Earthshaking ignorance



In the year 1633, the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was sentenced to house arrest for the last nine years of his life, for the crime of teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun. In Nigeria in 2009, police "arrested" a goat on a charge of having changed into human form and trying to steal a Mazda 323, and then changing itself back.

Now Italy has again matched this level of scientific illiteracy. A court in L'Aquila has sentenced six seismologists and a former civil servant to six-year jail terms for manslaughter. Their crime: failing to predict a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people and made 65,000 homeless.

A government body dispatched the seven to the town after some alarming minor quakes. In findings perfectly consistent with current science, they announced that a major quake was "unlikely … in the short term, but the possibility cannot be totally excluded".

These men have been convicted for not knowing the unknowable. Naturally the scientific community has been denouncing this trial ever since charges were laid. Accurate earthquake prediction would save countless lives, but so would a cure for cancer. But both are, for now, beyond human knowledge. The seven will appeal, and a higher court will surely reverse this laughable judgment. After all, this is not the 17th century.

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

Sukuk explained

Sukuk are Sharia-compliant financial certificates issued by governments, corporates and other entities. While as an asset class they resemble conventional bonds, there are some significant differences. As interest is prohibited under Sharia, sukuk must contain an underlying transaction, for example a leaseback agreement, and the income that is paid to investors is generated by the underlying asset. Investors must also be prepared to share in both the profits and losses of an enterprise. Nevertheless, sukuk are similar to conventional bonds in that they provide regular payments, and are considered less risky than equities. Most investors would not buy sukuk directly due to high minimum subscriptions, but invest via funds.

The Outsider

Stephen King, Penguin

GCC-UK Growth

An FTA with the GCC would be very significant for the UK. My Department has forecast that it could generate an additional £1.6 billion a year for our economy.
With consumer demand across the GCC predicted to increase to £800 billion by 2035 this deal could act as a launchpad from which our firms can boost their market share.

Previous men's records
  • 2:01:39: Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) on 16/9/19 in Berlin
  • 2:02:57: Dennis Kimetto (KEN) on 28/09/2014 in Berlin
  • 2:03:23: Wilson Kipsang (KEN) on 29/09/2013 in Berlin
  • 2:03:38: Patrick Makau (KEN) on 25/09/2011 in Berlin
  • 2:03:59: Haile Gebreselassie (ETH) on 28/09/2008 in Berlin
  • 2:04:26: Haile Gebreselassie (ETH) on 30/09/2007 in Berlin
  • 2:04:55: Paul Tergat (KEN) on 28/09/2003 in Berlin
  • 2:05:38: Khalid Khannouchi (USA) 14/04/2002 in London
  • 2:05:42: Khalid Khannouchi (USA) 24/10/1999 in Chicago
  • 2:06:05: Ronaldo da Costa (BRA) 20/09/1998 in Berlin
Another way to earn air miles

In addition to the Emirates and Etihad programmes, there is the Air Miles Middle East card, which offers members the ability to choose any airline, has no black-out dates and no restrictions on seat availability. Air Miles is linked up to HSBC credit cards and can also be earned through retail partners such as Spinneys, Sharaf DG and The Toy Store.

An Emirates Dubai-London round-trip ticket costs 180,000 miles on the Air Miles website. But customers earn these ‘miles’ at a much faster rate than airline miles. Adidas offers two air miles per Dh1 spent. Air Miles has partnerships with websites as well, so booking.com and agoda.com offer three miles per Dh1 spent.

“If you use your HSBC credit card when shopping at our partners, you are able to earn Air Miles twice which will mean you can get that flight reward faster and for less spend,” says Paul Lacey, the managing director for Europe, Middle East and India for Aimia, which owns and operates Air Miles Middle East.

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

Last 10 winners of African Footballer of the Year

2006: Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast)
2007: Frederic Kanoute (Sevilla and Mali)
2008: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal and Togo)
2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast)
2010: Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan and Cameroon)
2011: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2012: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2014: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2015: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund and Gabon)
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City and Algeria)

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

RESULTS

6pm: Baniyas – Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,400m
Winner: AF Alajaj, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

6.35pm: The Pointe – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Awasef, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson

7.10pm: Palm West Beach – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Long Kiss, Jose da Silva, Antonio Cintra

7.45pm: The View at the Palm – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Ranaan, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

8.20pm: Nakheel – Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Raaeb, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

8.55pm: The Club – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,900m
Winner: Qareeb, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson

9.30pm: Palm Beach Towers – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Falsehood, Adrie de Vries, Musabah Al Muhairi

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now