Justin Lane / EPA
Justin Lane / EPA

Newsmaker: António Guterres



When António Guterres was chosen as the new secretary general of the United Nations, he plucked from its 1945 charter the values that he says matter most: peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity.

But the former Portuguese prime minister succeeds Ban Ki-moon with the stark knowledge that, across the world, each of these noble and desirable qualities is in short supply.

He will take office against a bleak global backdrop: heartbreaking images from the civil war in Syria, the Israel-Palestine conflict, Yemen and South Sudan, repeated terrorist outrages in many countries and rising tension between Russia and the West.

Massive immigration has been driven by some of these crises, familiar territory for a man who served more than 10 years as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, struggling to cope in 126 countries with the humanitarian nightmare of 65 million displaced people.

In declaring his commitment to seek solutions, Guterres says he intends to make “prevention, prevention, prevention” his priority in place of the redundant policy of trying to apply “peacekeeping” in conditions where there is little peace to keep.

Addressing the 193-member UN General Assembly when he was sworn in on Monday, he promised a hands-on approach, declaring: “As part of my good offices, I am ready to engage personally in conflict resolution where it brings added value.”

Guterres, 67, was elected to the world’s highest diplomatic role despite initial opposition from Russia, which wanted an eastern European secretary general, and those who argued it was time to break the mould and appoint a woman.

But the academic-turned-career politician emerged as clear favourite among 13 candidates in the selection process, winning each of six straw polls.

“Bittersweet,” tweeted one of the defeated female candidates, Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres. “Bitter: not a woman. Sweet: by far the best man in the race.”

Guterres takes her wider point; he has pledged to address gender disparity, saying that he will find senior roles for women in his leadership team. What assurances he may also have privately given to win over the Russians is a matter of some speculation.

Guterres said in his acceptance statement that he recognised his duty, having been chosen by all member states, to be at the service of them all equally, “with no agenda but the one enshrined in the UN charter”.

He added: “I am fully aware of the challenges the UN faces and the limitations surrounding the secretary general. The dramatic problems of today’s complex world can only inspire a humble approach – one in which the secretary general alone neither has all the answers, nor seeks to impose his views; one in which the secretary general makes his good offices available, working as a convener, a mediator, a bridge-builder and an honest broker to help find solutions that benefit everyone involved.”

It’s a demanding job description, and perceptions of the secretary general’s performance can be unforgiving.

There has been gathering international dismay at the failure of the UN to make a meaningful impact on the tragedy of Aleppo. Ban ends his two five-year terms under lingering criticism for unconvincing and even “lethargic” responses to momentous events.

He was also accused of responding weakly to allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mali and Sudan. The UN seemed at one point more concerned with pursuing a whistle-blower than addressing the scandal that had been exposed.

The independent, New York-based Foreign Policy Association went so far as to headline its website report on the appointment of Ban ’s successor “Can António Guterres save the UN?”

António Manuel de Olivieira Guterres was born in Lisbon on April 30, 1949, and showed early signs of a distinguished academic future. When he completed secondary education at the respected Camões Lyceum, it was with an award as the top student in Portugal. He studied physics and electrical engineering at Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico, and lectured as an assistant professor before opting, amid the turbulence of Portugal in the early 1970s, to devote his life to politics.

He joined Portugal’s Socialist Party and rose to prominent positions within the party after the Carnation Revolution swept the dictator Marcello Caetano and his fascist Estado Novo party from power in 1974.

Later, he helped negotiate his country’s entry into the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union. His Catholicism and conservative instincts distanced him from the left of his party, but he became its secretary general in 1992 and was appointed prime minister in 1995.

Guterres enjoyed public approval in the early part of nearly seven years at the head of government, but felt uncomfortable with moves towards the liberalisation of abortion law and acceptance of homosexuality, policies that enjoyed broad support in his party.

On the world stage, he championed UN intervention to end bloodshed in a former Portuguese colony, East Timor, after Indonesia-backed militia reacted with extreme force to a vote for independence in 1999 – the violence followed a long period of brutal Indonesian occupation. Under Guterres’s stewardship, another Portuguese colony, Macau, was transferred to China.

But Guterres’s domestic popularity waned, along with the economy, during his second term. The socialists were humiliated in local elections and he resigned in 2001 “to prevent the country from falling into a political swamp”.

He took the presidency of Socialist International, a grouping of social democratic parties from more than 100 countries, of which he was already a vice-president, until his appointment as UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Guterres has married twice. His first wife, Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo, a child psychiatrist and mother of his two children, died from cancer during his first term as prime minister in 1998. He married his present wife, Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto, a former political colleague, three years later.

When the process of finding a new secretary general began, Guterres was considered an outsider. By the end, though, he was, in the words of Samantha Power, the United States’ UN ambassador, a “remarkably uncontentious” choice; a candidate whose “experience, vision, and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling”.

The goodwill is shared by those who have worked with Guterres. "I travelled a few times with him to the field [working with refugees] and he is great; he will make a very fine secretary general," one UN colleague told The National.

But as he prepares to begin this most challenging of roles on New Year’s Day, Guterres knows the world will be impatient for evidence that he can live up to the billing.

weekend@thenational.ae

Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan

Rating: 2/5

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule
  • 1st Test India won by 304 runs at Galle
  • 2nd Test India won by innings and 53 runs at Colombo
  • 3rd Test August 12-16 at Pallekele
Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The five pillars of Islam
ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

You Were Never Really Here

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Joaquim Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov

Four stars

FULL FIGHT CARD

Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
Bantamweight Bout: Elias Boudegzdame v Hassan Mandour
Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya

Ultra processed foods

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

Why your domicile status is important

Your UK residence status is assessed using the statutory residence test. While your residence status – ie where you live - is assessed every year, your domicile status is assessed over your lifetime.

Your domicile of origin generally comes from your parents and if your parents were not married, then it is decided by your father. Your domicile is generally the country your father considered his permanent home when you were born. 

UK residents who have their permanent home ("domicile") outside the UK may not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. For example, they do not pay tax on foreign income or gains if they are less than £2,000 in the tax year and do not transfer that gain to a UK bank account.

A UK-domiciled person, however, is liable for UK tax on their worldwide income and gains when they are resident in the UK.

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 14

Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2532 x 1170, 460ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 3279 mAh, up to 20h video, 16h streaming video, 80h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,399 / Dh3,799 / Dh4,649

Company profile

Name:+Dukkantek 

Started:+January 2021 

Founders:+Sanad Yaghi, Ali Al Sayegh and Shadi Joulani 

Based:+UAE 

Number of employees:+140 

Sector:+B2B Vertical SaaS(software as a service) 

Investment:+$5.2 million 

Funding stage:+Seed round 

Investors:+Global Founders Capital, Colle Capital Partners, Wamda Capital, Plug and Play, Comma Capital, Nowais Capital, Annex Investments and AMK Investment Office  

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Cricket World Cup League Two

Oman, UAE, Namibia

Al Amerat, Muscat

 

Results

Oman beat UAE by five wickets

UAE beat Namibia by eight runs

 

Fixtures

Wednesday January 8 –Oman v Namibia

Thursday January 9 – Oman v UAE

Saturday January 11 – UAE v Namibia

Sunday January 12 – Oman v Namibia

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
By Sean Penn
Simon & Schuster

if you go

The flights Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad, and Royal Jordanian all offer direct, three-and-a-half-hour flights from the UAE to the Jordanian capital Amman. Alternatively, from June Fly Dubai will offer a new direct service from Dubai to Aqaba in the south of the country. See the airlines’ respective sites for varying prices or search on reliable price-comparison site Skyscanner.

The trip 

Jamie Lafferty was a guest of the Jordan Tourist Board. For more information on adventure tourism in Jordan see Visit Jordan. A number of new and established tour companies offer the chance to go caving, rock-climbing, canyoning, and mountaineering in Jordan. Prices vary depending on how many activities you want to do and how many days you plan to stay in the country. Among the leaders are Terhaal, who offer a two-day canyoning trip from Dh845 per person. If you really want to push your limits, contact the Stronger Team. For a more trek-focused trip, KE Adventure offers an eight-day trip from Dh5,300 per person.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures