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Criminality on the rise in Kuwait




More than 100 perish in Syria new ‘massacre’

Rooney shines Utd advance in FA Cup

47 Max 20º Min 05º

NO: 15692- Friday, January 18, 2013

Saviors turn killers

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IN AMENAS: This undated picture shows a road sign near the In Amenas gas field, jointly operated by British oil giant BP, Norway’s Statoil and state-run Algerian energy firm Sonatrach, in eastern Algeria near the Libyan border. Algerian troops surrounded Islamists holding foreign hostages at the gas field in a deadly attack that left at least 50 people dead. — AFP

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Local Spotlight

Kuwait’s my business

By John P Hayes


ack “home” recently in the states, I discovered how I really feel about Kuwait when one of my favorite nieces asked me, “Is there anything nice over there?” By “over there” she was referring, of course, to Kuwait. Her question stung me, first because of the way she emphasized the word “nice,” as if to say nothing could possibly be nice in Kuwait, and then because I felt insulted, even though I knew she’d never purposely insult me. I answered her question, but the internal processing of my feelings distracted me. And that’s when I realized that I consider Kuwait my “home.” Doesn’t that makes sense for a guy who writes a column titled Kuwait’s My Business? I choose to live here This doesn’t mean that I think Kuwait is “perfect,” anymore than I think the USA is “perfect,” but if I’m willing to accept Kuwait’s imperfections (even while hoping for improvements) I expect non-residents (especially those who’ve never even visited Kuwait) to be equally as tolerant. Of course, there’s the larger issue: I don’t have to live in Kuwait; I choose to live here. I keep coming back. Therefore, if you insult Kuwait, you insult me, because you’re questioning my judgment. What time do you eat dinner? But then, there’s perspective. We are creatures of our environment. Growing up in America we always heard that everyone wants to move to America, and some people risk their lives to get there. In fact, most of our ancestors came from abroad for example, my grandparents came from Italy, Germany and Ireland. Even if they don’t want to move to America, people

Do you know what’s nice about Kuwait? want to visit America because - well, it’s “nice”. Or it’s what people believe is nice. I am not suggesting it’s not nice, but I am suggesting that we consider broadening our definition of nice. And you can’t do that without experiencing a different environment. If you grow up eating dinner at 5 pm you think that’s what everyone does. If you grow up eating dinner at 9 pm you think that’s what everyone does. Until you visit Spain; they come out for dinner at midnight! Nice is all about perspective. As a kid in Ohio, a snow-covered driveway on a school day morning was extra nice. But as a father in Philadelphia who shoveled mountains of snow, it’s not nice. Sunshine is nice when you want to enjoy the beach and ocean, but not so nice when the doctor says you’ve got skin cancer. Nice is a moving target. What’s nice about Kuwait? I bet you’ve read this far only to find out how I answered my niece. You want to know what I think is nice over here? Conveniently, I’m out of space for this week’s column, but I’ll make you a deal. If you send me a message and tell me what you think is nice about Kuwait, I’ll tell you what I said as I continue to write Kuwait’s My Business. Dr John P Hayes is inspiring 60 future leaders by teaching the Kuwait Leadership Mastery program. He’s the head of Business Administration at GUST where he also teaches marketing. Through the years he’s worked with more than 100 franchised brands internationally. Contact him at, or via Twitter @drjohnhayes.

In my view By John O’Neill


here do you work? It could be in retail, in banking, or for a Ministry. Perhaps you work at home raising children - the hardest job of all and one that carries no salary. Incidentally it always amuses me when some lady contestant on Western quiz shows is asked ‘what do you do?’ and replies ‘oh, I’m just a housewife Michael’. There’s a whole invisible economy there in the word - just - one which we often discuss at KMBS Business School. Anyway, wherever you work, or however you look for work, you are constantly making decisions, often in a hurry and with limited resources. When our options are restricted in this way, it is all the more important that we consciously use our decision-making skills. We could be living with the consequences of these decisions for a very long time - yet we probably pick a movie a lot more carefully. Sometimes we let the decision to work out itself, or the situation drifts on until we really are left with not much of a choice. . Let us say you are a coffee shop manager. ‘’s getting colder. I wonder if people would like soup. Must remember to talk to the area manager. Might be a problem with bowls, could use mugs. I wonder how many mugs we’ve got.’ As you muse, the weeks sail by until it is not cold any more. That’s what a missed opportunity looks like. We’re probably all still full of New Year resolve to plan, list, review, spend less on selfhelp books or whatever. Let us see what a good template for decision making might be. I invite you to consider four tests for your preliminary decision - actually it reminds me to set up a fishing net properly. Does it go deep enough? Is this decision only dealing with surface issues or does it go deep and resolve any underlying concerns? It is not effective simply to paper over the cracks for a short while. Our coffee shop manager really feels the staff would benefit from Customer Service and English Language training. She or he identifies a good training center in Kuwait, and starts waiting for the area manager’s approval. So far, so good. Meanwhile the staff member who already has the strongest skills is kept on the frontline where they rapidly become stressed and resentful. This is dealing with the immediate need but not the basic problem. Clearly, this is a case of short-term superficial thinking. Have I realized how far it will carry? What are the knock-on domino effects for the organization, internal

The decision maker’s fishing net and external? Am I setting a precedent here? Thinking about the staff involved, are they satisfied? Did I in fact consult these people to win their support? Let us say you are a super-keen new training manager out to make your mark. ‘Everyone can always improve their English Language, right? Let’s send’em all off to a training center. I’ll concentrate now on the micro’s of pricing, timetable etc.’ Our friend is dismayed to find that some local managers do not want to release their staff, while other people wail they should have been included. Plus, the decision is not communicated properly to the affected staff - by the time a whole chain of people have passed on the news, each putting their own spin on it, what people are hearing is ‘the new training guy wants everyone to get IELTS level 9.’ Can I pull it in? On paper it may look fine but can you see it through to a successful conclusion? Or will it be unworkable in practical terms because of time considerations, resources issues and staffing constraints? In the previous case, our training manager should have moved beyond ‘training is a great idea’ to consider which specific skills are needed for each individual and how long this will take to achieve. Or conversely, what is a realistic training goal for all parties to commit to within the current parameters of time and budget. Once staff development is seen as an ongoing process, then long-term customized training plans can be agreed. There are no quick fixes. Are there unexpected consequences? Have you thought out all possible outcomes? When we innovate, it is important to be able to anticipate. This one could apply at home. ‘Look dear, a course for Young Shoppers. Noor and her friends would love that. It would help their schoolwork so much.’ Because Young Shopper is now the ‘cool’ course, your teenagers want to spend lots of time on their assignments and are now planning a career in retail. That’s fine, except now they are asking their High School teachers (and you) about courses in marketing and business, an area which they had previously overlooked. This means you also have ‘homework’ to do to make sure you are giving them the best advice, guiding them through our modern overload of ‘facts’ which are mere speculation, are incomplete or are part of some broader agenda.

Mystery behind Mothers- in-law By Muna Al-Fuzai


very newly married feels worried about what her mother-in-law may say or do after marriage. There is a sort of mystery about mothers-in-law everywhere in the world, not just in Arab countries. However, in this part of the world, mothers-in-law seem to be almost a taboo subject and any mention could lead to argument, fights and possibly even a divorce for the newly married if they dare express an unpalatable opinion or criticism. The bottomline here is that mothers-in-law are not the right subject for any newly married couple to discuss. After one of our newly married friends picked up a big quarrel with her husband, whom she otherwise loves very much, on account of her mother-in-law, it came up as a hot subject of discussion on a cold evening at a café. We wondered, as wives who have been married for years now, if it was wise at all to express an opinion about our mothers-in-law in front of our husbands, particularly for women who are newly married. After all, she is the woman who carried him for nine months and took care of him, nurtured him, brought him up to be good enough to marry you. So, if even that is not enough for you to think of her as a wonderful person, then remember that as far as your husband is considered, she is the one woman he would care for the most - his woman of all women. The idea hardly sounded pleasant to our friend who claimed that the fact that she was his mother was fate and the fact that she took care of him was part of her duty as a mother; so what is special about it? One more idea that came up during our tete-a-tete at the café was whether we are under any obligation to remain all sugar and saccharine towards our mothers-in-law and suffer them even if they are mean to us or cross the line, interfering in our lives all the time? I think we are under no such obligation and need not pretend but it would do us no harm to show the mother-in-law some courtesy and kindness. Your mother-in-law is the one person who will always remind you that she took care of your husband for years. For years, she was the one woman he loved, and was rather the first woman he fell in love with. The fact remains that all men look for their mothers in their wives, one way or another. He continues to depend on her for some kindness and is always seeking her forgiveness for his mistakes, big or small. Some wives understand that and at times treat their husband as a child and at another time as a man. Others fail to do so and end up with fights and confusion. In our Arab countries, the mother is highly respected and appreciated and no marriage can happen without her blessings or approval and support for rituals and participation in preparations. I think the same thing applies to the Asian communities, especially the Indians. There is no harm in being nice to others, and if one can be nice to strangers, then I guess your mother-inlaw deserves some of that nicety. Maybe, we should not always think that something fishy is on when the mother-in-law speaks. She is only competing for her favorite man, whom you happened to have married. I think mothers-in-law are the sweetest on the earth and they should be thanked for having taken care of our husbands for many years till they delivered them to us, the wives. We need to recall that mothers-in-law are the only women who love our men unconditionally.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

Luck and destiny By Badrya Darwish


uck and destiny are things we have little control upon. They affect our lives in a humongous way but none of us has any control over them, be it a king or a beggar, rich or poor, white or black. It does not matter what your race, religion or background are. There are things on Earth which are God’s creation. Take for instance the case of the unfortunate pilot of the helicopter which crashed in the United Kingdom over a crane. For three years, this particular crane operator was never found absent or late for work except on this fateful day. What would you call this? Was it destiny or his luck? What about the unfortunate man walking to work on the same day who was hit by the helicopter in the middle of the city one fine morning? Would this man have ever thought that a helicopter would crash on his head when he is on his way to work? Destiny has its own ways. Sometimes these could be catastrophic, while at other times it could be a stroke of luck. Another bloke from down under was using a metal detector when he chanced upon six kilograms of gold. That is what I call striking lucky, literally. There are thousands of other examples and cases that happen every day. We get to hear about some of them, while others remain unknown. You never know how your day will turn out once you leave for work in the morning. Luck and destiny play a big role in our lives. We, however, do not realize this. Nations have destinies too, not just individuals. Are we destined in Kuwait not to have serious, creative and active parliaments to push the country towards development? For instance, I just came back from Erbil in Kurdistan via Dubai. I felt like crying when I flew Emirates and compared it to our struggling national carrier, Kuwait Airways. Are we destined to remain one of the richest nations with a small population but still condemned to be poor?

KUWAIT: An image of a falcon in one of Kuwait’s heritage festivals. Falcon is Kuwait’s national bird. —Photo by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: A nice evening getaway right in the middle of Kuwait’s Corniche. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

ERBIL: The Kuwait Journalist Association delegation are pictured during their visit to the Public Tourism Authority in Erbil.

Kurdish parliament aims to establish ties with Kuwait NA

ERBIL, Iraq: Chairman of Parliament of Iraq’s Kurdistan region Dr Areslan Bayez has expressed desire to establish ties with the Kuwaiti National Assembly. Dr Bayez, speaking to a visiting delegation of Kuwaiti journalists, said he was looking forward to establish solid ties with the Kuwaiti Parliament and benefit from its experience, considered unique at the regional level. “Kuwait is distinguished with the strongest parliament in the Arab world, thus we believe there are benefits to establish ties with it.” The top Kurdish legislator indicated that the regional legislative assembly comprises members of various racial communities, including Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians. For

his part, the Kuwaiti ambassador to Iraq, Ali Al-Mou’men, called for restoring the historic Kuwaiti-Kurdish relations. The visiting Kuwaiti delegation, during its Wednesday’s activities, visited the public tourism authority in Irbil to get acquainted with the tourist facilities provided in the region, famous for its natural and tourist attractions. More than two million tourists visited the Kurdish region, last year, said the head of the authority, Mawlawi Jabbar, addressing the Kuwaiti delegation, expressing hope to establish a direct air line from Kuwait to the region, which provides diverse facilities, including 400 hotels. The Kuwaiti delegation had also visited headquarters of

The delegation of journalists from Kuwait are seen during their visit to the Parliament in Erbil.

the region’s chamber of commerce and held talks with the chairman, Dara Jelil Al-Khayyat, who praised the delegation’s visit and described it as an opportunity to apprise the Kuwaitis with the accomplishments and potential businesses in the region. Noting that a large number of Arab companies have been exploring investment opportunities in the area, Al-Khayyat noted that 10 Lebanese banks have been operating in it. The delegation, which arrived in the Kurdish region, on Sunday, is headed by the director of Kuwait Journalists Association Ali Al-Rashed and comprises a number of journalists and figures representing Kuwaiti newspapers. — KUNA

The delegation are seen during their visit to the headquarters of the region’s Chamber of Commerce.


Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Illusion artist Gopinath Muthukad demonstrates mind reading techniques during Nair Service Society (NSS) program at Marina Hall, Jleeb last Friday. (Inset) Muthukad looks at Kuwait Times as he prepares to do a trick with the copy of the newspaper.

Behind the black curtain Stage illusionist uses tricks for a cause

By Sunil Cherian


ndian stage illusionist Gopinath Muthukad, 49, does not wave his hair because the close-cropped handsomer does not have enough hair that may require even combing. A typical trick performer would normally have a goatee on his made-up ‘magical’ face, but Gopinath’s is a clean, gentlemanly, sans goatee face. This lawyer-turned-escape artist likes to associate magic that has a mission. His stage program, now in its 28th year, aims at raising social awareness than catering to mere entertainment. His latest show is meant to support and strengthen Indian women in the light of the infamous Delhi bus incident. His ‘magical’ creation of a wall and a woman coming through it is to be performed in Thiruvananthapuram on January 29 as part of a women’s conference there. “What I do is science covered by a black curtain,” said Gopinath who came to Kuwait last weekend to perform in the Nair Service Society’s annual celebrations at the Marina Hall, Jleeb. In front of the packed audience last Friday, he tore a copy of Kuwait Times into pieces and then left everyone gaping showing them the newspaper intact. He also displayed some mind reading techniques that audiences were seen discussing hours after the show. “Extra sensory perception is the new trend among the Indian youth,” Gopinath told me when I met him at the Crowne Plaza a day before his program. He looked pleasant, full of energy and was all smiles. “I’m on a controlled diet to keep my body fit,”

he said after admitting that he becomes exhausted on the stage at times. “But even now I enjoy what I do on the stage just like when I first appeared in public in 1985,” he said. Elevating stunts to a mission does not come easy, said the man who has travelled extensively in India with his team of 25 to create social awareness against drug abuse and other harms. Recently, his show ‘Stop SAD (smoking, alcohol and drugs)’ was warmly

received in Muscat where Omani ministers were also present. In the show that mixed drama, illusions and video, a character named Mubarak undergoes a pathetic change from an engineering student to a drug addict. Two of Gopinath’s aides took the before and after roles, playing Mubarak. “Illusions like cigarettes piercing through a human heart were well received by a baffled audience,” the magic-with-a-mission man said.

Indian media was eager to call Gopinath the ‘Indian Houdini’ after his propeller escape performed last October in Kerala’s capital. The escape artist, in the program, was locked in a box along with a rotating propeller only to appear safe inside another box that was earlier locked by a minister who had come to watch the program. “Although my propeller escape coincided with the death anniversary of (the American

Illusion artist Gopinath Muthukad shows a copy of Kuwait Times which he tore into pieces, later to produce the newspaper intact at Marina Hall, Jleeb during the Nair Service Society (NSS) annual program last Friday.

escape artist) Houdini, it was my reemergence after a failed attempt 10 years ago.” The humiliated performer left his native Kerala after his first attempt at a propeller escape failed due to a busted belt of the propeller. “That failure was a lesson to give me enough challenge to overcome such hurdles and rise above the ordinary,” a beaming Gopinath said. From predicting what will appear as headlines in the Delhi tabloids to Houdini-like escapes, Gopinath evolved himself into a socially responsible figure. His magic academy in Thiruvananthapuram, reportedly Asia’s first magic school, is registered as a charitable institution ‘for the uplift of the art and science of illusion’. The school is open only to 20 students each year in which they receive scientific training and acquire psychological skills for this fast growing performing art, said Gopinath. Like in science, Gopinath said, any idea of illusion has to be put to test, thinking through many heads, filling the gaps, fighting the minus points and taking great efforts to conceal the secrecy of the trick. “And I am blessed with associates like Rajan, who execute my concepts,” Gopinath said pointing to the magic-wand like man on his left. Rajan acted as the post-addiction Mubarak in their Muscat show. “What’s the illusion of your life?” I asked the ace performer. “Oh, there are many. One is this. I used to chase my neighbor who peeped through to watch the tricks I was trying so hard to learn. But now he is a great part of my stage shows,” said Gopinath, pointing to Rajan who smiled just like his teacher and mentor, magically.


Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Arming private security guards! Criminality on the rise in Kuwait

Some military paraphernalia —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Military knives on display at Al-Saleh shop in Mirqab By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: New laws aimed at protecting individuals and innocent civilians should be introduced to ensure public safety, says former military man Abdul Mohsin Al-Saleh, who now runs a business selling weapons to Kuwaiti officers. Reacting to news about a number of stabbings and other criminal acts taking place in Kuwait for a few months now, he said a new law is required to protect innocent people from criminal gangs of lurking around. Statistics published by many newspapers have said that Kuwait witnesses a crime every thirty minutes. The statistics made news in the wake of a gruesome murder of a dentist in a crowded mall after conflict that stemmed from a parking lot dispute. That crime was immediately followed by a gasoline station murder in Sulaibiya which took place even as stunned bystanders watched. Al-Saleh who sells various military and police equipments, said the absence of better laws should be blamed for the latest spate of attacks. “As per our existing laws, private security guards are not allowed to carry guns. They are not even allowed to carry batons because authorities do not want security personnel to carry weapons which can kill people. Only the official security officers of the law enforcement agencies are allowed to carry firearms. Private security guards are not included within the ambit of the law,” he said. However, in the light of the recent crimes, Kuwait needs to come up with a law allowing private security officers to carry firearms. According to Al-Saleh, the measure has now become essential. He hoped that the law would be revised sooner rather than later. “Such a law will lead to major changes. The authorities can decide to allow private security guards to carry weapons of a different calibre than those carried by the military and police officers. It can also allow private guards to carry specialized guns which do not kill but can neutralize suspects. They are like electric guns. They can be deployed in a situation when one is still waiting for the police to arrive in a worsening situation.” He said the kind of crimes which occurred in the malls recently could have been potentially prevented if the security guards were carrying weapons capable of neutralizing the suspect. “The problem is that even as a crime is unfolding, the security guards would not dare to come near. In a number of cases, they watched helplessly when criminals were committing crimes but could not intervene meaningfully as they were not armed.” “The problem is that even if you have the best technology and can call the police for assistance, it remains doubtful whether rescue teams are going to arrive on time. Therefore, we should consider arming our security guards. Nowadays, many criminals commit crimes while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you do not have anything at hand to neutralize the criminal, it can lead to some serious problem. Either you will be killed or they will end up killing someone.”

Al-Saleh said life has changed a lot in recent years. “There were times when you could leave your shop open and no one would dare touch your belongings. Gone are those times. Also, we must concede that we cannot deploy a policeman at every street corner. Malls can offer security but remain helpless because they do not have any weapons. All that the security guards can do is to call the police who arrive after quite some time,” he said. CRIMINALITY RISING Asked about the factors responsible for the rising crimes, AlSaleh cited three main reasons: family values, environment and lack of effective punitive measures. “Criminality is increasing everywhere. Look at the United States. I think those committing

Abdul Mohsin Al-Saleh crimes must be brought to book. The truth is that people in the police force are themselves helping suspects to get away with it using ‘wasta’. The criminals do not receive any real punishment. There are indeed laws in force but until such time that we do not follow the law strictly and criminals keep getting away with their acts, it is very difficult for a society like Kuwait to stop the rising crime graph.” “The law should be applicable to everyone, regardless of who you are, where you come from, what is your nationality or social status. The thumb rule should be that if you commit mistakes, you will have to be punished accordingly,” He added. Al-Saleh lauded

some neighboring countries that practice prohibition and have a low crime rate. “Anyone who behaves badly, put them in jail and do not allow wasta,” he said, proffering a talisman. But Al-Saleh said he does not believe that it was time for civilians to start purchasing weapons to protect themselves from criminals. “Some Kuwaitis are allowed to carry handguns, but personally, I do not think we should do that. Look at what happened in America. It happened because of lax gun control laws. Guns are in the hands of people who are not supposed to carry them. Weapons should remain restricted to law enforcement people and private security guards. Everyone possessing weapons could also add to criminality since many people are short tempered and anyone with a gun and a reason to become provoked could use it. But in some circumstances, I agree that some people should be allowed to carry weapons for self-protection. Women, for example, can carry pepper spray, electric shock guns and teargas to protect themselves in case of an emergency.” He admitted that a shop authorized to sell police or military uniforms should not be allowed to sell these to any civilians. “They should ask for identification papers to reassure themselves that they are dealing with legitimate law enforcement officers.” “Uniforms could be used by criminals to commit illegal activities. We have to be very careful and sell these only to the officers. Even in case of pepper spray, it should be sold only to a rightful owner.” Handcuffs, sirens, military ornaments, berets and any equipments used by military and police officers are not allowed to be sold to any civilians or members of the public without proper identification. “Any lithium guns can be sold to the people as long as they have a license. Anything connected to military and police must require a license. Even sale of military knives should require a license.” Asked whether the rising criminality can affect the overall atmosphere, particularly the demand for weapons, he said, “We do not monitor such data but there is always a demand, especially for military knives. People keep collecting different kinds of military knives whether it is a fact with any connection to the security situation, I do not think so.” An Interior Ministry source who spoke to this reporter on the condition of anonymity acknowledged the rising rate of crime but said it still did not denote a phenomenon. “Yes, it is alarming but the Ministry of Interior is in control. I do not see any reason for the people in Kuwait to be alarmed. The media is just focusing on the issue but we are still not like certain countries in the west,” he said. He said the malls and shopping centers have already been instructed to observe extra precautions. These include recruiting additional security personnel and installation of cameras and metal detectors to check whether shoppers are carrying any deadly weapons while entering the malls. He said, “There is no reason for anyone to be armed. We are playing our role to prevent such incidents from happening again.”

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Kuwait donates $7 million to UN agencies UNITED NATIONS: The State of Kuwait’s representatives has donated $7 million to support activities of specialized UN bodies and agencies which are providing relief and assistance to Syrian refugees displaced within their home country and beyond its borders. Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi said the contribution was $2 million for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian

Affairs (OCHA), $1 million for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), $2 million for the World Food Program (WFP) and another $2 million for the United Nations High-Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This comes virtue of a decision by the Kuwaiti cabinet in late November when an overall contribution of $20 million was announced. The donation was in $5 million to support Kuwait Red Crescent Society

activities, $5 million for the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO), and $10 million for UN agencies. The remaining sum of $3 million would be presented to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international bodies through the Kuwaiti mission in Geneva. The $7 million just delivered is part of the $10 million destined for UN bodies. The donation is delivered just weeks before Kuwait hosts an

international Syria donors conference on January 30 to amass more financial, logistic, and moral support for this cause. UNHCR’s New York Director Udo Janz “gratefully acknowledged receipt of this donation from the government of Kuwait which is very timely and will assist greatly to alleviate the suffering among Syrian refugees due to the extraordinary weather conditions experienced in the region over the past weeks.”— KUNA

Kuwait NA delegation meets Egypt president Kuwait, Egypt promote bilateral ties

Armed gang nabbed

CAIRO: Kuwait’s National Assembly delegation met with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, late on Wednesday, to discuss an array of issues promoting bilateral ties. Deputy Speaker Mubarak Al-Khurainij, who headed the Kuwaiti delegation said that he relayed greetings of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Speaker of the Parliament Ali Al-Rashed during the meeting with President Morsi. He also praised the supporting role of Egypt to all of Kuwait’s just caus-

es; this is considered an indication, AlKhurainij continued, of the solid ties that bind the two countries together. The Deputy Speaker also referred to the huge role played by the Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development that supported many projects in Egypt. President Morsi, meanwhile, expressed appreciation to the Kuwaiti leadership for supporting many Arab causes, especially the Palestinian cause. He also stressed that the security of the gulf region is a national responsibility

that his country does not take it lightly. The meeting also shed light on facilitating all procedures for Kuwaiti investors in Egypt in order to elevate the struggling economy of the North African country. The Kuwaiti delegation that included Secretary General of Kuwait’s National Assembly Allam Al-Kandari, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Egypt Dr Rashid Al-Hamad and Advisor at Kuwait’s Embassy in Cairo Mohammad ALMohammad also met with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.— KUNA

By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Jahra police arrested a gang specializing in committing thefts at the farms and threatening workers there. The gang comprised four Asians, all of them ex-convicts. They confessed to committing tens of thefts and robberies in those farms and were sent to the concerned authorities. Meanwhile, the Hawally police arrested 44 expatriates for being in violation of the law on Iqamas, and sent them to the concerned authorities. As part of its ongoing campaign to ensure road safety and compliance with law, the traffic department personnel impounded 31 cars being driven by either juvenile drivers or those without driving licenses. Meanwhile, traffic department officers tasked with ensuring smooth traffic flow in Jahra governorate fined 120 drivers during a campaign there. The security information department has urged all parents to ensure that their children do not drive without a valid license.

Kuwait to enjoy calm weather KUWAIT: Calm and moderate weather conditions in Kuwait are expected over the weekend, starting today through mid next week, according to a leading meteorologist. Director of the Air Navigation Meteorological Forecasts Department at the Meteorological Department of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Ali Al-Mutawa pointed out that the maximum temperature will go up to in between 22-24 degrees Celsius. The wind movement will also be moderate as the dusty and cold northwestern winds will slow down. Though the temperature registered at dawn yesterday in different parts of Kuwait touched 1 degree Celsius, it took an upward trend in the day to reach 20 degrees Celsius, he added. Al-Mutwaa pointed out that the minimum temperature at night is expected to record 5 degrees Celsius on Friday and could go up to nearly 13 degrees Celsius mid-week. He expressed delight over the calm and sunny weather, urging the public to enjoy the favorable weekend conditions. — KUNA

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Ali Al-Rashid on Wednesday received US Ambassador to Kuwait Mathew Tueller. In a statement by the Assembly’s Media Office, the meeting highlighted bilateral relations between the two countries, and ways to bolster ties in all fields. The statement noted that the meeting also discussed recent comments made by US Department of State on freedoms in Kuwait.—KUNA

Kuwaitis ‘should iron out their differences at home’

KUWAIT: Kuwait National Assembly Speaker Ali Al-Rashid said that having different a point of view is healthy, but criticized complaining to the outside world as a “shameful” act. “There is nothing wrong in having different points of view but, it is shameful to complain to the outside world,” he said in press statements yesterday. “Whatever the scale of differences, we

have to tackle and iron them out in Kuwait through dialogue. Difference in viewpoints is the main feature of a democratic society.” He added that the constitution, the rule of law and the view of the majority should be the references in resolving any dispute. Al-Rashid also expressed optimism about the cooperation between the government and the parliament. — KUNA


19 killed in third day of deadly Iraq attacks

Over 100 die in new Syria ‘massacre’



Obama’s Kenyan half brother running for political seat


YOKOHAMA: Takeshi Endo, public relations manager of Japanese plant construction company JGC is surrounded by press at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo yesterday. At least three Japanese were among the foreigners kidnapped by heavily armed Islamist gunmen in Algeria. (inset) Militant militia leader Moktar Belmoktar — AFP/AP

35 hostages die in Algerian raid Failed rescue bid leaves 15 militants dead

ALGIERS: Algerian forces raided a remote Sahara gas plant yesterday in an attempt to free dozens of foreign hostages held by militants with ties to Mali’s rebel Islamists, diplomats said. Islamic militants claimed that 35 hostages and 15 militants were killed after Algerian military helicopters strafed the area but said seven hostages survived. Islamists with the Masked Brigade, who have been speaking through a Mauritanian news outlet, said the Algerians opened fire as the militants tried to leave the vast Ain Amenas energy complex with their hostages a day after seizing the installation deep in the desert. Algerian forces had surrounded the complex in a tense standoff since the plant was seized early Wednesday and had vowed not to negotiate with the kidnappers, who reportedly were seeking safe passage. President Barack Obama’s government offered military assistance Wednesday to help rescue the hostages, but the Algerian government refused, a US official said in Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not

authorized to speak publicly about the offer. Information about the 41 foreign hostages the militants claimed to have - including seven Americans - was scarce and conflicting. All were reportedly workers at the remote plant. The spokesman for the Masked Brigade said yesterday the surviving hostages included three Belgians, two Americans, a Briton and a Japanese citizen. The information from the militants came from the Nouakchott Information Agency, which has often carried reports from al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups in North Africa. Ireland said an Irish hostage had made contact with his family and was safe and free. Algeria’s national news service, however, said four hostages were freed during the military operation Thursday, citing a local law enforcement source. An Algerian security official had said earlier that 20 foreign hostages had escaped before the raid. There was no way to verify the information independently and the Algerian government did not immediately comment on the hostages or the

military operation. The Norwegian energy company Statoil had said 12 of its employees had been captured by the militants - nine Norwegians and three locals - while Japanese media reported at least 3 Japanese among the hostages and Malaysia confirmed two. Japanese and British authorities, as well as BP which jointly operates the complex with other energy companies - said they had been told by the Algerians there was an ongoing operation Thursday to free the hostages. Algerian state radio reported earlier Thursday that 30 local workers managed to escape from the plant, but hundreds of Algerian workers had already been released Wednesday by the hostagetakers. The kidnapping is one of the largest ever attempted by a militant group in North Africa, and the militants phoned a Mauritanian news outlet to demand that France end its intervention in neighboring Mali to ensure the safety of the hostages. After the initial militant attack, Algerian troops surrounded the isolated gas plant, located 800

miles (1,300 kilometers) south of the capital of Algiers. Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould dismissed theories that the militants had come from Libya, 60 miles (100 kilometers) away, or from Mali, more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) away. He said the roughly 20 well armed gunmen were from Algeria itself, operating under orders from Moktar Belmoktar, al-Qaida’s strongman in the Sahara. Yves Bonnet, the former head of France’s spy service, also dismissed the idea that the operation was specifically linked to the French action in Mali due to the amount of organization it involved. “It was an operation conceived well in advance spectacular and needing a lot of preparation ... It was not at all an improvised operation,” he told the Europe 1 radio. “The operation was probably already scheduled and simply getting all those people into the desert would take several days.” It is certainly the largest haul of hostages since 2003, when the radical group that later evolved into al-Qaida in North Africa snatched 32 Western tourists in Algeria. —AP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Over 100 die in new Syria ‘massacre’ Russia blames US over campus blast onus

DAMASCUS: More than 100 civilians have been killed in a new “massacre” in Syria, a watchdog said yesterday, as Russia slammed the United States for blaming deadly blasts at a university campus on the Damascus regime. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths came when the army on Tuesday swept through farmlands north of Homs city, where it said around 1,000 people had sought refuge from fighting ravaging the central Syria metropolis. “The Syrian regime carried out a new massacre on Tuesday claiming 106 victims, including women and children,” said the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground. Witnesses said several members of the same family were among those killed, some in fires that raged through their homes and others stabbed or hacked to death. Among the dead were 32 members of the same clan. Homs, dubbed “the capital of the revolution” by Syria’s opposition, is the largest and most strategic city and province in the country, lying on key trade routes near the borders with Lebanon and Iraq, and with its southwestern areas not far from Damascus. Pro-regime daily Al-Watan reported army advances against “gunmen”-the term used by the regime for insurgents-in the area. Activists said there were no insurgents in the

area. “They came in and slaughtered the women and the children. They burned their bodies,” an unidentified woman told an antiregime activist, according to amateur video distributed by Homs-based opponents to the regime. “I swear there are no armed men here.” Paris meanwhile denounced the killings as “new proof of the savagery of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” French foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani said on Thursday. Troops and rebels have been battling to gain dominance in Homs since early in Syria’s conflict. Many areas of the city and province have been under siege by regime forces for more than six months. A Homs-based activist who identified himself as Abu Bilal said the killings are “a stain on the world’s conscience,” he told AFP via the Internet. The Observatory urged the UN to send a fact-finding team to probe the latest bloodshed. The reported deaths were the latest to emerge from Syria, where twin blasts tore on Tuesday through an Aleppo campus while students were writing exams, killing at least 87 people in one of the bloodiest attacks of the 22-month conflict. No one claimed responsibility for the Aleppo blasts but the United States blamed government forces for the violence, suggesting they were caused by air strikes on university buildings. “The United States is

MOSCOW: Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad, second left, lays flowers during a memorial action at the Syrian Embassy in Moscow yesterday. Pro-government Syrians and their Russian supporters gathered at the Syrian Embassy in memory of dozens of the Aleppo University’s students who died during a terrorist attack. —AP appalled and saddened by the Syrian regime’s deadly attack yesterday on the University of Aleppo,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday. Nuland’s remarks triggered an angry response from Russia. “I cannot imagine anything more blasphemous,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, describing the killings as a “terror-

ist act.” Violence erupted again in Syria on Thursday, with the Observatory reporting several air strikes on flashpoints in Damascus province, villages in the central province of Hama. In the Husseiniyeh area near the capital, warplanes dropped three missiles killing 11 civilians, among them seven women, three women and a man, said the Observatory. — AFP

Gaddafi’s son appears in court for first time

RAFAH: Palestinian laborers work at the construction site of a residential project funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday. — AFP

Iranian ship flees Sri Lanka amid row COLOMBO: An Iranian cargo vessel at the centre of a financial row with a German lender fled Sri Lanka yesterday despite warnings to remain in anchorage, a naval official said. The vessel identified as M V Amina was under “observation” for over two weeks after a German bank obtained a Sri Lankan court order to hold it, but the ship slipped out on Wednesday, navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told AFP. “It was anchored just outside our territorial waters and we had no jurisdiction to arrest it,” Warnakulasuriya said. “By last evening, the ship had managed to get away.” Iranian shipping has come under increased scrutiny following international sanctions targeting the country’s revenues used for its disputed nuclear program. It was not immediately what cargo the M.V. Amina was carrying or where it had headed. Indian media reports had said that Iranian owners of the vessel owed a large amount of money to a German bank. Warnakulasuriya said the navy had fired warning shots last week in a bid to discourage the vessel from leaving, but it had managed to escape attention and slipped out in rough seas late Wednesday. — AFP

TRIPOLI: Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam appeared in a court yesterday for the first time since his capture more than a year ago, Libya’s public prosecutor’s office said. The son of the former Libyan leader was in court in the western town of Zintan, where he is being held by former rebels, to face charges related to a visit by an International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer last year. “He is charged with involvement with the ICC delegation which is accused of carrying papers and other things related to the security of the Libyan state,” Taha Baara, spokesman for the prosecutor, told Reuters. The ICC lawyer, Australian Melinda Taylor, was herself arrested and held for three weeks after the meeting and has since said her detention proved that Saif al-Islam could not receive a fair trial for war crimes and instead should be tried in The Hague. Another ICC defence lawyer said the court hearing in Zintan part of Libya where the Tripoli authorities have little sway - was designed to intimidate the international court. “This is yet another disgraceful attempt by Libya to manipulate and intimidate the ICC,” said Ben Emmerson, lawyer for Abdullah Al-Senussi, Gaddafi’s former spy chief and Saif al-Islam’s coaccused. “It is proof positive of the urgent and imperative need for the (UN) Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya for its flagrant, deliberate and grave violations of Security Council resolution 1970.” That resolution obliges Libya to cooperate with the court, lawyers say, and Tripoli’s failure to hand over Saif al-Islam could result in it being reported to the Council. Libya wants to prosecute him at home, where he might face the death penalty, rather than hand him to the ICC where he could only receive a jail sentence. An ICC spokesperson

said the court was not aware of the proceedings and declined to comment. Libyan spokesman Baara said the Zintan tribunal would convene again on May 2. “Investigations for trying him for war crimes are over and he will be put on trial for that at a later time,” Baara told Reuters. — Reuters

Mugabe, rivals agree on draft constitution HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe’s rival political parties have agreed on a final draft of a constitution that will be put to a referendum ahead of crucial elections expected this year, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday. “We are glad to say that we have come to the conclusion of the exercise and all parties are agreed,” Mugabe told a news conference at his official residence in the capital Harare after talks with his arch-rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The text forms the main element of key reforms needed to hold a credible vote after discredited 2008 elections. The new basic law would bolster the power of parliament, set a 10-year presidential term limit and strip away presidential immunity. “The finalisation of the draft is now being made,” said Mugabe. He did not say when a referendum will be held. The process of drafting the new constitution, which started more than two years ago, was plagued by chronic delays and violence at public meetings. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party has already endorsed the text. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

19 killed in third day of deadly Iraq attacks Maliki faces growing opposition protests

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Masked men hold PKK flags as they walk in front of the coffins of three Kurdish activists as tens of thousands of people gather for their funeral in Diyarbakir, sourth-eastern Turkey yesterday. —AP

Thousands rally for funeral of slain Kurdish activists DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Thousands poured onto the streets of Turkey’s main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday for the funeral of three Kurdish activists killed in Paris, chanting promilitant slogans as their coffins passed through the crowds. The three women, including a co-founder of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were killed in execution-style shootings in the French capital last week in what many saw as an attempt to derail a nascent peace process between the Turkish state and the guerrillas. The prospect of an end to three decades of war between the Turkish state and the PKK has gained momentum in recent weeks after the government acknowledged it was talking to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Thousands of cheering supporters were at Diyarbakir airport late on Wednesday as the bodies of PKK member Sakine Cansiz and the two other activists arrived amid tight security. More than 10,000 gathered early yesterday in Diyarbakir’s Baglar district, a PKK stronghold, as the coffins draped in green cloth and decorated with red carnations were driven slowly through the crowds. “The martyrs’ path is our path. PKK is our party! Long live leader Apo”, they chanted, referring to Ocalan, who has been jailed on an island south of Istanbul since his capture in 1999. Headscarved women and children applauded and waved, while others made a victory sign with their fingers from the windows of apartment blocks. Two young men, their faces concealed by scarves, held aloft the green, red and yellow flag of the PKK. Many shops in the city were closed in mourning. “Planes still take off and bomb the mountains and kill our youths. How can they talk about peace?” said Makbule, a 46-year-old homemaker whose son joined the PKK three years ago. “These women dedicated their lives to the Turkish people. We have no confidence in Turkey,” said another homemaker, Gulistan. The coffins arrived at a parade ground in the city where a funeral ceremony was to take place before the bodies are flown for burial in the women’s hometowns. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has urged calm at the funeral proceedings and has warned security forces would be “sensitive and vigilant” to any provocation or unrest. There was no sign of any violence as the coffins were driven through the city of 1.5 million people. Erdogan, under pressure to bring an end to the violence, has said his government’s renewed peace efforts are sincere but has also maintained Ankara’s hardline approach to a conflict that has burned at the heart of Turkey for almost 30 years. The country is still reeling from one of the most violent summers since Ocalan was jailed. Turkish warplanes bombed PKK targets in northern Iraq this week, according to media reports, in the first such raids since details of the talks with Ocalan emerged. — Reuters

BAGHDAD: A spate of bombings targeting Shiite Muslims across Iraq killed 19 people yesterday, the latest in a spike in unrest amid weeks of anti-government protests and a political crisis engulfing the country. The attacks marked the third consecutive day of violence which has claimed 78 lives overall, including that of a Sunni Iraqi MP killed by a suicide bomber and 33 others who died in twin car bombs in an ethnically mixed northern city. It comes as Iraq grapples with a long-running political dispute, with Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki facing protests hardening opposition against his rule and calls from many of his erstwhile government partners for his ouster. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest bombings, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008. The bloodiest of yesterday’s blasts took place in Dujail, 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Baghdad, where a car bomb outside a Shiite mosque killed nine people and wounded 56 others, said town mayor Mohammed Hassan. A car bomb killed seven other people and wounded 17 near a football stadium on the outskirts of the predominantly Shiite city of Hilla, south of the capital, officials said. Witnesses reported residents throwing stones at a police officer after he blamed locals for helping militants carry out the bombing. Police in the town where the attack took place said the officer was later detained. Bombings also struck Baghdad, Hawija and Karbala, while

a police captain was killed in a gunfight with militants near the northern town of Tuz Khurmatu, officials said. There were no casualties in Hawija but two people were killed and one wounded in a roadside bomb in north Baghdad. And in Karbala, a Shiite shrine city south of the capital, 17 people were wounded, including eight Afghan Shiite pilgrims. Afghan ambassador to Baghdad Mohammed Anwarzai confirmed to AFP that eight of his compatriots were wounded. The violence comes a day after 49 people were killed in attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital-Iraq’s bloodiest day

since November 29 — including seven who died from twin car bombs in the city of Kirkuk. On Tuesday, a suicide attacker killed a Sunni Iraqi MP, Ayfan al-Essawi, west of Baghdad. Hundreds of mourners attended Essawi’s funeral outside the mostly Sunni town of Fallujah on Wednesday. The lawmaker was a former leader of the Sahwa-Sunni tribal militias who turned against Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military from late 2006, helping to turn the tide of Iraq’s bloody insurgency. Sahwa fighters are frequently targeted for attacks by Sunni militants who view them as traitors. — AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraqis are seen through broken bricks of a damaged mosque after a car bomb attack in Dujail, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad yesterday. —AP

Iran, UN team resume nuke talks in Tehran TEHRAN: Experts from the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency held a second day of talks in Tehran yesterday aimed at finding a way forward in resolving perennial concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program. The talks mark the second round of negotiations, in little over than a month, between a team led by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and one headed by Tehran’s IAEA representative Ali Ashghar Soltanieh, the ISNA news agency reported. The two sides held “technical discussions” on Wednesday to “find a solution to concerns and questions raised by the IAEA,” ISNA said. Nackaerts has urged Iran to be “constructive”, in remarks Tuesday before flying out to Tehran. He also repeated “hope” that Iran would grant access to Parchin, a military base near Tehran where the agency’s experts suspect Iran could have carried out experiments with explosives capable of triggering a nuclear weapon. But the IAEA’s hopes of reaching a deal were not high. IAEA head Yukiya Amano has said he was “not necessarily optimistic,” while a Western diplomat told AFP “there still remain some pretty big disagreements” with Tehran. In mid-December the IAEA failed to reach an agreement for a “structured approach” for Iran to address what it calls “overall, credible” evidence of nuclear weapons research having been carried out until 2003 — and possibly since then. Iran vehemently denies having ever sought an atomic bomb. Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the government hoped to conclude a comprehensive agreement with the IAEA on Wednesday. But that would only be possible if the agency recognized Iran’s “nuclear rights,” while playing down the chances that the IAEA team might get access to Parchin, he said. “Parchin has no connection with Iran’s nuclear activities,” Mehmanparast said. Access to it could be discussed, but only in the context of a possible agreement. — AFP

Russia eyes nuke deal with Iran MOSCOW: Russia says it is working hard to firm up plans for a new round of talks between global powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at developing nuclear weapons capability. Iranian news agency ISNA said on Wednesday that Iran and six world powers would resume talks in late January but a European Union official said the two sides had yet to agree a date. No venue has been agreed for the talks, either. “Russia is concerned about this and we continue to work, including with our Iranian partners, to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” state-run news agency Itar-Tass quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. Ryabkov, Russia’s negotiator at previous rounds of talks that brought no breakthrough, said that until there is a final agreement “there is no agreement”. Russia built Iran’s first nuclear power plant and has warmer ties with Tehran than the United States and other Western nations do, giving it potential levers to pressure Iran. But Ryabkov said agreeing a date and venue was ultimately up to the office of EU policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees contacts with Iran over its nuclear program on behalf of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. A spokesman for Ashton said in Brussels on Wednesday that no date had yet been set. “Contacts are still ongoing. We are waiting for the Iranians to respond,” Michael Mann said when asked about the ISNA report. — Reuters


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

2 Greeks arrested for fatal stabbing

ATHENS: Police in Athens are holding two Greek men as suspects over the fatal stabbing early yesterday of a Pakistani immigrant worker near the city center, and are investigating whether the attack was racially motivated. A police statement said the 26-yearold Pakistani man was attacked on his bicycle by two men on a motorbike before dawn, in the Petralona district of Athens. The two suspects, both in their twenties, were arrested shortly afterward in the city center, and police said they were carrying switchblades. Police say the motive of the killing was not immediately clear. Greece, in the midst of its worst financial crisis in

decades, is the main entry point to the European Union for thousands of illegal immigrants, most of whom end up stranded there in dire conditions. Immigrants from Asia and Africa have repeatedly been targeted in violent night-time attacks by thugs, amid a surge in anti-immigration rhetoric that has brought a fringe ultra-right party to Parliament. Its political opponents, including all three parties in Greece’s governing coalition, have accused the Golden Dawn party of holding a neo-Nazi agenda and inciting and participating in racially-motivated violence - charges the party denies. The main opposition Radical Left

Coalition party issued a statement blaming the fatal stabbing on right wing extremists. “The savage racist murder of an immigrant by far-right criminals once again brings to the public attention, in a tragic way, the issue of crude racist violence,” a party statement said. It claimed that “fascist criminal gangs are patrolling the streets of Athens unhindered, murdering unprotected people.” Anti-racism activist Petros Constantinou said the “neo-Nazi” killing fitted in a pattern of racist violence. “There have been many attacks after nightfall, involving people on motorcycles who target immigrants who are either on foot, on bicycles

or on scooters,” he said. Human rights groups have recorded more than 70 racist attacks in Athens between January and September last year. Most were carried out after dark in public areas and involved more than one aggressor. In a report last month, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Francois Crepeau voiced deep concern at the “widespread xenophobic violence and attacks” against migrants in Greece. Crepeau accused law enforcement agencies of responding inadequately, and said many attacks go unreported as illegal migrants fear they will be detained and deported if they contact the police. — AP

Obama’s Kenyan half brother running for political seat

Inmates of a prison colony pour cold water over themselves to celebrate Epiphany at St Peter and Paul Cathedral in the Murmansk region of northern Russia. The contract-style killing of Russian mobster Aslan Usoyan, also known as Grandpa Khasan, on Wednesday drew renewed attention to the extensive and elaborate culture of the country’s underworld figures who call themselves ‘crowned thieves’ and ‘thieves in law.’ — AP

Russian mafia boss ‘shot by sniper MOSCOW: A sniper shot notorious Russian criminal boss Aslan Usoyan, known as Grandpa Hassan, from a sixth-floor stairwell in a neighbouring building, investigators into the murder said yesterday. A bystander caught in the crossfire lay in hospital in a critical condition as investigators pieced together Usoyan’s dramatic last moments. A sniper shot at Usoyan as he entered a restaurant on a central Moscow street Wednesday accompanied by two bodyguards, wounding him in the neck, investigators said in a statement. One of the bodyguards fired back at the sniper with a pistol. They pushed Usoyan into the restaurant but the sniper fired another five shots through the closed door, seriously wounding a female member of staff. “Investigators believe that the shot was fired from a stairwell between the fifth and sixth floors” of a neighboring building, the Investigative Committee said. This was where investigators found a folding chair, a piece of cloth and six cartridge cases. The sniper is thought to have fired an AS VAL machine gun, which is used by Russian special forces and can pierce a 6-mm sheet of steel. “Aslan Usoyan was shot by a professional hitman who hit his target accurately at a distance of 100-120 metres,” a law enforcement source told the ITAR-TASS news agency. The 30year-old woman was shot in the hip and chest, investigators said. She was in intensive care yesterday after surgery, having lost 4.5 litres of blood, RIA Novosti reported, citing a medical source. Usoyan’s bodyguards did not wait for an ambulance but gave him first aid and drove him to the Botkinskaya hospital, where he died, investigators said. Investigators are doing tests on fingerprints and traces left at the scene and examining security camera footage from nearby buildings, ITAR-TASS reported, citing a source in the investigation. The Life News website posted investigators’ footage of the open window in the stairwell used by the sniper on a street in one of central Moscow’s swankiest residential areas. A law enforcement source told Life News that a resident recalled to men who had asked to enter the building in search of a non-existent organization and then “walked up to the landing between the 5th and 6th floors and looked out of the window.” —AP

KOGELO, Kenya: President Barack Obama’s Kenyan half brother has launched his own political career by announcing his intention to run for a Kenyan county gubernatorial seat in the upcoming March 4 elections. Malik Obama, 54, who shares a father with the US president, told AFP in an interview late Wednesday that the achievements of his more famous brother have “inspired and challenged” him to get into active politics in his homeland. “When I look at the success that my brother has had in America, I feel I would have let down my people if I do not follow in his footsteps and end their suffering through dedicated, honest and focused leadership,” Obama told AFP in his ancestral home of Kogelo in western Kenya. The trained economist said he is the right candidate to deal with the “endless cycle of poverty and unemployment that bedevils my people.” “I can confidently say that of all the people who are vying for the position, I am the best placed candidate ... by virtue of my second name alone, I have the connections to bring development to Siaya,” he told AFP, referring to his home county some 100 km (60 miles) from the lakeside city

KOGELO, KENYA: President Barack Obama’s Kenyan half brother, Malik Obama addresses supporters near Nyang’oma in Kogelo, now renowned as the Obama’s traditional home. Malik has launched his own political career by announcing his intention to run for a Kenyan gubernatorial seat in the upcoming March 4 general elections. — AFP of Kisumu. Although he says he is charting his own path, Malik Obama is using his now famous second name to try and get an edge over his competitors, who include the younger brother of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. In a country polarized by dominant

political parties such as the Orange Democratic party led by Raila Odinga and The National Alliance party of presidential front runner Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama is running as an independent. He said his links to Washington will help him clinch the seat. — AFP

Nicolas Tiangaye C Africa PM and ‘man of integrity’ BANGUI, Central African Republic: Nicolas Tiangaye, appointed the Central African Republic’s new prime minister following a peace deal, is a celebrated lawyer and staunch defender of human rights who is widely respected. “A man of integrity in a sea of corruption,” says one diplomat. “He has integrity. His record is impeccable. He doesn’t compromise,” adds top opposition figure Martin Ziguele. “A good person,” says Eric Massi, spokesman for the Seleka rebels. “We respect him,” adds a member of government. Not known for exuding charisma, Tiangaye is a freemason and opposition figure who speaks slowly and weighs every word and act. Born in 1956 in the northwestern town of Bocaranga to a nurse father, he studied law in the capital Bangui and in France and earned his legal stripes in 1980. Just six years later he made a name for himself in the impoverished African nation by defending Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the former self-proclaimed emperor. “At the time, there were six lawyers in Central Africa. I was the youngest. Two were already defending the civil parties, one didn’t want to (defend Bokassa),” Tiangaye said. In 1989, he took up another high-profile case, one involving current

President Francois Bozize who at the time was accused of conspiracy by the regime of the late president Andre Kolingba. “I was doing my duty as a lawyer. He was acquitted, I don’t regret it,” Tiangaye said about Bozize, who would later become his “worst enemy”, according to a Western diplomat. In 1991, Tiangaye was forced to defend himself against a conspiracy charge. That same year the lawyer-who says he was inspired by Mother Teresa-founded the Central African Human Rights League that he led until 2004. In the interim in 1996 he appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to defend Jean-Paul Akayesu, who was sentenced to life in prison for genocide. After turning down a job as prime minister under ex-president Ange-Felix Patasse, Tiangaye threw himself into politics when the late leader was ousted by Bozize in a 2003 coup. He presided over the national transition council and was one of the main authors of the current constitution, adopted through a referendum in 2004, which provided that the president could serve no more than two terms consecutively. That put him at odds with Bozize: “At the time, we all saw where he was headed,” Tiangaye said, adding that Bozize held a grudge against him. —AFP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

French forces hit Mali Islamists EU agrees mission to train Mali army

BRUSSELS: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (left) speaks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels yesterday.—AP

German poll kicks off as Merkel faces test BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces her first test at the polls in a general election year Sunday with a state vote that could prove even more decisive for her flailing coalition partners. Lower Saxony, a region of 6.2 million voters that is governed by the same centre-right alliance with which Merkel governs in Berlin, will elect a new parliament and analysts say the race has narrowed to a dead heat. Boosting the stakes further is the fact that state premier David McAllister, a charismatic half-Scottish conservative, is widely seen as a potential successor to Merkel. “We want to continue our success story,” McAllister, 42, told a cheering crowd in the town of Verden at the weekend in a campaign that has seen Merkel make frequent appearances on the Christian Democrats’ (CDU) behalf. He has predicted a “heart-stopping finale” due to the tightness of the race. Lower Saxony is home to Europe’s top automaker Volkswagen and its capital is Hanover, the former seat of a German royal dynasty. Its mayor, Stephan Weil, 54, is McAllister’s chief challenger but the Social Democrat (SPD) trails far behind the state premier, the genial son of a British military officer and a German teacher, in the popularity stakes. The state has below-average unemployment, relatively robust economic growth and has markedly improved its public finances in recent years. However McAllister’s Achilles’ heel is his coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), whose weakness could also create headaches for Merkel at the general election in eight months’ time. The FDP is currently tottering on the five-percent line required for representation and a failure to clear the mark Sunday could have wide-reaching consequences. —AFP

BAMAKO: Fighting erupted between Islamists and Malian soldiers in the city whose capture by militants first prompted French military intervention, while French forces kept up their bombardments of another key town, fleeing residents said yesterday. Mali soldiers claimed to have recaptured the central town of Konna, although this could not be confirmed, while the French continued airstrikes on the Islamist-held town of Diabaly, at least 200 kilometers (125 miles) away. Residents who escaped Diabaly said French bombs continued to hit Islamist positions there overnight but they said the town remained under the control of the radical Islamists who have advanced south after controlling northern Mali for nearly a year. “There were bombardments last night in Diabaly and civilians have continued to come here to Niono, said Oumar Coulibaly, a resident of Niono. “This morning I saw people who came from Diabaly and the Islamists still occupy the city.” Diabaly, a town of some 35,000 people, is just 250 miles (400 kilometers) northeast of the capital of Bamako. Meanwhile, France has increased its troops strength in Mali to 1,400, said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “The actions of French forces, be it air forces or ground forces, are ongoing,” said Le Drian in Paris yesterday. “They took place yesterday, they took place last night, they took place today, they will take place tomorrow.” Fleeing residents have said that Islamist extremists have taken over their homes in Diabaly and were preventing other people from leaving. They said the militants were melting into the population and moving only in small groups on streets in the mud-walled neighborhoods to avoid being targeted by the French. “They stationed themselves outside my house with a heavy weapon, I don’t know what sort it was. After that came the bombing, which went on from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and after that, one of them (rebels) jumped over my garden wall to grab the keys to my car,” said Thiemogo Coulibaly. In apparent retaliation for the French offensive, the same group controlling northern Mali seized a natural gas complex in neighboring Algeria, taking dozens of people hostage, including Americans. Two foreigners were killed. In the narrow waist of central Mali, fighting reignited in the town of Konna, which the Islamists attacked last week and seized a day before French launched its military offensive. A Malian military official, who insisted

on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said the fighting began Wednesday between Malian soldiers and Islamists from the group Ansar Dine. The official claimed that Malian forces had forced the Islamists out of Konna, a claim that could not be immediately corroborated. Abdrahmane Guirou, a nurse, said four wounded soldiers had been brought to the local hospital. France expects to ramp up to a total of 2,500 soldiers that will include French Foreign Legionnaires. It has committed helicopter gunships, fighter jets, surveillance planes and refueling tankers in the fight against the Islamists who seized control of northern Mali last

year. Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers agreed yesterday to quickly dispatch military trainers for Mali’s embattled army and fund an African-led intervention force to stem “terrorist” action in the West African nation. “The EU condemns the acts being carried out by terrorist groups against the Malian armed forces which are jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity,” the 27-state bloc said at extraordinary talks called to discuss events in Mali. Barely minutes after the opening of the crisis talks, ministers and delegates decided to send 450 to 500 non-combat troops, half of them trainers, to Mali as speedily as possible. — Agencies

GAO, Mali: A picture taken with a mobile phone reportedly shows Islamist insurgents in Gao. Fresh clashes erupted overnight between the Malian army, backed by French troops, and Islamic insurgents encircling the central town of Konna, military sources said yesterday.— AFP

2 police officers held in UK bribery inquiry LONDON: British police investigating corruption related to the tabloid phonehacking scandal say they have arrested two police officers and a journalist. London’s Metropolitan Police say the three were detained yesterday morning on allegations related to “inappropriate payments to police and public officials.” The corruption probe is running alongside investigations into phone hacking and computer hacking sparked by revelations that reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World tabloid routinely intercepted voicemails of those in the public eye. Dozens of people have been arrested and several charged over the scandal, including former Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks. Last week a senior detective was convicted of trying to pass police information to the News of the World.— AP

Russian official reassures US adoptive parents

VICENZA: Leon Panetta, Don Campbell, Pat Donahue Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) is greeted by Commanding General US Army Europe Lt Gen Don Campbell, center, and Commanding Gen US Army Africa Major Gen Pat Donahue as the secretary arrives to speak to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at US Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy yesterday.—AP

MOSCOW: Russia’s children rights ombudsman yesterday sought to reassure American would-be adoptive parents that they will be allowed to take their children back to the US. But some Americans with court rulings in their favor say they’re still in legal limbo. A Russian law banning adoptions by US citizens was rushed through parliament in December and sped to President Vladimir Putin’s desk in less than 10 days in retaliation over a US law calling for sanctions on Russians identified as human-rights violators. Tens of

thousands rallied in central Moscow on Sunday to protest the law, which the demonstrators say victimizes children to make a political point. Russian courts had ruled in favor of 52 US families before the ban was enacted. But many of these families have told The Associated Press that authorities in Russia are still refusing to turn over these children. Children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said yesterday that Russia would honor the court decisions but did not elaborate on the timeline or say what the

families should do now. “All the children who have been approved to be adopted will be able to leave for the US,” he said. Astakhov vehemently defended the new law, saying that it would not be revoked “however big the protests are.” Dozens of American families are in legal limbo because of the ban. Two couples, Jeana and Wayne Bonner, and Brian and Rebecca Preece, have stayed in Moscow for days waiting to finalize the adoption of children with Down syndrome. —AP


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Floods cripple Indonesia capital; at least 4 die Army deploys rubber boats in Jakarta

TOKYO: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell (left) listens to a question from a journalist with National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Daniel Russel at foreign ministry in Tokyo yesterday.— AP

Philippine birth control law takes effect MANILA: A controversial birth control law came into effect in the Philippines yesterday after more than a decade of bitter opposition from the Catholic church, in an historic move welcomed by many women. The law requires government health centers to hand out free condoms and birth control pills, benefiting the country’s poor who would not otherwise have access, and mandates that sex education be taught in schools. The government is still working on the measure’s finer details, including how to allocate funding to different regions and at what age to introduce sex education, according to officials. Supporters say the measures will help moderate the nation’s rapid population growth, reduce poverty and bring down high maternal mortality. But Catholic groups have already shifted their battle to the courts, questioning the law’s constitutionality. The church, which counts 80 percent of Filipinos as followers, forbids the use of artificial contraceptives. The government also has to go through “consultations” with various stakeholders including international and local medical and religious groups, said Hazel Chua, an official at the Health Department’s family planning unit. “It has a lot of broadstrokes in it that need a lot of guidelines. It will take a lot of time before (the law) will go down to the ground,” she told AFP. Under the law, government health centres will be guaranteed a supply of contraceptives, unlike in the past when local mayors could be intimidated by the church into not providing birth control services, Chua said. One provision of the law, legalising post-abortion medical care, is still undergoing special study since abortion remains illegal in the Philippines, Chua added. “The abortionist is criminally liable and should be prosecuted (but)... if someone comes in after (an abortion) and is haemorrhaging, we have to take good care of them,” she reasoned. The medical charity Merlin praised the law as a “milestone” but said more efforts were needed to make sure it was properly implemented. “There is likely to be cultural opposition... led by religious conservatives, which could make it hard for clinics to offer services,” said country director Maxime Piasecki. President Benigno Aquino signed the bill into law last month in the face of strong lobbying by the Catholic church, and religious leaders have vowed that the fight was not over. The church is now relying on lay groups that have filed petitions with the Supreme Court to challenge the law, said Roy Lagarde, a spokesman for the country’s Catholic bishops. But the legislation’s chief author Congressman Edcel Lagman said he was confident it would not be struck down. “We have long expected that the opposition will go to the Supreme Court. We have prepared for this eventuality,” he said. Housewife Nerissa Gallo, 44, who has given birth to 16 children, said she welcomed the law which would bring contraceptives into the reach of the poor. Asked about the church’s opposition, she said: “We don’t pay attention to that. They are not the ones who are giving birth again and again. We are the ones who have to find a way to care for the children.” — AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s army deployed rubber boats in the capital’s business district yesterday to rescue people trapped in floods that inundated much of the city of 14 million people. The president was pictured standing in water up to his shins - his trousers rolled up - at the palace waiting for the arrival of Argentina’s leader on a state visit. The floods were the most widespread to hit Jakarta in recent memory. Authorities said at least four people were killed and 20,000 evacuated. Many more homes were inundated following around five hours of heavy overnight rain that coursed through rivers already swollen by a long monsoon season. Few areas in the city were spared, from wealthy suburbs to riverside slums and gleaming downtown business blocks. Offices and schools were deserted and traffic ground to a halt. The international airport was operating normally, but travelers were finding it hard to get there. “This is horrible,” said Yanitha Damayanti, a bank teller stranded downtown. “For the first time in my life, downtown Jakarta has flooded.” The city has long been prone to floods, but successive governments have done little to mitigate the threat. Deforestation in the hills to the south of the city, chaotic planning and the rubbish that clogs the hundreds of rivers and waterways that crisscross the city are some of the factors

JAKARTA: Women wade through a flooded street in Jakarta yesterday. Flooding caused by monsoon rains have forced thousands of people to flee their homes in Indonesia’s capital. — AP behind the floods. The city’s vulnerability exposes the country’s poor infrastructure even as it has posted impressive economic growth in recent years. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the country’s foreign minister were pictured standing in water up to their shins at the presidential palace waiting for the arrival of Argentina’s President Christina Kirchner, who is on a state visit. The meeting of the two leaders apparently went ahead. “I have no problem with the palace

being flooded, “Yudhoyono said. “The most important thing is the people are protected.” In some places, water levels were up to 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) high. Seen from above, the main road through the heart of the city resembled a muddy river. Even as authorities struggled to rescue those trapped and provide them food and shelter, some were thinking of the economic cost. “This is an extraordinary disaster,” said Syamsuddin Basri. “I had to cancel many important business deals.” — AP

Abe in Thailand to talk economic ties, security

BANGKOK: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (L) review a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Government House in Bangkok yesterday. — AFP

US ‘deeply concerned’ over Myanmar deaths YANGON: The US ambassador to Myanmar has said he is “deeply concerned” about civilian deaths in a recent attack on a rebel stronghold in the country’s north during the escalation of a bitter civil war. Derek Mitchell called for both Myanmar’s army and ethnic minority fighters to “stop the violence” in Kachin state near the border with China, but acknowledged that “mistrust is deep” in the increasingly bloody unrest. “We strongly oppose any actions that harm or threaten to harm civilians,” Mitchell said in comments tweeted by the United States embassy in Yangon yesterday. He added that he was “deeply concerned about recent civilian deaths in Laiza”, the busy border town that also acts as the headquarters for the Kachin Independence Army. Three people, including a teenager and elderly man, were killed and several others were wounded after blasts in the centre of Laiza that the rebels say were a result of army shelling. Myanmar has denied the accusations. An upsurge in fighting since December has overshadowed Myanmar’s wider political reforms, with the military’s use of air strikes sparking a growing international outcry. — AFP

BANGKOK: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Thailand yesterday, part of a three-country Southeast Asian tour to consolidate business ties in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions and counter growing Chinese assertiveness. Tension remain high over China’s claims on parts of the strategically vital and mineral-rich South China Sea that are also claimed by four Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, which Abe visited on Wednesday. Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have been frosty since a dispute over islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China flared up last year. Violent anti-Japanese protests have been staged in Chinese cities. “China has successfully built up its own military power but for what? We celebrate China’s economic growth but it’s not a good idea to threaten others or urge others by coercion or intimidation,” Yutaka Yokoi, a Japanese foreign ministry official, told Reuters in Bangkok. Having taken on the role of mediator in the multi-layered South China Sea disputes, Thailand has said it would listen to what Japan has to say but would also take into consideration the views of other countries involved. Analysts have said Abe will have to tread carefully in Southeast Asia to avoid provoking China by appearing to be trying to “contain” it. Moreover, his hosts will be keen to avoid upsetting China, now their major economic partner. In Hanoi on Wednesday, Abe, on his first foreign trip since sweeping to power last month, agreed with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that disputes in the region should be solved through peaceful talks and international law. Already one of the biggest foreign investors in Southeast Asia and the largest in Thailand, with its firms pouring 312 billion baht ($10.5 billion) into the country in 2012, Japan is keen to step up its economic presence in the region. Abe’s visit to Bangkok is the first by a Japanese prime minister in 11 years and comes as more Japanese firms look at setting up shop in the emerging economies of Southeast Asia because of the soured climate in China. — Reuters


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Judge sends India rape case to fast-track court Gang-rape culprit beaten up in jail NEW DELHI: An Indian magistrate yesterday ordered the trial of five men accused in the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus to be shifted to a special fast-track court in New Delhi. The brutal rape of the 23-year-old student last month set off protests in New Delhi and sparked a national debate about the treatment of women across the country and the inability of law enforcement to protect them. In an effort to address some of that criticism, the government set up five fast-track courts in the capital in recent weeks to deal swiftly with crimes against women. Authorities were eager to move the case into one of those courts, which are designed to avoid the delays, incompetence and corruption that plague much of India’s legal system. In a hearing yesterday, Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal sent the rape case to a fast-track court and set a hearing for Monday there. A sixth suspect in the attack claims to be a juvenile and his case is being handled separately. Lawyers for the five have said police mistreated their clients, including beating them to force them to confess to the Dec. 16 crime. V K Anand, a lawyer for one of the defendants, said yesterday that he would petition the Supreme Court to have the rape trial moved out of New Delhi because he doesn’t believe his client could get a fair hearing in

the capital. One of the men accused of taking part in the fatal gang-rape of a student on a New Delhi bus in a crime that outraged India has been badly beaten up in jail by other prisoners, his lawyer said yesterday. A P Singh told reporters that his client Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor accused of the murder and rape of the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus last month, was in agony during a court appearance yesterday. “Vinay Sharma was badly tortured in jail by other inmates who pounced on him. He was not in a position to stand up in court because he was in great pain,” Singh said. “It is sad the jail authorities cannot provide security to them,” he added. Twenty-yearold Sharma is one of six people-one of them a juvenile-arrested over an attack that has fuelled nationwide anger and led many in India to stage mass demos, protesting the country’s treatment of women. The case is expected to be transferred to a fast-track court later this month, as calls grow for a swift trial and stiffer penalties for sex attackers. The five adults could face the death penalty if convicted. A lawyer for another defendant, bus driver Ram Singh, told reporters he would ask the Supreme Court to transfer the case out of the Indian capital, saying: “I know we will not get justice in Delhi”. — Agencies

NEW DELHI: Female staff from the Imperial Hotel perform moves during a self-defense class led by Delhi Police in New Delhi yesterday. After One-month of lurid reporting on a horrifying gang-rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, women in the Indian capital say they are more anxious than ever, leading to a surge in interest in self-defense classes. — AFP

Pakistan cleric signals end to mass sit-in Anti-graft board refuses to arrest PM

PESHAWAR: Pakistani police commandos kick a young adult protesting with others against the killings of their family members, in Peshawar yesterday.—AP

Pakistani lawmaker shot dead in Karachi KARACHI: A Pakistani lawmaker from a coalition partner in the government was shot dead with three of his guards in a driveby shooting in Karachi yesterday, police said. Manzar Imam, 42, belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the political party that dominates Karachi and which is a coalition partner in the federal government led by President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). “A member of the Sindh provincial assembly was killed with three of his guards when

gunmen on two motorcycles intercepted his car in Orangi neighbourhood and shot them with automatic weapons,” police spokesman Imran Shaukat told AFP. It is the second shooting of an MQM provincial lawmaker in just over two years in the city, Pakistan’s business centre with a population of 18 million. Tensions rose in Karachi immediately after yesterday’s shooting. Many markets closed and people rushed home to avoid any potential violent backlash. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani cleric announced that a mass sit-in of tens of thousands of people outside parliament in Islamabad would end, the latest twist in a drama that has gripped the nuclear-armed state. Tahir-ul Qadri made the announcement as the country’s corruption watchdog told the Supreme Court it did not yet have enough evidence to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on graft allegations, as the top judge had ordered. Tension in Pakistan has been at fever pitch since Tuesday, when the arrest order coincided with Qadri’s arrival in Islamabad, delivering a fiery speech denouncing politicians and praising the armed forces and judiciary. The timing sparked panic about a rumored judiciary-military plot to derail elections due by mid-May. The polls, if successful, would be the first democratic transition of power between two civilian governments in Pakistan’s history. The political crisis comes as Pakistan battles problems on numerous fronts: the economy is struggling, Taliban and other violence is at a high, the rupee is sinking, there is an appalling energy crisis and fledgling peace gains with India appear in jeopardy following five crossborder killings in a week. Qadri gave the government 90 minutes to negotiate and later told his supporters that talks would begin at 3:45 pm (1045 GMT). Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said a delegation of government and coalition partners had been sent to meet Qadri to try to resolve the situation.

Deputy information minister Samsam Bukhari had told private TV station Geo the government was open to talks. “A high-level delegation comprising all coalition partners is coming here to have talks with me in my container,” Qadri told the crowd, referring to the bullet-proof box with windows that he has not left since early Tuesday. The chief of the Pakistani government’s anti-corruption department rejected yesterday a Supreme Court order to arrest the prime minister, television channels reported, providing some relief to a government gripped by political turmoil. On Tuesday, the court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in connection with alleged kickbacks in transactions involving rental power plants when he served as power minister. Fasih Bokhari, head of the National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court that investigations of the allegations against Ashraf were incomplete, television channels reported. The court asked Bokhari to produce case records so that it could decide whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the prime minister and other officials accused in the case. But fresh troubles may be brewing for the government, which has been heavily criticized for its failure to strengthen the economy, fight militancy and eradicate poverty. The Supreme Court has admitted a petition filed against Sherry Rehman, Islamabad’s ambassador to the United States and a well-known member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, accusing her of committing blasphemy. — Agencies

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Airlines ground Boeing’s Dreamliners Europe, Japan, Qatar and India join US

LAS VEGAS: Nightforce rifle scope representatives discuss features of their products with potential clients at the 35th annual SHOT Show on Wednesday in Las Vegas. —AP

Obama’s gun measures face a tough road WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president’s allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action. The fate of his plan could ultimately hinge on a handful of moderate Democratic senators. Although they are unlikely to endorse the president’s call for banning assault weapons, they might go along with other proposals, such as requiring universal background checks on gun purchases. Several of these senators responded warily after Obama unveiled his proposals Wednesday with the challenge that “Congress must act soon.” “I will look closely at all proposals on the table, but we must use common sense and respect our Constitution,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. Tester told the Missoulian newspaper in his home state recently that he supports background checks but doesn’t think an assault weapons ban would have stopped the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman massacred 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself. Obama’s proposals came a month after the shootings in Newtown, which he has called the worst day of his presidency. His announcements capped a swift and wide-ranging effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to respond to the deaths. The $500 million plan marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. It also sets up a tough political fight with Congress as Obama starts his second term needing Republican support to meet three looming fiscal deadlines and pass comprehensive immigration reform. “I will put everything I’ve got into this, and so will Joe,” the president said. “But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.” Seeking to circumvent at least some opposition, Obama signed 23 executive actions Wednesday, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence. But he acknowledged that the steps he took on his own would have less impact than the broad measures requiring approval from Capitol Hill. He is also calling for limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds or less. “To make a real and lasting difference, Congress, too, must act,” Obama said. The question now is how and whether that happens. House GOP leaders have made clear they’ll wait for the Senate to act first, since they see no need to move on the contentious topic if it doesn’t. “House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that,” said Michael Steel, spokesman to House Speaker John Boehner. Many rank-and-file Republicans scorched Obama’s proposal. “The right to bear arms is a right, despite President Obama’s disdain for the Second Amendment,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, RKan. Senators are expected to begin discussions on how to proceed when they return to Washington next week from a congressional recess, according to a Democratic leadership aide who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. — AP

TOKYO/SEATTLE: Airlines scrambled yesterday to rearrange flights as Europe, Japan, Qatar and India joined the United States in grounding Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliner passenger jets while batteryrelated problems are investigated. Poland’s state-controlled LOT Airlines said it would seek compensation from Boeing for grounding its two planes. It expects delivery of three more Dreamliners by end-March, but would only take them if the technical issues have been resolved, deputy chief Tomasz Balcerzak told a news conference. The lightweight, mainly carbon-composite plane has been plagued by recent mishaps - including an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways domestic flight on Wednesday after warning lights indicated a battery problem - raising concerns over its use of lithium-ion batteries. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday temporarily grounded Boeing’s newest commercial airliner, saying carriers would have to demonstrate the batteries were safe before the planes could resume flying. It gave no details on when that might happen. It is the first such action since the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 had its airworthiness certificate suspended following a deadly crash in Chicago in 1979, analysts said. Boeing has sold around 850 of its new planes, with 50 delivered to date. Around half of those have been in operation in Japan, but airlines in India, South America, Poland, Qatar and Ethiopia, as well as United Airlines in the United States, are also flying the aircraft, which has a list price of $207 million. With most of that Dreamliner fleet now effectively out of action as engineers and regulators make checks - primarily to the plane’s batteries and complex electronics systems - airlines are wrestling with gaps in their scheduling. Japan Airlines Co said it cancelled eight Dreamliner flights between Tokyo and San Diego until Jan. 25, affecting 1,290 passengers, and would switch aircraft for another 70 flights scheduled to fly the 787. Air

India said it would use other planes on scheduled Dreamliner flights. Motohisa Tachikawa, spokesman for Tokyo-based travel agent JTB, said there had not yet been any direct impact on bookings. “I’m sure JAL and ANA are furiously trying to assign replacement planes for those that are grounded. How and when they will make that clear will impact our situation,” he told Reuters. Keeping the 787s on the ground could cost ANA alone more than $1.1 million a day, Mizuho Securities calculated, noting the Dreamliner was key to the airline’s growth strategy. Regulators in Japan and India said it was unclear when the Dreamliner could be back in action. A spokesman for the

Angeles moments before the FAA announcement - reported an incident-free trip. “I fly over 100,000 miles a year,” said Brett Boudreaux, a salesman from Lake Charles, Louisiana. “That was one of the most relaxing flights I’ve ever had. I hope they sort it out. It’s a hell of a plane.” In after-hours trading, Boeing shares fell more than 3 percent to $71.90. “Ultimately, you can view it as a positive thing if they can resolve what the issues are and give people confidence in the safety of the aircraft,” said Ken Herbert, analyst at Imperial Capital in San Francisco. “In the near-term, though, it’s a negative. It’s going to force the company to make significant investments.” Scott Hamilton, an analyst at Leeham

TAKAMATSU: An official carries a main battery that was removed off an electrical room beneath the cockpit of an All Nippon Airways 787 at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu yesterday. — AP European Aviation Safety Agency said the region would follow the FAA’s grounding order. Qatar Airways said it grounded its five 787s. Boeing said in a statement it was confident the 787 was safe and it stood by the plane’s integrity. Passengers leaving United’s flight 1426 in Houston - which took off from Los

Co, an aerospace consulting firm in Seattle, said having a plane grounded “is about the worst thing that can happen to an airplane program”. “If this goes beyond just a bad design of a battery and you have to redesign some systems leading to the battery, and look at why didn’t safeguards on this thing work, you get a ripple effect,” he said.—AP

US military to arraign soldier accused of Afghan massacre

KABUL: US ambassador in Afghanistan, James Cunningham speaks during a news event at the US embassy in Kabul yesterday. The American ambassador in Afghanistan says the United States wants serious peace negotiations with the Taleban but that it has not yet been possible to get the process under way. -AP

SEATTLE: A US soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan is due to be arraigned on charges of premeditated murder, for which military prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Robert Bales, a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of gunning down the villagers - mostly women and children - in their homes in two villages in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. The shootings occurred over a five-hour period in March. It was one of the deadliest incidents the military has blamed on a rogue US soldier since the Vietnam War and strained US-Afghan relations. Prosecutors say Bales, 39, acted alone and with “chilling premeditation” when, armed with a pistol, a rifle and a grenade launcher, he left his base twice, returning in the middle of his rampage to tell a fellow soldier: “I just shot up some people.” During a pre-trial hearing in November at Washington state’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Bales is being held and where the arraignment will take place, witnesses testified that he had been angered by a bomb blast near his outpost that severed a fellow soldier’s leg days before the shootings. The government believes Bales was solely responsible for the deaths, and survivors have testified that they saw only one US soldier. However, several indirect accounts have suggested more than one soldier may have been involved.—Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Dubai hits new 2-year high

India allows retailers to raise diesel prices PAGE 20


HONG KONG: Pedestrians walk past a high rise building in Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he planned to tackle the city’s housing crisis by increasing land supply to provide around 128,700 new homes “in the short-to medium-term”. — AFP

US economic data lifts global markets Bank of America, Citigroup disappoint investors LONDON: A run of upbeat US economic indicators helped shore up sentiment in the global markets yesterday despite disappointing earnings from the likes of Bank of America and Citigroup. As has been the case for much of this year, the US has been the main focus of attention. Relief that lawmakers agreed to a budget deal that prevented tax increases and spending cuts at the start of the year had helped many stock indexes around the world to advance to multiyear highs. However, that momentum ground to a halt this week as investors wondered whether there was any upside, particularly in the value of stocks. The positive US economic data yesterday suggested there may be. Weekly jobless claims fell 37,000 to 335,000, their lowest level in five years, while a gauge of the housing market reinforced the view that the sector is well and truly

on the mend after years of decline. Housing starts jumped a monthly 12.1 percent to an annualized rate of 954,000, its highest since June 2008. As a result, a session that had been marked by a general sloth, burst into life. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.4 percent at 6,130 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to 7,755. The CAC-40 in France was 1.1 percent higher at 3,748. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to 13,552 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,478. Worse than expected results from Bank of America and Citigroup did little to alter the prevailing mood. Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co, said the housing figures, in particular, boost confidence that “a spreading recovery will overflow into broader consumption habits and further permeate the economy.”

If the US economy, the world’s largest, enjoys such an outturn, then that would be a boon to the global recovery, and potentially ease some of the problems that exist elsewhere, not least in Europe. “We think the economy is set for a great 2013 and the stock market looks set to break higher,” said Wilkinson. It’s not all clear for the US economy though. Another looming battle in Congress over raising the US debt ceiling is on the cards. Fitch has already warned that it may strip the US of its triple A rating if there’s a delay in raising it. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index swung between gains and losses before closing nearly 0.1 percent higher at 10,609.64. On Wednesday, the Nikkei slid around 2.6 percent after investors interpreted comments from economy minister Akira Amari as suggesting he was concerned over the sharp fall in the yen in recent weeks. “That misunderstanding has been cleared up

by Amari, who clarified that he meant that the yen is still in the process of correcting back into line with fundamentals,” said Lee Hardman, currency analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The impact of his comments on the yen was short-lived, with the dollar up 0.9 percent at 89.35 yen yesterday. Elsewhere, the euro was 0.4 percent higher at $1.3340. South Korea’s Kospi fell almost 0.2 percent to 1,974.27 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng changed direction after posting morning gains, slipping 0.1 percent to 23,339.76. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.1 percent to 2,284.91 ahead of Friday’s economic growth figures, which could provide broader direction across markets on the last day of the week. Oil prices were steady, with the benchmark New York rate up 89 cents at $94.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. — AP

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Dubai hits new 2-year high MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

TOKYO: People look at share prices including Japanese manufacturer GS Yuasa (right bottom) that reports 305 yen, 16 yen lower than the previous day trading, on the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo yesterday. — AP

Etisalat eyeing Vivendi’s Maroc Telecom stake DUBAI: Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates’ largest telecommunications operator, said it is interested in buying Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom. The former monopoly has submitted a “preliminary expression of interest” for the stake, valued at around $5.8 billion at the current market price, it said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse yesterday. French conglomerate Vivendi is exploring selling several assets as part of an ongoing strategic review intended to pay down debt, boost a flagging share price and reduce the group’s exposure to capital-intensive telecom businesses. Maroc Telecom, in which Vivendi first bought a stake in 2001, offers fixed-line, mobile and internet services in the kingdom, and is also one of Africa’s main telecom operators with units in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania. Qatar Telecom, the state-owned operator, has hired J P Morgan Chase to advise it on a potential bid for the stake, sources told Reuters in December. South Korea’s KT Corp is also said to be considering a bid for the unit, which Vivendi hopes will fetch 5.5 billion euros ($7.31 billion), two people familiar with the matter said last month. —Reuters

Rio Tinto CEO fired over calamitous acquisitions LONDON: Rio Tinto sacked chief executive Tom Albanese yesterday and revealed a $14 billion writedown almost entirely on the value of his two most significant acquisitions, the Alcan aluminum group and Mozambican coal. An engineer who became the miner’s first American boss two decades ago, Albanese will be replaced by Australian Sam Walsh who heads Rio’s operations in iron ore, where it is the world’s second largest producer. Doug Ritchie, the heavyweight former energy boss who led the acquisition of Mozambique-focused miner Riversdale, was also shown the door. New Jersey-born, Alaska-trained Albanese had until now survived the consequences of his disastrous $38 billion acquisition of Alcan in 2007, a bruising top-of-the-market deal when Rio was under pressure from rivals to bulk up or be bought. The deal, just two months after Albanese took the reins, turned bad as markets crumbled and aluminum prices slumped, battering Rio’s balance sheet, nearly forcing it into the arms of Chinese state-owned Chinalco and triggering a $15 billion rights issue. Rio has since suffered years of losses in aluminum, with Alcan adding to problems at its original business, and has taken some $29 billion in impairments. Walsh was welcomed by investors and analysts yesterday as a safe pair of hands, but many also questioned whether a 63-year-old veteran would be a longterm solution, raising concerns over management at a group that also announced the departure of its chief financial officer last July. “It’s another black mark in terms of (Albanese’s) M&A record and I suppose, given the magnitude of this writedown ... I’m not surprised that he’s stepping down with this, nor am I surprised that Doug Ritchie is,” analyst Jeff Largey at Macquarie said. Rio had planned to shrink the aluminum arm, cutting back one of the world’s largest producers of the metal by hiving off most of its Australian and New Zealand assets. But industry sources say it has not been mobbed by buyers. Further damaging his reputation as a dealmaker, Albanese spearheaded a $4.2 billion deal in 2011 to buy Mozambique-focused coal miner Riversdale, fighting off other suitors. — Reuters

DUBAI: Dubai’s bourse climbed to a new two-year high yesterday as investors shifted funds to stocks lagging an earlyyear rally, while other regional markets closed mixed. In Dubai, contractor Drake & Scull jumped 5.6 percent and builder Arabtec gained 4.2 percent. Dubai Financial Market surged 6 percent. “Local flows are going into stocks, like DSI, which were lagging compared to the market rally last week,” said Mohab Maher, senior manager - institutional desk at MENA Corp. “Foreign buying is also supporting (but) this is likely for short-term gains.” Emirates NBD hit an 11-month high, rising 1.5 percent. The bank is trading at a price-to-book value of 0.53, while the other big lenders in the United Arab Emirates are above 1, according to Reuters data. Traders said these indicators are a trigger for investors to buy ENBD shares. Dubai’s index rose 1.9 percent to 1,775 points, its highest close since November 2010 and up 9.4 percent so far in January. The market is close to completing a major technical reversal pattern - an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern -

which, if successful, means a strong move higher. “Currently the neckline is located at 1,785 level, which is considered being a tough resistance - the breakout of the neckline should occur on high volumes to confirm the pattern and confirm that the UAE markets will witness an extremely bullish move targeting 2,200 and 2,400 in the intermediate term,” said Musa Haddad, head of investment advisory services at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark slipped 0.1 percent, down for a second session since Tuesday’s nine-month high. National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank shed 0.9 and 0.8 percent respectively. Elsewhere, Qatar’s index gained 0.5 percent, up 3.1 percent so far this month. Shares in Vodafone Qatar advanced 4.6 percent to 8.84 riyals per share. The telecom operator reported a narrowing third-quarter loss on Wednesday. “Vodafone Qatar reported solid December metrics that beat ours and consensus estimates - the beat was on the back of strong subscriber growth,” QNB Financial Services said in a research note. “We maintain our ‘accumulate’ rat-

ing with a price target of 9.36 riyals.”In Egypt, the index slipped 0.5 percent as selling pressure from Egyptians and nonArab foreigners increased, according to bourse data. Arab investors were net buyers. The market is still up 3.6 percent so far this month. Talaat Moustafa, losing 4.7 percent, was the main drag on the index. Investors booked profits from Wednesday’s rally triggered by a court postponing a case over the disputed sale of land for the property developer’s flagship Madinaty project until April 16. Shares in National Societe Generale Bank bucked the market trend and gained 0.5 percent. Qatar National Bank, which hopes to complete the purchase of a 77 percent stake in the Egyptian lender within the next two months, said it would not be deterred by a currency crisis in the North Africa country. QNB shares on Doha’s exchange gained 0.5 percent. In Oman, Bank Muscat ended 0.2 percent lower, trimming January’s gains to 4.8 percent. Oman’s largest bank posted a 15.1 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, which came in line with analysts’ forecasts. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi to select developer for water project ABU DHABI: Six international consortiums have been pre-qualified to bid for Abu Dhabi’s ninth independent water and power project (IWPP), with the winner expected to be chosen by mid 2013, a senior official of the emirate’s utility said yesterday. The selected developer will take a 40 percent stake in a special purpose company in which the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) will hold the rest. “Next month the bids will be received from the six pre-qualified groups and after evaluation we will select the developer,” Adwea general director Abdulla Saif Al Naimi told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The selection will be made by July, he said. The 1,500-megawatt (MW) and 55 million gallon per day Mirfa plant will be located on the Gulf coast 160 km from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The six pre-qualified consortiums are led by Japan’s Marubeni, GDF-Suez, Singapore’s SembCorp , Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, France’s EDF and Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries. Abu Dhabi produces more than 9,000 MW of electricity from its eight independent water and power projects, most of which is consumed in Abu Dhabi and about 22 percent exported to the northern emirates, according to latest Adwea statistics. Demand is forecast to grow at 11.3 percent annually in Abu Dhabi up to 2015. — Reuters

HANOI: Motorcyclists ride past a row of concrete overhead skytrain supports, a delayed construction project in downtown Hanoi yesterday. The country faces growing worries about inflation, bank debts, falling foreign direct investment and a string of financial scandals among state-owned firms. — AFP

Dubai’s QE2 to float as luxury hotel in Asia DUBAI: Iconic cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 will be upgraded into a luxury floating hotel with 500 rooms and will be moored in an Asian harbor, its Dubai owners said in a statement yesterday. The ship “will be moved today (Thursday) to Drydocks World Dubai for undertaking classification checks prior to her renovation as a luxury floating hotel,” said the statement by Drydocks World, a maritime holding company belonging to the Dubai government. QE2 will be converted into “a five-star hotel with 500 rooms managed by a prestigious international hotel as an operator” in partnership with the Oceanic Group, which has operations in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The refurbished QE2 will also include a shopping mall, restaurants and an onboard maritime museum, the statement said, without specify where the ship would be based in Asia. Dubai World bought the QE2 for about 50 million pounds (81 million dollars) from US cruise operator Cunard in 2007, when the economy of Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates was growing at a breakneck speed before the global financial crisis. Launched by her British namesake in September 1967, the QE2 was Cunard’s longest-serving ship. The 963-feet- (294-metre) craft can carry up to 1,778 passengers and more than 1,000 crew. — AFP

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Gulf bonds to weather rise in US Treasury yields DUBAI: A jump in US Treasury yields in the last few weeks has raised a grim possibility for emerging market bond investors: a sustained back-up in US yields that could sink the value of bond holdings. But compared to many other places in the world, the Gulf looks well-placed to weather such a storm. Because it has a big local investor base of cash-rich financial institutions, the region may quickly absorb any mass exit by foreign investors from its bonds. And relatively high yield levels, especially for lower-rated bonds, give countries in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council some protection. “GCC debt markets will continue to grow and increasingly capture a higher share of international, emerging market and regional portfolios, regardless of the cycle of US interest rates,” said Mohieddine Kronfol, chief investment officer for global sukuk and regional fixed income markets at Franklin Templeton Investments. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries has hit a high of 1.91 percent in January, some

30 basis points higher than its levels in early December. The yield was at a record low of 1.39 percent in late July. The consensus among most banks and investment firms is that the yield is likely to reach 2.25-2.50 percent by the end of this year, depending on US economic growth. A faster rise cannot be ruled out. Investors bought heavily into Gulf debt last year; total bond and sukuk issuance from the region exceeded $40 billion, up from below $30 billion in 2011. So in theory, a back-up of US yields could expose investors to substantial losses. The most highly rated, longest-term Gulf bonds have started to react to the US move. For example Qatar’s $1 billion, 6.4 percent bond maturing in 2040 yielded 4.06 percent yesterday, up 8 bps so far this year and at its highest level since mid-October. But yields on less highly rated Gulf credits have continued dropping to record lows. The yield on the $1.8 billion, 6.85 percent bond issued by Dubai’s DP World and maturing in 2037 is 5.40 percent, down 18

bps from the end of 2012. DP World is rated BBB-, the last level above junk grade. The reason for the divergence seems to be that yields on lower-rated Gulf bonds are still far enough above US Treasury yields that they look attractive - and would not necessarily back up sharply if U.S. yields rise further. Georges Elhedery, head of global markets for the region at HSBC, the top arranger of bonds and sukuk in the Middle East last year, said that despite recent tightening, GCC bonds and sukuk still offered value compared to other emerging markets. For example, Turkey, rated BBB- by Fitch Ratings, priced its debut $1.5 billion sukuk last year at a profit rate of 2.803 percent for a long five-year issue, well inside much higher-rated Qatari and Abu Dhabi credits. The sukuk was yielding 2.49 percent yesterday, almost three percentage points below DP World with the same rating. Bonds from Indonesia and the Philippines also priced tighter than top-rated Gulf credits, giving Gulf issuers more

leeway in case of a substantial US rate rise. “Yield rather than spread continues to be the focus of the majority of fixed income investors in the region,” said Doug Bitcon, head of fixed income funds and portfolios at Rasmala Investment Bank in Dubai. Another supportive factor for the Gulf is its large, rich investor base, which typically bids for more than 50 percent of bonds issued in the region. Last year, Gulf issuers made a point of trying to diversify geographically, so Gulf investors sometimes ended up getting well under 50 percent of bonds on offer. But if foreigners were to pull out, Gulf buyers could be expected to step into the secondary market. “Regional investors, especially the top financial institutions, are unlikely to switch their holdings to UST instead of high-grade or high-yield local paper, even if UST offer better yields than now,” said a Gulf-based analyst, declining to be named under briefing rules. “Regional liquidity will still chase Gulf dollar-denominated paper.” — Reuters

India allows retailers to raise diesel prices Govt says price hike to be minimal

BARCELONA: A woman buys fruit in a market in Barcelona yesterday. Spain has sold euro 4.5 billion ($5.97 billion) in a medium- and long-term bond sale that saw interest rates dropping as market fears ease over whether the country will need outside help to manage its finances. —AP

Investors cozy up to Spain at bond auction MADRID: Improved investor sentiment towards struggling European economies helped Spain cut debt costs at a bond auction on Thursday and allowed it to reach nearly 9 percent of the year’s longer term borrowing needs. Portugal and Ireland, both under bailout programs from international lenders, also showed more signs of moving back into the mainstream market and shedding their previous debtpariah status. The Spanish Treasury sold just over 4.5 billion euros ($5.98 billion) of bonds maturing in 2015, 2018 and 2041, hitting the top end of what it hoped to sell. It sold 2.4 billion euros in a 2015 bond and the yield, or borrowing cost, fell to 2.713 percent compared with 3.358 percent at the previous auction of that maturity. This was below 3 percent for the first time since May 2012, when Spain’s risk premium started to spike and sent yields soaring. With the sale, Spain has completed close to 9 percent of its 2013 medium- and long-term gross funding needs in just two bond auctions. “It’s encouraging that they achieved 4.5 billion euro which shows they are managing their issuance calendar so far this year without too much difficulty,” said Nick Stamenkovic, a strategist at Ria Capital Markets in Edinburgh. “Most notably the ‘41 longer-dated bonds were comfortably absorbed. That suggests to me that overseas investors are returning back to the (euro-zone) peripheral bond markets including from the US because of the ECB backstop.” Spain’s financing costs have fallen by more than 2 percentage points on its 10-year benchmark since the height of the euro-zone debt crisis in July last year and after the European Central Bank pledged to do everything necessary to protect the euro.— Reuters

NEW DELHI: India government gave fuel retailers some leeway yesterday to raise prices of subsidized diesel, distancing itself from an unpopular policy ahead of elections while trying to revive an economy growing at its slowest pace in a decade. Fuel subsidies are a drain on India’s finances and the government is struggling to bring the deficit within a target of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product for the financial year ending March. India is the world’s fourth biggest oil importer. The government emphasized that any price rises would be small, raising questions over how much freedom the staterun oil firms will really have. Petrol largely remained under government control after a similar policy was introduced in 2010. Oil Minister Veerappa Moily said the new system gave oil companies some liberty to set prices, but cautioned that diesel subsidies could not be suddenly ended. “We cannot abruptly put an end to the subsidy or the under-recovery. Looking into all the economic aspects, we have taken the decision to give oil companies the liberty to make small corrections,” he said. Share prices rose sharply in India’s main oil marketing companies, which suffer losses selling fuel below cost. The rupee hit a one-month high, while yields on Indian bonds dropped in a sign the market expects the new policy will result in lower subsidies in the medium-term. The government also loosened a cap introduced in September on the number of subsidized cooking gas cylinders permitted to each household after widespread criticism the quota was unfair on the poor. The cap will now be nine cylinders per year, up from six. That is expected to add 93 billion rupees ($1.70 billion) to the annual subsidy bill, an oil ministry source said. “This is a brilliant balancing act between politics and economics. This is one step backwards and one step for-

NEW DELHI: An Indian fuel pump attendant fills the tank of a car at a station in New Delhi. India yesterday allowed state-run energy firms to hike diesel prices by a “small” amount in a move to partially deregulate the sector and reduce a deficit-widening subsiding burden. —AFP ward,” said N R Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “While the decision on the LPG cylinder will pacify their political constituency, the decision on diesel sends out a message to the (central bank) that the government is serious about tackling subsidies and controlling the fiscal deficit.” The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has long called on the government to reduce its fiscal deficit, which drives government borrowing and keeps upward pressure on interest rates. The central bank meets on Jan. 29 to set monetary policy and has signalled that it is likely to cut interest rates. Ratings agencies had threatened to strip India of its investment-grade credit rating if the government did not take steps to curb the widening fiscal deficit. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has vowed that the deficit will not exceed 5.3 percent of GDP this financial year. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s gov-

ernment, which must hold general elections by early next year, is trying to revive Asia’s third largest economy, which is set to grow at 5.7-5.9 percent this fiscal year, its weakest rate since 2002/03. Singh was the architect of a wave of economic reforms in the 1990s credited with ushering in two decades of fast growth. In a new push since September to liberalise India’s economy, he opened sectors, including retail and aviation, to more overseas investment and cut subsidies on fuel and rail fares. India imports 80 percent of the crude oil it refines into diesel, about 3.7 million barrels per day, and benchmark Brent crude prices were at their highest annual average on record last year at around $111 a barrel, significantly raising its energy bill. Diesel accounts for about 40 percent of India’s fuel consumption, and the state-owned fuel retailers lose 9.6 rupees (18 US cents) for every litre of diesel sold.—Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

US jobless aid applications fall Home construction rises 12.1% WASHINGTON: The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a five-year low last week, a hopeful sign the job market is healing. But much of the decline reflects seasonal volatility in the data. Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000, the Labor Department said yesterday. That’s the lowest level since January 2008, just after the recession began. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 359,250. The applications data can be uneven in January. Job cuts typically spike in the second week of the month as retailers, restaurants and other companies lay off temporary workers hired for the winter holidays.

Last week, the layoffs weren’t as large as expected, a department spokesman said. That caused a steep drop in the seasonally adjusted data. Overall, applications remain at a level that suggests employers are hiring at a slow but steady pace. Applications fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 for most of last year. At the same time, employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month. US builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008, and 2012 finished as the best year for residential construction since the start of the housing crisis. The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That was up 12.1

percent from November’s annual rate of 608,800. For the year, builders started work on 780,000 homes. That’s an increase of 28.1 percent from the 608,800 homes started in 2011 and the most since 2008 shortly after the housing bubble burst. Steady job gains, record-low mortgage rates and a tight supply of new and previously occupied homes available for sale have the housing market recover. Employers added 155,000 jobs last month, nearly matching the average for the year. December’s steady job gain suggests employers didn’t cut back on hiring in the midst of the year-end debate over the tax and spending changes known as the fiscal cliff. Many economists feared that the prospect of

higher taxes and steep cuts in federal spending would cause a slowdown in job gains. That’s a good sign, since more budget showdowns are expected. Congress must vote to raise the government’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by sometime between mid-February and early March. If not, the government risks defaulting on its debt. Republicans will likely demand deep spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit. The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the July-September quarter. But economists believe activity slowed considerably in the October-December quarter to a rate below 2 percent or less, in part because companies cut back on restocking. — AP

Boeing beats Airbus in annual sales race TOULOUSE, France: Boeing re-captured the crown as the world’s largest maker of passenger jets last year, overtaking Airbus for the first time in a decade as it recovered from delays on its new Dreamliner 787, only to face new problems yesterday with the grounding of 787s over battery safety concerns. “I honestly wish all the best to my colleagues at Boeing to get this aircraft back into service, because an aircraft is designed to fly,” Airbus’s chief executive Fabrice Bregier told a news conference on the EADS subsidiary’s sales. The world’s dominant planemakers compete aggressively for a roughly equal share of the $100 billion civil jet market, though their fortunes have see-sawed in the past two years as first Airbus then Boeing racked up orders for fuel-saving models. International regulators joined the United States yesterday in suspending flights of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner while the risk of fire on lithium-ion batteries is investigated following two incidents in the past week. The 787 is the first commercial jet to use the lightweight but powerful batteries, which discharge a large amount of energy to support an increasing array of electrical equipment on modern aircraft but must be shielded from the risk of overcharging. Airbus executives defended the use of lithium-ion batteries on the company’s A350 passenger jet which is currently in development, saying its rival to the Dreamliner is designed differently. The 787 relies on electrical power rather than traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems for a larger number of aircraft systems, experts say. Boeing has said it is confident its 787 is safe but is reviewing the plane’s design and assembly together with the US Federal Aviation Administration. Airbus said it remained confident of achieving the maiden flight of its A350 carbon-composite airliner by mid-year, despite problems with some suppliers including Spain’s Alestis and fuselage parts maker Spirit Aero Systems of Kansas. —Reuters

ATHENS: An employee with a broom walks past the closed entrance to an Athens subway station, during a 24-hour employees strike to protest salary cuts as part of the new round of the austerity measures yesterday. — AFP

BOSTON: People use a Bank of America ATM in Boston. Bank of America says its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit. — AP

Bank of America’s earnings shrink

NEW YORK: Bank of America says its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit. The bank made $367 million in the last three months of 2012 after paying preferred dividends, down from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago. The earnings were equivalent to 3 cents per share. The bank had warned that it expected earnings to be only “modestly positive.” It took big charges related to a settlement with the government-backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae and a separate agreement in which it and other banks settled government accusations of wrongful foreclosure practices. The earnings were slightly better than the 2 cents per share estimate of financial analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue was dragged down by the Fannie Mae settlement. It fell to $19.6 billion after stripping out an accounting charge, down from $26.4 billion in the same period a year ago. Analysts called it another quarter of sacrificed earnings as the bank works through its troubled mortgage division. A long string of regulatory fines and law-

suits for the unit have made earnings unpredictable for several years. Bank of America’s stock fell 15 cents to $11.63 in pre-market trading. In a call with reporters, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson said the bank is much better positioned than it was a year ago. He emphasized a jump in deposits, higher fees from investment banking, and shrinking debt. As for future litigation in the mortgage unit, Thompson said he couldn’t be sure what might come. “I can’t tell you exactly what else could be out there,” Thompson said, “but what I can tell you is that we put a lot of risk behind us in 2012.” Mortgages, which were a big revenue source for Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase in the fourth quarter, were also up at Bank of America, which funded 42 percent more mortgages over the year. Bank of America has been struggling to figure out its identity as a mortgage maker. It catapulted to a top spot in mortgage banking in summer 2008, when it gobbled up Countrywide a few months before the financial crisis imploded. Countrywide was a California-

based mortgage lender known for exotic loans, and Bank of America hailed the purchase as a triumph. But the purchase has brought enormous headaches for Bank of America, including regulatory investigations, shareholder lawsuits and quarterly losses. That’s influenced Brian Moynihan, who became CEO a year and a half after the Countrywide purchase, to retreat from mortgages and sell off related units. Bank of America now controls about 4 percent of the US mortgage market, compared to 22 percent shortly after it combined with Countrywide, according to the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance. That puts it behind No 1 Wells Fargo, with 30 percent, as well as JPMorgan and US Bank. Thompson said the bank expects to expand the mortgage unit, focusing on borrowers who are already bank customers. He declined to comment on the bank’s shrunken market share. “What we’re focused on is doing more with our consumers, continuing to grow this, and if we do that well, where we are with our peers will take care of itself,” Thompson said. — AP

THEY ARE THE 99! 99 Mystical Noor Stones carry all that is left of the wisdom and knowledge of the lost civilization of Baghdad. But the Noor Stones lie scattered across the globe - now little more than a legend. One man has made it his life’s mission to seek out what was lost. His name is Dr. Ramzi Razem and he has searched fruitlessly for the Noor Stones all his life. Now, his luck is about to change - the first of the stones have been rediscovered and with them a special type of human who can unlock the gem’s mystical power. Ramzi brings these gem - bearers together to form a new force for good in the world. A force known as ... the 99!

THE STORY SO FAR : While The 99 are visiting the Retreat, the remote Himalayan sanctuary for Noor Stone-wielders, a wild tiger wanders in from the mountains. Jami builds a very odd machine to capture it...

The 99 ® and all related characters ® and © 2013, Teshkeel Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Opinion FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Activists step up campaigns despite quiet crackdown Arab Spring uprisings embolden Gulf rights activists By Sami Aboudi

criticism of the country’s long-time ruler, Sultan Qaboos, and slander in general. Saudi Arabia announced a $110 billion financial package to improve the lot of ordinary citizens but also banned protests and deployed National Guards to its Eastern Province where discontent among the country’s Shiite minority erupted into protests in early 2011. The kingdom portrayed the demonstrations as a national security issue, accusing Shiite Iran of fomenting the troubles, a charge Iran denies. Saudi Arabia took a similar line with Sunni activists demanding reforms elsewhere in the country.


hen security forces raided the home of one of his friends in eastern Saudi Arabia one day last August, Ali AlFardan felt a net tightening around him. “Dear friends, I think I am at risk,” the 37-year-old activist, who uses a pseudonym to avoid arrest, wrote in a message to his email contacts. “CID (state security) attacked one of my friends’ homes last night over his support for me ...” Although Fardan remains free, his fears are real and shared by dozens of human rights campaigners in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states who work largely behind the scenes to document alleged rights abuses or push for political or social reforms. Like the activists themselves, the crackdowns in the US-allied region may not make the top international headlines. But rights groups say that in some ways they are just as harsh as elsewhere in the Middle East, and have intensified as critics, emboldened in the past two years by the Arab Spring uprisings, become more vocal. Of particular concern to governments is the growing number of lawyers, journalists, teachers and other influential citizens who have been using modern social media tools to record events in areas that are hard for foreigners to reach. Working discreetly under assumed names or publicly through existing but often unlicensed rights groups, many take risks by contacting what in some countries are regarded as “evildoers”, “Zionist tools” or “instruments of amorality”. They email news flashes, reports, photos or video recordings to rights groups and international news organisations. On paper, there is nothing that bars citizens in most Gulf states from freely speaking their minds. But in reality, activists know that they put themselves at risk on charges of “tarnishing the reputation of the state” for being critical in public instead of taking grievances to the rulers, as is common in the Gulf’s centuries-old tribal culture. “Talking to the press is a red line,” the campaigner who goes by the name of Fardan told Reuters in an interview conducted by email. “They will ban me from travelling abroad, and put me in jail for months, if not years.” Opposition to Gulf Arab governments comes from a variety of groups - disgruntled Shiites alleging discrimination in many walks of life, Sunni unemployed youth demanding jobs, human rights and anti-corruption campaigners, liberals seeking a more open society and more accountable government and Islamists calling for stricter adherence to religion. Despite these differing aims, the groups’ acts of dissent incur similar consequences. In Saudi Arabia, at least three people have been jailed for speaking to foreign media, activist Waleed Abu al-Khair said. They include Khaled Al-Johani, the only person to turn up for a “day of rage” called for by activists in March 2011 in the Saudi capital Riyadh, who was detained after he demanded political reforms in comments to the BBC. Johani was freed more than a year later. Abu alKhair said he faces charges himself for speaking to the Financial Times. Saudi authorities and officials in other states in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council deny targeting activists for human rights work but say that people who participate in illegal protests or foment unrest can be arrested.

In this June 7, 2012 photo, Bahraini human rights activist Yousef Al-Muhafedha wears a shirt with an image of fellow activist Nabeel Rajab during an anti-government protest in Sitra, Bahrain. — AP Activists in other countries, including Qatar, websites judged to be spreading “immoral” Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE, have faced views or publishing news that does not congovernment crackdowns and harassment in form to national culture, including the “Free varying degrees, rights groups say. Philip Saudi Liberals”, whose editor Raid Badawi was Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the charged with cyber crime. The UAE has shut down the office of the Middle East and Africa, said campaigners, especially those calling for reforms in Saudi Arabia, RAND Corporation, an official said in December, Bahrain and the UAE, face arbitrary travel bans the latest Western research institute to be without due process and with no time limit. “In closed by the Gulf Arab state. Last March, it Bahrain opposition activists have had their closed Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung nationalities stripped and in UAE a bedoon (KAS) and the US-funded National Democratic blogger was expelled from the country,” Luther Institute (NDI), citing licensing irregularities. said. The term bedoon refers to stateless Arabs Surveillance of rights activists has turned into who live in several Gulf Arab states. UAE offi- regular harassment and several activists have been brought to court. “Before the Arab Spring, cials say he was expelled for security reasons. protests happened infrequently and arrests were for individuals,” said an activist in Oman, Arab Spring The response in the oil-producing Gulf has where mass demonstrations over unemploybeen sharp and perhaps ultimately more effec- ment rocked the country in March 2011. tive than in other parts of the Middle East partly “Nowadays, the crackdown has increased because the authorities have moved swiftly to many-fold,” said the activist, who agreed to be silence potential sources of criticism, and not interviewed but later asked not to be named for just political dissidents, before they get out of fear of government reprisals. Oman denies cracking down on freedom of control, activists say. Many have rounded up activists and put them on trial. Others closed expression but says the country’s laws prohibit

Surveillance Eager to avoid international criticism over their human rights record, authorities in the Gulf have sought to persuade activists to tone down their activities. Mohammed al-Qahtani, one of 11 people on trial on charges of “implanting the seeds of sedition and division” and challenging officials, said interrogators have offered to drop charges against him if he agreed to apologise for his work and stop his activities. “We are all under strict and close watch, but we don’t mind because we work in public and we are not doing anything against the law,” said Qahtani, co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). In the UAE, the crackdown focused on Islamists suspected of plotting to set up an Islamist state but also included liberal activists in its net. Five activists among a group of some 130 people who signed a petition demanding reforms were arrested in April 2011 and charged with insulting the country’s rulers. The UAE maintains that it was the insults that some members had directed at its leaders, rather than the petition, that prompted the arrests. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed AlNahayan pardoned the five men soon after a court found them guilty, but rights campaigners said more was to come. Ahmed Mansoor, an outspoken activist who blogs about political reform, said he faced a “smear campaign” on social media and was twice assaulted by unknown assailants. “After our case attracted massive international criticism, we thought things would be better and mistakes would not be repeated. We were wrong,” said Mansoor, one of the five who were arrested, told Reuters. “We were shocked to see the citizenship of six (Islamists)... revoked without any trial or even adhering to the constitutional due process.” Other Gulf states have followed a similar pattern. Qatar, which supported Arab Spring revolts, drew calls of hypocrisy in November when it jailed a poet who had praised the revolt against overthrown Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The poet, Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb Al-Ajami, was imprisoned for life on charges of inciting the overthrow of the Qatari government by writing, “We are all Tunisia, in the face of the repressive elite”, and insulting the country’s absolute monarch by referring to “sheikhs playing on their Playstations”. Rights groups said that despite the crackdown, Gulf activists have grown more vocal since the Arab Spring protests began in 2011. “There have been indications of greater solidarity work by activists on cases in Gulf countries other than their own,” Amnesty International’s Luther said. “The repression against activists has largely not silenced them.” — Reuters


A model displays a traditional Korean outfit partially made of chocolate during chocolate fashion show in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. The 4-day event is being promoted as South Korea's first Salon Du Chocolat exhibition, which has a 20-years history and holding shows in 20 cities. — AP (see Page 36)


Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

In California’s Mammoth, snow has healing power As is often the case in ski resorts, some of the worst bargains are found closest to the slopes By Christopher Reynolds


efore we get to the early snow, the new businesses, the zipping skiers and beaming boarders at Mammoth Lakes, let’s remember how bad things have been this year for this corner of the Eastern Sierra. First, Mother Nature delivered scant snow in the 2011-12 season, driving tourism down just as the larger economy seemed to be recovering. Then in June, management at Mammoth Mountain, the resort that dominates the town, trimmed staff, cut salaries and announced the shuttering of its June Mountain ski operation - a painful blow to the tiny mountain community of June Lake, 20 miles north of Mammoth. Oh, and in July the town of Mammoth Lakes declared bankruptcy after it lost a breach-of-contract lawsuit. Recovery, town officials said, would depend on layoffs, pay cuts and a plan to make debt payments of $2 million a year for 23 years. These have been hard times, especially in June Lake, where local businesses are doing without their own ski mountain for the first time in decades. Yet the winter of 2012-13 has begun in Mammoth Lakes with a happy bang, because nothing dilutes red ink faster than real snow. On Nov 8 - the same day the Mammoth resort opened its season with a handful of trails covered in manufactured snow - a storm started dumping the real thing. By the following Saturday afternoon, more than a foot of fresh powder had fallen and about 2,800 skiers and boarders had hit the slopes. By Sunday six lifts were open, serving a dozen trails, and at least one local was using the word “dreamy.” Hovering above the flocked pines, you could almost make out a community thought balloon saying: “Maybe this year...” Another storm arrived the next weekend, and then another. By early December, the mountain had a base of four to six feet. A great start. If Mammoth seems like a winter possibility but you haven’t been here for a while (or ever), here’s what I learned on a quick visit last month. The 5-year-old Westin Monache Resort Mammoth, which stands on a hill towering over the condos, shops and restaurants of the Village, is the ritziest hotel in town. The Westin’s Whitebark bar and restaurant, a contemporary space full of dangling round stones and sleek wood paneling, is a fine venue for a round or two of drinks, but the kitchen’s too-rich fusilli didn’t do much for me. My favorite meal, in fact, was a flavor-packed veggie lasagna at Toomey’s on Minaret Road, a tiny, year-old place that specializes in catering and takeout and looks like the Kansas City Royals’ dugout. (Owner-chef Matt Toomey is a big baseball fan.) Whether you order to go or sit among the handful of tables, Toomey’s serves memorable breakfasts, lunches and dinners, from coconut mascarpone pancakes to wild buffalo meatloaf. And as locals will tell you, Toomey

Matt McCullough, of Huntington Beach, takes a picture of a Woolly Mammoth while vesting Mammoth Mountain ski resort. —MCT photos is already a US 395 celebrity, having wowed serious eaters for more than a decade as the chef at the Whoa Nellie Deli in the Tioga Gas Mart in Lee Vining. After a few days of nosing around, I predict that after dark in Mammoth this season, hard-partying twentysomethings will be watching snowboarding videos while doing shots amid the tiki-tinged tumult of the Lakanuki Bar in the Village, as they have for years. Locals will be spooning up hearty albondigas soup at Roberto’s Cafe (on Old Mammoth Road), as they have for decades. In the morning, serious coffee consumers from near and far will queue at Black Velvet Coffee (opened this year on Main Street), a spare white space where baristas labor over their concoctions like post-docs solving DNA riddles. At least a few foodies will nip into Bleu Handcrafted Foods (which opened in July a few doors from Black Velvet Coffee) to gather artisan cheeses and meats for the larders of their rental condos. As is often the case in ski resorts, some of the worst bargains are found closest to the slopes: A slice of pizza at the Mammoth Mountain main lodge’s slope-adjacent Broadway Marketplace costs you $5.25, and a 16.9-ounce bottle of water costs $4. (Four steps beyond the cash registers, savvy skiers and boarders get tap water in paper

cups for free.) Then again, the lift line is right outside. Mammoth Lakes was born as a ski town in the 1950s, when Dave McCoy started the resort on US Forest Service land on the slopes of 11,053-foot Mammoth Mountain. The slope-side Mammoth Mountain Inn went up in 1959, and McCoy continued to build the resort and town before selling the resort to Starwood Capital Group in 2005. Nowadays the town’s year-round population is about 8,200, swelling to as many as 35,000 in winter. In town the ski area also owns the Village Lodge condo-hotel, the Juniper Springs condohotel and the rustic Tamarack Lodge, a haven for cross-country skiers that dates to 1924. I stayed anonymously in a pleasant one-bedroom condo at the Village Lodge, just above the shops and restaurants along the pedestrian paths of the Village at Mammoth. (Arriving on a weekday in early November, I got a rate of less than $180 a night.) Just about every local I talked to had something to add about how and why the last few years have been tough in Mammoth - the faltering national economy, the town’s lawsuit liability (which stems from a broken promise to a developer about airport-adjacent land) and,

most of all, the fickle snow. In December 2010, on the way to a 661-inch season, the resort’s ski patrol logged about 200 inches of snow. The total for December 2011: 2 inches, on the way to a much-lamented season total of about 240 inches. (Or 263, depending on who’s counting.) Since last winter, the Village’s Hyde Lounge nightclub and Auld Dubliner pub have closed. An upscale Italian restaurant, Campo Mammoth, is expected to open in the former Hyde space about Dec 20. A new Greek restaurant, Jimmy’s Taverna, is expected to open soon above the Red Lantern restaurant on Old Mammoth Road. As for the town’s municipal bankruptcy, it was officially dismissed Nov 16, and out-oftowners are unlikely to spot any signs of it. Though the number of police in town could be cut from 17 to as few as 10, the Town Council (knowing that local government gets most of its income from taxes paid by tourists) is so far leaving hotel tax rates the same (about 13 percent) and continuing to pay for the free shuttle buses that carry visitors around Mammoth Lakes. Management at Mammoth Mountain continues to bankroll the shuttle buses that carry skiers and boarders four miles up the road from the town to the ski area’s main lodge.


Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

A skier flies through the air at Mammoth Mountain ski resort. I was surprised to hear that last summer, while the Town Council was struggling with a bankruptcy and settlement plan, many of the innkeepers and restaurateurs of Mammoth were doing pretty well, enjoying a long season of sales. Stuart Need, owner of the Lakanuki bar, said his summer income was up about 12 percent over the year before. John Urdi, executive director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism, reports that the town’s hotel tax revenue from June through September hit an all-time high this year, up 6.5 percent from the summer before. “The events were packed, and you couldn’t find a place to park. It was great. And it was a long summer,” said George Shirk, news editor of the Mammoth Times. Among local entrepreneurs, Shirk said, “Nobody’s complaining about the summer.” Meanwhile, 20 miles north in June Lake, this winter looks daunting, whether

snow comes or not. With about 800 residents in a community surrounded by four scenic lakes, June gets many summer fishermen and families. But for decades its winters have been dominated by June Mountain, the ski area (on US Forest Service land) that has been owned by the Mammoth Mountain resort company since the 1980s. In June, when Mammoth Mountain was struggling with the red ink from the previous low-snow winter, management decided to shut June Mountain for this winter, leaving the community’s eateries and lodgings with plenty of gorgeous scenery but no tourism centerpiece. The embattled community responded by creating a series of homespun special events, including a village-lighting ceremony Dec 15, a February winter-sports triathlon and a March snowmobile rally. At June Lake’s Double Eagle Resort & Spa,

A snowboarder is framed by snow-covered windows on top Panorama Lookout at Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

Jamie Estrada (left) and Jonathan Ramos, both of Long Beach, sit by a bon fire at The Village on a winter night in Mammoth Lakes.

owner Connie Black has cut her prevailing winter rental rates by $100 - from $369 to $269 a night for a two-bedroom cabin. At the Sierra Inn Restaurant, owner Candy Logue said she would drop prices about 15 percent and open only for winter weekends and holiday weeks, not regular week days. Ernie’s Tackle & Ski Shop will cut back its hours similarly. Many in the community took comfort in Mammoth Mountain management’s vow (made in early November by Chief Executive Rusty Gregory) to reopen the June Mountain ski operation in the winter of 2013-14. But there’s no denying a difficult winter is ahead. “Everyone’s working together to make this winter as good as we can make it,” Black said, but “there’s a fine line between optimism and hallucination.” —MCT

Snowboarders advance on the line for chair lift 1 at Mammoth Mountain.

Beauty FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Don’t let the cold get to your skin


or many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: They get skin so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed). “As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” Bonnie LaPlante, an esthetician with the Canyon Ranch resort in Lenox, Mass, tells WebMD. “It doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity. The skin gets dry.” 1- Seek a specialist If you go to your local drugstore, you’ll be hard put to find a salesperson who can give you good advice. That’s why going to an esthetician or dermatologist even once is a good investment. Such a specialist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck buying high-end products. “Inexpensive products work just as well as high-end ones,” says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. “In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing. What’s most important is how your skin responds to the product — and how you like its feel, not how much money you paid for it.” 2- Moisturize more You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine. Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil-based.) But choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for “nonclogging” oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond

oil. Shea oil — or butter — is controversial, because it can clog facial pores. And vegetable shortening, LaPlante says, is a really bad idea. “It would just sit on the skin,” she says. “And it would be really greasy.” You can also look for lotions containing “humectants,” a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alphahydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin. 3- Slather on the sunscreen No, sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. Winter sun — combined with snow glare — can still damage your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they’re exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time. 4- Give Your hands a hand The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it’s harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause. 5- Avoid wet gloves and socks Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema. 6- Hook up the humidifier Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisturemore evenly. 7- Hydrate for your health, not for your skin If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Drinking water helps your skin stay young looking. In fact, it’s a myth. Water is good for your overall

health and “the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids. But the average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk,” Kenneth Bielinski, MD, a dermatologist in Oak Lawn, Ill, tells WebMD “It’s a very common misconception.” LaPlante agrees. “I see clients at the spa who drink their 10 to 12 glasses of water a day and still have superdry skin. It just doesn’t do that much.” 8- Grease up your feet Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff. Try finding lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper. 9- Pace the peels If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are “deeply hydrating,” rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face. And use them a little less often. 10- Ban superhot baths Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. “You’re better off with just warm water,” LaPlante advises, “and staying in the water a shorter amount of time.” A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy, Bielinski notes. So, too, can periodically reapplying your moisturizer. If those techniques don’t work, go see a dermatologist. “You may need a prescription lotion to combat the dry skin,” Bielinski says. “Or you may have a condition that isn’t simply dry skin and that requires different treatment.”

Health FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Stretch marks getting under your skin? Doctors say smoother skin doesn’t have to be a stretch


hat causes stretch marks? Obviously, pregnancy stretches your belly’s skin. But there’s more to stretch marks than that. Genetic factors may also play a role. “Basically, if your mother had them, you’re probably going to have them,” says Leslie Baumann,

MD, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Center and author of The Skin Type Solution. Stretch marks don’t look the same on everyone. The appearance of stretch marks depends on the color of your skin; they can start out pink, reddish brown, brown, or dark brown, and fade over time to a more silvery color. How to get rid of stretch marks? When stretch marks show up, it’s best to treat them as early as possible. Research has focused on the early stages of stretch marks, when they are still red or purple and most readily respond to treatment, Baumann explains.

Once stretch marks pass the initial stage, when they are red or purple, to the later stages, where they become white or silver-often with deep indentations-they are much more challenging to treat. “It is crucial to moisturize,” Baumann says. “Skin becomes more pliant, more plasticized, and better able to stretch when it’s well hydrated.” She recommends moisturizing three or four times a day with products that contain cocoa butter or shea butter as a prime ingredient. Massage the moisturizer deep into belly, hips, and buttocks. Here’s a rundown of the products available for stretch mark removal and what they can do: Wheatgerm oil: There is not much scientific data on whether home remedies for stretch marks, such as wheat germ oil, can help. One recent study did find it helped improve stretch marks in their early phase. Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid. It most likely works on stretch marks by boosting collagen production, Baumann says. Glycolic acid can also be administered in higher doses by a dermatologist. Treatment typically costs around $100 and requires three or four office visits before results will appear. Vitamin C: Certain formulations of vitamin C may also increase collagen production and help earlystage stretch marks, Baumann says. For maximum effect, combine with glycolic acid. Vitamin C supplements may also be effective. She suggests 500 milligrams three times a day. Peptide-containing products: Peptide-containing products are widely marketed as “repair” creams and are a waste of time and money, Baumann says. Despite commercial claims, there is no convincing data that these work. Retinoids: Retinoids have been shown to be fairly effective in increasing collagen and elastic production during the early stages. But you should avoid them if you’re pregnant or nursing. Retinol, tretinoin, and the prescription medications Differin, Renova, Retin-A, and Tazorac are examples of retinoids. Glycolic acid plus retinoids:

Using these together may provide better results. But again, retinoids aren’t used when you’re pregnant or nursing. Laser treatment: This popular treatment option is used by many dermatologists, and they are also being tried on stretch marks, as well. “Lasers promote synthesis of healthy, new collagen, which has been damaged when stretch marks appear,” says New York dermatologist Linda K Franks, MD. She uses lasers at her practice to treat red/purple and white stretch marks. For red and purple marks, Franks uses a vascular laser that targets swollen and inflamed blood vessels and helps with skin cell production and increased collagen production. Treatments usually require three to six sessions at an average rate of $450 per session. “Vascular lasers won’t take away the superficial skin but will take away the redness,” she says. One laser that may help minimize older, more entrenched stretch marks is the fractionated laser, which hits tiny “fractions” of the skin, often in a grid-like pattern. Franks describes the process as “smudging” the lines of stretch marks, which makes them less distinct. Expect to pay up to $1,000 per session for these treatments, and be prepared to pay for at least three sessions. Just don’t expect perfection. “People are resigned to the fact that stretch marks are permanent and can’t be fixed, but there are ways to treat them,” Franks says. “There will always be some left, though, whether you’re treating the red ones or the white ones.” She estimates that patients will see about 30 percent improvement but is quick to add that almost everyone who does the treatments is usually quite pleased.

Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

3 computer threats to watch for in 2013


new year means a new crop of computer attacks designed to steal sensitive data from businesses small and large. While a data breach can cost any size business money, when it happens to a small business it could spell its demise. Knowledge is the key to setting up proper defenses against theses cyber criminals and attacks. With that in mind, here’s a look at three of the computer threats small businesses face in 2013. Small businesses become more of a target Small business owners may think they are immune from computer attacks but increasingly they are the targets, and that’s only expected to get worse in 2013. A few years ago virus attacks were designed to spread around the world as fast as possible to infect as many people as possible,” says Tom Powledge, Symantec’s vice president of product delivery, SMB and Cloud. “Now cyber criminals want to get their viruses into your environment and have it stay there under the radar for as long as possible.” According to Powledge, the cyber criminals are trying to get specific information about the business such as financial records or logins and passwords. The criminals will also use the small business owners’ computers as a jumping off point to attack other places, so it won’t be traced back to them, says Powledge. Computers being

held for ransom A relatively new cyberattack, one that is just staring to pop up but could become more common in 2013, is ransomware attacks. Basically a cyber-criminal would infect the business owner’s PC, take it over and encrypt the program files on the computer so it locks up. The business owner would see a message that the computer was taken over and if he or she wants the files back they would have to pay the criminal. “It’s very brazen, very aggressive and something we saw internationally,” says Powledge. “It started in Russia and is making its way out to other countries.” An example of a Ransomware type attack is one in which malware is installed on a system and keeps an annoying box in the center of the computer screen. In order to get rid of it users have to “Complete an Offer,” which means spending some money or giving up a lot of personal information. In return they get code that will unlock the malware and make the box disappear. Viruses found more commonly on smartphones It’s no secret that everybody is using mobile phones for both personal and business use, and it’s that melding of different data that is enticing cyber criminals. As a result more and more malware is popping up on mobile devices and that’s expected to continue in 2013. One unprotected small businesses can expect on their

mobile phone in the New Year is mobile adware that will bombard the mobile phone user with advertisements similar to pop up ads infected PCs had to endure years ago. Cyber criminals will also continue to try and steal data when people are using their mobile phones on public Wi-Fi networks. “Whatever the popular platform whatever people are using is where the cyber crim-

inals go,” says Powledge. According to Kaspersky Lab, 2013 is likely to bring a “new alarming trend” of personal and corporate data stored on smartphones and tablets being targeted as frequently as on PCs. Kaspersky predicts that new sophisticated attacks will not only go after the Android platform but Apple devices as well.

Missing social media photos spook employers


t has long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but new research has found a picture may also be worth a job. A new study found that job candidates with pictures on their LinkedIn profiles were viewed more favorably than candidates without pictures. Moreover, people would rather hire the candidates with pictures, researchers found. And applicants with pictures rated “attractive” were more likely to get hired than those job seekers with pictures deemed “unattractive.” “For profiles that had pictures considered ‘attractive,’ not only was that person preferred over the person without a picture, but the ‘attractive’ person was also rated as a fundamentally better potential employee,” said Nicholas Salter, assistant professor of psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, who conducted the research with Tiffany Poeppelman, a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), which published the research. Respondents reported that a picture made candidates seem more thorough in their work. Additionally, Salter says, respondents wondered if candidates without pictures might be hiding something. “These findings stress the importance of including pictures (and more generally, to fully complete) one’s LinkedIn profile,” said Salter. “Potential employers may make incorrect assumptions about people if they don’t [include pictures]. “It’s unlikely that someone who forgets

to upload a profile picture is a less qualified employee than someone who does upload one, but they may be perceived as such. This may be the difference between being offered the job and not.” Salter warns first-time job seekers in particular not to overlook the findings. “In my opinion, this is also especially important for recent graduates and other people just entering the workforce,” said Salter. “They may feel that it isn’t as important for them to have a complete LinkedIn profile because they are looking for entry-level jobs. They may think LinkedIn profiles only apply to high-level jobs, but this isn’t true. “Potential employers may still make judgments about you regardless of what level of employment you are looking for.”

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Pregnant Kim Kardashian wants to be more private A

s the tabloids speculated about whether Jessica Simpson is expecting again (she is) and the media zeroed in on Kate Middleton’s acute morning sickness, Kim Kardashian says it was nice to be out of the media spotlight during the early stages of her pregnancy. “I’m obviously so happy for them, but if anything I loved the privacy,” the 32-year-old

File photo shows singer Kanye West, left, talks to his girlfriend Kim Kardashian before an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks in Miami. —AP photos

Actress Marion Cotillard arrives at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif. — AP

Cotillard named Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year


cademy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard (koh-teeYAR’) has been named the 2013 Harvard University Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Woman of the Year. The 37year(equals)old French actress, who won the 2007 best actress Oscar for her role in “La Vie En Rose,” will be honored with a parade and roast, and given her ceremonial pudding pot, at Harvard on Jan 31. Cotillard has appeared more recently in “Inception,” “Contagion” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Claire Danes was the woman of the year last year. The man of the year will be announced at a later date and honored on Feb 8. Hasty Pudding Theatricals is the nation’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe. The awards are presented annually to performers who have made a lasting and impressive contribution to entertainment. —AP

Photo shows Kim Kardashian at the Kardashian Kollection UK Launch at Acqua Club in central London.

Madonna M

Madonna said in a statement issued at the time. Malawi’s education minister said the country wanted to “clarify any misconceptions that may arise.” It is not the first time the diva has had trouble with education projects in the country which is the native home of two of her adopted children. In 2010 Madonna laid the foundation stone of an academy for girls in Chinkota village, outside the capital Lilongwe. A year later the school project was cancelled because of mismanagement and local employees sacked. The academy was replaced by plans to build schools, in order to reach more children. Madonna’s charity also supports child care centres in the country where nearly one million children are orphaned by AIDS.—AFP

and the 35-year-old rapper is the ying to the Kardashian family’s “out there” yang. Kim says she is somewhat influenced by West’s approach. “When you spend time with someone, you learn things from them, so I see what (his) views are in wanting to be private, so that’s a choice we make together as a family just in how we’re gonna raise our kid,” she said. “... But my personal experience of having really open relationships on the show, I’ve done that, and for me I feel like I got really scrutinized when people didn’t maybe understand my decisions at some point, so I feel like after that experience I’ve become more private more so than just like Kanye’s views or anything.” Kardashian is due in July. A new season of her reality show with her sister Kourtney, “Kourtney and Kim Take Miami,” premieres Sunday on E! (9 p.m. EST). —AP

Cirque du soleil announces 400 layoffs

school-building claim rubbished

alawi education authorities yesterday challenged a claim by American pop queen Madonna that her charity last year built 10 new schools in the poor southern African nation. “The schools Raising Malawi claims to have constructed were already in existence,” Education Minister Eunice Kazembe said. “Raising Malawi only built 10 classroom blocks and not schools. People should know the difference between the two.” In December Madonna’s charity in tandem with global non-profit buildOn, announced the completion of 10 schools, claiming they would provide education to 4,871 children. “I am overjoyed that my commitment along with buildOn’s to help educate the children of Malawi has come to fruition,”

reality TV star said in an interview Wednesday. That bit of privacy went out the window when Kardashian’s boyfriend, Kanye West, revealed during a Dec 30 concert in Atlantic City, NJ, that they are expecting their first child together. Now that the word is out, Kardashian says her motherly instincts have made her pull back from being so open about her personal life. “I think that definitely kicks in where you’re like, ‘OK, I have to go in protect mode,’ and as ironic as it sounds, you live your life on a reality show but then when you grow up ... certain things change your life that make you want to be more private and this is definitely one of them.” The couple went public with their relationship in March. Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries in August 2011 and their divorce is not finalized. West rarely grants interviews,



he world-renowned Cirque du soleil circus troupe is laying off 400 people - most of them at its Montreal headquarters. A company spokeswoman announced the layoffs on Wednesday after Cirque executives met with employees in Montreal. Increased production costs and expenses are being blamed for the layoffs, which will begin by the end of the month. The Cirque employs about 5,000 people worldwide, including 2,000 in Montreal. It still has 19 productions being presented worldwide and is currently working on a new show that will open in May in Las Vegas. Another touring production that will open in the spring of 2014 in Montreal is also in the works. But four shows besides the 19 that are still on stage have closed recently. —AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Fact or fiction?

‘Argo’ fuels Iran history debate


ran’s announcement that it will make its own film to counter the “distorted” thriller “Argo” is fueling a debate about Hollywood and historical accuracy, sparked by Ben Affleck’s Oscar-tipped movie. The film, which won the top two Golden Globes last weekend and is nominated for seven prizes at next month’s Academy Awards, tells the story of a bold CIA operation to rescue six US diplomats trapped by the 1979 hostage crisis. But it openly takes liberties with the facts. In a white-knuckle climax, for example, Iranian guards speed along a runway next to a plane carrying the escaping diplomats, threatening to stop it from taking off. That didn’t happen. Canada’s role in giving refuge to the diplomats in Tehran, and securing their safe passage out of Iran, is significantly underplayed. The mission is seen as largely the work of CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck. Mark Lijek, one of the six diplomats helped to freedom, says the actor-director is justified in massaging the facts to create a more compelling storyalthough he acknowledges some concerns. “I understand it was necessary to dramatize the facts in order to create the atmosphere a thriller requires,” he told AFP after “Argo” won best picture (drama) and best director awards for Affleck at the Golden Globes. “This film is about Tony, a slice of the whole if you will ... I do not think it would have been possible to make this film without the dramatization,” he added. The movie recounts the long-classified CIA plot to extract the diplomats by pretending that they are part of a Hollywood film crew scouting for locations for a science fiction flick.

In the film, they are given refuge by the Canadian ambassador to Tehran after escaping through a back exit as the US embassy was stormed by Islamist students, who went on to hold over 50 Americans hostage for more than a year. CIA agent Mendez-now in his 70s, and who spoke at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony-is shown flying in, giving the diplomats their false identities, and leading them through a series of close shaves to freedom. These include a made-up scene in a Tehran market where they are surrounded by an angry mob but just escape with their lives, as well as a fake tense scene at the airport, and the fictional runway

chase. They are also shown holed up at the residence of the Canadian ambassador to Tehran, Ken Taylor. In reality they were split into two groups, one with Taylor and the others with another Canadian diplomat. Taylor, now 77, has not kicked up a major fuss. But he has made his views clear regarding some aspects of the movie’s accuracy. “The movie’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s pertinent, it’s timely,” he told the Toronto Star. “But look, Canada was not merely standing around watching events take place. The CIA was a junior partner,” he said. Lijek said he was comfortable overall with “Argo,” although he does have some concerns. “The liberties with fact in the air-

Actor/director Ben Affleck poses in the press room with producers Grant Heslov and George Clooney with the award for best motion picture drama for ‘Argo’ at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Beverly Hills. —AFP

port exit do not really bother me,” he said of the movie’s climax. “It makes for a good story.” However, “I do realize and am concerned that some viewers will see the movie as fact,” he added. “That is unfortunate but Affleck and the writer are not responsible for our failure to teach history anymore.” Days after Affleck’s film won gold at the Globes, Tehran announced that it was making its own movie about the American hostage drama during the 1979 Islamic revolution. “The movie is about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the US embassy by Iranian revolutionaries at the beginning of the (Islamic) revolution,” said Iranian actor and filmmaker Ataollah Salmanian. The film “can be an appropriate response to distorted movies such as ‘Argo’,” he was quoted as saying in Iranian media reports. Lijek poured barely-disguised scorn on the Iranian plans, saying he did not know what to make of the film and that; for starters, the facts were “messed up.” “The director talks about 20 Americans being released,” he said. “In fact, (Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah) Khomeini authorized the release of 13 women and African-Americans early on as a gesture of Islamic charity. So it is not clear even what he is talking about.” One report suggested the film would be about the more than 50 hostages left behind in Tehran, and “will paint a rosy picture of their idyllic life in a resort-like setting at the embassy compound,” he said. But “I don’t really see how they could make it about us,” he added. “Are they going to change the ending and have the security forces shoot down the Airbus?” — AFP

K-pop’s reach extends

to Muslim Malaysia

File photo shows South Korean K-pop singer Ailee.


File photo shows South Korean K-pop singers G-Dragon and Lee Hi.

aznifa Mustaffa doesn’t understand Korean, and would be unable to get away with dressing like her favorite Korean pop stars due to conservative attitudes in Muslim-majority Malaysia. But that didn’t stop her joining thousands of fans who bought tickets to a K-pop extravaganza costing half a month’s average salary in Malaysia, underlining the phenomenal cross-cultural appeal of Korean entertainment. “I’m very excited. I’ve waited a long time for this,” said Maznifa, a 29-year-old administrative assistant who wore a white hijab, the headscarf worn by many Muslim women in Malaysia that covers all but the face. Maznifa spoke as she queued in sweltering conditions Wednesday with crowds of other delirious fans for tickets costing 1,000 ringgit ($330) — she dipped into her savings-to a twonight K-pop concert and awards show. “For them,

I’d do anything,” she said of her favourite K-pop bands like G-Dragon and Super Junior. “It’s very hard for us to see them (perform).” Organisers have said the annual Golden Disk Awards, viewed as the Korean Grammys and which included occasionally racy performances by some of K-pop’s biggest acts, saw more than 15,000 tickets sold for Tuesday and Wednesday. The exporting of the show for the second straight year-it was held in Japan last year-was aimed at further promoting the global appeal of Korean pop culture. Korean soap operas, with their slick production and telegenic stars, have long been popular throughout the region as part of the so-called Hallyu (Korean Wave) of culture that has taken Asia by storm over the past decade, helped by substantial support from the Seoul government. But pre-packaged K-pop with its teen-idol groups, glossy hooks and meticulously choreographed dance moves has taken the world by storm, while the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon has helped fuel global interest in Korea’s music scene. The song by the artist Psy, intended to poke fun at materialism in a wealthy Seoul district, made history last month when the video featuring the singer’s signature horse-riding dance became the first clip to log one billion YouTube hits. Psy has swept all before him in recent months, hoovering up awards and scoring guest appearances with everyone from Madonna to the

head of the United Nations and being handed walk-on roles at major world events. On Wednesday, Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-Sang and who was not at the ceremony, received Song of the Year for his hit, while the Album of the Year award went to Super Junior’s “Sexy, Free & Single”. The thousands who thronged the Sepang racing circuit were further testament to the cross-border appeal of Korean culture. “I’m always so happy when I come to Malaysia because I get a lot of support and that always cheers me up,” Kwon Ji-Yong, better known as G-Dragon, told reporters, dressed in black leather pants and an array of silver necklaces. Sharon Tan, 18, said she and her friends enjoy K-pop for its music and dance moves, and doesn’t care that the Korean-language lyrics are meaningless to her. “The music is unique. Oh my god, it’s awesome. It’s unforgettable!” said Tan, who won a ticket via a radio show’s song-guessing contest. Some 60 percent of Malaysia’s 29 million people are Muslim ethnic Malays, and some well-known Western artists have scrapped shows in the country due to Islamic opposition over their supposedly “immoral” content. Others have abided by guidelines such as no kissing, swearing or too much skin on stage. However, K-pop, many of whose biggest stars have already performed to large groups in Malaysia, has so far avoided such trouble. —AFP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

‘Voice’ winner Cassadee Pope signs record deal “T he Voice” winner Cassadee Pope has a new record deal. The 23-year-old Season 3 winner signed this week with Republic Nashville, joining the label’s roster of young country stars that includes Taylor Swift and The Band Perry. Pope was a member of country music star Blake’s Shelton’s team on “The Voice” and won the reality singing contest show last month. Pope has released music before with a band called Hey Monday and as a solo artist. A spokesman says Pope is writing songs for the new album and is meeting with producers in Nashville. — AP

File photo shows Cassadee Pope performing on ‘The Voice,’ ‘Live Show’.

Sex, Internet, music on tap at Sundance film fest S ex, the Internet and good old fashioned rock-and-roll will dominate the 29th Sundance Film Festival, the top showcase of independent US cinema that opened yesterday in the snowy mountains of Utah. Founded by Robert Redford, the annual festival in Park City aims to nurture independent filmmakers who might otherwise be eclipsed by output from the major studios-while Hollywood uses it to scout new up-and-coming talent. The January 17-27 event will present 119 feature films from 32 countries, including 51 first-timers and more than 100 world premieres. Sex and desire, for teenagers and adults, are key themes that will be explored at Sundance in both fictional movies and documentaries, festival director John Cooper told AFP. “It is undeniable that there are a lot of examinations of sexual relationships in this year’s line-up,” Cooper said. “Filmmakers are dealing with sex as power, sex as basic human need and

desire, sex from both the male and female point of view,” he explained. “I chalk this up to the fact that independent filmmakers have always been at the forefront as far as tackling fresh ideas and issues-even taboo subjects.” Among the films sure to create buzz are “Lovelace,” starring “Les Miserables” alum Amanda Seyfried in the title role as 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” fame. Also on the program are “The Lifeguard,” about the dangerous relationship between a pool lifeguard and a teenager, and “Interior. Leather Bar.”-an Xrated art film directed by and starring James Franco. Franco and co-director Travis Mathews have reimagined sexually explicit footage cut from William Friedkin’s 1980 thrilled “Cruising,” in which Al Pacino played a New York cop who goes undercover in the city’s gay S&M scene. Sundance will also feature several films looking at the world of high-tech and the

Internet including “Google and the World Brain,” a documentary about the web giant’s plans to scan every book in the world. Ashton Kutcher stars in “jOBS,” a biopic about late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and director Alex Gibney will unveil “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” about Julian Assange’s whistleblowing website. On the documentary front, one of

File photo shows Ethel Skakel Kennedy, center, subject of the documentary film ‘Ethel,’ poses with her daughter Rory, the film’s director, and Robert Redford at the premiere of the film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

File photo shows Michael Cera in a scene from the film, ‘Crystal Fairy.’

This undated publicity photo released by the Sundance Institute shows a scene from the film, “May in the Summer,” included in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. —AP photos

the festival’s strong points, about 40 films will be screened including “Manhunt,” a look at the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden and a counterpoint to Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” Another hotly anticipated documentary is “After Tiller,” which tells the story of the last four doctors in the United States who still perform third-trimester abortions, after the 2009 assassination of George Tiller. Documentary filmmakers “approach problems facing our society from a very deep level that is unusual in mainstream media,” Cooper said. “They both expose problems and provide solutions.” The music world will have its moment in the Park City sun,

File photo shows Director Benh Zeitlin, left, holds up actress Quvenzhane Wallis as they accept the Grand Jury Prize US Dramatic award for the film ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’. with screenings of documentaries about The Eagles and Russia’s Pussy Riot, as well as a film from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl about the iconic Sound City recording studio in Los Angeles. The festival’s parallel out-of-competition Next section is dedicated to low-budget films, while Park City At Midnight will show a selection of horror and B-movie productions. — AFP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Raf Simons

in colorful ode to the dandy, geek


Chocolat Exhibition

Salon Du

af Simons gave the dandy a colorful, 21st century makeover in his accomplished menswear show in Paris, replete with flappy collars, cravates, long cuffs and sumptuous satin. Opening the show, a model in satin pants clutched a black and white striped hat at his side. He marched past in a coat that harked back to the Napoleonic era - through its A-line shape, and long cravate-like collar tied in a knot. With subtlety, 45-year-old Simons thus took the codes of the early 19th century and served them up

with a bright and youthful feel for his fall-winter 20132014 offering. The Belgian designer emphasized necks through large pointed pink, blue and yellow collars shirts often on top of turtlenecks which ruffled in a dandy style. This mixed imaginatively with strong and wide open collars - that again added the feeling of exuberant layering. Shoulders, too, were given emphasis. Long colored horizontal bars on the front, which joined the shoulders, worked brilliantly - and resembled the

Models display outfits partially made of chocolate during chocolate fashion show in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. The 4-day event is being promoted as South Korea’s first Salon Du Chocolat exhibition, which has a 20-years history and holding shows in 20 cities. —AP

straps that held a cape in place. But Simons is a master of subversion. There were no capes here, and though many of the looks harked back to yesteryear, they remained contemporary and in the spirit of his intellectual style. A recurrent motif was a knitted face on a geeky-looking sweater; instead of hair, it sported a question mark. It was an appropriate symbol for the indefatigable designer and current creative director of Christian Dior, who always surprises and never seems to stop questioning fashion. — AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

David street cool kicks off

Paris menswear shows T

okyo-based French designer Julien David made his men’s catwalk debut Wednesday at the Paris menswear shows with a casual but elegant streetwear-inspired collection, while Mugler reinvented uniforms in a blaze of acid colors. Up-andcoming David, 34, who has lived in Japan since 2006 and skateboards to relax, said the collection was all about subtle combinations. “It’s about mixing streetwear and high end with the placement of pockets, of a waist, these kinds of details,” he told AFP. “I find it interesting to make a suit with only a shirt and no jacket. It is kind of a street suit,” he said. His autumn-winter 2013/14 collection, shown to barely 80 people in the rooms of a labyrinthine apartment in

the chic Marais quarter, teamed cropped flannel trousers with unstructured three-quarter-length coats. Wool jersey leggings also featured heavily with reversible bomber jackets and brightly colored check shirts.

Underlining the wearability of the pieces, David had them modeled by “real people” who wandered into his castings. The street vibe continued with Mugler as creative director Nicola Formichetti, best known as Lady Gaga’s stylist, and designer Romain Kremer sent out a uniform-dominated collection “fusing street and ceremony”. Bathed in white light, pink-lipped, heavy-booted models with slickedback hair marched to a pounding beat. “The trinity of tailoring, aeronautical and military regalia forms Mugler’s most diverse garderobe (wardrobe) to date,” the house said. Slim-fitting but accessible suits alternated with body armour-style tops in acid pink and dazzlingly bright militaristic ensembles that looked

more suitable for the crew of a spaceship. Valentino, meanwhile, decided to adopt a very British air next winter with plenty of check-hound’s tooth and Prince of Wales-to warm things up. Against a palette of mostly navy, grey and black, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collection featured injections of red and green as well as wide strips of leather just above waist level and touches of fur to highlight a lapel or collar. Elsewhere, Alibellus presented an entirely black and purple collection. Designer Tiki Kwan, who made up his models as Goths, said the collection was inspired by his impression of Parisian “creatures of the night” that took hold in his imagination as a youngster. Raf Simons, artistic director of Dior’s womenswear collections, rounded off the first day of the shows with his own label creations. Detail was all important with oversized pointed collars, graphic printed jumpers and more check. The designer will present his haute couture collection for Dior on Monday. Around 80 menswear shows are scheduled in Paris over the next five days, drawing to a close on Sunday with the eagerly awaited first Saint Laurent collection by Hedi Slimane, famed for his super-tight, skinny tailoring. Credited with revolutionizing menswear during his seven years at Dior from 2000 to 2007, Slimane teamed jackets cut short with narrow trousers in an androgynous, pencilthin look so popular even legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld shed 45 kilos (90 pounds) to squeeze into a Slimane suit. — AFP Models display creations as part of Julien David FallWinter 2013-2014 Menswear collection during the Men’s fashion week in Paris. — AFP photos


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Pe t s FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Where the wild things are

Monkeys and big cats are the most popular exotic animals


hen Margaret-Gail Ruhl’s children moved out of the house, the single mom got lonely. Cats and dogs provided some companionship, but not enough. So Ruhl bought a Japanese snow monkey from a dealer. Seventeen years later, she still has Barbara, a 28-pound, hairy primate who lives in a cage outside her Boston Township, Ohio, home. “She thinks I’m her mom,” said Ruhl, 67, as she knelt near the cage and Barbara grabbed her hand. “I’m sorry if that’s offensive to some people. But look at how some people feel about their dogs.” Ruhl is one of 153 owners - not counting accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries - who have registered about 460 animals with the Ohio Department of Agriculture under the new Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act. The Beacon Journal obtained a statewide database listing every owner and animal through a public records request. Monkeys and big cats are the most popular exotic animals. There are 181 primates. All kinds of primates. Marmosets. Baboons. Lemurs. Chimpanzees. White-faced Capuchins. Blackcapped Capuchins. As for the felines, there are 151, including Siberian tigers, African lions, servals, bobcats and cougars. There also are plenty of bears, alligators, crocodiles and even two spotted hyenas owned by private citizens, businesses and research groups. In the Akron area, there are 64 animals registered, including 13 tigers and three lions. The registrations are required under a state law that went into effect in the fall and shines a light on the previously unregulated issue of exotic animal and snake ownership. The law followed outcry in October 2011 when authorities shot to death nearly 50 tigers, lions, bears, wolves and a baboon after their owner let them loose near Zanesville and then killed himself. The incident garnered national attention and exposed the fact Ohio had no oversight regarding owning exotic animals or dangerous snakes. The Humane Society of the United States said in the March 2012 report “Ohio’s Fatal Attractions” that Ohio was “one of fewer than 10 states with virtually no regulation of private ownership of dangerous wild animals.” The new law regulates everything from elephants to alligators. It requires private owners to implant a microchip in the animals, have liability insurance and, beginning in 2014, apply for an annual permit, which costs anywhere from $150 to $3,000. (Sanctuaries, research institutions and facilities accredited by some national zoo groups, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America, are exempt from having to get a permit.) The state also is working on rules overseeing the living conditions of the animals. Most of the animals live in rural areas. That’s not surprising given that many cities and villages bar exotic pets. Outside of accredited zoos, Cyndi Huntsman of Perry Township in Stark County owns the most exotic animals in the state. Huntsman, who runs the Stump Hill Farm, has 34, including eight Bengal tigers and two Siberian tigers. (She also oversees the Massillon Tigers football mascot, Obie.) Huntsman helped lead a lawsuit by animal owners against the regulations. A federal judge, though, has upheld the state law. Ellen Whitehouse of Berlin Township in Mahoning County owns the second largest number of animals, with 28 lions, tigers and black bears. She and her husband run Noah’s Lost Ark, a sanctuary for abused and unwanted exotic animals. Perhaps the most unusual animals are two spotted hyenas owned by Cyril Vierstra of Vinton Township in Vinton County. Vierstra also owns tigers, a ring-tailed lemur, a

bobcat and a spider monkey. Animal owners aren’t happy with the law, said Ruhl, who owns a pony, three cats and chickens, in addition to Barbara the snow monkey. She was so upset, she wrote on her state application she would move out of Ohio before giving up her pet. “Other than her, I’m all alone,” Ruhl said. She once had two snow monkeys, but the male started attacking her. Ruhl eventually shot the monkey with a rifle, she said through tears. “The problem here is the law is made up by people who don’t want people to have any animals,” she said, although she acknowledged

spent several evenings looking for it. Deputies do not receive special training in handling wild animals. “Had we seen the panther roaming, we’d have put it down,” Doak said. “Then we become the bad guys, but I’m not going to take a chance with it mauling someone.” The sheriff found a former law enforcement officer in Dayton who tracks and traps wild animals and called him to come look for the panther, but to no avail. The animal was last reported by a bow hunter in Geauga County in September. “Even if you were able to trap one of these animals, then you have to figure out what to do with it,” Doak said.

“We will have a heck of a time trying to place” the 34 exotic animals who live on the farm, she said. “The state will probably take them and euthanize them.” Huntsman started the farm 30 years ago. At the time, she volunteered for a state-licensed wildlife center. “More and more people were getting exotic animals as pets, and most of them were very well cared for, but to some people, like everything, they were disposable. When people didn’t want to care for them anymore, the wildlife center would take them,” she said. But the center’s state license prohibited it from accepting animals that were not native to

Margaret-Gail Ruhl stops to pet her Japanese Snow Monkey Barbara, at their home in Peninsula, Ohio. — MCT some restrictions are needed. Many of the people who own exotic animals shun publicity. Many declined to comment or even respond when contacted by the Beacon Journal. One owner, who didn’t want to participate in this story, said exotic animal owners can be quirky and like their privacy. He also suspects there are at least twice as many animals in Ohio than are registered. “We feel there are likely dangerous wild-animal owners that did not register,” state agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins said. “Owners had a choice to comply with the new regulations, and we know it is unlikely that everyone chose to comply.” Portage County Sheriff David Doak said he knows a couple of wild-animal owners in the county, including a woman with two tigers and a lion. He said he has been to her house and they seem well cared for and appropriately caged. That woman did not respond to a request for an interview. The bigger concern, Doak said, is dealing with animals outside their home environment. This summer, rural Portage County might have been a dumping ground for a panther, the sheriff said. His department received a half dozen reliable reports of a black cat on the loose in the Shalersville and Freedom township areas and

Not all exotic animal owners shun publicity. Huntsman, owner of Stump Hill Farm near Massillon, estimates between 20,000 and 30,000 people see her animals every year. The farm is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and USDA-accredited rescue habitat that does education programs, hosts school field trips, attends festivals and has appeared on numerous daytime and nighttime talk shows and news programs. The new law, she said, forbids her from exhibiting her animals because she is not a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or Zoological Association of America (ZAA.) But Michael Rodgers, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said owners can exhibit their animals as long as the animals don’t come in “direct contact” with the public. Direct contact would include activities such as petting, he said. Huntsman said she has philosophical as well as financial issues with the two accrediting organizations, calling them “country clubs for rich zoos” that require members to spend a certain amount on capital improvements each year, then base dues on capital improvement expenditures. “It’s a rip-off,” she said. Her lawsuit, which failed at the state level, is being appealed to a higher court. Inevitably, if she loses, the farm will close, she said.

Ohio, so Huntsman took in the animals that were turned away. A serious flaw in Ohio’s new regulation, Huntsman said, is that it doesn’t exempt old or sick animals from being microchipped. Of the more than 30 animals she has that fall under the microchip provision, she said 10 are too old to sedate. “Anesthesia could kill them because of their age,” she said. There are also financial considerations, no small matter for a nonprofit. She estimates it would cost $500 to purchase the 30plus microchips, then $500 per animal for a vet to anesthetize them and insert the chips. “They also came up with cage sizes that are way out of left field,” she said. “For example, for a wolf, the cage size (Ohio requires) is like 10 times more than what the USDA requires.” Huntsman testified before state Senate and House committees debating the law last spring, but said her concerns “fell on deaf ears.” Not all of Ohio’s exotic animals are kept as pets or exhibited to the public. Claudia Thompson, associate professor of psychology at the College of Wooster, registered three capuchin monkeys - named Alex, Gizmo and Jake. All three were born at the college and are part of an education and noninvasive research program that has been in Wooster for three decades. — MCT



Aries (March 21-April 19) Progress at work may have to remain incomplete due to the many interruptions today. A co-worker friend may have some good techniques to use toward solving any problems. Of course, you will need to find time to discover just what type of technique you will need to learn. Later today the frustration of delay may again creep up when you have to weigh one decision against another. You will intuitively know the right path to take. It is important to have patience with yourself. Harmonious times with family members are rewarding this afternoon. It is easy to get your ideas and thoughts across to these loved ones. You may be helping with some project later this evening and, if you have kids, or friends with kids, you help with their school work.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) A group meeting today is not organized—you may find it difficult to express yourself. You look for ways to stop the confusion and free the blockage—focus. This would be a good time to take notes in order to bring about an improvement for future meetings. Later this morning you will have an opportunity to use your great wit. This is a good time to write and communicate with real originality. Use your practical vision and common sense to create some recognition in your career. A gathering of a few neighbors or friends creates the opportunity to share some fun times and build fun memories. You may have some psychic and spiritual awareness just now. There are some fun conversations about dreams. Your dreams may be insightful—keep a dream diary.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) This is a great time to be with others and to work together. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular job. The arousal of deep feelings can come to your attention at the drop of a hat. A cleansing effect is what you are left with when these feelings have passed. Sometimes intense laughter will cause the same stir of emotions. If you can understand the trigger you will have some answers into the cleansing. If you cannot understand the trigger you could end up with a headache. Memories of past events will meet the present and your abilities to come to an understanding will leave the future open to freedom. Fun times are ahead this evening with your friends and big plans are in the makings for another get-together soon.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You have an instinctive imperative to be powerful and in control—pulling the strings, as it were. This may lead to a greater interest or experience in healing and investing. Even though you may find yourself crying over someone or something with which you have experienced a closure, there will also be a feeling of having peace of mind. You exert a special confidence today—you realize you are in control of your own life. You can rise above the feelings of being manipulated if you set clear limitations on your own personal energies. A boost of encouragement will come your way this evening and harmony will prevail. Family and home are in a flux of change for the positive. New habits, new friends and a new you will find you looking forward to new goals.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Learn how to handle interruptions and avoid overwork that leads to stress. You cannot avoid stress but you can handle it. Your success the next few weeks will be large in measure. The word for the day is PACE. Although this is not the most stressful of days, it can be taxing. After lunch the pressures ease a bit and you will be able to enjoy your own life situation. A friend or loved one will get your attention in the afternoon—someone needs your advice. People value your ability to make practical decisions, so . . . separate yourself emotionally from your personal needs and desires of the moment and go forward with what needs to be done. This evening brings clear communication with your loved ones. Forgiveness and understanding is possible.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) A temperamental colleague may keep you quite busy today. You may want to plot your path in the workplace to make better headway with some projects that are pending. World affairs, perhaps environmental, may bring up some spiritual subjects today. Although it is a good idea to keep politics and spiritual matters at a distance in most cases, a co-worker friend and you may find yourself involved in a spiritual discussion. Some friends or co-workers may seek you out for your advice and council regarding very personal and emotional issues. You will be able to be understanding and handle some very touchy subjects. You are able to cut through the confusion and find the truth behind a situation. You and your loved one find a special connection tonight.

COUNTRY CODES Libra (September 23-October 22) Long delayed projects will finally have a positive boost this month. These projects could be in publishing, artistic endeavors or cultural matters. This is a great time to be with others and to work together. Being appreciated and admired for your special abilities is a powerful answer to a deep need for acknowledgment. Taking chances can bring big rewards. Your creative imagination will bring you a high level of success and rewards for your hard work. Joint finances can be a source of difficulty, especially if you are not telling important details to your partner or they to you. You may be able to enjoy and value your own life situation today. Laughing is more fun with two. A good conversation with a loved one is possible this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) The morning is full of wonderful insights and you will not forget those invigorating energies that come along with the feeling of learning. When a co-worker lacks ideas this afternoon you may have to pull on your patience and take a little time to help this person with some work issues or projects. This could mean merging a new technique or method. Finances may be a big issue today—a coinvestor may have some answers—listen carefully. A healing takes place between friends today. It is time to forgive—let go and move forward. The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love. A gathering of friends this evening will bring some fun times. Sharing interests and ideas boosts the spirits of all the participants.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Others appreciate your suggestions and enjoy working with you on some project today. Round table discussions go well and problems are at a minimum. If there are decisions that need to be made, this is a good time to make some wise choices— trust in yourself. Money is a major theme now. Of course, the big concern is for future security. The first piece of news to keep in mind is that you have some good energies in your corner for the first time in a very long time. Your fortune is sure to increase. You have many friends, but your scope of friendships is about to widen. Your convivial manner attracts a wide variety of people—enjoy. Children come to your attention at this time—you may desire to have a child. If you are not ready, take precautions.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) There is a need to do your own thing today and if allowed to do so, you will make a great deal of progress with whatever you set your mind to accomplish. Perhaps you will be able to ease up on the pressure you have put on yourself in the past. You will be paying a debt from last year and clearing away paperwork as well. Old business that was not finished at the end of last year can be completed now. New ways to communicate or an easy manner will make conversations and interactions go well. A dialogue with an older person may take place this afternoon—insights are possible. There is new information coming your way regarding health care. You may find that someone close to you understands and is supportive of your eccentricities this evening.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Those wonderful ideas of yours could benefit you and others if you could write them down when they come to you. You are empowered with greater mental insight and you can perceive an unusual opportunity for good investments or for any other moneymaking opportunity. Today you may look into a couple of investment choices and choose accordingly. Others could learn from your detective work. Your effervescent personality makes you almost magneticlike this afternoon when it comes to making new neighbors feel at home. You might cook or pick up some sort of food dish, along with a list, map or layout of the area; in order to help them with an easier transition. If you take the initiative, a goal that seemed beyond your reach is obtainable.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Complaints or a general irritable attitude needs to be exorcised through contemplation and physical exercise this morning. Keep your emotional thoughts to yourself when you are with your coworkers today. You may feel that your responsibilities are too many and you could find yourself revising the demands upon your time. Allocating jobs may be a wise choice. There is time to tie up loose ends and complete past projects. Good changes in your financial status are in the offing—less taxes, good investments, debts paid, or legacies may play a part in this. Be wise and economize. You could come up with new creative ideas or inventions while playing with some hobby of yours this afternoon. Intimate times can be sensational.

Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands)0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686

Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland)0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK)0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976



Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

C R O S S W O R D 7 3

ACROSS 1. An important or influential (and often overbearing) person. 4. A bag carried by a strap on your back or shoulder. 12. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 15. The rate at which red blood cells settle out in a tube of blood under standardized conditions. 16. A woman aviator. 17. Ancient Hebrew unit of liquid measure = 1.5 gallons. 18. Above the surround or above the normal position. 20. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 21. Related to or derived from the people or culture of Spain. 23. United States anarchist (born in Italy) who with Bartolomeo Vanzetti was convicted of murder and in spite of world-wide protest was executed (1891-1927). 25. Russian choreographer (1834-1905). 26. A large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere. 27. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect. 29. (possibly Roman) Goddess of horses and mules and asses. 30. A heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically). 31. (law) Lacking any legal or binding force. 32. Thickening of tissue in the motor tracts of the lateral columns and anterior horns of the spinal cord. 35. Make less active or intense. 42. An awkward stupid person. 44. Aromatic bulb used as seasoning. 46. Last or greatest in an indefinitely large series. 47. (statistics) Of a distribution. 51. A nitrogen-containing base found in RNA (but not in DNA) and derived from pyrimidine. 52. A unit of current equal to 10 amperes. 53. Joint capital (with Riyadh) of Saudi Arabia. 56. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail. 57. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 58. A run that is the result of the batter's performance. 60. United States anthropologist (born in England) who popularized anthropology (1905- ). 63. (anatomy) A somewhat rounded subdivision of a bodily organ or part. 69. Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence. 70. The basic unit of money in Nigeria. 73. An alliance made up of states that had been Soviet Socialist Republics in the Soviet Union prior to its dissolution in Dec 1991. 74. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 76. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 77. The part of the nervous system of vertebrates that controls involuntary actions of the smooth muscles and heart and glands. 78. Genus of beetles whose grubs feed mainly on roots of plants. 79. By bad luck.

Daily SuDoku

DOWN 1. Left-hand page. 2. (Old Testament) The second patriarch. 3. The amount of money needed to purchase something. 5. A resource. 6. A hard brittle blue-white multivalent metallic element. 7. A member of the Wakashan people living on Queen Charlotte Sound and northern Vancouver Island. 8. (of a substance) Capable of being dissolved in some solvent (usually water). 9. Before noon. 10. City in southwestern Colombia in a rich agricultural area. 11. A deceitful and unreliable scoundrel. 12. Massive powerful herbivorous odd-toed ungulate of southeast Asia and Africa having very thick skin and one or two horns on the snout. 13. A fine strong sheer silky fabric made of silk or rayon or nylon. 14. A statistical method for making simultaneous comparisons between two or more means. 19. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 22. Secured or held in place by tape. 24. A loose narrow strip of skin near the base of a fingernail. 28. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 33. A French river. 34. Wood of a sumac. 36. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 37. Big-eyed scad. 38. A white crystalline double sulfate of aluminum. 39. (prefix) Between or among or in the midst of. 40. Of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor. 41. Being one more than two. 43. A baroque musical composition (usually for a keyboard instrument) with full chords and rapid elaborate runs in a rhythmically free style. 45. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk. 48. One species. 49. An early Christian church designed like a Roman basilica. 50. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 54. Any of several coarse tall perennial grasses of most warm areas. 55. A soft gray ductile metallic element used in alloys. 59. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 61. (Norse mythology) Ruler of the Aesir. 62. A strip of land projecting into a body of water. 64. Using speech rather than writing. 65. A small cake leavened with yeast. 66. The food served and eaten at one time. 67. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 68. A river that rises in northeastern Turkey (near the source of the Euphrates) and flows generally eastward through Armenia to the Caspian Sea. 71. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. 72. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and healthrelated products.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Kaymer eclipses McIlroy, Woods in marquee match McIlroy toils to 75, Woods cards 72 ABU DHABI: Triple former winner Martin Kaymer eclipsed playing partners Rory McIlroy and former world number one Tiger Woods in their marquee three-ball in the first round of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Championship yesterday. German Kaymer, who lifted the spectacular Falcon Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2011, carded a one-under 71 in difficult winds gusting up to 20mph (30kph) while an out-of-sorts McIlroy ballooned to a 75 and Woods had to settle for a 72. All three trailed early clubhouse leader Jamie Donaldson of Britain who plotted his way to a five-under 67. McIlroy, Woods and Kaymer started on the 10th hole at 0740 local time and were introduced to an excited gallery by European Tour chief executive George O’Grady. The trio all found sand on their par-five first hole, McIlroy somehow managing to putt his way into a greenside bunker, but each saved par. The world number one’s game began to unravel when he took a double-bogey five at the 15th. He hit back with a birdie at the long second before producing an errant tee shot at the third and slumping to his second double-bogey in seven holes. Northern Irishman McIlroy looked on as Woods made a strong move by birdying the 15th, 17th and 18th but the world number two dropped back into the pack with successive bogeys at the first and second. A birdie at the eighth cheered up the 14-times major winner before he made a mess of the ninth and final hole, three-putting from 30 feet. Woods, however, was not displeased with his performance. “I’m right there,” the 37-year-old American told reporters. “If I had twoputted the last I’d have been 12th or 13th, something like that. “There are not a lot of guys going low out there. You seem like you’re banking up against the wind pretty much all day. “It’s tough - these fairways are tiny to begin with and there were a lot of crosswinds today,” added Woods. “I don’t think it’s supposed to blow as hard tomorrow, at least that’s the forecast. “The rough is deep enough where it’s tough to get to the green. It’s imperative to get the ball in the fairway.” Duffed drive Woods completely duffed his drive at the first hole, his 10th, when he struck the ground behind the tee peg and the ball only squirted out 120 yards. “My game plan was to hit a three-iron or five-wood on that hole and then I changed my mind,” he said. “I should have just backed off and followed my game plan. I had a strategy for the day and clubs I was going to use and what spot I was going to hit it too. I didn’t do that there, paid the price and made bogey.” McIlroy, who rubber-stamped a massive sponsorship deal in Abu Dhabi on Monday and is using his new Nike clubs in competition for the first time this week, lamented his driving and putting. — Reuters

LA RIOJA: KTM’s rider Cyril Despres (left) of France competes during the Stage 10 of the Dakar 2013 between Cordoba and La Rioja, Argentina. — AFP

Despres extends lead, cars brought to a halt FIAMBALA: Defending champion Cyril Despres extended his overall lead in the motorcycling category in the Dakar Rally after the 11th stage of the race on Wednesday. However, while the 38-year-old Frenchman moved a step closer to a fifth Dakar title, his colleagues in the car category were once again frustrated by the elements as an overflowing river brought the majority of the drivers to a halt. Despres’ compatriot and defending drivers’ champion Stephane Peterhansel - who leads this year’s edition by more than 50 minutes with the race finishing on Sunday - was one of only seven drivers to succeed in crossing the river. American Bobby Gordon - disqualified from last year’s race when in contention to win - was declared the stage winner though it had a hollow ring about it. Saturday’s eighth stage had seen the car category also badly affected by torrential rain. Peterhansel - seeking his 11th win in the race having won the bike title six times and the car

category on four occasions - was pleased with how the stage had turned out as it took him one stage closer to victory. “It hasn’t turned out too badly at all for us today,” said the 47-year-old Mini driver. “But we were driving calmly. We were being careful where we put the wheels, trying to avoid going too deep into the river beds. It’s better to lose a few seconds trying to find the right place to pass than losing several minutes stuck in the mud or water. “We did see some water, but when we went through it wasn’t catastrophic. But it’s like what happened a few days ago, the water level can rise quickly and it can get quite deep within a matter of minutes.” American KTM rider Kurt Caselli had taken the stage honours in the motorcycling section beating Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves by 4min 45sec over the 452km stage from La Rioja, which having originally been planned to include a 190km timed special was reduced to 30km because

of the inclement weather. Despres, who waited till Monday to make his surge having started the week over 20 minutes in arrears, finished third, also on a KTM, 6min 24sec adrift of the winner. The Frenchman leads teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal by 13min 16sec while in third place is another KTM rider, Chilean veteran Francisco Chaleco Lopez, 18min 8sec in arrears. However, Despres was far from being in good humour at the end of his day’s work. “There was a storm in the dunes and it started raining. It wasn’t easy to navigate,” he said. “We came across some streams full of mud and water, which brought back bad memories from last year. “I don’t know what today means in terms of results, but I’m just happy to be here without too many problems. Fiambala really is a shit-hole. We spent time in the water walking alongside the bike. The pace went up a lot after Kurt overtook me. Perhaps that’s why I’m a bit tired!” — AFP

Mexican Olympic medalist dies ABU DHABI: Martin Kaymer from Germany tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of Abu Dhabi Golf Championship yesterday. — AP

MEXICO CITY: Noe Hernandez, who won an Olympic silver medal in the 20km walk at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, died of a heart attack in central Mexico on Wednesday, two weeks after being shot in the head in a bar. The 34-year-old died on his way to hospital after he suffered two heart attacks in his home, the Mexico state

government said in a statement. The former Olympian was at a bar called “Queen of Kings” on December 30 when gunmen opened fire, killing two people and wounding three including Hernandez, who lost his left eye as a result. No one has been detained in the case so far. — AFP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Armstrong stripped of 2000 bronze medal LONDON: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his 2000 Olympic Games cycling time trial bronze medal by the International Olympic Committee, continuing the once dominant rider’s spectacular fall from grace after a doping storm. “We have written asking for the return of the medal from the Sydney 2000 Games,” an IOC official told Reuters yesterday after the decision to take away the last major title held by the disgraced American. The retired Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in October after several riders testified that he took drugs. The testimony came in a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report in which the 41-year-old’s former US Postal team was accused of running “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. Armstrong, a cancer survivor who founded the Livestrong Foundation, has always denied wrongdoing but was due to appear on US television later yesterday with reports saying he will confess to taking

banned substances. CBS Television reported on Tuesday the former rider had offered to pay more that $5 million to the US government in compensation for an alleged fraud against the US Postal Service, which for years sponsored his cycling team. The network also said he had offered to co-operate as a witness in a US investigation but the Department of Justice turned down his request, raising the prospect that he could yet serve time in prison. Armstrong’s interview with talkshow host Oprah Winfrey, taped earlier this week, was to be broadcast later yesterday. Only medal The 2000 bronze was the only Olympic medal Armstrong ever claimed despite dominating cycling by winning the Tour from 1999 to 2005. He retired for a second time in 2011. The IOC had been preparing to make a move for the medal for months but decided at its executive board meeting in December to wait for the UCI to inform the athlete of the titles taken from him and give him the right to appeal. — Reuters

This combination made on June 14, 2012 shows seven file pictures (left to right, top to bottom) taken in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 of US cyclist Lance Armstrong posing on the podium on the Champs-Elysees in Paris after winning the Tour de France cycling race and a picture taken in 2005 showing seven fingers (meaning seven victories) during the 92nd Tour de France. — AFP

BOSTON: New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Austin Rivers (25) drives to the hoop between Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) and center Jason Collins (98) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game. — AP

Hornets win matchup of Doc, Austin Rivers 90-78 Magic beat Pacers 97-86

BOSTON: Austin Rivers won his first NBA game against his father as the New Orleans Hornets beat coach Doc Rivers’ Boston Celtics 90-78 on Wednesday. Greivis Vasquez scored 15 points with 11 rebounds and Al-Farouq Aminu had 18 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, which won for the sixth time in seven games and stopped Boston’s six-game winning streak. Austin Rivers scored eight points against his dad’s team; they became the fourth father-son matchup in NBA history. Paul Pierce scored 12 points with 10 rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes. Anthony Davis had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets. Miami’s LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points and also surpassed 5,000 assists to lead the Heat to a 92-75 win over the Golden State Warriors. James finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds to eclipse both marks before halftime as he helped Miami go ahead by 34 points in the third quarter and allowed coach Erik Spoelstra to rest his starters for the fourth. Dwyane Wade added 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Mario Chalmers scored 15 for the Heat. David Lee

had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State and Jarrett Jack scored 16 in place of Stephen Curry. Tony Parker had 17 points and 11 assists for San Antonio and Tim Duncan scored 19 to help the Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 103-82 and extend their home winning streak to 13 games. Rudy Gay scored 17 points as all five starters reached double figures for Memphis, which lost its third straight. At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and Kevin Martin had 20 as the Thunder ended the Denver Nugget’s sixgame winning streak with a 117-97 victory. Kevin Durant added 20 points and equaled his career high with five steals. Atlanta’s Jeff Teague had a career-high 28 points and 11 assists as the shorthanded Hawks ended Brooklyn’s sevengame winning streak with a 109-95 defeat of the Nets, while Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points as the Dallas Mavericks held off a Jeremy Lin-led surge to beat the Houston Rockets 105-100. In other games, the Orlando Magic beat the Indiana Pacers 97-86, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 93-88 and the Sacramento Kings edged the Washington Wizards 95-94. — AP

A-Rod has hip surgery NEW YORK: Alex Rodriguez had surgery on his left hip Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined until after the All-Star break. The New York Yankees said Dr Bryan Kelly repaired a torn labrum and impingement and the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York “went as planned and without complication.” The 37-year-old former All-Star third baseman is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday and the anticipated time for a full recovery is six months. The

Yankees signed free agent Kevin Youkilis this offseason to play third base while Rodriguez is out. “Hopefully his surgery went well and he gets back as soon as possible,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said in Tampa, Fla. “I don’t know the details of how it usually takes, but you just want to make sure he’s healthy.” Kelly said last week that Rodriguez had a condition known as femoral acetabular impingement and it was caused by genes, not by steroids. Rodriguez admitted in 2009 that he

used steroids while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. Kelly said the injury was responsible for Rodriguez’s poor performance in September and October, when A-Rod was benched in three of nine postseason games and pinch hit for in three others. He batted .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs in the playoffs, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. Rodriguez is due $114 million over the next five years as part of his record $275 million, 10-year contract, so his health is a major concern for the

Yankees. Describing the bone meeting the socket, Kelly said “we’re basically taking an egg-shaped femoral head and through the use of a camera, a motorized burr and Fluoroscopic imaging, we’re reshaping the bone to a predetermined shape.” A 14-time All-Star, Rodriguez had right hip surgery on March 9, 2009, and returned that May 8. Kelly said the left hip requires more recovery time because Rodriguez is a right-handed hitter and rotates it when he swings. — AP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Murray sizzles in win against Sousa

MELBOURNE: Switzerland’s Roger Federer makes a backhand return to Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship yesterday. — AP

Federer sets up Tomic showdown with easy win MELBOURNE: Roger Federer got the better again of old rival Nikolay Davydenko to set up a compelling third round showdown with brash young Australian Bernard Tomic at the Australian Open yesterday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion had few problems with the quirky, 40th-ranked Russian, winning 6-3, 64, 6-4 in 1hr 59min in a night match on Rod Laver Arena. The win set up what should be the first highlight of the tournament on Saturday, in an intriguing match-up between the four-time Australian Open champion and the confident, 20-year-old Tomic.”It’s a similar situation to last year, it’s just a round earlier, I guess,” Federer said, referring to last year’s straightsets win over Tomic in the fourth round. “I’m looking forward to the match. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of attention, hopefully we’re going to live up to the expectations and live up to the match.” Federer stretched his record over Davydenko to 18-2 with a dominant performance containing three service breaks from 13 break point opportunities. Federer was more aggressive and made more unforced errors, 42 to his 35 winners, but he was always in command of the Russian, whose last win against the 31-year-old Swiss legend was three years ago at Doha. “It’s a tough match-up with Nikolay, he’s a good player and I’ve known him for a very long time and it’s nice to see him playing better again,” Federer said. “He’s had some difficulties over the last couple of years but he’s had a great start to the season so it’s always a pleasure playing against him, regardless of the ranking.” The world number two is on a run of 34 straight Grand Slam quarter-finals and is on course to face defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final next week. Federer is bidding to become only the second man in the history of the Australian Open to win the title a fifth time, following Australian Roy Emerson’s six victories in the 1960s.Federer soon had Davydenko under pressure, breaking the Russian’s service in the sixth game, and he cruised to the opening set in 42 minutes. He followed up with a service break in Davydenko’s opening service game to take the second set in a similar time and broke him again in the first game of the final set to steam home. — AFP

MELBOURNE: Andy Murray has played in tougher conditions but he was glad he made short work of reaching the Australian Open’s third round on a sweltering day yesterday. The British third seed and reigning US Open champion conceded just eight games in putting away 100th-ranked Portuguese Joao Sousa, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 41min on Hisense Arena. Murray, a twice runnerup at the Australian Open, has his hitting partner, Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, as his next opponent in the last 32. “It wasn’t that bad on the court. When the sun came out it was extremely hot. There was little humidity,” Murray said, as ambient temperatures hovered around 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit). “When you get the combi-

nation of the heat and the humidity is when it’s normally at its worst. I’ve played in worse conditions, but it’s still very hot.” Murray, who trains in Miami to condition for the heat of the Australian Open, was too hot to handle, breaking Sousa’s service five times without facing a break point. “I got up a couple of breaks pretty quickly in the first two sets so I could try to shorten the points, which helped,” he said. “I also served well too. I got a lot of free points on my serve and there were very few long rallies which worked out well for me.” Murray controlled the match and had two service breaks to wrap up the opening set in 31 minutes. He quickly reinforced that with further breaks in Sousa’s opening two service games in the second set, which he clinched with a

forehand winner. There was little Sousa could do and he was broken again at the start of the final set as Murray coasted to victory. It was Murray’s sixth consecutive match victory this season after he beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to win his 25th career title at the Brisbane International. Murray is familiar with his next opponent, Berankis, having regularly practised with him. “I’ve actually hit with him a lot. I trained with him before the Australian Open last year,” Murray said. “I practised with him in Brisbane this year and I practised with him a couple times before the tournament here. “He’s won five matches and he hits the ball pretty big from the back of the court. He plays aggressive and he’s a very flat hitter of the ball.” — AFP

Serena, Azarenka romp in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: Defending champion Victoria Azarenka conceded just one game in a lopsided second-round romp at the Australian Open yesterday, while Serena Williams shook off an ankle injury to progress. A pumped-up Azarenka, with her renowned grunting at full volume, said her game was exactly where she wanted it after crushing Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou 6-1, 6-0. She was followed onto Rod Laver Arena on a scorching hot day by Williams, with all eyes on her condition after a nasty roll of the right ankle in her first-round match. But the American third seed, looking for a sixth Australian title, was moving freely in a solid 6-2, 6-0 workout against Spanish teenager Garbine Muguruza. “It’s feeling better,” she said of the heavily strapped ankle, which needed intensive treatment over the past two days. “I did everything I could, from icing to massage, and woke up this morning and it was like ‘my God, it feels good.” The 15time Grand Slam winner, who has admitted she’s eyeing the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988, next plays Japan’s Ayumi Morita, who beat German Annika Beck 6-2, 6-0. If the draw goes to plan she is scheduled to meet Azarenka in the semi-finals. Williams had never played the 112thranked Spaniard, who was making her tournament debut, and she raced to a 20 lead before some uncharacteristic forehand errors allowed Muguruza to hold serve and get off the mark. She wasn’t at her best and even hit herself in the face with her racquet in the sixth game as she went for a lob at full stretch, spending the next game dabbing at her lip. But she rallied to break once more for 5-2 and held for the set. The second set opened with a marathon 18-minute game, with Williams finally prevailing to break. Any fight left in the Spaniard disappeared with the American taking only 19 more minutes to reel off

MELBOURNE: Serena Williams of the US plays a return during her women’s singles match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on the fourth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament yesterday.—AFP sent Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum the last five games. “One day I twist my ankle and then packing 6-1, 6-2, and said she felt in today I hit myself in the face. I don’t good touch. “I felt really good, I enjoyed a lot the know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” she joked afterwards. “Hopefully way I was focused,” she said. “I definitely just hitting winners.” Former world num- stepped it up from my first match, and I ber one Caroline Wozniacki also pro- was in the zone trying to execute all of gressed, beating Croat Donna Vekic 6-1, my shots. I was trying to make every6-4, but eighth seed Petra Kvitova, the thing happen, and that’s what I’m hap2011 Wimbledon champion, crashed out py about.” Azarenka had only played the Greek once before, five years ago, to Britain’s Laura Robson, 2-6, 6-3, 11-9. Meanwhile, Japan’s Kimiko Date- and lost, but opened her account by Krumm, 42, became the oldest player to breaking to love and then comfortably make a Grand Slam third round since held. The Belarusian easily broke again Renee Richards in 1979. In other games, and held for 4-0, with the Greek till Italian 16th seed Roberta Vinci beat then having won just three points in Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova and 14th the entire match. Azarenka dropped a seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko ousted game for 5-1 but it was only a hiccup Chinese hope Peng Shuai. Azarenka next and she raced through the second set faces American Jamie Hampton, who in 31 minutes. — AFP


Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Hodgson eyes long-awaited England glory LONDON: As the Football Association begins its 150th anniversary year, England manager Roy Hodgson has challenged his players to provide the ultimate celebration by at least putting themselves in contention to end almost half a century without a trophy. Hodgson is the latest in a string of managers charged with ending England’s wait for a first major honour since their lone World Cup final triumph, against the then West Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1966. But after helping the FA launch its landmark birthday on the London site of its first meeting, the curret incumbent in the so-called ‘impossible job’ refused to accept it may take another 50 years to replicate. “There’s always hope,” Hodgson

insisted. “Hope springs eternal. But what you have to do to win tournaments is make sure you’re regularly among the ones who are up there with a possibility of winning. “You could compare it to someone who is an amateur darts player. The more darts he throws in and around the centre, one day he will get it in the bullseye. “If he’s spreading them around the board your chances will be less than if he’s getting them in the 25 circle.” Hodgson took England to the quarterfinals at Euro 2012, only losing on penalties to Italy-even though his team’s performances were often described as limited by many critics who yearn for England to rely more on technique and finesse than just their famous bulldog spirit. The FA shares the same ambition; which is

Roma edge Fiorentina 1-0 after extra time MILAN: Roma narrowly won 1-0 at Fiorentina after extra time in the Italian Cup quarterfinals, after the home side hit the woodwork three times on Wednesday. Mattia Destro, who missed several earlier chances, scored the only goal seven minutes into extra time. Teammate Daniele De Rossi had an earlier strike ruled out. Alberto Aquilani, Borja Valero and Juan Cuadrado hit the woodwork for Fiorentina. Roma midfielder Rodrigo Taddei was sent off three minutes from the end of extra time. Fiorentina’s Cuadrado and Roma’s Dodo were also dismissed as a brawl broke out at the death. The fight continued as they walked down the tunnel. Roma will meet Inter Milan in the semifinals. The winner will face either Juventus or Lazio in the final. “Did we have bad luck? Do you think?” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said with a laugh. “It was a good game, we had a great performance against a worthy opponent like Roma. “But lately everything is going wrong for us, we create so many chances without managing to score. It’s a pity and it’s time for that to change.” Both sides were eager to get back to winning ways after losing two Serie A games on the trot. Roma had the better of the opening exchanges and De Rossi, who was given a rare start, headed a corner just wide in the seventh minute. Destro went even closer for Roma on the half hour as he gathered Michael Bradley’s pass and raced past three Fiorentina players before unleashing a diagonal effort which scraped the outside of the far post. Fiorentina, which had barely had a sight of goal, could have taken the lead five minutes from halftime as former Roma midfielder Aquilani crashed a free kick off the crossbar. Roma had a great chance immediately after the restart when Nenad Tomovic lost the ball and Destro released Alessandro Florenzi, but Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto pulled off a stunning save to spare his defender’s blushes. De Rossi thought he scored in the 79th but his effort was ruled out for offside. Fiorentina had been guilty of poor defending all night and it again almost cost the home side when Gonzalo Rodriguez gave the ball away on the edge of his area but Destro blazed over the bar. Both Fiorentina and Roma could have won it in stoppage time as first Valero hit the post before the visitors went down the other side of the pitch and Stefan Savic headed Destro’s lob off the line with the last touch of normal time. The deadlock was finally broken when Miralem Pjanic cut back Michael Bradley’s pass for Destro to tap home from close range. Fiorentina poured forward and almost equalized when Cuadrado volleyed off the post and then attempted to tap home the rebound only to see it parried by Roma goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea. There was an unseemly end to the match as first Taddei was sent off for a second yellow card after reacting following a clash with Valero. Minutes later Cuadrado and Dodo got into a brawl and both were sent off. However, the fight continued as they walked off down the tunnel and they had to be separated again by officials and teammates. — AP

why it has built a national academy in central England at St George’s Park-a school for coaches where all 24 national teams will also be based. And although Hodgson knows any rewards from that venture are a long way down the line, he hasn’t ruled out a degree of short-term success if England qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. “The first thing we have to do of course is qualify for the tournament,” he said. “And then when we qualify it will be important that we give a very good account of ourselves at the World Cup in Brazil. And who knows, once you are there you have a chance of winning it. “I think we have some very good young players coming into the game playing regularly now and showing that

they do have the ability to shoulder the burden.” Hodgson was joined at The FA’s anniversary launch by several former England managers including Sven-Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Fabio Capello, who left the role in controversial circumstances following a row over a decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy. But the Italian was all smiles as he said: “We are all friends now. It is very good to come back and see the people I used to work with. I have no problems with anyone. “You know I can’t talk about what happened with England but I am enjoying my life with Russia and my hope is that we play England in Brazil at the World Cup. That would be very good I think.” — AFP

Drogba upbeat that Ivory Coast will end Cup jinx JOHANNESBURG: The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in South Africa tomorrow with Didier Drogba’s hugely gifted yet trophy-less Ivory Coast favourites once again to march off with the continental crown. The competition has grown from humble beginnings into a global event watched by a TV audience running into hundreds of millions tuning in to be dazzled by the top players on the continent. Aside, that is, from those conspicuous by their absence, including Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon and seven-time champions Egypt. South Africa, hosts of the 2010 World Cup, stepped in to stage this year’s renewal originally designated for Libya. And over the next four weeks stadia in Soweto, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban will witness Drogba and company cross swords in pursuit of the honour of being crowned kings of Africa. The 16 teams vying to walk off with the title on February 10 are also battling for a seat at the 2013 Confederations Cup table in Brazil in June, where world and European champions Spain, South American champions Uruguay and little Tahiti await the African champions. For Drogba and his fellow Ivorians there is a frustrating sense of deja vu as the clock ticks towards Tomorrow’s curtain-raiser at Soweto’s Soccer City featuring South Africa against debutants Cape Verde. The Ivory Coast are desperate to shed a reputation for falling short when it matters most, having failed to justify their favourites’ tag in the last four editions. Agonising penalty shootout defeats in the finals of 2006 against Egypt and last year against Zambia will only serve to motivate the Elephants in what is 34-year-old Drogba’s last throw of the Nations Cup dice. “We have a team capable of great things at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations,” remarked the Chinese-based striker. “It would be great to win the trophy now. Honestly, we are getting tired of losing out each time. “We showed great solidarity against Senegal (in the

qualifiers). We fought together, everybody gave of himself and this helped us to win. “And now everybody expects a trophy. We hope to give the cup to our country.” Africa’s top-ranked team, who lost out in 2012 despite remaining undefeated in regulation time, are drawn in Group D with former champions Algeria and Tunisia, and Togo. “It is unquestionably the most difficult group and we got three fearsome opponents,” admits Ivorian coach Sabri Lamouchi. “We were favourites before the draw and still are. Now we must deliver on the pitch.” The list of potential suspects to walk off with the 2013 title extends far beyond Ivory Coast, however. Zambia, for one, are back to defend the title they clinched against all the odds in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea 12 months ago. Herve Renard’s side may

Didier Drogba

have failed to impress in their warmups, but turn out with a better squad, on paper at least, than last year. The dashing French coach is anxious his team get off to a flying start against Ethiopia in Nelspruit, with powerful Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, to follow. Reacting to domestic media criticism of his side’s build-up, he said: “A lot of pundits do not believe we can win the title again and do not want to take risks with their predictions. It is easier to say Zambia will never win the Cup of Nations again. “Should we fail to retain the trophy, it simply means another team was better than us. However, it will be very difficult to beat this Zambian team.” Other contenders in the title mix include west African heavyweights Ghana, Morocco, hosts of the next edition in 2015, and Maghreb neighbours Algeria and Tunisia. Astute French coach Claude Le Roy will be calling on all his long Nations Cup experience to spring a surprise with the Democratic Republic of Congo, while 2010 hosts Angola boast a five-match unbeaten run in their build-up. And, with their vuvuzela-blowing fans behind them, South Africa cannot be discounted, either, as they seek to add to their lone title won 17 years ago on home soil. In contrast to the fevered anticipation that accompanied the build-up to the 2010 World Cup, there has been a distinct lack of excitement in the runup to the January 19-February 10 tournament. Sipho Sithole, spokesman for the Cup of Nations’ local organising committee, remarked: “You are expecting South Africa to have done the same that it did for 2010. “If this was the 2017 (Cup of Nations) — the tournament we were supposed to host-and we had four years, it would have been fair.” The stage is set for what promises to be another fascinating feast of football with the smart money on Drogba and company to end years of heartache and finally do justice to their billing as the ‘golden generation’.— AP


Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Wilshere’s progress excites Wenger

BARCELONA: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (front) vies with Malaga’s Chilean midfielder Manuel Iturra during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) quarter-final football match FC Barcelona vs Malaga CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 16, 2013. — AFP

Barcelona held by 10-man Malaga MADRID: Holders Barcelona’s hopes of retaining the Spanish Cup hang in the balance after being held 2-2 at home by 10man Malaga in their Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg clash on Wednesday. Barcelona - who hold an 11-point lead in the league race over Atletico Madrid with 18 wins from 19 matches - looked to be in the driving seat after coming from a goal down to lead 2-1 after half-an-hour thanks to two goals in as many minutes by Lionel Messi and veteran talismanic defender Carles Puyol. Malaga’s chances of coming away with anything better than a one goal deficit looked to be over when Nacho Monreal was red carded 15 minutes from time for a trip on Pedro. However, just as Malaga have shown in their maiden Champions League campaign that they are made of stern stuff so they did in Barcelona as Ignacio Camacho tucked the ball away neatly with a minute remaining after both Puyol and centre-back partner Javier Mascherano failed to get high enough to clear a free-kick. On Tuesday Barca’s great rivals Real Madrid had taken a big step towards the semi-finals as they beat Valencia 2-0 at the Bernabeu. Goals by Karim Benzema and an own goal by Mexican defender Andres Guardado gave the hosts a much-needed boost and kept alive their hopes of some domestic silverware this season as in the league they are third and trail Barcelona by 18 points. However, it was far from an assured performance by Jose Mourinho’s side and, but for some poor Valencia finishing, they could have been travelling to Valencia for the second leg on level terms. Benzema, though, steadied their nerves eight minutes before half-time as the France international striker showed some kind of return to form as he slotted home after being set up by Sami Khedira in a move started by Michael Essien. The hosts’ second came in the 73rd minute from a counter attack just after Valencia’s Brazilian striker Jonas had missed a terrific opportunity to equalise. Guardado put the ball into his own net from Fabio Coentrao’s centre and the damage could have been greater for the visitors had not Vicente Guaita made two point blank saves from Cristiano Ronaldo in a matter of minutes.— AFP

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is well on the way to becoming the complete midfielder after his goal knocked Swansea City out of the FA Cup on Wednesday. The 21year-old England international scored the only goal of a 1-0 win four minutes before the end of a third round replay at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger had deployed Wilshere in a central attacking role instead of his usual deeper, more defensive position and was rewarded with an outstanding performance as well as the goal. “Jack played in a different position tonight, a bit higher up and it suited him,” Wenger said. “There was a better team balance. “A complete midfielder can defend and attack and Jack can also dribble and give a final ball so the closer players like him are to the goal the better it is for them,” the Frenchman added. “He has quality and enthusiasm-and a love for the game, which is the most important thing for me.” Wilshere has only been a member of the Arsenal first team pool for just over three months as his career was put on hold for nearly a yearand-a-half by serious injuries to first an ankle and then a knee. Wenger admitted he had been astonished how quickly Wilshere had been able to resume where he had left off, having been capped by England while a teenager. “I had no experience of a player who had been out for 17 months in my whole career-I didn’t expect him to be this good at this stage,” Wenger said. “I always thought that if we could get Jack back to a reasonable level by January 1 we will have done well but he is ahead of what I could imagine. He is back to what he was before the injury, I think so, yes.” Swansea are still involved in the League Cup and will reach the final of that competition next week if they can avoid a two-goal defeat at home to Chelsea in the second leg of the semis. Michael Laudrup, the Swansea manager, was disappointed his side had been beaten so late in the game but conceded Wilshere’s goal had been worthy of winning the match. The Denmark great nevertheless counselled against expecting too much, too soon from such a young player. “We are talking a young player who had an injury, is coming back, and has great potential,” Laudrup said. “At the same

time I don’t think we need to push our young players too much. I think sometimes people are a little too fast, too quick with the big words. “We have to let them grow as young players can improve. That goes for Jack Wilshere as well. He has to improve, and don’t put that pressure on him; that he has to be a superstar already in a few months. “To be a world-class player you need more seasons at the highest level. You play 40 or 50 games; it is not enough to call you a world-class player. “Maybe you can become it one day, but if we are talking about a 21-year-old and we are putting

him up there already amongst the best, then where do we put (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi?” Wilshere certainly enjoyed a more productive match than England colleague Theo Walcott, who was removed from his favoured central strike position and went on to squander several chances. The 23-year-old has still not agreed a new deal that will prevent him becoming a free agent at the end of the season but Wenger was confident the former Southampton man would eventually sign another Arsenal contract. “I hope it will be soon-very, very soon now,” he said. “I cannot tell you much more.” — AFP

LONDON: Swansea City’s Spanish defender Chico Flores (left) vies with Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud (right) during the English FA Cup third round replay football match between Arsenal and Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 16, 2013. — AFP

Iraq-UAE Gulf Cup final boost for local coaches MANAMA: Iraq will take on the United Arab Emirates in the final of the 21st Gulf Cup today after both sides, the only two of eight in the tournament to be coached by locals, advanced through the group stage undefeated. The UAE netted eight and conceded two in their four-match run to the final, while Iraq, seeking a fourth Gulf Cup, were slightly more goal shy, scoring six but letting in just one. The UAE under Mahdi Ali and Iraq under Hakeem Shaker have punched above their weight and cut down to size teams like defending champions Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all of which had some famous international names as coaches. Qatar, under

Paulo Autuori of Brazil, and Oman, under Paul Le Guen of France, could only finish third and fourth respectively in Group ‘A’ to make a premature exit while Dutchman Frank Rijkaard’s Saudi Arabia finished third in Group ‘B’. Kuwait, with Serbian Goran Tufegdzic at the helm, did manage to make the semi-finals by the skin of their teeth but were beaten by a young and energetic UAE in the semi-finals. Yemen, who finished last in Group ‘B’, are coached by Tom Saintfiet while Argentine Gabriel Calderon is at the helm in Bahrain. Two of those coaches have already lost their jobs, in keeping with a predictable trend in the region where coaches are well rewarded but

their long term job security is not guaranteed. Autuori was sacked on Tuesday while the Saudis waited a day longer before showing the door to Rijkaard, ending a deal reportedly worth $16-million signed in June 2011, with the aim of guiding the team to its fifth World Cup finals. No such fears stalk coaches Ali and Shaker who have respectively moulded young and fast improving teams brimming with confidence and full of hope. Both sides impressed in the group stages, scoring comfortable victories and though both were tested in dramatic semi-finals, they fully deserved their places in the title showdown. —AFP


Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013

Rooney hammers United into FA Cup fourth round

LONDON: Chelsea’s Juan Mata (center) reacts to his injury during their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge, Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013. — AP

Chelsea suffer title blow as Saints rally LONDON: Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League title this season were left hanging by a thread after they squandered a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw at home to strugglers Southampton on Wednesday. The result, which came on the same day former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola confirmed he was turning down the European champions’ overtures to manage German giants Bayern Munich, left Chelsea still in third place but 13 points behind leaders Manchester United with just 16 league games remaining. After successive home defeats to Queens Park Rangers and Swansea, the latter in the League Cup semi-final first leg, Chelsea appeared on course for victory when Demba Ba and Eden Hazard put them ahead before half-time. But the visitors rallied after the break through substitute Rickie Lambert’s 10th goal of the season and an outstanding equaliser from Jason Puncheon. The result saw Southampton continue their improved run of form to move three points clear of the bottom three. Chelsea left the field to boos from their own fans and this result will have done nothing for the wafer-thin popularity of interim manager Rafael Benitez with large sections of the London club’s supporters. “We have to be more clinical when we have chances,” the Spaniard told Sky Sports. “We have to manage the game, score the third goal and finish the game but we did not do it.” Former Liverpool boss Benitez, asked if Chelsea’s title bid was over, added: “We think about the next game, and the next three points and that is it.” Meanwhile delighted Southampton manager Nigel Adkins praised his team’s resilience and discipline. “We came with a gameplan,” he said. “Chelsea are a good side, we came to block them, deny them space and counter-attack. “To go two goals down, when we could have cleared both, was a blow but we showed great character in the second half-great credit to my players.” While Benitez has overseen a steady improvement in Chelsea’s away form-including a 5-1 FA Cup victory at Southampton-the Spaniard’s side have won just two of their last seven home fixtures. Chelsea dominated possession early on but they struggled to create the kind of chances that might lift the crowd. A Ba cross caused confusion in the visitors’ penalty area, ricocheting off Luke Shaw and Maya Yoshida before bouncing away to safety but otherwise Saints keeper Artur Boruc was largely untroubled before conceding in the 25th minute. Frank Lampard started the move that led to the goal, forcing his way to the by-line with a determined run before laying the ball back to Cesar Azpilicueta. The right-back crossed towards Oscar whose deflected header looped up towards Ba and the Senegal striker finished well with an acrobatic volley for his third goal in three starts. Southampton though offered signs they might equalise when Jay Rodriguez-preferred ahead of leading scorer Lambert-teed up midfielder Steve Davis who screwed his shot wide. And that miss appeared costly when Hazard claimed Chelsea’s second goal with a left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area after Ramires’s powerful effort had rebounded back off the crossbar. But Southampton, inspired by the introduction of Lambert, fought their way back into game shortly after the restart. The striker replaced Rodriguez in the 55th minute and within three minutes had halved the deficit. Saints right-back Nathaniel Clyne eased his way past Hazard before crossing for Lambert who pulled away from Azpilicueta and directed an accurate header beyond Petr Cech and into the top corner of the Chelsea goal. Chelsea were undone for a second time in the 75th minute when teenage left-back Luke Shaw-a Blues target-surged forward and squared for Puncheon who teed himself up before volleying home spectacularly from 12 yards. —AFP

LONDON: Wayne Rooney marked his first Manchester United appearance since December 23 with the only goal of the game as they beat West Ham 1-0 in a FA Cup third round replay at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Victory saw Premier League leaders United, the record 11-times FA Cup winners, into a fourth round tie at home to fellow top flight side Fulham. Rooney opened the scoring in the ninth minute after the recalled Anderson produced a superb, defence-splitting pass and Javier Hernandez bore down on goal before unselfishly squaring the ball to the England striker, who was never going to miss from a few yards out. The forward could have put the result in this all-Premier League clash beyond doubt in the second half but Rooney blasted over the top from the penalty spot after Jordan Spence handled a cross from Ryan Giggs. “In the FA Cup anything can happen so we are pleased to get through,” United veteran Ryan Giggs told ITV. “Some players are coming back from injury which can be tough but they did well. “West Ham are a tough team to play against. We couldn’t get out of our half at the start of the second half but we kept it better when Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes came on.” Frustrated Hammers manager Sam Allardyce insisted his side had been denied a penalty for handball. “We should have had a penalty,” he said, before voicing the long-held belief that United are favoured by referees at Old Trafford. “The difference is that Jordan Spence

plays for West Ham and Rafael plays for Manchester United at Old Trafford,” Allardyce said. “The incidents are the same. If you give one you’ve got to give both, simple as that.” Earlier, Arsenal left it late before seeing off Swansea 1-0 in a third round replay with England midfielder Jack Wilshere scoring four minutes before full-time with a powerful shot.

“It was a great set-up from Olivier Giroud,” said Wilshere His goal earned Arsenal-bidding for a first major trophy in eight years a fourth round clash with second-tier Brighton, the 1983 FA Cup finalists. “I didn’t want extra-time. It was important we got the winner before 90 minutes. We know Brighton play football, they play great football.”— AFP

MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s English striker Wayne Rooney (second left) vies with West Ham United’s English defender James Tomkins (left) and English midfielder Gary O’Neil (right) during the English FA Cup third round replay football match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford, Manchester, North West England on January 16, 2013. — AFP

Guardiola signing is a Bundesliga coup

Pep Guardiola

BERLIN: Bayern Munich have pulled off a spectacular coup for the German league by recruiting Pep Guardiola as head coach for next season in a glamour move that can only serve to enhance the Bundesliga’s rising profile. Having hinted at future plans to coach in England on Tuesday in London, Guardiola was then announced as Bayern’s new coach for the 2013/14 season on Wednesday with current boss Jupp Heynckes, 67, to step down in June. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reported to have offered him a multi-millon pound deal, but Guardiola spent the season so far in his New York apartment, studying at Columbia University and watching the offers pour in. Since walking away from Barcelona last June, Europe’s top clubs have all been vying for the Spaniard’s services. His record is immaculate: twice winning the Champions League title as Barcelona coach, in 2009 and 2011, and claiming nine Spanish league titles, plus lifting the Spanis League Cup four times as either a player or manager. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s 12 Premier League titles and five FA Cup wins certainly betters Guardiola’s record, but the Bayern’s new 41-year-old head coach is exactly 30 years younger. Having finished the last two seasons without winning any silverware, Bayern rightly feel the flush of their coup having attracted someone of Guardiola’s calibre. The Bavarians are still smarting from last May’s misery when they conceded both the German league and cup to current champions Borussia Dortmund, and then lost the Champions League final at their own stadium to Chelsea. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was in buoyant mood as Bayern upstaged their English rivals to secure Guardiola’s signature. “We are delighted we’ve succeeded in bringing expert coach Pep Guardiola, who has been pursued and contacted by many bigname clubs, to FC Bayern,” he said with Guardiola set to be presented in a press conference on Friday. “Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world, and we’re certain he will add great flair to both FC Bayern and German football. “We’re looking forward to the partnership from July 2013.” Despite all his success at Barcelona, Guardiola whom moody Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic once dubbed “a philosopher” as an insult - will have his work cut out at Bayern, where immediate success is demanded.—AFP


Iraq-UAE Gulf Cup final boost for local coaches Page 46

Murray sizzles in win against Sousa Page 44

MELBOURNE: Britain’s Andy Murray makes a backhand return to Portugal’s Joao Sousa during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship yesterday. —AP

18 Jan  

Friday Times

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