Monday, 15 October 2012

Dana Gas expects early payment of dues by Kurdistan after deal

REUTERS

BAGHDAD

DANA Gas and Crescent Petroleum expect that the recent multi-million-dollar oil payment by Baghdad to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has improved the prospect of recouping overdue payments from Iraq, the companies said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emiratesbased companies have faced difficulties getting paid for all of the liquid fuel they have produced in Kurdistan, while their gas has helped maintain secure supplies of electricity for millions of people in a country where fuel shortages are commonplace.

But Baghdad’s pledge last month to pay foreign companies working in Kurdistan in return for the KRG guaranteeing oil exports, and a first installment of around $559 million being received by the KRG in early October, could see debts settled soon.

“We are working with the KRG to improve and resolve the outstanding receivables, and are very encouraged by the recent announcement on the resumption of payments from the Federal Government,” Rashid al Jarwan, acting CEO of Dana Gas, said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi stock market.

Dana Gas said in its 2011 results that trade receivables at the end of the year stood at 1.74 billion dirhams, of which about 48 percent was owed by Egypt and 52 percent by Kurdistan.

Dana Gas, which was also owed 729 million dirhams ($198.5 million) for unpaid fuel bills by Egypt as at June 30, 2012, is 20 percent owned by Crescent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Despite payment issues, the companies have continued to increase supplies in Kurdistan, with total fuel production rising from 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in early August to 80,000 in mid October, the companies said on Sunday.

Four years since production started, natural gas production has reached 340 million cubic feet a day (mcfd), up from 330 mcfd in early August, while gas condensate production stands at 15,000 barrels per day.

“We are working with the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources on the next phase of development and expansion, to grow our operations,” Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas board member, said in statement to the UAE stock exchange.

Since the start of production in October 2008, some 279 billion cubic feet of gas and 13 million barrels of condensate have been produced by the operators of the Khor Mor field in Kurdistan, they said.

Batelco to follow Qtel’s expansion plan for growth

REUTERS

DUBAI

BAHRAIN Telecommunications Company (Batelco) wants to increase its holdings in affiliate firms, its chief executive said, as the former monopoly seeks to maximize its control and the returns from the operations.

This would follow similar moves by other Gulf state-controlled operators, which have sought to either take majority control of foreign units or reduce their holdings.

Larger rival Qatar Telecom (Qtel) this year agreed to pay about $3.3 billion upping its stakes in Kuwait’s Wataniya and Iraq’s Asiacell, while Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates sold a 9.1 percent stake in Indonesia’s PTXL Axiata in September.

“If opportunities such as what Qtel has done with Wataniya come along with any of our portfolio holdings, of course we will look at it favourably,” Sheikh Mohamed Isa al Khalifa, Batelco group chief executive, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

“It’s always important for us to be able to consolidate a business and not to hold a minority stake.” Batelco owns Jordanian operator Umniah, 27 percent of Yemeni mobile firm Sabafon and minority stakes in internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and it is also active in Egypt.

It is in talks with Cable & Wireless Communications to buy its assets in Monaco and a host of island nations, a deal potentially worth around $1 billion.

“What we want is to go into a brownfield business, not a greenfield as we did before,” said Sheikh Mohamed.

Batelco in February agreed to sell its 43 percent stake in Indian affiliate S Tel to its local partner for $175 million after the operator was stripped of its licences in a corruption probe. The deal was due to be completed in the fourth quarter.

“Our agreement is for the money to be received by October 31, so we’ve still got a few days to go and we’re looking forward to receiving our money,” Sheikh Mohamed said, adding Batelco was keen on re-entering India.

“The problem with India is that there’s no clarity right now on how the market is going to develop - we would like to be there, but at the right price,” he said.

Doha Bank appoints JP Morgan for capital hike plan

ZAWYA DOW JONES

DOHA

DOHA Bank, which could look to raise up to QR4billion ($1.09 billion) in fresh capital early next year to boost its lending firepower, has appointed JP Morgan as sole adviser on the deal, a person familiar with the matter said.

JP Morgan is the sole coordinator and bookrunner on the capital raising, this person, who declined to be identified, told Zawya Dow Jones.

Doha Bank, Qatar’s fifth largest lender by market value, is planning a 50 percent capital hike in the first quarter of 2013 pending approval from regulators and shareholders, the bank said last month.

Doha Bank wasn’t immediately available for comment. Banks are expected to fuel a lending spree to finance a wave of governmentfunded infrastructure building in the run-up to the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar.

Doha Bank could look at a rights issue to raise funds or it could to list Global Depository Receipts, or GDRs overseas.

Rival Qatari lender Commercial Bank of Qatar raised around $900 million via a rights issue and GDR listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2008.

Shares in Doha Bank were trading 0.6 percent higher on Monday at QR54.50 in a slightly positive overall market.

Doha Bank’s net profit in the first quarter of 2012 rose by 7 percent to $107 million compared to $100 million in first quarter of 2011. Total deposits during the first quarter of 2012 rose by 11.8 percent at $8,613 million compared to $7,704 million in the same quarter of 2011.

Total advances rose by 13.1 percent to $8,113 million compared to $7171 million in the same period last year.

The capital increase will help the bank participate in the country’s ‘major infrastructure’ projects and expand overseas. The increase will also help the bank meet capital requirements under the new Basel III rules.

The fundraising will boost Doha Bank’s core tier-1 equity to 19.2 percent at the end of 2013 if it raises money at the current market price from 9.6 percent now, he said. Tier-1 equity will rise to 16.8 percent with a discounted sale.

Rising Asian demand may overhaul gas market

ZAWYA DOW JONES

DUBAI

ASIA’S natural gas market is heading for an overhaul that threatens to upset long-held pricing systems and potentially lower prices in the region, amid rising demand and a wider range of supply options.

For decades, gas was mostly bought and sold in Asia through contracts of 20-25 years with fixed prices, but increasing competition among suppliers and rising demand have led to more gas being traded in shortterm contracts at flexible prices.

The volume of gas sold in Asia in 2011 under short or mediumterm contracts rose 110 percent to 37.3 million tonnes, out of 61.2 million tonnes sold worldwide under such deals, the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers said in its last report.

Key natural gas players such as top liquefied natural gas exporter Qatargas, BG Group, France’s GDF Suez and Japanese trading major Mitsui are offering more short-term contracts in a bid to retain market share.

Greater demand from major developing nations such as China and India and smaller ones that are building LNG import terminals, apart from traditional buyers like Japan, will be met by Australia and Russia, new entrants such as Canada and the US, and several East African nations.

Russian major Gazprom is also looking to ship gas to Asia to boost profits as it faces falling margins for its expensive gas in Europe, where demand is weak and coal is cheaper.

Buyers are seeking more flexibility in LNG offtake to manage demand fluctuations and market uncertainties, a Mitsui spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires on Monday.

The rise in spot and shortterm LNG sales “will give more options to both sellers and buyers and will create greater liquidity in the market,” he added.

Rising spot liquidity is perhaps the single biggest threat to oil-indexed LNG sales as buyers no longer pay a premium for the security of supply, Macquarie analysts said in a recent note.

LNG prices in Asia are indexed to crude-oil prices and averaged $16-$17 per million metric British thermal units in Japan in the last two quarters, compared with North America’s average spot prices of $2- $3/mmbtu. Analysts estimate that US gas can be sold to Asia for around $10/mmbtu after factoring in transport costs.

Already, the gap between long-term and spot prices is narrowing.

Earlier this year, Korea Gas (Kogas), the world’s largest LNG importer, agreed to buy gas from Cheniere Energy’s proposed Sabine Pass project with prices based on US Henry Hub gas prices plus a fixed component.

More such deals will further undermine oil-linked pricing.

However, suppliers like Qatar have warned that short-term contracts may discourage investment in gas projects and damage long-term energy security.

“We do see change in the market driven by the emergence of some US exports—but this will be part of a long, slow evolution rather than a ‘revolution’,” Andrew Walker, BG’s Vice President of Global LNG, said on Monday.

But even a slight change in prices will matter to importers like Japan, which spent 5.4 trillion yen on LNG imports in the fiscal ended March 31—up 52 percent—after shutting its nuclear plants following an earthquake and tsunami last year. The country imports all its LNG needs.

With an expanding market, the number of intermediaries selling gas from portfolios versus projects is also rising, and market players like brokers, shipping agents, traders and pricing agencies are converging on Asia.

EMC in talks to train varsity faculties in IT skills

JOSEPH VARGHESE

DOHA EMC CORPORATION, one of the global leaders in IT and business transformation, is in the final stage of talks with various universities in Qatar to provide training for the faculty members in managing the latest IT skills such as ‘Big Data’ and other technologies, said Bill Teuber, vice-chairman, EMC Corporation. The EMC official also revealed that the company registered 172 percent growth in the year 2010- 2011 in Qatar and holds 43 percent of the market share in the country.

As regards the EMC educational programme, Tueber said, “We have a programme called ‘Train the Trainers’ under which we provide training to the faculty members of universities. We are in the final round of talks with some of the leading universities in Qatar and it might be finalised soon.”

He went on to add that under the programme, EMC will design a curriculum and will provide training on latest developments in the field of IT services such as Big Data and other related technologies. “This will enable the faculty to come into terms with the fast developing technologies and would help them transfer the technology to the students,” he added.

Teuber, who is also the executive sponsor for the emerging markets for EMC, said that Qatar is an exciting market with tremendous opportunities. “According to the latest IDC survey about Qatari market, EMC holds 43 percent of the market share and is the number one IT services company in Qatar. Our market share is going up with many of the top organisations as well as small and medium enterprises availing our services,” he said, adding, “EMC will open its corporate office in Qatar early next year.”

As for the Qatari market, Teuber said that EMC was concentrating on major sectors in Qatar. He elaborated, “Public sector is one of the priorities for us. We are in touch with various ministries as the government is investing heavily in IT. We are also focusing on universities and telecom companies which need various IT services.”

HMC’s newborn screening scheme helping to save lives of infants

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA EXPERTS from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) highlighted the success and importance of Qatar’s newborn screening programme at a recent workshop for neonatologists and neonatal nurses.

Medical Director of HMC’s Women’s Hospital, Dr Hilal al Rifai, said, “We started the newborn screening programme in December 2003 and we are continuously building on this programme.” “The unique thing about the programme is that it is universal and offers screening for all babies born in the country regardless of nationality.

The service is also provided free of charge, which is a very generous gesture from Qatar,” he added.

“We are now screening for 32 diseases, including sickle cell anemia, a blood disease which can be fatal to babies. We added an innovative, stateof- the-art test for homocystinuria in 2005, which made it possible to diagnose 28 babies with homocystinuria – an inherited disease that occurs due to marriages among blood relations, common in this part of the world.”

The Supreme Council of Health has made it mandatory for couples, where consanguineous marriage is one of the highest incidences in the country, to undergo premarital screening and counselling.

“Through newborn screening, we have also identified diseases that we did not think even existed. We were able to save about 15 babies diagnosed with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase or MCAD deficiency, a condition that prevents the body from converting certain fats in food to energy,” Dr al Rifai said.

“The early identification of disorders has allowed quick intervention and treatment. Consequently, we have seen a treatment success rate among sick babies of over 98 percent. Less than two percent did not have good outcomes due to other major birth defects.”

Tests under the newborn screening programme were initially done at the University Children’s Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany but have been performed in Doha since October 2009. Efforts are underway to transfer the rest of the technology from Heidelberg to Doha by 2013. A test for immunodeficiency will be added by early 2013.

“The program has developed so much that we are now almost self-sufficient, with Heidelberg only there to provide a back-up to verify results for some metabolic disorders. Besides providing for the treatment, we have appointed counsellors to work with parents following diagnosis of a disorder in their child,” said Dr al Rifai.

“We have also established the Qatar Genetics Center for research into the genes that influence inborn errors of metabolism. We are very active in this area of research and have had our findings published in international journals.” Dr Ghassan Abdoh, Head of the Newborn Screening Unit at HMC said, “By the end of August 2012, we had screened 133,331 babies and detected metabolic and endocrine disorders in 182 of them. Seventytwo babies had endocrine diseases and 110 had metabolic disorders. Of those 110, 28 babies were confirmed as having homocystinuria.”

In his lecture, Dr Abdoh traced the history of newborn screening from the creation of the phenylketonuria newborn screening test by American microbiologist Dr Robert Guthrie, a chief advocate for the establishment of newborn screening programmes in the US and many other countries. “The aim of newborn screening is to detect and diagnose a baby with a serious disease before it becomes symptomatic and starts to damage the baby.”

Part of C Ring Road to be closed from Oct 20

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA PUBLIC Works Authority (Ashghal) will close a part of C Ring Road between Al Mansoura Intersection (Gulf Cinema Signal) and Najma Intersection (Toyota Signal) from October 20.

The closure, which will be in effect until December 30, is part of the work to improve on the irrigation water network between Doha and Rayyan.

QPM staff take part in blood donation drive

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA ABOUT 400 employees of QPM, the first Qatari firm in project management field, took part in a blood donation drive recently.

All QPM associates were invited to participate in the exercise conducted by Hamad Medical Corporation’s blood donation unit.

Waseef, a Qatari property and asset management firm with offices at QPM Tower, also participated in the event.

QPM’s Chief Executive Officer Fahad Rashid Mohamed Ajlan al Kaabi was the first to donate blood on the day.

The drive aimed to help those in need of blood transfusion in the country.

This initiative was part of QPM’s ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaign that aims to give something back to the society Commenting on the campaign, Kaabi said, “QPM appreciates the dynamic nature of the Qatari market and how it has been instrumental in providing the right environment for the successes this company has enjoyed.

It is imperative, then, that we give back to the society and one of the ways in which we do this is through our ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

“The blood donation day was just one of this company’s numerous CSR activities. Making a contribution to Qatari society is central to what we are trying to achieve at QPM. This company seeks domestic and international success but we want to be admired not only for our business skills, but also the way in which we do business.

He added: “There was a very pleasing turn out at the event. We are also happy to see a number of associates from Waseef make donations as well. Together, we can make a positive difference.”

QDA youth camp a huge success

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA QATAR Diabetes Association’s (QDA) recently held a week-long camp for youth with type 1 diabetes and was attended by 24 patients aged 12 to 15.

The closing ceremony was attended by QDA Executive Director Dr Abdullah al Hamaq, Oxy Qatar President Steve Kelly and members of the association’s scientific committee.

Speaking on the occasion, Hamaq thanked all the participants and partners for their contribution to making the camp a success.

“We appreciate the kind support of Oxy Qatar, which helped us a lot in realising the aim of this camp. The camp’s aim was to educate young patients with type 1 diabetes and help them live a normal life,” he said.

Hamaq also appreciated the contributions of other organisations such as Likhwya forces, recreation centre of al Awsaj Centre, Qatar Foundation’s Student Centre and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Mohammed al Saadi, the camp manager and diabetes ambassador in Qatar, highlighted the achievement made in the camp He thanked the participants, the staff and the volunteers.

He also distributed certificates to the participants, volunteers, delegations from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Students, parents learn about campus life at HBKU Family Day event

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA HAMAD Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) provided a platform for parents and family members to learn about the environment in which the students study and live during its annual Family Day event recently.

The universities participating in the programme were Virginia Commonwealth University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University and Northwestern University. Qatar Foundation’s Academic Bridge Program was also represented on the occasion.

The event, now in its 4th year, also provided an opportunity for parents to interact with university faculty and staff.

The families attended a fair to learn more about various opportunities for student involvement throughout their academic careers. The fair also focused on academics and how to balance university studies with other activities.

In his welcome address, Vice President of Student Affairs at Hamad Bin Khalifa University Dr Khalid Mohammed al Khanji said the Family Day was aimed at facilitating the communication between the university, its partner universities and parents. He assured the parents that the students were getting the best university experience through a combination of learning inside and outside the classroom.

Parents and current students shared their experience with the participating families.

Dr Marwan al Musleh, a parent with two daughters currently studying at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, said: “It is important to look at the final outcome of studying at a university.

Students at Hamad Bin Khalifa University benefit from better opportunities on a local and international level.

All of this is directly in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, specifically in the areas of human and social developments.” A third year Northwestern University student and Hamad Bin Khalifa University ambassador Yara Darwish gave a student perspective on university life.

“The benefits of studying at a university in Qatar include an opportunity to study at home and still get a worldclass education. Hamad Bin Khalifa University as a multicampus university has really widened my university experience and I strongly encourage other students to get involved in clubs, societies and other activities as this is what makes a well-rounded student,” she said.

Ahmed al Meer, a first year student at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, said: “The university experience moves quickly and so it’s important to take advantage of all of the opportunities that come your way. The biggest gift that can be given to all students is invaluable academic support and a full range of student activities.

While in the university, students have the chance to start their own club and be involved in their own initiatives.” As part of the event, students and their families were invited to attend sessions introducing various academic programmes offered by the branch campuses. The campus sessions gave parents a glimpse into what university life is all about as well as a better understanding on the nature of each of the universities disciplines.

Hamad Bin Khalifa University will provide an unparalleled opportunity for scholarship, teaching, discovery and learning for all students.

3 Palestinian militants killed in Gaza

DPA GAZA CITY THREE Palestinian militants were killed and at least three people were injured on Sunday in two Israeli airstrikes on a scooter and on a motorcycle in the Gaza Strip, officials said.

On Saturday, two other militants were killed in a previous Israeli targeting of a motorcycle, that time in northern Gaza. The five militants killed in the three airstrikes over the weekend were all members of a Gaza Global Jihad Salafi faction, the Shura Council of the Mujahideen, Gaza residents said.

Two were killed - one instantly, the other an hour later in hospital - when their scooter was targeted near Deir al- Ballah in central Gaza Sunday afternoon, and the third when his motorcycle was targeted earlier Sunday at dawn outside Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

On Saturday, an Israeli aircraft fired at another motorcycle travelling in the town of Jabalya, north of Gaza City.

Two people were fatally injured. A 5-year-old child who was in the street was also injured in the strike, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qedra said.

One of Saturday’s fatalities, Hisham al-Su’aidani, was a senior leader and founder of the Shura Council of the Mujahideen.

The Israeli military said he had been planning a “complex attack” to be carried out along the Israel-Egypt border, a collaboration between Gaza and Sinai-based militants.

The Israeli military said that the targets of Sunday’s airstrikes, all near the border with Israel, were to avenge al- Su’aidani’s death.

16 killed, Aleppo’s historic mosque damaged in fighting

AFP ALEPPO AT least 16 soldiers were killed in clashes, between Syrian troops and rebel fighters inside and outside the Umayyad Mosque in second city Aleppo, which have damaged the 13th century landmark, an AFP correspondent reported on Monday.

Fire has destroyed some of the antique carpets and wooden furnishings that used to adorn the place of worship and charred one of its intricately sculpted colonnades.

A day after troops recaptured the complex in heavy fighting with rebel fighters, spent cartridges and broken glass still littered the ground.

Three hairs and part of a tooth that are said to have belonged to the Prophet Mohammed and that were among the mosque’s most renowned relics were stolen from inside.

President Bashar al Assad ordered the formation of a panel to oversee restoration work at the mosque, the state SANA news agency reported.

The site has been a place of Muslim worship since the 8th century but the original building was razed by the Mongols in the 13th century, from when the current structure dates.

An adjacent library housed a collection of rare religious books. The extent of any damage to the collection was not immediately clear.

Fighting has raged in Syria’s commercial capital since mid-July, including in its UNESCO-listed Old City which embraces the ancient citadel and historic covered market, or souk, as well as the mosque.

Clashes between troops and rebels in the souk late last month sparked a fire which damaged parts of the market.

Inside Syria, at least 16 soldiers were killed in fighting around two checkpoints near the commercial capital of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Near one checkpoint, troops killed the driver of a vehicle which was carrying three tonnes of explosives that he intended to detonate, a security source said.

Aleppo has been the theatre of intense conflict for the past three months, including in the city’s UNESCO-listed historic heart, with damage to both the ancient covered market, or souk, and the landmark 13th Century Umayyad Mosque.

Assad ordered the formation of a panel to oversee the mosque’s restoration, the state SANA news agency said.

A day after troops recaptured the complex in heavy fighting with rebels, spent cartridges and broken glass still littered the ground, an AFP correspondent reported.

Fire had destroyed some of the antique carpets and wooden furnishings that used to adorn the place of worship and charred one of its intricately sculpted colonnades.

In the town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border, shelling by the army of rebel positions killed three children aged six, seven and 12. They were among at least 48 people killed nationwide, the Syrian Observatory said.

Nobel prize surprises economist

REUTERS

STOCKHOLM US ECONOMIST Alvin Roth, winner of the 2012 Nobel prize for economics on Monday with colleague Lloyd Shapley, was “surprised” and “delighted” when he got the midnight call at his California home telling him he had won.

“I am having my first sip of coffee right now,” said Roth, speaking to Reuters from his home before dawn.

“I have mostly been celebrating by speaking on the telephone for the last hour. I am hoping that life will get back to normal pretty soon.” Roth, a professor at Stanford University, and Shapley, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, won the award for research on how to match different economic agents, such as students for schools or organ donors with patients.

“We were called in the middle of the night. We’re in California, it’s still pitch-dark here and we got a telephone call,” said Roth. “I’m delighted to have been selected.” “It was very unexpected, not unimaginable,” he added. “So yes, I am very surprised.” Shapley, a retired professor emiritus, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Roth said he expects to travel to Sweden with his wife to pick up the prize. He says it is still too early to say what he will do with the prize money. He will be taking his morning classes as usual at Stanford after holding a press conference.

“Scientific work is a team effort,” he said. “Lots and lots of people are represented by this prize and I imagine I’ll be talking to some of them and it’s a good thing for many young people who work in the area of market design, which is the area my colleagues and I are trying to develop.” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which made the award, said the 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize recognised “the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.” The award citation said Shapley had used game theory to study and compare various matching methods and how to make sure the matches were acceptable to all counterparts, including the creation of a special algorithm.

Want to get a Kerala Pravasi Card? Go to the ICBF

SANTHOSH CHANDRAN

DOHA EXPATRIATES from the Indian state of Kerala living in Qatar can now get their non-resident Keralite identity cards (Pravasi Card) from the Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF), an institution that functions under the aegis of Indian embassy.

The ICBF “will provide all support and guidance in this direction”, an Indian embassy source said.

The application forms will be available at ICBF cells in Qatar shortly. The cells will also collect the furnished application forms along with the required documents and self-attested copies of the relevant pages of passport and visa. The registration fee and other details will be announced by ICBF in Doha shortly, the source added.

The Card, which can be used as personal ID proof back in Kerala, is issued by the Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department (NoRKA) of the state government and is valid for three years. Adult (over 18) expatriates from Kerala who have been abroad for at least six months are eligible.

Each card carries a unique master policy number and provides the holder insurance cover to the extent of Rs200,000 against death, permanent, total and partial disability caused by accident.

So far, 200,000 Keralites in the Gulf region have received the card since its launch in August 2008.

The tie-up with ICBF is part of an initiative to expedite the process of issuing the cards. As a first step under the initiative, NoRKA set up dedicated identity card cells in Thiruvananthapuran, Kochi and Kozhikode districts of the state.

Now it has tied up with Indian social organisations in the GCC countries for distributing the cards.

Non-resident Keralites whose Pravasi Cards have expired can also renew their cards through the ICBF.

Egypt’s EFG Hermes gets go-ahead for Qatar deal

REUTERS

CAIRO EGYPT’S regulator has no objections to EFG Hermes’ plan to create a jointly-owned investment bank with QInvest of Qatar, the bank said on Monday.

EFG Hermes and QInvest agreed in May to hive off EFG Hermes’s investment banking business into a joint venture in which state-backed QInvest would hold a 60 percent stake.

EFG Hermes shareholders in September reaffirmed their approval of the tie-up after demands by the regulator for more details were met. EFSA had had rejected decisions approved by shareholders in June because the firm had not clarified points including minority rights.

“The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority certified, with no reservations ... (EFG Hermes’) Extraordinary General Meeting minutes that was held on Sunday September 16, 2012 to approve the company’s strategic alliance with QInvest,” EFG Hermes said in a statement.

The statement was sent to the Egyptian and London stock exchanges.

An spokeswoman for the Egyptian bank said no further approvals were needed from the Egyptian authorities.

The tie up between EFGHermes and Qinvest was thrown into doubt earlier this year when a group of MENA investors, which included Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, operating under the consortium Planet IB, submitted a counter bid for 100 percent of EFG, offering Egyptian pound 13.5 per share. Planet IB’s CEO Ahmed El Houssieny had said in a statement that “the proposed acquisition keeps a flagship Egyptian multinational intact and prevents its breakup.” A previous report indicated Dubai Holding was part of the consortium Planet IB. However, a statement by Dubai Holding confirmed it had no involvement with the Planet IB consortium.

The company said in a statement: “Dubai Holding denies any association with the consortium Planet IB. Dubai Holding is not in any way part of this Group, nor has made any bids for EFGHermes.”

Investments in France not politically motivated: PM

AFP & REUTERS

DOHA PRIME Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani said on Monday that Qatar had no political motivations behind its business investments in France.

Qatar is not a country with great political ambitions ... and it wants no political role from its investments in France,” he said at a press conference in Doha. “We don’t do anything without coordinating with the French side,” he remarked.

France has proved attractive to Qatari investors who have bought Paris Saint-Germain football club and acquired three percent of energy giant Total as well as stakes in building firm Vinci and in media group Lagardere.

Qatar had postponed launching a fund for entrepreneurs from France’s deprived suburbs until after the presidential election last May to prevent it becoming a political football. The project remains frozen. Losing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen attacked Qatar for investing in what she said were mainly Muslim areas of French cities and said unnamed foreign countries wanted to develop Islamic fundamentalism in France.

Meanwhile, Qatar is studying a proposal to invest in the commodities trading arm of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, he said. “We are studying the proposal,” he said. “We probably need a few more weeks to review the details, but we are looking at it seriously,” the prime minister remarked.

On the Xstrata-Glencore merger, he said Qatar, the second- largest investor in miner Xstrata, “looks favourably” on the company’s proposed $32 billion takeover by commodities trader Glencore.

When asked if Qatar would support the tie-up, the prime minister said: “We are looking in favour of a merger between the two companies.” But he stopped short of signalling whether Qatar - a kingmaker in one of the mining industry’s biggest ever deals - would vote in support of a final offer from Glencore, made last month. Shareholders, who could get a date for a fresh meeting this week, are expected to vote early next month.

“It is under a lot of consideration and focus,” he said.

The prime minister did not comment specifically on whether Qatar was satisfied with all aspects of the revised offer, not least the management change that would bring in Glencore’s chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, at the helm of the combined group. Sheikh Hamad said last month that Qatar had “no problem” with the new price, but was studying other aspects of the deal.

Gas-rich Qatar has built up a stake of more than 12 percent in Xstrata since Glencore announced its long-expected takeover offer in February. It is now the largest investor in the world’s fourth-largest diversified miner after Glencore.

“(Qatar’s) decision on the voting pattern has not yet been made,” a source familiar with the deal said, after the prime minister’s comments were published.

I don’t care about being typecast: Esha Gupta

IANS MO D E L - T U R N E D - ACTRESS Esha Gupta has showcased her bold and daring side in Jannat 2 and Raaz 3, but she says she doesn’t care about being typecast in the Hindi film industry.

Her next film Chakravyuh, which delves into the Naxalite movement, might feature her in a deglam role, but she says the subject itself is bold.

“I don’t care about being typecast. It’s the requirement of the movie. Everyone is saying this (Chakravyuh) is a bold film as the topic is bold. For me, the story and the script is bold, not the scenes,” Esha said.

There is a cosy scene between Esha and Arjun Rampal in Chakravyuh.

“Prakash Jha told me this scene comes when Arjun is completely broken in the movie. There is no lovemaking or kissing as such. (I think when) We are following everything like the west, why make a big deal? We wanted to show the nature of a husband and wife,” Esha said in justification of the scene.

The dusky beauty, who loves to glam up, didn’t even mind putting on a less glamourous look for the movie.

“I love dressing up! Coming from New Delhi, I always dressed up and went out. So I can’t change myself (personally), but for a character I can always do so I am okay with that,” she said.

“Prakash said I want you to look earthy in the film because she (the character) is today’s woman, well-spoken.

He said ‘I don’t want you to look shabby’, but of course there were no open hairs, no sexy clothes, very less make-up and I was okay with that as it was a character’s requirement,” added Esha.

She even admits how she craved to be a part of Jha’s film.

“When I got this opportunity, I jumped on it. That time I was shooting for Raaz 3 and I called Mahesh (Bhatt) sir. He said, ‘We will give you the dates even if it’s a two-minute role. Do the film because Prakash is a brilliant filmmaker’,” said Esha.

Chakravyuh also features Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee, Kabir Bedi and Anjali Patil. The film is slated to release on October 24.

Indian Bond girl? Why not, says Broccoli

IANS THE cast and crew of latest James Bond film Skyfall felt it was “too ambitious” to shoot certain action sequences for the movie in India, but producer Barbara Broccoli says they haven’t ruled out coming to the country for a new 007 installment, and won’t even mind roping in an Indian Bond girl in future.

“We certainly are on a lookout for talented beautiful women. If we make a film in India, we will have an Indian actress,” Broccoli said during a web conference from New York with reporters.

Directed by Sam Mendes, the latest super spy thriller Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, is set to release in India on November 1
The movie features British actress Naomie Harris as the Bond girl, who is usually marked for her glamourous and sophisticated demeanour.

The choice of Bond girl for every 007 movie depends purely on the character, says Broccoli.

“Normally when we are casting for a Bond woman, our casting director looks for Bond women all around the world, and then we go through several rounds (of auditions) for that. And then finally when we reach the finalists, we bring them into Britain to meet Daniel (Daniel Craig).

“Lots of people are considered, it comes down to what the character requires and in this film (Skyfall), we needed a British female agent working alongside Bond,” she added.

A key action sequence of Skyfall was due to be shot in India.

The producers wanted to shoot high-speed stunts on the Indian Railways, and had requested for clearances to shoot on the rooftop of a moving train, as well as inside a tunnel. However, they faced a few stumbling blocks in getting permission due to safety and security issues, and decided to shoot elsewhere.

Broccoli says the complexity of the scenes would have made it very difficult to shoot in India.

“Typically, we do visit various countries when we are looking to find locations. So we did come to India to look (for locations).

Because of the complexities with the title sequence... we did have a big chase with the cars and the motorcycle and trains.

“We looked at India as a possibility, but given the traffic, the complexities of having to shoot such a big scene, we would have had to shove off many roads and cause a lot of disruption. we felt it would be too ambitious to do the scene in India,” she said. This wouldn’t have been the first instance of an India connect in a Bond film.

Parts of the 1983 Bond film Octopussy, which featured Indian actors Kabir Bedi and Vijay Amritraj, were shot in Udaipur.

Broccoli says they would love to come back to the country for another project.

“We had a wonderful time shooting Octopussy in India. We had fun and it looked absolutely beautiful on screen. We know we have a lot of fans in India so we would love to have the opportunity to come back to India as soon as possible,” she said.

Grammys geven Whitney Houston een glinsterende salute

KAKA SINHA

-ROY REUTERS WHITNEY Houston was a final sendoff given by the Grammys on Thursday as Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and other stars shared their memories and performed in tribute to the late singer.

Academy award winner Berry made a tearful introduction on the We will always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston special, and praised the "unforgettable" performer.

"They inspired a generation of little girls and women in their own dream to believe and to know that they had within itself the greatest gift of all. I was one of those little girls, which was then a woman who never, ever, loving Whitney Houston stopped, "Berry said.

The event was attended by Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who was joined by boyfriend Nick Gordon and sister-in-law Pat Houston.

Striking was absent Houston's mother, Cissy, and her brother Gary. Record company executive Clive Davis, who discovered the recent singer, sat next to the family in the front row.

The tribute comes at the end of a year when the music world was rocked by Houston's sudden death at age 48 in February. She was found dead in a bathtub Beverly Hills hotel on the night before the Grammy awards, from what the authorities said was accidental drowning caused by cocaine use and heart disease.

A tribute to Houston was quick to put together during the Grammy awards in February with Jennifer Hudson a heart-felt rendition of I Will always Love You singing on a stage lit by a single spot. Later in may, sang R & B star Jordin Sparks, who co-starred with Houston in the recent singer final movie Sparkle, the same song in the Billboard Music Awards in tribute.

There was no mention of Houston's turbulent personal life and the history of drug abuse on Thursday if the Grammy organizers decided to focus on the recent singer career achievements and best-known performances, including her rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner on the Super bowl 1991.

Hudson on Thursday channeled Houston's style from the 1980s with big hair and a glittering blazer, performing more uptempo songs with a medley of I'm Every Woman, how will I know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

R & B star Usher sang I believe In you and me and Gospel singers Cece Winans and Yolanda Adams delivered a rousing performance of Count On Me, which had Houston's family in tears.

Canadian singer Celine Dion was on the Bill to perform on the night but was unable to make, her rendition of the greatest love of all in Canada in the air during the televised special taping.

The event organizers decided to let Houston's best-known song, "I Will always Love You, display the recent singer, with a tape of her singing at the 1994 Grammy awards.

Presenters shared their memories during the event. Pop Star and X Factor judge that Spears said her version of Houston's I have nothing scored her a deal with a record label and began her career.

The audience were also treated to exclusive interviews from the early days of Houston's career, talk to her about fame, philosophy and religion.

Holy Motors in Carax’s world of bizzare love

DENNIS LIM NYT SYNDICATE THERE is a scene in Holy Motors, the new film by Leos Carax, in which two long-lost characters are reunited. One of them tells the other, “We have 20 minutes to catch up on 20 years.” This is a filmmaker who knows from lost time. “I’ve done 10, maybe 12, hours of film in 30 years,” Carax said one recent afternoon, in an interview at a tea shop in his Belleville neighbourhood. He did not sugarcoat his conclusion: “I’m not a cineaste. I’ve made so few films. Sometimes it feels each one is the last one or the first one.” Carax’s remark sums up his curious supernova trajectory: three features in his 20s, and only two since.

(He is now 51.) But it also describes the delirious energy and daredevil bravado of his movies, which could be said to capture the intensity of first sensations or the urgency of last gasps. He burst onto a moribund post-New Wave scene in the ‘80s, inspiring comparisons to Rimbaud with the flamboyant expressions of Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Mauvais Sang (1986).

The wildly romantic, hugely overbudget Lovers on the Bridge (1991) stalled his career for nearly a decade. Pola X (1999), an ambitious, eccentric Herman Melville adaptation, failed to revive it. There was an even longer gap before Holy Motors, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and opens in New York on Wednesday.

Carax has often kept the press at arm’s length. (He did not grant interviews at Cannes this year.) But seated at a sidewalk table here, sipping mint tea and chain-smoking Camels, his dog curled up at his feet, this maker of unapologetically personal films spoke about his life and work – and their interrelation – with matter-of-fact candour. “I’m not only my films,” he said at one point, “but I’m pretty much my films.” Holy Motors follows a professional shape-shifter, Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), as he is chauffeured around Paris in a stretch limousine on a series of mysterious appointments. Each one calls for him to play a preassigned role: a hunched bag lady, a rabid leprechaun, an assassin (and his doppelganger victim), an old man on his deathbed. In a movie that suggests by turns commedia dell’arte, performance art and a video game, every costume change occasions a dalliance with a new genre: film noir, monster movie, domestic drama, musical.

Holy Motors plays at times like a love letter (or an elegy) to the cinema, with nods to Georges Franju and King Vidor and echoes of Carax’s earlier work. But for Carax spotting references is beside the point. “The film speaks the language of cinema, but it’s not a film about cinema,” he said. “I created a world – not our world exactly but not that far, either – and I tried to show the experience of being alive in this world.” In an interview at Cannes Lavant, who has starred in four of Carax’s five features, described Holy Motors as the apotheosis of their long collaboration. “It’s the work of a mature man,” he said.

“Leos’ way of looking at things in this film makes me think of Pier Paolo Pasolini, another great filmmaker who once said that he was like a bird in flight, which sees everything but doesn’t forgive everything.” The singer Kylie Minogue, who has a small but crucial role, said she sees it as a film about the slipperiness of identity. “It brings up questions about the potential of a human being and what particular cosmic frisson makes us the person we are,” she said.

Carax recalled that the starting points were powerful but vague. He was fascinated by the wedding limousines creeping through his neighbourhood on weekends: “They say, ‘Look at me but don’t see me.”’ He was also struck by the stooped beggars camped out near the Seine, in plain view of passersby yet routinely ignored. “I thought about how you approach someone from another world,” he said.

“That’s when I had the idea of a character who would go from life to life, experience all the states of life.” What began as an exercise in imaginative empathy evolved into an open-ended riff on metaphysical themes: the lines between acting and being, the loss of experience in a virtual age. “The virtual world is something they’re trying to sell us,” Carax said. “It’s not the same as the invisible world, which is what lives inside us.” He came to Holy Motors after a long period of trying to work outside France. He tried to make Scars, a retelling of the Faust legend set in Russia and the United States; wrote an adaptation of Henry James’ Beast in the Jungle; and toyed with the idea of a documentary about the female voice (“I would travel all over the world and record lullabies”). But nothing came to pass.

When he finally got Holy Motors off the ground he surrounded himself with a mostly young crew, which created the potential of “discovering cinema together again” and helped keep energy levels high for a quick, challenging shoot.

There were last-minute casting switches: Minogue filled the part written for Juliette Binoche, a former muse and girlfriend, after Carax and Binoche had a falling out. Permission to shoot in the Samaritaine, a grand former department store, was denied by the new owners and only granted after some string-pulling from Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, an old flame.

Carax has always been prone to morbid romanticism, but Holy Motors, the first movie of his middle age, is even more palpably death-haunted than usual. The most obvious demise in question is that of celluloid: this is Carax’s first digital feature. “Video is freeing but also lazier,” he said. “You have to recreate the love of the moment.” The industrywide shift to digital “reminds me of the way the pharmaceutical companies invent medicine.” He added, “It makes me feel, what is this supposed to cure?” But Holy Motors, which attests to the persistence of cinema in the absence of film, is not entirely gloomy. While it was partly born of what Carax called “the fatigue of being oneself,” its very premise, with the perpetual promise of rebirth, counters that weariness. “All my films originated from this fear of life, fear of loss, and also a childish hope of being born again,” he said.

Before Holy Motors the plots of Carax’s features could all be described by the title of his debut: boy meets girl. Not just any boy – most of them starred Lavant as a character named Alex (Carax’s given name) – and not just any girl. Carax was romantically involved with the lead actresses of his previous films: Mireille Perrier, Binoche, Yekaterina Golubeva.

“Very few people have filmed their lovers so many times,” he said. “It does affect life. It’s beautiful but it’s also destructive.” Carax said he never rewatches his films, but it is not hard to detect a sense of mourning when he talks about them, given the degree to which they now stand for old relationships and lost friends. Jean- Yves Escoffier, his first cinematographer, died in 2003. Golubeva, the mother of his 7-year-old daughter, died last year, as did one of his longtime producers, Albert Prevost.

“You make films for the dead,” Carax said, “but they’re seen by the living.” Carax said he lived a largely solitary existence and felt more separate than ever from the Paris film industry. “They’re fed up with me and I’m fed up with them,” he said, adding: “I cannot complain. I found my strength in being alone, and then I felt too alone.” He keeps up with the work of his favourite filmmakers – Jean-Luc Godard, Alexander Sokurov – and sometimes sees a new movie he likes (the recent sci-fi teenage thriller Chronicle, for one). But he’s far from a cinephile. “I’m afraid to see the films I loved when I was younger, but they’re still with me,” he said.

A paradox seems to emerge as Carax discusses his current relationship with film. How can a man who barely makes and rarely watches movies claim to be “always in cinema”? He shrugged, as if the answer was obvious. “Cinema is a territory,” he said. “It exists outside of movies. It’s a place I live in.

It’s a way of seeing things, of experiencing life. But making films, that’s supposed to be a profession.”

Of Drogba brace Sparks fans riot in Senegal

AFP

JOHANNESBURG RIOTS supporters shamed Senegal this weekend as a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ivory Coast was abandoned late in the second half.

Fires were lit using waste within the 60,000-seater Stade Leopold Senghor in Dakar and stones, chairs and bottles hurled on the pitch while players, coaches, officials and visiting fans centrecircle coverage sought.

The fuse that anger at Senegalese signatories lit was a penalty converted by Ivory Coast Captain Didier Drogba 15 minutes from the time that gave the top ranked African nation a 2-0 lead on the night and a 6-2 aggregate advantage.

China-based Drogba, the older generation of Ivorian footballers in a ' Golden pursuit of the elusive Cup of Nations winners ' medals, also scored the opener hit a powerful free kick shortly after half time. After a 40 minute delay while security officials struggled to recover from the rest, the game was discontinued and the Ivory Coast are sure to be crowned with the band and a place on the tournament Cup of Nations in South Africa next January and February.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials made no immediate comment on the violence, but Senegal are definitely facing severe punishment with a number of options available.

These include forcing Senegal League games outside the country for a certain period and the ban on the country from some of the qualifiers for the premier African football tournament.

The disgraceful scenes in Dakar overshadowed a dramatic weekend of action with defending champions Zambia, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia securing places with another eight up for grabs later Sunday.

Morocco scored twice in the minutes of the conclusion by Youssef el Arabi and Nordin Amrabat before a sell-out 45,000 Marrakech crowd to thrash 10-man Mozambique 4-0 and memories of a shock two-goal first leg loss exiled.

Promising Spainbased midfielder Abdelaziz Berrada broke the deadlock before half-time and Mozambique had Almiro Lobo Red Carded after conceding a penalty, which converted to the level of the Kharja Hocine teams draw on aggregate.

It took a 20-Kampala to separate from Zambia and Uganda on penalties with the visitors 9-8 to win when Patrick Ochan missed. The home team won the return match 1-0 through a Geoffrey Mass goal.

Ghana traveled to Malawi sitting on a two-goal cushion and the only purpose in Lilongwe snatched after only three minutes when end call up Afriyie Acquah his first international goal in his first start for the Black Stars scored.

Nigeria, one of several shock absentees from the 2012 Cup of Nations, is a ticket to Johannesburg in style by whipping Liberia 6-1 in Calabar with Chelsea teammates Victor Moses (two) and John Obi Mikel (a) made under the objectives.

Mali were equally impressive as a heavily weakened team prevailed 4-1 in Botswana to complete a total victory 7-1.

Malki subdues Killing mountain in pro class final

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA

Of QATAR former number one already mounted a beautiful seed of Abdulrahman Malki return and sharp top Kim are Killing mountain in four games to win the coveted title in the Radisson Blu-Olympic sports Squash tournament.

Cabana Club on Saturday evening at the Court found his touch after one game Malki tell go down, that the 211th world-ranked Norwegian won on eight.

But with a fine backhand strokes and pressure, leveled the scores by Malki win the next contest.

Both the players involved in a plethora of rallies were but it was Killing berg, who in the heat of fierce exchanges with larger number of unforced errors cracked and Malki was formed a better player, sealing the title with the well-deserved 8-11 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 victory.

Umair Zaman proved to be the most successful player with a grand double. His brother Waleed added to the reputation of the family by the Crown under-11 bags.

Umair and Sadam Mehawesh clashed in the under-17 finals and the first was able to translate his superiority in a 3-1 victory.

The couple met in the level B title-fight also. Mehawesh looked more determined to avenge for the previous loss and was leading 2-1 at one point of the game. Umair, son of Qatar Squash Federation coach Umar, staged a nice rally qualify for the following two matches to win the title.

Waleed also requires five matches at the under-17 title bag when he overcame a potent threat of Rashid al Harib.

The Crown of level A was won by Azlan Amjad, a trainee in the Aspire Academy. In the first two games he faced stiff resistance from Ahmed Noor. But dealing better with the pressure and the end game helped Amjad winning the game by 11-9, 11-9, 11-2 and the Crown.

Andrew Willmot also had to battle against Chan Yan hard in the last veterans. He led a 2-1 and Yan, despite trying its best to tilt the deficit and scores, equalising fell a little short in the decider. Willmot completed the win 11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 scoreline.

Muhammad Tariq won the title under-9. In the final he defeated Essam Yousef 3-1. A similar victory was produced by Hamid al Amri in the final under-13. He defeated Ahmed al Hammadi emerged the champion.

QSF Technical Secretary Gamal Rasmi performed the ceremony price distribution.

The QSF investment in youth pays well now. The function for the entire tournament was that most of the participating players enhanced game displayed and the results in the finals also underline this fact.

RReesults ((all fifinals)) UUndeerr--99 defeat 3-1 Essam Mohammed Tariq Yousef UUndeerr--1111 Waleed Zaman beat Rashid al-Harib 3-2 UUndeerr-1133 Hamad al Amri beat Ahmed al Hammadi 3-1 UUndeerr--1177 Umair Zaman beat Mehawesh 3-1 LLeevveel BB Umair Sadam Zaman beat Sadam Mehawesh 12-10 11-13, 9-11, 11-8 11-8 LLeevveel AA Azlan Ahmjad beat Ahmed Noor 11-9, 11-9-11-2 VVeeteerrans ((ovveerr 4455 yyeearrs)) Andrew Willmot beat Chan Yan-12-10 11-6, 6-11-11-13 11-8 Prrofeessional Abdulrahman al Malki beat Kim are Killing berg 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6

Djokovic beats Murray, WINS Shanghai Masters

AP SHANGHAI

NOVAK DJOKOVIC saved five match points in the second set before outlasting two-time defending champion Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6 (11), 6-3 Sunday in the Shanghai Masters final.

In another entertaining battle between the two USA
Open finalists, Djokovic seemed headed for defeat when Murray for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but served one match point in that game before breaking back for 5-5. He four more in a tense tie-break in the decisive set of stored and transported his momentum, breaking the Briton twice to earn his fifth title of the year.

"I won the match," said Djokovic. "But, you know, as spectators could see, we were very close. It was a very even match throughout the three sets. He was so close to the victory that I can't say I was the better player. " It was Murray's first loss in 13 matches in Shanghai.

Murray, who Djokovic in five sets in Flushing Meadows for his first Grand Slam title, saved two match points in the final, but sent a backhand long on the third.

"It was disappointing to lose," said Murray. "I've lost tougher matches than before in the biggest events. So I am sure I will recover from it pretty well.

"It's not like I threw the game. I didn't make, I don't think, real glaring mistakes or something ". In a matchup of two of the best returners in the game both players struggled to hold serve early, trading breaks three times en route to 4-4 in the first set.

When Djokovic broken for the fourth time in the 11th game, he lost his cool and smashed his racket by smashing into the ground four times before the outraged throwing to his sideline Chair.

"We are people in the end," said Djokovic about losing his patience. "We are professional tennis players and we great rivals, but in the end we are human. We should not be ashamed of our emotions. I don't see anything bad to show your emotions รณ positive, negative emotions. We can simply not flat-faced during the whole match. " But the momentum seemed to shift with an audacious shot from the second-ranked Serb, just as Murray thought he was closing in on his third straight title at the tournament.

With a 5-4 and 30-0 in the second set, Djokovic chased down a lob from Murray and hit a perfect shot between the legs to return the ball, then followed it up with a drop-shot to win the point. He went on to save Murray's first match point with a forehand, and broke back when the Briton a forehand missed its own two points later.

In the 20 minutes he finally prevailed when Djokovic his fourth tie-break point of the set converted with a forehand winner.

Murray could not recover, and Djokovic broke for a 4-3 lead for winning the next two games and to wrap up the win.

Djokovic also Murray to beat in five sets in the Australian Open semifinals this year, and his record against the Briton improved to 9-7.

Giant slalom crashes Rayyan of half dream

RAAJIV TRIPATHI DOHA

SADA CRUZEIRO of Brazil scripted a four GIANT SLALOM-set hard-earned victory to crush the host Al Rayyan dream of the semi dream alive in the prestigious FIVB World Volleyball Championships men's Clubs.

In the women's Sports Hall in Aspire Zone on Sunday, the Brazilian debutant won by 25-20 23-25 25-16 25-22 record his second successive success to qualify for the semifinals. Rayyan, suffering on the other side, the second defeat in a row and is out of the race. Sada and title Defender Diatec Trentino will collide in their third and last group match to decide who finishes as the number one team.

Just like the game of Trentino yesterday Rayyan created a good chance but again failed to push hard when it needed to. Instead, the match fell apart and made too many mistakes before it down.

The test system, performed for the first time in the history of volleyball, was used on a few occasions. But two decisions that the technical team assigned to Cruzeiro after watching the replays carefully Rayyan grossly created dissatisfied. Once a player Rayyan had touched the net and then it was a touch off off Valentin Bratoev.

Rayyan Captain Osman Ajab said he was pleased with the match but not with the referee.

"There were many refereeing errors. The last point (which made the score 21-23 in favor of Cruzeiro), was not good and the test system was not properly implemented.

I feel sorry for the fans and our coach, who tried to prepare a good team in a very short time. " Rayyan Cruzeiro captain that Williams said he didn't think like that Arjona point only led to the defeat. "After that we had two good services and we ended the game with a big smash. It was a tough contest.

We have the right things at the right time. We will concentrate on the next game now. " Cruzeiro coach Marcelo Mendez said: "We had a hard game against Rayyan. He is happy with the good result and to reach the semi-finals. " Rayyan coach Igor Arbutina comment: "I don't comment on the referee. But sometimes, one point could prove quite costly.

Two decisions at crucial moment In the game went against us. " Wallace played a stellar role in the Souza and a massive 25 points collected for Cruzeiro. He earned 21 to peaks and four block. He was followed by Marcos Leal Acacio, who came up with a number of vital smashes and blocks to be safe 13 points. Mauricio Borges Silva and Douglas Cordeiro got 10 and nine, respectively.

For Rayyan got David Lee 12 points. Valentin Bratoev, and Sriianis Mendez good for 11 each.

Kazan defeats Arabi European champion Zenit Kazan started well in the men's section beat Asian champion Al Arabi in four sets. The 25-22 25-22 25-18 29-31 victory in an hour and 47 minutes for the Russian team was largely an expected. But the brave way the Qatari team played in the thrilling third set marathon and won, this shows it can cause problems for others team in the pool.

Evgeny Sivozhelez demonstrated wonderful spiky and claimed 19 points through it.

He also added two more to his tally by blocks. Three other players also provided crucial contributions Matthew Anderson (16), Maxim Mikhaylov and (15) Nikolay Apalikov (10).

German veteran Christian Pampel scored a game high 23, including 21 from his exciting lightning. Renan Ribeiro (13), Ahmed al Bakhet (13) and Matti Oivanen (12) were impressive fellow players of Arabi team.

The main difference between the two was the better spiky by the European champion and more unforced errors by the home team.

Arabi coach Mauro Grasso said after the match: "We have tried hard against a very good team.

The difference between us and Zenit was experience. The Zenit players have played a lot more quality races at the Olympics and levels of the world. " "While other teams played together for a long time, we had only two weeks to prepare. The same disadvantage is with the team Rayyan also. " Zenit coach Vladimir Alenko, which the Russian team to the Olympics in London gold medal against Brazil led, was happy to have gained full points in the first game. "We had to play hard to win the contest. I think we played well. The first game in a championship is not easy and we hope to improve our game in the next games. " Trentino be nice holder Diatec Trentino just took about an hour to claim its second victory in the group stage and are well on the way to the semifinal.

Powered by Janec Stokr and Captain comradely Kaziyski, threetime champion Diatec brushed aside Mexico Tigres de Nuevo Leon by 25-25 25-25 25-20. It was only in the third and final set of the 61-minute match that the Mexican team itself could improve a bit.

Stokr smashed 16 peaks for collecting 18 points, while the 16 Kaziyski had 13 winners from the spikes and three ACEs out of service.

Juan Virgen (12) and Captain Ismael Cardova (nine) earned the bulk of the points by Tigres.

Romp for Sollys Nestle Sollys Nestle, filled with five Olympians who helped the Brazil team for the coveted Olympics gold medal in London in August this year, did not much problems of Bohai Bank from China and romped home encounter by 25-13 25-14 25-20 in a match for the first time in the women's section.

And the Olympians their role well in the 65-minute retreat of the Asian team. Sheilla Castro topscored for Sollys Nestle with 17 points, 14 of them from her brilliant smashing. Captain Jaqueline Carvalho and Thaisa Menezes chipped with 12 apiece. Fernanda Rodrigues and Adenizia Silva secured 11 and 6, respectively.

Apart from the net domination was what earned Sollys Nestle 49-33 edge, the Brazilian team, winner of four Super League and two South American Championship crowns, too strong in blocks, get 9-0.

Bohai Bank were Captain Yin na and Chen Liyi the only players to make their mark on the game. Yin scored 14 points, all from smashes in 29 attempts. Chen tallied 12, 11 of its spikes and 1 from an ace service.

Sollys Nestle skipper Carvalho was happy to have started on the note of victory. "It was a very important win for us, especially winning 3-0. More difficult matches we will have to move forward. We are very satisfied with our overall performance today. " Luizomar de Moura, coach of the team of Brazil, also supported the view of Carvalho: "the Asian school of volleyball is complicated, but we were able to solve it. We played with very few mistakes and had good defense. We are convinced that we can play even better in our next games. " RESULTS WWommeen GGrroupp AA Sollys Nestle (Brazil) beat Bohai Bank (China), 25-13, 25-14 25-20 (65 minutes) MMeen GGrroupp BB Zenit Kazan (Russia) beat Al Arabi Club (Qatar) 25-22 25-22 25-18, 29-31 (107 minutes) GGrroupp AA Diatec Trentino (Italy) defeated Tigres (Mexico) 15-25 25-15-25-20 (61 minutes) Sada Cruzeiro (Brazil) vs giant slalom Al Rayyan (Qatar) MMondayy fifixturrees MMeen GGrroupp BB Al Arabi (Qatar) vs Al Zamalek (Egypt) on 10: 00 WWommeen GGrroupp CC Rabita Baku (Azerbaijan) vs. Sollys Nestle (Brazil) at 15: 00 GGrroupp DD Fenerbahce (Turkey) vs Lancheras MMeen GGrroupp on 17: 00 the Catano BB Zenit Kazan (Russia) vs PGE Skra Belchatow (Poland) to 19: 00

FMs from Asia, Europe to meet in Bangkok today

PTI

BANGKOK

FINANCE ministers from Asian and European countries, including India’s P Chidambaram, are likely to meet in Bangkok on Monday to discuss ways to help build a stronger and more dynamic partnership, in the wake of the recent financial and economic crisis. “The ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Finance Ministers Meeting has assumed special importance since it is being organised in the wake of a global economic downturn.

Revival of growth in Asia and Europe will benefit all economies and enhance manufacturing technology flow and create new jobs,” Anil Wadhwa, India’s Ambassador to Thailand said.

The finance ministers are expected to endorse important recommendations in this cooperative endeavour which will also become an important input into the ASEM summit on November 4- 5, he said.

“India with its enhanced role in the G-20 has a lot at stake in the way this process moves forward.

Finance Minister Chidambaram’s visit to Bangkok for this meeting reflects the importance we attach to playing our due part in this process,” Wadhwa added.

A concept paper by Thailand said that untapped potential for investment and trade between both regions should be addressed and a policy dialogue is needed to encourage more inter-regional flows. It added that financial cooperation and financial sector supervision should also be deliberated for partnership enhancement and future crisis prevention.

The theme of the day-long 10th ASEM Finance Ministers meeting is ‘Strengthening Dynamic Partnership, Sharing Dynamic Growth’.

Bernanke defends Fed stimulus as China, Brazil raise concerns

REUTERS

TOKYO

FEDERAL Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Sunday it was far from clear that the US central bank’s highly stimulative monetary policy hurts emerging economies, defending a policy raising concerns in China, Russia and Brazil.

Bernanke has often defended Fed actions against domestic critics, who argue the policy of keeping interest rates near zero while ramping up asset purchases hurts savers and risks future inflation.

But in a speech in Tokyo, Bernanke addressed critics abroad saying stronger growth in the United States bolsters global prospects as well, countering the likes of Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega who has labelled the Fed’s latest stimulus effort ‘selfish’.

Critics say the Fed’s unorthodox policies weaken the US dollar and boost the currencies of developing countries, hurting their ability to export.

“It is not at all clear that accommodative policies in advanced economies impose net costs on emerging market economies,” Bernanke said at an event sponsored by the Bank of Japan and the International Monetary Fund. While the speech was delivered in private, the Fed provided a text to the media.

The Fed last month announced a new programme of open-ended bond purchases that will be continued until there is substantial improvement in labour market conditions, barring a sustained and unexpected spike in inflation. To start off, the central bank will buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month.

“This policy not only helps strengthen the US economic recovery, but by boosting US spending and growth, it has the effect of helping support the global economy as well,” Bernanke said.

In 2010, when the Fed launched its second round of monetary policy stimulus, known as quantitative easing, many finance ministers around the world accused the United States of pursuing a beggar-thyneighbour policy.

Criticism of the current round of bond purchases, known as QE3, has been more muted, but nonetheless evident.

Mantega told the IMF’s 188 member countries in Tokyo on Friday that the policy was “selfish” and harming emerging markets both by stealing their share of exports and by spurring destabilising capital flows and currency movements.

“Advanced countries cannot count on exporting their way out of the crisis at the expense of emerging market economies,” he told the IMF’s governing panel.

“Brazil, for one, will take whatever measures it deems necessary to avoid the detrimental effects of these spillovers.”

Abu Dhabi’s economy up 6.8%, may slow to 3.9% this year

REUTERS

ABU DHABI

ABU Dhabi’s economy grew 6.8 percent in inflationadjusted terms in 2011, the fastest rate since 2004 and more than double the pace of the previous year, thanks to stronger activity in both oil and non-oil sectors, government data showed on Sunday.

“Growth in GDP at constant prices during 2011 surpassed all the forecasts and estimates made by local and international parties,” the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi said.

The real gross domestic product of Abu Dhabi, one of seven United Arab Emirates, rose 3 percent in 2010.

Abu Dhabi, which accounts for most of the UAE’s crude oil output and about 65 percent of the GDP of the second largest Arab economy, released detailed inflationadjusted GDP data for the first time on Sunday. In the past, the statistics centre only published nominal GDP data.

The hydrocarbon sector, which accounts for over half of Abu Dhabi’s real GDP, soared 9.4 percent in 2011, the strongest expansion since 2004 and well up from 2 percent in 2010.

Growth in non-oil activities was much more moderate at 4.1 percent last year, only slightly above the 3.9 percent clip in 2010 and roughly half of the average rate over the past decade, the data also showed.

Analysts believe the UAE, the world’s No 3 oil exporter, benefited last year when it boosted oil output to help cover a production shorfall in civil war-torn Libya, a factor which will not be repeated in 2012. Global economic weakness is also expected to take its toll this year.

As a result, Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is likely to slow to 3.9 percent this year, but should pick up in the next few years, helped by diversification away from oil, its Department of Economic Development said in September.

Analysts polled by Reuters in September forecast economic growth in the whole UAE would slow to 3.2 percent in 2012 from 4.2 percent last year.

India te verlichten regels voor olie, gas exploratie vergunningen

REUTERS

NEW DELHI

INDIA is planning to relax rules for oil and gas exploration permits in time for the next bidding round, in a move to attract global companies.

"For the next round (of exploration licensing) we want to put in place a more investor-friendly regime for investment and from the point of view of pricing," oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy said on Sunday.

Companies should have the consent of the Government for the formulas that they use from the sales prices for the oil and gas under the current rules.

India, the world's fourthbiggest oil importer, wants to tap domestic delivery to cut its ballooning import bill and growing budget deficit.

Local companies have so far dominated the auctions for Indian licenses and the Government wants more overseas bids.

Speaking at the Petrotech Conference, said Reddy a panel led by C Ranagarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council of Prime Minister, will submit a report in the coming weeks proposals for improvements to the current policy of exploration.

"It is our aim to tenth round (auction) in this calendar year," he said, adding that the Cabinet has to approve the recommendations of the panel.

Oil Secretary said of the following exploration round GC Chaturvedi, the Ministry of oil will get approvals from various ministries including environment and defense before the blocks of oil and gas are going under the hammer.

He said contractors on about a dozen blocks are pending defence approvals for the execution of exploration.

Mining large BHP Billiton said in its annual report that Indian offshore exploration is affected as a result of delays in obtaining permits from the Ministry of defence.

BHP Billiton, which operates 10 offshore blocks, and the local partner have claimed force majeure as a result of these delays.

HMC, govt strive to smoke-free campus

LANI ROSE R DIZON

DOHA with the number of young people using tobacco products on the rise in Qatar, officials of the health and education sectors are stepping up their efforts to 100 percent smoking – free schools in the country, said head of non-smoking cessation clinic of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Dr Ahmad al Mulla.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune on Sunday, Mulla said in addition to the recent implementation of ban on electric cigarettes and cigarette packs without pictorial health warnings in Qatar market, authorities will intensify efforts to prevent the sale of cigarettes at shops located in the vicinity of schools.

"There is an ongoing effort to create 100 percent non-smoking-smoking public places, including shopping centres and parks. With a bunch of children smoking in schools, efforts should be stepped up to schools a 100 percent smoke-free zone. We try to work with the Ministry of education to prevent smoking on campus. Many schools now refuse to hire a teacher who smokes. This is not a policy, but it happens under the competence of the individual security principals, "said Mulla.

He said recent studies by the national health strategy showed that a quarter of the boys and 13 percent of girls age 13 and 15 years use tobacco products in Qatar, adding that 13% of the young people who have never smoked said they are likely to start smoking next year.

Mulla pointed out that about 36 percent of the entire population in Qatar of Qataris and non-Qataris, including, smokes.

"We have shifted focus of emphasis on the dangers of smoking to promote the benefits of quitting smoking. International studies indicate that a person who has smoked since his teenage years and stopped smoking before the age of 35, almost as long as people who have never smoked will live, "he said.

According to Mulla, people who want to quit smoking to do not usually because they lack awareness about the availability of the facilities such as the smoking cessation clinic and smoking in workplaces, schools and other public spaces.

"It is very difficult to quit smoking for two groups of people, young people between 12 and 16 years and patients with mental health problems. Treatment of a young smoker is difficult because there are not enough alternative medicines to give them. For psychiatric patients, withdrawal symptom could lead to their depression when they start to quit smoking.

So it's a complicated situation to give them the medicines available but we treat each case separately, "he said.

Mulla said 35 percent of the patients who come to the clinic are success in quitting smoking.

"Treatment usually lasts two to three weeks from the beginning of the medication. Usually, if they don't stop smoking within the first three weeks, it would be difficult to completely stop later. Many of them cannot stop completely but can immediately reduce their tobacco use.

Those who stop within two to three weeks usually have the best results, "Mulla added.

The non-smoking cessation clinic of HMC four times a week and receives about 60 patients per week.

QA ' Week without walls ' travel excite students

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA the corridors on the Academy of Qatar (QA) are abuzz with excited discussions between the students about the question where they go next year for QA-the annual "Week without walls ' travel, although the event is months away. It will not take place until may 2013.

The buzz started when brochures were delivered to classes this week and by the time scholarships journey began after school on Tuesday, students brought their parents and drawn up in booths where they had a chance to learn about each trip, including travel leaders and routes.

This year brings them to Thailand, Switzerland excursions, England, France, Italy, South Africa, Cambodia and Viet Nam.

There are also eight routes for the programs that will take place in Qatar. Each trip is aligned with a "field of interaction" from the school ' middle years programme ' (BEND) curriculum, students an opportunity to travel while learning more about the environment, health and social education, human ingenuity and Community & service.

Experiential learning coordinator Craig Paterson said: "for many of our students, the ' Week without muren'-program is a highlight of the year.

"Some of these kids have never traveled outside Qatar without their parents so they have a lot to learn about themselves in the course of a week – completely outside what they will learn as part of the curriculum."

PMG event buoys music fans

L N MALLICK

DOHA Punjab musical group organized a wonderful concert in Deccan Auditorium 12th anniversary of the group.

Welcoming the guests, said Chief Organizer Nazakat Ali Khan his group PMG has not only entertainment for music lovers in Qatar inviting top Singers of India, Pakistan and elsewhere provided but also the opportunity for budding Qatar-based singers to demonstrate their live talent to the public.

"Since its inception, the Group has been striving to promote music activities in Qatar. I thank my team members for their hard work and dedication, "remarked Khan.

Man Punjab Da group, under the leadership of Mahinder Jalandhari, Gladden the audience by a virtuoso performance of Bhangra dance. The Group also released their Punjabi music album Tor Mastani on occasion. Abdul Jabbar wreaked havoc on the program.

The event was sponsored by Ambassador Travels. Prominent among those who were present at the event were Butt, Aamer Hassan Sindi and Mirza Halim Baig.

Brookings Doha to discuss the consequences of our polls on MENA

QNA

DOHA BROOKINGS Doha Center on Wednesday evening discusses important issues and the impact that the upcoming presidential elections of the United States for the region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in The Center in West Bay, Doha will have.

The panelists for the discussion are Danielle Pletka, vice President for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Director of the Saban Center for Middle East policy at Brooking and Shadi Hamid, Director of research at the Brookings Doha Center.

According to the Center's pre-registration required for participation.

Brookings Doha Center Director Salman Shaikh will moderate the discussion will begin at 5 pm. The panel members will then answer some questions from the audience.

The discussion is important for the MENA region that the debates between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Republican candidate follows-Mitt Romney. The elections will be held on 6 November.

Talk about the elections, the Center said the outcome will have a significant impact not only on the US domestic issues such as the economy, health and employment, but also on the u.s. foreign policy on the MENA.

The recent attacks on us diplomatic outposts in Libya, Egypt and other countries of the Arab world have renewed debate about national security and US policy in the Middle East.

QU research labs get fresh U.S. accreditation

QNA

DOHA QATAR University research laboratories of Environmental Studies Center (ESC), Center of advanced materials (CAM) and central laboratories unit (CLU) have renewed their ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation status by the American Association for laboratory accreditation (A2LA), repeating their status as world-class facilities with international standards and best practices.

According to a press release from Qatar University (QU) obtained the labs of A2LA accreditation originally way back in April 2010. Since then, A2LA has conducting audits periodically to evaluate the quality management systems at the QU research laboratories. The accreditation has confirmed until June 2014 after the findings of the audit concluded that the labs in June 2012 that fully complies with the requirements of accreditation defined in ISO/IEC 17025: 2005.

As one of the essential requirements of accreditation, Qatar University research labs successfully participated in the proficiency testing programs with ASTM (USA), MAPEP (US Department of energy) and LGC standards (UK). To increase the technical competence of its staff, Qatar University has a series of training programmes of organisations such as internationallyrecognised A2LA (USA) and UKAS (UK).

ISO/IEC 17025 is the main one standard for calibration and testing laboratories in the world and is used in the development of the management system capable of producing accurate and reliable results.

To this standard accredited laboratories have demonstrated technical competence and ability to produce precise and accurate test data.

Bahrain police question Shiite leader of the opposition

AFP

DUBAI police on Sunday questioned Bahrain Sheikh Ali Salman, who heads the largest spiritual Shiite opposition formation Al-Wefaq, about comments to "sectarian and safety" related matters, the authorities said.

Criminal investigation police questioned him in the presence of two lawyers about statements that he earlier this month, during a visit to Egypt, according to a statement made by the BNA state news agency.

Salman admitted that refers to a ' revolution ' in Bahrain but he said "meant not the overthrow of the regime, while he referred to requirements of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for human rights", said the BNA.

The influential cleric also said that Wefaq "violence from all sides, rejects or of the public or the Government", and denied harming relations between Bahrain and Egypt.

BNA said Salman the Declaration will be presented to the public prosecutor who will decide whether to press the charges.

Al Wefaq, the convocation of its leader for questioning, called it a "trial for political practice and advice, which falls under the regime security approach of confiscation of rights and freedoms." "This measure would tighten the already limited freedom of expression," she said in a statement.

Al Wefaq dominated elections twice in 2006 and 2010 on Shiite areas of the Kingdom Sunni ruled, and the biggest one block formed in both parliaments.

Syria hits back with ban on Turkish flights

AFP

DAMASCUS SYRIA bans Turkish passenger flights from its airspace Sunday in a retaliatory move after Turkey seized a cargo of what Russia said was radar installations en route from Moscow to Damascus.

The retribution, just weeks before the annual hajj when thousands of Turkish pilgrims head to the Islamic holy places in Saudi Arabia on a route that they normally would take by Syrian airspace, came despite a flurry of diplomacy on Saturday intended to calm rising tensions between the neighbours.

Syria accuses Turkey of channeling arms to rebels fighting the Arab Gulf States from his troops, who are already under pressure over large parts of the North, including the second city Aleppo mounting.

The flight ban went into force from midnight (2100 GMT Saturday) "in accordance with the principle of reciprocity," said SANA State News Agency, although Turkey has said its airspace open to Syrian civilian flights.

Since last Wednesday, had warned Turkey its airlines to avoid Syrian airspace for fear of retribution for that day interception of the Syrian Air flight by Turkish jets on the assertion that the wore military equipment.

The United States supported its NATO ally confiscation of what Russia said was radar spare parts, saying that they "serious military equipment" was founded.

Russia, traditional ally of President Bashar al-Assad regime, was that the cargo broke any international rules.

Turkey has taken an increasingly strident line towards southern neighbour since a shell fired from the Syrian side of the border killed five of its nationals on 3 October
It has since repeatedly revenge for cross-border fire, which prompted growing UN concern and a flurry of diplomatic contacts.

After talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle on Saturday repeated Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that Ankara would not tolerate any further incidents with border.

"We will hit back without hesitation if we believe that Turkey's national security is in danger," he said.

Westerwelle renewed Germany's support for its NATO ally while at the same time appealing for restraint.

"We are on the side of Turkey but also we call Turkey moderation," he said.

Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat who the Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, head to Iran, the closest ally of the Government of Syria, after consultations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the main backers of the opposition.

Tunisia sets June poll date after Constitution deal

AFP

TUNIS Tunisia will go to the polls in June next year, the Islamic-led Government said on Sunday, after striking a deal on a new Constitution for the North African State which was the cradle of the Arab spring.

The announcement of the June 23 date for both the presidential and parliamentary elections came after National Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar Constitutent of the AFP in an interview that important proposal of the Islamic Ennahda party to prohibit of blasphemy in the new Constitution would be put down.

The proposal stoked fears of a creeping Islamization in Tunisia, which by political tensions and a wave of violent attacks in recent weeks which has been moans the radical Salafists have accused.

Ennahda and its coalition partners — centre-left parties, the Congress of the Republic (CPR) of President Moncef Marzouki and Ettakatol — also agreed that a second round in the presidential elections will take place on 7 July
A statement said the parties agreed "on a mixed political system in which the President will be chosen through general elections for a better balance of power, including the core of the Executive." Disagreement about the content of the Constitution and the political system in Tunisia, which led the spring Arab until then the ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the beginning of last year.

Ennahda, an Islamic party that touts itself as moderate, won Tunisia's first post-uprising poll in October, with 41 percent of the seats in the National Constituent Assembly.

It said that Islamic law would not be enrolled in the new Constitution and eyed a parliamentary system, while the other parties insisted that the major powers should be held by a president by universal suffrage.

But polls can only be held after the new Constitution is drafted by the mid-term meeting of Parliament.

Assembly Speaker Jaafar told AFP this week that a first draft of the text will be submitted to Parliament in November, is expected to discuss each article over a period of several months before a vote takes place.

The ruling coalition also agreed overnight on the setting up of an independent Electoral Commission, according to sources, by Kamel Jendoubi, architect of Tunisia's first free polls in October last year.

IQ profit jumps 23.7% in 3rd quarter

REUTERS

DOHA petrochemicals and metals industries Qatar (IQ) company a 23.7% jump in third quarter net profit posted on Sunday, Reuters calculations show, beating average analysts forecasts.

The Gulf's second largest chemical producer by market value behind Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic) made a net profit of 2.56 billion Riyals ($ 703.2 million) for the thirdquarter, according to Reuters calculations, compared with 2.07 billion Riyals a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expected the company to post quarterly profit of 2.2 billion Riyals.

The company have no third quarter figures in a bourse statement provided. Reuters calculated the figure profit for the third quarter of last week.

IQ made a nine-month net profit of 6.6 billion Riyals compared with 6.2 billion Riyals a year ago, a company statement said without giving further detail.

In August, the company reported a net profit for the first half of 4.04 billion Riyals.

Petrochemical prices have strengthened in recent months, but concerns remain about the impact of a global slowdown on the industry profit in's world's top oil-exporting region.

IQ inaugurated in February, Qafco 5, a facility of 1 million tons of urea while Qatar petrochemical company, which is 80 percent owned by industries Qatar and 20 percent held by France's total-began her polyethylene 3 factory that during the second quarter.

Qatar has started a massive home building programme in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, with plans to 11 billion dollars on a new international airport, $ 5.5 billion on a deep water seaport and spend $ 1 billion for a transport corridor in the capital, Doha.

In April said the steel segment was expected IQ "considerably benefit from the progressive and broad infrastructure plans of Qatar".

IQ shares were trading up 1.5 percent on the Doha bourse on Sunday.

Annual inflation of Qatar crumbles to 2% in September

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA: annual inflation in the country slowed to 2 percent last month, compared with 2.3 percent in August to lower transport and communications costs, official data showed on Sunday.

Month-on-month transport and communications prices were down 1.2 percent in September due to a decline in air fares travel, while the costs falling within the entertainment, recreation and culture category fell 0.4 percent, according to the latest figures published by the Qatar Statistics Authority (PARTY QSA).

According to the data of the highest increase of 1.8 percent in food, beverages and tobacco, was followed by 1.7% in miscellaneous goods and services, while rent, fuel and energy with 1 percent increased. There was a slight increase of 0.3 percent in clothing & footwear.

The figures of the PARTY QSA noted no changes in medical care and health services costs last month that 114.3 registered in the index. In the same way were witnessing a slight increase in prices of furniture, textiles and home appliances in September.

On a year-on-year basis, the data showed increase of 2 percent on the overall level. Increases were recorded in the large groups, with the exception of rental, fuel and energy ", which registered a decline of 0.1%.

The highest increases were recorded in the groups of various goods and services (4.1%), food, beverages & tobacco (3.6 percent), furniture, textiles and home appliances (3.3 percent), transport & communications (3.1 percent), clothing & footwear (1.6 percent), entertainment, recreation and culture (1.5 percent) and medical care and medical services (0.3%).

A CPI excluding rent, fuel and energy group is also calculated.

After eliminating the effect of the rent, the overall index reached 124.6, with an increase of 0.2 percent compared to the CPI from August 2012 and an increase of 2.9 percent compared with the month of September 2011. (AI)

Qtel bats for cheaper global roaming rates

ASIF IQBAL

DOHA QATAR Telecom (Qtel) has called for reducing the cost of international roaming, as well as investment in the creation of new broadband infrastructure around the world as they hold the key to continued growth.

With a description of the two as the most significant challenges for the global ICT industry, Qtel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al Thani said, "people who travel abroad are our best customers and we must ensure that they can use their mobile phones safely and securely." The price of international roaming has become a hot-button issue around the world, with the increasingly global population often confronted with the excessive and often high costs when they use their mobile abroad, thanks to the operators in the country they are visiting.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) pushes for legislation and industry agreement that roaming price transparency, direct access to information, more competition and prices based on the actual cost price would guarantee.

According to business intelligence provider Informa, the worldwide market for roaming is expected to grow from $ 45 billion in 2012 to more than $ 60 billion by 2016, thanks to a boom in the number of international roamers. The report notes that regulation and legislation has helped competition preservation and protection of customers against escalation in costs.

"Access to broadband is increasingly important for economic development, access to information, cultural exchange and even national security," he said.

Match the growth of broadband network investment will be a crucial question for sustained growth, he told the ITU Conference in Dubai, on Sunday.

"It is the responsibility of network investors and operators to ensure that investments in broadband remain profitable, so that the Fund-flow to the sector keeps pace with public demand for broadband services", he added.

He said that it is the responsibility of Governments and their telecoms regulators to provide a framework that promotes investment, adding that national and international operators and regulators must be on the same side.