Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cutting my hair for Rush was risky: Neha Dhupia


ACTRESS Neha Dhupia, who let go of her long locks for her role of a career woman in Rush, says it is the biggest risk she has ever taken in her career.

“We thought a lot... whether to do it or not, and took a big risk. As it’s written here (on movie’s poster) Jo aadmi risk nahi leta, uska sab risky ho jaata hai (A person who doesn’t take risks, has a risky life). (So) I think the biggest risk I took was cutting my hair,” the 32-year-old said on Friday in an interview.

But she has no regrets.

“I am missing my hair but glad that people are liking the look. As an actor, it’s very important that you just be able to experiment and to be able to do different things all the time. When I got this character, it had to be effortless and at the same time sexy, and had to be a career woman, so short hair was the way to go,” she added.

Meanwhile, Neha says Emraan Hashmi, who plays a mediaperson in the film, is just the opposite of his on screen image in real life.

“Working with Emraan is fabulous. Whatever I say about him is not enough. He is just the opposite of the kind of image he has on screen. He is a little boy at heart, he is full of fun, he is very mischievous on the sets,” Neha said.

Directed by Priyanka Desai, Rush, releasing on October 24, also features Sagarika Ghatge and Aditya Pancholi.

If I’m satisfied, I’d be creatively dead: Amitabh Bachchan



FORTY-THREE years in showbiz, over 180 films, national and international honours in his kitty and not to forget a huge fan following - Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has achieved a lot, but as an actor he never wants to be satisfied.

“I think every actor would wish there is some challenge that is left. I would consider to be creatively dead if I were to say that I am satisfied now,” Big B said in an interview in his trademark baritone.

“I think no actor should be ever satisfied because there is always something new to do, something fresh to get challenged by... I do hope there are filmmakers who will challenge me, who will create stories and characters that would excite me enough and provoke me to perhaps take up a job; so, as I said, I hope I never get satisfied,” added the megastar who is called a “living legend” thanks to many milestones in his career.

From flops to stardom, from failure to scaling dizzying heights of success again, he has seen both good and bad times.

But he said he doesn’t feel like looking back at his past, and added: “I don’t spend much time looking back at what happened. I do remember it, but I don’t see any purpose of wanting to look back. I should only look back at moments that were disparaging, look down upon, negative for me - moments where I could learn something. And if I have been able to use that learning in future, then I am happy about it.” A human being is on the right track if he or she learns from the bad phases of life, he said.

“I do believe that every human being will have ups and downs and I do believe that if we can learn from the periods when we were down, then we are on the right track.

“I would not want to change anything if I had to live another life. I would want the negatives to be there, I would want the downs to be there, because if everything is going to be good for you, then why are you here? You might as well be in heaven. There is some reason why we are here and this is what we all believe in,” he said philosophically.

He wants to face “those obstacles because they taught me what I should be doing or how I should be conducting myself”.

“If I haven’t had all those obstacles, I would have never learnt all that. I feel blessed that I had downs in my life because they were actually lessons for me.” From Zanjeer to Deewar, Sholay to Shakti, he has playd larger-than-life characters on screen in his career, but says no role is big enough or too small.

“They are all tough roles. Every day is a test for me. It’s an examination.

No role is small enough, no role is big enough - they are all equal examinations...this is how I look at it.

“Whether it is a guest role, whether it’s a passing role or a leading role - I always feel that there is a huge amount of concentration, work and the thinking process going into it. I treat each role with the same amount of equality,” said Amitabh.

Recently he turned 70 and is wowing his fan as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati 6. He doesn’t seem to have any plans to hang up his boots in the near future.

Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel marry in Italy


HOLLYWOOD couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have married in southern Italy, People magazine said on Friday.

“It’s great to be married, the ceremony was beautiful and it was so special to be surrounded by our family and friends,” the couple told the US celebrity magazine in an exclusive statement.

People said it would carry full details of the wedding, including exclusive photos, in next week’s edition.

Sexy Back singer and actor Timberlake, 31, and Total Recall actress Biel, 30, have been dating on and off since 2007. They announced their engagement at the beginning of 2012, and carefully shielded the details of their nuptials from the public.

The pair have been in southern Italy for much of the week, partying with friends and wedding guests on a beach before exchanging vows. It was not immediately clear on which day the ceremony took place.

Timberlake has previously had high-profile relationships with pop singer Britney Spears and actress Cameron Diaz.

Tennessee native Timberlake, who rose to fame in the boy band N’Sync, forged a successful solo music career before moving into films. He played Napster founder, Sean Parker, in the Oscar-nominated Facebook film, The Social Network and more recently starred alongside Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood in Trouble With The Curve.

Biel, who was born in Minnesota, started her career on US television in the long-running family drama 7th Heaven. She broke into movies with a starring role in the 2003 remake of horror flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre and has since been seen in The A-Team and New Year’s Eve.

Jim Sturgess straddles the many worlds of Cloud Atlas



JIM Sturgess can – and does – rattle off the reasons why he had to participate in Cloud Atlas, an ambitious sci-fi epic that bounces from the past to the present to the future, explores the connectivity of life and boasts three directors and an all-star cast. Andy and Lana Wachowski, along with Tom Tykwer, directed the adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name, while the onscreen talent is an international Who’s Who that, besides Sturgess, also includes Doona Bae, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and Zhou Xun, most of whom play several roles.

“I love the idea of your legacy, what it is that you choose to put out into this world in the short amount of time you have here, and how important every decision you make is, whether it’s good or bad,” Sturgess says. “Everything sort of floats around on this Earth, and it doesn’t disappear. Your energy and what you do just doesn’t go away.

Those are the basic themes.

“Also, this was just such a highly ambitious project and a chance to work with three directors, Andy, Lana and Tom,” Sturgess continues.

“That’s something that had never really been done before, or not quite like this. I knew that Tom Hanks and Halle Berry and all these other incredible people were going to be joining this insane exploration.

“So, before I even read it, I knew I wanted to do it,” he says. “Just out of the pure nature of what it was and what it could be, I wanted to do it.” Sturgess, a 31-year-old Brit, is best known for his performances in Across the Universe (2007), 21 (2008) and One Day (2011). He appears in Cloud Atlas in each of its six stories, spanning past, present and future, playing a total of four roles. Two of them, Adam Ewing in the past and Hae-Joo Chang in the future, are lead parts.

“I was really blessed, really, because I felt my story line was about love and about kindness,” Sturgess says, speaking by telephone from his home in London.

“It’s about doing something for somebody else, for the greater good of mankind, the greater good of the future, the greater good of life itself.

“Adam is a young lawyer who, almost by accident, helps save a young slave and, by doing that selfless act, it perpetuates into the beginnings of people standing up against something as abominable as slavery,” the actor continues.

“Adam is very unaware of what it is that he’s doing. He has no concept of what sort of marks he might be making on the future to come. He’s just doing it because of an innate feeling, because his makeup and DNA just know right from wrong, even at a time when everybody thought that black people were on a lower social level than white people.

“Adam felt, deep in his soul, that something was not right about that,” he says. “It didn’t ring true to him or feel right.” Ewing’s soul then develops into Hae-Joo Chang, who appears in the future, where he tackles pretty much the same issues Ewing faced.

“The problems of the past have evolved into the problems of the future,” Sturgess says, “and now the problems of slavery are coming from fabricated, genetically engineered people. So the problem is the same as many years ago, but it’s evolved with time, as the people have.

“Hae-Joo Chang, though, is very much aware of the impact that he’ll make,” the actor continues. “That’s why he’s doing what he’s doing.

He’s trying to save this fabricated slave, and he’s very aware of what his mark will be in the future.” There were multiple characters for everyone involved in Cloud Atlas, and also multiple occupants of the director’s chair. Sturgess estimates that 98 percent of the scenes in his two main story lines were directed by the Wachowskis, the masterminds behind The Matrix (1999) and its two sequels.

However, he reports that several other actors bounced back and forth between Wachowski-led sets and Tykwer-run ones.

“They had their days and we had our days,” Sturgess recalls, laughing.

“We’d sort of visit theirs and see what they were doing over on their side. Then we’d have a day on Tom’s set and, for me, I’d be much more of a guest player than a main character. I had a lot of fun with that.

“It was like a madhouse,” he says.

“You had all these people in different make-ups. You’d see Halle Berry dressed as an old Korean man or you’d walk past Hugo Weaving and he’d be dressed as a female nurse. You just never knew what you were going to come across each day.” Though Warner Bros will release Cloud Atlas, most of the film was financed utilising other resources, thereby making the $100 million production the most expensive indie feature ever made. However it got made, though, Sturgess hopes that Cloud Atlas will not be the last of its kind.

“I’m such a fan of cinema and I’m such a fan of films,” he says. “I love beautiful, interesting, complex story lines. I just hope that people really come and support the film for that reason, because it’s getting harder and harder to get films like this made. Anybody who actually gets something like this up on the screen has gone through a battlefield.

“I really hope that people support this one,” Sturgess concludes, “because more films like it have to get made. Otherwise it’ll just be a string of superhero films, one after the other, and it’ll all pretty much start sounding and looking the same after awhile.”

France plans to build 10 stadiums for Euro 2016


PARIS TEN stadiums, one more than required, will be ready for the European Championship in 2016, says French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet.

French organisers need a minimum of nine stadiums for the tournament, which will be expanded from 16 teams to 24.

Eight are on track to be refurbished by late 2014 or June 2015, and Le Graet is confident Lens will fully renovate its existing stadium and Lyon will successfully build a gleaming new one in time.

“We’re on track, even if one or two stadiums are a bit behind,” Le Graet said on Tuesday at a tournament planning meeting in Paris.

“Everything will be ready within the deadlines set by UEFA.” Seven-time French champion Lyon is moving out of the 41,000-seat Stade Gerland to the 58,000-seat Stade des Lumieres. Planning permission has been granted and it is expected to be ready for the 2015-16 season at an estimated cost of Ä381 million through private funding.

Stade de France needs only minor improvements, Lille already has moved into its new 50,000-seat stadium, and renovation on Marseille’s new-look 65,000-capacity Stade Velodrome is well under way.

Bordeaux (42,000), Nice (35,000), Saint-Etienne (41,500), Toulouse (33,000) and the Parc des Princes in Paris (45,000) also need extensive renovation to increase capacity. The stadiums in Lens (39,000), Paris and Toulouse are yet to finalise deals for construction work.

French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron said the government will contribute Ä160 million to help stadium renovations.

“We have a challenge ahead,” she said. “The measure of success will be for everyone to feel involved.” Improvements to the Parc des Princes ó home to bigspending Paris Saint-Germain ó will also be privately funded.

The work at Lens, Saint- Etienne and Toulouse will be publicly funded. Funding on the stadiums in Bordeaux, Marseille and Nice will be shared between the public and private sectors.

France has recent experience of hosting major events, including the 2007 Rugby World Cup and football’s 1998 World Cup ó although it missed out to London for the hugely successful 2012 Olympic Games.

UEFA President Michel Platini says his organisation will handle all of the tournament’s financial costs, with the exception of stadium funding and security ó which is the French government’s responsibility in tandem with the FFF.

France last hosted the Euro in 1984, when Platini scored a tournament record nine goals from midfield to lead the home side to the title.

Oman Sail’s teams take top spots in Extreme Sailing


FOUR race wins on the final day were enough to secure Pierre Pennec’s crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild a victory at the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, France, for a second year in a row.

The bigger picture remained highly positive for Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 teams with The Wave, Muscat coming home second and Oman Air third, pushing them to overall first and second, respectively, in the 2012 season championship going into the final and deciding event in Rio de Janeiro on December 6 to 9
Another day of mixed conditions in Act 7 on the Cote d’Azur’s Baie des Anges, saw The Wave, Muscat struggle early on and after two races on Monday, their teammates and chief rivals on Oman Air had taken second place off them.

“It was a pretty tough day, quite windy,” said The Wave Muscat’s Hashim al Rashdi.

“The final race was quite nervous, because it was so tight on points.” In fact going into the last race, The Wave, Muscat still had the opportunity to win the regatta but after a difficult start and with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild leading, this was not to be.

The Wave, Muscat now goes into the final event of the season with a 7.5 point lead over second placed Oman Air.

With Rio counting 1.5 points per position, this means that if Oman Air wins and The Wave, Muscat is sixth, the overall championship will go to Morgan Larson’s team.

Either way, in Rio there is currently a strong chance that The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air can better the result of Chris Draper and Loïck Peyron’s Oman Sail teams in 2009 when they finished first and third respectively. “1-2 - it won’t be easy,” predicts Rashdi. “I have a lot of respect for the other teams and everyone has been competing really hard this season. We need to keep training and be as focused as we have been throughout the year and, inshallah, we get to bring victory back to Oman this year.” If this does comes to pass then Rashdi says that he personally will owe a great deal to his predecessor on board The Wave, Muscat, Khamis al Anbouri. “At the beginning of the year Khamis coached me and I was training with him last year. I am very proud to be able to step into Khamis’ shoes, because he is one of the best sailors in Oman. I promised Khamis to do the best I can. If we win, I will bring the Cup home for him.” The Wave, Muscat skipper Leigh McMillan was realistic about their prospects for winning the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series. “We can’t take our eye off our goal of winning the overall series. To do that we must just try to beat the boat in second and keep extending our lead at every event and that is what we have managed to do so far. But there are still a lot of points to go and we need to be absolutely fired up in Rio to make sure we can pull it out of the bag and win.”

Al Sadd, CBQ join hands for handicapped fans

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA AL SADD Club and Commercialbank of Qatar (CBQ) have joined hands for a special cause – enable the disabled.

The two have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, committing themselves in the Corporate Social Responsibility based activities, headlined by Al Sadd’s initiative for creating a safe and comfortable environment for the physicallychallenged fans.

The MoU was signed by Jassim al Rumaihi, the General Secretary of Al Sadd Sports Club, and Abdulla Saleh al Raisi, Deputy CEO of Commercialbank. This will go a long way into to cater around their needs.

The agreement is expected to enable the disabled fans to integrate sporting events in their social lifestyle smoothly.

Raisi, commenting on the new partnership, said “Commercialbank is very pleased to partner with Al Sadd Sports Club to upgrade their premises to create the first disabled-friendly access club of its kind in Qatar – spreading joy to all members of society equally.” Raisi highlighted the CBQ’s policy: “At Commercialbank, we recognise the necessity of supporting organisations such as Al Sadd Sports Club, who in turn support people with special needs and at the same time enable the bank to actively participate in initiatives which aim to strengthen the community spirit through sports”.

Al Sadd General Secretary Rumaihi appreciated the CBQ’s partnership by saying, “We are honoured to join such a cardinal partnership with Commercialbank.

We have a firm resolve in continuing our support to the ‘Disability Legacy’ programme and striving to be a model club in our community.” Unified efforts between Al Sadd and CBQ will forge a crucial partnership that will uplift and influence social inclusion. “The support of the bank will be directed towards the empowerment for our population coping with the disabilities. The programme allows for the provision of administrative assistants dedicated to the service of the disabled, as well as special access cards, an electronic map for Al Sadd’s ‘blue zone’(that serves the disabled), and “blue mini booklet” meant to educate the community concerning the necessary sign language to communicate to those who have hearingimpairments,” said Rumaihi.

Through this initiative, Commercialbank will become the first organisation in Qatar, devoted to the support of sports fans with special needs. Alongside in leadership is Al Sadd Club, which is to provide the equipment and facilities compatible with international standards set for the disabled. As the process unravels it will formulate the necessary confidence required for the disabled, to attend and fully enjoy all the facilities within the club on an equal basis with others, in all aspects of life.” Rumaihi also remarked, “We believe that sports clubs have an important role in their communities. Forming partnerships within various sectors will grow to serve everyone in the community, as well as raise the awareness bar of social responsibility.” The sponsored programme “Disability Legacy” comes under the umbrella of social responsibility initiatives adopted by Al Sadd Club during the last season that aims to accommodate and facilitate the disabled.

It is worth mentioning that Al Sadd Club is the first sport association in Qatar that joined the United Nations Global Compact and adopted ISO 26000 within their CSR strategy. The second season of Al Sadd CSR programme titled ‘360 Degree Change’ to complete the full impact of positive change on the society.

Radwanska upsets Kvitova in Istanbul


ISTANBUL AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA defeated title-holder Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2 to start round-robin play at the WTA Championships on Tuesday.

Kvitova entered the match with a 25-match winning streak indoors but she was in trouble early, losing the first three games. Although she recovered to tie at 3-all, Radwanska broke serve again and served out the set.

Kvitova dropped her first two service games of the second, and broke back once.

But the former Wimbledon champion was unable to threaten the steadier Radwanska.

It marked only Kvitova’s second loss - and her first in four matches against Radwanska - in 28 indoor matches over two years. She was undefeated in winning the title last year.

In another group roundrobin action, Serena Williams continued her ominous form and crushed young player Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

The 30-year-old American, seeded third, faced some resistance from the fifthseeded German in the first set but she finished the match as a runaway 6-4 6-1 winner.

Ferrero ends career Juan Carlos Ferrero’s singles career drew to an emotional end when he lost 5-7 3-6 to fellow Spaniard and close friend Nicolas Almagro in the Valencia Open first round on Tuesday.

A former world number one who won the French Open in 2003 but was hampered by injuries throughout his career, Ferrero announced last month he would retire after playing his home event.

Sixth seed Almagro, 27, Ferrero’s junior by five years, had too much power and speed for his mentor in an entertaining match in which the pair exchanged smiles and jokes.

The younger man seemed to be suffering from a right shoulder problem late in the second set but shrugged off the injury and sealed victory on his first match point when the unseeded Ferrero netted a return.

The pair embraced at the net and the 32-year-old was given a rousing ovation by the crowd as he fought back tears before flinging his racket, shirt and various other personal items into the stands.

“It’s been a long time since I enjoyed myself so much on a tennis court,” said Ferrero who will join up with singles top seed David Ferrer in the doubles on Wednesday.

“It was an honour to finish my career playing you, I think you are a great champion,” he told Almagro whose coaching staff he will join on a parttime basis next year.

“I simply want to thank everyone for all their support, not just this year but throughout all the years I have played here,” Ferrero told reporters.

“It’s always been a very special tournament for me and this year even more so.” Almagro paid tribute to his friend.

“Maybe it was the most bitter win of my career as a great tennis player is leaving us,” he said.

“I hope he’ll be with me a few weeks (on the tour) next year and I think we’ll have some fun. I still have a lot to learn from him.” Toughest opponent World number five Ferrer, who has already qualified for next month’s season-ending ATP Tour finals in London, battled past Belgian qualifier Olivier Rochus 7-5 7-5.

Ferrero turned professional in 1998 and went on to win 16 titles including the Masters events in Monte Carlo and Rome.

As well as his sole grand slam triumph at Roland Garros, he reached the final there in 2002 and the U.S
Open final in 2003 after which he rose to world number one and stayed there for eight weeks.

Ferrero’s last title came in Stuttgart in 2011 on his favoured clay surface. He has slipped to 161st in the latest singles rankings.

In an interview with As sports daily published on Tuesday, he said it was hard to choose the toughest opponent he had faced but Australian Lleyton Hewitt, another former number one who is competing in Valencia, was one of them.

He added he had learned a lot from retired American Andre Agassi in terms of his attitude on the court, his training regime and his “professionalism”, but Roger Federer was the player who had impressed him most.

“You feel that he can do anything and that you are missing that little bit,” he said of Federer. “He is the only tennis player who has made me feel inferior.” Ferrero played in 17 Davis Cup ties for Spain, compiling an 18-6 record in singles rubbers, and helped them to their first triumph in the competition in 2000 and subsequent victories in 2004 and 2009.

He mentioned he would like to captain Spain’s team one day.

Barzan project important for Qatar’s growth, says RasGas MD

To Explain Their Own Views
IF we are reminded of anything this election season, it is that America is a house divided against itself. The anger and mistrust between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives ...
THE US economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great - it will still take years to restore.



US energy sector fuels jobs growth, says IHS



THE US oil and gas rush is cutting into jobless numbers, supporting a total of 1.7 million jobs this year, a number that will swell to almost 3 million by 2020, a leading consultant said in a study released on Tuesday.

The report by forecaster IHS Global Insight is part of a series attempting to quantify the impact that booming production of so-called “unconventional” oil and gas has had on the American economy.

Using new technology to blast fossil fuels trapped in shale rock has transformed the US energy sector.

After five years of rapid growth, unconventional oil accounts for about 2 million barrels per day of US production in 2012, IHS said. Total US crude oil production is expected to average 6.3 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Unconventional oil will outpace conventionally drilled oil by 2015 and reach close to 4.5 million bpd by 2020, representing close to two-thirds of total US crude and condensate production, IHS said.

“At which point do you stop calling this unconventional?” said John Larson, a vice-president at the firm and lead author of the study, in an interview.

“This is going to become the convention.” Oil, gas and chemical lobby groups helped pay for the study but did not influence its independent, data-driven results, Larson said.

President Barack Obama cited an earlier report in the IHS series on the campaign trail and in a State of the Union address that documented 600,000 jobs created by the natural gas sector.

That natural gas employment estimate has since swelled to 900,000 jobs, Larson said, noting more data is now available about new “plays” where companies are drilling.

By 2020, IHS forecasts about 1.3 million additional jobs in unconventional oil and gas, with the sector contributing more than $416 billion to the economy.

Of the 3 million total jobs, IHS said about 20 percent would come directly from the upstream oil and gas industry, with more than 900,000 people employed by suppliers and about 1.5 million “induced” jobs from spending by workers in the sector.

With 12 million Americans unemployed and about 23 million underemployed, the growth in unconventional oil and gas jobs is helping take some slack out of the

Qtel completes $1.8 billion Wataniya deal



QATAR Telecom (Qtel) said on Tuesday it has completed its $1.8 billion stake hike from 52.5 percent to 92.1 percent in Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications Company (Wataniya), following approval from the regulators.

Following approval from the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority and execution by the Kuwait Stock Exchange, Qtel said in an emailed statement it had increased its stake in the carrier by 39.61 percent by buying 199,649,694 Wataniya shares at KWD2.600 per share in a deal valued at 519.1 million Kuwaiti dinars ($1.8 billion).

Qtel announced the Wataniya deal earlier in the month. Shares in Qtel are trading up 1.1 percent at QR105.90 in a flat market.

NBK Capital advised Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel) on the successful completion of their acquisition of 39.61 percent of Wataniya. The offer was well received by shareholders, bringing Qtel’s ownership to above 92 percent.

NBK Capital leveraged its indepth knowledge of the local market, its unparalleled access to investors and its solid track record in executing high profile transactions in the region. The success of this transaction reaffirms NBK Capital’s position at the top of the M&A league tables.

“This is a landmark transaction that involved working with a number of parties, including regulators and investors. The decision by Qtel to appoint NBK Capital to advise on such a high profile transaction demonstrates confidence in NBK Capital’s capability,” NBK Capital CEO Salah al Fulaij said.

He further added, “Since the CMA was established, Kuwait has seen a number of tender offers, which confirms the country’s status as an attractive destination for doing business and a well-regulated and transparent market” NBK Capital was established in July 2005 as a subsidiary of the National Bank of Kuwait, the oldest and highest-rated bank in the region and one of the 50 safest banks in world.

Qatar second most popular investment hub in MENA



QATAR has maintained its second most popular investment destination status in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Saudi Arabia continues to take the pole position in a latest survey on investor confidence.

According to the latest quarterly survey of the QFC Authority-FTSE Global Markets MENA Asset Management Survey, investors remain positive about Saudi Arabia. The survey also finds that investors have noted the improving fortunes of the UAE states, and have now brought the emirates on par with Qatar in terms of overall investor sentiment.

“Qatar alone had been the second most popular investment destination in the first quarter survey. Respondents to this latest survey also think that future investments in Egypt will be dependent on the country coming to terms with the IMF,” the survey said.

It said political deadlock in Kuwait has also had a negative effect on investor approaches to the country.

This third survey was conducted between July 25 and September 20 this year. Some 393 firms were approached for information of which 84 responded, either by phone, fax or email.

“Although quarter on quarter trends in asset allocation can obscure longer term structural changes in geographic preferences of investment firms, because the MENA region has been subject to socio-political disruption through 2011-2012, we expected more dynamism among investors in terms of geographic asset allocation,” the survey said.

The survey found that there is also more dynamism in asset allocation among those funds with approximately 80 percent of their portfolio in the domestic market. They exhibit a marked willingness to shift capital when necessary. In this regard, the survey is an important bellwether of the shifts in investor thinking about political and market risk.

Commenting on the survey, QFC Authority CEO Shashank Srivastava said, “Despite the global financial crisis, a diversified and increasingly sophisticated asset management industry has emerged in the GCC over the past decade.” He said that Qatar was playing a central role in the development of this industry.

“Qatar, which is the fastest growing economy of a fastgrowing region, has a savings rate of approximately twice the global average. The country has one of the highest proportions of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the world.”

Emaar’s Q3 net profit drops 4.7%, misses forecast



EMAAR Properties, Dubai’s biggest real estate developer and builder of the world’s tallest tower, reported a 4.7 percent drop in third-quarter net profit, missing analyst estimates by a large margin, as a seasonal slowdown hit revenue.

But company chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the property market’s tone was positive, as the emirate continues to recover from a real estate crash in 2009-2010.

The sector is witnessing “an ongoing upward price revision as well as a high level of demand for new projects in strategic locations”, he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The company, in which the government has a 31.2 percent stake, posted a net profit of 387 million dirhams in the quarter compared to 406 million dirhams a year earlier.

The earnings missed the average forecast of five analysts who had expected a much larger profit of 516.2 million dirhams.

Revenue for the quarter dropped to 1.6 billion dirhams from 1.9 billion dirhams in the prior-year period. The company said the quarterly profit was in line with seasonal trends.

Revenue from the hospitality and retail sectors tends to grow less strongly during the summer as hot weather deters inflows of tourists from some countries.

“While the results came in below our expectations and consensus, their weakness was mostly stemming from lower-than-expected revenues booked on real estate deliveries,” said Jan Pawel Hasman, vice president for equity research at EFG Hermes.

“We note that this income statement item is not indicative of the overall market condition and largely depends on Emaar’s internal delivery schedules.

“Hospitality revenues came in line with our expectations, showing a seasonal slowdown caused by Ramadan and hot summer months. Meanwhile, the retail segment performed slightly weaker than we have anticipated.” He added, “While investors could receive these results with a dose of disappointment, we remain buyers of the stock.” Emaar, which also owns what is billed as the world’s largest shopping mall, said recurring revenue from its hotels and retail business was 2.9 billion dirhams in the nine months to Sept. 30. No quarterly figures were provided.

The developer has shifted its focus in recent years away from the emirate’s property market and towards its more profitable retail and hospitality business.

However, renewed optimism in the property market has helped Emaar’s sales. It launched three new real estate projects this year, which contributed 3.08 billion dirhams to total sales in the first nine months of the year, Emaar said.

Dubai’s real estate market saw house prices drop by over 60 percent from their 2008 peak, after a global financial crisis sparked a collapse in property values propped up by market speculation.

The gradual recovery in the sector is now encouraging developers to announce new projects, which is attracting a return of speculative investors.

Katara, BQFP sign agreement to promote cultural publications


DOHA KATARA, the Cultural Village, and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly initiate and support cultural activities through the development, production and distribution of cultural publications.

The agreement aims to encourage the citizens and residents of Qatar to play a participatory and creative role in developing the local cultural scene.

Explaining the goals of the agreement, Abdulrahman al Khulaifi said, “Through this partnership, we wish to develop a common cultural awareness and emotional intelligence that transcends disciplines and equips individuals with the aptitude and skill-set to appreciate cultures from across the world. Our joint initiatives will go a long way towards furthering our vision through all kinds of artistic and cultural activities, ultimately supporting the development of a creative and innovative Qatar.” BQFP Director Hanouf al Buainain said, “We want to bring culture out to the broader consciousness, and at the same time develop a vibrant publishing scene and related skills within Qatar.

Our relationship with Katara will also go a long way towards fostering a passion of reading and writing across all ages. I foresee Qatar producing a number of books of excellence and original literature in English and Arabic in the immediate future.” The agreement is in line with the cultural pillar of the National Development Strategy 2011-2016 and the National Strategy for Family Affairs 2011-2016, which deem culture as a crucial element of the socio-economic development of Qatar. The relationship between the organisations will bring about the growth of cultural awareness through festivals, exhibitions, concerts and symposiums under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Australian vocal troupe enthrals audience at ASD


DOHA A LEADING Australian vocal group, The Idea of North (TION) enthralled music lovers with songs at the American School of Doha (ASD) Fine Arts Theatre on Monday. The performance was based on Jazz and in a comedy form, featuring genres written by famous composers including John Williams. The songs presented at the concert included Both Sides Now, Smile, besides others.

Among the performers, Sally Cameron entertained the crowd with Soprano, Naomi Crellin with Alto and Nick Begbie and Andrew Piper sang in tenor and bass, respectively.

The troupe also performed a piece In this Heart with ASD students. The event was first of the Friends of the ASD Concert series. The group had spent two days at the school, working with ASD chamber singers’ and choir groups as well as school officials.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune, ASD Head of Fine Arts Robert Krebs said, “TION came to ASD to demonstrate to the students different singing techniques that hold lots of motivation for the budding singers among them to continue singing.

“The students were so excited about the visit, and they learnt a lot from the group in the workshops. They learnt things like vocal production, blending and balancing, intonation and tuning, creating the sound that a group of singers need to create,” he said, adding that the group had a two-hour session with the students.

Krebs added that he was proud to have the troupe at the school, and there was plan to have more of such professionals visiting the school.

QIFF football tourney


DOHA THE 6th edition of Kerala community inter-district football tournament held by Qatar Indian Football Forum (QIFF) will begin at Wakra Stadium, on October 26.

Representing different forums of expats from the Indian state of Kerala, a total of 15 teams will participate in the tournament. It is supported by Indian embassy, Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Football Association. It will conclude on December 7.

Katara Hospitality to attend WTM


DOHA KATARA Hospitality will take part in the World Travel Market (WTM) to be held in London on November 5.

Katara Hospitality CEO Hamad Abdulla al Mulla said, “The event will mark our presence at an international exhibition for the first time. The four-day Business-to-Business event would be an opportunity for us to get an insight into the latest industry trends, while enabling us to share our development plans.”

Katara Hospitality had earlier announced that the company aimed to own 30 hotels by 2016, and 30 more by 2030.

“With a portfolio of hospitality jewels, we will use this year’s WTM as a launch-pad for our global expansion plan. Our existing hotels and partners testify for the stature of the company, while benchmarking our future endeavours,” Mulla said.

Located within the Global Village, the Katara Hospitality’s exhibition stand will host its partner hotels.

Marc Strenger, group director of business development, will be present on the occasion.

Qatar wants UNCTAD to be pro-active


DOHA QATAR has called for concerted efforts in the right direction to address developmental challenges.

In a speech delivered before the Economic and Financial Committee of the UN General Assembly at its 67th session of 2012 on International Trade and Development, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al Kuwari said that the world has witnessed disturbing shifts and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) should play an important role in the global efforts to address the new challenges of the world.

He called upon everyone to close ranks and continue the cooperation and partnership because this was vital for the United Nations work in the field of development, and perhaps the next four years would provide opportunities. The minister hoped that in 2015 the international community would determine a post- 2015 development agenda.

Japanese musical captivates fans


DOHA JAPAN’S popular theatre troupe Kengeki Harukomaza staged a colourful performance which showcased the rich culture of the East Asian country at the Katara Drama Theatre on Monday.

The unique event featured Japan’s folk music, the country’s distinctive art of dancing and a parade of Japanese traditional garment — kimonos.

The hour-long musical was especially produced for Qatar as an expression of gratitude from the Japanese people for the Gulf country’s generous support to Japan following the so-called “great east Japan earthquake” which devastated the country. It was first time that the famous Japanese troupe performed in Qatar and the region.

Fifteen actors, led by Ryu Tsugawa, took the centre stage and performed 12 scenes from Japanese theatre acts. The entire programme was likened to a fashion show of the most colourful and sophistically designed kimonos including traditional costumes for festivals and Samurai style. It was also a showcasing of Japan’s dance and music and the high form of art incorporated in the performance.

As the curtain went up, the audience marvelled at the character’s display of kimonos. The first scene titled ‘Ukiyo-e (Japanese Woodblock print)’ featured women of various periods who entertained the crowd with their exquisite movement on the stage. It was followed by engaging scenes named ‘The moon over a rundown castle’ and ‘Flower Festival’ where the performers made use of fans and umbrellas to highlight the acts.

Scene 4 was a powerful dance titled ‘Renjisi (Two Lions) featuring a white lion and a red lion, representing a parent and a baby.

Romance was also a theme portrayed in the show at Scene 5 ‘Escape Journey/The Black Moon’. From a dramatic mood, the show lightened up with the next act which was a medley of folk songs. The charming performers serenaded the crowd and even went down the stage as if engaging their audience with their performance.

The succeeding scenes showcased Samurai-style kimonos while the scene ‘Sakura, Sakura’ featured Japan’s trademark cherry blossom.

To conclude the glitzy musical- cum-fashion show, Tsugawa paraded in an elegant red kimono with an attractive hairstyle.

Japanese Ambassador to Qatar HE Kenjiro Monji, who welcomed dozens of Doha residents to the show, termed the programme as a special production as it put together top-notch names in the Japan’s theatre world. The envoy also underlined the overall concept of the show headlined by men dolled up as ladies and women dressed up as male characters and the display of kimonos.

“This is a significant event of the Qatar-Japan 2012 to mark the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Since the beginning of the year we had been hosting series of events in line with this celebration. We are pleased that through these events and activities the understanding of Japanese and Qatari people had been enforced. I strongly believe that Qatar and Japan relationship will be much stronger after this year,” the envoy said.

Army brass caused Rs100 crore loss’

PTI NEW DELHI AN internal audit report of the defence ministry has detected a loss of over Rs 100 crore in spendings by six army commanders between 2009 and 2011, prompting Defence Minister A K Antony to order strict checks and balances on expenditure.

The army, however, contested the loss of Rs 100 crore in procurements and insisted that no rules have been violated.

The defence ministry had ordered the Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) to audit expenses made by the army commanders under their special financial powers of up to Rs 125 crore to procure urgently-required items for troops.

Taking a strong view of the financial mismanagement under its departments, defence minister A K Antony has decided to impose strict checks and balances on expenditure made under special financial powers by all officials under the ministry having such authority.

The audit report has assessed 55 transactions made by the commands between the period 2009-11 when present Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh was heading the Kolkata-based Eastern Command.

The report suggests that certain equipment, including Chinese communication equipment, has been purchased from grey market.

Mismanagement in milk procurement in Northern Command has also been suggested by the report.

It also mentions the procurement of binoculars by the Eastern Command from a foreign vendor when the same were available at lower prices in the Indian market.

Ministry officials said efforts are being made by the defence minister to streamline the entire financial management system of all the departments under the ministry.

The ministry is putting in place checks and balances especially in organisations where no such measures existed. The steps are likely to include appointment of auditors for ensuring that all rules and regulations in financial management are observed and followed.

A budget of around Rs 125 crore and Rs 50 crore for army commanders of Northern and Eastern Commands respectively and Rs 10 crore each to other four commands, has been provided for meeting the requirements of these unforeseen situations, the report suggested.

The internal audit report said there was a loss of around Rs 30 crore in procurement of special packaged milk in

Gadkari in trouble over funding for his firms

PTI NEW DELHI BJP CHIEF Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday found himself in trouble with the government deciding to go into allegations of dubious funding in his companies which cast a shadow over his getting a second term as party president in December.

As embarrassing details tumbled out about the funding for Purti Power and Sugar Ltd run by Gadkari, corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily said as the information on the issue has come in public domain, the Registrars of Companies will “definitely inquire into it”.

“We have not ordered anything.

It is all coming in the newspapers. Since it has come in public domain, we told our ministry to make some discreet inquiry to find out what exactly is the matter. Are there any violations of Companies Act?” he said. When asked whether the business dealings of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, will also be scrutinised, he said the two issues were separate and should not be linked.

Media reports have raised questions over the source of funds for Purti Power and Sugar Ltd controlled by Gadkari. Media investigations claim that major investments and large loans to Purti were made by a construction firm Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when Gadkari was PWD minister in Maharashtra.

Gadkari has denied the allegations and offered himself and his companies to any probe. BJP attacked the government saying its approach was “selective and prejudiced” about dealing with Gadkari issue while ignoring corruption allegations against Vadra and former Union minister Virbhadra Singh.

The party said it endorses the stand of Gadkari that he was open to any investigation by any competent authority.

Adding to Gadkari’s discomfiture, his party MP Ram Jethmalani demanded his resignation in the wake of corruption allegations and asked him not to seek a second term in office.“In the interest of the party, in his own interest, he should get out of the fray now and give the position to somebody who inspires greater confidence.

He should not aspire for a second term,” he said.

“Obviously, there is suspicion about his integrity and in the interest of the party and his own interest he must get out of this position. It weakens the party position. “In the coming elections we are fighting against corruption and we have to have a man of absolute impeccable integrity,” he said.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who has been attacking Gadkari, wrote a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, seeking an investigation into the dealings of Gadkari’s company.

“Gadkari has also said that he is open to a free and fair investigation.

Being the National President of BJP, it is in the fitness of things that his case is properly investigated and he gets a fair opportunity to prove his innocence and clear his name,” Digvijaya Singh wrote in his letter.

New buildings reflect Qatar’s green agenda

To Explain Their Own Views
IF we are reminded of anything this election season, it is that America is a house divided against itself. The anger and mistrust between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives ...
THE US economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great - it will still take years to restore.

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Iran threatens to stop oil exports


DOHA WITH massive steel Sidra trees sprouting from the base of the building and a 9-metre high sculpture of a spider in the lobby protecting a sack of grey and white eggs, Qatar National Convention Center is hard to ignore.

However, what most visitors don’t see may turn out to be the building’s lasting legacy in a region far better known for over-the-top excesses than conservation.

From the sustainably logged wood used in its construction to the 3,500-square-meters of solar panels on the roof, the building designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki is considered one of the most environmentally sound convention centers in the world.

“We want to change people’s mindsets,” said Ali al Khalifa, as he led a visitor through an exhibition hall where dozens of ceiling windows helped cut down on electricity.

It will take centrestage in November when it hosts the UN Climate Change Conference, the first to be held by a top oil producer.

“We have to make something stay friendly to the environment. We are part of this earth,” said Khalifa, the chief executive officer of Astad Project Management which oversaw the construction. “All the oil and gas countries are moving to a green concept to ensure the new generation understands they have to preserve this energy and have something efficient.” Green buildings would seem an oddity in this tiny Gulf nation which has plenty of oil and gas and, according to the International Energy Agency, the highest per capita emissions in the world, closely followed by Gulf neighbors Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

But attitudes about energy use are changing across the Gulf. There is a growing recognition that the once seemingly limitless fossil fuels will someday run out and that these countries need to chart a more sustainable path.

Buildings are a logical place to start. They consume up to 70 percent of energy in parts of the Gulf — compared to 40 percent worldwide — due to the preponderance of glass skyscrapers and brutally hot conditions from Dubai to the Saudi city of Jeddah, according to Thom Bohlen, chief technical officer for the Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development.

The Middle East has come late to the green building movement, lagging far behind the United States, Europe and Asia in building structures that emit fewer emissions and consume less water, according to the United States Green Building Council. The USGBC’s voluntary program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is used internationally to certify green buildings.

But when it comes to buildings in the works that are trying to earn LEED status, the Middle East is among the leaders. It has 1,348 LEEDregistered buildings which surpasses all but Asia and the United States.

“Over the past couple of years, there has been a focus on trying to drive sustainable construction practices,” said Peter Templeton, senior vice president of global market development for the USGBC.

“It is mostly focused on new construction rather than retrofits of existing building.” Dubai in the UAE is home to one of the region’s first green shopping malls and is building an eco-friendly mosque in 2013. On the outskirts of the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, the governmentrun Masdar Institute has built the first phase of a preplanned city that aims to be powered by renewable sources including solar.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia, though, appear to have even bigger ambitions. In Doha, work started in 2010 on Msheireb, which promises to be the world’s largest sustainable community with 100 buildings using an average of a third less energy.

Lusail City, a planned development for nearly 200,000 people on the edge of Doha, has promised to adhere to the country’s voluntary green building guidelines — similar to those in the UAE and other Gulf countries — which set standards for everything from water consumption to traffic congestion.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities have applied for LEED certification for the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, which will be home to the country’s stock exchange. The nation’s first LEED-certified project, the 26-building campus of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, opened in 2009 and recycles all its wastewater, uses 27 percent less energy than a typical campus and was built with 20 percent recycled content.

Most of these green buildings rely on 21st century solutions to reduce their footprint — high tech operating systems that ration electricity and power, additional insulation and thicker glass to reduce heat coming into the building and designs that orient the structure to limit the sun exposure.

But as the university campus shows, the region is also tapping technologies that are centuries old to solve its energy problems.

Along with its water savings and solar power, the project features wind towers, latticelike shading on windows known as mashrabiya and a tent-inspired roof system that blocks the sun and extends throughout the campus.

“When we start a project, we will do some research on what people built in this location before they had electricity.

How did they keep buildings warm or cool?” said Bill Odell, a senior vice president for HOK Architects who designed the KAUST campus.

“We did that on this project and there were serious techniques that clearly worked. ... All these ideas we took out of traditional Islamic architecture.” The challenge now, experts say, is going beyond a handful of high profile projects and applying green building practices to the bulk of Gulf construction — such as low-rise office towers or residential housing projects.

To do that, governments in the region will have to make green building codes compulsory — most are now voluntary — and provide greater incentives for developers to build or retrofit more sustainably.

Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2012 to feature 19 Qatari movies


DOHA HOME-GROWN talent will be the focus of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) 2012, the annual cultural event of Doha Film Institute (DFI), scheduled to be held from November 17 to 24.

With the spotlight on a selection of 19 films by Qatari and expatriate filmmakers based in the country, this year marks the largest showcase of ‘Made in Qatar’ films so far. These films highlight the significant strides made by the country’s emerging film industry. With 15 world premieres, the Festival has overall more than 87 films from across the world lined-up for screening.

The 19 films to be screened from 70 submissions include three feature films, all of which will make their world premiere at the Festival. The films will also compete for the Made in Qatar development award of $10,000. An independent jury will evaluate the films.

This year, Made in Qatar films will be screened under four programmes: New Hopes – with five films exploring themes around hope and pain; Through Their Eyes – featuring ten short stories of love and friendship as well as introspective documentaries; Angel in June – the story of a young, charitable girl based on real-life events and set in the Filipino community of Doha; and Thriller Night – a collection of three thrilling films by Qataris including a feature that offers a unique meditation on what is beyond life as we know it.

Pointing out that one of the founding mandates of Doha Film Institute and DTFF was to promote a culture of filmmaking in Qatar, DTFF Vice Chair Issa bin Mohammed al Mohannadi, said “Made in Qatar, the largest so far, demonstrates the success of the concerted efforts in creating a robust filmmaking industry locally by identifying and nurturing talent.” “The films in the selection will surprise viewers with their thematic intensity and narrative style. Most importantly, it offers glimpses of life in Qatar and will resonate with the local community”, he further said.

Among the three featurelength films in Made in Qatar are Lyrics Revolt, by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant and Rana Khaled al Khatib, a documentary that started as a student project at NU-Q and explores the Arab Spring through hip hop artists of the M-E; Lockdown, a thriller directed by Mohammed al Ibrahim and Ahmed al Baker and Angel in June, by Jan Xavier Pacle, the story of a young, charitable girl based on reallife events and set in the Filipino community of Doha.

The screening of Lyrics Revolt will be followed by a hip-hop concert at the Katara.

Resident Filmmaker and Programmer at DFI Chadi Zeneddine, reminded that the diversity in content and narrative styles demonstrates the strong evolution of local filmmaking over the past few years.

“Talented youngsters as well as experienced professionals are screening their films. The common thread in all these movies is the creativity of the filmmakers to push beyond the obvious and create heart felt moments from ordinary situations”.

Emir urges Hamas, Fatah to put aside differences


GAZA-stad de Emir Zijne Hoogheid Sjeik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani heeft gebruikt zijn landmark bezoek aan de Gazastrook op aan te dringen strijdende Palestijnse partijen met elkaar te verzoenen.

In een toespraak aan de Islamitische Universiteit van Gaza verzocht HH de Emir Hamas en de rivaliserende Fatah factie aan hun verschillen opzij zetten.

"Waarom u verblijft verdeeld?" zei hij. "Er zijn geen vredesonderhandelingen, en er is geen duidelijke strategie van weerstand en bevrijding.

Waarom moeten niet broers samen zitten en verzoenen?' Eerder, ontvangen HH de Emir een held tijdens een landmark bezoek aan Gaza op dinsdag, steeds de eerste staatshoofd voor een bezoek aan het Palestijnse grondgebied sinds de islamitische militante Hamas in beslag controle van de kuststrook vijf jaar geleden genomen.

Tijdens zijn bezoek vier uur HH de Emir gelanceerd een woningbouw project, ziekenhuis en ontving een eredoctoraat.

In een plotselinge verandering van planning, HH de Emir afgeblazen een geplande openbare adres in Gaza-stad belangrijkste voetbalstadion. Hamas ambtenaren aangehaald HH de Emir strak schema.

In plaats daarvan, hij een toespraak aan de Islamitische Universiteit van Gaza, een bolwerk van Hamas.

HH de Emir werd gepresenteerd met een eredoctoraat en verschillende geschenken, waaronder een sleutel van een Palestijnse huis in wat nu Israël. Deze sleutels zijn een symbool gebruikt door Palestijnse vluchtelingen wier families huizen verloren tijdens de oorlog die omgeving van Israël oprichting in 1948.

De Qatari projecten zal versterken van Hamas en helpen haar economische ellende te verlichten.

Het landmark bezoek overhandigde de uitspraak Hamas ook haar grootste diplomatieke overwinning sinds de macht. Het was ook een sterk teken van de montage invloed van Hamas bovenliggende beweging, de Moslimbroederschap, sinds vorig jaar Arabische voorjaar opstanden.

Terwijl de inwoners van Gaza gevierd HH was de Emir aankomst, de rivaliserende Palestijnse regering van Mahmoud Abbas op de Westoever minder enthousiast. Israël veroordeelt het bezoek als het ondermijnen van vrede.

Terwijl Abbas heeft toegejuicht van Qatar plannen voor honderden miljoenen dollars steun naar verarmde Gaza, hij ook benadrukt in een telefoongesprek met de Qatari leider deze week dat hij de internationaal erkende leider van de Palestijnen is.

In Gaza, wit en maroon Qatari vlaggen in de straten en een lied genaamd dank u, Qatar klapte gespeeld op de radio en op TV.

In het grensgebied, Hamas zetten een grote, vloerbedekking groet tent, die doet denken aan een luxe woestijn kamp en geënsceneerde een eer bewaker ceremonie na HH de Emir stak op het grondgebied uit Egypte.

Duizenden van cheering en zwaaien Palestijnen bekleed de hoofdweg naar Gaza-stad om te begroeten HH de Emir, die gerold onderaan het venster van zijn gepantserde auto te schudden handen met tientallen mensen. Vrouwen op balkons gooide bloemen en rijst op zijn konvooi.

"Deze man is vet. Ik hem. Tenminste hij kwam en ons bezocht, en niet spelen veelbelovende net als de anderen,"zei Majed Tawel, een 33-jarige leraar. 'Hamas heeft vandaag een nieuwe overwinning gewonnen en verloren (Abbas). HH de Emir werd ontvangen door Gaza Hamas eerste minister, Ismail Haniyeh, die zei dat het bezoek een krachtige boodschap.

'Gaza is niet alleen en Palestina bezet de harten van Arabieren,' zei Haniyeh.

"Uw bezoek vandaag officieel kondigt het einde van de economische blokkade en de politieke blokkade van de Gazastrook door de krachten van onrecht." Hij zei dat uu de Emir had een totaal van 400 miljoen dollar van hulpprojecten, een stijging ten opzichte van eerdere plannen voor $250 miljoen steun beloofd.

In het stadion, Gaza vrouwen opgestapeld in de achterkant staat gereserveerd voor hen uur voorloopt op de HH de Emir toespraak. Ze zat onder het toeziend oog van Hamas modeshow in uniformen van de lange blauwe gewaden, lichte blauwe hoofddoekjes en Marine hoeden.

"Ik ben wanhopig op zoek naar een baan voor mijn zoon," zei Kifaya Gharabli, 42, die kwam vroeg in de ochtend in de hoop te vangen een glimp van de Qatari bezoekers.

Deel van het steunpakket is een $150 miljoen woningbouw project in de buurt van de zuidelijke stad Khan Younis. Het zal worden gebouwd in de buurt van een voormalige Israëlische nederzetting, verlaten toen Israël trok zich terug uit Gaza in 2005. Het project heet Hamad stad — na HH de Emir — en is verwacht om ongeveer twee jaar te bouwen.

Gaza in bittere noodzaak van bouwmaterialen sinds een Israëlische militaire offensief begin 2009 gelanceerd naar aanleiding van jaren van Hamas raket brand geweest. Israël beperkt de vermelding van bouwmaterialen, zeggen dat ze zou kunnen worden misbruikt door Hamas om bunkers of militair gebruik. Om te krijgen rond de Israëlische blokkade, plannen Qatar om het schip in de materialen door de Egyptische grens.

HH gemarkeerd bezoek de Emir van Qatar inspanningen om zijn stempel gedrukt op een regio in beroering, gedeeltelijk door middel van een strategie van verschillende bondgenootschappen.

De Golf-staat uitgebreid haar regionale invloed tijdens de Arabische voorjaar opstanden die dictators in Libië, Tunesië en Egypte vorig jaar omvergeworpen, oppositie en rebel krachten te ondersteunen.

Op hetzelfde moment herbergt het een grote Amerikaanse air base en duizenden Amerikaanse troepen.

En terwijl Qatar Arabische oproepen leidt om steun van de Syrische strijdkrachten proberen Bashar Assad omver te werpen, heeft zij nauwe banden met belangrijke bondgenoot Syrië, Iran.

Qatar gezwaaid al aanzienlijke indirecte invloed door pan-Arabische omroep Al-Jazeera, waarvan lancering in 1996 was bankrolled door de Qatari overheid. Het won ook het recht voor het hosten van de 2022 World Cup, verslaan veel groter bieders, waaronder de Verenigde Staten en Japan.

Ook blijkt het een vet onafhankelijkheid in 1996 toen het toegestaan Israël een handel-kantoor te openen in de hoofdstad, Doha, na de ondertekening van een tussentijdse vredesakkoord met de Palestijnen.

Maar het sluiten van dat Bureau na Israëls 2009 offensief in de Gazastrook en begon stimuleren steun aan Hamas, waarvan de leiders naar Qatar verplaatst na het verlaten van oorlog verscheurde Syrië.