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9616 0120/ 9984 4896

Bsc Programmes - Applied Geosciences - Urban Planning and Architectural Design - Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development - Applied Information Technology

BEng Programmes - Mechanical Engineering - Process Engineering


- Language of tuition is English - Laptops for Pre-University and Bachelor students - Trips to Germany if it is a compulsory part of the programme - Financial aid available

MSc Programmes - Integrated Urban Planning - Petroleum Geoscience

- The first German university in the Gulf - All BSc programmes are internationally accredited - International professors


EDITOR’S NOTE Hi Everybody,

one area and that is that the high cost of subscribing to journals that carry research information has begun to fall, as some content is now available free online. The inflow and generation of the new knowledge also leads to an improvement in the overall quality of life in the country, as it would lead to advancement in all the sectors that affect it, like food

Never before in Oman’s recent history have the economic, political and social conditions been as conducive to scientific research as it is today. Research capacity does not just lead to generation of new knowledge, but also the ability to absorb and utilise advanced techniques developed in developed countries and international institutions. It will take national centres of research to recognise, modify and use such knowledge to suit local conditions. This will be more so in areas like dairy, agriculture, fisheries and healthcare; while in a similar way local industry’s research capacity will let it absorb Discover, new technical knowledge from firms with leading research and deA CREDIBLE ACCENT WHAT ARE THOSE VOICES? THE POWER OF WATER velopment capability and university research centres. production, hygiene, nutriAgain, firms where the tion, healthcare, governance, processes and products coneducation and the environstantly undergo technical ment. This in turn augurs advancement need to remain for higher productivity in the connected to the internationfuture. al scientific world and engage Campus met Assistant Secin joint research and developretary General for Innovation ment with private and public at The Research Council Dr research institutions. Mohammed Al Mughairi and The process of building asked him what they were dosuch institutions by developing to build the links between ing individual skills, setting academia, industry and govup infrastructure, providing ernment within the country grants for research, mentorand outside. In an article tiing of young faculty, is a protled Valuing Research, which tracted and expensive one. In is based on an interview with these matters, there has been Al Mughairi, we get to know a welcome development in AUGUST 2010







What matters most? a) Internet b) Laptop c) Mobile phone d) Pentium chip




SEND your response ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’ or ‘d’ to or SMS to 99255965 by August 25, 2010.


the state of things.

Opinion Poll In last month’s Opinion Poll ‘rowing’ was something readers wanted to learn most urgently followed by ‘sailing’. It all depends on where you live or go to school or university. If it is near a river, lake or sea and there are facilities and encouragement to learn to row and sail then they can become lifetime obsessions. Rowing, especially for pleasure, can be learnt with a little help. Go to a lake where you have row boats. Watch your boatman for a few minutes, then take over the oars. It is rhythm and coordination, but you should be reasonably strong in the arms, back and legs. If it is at a hotel by a lake, it would be nicer, as you will be a guest and the boatman can expect a tip. In Oman, rowing may be possible on a placid sea or if there are lakes and wadis where it can be done. In the case of sailing, there is a lot of encouragement and facilities to learn sailing in Oman, a very clean sport, because you are powered by the wind. It is good to become a sailor or rower, because in addition to all the fun, you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends. That’s for now. Do keep in touch via campus@

Jeta Pillai



DIFFERENT STROKES ICON BE AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER Ali Bin Said Bin Nasser Al Hadabi tells us how he made it to the top.


ICON THINKING BIG Alexander Muse has an unconventional approach to entrepreneurship.


THE INTERVIEW VALUING RESEARCH Dr Mohammed Al Mughairi, assistant secretary-general, The Research Council, tells us how they are developing research capacity in the Sultanate.


A SOLID BASE Chartered accountancy is a good base for those interested in a career in finance.

Salim Al Rumaithy, Sreekumar, Sultan Qaboos University, MCT News Service, Agencies, Wikipedia Cover photo: Mechanical engineering laboratory at Sultan Qaboos University.


20 22 26


DESTINATION LIKE A POSTCARD FROM GREECE Santa Catalina has a long history of being a weekend getaway for Hollywood.



29 30








Not real life


OMANTIC comedies might provide 90 minutes of light-hearted fun but the happy-ever-after movies are also impacting people’s real love lives, according to an Australian survey. A poll of 1,000 Australians found almost half said rom-coms with their inevitable happy endings have ruined their view of an ideal relationship. One in four Australians said they were now expected to know what their partner was thinking while one in five respondents said it made their partners expect gifts and flowers ‘just because’. “It seems our love of rom-coms is turning us into a nation of “happy-ever-after addicts.” Yet the warm and fuzzy feeling they provide can adversely influence our view of real relationships,” said Australian relationship counselor, Gabrielle Morrissey.

Dan in Real Life.

Little Miss Muffets


N Austrian university is on the hunt for girls who recoil at the sight of spiders for research into how fear affects the processes of the brain. “The researchers are looking for girls aged between 8-13 years who are very fearful of spiders and/or who feel sick at the sight of them,” the University of Graz said on its website. The girls will be shown pictures of the eight-legged crawlers and their brainwaves will be registered. They will also undergo free fear therapy with specialists. The researchers hope the results will help them develop their phobia treatments. “Spiders provoke revulsion for many people and even set off fearful panic. Girls in particular are frequently affected,” the university said.


Wrong message


WENTY per cent of Britons have managed to send racy texts to the wrong person, and nearly one in 10 has been caught red-handed “sexting,” according to a poll. Under-25s are the most careless, with 43 per cent admitting to sending fruity texts to the wrong contact. Men and women were equally guilty. “Text and picture messaging has now become so second nature that people are less cautious, leading to messages frequently going astray,” said Keir McConomy, Managing Director of which commissioned the survey.



Pets going green


HETHER it is organic coconut chip treats, ecofriendly rope toys, hemp and bamboo collars or beds made from recycled material, pampered pets and their owners are going green. There are still $3,000 snake-skin and diamond collars, fitness trainers for pudgier pooches and pet hotel suites, but more animal lovers are eschewing luxury for green gear. “In the last year and a half we have seen more eco-friendly products than ever before,” Charlotte Reed, a New York-based pet products expert, said in an interview. “More

people are leaning in that direction.” And they are realizing that their dog, or cat, can help reduce their carbon footprint. And to calm an anxious pet during travel, veterinary visits and thunderstorms Pet Acoustics has created what it describes as a “sound world for animals” – relaxing music for dogs, cats and horses, and what is billed as the world’s first pet speaker designed for animal hearing sensitivities. Along with the pet sound system international pet expert Janet Marlow has composed and recorded music specifically for animals.

Credit cards and inequality


REDIT card fees and rewards programmes exacerbate income inequality by acting as a transfer of wealth from poor to rich, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study. The researchers argue that reducing card rewards and merchant fees “would likely increase consumer welfare.” Merchants usually don’t charge different prices for card users to recover the costs of fees and rewards, but instead, mark up the prices for all consumers. As a result, people who pay cash – and who are more likely to be lower income – end up subsidising those who pay by credit card. US consumer finance data shows

that people on a low income are less likely to have a credit card, and those who do, spend less a month on average, than higher earners. Highincome consumers are also 20 percentage points more likely to receive credit card rewards – be they frequent flier miles, cash back or other enticements. “What most consumers do not know is that their decision to pay by credit card involves merchant fees, retail price increases, a nontrivial transfer of income from cash to card payers, and consequently a transfer from low-income to high-income consumers,” Scott Schuh, Oz Shy and Joanna Stavins wrote.

Heat shrinks fries


RENCH fries in Germany could be significantly shorter this year due to the heatwave that has baked Germany and much of Europe this month, the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) said. Hot and dry weather has led to a meagre harvest of extra-large potatoes used to produce the ideal-length French fry.


“The French fries industry and consumers will have to brace themselves for shorter fries,” said spokeswoman Verena Telaar, adding that smaller potatoes mean that fries will probably be 45mm long at best, down from the usual 55 mm. Germany produces 11 million metric tonnes of potatoes a year, about 10 per cent of which are turned into French fries.


A credible accent


ALIFORNIA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger overcame his accent and secured the trust of voters, but new research shows that an accent can impact a person’s credibility. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers from the University of Chicago found that people unconsciously doubt harder to process statements more, than easily understandable ones. “Instead of perceiving the statements as more dif-

ficult to understand, they perceive them as less truthful,” Shiri Lev-Ari and Boaz Keysar said in the study. The result of this unconscious mental operation has an “insidious impact on millions of people, who routinely communicate in a language which is not their native tongue,” they said, adding that an accent might reduce the credibility of job seekers, eyewitnesses, reporters or news anchors. In the first study 30 people listened to phrases such

as “a giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can” or “ants don’t sleep” in Austrian-German, Korean, Italian, Polish, Turkish and other accents and graded them as to how likely they were to be true. “People were just influenced by the accent, so when people had an accent people rated the sentences as being less true than when people heard them without an accent,” Lev-Ari, a post-doctoral researcher in psychology, explained.

Pizza man saves life


LAID off paramedic who turned to delivering pizzas to make ends meet is credited with saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest just as a pizza was delivered to his door. Christopher Wuebben, 22, was delivering a pizza late last week to the suburban Denver home of George Linn, when he heard the man’s wife screaming for help, according to Wuebben’s boss, John

Keiley. “Chris told the woman that he was trained in CPR and knew what to do,” Keiley, owner of Johnny’s New York Pizza, said. “He got him on the floor and brought him back to life before the fire department showed up.” Linn was transported to Swedish Medical Center where he is listed in serious condition in the hospital’s critical care unit, hospital spokeswoman Julie Lonborg said.

Living and dying


A hair dresser in Havana.

HAT a person does for a living could play in role in how they die, according to new research. After analyzing 1.6 million deaths over a decade, British scientists found that painters, bricklayers and roofers had about twice the average rate of death from drug abuse, while merchant seamen and cooks had a higher risk of alcohol-related deaths. And dressmakers and hairdressers had nine times the average risk of death from HIV/ AIDS. “This study demonstrates that there are major differences between occupational groups in


their risk of death from drug and alcohol-related diseases,” said Dr David Coggan, of the Medical Research Council in Southampton, England, who headed the research team. Although the diseases linked to certain types of death are unlikely to be a direct consequence of work, Coggan said the study published in the journal Occupational Medicine could open up new methods of prevention. “The findings are important because they indicate opportunities for targeted interventions to prevent illness and promote health,” he added.




Ali Bin Said Bin Nasser Al Hadabi

Be an electrical engineer Ali Bin Said Bin Nasser Al Hadabi, General Manager of Oman Electricity Transmission Company, says students should study electrical engineering because the Sultanate needs more of them What are the qualifications that helped you to get to this position? I completed my graduation in electrical engineering from the US in 1990 and post-graduate degree in 2001. I joined the Ministry of Electricity and Water in 1990 as a regional manager. Then I went up in the hierarchy to become Director of the electricity department in Al Dhahira region and General Manager of Majan Electricity Company in 2005. In 2008, I was appointed as the General Manager of Oman Electricity Transmission Company. What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them? It was a very difficult journey. But I could overcome the challenges with my dedication and hard work. Besides, I consider dedication to work as part of my patriotism. We ought to be grateful to our country which provides us with education and all conveniences for living.

What about professional challenges you faced? The restructuring of the functions of the electricity sector in 2005 was a big challenge for me. We moved from the Ministry of Electricity and Water to some private companies. This switchover was a difficult task. But, now after five years, we are proud of the changes and the results it brought forth. What do you think about electrical engineering and what advice do you have for youngsters? The electricity sector is an important sector and youngsters can learn a lot of new things every day. I have learnt many new things from my profession. I called upon students to study electrical engineering. We need more people in this discipline to serve Oman. Concentration, dedication and courage in taking decisions are very important. Delay in taking decisions is not appropriate in this sector. My advice to youngsters is to be dynamic and explore

new areas to develop their skills. Who is your role model? My role model is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said who has done a lot of things for the country. He is our model both in life and profession. What are the characteristics of a successful director in the time of crisis? There are a lot of problems and crises in the electricity sector. Commitment to your duties and responsibilities is very important. What are your ambitions for the future? I want to fulfil the objectives of my company and achieve the targeted goals in the next five years, to meet the increasing demand for electricity in our country in all fields. I also want to mould new engineers and administrators in the company. What is the role of your family in


your success? My family includes five daughters and a son and they were very supportive of my work. They stand by me and understand the nature of my job. I thank my wife and children for adjusting to the nature of my work during the last 20 years. After years of working, do you thing that prospects are bright for Omani youths to fulfil their objectives? Opportunities are open for the youths. What is required form them is patience, hard work and love for their duty. Love for your work is part of love for your country. People, in whatever area they work, should strive to take forward whatever they can. Youths must strive to improve their skills and keep abreast of new developments in their area of work.

Waleed Mahmood



Thinking THE MUSE FILE Born: Portsmouth, Virginia. Alexander Muse.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas Motivation: The idea that anything is possible

Alexander Muse has made millions of dollars starting and selling technology companies, writes Sheryl Jean


NCON V ENTIONAL describes Alexander Muse. He thinks big and – for the most part – it has paid off. He helped start a half-dozen technology companies in Dallas – with creative names such as MotorSport Ranch and Big in Japan – since the late 1990s. He sold three of them for tens of millions of dollars; he still runs the others. LayerOne, a telecommunications infrastructure company he started in 1999, went bankrupt. Muse raised $4 million in venture capital to buy back the assets and relaunch the company. He sold it to Switch & Data for $22 million on Sept. 12, 2001. “I was supposed to sign the deal on Sept. 11. That was so scary. I had a newborn baby, a big new house and a Porsche. I thought, ‘If this doesn’t

happen, I could lose it all,’” said Muse, 38. “We ended up making a lot of money, but we lost a lot of money for a lot of people. That was a turning point for me.” Early on, Muse named himself CEO of all his ventures. But he learned his attention span was limited to about two years. “I’m more effective being part of a leadership team than the leader,” he said. Now he finds partners to incubate ideas at Architel, an IT outsourcing company he started in 2001. If successful, they’re spun off with a CEO who has an equity stake in the company. Muse focuses on Architel and ShopSavvy, a cellphone application that lets users scan a product’s bar code to compare prices online and at local stores. Revenue reached $11.5 million at Architel and $1 million at Shop-

Savvy in 2009. Both turn a profit. With a foosball table and a giant Incredible Hulk at his Dallas Infomart office, Muse created a fun place to work as well as a nurturing environment for budding entrepreneurs. He shares spare office space, invests in promising ideas and holds monthly happy hours. In 2005, Muse launched the Texas Startup Blog and co-founded SpringStage in 2008 as an online network to promote local entrepreneurship. An avid blogger, Muse writes about his adventures, attracting at least 175,000 online followers. Soon, he plans to start a blog called the Startup Muse. Next? Muse wants to develop applications that integrate social networks with services. MCT News Service


Biggest challenge: To focus on what we’re doing, not what our competitors are doing. If I focus on my competitors, I can’t sleep, I get physically sick, and I’m apparently a nightmare to live with. Management philosophy: I wish I had one of those. I guess it would be aligning my interests with the people who work for me. Best asset: My family. Wife, Michele; son Ethan, 8; daughter Erin, 2 Ideal vacation: Staying home. Most extravagant purchase: A BMW M5 for about $110,000 on eBay without consulting my wife. Wheels: BMW 750il Last meal request: My mom’s lasagna Favourite flick: Patton Reading: True Blue by David Baldacci Advice for a 20-year-old entrepreneur wannabe: Go work for the coolest company you can find in your field of interest. Stay there for a year or two, and get another job at a cool company. Then find a problem that needs solving.



Zhen He is working on a system that at once purifies water, generates electricity and desalinates water, writes John Schmid


ESEA RCH for many water scientists involves a frustrating paradox: Water purification requires prodigious amounts of electricity, while utilities guzzle huge volumes of water to generate electricity. That’s why Zhen He, a newly hired engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is hopeful that his prototypes for energy-producing water-treatment reactors bear fruit. Just as hopeful are his business partners at Gannett Fleming Inc., an international engineering firm that’s helping finance He’s research. Together, He and his partners hope to develop commercial applications in the growing global market for water systems that operate with a small carbon footprint. The bioreactors that crowd He’s labs are built around a phenomenon that was established 100 years ago in Britain, but that scientists all but ignored until recent years. As bacteria break down organic materials, such as wastewater contaminants, the pro-

Assistant professor Zhen He (right) with Kyle Jacobson, an undergraduate research assistant, prepares to desalinate water in a research lab a the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

cess emits a stream of electrons that can be captured with a pair of simple electrodes to generate electricity. If all goes well, He’s systems will perform three functions at once: Purify wastewater using bacteria. Produce electricity. Desalinate a separate supply of seawater in the same three-chamber bioreactors. “This is not a perpetual motion machine. The science is proven. It’s just taking energy that’s untapped and using it,” said David Drew, an engineer in the Madison, Wis., office of Gannett Fleming. He, who left a post at the University of Southern California last summer to join UW-Milwaukee, said the work is in its “ini-

tial stage.” He and Drew are looking for new allies to help them win federal grants so they can develop and test larger reactors. He wrote his doctoral thesis on microbial fuel cells, the technology underlying his reactor. Classic microbial fuel cells have two chambers. And like a battery, one side has a positive electrode and the other a negative. One side is filled with bacteria and wastewater, which triggers the circuit. The big innovation for He and Drew was the addition of a third chamber that holds salty seawater. Salt molecules, or sodium chloride, dissolve naturally in water. Permeable membranes separate the third chamber from the other two, allowing

positively charged sodium atoms to migrate toward the electrode in one chamber while negatively charged chloride particles seep into the second. That removes the salt, molecule by molecule – at least in the lab. So far, it appears unlikely that the system can remove every last trace of salt from water. But at the very least, He said his system could create a pre-desalination process that removes most of the salt and reduces the energy needed to strip out the rest. He was hired at UWMilwaukee to help fill one of the most glaring deficiencies in the region: While the area has dozens of watertechnology companies, the Water Council says the region’s weakest link is the virtual ab-


sence of universitydriven water-tech programmes. He joined UW-Milwaukee after the engineering school won approval to bring in 22 new faculty members over the past year from other schools, part of UW-Milwaukee’s strategy to play a bigger role in the regional economy. It wasn’t until energy prices rose in recent years that scientists revived an interest in energy-producing bacteria, He said. Some 24 research groups are at work on similar technologies in the US, but more are researching parallel applications in Chinese universities, said the Chinese-born He. “I’m hardly the first,” He said. MCT News Service


THE INTERVIEW Right now, in Oman, research and development is seen by companies simply as another expense, rather than something that can help them develop an asset, Dr Mohammed Al Mughairi tells Jeta Pillai Laboratory at SQU.


NLY when knowledge and understanding within a firm is state of the art, will it be in a position to recognise the usefulness of new advances in sciences and technology for its processes or products. Knowledge-based organisations will be at the highest performance level, if staff are constantly sent for training, and

later involved in research and development (R&D) with access to all the important data, information and publications in their fields. Such a state of affairs will also make it possible for the firm to enter into joint ventures and take up joint research with leading firms and universities in any part of the world. Campus met Assistant Secretary General for Innovation at The Research Council (TRC) Dr.

Laboratory at College of Medicine, SQU.



Mohammed Al Mughairi and asked him how they were facilitating the building of links between industry, academia and government bodies for transfer of knowledge and how all this would change things in the coming years. Al Mughairi said, “Right now, many local SMEs perceive research and development (or R&D) as simply another expense, rather than something that can help them develop an asset; whereas in advanced countries it is seen as ‘a pack of money’”. Al Mughairi pointed out that in an industrialising Oman, only competent management of R&D would develop and retain researchers of world class calibre within the country. “As we develop world-class indigenous capacity towards 2020, it will not only be important to develop human capital, but also retain them. They will have to be paid as global talents for that to happen. We should also think proactively to attract Omani talent moving to other countries. In some countries today, nationals working abroad are given attractive offers to come back during the summer holi-

JOIN CLUSTERS Al Mughairi feels the Sultanate should also join international clusters that link industry, academia and governments across countries. For example, Oman can connect with India in ICT research and development. For building the links, “we realised from the beginning that we will have to tackle at least three big challenges, namely: get academia to focus on local industry problems; industry to regard R&D as important for the growth of Small to Medium Enterprises (SME), creation of wealth and employment; and get the government to work out appropriate strategies, policies and incentives to initiate change”.

CULTURE OF INNOVATION Dr Mohammed Al Mughairi has a doctorate degree in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Porous Media from University of Nottingham (UK) and has 14 years of experience in the petroleum industry, private and government sectors. He has presented and published papers on various topics at the international level.

days and knowledge is ‘milked out of them’. These are some times addressed formally in

the form of ‘knowledge spillover and knowledge transfer strategies’”.

TRC’s work in developing a culture of research and innovation in the last five years has resulted in a “dedicated IT infrastructure for our services, on-line open research grants interface, educational innovation assistance programme, industrial innovation assistance programme, road, traffic acci-


dent programme etc”. The comprehensive national research strategy and the associated programmes submitted in 2009 focus on “linking local industry’s challenges to the academic grounds for socioeconomic development in line with Vision 2020”. “We are currently designing an academic innovation assistance programme to inject a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in public and private academic organisations. We hope to assist researchers in taking their output down the value chain to the market”.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE The TRC has identified areas in which Oman should achieve research excellence in the coming years. They are: energy, with particular focus on enhanced oil recovery technologies to extend the economic life of fields and generate revenues for renewable energy programmes; water and environmental research; ICT, as an enabler for national research and innovation programme implementation; and food and biochemistry research, to address food safety and food security.



THE INTERVIEW Al Mughairi said, “we are aware that we are facing local capacity and competence challenges in these areas. For this we have identified the first 5 to 8 years as the phase for ‘removing the hurdles and building our national capacity’. “The public sector will need national strategies and policies, while the private sector will have to begin R&D to create wealth together with the public sector, and the academia are expected to deal with problems in society rather than those embedded in the ‘blue sky’”.

LONG WAY TO GO As things stand today, Al Mughairi said, “the scientific research indicators for the entire Arab world are embarrassing. Taiwan or Singapore produce more publications and patents than the Arab countries combined”. “Oman is not an exception in this respect. Recent figures show that our credit in publications are in thousands, while our credit in patents are in tens. The gap is significant. Even in the case of these few patents, they are not yet licensed to third parties or commercialised to generate wealth and employment according to my information”. “One of the cultural challenges we face is that patents are not taken as business assets or economic indicators, but only

The Research Council.

a nice scientific or academic achievement. The consequence of this mentality is that these few patents end up protected for crediting personal CVs, rather than exploited in local or international markets. If this expensive, but worthless practice is to continue, then I would argue that the best way to protect your ideas is to keep them in your mind or lock your papers in your home cabinet”.

THE FUTURE Al Mughairi explained that

“Research is a solution to a problem”, while “Innovation, is taking that solution to the utility market”. Ten years from now, he said Oman will hopefully have developed research and innovation capacity to deal with on-going challenges; shifted to entrepreneurial education; developed competent SMEs to support innovation ecology; achieved research excellence in at least one area of focus; set up at least one science and technology park

and would have become a regional innovation hub. “We hope to see more Omanis gaining competency in enhanced oil recovery. We also hope to see local SMEs that can service the oil and gas industry right from training to equipment maintenance. ICT SMEs should bring the cost of broadband down. They can do this by increasing customer base and bringing down cost of services”. ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION

He said 60 per cent of Oman’s population is under the age of 24 years and the country is faced with the continuing challenge of providing them with jobs. “For this reason we need entrepreneurial education. This is because an entrepreneurial student graduates with the mindset of providing jobs for others, while a conventional student graduates with the mindset of seeking jobs from others.” And there are reasons for the Sultanate to be optimistic, Al Mughairi said, as Omanis have “been in love with knowledge for 100s of years”. “Let me give you a few examples to reinstall some confidence in ourselves, Omani forts require the knowledge of space geometry, localised geology, material science, architectural design and construction techniques. These areas must have been pioneered by Omanis with the spirit of scientific enquiry at that time. Other examples include marine navigation, agricultural irrigation systems, linguistics and international trade”. But these days, things are a little different and to be powerful today, Al Mughairi said, countries including Oman need to operate in the so-called “national innovation ecology,” with focused roles in the “local, regional or international knowledge clusters”.

A physics laboratory at SQU.



A solid

BASE As competition in the job market grows, chartered accountants will have the edge, Omar Al Sharif, tells Jeta Pillai


OMETIME back, a Gulf company, as part of its expansion plans, had set up a new unit in the European Union. But it found that the tax structure it had developed for the new division was inefficient and hurting profits. They then approached a leading audit firm for help. The firm identified what was causing such a large tax exposure and gave them a new tax structure. It led to an increase in tax savings of 10 per cent, as a result of which the firm could pay bigger dividends to its shareholders. It may surprise some of us when a chartered accountant (CA) says that there is a lot of creativity in his work. Omar Al Sharif, Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Oman, said, “All accountants can calculate, but only if you are trained to think out of the box can you find novel solutions for your clients. That is what separates the successful firms from the others. Also, nothing

Meeting at the chartered accountant’s office.


gives CAs more satisfaction than helping their client solve their problems and achieve their objective beyond their own expectations”. Al Sharif, a CA, who is the first from the Sultanate to become a partner in a Big 4 global auditing firm said, they may not have immediate solutions to a client’s problems, but they will always know how to find one soon. In terms of the quality of advise a company can get, he feels that clients tend to go to chartered accountancy firms, rather than a pure advisory firm, because they know they will receive unbiased objective advice. Such traits are ingrained in CAs from the time they prepare for their qualifications. Also, the profession has matured to take a more risk based approach, and so CAs are trained to perform their work in such a manner that it increases the chance of spotting dangers that the client has not necessarily identified or seriously considered.



CAREER ATTRIBUTES Among the attributes a CA must have are: he should be “a highly ethical person with strong morals, level-headed, and with a natural sense of right and wrong – someone who will not bend the rules”. He should also be a good listener, good at research and analysis and willing to consult his peers. A CA should also have a natural ability for working with numbers. Al Sharif said that analytical skills are acquired and should come through one’s education, including schooling, and training, but it is also very important to “have a knack for numbers; a willingness to sacrifice one’s personal time to give way to a lot of study time and a determination to continuously acquire new knowledge”. Not only will this help a student pass the exams, but also develop the right attitude to their work as CAs. Students exposed to finance either through acquaintances or during internship are likely to aspire to become a CA. In Al Sharif’s case, he had relatives who were in the financial field and because of this he had a clear vision of what he wanted to do as a career.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING He said chartered accountancy is not only good for a career in an audit firm but

is a very solid base for anyone who wants a career in finance, especially as a leader in the organisation. “Even in industry, if you have a strategic position as a chief financial officer (CFO) or chief executive officer (CEO), the understanding you develop in areas like law, finance, business and accounting will be tools to help you perform”. In Oman most CFOs are CAs. A chartered accountant needs to retain membership of his association – in Al Sharif’s case, it is the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA). In order to ensure that CAs are up to date in terms of knowledge and skills, internationally recognised professional associations like the ACCA demand that their members meet minimum development requirements annually to be eligible for renewal of their membership. This is measured in points earned through taking part in ‘Continuous Development Programmes (CPD)’ “which enables CAs to lead the way and as a result clients and colleagues always look to them for advice”. The ways for earning CPD points required to renew membership can vary. “If you are working in the larger international firms you will take part in their in-house CPDs which are recognised by ACCA and so you would automatically be eligible for renewal. Otherwise you will need to attend workshops and training

management. “We have to determine at all times what the regulations allow and how we can help our clients and organisations achieve their objectives within the law”. He said that as a result of the recent events in the financial world that led to the global recession there is a greater need for specialisation to reduce the risk of exposure. “Until lately, there has been a dearth of specialists, as the Middle East markets were just not large enough to retain them and therefore the majority of local firms offered general services and brought specialists from outside the region when needed. However, the Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions and so there is a growing demand for local specialists at competitive rates. Larger international audit firms have responded by investing heavily in the region over the last few years”.


Omar Al Sharif

events that are recognised by them which will count towards your eligibility for renewal”. Moreover standards in accounting are constantly revised to meet the requirements of the present and also the future. “For example, when the regulatory framework is altered to allow for certain new investments into a sector, it will result in a new market structure and one can only

give business development and strategic advice by intelligently studying the revised regulations”. Al Sharif said, nowadays there is a lot of pressure on CAs, as a result of increasing complexity in the business environment. This produces a demand for a wider range of services, such as accounting advice to deal with a complex transaction or efficient tax

ACCA membership is recognised globally and is easier to access, provided there is an ACCA approved exam centre present in the country. This is unlike other qualifications where students need to travel for the exams. For example students have to go to the US to become a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Signs of success at the PricewaterhouseCoopers office in Muscat.



At the office.

EXAMINATIONS The association maintains high standards by setting difficult exams. As a result passing the exam is quite a challenge. “The curriculum is very wide and the exams try to cover most subjects. Also, unlike school or university there isn’t that opportunity to spend time with teachers who would be setting your exam papers.” Al Sharif said students can increase their chances of getting through by practicing with old exam papers as well as developing “exam technique”. For example, students must learn not to spend too much time on any one question and should be willing to leave an answer incomplete. “While studying, the effort should be to understand the subject, memorisation will not work. Also good lecturers can help students understand the crux of a subject”. Al Sharif said CAs have job security as they are always in demand – in both good and bad economic times. Also, there are very few CAs among Gulf nationals and therefore there is a big demand for local CAs in the Sultanate. If you are a member of ACCA, or another internationally recognised body, it will not be difficult to find work anywhere in the world. Besides, as competition

in the job market grows, CAs will have the edge, as they continuously update themselves with the changes “in regulatory laws, laws of finance, business management

and auditing”. You can appear for the ACCA examination immediately after high school. However, if you already have a Certified Accountancy Technician

qualification or a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you can be exempted from appearing for a few examinations. To obtain membership, aside from passing the exams, one

also needs three years practical experience. Usually, students chose to work for audit firms as the experience gained is more relevant to the CA membership.

At work.





This is an artist’s drawing of one of the twin Mars rovers as it would look on the planet’s surface. The rovers have survived more than five years, far beyond their design date.

Colonisation of

Whoever sets up bases on the moon or planets first gets an edge over others in claiming natural wealth, writes S. Madhusudhana Rao


JAPANESE plan to send a wheeled robot to the moon in five years and set up a lunar base by 2020 reminds me of explorers who set sail hundreds of years ago in search of fabled riches and a new world. Armed with rudimentary knowledge and primitive instruments by modern standards, the valiant men of the yore spent months at a stretch in oceans braving storms, onboard revolts and hostile weather to discover

lands of their dreams. The only guidance for the voyagers was natural earthly elements and the sun, moon and stars above. In spite of all the hardships, navigators like Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and many others travelled uncharted paths and found new civilisations, setting in course colonisation. It was the beginning of a new chapter in world history. Colonial powers, notably Great Britain, France, Portugal and Spain, changed the complexion

of countries they had traded with first and ruled later for decades and centuries. It was also a cultural and linguistic invasion. The foreign rulers introduced what was good for them in the ruled countries to make their lives easy. Their avowed aim of trading turned into more ambitious goal of ruling and shipping back natural resources needed to fuel the Industrial Revolution in the West. The prime motive behind colonisation was to secure ac-


cess to cheap abundant natural resources. That was history. Hundreds of years later, we are witnessing something similar by a few countries. This time it’s not on this planet but beyond it. Unlike in the colonial period, it’s not a terra firma matter. Space explorers have to travel millions of miles in empty space in zero gravity before looking at a planet, let alone landing on it, and return to the Earth. During their journey if anything happens to their spaceship nothing remains for

RANDOM THOUGHTS history. Space exploration is an ultimate test for a country’s scientific prowess in cutting-edge technologies as diverse as metallurgy and computer science and its economic strength. The race for exploring space started in the 1950s with the Soviet Union sending a dog named Laika into space. Laika, which died a few hours after launch, made history, of course, but it spurred the biggest-ever competition in outer space between the two Superpowers and Cold War foes. Nevertheless, the US was able to take “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” with the landing of astronaut Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. Since then the US, the Soviet Union (now post-communist Russia) have begun their manned and unmanned space programmes, not just to our friendly neighbour the moon, but to other planets in our solar system and beyond with the ultimate goal of colonising outer planets. In the last two decades, however, the US has been leading the way and far ahead of others in deep space and planetary probes, virtually leaving no planet in our solar system unstudied. The volume of data Nasa has been collecting from its space odysseys is mind-boggling and gives us an insight into an unknown world that no human could venture into. It’s a universe without a beginning and without an end; without a form and a shape; expanding and shrinking and in a constant flux. The unrelenting search for the origin of the universe and to unravel its secrets has also led to international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space. An example is the International Space Station orbiting the earth and projects

(ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS/MCT)

Nasa’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an instrument on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, took this image of Earth’s moon. It is a three-colour composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the Sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the moon that faces Earth. Small amounts of water were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles. Blue shows the signature of water, green shows the brightness of the surface as measured by reflected infrared radiation from the sun and red shows an ironbearing mineral called pyroxene.

like SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) to find out whether any advanced civilisation exists out there. Though, initially, space ex-

A close-up view of Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., commander of the Apollo 12 lunar landing mission, photographed during the extravehicular activity on the surface of the Moon. An EVA checklist is on Conrad’s left wrist. A set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, is held in his right hand.

ploration was limited to America and Russia, some other countries like China, Japan and India have joined the exclusive space club. Some mem-

bers of the European Union too have a consortium for space research. While every country has its own agenda which it may not disclose, the purpose

for which it is spending millions on studying rocks and atmosphere will be more to it than meets the eye. The recent discovery of traces of water on the moon and an abundant quantity of water frozen in Martian rocks raises the hope of life in some form. But more than that, what is attracting the attention of space club members is the prospect of mineral wealth. Since these planets are without any habitat and inhospitable and may be still in a state of cataclysmic geological changes, whoever sets up bases there first gets an edge over others in claiming natural wealth. Four countries that are eyeing lunar bases are the US, Japan, China and India. Russia may spring a surprise. Among them, Japan has unveiled its ambitious lunar mission. It wants to land a wheeled robot in five years and build a base by 2020, entirely managed by robots (how about calling them robonauts). In recent months, Japan has made impressive advances in space exploration. For example, an unmanned space probe that returned after a seven-year trip to an asteroid millions of light years away and a space yacht powered by nothing but sunlight. These two have boosted the Japanese morale and reinforced their confidence in pushing the frontiers of science beyond the Earth. Moreover, Japanese are pioneers in robotics, optics and electronics. The very idea of using robots in space missions is not new. But what makes the Japanese project unique is deployment of a robotic force instead of human beings for space adventures. A case of sci-fi stuff becoming a reality!

The International Space Station is featured in this photograph by a crew member of the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation in May.





General Foundation Programme myth buster


examinations, and the better you are the easier the transition from Foundation to an undergraduate programme will be.

T IS that time of the year again, when our young school leavers are anxiously awaiting news of university acceptance. With this goes the knowledge that they will probably have to spend a year doing a General Foundation Programme. But exactly what is this General Foundation Programme and why do they need it?

Will I get a qualification at the end of my programme? The aim of a Foundation Programme is for you to reach a skill level that will enable you, not only to get into a university or college, but also to cope. International examination results need to be supplied to any university or college that you apply to, so essentially these are your qualifications.

Frequently Asked Questions:. What is a Foundation Programme? A Foundation Programme is designed to prepare students for the academic world, and for further study in English. It is usually a combination of English, Maths, Computing and Soft Skills*. How long is a Foundation Programme? Usually a Foundation Programme is 8 or 9 months. If you are marginally below the level required, you will be required to enrol for an additional summer term to meet the standards. Will I have to study for the full 8 or

9 months? When you register you will do a placement test and this will indicate how many hours of tuition you will need. The final measure of your skills will be based on international

Does a Foundation Programme guarantee me access to university or college? Each college and university has its own entrance requirements based on international examinations. If you meet their requirements, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be accepted. My English is excellent! Why do I need to do a Foundation Programme?

The greatest dropout rate for university students irrespective of whether or not they are good at English, is the first year. Young people graduate from school and are not physically, emotionally or psychologically prepared for the pressure of university life. They don’t know how to take notes, do research or plan their days to fit everything in. These study skills play a vital role in helping students stay one step ahead. *What are Soft Skills? Soft Skills are interpersonal skills that give people the opportunity to learn and practice new behaviour that will improve their human relations. Though these skills can be taken into all walks, studies have shown that they can also bring positive effects by helping people be more effective and giving them satisfaction and pride in their achievements. For more information, contact: Deidre Harvey, Director of Modern Gulf Institute.

Developing human resources


E must recognise and accept that both managers and managees are resources in which the firm or agency has made a significant investment. They should always recognise the opportunity to profit from the development of these resources and to achieve a sort of capital gain on their investment in manpower. “Raw” human resources can make only limited contributions towards the achievement of an organization’s objec-

tives. In their underdeveloped state, demands and opportunities for their employment are very limited, with the trend clearly towards further decline. At the same time, however, demands for “developed” human resources – knowledgeable, skilled workers – are growing and consistently exceeds supply. In this setting, managers cannot escape the responsibility for training and developing human resources (talents) they employ and lead. These responsibilities persist because self-improvement is important in every stage of workers’ and managers’ careers. The best and most promising of new recruits may regard opportunities for continuing self-development as a major consideration for accepting employment and in becoming devoted honest workers. Pre-employment training may be required for those hired to fill entry-level jobs. All through the workers’ career, training is essential to ensure satisfactory job performance, and equally important in preparation for new jobs, transfers, promotions and shifts to new equipment and technology. Training is a means of preparing rank-and-file employees to for supervisory positions and for improving their competence and capability while they hold such leadership assignments. Professionals, middle managers, top managers and executives need continued opportunities for self-improvement to avoid otherwise relentless pressures towards personal obsolescence.

Human resources at all levels need frequent refresher training. It is imperative for leading managers to find out and fulfill any gaps and wants in development training for all and sundry in any organization. Only by so doing can we be sure that workers of all levels will be attracted to join the work force, motivated and retained to carry out their responsibilities and assure growth for themselves and their colleagues. It is worth mentioning here that by “raw” human resources” we not only


meant new or recently employed, but all those persons who have had no training to up-date them about many new developments taking place about their duties, responsibilities and effective/efficient means of performing and executing their assignments. Hamoud A.H. Al Jabry, Manager-Admin. and Human Resources Development, Waljat Colleges of Applied Sciences.


Teaching mementos


O you want to stay young and mentally active? Well, the answer to this is teaching. Teaching is a fruitful challenge and an absolutely rewarding job. This profession helps an individual to be equipped with wisdom and deep knowledge. Imparting a variety of educational skills to young or adult learners is like a travelogue with an outlined itinerary. Teaching is the noblest career I have ever known as it includes devotion and dedication to teaching tasks and other related duties for the sake of others. Indeed, teaching is an art which involves creative thinking and appreciation of logical and practical concepts. Truly, teaching is a big responsibility with commitment and integrity for fellow beings. Being a teacher for more than two decades; I’ve experienced and learnt a lot of conceptual techniques and strategies from my very own students. It is truly great to accept the reality that students have assisted me in improving my teaching methodology. I am not a perfect teacher; I have inherent weaknesses and strengths, but my students have supported me all the way up. To understand is to adjust and bend down to the ability level of learners. This approach has helped me a lot to carry on with the teaching profession. Time has flown rapidly. Memories are still fresh in the mind, like when I had an interview with the Ministry of Manpower staff for Technical College. Dr Muneer (the former Director General of Technical College) headed the panel. In the process, I got the job here in the Sultanate of Oman. My first encounter with Omani students was a memorable one. I will always cherish those moments when I came into the classroom with my mind blank and fear of discovering stuff which I was not used to. For example, the culture, language and type of

A UK education


learners. A face to face encounter with them was absolutely lovely, but challenging and certainly a bit frustrating. I had no idea of their culture as students; though, I was able to manage those challenges completely. On the other hand, these students were very supportive and open minded, especially the boys. They helped me to understand their weaknesses through daily interactions with them. I am still teaching in the Sultanate; perhaps, I might leave the country as I reach my retirement age. I may probably be able to live here for the rest of my life, but one thing I am sure of is that it is my teaching profession that has brought me and my family to this fabulous and adorable country. Susana A. Cochingco Previous teaching post /ESLlecturer – 5 years, Al Musanaa College of Technology Present teaching post: ESLlecturer at Caledonian College of Engineering (2009-2010)

SEVEN-HOUR direct flight on our own Oman Air, and over a hundred universities offering every programme you could possibly think of. It’s no wonder (despite fierce competition from USA, Australia and more recently Germany) that the UK remains the favourite for overseas study. Add to this, the long historical links between the UK and Oman, which have helped to foster an affinity between the two countries, and you begin to understand why so many students feel they already “know” the UK before they even set foot there. An added advantage is that England is the home of the English language and it is still considered the best place in the world to improve your language skills. Over the coming issues I will be featuring some of the UK’s best known universities as well as some that are not so familiar! My aim is to open up to you a host of opportunities. While the opinion and personal experiences of family and friends will help to influence your decision, I want to introduce you to the vast array of choices available so that you can select what is best for you. A good starting point is to identify the two types of universities – old and new. Old universities are pre-


cisely that – old! Some have been around for hundreds of years, Aberdeen, for example, was founded in 1495. Compare this to the new universities who have only been in existence for 20 years or, in the case of Bolton, five years! In general, old universities tend to be research-driven, academic institutions with rather theoretical programmes that favour written examinations. New universities have a hands-on approach and their programmes are more practical and vocational in nature. They favour assessment by project work and assignments. Which one would best suit your style of learning? Whichever you prefer, there is one thing certain – in the UK there is a programme and an institution for everyone. My job is to help you find it! Kate Clarke is the Owner/Manager of Al Ahlam Higher Education Services in Qurum. A UK national who has lived in Oman since 1986, she has over 15 years experience in education and training. Al Ahlam provides a UK and Irish education advisory service. Since 2002 it has helped hundreds of students towards proficiency in the English language and assisted them in achieving their dream of a Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D qualification.



HEALTH Some researchers suggest that the experience of an auditory hallucination is similar to the voices that even healthy people sometimes hear

What are those voi What voicces A UDITORY hallucinations occur in about 60 per cent to 80 per cent of patients with schizophrenia. These voices tend to be unfriendly or hostile, offering unwelcome commentary about the patient or a situation. Less often, the voices may command the patient to do something. Patients with schizophrenia say the voices they hear sound different from those of friends or family members, and are distinct from unspoken thoughts or an attempt to imagine someone else speaking. Some researchers

suggest that the experience of an auditory hallucination is similar to the voices that even healthy people sometimes hear either when falling asleep or waking up. Imaging studies have consistently shown that Broca’s area, the part of the brain involved in generating speech, is activated when a person is experiencing an auditory hallucination. What is less clear is why this occurs. An early theory, now losing favour, is that auditory hallucinations result when a patient with schizophrenia has trouble filtering out environmental sounds and other stimuli, and instead

interprets these as internal voices. A related theory is that people with schizophrenia are more likely to detect patterns in random external stimuli. Experiments that have asked participants to listen to occasional spoken words contained within recordings made up mostly of background “white” noise have found that patients with schizophrenia are more likely than healthy controls to identify spoken words in the white noise at times when no one is speaking. A third theory, now gaining support, is that auditory hallucinations may result

from alterations both in memory retrieval and language processing. According to this theory, deactivation of brain circuits that help people recall stored memories enables fragments of remembered voices and words to intrude into conscious awareness without the contextual information or associations that would help someone make sense of them. There is still no consensus, however, about exactly what areas of the brain are involved. Patients with schizophrenia who hear voices may find some relief from antipsychotic drugs, which elimi-


nate or at least subdue the voices. Other options include cognitive behavioural therapy to enable a patient to recognize situations that may trigger voices or to understand the voices as symptoms of illness that can be managed. Investigators hope that further neuroscience research will lead them to other remedies. (Diederen KM, et al. “Deactivation of the Parahippocampal Gyrus Preceding Auditory Hallucinations in Schizophrenia,” American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2010) Tribune Media Services



Like a postcard from

Boats fill the Avalon Harbour.

Europe meets old Hollywood on Santa Catalina Island, writes Tony Hicks


HIS couldn’t be Catalina. I had two visions of Santa Catalina Island, which, if the 1958 Four Preps hit single is correct, is 26 miles off the shore of Long Beach. My first idea was that Catalina was some sort of amusement park or quaint-yet-sparse beach community. The second was that it was a semi-rugged place – like Angel Island in San Francisco Bay – with a couple of hotels and restaurants to signify civilisation. I was not prepared for what I saw when the ferry pulled into Avalon Harbor. I was right about the rugged mountains in the distance. But leading down to the water were rows and rows of buildings, the colour and layout resembling a postcard from Greece. The town followed the natural curve of the clearwater cove filled with hundreds of boats. The place was sunny, beautiful and vibrant. But there must’ve been some serious golf tournament happening, I thought, because

there were golf carts everywhere. About 85 per cent of the island’s 4,000 or so residents live in Avalon (the summer population increases by about 50 per cent, thanks to tourists and the seasonal workers who serve them). Avalon is a compact seaside paradise, where Europe meets old Hollywood in style and nearly everything is within range of a good walk, hence the golf carts (everyone in Avalon is allowed one golf cart; the waiting list to bring cars and trucks onto the island is at least 15 years long). The streets are narrow, and vehicles are prohibited on most of the waterfront strip of stores and restaurants, which helps keep the air fresh, the sounds natural and the area alive with people. Catalina has a long history of being a weekend getaway for Hollywood and the well-off, a legacy the island embraces but also seeks to expand. What used to be a two- to three-day trip can now easily stretch to a week (or more, if you want to

Golf carts are more prevalent than cars on the streets of Avalon.


DESTINATION explore the interior and, perhaps, stumble upon a herd of buffalo). The Santa Catalina Island Company – owned by the Wrigley family which, essentially, used to own the entire island – has made major tourist upgrades during the past year. The company is making a big play for people who can’t afford a trip to Europe. It’s emphasising more activities and night life than seems possible in a town so small. New activities include a thrilling Zip Line Eco Adventure, extending from the mountains to the beach (book in advance, as it’s usually packed). Since Avalon lies in a sheltered cove facing the mainland, it lacks the natural sandy beaches. That’s no problem, as Avalon constructed its own kid-friendly strip of beach on the waterfront. Farther north, past the historic Casino, the company recently introduced the new Descanso Beach Club, with private cabanas on a white sand beach. One can finish the zip line tour and stroll about 100 yards to a lounge chair as plush as a good mattress. The island also offers a variety of inland tours and water trips, including the Undersea Tour in a half-submarine (think the ‘Finding Nemo’ ride at Disneyland with real fish), parasailing, a glass bottom boat tour, and the Flying Fish Boat Trip, where one finds proof that fish really can fly. Beginning in August, visitors can stroll the ocean floor in a dive suit on the Sea Trek Undersea Adventure. The company’s other upgrades include a renovation of the Pavilion Hotel, with a fire pit, expanded outdoor lounging and dining. With so much to do while the sun is up, the quality of the small town’s night

Guests can lounge around a fire pit at the renovated Pavilion Hotel in Avalon.


life was surprising. Live music fills the air, divided between rowdy karaoke and pro live bands (Spencer Gimmie Some

Lovin’ Davis supposedly lives in Avalon and occasionally sits in with various bands). There are enough dance clubs (try

the Chi Chi Club after 10 pm) to keep most partiers happy. People in Avalon are friendly – especially in talking about the island’s history. The buffalo burger is as savory as the swordfish at the new Avalon Grille – try the deep fried Oreo for dessert. The ahi and Angus filet at the Catalina Country Club are almost as good as the buffalo milk (Catalina’s big on buffalo). The Casino is the historical pride and joy of Avalon. During the big-band era, performers such as Benny Goodman and Count Basie played to thousands on the world’s biggest circular dance floor. Downstairs remains Avalon’s only theater – a 1,184-seat beautiful throwback to the days when it premiered the world’s first talking film, The Jazz Singer. One film still plays weekly, changing every Friday. The Casino Tour was a surprising high point of the trip. For that matter, the entire trip was a surprising high point. MCT News Service

An interior view of the Avalon Theater can be seen at Santa Catalina Island.


GETTING THERE: The Long Beach airport is a quick shuttle trip to the Catalina Ferry ($65 round-trip from Long Beach Harbor). WHERE TO STAY: Pavilion Hotel - 513 Crescent Ave., 800-322-3434. The recently renovated hotel has midweek rates starting at $275 a night. WHERE TO EAT: Avalon Grille – 423 Crescent Ave., 310-510-7494, Features a nice mix of food, from buffalo burgers to swordfish and steak, plus an excellent variety of appetizers and dessert; Catalina Country Club – 1 Country Club Drive, 310-510-7404. Has a delicious selection of beef and fish. WHAT TO DO: Zip Line Eco Tour from $89, Flying Fish Boat Trip from $18-$24, Casino Walking Tour from $14.25-$19, Sea Trek Undersea Adventure (starting in August) from $69-$89, Undersea Tour from $28$41.75, Glass Bottom Boat Tour from $13.75-$18.50; 310-510-8687; Parasailing Catalina from $35-$50; 310510-1777; MORE INFO:




Savour the Spirit of Holy Ramadan at Spicy Village


OR the past 22 years, Spicy Village customers have always had something to look forward to, as from Onam to Diwali, Christmas to New Year, the restaurants celebrate every special event or occasion by serving up lip-smacking dishes and preparing special menus. But, as an Islamic restaurant, serving authentic Indian, Chinese and continental food using Halal meat, Holy Ramadan has always been the highlight of a year, and the restaurants are a favourite for Iftar and Sohur parties amongst expatriates and nationals in Oman. This year, the restaurants are inviting its customers to share the spirit of Holy Ramadan, with special menus and Iftar evenings and comfortable corners for prayers. Customers visiting the restaurants in Al Khuwair, Rusayl, Sohar, Sur and Nizwa will be able to enjoy a mouthwatering Iftar breakfast that includes fresh juice, dates, porridge, samosas, spring rolls, cutlets, pakoras, caramel custard and kawa. This will be followed by a sumptuous evening buf-

New O2M Nail enamel

fet featuring 30 exquisite international dishes prepared by their talented chefs. To commemorate the diverse nature of the people of Oman, and because they believe that variety is truly the spice of life, there will be dishes to delight every palette; from spicy Indian, to fragrant Mughlai to delicious Chinese. Each restaurant will also have special corners for prayers and play mild soothing music. Customers can enjoy special Holy Ramadam menu for only 3 rials for parties of above 200 and just 3.5 rials for parties of 100 and 200. Throughout Holy Ramadan, customers can also obtain a special 15 per cent discount on their meals and free dates and a welcome drink on arrival. The restaurants will be continuing to offer Oman’s favourite Spicy Meal Deal with a large chicken biryani, roasted grilled chicken, eggs, yoghurt, salad and a soft drink for just 1.3 rials. To make a reservation or to arrange for Iftar delights to be delivered directly to your doorstep through our home delivery service, call: Mobile: 99224718.


2M Breathable Nail Enamel are now available in 46 colours at ‘Oman,’ Qurum City Centre. The O2M nail enamel are created with high technology through a new polymer, revolutionising nail beauty. It allows oxygenation of nails, thus avoiding the film that nail polish often leaves. This technology is taken from a source which was originally designed for contact lenses. This complete range of nail enamel was developed with this new polymer for better oxygenation of nails, which results in healthy nails. The O2M

collection also includes base coat and top coat. O2M can be used on nails with or without the base and top coat, but should not be mixed with other nail enamel base and top coat as it will affect the oxygenation process. INGLOT is the first to take the new polymer k502 technology and apply it to nail enamel. New Freedom System: This is an Inglot unique method of arranging eye shadows, blushers and pressed powders in special magnetic looks cases, which can be combined freely creating “blocks” of cosmetics closed with one lid. This

solution is extremely useful while working on make-up, it reduce the space occupied by a huge collection of products to a minimum and also secures it perfectly. Moreover, eyeshadows, blushers and powders are placed on a magnetic tape, which makes it easier to exchange them. Each of the cases can also be closed individually with a separate lid. A collection of professional magnetic cases encompasses the sets of: 10 eyeshadows, 5 eyeshadows, 4 eyeshadows, 2 eyeshadows, 4 blushes, 2 pressed powder .



OT all beaches are created equal. Some glamorous shorelines get a little more love from entertainment royalty than others, so check out the cheapflights. com list of which hot spots attract the world’s most scintillating stars, and add them to your travel agenda this summer.

MALDIVES Although Beyonce and Jay-Z seem to vacation everywhere, the hip-hop royalty couple jets to the beach-side huts of the Maldives on the Indian Ocean as well. The beaches here are set around a series of ancient coral reefs that expanded along the sides of prehistoric

volcanoes, which make for astounding snorkelling and diving in the warm water lagoons. Other celebs who love this spot are Kate Moss, Eva Longoria, Jude Law and Penelope Cruz.

MALLORCA, SPAIN The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is a nobrainer for spotting famous beachgoers. Stars like Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas own property here, as well as athletes and pop stars from all over the world. When you’re done sunbathing on its glorious stretches of sand on the east and north coasts (rumored to be the best beaches on the island), take a Vespa

tour through the rich Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, and along olive groves and pine forests.


least Jennifer Lopez and Shakira seem to think so. Ocean Drive runs along the Atlantic, where the rich and famous situate their yachts and play on the sand.

This South Pacific paradise is your best bet for celeb sightings – if you have the money and connections to get on land, that is. Pop stars like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson have secured spots on the privately-owned island, which allows only 28 guests at a time.




The smooth Latin rhythm of South Beach, Miami does something to its guests - or at

Don’t be confused – P. Diddy doesn’t own the place, but he certainly has a stake in its so-

cial circle. His yacht parties on the beach have been known to cause an elegant ruckus or two, and stars like Lara Flynn Boyle and Jack Nicholson frequent the beaches here as well.

LAKE COMO, ITALY The most wonderful thing about Anguilla is the sheer lack of development that seems to plague other idyllic islands. There’s a certain serenity here that celebrities like Courteney Cox-Arquette and David Arquette crave.


It’s not technically the point where the sand meets the water that attracts the celebrities, rather it’s the scenic area that surrounds the water. Menaggio and Tremezzo boast beautiful lakeside beaches on Lake Como, but the real highlights are the outdoorsy activities like boating, horseback riding and paragliding. Reuters


Cheryl advised to stay single


USIC mogul Simon Cowell wants “The X Factor” cojudge Cheryl Cole to stay single and focus on her health. “Simon has had serious words with Cheryl and gave her a list of things she needs to sort out”. “He’s demanded that she puts her love life on hold - he feels Derek Hough (her boyfriend) is a distraction that she simply doesn’t need. Derek is always hanging around on the set with her and Cheryl is constantly trying to keep him happy,” the source said. Simon, 50, is also said to be planning to find a lifestyle coach to help Cheryl cope with her hectic schedule. “Simon wants Cheryl to accept more help, rather than try and battle on by herself. He told her that everyone in the US has a lifestyle guru and that he will get someone to work with her.”

Flying with Madonna


OP diva Madonna is so obsessed with her special diet that she hires a private chef to cook her macrobiotic meals whenever she flies. The singer is so committed to her strict diet that she buys an air ticket for her chef as well so they can make her personalised in-flight food. On a recent flight from New York to London, the 51-year-old reportedly splashed out thousands on bringing her own chef with her and booked up an entire aisle in upper class for her entourage. “The cabin crew were given a dossier on rules and requirements. They weren’t allowed to walk down her aisle or ask her any questions, they had to go through her assistants. It was ridiculous. She took over the whole plane,” a source on board the flight has been quoted as saying. Madonna’s diet mainly comprises vegetables and fish and doesn’t allow her to consume any dairy, sugary treats or processed foods.

Kylie inspires Paris


OCIALITE Paris Hilton, who is set to revive her pop career with a new single, says she has been inspired a lot by pop diva Kylie Minogue. “I’ve always loved Kylie Minogue. She’s one of my favourite artistes. I’ve been really inspired by her. I wanted my music to

Aamir, Shah Rukh patch up


OLLYWOOD superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan seem to have patched up as the two were spotted dining together in London. The duo were seen flashing hashis (Japanese chopsticks) at the Hakkasan Restaurant in London over Sushi and Sashimi. Shah Rukh’s wife Gauri and his filmmmaker friend Karan Johar were also present there. “There were some jokes being cracked over which SRK and Aamir were laughing a lot. Gauri seemed to enjoy herself watching these guys cracking up,” said an onlooker.


kind of emulate her. I love her sound and I love the way she is,” said Paris. The 28-year-old is planning to launch her new album soon. “I’ve finished recording my record. It’s like dance or club music. The album’s going to be out in a few months,” she added.



LIFE ARIES: People make a difference to our lives and this month someone who could have a big impact on your life may enter it. It may not be a quiet entry but a very loud one, also attractive and enchanting. TAURUS: The creative part in you will bloom in this period and make things you have always dreamt of. On the relationship front, you may have to keep adjusting to people who throw tantrums. It could be at the work place or in the friends circle.

VIRGO: This is a time for change and for new direction. If you are in a relationship that is not interesting and more of a farce, you should consider doing something about it. If you have ideas and finance then you should try and turn it into a business proposition.

SAGITTARIUS: You are entering a reassessment stage, where you decide whom you want to know and whom you do not. Relationships change and so will people so be careful while making decisions. This will be a learning period.

GEMINI: A good time for relationships to enter the next stage. That is things could even lead to marriage. If you are single and looking for someone you could become very touchy and your strong likes and dislikes could make it tough to find one.

CAPRICORN: For a relationship to be strong and developing it must be based on mutual respect. This is especially true when it is with someone at work and when one is senior. You will get a lot of work as they know you will do it well. AQUARIUS: You do not like to mince words and like to deal with the facts. If you have been faced with situations where people want to just babble and play the fool, you can put your foot down and tell them what you feel.

CANCER: People close to you may seek your help and you will do the right thing by altering your personal plans to help. You have a liking for order but during this time someone who is untidy may enter your life. Please bear with them. LEO: You are a great communicator. You make an impression on listeners with your words and also voice. This is a period when all this will come handy. Only sometimes your voice tends to dominate and you may have to repeat yourself for people to understand you.

LIBRA: This is a mixed period when you will meet new friends and there could be new relationships, but it may not all go well. There will be hiccups because you may tend to find fault with all the goings on. But all this will change as days pass.


of the University of Western Australia in Perth, suggested that stroke patients try to reduce their risk through a healthier lifestyle. If necessary, he added, medications such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs may help.The new findings, published in The Lancet Neurology, come in the wake of a study showing B vitamins don’t protect people who’ve had heart attacks either. Since the early 1990s, the hope had been that

PISCES: Things do not come to you on a platter and you will have to work hard for everything. For this you should look at all the options ahead, what choices you make, what sacrifices you make. Not everything can be had. But things will become stable soon.


B vitamins may not help

vitamins are safe, but they don’t appear to protect those who have suffered a stroke from heart attacks or new strokes, a large study shows for the first time. The overall risk of suffering one of these events – between 15 and 17 per cent – was similar for patients taking vitamins and placebo pills, respectively. Until bigger studies have been done, lead author Dr. Graeme Hankey,

SCORPIO:If you are getting into new relationships it may not be that straightforward. There will be conditions that you are not aware off. It could happen with new friends and others that you may come across soon.

vitamins – specifically, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 – would be a cheap and safe way to protect the ticker. Studies had shown blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine were high in people with heart disease. Researchers speculated that lowering homocysteine levels with B vitamins might in turn safeguard the heart and decrease the risk of strokes. Reuters



A generous dose Many of us part with small portions of our wealth or income, and we think of ourselves, and are thought of by others, as generous. But a soldier is willing to give his life so that his fellow men may live in freedom and have the chance to prosper


T could have gone unnoticed, but there are many types or levels of generosity that we find in our lives today. The one that we come across routinely is at the work place or in business: the exchange of gifts and favours. It oils the relationship between the boss and the subordinates and also among equals. The more generous the gifts, the higher the perceived status of the individual – just as it is in society. In a way, it is generosity practiced in self interest. But all of this, including, the exchange of gifts among equals, helps develop cohesion and could lead to better efficiency and productivity for the firm. A few centuries ago generosity was understood as

a combination of traits like courage, compassion and fairness, but nowadays it is most easily understood as the giving away of wealth without expecting anything in return. Yet, there are situations, where acts of generosity may not be possible unless they are sustained by courage and compassion. Many of us part with small portions of our wealth or income, and we think of ourselves, and are thought of by others, as generous. But a soldier is willing to give his life so that his fellow men may live in freedom and have the chance to prosper. These are levels of generosity seldom equaled, but never surpassed. He is a soldier because he has empathy for his country

and it is his magnanimity that lets him throw caution to the winds on the battlefield. When we are young we do not have the ability to perceive another person’s situation of need, but as we grow older we gradually acquire the ability to empathise with others. We would have also benefited from having witnessed altruism and generosity by older members of our family or society. But in January this year we gotπ to witness unsurpassed generosity on the part of an 18 month old female Golden Retriever, Angel, in western Canada. She was with her 11-month old master in the backyard, when she sprinted and leapt to intercept an adult cougar


that was about to pounce on the boy. While she took on the mountain lion, three times her body weight, the boy slipped into the house, and within a minute of a phone call, a policeman arrived and shot the cougar dead. Angel later recovered from her wounds. You can read and watch the full story by google searching ‘angel golden retriever’ and at the website of the hospital where she was treated: Finally, we must note a development in the laboratory that should make us ponder: Researchers have found that in humans, a dose of the hormone oxytocin increases generosity by 80 per cent. Jeta Pillai



CBFS wins Asia’s Best B-School Leadership Award


HE College of Banking and Financial Studies, Oman received the Asia’s Best B-School Leadership award from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, at a ceremony held at Suntec, Singapore, recently. It is represented in 29 Asian countries. The CMO awards are the first of its kind accolades recognising organizations, professors and professionals

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from the best B-Schools of Asia, who have shown leadership in their respective fields, combined with consistent innovation. The CMO Council is present in over 100 countries and has over 5,000 members worldwide. “We are immensely pleased to receive such an accolade and will remain committed to satisfying the Sultanate’s educational needs along with our carefully selected global

Dr Ashraf Nabhan Al Nabhani

partners and cosmopolitan faculty members,” said Dr. Ashraf Nabhan Al Nabhani, the dean of the college. He added that such an achievement would not have been possible without the sincere efforts of the members of the faculty, the strategic leadership of the management and the wholehearted support the Central Bank of Oman. CBFS, which has international affiliations with prestigious schools of business of the University of Strathclyde (MBA) and the University of Bradford (BSc), and with pro-

fessional bodies like Edexcel and ACCA, has emerged as a pioneer in banking and financial education in the region. The college has diversified in recent years, encompassing accounting and insurance studies besides its master’s, bachelor’s, professional and executive training programmes. On behalf of the CBFS, the award and the certificate were received by Khalid Al Zadjali, CBFS Registrar, at the Asia’s Best B-School Award ceremony held in Singapore on July, 23 2010.

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READERS’ CORNER Campus invites readers to send short stories and poems that they may want to publish in its pages. They can also send paintings, sketches and works of photography. Campus reserves the right to decide which of these can be published and edit material before publication. We are keenly awaiting your response. The Editor.



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15 GUtech students travel to Germany


O learn more about Germany, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has sponsored a studytrip to Germany for a group of GUtech Foundation Year and BSc first year students. For three weeks, the group of 15 GUtech students will travel to GUtech’s parent university RWTH Aachen University. They will study the language, meet German students and professors from RWTH Aachen University and discover Germany and its neighbouring countries. “This year, 15 students were chosen out of 53 applicants,” said Dr. Nicola Huson, Representative of the DAAD in Oman and German lecturer at GUtech. For the third consecutive year the DAAD is sponsoring the study-trip for GUtech students. “The decision about who will participate was taken according to their overall performance in the IELTS English exams at the end of the Foundation-Year, the grade point average, the student’s personal motivation and their impression given in front of the GUtech selection team,” said

Dr Nicola Huson

Dr. Huson. “The students had to write a letter of motivation and pass an interview with the Rector and Dr. Nicola,” added Prof. Dr. Barbara Stäuble, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech The main goal of the visit was to get an idea about Germany. “The students study German in the mornings at the German Language Center of RWTH Aachen University and visit the departments of their study programmes at the university. In the afternoons, they have courses, including an Omani-German cooking lesson, a visit to a local market and a sightseeing programme

around the city of Aachen and the neighbouring cities,” said Dr. Huson. The students meet German students from different departments of RWTH Aachen University and members of the Muslim-Arabian Student Organisation at RWTH Aachen University. GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University is located in the centre of Aachen, which is close to the city of Cologne. The prestigious RWTH Aachen University was founded 140 years ago. Since the city of Aachen is located close to the boarder of Belgium and the Netherlands, the students will make trips to Amsterdam, Maastricht and Bruxelles. DAAD is one of the world’s largest and most respected intermediary organizations in the field of academic exchange. Every year the organization sponsors about 60,000 foreign and German academics. DAAD promotes more than 200 programmes in Germany, ranging from short-term student exchanges for research or teaching purposes to doctoral scholarships lasting several years.

New programmes from GUtech


HE German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will introduce new programmes in the year 2010-2011. “We are very proud to extend our study programmes and introduce new Bachelor of Engineering and two Master’s programmes,” said Prof. Dr. Burkhard Rauhut, Rector at GUtech. With a strong focus on applied studies and research in the areas of geosciences, applied information technology, engineering, urban planning and architectural design and sustainable tourism and regional development, GUtech offers students in the Gulf an excellent higher education. The language of instruction at GUtech is English, German is taught as an additional language. The new programmes are also tailor-made for the Gulf region and were designed by German professors from GUtech’s parent-university RWTH Aachen University in Germany. RWTH Aachen is one of the leading universities of technology in Europe. According to a European University Ranking Report 2009, Aachen achieved a leading position in all fields of engineering. The university is a member of the IDEA league. Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

Dr Burkhard Rauhut

The first four semesters of the programme will focus on the fundamentals of mathematics, natural sciences and informatics together with the basics of engineering. The second part of the study programme will concentrate on key areas of mechanical engineering. Bachelor of Process Engineering The eight semester programme in Process Engineering focuses on applied competences for designing mechanical, chemical and thermal processes. Process engineers are concerned with chemical and biochemical processes in which raw materials undergo change, and scaling-up processes from the laboratory into the processing plant. Entry Requirements The entry requirement for GUtech’s BEng and BSc programmes is a pass in a relevant

stream of Foundation Year programme or equivalent academic results, such as A-Level or International Baccalaureate. In addition, students must show adequate competency in English with at least IELTS 6.0. New Master of Sciences Programmes GUtech will also introduce two part-time Master’s Programmes in Petroleum Geoscience and in Integrated Urban Planning. Graduates of the MSc in Integrated Urban Planning will be qualified to work in master planning, sector planning, sustainable urban conservation, heritage management, scientific research and consultancy. Students will take the majority of their courses in Oman. For modules requiring state-ofthe-art analytical equipment, travel to Germany to conduct their work at RWTH Aachen campus, is possible. Both programmes will qualify students to pursue a career in a leading position and to apply for PhD programmes in their field. Special GUtech features To maximise the success of the studies, each student has a mentor, who will guide him during the studies. For further details please contact GUtech on admissions@ or call 24 49 30 51.

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¿ÉªYo ‘ É«Lƒdƒæμà∏d á«fÉŸC’G á©eÉ÷G ìô£J á«ÁOÉcC’G áæ°ùdG ‘ IójóL èeGôH { ∂Jƒ«L { PÉà°SC’G ∫Éb Oó°üdG Gò¡Hh 2010/2011 áeOÉ≤dG øëf{ : á©eÉ÷G ¢ù«FQ , äƒghGQ OQÉ¡cQƒH QƒàcódG Iójó÷G Éæà°SGQO èeGôH ¥É£f ™«°SƒàH GóL ¿hQƒîa èeGôH øe ÚæKGh á°Sóæ¡dG ‘ ¢SƒjQƒdÉμH ∫ÉNOEGh Òà°ùLÉŸG{ . çÓãdG äGƒæ°ùdG ‘ ÒÑc πμ°ûH m { ∂Jƒ«L { ≠óbh çƒëÑdGh äÉ°SGQódG ⋲∏Y õ«cÎdG ™eh á«°VÉŸG á«≤«Ñ£àdG ¢VQC’G Ωƒ∏Y ä’É› ‘ á«≤«Ñ£àdG §«£îàdGh , á°Sóæ¡dGh , äÉeƒ∏©ŸG É«LƒdƒæμJ , áeGóà°ùŸG áMÉ«°ùdGh …Qɪ©ŸG º«ª°üàdGh …ö†◊G ‘ ÜÓ£∏d { ∂Jƒ«L { Ωó≤J , ᫪«∏bE’G ᫪æàdGh , ‘ º«∏©àdG á¨dh . GRÉà‡ É«dÉY ɪ«∏©J è«∏ÿG á≤£æe á¨∏dG ¢ùjQóJ ºàj ɪc , ájõ«∏‚E’G »g ∂Jƒ«L á©eÉL á«aÉ°VEG á¨∏c á«fÉŸC’G. èeGÈdG ¿EÉa , ∂Jƒ«L ‘ á«°SGQódG èeGÈdG πc πãeh óbh , è«∏ÿG á≤£æŸ É°ü«°üN ᪪°üe Iójó÷G ΩC’G ∂Jƒ«L á©eÉL øe ¿ÉŸCG IòJÉ°SCG É¡ªª°U É«fÉŸCG ‘ øNBG á©eÉLh . IóMGh »gh , øNBG á©eÉL ∂Jƒ«L á©eÉL ™ÑàJh ‘ É«LƒdƒæμàdG ∫É› ‘ IóFGôdG äÉ©eÉ÷G øe á«HhQhC’G äÉ©eÉ÷G ∞«æ°üJ ôjô≤àd É≤ahh ÉHhQhCG Éeó≤àe Gõcôe øNBG á©eÉL â≤≤M ó≤a , 2009 ΩÉ©d Ée É«dÉM ∑Éægh á«°Sóæ¡dG ä’ÉéŸG ™«ªL ‘ øNBG á©eÉL ‘ ¿ƒ°SQój ÖdÉW ∞dCG 30 øe Üô≤j { ÉjójEG { äÉ©eÉL á£HGQ ‘ ƒ°†Y »g á©eÉ÷Gh ∫É› ‘ IóFGôdG äÉ©eÉ÷G øe áμÑ°T »gh ábƒeôŸG ÉHhQhCG ‘ É«LƒdƒæμàdG. á«μ«fÉμ«ŸG á°Sóæ¡dG ‘ ¢SƒjQƒdÉμH : ⋲∏Y èeÉfÈdG øe á«°SGQO ∫ƒ°üa á©HQCG ∫hCG õcΰSh á«JÉeƒ∏©ŸGh á«©«Ñ£dG Ωƒ∏©dGh äÉ«°VÉjôdG äÉ«°SÉ°SCG ÊÉãdG Aõ÷G õcÒ°Sh á°Sóæ¡dG äÉ«°SÉ°SCG øY Ó°†a á°Sóæ¡∏d á«°ù«FôdG ä’ÉéŸG ⋲∏Y á°SGQódG èeÉfôH øe ⋲∏Y ¿ƒ«μ«fÉμ«ŸG ¿ƒ°Sóæ¡ŸG 𪩫°Sh á«μ«fÉμ«ŸG á«fhÎμdE’G äGódƒŸG πãe , ábÉ£∏d áéàæŸG Iõ¡LC’G QÉîÑdG äÉæ«HQƒJh , »∏NGódG ¥GÎM’G äÉcôfih , RɨdGh. äÉ«∏ª©dG á°Sóæg ‘ ¢SƒjQƒdÉμH :


campus august  

A monthly students magazine from Al Watan/Oman Tribune

campus august  

A monthly students magazine from Al Watan/Oman Tribune