The Garcia report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding, has been leaked to a German newspaper. Until now the report, named after FIFA’s former Ethics chief investigator Michael Garcia, has only been released in summary. A summary that was hotly contested by Garcia.
The first story of what Bild promises will be a series of exclusives focuses on Qatar and its winning bid for the 2022 World Cup. It is sketchy in detail but Bild promises more in tomorrow’s edition.
as principal architects for the qatar integrated railway project (QIRP), UNStudio will complete a metro network that will serve as the primary public transport system within the greater doha area.
the first phase of the project includes around 35 initial stations, while the subsequent stage will add a further 60 stations to the system.
the full network is planned to comprise four lines connecting the al khor, and al wakrah-mesaieed communities located north and south of doha respectively. the design references the region’s vernacular architecture, acting as a bridge between the country’s past and future.
UNStudio has also developed an ‘architectural branding manual’ comprising a set of guidelines, details and material outlines that will assure the spatial quality and clarity of the entire network. the manual will be used by appointed contractors to implement and deliver the first phase of stations.
‘the celebration of arriving and departing has always been found in the design of stations‘, explained ben van berkel, co-founder of UNStudio.
‘for the QIRP we devised an adaptive parametric system which creates open, light and welcoming interiors for each of the individual stations. traditional qatari architectural features are reinterpreted to incorporate new, transformative qualities which capture daylight and direct this into the interiors, creating uplifting and luminous atmospheres.‘
one of the design’s key concepts is to create varying scales of identity for the user:network identity – reflecting the overall qatar rail brand; line identity – achieved by creating different atmospheres among the network’s four lines; and station identity – with different features positioned at strategic points in areas of each station.
expanding upon the region’s historical architecture, a series of vaulted spaces are incorporated throughout the proposed scheme, referencing the lightness of the dhow sail and the tensile profiles of nomadic tent.
ben van berkel continued: ‘through the production of a design manual and with the use of adaptive parametric design, it has been possible for us to create a design with many variants, yet one which maintains a coherent identity throughout all of the stations.
in this way, we can combine local contextual differences within an overall identity and parametrically adapt physical factors such as wayfinding, daylight penetration, passenger flows, constructive elements etc. in a complex but extremely disciplined system.’
TEHRAN (FNA)- A pilgrim has carried the flag of the ISIL terrorist group on the Plain of Arafat in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj rituals, media reports said.
According to Iraq’s Alsumaria satellite TV network, social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, posted photos on Saturday showing a pilgrim carrying the ISIL flag during the Hajj rites on Jabal ar-Rahmah mountain on the Plain of Arafat on Friday, press tv reported.
The Saudi television aired footage of the pilgrim with the ISIL flag for just a few seconds before it stopped broadcasting the video.
This comes as Saudi Arabia and its former intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan have played a leading role in the formation of the ISIL terrorist group.
The ISIL controls large areas of Syria’s East and North. The group sent its militants into Iraq in June, seizing large parts of land straddling the border between Syria and Iraq.
The West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are reportedly giving financial and military support to the militants.
The tiny Middle Eastern state of Qatar has come a long way since it gained independence in 1971.Qatar’s capital, Doha, was a sleepy pearl fishing community until the ’90s, when it began tapping into its vast offshore natural gas reserves. After investing heavily in liquefied natural-gas technology, Qatar is now one of the leading exporters in the world, with a sovereign wealth fund (known as the Qatar Investment Authority) worth over $85 billion, according to CNN Money.
Today, it is home to the headquarters of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, and a population of almost 600,000.
And the city is not done growing. As a result of Qatar’s increasing corporate and commercial activity, 47 new skyscrapers are currently being built in Doha, according to Emporis. New hotels will also be joining Qatar’s skyline to attract even more tourists to its spa villages, huge malls, and scenic artificial islands. In 2022, Doha will even host the FIFA World Cup in its brand-new (questionable-looking) stadium.
To see how far the country has come since it gained its independence from the United Kingdom just over four decades ago, we compiled some photos of Doha then and now.
THEN: Here’s what the skyline of the Qatari capital of looked like in 1977.
NOW: Here’s the Doha skyline today. There are currently 47 buildings under construction in the city, according to Emporis.
THEN: Here’s what the heart of Doha’s commercial center looked like back in 1968.
NOW: Today, the West Bay is Doha’s rapidly expanding urban center, with numerous skyscrapers and plenty of shopping malls.
THEN: When it was first built in 1975, the Qatar National Museum in Doha was quite a big deal. Here it is in 1977, framed by a part of the crumbling old city.NOW: Today, Doha is internationally known for its latest museum, the Qatar Museum of Islamic Art. Set against the skyline and lit up at night, the museum houses the city’s collection of manuscripts, textiles, and ceramics.
This was part of Doha’s open-air market in 1977. Piles of garbage and loiterers smoking hookah were not an uncommon site.
NOW: Doha is all about its luxury shopping malls. This is the mall in Porto Arabia, with views of the riviera.
THEN: The palace of the ruling Sheikh in Doha, Qatar in 1971. The grounds weren’t even complete yet.
NOW: And here is the Emiri Diwan (the Emir’s Palace) today, with lush green grass and well-kept grounds.
THEN: This was the clock tower in the industrial center of Doha in 1971.
NOW: And here is the clock tower today, dwarfed by the Grand Mosque at the Emiri Palace in the background.
THEN: A discarded Plymouth Convertible American car is seen on the outskirts of the city in 1977, where it was dumped in the desert.NOW: Today, the outskirts of the city have tourist attractions such as the Khalifa International Stadium and the 984-foot-tall Aspire Tower in the Doha Sport City complex.
Sepp Blatter is calling for unity among FIFA’s 209 members as the world soccer body holds its annual Congress in Zurich.
Zurich: Swiss police are investigating a bomb threat at the FIFA congress, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
“I can confirm there has been a bomb threat against the FIFA congress, officers have been dispatched” the spokeswoman for the city police said.
Meanwhile, world soccer boss Sepp Blatter was expected to be re-elected on Friday, defying growing calls for him to step down in the face of corruption scandals engulfing the sport’s governing body.
Addressing FIFA delegates at the body’s annual Congress in Switzerland, where members will later vote to decide the organisation’s presidency, Blatter promised more transparency and urged members to remain unified.
He also said that FIFA would probably not be facing its present problems if Russia and Qatar had not been awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.
“Today, I am appealing to unity and team spirit so we can move forward together,” he said, in a low key-address that contrasted with his more defiant reaction on Thursday.
Blatter also sought to distance himself from the scandal, the biggest crisis FIFA has faced in its 111-year history.
U.S. authorities have accused top FIFA figures and sports executives of corruption, while Switzerland is separately investigating the award of the next World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar.
The charges against a handful of senior FIFA officials include money laundering, racketeering, bribery and fraud. In short, the federal lawsuit alleges what millions of soccer fans have suspected all along: that FIFA officials have been using the organization’s massive influence to line their pocketbooks.
On the surface, it’s just another white collar crime story: rich, powerful men making themselves richer and more powerful. But a closer look suggests that there is a lot of real-world suffering happening as a direct result of FIFA’s decisions.
Human rights advocates’ worst fears about Qatar seemed to be confirmed as Qatar began building the infrastructure to host the Cup, and reports of migrant worker deaths started to pile up. The numbers, to the extent that we know them, appear startling:
A Guardian investigation last year revealed that Nepalese migrant workers were dying at a rate of one every two days. In sum, the Guardian put the total Qatar death toll of workers from Nepal, India andBangladesh at 964 in 2012 and 2013.
It is hard to know how many of those are specifically World Cup associated. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers come to Qatar each year, and there could be hundreds of deaths even without a World Cup — figures from the Indian embassy show, for instance, that 200+ Indian workers died in Qatar in 2010, before the World Cup announcement.
In the chart below, I’ve compared those fatality numbers for Qatar with worker fatality estimates for other major international sporting events in recent years. Some of these numbers (like Sochi’s) are third-party estimates, others (like Beijing’s) are based on official numbers that are almost certainly an undercount.
And it’s tough to do an apples-to-apples comparison here, since the Qatar estimates include the deaths of all migrant workers after the announcement of Qatar’s successful bid in 2010, while other countries’ figures may only include deaths directly related to, say, stadium construction.
If current trends continue, the ITUC estimates that 4,000 workers will die in Qatar by the time the World Cup is actually held in 2022. Qatar officials have previously pledged to address worker safety concerns.
“We believe that the people helping us build our country deserve to be fairly paid, humanely treated and protected against exploitation,” the country’s labor ministry told the Guardian.
“That is why we are reforming our labour laws and practices.”
Still, it’s clear that Qatar has a troubled record when it comes to poor worker safety. Conditions for migrant workers there are so bad that the International Trade Union Confederation has called the state “a country without a conscience.”
Many of the abuses of migrant workers in Qatar and other Gulf countries are related to a governing system called “kafala,” which dictates how migrant workers may enter the country.
The system has been criticized for essentially placing workers under the complete control of their employers and leaving the door wide open for exploitation and abuse.
In the light of the new Justice Department investigation, Swiss authorities are announcing a new inquiry into the process that gave Qatar the cup in 2010. If FIFA board members did indeed accept bribes from Qatar to let it host the 2022 cup, it would show how backroom corruption can have real human consequences.
The enemy of your enemy is your… frenemy; and so it is across the Middle East as the WSJ notes the spread of The Islamic State has united many parties once at odds with each other to become ‘strange bedfellows’.
Strange Bedfellows – Parties that display friction or outright aggression toward one another are finding themselves aligned in a desire to counter Islamic State.
U.S. and Iran
The U.S. and Iran share an interest in fostering an Iraqi government strong enough to fend off Islamic State.
U.S. and Syria
The U.S. and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad share an interest in quashing Islamic State in Syria, even if the regime appears to put a higher priority on fighting other rebel groups.
Israel and Egypt
Israel and Egypt have come together to oppose Hamas, and they now have a similar long-term interest to do the same in confronting Islamic State.
Syria, Kurds, Turkey and Iraq
Turkey and Syria, long fearful of building up the region’s Kurds, have a shared interest in building up the Kurdish Peshmerga to combat a more immediate threat, Islamic State. Iraq has acquiesced.
Turkey and Qatar
Turkey and Qatar suddenly have a shared interest in keeping the Islamist movement they separately helped foster in check before Islamic State absorbs and consolidates it.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq
Saudi Arabia supported Sunnis in Iraq while Iran supported Shiites. They now have an interest in aiding the Shiite-led Iraq government to counter a common threat.
U.S., China and Russia
Russia and China have plenty of disputes with the U.S., but they agree that, as big powers, they are threatened in similar fashion by the expansionist Islamic extremism of Islamic State.
U.S., Egypt, Qatar and Turkey
Egypt’s military ruler sees Qatar, Turkey and the U.S. as hostile to his suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. They all now fear Islamic State will consolidate the Islamic threat.
U.S. and al Qaeda
The greatest odd bedfellow of all: Islamic State threatens al Qaeda as well as the West, meaning that, in fact, al Qaeda and the U.S. now have a shared enemy.
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