Sunday, 4 November 2012

Planting the seeds of survival



ENSLAVED Africans did not win their freedom in order to starve. Kathe Hambrick- Jackson knew that much from her work as the founder and executive director of the River Road African American Museum here in this town, 60-odd miles up the Mississippi from New Orleans.

But Hambrick-Jackson, 54, likes to recall what happened when she asked a group of second graders, “If you were going to free yourself and leave this plantation tonight, what would you bring with you to eat?” “One of them said, ‘a bag of potato chips,”’ Hambrick-Jackson said. “And I said: ‘No, this was the year 1810. They weren’t invented yet.’ Then they started to say hamburgers and hot dogs. I said no, no, no.” The answer ultimately took the form of 10 raised beds in a community plot that she calls the Freedom Garden. Here, the museum raises plants that would have been familiar to slaves from both Africa and the New World.

On a recent afternoon, Hambrick- Jackson was hanging cards describing the garden’s specimens, with the help of two children.

Hambrick-Jackson’s brother, who runs a mortuary across the river, told her she was “junking up the garden” with these signs. What kind of kid wants to read about African botany? But Hambrick- Jackson figures “there are 50 kids in a one-block radius” who use the garden as a shortcut. Hang the labels at eye level and they’ll learn by accident.

“Where’s my nail crew?” she asked, standing next to a muscadine grapevine sprawled over a wooden fence. Like blackberries, she said, these fruits would have been easy forage for freedom seekers in the backwoods.

Other plants in the garden, like cowpeas, okra and rice, were indigenous to the Senegambia region of West Africa.

Farmers would have raised them in fields near Atlantic ports like Goree, in order to larder slave ships. Leftover food became seed stock for enslaved Africans to grow on the plantation.

In a sense, the Freedom Garden may sound like thousands of other African- American gardens across the country.

These foods have been staples in many black kitchens for centuries. But an heirloom seed can be a complicated legacy when it comes from a person who sowed it in slavery.

Put another way, it’s easy enough to find white colonial re-enactors, in bonnets and breeches, picking a tidy row of carrots.

But it’s a loaded act for the black culinary historian and heirloom gardener Michael W Twitty to don a period costume, as he will this weekend as part of a Juneteenth demonstration at Natchez National Historical Park, in Mississippi.

In a similar spirit of historical restoration, Twitty, 35, compiled the African American Heritage Collection of heirloom seeds for the D Landreth Seed Co.

Among the 30-odd plants are the longhandled dipper gourd, the white cushaw and the West India burr gherkin. What historical gardeners like Twitty and Hambrick-Jackson hope to demonstrate is how these plants were instrumental in African-American survival and independence.

“All these heirlooms have their own story,” Twitty said, and that history is often specific to a region and a culture. Take the fish pepper, a Heritage Collection seed from the Chesapeake Bay region, where Twitty lives.

Though this pepper probably started in West Africa, it may have arrived in the United States with an influx of British West Indians and Haitians into the Chesapeake between 1790 and 1820, he said.

“Coming into the part of the country with the largest free black population,” Twitty said, “they do what every immigrant does: They carve a niche for themselves.

And that niche happens to be gardening and horticulture. For a couple of decades, the West Indians and Haitians basically run the fresh produce markets in the Chesapeake.” It’s heartening to trace a single plant, the fish pepper, to a tradition of “African- American entrepreneurialism,” Twitty said. But, he added, “I don’t believe in making up stories to make things sound good.” The broader truth is that gardening is a lost tradition in many African-American communities. The National Gardening Association doesn’t tally the number of black gardeners – nor, it would seem, does anyone else. The government survey that tracks farming demographics, the Census of Agriculture, offers mostly discouraging data about black farmers. In the last survey, African-American operators controlled only 33,000 of the nation’s 2.25 million farms – less than 1.5 percent.

In 1940, the number of African- American farm operators was close to 700,000. One of those farms belonged to Lee Earl Kimble and Sallie Harris-Kimble.

The previous year, the couple paid $3,950 for 74 acres in Colfax, Louisiana.

Scratching together that kind of money, a decade into the Depression, must have been a heroic feat. Business may have been bad for the Urania Lumber Co, the seller listed on the deed.

But the land would have been better known to locals as a tiny remnant of the 14,000-acre Calhoun plantations, a leviathan of sugar and cotton fields down the Red River from Shreveport. A few generations earlier, many of the black families in Colfax had laboured there in slavery.

The Kimble farm, then, was a freedom garden writ large. And it is a kind of Juneteenth horticultural saga – of slavery and Emancipation on the same land – that is still being written, most recently by their granddaughter Diana Kimble.

When Kimble moved back to the family farm a couple of years ago, she discovered two problems. There wasn’t a lot of farming going on, and there wasn’t a lot of family to do it.

This was not always the case, said Kimble’s older sister Malva. Their grandmother had done her part, bearing 13 children.

“Two died as infants,” Malva said.

“Mary and Martha,” Diana said.

Diana, 61, and Malva, 63, lived with their parents in town (what there was of it) and visited the farm on weekends. “She pictures it like it was when we grew up,” Malva said.

“Grandmother did the gardening,” Diana said.

“And we ate out of the garden,” Malva said.

“Dada” – their grandfather – “took care of the larger crops: watermelon, corn.” “We ate the corn,” Malva said.

“She had everything: tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, squash,” Diana said.

“Beets,” Malva said.

“Purple hull peas.” “Chowder peas.” Their sons were “field hands,” Malva said. “That’s why they’re not here now.

A lot of people our parents’ age worked so hard and they got so little out of it, they won’t come back to the farm.

That’s what they tell me, and I ask!” Like countless African-American families across the South, the Kimbles gardened because they had to. How else could you feed all those children? And they gardened because they could: The land was finally theirs to plant as they pleased.

By 1920, African-Americans had acquired more than 16 million acres of land, said Owusu Bandele, a professor emeritus of sustainable agriculture at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

“That was a hell of an achievement given the challenges in the Jim Crow era.” With his wife, Bandele, 69, turned his own spread into a 4-acre demonstration sustainable farm, becoming the first certified organic African- American farmer in Louisiana. It’s more of a kitchen garden now, but still a showpiece, with tidy drip irrigation lines, succession planting and flowers shading out the tireless weeds.

“My brother said that once I started farming, my children went from coast to coast to get away from here,” Bandele said.

Indeed, for the children and grandchildren of those early black farmers, freedom meant the ability to leave the farm, and the South, for modern lives in cities like San Diego, Baltimore and Chicago. Diana Kimble made a career at Texas Instruments for 27 years. Malva Kimble worked as an office clerk in Las Vegas.

The garden today is a quilt of watermelon patches, pecan trees and hayfields. It’s also a hatchery for mosquitoes and chiggers.

Copperheads and rattlers lurk in the tall grass, and moccasins loiter in the swamps and bayous. When rain finally comes, it falls in biblical downpours, washing away plants and hardening the clay earth into cement.

Gardening here is not easy.

“They associate this kind of work with slavery,” Diana Kimble said of her four adult children, and then laughed. “And they say, ‘I’m not a slave.”’ A little zealotry has its place in a job as vast as rebuilding the family farm. A friend recently told Kimble, “Diana, people in town don’t think you’re crazy – they know you’re crazy.” Yet only a lunatic would try to get anything done in the swelter of a Louisiana afternoon on the brink of summer.

The sisters often spend the middle of the day in the cluttered kitchen of the farmhouse. It’s an old parish house that the sisters bought for $1 from the local Catholic church and carted to the farm.

The idea is that once the structure gets power and hot water, it might become a conference centre and training site for black sustainable growers.

The tumbledown building already serves as the locus for an annual work weekend in mid-April. Kimble has met many of these comrades through her role as the national co-chair of N’COBRA, a 25-year-old movement to secure reparations for African-Americans in the wake of slavery.

On Sunday, after a day of planting squash and beans, the participants gather at the Grant Parish Courthouse, in downtown Colfax. This was the site of a ruthless 1873 massacre that killed some 80 African-Americans. The Supreme Court case that followed, US v Cruikshank, effectively ended federal protection – and thus, black suffrage – in the Reconstruction South.

The vigil is where Kimble met Avery Hamilton, 47, a minister with a passion for local history. After a season of boiling tensions, Hamilton said, “my third greatgrandfather was the first black shot in the massacre.” A mounted white posse rode up to Jesse McKinney’s yard, where he was building a fence, and shot him in the head.

Kimble’s vegetable garden, Hamilton explained, was once part of the Firenze sugar plantation, one of the four joined holdings that belonged to Meredith Calhoun. In 1836, Calhoun and his fatherin- law mustered a caravan of perhaps 1,000 slaves near Huntsville, Alabama, and marched them west.

“If you look at the 1860 census and look at the slave schedule, you will find 709 listed as slaves,” Hamilton said of Calhoun’s Landing. “That would have made it the fourth-largest plantation in America. It might have been the largest at some point.” Rumour held that Calhoun was a model for Simon Legree, the slaveholder in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” In 1853, The New-York Daily Times (now The New York Times) sent Frederick Law Olmsted on a ship up the Red River to the Firenze plantation. There, he described seeing an overseer whip a young woman found in a gully, shirking work. The spectacle sent Olmsted fleeing on his horse.

More than a century later, the Kimbles recall, a police officer horsewhipped their cousin on a gravel road alongside the farm. He and their uncle, who were both teenagers, had rumbled with a few white neighbours while crossing a nearby bridge.

After that, their mother cloistered them from white Colfax. “She didn’t let us go across town,” Malva said.

“Across the tracks,” Diana said.

“There was still segregation” at the beginning of high school, Diana continued.

“But in 1967, they gave us a choice.

We could go to the predominantly white school. I was curious. I wanted to know what made white people feel they were better.” The experience was oddly anticlimactic.

“What I found out was there was nothing different about them,” Kimble said.

“There were smart people, dumb people, crazy people. Just like any people. They were just Colfax people.” The black school, for its part, let out at noon in the fall, recalled Kimble’s friend and neighbour, Mitchell Scott. That put the children in the fields for the cotton harvest.

Some of the teachers were good, he said.

They helped Scott, 72, get to Southern University. He went on to become a computer programmer and accountant in Chicago. Up north, he assembled a collection of rental properties, and later cashed out most of it to buy 70 acres back in Colfax.

He calls his 10-acre homestead Safari.

Here, he has planted two acres with watermelon, okra, cabbage and cushaw.

Scott’s century plant, a kind of agave, recently sent up a 35-foot spike.

The garden grows in its own time. “I don’t get a lot of help out here,” he said.

“You have to move at a certain pace.” The demands were not negotiable at Glencoe Plantation, where Scott grew up as a sharecropper. The jobs you did for hire might yield a tiny profit. You worked on your own crop in order to survive.

“Imagine standing and looking at a 40- acre place that you have to hoe,” he said. “I don’t mean no 20 people. I mean four or five people.” The cotton-picking itself required both stamina and speed. “A hundred pounds, that was normal,” Scott said. “Old ladies who just walked, they could pick 200, 300 pounds.” As for Scott and his siblings, he added: “We never learned. We didn’t want to learn.” The sun, having conquered the day, was taking a victory lap over the horizon.

Diana Kimble perambulated the fenced garden with a hose. After an afternoon siesta, she said, “I like being out here until it’s dark.” Malva was in town, looking after their mother. She’s allowed to cross the tracks now, and she does. She volunteers as an election commissioner, which has introduced her to plenty of white neighbours.

“She doesn’t have any strangers,” Diana said.

“I like to invite myself into people’s houses,” Malva said. “See what we couldn’t see as kids.” Perhaps Malva will feel inspired to water the garden next week, when Diana goes to Philadelphia for the annual slavery reparations conference. Along the way, she’ll also stop in Baltimore to ask her uncle to sign legal papers that would give her power of attorney to manage the land.

The farm, she explained, is heir property: it belongs to 19 relatives, across the nation. And almost nothing can get done without their written consent. This is a common dilemma on African-American farms, explained Bandele, who started his career with the Emergency Land Fund, a black farm and property preservation group.

One cousin neglects to pay his share of the property tax; in protest, another cousin refuses to pay. Ultimately, Bandele said, the property ends up in a forfeiture auction. Another black farm is lost.

Baby ‘B’ steals limelight at mom Ash’s event


AARADHYA is not even ayear- old and to think this toddler, who has been kept away from the prying eyes of media, stole the limelight at an event to honour her mother, actress Aishwarya Rai.

Dressed in a frock and floral hairband, Baby B grabbed all the attention with her cute antics on Thursday at an event where Aishwarya received the prestigious French Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contribution to the arts.

The entire Bachchan family, with the exception of Jaya Bachchan, were present to support the actress. Aishwarya’s parents were also there.

Entering the hall in her mother’s arms, Aaradhya didn’t like it one bit when Aishwarya was called on the podium to receive the honour.

Her constant cries forced her dotting dad Abhishek to carry her outside.

Aishwarya reasoned it out saying, “It gets overwhelming for babies. That’s why we get protective. We would love to share our personal moments with all of you, but we tend to take care of our babies.” The actress is thoroughly enjoying motherhood.

“I am realising what it takes to be a mother. Thank you (Abhishek) for giving me such an indefinable experience of being a mother. It surpasses everything,” she said while looking at Abhishek.

The mother-daughter duo is inseparable - Beti B accompanied her Aishwarya to Cannes film festival this year. They also travelled to Chicago to visit Abhishek on the sets of Dhoom 3
Aradhaya was also seen at grandfather Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday bash.

Aaradhya will celebrate her first birthday on November 16.

Amitabh, Shah Rukh to inaugurate Kolkata film fest


AS many as 189 films from 60 countries will be screened at the 18th Kolkata Film Festival, which will be inaugurated by Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan on November 10.

Iranian film Nader and Simin: A separation directed by Azgarh Faradi will be the opening film of the eight-day festival ending on November 17, said the organisers at a media meet on Friday.

Tributes would be paid to first bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, who died earlier this year. Anand, the evergreen movie featuring Rajesh Khanna in the role of an ever-smiling cancer patient, would be screened.

Bengali movie star Koel Mullick will be the thali girl for the second consecutive year at the opening, said her father and KFF chairperson actor Ranjit Mullick.

“The festival has a budget of Rs 3 crore,” said state information and culture secretary Nandini Chakraborty. However, she kept mum when asked about the contribution of the state government and the sponsors.

Centenary tributes would be paid to Italian movie director Michelangelo Antonioni, 13 of whose creations - five features and eight documentaries - would be showcased at the festival, the country’s second oldest.

It is the second time that the regime of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is organising the film fest.

Like last year, the festival will kick off with a gala inaugural ceremony at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

The Calcutta-Kolkata section will showcase eight feature films giving a wider window to understand the city.

Underwood feels too young to have kids


SINGER-ACTRESS Carrie Underwood, who has been married to NHL player Mike Fisher for two years, feels she’s still young to start a family.

“It’s so funny, I still think of myself I guess being much younger than I actually am. I’m like, I’m too young to have kids when I’m 29 years old, so I’m really not. My mom had a couple in her early 20s and a lot of people do,” quoted Underwood as saying.

“I don’t know, I guess it’s a sign of my immaturity in that area. I have only been married for two years.

I really want to enjoy that and really figure that out a little better before we start throwing so much responsibility into that,” she added.

Britney, Khloe face test of live TV on X Factor



BRITNEY Spears was coolly composed on the first live episode of The X Factor. The same can’t be said for new host Khloe Kardashian Odom and her microphone.

Odom, adding to her reality TV credentials, was paired with Mario Lopez to emcee X Factor as the singing contest shifted on Wednesday from taped to live broadcasts.

Lopez, host of Extra, performed like the pro he is. Odom came across like the novice she is, shouting her lines despite the mic clutched in her hand and making awkward small talk with contestants and judge and executive producer Simon Cowell.

When Lopez teased 13-year-old singer Diamond White about having a boyfriend, the girl replied, “No, we’re friends. My mom would kill me.” “Don’t let your mom kill you,” exclaimed Odom, drawing a confused smile from White.

At another point, Odom sounded like an oddly flirtatious schoolgirl as she introduced Cowell as “Mr Sexy.” In a conference call on Tuesday, Cowell had discussed expectations for his co-host, a member of reality TV’s first family that includes sister Kim Kardashian. Odom’s credits include Khloe and Lamar with husband Lamar Odom, a Los Angeles Clippers player.

She wants to “prove a point,” Cowell said, noting observers had questioned Odom’s readiness to steer a live programme.

He warned that she would need “nerves of steel” on Wednesday because she had less rehearsal time than planned.

“I kind of like to see the unpredictable and I quite like seeing people under pressure and just how they deal with it,” Cowell said.

Odom and Lopez replaced firstseason host Steve Jones, a UK TV personality.

Cowell also expressed reservations about how Spears would manage.

While lauding her as “very, very good judge” so far, he told the teleconference it was unclear “what she’s going to be like on a live show” involving competition between judges over the contestants they are mentoring.

Spears, a pop princess who has struggled in her personal life, including spells in rehab, proved up to the task. She heaped praise on singers and remained calm when criticism was levelled at those she’s guiding.

When Cowell told one teenager that “we need to sort your vocals out,” Spears shot back, “I disagree. I think you’re a true star.” It was Cowell himself who committed the biggest flub of the night: He was bleeped for using what appeared to be British slang found questionable by Fox.

Of the 16 acts featured on the live X Factor, four will be cut on Thursday by Spears, Cowell, Antonio “LA” Reid and Demi Lovato. Viewers will decide contestants’ fates in following weeks.

Cowell took a moment at the start of Wednesday’s show to express sympathy for Hurricane Sandy victims on the East Coast, saying, “our hearts are with you and we hope things get sorted out quickly.” An on-screen crawl invited viewers to donate to the American Red Cross.

A different kind of beauty



KRISTIN Kreuk immediately understood the difference.

Since wrapping up her eight years on Smallville (2001- 2009), the actress had played a recurring role on Chuck (2010) and appeared in such indie films as Vampire (2011) and Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy (2011). Now, by signing on for the CW series Beauty and the Beast, which debuted on October 11, she was making herself the public face of the show. For the first time in her career, she would be in nearly every scene and be No 1 on the call sheet.

“I don’t know if I realised how much work it would be,” Kreuk admits, laughing. “I thought I was ready, and it’s been amazing. It’s been wonderful and challenging. Being a lead on an hourlong weekly is ... a lot of stuff. I have a lot of responsibility and a lot of fun things to do.

“It’s kind of amazing, actually, to be No 1 on the call sheet,” she continues.

“I get to be privy to a lot of what goes on. I get to know everyone pretty well, and I get to have a say and be able to shape the direction of at least my character, to a large degree, and that feels amazing.

“I also kind of like the responsibility of setting a tone on set,” Kreuk adds.

“That’s something that I enjoy. It’s also a little bit stressful in some ways, having the responsibility of that. I’m not in every scene, actually, thank goodness, but many of them.” The new show airs on Thursdays on the CW network, which recently ordered three additional scripts, a sign that the network believes in its freshman series. Beauty and the Beast in many ways resembles the series of the same name that ran from 1987 to 1990 and starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman as, respectively, New York district attorney Catherine Chandler and Vincent-the Beast. The new version casts Kreuk as Catherine Chandler, a New York cop, and Jay Ryan as Vincent Keller-the Beast.

The big differences between the old show and the new show include the fact that Vincent can go Hulk-like, full-out beast, but most of the time looks like a handsome guy with a nasty scar.

Perlman’s beast looked beastly all the time, thanks to layers of prosthetics and makeup. Also, the old series took its time pairing Catherine and Vincent, while the new incarnation seems likely to get them together far sooner.

Speaking by telephone from the show’s set in Toronto, Kreuk – who will turn 30 in December – admits that the original series was before her time.

“I hadn’t seen the original series because I missed it a little, age-wise,” she says. “I did watch a bit of it when I was seriously considering doing this version. This is so different, I think, from the version they did, but the concept was so sweet, and Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman were such wonderful actors.

“What I love about our show is that Catherine and Vincent are two people who are quite broken, and that through love and through caring about each other, they heal,” she says. “Each of them sees aspects in the other that they may not like or that they consider to be beastly about themselves, and that’s what Catherine loves about Vincent and what Vincent loves about Catherine.

“Vincent and Catherine do really acknowledge that they have feelings for each other early on,” Kreuk continues, “but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s possible for them to bridge the gap. So I don’t know how quickly it will move along, and I think it’s important that it doesn’t move too quickly, because you’ve got to have somewhere to go.” Kreuk says that she genuinely likes Catherine as a character.

“Catherine has gone through a certain amount of trauma, with her mom being murdered, but she also had a very typical childhood,” Kreuk says.

“She had parents who stayed together, and a sister, and it was all fun until she was a young adult and her mom died.

So she’s got elements of being able to play in her life, but she’s sometimes emotionally repressed, hiding her hurt and still trying to figure out what happened to her mom.” Of course Mrs Chandler’s demise will factor heavily in the show’s ongoing mythology. That’s a given. It also should surprise absolutely no one if Mrs Chandler’s death and Keller’s descent into bestiality turn out to be connected somehow.

“Catherine made her mom into this wonderful, amazing woman who could only do good and was a victim,” the actress says. “That life was taken from her, and it’s an injustice, and she’s going to bring justice to the world. She’s really taken that on and, as we get to know her better and get to know the stories better, she’ll realise that all of that might not be true.

“But I love that she’s tough and that she’s driven and also very vulnerable, as well as kind of funny and sarcastic,” Kreuk concludes. “She has all these elements to her that I adore.”

Sadd, Arabi off to winning starts in Qatar Basketball League


AS if to signal its intents, Al Sadd Club, the runner-up to Al Rayyan in the last season, handed out a 91-43 crushing to Al Shamal as the 2012-13 Qatar Basketball League got underway at the Al Rayyan Indoor Hall on Saturday.

In another match, 2011-12 Heir Apparent’s Cup winner Al Arabi was fired to a comfortable 88-68 win by Abdullah Jalloh against Qatar Sports Club. Jalloh’s massive 39 points, including three treys, lifted Arabi to the romp.

It was expected to be a mismatch between experienced and well-oiled Al Sadd and Al Shamal. The latter is a new addition to the federation and its main aim is to play as well as possible in its first season. The second 10 minutes were the best for Shamal in which it scored its maximum 15 points. Otherwise, it kept running all over the court in vain to check the Sadd players.

Sadd enjoyed its leading position in about 38 minutes of the match and had stretched its lead to 48 points at one stage of the match.

Daoud Mousa was the highest scorer of the match with 23- point contribution. He also had three superb shots out of the arc in six attempts.

Sadd’s American pro Michael Southall also made his presence felt and netted 18 points, along with 12 rebounds. Sadd Abdulrahman displayed good touch to collect 17 points, including five three-pointers.

US pro Williams Tyvon led Shamal with 18 points and Douda Egona got 12.

The performance of Qatar Sports Club, which dominated the League once and emerged the winner on seven occasions, was not that bad.

Instead, Al Arabi played quite aggressively and scored to maintain its edge during crucial times.

The lead changed hands eight times and both got tied on six occasions. Arabi had scored 9 points in a row, while Qatar also had a sequence of 8 points during the match. What made the win easy for Arabi was its lead, which widened to as big as 22 points at one stage.

Arabi’s ever-dependable Jalloh was on fire and raised the individual scoring to a new level in this match. He played full 40 minutes and scored 39 points and had 8 rebounds, all off his own board. Alvin Mofunanya also had a good match as he scored 18 points and 15 rebounds. William Byrd also warmed up for the season with double double. He had 16 points and as many rebounds.

Though Qatar held a slight edge in the points from the paint (38 to 32), it was outplayed in fast breaks by Arabi, which had 24 to 14 advantage.

Qatarís US pro Chauncey Leslie, who moved from Rayyan this season, topscored for his team with 22.

Oumar Seck chipped in with 14 points but showed his worth in the rebound collection.

He picked 25 rebounds, which included 17 defensive ones. Saeed al Malki also scored in double digits, getting 11.

RESULTS Al Sadd beat Al Shamal 91-43 (half-time 45- 21) Main scorers- Al Sadd: Daoud Mousa 23, Michael Southall 18, Sadd Abdulrahman 17, Johann Mpondo 9, Mohamed Melad 8
Al Shamal: Williams Tyvon 18, Daouda Egona 12, Matenio Yembo 6
Al Arabi Club beat Qatar Sports Club 88-68 (half-time 45-37) Main scorers- Al Arabi: Abdullah Jalloh 39, Alvin Mofunanya 18, William Byrd 16, Khalid Masoud al Nasr 8
Qatar SC: Chauncey Leslie 22, Oumar Seck 14, Saeed al Malki 11, Moliva Eugene 10, Adil Khalifa 9
SUNDAY’S FIXTURES (at Al Rayyan Club) El Jaish vs Al Ahli at 5 pm Al Gharafa vs Al Wakrah at 7 pm

Hamilton storms to pole in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


A HAPPY and supremelydominant Lewis Hamilton crushed all his rivals on Saturday as he set up a Red Bull party-wrecking race in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by taking his sixth pole position of the season.

The 27-year-old Briton was simply untouchable as he steered his car to the fastest time in all three parts of the session, finishing with an outstanding best time of one minute and 40.630 seconds.

His dazzling display ended Red Bull’s run of three consecutive races in which they dominated qualifying and produced front row lockouts.

Defending champion and series leader Sebastian Vettel qualified only third and will miss out on a front row start in Abu Dhabi for the first time after suffering technical problems for much of the day.

Vettel’s main title rival, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, struggled to qualify seventh in a frustrating session.

Hamilton’s best lap, clocked on his first run in the top ten shootout, was good enough to leave him threetenths of a second clear of Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber who will share the front row with him for Sunday’s 55-laps race at the 5.554 kms Yas Marina Circuit.

Hamilton’s pole was his sixth this year and the 25th of his career on a circuit that he clearly responds to with great elan — and gives him a perfect opportunity to upset the Red Bull express and end Vettel’s run of four consecutive wins in pursuit of his goal of becoming F1’s youngest triple world champion.

Hamilton, whose father Anthony has been with him in the paddock, said: “I’m very excited. It’s the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Red Bulls and starting at the front.

“It’s going to be tough in the race and I hope we are strong enough to fight them once again. The car’s felt beautiful all weekend but we’ve not made any improvement since last weekend so I guess it just likes the track and hopefully it will continue to like it tomorrow.” Webber said: “Credit to Lewis and McLaren - they have a quick car and we’ve been bumped off the front row for the first time in awhile.

“We did the best we could, it was a pretty smooth qualifying and we’re still a long way up the grid. There’s a little bit of friendly fire going on which we need to tidy up.

Seb’s still involved in the drivers’ championship and there’s the constructors’.” Vettel, who takes part in his 99th Grand Prix on Sunday, said: “I dont know why I had to stop, I was asked to stop.

It’s probably some problem.

It shouldn’t be something major.”

Attiyah takes lead in Cyprus Rally


THE final round of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) and penultimate round of this year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) saw Qatar’s Nasser al Attiyah, the winner of the 2010 Cyprus Rally take the overall event lead at lunchtime on Day 1 in his Ford Fiesta RRC.

Defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen took the early event lead last night in his Skoda Fabia S2000, winning the thrilling Super Special Stage in downtown Pafos which got the event underway in dramatic style.

A confident drive by the Norwegian saw him set a winning time of just 2m 48.6s on the all-tarmac LTV Super Special Stage - 4.4s faster than the Subaru Impreza of 2nd placed Jarkko Nikara of Finland.

Attiyah was next fastest through the stage, scoring the same time as Toshi Arai in his Subaru Impreza. Both drivers finished the stage 5.7s behind Mikkelsen.

However, the situation changed this morning.

Puncture woes slowed Mikkelsen on the first stage of Day 1, losing a massive 1m 59.4s to Attiyah who charged through the stage at the head of the field in 20:43.4
The Qatari’s performance was more than enough to see him take the overall event lead, with Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi second, 21.3s behind overall.

The drama continued in SS2 with Austria’s Andreas Aigner, one of the main contenders for the IRC Production Cup, stopping in the stage with brake failure on his Subaru.

Mikkelsen’s delay dropped him to 8th overall but the Norwegian fought back hard on SS3 (Salamiou 57% tarmac), sprinting through the mixed surface stage in 8:38.0, 1.4 seconds faster than Attiyah.

SS3 proved disastrous for 2nd-placed overall Al-Rajhi, who crashed out in his Ford Fiesta S2000. By the end of SS3, Al-Attiyah continued to lead the event overall, with first-time Cyprus entrant Sepp Wiegand of Germany 2nd in his Skoda Fabia S2000.

SS4 (Panayia) 100% gravel was the longest of the morning stages and despite reports of ongoing suspension problems, Mikkelsen powered through in an impressive 30:03.1
Al-Attiyah, slowed by driveshaft and alternator issues, lost ground but still making it through the stage a creditable 18.7seconds behind the Norwegian.

Attiyah’s battling drive was enough to see him head into service with an overall event lead of 1:33.6 over Mikkelsen, who was helped into 2nd place by a costly Wiegand spin on SS4.

In terms of the MERC, Attiyah (currently joint second in the Championship with 43 points) leads the way, with championship leader Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari of Qatar (who holds 52 points and is competing here this weekend with a MINI JCW) currently sitting 5th overall, 2m:48.7s behind Al- Attiyah.

Last night’s scintillating super special, an impressive array of national, regional and international drivers showed terrific pace, flying through the narrow streets of Pafos at breakneck speed.

Mikkelsen showed winning form, despite having already effectively secured the 2012 IRC title. But fans can be sure that Attiyah will keep the pressure on, calling upon all his Cyprus experience to take maximum points in his quest to secure the 2012 FIA Middle East Championship title.

Qatar’s Al Rayyan subdues Muscat 23-21


AL RAYYAN CLUB of Qatar used fire to extinguish fire and launched its campaign in the 15th Asian Clubs Handball League Championship on a victory note. At Al Gharafa Club Indoor Hall on Saturday, the home team played a tough and physical game to subdue Muscat Sports Club of Oman by 23-21.

Rayyan, who led by the narrowest possible margin at the interval by 12-11, held onto the advantage in the second half mainly due to superb scoring skills of Mohammed Ghazal and went on to pull off the crucial victory in the Group B clash.

Earlier it was Muscat which went ahead as Nasser al Tamtami shone in the opening phase. Thrice Al Rayyan drew levels. But after about 21:11 minutes when Ghazal hammered his third goal, it was the time for Muscat to do the catching up with the Qatari team.

Ghazal was the top striker for Rayyan with seven, four of his goals coming in the second session, in which the Qatari team turned the heat on the Omani team by retaining the lead throughout and improving its defence. Its goalkeeper Hussain Bazkairi also defended brilliantly and kept the rivals at bay.

Rayyan, whose three players were suspended temporarily, got more goals through Selim Hedoui (5), Nasreddine Megdich (4).

Abdulrazzaq, Bassel and Hamad al Hajri shared other six.

The Muscat team, which used the body play at many occasions to stop the Rayyan from scoring, had four of its players sent out on twominute suspensions. Mahar al Dughaishi and second best scorer Hassani were made to sit out twice each.

After the match, Rayyan coach Kamal Akab sounded pleased with this team’s winning start. “The first match in any championship is always tough. We had an opponent who was unknown to us. The Muscat team used a plenty of body play.” “But my players responded to the challenge well and won the difficult match. Luckily, we did not suffer any injury in this physical match. This victory is very significant for us and will inspire us to improve our game”.

Rayyan team manager Ahmed Salem commented: “It was not an easy match for my team. My players played a hard handball and did not allow the Oman team to take the initiative in the crucial parts of the match.” Al Noor shines Saudi Arabia’s Al Noor also had an impressive start in the group B as it brushed aside the challenge of UAE’s Al Jazeera by 28-22. The winner enjoyed a slender one-goal edge (11-10) at the interval but a fine scoring in the second session helped it win the match easily.

Tahar Labane and Mahdi Salem shared 12 goals to lead the charge of Al Noor.

Mojtaba Salem (4), Ali al Tarote (3) and Abdulla Hammad (3) pushed Al Noor ahead with their scoring abilities.

Abdulhamed al Janabi also had half a dozen goals to his credit for Al Jazeera. Jumah al Dhanhani (five) and Tarek Boukhamis (four) offered good support but other scorers failed to utilise the chances they got.

Arabi holds Samen Abdulaziz al Mutawa of Al Arabi blasted four goals in the second half and his last one salvaged a point in a pulsating 23-23 draw against Samen Alhojaj of Iran in a Group C match.

The Kuwaiti team was 22- 21 ahead when Hassan al Shatti struck his second goal.

In the remaining three and a half minutes, both got a bit nervous and could not finish their moves. At 27:07, Masod Zohrabi equalised and the Iranian team forged ahead through its best scorer Hojat Rahshenas’ fifth goal with 46 seconds from the final whistle.

In the final moments, Arabi launched its attack and Mutawa fired a brilliant goal to spark a jubilation among his teammates and forced the rivals to share the points.

Meshari al Harabi emerged the highest goal-getter for Arabi with seven. He was followed by Ahmad al Ebrahim and Mutawa, who had four each. Apart from Rahshenas, Hassan Khalighivaliabd netted four, while Masod Zohrabi and Jorgeluis Pavanlopez hit three each for the loser.

Mudhar downs Jiangsu In a late match on Friday, holder Mudhar launched its defence in a convincing manner, beating Chinese team Jiangsu 28-23. Mohammed al Zaer and Maksimovc Mlos struck goals at the key moments to lead their team to the victory with nine and seven goals.

The Saudi Arabian team took some time to settle down and needed to turn over the three-goal deficit (5-8) and rallied to tie the scores four times before forging ahead at 12-11, never to look back.

Hassan al Janbi and Majed Abo al Raha netted three goals apiece to maintain the pressure on the Chinese team. Li An struck six goals in as many attempts for the loser. Zhao Chen and Hao Ke Xin slammed five and four goals, respectively, to give an early boost to Jiangsu.

RESULTS Al Noor (Saudi Arabia) beat Al Jazeera Club (UAE) 28-22 (half-time 11-10) Scorers ñ Al Noor: Tahar Labane 6, Mahdi Salem 6, Mojtaba Salem 4, Abdulla Hammad 3, Ali al Tarote 3, Ahmed al Obedi 2, Milan Vucicevic 2, Abdulla Abaas 1, Nabel al Obedi 1
Al Jazeera: Abdulhameed al Janabi 6, Jumah al Dhanhani 5, Tarek Boukhamis 4, Alaha al Nofeli 3, Abdulla al Balooshi 2, OUlaid Ben Amor 2
Al Rayyan Club (Qatar) beat Muscat Sports Club (Oman) 23-21 (half-time 12-11) Scorers ñ Al Rayyan: Mohammed Ghazal 7, Selim Hedoui 5, Nasreddine Megdich 4, Abdulrazzaq Murad 2, Bassel al Rayes 2, Hamad al Hajri 2, Anas Suweidan 1
Muscat SC: Nasser al Tamtami 7, Assad Syed al Hassani 6, Peter Rodik 3, Hamid al Dughaishi 2, Hassan al Jabri 1, Aiman al Rasbi 1, Abdullah al Dughaishi 1
Al Arabi Club (Kuwait) draws with Samen Alhojaj (Iran) 23-23 (half-time 10-10) Scorers ñ Al Arabi: Meshari al Harbi 7, Abdulaziz al Mutawa 4, Ahmad al Ebrahim 4, Hassan al Shatti 2, Ahmad al Kandary 2, Salem al Mutawa 1, Abdulla al Theyab 1, Ali Morad 1, Hamed al Sulalli 1
Samen Alhojaj: Hojat Rahshenas 5, Hassan Khalighivaliabd 4, Masod Zohrabi 3, Jorgeluis Pavanlopez 3, Hadi Talebi 2, Mojtaba Heierpour 2, Aliakbar Khohshnevis 1, Mustafa Hassanimonfare 1, Mahdi Bijary 1, Milos Pesic 1
SUNDAY’S FIXTURES 13:00 Al Sadd (Lebanon) vs Al Ahli Club (UAE) 15:00 Al Ahli Club (Bahrain) vs Al Arabi (Kuwait) 17:00 Samen Alhojaj (Iran) vs Jiangsu (China) 19:00 El Jaish (Qatar) vs Kuwait SC (Kuwait)

China’s PMI rises to 55% in Oct


BEIJING CHINA’S services sector rebounded in October from a two-year low in September on stronger activity in the construction and retail sectors, an official survey showed on Saturday, adding to signs of a modest economic recovery.

The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 55.5 in October from 53.7 in September, according to the latest survey from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The sub-index for the construction services sector rose to 60.2 from 58 in September while the sub-indices for activities in the sectors of retailers, hotels, environmental protection and public utilities all stayed above 60, the bureau said.

But the new orders subindex for the services sector as a whole eased to 51.6 in October from 51.8 in September, it said without elaborating.

The Services PMI reading in September was the lowest in nearly two years, although the sector remains above the 50-point line that divides expansion from contraction.

The central bank has been steadily easing policy to boost credit while the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planning agency, has been fast-tracking infrastructure projects to boost investment.

China’s central bank said in a policy report published on Friday that it will prioritise supporting the economy above other needs, affirming expectations that the recovery in the Chinese growth engine is feeble at best.

The property sector has showed signs of warming up in recent months due to policy easing and support from local governments.

The services sector index follows two manufacturing PMI surveys that showed the economy may be regaining some steam in October following a series of policy steps.

“Overall, we can say that recent government stimulus steps have started to gain some traction,” said Hua Zhongwei, senior economist at Huachuang Securities in Beijing.

“This is a positive sign which shows that increased investment is boosting demand for related services.” China annual GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.6 percent in the next quarter from 7.4 percent in the third quarter, snapping a seventh straight quarter of slower expansion and paving the way for beating the full-year target of 7.5 percent.

Merkel discusses strategy on renewable energy


CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel held talks on developing a nationwide strategy on renewable energy with the governors of Germany’s 16 states on Friday, at a time when energy prices are rising and the opposition is critical of her government’s efforts.

Until now, each state has drawn up and worked from its own plan for the expansion of renewable resources in its territory, often in conflict with one another. On the federal side, there is no single leader for the project to increase reliance on renewable energy to at least 35 percent by 2020. Instead, responsibilities are divided between the ministries of the environment and the economy, with the education minister responsible for financing research on renewable energy and storage technology.

The opposition Social Democratic Party has pounced on the weakness in the Merkel government’s signature project ahead of national elections next year, while widespread public support for the plan faces strains from a nearly 50 percent jump in a consumer tax for the transformation next year.

“Germany’s energy transformation is threatened with collapse due to the inability of the government” to draw up a master plan, Hubertus Heil, a leading Social Democrat, said before Friday’s meeting.

Germans’ relationship to nuclear energy is deeply emotional, rooted in the antinuclear protest culture of the 1970s and memories of radioactive mushrooms and wild game in Bavarian forests that resulted from the 1986 meltdown in Chernobyl.

It would be a severe blow to Merkel and her Christian Democrats if the project, passed last year by her center- right government in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, were to fail. On Friday, she pledged to work with the states through a national dialogue on how best to move forward.

“Germans can be assured that we feel committed to the goal of energy transformation,” Merkel said after the meeting. “I felt a spirit that we all want, and perhaps can, achieve this.” Torsten Albig, a Social Democrat who is governor of Schleswig-Holstein, also praised the discussions as “a considerable step forward” toward reaching a master plan by March.

His northern coastal state, along with Lower Saxony, has been criticized for expanding offshore wind energy at such a rapid pace that turbines have had to be switched off on exceptionally windy days, because they produce more energy than the grid can handle.

Canada extends review of $15bn CNOOC-Nexen deal to Dec 10



CANADA said it has extended its review of a $15.1 billion bid by China’s CNOOC for Canadian energy producer Nexen by a month to December 10.

Ottawa is conducting the review to determine whether a takeover by the Chinese state-owned enterprise would bring a ‘net benefit’ to Canada.

CNOOC launched China’s richest foreign takeover bid in July when it agreed to buy Nexen, whose global portfolios include oil sands and shale gas.

“The review period for CNOOC Limited’s proposed acquisition of Nexen under the Investment Canada Act has been extended to December 10, 2012,” Christian Paradis, Canada’s industry minister, said in a statement.

The extension will give Canada more time to articulate broad guidelines on foreign takeovers of Canadian companies.

The government wants to issue the framework at the same time it makes its ruling on the CNOOC proposal.

Under Canadian law, all major foreign takeover proposals are subject to approval of the federal government, which must certify that the deals benefit the country.

Canada blocked Malaysian state oil firm Petronas’ C$5.17 billion bid for gas producer Progress Energy Resources on October 20 but rather than completely ruling the acquisition out, Paradis offered Petronas 30 days to make new representations to the government.

The industry minister initially had issued a two-week extension before declaring that the transaction would not benefit Canada - raising doubts over CNOOC’s bid for Nexen - but offering the additional 30 days.

The proposed acquisition of Nexen has raised concerns within Canada about allowing a Chinese state-owned enterprise to control domestic resource assets.

On the other hand, Canada may have to try to build bridges with Asian markets that would welcome its energy supplies as the United States, long the largest market for Canadian energy exports, increases its own oil output from unconventional sources. Also, this year the United States rejected an initial application on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, Reuters reported on Wednesday that Canada was likely to extend its review of the CNOOC bid for Nexen beyond the November10 deadline.

Qatar Exchange trade value down 20 percent in a week

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Doha hosts global workshop on safe transport of unsafe goods


DOHA MORE than 60 participants representing major stakeholders in the transport of dangerous goods in Qatar participated in the global workshop on road transport capacity building and professional training, recently.

The workshop was organised by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) Academy in coordination with Mowasalat and the Arab Union of Land Transport (AULT).

The workshop focused on the transport of dangerous goods by road (ADR). This falls under a regional project for the League of Arab States countries aimed at improving road safety and road transport efficiency in the region.

It was held under the auspices of Staff Major-General Saad bin Jassim al Khulaifi, director-general of public security and was supported by the Islamic Development Bank, the IRU and the AULT.

The event followed the recent activities undertaken by Mowasalat under its cooperation with the IRU Academy as a contribution to the UN Decade of Actions on Road Safety.

Nasser al Khanji, director of Mowasalat Business Development and Strategy, delivered the inaugural address at the seminar. He stated that the industrial expansion taking place in Qatar has created a demand for dangerous goods, doubling the number of trucks carrying them. This workshop was, therefore, hosted amid these accelerated developments.

He pointed out that Mowasalat has developed bases of integrated training, in collaboration with the IRU Academy, in order to build up efficient training capacities and to attain global leadership in this area.

Jassem Saif al Sulaiti, Mowasalat chairman and managing director, congratulated the gathering of professionals, experts and stakeholders, which involves significance for the safety of people, vehicles and road users as a result of the transportation of dangerous goods, including fuels, flammable materials, chemicals and radioactive materials.

Through their discussions and papers, the participants developed guidelines that guide vehicles carrying such goods and identify the appropriate frameworks and standard specifications that ensure transport safety, save lives, transport goods and vehicles from the danger associated with the seriousness of such goods.

Ahmed Bu Sherbak al Mansouri, Mowasalat executive director, referred to the fact that the volume of the carriage of dangerous goods by road was increasing due to the rich natural resources, the strong demand on transport and economic growth.

The strict compliance with the international regulations of the carriage of dangerous goods by road is a significant factor in ensuring the safety of drivers, vehicles and road users and benefiting the community as a whole. In this regard, the UN Convention on International Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road stands as the strongest multilateral framework for international rules and legislations related to the safe transport of dangerous goods by road everywhere, including the Arab countries.

Robert Makondo, Mowasalat training manager, said that to ensure successful carriage of dangerous goods, the training materials included many of the approved fundamentals for transporting them and reducing their danger in cases of accidents. “We have developed a course, including such materials and ways of handling them in various cases and thorough information on road safety. The workshop’s aim was to identify the bases and methods of the safe carriage of various dangerous goods by road; enhance the mechanisms for compliance with such bases and methods; and boost awareness of the importance of observing them to avoid accidents involving high-scale danger for both humans and machinery, particularly in high-density roads and preserve national resources and economy,” he said.

The workshop included sessions on the significance of road transport professional training to ensure safe and efficient transport operations; harmonisation of dangerous goods transport’s rules and practices to increase road safety, transport efficiency and protect the environment; responsibilities of the stakeholders; technical needs to comply with ADR requirements; and the importance of knowledge and skills in the carriage of dangerous goods by road.

MEPRA workshop on impact of new media


DOHA THE Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) will host an interactive workshop on emerging new media, communications and PR trends on November 7
The workshop will be led by Rishi Saha, regional director of digital at Hill+Knowlton Strategies and David Cameron’s former head of digital communications.

During the discussion, Saha will elaborate on the impact of social media and digital communications on government, brands and charity activities.

Designed to raise awareness and deepen understanding of social media among PR professionals, the workshop will address five areas, including building the internal business case and strategy for digital communications; creating sophisticated social media experiences to engage citizens and residents; managing social media crises and reputational risks; setting up and managing a digital team; as well as measurement frameworks, analytics and setting realistic key progress indicators (KPIs).

“The current vogue for social media in government circles, especially in the GCC, is a welcome addition to the public realm. Used wisely, social media can enhance the quality of relationship between the people and their governing institutions.

This workshop will be all about exploring the true extent of the potential of social media,” Saha said.

MEPRA’s first event in Qatar involved a trip to Al Jazeera Network, where PR professionals toured the facilities and had the opportunity to engage with the news network’s team, including senior members of the media.

MEPRA General Manager Carine Duvignaud said: “Building on the success of the first MEPRA event in Doha, we are keen to provide PR professionals in Qatar with access to some of the latest developments in social media and digital communications. For this reason, we are delighted to work with Rishi Saha and share insights with local PR practitioners from his wealth of experience in new media.” Individuals and corporations interested in participating can register by sending an email to a d m i n @ m e p r a . o r g .

Participation fee for MEPRA members is QR200 while non-member guests can participate at a charge of QR250. The fee includes a networking lunch with leading social media and communications professionals in Qatar.

First GCC youth conference to kick off today


DOHA QATAR will host from Sunday the first GCC Youth Conference, which will assess the region’s programmes and activities concerning the youth and workout plans to improve them.

The week-long event is being organised by the Cultural Activities and Events Department of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage under the patronage of Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al Kuwari.

The conference, to be held at Marriot Hotel, will be attended by President of the Gulf Youth Committee and Director of Bahraini Public Foundation of Youth and Sports Hisham Mohamed al Jawdar in addition to one representative each from the GCC General Secretariat and the Arab League.

Highlighting the aim of the conference, Abdulrahman bin Mohamed al Hajiri, director of Cultural Activities and Events at the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, said: “The conference aims to seek the participation of GCC youngsters in choosing and assessing youth activities with respect to the recommendations of Arab ministers of youth and sports.

“Arab youth are free to express their opinion and participate in planning youth-related activities.

Moreover, they should be given the opportunity to express their opinions vis-àvis GCC youth activities and whether these activities have achieved the aim set for them.” He also noted that the conference would allow the GCC youth to present new activities, workshops and novel programmes, which will be presented in the upcoming GCC undersecretaries meeting.

Hajiri called on Qatar youth to participate in the forum, noting that the door is open for them to take part and benefit from the experiences of their colleagues from other countries.

SCH honours 32 schools for participating in health drive


DOHA THE Supreme Council of Health (SCH) recently honoured 32 schools and other institutions that participated in the second edition of its ‘We are healthy’ campaign.

The ‘We are healthy’ was a health education programme aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle among students and staff of primary independent schools across the country.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the programme, Director of Health Promotion and Non-communicable Diseases at SCH Dr Sheikha Al Anoud bint Mohammad al Thani said the campaign targeted primary school children to train them on how to improve their health.

‘We are healthy’ seeks to help students to learn how to live a healthy life by encouraging them to take part in physical exercises before, during and after school hours. The programme also seeks to encourage children to choose healthy food and drinks both inside and outside the school,” she said.

She added: “The campaign also aimed to promote healthy practices in the family as an active unit of the community through the participation of civil society organisations and the media.

The ‘We are healthy’ programme is thus a nucleus of a national project aimed at community development.” Dr Al Anoud expressed joy over the outcome of the programme, adding that the results were monitored periodically and systematically.

Presenting weekly evaluation of the campaign, Dr Al Anoud said that the number of students participating in physical exercises rose from 64 percent before the commencement of the drive to 90 percent at the end of the programme.

She also pointed out that the percentage of students who were able to differentiate between healthy and harmful meals increased from 69 percent before the programme to 93 percent after its implementation took off.

Dr al Anoud thanked the participating schools and institutions, including the Supreme Education Council and Qatar Foundation, for their support to the successful implementation of the programme.

The ‘We are healthy’ programme did not only provide information or health education to the students, but also actively worked to improve their health behaviour with various activities inside and outside the classroom.

The Public Health Department at the Supreme Council of Health had implemented the programme in 2011 among only 15 primary schools. The campaign served as a pilot scheme within a strategic plan to expand its reach to cover all primary schools in Qatar.

IBQ to mark 56th anniversary


DOHA THE International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) will celebrate its 56th anniversary this month, commemorating five decades of commitment to providing the country and its community with excellence in service and innovation in banking and finance.

The milestone strongly underlines the bank’s remarkable track record earmarked with year on year growth, unparalleled leadership and a superb line-up of financial solutions.

Started as the Ottoman Bank in 1956 and serving Qatar ever since, IBQ is one of the oldest banks in the country which played a significant role in building the fundamentals of the industry. In 1969, the Ottoman Bank sold its branches to the National and Grindlays bank which later became known as Grindlays. In 1989, the bank’s name changed to ANZ Grindlays when it was acquired by the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group. In 2000, the Standard Chartered Group acquired AN Grindlays taking over as a major shareholder before renaming the Qatari division of the bank IBQ in 2004 when the National Bank of Kuwait, the largest bank in Kuwait and the highest rated in the Middle East, acquired a 20 per cent stake. NBK raised its share in 2007 to 30 per cent.

Today, IBQ operates a growing network of nine branches and service centres and 35 ATMs in strategic locations throughout Qatar alongside its international network through the National Bank of Kuwait which offers clients access to greater resources and a wide range of global services.

As a result of its world-class services and customised solutions, IBQ has been awarded major industry accolades that further attest to its image as the ‘Bank of Choice’.

Jabra Ghandour, managing director of IBQ, said: “We’re extremely proud to celebrate this illustrious milestone and to be part of Qatar’s most established banking institutions.

IBQ is one of the oldest established banks in Qatar and has therefore worked hand-in-hand with different public and private organizations to develop market-oriented solutions to contribute to serving the wider national vision and growth strategy of the country.

“Since inception, IBQ has significantly contributed to the Qatari economy by providing continued financial stability through its robust and unparalleled performance and annual results. IBQ has also been ideally placed to finance key projects in Qatar and extending support and advice to the both international and local business entities here in the country.” “Serving Qatar since 1956, our award-winning bank has become a preferred partner for many offering an allencompassing range of premium, smart, tailor-made and convenient banking and financial solutions, all managed and delivered by a pool of the highest standing professionals.

Our partnership with NBK allowed us to further expand our offerings to our clients with exposure to a host of international, firstclass services. We will continue to build on our existing, long-standing legacy to firmly cement our image as a leading financial institution not only in Qatar but also in the wider MENA region. Working with enthusiasm and integrity, we are here to make a positive impact on the market by creating long-term growth for our stakeholders,” Jabra added.

In June 2009, IBQ was recognised as “the fastest moving bank” in the Middle East and North Africa region and the 26th fastest mover globally in The Banker magazine’s Top 1,000 World Bank Survey in 2009. The bank’s commitment to customer relationships and best practice is reflected in the numerous awards it has won, including “Best Private Banking Services in Qatar” award for 2012 by Euromoney Magazine, “Best Credit Card in Qatar Award by the Banker ME Magazine, “Best Retail Bank in Qatar 2011” by Arabian Business and “Best Customer Service in the Middle East” award for four consecutive years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 by ‘Banker Middle East’ magazine.

Kuwait may use army to stop opposition rally

AFP KUWAIT CITY KUWAIT may call in the army to help security forces stop a march called by the opposition for Sunday after the government vowed to use force if necessary, the emirate’s Al-Anbaa newspaper reported.

The move came after security forces used tear gas to disperse a demonstration by thousands of protesters on Wednesday, injuring more than 30 and drawing condemnation from international human rights watchdogs.

“The interior ministry will use all means necessary to prevent illegal processions,” Al-Anbaa quoted a security source as saying on Saturday.

“The army and national guard may be called in if needed to deal with any breach of public order,” the source added.

The opposition has called the march in Kuwait City to protest against an amendment to the electoral law ordered by emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad Al abah last month ahead of a snap December 1 parliamentary election.

Almost all opposition groups have said they will boycott the poll in protest at what they see as a bid to create a rubber stamp assembly.

The opposition, made up of Islamists, nationalists and liberals, won a February general election but the constitutonal court quashed the vote in June and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.

Kuwait introduced parliamentary elections as long ago as 1962, but the emir and the ruling Al-Sabah family continue to hold all key cabinet posts and retain enormous powers.

The opposition wants to create a constitutional monarchy and has called for an elected government and the legalisation of political parties, which remain formally banned.

Opposition leaders insist they have no desire to undermine the Al-Sabah family and late on Friday pledged their loyalty to the emir while renewing their demand for the electoral law to be changed back.

Wednesday’s demonstration was called to protest against the detention of opposition leader Mussallam al- Barrak on charges of undermining the status of the emir.

He was released on bail the following day.

It was the second time in 10 days that security forces had bloodily dispersed an opposition rally. On October 21, more than 100 protesters were injured as police attempted to break up a demonstration that the opposition said was the largest in Kuwait’s history with more than 100,000 people taking part.

Amnesty International called on the Kuwaiti authorities on Thursday to respect the right to demonstrate.

“The Kuwaiti authorities must ensure the people of Kuwait are free to peacefully express their opinions, including about the electoral law, the elections and the emir,” the human rights watchdog said.

“The security forces must abide by international policing standards and refrain from using unlawful force in response to peaceful demonstrations.”

Hamas PM blasts Mahmoud Abbas over TV remarks

AP GAZA STRIP THE prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip criticised the Palestinian president on Friday for comments given to Israeli media, alleging that they contradict longtime Palestinian territorial demands. Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks, aired on Israel’s Channel 2, were “extremely dangerous.” Abbas, who was speaking about borders of a future Palestinian state, said the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem are Palestine and the rest is Israel. He said that while he would like to see his birthplace Safed, now a town in northern Israel he doesn’t want to live there. “I am a refugee but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine. And the other parts is Israel,” Abbas said. “I want to see Safed. It is my right to see it but not to live there,” he said.

Palestinian officials did not return calls seeking comment.

But Abbas’s remarks broadly reflect the official Palestinian position of reaching an agreement where refugees will receive compensation while a smaller amount would be allowed back. Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas movement, alongside many other Palestinians, said Abbas’ remarks suggested millions of refugees and their descendants would not return to the places they fled in wars with Israel.

“It is not possible for any person, regardless of who he is ... to give up a hand’s width of this Palestinian land, or to give up the right of return to our homes from which we were forced out,” Gaza’s Hamas ruler Ismail Haniyeh said.

The fate of refugees who fled, or were forced to flee their homes in the wake of Israel’s creation in 1948 is on one of the most emotional issues at the heart of Israel-Palestinian conflict. The refugee issue has been a big obstacle in peace talks. Israel says their entry would be demographic suicide and expects refugees to be taken in by a future Palestinian state. Israel has absorbed large amounts of Jewish refugees over the decades including those that fled from Arab countries in 1948 and 1967.

Nimer Hammad, an adviser to the Palestinian president said Abbas was being “realistic.

He knows he can’t bring back five-and-a-half million Palestinian refugees to Israel,” Hammad said. During his interview, Abbas vowed to prevent another violent Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, like that of last decade.

Syria rebels target key airbase before opposition talks

AFP DAMASCUS SYRIAN rebels said on Saturday they had launched a major assault on a northern airbase used to deploy regime air power, on the eve of a crucial meeting to decide the future of the opposition.

The attack on the Taftanaz base, from where helicopter gunships raid opposition positions and rebel-held areas, comes after regime forces this week launched an unprecedented wave of air strikes in a bid to reverse rebel gains.

A video posted on the Internet said eight battalions were taking part in the attack, including the radical Islamist Al-Nusra Front, and showed a missile launcher mounted on the back of a pick-up truck firing on regime positions.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground, said an operation had begun “to liberate the Taftanaz airbase.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britainbased watchdog, said “heavy fighting” had broken out near the base in Idlib province where rebels have seized new ground this week.

The rebels earlier on Saturday attacked and briefly held an air defence position at Duwila in Idlib, in fighting that killed an army officer and wounded eight rebels, the Observatory said.

The fresh clashes came as Syria’s political opposition prepared for key talks starting on Sunday in Qatar, where the US is expected to push for a new umbrella organisation to unite the country’s fractured regime opponents.

Reports say Washington will press for an overhaul of the opposition and its main representative body, the Syrian National Council (SNC), with long-time dissident Riad Seif touted as the potential head of a new government-in-exile dubbed the Syrian National Initiative. In a statement from Amman, a group of key opposition figures including Seif sought to quell concerns the overhaul is aimed at building an opposition that would be willing to negotiate with President Bashar al Assad.

“Assad and his entourage leaving power is a non-negotiable precondition for any dialogue aimed at finding a nonmilitary solution,” the group of 25 dissidents said after talks in the Jordanian capital.

The SNC lashed out at alleged US interference with the opposition on Friday, accusing Washington of undermining the country’s revolt and “sowing the seeds of division” by seeking the overhaul.

Qatar set for upsurge in project tenders: MEED


DOHA QATAR is all set to witness an upsurge over project tenders and awards in the next two years, as the country enters the next crucial phase of its preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and its bid for the Summer Olympics in 2020, according to MEED Events.

The projects to be awarded will be comprehensively discussed at the Qatar Projects 2013 conference to be organised by MEED Events with the support of the Ministry of Business and Trade.

Announcements of new tenders, bidding and awards, which are expected to reach $30 billion a year from 2013-2014; as well as a comprehensive discussion of the solutions to the massive challenges being faced by project owners, developers and contractors in Doha will be the highlights of the premier gathering of projects industry stakeholders from across the region.

Since the announcement of Qatar’s winning bid for the FIFA World Cup 2022, there has been a huge frenzy in the projects industry, eager to capitalise on huge opportunities. Some major contracts were announced, but a huge chunk of the projects are yet to be awarded.

The last two years, for most players, was a time of preparation; setting up new partners and securing financing. This year, as the Qatar Projects conference celebrates 10 years, it will set the industry abuzz with new project announcements.

“The next five years will showcase the critical developments that will transform Qatar as it steps up to deliver on mega, medium and small size projects. Qatar Projects is a must-attend event as it provides stakeholders access to information that will enable them to secure a piece of the nearly $60 billion worth of contracts up for grabs,” said Edmund O’ Sullivan, Chairman, MEED Events.

In addition to discussing the development and delivery of Qatar’s infrastructure projects in the lead up to World Cup 2022, other important discussions include assessing the investments required and the overall outlook for project financing in the next two to five years.

The winner of MEED’s inaugural “Qatar Projects Leadership Award” will be also recognised at the exclusive networking dinner to be held on February 18, 2013. The ceremony will feature some of Qatar’s most innovative projects and showcase how these projects are significantly advancing economic diversification.

Qatar Projects 2013 will provide not just insights and information about the projects industry in Qatar, but important networking opportunities for all participants.

The event is supported by The Ministry of Business & Trade, Qatar, International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) as Platinum sponsor and Mashreq as Silver Sponsor and Patton Boggs as Lunch Sponsor.

Further details are available at www.qatarprojectsconference.


Syrische govt-in-ballingschap voor top Doha voldoen aan agenda


AMMAN DETAILS emerged on Saturday of plans to form of opposition in Syria in a representative Government-in-exile, on the eve of the important discussions between opponents of the regime.

The discussions which begins on Sunday in Doha come amid us criticism of the main exiled opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week was not representative.

Reports surfaced that Washington has insisted on a revision of the opposition, with long time dissident Riad Seif touted as the potential head of a new Government-in-exile dubbed the Syrian national initiative.

Seif and about two dozen other leading opposition figures gathered in Jordan's capital Amman this week and came up with proposals for a new body to represent the various groups against President Bashar al Assad.

Among the attendees were some members SNC, former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, which in August, Ali Sadreddin Bayanuni of the Muslim Brotherhood and Kurdish and tribal representatives, participants said defecting.

In a statement on Saturday, participants wanted to ensure that the revision is aimed at building an opposition that would be willing to negotiate with Assad to curb.

"Assad and his entourage left of power is a non-negotiable condition for any dialogue aimed at finding a non-military solution, if that is still possible," said the statement.

The Amman meeting also came to support "efforts underway to put a unified political body for the whole of the opposition," according to the statement.

Discussion of "the means to unite the opposition in a way that is worthy of the sacrifices on the ground and the Arab, international and regional support needed to topple the regime." The Group supported the rebel "Free Syrian army and the movements on the ground behind the revolution." as legitimate means to overthrow the criminal regime

Emir QR 2.2 billion LDPE plant of Qapco open


His Highness the Emir DOHA Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani Qatar petrochemical company (Qapco) QR will usher is 2.2 billion new low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Mesaieed industrial city (MIC) on November 20, company sources said on Saturday.

The first stone of the LDPE 3 plant, which will have an annual capacity of 300,000 tons, was laid by His Highness the heir to the Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani in 2009.

With the inauguration of the plant, the total annual production capacity of Qapco LDPE 700,000 tonnes. Qapco has on the current two LDPE production lines which together produce approximately 400,000 tonnes per year. The coming on stream of the new factory will also increase the combined annual production capacity of polyolefins, including LDPE and linear lowdensity polyethylene (LLDPE), 1.15 million tonnes per year.

Low density polyethylene is a tough, durable and flexible plastic polymer, an indispensable material for packaging applications all over the world.

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) had a QR730 million credit facility extended to Qapco for LDPE-3 plant. QIB was chosen as the source of financing from six banks. Qapco had planned to start the LDPE-3 plant in the second quarter of this year.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project was awarded to German company Uhde through an international tender for the project. Uhde is part of the Thyssen-Krupp Group and specializes in the construction of chemical and other industrial installations.

Qapco, one of the leading ethylene and polyethylene producers in the Middle East, was founded in 1974 as a joint multinational company to exploit the associated and non-associated gas from oil production ethane in accordance with the plan of the industrialization of Qatar.

Qapco began commercial production in 1981 and soon became well established in the global market for its commitment to quality and reliability. Qapco is jointly owned by Qatar Industries (IQ) with 80 percent share and Total Petrochemicals of France with 20 percent share. Qatar Petroleum (QP) IQ is controlled by which a share of 70 percent in the.

The remaining 30 percent of the shares is held by the public.

Qapco products reach more than 4,500 customers in 85 countries through its extensive marketing and agent network in strategic markets of the Middle East, Europe, Asia and far East. Qapco markets are LDPE under its well-known brand ' Lotrene ', which is recognized and respected by clients all over the world.