korea-focused resources as the situation warrants. The CIA has been particularly vocal on its Korea focus. In January, Pompeo told an audience at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington that supporting the US pressure campaign on North Korea was the kind of task that the CIA was designed for. While Pompeo would not go into detail about missions in East Asia, he noted that the CIA was helping support sanctions efforts to create economic pressure and was working to prepare a series of options in case diplomacy fails. One of those options, a former intelligence official with knowledge of recent planning told FP, could be targeting North Korea s heavy use of cryptocurrency. Now they have a reason to hack Bitcoin, the former official said. The source predicted that a massive attack on the bitcoin exchanges could be a shot across the bow. OPINION 2019 budget proposal for the Health and Human Services Department, Trump proposes a 21 percent decrease from 2017 funding levels. Trump is emotionally and politically inert useless, really in these ordeals. Congress is little better. So long as the anti-gun-measure extremists and antigovernment Republicans dominate the federal government, we shouldn t expect much from the feds. That leaves it to state and local officials and legislatures, parent activists and voters. Acknowledging the iron grip of the National Rifle Association does not mean we cannot do something more than send thoughts and prayers. The author writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective. D-RING ROAD POST BOX: 3488 DOHA - QATAR 09 The role of consoler in chief is utterly beyond Trump. It s hard to envision him delivering a moving eulogy, as presidents before him have done. He channels and elicits anger, and he has no compassion to provide. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OFFICE TEL: / 767 FAX: MANAGING EDITOR TEL: DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR TEL: LOCAL NEWS SECTION TEL: BUSINESS NEWS SECTION TEL: SPORT NEWS SECTION TEL: ONLINE SECTION TEL: PUBLIC RELATIONS TEL: ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT TEL: / 780 FAX: CLASSIFIED DEPARTMENT TEL: SUBSCRIPTION & DISTRIBUTION TEL: / 839 FAX: All thoughts and views expressed in these columns are those of the writers, not of the newspaper. All correspondence regarding Views and Opinion pages should be send to editor-in-chief office or mailed to the

10 10 EUROPE UK blames Russia for cyber attack LONDON: Britain yesterday accused the Russian military of being behind last year s NotPetya cyber attack, which started in Ukraine and Russia before spreading globally, affecting thousands of computers. The UK Government judges that the Russian Government, specifically the Russian military, was responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyberattack of June 2017, Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad said. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the attack was further evidence of a new era of warfare with a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber attacks. Russia is ripping up the rule book by undermining democracy, wrecking livelihoods by targeting critical infrastructure and weaponising information, he said. The accusation was immediately denied by the Kremlin. We categorically reject such accusations. We consider them unsubstantiated and groundless, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. This is nothing but a continuation of a Russophobic campaign that is not based on any evidence, he said. The attack contaminated thousands of computers worldwide, particularly affecting multinational companies and critical infrastructure, such as radiation monitors at the old Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the ports of Mumbai and Amsterdam. Companies hit included the Russian oil group Rosneft, Danish shipping company Maersk, US pharmaceutical giant Merck, French construction specialist Saint-Gobain and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the attack was further evidence of a new era of warfare with a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber attacks. the British advertising firm WPP. Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed rebels in the east in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people, was the worst affected country. Banking operations were compromised in what authorities said was an unprecedented attack, which even disrupted arrivals and departures informations at the capital s main Boryspil airport. The virus, which demanded a payment worth $300 as it locked up files at companies and government agencies, was reminiscent of the WannaCry ransomware attack that swept the world a month earlier in May 2017, hitting more than 200,000 users in more than 150 countries. Britain and the US have blamed North Korea for the WannaCry attack, saying it may have been an attempt by the isolated communist regime to access foreign currency. The NotPetya attack appeared much smaller in scale, with global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab estimating there were thousands of victims. Comparing it to WannaCry, the director of European police agency Europol, Rob Wainwright, said at the time that NotPetya showed indications of a more sophisticated attack capability intended to exploit a range of vulnerabilities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, yesterday. Merkel hosts Turkish Premier AP BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim yesterday in Berlin amid cautious hopes on both sides that the two countries will restore friendlier relations after more than a year of tension. Expectations are high in Germany that Yildirim s visit will bring some movement in the high-profile case of a prominent German-Turkish journalist, Deniz Yucel, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for a year on terror-related charges. Relations between the two countries have rapidly deteriorated since a failed coup in Turkey in The German government claims that six German citizens are held in Turkey for what it considers political reasons. Turkey accuses Germany of harboring some of the ringleaders of the failed coup. Yucel, a 44-year-old correspondent for the daily Die Welt newspaper with dual German- Turkish citizenship, is the most prominent case. He was arrested in Istanbul exactly a year ago on Wednesday and still has not been formally charged. Referring to Yucel s case earlier on Thursday, Yildirim told Turkish journalists aboard his plane to Berlin: I think there will be a development soon, the German news agency dpa reported. And then this topic will no longer be an issue that blocks the relations between Turkey and Germany. He added that Yucel s case is up to the Turkish courts, not the government. Several groups, including Kurdish opposition parties, protested in front of the Chancellery as Merkel welcomed Yidirim amid high security precautions yesterday afternoon. Navalny s site blocked after tycoon complaint MOSCOW: Russia s media watchdog yesterday blocked the website of opposition leader Alexei Navalny after he posted a video alleging a deputy prime minister enjoyed lavish hospitality from a billionaire tycoon. State body Roskomnadzor has threatened to block any site distributing the video, including YouTube and Instagram, but both remain accessible in Russia. Roskomnadzor has blocked at the request of (Russian oligarch Oleg) Deripaska, Navalny said on Twitter. The site remains accessible through some service providers, but this is temporary, he added. Roskomnadzor confirmed the website had been added to a list of banned pages that service providers are required to block, in comments to Russian news agencies. Navalny, who has been barred from running against President Vladimir Putin in next month s election, says the video appears to show The Russian leader s former top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko vacationing on the yacht of 50-year-old Oleg Deripaska, an aluminium magnate. Kosovo court s specialist prosecutor to quit AP THE HAGUE: The American prosecutor working to bring to justice former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army accused of crimes against ethnic Serbs in Kosovo s war for independence announced yesterday he is stepping down at the end of next month. Specialist Prosecutor David Schwendiman issued a statement saying he will leave the post at the end of March because his three-year term as a US State Department foreign service officer is coming to an end and cannot be extended. His investigations have worked toward indicting suspects who would then be put on trial at a Hague-based court known as the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Schwendiman has not yet issued any indictments. My leaving does not signal a change in policy or commitment to the work of the Specialist Prosecutor s Office and Specialist Chambers on the part of the US or the European Union or the international community as a whole, he said. Schwendiman, who took the prosecutor s job in 2015, said he issued the statement to make clear he was not resigning or being fired from his post as prosecutor of a court that is unpopular among Kosovo s rulers. No one responsible for the crimes covered by the mandate of the Specialist Prosecutor s Office and Specialist Chambers should for one second think that my departure has anything to do with any lack of commitment to the investigation, he said. Under US and European pressure, Kosovo s government agreed in 2015 to set up the court to confront allegations that fighters with the Kosovo Liberation Army committed war crimes against ethnic Serbs from 1998 to Former Greek premier files complaint against Tsipras AP ATHENS: A Greek former prime minister accused of involvement in a pharmaceutical bribery scandal filed a criminal complaint Thursday against current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and six other people, including the deputy justice minister and three prosecutors. Antonis Samaras, the conservative prime minister from , filed the suit alleging a series of crimes, including abuse of power, defamation, violation of duty and perjury. His move comes after Greece s left-led government requested parliament investigate accusations that 10 senior former officials, including Samaras, were involved in bribes allegedly paid by Swiss drug-maker Novartis to boost drug sales and prices. That request, which targeted several top opposition figures, came amid an increasingly acrimonious face-off between the government and leading opposition parties, which accuse it of using the judiciary to further political ends. Samaras criminal lawsuit was filed against Tsipras, Deputy Justice Minister Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, three prosecutors and two secret witnesses. Russia says 5 citizens likely dead by US strike in Syria AP MOSCOW: After a week of swirling controversy, Russia acknowledged yesterday that five of its citizens may have been killed by a U S strike in Syria, the first time Russians have died at U S hands in Syria. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova emphasized that the five victims weren t Russian servicemen. According to preliminary information, five people, presumably Russian citizens, may have been killed in combat, the circumstances of which are being clarified, Zakharova said in a briefing. Some others have been injured, and it s still necessary to check whether they are citizens of Russia or other nations. Until yesterday, both Russian and U S officials said they had no information on Russian casualties in the February 7 clash, which came when pro-syrian government forces attacked positions of the US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters Nato Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday. in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir El Zour and faced a ferocious U S counterattack. Zakharova wouldn t describe how the Russians died, saying the circumstances of the clash are still being clarified, but her statement amounted to official recognition that the victims were part of the force that advanced on positions of the US-backed fighters. It marks the first time Russian and US combatants have become directly engaged in combat in Syria. On the chaotic Syrian battlefield, Russian forces are supporting the Syrian government in the fight against opposition groups, some of which are backed by the United States, and elements of both sides are fighting the last remnants of the Islamic State group in Syria. The US military has said it maintained contact with the Russian military in Syria before, during and after the February 7 clash. The Russian Defence Ministry insisted its troops weren t involved in the incident, saying Common defence is Nato mission alone BRUSSELS: The transatlantic alliance and the EU agree the common defence is a Nato mission alone, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said yesterday after talks on Brussels own new defence pact. Nato ministers met on Wednesday with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to discuss their concerns over duplication after Brussels agreed in December to develop new military equipment and improve cooperation and decision-making. There is a clear understanding to include in written EU documents that the common 25 Syrian volunteers were wounded in the US strike. But Russian news media and social networks swirled with reports of the combat, describing how US aircraft decimated Russian private military contractors who sought to take control over an oil factory near Khusham. Some reports put Russian losses at 200 or more, and a growing chorus of politicians, commentators and bloggers slammed the Kremlin for failing to acknowledge the casualties defence is a Nato mission and a Nato mission alone, Mattis told a press conference in Brussels. Mattis said discussions were very candid between Nato, which includes European members, and Mogherini. We have sufficient rigour in the political sharing, the political discussions, to keep the EU effort, for example on military mobility, Mattis said. He said the EU can enhance Nato common defense capabilities and does not draw from them. The EU s so-called permanent structured cooperation on defence agreement, known as Pesco, has projects in view already to develop new military equipment and improve cooperation and decision-making.

11 AMERICAS 11 A still image from video shows police escorting Nikolas Cruz into Broward County Jail following a shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US. RIGHT: Students Kelsey Friend (left) and David Hogg recount their stories about the mass shooting where 17 people were killed. Florida teen charged with 17 murders AP PARKLAND: An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder yesterday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the US in five years. Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalised as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Nikolas Cruz, still wearing a hospital gown after being treated for laboured breathing, and weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, was ordered held without bond and booked into jail. His former classmates thought they were having another drill on Wednesday afternoon when a fire alarm sounded, requiring them to leave their classrooms. That s when police say Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. It was the nation s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. The overall death toll differs by how such shootings are defined, but Everytown For Gun Safety has tallied 290 school shootings in America since Cruz purchased the AR-15 legally about a year ago, a law enforcement official said. The official said Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon. President Donald Trump s reaction focused on Cruz s mental health. So many signs Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour. Neighbours and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again! Trump tweeted Thursday. Trump also issued a proclamation saying, in part, Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones. Authorities offered no immediate details about a possible motive, except to say that Cruz had been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behaviour had caused others to end friendships with him. Cruz s mother Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia on Nov. 1 neighbors, friends and family members said, according to the Sun Sentinel. Cruz and her husband, who died of a heart attack several years ago, adopted Nikolas and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County. The boys were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died, said family member Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island. Unhappy there, Nikolas Cruz asked to move in with a friend s family in northwest Broward. That family agreed and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving. According to the family s lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however. Attorney Jim Lewis said the family is cooperating with authorities, and had no idea he was planning the shooting. Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend s new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to the girl. I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him, said Dakota Mutchler, also 17. Cruz was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting in a residential neighbourhood about a mile away. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said. It s catastrophic. There really are no words, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The sheriff said 12 bodies were found inside the building, two others outside and another a short distance away from the school. Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that Cruz had pulled the fire alarm so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall. And there the carnage began, said Nelson, who said he was briefed by the FBI. Frantic parents rushed to the school to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the huge campus and emergency workers treating the wounded on sidewalks. Students who had taken shelter inside classrooms began leaving in a single-file line with their hands over their heads as officers urged them to evacuate quickly. The flag above the White House flies at half staff after an order by US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC. 18 school shootings in US in 2018 WASHINGTON: The deadly gun rampage at a Florida high school took to 18 the number of school shootings across the United States so far this year -- a phenomenon that authorities seem powerless to prevent. The stunning number underscored how commonplace gun violence has become in America, with students in elementary and secondary schools regularly performing drills on how to react in an active shooter situation. According to the independent Everytown for Gun Safety group, eight of the 18 school shooting incidents so far this year, which cover primary schools to universities, involved guns being discharged with no one injured. Two were suicide attempts, and the rest attacks on others. Cruz: Troubled teenager and gun lover PARKLAND: Nikolas Cruz, the shooter who opened fire on a Florida school killing 17 people, was a teenage gun lover previously expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. The gunman, 19, showed up at the end of the school day at his former school Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland with a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle and a large amount of ammunition. Local police later arrested him in nearby Coral Springs. Born in September 1998, Nikolas Cruz had posted very disturbing messages on social media, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who did not specify their exact content. Authorities have not released a photograph of the shooter, and an Instagram account reportedly belonging to him has been suspended. Cruz was known at school as having problems, according to several witnesses interviewed by local media. There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus, Jim Gard, a math teacher who had taught Cruz for a semester in 2016, said. Gard told CNN that although he had not had problems with Cruz in class, female students reported Cruz having problems with other girls. Meanwhile a student, who wasn t named, told local broadcaster WSVN-7 that Cruz was a troubled kid who had firearms at home and had talked about using them. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling, the student said. According to another pupil, Nicholas Coke, Cruz was a loner who left the school and moved to northern Florida following the death of his mother. He had also undertaken a junior military training program, according to Pentagon sources who did not offer details. Meanwhile another student, speaking to local channel WJXT, said everyone predicted Cruz would carry out such an atrocity. He added Cruz knew the layout of the school and had some knowledge of security procedures through participating in fire drills. He s been with us in fire drills, he s prepared for this stuff. Rain aftermath The collapsed area of a cycle lane is seen on Sao Conrado beach after heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday. Democrats push $1bn bill for poll security REUTERS WASHINGTON: Congressional Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday that would provide more than $1bn to boost cyber security of US voting systems, and Vice President Mike Pence defended the administration s efforts to protect polls from hackers. The measure followed warnings from US intelligence officials that midterm races in November are likely to see renewed meddling from Russia and possibly other foreign adversaries. We cannot let the Russians laugh about and take joy in the success they had in the last election, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, told a news conference. Their goal is to undermine democracy. Lawmakers have introduced several bills, some with bipartisan support, to bolster election security since the 2016 polls in which Republican Donald Trump was elected president. None have become law. The new bill is the most comprehensive to date and is aimed at bolstering protection for the midterms and subsequent elections. It has no Republican co-sponsors in the House, which the party controls, and is therefore unlikely to succeed. Pence said Americans could trust the 2016 election results and that it was an ongoing effort of Trump s administration to protect election infrastructure. He also incorrectly said it was the universal conclusion among intelligence agencies that Moscow s efforts had no impact on the 2016 election outcome. The agencies said in a January 2017 report that no assessment was made about the impact of Russian meddling but that Russia used hacking and propaganda to try to tilt the election in Trump s favor. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied this. A Pence representative did not respond immediately to a request to clarify the discrepancy between Pence s comments and the intelligence assessment. The Democrats Election Security Act would allocate $1bn in grants, overseen by the US Election Commission, this year to help states buy voting machines that incorporate backup paper ballots, hire security staff and conduct risk assessments. It would provide up to an additional $175m in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025, for a total of about $1.75bn. The measure would create a $20m grant program for states to perform post-election audits. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to expedite security clearances for state election officials and direct the president to develop a strategy to guard U.S. institutions, including elections, from cyber attacks and influence operations. The department said last year 21 states had experienced initial probing of their systems from Russian hackers and a small number of networks were compromised. Virtually all 50 states have taken steps since the 2016 election to purchase more secure equipment, expand the use of paper ballots, improve cyber training or seek federal assistance, according to groups that track election security.

12 12 AMERICAS Hopes dim for immigration deal AP WASHINGTON: The Senate s party leaders traded blame as they moved toward possible showdown votes on rival measures that would help young Dreamer immigrants and bolster border security. The Trump administration savaged a leading bipartisan proposal amid growing doubts that any of the plans would get enough votes to survive. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, assailed Democrats for failing to offer a single proposal that gives us a realistic chance to make law. Instead, he said, Democrats should back President Donald Trump s extremely generous proposal. If they re actually interested in finding a solution, it s time they took yes for an answer, McConnell said. Trump would offer 1.8 million Dreamers a 10- to 12-year process for gaining citizenship, provide $25bn to build his coveted US-Mexico border wall and restrict legal immigration. Dreamers are immigrants brought to the US illegally as children who risk deportation because they lack permanent authorization to stay in the US. Instead, Democratic leaders rallied behind a bipartisan plan that would also give 1.8 million Dreamers a chance for citizenship. But while it would provide the $25bn Trump wants for his wall, it would dole it out over 10 years and lacks most of the limits Trump is seeking on legal immigration. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said Trump has stood in the way of every single proposal that has had a chance of becoming law. He added, The American people will blame President Trump and no one else for the failure to protect Dreamers. Overnight, the Department of Homeland Security savaged the bipartisan proposal. Trump had urged senators Wednesday to senators to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill his demands. It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them, the agency said in an ed statement. That drew fire from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, one of eight GOP co-sponsors of the bipartisan plan. Instead of offering Trump s military parade could cost up to $30m REUTERS WASHINGTON: The military parade that President Donald Trump wants to stage, likely in Washington, would cost US taxpayers up to $30m, the White House budget chief said in remarks on the administration s fiscal 2019 spending plan. Mick Mulvaney, who in a congressional hearing continued a broad defense of the $4.4-trillion plan he began earlier this week, was asked about the parade, which Trump s spending plan does not break out as a specific item. The estimates I ve seen, they re very preliminary, is between $10m and $30m, depending upon the length, said Mulvaney, director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Obviously an hour parade is different from a five-hour parade in terms of the cost and the equipment and those types of things. According to media reports, Trump came up with the idea of showing off US military might after a 2017 trip to France when he and French President Emmanuel Macron reviewed that country s defence forces marching down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris. Trump ordered the Defence Department to look into a comparable display of military might that he could review. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said last week he believed Trump wants Washington to host the parade but left open the possibility that it could be staged elsewhere. Critics have ridiculed the idea of a costly display of troops and weapons at a time when the Pentagon is struggling to cover the expenses of training, support and personnel. Democratic Representative Barbara Lee questioned Mulvaney at a House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing about the costs. She noted, You know the parade is very similar to those held in authoritarian countries like North Korea. Mulvaney said at the hearing, We ve actually had many military parades in this country before. I think we had one as recently as the 1990s, and maybe one more recently than that. Ahead of Mulvaney s testimony, Republican committee Chairman Steve Womack asked about the deficit impact of Trump s spending plan. At a Senate panel hearing on Tuesday, Mulvaney was asked if he would vote for the Trump spending plan if he were still in Congress, which he was before Trump hired him to run OMB. I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it, Mulvaney said. On Wednesday, Mulvaney walked that back, telling the House panel he thought he had been asked not about Trump s budget, but about a narrower two-year spending-caps deal. Democratic leaders rallied behind a bipartisan plan that would also give 1.8 million Dreamers a chance for citizenship. thoughts and advice - or even constructive criticism - they are acting more like a political organization intent on poisoning the well, Graham said in a statement. The bipartisan compromise was announced on Wednesday by 16 senators with centrist views on the issue and was winning support from many Democrats, but it faced an uncertain fate. Leaders were trying to schedule votes on that plan and three other immigration proposals for Thursday, which they hoped would bring the chamber s showdown over the hot-button issue to a close. Besides opposition by the administration and leading Republicans, the bipartisan plan prompted qualms among Democrats. The party s No. 2 Senate leader, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said some Democrats had serious issues with parts of the plan. Those concerns focused on its spending for Trump s wall and its prohibition against Dreamers sponsoring their parents for legal residency. So far, neither Trump s plan or the bipartisan measure seemed to have support from 60 senators, the number that will be needed to prevail. Republicans control the chamber 51-49, though Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, has missed the last several weeks while battling cancer. The bipartisan measure s sponsors included eight GOP senators. That meant just three more Republicans would be needed for it to prevail if it is backed by all 47 Democrats and the two independents who usually support them. The centrist proposal was produced by a group led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, that spent weeks seeking middle ground. Besides its path to citizenship and border security money, it would bar Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for citizenship, far narrower than Trump s proposal to prevent all legal immigrants Venezuela judicial year from bringing parents and siblings to the US. The moderates measure does not alter a lottery that distributes about 55,000 visas annually to people from diverse countries. Trump has proposed ending it and redistributing its visas to other immigrants, including some who are admitted based on job skills, not family ties. Also in play is a more modest plan by McCain and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. It would let many Dreamers qualify for permanent residency and direct federal agencies to more effectively control the border by But it doesn t offer a special citizenship pathway for Dreamers, raise border security funds or make sweeping changes in legal immigration rules. The White House said it opposes the McCain-Coons plan, saying it would increase illegal immigration and cause other problems. Another vote would be taken on a proposal by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa, that would add language blocking federal grants to sanctuary cities, communities that don t cooperate with federal efforts to enforce immigration laws. The amendment is considered sure to lose. Venezuela s President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he arrives for a ceremony to mark the opening of the judicial year at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), next to his wife Cilia Flores and Venezuela s Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno, in Caracas, yesterday. No terror link in NSA shooting incident: FBI WASHINGTON: Three people were arrested and several hurt when a car crashed through the entrance of the National Security Agency outside Washington, but the incident had no link to terror, the FBI said. The vehicle s driver, an NSA policeman and a bystander were hurt as gunfire erupted when the black SUV plowed through the gate and into concrete barriers at the main NSA entrance in Fort Meade, Maryland. Video footage from the site showed multiple gunshot holes in the windshield of the SUV, and apparent blood on the ground outside the NSA, the premier US electronic spying agency. There is no indication that this has a nexus to terrorism, FBI Special Agent in Charge Gordon Johnson told reporters. We believe that this was an isolated incident, he said. The three men who had been in the vehicle were all in custody, with the driver sent to the hospital with unspecified injuries. Johnson gave no information on his condition, but said none of the injuries were believed to be gunshot wounds. The NSA policeman and the bystander were also sent to hospital, with their injuries described as not life-threatening. The incident raised alarms, given that it took place at the National Security Agency, the premier US signals intelligence agency, which eavesdrops on the electronic communications and hacks the computers of US adversaries worldwide. It also protects US communications and information systems from cyber attack Its highly secure compound, known as the Puzzle Palace, is located about 32km northeast of Washington. Mexican drug chief El Chapo faces US trial in September REUTERS MEXICO CITY: A U.S. federal judge yesterday set a September 5 trial date for Joaquin Guzman, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo who is jailed in the United States on drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. US prosecutors have accused Guzman, 60, of running a global cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and playing a central role in a decade-long Mexican drug war where more than 100,000 people have died. US District Judge Brian Cogan said at yesterday s hearing in Brooklyn federal court that potential jurors would be given a written questionnaire on March 23 to screen them before the trial. Cogan had ruled on February 5 that the identities of the jurors in the case would be kept secret for their protection. Guzman s lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, has asked Cogan to reconsider that ruling. Near the close of yesterday s hearing, Balarezo said that Guzman wanted to address the court directly, in order to tell his family to pay his legal fees. Cogan did not allow Guzman to address the court, but did ask him whether he agreed with Balarezo s statement. Guzman said he did, and also began to say that he wanted to talk about his health and jail conditions, before Cogan told him he would consider allowing him to speak at a future hearing. Lawyers for Guzman have said in court papers that his health has deteriorated during his months in solitary confinement. Balarezo told reporters outside the courthouse following the hearing that he had been paid part of his fee by some friends of Guzman, but that Guzman had so far been unable to instruct his family about further payments. President Donald Trump was briefed on the situation shortly after the shooting took place, the White House said in a statement. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected, the statement said. Johnson would not give any details of what happened, saying the incident remains under investigation. The SUV, believed to be rented, drove through the NSA gate at about 7am (1200 GMT), and NSA security officials followed official protocols for handling such an incident, he said. California #MeToo advocate hit with new claims of misconduct AP SACRAMENTO: California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a vocal #MeToo leader, faces fresh allegations of misconduct in her office at the Capitol. San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon filed a formal complaint late on Wednesday with the Legislature detailing the allegations on behalf of four anonymous former employees in Garcia s office. The complainants allege that Garcia regularly talked about her sexual activity, including with other members, in front of staff. They also allege Garcia drank while doing official Assembly business and pressured staff to join her in drinking at the office or at clubs. Garcia, in a Facebook post, said she will address each of the issues individually once an investigation has been completed. But she said the claims don t square with the atmosphere she worked to create. I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully, she wrote. Garcia took a leave of absence last week following news she is being investigated for allegedly groping a colleague s former staff member Daniel Fierro in The allegations against her marked a stunning twist to the California Legislature s widening sexual harassment scandal that first broke open last fall and prompted two assemblymen to resign. A joint committee, which launched in January in response to allegations of rampant and pervasive harassment at the Legislature, will have its second meeting and hear from legal experts to discuss how to create effective policies. The nine-member legislative committee has largely avoided commenting on specific allegations against lawmakers, but its members have offered blistering criticism of a system they say is clearly broken. Garcia, a Democrat representing southeast Los Angeles, has been a vocal leader of the #MeToo movement and a fierce advocate for women s issues. She had been the chair of the Legislative Women s Caucus before she took her leave of absence. Caucus members voted on Wednesday to install Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Eggman as the interim chair. Garcia has authored numerous bills about sexual assault, activity and consent; issues which current staff members said are discussed in the office when relevant. Gilleon, who has represented clients in past high-profile sexual harassment cases such as the case against former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, said his clients will cooperate with an investigation but do not want their names to be public at this time for fear of retribution. My clients will vigorously defend what they have said, but I will insist that the Assembly takes serious steps to ensure their protection against reprisal, Gilleon said in a letter he delivered to the Assembly Rules Committee after a press conference on the Capitol steps. None of the new complaints involve physical contact, but Gilleon said the former employees considered Garcia s frequent talk about sex a form sexual harassment. In addition to the sexual harassment, the letter also alleges Garcia created a hostile work environment by being vindictive toward staff and abused her authority by asking her staff to perform personal duties, such as taking care of her dogs.

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15 Children enjoy activities at Minipolis DOHA: Minipolis, part of Palma Group, organised various number of activities for its visitors on National Sport Day. On this occasion, Dr Tahani Saker, CEO of Palma Group, said: It is our hope that the NSD kick-starts an active and healthy lifestyle among all residents, as well as inspires young people across our nation to be Qatar s future Olympic heroes. Our participation in National Sport Day reflects the county s deep belief in the importance of fitness and sport for healthier bodies and more active minds. I am glad that so many citizens and residents came out and actively participated in our events with their children on the occasion of Qatar National Sport Day. Being a children entertainment centre, this participation further demonstrates our keenness and commitment to supporting Qatar s vision of building a healthy society to meet the country s growth and development goals as envisioned in the Qatar National Vision 2030, she added. She stressed that Minipolis will be part of the National Sport Day every year. We hope that exercising will not be limited to this day and it will be a daily habit. Children Entertainment Centres participation in the National Sports is very important, it has a very positive impact on the performance of future generations. The contribution of Minipolis stems from our belief of this event and its importance for a healthy life. Minipolis organised several activities including wall climbing, sack race, musical chair race and bowling. These events continued until the evening. HOME 15 Oxy Qatar employees, kin celebrate NSD DOHA: Oxy Qatar joined in on the celebrations of Qatar s National Sport Day (NSD). The celebrations took place at the Fire Station Artist in Residence Plaza. The attendees had the opportunity to try around seventeen sport activities during the day. All employees and families of Occidental Petroleum of Qatar (Oxy Qatar) including Andrew Kershaw, President and General Manager and Mohammed Al Hajri, Deputy General Manager, were present. ISC hosts several sport events DOHA: Indian Sports Centre (ISC) conducted a host of sports events on National Sport Day covering all age groups of the community members. The National Sport Day celebrations started with providing an Indian stall displaying various sport personalities and sport events of India along with conducting sports quiz for the crowd at Khalifa Tennis Stadium. Further a demonstration of Yoga and Kabaddi game was conducted there for the public to show the heritage of a traditional Indian sport. Inter Organisation Amateur Football tournament was conducted in Al Arabi Sports Club with 16 teams having Pass Qatar as winner and Comtec as runner ups. A tug of war tournament was conducted for men at Asian Town, Salwa Industrial area with 16 teams of professional players. This event has drawn a large crowd of various nationalities. Sak Qatar was the winner, Social forum was the Runners up and Doha Warriors became the second runners up of the tournament. The Prizes were given by P Kumaran, Ambassador of India to Qatar, along with other Embassy officials K S Dhiman, Head of chancery and Capt Kapil Kaushik, Defence Attache. Qatar First Bank holds recreational competitions Qatar First Bank staff and their family members celebrated the National Sport day through a series of recreational competitions and Sports activities. CROSSWORD NOVO Pearl Qatar Black Panther (2D/Action) 10:00, 10:30, 11:30am, 12:45, 1:15, 2:30, 3:30, 4:00, 5:30, 6:15, 6:45, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 11:30, 11:45pm & 12:15am Den of Thieves (2D/Action) 10:30am, 1:00, 330, 6:00, 8:30 & 11:00pm The To Paris (2D/History) 10:00, 2:15, 6:30 & 10:45pm Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2D/Action) 12:00noon, 4:15, 6:30 & 8:30pm Rupture (2D/Horror) 10:00am, 12:10, 2:20, 4:30, 6:40, 8:50 & 11:00pm Braven (2D/Action) 10:00am, 12:00noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00pm & 12:00midnight Winchester (2D/Horror) 10:00am, 12:00noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00pm & 12:00midnight All I See Is You (2D/Drama) 10:00am, 12:00noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00pm & 12:00midnight Black Panther (2D IMAX/Action) 11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00 & 11:00pm MALL Aadhi (2D/Malayalam) 2:15, 8:45 & 11:30pm Black Panther (2D/Action) 2:15, 4:45, 7:00, 9:00 & 11:30pm Aiyaary (2/Hindi) 2:30 & 11:30pm Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2D/Action) 5:00pm Okdet El Khawaga (2D/Arabic) 5:15pm Rupture (2D/Horror) 7:00pm All I See Is You (2D/Drama) 7:15pm Naachiyaar (2D/Tamil) 9:30pm LANDMARK Black Panther (2D/Action) 2:15, 4:30, 6:45, 8:45 & 11:15pm Aadhi (2D/Malayalam) 2:15, 8:30 & 11:15pm Aiyaary (2/Hindi) 2:15 & 11:15pm Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2D/Action) 5:00pm All I See Is You (2D/Drama) 5:00pm Okdet El Khawaga (2D/Arabic) 6:45pm Rupture (2D/Horror) 7:00pm Naachiyaar (2D/Tamil) 9:15pm ROYAL PLAZA Aadhi (2D/Malayalam) 2:00, 6:30 & 11:00pm Black Panther (2D/Action) 2:15, 4:30, 6:30, 8:45 & 11:15pm Okdet El Khawaga (2D/Arabic) 4:45 & 9:15pm All I See Is You (2D/Drama) 4:45pm Rupture (2D/Horror) 7:00pm Aiyaary (2D/Hindi) 2:00 & 11:00pm Naachiyaar (2D/Tamil) 9:00pm ASIAN TOWN Naachiyaar (Tamil) 12:30, 2:45, 7:30 & 9:45pm Aadhi (Malayalam) 1:00, 2:30, 3:00, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, 9:00, 10:00, 11:30, 11:45pm, 12:00midnight, 01:00, 02:15 & 02:45am Carbon (Malayalam) 12:15pm Queen (Malayalam) 12:00noon Awe (Telugu) 5:00pm Aiyaary (2D/Hindi) 6:00pm AL KHOR Early Man (Animation) 10:30am & 1:45pm Black Panther (Action) 11:15am, 2:15, 5:15, 8:15 & 11:15pm Aadhi (Malayalam) 12:30noon, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30pm & 12:30am Naachiyar (Tamil) 11:30am, 6:30 & 11:30pm Awe (Telugu) 3:45 & 8:45pm ROXY The Bread Winner (Animation) 12:30, 4:30 & 6:30pm Aadhi (Thriller) 10:30am, 1:20, 4:10, 7:00 & 10:10pm Naachiyar (Tamil) 10:30am, 12:45, 5:15, 7:30 & 11:50pm Black Panther (Action) 10:30am, 1:15, 4:00, 6:45, 9:30pm & 12:15am Awe (Telugu) 8:30 & 11:15pm Okdet El Khawaga (2D/Arabic) 3:00 & 9:45pm Note: Programme is subject to change without prior notice. BLACK PANTHER VILLAGGIO & CITY CENTER T Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

16 16 MORNING BREAK PRAYER TIMINGS FAJR SHOROOK ZUHR ASR 04.51am am am pm WEATHER TODAY MAGHRIB ISHA HIGH TIDE 05:45 17:15 LOW TIDE 12:45 23: pm 07.00pm 17 o C 26 o C Minimum Hazy to misty / foggy over most areas at first becomes moderate temperature daytime with some clouds, and misty at places by late night. COURTESY: Qatar Meteorology Department Maximum Met Opera brings in new director early NEW YORK: The Metropolitan Opera announced yesterday that young Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin would take charge this fall, two years ahead of schedule, making a fresh break after abuse allegations against his predecessor. Announcing its new season, the New York opera house said the 42-year-old Montreal native would become music director in September after freeing up his schedule from guest conducting commitments. The orchestra loves him, the chorus loves him, everyone in the building loves him. He is a truly great artist under whom the Met will only thrive, the opera house s general manager Peter Gelb said in a statement. The boyish-looking conductor with a shoulder tattoo and youthful flair will offer a quick change in image for the Met, which has come under heat over abuse allegations surrounding Nezet-Seguin s legendary predecessor, James Levine. Lemon and orange Taj Mahal in France A sculpture made with lemons and oranges which depicts the Taj Mahal during the th Lemon Festival around the theme Bollywood in Menton, France, yesterday. A restaurant s waste is now a Londoner s cheap dinner BLOOMBERG LONDON: If you ve overestimated the daily demand for chia seed and homemade granola pots, or dripping, do you just throw the food out, or try and sell it quickly on the cheap? Fifty eateries in London, including Aubaine, Hummus Bros, The Quality Chop House, and Michelin-starred Aquavit, can now opt for the latter through a mobile app, Karma, which launched in the city Thursday after an initial rollout across 35 cities in Sweden. The problem of food waste is very big here, so it s a huge market for us, said Karma co-founder Elsa Bernadotte. London has an established food culture, a high degree of digitisation, and is getting increasingly environmentally conscious. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that about a third of food produced for human consumption about 1.3 billion tonnes globally is lost or wasted each year. One study estimates British restaurants, bars and hotels to waste about 600,000 tonnes a year, worth about 17bn ($23.9bn), with restaurants accounting for the largest single share. Restaurants with excess pre-prepared dishes can list their spare produce on Karma s app. Users receive notifications when a nearby establishment has The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that about a third of food produced for human consumption about 1.3 billion tonnes globally is lost or wasted each year. One study estimates British restaurants, bars and hotels to waste about 600,000 tonnes a year. fresh inventory for sale. This can then be purchased through the app for a 50 percent discount over the usual retail cost, and collect it in person. Karma takes about a 25 percent cut of the sale price. Wasted Opportunity Karma is part of a cluster of startups looking to connect retailers with customers to cut out waste. In January members of the Walton family, heirs to the Wal-Mart Stores Inc fortune, invested in FoodMaven, a U S startup creating a marketplace to find buyers for food that has been rejected by retailers. London-based Olio lets individuals give away food in tiny quantities to neighbours an old Christmas cake (sealed) for example, or a bag of frozen parsnips. Too Good to Go offers a similar service to Karma across Europe. Karma launched in Sweden in 2016, backed by VC firms including e.ventures, which previously invested in Groupon, GoToMeeting and Farfetch, as well as Sophia Bendz, a former global marketing director at Stockholm neighbour Spotify. The company said in a statement it has 250,000 users and about 1,000 food partners in Sweden. The company began partnering with only restaurants, but now about 20 percent of businesses listing food on Karma in Sweden are grocery stores. Soon it will be maybe fifty percent grocery stores, Bernadotte said in an interview. The startup is focusing on restaurants in London, but we are in talks with supermarkets as well, Bernadotte said. It s coming. She declined to name any but said she was hopeful a partnership would be reached this year. The amount of food wasted by businesses and individuals is expected to reduce over the coming years, according to a spokesman for Wrap, a U.K. industry body and charity, and smartphone apps have been helping. Bernadotte says Karma has about 25 full-time employees in Sweden but has no plans in place to establish a London office or hire staff in the city this year. Instead the company will run all operations from Stockholm. Japan scientist uses egg white for clean energy TOKYO: A Japanese scientist said yesterday his team has cracked open a method to improve the production of carbon-free energy by using proteins taken from egg white. Yusuke Yamada, a professor at Osaka City University, said his team has managed to use protein from egg white as a tool for producing hydrogen, a powerful source of clean electricity. The new method brings us closer to our ultimate goal of producing hydrogen from water, Yamada said. This lays the groundwork for the clean production of hydrogen in the future, added the scientist. When it reacts with oxygen, hydrogen produces electricity, releasing only water and heat in the process. But hydrogen is currently mass-produced using natural gas or fossil fuels, which themselves result in harmful emissions. It can be produced in labs without fossil fuels and scientists have traditionally done this by creating a special interaction of the molecules in liquid, said Yamada. #MeToo debate dominates Berlin film festival opening BERLIN: Acclaimed US director Wes Anderson s new animated feature Isle of Dogs kicked off the Berlin film festival yesterday, which is set to be rocked by aftershocks of the #MeToo movement. With the global cinema industry in turmoil over allegations of rampant sexual misconduct, the 11-day event will seek a delicate balance between Hollywood glamour and frank debate in the wake of powerful producer Harvey Weinstein s downfall. Bryan Cranston, Oscar-nominee Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and Liev Schreiber, who voice the pack of pooches and the humans who love them in Anderson s movie, are expected on the Berlinale red carpet for the world premiere. But even before the opening, controversy erupted over the inclusion at the Berlinale of award-winning South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, who was fined in December for assaulting an actress on set. The actress, who has refused to be publicly identified, has accused the festival traditionally a strong champion of Asian cinema of hypocrisy for inviting Kim to present his latest picture, Human, Space, Time and Human. Festival director Dieter Kosslick said he had excluded a handful of films British actress Tilda Swinton and US director and humourist Bill Murray arrive at the Berlinale Palace for the opening ceremony of the th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, yesterday. because of credible sexual abuse allegations against their directors, screenwriters or stars. But he said he did not bar Kim because sexual harassment allegations by the same actress against him had been dismissed for lack of evidence, adding that he was seeking more information about an appeal in the case. Obviously the Berlinale condemns and opposes any form of violence or sexual misconduct, Kosslick said. Yesterday, a coalition of more than 100 South Korean civic groups kept up the pressure, releasing a statement condemning the festival s stance. We are living in this unfair reality in which a physical assault offender is working and being welcomed everywhere as if nothing happened, while the victim who spoke out against the abuse is being isolated and marginalised, the alliance of about 140 groups said in a joint statement. Meanwhile, an online petition calling for the Berlinale to lay a black carpet instead of a red one in solidarity with sexual assault and harassment victims drew 21,000 signatures. And German actress Anna Brueggemann launched the Twitter hashtag #NobodysDoll to encourage stars to abandon the high heels and low-cut gowns common at festival premieres for more comfortable clothing. Anderson last opened the Berlinale, which ranks with Cannes and Venice among Europe s top three cinema showcases, in 2014 with the world premiere of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a box office hit which went on to scoop dozens of awards and an Oscar nomination for best picture. It will be Anderson s fourth turn in competition for the Berlinale s Golden and Silver Bear top prizes following The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Tom Tykwer, one of the German directors behind the blockbuster miniseries Babylon Berlin now appearing on Netflix, will lead a gender-balanced jury including Belgian actress Cecile de France ( The Young Pope ), Moonlight producer Adele Romanski, Time magazine critic Stephanie Zacharek, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and Spanish film historian Chema Prado. Tykwer said he welcomed the inclusion of the #MeToo movement at the festival and called for a fact-based discussion of the industry s realities. It s important that the debate isn t artificially stoked (by sensationalist media), nor should it be snuffed out by anyone, he told reporters. The competition features 19 films, four of them by female directors. Isle of Dogs, made in the stopmotion style of Anderson s much-loved Fantastic Mr Fox from 2009, is set in a fictional Japanese city in which the autocratic mayor banishes all the hounds to an island garbage dump after an outbreak of canine flu. Local boy Atari embarks on a rescue mission to track down his beloved bodyguard-pet Spots with the help of the island s furry occupants. It will be the first animated film to open the Berlinale, now in its 68th year. The prizes will be presented at a gala ceremony on February 24 before the festival wraps up the next day.

17 BUSINESS Friday 16 February 2018 PAGE 18 Turkey s budget posts $450m surplus in January QSE FTSE100 DOW BRENT 9, PTS 0.36% 7, PTS 0.29% 25, $ PTS % Dow & Brent before going to press PAGE 19 Amazon bets on shaking up health industry Your Global Remittance Partner Currency TT Rate Currency TT Rate Currency TT Rate Currency TT Rate QAR/INR QAR/PHP QAR/LKR QAR/BDT : : : : EUR/QAR : 4.64 GBP/QAR : 5.20 CAD/QAR : 3.00 AUD/QAR : 3.00 CHF/QAR : 4.03 SGD/QAR : 2.87 KWD/QAR : OMR/QAR : 9.60 MAIN BRANCH PH: MATAR QADEEM PH: LULU HYPER MARKET PH: MANSOURA - AL MEERA PH: SANAYYA (STREET 17) PH: ABU HAMOUR PH: AL KHOR PH: BIN OMRAN - ALMEERA PH: alzamanexchange Qatar & Turkey to boost tourism cooperation DOHA: Qatari business leaders and the visiting members of a Turkish delegation headed by president of the Middle East Tourism and Travel Agencies Association (OTSAD) Hussain Arif yesterday held a meeting at Qatar Chamber headquarters. Both sides held discussions on enhancing cooperation in tourism with OTSAD. Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari, Vice-Chairman of Qatar Chamber (QC) received the members of the Turkish delegation headed by president OTSAD Hussain Arif. The meeting reviewed ways to enhance bilateral relations, with special focus on boosting cooperation between Qatari and Turkish businessmen in the field of tourism and investment. QC s Board Member Rashid Al Athbah was also present at the meeting. The Turkish side invited the Chamber officials and Qatari businessmen to visit Turkey ant attend the inauguration of the world s longest suspension bridge in Dardanelle Strait in March, 2018 in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The event will witness business meetings for exploring new areas of cooperation and increasing investments in both sides, he noted. The Turkish side invited the Chamber officials and Qatari businessmen to visit Turkey and attend the inauguration of the world s longest suspension bridge in Dardanelle Strait in March, 2018 in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He noted that Turkey attaches great importance to Qatar and highly welcomes Qatari tourists. On his part, Al Kuwari said that the tourism sector is a very important sector for both countries, noting that bilateral relations in tourism achieved great leaps within the past years. Number of Qataris visiting Turkey reached 46,000 tourists last year, he added, noting that Turkish and Qatari companies in the tourism sector are requested to come out with innovative ideas and new promotions, services and destinations to attract more tourists. Underlining the progress in Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari (third left), Vice-Chairman of Qatar Chamber (QC), the president of the Middle East Tourism and Travel Agencies Association (OTSAD), Hussain Arif (second left), and other business leaders from Turkey and Qatar meeting yesterday at Qatar Chamber headquarters. tourism in Qatar, Al Kuwari said that it witnessed significant development, especially in the approach of the 2022 World Cup which will add more focus on Qatar worldwide. The international tournament will enable world delegates, fans and audiences to learn more about Qatari touristic potentials. This will stimulates world tourists to visit Qatar, he added. Dardanelle Strait is a narrow, natural strait and internationally-significant waterway in northwestern Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. One of the world s narrowest straits used for international navigation, the Dardanelles connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, while also allowing passage to the Black Sea by extension via the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is 61km (38 miles) long, and 1.2 to 6km wide, averaging 55 metres deep with a maximum depth of 103 metres at its narrowest point abreast the city of Çanakkale. Doha Bank appoints Amwal to manage ETF DOHA: There has been a lot of articles and speculation on the ETFs that are due to be listed. Doha Bank as Founder of the QE Index ETF (QETF) clarified that the Bank has not yet obtained the final approval to list the fund, however, it has relevant approvals to open up the seeding phase and is currently in the final stages of seeking approval to list the QETF. Doha Bank is working towards the delivery of a great investment opportunity in a timely manner. It has collaborated with Amwal Asset Management, one of the most reputable asset management companies in Qatar, to manage the fund and partnered with The Group Securities, one of the largest equity market participants in Qatar, to be the fund s liquidity provider in order to achieve maximum liquidity and accessibility for the investors. The QETF will be an open-ended investment fund that will replicate the performance of the QE Index, which is comprised of the top 20 holdings in the index based on Market Cap & average daily traded value. The ETF will be a liquid, tradable and transparent fund listed on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) and open to retail as well as institutional investors, both local and foreign. One of the unique key features of the fund is that it has a dedicated Liquidity Provider (LP) to ensure secondary market liquidity. Institutional investors can also come in as Authorised Participants (AP) to utilise the opportunity. Oil slips as US output, higher inventories weigh REUTERS LONDON: Oil slipped to around $64 a barrel yesterday as record US production and rising inventories outweighed a weak dollar and Saudi Arabia s comments that Opec and other producers were committed to their pact on cutting supplies. US crude output hit a record million barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, making it a bigger producer than Saudi Arabia. US crude and petrol inventories rose last week, US data showed. Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 55 cents to$63.81 at 1322 GMT, giving up an earlier gain that had extended Wednesday s rally. US crude dropped 25 cents to $ Crude inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week to February 9. QSE s benchmark index gained points last week DOHA: Qatar Stock Exchange s (QSE) benchmark index gained points, or 1.51 percent, last week when the bourse closed yesterday at 9, points. Trading value during last week decreased by percent to reach QR809.27m compared to QR1.28bn. Trading volume decreased by percent to reach million shares, as against million shares, while the number of transactions fell by percent, to reach 14,439 transactions as compared to 22,273 transactions. Market cap rose by 0.76 percent to reach QR481.42bn as compared to QR477.76bn at the end of previous week. Banking and Financial Services sector led traded value last week with percent of the total traded value. Industries sector accounted for percent. Real Estate sector accounted for percent and Consumer Goods and Services sector accounted 9.16 percent. Banking and Financial Services sector led traded volume last week with percent of the total traded volume. Industries sector accounted for percent. Real Estate sector accounted for percent and Telecoms sector accounted percent. Banking and Financial Services sector led traded number of transactions last week with percent of the total number of transactions. Industries sector accounted for percent. Real Estate sector accounted for percent and Telecoms sector accounted for 8.90 percent. Out of the 45 companies listed on the QSE, 29 ended last week higher, 13 fell and three remained unchanged. QNB led traded value last week with percent of the total traded value. Masraf Al Rayan accounted for 7.56 percent and Barwa Real Estate accounted for 6.41 percent, reports QNA. When compared on daily basis, the QSE index dropped points, 0.36 percent. The volume of shares traded decreased to 7.29 million from million on Wednesday and the value of shares increased to QR287.33m from QR225.80m on Wednesday. From the 45 companies, 18 gained, 26 companies closed lower and one remained unchanged, yesterday. Indices of five sectors ended in red and two sectors ended in green yesterday. QSE Total Return Index dropped 0.36 percent to 15, points and QSE Al Rayan Islamic Index decreased 0.07 percent to 2, points. QSE All Share Index decreased 0.36 percent to 2, points.

18 18 BUSINESS Nestle to sell stake in L Oreal VEVEY: Swiss food giant Nestle yesterday appeared to open the door to selling its stake in French cosmetics group L Oreal after it said that its own business performance in 2017 fell short of expectations. Nestle, which has come under pressure from an activist investor, US hedge fund Third Point, to sell its stake in L Oreal, insisted in a statement that it was keeping all options open regarding the 23-percent holding. Our shareholding continues to be an important investment for us and we remain committed to the company that has given us very good returns over the years, Nestle said. And it said it had full confidence in L Oreal s management and strategic direction. Nevertheless, Nestle had decided not to renew a shareholders agreement between Nestle and the L Oreal s family shareholders, the Bettencourt family, under which neither side is permitted to increase their holdings. The agreement is scheduled to expire on March 21, six months after the death of matriarch Liliane Bettencourt. Nestle made it clear, however, that it had no plans to increase its stake. In order to maintain all available options for the Turning to its 2017 results, Nestle said profits took a hit from its skin health business last year & sales fell short of target. benefit of Nestle s shareholders, the board of directors has decided not to renew this agreement. We do not intend to increase our stake in L Oreal and are committed to maintaining our constructive relationship with the Bettencourt family, the statement said. Turning to its 2017 results, Nestle said profits took a hit from its skin health business last year and sales fell short of target. Net profit fell by 15.8 percent to 7.2bn Swiss francs ( 6.2bn, $7.7bn). This was mainly due to an impairment of goodwill related to Nestle Skin Health, which was taken to reflect the current prospects of the business, the statement said. Revenues, for their part, edged up by 0.4 percent to 89.8bn Swiss francs. But socalled organic growth, which is adjusted for exchange rate developments and divestments or acquisitions, stood at 2.4 percent. Organic growth was at the low end of our expectations, said chief executive Ulf Mark Schneider (pictured), who took over in January Looking ahead, Schneider said Nestle was pencilling in organic sales growth of between two and four percent in Nestle s shares fell 2.3 percent in morning trading, while Switzerland s main stock index up 0.3 percent. Turkey s budget posts $450m surplus in January ANATOLIA ANKARA: Turkey s central government s budget balance saw a surplus of 1.7bn Turkish liras ($450m) in January, the Ministry of Finance announced yesterday. According to an official statement, Turkey s budget revenues fell by 1 percent to 58.2bn Turkish liras ($15.4bn) last month, compared to the same month of last year. The budget expenses stood at 56.5bn Turkish liras ($14.9bn), marking a 19.4 percent annual rise. Excluding the interest payments, the budget recorded a surplus of 7.7bn Turkish liras (around $2bn) in January, while the interest expenditures were around 6bn Turkish liras ($1.6bn). The government s tax revenues reached 52bn liras ($13.7bn) in the first month of this year, a 7.4 percent annual rise in tax collection. Last year, Turkey s central government budget balance showed a deficit of 47.4bn Turkish liras ($12.9bn), which was below the expectations -- around 1.5 percent of the GDP. Turkey s budget revenue hit 630.3bn Turkish liras ($172.7bn) last year, while expenditures were 677.7bn liras ($185.6bn) -- including the interest payments. The government s annual budget balance saw a noninterest surplus of 9.3bn Turkish liras ($2.6bn) in 2017, considering the interest expenditures of 56.7bn liras ($15.5bn). As noted in the country s medium term program, the budget deficit/gdp ratio is targeted as 1.9 percent in 2018, 1.8 percent in 2019, and 1.6 percent in French jobs market increases; skills mismatch a concern REUTERS PARIS: France s unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent for the first time since 2009, adding weight to efforts by President Emmanuel Macron to liberalise a rigid labour market that remains hamstrung by a skills mismatch. The rate fell to 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from 9.6 percent in the previous three months, national statistics office INSEE said yesterday. That drop was the steepest since the 2008 financial crisis, suggesting a clear break below the levels of around 10 percent of the last few years as an economic recovery in the euro zone gathers pace. Around four months after, as his first major policy initiative as president, Macron changed labour rules to gave firms increased flexibility to hire and fire staff, the French economy is creating jobs at its fastest rate since 2007, INSEE said last week. Whether unemployment can fall much further without additional reforms is far from certain, however. Surveys have showed business morale surging to multi-year highs since Macron was elected. His government had come under pressure in recent weeks after several companies, including retailer Carrefour, announced sweeping job cuts. But new jobs are being created at a faster rate, and US online retail giant Amazon said earlier yesterday it would add 2,000 permanent contract positions this year. Macron s government also plans to invest 15bn in job training over the next five years, significantly expanding apprenticeship schemes under broader changes to be presented in April. That reform will take time to kick in, leaving companies to grapple in the meantime with a widespread mismatch between those seeking work and the jobs on offer. Even though French unemployment remains higher than the eurozone average, a lack of skilled workers is creating production bottlenecks and snarling up supply chains, company executives told Reuters last week. That means the country may already be reaching the limits of what economists call its structural unemployment rate, which could be around 9 percent according to European Commission data from November. Macron this week identified the deterioration in the skill set of the French workforce as the most worrying issue for the economy. Because of this mismatch, French firms are starting to see wage pressure, as elsewhere in the West. But they are also trying to avoid raising salaries by attracting skilled workers by other means, such as dangling longterm contracts, training and other perks. Many employers have until now avoided moving to permanent contracts over fears that under France s previous stricter labour rules they would struggle to sack workers if business turned sour. Macron s overhaul of the labour code has helped ease those concerns, and hiring on permanent contracts rose 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter to 48 percent, a level not seen since before the global financial crisis. Conference in Paris French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arrive to attend a conference on Transforming France s Economy and Completing the Integration of the Eurozone with French Treasury and the IMF at the Bercy Ministry in Paris, France, yesterday. Startup gives workers tools to report slavery REUTERS LONDON: Giving staff the tools to report workplace abuses, including forced labour, should improve data for brands that are striving to ensure their products are slavery-free, a tech startup said. From texts and calls to messaging apps and social media, technology could encourage workers to share issues anonymously. That would give companies a better understanding of the risk of slavery in their global supply chains, said Antoine Heuty, Chief Executive of Ulula, a software and analytics platform. With modern slavery increasingly making global headlines, companies are under growing pressure from governments and consumers to disclose what actions they are taking to ensure their operations and products are not tainted by forced labour. While major companies from sportswear giant Adidas to budget fashion chain Primark have set up whistleblower hotlines for workers in recent years, Ulula aims to go further, Heuty said. The platform will merge feedback from workers with other data, such as satellite imagery of palm oil plantations and building regulations for garment factories, to give companies real-time insight into risks in their supply chains, he said. Ulula also hopes its software could in the future be used to build industry benchmarks, allowing companies and suppliers to compare working conditions and regulations against their peers. While technology can play an important role in protecting vulnerable workers and preventing abuses, it should not be seen as a silver bullet, said the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). Bosnia hopes to join WTO in mid-2018 REUTERS SARAJEVO: Bosnia expects to overcome obstacles from Russia to its membership of the World Trade Organisation and join the group in mid-2018, Foreign Trade Minister Mirko Sarovic said yesterday. Bosnia s progress towards the accession of the WTO has been blocked since 2013 over requests relating to the access to its market by Brazil, Russia and Ukraine. The negotiations with Brazil, Ukraine and another 12 countries have been completed but they are still going on with Russia. The Balkan country applied for the membership in 1999, following its devastating war in the 1990s, when it became an observer. The Russian side wants a larger access under favourable conditions to the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarovic said. Our expectations are that we ll complete the work until mid Sarovic led a Bosnian delegation during a meeting last week with WTO officials in Geneva. He said they supported the swift conclusion of the negotiations and pledged that WTO General Council could adopt the accession package before the summer break if an agreement was reached on the few outstanding issues. Airbus profits take off despite new charge on A400M military plane TOULOUSE: Airbus said yesterday that record deliveries, windfall gains from divestments and favourable exchange rates enabled profits to lift off last year, even though it booked a substantial new charge on its troubled A400M military transporter plane. The European aircraft maker said in a statement that net profit nearly tripled to 2.87bn ($3.6bn) in 2017 from 995m a year earlier. Underlying or operating profit grew by eight percent to 4.25bn and full-year sales held steady at 66.8bn. The numbers sent Airbus shares soaring on the stock market, adding more than nine percent in Paris while the overall blue-chip CAC 40 index was just 1.5 percent higher. We overachieved on all our 2017 key performance indicators thanks to a very good operational performance, especially in the last quarter, said chief executive Tom Enders. Despite persistent engine issues on the A320neo, we continued the production ramp-up and finally delivered a record number of aircraft, he said. The number of deliveries of commercial aircraft overall rose to a record 718 in 2017 from 688 in 2016, Airbus said. Some 181 A320neo aircraft -- a new version of the medium-haul A320 jet with more fuel-efficient engines -- were delivered, up from 68 during But the new engines have also suffered from technical glitches and delays and the A320neo ramp-up remains challenging, CEO Enders said. A net capital gain of 604 million euros resulting from the divestment of the defence electronics business and a strong positive impact from exchange rate developments also helped boost the group s bottom line, Airbus said. But Airbus booked a new one-off charge of 1.3bn against its A400M turboprop military transport, plagued by delivery problems and technical problems. On A400M, we made progress on the industrial and capabilities front and agreed a re-baselining with government customers which will significantly reduce the remaining programme risks. This is reflected in a substantial one-off charge, Enders said. Airbus had already booked a charge of 2.2bn on the A400M in The A400M is the most ambitious joint procurement programme ever launched in Europe, involving seven countries: Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. But while the nations ordered the planes in 2003, the first were not delivered until four years after the contract fell due. Some 19 A400M planes were delivered in 2017, compared with 17 in Airbus said its overall order intake increased to 158bn in 2017 from 134bn in 2016, bringing the total order book to 997bn at the end of December. Given the strength of our 2017 achievements, Airbus would propose lifting its dividend to 1.50 per share for last year from 1.35 a year earlier, Enders said. This also endorses our earnings and cash growth story for the future, he said. Looking ahead, as the basis for its 2018 guidance, Airbus said it expected the world economy and air traffic to grow in line with prevailing independent forecasts, which assume no major disruptions. On that basis, the group expected to deliver around 800 commercial aircraft this year -- as long as engine manufacturers met their commitments -- and underlying or operating profit was projected to rise by approximately 20 percent. Airbus Chief Executive, Tom Enders (right) and Airbus Chief Financial Officer, Harald Wilhelm pose before Airbus annual press conference on the 2017 financial results in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, yesterday.

19 BUSINESS London may lose to New York after Brexit BLOOMBERG FRANKFURT: The UK s exit from the European Union will be a watershed moment for the City of London and weaken its role as one of the world s leading financial centers, Bundesbank Executive Board member, Joachim Wuermeling (pictured) said yesterday. Speaking in Frankfurt, he predicted Brexit would lead to higher costs for European companies by reducing the range of available financial services, weaken productivity and reduce market depth. There is also no guarantee that Britain s departure from the EU would spur an exodus of banks to the continent, he said. London will not, as some Determining the role of London in Europe s post-brexit financial landscape is becoming increasingly important for policy makers & bank executives ahead of Britain s departure from the EU next year. have suggested, maintain its current role as the financial center of the EU after Brexit, Wuermeling, who is responsible for financial-market operations at the German central bank, said in his speech. Even with the best will in the world, there is no substitute outside the EU for the freedoms, rights and obligations that come with being part of the single market. Determining the role of London in Europe s post-brexit financial landscape is becoming increasingly important for policy makers and bank executives ahead of Britain s departure from the EU next year. Around 43 percent of all euro trades on the foreign-exchange market are handled in the UK, and London accounts for 70 percent of trading in euro-denominated interest-rate derivatives. Not Champions League It is unlikely that any city in continental Europe could take over London s role after Brexit as they lack London s current heft to handle global transactions, said Wuermeling, adding that other financial centres of the world may emerge as real winners of Britain s divorce from the EU. Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam are by no means in the second division in this tournament, but neither are they candidates for the Champions League, he said in his speech at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. New York, in particular, could well benefit from Brexit, as could other global financial hubs such as Singapore or Hong Kong. In the case of Europe, Brexit could have a negative impact for already fragmented funding channels, and from the point of view of financial-market efficiency, financial-market integration, financial stability, but also real economic development, a scenario such as this is 19 clearly harmful, he said. To counter that, Europe should seek to develop a digital infrastructure to better connect its financial centers and be able to match the agglomeration effect that London currently enjoys, according to Wuermeling. It should also further harmonise its legal frameworks to reduce costs of cross-border transactions. Asked whether London s central role in European finance could result in post-brexit market volatility, Wuermeling said we don t see turbulence, we don t see crisis. What we do see is that the functionality in certain asset classes will to an extent be limited in the case of a hard Brexit. Station F start up campus Founder of French broadband Internet provider Iliad Xavier Niel, Francois Bracq, Head of Start-up Business devt and Partnerships of Google France, Sebastien Missoffe, Vice President and Managing Director of Google France, and Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, pose before a news conference at the Station F start up campus in Paris, France, yesterday. Amazon bets on shaking up health industry BLOOMBERG NEW YORK: Amazon.com Inc may have big ambitions to shake up health care, but it is starting small. The Internet giant is angling to become the go-to source for basic medical supplies such as latex gloves, bandages and sutures. While that s not the sort of splashy entrance into the US health sector that some investors have braced for, it could be a sounder route for Amazon to set itself up as a long-term player. Amazon is focusing on outpatient clinics, which include everything from doctors offices to ambulatory surgery centres, said a supply-chain executive at a top hospital system who has had multiple conversations with Amazon officials over the past several months. The official requested anonymity because the conversations with Amazon were confidential. Big hospital systems have been rapidly buying up medical practices as they move into the burgeoning outpatient-care market. But their distribution systems, which are designed to serve centralised hospitals, haven t always kept up. Amazon s user interface would be an easy sell in an underserved market, the hospitalsupply executive said. If Amazon can make restocking the supply cupboard simpler with friendly technology and speedy shipping, it could establish a dominant presence in an important niche -- and gain an understanding of the health business that could eventually allow it to move up to selling and shipping pricier drugs and hightech medical devices. Gaining a foothold by starting out with basic items that aren t highly regulated and don t need special handling, Amazon could gain a foothold in the medical supply chain, while keeping an Dollar weakens further despite rising bond yields REUTERS NEW YORK: The dollar fell across the board yesterday, hitting a 15-month low against the yen, as negative sentiment around the US currency outweighed a rise in 10-year Treasury yields to their highest levels in four years. Analysts gave various explanations for the dollar s broad weakness, which came as the yield on the benchmark US government bond climbed towards 3 percent, and as stock markets and commodities rose. But most agreed it was a longterm trend. The greenback had briefly jumped on Wednesday after data showed US inflation was stronger than expected in January, bolstering expectations that the Federal Reserve could increase interest rates as many as four times this year. But it quickly turned lower, eventually posting its worst daily performance in three weeks against a basket of major eye toward expanding into higher-value, more regulated items, according to Cathy Roberson, founder of logistics market research firm Logistics Trends & Insights LLC in Roswell, Georgia. They are inching their way in, said Roberson. This is a learning experience for them. Amazon s foray could particularly threaten businesses such as Henry Schein Inc. that move basic supplies to doctors, veterinarians, and dentists. Other companies that distribute medical supplies include Owens & Minor Inc, and giant drug distributors McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc. Paul Cody Phipps (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of Owens & Minor, said on a conference call on Wednesday that it s very well known that Amazon was talking to many large hospital systems, rivals. It added to those losses yesterday, with the dollar index hitting a two-week low of Further evidence of rising inflation came in a report yesterday which showed US producer prices accelerated in January, boosted by strong gains in the cost of gasoline and healthcare. There was no significant move in the dollar on the news. Some analysts suggested mounting worries over twin deficits in the United States, amid a government spending splurge and large corporate tax cuts, as a reason for dollar weakness. The US national debt has topped $20trillion, while the 2019 fiscal deficit is projected at near $1trillion, including deficit-financed tax cuts and twoyear spending caps that Congress passed last week. Against the yen, the dollar skidded as much as 0.8 percent from Wednesday s close to yen, its lowest since November including our customers. To date, Amazon has mostly gained traction dealing directly with patients and with smaller physician offices, not the bigger hospital chains Owens & Minor focuses on. Still, they are a force to be reckoned with, said Phipps. Attractive market Amazon business was set up to tap into the $1trillion corporate spending market by offering tractor parts, paper clips and millions of other products for factories, schools and offices. The medical market is especially attractive. Ownership of hospitals and doctor s offices is highly fragmented but the businesses need many of the same supplies; Amazon says that it can pool their buying power and share the savings while cutting out middlemen. EU helps aspirant member Kosovo to modernise railway line REUTERS PRISTINA: The European Union has donated 38.5m ($48m) to help Kosovo upgrade a railway line that will enable the Balkan country to link to western Europe. Kosovo aims to join the European Union, which provides financing for membership candidates to improve their infrastructure ahead of entry to the bloc. The 148 km railway line, which Pristina aims to finish by 2021, will cost around 200m in total and will link Kosovo with Macedonia to the south and Serbia to the north. It will also link to a major European rail route that runs from Austria to Greece and another that runs from Albania to the Black Sea coast. Donors money and loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank will cover the rest of the financing. Kosovo s railway system is in poor condition following decades of neglect. This is not only important financially but also a signal of the trust, commitment and confidence the EU, the EBRD and our international partners are putting in us, Kosovo s Finance Minister Bedri Hamza (pictured) said in a statement announcing the EU grant. While Kosovo aims to join the European Union, it must first agree to normalise relations with Serbia. Microsoft pours money into Brazil as demand booms BLOOMBERG SAO PAULO: Microsoft is hitting the gas in Brazil. Investments in the country are only going up, country manager Paula Bellizia said in an interview at Microsoft Corp. s Sao Paulo office. The appetite of companies of all sizes for cloud services in Brazil is giant. The optimism comes after tough years for the biggest economy in Latin America, with growth touching its lowest point in history. Business for Microsoft, when it came, was in the form of How can we cut costs? during that time, Bellizia said. Now, it s How can we innovate? In its fiscal third quarter ended in September, Microsoft said it was seeing signs of improvement and stability in Brazil, where the company had reported softness and a challenging economic picture 15 months prior. In a sign of the faith the Redmond, Washington-based company has in Brazil, as of February 19, it will start doing business in the local currency instead of dollars, ending an almost threedecade-old practice. China s ZTE says is trusted partner for US customers REUTERS BEIJING: Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp hit back yesterday against concerns from US lawmakers that it is a vehicle for Chinese espionage, saying it was a trusted partner of its US customers, state news agency Xinhua reported. China is trying to gain access to sensitive US technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures, US senators and spy chiefs warned on Tuesday. Republican Senator Richard Burr (pictured), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was concerned about the ties to the Chinese government of Chinese telecoms companies like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE. ZTE is proud of the innovation and security of our products in the US market, Xinhua cited a ZTE spokesman as saying. The company takes cybersecurity and privacy seriously, has always adhered to laws and remains a trusted partner of US suppliers and customers, the company added. As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards, it said. Last week, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced legislation that would block the US government from buying or leasing telecoms equipment from Huawei or ZTE, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on US officials. In 2012, Huawei and ZTE were the subject of a US investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical US infrastructure - something they have consistently denied.

20 20 BUSINESS QATAR STOCK EXCHANGE QE INDICES SUMMARY QE MARKET SUMMARY COMPARISON WORLD STOCK INDICES EXCHANGE RATE QE Index 9, % QE Total Return Index 15, % QE Al Rayan Islamic Index 2, % QE Al Rayan Islamic Index 3, % QE All Share Index 2, % QE All Share Banks & Financial Services 2, % QE All Share Industrials 2, % QE All Share Transportation 1, % QE All Share Real Estate 1, % QE All Share Insurance 3, % QE All Share Telecoms 1, % QE All Share Consumer Goods & Services 5, % Index 9, Change % 0.36 YTD% 5.92 Volume 7,296,278 Value (QAR) 287,331, Trades 2,966 Up 18 Down 26 Unchanged Index 9, Change % 0.81 YTD% 6.30 Volume 11,044,346 Value (QAR) 225,809, Trades 3,968 Index Day s Close Pt Chg % Chg Year High Year Low ALL ORDINARIES CAC 40 INDEX/d DJ INDU AVERAGE HANG SENG INDE/d ISEQ OVERALL/d KSE 100 INX/d S&P 500 INDEX/d GOLD AND SILVER GOLD QR per gramme SILVER QR per gramme Currency Buying Selling US$ QR QR UK QR QR Euro QR QR CA$ QR QR Swiss Fr QR QR Yen QR QR Aus$ QR QR Ind Re QR QR Pak Re QR QR Peso QR QR SL Re QR QR Taka QR QR Nep Re QR QR SA Rand QR QR INTERNATIONAL MARKETS - A LIST OF SHARES FROM THE WORLD COMPANY CLOSE NET VOLUME NAME CHG TRADED COMPANY CLOSE NET VOLUME NAME CHG TRADED COMPANY CLOSE NET VOLUME NAME CHG TRADED COMPANY CLOSE NET VOLUME NAME CHG TRADED COMPANY CLOSE NET VOLUME NAME CHG TRADED Aarti Drugs-B/D Aban Offs-A/D Acc Ltd-A/D Ador Welding-B/D Aegis Logis-A/D Alembic-B/D Alkyl Amines-B/D Alok Indus-T/D Apollo Tyre-A/D Asahi I Glass-/D Ashok Leyland-/D Bajaj Hold-A/D Ballarpur In-B/D Bannari Aman-B/D Bata India-A/D Beml Ltd-A/D Bhansali Eng-B/D Bharat Bijle-B/D Bharat Ele-A/D Bharat Heavy-A/D Bharatgears-B/D Bhartiya Int-B/D Bom.Burmah-X/D Bombay Dyeing-/D Camph.& All-X/D Canfin Homes-A/D Caprihans-X/D Castrol India-/D Century Enka-B/D Century Text-A/D Chambal Fert-A/D Chola Invest-A/D Chowgule St-Xt/D Cimmco-T/D Cipla-A/D City Union Bk-/D Colgate-A/D Container Cor-/D Dai-X/D Dcm Financia-B/D Dcm Shram Ind-/D Dhampur Sugar-/D Dr. Reddy-A/D E I H-B/D E.I.D Parry-A/D Eicher Motor-A/D Eimco Elecon-B/D Electrosteel-B/D Emco-B/D Escorts-A/D Eveready Indu-/D F D C-B/D Federal Bank-A/D Ferro Alloys-X/D Finolex-A/D Forbes-B/D Gail-A/D Gammon India-T/D Garden P -B/D Godfrey Phil-A/D Goodricke-X/D Goodyear I -B/D Hcl Infosys-A/D Him.Fut.Comm-A/D Himat Seide-X/D Hind Motors-T/D Hind Org Chem-/D Hind Unilever-/D Hind.Petrol-A/D Hindalco-A/D Hous Dev Fin-A/D Idbi-A/D Ifb Ind.Ltd.-B/D Ifci Ltd-A/D Ift Agro-T/D India Cement-A/D India Glycol-B/D Indian Hotel-A/D Indo-A/D Indusind-A/D J.B.Chemical-B/D Jagatjit Ind-X/D Jagson Phar-B/D Jamnaauto-B/D Jbf Indu-B/D Jct Ltd-X/D Jenson&Nich.-T/D Jindal Drill-B/D Jktyre&Ind-A/D Jmc Projects-B/D Kabra Extr-B/D Kajaria Cer-A/D Kakatiya Cem-B/D Kalpat Power-B/D Kalyani Stel-B/D Kanoria Chem-B/D Kg Denim-X/D Kilburnengg-X/D Kinetic Eng-Xt/D Kopran-B/D Lakshmi Elec-X/D Laxmi Prcisn-B/D Lgb Broth-B/D Lloyd Metal-X/D Lumax Ind-B/D Lupin-A/D Lyka Labs-B/D Mafatlal Ind-X/D Mah.Seamless-B/D Maha Scooter-B/D Mangalam Cem-B/D Maral Overs-B/D Mastek-B/D Max Financial-/D Mrpl-A/D Nagreeka Ex-T/D Nagreeka Ex-T/D Nahar Spg.-B/D Nation Alum -A/D Navneet Edu-B/D Neuland Lab-B/D Nrb Bearings-B/D O N G C-A/D Oil Country-B/D Onward Tech-B/D Orchid Pharm-M/D Orient Hotel-B/D Orient.Carb.-B/D Orient.Carb.-B/D Patspin India-/D Radico Khait-A/D Rallis India-A/D Rallis India-A/D Reliance Indus/D Ruchi Soya-B/D Saur.Cem-X/D Sterling Tool-/D Tanfac Indu-Xt/D Tanfac Indu-Xt/D Thirumalai-B/D Til Ltd.-B/D Timexgroup-T/D Tinplate-B/D Ucal Fuel-B/D Ucal Fuel-B/D Ultramarine-X/D Unitech P -B/D Univcable-B/D LONDON 3I Group/D Assoc.Br.Foods/D Barclays/D Bp/D Brit Am Tobacc/D Bt Group/D Centrica/D Gkn/D Hsbc Holdings/D Kingfisher/D Land Secs./D Legal & Genera/D Lloyds Bnk Grp/D Marks & Sp./D Next/D Pearson/D Prudential/D Rank Group/D Rentokil Initi/D Rolls Royce Pl/D Rsa Insrance G/D Sainsbury(J)/D Schroders/D Severn Trent/D Smith&Nephew/D Smiths Group/D Standrd Chart /D Tate & Lyle/D Tesco/D Unilever/D United Util Gr/D Vodafone Group/D Whitbread/D

21 We are a team that always wants to think of ways we can improve. We will look to be stronger with the 2019 World Cup in mind. Virat Kohli The Indian captain speaks of his plans in the build-up to the cricket World Cup in 2019 Live on TUBE SPORT 4:45PM FOOTBALL Al Rayyan vs Al Sailiya at Al Sadd Stadium Live on Al Kass Federer 2 wins from oldest No.1 spot ROTTERDAM: Roger Federer delivered a crushing 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Ruben Bemelmans in just 47 minutes on Wednesday night as the Swiss star moved just two wins away from becoming the sport s oldest world number one. The 36-year-old top seed, a two-time champion at the Dutch indoor event, needs to reach the semi-finals to take back the number one spot from Rafael Nadal. With two more victories, Federer would become the oldest man by three years to hold the top position in the rankings. It s very surprising how good things went today, Federer said after the match. The key is to start well, put him under pressure. I wanted to make him think he had to do something special to beat me. I did well there, I felt good, I m healthy and I m confident. It was a great first round for me. Federer gave no quarter as he raced to a 5-0 lead, with the out-matched Bemelmans winning his first game after 16 minutes. The outcome was never in doubt as Federer dominated with six aces and four service breaks, winning an impressive 21 of 23 first-serve points in the demolition. NBA players union flexes marketing muscle in deal with Dentsu BLOOMBERG NEW YORK: The NBA has spent decades cultivating fans around the world, and its biggest stars are household names from China to Caracas. Now the league s players are making their global move en masse. The National Basketball Players Association said it reached a broad agreement with Japan s leading advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., to develop content and create and stage global events that feature the union and its members. Until recently, that kind of collaboration was functionally off-limits. For more than 20 years the NBA had paid the union -- last year, about $41m -- for the marketing and licensing rights to its 400-plus members. The league then turned around and parceled them out to corporate partners and sponsors. The players union decided it could do better making its own deals, and last year, took control of its own licensing and marketing deals. Players still control their individual deals, and teams control the use of their names and logos. The union, though, controls the rights to the players as a group, as long as they re not in uniform, and to its own brand. Now corporate partners or anyone else who wants to use groups of players in an advertising campaign or any other promotion will negotiate directly with the union. At the All-Star game this weekend in Los Angeles, for example, the union s new marketing arm, dubbed National Basketball Players Inc., has put together what it s calling One The 20-time Grand Slam champion next takes on German Philipp Kohlschreiber, against whom he stands 12-0 in career meetings. You always prefer to play the guy whose game you know, Federer said. You know his patterns, it s nice to play someone like that, you know what to expect. My start will be crucial, I need to stay focused all the way. Any lapses can get you into trouble. Third seed Alexander Zverev fell in an upset to qualifying lucky loser Andreas Seppi of Italy, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round to open up Federer s half of the draw. Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin, the duo who faced off in last year s season-ending ATP Finals, both advanced with straight-sets wins. Second seed Dimitrov, who beat Belgian fourth seed Goffin in the London final last November, had to fight back in the second set to defeat Japan s Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in their first-round encounter. Goffin made light work of veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, cruising through 6-1, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. Dimitrov won the opening set against Sugita but fell behind a break in the second before levelling for 5-all. As the set went into a tiebreak, the Bulgarian surged Court at the London Hotel: around 30 companies, including Lamborghini, Vault Aviation and Postmates, have signed on to create exclusive experiences, business and content opportunities and other social events both for and with NBA players, according to the union. For Dentsu, the tie-up with some of the world s most popular athletes will help cement its sports foothold in the US. It already owns Athletes First, a sports agency based in Laguna Hills, California. A separate entity, the newly created Athletes First Properties will work closely with Dentsu Aegis Network, a London-based consortium of companies that manages Dentsu s business outside of Japan. The network includes ahead as he took a 5-2 lead but had to hold off his opponent as Sugita clawed back to within a point of levelling. Dimitrov then sent a forehand into the corner to earn a pair of match points and advanced on his second with a service winner to end the resistance of the 41st-ranked Sugita. It was my first match in three weeks, and you re always a little rusty, said Dimitrov who has been dealing with a sore shoulder in recent weeks. I was trying to find rhythm. I faced a quality player and I m happy with how things went for me today -- I was pain-free in my shoulder. Last weekend s Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille exited in his opening match, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Andrey Rublev. The Russian was joined in the second round at the Ahoy Arena by Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, who advanced after just 15 minutes when compatriot Richard Gasquet, the Montpellier finalist, retired with a groin injury trailing 3-1. Pouille lost in 93 minutes, hitting a dozen aces in defeat but losing serve four times. The 34th-ranked Rublev owns his only career title from Umag last summer on clay. Herbert will play Russian Daniil Medvedev in the second round. Robin Haase won an all- Dutch affair over Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-2. Serge Ibaka (9) of Toronto Raptors in action during his team s NBA game against Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, yesterday. marketing company MKTG, whose sports clients include the NFL, NHL and Nascar. Ultimately, we chose the Dentsu Aegis Network to supplement our team s efforts because of their diverse assets and global reach, said National Basketball Players Inc. President Jordan Schlachter. They bring so many resources to the table across multiple agencies, from commercial opportunities to content creation to creative. Schlachter and Brian Murphy, president of Athletes First, which will spearhead Dentsu s involvement, didn t disclose financial terms of the agreement. What those opportunities look like exactly is still an open question. Switzerland s Roger Federer reacts after a point during his match against Ruben Bemelmans from Belgium in the first round of the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Wednesday night. Federer won 6-1, :55PM FOOTBALL Al Gharafa vs Al Kharaitiyat at Al Gharafa Stadium Live on Al Kass Sharapova, Keys pull out of Dubai REUTERS DUBAI: Former world number one Maria Sharapova and US Open finalist Madison Keys have pulled out of next week s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the tournament organisers said yesterday. Five-times Grand Slam winner Sharapova, who had a accepted a wildcard to make her first appearance at the tournament since 2006, decided to withdraw citing a forearm strain. Sharapova lost her opening round match at the Qatar Open on Monday to Romania s Monica Niculescu in three sets and is currently ranked 41 in the world. The 30-year-old Russian has a win-loss record since her return from a doping ban last April. American world number 14 Keys, who was expected to make her Dubai debut, has withdrawn due to illness. Unfortunately both Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys have regretfully had to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to injury and illness, organisers said in a statement. The tournament begins on Monday. NBA: Lillard outguns Durant as Blazers beat Warriors LOS ANGELES: Damian Lillard scored 44 points as the Portland Trail Blazers ended a sevengame losing streak and overcame the Golden State Warriors with a win on Wednesday. Portland overcame a 50-point display from Kevin Durant -- his best in a Warriors jersey -- to head into the All- Star break with a moraleboosting victory. Lillard was backed by C.J. McCollum (29 points) and Jusuf Nurkic, who finished with 17 points. The win saw Portland improve to 32-26, vaulting them into sixth spot in the Western Conference standings. The Warriors fell to with the loss, leaving them one behind Houston at the top of the standings. I came out in a good rhythm, Lillard said. I thought we were really resilient tonight on both ends of the floor. We got a big, much-needed win. We needed this going into the break, to get some momentum going into the second half of the season. Elsewhere Wednesday, DeAndre Jordan scored a career-high 30 points as the Los Angeles Clippers sent the Boston Celtics spinning to a fourth defeat in five games with a victory at the TD Garden. Jordan produced an inspirational performance that included 13 rebounds, three assists and four steals to give his NBA Results DETROIT 104 Atlanta 98 Charlotte 104 ORLANDO 102 Philadelphia 104 Miami 102 Indiana 108 BROOKLYN 103 Washington 118 NY 113 LA Clippers 129 BOSTON 119 Toronto 122 CHICAGO 98 Houston 100 Sacramento 91 O City 121 Memphis 114 N Orleans 139 LA Lakers 117 UTAH 107 Phoenix 97 Portland 123 G State 117 side a deserved road victory. The win left Los Angeles firmly in the hunt in the Western Conference playoff race, taking them to Boston leaned heavily on a 33-point haul from Kyrie Irving but it was not enough to stop them from a third straight loss. The Celtics are second in the Eastern Conference on 40-19, trailing the Toronto Raptors, who crushed the Chicago Bulls elsewhere on Thursday. The Clippers had Boston on the back foot almost from the outset, leading by 14 points in the first half before the Celtics hit back to close within four points at at halftime. A see-saw second half saw the lead change hands repeatedly, with Irving firing Boston ahead with a superb threepointer late in the third. The Clippers, however, rattled off 10 unanswered points in the fourth to take an unassailable lead. We got so many guys who draw a lot of attention, Jordan said afterwards. I was able to roll. My team-mates did a really good job of finding me tonight. I was just really confident tonight. All five of the Clippers starters cracked double figures, while Lou Williams came off the bench to deliver 19 points. Everybody has a job to do on this team, Jordan said. We ve got to keep it up and stay healthy. But while the Clippers battled to a deserved win, there was no such luck for their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, who were demolished by an Anthony Davis-inspired New Orleans Pelicans. Davis conjured another hefty exhibition of scoring, pouring on 42 points with 15 rebounds and three assists to take his team to However the action was overshadowed by a stormy contest which saw the Pelicans Rajon Rondo and the Lakers new signing Isaiah Thomas -- former team-mates with the Boston Celtics -- ejected after a fracas in the first quarter. Lakers coach Luke Walton was also given his marching orders, sent to the locker room in the second quarter after an expletive-laden tirade at the officiating crew following a foul against Kyle Kuzma. Elsewhere Wednesday, James Harden had 28 points as the Houston Rockets maintained their pace at the top of the West with a win over the Sacramento Kings -- their 10th straight victory.

22 22 SPORT Katara Beach to host FIVB World Tour event ARMSTRONG VAS DOHA: Fourteen out of top 16 world-ranked pairs will be seen in action at next month s Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 2018 to be held at Qatar s scenic Katara Cultural Village, organisers of the event informed yesterday. Katara Beach joins a list of some dazzling world-wide venues which has been hosting the FIVB World Tour. Besides the top prize, the pairs will be vying for valuable ranking points from March 6 to 10 in Doha in run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Yesterday, Katara Cultural Village Foundation and Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) signed an agreement for hosting the event. Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, Katara Cultural Village Foundation General Manager and Tournament Director, signed the agreement with QVA President Ali Ghanim Al Kuwari, to organise the tournament, the one of its in the Middle East. It s not over yet, warns Neymar Real Madrid s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Paris Saint- Germain s Brazilian forward Neymar leave the pitch at half-time during their UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday. Also present during the press conference were Darwish Ahmed Al Shebani, Katara Cultural Foundation Marketing Director, and Mohammed Salem Al Kuwari, QVA Beach Volleyball Commission Vice-President. We ve a vast experience of hosting international events at the Katara and we know that we ve been entrusted with a big responsibility by the Qatar Volleyball Association for holding the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 2018, Dr Khalid said. It has attracted top players of the world and it will certainly bring more value and importance to our profile, he added. The hosting agreement is right now for just one year but there is a high probability of extending it another two years or so, he said. At the moment, we ve signed the contract to organise the fourstar event for a year, but we are highly optimistic that the Katara Centre would continue to be the venue of this premier event for more years to come, Dr Khalid said. Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) President Ali Ghanim Al Kuwari (second left) and Katara Cultural Village Foundation General Manager and Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 2018 Tournament Director Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti exchanging documents during an agreement signing ceremony held at Katara Buiding No. 32 yesterday. QVA Beach Volleyball Commission Vice-President Mohammed Salem Al Kuwari (left) and Katara Cultural Foundation Marketing Director Darwish Ahmed Al Shebani also look on. Picture: Baher Amin/The Peninsula The Tournament Director informed that the Katara Cultural Foundation is also organizing the Halal Qatar Festival (March 2 to MADRID: Paris Saint- Germain face a huge task to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo defied talk that his powers are waning with two goals as Real Madrid won 3-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Billed as a contest between World Player of the Year Ronaldo and his Brazilian heir-in-waiting Neymar, the 33-year-old Portuguese came out emphatically on top as he became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals for the same club. He who never fails, said sports daily Marca of Ronaldo s latest decisive contribution on a pulsating evening at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo dragged Real level with a penalty -- his 100th Champions League goal for the club -- after Adrien Rabiot had given PSG the lead, fed by a cheeky Neymar backheel. As PSG seemed to be heading for a draw that would have put the French side in the driving seat for the return leg on March 6, Ronaldo turned the match in 10). We have visitors to it from all over the world and the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup would be a part of the festival, which is aimed Madrid s favour with a scrappy goal that bounced in off his knee. Marcelo then completed the turnaround to show PSG -- who have never won the Champions League -- the value of the experience of winning the competition 12 times. Zinedine Zidane s side have been flagging domestically, leaving the French coach under pressure, but Madrid s other major sports daily As called the performance the late push of a team who still rule in Europe. Real Madrid love the Champions League and as players we can feel that on the pitch, Ronaldo said after being named man of the match. Today things worked out for me, scoring two goals and helping the team win, but we know the tie is not finished yet. Neymar, who cut a dejected figure at the end, said his side committed errors at certain moments. We didn t play badly, but I think we need to be better if we want to eliminate Real Madrid. It is difficult, but nothing is impossible, the 26-yearold Brazilian said. at reviving the country s cultural heritage and traditions. We are holding the Karata Beach Volleyball Cup during the The return leg at the Parc des Princes will be the hottest ticket in Europe. Zidane will take credit for sending on Marco Asensio, who set up the two late goals, although Alfredo Relano in As warned that the young Spanish star now has to play every time. The Frenchman, meanwhile, paid tribute to Ronaldo, who despite showing signs of fallibility in La Liga this season has scored 11 goals in Europe in just seven matches. With Ronaldo it s difficult to always say the same thing. He has shown once again that he always turns up in the big games, Zidane said. PSG coach Unai Emery, who has never been further than the Champions League round of 16 in five previous attempts, gambled with a young line-up, starting with 21-year-old Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and 22-year-old defender Presnel Kimpembe. He also took off Edinson Cavani in the second half, replacing the club s all-time record goal-scorer with a right-back in Thomas Meunier rather than Angel di Maria. Italy s failure a wake-up call: Infantino MILAN: FIFA President Gianni Infantino revealed yesterday his dispair at Italy s failure to reach the World Cup finals where he had hoped to hand the trophy to Azzurri captain Gianluigi Buffon. I m sad, yes I m sad for the World Cup. I almost cried, Infantino, who holds both Swiss and Italian nationality, said in an interview with Italy s Gazzetta Dello Sport five months ahead of the World Cup final match in Russia. I think it s a collective sadness. We re FIFA President Gianni Infantino talking about a team with a great tradition who give their best in events like this. But those who are in Russia deserved to qualify and in any case Italy stayed out with an Italian President: Do we need anything else to say we re honest and clean? Infantino, the Swiss-born son of Italian immigrant parents, took over the scandal-battered world body from disgraced pres- ident Sepp Blatter in February I would have liked to have given the cup to Buffon though, admitted the 47-year-old. Infantino said that there had been signs of trouble within the four-time world champions long before their dramatic fail- ure in last November s play-offs. There have been signals to this effect for a long time, and (Matteo) Darmian s shot against Sweden could have gone in instead of hitting the post, but he would have only concealed the problems. Italy were the first in Those who are in Russia deserved to qualify and in any case Italy stayed out with an Italian President: Do we need anything else to say we re honest and clean? I would have liked to have given the Vup to Buffon though: Infantino the world for organisation, clubs, training, structures, food, tactics. We forgot that, without work, talent is not enough. How many young people advance to the first team?. Italy are without a national coach and a football federation president with the FIGC currently under the guardianship of the national Olympic committee CONI. One or two men cannot change a situation that needs a strong president, backed by all parties, and with a long-term strategy: clubs, leagues, players, everyone has to go in the same direction, as in Germany in the 90s, after the crisis of results, as in England after the Heysel (Stadium disaster), everyone at the table thinking about the common good, today Germany wins the World Cup and Confederations with young players, and England are world champions in Under 17 and Under 20. Infantino added that he hoped to encourage 40-year-old Juventus and Italy goalkeeping legend Buffon to take a role in football s governing body when he retires. Could he take a role in FIFA? I m going to go in person and get him. Halal Qatar Festival and we are optimistic that the visitors and sports-loving fans would get a high-class action from the Katara beach volleyball courts to see, he said. QVA President Al Kuwari said: The QVA is delighted that Qatar is back on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour after a year s gap. The event is very significant for us. 56 pairs from 28 countries would be taking part in the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup In the main draw, world s top 14 out of 16 teams will be contesting for the title, which shows the value of the event. This is the only four-star event the FIVB has allotted in the Middle East for which we really wish to thank the international federation, he added. Kuwari expressed his gratitude to the Katara Cultural Foundation for supporting the event. We want to thank the Katara Cultural Village Foundation for being partner with us for this prestigious tournament. I am also confident that the Katara would hosting the event for many more years to come. Mendis seals easy win for Sri Lanka AP DHAKA: Bangladesh s highest Twenty20 total didn t matter as Sri Lanka chased it down with 20 balls to spare to win the opener of the twomatch series yesterday. After Bangladesh made 193-5, Sri Lanka raced to the win with 194-4, spearheaded by opener Kusal Mendis maiden half-century, a 27-ball 53. Sri Lanka has taken the one-day international and test series, and needs one more win in its last tour match on Sunday to sweep up all three formats. Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka shared a 53-run opening stand. After Mendis fell at 90-2, Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera combined for 65 off 30 balls in an undefeated fifth-wicket stand. Shanaka was unbeaten on 42 off 24, and Perera was on 39 off 18. Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam took 22-5 on his T20 debut for Bangladesh. Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim hit a career-best 66 not out in T20s to help Bangladesh post a respectable total. SCOREBOARD Bangladesh Zakir Hasan b Gunathilaka Soumya Sarkar lbw b JMendis Mushfiqur Rahim (not out)...66 Afif Hossain c Dickwella b JMendis...0 Mahmudullah c Dananjaya b Udana...43 Sabbir Rahman b Perera...1 Ariful Haque (not out)...1 Extras: (1b, 3lb, 16w, 1nb) TOTAL: (for 5 wickets) Overs: Did not bat: Mohammad Saifuddin, Nazmul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain. Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-100, 3-100, 4-173, Bowling: Shehan Madushanka (2w), Danushka Gunathilaka (1w), Ishuru Udana (10w), Thisara Perera (2), Akila Dananjaya (1w), Jeevan Mendis Sri Lanka Kusal Mendis c Sarkar b Afif...53 Danushka Gunathilaka st Rahim b Nazmul...30 Upul Tharanga c Afif b Nazmul...4 Dasun Shanaka (not out)...42 Niroshan Dickwella c Saifuddin b Rubel Thisara Perera (not out)...39 Extras: (3lb, 12 w)...15 TOTAL: (for 4 wickets) Overs: Did not bat: Dinesh Chandimal, Akila Dananjaya, Ishuru Udana, Jeevan Mendis, Shehan Madushanka. Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-90, 3-92, Bowling: Nazmul Islam (1w), Mohammad Saifuddin (1w), Mahmudullah (1w), Rubel Hossain (10w), Mustafizur Rahman (1w), Afif Hossain (1w). Result: Sri Lanka wins by 6 wickets

23 SPORT 23 Tamimi cruises into Canadian Open semis Qatar s Abdullah Al Tamimi in action in this file photo. TORONTO: Qatar s Abdullah Al Tamimi shocked top seed Diego Elias of Peru to advance to the semifinals of the Canadian Open Squash Open Championship in Toronto on Tuesday. Seventh-seeded Tamimi defeated the Peruvian star 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-3 in the keenly contested quarter-final clash. He will face sixth seed Max Lee of Hong Kong. Lee also upset thirdseeded Mexican Cesar Salazar in straight games. The World No. 34 was off to a strong start wrong-footing his rival and not letting him settle early in the match. As a result, he raced to a 1-0 lead. The Qatari lost some of his momentum in the Game 2 and Elias won it after hitting quality shots. Tamimi pushed him back in the third in which Elias hit five winners in a rally. But Tamimi somehow sneaked out of the tough points after making Elias work hard and proved too strong to close out the match, winning third and fourth. I am very happy with this precious win, which gave me a great boost to continue my remaining tour of the tournament in the same way, said Tamimi. I was not an easy match but I insisted on winning and thank God, I achieved the result I came for. The tournament has not yet been decided, and I still have one game left to play, so I will try my best to show my best performance. Khalid al Khulaifi, Chairman of the National Team Committee at the Qatari Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation congratulated Tamimi for this win. He stressed that all members of the federation are behind the Qatari player and support him to achieve more achievements that would enhance his professional career and the status of the Qatar sports at the regional and international levels. World Schools Handball set to kick off with dazzling ceremony ARMSTRONG VAS DOHA: With just a week left for the 2018 Handball World Schools Championships to kick off in Doha preparation to host the event have gathered pace, informed a member of the organising Committee. Abeer Al Buainain, member of the Ceremonies and Awards committee, said that the organisers have lined up a glittering opening ceremony and most of the members of the committee have attended the dress rehearsals of the opening ceremony and have been impressed by what they saw. The work is going well for the opening ceremony of the championship, which combines the identity and heritage of, and we are happy with what we saw in the rehearsal, and we achieve the required success, Al Buainain said. More than 20 countries will be participating in the championship which will be held in both boys and girls section and is organized by Qatar School Sports Association (QSSA), in technical collaboration with Qatar Handball Federation. Al Buainain said that everyone is working round the clock to make the event a great success. The event will kick off officially on February 21 and will be held at three venues namely: Aspire Academy of Sports Excellence, Qatar Women s Sports Committee and Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah in Al Sadd. The Organizing Committee have been holding periodic meetings to facilitate its work and remove any technical and organizational glitches which may affect the tournament. A dedicated website has uploaded all the details of the event on the website related to each team, training dates and competitions. Meanwhile the Organizing Committee of the Championship have approached many schools through the Ministry of Education and Higher Education so that students can attend the competitions. The Committee has also contacted students of the Shafallah Center and people with special needs, to make the event a success. Al Rayyan eye comeback win as Al Gharafa target top-four CHINTHANA WASALA DOHA: Al Rayyan will be looking to recapture honours with a comeback win following their Qatar Clasico loss to Al Sadd last week when they take on Al Sailiya as QNB Stars League action continues today. At Al Sadd Stadium, coach Michael Laudrup s men will eye full points against the fourth placed team in the league standings, to keep up with the pace of high-flying Al Duhail and Al Sadd. On the other hand, Al Sailiya will be keen to keep their top-four position intact to stay ahead of Umm Salal who are threatening them from behind. Al Rayyan had won 1-0 in the first phase. On Monday, they locked horns with Iran s Esteghlal in their AFC Champions League Group D opener at the Al Sadd Stadium where the two teams sheared the honours with in a two-all draw. Ahead of today s tie, coach Laudrup spoke about having to play too many matches within a short period of time. We just played our first match in the AFC Champions League and now it is back to QNB Stars League action. Too many games in short time and we will make some changes. I cannot say how many. I will have to take a call on it later, Laudrup said. After this match, we will be playing in the AFC Champions League in Abu Dhabi next Tuesday. It is good that we have players to come off the bench and do well on the field. When you have good players, you have to use them. We have more options now with the new additions, said Laudrup. Al Sailiya coach Sami Trabelsi admitted that this is a crucial yet difficult time for his team. We are passing through a difficult phase and we know it will be tough against a side such as Al Rayyan. They are a strong side, one of the best in the QNB Stars League. There is no doubt about it. Their results do not fully match their performance and reputation. They deserved a better position in the standings. For us, this game is very important. We have put ourselves in a tricky situation and we have to wriggle out of it. We are fighting with our back against the wall at the moment. My players are confident that we can make a strong comeback. We are making some corrections in terms of technical aspects. I cannot reveal them. But our main problem is psychological. Then, our finishing has to be better. We have lost many matches despite controlling them. We cannot lose more games like this. I don t think our professional players are not doing a good job. We have a good group of players with fighting spirit, said Trabelsi. Elsewhere today, Dutch star Wesley Sneijderled Al Gharafa will be no easy kill for relegation-threatened Al Kharaitiyat in their own backyard. Al Gharafa eying a top-four finish in the League this season and will try to compensate for their 1-5 defeat at the hands of Al Duhail. Al Gharafa are sixth with 20 points and Al Kharaitiyat 10th with 13 points. In the third and final match of the day, Al Ahli will take on Qatar SC. Olympic shooters set to shine at Qatar Open ARMSTRONG VAS DOHA: Sixteen Olympic medallists are among the 250 shooters who will be competing for the podium finishes at the 2018 Qatar Open Shotgun Championship which begins from today at the Losail Shooting Range. Participation is very big in terms of nations. Over 250 shooters from 38 countries will be competing in the event, said Antonella, Competition Director, while addressing a press conference here yesterday in the presence of Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA) President Ali Mohammed Al Kuwari. The championship will be held in the Men s, Men s Juniors, Women and Women s Junior section, Antonella added. Shooters will compete in Trap, Double Trap and Skeet categories at the event which serves as an ideal preparation for some of the top ranked players for the new season. The competition will feature both men and women shooters. There will be a separate category for the juniors and will serve as an ideal platform for the age group players to rub shoulders with some of the established stars. The event will kick off with Trap event, followed by Double Trap and the championship will culminate with the Skeet category. QSAA President said it a great opportunity for the local talent to watch the Olympic stars in action. People go to shooting ranges and buy money to watch the Olympic shooters. During the championship our youngsters will get a chance to watch the top shooters, Al Kuwari said. The QSAA official said that quality of shooters and not quantity is what matters. A large number of shooters training under QSAA coaches and with different clubs will be taking. As this is a not a country competition, so any number of shooters can take part, he said. This year, like in the past, the event has been able to Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA) President Ali Mohammed Al Kuwari Antonella, Competition Director and other officials pose for a photograph during a 2018 Qatar Open Shotgun Championship press conference at Losail Shooting Range yesterday. attract some of the top shooters, who are preparing for the new season. Every year we schedule the the championship during this period (February) because it is the first event of the international calendar. After this event most of the shooters will fly to Mexico to participate in the Shotgun World Cup, Antonella said. So, this is always a good way to start the season. Thanks to the weather and of course the facilities and every year we try to improve (the facilities) and it seems the shooters are in appreciating that, she said. This year we have 16 Olympic medalists, which will make the event interesting and more competitive, she added. Some of the Olympic medalists who will compete at the event include Qatar s Nasser Saleh al Attiyah, bronze medal winner at the London Games. The event will serve as an opportunity for the local shooters to brush shoulders with the Olympians. The level of competition is very high and it is a good opportunity for the Qatari shooters to have the possibility to compete in a friendly competition. This event has been always regarded as a friendly competition. High level, but held in a nice environment, she added. A total of $133,000 will give away as prize money in the event. The prizes are attractive. We are giving away $133,000 as money, she added. The winners in Trap, Skeet and Double Trap will each get $7000, in both men and women s section while $6000, $5000, $3000, $2000 and $1000 will be given to shooters who finish from second to sixth place. Cash prizes will also be given in the junior category, for both boys and girls. The event ends on February 22.

24 SPORT Friday 16 February 2018 PAGE 21 PAGE 22 PAGE 23 Federer two wins from oldest No.1 spot It s not over yet, warns Neymar Tamimi cruises into Canadian Open semis CiCi Belis of USA returns the ball to Czech Karolina Pliskova during their match in the Qatar Total Open 2018 at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha yesterday. Pictures Salim Matramkot/The Peninsula Qualifier Bellis stuns reigning champion Pliskova in Doha WTA/ DOHA: American qualifier CiCi Bellis claimed the biggest win of her career after taking down defending champion Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals at the Qatar Total Open. Bellis read the Czech s booming serve perfectly, breaking her five times en route to the 7-6(4), 6-3 victory in an hour and 37 minutes. Even more impressive, her victory over World No.5 Pliskova is Bellis first Top 5 win of her career. This was huge for me, 18-year-old Bellis said in her on-court interview. I think I played a really good match and just tried to track down as many balls as I could. Obviously, I ve watched her play for many years and she s one of my idols for sure. I m just really happy to was able to get through it. It was their second meeting of the season after Brisbane, where Pliskova won comfortably in straight sets dropping just two games. When I played her in Brisbane, she killed me, and I was super nervous before that match, Bellis recalled. It was the start of the year. It was my second match of the year and she was playing really well there. I knew I had to be super on top of it from the first point today, and that s what my team and I discussed, from the first point I had to be 100 percent rather DOHA: Al Duhail revelled in yet another goal fest as they fired five past Umm Salal without response on home turf in the QNB Stars League (QSL) Week 17 opener yesterday. Captain Youssef Msakny (14th and 59th minutes), Nam Tae-Hee (10th and 15th), and Luis Martin (fifth) scored the goals as the table toppers ended the game having 64 per cent of the ball. Al Duhail are now on 45 points as they inched closer to the league title and Umm Salal on 24. Msakny moved to 18 goals and Nam 10 in the QNB Stars League top scorers chart. Al Duhail had rested key players such as their top scorer Youssef El Arabi and midfielder Karim Boudiaf in view of their AFC Champions League fixture at the UAE s Al Wahda on 19th than kind of get into the match and take a few games. So I think that was a big part of it. The story was completely different story today, with qualifier Bellis coming into the match-up after dealing upsets to Daria Kasatkina (who retired in the second set with a neck injury) and No.12 seed Madison Keys. Pliskova, who came to Doha after Fed Cup and is recovering from an illness, spoke of feeling low energy levels coming into the match. It showed against the 18-year-old, and she couldn t seem to find her rhythm againsts Bellis relentless attacking. Bellis kept Pliskova under pressure from the start of the match, coming away with the edge after three straight breaks of serve. The momentum swung between the two as they traded five more breaks to stay level and bring up a tiebreaker. Despite Pliskova finding some of her biggest serves of the set in the tiebreak, Bellis had the answers to force error after error and edge through the opening set. While the first set featured a dizzying eight breaks of serve, the second was decided by just one. Bellis converted on her fifth break chance of game six to grab a 4-2 lead and held onto it for the rest of the match, serving out the biggest victory of her career after an hour and 38 minutes. Bellis stayed aggressive throughout the match, hitting 17 winners and 26 February. They had started their Group B campaign on a winning note by beating Iran s Zob Ahan 3-1 at home three days earlier. As a result, many reserve players got to play. The Red Knights were still at their menacing best and midfielder Luis Martin, back from an injury layoff, started the goal glut. Nam and Msakny continued it as they were 4-0 up inside 15 minutes. Such was their domination that Umm Salal, without suspended Tunisian midfielder Oussama Darragi, initially had no clue as to what was happening. The Orange Fortress created a chance only after 25 minutes only to see striker Yannick Sagbo send a free-kick over the bar. Msakny added another around the hour mark as Umm Salal, who had scored a comefrom-behind win over Al Khor in the previous round under new unforced errors across two sets. Pliskova struck 30 winners - almost double the amount of her young opponent - but was undone by her 53 unforced errors and eight double faults. Earlier, Simona Halep shrugged off injury concerns to record a straight sets victory over Anastasija Sevastova yesterday to progress to the Qatar Open quarter-finals. The world number two won 6-4, QNB Stars League Week 17 YESTERDAY S RESULT: Al Duhail beat Umm Salal 5-0 FIXTURES: TODAY: Al Rayyan vs Al Sailiya (Al Sadd Stadium, 4.45pm) Al Gharafa vs Al Kharaitiyat (Al Gharafa Stadium, 6.55pm) Al Ahli vs Qatar SC (Al Ahli Stadium, 6.55pm) TOMORROW: Al Markhiya vs Al Khor (Al Arabi Stadium, 4.45pm) Al Sadd vs Al Arabi (Al Sadd Stadium, 6.55pm) coach Talal El Karkouri, could not do much other than another free-kick by Sagbo late in the game that was parried by goalkeeper Amine Lecomte. Romania s Simona Halep hits a return during her third round match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia yesterday. 6-3, hit 29 winners and needed four match points before overcoming her Latvian opponent, who is ranked 15th in the world. Coming into the match, Halep admitted she had lingering concerns about an ankle injury which had kept her out of action since her defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final last month. But she seemed relatively untroubled breaking her opponent s serve late QATAR TOTAL OPEN 2018: YESTERDAY S RESULTS THIRD ROUND Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x1) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 7-5, 6-1 Petra Kvitova (CZE x16) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x3) 6-4, 7-5 Julia Goerges (GER x9) bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) 6-2, 6-2 Caroline Garcia (FRA x7) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 Garbine Muguruza (ESP x4) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-0, 6-4 Catherine Bellis (USA) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x5) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 Simona Halep (ROM x2) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x13) 6-4, 6-3 in each set to advance to the last eight. She added that her ankle was painful but had not got worse during the match. Day-by-day I will see how it is and then I will decide if something is getting worse. By reaching the quarter-finals, Halep has the chance of reclaiming the world s top ranking from Wozniacki if she goes one round further than the Dane. But the Romanian said she was not concerned about rankings. Halep will play 18-year-old Bellis in the last eight. QSL: Al Duhail crush Umm Salal in goal fest Al Duhail players celebrate after winning their QNB Stars League (QSL) match against Umm Salal yesterday.

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