Required reading: Antarctica



A 169,000 square mile patch of Antarctica was renamed Queen Elizabeth Land by the British government last week. The move was intended as a present to the Queen in honour of her Diamond Jubilee. And for a day or two, all seemed well.

It's funny, though, how quickly an innocent-seeming gesture can ignite an international diplomatic firestorm. Days after the announcement, the Argentinian government told British officials that the renamed area belongs to Argentina and accused Britain of "anachronistic imperialist ambitions that hark back to ancient practices". So who does our southernmost - and coldest - continent really belong to? And what is the history of the most inhospitable place on Earth? Time to hit the books.

• Go first to the recently published general survey Antarctica by the New Scientist writer Gabrielle Walker to learn how - while belief in an icy Terra Australis at the bottom of the world dates back to ancient Rome - no human being saw Antarctica until the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen sailed close to it in 1820.

• But two names, of course, will forever be inextricably linked with the continent. On December 14, 1911, after a race that transfixed the world, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first man to set foot at the geographic South Pole. Read Race to the South Pole to discover Amundsen's diaries of the expedition as well as those of Robert Scott, the British explorer who arrived at the pole just 34 days later and who died along with his party on the return journey.

• Apsley Cherry-Garrard was one of the party sent to search for Scott and his men in 1912; his The Worst Journey in the World is widely believed to be the greatest book on polar exploration ever written.

• The endless white landscapes of Antarctica have seduced many travellers since then. Two, though, will repay particular attention. See Frank Hurley's Antarctica for some of the most beautiful photographs of Antarctica ever taken. And go to the American writer Peter Matthiessen's End of the Earth for a wonderfully lyrical account of a trip to South Georgia Island, "the last outpost in a great emptiness of ocean".

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Results

Stage 2:
1. Soudal–Quick-Step - 18’11”
2. EF Education – EasyPost - 1"
3. Ineos Grenadiers - 3"
General classification:
1. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenadiers
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal–Quick-Step - ST
3. Nikias Arndt (GER) Bahrain Victorious - 3"

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Kevin Hart
3/5 stars

ASHES FIXTURES

1st Test: Brisbane, Nov 23-27 
2nd Test: Adelaide, Dec 2-6
3rd Test: Perth, Dec 14-18
4th Test: Melbourne, Dec 26-30
5th Test: Sydney, Jan 4-8

Race card

6.30pm: Handicap (TB) $68,000 (Dirt) 1,200m

7.05pm: Meydan Cup – Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (Turf) 2,810m

7.40pm: UAE 2000 Guineas – Group 3 (TB) $125,000 (D) 1,600m

8.15pm: Firebreak Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $130,000 (D) 1,600m

9.50pm: Meydan Classic – Conditions (TB) $$50,000 (T) 1,400m

9.25pm: Dubai Sprint – Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (T) 1,200m

MATCH INFO

Manchester City 6 Huddersfield Town 1
Man City: Agüero (25', 35', 75'), Jesus (31'), Silva (48'), Kongolo (84' og)
Huddersfield: Stankovic (43')

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway

Director: Ashima Chibber 

Stars: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya and Jim Sarbh 

Rating: 2/5

UAE SQUAD

Ali Khaseif, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Fahad Al Dhanhani, Khalid Essa, Bandar Al Ahbabi, Salem Rashid, Shaheen Abdulrahman, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Mohammed Al Attas, Walid Abbas, Hassan Al Mahrami, Mahmoud Khamis, Alhassan Saleh, Ali Salmeen, Yahia Nader, Abdullah Ramadan, Majed Hassan, Abdullah Al Naqbi, Fabio De Lima, Khalil Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Muhammed Jumah, Yahya Al Ghassani, Caio Canedo, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue, Zayed Al Ameri

Four reasons global stock markets are falling right now

There are many factors worrying investors right now and triggering a rush out of stock markets. Here are four of the biggest:

1. Rising US interest rates

The US Federal Reserve has increased interest rates three times this year in a bid to prevent its buoyant economy from overheating. They now stand at between 2 and 2.25 per cent and markets are pencilling in three more rises next year.

Kim Catechis, manager of the Legg Mason Martin Currie Global Emerging Markets Fund, says US inflation is rising and the Fed will continue to raise rates in 2019. “With inflationary pressures growing, an increasing number of corporates are guiding profitability expectations downwards for 2018 and 2019, citing the negative impact of rising costs.”

At the same time as rates are rising, central bankers in the US and Europe have been ending quantitative easing, bringing the era of cheap money to an end.

2. Stronger dollar

High US rates have driven up the value of the dollar and bond yields, and this is putting pressure on emerging market countries that took advantage of low interest rates to run up trillions in dollar-denominated debt. They have also suffered capital outflows as international investors have switched to the US, driving markets lower. Omar Negyal, portfolio manager of the JP Morgan Global Emerging Markets Income Trust, says this looks like a buying opportunity. “Despite short-term volatility we remain positive about long-term prospects and profitability for emerging markets.” 

3. Global trade war

Ritu Vohora, investment director at fund manager M&G, says markets fear that US President Donald Trump’s spat with China will escalate into a full-blown global trade war, with both sides suffering. “The US economy is robust enough to absorb higher input costs now, but this may not be the case as tariffs escalate. However, with a host of factors hitting investor sentiment, this is becoming a stock picker’s market.”

4. Eurozone uncertainty

Europe faces two challenges right now in the shape of Brexit and the new populist government in eurozone member Italy.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, which has offices in Dubai, says the stand-off between between Rome and Brussels threatens to become much more serious. "As with Brexit, neither side appears willing to step back from the edge, threatening more trouble down the line.”

The European economy may also be slowing, Mr Beauchamp warns. “A four-year low in eurozone manufacturing confidence highlights the fact that producers see a bumpy road ahead, with US-EU trade talks remaining a major question-mark for exporters.”

The Sandman

Creators: Neil Gaiman, David Goyer, Allan Heinberg

Stars: Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Jenna Coleman and Gwendoline Christie

Rating: 4/5

The specs

BMW M8 Competition Coupe

Engine 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8

Power 625hp at 6,000rpm

Torque 750Nm from 1,800-5,800rpm

Gearbox Eight-speed paddleshift auto

Acceleration 0-100kph in 3.2 sec

Top speed 305kph

Fuel economy, combined 10.6L / 100km

Price from Dh700,000 (estimate)

On sale Jan/Feb 2020
 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Tips to keep your car cool
  • Place a sun reflector in your windshield when not driving
  • Park in shaded or covered areas
  • Add tint to windows
  • Wrap your car to change the exterior colour
  • Pick light interiors - choose colours such as beige and cream for seats and dashboard furniture
  • Avoid leather interiors as these absorb more heat
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

UAE set for Scotland series

The UAE will host Scotland for a three-match T20I series at the Dubai International Stadium next month.
The two sides will start their Cricket World Cup League 2 campaigns with a tri-series also involving Canada, starting on January 29.
That series will be followed by a bilateral T20 series on March 11, 13 and 14.

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Alaves 1 (Perez 65' pen)

Real Madrid 2 (Ramos 52', Carvajal 69')

'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore'

Rating: 3/5

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Mads Mikkelson, Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Jude Law

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”


The Arts Edit

A guide to arts and culture, from a Middle Eastern perspective

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