Wednesday, 21 November 2012

JTHJ earns Rs 60.39 crore in four days

Good Value For Money
OVER the last 20 years the United Kingdom has become much more European, but also Europe has become much more British. Britain has influenced the shape of the EU probably more than any other country. The single market was a British idea. English is the most-used language in EU institutions...
THE 'Twinkie', it turns out, was introduced way back in 1930. In our memories, however, the iconic snack will forever be identified with the 1950s, when Hostess popularised the brand by sponsoring 'The Howdy Doody Show'. And the demise of Hostess has unleashed a wave of baby boomer nostalgia for a seemingly more innocent.



Judd Apatow’s life as art in This Is 40



THE set of a Judd Apatow movie can sometimes feel like a day care centre for children and adults alike. On an August day in 2011, Apatow, the writer, director and baby sitter in chief on comedies like Knocked Up, was preparing at a Brentwood mansion to shoot his new film, This Is 40.

While his wife, the actress Leslie Mann, was working on a scene with Paul Rudd and Albert Brooks, Apatow’s younger daughter, Iris, was showing off the brace on her sprained ankle, and his older daughter, Maude, was asking if she could go with some friends to Chinatown. In the backyard John Lithgow was jumping on a trampoline, and the rock musician Graham Parker was strumming on a guitar.

Spread across this playing field are all the components of Apatow’s life: his aspirations, obsessions and anxieties; trusted collaborators, artistic heroes and even his relatives. As a result when Universal releases This Is 40 on December 21, it will be the most personal film Apatow has made to date. It is not only a movie that steers away from the wild or unsettled single men of his earlier efforts (like The 40-Year-Old Virgin), but also one he has created in close collaboration with his wife, who stars in it along with their daughters.

If those are not sufficient indications of Apatow’s investment in the project, there is also the sting he is certain he would feel if audiences rejected the film.

“ T h e r e ’ s n o t h i n g w o r s e than spilling your guts and having people hate it,” he said with a sardonic chuckle. “‘Oh, that’s your world? Wow, I don’t like the movie or you.”’ As he explained his thinking behind This Is 40, speaking in September at the West Los Angeles office his employees call the Apatower, he said: “Here’s my family, here’s my marriage, here’s my job. Are we happy with where we’re at? Can we make it better?” The comedy in that, he said, arises “when you try really hard to control it all, and that always comes back and smacks you in the face.” Despite his tendency to personalise the plot, Apatow says the movie is not really about him and the three-quarters of his nuclear family who appear in it.

In This Is 40, Apatow revisits Pete and Debbie (played by Rudd and Mann), the middle-aged parents introduced in Knocked Up, as they are barraged with commonplace predicaments: Is Pete’s business failing? Can Debbie be both a friend and a boss to her employees? Can they raise their children (played by Maude and Iris Apatow) and navigate relationships with their own parents? Is this a haemorrhoid? Apatow said this intimate specificity – inspired by reality, if not lifted from it – was necessary to connect with the wide audience he seeks.

“People never walk out of the movie and think it’s about us,” Apatow said.

“They always think it’s about them.” Dating to the births of their daughters, Maude, now 14, and Iris, 10, Apatow said, he sought to convince Mann that there was a memorable comedy in their prenatal adventures.

“All sorts of crazy, terrifying, hilarious things were happening,” said Apatow, 44, who has the scruffy beard and cheerful manner of a satisfied satyr. “I would say, ‘ Y o u think we should make a movie about this?’ And I would pray she would say yes.” Some of these details found their way into Knocked Up, Apatow’s 2007 hit (which sold nearly $220 million in tickets worldwide) starring Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen as singles contending with an unexpected pregnancy.

Mann, 40, slender and chic, said that in her husband’s confessional comedies were a welcome antidote to what she said was her “very shy, kind of pentup” youth and “WASPy” upbringing. During the making of Knocked Up she provided notes to make sure the women were represented as fairly as the men. (A scene in which Rogen’s character blanches at having sex with Heigl’s character while she is pregnant was Mann’s suggestion.) In the presence of their children Apatow and Mann are doting, boo-boo-kissing parents.

However, when it is just the two of them (and a reporter), the dynamic is different: they joke around and tease each other affectionately, but also hang expectantly on each other’s sentences. As Apatow explained, they had only just started discussing the finished version of This Is 40 with each other, let alone with interviewers.

With her husband seated next to her, Mann said she was concerned that other romantic comedies did not depict domestic squabbles and their aftermaths as she was used to them.

“I’m so sick of seeing these movies where married couples are just cuddling on the couch and caressing each other’s faces,” she said, adding, with a laugh, “I’m like, ‘Maybe it does happen, and maybe there’s something wrong with us.”’ (“I want to cuddle you for the rest of this interview,” Apatow told her.) So Apatow created a story for the Pete and Debbie characters that would show what his understanding of marriage looked like while giving him and Mann a creative place to work out innermost feelings.

When he is talking about what Pete might do in a situation, “it’s just a coded way for me to say, ‘I feel this way,”’ Apatow said. “It allows us to have a very intimate conversation about other people.” As his screenplay developed around these conversations, it incorporated experiences he and Mann have dealt with – say, his sneaking off to the bathroom to play games on his iPad – and comic exaggerations of true circumstances; other personal issues were deliberately omitted.

“I have vague memories of not wanting to talk about certain things,” Mann said to Apatow, “like your things.” He replied, “Well, don’t talk about them here.” Rudd was also invited to participate in conversations and videotaped improvisations, as was his wife, Julie. He said he did not mind involving his spouse (who is not a performer) and found it therapeutic.

“It seems like you’re having some sort of couples’ therapy, but it’s viewed by millions of people in movie theatres across the world,” Paul Rudd said.

Still, he said it was inevitable that personal dialogue crept into these sessions and into the movie.

“It’s like, why not say it now?” Rudd asked. “God knows it’s true that it could actually happen. Because it did.” Maude and Iris Apatow too are playing expanded versions of their Knocked Up roles – not just wisecracking moppets this time but characters who are integral to the plot. Though they have all but grown up on their father’s movie sets, this latest assignment could be a more problematic blend of fact and fiction, and open them up to critiques that grown-ups are more accustomed to.

Apatow said he shoots with his daughters only during the summer and that they are “not encouraged” to act in other people’s films. But he said he felt they were ready for some of these challenges and that it was important that they received this exposure to the family business.

“I’ve tried to explain to them why we do it,” he said. “This is what creative people do. They share their lives, they let other people see that they feel the same things as them – that we’re all in this together.” Maude Apatow, who is a burgeoning blogger and used to shrugging off online criticism on Twitter, said in response to email questions that she was glad to be included in This Is 40. “I would have felt bad if I was replaced by some other kid who looks a little like me,” she wrote.

But in some scenes – like a fight with her on-screen parents, after her character has been forbidden to use Wi-Fi – she said it was hard to keep her authentic emotions out of the movie.

“Sometimes I am not acting,” she wrote. “I forget we are acting and I just get irritated for real. Who takes away the Wi-Fi?” On the other hand, she said, she was proud of her work in a scene in which she had to lose her temper, cry and curse at Mann. “My mom taught me how to commit to the scene, which helped me a lot,” Maude wrote. “Nobody commits harder than my mom.”

Man City face group exit unless it beat Real Madrid


MANCHESTER FOR the second straight season, Manchester City face elimination from the group stage of the Champions League unless players who have failed to live up to their price tags can find a way to beat Real Madrid.

The underperforming English champion are last in Group D with only two points from four matches after opening the campaign with a 3-2 loss at Madrid.

“It is very difficult, because probably we did some mistakes in the first game,” City manager Roberto Mancini said on Tuesday.

Mancini will make a late decision on whether striker Mario Balotelli’s back has recovered in time for him to face Madrid.

“Yesterday he trained with the physio and tomorrow he will train with the team and we will see if he can play,” Mancini said.

The pressure on Mancini has been lifted slightly by City rising to the top of the Premier League on Saturday for the first time in its title defence.

But it’s in Europe where the top teams are judged, and for some City players the last two Group D matches could now only be a matter of pride.

“Unlikely as it is that we will go through, we want to win our remaining two games and give ourselves at least half a chance,” City winger James Milner said.

“And if that’s not good enough, at least we can finish with our heads held high.” Madrid is second in Group D, one point behind Borussia Dortmund and three ahead of Ajax.

But Madrid have stumbled in its last two matches, losing at Dortmund and then being held by the German champions at home two week ago.

“We have a good chance of winning in Manchester if we impose our attacking strength,” Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira said. “The quality of this team is incredibly high and ... we definitely have to concentrate on trying to play our own way there, not letting ourselves to be influenced by the opponent’s style.” Madrid’s passage to the knockout phase would be guaranteed with a game spare with a win in Manchester, where Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing for the first time since leaving United in 2009.

“Tomorrow he should have more attention on him, not only the other players ..
because he’s a player that can change the game alone,” Mancini said.

Winger Denis Cheryshev has been called into the Madrid squad, with midfielder Michael Essien and forward Alvaro Morata sidelined.

Dortmund is the only unbeaten team in Group D and to advance only needs a draw at Ajax, which has never been beaten at home by German opposition.

“I have a lot of respect for Ajax,” Dortmund defender Neven Subotic said.

“They don’t allow themselves to be shaken up.”

180 players to feature in Corporate Golf tourney


THE first edition of the Corporate Golf Tournament 2012 which will start from November 23 will feature around 180 players from various corporate houses like Maersek Oil, Qatar Rail, QDVC, Hitachi, Descon Engineering, Redco Construction, Al Mana and Bluu Gluf.

The organising committee, in a press conference on Monday announced the sponsors of the tournament.

The representatives of the sponsor companies for the tournament attended the press conference in the presence of Mohammed Faisal al Naimi, the Executive Director of Qatar Golf Association and director of the Corporate Golf Tournament 2012, Fahad al Naimi the General Secretary of the Qatar Golf Association, and Shabrawi Khater, the Managing director of Network advertising and events.

From the side of the sponsors present during the event were the country manager of Turkish Airlines Mehmed Caymaz, Managing Director of Prime Hassan al Asmakh, head of Ginger Camel Stefan Lindberg and Marketing Manager of Oryx Advertising Dulvakar Jeffrey.

Mohammed Faisal al Naimi, the Executive Director of the Qatar Golf Association mentioned that such event will surely boost golfing in Qatar.

“The Corporate Golf Tournament 2012 is considered to be one of the strategic plans developed by the association to find resources for the development of the national team and attract more players.

Also, such events provide a good opportunity for the game lovers to get to know more about the game and help spreading it,” said Naimi.

Fahad al Naimi informed that the players of the national team will not be present as they will be in Bahrain to participate in another tournament.

Mehmed Caymaz stated that sponsoring the Corporate Golf Tournament is a step towards supporting sport activities in Qatar. “This is an opportunity for us to show our support for sporting activities in the country. Moreover, we hope to contribute with an active role in achieving the ambitious Qatar National Vision 2030 in various fields,” pointed out Caymaz.

Stefan Lindberg of Ginger Camel stated that it is a great opportunity for everyone to get out of the burden of the daily work routine. “It’s one of those best ways where you can escape the daily chores and do something healthy. Also this event will also strengthen ties of the business community through sports.”

Nadal back in court after five months layoff


FORMER world No.1 Rafael Nadal has returned to training at his Mallorca base after nearly five months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

“Today was my first training session after so many weeks out,” the Spaniard said on his Facebook page “I am making progress and I hope to continue to do so.” Nadal last played at Wimbledon on June 28 when he lost to the unseeded Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the second round.

The 26-year-old was subsequently diagnosed as suffering with Hoffa syndrome, an inflammation of the fatty tissue situated behind the kneecap in his left knee, a problem that has sidelined him several times over the years.

He was unable to defend his title at the London Olympics, missed out on the US Open and was also unavailable for last weekend’s Davis Cup final which saw the Czech Republic unseat Spain as title-holders.

Nadal’s world ranking has fallen to fourth behind, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, and compatriot David Ferrer is close to moving past him also.

There was no word on when Nadal would return to competitive action, but he has said that his next target would be to get fully fit in time for the year’s first Grand Slam event - the Australian Open in the second half of January.

Rory McIlroy hopes to end season with win in Dubai


ALTHOUGH World Number One Rory McIlroy has already won The Race to Dubai, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland has no intention of taking it easy at this week’s DP World Tour Championship.

McIlroy admitted that while topping the money lists in both Europe and the US, clinching his second Major and helping Europe win the Ryder Cup had been a good year- “I’ll give it eight out of ten”- he is out to end the season in style when the final leg of The Race to Dubai gets underway on Thursday.

“Of course it is good to have wrapped up The Race to Dubai and I know I’ll be getting a trophy on Sunday but it would be even better to get two trophies at the end of the week,” he said after the Rolex Pro-Am on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

After what has been another exceptional year in the career of a player who continues to impress, the $8 million DP World Tour Championship gives the new European number one the opportunity to win what would be his only European Tour title. “I really want to play well this week’ and finish the season on a high. There have been a lot of high points this year and it would be great to finish on another.

Luckily for me, I’ve earned enough money not to make it (The Race to Dubai) matter this week but as I said I would love to pick up both trophies on Sunday, “ said McIlroy.

McIlroy’s outstanding season means that for the second year in succession, the US and European money lists have been won by the same player, a feat first achieved just 12 months ago by World number two Luke Donald who was quick to recognise the achievements of his Ryder Cup team mate. “A lot of people said that winning both money titles wouldn’t happen again for a long time yet it only took Rory a few months to pull it off himself,” said Donald.

Donald, currently ranked 8th in The Race to Dubai but back on McIlroy’s shoulder in the Official World Golf Ranking, admitted that while he would like to be back at the top of the sport he knows golf is enjoying something of a ‘Rory Era’.

“Rory has that ability and the talent to create a big lead , he’s got a bit of a gap already and there is no reason why he can’t continue to play like he has done. But afew of us will be trying to chase him down and that’s good for the sport.

He does have the ability to get away from us but I’ll be looking hard to try and make sure that doesn’t.” One man delighted to have the chance to get up close and personal with the best player in the world was Ahmed al Musharrekh, the 22 year-old UAE national who has become the country’s first ever golf pro.

McIlroy took a few minutes out from competing in the Rolex Pro-Am to welcome al Musharrekh to professional golf in a generous move that delighted the young Emirati. “It was fantastic to meet Rory for the first time,” said Musharrekh, who enjoyed a professional debut in the Rolex Pro-Am. “To be able to stand on the driving range with players like Rory, Luke and Lee Westwood is a great experience which can only help develop my game.”

Xstrata shareholders snub board with Glencore vote



SHAREHOLDERS in Xstrata dealt a blow to their board on Tuesday, ushering through a long-awaited $31 billion takeover by trader Glencore but vetoing a controversial executive pay plan that had been backed by the miner’s directors.

The snub prompted Xstrata’s current chairman John Bond, who will be chairman of the combined group, to announce he would step down once a replacement is found.

Tuesday’s complex series of votes in the Swiss lakeside town of Zug, taking over more than two hours, brought to an end years of on-off merger talks between Xstrata and its largest shareholder and almost a year of often tense negotiations, creating what both sides hope will be a mining and trading powerhouse.

The tie-up, on the cards after Glencore listed last year, still needs to receive antitrust approval from European and Chinese regulators, but now looks set to become the largest deal in the sector since Rio Tinto’s acquisition of Alcan in 2007.

Hours after Glencore’s shareholders overwhelmingly backed the deal, almost 79 percent of Xstrata’s voting shareholders gave their support - but without a “golden handcuffs” deal the board had insisted was key to keeping key managers.

The plan had been publicly lambasted by institutional investors.

Qatar, which became kingmaker in the deal as Xstrata’s second-largest shareholder, had said it would back the main resolutions on the deal but would abstain on the retention, making it likely that vote would fail.

In the event, 78.4 percent of shareholders voted against pay awards described by one critical investor, activist fund Knight Vinke, as “egregious”.

“Right now, there is $20 billion of your money invested in 20 projects and extensions. It is the Xstrata management team that is responsible for making sure these investments are made safely, soundly and profitably,” Bond told investors gathered for the votes.

But Bond, formerly chairman of Vodafone and HSBC, was brushed aside as shareholders threw out the pay plan. His resignation announcement came soon afterwards.

The deal is a victory for active investors, who secured change on both the terms of the deal, thanks to Qatar, and on the retention plan, initially a key condition for the deal.

Analysts and advisers have already begun focusing on the next steps for the miner and trader that, with its spread of assets from mines, to oil wells to farms and more ships than Britain’s Royal Navy, is expected to be a deal machine in frugal times.

Xstrata, whose growth over the last decade has been fuelled by deals, was set up with a $2.5 billion acquisition of Glencore coal assets. Glencore, for its part, joined the stock market last year with the intention of funding larger deals, including the bid for control of Xstrata.

China’s 2012 FDI inflows fall, stay on track for $100bn mark



CHINA’S foreign direct investment is on track to top $100 billion in 2012 even as the longest run of year-on-year declines in inflows since 2009 extended into October, dragged down by an uncertain outlook for corporate spending as global trade sags.

The Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that China drew $91.7 billion in foreign direct investment between January and October, down 3.45 percent on the same period a year ago, marking the 10th month that aggregate year-to-date flows fell compared with the previous period.

“We can see that there are still many uncertain factors weighing on the global economy and the most severe aspect is the weak world demand,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told a news conference.

China’s economy is acutely sensitive to external demand, despite a gradual rebalancing towards domestic consumption.

Total exports were worth about 31 percent of GDP in 2011, according to World Bank data, and an estimated 200 million Chinese jobs are in the export sector or supported directly by foreign investment, making FDI a particularly important gauge of prospects for China’s vast factory sector.

Despite the slowing rate of inflow, China remains firmly on course to secure more than $100 billion of FDI for the third successive year, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which collates FDI statistics globally.

The FDI figure follows a raft of other economic indicators for October, ranging from exports to factory output and investment, that pointed to a recovery in the world’s secondlargest economy gaining pace.

China’s October export growth darted to a five-month high above 11 percent, surpassing the forecasts of economists in the benchmark Reuters poll, but analysts and officials alike are wary of overinterpretation of the strength of the trade bounce.

“We must say that it is very difficult to achieve the 10 percent annual target for trade growth this year,” Shen said.

Data from China’s Customs Administration showed total trade expanded by 6.3 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 from year ago levels.

“One thing is for certain - we will spare no effort to continue to stabilise growth in exports and imports. Apart from that, we will pay particular attention to increasing China’s share of global trade,” Shen said.

“We expect China’s share of total global trade to rise further this year from last year’s 10.4 percent,” he added.

To shield the economy from external uncertainties, Beijing has unveiled a slew of measures to help reduce the burden on exporters and importers, such as urging faster payment of tax rebate, cutting red tape and providing exporters easier access to bank loans.

Damp demand for exports was evident at the recent Canton Fair, China’s largest biannual trade exhibition, where total transactions this autumn season dropped 9.3 percent on 2011.

China’s exports were worth about $1.9 trillion in 2011, capital flow from which dwarfs the overall contribution of FDI, though it has been long term investment flows from manufacturers around the world, flocking to take advantage of China’s hitherto cheap labour, that have underpinned export growth for years.

The trend has been changing in recent years, with FDI into China increasingly being committed by firms aiming to tap into a fast-growing consumer market.

Analysts at McKinsey reckon China’s mainstream consumer class will comprise 400 million people with household incomes between $16,000 and $34,000 by 2020.

They reckon China’s urbanisation could cure its economic imbalances and put it on a path to domestic consumption- led growth within five years to replace three decades of investment and exportdriven development.

EasyJet doubles dividend as European rivals struggle



BRITISH low-cost airline easyJet doubled its dividend after annual results showed it took business from fading European rivals and customers bought more cheap flights for late summer holidays.

Competitors are struggling to deal with high fuel costs, weak consumer confidence and the eurozone crisis. Some ceased operations this year, leaving gaps in the market that low-cost airlines have been quick to exploit.

IAG’s Spanish carrier Iberia said this month it would axe almost a quarter of its workforce and rationalise its network.

Germany’s Lufthansa said it would deepen cost cuts to counter the rising fuel prices and limited market growth.

“Set against the difficulties which the industry has been facing, typified by the recent Iberia announcement, easyJet has managed to shoot the lights out,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown. “The doubling of the dividend was a clear statement of management intent around easyJet’s prospects.” Shares in EasyJet, which have risen by 80 percent this year compared to a 17 percent rise for the FTSE 250, were up 6.3 percent at 694.25 pence by 1053 GMT, valuing the airline at around 2.75 billion pounds.

Europe’s second-largest budget airline after Ryanair reported pretax profit up 28 percent at 317 million pounds ($504.46 million) for the year to the end of September, at the upper end of its guidance.

The company based in Luton, southern England announced a full-year dividend of 21.5 pence, up from 10.5 pence last year.

Profits have doubled since Carolyn McCall took over as chief executive in July 2010.

She said easyJet would begin paying shareholders one third of its profit after tax each year, up from one fifth last year, confident in its strength on European short-haul routes.

EasyJet said it benefited from sun-starved Britons taking last-minute holidays to Malaga and Alicante in Spain and Faro in Portugal to flee wet weather at home and from Londoners getting away after the Olympics.

It added flights between top business destinations and introduced flexible tickets and allocated seating in an attempt to steal corporate customers from legacy carriers such as IAG’s British Airways.

“Companies are being more cost conscious, which has helped us win more corporate work,” said McCall, adding that easyJet had won accounts with Britain’s Parliament, defence ministry and several banks and insurers in the last year.

The airline is in talks with planemakers Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier over the purchase of more fuel efficient jets and plans to increase seat capacity by up to 5 percent a year over the coming five years.

EasyJet, which will fly between London, Manchester and Moscow from next year, said revenues increased 11.6 percent to 3.85 billion pounds, while its fuel bill rose 182 million pounds to 1.15 billion pounds. The carrier expects fuel costs to be around 30 million pounds higher in 2012/13.

Shell may feed Arrow gas into rivals’ Australian LNG plants



ROYAL Dutch Shell may delay a final decision on whether to push ahead with its Arrow liquefied natural gas plant in Australia as it considers feeding its gas into other LNG projects in the area due to rising costs.

The Arrow LNG development, slated to be built in partnership with PetroChina, is one of four projects on Australia’s east coast that aim to pump gas from coal seams to export facilities, all of which have faced significant cost increases and development challenges.

“There is no rush for us (to make) a final investment decision, and we’ll time this with the local market, and potentially combine with third parties,” Shell oil and gas production chief Andrew Brown said, according to the transcript of a briefing the firm held for investors in New York late last week.

Earlier this year, sources said that the cost of the Arrow LNG project in Queensland may have increased to $34-$36 billion from the $24-$26 billion initially touted.

Skill and equipment shortages, community opposition and a stubbornly strong Australian dollar have jacked up construction costs.

“With three projects under construction at Curtis Island (in Queensland), it makes sense to think about the best value solution for Shell and get the timing right,” Brown said, adding that permitting, infrastructure and development bottlenecks had added to costs.

Arrow LNG and Royal Dutch Shell were not immediately available for comment.

A source familiar with the situation said the developers are concerned that Arrow LNG’s coal seam gas supplies will not be adequate to justify the downstream investment, citing widespread public opposition to coal seam development in Australia.

A final investment decision on the project is likely to be made at the start of 2014, rather than in 2013 as previously planned.

Shell’s comments did not surprise industry watchers who have been expecting the Shell-PetroChina jointventure to eventually shift plans away from building a plant or at the very least postpone Arrow LNG’s development.

The move to delay the facility and possibly sell the venture’s gas to its rivals may be the most prudent option, experts said.

“It never made sense to have four projects, and it makes even less sense now,” Johan Hedstrom, an analyst with Bell Potter Securities, noting that some of the increase in cost has been due to competition for the same resources.

Geoff Barker, a partner with Resource Investment Strategy Consultants in Perth, said Shell’s decision to push back the development was rational given the overheated LNG development market in Australia as well as risks that have pushed costs up for other projects.

“Shell could actually be a significant beneficiary of taking a more measured approach,” Barker said.

“They do have other investment options globally.” Other Queensland LNG project owners have been scrambling to sell down stakes in their projects to spread risk and reduce their costs, with industry experts speculating that cost pressures may deter the expansion of existing projects.

BG Group sold a 40 percent stake in its Queensland Curtis LNG development earlier this month to China’s Cnooc Group for $1.93 billion.

Origin Energy and Conoco Phillips are each looking to sell down 7.5 percent stakes in their Australia Pacific LNG project, to cut their holdings to 30 percent each, having already sold a 25 percent stake to China’s Sinopec .

Brown also confirmed that Shell faces a big cost hike and possible start-up delay at Australia’s biggest LNG project, Gorgon, operated by Chevron.

“When Shell took FID on Gorgon in 2009, we had assumed a higher budget than then $37 billion described by Chevron, the operator, and a later startup schedule than the first gas in 2014 that was expected,” Brown said.

“Today our cost estimates are higher again than our assumptions at FID, and we remain conservative on the start-up date,” he said.

QR41,000 raised to support cancer patients


DOHA WOMEN’S Society and Development Club (WSDC) raised QR41,000 during the second Breast Cancer Fundraiser hosted by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) recently.

The Breast Cancer Fundraiser was aimed at supporting cancer patients, raising awareness and engaging the community in the noble cause.

Founder of WSDC Ghada al Subaey said, “We need more events like this to raise awareness about breast cancer in Qatar and we hope this occasion will inspire others to take action as well as encourage women in Qatar to take preventative measures against breast cancer.” Khawla al Derbasti, a member of WSDC, said: “Too often we speak of our support for a great cause but fail to act on it. My membership of WSDC has allowed me to directly contribute to a great cause.” SFS-Q students and members of the WSDC, Ghada al Subaey, Zarqa Parvez, Khawla al Derbasti, al Maha al Hammad and Mashael al Malki organised the event and reached out to different boutiques and vendors in Doha. The participants made generous donations.

“We hope that WSDC in Georgetown will continue to champion to this cause and become more effective each year.

WSDC is planning more events and projects dedicated to youth and women’s development. We hope that people keep coming to our events and help us in achievement of our goal to ‘Inspire, Dream and Achieve’,” Zarqa said.

This year’s participants included Vera Wang, The Closet, The Vanity Room, Zabaara Abayas, Fanilla Couture, WAAD Designs, Impression boutique, Creation_nkf and Texture boutique.

Homemade cupcakes baked by students, including al Jawhra al Thani, received great responses and praise from visitors.

The event spread hope for cancer patients as students, friends, families and faculty took part and made donations.

An Arab media figure Muna Abu Sulyman also attended the event and praised the organisers.

Ministry steps up efforts to curb software piracy


DOHA THE Ministry of Justice will collaborate with Adobe Systems Incorporated MENA to step up efforts to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and reduce software piracy in Qatar, according to Abdulla Ahmad Qayed, director of Intellectual Property Centre at the ministry.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Qayed said the ministry would organise a series of seminars and other events to create awareness about the negative social and economic effects of piracy among resellers and end-users. He said Adobe MENA would be a key partner in the efforts.

Qayed pointed out that government efforts in the last five years have contributed to a significant reduction in software piracy rates.

“Qatar has taken a firm stand against software piracy and violation of intellectual property rights.

The Ministry of Justice, in particular, has been committed to tackling this problem by underlining the legal implications of IPR violations while also creating awareness about the detrimental effects of using pirated software,” he said.

“Resellers and end-users have to realise that software piracy harms a country’s innovation and ability to continuously produce intellectual property, which eventually reduces overall economic activity.

We plan, in collaboration with Adobe, to execute high-profile initiatives to maximise the use of genuine software and further reduce piracy in Qatar,” he added.

He urged people to report individuals or organisations using pirated software to the appropriate agencies or contact the Ministry of Justice on telephone number 44842274.

Head of Anti-Piracy and License Compliance at Adobe Systems MENA Naser Samaenah said: “The Ministry of Justice has been leading the campaign against IPR violation in Qatar, which has reflected positively on the country’s software piracy rates over the last five years. Still, there is much more that needs to be done through the combined efforts of the government, software industry, resellers and end-users.” He said Adobe has a legal right to initiate action against the use of pirated software.

“Studies have shown that a significant reduction in software piracy can generate millions of Riyals of additional revenue for the government as well as new jobs and a range of investment opportunities in the IT-related industries,” Samaenah said.

QA’s Dreamliner makes debut on Dubai route


DOHA QATAR Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft took off from Doha for Dubai on Tuesday on its maiden commercial flight.

The state-of-the-art aircraft is being deployed on four daily rotations between the two cities, marking a new era for Middle East aviation as Qatar Airways is the Boeing 787 launch customer in the region.

The Flight QR106 took off from Doha International Airport at 0800 hrs for the one-hour journey to Dubai.

The 787 services to and from the UAE will target peak travel times in a combination of morning, afternoon and night flights to Dubai.

The new operation came in less than a week after the aircraft’s delivery flight from Seattle to the Doha International Airport to give staff an opportunity to get familiar with the aircraft before it entered commercial service.

Qatar Airways has placed orders for 60 Dreamliners.

The next four 787s are due to join the fleet by the end of December.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al Baker said the maiden commercial route marked another achievement for the airline.

“This day signifies an exciting and anticipated occasion for Qatar Airways as well as the global aviation industry. It is with pride for my country, our employees and myself that we are embarking on another momentous achievement for our awardwinning airline with the introduction of 787 passenger flights. The Dreamliner is yet another first for Qatar Airways, our customers and for the Middle East aviation industry.” He added: “Dubai is one of our most popular routes and we felt it is important to give our passengers in and around our neighbouring city an opportunity to experience the comforts of our new plane before it begins long-haul commercial services. With this launch, we reaffirm our continued commitment to challenge and lead the aviation industry.” “I have no doubt that our passengers will cherish their first time onboard our 787s and look forward to savouring the experience time and again. The 787 raises the bar for luxury commercial travel and the experience for travellers around the world will never be the same again,” Baker added.

After the Doha – Dubai route, the 787 will spread its wings on one of the airline’s five daily flights to London Heathrow. As more 787s join the fleet over the course of the next few weeks, the aircraft will be inducted on other long-haul routes including Zurich, Frankfurt and Delhi.

Qatar Airways has 254 custom-made seats across its 787 Business and Economy Class cabins with specially designed interiors, together with a unique inflight entertainment system offering over 1,000 audio and video programming options.

Its Dreamliners are also the world’s first fully connected 787s with wireless facilities for passengers to remain in touch with their friends and loved ones on the ground.

Ministry steps up efforts to curb software piracy


DOHA THE Ministry of Justice will collaborate with Adobe Systems Incorporated MENA to step up efforts to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and reduce software piracy in Qatar, according to Abdulla Ahmad Qayed, director of Intellectual Property Centre at the ministry.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Qayed said the ministry would organise a series of seminars and other events to create awareness about the negative social and economic effects of piracy among resellers and end-users. He said Adobe MENA would be a key partner in the efforts.

Qayed pointed out that government efforts in the last five years have contributed to a significant reduction in software piracy rates.

“Qatar has taken a firm stand against software piracy and violation of intellectual property rights.

The Ministry of Justice, in particular, has been committed to tackling this problem by underlining the legal implications of IPR violations while also creating awareness about the detrimental effects of using pirated software,” he said.

“Resellers and end-users have to realise that software piracy harms a country’s innovation and ability to continuously produce intellectual property, which eventually reduces overall economic activity.

We plan, in collaboration with Adobe, to execute high-profile initiatives to maximise the use of genuine software and further reduce piracy in Qatar,” he added.

He urged people to report individuals or organisations using pirated software to the appropriate agencies or contact the Ministry of Justice on telephone number 44842274.

Head of Anti-Piracy and License Compliance at Adobe Systems MENA Naser Samaenah said: “The Ministry of Justice has been leading the campaign against IPR violation in Qatar, which has reflected positively on the country’s software piracy rates over the last five years. Still, there is much more that needs to be done through the combined efforts of the government, software industry, resellers and end-users.” He said Adobe has a legal right to initiate action against the use of pirated software.

“Studies have shown that a significant reduction in software piracy can generate millions of Riyals of additional revenue for the government as well as new jobs and a range of investment opportunities in the IT-related industries,” Samaenah said.

Metro contractor opens office


DOHA FRENCH engineering group Egis, which in August signed the Doha Metro contract with Qatar Railways Company for project management services, opened a regional office in Doha on Sunday. It will serve as the group headquarters for the Middle East.

“We have been working here for some time having previously undertaken contracts with the National Audit Bureau to provide our expertise in building roads and airports”, said Egis Group CEO Nicolas Jachiet during a reception at the French ambassador’s residence to commemorate the event.

Egis, working in a team with US-based Louis Berger, will provide engineering and project management services for the Gold Line, one of Doha Metro’s three proposed lines, and the two main stations which will serve to link two or three lines.

Speaking about Doha Metro contract, Jachiet said that Egis had worked on several similar projects in the past, including in Lyons and Marseilles, in France. Egis is also currently working on the Riyadh metro network in Saudia Arabia, he said.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune, Ambassador of France to Qatar HE Jean-Christophe Peaucelle said: “Egis is a French engineering company.

They have chosen to establish their regional headquarters for the Middle East in Doha because they consider that there are many large-scale infrastructure projects ahead here, and I think they’re perfectly correct. That this is a good choice.” The ambassador was optimistic that the company would be working on more projects in Qatar in the near future.

Egis is a consulting and engineering group working in the fields of transport, urban development, construction, industry, water, environment and energy. With 12,000 employees, the group is present in over 100 countries and has around 50 offices in France alone.

Kuwaiti parties call protest on election-eve


KUWAIT CITY THE Kuwaiti opposition has announced it will stage a major demonstration on the eve of the December 1 parliamentary election as a finale to its nationwide campaign to urge a boycott of the disputed polls.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition all say the poll boycott is in protest at the government’s unilateral amendment of the electoral law, which it says breaches the constitution.

“We urge the Kuwaiti people to take part in the ‘A Dignity of a Nation 3’ procession on November 30,” the organisers announced on Monday night on their Twitter account.

“This procession will be the true manifestation of the will of the Kuwaiti people ... (and through which) we will announce to the world our rejection of these polls,” said the organisers, who insisted the protest would be peaceful.

Demonstrations held since October 21 have drawn tens of thousands of people, often turning violent when riot police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters.

Around 150 people and 24 policemen have been wounded in the protests.

The opposition claims the amendment to the electoral law allows the government to influence the outcome of the results and elect a rubber stamp parliament.

Under the previous law, Kuwaitis were able to vote for four of 10 MPs elected in each of the five constituencies, but that has now been reduced to only one.

The opposition claims that the reduction will encourage vote-buying and other corrupt practices since the number of votes needed to win a seat will be much lower than in previous polls.

It also claimed that under the new setup, it will be extremely difficult for the opposition to win a majority in the next parliament even though it enjoys a massive popular support.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad Al Sabah had said the amendment was within his constitutional rights and necessary to safeguard national unity and security of the oilrich Gulf state.

The opposition has also stepped up a campaign to urge voters to shun the ballot by holding a large number of gatherings on almost daily basis and mobilised the socalled Popular Committee for Boycotting Election.

“The opposition believes that December 1 will be a day of defeat for the government and influential people ... there will be empty ballot boxes,” declared opposition leader and former MP Mussallam al-Barrak at a gathering Monday night.

“It is our right to stage processions,” to object to the law, said Barrak. “Our actions are peaceful and we are against instigation and violence.” All opposition groups and figures have refused to register candidates for the polls, which process closed on Friday.

Arab ministers begin Gaza solidarity mission


RAFAH A TOP delegation of Arab ministers led by Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi began a solidarity mission in Gaza on Tuesday as an Israeli air offensive entered its seventh day.

“The Arab foreign ministers delegation arrived through the Rafah border crossing” with Egypt, the Hamas information office said, adding Turkey’s foreign minister was also in the delegation.

A Hamas official said the group included representatives from more than 10 countries including Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey.

The foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority government that rules the West Bank, Riad al Malki, was also accompanying the group, the official said.

The delegation was due to travel north to Gaza City for a meeting with the Hamas government, visit the Shifa hospital and talk to survivors from the Dallu family, which lost at least eight members in an air strike on Sunday.

The Arab League’s deputy secretary general told AFP earlier that the trip aimed “to express Arab solidarity and support for the steadfastness of the people and Gaza”.

More than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since Israel killed a senior Hamas leader in an air strike on Wednesday. Militants have fired hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state.

As the ministers arrived in Gaza, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raised hopes that the violence could be coming to an end later on Tuesday.

Morsi sees early end of Gaza offensive


GAZA/JERUSALEM EGYPT’S president predicted on Tuesday that Israel’s Gaza offensive would end later in the day, Egyptian state media said, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to the region to try to calm the conflict.

“President Mohammad Morsi announced that the farce of Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip will end on Tuesday,” the MENA news agency and state TV reported, quoting public remarks he made after the funeral of his sister.

Egypt, led by an Islamist government allied with Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement and at peace with Israel, has been trying to broker a ceasefire in hostilities now in their seventh day.

MENA quoted Morsi as saying “the efforts to conclude a truce between the Palestinian and Israeli sides will produce positive results in the next few hours”.

While efforts mounted to stop the fighting and avert a possible Israeli ground invasion of the densely populated Gaza Strip, Israel pressed on with air strikes and Palestinian rockets flashed across the border.

Jerusalem was targeted for the second time since Israel launched the air offensive with the declared aim of deterring Palestinian militants from carrying out crossborder attacks that have plagued its south for years.

The rocket, which fell harmlessly in the occupied West Bank, triggered warning sirens in the holy city about the time UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Jerusalem from talks in Cairo, where he had held discussions on a truce.

Israel’s military on Tuesday targeted about 100 sites in Gaza, including ammunition stores and the Gaza headquarters of the National Islamic Bank. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said six Palestinians were killed.

Israeli police said more than 150 rockets were fired from Gaza by late afternoon, many of them intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system. Ten people were wounded in Israel, the military and an ambulance service said.

Some 115 Palestinians have died in a week of fighting, the majority of them civilians, including 27 children, hospital officials said. Three Israelis died last week when a rocket from Gaza struck their house.

Israel’s leaders weighed the benefits and risks of sending tanks and infantry into the Gaza Strip two months before an Israeli election, and indicated they would prefer a diplomatic path backed by world powers, including U.S
President Barack Obama, the European Union and Russia.

Clinton was going to the Middle East for talks in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo. An Israeli source said she was expected to meet Netanyahu on Wednesday.

“Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days - including intensive engagement by President Obama with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi - to support de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm,” a State Department official said.

In Cairo, Ban called for an immediate ceasefire and said an Israeli ground operation in Gaza would be a “dangerous escalation” that must be avoided.

He met in Cairo with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil before travelling to Israel for discussions with Netanyahu. Ban planned to return to Egypt on Wednesday to see Morsi.

Netanyahu and his top ministers debated their next moves in a meeting that lasted into the early hours of Tuesday.

“Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved,” a senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said after the meeting.

Qtel signs $500 million Islamic financing facility


DOHA QATAR Telecom (Qtel) has signed its debut Islamic financing facility, the operator said on Tuesday.

The $500 million deal, which runs for 18 months and is structured as a revolving Murabaha facility, was provided by Qatar Islamic Bank in a capacity as sole mandated lead arranger, Qtel said in an emailed statement.

A murabaha is a sharia-compliant cost-plus-profit arrangement.

The signing ceremony took place at the Qtel headquarters. It is the first Islamic finance deal signed by Qtel, as QIB continues its mission to provide leading companies with the financial backing they need to fulfil their ambitions.

QIB assumed the role of Sole Mandated Lead Arranger and Investment Agent for the deal.

The financing is an 18 month Sharia-compliant “Revolving Murabaha”.

Qtel Group CEO Nasser Marafih said, “We are delighted to be part of the developing Islamic financing market in Qatar. QIB has done a great job in offering Qtel attractive terms, and this deal further strengthens the relationship between Qtel and QIB.” QIB Acting CEO Ahmad Meshari added: “This deal is the first financing arrangement to be entered into with Qtel, opening doors for further avenues of collaboration between the two organisations. The transaction is another demonstration of the maturity of the Islamic finance industry in general, and QIB in particular, in the provision of credible financial solutions that meet the increasingly complex needs of large corporations such as Qtel.”

Israel steps up offensive as Gaza truce talks sputter


GAZA TWO cameramen working for Al-Aqsa TV and an educational programming director for the Al- Quds channel, both affiliated with Gaza’s Hamas government, were killed by Israeli airstrikes on their cars on Tuesday.

The cameramen were killed in their car not far from the main Shifa hospital in Gaza city. The al-Quds programme director was killed in his car in the central Gaza Strip.

Their deaths have sparked outrage among Gaza’s press corps and also from Hamas, which accused Israel of trying to suppress coverage of Israeli attacks in the coastal enclave.

The Israeli strikes have killed over 125 Palestinians in six days of fighting, around half of them civilians, including around 30 children.

The assault took place amid growing signals that a cease-fire is close. A top Hamas official said a deal could be wrapped up soon, and Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel would be a “willing partner” in a diplomatic solution.

A ceasefire to end almost a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip was to be announced in Cairo on Tuesday night, Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources said.

An Israeli diplomatic source said that negotiations were ongoing.

“We are working very hard using our diplomatic channels.

We are working continuously.

But I cannot give you an estimated time of arrival (of a truce).” The diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz newspaper said that a ceasefire “might start this evening” during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hours earlier, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi said Israel’s “aggression” against Gaza would end on Tuesday and Cairomediated truce efforts would produce results within hours, the official MENA news agency reported.

A senior Hamas official said “the agreement is expected to crystallise in a few hours.” The main sticking point, he said, was whether Israel would begin easing its six-year long blockade of Gaza coinciding with the truce or at a later date.

Israel on Tuesday said it was holding off a threatened Gaza ground offensive to give the truce talks a chance, after an overnight meeting of senior Israeli ministers weighed the Egyptian proposal.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers from a group of Arab states and Turkey were on their way to Gaza to show their solidarity with the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave, an Arab League source said on Tuesday.

“The foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, (and) Jordan along with the Turkish foreign minister left from Cairo to Al- Arish city (near Egypt’s border with Gaza) from where they will cross the Egyptian Rafah crossing into Gaza,” the Arab League source said.

Qatar set to join club of big petrochem exporters: Sada


DOHA THE Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani on Tuesday officially inaugurated Qatar Petrochemical Company’s (Qapco) third low-density polyethylene plant, LDPE 3, at a ceremony in Mesaieed Industrial City.

Built at an estimated cost of QR2.3 billion, the LDPE 3 has a production capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes of low-density polyethylene per annum. It started production in August this year. At present, the plant has reached 93 percent of production capacity and is expected to reach the full capacity by January next year.

Combined with Qapco’s existing LDPE facilities, the new plant will raise the total output of lowdensity polyethylene to 700,000 metric tonnes per annum.

The LDPE 3 will use Qapco’s available surplus feedstock coming from its other facilities, and its products will be sold in international markets under the brand name ‘Lotrene’.

Commenting on the new plant, Minister for Energy and Industry HE Mohammad bin Saleh al Sada said, “This modern facility is a direct and physical manifestation of Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

While Qatar is blessed by plenty of natural resources, it is the value that is created by processing the raw products that moves the country towards its economic diversification goals in the coming decades.” He said efforts would continue to reinforce Qatar’s position not only as a regional industrial power, but also as a global one.

“With the launch of LDPE 3 and plans to develop other petrochemical plants, Qatar is set to join the exclusive club of major petrochemicals producers and exporters,” Sada added.

Qapco Chairman Hamad Rashid al Mohannadi said, “For nearly three decades, Qapco has been at the forefront of efforts to raise Qatar’s industrial output.

The LDPE 3 facility is another stage of our development plans for the next several years. As we have delivered excellence in the past more than 30 years, we will continue to deliver for the next 30 years and beyond.” Qapco commenced commercial production in 1981, and is owned jointly by Qatar Industries (IQ) with 80 percent share and Total Petrochemicals of France with 20 percent share.

President of Chemicals and member of the Executive Committee of Total Patrick Pouyanne remarked, “This inauguration marks a milestone in the development of Qapco into one of the biggest single sites worldwide of low-density polyethylene manufacturing.

Total remains committed to supporting the growth of Qapco as well as Qatar through our other activities, from the oil and gas exploration and production to LNG and condensate refining besides petrochemicals.” The plans for developing LDPE 3 were set in motion in 2002 and construction was started in 2009 when the Heir Apparent His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani laid the foundation stone for the facility. The EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract was awarded to Germany’s Udhe, a company renowned for designing and building chemical plants all over the world.

The LDPE 3 meets the stringent environmental standards as set by ministry of environment.

No run-off flows into the clear waters off the coast of Mesaieed and, additionally, the heat produced at the plant is recycled for heating and power generation.