2 cops guarding Coptic church gunned down

Updated 06 January 2015

2 cops guarding Coptic church gunned down

CAIRO: Gunmen opened fire and killed two policemen guarding a Coptic church south of Cairo early on Tuesday, security officials said as the nation’s minority Coptic Christians prepared to mark Orthodox Christmas Eve.
The attack took place in the provincial capital of Minya, about 220 km south of Cairo. The city is home to the nation’s largest Coptic community and the members of the Orthodox minority observe Christmas according to the old, Julian calendar.
Police cordoned off the area shortly after the attack and were searching for the perpetrators, said the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.
Another policeman was killed Tuesday while attempting to dismantle an improvised explosive device planted at a gas station in Giza, west of Cairo. Three gas station workers were also injured in the blast, security officials said.
A video posted on privately run news site Youm Al-Sabaa showed the policeman handling the explosive device wearing protective gear, when the device explodes, sending him flying.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.
Egypt has beefed up security around Coptic churches ahead of the Orthodox Christmas. Christians account for some 10 percent of the nation’s 90 million people and have long complained of discrimination by the nation’s Muslim majority.
Egypt’s Christian minority has also complained of a rise in kidnappings, armed robberies and assaults over the past three years, after the country was plunged into turmoil by the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.


Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

Updated 42 min 32 sec ago

Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

  • ‘One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter’
  • ‘We have to change the way we view technology’

DUBAI: The next wave of value creation in the business world will not come from companies that develop artificial intelligence (AI), but from those that can innovatively deploy technology to transform industries, Waleed Al-Muhairi, deputy CEO of Mubadala Investment Co., said on Tuesday at the first Middle East SALT conference.

The two-day event is taking place in Abu Dhabi, and is run by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

It is hosting more than 1,000 leaders from the worlds of investment, finance and policymaking at the city’s financial hub, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Discussing Mubadala’s partnerships with China, the UAE’s largest trading partner, Al-Muhairi referred to billion-dollar investments in China’s private and public sectors.

“We have a wonderful partnership with China. We’ve established a $10 billion fund there with the China Development Bank, and have deployed almost $2 billion in 15 to 16 different sectors, with technology being the main theme,” he said.

Mubadala currently has $240 billion of assets under management, with close to $100 billion invested in the US (60 percent of the state-owned holding company’s portfolio).

The remaining 40 percent is divided “almost” equally between investments in the UAE, Europe and Asia, “with a heavy concentration in China,” said Al-Muhairi.

“But our objective is to participate in the growth and success of a large, growing and dynamic economy like China’s,” he said, adding that it is only a matter of time before the country becomes the “largest economy on Earth.”

On technology, Al-Muhairi cited Asia-focused private equity firm Hill House, which transformed a mid-level athletic footwear company in China to the No. 1 brand in the country through the deployment of AI.

The company applied the expertise of 50 scientists and engineers to revolutionize the manufacturing process of footwear, while subsequently improving the brand’s retail experience.

By placing censors on the shelves to detect customers’ interest in buying specific footwear, they were able to shorten the cycle of understanding customer feedback and preference, said Al-Muhairi.

“One of the mega trends you see around the world is that preferences matter. And those business that are able to curate a customized experience for customers are going to be the ones who succeed, especially in the retail industry,” he added.

While people often refer to technology as a “sector,” Al-Muhairi believes it is similar to the concept of “electricity” in that it empowers projects and is infused in everything we do today.

“We have to change the way we view technology,” he said, adding that while it is the “life-blood of any successful company” and the “single most important enabler,” it is not an objective in itself. 

“We don’t invest in technology for the sake of technology. We invest in it because it will transform something or it will create value and a return,” he said.