PM inaugurates iconic
Shard in London
PRIME Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani inaugurated the Shard Tower in London on Thursday. The opening ceremony was attended by the Duke of York Prince Andrew and Mayor of London Boris Johnson as well as heads of diplomatic missions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in London and ranking British dignitaries.
It was also attended by the Qatari Ambassador in London HE Khalid Rashid Salim al Hamoudi al Mansouri and a number of Qatari officials. The PM said in his speech at the inauguration ceremony that the investment reflects the good relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom in various areas, especially economic. The project is one of several long-term investments of Qatar in United Kingdom, he added. He thanked all the attendees and all those who contributed to the project.
The Duke of York said the project will further enhance bilateral ties especially in the areas of the investment and tourism which are important for the economy of the two countries. Following the opening ceremony, the PM and the Duke of York went up to the top floor and highest terrace in Europe, which reveals the panoramic views of the City of London.
The city’s most prominent monuments upto a distance of 60 miles, including London Eye, Canary Wharf and the Thames can be seen from the terrace. The PM also listened to a briefing on the tower’s various sections among which is ‘Shangri-La’ five-star hotel, luxury hotel apartments and administrative offices in addition to a number of floors that contain well-known world restaurants. The Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper, named for its tapering icicle shape, took 12 years of planning and construction by Irvine Sellar, chairman of the Londonbased developer. His company owns 5 percent of the Shard, a mix of offices, shops, apartments and a Shangri-La hotel. Qatar owns 95 percent after buying into the project in 2009. Sellar, 73, said he “wouldn’t want any one tenant to dominate the Shard” and predicted the entire tower will be leased by the end of 2014. “We are negotiating with various office occupiers for space well in excess of 100,000 square feet,” he was quoted as having said in an interview recently. The Shard is 1016 feet high, with 11,000 glass panels covering the area of eight football pitches. It has 44 lifts, including double-decker lifts and 306 flights of stairs.
Renzo Piano calls the European Union’s new tallest building a “vertical city”. Towering over the south bank of the River Thames, the tower already dominates London like no other building, its spire sometimes obscured by cloud in the British capital’s often overcast skies and is expected to draw rich customers from all over the world but so far it has signed only one pre-let deal with the five-star Shangri- La Hotel and spa.own its investment banking operations. “Although this could have potentially positive implications over the longer term, the uncertainty surrounding such a change in direction is creditnegative in the short term,” said Moody’s, which lowered its outlook for the standalone bank’s financial strength to negative from stable.
Barclays was last month fined nearly half a billion dollars for its part in manipulating a key interest rate which underpins financial transactions worth an estimated $360 trillion. Reuters reported on Thursday that Britain’s financial regulator warned the entire Barclays’ board in February that the bank’s culture needed to change. S&P on Thursday lowered its outlook for Barclay’s long-term rating to negative from stable citing management upheaval and the strategic uncertainty currently facing the bank.