Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem meets with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres September 28, 2018 at the United Nations in New York. / AFP / Don EMMERT
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Muallem during a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on September 28. Don Emmert / AFP

Syria: a vital moment not to be wasted



Eight years into a war that has claimed more than 360,000 lives, there is finally some hope for Syria’s future. At the United Nations on Thursday, the foreign ministers of the US and several Arab and European countries called on Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria, to urgently establish a committee to draft a post-war constitution and report on its progress later this month.

It reiterates the need for a political solution in Syria that paves the way for elections. “Those who seek a military solution will only succeed in increasing the risk of a dangerous escalation,” said a statement by the group of ministers.

The Syrian war is delicately poised, following an agreement between Russia and Turkey – two of its pre-eminent aggressors – to prevent an all-out assault on the final rebel-held enclave of Idlib.

Diplomats at the UN General Assembly have rightly sought to use the pause in bloodshed as an opportunity to kickstart a political process. Dependent on their success are the lives and livelihoods of millions of Syrians.

Unsurprisingly, representatives of the Assad regime have been pugnacious, as they position themselves to retain control of post-conflict Syria. On Saturday, foreign minister Walid Al Muallem lashed out at the US and western powers, accusing the anti-ISIS coalition of fighting "everything except terrorism" and killing civilians. The committee drafting Syria's new constitution would not accept outside dictates, Mr Al Muallem said, vowing to reject all external intervention.

Given the authority the regime has yielded to Russia and Iran, his blind rejection of outside involvement is absurd. Considering President Bashar Al Assad’s flagrant deployment of barrel bombs and chemical weapons against his own people, there is a morbid irony in the Syrian regime attacking the US for murdering civilians.

Meanwhile, the Russians and Iranians have sought to set the agenda in Syria and control its destiny with their talks held in Astana, Kazakhstan, but their exclusionary efforts have been met with deaf ears at UNGA.

There is still much work to be done to end Syria's gruesome war. On Friday, Russia started delivering powerful S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to the regime, while Iran retains its physical presence on Syrian soil. For that reason, US National Security Adviser John Bolton's remarks that the US will remain involved until Tehran's troops and clients leave were reassuring.

Meanwhile, Mr Al Muallem’s speech contained a sinister warning to returning Syrian refugees that they must abide by Mr Al Assad’s laws, or face grim consequences. It was a reminder of the immense threat the regime still poses to millions of displaced Syrians, who want only to return to a peaceful homeland.

But, at long last, a temporary cessation of violence appears to be holding, with the backing of major powers. This is a critical moment for Mr de Mistura to make inroads in Syria and establish a path to peace, elections and reconstruction. It quite simply cannot be wasted.

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

The Beekeeper

Director: David Ayer 

Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hutcherson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

 

 

TOURNAMENT INFO

Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier

Jul 3- 14, in the Netherlands
The top two teams will qualify to play at the World T20 in the West Indies in November

UAE squad
Humaira Tasneem (captain), Chamani Seneviratne, Subha Srinivasan, Neha Sharma, Kavisha Kumari, Judit Cleetus, Chaya Mughal, Roopa Nagraj, Heena Hotchandani, Namita D’Souza, Ishani Senevirathne, Esha Oza, Nisha Ali, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, last 16, first leg

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund, midnight (Thursday), BeIN Sports

SPECS

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

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

The specs: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

Price, base / as tested: Dh204,750 / Dh241,500
Engine: 5.0-litre V8
Gearbox: 10-speed automatic
Power: 460hp @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 569Nm @ 4,600rpm​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Fuel economy, combined: 10.3L / 100km

WORLD CUP SEMI-FINALS

England v New Zealand (Saturday, 12pm)

Wales v South Africa (Sunday, 1pm)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Vikram Vedha

Directors: Gayatri, Pushkar

Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte

Rating: 3.5/5

RESULTS

6.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh82.500 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner Meshakel, Royston Ffrench (jockey), Salem bin Ghadayer (trainer)

7.05pm Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,400m

Winner Gervais, Connor Beasley, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

7.40pm Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (Turf) 2,410m

Winner Global Heat, Pat Cosgrave, Saeed bin Suroor.

8.15pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,900m

Winner Firnas, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

8.50pm UAE 2000 Guineas Trial (TB) Conditions Dh183,650 (D) 1,600m

Winner Rebel’s Romance, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

9.25pm Dubai Trophy (TB) Conditions Dh183,650 (T) 1,200m

Winner Topper Bill, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

10pm Handicap (TB) Dh102,500 (T) 1,400m

Winner Wasim, Mickael Barzalona, Ismail Mohammed.

The biog

Favourite food: Tabbouleh, greek salad and sushi

Favourite TV show: That 70s Show

Favourite animal: Ferrets, they are smart, sensitive, playful and loving

Favourite holiday destination: Seychelles, my resolution for 2020 is to visit as many spiritual retreats and animal shelters across the world as I can

Name of first pet: Eddy, a Persian cat that showed up at our home

Favourite dog breed: I love them all - if I had to pick Yorkshire terrier for small dogs and St Bernard's for big

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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)

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

Specs

Price, base: Dhs850,000
Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 591bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 11.3L / 100km

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES

Directors: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Stars: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis
Rating: 3/5

TOURNAMENT INFO

Fixtures
Sunday January 5 - Oman v UAE
Monday January 6 - UAE v Namibia
Wednesday January 8 - Oman v Namibia
Thursday January 9 - Oman v UAE
Saturday January 11 - UAE v Namibia
Sunday January 12 – Oman v Namibia

UAE squad
Ahmed Raza (captain), Rohan Mustafa, Mohammed Usman, CP Rizwan, Waheed Ahmed, Zawar Farid, Darius D’Silva, Karthik Meiyappan, Jonathan Figy, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Basil Hameed, Chirag Suri

Reading List

Practitioners of mindful eating recommend the following books to get you started:

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Diet by Dr Ruth Wolever

Mindful Eating by Dr Jan Bays

How to Raise a Mindful Eaterby Maryann Jacobsen

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

UAE rugby season

FIXTURES

West Asia Premiership

Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Knights Eagles

Dubai Tigers v Bahrain

Jebel Ali Dragons v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Division 1

Dubai Sharks v Dubai Hurricanes II

Al Ain Amblers v Dubai Knights Eagles II

Dubai Tigers II v Abu Dhabi Saracens

Jebel Ali Dragons II v Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

Sharjah Wanderers v Dubai Exiles II

 

LAST SEASON

West Asia Premiership

Winners – Bahrain

Runners-up – Dubai Exiles

UAE Premiership

Winners – Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners-up – Jebel Ali Dragons

Dubai Rugby Sevens

Winners – Dubai Hurricanes

Runners-up – Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Conference

Winners – Dubai Tigers

Runners-up – Al Ain Amblers

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

What is a Ponzi scheme?

A fraudulent investment operation where the scammer provides fake reports and generates returns for old investors through money paid by new investors, rather than through ligitimate business activities.

IF YOU GO

The flights

FlyDubai flies direct from Dubai to Skopje in five hours from Dh1,314 return including taxes. Hourly buses from Skopje to Ohrid take three hours.

The tours

English-speaking guided tours of Ohrid town and the surrounding area are organised by Cultura 365; these cost €90 (Dh386) for a one-day trip including driver and guide and €100 a day (Dh429) for two people.

The hotels

Villa St Sofija in the old town of Ohrid, twin room from $54 (Dh198) a night.

St Naum Monastery, on the lake 30km south of Ohrid town, has updated its pilgrims' quarters into a modern 3-star hotel, with rooms overlooking the monastery courtyard and lake. Double room from $60 (Dh 220) a night.

The Year Earth Changed

Directed by:Tom Beard

Narrated by: Sir David Attenborough

Stars: 4

The cost of Covid testing around the world

Egypt

Dh514 for citizens; Dh865 for tourists

Information can be found through VFS Global.

Jordan

Dh212

Centres include the Speciality Hospital, which now offers drive-through testing.

Cambodia

Dh478

Travel tests are managed by the Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health.

Zanzibar

AED 295

Zanzibar Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, located within the Lumumba Secondary School compound.

Abu Dhabi

Dh85

Abu Dhabi’s Seha has test centres throughout the UAE.

UK

From Dh400

Heathrow Airport now offers drive through and clinic-based testing, starting from Dh400 and up to Dh500 for the PCR test.

Overview

Cricket World Cup League Two: Nepal, Oman, United States tri-series, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

Fixtures
Wednesday February 5, Oman v Nepal
Thursday, February 6, Oman v United States
Saturday, February 8, United States v Nepal
Sunday, February 9, Oman v Nepal
Tuesday, February 11, Oman v United States
Wednesday, February 12, United States v Nepal

Signs of heat stroke
  • The loss of sodium chloride in our sweat can lead to confusion and an altered mental status and slurred speech
  • Body temperature above 39°C
  • Hot, dry and red or damp skin can indicate heatstroke
  • A faster pulse than usual
  • Dizziness, nausea and headaches are also signs of overheating
  • In extreme cases, victims can lose consciousness and require immediate medical attention
SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 680hp
Torque: 1,020Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh530,000 (estimate)

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"

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Power: 400bhp
Torque: 563Nm
Price: Dh320,000
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Everton 1 (Calvert-Lewin 55')

Man of the Match Allan (Everton)

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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.”

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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

Rating: 4.5/5

BUNDESLIGA FIXTURES

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt (5.30pm kick-off UAE)

Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke (5.30pm)

Wolfsburg v Cologne (5.30pm)

Mainz v Arminia Bielefeld (5.30pm)

Augsburg v Hoffenheim (5.30pm)

RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich (8.30pm)

Borussia Monchengladbach v Freiburg (10.30pm)

Sunday

VfB Stuttgart v Werder Bremen  (5.30pm)

Union Berlin v Hertha Berlin (8pm)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

SQUADS

UAE
Mohammed Naveed (captain), Mohamed Usman (vice-captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Imran Haider, Tahir Mughal, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed, Fahad Nawaz, Abdul Shakoor, Sultan Ahmed, CP Rizwan

Nepal
Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Avinash Bohara, Sundeep Jora, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Rohit Paudel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Basant Regmi, Pawan Sarraf, Bhim Sharki, Aarif Sheikh

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre flat 6-cylinder
Transmission: 7-speed PDK
Power: 500hp
Torque: 450Nm
Price: Dh530,300 as tested
On sale: Now


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos