The reason why Qatar is out in the cold

The row between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar continues. I doubt that the Gulf countries and Egypt expected it to go on for so long. But Qatar is holding out. I said the row would have been over something other than terrorism since all countries in the region can be accused of that. I thought it would be for commercial reasons that the row had erupted, such as Emirates Airlines versus Qatar Airways, which are competing on similar routes. Anyway, according to the Daily Mail UK, the row is over the fact that Qatar refused to hand over the wife of a UAE opposition leader (not that I knew there was one) who had fled to Britain.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5263901/Qatar-crisis-began-did-not-hand-wanted-wife.html

Qatar's fallout with its neighbours was sparked 'when they refused to hand over the wife of an Emirates opposition leader after he fled to Britain'

Qatar says the pair fled the UAE in 2013 to escape political arrestsThe woman's activist husband was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK But when she tried to renew her passport at the UAE embassy in Qatar, her application was refused and a demand was made for her extraditionQatar's refusal to comply with the UAE request led to a rise in its social media attacks on Doha,  Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said

By Anthony Harwood For Mailonline

Published: 05:39 AEDT, 13 January 2018 | Updated: 06:35 AEDT, 13 January 2018

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Saudis watch Iran protests intently

The political machinations between Saudi Arabia and Iran go on and on. Both countries are vying for dominance in the region. Iran is helping Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Assad regime in Syria. Saudi Arabia is trying to wrest control from the Houthi rebels (who are mostly Shi’ite) and have been unwilling to let aid through, which has led to a famine of mega-proportions. As the article below states: “Yemen soon will be the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis in 50 years’ if the war continues."

Bruce Riedel January 8, 2018

While Saudi Arabia's economy is suffering due to low oil prices and discontent at home grows, the kingdom is following the protests in Iran with great interest, hoping national issues will distract from Iran's regional advances.

Saudi Arabia is following the unrest in Iran with intense interest, hoping it will force its regional rival to turn inward. The Saudis have little capacity to influence Iranian domestic developments, however, and share many of the same problems as Tehran. The Iranian question is unlikely to help resolve Riyadh’s biggest foreign policy challenge: the expensive quagmire in Yemen that is only getting worse. 

Since the start of the protests Dec. 28 in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest and holies city, the state-controlled media in Saudi Arabia has followed the protests closely. The protesters' call for Iran to spend more money at home and less on foreign adventures in Syria, the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Yemen especially has gotten much attention in Saudi media outlets. The Saudis have been fighting to combat Iranian advances in all these states for years with little success, so they hope that domestic unrest will constrain Iran, especially the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Saudi media has expressed concern about the sustainability of the unrest. Media articles in the country featured CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s public estimate that the unrest is likely to continue because of the weakness of the Iranian economy. At least one Saudi commentator has expressed concern that the unrest not produce another failed state in the region, which would create too much turmoil. Better to have enough disruption to keep the Iranians focused internally.

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Media ethics under the spotlight

This article talks about the findings of a survey carried out by the Centre for International Media Ethics (CIME), of which I am a member. It it is an enlightening read.Happy New Year!!!

We at CIME are pleased to share with you the results from the Media Ethics in the Post-Truth Era survey. The aim of the survey was to learn from our colleagues and associates about the state of media ethics in relation to the growing concerns and challenges that fake news presents in your respective countries. Overall, we hope that the results of the survey offer us all, as journalists and media practitioners, an opportunity to reflect on 2017, and think more collectively about the work that we do going forward into 2018.Survey Results   Before we begin, we would like to point out that while we got responses from across Africa, the Americas, Central and South Asia, Europe and Oceania, we did not get any responses from South-East Asia (ASEAN) or China. At CIME we aim to reach as many respondents as possible, but given people's commitments this is not always possible. Nevertheless, globally it was clear that there has been a staggering increase in sensationalist and fake news. In fact, 90% of you had witnessed this in your work, as seen in the first graph below. While we are aware that this is not new, nor unique to 2017 only, as seen by the continuous discussions and debates over Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 'fake news' has a significant potential for manipulating and influencing public opinions.   Q2. Have you witnessed an increase in sensationalist and fake news in local/national media in the country you live/work in?  When asked about whether your government is protecting media ethics against these emerging trends in fake news and media manipulation, not one said excellent, and a total of 51% said between poor and very poor. Q8. How would you rank the country in which you live/work in regards to the government protecting media ethics?  To emphasis these numbers, many of you shared some of the 'fake news' stories in your home countries, which ranged from the death of Robert Mugabe, matters pertaining to Catalan's Independence Process, the North Korean missile program to Muslims seemingly killing Hindus in India. All of which can flare unnecessary and unwanted conflicts as well as matters of fear mongering and invoking hatred. Such stories often create an image or argument that favours a particular interests without taking into consideration the basic principles of ethical journalism and news reporting which is endangering this profession.   Some of you also mentioned how these stories which are shared via new sources of information such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, "purport to be news [without] sourcing, research and diligence done by traditional media." While there are many social media platforms, which publish information unprofessionally, many traditional media outlets and national broadcasters also operate unethically. As was mentioned in one comment, in countries like Brazil, the dissemination of misinformation through traditional media sources "has been always sensationalist". Therefore, this is not a matter of "new" verses "traditional", but complete media ecosystem matter.   A follow up concern to this, was whether or not there has been an increase in media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites.   Q3. Have you witnessed an increase in the media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites in the country you live/work in?   Again, a large majority (82.9%) agreed that there has been an increase. While many media outlets and broadcasters can openly criticize their presidents and corporate elites (those who have a large stake in a particular country), many of you continue to have a strong state media presence, which supports the state's agenda.   What was more interesting, were comments made about how some governments who want to be seen as having a free and fair media are using alternative methods to indirectly propagate their messages and information through trolls. For example, it was raised in one of the comments that a number of private and/or online media outlets "who write under false names" are paid by politicians, ruling parties and corporate elites to write stories to champion their character and public reputation. This question also flared another issue, the relationship between political parties and corporate elites. Two great examples of this that were shared were the on-going controversy over the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma in South Africa which has been labelled as 'Guptagate' and the power held by Globo Media in Brazil. Noam Chomsky's observations about propaganda and corporate media are useful reminders about what Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004) defined as 'political parallelism' in both these cases.   Q4. Have any efforts been made by media outlets in the country you currently live/work in to invest in quality information and to combat hatred, racism and intolerance? Nevertheless, 62.7% of you stated that efforts have been made by media outlets to invest in quality information to combat hatred, racism and intolerance; either through "firing particular journalists" who are not maintaining their professionalism, establishing "alternative quality news sources", "editorial-opinion pieces [that] demand responses from government and political leaders", state broadcasters working "in collaboration with organisations such as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)" and national newspapers "investing in fact checking teams whose role is to debunk fake news". Such examples should not go unnoticed and should be recognized for upholding media ethics and combating matters of unprofessionalism, unethical reporting and matters relating to political parallelism.   Following on from these responses, the three principles which you suggested require the most attention in your country were - The publics right to accurate and fair information (82.9%), The journalist's professional integrity (44.6%) and joint third The journalist's social responsibility and Respect for universal values and diversity of cultures (34%). Nevertheless, it was clear from the results that all areas require attention, which emphasises that more work needs to be done.   Q5. In your opinion, which three principles from the list below require the most attention in the country you currently live/work in? As for what were some of the main issues or current violations of ethical reporting that you as a journalist or media practitioner face in order to carry out your work; Fake news (58.3%), low pay (50%), Pressure to provide news that attracts the largest audience and Political or corporate spin (47.9%) were the top three. Clearly fake news threw the media into overdrive amidst continued financial challenges last year. Thus, who is responsibility for ensuring that fake or misleading information is not available to the public delivered a mixed response. However, the three answers that came up the most were, the Government, Journalists/Editors and Facebook. Nevertheless, some of you stated that it was everyone's responsibility.   "Everybody. Consumers need to learn to be more informed, social media platforms need to point out misleading claims, journalists need to be even more careful when covering news to be aware of pitfalls from those trying to make them look bad" This last quote tallies with question 9 which asked whether there are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, and whether the general public fact-check news sources? And the answer was 87.5% no.   Q9. There are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, but do you think the general public in the country you live/work in fact-check news sources?  Many of you suggested that "citizen engagement and media literacy [should] be carried out by civil society organizations" and/or "in schools" to educate young people and the general public more broadly. Other ideas included "awareness raising campaigns" as well as having "accountable regulatory bodies". And as fake news continues to expand, and professional journalism is threatened, the need for people to be able to question, analyse, evaluate and ethically create media messages will become a necessary basic need.   Lastly, and very importantly, we asked you, how many of you are affiliated with other media ethics organisations. Your responses revealed that 36.3% are affiliated with your National Union of Journalists as well as international bodies such as International Federation of Journalists (33.3%) and the International Center for Journalists (24.2%). The reason for asking this question, was based on the success of these networks in recent times to help protect media ethics and journalistic professionalism in the Post-Truth Era. For example, take the network of nearly 400 journalists who worked together to expose the financial practices of the global elite, which we all now know as the Paradise Papers. Speaking truth to power, confronting and challenging information amidst political and economic intimidation, fake news, and changing public opinions, makes the role of professional and ethical journalism all the more important. And while there maybe a long road ahead for us as journalists and media professionals to continue upholding media ethics and the role we play in society, it is evident from the Watergate and Guptagate' that we must continue to work both independently and collectively to build a strong and robust media ecosystem.   Therefore, we would like to again thank all of you who kindly participated in the survey. We cannot stress how important it is to learn from each other about the current status of media ethics in your respective countries. So please continue to carry out the good work that you do, and we from the CIME Team wish you a very happy and ethical 2018!!

Dubai: Year in Review 2017

I thought this was an interesting article talking about Dubai. Here is the article first published by Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm.

*This article is copyright of Oxford Business Group 2018. Published under permission by OBG www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com.

 

22 Dec 2017

Increased activity in trade, tourism and construction paved the way for another year of growth in Dubai, with momentum expected to continue through 2018 as the emirate’s preparations for Expo 2020 shift up a gear.  

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Has FDI fallen out of favour in New Zealand?

hThese articles recently appeared in FDI magazine.

Lucia Dore | 14/12/2017 12:02 pm |

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Asia-Pacific/New-Zealand/Has-FDI-fallen-out-of-favour-in-New-Zealand

Observers fear New Zealand’s historic openness to foreign investors could be a thing of the past under new prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with property speculation coming under increased scrutiny. Lucia Dore reports.

For the most part, New Zealand has had an open and welcoming attitude towards FDI over the years, and has recognised the positive contribution that foreign investors have made to the country. However, this may be about to change. 

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Has FDI fallen out of favour in New Zealand?

These articles recently appeared in FDI magazine.

Lucia Dore | 14/12/2017 12:02 pm |

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Asia-Pacific/New-Zealand/Has-FDI-fallen-out-of-favour-in-New-Zealand

Observers fear New Zealand’s historic openness to foreign investors could be a thing of the past under new prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with property speculation coming under increased scrutiny. Lucia Dore reports.

For the most part, New Zealand has had an open and welcoming attitude towards FDI over the years, and has recognised the positive contribution that foreign investors have made to the country. However, this may be about to change. 

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Top 10 UX Articles of 2017

Frequently, I have had to write predictions about different topics. Most recently, I had to write about Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East and then write predictions for M&A- mainly the countries that will see the biggest deals and the factors driving them. It's all a "stab in the dark" and if any of the predictions are true it's a bit of oil-fashioned good luck mixed with some knowledge.

Many of the predictions cross my desk and they are too numerous to mention. Most will not come to anything. I believe one of the exceptions to this, is the “Top 10 UX articles in 2017” list compiled by Jakob Nielsen based on the most hits an article has garnered. Here is the list.

 Top 10 UX Articles of 2017

The following articles published in 2017 were the ones our audience read the most:

Flat UI Elements Attract Less Attention and Cause Uncertainty Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers. In an eyetracking experiment comparing different kinds of clickability clues, UIs with weak signifiers required more user effort than strong ones.UX Research Cheat Sheet User research can be done at any point in the design cycle. This list of methods and activities can help you decide which to use when.UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet Empathy maps, customer journey maps, experience maps, and service blueprints depict different processes and have different goals, yet they all build common ground within an organization.Mega Menus Work Well for Site Navigation Large, rectangular menus group navigation options to eliminate scrolling and use typography, icons, and tooltips to explain users' choices.The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques Modal ads, ads that reorganize content, and autoplaying video ads were among the most disliked. Ads that are annoying on desktop become intolerable on mobile.Comparison Tables for Products, Services, and Features Use this versatile GUI tool to support users when they need to make a decision that involves considering multiple attributes of a small number of offerings. Consistency in content, scannability, and a simple layout are some of the most important qualities of successful comparison tables.Date-Input Form Fields: UX Design Guidelines Date-entry fields must be unambiguous and support task completion by using the right design pattern. Small design changes can prevent big user errors.Personas vs. Jobs-to-Be-Done Jobs-to-be-done focus on user problems and needs, while well-executed personas include the same information and also add behavioral and attitudinal details.Don’t Use Split Buttons for Navigation Menus Menu on hover, category landing page on click: we discuss challenges and solutions for replicating this pattern on touchscreens.Flat-Design Best Practices Flat designs often suffer from usability problems and cause click uncertainty because of lost signifiers. Avoid these negative side effects by consistently and clearly differentiating between clickable and unclickable elements.

Bonus Articles

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Saudi Arabia: Is a purge on corruption really the motive?

The corruption scandal in Saudi Arabia continues to run and run. While prominent Saudi princes and businessmen are arrested, Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, one of the richest men in the region said to be worth $16 billion, there are stories that they will give part of their holdings to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) who is calling the shots . Is this really a purge on corruption or a power grab?

 In some of the reports, US mercenaries, who provide protection for MBS, are reportedly holding the hostages. In another report, Americans are also being held in the round up.

This is the link.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5215505/Saudi-prince-detained American-businessmen-crackdown.html

This is the news story in the Daily Mail (UK).

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VAT to be imposed in Saudi and the UAE. What does it mean?

I'm curious to learn how the imposition of 5 per cent VAT from New Years' Day will affect the cost of living in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. I can't say I know what will happen in Saudi, since I have not lived there, but it won't be easy in Dubai. The governments have talked about introducing VAT for some years (Indeed, I wrote in July how the governments have been talking about introducing VAT for the past 10 years) but the fall in oil prices has meant that talk has now become reality.

 In Dubai, the cost of living is already expensive, especially rent and food. When it comes to utilities like electricity, the fee (bill) can vary widely from month-to-month and it doesn’t appear to be rooted in reality. When 5 per cent VAT is imposed, what will this mean for the actual bill? Of course, the higher the bill, the higher the VAT that will be imposed.

 I might be sceptical, but that sceptism is rooted in reality.

 I found this article about VAT, which does explain it all.

The value-added tax will apply to a range of items - including food and clothingDecision comes after collapse in oil prices 3 years ago caused fall in revenuesBut there will be some exemptions for likes of rent, medication and plane tickets

By ASSOCIATED PRESS and IAIN BURNS FOR MAILONLINE

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NZ Super Fund-Investment Environment Report-December 2017

In this 'Investment Environment Report' Mike Frith, Manager, Economics, explains the global investment environment and its implications for the NZ Super Fund.

Watch a short video of Mike Frith discussing the investment environment

Economic and market backdrop

Global growth is broad-based and appears robust across US, European, Japanese and emerging market economies. Forecasters expect this momentum to be sustained – the behaviour of central banks and US fiscal policy changes will have the biggest impacts through 2018. Investment markets have been characterised by a surplus of funds chasing financial asset returns. This glut in global liquidity has reduced interest rates, suppressed market volatility and pushed up the prices of financial assets. As a result, investors have observed actual returns well above our expectations across most asset classes.

How has the Fund performed?

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Best VPNs for Dubai and the UAE

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are popular, and big in places like Dubai. I lived there for some years and although a lot of my friends had one I never did. It was a mistake. I was tapped the whole time I was there, on my home landline anyway. A VPN would have prevented that. It would also have allowed me to use Skype, which the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had banned.

So if you live in the UAE you probably already know how popular VPNs are as a means to access blocked websites and apps including Skype and WhatsApp or to connect to US Netflix and other streaming services.

This article (see below) takes a look at the best VPNs for Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE. It runs through some common concerns about using a VPN in the UAE and tries to clear up some misconceptions around legal issues with VPN use

As Comperitech (ctechemail.com) points out- which is a UK registered company and hopes to be opening its first US office soon- VPNs are popular with tourists and expats because it helps them to access apps like WhatsApp and Skype as well as streamingservices such as BBC iplayer, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video., all of which are restricted by the TRA. (Arguably, that’s how the telephone companies, particularly Etisalat, make lots of money).

The Comparitech.com brand and website is owned and operated by Comparitech Limited.

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How social media affects decision making

Nowadays, social media affects all of us, in so many ways. It affects everything we do including our decision making and buying behaviour. This article from the Institute of Public Relations in the USA tells how.

One of its findings is that social media posts from close friends and family were the most influential source, but the degree of influence depended on the industry. Close friends and family were a critical source in the travel industry for all generations: Millennials (62%), Generation X (61%), Baby Boomers (48%), and the Silent Generation (48%). Close/friends and family were also an influential source for Millennials (51%) in the financial services industry and the retail industry (49%). Close friends and family were also an important source for the Silent Generation (42%) in the healthcare industry.

The link for the full report is here. http://www.instituteforpr.org/science-of-influence/.

The key findings are below with the executive summary first.

In a survey of 1,783 internet users, this study explored the level of influence social media has in four industries: healthcare, financial, travel (personal not business), and retail. The results were segmented by four generations: Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation. Consistent with previous studies, the influence of social media continues to play a role in the actions and recommendations of consumers, and that influence continues to rise. This report dives into the results of the survey and gives recommendations for companies.

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NZ Superfund excludes recreational cannabis companies

Companies involved in the recreational cannabis industry have been excluded from the $37 billion NZ Super Fund. The exclusion does not include companies involved with licensed and authorised medicinal cannabis.

The move follows a growing global trend to decriminalise and legalise the recreational use of cannabis, which has led to share market listings of companies involved in the industry overseas.

I’m curious about sovereign wealth funds- having worked in private equity in the Middle East for years- and how they decide what to invest in and what not to. It can’t be easy. I’m sure most sovereign wealth funds invest in anything, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). What they invest in is uncertain, especially given that many of the investment managers are ex-pats.

This report from the New Zealand Super Fund is informative in that it explains what the fund excludes and why it is leading the way.

Under the Guardians' Responsible Investment Framework, decisions about ethical exclusions take account of New Zealand law and international conventions to which New Zealand is a signatory. Recreational use of cannabis is currently illegal in New Zealand under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, and contrary to New Zealand's commitments to international drug conventions.*

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Hospitals and the NZ Super Fund

This week I’ve been visiting the Critical Care Unit at the hospital again. Today, one person was dying. He had pulmonary fibrosis and was at the top of the waiting list for a lung transplant. He picked up a lung infection before he got the transplant. About 10 people were standing around his bed, waiting for him to die, including the doctor, and a dog came in to see him. I wanted to cry, and I didn't even know him- but I've talked with his daughter and his wife.

 So it’s with relief that I am moving on to a more frivolous subject- even though I would not normally deem it to be frivolous- and that is the New Zealand Super Fund and the fact that the government is now resuming contributions. In fact, NZD 500 million will be paid tomorrow.

 Here is the press release.

 The Board of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the NZ Super Fund, has welcomed the resumption of Government contributions to the $37 billion Fund.

The Government plans to put $7.7 billion into the NZ Super Fund between now and June 2022, with the first payment to be made on Friday, 15 December.

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How clever is Trump's Jerusalem move ?

I’ve just been listening to a debate on Al Jazeera TV (English) between an Israeli, an Arab representative and a lawmaker at the EU on a number of topics namely about President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement (although the latter was scarcely covered because the other two took up most of the time).

 The first issue- that is President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel- is amazingly complicated, albeit interesting. I have my own take on if and how peace can ever be achieved between Israel and Palestine having been in Bethlehem for a conference, and traveling into East Jerusalem from there. What an experience. I learned a great deal.

 So I was interested to read this article that that originally appeared in the Financial Times and thereafter as a Brookings Brief.

 https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/12/08/donald-trumps-jerusalem-move-may-prove-too-clever-by-half/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=59227578

 Martin Indyk explains that President Trump's speech recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel did too little to fulfill the annexationist appetite of Israel's right wing, while it also left Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim supporters deeply dissatisfied. This piece originally appeared in the Financial Times.

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New New Zealand CEO Governor of Reserve Bank

Today’s announcement that the New Zealand Reserve Bank has appointed a new governor came as a surprise not because it was unexpected but because of whom it is. It is the CEO of New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Adrian Orr, who, by all accounts, has done a great job. I suppose I never imagined him moving.

 It seems that I’ve had associations with the last two governors of the Reserve Bank, and of that I’m surprised. I’ve interviewed Adrian Orr, as CEO of the Super Fund, when I’ve been working with the Private Equity International, then the outgoing Governor, Graeme Wheeler, was my former boss at Treasury.

Here’s an article about Adrian Orr’s appointment.

NZ Super Fund CEO Adrian Orr has resigned to take up the position of Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Catherine Savage, Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that manages the NZ Super Fund, thanked Mr Orr for his service.

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Sexual harrassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is becoming increasingly real. Just look at #metoo to see how many woman have been affected.

A few years ago I was working in the City of London and I went to see a lawyer. Why? Because i was being paid less than a man for exctly the same work.

I was told by the lawyer that although i has a definite case if I proceeded, I would never get a job in the City again.

This article is the first in a two-part series that explores some of the issues surrounding sexual harassment.

The year was 1980.  It was my first job in private industry and I was working in a division of a company that would later become part of what is now Verizon.  To make a long story short, I was asked to develop a communications program in response to an issue of sexual harassment of a female employee in our southern Georgia division location.  The president of the division said he never wanted what happened to her to happen again.

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Hospitals and the Middle East

Hospitals. They’re exhausting, probably because there are so many sick and dying people. On top of that, there’s all that equipment designed to monitor people and make them well again.

 

It’s because I’ve been visiting the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the local hospital, where it is known as the Critical Care Unit (CCU) that I haven’t written anything for a few days.

 Travelling up and down to the hospital, and sitting there for a few hours each time, three times a day is, to say the least, exhausting. It’s hard to believe that’s the case when you’re doing nothing- but all those sick and dying people sap the energy. I now believe in energy chakras.

 The surgeons, doctors and nurses are great. They seem to come from all over the world- from Scotland, India, England, the US and Saudi Arabia.

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Gaw and Consortium Partners win bid to acquire 17 Shopping Centres in Hong Kong

News of the private equity firm, Gaw Capital Partners, keeps coming. But I guess that's what happens in the fast growing Chinese market.  And real estate is often the asset of choice.

November 28, 2017, Hong Kong – Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners today announced that the firm, through a fund under its management, and consortium partners, including Goldman Sachs, have won a bid to acquire a retail portfolio comprising 17 shopping centers in Hong Kong from Link Asset Management Limited at HK$ 23 billion and an average price of around HK$7,922 per sq. ft. excluding parking.

The portfolio is comprised of a number of strategically-located properties across Kowloon and the New Territories that sit in the heart of densely-populated communities and in close proximity to MTR stations. The GFA of the portfolio totals 2.2 million sq. ft. of prime retail space and comes with over 8,000 parking spaces that are connected to highly-convenient transport links. Their excellent accessibility and holistic shopping environments have made them attractive destinations for retailers and hubs of community life for residents.

The shopping centers included in the portfolio are: Cheung Hang Shopping Centre, Kai Yip Commercial Centre, Kam Tai Shopping Centre, Lei Cheng Uk Shopping Centre, On Ting Commercial Complex, Shek Lei Shopping Centre I & II, Tai Wo Hau Commercial Centre, Tsz Ching Shopping Centre, Yau Oi Commercial Centre and Yung Shing Shopping Centre, Kwai Fong Plaza, Kwai Shing East Shopping Centre, Lai Kok Shopping Centre, Lee On Shopping Centre, Retail and Car Park within Shun Tin Estate, Tsing Yi Commercial Complex and Lions Rise Mall.

Goodwin Gaw, Chairman and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners, said, “We and our partners strongly believe in Hong Kong’s future, and believe these malls, which Link REIT has done an excellent job in upgrading and maintaining, will continue to serve important functions in the community. We hope to utilize our experience to evolve these malls into refreshed and renewed centers of local life. To be successful, we will need the support of the community, and we look forward to working with them to understand the gaps that could be filled and how we can support them to make their neighborhoods better homes.

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Jared Kushner comes under the spotlight

There are two magazines, the November issue of Vanity Fair and the Fall issue of Columbia Journalism Review, which have articles about Jared Kushner, the US President's Trump favourite son-in-law. Actually, the title of the latter publication is entitled "The Trump Issue, Takeover, The Year that changed journalism" and contains a series of enlightening articles about how journalism has changed in the Trump era.

In one article, written by a former editor of the New York Observer, Kyle Pope, he talks about how his relationship with Kushner unravelled and how the Observer ended up a shadow of its former self, with an on-line edition only. He maintains that Kushner knew nothing about world affairs, and had never read the Observer before he bought it for $10 million in 2006. He writes: "..his interest in turning the business side of the Observer around seemed rooted more in bragging rights than in any commitment to the paper itself. He also made it clear that, compared to this day job of buying and selling real estate in New York City, this journalism stuff wasn't exactly heavy lifting; he treated it as sort of a hobby."

He also writes: "Other former editors of the paper have weighed in with their own stories about Kushner's attempts to use the paper to settle scores or reward cronies.." https://www.cjr.org/

Jared Kushner's life is explored further in the November issue of Vanity Fair (https://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/november2017) in an article that talks about his powerful father going to prison and that, as a consequence, he was given the keys to the family real-estate kingdom, at the age of 24. The fact that Charlie Kushner had disgraced the family and lost status meant that Jared was trying to acquire it. The purchase of the Observer was one way of doing this; the other way was the purchase of a 41-story office tower on Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets in Manhattan. The building was purchased in January 2007 for the huge sum of $1.2 billion, the plan being that the rents would cover the mortgage payments. They didn't. The tower is still 30% vacant.

As the author, Rich Cohen, writes: "Jared Kushner's life can be seen as a lark, an inheritance, a goof. Or it can be seen more grandly as an attempt to get back what was lost..."

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