Water breaks over the I-wall along the industrial canal as Hurricane Gustav arrives in New Orleans, La., Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) *** Local Caption ***  LAEG101_Gustav_New_Orleans.jpg
Water breaks over a canal wall as Hurricane Gustav batters New Orleans yesterday.

Gustav hits New Orleans



Hurricane Gustav slammed into the US Gulf Coast today, driving a surge of water to the top of the levees protecting New Orleans, officials said. The storm arrived almost exactly three years after the low-lying city was catastrophically swamped by Katrina. New Orleans was again under threat of flooding as water crashed over the lip of the earth levee protecting its Upper Ninth Ward. Shortly before 10am (7pm UAE) the eye of the massive storm crossed land just west-south-west of Cocodrie, Louisiana, 110km south-west of New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said. "The storm is weakening, but it is slowing. That is bad news," meteorologist Jody James said. The region faces "several more hours of rain" and "serious flooding" is possible, he said. Asked if Gustav could be as bad as Katrina, Mr James said: "It's a little early to say. Katrina was a Category Four downgraded to three just before landfall. Gustav is a little bit weaker." The expert added: "We are watching the levees." Two boats and a barge had broken free in the Industrial Canal, triggering fears that the vessels may crash through the waterway's wall in a repeat of what happened during Katrina in 2005, but media reported the barges had been secured by the US Coast Guard. Oil production in the Gulf region was shut down while the Republican Party suspended the start of its election convention. President George W Bush headed for Texas to monitor emergency preparations for Gustav, which has killed more than 80 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. As the storm raged ashore, water was nearly to the top of the Industrial Canal lining the city's Ninth Ward neighbourhood. Wind-whipped waves sprayed over the canal wall, a portion of which gave way during Katrina, destroying the district. "We are concerned about any of this overtopping," said Major Tim Kurgan of the Army Corps of Engineers. "These walls are all safe to the top," he stressed, with the levees still undergoing a US$15 billion rebuilding programme after Katrina's enormous damage. But a surge of water driven by Gustav had yet to hit the coast, and would almost certainly send water flooding over the wall protecting the Ninth Ward, officials warned. The New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, who has ordered a curfew and vowed to throw looters into prison, told local television the city had become a "ghost town" after a mandatory evacuation forced nearly two million people to flee. "We don't want to get caught up in the Katrina craziness," Wilson Patterson, 48, said as he prepared to board a bus with wheelchair-bound Earline Martin, 84. Only about 10,000 residents remained, Mr Nagin said, as residents reported tornado sightings in the area around New Orleans. At 10am local time the eye of the storm was pummelling the marshy Mississippi river delta coastline with winds of up to 175kph, the National Hurricane Center said, while its tempestuous outer edges were already stretching far into Louisiana. Gustav weakened to a Category 2 storm as it neared colder coastal waters, but government forecasters warned of an "extremely dangerous" water surge of up to 14 feet (4.2 meters), enough to worry locals after Hurricane Katrina burst New Orleans' levees in 2005 and flooded the city for days. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told reporters there were unconfirmed reports that three critically ill patients died while being transported to safer ground. Doctors "had to weigh the risk between sheltering in place and evacuating and made the decision they thought was best for their patients," he said. Louisiana officials said there were about 750 National Guard troops in New Orleans if a new rescue operation was needed, with memories still fresh of the destruction wrought by Katrina and the government's botched response. Katrina made landfall near New Orleans on August 29, 2005, smashing poorly built levees surrounding the city and causing massive floods that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and killed nearly 1,800. The US president George W Bush traveled to Austin, Texas early today to assess the government response. *AFP

MOTHER OF STRANGERS

Author: Suad Amiry
Publisher: Pantheon

Pages: 304
Available: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Australia World Cup squad

Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Dooda Solutions
Based: Lebanon
Founder: Nada Ghanem
Sector: AgriTech
Total funding: $300,000 in equity-free funding
Number of employees: 11

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

The Continental: From the World of John Wick

Created by: Greg Coolidge, Shawn Simmons, Kirk Ward
Stars: Mel Gibson, Colin Woodell, Mishel Prada
Rating: 3/5

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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

ANATOMY OF A FALL

Director: Justine Triet

Starring: Sandra Huller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado-Graner

Rating: 5/5

Dunki

Director: Rajkumar Hirani 

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover

Rating: 4/5

Who are the Soroptimists?

The first Soroptimists club was founded in Oakland, California in 1921. The name comes from the Latin word soror which means sister, combined with optima, meaning the best.

The organisation said its name is best interpreted as ‘the best for women’.

Since then the group has grown exponentially around the world and is officially affiliated with the United Nations. The organisation also counts Queen Mathilde of Belgium among its ranks.

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

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
Torque: 830Nm
Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
Price: From Dh552,311; Dh660,408 (as tested)
On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

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 

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

Feeding the thousands for iftar

Six industrial scale vats of 500litres each are used to cook the kanji or broth 

Each vat contains kanji or porridge to feed 1,000 people

The rice porridge is poured into a 500ml plastic box

350 plastic tubs are placed in one container trolley

Each aluminium container trolley weighing 300kg is unloaded by a small crane fitted on a truck

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

Director: Nag Ashwin

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

Rating: ★★★★

The specs

Engine: 8.0-litre, quad-turbo 16-cylinder

Transmission: 7-speed auto

0-100kmh 2.3 seconds

0-200kmh 5.5 seconds

0-300kmh 11.6 seconds

Power: 1500hp

Torque: 1600Nm

Price: Dh13,400,000

On sale: now

RIDE ON

Director: Larry Yang

Stars: Jackie Chan, Liu Haocun, Kevin Guo

Rating: 2/5

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”


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