US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis shakes hands with military officials as he departs from Bahrain at Manama airport on March 15, 2018.
Mattis was in Bahrain after a surprise visit to the war-torn capital of Afghanistan two weeks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban.  / AFP PHOTO / Thomas WATKINS
US Defence Secretary James Mattis shakes hands with military officials as he departs from Bahrain at Manama airport on March 15, 2018. Thomas Watkins / AFP

Mattis accuses Iran of meddling in Iraq's elections



Iran is funnelling money into Iraq to influence the outcome of its elections, the US Defence Secretary James Mattis said, calling it part of a broader pattern of destabilising Iranian actions across the Middle East.

"We have worrisome evidence that Iran is trying to influence — using money — the Iraqi elections," Mr Mattis told reporters flying with him to Washington from Bahrain, where he discussed Iran and other issues with senior government officials.

"That money is being used to sway candidates, to sway votes — not an insignificant amount of money, we believe, and it's highly unhelpful," he said.

"We know that they are doing what they can to impact the elections, and we don't like it."

Mr Mattis mentioned no amounts, but his comments on Thursday came as the US National Security Adviser, HR McMaster, said Iran had given more than $16 billion (Dh58.7bn) to the Assad regime in Syria and to proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran increased its influence in Iraq by supporting the mainly Shiite militias that were mobilised to fight ISIL after the extremist group seized much of the north and west of the country in 2014. Many figures from the militias are taking part in the general election scheduled for May.

Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi is seeking another term after Iraqi government forces, backed by the militias and the US mliitary, reclaimed the territory seized by ISIL.

Iran's political influence in Iraq has grown since the US invaded to remove president Saddam Hussein in 2003, marking the start of a prolonged period of sectarian division, extremist violence and political strife.

Mr Mattis also criticised Iranian meddling elsewhere in the Middle East. He said Tehran was providing ammunition and explosives to fighters in Syria, and supporting rebels in Yemen.

He said the Bab Al Mandeb strait off the coast of southern Yemen was being used as a "proving ground" for advanced Iranian weaponry, including anti-ship missiles, radars, mines, ballistic missiles and explosive boats.

On the other hand, Iran has stopped conducting provocative and dangerous manoeuvres against US navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, Mr Mattis said.

"It's like an outlier, and I don't know why," he said. "They don't seem to be engaging in the same provocative behaviour" in the Gulf as they were prior to last summer.

Commander William Urban, a spokesman for US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, said earlier on Thursday that there had been no "unsafe and unprofessional" actions by Iranian naval forces in the Gulf since August.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

As You Were

Liam Gallagher

(Warner Bros)

A Bad Moms Christmas
Dir: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines
Two stars

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

VEZEETA PROFILE

Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

The specs

Engine: 2.2-litre, turbodiesel

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Power: 160hp

Torque: 385Nm

Price: Dh116,900

On sale: now

Favourite book: ‘The Art of Learning’ by Josh Waitzkin

Favourite film: Marvel movies

Favourite parkour spot in Dubai: Residence towers in Jumeirah Beach Residence

US households add $601bn of debt in 2019

American households borrowed another $601 billion (Dh2.2bn) in 2019, the largest yearly gain since 2007, just before the global financial crisis, according to February data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Fuelled by rising mortgage debt as homebuyers continued to take advantage of low interest rates, the increase last year brought total household debt to a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008 just before the market crash, according to the report.

Following the 22nd straight quarter of growth, American household debt swelled to $14.15 trillion by the end of 2019, the New York Fed said in its quarterly report.

In the final three months of the year, new home loans jumped to their highest volume since the fourth quarter of 2005, while credit cards and auto loans also added to the increase.

The bad debt load is taking its toll on some households, and the New York Fed warned that more and more credit card borrowers — particularly young people — were falling behind on their payments.

"Younger borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to have credit cards and student loans as their primary form of debt, struggle more than others with on-time repayment," New York Fed researchers said.

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor cricket in a nutshell
Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sept 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side
8 There are eight players per team
9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.
5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls
4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs
B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run
C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs
D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

Superliminal

Developer: Pillow Castle Games
Publisher: Pillow Castle Games
Console: PlayStation 4&5, Xbox Series One & X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac
Rating: 4/5

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).

Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr 32mins 03.897sec

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull-Honda) at 0.745s

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 37.383s

4. Lando Norris (McLaren) 46.466s

5.Sergio Perez (Red Bull-Honda) 52.047s

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 59.090s

7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 1:06.004

8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 1:07.100

9. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:25.692

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:26.713,

MATCH INFO

Champions League last 16, first leg

Tottenham v RB Leipzig, Wednesday, midnight (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

WEST ASIA RUGBY 2017/18 SEASON ROLL OF HONOUR

Western Clubs Champions League
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Bahrain

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Premiership Cup
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Dubai Exiles

UAE Premiership
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Last five meetings

2013: South Korea 0-2 Brazil

2002: South Korea 2-3 Brazil

1999: South Korea 1-0 Brazil

1997: South Korea 1-2 Brazil

1995: South Korea 0-1 Brazil

Note: All friendlies

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

SHOW COURTS ORDER OF PLAY

Wimbledon order of play on Saturday, July 8
All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Centre Court (4pm)
Agnieszka Radwanska (9) v Timea Bacsinszky (19)
Ernests Gulbis v Novak Djokovic (2)
Mischa Zverev (27) v Roger Federer (3)

Court 1 (4pm)
Milos Raonic (6) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (25)
Anett Kontaveit v Caroline Wozniacki (5)
Dominic Thiem (8) v Jared Donaldson

Court 2 (2.30pm)
Sorana Cirstea v Garbine Muguruza (14)
To finish: Sam Querrey (24) leads Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-5
Angelique Kerber (1) v Shelby Rogers
Sebastian Ofner v Alexander Zverev (10)

Court 3 (2.30pm)
Grigor Dimitrov (13) v Dudi Sela
Alison Riske v Coco Vandeweghe (24)
David Ferrer v Tomas Berdych (11)

Court 12 (2.30pm)
Polona Hercog v Svetlana Kuznetsova (7)
Gael Monfils (15) v Adrian Mannarino

Court 18 (2.30pm)
Magdalena Rybarikova v Lesia Tsurenko
Petra Martic v Zarina Diyas

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.
 

The Specs:

The Specs:

Engine: 2.9-litre, V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power: 444bhp

Torque: 600Nm

Price: AED 356,580 incl VAT

On sale: now.

Kill Bill Volume 1

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine and Michael Madsen
Rating: 4.5/5

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50