South African President Jacob Zuma (centre) shakes hands with an honour guard member as he is greeted by the Libyan prime minister, Baghdadi al Mahmudi, (right) upon his arrival in Tripoli yesterday for talks on ending a conflict with rebels fighting to oust Muammar Qaddafi. Mahmud Turkia / AFP Photo
South African President Jacob Zuma (centre) shakes hands with an honour guard member as he is greeted by the Libyan prime minister, Baghdadi al Mahmudi, (right) upon his arrival in Tripoli yesterday fShow more

African Union seeks to maintain relevance with bid for Libya ceasefire



BENGHAZI // South African president Jacob Zuma's mediation trip to Libya this week will test the relevance of the increasingly discredited African Union as well as an old friendship between South Africa's governing party and Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

Mr Zuma, who arrived yesterday, will be seeking to restore some faith in the 54-nation Pan-African body, whose diplomatic efforts to resolve Libya's crisis were sideswiped by Nato air strikes that began on March 19.

Officially, Mr Zuma arrives in Tripoli, the capital and stronghold of Colonel Qaddafi, whose command centres have been pounded by a relentless Nato bombardment for days, to resuscitate an African road map drawn up in February that calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Unofficially, Mr Zuma will try to persuade Colonel Qaddafi to step down, South Africa's influential Mail and Guardian newspaper reported, quoting a senior security source.

His visit comes as all sides appear stalemated: Colonel Qaddafi has remained intransigent in the face of stepped-up Nato air strikes; the rebels have proved unable to capitalise on the air strikes to advance the battle fronts and are fast running out of cash even as they win increasing diplomatic recognition.

Hundreds of thousands of Libyans are suffering in Tripoli from the trauma of the bombings as well as growing shortages and increasing prices of fuel and food. Much hardship has also been reported in western mountain towns besieged by Colonel Qaddafi's forces and in refugee settlements at borders with Tunisia, Chad and Egypt.

South Africa voted for the UN resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya and the use of force to protect civilians, using its power as a rotating member of the Security Council to flout an African Union stance demanding a peaceful resolution. Since then, Mr Zuma has joined other African leaders in accusing Nato of overstepping the UN mandate and calling for an end to the air strikes.

Relations with Colonel Qaddafi already were strained when Mr Zuma came to Tripoli in April at the head of an African delegation. He came away pleased, having won the leader's agreement to a ceasefire. But later the same day it became clear that Colonel Qaddafi was not honouring his word.

The rebels' National Transitional Council in their eastern bastion of Benghazi already had dismissed the African road map because it did not demand that Colonel Qaddafi surrender power.

The African plan calls for an immediate ceasefire and for ensuring humanitarian aid reaches all who need it. The plan calls for the protection of foreigners, including African migrants and "adoption and implementation of the political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis".

In Benghazi on Saturday, rebel council chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil emphasised that any solution would have to involve Colonel Qaddafi's departure.

"We would like to reconfirm that the basis of any consideration for the resolution of the Libyan crisis, is the elimination of the main cause of this crisis, Colonel Qaddafi."

The Mail and Guardian said Mr Zuma's visit to Tripoli is at the request of the rebels, though no rebel official would confirm that.

"We welcome any political solutions that help end the bloodshed, but they must be predicated on the departure of Qaddafi, his sons and his regime," Mr Abdul-Jalil said.

Mr Zuma has known Colonel Qaddafi since the 1980s, when he was the intelligence chief of the then-outlawed African National Congress and Colonel Qaddafi provided arms and money for its fight to end a brutal white minority regime in South Africa. Two decades later, Nelson Mandela was able to return the favour, using his international moral standing to end Libya's pariah status. Mr Mandela helped broker the agreement that ended sanctions imposed on Libya over the downing of a civilian aircraft that killed all 270 passengers over Lockerbie, Scotland.

For Mr Zuma, the mission is an opportunity to redeem the African Union, as leaders say they are being upstaged on their own turf by other world diplomatic efforts.

The African Union Commission chief, Jean Ping, said at a summit in Ethiopia last week: "Some international players seem to be denying Africa any significant role in the search for a solution to the Libyan conflict.

"Africa is not going to be reduced to the status of an observer of its own calamities," Mr Ping warned.

Mr Zuma also has a hurtful bilateral issue to discuss with Colonel Qaddafi.

South African officials say Colonel Qaddafi misled them with assurances that a missing South African photojournalist, Anton Hammerl, was alive and in Libyan custody.

Four journalists held in Libya revealed upon their release that Mr Hammerl was shot and killed by government forces on April 5 and left to die in the desert.

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Recipe

Garlicky shrimp in olive oil
Gambas Al Ajillo

Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

180ml extra virgin olive oil; 4 to 5 large cloves of garlic, minced or pureed (or 3 to 4 garlic scapes, roughly chopped); 1 or 2 small hot red chillies, dried (or ¼ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes); 400g raw prawns, deveined, heads removed and tails left intact; a generous splash of sweet chilli vinegar; sea salt flakes for seasoning; a small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method

Heat the oil in a terracotta dish or frying pan. Once the oil is sizzling hot, add the garlic and chilli, stirring continuously for about 10 seconds until golden and aromatic.

Add a splash of sweet chilli vinegar and as it vigorously simmers, releasing perfumed aromas, add the prawns and cook, stirring a few times.

Once the prawns turn pink, after 1 or 2 minutes of cooking, remove from the heat and season with sea salt flakes.

Once the prawns are cool enough to eat, scatter with parsley and serve with small forks or toothpicks as the perfect sharing starter. Finish off with crusty bread to soak up all that flavour-infused olive oil.

'Peninsula'

Stars: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Ra

Director: ​Yeon Sang-ho

Rating: 2/5

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre flat-six
Power: 525hp (GT3), 500hp (GT4)
Torque: 465Nm (GT3), 450Nm (GT4)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Price: From Dh944,000 (GT3), Dh581,700 (GT4)
On sale: Now

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

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

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now

RESULT

Esperance de Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 
(Esperance won 6-5 on penalties)
Esperance: Belaili 38’
Guadalajara: Sandoval 5’

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

The specs: 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn

Price, base / as tested: Dhxxx
Engine: 5.7L V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 395hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 556Nm @ 3,950rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

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The Super Mario Bros Movie

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
Rating: 1/5

More from Armen Sarkissian
Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Profile

Co-founders of the company: Vilhelm Hedberg and Ravi Bhusari

Launch year: In 2016 ekar launched and signed an agreement with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. In January 2017 ekar launched in Dubai in a partnership with the RTA.

Number of employees: Over 50

Financing stage: Series B currently being finalised

Investors: Series A - Audacia Capital 

Sector of operation: Transport

The Specs

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

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Friday Valladolid v Osasuna (Kick-off midnight UAE)

Saturday Valencia v Athletic Bilbao (5pm), Getafe v Sevilla (7.15pm), Huesca v Alaves (9.30pm), Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (midnight)

Sunday Real Sociedad v Eibar (5pm), Real Betis v Villarreal (7.15pm), Elche v Granada (9.30pm), Barcelona v Levante (midnight)

Monday Celta Vigo v Cadiz (midnight)

Tips for used car buyers
  • Choose cars with GCC specifications
  • Get a service history for cars less than five years old
  • Don’t go cheap on the inspection
  • Check for oil leaks
  • Do a Google search on the standard problems for your car model
  • Do your due diligence. Get a transfer of ownership done at an official RTA centre
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  • Validate warranty and service contracts with the relevant agency and and make sure they are valid when ownership is transferred
  • If you are planning to sell the car soon, buy one with a good resale value. The two most popular cars in the UAE are black or white in colour and other colours are harder to sell

Tarek Kabrit, chief executive of Seez, and Imad Hammad, chief executive and co-founder of CarSwitch.com

Gertrude Bell's life in focus

A feature film

At one point, two feature films were in the works, but only German director Werner Herzog’s project starring Nicole Kidman would be made. While there were high hopes he would do a worthy job of directing the biopic, when Queen of the Desert arrived in 2015 it was a disappointment. Critics panned the film, in which Herzog largely glossed over Bell’s political work in favour of her ill-fated romances.

A documentary

A project that did do justice to Bell arrived the next year: Sabine Krayenbuhl and Zeva Oelbaum’s Letters from Baghdad: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Gertrude Bell. Drawing on more than 1,000 pieces of archival footage, 1,700 documents and 1,600 letters, the filmmakers painstakingly pieced together a compelling narrative that managed to convey both the depth of Bell’s experience and her tortured love life.

Books, letters and archives

Two biographies have been written about Bell, and both are worth reading: Georgina Howell’s 2006 book Queen of the Desert and Janet Wallach’s 1996 effort Desert Queen. Bell published several books documenting her travels and there are also several volumes of her letters, although they are hard to find in print. Original documents are housed at the Gertrude Bell Archive at the University of Newcastle, which has an online catalogue.
 

Scores

Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool
Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield Town
Burnley 1-0 Brighton
Manchester United 4-1 Fulham
West Ham 3-2 Crystal Palace

Saturday fixtures:
Chelsea v Manchester City, 9.30pm (UAE)
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur, 11.45pm (UAE)

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

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

Married Malala

Malala Yousafzai is enjoying married life, her father said.

The 24-year-old married Pakistan cricket executive Asser Malik last year in a small ceremony in the UK.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told The National his daughter was ‘very happy’ with her husband.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

MATCH INFO

Argentina 47 (Tries: Sanchez, Tuculet (2), Mallia (2), De La Fuente, Bertranou; Cons: Sanchez 5, Urdapilleta)

United States 17 (Tries: Scully (2), Lasike; Cons: MacGinty)

Company profile

Company: Splintr

Started: May 2019

Founders: Mohammad AlMheiri and Badr AlBadr

Based: Dubai and Riyadh

Sector: payments / FinTech

Size: 10 employees

Initial investment: undisclosed seven-figure sum / pre-seed

Stage: seed

Investors: angel investors

Oscars in the UAE

The 90th Academy Awards will be aired in the UAE from 3.30am on Monday, March 5 on OSN, with the ceremony starting at 5am

SHOW COURTS ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court (4pm UAE/12pm GMT)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Heather Watson (GBR)
Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) v Karen Khachanov (RUS x30)
Andy Murray (GBR x1) v Fabio Fognini (ITA x28)

Court 1 (4pm UAE)
Steve Johnson (USA x26) v Marin Cilic (CRO x7)
Johanna Konta (GBR x6) v Maria Sakkari (GRE)
Naomi Osaka (JPN) v Venus Williams (USA x10)

Court 2 (2.30pm UAE)
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) v Gilles Muller (LUX x16)
Peng Shuai (CHN) v Simona Halep (ROM x2)
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x13) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x12) v Sam Querrey (USA x24)

Court 3 (2.30pm UAE)
Kei Nishikori (JPN x9) v Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x18)
Carina Witthoeft (GER) v Elina Svitolina (UKR x4)

Court 12 (2.30pm UAE)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x8) v Ana Konjuh (CRO x27)
Kevin Anderson (RSA) v Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)

Court 18 (2.30pm UAE)
Caroline Garcia (FRA x21) v Madison Brengle (USA)
Benoit Paire (FRA) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

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 

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)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

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There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

UAE v IRELAND

All matches start at 10am, and will be played in Abu Dhabi

1st ODI, Friday, January 8

2nd ODI, Sunday, January 10

3rd ODI, Tuesday, January 12

4th ODI, Thursday, January 14


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