I joined a segment on HuffPost Live the other day to discuss Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.

The conversation kicked off with unbearable heat during summer and the possibility of shifting the games to winter, but expanded to include workers rights here, restrictions on homosexuality, and corruption within FIFA.

Anything to add?

(via Qatar Too Hot To Handle - HuffPost Live)

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GRAPHICS: Doha News gets a new logo

You may have noticed that we’ve changed up our look a little bit. Some two years after we launched this site - and more than four since we got started on Twitter - we thought it was time for some tweaking. 

Our aim, especially on social media, was to make sure the look was clean and simple, as well as easy to recognize.

Here’s what our designers, Check Out My [Designs], have to say about it:

The new look is not an overall change but simply a transition, hence why we’re keeping the color and the style.

We’re going away from the speech bubble as something of a cliche, but wanted to keep an element of it, hence the indent on the D - acting as negative space.

The D will be the official mark of Doha News from now on.

What do you think?

I like the simplicity of it

It has been one whole year since a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar led to the deaths of 19 people, 13 of them small children.
On this first anniversary, we have released an ebook looking into the tragedy: “Villaggio Fire: A Tragedy Silenced”
The in-depth report focuses on the causes and aftermath of the fire, as well as its implications for Qatar as a whole. 

It has been one whole year since a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar led to the deaths of 19 people, 13 of them small children.

On this first anniversary, we have released an ebook looking into the tragedy: “Villaggio Fire: A Tragedy Silenced

The in-depth report focuses on the causes and aftermath of the fire, as well as its implications for Qatar as a whole. 

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PHOTOS: The 2013 Qatar International Food Festival by Omar Chatriwala

Today is your last chance to check out the Qatar International Food Festival (renamed from the Doha Food Festival of previous years).

On at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, the grounds are sprawling compared to previous years, and between dining in the sky, snacking on the sea, walking through the numerous food stalls, or taking in the cooking and fitness demonstrations, it’s quite a spectacle.

Today’s hours are from 2pm-10pm. Vouchers are sold in QR40 increments, with a QR10 service charge - so make sure to buy more upfront if you think you’ll need them, to minimize service fees.

Also, parking at the MIA is limited, and has been closed off completely in the evenings. To avoid the hassle, park at one of the designated lots - at the Ministry of Interior building on the Corniche or a parking lot across from Al Sharq Village & Spa. A shuttle will transport you speedily to the festival. More tips here.

Thoughts?

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Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, which is hard at work preparing to launch its new America channel this year, has announced plans to offer locally-tailored news programmes in the UK, as well as the intention of launching a French station.

The network’s Director General Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani told Agence France Press earlier in the week that the United Kingdom-branded offering would be called Al Jazeera UK, and added that studies on a French-language channel are in “advanced stages.”

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the move to Doha News, saying that Al Jazeera UK will consist of five hours of locally-developed daily programming, which would slot into primetime hours on Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera is expected to move into London’s Qatar-owned Shard skyscraper, and those offices would be the likely home of AJ UK.

In contrast, Al Jazeera French is planned to be a full-on channel with the aim of “building bridges with other cultures and peoples” according to Al-Thani, although where it would be located and details of the programming are still under development.

Al Jazeera Turk, which has been in development since at least early 2011, is also expected to go on air either by end of this year or early next year, according to the AJN spokesperson. Some Turkish reports have attributed delays in that channel’s launch to disagreements between Al Jazeera and Turkey.

The network did launch a channel headquartered in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 2011 called Al Jazeera Balkans.

Efforts to develop channels outside Europe and America have stalled though. Plans for an Africa-based Al Jazeera Kiswahili channel have been put on hold and the network has no immediate intention of launching an Urdu-language station, the spokesman confirmed.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Osama Saeed

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The flag is flying at half-mast at the Venezuelan embassy in Doha today after the country’s long-time president Hugo Chavez died last night.
Venezuela will have seven days of mourning to commemorate its late leader.
On its website, the embassy, which is located in Dafna, says:

With our deepest grief, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the State of Qatar announces the opening of a Condolences Book due to the sad demise of Commander HUGO CHÁVEZ FRÍAS, President of Venezuela and one of the fundamental leaders of Latin America.
The Book of Condolences will be open from today, Wednesday, March 6, from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM and on next Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

RIP Hugo Chavez.

The flag is flying at half-mast at the Venezuelan embassy in Doha today after the country’s long-time president Hugo Chavez died last night.

Venezuela will have seven days of mourning to commemorate its late leader.

On its website, the embassy, which is located in Dafna, says:

With our deepest grief, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the State of Qatar announces the opening of a Condolences Book due to the sad demise of Commander HUGO CHÁVEZ FRÍAS, President of Venezuela and one of the fundamental leaders of Latin America.

The Book of Condolences will be open from today, Wednesday, March 6, from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM and on next Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

RIP Hugo Chavez.

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Amid growing discontent with Qatar’s role in certain revolutions across the Arab world, the country’s prime minister has rejected claims of partisanship in Syria, Egypt and Libya.

Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who serves as both Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, defended the country’s actions during a press conference tonight with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We are supporting the moderates [in Syria]," the prime minister said in response to questions about Qatar’s role there. 

"The longer the crisis, we will find [more] radical groups taking part, [but] we don’t wish for these radical parties to win," he said.

Refuting claims across the Middle East that Qatar has been supporting hardline Islamist parties in the various Arab uprisings, including the Muslim Brotherhood, he said:

"It is believed that we are supporting a particular group in Egypt. However it is the right of the people themselves, whether it is Egyptians or Libyans, who or which group [is leading them]. 

From that time, it was falsely propagated that Qatar was supporting one group or another…”

The prime minister did not clarify what role Qatar is currently playing in providing arms to the Syrian opposition.

Kerry, who recently replaced Hillary Clinton as the United States’ most senior diplomat and has been touring Middle East countries, said only that “we are aware of what people are doing” in regards to arms.

But in an interview with Fox News earlier today, he confirmed that the US has been training opposition forces offsite. 

During tonight’s press conference, Kerry added:

"In terms of the fundamental balance of battlefield tactics and of effort, I think it’s pretty clear that the prime minister shares a belief in trying to do what we need to do rapidly and to try to affect this [crisis] most effectively, through the Syrian opposition coalition."

Kerry also defended US President Barack Obama’s “clear” stance in support of the Syrian people by working to impose sanctions on Syria’s government, and working to identify and strengthen the opposition. 

However, Kerry made no indication that the United States would take any stronger action in Syria.

The other major line of questioning at the press conference had to do with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, which the Qatar prime minister referred to as “dead”.

"The stalemate, or the dead peace process, we hope can be revived seriously and genuinely by the key sponsor - the United States," Al Thani said.

Thoughts?

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Qatar on the Champs Élysées by Omar Chatriwala and contributed to the Doha News Flickr Group.
Strolling down what is perhaps the most famous street in Paris, it is hard to miss Qatar’s prime location. The Qatari embassy sits at the western end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, overlooking the Arc de Triomphe.
Want to see your photo here? Add it to our Flickr pool or share it via dohanews.co/submit

Qatar on the Champs Élysées by Omar Chatriwala and contributed to the Doha News Flickr Group.

Strolling down what is perhaps the most famous street in Paris, it is hard to miss Qatar’s prime location. The Qatari embassy sits at the western end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, overlooking the Arc de Triomphe.

Want to see your photo here? Add it to our Flickr pool or share it via dohanews.co/submit