London Steps Up Islamic Finance Ambitions

With Radek at the nets, that is exactly what I am trying to work on. He is such a talented player. He is very intelligent. When I share something with him, he picks it up real quick. It is not easy for a singles player where you have to adapt to the doubles court,” he said. Paes said he approached Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl to improve his baseline play. “I have shared a great relation with Ivan Lendl over the years. When I came out of the juniors in 1990, I was number one in the world, I travelled with Ivan for two and half years and trained with him and Tony Roche in Australia. I love to keep learning. My game at the nets is instinctive, it’s fast, but my game on the baseline is what I need to keep improving on,” Paes said. “I watched specific players. I watched (Novak) Djokovic and the balance that he has on the court. I watched Andy Murray and the balance he has on court. Both those two players have a two-handed backhand that I can’t really relate but someone like Lendl had a single-handed backhand.

“We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Islamic finance follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, and is playing an increasingly prominent role internationally as often oil and gas-rich investors from Islamic countries put more of their money to work overseas. Britain’s Islamic finance task force, established in March, is led by several ministers and industry figures as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank Ltd. It was launched ahead of London hosting the World Islamic Economic Forum in October and its mandate is to facilitate Islamic financial business, including investment in British infrastructure by Islamic sovereign wealth funds. The forum, which saw 28 billion ringgit ($8.6 billion) worth of deals inked last year, is being held outside an Islamic city for the first time. Islamic finance has already played a role in several major deals in London, with Qatari investors taking part in funding the city’s Shard tower, Harrod’s department store and the athletes’ village used for last year’s summer Olympics. A Malaysian consortium is also spearheading the redevelopment of London’s Battersea power station, after acquiring the site for 400 million pounds last year. Malaysia is the second largest investor in London’s real estate market behind the United States. “The task force has just started and its aim is to make it easier for banks in London to have Islamic products, which is still quite a new concept to any of them,” Lister said. “Only now people are beginning to understand what the products actually mean and how they comply … What you will see is a lot of companies introducing those products.” Maybank Islamic, an arm of Malaysia’s largest bank Malayan Banking Bhd, has launched a sterling-denominated and sharia-compliant mortgage product for high net-worth Malaysians looking to invest in London’s real estate market.

London lightweight Jesse Ronson ready for long-awaited UFC debut this weekend

A back belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and former military police officer, the 32-year-old Prazeres has been a pro fighter since 2000 although 13 of his 17 fights came before June 2008. Ronson believes Prazeres made the drop to lightweight to take advantage of his strength and grappling skills. “His coaches probably told him ‘Hey look, at 155 pounds, you grab a hold of a guy, they’re not going anywhere,’ ” he said. “He’s so big and so strong that nobody’s going to be able to stop him. But that’s where I come in.” That weight cut, in a foreign country, may make life difficult for the Brazilian, according to Ronson. “I know he’s going to gas really fast,” he said. “Probably after the first two or three minutes he’s not going to have a gas tank any more.” Ronson, known for his body punches, looks to add to that pain. “I’m going to keep it busy,” he said. “I’m going to beat, beat, beat his body.” On the mental front, he has been working with a sports psychologist to prepare for Saturday and calm his nerves. “It’s helping a lot,” he said. “I’m waking up every day feeling great. When I go train, I’ve never felt this good.” Ronson trains at the Adrenaline Training Center in London, home to fellow UFC fighters Chris (The Menace) Clements and Sam (Hands of Stone) Stout and former UFC featherweight contender Mark (The Machine) Hominick. Clements is also on the Air Canada card, facing welterweight Stephen (Wonderboy) Thompson. While Ronson has had to wait for a chance to show his skills in the UFC, in truth he hasn’t been at the fight game long.