Michael White’s diary

They just can’t resist a good man in a spot of bother, like Sarko or a Spanish royal. Though you’d think they’d be too busy, what with organising a World Cup• The oil-sodden autocracy of Qatar is diversifying again. Not content with inviting ex-president of France Nicolas Sarkozy to head a €500m private equity fund, […]
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The west’s alliance against President Assad is riddled with contradictions | Claire Spencer

The tragedy in Syria lies as much in the dysfunctional international response as in the war on the groundOver the past week there has been much wringing of hands over Syria, and rightly so. At every turn, the Gordian knot has been tightening, with little prospect of it being cut.Monday’s grim news was that the […]
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UK gas supply pressure eased with arrival of tanker from Qatar

Only two days’ worth of gas supplies in storage late last week as cold snap increases demand for heating and electrictyThe pressure put on the UK’s energy supplies by the current cold weather have eased with the arrival in port of a large gas tanker from Qatar docked, another shipment due on Monday and two […]
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Marks & Spencer shares flourish after reports of Qatar takeover bid

Rumours of £8bn takeover bid pushed retailer’s shares to a 28-month high but sources have played down the speculationMarks & Spencer shares hit a 28-month high on rumours of an £8bn takeover by the Qatar Investment Authority, reaching prices last seen in November 2010. Despite attempts by sources close to Qatar Holdings to play down […]
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Xstrata investor refuses to back miner’s £140m merger pay package

Tie-up with Glencore likely to proceed despite last-minute hitch involving Qatar HoldingThe high-profile £50bn merger between Xstrata and Glencore took another last-minute twist on Thursday after the surprise decision by an influential shareholder not to back controversial multi-million pound pay packages for key staff.An announcement by Qatar Holding, the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, that […]
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Glencore/Xstrata battle likely to get bloodier

If Glencore is finally paying up, doesn’t Glasenberg have the right to take the top job? And wasn’t the original idea that he would work as Mick Davis’s deputy just a polite fiction?Welcome to the world of mergers and acquisitions, Mr Blair. You’ve picked a corker – a deal that threatens to become the nastiest […]
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SFO launches investigation into Barclays payments to Qatar

Barclays faces criminal investigation into payments made to Qatar Holding after bank sought emergency funding in 2008The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into payments made after Barclays tapped Middle Eastern investors for emergency funds in 2008.The inquiry – which relates to the disclosure of fees paid to the sovereign investor Qatar Holding – […]
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Boy abducted in Qatar sends ‘get me home’ plea to David Cameron

PM responds to appeal by Adam Jones and tells Qatari royals he wants case ‘speedily resolved’A British schoolboy who was allegedly abducted in Qatar nearly three years ago has appealed to David Cameron to help reunite him with his mother.Adam Jones was separated from his British mother while visiting his dead father’s relatives in the […]
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Barclay brothers win case to retain control of top hotels

Barclays’ high court victory over Irish property tycoon Patrick McKillen opens window on to business dealings of powerful The billionaire Barclay brothers have won their high court battle over the future of three of London’s most prestigious hotels.Irish property tycoon Patrick McKillen sued the reclusive twins, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, claiming they had […]
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How Qatar is taking on the world

The Gulf state is daring to flex its diplomatic, cultural and military muscles. And the effects are being felt from the Shard to SyriaOn Thursday evening Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who combines the roles of Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, stood with the Duke of York and mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to […]
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