(FILES) This file photo taken on August 30, 2017 shows United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein delivering speech during a press conference on a report on Venezuela at the UN Offices in Geneva. 
The UN rights chief said on December 18, 2017 that far-right tilt of Austria's new coalition government marked a "dangerous development", and cautioned against "the peddling of fear" in European politics. "I am very worried," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told AFP in an interview, cautioning that the new Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's decision to take hard-right positions on things like immigration to win support marked "a dangerous development... in the political life of Europe." / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said he will not run for a second term. AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI

UN human rights boss to step down amid bleak climate for advocacy



Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said he will not run for a second term amid concerns that the global retreat from human rights makes his position untenable.

Mr Al Hussein, a Jordanian prince who previously served as ambassador to the United States and United Nations, announced his plan in an end-of-year email to his staff. His term comes to an end next summer.

“Next year will be the last of my mandate,” Mr Al Hussein wrote, in the email which was seen by the website ForeignPolicy.com.

“After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term. To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice – which is your voice.”

The letter painted a bleak picture of the state of human rights one year after President Donald Trump was elected on a platform that relegated the importance of human rights in American foreign policy, and proposed the reintroduction of torture. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson further indicated the shift in policy three months into his tenure, when he said the US should be careful not to let values like human rights create "obstacles" to the pursuit of its interests.

Mr Al Hussein has been particularly critical of Mr Trump’s ban on travel to the US from some Muslim-majority countries, denouncing it as “mean-spirited” and illegal under international human rights law.

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He continued to criticise the Trump administration throughout the year for its handling of a series of human rights issues, including its attacks on journalists and the judiciary.

“Greater and more consistent leadership is needed to address the recent surge in discrimination… against ethnic and religious minorities,” he told a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva in March.

Other world powers from China to Europe have also been accused by advocates of back-peddling from their historical commitment to human rights, amid increasingly tough restrictions on migrants.

However, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been more restrained in speaking out against human rights abuses by world powers, opting instead to work behind the scenes with governments such as the US to defuse conflicts.

Mr Guterres also urged Mr Al Hussein to rein back his attacks on Mr Trump, amid concerns it could alienate the US from the UN.

“It has been an arduous year for many of us,” Mr Al Hussein reflected in his email.

He said his final months on the job would be dedicated to promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the document that underpins the UN’s role in championing human rights, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2018.

He characterised that campaign as one of “mobilisation and defiance, pushing back the many trends across the world that seem to negate and deny the value of human rights”.

“There are many months ahead of us: months of struggle, perhaps, and even grief — because although the past year has been arduous for us, it has been appalling for many of the people we serve,” he wrote.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

RESULTS

Dubai Kahayla Classic – Group 1 (PA) $750,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Deryan, Ioritz Mendizabal (jockey), Didier Guillemin (trainer).
Godolphin Mile – Group 2 (TB) $750,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Secret Ambition, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar
Dubai Gold Cup – Group 2 (TB) $750,000 (Turf) 3,200m
Winner: Subjectivist, Joe Fanning, Mark Johnston
Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1 (TB) $1million (T) 1,200m
Winner: Extravagant Kid, Ryan Moore, Brendan Walsh
UAE Derby – Group 2 (TB) $750,000 (D) 1,900m
Winner: Rebel’s Romance, William Buick, Charlie Appleby
Dubai Golden Shaheen – Group 1 (TB) $1.5million (D) 1,200m
Winner: Zenden, Antonio Fresu, Carlos David
Dubai Turf – Group 1 (TB) $4million (T) 1,800m
Winner: Lord North, Frankie Dettori, John Gosden
Dubai Sheema Classic – Group 1 (TB) $5million (T) 2,410m
Winner: Mishriff, John Egan, John Gosden

Turkish Ladies

Various artists, Sony Music Turkey 

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.

T10 Cricket League
Sharjah Cricket Stadium
December 14- 17
6pm, Opening ceremony, followed by:
Bengal Tigers v Kerala Kings 
Maratha Arabians v Pakhtoons
Tickets available online at q-tickets.com/t10

GULF MEN'S LEAGUE

Pool A Dubai Hurricanes, Bahrain, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Tigers 2

Pool B Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Jebel Ali Dragons, Dubai Knights Eagles, Dubai Tigers

 

Opening fixtures

Thursday, December 5

6.40pm, Pitch 8, Abu Dhabi Harlequins v Dubai Knights Eagles

7pm, Pitch 2, Jebel Ali Dragons v Dubai Tigers

7pm, Pitch 4, Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Exiles

7pm, Pitch 5, Bahrain v Dubai Eagles 2

 

Recent winners

2018 Dubai Hurricanes

2017 Dubai Exiles

2016 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

2015 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

2014 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

'Champions'

Director: Manuel Calvo
Stars: Yassir Al Saggaf and Fatima Al Banawi
Rating: 2/5
 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round

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)

Results

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (Dirt) 1,600m; Winner: RB Kings Bay, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

7.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: AF Ensito, Fernando Jara, Mohamed Daggash

8pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m; Winner: AF Sourouh, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

8.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,800m; Winner: Baaher, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

9pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 2,000m; Winner: Mootahady, Antonio Fresu, Eric Lemartinel

9.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 (D) 2,000m; Winner: Dubai Canal, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

10pm: Al Ain Cup – Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 (D) 2,000m; Winner: Harrab, Bernardo Pinheiro, Majed Al Jahouri