GM eyes autonomous future as it sells Opel

NEW YORK: The move by US auto giant General Motors to offload money-losing European brand Opel marks its latest effort to focus on more profitable markets and autonomous driving technology.

The largest US automaker announced Monday the sale of European brands Opel and Vauxhall to French automaker PSA for 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), pulling away from a region that has produced 16 years of losses totaling $15 billion.

While the transaction is expected to drop GM from its rank as the world’s third biggest automaker in terms of sales, it could  provide the company with $1.4 billion in available cashflow, analysts said.

“GM opts for profitability over scale,” Jairam Nathan, analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, said of the deal.

Maryann Keller of the automotive consultancy Maryann Keller & Associates, described the move as born of “common sense” and the recognition of the need to prepare for a new era.

“The height of Europe’s technical leadership was when cars were largely propelled by mechanical components,” Keller said in a note. “But that leadership has eroded with the introduction of advanced electronics in all vehicle systems.

“With the auto industry now aiming for autonomous and connected cars, the epicenter of technical leadership is in the US and not across the Atlantic.”

In Europe, GM has suffered as it has built smaller cars that have leaner profit margins in a region where labor laws are less flexible than in the United States.

Since taking over at GM in 2014, chief executive Mary Barra has emphasized profitability over sales. In early 2015, the company stopped production in Thailand and Indonesia and abandoned Russia.

Barra said Monday that GM would continue to sell a modest number of cars in Europe through its Cadillac line as well as continued presence with the iconic Corvette and Camaro sportscars.

While GM has pulled back from less-profitable regions, it has continued to invest in North America, where robust sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups have led to strong profits the last couple of years.

GM also is targeting China, which led the global auto market in 2016 with 28 million in car sales last year.

Sales of GM’s Buick line and Wuling, part of a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, in 2016 sold two times as many cars as Opel and Vauxhall.

Overall, GM’s sales in China rose seven percent to 3.9 million cars.

GM President Dan Ammann said the Opel deal allows the company”to more sharply focus our time and resources on higher-growth, higher-return investments in our core automotive business and in new technologies that are transforming our industry.”

GM is in a race with longtime rival Ford and others to produce autonomous cars, seen as the next big frontier in the industry that is expected to demand resources and attention.

Analysts Keller said, “The auto industry is in the process of redefining ‘what is a car’ as well as the purpose of automakers in the car’s evolutionary future.”

“This paradigm shift will require automakers to seek significant capital to fund future acquisitions and investments.”

 

Shahryar expects Misbah to retire after West Indies tour

KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan does not expect Test captain Misbahul Haq to continue playing for Pakistan beyond the upcoming tour of West Indies.

While talking to the Daily Express, the 82-year-old revealed that after the disappointing tour of New Zealand and Australia, he had asked the veteran skipper to decide his future himself.

“I had a word with Misbah and asked him to decide about his future,” said Shaharyar. “He said he will get back to me after reviewing his form in the PSL, following which he contacted me and expressed his desire to go on the West Indies tour.

“Keeping his services for the country in mind, I retained him as the captain because I think he wants to finish his career on a high, and the tour of Caribbean will be a great opportunity for him. However, since he will turn 43 during that tour, I don’t see him playing for Pakistan after that.”

Shaharyar, while talking about the possible return of international cricket to Pakistan, added that hosting a successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) final was a small step towards a long journey.

“It was an opportunity for us to show to the world our security arrangements,” he said. “However, it will not be fair to believe that just one match can convince international teams to come to Pakistan.

“We’ve invited Bangladesh and Sri Lankan team for the home series, but there is nothing certain yet. Even the World XI’s proposed tour of Pakistan is not confirmed yet, but if it is materialised, then we should be able to have four matches in the space of one week.”

 

Facebook celebrates International Women’s Day with inspirational Malala quote

The world is celebrating International Women’s Day today to honour political, social, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world.

International Women’s Day has been the trending topic on different social media websites. Google has introduced a doodle to mark the occasion and social media giant Facebook is also honouring women by celebrating their contributions
As soon as you access Facebook today, you see the social media site is celebrating “the amazing contributions women make to our world and our future.” The best part? The message uses a quote by Pakistani activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai.
Clicking the “Explore Inspiring Stories” option connects yomalalau to inspirational and influential female leaders from across the globe.

Yousufzai who was a vocal advocate of women’s right to educatio
nin her hometown of Swat was injured after a Taliban gunman attempted to assassinate her in 2012.
Today, the 19-year-old continues her struggle and activism for women’s rights and has become a symbol for women empowerment in Pakistan. She’s also one of Pakistan’s only two Nobel Prize laureates and the youngest-ever person to be awarded a Nobel Prize.

ABC News too shared a quote by Yousufzai on it’s official Twitter account

USA: Meriden City Council honors Ahmadiyya mosque

Mosque representative Wajid Danish Ahmed expressed gratitude for the recognition, saying the mosque is honored to call Meriden its home.

MERIDEN — Members of the Baitul Aman Mosque of South Meriden received the Spirit of Meriden award at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Increases in tax benefits for low-income senior citizens and veterans were also approved by the council.

Mayor Kevin Scarpati praised the mosque for its continuous community outreach, while Police Chief Jeffry Cossette thanked the members for donating tourniquets to every member of the police force.

“It’s a tool that we can use out on the street. It could be a stabbing or gunshot wound or it could be a severed limb and now they have the tools before fire and ambulance arrive to stop the bleeding and give the individual a much better chance,” Cossette said. “I can’t thank you enough and it’s a great asset to our citizens.”

Mosque representative Wajid Danish Ahmed expressed gratitude for the recognition, saying the mosque is honored to call Meriden its home.

“It’s been such a blessing to be based in South Meriden and the other thing is that the support that we’ve had from you guys has been amazing. The support that we had from the police department after our time of need was definitely something we needed and we’re so grateful to have you support us,” Ahmed said. “We’re looking forward to continue to build bridges.”

Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association spreads message of peace

One of the things that sets the Ahmadiyyas apart from other Muslims is their interpretation of the Qur’an, particularly the definition of jihad.

Orillia was one of 65 towns and cities in Canada to get a better understanding of Islam this weekend.

About 50 youth members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association canvassed the city Sunday, handing out fliers and speaking to residents about Islam, trying to dispel the many misconceptions the religion faces on a daily basis.

The message of Islam Understood was simple.

“Our motive is love for all, hatred for none,” said Sheraz Shafiq, one of the canvassers in Orillia. “We’re out today to distribute fliers of love, peace and unity.”

The flier shows the Muslim belief of one God and the existence of all the prophets found in other religions, from Confucius to Jesus Christ. The prophets lead up to Muhammad, “whom God revealed the universal faith of Islam,” the brochure stated. After Muhammad, God promised a final messiah.

The Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that messiah was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded the sect in 1889. His message was to bring mankind back to God, through Islam.

One of the things that sets the Ahmadiyyas apart from other Muslims is their interpretation of the Qur’an, particularly the definition of jihad.

“We believe jihad is not with the sword; it’s with the pen,” Shafiq said. “You have to educate people…. (Jihad) is like a challenge you have to face in life, a hurdle you have to overcome.”

That education was on display through the canvassing in the city. Shafiq said the goal wasn’t as much to change someone’s mind on Islam, but to open it up to other possibilities. More than anything else, they wished open up a dialogue on the peaceful, true meaning of Islam.

The devotion to peace has the Ahmadiyyas on the sidelines of many battles. Just Saturday, a protest featuring pro- and anti-Muslim demonstrators took over Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, in response to the proposed anti-Islamophobia bill in front of the federal government. No one from Shafiq’s group was there.

“We don’t protest. Our goal is not to protest, just to educate. We don’t go out to rallies; we avoid those things,” Shafiq said. “There are places around the world where we are being martyred, people are coming against us. We don’t retaliate. We don’t protest. Our goal is to be peaceful and humble and let them know what the true message is.”

The youth spent Sunday traversing the city, hopeful to attend every residence in Orillia. The early morning hours were spent leaving the pamphlet at the doors. As the afternoon broke, Shafiq said he was hopeful to have meaningful conversations with Orillians.

“We’re trying to take away any misconceptions there may be about Islam,” Shafiq said. “People who have been out, some have actually stopped and said ‘it’s good that you’re here.'”

About 1,500 Ahmadiyyas took part in spreading the Islam Understood message across the country. Alongside Orillia, other municipalities in Ontario canvassed included Barrie, Midland, Collingwood and Innisfil.

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UK: London MP calls for crackdown on Sunni Muslim extremists radicalising from prison cells

“Given the increase in anti-Ahmadi extremism, are you confident that you have enough Urdu speakers in the entry clearance section at the High Commission in Islamabad and here in London?”

A south London MP is leading calls to crack down on radicalisation within UK prisons after an extremist killer preached hate from his jail cell.

MPs heard how taxi driver Tanveer Ahmed was able to radicalise other prisoners from his cell after he was jailed for 27 years for murdering Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah last year.

Ahmed drove hundreds of miles to attack Mr Shah, a member of the Ahmadi community, who he believed had disrespected the prophet Mohammed.

Siobhain McDonagh, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said preventing radicalisation was a key factor in countering terrorism.

Speaking during Home Office questions, the Mitcham and Morden MP said: “You will be aware of the case of Tanveer Ahmed, who is in prison for murdering the peaceful Ahmadi shopkeeper Mr Asad Shah.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said tackling radicalisation was a “key pillar” of the Government’s anti-terrorism plan. (PA)

“Yet from his prison cell he is using the phone and letters to continue radicalising people against Ahmadi Muslims.

“Given the increase in anti-Ahmadi extremism, are you confident that you have enough Urdu speakers in the entry clearance section at the High Commission in Islamabad and here in London?”

Ahmadis differ from other Muslims in their belief that Mohammed is not the final prophet, which many orthodox Muslims believe is blasphemous.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said tackling radicalisation was a key pillar of the Government’s counter extremism strategy.

Responding to Ms McDonagh, she said: “You raise a very important element of our counter terrorism and our counter extremism strategy, which is indeed about counter radicalism and I can reassure you that there is a lot of additional work going on in prisons to ensure that counter-radicalism takes place.

“The Justice Secretary has taken additional steps to work with people who are being radicalised or are the sources of radicalisation, and I hope that will yield positive results.”

Australia: Ahmadiyya community partakes in Clean Up Australia Day

More than 350 kilograms worth of rubbish was collected at four ‘clean up’ sites across the southeast – including New Farm Park, Middle Road Park, Stockleigh Road and Mount Lindesay Highway junction, and the Baitul Masroor Mosque – on Sunday, March 5.

Members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community were active participants in beautifying southeast Queensland at the weekend, with more than 200 men, women and children taking part in Clean Up Australia Day.

Across the country, thousands of Ahmadiyya Muslim community members took part in the event.

More than 200 southeast Queensland members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, joined by guests, took part in the Clean Up Australia Day event on Sunday, March 5.

More than 350 kilograms worth of rubbish was collected at four ‘clean up’ sites across the southeast – including New Farm Park, Middle Road Park, Stockleigh Road and Mount Lindesay Highway junction, and the Baitul Masroor Mosque – on Sunday, March 5.

Clean Up Australia Day activities started at 9am, with silent prayers led by Imam Ahmed Nadeem in Stockleigh.

A total of $620 was raised from members taking part in the event and donated to the Clean Up Australia Day group.

Volunteers and guests were then served with a complimentary barbecue following the event, which finished at 2pm.

Source http://www.jimboombatimes.com.au/