BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 23:  Martin Schulz (C), Chairman of the German Social Democrats (SPD), departs after meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Schloss Bellevue presidential palace over the future of the next German government on November 23, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Following German federal elections last September Shulz had vowed that the SPD would not join the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) in another grand coalition, though the recent failure of coalition talks between the CDU/CSU, the Greens Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) is leading to increasing pressure, both from within the SPD and without, on Schulz to reconsider.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Martin Schulz departs a meeting with German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier over the future of the next German government. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German social democrats suggest coalition with Merkel and greens



Senior members of Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats (SPD) in Germany have encouraged their party leader to join a so-called ‘Kenya’ coalition with chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in a bid to break the deadlock that has paralysed Europe’s largest country since a general election result in September that resulted in no party being able to form a stable government.

SPD politicians Gesine Schwan and Wolfgang Thierse sent an open letter to Mr Schulz in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper in which they suggested the party join a coalition with Ms Merkel’s party and the Greens – named after Kenya due to the parties’ colours making up the African country’s flag – which had initially been ruled out by Mr Schulz.

However, the breakdown over the weekend of talks between Ms Merkel, the Greens and the Free Democrats party (FDP) has led to members of the SPD demanding that their leader look again at the prospect of a ‘grand coalition’ – the CDU and SPD were in government together between 2013 and 2017, but after losing 40 seats and 5% of the vote in the September election Mr Schulz had indicated he wouldn’t join another union with Mrs Merkel’s party.

The two SPD grandees reject the other options open to the SPD: standing in new elections, which could cost too much to properly contest; entering a grand coalition with the CDU, which would see the party’s influence shrink further; supporting a minority coalition government of the CDU and the Greens, which reinforce the SPD’s irrelevance; or forming a minority coalition government with the hard-left Links party and the Greens, which would have little chance of survival.

Instead, the pair recommend that the SPD joins a government with the CDU and Greens; the coalition would command 466 seats out of the 709 seats in the Bundestag, a crushing majority over a fractured opposition composed of parties of both the left and far-right.

But the decision may have been taken out of Mr Schulz’s hands, as chancellor Merkel has already indicated that she thinks that “new elections are the better way” forward for the country, rather than endless horse-trading over how to form a minority administration. A majority of Germans agree with her, according to a Statista opinion poll on Monday.

The biog

Name: Salvador Toriano Jr

Age: 59

From: Laguna, The Philippines

Favourite dish: Seabass or Fish and Chips

Hobbies: When he’s not in the restaurant, he still likes to cook, along with walking and meeting up with friends.

A QUIET PLACE

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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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.”

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)

Also on December 7 to 9, the third edition of the Gulf Car Festival (www.gulfcarfestival.com) will take over Dubai Festival City Mall, a new venue for the event. Last year's festival brought together about 900 cars worth more than Dh300 million from across the Emirates and wider Gulf region – and that first figure is set to swell by several hundred this time around, with between 1,000 and 1,200 cars expected. The first day is themed around American muscle; the second centres on supercars, exotics, European cars and classics; and the final day will major in JDM (Japanese domestic market) cars, tuned vehicles and trucks. Individuals and car clubs can register their vehicles, although the festival isn’t all static displays, with stunt drifting, a rev battle, car pulls and a burnout competition.

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, semi-final result:

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

Liverpool win 4-3 on aggregate

Champions Legaue final: June 1, Madrid

Results

6.30pm: Mazrat Al Ruwayah – Group 2 (PA) $36,000 (Dirt) 1,600m, Winner: RB Money To Burn, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

7.05pm: Handicap (TB) $68,000 (Turf) 2,410m, Winner: Star Safari, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

7.40pm: Meydan Trophy – Conditions (TB) $50,000 (T) 1,900m, Winner: Secret Protector, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

8.15pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 - Group 2 (TB) $293,000 (D) 1,900m, Winner: Salute The Soldier, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

8.50pm: Al Rashidiya – Group 2 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,800m, Winner: Zakouski, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

9.25pm: Handicap (TB) $65,000 (T) 1,000m, Winner: Motafaawit, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson

Europa League group stage draw

Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague.
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu.
Group C: Sporting Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir.
Group D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna , Rijeka, AEK Athens.
Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol.
Group F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sheriff Tiraspol, FC Zlin.
Group G: Vitoria Plzen, Steaua Bucarest, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, FC Lugano.
Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Cologne, Red Star Belgrade.
Group I: Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria Guimaraes, Konyaspor.
Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersund.
Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse Arnhem.
Group L: Zenit St Petersburg, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, last 16, first leg

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

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Fatherland

Kele Okereke

(BMG)

AT A GLANCE

Windfall
An “energy profits levy” to raise around £5bn in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

Courses at Istituto Marangoni, Dubai

Undergraduate courses
Interior Design; Product Design; Visual Design; Fashion Design & Accessories; Fashion Styling & Creative Direction; Fashion Business; Foundation in Fashion; Foundation in Design
Professional courses
Fashion e-Commerce & Digital Marketing; Fashion Entrepreneurship; Fashion Luxury Retail and Visual Merchandising
Short courses
Fashion design; Fashion Image & Styling; Fashion Trend Forecasting; Interior Design; Digital Art in Fashion
More information is at www.istitutomarangoni.com

Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 


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