Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl returns to the Fort Bragg courthouse after a lunch break on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, on Fort Bragg, N.C. Bergdahl, who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five years, is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five years, is charged with desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. Andrew Craft/ The FayettShow more

Bowe Bergdahl trial: US troops were injured trying to rescue soldier



In the weeks after US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl walked off his remote post in Afghanistan in June 2009, the service members who searched for him carried out risky rescue attempts and endured harsh living conditions, they testified on Wednesday.

Bergdahl had been captured by the Taliban, and the Army knew it had to act fast before he was taken across the border to Pakistan, Colonel Clinton Baker, his battalion commander, said at Bergdahl's sentencing hearing at North Carolina's Fort Bragg.

Soldiers took direct fire and attacks from improvised explosive devices every day in the first six weeks of the search, Baker said. Fresh socks and T-shirts were flown to one unit whose clothes rotted off during a 37-day mission.

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"The only time you slept was when you couldn’t stay conscious anymore," Baker said. "Everybody was out looking. That was it. We were tapped out.”

Last week, Bergdahl, 31, pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. The consequences of his actions for fellow troops are now the focus for prosecutors seeking his punishment.

Bergdahl said he left his combat outpost in Paktika province to report "critical problems" in his chain of command. The Idaho native suffered torture and neglect during five years in captivity before being released in a 2014 Taliban prisoner swap criticised by Republicans. With his plea, he could face up to life in prison and a dishonourable discharge.

Former Navy SEAL James Hatch was one of several service members injured during search-and-rescue missions, prosecutors said.

He testified on Wednesday that he has had 18 medical procedures to repair the damage to his leg after being shot by an enemy fighter's AK-47 during a July 2009 raid. A military dog named Remco died during that effort.

Captain John Billings, Bergdahl’s platoon leader, said he and another soldier contracted dysentery during the search operations.

“Imagine putting yourself on the side of a mountain with little water, little sleep, little chow, having not showered in 10 days, and not knowing when you’re going to get to talk to your family next,” Billings said. “That’s about what it was like.”

Statements by President Donald Trump loom over the case.

The soldier's defence attorneys say the Republican, who as a candidate referred to Bergdahl as a "a no-good traitor who should have been executed," has unlawfully influenced the proceedings.

At a press conference last week on the day of Bergdahl's guilty plea, Trump said he could not talk about the case, then added: "But I think people have heard my comments in the past."

The defence says Bergdahl should be spared prison time because of the president's criticism. Army Colonel Jeffery Nance, the military judge in the case, said in court on Wednesday that he was still considering the defence motion.

The sentencing proceedings resume on Thursday.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

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

Cry Macho

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam

Rating:**

MATCH DETAILS

Juventus 2 (Bonucci 36, Ronaldo 90+6)

Genoa 1 (Kouame 40)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers

1,228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham United.
704 - wins to date as Arsenal manager.
3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/04.
1,549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams.
10 - major trophies won.
473 - Premier League victories.
7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons.
151 - Premier League losses.
21 - full seasons in charge.
49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004.

Company profile

Name: Yodawy
Based: Egypt
Founders: Karim Khashaba, Sherief El-Feky and Yasser AbdelGawad
Sector:
HealthTech
Total funding: $24.5 million
Investors: Algebra Ventures, Global Ventures, MEVP and Delivery Hero Ventures, among others
Number of employees:
500

A MAN FROM MOTIHARI

Author: Abdullah Khan
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 304
Available: Now

Islamic Architecture: A World History

Author: Eric Broug
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Pages: 336
Available: September

2024 Dubai Marathon Results

Women’s race:
1. Tigist Ketema (ETH) 2hrs 16min 7sec
2. Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:18:09
3. Dera Dida (ETH) 2:19:29
Men's race:
1. Addisu Gobena (ETH) 2:05:01
2. Lemi Dumicha (ETH) 2:05:20
3. DejeneMegersa (ETH) 2:05:42

Seven Winters in Tehran

Director : Steffi Niederzoll

Starring: Reyhaneh Jabbari, Shole Pakravan, Zar Amir Ebrahimi

Rating: 4/5

'Gehraiyaan'

Director:Shakun Batra

Stars:Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Dhairya Karwa

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Sub Regional Qualifier

Event info: The tournament in Kuwait this month is the first phase of the qualifying process for sides from Asia for the 2020 World T20 in Australia. The UAE must finish within the top three teams out of the six at the competition to advance to the Asia regional finals. Success at regional finals would mean progression to the World T20 Qualifier.

UAE’s fixtures: Fri Apr 20, UAE v Qatar; Sat Apr 21, UAE v Saudi Arabia; Mon Apr 23, UAE v Bahrain; Tue Apr 24, UAE v Maldives; Thu Apr 26, UAE v Kuwait

World T20 2020 Qualifying process:

  • Sixteen teams will play at the World T20 in two years’ time.
  • Australia have already qualified as hosts
  • Nine places are available to the top nine ranked sides in the ICC’s T20i standings, not including Australia, on Dec 31, 2018.
  • The final six teams will be decided by a 14-team World T20 Qualifier.

World T20 standings: 1 Pakistan; 2 Australia; 3 India; 4 New Zealand; 5 England; 6 South Africa; 7 West Indies; 8 Sri Lanka; 9 Afghanistan; 10 Bangladesh; 11 Scotland; 12 Zimbabwe; 13 UAE; 14 Netherlands; 15 Hong Kong; 16 Papua New Guinea; 17 Oman; 18 Ireland

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Ejari
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Yazeed Al Shamsi, Fahad Albedah, Mohammed Alkhelewy and Khalid Almunif
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $1 million
Investors: Sanabil 500 Mena, Hambro Perks' Oryx Fund and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

RESULTS

Time; race; prize; distance

4pm: Maiden; (D) Dh150,000; 1,200m
Winner: General Line, Xavier Ziani (jockey), Omar Daraj (trainer)

4.35pm: Maiden (T); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Travis County, Adrie de Vries, Ismail Mohammed

5.10pm: Handicap (D); Dh175,000; 1,200m
Winner: Scrutineer, Tadhg O’Shea, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

5.45pm: Maiden (D); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Yulong Warrior, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

6.20pm: Maiden (D); Dh150,000; 1,600m
Winner: Ejaaby, Jim Crowley, Doug Watson

6.55pm: Handicap (D); Dh160,000; 1,600m
Winner: Storyboard, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

7.30pm: Handicap (D); Dh150,000; 2,200m
Winner: Grand Dauphin, Gerald Mosse, Ahmed Al Shemaili

8.05pm: Handicap (T); Dh190,000; 1,800m
Winner: Good Trip, Tadhg O’Shea, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Start-up hopes to end Japan's love affair with cash

Across most of Asia, people pay for taxi rides, restaurant meals and merchandise with smartphone-readable barcodes — except in Japan, where cash still rules. Now, as the country’s biggest web companies race to dominate the payments market, one Tokyo-based startup says it has a fighting chance to win with its QR app.

Origami had a head start when it introduced a QR-code payment service in late 2015 and has since signed up fast-food chain KFC, Tokyo’s largest cab company Nihon Kotsu and convenience store operator Lawson. The company raised $66 million in September to expand nationwide and plans to more than double its staff of about 100 employees, says founder Yoshiki Yasui.

Origami is betting that stores, which until now relied on direct mail and email newsletters, will pay for the ability to reach customers on their smartphones. For example, a hair salon using Origami’s payment app would be able to send a message to past customers with a coupon for their next haircut.

Quick Response codes, the dotted squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, were invented in the 1990s by a unit of Toyota Motor to track automotive parts. But when the Japanese pioneered digital payments almost two decades ago with contactless cards for train fares, they chose the so-called near-field communications technology. The high cost of rolling out NFC payments, convenient ATMs and a culture where lost wallets are often returned have all been cited as reasons why cash remains king in the archipelago. In China, however, QR codes dominate.

Cashless payments, which includes credit cards, accounted for just 20 per cent of total consumer spending in Japan during 2016, compared with 60 per cent in China and 89 per cent in South Korea, according to a report by the Bank of Japan.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

RESULT

Los Angeles Galaxy 2 Manchester United 5

Galaxy: Dos Santos (79', 88')
United: Rashford (2', 20'), Fellaini (26'), Mkhitaryan (67'), Martial (72')

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 

Results

4.30pm Jebel Jais – Maiden (PA) Dh60,000 (Turf) 1,000m; Winner: MM Al Balqaa, Bernardo Pinheiro (jockey), Qaiss Aboud (trainer)

5pm: Jabel Faya – Maiden (PA) Dh60,000 (T) 1,000m; Winner: AF Rasam, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

5.30pm: Al Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: AF Mukhrej, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: The President’s Cup Prep – Conditions (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: Mujeeb, Richard Mullen, Salem Al Ketbi

6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club – Prestige (PA) Dh125,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Jawal Al Reef, Antonio Fresu, Abubakar Daud

7pm: Al Ruwais – Group 3 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Ashton Tourettes, Pat Dobbs, Ibrahim Aseel

7.30pm: Jebel Hafeet – Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Nibraas, Richard Mullen, Nicholas Bachalard


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