Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dances all the way, nothing else grooves

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve no regrets: Neha Dhupia

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Humble Damon cheers Oscar hopeful, friend Ben Affleck

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Broadway profits from the bright lights of Hollywood

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Junior racers impress in practice session

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Total renews partnership with QTF

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Soria’s hat-trick helps Lekhwiya crush Wakrah 4-0 in QSL

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Sharapova, Petrova contenders for the ‘Diamond Ball’ in Qatar Total Open

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Scotland advised to keep pound after UK exit

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

US Air, AMR to announce $11bn merger deal soon

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Emirates Airlines sees 20% rise in 2012-13 income

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Qatar investment banking head of Credit Suisse quits

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Teacher killed in car crash on Rawdat Rashid Road

FITNESS FOR OFFICE
OUR topic for today is: How much do we care about physical fitness in an elected official? Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey recently had a cross-continental shouting match with Dr Connie Mariano, a former White House physician who said the governor's weight is "almost like a time bomb ...

Qatar-Iran ties example for other nations: Envoy

RAMY SALAMA

DOHA QATAR and Iran enjoy cordial bilateral relations that are exemplary for other countries in the Middle East region to follow, said Iran’s Ambassador to Qatar HE Mohammad Javad Asayesh-Zarchi.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution on Sunday, the envoy said, “The past year has seen considerable progress and a buildup of momentum in Iran-Qatar relations.” In this context, he referred to the participation of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Iran in August of last year.

He said: “HH the Emir’s participation reinforced the long-lasting friendship between the two countries as well as the value they both attach to their evolving bilateral relations.” “The visit of Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ali-Akbar Salehi to Qatar was another milestone in the mutual understanding between the two countries. Several political consultations were held during the visit. I believe that such cooperations are useful for the region at this critical time of Islamic awakening among Middle East countries,” he added.

While condemning the sanctions imposed on Iran, Ambassador Javad said, “The sanctions are an unjustified way to bring the freedom- seeking Iranian people to surrender under external pressure.” The ambassador, however, admitted that the sanctions had created difficult circumstances for ordinary people of Iran.

“Though the impacts of the sanctions are being felt, they have not been able to block the country’s progress. On the contrary, our nation has been trying to rapidly attain self-sufficiency in all areas and strengthen national solidarity against outside pressure,” he said.

The event was attended by Qatar’s Assistant Minister for International Cooperation Affairs HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed al Thani, Director of the Protocol Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs HE Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic community.

QMA, QA name winner of photo contest

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA QATAR Museums Authority, Qatar Airways and the Orientalist Museum have announced the winner of ‘The Art of Travel’ Instagram contest.

A resident Mohamed Ihab is the winner of two round-trip flights to any of Qatar Airways’ over 120 destinations. His Instagram photo beat over 6,000 entries and was voted most popular by the public.

Inspired by ‘The Art of Travel’ exhibition at Alriwaq Doha, the competition asked people to upload their best travel pictures and add the #ArtOfTravel hashtag. Over 6000 entries were received from around the world, narrowed down to 68 finalists, and opened to the public for voting.

The winning photo featured a cat looking up at the West Bay skyline from MIA Park.

Although it won over the international audience, Mohamed explained that his wife was initially skeptical about the image. “She was making fun of me for lying on the grass just to take a photo of a cat that is not even looking toward us. She started to change her mind about the photo once she saw it, and even more after it was picked to enter the contest.” Ihab visited ‘The Art of Travel’ exhibition to meet members of the Orientalist Museum and representatives from Qatar Airways. The exhibition is open until February 11 and introduces visitors to the story of Bartholom√§us Schachman – a Polish mayor who travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire during its peak. Over 100 watercolour miniatures painted during his travels take visitors on a journey through 16th century Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, highlighting the people, places and customs he encountered.

Curated by Dr Olga Nefedova, director of the Orientalist Museum, ‘The Art of Travel’ exhibition illustrates the importance of European- Ottoman relations throughout the 16th century. An expanded and reimagined version of the original Polish exhibition, ‘The Art of Travel: Bartholom√§us Schachman (1559-1614)’ takes visitors on an epic journey back in time.

WCMCQ contest to promote fitness in schools

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA WEILL Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ) has issued details of ‘The Challenge’, its unique competition for schools.

‘The Challenge’ is part of the college’s innovative Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign, which will see teams of 10 students from 15 schools from across Qatar compete in a series of fun events at the Aspire Dome on March 16.

The vision is to educate the nation’s youth about leading a healthy life and inspire them to incorporate the information into their daily lives.

WCMC-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh said ‘The Challenge’ and the wider ‘Your Health First’ campaign as well as education and research demonstrate that the college is taking a lead in supporting the goal of a healthy nation.

He said: “The Challenge will be the first contest of its kind in Qatar, placing values on both education and physical fitness. Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s ‘Your Health First’ initiative is determined to support the country in achieving the aims of Qatar National Vision 2030 by helping create a healthy population able to make a meaningful contribution to a knowledge-based economy.

We believe that Your Health First and The Challenge can assist us in this by engaging the country’s young people with education and physical fitness in an enjoyable way. If we can teach them about healthy living when they are young they will carry that information with them for the rest of their lives.

“With the support of the Supreme Council of Health, the Supreme Education Council, and our strategic partners - Qatar Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd., ExxonMobil and Vodafone Qatar - we can help create a healthy and prosperous future for all our citizens.” Fifteen schools across Qatar were nominated to participate in The Challenge by the Supreme Education Council.

Representatives from these schools recently attended a meeting and question and answer session to help them prepare for the event.

Nesreen al Refai, director of public affairs at WCMCQ, said it was a pleasure to be working with the schools.

With ‘The Challenge’ set to become an annual contest, it is expected that more schools will take part each year, spreading the message of ‘Your Health First’ to more and more of young people.

‘The Challenge’ is divided into two sections: education and physical fitness. The education segment has seen students at the participating schools research and design a poster based around healthy lifestyle. These posters will be displayed at an exhibition scheduled for around the beginning of March. This will also be an opportunity for the students to discuss their work, their research and their opinions about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.

The physical fitness part of the programmewill be held at the Aspire Dome on March 16.

The event will feature teams from all the participating schools.

The activities, which have been designed by a specialist company with the highest health and safety standards in mind, have been titled Crazy Climber, Bird Cage Rage, Pendulum, Buzzy Bees, Vegetable Relay Race, and Wacky Waiter Race. Many of them involve dressing up in costumes that are related to science and healthy lifestyles.

Boys and girls will compete separately to finish each challenge with the top three boys’ teams and top three girls’ teams being awarded gold, silver and bronze. The top school will also receive a trophy.

The event will be held under the supervision of WCMCQ in conjunction with the Supreme Education Council and the Supreme Council of Health.

Along with the games, there will also be interactive games and health professionals on hand to offer advice about healthy living and answer questions.

Yasser Mohamed Karkour, director of orientation and counselling at Abu Obaida School, said ‘The Challenge’ was an excellent idea that would pay dividends in the future.

Solange Ahdab, an art teacher at the French school Lycee Bonaparte, said students at her school had made 50 posters on various health topics. Omar Adbdelhalim, a student at Hamza Bin Abdul Muttalib School, chose obesity as the topic for his poster.

He said: Fast food is the main cause of obesity. It contributes to 40 percent of cases.

I learnt that obesity is a major problem around the world, especially in England and the United States which have very high rates.” For Osman Mustafa of Abu Obaida School, nutrition and physical fitness were the inspiration for his poster.

Osman, who himself plays volleyball and table tennis, said: “I chose nutrition and fitness as junk food is too common now and it is very rare that you find people of my age that are very active. In my poster I show how good nutrition and physical fitness benefit the individual.” Baudouin Sorlooten, a student at Lycee Bonaparte, chose the topic of road safety.

He said the subject was discussed in class and he was free to use different artistic techniques to get his message across.

Smoking was the topic Nathalie Ramadan, from the Lebanese School, opted for.

She said that the health risks from smoking are well known and she wanted to live in a smoke-free world.

The schools taking part are: Omar Bin Khattab Preparatory, Lebanese School, English Modern School, International School of Choueifat, Al Yarmouk School, Cambridge School, Qatar Academy, Amna Bint Wahab Independent Preparatory School for Girls, Al Jazeera Academy, Lycee Bonaparte, Doha British School, AbuBakr Assedeeq Boys Preparatory, Hamza Bin Abdul Muttalib School, Abu Obaida School and Al Bayan Girls’ Preparatory School.

Bahrain starts first reconciliation talks

REUTERS

MANAMA BAHRAIN’S government and opposition began reconciliation talks on Sunday for the first time since July 2011 to try to end two years of political deadlock in the strategically vital Gulf Arab island kingdom.

Home to the US Fifth Fleet, the tiny state has been hit by unrest since mass pro-democracy protests in early 2011, becoming a front line in a region-wide tussle for influence between Shiite Muslim Iran and Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.

The mass disturbances were crushed but demonstrators drawn mainly from Bahrain’s Shiite majority have continued small protests on an almost daily basis demanding the Sunni ruling family call elections and create a constitutional monarchy.

While opposition members have expressed very cautious optimism that the talks represent a meaningful step forward, they have also voiced concerns that the agenda remains unclear.

The main opposition Wefaq movement will decide on Monday whether to continue with the dialogue based on Sunday’s initial meeting, Khalil Ibrahim, a senior Wefaq official, said ahead of the talks.

“We agreed with all our political parties to evaluate the first meeting and decide. We will decide tomorrow,” Ibrahim said. Wefaq is the largest in a coalition of six opposition groups calling for a constitutional monarchy.

The opposition walked away from reconciliation talks in July 2011, saying they were not carried out fairly.

Wefaq has commanded nearly half the electorate in past parliamentary votes but the government has refused to budge on opposition demands to give the elected chamber of parliament the power to form cabinets.

“We hope we can reach in the first sessions a good agenda that will be acceptable to all,” said Samira Rajab, Bahrain’s information minister.

Rajab said the justice minister and two other ministers would attend the talks.

Of the 24 other participants, eight will be from the opposition, eight from pro-government parties and eight from Bahrain’s national assembly, made up of the appointed Shura Council and an elected chamber.

“The issue in this country is between the government and the opposition. They are the real stakeholders. But there are lots of others who will sit around the table,” said Jasim Husain, a former Wefaq member of parliament.

During the 2011 talks, opposition members complained that Wefaq was given only one out of 60 seats in the dialogue, the same number as very small pro-government parties.

The government has accused the opposition of acting on behalf of Tehran, which has denied the accusation.

Opposition and human rights activists fault the government for what they describe as severe sentences for protesters and the violent tactics used to suppress demonstrations.

About 35 people died during the 2011 unrest and in the two months of martial law afterwards, according to an independent commission of inquiry, but the opposition says at least 80 died.

The government points to its record in implementing some reforms to the police and judiciary, increasing powers for the elected parliament and appointing an independent inquiry that criticised the country’s response to unrest.

Change attitude for talks, Ahmadinejad tells US

AFP

TEHRAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said the United States must change its attitude if it wants to hold direct nuclear talks with Iran, as he hit out at Washington for imposing sanctions on Tehran.

His comments, in a speech marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that ousted the US-backed shah in 1979, came just days after Iran’s supreme leader rejected US Vice-President Joe Biden’s call for direct talks. They also come at a time when Tehran and six world powers are preparing to resume stalled talks over Iran’s nuclear programme in the Kazakh city of Almaty on February 26.

“The change of tone is necessary but not sufficient,” Ahmadinejad said at Tehran’s landmark Azadi (Freedom) Square amid chants of “Death to America”.

“Stop pointing weapons at the Iranian nation and I will myself negotiate with you,” he said, addressing the United States directly.

“Talks should be with respect, fairness and not under pressure.” “You have done everything to prevent us from becoming nuclear and you have failed. The best solution is cooperation and understanding.”

Last week Biden made a “serious offer” for direct talks in the framework of negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany) on Tehran’s nuclear programme which world powers suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons. Iran vehemently denies the allegation.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all national issues, rejected Biden’s offer outright. “I am not a diplomat but a revolutionary and I speak frankly,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on his website on Thursday.

“You (Americans) are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot.” On Sunday, Ahmadinejad called on Iranians to remain “united behind” Khamenei, reiterating that “the Iranian nation will not give up an inch of its legitimate rights”.

Tehran is currently under a series of international and Western sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, mainly the sensitive process of uranium enrichment.

The punitive economic measures have led to a severe economic crisis, choking Iran’s banking system and limiting oil exports, its main foreign revenue earner.

A banner at Azadi Square on Sunday tried to give a different picture, declaring: “The crippling sanctions have only tickled us.” A recent survey by US polling firm Gallup said that Iran’s nuclear programme is supported by a large majority of its population.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians, chanting anti-US and anti- Israel slogans, marked the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Sunday.

Waving Iranian flags and portraits of Islamic republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and of Khamenei, crowds gathered at Azadi Square in a government-sponsored rally which has become a regime cornerstone.

The authorities put on display a replica of a rocket which Iran says was used to carry a monkey into space in late January.

Sunday’s nationwide rallies mark February 11, 1979 when the then Iranian army declared solidarity with the people, turning its back on shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Sada opens Gazprom office in Qatar

SATYENDRA PATHAK

DOHA MINISTER of Energy and Industry and Chairman & Managing Director of Qatar Petroleum (QP) HE Dr Mohammad bin Saleh al Sada, presided over the formal opening of the Gazprom’s representative office in Qatar on Sunday.

The opening of the Russian gas giant’s representative office in the country is aimed at promoting cooperation with the Arabian Gulf states, as well as representing and protecting the company’s interests in the region.

Speaking on the occasion, Sada said, “We are very happy to see Gazprom open its office in Qatar.

It is a recognition of Qatar’s position in the natural gas sector.” “This office will go a long way in establishing a platform of cooperation and promote joint investment between the two countries,” he said.

Talking about new opportunities in the world gas market through partnership with Gazprom, Sada said, “Qatar is keen to cooperate with giant companies (big firms) all over the world to maintain a good supply of gas to consumer countries.” Gazprom Chairman Victor Zubkov said, “The representative office will be responsible for strengthening the company’s relationships with QP, Qatargas, RasGas, Qatari government agencies, and other strategic energy partners and government agencies within the Gulf region. Its activities will focus on collaborating with such strategic partners to identify and evaluate mutually beneficial business opportunities within the region.” “The official opening of the Gazprom’s office in Qatar marks a crucial step towards building long-term relationships, focused on improving communication and boosting regional cooperation in the energy sector,” he said.

Besides Victor Zubkov, who is also the special representative of the Russian President for cooperation with Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF); Pavel Fedorov, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy; Leonid Bokhanovsky, GECF Secretary-General; Dmitry Trofimov, Russian Federation Charge d’Affaires in Qatar, and Gazprom International Business Department head Pavel Oderov, also attended the inauguration ceremony.

Also present during the event were senior officials from QP and major companies in the Qatar’s energy sector.

“The Gazprom’s representative office in Qatar will help coordinate efforts of Gazprom’s subsidiary companies to transact directly with these strategic partners, and it will also represent Gazprom in the GECF, which is headquartered in Doha,” said a senior Gazprom official.

First Qatari set for space travel this year

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA IF everything goes as planned, Qatar will soon have one of its sons in the space cruising around the Earth aboard an American spacecraft.

Famous Qatari astronomer Sheikh Salman bin Jabor al Thani, looking forward to his space travel, will be the first Qatari and Arab to undertake a space trip. Whenever this trip comes about this year, Sheikh Salman will be able to see from 100- km altitude and outside of gravity, the outer space as well as the planet —one half of it in daylight and the other half in darkness.

Sheikh Salman has received a special training for the trip in the US. He will have a group of astronauts from other nations for company. Together, they will record their experiences and take hundreds of photos to document the trip.

In an interview published in Al Watan newspaper, Sheikh Salman said that the trip was scheduled for 2012, but had to be postponed for technical reasons. Now it is expected to take place some time this year.

According to him, the spacecraft will reach the 100 km altitude within the atmosphere, where there is no gravity, and stay in the orbit for some time before returning to earth.

“My name is on the list, but not approved so far for this trip because the spacecraft that will take us into the space is still undergoing tests. Once it is ready to take off on its space journey, we will be called and the departure date will be fixed,” said Salma. He, however, pointed out that the number of astronauts onboard the spacecraft was yet to be decided. There could be between six and eight passengers depending on their weight, because this has a critical bearing on the amount of fuel as well as other technical aspects.

He said that he was mentally prepared for this adventure and will embark on his dream journey at own expenses. He added that the trip is being arranged by Virgin Galactic Company, and that “once given the green light, we will have to pack up for the trip.” He pointed out that the Civil Aviation Authority was checking the spacecraft for safety measures. “After it clears the tests, the flight date will be fixed, and all indications are that it will be within this year.”

Sudan govt, JEM sign ceasefire pact

IHSAN YOUSEF

DOHA THE Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Darfur have signed a ceasefire agreement.

This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs HE Ahmed bin Abdullah al Mahmoud on Sunday.

The agreement was signed by Sudan Minister of State in the Presidency and Head of Darfur Follow-up Office Amin Hassan Omar and the Deputy President of Justice and Equality Movement Arko Suleiman Dahia.

The agreement comes within the framework of the ongoing peace talks between Sudanese government and the JEM on the basis of the Doha document for Darfur peace and in accordance with the declaration of October 24, 2012 about the commitment to the peace process, cessation of hostilities and the agenda agreed between them on January 24, 2013.

The parties have agreed to start immediately negotiations on the remaining issues including those scheduled in the agenda in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict in Darfur.

Speaking on the occasion, Mahmoud said: “Under the patronage of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani both parties have reached the ceasefire agreement. The negotiations were held between Amin Hassan Omar and JEM President Mohammed Bisher Ahhmed.” Mahmoud explained that the agreement came as a follow- up of a preliminary agreement signed earlier between the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement and was a continuation of the negotiation process, very important for achieving lasting peace in the troubled region.

The deputy PM also announced formation of a committee to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. “The committee will be headed by United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur and comprise representatives of Sudanese government, JEM, Qatar and Arab League.

The committee is tasked to resolve any problem relating to ceasefire agreement.” Mahmoud also announced that the Darfur donors’ conference will be held on April 7 and 8 to ensure the parties’ commitment to the ceasefire pact.

“Ceasefire is essential for peace and development and it will pave the way for the signing of the agreement of negotiation and lasting peace,” Mahmoud said.

Addressing media persons following the signing of agreement, Amin Hassan Omar said: “This ceasefire accord will silence the guns and ensure parties’ commitment to Darfur document that has been approved by the Sudanese and the international community.”

Emir presides over first Sceai meeting

QNA

DOHA THE Emir and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment (Sceai) His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani presided over the Council’s first meeting for 2013 at the Emiri Diwan on Sunday.

The meeting was also attended by the Heir Apparent and Deputy Chairman of the Council HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani along with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani who is an Executive Member of the Council.

According to the Minister of Economy and Finance and Secretary-General of the Council HE Yousef Hussain Kamal, during the meeting the Sceai Board adopted the budget of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for the fiscal year 2013.

The Sceai Board also approved the establishment of Doha Global Investment Company, to be listed on Qatar Exchange (QE), and an Infrastructure Investment Company.

Talking at the end of the meeting, Kamal explained that the board approved the request of Qatar Petroleum (QP) on the heads of agreement with the French company Total, and RasGas Business Development Partner Agreement.

Earlier, the Council discussed topics tabled on the agenda of the meeting and was briefed on its previous resolutions and the procedures initiated on them while focusing on the latest developments in the industry and petrochemicals sectors.

The agenda also included the investment performance report for 2012 and the investment strategy for 2013, the minister said.