9 dead, 164 injured in a massive earthquake which hit China’s Sichuan province
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9 dead, 164 injured in a massive earthquake which hit China’s Sichuan province

At least nine people were killed and 164 other injured after a 7-magnitude earthquake jolted a remote but popular tourist destination in China's southwest last night, the state media reported today. The quake has left nine people dead and 164 others injured. Five among the dead were visitors to the popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou national park, Xinhua news agency said citing a China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) statement. The massive earthquake struck at 9:19 PM (local time) yesterday and the epicenter was monitored at a depth of 20 km, it said. Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. More than 34,000 people visited the tourist attraction yesterday. So far, 31,500 tourists have been relocated to safe places. The local government has organised tourist coaches and private-owned vehicles to rush to the affected areas to help transport the stranded tourists. Power, communication and water supply in the county seat have basically recovered. So far, the Jiuzhaigou County has dispatched more than 90 emergency vehicles and 1,200 personnel to participate in the rescue work. The county also sent consultants to hotels, rural inns and streets to offer possible counselling service for tourists. The quake was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu, about 300 km south of the epicentre, and other regions in the neighbouring provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi, the Xinhua report said. President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organise relief work and rescue the injured people. Authorities should check the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce death and injuries as much as possible, Xi said. As the earthquake took place during the flood period and tourism season, authorities should enhance meteorological early warning and geological monitoring to guard against other disasters and try their best to protect people's lives and property, he added. Premier Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to go all out in relief and monitoring work. China's cabinet, the State Council, has sent a national work team to the disaster-hit area to guide relief work. Local governments have also activated top-level emergency response procedures. Sichuan is a quake-prone region. In May 2008, an 8.0- magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan and killed more than 80,000 people. In 2013, a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, in which 196 people were killed.
0 0 402 09 August, 2017 Asia, life more
Tourist mistakes Municipality office for shopping mall in Dubai
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Tourist mistakes Municipality office for shopping mall in Dubai

Remember the time when a tourist wanted to book a hotel and approached a Dubai Police station? Well another tourist story has occurred in Dubai, this time in Dubai Municipality. A French man and his wife who were tourists in the city entered Al Kifaf Centre near Zabeel Park belieiving it to be a mall. It does say Centre out front which is the common name for several malls in the UAE (hint: City Centres). The couple were looking to have lunch after spending time around Zabeel Park and with Dubai Municipality's building looking every bit of fancy - it's hard not to think it is a shopping mall. The duo, however, was left surprised when officials inside the building kindly told them that it was a Municipality office and not a mall. DM's caption on Instagram attributed the misconception with their '7-star service in terms of cleanliness and high quality standards.' This harkens back to an event last month where a tourist mistook Al Muraqqabat Police Station for a hotel. He wanted to book two rooms for a month when a cop has politely told him: "Sorry sir, this is not a hotel; this is a police station," to the surprise of the man.  
0 0 507 03 August, 2017 GCC, Travel more
Dubai Tourism : Record number of Indians visited Dubai in first half of 2017
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Dubai Tourism : Record number of Indians visited Dubai in first half of 2017

The number of Indians visiting Dubai has hit a new high with the Emirate saying that "India continued to top the list of traffic generators". Indian visitors to Dubai for the first time crossed the 10-lakh mark in the last six months (January June), up 21% over the same period last year. "A record total of 80.6 lakh international overnight tourists arrived in Dubai during the first six months of 2017, reflecting a 10.6% increase over the same period last year," says a statement by Dubai Tourism. "Almost all of Dubai's top 20 inbound visitor source markets saw positive or near stable year-on-year performances in first half of 2017, with five of the top 10 delivering standout double-digit growth. India continued to top the list of traffic generators.... Saudi Arabia and the UK retained their spots as the second and third largest feeder markets respectively," it added.
Dubai Tourism DG Helal Saeed Almarri said: "We are extremely pleased that Dubai has sustained the momentum of growth we achieved in the first quarter to deliver a strong double-digit performance through H1 2017... our goal now is to ensure that the city builds on this positive trajectory through not just the remainder of 2017 but also further, to get us closer to our Tourism Vision 2020 target of 2 crore annual tourist arrivals."
0 0 777 03 August, 2017 Business Top, GCC, Travel more
Japan’s top three shippers to merge container operations
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Japan’s top three shippers to merge container operations

Tokyo: Japan's top three shippers on Monday said they will integrate their container shipping operations to create the world's sixth-largest player, joining a growing trend of consolidation in an industry battling its worst-ever downturn. Overcapacity and anaemic economic growth globally have left hundreds of ships idle in the industry's worst slump since its birth in the 1950s and 1960s, which culminated in the collapse in August of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd. Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd said they would form a joint venture that they expect to create annual cost benefits of about 110 billion yen ($1.05 billion). "The aim of becoming one this time is so none of us become zero," said Tadaaki Naito, the president of Nippon Yusen, at a joint news conference in Tokyo. Container shipping has seen a wave of mergers and acquisitions as companies try to grab a bigger share of a depressed market. "This merger ... is a response to consolidation in Europe that is creating mega carriers. It is necessary to stay competitive," said Eizo Murakai, Kawasaki Kisen's president. The Japanese joint venture, to be owned 38 percent by Nippon Yusen and 31 percent each by Mitsui OSK and Kawasaki Kisen, will be formed on July 1, 2017 and begin operations in April 2018, they said in a joint statement. Shares in the companies - whose combined fleet of over 2,000 vessels includes tankers, dry-cargo carriers and container ships - jumped almost 10 percent. Nippon Yusen rose as much as 9.9 percent, Mitsui OSK by 9.2 percent and Kawasaki Kisen as much as 8.5 percent.
0 0 688 31 October, 2016 Asia, Business Special, Region more
DFM records net profit of Dh175m for nine months of 2016
Posted by on 31 October

DFM records net profit of Dh175m for nine months of 2016

Dubai: Dubai Financial Market said on Sunday its net profit for nine months to September fell 29 per cent to Dh175 million as revenues fell. Total revenues fell 19 per cent to Dh308.1 million during the nine months period ended September 30, 2016, compared to Dh381.8 million during the corresponding period of 2015. The revenue comprised Dh248.6 million of operating income and Dh59.5 million of investment returns. Net profit in the third quarter of 2016 reached Dh35.4 million, compared to Dh45.4 million in the third quarter of 2015. “During the first nine months of 2016, trading activity slowed down due to the unfavourable circumstances associated with the global economy, which are completely isolated from our strong economy. These circumstances have affected the international markets in general,” Eisa Kazim, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market (PJSC), said in a statement. The total value of trading on DFM decreased by 31 per cent to Dh91.2 billion during the first nine months of this year compared to Dh132 billion in the same period last year. The daily average of trading value fell 30 per cent to Dh488 million compared to Dh698.4 million during the same period of 2015. During the third quarter of this year, trading value decreased 24 per cent to Dh21.7 billion compared to Dh28.5 billion in the same period of 2015. Trading commission is the main revenue stream for DFM Company. The DFM General Index has been the best performing among stock markets in the GCC region and came fourth among the leading indices globally, advancing 10.3 per cent during the first nine months of the year. Meanwhile, foreign investors’ ownership on the market has increased from 17 per cent at the end of September 2015 to 22.2 per cent at the end of September 2016, in a strong indication of their confidence in the market and its world class infrastructure and regulations. It is noteworthy that the DFM successfully attracted 2,627 new investors during the first nine months of 2016 including 418 institutions, lifting the total number of DFM-registered investors to approximately 839,000.  
0 0 526 31 October, 2016 GCC, Region more
Qualcomm to buy NXP for $38 billion in biggest chip deal
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Qualcomm to buy NXP for $38 billion in biggest chip deal

California: Smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm Inc agreed to buy NXP Semiconductors NV for about $38 billion in the biggest-ever deal in the semiconductor industry, making it the leading supplier to the fast-growing automotive chips market. The acquisition will also help Qualcomm, which provides chips to Android smartphone makers and Apple Inc, reduce its dependence on a cooling smartphone market. With the deal, Qualcomm is taking a big bet on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which enables everyday objects such as fridges and cars to communicate with each other. "The pace of innovation in automobile and IoT will increase dramatically and I think we look at it as a tremendous opportunity," Qualcomm chief executive Steven Mollenkopf said on a conference call. By 2020, some 21 billion IoT devices will be in use worldwide, up from fewer than 5 billion last year, research firm Gartner has estimated. Qualcomm sat out the transformative consolidation that has swept the chip industry recently. The deal announced on Thursday tops Avago's $37 billion acquisition of Broadcom last year. The equity value of Qualcomm's offer is $37.88 billion, according to Reuters calculations based on the company's fully diluted shares as of October 2. Including debt, the deal is worth roughly $47 billion.
0 0 501 28 October, 2016 America, Business Special, Region more
AT&T agrees to buy Time Warner for $85 billion
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AT&T agrees to buy Time Warner for $85 billion

Dallas (Texas): AT&T Inc has reached an agreement in principle to buy Time Warner Inc for about $85 billion, sources said on Friday, paving the way for a blockbuster deal that would give the telecom company control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros and other coveted media assets. The deal, which has been agreed on most terms and could be announced as early as Sunday, would be one of the largest in recent years in the sector as telecommunications companies look to combine content and distribution to capture customers replacing traditional pay-TV packages with more streamlined offerings and online delivery. AT&T, which sells wireless phone and broadband services, has already made moves to turn itself into a media powerhouse, buying satellite TV provider DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion. It also in 2014 entered a joint venture, Otter Media, with the Chernin Group to invest in media businesses, and has rolled out video streaming services. AT&T will pay $110 per Time Warner share, or about $85 billion overall, sources told Reuters. That would make it the biggest deal in the world this year. Time Warner is a major force in movies, TV and other areas, with HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, the CW network, New Line Cinema, DC Comics, Castle Rock Entertainment and other assets. An agreement between Dallas-based AT&T and New York-based Time Warner could be announced as early as on Monday, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential.
0 0 639 22 October, 2016 America, Business Top, Region more
Dubai ranked smartest city in the Gulf
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Dubai ranked smartest city in the Gulf

Dubai: Dubai's efforts to become smart city in the word help rank the emirate top in a Smart City Index that studies 10 Gulf cities' strategy and execution of smart city campaigns. Dubai stood out for its strategic vision coupled with a clear understanding of the practical requirements to deliver on its vision, in a study released by Huawei and Navigant. The study was undertaken by global research firm Navigant and commissioned by Huawei with the aim of understanding the level of readiness of cities in the region for the next level of smart city adoption and deployment. Safder Nazir, vice-president of Smart Cities & IoT, Huawei, Middle East said: "As countries in the Gulf are increasingly diversifying their economies away from fossil fuels, they are also coping with the need for rapid digitalisation in business and government. The Smart Dubai roadmap has targeted the delivery of 1,000 services by 2017 across 100 initiatives. As of September 2016, it had documented more than 500 current and planned smart services and initiatives, of which 150 have been completed. With innovative programs such as Dubai Data Initiative for data sharing and data analytics, smart mobility solutions for traffic control, a smarter grid program for better management of power and water consumption, smart health services, smart police force and other mobile-enabled e-Government services, the city is a leading example of how smart city strategies need to evolve and be refreshed to maintain focus and momentum. Most recently, Dubai announced founding partners in a Dh1 billion Dubai Future Accelerators program that will fund the testing and development of next-generation technology and businesses. The emirate has quickly understood the value of becoming a smart city. Between 2003-2015 it saved Dh4.3 billion due to the adoption of smart technology in government services, according to Smart Dubai Government. Public-private partnerships between Silicon Valley tech firms and governments are driving best practices in Smart City cybersecurity standards, with a major market in the Middle East. As more public and private sector organisations, industrial systems, and billions of mobile devices are connected to the Internet, securing Smart Cities has never seen greater urgency. Nearly half, 45 per cent, of Middle East, Turkey, and Africa organisations reported cyber-security incidents in first quarter 2016, according to Russian-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. As a result, the Middle East cybersecurity market will reach about $10 billion by 2019, double the $5 billion size in 2014, according to research firm Markets and Markets. Gulf governments are investing in Smart City projects, across Dubai, Masdar City, and Sharjah in the UAE, the four Economic Cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Lusail City in Qatar. The study profiled seventeen cities and developed an index of ten cities categorising each of the ten as Leader, Contender, Challenger or Follower. The in-depth analysis of each cities initiatives as well as lessons to be learnt from the early adopters has been published in a whitepaper.  
0 0 476 16 October, 2016 GCC, Region more
Saudi Arabia, SoftBank plan $100 billion tech fund
Posted by on 15 October

Saudi Arabia, SoftBank plan $100 billion tech fund

Tokyo: Japanese telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Group Corp. is setting up a $25 billion private fund for technology investments with the potential to grow to $100 billion. The Tokyo-based company, the first carrier in this country to offer the Apple iPhone, said Friday the “SoftBank Vision Fund” is for global investments into the technology sector to accelerate SoftBank’s growth. SoftBank said it signed an agreement with a fund run by the government of Saudi Arabia and other investors, so the amount of money committed could grow. An aggressive overseas investor, SoftBank owns the U.S. wireless company Sprint Corp. and Britain’s ARM Holdings. ARM is known as an innovator in the “internet of things,” and in technology used in smartphones. “Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector,” Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said in a statement. “We will further accelerate the Information Revolution by contributing to its development.” SoftBank also sells the Pepper human-shaped companion robot for homes and businesses, and runs a solar energy business in Japan, highlighting a critical stance against nuclear energy that is growing here after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. It also has within its investment empire financial technology and ride-booking services. It is highly unusual among usually conservative Japanese companies for eyeing global expansion and trying to pioneer the digital age since its founding in 1981. It has invested in China and India, as well as the U.S.  
0 0 424 15 October, 2016 GCC, Region more
QNB Q3 net profit up 10.2%
Posted by on 11 October

QNB Q3 net profit up 10.2%

Doha: Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf’s largest lender, reported a 10.2 per cent increase in third-quarter net profit, according to Reuters calculations, broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts. The bank reported a net profit of 3.45 billion riyals ($947.5 million) in the three months to September 30, compared with 3.13 billion riyals in the corresponding period of 2015, Reuters calculations showed, using financial statements in lieu of a quarterly earnings breakdown. Three analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast QNB would make a quarterly net profit of 3.26 billion riyals.
0 0 404 11 October, 2016 GCC, Region more