Gaza’s only power plant ‘shuts down for lack of fuel’

Updated 18 March 2014

Gaza’s only power plant ‘shuts down for lack of fuel’

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: The Gaza Strip’s only power plant shut down Saturday due to a lack of fuel from Israel, which closed a goods crossing after militant rocket attacks, a Palestinian official said.
An Israeli official denied the claim, however, saying the lack of fuel was due to infighting between the Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Erez pedestrian crossing “until further security assessments.”
In response, the energy authority cut the plant’s operation from only 12 hours a day to six until the fuel ran out.
“The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel’s) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing,” said Fathi Al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory.
An Israeli official denied that the Jewish state was to blame.
The shortage of fuel “is the result of an internal conflict between the Hamas government (which controls Gaza) and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah,” said the source, on condition of anonymity and without elaborating.
“Kerem Shalom is always closed on Fridays and Saturdays, so it was only closed for an entire day on Thursday,” he said.
The PA helps facilitate the delivery of fuel to Gaza via Israel, which Hamas does not recognize.
The facility, which supplies some 30 percent of Gaza’s electricity needs, has been forced to shut down several times, most recently in December.


Companies must deploy AI to transform industries: Mubadala deputy CEO

Updated 24 min 28 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.