This picture taken on April 24, 2018, shows electoral posters ahead of the parliamentary elections to be held on May 12, in Fallujah.
Only a decade after Iraq's first ever multi-party elections, many disenchanted Iraqis say "the same old faces" with their own vested interests have been running the show since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein. Iraqis are on May 12 to elect 320 deputies from a field of around 7,000 candidates, with 71 seats reserved for the capital. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by AMMAR KARIM
This picture taken on April 24, 2018, shows electoral posters ahead of the parliamentary elections to be held on May 12, in Fallujah. Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP

Iraqis disillusioned with 'same old faces' ahead of election



Only a decade after their country's first ever multi-party elections, disenchanted Iraqis say "the same old faces" with their vested interests have been running the show since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein.

"How long have Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Ayad Allawi, Nuri al-Maliki or Haider al-Abadi been in power? One minute as MPs, the next as ministers," said Midan al-Hamadani, listing Iraq's foreign minister, vice president, ex-prime minister and current premier.

"The parties are always the same and the same people come back to power, whether we like it or not," said the 40-year-old Baghdad resident.

Widespread corruption combined with failings in basic services such as water, electricity and transportation have reinforced the public's lack of faith in Iraq's political leaders.

In a country with a long history of conflict and intercommunal violence, more than 24 million Iraqis are registered to elect 320 deputies from a field of around 7,000 candidates on May 12, with 71 seats reserved for the capital.

Baghdad has been inundated with election posters plastered on apartment buildings and even trees.

In some places, candidates' faces have overshadowed posters of the "martyrs" killed in the 2014-2017 defeat of the Islamic State (IS) group in northern and western Iraq.

"It's the same old faces! All they care about is getting rich, not serving the people!" said an angry Haidar al-Shamri, 35, letting rip in a street in central Baghdad.

Since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam, the same political figures and parties have held the levers of power in Iraq.

"So what change has there been? At least if we had a change of faces. We're fed up with lies," was the outspoken opinion of Umm Yussef, a 54-year-old woman from the northern city of Mosul.

Her northern city, Iraq's second largest, was devastated in a ferocious battle to oust IS from its bastion and reconstruction has been stalled by a lack of state funding.

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Rumour has it that the marjaiya, the highest religious authority of Iraq's Shiite majority, has called for incumbents not to be re-elected. Contacted by AFP, it gave no confirmation.

According to the electoral commission, 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers.

One such new face is Hala Karim, a health ministry employee, for whom "nothing has changed in 15 years (since Saddam's fall), if anything things have gone from bad to worse".

"In this cradle of civilisation, confessionalism is on the rise and the situation is deteriorating. We must change that," said the woman in her 30s running on an independent list, Tahalouf Baghdad (Baghdad Coalition).

The old guard were even resorting to posting defamatory videos online of newcomers to knock them out of contention. "The big sharks can only think of defaming us to stay in power," she said.

Haidar al-Bizani, who is also running, learnt the hard way: he sold a plot of land and quit his job, all to no avail, as he failed to win a seat as an independent at Iraq's last election.

"There is no way an independent candidate can win. The law is to the disadvantage of small lists. That's why I'm running this time on the Hikma list," led by Shiite politician Ammar al-Hakim, he said.

In central Baghdad stands a statue of Kahramana, a figure from "1,001 Nights", as she pours boiling oil on thieves hiding in 40 jars.

Iraqi poet and activist Aya Mansour posted a photograph on Twitter of the monument obstructed by a wall of election posters. "Where's Kahramana? Behind the 40 thieves?" she asked.

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

MATCH INFO

FA Cup fifth round

Chelsea v Manchester United, Monday, 11.30pm (UAE), BeIN Sports

Guns N’ Roses’s last gig before Abu Dhabi was in Hong Kong on November 21. We were there – and here’s what they played, and in what order. You were warned.

  • It’s So Easy
  • Mr Brownstone
  • Chinese Democracy
  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Double Talkin’ Jive
  • Better
  • Estranged
  • Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
  • Slither (Velvet Revolver cover)
  • Rocket Queen
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Shadow of Your Love
  • Attitude (Misfits cover)
  • Civil War
  • Coma
  • Love Theme from The Godfather (movie cover)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb cover)
  • Wish You Were Here (instrumental Pink Floyd cover)
  • November Rain
  • Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)
  • Nightrain

Encore:

  • Patience
  • Don’t Cry
  • The Seeker (The Who cover)
  • Paradise City
Results

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m, Winner: Zalman, Pat Cosgrave (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Hisham Al Khalediah II, Fernando Jara, Mohamed Daggash.

6pm: Handicap (PA) Dh85,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Qader, Adrie de Vries, Jean de Roualle

6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Championship Listed (PA) Dh180,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Mujeeb, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: AF Majalis, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Shanaghai City, Fabrice Veron, Rashed Bouresly

8pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 1,400m, Winner: Nayslayer, Bernardo Pinheiro, Jaber Ramadhan

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

The biog

Place of birth: Kalba

Family: Mother of eight children and has 10 grandchildren

Favourite traditional dish: Al Harees, a slow cooked porridge-like dish made from boiled cracked or coarsely ground wheat mixed with meat or chicken

Favourite book: My early life by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah

Favourite quote: By Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's Founding Father, “Those who have no past will have no present or future.”

Brief scoreline:

Liverpool 5

Keita 1', Mane 23', 66', Salah 45'+1, 83'

Huddersfield 0

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

The Specs

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

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, semi-final result:

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

Liverpool win 4-3 on aggregate

Champions Legaue final: June 1, Madrid

Company profile

Company: Verity

Date started: May 2021

Founders: Kamal Al-Samarrai, Dina Shoman and Omar Al Sharif

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech

Size: four team members

Stage: Intially bootstrapped but recently closed its first pre-seed round of $800,000

Investors: Wamda, VentureSouq, Beyond Capital and regional angel investors

Pari

Produced by: Clean Slate Films (Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma) & KriArj Entertainment

Director: Prosit Roy

Starring: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Rajat Kapoor, Mansi Multani

Three stars

Retirement funds heavily invested in equities at a risky time

Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

The increased allocation to equities by growth-market pension funds has come at the expense of fixed-income investments, which declined 11 percentage points over the five years, according to the survey.

Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

• Bloomberg

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

MATCH INFO

Manchester United v Brighton, Sunday, 6pm UAE

'Operation Mincemeat'

Director: John Madden

Cast: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfayden, Kelly Macdonald and Penelope Wilton

Rating: 4/5

RESULT

Everton 2 Huddersfield Town 0
Everton: 
Sigurdsson (47'), Calvert-Lewin (73')

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

MATCH INFO

Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, Tuesday, 11pm (UAE)

Matches can be watched on BeIN Sports

Other promotions
  • Deliveroo will team up with Pineapple Express to offer customers near JLT a special treat: free banana caramel dessert with all orders on January 26
  • Jones the Grocer will have their limited edition Australia Day menu available until the end of the month (January 31)
  • Australian Vet in Abu Dhabi (with locations in Khalifa City A and Reem Island) will have a 15 per cent off all store items (excluding medications) 
The specs: 2017 Dodge Viper SRT

Price, base / as tested Dh460,000

Engine 8.4L V10

Transmission Six-speed manual

Power 645hp @ 6,200rpm

Torque 813Nm @ 5,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 16.8L / 100km

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Quarter-finals

Saturday (all times UAE)

England v Australia, 11.15am 
New Zealand v Ireland, 2.15pm

Sunday

Wales v France, 11.15am
Japan v South Africa, 2.15pm

SPECS

Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Mini John Cooper Works Countryman

Engine: two-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 306hp

Torque: 450Nm

Price: JCW Clubman, Dh220,500; JCW Countryman, Dh225,500

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

The Greatest Royal Rumble card as it stands

50-man Royal Rumble

Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

SmackDown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (champions) v The Usos

Casket match The Undertaker v Chris Jericho

John Cena v Triple H

Matches to be announced

WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, United States Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship are all due to be defended

Salah in numbers

€39 million: Liverpool agreed a fee, including add-ons, in the region of 39m (nearly Dh176m) to sign Salah from Roma last year. The exchange rate at the time meant that cost the Reds £34.3m - a bargain given his performances since.

13: The 25-year-old player was not a complete stranger to the Premier League when he arrived at Liverpool this summer. However, during his previous stint at Chelsea, he made just 13 Premier League appearances, seven of which were off the bench, and scored only twice.

57: It was in the 57th minute of his Liverpool bow when Salah opened his account for the Reds in the 3-3 draw with Watford back in August. The Egyptian prodded the ball over the line from close range after latching onto Roberto Firmino's attempted lob.

7: Salah's best scoring streak of the season occurred between an FA Cup tie against West Brom on January 27 and a Premier League win over Newcastle on March 3. He scored for seven games running in all competitions and struck twice against Tottenham.

3: This season Salah became the first player in Premier League history to win the player of the month award three times during a term. He was voted as the division's best player in November, February and March.

40: Salah joined Roger Hunt and Ian Rush as the only players in Liverpool's history to have scored 40 times in a single season when he headed home against Bournemouth at Anfield earlier this month.

30: The goal against Bournemouth ensured the Egyptian achieved another milestone in becoming the first African player to score 30 times across one Premier League campaign.

8: As well as his fine form in England, Salah has also scored eight times in the tournament phase of this season's Champions League. Only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, with 15 to his credit, has found the net more often in the group stages and knockout rounds of Europe's premier club competition.


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