Week in review: Nobel effort



The decision to award Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, just eight months into his presidency, comes at a particularly awkward moment - right when many of the hopes about what he might accomplish have started to evaporate. "Just five years ago, Barack Obama was still a local politician in Illinois, preparing for a run for the US Senate," wrote Gideon Rachman in The Financial Times. "His office wall in Chicago at the time was decorated with the famous picture of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston, after knocking him out in a heavyweight title fight. Ali famously boasted that he could 'float like a butterfly and sting like a bee'. But now that Mr Obama is president, he seems to float like a butterfly - and sting like one as well. "The notion that Mr Obama is a weak leader is now spreading in ways that are dangerous to his presidency. The fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday will not change this impression. Peace is all very well. But Mr Obama now needs to pick a fight in public - and win it with a clean knock-out. "In truth, the Norwegians did the US president no favours by giving him the peace prize after less than a year in office. The award will only embellish a portrait of the president that has been painted in ever more vivid colours by his political enemies. The right argues that Mr Obama is a man who has been wildly applauded and promoted for not doing terribly much. Now the Nobel committee seems to be making their point for them." The image of Mr Obama as a do-nothing president featured in America's hugely popular late-night comedy show, Saturday Night Live. Frustration with the US president's performance is nowhere more intense than among observers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In Foreign Policy, Marc Lynch wrote: "While I was in Jordan, King Abdullah gave a lengthy interview to Haaretz about the Israeli-Palestinian situation in which he warned that 'We're sliding back into the darkness'. My conversations with more than two dozen Jordanian officials, political activists, journalists and analysts suggest that on this, at least, the King reflects a widespread Jordanian consensus. Jordanians are growing increasingly frustrated with the Obama team's approach, alarmed at Netanyahu's unpunished intransigence, and downright frantic about the trend in Jerusalem. If we don't start seeing progress soon, with stronger American leadership, then the 'tinderbox' could explode. "It wasn't always like this. When I was last in Jordan about six months ago, I found a great deal of optimism over the appointment of George Mitchell and the high profile Obama gave to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. But now those hopes seem to have largely evaporated. The launch of Israeli-Palestinian talks which they had expected by June continue to drift in limbo, while Obama's failure to deliver on the settlement freeze has - just as so many predicted - eroded his credibility. How could the Americans have allowed Netanyahu to not only defy US demands on settlements but to not even pay any significant price? Again and again, from all sectors of Jordanian political society, I heard the same refrain: Obama's heart is in the right place and we want him to succeed, but he's just not getting it done. "Jerusalem weighed particularly heavily in the Jordanian consciousness. I heard all kinds of dire warnings about how Israeli provocations there could suddenly spark an uncontrollable escalation back into Intifada. As the King put it, 'we are seeing problems in Jerusalem that will directly destabilise not only the relationship with Jordan...but will also create a tinderbox that will have a major flashpoint throughout the Islamic world.' Most Jordanians I talked to agreed." In the London Review of Books, David Bromwich observed that: "[Mr Obama] has acted as if he were the leader of no party; as if patience and benignity of temper could bring out the best in everyone. This is part of a larger inward confusion about his role. He seems to speak at once, or rather he seems to speak at different times, as organiser and as mediator, national leader and national healer. There is something strange about the alternation of postures, from the point of view of empirical prudence. On the largest issues that he himself raised in his opening months - his decision to close Guantánamo, to press for a two-state solution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and to reform healthcare with a national plan - his pattern has been the grand exordium delivered at stage centre, followed by months of silence. He has left his agents or his advisers or his party or both parties to mind the details. During the protracted delay, the very features that give the impress of his intention are sanded away. Thus, a new kind of pressure on Israel and a resolve to create a Palestinian state appeared to be signalled by his Cairo speech in early June. It was a thoughtful speech, and a courageous one, even if you took it as a series of propositions uttered at a certain time in a certain place. Simply to address the Muslims of the world without condescension was sure to make him unforgiving enemies on the American right - including the considerable body of Christian Zionists in the Southern and border states - and Obama went to Cairo and delivered his speech knowing that. Yet the four months since have seemed much longer than four months. Israel has sapped and undermined the settlement freeze. Benjamin Netanyahu gambled that he could trespass against objections by Obama's negotiators, Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell, and the gamble has worked." Michael Fullilove suggested that there could still be some benefits that acrue from Mr Obama receiving the peace prize. "The way this Nobel can assist, however, is by making it a little harder for the rest of the world to turn away when Mr Obama asks them for help. "One of the president's central foreign policy challenges is to convert the international goodwill felt towards his administration and his country into meaningful co-operation. America's power is great, but not unlimited. Washington cannot solve any of the biggest global issues by itself. "If the international community likes Mr Obama so much, then let them really show it. Let other leaders share Mr Obama's burdens. Let recalcitrant European powers withdraw the caveats that are preventing their troops from fighting as effectively as possible in Afghanistan, so that a just peace can be secured. Let Russia take a constructive approach to arms reduction talks, and help to maintain the pressure on Tehran to allow scrutiny of its nuclear programme. Let China and India accept their global responsibilities to mitigate climate change (and in so doing, push the US Congress in that direction, too). "If the world likes having a multilateralist in the White House, then the world should show America that multilateralism works. A Nobel is a token of the world's affections. Let it be a symbol of the world's intentions as well."

pwoodward@thenational.ae

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

A QUIET PLACE

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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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 Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Director: Francis Lawrence

Stars: Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth

Rating: 3/5

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

FIXTURES

All kick-off times 10.45pm UAE (+4 GMT)

Tuesday
Mairobr v Liverpool
Spartak Moscow v Sevilla
Feyenoord v Shakhtar Donetsk
Manchester City v Napoli
Monaco v Besiktas
RB Leipzig v Porto
Apoel Nicosia v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday
Benfica v Manchester United
CSKA Moscow v Basel
Bayern Munich v Celtic
Anderlecht v Paris Saint-Germain
Qarabag v Atletico Madrid
Chelsea v Roma
Barcelona v Olympiakos
Juventus v Sporting Lisbon

Zakat definitions

Zakat: an Arabic word meaning ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purification’.

Nisab: the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to pay zakat. Traditionally, the nisab threshold was 87.48 grams of gold, or 612.36 grams of silver. The monetary value of the nisab therefore varies by current prices and currencies.

Zakat Al Mal: the ‘cleansing’ of wealth, as one of the five pillars of Islam; a spiritual duty for all Muslims meeting the ‘nisab’ wealth criteria in a lunar year, to pay 2.5 per cent of their wealth in alms to the deserving and needy.

Zakat Al Fitr: a donation to charity given during Ramadan, before Eid Al Fitr, in the form of food. Every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of the needs of themselves and their family must pay two qadahs (an old measure just over 2 kilograms) of flour, wheat, barley or rice from each person in a household, as a minimum.

Match info

Athletic Bilbao 0

Real Madrid 1 (Ramos 73' pen)

BlacKkKlansman

Director: Spike Lee

Starring: John David Washington; Adam Driver 

Five stars

Empty Words

By Mario Levrero  

(Coffee House Press)
 

UNpaid bills:

Countries with largest unpaid bill for UN budget in 2019

USA – $1.055 billion

Brazil – $143 million

Argentina – $52 million

Mexico – $36 million

Iran – $27 million

Israel – $18 million

Venezuela – $17 million

Korea – $10 million

Countries with largest unpaid bill for UN peacekeeping operations in 2019

USA – $2.38 billion

Brazil – $287 million

Spain – $110 million

France – $103 million

Ukraine – $100 million

 

Tottenham's 10 biggest transfers (according to transfermarkt.com):

1). Moussa Sissokho - Newcastle United - £30 million (Dh143m): Flop

2). Roberto Soldado - Valencia - £25m: Flop

3). Erik Lamela - Roma - £25m: Jury still out

4). Son Heung-min - Bayer Leverkusen - £25m: Success

5). Darren Bent - Charlton Athletic - £21m: Flop

6). Vincent Janssen - AZ Alkmaar - £18m: Flop

7). David Bentley - Blackburn Rovers - £18m: Flop

8). Luka Modric - Dynamo Zagreb - £17m: Success

9). Paulinho - Corinthians - £16m: Flop

10). Mousa Dembele - Fulham - £16m: Success

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

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

Red Joan

Director: Trevor Nunn

Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tereza Srbova

Rating: 3/5 stars

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days

West Asia Premiership

Dubai Hurricanes 58-10 Dubai Knights Eagles

Dubai Tigers 5-39 Bahrain

Jebel Ali Dragons 16-56 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Growdash
Started: July 2022
Founders: Sean Trevaskis and Enver Sorkun
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Restaurant technology
Funding so far: $750,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, Plus VC, Judah VC, TPN Investments and angel investors, including former Talabat chief executive Abdulhamid Alomar, and entrepreneur Zeid Husban

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

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

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

MATCH INFO

Inter Milan 1 (Martinez 18' pen)

Juventus 2 (Dybala 4', Higuain 80')


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