Arabian Business Weekly Update April 10, 2005

The U.N. report into Rafik Hariri’s death proves there was a cover up. THIS week we have taken the decision to publish the entire U.N. report into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. To be precise, every single one of the 9146 words it contains. This is likely to make deeply uncomfortable reading for many Lebanese and Syrian officials, who have publicly dismissed its contents as “rhetoric". Given the fact it has yet to be fully released, it is unlikely most would have read a single word of it. So now would be a good time. And when they have done so, they should answer the many troubling questions this report raises.

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By  Anil Bhoyrul Published  April 10, 2005

The truck, the cover up, and Syria|~||~||~|The U.N. report into Rafik Hariri’s death proves there was a cover up. THIS week we have taken the decision to publish the entire U.N. report into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. To be precise, every single one of the 9146 words it contains. This is likely to make deeply uncomfortable reading for many Lebanese and Syrian officials, who have publicly dismissed its contents as “rhetoric". Given the fact it has yet to be fully released, it is unlikely most would have read a single word of it. So now would be a good time. And when they have done so, they should answer the many troubling questions this report raises. The most serious of these appear in Section 44, which deals with the suspect vehicle. A white pick-up truck was identified on CCTV footage, entering the area of the explosion shortly before Mr. Hariri's convoy. Mathematical analysis of the truck's speed proves beyond any reasonable doubt that not only was the truck travelling six times slower than all other vehicles on the same stretch of road, but also that it could be placed at the centre of the Hariri convoy just moments before the explosion. In other words, the detailed history of this pick-up truck is almost certain to provide answers as to just who killed Rafik Hariri. But the security officials did not conduct any such investigation. Instead, the report claims, parts of another truck were brought to the crime scene some time after the explosion by security officials and placed in the crater, before being photographed and tagged as official evidence. The obvious conclusion from the above is that Lebanese and Syrian security forces have been engaged in a massive cover up. And the obvious question is “why?" ||**||Formula Zero|~||~||~|Once again Bahrain needs to be congratulated for staging a Formula One Grand Prix. And next year, it is likely that race goers will be treated to the spectacle of Team Dubai on the starting grid. But Team Dubai's owners, Grand Prix Investments, need to think long and hard about their spending plans. They will have to pay the sports governing body US$48 million just to secure a place on the grid. Around US$200 million will go on a wind tunnel and technical facilities in Dubai. Engine suppliers McLaren Mercedes will want at least US$30 million a year. Running costs near US$50 million a year. Team Dubai will receive none of the US$15 million-a-year television income for the first three years. So total expenditure comes to US$328 million. And total sponsorship income? At best, US$30 million. Not exactly a great business plan. ||**||Senegal shows the way|~||~||~|In two years’ time, Senegal will hold the world's biggest Islamic conference, with the leaders of 56 nations — including all Arab countries — expected to be in attendance. Preparations are already under way, and already there is lot to learn and admire from Senegal's president Addoulaye Wade. The 79-year-old has been in democratic power for just five years, but has hugely transformed the country. GDP is rising at over 6% a year, there has been full internet connectivity and a big push towards privatisation of key industries. Most impressively, 40% of all government spending is on education and health. The lavish projects and spending have been left to private investors and bankers, while President Wade gives the people what they deserve and need most: free education and health. Many leaders can learn from this fine man. ||**||

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