Fire fighters continue to water smouldering rubble in Lac Megantic, where a runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil.
Fire fighters continue to water smouldering rubble in Lac Megantic, where a runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil.

40 still missing after runaway train ploughed through Canadian town



LAC-MEGANTIC, CANADA // Hazardous conditions hindered firefighters' attempts yesterday to search for some 40 people still missing after a runaway oil tanker train exploded over the weekend, killing at least five people, officials said.

Quebec provincial police Sgt Benoît Richard said yesterday there was no searching overnight because the situation remained too dangerous.

He said only a small part of the devastated scene has been searched as firefighters made sure all flames were out.

Many of those missing were believed to have been drinking at a popular downtown bar when the explosions occurred and rescuers were still not able to reach the area, Sgt Richard said.

"Hopefully we'll be able to open up more areas for searching during the day," he said.

Firefighters yesterday focused their efforts on two oil-filled cars, dousing them with water and foam in an attempt to keep them from overheating and exploding.

All but one of the train's 73 tanker cars were carrying oil when they somehow came loose early on Saturday, sped downhill nearly 11 kilometres into the town of Lac-Megantic, near the Maine border, and derailed, with at least five of the cars exploding.

About a third of the community of 6,000 was forced from their homes by the explosion and flames.

"This is an unbelievable disaster," said Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, who toured the town on Sunday and compared it to a war zone. "This is an enormous area, 30 buildings just completely destroyed, for all intents and purposes incinerated. There isn't a family that is not affected by this."

A coroner's spokeswoman said it may not be possible to recover some of the bodies because of the intensity of the blasts.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

THE SPECS

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 hybrid
Power: 653hp at 5,400rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 1,600-5,000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
0-100kph in 4.3sec
Top speed 250kph
Fuel consumption: NA
On sale: Q2 2023
Price: From Dh750,000

CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID

1st row
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2nd row
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-GP)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

3rd row
Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

4th row
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
Sergio Perez (Force India)

5th row
Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault)
Romain Grosjean (Haas)

6th row
Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
Esteban Ocon (Force India)

7th row
Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

8th row
Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)
Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

9th row
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
Lance Stroll (Williams)

10th row
Charles Leclerc (Sauber)
arcus Ericsson (Sauber)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban

PFA Team of the Year: David de Gea, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Alonso, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.6-litre turbo

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Power: 165hp

Torque: 240Nm

Price: From Dh89,000 (Enjoy), Dh99,900 (Innovation)

On sale: Now

Company profile

Name: Tratok Portal

Founded: 2017

Based: UAE

Sector: Travel & tourism

Size: 36 employees

Funding: Privately funded

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

Visa changes give families fresh hope

Foreign workers can sponsor family members based solely on their income

Male residents employed in the UAE can sponsor immediate family members, such as wife and children, subject to conditions that include a minimum salary of Dh 4,000 or Dh 3,000 plus accommodation.

Attested original marriage certificate, birth certificate of the child, ejari or rental contract, labour contract, salary certificate must be submitted to the government authorised typing centre to complete the sponsorship process

In Abu Dhabi, a woman can sponsor her husband and children if she holds a residence permit stating she is an engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse or any profession related to the medical sector and her monthly salary is at least Dh 10,000 or Dh 8,000 plus accommodation.

In Dubai, if a woman is not employed in the above categories she can get approval to sponsor her family if her monthly salary is more than Dh 10,000 and with a special permission from the Department of Naturalization and Residency Dubai.

To sponsor parents, a worker should earn Dh20,000 or Dh19,000 a month, plus a two-bedroom accommodation

 

 

 

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


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