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MPs pass controversial Amiri electoral decree

National unity, anti-graft decrees also approved • Oppn activists freed

Max 24º Min 10º High Tide 10:33 & 20:48 Low Tide 03:48 & 15:03

By B Izzak conspiracy theories

Under the weather

By Badrya Darwish


feel as gloomy as the weather. Really, the weather has an effect on the mind. Last month I noticed everyone was feeling good because we had blue skies, rain and clouds. For a moment I felt like I was living in the rainy part of Europe. Even buildings and the ground looked nice, clean and refreshed. The trees had a shiny greenish colour. Kuwait looked like a tropical country with grass everywhere. Now, everywhere around Kuwait floods poured in. Come the New Year and Kuwait’s regional neighbours in Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Jordan got flooded or some of them got covered by a snow blanket. These countries were struck by an arctic wave from Russia. We, for a change, came back to our old dust storms. It looks like the human being forgets easily. Because we had rain for a little while, we forgot how it feels to be back in the desert. Everyone in the office was feeling grumpy today. It sounded like this is the first time they saw dust. We were all complaining that dust is all over. Wait a minute. We are a country in the desert and we have dust all year around. Why does this surprise us now? This is the nature of the human being. We adapt easily to unfamiliar things, to new things. We crave what we don’t have. When we have too much freedom, we do not know how to use it and we became the envy of the whole Arab world. Maybe the weather has affected the parliamentarians too. Today, even in the peaceful parliament, some MPs exchanged harsh words and insults. Of course, later on they acted like gentlemen and apologized to each other. Anyway, I feel there is gloomy weather all over - be it on the social, political or economic front. It is part of the Arab Spring. Sometimes the Arab Spring has some unpredictable weather and how long it will last, even the weathermen have no prediction. Actually, I think the weathermen would be the last to answer this question.

KUWAIT: MPs Ali Al-Omair (left) and Abdulhameed Dashti spar during a session at the National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The new National Assembly yesterday approved a number of decrees issued by HH the Amir after dissolving the previous Assembly including a controversial decree that amended the electoral constituency law and led to the current political crisis in the country. The Amir issued several so-called emergency decrees after dissolving the previous Assembly and until the new Assembly was elected. Under the Kuwaiti constitution, the Amir has the right to issue such decrees in case of emergency or necessity when the Assembly is dissolved or is in recess. But the new Assembly has the right to either approve the decrees or reject them but it cannot introduce any amendments to them. MPs overwhelmingly approved three key decrees yesterday - the so-called single-vote decree, the national unity and anti-hatred decree and the anti-corruption and wealth disclosure decree. The single-vote decree was passed by 49 votes, opposed by two lawmakers, while three MPs abstained. MPs Saleh Ashour and Khaled Al-Adwah were the ones who rejected the decree. The decree issued by the Amir in October amended the electoral constituency law by reducing the number of candidates a voter can choose to just one from four in the previous law. The opposition boycotted the election in protest against the amendment which the opposition says it gives the government the power to alter the results of the election. As a result, almost all the 50 MPs elected in the Dec 1 polls are pro-government and were expected to approve the Amiri decrees by a big margin. A number of MPs said that the previous electoral law encouraged sectarianism, factionalism and tribalism and many other social and political ills that forced the Amir to intervene to rectify the situation and issue the amendment to the law. The Assembly also passed the key national unity and anti-hatred decree which stipulates long prison terms for those who undermine national unity or make discriminatory remarks against a group of people, sect, tribe, etc. Several MPs said the decree needs a number of important amendments and vowed they will submit the amendments soon. Continued on Page 2

Palestinian envoy to Kuwait arrives Tahboub first ambassador since 1990 invasion By A Saleh KUWAIT: The first Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait in 22 years arrived yesterday and is due to present his credentials to HH the Amir later next week. Informed sources said Rami Tahboub arrived from Jordan on a Kuwait Airways flight to resume Palestinian diplomatic representation that was halted since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which was supported by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Notably, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had officially apologized to Kuwait in 2004 for the Palestinian support of the invasion. Ambassador Tahboub had served as assistant undersecretary of the Palestinian foreign affairs minister for international economic affairs. He also assisted the late senior Palestinian politician Faisal Al-Husseini and worked as a part-time political sciences lecturer at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.

Iran seizes Saudi fishing vessels

KUWAIT: Newly appointed Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahboub arrives in Kuwait yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

DUBAI: Iran’s coast guard has detained two Saudi fishing vessels after they entered Iranian waters, the semi-official Fars news agency reported yesterday. Separated by about 250 km of Gulf waters, Shiite power Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia have often had tense relations. Saudi Arabia, a US ally, has accused Iran of fomenting unrest among Shiites in its oil-rich Eastern Province, a charge Iran denies. Fars did not give a date or location for the incident but said it was reported by Qalandar Lashkari, the coast guard commander at Bushehr, which is both a province and a port town on Iran’s Gulf coast. Continued on Page 13

US lottery winner slain with cyanide

KUWAIT: Artistes perform during the opening session of the 19th edition of the Al-Qurain Cultural Festival late Monday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 2)

CHICAGO: Urooj Khan had returned to menting on the rarity of cyanide poisonthe US from the haj pilgrimage to Saudi ings. “I’ve had one, maybe two cases out Arabia inspired to lead a better life and of 4,500 autopsies I’ve done.” had sworn off buying lottery tickets - Investigators will likely exhume the body, except just this once. To his astonish- Cina said. Khan, who owned a number of ment, the ticket was a $1 million winner. dry cleaners, had stopped in at the conBut just as he was venience store near his about to collect his home and bought a money, Khan died. ticket for an instant lotThere were no signs of tery game. trauma and nothing Convenience store suspicious, and the clerk Ashur Oshana told Cook County Medical AP that Khan had gone Examiner’s office said on the Muslim pilgrimhe died in July of natuage and told him he ral causes. Now, authorwas done gambling. ities have determined But Khan couldn’t resist Urooj Khan that Khan, 46, ingested and scratched off the a lethal dose of cyanide. The finding, winner in front of Oshana. “Right away he spurred by a relative’s pleas for an grabbed my hand,” Oshana said. “He expanded screening, has triggered a kissed my hand and kissed my head and homicide investigation, the Chicago gave me $100. He was really happy.” At Police Department said Monday. an Illinois Lottery ceremony days later, “It’s pretty unusual,” said Cook County Khan recalled that he jumped up and Medical Examiner Stephen Cina, comContinued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Pigeons perched on a lamppost are silhouetted against the sun during a dust storm yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat



KUWAIT: (Left) National Assembly Speaker Ali Al-Rashed (left) and MP Adnan Abdulsamad react during a session at the National Assembly yesterday. (Center) HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah, Minister of Planning and Development Rola Dashti and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah arrive to attend the session. (Right) MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah speaks during the session. The Assembly yesterday overwhelmingly approved the controversial electoral decree that caused the opposition in the country to boycott the Dec 1 general elections. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwait stores obliged to refund, exchange goods New decree implemented By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Starting Jan 1, 2013, all stores are obliged to refund or exchange products bought by the customers from them, according to the Ministry ’s decree no. 555/2012 issued last October and applied with effect from this month. According to this decree, the stores are not allowed anymore to affix a rather popular sign proclaiming that ‘goods once sold cannot be refunded or exchanged’ in any language. Mohammed was unlucky when he bought a router for his home internet and was unable to return it and receive a refund or even exchange it since it was not defective. “I already have a router at home but it was old and its signal was weak. So I decided to buy a new one hoping that it would emit a stronger signal. The salesman did inform me that the router I am buying will not provide the desired result. When I brought it home and installed it, I was not satisfied and hence decided to return it, but the store refused to refund me or even

exchange it. They referred me to an agent to find out if there was a defect in it, but since there was none, they refused to take it back. Unfortunately, it was a month ago when the decree was still not effective,” the 26-year-old employee told the Kuwait Times. When contacted, an employee at the store denied any knowledge about such a decree. “Our store’s policy is to exchange only products with defects and, that too, within 48 hours only. We do not refund any electronic item that we sell, and only in some cases we may exchange a product without any defect, provided it was not used at all. The expert at the store will check the product and decide if it was really not used,” stressed the employee of a popular store selling electronics. According to Mansour Al-Nazhaan, director of the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Commerce, customers have the right to exchange the goods they bought within five days if these were free of defects. If a manufacturing defect or commercial cheating was

involved, then the refund period was unlimited. The latest decree of the Ministry applies to most goods but some are excluded such as swimsuits, occasional costumes such as wedding dresses, underwear, newspapers and magazines, frozen foods, and jewelry as special rules govern these. Any store found violating the provisions of the new decree would attract legal sanctions after a month of the decree becoming effective. The fines will range between KD 500 and KD 3000, or an imprisonment for six months. The Minister of Commerce can also order to close the store found in violation. The decree also includes further conditions such as that the customer should not pay any extra charges for the exchange or refund, and the seller and buyer can reach an agreement about the mode of refund. Also the store is obliged to issue a bill to the customer including all information about the product, date of purchase, price etc. The decree is not applicable to products sold during a discount sale or as part of a promotion.

Al-Qurain Cultural Festival opened NUKS recognizes KIPCO for its support

KUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Sabah (center) poses with dignitaries during the opening session of the 19th edition of the Al-Qurain Cultural Festival late Monday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat KUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah AlSabah on Monday opened the 19th session of AlQurain Cultural Festival. The annual event is organized by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) under auspices of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah. Addressing the opening ceremony, Sheikh Salman said the event aimed to provide a platform for creative artists, men of letters and cultural celebrities to enrich the diversified cultural activities. “The State of Kuwait works hard to promote enlightened thought, open-up to the outside world, and the friendly exchanges with nations with different cultures, notably the Arab and Muslim nations,” the minister pointed out. “Our approach to cultural openness is inspired by the instructions of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah

Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and translates his call for strengthening the true role of culture in the dialogue among civilizations,” he affirmed. The values of the dialogue among civilizations have become a strategic option that could open new horizons for building a new world featured by progress, nobleness, tolerance, justice, peace and coexistence, he noted. The State of Kuwait hosted a range of regional and international cultural events including the international book fair, the theatre festival, and Al-Qurain festival which sheds light on the interrelation between man and society, Sheikh Salman went on. Over the last half a century Kuwait has been publishing a range of cultural publications which turned to be references for Arab readers, he said, noting that the Arab nation is at a crucial cross roads brought about by the cultural globalization. Meanwhile, he called on the intelligentsia to

pay attention to the issues of the youth, foster the skills of the talented youth and double efforts to ward off the dangers of alien cultural trends. The minister congratulated the winners of the state awards for cultural and artistic creativity wishing them more successes in the future. On his part, Abdulaziz Al-Saraye’, laureate of the state order for 2012 who spoke on behalf of all winners, expressed joy for “being honored by the homeland.” The other winners include Mohammad AlMunayye’ - an actor, Laila Al-Othman a literary woman, Ghannam Al-Daikan - a musician, Ahlam Hassan and Faisal Al-Ameeri - artists, Ali AlHusseini - a film director, Ibrahim Al-Khaldi - a poet, Saud Al-Sanousi - a novelist, Dr. Mersel AlAjmi - a critic, Dr. Hussein Bu Abbas - a sociologist, Basem Ibrahim - a historian, Dr. Zainab AlJaber - education expert, Dr. Abdulhadi Al-Ajmi an archeologist, and Dr. Abdullah Al-Kandari - a geographer. — KUNA

KUWAIT: KIPCO - the Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) - was recognized by the National Union for Kuwaiti Students USA Branch for its Platinum Sponsorship of the 29th Conference of NUKS-USA. The conference was held in Washington, D.C in November 2012. KIPCO Vice Chairman, Faisal Al-Ayyar, met with the student representatives and said: “As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, KIPCO is always seeking opportunities to develop and encourage young Kuwaitis out of our

belief in the instrumental role they will go on to play in the country’s development.” “The annual NUKS-USA conference offers an opportunity for KIPCO and its Group companies to interact and share our views about the future of Kuwait with the young men and women who will become tomorrow’s leaders.” The student representatives expressed their appreciation for KIPCO’s support of this annual event which was attended this year by more than 2200 Kuwaitis studying in the United States.

MPs pass controversial Amiri... Continued from Page 1 The anti-corruption and wealth disclosure decree also calls for setting up a national anti-corruption authority to fight corruption. It also requires ministers, MPs, senior bureaucrats to submit a disclosure of their wealth before and after taking their posts in order to effectively track their wealth. The Assembly also rejected a request by the public prosecution to lift the immunity of MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai to be interrogated over accusations that he insulted the Amir. During the debate, Shiite MP

Abdulhameed Dashti and Salafist Islamist MP Ali Al-Omair exchanged strong words but later apologized to each other. Meanwhile, police yesterday freed 19 opposition activists after detaining them for two days after they were arrested during a demonstration on Sunday. Police had arrested more than 70 protesters but released most them the same night except the 19 activists. The opposition strongly condemned the police’s heavy handed approach against the demonstrators while former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun held the prime minister responsible for the police atrocities.

No update in Rafale deal: Envoy KUWAIT: French Ambassador to Kuwait Nada Yafi announced that there were no updates regarding the negotiations between her country and Kuwait to reach a deal to purchase Rafale warplanes, saying that the issue was “a Kuwaiti sovereign decision.” Speaking to reporters attending a seminar held recently at the Kuwait Diplomatic Institute, Ambassador Yafi indicated that Kuwait’s report about the Rafale aircrafts was good, the envoy hailed the French-made planes as crafts that have “proven their competence in Libya.” Meanwhile, Ambassador Yafi expressed disappointment at the speech of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made a few days ago. “While I never had my hopes high, I felt deep sorrow and disappointment after hearing AlAssad’s speech which virtually ended any glimmer of hope despite the efforts of the United Nations Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi,” she said. In the meantime, the ambassador indicated that her government will continue to talk to “all parties including Russia and China,” and reiterated France’s support to the Syrian opposition. Ambassador Yafi took the opportunity to talk about the Kuwaiti-French relationship “characterized by mutual respect and trust,” and recalled her country’s participation in the 1991 Kuwait Liberation War. Asked about her country’s role in improving Kuwait’s relationship with Iraq, she indicated that France would continue to “closely monitor” these relations which she said have “seen vast improvement which was personified by HH the Amir attending the Arab Summit in Baghdad, as well as issuing an emergency decree to end the pending issues between the Kuwait Airways and its Iraqi counterpart.” Ambassador Yafi also recognized the need for Iraq to commit to its United Nations obligations in order to resolve all pending issues with Kuwait, and act as a vehicle to end the UN Chapter VII sanctions. Asked about an upcoming visit of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Kuwait, Ambassador Yafi noted that the visit still stands but a date for it is yet to be determined. She announced at the same time that a joint economic committee headed by finance ministers of Kuwait and France was set to take place in Paris during the first half of this year.



‘Optimistic’ Amir hints at financial benefits to citizens Plans to end loans interest issue KUWAIT: Kuwaitis can soon hope to land some “generous benefits” as promised by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, whose statements during a meeting with lawmakers on Monday prompted speculations about potential ‘populist’ regulations which could be passed over the next few weeks. Several MPs have proposed draft laws calling on the government to purchase citizens’ loans in local banks, with some proposals requiring the loans’ repayments to be rescheduled while writing off the interest accrued on these. The cabinet remains opposed to similar proposals, deeming them as negatively affecting the state’s budget since millions would be spent for a potential bailout plan. However, a local newspaper reported yesterday, quoting parliamentary insiders, that “top government sources” revealed “ongoing efforts to end the loans’ interest issue and a decision in this regard could be clinched in coordination with the parliament’s financial committee.” The insiders who preferred to keep their identity anonymous did not name the government sources which reportedly revealed that the solution would be “different from any proposed regulations in previous parliaments” but provided no further details. During his meeting with a group of MPs, including Abdulhameed Dashty, Mohammad Al-Barrak and Khalid Al-Shulaimi, HH the Amir reiterated his resolve to “combat corruption wherever it is found” and urged the delegation to “eliminate it.” He also expressed optimism at the “initial cooperation between the legislative and executive committees,” and hoped cooperation in future also would help “live up to people’s expectations.” “HH the Amir expressed optimism in general, but at the same time expressed concern at the increasing cases of violence,” MP Dashty told Al-Rai following the meeting. Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers will discuss the security agreement and append an annexure with it explaining some of its articles and the need to sign such an agreement among GCC states, government sources said. MP Saleh Ashour said the agreement had not reached the National Assembly Council so far, and reiterated that he has asked government to bring it before the parliament. Once the council received it, it would be fully discussed, he said. Parliament sources said that a majority of the MPs have no objection to the agreement which government will send to the NA Council after the cabinet discusses it and prepares a report about it for the benefit of the MPs.

US Ambassador denies reported military reduction KUWAIT: The United States Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew Tueller, has repeated his country’s commitment to supporting the security and stability of Kuwait, rejecting speculation about changes in American foreign policy towards Kuwait and the Gulf countries. Tueller made his remarks to reporters attending the Myanmar’s embassy National Day celebration last Sunday. “There is no change in our commitments towards Kuwait and our allies in the region, and we continue to work closely with our friends and allies to maintain peace and protect security and stability”, Tueller said, in response to inquiries about rumors that the US could reduce its forces in Kuwait in exchange for an increased presence by British forces. Asked about the creation of a unified military command, recently announced during the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Manama, Bahrain, Tueller disagreed with those who believe this decision runs counter to the United States presence in the region. “We welcome this step... and we support military cooperation with the GCC states, which helps us work with our allies in the region to maintain security”, the top US envoy said. Tueller also praised Kuwait’s sponsoring the international conference for donors to the Syrian people on January 30th.


in brief

Three asked to retire KUWAIT: In a significant development, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, General Ghazi Al Omar, summoned two assistant undersecretaries and one general director and asked them to retire as ministry no more wanted them to continue in their posts, sources revealed. The three officials are suffering from chronic diseases and one of them has already put in more than 35 years of service. Sources said that the ministry threatened to invoke Article 100 against anyone who refused to retire and bring him to the ministry’s deewan. Sources revealed that the Ministry of Interior was serious in its plans to compulsorily retire some of the older officials and punish anyone who refuses to cooperate by using Article 100 and replacing him them with youthful candidates. Power overdues collected KUWAIT: The strategy to cut off the power supply of those consumers who owed dues to the state has enabled the Ministry of Electricity and Water to collect KD 242 million in power over dues and KD 600,000 as payments owed to the ministry for water consumption. Assistant undersecretary of MEW, Abdullah Al-Hajery, said in a press report that the figure includes KD 130,000 collected from leading figures in the government. Al-Hajery pointed out that the decision to snap the power connection of even government outlets, investment and commercial outlets, industrial premises, farms and barns etc has borne fruit as the ministry was able to collect long overdue payments.He underlined that the ministry avoided cutting off power of private citizens’ houses or those with limited income. Such people were merely informed about their debts and asked to pay these in installments as per their income. Pointing out that the ministry has drafted a plan to collect its dues starting with those owing a high debt and then targeting others who owed lesser amounts. He called upon all consumers to settle their bills to avoid accumulating big amounts when it becomes difficult to pay. New KOC promotions KUWAIT: Sources revealed that a neutral committee formed by the Minister of Oil, Hani Hussain, to look into the promotions of heads of departments at KOC was given one month to submit its recommendations about the parameters followed by the company in these promotions. The time granted to the panel could be extended by two or three months, if required. The committee has asked the management to provide it with a set of regulations which were followed in choosing the heads of various departments. Sources said that the committee so far did not receive report of any grievance within the company.

MINIEH, Northern Lebanon: A team from Kuwait Red Crescent Society continued here yesterday to deliver relief aid for Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon. Head of the KRCS field team Mnawer Al-Azmi said that the aid would hopefully cover the needs of some 12,000 Syrian families that fled violence in their country.



Two in police net for mugging in Salmiya Man critically wounded in stabbing KUWAIT: Following reports of five masked men mugging people in the Salmiya Park area, the Salmiya police managed to arrest two of the gang members while a search is on for the other three. Investigators were assigned to track down the gangsters responsible for multiple thefts in the area committed at knifepoint. Patrol officers caught the group red-handed while attempting to mug a female driver who had stopped near the park. They managed to nab two of the suspects, a Kuwaiti and an Egyptian, while three others escaped. During their interrogation, the two confessed to their role in 17 incidents of muggings reported from the Salmiya Park. Addicts escape Two drug addicts escaped from a rehabilitation center recently after climbing a four-meter high boundary wall, the director of the Physiological Health Center, Dr. Abdullah Hamadi, said. He blamed ‘lack of sufficient security’ around the facility for the escape. Instagram user A Roudha resident approached the local police recently asking it to probe how his private family

photograph his ended up being posted on Instagram. The complainant, a Kuwaiti in his forties, stumbled upon a picture of his wife and daughter on the social photo-sharing app, and then headed to the area’s police station after the user failed to respond to his queries. A case for alleged hacking was filed. Hasawi stabbing A man stabbed an Egyptian national and wounded him critically during an altercation in Hasawi, reported recently. The 45-year-old victim was rushed to the Farwaniya Hospital by paramedics who found him bleeding from a neck wound with the weapon still stuck in. He was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit where doctors described his condition as stable. A case was filed. Runaway maid Authorities at the Kuwait International Airport arrested a female passenger shortly after she arrived from East Asia when they discovered that she was wanted for having been reported missing by her Kuwaiti employer. The Indonesian woman had reportedly left Kuwait a few years

ago after fleeing from her sponsor’s home where she worked as a domestic helper. She was taken to the proper authorities for further action. Debtor arrested Patrol officers recently nabbed a man driving a luxury car who owed three times the cost of the car to the state. The officers, who had flagged down the car became suspicious when the man betrayed nervousness. As officers verified his identity, they found that while he was driving a car worth KD 27,000, he owed the state KD 88,000. The man was arrested. Fugitive nabbed A fugitive wanted in a case where he was sentenced to two and a half years jail, was n a b b e d a t a p a t ro l o f f i ce r s’ c h e c k p o i n t recently in Hawally. The 23-year-old Kuwaiti man was first pulled over for a traffic violation, but traffic officers discovered after verifying his identity that he was wanted by the authorities ever since he was convicted on a drug possession charge. He was taken to the Criminal Investigations General Department for further action.

GulfRun participants to exhibit cars KUWAIT: GulfRun will hold its 6th annual car show on Jan 11 and 12 at 360 malI. The car show is an annual exhibition showcasing the sports cars participating in the highly anticipated car race that is scheduled to take place on Jan 24 and 25 at the Bahrain International Circuit. “We started GulfRun over seven years ago to provide a responsible and professional approach to Automobile Racing” Ahmed Al-Mudhaf, GultRun CR and Founder, said at a press conference. In regards to the participating drivers, AlMudhaf added, “What started as a simple week-

end getaway has evolved into a fully encompassing event that will showcase some of Kuwait’s best drivers with track-modified vehicles.” GuifRun is an annual car race that is managed and organized by a group of young Kuwaiti car enthusiasts who want to provide a venue for amateur drivers and to raise awareness on safe driving. Over 60 participants are classified into different categories according to their vehicles modification and power. At the race track, they are trained and compete in different motorsports venues at the track. Drivers can compete against their peers in a safe

and secure environment; whilst learning valuable driving skills. The GulfRun’s management team expressed their gratitude for the support of its sponsors Title Sponsor is Wataniya Telecom, Strategic Partner is Kuwait Finance House; Platinum Sponsors are Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Jashanmal and Hydrotek Engineering Co. Gold Sponsors are KGL, Al Sawan Travel, Slider Station and Moto Care. Dealer Sponsors are Kromoioac, Fouad Alghanim & Sons Automotive Co, and Abdul Rahman Bisher and Zaid Alkazemi co.

Boubyan Bank provides grant to five outstanding students KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank (the fastest growing bank in Kuwait) announced selection of five outstanding students of the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) in its special program providing grants to the outstanding bachelor’s students at the University, as part of the cooperation and partnership between the two parties. Adel Al-Hammad, GM- Human Resources Group of Boubyan Bank said that the program that was previously announced by the Bank provides five outstanding students a monthly grant of KD 250 for a whole year. Al-Hammad added that many students have applied for this grant whereas a number of conditions were set which mainly include that the student gets a GPA of 3.67 and above and is a regular student at GUST, indicating that five students were selected in the final stage. Al-Hammad pointed out the other benefits students will get including entering a special training program for introduction of the Islamic economy and the products and services provided by Islamic banks, with a focus on those provided by the bank to all sections of customers. In addition, he said that students benefiting from the grant will have the opportunity to join work at Boubyan Bank after graduation from the University, joining ITQAN and giving them the chance to con-

tinue their study of MBA at GUST. Al-Hammad also noted that this support provided to GUST students is considered part of the bank’s responsibility towards society as per its distinguished social responsibility program launched years ago. This program is based on providing all help and support to all sections of society, stressing the bank’s belief in the importance of youth and the necessity to provide all support to them being the power upon which Kuwait relies to build its present. On the other hand, Al-Hammad highlighted the cooperation between the bank and GUST, indicating that the last period witnessed many forms of cooperation and that more is yet to come in view of the partnership of the bank with one with one of the key higher education institutions in Kuwait and the whole region. Noteworthy is that many agreements have been recently made between the two parties with the purpose of developing the human resources of Boubyan Bank, under one of which the bank appointed GUST as the “Exclusive Academic Partner” for it in Kuwait. In addition, another agreement has been signed for the Bank’s branch managers in order to develop their personal capabilities and enhance their expertise by providing them the MBA degree from GUST.

Work-life balance ‘most motivating factor’ for employees in Kuwait Employee motivation survey KUWAIT: An ‘Employee Motivation in the MENA’ sur vey conducted by, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that employees in Kuwait consider that a good work-life balance to be important for the levels of motivation. While 60% of Kuwait respondents claim that their company supports them to achieve this, 73% state that they are actively considering leaving their current job. On a day-to-day basis, six out of 10 employees in Kuwait (61%) feel that they are either ‘highly motivated’ (33%) or ‘motivated’ (28%) by the work that they do. Interesting, three-quarters (73%) of Kuwait respondents believe that a good work-life balance is a very important source of motivation, with 60% claiming that their current organization offers support for them to achieve this (this is 2% higher than the regional average of 58%). Other than work-life balance, the leading motivators for employees across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are recognition of work and achievements (47%); training and development opportunities (45%); the opportunity for career advancement (42%); being able to feel that their work has an impact (40%); personal fulfilment (39%), and opportunities for long-term career growth (39%). Also ranking highly were participating in decision making (37%); the respondent’s colleagues and work environment (34%); the nature of their daily responsibilities (31%), and being able to set and reach goals (31%). Despite these high motivation factors, there are not many respondents who prefer to maintain their position with their current employer. More than one third of Kuwait respondents (36%) are intending to stay with their current organization for a minimum of 12 months, compared to the regional average of 39%. A further 33% intend to stay for a minimum of 3 to 5 years, with only 13% stating that they will continue for at least 10 years, or until retirement. “Retaining quality performers simply adds to increased productivity and morale, while reducing the associated costs of turnover,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, “Our survey ’s results show that companies need to be doing more to help boost levels of motivation for the employees, specifically on the work-life balance front as that’s what matters to most profes-

sionals. specialises not only in empowering job seekers by helping them to find their ideal job, but by providing all involved in the recruitment industry with essential statistics that shape the region’s employment scene from all perspectives. We recommend using the benchmarks in’s ‘Employee Motivation in the MENA’ survey to help HR policymakers assess and identify the specific motivational factors that are important to employees. A proven process and strategy should then be set to boost retention levels, as with just any other business goal.” To help increase retention levels, the incentives that respondents claim are most important to them are monetary rewards (55%); certificates (35%); time off (19%); medals, or plaques of achievement (14%), and functional awards, such as gym memberships, discount vouchers and so on (13%). Across the MENA region, the majority (92%) of respondents feel that the work that they do is significant to their company, with 86% stating that their job is significant and important to their colleagues, customers and business partners. A further 72% believe that their work is important to their country of residence, while an additional 72% say that what they do is significant to their society. Three-quarters (76%) claim that their work gives them a sense of personal achievement, with 77% stating it offers them a sense of professional achievement. In Kuwait, respondents’ personal attitudes towards work are high, in accordance with regional sentiments. Nine out of 10 (90%) say that their job is significant to their company; nine out of 10 (86%) say their job is important to their colleagues, customers and business partners; 65% state that what they do is important to the country, and 65% believe their job is important to society. Three-quarters state that their work offers them a sense of personal achievement (76%), and a sense of professional achievement (77%). On a regional level, respondents are most loyal to their profession/line of work, followed by loyalty to their customers, clients and business partners. Those who command the least loyalty are line managers, with only 44% saying their manager communicates what is going on in the organisation to them. Respondents from the MENA also believe that 54% of line managers

consult with them enough on matters of importance; 53% challenge their employees to achieve their best and 50% give formal appreciation following a job well done. Line managers are perceived to be committed to their companies by 78% of respondents, as well as being open to suggestions (65%) and supportive if the respondent has a problem (62%).Yet, in Kuwait, only 44% believe that their management takes the time to listen to their concerns and suggestions. Across the MENA region, respondents believe that levels of internal communication are high, with 71% stating that they are either ‘fully informed’ or ‘fairly well informed’ of their company’s short and long term goals plus recent plans and developments. Companies are considered to be transparent by 64% of respondents. On an average working day, 51% of respondents in Kuwait feel either ‘under stress’ (31%), or ‘under severe stress’ (20%), in comparison to regional figures of 30% and 16%, respectively. This could be linked with the fact that, across MENA, 23% of employees always work overtime or take work home with them. Of these, 44%do so because it is part of their job requirement; 36% do it in order to get ahead and finish their projects early, while 30% claim that it is the only way to meet deadlines. “Levels of stress and the number of people working overtime are most likely a prolonged effect of downsizing, due to the recent recession. As the economy picks up and companies once more begin to grow, these statistics may reduce further as the workload is spread more evenly between employees,” said SundipChahal, CEO, YouGov. Respondents on the whole feel that they are relatively free to find solutions to their own work challenges, with only 11% in Kuwait stating that they can ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ do so. The survey shows that the majority (59%) of MENA companies engage in CSR activities. Respondents feel most strongly that their organisation should be involved in providing job opportunities (35%), though the preservation of the environment also ranked highly (30%). Causes that companies should also consider include supporting orphans (28%), providing training and job opportunities (27%), medical support programmes (such as blood drives) (26%), and human rights support (25%).


LOCAL NBK offers exciting job opportunities to young Kuwaitis KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) participates in the 8th Job Fair Forum at Arraya Ballroom, in Marriott Courtyard between Jan 13 and 16. NBK’s participation comes in line with its commitment to attract ambitious young nationals. NBK will continue its efforts to provide career and training opportunities for nationals and to support the country’s aim to encourage young Kuwaitis to assume roles in the private sector. NBK provides training opportunities for nationals and new recruits. Annually, NBK offers training programs for nationals and organizes executive training programs in line with the bank’s commitment to developing and investing in its key resource and human capital. The 8th Job Fair forum is tailored for talented youth to benefit in meeting with employers under one roof while identifying the needs of the labor market.

GDF Suez ‘successful bidder’ for Al-Zour project

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met in his office at Seif Palace yesterday with Chairperson of Kuwait’s Volunteer Center Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad and members of Kuwaiti Heritage team. The chairperson and members of the team gave HH the Amir an overview of a project in-the-making called AlOthman House Museum to be established under the auspices of the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters.

NA-Cabinet cooperation will lead to Kuwait development Al-Rashed seeks national reconciliation KUWAIT: Cooperation between the legislative and executive authorities within framework of the constitution will lead to the development of Kuwait and achieve aspirations of the Kuwaiti people, said Speaker of the National Assembly Ali Al-Rashed. In an interview with Al-Arabiya News Channel late Monday, AlRashed hoped that all political entities in the country would agree to national reconciliation in an effort to move forward and ease the current tension. On the one-vote decree, Al-Rashed said that he had sensed that there were indication of adopting the decree in parliament, but affirmed that the National Assembly’s agreement on the decree would not cancel the Constitutional Court’s decision on the matter. Al-Rashed noted that since 1963, 1,045 necessity decrees were issued during periods of dissolving parliament and between legislative terms; however, most of the decrees were not met by stern objection as in the case of the one-vote decree. The National Assembly Speaker said that article 71 of the

Constitution gave His Highness the Amir the right to issue necessity decrees if the parliament was dissolved, adding that the decrees would then be sent for assessment by specialized committees and forwarded to parliament for vote. Addressing those objecting to the one-vote decree, AlRashed said that any individual contesting the decree should use the correct tools to have a say in the matter, noting that participating in the elections, entering the parliament, and voting against the decree were the only means to state any kind of objection. On the subject of the opposition, Al-Rashed said that Kuwait did not have a political parties system; therefore, the term would not be accurate within the context of the political spectrum here. However, the Speaker mentioned that each item discussed at parliament would have MPs either contesting or agreeing to any certain issue, reflecting the situation of opposing parties within parliament. In reaction to statements that the current parliament was loyal to the government, Al-Rashed said that those comments were not true, affirming that several grilling motions were submitted against ministers in the current Cabinet. Al-Rashed also touched on the performance of the government, saying that HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah himself had criticized the cabinet’s performance. The new and old names of the current Cabinet should be given a chance to act and showcase their validity and parliament would be assessing the government actions, said Al-Rashed. The National Assembly Speaker also talked about individuals opposing both the current incarnation of parliament and government, stressing that people have the right to express their opinions within the frame of law and not through unlicensed protests and rallies. Whether the current protests were influenced by abroad entities, Al-Rashed said that he could not accuse anyone of such thing until there was concrete proof. Al-Rashed also touched on allegations accusing the authority of prosecuting political figures, noting that such things were flase, adding that “unless the law is violated, no individual will be subjected to any sort of political prosecution.” The Speaker also expressed confidence in the judiciary system in Kuwait, saying all should abide by the law and seek to attain their rights through those means. As for demands to elect a Prime Minister, Al-Rashed said that such step should also go through the constitution and not through any other means, stressing that necessary constitutional amendments to achieve the step also should go through parliament voting.—KUNA

DUBAI: GDF Suez is pleased to announce that, after finalization of the project agreements, its consortium with Sumitomo Corporation (Japan) and Kuwaiti partner Abdullah Hamad Al Sagar and Brothers, has been nominated ‘successful bidder’ for the Al Zour North Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP) in Kuwait by the State’s Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB). The GDF Suez-led consortium has now officially been awarded the construction and operation of a gas-fired combined cycle power plant of at least 1,500MW and an associated water desalination plant with a capacity of 102 to 107 MIGD (464 to 486 thousand m≥/day). The project will be jointly owned by the consortium, by Kuwaiti public entities and by Kuwaiti nationals (via an I nitial Public O ffering). Shank ar Krishnamoorthy, CEO and President of GDF Suez Energy Middle East, Turkey & Africa said: “I would like to thank the Partnerships Technical Bureau for the constructive and cooperative negotiations that have led to the award of the Az Zour North project to our consortium. GDF Suez is proud to be the first international investor in private power and water development in Kuwait and to partner with the PTB to develop quality infrastructure for the people of Kuwait.” The capacity of the plant will account for approximately 12% of Kuwait’s installed generation capacity and about 23% of its installed desalination capacity. All of the plant’s output will be purchased by the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water under a 40year long-term Energy Conversion and Water Purchase Agreement (ECWPA). The plant is expected to start commercial operation in 2015.


LOCAL in my view

kuwait digest

An expat’s outlook on economy

Confidential sessions By Hassan Abbas


e have heard many theories about ‘plots’ and ‘tactics’ that the government is practicing in order to subvert the rule of democracy in Kuwait. Speculations about ‘suspension of’ and ‘coup against’ the constitution emerged when the parliament was to be constituted. But does that not leave the door open for similar theories about potential plots being hatched by other parties? Logic says that a government or ruling system would benefit from restricting democracy and the freedoms given to the people. Speculation about the government in Kuwait acting as per a plot against the constitution and the people’s rights could be

By Jis M Jose


n Islamic nation with royal inheritance in Gulf region, Kuwait has an abundance of natural energy resources of oil and gas. Even though it is a small country with a population of nearly 3.5 million, and has more expatriates than citizens, it has oil reserves that can last for another 100 years .The country’s industry is based on oil refining and allied projects & byproducts. Petroleum accounts for 50% of the GDP, 95% of its exports revenues and government income. After the emancipation from Iraq, Kuwait witnessed a tremendous improvement in its overall growth for two decades up to the end of 2008. Now the country is facing a major challenge as new mega projects are being delayed. These would have provided an economic stimulus to the country’s growth. In this issue I would like to address some important factors which are slowing down the country’s economic growth, which, in turn, is leading to poor infrastructure facilities, unemployment for citizens and expatriates and, consequently, bringing down the standards of life. As I mentioned, the state is highly dependent on its oil and gas to meet the expenditure as well as for developmental activities. The country has no other income either from agriculture, tourism or service sectors like banking and ports unlike other GCC countries like Bahrain, the UAE or Saudi Arabia. Government’s revenues mean oil revenues, and developmental plans also depend on it. In the year 2008, Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC), a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), the state-owned flagship oil company of Kuwait, started the procedures for building a new refinery, the fourth refinery project in Mina Al Zour, near the border with Saudi Arabia. The new refinery was to have most modern refining facilities and higher capacities than the existing three refineries in Kuwait. An American company was appointed as the Front End Design and Engineering (FEED) firm for the project and it did the preliminary work, but due to a credit crunch, the government withheld the project. A number of companies in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) field were eyeing the project and updated their facilities and manpower to cope with the needs of the new project. Those companies were hit by the government’s decision and were forced to go for cost cutting plans like organizational restructuring, termination of employees’ services and deduction of salaries of the existing staff. Many of them had updated their facilities by taking huge loans from the banks and were unable to pay these back, which resulted in organizational failure. For the last two years, Kuwait did not have any kind of developmental projects to stimulate the economic growth and failed to create more job opportunities. There were no new growth avenues for the existing companies in the engineering, procurement and construction fields. Kuwait government needs to be more attentive towards the situation and plan its budget and economic affairs accordingly. The country owns a good wealth in oil reserves and so its developmental programs would not be affected in the near future. But for the well-being of its next generation, the state has to diversify its industry and also promote the services and agriculture sectors. The country needs to focus more on developmental plans which will help to create more job opportunities and increase facilities for citizens. Even though the US Army is still present in Iraq, the number of troops has come down significantly and a complete withdrawal will happen by the end of this decade. Kuwait is a hub for a lot of companies supplying back up services to the US troops in Iraq. Those multinational companies working in Kuwait are now reducing their manpower as well as their operational cost. This is also affecting the economy of Kuwait and leading to job loss for Kuwaitis and expatriates. However, there is another side to the stor y. Currently, Iraq is returning to normalcy, and it is a state which is copious with oil and gas. Iraqi government started announcing new projects for infrastructural and refining process. This is really a good opportunity for Kuwaiti firms and the multinational companies operating in Kuwait because of the proximity to Iraq. However, to win these contracts and projects, Kuwait has to solve its political and border problems with Iraq which popped up in the recent past. A number of firms in Kuwait are now looking at Iraq’s developmental process like the renovation of refineries, infrastructural development like roads, bridges, electrical stations and water supply projects. Iraq’s drilling rigs were damaged during the war and these need to be revitalized for oil production. There certainly is an opportunity for Kuwaiti companies to do more business and projects. Kuwait is not facing an electricity crunch right now but the demand for power is rising by the day. Almost all electricity is being generated from fuel since it costs less and is found in abundance, but there are signs that many government agencies like PTB and KISR are coming up with proposals to generate power from alternative sources like wind and solar energy and waste. This seems to be a new and better thought process to solve power related issues which Kuwait may face in the near future. Besides, it also displays the state’s commitment towards a green environment. The prices of commodities are going up every day. If we are comparing the food prices with last year’s, they have almost doubled. The price of household items like groceries, vegetables, meat, milk and fish are going up every day. Entire world is facing the challenge of inflation but in Kuwait, it is growing at a rather fast pace. This would affect the life of middle income families who are being forced to spend all of their hard earned incomes. The government has to take corrective measures and stringent actions to bring the situation under control. However, the political unrest and instability in the government are factors that are posing hurdles in addressing this issue. Anyway, we hope the government would seriously take up this matter since it was purely depending on the imports to feed the people. The world is changing fast. As someone who was inspired by the rise of Kuwait and saw the country going through many turbulent times, I wish and hope that proper planning coupled with wise political and administrative decision making will see Kuwait through once again. An expat can leave the country any time he wishes, but for the citizens, economic and political reforms are most required as these only will take the county in a new direction.

kuwait digest

We are our own tragedy By Dr Khalid Ahmad Al-Saleh


e will not be doing the right thing if we do values like truth, loved knowledge and was connected not say it in as many words. We squandered to his culture. Today’s Kuwaiti youth goes after a many opportunities, citing stupid excuses degree to increase his income while his productivity and in the name of bogus cultural reasons while our at work in a single day is no more than what can be affairs were being looked after by officials, most of achieved in half an hour. Most of his conversation is whom do not deserve the positions that they hold. It superficial and he has a propensity to tilt towards tribis because of them that we have reached where we al and sectarian interests. We are our own tragedy. find ourselves today. Hope is always there, waiting for anyone to pick it Kuwait is a small country with a multicultural popu- up. We can cite many examples from the history of lation mix and could have become a country that nations, the most recent one being that of the everyone should have been citing as an example in a Japanese experience. modern world. What happened then? Why did we In 1868, there was the “almaiji eishin”, which was remain blissfully unaware similar to recreating a for many decades, and then Japanese human being. A Kuwaiti citizen 50 years discovered that we did not This revolution produced do enough to secure our results with a short time as ago was better placed than citizens and will not be able within two decades, the today. He was fired with an to protect our next generarevolution empowered the tion? Japanese to protect themambition and was ready to US President Barack selves and their future. The Obama, who was chosen by work hard day and night and most beautiful thing in this the Time Magazine as Man reformist revolution was its proudly carried values like of the Year 2012, told that unrelenting focus on the magazine that by 2017, the truth, loved knowledge and human being, his culture, US will start exporting oil to dedication, was connected to his culture. knowledge, the world and will not need even his love for literature our oil. In fact, it may well and beauty. It is an inherent Today’s Kuwaiti youth goes be competing with us for beauty of that revolution to after a degree to increase his enable the human being to our customers by that time. He then hinted at someincome while his productivity face a challenge. The thing which was even more Japanese today, even genat work in a single day is no significant; he said if the erations after that reformist business relationship movement, are proud of more than what can be regarding oil trade changes being children of that counachieved in half an hour. as planned, then the US’ try. Despite all the catastrorelations with us will also phes that hit them, they see a change. have been able to build Now, two hits on the head hurt too much. Not only their country and maintain its status as a pioneering is our oil under threat, even our umbrella of protec- power worldwide. tion is being threatened. We have created a culture of As for us, over the past 50 years, we made sure that bribery which we sometimes do agree is not good, our citizen becomes even more dependent on the but one wonders if there will be any money left to state, more racist, sectarian and tribal. We did not deal bribe with or bribe for. Our treasure which we call well with wealth, and rather made it a tool of destrucreserves for our generations will be of no use because tion. We lost universal values and placed the human these are invested with them and can be easily lost, being in the hands of the state to feed him. We either through theft as was the case in the past, or became just as a poet predicted: “Do not let the good due to erosion of assets as is likely to happen later. deeds go to where they are supposed to, and sit down The one solitary element in which we needed to just because you provide food and drink.” invest was deliberately neglected; that element was They skinned us when they made us dependent on the human being. oil, and we forgot the meaning of true work. Today we A Kuwaiti citizen 50 years ago was better placed are in dire need of tens of reformists, who can reform than today. He was fired with an ambition and was the Kuwaiti citizen so that our generations can ready to work hard day and night and proudly carried become secure, just like the Japanese. —Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Sponsorship system By Thaar Al-Rashidi

By Thaar Al Rashidi


he Ministry of Interior has responded to my article in which I underlined the necessity to scrap the sponsorship system and invoke Article 24 so that any expat born in Kuwait or who has spent 10 years or more in the country can sponsor himself. The ministry said in its response, issued by the director of public relations, Col Adel Al Hashash, that they are seriously discussing the sponsorship system and are working towards scrapping it altogether. This is a good gesture from the ministry. Following is the ministry’s response as received: The Editor-in-Chief, Al Anbaa newspaper, we sincerely thank you and appreciate your role in the media which serves the cause of keeping our society secure and we thank you for your continuous communication with us in the interest of general public. We must emphasize that this creative work and cooperation between the media on the one hand and the security organization on the other is the best way to support the security work. It also educates our citizens and expats, and pinpoints

the truth in an objective and transparent manner. We hail and appreciate the writer, Thaar Al Rashidi, for writing on this subject and tackling the issue. His writings relate to an issue concerned with the public issues. We particularly mention the article published in your newspaper issue no. 13190 on 23-11-2012 in his corner “Alphabet 29” under the title “Tears that receive the owners.” We would like to inform you that the department of public administration for immigration sends its thanks and appreciation to the writer of the article for dealing with this subject. We are working hard in developing the services provided by the administration, and are doing so in accordance with the public interest and to put an end to all negative aspects and obstacles that come up during implementation. The administration is still reviewing the sponsorship system and studying how to cancel and bring in a new mechanism. On the other hand, granting residency as per Article 24 (self sponsorship) is done as per certain specific regulations and conditions. Such a status is granted after studying each case, as this class of residency is not granted for work to those who prove the sources of their income. —Al-Anbaa

As representatives of the public, lawmakers have the responsibility to address and counter any action which targets people’s political rights, tries to muffle their voice or takes away their freedom of expression regarding matters of general interest. It is catastrophic when the government uses lawmakers to suppress people’s right to determine their political destiny. true. But if we hypothetically say that it is indeed what happened, then what about the MPs, the ‘guardians of democracy’ and the ‘representatives of the people’? As representatives of the public, lawmakers have the responsibility to address and counter any action which targets people’s political rights, tries to muffle their voice or takes away their freedom of expression regarding matters of general interest. It is catastrophic when the government uses lawmakers to suppress people’s right to determine their political destiny. There is debate today on whether a parliamentary session, allocated to discuss the security situation in the state, should be held behind closed doors or not. Under a democracy, open session is the rule, and any in camera sessions would be considered an exception. Is there anyone in Kuwait who does not know that crime rate in the country is on the rise? Is there anyone who still has not lost at least some amount of confidence in police’s ability to restore order? It is a shame to see lawmakers demanding that the session set for Thursday should remain confidential when it discusses something that directly affects people’s lives. The very notion of making a request for a confidential session is an insult to the people because it takes away their right to know what is going on around them and their neighborhoods. What is the reason behind requesting secrecy for discussing the Avenues Mall murder and the Interior Ministry’s plans to combat crimes? Do you know the accomplice in the hypothetical ‘government plot’ now? —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

No major difference By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


he parliament’s legislative committee decided to reject a request to lift the immunity of MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai’. The decision, unfortunately, comes as proof that the current assembly was no different from its predecessor. It also confirms that current lawmakers who strongly condemned members of the previous parliament - and particularly its oppositionist majority accusing them of ‘protecting’ themselves from prosecution, are basically following in their predecessors’ footsteps. While the accusations against MP Al-Fuzai’ could indeed be ‘vengeful’ since they were initially leveled by the boycotting opposition as part of an obvious attempt to seek revenge, the request to lift Al-Fuzai’s immunity was forwarded by the Public Prosecution. Therefore, the parliament as well as its legislative committee ought to have respected the Public Prosecution’s decision. If the legislative committee does not respect or trust the Public Prosecution, then it has the ability to reformulate the legal procedures or regulations which, in their opinion, allowed use of a lawsuit to settle grudges against MP MP Al-Fuzai’. If the Public Prosecution deliberately initiates ‘vengeful or motivated’ legal procedures against MPs who enjoy parliamentary immunity, what will be the fate of common citizens who enjoy no such immunity? There is no major difference between the current parliament and the opposition-dominated Assembly which it replaced. Both the Houses chose to protect their own members more than protecting citizens. Both of them used public funds by to distribute financial gifts to entice voters. Both of them accorded top priority to writing off bank loans or the accrued interest on these loans. The current parliament continues to work against the freedoms available to the citizens and impose further restrictions on freedom of expression. The previous House also did the same thing. There is no difference between them at all. Both the current House and its predecessor were products of similar elections and elected by the same electorate. Whether elections happen as per one or four votes per voter, they only throw up political groups who work against freedoms and democratic principles. —Al-Qabas


Three accused in Indian rape case finally get legal help Page 12

JAMMU: In this photograph taken on May 23, 2003 Indian army soldiers patrol in Jaran Walan Gali (an Indo-Pakistani border area) some 250 kms from the Kashmir winter capital Jammu. Pakistani troops yesterday killed two Indian soldiers near the tense disputed border in Kashmir, two military sources told AFP, two days after Islamabad said one of its soldiers was killed there. — AFP

Pakistani soldiers kill 2 Indians Dead Indian soldier ‘mutilated’ in Pakistan attack SRINAGAR: Pakistani soldiers crossed the cease-fire line in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir yesterday and attacked an army patrol, killing two Indian soldiers before retreating back into Pakistani-controlled territory, an Indian army official said. Pakistan later denied the accusation. The outbreak of violence was the second in three days in Kashmir, where a cease-fire between the two wary, nuclear-armed rivals has largely held for a decade. Deaths in military exchanges are now uncommon compared to earlier years. But while diplomatic nervousness over the disputed region is never far from the surface, the earlier incident created no signs

of escalating tensions in either New Delhi or Islamabad, and received relatively little media attention in either country. The countries have fought two fullscale wars over Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in largely Hindu India. Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, said in a statement that military commanders from the two countries had been in contact since the violence. Such contacts normally occur to make sure confrontations do not escalate. Brig. S. Chawla, a senior Indian army officer, said the Pakistani soldiers crossed into Indian-controlled Kashmir near the town of Mendhar,

about 110 miles (175 kilometers) from Srinagar, the region’s main city, taking advantage of thick fog. The Pakistani soldiers retreated after a brief gunbattle with Indian forces, he said. He said one of the Indian bodies had been mutilated, but provided no more details. “They not only violated the cease-fire, but also the sanctity of the line of control” that divides Kashmir, Chawla said. A Pakistan army spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, denied that Pakistani soldiers had been involved in an unprovoked shooting. A statement from the Pakistani military said the Indian accusation “looks like Indian propa-

ganda” to divert attention after the Sunday incident, in which Pakistan said Indian soldiers raided a Pakistani post and killed one soldier. India denied raiding the Pakistani post, and said Pakistani shelling had destroyed a home on its side. Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan but divided between them. While the two nations remain rivals, relations between them have improved dramatically since the 2008 Mumbai siege, in which 10 Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people and effectively shut down the city for days. India claims the terrorists had ties to Pakistani intelligence officials - an accusation Islamabad denies.

Signs of their improving ties include new visa rules announced in December designed to make crossborder travel easier. They have also been taking steps to improve crossborder trade. A 2003 cease-fire ended the most recent round of Kashmir fighting, although each side occasionally accuses the other of violating it by firing mortars or gunshots across the line of control. While deaths are now relatively rare, a number of Pakistani civilians were wounded by Indian shelling in November. In October, the Indian army said Pakistani troops killed three civilians when they fired across the frontier. — AP

Australia bushfires rage in ‘catastrophic’ conditions

NEW SOUTH WALES: This undated handout picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) yesterday shows a NSW Rural Fire Service worker spraying water on a bush fire at Green Point in New South Wales. — AFP

SYDNEY: Bushfires raged out of control across Australia’s most populous state yesterday, fanned by intense heat and high winds in “catastrophic ” conditions that threatened homes and triggered evacuations. More than 130 fires were burning across New South Wales state, 40 of them uncontained, state Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney. “You don’t get conditions worse than this, we are at the catastrophic level,” he said. Introduced after the 2009 Black Saturday firestorm in Victoria state, which claimed 173 lives, a “catastrophic” rating means fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving, with evacuation the only safe option. New South Wales faced one of the highest-risk fire days in its history, fanned by high winds and temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the state. “For tunately, we’ve got no reports of people’s homes being damaged or destroyed at this stage,” Fitzsimmons said. While no deaths had been reported, officials

remained on alert, with particular concerns about the regions of Shoalhaven, Illawarra and Southern Ranges south of Sydney, all popular summer holiday locations. Shoalhaven mayor Joanna Gash said the area was a “tinderbox”. “Things are not looking real good,” she told Sky News. Gash said the extreme conditions had not been seen before. “A catastrophic fire is one you don’t really fight. You just try to get people to safety,” she said. Also in southern New South Wales, authorities warned that an out- of- control grass fire was encroaching on proper ties in Brogo, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of the national capital Canberra. “We just looked at each other and said ‘We’re leaving’,” Brogo resident Hallie Fernandez-Markov told AFP from the town of Cobargo, where she was staying with friends after fleeing her guest house. The popular tourist resort of Kings Canyon south of Alice Springs went up in flames after an out-of-control wildfire spread from

the Watarrka National Park, with visitors evacuated by road shortly before the fire hit. Much of southern Australia is enduring a summer heatwave and a total fire ban is in place throughout New South Wales, while all national parks are closed, with temperatures topping 42 degrees in Sydney and hitting 45 in the state’s west. Temperatures have soared so high, and are expected to continue climbing, that the Bureau of Meteorology was forced to add new colours- deep purple and pink-to its char ts for forecasts above the previous limit of 50 degrees. Fitzsimmons said while cooler weather had begun to sweep in from the south, seeing temperatures in some areas plummet from 40 degrees to 24 in minutes, the front was moving slowly and would take hours to cover the state. “We still have hours of hot, dry, difficult conditions ahead of us,” he said. There were also extreme conditions in Victoria Tuesday, with one fire at the town of Kentbruck

in the state’s southwest burning out of control, with 400 firefighters battling to stop it threatening rural communities. Wildfires destroyed more than 100 homes in Tasmania over the weekend, and around 40 blazes were still burning across the southern island state but the immediate threat to homes was believed to have passed. Tasmanian police, who yesterday continued searching burned out properties, said no bodies had been discovered so far. Initial reports said as many as 100 people could be missing, but police said there was much confusion about movements during the crisis and there were only “a handful” of people they were tr ying to locate quickly. Fires are a regular occurrence in vast and arid Australia, particularly between December and February.The last four months of 2012 were abnormally hot across the nation and the warm conditions have been exacerbated by very dry conditions due to the delayed star t to a weak monsoon. — AFP



Rights Watch, Amnesty bemoan Bahrain court decision DUBAI: An appeals court ruling confirming prison terms for 13 protest leaders in Bahrain this week shows that the Gulf Arab state’s judicial system is flawed and unable to protect basic rights, international activist groups said. Bahrain, a US ally against Iran and home to the US Fifth Fleet, has been in political ferment since a street revolt led by majority Shiite Muslims erupted in early 2011, part of a tide of unrest against autocratic rulers across the Arab world. On Monday, Bahrain’s highest appeals court upheld sentences ranging from five years in prison to life that were originally handed down by a military court in June 2011 to protest leaders, a ruling that could kindle further unrest.

Bahrain’s case has stirred international criticism, with US officials calling for acquittals to help restore calm and stability in the island monarchy. New Yorkbased Human Rights Watch said its own investigation showed that evidence against the convicted men was based on public statements in which they called only for reforms and on confessions apparently obtained through coercion. “The mind-boggling verdicts in these cases did not mention a single recognizable criminal offence, instead pointing to speeches the defendants made, meetings they attended, and their calls for peaceful street protests in February and March 2011,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s

deputy Middle East director. “Bahrain’s Cassation Court has proven its inability to protect the most basic rights guaranteed in Bahrain’s constitution and the international treaties it has signed,” he said in a statement. The government says Bahrain’s courts are independent, though the Sunni Muslim ruling Al Khalifa family holds senior cabinet portfolios including justice and key posts in the judiciary. The Court of Cassation is headed by an Al Khalifa relative and King Hamad heads the Supreme Judicial Council. Amnesty International said the ruling highlighted “flaws” in the justice system and the defendants should be released. “This unjust decision will confirm the

view of many that the judiciary is more concerned about toeing the government’s line than upholding the rule of law and the rights of all Bahrainis,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of London-based Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program. The main charges the protest leaders faced were “forming a terrorist group with intent to overthrow the system of government”, as well as collaboration with a foreign state - an allusion to Iran which Bahrain says fomented the unrest. The men denied all charges, saying they wanted only democratic reform. They also deny links to Iran over the protests, and Tehran for its part has denied involvement.

The government, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and police from the United Arab Emirates, put down the uprising with martial law in March 2011. Thousands were arrested and military trials conducted, and an investigation by international legal experts said systematic torture had been used against detainees. Bahrain says it is now instituting a range of political, legal, police, education, media and other reforms. But opposition leaders have dismissed those plans as cosmetic and protests have continued, albeit on a reduced scale. Police and demonstrators clash almost daily and each side blames the other for the violence and the absence of talks to end the conflict.—Reuters

Israel weighs US Pentagon choice Hagel record on Iran worries Jewish state

CAIRO: Tawfiq Okasha (center) a popular Egyptian TV presenter is greeted by his supporters as he arrives at the Cairo South court yesterday. An Egyptian court acquitted Okasha on charges of inciting the killing of the country’s new president Mohammed Morsi. — AP

12 Kurdish rebels killed ANKARA: Turkey’s state television reported yesterday that Turkish troops have battled Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey, in fighting that left 12 rebels and a soldier dead despite peace talks aimed at ending the 28year-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. A group of rebels, infiltrating from northern Iraq, attacked a military post near the border with longrange weapons late Monday, killing one soldier and wounding two others, TRT television reported. The military says it fired back on the rebels killing at least 12. Last month, government officials said Turkey’s intelligence agency was holding talks with the rebels’ imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, with the goal of pressing the group to disarm. Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which took up arms in 1984, is fighting for self-rule for Kurds in southeast Turkey. The group often launches attacks from bases in neighboring northern Iraq. Officials have given few details about the talks, but the government said Turkey had no intention of halting its fight against the PKK until the rebels were “no longer in a position to attack,” even as the dialogue continued. Turkish officials have said that the group has in the past used lulls in fighting to recoup. The fighting in Hakkari

province comes days after Yalcin Akdogan, chief adviser to the Turkish prime minister, warned that factions within the PKK opposed to any negotiated settlement, could attempt to “sabotage” the talks by launching sensational attacks. Turkey has admitted holding secret discussions with Ocalan and other PKK members before, although officials said the talks were abandoned when rebels killed 13 soldiers in southeast Turkey in 2011. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out any amnesty for PKK fighters or the possibility of a house arrest for Ocalan, who has been serving a life sentence on a prison island off Istanbul since 1999. The latest peace effort comes after hundreds of Kurdish prisoners linked to the PKK heeded a call from Ocalan in November and abandoned a hunger strike pressing for greater Kurdish rights and improved prison conditions for the rebel leader. The incident demonstrated Ocalan still holds sway over the rebels even after 13 years of being in prison. The negotiations also coincide with efforts by parties in Parliament to draft a new constitution for Turkey, which the government says would safeguard the rights of minority Kurds, who make up some 20 percent of the country’s 75 million population.—AP

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli diplomat has given gave a positive view of Chuck Hagel’s nomination as US defense secretary, though some commentators in the Jewish state expressed worries that the choice could open a new fissure in bedrock ties with Washington. US President Barack Obama named the former Republican senator for the Pentagon post on Monday, setting the stage for a confirmation battle with critics who question his commitment to Israel in its struggle with Iran and other regional adversaries. But Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a former envoy to the United States, told the biggest-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in comments published yesterday: “I have met him (Hagel) many times, and he certainly regards Israel as a true and natural US ally.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a rightist favored to win national legislative polls on Jan. 22, has yet to comment publicly on the nomination. He has had a testy relationship with Obama, a Democrat reelected in November, though both insist their coordination on Middle East security is sound. Israel, which receives around $3 billion a year in US defense grants, has at times angered the Obama administration by threatening preemptive war against the Iranians while world powers seek a diplomatic deal to resolve the crisis over Tehran’s nuclear program. Obama has also criticized the Netanyahu government’s settlement of occupied West Bank land, which the Palestinians blame for the two-year impasse in their peacemaking with Israel. The pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom on Tuesday quoted an unnamed government official as saying the choice of Hagel was “very bad news,” adding: “Clearly it won’t be easy with him.” The official, reflecting the belief of several Israeli analysts that Obama would continue to set the tone for bilateral relations, suggested that having Hagel in the Pentagon would allow the second-

WEST BANK: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Ariel University Center which had recently been formally upgraded to university status, becoming the first university in the West Bank Jewish settlements, yesterday. — AP term president “to play ‘good cop’” the Democrat-led Senate. A deco- strategies. “In the United States, policy is with Netanyahu. Many Republicans rated Vietnam war veteran, Hagel contend that Hagel, who left the has criticized the size of the US mili- made by the president, not by the Senate in 2008, at times opposed tary, telling the Financial Times in members of the cabinet,” he told Israel’s interests. He voted several 2011 that the Pentagon was “bloat- Reuters, noting that Ronald times against US sanctions on Iran, ed” and needed “to be pared Reagan, a former president considered warm to Israel, had a less symin whose nuclear program Israel down.” Hagel has also been attacked by pathetic defense secretary, Caspar sees a mortal threat, and made disparaging remarks about the influ- gay rights groups for remarks in Weinberger. Another to rally to ence of what he called a “Jewish 1998 questioning whether an Hagel was Alon Pinkas, former chief “openly aggressively gay” nominee of staff for Israel’s veteran centrist lobby” in Washington. Hagel sought to beat back the could be an effective US ambassa- statesman Ehud Barak. Pinkas bias allegations on Monday, telling dor. He apologized for the com- wrote in Al-Monitor last month that the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper ments last month saying they were he had attended meetings his record showed “unequivocal, “insensitive”. Rumors of Hagel’s between Hagel and Barak when the total support for Israel” and that he appointment had circulated for latter was Israeli foreign minister had “said many times that Iran is a weeks, drawing the ire of some pro- and opposition leader. “Barak was state sponsor of terrorism”. Israel figures in the United States. thoroughly impressed not only by “Furthering the peace process in The outcry reached Israel’s media, Hagel’s military background, but by the Middle East is in Israel’s inter- with one Yedioth commentator his analysis, knowledge of the est,” added Hagel. Despite the criti- predicting a Hagel Pentagon would Middle East, and his understanding cisms of Hagel, the White House be Netanyahu’s “nightmare”. Moshe of Israel’s security issues and believes it can garner enough sup- Arens, a former Israeli defense min- predicaments,” Pinkas said. “He is port for him on both sides of the ister, played down the impact of not anti-Israeli and he is not an political aisle to win confirmation in Hagel’s nomination on Obama’s anti-Semite.”—Reuters

Riot breaks out in Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

BAGHDAD: Protesters chant slogans against Iraq’s Shiite-led government as they wave representations of Saddam Hussein-era national flags during a demonstration in Ramadi, west of Baghdad yesterday. The banner (left) in Arabic reads, ìMaliki execute Iran’s orders by dissolving the government and the parliament to elude executing Sunnis’ demands.’ — AP

Iraqi Sunnis, Kurds boycott cabinet to back protests BAGHDAD: Iraqi Sunni Muslim and Kurdish ministers boycotted a cabinet session yesterday to show support for protests that are threatening Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri alMaliki’s fragile cross-sectarian government. Thousands of protesters have demonstrated and blocked a key highway in Iraq’s Sunni provinces for more than two weeks to challenge Maliki, a leader many Sunnis feel has marginalised their community a year after the last US troops pulled out. In a rival show of backing for the Shi’ite premier, around 7,000 protesters marched yesterday in the southern cities of Basra and Kerbala, waving Maliki portraits and banners supporting the Shi’ite parties in his coalition. Protests and the conflict in nearby Syria, where mainly Sunni insurgents are fighting President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Shi’ite Iran, are fuelling worries that Iraq risks sliding back into the sectarian slaughter that peaked in 2006 and 2007. Sunni-backed Iraqiya party lawmakers

said their ministers stayed away from the cabinet meeting in support of the protests sparked in late December when security forces arrested bodyguards of Sunni Finance Minister Rafaie al-Esawi. “They made a decision to boycott the session today,” Iraqiya lawmaker Jaber alJaberi said. “They don’t see a response from the government to the demands of the protesters... or to accepting power-sharing.” Alaa Talabani, a Kurdish lawmaker, said party leaders had also asked Kurdish ministers to stay away. A senior government source at the meeting confirmed Sunni and Kurdish ministers had missed the Council of Ministers session. Violence and bombings are down sharply since the height of the OPEC country’s conflict, but the government, split among Shi’ites, minority Sunnis and ethnic Kurds, has been deadlocked over powersharing since it was formed in December 2010. —Reuters

ZAATARI: Syrian refugees in a Jordanian camp attacked aid workers with sticks and stones yesterday, frustrated after cold, howling winds swept away their tents and torrential rains flooded muddy streets. Police said seven Jordanian aid workers were injured when they were attacked by dozens of refugees while distributing bread for breakfast. The refugees may be about to face even deeper misery with warnings of a major snowstorm today. “It is hell - boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold now,” lamented Ahmed Zibi, 45, who said he spent the night watching over his five children when his tent collapsed. “Rain flooded the tent and its shafts submerged and collapsed on us.” The riot broke out after the region’s first major winter storm this year hit the Zaatari refugee camp, home to nearly 50,000 refugees, at least half under the age of 18, in Jordan’s northern desert. Inside the camp, large puddles surrounded tents, stranding pregnant women and infants. Some refugees scurried to evacuate their flooded tents or used small buckets to bail out the water, while others made walls of mud to try to keep the water out. Women, children and the elderly took cover in other tents. Ghazi Sarhan, spokesman for the Jordan Hashemite Charitable Organization, said frustration over the harsh conditions triggered the riot. The charity runs the camp

along with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Calls from loudspeakers echoed across the camp urging protesters to evacuate muddy streets. UNHCR says 597,240 refugees have registered or are awaiting registration with the agency in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Some countries have higher estimates, noting many have found accommodation without registering. The World Food Program also said yesterday it is unable to help 1 million Syrians who are going hungr y inside Syria. WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said the agency plans to provide aid to 1.5 million of the 2.5 million Syrians that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent says are internally displaced. But the lack of security and the agency’s inability to use the Syrian port of Tartous for its shipment means that a large number of people in the some of the country’s hardest hit areas will not get help, she said. “Our main partner, the Red Crescent, is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further,” Byrs said. Rain was intermittent and the wind had subsided. But the weather ser vice warned a large snowstorm could hit Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and par ts of Iraq today. Private and public schools throughout Lebanon were closed yesterday and today. Temperatures dipped below freezing overnight and were expected to be similar late yesterday night into today.

Winds gusted up to about 35 mph overnight. Fadi Suleiman, 30, said Zaatari camp conditions were “worse than living in Syria,” where rebels are fighting a civil war against authoritarian ruler Bashar Assad that has killed some 60,000 in nearly two years of fighting. “It’s one misery after the other as the international community sits idle, doing nothing to help us get rid of the tyrant Assad,” he said. “But this one is dangerous: There’s a serious storm that could kill children and old people.” The UN has

registered 128,628 refugees in Jordan, but the Jordanian government says more than 280,000 Syrians have fled to the country since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011. Zaatari has been the site of several previous violent refugee protests over harsh living conditions. At least 100 Jordanian policemen have been wounded in the riots, according to a Jordanian policeman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.— AP

AL-FAOUR: Syrian refugees pose for a photograph after their tents flooded from the rain, at a temporary refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon, yesterday. Two Syrian refugee encampments in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa valley were completely immersed in water yesterday after the Litani river flooded and the water came pouring into their tents. The flood forced dozens of Syrian refugees to leave in search for alternative shelter along with their water-soaked and muddied belongings. — AP



Japan plans to raise military budget amid China row TOKYO: Japan will raise military spending this year for the first time in over a decade under a ruling party plan, an official said yesterday, as Tokyo summoned Beijing’s envoy in a territorial row. The national defense task force of the newly-elected Liberal Democratic Party will increase the defense budget request by more than 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion) in response to an emboldened China, a party official told AFP. The relatively small amount-just over two percent of the total military budgetis largely symbolic, but reflects anxiety at what Japan sees as an increasingly hostile region in which China appears happy to throw its weight about. “We have decided that the additional budget will be used for research into a new radar system as well as fuel and other maintenance costs for early-warning aircraft,” the official said on condition of

anonymity. The news came as the foreign ministry called in China’s ambassador to protest at the latest dispatch of official vessels into waters around the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus. The summons was the first under nationalistic Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and is in line with the tough stance he pushed on China on the campaign trail in December. Beijing, however, rebuffed the move. Hong Lei, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, told reporters in Beijing patrols were “normal” because the islands are Chinese territory. Nerves in Tokyo have also been rattled by an unpredictable North Korea. It sent a rocket over Japan’s southern islands last month in what it insisted was a satellite launch. Tokyo and its allies said the launch was a covert ballistic missile test. The military is bound by the

country’s US-imposed pacifist constitution, which restricts its ability to project power or to wage aggressive war. However, commentators say it is a modern, well-funded and well-equipped force. In the run-up to last month’s election, the LDP pledged to expand the number of personnel in the Self-Defense Forces and boost their equipment and spending power. The proposed increase in funding comes after declines over 10 consecutive years as Tokyo grappled with its huge public debt. The initial defense budget for fiscal 2012, which ends in March, stood at 4.65 trillion yen. This compares with a budget for fiscal 2002 that peaked at 4.94 trillion yen. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has said Abe’s government will review Japan’s long-term basic defense program, adopted in 2010 under the Democratic Party of Japan which was

routed at the polls. The current program includes plans to trim troop numbers by around 1,000. Kazuhiko Togo, director at the Institute for World Affairs of Kyoto Sangyo University, said the planned rise in defense spending was a direct result of China’s more hostile attitude, specifically over the disputed islands. “China has publicly said it would seize the islands by force if necessary and acted as such. To avoid a possible armed clash, Japan has no choice but to possess deterrence by boosting its defense budget,” he said. Hitoshi Tanaka, former diplomat and chairman of the Institute for International Strategy at the Japan Research Institute said at around 0.9 percent of GDP, Japan’s defense budget was comparatively small. “Given the fact that there is a rather

difficult security environment these days, it is only natural for the government to think about increasing this,” he said. Abe has pledged to improve ties with key ally the United States and other democracies in the region, including Australia and India, as a counterbalance to China. The United States stations some 47,000 troops in Japan as part of an alliance that enjoys broad support among political leaders, but is sometimes unpopular in communities that host bases, particularly on Okinawa. A rise in defense spending will likely be welcomed in Washington, which has called for Tokyo to shoulder more of the burden of regional security. However, any attempt to reinforce Japan’s military has traditionally aroused suspicion in countries like China and the two Koreas, which fell victim to its wartime rampage.— AFP

C African govt, opposition head for talks with rebels ‘Peace talks could open later this week’

MASBATE: This handout photo taken yesterday and released by Naval Forces Southern Luzon-Public Information Office (NFSL-PIO) shows Philippine navy personnel loading into a military truck an unmanned aerial vehicle recovered by fishermen, which Philippine naval and police authorities believe is a US drone, after it was recovered in waters off San Jacinto town, Masbate province, central Philippines and to be transported to Camarines sur province. The US confirmed yesterday, that it owned a drone found in Philippine waters, but said the craft only drifted into Filipino territory after crashing at sea four months ago. — AFP

Crashed drone drifted into Philippine sea: US MANILA: The United States confirmed yesterday that it owned a drone found in Philippine waters, but said the craft only drifted into Filipino territory after crashing at sea four months ago. The “unarmed target drone” was deployed from the guided missile destroyer USS Chafee in war games off the coast of Guam in September last year, the US embassy in Manila said in a statement. “It appears the ocean currents brought the drone to where it washed ashore last week off Masbate island,” it said. Fishermen found the drone drifting just off the coast of the island in central Philippines, about 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) from Guam, at the weekend. President Benigno Aquino had previously said US drones are allowed to conduct reconnaissance missions in the Philippines as part of efforts to contain a range of security threats. The Philippine military has said drones are used during annual joint military exercises with the US in its waters, while some 600 US forces have been in the southern Philippines since 2002 to help train local troops to deal with Islamic militants.

Nevertheless the discovery of the drone stirred controversy in the Philippines, prompting local authorities to insist the machine was not being used for spying or to fire weapons at targets. “It is not a spy plane. It is unarmed. It is used by the US Navy in its training,” Philippine military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos told AFP. The Philippine department of foreign affairs released a similar statement, although qualifying it by emphasising its comments were based on assurances from the US government. “At this point, we have been assured by the US Embassy that the reported aerial vehicle is by design and purpose solely used for target practice and not armed or used for surveillance,” the statement said. Renato Reyes, secretary-general of leftist political group New Patriotic Alliance, alleged the drone was proof the United States-a former colonial ruler of the Philippines-was violating Filipino sovereignty. “No sovereign nation would allow a foreign power unhampered use of domestic airspace,” Reyes said in a statement. — AFP

Goan war unmasked as elaborate hoax MUMBAI: It went undetected for five years on Wikipedia, but now a seemingly meticulous entry about a 17th century conflict between colonial Portugal and India’s Maratha empire has been outed as a hoax. “The Bicholim Conflict” of 1640-41, described in detail in the online piece assessed as a “good article”, has been unearthed not as an episode of Goan history, but a tale by a mischievous user.Added to the site in July 2007, the entry was only uncovered as a lie by another eagle-eyed user in December. “After careful consideration and some research, I have come to the conclusion that this article is a hoax-a clever and elaborate hoax,” wrote user “ShelfSkewed”, who found the sources cited also did not exist.

The fantasy conflict has been added to Wikipedia’s list of hoaxes that have dogged the site since it was founded in 2001, such as non-existent Indonesian island Bunaka and Gaius Flavius Antoninus, supposed assassin of Julius Caesar. “Fictitious war between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire which supposedly took place from mid-1640 to early 1641,” says the new reference. Wikipedia, which has editions in 285 languages, is open for anyone to edit and therefore “can be abused to create hoaxes”, according to the site. “Hoaxes in Wikipedia are considered vandalism, and persistent perpetrators of hoaxes are subject to blocking and banning.” — AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan journalists and well wishers light candles in front of a photograph of slain editor Lasantha Wickrematunge in the capital Colombo yesterday, on his fourth death anniversary. International media rights groups criticised Sri Lanka for failing to identify the assassins of Wickrematunge, a top anti-establishment editor. — AFP

BANGUI: Central African Republic government and opposition delegations left yesterday to join rebels for talks later in the week in the Gabonese capital Libreville to end the conflict in their volatile nation. A delegation of the rebels who have seized key towns in the impoverished countr y arrived Monday, while government, opposition and civil society representatives left Bangui early yesterday, a government official said. Congo Republic President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is serving as mediator, has said the peace talks could open later this week, while sources said some one -on-one meetings could take place earlier. The head of the government delegation, Jean Willybero-Sako, voiced confidence that concessions that Central African President Francois Bozize has made so far-he has proposed a national unity government and said he would not try to seek an unconstitutional third mandate -would go a long way toward resolving the conflict. The concessions “cleared a lot of obstacles,” Willybero-Sako told AFP on Sunday. “That showed a certain willingness to go forward, to take into account everyone’s concerns.” Minister of Territorial Administration Josue Binoua has said the government would also propose “army reform, an economic stimulus plan and the implementation of a new electoral code” at the talks. Asked about a persistent rebel demand that Bozize step down, Willybero-Sako replied: “We have struggled-rebels, opposition and government-to provide our nation with a constitution that everyone now wants to see respected.” Bozize, a former army general, came to power in a coup in 2003 and has been voted back into office twice, in 2005 and 2011. He has been suspected of wanting to modify the constitution to be allowed to seek a third term in

LIBREVILLE: Central African Republic rebel leader Michel Djotodia is met by journalists as he arrives ahead of planned peace talks with the Central African Republic’s government, at the airport in Libreville, Gabon, yesterday. Talks between Central African Republic’s government and the rebels who now control much of the country’s north are set to get under way no later than Friday, the president of Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-N’Guesso announced Monday. — AP 2016. Bozize made a quick trip Monday to Brazzaville to meet with Sassou Nguesso. At a joint press conference after ward, Sassou Nguesso stressed that a “military solution was not a good one and there must be negotiations.” Bozize, who will be present in Libreville but will not attend the talks, claimed the rebel movement was triggered by “elements coming from outside.” He added: “We consider them as mercenaries manipulated from outside, who attacked the peaceful Central African people.” The rebels have insisted that the departure of Bozize, who has been in power since 2003, should be up for discussion at the talksand Sassou Nguesso said the issue would be addressed. “We cannot interpret, in our

role as mediator, the statements of one or the other” side, he said, adding that “all par ties have agreed to go to negotiations in Libreville and we will address all these questions among brothers.” Rebel chief Michel Djotodia, who made no statement on arrival in the Gabonese capital on Monday, told AFP earlier on a stopover in Chad: “One doesn’t make war without also looking for peace.” The Seleka alliance of three rebel movements launched its assault on December 10 in the nor th of the Central African Republic, a mineral-rich country of of five million that is notorious for coups and army mutinies. Since then, it has moved steadily south, capturing a string of key towns with little or no

resistance from the poorly equipped and poorly trained army. They are now in striking distance of the capital Bangui, near Sibut, 160 kilometres (100 miles) to the north. At first, the rebels were simply calling on the Bangui government to respec t the terms of peace accords signed in 2007 and 2011. As their position strengthened, however, they began calling for Bozize to step down. The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) will host the Libreville talks. But the regional bloc has also sent m o re tro o p s to stre ng the n FOMAC, its multinational intervention force in the CAR. They are deployed as a buffer force at Damara, 75 kilometres north of the capital Bangui. —AFP

Indonesia women reject motorbike straddle ban

MANCHESTER: Santanu Pal (C), father of 18 year old Indian student Souvik Pal who is missing from his home in Manchester makes an appeal at a press conference in Manchester, north west England yesterday, for information about his whereabouts. Souvik Pal was last seen on December 31, 2012. — AFP

French budget minister faces tax fraud probe PARIS: French prosecutors are to open a preliminary investigation into Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac over allegations that he had a secret bank account in Switzerland, the Paris prosecutor’s office said yesterday. Cahuzac, who is leading a government crackdown on tax evasion, has vigorously denied a report by the French investigative news website Mediapart that he held an undisclosed account at the Swiss bank UBS until the start of 2010. He said he would welcome an inquiry that he was confident would prove his innocence. The investigation is nevertheless a huge embarrassment for President Francois Hollande’s eight-month-old Socialist government, which has made raising income and capital gains taxes on the rich a central plank of its economic policy. A preliminary investigation could take several months and would lead either to Cahuzac being placed under formal investigation or to the case being dropped for lack of grounds. “Jerome Cahuzac wel-

comes the Paris prosecutor’s decision,” his office said in a statement. “This step will, as he has always said, show his complete innocence of the absurd allegations that he has been subjected to.” Mediapart chief Edwy Plenel told I>Tele television that he stood by the story. Mediapart published its first report on the affair in early December and followed up by posting a recording of a telephone call, which it said dated from 2000, in which a male voice it cited as Cahuzac’s mentions an account he held at UBS. Cahuzac has filed legal complaints against the website and repeated his denial of the allegations on France 2 television on Monday evening. He said the voice in the recording was not his. The prosecutor’s office said that, given the sensitivity of the allegations and the time it would take to process Cahuzac’s complaints, it had no option but to open an inquiry immediately. “The Paris prosecutor has as a result decided to open a preliminary investigation for tax fraud,” it said.— Reuters

JAKARTA: Rights groups urged the Indonesian government yesterday to block a proposed law banning women from sitting astride motorcycles in deeply Islamic Aceh province, where the position is deemed “improper”. The mayor of Lhokseumawe city in Aceh, where sharia law is enforced, circulated a letter Monday explaining the obligation for women to sit side-saddle was “to avoid immoral acts”. “Adult women who are riding on the back of a motorbike... cannot straddle unless in an emergency,” mayor Suaidi Yahya’s letter read, adding that the ban included women straddling female drivers. The official explained last week that women sitting astride motorcycles would “provoke the male driver” and that it would be against Islamic law. The letter also proposed banning men and women from hugging and holding hands while on vehicles, and banning tight or scanty clothing in public. The move comes after leaders from Aceh, the country’s only province ruled by strict sharia law, drafted a series of new bills including banning women from wearing tight trousers, stoning adulterers and flogging homosexuals. Local women’s rights activists have rejected the proposed ban “because it completely ignores the safety principles for driving,” said Roslina Rasyid from Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice legal aid in Lhokseumawe. “Sitting astride guarantees better safety, and I’m sure most people can only side-saddle for 15 minutes. What if the person is overweight and causes an imbalance? It could cause an accident,” she added. National Commission on Violence Against Women activist Andy Yentriyani said the policy was “part of discriminative policies on women in this country in the name of religion and morality”. But the central government said it could not review the straddling ban because it was not yet formalised as a bylaw and did not include punishments. Local media reported the interior minister saying he would review the bylaw if it passed. But the ministry’s regional autonomy director-general Djohermansyah Djohan, who would oversee any revision, said: “We’ll just leave it to people of Aceh to decide whether to accept it or not.” — AFP



Three accused in Indian rape case finally get legal help ‘This is not an open and shut case’

SHANGHAI: A newspaper vendor looks out from her booth on a street in Shanghai yesterday. China’s blogosphere and celebrities, many with millions of followers, backed journalists at the Southern Weekly, a popular liberal newspaper based in Guangzhou which is embroiled in a censorship row after hundreds of people held a rare protest demanding greater press freedom after an article urging reforms to uphold people’s rights was censored by an official. — AFP

China censorship prompts rally and online protest BEIJING: Free-speech protesters in masks squared off against flag-waving communist loyalists in a southern Chinese city yesterday as a dispute over censorship at a newspaper spilled into the broader population, with authorities shutting microblog accounts of supporters of the paper. What started out as a conflict between journalists at the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly and a top censor over a New Year’s editorial has rapidly become a focal point driving public calls for the authoritarian Communist Party government to loosen its grip on information. The dispute centers on how the editorial, originally calling for political reform, was transformed into a tribute praising the Communist Party. Scholars have signed open letters calling for the censor’s dismissal, celebrities and other supporters of the journalists are speaking out for the paper on microblogs - drawing a crackdown by authorities - and hundreds of people gathered for a second day outside the publication’s office bearing flowers and signs in support. The paper’s editorial committee was in negotiations with its top management, which is part of the provincial propaganda office, according to a Southern Weekly editor. The editor spoke on condition of anonymity because of an internal directive not to talk to the foreign media. Propaganda officials want the newspaper to publish - as per normal - on Thursday but editors are negotiating over whether to do so, and the terms under which they would be willing, for example, if they could include a letter to readers explaining the incident, the editor said. The committee is also pushing a larger appeal to abolish censorship of the newspaper’s content prior to publication, the editor said. The suggestion is that Communist Party leaders could provide direction but not interfere with reporting and editing, and should refrain from taking issue with content until after publication, the editor said. Free-speech protesters started gathering outside Southern Weekly’s offices again yesterday morning, holding signs calling for media freedom and other democratic reforms but were soon confronted by party loyalists waving Chinese flags. Both sides berated each other - at times resorting to hurling abuse and calling each other “traitors and running dogs,” and minor scuffling ensued that was broken up by police. “Southern Weekly is the only mainland newspaper that, relatively speaking, is more able to report the truth,” said one of the protesters, Cheng Qiubo, a democracy activist. “We are very angry that it has been censored ... so we hope that this country can have media freedom, to abolish the news censorship system.” The issue also galvanized a wide variety of people on China’s popular Twitter-like

microblogs, with many journalists, scholars, entrepreneurs and celebrities posting messages of support for the newspaper’s stance. “One word of truth outweighs the whole world,” celebrity Chinese actress Yao Chen quoted the Russian Nobel Prize Literature winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn in a post that was accompanied by the newspaper’s logo. The newspaper’s name in Chinese translates literally to “Southern Weekend,” and in a sign of the authorities’ sensitivity about the dispute, searches on microblogs were blocked for that name and even for the otherwise mundane individual Chinese phrases “southern” and “weekend.” At least 15 journalists at the newspaper have not been able to post messages on Sina Weibo, a popular microblog site that has served as a key platform for dissenting voices and for spreading information on sensitive incidents. The journalists have declined comment. The online ax has fallen on sympathizers, too. Wu Wei, a Guangzhou-based based writer who posted photos from Monday’s protest said his Sina Weibo account was deleted Monday afternoon. Two guards dispatched by the local police were posted to his residence to prevent him from going out, said Wu, better known by his pen name, Ye Du. Others targeted by the online police included a prominent real estate magnate and a couple of well-known rights lawyers. Political expression in the public sphere is often viewed as risky in China, where the authoritarian government frequently harasses and even jails dissidents for pro-democracy calls. Also joining the chorus were 18 Chinese academics who signed an open letter calling for the dismissal of Tuo Zhen, a provincial propaganda minister blamed for the censorship. The scholars included legal professors, liberal economists, historians and writers. Six weeks ago, China installed a new generation of Communist Party leaders for the next five years, with current Vice President Xi Jinping at the helm. Some of Xi’s announcements for a trimmed-down style of leadership, with reduced waste and fewer unnecessary meetings, have raised hopes in some quarters that he might favor deeper reforms in the political system to mollify a public long frustrated by local corruption. The Guangdong provincial propaganda department did not immediately respond to a faxed list of questions. But the Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that no Chinese media outlet should fool itself into thinking that it could occupy a “political special zone” in which it is free from government control. The US State Department said Monday that media censorship is incompatible with China’s aspirations to build a modern informationbased economy and society. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it was interesting that Chinese are now strongly taking up their right to freedom of speech. — AP

Slain Philippine officers linked to gambling war MANILA: Five people killed in a battle with Philippine security forces were policemen and soldiers, authorities said yesterday as they looked into claims the violence was part of an illegal gambling turf war. The official police report following the shootings in a town about 170 kilometres (105 miles) south of Manila on Sunday said security forces tried to stop armed members of a criminal gang at a road block, setting off a battle. Thirteen “gang members” were killed, according to the initial account. However national police chief spokesman Generoso Cerbo said yesterday that Senior Superintendent Alfredo Consemino, a top policemen in a town near where the shootings occurred, and two of his aides were among those killed. Armed forces spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos also confirmed two of the others shot dead were an air force lieutenant and a sergeant. Another of the 13 killed was Victorino Atienza, who operated a highly lucrative illegal gambling operation called “jueteng”. Media reports said that slain policeman Consemino was the gambling lord’s business partner. They also alleged that the police officer who led the team that manned the roadblock may have been working with a rival jueteng operator, and that the killings

were part of a turf battle. Cerbo, the national police spokesman, said those allegations would be investigated. “The investigation will try to find out why these police personnel were in the company of an alleged gambling operator,” Cerbo said, adding authorities would also probe claims the 13 were executed and not killed in a shootout. “The official police report of our personnel on the ground said it was a shoot-out between the elements of a private armed group and the police and the military,” Cerbo said. “But with this allegation of a ‘rub out’ (slang for execution) we have decided to create a fact finding team to get to the bottom of this incident.” Jueteng is an illegal lottery known to generate millions of dollars that are often used to finance campaigns by corrupt local politicians. Then president Joseph Estrada was forced from power in 2001 by mass street protested triggered by allegations he received millions of dollars in kickbacks from jueteng operators. Corruption has long been a major problem in the Philippines, including in the police and armed forces. President Benigno Aquino, who came to office in 2010, has said fighting graft through all sectors of society is his administration’s top priority. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Three of the men accused of raping and murdering an Indian student have asked lawyers to defend them and the lawyers have agreed to do so, even though most of the judiciary has refused to represent the suspects because of outrage over the attack. The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died two weeks after being beaten and gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi, then thrown bleeding onto the street. Protests followed, along with a fierce public debate over police failure to stem rampant violence against women. Five men and a teenager have been accused of the Dec 16 attack but with public anger simmering, most lawyers in the district where the trial will be held have ruled out representing them. But two lawyers, V. K. Anand and Manohar Lal Sharma, offered to defend the five men when they appeared in a New Delhi court for the first time on Monday, despite the condemnation of their legal colleagues. The lawyers said yesterday three of the five had asked to be represented by them. “I understand the sentiments of the people. But you cannot go by sentiments,” Anand told Reuters. “The accused have a right to justice just as the victim has.” Legal experts had said a lack of representation for the five could give grounds for appeal if they were found guilty. Convictions in similar cases have often been overturned years later. The five accused men are facing various charges including murder, rape and abduction and prosecutors have said they would seek the death penalty. Anand said he would represent Ram Singh, the driver of the bus on which the rape took place, and had a preliminary meeting with him yesterday to work on a defence plan. “There are many aspects. He has conceded some things and also talked about the role of others,” Anand said. He declined to go into details. The other lawyer, Sharma, said he would also be representing Singh as well as two other men. The court must confirm the two lawyers as defenders when it next convenes on Jan. 10. The other two of the five accused men had yet to ask for legal repre-

NEW DELHI: Indian students shout slogans against Indian spiritual guru Asharam during a protest in New Delhi yesterday. Asharam sparked a backlash yesterday after saying a 23-yearold student could have averted a murderous gang-rape by begging for mercy from her attackers. The 71-year-old’s remarks - the latest in a series of gaffes by public figures blaming women for the country’s rape epidemic - drew a chorus of condemnation. — AFP sentation, the lawyers said. The sixth member of the group, who is a teenager, will be tried separately in a juvenile court. On Monday, Anand and Sharma were heckled when they offered to defend the men during rowdy scenes in court before the pre-trial hearing. Sharma said denying the men a legal defence would only make it easier for courts to throw out the case if not now, then later, if it went to an appeal. Since their arrest soon after the assault on the woman and a male companion, the men have not had any lawyers. Police have conducted extensive interrogations of the men and say they have recorded confessions “This is a critical, complicated case. All the more reason it should be tried in a fair manner,” said Sharma, who practises at the Supreme Court.

The case has shone a light on a widespread problem of violence against women but also the failure of the criminal justice system to bring the guilty to justice in a country where official statistics show a rape is reported every 20 minutes. The case will be heard in a special fast-track process, set up after the attack, but some legal experts have warned that previous attempts to fasttrack justice in India in some cases led to imperfect convictions that were later challenged. Anand said comments by the woman’s male companion, who was badly beaten, about how they were left unattended afterwards and how the police wrangled over whose jurisdiction the crime had been committed in had exposed lapses in the investigation. — Reuters

Questions arise over decision to treat rape victim overseas NEW DELHI: The decision to fly the victim of a gang rape that outraged India for treatment in Singapore made little medical sense as the woman was so severely injured that her death was all but inevitable, doctors say. The government, on the back foot after furious street protests and stinging criticism of authorities over the Dec 16 rape in the capital, New Delhi, has struggled to defend its decision to send the 23-year-old physiotherapy student overseas. She died 48 hours later. With a deadly infection seeping into her blood from damage done to her intestines during the assault, complicated by a cardiac arrest and damage to the brain, she was just clinging to life when she was flown 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from New Delhi to Singapore late on Dec. 26, doctors said. “It was ethically and morally wrong to have taken her out, given that she was sinking and her chances of survival were next to zero at that stage,” said a doctor at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which was advising the team treating the woman at a sister hospital across the street. “Such a thing raises false hopes in the minds of the family, the community. No doctor in his right mind would do this, unless you want to get the patient off your back,” said the doctor, who declined to be identified, saying colleagues at the government-run hospital who had spoken out had been warned of consequences in what has become a politically explosive case. The woman, who was assaulted by five men and a teenager on a moving bus after a male companion was beaten unconscious, cannot be named under an Indian law that prohibits identifying victims of rape. Another doctor who was consulted during the woman’s care at New Delhi’s Safdarjang hospital, where she was taken following the assault, said she had been getting the best possible treatment in India and the question of why she was shifted should be answered by

the government. Many security officials have said they feared the protests would escalate if the woman had died in New Delhi, but the government has said the only consideration was her wellbeing. “The idea was to give her the best possible treatment,” said Harish Rawat, a government minister who attended a cabinet meeting on the woman’s condition and the efforts to save her. “I don’t think the idea was to run away from the problem. Death here or death abroad would still have the same impact,” he said. “We felt if there was a chance to save her, it should be tried. Take her to a transplant facility abroad.” At the time of the transfer, authorities at Safdarjang said her condition was critical which was why they decided to move her to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which specialized in multi-organ transplant. But a transplant for her damaged intestine, if at all possible, was months away, doctors said. At the time of her transfer, the woman, unconscious since a heart attack the previous night, was in no condition to go through such an operation.“One cannot think about intestinal transplant at this moment,” Samiran Nundy, the head of surgical gastroenterology and organ transplantation at the Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, was quoted as saying in newspapers. “First, the infection spreading in her should be stopped, then one can think about transplant.” Within 40 hours of her arrival in Singapore, doctors called her family and told them the end was near, even as millions prayed at home in the hope that she would pull through. “Sepsis followed by cardiac arrest is a terminal event in 99 percent of cases,” said the doctor at AIIMS, referring to blood infection. “Doctors will have anecdotal evidence about one or two cases in their whole career of somebody who survived. I had one case, a woman, but she too died within a month. Yes, miracles

happen, but you were not looking at one in this case. It was clear to everyone, especially after the cardiac arrest.” Piecing together the events leading up to her death tells a tale of authorities in Delhi trying to defuse public anger over the attack by initially insisting that she was getting the best possible treatment, and then, as things began to go wrong, getting increasingly worried that the protests that tapped a deep vein of frustration, could spin out of control. The alarm bells for the government rang late on Christmas night when the woman suffered the cardiac arrest. That was nine days after she was brought in to Safdarjung hospital in a life-threatening condition after the brutal assault - she was assessed then as 5 on a scale in which 6 is rated as no chance of survival. After the heart attack, her pulse rate became critically low. Doctors resuscitated her after three to four minutes but by then she had become unconscious, caused by lack of blood to the brain. She never regained consciousness from that point on. Equally worrisome, the infection from her injured intestines had seeped into her blood and was spreading to her vital organs. For the government, shaken by the scale and intensity of the protests that focused on the lack of safety in the capital for women, the deterioration in her health was cause for concern.Even as the federal cabinet met the next morning, arrangements to fly the woman for treatment in Singapore were being put in place. One official said the public mood was so fragile that the government felt that if she died in India, some people would have blamed the government for not sending her abroad for treatment. “You can argue this the other way. They would have said ‘if Sonia can go abroad, why not this girl’,” the official said, referring to the head of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, who travels abroad for treatment of an

undisclosed condition. Outside the prime minister’s office where the cabinet met, thousands of baton-wielding police including crack members of Rapid Action Force kept the area under a lockdown. Days earlier, pitched battles broke out between hundreds of protesters and police at the scene, in which a policeman was killed. Protesters had climbed the walls of South and North Block, the high-security seat of government, while others swarmed towards the iron gates of the presidential palace. They carried placards such as “The only two women safe in Delhi are Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit”. Dikshit is the chief minister, the top elected official of the local government of Delhi.A government official privy to the handling of the protests said the administration had not anticipated that so many students would come out onto the streets and that the protests would last for so many days. But when protesters showed up at the presidential palace, the line had been crossed in the security agencies’ mind. “It was a near-breach of security at the presidential palace. The officials tasked with security didn’t know how to control the protesters, if they had jumped over its gates. Would you fire at the students, the housewives?” the official asked. The Intelligence Bureau, which coordinates all domestic intelligence, had been warning that the public mood may turn uglier, the official said. At Safdarjung on the morning of Dec. 26, a team of doctors arrived from Medanta Medicity, a private medical centre which runs an air ambulance service. Their mandate was to assess whether she could survive the airlift, said Dr Yatin Mehta, head of critical care at Medicity. “The decision was to take her out of the country. Our job was to determine whether she could take the airlift, not whether she should be going or not,” said Mehta, who accompanied the woman on the flight. — Reuters

KOCHI, India: Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid (left seated), Chief Minister of Kerala state Oommen Chandy (second left seated), Mauritian President Rajkeswur Purryag (fourth left standing) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (sixth right standing) pose for a photograph along with other politicians during the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD), or non-resident Indian day yesterday. PBD is celebrated on Jan 9 every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. — AP



US lottery winner slain with... Continued on Page 13 down in the store and repeatedly shouted, “I hit a million!” “Winning the lottery means everything to me,” he said at the June 26 ceremony. He said he would put some of his winnings into his businesses and donate some to a children’s hospital. Khan opted for a lump sum of slightly more than $600,000. After taxes, the winnings amounted to about $425,000, said lottery spokesman Mike Lang. The check was issued from the state Comptroller’s Office on July 19, the day before Khan died. It was cashed Aug 15, Lang said, explaining that if a lottery winner dies, the money typically goes to his or her estate. Calls to Khan’s family went unanswered

Monday. A knock on the door at the family’s house late Monday afternoon wasn’t answered. Khan was pronounced dead July 20 at a hospital, but Cina would not say where Khan was when he fell ill, citing the ongoing investigation. No autopsy was done because, at the time, the Medical Examiner’s Office didn’t generally perform them on people 45 and older unless the death was suspicious, Cina said. The cutoff age has since been raised to age 50. After the basic toxicology screening for opiates, cocaine and carbon monoxide came back negative, the death was ruled a result of the narrowing and hardening of coronary arteries. Cyanide can be inhaled, swallowed or injected. Deborah Blum, an expert on poi-

sons who has written about the detectives who pioneered forensic toxicology, said using cyanide to kill someone has become rare partially because it’s difficult to obtain and easy to detect - often leaving blue splotches on a victim’s skin. “It has a really strong, bitter taste, so you would know you had swallowed something bad if you had swallowed cyanide,” Blum said. “But if you had a high enough dose it wouldn’t matter, because ... a good lethal does will take you out in less than five minutes.” It takes only a small amount of fine cyanide powder to be deadly, she said, as it disrupts the ability of cells to transport oxygen around the body, causing a convulsive, violent death. “It essentially kills you in this explosion of cell death,” she said. “You feel like you’re suffocating.” — AP

Iran seizes Saudi fishing vessels Continued from Page 1

AMMAN: People drive through flooded streets in the Jordanian capital yesterday. Torrential rains swept through the desert kingdom for a second straight day sparking widespread flooding and traffic chaos but bringing welcome water to reservoirs in one of the world’s 10 driest countries. — AFP

It is also the site of the only nuclear power station in the Islamic Republic. Fars quoted Lashkari as saying that the two dhows were tracked and confiscated after they illegally entered Iran’s territorial waters. All their 10 crew were arrested, it said. Initial investigations showed that the vessels were from Saudi Arabia but their captains and crews were Indian nationals, Fars

said. They had crossed into Iranian waters to fish, the agency said. A week earlier, Fars said, forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ “second naval zone” seized another Saudi vessel and its four-strong crew after it illegally entered Iranian waters. The vessel was later expelled, the agency said, without elaborating. On Jan 3, Saudi Arabia detained 21 Iranian nationals who were aboard two boats near Al-Harqus island 42 miles off the Saudi coast, the Saudi border guard said. —- Reuters




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Egypt’s currency crisis hinges on household dollars By Sujata Rao


he key to preventing a messy devaluation of Egypt’s pound may lie with the country’s households, whose dollar holdings are being eyed by foreign investors as a critical gauge of trust in the authorities. Countless emerging market crises have shown over the decades that it is not the withdrawal of foreign investors from a market but the flight of local households and businesses from a currency that is instrumental in its collapse. Egypt, despite months of upheaval, is not there yet. But investors are watching closely for evidence of a significant rise in ordinary Egyptians’ dollar holdings. Households’ dollarisation ratio - broadly, the level of foreign currency holdings as a proportion of money supply was 15.5 percent at the end of Oct 2012, according to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch estimates, based on central bank data. That will undoubtedly have gone up in recent weeks as panicky Egyptians have rushed out to buy dollars in the face of rising political turmoil and as the central bank has allowed the currency to fall - by 0.5 percent a day for the past week. In Luxor, for example, a town that makes its living from the tourists who visit its Pharaonic temples, some taxi drivers have started asking for payment in euros or dollars. But the household dollarisation ratio is still likely to be well below the 41 percent ratio among companies, or the 33 percent household dollarisation levels seen back in 2004. “Increased household dollarisation and a run on the currency, that’s the big risk,” says Jean Michel Saliba, BofA-Merrill Middle East economist, who estimates households account for more than 70 percent of deposits in the banking system. In contrast, foreigners hold a mere 3-4 percent of the local bond market, according to other estimates from Barclays. “If the (dollarisation) ratio goes back to the 2004 peak that would create additional demand for $15 billion and will wipe out the central bank’s reserves,” Saliba says. What could precipitate such a move? The central bank’s decision to allow some weakening in the pound after spending two years and $20 billion propping it up, has broadly been welcomed by economists and equity investors who say Egyptian exports need to become more competitive. But this is a tightrope from which it is easy to fall. Moved from a peg to a managed float in 2003, the pound has traded between 5.5-6 per dollar since then and citizens have enjoyed some reassurance from the central bank’s sturdy defence of the exchange rate during the 2011-2012 turmoil. But Egypt’s hard currency reserves are at $15 billion or below the three-month import cover deemed the minimum safe level, and that as forced it to embark on dollar auctions allowing the pound to sink to a series of record lows. Around a third of the pound’s depreciation since early2011 has come in the past week and that may well have spooked households who hold over 600 billion pounds ($93.05 billion)in local currency bank savings. “I felt (devaluation) was coming. So for hedging purposes I changed half my savings into dollars just a couple of days before the pound slump,” said one Egyptian who works in the financial sector and who asked not to be named. “I don’t trust the current regime ... and see no opportunity for growth on the short term ... no hope,” he said. “I think that the pound slump is not going to stop.” The risk is that other locals feel the same, viewing authorities’ tacit acceptance of a weaker currency as a sign that they are no longer able to stabilise the situation, a story that has played out time and again in emerging markets, from Russia to Indonesia. “It’s not a question now of how much (the central bank has) in reserves ... their top priority is to prevent people from exchanging their pound savings into dollars,” says Bartosz Pawlowski, a strategist at BNP Paribas in London. “That’s something no central bank in the world can survive.” Most analysts expect the pound to fall at least to 7 per dollar while currency forwards are pricing it at 7.75 per dollar in six months, a drop of 16 percent from current levels. There are signs the currency would have fallen more already but for the shortage of dollar liquidity. Banks have slapped limits on deposit withdrawals and transaction fees on dollar purchases. Travellers can now carry a maximum $6,000 each while leaving the country. “There is significant amount of financial repression that will artificially put on hold dollarisation,” said Alia al-Moubayed, senior Barclays economist for the Middle East and North Africa. Analysts agree that what stands in the way of massive household flight from the pound is the prospect of external aid, particularly from the International Monetary Fund which has sent an official to discuss the disbursement of a $4.8 billion loan. The problem is that the more fiscal reforms are delayed, the greater any currency adjustment will have to be. Second, many worry that Egypt’s leaders, fearing further protests, will delay the austerity measures the IMF has set as loan conditions. —Reuters

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Assad thumbing his nose at exit talk By Sarah Benhaida


yrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s first speech since June showed he remains confident enough in his military strength after 21 months of conflict to thumb his nose at demands for his exit, analysts say. Assad broke his silence after the regime weathered a storm of devastating events over the summer and autumn, said Thomas Pierret, Syria specialist and professor at the University of Edinburgh. They included a bomb attack that killed four top security officials, the rebels’ capture of half of second city Aleppo and the loss of control over the Turkish and Iraqi borders. “Today, the situation is stabilising a bit. The regime won’t win the war, but it knows it will still go on for some time,” Pierret said. “All of these developments are giving breathing space to a regime

doomed in the future, which explains the timing of the speech. The international situation is also reassuring to Assad. After seeming to back the National Coalition and the new Free Syrian Army command, the West is again working with the Russians on a political solution though they know it is very unrealistic,” said Pierret. “These developments are a lifeline for a regime that is condemned in the medium term. It is the discourse of war. Assad is totally inflexible and resistant to the idea of a genuine process of political transition.” Karim Bitar, research director at the Paris Institute for International and Strategic Relations, said it was likely that Assad knew that the United States and Russia were holding talks on Syria. “And these talks will give him a respite and he should be able to cling to power until at least the end of his mandate in 2014, as

he waits for what he calls the ‘Arab Spring bubble’ to pop,” Bitar said. But Bitar said that ultimately the human toll of a conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to the latest UN figures, meant that Assad’s blueprint was too “little, too late”. “Too much blood has been spilled for the rebels to agree to stop here. Assad’s proposal is far below what could be accepted by the rebels,” he said. Volker Perthes, director of the Berlinbased German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said Assad was giving a firm “no” to the peace initiative of UNArab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who proposed a ceasefire to be followed by both parliamentary and presidential elections. “Assad’s political solution is in fact not a political solution, but a military one with a subsequent, post-victory political process totally controlled by the regime,” he said.

In his speech, Assad gave no hint of any readiness to step down, offering only a national dialogue with opposition groups that were not “slaves” of the West. Assad said the first condition for any transition would be for Western governments to stop backing the armed opposition and for it to cease its “terrorist attacks”. Fabrice Balanche, director of the Group for Research and Study of the Mediterranean and Middle East in Lyon, France, said the regime had been buoyed by recent advances in both the central city of Homs and the southwestern outskirts of Damascus. “This was an appropriate time to boost the morale of his supporters because his army has made recent victories and Assad himself is still in power,” Balanche said. “The skill of Assad is in communicating that it is not he who refuses dialogue, but rather the opposition that rejects him as an interlocutor.” —AFP

Obama shows combativeness entering new term By Matt Spetalnick


ust two weeks before his second inauguration, President Barack Obama is acting as if he believes he has a big mandate for his next term. The latest sign: his decision to defy a concerted campaign against his choice for defense secretary. The Democratic president, reelected in November, unveiled a more combative approach during the end-of-year “fiscal cliff” taxes and spending drama, exploiting disarray in Republican ranks that underscored Washington’s legislative dysfunction. Obama also showed a “gettough” strategy in his determination to pursue gun control after last month’s massacre of schoolchildren by a gunman in Newtown, Connecticut. The actions reflect the growing confidence of a president who, without the need ever to seek re-election, now feels freer to stand up to a new Congress. His first term was marked by complaints from his liberal base that he had been too conciliatory toward Republicans. Some critics say Obama now runs the risk of overreaching when he should instead be building Republican bridges to resolve the next looming budget confrontation. Obama’s latest assertive move came on Monday when he nominated Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, setting up a Senate confirmation battle with critics who have attacked the former Republican senator’s record on Israel and Iran. Obama’s refusal to bow to Hagel’s opponents, including pro-Israel groups, neoconservatives figures and some of Hagel’s own Republican colleagues, signaled that the president would not allow a top Cabinet candidate to be derailed again. Susan Rice, Obama’s US ambassador to the United Nations, dropped out of consideration for secretary of state last month after taking heavy criticism from some Republican lawmakers over her account of the September attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed the American ambassador. With word of Hagel’s impending selection circulating over the week-

end, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham - one of Rice’s critics - called it an “in-your-face” nomination by Obama. A former Obama aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this was an opportunity to lay down a clear second-term marker “no more Mr Nice Guy, no more pushovers” - as a message to political friends and foes alike. “This is clearly a president who feels somewhat unencumbered by electoral politics, thinks he has political capital to spend, and is not wasting any time about it,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a political scientist at

mutual opposition to the Iraq war. “The president is betting a big percentage of his chips,” Feehery said. “Presidents do tend to over-read their mandates sometimes. The question is whether that’s the case now.” Hagel’s nomination comes on the heels of a New Year’s Day deal that averted economic calamity when lawmakers agreed to prevent huge tax hikes and government spending cuts. The agreement handed a victory to Obama, who had promised before the election to address budget woes in part by raising taxes on the wealthiest

drama. His aides have made clear they believe the US public would blame Republicans - not Obama - if the nation is forced into a debt default that he has said would be “catastrophic” for the world economy. “This is overreach - hubris - for sure,” Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said of Obama’s refusal to negotiate. Obama’s tough talk on the next round of fiscal hurdles could also limit his ability to push forward on other legislative priorities such as immigration reform and gun con-

require universal background checks for gun buyers and track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, the newspaper said. Obama promised in an end-of-year interview with NBC to put his “full weight” behind a package of gun control measures this year, and he signaled a willingness to take on the National Rifle Association gun lobby despite the political risks. Obama is also calculating that he may finally be able to make good on his promise to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. He hopes

Chuck Hagel (left) and John Brennan (right) listen while US President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. —AFP Fordham University in New York. The White House is confident that Hagel can weather the storm and win confirmation in the Democratic-led Senate - presidential picks for senior security posts are rarely denied. But Republican strategist John Feehery said Obama was taking a gamble that could backfire, especially in light of resistance from some of the president’s fellow Democrats to Hagel, a maverick moderate Republican. He bonded with Obama in the Senate over their

Americans. His Republican antagonists were forced to vote against a core tenet of their anti-tax conservative faith. Obama and Congress must agree by the end of March on increasing the $16.4 trillion US debt ceiling, the fate of $85 billion in delayed automatic spending cuts and passage of a bill to fund the government after a temporary measure expires. Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, demanding that Congress raise it without

trol. The shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school put gun control high on Obama’s second-term agenda. He appears to be determined to take advantage of a public backlash against gun violence. The White House is weighing a far broader approach than just reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. A working group led by Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering measures that would

to capitalize on sentiment within the Republican Party that it must reach out to Latinos who voted heavily for Obama after tough comments on illegal immigration by Republicans. Obama also is showing signs he will take a hard line on issues of war and peace. He meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House this week and is expected to press for immunity from prosecution as a condition for allowing even a relatively small contingent of US troops to stay behind in Afghanistan after



Johnson takes charge with power at Kapalua HAWAII: Dustin Johnson took control of the weather-hit Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Monday with an awesome display of power hitting in the second round after the 2013 PGA Tour finally got under way. Tied for the lead with fellow Americans Mark Wilson and Nick Watney when the opening round was completed at the Kapalua Resort

earlier in the day, Johnson fired a sizzling seven-under-par 66 to surge three strokes in front of the pack. Making the most of his prodigious length off the tee in breezy conditions, Johnson birdied the first three par-fives on the Plantation Course before eagling the last of them, the 18th, to post an 11-under total of 135.

HAWAII: Dustin Johnson hits during the second round at the Tournament of Champions PGA golf tournament. —AP

Spain defends 2020 Olympic bid MADRID: Spain yesterday defended a 1.7-billion-euro ($2.2-billion) bid to host the Olympics in Madrid in 2020 even as the country battles a recession and high unemployment while slashing spending. Spain’s delegation submitted the 360-page bid document to the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday. If Madrid beats favourites Tokyo and rival Istanbul, it estimates it would have to invest another 1.7 billion euros to complete the infrastructure for the games. The budget is “austere and responsible,” Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told a news conference in Madrid. “With austerity as the rule, I have no doubt the returns will be positive,” he said. Wert insisted, too, that Spain’s record in cracking down on doping in sports would not harm its bid. “The effort Spain is making in the anti-doping battle must be recognised,” the sports minister said. The World Anti-Doping Agency on December 21 suspended a Madrid anti-doping laboratory for an alleged error in handling a test, which led to the result being invalidated. “This is not about a manipulation or ill intent. It is a technical problem about which the Spanish agency did not even have to make a statement-nevertheless it did,” he said. Wert was asked, too, about a trial due to open this month over a doping network focused on cyclists that was broken up by police in 2006. No suspect targeted in the police operation, known as Operation Puerto, has yet faced a criminal court. “The level of commitment of the Spanish anti-doping agency is without a blemish and Spain is in line with international organi-

sations in doping matters,” the minister said. Madrid will find out in September this year whether it has been chosen to host the Games, after finishing third for the 2012 and second for the 2016 editions. Bid promoters, including Alejandro Blanco, head of the Spanish Olympic Committee, stressed that 28 of the 35 venues have already been built. Of the seven remaining venues, only four including the Olympic Stadium would be permanent, requiring bigger investments than the other three temporary constructions. Asked whether it was a good idea to be committing Spain to such spending when the state is cutting health and education budgets, Madrid regional government chief Ignacio Gonzalez said much of the investment would be financed by publicprivate partnerships. Squeezed by a recession that began in mid-2011 and by an unemployment rate that has shot to 25 percent, Spain’s authorities say they believe the Games can create jobs and lure tourists. The bid team touted the 2012 London Games as an example of the economic benefits of being a host city. According to Gonzalez, the London Games created 50,000 jobs, of which tens of thousands were permanent. Madrid city mayor Ana Botella was part of the delegation in Lausanne the previous day. “It is a project the whole country is behind and a dream for all Spaniards,” she said. “The proof can be seen in the fact that three levels of government are represented here-the city, the regional and the national. “We are here to give our support to the countless people who are working for and believe in Madrid’s Olympic aspirations.” —AFP

LAUSANNE: Miguel Cardinal, president of council of sport, Anna Botella, Mayor of Madrid, Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 Organization, Lucia Figar, city minister of Madrid and Juan-Antonio Samaranch Jr. (from left) pose for photographers in front of the IOC headquarters before they submit the candidature bid of 2020 Madrid Olympic summer games. —AP

His only blemish of the round came at the par-four 17th where he bogeyed the hole after running out of fairway off the tee after hitting a drive that was simply too good. Defending champion Steve Stricker, who battled pain down his left side all day, was alone in second after carding a 67 with Masters champion Bubba Watson a further stroke back at seven under after a 69. Reigning FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker (70) and fellow American Keegan Bradley (69) were tied for fourth at six under in the winners-only field of 30. “I hit the ball really well this afternoon,” a smiling Johnson told reporters after coolly sinking a five-foot eagle putt on the 18th green in an event cut to 54 holes. “I’m pretty pleased with my play so far. “It’s been a long day, but I played really good from start to finish. I hit a lot of greens. I maybe missed three greens all day. “I did everything pretty well ... drove it well, chipped it well, hit my irons good,” added Johnson, who had opened with a 69 earlier in the day and twice drove the green on par-four holes. “To shoot the score I did today, you’ve got to do everything well, other than my couple of threeputts.” The elite field of champions from last year’s PGA Tour completed 36 holes on a marathon Monday at Kapalua after play had been abandoned on the previous three days because of strong gusting winds. Scheduled to finish on Monday had the bad weather not intervened, the Tour’s seasonopener will instead conclude with a rare Tuesday finish. Stricker won last year’s title by three shots but for much of Monday he was unsure if he could finish after first experiencing shooting pains down his left leg a month ago. “Nobody knows if it’s a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there’s a problem with a disk,” the 45-year-old American said. “I didn’t have any expectations today. I didn’t know if I was even going to finish 36 holes. “I told one of the rules officials that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it all the way around. Fortunately it didn’t get any worse and that was the best part ... it just stayed the same all day.” Stricker, who holed out from 65 yards to eagle the par-five 18th in the second round after teeing off at the 10th, accepted the seasonopening tournament was Johnson’s to lose. “He’s such a good player and he’s got length on his side and he’s got a lot of talent,” Stricker said. “It’s going to be tough to make up three shots on him here. I wish I was feeling 100 percent.” Another good omen for Johnson is the fact that he won the last two events on the PGA Tour cut to 54 holes - the 2009 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and The Barclays in 2011. “I just happened to win those two events,” he said. “I’ve still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn’t matter if it was 72 holes or 54. “Tomorrow is still the last round and there’s 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done.” —Reuters

Tokyo outlines plans to host 2020 Olympics TOKYO: Tokyo has boasted of its safety, advanced infrastructure and convenience after handing over its bid documents to host the 2020 Olympics. “The bid is highlighting the ability to deliver the games in the heart of the city with guaranteed quality and maximum benefits,” Tokyo 2020 bid committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said at a press conference yesterday. “Many of our venues are in place; most of the games infrastructure is in place and the $4.5 billion budget to complete these tasks is already in the bank.” Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo bid committees handed over their documents at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday, setting the stage for the final months of a campaign between three cities which all lost in previous bids. Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, finished third in the voting for 2016. The IOC will select the host city in a secret ballot in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7. Tokyo received the highest praise in an IOC technical report last year which said the Japanese bid presents “a very strong application.” Madrid has a “strong application,” while Istanbul’s project “offers good potential,” the report said. While Tokyo is seen as a safe choice, Istanbul has a novelty factor as Turkey has never hosted the Olympics - a key factor in recent host-city votes. Takeda called Tokyo one of the world’s safest and most welcoming cities while the governor Naoki Inose said the Japanese capital of 35 million offers an infrastructure that is among the most advanced in the world. “We have a highly developed infrastructure that includes a public transportation system capable of carrying 25 million people daily,” Inose said. Tokyo officials also pointed out that 28 out of the 33 competition venues are within an eight-kilometer radius of the Olympic Village, meaning less travel time for athletes. Two major differences from Tokyo’s failed bid to host the 2016 Games are a larger Olympic Village with more space for athletes to train and a more centralized main stadium. In the 2016 plan, Tokyo organizers planned to build the main stadium on a pier in Tokyo Bay. IOC officials worried about access given that the stadium was surrounded by water on three sides. The new plan calls for the renovation of the 1964 main Olympic stadium in the center of Tokyo. The new 80,000-seat stadium will first serve as the main stadium for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Japan. In addition to safety and convenience, Tokyo also has the benefit of support from the national government. Earlier Tuesday, Takeda met with newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pledged the government’s full backing for Tokyo’s bid. One area that hurt Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics was public support but Tokyo officials say that is improving since Japan’s strong showing at the London Olympics. A recent poll by Tokyo organizers had public support at 67 percent, which is still behind Madrid and Istanbul but much higher than the 47 percent recorded in an IOC poll last year. —AP

Robert Griffin III

Play or Sit: The coaches’ quandary in NFL NEW YORK: At some point, an injured player, even a star like Robert Griffin III, is too hampered to help an NFL team. Deciding when enough is enough is the problem. Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan became the target of widespread criticism after Griffin reinjured his right knee in Sunday’s 24-14 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle. The questions have ranged from whether Shanahan made his sensational rookie’s health his No. 1 priority to whether the protocol for dealing with injuries was followed. Coaches who have been in such tricky situations say the solutions aren’t complicated. “You have to rely on the doctors, the health always has to come first,” said Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy. “If the doctor says he can go or he can’t go, you don’t argue, there’s not even a discussion. “If the doctors say, ‘Here are the limitations, he can go,’ then you have to judge for yourself. How is he mentally? How limited is he physically?” Dungy recalls many times when players wanted to go and he had to say no. While coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dungy told Warren Sapp he wouldn’t be suiting up for a game against Miami because Sapp had cracked a bone in his hand. Sapp wanted to wear a splint, but team doctors said it was too soon for him to play. “Warren was upset,” Dungy said. “If you ask the player, it means nothing. It’s rare a player will tell you he can’t do this or that.” Shanahan said on Monday that Griffin will see renowned orthopedist James Andrews for more examinations on the knee, leaving open the possibility the quarterback will be sidelined for a lengthy period. Shanahan added he thought he made the “right decisions” and it would be “crazy” to think he would purposely sacrifice Griffin’s career to win a game. But Shanahan admitted he did not talk to team doctors initially after Griffin was hurt in the first quarter. “I went up to Robert. I said, ‘You OK?’” Shanahan said. “And he said, ‘I’m fine.’” Not exactly the way some coaches would have

handled it. “You never put a player in harm’s way,” said former Jets and Kansas City coach Herm Edwards, who defended how Shanahan handled the situation during his ESPN show. “It starts with the medical staff on the sideline. They advise you if a player is able to go back in. If they say, ‘Yea,’ you put him back in. If he can play, you keep him on the field.” Players don’t ever want to come out, and Dungy says some will even try to hide medical problems. Or at least minimize them. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis suffered a concussion on Dec. 23 at Seattle and returned to play a week later against Arizona. He admits to being a little “woozy” during training, but insists sitting should not have been the first option. “You trust the player. A player knows his body better than anyone,” Davis said. “If he’s feeling a certain way, then I don’t think you can go against that. He knows he can play.” But he could be placing himself in greater jeopardy, whether in the short term or for his entire career. For every Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles who makes a stunningly quick recovery, there are dozens of players who are never the same. Some don’t even get back in uniform again. Or they come back too quickly, as Griffin’s teammate, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, did in 2010. Hall missed practice leading up to a game against Indianapolis. Usually, Shanahan bars players from suiting up when that happens, but Hall was allowed to play. “I gave up a couple of touchdown passes,” Hall said. “And Mike was just like, ‘That’s my fault, you shouldn’t have been out there. I respect you wanted to be out there, but I could tell you just couldn’t go.’ “You always want to be out there. It’s nothing against the guys behind you, but just that competitiveness in you. You want to compete, you want to be a part of it, especially this run we’ve had. “Man, it would have been hard for that guy (RG3) to say, ‘Nah, coach I can’t go’ or ‘pull me.’ Everything was going so special, he wanted to be a part of it.” —AP

Nicol David

Pendleton: David deserves a shot at Olympic squash medal MALAYSIA: Double Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton has thrown her support behind squash’s bid for Olympic inclusion and thinks seven-times world champion Nicol David should have the chance to win Malaysia’s first gold at the 2020 GamesOne sport will be added to the programme for the 2020 Games with squash up against karate, the Chinese martial art of wushu, baseball/softball, roller sports, wakeboarding and climbing. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make its decision on a host for the 2020 Games, as well as which sport to add, at its session in Argentina in September. Pendleton watched the World Series Squash Finals at The Queen’s Club in London with fellow gold medallists Joanna Rowsell and Greg Searle and said the sport had all the ingredients to make it an Olympic favorite. “Squash is a very physically demanding sport and it’s also very spectator-friendly,” Pendleton, who won track cycling gold medals in Beijing and London, was quoted as saying in a World Squash Federation news release.

“The nature of the game means that it works really well - it’s fast and exciting - and it has all the qualities required to make it a great Olympic sport.“I don’t know why it isn’t in already.” Malaysian David beat England’s Laura Massaro to retain her title at the weekend, while Egyptian Amr Shabana took the men’s title with a win over Englishman Nick Matthew. Pendleton hailed David’s consistency and showed the world number one the keirin gold and sprint silver medals she won in London. “You so deserve to have one of these,” she told the Malaysian. Rower Searle, who won gold in the coxed pairs at the 1992 Barcelona Games and bronze medals in Atlanta and London, said one of the positives about squash was the game’s global reach. “I think it’s really interesting that you can have a sport like squash which is so universal.” said Searle. “You have it played in over 150 countries and people of all different shapes and sizes can play it. “Each sport is different and has different properties. In rowing, if you’re not 6 feet 5 it’s hard to compete, but squash can be played by everyone.” —Reuters



Johnson takes charge with power at Kapalua HAWAII: Dustin Johnson took control of the weather-hit Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Monday with an awesome display of power hitting in the second round after the 2013 PGA Tour finally got under way. Tied for the lead with fellow Americans Mark Wilson and Nick Watney when the opening round was completed at the Kapalua Resort

earlier in the day, Johnson fired a sizzling seven-under-par 66 to surge three strokes in front of the pack. Making the most of his prodigious length off the tee in breezy conditions, Johnson birdied the first three par-fives on the Plantation Course before eagling the last of them, the 18th, to post an 11-under total of 135.

HAWAII: Dustin Johnson hits during the second round at the Tournament of Champions PGA golf tournament. —AP

Spain defends 2020 Olympic bid MADRID: Spain yesterday defended a 1.7-billion-euro ($2.2-billion) bid to host the Olympics in Madrid in 2020 even as the country battles a recession and high unemployment while slashing spending. Spain’s delegation submitted the 360-page bid document to the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday. If Madrid beats favourites Tokyo and rival Istanbul, it estimates it would have to invest another 1.7 billion euros to complete the infrastructure for the games. The budget is “austere and responsible,” Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told a news conference in Madrid. “With austerity as the rule, I have no doubt the returns will be positive,” he said. Wert insisted, too, that Spain’s record in cracking down on doping in sports would not harm its bid. “The effort Spain is making in the anti-doping battle must be recognised,” the sports minister said. The World Anti-Doping Agency on December 21 suspended a Madrid anti-doping laboratory for an alleged error in handling a test, which led to the result being invalidated. “This is not about a manipulation or ill intent. It is a technical problem about which the Spanish agency did not even have to make a statement-nevertheless it did,” he said. Wert was asked, too, about a trial due to open this month over a doping network focused on cyclists that was broken up by police in 2006. No suspect targeted in the police operation, known as Operation Puerto, has yet faced a criminal court. “The level of commitment of the Spanish anti-doping agency is without a blemish and Spain is in line with international organi-

sations in doping matters,” the minister said. Madrid will find out in September this year whether it has been chosen to host the Games, after finishing third for the 2012 and second for the 2016 editions. Bid promoters, including Alejandro Blanco, head of the Spanish Olympic Committee, stressed that 28 of the 35 venues have already been built. Of the seven remaining venues, only four including the Olympic Stadium would be permanent, requiring bigger investments than the other three temporary constructions. Asked whether it was a good idea to be committing Spain to such spending when the state is cutting health and education budgets, Madrid regional government chief Ignacio Gonzalez said much of the investment would be financed by publicprivate partnerships. Squeezed by a recession that began in mid-2011 and by an unemployment rate that has shot to 25 percent, Spain’s authorities say they believe the Games can create jobs and lure tourists. The bid team touted the 2012 London Games as an example of the economic benefits of being a host city. According to Gonzalez, the London Games created 50,000 jobs, of which tens of thousands were permanent. Madrid city mayor Ana Botella was part of the delegation in Lausanne the previous day. “It is a project the whole country is behind and a dream for all Spaniards,” she said. “The proof can be seen in the fact that three levels of government are represented here-the city, the regional and the national. “We are here to give our support to the countless people who are working for and believe in Madrid’s Olympic aspirations.” —AFP

LAUSANNE: Miguel Cardinal, president of council of sport, Anna Botella, Mayor of Madrid, Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 Organization, Lucia Figar, city minister of Madrid and Juan-Antonio Samaranch Jr. (from left) pose for photographers in front of the IOC headquarters before they submit the candidature bid of 2020 Madrid Olympic summer games. —AP

His only blemish of the round came at the par-four 17th where he bogeyed the hole after running out of fairway off the tee after hitting a drive that was simply too good. Defending champion Steve Stricker, who battled pain down his left side all day, was alone in second after carding a 67 with Masters champion Bubba Watson a further stroke back at seven under after a 69. Reigning FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker (70) and fellow American Keegan Bradley (69) were tied for fourth at six under in the winners-only field of 30. “I hit the ball really well this afternoon,” a smiling Johnson told reporters after coolly sinking a five-foot eagle putt on the 18th green in an event cut to 54 holes. “I’m pretty pleased with my play so far. “It’s been a long day, but I played really good from start to finish. I hit a lot of greens. I maybe missed three greens all day. “I did everything pretty well ... drove it well, chipped it well, hit my irons good,” added Johnson, who had opened with a 69 earlier in the day and twice drove the green on par-four holes. “To shoot the score I did today, you’ve got to do everything well, other than my couple of threeputts.” The elite field of champions from last year’s PGA Tour completed 36 holes on a marathon Monday at Kapalua after play had been abandoned on the previous three days because of strong gusting winds. Scheduled to finish on Monday had the bad weather not intervened, the Tour’s seasonopener will instead conclude with a rare Tuesday finish. Stricker won last year’s title by three shots but for much of Monday he was unsure if he could finish after first experiencing shooting pains down his left leg a month ago. “Nobody knows if it’s a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there’s a problem with a disk,” the 45-year-old American said. “I didn’t have any expectations today. I didn’t know if I was even going to finish 36 holes. “I told one of the rules officials that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it all the way around. Fortunately it didn’t get any worse and that was the best part ... it just stayed the same all day.” Stricker, who holed out from 65 yards to eagle the par-five 18th in the second round after teeing off at the 10th, accepted the seasonopening tournament was Johnson’s to lose. “He’s such a good player and he’s got length on his side and he’s got a lot of talent,” Stricker said. “It’s going to be tough to make up three shots on him here. I wish I was feeling 100 percent.” Another good omen for Johnson is the fact that he won the last two events on the PGA Tour cut to 54 holes - the 2009 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and The Barclays in 2011. “I just happened to win those two events,” he said. “I’ve still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn’t matter if it was 72 holes or 54. “Tomorrow is still the last round and there’s 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done.” —Reuters

Tokyo outlines plans to host 2020 Olympics TOKYO: Tokyo has boasted of its safety, advanced infrastructure and convenience after handing over its bid documents to host the 2020 Olympics. “The bid is highlighting the ability to deliver the games in the heart of the city with guaranteed quality and maximum benefits,” Tokyo 2020 bid committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said at a press conference yesterday. “Many of our venues are in place; most of the games infrastructure is in place and the $4.5 billion budget to complete these tasks is already in the bank.” Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo bid committees handed over their documents at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday, setting the stage for the final months of a campaign between three cities which all lost in previous bids. Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, finished third in the voting for 2016. The IOC will select the host city in a secret ballot in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7. Tokyo received the highest praise in an IOC technical report last year which said the Japanese bid presents “a very strong application.” Madrid has a “strong application,” while Istanbul’s project “offers good potential,” the report said. While Tokyo is seen as a safe choice, Istanbul has a novelty factor as Turkey has never hosted the Olympics - a key factor in recent host-city votes. Takeda called Tokyo one of the world’s safest and most welcoming cities while the governor Naoki Inose said the Japanese capital of 35 million offers an infrastructure that is among the most advanced in the world. “We have a highly developed infrastructure that includes a public transportation system capable of carrying 25 million people daily,” Inose said. Tokyo officials also pointed out that 28 out of the 33 competition venues are within an eight-kilometer radius of the Olympic Village, meaning less travel time for athletes. Two major differences from Tokyo’s failed bid to host the 2016 Games are a larger Olympic Village with more space for athletes to train and a more centralized main stadium. In the 2016 plan, Tokyo organizers planned to build the main stadium on a pier in Tokyo Bay. IOC officials worried about access given that the stadium was surrounded by water on three sides. The new plan calls for the renovation of the 1964 main Olympic stadium in the center of Tokyo. The new 80,000-seat stadium will first serve as the main stadium for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Japan. In addition to safety and convenience, Tokyo also has the benefit of support from the national government. Earlier Tuesday, Takeda met with newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pledged the government’s full backing for Tokyo’s bid. One area that hurt Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics was public support but Tokyo officials say that is improving since Japan’s strong showing at the London Olympics. A recent poll by Tokyo organizers had public support at 67 percent, which is still behind Madrid and Istanbul but much higher than the 47 percent recorded in an IOC poll last year. —AP

Robert Griffin III

Play or Sit: The coaches’ quandary in NFL NEW YORK: At some point, an injured player, even a star like Robert Griffin III, is too hampered to help an NFL team. Deciding when enough is enough is the problem. Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan became the target of widespread criticism after Griffin reinjured his right knee in Sunday’s 24-14 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle. The questions have ranged from whether Shanahan made his sensational rookie’s health his No. 1 priority to whether the protocol for dealing with injuries was followed. Coaches who have been in such tricky situations say the solutions aren’t complicated. “You have to rely on the doctors, the health always has to come first,” said Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy. “If the doctor says he can go or he can’t go, you don’t argue, there’s not even a discussion. “If the doctors say, ‘Here are the limitations, he can go,’ then you have to judge for yourself. How is he mentally? How limited is he physically?” Dungy recalls many times when players wanted to go and he had to say no. While coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dungy told Warren Sapp he wouldn’t be suiting up for a game against Miami because Sapp had cracked a bone in his hand. Sapp wanted to wear a splint, but team doctors said it was too soon for him to play. “Warren was upset,” Dungy said. “If you ask the player, it means nothing. It’s rare a player will tell you he can’t do this or that.” Shanahan said on Monday that Griffin will see renowned orthopedist James Andrews for more examinations on the knee, leaving open the possibility the quarterback will be sidelined for a lengthy period. Shanahan added he thought he made the “right decisions” and it would be “crazy” to think he would purposely sacrifice Griffin’s career to win a game. But Shanahan admitted he did not talk to team doctors initially after Griffin was hurt in the first quarter. “I went up to Robert. I said, ‘You OK?’” Shanahan said. “And he said, ‘I’m fine.’” Not exactly the way some coaches would have

handled it. “You never put a player in harm’s way,” said former Jets and Kansas City coach Herm Edwards, who defended how Shanahan handled the situation during his ESPN show. “It starts with the medical staff on the sideline. They advise you if a player is able to go back in. If they say, ‘Yea,’ you put him back in. If he can play, you keep him on the field.” Players don’t ever want to come out, and Dungy says some will even try to hide medical problems. Or at least minimize them. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis suffered a concussion on Dec. 23 at Seattle and returned to play a week later against Arizona. He admits to being a little “woozy” during training, but insists sitting should not have been the first option. “You trust the player. A player knows his body better than anyone,” Davis said. “If he’s feeling a certain way, then I don’t think you can go against that. He knows he can play.” But he could be placing himself in greater jeopardy, whether in the short term or for his entire career. For every Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles who makes a stunningly quick recovery, there are dozens of players who are never the same. Some don’t even get back in uniform again. Or they come back too quickly, as Griffin’s teammate, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, did in 2010. Hall missed practice leading up to a game against Indianapolis. Usually, Shanahan bars players from suiting up when that happens, but Hall was allowed to play. “I gave up a couple of touchdown passes,” Hall said. “And Mike was just like, ‘That’s my fault, you shouldn’t have been out there. I respect you wanted to be out there, but I could tell you just couldn’t go.’ “You always want to be out there. It’s nothing against the guys behind you, but just that competitiveness in you. You want to compete, you want to be a part of it, especially this run we’ve had. “Man, it would have been hard for that guy (RG3) to say, ‘Nah, coach I can’t go’ or ‘pull me.’ Everything was going so special, he wanted to be a part of it.” —AP

Nicol David

Pendleton: David deserves a shot at Olympic squash medal MALAYSIA: Double Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton has thrown her support behind squash’s bid for Olympic inclusion and thinks seven-times world champion Nicol David should have the chance to win Malaysia’s first gold at the 2020 GamesOne sport will be added to the programme for the 2020 Games with squash up against karate, the Chinese martial art of wushu, baseball/softball, roller sports, wakeboarding and climbing. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make its decision on a host for the 2020 Games, as well as which sport to add, at its session in Argentina in September. Pendleton watched the World Series Squash Finals at The Queen’s Club in London with fellow gold medallists Joanna Rowsell and Greg Searle and said the sport had all the ingredients to make it an Olympic favorite. “Squash is a very physically demanding sport and it’s also very spectator-friendly,” Pendleton, who won track cycling gold medals in Beijing and London, was quoted as saying in a World Squash Federation news release.

“The nature of the game means that it works really well - it’s fast and exciting - and it has all the qualities required to make it a great Olympic sport.“I don’t know why it isn’t in already.” Malaysian David beat England’s Laura Massaro to retain her title at the weekend, while Egyptian Amr Shabana took the men’s title with a win over Englishman Nick Matthew. Pendleton hailed David’s consistency and showed the world number one the keirin gold and sprint silver medals she won in London. “You so deserve to have one of these,” she told the Malaysian. Rower Searle, who won gold in the coxed pairs at the 1992 Barcelona Games and bronze medals in Atlanta and London, said one of the positives about squash was the game’s global reach. “I think it’s really interesting that you can have a sport like squash which is so universal.” said Searle. “You have it played in over 150 countries and people of all different shapes and sizes can play it. “Each sport is different and has different properties. In rowing, if you’re not 6 feet 5 it’s hard to compete, but squash can be played by everyone.” —Reuters



Oracle ruled guilty of spying SAN FRANCISCO: As if the capsize and destruction of Oracle’s racing boat for the America’s Cup next summer weren’t setback enough. Now, an international jury has found Larry Ellison’s Oracle

Team USA guilty of spying on the Italian teamand docked Oracle five precious sailing practice days. Espionage is nothing new to the America’s

The Oracle yacht

Cup. Competitors routinely chase racing boats to get photos of the strategic details that make each boat go fast. But a jury of sailing experts assembled only to judge disputes in the America’s Cup determined last month that Oracle went too far-or more specifically, came too close to Italy’s Luna Rossa 72-foot catamaran while it was practicing on New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf in November. Oracle’s cameraman came within 200 meters of Luna Rossa, breaking the rules, the jury found. It also fined Oracle $15,000 to pay for the protest. “We are disappointed with the decision,” Grant Simmer, general manager for Oracle Team USA, said in a statement Monday. “But we can deal with the penalty, and it will not distract us from working to win the cup.” Oracle had argued that it never set out to break the rules, which say that competitors cannot “navigate” within 200 meters of each other during training. Oracle claimed its chase boat was sitting still in the water, not navigating, when Luna Rossa sailed within 200 meters of it. The jury, however, found Oracle’s argument “flawed and unreasonable” in its December decision, validating Luna Rossa’s protest. Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand will be bringing their racing yachts this spring to the San Francisco Bay, joining the Swedish Artemis team that is already headquartered out of Alameda, to get ready to compete in the 34th America’s Cup. The three challengers will begin the Louis Vuitton series July 4, racing against each other through August for the right to take on defender Oracle Team USA, which won the Cup in 2010. The finals begin in September. The loss of five practice days is a significant penalty, especially since Oracle already lost about three weeks of training time when its AC72 boat capsized and broke apart during its eighth day of training in the San Francisco Bay in October. Oracle expects its damaged boat to be repaired and ready to sail in early February with a new wing sail scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area from New Zealand on Tuesday. Like the other teams, Oracle is also building a second AC72 boat, which is supposed to be an improved version of the first. Competitors routinely try to get photos of each other’s first boats so they can incorporate new tricks in their second ones. Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said in a previous interview with this newspaper that despite the capsize, his team would have time to catch up on training days when the international teams are out of the water as they travel to San Francisco. But every day counts. The penalty could have been much worse. The Luna Rossa team argued that Oracle was so egregious in its spying that it should be docked 15 days. The New Zealand Team, which also practices on the Hauraki Gulf, requested a harsher penalty as well. —MCT

Beljan goes from fearing for his life to winner’s circle NEW YORK: Incredible things happened in the world of pro golf in 2012. Bubba Watson won the Masters with a shot on the second playoff hole that only a magician or a contortionist could pull off. Brendt Snedeker won $11.13 million in one day by taking the final FedEx Cup event. Charlie Beljan

exemption that put him into enough tournaments to get within reach of the tour’s magic top 125. He was hardly a household name, but that was soon to end. During that second round, he started to come apart physically, unlike anything seen before in a PGA Tour event.

most of them beauties - and then collapsing back to the ground. On the back nine, his gallery included a crew of paramedics. Nobody quite knew what was going on. When his situation was labeled an anxiety attack, it cleared up little. He finished his round, entered the scorer’s tent under his own

Charlie Beljan didn’t die during the second round of the Children’s Miracle Network tournament at Disney World. “I was pretty sure,” Beljan says now. “I feared for my life. I guess that’s the way I am - prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Beljan not only didn’t die, he lived for two more days and ended up not flat on his back in the rough, but fully upright, accepting the winner’s check of $846,000 and an entry into all the 2013 PGA Tour events he wants to play. It was the final PGA Tour event of the year, a Friday afternoon, Nov. 9. Beljan was a 28-year-old former U.S. Junior Amateur champion with a degree in communications from the University of New Mexico and a qualifying-school

Speaking by phone from Maui, where he will play in the seasonopening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which started Friday at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, Beljan described the scary and bizarre day. “Suddenly, my hear t was pounding, I was having palpitations,” he said. “My fingers and arms were tingling, I was having trouble breathing. Everything was a blur.” That’s not good at home on your couch. It’s lots worse in the middle of a tournament, with TV cameras and spectators everywhere. Between shots, he rested in the rough, usually flat on his back. His caddie talked quietly to him. He kept getting up, hitting shots -

power and left on a stretcher. “I was worried everybody was thinking I was just faking,” Beljan said. “But I really thought I was going to die.” Beljan had quite a 2012. He got his Q-School card at PGA West on Dec. 7, 2011. Two days later, he had surgery on a thumb that had become infected with a rare disease called Valley Fever, a disease that thrives in the arid desert soils of southern Arizona, Nevada and California’s San Joaquin Valley. Beljan lives in Mesa, Ariz. About 60 percent of the tendons in his thumb were affected. He got his hand out of the cast in early January and a week later was teeing off in the Sony Open in Hawaii. The morning he teed off,

his wife, Merisa, told him he was going to be a father. Later in the year, flying home from the RenoTahoe Open, he had his first warning incident when he passed out on the plane. When he sat in the hospital that night of Nov. 9 in Florida, his son, Graham, was 7 weeks old. “I really had no idea what to expect with a new baby,” he said. “I’d gotten married, had a baby. . . .” The doctors ran numerous tests that night and advised him he should not play the next day. He got about an hour’s sleep, with his golf shoes on. He talked to Merisa on the phone in the hospital, then again by phone on the driving range. He had ignored the medical advice and headed for the course. Merisa, it turns out, had been the clearest voice. “She knew about these things,” Beljan said. “She used to be a paramedic and drove an ambulance. She kept telling me I’d be fine.” Two rounds of golf later, he was standing at the 18th green with a trophy in his hand, Merisa and Graham having flown in to be next to him, and a new perspective on life. Moments later, he got a phone call from a friend named Ernie Els, who said, “Kid, I’ve seen a lot of things in golf, but never somebody going from a stretcher to a championship in the same tournament.” Chances are good that neither Els, nor the golf world, will see that again. It turns out the cure is easy. Beljan needs to eat more. “I’ve never been a food guy,” he said. “I could go 24 hours without eating. When I got to the hospital, the doctors said my potassium and sodium levels were so low I was in danger of having a seizure. “I used to laugh at guys on the tour, always pulling candy bars out of their bags in the middle of the round. Now I know why.” Beljan is 6 feet 4. When he had his anxiety attack in Florida, he was 230 pounds. Now he is 220 and says he eats all the time, but that his body is not storing food like it needed to before. “People keep coming up to me and telling me how good I look,” he said. Beljan said he pulled out a banana on the second hole of a practice round yesterday and friends who were with him wondered aloud which was a bigger stunner - him teeing it up in the tour’s Tournament of Champions, or him eating a banana on the second hole. “They all agreed,” he said. “It was me eating a banana.” —MCT

Kyrie Irving

Art of trash talking nearly extinct in NBA NEW YORK: Lost in the bluster of this potential one-on-one pickup game between Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving is the way it all began: Two confident, arrogant guys who couldn’t shut up. Irving seemed to initiate it by firing at Bryant first, and one of the league’s best smack talkers certainly wasn’t going to back down from a kid. It was funny, playful and most certainly rare by today’s NBA standards. “Trash talking is a lost art, especially with this generation of players,” Bryant said recently before the Cavaliers’ game against the Lakers. “Everybody grows up around everybody, so nobody wants to trash talk each other. I’m kind of from the old school. I was happy to see Kyrie get into it a little.” One reason for the reduced banter is the league’s crackdown on anything controversial. Officials simply won’t allow it. Players are now assessed technicals and fines anytime they open their mouths to say anything other than “hello” and “thank you.” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott believes the brawl at the Palace eight years ago triggered the crackdown. The brawl reportedly began when the Indiana Pacers’ Ron Artest warned the Pistons’ Ben Wallace, “I’m going to (expletive) you up” on the next trip down the floor. Sure enough, Artest hammered Wallace, who retaliated by shoving Artest. Soon both benches cleared, and the fight eventually spilled into the stands when Artest went after a Detroit fan. That was enough. The league immediately began cracking down on players’ on-court behavior. It certainly has cleaned up the league from Scott’s playing days of the 1980s, but it has also stripped away a colorful component of the game. Scott jokes it wasn’t called trash talking 25 years ago, it was called “s - talking.” And no one was better at it than Larry Bird. During one game between the Lakers and Celtics, Bird was alone in the corner and Scott was rotating toward him on defense. After the shot went up, as Scott went soaring by him, Bird said, “Byron, you’re a little too late.” “And when I came down, I turned around and looked and there it was going through the basket,” Scott says. “He was a very respectful s - talker, but he did it just as well as anybody I’ve ever been around.” The stories from years past are endless. Luke Walton’s father, Bill, was an announcer in the arena the night of the Palace brawl. He was also one of the league’s best centers 30 years ago. Luke was named after Maurice Lucas, a teammate of Bill’s in Portland for two seasons and one of the toughest enforcers in the ABA and NBA during his 14-year career. “They said anyone who ever messed with them, you can count on Maurice knocking him down on the next play,” Luke Walton says. He was watching a game on NBA Classic last summer from his father’s era when Robert Parish and Bill Laimbeer exchanged punches at the free-throw line. Neither player was ejected, and the game continued like nothing happened. “I think in his day they just fought,” Walton says. “And they didn’t even get kicked out.” Not all of the stars from past generations did a lot of talking. Lakers legend Magic Johnson wasn’t much of a trash talker, Scott said, until he was angry. Scott recalled a game against the Houston Rockets when Vernon Maxwell said he didn’t need any help defending Johnson in the post. For three quarters, Johnson quietly went about his business setting up teammates and playing a typical game. “Then in the fourth quarter, he started punishing him,” Scott says. “All of a sudden, Maxwell was asking guys to come help double him and Magic said, ‘No, you don’t need no help. Stay down here and get this ass whippin’ I’m going to give you.’ And that’s what he gave him.” With the exception of Bryant and Boston’s Kevin Garnett, most of those players are long gone, having been replaced with a sterile, antiseptic generation of players who often meet on the AAU circuit, become fast friends in college and are all best buddies before even entering the league. Walton is in his 10th season and said

Bryant is easily the best trash talker he’s been around, although players like Garnett and Rasheed Wallace belong in the conversation. During one game between the Pistons and Lakers a few years ago, Wallace called one of Walton’s Lakers teammates “Borat” in reference to actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s popular movie character. Walton wouldn’t give up whom Wallace was referring to, but admitted all of the Lakers couldn’t stop laughing. Walton was a teammate of Bryant’s for nearly nine seasons in Los Angeles and said Bryant is ruthless in practice. “He’s so good at it because trash talking gets you mad as a competitor, and then he’ll just roast you as he’s talking trash,” Walton says. “Most people, you can go hard and shut them down a little bit. But someone like Kobe, he starts running his mouth and you’re just on an island like, ‘Oh this is going to be a long day.’” The relatively easygoing Walton, surprisingly, loves to talk trash and has received his fair share of fines and technical fouls for it. Players are fined $2,000 for each of their first five technicals, then it escalates to $3,000 for each of the next five. “My trash talking happens when I’m angry, so it doesn’t always make sense,” he says. “It’s kind of like throwing a couple different curse words together that don’t really make sense. . . . I love trash talking. I don’t mind paying those fines.”

Kobe Bryant The consensus is players like Bryant and Garnett get away with it more than others because they have that reputation and are sort of grandfathered in. The alternative, Walton said, would be to give them technicals every game. Bryant has three technicals this season, and Garnett has two. Not all of them are necessarily for trash talking. When the last of those mouths retire, it will likely mark the end of an era in the NBA. When Bryant sits in his rocking chair alongside the rest of the greats like Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, John Stockton and Clyde Drexler, the league will get a lot quieter. In the video featuring Irving and Bryant, which has been viewed more than four million times, Irving tells Bryant: “You have to guard me. You’re not going to lock me up.” Later, Irving throws his arms up, looks in the camera and shouts, “He thinks he’s talking to a high school kid.” Bryant, off camera, immediately fires back, “You just came out of high school, kid!” “I’m the best trash talker alive,” Bryant says. “(Irving) tried to keep up. Hopefully you’ll see a little more of that from that generation, guys competing against each other. It was like then when I came into the league with Charles and Michael and Stockton and Drexler and all those guys. That’s how it was.” But that’s not how it is. The ar t of the trash talk is nearly extinct.—MCT



Longevity the buzz word for rested Federer MELBOURNE: A disappointing end to 2012 left Roger Federer’s critics writing his tennis obituary, but the Swiss is confident he can win more grand slam titles after arriving in Melbourne refreshed and refocused following an extended break. While Federer’s main rivals for a fifth Australian Open title, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, have been getting matches under their belt in Australia, the 31-yearold opted for the practice courts and family time to keep his mind and body fresh. Federer, who is looking to add to his record 17 majors, skipped his traditional warm-up events in the Middle East and has not played a competitive tournament

since losing a pulsating final to Djokovic at the ATP Tour Finals in November. After playing only a couple of exhibition matches, Federer arrived in Melbourne last week aiming to become the first man since Andre Agassi in 1995 to win the Australian Open having not played a warm-up tournament. For Federer, long touted as the greatest men’s player of all time, the weight of history has never proved too problematic but for his critics, and some fans, there are fears that world No.1 Djokovic and U.S. Open champion Murray are now too strong. Juan Martin del Potro also recorded wins over Federer in Basel and London at

the end of the Swiss’ campaign, and his stuttering end to 2012 left many believing an 18th grand slam title on Rod Laver Arena was beyond him. After a sumptuous performance at Wimbledon in July gave him his 17th grand slam title and returned him to world number one, Federer was blown away by Murray in the Olympic final on the same Wimbledon turf, prompting American great John McEnroe to say the Swiss “looked his age”. Perhaps listening to some of the comments that he fatigues quicker led Federer to curtail his 2013 season, dropping some events to give his body longer to recuperate.

“Longevity is the word here that I am looking for and that is what I am striving for this year in 2013 to hopefully keep on playing for many years,” Federer told reporters in Singapore last week. “I love the pressure of playing the new generation who are coming up and improving quickly and I have to work harder than to stay at the top, or with the best,” added Federer, who has had only three grand slam final appearance in the last three years. With old foe Rafa Nadal absent for the Jan. 14-27 Australian showpiece, Djokovic is the clear favourite to win a third consecutive title. Not that Federer has followed

the Serbian’s success too closely. “I do believe that Novak goes in as the favourite for this year’s Australian Open after, did he win the last couple of years or just last year? I’m not sure, but he has won two or three already plus he has won the World Tour Finals,” he said. “He is probably the best hard-court player in the last couple of years. “If I’m second favourite, fourth favourite or eighth or whatever it might be it doesn’t change much for me. I know if I’m playing well I can win tournaments.” But having opted to only practice over the last few weeks, only Federer knows if he is playing well enough. —Reuters

Kuznetsova defeats Wozniacki SYDNEY: Former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova defied sweltering heat that earlier prompted Agnieszka Radwanska to suggest it was too hot to play to beat seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki

reported a temperature high of 41.4 C at 1530(local) at Sydney’s Olympic Park and women’s top seed Radwanska had said earlier that play should have been abandoned until the temperature dropped. The world number four, who was

Na, who followed Radwanska on to court, compared the heat to playing in a sauna, but she was good enough to speed through Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-1 6-0 in 52 minutes. “I was feeling, I don’t know, just

SYDNEY: Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki plays a shot in her match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Sydney International Tennis tournament. —AP yesterday in the second round of the Sydney International. Russia’s Kuznetsova, a two-times grand slam champion who was knocked out in the first round in Auckland last week and had to qualify for the main draw in Sydney, beat the former world number one 7-6 1-6 6-2 in a match that lasted almost four hours. Sydney had been forecast to hit a maximum of 43C yesterday as Australia swelters in a heatwave that has sparked raging bush fires. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

given a bye into the second round, played the opening match on centre court and beat Japan’s Kimiko DateKrumm 6-4 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals but even that early in the day the heat was effecting the players. “I think this is too hot to play tennis,” Radwanska told reporters. “Even for players, for ball kids, for the people sitting out there, I think it’s just too hot.” “Today was one of the hottest day I (have) played for sure.” Former French Open champion Li

feeling like unbelievable. They say it was 40, but even on the tennis court even more,” Li said. “I mean, even didn’t finish the match, just finish (the) first set (and) I was feeling my feet already burning.” Kuznetsova’s victory in the heat gave the 27-year- old Russian tremendous confidence she could continue to build towards the Australian Open having spent six months out rehabilitating a knee injury. The former US and French Open

champion spent two months on crutches last year and had to rebuild muscle strength in her legs to ensure she did not re-injure her right knee and dropped to 85th in the world rankings. She had asked for a wild card for Sydney but was forced to play qualifiers, which had acually helped her build momentum into yesterday’s win. “It was very weird to go and play quallies, but, you know, it just makes you stronger,” she told reporters. “(It) definitely was a little bit uncomfortable, but it made me stronger (and) this is what I really was looking for in Sydney, to get matches.” Kuznetsova, who will meet second-seeded German Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals, said she was not taking the win over the 10th-ranked Wozniacki as a turning point in her rehabilitation. “I just don’t think about it when it’s turning point and when it’s not,” she said. “I’m here. I’m doing the best I can. That’s it. That’s over here. Tomorrow is another day.” While players battled heat in Sydney, in Melbourne men’s world number 12 Juan Monaco and 19 Kei Nishikori’s final Australian Open preparations were in doubt. Argentina’s Monaco withdrew from the invitational Kooyong tournament with a hand injury and his spot in the eight man tournament, which starts today, was taken by Paul-Henri Mathieu, tournament director Colin Stubs said. Japan’s Nishikori also told reporters the knee injury that forced him out of the semi-finals in Brisbane on Saturday was still causing him problems and he did not know if he would play at Kooyong. “I don’t know,” he said when asked if whether he could play. “I’m going to try to hit today and let’s see how it goes. “It’s not bad. Let’s cross the fingers and hopefully it will be okay.” —Reuters

Negotiations stall, India face Davis Cup crisis MUMBAI: Indian tennis faces a second major embarrassment in six months after negotiations between the association and disgruntled Davis Cup players failed ahead of their home tie against South Korea next month. Eight top players, excluding Leander Paes, submitted a list of requirements to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) with a veiled threat to snub the regional first round tie in New Delhi from Feb. 1-3 if no action was taken. On Sunday, the AITA agreed to most of the demands but it was not enough to convince the group, which includes Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna, as they rejected the compromise formula. Hironmoy Chatterjee, the chief executive of the governing body, ruled out any further dialogue with the players and set them a Thursday deadline to commit to playing in the team event. “We will wait for the players’ response. We won’t change our stand. Whatever was possible to be done, we have done. Now it’s upto them to send in their availability,” Chatterjee told Reuters yesterday. “Whoever sends in their availability by Jan. 10, we will select the team from that lot.” The AITA agreed to the demands for a new coach, a higher share of prize money and the players’ involvement in the choice of venues for ties among others but rejected a request to change the captain and decided to retain S.P. Misra to lead the team. The governing body, though, snubbed the players’ choice of support staff, naming Zeeshan Ali as the new coach and asked the government to appoint a qualified doctor and a fulltime physiotherapist for the team. “We have done enough and now it is upto them. The problem is now they are overstepping,” Chatterjee said by phone. “They want to be players, they want to be selectors, they want to be administrators, which is not on. “Now we will need to get them back to track otherwise we will send a wrong signal to the entire sporting fraternity. “I wouldn’t like to use the term blackmailing but they are definitely crossing the line. “It’s not that India has only eight players, we have enough players to choose from and play the tie.” Last year, the AITA handed doubles specialists Bhupathi and Bopanna a two-year Davis Cup suspension for their refusal to partner Paes at the London Olympics. The trio figured in an ugly row ahead of the Games that forced the association to change their original decision to field Paes and Bhupathi as a pair. Paes eventually partnered rookie Vishnu Vardhan while India had a second pair in Bhupathi and Bopanna, but neither duo returned with a medal from London. —Reuters

MELBOURNE: Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt (right) speaks during a press conference as Paul-Henri Mathieu of France (left) listens at the Kooyong Classic. —AFP

Serbia’s court jester can be Kooyong king MELBOURNE: Janko Tipsarevic has told how he found a way to thrive in the shadow of his imposing compatriot Novak Djokovic as he prepares for the Kooyong Classic, his final event before the Australian Open. The court jester known as “Tipsy”, part of a strong field for the Grand Slam warm-up, said he had grown used to playing second fiddle to the world number one-but insisted the sport was big enough for two successful Serbs. “I’m not only number two in Serbia, I’m number two in New Belgrade, where we both live,” Tipsarevic joked in Melbourne. He added: “Novak is the best in the world and I’m aware of that. But I try not to think of the game that way. “Tennis is big enough with prestige, monetary satisfaction and everything else for all of us who want to work hard and do what is takes to be successful.” While Djokovic has been the form player of the last two seasons, Tipsarevic quietly put together career-best figures of 57-28 in 2012 and reached the ATP World Tour Finals for the second straight year. The bespectacled world number nine has started this year in similar vein with victory at the ATP Chennai Open, finally winning the tournament after five previous attempts. Tipsarevic is seeded third at the Kooyong Classic, where he will face Marcos Baghdatis. Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro are the top two seeds. The Serb described how a realisation about his career in 2011 had brought about a seachange in his game, propelling him into the top 10 and bringing him his four ATP titles. “About 18 months ago I changed my attitude to the game,” said Tipsarevic, 28. “I thought

that four to six hours of hard work on court was enough and then your day ends. “I discovered that tennis is a way of life, you need to breathe it every day to achieve results and become a success at the top, top level. “When I understood that, the results started coming and I became a better player.” Today’s opening line-up pits Del Potro against French late entry Paul-Henri Mathieu, while Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt faces big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic. Berdych, buoyed by the Czech Republic’s Davis Cup victory over Spain in November, will play Croatian replacement Ivan Dodig, called in when Japan’s Kei Nishikori withdrew on Tuesday evening. “It was really big for us, winning the title after 33 years. I enjoyed the moment,” Berdych said, calling memories of the victory “the best of my career”. “The decision to play here was lastminute, but now I can have good matches before the Open,” he said. Nishikori, a quarter-finalist at last year’s Australian Open, pulled out following a practice session to test a knee injury suffered at the weekend in a Brisbane semi-final against Andy Murray. Del Potro has caused a stir at home in Argentina by declining to play the Davis Cup in 2013. But the 2009 US Open champion said that decision will only be good for his game. “Becoming number one is so tough,” said the world number seven. “I worked hard in the weeks before I came here. I know it’s a long and difficult road, but I will try my best in every match. “Not playing Davis Cup will help me to get closer to my goals.” —AFP

Serena Williams of the US reacts in this file photo.

Serena set for sixth title MELBOURNE: A belated discovery that tranquility makes a useful ally in the pursuit of glory has Serena Williams in the box seat to win a third consecutive grand slam title at the Australian Open next week. The Williams of explosive on-court tantrums and off-court drama has largely been banished, and a calmer, more mature prototype arrives at Melbourne Park with her game rivalling the peak of her brilliant career. Pundits are already talking up the chances of a sequel to the “Serena Slam” - the non-calendar grand slam that the 31-year-old American completed during the 2002-03 seasons - and Williams herself believes the best is yet to come. “I was looking at a lot of old matches on YouTube, and I feel like right now I’m playing some of my best tennis,” she said after winning the Brisbane International at the weekend. “I feel like I want to do better and play better still, and I’ve always felt like I could play better.” Williams’s smooth preparations for the year’s first grand slam lie in stark contrast to her troubled lead-in to the 2012 tournament, when she arrived in Melbourne with a foot injury after a season blighted by illness and injury. Having played two matches in five months, Williams strained ligaments in her ankle at the warm-up tournament in Brisbane, and lasted four rounds at Melbourne Park before being dumped by Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova. A sensational firstround loss at the French Open sparked another round of career obituaries by sports writers. But Williams, who had survived a life-threatening blood clot in her lungs the previous year, began rebuilding her game with the help of French coach Patrick Mouratoglou. In a four-month blitz, Williams clinched her fifth Wimbledon trophy, singles and doubles gold at the London Olympics and her 15th grand slam title at the US Open, underlining her status as one of the greatest players to grace the game. She

then capped the year by winning the season-ending WTA finals in Istanbul without dropping a set. Williams, who lost the US Open final in 2011 to Australia’s Sam Stosur and the 2009 semi-final to Kim Clijsters following explosive outbursts at match officials, credited her stunning second half of the season to a more relaxed approach to her game. “I really think starting in 2011, the summer, I really started being more calm on the court and just relaxing more, if it’s possible for me to relax,” Williams said at the Brisbane International. “I feel better when I’m more calm.” A serene Serena is bad news for her rivals, who have already conceded her world ranking of three is scandalously inaccurate, and likely to be corrected in short time. World number one Victoria Azarenka, the defending Australian Open champion, came close to upsetting Williams in the tense U.S. Open final, but the Belarusian finished the year 0-5 against the American. Curiously, Azarenka dodged a re-match in the Brisbane semi-final against Williams last week, blaming a toe infection caused by a bad pedicure. World number two Maria Sharapova completed a career grand slam with victory at the French Open, but lost all three of her encounters to Williams last year, including a stinging 6-0 6-1 loss for the Olympic singles gold at London. “It’s surprising to win two grand slams, the Olympics, Madrid and the Championships and to be number three,” Mouratoglou said after Williams won in Istanbul. “If there is a bug somewhere (in the rankings system), someone has to find it.” Williams can fix it with her own racquet by winning a sixth Australian Open title, a feat achieved only by Australia’s Margaret Court in the modern era. That would see her succeed compatriot Chris Evert as the oldest world number one in women’s tennis - a nice, albeit sobering idea for Williams. “I’m really boring now,” Williams said in Brisbane. “I used to be fun. “I could be the oldest number one. I don’t know how that goes with the funniest.” —Reuters

Qualifier Jones upsets Melzer in Auckland AUCKLAND: Australian qualifier Greg Jones upset sixth-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6 (7), 6-2 yesterday in the first round of the Heineken Open for his first ATP victory. The 373rd-ranked Jones matched the 29th-ranked Melzer shot for shot in a first set that contained no breaks of serve. He rallied from 6-4 down in the tiebreaker before closing out the second set in only 30 minutes, belying a ranking that had slumped from 187th. “It’s a pretty good feeling,” said Jones, who won three matches in qualifying. “I had a pretty rough year last year, which my ranking shows. I trained really hard in Melbourne with a couple of guys, a couple of fellow Aussies during the offseason, and physically I’m just feeling a lot better on the court.” Another qualifier to win was Igor Sijsling, who beat

Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in an all-Dutch match. In other first-round matches, Lukas Lacko of Slovakia beat Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, 6-3, 6-3, and Santiago Giraldo of Colombia swept past Go Soeda of Japan 6-1, 6-0. Alejandro Falla of Colombia was leading Grega Zemlja 6-4, 3-1 when the Slovak retired with an unspecified injury, while Canadian qualifier Jesse Levine beat New Zealand wild card Dan King-Turner 6-2, 6-2. Gael Monfils rallied past Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4. The Frenchman, ranked 99th, entered the main draw on a wild card and looked in good form ahead of the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 14. Yenhsun Lu of Taiwan beat Benoit Paire 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 with the Frenchman appearing to struggle with a hamstring injury. —AP

Greg Jones




Cavani’s hat trick topples Messi from AP rankings LONDON: It took something very special to topple Lionel Messi from his position on top of the first AP Global Football rankings survey of 2013, and Edinson Cavani’s perfect hat trick for Napoli did it. Left foot, right foot and header, three goals from the Uruguayan that pushed the Serie A team to a 4-1 victory over Roma and into third place in the league. “Cavani’s perfect hat trick against Roma served only to heighten the speculation of a possible January move away from Napoli,” panelist Will Tidey of the San Francisco-based Bleacher Report said. Messi, who slipped from the leading position he has held since the AP rankings were launched in October, ended up sixth after managing only

one goal in Barcelona’s 4-0 victory over the weekend. The record-breaking Argentina forward did manage to pick up FIFA’s Ballon d’Or on Monday night. “Edinson Cavani - with a hat trick in the key match of Serie A - deserves the title of big gun of the week,” Paolo Condo of Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport said. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo saved his team with two goals and was voted into second place by the 17 soccer journalists from around the world who give 10 points for their top players and teams, down to one point for 10th. Ronaldo was awarded 122 points, 15 points behind Cavani’s 137. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie was third, one point behind

Ronaldo. Barcelona remains the clear leader of the team list with 152 points, 44 points ahead of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Napoli climbed into third in the AP rankings, as well as in Serie A, 10 points clear of Sampdoria. Four Italian teams are in the Top 10, although neither of the Milan teams nor Juventus made the grade. Struggling Sampdoria and 19-yearold rising star Mauro Icardi were both fourth after the Argentine striker, who was born in the same city as Messi, scored both goals to beat league leader Juventus 2-1. “Icardi’s two goals at Juventus were also exceptional,” Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis PostDispatch said, “and it certainly justi-

fied him not being allowed to go home to play for Argentina’s under20 team.” Gazzetta dello Sport’s Condo added: “Icardi, a young star, scored against the leaders in the Calcio. Look out for him in the future.” Messi was not even the top Barcelona player in this week’s rankings. Pedro Rodriguez, who scored twice in the 40 victory over Espanyol, was fifth with 69 points, eight ahead of Messi. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was eighth, despite widespread anger in England for what appeared to be a deliberate handball that helped the Uruguayan score the second and winning goal against non-league Mansfield in the FA Cup. New Chelsea striker Demba Ba also broke into the

top 10 for the first time after scoring two goals on his debut for the London team. Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng was voted into 11th place, even though he barely played. Boateng was applauded by panelists for walking off the field during an exhibition when he was subjected to racist abuse. “Milan - Good for them. Change will never come about unless teams take drastic measures against racism. AC Milan was perfectly within their rights walking off the field against Pro Patria,” Filip Bondy of The New York Daily News said. “It is really the one and only way to punish fans - deprive them of their gladiatorial entertainment.”—AP

Ba says Torres still Chelsea’s main man

JOHANNESBURG: Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba (left) vies with Morocco’s Adil Herjach during the friendly football match Zambia vs Morocco. The 2013 African Cup of Nations tournament will take place in South Africa from January 19 to February 10.—AFP

Morocco want to end long wait for glory JOHANNESBURG: It is 37 years since Morocco won the Africa Cup of Nations for the only time after drawing with Guinea in the final pool match of a tournament hosted by Ethiopia. The closest the Atlas Lions have come since was finishing runners-up to hosts Tunisia nine years ago, and subsequent appearances at the showpiece of African football have brought only disappointment. Morocco failed to win or even score en route to a 2006 first round exit and blasted five goals past Namibia a couple of years later only to make another early departure. Losing again to Tunisia last year proved costly as they also went down to co-hosts Gabon and once more the Atlas Lions were flying home before the knock-out phase had even begun. It was doubtful that they would make the 2013 tournament in South Africa after a 2-0 qualifying loss in Mozambique, but new coach Rachid Taoussi masterminded a dramatic turnaround with a 4-0 Marrakech triumph. Taoussi succeeded Belgian Eric Gerets, who came to north-west Africa with an impressive CV, but battled to mould stars like Marouane Chamakh, Houssine Kharja and Adel Taarabt into a team capable of winning consistently. None of the trio made the Johannesburg-bound squad with midfielder and former captain Kharja venting his anger after being excluded from Group A clashes with Angola, Cape Verde Islands and South Africa.

“I think Taoussi has lacked courage-during the past few months he has been very evasive with me, using excuses not to choose me such as the distance I must travel for matches. “He then said he could not reach me on the phone before telling me he will not take me to the Africa Cup of Nations because I play in Qatar,” Kharja told reporters in Doha. Taoussi, who guided Moghreb Fes to the CAF Confederation Cup last year and a surprise CAF Super Cup win over Tunisian club Esperance, believes the absence of the trio will not harm Moroccan chances of making an impact this year. “I am happy with the draw and do not foresee any problems. The two teams to qualify from the group could be South Africa and us although Cape Verde eliminated Cameroon so they cannot be written off.” The 53-year-old coach relishes challenges and admits they do not come any bigger than facing the host nation in a match where everybody will be against his Lions. “We play Bafana Bafana last and that means we must do well in the first two matches against Angola and Cape Verde so that we are not under pressure before that final group game.” Long-serving goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri has succeeded Kharja as captain, Mehdi Benatia is the defensive stalwart, Younes Belhanda the midfield conductor, and the strike force includes Liverpool fringe player Oussama Assaidi.—AFP

LONDON: Demba Ba insists his arrival at Chelsea has done nothing to affect Fernando Torres’s position as the main striker at Stamford Bridge. Ba made the perfect start to his Blues career following his £7.5 million ($12 million) move from Newcastle United, scoring twice in the 5-1 FA Cup third round victory at Southampton while Torres remained on the bench. Torres is expected to be restored to the line-up when Premier League rivals Swansea City visit west London for the first leg of the League Cup semi-final today, although Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez could pair the two strikers from the start. Ba’s impact means Chelsea immediately appear much less reliant on the inconsistent Torres and he may well challenge the Spain international’s position as the first choice forward in the longer term. But the Senegal striker has made it clear he sees Torres as the senior partner as he attempts to establish himself at his new club. “I just want to enjoy my football, it’s not about pressure, it’s about playing a game I like, and that’s what I’m doing,” Ba said. “I’m here to help the group and the team; it’s not about taking the position of someone else. I know Fernando is the main man. I’ve just come, I will learn from people and I will learn from him as well because his history is much bigger than mine.” And the forward claims he has already benefited from playing in front of European champions Chelsea’s playmakers, including Juan Mata and Frank Lampard. He added: “It makes football look easy, I just try to run in behind and create space for the midfielders because I know when they have space they will be dangerous. “When you have players like this, that understand football perfectly, you just have to run and the ball will come into your feet, and that’s what I tried to do. “I’m very pleased, I saw it when I played against them, but they are world-class players and when you play with them it’s completely different. They create spaces, provide good passes and they are very intelligent in their game.” A convincing victory in the first leg will turn thoughts towards a place in the Wembley final and divert attention away from Lampard’s contract situation. Steve Kutner, the England midfielder’s agent insisted Lampard, 34, has been told he will definitely not be offered a new deal. “Chelsea executives told Frank in Japan then again re-confirmed with his agent after the Everton victory that, in no circumstances, will he be offered a new contract to stay at Chelsea Football Club after the end of this season,” said Kutner. “Nothing since has

Chelsea’s French-born Senegalese striker Demba Ba controls the ball in this file photo. games, even if they defeat Arsenal in the changed in any respect.” Swansea were held 2-2 by Arsenal in the return to set up a fourth round FA Cup trip to FA Cup but manager Michael Laudrup opted second-tier Brighton. “It is very busy but when you play at the to rest a number of key players in that game, placing Michu and Pablo Hernandez on the highest level you always want to win,” said bench and omitting Ashley Williams and Denmark great Laudrup. “When you play the big sides away from home it’s special for the Angle Rangel from the squad. All are set to start at Stamford Bridge and players. “If we can continue with this positive Laudrup believes the side’s success in forcing a replay against Arsenal confirms the strength momentum it gives a lot to the team. We in depth in his squad. Laudrup will be forced may lose two or three games now but to draw on those resources during a testing nobody can take away from us what we’ve month in which they will play at least six more achieved already this season.”—AFP

Ambitious Angola aim for top-three finish FRANCE: Istre’s players celebrate after beating Valenciennes at the Parsemain stadium in Istres, southern France, during the French Cup football match.—AFP

Istres win Valenciennes thriller PARIS: Second division side Istres dumped Ligue 1 Valenciennes out of the French Cup when they won a dramatic last 64 tie at home on penalties after the teams were tied 3-3 following extra time on Monday. Valenciennes are the sixth top-flight club to be eliminated after holders Olympique Lyon, Stade Rennes, Ajaccio, Bastia and Reims all lost at the weekend. The visitors, who are sixth in the Ligue 1 standings, laboured in the first 90 minutes but looked set to advance when Mathieu Dossevi put them in front in the 75th minute. However, Istres, who had dominated throughout but lacked a cutting edge, snatched a late equaliser when Sid Ali Yahia-Chrif scored in the

90th to send the match in to added time. In front of a sparse crowd, the match burst into life as Istres grabbed a deserved two-goal lead thanks to Nassim Akrour, who found the net twice in a minute. Valenciennes put all their resources into in a late surge and were rewarded by Vincent Aboubakar’s superb goal in the 111th minute. Rudy Mater then levelled the the scores three minutes later from the penalty spot to make it 3-3. Although goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau, who had been brilliant throughout, put Valenciennes ahead in the penalties shootout with another save, Marco Da Silva and Remi Gomis both missed their efforts and Istres qualified for the last 32.—Reuters

JOHANNESBURG: Angola have been set an ambitious target of a top-three finish when they make a fifth consecutive appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations. Uruguay-born head coach Gustavo Ferrin and his assistants told the Angolan media that national football federation officials had raised the bar after a disappointing showing at the 2012 tournament. The Palancas Negros (Black Antelopes) beat Burkina Faso, drew with Sudan and lost to a second-string Ivory Coast side to go out on goal difference after the first round in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea. Being pipped for second spot by Sudan was a massive setback for the Angolans, who had travelled to central Africa confident of finishing group runners-up behind title favourites Ivory Coast. The Antelopes face what appears to be an even tougher mini-league task in South Africa against the host nation, former champions Morocco and debutants Cape Verde Islands. Angola confront Morocco in the second half of a January 19 opening-day doubleheader at the 90,000-capacity Soccer City stadium on the outskirts of the sprawling Soweto township. It is a match likely to have a major impact on the final Group A standings with the Atlas

Lions also desperate to progress after a firstround exit from the previous tournament. Local players dominate the squad and Ferrin is banking on their mental toughness, forged through years of civil war in the southwestern country, to create a winning formula. “Many Angolans have not had an easy upbringing and it is my task to turn that hardiness to our advantage,” said the coach responsible for developing many of the Uruguay stars who finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup. He will be pinning a lot of hope on gangling striker Manucho Goncalves from Spanish La Liga outfit Real Valladolid, whose two goals within five minutes of the kick-off against Zimbabwe earned Angola a place at the finals. Veteran goalkeeper Lama has been recalled and there could be a place for Liechtenstein-based striker Guilherme Afonso, capped twice by Switzerland at under-21 level. Angola have competed at the Cup of Nations six times, going out after the first round four times and reaching the 2008 and 2010 quarter-finals before suffering narrow losses to Egypt and Ghana respectively. However, African football followers will remember Angola most for their part in an amazing 2010 opening match in which they

drew 4-4 with Mali at a packed Luanda stadium. Hosting the tournament, the Antelopes were four goals ahead just 12 minutes from time only to finish the game defending desperately for a draw as Mali staged a stunning comeback.—AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Gulf Cup Iraq v Kuwait Dubai Sports 1 Kuwait Sport Saudi Sports 1 Abu Dhabi Sports 2 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 8


Yemen v Saudi Arabia Dubai Sports 1 Kuwait Sport Saudi Sports 1 Abu Dhabi Sports 2 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 8


Kuznetsova defeats Wozniacki

Johnson takes charge with power at Kapalua




Negotiations stall, India face Davis Cup crisis

Page 18

MIAMI: Alabama players celebrate after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame Monday. Alabama won 42-14. —AP

‘Bama bash Notre Dame for BCS title MIAMI GARDENS: Barely taking time to celebrate their latest national championship, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are ready to get back to work. That’s how they make it look so easy. In what must be an increasingly frustrating scene for the rest of college football, another season ended with Saban and his players frolicking in the middle of a confetti-strewn field. Eddie Lacy ran all over Notre Dame, AJ McCarron turned in another dazzling performance through the air, and the Tide defense shut down the Fighting Irish until it was no longer in doubt. The result was a 42-14 blowout in the BCS title game Monday night, not only making Alabama a back-to-back champion, but a full-fledged dynasty with three crowns in four years. This one was especially satisfying to Saban. “People talk about how the most difficult thing is to win your first championship,” he said. “Really, the most difficult one to win is the next one, because there’s always a feeling of entitlement.” Rest assured, that feeling won’t last long in Tuscaloosa. While Saban insisted he was “happy as hell” and “has never been prouder of a group of young men,” it was hard to tell. He was already talking about reporting to the office Wednesday morning and getting started on next season. “One of these days,

when I’m sitting on the side of the hill watching the stream go by, I’ll probably figure it out even more,” Saban said. “But what about next year’s team? You’ve got to think about that, too.” So, in short order, he’ll be talking with underclassmen about entering the NFL draft, making sure everyone goes back to class on schedule, and getting started on that next depth chart. “The Process,” as he calls it, never stops. “We’re going to enjoy it for 24 hours or so,” Saban said. No. 2 Alabama quieted the top-ranked Irish on the very first drive - so much for waking up the echoes - and could’ve started the celebration at halftime, heading to the locker room with a commanding 28-0 lead. The Tide (13-1) pushed it out to 35-0 midway through the third quarter on the third of McCarron’s four touchdown passes, a 34-yarder to Amari Cooper with a defender nowhere in sight. At that point, Alabama was on a 69-0 blitz in national title games, having scored the last 13 points in its 2010 triumph over Texas and blanked LSU 21-0 for last year’s BCS crown. When Everett Golson finally scored for Notre Dame (12-1) with about 4 minutes remaining in the third, it snapped a scoreless stretch of nearly two full games - 108 minutes and 7 seconds - by the Tide. “It was just a complete game by the offense,

defense and special teams,” said Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, the defensive MVP with eight tackles, one of them behind the line. Despite the dazzling numbers by McCarron - 20 of 28 for 264 yards - he was denied a second straight offensive MVP award in the title game. That went to Lacy, who finished with 140 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored two TDs. Not a bad finish for the junior, who surely helped his status in the NFL draft should he decide to turn pro. Lacy also was MVP of the Southeastern Conference championship game, rushing for a career-best 181 yards in the thrilling victory over Georgia that gave Alabama a chance to repeat as champion. The Tide will have some big holes to fill, no matter who decides to leave school early, with offensive tackle D.J. Fluker and cornerback Dee Milliner also pondering their draft prospects. There’s not a lot of seniors on the roster, but All-America linemen Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack and safety Robert Lester are among those who definitely won’t be back. But Alabama had some huge holes to fill a year ago, too, with five players drafted in the first 35 picks. That worked out just fine. The Crimson Tide wrapped up its ninth Associated Press national title, breaking a tie with Notre Dame for the most by any school and gain-

ing a measure of redemption for a bitter loss to the Irish almost four decades ago: the epic 1973 Sugar Bowl in which Ara Parseghian’s team edged Bear Bryant’s powerhouse 24-23. “The process is ongoing,” said Saban, tightlipped as ever and showing little emotion after the fourth BCS national title of his coaching career. “We have a 24-hour rule around here. We enjoy everything for 24 hours.” Notre Dame went from unranked in the preseason to the top spot in the rankings by the end of the regular season, winning two games in overtime and three other times by seven points or less. But the long wait for a championship - the Irish haven’t finished No. 1 since 1988 - will have to wait at least one more year. “They just did what Alabama does,” moaned Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s star linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist, trying to digest an embarrassing loss in his final college game. Golson will be back. He completed his first season as the starter by going 21 of 36 for 270 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. But the young quarterback got no help from the running game, which was held to 32 yards - 170 below its season average. “We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue close the gap there,” said Brian Kelly, the Irish’s thirdyear coach. “Just overall, we need to see what it

Ronaldo, not Messi, should be Ballon d’Or

MANAMA: Omar Abdelrahman (left) of the United Arab Emirates vies for the ball against Abdulwahab Ali of Bahrain during the 21st Gulf Cup.—AFP

UAE into Gulf Cup semifinals RIFA: United Arab Emirates has advanced to the Gulf Cup semifinals, downing Bahrain 2-1 on a late strike from midfielder Majed Hassan yesterday. Qatar beat Oman 2-1 to move into second in Group A and is the favorite to join the UAE with one match remaining. Ali Mabkhout opened the scoring for the UAE, sidestepping a defender and slotting home a shot in the 40th minute. Bahrain equalized in the 75th when Abdulwahab al-Malood dashed into the area and chipped in the goal. But in the 85th, Hassan grabbed a deflection off goalkeeper Sayed Jaafar and fired home the winner. Qatar took the lead in the 56th when Khalfan Ibrahim converted a penalty. Oman’s Hussain al-Hadhri leeled on a 71st-minute penalty, and Mohammed Jeedo scored the winner in the 88th. —AP

ZURICH: The Ballon d’Or went to the wrong guy. Lionel Messi most definitely is the world’s best footballer. He will, for many fans of football become the best ever, eclipsing Pele and Diego Maradona, if he wins the World Cup with Argentina next year. But Messi shouldn’t have picked up an unprecedented fourth consecutive world Player of the Year award at a glitzy FIFA gala on Monday night. The trophy that Barcelona’s record-setting goal scorer bashfully lifted should instead have gone to Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s downcast rival at Real Madrid. The award’s electorate - journalists and the coaches and captains of national teams - should have tamed their Messi addiction this time. Not because Ronaldo is a better footballer than Messi. He isn’t. But because he stole away one of Messi’s most important crowns in 2012. Winning the Spanish league title was a mammoth achievement, precisely because the towering obstacles Ronaldo and his Madrid teammates needed to overcome were Messi and Barcelona, arguably the greatest player and the greatest club team ever in football. With a squad that cost many tens of millions of dollars, Madrid isn’t a mere David to Barcelona’s Goliath. It is a football colossus in its own right, the sport’s highest-earning club, with always sky-high ambitions and resources that enable it to challenge for trophies year after year. Nevertheless, it was a considerable feat to dethrone a Barcelona team with the most fearsome threesome ever fielded by a football club - Messi and midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. That is why Ronaldo should have been awarded the 2012 Ballon d’Or. Without his club-record 46 goals in the league, Madrid wouldn’t have ended Barcelona’s three-year reign as champions of Spain. That vital individual contribution to a team achievement that rained on Pep Guardiola’s last season as Barcelona coach made Ronaldo a worthy candidate for Player of the Year. Which isn’t to say that Messi was undeserving. His greatest achievement of the past 12 months — breaking Gerd Mueller’s calendar—year scoring world record - came too late in 2012 to be considered in Ballon d’Or deliberations. Votes had to be cast by Nov. 15. But it wasn’t until Dec. 9 that Messi scored his 86th goal of 2012 to pull past Mueller’s

milestone of 85 with Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. But before voting closed, Messi did surpass Pele’s single-season milestone from 1958 of 75 goals for Brazil and Santos. Messi’s 50 league goals and eight hat tricks (Ronaldo had seven) for Barcelona in the 2011-2012 season were La Liga records. Messi’s season total of 73 goals from 60 games for the club also was a world record and broke the previous European club record of 67 goals that Mueller had owned since 1973. Messi also stopped being a dud for his national team. His record-equaling 12 goals in 2012 for Argentina suggested he could steal host Brazil’s show at the 2014 World Cup. But football is a team sport. Individual achievements aside, surely the Player of the Year should win major team trophies, too? Messi didn’t in 2012. The FIFA Club World Cup that Barcelona won in December 2011 and its Spanish Cup victory in 2012 together aren’t as important as the Spanish league title Ronaldo won with Madrid. But anointing Messi as Player of the Year has become habit, one hard to break even when his team achievements alone don’t warrant it. If based solely on team results, his Barcelona colleague Iniesta would have been a more worthy winner in 2012 because of his football for Spain, which became the first nation to defend the European Championship. However, winning the player award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 gave Messi momentum that neither Ronaldo nor Iniesta could halt in 2012, despite their trophies. Being so likable presumably made it easy to vote for Messi. The 25-year-old is always a joy to watch. He is invariably humble and polite in interviews, never missing an opportunity to thank his teammates. Portugal’s Ronaldo, in comparison, is a tiresome peacock. The 27-year old’s on-pitch preening, self-importance and histrionics can overshadow all the hard work and dedication he pours into his game. Ballon d’Or organizers ask voters to weigh players’ “overall behavior on and off the pitch” in making their choice. Ronaldo admits that his character - “I’m too serious,” he says - isn’t to everyone’s liking. Still, his personality shouldn’t stop him from being selected ahead of Messi if his football warrants it. In 2012, it did.—AP

looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like now - a championship football team. That’s backto-back national champions. That’s what it looks like. That’s what you measure yourself against there. It’s pretty clear across the board what we have to do.” Kelly vowed this was only beginning, insisting the bar has been raised in South Bend no matter what the outcome. “We made incredible strides to get to this point,” he said. “Now it’s pretty clear what we’ve got to do to get over the top.” Alabama is already there but still longing for more, not content even after the second-biggest rout of the BCS era that began in 1999. The only title game that was more of a blowout was USC’s 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl, a title that was later vacated because of NCAA violations. You could almost hear television sets around the country flipping to other channels as Alabama poured it on, a hugely anticipated matchup between two of the nation’s most storied programs reduced to a laugher when the Tide scored on its first three possessions. “We’re going for it next year again,” said offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandijo, only a sophomore and already the owner of two rings. “And again. And again. And again. I love to win. That’s why I came here.”—AP

PERU: Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah competes during Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Pisco and Nazca. —AFP

Al-Attiyah wins Dakar stage AREQUIPA: Qatari ace Nasser Al-Attiyah won his second successive stage in this year’s Dakar Rally as he triumphed in the fourth stage to give himself a great chance of adding to his triumph in the 2011 edition. The 42-year-old driver — who made it four stage wins from four for his Red Bull Buggy team — closed the gap on the overall leader, France’s Mini-driving 10-time champion Stephane Peterhansel. Guerlain Chicherit took second in the stage, 36sec behind, while Peterhansel, 47, who has won the race six times on a motorbike and four times in the car discipline, came in over a minute behind the Qatari and saw his lead clipped to 5min 16sec. However, it was not all good news for the Red Bull team as the 2010 winner Carlos Sainz dropped out of contention with a second successive poor day, the winner of the first two stages suffering more problems with his car. Al-Attiyah, though, was all smiles when he emerged from his car. “In the dunes at the start, it was very difficult to open the way, but in the end we are here without any problem at all and a good time as well so we are happy,” said Al-Attiyah, who last year showed his all round sporting skills by winning

Olympic bronze in the shooting competition. “Of course, we know that tomorrow (Tuesday) the terrain is going to be less easy for the buggies and we will probably lose a bit of time, but since it should be better for us in Chile, I’m not worried, especially since we are out in front and not far behind Peterhansel.” The motorbike section saw a change of hands in terms of the overall lead as Frenchman Olivier Pain took over from compatriot and four-time winner Cyril Despres. The stage honors went to Spanish rider Joan Barreda Bort on a Husqvarna, who recorded his second stage win of this year’s race in beating Pain by 8min 23sec while another Frenchman David Casteu was third. Pain leads Casteu in the overall standings by 2min 24sec with defending champion Despres, dropping to third 3min 09sec adrift. Pain, whose best finish in six previous editions has been two ninth places including last year, was not getting ahead of himself with regard to winning the race outright. “I don’t want to get overexcited about my place in the overall, the rally’s still long and my objective is to finish in the Top 10 every day, and I hope to continue doing this well until the end,” said the 31-year-old.—AFP


US banks pay billions for foreclosure abuse Page 22 Italy jobless record put heat on Monti


Page 23 Shares recover, as euro-zone data stabilizes

Dubai’s DEWA targets $1 billion sukuk issue Page 25

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SEOUL: A man walks by a billboard of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 10.1 at a showroom of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. — AP

Galaxy powers Samsung to record profit Q4 operating profit hits $8.3 billion SEOUL: Samsung Electronics, the world leader in mobiles and memory chips, said it likely earned a quarterly profit of $8.3 billion, as it sold close to 500 handsets a minute and as demand picked up for the flat screens it makes for mobile devices, including those for rival Apple Inc products. That run of five straight record quarters may end in JanuaryMarch on weaker seasonal demand, though a strong pipeline of smartphones - the South Korean group’s biggest earner - and improving chip prices have eased concerns that earnings growth could slow this year, powering Samsung shares to record levels last week. The stock closed down 1.3 percent yesterday, in a Seoul market that fell 0.7 percent. “Investors are a bit concerned that Samsung’s momentum may slow in the first half. The smartphone market is unlikely to sustain its strong growth as advanced markets are nearing saturation despite growth in emerging countries,” said Kim Sung-soo, a fund manager at LS Asset Management. Samsung has outpaced Apple - its biggest rival and biggest customer - despite the US firm’s launch of the latest iPhone 5, with sales momentum boosted by its Galaxy Note II phone-cum-tablet, or ‘phablet’, in the fourth quarter. IPhone 5 sales were a little below expectations, analysts said. While Apple rolled out just a single new smartphone last year globally, Samsung bom-

barded the market with 37 variants tweaked for regional and consumer tastes, from highend smartphones to cheaper low-end models. By comparison, Taiwan’s HTC Corp released 18 models, Nokia 9 and LG Electronics 24. HTC on Monday said its fourthquarter profit slumped more than 90 percent as its sales continue to trail those of the Galaxy range and the iPhone. Samsung, valued at close to $230 billion, gave its OctoberDecember earnings guidance yesterday, ahead of the full earnings release expected by Jan 25. A HIGH NOTE Shipments of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III, which overtook the iPhone 4S in the third quarter to become the world’s best-selling smartphone, are likely to have slipped to around 15 million in the last quarter from 18 million in July-September, analysts estimate, but sales of around 8 million Galaxy Note II ‘phablets’ should more than make up for that - pushing overall smartphone shipments to around 63 million. “ The Note was selling well, boosting fourth-quarter profit, while iPhone 5 sales were less than expected,” said Song Myungsub, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities. “Samsung’s profit will drop in the current quarter because of decreased phone profits. It will launch the Galaxy S IV only in March or

April so, without new models, phone sales prices will fall this quarter. For the whole year, Samsung will launch new models faster than Apple and have the upper hand in the smartphone market.” The new Galaxy, widely expected to be released within months, may have an unbreakable screen and full high-definition quality resolution boasting 440 pixels per inch, as well as a better camera and a more powerful processor. “Samsung’s smartphone shipments are likely to grow even in a seasonally weak first quarter. The early launch of the Galaxy S IV would drive second-quarter growth momentum,” said BNP Paribas Securities analyst Peter Yu, who predicts Samsung’s 2013 operating profit will grow 25 percent to almost $35 billion. Samsung is expected to increase its smartphone sales by more than a third this year, and widen its lead over Apple as it offers a broader range of mobile devices, said Neil Mawston, executive director at market researcher Strategy Analytics, which forecasts Samsung will sell 290 million smartphones this year, up from a projected 215 million in 2012. Apple is expected to push up iPhone sales to 180 million from last year’s 135 million, Mawston told Reuters last week, Kim Sung-in, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, sees Samsung shipping 320 million smartphones

this year and doubling sales of its tablets to 32 million. STRONG NUMBERS Samsung said its October-December operating profit jumped 89 percent to 8.8 trillion won from a year ago, just ahead of a forecast for 8.7 trillion won by 16 analysts surveyed by Reuters. That is 8.6 percent higher than its previous record of 8.1 trillion won in JulySeptember. Analysts expect profits from the mobile division to more than double from last year and increase slightly from the previous quarter, to around 5.8 trillion won. A recovery in chip prices and flat screens should also boost component earnings, helped by booming sales of mobiles carrying Samsung’s chips, micro-processors and flat screens. Reflecting the strong outlook, shares in Asia’s most valuable technology stock last week hit a life high of 1.584 million won ($1,500). The stock gained 44 percent last year, topping Apple’s 31 percent increase and easily outpacing a 9 percent rise on the broader Korean market. Samsung, led by founding family member and chairman Lee Kun-hee, is embroiled in a patent legal battle with Apple globally. Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung in August, but has failed to win a permanent sales ban on several, mostly older Samsung models. — Reuters

Aldar, Sorouh reach ‘initial merger deal’ Share-swap deal will not involve cash payment DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s two biggest real estate developers have reached an initial agreement to merge via a share swap, with a final deal expected to be signed in the coming weeks, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate have

a combined market capitalization of about 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion), which would make the proposed merger one of the biggest conducted by listed firms in the Middle East. The merger would create a state-backed

HOUSTON: Photo shows a general view of the Highland Village shopping center in Houston, Texas. This upscale shopping center located west of downtown features prestigious retailers, exclusive specialty stores, and fine restaurants. Houston’s success with job growth in recent years has placed the city among the top markets in the country for elevated income levels, according to reports. — AFP

company with combined assets worth nearly $15 billion, and could help to repair Abu Dhabi’s weak real estate market by ensuring better coordination of new property developments. With the support of the Abu Dhabi government, which owns a major stake in Aldar, managements of the two companies have held discussions for nearly a year on asset valuations, financial terms and the new management structure, the sources said. The merger will be based on a share swap and will not involve a cash payment, two sources said. The terms of the share swap could not be confirmed. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter has not been made public. Aldar and Sorouh declined to comment. “The deal had the blessing of the state from the beginning but it was always a matter of getting an agreement on the valuation,” said a senior banking source familiar with the matter. “A lot of permutations and combinations were put forward and there was involvement from the highest authorities when it looked like things were getting out of hand.” Shares in both companies rose sharply in response to news of the initial merger agreement, although it is not clear whether the deal will be beneficial to investors in both; that will depend on the ratio of the share swap. Aldar shares jumped 10.7 percent and Sorouh surged 13.7 percent.

ABU DHABI CONSOLIDATES Mergers among companies in the Gulf are not common as shareholders, who are often powerful local families, tend to demand high valuations and are reluctant to cede control. A planned merger between Dubai’s largest developer, Emaar Properties, and the property unit of conglomerate Dubai Holding at the peak of the emirate’s real estate crisis in 2009 was ultimately called off. Abu Dhabi’s intention to merge Aldar and Sorouh was first announced last March, as the emirate conducted a review of its economy in the wake of the global financial crisis. Real estate prices in the emirate have tumbled over 50 percent in the last few years following the 2008 global financial crisis and because of oversupply of new properties. This has forced some firms to cancel projects and restructure their debts. Aldar - the larger company, which built the Yas Marina Formula One Circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - said in November that it had written down 737 million dirhams of assets, mainly related to hotels. It has received $10 billion in rescue funds from the Abu Dhabi government, equivalent to the amount which Abu Dhabi lent Dubai to rescue it from a debt crisis in 2009. In return, land on Al Raha beach, the Ferrari World Theme Park, and other key assets, were sold by Aldar to the government. Smaller Sorouh, which has assets of 14.1 billion dirhams, has fared slightly better. —Reuters


in brief

Saudi’s Dar Al Arkan Q4 net profit halves RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate company, Dar al Arkan, said its fourth-quarter net profit halved from the same time the year before as finance costs rose and property sales generated lower margins. Net income for the three months ending Dec 31 was 144 million riyals ($38.4 million) versus 290 million riyals in the prior-year period. Gross profit in the quarter fell by 10.2 percent, the company said in a bourse statement yesterday. Saudi Arabia’s real estate market is on the brink of significant change as the government moves to increase home ownership by regulating mortgage lending and building half a million houses. Dar said its lower gross margins on property sales were “attributable to the geographical location of the properties”. In the past, much of its profit has come from selling land in Saudi Arabia and it has said it is working on a plan to diversify revenue sources in order to stabilize its income. It also cited higher operating expenses and finance charges and lower non-operative income for the fall in profit. Iran tells airlines to pay debts or face grounding DUBAI: Airlines in Iran have seven days to repay more than $200 million in debts they owe to the oil ministry for fuel or face being grounded, a senior official was quoted as saying yesterday. Several airlines have amassed large debts due to the pressure of successive fuel price increases and the loss of access to government-subsidized foreign currency exchange rates which has resulted in a sharp rise in spare parts costs. The demand for payment comes amid continued economic pressure from sanctions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program which have more than halved its revenue from crude oil sales. “Based on meetings with officials from the Civil Aviation Organization, it was agreed that all airline companies have seven days to clear their debts to the National Oil Refining and Distribution company,” Mehr news agency reported deputy oil minister Alireza Zeighami as saying. He admonished airline companies for not taking the opportunity to address the issue in recent meetings with state officials. Sears Holdings CEO D’Ambrosio to quit HOFFMAN ESTATES: Sears Holdings Corp announced late Monday that CEO Louis J D’Ambrosio is stepping next month due to health issues involving his family. The company, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said D’Ambrosio will be replaced by company chairman and its largest shareholder, Edward Lampert. D’Ambrosio will remain on the board until the company’s annual meeting in May. The nature of the health issues affecting D’Ambrosio’s family was not disclosed. In a statement, Lampert said D’Ambrosio led Sears Holdings during a time of rapid industry change to become a more customer-focused company. Changes implemented under D’Ambrosio include giving sales staff almost 15,000 iPads and iPod Touch devices so they can research products and help customers check out wherever they are in a store. It’s also improving displays and adding more hightech washing machines and other appliances. “The board greatly appreciates Lou’s strong leadership in accelerating the transformation of Sears Holdings, and we understand and respect his personal decision to step down,” Lampert said.



In ‘fiscal cliff’ bill, White House key to tax breaks Obama backed wind energy, R&D tax breaks

BOSTON: A customer stops at a Bank of America ATM office in Boston. Bank of America Corp says it will spend more than $10 billion to settle mortgage claims resulting from the housing meltdown. —AP

US banks pay billions for foreclosure abuse 10 banks agree to pay $8.5 billion WASHINGTON: Ten major banks agreed Monday to pay $8.5 billion to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes. The banks, which include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will pay billions to homeowners to end a review process of foreclosure files that was required under a 2011 enforcement action. The review was ordered because banks mishandled people’s paperwork and skipped required steps in the foreclosure process. The settlement was announced jointly by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve. Separately, Bank of America agreed Monday to pay $11.6 billion to government-backed mortgage financier Fannie Mae to settle claims related to mortgages that soured during the housing crash. The agreements are the banks’ latest step toward eliminating hundreds of billions of dollars in potential liabilities related to the housing crisis that crested in 2008. When they release fourth-quarter earnings later this month, the banks hope to reassure investors that they are making progress toward addressing those so-called legacy claims. But advocates say the foreclosure deal allows banks to escape responsibility for damages that might have cost them much more. Regulators are settling at too low a price and possibly at the expense of the consumer, they say. “This was supposed to be about compensating homeowners for the harm they suffered,” said Diane Thompson, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center. The payout guidelines already allowed wronged homeowners less compensation than the actual damages to them, she said. Under the settlement, people who were wrongfully foreclosed on could receive from $1,000 up to $125,000. Failing to offer someone a loan modification would be considered a lighter offense; unfairly seizing and selling a person’s home would entitle that person to the biggest payment, according to guidelines released last summer by the OCC. The agreement covers up to 3.8 million people who were in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. All will receive some amount of compensation. That’s an average of $2,237 per homeowner, although the payouts are expected to vary widely. About $3.3 billion would be direct payments to borrowers, regulators said. Another $5.2 billion would pay for other assistance including loan modifications. The companies involved in the settlement also include: Citigroup, MetLife Bank, PNC Financial Services, Sovereign, SunTrust, US Bank and Aurora. The 2011 action also included GMAC Mortgage, HSBC Finance Corp. and EMC Mortgage Corp. The deal “represents a significant

change in direction” from the original, 2011 agreements, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said in a statement. Banks and consumer advocates had complained that the loan-by-loan reviews required under the 2011 order were time consuming and costly without reaching many homeowners. Banks were paying large sums to consultants who were reviewing the files. Some questioned the independence of those consultants, who often ruled against homeowners. Curry said the new deal meets the original objectives “by ensuring that consumers are the ones who will benefit, and that they will benefit more quickly and in a more direct manner.” “It has become clear that carrying the process through to its conclusion would divert money away from the impacted homeowners and also needlessly delay the dispensation of compensation to affected borrowers,” Curry said. Thompson agreed that the earlier review process was deeply flawed and said the move toward direct payments is a positive development. But she said the deal will only work if it includes strong oversight and transparency provisions. “It’s another get out of jail free card for the banks,” said Thompson. “It caps their liability at a total number that’s less than they thought they were going to pay going in.” Citigroup said in a statement that the bank is “pleased to have the matter resolved” and believes the agreement “will provide benefits for homeowners.” Citi expects to record a charge of $305 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 to cover its cash payment under the settlement. The bank expects that existing reserves will cover its $500 million share of the non-cash foreclosure aid. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said the agreements were “a significant step” in resolving the bank’s remaining legacy mortgage issues while streamlining the company and reducing future expenses. Leaders of a House oversight panel asked regulators for a briefing on the proposed settlement on Friday. Regulators refused to brief Congress before announcing the deal publicly. Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” in the regulators’ actions. “I have serious concerns that this settlement may allow banks to skirt what they owe and sweep past abuses under the rug without determining the full harm borrowers have suffered,” Cummings said. He said regulators have failed to answer key questions about how the settlement was reached, who will get the money and what will happen to others who were harmed by these banks but were not included in the settlement. —AP

WASHINGTON: As the US Congress rushed last week to approve a “fiscal cliff” tax bill that raised income taxes on the wealthy, Washington lobbyists were fretting over a drama that was playing out within the negotiations: whether the bill would include about $64 billion in tax breaks for businesses. The bill extended several tax breaks backed by both parties, including $14.3 billion in credits for research and development projects for thousands of US businesses. But it also had other provisions breaks for companies involved in wind energy, auto racing, rum, Hollywood films and much more. In the end, the bill approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama included all of those things, thanks partly to the White House’s interest in promoting wind and other alternative sources of energy, and in subsidizing research and development costs for companies. It also became a lesson in how Washington’s taste for dishing out favors to special interests is alive and well, despite bipartisan calls for the government to reduce the tax credits it gives businesses and individuals at a time when the nation’s debt tops $16 trillion and is growing. Some business lobbyists said they were surprised that the package of tax credits - which had been approved by the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee in August - survived the negotiations over the tax bill. The main part of the bill extended Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals with incomes of less than $400,000 and couples who make less than $450,000. The longer the negotiations dragged on, lobbyists for various causes had figured, the more likely the bill would focus solely on the core issues of the talks: raising income taxes on the wealthy, allowing a payroll tax cut for all Americans to expire, and extending unemployment insurance benefits. The lobbyists’ expectations also were lowered by the emergence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, as a key negotiator in the talks. McConnell has spoken on the Senate floor about the need to rethink Congress’ approach to various tax breaks, saying that many had been “reflexively extended” for years “without any meaningful review or oversight.” His words were echoed in September by 47 House Republicans who had urged Republican Speaker John Boehner to eliminate the wind energy tax credit, which had split the Republican Party and drawn criticism from Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president. But in the final hours of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff bill, lobbyists pushing the additional tax breaks appear to have had a key ally: President Obama, who during his re-election campaign had touted the need to increase the nation’s investment in alternative energy sources such as wind. Tax credits for the energy industry make up a big chunk of the “add-ons” that were attached to the fiscal cliff bill - about $18.1 billion worth, of which $12.1 billion represents a dramatic expansion of writeoffs for wind energy investments. McConnell’s spokesman, Don Stewart, said the White House insisted that it would a “deal breaker” if the entire package of tax credits was not in the bill. Stewart also said the White House initially wanted to make all of the tax breaks permanent, rather than extend them only through the end of this year. “The White House ... can’t deny that the only reason the (business tax breaks were) included in the final agreement is because the president insisted” they be in there, Stewart said. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said that Obama supported the overall package of tax breaks for businesses. He emphasized that the president favored the wind energy credit and tax benefits for research and development to encourage “job-creating research investments.” Carney also said that many of the tax breaks in the fiscal cliff bill had bipartisan support. “It would strain the credulity of everyone in this room to suggest that Republicans did not support or want tax credits for business,” Carney said during his daily briefing to reporters. Some Democratic strategists said that given the rush to get a fiscal cliff bill through Congress before US financial markets opened for the new year last Wednesday, it likely seemed unrealistic to pick apart the package of tax credits - known as “extenders” - that had passed the Senate Finance Committee on a bipartisan, 19-5 vote.

So the package - with its $222 million credit for the rum industry, a $78 million write-off for the owners of NASCAR auto racing tracks and tax credits for the film industry that could total $248 million, among other things - survived intact, like a holiday bonus to Washington’s lobbyists. “I reacted, like, ‘Wow,’ “said Rich Gold of Holland & Knight, who lobbied for tax breaks for wind energy and railroad maintenance. He represented the Juno Beach, Florida-based company NextEra Energy as well as the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Genesee & Wyoming, a freight rail company. “The (fiscal cliff) package had gotten so skinny,” Gold said, “that I just didn’t expect it to happen at the end of the day.” THE WAY WASHINGTON WORKS Outrage over the tax breaks flowed from small-government advocates and conservative voices such as the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which called the tax credits a “crony capitalist blowout.” Such business tax breaks are called extenders because lawmakers usually extend them all at once, adding them to other tax bills as they move through Congress. Government budget analysts project their total costs over 10 years, even though many of the breaks are extended for only one or two years at a time. During a session in which a bitterly divided Congress had trouble passing any legislation, let alone a controversial tax bill, the fiscal cliff package was the only vehicle for such tax breaks in the final hours of the session that ended Wednesday. A new Congress, including House and Senate members just elected in November, began meeting Thursday. Critics and sup-

NEW YORK: This image courtesy of The Economist shows the January 5-11, 2013 cover of the magazine. The US continued to add jobs in December at the same modest rate as the past two years, underpinning the still frustratingly slow pace of reducing joblessness, according to official data. —AFP porters alike said that tucking expensive tax incentives into last-minute bills is how Washington has worked for years. “They always do this,” said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. The difference this time was that more people were watching the highstakes talks over the fiscal cliff bill, he said. “Many people are being made aware of these tax breaks,” Schatz said. Republican strategist John Feehery, who favors the wind energy tax credit, said the fiscal cliff deal was never expected to reform the US tax code, as some in Washington had hoped. “This was not going to be a tax reform package. This was going to be an agreement or disagreement over whether we keep the current tax policies in place. And these extenders are, by and large, keeping current policy in place,” said Feehery,

who leads a group called the Red State Renewable Alliance, which touts the benefits of the wind industry in conservative states. ‘CORPORATE WELFARE’? Like Feehery and White House spokesman Carney, supporters of tax credits for wind energy and other industries argue that such incentives often boost the economy and create jobs. Critics argue that the breaks are “corporate welfare,” handed out to whoever can hire the best lobbyists or contribute the most to lawmakers’ campaigns. During the past two years, the American Wind Energy Association spent $4.5 million lobbying and gave more than $335,000 in campaign contributions to federal candidates, most of them members of Congress, according to the Senate’s lobbying database and the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. Fiscal conservatives aren’t the only ones lobbying against such tax breaks. Those opposing the wind energy credits include some in the nuclear power industry, which itself has received more than $100 billion in federal subsidies since the 1940s, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. Chicago-based Exelon Corp, the largest nuclear power operator in the United States, spent $6.4 million on lobbying during the first 10 months of 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Exelon also is investing in wind energy but was a vocal voice against the tax credit approved by Congress, saying in a statement that “wind energy can and should stand on its own in competing with other clean energy alternatives.” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a member of the Senate Finance Committee who first proposed the wind energy tax credit back in 1992, said that such provisions are not a giveaway by the US Treasury because they encourage investments that might not otherwise be made. “Using the tax code to stimulate investment is altogether different than appropriating money,” he said. LAWMAKERS TORN Even so, Grassley’s vote on the fiscal cliff bill reflected how some lawmakers were torn over the legislation to prevent income tax increases on most Americans. Last summer, Grassley joined five other Republicans and 13 Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee in voting for the package of tax credits that wound up being included in the fiscal cliff bill. But when the Senate voted 89-8 last week to approve the bill, Grassley was among the eight senators opposing it even though it included the wind energy credits he calls crucial to a developing industry in his state. “The big picture is what ruled as far as I was concerned,” Grassley told Reuters in an interview. “The bill does nothing on the expenditure side. ... It didn’t cut down on the deficit.” By contrast, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, a longtime critic of special-project spending known as “earmarks,” said he reluctantly voted for the “flawed” agreement because he didn’t want to see income taxes go up on all Americans. Without action by Congress, the Bush-era tax cuts that save middle-class families about $2,000 a year would have expired at the end of 2012. McCain’s distaste for the tax credits in the bill was clear. “It’s hard to think of anything that could feed the cynicism of the American people more than larding up must-pass emergency legislation with giveaways to special interest and campaign contributors,” he said in a statement. After the Senate approved the fiscal cliff deal early on New Year’s Day, it moved to the House, where some Republicans complained about the “bloated” package during a closed-door party meeting. But the objectors decided they did not have the votes to amend the bill, House Republican aides said. The deal passed the House on a vote of 257-167, with opponents of the wind energy credit making up a good chunk of the Republicans’“no” votes. Some are vowing to return to the issue in the new congressional session. “With taxpayers on the hook for unsustainable corporate welfare, there’s no question we’re going to come back to it in the new Congress,” Representative Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican, said in an e-mail. —Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Commercial Bank of Kuwait US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian Dollar Australian DLR Indian rupees Sri Lanka Rupee UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi riyals Omani riyals Egyptian pounds US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian dollars Danish Kroner Swedish Kroner Australian dlr Hong Kong dlr Singapore dlr Japanese yen Indian Rs/KD Sri Lanka rupee Pakistan rupee Bangladesh taka UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi Riyal/KD Omani riyals Philippine Peso

.2745000 .4510000 .3670000 .3030000 .2830000 .2930000 .0040000 .0020000 .0763660 .7440070 .3880000 .0720000 .7293660 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2813000 .4531740 .3692910 .3053960 .2850200 .0494940 .0432960 .2948590 .0362880 .2287180 .0032140 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0766170 .7464510 .0000000 .0750330 .7309340 .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.233 5.103 2.895 2.220 3.205 230.400 36.471 3.534

.2845000 .4630000 .3780000 .3140000 .2920000 .3020000 .0067500 .0035000 .0771330 .7514840 .4060000 .0770000 .7366960 .0510000 .2834000 .4565570 .3720480 .3061370 .2871470 .0498640 .0436190 .2970600 .0365590 .2304250 .0032380 .0051510 .0022350 .0029170 .0035700 .0771890 .7520230 .4008490 .0755930 .7363910 .0069900

Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - transfer Irani Riyal - cash

UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

6.913 9.284 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.417 77.708 734.570 751.160 77.009

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.700 Euro 372.030 Sterling Pound 456.420 Canadian dollar 287.380 Turkish lire 158.820 Swiss Franc 307.680 Australian dollar 297.260 US Dollar Buying 281.500 GOLD 311.000 157.000 81.500

SELL DRAFT 300.37 290.49 311.28 373.71 282.10 457.59 3.30 3.555 5.106 2.222 3.205 2.897

Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar terling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

Selling Rate 281.850 283.480 456.305 373.085 309.060 746.190 76.715 77.365 75.125 397.310 44.735 2.213 5.144 2.900 3.496 6.847 691.380 4.270 9.370 3.695 3.370 92.045

SELL CASH 299.000 289.000 310.000 372.500 283.000 457.800 3.750 3.700 5.450 2.500 3.550 2.990

COUNTRY Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Deutsche Mark Egyptian pound Euro Cash Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen

SELL CASH 299.600 751.410 3.840 290.100 555.900 46.000 50.600 167.800 47.720 374.600 37.150 5.500 0.032 0.161 0.243 3.320

Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars

400.400 0.191 96.060 45.700 4.340 239.700 1.830 51.700 733.930 3.030 7.270 78.150 75.440 231.330 35.290 2.691 458.700 44.500 310.000 3.400 9.620 198.263 77.040 282.900

Yemeni Riyal

1.360 GOLD

10 Tola 1,758.180 Sterling Pound US Dollar

Bahrain Exchange Company

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee

77.300 750.000 46.750 399.650 734.000 78.500 75.750

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 46.700 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 43.723 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.319 Tunisian Dinar 181.510 Jordanian Dinar 398.980 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.897 Syrian Lier 3.072 Morocco Dirham 33.856

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

76.87 751.14 43.74 401.90 734.19 77.90 75.44

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 456.700 282.500

Al Mulla Exchange

SELLDRAFT 298.100 751.410 3.539 288.600

231.300 43.741 373.100 37.000 5.110 0.031

Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 282.050 372.900 456.500 288.300 3.260 5.120 43.510 2.214 3.538 6.908 2.898 751.200 76.850 75.350

400.370 0.190 96.060 3.220 238.200 734.920 2.902 6.915 77.720 75.440 231.330 35.290 2.223 456.700 308.500 3.400 9.480 76.940 282.500



‘Davos man’ fears more storms Income disparity and government debts top risk list LONDON: Fragile economies and extreme weather have combined to crank up the global risk dial in the past year, creating an increasingly dangerous mix, according to the World Economic Forum. Despite Europe’s avoidance of a euro break-up in 2012 and the United States stepping back from its fiscal cliff, business leaders and academics fear politicians are failing to address fundamental problems. That is the conclusion of the group’s Global Risks 2013 report, which surveyed more than 1,000 experts and industry bosses and found they were slightly more pessimistic about the outlook for the

decade ahead than a year ago. “It reflects a loss of confidence in leadership from governments,” said Lee Howell, the WEF managing director responsible for the report. Severe wealth gaps and unsustainable government finances were seen as the biggest economic threats facing the world - as they were last January - and there was a marked increase in focus on the dangers posed by severe weather. The 80-page analysis of 50 risks for the next 10 years comes ahead of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos from January 23 to 27, where the rich and pow-

erful will ponder the planet’s future. Bringing together business leaders, politicians and central bankers, Davos has come to symbolize the modern globalised world dominated by successful multinational corporations. Chief executives arriving on their private jets may still ooze confidence but “Davos man” - and most delegates are male - has plenty to worry about these days. SUPERSTORM SANDY Concerns about rising greenhouse gas emissions have grown notably in the past 12 months. The issue is ranked the third

biggest worry overall, while failure to adapt to climate change is viewed as the biggest single environmental hazard. Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the US east coast in October, was a wake-up call for many. But it was not an isolated event in a year that also saw droughts, floods and the Arctic sea ice melting to a record low level. Extreme weather was on display again this week as Australia grappled with fires and heatwave conditions, while temperatures in China plunged to a 28-year low. “Two storms - environmental and economic - are on a collision course,” said John

Drzik, chief executive of Oliver Wyman, a unit of insurance broker Marsh & McLennan, as the WEF report was launched yesterday. “If we don’t allocate the resources needed to mitigate the rising risk from severe weather events, global prosperity for future generations could be threatened.” This year’s Davos meeting takes as its theme “resilient dynamism”, in recognition of the need for governments and businesses to develop strategies to ensure critical systems continue to function in the face of such threats. — Reuters

France’s bond auction results show confidence in economy France cuts trade deficit

MILAN: A woman begs for money amid passersby in downtown Milan, Italy yesterday. Unemployment in the 17 EU countries that use the euro rose to 11.8 percent in November, as the number of jobless people in the region rose to 18.8 million. — AP

Italy jobless record put heat on Monti Youth unemployment hits 37.1% ROME: Italy’s jobless rate remained at a record high in November while youth unemployment jumped to a new peak above 37 percent, data showed yesterday. Italy has been in a deep recession since the middle of 2011 and unemployment has risen steadily as businesses clamp down on staffing levels to cope with crumbling domestic demand. The plight of the unemployed and particularly young people will be a crunch issue at the election and outgoing Prime Minister Monti, who heads a centrist group, has been criticized by opponents on the left and right of hurting the economy in his efforts to fix public finances. Unemployment was stable in November at October’s record high of 11.1 percent, national statistics institute ISTAT reported. Joblessness rose above 11 percent in October for the first time since the first quarter of 1999. Before January 2004 ISTAT only issued quarterly jobs data. November’s rate was marginally below a forecast of a further rise to 11.2 percent in a Reuters survey of analysts, but it was up 1.8 percentage points from November 2011 when Monti was appointed to save Italy from a mounting debt crisis. The youth unemployment rate, referring to 15-24 year-olds, jumped for the third month running in November to 37.1 percent, its highest level since records began in 1992. Companies are reluctant to give new recruits regular contracts because strong job protection means it is hard to fire them. So young people tend to move from one temporary contract to the

next, and opportunities have dried up in the recession. Monti sought to address the problem with a hotly contested labor reform passed last summer, but critics say that by making it more costly and complicated for firms to offer temporary contracts the reform discouraged hiring in the recession. “You always hope that if you put some effort in you will get something back,” said 22 year-old Michele Andaloro as he lined up in search of work at one of Rome’s largest job centers. “The next government needs to work for the future of young people and not behave like in the past.” Analysts say the growing financial difficulties of families are also forcing more young people to look for work rather than study or live off family income. In a dismal series of records, the employment rate edged down in November to a 12-month low of 56.8 percent, while the male employment rate fell to 66.3 percent, the lowest since records began in 1992. “The worst hit by the crisis are those in the industrial section and construction,” an ISTAT spokeswoman said. Italian industrial output is still more than 25 percent lower than its level of mid-2008, before the recession brought on by the global financial crisis. Analysts say the real challenge for Italy is to increase its chronically low rates of employment and participation in the labor market, which are among the lowest in the industrialized world, especially among women, the young and the elderly. — Reuters

British firms’ confidence increased in 4th quarter LONDON: British firms grew more confident in the last three months of 2012, suggesting the economy avoided contraction and is set for modest growth in the early part of this year, Britain’s largest business survey showed yesterday. The survey of more than 7,000 firms by the British Chambers of Commerce contrasts sharply with the downbeat message last week from a set of closely watched polls of purchasing managers. They suggested Britain is slipping back into recession. The association, which predicts that the economy will grow by 1 percent in 2013, found that firms from both the manufacturing and services sector saw an improvement across most indicators in last three months of 2012 compared with the period before. “Fears that the economy has returned to negative growth in Q4 2012 are not supported by our survey,” the association said. For example, service sector firms are the most upbeat about domestic sales since the second quarter of 2010, and the export sales balance equals the highest level seen since late 2007. Manufacturers’ confidence about profitability is the highest in two years, and service sector morale about profits is the highest since late 2007. Employment expectations for the next three months improved in the last quarter of 2012 for both services and manufacturing, although manufacturing saw a larger increase. Nonetheless, in many

areas business sentiment remained weak by historic standards, the quarterly survey showed, and the Chambers’ forecast of 1 percent growth in 2013 is no better than that seen by most economists or in government forecasts. The service export balances were “satisfactory” at the end of 2012, the Chambers said, but the manufacturing export balances are still inadequate. Domestic balances for both manufacturing and services are lower than their long-term averages and well below their pre-recession levels in 2007. Warning of a prolonged period of below-trend growth, the Chambers called on the government to implement growth boosting policy while sticking to its deficit reduction objectives. “The UK economy will continue to face major obstacles as we head into 2013, and every effort must be made to kick-start growth,” Chambers Director General John Longworth said in a statement. The report comes out as some tentative signs emerge of a benefit from policies designed to increase the availability of finance in the economy, such as the Funding for Lending Scheme. The Chambers also reiterated doubts over the official GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics, saying that its survey showed stronger GDP growth in the first half of 2012, and a weaker rebound in Q3 than the ONS data does. — Reuters

BEIJING: A recent successful auction of French bonds shows that there is confidence in the French economy, even as it and the rest of Europe face an especially difficult year, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said yesterday. France’s long-term bond yields fell in the Treasury’s first debt sale of the year on Jan 3, as high appetite for liquid French debt outweighed a sovereign downgrade in November by Moody’s rating agency. “There is in my view no worry for the French economy if we do the job, and we are doing the job,” Moscovici said after a speech during a visit to Beijing, referring to the task of reducing France’s structural deficit and creating more jobs. The recent bond sale “shows there is huge confidence in the market in the French economy,” he added. Moscovici has said the French government will stick to its 3 percent deficit target and 0.8 percent growth target in 2013, although international institutions and economists predict the deficit will be about 3.5 percent while growth will be much lower than 0.8 percent. He added that the prospects for the euro zone have improved in the past few months and the fundamentals of the region are strong, in what will be “a difficult year for the global economy, especially in Europe”.

BEIJING: French Minister of the Economy Pierre Moscovici (front left) meets with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (front right) at the Zhongnanhai leaderships compound in Beijing yesterday. Moscovici started his a two day visit to China on January 7, 2013. — AFP

TRADE DEFICIT France cut its trade deficit in November to 4.3 billion euros ($5.65 billion), down from 4.7 billion euros in October, Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said yesterday. The customs service said later that, overall, exports to and imports from other countries in the European Union, and particularly concerning Germany, had fallen sharply over three months. There had also been a marked fall of trade with the United States in refined products and with the Middle East in crude oil. A trade surplus contributes to growth in a country, as in the case of Germany, France’s main trading partner in the European Union which has a strong external trade account. A trade deficit reduces any overall growth in an economy. For several years France has developed a huge structural trade deficit. Analysts say that

this reflects mainly a fall of the competitive position of French industry and services, largely because France does not have enough mediumsized companies exporting high quality and specialist products. The government is attempting to address the problem of high production costs by switching some social taxes from businesses to a wider tax base. The customs service said that in the 12 months to the end of November the trade balance had shown a cumulative deficit of 65.826 billion euros, down from 74.203 billion euros in 2011. In the three months from September to November exports rose by 0.2 percent from the figure for the three months to October, to 36.494 billion euros. On a 12-month comparison they rose by 2.2 percent. The customs service said: “Industrial exports are clearly marking time. The

fall concerns semi-finished goods but also refined oil products, drinks, computer and electrical equipment and auto products. But exports by the ship construction sector had risen and exports by the aero sector were steady on firm sales by the airliner maker Airbus. Sales of military equipment had picked up in November. The minister took an optimistic line in remarks on Radio Classique, saying that reforms by the socialist government to boost the competitive position of French industry should bear fruit. Imports in the three months to the end of November fell by 1.7 percent to 36.494 billion euros, and by 1.0 percent on a 12-month comparison. Imports of hydrocarbons, refined products and minerals fell as did purchases of aero equipment from Germany and of industrial machines. —Agencies

Mining veteran Cutifani to head Anglo American Anglo shares trade more than 2% higher LONDON: Australian gold mining executive Mark Cutifani, a one-time trainee miner, has been appointed chief executive of Anglo American, taking on what analysts and investors say is one of the toughest jobs in the business. Cutifani, who will step down as chief executive of South African miner AngloGold in March, had been one of several outsiders in the running for the top job at Anglo after Cynthia Carroll quit in October. He was named as a frontrunner over the weekend. Shares in Anglo, which have underperformed the sector by almost 20 percent since the start of last year due to strikes, delays and cost overruns, were up more than 2 percent in both London and Johannesburg, as investors welcomed a move many hope will herald a review of its underperforming assets and a restructuring of the portfolio. “While Cutifani might not be the big profile of (rival miner Xstrata’s CEO) Mick Davis, I would still see him as a reasonable appointment - external and with plenty of South African experience,” one of Anglo’s 20 largest shareholders said. “It is fair to say we think his biggest challenge is on the South African front, but we have been very concerned about the Minas Rio (project) in Brazil too.” Cutifani, who takes over at Anglo on April 3, gave little detail on his plans for a group that has struggled with restive South African unions, budget blow-outs in Brazil and operational woes in Chilean copper. He hinted at a review of Anglo’s portfolio and said he would participate in an annual strategy review in July after three months at the helm, but declined to comment on key details, including whether he might consider splitting off assets such as Anglo’s South African operations. At AngloGold, he never excluded a spin-off of the group’s South African operations and did not shy away from complex tasks including increasing exposure to the spot gold price by winding down a loss-making hedge book that could have sunk the company at the height of the crisis. Anglo, like many of its peers, trades at a discount to the sum of its parts and has long been considered a break-up target, though analysts said an imminent, radical push from the new arrival was unlikely. SOUTH AFRICAN CHALLENGES Cutifani, a 54-year-old, straight-talking father

of seven, will be only the second non-South African to run Anglo. But it was Cutifani’s South African mining credentials - specifically five years at the helm of Johannesburg-based AngloGold that were critical for the group when considering his appointment. He was named head of the country’s Chamber of Mines last year, and Anglo chairman John Parker said the country’s government had responded “positively” to the appointment. “Cutifani has very strong relations with labor, the various stakeholders ... He is a very strong character in the mining sector in terms of skills,” said Lesiba Seshoka, spokesman for South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers, adding the union would still have preferred a “previously disadvantaged South African” to take on the job. Anglo, for which South Africa still accounts for more than half its forecast earnings, has battled South Africa’s combative unions and faces a year of restructuring at its platinum arm, in a country where one in four people is unemployed, and where general elections are due in 2014. Cutifani

takes over just as Anglo prepares to unveil plans later this month for platinum arm Amplats, the world’s largest producer of the precious metal, which has been battered by the wave of strikes that hit the South African industry last year, as well as escalating costs and weak European demand. South Africa will not, however, be the only item on the to-do list for Cutifani, and his Brazilian experience will be welcomed as Anglo tackles problems at its flagship Minas Rio project, the iron ore unit it took control of in 2008. Minas Rio, which was bought to diversify the group’s operations, has become notorious as a top of the cycle deal that could now cost at least three times the original estimate. Cutifani ran AngloGold from 2007, when he was plucked from Canadian mining group Inco, now part of Brazil’s Vale. Despite facing falling production along with much of the rest of the sector, he turned the gold miner into one of the most efficient in the industry, boosted returns on capital, and introduced quarterly dividends. —Reuters

ABIDJAN: The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde (left) and Ivory Coast first lady Dominique Ouattara (right) are welcomed by girls at the SOS village suburb of Abidjan yesterday. Lagarde has called for “a second Ivorian economic miracle” during a visit to Abidjan as part of an African tour. — AFP



Iraqi Kurdistan starts independent crude exports KRG oil exports via Baghdad-controlled pipeline halted LONDON: Kurdistan has begun to export crude oil directly to world oil markets through Turkey, industry sources said on Monday, which poses the biggest challenge yet to Baghdad’s claim to full control over Iraqi oil. The export of crude, in addition to small volumes of niche condensate, demonstrates the semi-autonomous region’s growing frustration with Baghdad as it moves towards ever greater economic independence, the sources said. The volume of oil involved is small, but industry sources said the direct export is highly symbolic as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) seeks more financial autonomy. The first crude has been delivered by truck to the Turkish port of Mersin on the Mediterranean, shipping and industry sources said. “The KRG gave us permission to start crude exports from the Taq Taq oilfield,” Genel Energy President Mehmet Sepil said in an interview. Control of oil is at the heart of a dispute between Iraq’s Arabled central government and the autonomous

region run by ethnic Kurds in the nor th. Baghdad insists the central government has the sole constitutional right to export oil. In an apparent renewed dispute over payment, the KRG halted shipments through the Baghdadcontrolled Iraq-Turkey pipeline last month. A KRG source said the just-started crude trade through Turkey was likely to keep going. “Crude is a new component in the KRG’s ongoing barter deal with Turkey and it’s likely to continue because Baghdad is not paying as agreed, nor is it supplying the KRG with sufficient refined products,” the KRG source said. “So the trade is part of our 17 percent entitlement to refined products, and the contractors will be able to earn their share as well, according to their contracts.” An agreement reached with Baghdad entitles Kurdistan to 17 percent of oil products refined in Iraq, the KRG source said. The KRG began exporting its own very light oil, or condensate, independently to world mar-

kets in October by truck to a Turkish port, where it was sold via an intermediary. Now the Kurdish region is adding crude from the Taq Taq oilfield, where London-listed explorer Genel Energy has a stake, to its exports. A fresh cargo of condensate is also ready to sell through an imminent tender, a shipping source said. Industry sources reckon around 15,000 barrels per day (bpd)of condensate from the Khor Mor gas field are reaching the Toros terminal in Turkey. Crude oil exports from Taq Taq, for now, are also small. In exchange, Turkey is sending back refined products to the Kurdish region, which is short of fuel. Over the past year and a half, Kurdistan has upset Baghdad by signing deals directly with oil majors such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, providing lucrative production-sharing contracts and better operating conditions than in Iraq’s south. The KRG says its right to grant contracts to foreign oil firms is enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, which was drawn up following the

2003 invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. But payments to foreign operators in Kurdistan are getting caught up in the long-running spat over land and petroleum rights. Baghdad said last month it would not pay oil firms operating in Kurdistan because the region had failed to export the volume of crude it pledged under a deal struck in September. That agreement stipulated that Kurdistan would pump crude through the Baghdad-controlled Iraq-Turkey pipeline in return for payment. An export target of 200,000 bpd was set for the last two months of 2012, and Kurdish authorities pledged to raise exports to 250,000 bpd in 2013. But exports of Kurdish oil have been halted since around mid-December, after nearing the 200,000 target early in the month. Baghdad transferred an initial sum of 650 billion Iraqi dinars ($560 million) to the KRG. But a second payment is still pending for the foreign companies in Kurdistan. — Reuters

PAMPLONA: People check out bargains at a shoe shop offering discounts in Pamplona, northern Spain. Spain is in the throes of its second recession in just over three years, with its economy battered by a collapse in the once-key real estate sector. — AP

Shares recover, euro steady as euro-zone data stabilizes Dollar falls vs yen after sharp and rapid rise LONDON: European shares edged up yesterday as data signaled the eurozone economy may be stabilizing at a weak level, and the euro held steady while commodity markets were largely subdued as investors sat on recent gains. The data was mixed. Euro-zone business confidence improved again in December, but unemployment reached a new record and households held back from spending in the runup to Christmas, suggesting a recovery from recession will be slow. German industrial orders also fell more than forecast due to a sharp drop in demand from abroad. European shares had already recovered from early falls by the time the euro-zone data was published and they were up 0.3 percent by 1200 GMT while the euro held steady at just over $1.3120. Deutsche Bank economist Gilles Moec said the data were in line with the euro-zone purchasing managers’ indexes. “What we knew from the PMIs was that we have some stabilization albeit in a state of recession in Q4, and that is what these data are also pointing to,” he said. “Things are bad, it is still consistent with recession, but at least they have stopped deteriorating.” London’s FTSE 100 and Paris’s CAC-40

had both shrugged off their morning weakness by midday although Frankfurt’s DAX continued to lag after a slump in exports pointed to a poor end to 2012 for the German economy. Wall Street was expected to open in a more cautious mood with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 between flat and down 0.3 percent. In the currency market, the dollar paused a sharp rally against the yen which has seen it climb almost 12 percent in less than two months. The rise has come as expectations grow that Japan’s new government will push the central bank to ease policy aggressively in the next few months. The dollar was last down 0.4 percent at 87.40 yen, some way off the 2-1/2 year high of 88.48 hit last Friday. “We will perhaps see a marginal retracement (in dollar/yen) over the next couple days and I’d be slightly more bearish dollar over the next few days ... on profit taking,” said Geoff Kendrick, FX strategist at Nomura. STEADY MARKETS Bond markets smoothly digested the first debt sales of the year by the Netherlands and Austria as well as Spain’s announcement that it plans to

borrow 121.3 billion euros this year, 7.6 percent more than 2012. Madrid is expected by many people to turn to official lenders for a bailout in 2013, although a European Central Bank promise to keep the euro together has significantly reduced the pressure. German government bond prices also edged higher as investors dipped a toe back into the market for low-yielding but secure assets as a steep selloff last week made valuations more attractive. The German bund future was up 15 ticks at 143.21, climbing for a second day after a small rise on Monday and moving in line with US Treasuries. The rebound follows a three point sell off last week when an easing of US fiscal concerns saw investors pile into riskier assets. In commodity and metal markets, oil steadied above $111 a barrel, copper was flat and gold edged back above $1,655 an ounce before data on Thursday from China and the ECB’s monthly meeting. “The market is underpinned by expectations that a cyclical rebounding out of China will be positive for industrial metals, and there is more positive sentiment now in the market,” said Robin Bhar, analyst at Societe Generale. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi, Louvre seal $653 million contract ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi has awarded a $653 million contract to build a branch of France’s Louvre museum, signaling the oil-rich emirate is again moving ahead with flamboyant development projects after a pause prompted by the global economic crisis. Arabtec Holdings, a big construction firm headquartered in neighboring Dubai, said yesterday it had been awarded the 2.4 billion dirham contract by the Abu Dhabi government. Construction is due to finish in 2015. Abu Dhabi plans to build three iconic museums near its downtown area as part of a drive to develop itself as a top tourism destination and diversify its economy beyond oil. The other two museums are a branch of the Guggenheim of the United States, and the Zayed National Museum. These projects and a number of others were postponed as Abu Dhabi reviewed its economic condition last year in the wake of the crisis. A property market crash in the emirate has slashed real estate prices by over 50 percent in the past several years. But because of large fiscal reserves built up through its oil exports, Abu Dhabi has ridden out the crisis comfortably. Following the review, big development projects are proceeding once again, though at a more conservative pace. The plan for the Abu Dhabi Louvre calls for “a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city float-

ing on the sea”. Hovering over the complex will be a 180-metre dome inspired by traditional Arabic architecture. The museum will contain archaeological artefacts and works of art from a wide range of periods and cultures. During its first 10 years, the Louvre in Paris and other French museums are to lend works to the museum, with loans diminishing as Abu Dhabi builds up its own collection. Originally, all three of the Abu Dhabi museums were to be

built between 2013 and 2014. The Guggenheim is now slated for 2017 and the Zayed National Museum for 2016. Arabtec said it had won the contract in a competitive bidding process with joint venture partners Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi LLC. Last year Abu Dhabi investment firm Aabar took a major stake in Arabtec, fuelling investors’ hopes that Arabtec would win big projects in Abu Dhabi. — Reuters

Oil rises above $112 LONDON: Oil topped $112 per barrel yesterday as investors awaited evidence of economic growth in top energy consumer China. Dealers will closely monitor China’s trade data for December, due tomorrow, for confirmation that Beijing is on a steady yet slow path to recovery. Brent futures were up 84 cents at $112.24 per barrel by 1259 GMT, after reaching a session high of $112.47. US crude traded up 36 cents at $93.55. “There are now very clear indications that this slowdown has come to an end,” Credit Suisse analysts said in a report. “The latest leading economic indicators show that global growth is gaining again - particularly in key commodity consuming countries such as China and the US.” China’s trade numbers may show export growth rebounded from three-month lows in December, although weak demand in the United

States and Europe, the country’s two biggest customers, may temper the recovery. “There’s been some slightly more optimistic data out of China and Europe and there are some signs of recovery in the US,” said Christopher Bellew, a broker at Jefferies Bache in London. European Central Bank policymakers will meet tomorrow and economists polled by Reuters were split on whether the bank would cut rates in 2013 after the regional economy shrank for three straight quarters last year. Investors will also be awaiting oil inventory data from the United States due today. Commercial crude oil stockpiles may have fallen by 300,000 barrels on average in the week ended Jan. 4 as Gulf Coast refiners cut imports for year-end tax purposes, a preliminary Reuters poll of four analysts showed. —Reuters



Banks to pay up, despite win on liquidity rule Rule changes come with costly restrictions LONDON: Banks have won a victory in their battle to dilute tough rules on liquidity, but they will still have to find trillions of dollars to ensure their funds do not run out in a crisis. Heavy lobbying by banks over the past two years has bought them time, but not freedom from requirements that they lock up big new cash buffers globally from 2015. And while some critics are blasting the Basel Committee for backing off the strictest aspects of the liquidity rule, other prominent reform voices are reluctant to say that it means a global commitment to tough new rules is falling away. “It is a phase-in. It should be understood not as a repudiation of capital requirements but as phase-ins that are reasonable,” said former US Representative Barney Frank, who co-authored the 2010 DoddFrank legislation of financial reforms. The Basel Committee of banking supervisors, representing most of the world’s capital markets, surprised banks on Sunday with concessions on a planned new liquidity rule to enable them to withstand market squeezes. Banks and some regulators said the original draft, the first of its kind, was too harsh, tying up vast pools of cash at a time when credit is needed to aid struggling economies. Basel is giving banks an extra four years to comply with the rule by 2019 and include a wider range of risky assets in the buffer. Regulators defended the change, with Bank of England Governor Mervyn King saying on Sunday that a strong disincentive will be built into the changes. Banks will have to set aside more capital if they choose to pad out their liquidity buffer with the riskier assets such as bonds backed by home loans, or shares. Dwight Smith, a partner at the law firm Morrison Foerster in Washington, DC, also noted that banks will have to sell off assets periodically to test their liquidity, and will face other restrictions on how they can count lower-quality assets in the buffer. “It’s not like it’s suddenly open season on all this,” Smith said. The change is more significant for European

banks than for their US counterparts, many of which already hold large liquidity reserves. Some former regulators said the rethinking of the liquidity rule is reasonable, pointing out that it was first drafted at a time of public anger over bank bailouts. Also, policymakers had expected a quicker economic rebound and did not anticipate the depth of the massive euro zone debt crisis, which cast doubt on the solidity of government bonds. “The draft rule was written in the immediate aftermath of a crisis when there can always be a risk of regulatory overshoot,” said David

Green, a former Bank of England and UK Financial Services Authority official. “As circumstances surrounding you change, such as the increasingly visible consequences of constraints on private sector growth or risks related to sovereign debt, then you would be wrong not to adjust,” Green said. Other former regulators weren’t so generous in their assessment. “The way the rules were originally agreed to doesn’t work very well, but I think these changes make it worse not better,” said Sheila Bair, a former head of the US Federal Deposit

TAIPEI: A woman displays two silver coins with designs of a snake (left) and the ancient southern town Hangtsun during a press conference at the Central Bank in Taipei yesterday. Taiwan government’s Central Bank will issue 120,000 sets of silver coins each worth 100 Taiwan dollars (approx $3.50) to mark the forthcoming Chinese lunar year of the snake which will fall on February 10, 2013. — AFP

Insurance Corp, a bank regulator that provides deposit insurance. “Like almost everything the Basel Committee does, they’re too complex,” Bair said. PLAGUED BY DELAYS The liquidity rule is part of the Basel III framework that will also force banks to hold up to three times more basic capital than before the crisis. Only 11 of the G20 countries met this month’s deadline for implementing Basel III, with the United States and European Union failing to get their rules in place. Negotiations on an EU law to implement Basel III resume tomorrow and some lawmakers want to dilute the liquidity rule further than Basel has done by allowing banks to include any asset central banks accept as collateral. G20 regulation has faced setbacks elsewhere too with the starting date for reforms to make derivatives markets safer passing in December with few changes in force. There is still no cross-border system for winding down an international bank like Lehman Brothers without taxpayer aid, another core G20 aim of several years standing. But even some critics of the most recent rollback are not willing to predict the doom of financial reforms meant to make global markets more resilient to shocks. “I think the resolve on the capital rules is much stronger,” said Bair, the former head of the FDIC. “There’s always been some discomfort with whether these liquidity rules work or not. But I think the Basel III improvements to capital rules, there’s a much higher level of confidence that they are the right thing to do and will work and need to be implemented.” Also, some experts said it is in big banks’ best interest to look strong to investors. Market and supervisory pressure has meant that most global banks meet or exceed the Basel levels they must reach by 2019. “Banks will want to be able to advertise that they are stronger than the regulators need them to be, which leaves those who can’t looking like the weaker brethren,” said Graham Bishop, a former banker who advises the EU on regulation. — Reuters

Antitrust trial begins over credit card arbitrations American Express, Discover, Citigroup accused of collusion

DUBAI: In this file photo, scrap pieces of gold are placed into a furnace to be melted down at the Emirates Gold refinery in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. UAE companies import gold - including scrap from India - and melt it down to produce gold bars, medallions and jewelry. — AP

Gold edges up SINGAPORE: Gold inched up yesterday as the euro held on to gains on expectations the European Central Bank will refrain from a rate cut this week, and as robust physical demand in Asia underpinned prices. Economists expect the ECB to keep rates unchanged at a meeting tomorrow, supporting the single currency, while the dollar index edged down, making greenbackpriced commodities more affordable for buyers holding other currencies. Asia’s physical market has picked up so far this year, with buyers tempted by last week’s big drop in prices-when prices retreated to as low as 1,626 per ounce-and on demand ahead of the Lunar New Year, traders said. The trading volume on the Shanghai Gold Exchange’s 99.99 gold physical contract shot through the roof on Monday, hitting a record of 19,504.8 kilograms, after double-counting transactions in both directions. Spot gold had inched up $1.56 to $1,648.20 an ounce by 0742 GMT. “Physical demand is very strong,” said a Beijing-based trader. “It’s a combination of the attraction of lower prices as well as pre-holiday demand.” But such appetite could waver if prices recover towards $1,700, he added. US gold gained 0.1 percent to $1,648.60. Shanghai’s 99.99 gold traded at 331.58 yuan a gram, or $1,658 an ounce - a $10 premium over spot prices, compared to single-digit premium most of last year.

Technical analysis suggested that spot gold could edge higher to $1,665 an ounce, and a previous target of $1,625.79 has been temporarily aborted, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. But prices faced headwinds from worries over the duration of the US Federal Reserve’s bond-purchasing program, with central bank officials becoming increasingly concerned about the side effects of such stimulus measures. Gold is likely to stay on the back foot ahead of clearer signals on the global economy, analysts said. “In the short-term gold lacks momentum to push higher,” said Chen Min, an analyst at Jinrui Futures in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “If we hear anything from the ECB suggesting a worsening outlook for the region’s economy or future rate cuts, it will weigh on the euro and consequently weigh on gold prices.” Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell about two tons to 1,340.74 tons on Jan. 7, down about 10 tons, or 0.7 percent, from the end of 2012. In industry news, the world’s top gold producer, Barrick Gold Corp, said it is no longer in talks with stateowned China National Gold Corp to sell it a stake in its majority-owned, London-listed gold producer African Barrick Gold. Spot palladium inched down 0.4 percent to $665.33, off a more than one-month low of $661.97 hit in the previous session. — Reuters

Dubai’s DEWA targets $1 billion sukuk issue Proceeds wanted for refinancing debt, investments DOHA: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is planning to issue an Islamic bond worth around $1 billion during the first quarter of 2013, its chief executive said yesterday. The proceeds of the sukuk would be used to refinance existing debt and to invest in the company’s projects, Saeed Mohammed al-Tayer told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the Qatari capital. “It will be used for both - mainly for refinance, but also for investment,” he said. “We have sufficient capacity but we are also growing the network so there will be an increase, whether it is for transmission or distribution.” Tayer said that conversations were taking place with “many banks” about arranging the issue but he wouldn’t reveal if lenders had been picked to complete the deal. DEWA’s head said in October that the

emirate’s sole utility would look to raise around 4.5 billion dirhams ($1.23 billion) of debt in 2013 through sukuk, export credit agency finance and securitization deals. The company last tapped the bond market in October 2010 when it priced a $2 billion dual-tranche bond and the improvement in Dubai’s perception among investors since then, as well as a smoother global picture, will help it achieve better pricing. The $500 million bond due 2016 had a bid price of 111.5 at 0855 GMT yesterday, while the $1.5 billion piece set to mature in 2020 was bid at 124.1. DEWA also regained its investment grade credit rating from Moody’s in September after it received a one notch upgrade, which should help lower its borrowing costs this time around. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Three of the largest US credit card issuers headed to trial on Monday to defend accusations that they colluded to force customers to agree to settle disputes through arbitration rather than in class action lawsuits. American Express Co, Discover Financial Services and Citigroup Inc face the allegations in two antitrust lawsuits filed by customers who had to sign arbitration agreements in order to get credit cards. US District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan is hearing the cases without a jury. The trial follows a landmark US Supreme Court decision in 2011. That case involved an AT&T Inc unit, and bolstered corporations’ ability to require customers to arbitrate disputes over fees or other issues. Arbitration puts more costs and burdens on individuals than if they collectively pursued claims in class actions, consumer advocates say. No damages are being sought in the antitrust lawsuits, which were filed in 2004 and 2005, and consolidated for trial before Pauley in March. Instead, the plaintiffs are asking the judge to order American Express, Discover and Citigroup to remove arbitration clauses from their cardholder agreements. The plaintiffs also want an eight-year ban on arbitration clauses by the trio,

which had 31.4 percent of outstanding credit card balances in 2011, according to The Nilson Report, a payment card industry newsletter. In the first day of testimony on Monday, lead plaintiff Robert Ross from Pennsylvania said he did not view arbitration as a “fair venue” for consumers. “If the average consumer was aware of the costs they’d have to bear in arbitration, they wouldn’t do it,” Ross said in response to questioning by a lawyer for American Express, Rowan Wilson of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will present evidence that big banks in 28 meetings from 1999 to 2003 discussed how to institute mandatory arbitration clauses, court documents show. Within three years, all the banks imposed almost identical arbitration clauses that prevented cardholders from pursuing class actions, the plaintiffs claim. Citigroup, Discover and American Express assert that they adopted the arbitration agreements independently. They also contend that the plaintiffs have failed to show that arbitration clauses curb competition or cause injury under federal antitrust law. “We include arbitration in our cardmember agreements because we think that it is an important part of American Express’s

overall approach to resolving any disputes with its cardmembers quickly and efficiently,” American Express representative Marina Hoffmann Norville said. Representatives for Discover and Citigroup declined to comment. Four other banks - JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, HSBC Holdings PLC and Capital One Financial Corp - settled claims in one of the lawsuits against them in 2010 by removing the arbitration clauses from their cardholder agreements for 3-1/2 years. Those banks also agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ lawyers $2.35 million in fees and expenses. Following those settlements, credit card loans outstanding subject to arbitration clauses plunged from 95.1 percent at the end of 2009 to 48 percent a year later, according to a paper released in November by Peter Rutledge of University of Georgia School of Law and Christopher Drahozal at University of Kansas School of Law. The settlements with the four banks are set to expire later this year, allowing them to again mandate arbitration. The cases in the US District for the Southern District of New York are Ross v Bank of America, NA, et al., 0507116, and Ross v American Express Company, 04-5723. — Reuters

Australia trade deficit widens Metal ore exports outweighed by imports SYDNEY: Australia’s trade deficit in November widened to its largest since early 2008 as imports again outpaced exports, though a recent meteoric rise in the price of iron ore suggests the worst of the trade pain is over for the resource-rich nation. The deficit on goods and services grew to A$2.64 billion ($2.8 billion) in November from A$2.4 billion the month before, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed yesterday. That was the 11th straight month of deficit and was above forecasts of A$2.3 billion. Yet Chinese demand for iron ore has seen prices for Australia’s single biggest export earner rebound no less than 77 percent from lows hit in September to reach $153.90 a ton this week. The steel-making mineral is worth more than A$60 billion a year to Australia, so the recovery is a much-needed boost to profits, investment and tax receipts. “The marked rise in iron ore values coupled with higher export volumes should give a double boost in December, so this looks like being the worst of the deficits,” said Michael Workman, a senior economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The deficits could halve from here if prices stay remotely near where they are now,” he added. The need to offset the drag from trade last year was a major reason the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates in October and December, matching the record lows of 3 percent set during the global financial crisis. Markets suspect rates might still ease further, but perhaps not by much should iron ore prices hold their gains and the Chinese economy continue to improve. Australia’s Labor government has also abandoned its goal of achieving a budget surplus by June, so lessening the fiscal pressure on the domestic economy. As a result, interbank futures now imply rates could bottom around 2.75 percent by April, up from a previous target of 2.5 percent. Swap rates put a 38 percent probability on a cut at the RBA’s next policy meeting on Feb 5. SHIPPING MORE IRON ORE Yesterday’s data showed Australia’s imports climbed 1.8 percent to a record A$27.3 billion, driven by purchases of cars and oil. Imports of capital goods plateaued for the moment after a very strong run, led mainly by heavy machinery for major mining and liquefied natural gas projects. Total exports of goods and services rose 1.2 percent in November to A$24.7 billion, thanks largely to a 6 percent increase in earnings from metal ores and

minerals. And those earnings should expand a lot more given the appetite from Chinese steel makers remains strong. Total exports to China increased by 13.5 percent in November, from October, to a fivemonth high of A$6.6 billion. There were promising signs for December as well since shipments from Australia’s busiest iron ore port, Port Hedland, hit

record highs that month. Exports to China alone were up 25 percent on November and 22 percent on December 2011. Analysts at Australia and New Zealand Bank estimate iron ore export volumes from Port Hedland rose 14 percent for the whole fourth quarter, compared to the same period of 2011. —Reuters

SURABAYA: Workers unload cattle by using ropes hanging around their necks in Surabaya, East Java from the ship to a truck as a local distribution between provinces in the country. Australia halted all live cattle shipments to Indonesia for several weeks after a documentary showing graphic acts of cruelty to cows in the Southeast Asian nation’s abattoirs sparked an angry public backlash. Australia has resumed the trade after Indonesia agreed to a strict new licensing system designed to protect animal welfare. — AFP



VIVA announces winners of Mercedes C180 and Camaro ‘Win a car every week’ campaign

KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait’s fastest-growing telecom operator, announced yesterday the final 2012 winners of the ‘Win a car every week’ campaign. The lucky draw winners are Noaf Mohammad Al Ajmi and Mohammad Abdul Raziq Khalil who get a Mercedes Benz C180 each and Abdulrazzaq Younes and Reem Bader Al Azmi who each won a Chevrolet Camaro. The winners drawn on 24 December 2012 will have until 23 January 2013 to claim their prize, and winners drawn on 31 December 2012 will have until 30 January 2013 to claim their prize, otherwise the prize will be given to the alternate winner. VIVA congratulated the lucky winners and invited its customers to participate in the longest on-going campaign of its kind, where 2013 will be presenting winners with a Dodge Challenger SE and KD10,000 every week. With the continuous success this campaign is witnessing, VIVA is keen to further engage its customers by presenting them with several means to enter the draw. Entering the draw can be done through one of the following options. The first option is to subscribe with 500 fils per

day giving customers infinite minutes and SMS to any VIVA line. This option entitles the customer to one chance to enter the draw each week. The second option is to subscribe to the BlackBerry KD3.9 service, which gives customers full and unlimited BlackBerry Services. This option provides customers with 7 automatic chances to enter the draw each week. The third option is to purchase the KD 2 prepaid line. Upon activating the line, customers should simply send ‘GO’ to 535, and will be presented with four chances to enter the draw each week. The fourth option is to recharge for KD 3 or more, and entitles the customer to six chances to enter the draw, each time. Last but not least, customers who choose to enjoy the prepaid internet service will receive either 2 chances for the KD 1 500 MB recharge or 10 chances for the KD 5 - 1 GB recharge, automatically upon activation. Customers can also subscribe to more than one of the five options, increasing their chances each week to win the valuable prizes. In the case a customer does not win, the points will be accumu-

lated and carried on to the next draw. VIVA also created the ‘Flavor of the Week’, an additional mean to entering the draw and increasing the customers’ chances to win a new car every week. The ‘Flavor of the Week’ will be a ‘special service’ for that week, to which the customers can subscribe. This week’s ‘Flavor of the Week’ will last until 10 January 2012, and will give prepaid customers two chances to win a Dodge Challenger SE and KD10,000 upon using the Surf On KD 1 to get 500MB of mobile internet by sending “3” to 535, and five chances to win the Dodge Challenger SE and KD10,000 upon using weekly infinite calls and SMS by sending “6” to 535. Prepaid customers interested in the full, unlimited, local KD 3.9 BlackBerry offer, can send an SMS with the number ‘2’ to ‘535’. For the full menu of the prepaid offers, send an SMS with the word “GO”, to number ‘535’. To find out more about VIVA’s numerous competitive promotions, products and packages visit any of the 14 VIVA branches or visit our website at

Comprehensive insurance for new Cadillac vehicles KUWAIT: When you choose a Cadillac, the comforts of luxury it provides always has more to offer. And with the commencement of the New Year, Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the exclusive distributor of Cadillac vehicles in Kuwait, grants its customers free comprehensive insurance for an entire year upon purchasing a brand new Cadillac. This special offer reflects Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive’s celebratory spirit with the arrival of the New Year as the company provides its customers with a variety of benefits that aim to enhance customers’ complete ownership experience as well as offer customers complete peace of mind. In addition to the free comprehensive insurance program, all Cadillac owners will also drive off with the Premium Care Program, offered exclusively for all Cadillac customers allowing them to enjoy, free service and maintenance for 4 yrs/100,000KM, 24 hours roadside assistance for 4 yrs/unlimited mileage, warranty for 4 yrs/100,000KM, courtesy transportation and replacement vehicle. The Cadillac line-up ranging from CTS, CTS Coupe, SRX, Escalade to the V-Series high performance vehi-

cles distinguish themselves in world class bold designs, high performance and world class technology. With the arrival of the new year, Yusuf A Alghanim reveals its new models, the All-New 2013 ATS compact luxury sedan, and the 2013 new SRX, both of

which are equipped with the Cadillac CUE, Cadillac’s most innovative and exclusive infotainment system adding more driving pleasure to customers on the road. The heart of CUE is the vibrant, eight-inch LCD multi-touch sensitive screen - with proximity sensing

and haptic feedback - that is seamlessly integrated in the top of the central instrument panel. It displays CUE’s home page, which resembles a smart phone’s screen, with large, easy-to-target icons that execute commands. Capacitive technology on the screen and faceplate enables consumers to use the same “swipe,” “pinch” or “spread” gestures common to most popular smartphones and tablets. These advanced technological elements heighten Cadillac owners’ luxurious drive and offers an unparalleled experience on the road. Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive completes the ownership experience of Cadillac customers with a service center that is distinguished by its continuous and successful efforts in providing the highest quality of services. The largest in the world, the service center is equipped with the most advanced equipment operated by a team of skilled professionals and consultants. Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive will continue to launch new initiatives to elevate the experience of its customers to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction comes with the purchase and ownership of the world’s most refined, technologically advanced luxury vehicles, Cadillac.

23rd India Property Exhibition in Kuwait KUWAIT: The 23rd India Property Exhibition will be held in Kuwait on 11 and 12th January, 2012 at the Ramada Hotel in Al Riggae from 10.45am to 8.30pm. The two-day exhibition, which guides one to invest in the right property at the right time and price, will provide NRIs looking for investment in real estate India with access to first hand information on upcoming and current real estate projects across the country. The exhibition, which is being sponsored by Mantri Group and North Town, will showcase a range of property options from reputed and leading developers and builders across India. More than 100 projects across various metros, tier I and tier II cities are on display during India Property Exhibition 2013, including luxury villas, apartments, independent villas, beach-side properties, hill station properties, plots and gated community projects among others. Properties are on display from Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Vizhag, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ooty, Trichy, Pondicherry, Hosur, Gurgoan, Kochi and several other locations. The real estate sector in India is undergoing a self-organization and this has been one of the most crucial factors for India gaining its status as a highly favored investment destination through FDI and funds. India is not only the fifth largest economy in the world, ranking above France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Russia; it also

has the third largest GDP in Asia and the second largest among emerging nations, based on purchasing power parity. Real estate continues to be a lucrative investment option for NRIs for a number of reasons, including the following facts: The organized real estate sector in India is estimated at around $12 bil-

to make them more NRI friendly. Returns from real estate investments in India have consistently performed well and even outperformed other investment options. Easy home loan availability by financial institutions in India and government policies that have made NRI investment and repatriation procedures simpler

lion, roughly two percent of India’s $600 billion economy, which is in line with mature economies around the world. In addition, for the last two years, real estate prices in markets across India are on an upswing, as the trend of owning properties in the form of second homes like exclusive beach houses, homes in hill-stations and near religious sites are growing fast. According to industry analysts, the real estate sector has the potential to reach over $90 billion in the next ten years. Moreover, the government is liberalizing guidelines and norms for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in an attempt

and hassle-free have contributed to making real estate a viable and rewarding investment option for NRIs. NRIs can acquire residential/ immovable property in India, rent it out, transfer or sell it. They can also take the rental income and capital investment in the property outside India, subject to the foreign exchange regulations. The NRI/PIO may use his own funds to acquire immovable property; other than the option of availing home loan from bank for this purpose. The NRI’s ‘own funds’ refer to the money received in India by way of inward remittance from overseas out

of income earned overseas, personal savings outside India. These funds can be remitted through NonResident External (NRE) or NonResident Ordinary (NRO) or Foreign Currency (non-resident) (FCNR) bank accounts. Moreover, they can remit sale proceeds outside India for up to two such properties without any RBI approval. Remittance for subsequent properties requires RBI’s approval. In case the property is acquired from rupee funds held in India, the remittance depends on the holding period of the property. Other facts that have helped make real estate a favorable investment options are: RESIDENTIAL (HOUSING): The cost of mortgage rates came down from 18 percent to 8 percent in the last 5 years. COMMERCIAL (OFFICE SPACE): IT space leasing continues to boom with 12 million sq ft leasing in Bangalore, 6 million sq ft in Mumbai and 7.7 million sq ft in NCR (National Capital Region) in the previous year. RETAIL (SHOPPING): Organized retail, which accounts for just 2 percent of the USD 200 billion sector, is expected to grow from USD 4 billion to USD 15 billion in the coming years. HOSPITALITY (HOTELS): Domestic and International operators are planning to invest in 3-4 star category hotels. India requires another 75,000 to 1, 00,000 rooms in the next 5 years. The India Property Exhibition 2013 is organized by Indus Group and Response Events and Exhibitions, Kuwait.

Yearning for clarity


lmost everything happening these days seems to be adding to the uncertainty of the outlook. The consensus had been that once the election was over, investors would have a better sense of what the United States economy would be like in 2013 and how the tax structure might change. Once the ballot boxes had been stored, however, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Byron Wien causing enormous personal and economic hardship. As power resumed in the region, Washington focused on the so-called fiscal cliff. Both parties showed a willingness to take steps to reduce the impact on the economy of the expenditure cuts and tax increases by January 1, but as yet no specific agreement has been reached. In Europe Greece asked for a two-year extension in meeting its debt to GDP targets, and finance ministers and other officials attended various meetings on structural change, but they still have not come up with a plan for greater fiscal convergence. In China the leadership transition has taken place and more fiscal and monetary stimulus is planned, so at least there is some good news coming out of the world’s second largest economy where recent data shows it is improving. Against this backdrop it is hard to make serious investment decisions. The WSJ reported that corporations are curtailing capital spending plans but with all that’s going on, that should not be front page headline news. Profits as a percentage of sales are peaking and corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at a recent record. Companies are functioning at maximum efficiency and unless managers see important sales increases, they have little reason to make capital investment decisions. The uncertainties surrounding the fiscal cliff are also hardly reassuring to corporate managers. I am still worried that modest corporate revenue increases resulting from slow overall economic growth will make earnings improvement in 2013 difficult. Companies have limited pricing power and some costs are increasing. While most strategists and analysts are forecasting earnings progress next year, I believe that may prove too optimistic. Every effort will be made for the parties to come to some conceptual agreement on the framework for dealing with the fiscal cliff before the end of the year, but the right approach would be to take a comprehensive look at the entire tax code rather than tinkering with a few provisions so a deal can be signed before 2013 begins. I also think that the tax rate on dividends and capital gains is sure to go up. I would put both at 20% plus the 3.8% surcharge to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. The expectation that these taxes will increase has caused heavy selling of appreciated holdings by individuals wanting to reap their profits before year-end. I fear that a cap will be placed on charitable contributions has also caused many to give securities with large capital gains to institutions who then sell them in the open market, putting additional pressure on prices. These factors help explain the poor market performance since the election. It is unclear when this will end, but it should create some buying opportunities in recent winners along the way. The payroll tax cut which was extended last year affects most working people but there is limited support for continuing it in its present form for another year. It is unlikely to end abruptly; a gradual roll-off would be less disruptive. There are a number of other items such as jobless benefits, physician payments, the sequestering of funds for defense and healthcare, and adjustments in the Alternative Minimum tax that are on the table and both parties will attempt to defer some of these. If the whole fiscal cliff of $600 billion-plus were to hit in 2013, the economy would almost certainly slip back into recession or something very close to it and neither political party wants to be responsible for that. I also think that we are going to see some government programs cut. The big items are healthcare, Social Security and defense. Of the three, the defense budget is most likely to be substantially reduced. Almost every state has a defense contractor or military base or both and no member of Congress is going to vote for trimming back a program or facility in his or her district with the resultant elimination of jobs.

In healthcare we have to move away from pay-for-service to a more results-oriented system. Healthcare costs in the United States are in the high teens as a percentage of GDP, substantially above the level of Europe, which has a comparable level of care. There is much waste and fraud in the system and this has to be addressed. Social Security is somewhat sacrosanct, but while the present retirement structure might be maintained for those 55 and over, perhaps changes could be implemented for younger people in the work force not yet approaching retirement. The idea of eliminating tax preferences for certain industries like oil and gas and real estate is surely going to be considered. So will limitations on deductions for charitable contributions, mortgage interest and state and local taxes. There are special interest groups that will be fighting hard to preserve these preferences and deductions, and that is why I think the whole process of dealing with the fiscal cliff will spill into next year. Another issue is the debt ceiling, and we may be approaching this faster than is widely believed. When the current limit was established there was agreement that the increase from $15.25 trillion to the current level would be matched by spending cuts, but I don’t believe Washington has taken that trade-off seriously. What will probably happen is that the whole debt ceiling issue will be folded into the fiscal cliff negotiation. It cannot be ignored. Perhaps the most distressing aspect of America’s current financial predicament is that we are weighing the merits of various expenditure cuts and tax increases that will surely slow an economy with a record number of people out of work 27 weeks or more and more people on food stamps than ever before. And because we are so focused on cutting government programs we cannot consider any major program to improve our decaying infrastructure or deal with the fact that we, the largest economy in the world in terms of GDP, are a country whose 15-yearolds rank 22nd in the world in reading, 21st in science and 29th in math. We are considered the leader of the free world, but will that be true several decades from now? There is not much new to report on Europe. The continent is in a shallow recession now and the leaders of the key countries continue to work towards some form of fiscal integration. The key risk continues to be that social unrest related to the implementation of austerity programs in the various countries impedes the ability of their governments to agree to the formation of a banking union, to provide deposit insurance and to agree to supervision of the budgetary process by the European Commission. Much of what needs to be done requires giving up some sovereignty by the various countries, but that is going to be necessary if the European Union is going to endure in the long term. So far the burden has fallen on the European Central Bank to provide the liquidity to enable the countries in trouble to meet their obligations, but this cannot go on forever. We need to see structural changes begin soon. Earlier this month the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had completed equipping an underground facility capable of producing weapons-grade uranium. I had hoped that the decline in Iran’s currency and the hardships endured by its population as a result of the international sanctions would increase the likelihood of negotiations leading to a scale-back of the nuclear weapons program. That seems less likely now. Continued unsettled conditions and strife in the region means higher oil prices. With the resolution of many issues in doubt it is not surprising that the markets are wavering. Hopefully we will have greater clarity on some of these before 2013 begins, but we have to plan for continued uncertainty. The markets are fairly valued so a major decline is unlikely, but a significant move higher is improbable also. Finally a brief post-mortem on the election. Considering the weak state of the economy and his low approval rating it is surprising that Obama and the Democrats did so well. As the conservative commentator David Frum pointed out, he took all the swing states he targeted and had a 55-45 margin of victory beyond the southern Republican stronghold. Superior technology helped Obama, but it probably didn’t play a role in the Congressional races and the Democrats picked up eight seats. In any case the Republicans will have to rethink their strategy, focusing on the social issues and population breakdown of the America that now exists, or they will have trouble in 2016 as well.

Joyalukkas signs up 4 superstars as brand ambassadors KUWAIT: The multi-billion dollar global conglomerate Joyalukkas Group has firmed up four superstars as their brand ambassadors to connect with the four key regions that Joyalukkas Jewelry chain is spread across. The brand endorsement complements and puts in place the new mantra of the renowned global jewelry retail chain, which is ‘Be global touch local’. The new drive coincides with the jewelry retail chains 10th anniversary in India. The global retail chain is simultaneously celebrating its 25th anniversary in the Middle-East. “We are celebrating our 10th anniversary in India and now that our global credentials is well established and understood by the jewelry buying public here we feel it’s time to connect with them more strongly with our new mantra - Be global touch local. For this we have signed up four regional superstars who complement our brand positioning and have very strong following within select regions of India,” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman & M D Joyalukkas Group. The four brand ambassadors signed up by

the renowned global jewelry retail chain are celebrity and superstars R Madhavan, Suresh Gopi, Sudeep and Allu Arjun. Each of them is a well know celebrity in India and enjoys superstar status within select regions of India. Joyalukkas has planned an extensive advertising campaign featuring each of the brand ambassadors, which will commence across the regions shortly. The four stars were signed up post extensive research in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka within jewelry shoppers to gauge their popularity and stature prior to which they were evaluated against the Joyalukkas positioning and brand values to see if they complement the brand in all aspects. The four brand ambassadors are very excited to be a part of the Joyalukkas family; R Madhavan who has been associated with the jewelry retail chain for more than three years said, “I believe I am a very integral part of the Joyalukkas family now and it has been my most favorite endorsement to date. The brand stands for trust, integrity, fashion and innovation, which

are the values I am thrilled to be associated with. Suresh Gopi said ‘ This is the first time I am endorsing a brand and I only agreed to be a part of the Joyalukkas family because I admire and respect Mr. Joy Alukkas and his phenomenal suc-

global brand with fantastic values and I hope my association with them helps them to grow bigger and stronger.” Telegu heart-throb Allu Arjun said, “It’s exciting to be a part of a globally renowned jewelry chain. Joyalukkas is an exciting brand,

cess inspires me. Brand Joyalukkas is already well established within jewellery lovers and I hope my association with them helps it to bond with their customers even more plus attract more customers to their showrooms.” Kannada superstar Sudeep said, “This is a first for me too, I have never endorsed a brand before and I feel it is a privilege to start with a brand of Joyalukkas stature and renown. Joyalukkas is a

which understands jewelry and jewelry loving customers the best. Their breathtaking designs and collections with the brand value proposition is a great combination I am proud to endorse. The new brand endorsement strategy will also mean a complete refreshment of the designs and collections across all Joyalukkas showrooms and launch several new and exciting initiatives on the occasion of the brands 10th anniversary that

will help benefit customers shopping at their showrooms. “Our mission is to fulfill the jewelry lovers every dream and desire in jewelry and me and my team are striving everyday to manage this expectation. We are hoping our new brand ambassador strategy will help us connect more strongly with our customer base and attract new customers to the Joyalukkas family,” added Joy Alukkas. The world’s favorite jewelry retail chain is planning to add another 60 showrooms within India in the next three years and the ‘Be global touch local’ initiative will be the foundation of the expansion strategy. The new media campaign to be unveiled this month will cover all key markets Joyalukkas is present in, and will be followed with some exciting customer friendly initiatives. Joyalukkas is one of the most award-winning jewelry retail chains and its Chennai showroom has been recognized by the Limca Book of World records for being the largest jewelry showroom in the world. The brand has also been voted as a ‘Superbrand’ 4 years in a row within the UAE.



Mobility takes center stage at CES New Qualcomm chips promise phone video in ultra-HD LAS VEGAS: Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs was officially crowned the star of the mobile-centric tech industry Monday, offering a glimpse of the power of new devices to transform people’s lives. But as Jacobs delivered the main keynote for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, he briefly ceded the stage to a familiar face: Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, a longtime keynote speaker himself, who made a surprise cameo appearance. Microsoft, which had been the core of CES events in the past, made a highly publicized exit from CES last year. But Ballmer returned for a few moments to discuss new Windows mobile devices with Jacobs, who has quietly become a key figure as the tech sector swings toward mobility. “Mobile is transforming industries and redefining the way we live,” Jacobs told a packed crowd in Las Vegas on the eve of the opening of the world’s biggest electronics trade show. Jacobs unveiled a new line of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors which are geared for newer devices to deliver improved performance and battery life. He called the 800 series processors “a leap ahead in performance and power efficiency,” saying devices using them would consume around half the power of previous ones and be able to capture and view the new “ultra

HD” video now seen on high-end television sets. The choice of Jacobs to kick off the big event for the trillion-dollar tech sector is emblematic of the shift in the industry. Even though Qualcomm has kept a low profile until now, it has overtaken Intel in terms of market value and provides the power core for the lion’s share of popular mobile devices. On Monday, Jacobs showed he was willing to accept the new “rock star” role at the festive keynote. He introduced film director Guillermo Del Toro and “Star Trek” actress Alice Eve, while highlighting the growing role of Qualcomm chips in the entertainment industry. He also interacted with Sesame Street character Big Bird on apps for education and South African archbishop Desmond Tutu on mobile devices that can be used for health care in developing nations. The show was closed by the band Maroon 5, reinforcing the “rock star” stature of the tech CEO. Jacobs also showed his company’s wireless car charging system, which has been used on a modified electric Rolls Royce touring the world, underscoring Qualcomm’s efforts to promote wireless technology. And he announced that Qualcomm would provide the technology for a smar tphone app for the upcoming “Star Trek Into Darkness” film from Paramount Pictures. — AFP

Intel unveils smartphone push in emerging markets LAS VEGAS: Intel said Monday it would step up efforts to make chips for smartphones and other mobile devices by targeting emerging markets and the rapidly growing “value” segment. Intel unveiled its plans at the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s biggest tech sector event, highlighting its efforts to get a bigger share of the sizzling mobile market. Intel said its plans include “a new smartphone platform for emerging markets,” one of the fastest growing areas for these devices. “The best of Intel is coming to a mobile device near you,” said Intel’s Kirk Skaugen. “We are set to deliver the biggest increase in battery efficiency in Intel’s history ... while adding broad new human interfaces to com-

puting devices through touch, voice, facial recognition, and gesture-based interactions. “We’re also significantly extending the performance and power savings in Atom processors as we accelerate our mobile offerings in an unprecedented fashion in 2013.” Intel said its low-power Atom processorbased platform would be targeted at the value smartphone market segment, estimated to reach 500 million units by 2015. It said companies supporting the effort include Acer, Lava International and Safaricom. Intel is the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, but has been struggling as consumers and businesses shift to mobile devices powered by a different kind of processor. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Kirk Skaugen, Intel Vice President, General Manager PC Client Group, speaks during an Intel press conference at the 2013 International CES at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on Monday. — AFP

Samsung camera lens flips from 2-D to 3-D LAS VEGAS: Cameras that can record in 3-D are usually pretty complicated, sporting two lenses instead of one, to mimic human binocular vision. Samsung says it has a more elegant solution: a single lens that can go from 2-D to 3-D mode with the flip of a switch. Samsung Electronics Co is showing off the new lens at the International CES show in Las Vegas, where gadget makers showcase their latest smartphones, tablet computers and other consumer-electronic devices. The lens is an optional accessory for Samsung’s new NX300 camera, the latest in the company’s NX line of compact cameras with interchangeable lenses. Think of the line as a scaled-down equivalent of the digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, which are more versatile and more expensive than pointand-shoot cameras. The camera will record video, including 3-D video, on its 20-megapixel sensor. Any 3-D TV can play back the 3-D movies. A switch on the lens flips an extra shutter into the path of the light through the lens. The shutter has two sides, allowing the single lens to act as if it were two, offset from each other by a

short distance. When you snap a shot in 3-D, the camera looks quickly through one side of the front lens and records an image. It then switches quickly to the other side to record another exposure of the same subject from a slightly different angle. The lens is no bigger than a regular one, which limits the 3-D effect. Normally, the two lenses that form a 3-D camera’s “eyes” are a few inches apart. In this case, the “eyes” are less than an inch apart, so it doesn’t create a strong 3-D effect with subjects that are farther away than about 6 feet. It’s not a zoom lens. The focal length is fixed at 45 mm, making it a short telephoto lens suitable for portraits. The maximum aperture in 2-D mode is 1.8, which means the lens can create strong background blur and make the subject stand out from the background. The blur effect is weaker in 3-D mode, but the 3-D effect in itself makes the subject jump out. The NX300 camera will go on sale in March for $750 and will include a standard zoom lens. The 3-D lens will be sold separately for $500 and will be available at the same time. — AP

LAS VEGAS: Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer (left) and Qualcomm Inc Chairman and CEO Dr Paul E Jacobs appear on stage during a keynote address at the 2013 International CES at The Venetian on Monday. — AFP

CES unveils big TVs with ‘ultra-high definition’ Samsung offers two shows at once on new OLED TV LAS VEGAS: The race to make TVs larger and larger has created a colossal problem for manufacturers: As screens grow, picture quality worsens - unless the viewer moves farther away from the screen. The issue is playing out in cozy dens and family rooms around the world. To get the full benefit of a large high-definition screen, viewers must move back from their sets. Because the ideal viewing distance is no closer than three times the height of your screen, or about one and a half times the diagonal length, big TVs have literally forced many families’ backs against the wall. This year, TV makers are doing their best to give huge-screen fanatics more breathing room. New “ultra-high definition” sets were shown off Monday by LG Electronics Inc, Sharp Corp, Sony Corp and Samsung Electronics Co at the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas. Consumers tend to buy a new set every seven years or so, and television manufacturers are hoping the technology will give consumers a reason to upgrade. TV makers are also making their sets smarter. New TVs from Samsung, for instance, will recognize an expanded range of gestures so people can swipe through on-screen menus in a way that revolutionizes the old remote control. Samsung President Boo-Keun Yoon said the new features are a response to the increased choices consumers have in what they watch. “We have developed TVs that respond to people’s needs and lifestyles, TVs that know in advance what people want to watch, TVs that have the power to create the ultimate lean-back experience,” Yoon said. With nearly 8.3 million pixels, an ultra-high definition or “4K” screen contains four times more pixels than an HD TV. Because of the higher resolution, viewers can sit close - according to some estimates, as close as the diagonal length of the screen, which is about a third closer than before - without losing clarity. That could be appealing to bigscreen fanatics who live in small spaces. Samsung also unveiled a new television that lets two people watch two different shows at the same time. The F9500 television is the first in the world to offer this feature, dubbed “multi-view,” the company said in Las Vegas, attributing the advance to the use of the latest generation of screen technology called “organic light-emitting diode” or OLED. The feature allows two people “to watch completely different Full-HD content simultaneously on the same screen with corresponding audio and controls,” the company said on the eve of the CES. Joe Stinziano, a senior Samsung official in the US, emphasized at a press conference that “it’s only possible in OLED due to the very fast speed” at which images can move across the screen with the technology. So that they see just the

LAS VEGAS: Samsung Electronics executive vice president Joe Stinziano introduces Samsung’s Ultra HDTV during a news conference on press day at the Consumer Electronics Show Monday. — AP show they want, the two viewers must wear special 3D glasses, which come with personal speakers built in to deliver the audio, in stereo, directly to them. Ultra-HD sets come as small as new models from LG and Sony, which stretch 55 inches (140 cm) diagonally. And estimated prices are dropping from the tens of thousands to below $10,000, bringing these multi-megapixel TVs well within the spending range of early adopters. “I hope you can see that 4K is not the future, it’s now, and Sony is leading the way,” said Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai. Earlier Monday, LG Electronics Inc unveiled a new Magic Remote, which acts like a wand that is sensitive to motion and is used to navigate onscreen menus. LG said the new model responds better to natural speech and can be controlled with a single finger. It also lets you change the channels by writing numbers in the air. It could be a few years before prices come down enough for the masses to justify buying ultra-HD TVs, especially considering that US TV buyers spent a record-low average of $364 on flat-screen TVs during the recent holiday shopping season, according to research firm NPD Group. Hampering sales even further, ultraHD faces another problem: There’s very little content. Since 2004, only about 50 movies have been shot with an ultraHD camera. They include the James Bond hit “Skyfall” and the Batman sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Only a handful of movies shot on film, including “Taxi Driver,” have been converted to ultra-HD. There’s also no standard way of getting content to the TV, although Sony took the lead in making movies shot in native ultra-HD make it to market. Sony Corp’s 84-inch (213-cm) ultraHD model, which it unveiled in November, comes with a computer

server capable of storing and playing back giant movie files. It’s definitely not affordable for most people, however, and the TV unit with the server thrown in has a price tag of $25,000. It also announced Monday that it would launch the world’s first ultra-HD movie download service for owners of its compatible sets in the US this summer. The company will launch the service with 10 movies. Owners of the smaller ultra-HD sets from Sony may have to buy the playback device and movies separately, although a final decision hadn’t been made, company representatives said. Currently, there’s no standard way for upgrading Blu-ray players and discs to handle the ultra-HD format, although plans are in the works. Broadcasters are also a few years away from an upgrade. LG and Sony said their ultraHD sets come with upscaling technology to make regular HD images look better - the way some motion is smoothed out on some TVs using complex computer algorithms. Sony showed off movie footage from a standard Blu-ray disc player that had been upgraded on a 65-inch (165-cm) ultra-HD screen and the result was stunningly clear. The file sizes of ultra-HD movies will only be about 25 percent or 30 percent larger than similar HD files, according to Pete Lude, the past president of the standards-setting body, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. It’s not four times as much data, despite having four times as many pixels as HD, because of advances in compression technology, he said. That means broadcasters won’t have to make infrastructure changes to upgrade just a few years after they made huge investments in HD, and that Blu-ray disc standards

might be revised without the need for consumers to buy new hardware. “We want to get it all right in one big standard,” Lude said. He pegged the timing for an ultra-HD standard as being anywhere between months and decades away as industry players dispute the merits of different technical specs. Still, ultrahigh definition may not be as far in the future as you might think. According to research group IHS, about 20 percent of TVs shipped globally in 2017 will measure 50 inches (127 cm) or bigger, up from 9 percent in 2012. And this past holiday shopping season, Americans were much more attracted to these big screens. Flat panels that are 50 inches (127 cm) and bigger saw unit sales rise 46 percent from a year ago, compared with a drop overall of 1.5 percent, according to NPD. The average screen size of TVs purchased around the world is expected to creep up to 40 inches (102 cm) by 2016, from 22 inches (56 cm) in 1997, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. More big screens should create demand for a sharper image and more incentive for TV signal providers to start offering a premier service of ultra-HD channels. But CEA analysts predicted that the high price tag and low availability means ultraHD TVs will have a slow start. Ultra-HD TVs are expected to account for only 1.4 million units sold in the US in 2016, or about 5 percent of the entire market, the CEA said. The market share of all sets in the rest of the world is expected to be smaller. “It’s a very, very limited opportunity,” said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association, which officially kicks off CES Tuesday. “It is going to take some time for this market to gain traction as those price points come down.” — AP

New Hopper to rile broadcasters LAS VEGAS: Satellite television provider Dish unveiled on Monday the latest version of its controversial digital video recording device, dubbed the Hopper, with new features such as the ability to stream live TV and recorded programs outside the home. Already embroiled in a legal battle with all the major broadcast networks over the DVR’s first iteration, Dish could engender a new round of lawsuits with its updated version, which it is calling “Hopper with Sling.” Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the updated Hopper uses “sling” technology that redirects a live or recorded TV signal from the settop box to Internet-connected devices. That means that Dish subscribers with the new version can watch live TV wherever their mobile device or computer has Internet access. The updated Hopper also features an app that allows customers to transfer saved TV programs to an Apple iPad so they can access shows on

planes, subways or other areas where Internet access is unavailable. Such a transfer can only occur once. Vivek Khemka, vice president of product management at Dish, said that the updated Hopper falls within “fair use policy” and does not violate copyrights. “We believe this is consumer initiated. The consumer is choosing to watch their content, so it’s well within the fair use policy,” Khemka said. But a source familiar with programming deals, who asked not to be named, said Dish may be violating contracts with media companies by offering Internet streaming of TV outside the home. “The definitions are really tight and primarily talk about residential use and define the delivery technology,” the source said about programming contracts. In terms of transferring a copy of the iPad to content, the source said that Dish could find itself in legal trouble because “download rights are specifically negotiated,” and often complicated. A Fox spokesman

had no comment on Dish’s new Hopper. Representatives for CBS, NBC, ABC did not immediately return requests for comment. When Cablevision Systems Corp released a similar app in 2011 that allowed for streaming in the home it was sued by Viacom for violating its contract with the programmer. The case settled in Aug 2011. Dish, which ranks as the nation’s second-largest satellite television provider with 14 million subscribers, is using the new Hopper as a way to attract customers to its service. The company plans to give it away for free to new customers who sign up for a two-year contract. The price for existing Dish customers will be revealed later. Dish’s sister company, EchoStar Communications, acquired Sling Media, the company that developed the technology, in 2007 for $380 million. Both Dish and EchoStar are controlled by eccentric billionaire Charlie Ergen. — Reuters

LAS VEGAS: The DISH Networkís Hopper with Sling is displayed at a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2013 International CES on Monday. — AFP


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

In cancer war, progress in the eye of beholder NEW YORK: As the United States enters the fifth decade of its “war on cancer,” deaths continue to decline, according to an exhaustive report based on official data released on Monday. But that doesn’t tell the whole story, say experts not involved in the report from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and other groups on progress against cancer since the 1970s. The improvements reflect such lifestyle changes as not smoking more than they do the billions of dollars spent to discover and implement advanced cancer treatments. “We don’t look at this as progress,” said Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, of the new numbers. “This is such incremental improvement, when you look at the decades of investments, the cost of treatments, the number of researchers and journals, and then at the number of people who die ... well, we are clearly doing something wrong,” said Visco, who was not involved in the study. The decrease in deaths from all cancers - 1.8 percent a year for men and 1.5 percent for women from 2005 to 2009, the last year with enough data to analyze - while steady, is disappointing to many experts because it is no greater in the most recent five-year period than in the previous one, and because it has hardly been affected by supposed advances in detection and treatment. “ The decrease in cancer mortality is driven largely by the decrease in cancer incidence, which is mostly because of the decrease in smoking,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS). Smoking can cause more than a dozen cancers, including lung, head, neck, bladder and mouth. Although improvements in treatment for breast and some other cancers have cut death rates, Brawley said, headline-making new drugs have contributed little. “Most of the expensive new drugs prolong survival for no more than three or four months,” on average, he said. Incidence of cancer falls At first glance, the findings in the report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are worth cheering. In men, the incidence of cancer fell an average 0.6 percent a year from 2000 to 2009, find the researchers, who include scientists from the NCI, ACS and other federal agencies and private groups. In women, cancer incidence was flat for those years but rose 0.6 percent a year from 2005 to 2009. (The statistics are adjusted to account for the aging of the population, since cancer is largely a disease of the elderly.) Cancer incidence among women fell when fewer post-menopausal women opted for hormonereplacement therapy following a 2002 report that linked it to breast cancer and other disease, said NCI’s Brenda Edwards, the lead author of the report. But no other factor occurred to cause another dip after the mid-2000s. Instead, although the incidence of breast cancer fell from 2000 to 2009 by an average 0.7 percent a year, it rose 0.9 percent a year from 2005 to 2009. The trend in childhood cancer is also going in the wrong direction. From 2000 to 2009, cancer incidence among children 19 and younger rose 0.7 percent per year, on average. Experts are not sure why the numbers are rising. But one reason may be, paradoxically, greater access to health insurance. An uninsured child who developed flu-like symptoms in the 1990s might have died from what was actually leukemia, but without medical care his death certificate said pneumonia, explained ACS’s Brawley. With insurance, that child now is more likely to see a doctor and get correctly diagnosed. Experts note that cancer incidence can be affected by such changes as how many people are screened for the disease, such as through mammography or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. That may account for the recent increase in cases of thyroid and kidney cancers. Incidence is therefore less accurate an indicator of progress against the disease than mortality. By this measure, too, progress has been halting at best, the report finds. Death rates from cancer - the percentage of all deaths due to any form of this disease - have been declining since the early 1990s, by about 1.8 percent per year in men and 1.4 percent per year in women. But the decrease was also 1.8 percent per year from 2005 to 2009 for men, and 1.5 percent for women. So even as expensive new treatments were introduced, progress is not accelerating. “We’re all wondering why there hasn’t been an acceleration in the rate of decrease” in mortality, said report co-author Edgar Simard, an epidemiologist at ACS. One reason is that “cancer cells are wily foes,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology cancer biologist Robert Weinberg. “What is most frustrating is the ability of cancer cells that are under attack and being decimated by one therapy to invent a way of circumventing the therapy and finding a new way to thrive and proliferate.” Although the drop in smoking is responsible much of the decline in cancer death rates - 42 percent of adults smoked in the mid-1960s, compared with about 21 percent now - some of the credit goes to improved screening. Colorectal screening can find and remove polyps before they become malignant, for instance. “So stage one never gets to stage two or three or four, and you have less mortality,” said Dr Maurie Markman, senior vice president for clinical affairs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Deaths from colorectal cancer fell 2.9 percent a year from 2000 to 2009 among men and 1.9 percent among women. The 1.9 percent annual decline in deaths from breast cancer over the same period probably reflects some improvements in treatment. But “a huge driver of the decrease is what we call breast awareness,” said Brawley. “It’s not monthly breast exams” that do not decrease deaths “but women being aware of their body and asking, what is this change in my breast?” The rise in liver cancer may be the result of a high prevalence of chronic hepatitis C infection resulting from drug use decades ago, the report says. Obesity may be raising the incidence of liver, pancreatic and uterine cancers. “If the American public really wants fewer people to die from cancer, then there will need to be major changes in lifestyle,” said MIT’s Weinberg, such as declines in tobacco use and obesity. The biggest reductions in cancer mortality “will come from prevention rather than treatment.” — Reuters

Natural birth a tough sell in China caesarean boom Chinese mothers choosing caesareans

BEIJING: This picture shows a pregnant woman talking on a mobile phone outside a water birth room at Antai Hospital in Beijing.

BEIJING: This picture taken on November 28, 2012 shows a water birth device in a delivery room at Antai Hospital in Beijing. — AFP photos

BEIJING: As an automatic piano chimed a wedding march, new mother Wang Dan walked down a red carpet towards a hospital room called the “White House”, minutes after giving birth in a candlelit water pool. “I wanted to stay in the White House because it’s large and well decorated,” said the 28-year-old Wang, who settled with her newborn son into the suite adorned with an enormous rococo style sofa and a Mona Lisa portrait. But Wang’s presidentiallythemed chamber at Beijing’s Antai hospital-an expensive private facility aimed at the capital’s wealthy middle class-was not the only unusual thing about the birth of her first child. In a country where most urban professionals choose caesarean sections, she stands out for choosing to give birth naturally. The proportion of Chinese mothers choosing caesareans more than doubled in less than a decade, from around 20 percent in 2001 to above 46 percent in 2008 and approaching two-thirds in cities, according to the latest World Health Organization figures for the country. Across Asia caesarean rates have reached “epidemic levels”, it said

money to invest in their only childbirth are more likely to splash out on the procedure, which they see as safer, Tang said. “There are a lot of perceptions that if you have natural delivery it will affect your sex life,” he added. Some local governments in China have launched campaigns to promote natural birth, he said, but there is no clear central government policy on the issue. In an attempt to encourage women to choose a natural birth, the Antai hospital offers water births and teaches expectant mothers hypnosis techniques to deal with the pain of labor. It also charges just as much for natural childbirth as it does for a caesarean, removing incentives for doctors to promote the operation. “Our major problem is that pregnant women in China are very scared of pain,” Antai’s director Chen Fenglin said. “We found that even water birth couldn’t reduce our patients’ fear, which is why we introduced hypnosis,” he said. A red carpet runs from Antai’s delivery room towards a series of recovery suites, including the western-themed White House, a room aimed at Muslims called the

in a 2010 report. Experts say that caesareans are necessary in many cases when a mother or baby has a health condition which would make a natural birth risky, but that the risks of elective operations are often greater than the benefits. China’s caesarean rate is “definitely too high”, said Shenlang Tang, a researcher into Chinese healthcare at Duke University in the US, adding that “the key factor is hospital financing”. China has made huge strides in maternity care over the past decades, slashing its newborn death rate by almost two-thirds since the mid-nineties, largely by promoting hospital births. But Chinese hospitals receive little government funding and generate almost half their incomes from selling operations such as caesareans, with other revenues coming mainly from diagnostic tests and medicines. “The price of caesarean section based delivery can be up to three or four times that of a natural birth... which helps the hospital generate more revenue,” Tang said. China’s “one child” family planning policy also plays a role, as parents with more

‘Copy and paste’ common in electronic medical records NEW YORK: Most doctors copy and paste old, potentially out-of-date information into patients’ electronic records, according to a US study looking at a shortcut that some experts fear could lead to miscommunication and medical errors. “The electronic medical record was meant to make the process of documentation easier, but I think it’s perpetuated copying,” said lead author Daryl Thornton, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Elec tronic health records have been touted as having the potential to transform patient data from indecipherable scribbles into easy-to-read, searchable standardized documents that could be shared among hospital staffers and a patient’s various other health care providers. Many electronic record keeping systems allow text to be copied and pasted from previous notes and other documents, a shortcut that could help time-crunched doctors but that could also cause mistakes to be passed along or medical records to become indecipherable, critics argue. To see how much information in patient records came from copying, Thornton’s team, in a study published in Critical Care Medicine, examined 2,068 electronic patient progress reports created by 62 residents and 11 attending physicians in the intensive care unit of a Cleveland, Ohio hospital. Progress notes are typically shared

among doctors, nurses and other hospital staff and are meant to document the progression of a patient’s tests and treatments. Using plagiarism-detection software, the researchers analyzed five months’ worth of progress notes for 135 patients. They found that 82 percent of residents’ notes and 74 percent of attending physicians’ notes included 20 percent or more copied and pasted material from the patients’ records. Thornton and his colleagues did not examine what motivated physicians and residents to copy and paste, or whether the shortcut affected patient care. But in one case, a patient left the ICU and was readmitted a couple of days later. The patient’s medical record included so much copied and pasted information that the new team of doctors wasn’t able to decipher the original diagnosis. In the end, the team called the physicians who originally diagnosed the patient. Experts suggested that copying signifies a shift in how doctors use notes, away from being a means of communication among fellow healthcare providers and toward being a barrage of data to document billing. “What tends to get missing is the narrative what’s the patient’s story?” said Michael Barr, senior vice president in the Division of Medical Practice, Professionalism and Quality at the American College of Physicians. Barr was not involved in the study. — Reuters

“Islamabad Palace,” and a chamber inspired by Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan. “Parents hope that their child can grow up to be an emperor or princess, or a president, so the rooms give the parents a beautiful dream,” said Chen, who says his hospital has carried out more than 2,000 water births. An automated piano outside the delivery room plays a wedding march when mothers walk past with their newborn baby. “We want to express that a birth is as joyful as a wedding,” Chen said. Its innovations have proved a hit with mothers such as Wang Dan, who are willing to pay its hefty fees. “I felt really happy when the wedding music played, because some people are in a lot of pain after giving birth, but I was simply excited,” said Wang, who delivered her baby without anaesthetic. But downstairs from Antai’s water-birth suite, the hospital’s doctors are still busy per forming caesareans. Chen doubts China’s caesarean rate will fall significantly, because of the financial incentives hospitals face. “No matter how much you promote natural birth, it’s ultimately a matter of economics,” he said. — AFP

Doctors feel pinch of early flu season Flu season clogging emergency departments CHICAGO: When Dr Diane Chaney arrived for her morning shift at the University of Chicago Medicine’s emergency department on Monday, there were nine patients from the overnight shift waiting for treatment. By late morning, 36 patients, most with flu symptoms, were waiting. Across town, doctors at Rush University Medical Center have seen 203 flu patients since Nov 5, compared with 119 patients for the entire flu season last year. “We are coming to the point where we are running out of testing supplies,” said Dr Ed Ward, an expert in emergency and internal medicine at Rush, a teaching hospital. Similar scenes are being played out in emergency departments across the country as the United States grapples with the earliest flu season in a decade. “The emergency rooms are quite full and it’s clear that the annual flu epidemic is in full swing,” said Dr Brian Currie, medical director for research at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of people visiting their doctor for a flu-like illness has climbed from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent in the last four weeks. That compares with 2.2 percent during last year’s mild flu season and a peak of 7.7 percent during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Dr Daniel Lucey, who tracks global flu activity at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, said people naturally reflect on the past year’s flu season as a measure for the severity of flu, making this season appear all the worse by comparison. Even so, he said, “it’s an objective fact that flu viruses are circulating earlier and more widely this year than most years.” Lucey and others say it’s not clear why the flu arrived earlier than normal in the United States this year. Although each season is unique, flu

activity generally starts to pick up in December, peaks sometime in January or February and peters out by late March or early April. One risk of an early flu season is that it arrives before people have had a chance to get vaccinated. That may be especially true following last year’s very late and mild flu season, which may have led some to think they had more time. Experts, however, say it is not too late to get a flu shot. “We strongly encourage people to get vaccinated, and we’d like them to do that as soon as possible,” said Dr Michael Jhung, a CDC flu expert. The predominant strain of flu this year is an influenza A (H3N2) virus, which has accounted for 76 percent of the reported viruses. “We know H3N2 has been associated in previous seasons with pretty severe illness, particularly among the elderly. That could be a contributor to why we are seeing such high levels of activity right now,” Jhung said. Currie of Montefiore suspects the H3N2 strain may also pose more of a risk for younger people, who “don’t have as much experience with that strain.” Fortunately, flu experts did a good job last spring of predicting which of the flu strains circulating in Asia would be most likely to cause disease in this flu season. As a result, the CDC says the current batch of flu vaccines appear to be a good match for this year’s flu. So far, 91 percent of flu viruses analyzed by the CDC match flu strains contained in this year’s vaccine. “The viruses that we’re detecting are like the viruses that are in the vaccine, so there should be good protection,” Jhung said. Earlier this year, manufacturers estimated they would make 137 million doses of vaccine, and by early December, the CDC had vaccinated an estimated 112 million people, suggesting vaccine coverage is fairly high so far, Jhung said. — Reuters

‘17 billion’ Earth-sized planets in Milky Way

Image taken by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR shows the historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, located 11,000 light-years away. —AFP

WASHINGTON: The Milky Way contains at least 17 billion planets the size of Earth, and likely many more, according to a study out Monday that raises the chances of discovering a sister planet to ours. Astronomers using NASA’s Kepler spacecraft found that about 17 percent of stars in our galaxy have a planet about the size of Earth in a close orbit. The Milky Way is known to host about 100 billion stars, meaning that about one of every six has an Earth-sized planet around it. The finding does not mean that all those planets beyond our solar system, or exoplanets, could be habitable, though it increases the chances of finding planets similar to Earth. In order to host life, and allow water to flow in liquid form, a planet must be at a distance from its star that allows surface temperatures to be neither too hot nor too cold. The Kepler craft detected possible exoplanets when they passed in front of their star, creating a mini-eclipse that dims the star slightly. During the first 16 months of the survey, Kepler identified about 2,400 candidates. Francois Fressin, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and his colleagues used the results to determine which signals

were true and to list the exoplanets by size. They found that 17 percent of stars have a planet 0.8 to 1.25 times the size of Earth in an orbit of 85 days or less. About a fourth of stars have a super Earth (1.25 to twice the size of Earth) in an orbit of 150 days or less, with a same fraction having a mini Neptune (two to four times Earth) in orbits up to 250 days long. Larger planets are a much rarer occurrence. Only about three percent of stars have a large Neptune (four to six times Earth) and only five percent have a gas giant (six to 22 times Earth) in an orbit of 400 days or less. The researchers presented the analysis at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, California. Separately, NASA’s Kepler mission announced it had discovered 461 new possible planets. Four of them are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit their sun’s “habitable zone,” where liquid water might exist on the planet’s surface and thus make life possible. The findings, based on observations conducted from May 2009 to March 2011, showed the number of smaller-size planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate steadily rising. — AFP


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

Grow a spine! Treatment can reduce progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis Distinguishing factors between mechanical and inflammatory back pains KUWAIT: A disease that develops slowly but results in a form of chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joint ’s, is what Ankylosing Spondylitis is synonymous with. Ank ylosing Spondylitis, another form of rheumatoid arthritis, is a rapidly growing disease in Kuwait where men are affected more than women by a ratio about of 3:1. Ankylosing Spondalytis can also be associated with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and Reiter’s disease. “While it is important to note that the course of Ankylosing spondylitis varies greatly from person to person, so too can the onset of symptoms. Although symptoms usually start to appear in late adolescence or early adulthood (ages 17-35), the symptoms can occur in children or much later,” said Dr Eman Hassan, Consultant Rheumatologist of Al-Amiri Hospital. Symptoms to look out for Most patients complain about back pains at the initial stages. Inflammatory pain can have many causes but chronic lower back pain has been shown in a recent study to be associated with Spondyloarthritis at a rate that is “strikingly high.” Inflammatory vs mechanical Back pain is one of the most common reasons people refer to a doctor or miss work and other activities. When diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis or related disease where back pain is present, it is critical to distinguish the underlying cause. In specific if the back pain is inflammator y in nature or mechanical. Inflammatory back pain is the variety associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis and other spondyloarthritides. When determining whether the back pain is inflammatory in nature and related to a ankylosing spondylitis, the following is often taken

into account: Onset of pain is usually under 35 years of age and is insidious; Pain persists for more than three months (i.e., it is chronic); The back pain and stiffness worsen with immobility, especially at night and early morning; The back pain and stiffness tend to ease with physical activity and exercise; NSAIDs are very effective in relieving pain and stiffness in most patients at early stages of the disease. It is also important to note that inflammatory back pain by itself should not be the final basis to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis. Instead, it is a very important characteristic which the physician considers along with other findings such as x-ray or MRI evidence of sacroiliitis, the detection of the gene marker HLA B27, or the history of another related physical finding such as Iritis. In the early phase of the disease, the sacroiliac joints (located at the back of the pelvis) become inflamed and painful. In fact, one of the earliest signs of AS is tenderness around the sacroiliac joints. Another early symptom is lower back pain that may spread down into the buttocks and thighs. Pain varies in intensity and duration, and it comes and goes. Stiffness that occurs usually in the mornings can be improved with exercise and warm showers. Also, in the early stages of AS, there may be mild fever, loss of appetite and general discomfort. As the disease progresses, ossification is triggered by the body ’s defense mechanism. Adding on, Dr Hassan stressed that “your body knows that joint movement is causing pain, so it attempts to limit movement by forming new bone that will stop movement. This ossification causes new bone to grow between vertebrae, eventually fusing them together and increasing the risk for fracture. Further, ossification may affect spinal ligaments, causing spinal stenosis(narrowing), which can result in neurologic

deficit (problems related to the nerves, such as weakness or loss of function)”. Other symptoms Limited motion in the lumbar spine- As the disease progresses, the patient may notice the discomfort moves up the spine. AS generally starts in the low back (lumbar spine) and gradually moves up to the neck (cervical spine); The mid-back (thoracic spine) may be affected by pain, stiffness, and limited chest expansion when breathing; Pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the shoulders, hips, knees, and heels; Cauda equina syndrome (specific nerve compression) may develop, causing lower extremity numbness, weak ness, and incontinence. Inflammation of the intervertebral disc or disc space (spondylodiscitis) is a common complication caused by the hardening/thickening of fibrous tissue (sclerosis) affecting vertebral end plates. The resultant abnormal ver tebral motion almost always causes pain. How is ankylosing diagnosed? A diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is based largely on the findings of a medical history and physical exam. Radiologic tests and lab tests may be used to help confirm a diagnosis, but both have some limitations. Can ankylosing be cured? The big question remains - Is there a cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis? “Unfortunately, there is none but some treatments relieve symptoms of the disorder and may possibly prevent its progression. In most cases, treatment involves a combination of medication, exercise, and self help measures and in others, surgery may be used to repair some of the joint damage caused by the disease,” concluded Dr. Hassan. Since back pain is one of the most common medical conditions where patients would refer

Dr Eman Hassan

to a Rheumatologist, the Kuwait Association of Rheumatology (KAR)/ Kuwait League of Rhumetism and Autoimmune Disease is keen to establish annual awareness campaigns for the public to familiarize themselves with rheumatic diseases and the importance of referring to the specialized doctor at an early stage before conditions deteriorate. Under the patronage of His Excellency Dr Mohammad Barrak Al-Haify, Minister of Health, the Kuwait Association of Rheumatology (KAR)/ Kuwait League of Rheumatism and Autoimmune Disease is honored to invite everyone to attend the World Arthritis Day ceremony, which will take place at Shaab Park on Saturday, March 12th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


W H AT ’ S O N



hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! Let other people see the way you see Kuwait - through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at


Shirva feast


hirva Welfare Association Kuwait (SWAK) will be celebrating their Shirva Parish feast-2013 here in Kuwait. On this occasion there will be a mass offered at 9.15 am on February 8, 2013 at the Holy Family Cathedral. Kuwait and the celebration / gettogether with a of variety entertainment programme will he held from 4:30 pm - 9 pm on the same day at the Indian Community School, Salmiya. SWAK members or their children who would like to participate in the variety entertainment programme and show their talent are requested to contact any of the SWAK committee members listed below to avail the opportunity before January 10, 2013. Likewise if any of members children have excelled in academics or any other extra curricular activities in the past 1 year will be appreciated and hence are requested to inform any of the SWAK committee members listed below before the 10th of January. Last date for enrollment in the talent show is January 15, 2013.

Arabic courses


WARE will begin Winter 1 Arabic language courses with new textbooks and curricula on from December 2, 2012 until January 24, 2013. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed & courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. For more information or registration, please log-on to our website.


e Progressive’ is the inspiration at FAIPS DPS. Educational pedagogy and methodology has seen a radical evolution in recent years. To strengthen the teaching potential of the teachers, a Science Workshop was organized at FAIPS DPS under the aegis of Council of CBSE affiliated Schools in the Gulf on Friday, 4th January 2013. Sanjay Yadav, a seasoned teacher and currently the Principal of Salmiya Indian Model School was the resource person for the aforesaid workshop. The focus of the workshop was to have activity based teaching of Science and scientific concepts. 41 teachers from various Indian schools in Kuwait participated in the workshop which was a grand success. It provided a platform to the teachers to exchange ideas with each other and create a forum where subsequent interaction with each other facilitates the entire learning process.

Charity show


n the occasion of New Year Hangama 2013, which will be held tomorrow from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am at Carmel School, Khaitan. Rak Dance Academy is conducting dance competition in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi. The winners will be rewarded.

AUK to hold senior Capstone Graphic Design Exhibition

Goan Culinary Club

he Art & Graphic Design Program (GDES) at AUK will be holding the official opening of the Fall Senior Capstone Exhibition on January 13th at 7pm. The Exhibition will be open to public visitors from Jan 14th to 16th, 10 am to 7 pm at the AUK Multipurpose Room. The GDES Senior Capstone Exhibition is a halfyearly event that aims to showcase the projects of AUK GDES students, and prepare them for the employment experience. In order to set up the exhibition, students have gone through a semester-long process of integrating conceptual understanding and research skills to independently put together a marketable graphic design exhibition. The exhibition this semester is under the supervision of Dr. Marcella Kulchitsky, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at AUK.


he Goan Culinary Club - Goa encourages you to log on to their website where you can find a video of Odette and Joe Mascarenhas sharing their thoughts on Goan cuisine. These videos were recorded at the launch of the Goan Culinary Club in Goa on March 3, 2012. Thanks to support from all at the Goan Culinary Club, we have made great progress in six months.

Basketball Academy


he new Premier Basketball Academy offers coaching and games every Friday and Saturday from 10 am onwards for 6 to 18 year olds, boys and girls. Located in Bayan Block 7, Masjed Al-Aqsa Street by Abdullah Al-Rujaib High School. Free Basketball and Tee Shirts for all participants, with certificates and special awards on completion of each 6 week course. Qualified and experienced British and American Coaches, Everyone Welcome.


KKCA elects office bearers for 2013

NSS celebrations on Jan 11


he 136th Birth Anniversary of Mannathu Padmanabhan will be celebrated by Nair Service Society (NSS) Kuwait on 11th January 2013 at Marina Hall, Touristic Park, Abbassiya from 5.30 p.m. The function will be inaugurated by the Ambassador of India to Kuwait HE Satish C Mehta and Chief Guest will be Prof Gopinath Muthukad. Rahul Easwar, activists and author, will speak on the occasion. The major attractions of the evening will be Classical dances from Asha Sarath, a versatile dancer and leading actress and Caricature show by Jayaraj Warrier, renowned artists from Kerala. The program will be anchored by Deepa Vijayan, fame in TV and cultural shows anchoring. Entry is restricted through invitations only. For invitations, please contact NSS.

Write to us Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20

Pakistani Naval Ship visits Kuwait on Jan 16


he ship is named after Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir who was the sixth Muslim ruler of Great Mughal Empire. He was born on 3rd November, 1618. Aurangzeb Alamgir retained the throne for almost 50 years. He spread the extent of Mughal Empire to the entire Indian Sub-continent. PNS ALAMGIR is part of 18th Destroyer Squadron. It was commissioned on Aug 31, 2010 at Mayport Florida USA. It is a multi-mission capable ship, fitted with potent weapon and sensor systems. The ship is capable of carrying two ASW Origin Helicopters. The mission of the ship is to maintain the standards of professionalism and excellence which are a hallmark of Pakistan Navy. The Commanding Officer of the ship, Captain Abdul Munib PN joined Navy as Cadet in 1987 and got Commission in 1992. He specialized in Above Water Warfare from Pakistan. He is a graduate of PN War College. During his illustrious career, the Captain has held diversified appointments including Principal Warfare Officer (Above Water) and Executive Officer of a Type21 Frigate, Command of a Gun Boat, Fleet Gunnery Officer, PN LNO at NAVCENT Bahrain, Commanding Officer of PNS AKRAM and AATISH and Senior Staff Officer to Commander Pakistan Fleet prior his appointment as second Commanding Officer of newly acquired PNS ALAMGIR. During the stay in Kuwait, the Captain of the hip will pay courtesy calls on the dignitaries of Kuwait Navy. A reception will also be held onboard which would be attended by the high civil and military officials of the State of Kuwait, diplomats, notables and representatives of the Pakistani community.

Sijo Abraham - Gen Secretary

Reji Kurian - Treasurer

Johnson Mathew - President


Pulikolil-KKCL Coordinator, Thomas Kallukeeruparambil-KKCL Joint Coordinator, Joyel Jose-Auditor and area Committee Members Abbasiya: Johny Jacob, Siby Cherian, Vinod Jacob, Vinoy Karimbil, Philip Patheparmbil, Renice Jacob,Varun Kurian, Leujo Lukose and Siby Kurian. Riggai: Binish Baby and Tomy Jacob. Salmiya: Tony Lukose and Pitty Jose. Fahaheel: Joby Mathew, Bijo Mathew and Raju Karuthedam. Newly elected/existing other office bearers: Thomas Joseph, Sabu John and Reji Philip (Advisory Board), Thomas Joseph (KCC-ME Treasurer), Sajan Thomas (KCC-ME Vice-Chairman), Jose Abraham (KCC-ME Coordinator), Tomy Mathew (FSS Convener) and

Stephen Thottikattu (FSS Joint Convener) The newly elected president later thanked all the members for the support and confidence vested on him and his team. He acknowledged and appreciated the dedicated hard works of all the office bearers of KKCA 2012 and pledged best efforts from his team and himself for the good of the community and requested cooperation from all its members. KKCA is the only association recognized and accepted by the Vicariate Apostolic of Northern Arabia and by the Archdiocese of Kottayam for the Knanaya Catholics residing in the State of Kuwait and functions under the patronage of the respective Bishops.

uwait Knanaya Cultural Association (KKCA) conducted its election of the Office Bearers for the year 2013 during the Annual General Body Meeting held on 28th December 2012 at Indian Integrated School, Abbasiya. Presided by Stephen Thottikkattu the Presiding Officer, the members of the association unanimously elected the Johnson Mathew as President, Sijo Abraham as General Secretary, Reji Kurian as Treasurer for the year 2013. The Committee Members elected are as per the following:Sijumon M.C -Vice President, Semi John-Joint Secretary, Josekutty Puthenthara- Joint Treasurer, Jayesh Philip- PRO, Joby

W H AT ’ S O N

ACK reflects on successful sports, art and social activities for 2012


Embassy Information EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Australian Embassy Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visas and immigration matters in conducted by The Australian Consulate-General in Dubai. Email: (VFS) (Visa Office); Tel: +971 4 355 1958 (VFS) - +971 4 508 7200 (Visa Office); Fax: +971 4 355 0708 (Visa Office). In Kuwait applications can be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre 4B 1st Floor, Al-Banwan Building Al-Qibla Area, Ali Al-Salem Street, opposite the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Working hours and days: 09:30 - 17:30; Sunday - Thursday. Or visit their website www.vfs-au-gcc-com for more information. Kuwait citizens can apply for tourist visas on-line at visa/e676.htm. � � � ��� � �


CK wrapped up 2012 with a number of memorable student events bidding farewell to another remarkable year. The first special activity was a theatrical play entitled “Prepare the Tomatoes” presented by ACK’s Drama Club. The 4-act play highlighted negative issues facing society such as marital problems, drug abuse and common struggles. The hard work put in by the ACK Drama club was rewarded with a strong audience presence of more than 400 guests. ACK was extremely proud to witness the achievements of its students when it came to sports. ACK managed to defend its title as the University Championship Cup champions for the second year in a row under Coach Fawaz Al-Bloushi. The ACK table tennis team also managed

their 6th consecutive title with no losses in league. Finally ACK was really proud to have its student Abdulla Boushahri win first place prize in the Archery Championship of Kuwait. Students were also treated to a martial arts presentation, hosted on campus, by Master Wong Chung who defeated a group of fencers while blindfolded. The event catered to a group of Kajikambo and martial art fans, students and players who enjoyed learning about self defense. Finally, in an effort to raise awareness by ACK on the consequences of mistreating children, the college hosted the Kuwaiti Children Rights Syndicate who presented a show under the title of “Each Children Concert”, comprising of live music and standup comedy to entertain the audience.

Mountain Dew launches ‘dew crew’ consumer-loyalty club


ountain Dew, taking the consumer relationships to a whole new level, has launched one of the most innovative consumer-loyalty programs in the region. In line with the brand’s initiative to encourage people to live freer, take risks, have fun and live their lives to the fullest, Mountain Dew has introduced ‘Dew Crew’, a new virtual loyalty club that rewards its loyal consumers for living Mountain Dew lifestyle. ‘Dew Crew’ welcomes consumers, not only in the UAE, but also in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain, who aspire to embrace what Mountain Dew stands for and take their engagement of the brand to an extreme high. For those of you who have not become part of ‘Dew Crew’ yet, it’s easy. Just visit or, fill out the online registration form, and you’re in! Members will have a chance to collect points and move up ‘Dew Crew’ ranks, starting from Noob to Rookie and finally Pro. Points can be earned in a number of ways ranging from inviting friends to join, sharing videos and pictures, uploading videos of fun stunts, and special codes that can be unlocked upon purchasing Mountain Dew. The faster members can rack up points, the quicker they will climb the ranks and enjoy more exclusive perks and awards. To bring members the best in extreme, over-the-limit rewards, Mountain Dew has forged agreements with an exciting line-up of action sports partners. ‘Dew Crew’ members will be able to redeem their points for high-quality Mountain Dew merchandise and discounts on admission fees at selected outlets. It’s time to go to the extreme and test your limits by joining ‘Dew Crew’!

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassyof Canada in Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visa and immigration matters including enquiries is conducted by the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Individuals who are interested in working, studying, visiting or immigrating to Canada†should contact the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, website:†or, E-mail: The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakei St, Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is open from 07:30 to 12:30. Consular services for Canadian citizens are provided from 09:00†until 12:00, Sunday through Wednesday. � � � ��� � �

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS In its capacity as EU Local Presidency in the State of Kuwait, the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, on behalf of the Member States of the EU and associated States participating in the Schengen cooperation, would like to announce that as from 2nd October 2012 all Schengen States’ Consulates in Kuwait will use the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is a central database for the exchange of data on short-stay (up to three months) visas between Schengen States. The main objectives of the VIS are to facilitate visa application procedures and checks at external border as well as to enhance security. The VIS will contain all the Schengen visa applications lodged by an applicant over five years and the decisions taken by any Schengen State’s consulate. This will allow applicants to establish more easily the lawful use of previous visas and their bona fide status. For the purpose of the VIS, applicants will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and digital photos) when applying for a Schengen visa. It is a simple and discreet procedure that only takes a few minutes. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS central database. Therefore, as from 2nd October 2012, first-time applicants will have to appear in person when lodging the application, in order to provide their fingerprints. For subsequent applications within 5 years the fingerprints can be copied from the previous application file in the VIS. The Cypriot Presidency would like to assure the people of Kuwait and all its permanent citizens that the Member States and associated States participating in the Schengen cooperation, have taken all necessary technical measures to facilitate the rapid examination and the efficient processing of visa applications and to ensure a quick and discreet procedure for the implementation of the new VIS. � � � ��� � �

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform the Kenyan community residents throughout Kuwait and the general public that the Embassy has acquired new office telephone numbers as follows: 25353982, 25353985 - Consular’s enquiries 25353987 - Fax Our Email address: � � � ��� � �

EMBASSY OF MYANMAR Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to inform the general public that the Embassy has moved its office to new location at Villa 35, Road 203, Block 2, Al-Salaam Area in South Surra. The Embassy wishes to advice Myanmar citizens and travellers to Myanmar to contact Myanmar Embassy at its new location. Tel. 25240736, 25240290, Fax: 25240749, � � � ��� � �

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has its new office in Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax25387719. Email- or � � � ��� � �

EMBASSY OF PERU The Embassy of Peru is located in Sharq, Ahmed Al Jaber Street, Al Arabiya Tower, 6th Floor. Working days / hours: SundayThursday /9 am - 4 pm. Residents in Kuwait interested in getting a visa to travel to Peru and companies attracted to invest in Peru are invited to visit the permanent exposition room located in the Embassy. For more information, please contact: (+965) 22267250/1.



00:50 Animal Cops Miami 01:45 Wild Dog Island 02:35 Untamed & Uncut 03:25 Wildest Africa 04:15 Gator Boys 05:05 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 05:55 Call Of The Wildman 06:20 Cheetah Kingdom 06:45 Shamwari: A Wild Life 07:35 Wildlife SOS 08:00 The Really Wild Show 08:25 My Cat From Hell 09:15 Cats 101 10:10 Deep Into The Wild With Nick Baker 11:05 Wildest Africa 12:00 Animal Cops Philadelphia 12:55 Call Of The Wildman 13:20 Wildlife SOS 14:45 Animal Precinct 15:40 Wildest Africa 16:35 Cheetah Kingdom 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 18:25 Weird Creatures With Nick Baker 19:20 Breed All About It 20:15 Monkey Life 20:40 Bondi Vet 21:10 Call Of The Wildman 21:35 Cheetah Kingdom 22:05 Wildest Africa

00:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 01:20 Come Dine With Me 02:10 Antiques Roadshow 03:00 House Swap 03:45 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 04:35 House Swap 05:25 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 06:10 House Swap 06:50 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 07:20 House Swap 08:05 Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen 08:30 The Hairy Bikers Ride Again 08:55 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 09:40 Fantasy Homes In The City 10:25 Bargain Hunt 11:15 Antiques Roadshow 12:05 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 13:25 Come Dine With Me 14:15 10 Years Younger 15:05 Bargain Hunt 15:55 Antiques Roadshow 16:45 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 18:05 Britain’s Dream Homes 19:00 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 19:50 Rhodes Across China 20:40 Come Dine With Me

00:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 00:30 Hardtalk 01:00 BBC World News America 02:00 Newsday 02:30 Asia Business Report 02:45 Sport Today 03:00 Newsday 03:30 Asia Business Report 03:45 Sport Today 04:00 Newsday 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Sport Today 05:00 BBC World News 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Sport Today 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Asia Business Report 06:45 Sport Today 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 Hardtalk 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 BBC World News 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report

10:45 BBC World News 11:30 World Business Report 11:45 BBC World News 12:30 Hardtalk 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 World Business Report 13:45 Sport Today 14:00 BBC World News 15:00 GMT With George Alagiah 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:30 BBC Focus On Africa 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 World Business Report 21:45 Sport Today 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:45 Sport Today

00:05 00:30 00:55 01:20 01:45 02:10 02:35 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:00 04:30 04:55 05:20 05:45 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:30 07:55 08:10 08:35 08:50 09:05 09:30 09:55 10:20 10:45 11:10 11:35 12:00 12:25 12:50 13:00 13:15 13:40 13:55 14:20 14:35 14:50 15:20 15:45 16:10 16:35 17:00 17:25 17:50 18:15 18:40 19:05 19:30 19:45 20:00 20:15 20:30 20:55 21:20 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:40

Taz-Mania Pink Panther And Pals Moomins Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Puppy In My Pocket Wacky Races Looney Tunes Duck Dodgers Dastardly And Muttley Dexter’s Laboratory Wacky Races Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show Moomins Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry Tales Dexter’s Laboratory Baby Looney Tunes Jelly Jamm Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Ha Ha Hairies Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Puppy In My Pocket Wacky Races Looney Tunes Duck Dodgers Popeye Top Cat The Flintstones Dastardly And Muttley Ha Ha Hairies Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Cartoonito Tales Moomins Dexter’s Laboratory Johnny Bravo Tom & Jerry Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show What’s New Scooby-Doo? Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry Tales The Looney Tunes Show Taz-Mania Moomins Pink Panther & Pals The Garfield Show Jelly Jamm Ha Ha Hairies Gerald McBoing Boing Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas Puppy In My Pocket The Garfield Show What’s New Scooby-Doo? Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry Tales The Looney Tunes Show

00:40 Chowder 01:30 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:20 Foster’s Home For... 03:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 04:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 04:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Powerpuff Girls

05:40 Generator Rex 06:05 Ben 10 06:30 Ben 10 06:55 Angelo Rules 07:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:00 Mucha Lucha 08:25 Johnny Test 08:45 Regular Show 09:05 Total Drama Island 09:55 Ben 10: Omniverse 10:20 Young Justice 10:45 Thundercats 11:10 Adventure Time 12:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 12:50 Foster’s Home For... 13:40 Courage The Cowardly Dog 14:30 Powerpuff Girls 15:20 Angelo Rules 16:10 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 16:35 Young Justice 17:00 Ben 10: Omniverse 17:20 Johnny Test 18:00 Level Up 18:25 The Amazing World Of Gumball 18:50 Adventure Time 19:15 Regular Show 19:40 Mucha Lucha 20:05 Total Drama Island 20:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 21:20 Young Justice 21:45 Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge 22:10 Grim Adventures Of... 23:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 23:50 The Powerpuff Girls

00:15 01:10 02:05 03:00 03:55 04:20 04:50 05:15 05:40 06:05 06:35 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:25 11:50 12:45 13:40 14:35 15:05 15:30 16:00 16:55 17:50

Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings Property Wars How Stuff’s Made How It’s Made Sons Of Guns Sons Of Guns Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Secret Service Secrets Border Security Auction Kings Property Wars How Stuff’s Made How It’s Made Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Ultimate Survival Border Security Auction Kings Property Wars Explosions Gone Wrong Secret Service Secrets Mythbusters

00:00 00:35 01:25 02:15 03:05 03:55 04:45 05:35 06:00 06:15 07:05 07:55 08:45 09:35 10:00 10:25 11:15 12:05 12:30 12:55 13:45 14:35 15:25 15:45 16:15 17:00 18:20 18:45 19:10

Fish Hooks Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Doc McStuffins Suite Life On Deck A.N.T. Farm Jessie Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Shake It Up Phineas And Ferb Doc McStuffins Art Attack Jessie A.N.T. Farm Wizards Of Waverly Place Shake It Up Jonas Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Phineas And Ferb A.N.T. Farm

Good Luck Charlie Jessie That’s So Raven Cory In The House Kim Possible Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Fish Hooks

15:30 E!es 16:30 Behind The Scenes 17:00 Giuliana & Bill 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 E!es 21:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 22:00 Ice Loves Coco 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately

00:20 Little Einsteins 00:50 Special Agent Oso 01:15 Lazytown 01:40 Jungle Junction 02:10 Handy Manny 02:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:55 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 03:00 Lazytown 03:25 Special Agent Oso 03:50 Imagination Movers 04:15 Handy Manny 04:40 Special Agent Oso 05:00 Timmy Time 05:10 Lazytown 05:35 Little Einsteins 06:00 Jungle Junction 06:30 Little Einsteins 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:15 Jungle Junction 07:45 Handy Manny 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:15 Imagination Movers 08:45 Handy Manny 09:00 The Hive 09:10 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 09:35 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 10:05 Doc McStuffins 10:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 11:00 Mouk 11:15 Animated Stories 11:20 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 11:45 Art Attack 12:10 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 12:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:00 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 13:10 Doc McStuffins 13:25 Handy Manny 13:40 Jungle Junction 13:55 Timmy Time 14:05 The Hive 14:15 Mouk 14:30 Little Einsteins 14:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:20 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 15:45 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:00 The Little Mermaid 16:25 Art Attack 16:55 Zou 17:05 Zou 17:20 Handy Manny 17:35 The Hive 17:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 18:10 Doc McStuffins 18:25 Doc McStuffins 18:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:10 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 19:35 Zou 19:50 Zou 20:05 Timmy Time 20:15 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 20:25 Doc McStuffins 20:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 20:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:10 The Hive 21:20 Timmy Time 21:30 Mouk 21:45 Handy Manny 22:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 The Hive 22:35 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 23:00 Timmy Time 23:10 Animated Stories 23:15 A Poem Is... 23:20 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship

00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:30 Heat Seekers 01:55 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:45 Guy’s Big Bite 03:10 Guy’s Big Bite 03:35 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 04:20 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:50 United Tastes Of America 05:15 Unique Eats 05:40 Chopped 06:30 Iron Chef America 07:10 Unwrapped 07:35 Unwrapped 08:00 Iron Chef America 08:50 Kid In A Candy Store 09:15 Unwrapped 09:40 United Tastes Of America 10:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:30 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:55 Cooking For Real 11:20 Hungry Girl 11:45 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 12:10 United Tastes Of America 12:35 Unwrapped 13:00 Iron Chef America 13:50 Tyler’s Ultimate 14:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 14:40 Everyday Italian 15:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:55 Hungry Girl 16:20 United Tastes Of America 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 19:40 Tyler’s Ultimate 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Chopped 21:20 Iron Chef America 22:10 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:35 Charly’s Cake Angels 23:00 Unique Sweets 23:25 Unique Sweets 23:50 Have Cake, Will Travel

19:35 20:00 20:30 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 22:55 23:20 23:45

00:00 KSA 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:15 08:40 09:05 09:30 09:55 10:20 11:35 12:00 12:25 12:50 13:20 13:45 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:05 17:30 18:00 18:25 18:50 19:40 20:05 20:30 20:55 21:20 21:45 22:10 22:35 23:05 23:30


00:00 00:55 01:25 03:15 03:40 04:10 05:05 07:50 08:20 10:15 12:05 13:05 14:05 York 15:00

Programmes Start At 7:00am Kickin It Phineas And Ferb Ultimate Spider-Man Pokemon: BW Rival Destinies Slugterra Scaredy Squirrel Almost Naked Animals Pair Of Kings Phineas And Ferb Zeke & Luther Lab Rats Kickin It Mr. Young Pair Of Kings Zeke & Luther Kick Buttowski I’m In The Band Phineas And Ferb Pokemon: BW Rival Destinies Rekkit Rabbit Pair Of Kings Almost Naked Animals Lab Rats Slugterra Kickin It Scaredy Squirrel Phineas And Ferb Slugterra Mr. Young Zeke & Luther I’m In The Band Rated A For Awesome Rekkit Rabbit Phineas And Ferb Ultimate Spider-Man Kick Buttowski Scaredy Squirrel

Dirty Soap Style Star THS Behind The Scenes Extreme Close-Up E!es THS Behind The Scenes Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane THS Khloe And Lamar Married To Jonas Kourtney & Kim Take New Style Star

00:40 01:30 02:20 03:05 03:55 04:45 05:30 06:20 07:10 08:00 08:50 09:15 09:40 10:05 10:30 11:20 12:10 13:00 13:50 14:15 14:40 15:30 16:20 16:45 17:10 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:05 20:55 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

Disappeared Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted Deadly Affairs Deadly Women Disappeared Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted Undercover Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Undercover Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Undercover Disappeared Forensic Detectives Mall Cops ‚Äì Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Stalked: Someone’s Watching Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill American Greed I Almost Got Away With It

00:15 Kimchi Chronicles 00:45 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 01:40 A World Apart 02:35 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 03:30 Banged Up Abroad 04:25 By Any Means 05:20 Nomads 06:15 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 06:40 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 07:10 Delinquent Gourmet 07:35 Kimchi Chronicles 08:05 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 09:00 A World Apart 09:55 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 10:50 Banged Up Abroad 11:45 By Any Means 12:40 Nomads 13:35 Food School 14:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:30 Delinquent Gourmet 14:55 Kimchi Chronicles 15:25 Around The World For Free 16:20 A World Apart 17:15 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 18:10 Banged Up Abroad 19:05 By Any Means 20:00 Delinquent Gourmet 20:30 Kimchi Chronicles 21:00 Food School 21:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 22:00 Nomads 22:55 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 23:20 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 23:50 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway

00:00 01:00 01:55 02:50

Animal Intervention Sharks In The City The Living Edens Dangerous Encounters

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS ON OSN CINEMA 03:45 04:40 05:35 06:00 06:30 07:25 08:20 09:15 10:10 11:05 12:00 13:00 India) 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

World’s Deadliest Animals Swamp Men Wild Chronicles Wild Chronicles The Living Edens Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals Snake Underworld Raptor Force Wild Case Files World’s Deadliest Wild India (aka Secrets of Wild Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals World’s Worst Venom World’s Weirdest Wild Case Files Monster Fish Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals Snake Underworld Raptor Force

00:00 Machete-18 02:00 The Crazies-18 04:00 The Eagle-PG15 06:00 True Justice: Angel Of DeathPG15 08:00 True Justice: BrotherhoodPG15 10:00 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 12:15 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 14:15 True Justice: BrotherhoodPG15 16:00 The Man Inside-PG15 18:00 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 20:00 The Thaw-PG15 22:00 Sanctum-18

01:00 13-PG15 03:00 Sammy’s Adventure: The Secret Passage-FAM 05:00 Nothing Like The HolidaysPG15 07:00 Feed The Fish-PG15 09:00 13-PG15 11:00 Princess Lillifee-FAM 13:00 My Girlfriend’s BoyfriendPG15 15:00 Lord Of The Dance-PG 16:45 Water For Elephants-PG15 18:45 Moneyball-PG15 21:00 Shark Night-PG15 23:00 The Hangover 2-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Community 02:00 American Dad 02:30 Weeds 03:00 Two And A Half Men 03:30 Two And A Half Men 04:00 Hope & Faith 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Til Death 06:00 Samantha Who? 06:30 Seinfeld 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Hope & Faith 08:30 New Girl 09:00 Til Death 09:30 Samantha Who? 10:00 Melissa & Joey 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Seinfeld 12:30 Brothers 13:00 Til Death 13:30 Samantha Who? 14:00 The Simpsons 15:00 Melissa & Joey 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Seinfeld 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 New Girl 18:30 The Simpsons 19:00 Melissa & Joey 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Community

00:00 02:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 14:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

Grey’s Anatomy Pillars Of The Earth Homeland Good Morning America Covert Affairs Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Smallville Covert Affairs Grey’s Anatomy Smallville Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Touch Warehouse 13 Awake Breaking Bad

00:00 03:00 07:00 07:30 12:00 12:30 15:00 16:00 16:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

Grimm Six Feet Under Emmerdale Coronation Street Emmerdale Coronation Street Parenthood Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. Touch Warehouse 13 Awake Six Feet Under

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 PG15 08:00 10:15 12:15 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

The Guru-18 High Fidelity-PG15 Zookeeper-PG15 It’s Kind Of A Funny StoryIn Her Shoes-PG15 The Winning Season-PG15 Zookeeper-PG15 Scooby-Doo-PG The Winning Season-PG15 Despicable Me-FAM Paul-PG15 Super-18

01:45 Restless-PG15 03:30 Catch Me If You Can-PG15 05:45 Best Laid Plans-PG15 07:30 My Enemy’s Enemy-PG15 09:00 Yona Yona Penguin-PG 11:00 Justice For Natalee HollowayPG15 13:00 Christmas Comes Home To Canaan-PG15 15:00 Yona Yona Penguin-PG 17:00 Sundays At Tiffany’s-PG15 19:00 Daydream Nation-PG15 21:00 True Grit-PG15 23:00 The Silence Of The Lambs-18

01:45 04:15 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 18:30 21:00 23:00

Catch Me If You Can-PG15 The Tree Of Life-PG15 Three Inches-PG15 Battle For Terra-PG Red-PG15 Yogi Bear-FAM Honey 2-PG15 Battle For Terra-PG War Horse-PG15 Shark Night-PG15 Bridesmaids-18

01:00 The Three Bears: Dreadful Dangers-FAM 02:45 Supertramps-FAM 04:30 The Fairy Tale Tree-FAM 06:00 Horrid Henry-PG 08:00 Rainbow Valley Heroes-FAM 10:00 Hey Arnold! The Movie-PG 11:30 The Fairy Tale Tree-FAM 13:00 The Ugly Duckling In Tales Of Mystery-FAM 14:30 Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate-PG 16:00 Mia And The Migoo-PG 18:00 Hey Arnold! The Movie-PG

20:00 Gulliver’s Travels-PG 22:00 The Ugly Duckling In Tales Of Mystery-FAM 23:30 Rainbow Valley Heroes-FAM

01:00 02:00 06:00 07:00 10:00 11:00 14:00 15:30 17:30 18:30 21:30 22:30 23:00 23:30

PGA Tour Highlights Top 14 Trans World Sport Cricket Twenty20 PGA Tour Highlights Live Cricket Twenty20 The Ryder Cup Top 14 PGA Tour Highlights Cricket Twenty20 Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial ICC Cricket 360 European Tour Weekly

00:30 City Centre Races 02:00 PGA Tour 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 ICC Cricket 360 08:00 PGA Tour Highlights 09:00 Top 14 11:00 City Centre Races 11:30 City Centre Races 12:00 Futbol Mundial 12:30 Top 14 14:30 Cricket T20 17:30 Trans World Sport 18:30 PGA European Tour Weekly Review of The Year 19:30 PGA European Tour Weekly 20:00 Inside the PGA 20:30 Top 14 22:30 PGA Tour Highlights 23:30 City Centre Races

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 04:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:00

World Cup of Pool Pro 12 Golfing World Futbol Mundial City Centre Races ICC Cricket 360 Inside the PGA Tour Golfing World Extreme Sailing Extreme Sailing World Pool Masters World Cup of Pool Pro 12 Golfing World Trans World Sport World Pool Masters World Cup of Pool Futbol Mundial Top 14 Highlights Pro 12 Spirit of Golf Golfing World Extreme Sailing Extreme Sailing World Pool Masters

00:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter The Smashes 01:00 European Le Mans Series 03:00 UFC Unleashed 05:00 NHL 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 WWE NXT 09:00 V8 Supercars Highlights 11:00 NHL 13:00 WWE SmackDown 15:00 WWE Vintage Collection 16:00 Prizefighter 19:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter The Smashes 20:00 UFC Unleashed 21:00 UFC 23:00 UAE National Race Day Series

00:50 Somebody Up There Likes Me-PG 02:40 The Bad And The Beautiful-PG 04:35 Silk Stockings-FAM 06:30 Elvis On Tour-PG 08:00 The Harvey Girls-FAM 09:40 Jailhouse Rock-PG 11:15 Elvis On Tour-PG 12:45 Ben-Hur-PG 16:10 The Time Machine-FAM 17:50 Somebody Up There Likes Me-PG

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FOR SALE Toyota Camry GLX full option model 2011 white metallic color, sunroof, alloy rim, rear sensor, cruise control, CD wooden interior etc. (installation possible) 28,000 km, cash price KD 4,450/-. Contact: 66507741. (C 4278) 7-1-2013 Ford Mondeo, maroon color, model 2003, very good condition, price KD 800, kilometer 200,124. Phone: 99839184. (C 4276) 3-1-2012

Learn Holy Quran in perfect way, private tuition available for elders and children by Hafiz-E-Quran. Contact: 66725950. (C 4262) Tuition available for Web Designing & Professional Graphic Designing. Learn to create your own website just in 3 months. Flexible schedule, join us to build your career as Web Designer. Call 60078629, 22403408. (C 4264) 25-12-2012

Christian, Marthomite parents settled in South Africa, invite proposals from parents of professionally qualified youngsters aged between 29 and 32 years, well to do and respected Christian family background, for our daughter 28 years, Commerce graduate, working in South Africa. Contact: Email: (C 4280) 9-1-2012

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Time 0:05 1:00 1:10 1:20 1:30 2:25 2:45 2:55 3:10 3:15 3:45 3:50 3:55 4:00 4:10 4:50 6:05 6:55 7:00 7:35 8:10 8:15 8:25 8:45 9:25 9:35 9:45 9:55 10:00 10:00 10:05 10:30 10:30 10:40 10:45 10:45 10:50 11:30 11:40 12:15 12:20 12:30 12:45 12:55 12:55 13:00 13:10 13:45 13:50 14:00 14:15

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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s ta rs CROSSWORD 64

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Good eye-hand coordination and a sustained effort make almost any task run well. An authority figure may be having a change of mind in the middle of a project today. Do not question the request, just go with it—there is more to this than meets the eye. You may feel you need lots more money, and no matter how much you have, you seem to spend more than you make. Design a budget for yourself today and pay to have an accountant help you stay on this path until you feel you can fly on your own—it is worth the extra money. You may feel like exercising or getting out and breathing a bit of fresh air this evening. Sometime this evening you will realize just how much influence you have on someone and you design a plan to be helpful in some way.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Once work gets underway you have a feeling of confidence and optimism. There is motivation to improve and promote you. This week will bring opportunities for you to balance the budget, work on your goals and detect ways to improve the income. You may however, find someone you meet today is too shifty and sly for your taste. Your thoughts and ideas go against a secretive, authoritative manner and if you must, you are not afraid to tell someone how you feel. Science, philosophy or religion is likely to seem as if it holds the ultimate answers for you. You may enjoy spending time in the library this afternoon. Stay away from power plays with young people and you will enjoy a healing attitude on the home front.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Scottish sea captain who was hired to protect British shipping in the Indian Ocean and then was accused of piracy and hanged (1645-1701). 5. One who tries. 12. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 15. An island of central Hawaii (between Molokai and Kauai). 16. The great hall in ancient Persian palaces. 17. A port in southwestern Scotland. 18. Perceive sound. 19. Income (at invoice values) received for goods and services over some given period of time. 20. Soviet chief of secret police under Joseph Stalin. 22. Widespread genus or herbs or soft-wooded arborescent shrubs cultivated for their showy flowers. 24. Tending to cure or restore to health. 25. Used of a single unit or thing. 26. A ballistic missile that is capable of traveling from one continent to another. 28. The bill in a restaurant. 29. A chronic progressive nervous disorder involving loss of myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers. 31. A hard brittle blue-white multivalent metallic element. 32. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (1902-1984). 36. Red pear-shaped tropical fruit with poisonous seeds. 38. Measuring instrument for indicating speed of rotation. 39. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 41. A state of southwestern India. 42. (Norse mythology) Wife of Loki. 45. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 47. A male human offspring. 48. A port city in southern Kenya on a coral island in a bay of the Indian Ocean. 50. A winged often one-seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple. 52. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 53. 16 ounces. 54. A city in central Mali near the Niger river. 56. (Old Testament) The second patriarch. 59. An alloy of copper and zinc. 60. A unit of apothecary weight equal to an eighth of an ounce or to 60 grains. 63. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 65. A kind of heavy jacket (`windcheater' is a British term). 67. Tall palm of southern India and Sri Lanka with gigantic leaves used as umbrellas and fans or cut into strips for writing paper. 71. Group insurance that entitles members to services of participating hospitals and clinics and physicians. 72. Minute blackish gregarious flies destructive to mushrooms and seedlings. 75. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 76. Being one more than two. 77. A baroque musical composition (usually for a keyboard instrument) with full chords and rapid elaborate runs in a rhythmically free style. 79. An open vessel with a handle and a spout for pouring. 80. Having leadership guidance.

81. Used of persons. 82. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. DOWN 1. A cosmetic preparation used by women in Egypt and Arabia to darken the edges of their eyelids. 2. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 3. An Indian tree of the family Combretaceae that is a source of timber and gum. 4. Imprisonment (especially for a long time). 5. Freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort. 6. Spiny-finned food fishes of warm waters having well-developed teeth. 7. The trait of behaving in an obscene manner. 8. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 9. The face veil worn by Muslim women. 10. Half the width of an em. 11. The capital of Morocco. 12. A member of an American Indian peoples of NE South America and the Lesser Antilles. 13. The 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 14. (informal) Exceptionally good. 21. Either of two large African antelopes of the genus Taurotragus having short spirally twisted horns in both sexes. 23. Indian nun and missionary (born in Albania) dedicated to helping the poor in India (19101997). 27. German states who as chancellor of West Germany worked to reduce tensions with eastern Europe (1913-1992). 30. The quantity a scoop will hold. 33. A deep opening in the earth's surface. 34. Trousers that end at or above the knee. 35. Type genus of the Danaidae. 37. God of love and erotic desire. 40. Port city on southern Honshu on Osaka Bay. 43. Muslims collectively and their civilization. 44. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 46. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 49. Paved with brick. 51. Essential equal to suborder Myomorpha with the Dipodidae excluded. 55. Reproduce someone's behavior or looks. 57. A member of the Indian people of northern California and southern Oregon. 58. A waste pipe that carries away sewage or surface water. 61. Tall perennial herb of tropical Asia with dark green leaves. 62. (botany) Relating to a plant of the family Araceae. 64. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 66. Possessing material wealth. 68. A hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward. 69. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 70. A village in eastern Ireland (northwest of Dublin). 73. Ratio of the adjacent side to the hypotenuse. 74. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 78. A public promotion of some product or service.


Be watchful and calculating with finances the rest of this month. This is a rewarding day and a plus for any type of investments. You will be able to allow yourself the purchase of a desired item later this afternoon. Money comes in, but it goes out just as quickly. You are wise to set aside a part of each paycheck for playtime and then become frugal and wise with the remainder. Your cooperation in working with others in a mutual pursuit has positive results. Your communication skills are improving and you may find that socializing presents a pleasant event this afternoon. You are most persuasive and may find this is a good time to make your requests and wishes known. If you are not involved in a relationship now, you will be soon.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Someone in authority may change some plans and cause you to reorganize and be more conservative at this time. All of this should go rather smoothly. If you are selling a product, this could be one of your biggest days—you can be very persuasive with others. Your ideas will have a good chance of being accepted today as well. You may be visiting a chiropractor or healer for something that others may not understand. You know your body best—do what is best for yourself and keep any unusual methods or means to yourself. Do your research and think things through before moving in the opposite direction of the regular flow of things this afternoon. Unexpected expenses could have you panicky. You will find an answer if you do not panic.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Taking care of business is a major theme where your intentions are today. Any old preholiday problems regarding work and health may be best taken care of or settled now. There is the feeling that your life is improving and plans are in place for you to reach those goals of yours. This is a propitious time to weigh the pros and cons of any business venture or investment. Pay attention to all the details involved. Resist the temptation to live beyond your means during this time! Later today there is an opportunity to jump in and settle a disagreement between two friends—don’t. This situation will occur again and again whether you help or not. These two people need to work out their own problems so that they will remember the lesson.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You like your life organized and you look forward to getting things accomplished. You aim to have a place for everything and everything in its place—and anything that gets in the way, gets on your nerves. Health and work goals take on greater importance for you now. This morning is a good time to begin an exercise routine. You begin now to clear your body of toxins. Concentrate on maintaining a connection with your inner self. You may receive help from a guide or teacher along these lines as well. Be aware of miscommunications, someone you love may not hear as well as he or she used to—patience. Music, dinner away from home, a good book or even a movie may help you to balance your energies this evening.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) Learning experiences can sometime come through the disappointments we experience. Do not get too flustered about a recent disappointment—it could be a blessing in disguise. Emotional rewards are available if you are observant. Long-range and long-distance matters will come to your attention today—perhaps an overseas order has been delayed. You will do what you can to investigate and solve problems. Psychic awareness is possible now—it will help you to stay tuned to your progress and the areas that do or do not need your attention. Solving problems becomes a simple thing this afternoon. Certainly, you will want to relax tonight. Careful . . . it would be easy to overeat with rich food still available in your kitchen after the holidays.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is a lot of passion to accomplish whatever is needed. It is necessary to get rid of some of the things that slow your progress. Look very hard at every cubbyhole, drawer, box or closet in your living and work surroundings to accomplish this cleanup job. You may feel that your energies have been invested in too many different areas— you are ready to streamline your goals. You can complete this task by tackling one area, one day at a time. This afternoon is full of meetings, conferences or serving the public. It is easy for you to get ideas across to others and this is what you will be doing after the noon break. You rush home this evening to play with a recent hobby you have received. This could even mean some fun playtime with a young person.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Work is not where your interests are just now and you could be dragging your feet. Tempers may be short—however, the more at ease you are, the better things will go today. Do some constructive self-talk and renew your enthusiasm—it will pay. Perseverance is crucial during this short time. Rewards may come your way for a job well done. Don’t be shy; say thank you—patience does pay! You have become a prized asset at work and people want to show their appreciation. Being in the spotlight is common to you during this time and you should realize that it is a good time to be humble and see where work can best help others. A social get-together with friends may find you out-of-doors enjoying the beauty around you. You are refreshed.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Courage and stability are important to you. You look for these things in others and you express them in the work you do. This could be a period of material gain. Combined energies turn to value and bring out your unique and unusual qualities. Sales techniques are an advantage right now. You will be making style changes in your attire and perhaps hairstyle during this time. Life is easier than you think—all you have to do is accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, bear the intolerable and be able to smile at anything. You are very expressive and sociable most days and you will find yourself encouraging your friends into some social gathering. Artistic activities are favored as well as just going out to have fun.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Keep in touch with the business financial news. You have a great deal of insight into all of your dealings and must exercise balance and moderation in all of your financial dealings. This will give you some idea of the trends and how you will want to invest. Save for a while—you will then be able to choose and invest wisely. When you entertain, it is as though someone created magic. You will be organizing a social event for authority figures soon and you will find most of your afternoon spent in asking questions about preferences and making arrangements. Be flexible now—you will find some wonderful adventures. This is an excellent time to get to know someone better. Perhaps time spent over a cup of tea or coffee and some good conversation.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Business is productive today. You may finally see some closure on unfinished business. Your current situation may demand some reevaluation or otherwise challenge your ideas. Be careful in the way you act toward employers during this time. It would be wise to get a consultant on a new project that you want to begin. If you take the initiative, a goal that seemed beyond your reach may be obtainable soon. Stay within the established tradition as you proceed with your day. This afternoon you may notice a more harmonious time in the household or surroundings, especially with loved ones. This inner peace may foster a spiritual resurgence. There are some incredibly romantic feelings in you, intensifying a love relationship now.

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Yesterday’s Solution


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Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla






Salmiya Jabriya










Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622




Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967




New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638





Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241



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Issue Time



Expected Weeather for the Next 24 Hours BY Y DA AY:

Viisibility isibil will improve gradually with light to moderate north westerly to light variable later on wind, with speed of 12 - 35 km/h


Cold with variable wind changing to light to moderate south easterly later on wind, with speed of 06 - 28 km/h suspended dust


16 °C


20 °C

12 °C


21 °C

13 °C


21 °C

11 °C


20 °C

12 °C



20 °C

12 °C



19 °C

11 °C

Maidan Hawally



21 °C

13 °C




20 °C

16 °C




22 °C

18 °C

W Hawally



19 °C

12 °C







08/01/2013 0000 UTC

4 DA AY YS FORECAST Temperatures DA AY





Wind Direction

Wind Speed

New Jahra


Wednesday e


Mostly sunny

22 °C

12 °C


15 - 40 km/h

West Jahra




partly cloudy + raising dust

18 °C

08 °C


20 - 45 km/h

South Jahra




temperature will decrease + raising dust

15 °C

03 °C


25 - 45 km/h



temperature will decrease + raising dust

15 °C

03 °C


22 - 42 km/h

North Jahra


North Jleeb






MAX. Temp.

22 °C




MIN. Temp.

07 °C





91 %




33 % S 28 km/h





MAX. Wind

N Khaitan







All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

00 mm

08/01/13 02:51 UTC



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LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Fishburne granted restraining order


aurence Fishburne has been granted a temporary restraining order against an ex-convict who claims to own the actor’s home and went there on New Year’s Day to try to evict him. The order requires Anthony Francis, whose real name is Mark Francisco, to stay 100 yards from the Oscarnominated actor and his wife and daughter. Francisco was sentenced to serve two years in state prison on a cyberstalking conviction in 2010, and court records show he spent time in a state mental hospital for that case. He pleaded no contest to cyberstalking after being found competent to stand trial. Francisco went to the Oscar-nominated actor’s home Jan. 1 and told Fishburne’s wife that they were living there illegally. Police were called and based on Francisco’s agitated demeanor and criminal history, they advised Fishburne to seek a restraining order, the court filings state. Francisco also left a handwritten letter threatening to evict the Fishburnes and called police in recent days to try to get them to leave, the filings state. Attempts to reach Francisco for comment were unsuccessful. Fishburne and his wife, Gina Torres Fishburne, have owned their home for 10 years, his filing states. “This is a case of stalking, and the judge had no problem in issuing a temporary restraining order to stop it,” Fishburne’s attorney Donald Etra said. Francisco has a 1993 conviction for burglary in San Diego, court records show. The order temporary restraining order was granted Thursday. A court hearing on a three-year restraining order is scheduled for Jan 23. Fishburne starred in “The Matrix” series and was nominated for a best actor Academy Award in 1993 for “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” His wife is an actress, appearing in “24” and other television series.

Matt Dallas comes out as gay Gibson arrested, suspected of DUI


olice in Los Angeles have arrested “Dharma and Greg” actor Thomas Gibson on suspicion of driving under the influence. Officer Cleon Joseph says the 50-year-old Gibson was arrested early Sunday after he drove through a barricade set up to keep cars off the course of a night run through downtown. He was booked and released on $15,000 bail. Gibson is known for his roles in the television shows “Criminal Minds. He also played one of the titular characters on the sitcom “Dharma and Greg.” A call to his representative was not immediately returned.

Vergara’s bust up not caused by photo


ofia Vergara’s fiance denies his New Year’s Eve bust up was caused by her posing for a photograph. Nick Loeb was thrown out of exclusive Miami hotspot Story after a heated argument broke out in the VIP area, but claims it was because of club security, rather than his busty lover posing for a photograph with a fan. Nick said problems arose after Sofia wanted to ask a nearby VIP table in the club to back off from their own area in the same section. Nick attempted to escort the ‘Modern Family’ star to the adjacent table area to address the issue, but security stopped him. He told Access Hollywood: “I was not going to send my girlfriend in there alone. What guy would do that? “So I followed her. The security guys let her in, but not me.” He also pointed out the New Year’s party was hosted by promoter Chris Paciello, who Sofia had dated in the 90s. Nick says Sofia interfered when security wouldn’t let him over to the table and she was asked to leave the club. In the fracas, the 40-year-old Columbian actress’ breasts were exposed, leaving her embarrassed in front of other revelers and her 20-year-old son, who was also present. An eyewitness at the time said: “In the early hours, Nick got into a dispute with somebody at a neighboring table. Some pushing and shoving started. “Sofia stepped in to try to calm the situation, but somehow she ended up getting pushed and shoved also. Her strapless dress was torn or pulled down in the melee, exposing her cleavage in front of other people and her son Manolo, who was so offended he left the club. It was crazy.”

JR Ewing set for final Dallas murder mystery


R. Ewing will be killed off in a special episode of ‘Dallas’. The TV villain - played by the late Larry Hagman, who died of cancer in November - will take his final bow in a second ‘Who Killed JR?’ mystery special of the US sitcom. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “We wanted Larry’s legacy to remain beyond this show. We felt that one way would be to mirror the most memorable episode of all times. “ The programme will echo the second most-watched TV episode of all time, ‘Who Killed JR?’, which drew in 83 million American viewers and 20 million Brits when it was first broadcast in the 80s. Fans had waited seven months to discover who had shot evil oil baron J.R., and the new tribute episode will follow the same principle as viewers tune in to find out which of his enemies is responsible for his tragic exit. Larry passed away aged 81 surrounded by his close friends and family, including his on-screen wife and life-long friend Linda Gray. His family said at the time: “Larry was back in his beloved ‘Dallas’, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most. Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. “When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.” The TV special of the ‘Dallas’ reboot will air in March in the US and on Channel 5 later on this year.


att Dallas appeared to come out of the closet on Sunday night. The star of the former ABC Family series “Kyle XY” (20062009) said on his Twitter account that he was engaged to marry his boyfriend musician Blue Hamilton. In addition to a picture of Hamilton lounging on a couch with a dog, Dallas tweeted the following: “Starting off the year with a new fiance, @bluehamilton. A great way to kick off 2013!” Dallas’ publicist did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment. The actor does not appear to have commented publicly on his sexuality before, but the gay news blog “After Elton” reports that Dallas was the target of Perez Hilton, who openly speculated about his sexual orientation. Hilton reportedly dubbed the star “Kyle KY,” in reference to the lubricant. Hilton did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on Dallas’ announcement. Dallas’ tweet follows a string of similar low-key announcements by the likes of Frank Ocean, Zachary Quinto and Jim Parsons, who said they were gay or had relationships with men in personal blogs or as a casual aside in interviews. This trend is a sign of shifting attitudes towards homosexuality. It is in marked contrast to the media-blitz that greeted Ellen DeGeneres more than a decade ago when she announced on the cover of Time that she was a lesbian. In addition to the supernatural show “Kyle XY,” Dallas appeared on the 2009 TV series “Eastwick” and recently joined the cast of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy.”

David and Victoria Beckham to rent a house in London


avid and Victoria Beckham are to rent a property in London. The couple are planning to return to the UK with their four children, Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, 10, Cruz, seven, and 17-month-old Harper, later this year but after looking to buy properties in the upmarket areas of Mayfair, Kensington and Holland Park, the pair have decided not to make such a big purchase while David’s soccer career is still uncertain. A source told The Sun newspaper: “David still has a big interest in Major League Soccer and they both loved living in LA, so they decided it wasn’t time to pay out on another hugely expensive property.” David - who has been linked with clubs in the UK, France and China following his announcement that he is leaving current side Los Angeles Galaxy and Victoria recently enrolled their sons into a £15,000-a-year school in London. A source said: “For David and Victoria, the children come first. They have spent months researching schools and after visiting a few earlier this month, have found one they agree on. “It’s an independent school and will not be fazed by having celebrity children on its books. Both David and Victoria’s families are all delighted too as a return to London means they will see so much more of the children.”

Dappy denies three assault charges in court


-Dubz star Dappy has denied three charges of assault in court. The 25-year-old rapper appeared in Guildford Crown Court, Surrey, wearing a woolly hat with the title of his album ‘Bad Intentions’ on it, over a fight that took place at a Shell petrol station last February. He is accused of attacking Grace Elizabeth Cochran, 18, and Serena Burton, 18, and beat David Jenkins, 23, at the garage before another group of men arrived - leading to an altercation in which the man along with the girls received facial injuries. Dappy - whose real name is Costadinos Contostavlos - denied all charges against him when speaking in the dock. The other men in the dock, dad-of-two Kieran Patrick Vassell, 25, and Kalonji David Stewart, 32, each denied a single count of affray, while another man Alfred James Miller, 28, pleaded guilty to a charge of affray. Dappy’s trial has been adjourned until this morning , where prosecutor Brian Stork will deliver his opening statement against the accused. The N-Dubz star - whose cousin is ‘X Factor’ judge Tulisa appeared in court last May after the incident took place at the garage on Woodbridge Road, Guildford, on February 28 and has pleaded his innocence ever since then. Writing to his fans on Twitter at the time, Dappy said: “Apparently i got arrested 4 talking 2 someones girlfriend in a P station. “Surrey police, i beg u leak that cctv footage u showed me in that stinking interview room just 2 show the world that im completely innocent. “Bunch of liars...Nooooo evidence Love u fans x (sic)”. —Bang Showbiz



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

This undated image released by Ringling Museum shows Paolo Veronese’s ‘Allegory of Painting.’ —AP

Paolo Veronese’s ‘Portrait of a Man’

Paolo Veronese’s ‘Rest on the Flight into Egypt’

Venetian art from 16th century at Ringling Museum


rtist Paolo Veronese captured 16th century Venice in all of its glory: rich people in sumptuous clothing, stunning architecture and vibrant colors. More than 70 of his works are on display at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. The special exhibit - all curated from North American museums - opened Dec 7 and runs through April 14, 2013. Veronese, who was 60 when he died in 1588, is of special significance to the museum. His 1572 painting “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” was the first work of art collected by circus magnate John Ringling - who would later acquire a large collection of Baroque art and Peter Paul Rubens paintings.


That painting is part of the Ringling’s exhibit, which expands throughout three large rooms of the museum. “He’s basically the most elegant painter of 16th century Venice,” said Virginia Brilliant, Ringling Museum’s Curator of European Art. “Veronese never goes out of style.” Brilliant says most of the world’s Veronese paintings are concentrated in European museums, while many collections in Canada and the US have one painting each - so the Ringling’s special exhibit is comprised of those loaned works. Writer Henry James once asserted that Veronese was “the happiest of painters,” Brilliant said. And that’s a pretty fair assessment from the Ringling’s exhibit. Veronese cap-

tured the wealth of the era and the good life. In Veronese’s paintings, chubbycheeked noblemen and angelic ladies are clad in silk and velvet, detailed in colors so nuanced that they look real. Entire families show off their assets in these paintings, with dogs, children and weaponry on display. “Venetian art is all about color and brushwork and light,” said Brilliant. “Looking at them in person, they have a kind of a power you just can’t replicate by looking at a photo.” Veronese didn’t just chronicle the rich. He also created stunning religious masterpieces. The Ringling tried to hang some of these works - which were once on altars and chapels - in similar, heaven-pointing

ways so visitors can gaze upwards and feel like they are in an Italian chapel. One of the exhibit’s most beautiful paintings is “The Dead Christ With Angels,” a fragment of an altarpiece. Loaned to the Ringling from the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, it shows Christ on a cloud, surrounded by three large angels in flowing, vibrantly-hued robes - and several cherubic, naked angel babies. The Ringling also tries to provide context for the details within Veronese’s paintings. Visitors can gaze at the painting of “Venus at her Toilette” and marvel at the brushwork involved in painting the lace pillow - then inspect an actual piece lace towel from the same era. “The fact that it survived at all is

amazing,” Brilliant said, of the cloth. “Imagine if one of your sheets made it 500 years.” Because the exhibit shows Veronese’s works that were done throughout his lifetime, viewers can sense how he evolved as an artist. Sketches, etchings and engravings are also included in the exhibit. The works are on loan from some of the nation’s largest museums including the National Gallery of Art in Washington; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. —AP

German diners feast on ‘trash’ to cut waste

wo socially-aware Berlin women with a culinary flair have given “leftovers for dinner” a fresh twist by organizing communal suppers conjured up from unsold food foraged from markets. By getting creative with whatever fresh and preferably organic unwanted produce they lay their hands on, Sarah Mewes and Sandra Teitge set up Dinner Exchange in the German capital to stoke awareness about food wastage. Around 30 people, who do not necessarily know each other or the pair, dine at one long convivial table on a multi-course vegetarian meal in an atmosphere resembling a dinner party rather than a restaurant’s formality. ‘Guests’ pay a 10-15 euro ($13-20) donation which goes to food-related projects. “We also want to inspire people to be more creative with the leftovers they have in their fridge, to inspire people on a very private level at home to make better use of their budget,” journalist Mewes, 29,

said. She and 30-year-old Teitge, an art curator, have been friends since high school but spent their early years growing up worlds apart on either side of the Berlin Wall. Teitge, who was raised under communism in former East Germany, said although as a child she was not aware of missing out, her upbringing had probably left her with an ingrained aversion to wasting decent food. “There was enough food but we didn’t have a big choice, you ate what was there. My parents... always tried to eat everything and not throw anything away. We always were supposed to finish our plate,” she said. Sharing a passion for cooking, the two put their heads together to find a non-profit joint project just as a German documentary entitled “Taste The Waste” was sparking debate about the amount of food thrown away. Behind that film was Valentin Thurn, who has also helped launch, an online service that last month went nationwide to hook up people with unwanted food to give away with those who can pick it up and make use of it.

Thinking on our feet ‘best’ bit While Dinner Exchange guests may not know each other beforehand, they tend to be a like-minded, educated crowd who share concerns about waste-a recent study showed every German throws away about 235 euros’ worth of food annually. The unusual food and atmosphere seemed to go down well at a recent event. “I try not to waste (food). I always cook something with leftovers and I freeze things because I don’t want to throw them away,” guest Saskia Schaudra said, taking her seat as the gong sounded for dinner. “But I would not know the next step to be more active,” the 32year-old primary school teacher, who is also a

A handout photo released by the Dinner Exchange Berlin association shows guests enjoying a dinner they organized on September 18, 2012 at an art gallery in Berlin. —AFP

friend of Mewes, said, enthusing about the evening’s “family” feel. “I would be happy to stroll over there, to sit down and say ‘hi’, although I don’t know them,” she added. Inspired by a Dinner Exchange run in London by a mutual friend, the Berlin pair began in autumn 2011 initially in a spacious room at Teitge’s flat and have built up agreements with several market traders. Rarely have they been unable to use what they were given, they said. They collect the food a day before the monthly dinners meaning they have to think on their feet as they can only draw up what they hope will be a mouth-watering and inspirational menu once they see what they have. But it’s a challenge they relish. “That’s the best part,” Mewes enthuses. “If we were preselective (in our food choices) that would, kind of, ruin the creative process of it,” the financial journalist, who lives in London, said, adding they tried to give their menus a theme. Her own roots in the western border region with France inspired the buffet-style dinner of peach crepes served with four bowls of different hearty salads. With just a two-ring stove, the pair prepped the food in a cramped office at a trendy contemporary art space in a 19th century former hospital building in Berlin’s cosmopolitan Kreuzberg district. Their food has been dubbed “freegetarian”, based on the term “freegan” for people who eat discarded edible food, and vegetarian, as their meals shun meat and fish. They now plan to cast their net much wider with a dinner scheduled for Tel Aviv in late February, indulging a love of the Middle East and drawn by what they expect to be a receptive audience. “I think it’s a good idea to make people more aware,” said another guest, Charlotte Michaelis, who works in real estate and who at home eats food past its best-before date if it is unspoilt. The duo’s leftover dining is just one of the ways unsold food can be recycled at the end of trading-alongside other anti-waste outlets or as animal feed. Mewes and Teitge say theirs and similar projects seek to reintroduce a “basic” ideaeating seasonal, local food-which was the norm for their grandparents, and in East Germany where residents had little choice.”Now we need books, political themes, groups and social activities that bring some very basic, rational economic concepts back on to the scene,” Mewes said.”It’s a very strange process.” —AFP

This image provided by RR Auction shows a photograph marked “not to be published” of a teenage Diana Spencer before she became Princess of Wales, with a young friend seated beside her. —AP

Photo of teen princess-to-be Diana set for auction


photo marked “not to be published” that shows a teenage Diana Spencer before she became Princess of Wales, with a young friend seated beside her, will be featured in an auction this month in New Hampshire. The photograph might never have been seen publicly until now, RR Auction said. Stamped February 1981 on the back, the photo was taken around the time Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer ended months of speculation and announced they were to be married. The photo came from the Caren Archive, a major private collection of rare newspapers and other publications, and was purchased seven years ago from the Daily Mirror newspaper. Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction, said Saturday that neither the auction house nor Caren Archive, knew the identity of the young man in the photo. However, he said he understood that a British newspaper had been able to identify him. British media have identified the young man as Adam Russell, the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. In 1981, Diana first told news of her engagement to her friends, and then moved out of her apartment Feb 23 and into Buckingham Palace. What was widely labeled the wedding of the century took place on July 29, 1981, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1996, and Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997. Another Diana photo to be included in the auction is an original 1988 news photo of the princess observing a marriage conflict resolution seminar. The auction is scheduled for Jan. 17-24 in Amherst. —AP


lifestyle M U S I C



film critics

New York circle doesn’t stray from script O

scar season, in case you hadn’t heard, is in full swing. And that means movie stars globe-trot from red carpet to soiree to awards ceremony, collecting accolades. Monday night, some swung by the New York Film Critics Circle dinner at the Crimson Club. The prizes had been announced earlier, and featured one major surprise: Rachel Weisz was named best actress for the tiny drama The Deep Blue Sea. Other honorees were more or less expected. Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden manhunt thriller Zero Dark Thirty was named best picture, and she was dubbed best director. Daniel Day-Lewis earned best-actor honors for playing president Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, and his on-screen spouse Sally Field was there as best supporting actress. Matthew McConaughey - who just welcomed third

child Livingston with wife Camila - was there as best supporting actor for the comedies Bernie and Magic Mike. “The baby is doing great,” McConaughey said before the ceremony. “Ten fingers, 10 toes.” He added that he “already finished Dallas Buyers Club,” the film loosely based on the life of AIDS patient Ron Woodruff. He was photographed looking extremely gaunt for that role. But although he still looked thin, “I put on 25 pounds,” he said.

quick “sure.” “I was able to humble myself to who these guys were. They’re both outsiders. I had a ball diving into their obsessions,” said McConaughey, thanking the audience. Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain, who is in the Broadway production of The Heiress, walked in right before dinner started. “There’s something humbling about doing theater,” said Chastain, who is up for a Golden Globe on Sunday for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty. “It keeps me grounded,” she said, glammed up in Oscar de la Renta. Zero Dark Thirty’s Bigelow is an awards season veteran. “I used to get really nervous,” said the Oscar winner for director and best movie in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. “I’m really shy. The last time I did the circuit, it beat it out of me,” said Bigelow, who is also up for a Golden Globe.

Best Supporting Actress Sally Fields

Best First Feature honoree director David France

Best Supporting Actor winner Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress winner Rachel Weisz “Tonight I’m here because I did work that you liked. It feels good,” he told the audience in his long acceptance speech that involved anecdotes about working with Mike director Steven Soderbergh. Who knew that McConaughey wrote Soderbergh ten-page emails analyzing his character, lead stripper Dallas, and Soderbergh would respond with a

And even though she was the first woman to win best director at the Academy Awards, she calls this local evening pivotal. “It’s one of the highest honors I can imagine.” Weisz is part of the nominee entourage, but is decidedly laid-back about it. “I haven’t done anything apart from this,” she said Monday night. “I’m going to the Globes.” She’s modest, too. “I’m not going to win,” Weisz said. “It’s relaxing. ... I can go and have a really good time.” And while she walked the red carpet solo, husband Daniel Craig-otherwise known as

Best Director winner, Kathryn Bigelow, right, and writer and producer Mark Boal arrive at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner. — AP photos Bond, James Bond-joined her for the seated dinner. He drank Heineken. Everyone noticed. Field was candid accepting her prize, and adorably giddy. “I don’t read reviews,” said the Globe nominee. “The fact that I’ve won this award twice in my life so far, I thank you so much. Even though I didn’t read your reviews.” The speeches ranged from charming to weird to funny. Presenter James Gandolfini talked about loose bowels (don’t ask) and debauched actors, and Chris Rock, who presented a prize to documentarian Ken Burns for his film Central Park Five, lamented that “you can’t do a bunch of jokes about a movie with rape in it.” Rock did riff a bit in his short speech: “I liked Lincoln. Free the slaves. I can’t wait for Lincoln 2.” — usatoday

French actress Emmanuelle Riva

Longtime ‘GH’ actor joins ‘Young and the Restless’


here’s heartbreak ahead for some “General Hospital” fans. Steve Burton, who played Jason Morgan on the ABC soap opera for nearly 21 years and left the show last fall to relocate his family to Tennessee, is joining the cast of “The Young and the Restless.” Burton made the announcement Monday on CBS’ “The Talk.”

File photo shows actor Steve Burton at the Disney ABC panel for ‘General Hospital’ in Beverly Hills, Calif. —AP He said in an interview with The Associated Press that the opportunity came from a recent developing relationship with Sony Corp. where he and actor James Franco (and former recurring “General Hospital” guest star) have been trying to develop a prime-time series. “They asked if I was ready to come back to daytime and ... what could they do to make that work,” said Burton. He said he wanted his family to stay in Tennessee and he needed a flexible schedule to spend

time with them. “I get to have the best of both worlds and fly back and forth” from Los Angeles, he said. “I wasn’t really expecting it.” On “Y&R,” Burton will play Dylan McAvoy, an ex-soldier with a secret. The 42-year-old begins shooting Tuesday. His first episode is slated to air Jan 29. “It is a little nerve-racking because I don’t really know who the character is. The cool thing is I know a lot of people who are there already. The soap world is a small world,” he said. Another appeal for Burton is that former “General Hospital” executive producer Jill Phelps is now at the helm at CBS’ “Y&R,” which has ranked as the No. 1 daytime drama for almost 25 years. Burton understands some of his fans who may have been hoping he would return to “General Hospital,” will be disappointed that he’s joining “Y&R,” but says it was time to do something different. “To play a character for that long is amazing, but as an actor you want to do something new,” he said. “I get to play a whole new character and a whole different life.” One thing he’s not sure will change is the name of his band, Port Chuck, made up of “General Hospital” actors Scott Reeves, Brandon Barash and Bradford Anderson. The name is a play on the name Port Charles, the fictional setting of the soap opera. Will the band need to incorporate Genoa City, where “The Young and the Restless” takes place? “Most people who don’t know us anyway are like ‘Pork Chop? What the heck is Port Chop? No, Port Chuck!’ As of now there are no plans to change the name,” he said. —AP

US actress Kerry Washington, from left, US actor Jamie Foxx, US movie director Quentin Tarantino, Austrian born actor Christoph Waltz and US actor Samuel L Jackson pose during a photo call ahead of yesterday’s premiere of the movie ‘Django Unchained’ in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. —AP

Slavery far worse than brutal ‘Django’



uentin Tarantino says the brutal abuse of black slaves shown in his latest movie “Django Unchained” pales in comparison to the violence that was commonplace during the slavery era. The director told reporters yesterday ahead of the launch of the movie in

Germany that “the truth, or the reality, was a thousand times worse than what I showed.” Tarantino said he wouldn’t have been able to show the full extent of violence perpetrated by American slave owners. The R-rated movie stars Jamie Foxx as a slave going on a killing

spree of white slave owners and overseers just before the Civil War. The cast also includes Kerr y Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L Jackson. Tarantino’s movie was released in US theaters Dec 25. —AP

‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ cuts ‘The Hobbit’ down to size


lasher flick “Texas Chainsaw 3D” stole the top slot at the North American box office this weekend, chopping “The Hobbit” from its threeweek perch in first place, figures showed Monday. The latest offering in the horror franchise, first launched in 1974 but now in 21st century 3D gore, took in $21.7 million in its debut weekend, the first of the New Year, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. Not far behind in second was Quentin Tarantino’s brutal Western “Django Unchained,” which earned $20 million on its second week. The film, which has already earned five Golden Globe nods, is tipped as a top Oscars contender. That left “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the long-awaited first part of

Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy, in third. It racked up $17.5 million in its fourth week, for a total of $263.8 million so far. Another Oscartipped movie, “Les Miserables,” took fourth spot, raking in in $16 million at the box office in its second week in theaters. The all-important Academy Award nominations are due to be announced Thursday, January 10, ahead of the Oscars show itself on February 24. In fifth place, “Parental Guidance,” a comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler looking after their grandchildren, earned $9.7 million. Tom Cruise action blockbuster “Jack Reacher,” in which the Hollywood A-lister’s character investigates fictional shootings by a trained military sniper, came in sixth with week-

end earnings of $9.2 million. And Judd Apatow’s comedy “This is 40,” billed as a sort-of sequel to the 2007 film romcom “Knocked Up,” stayed just behind with $8.4 million. In eighth place was Steven Spielberg’s political drama “Lincoln”another Oscar hopeful which topped the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods-earning $5.4 million on its ninth weekend. “The Guilt Trip,” about a mother-son road trip starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan, earned $4.4 million, good enough for ninth place. Joining the top 10 for the first time, with just over $4 million in box office receipts, was “Promised Land,” a drama starring Matt Damon and exploring the booming but controversial drilling process known as fracking. — AFP

Hollywood star Tom Cruise greets fans upon his arrival at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, yesterday. Cruise is here to promote his new film ‘Jack Reacher.’ — AP


lifestyle M U S I C



Winehouse killed by alcohol poisoning


second inquest into the death of troubled British singer Amy Winehouse confirmed yesterday that she died of accidental alcohol poisoning. The same verdict of death by misadventure was given at a re -hearing of the inquest which was ordered after it emerged that the first, in October 2011, was heard by a coroner who did not have the correct qualifications. Grammy award winner Winehouse was found dead at her north London home on July 23, 2011, following years of drug and alcohol addiction. She was 27. The inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in London heard the same evidence as the original inquest. Winehouse had 416 milligrams of alcohol per decilitre of blood in her system-more than five times the British legal driving limit of 80mg. Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said the soul singer died from “alcohol toxicity”, adding that it was “a level of alcohol commonly associated with fatali-

File photo shows singer Amy Winehouse performs during the Rock in Rio music festival in Arganda del Rey, on the outskirts of Madrid. (Inset) Amy Winehouse during a break in her trial outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London. — AP/ AFP

ty”. She said Winehouse “voluntarily consumed alcohol” and added that “two empty vodka bottles were on the floor” beside her bed when her body was discovered. The original coroner Suzanne Greenaway resigned from her job a month after giving the Winehouse verdict when an investigation revealed that she did not have the requisite experience for the role. Greenaway, who had previously worked as a lawyer in Australia, was appointed to the job by her husband, Andrew Reid, who was coroner for inner north London, in July 2009. Under British law she would have required five years’ experience as a qualified medical or legal practitioner in Britain to become a coroner-neither of which she had. Reid, who was suspended last year, resigned from his position in December 2012 after the Office for Judicial Complaints launched disciplinary proceedings against him. The singer’s family did not seek a second inquest. In England, inquests are held to examine sudden or unexplained deaths and can record any one of a number of possible verdicts including suicide or misadventure. They do not apportion blame. — AFP

David Bowie releases first song in decade B

ritish rock icon David Bowie broke a decade-long musical silence yesterday, unveiling a new single to coincide with his 66th birthday and announcing that he will release an album in March. The outlandish star surprised fans by posting a video for the single, entitled “Where are We Now?”, on his website (, and it will also be available to download on iTunes. The new album, “The

In this file picture taken on September 24, 2002 British singer David Bowie performs during a concert at the Zenith in Paris. —AFP Fact Box 1- During the 1960s David Bowie was part of various bands from whose shadows he emerged as a solo singer-songwriter. “Space Oddity”, the science-fiction single marked the real beginning of his career, reached the Top Ten in Britain in 1969 but did not become an American radio staple until some years later, though Bowie had timed its original release to coincide with the Apollo 11 Moon mission. 2- His first major album, “The Man Who Sold the World” (1970), a hybrid of folk, art rock, and heavy metal, did not turn him into a household name. Not until “Hunky Dory ” (1971) did he hit on the notion of presenting his chameleon-like stage persona as an identity rather than the lack of one. 3- His rock-star fantasy “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” (1972) was closely followed by “Diamond Dogs” (1974) and the disco romanticism of “Young Americans” (1975) released less than a year apart. By 1977 Bowie had ditched his idiosyncratic version of the mainstream for the avant-garde austerities of “Low”, a collaboration in Berlin with Brian Eno. As music, Low and its sequels, “Heroes” (1977) and “Lodger” (1979), would prove to be some of Bowie’s most influential and lasting, serving as a blueprint for a later generation of technorock. 4- In the 1980s, Bowie delivered “Scary Monsters” (1980) and “Let’s Dance” (1983), which produced three American Top 20 hits. 5- Later albums “Never Let Me Down” (1987) and “Outside” from 1995 appeared just before Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. His last album was “Reality” in 2003. “Where Are We Now?”, produced by his long-term collaborator Tony Visconti, is the new single which will be part of the album “The Next Day” due out in March. —Reuters

Next Day”, will be released on March 11. Bowie has been a relative recluse in recent years, having released no new music since his last album, “Reality”, in 2003, and having not performed live since 2006. He underwent a medical procedure for a blocked artery in 2004. “January the 8th is of course David Bowie’s birthday, a timely moment for such a treasure to appear as if out of nowhere,” a statement on his website said. “Throwing shadows and avoiding the industry treadmill is very David Bowie despite his extraordinary track record,” it added. The song was written by Bowie and recorded in New York, the statement said. The new album will contain 14 tracks and there will be a deluxe version with three bonus tracks. Bowie, whose real name is David Jones, reportedly spent most of the past decade living in New York with his wife, the Somali-American model Iman, and their daughter. “In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking... a new record... who would have ever thought it, who’d have ever dreamed it!” added the statement. The video for the single harks back to Bowie’s time in Berlin in the 1970s and features his face projected onto the body of a puppet. A young woman’s face appears on another puppet next to him. He is seen looking at an auto repair shop beneath an apartment where he lived in the German city-which was then divided into West and East Berlin-during a period that produced the trilogy of albums “Low”, “Heroes” and “Lodger”. The video was directed by his long-term collaborator, artist Tony Oursler. Bowie’s son, the director Duncan Jones, who was formerly known as Zowie Bowie and went on to win awards for his film “Moon”, paid tribute to his father’s new song. “Would be lovely if all of you could spread the word about da’s new album. First in ten years, and its a good ‘un!” Jones wrote on Twitter. Bowie’s androgynous style and outrageous costumes-often worn as part of his alter egos Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane in the 1970s-shook up the world of rock ‘n’ roll and catapulted him to worldwide stardom. He has sold an estimated 140 million albums over a career spanning almost 50 years. London’s Victoria and Albert Museum will celebrate his career with an exhibition that also opens in March, featuring handwritten lyrics, set designs, more than 60 original costumes, photographs and instruments. Among the outfits on show will be the 1972 Ziggy Stardust bodysuit, the striped bodysuit used during the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour and a Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen. Bowie has previously denied that he had any role in curating the show. — AFP

Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma poses with actors Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapoor during a press conference for the forthcoming Hindi film ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ produced and directed by Vishal Bharadwaj in Mumbai late January 7, 2013. —AFP

Korean pop icon Rain confined to barracks to ‘repent’ S

outh Korean pop icon Rain has been confined to barracks for a week, the defense ministry said yesterday, after his dating put him on the wrong side of the country’s strict military service rules. “Under a decision by the disciplinary commission of his unit, Rain will be confined to his barracks to spend seven days of

repentance,” a defense ministry spokesman said. The 30-year-old singer is a little over halfway through the two-year military service that is mandatory for all able-bodied South Korean men. The country’s well-oiled celebrity gossip machine went into overdrive last week when it was confirmed that Rain had begun dating Kim

Best First Feature honoree director David France

Tae-Hee, 32, a TV drama star with a massive following in Japan. But fan excitement was tempered by questions over how the couple had managed numerous reported dates. During their military service men are given little free time, even for family visits. “He breached regulations against having private meetings while on official duty,” the ministry spokesman said. The punishment was one of the lightest options open to the disciplinary committee. Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is one of the biggest names in the world of K-pop, which commands a huge following in South Korea, across much of Asia and beyond. After tabloid pictures of his dates with Kim emerged, the defence ministry’s website was bombarded with messages calling for him to be disciplined. Some suggested he be forced to repeat his military service like the “Gangnam Style” star Psy, who was made to serve twice after it emerged he had furthered his showbiz interests during his first stint. Military service is taken extremely seriously in South Korea, which remains technically at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty. Apart from those with physical disabilities, exemptions are rare and anyone refusing to serve-for moral or religious reasons-faces an automatic jail term. Celebrities are frequently caught attempting to evade military service for fear they might be forgotten by their fans while in uniform. Just as he was about to be called up in 2002, KoreanAmerican pop singer Steve Yoo gave up his Korean nationality and became a naturalised US citizen. The South Korean government considered it an act of desertion and he was deported and banned from returning for life.— AFP

Depardieu fails to appear in Paris court for drunk driving G

erard Depardieu, embroiled in a high-profile tax row that saw the hulking French star take Russian nationality and angrily vow to quit France, failed to turn up yesterday in a Paris court to face drunk driving charges. The “Cyrano de Bergerac”, “Green Card” and “Asterix & Obelix” star, has already pleaded guilty to driving his scooter while intoxicated and would have escaped with a small fine and penalty points on his driving licence. But now, having failed to show up for sentencing, Depardieu faces a criminal court hearing which may lead to a fine of 4,500 euros ($5,900) and a possible prison sentence of up to two years. The 64-year-old, whose flight into tax exile has embarrassed French President Francois Hollande, was arrested in Paris in November after falling off his scooter, which he had been riding with more than three times the legal amount of alcohol in his blood. Depardieu on Monday attended one of football’s top award ceremonies, the Ballon d’Or, in Switzerland, after spending the weekend in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin met him and he was given him a Russian passport. Taking Russian nationality was the latest volley in a highly publicised row between Depardieu and the French Socialist government over its attempt to raise the tax rate on earnings of more than one million euros to 75 percent. Speaking to French television Monday from Zurich, Depardieu insisted he was still French. “I have a Russian passport, but I am French and will certainly have dual Belgian citizenship,” he said, claiming to be a “citizen of the world”. Depardieu was given a rapturous welcome in Russia. On Saturday, when he picked up his passport, he met President

Vladimir Putin at the strongman’s sumptuous Black Sea dacha in the resort town of Sochi. TV footage showed the pair hugging each other and sharing friendly banter over a meal. Depardieu on Sunday visited the Mordovia region, where he was greeted by folk dancers and the governor suggested that the Oscarnominated star might set up home in the region best known for its network of prison camps. When Depardieu first announced he would leave the country to avoid the tax, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded the move “pathetic”-prompting the actor to threaten to give up his French citizenship. France’s top constitutional authority, the Constitutional Council, struck down the tax rate on December 29, but French authorities have vowed to push ahead with the tax. Hollande, who defeated right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency in May, is struggling to balance France’s budget amid a stagnant economy and rising unemployment. Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu has in recent years become as famed for his erratic behaviour as for his acting talents. In August, he was cautioned after punching a car driver who had forced him to swerve on his scooter, and in 2011 he generated global headlines when he urinated in a bottle aboard a plane as it prepared to take off from Paris for Dublin. Some experts said Depardieu’s recent behaviour would almost certainly have an impact on his career. “It is going to hurt him because it’s getting to be a lot,” said Virginie Spies, a media analyst at the University of Avignon. “I wouldn’t have said that two or three days ago, but after Russia, it’s getting complicated.” But others said the French public had

become accustomed to Depardieu’s antics and would continue to support him at the box office. “Ridicule does not kill, it will not kill him professionally”, said Alain Grasset, film critic for newspaper Le Parisien. Depardieu has “a lot of film projects to come. He is very sought after, omnipresent. Cinema cannot do without him,” he said. —AFP

FIFA President Joseph Blatter and French actor Gerard Depardieu arrive at the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on Monday. —AFP

David Bowie releases first song in decade



People stand in front of a designed house in Dresden, eastern Germany on January 7, 2013. The houses are a famous destination for tourists. (Inset) A giraffe made of stones is seen at a designed house in Dresden. —AFP photos

Japan finds Tang Dynasty copy of Wang Xizhi work A

n extremely rare copy of a work by fourth century Chinese calligraphy legend Wang Xizhi has been unearthed in Japan, the first such discovery in four decades, Tokyo National Museum said yesterday. No original works survive, despite their having been treasured by Chinese emperors throughout history for their contribution to the development of the delicate art form. However, Wang’s innovative style was so influential that Chinese courts creat-

ed precise replicas of his writings more than a millennium ago, some of which are held by Japan as national treasures. “This is a significant discovery for the study of Wang Xizhi’s work,” the museum, which will display it from January 22 to March 3, said in a statement. The writing, owned by an individual in Japan whose identity was not disclosed, shows 24 Chinese characters in three lines on a piece of paper roughly 26 centimeters by 10 cen-

timeters (10 inches by 4 inches). It was long thought to be the work of an ancient Japanese nobleman calligrapher, but a recent review by Jun Tomita, Chinese calligraphy expert at the museum, has determined that it was an expertly-made copy of Wang’s writing. The page appears to be part of a letter and includes phrases known to be used by the master calligrapher. “I am tired everyday. I am living only for you,” part of the script

says. It also includes the names of his relatives including his son, the museum said. The content of the writing, its style, copying technique, and other factors indicate the copy was made during the Tang Dynasty in the seventh to eighth century by the emperor’s court, the museum said. It was likely brought out of China by Japanese commercial or diplomatic missions visiting their powerful continental neighbor during the same era, the museum said. —AFP

In this undated image released by The Art Loss Register, Christopher Marinello, Executive Director & General Council of The Art Loss Register, holds a Henri Matisse painting, “Le Jardin” 1920. — AP

Matisse painting stolen in 1987 recovered in UK This handout picture released from Tokyo National Museum yesterday shows a copy of a work by fourth century Chinese calligraphy legend Wang Xizhi. —AFP


painting by Henri Matisse has been recovered a quarter century after it was stolen from a Swedish museum by a sledgehammer-wielding thief. The Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen, missing and looted art, says “Le Jardin” was found when a British dealer checked

the picture against the group’s database before selling it. Christopher Marinello, a lawyer working with the London-based register, said British dealer Charles Roberts said he have acquired the painting from an elderly collector in Poland. Marinello said yesterday the painting, val-

ued at about $1 million, would be returned to Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. The painting was snatched from the gallery in May 1987. Marinello said it was up to Swedish police to decide whether to try to track down the thieves. — AP

Arabtec to build Abu Dhabi Louvre for $654 million


consortium led by Dubai-based Arabtec Holding will build the Louvre Abu Dhabi art gallery for $654 million, the developers of the much-delayed project announced yesterday. Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company said construction would start immediately with the aim of opening the museum in 2015, three years later than originally planned. The

contract was awarded to an Arabtec-led joint venture with Spanish company Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi LLC “following a competitive tendering process,” it said in a statement. “The contract, valued at 2.4 billion dirhams (around $654 million), signifies a major milestone in the progress of the Louvre Abu Dhabi,” it added. Oil-rich Gulf emirate Abu Dhabi has paid around

$1.3 billion to use the Louvre name for 30 years and to tap the renowned Paris museum for artworks and expertise during this period. The deal had stirred a debate in the French art world with critics saying the Louvre is selling its soul as they question Abu Dhabi’s treatment of dissidents and immigrant workers employed in the construction of the project. The Abu Dhabi Louvre building has

been designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Abu Dhabi has launched an ambitious development plan, Abu Dhabi 2030, aimed at modernizing the emirate and diversifying its economy. Despite the global financial crisis and its severe impact on neighboring Dubai, construction has continued in Abu Dhabi, although at a much slower pace than planned. — AFP

9 Jan  

Kuwait Times

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