Related AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 08 APR 2013 Etisalat to bring open RAN to Afghanistan Etisalat has reportedly lined up an EUR8 billion loan to finance a bid to acquire Maroc Telecom from French media group Vivendi.Vivendi is aiming to offload its 53 per cent stake in the Moroccan number-one operator as it looks to reduce its debt. The Maroc Telecom stake is valued at around $6 billion, with the winning bidder also expected to make an offer to buy out minority shareholders.The bid for Maroc Telecom is Etisalat’s first public approach for a foreign company since the failure of its $12 billion bid for a controlling stake in Kuwait’s Zain two years ago.According to Reuters, the dual-tranche loan facility has been secured by the UAE-based operator group with the help of financial advisor BNP Paribas. The loan is understood to consist of a term loan and a bridge loan, with the latter being refinanced at a later date through a bond sale.South Korea’s KT Corp, Qatar Telecom Saudi Telecom and South Africa’s MTN are all believed to be interested in the stake. Qtel is reportedly in talks with JP Morgan about a loan facility to finance its bid while KT is working with Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Societe Generale.Final offers to Vivendi are due at the end of April, the sources said, although any sale would need the approval of the Kingdom of Morocco, which owns a 30 per cent stake in the operator.Maroc Telecom is Morocco’s biggest operator, with around 17.4 million connections, compared with Meditel’s 11.4 million. It is Vivendi’s second highest contributor to earnings after French operator SFR, but growth has slowed as competition has ramped up. Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter… More Read more Author EtisalatFinancialMaroc TelecomVivendi Etisalat interim chief made permanent Home Etisalat secures €8B loan for Maroc Telecom bid — report Previous ArticleHTC Q1 numbers disappoint; vendor reports sharp profit fallNext ArticleHuawei predicts double-digit sales growth Tim Ferguson Tags Rakuten adds Etisalat to RCP open RAN list
ORLANDO, Fla. – The army of anchorers has all but disbanded. The belly and broom have essentially gone belly up with the Jan. 1 ban still eight months away. All that’s left are three major winners relearning how to play with a putter that isn’t pressed against their sternum or stomach. To the casual fan, this wouldn’t seem like a huge deal – they’re PGA Tour players! – but the early returns have suggested otherwise: • Adam Scott snapped a streak of 45 consecutive made cuts after a cover-your-eyes week in Tampa. • Keegan Bradley ranked 29th last year in putting. So far this season, he’s 148th. • Webb Simpson has never ranked worse than 58th on the greens (including 34th a year ago). Today, he’s 92nd. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, videos and photos This (way-too-early) data from the marquee names would imply that anchoring helps, that the transition is more significant than originally thought, and that’s bad news with the start of major season now only 21 days away. Indeed, the new normal is an uncomfortable one for the former anchorers, which is why rounds such as Thursday’s at Bay Hill can represent a significant step. All three players shot 69 or better in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “Every round that we play is so big for us,” Bradley said, “because it’s another round under our belt that we haven’t had. This is new for all of us.” For his many gifts, Scott has never been a particularly strong putter, with or without the broomstick. Only three times since 2004 has he been ranked inside the top 100 in putting. When he switched to the broom-handled putter in spring 2011, the most notable difference was not that he consistently poured in more birdie putts, but that his poor putting days weren’t as bad. That led to him racking up six top-five finishes in majors since 2011, the most of any player over that span. After messing around with the short putter during a long offseason, Scott started auspiciously over the first two rounds at Doral. He faded over the weekend (T-4) and had a rough two days in Tampa, leading to his first early exit in 45 events. Entering this week, he had missed 17 times inside 10 feet over his last four rounds and lost a whopping 7.9 strokes to the field. Worse, he admitted that he wasn’t “married” to the short stick, meaning he was still flirting with the idea of switching back. Indecisiveness typically doesn’t play well at Augusta. Scott appears to have settled on a unique approach in which he uses a conventional grip for longer putts on slower greens, and the claw grip for putts from inside, say, 30 feet. The longest birdie putt he made Thursday was an 8-foot, 11-inch putt on No. 9, his final hole of the day. Three of his four birdies during an opening 68 were from inside 3 feet. That’s not uncommon this week on a course that has slower, bumpier and spottier greens than usual. “[The greens] are not exactly what I was hoping for to test my stroke at the moment,” Scott conceded. Bradley, meanwhile, switched to the shorter putter at the World Challenge event in December, and after a high finish there he declared it was one of the “biggest tournaments of my career.” Hyperbolic, perhaps, but it only underscores how fragile a player’s confidence can be on the greens. Four months later, Bradley described his putting performance as “kind of boring, middle of the road,” which is also one way to describe his results – only one top-15 in six 2015 starts. Bradley has transitioned from a 46 1/4-inch putter to one that is about 39 inches – still longer than a conventional short putter – but has a long, thick grip that is similar to his belly model. His new putter is more upright, which puts his eyes more directly over the ball. “It’s very awkward, very different,” he said of the switch. “I’ve given up thousands of rounds, thousands of hours to these guys out here, so I’m gaining some of those back as we speak.” Simpson is starting from square one, too. Earlier this year he snapped his belly putter – the same club that helped him win the 2012 U.S. Open – over his knee so he wouldn’t be tempted to use it again. At times this season he probably wished he had some superglue, because in 15 tournament rounds he is 92nd on Tour in putting. He lost nearly 1.5 strokes on the greens on Thursday, too, even during an opening 69. “I’m having some good days, some bad days, similar to the belly putter,” he shrugged. For the past year and a half, the anchoring brigade said it would wait as long as possible before changing – you know, to make hay while they could. Yet today, it’s rare to see a long putter on the PGA Tour, and the ban doesn’t take effect until the first day of 2016. “Waiting until the last minute, it was a situation where it was almost like I was forced into doing something, like it was my last resort,” Simpson said. In a few years we’ll know how much anchoring truly mattered. For now, there’s only one option: Adapt.
I’ve not yet commented on Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to not renew Uber’s private hire licence. I’m not an Uber user as I’m old fashioned enough to rather like the London black cab. I also don’t know if the concerns that TfL had over the Uber operation were well founded, or whether there was a degree of political motivation behind the decision.Now, Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP for Cambridge and a former shadow Labour transport spokesman, has introduced a Private Members Bill to bring in stronger controls over the licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles. The snappily titled Licensing of Taxis and Private Hire (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 2 February.Will the Bill, to bring in stronger controls on private hire, get through?Private Members Bills never make much progress and rarely get Royal Assent unless they have government backing.I very much doubt that this Bill will see the light of day and pass into law, even if it may have a fair bit of political support in the House. The text of the Bill isn’t actually yet available so it’s a bit difficult to comment on its quality and whether it’s sensible. Private Members Bills are often not printed until close to Second Reading. But it serves to remind us that it’s not just the buses that Labour wants to see greater regulatory control over.However, if the Bill has the strong support of Labour MPs and the Labour leadership, it’s not impossible that it might pass its Second Reading.Labour has withdrawn the traditional ‘pairing’ system whereby each MP has a ‘pair’ in the opposition party so that if an MP is away his or her ‘pair’ won’t vote when divisions are called. Now this arrangement has been withdrawn, the government is exposed to potential ambushes with Labour whips suddenly and unexpectedly calling for a vote on something, in the hope that insufficient numbers of Conservative MPs will be around to ensure the government has a majority when the vote takes place.This means that Conservative MPs need to be on the parliamentary estate much more than would normally be the case, but to my knowledge Labour has not yet used this tactic in order to try and embarrass the government. Whether it would do so on a relatively minor Private Members Bill is doubtful.It’s a tactic to be used sparingly and should generally be reserved for more high-profile issues where maximum embarrassment can be achieved. But who knows? In these febrile and volatile political times anything is possible, and a Bill to impose greater controls on taxis and private hire vehicles might just be a subject that encourages the Labour Whips to catch the government unawares.
The penalty report NASCAR issued Wednesday has season-long implications for multiple teams in NASCAR’s top two national series.Five L1-level penalties were handed out, each carrying fines, suspensions and points deductions.RELATED: More on Monster Energy Series penaltiesIn the Monster Energy Series, it was the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 team, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 team and Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 team penalized. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team also was issued an L1-level penalty in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, along with the race-winning JR Motorsports No. 7 team.Here’s how we see the penalties affecting those teams – and the teams’ drivers – moving forward.Note: Teams have the ability to appeal their respective penalties to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. Filing an appeal would halt any suspensions until the appeal is heard.MONSTER ENERGY SERIESNo. 3 teamDriver: Austin DillonPenalty: Splitter did not meet rule specificationsRamifications: $25,000 fine to crew chief Justin Alexander; car chief Greg Ebert suspended for one race.Analysis: Dillon is locked into the postseason by virtue of his season-opening win in the Daytona 500, but his team has slipped in recent weeks. With two consecutive finishes outside the top 25, and four such finishes in the past six races, the suspension hurts this team more than the fine as the car chief is instrumental in getting cars faster at the track. Crew chief Justin Alexander avoided suspension, which is critical. It was his pit strategy that led to last year’s Coca-Cola 600 win, and that marquee event looms in two weeks – with Alexander still on the pit box.No. 14 teamDriver: Clint BowyerPenalty: Failed rear window support structureRamifications: $50,000 fine to crew chief Mike Bugarewicz; two-race suspension for car chief Jerry Cook; loss of 20 driver and 20 owner pointsAnalysis: The points penalty hurts. Bowyer, with a win in hand, entered the week fourth in the standings; he will drop to fifth. Remember, drivers get playoff points for finishing in the top 10 of the regular-season standings — including 15 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion. Bowyer’s path to those points now is more difficult.No. 19 teamDriver: Daniel SuarezPenalty: Rear window not flush to decklidRamifications: $50,000 fine to crew chief Scott Graves; two-race suspension for car chief Todd Brewer; loss of 20 driver and 20 owner pointsAnalysis: This is a blow to one of the hottest teams in the garage. Suarez finished third at Dover, matching his career-best result at NASCAR’s top level. The second-year driver has three consecutive top-10 finishes heading into Kansas, one of his better tracks. Is his momentum halted? We’ll find out Saturday night. Additionally, the points penalty is a bigger setback for Suarez than perhaps any other driver. He drops from just seven points behind Chase Elliott for the final playoff spot to 27 points behind.RELATED: More on Xfinity Series penaltiesXFINITY SERIESNo. 3 teamDriver: Jeb BurtonPenalty: Splitter did not meet rule specificationsRamifications: $10,000 fine to crew chief Nick Harrison; one-race suspension for car chief Michael ScearceAnalysis: A tough blow for Burton, who has two starts this year. The biggest issue here, though, is that Richard Childress Racing was given an L1-level penalty in both the Monster Energy Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the same violation.No. 7 teamDriver: Justin AllgaierPenalty: Rear suspension and trailing arm angles/pinion angle shims violationRamifications: $25,000 fine and two-race suspension to crew chief Jason Burdett; loss of 25 driver and 25 owner pointsAnalysis: This is a huge impact. Wins can be difficult to come by in the Xfinity Series (five full-time drivers won last year, for example), and the five playoff points that come with a win are simply crucial to getting to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Those points no longer count for Allgaier. The pressure for another win is on.