Female soldiers in US now allowed on the front lines



WASHINGTON //The US military officially dropped its ban on women serving in ground combat yesterday after a policy review by top commanders, defence secretary Leon Panetta said.

The move knocks down another societal barrier in the US armed forces, after the Pentagon in 2011 scrapped its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

"Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military's mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles," Mr Panetta said in a statement.

Individual military services will have until 2016 to seek exemptions if they believe any combat roles should remain closed to women.

The move was welcomed by Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said it reflected the "reality of 21st century military operations".

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a suit in November seeking to force the Pentagon to end the ban, applauded the move, which overturns a 1994 policy preventing women from serving in small front-line combat units.

Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in the Iraq war, also hailed the change.

"America's daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons. Lifting the ban on women in combat is good for our nation," Ms Duckworth tweeted.

Objections were few. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, called the move "another social experiment" that will place unnecessary burdens on military commanders.

"While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast moving and deadly situations," said Mr Boykin, a retired Army lieutenant general.

He noted that small units are often in sustained combat for extended periods of time under primal living conditions with no privacy.

Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, questioned the extent to which women would ultimately gain access to front-line combat, saying he doubted there would be a "broad opening".

Women have represented around 2 per cent of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and about 12 per cent - or 300,000 - of those deployed in the war efforts in the past 11 years.

Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and head of the Service Women's Action Network, said her decision to leave the Marine Corps in 2004 was partly due to the combat exclusion policy.

"I know countless women whose careers have been stunted by combat exclusion in all the branches,", said Ms Bhagwati, who called the decision an "historic moment".

* With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse and Associated Press

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.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Match info

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Real Madrid 1 (Ramos 73' pen)

The winners

Fiction

  • ‘Amreekiya’  by Lena Mahmoud
  •  ‘As Good As True’ by Cheryl Reid

The Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award

  • ‘Syrian and Lebanese Patricios in Sao Paulo’ by Oswaldo Truzzi;  translated by Ramon J Stern
  • ‘The Sound of Listening’ by Philip Metres

The George Ellenbogen Poetry Award

  • ‘Footnotes in the Order  of Disappearance’ by Fady Joudah

Children/Young Adult

  •  ‘I’ve Loved You Since Forever’ by Hoda Kotb 
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Starfield

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Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

Company profile

Company name: Outsized
Started: 2016
Founders: Azeem Zainulbhai, Niclas Thelander, Anurag Bhalla and Johann van Niekerk
Based: India, South Africa, South-East Asia, Mena
Sector: Recruitment
Investment raised: $1 million
Current staff count: 40
Investors: Seed and angel investors

What is a robo-adviser?

Robo-advisers use an online sign-up process to gauge an investor’s risk tolerance by feeding information such as their age, income, saving goals and investment history into an algorithm, which then assigns them an investment portfolio, ranging from more conservative to higher risk ones.

These portfolios are made up of exchange traded funds (ETFs) with exposure to indices such as US and global equities, fixed-income products like bonds, though exposure to real estate, commodity ETFs or gold is also possible.

Investing in ETFs allows robo-advisers to offer fees far lower than traditional investments, such as actively managed mutual funds bought through a bank or broker. Investors can buy ETFs directly via a brokerage, but with robo-advisers they benefit from investment portfolios matched to their risk tolerance as well as being user friendly.

Many robo-advisers charge what are called wrap fees, meaning there are no additional fees such as subscription or withdrawal fees, success fees or fees for rebalancing.

Match info

Uefa Champions League Group F

Manchester City v Hoffenheim, midnight (Wednesday, UAE)

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Results

United States beat UAE by three wickets

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UAE v Scotland – no result

United States beat UAE by 98 runs

Scotland beat United States by four wickets

Fixtures

Sunday, 10am, ICC Academy, Dubai - UAE v Scotland

Admission is free

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

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

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UAE set for Scotland series

The UAE will host Scotland for a three-match T20I series at the Dubai International Stadium next month.
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That series will be followed by a bilateral T20 series on March 11, 13 and 14.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft Toronto
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows
​​​​​​​Release Date: April 10

One in four Americans don't plan to retire

Nearly a quarter of Americans say they never plan to retire, according to a poll that suggests a disconnection between individuals' retirement plans and the realities of ageing in the workforce.

Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they'd like.

According to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research, 23 per cent of workers, including nearly two in 10 of those over 50, don't expect to stop working. Roughly another quarter of Americans say they will continue working beyond their 65th birthday.

According to government data, about one in five people 65 and older was working or actively looking for a job in June. The study surveyed 1,423 adults in February this year.

For many, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working.

"The average retirement age that we see in the data has gone up a little bit, but it hasn't gone up that much," says Anqi Chen, assistant director of savings research at the Centre for Retirement Research at Boston College. "So people have to live in retirement much longer, and they may not have enough assets to support themselves in retirement."

When asked how financially comfortable they feel about retirement, 14 per cent of Americans under the age of 50 and 29 per cent over 50 say they feel extremely or very prepared, according to the poll. About another four in 10 older adults say they do feel somewhat prepared, while just about one-third feel unprepared. 

"One of the things about thinking about never retiring is that you didn't save a whole lot of money," says Ronni Bennett, 78, who was pushed out of her job as a New York City-based website editor at 63.

She searched for work in the immediate aftermath of her layoff, a process she describes as akin to "banging my head against a wall." Finding Manhattan too expensive without a steady stream of income, she eventually moved to Portland, Maine. A few years later, she moved again, to Lake Oswego, Oregon. "Sometimes I fantasise that if I win the lottery, I'd go back to New York," says Ms Bennett.

 

The specs

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Power: 1,000bhp
Torque: 15,600Nm
Range: 530km
Price: Dh500,000+ est
On sale: early 2023

The Way It Was: My Life with Frank Sinatra by Eliot Weisman and Jennifer Valoppi
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Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
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Number of employees: 8

Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier

ICC Academy, November 22-28

UAE fixtures
Nov 22, v Malaysia
Nov 23, v Hong Kong
Nov 25, v Bhutan
Nov 26, v Kuwait
Nov 28, v Nepal

ICC T20I rankings
14. Nepal
17. UAE
25. Hong Kong
34. Kuwait
35. Malaysia
44. Bhutan

UAE squad
Chaya Mughal (captain), Natasha Cherriath, Samaira Dharnidharka, Kavisha Egodage, Mahika Gaur, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Vaishnave Mahesh, Judit Peter, Esha Rohit, Theertha Satish, Chamani Seneviratne, Khushi Sharma, Subha Venkataraman

BLACKBERRY

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Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson

Rating: 4/5

WHAT START-UPS IS VISA SEEKING?

Enablers of digital services
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SME recovery
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New categories for 2023
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Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
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Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


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