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Does profiling work? 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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Comment Central has a great little round-up of a few sources answering the question of whether profiling works. In terms of automatic profiling – i.e. not behavioural profiling – Bruce Schneier highlights some serious problems.

The problem with automatic profiling is that it doesn’t work.

Terrorists don’t fit a profile and cannot be plucked out of crowds by computers. They’re European, Asian, African, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern, male and female, young and old. Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was Nigerian.

Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was British with a Jamaican father. Germaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 London bombers, was Afro-Caribbean. Dirty bomb suspect Jose Padilla was Hispanic-American. The 2002 Bali terrorists were Indonesian. Timothy McVeigh was a white American. So was the Unabomber.

The Chechen terrorists who blew up two Russian planes in 2004 were female.

Palestinian terrorists routinely recruit “clean” suicide bombers, and have used unsuspecting Westerners as bomb carriers.

There is other evidence available too. Specifically, a study by the US’s National Research Council.

It must be said that this is not exactly breaking news. Though for those of a more Fox News variety, it will either be a bitter pill or yet more ‘liberal rubbish’ to be ignored.

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Qatar 2022 World Cup bid locks out England (et al) 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Qatar’s 2022 World Cup team have locked out all other hosts for presenting at the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The event held on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations due to start this month is seen as a key opportunity for the different football federations to meet, schmooze, impress, corral and cajole the Africa delegates for their precious votes. However, Qatar has used practically their own advantage, their deep, deep pockets, and has bought exclusive sponsorship rights for the event. Under this “dubious” agreement, no other federation can be formally seen or heard by CAF executives.

The Times of London also reports that Qatar sponsored the Soccerex in South Africa last September. Yet in this case other football federations were nevertheless allowed to officially send delegations. They could and did, therefore, organise press conferences and distribute promotional material, unlike at the CAF event.

This is a savvy tactic by the Qatari Federation. They must surely be aware that they are rank outsiders in this event. They have neither the history, the pedigree, the climate, the experience or the infrastructure that would favour them in obtaining the hosting rights. They are wise to use their practically unlimited finds to, in any way possible, buy as many votes as possible. This is not to begrudge this tactic or to call it into question. To imagine that other federations do not seek to buy votes in other ways would be woefully naïve.

Burj Khalifah will be late to open 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The National reports that not even a third of all the available office space in the Burj Khalifah will actually be ready in time for tenants to move in in March. More generally, the developers are pessimistic as to its final occupancy rates. They estimate that only 70-80% will be occupied in the next 12-16 months, a direct result of Dubai’s property crash.

Dubai metro contractors owed $3bn 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Days after the opening of the world’s tallest building in Dubai, the spendaholic Emirate has been brought firmly back to earth by threats to the completion of its new, highly publicised and much vaunted metro system. Essentially, it appears that the Dubai government has not paid its Japanese contractors almost $3bn and they are – understandably – slowing down construction work on the remaining unopened stations as a negotiating tactic.

The FT reports that part of the problem stems from the spiraling costs of the development, doubling to more than $7.6bn.