Sunday, 17 March 2013

Islamic States accept the UN Declaration on women

NEW YORK Islamic and Western Nations on Friday overcame deep divisions over a landmark UN Declaration to establish a code of conduct to combat violence against women and girls.

Iran, Libya, Sudan, and other Islamic Nations ended up threats to block the Declaration and agreed to the language which States that violence against women cannot be justified by "a custom, tradition or religious consideration." Western countries, especially from Scandinavia, toned requirements for references to gay rights and rights of the sexual health in order to ensure its conformity after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN Member States.

Some 6,000 non-governmental groups were in New York for the Commission on the meeting of the status of women. Cheers and wild applause erupted when the agreement was announced in the UN Headquarters late on Friday.

Michelle Bachelet, UN women's Executive Director, said it was a "historic" meeting.

Right after it was announced that Bachelet would leave her post to return to Chile.

"People around the world expect action, and we do not fail.

Yes — we did it, "said Bachelet.

EU cautious on Syria arming rebels

Brussels the European Union top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, urged caution on Saturday on a proposal by Britain and France to the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al Assad regime to arm themselves.

"We have to work through, very carefully the best insight that we can what the consequences would be," she said, the day after the EU wrapped in a top without agreement on easing an arms embargo for arms shipments to the rebels. "Any decision to lift an arms embargo, you should consider the consequences of that in a number of different ways," Ashton said in response to a question on the Forum of Brussels, an annual Conference on transatlantic relations.

"It would make more weapons in the field bring more or less likely that others will do the same? What would be the answer of Assad, based on what we know about his answer so far? It would stop people be killed or would it kill people faster? ", she asked.

London and Paris have to EU diplomacy on Syria shocked by pressing for the linear arms embargo be amended to the arm of the Syrian rebels in a bid to balance their advantage in the two-year-old rebellion against the Assad regime tip. (AFP)

Goede stap, maar een beetje te snel, zeggen handelaren

TRIBUNE NIEUWSNETWERK

DOHA commerciële vestigingen in woonwijken zal moeten gaan, heeft het ministerie van bedrijfsleven en de handel (MBT) besloten.

In leken termen, zal het niet lang duren voordat uw hoek supermarkt-dezelfde plek die huis-levert uw bestelling op elk welke uur-is gerangeerd uit de buurt.

Waarom? Ter verbetering van het verkeer scenario in het land, zo zegt het ministerie.

Als een eerste stap naar dit doel, is de MBT gestopt tot verlenging van de vergunningen voor commerciële vestigingen in woonwijken, leidde tot protest door de handelaar Gemeenschap.

Hoewel niet tegen het besluit helemaal niet, zakenlieden zeggen dat het besluit, in het beste geval voorbarig, als gevolg van het ontbreken van haalbare alternatieven is.

Ook, het zou zeer moeilijk om te beginnen vanaf nul, ze zeggen.

Midden-Oosten Co voorzitter Mohammed bin Yousef Kawari was van mening dat bedrijven niet verkeer belemmeren of ongemak veroorzaken.

"Op de meeste villa's hebben omgevormd tot zakelijke inrichtingen, er is geen verkeerscongestie, aangezien deze inrichtingen zich op de belangrijkste straten en niet binnen buurten bevinden." Kawari toegevoegd dat huidige alternatieven duur zijn en niet is voor veel bedrijven geschikt doen, erop wijzend dat het MBT besluit worden heroverwogen moet, met name gezien het belang van kleine bedrijven in aanmerking als deze negatief zal worden beïnvloed door het besluit. Hij benadrukte dat redelijke alternatieven tegen redelijke prijzen moeten worden opgegeven voordat de uitvoering van het decreet.

New Women’s Hospital to have more specialities

LANI ROSE R DIZON

DOHA de Hamad Medical Corporation van (HMC) nieuwe vrouwen ziekenhuis die is gepland te openen in het Hamad Medical City door het einde van 2014 zal bieden meer specialiteit klinieken.

Women's Hospital CEO Dr Nish Patel zei dat de nieuwe Women's Hospital terwijl de bestaande faciliteit richt zich voornamelijk op vrouwen in hun vruchtbare leeftijd, een holistische zorg aan vrouwen van alle leeftijden in Qatar bieden.

Als zodanig, zal de nieuwe faciliteit speciailty klinieken voor vrouwen cardiale zorg, bot gezondheid en andere gezondheidskwesties die vrouwen hebben.

"Vrouwen willen worden behandeld in een vrouwen-omgeving. Dus in het nieuwe ziekenhuis introduceren we nieuwe klinieken die met name vrouwen-georiënteerd. Veel vrouwen hebben ook, naar het buitenland gaan of hun land van herkomst voor behandeling.

We al deze diensten hier met inbegrip van robotica chirurgie bieden,"zei Patel.

Dit zal worden naast alle diensten die momenteel worden aangeboden op de bestaande faciliteit.

Hij zei dat de nieuwe Women's Hospital terwijl de bestaande faciliteit richt zich voornamelijk op vrouwen in hun vruchtbare leeftijd, een holistische zorg aan vrouwen van alle leeftijden in Qatar bieden.

Services set to grow 60% in 2013: GSDP report

ASIF IQBAL

DOHA uit te breiden met 9,6% in 2013, van Qatar niet-koolwaterstof economie speerpunten totale groei en Toon een marginale baat bij de prognose gemaakt eerder, volgens de herziene Qatar economische vooruitzichten uitgebracht door het secretariaat-generaal voor de Planning van de ontwikkeling.

"De groei (niet-koolwaterstof) zal push reële bruto binnenlands product tot 4,8 procent van de eerdere prognose van 4,5 procent helpen," aldus het rapport.

Het wees erop dat tegen het einde van 2013, dienstensector naar verwachting bijdragen meer dan 60 procent van de totale groei in de economie van Qatar en zijn aandeel in het totale BBP zou zijn gestegen tot 32,5% van de verwachte 31,1%.

Ook het verslag opgemerkt dat het aandeel van de industrie-productie, bouw en utilities-in de totale productie ook is blijven stijgen in 2013 tot 19,8 procent, van een geprojecteerde 18,9 procent in 2012.

Volgens het verslag output in de olie- en gassector, echter, verlaagt na jarenlange prestaties, blaarvorming rand, zoals opbrengst van rijping olievelden afnemen en gas liggende activiteit verricht verzadigde beschikbare verwerkingscapaciteit vetzuren.

Met betrekking tot de inflatie van de consumptieprijzen, het verslag opgemerkt dat inflatie te intensiveren n 2013, met een toenemende bevolking maken druk op eigenschap huur wordt verwacht, maar het moet ingeperkt op ongeveer 3,5 procent.

Het verslag van de economische vooruitzichten van Qatar zei verder dat de grote schommel factor in de voorspellingen van de inflatie van de consumptieprijzen voor de periode 2013 is waarschijnlijk residentiële huurprijzen. "Door oktober 2012, de huur index had al beklommen door 2,2 procent van de dieptepunten in mei en juni," het rapport toegevoegd.

15 schools take part in WCMCQ contest

JOMNANA ABU-FARAH

DOHA FIFTEEN middle schools participated in a series of fun and educational games in the health and physical fitness contest titled ‘The Challenge’, which was organised by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ) at Aspire Zone on Saturday.

The participating schools had been selected by the Supreme Education Council.

Besides the physical contests, the participating teams also held an exhibition of about 200 posters they had created on healthy eating, smoking and road safety.

Launched as part of the five-year campaign titled ‘Your Health First (YHF)’ in June 2012, the Challenge is set to become an annual event in Qatar’s academic calendar and aims at promoting healthy living in Qatar.

The goal of the Challenge as stated by organisers is to inspire young people and their families to embrace the opportunity to learn more about a healthy lifestyle to build a strong and healthy future generation.

“The five-year YHF campaign primarily aims to educate both Qatari and expatriate communities, especially the youth, about healthy lifestyles. And the Challenge, a programme of WCMC-Q, aims to encourage school children and the youth to opt for healthy lifestyles, which is a must for sustainable development of the nation,” stated, Minister of Public Health and Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) HE Abdullah bin Khalid al Qahtani.

HE the Minister also lauded the partnership and cooperation between private and public sectors in Qatar in this regard, as embodied in the YHF initiative for the benefit of the community.

Dr Sallam Sharab from SCH’s Health Education wing remarked, “Today we have reached the last day of the first year of the YHF campaign.

The Challenge is an easy way to engage the public and spread our message. In these five years of YHF, we are trying to engage as many schools as we can. We are moving in the right direction”, he stated.

Dean of WCMC-Q Dr Javaid Sheikh said, “This has truly been an inspiring event.

The Challenge is about educating our young people and their families about the facts pertaining to a healthy lifestyle in an enjoyable way.

Today there has been lots of laughter, lots of fun and lots of exercise and at the same time every participating student learned a little more about the importance of staying healthy. I hope that this message will spread across Qatar so we can help create a healthy population able to contribute to a knowledgebased economy.” The YHF campaign is organised by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in partnership with Supreme Council of Health, Supreme Education Council, Qatar Petroleum, Oxy, ExxonMobil and Vodafone.

The winner of the boys’ event at the Challenge was AbuBakr Assedeeq Preparatory School while International School of Choueifat bagged the award in girls’ category. Each member of the winning teams received iPad minis courtesy Vodafone Qatar, which provided all the prizes for The Challenge.

MUZIKALE MOM

AILYN AGONIA

DOHA one of the most common stereotypes in relation to Filipinos is their strong love for music and great musical abilities. It is not uncommon to break them in song and dance for no reason.

So it should come as no big surprise that every successful entertainment scene in the world Filipinos among the ranks.

Johanne Kaye Romero McLeod is one among the various prominent Filipino artists to have caught the hearts of her kabayans and members of other communities, in Qatar.

The petite beauty exposure is not limited to performing for the community. Not only is she a popular performer on other places including different hotel gigs, but also often invited to perform for our military at Camp Assayliyah.

"Music is a way of life among Filipinos.

It is certainly part of their culture. The musicality of Filipino people is very well documented in old books, as well as the current media. We have music for all kinds of emotions and situations, "she said.

The mother of three, who is expecting her fourth child, has no good musical training but with such a gift of powerful voice that she refined over the years was born. Johanne the father, also a singer and guitarist, was the one of who they drew inspiration to put music and satisfy her deep love for the art.

"I can miss a meal, but not a day will pass without me singing or humming or hear at least one number! I even have a song for every last word that comes from the mouth of my husband! He finds that very funny and he calls me a walking jukebox! "Johanne said about her personal relationship with music.

Johanne has performed in different parts of the Philippines with her first professional band called Bon Ami then later with other ensembles that took her to Malaysia, Singapore and then brought her to Qatar where she performed at the Ramada Hotel, Radisson Blu, now under a contract for six months. That was when.

After getting married in 2006, Johanne flew back to Doha and her career.

In 2007, she performed with a Filipino theater group called the Tanghalang overseas Pinoy in a play titled The rhythms of Broadway. Since then she has run in other locations and events. She was a part of a Philippine group called Fahrenhayt Band and later joined Zyklone band that her even more popular in the local entertainment scene.

' I usually carried out on company events and Philippine concerts. I also had the privilege to perform for charities and Government events such as the celebration of the Philippine independence and think pink Qatar the annual walk for cancer. I am proud of the US Army at Camp Assayliyah on several occasions have entertained. I am proud because my husband, William McLeod is a former American soldiers and I felt very honored to sing and perform for these heroes and heroines, "said Johanne.

At the height of her musical career in Qatar in 2008, most popular bands w e r e those Americans, consisting of England, Scotland and Bulgarian nationals.

Johanne de band was one of the few Philippine groups back then that were able to compete in popularity with these groups.

"Filipino bands are very popular in Doha and everywhere else in the world. I think it's because of our versatility.

Musicality is already a given! Filipino bands are very good at adjusting and tuning of their actions to the will of the public. I amproud to say that we can entertain anybody with ears and eyes! "she said.

Johanne balances her love for music with a mother, a wife and an entrepreneur.

She said: "when not on stage present at my two teenagers, a toddler and another one is on the way (she's seven months in her fourth pregnancy) and my loving and very supportive man, keep me busy. I am very blessed to have the full support of my family! Management of our existing businesses and set up a new project are also priorities. I feel very accomplished pretty much all in singing and performing part of my life. The one thing I would really like to do is to write my own lyrics! "She said.

Al Jazeera forum calls for more press freedom in the Arab world

IHSAN YOUSSEF

DOHA-PRE-FORUM workshops and symposia leading up to the seventh Al Jazeera Forum began on Saturday with a focus on the protection of journalists and media freedom.

The seventh Al Jazeera Forum will be held under the theme ' Arab world in transition: challenges and opportunities with a highlight on the Syrian crisis and the issues of responsibility of journalists and media.

Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Egyptian information Minister Salah Abdulmaqsood pointed out the reality of the media in the light of the current changes in the Arab world.

He said: "the Egyptian revolution has an unprecedented level of media freedoms in the country." He pointed out that the most important consequences of the popular revolution in Egypt was a boost to media freedoms, leading to the creation of 59 newspapers after the revolution along with dozens of private channels by Egyptian or Arab investors led.

The Government spokesman Mustafa al Khalafi and Moroccan communication Minister noted that the Morocco Constitution guarantees that the freedom of the press will not be subject to censorship.

He shed light on a government mechanism, that media freedom and responsibility under the umbrella of constitutional framework would combine. The Minister for the formation of an audio visual communication authority as examples.

Speakers at the session titled ' ensure professional standards, ethics and rules in a changing environment ' outlined how to regulate the activities of private companies if there are germs of television channels in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fawzi Beshra, consultant of quality control and editorial standards management on Al Jazeera network, said: "prior to the rise of the Arab spring, media used to be controlled by the authorities.

Governments used to the activities of all media institutions. At that time there was harmony between media and authorities. " He noted that the recent independence of the media by the Government has promoted objective analysis and reporting of political actions by the media.

He stresses that free media only in democratic communities can flourish, citing examples of the spring of the Arab countries.

"Free media is an automatic production of free political environment.

Media is a common expression that should not be controlled by the Government, "he said.

The program will continue on Sunday with a session that is held under the theme ' Rising powers ' with Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, former Iranian Minister of culture and Islamic guidance Ata'ollah Mohajerani, Turkish member of Parliament and former senior Erdogan Adviser Bob Isler and Egyptian Liberal leader Ayman Nour.

The role of new and emerging powers will the highlight of the discussion during the all day seminar organised by the Al Jazeera Center for Studies.

The challenges for some countries after the Arab spring will be discussed.

Three students of Georgetown awarded QF research grants

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK

DOHA three students at the Georgetown University School of foreign service in Qatar (SFSQ) have gotten two Undergraduate Research experience program (UREP) grants by Qatar Foundation (QF) Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), in support of research projects in the national needs of Qatar.

These students and their faculty mentors are part of growing two SFSQ Georgetown Community that deal with high-quality, innovative research that academic tools and concepts to understand the real world situations applies.

"Using social media to judge of Qatar as a brand"-one of the first studies of its kind-is the title of Danah Dehdary research proposal. DANAH UREP-one of the three students-works with Economist Alexis Antoniades, Assistant professor at SFSQ, to investigate how Qatar is experienced in social media. The research will use a massive data set of all Twitter tweets from all over the world over a period of 365 days.

"Our students have a large amount of talent and our faculty encourages a think-outside-the-box approach to issues relevant to Qatar and the future. DANAH the UREP project is an example of our students and faculty to work together creatively to explore important issues ", John Crist, Director of research on SFSQ, said.

DANAH the study will help to assess and evaluate Qatar's image as a brand, such as social media play an increasingly important role in the brand awareness and perception plays.

In addition to building brands, offer social media such as Facebook and Twitter, a platform for people to communicate, share information and discuss.

' Understanding the construction of Qatar society: Subjectivity in the twenty-first century ', is another UREP-grant research project carried out by Fahad Alkhater and Emilio Eibenschutz. The two students will work with anthropologist Rogaia Abusharaf, associate professor at SFSQ, to go from Qatar residents sense of identity and social conditions effect on the social development of Qatar.

Intended to look at the cultural evolution of Qatar and heritage, the project will focus on modern Qatar, its national policy, economic openness, regional branding, and more.

The two students plan the Qatar's Heritage Library, theoretical literature, ethnographic, anthropological data tools and interviews use to make a qualitative academic work on the construction of modern Qatari society in the 21st century.

Abusharaf will also serve as a mentor to another attributed project, a collaboration with the University of Qatar called "Collection and encoding of popular myths and folk tales in the Qatari popular culture." A first of its kind in the region, the project is a pioneering attempt to observe the popular myths and folk tales to animals, birds, and mythical creatures found in Qatar related heritage.

Together with nine University students working on the project, Qatar will Abusharaf are part of a team of Qatar University by Dr. Kaltham al Ghanim, Associate Professor of sociology and of the project primary researcher and Qatar University Fatima al Kubaisi, Assistant professor of sociology.

"The kind of learning-bydoing which enables, by UREP this on high level research projects where students work with experienced professors together, is a valuable extension of Georgetown of undergraduate curriculum, which generally focused on integrating research and learning", Gerd Nonneman, Dean of the SFSQ, said. "By supporting such original projects, offers our students a wonderful opportunity that perfectly UREP at Georgetown mission fits of holistic education that human capital for a purposeful life builds. I am particularly pleased that one of the prices further cooperation between faculty on SFSQ and faculty and students at the University of Qatar will promote, "Nagle added.

POPULARITY OF QATAR KITCHEN ENDURES

RAMY SALAMA

DOHA while Qatar is now home to restaurants with cuisine from all over the world, and known food chain outlets of every description, traditional dishes are still the most common food with meals in the majority of the Qatari houses eaten.

A growing number of visitors and residents of the country have shown interest in this cuisine, sampling and they can do on local food chains including Afghan Brothers and on many different outlets in Souq Waqif, although some may insist that these local dishes are at their best when they are home-made.

In a part of the Souq, an empty Court filled with women in traditional clothes, many of them make it flat bread called khubz rgag, particularly popular with tourists, among several other dishes. Walking along the main street of Souq Waqif, there are three different stores that sell a variety of traditional dishes. We spoke with patrons on these restaurants to get a deeper understanding of Qatar kitchen.

Abdulrahman Abdullah, a Qatari youth sat with a meal with his two friends at um's Abdulrahman traditional restaurant in Souq Waqif. He had balaleet, which he described as "a sweet dish noodles made with eggs and flavored with cardamom.

"It is one of the many varied traditional cuisine we eat, and although it can be eaten in the afternoon is common as a breakfast dish in the morning when it has a sweet taste and may be associated with tea or karak.

"Khubz rgag, a flat, crispy bread that you may have seen is made on the other side of the Souq, but the way they prepare it now, with eggs and cheese and so on, species is an innovation, a new recipe that they are using now. Originally was made with Broth, and was eaten with thereed, a stew of meat, "he said Abdulrahman went to describe other common dishes, add" another example is margooga, in which vegetables and meat or chicken, and while the dough is made, is added to it.

Margooga is most often eaten when it is cold, as it has the effect you warm up.

"Aseeda is another popular dish, made from a Cooked wheat flour lump of dough, and can also be considered a dessert kind of food. They make this by heating flour, and once it starts to change color, darker, they add figs, and mix it with water. They then Add onion and eggs, and that's aseeda! A dessert which is also common in many countries in the Gulf is is khanfaroosh, prepared from a mixture of flour, egg, sugar, yeast, cardamom, saffron and rose water.

These are examples of dishes that long ago in Qatar were eaten, and that remain popular to this day. " Mohammed Rashid, another pattern, mentioned some more dishes, saying: "Qatar is close to the sea, the Arabian Gulf, so fresh fish and seafood are used in many dishes in this snapper, which are often served with seasoned rice, crab and shrimp.

"Meat dishes are usually based on lamb and mutton. Perhaps the most famous traditional dish machbous,, consists of spicy lamb and rice and is traditionally served by a large dish, from which each person a portion would take.

"Harees is another popular lamb dish, which is made with slow-cooked wheat and tender lamb and sometimes also seafood and eaten with seasoned rice.

Actually, some people don't like to do this meal because it takes a long time to cook! "Qatar's kitchen also includes many dessert dishes such as bhabees, which is prepared with the help of semolina, rose water, cardomom, saffron, nuts and dates, as well as aseeda.

"Lugaimat are dumplings, scented with cardamom and saffron. Some people may also adding milk, and the dumplings are then deep fried in oil and sweetened with honey or sugar syrup. Desserts are typically served accompanied by a cup of Arabic coffee. " Mohammed added that "traditional Qatari people do not eat large meals in the morning and evening and they would be the most important meal of the day would have somewhere in the afternoon, although this habit can change now, and many families have their main meal in the evening.

"Breakfast in Qatar normal early breakfast is eaten, and originally also can be a full meal, as they have in the West the most important meal of the day, and for the same reason, say – to energy throughout the day. Breakfast can contain milk, coffee or tea, olives, bread, cheese, eggs, or yogurt and dishes such as balaleet. Hummos is popular these days, although traditional Qataris Eva s, which is like Hummos, but without Tahina would eat.

"The Friday afternoon meal after the prayers is the week main family gathering, for many families. Qatari people take great pride in their hospitality, which perhaps reflects their Bedouin heritage, and food and drinks are of course important parts of this. So much so, that some people are offended if guests turn down food and drinks could be offered. " Nasser Khalifa, a middle-aged man who also was having a meal in um Abdulrahman eatery, mentioned some more dishes, saying that "madhrooba is also a popular food, it is made with rice, vegetables and chicken stew.

"Dates are an important staple food in Qatar and can be eaten at any time of the day. It is traditionally served for the guests, as a sign of hospitality. The date is despite the sweetness, full of vitamins and a good source of energy. Dates are considered especially important during Ramadan, and will be eaten in the breaking of the fast.

"Rice is also considered a staple food, and is used in madhrooba among many other dishes, machbous. Camel meat and camel milk for came at some point, but these days are not particularly easy to obtain. Too bad, because camel meat is probably one of the most beautiful kinds of meat, and low in fat. Young camel in particular was, and to an extent, still is considered a delicacy. " Nasser has some interesting points about Qatri cuisine in General, stating that "for the discovery of oil you not a big selection of dishes in the typical Qatari meal would find, but this is no longer the case. There are a number of dishes in our kitchen that is similar to Indian food, and in fact you can actually order biryani here on um Abdulrahman.

"The Gulf States traded with India for hundreds of years, so a number of spices and cooking techniques from India affected our food here. Traditionally, Qataris eat with their hands, the right hand, or they a piece of bread used for bragging, say, a serving machbous, although flatware now quite common as well. This is just one example of how, maybe not the food itself, but eating traditions around here have changed. "

Boeing selects GE as sole engine partner for 777s

REUTERS

NEW YORK

BOEING on Friday chose General Electric Co as its sole engine partner for the forthcoming 777X, indicating that the US aircraft maker was going ahead with the next generation of its most profitable plane.

“This decision to work with GE going forward reflects the best match to the development program, schedule and airplane performance,” Bob Feldmann, the vice president and general manager of 777X development, said in a statement.

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney had supplied engines for early versions of the 777, but GE was picked as sole supplier for the longer-range versions of the aircraft that went into service in the mid-2000s.

The wide-body 777 is one of the most successful jets of all time in terms of sales, and airlines are eager for a version that can go farther on less fuel with more passengers.

“We are aggressively moving forward on our (development) plan and will continue to refine requirements with customers,” Feldmann said.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said, “This decision simply maintains the existing situation in the widebody market in which we are the market leader with over 50% share.

We are confident that the proposal we put forward was extremely competitive.” Rolls-Royce is the sole engine supplier for the Airbus A350-1000, which will compete with the future revamped 400-seat version of the 777, Boeing’s best-selling long-range jet.

The next steps for the 777X would include approval from Boeing’s board for offering the plane to customers and launching it as a committed airplane programme. The planes are expected to enter service at the end of the decade. However, at least one major Boeing customer, aircraft leasing company International Lease Finance Corp, has urged the company not to rush into development of a new 777 model, saying the current 365-seat 777- 300ER would work well into the next decade.

The leasing company noted that Boeing in any case had its hand full resolving the crisis related to the grounding of its 787 Dreamliners jets.

Regulators grounded Dreamliners worldwide in January after a battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines Co 787 jet at Boston’s Logan airport and a battery melted on an All Nippon Airways Co flight in Japan.

Boeing said on Friday that Dreamliner jets could be airborne within weeks using a new battery system that includes safeguards against overheating, a prediction that drew skepticism from some regulators and industry experts.

Boeing’s shares closed at $86.43, while GE’s stock closed at $23.44, on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Toyota to recall 310,000 FJ Cruiser on seatbelt issue

REUTERS

TOKYO

TOYOTA Motor Corp is recalling 310,000 of its FJ Cruiser sports utility vehicles worldwide because the seatbelt anchor could become detached through wear, the company said on Friday.

Two-thirds of the vehicles to be recalled are in the United States. The affected FJ Cruisers are from model years 2007 to 2013, Toyota said.

No accidents or injuries have been reported due to the problem, Toyota said.

“The seatbelt retractors for the driver and front passenger seat belts are mounted on the rear doors of the vehicles,” Toyota said in a press statement. “Due to insufficient strength of the rear door panel, cracks may develop over an extended period of time if the rear door is repeatedly and forcefully closed.” This may cause the seatbelts to become unanchored.

Letters to owners of FJ Cruisers are to be sent soon, after the automaker comes up with a remedy to the problem, Toyota said.

Of the recalled vehicles, there are 209,000 in the United States; 52,000 in the Middle East; 16,000 in Canada; 13,000 in South America and Central America; 7,000 in Oceania; 5,000 in China; and 3,000 in Africa.

Sony closes $1.1 billion US headquarters sale deal

REUTERS

NEW YORK

JAPAN’S Sony Corp on Friday completed the sale of its US headquarters for $1.1 billion to a group led by real estate developer the Chetrit Group, three sources familiar with the deal said.

SL Green Realty Corp initially provided the full $925 million in loan financing for the deal for up to three years, depending on how long Sony remains a tenant in the building, one source said.

However, Bank of China Ltd stepped up and agreed to take $600 million of the total debt financing in the form of a senior loan, the sources said.

Of the remaining $325 million in debt financing, a $175 million junior tranche was sold by SL Green to a Performing Debt Fund managed by Apollo Global Management LLC, one of the sources said. That amount can be increased to $250 million, the three sources added.

SL Green took the two most junior tranches and might eventually sell one to the performing debt fund or someone else, a source said.

Sony is shedding non-core assets as it seeks to regain ground against rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and bounce back from four consecutive years of net losses. The Sony building, located in Manhattan’s pricey “Plaza District,” is about 820,000 square feet, making the cost roughly $1,341 per square foot. Some of that footage includes retail space that commands higher rents.

The price was the highest paid for a single US office building since Google Inc bought 111 Eighth Ave in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood for $1.8 billion, or roughly $620 per square foot, at the end of 2010.

Apple under pressure to enter low-end smartphone market

REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO

SAMSUNG’S newest, featurepacked Galaxy S4 may put pressure on Apple Inc to accelerate its pace of smartphone design and venture into cheaper devices - both departures from usual practice.

The latest Galaxy, unwrapped with much fanfare in New York on Thursday, out-does the iPhone in most technical aspects. But the challenges it encapsulates run deeper than just a simple specifications comparison.

“It would be overstatement to say Apple is far behind,” Charles Golvin, analyst with Forrester, said, but it does need to note the quickening pace of competitive devices being released.

“If anything, what Apple needs to respond to is the cadence of their own releases, probably a completely new design every two years and a sort of speed bump every year is not an adequate cadence for Apple to remain at the forefront of smartphone innovation today.” Samsung’s apparent ability to go toe-to-toe with Apple on cutting-edge smartphones may prompt the US titan to finally make its own assault on the lower-end of the market that it has famously stayed away from — not least to get into untapped markets like China and India.

Many analysts now say Apple has to respond in force to Samsung and other rivals that are grabbing attention.

Much of Wall Street is now looking ahead to the next iPhone, but expectations are muted. Once the darling of Wall Street, Apple has in six months seen its shares fall 30 percent from a high of $705.

Its Maps software was panned for inaccuracies; its once-reliable financial results, that rarely failed to surpass Wall Street estimates, missed analysts’ expectations.

Apple appears stuck in an iPhone product cycle, with a new phone typically launched in the second half. In past years, the iPhone has gotten a complete redesign only every two years.

Brian White, analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, who views the Samsung Galaxy S4 as a refresh and “not a game changer,” said smartphone technology is now improving so fast that timetables put Apple at a disadvantage.

More importantly, White said, Apple needs to broaden its portfolio and play in more smartphone categories as the high-end market could soon be saturated, and get into new categories such as the oftrumoured television or a smart watch.

“They have all the components of the magic potion, which is the hardware-software ecosystem,” he said. “All they need to do is take that potion and put it in a different segment of the iPhone market.” While many on Wall Street believe the quickest way to penetrate fast-growing markets like India and China is a cheaper iPhone, the risk is that a cheap iPhone would cannibalise demand for the premium version and eat into Apple’s peerless margins.

Apple’s vice-like grip on its ecosystem - with the closely managed app store and its seamless integration with the hardware - is still seen as its biggest strength, one that Samsung is trying to emulate with a larger investment in software and connectivity.

The Korean giant is also emphasising its own mobile “Samsung Hub” rather than the Google Play store that most other Android adopters point to.

The iPhone has seen its sales increase to 125 million in fiscal 2012 from 40 million in fiscal 2010. But in 2012, Samsung became the No.1 in the global smartphone market with 30.3 percent share followed by Apple with 19 percent share.

Samsung’s rapid rise is partly helped by the fact that it bombards the market with close to 40 versions tweaked for regional and consumer tastes, from high-end to cheaper models.Samsung’s momentum is a major issue for Apple, Ben Reitzes, analyst with Barclays, who is expecting Apple to launch a lower-end iPhone globally this summer.

Apple declined to comment on Friday. But a day before Samsung’s launch, marketing chief Phil Schiller attacked Google’s Android operating system, saying that the majority of its users were stuck on older versions. He also said Apple’s internal research showed four times as many consumers were switching to iOS from Android than vice versa.

Boeing boosted CEO McNerney’s 2012 pay 15% to $21.1mn

AP

WASHINGTON

BOEING CEO Jim McNerney’s compensation rose 15 percent last year to $21.1 million as the company rewarded him for better-thanexpected profits and faster airplane production.

McNerney’s pay was disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday and analysed by The Associated Press. It covered 2012, before battery problems emerged with Boeing’s new 787 that have grounded the plane for two months and counting.

Other reasons cited by the company for the CEO’s pay raise included more orders and deliveries of Boeing’s 737 and 777 and cost-cutting efforts in Boeing’s defense business.

McNerney’s stock and option awards both rose 10 percent from 2011. His incentive- based cash bonus jumped 24 percent because Boeing’s profits were higher in 2010 through 2012 than the target set by its directors.

His base pay was unchanged at $1.9 million. McNerney, 63, is also Boeing’s chairman and president. US-based Boeing Co posted a 2012 profit of $3.9 billion, down 3 percent from 2011. Revenue rose 19 percent to $81.7 billion. Growth in its commercial airplanes business has been offsetting shrinking demand for its military wares.

The filing covered 2012, when Boeing was speeding production of its new 787 Dreamliner. The plane was grounded in mid-January after two battery issues, including a fire in a plane on the ground in the US Boeing is testing a fix that, if approved, would get the planes flying again.

Boeing shares rose 2.7 percent during the year, to finish at $75.36. On Friday they rose $1.81, or 2.1 percent, to close at $86.43. It’s been rising in recent weeks as investors have anticipated a fix for the 787 problem.

Boeing’s annual meeting will be April 29 in Chicago.

The AP’s formula is designed to isolate the value the company’s board placed on the executive’s total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, performance-related bonuses, perks, and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. It also includes bonuses and above-market returns on deferred compensation, which McNerney did not receive.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive’s compensation in the previous fiscal year.

Mukesh Ambani to step down from BofA board in May

REUTERS

NEW DELHI

BANK of America Corp said on Friday that Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, will step down from the No 2 US bank’s board of directors at its annual shareholder meeting in May.

Ambani joined Bank of America’s board in March 2011, bringing global experience to a bank known for its US consumer business.

He will take a seat on the bank’s new, non-fiduciary global advisory council made up of 13 business, academic and policy leaders.

Ambani, 55, joins former Morgan Stanley executive Robert Scully in announcing plans to leave Bank of America’s 18-member board this spring. The bank has added six directors since August in anticipation of planned departures, including by board members reaching the traditional retirement age of 72.

The board is undergoing a major overhaul, and has made progress in resolving mortgage-related lawsuits and building capital.

Investors are watching Chief Executive Brian Moynihan to see if he will deliver promised expense cuts and loan growth.

On Thursday, the US Federal Reserve gave the bank permission to buy back $5 billion in common stock and $5.5 billion in preferred shares after approving its capital plan as part of the annual stress test of large banks.

A bank spokesman said Ambani’s departure was a “personal decision.” The Charlotte, North Carolinabased bank has not disclosed who else may leave the board this spring. Three directors are age 71 or older, according to the company’s web site.

The board last experienced a major shift in 2009 when federal regulators pressed the bank to add more directors with financial expertise. If former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Don Powell, 71, departs, only two of the six directors added in 2009 will remain.

The six board members added since August include current and former chief executives in industries ranging from defense to healthcare.

Bank of America’s shares rose 3.8 percent to $12.57 on Friday, a day after the stress test results. The shares are up 8 percent this year.

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