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Cameron promises referendum on EU exit

Comic novel imagining Hitler return is bestseller

American teen shocks Serena at Aussie Open



NO: 15698


Baby boy born to Shakira, Pique

Assembly approves law to privatise Kuwait Airways


150 FILS



Carrier to buy 20 new planes • Corporate law passed

Max 23º Min 10º High Tide 11:38 & 21:22 Low Tide 05:14 & 15:53

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah holds a falcon after he inaugurated the Kuwait folklore festival on Salmi road in Jahra yesterday. — KUNA (See Page 6)

Scientists grow kidney tissue from stem cells TOKYO: Researchers in Japan said yesterday they have succeeded in growing human kidney tissue from stem cells for the first time, in a potential first step towards helping millions who depend on dialysis. Kidneys have a complex structure that is not easily repaired, but the latest findings put scientists on the road to fixing a diseased or distressed organ, they said. More than 300,000 people in Japan alone rely on dialysis because their kidneys do not function properly. Researchers said the latest breakthrough may one day mean that kidney tissue generated from a patient’s own body could markedly improve how a damaged organ works. Kenji Osafune of Kyoto University said his team had managed to take stem cells the “blank slates” capable of being programmed to become any kind of cell in the body - and nudge them specifically in the direction of kidney tissue. “It was a very significant step,” he told AFP. Osafune said they had succeeded in generating intermediate mesoderm tissue from the stem cells, a middle point between the blank slate and the finished kidney tissue. “There are about 200 types of cells in the human body, but this tissue grows into

only three types of cells,” namely adrenal cells, reproductive gland cells and kidney cells, he said, adding that as much as 90 percent of cultures in their research developed into viable mesoderm tissue. This embryonic intermediary can be grown either in test tubes or in a living host into specific kidney cells. Osafune stressed there are still many hurdles to overcome before applying his work to actual medical treatment. “It is not known yet if simply transplanting regenerated cells would really cure kidney ailment,” he said. He and his team created part of a urinary tubule, a small tube in the kidney that plays a role in the production of urine. While the research is not aimed at growing an entire working kidney, he said the method his team had developed would help scientists learn more about intermediate mesoderm development and may provide a source of cells for regenerative therapy. “I would say that we have arrived at the preliminary step on the road to the clinical level,” he said. Stem cell work has been controversial until relatively recently because embryos were the only source, and their harvesting led to the destruction of what some people consider a human life. — AFP (See Page 28)

Emotional Clinton angrily denies Benghazi cover-up WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out guns blazing yesterday, angrily dismissing Republican charges of a cover-up over the deadly Benghazi attack and warning of a rise in militant extremism. At times emotional and often fiery, Clinton gave no ground to congressional critics still seeking to determine why the administration at first blamed the Sept 11 attack on a protest outside the US mission in eastern Libya. “With all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or because of guys out for a walk one night and (who) decided to go kill some Americans?” she told the tense hearing. “What difference does it make?” she demanded, thumping her fist on the table as Senator Ron Johnson repeatedly asked her why the administration had falsely initially linked the attack to protests against an antiIslam Internet video. “It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator,” she said. She insisted there was no administration cover-up of the events of the night, when dozens of heavily-armed Al-Qaeda-linked militants overran the compound and a nearby CIA-run annex, setting off an eight-hour firefight in which four people, including US ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Clinton insisted, stressing that in the days afterwards the administration did not have “a clear picture yet.” Continued on Page 13

Graffiti recounts 2 years of Egypt revolt CAIRO: In just three sentences on a large wall in Cairo, the artist sums up the evolution of the Egyptian revolt: “2011, Down with Mubarak’s rule. 2012, Down with military rule. 2013, Down with Brotherhood rule.” Since the start of the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, street art has become the newest form of alternative media, documenting events, struggles, highs and lows with political messages that are as gutsy as they are colourful. The urban canvasses tell the story from the huge antiMubarak protests on January 25, 2011 to the strongman’s resignation 18 days later, the electrifying sense of victory that followed to the disap-

the legislation, the government will pay all the losses posted by KAC because it is a KUWAIT: The National Assembly yester- totally state-owned establishment. Some day approved an Amiri decree calling to MPs estimated the losses the government transform Kuwait Airways Corporation will pay at KD.450 million while others (KAC) into a shareholding company oper- said the government is obliged to pay all ating on a commercial basis. Twenty-nine the losses posted by KAC since 2004. MPs and Cabinet ministers voted for the The new decree amended several key law, nine voted against it while six law- articles in a law passed in Jan 2008 to primakers abstained. Chairman of the new vatize KAC within three years, but the law Kuwait Airways Company Sami Al-Nasef could not be implemented because of no told the Assembly that only 10-12 aircraft foreign or local investors bid to purchase of KAC’s ageing fleet of the 35 percent stake of 17 planes were operaKAC under the law. tional while the rest Othaina said major were under “extended obstacles obstructed the maintenance”. implementation of the “Initially we plan to law because it was replace the current old issued just before the fleet of 17 aircraft. We global financial crisis and look to purchase 20-21 that it continued to post new aircraft within the losses. MP Safa Alnext two years, and the Hashem said KAC is “cliniprocess will be gradual,” cally dead” and the Nasef said, adding it was decree was needed to still premature to put a revive it, adding that it price on the planned only has just KD 5 million purchase of aircraft, half in cash and without Sami Al-Nasef of which will be small passing the decree, it will and the other half large. Nasef later told need to borrow more money. reporters that the new company is activeNasef said KAC has been badly affected ly negotiating with aircraft manufacturers by political disputes between the governin order to buy new planes as early as pos- ment and previous assemblies and as a sible. result, previous assemblies refused to Nasef and Communications Minister pass the final statements of KAC since Salem Al-Othaina, who oversees the carri- 2004, thus preventing the government er, had warned that without passing the from paying its losses and forcing the decree, the loss-making KAC will incur company to borrow, which complicated more losses. Othaina said that during the its losses. The Assembly also passed the past four years, KAC posted a loss of KD new corporate law which replaces the old 105 million and the airline took loans from law that was issued in the 1960s and was local banks worth KD 180 million. Under described as outdated.

pointment and anger at the interim military rulers. Painted scenes depict the bloody battles, stencils pay homage to activists who died and graffiti calls for the trials of those seen to have escaped justice. On any given day, the walls in the streets surrounding Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square deliver the revolutionary headlines of the day and serve as a central mood monitor. From scribbles in black spray paint to elaborate colourful murals, there are messages everywhere and it seems all surfaces - walls, railings, traffic signs -have become legitimate CAIRO: A Dec 11, 2012 file photo shows Egyptian soldiers expression boards. standing in front of a graffiti on the walls of the Continued on Page 13 Presidential Palace. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to a question as she testifies on Capitol Hill yesterday before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. — AP

Bahrain prepares for reconciliation talks DUBAI: Bahrain yesterday asked prodemocracy opposition parties to nominate delegates for talks to try to break nearly two years of political deadlock in the Gulf Arab state. The island state, base for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since protests erupted in 2011 led by majority Shiites demanding an end to the Sunni-led monarchy’s political domination and full powers for parliament. Thirty-five people died during the unrest and two months of martial law that followed, but the opposition puts that number at more than 80. The government rejects the figures and has accused opposition groups of being linked to Shiite power Iran.

Khalil Al-Marzouq, a leader of the main opposition bloc Wefaq, said the Justice Ministry’s director general had contacted him and asked the opposition to nominate six representatives for the talks. “He was also getting in touch with other groups from the loyalist side,” Marzouq told Reuters. “They have started taking steps, but they are still very slow steps, and no one still has any picture of what is going to happen.” Though martial law has been lifted and Bahrain has introduced some reforms, the opposition sees the measures as cosmetic and smaller scale protests have continued. Continued on Page 13



KUWAIT: The Assistant Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior, Lt Gen Sheikh Mohammed Al-Yousuf, continued his campaign to inspect the demarcation signs at the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border yesterday as a follow up to ensure proper maintenance of these signs. The border signs are being supervised by a UN team in the presence of security leaders of both countries. Sheikh Mohammad was accompanied during his tour by a representative from foreign ministry, border committee consultant Khalil Danbouh and Mohammad Al-Anbari, representative of Iraqi foreign ministry besides the director of northern border administration, Col Mijibil Fahad Al-Rasheedi.

Domestic helper charged with attempted murder Thief charged with Sulaibiya murder KUWAIT: A domestic helper was arrested in Surra for trying to attack her Kuwaiti employer’s son with a cleaver. The Filipina woman was seen pounding on the door of the 15-year-old boy’s room with a cleaver in her hand when police arrived at the house. Policemen had responded to an emergency call by the boy’s mother who said her housemaid had gone ballistic. The suspect was taken to the area’s police station and charged with attempted murder. Newborn’s body found The body of an infant was recovered from a manhole in Al-Agailah on Tuesday by maintenance workers. The workers noticed something floating on the water and discovered it was the body of an infant who seemed a newborn. The body was taken to the forensic department for an autopsy and a case was filed at the area’s police station. Man dead in accident A Kuwaiti man died while another was seriously injured when two cars collided with each other on Tuesday at the Wafra Road. The fatally wounded man succumbed to his injuries even when he was being transported to the Adan Hospital in an ambulance. His companion, who

suffered multiple contusions and fractures, was admitted at the same hospital. Investigations were on to determine the circumstances which led to the accident. Thief charged The Jahra police arrested a man who stole a sports utility vehicle (SUV ) from a Sulaibiya warehouse recently and then found that he was responsible for the murder of an Egyptian man killed last November. The Egyptian was trying to prevent a robbery at a property where he was employed as a keeper. The suspect was also wanted for attempted murder after he ran over an Egyptian security guard who tried to stop the theft at Sulaibiya warehouse. The Bedoon (stateless) man was ambushed outside his Sulaibiya house and taken for investigations which revealed his involvement in multiple crimes, including the murder of the jakhour (livestock farm) keeper in Kabad two months ago. Inmate burns cell A suspect was hospitalized with burn injuries after he set his cell on fire inside the Salmiya police station on Tuesday. The Kuwaiti man was put in solitary confinement after his arrest for being under the influence of liquor. Firefighters

managed to contain the flames while paramedics hospitalized the suspect whose burn injuries were described as ‘serious.’ Investigations are on to determine how the man gained access to a lighter he used to burn the furniture in his cell. Theft thwarted The Shuwaikh police are trying to identify and arrest two male suspects who attacked the keeper of a property they tried to rob early Tuesday morning. The Egyptian man who resisted the robbery was stabbed in the abdomen. He managed to injure one of the suspects in his arm using a knife he brought with him for protection. The two robbers managed to escape before police reached the scene alongside the relatives of the victim whom he had called for help. Blood traces belonging to one of the suspects were lifted from the scene. Murder suspect The Interpol police nabbed a murder suspect from a Gulf state where he had reached after managing to escape out of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti man was reportedly arrested in an ambush before being expatriated to his home country to face charges.

Virtual University creates encouraging environment KUWAIT: Kuwait’s virtual university project would create an encouraging educational environment that would lead to enhancing the skills of the scientific and academic staff, Kuwait’s Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) stressed yesterday. Director General of KFAS Adnan Shihab said in a press statement that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between KFAS and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) yesterday which aimed at exchanging academic expertise and information

in order to support investment and uplift economy and develop human resources. The project would bring forth productivity and institutional development; not only in Kuwait but also in the Arab region, KFAS chief noted. On his part, KFAS board member and head of the executive committee Dr Adel Al-Subeeh reiterated that the project would enhance the skills and capabilities of the public which would, henceforth, elevate the individual and social standards of members of communities.

The virtual university project depends on elearning. However, sitting for exams requires personal presence of individuals at specified educational institutes. The project also allows traditional universities to provide long-distance learning for obligatory curricula. It also provides training programs for staff members, companies and governmental bodies employees. The MoU was signed by the Director Generals of KFAS and PAAET. In November 2012, KFAS signed similar MoU with Kuwait University. — KUNA

Call for prioritizing Palestine question KHARTOUM: The eighth session of the conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUOIC) came to a close on Tuesday evening with the adoption of a final communique. The document

noted that the conferees welcome the popular movements in the Muslim world which advocate peaceful and orderly transition of power through a transparent and credible political process.

The conferees recommend developing a special curriculum on the values of shura, democracy and human rights and teaching it at the schools of the PUOIC member states. They urge scaling up the concerted efforts among the member states in all regional and international forums, including the reforms of the UN and the UNSC membership expansion, in order to protect their common interests. They expressed concern over the escalation of anti-Islam trends on the grounds that such trends run counter to the principles of the civil liberties and freedom of faith, according to the statement. They agree on the need to adopt measures to curb the hostile trends and work with the United Nations for developing international legal instruments that could criminalize slandering holy faiths. They urged distinguishing between the terrorism in any form and the legitimate right of nations under occupation to carry arms against the occupying force. They reaffirmed support to the Muslim minorities which live in non-PUOIC member countries and suffer from repression until they retain their basic human rights. In this connection, they strongly condemned the atrocities systematically committed against the Muslim Rohingya people in Arakan region, west Myanmar; they deemed the atrocities as a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, The Universal Declaration of Human R ights, the I nternational Covenant on Civil and Political R ights, and the I nternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Regarding the situation in Mali, the conferees stated support to the national unity and territorial integrity of the central Africa country, and lobbied for curbing the humanitarian disaster of the Malian refugees and internally-displaced people. They called on the governments of the PUOIC members to prioritize the efforts to solve the Malian conflict through peaceful means, the document pointed out. The conferees agreed to hold the ninth session of the PUIC conference in Burkina Faso and the 30th meeting of the PUOIC Executive Committee in Azerbaijan, set up a permanent committee on Palestine, and back up the reconciliation effort between the Afghan government and opposition. They suggested sending a joint mission from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to Somalia. As for the cultural affairs, the conferees denounces as “provocative acts” the republication and rescreening of cartons and films slandering Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). They warned against the so-called archeological excavations being conducted by the Israeli authorities under Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims’ third holiest site, in the occupied city of Jerusalem. Speaker of Sudan’s National Assembly and chair of the conference Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir said more than 400 delegates from 37 OIC member states took part in the gathering. He noted that the conferees were able to address a rage of key issues in a transparent and democratic way which led to the success of the event. — KUNA

Swimming Pool Complex competition from Feb 1 KUWAIT: The Swimming Pool Complex will host its first swimming competition on Friday, Feb 1, a senior Touristic Enterprises Company official announced yesterday. The supervisor of the facility, Abdul-Aziz Al-Ablani, said the competition will be held for children who are already enrolled in the training programs run by the Swimming Pool Complex. He also noted that the complex would remain closed between 5pm and 8pm on the day of the competition. The competition comes as part of a program featuring various activities held throughout the week for

Abdul-Aziz Al-Ablani

members of the Swimming Pool Complex as well as visitors.

VIVA excites its customers at InfoConnect Exhibition KUWAIT: Kuwait’s fastest-growing telecom operator, VIVA, announced yesterday its participation at the InfoConnect 2013 exhibition with new and exclusive offers tailored specifically to meet customers’ needs. The exhibition will commence on Jan 27 until Feb 2 at the Kuwait Fair Grounds in Mishref, where VIVA has set up an interactive booth in Hall 6 to welcome its customers and inform them about the company’s latest offers and promotions. VIVA plans to excite its customers during the InfoConnect 2013 exhibition where it will launch a special offering for its postpaid customers. The company has specially crafted this special promotion for the InfoConnect 2013 exhibition, where all customers who will purchase a new postpaid line from VIVA during the exhibition, will enter a draw to win a brand new Range Rover HSE Sport 2013. VIVA will also be launching exciting new surprises and promotions for its existing postpaid subscribers following the InfoConnect 2013 exhibition. VIVA has not forgotten its prepaid customers and has created an exciting prize draw for them that is surely to grab their attention. Prepaid customers will get one raffle ticket providing Manchester United recharge cards worth of KD 10, whereby the first winner will have the chance to attend a Manchester United home game in Old Trafford Stadium; the second and third winners will win an official Manchester United jersey signed by its players. The prizes draw will take place on the last day of the InfoConnect where the winners of the New Range Rover and the

Manchester United Ticket respectively will be announced. In addition, VIVA reminds its prepaid customers of the continuation of its ‘Win a Car Every Week’ campaign, thelongest on-going campaign of its kind, where it will be presenting winners with a Dodge Challenger SE and KD10,000 every week. To find out more about VIVA’s numerous competitive promotions, products and packages, customers are urged to visit its booth at the InfoConnect 2013 exhibition in Hall 6, or visit any of the 14 VIVA branches or visit our website at contact its 24 hour call center at 55102102. VIVA is the newest, most advanced mobile telecommunications service provider in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things possible for our customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through our customer and employee centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile brand of choice for Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA is growing its share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, services and content propositions, a state of the art nationwide network, and world-class service. VIVA is able to offer internet speed up to 42.2Mbpsdue to its investment in developing Kuwait’s most advanced third generation (3G and HSDPA) network. This delivers superior coverage, performance and reliability.

KUWAIT: The winner Abd Al Rahman Al-Nassar receives the car key from Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh NBK General Manager, Consumer Banking.

Al-Nassar wins BMW from NBK KUWAIT: Abd Al Rahman Dawood AlNassar won a brand new 2012 BMW X3 in the conclusion of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)’s campaign for new and existing Al-Shabab customers. The winner received his car at the BMW dealership in Kuwait. Mazin Al-Nahedh, NBK General Manager, Consumer Banking Group, presented the keys of the 2012 BMW X3 to the winner at Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the exclusive importer of BMW Group vehicles in Kuwait. The campaign offered all new and existing Al-Shabab customers who transferred their student allowance to

Al-Shabab account the chance to enter the draw to win the 2012 BMW X3. Al-Shabab account is a great way for students to save money and organize their finances. NBK seeks to reward its Al-Shabab customers with the best offers and promotions. NBK continues to meet Al-Shabab expectations by providing the most exclusive offers and benefits. Al-Shabab is a youth account that caters to the various financial, social and lifestyle needs of college and university students between the ages of 17-23 years. Students can open an AlShabab account by visiting any NBK branch in Kuwait.



Zain main sponsor of Kuwait Bike Show

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti MPs vote on a bill during a parliament session at the National Assembly in Kuwait City yesterday. Kuwait’s national carrier plans to buy up to 21 new aircraft over the next two years after parliament passed a key bill transforming it into a commercial company, its chairman said. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications Company in Kuwait, announced yesterday its main sponsorship of the Kuwait Bike show 2013 that will be taking place at the Marina Crescent, on Jan 25. The annual event, which is organized by Harley-Davidson Kuwait, will gather HarleyDavidson bike owners from across the GCC region to ride and showcase their motorbikes as well as participate in competitions. The competitions involve various categories, whereby a judgmental panel will be present to announce the winners of each category based on specific criteria. During the event, Harley-Davidson Kuwait Chapter leaders will be organizing a social event to provide an overview on motorbikes; their advantages, as well as the nature of the HarleyDavidson riders to all attendees who have a passion towards motorbikes. Waleed AlKhashti, Zain

Kuwait Corporate Communications & Relations Manager, commented “Our sponsorship of the 2013 Kuwait Bike show is sprung from our core belief of supporting all sports related activities. At Zain, we are continuously looking for innovative ways to positively contribute to our youth, and the society as a whole. Over the years, the Kuwait Bike show has proven to be of great success due to the fact that the participants get the chance to showcase their bikes and participate in competitions while expressing their passion towards motorcycles. We are pleased of our collaboration with Local Flavor and Harley-Davidson Kuwait and we look forward to collaborating in future activities.” Zain will continue its pledge in providing support to all youth activities to encourage them to achieve their aspirations.

Ministers meet youth in rare public gathering Steps to achieve a quantum leap in all fields KUWAIT: Three ministers met Kuwaiti youth activists in a rare public meeting on Tuesday and reassured about the government’s efforts to resolve all pending issues in the country while focusing on issues pertaining to young citizens. Furthermore, Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah, Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Al-Saleh and Minister of Education Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf told those they met at the Sharq coffee shop that they were part of a government team “which seeks to achieve a quantum leap in all fields in Kuwait.” News about the rumored government’s plans to bring social media website Twitter under surveillance was among the main issues discussed. “These reports are not true, and we have not seen any such project,” Al-Sabah replied when asked about $250 million the government allegedly allocated to purchase surveillance equipment and software to moni-

tor social networks in the country. He further reiterated the “wide area of freedom in Kuwait,” noting that the Gulf state was “the only country” that lacked a law banning circulation of confidential information. “The problem however pertains to the level of accuracy for the source of such information,” Al-Sabah added. Asked about the youth movement on the political scene, Al-Sabah said that the government’s “doors are open for all youth activists” and noted that he had personally held several meetings with youth activists in the past. Al-Sabah, who is also the Minister of Municipality Affairs, also weighed in on the issue pertaining to lawmakers’ proposals calling on the government to write-off interests accrued on Kuwaitis’ loans in local banks. “The issue is being followed by the concerned minister and is still under consideration,” he said in response to remarks about statements in which Minister of

Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali had announced his rejection of the MPs’ proposals. Meanwhile, Minister Al-Saleh reiterated his commitment to “improve quality of work at the commerce ministr y ” by automating its procedures, as well as the “great deal of attention” he gives to supporting small projects. He also predicted that the MCI will make a “quantum leap” in deploying modern technology this year. In this regard, Minister Al-Hajraf said that “prejudging the government’s performance makes it touch for the ministers to fulfill their responsibilities.” He added that Kuwait needs “exceptional solutions” to help it overcome the problems which originated due to the “exceptional circumstances it went through.” The Interior Ministry said yesterday that a crowd staged an illegal rally last evening in violation of the laws and toured several streets starting from Sabahiya and reaching

to the roundabout of al-Mangaf area. The ministry said in a press statement that the crowd had deliberately cut the road and disrupted traffic in the area, adding that such illegal events resulted in the destabilization of security in the residential area and caused panic among citizens as the crowd set trash containers ablaze in the residential neighborhoods. It said that despite constant attempts by security officers to urge the crowd to abandon these irresponsible and illegal practices, they continued deliberately disrupted traffic on the main roads and attacked security men by throwing stones and fireworks, injuring a security officer who was taken to hospital for treatment. It pointed out that security agencies have followed a security tactic to prevent direct contact with the crowd for their own, thus, managed to contain the situation and restored security to the area.

Kuwait to host conference on learning difficulties By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The Kuwait Association For Learning Differences (KALD) held a press conference at UN House in Mishrif yesterday to brief the media about the 2nd International conference on Learning Difficulties and Attention-Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder: Assessment and Intervention to be held at the American University in Kuwait (AUK) on Feb 1 and 2. Amal Al-Sayer, KALD chairwoman and President of the conference said the conclave would try to achieve three objectives. “It aims to provide the parents with information to better understand their children’s needs and deal with them in a positive and constructive way. It also aims to update academic specialists on the latest developments in the field of learning difficulties. Furthermore, the conference aims to develop the skills of psychologists and other ‘front-line’ professionals working with people with learning disorders,” she noted yesterday. “ This conference is evidence of our belief in the importance of coordination with different associations and governmental entities since we are united in achieving the same objectives. We are effectively serving those with educational handicaps, particular learning difficulties, with empathy, understanding, and compassion,” added Al-Sayer. “The first conference focused on awareness while this year’s conference will focus on evaluation followed by therapy and treatment for people with learning difficulties. A total of 64 experts from over the world will be participating in this conference which will include 12 lectures and 44 workshops in both and Arabic and English

language. Also discussion sessions will be held during the conference,” she concluded. On his part, Dr. Jad al Buhairi, ELDC Technical Project Manager- UNDP, stated, “We are pleased to collaborate with KALD for the second consecutive year through the UN Development Program. The first conference in 2011 had an amazing outcome, which helped greatly in educating the community about learning difficulties. We are happy to see a tremendous number of participants for this year’s conference joining from all over the world.” The conference, in its second version, will be even more specialized and will handle two strands. “The first strand is dedicated to specialists such as psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers and psychologists and will focus on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of learning difficulties and hyperactivity in line with the educational and ethical criteria that govern the evaluation procedure,” said Dr Huda Shaaban, Educational Consultant at KALD/ Conference General Coordinator. “The second strand addresses teachers, parents, and those interested in this field amongst Kuwait’s universities, as well as students with learning difficulties. The presentations are intended to emphasize the latest teaching strategies, up-to-date academic interventions, and to provide practical techniques for parents to use both at home and in collaboration with teachers,” Shaaban further said. The conference is being sponsored by The National Kuwait Bank, Viva Telecommunication, Kuwait Petroleum Company, Fatima Clinic, Kuwait Bank Association. The Applied Behavior Center will host 64 international, regional, and local specialists representing many leading

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti drug trader pictured after his arrest.

Kuwaiti, Asian drug traders in custody By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Drug enforcement agents arrested a Kuwaiti man for possessing a kilogram of haseesh meant for sale, besides some other drugs. After receiving a secret tip off about the man being active in the drug trade, the agents obtained the mandatory legal approvals to arrest the man and search him. An under cover agent approached him to buy one joint of haseesh. The man was arrested when he came to deliver the contraband and the marked currency notes were recovered from him. A search of his residence by the police yielded one kilogram of hasheesh besides some cash which was the proceeds from the drug sales. A variety of different kinds of drugs were also found. The man and the contraband stuff recovered were all referred to the concerned authorities. Meanwhile, drug enforcement agents arrested an Asian expat for possessing 100 grams of heroin, 100 grams of shaboo, 50 grams of marijuana and 1,000 tablets of Roche. Earlier information was received about the man’s involvement in the drug trade and after undertaking necessary legal formalities, he was arrested. A search of his house led the police to the above mentioned drugs. He was sent along with the drugs to the concerned authorities.

KUWAIT: Dr Huda Shaaban, Amal Al-Sayer, Areiqat and Dr Gad Elbeheri. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat universities in North America, such as the Har vard Medical School, San Diego University, Lesley University, and regional institutions such as Cairo University, Tanta University (Egypt), King Abdul Aziz and Tabouk Universities (Saudi Arabia), Mostganem and Betana Universities (Algeria), Gulf University (Bahrain) and the Lebanese International University (Lebanon). A number of NGOs operating in the Arab world are also expected to join, including the Charitable Society for Learning Difficulties Saudi Arabia, Yemen Society for Dyslexia, Yemeni Foundation for Special Education and Autism Society, the

right to live Association- Palestine, and the Bahraini Foundation for Special Needs, amongst others. KALD has organized the conference in collaboration with Fawzia Sultan Educational Company (FAWSEC), and the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA). It is also supported by Mashari’ al Khair (Kipco) and Center for Child Evaluation and Teaching (CCET ). Psychological centers and educational organizations will be given the chance to provide information to the attendees about their services through an exhibition that will be held in the public hall in conjunction with the conference.

Vehicle intercepted Personnel manning the Smart Patrol on the express roads intercepted a vehicle which was required in several criminal cases, most of them robberies. The vehicle was intercepted at the Ghazali road opposite Farwaniya Area towards the airport and was referred to the concerned authorities along with the driver. Sexual assault A Kuwaiti woman reported to police about an unidentified man who tried to sexually assault her in the Arabian Gulf Street. She was able to provide details of the suspect’s car, following which a case was registered. Salwa robbery Robbers decamped with jewellery and cash estimated at more than KD 6,000 from the house of a Kuwaiti man in Salwa. The victim reported the incident to the police. Another Kuwaiti man complained about the theft of electronic equipments from his house at Adan.


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Deterioration in education

One lesson is all we need

By Dr Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


s we experience an education crisis reflected in the contradiction between high government spending and low educational levels achieved, it is important that we start looking for prompt solutions instead of indulging in mere criticism and self-flagellation. Where exactly is the problem? People and education specialists often blame the public education sector and the Kuwait University for “failing to overcome problems pointed out by many researches and committees formed specifically for this purpose.” International reports often point out the fact that Kuwait’s education system is not adequate for a country that enjoys huge financial and human capabilities by which it can possibly rise among the world’s elite in education. There are many factors that contribute to the deterioration in Kuwait’s education. I believe the government needs to be held accountable since it was given the responsibility to ensure that education must be given top priority. Development can never be realized as long as there is not enough focus on human development. Given education’s crucial role in development, especially in the security and economic fields, any country needs to sustain it consistently as per a framework which does not neglect any part of the educational process. Field studies have diagnosed several problems that our education system suffers from including the fact that it is weak and outdated. Also, it leads to wastage of public funds since these are spent on an unproductive system whose main purpose is to grant degrees and thus qualify graduates for employment. Thousands of graduates line up each year outside ministries who have no idea where to employ them. Many of them end up being overstaffed and adding to the ranks of the unproductive labor force. This flawed situation is a result of poor planning and execution. Such an ineffective outcome of the education system cannot carry the burdens of true development. There is a gap between our educational practices and the state’s development plan whose goals include “preparing qualified citizens to work in all professional and scientific fields.” Does our educational system achieve that? Can it produce human resources capable of changing their own lives or invest in their country’s natural resources which we all know would not be available in the future? Every official who was ever assigned to take over the education field but failed to utilize the state’s funds to improve it, needs to be held accountable for his or her mistakes. Kuwait’s education is at risk, and whoever claims otherwise is welcome to come up with facts to prove a case to the ordinary. The results of international researches support our contention. — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Ethics of profession By AZiza Al-Mufarej


n a rather innovative development, the Macedonian health minister asked not long ago for ten advisors for his ministry and stipulated that their IQ be above the required rate. He said they should be able to speak two foreign languages and fixed an allowance of euro 50 to euro 90 per day for them. He also decided that the salary of the doctors would be directly proportional to the number of people they treat daily, as well as the number of cured cases, and not based on the hours that they put in. Kuwait is among the countries that give high salaries to doctors, both Kuwaitis and expats, and in exchange, they are supposed to be sincere in their jobs and exert all efforts to serve the patients and to fulfill their duties honestly. Although many of them do their job well, there are some who do not. A Kuwaiti citizen called the Kuwait Radio Program (2) to complain against a group of dentists working at a health center, saying they were all bunched up in a room and were busy with their iPhones, Galaxy tablets and iPads, while their clueless patients waited. The citizen said the patients visit that center at noon to pick up numbered docket, but when he went to do so, he was told the centre has run out of the docket numbers. He said he was surprised because only a few patients had come and they could not have taken all the numbers. The man went inside the clinic to see what was going on, and found the patients waiting. He decided to wait along with them. As hours went by and nothing seemed moving with no one coming in and no one leaving, the clock finally struck 6 pm. A nurse whom he asked about the doctors told him that they were all in one of the treatment rooms. The elderly man went and knocked at the door, only to find them busy on Twitter and fiddling with apps like “What’s up.” The man lost his cool and blamed them for leaving their patients in a lurch and instead merrily playing around with their gadgets. The doctors apologized and promised to start seeing the patients, and eventually did but half an hour later they stopped. His turn never came. This incident makes us wonder what happened to the ethics of the profession, particularly since it is considered a noble one. What happened to sincerity and honesty and what about prioritizing, putting the most important ahead of the important - something that should come to doctors so naturally. What is more important, the patients in pain or a Twitter message? What is more important, a suffering child or changing the status on Facebook? The doctor could afford to behave the way they did because they are assured of the salary from the state. Finally, could they please try and calculate their salary as per the Macedonian health minister’s formula? — Al-Watan

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


uwait’s cash reserves have been estimated in recent reports at $270 billion or more. It is also well known that Kuwait’s population of expatriates is twice the country’s native population. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MSAL) is the official state body concerned with issues of the expatriate community in Kuwait. The MSAL introduced a new ‘automated’ system a few years ago for electronic archiving of expatriate laborer’s files. A senior ministry official announced a couple of weeks ago that the system has been encountering several errors of late “because the servers have already reached their full capacity since they have never been updated after the system’s inception in 2008.” The official who oversees the ‘Automated System’ project further explained that the contract with the company which operates it expired 120 days ago, as of Tuesday, January 22, 2013. He said the company

kuwait digest

Failure of Arab Spring By Dr Shamlan Y. Al-Essa


s part of the intensive focus through semi- the Arab movement were heard in Oman and nars, studies and lectures in Gulf countries Bahrain while some groups in Saudi Arabia asked about the nature of Arab Spring movements for an improvement in their conditions. In Kuwait, the opposition asked for suspension and how they have impacted these stable and revenue oriented states, the National Council for of the constitutional reforms that were approved Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait organized a semi- by HH the Amir including the change in the numnar from Jan 13 to 15 as part of the 19th Qurain fes- ber of votes from four to one per voter. The Gulf countries hurried to make constitutiontival to discuss the repercussions of the Arab al moves in Oman and Bahrain that gave the Spring. Experts discussed 25 papers during the confer- impression of reforms but Bahrain was unfortunate ence which was attended by politicians, academics in the sense that it became a victim of others’ wars in the region as Iran interfered in its internal affairs and specialists from all Arab countries. During the first session, the lectures focused on forcing the GCC countries to reject this interferthe origins of the Arab Spring movement and the ence. The Gulf countries played a notable role in the way the protests unfolded in 2012 in the form of demands for democracy, freedom and restoration Arab movement as the UAE and Qatar helped bring of the human dignit y on the lines of the a change in Libya and most of the Gulf states International liberation movements which similarly backed the Syrian resistance against the regime sought democracy and freedom, be it in Eastern there which had launched a fierce war against its own people. This made Iran, Europe, Latin America or which supports the Syrian Asia. The question is in what The Gulf countries played a regime, adopt an adversarial aspec t were the Arab notable role in the Arab movement stance towards the Gulf countries, especially after Spring revolutions different from other similar global as the UAE and Qatar helped bring a the Gulf nations joined the movements? What were change in Libya and most of the Gulf economic embargo against the reasons for the democ- states backed the Syrian resistance Iran in keeping with the UN Security Council resolutions. racy to take roots in other What are the risks that countries but its failure in against the regime there which had our countries? launched a fierce war against its own Gulf countries face today Cer tain par ticipants people. This made Iran, which sup- after more than a year of the fall of former regimes? The argued that the evolution of democratic theories in ports the Syrian regime, adopt an first risk is the growing danthe west led to the birth of adversarial stance towards the Gulf ger from political Islam a middle class that paved countries, especially after the Gulf groups in the region, particularly the Muslim the way for democracy, but that did not happen in the nations joined the economic embar- Brotherhood. The danger emanates from the fact that Arab World. O thers go against Iran. some GCC countries backed believed that the reason the Muslim Brotherhood in was the fact that revolutions bring deep rooted changes in the society and Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and, lately, Syria. How can we deal with the Muslim Brotherhood have political, economic and social dimensions. However, in the Arab Spring countries, people cells in the Gulf where they have recently come to were freed from the tyrant regimes but the move- light and their conspiracies against the UAE? Will ment did not convert itself into a battle for democ- the Gulf countries take a unified stand towards the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood cells and their racy. Instead, the new political elite were influenced influence in the region? So far, there has not been a unified Gulf stand by the ideas of their tyrant masters who preceded them since the new elite emerged and was fash- but they have been coordinating on security issues. ioned by the old one. Thus, people got rid of an old The reason is that each state deals with the Muslim tyrant military elite, only to have a new tyrant elite Brotherhood according to its own vision of security? The political, economic and social situation in replace it by a religious route and not military. How have the Arab Spring Revolutions impacted the Arab and Middle East regions is witnessing fast the Arab Gulf Countries? Those Gulf states which paced changes and will definitely affect the Gulf thought they were far removed from the Arab countries negatively or positively. What is required Spring storms found themselves in the middle of today is to have a clear picture about the new the movement. Demands for reforms at the start of changes and how to deal with them.—Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Love won’t do alone! By Dr Sajed Al-Abdali


he success of any marriage does not necessarily mean that both the spouses love each other, neither does the failure mean that they did not. Am I contradicting myself? Perhaps, but then let me explain. A successful marriage is like a musical melody, smoothly played by both spouses. A relationship that is successful, unlike what most of us may think, requires that the couple have a certain likeness. Such a relationship is like a musical orchestra that features various instruments playing different tunes that integrate and harmonize. In case of a successful couple, each spouse is like a different musical instrument playing its part of the melody of marriage in harmony, and sometimes in contrast with the other. When one’s tune rises to a crescendo, the other’s subsides. The entire melody will turn into a screech if either tries to play solo, no matter how beautifully he or she plays. To move away from this example of music, the base of any successful marriage is a certain amount of social, or rather emotional, intelligence on both sides. Both spouses need to realize and identify the ultimate goal of their relationship which made them first come together. They also need to understand and accept the challenges that confront them at home and outside, as also their differences. They should also accept the possibility that a decision that they take may sometimes fail also. It also means that must understand that one cannot always

control everything, and that times it is more pragmatic to control their own impulses and reactions, and thus save and sustain their marriage. It is also part of our social understanding of the institution of marriage to realize that they cannot share everything in life. They have to divide their errands into three categories, namely those that they can share, the ones meant for the wife and others allocated for the husband. They both need some privacy to rejuvenate their marriage and keep the spark going. They need to mentally and psychologically ‘recharge’ in private in order to carry on sharing. So many marriages went on successfully for long although they were built on love which was there at the initial stage; in later phases these marriages were sustained because of mutual understanding and both sides having enough social intelligence. At times, one side displays such intelligence and can lead to evolving common understanding and certain ground rules that keep them going on for years. In contrast, many marriages failed despite the presence of love because one or both spouses lacked enough social intelligence and wisdom that was needed to steer them towards safety. There is absolutely nothing greater than harmonious marital relationship in this life. A spouse can be the best and closest friend, or a pain in the neck. — Al-Jarida

Is it not a matter of shame that a small country like Kuwait which is not short on resources and depends on expatriate labor forces to carry out 90 of its needs, has been unable to renew a relatively simple contract for three months? Do the government officials not feel ashamed to call themselves part of a government that fails in such a simple task? is currently working without being paid and waiting for a new deal to be signed. He also explained that he had sent an official letter to the new minister, Thekra Al-Rashidi, regarding the issue “after the ministry’s computers department manager ignored previous letters.” Is it not a matter of shame that a small country like Kuwait which is not short on resources and depends on expatriate labor forces to carry out 90 of its needs, has been unable to renew a relatively simple contract for three months? Do the government officials not feel ashamed to call themselves part of a government that fails in such a simple task? I am not asking anyone to resign, but someone should at least come forward and express regret for what happened. I do not blame the new minister, the former undersecretary or the interim one, the computer department’s manager or his assistant or anyone else in the ministry. I blame the government’s policy which has displayed a similar behavior for decades now in which a delinquent is never punished, and instead could very well be rewarded. All that we need is for someone to be made an example of. We want to see at least one official punished for such wrongdoings. Someone’s head should roll, someone must lose his scheduled promotion. Is that too much to ask? The whole country is suffering in almost all the fields ranging from seaports and police stations at borders to public services in every area, street and neighborhood. If we did not have a $270 billion reserve, would our situation have been better than what it is today? I am not so sure of the answer, but it could possibly be in the affirmative. — Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Equality is the solution By Ibrahim Al-Awadhi


ustice, Liberty, and Equality are the pillars of society; co-operation and mutual help are the firmest bonds between citizens.” - Article 7 of the Kuwaiti Constitution. Anyone would be mistaken to think that the singlevote system has helped eliminate sectarianism in the society. Some people are yet to realize that the decisions, proposals and behavior of MPs in the current parliament reflect an ongoing socio-political situation resulting from long political struggles. The faces in the parliament might be different, but their approach remains the same because the ‘divide and conquer’ mindset still drives political decision makers in Kuwait. The crisis we face today is not only political. We are suffering a crisis of values and principles which is spiraling out of control. Patriotism, loyalty, cooperation and an informed approach can help overcome the current situation in the light of vicious struggle among the political groups. Merely issuing inane statements which only divide the society must be countered by all sections. A recent proposal limited the Kuwaitis right to nominate themselves for a seat in the parliament, making it mandatory for an aspirant to the august assembly to have descended from ancestors who lived in Kuwait before 1920. The move is detestable in all senses of the word. Instead of widening the public participation as per the constitutional principle of equality, lawmakers come up with a proposal which would push Kuwait back to square one and further divide a small society which cannot take any more disintegration. While I do not deny that the state used political naturalization at one stage to face national forces which pushed for more freedoms and reforms, but that doesn’t mean under any condition that the government’s mistake should be addressed with a more gruesome one. Every Kuwaiti citizen shares the same duties and rights as other fellow citizens. This should be the rule if we ever hope to live in a cohesive, equal society. — Al-Rai



No room for monopoly with new media mode Efforts to draft comprehensive bill

KUWAIT: Jatin Samant addressing the meeting.

Alok Chugh

ABC holds presentation on FATCA in Salmiya By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The American Business CouncilKuwait held an interesting presentation on the ‘Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act’ (FATCA) at the Holiday Inn Hotel Salmiya on Tuesday evening which was addressed by Alok Chugh, Tax Partner, and Jatin Samant, Manager at Ernst & Young, Kuwait. The FATCA, which requires foreign banks to report any American account holders and their financial transactions to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or face a 30% withholding tax, was enacted as a law by the US president on March 18, 2010. The United States Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final FATCA regulations on January 17, 2013. “Subsidies (to the tune of billions) granted to the banking sector and record-high budget deficits form the backdrop of the new regulations. The US has thus set itself the task to discourage tax abuses,” stressed Alok Chugh during the presentation. “FATCA mandates all foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to enter into a contract with the IRS of the United States. With this agreement, the institutions would have to undertake to identify US customers and to report their assets. FATCA applies to all financial intermediaries worldwide, including banks, brokers, investment companies and fund structures,” he added. An overview: Jatin Samant noted that the FFIs are required to enter into an agreement with the IRS, otherwise they will force imposition of a 30% withholding tax. The deadline for registration of an FFI with the IRS is December 31, 2013. The definition of FFIs is very wide, making FATCA applicable to between 50,000 and 100,000 institutions. Similarly, the definition of a US person is also very wide. “The FFI to which the new act applies must identify all US accounts, i.e., any accounts held directly or indirectly by a US person. FATCA will therefore have a significant impact on

processes and procedures with Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) and may even impact the decision to keep or terminate relationships with US clients,” explained Samant. “The FFI must obtain a waiver from each account holder so that they can report the required customer data to the US tax authority. In such cases, banking secrecy is lifted for the US tax authority and the exchange of information is approved. In such a case, annual reporting is required of the customer data to the IRS in case of customers who have signed the waivers,” he further said. A 30% withholding tax is deducted from payments to foreign financial intermediaries who do not enter into a contract with the IRS (“bad” FFIs) and from the recalcitrant account holders who do not sign a waiver. “The withholding tax of 30% will apply from June 30, 2014 to interest, dividends and sales returns paid to non-cooperative institutions and customers from US sources,” he pointed out. Identification and documentation of customers becomes considerably more laborious, whereby the burden of proof partly resides with the financial institutions. “A number of countries are considering signing Inter Governmental agreements with the US, which may address legal barriers relating to data protection, simplify due diligence requirements and withholding requirements,” he stated. “EY’s advice to all Financial Institutions is to start with the FATCA journey as early as possible so that they are able to pre-empt any nasty surprises that may be lurking in the shadows. Similarly, US Persons are advised to review the potential impact of the legislations,” concluded Samant. (If you have any questions about anything in this article or would like some guidance on your FATCA programme, please contact at Ernst Y Young, Kuwait.)

Kuwait hosts Gulf Conference on Halal Industry KUWAIT: Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs plays a main role on spreading Islamic knowledge among people, Ministry Undersecretary Dr Adel Al-Falah said yesterday. That came during a speech he presented on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Shareeda Abduallah Al-Muosherji during the opening ceremony of the Second Gulf Conference on Halal Industry held Tuesday night, entitled “Towards the Effective Management of the Halal Industry”. A large number of experts are taking part in the three-day conference, which is organized by the Ministry of Awqaf in cooperation with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), he stated. The Islamic world is facing immense challenges concerning the food it consumes which is not guaranteed to being “halal”, at times where the media and the interest of large corporations play a main

role in effecting the quality of food stuff, he affirmed. This conference would be of great interest to Muslim communities living in nonIslamic countries, he said. Ministry ’s Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Fareed Assad Amadi, called on participants to shed more light on subjects discussed to best serve the Islamic societies, and contribute in developing its economies. The ministry sponsoring this conference will positively reflect on promoting scientific researches that serve the public health of Muslim societies, Chairman of KISR Dr Naji Al-Mutairi. Secretary General of World Halal Council, Dr. Salah Ayyed, praised Kuwait’s initiative represented by the Ministry of Awqaf in adapting such leading researches. The real need for such conferences stems from the increasing keenness of Muslims towards consuming halal products, he added. —KUNA

KUWAIT: With the wide and increasing spread of use of and access to new media and information technology, there is no longer room for monopoly within any media institution or even room for containment of news within a region or country, said the Minister of Information on Tuesday. Minister Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, also Minister of State for Youth Affairs, was addressing a seminar held by Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Prize. The minister pointed out states used to spend great sums on setting up television and/or radio stations, “whereas today, every citizen is in-fact a miniature broadcaster of news and has the means to report incidents and developments and express opinions freely, and ultimately have an effect within society.” The days of “single sender-receiver” of reports are long gone, and media and communication

Dr Bassam Hannoun empowered each and every prepaid customer to customize their usage as per their needs and expectations. Starting from Jan 24, prepaid customers are able to subscribe to a choice of pack which will include local minutes, SMS and for the first

time in Kuwait they will also include mobile internet. All pack are valid for 30 days and can be added to any prepaid line by dialing *141# These bundles will create a rich portfolio for Wataniya with a number of flexible offers that will fit the diverse needs of its wide customer base. The varieties of Wasil pack include:Wasil Full pack, Wasil Basic pack, Wasil Small pack, Wasil Favorites pack andWasilInternational pack. Wataniya wants to offer everyone an opportunity to make the best use of its services. It also offers users the flexibility to choose pack that matches their usage. Furthermore, prepaid users can use a combination of Wasilpack and subscribe to different offers simultaneously thereby benefiting from the best value. Each pack’s validity would be 30 days from the day of subscription. As a launch offer, Wataniya customers will be given a specialonetime 50% discount on the 1stpack purchase. This offer is valid until Feb 21. Commenting on this new pack,

age of such new media users are too young and inexperienced to fully realize the meaning of freedom and its limits. The challenge today, he remarked, is to prepare our youth to have more active and constructive contributions to society, particularly with the increasing influence of their communications tools-of-choice; social networks. The challenge of clearly defining such concepts as “freedom” of expression and interaction and laying out the legal frameworks to regulate the field is an international challenge. The world at large is after regulations that would invest today’s information and communication technology in a moral and constructive manner. The minister remarked there are efforts to draft a comprehensive bill that would cover both conventional media and the new modes of social networking and the like. —KUNA

Heeley perfume collections available in Kuwait

KUWAIT: James Heeley presenting the perfume collection. By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: James Heeley, a leading independent perfumer of his generation, graced the occasion himself as his brand joined some of the top signature brands available in Kuwait. Perfumerie d’Exception, an exceptionally high-end boutique located at the Al-Hamra Mall in Kuwait City (Sharq), hosted the creator himself. Heeley met some local media representatives including those from the Kuwait Times. With unique and creative collections of 14 scents including ‘Cardinal’, ‘Sel Marin’ and ‘Hippie Rose’ found at the ‘niche’ perfumeries and worldclass fashion stores throughout the world, Heeley taught himself the traditional art of perfumery as an autodidact for ten years. Heeley is counted amongst a rare breed of independent perfumers in the highly competitive, commercial world of international perfume. “I have a range of 14 products which took me ten years to develop and create as exclusive quality products. This is what we call, artistic perfumerie or high-end perfumerie. My brand is something which I discovered and worked hard, acquiring on the way the skills to develop such top quality products,” he emphasized. Perfumery business is tough, according to Heeley, since the market is already flooded with various signature brands. “We already have hundreds if not thousands of other names in the perfumery industry, and to survive, you have to be very good to compete against leading brands,” he said. “My brand is high-end, and if you are good at what you do, you have the creativity and the quality to com-

Wataniya Telecom launches ‘Wasil’ pack KUWAIT: Wataniya has always been a pioneer in understanding and fulfilling the expectation of its customers. By introducing the newWasilpack Wataniya has

nowadays simultaneously involves many parties and goes in multiple directions. “It is an interactive and more influential mode,” he stressed. This brought along new challenges and the ministry is aiming to keep up with latest advancements, he said. As for social-networks media, he said media institutions today cannot do without these to promote their product. Audiences are now attracted to specific programs rather than programing by a specific channel. This modern media field still needs more organization if we are to utilize all its potential and master its challenge, Sheikh Salman said, and realize constructive and accountable freedom of expression and interaction. “As officials in the media domain, we appreciate this shift, and realize its effect on audiences and masses.” The minister pointed out some of the challenge lies in the fact that a big percent-

Wataniya Telecom CEO Dr. Bassam Hannoun stated the fact thatWataniyalook forward to give our customers ‘a hassle free experience’ “to ensure effectiveness of these pack with the easiest purchasing experience and the richest variety of options available in the market”. “Wataniya constantly strives to provide its customers with special servicesand innovative experiences, which is why for the first time prepaid pack is combined with local minutes, SMS and mobile internet. Wataniya also mentioned “we will keep adding more such pack to the existing one and will also keep coming up with new ones to provide our prepaid customers with satisfying services”. Hannoun added. Wataniya Prepaid Customers can browse and choose their Wasilpack by simply dialing *141# and following the easy confirmation steps. All this makes the process of joining any pack and enjoying a variety of services extremely convenient without the need to visit any branch or dealer.

pete. Perfume is like any other profession; you have to be good to survive. What you get with the Heeley brand, you will not be able to find in other places. It is exclusive to certain stores which I selected personally to serve what I want,” he said. Trained as a lawyer, Heeley landed up as a per fumerie expert because of his love of high-end quality and creative products. “I always wanted sophistication in everything I did. That’s how I was even at a very young age. I want

France. I committed many mistakes, worked as film director but then found my real success in the perfume industry. I have been very creative and passionate in my career as perfumer creator,” he said. But he is not only a perfumer; his work as a designer ranges from product design, packaging, graphic design, and contemporary art. It is his obsession with detail and an understanding of contemporary elegance expressed with ease and intelligence that underlies the variety of

things to be perfect, exclusive and classy. So everything in my mind is manifested in my perfume collections, something that you cannot find at every airport in the world but only somewhere where elegance is appreciated,” he said. “ When I was in high school I wanted to become an actor. Later, when I was studying law at London University, I wanted to become a creative designer and an architect. After graduating in law, I discovered my real talent and my real world in Paris,

his work. James Heeley was born in Yorkshire and read philosophy and aesthetics at King’s College, London. He lives and works in Paris. Heeley said perfumes have made him complete, especially since all he wanted in life can be found in the scents which he creatively and passionately moulded. “If you are into it, you have to find ways to find the more creative energy or else you will be ‘swallowed alive’. I was fascinated by the scent of

the flowers not just by the form and beauty but their smell which was really very interesting. I began working in the perfume industry in a traditional manner but to develop the creativity, it has to come from within, which I believe I had in me,” Heeley said. Per fumer is not necessarily a good chemist although it helps a lot in creating perfect scents from raw materials. “Certain ingredients in perfumery lend themselves to working with a different approach in higher concentrations with more body and depth. This creates a luxurious, glamorous, ‘haute couture’ kind of feel. Creating a perfume is after all about creating imagery and feeling. Like fashion, perfume is also about attitude, seasons, colour, mood and the time of day, worn in different contexts.” Heeley’s brand can be found in leading cities worldwide but only in some exclusive high-end boutiques and shops. “Most of our products here are exclusive collections only. The perfumes available here are exclusive to us. You will never see our perfumes anywhere out there. They are exclusive to Per fumerie d’Exception, just like this Heeley brand,” cited Lester Dedman, COOPer fumerie d’Exception. “James Heeley is a very important supplier for us. He is here, the founder and the creator of brand Heeley, to meet us, as are some of our valuable customers,” he said. “Heeley is represented all over the world in several exclusive perfumery stores, and we are happy to have his collections and be trusted to sell his products,” Dedman noted. Per fumerie d’Exception houses about 28 highend brands.



Amir inaugurates national folklore festival

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in the presence of HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, inaugurated the Kuwait folklore festival yesterday. Kuwait folklore festival’s organizers and participants expressed joy for the kind visit by HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince to the festival, held on Al-Salmi road of the western gover-

norate of Jahra. In a speech on the occasion, HH the Amir welcomed all Arab guests participating in the festival, wishing them success and good luck. HH the Amir also toured the festival area and greeted contestants and organizers. For his part, Falah Al-Mutalaqem, from the organizing committee, expressed gratitude for HH the Amir’s attendance and sponsorship of

the festival, which is meant to preserve the national cultural heritage. This years’ festival has attracted over 5,200 participants from Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. The festival includes a plethora of activities and competitions, including horse, camel and goat races, falcon beauty and fishing contest, among others. — KUNA


Jordan votes in election boycotted by Islamists

Moscow holds out olive branch to US Page 10

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LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech on ‘the future of the European Union and Britainís role within it’ yesterday. — AFP

Cameron promises choice on EU exit British PM wins little sympathy in Europe for stand LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron promised yesterday to give Britons a referendum choice on whether to stay in the European Union or leave if he wins an election in 2015, placing a question mark over Britain’s membership for years. Cameron ended months of speculation by announcing in a speech the plan for a vote sometime between 2015 and the end of 2017, shrugging off warnings that this could imperil Britain’s economic prospects and alienate its biggest trading partner. He said the island nation, which joined the EU’s precursor European Economic Community 40 years ago, did not want to retreat from the world, but public disillusionment with the EU was at “an all-time high”. “It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time for us to settle this question about Britain and Europe,” Cameron said. His Conservative party will campaign for the 2015 election promising to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership. “When we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the European Union on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.” The speech firmly ties Cameron to an issue that was the bane of a generation of Conservative leaders. In the past, he has avoided partisan fights over Europe, the undoing of the last two Conservative prime ministers, John Major and Margaret Thatcher. Britain would seek to claw back powers from Brussels, he said, a proposal that will be difficult to sell to other European countries. London will do an “audit” to determine which powers Brussels has that should be delegated to member states. Sterling fell to its lowest in nearly five months against the dollar yesterday as Cameron was speaking. The response from EU partners was predictably frosty. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius quipped: “If Britain wants to leave Europe we will roll out the red carpet for you,” echoing Cameron himself, who once used the same words to invite rich Frenchmen alienated by high taxes to move to Britain. “We can’t have Europe a la carte,” added Fabius. “Imagine the EU was a football club: once you’ve joined up and you’re in this club, you can’t then say you want to play rugby.” German Foreign Minister

Guido Westerwelle said his country wanted Britain to remain a full EU member, but London could not expect to pick and choose the aspects of membership it liked. Business leaders have warned that the prospect of years of doubt over Britain’s EU membership would damage the investment climate. “Having a referendum creates more uncertainty and we don’t need that,” Martin Sorrell, chief executive of adver tising giant WPP, told the World Economic Forum in Davos. “This is a political decision. This is not an economic decision. This isn’t good news. You added another reason why people will postpone investment decisions.” “We need a UK as a fully fledged member, not harbouring in the port of Dover,” said European parliament president Martin Schulz. Saying she hoped Britain would remain a part of the bloc, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “we believe that Danish interests are best served by staying as close to the EU core as possible. A strong EU is in the clear interest of Denmark. UK and Denmark have chosen to follow two different paths.” In Vienna, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann had harsh words for Cameron, saying he was drawing Britain into isolation due to his inability to compromise. “This is not serious politics, it is not in the interests of the citizens or the economy of Europe, nor that of Britain’s citizens or its economy.” The speech also opens a rift with Cameron’s junior coalition par tners, the Liberal Democrats. Their leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, said the plan would undermine a fragile economic recovery. And even allies further afield are wary: the United States has said it wants Britain to remain inside the EU with “a strong voice”. Cameron has been pushed into taking such a strong position in part by the rise of the UK Independence Party, which favours complete withdrawal from the EU and has climbed to third in opinion polls, mainly at the expense of the Conservatives. “All he’s trying to do is to kick the can down the road and to try and get UKIP off his back,” said UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Eurosceptics in Cameron’s par ty were thrilled by the speech. Conservative lawmaker Peter Bone called it “a terrific victory” that

would unify 98 percent of the party. “He’s the first prime minister to say he wants to bring back powers from Brussels,” Bone told Reuters. “It’s pretty powerful stuff”. Whether Cameron will ever hold the referendum remains as uncertain as the Conservatives’ chances of winning the next election in 2015. They trail the opposition Labour party in opinion polls, and the coalition government is grappling with a stagnating economy as it pushes through public spending cuts to reduce Britain’s large budget deficit. Cameron said he would prefer Britain, the world’s sixth biggest economy, to remain inside the 27-nation EU. As long as he secured the reforms he wants, he would campaign for Britain to stay inside the EU “with all my heart and soul”. But he also made clear he believed the EU must be radically reformed. It was riskier to maintain the status quo than to change, he said. “The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate change, but from those who denounce new thinking as heresy,” he said. The euro zone debt crisis was forcing the bloc to change, and Britain would fight to make sure new rules were fair to countries that didn’t use the common currency, he said. Britain is the largest of the 10 EU members that do not use the euro. Democratic consent for the EU in Britain was now “wafer thin”, he said, reflecting the results of opinion polls that show a slim majority would vote to leave the bloc. “Some people say that to point this out is irresponsible, creates uncertainty for business and puts a question mark over Britain’s place in the European Union,” said Cameron. “But the question mark is already there: ignoring it won’t make it go away.” Asked after the speech whether other EU countries would agree to renegotiate Britain’s membership, Cameron said he was an optimist and that there was “every chance of success”. “I want to be the prime minister who confronts and gets the right answer for Britain on these kind of issues,” he said. It is nearly 40 years since British voters last had a say in a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European club. A 1975 vote saw just over 67 percent opt to stay inside with nearly 33 percent wanting to leave. —Agencies

Suicide bomb at Iraq Shiite mosque kills 42 KIRKUK: A suicide bomber made his way into a Shiite mosque north of Baghdad and blew himself up in the middle of a packed funeral yesterday, killing 42 people and leaving corpses scattered across the floor. The attack, the deadliest in six months, is likely to heighten tensions as Iraq grapples with a political crisis and more than a month of protests in Sunni-majority areas that have hardened opposition to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. No group claimed responsibility, 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 bomber struck at the Sayid al-Shuhada mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, 175 km north of Baghdad, and targeted the funeral of a relative of a politician who was shot dead a day earlier. “Corpses are on the ground of the husseiniya (Shiite mosque),” said Shallal Abdul, mayor of Tuz Khurmatu. “The suicide bomber managed to enter and blow himself up in the middle of the

mourners.” Niyazi Moamer Oghlu, secretary general of the provincial council of Salaheddin, which surrounds Tuz Khurmatu, put the toll from the attack at 42 dead and 75 wounded. Among those hurt were officials and tribal leaders, including Ali Hashem Oghlu, the deputy chief of the Iraqi Turkman Front and a provincial councillor in Salaheddin. The funeral had been for Oghlu’s brother-in-law, who killed in Tuz on Tuesday. Tuz Khurmatu lies in a tract of disputed territory that Kurdistan wants to incorporate into its autonomous three-province region against the wishes of the central government in Baghdad. The row is regarded by diplomats and officials as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq’s stability. The death toll from yesterday’s blast was the highest from a single attack since a series of bombings north of Baghdad on July 23 killed 42 people. Also yesterday, gunmen killed a school principal near the main northern city of Mosul and an anti-Qaeda militiaman was shot dead

near the predominantly Sunni town of Fallujah. Wednesday’s violence came after a wave of attacks on Tuesday killed 26 people and wounded dozens more. That broke four days of relative calm following a spate of incidents claimed by Al-Qaeda’s front group that killed at least 88 people on January 15-17, according to an AFP tally. The militant group is widely seen as weaker than during the peak of Iraq’s sectarian bloodshed, but is still capable of carrying out masscasualty attacks on a regular basis. The latest wave of violence means the overall death toll from bloodshed in Iraq this month has already surpassed that of any of the previous three months, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials. Attacks in Iraq are down from their peak in 20062007, but they are still common across the country. The unrest comes amid a political crisis that has pitted Maliki against several of his erstwhile government partners, less than three months before provincial elections. — AFP

BETHLEHEM: Relatives and friends surround the body of Palestinian Lubna Hanash during her funeral yesterday. — AP

Palestinian, 21, killed by Israeli fire near Hebron HEBRON: A 21-year-old Palestinian woman died after being hit in the face by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank yesterday, medics said, with witnesses saying she was shot by soldiers. Lubna Hanash was killed in a shooting outside a college near Al-Arrub refugee camp, eight kilometres north of Hebron, medics said. Witnesses told AFP a civilian car with Israeli plates stopped on the main Hebron-Bethlehem road in the southern West Bank and two men wearing military fatigues got out and began shooting towards a nearby Palestinian college. Medics said another two people were injured by gunshot wounds. A military spokeswoman said troops on a routine patrol had been “confronted by

Palestinians with Molotov cocktails” and opened fire in self defence, wounding several of them. In a separate development, a 15year-old Palestinian who was hit in the face by Israeli gunfire last Friday died of his injuries, an Israeli hospital spokeswoman told AFP. The two deaths raised to six the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire since Jan 10. The teenager who died, Saleh Amarin, had been seriously hurt by a bullet fired by Israeli troops during clashes in Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, medics said. He was transferred to Jerusalem’s Hadassah EinKerem hospital. The Israeli military said at the time that troops fired at the legs of a group of 30 Palestinians attacking them near Rachel’s Tomb. — AFP

Attack shatters Algeria energy security image RABAT: Last week’s hostage-taking has rocked the image of Algeria’s powerful security apparatus, raising questions about how gunmen could have overrun the key In Amenas gas field, with alarming implications for the energy sector. As foreign governments continued to count the human cost of the attack, in which 37 foreign workers were killed, Algiers has scrambled to contain the fallout from its inability to stop the world’s deadliest hostage crisis in almost a decade. Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi pledged to beef up security at oil and gas sites, and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ordered an enquiry into the “security failure” that allowed heavily armed Islamists to seize hundreds of hostages. After years of relative quiet, during which the army managed to largely curtail the operations of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the local affiliate of the jihadist network, Algeria’s vulnerability in a region swept by change has been laid bare. “Most people think that the civil war ended in 2002, but in fact it just changed into a low

intensity conflict. Then the events in Libya and Mali breathed new life into it,” said International Crisis Group’s north Africa director William Lawrence. Algeria’s two neighbours have both witnessed violent upheavals - with the 2011 uprising that ousted Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, fuelling regional instability, and the seizure of northern Mali by Islamists last year. The bloody chaos that engulfed Algeria in the 1990s left up to 200,000 people dead. Yet the oil and gas sector - the life-blood of the economy - was largely unscathed, making the In Amenas attack the biggest of its kind. “The attack obviously came as a surprise, but it does underline the chronic level of instability in the region and how that can impact dramatically on projects,” said regional energy expert Rafiq Latta. “I think the attack will change the cost structure for the foreign firms, in terms of risk, and how much the contractors will want to be paid,” he said, adding that Algeria was already struggling to attract investment.—AFP



Immigration back on the front burner in US US has 11m undocumented immigrants WASHINGTON: Immigration reformone of President Barack Obama’s big promises-will be one of the first topics of debate in the new Congress, if the tug-of-war over the debt ceiling does not get in the way. The Democrat-controlled Senate could soon tackle the issue, according to Democratic legislative sources, once the White House presents a firm proposal on what to do with the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. But the last legislature was one of the least productive in memory, thanks to constant confrontation between Democrats and Republicans. “If you think of the Congress as a doctor performing operations, I’m not sure you’d be very encouraged by the last few they did,” said Tamary Jacobson, president of the pro-reform group Immigrationworks. “Still, for all that skepticism, I think it’s hard not to be excited. The president seems to be determined to lead, Republicans are stepping up,” Jacobson added. Reforming America’s aging immigration system-to find a solution for all the illegal immigrants and boost security at borders-is the only issue that has generated some degree of political consensus since November elections. Hispanics voted massively for Obama, flexing their growing political clout in several key states, and since then Republican leaders and wellknown conservative commentators have jumped on the reform bandwag-

on. Contacts have intensified between the White House and lawmakers, and a bipartisan group of senators is now examining a specific bill, several sources say. On the Democratic side, the senators are Richard Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, while the Republicans are Mike Lee, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and John McCain. On the Republican side, popular CubanAmerican Senator Marco Rubio has joined the group and has circulated a proposal that will spark as much controversy as it does interest. Rubio’s idea is to divide the complex reform into various components, one centered on broadening the system for granting visas to foreign workers. He has proposed that the United States concentrate on accepting immigrants with the labor market in mind, including young people who already are in the country and studying without proper residency papers. Rubio does not rule out granting citizenship to illegal immigrants already here, but he believes it should be granted over the long term, with such individuals first spending years with temporary status. The White House and the Democrats feel that reform should be all-encompassing and simultaneous, despite its enormous complexity. And transitioning to citizenship also promises to be controversial: the Democrats feel that once an illegal

immigrant pays a fine, learns English, has no criminal record and pays taxes, he or she should earn citizenship quickly. Senate sources say the best approach is one in which everyone has to yield a bit and all parties-from illegal immigrants to business leaders to people living in border areas-feel like they come out winning. The upper chamber of congress, with 100 members, is an easier place to get a bill passed than the much larger House of Representatives. “You have a much lower threshold to get a bill passed in the Senate-only eight to 12 Republicans to join. I think it makes it inevitable that the Senate will have a vote first,” said William Moore of the lobbying group Vianovo. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has promised hearings. “I think we see the beginning of momentum,” said Jana Hamilton of Capitol Legislative Strategies. The main obstacle, however, is the House, and for two reasons. On one hand, there is the huge problem of the US public debt. The government is going to run out of money in mid-February and in order to keep borrowing the White House needs congressional approval. Then there is the makeup of the House. More than half of its members are new, most of them Republicans skeptical of what they see as amnesty for illegal immigrants.— AFP

Kerry and Hagel against Cuba embargo WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s proposed second term cabinet includes two long-standing critics of the US trade embargo against Cuba, although the chance of the 50year-old US policy changing seem scant. John Kerry, nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and Chuck Hagel, tipped to succeed Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, are both veterans of the Vietnam war, which in part forged their views of communist regimes. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, has until now been chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel before which he will defend his nomination today. For years he has been pressing for changes in the US policy towards Cuba, which he considers wrong. “In 1995 the United States normalized relations with Vietnam. The Cold War had ended, and we even signed a trade deal with a country where 58,000 Americans had given their lives,” he wrote in an op-ed piece in 1999. “Yet when it comes to a small impoverished island 90 miles off the coast of Florida, we cling to a policy that has manifestly failed for nearly 50 years.” In 2010, Kerry opposed prodemocracy support programs launched in Cuba by the government

agency USAID. These had led to the arrest in 2009 of American subcontractor Alan Gross. Gross was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison for having distributed communications equipment to civil groups. According to the blog The Daily Beast, Kerry met secretly with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in October 2010 in New York to address the Gross case, albeit fruitlessly. Kerry’s office declined to answer a query from AFP seeking confirmation of the reported meeting. But if Kerry is confirmed, the main roadblock to changing the trade embargo imposed after Fidel Castro came to power will come from Kerry’s own camp and from his successor on the Senate panel, fellow Democrat Robert Menendez. Menendez is a Cuban-American and vehement critic of the Castro regime. Last year he blocked Kerry’s attempts to change USAID programs for Cuba. On the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee Menendez can rely on help from another CubanAmerican, Republican Marco Rubio. Republican opposition to change is even firmer in the House of Representatives. Hagel, whose confirmation hearings are scheduled for next week, is also known for sarcastic comments he made in the past about

the US embargo and US policy toward Cuba. In 2002 he said publicly that he viewed Castro as a “toothless old dinosaur.” Years later he called America’s policy toward the communist-run island “unrealistic and irrelevant.” In the world of Washington politics, Hagel has defenders, beginning with the ultra-conservative Cato Institute. “Chuck Hagel doesn’t have a Cuba problem. Just the opposite. He has shown common sense in ending one of Washington’s most anachronistic foreign policies,” the institute said recently. But his former Republican colleagues in Congress have warned that it is impossible to seek any change in policy while Gross remains in jail. Just as with the impasse over immigration reform, which has been held up in Congress for years, Obama has used certain presidential prerogatives to tweak policy toward Cuba, namely broadening permits to travel and send remittances. Those who support doing away with the embargo think the government has maneuvering room for more presidential decrees. But Obama said publicly before he was re-elected in November that he was waiting for some gesture of openness from the Havana government. — AFP

Midwest bundles up as bitter cold grips region MADISON: Homeless people scrambled to find shelter, schools closed down and plumbers wrestled with frozen pipes Tuesday as the Upper Midwest endured a third straight day of bitter cold temperatures. Waves of frigid Arctic air began sweeping south from Canada on Saturday night, locking the Midwest in a deep freeze that has left a section of the country well-acquainted with winter’s pains reeling. Authorities suspect exposure has played a role in at least four deaths so far. “I am wearing a Snuggie under a top and another jacket over that,” said Faye Whitbeck, president of

NEW YORK: A woman is bundled up against the cold on New York’s 34th Street, in Midtown Manhattan yesterday. The temperature was around 12 degrees, but with wind gusts of 15-20 mph, it felt more like five below as people started their day in New York City. — AP

the chamber of commerce in International Falls, Minn., a town near the Canadian border where the temperature was minus 30 on Tuesday morning. The so-called “Nation’s Icebox” reached a balmy 3 below for a high. “I pulled out a coat that went right to my ankles this morning and I wore two scarves.” The coldest location in the lower 48 states Monday was Embarrass, Minn., at 36 below. On Sunday it was Babbitt, Minn., at 29 below, according to the National Weather Service. The bitter conditions were expected to persist into the weekend in the Midwest through the eastern half of the US, said Shawn DeVinny, a National Weather Service meteorologist in suburban Minneapolis. Ariana Laffey, a 30-year-old homeless woman, kept warm with a blanket, three pairs of pants and six shirts as she sat on a milk crate begging near Chicago’s Willis Tower on Tuesday morning. She said she and her husband spent the night under a bridge, bundled up under a half-dozen blankets. “We’re just trying to make enough to get a warm room to sleep in tonight,” Laffey said. But in Sioux Falls, SD, where winter temperatures are normally well below freezing, some homeless shelters had open beds. Shelter managers suspect people who needed a place to stay were already using the services before the temperatures reached more extreme lows. The first cold snap of the season was in early December. Overnight temperatures dropped to 9 below with the wind chill. In Vermillion, S.D., a water pipe break forced the evacuation of a dormitory at the University of South Dakota, with nearly 500 students offered hotel rooms. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, residents woke to a wind chill that made it feel like 35 below. The temperature in Madison, Wis., was a whopping 1 degree

above just before midday Tuesday. For northern Illinois, it was the first time in almost two years that temperatures had dipped below zero. The temperature in Detroit was a toasty 7 degrees with a 10 below wind chill around midday. City officials said they planned to extend hours at its two warming centers. A warming center run by St. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church downtown that usually sees 50 to 60 people on a typical winter day had taken in about 90 people Tuesday morning. Police in Milwaukee, where the temperature was just 2 degrees at noon, checked under freeway overpasses to find the homeless and urge them to find a shelter. The United Way of Greater Milwaukee has donated $50,000 to two homeless shelters so they can open overflow centers. “We’re incredibly relieved,” said Donna Rongholt-Migan, executive director of the Cathedral Center, a Milwaukee shelter that received $25,000. “I was walking my dog last night and I couldn’t feel my legs just after walking around the block.” Schools across the region either started late or didn’t open at all. Districts in Duluth, Minn., and Ashland, Bayfield, Hurley, Washburn and Superior in far northern Wisconsin closed amid warnings that the wicked wind chills could freeze exposed flesh within a minute. “It’s brutal,” Courtney Thrall, a 21year-old University of WisconsinMadison student, said as she waited for her bus, her fur-trimmed parka hood pulled over her head. On Sunday, a 70year-old man was found frozen in his unheated home in Des Plaines, Ill. And in Green Bay, Wis., a 38-year-old man was found dead outside his home Monday morning. Authorities in both cases said the victims died of hypothermia and cold exposure, with alcohol a possible contributing factor.—AP

LAS VEGAS: This photo shows the Chinese New Year floral display at the Bellagio CLAS Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas welcoming the year of the snake. —AP

Feasts and flowers for Lunar New Year in Vegas LAS VEGAS: Las Vegas is getting ready for the year of the snake. The casino capital celebrates Chinese New Year also known as lunar new year - in a big way, with feasts, exhibits, performances and other events at outdoor festivals and at casino-resorts like Bellagio and The Venetian. While the new year holiday falls on Feb 10, some of the offerings are under way already and will continue through much of February. Las Vegas also hosts a three -day Chinese New Year in the Desert festival downtown, Feb 8-10, and a one-day event in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood on Feb 17. Asians and Asian-Americans are an important and growing demographic in Las Vegas, in terms of both residential population and tourism. More than 6 percent of the 589,000 people who live in Las Vegas are Asian, according US Census estimates. About 3 percent of the city’s 39 million annual visitors totaling over a million people a year are Asian or Asian-American, according to the 2011 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study. International tourists include 188,000 annual airport arrivals from China, 132,000 from Korea and 107,000 from Japan, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, with

even more flying into California airports and heading to Las Vegas by bus or car. While Asian tourists visit Las Vegas throughout the year, the period surrounding the lunar new year holiday is a particularly popular time for leisure travel, especially among China’s growing middle class. “They want to leave their homes and go travel during holidays,” said Jan-Ie Low, who is helping to organize the Chinese New Year in the Desert festival in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Fremont Street Experience. She said that according to tradition, if you travel during the new year holiday, “it’s a sign that you’re going to be doing this the whole year.” This is the second year for the Chinese New Year in the Desert festival. Cultural performances are scheduled for the Third Street Stage on Feb. 8 from 5 pm-10 pm, and on Feb 9 and 10, noon to 9 pm. A dragon dance Feb 8 at 6 pm will kick off with virtual fireworks on the 90-foot-high (27- meter) LED display canopy at Fremont Street Experience, the downtown pedestrian mall and entertainment area. A parade with floats steps off at 8 am on Feb 10. The festival also includes food vendors and other activities and events.

Las Vegas’ Chinatown is not a historically ethnic residential neighborhood like Chinatowns in New York or San Francisco. But it is a commercial area worth visiting for Asian restaurants and businesses, located along Spring Mountain Road west of the Las Vegas Strip. The Chinatown Year of the Snake festival takes place Feb 17, 10 am-5 pm, with cuisine from around Asia, arts and crafts, and performances drawing on a variety of traditions, including Chinese lion and dragon dances, martial arts, Japanese taiko drummers and Polynesian dance. Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens annual floral display welcoming the lunar new year is up through March 3. The display, incorporating principles of the Asian design philosophy feng shui, includes large hanging red lanterns, an 18-foot-tall (5.5-meter) money tree decorated with gold coins, a 9-foot (3-meter) blue-and-yellow snake, a waterfall, incense pots, and a wooden boat with a 38 foot (11.5meter) mast in a pond of koi fish inspired by 15th century Chinese fishing vessels. Also on display are figures of six children wearing outfits made from hundreds of colorful carnations and chrysanthemums. —AP



Novel imagining Hitler’s return is German bestseller BERLIN: Eighty years after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, a novel that imagines his return to modern- day Berlin has become a bestseller in Germany, though a comedy about the Fuehrer is not to everyone’s taste. Instead of committing suicide in his bunker on April 30, 1945, in “He’s Back” (Er Ist Wieder Da), Hitler wakes up in 2011 without the slightest idea what has happened in the inter vening 66 years. He stumbles through Berlin, dazed by the fact that Germany is now ruled by a woman and is home to millions of Turks. In one scene, the Nazi leader asks a group of boys for directions, addressing them as “Ronaldo Hitler youth”. He has mistaken their football shirts bearing the name of the soccer star as some kind of military uniform. “Who’s the old guy?” the boys ask each other. Such is the tone in the nearly 400-page novel by Timur Vermes, a 45-year-old journalist. In a celebrity-obsessed society where success is often gauged by follower numbers on social

networks or YouTube views, Hitler soon becomes the star of an entertainment show with a Turkish host. “You’re golden my dear! This is just the beginning, believe me,” his producer says. Bild, Europe’s widest circulation newspaper, complains: “He killed millions of people. Today, millions cheer him on YouTube.” In the book, Hitler discovers jeans, tries to create an email address (“Hitler 89” referring to the year of his birth is already taken) and discovers cooking shows. A farce in poor taste to some, a political satire to others, “He’s Back” has done well in bookstores. With a print run of 360,000, the book recently made Germany’s bestseller list and is set to be published in English and more than a dozen other languages. The author says he wanted to present Hitler in a new light. “We too often harbour the negative attitude of those who see Hitler only as a monster to make themselves feel better,” Vermes says. “I thought it was important to

show how he would operate and how he would act in today’s world.” The story, written in the first person, is dotted with rambling inner monologues like those in “Mein Kampf ”, the treatise Hitler wrote in 1924 that Germany plans to reprint in two years, the first re-issue since 1945. The book’s blackand-white cover features a stylised rendering of Hitler’s side-parted hair and the title is printed in place of his moustache. Even the price Ä19.33 - is Hitler-related, a reference to the year he became chancellor. The book is the “latest outgrowth of a Hitler commercialisation machine that breaks all taboos to make money”, wrote the weekly news magazine Stern. Unthinkable even 10 years ago, Hitler is today increasingly the subject of comedians and artists - including a comic film directed by a Jew and a burlesque musical comedy. Daniel Erk, a journalist and Hitler expert, calls the phenomenon the “banalisation of evil”. — AFP

Timur Vermes

Moscow holds out olive branch to US Russia firm over Syria, warns West, Israel on Iran

MOSCOW: A Russian-Syrian family leave the passport control zone just after their arrival from Beirut at Domodedovo airport yesterday. — AP

Russians return after fleeing Syria MOSCOW: Dozens of Russians fleeing the violence in Syria returned to Moscow yesterday, in the first operation organised by the Russian authorities to help its nationals escape the bloodshed. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov however denied the assistance is the start of a mass evacuation of the tens of thousands of Russian citizens still living Syria amid the conflict between rebels and the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Two planes owned by the emergencies ministry carrying 77 people - mainly women and children - fleeing Syria touched down at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on a flight from the Lebanese capital Beirut, the ministry said. “It’s very dangerous there. Rockets. Planes. Tanks,” one returning man named as Albert Omar, wrapped up in an emergencies ministry coat to cope with the severe temperature change, told state television. “The last three months were horrendous.” “It had become impossible to live there. There is no money. No work. We have lost everything,” said another Russian woman who was not named. Observers are watching for any hints of Russia planning a fullscale evacuation of its citizens which would be seen as tacit admission from Moscow that the regime of President Bashar AlAssad is doomed in its fight against rebels. The Russian citizens arrived in Moscow from Beirut on board two planes after travelling to Beirut from Syria by road. “Most of those brought back are Russian women who married Syrians and Palestinians as well as their children,” the emergencies ministry said in a statement. “These are people from different regions of Syria who were left homeless and without means to live as a result of the conflict,” said the ministry, adding that psychologists were on hand at the airport to help those returning. The foreign ministry said Moscow could send more planes to Beirut to pick up Russian citizens fleeing the Syria violence if

required. “If needed, the foreign ministry in cooperation with the emergencies ministry will continue to work on the return of Russian citizens from Syria,” it said in a statement. Lavrov yesterday denied however that Russia was planning any full-scale evacuation of its citizens. “We have not started an evacuation so it would be hard to have a more widescale one,” Lavrov told reporters, denying that the help given to Russians to flee by plane could be termed an evacuation. He said the emergencies ministry planes that flew to Beirut had been carrying humanitarian aid for Syria and had simply offered the option of taking any Russians back if they so desired. Around 1,000 Russian women initially expressed interest but in the end fewer than 100 took up the offer, he said. Lavrov said that Russia’s embassy in Damascus was working normally, even though contingency plans were in place as with any country in the region. “We are not talking about activating these (plans),” he said. He said that Russia had already withdrawn the families of diplomats. According to the RIA Novosti news agency, 8,000 Russians are registered with the consulate in Syria but there could be as many as 25,000 Russian women who have married Syrians living in the country. Any evacuation of such a large number of nationals would likely require large naval vessels rather than planes. Russia could employ its Soviet-era naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus which it still maintains. The Soviet Union built up close ties with the secular Arab nationalist regime of Assad’s late father Hafez Al-Assad, and many Syrians studied in the USSR where they met Russian wives. Should the Assad regime be ousted, those Russians left in Syria may feel vulnerable given their government’s acrimonious relationship with the rebels fighting the Damascus government. — AFP

Mali army accused of summary killings BAMAKO: A leading rights group accused Malian soldiers yesterday of summary killings and serious abuses in the course of a Frenchled assault against Al-Qaeda-linked groups, as concerns rose over the conflict’s civilian toll. Japan, which lost seven citizens in a deadly Islamist backlash in neighbouring Algeria against the French-led offensive, decided on Wednesday to close its embassy in Bamako citing a deteriorating security situation. Nearly two weeks after France swept to Mali’s aid to stop an Islamist advance towards the capital Bamako, reports emerged of atrocities committed by Malian soldiers and growing fears of attacks among light-skinned ethnic communities. The majority of the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels being hunted by the armies are either Tuaregs or Arabs. The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues said that in the central town of Sevare at least 11 people were executed in a military camp near the bus station and the town’s hospital, citing evidence gathered by local researchers. Credible reports also pointed to around 20 other people having been executed in the same area and the bodies having been dumped in wells or otherwise disposed of, the organisation said. At Nioro, in the west of the country close to the border with Mauritania, two Malian Tuaregs were executed by Malian soldiers, according to the FIDH. The organisation called for an immediate independent inquiry commission to “determine the scale of the abuses

and to punish the perpetrators.” UN chief Ban Ki-moon has hailed France’s “courageous” intervention but expressed fears over the safety of humanitarian workers and UN employees on the ground. The tense security situation, heightened after the cross border attack in Algeria which left 37 hostages dead, prompted Japan to shut its embassy and evacuate key staff. “After the French military advance the already unstable situation in Mali worsened further,” foreign ministry spokesman Yutaka Yokoi told reporters in Tokyo. On the ground French and Malian troops were due to sweep the outskirts of towns recently recaptured from the Al Qaedalinked rebels for landmines they suspect the extremists left as they fled an air and ground assault by the armies. France said it had already 2,300 soldiers in the west African nation, whose poorly-trained and -equipped force has been overwhelmed by Islamist rebels occupying the vast arid north since April and seeking to push south. The former colonial power has said its troops will eventually hand over control to a UN-mandated West African force of more than 4,000 troops to be boosted by 2,000 men from Chad. The fallout from the war, which experts have warned could be drawn out and complex, is causing concerns. The UN refugee agency estimates up to a million people could have fled their homes in coming months, and rights bodies have warned of the dire situation faced by those escaping fighting. —AFP

MOSCOW: Russia held out an olive branch to the United States yesterday by calling for an improvement in ties, but chided Washington over “odious” human rights legislation and denounced Western policy on Syria. Setting out Russia’s policy agenda for 2013 at an annual news conference, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear that improving relations with Washington was part of Moscow’s vision for strengthening its influence on the world stage. “On issues where we have disagreements, we can look for ways to prevent these problems making the whole atmosphere worse and stopping us cooperating,” he said, reiterating a hope that US President Barack Obama would accept an invitation for a summit with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this year. However, he signalled no change in Russia’s stance on Syria, where Moscow is President Bashar Al-Assad’s main protector. Criticising the West on several fronts, he made clear Russia would be resolute in its defence of national interests. “Russian-US relations are going through far from the best of times,” said Lavrov, a 62-year-old veteran diplomat who has won a reputation as a tough negotiator since becoming foreign minister in 2004. He described US legislation enacted last month to punish Russians suspected of human rights abuses as odious, and criticised a US judge’s recent ruling in a dispute over a collection of Jewish writings held in Russia. But he made clear he wanted to draw a line under the dispute over the Magnitsky Act, to which Russia responded by approving similar legislation against US citizens and banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans. He underlined the need for “stable, mutually beneficial cooperation”, particularly in investment and trade. Obama has not responded to Russia’s invitation to meet Putin in Moscow and diplomats say he is likely to agree to hold a full summit only if he thinks progress can be made there. Ties between the two former Cold war enemies improved after Obama sought a “reset” in relations four years ago but have worsened again since then, particularly as Putin implemented

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds his traditional start-of-year press conference yesterday with attention focused on Russia’s position on the raging conflict in Syria. — AFP what the United States saw as a crackdown on opponents. Washington and Moscow, which are both nuclear powers, also differ over the development of a missile defence system on Russia’s doorstep in eastern Europe and over the conflict in Syria. Moscow has blocked three UN Security Council resolutions intended to force Assad out of power or press him to end the bloodshed, and shows no sign of changing its position. Lavrov said Moscow was talking to all sides in the conflict and making a genuine effort to end it, but implied its Western partners were less committed to finding a solution. “We often talk to them about that. They seem to understand it all, and the threat accompanying the prospect of the break-up of the Syrian state,” he said. “But when they speak in public they say somewhat different things, differing from what they are telling us privately.” This criticism was one of several barbs directed at the West which underlined Lavrov’s reputation as a man who does not mince his words. Like

Putin, who began a new six-year term as president last May and is often harsh in his criticism of the West, he mixed promises of cooperation with tough rhetoric. Lavrov warned Israel and its Western allies, who are led by the United States, against any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Tehran developing nuclear arms. This, he said, was a “very, very dangerous idea”. He was in line with other world powers, however, when asked about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, urging Pyongyang to adhere to international restrictions on its work. His remarks increased pressure on North Korea to abide by UN Security Council resolutions banning it from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests. Summing up Moscow’s aims in 2013, Lavrov said the world was going through a transitional period towards a new balance of power and Russia’s main goal was to ensure policies that underline collective action and reasonable compromise rather than the use of force to end conflicts. — Reuters

Punk singer rages against ‘slave mentality’ in jail MOSCOW: One of Russia’s two jailed Pussy Riot punk band members said yesterday she was fighting against the “slave mentality” in her prison camp and received death threats because of her activism. In an interview with opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta that details her first months at Corrective Labour Colony No 28 in the Perm region, Maria Alyokhina, 24, described how hard it was to see what the country’s penitentiary system did to inmates. “The hardest thing? It’s to realise how this system works, how it forms a slave mentality in people, how people fall into line,” she said in the interview published yesterday. “These are not isolated incidents, these are mass incidents and there are practically no exceptions,” she said. “Rudeness, cowardice, treachery and denunciations, this is the norm.” Alyokhina, a slight figure with curly hair, said she had requested a meeting with a regional rights ombudsman and told him that female prisoners had to wash themselves with cold water while their boots and head scarves were not warm enough to withstand the temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius. “The thing is, no-one likes this but I was the only one who went to rights activists, representatives of (Russia’s) Public Monitoring Commissions” watchdogs, she said. “Everyone’s afraid of going to them,” she said. After spending time in the quarantine quarters upon arrival she was moved to a cell with repeat offenders who she said had threatened to kill her. “The essence (of the threats) was: ‘if you remain in this unit you are dead’.” Speaking to Novaya Gazeta, two of Alyokhina’s fellow inmates said the young woman had insulted them when she told them that their rights were violated. “We told her: who are you, you came here to decide our fate, tell us how we live, who are you?” Nonna (Valentina) Ivanova, a 42-year-old who spent 22 years in jails, told the newspaper. After the conflict Alyokhina was in November moved to solitary confinement where she cooks for herself. “I believe it is better for her not to leave the safe place,” said Ivanova. “There’s a lot of people here, and everyone’s against her, everyone. They can do something to her.” Alyokhina claimed the two women who had threatened her cooperated with the prison administration, adding she would continue speaking out against

the violation of prisoners’ rights. “I will overcome everything, nothing will happen to me. If they put pressure on me, I will declare a hunger strike and will be thrown into a punishment cell,” said Alyokhina. Her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is serving her sentence in the central region of Mordovia, known for its network of Soviet-era camps, sounded stoic about the conditions in her prison. She told the Novaya Gazeta in a separate interview she was getting along with fellow prisoners and was not too bothered about her prison routine that included a visit to a bathhouse once a week. “I am an ascetic and living conditions do not bother me that much,” said Tolokonnikova, 23. “Everything is fine with the food. You can eat it and nothing will happen to you.”

Like other inmates, Tolokonnikova, a former philosophy student, said she was sewing jackets at a local workshop but constantly hurt her fingers. “You have to sew quickly, of course. I absolutely do not want to let down my brigade.” She gave the books she had brought with her from Moscow to the prison’s library so that other inmates could read them. “They are reading Slavoj Zizek,” she said, referring to a Slovenian philosopher and academic. The two books that she kept were the works by Russian religious philosopher Nikolai Berdyayev and the Bible, she said. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, both of whom have small children, are serving a twoyear sentence for the group’s anti-Vladimir Putin performance in the country’s top church last year. — AFP

Refugees ‘interrupt’ Vienna hunger strike VIENNA: Some 40 asylum seekers were eating again yesterday after calling a temporary halt to a 31-day hunger strike in a Vienna church against conditions for refugees in Austria. “We are interrupting our hunger strike for several days,” 20-yearold Pakistani Sayed Muhammed Mustafa told the Kurier daily Tuesday, without giving a reason for the halt. “But we are going to stay in the church.” Doctors had begun to express serious concerns about the strikers, who on average have lost 15 percent of their body weight, with ambulances being called out to the Votivkirche in central Vienna around 30 times to provide treatment. The protesters’ demands include being able to choose where they live, access to jobs, schools and social security and no more forced deportations. They had consumed nothing but water, tea and clear soup since late December. Klaus Schwertner from the charity Caritas welcomed the halt to the hunger strike, telling Kurier that he hoped the government “will now take steps to engage with the refugees”. The interior ministry said however that no further meeting was planned and called on the protestors to accept offers of sheltered accommodation. “We welcome the end of the hunger strike as a

first step. We hope now that the second step will be to accept that offer”, a spokesman said. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said that she would look into improving the provision of interpreters for asylum seekers and that the creation this year of a new authority for refugees would improve matters. She rejected however giving asylum seekers work permits after six months in the country, saying that after three months they could perform seasonal work such as in agriculture or tourism. She ruled out any “structural changes” in the way Austria handles refugees. Last year 17,415 people applied for asylum in Austria, 20.8 percent more than in 2011, with Afghans the biggest group. Rules on asylum seekers in Austria, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, are often EU-wide regulations and therefore difficult to change. Government figures on Tuesday showed that 81 percent of applications for asylum from Syrians were accepted in 2012, against 73 percent for Iranians and 60 percent from Somalia. However only 14 percent of Pakistanis - who made up a large number of the hunger-strikers in the imposing Votivkirche - were given permission to stay, the interior ministry data showed. —AFP



Indian panel pushes for new laws after gang rape Failure of good governance is root cause: Chief Justice

NEW DELHI: Supporters greet newly-elected main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh (center) during an election yesterday. — AFP

India oppn names new chief after resignation NEW DELHI: India’s main opposition party elected a new leader yesterday after the scandal-tainted incumbent resigned abruptly following a corruption scandal just over a year before national elections. Nitin Gadkari, president of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2009, stepped down late on Tuesday over a probe into alleged misuse of funds for irrigation work in the western state of Maharashtra. He is widely seen as having failed to rejuvenate the BJP, which has been out of power since 2004, and the disorderly transition at the top is a further blow as the party looks ahead to elections in early 2014. Gadkari said he had decided to quit after income tax officers raided 11 offices in Mumbai on Tuesday to investigate funds generated by his company, but he denounced the probe as “a political conspirac y ” hatched by the Congress party. Last year, Gadkari was accused of using his political clout to acquire land at below the market rate for the construction of a dam. Investigators are also conducting a financial probe of the Purti Group, a company headed by Gadkari which has offices all over India. In many instances, details of directors and addresses of companies that have invested in the Purti Group have turned out to be false, with Gadkari’s drivers, cook and house help shown as investors in the company. “I have done nothing wrong but I have chosen to resign because I do not want the party’s image to be maligned,” he said.

“I will come back only when my name is cleared from the corruption cases.” The party hastily appointed veteran party leader Rajnath Singh, a 61year-old parliamentarian and former state leader who served as BJP president from 2005 to 2009 when Gadkari took over. His new term will end in 2015. “I am taking this post at a crucial time and it is my responsibility to consolidate the party and prepare for the elections. We have a big battle waiting for us,” said Singh. The BJP’s woes come as the ruling Congress named Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Gandhi political dynasty, as its vicepresident at the weekend. He is now expected to lead the party into the polls. The BJP has generally failed to capitalise on a string of corruption scandals that have afflic ted the Congress government, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, since its reelection in 2009. One of Rajnath Singh’s first and most important tasks will be to choose the BJP candidate for prime minister in the general elections. The party is seen as riven with internal power struggles, with controversial regional leader Narendra Modi pushing hard to be the 2014 prime ministerial candidate, which is being resisted by other factions. Modi, whose image remains tarnished by religious riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, inspires loyalty from Hindu right-wingers and business groups, but others fear he is a polarising figure who does not have broad appeal. — AFP

US seeks leniency for American Mumbai plotter CHICAGO: US prosecutors on Tuesday urged a judge to be lenient this week when he sentences an American who admitted to scouting out Mumbai ahead of the deadly 2008 siege because of his “significant” cooperation. David Coleman Headley, 52, pleaded guilty in 2010 to 12 charges related to the carnage in Mumbai and a second plot to attack a Danish newspaper that sparked outrage over its publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). He faces up to life in prison with no chance of parole at Thursday’s sentencing hearing in a federal court in Chicago, but prosecutors advocated a slightly more lenient jail term of 30 to 35 years in prison. Imposing such a sentence “strikes a fair and just balance between the despicable nature of his crimes and the significant value of his cooperation,” prosecutors said. Heavily-armed militants ran rampage through Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people and wounding hundreds more over nearly three days in a prolonged assault on the Indian financial capital. In a plot that reads like a spy thriller, Headley spent two years casing out Mumbai, even taking boat tours around the city’s harbor to find landing sites for the attackers and befriending Bollywood stars as part of his cover. Prosecutors described it as a supporting but “essential” role. The Washingtonborn son of a former Pakistani diplomat and American woman, Headley’s Western appearance and US passport helped him slip under the radar for much of the seven years he spent working with militant groups. And while he quickly turned informant to save his own skin, prosecu-

tors said Headley was committed to the cause of terrorism. He was so eager to attack Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper he began working seriously on that plot two months before the Mumbai attack. He also had Bollywood and one of India’s most sacred Hindu temples in his sights as he began plotting a second India attack during a March 2009 surveillance trip. India objected after US prosecutors took the death penalty off the table and agreed not to extradite Headley in exchange for his cooperation after his October 2009 arrest in Chicago as he was set to board a flight to Pakistan. US prosecutors have kept most of the details of Headley’s cooperation under seal but say the information he began to provide “immediately” after his arrest proved too valuable to pass up. “We had to because it’s too important that we do everything we can to save lives,” US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told reporters after the 2011 conviction of Headley’s childhood friend and co-conspirator Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Rana, 52, was sentenced to 14 years in prison last week for letting Headley use his Chicago-based immigration firm as a cover while working on the Denmark plot for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group India blames for the Mumbai attacks. Fitzgerald did say that Headley had provided details about dozens of potential targets in India and Denmark that were under surveillance. Headley-who changed his name from Daood Gilani so he could hide his Pakistani heritagejoined LeT in 2002, attending terrorist training camps five times over the next three years. — AFP

Indian found in British canal was ‘not attacked’ MANCHESTER: British police said yesterday they do not believe an Indian student whose body was found in a canal was attacked. Souvik Pal, an 18year- old student at Manchester Metropolitan University in northwest England, had been missing since New Year’s Eve after celebrating with friends at a nightclub in the city. Police said his body was found in a canal in the Old Trafford area of the city, which is home to the stadium of Manchester United Football Club. Detective Chief Inspector

Colin Larkin of Greater Manchester Police said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with Souvik’s family at this devastating time and our officers are doing all they can to support them. “We do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding Souvik’s death and a file will be submitted to the coroner in due course.” Pal’s father Santanu had flown from the family’s home city of Bangalore in southern India to help with the police search. — AFP

NEW DELHI: An Indian government panel recommended yesterday the strict enforcement of sexual assault laws, a commitment for speedy rape trials and changes to the country’s antiquated penal code to protect women in the wake of a fatal gang rape in New Delhi last month. The three-member panel received more than 80,000 suggestions for a complete overhaul in the criminal justice system’s treatment of violence against women since it was set up by the government a month ago to help quell street protests sparked by the rape. The suggestions included banning a traumatic vaginal exam of rape victims to ending political interference in sex crime cases. Women say they feel under siege and are so frightened they have structured their entire lives to protect themselves from harassment and attack. Many travel in groups, go out of their homes only during the day and carry sharp objects onto public buses to stab men who grope them. Those who are raped are often blamed by their families for the attack. If they report the crime, the police often refuse to file a report or try to get the victim and attacker to reach a settlement. If it reaches court, the case can drag on for years in the overburdened jus-

tice system. “Failure of good governance is the obvious root cause for the current unsafe environment, eroding the rule of law and not the want of knee-jerk legislation,” said retired Chief Justice JS Verma, who headed the panel. The panel recommended that police and other officials who fail to act against crimes against women be punished. It called for a crackdown on dowry payments to enhance women’s status, since families are often forced into massive debt to get their daughters married. It also suggested the government appoint more judges to lessen the backlog of cases and ensure swift justice, and it called for updating the law to include crimes such as voyeurism, stalking and other crimes against women. “We hope the Parliament will take the legislative suggestions given by the committee,” and translate these into law, Verma said. Verma advocated strict punishment to prevent sexual harassment and assaults against women and sought reforms in how police treat rape victims. He called for speedy justice and the setting of a time frame to deal with cases of crimes against women. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office had

NEW DELHI: In this photograph, an Indian demonstrator (center) taunts the police during a protest calling for better safety for women in front of the India Gate monument in New Delhi. — AFP

Top Pakistan court to probe official’s death ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top judge yesterday ordered the Supreme Court to investigate the death of an official probing a corruption scandal involving the prime minister. Kamran Faisal was found dead last Friday in a government hostel just days after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over the long-running graft scandal into so-called Rental Power Plants (RPPs). According to the initial findings of an autopsy, Faisal committed suicide, but his family and some colleagues dispute that he killed himself. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is hearing the corruption case, ordered another bench to probe Faisal’s death, following a report from the court’s registrar listing the doubts of his friends and family. “The office is directed to place this case before another bench on January 24 for further proceedings,” Chaudhry told the court. He described Faisal’s death as “shocking” and said that his family, friends and colleagues were not satisfied with the current investigation, being carried out by police and a governmentappointed commission. “His family members, colleagues, friends and the public at large have shown annoyance and grievances,” said Chaudhry, reading out the report submitted by the Supreme Court registrar. “And according to them, they are not expecting free, fair and honest investigation because of the involvement of highly influential political and executive authorities of the country in the RPP scam,” said the judge. The long-running probe into the prime minister and other officials relates to allegations of kickbacks during Ashraf ’s tenure as minister for water and power. Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), for which Faisal worked, has suspended its probe into the scandal pending inquiries into the death. NAB says Faisal, second in charge of the RPP probe, suffered from “mental stress” and “psychological issues”. He had asked to be taken off the case, but the Supreme Court refused a written request on January 7 and ordered he be reinstated. Suicide is frowned upon under Islam and Faisal’s father, Abdul Hameed, told AFP on Monday that he believed his son was murdered.— AFP

no immediate comment about what it would do with the recommendations. More than 100 women’s rights activists, lawyers and ordinary citizens appeared before the commission during a recent hearing to offer suggestions for removing loopholes in the existing laws and scrapping some of its most offensive provisions. Activists and lawyers have criticized the existing laws on crimes against women as so archaic and riddled with loopholes that they end up further traumatizing victims and allowing perpetrators to get away lightly. Indian law only targets three crimes against women, rape, using force to “outrage her modesty,” and making rude sounds or gestures aimed at “insulting the modesty of any woman.” Lawyers say those laws needs to be updated to include crimes such as sexual harassment, groping, stalking and acid attacks. “Groping and stalking should be viewed as sexual assault. Stalking is a psychological terror on the victim. It should be specifically defined,” said Mukul Mudgal, a former chief justice of the Delhi High Court. Rebecca John, a criminal lawyer who spoke with the commission, said the “very lexicon of the law” needs to be changed to remove euphemistic and outdated terms. “The very definition of crimes against women is faulty. Phrases such as ‘outraging the modesty of a woman,’ and references to her chastity or honor are irrelevant,” John said. Most of India’s laws, including those on rape, were inherited from the country’s former British colonial rulers and date back to 1860. Public pressure after highly publicized rape cases led to amendments in the rape laws in 1983 and 2003. But loopholes remain. The law, for example, does not recognize marital rape for anyone over the age of 15. Women’s groups have also called for ending political interference in police work that lets accused rapists persuade police to quash their cases by forcing women to reach settlements with their attackers. “Those having clout are not held accountable even for blatant violations of laws,” said a joint appeal by 10 women’s groups made to the commission. Human rights groups welcomed the panel’s recommendations to widen the scope of sexual rape to include assaults on homosexual, transgender and transsexual rape. The commission has also recommended a uniform national protocol for the treatment and medical examination of rape survivors. “This is something that women’s and rights groups have been asking for for a long time,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch. — AP

Afghan ‘spy’ killed over US drone strikes PESHAWAR: Militants yestedray dumped the mutilated body of a purported Afghan spy accused of collaborating on US drone strikes that killed a prominent warlord in Pakistan this month, officials said. The body of the man identified as Asmatullah Kharoti was found in Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan. Local officials said he had been shot dead and there were wounds on his neck. Two notes on the body ordered the remains to be left on the roadside until 10:00 am (0500 GMT) “so that everyone could see the fate of spies”, and the second accusing him of being a spy and being responsible for US drone attacks. “He is a spy and was giving information to

US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan about our activities,” a local official quoted the note as saying. “He is responsible for the killing of five of our senior members, including Mullah Nazir, in drone attacks. He confessed that he installed chips in digital Qurans.” Nazir was killed in a US drone strike on January 2. He was the main militant commander in South Waziristan and sent insurgents to fight US, NATO and Afghan government troops in Afghanistan, and was accused of sheltering Al-Qaeda. He was one of the most high-profile victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan, which Islamabad publicly criticises as a violation of sovereignty but which US officials believe are a vital weapon in the war against Islamist militants. —AFP

HERAT: An Afghan National Army (ANA) female officer holds up her graduation certificate during a ceremony at the ANA training centre yesterday. International troops in Afghanistan and all NATO-led combat forces are due to leave by the end of 2014, when Kabul will assume responsibility for the country’s security. — AFP

Kashmir minister calls nuke war warning ‘daft’ SRINAGAR: The top elected official in Indian Kashmir yesterday described a public advisory telling residents to prepare for nuclear war by building basement shelters as a “daft idea”. The State Disaster Response Force in a notice this week urged people to build shelters to prepare for a potential nuclear conflict in the disputed region, which has been on edge after deadly border clashes between Indian and Pak istani troops. “What a daft idea!!!” Indian K ashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a post on microblogging website Twitter, referring to the advisory which appeared in

a local English-language newspaper. The notice instructed residents in the Himalayan region to build toilet- equipped underground shelters “where the whole family can stay for a fortnight” and said the bunkers should be stocked with non-perishable food. A ceasefire took hold last week in the territor y after India and Pakistan agreed to halt cross-border firing that threatened to unravel a fragile peace process bet ween the nuclear-armed nations, but tensions remain. State civil defence authorities in Kashmir confirmed that they had issued the notice on Monday but

said it “should not be connected with anything else”, in an apparent reference to the recent border flare-up. The advisory was part of regular year-round civil defence preparedness, Mubarak Ganai, deputy inspector general of civil defence in the Kashmir police force, told AFP. India and Pak istan have fought two of their three wars over the divided territory. Each country controls a part of the region but claims it in full. The notice in the Greater Kashmir daily vividly described a nuclear war scenario to prepare residents to deal with “the initial

shock wave”, telling people to “wait for the winds to die down and debris to stop falling”. “If the blast wave does not arrive within five seconds of the flash, you were far enough from the ground zero,” it said. The prime minister of Pakistaniadministered Kashmir yesterday dismissed the nuclear warning as a pressure tactic. “India cannot impose even conventional war on Pakistan, and if it does, each and every child of Kashmir will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pak istan armed forces against India,” said Chaudhr y Abdul Majeed. — AFP



Launch, sanctions, nukes: N Korea may repeat cycle SEOUL: North Korea’s nuclear agitations follow a wellworn route. It starts with a long-range rocket launch. The United Nations punishes the act with sanctions. And Pyongyang responds by conducting a nuclear test. It happened in 2006, and again in 2009. With the UN leveling new sanctions, the world is about to find out whether North Korea’s young new leader will detonate an atomic bomb, or step way from the path his father laid. The UN Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a resolution, the third of its kind since 2006, condemning a North Korean rocket launch as a violation of banned missile activity. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry swiftly rejected the move early Wednesday, maintaining that the launch was a peaceful bid to explore space and accusing the US of “hostile” intent in leading the push for punishment. In the face of what it considers to be a US threat, North Korea “will take steps for physical counteraction to bolster the military capabilities for self-defense, including the nuclear deterrence, both qualitatively and quantitatively,” the ministry warned in a statement. Analysts say the wording hints at a nuclear test. In 2006 and 2009, North Korea responded to similar Security Council punishment by detonating devices underground, which experts say is a key step in the process of developing an atomic bomb small enough to mount on a longrange missile. “Things are lining up to make a nuclear test likely,” said Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst with the International Crisis Group. “There’s a long-term pattern. The logic is to demonstrate your strength.” But this time, North Korea has a new leader, Kim Jong Un, who took power in December 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. How he will handle the standoff with the international community remains unclear. While sending a satellite into space was his father’s dying wish, the young Kim has focused less on defense, saying in a recent speech that “the building of an economic giant” is his country’s most pressing task. He’s also hinted at a desire to make a shift in foreign policy by saying publicly that he is open to reaching out to former foes. At the same time, Kim has already thrown away one agreement with the United States by going ahead with a rocket launch in April, and further antagonized the international community with the launch that put North Korea’s first satellite into space last month. It would be burdensome to order a nuclear test that would risk additional sanctions at a time when Kim wants to revive the

economy, said Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University. He said that with President Barack Obama starting a second term and a new South Korean government taking office next month, Kim will be watching to see how their foreign policies toward North Korea take shape before making any big moves. A nuclear test could also strain Pyongyang’s relationship with Beijing. China, North Korea’s main ally and traditional protector, broke form in agreeing to the binding Security Council resolution and an expansion of sanctions. The Security Council resolution demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” and orders the regime to cease rocket launches. The binding resolution orders the freeze of more North Korean assets, including the space agency, and imposes a travel ban on four more officials. China opposed tougher sanctions, and analysts

said it is continuing to protect its ally. “China is striking a balance here. It wants to punish North Korea for the latest launch and tell it not to undertake a new ballistic missile launch,” said Shen Dingli, a regional security expert and director of the Center for American Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University. “But it doesn’t want to put unbearable pressure on Pyongyang.” There was no indication Wednesday of an imminent nuclear test. However, satellite photos taken last month at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in the far northeast showed continued activity that suggested a state of readiness even in winter, according to analysis by 38 North, a North Korea website affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Last month’s rocket launch has been celebrated as a success in North Korea, and the scientists involved have

UNITED NATIONS: British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant (left) and American Ambassador Susan Rice vote on a Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch in December. — AP

been treated like heroes. Kim Jong Un cited the launch in his New Year’s Day speech laying out North Korea’s main policies and goals for the upcoming year, and banners hailing the launch are posted on buildings across the capital. Washington and others consider the rocket launches covert tests of ballistic missile technology since satellite launches and long-range missile launches have similar firing mechanisms. At a military parade last April, North Korea showed off what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile. Though it insists its efforts to launch a satellite are peaceful, North Korea also claims the right to build nuclear weapons as a defense against the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea. The adversaries fought in the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953 and left the Korean Peninsula divided by the world’s most heavily fortified demilitarized zone. North Korea has enough weaponized plutonium for about four to eight bombs, according to nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, who visited North Korea’s nuclear complex in 2010. In 2009, Pyongyang also declared that it would begin enriching uranium, which would give North Korea a second way to make atomic weapons. For years, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the US negotiated with North Korea to offer aid in return for disarmament. North Korea walked away from those talks after UN sanctions in 2009. Later, Pyongyang indicated its readiness to resume discussing disarmament. In February 2012, it negotiated a deal with Washington to place a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests in exchange for food aid. That deal fell apart when North Korea unsuccessfully launched a long-range rocket in April that it insisted did not constitute a missile test and thus was not a banned activity. In July, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a memorandum declaring that it felt forced to “completely re-examine the nuclear issue due to the continued US hostile policy” toward Pyongyang. On Wednesday, the ministry said talks about disarmament are off the table. It may be a non-nuclear issue that returns North Korea and the US to negotiations. A US citizen is in North Korean custody after being arrested in the northeastern city of Rason in November, according to state media. Kenneth Bae is accused of committing “hostile” acts against the regime. Similarly, in 2009, two American journalists were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for committing “crimes against the state.” —AP

China cites N Korea nuke test speculation Russia urges DPRK to abide by missile rules

BANGKOK: Activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk arrives at a criminal court yesterday. —

Thai activist jailed for 11 years for ‘royal slurs’ BANGKOK: A Thai political activist was jailed for 11 years yesterday in the latest tough sentence under the kingdom’s controversial royal defamation law, to the dismay of human rights defenders. The European Union said it was “deeply concerned” by the punishment imposed on Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, 51, in connection with two articles that appeared in his magazine in 2010. “The verdict seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom,” the EU delegation in Bangkok said in a statement. Amnesty International, which considers Somyot to be a “prisoner of conscience”, described the Bangkok Criminal Court ruling as “a serious setback for freedom of expression in Thailand”. Somyot is a supporter of the “Red Shirt” protest group, which is broadly loyal to ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The activist’s defence team said he would appeal the long jail term, which comprises 10 years for two counts of lese majeste and one year for an earlier suspended defamation sentence. “I can confirm that he did not intend to violate Article 112,” his lawyer Karom Polpornklang said after the verdict, referring to the lese majeste legislation. “He was doing his job as a journalist. We will seek bail for him,” he added. Rights groups noted the activist’s arrest in April 2011 came just days after he launched a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures for a parliamentary review

of the lese majeste law. He was brought to court in shackles, having been held for nearly two years without bail. “The courts seem to have adopted the role of chief protector of the monarchy at the expense of free expression rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch. “The court’s ruling appears to be more about Somyot’s strong support for amending the lese majeste law than about any harm incurred by the monarchy.” The royal family is a highly sensitive subject in politically turbulent Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 85, is revered by many Thais but has been in hospital since September 2009. Rights campaigners say the lese majeste law has been politicised, noting that many of those charged are linked to the Red Shirt movement. Under the legislation, anyone convicted of insulting the Thai king, queen, heir or regent faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. Somyot’s wife Sukanya expressed disappointment at the ruling. “The punishment does not make sense,” she told AFP. “We have to talk with our lawyer to advise us whether it would be better to appeal or stop fighting and ask for a royal pardon. We fought through the legal process but it didn’t work so we’re not sure it would be any better appealing.” Thailand has been riven by political divisions since Thaksin was topped by royalist generals in a coup in 2006. —AFP

Japan presses Algeria for answers on hostage crisis TOKYO: A senior Japanese government figure arrived in Algeria yesterday to meet the prime minister, the foreign ministry said, as Tokyo sought to learn why at least seven of its citizens died when Islamists overran a gas plant. Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shunichi Suzuki was aboard a government jet that is set to take home the bodies of those known to have been killed in the hostage crisis, as well as seven Japanese nationals who survived. The fate of three others who were at the deser t plant remains unknown, but Japan is bracing for news of their deaths, several days after the Algerian military ended the siege. Suzuki is carrying a letter addressed to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo. “The government will use whatever means possible to confirm what has happened to the three people who are still unaccounted for,” he said.Japan has asked Algeria to fully investigate events at the gas plant and exactly how individuals died, he said. “Algeria has promised to cooperate as much as possible,” Suga said. Five foreign-

ers are still missing and the bodies of seven other people are so badly charred that they have not yet been identified. Suga’s comments came as it emerged that Japan, Britain the US and other countries whose nationals were caught up in the events at In Amenas issued a joint demarche to Algeria on Friday. A demarche is a formal diplomatic move in which a country’s stance is conveyed in person-rather than by note-to another government.In a conference telephone call, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Minoru Kiuchi told Algerian foreign minister Mourad Medelci that Tokyo wanted the utmost priority placed on actions that would keep captives alive. “Japan is strongly concerned about acts that put the lives of the hostages at risk, and it is regrettable that the Algerian Government pressed military rescue operations,” he said, according to a foreign ministry statement. Japan was among the more forthright of nations as the hostage crisis unfolded, summoning the Algerian ambassador to demand answers on the situation and press for restraint from the army. —AFP

BEIJING: China called for restraint yesterday after the United Nations tightened sanctions on North Korea as punishment for a rocket launch, citing speculation of another nuclear test by its wayward ally. “The DPRK’s (North Korea’s) satellite launch as well as speculation of a nuclear test highlight the urgency and importance of settling relevant issues on the Korean peninsula,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters. “We hope all parties will bear in mind peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, exercise calmness and restraint and avoid actions that might escalate tension.” China backed a Security Council resolution passed Tuesday in response to last month’s longrange rocket launch. The UN expanded the list of North Korean entities on its sanctions list but stopped short of imposing new penalties. The North reacted defiantly, vowing to strengthen its nuclear and missile capabilities and fuelling speculation about a possible third nuclear test. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing a South Korean intelligence source, reported that Pyongyang has finished technical preparations and could conduct a test within days of a decision by the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un. China is the North’s sole major ally and its leading energy supplier and trade partner. It is seen as one of the few nations able to influence Pyongyang’s behaviour. Communist Party chief Xi Jinping called for dialogue and consultations

to achieve the Korean peninsula’s denuclearisation and long-term stability. Speaking with a visiting envoy of South Korean president-elect Park Geun-Hye, Xi said China expects an early resumption of long-suspended six-nation talks on the peninsula’s denuclearisation, the official Xinhua news agency said. Xi, set to become China’s president in March, also said stability on the peninsula is in the fundamental interests of both China and South Korea. State media in China also called for talks to resolve tensions, even after the North rejected dialogue on its atomic programme following the UN move. “The ultimate way to restore lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula is to build trust among key parties through dialogue and consultation,” Xinhua said in a commentary. The agency described the UN move as “a clear response to Pyongyang’s violation of Security Council resolutions, which the DPRK as a UN member should abide by”. “It is worth noting that the long-stalled six-party talks remain the most viable platform for dialogue,” Xinhua said. The talks are chaired by China and also involve the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia. The aim has been to entice Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme in exchange for aid and security guarantees, but the process has been moribund since the North abandoned the forum in 2009. Beijing has long

touted the talks as the best way to reduce tensions. In the meanwhile, Russia urged North Korea yesterday to adhere to restrictions on its nuclear and missile programs, after the UN Security Council expanded existing sanctions against Pyongyang over a defiant rocket launch last month. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s remarks added to pressure on Pyongyang to abide by Security Council resolutions which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests. “We hope our North Korean neighbours will heed the voice of the international community and return to the path of cooperation... but for this it is necessary to stay within the bounds of the demands made in UN Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov said. The Security Council, in which Russia and China hold veto power, unanimously approved a new resolution on Tuesday that condemned violations of previous restrictions and expanded existing sanctions. North Korea responded by saying it would boost its militar y and nuclear capabilities. Russia has often balanced criticism of the nuclear activities and missile launches of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, with calls on the United States and South Korea to refrain from belligerent actions that Moscow says would be counterproductive. But Russia is upset by any defiance of council resolutions. — Agencies

Tactics see Western drug mules in prison in Bali DENPASAR: Drug syndicates are using Westerners to smuggle drugs into Bali in new tactics, Indonesian authorities said yesterday as a British grandmother became the latest to face the firing squad for trafficking. Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was sentenced to death Tuesday after being caught with 4.79 kilograms (10 pounds, nine ounces) of cocaine worth $2.4 million in her suitcase as she arrived on a flight from Bangkok last May. The haul was destined for sale in the hard-partying resort island, which is enjoying a tourism boom and where drugs can be freely obtained despite harsh penalties and high-profile arrests. “Drugs are absolutely easily available... from weed and ‘shrooms to crystal meth and acid,” said Australian Andrew Lee, 21, in Kuta, the island’s entertainment strip, which is lined with bars. “Hundreds of people sell epinephrine outside the clubs,” he added. Sandiford sobbed as the sentence was handed down in a court in Bali’s capital Denpasar, with judges rejecting arguments she was coerced into transporting the drugs by a gang that had threatened her children. “We hope the verdict sends a message to the world that Bali is not a drugs haven and that offenders will be given the fairest possible punishment,” Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin told AFP yesterday. Sandiford joins a line-up of foreigners on death row or serving heavy sentences in Bali’s infamous Kerobokan jail, as drug syndicates turn their gaze on an island that draws nearly three million tourists each year. According to police figures, 22 foreigners including four Britons, three Germans and two Russians were nabbed in 2012 in drugs-related cases on the island. Narcotics officials say drug syndicates now prefer to use Western drug mules who can better blend in with the millions of arrivals at Bali’s international airport and evade police detection. “Using European couriers is a new trend in 2012. A year earlier, most of the couriers hailed from the Middle East and African countries,” Bali narcotics police chief

Mulyadi told AFP. “Westerners are less suspicious because they look wealthy and appear less likely to break the laws,” he said. National narcotics agency spokesman Sumirat Dwiyanto said that international syndicates were also wary of hiring Indonesians for fear they could “spill on them and expose their network”. “This is a business of trust. They prefer to use their own people whom they can really trust,” he said. A prisons official said there were currently 35 foreigners and 56 Indonesians on death row in Indonesia, including Briton Gareth Cashmore, who was sentenced after being arrested on drugs charges in the capital Jakarta last October. Among them are two members of the “Bali

Nine”-a group of Australians caught at the island’s airport in 2005 with heroin strapped to their bodies. Seven others of that group are serving long jail terms. Another high-profile inmate of Kerobokan is Australian Schapelle Corby, who was arrested with a haul of marijuana in 2004 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in a blaze of media headlines. After Sandiford’s arrest, three other Britons and an Indian were detained in connection with the same drugs ring, but most were cleared of trafficking charges and received light sentences. The last figure in the ring to face justice, Briton Julian Ponder, is due to be sentenced next week with at least seven years’ imprisonment likely. —AFP

BALI: Foreign tourists relax on Kuta beach in Denpasar on the resort island of Bali yesterday. — AFP



Graffiti recounts 2 years of Egypt revolt Continued from Page 1 “Graffiti took off with the revolution. The content is mainly political and it changes based on events,” says Mohammed Khaled, a student at Cairo’s Fine Arts institute. “When something happens, people go and draw about it, then talk about it,” he tells AFP. Khaled says his brother’s injury in 2011 during clashes with the armed forces in Oct 2011 turned him from art student to graffiti warrior. “That’s how I got involved,” he says. Today, much of the anger on Cairo’s walls is directed at Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who is accused of failing to reform post-revolution Egypt while consolidating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood. But the spaces are not just reserved for the opposition. On the city’s walls, Morsi is a pharaoh, an octopus, a snake, a clown or a hero, depending on which side of the political divide the artist falls. “The creativity is increasing, even in terms of tools and materials and people want to express themselves better,” says Diaa El-Sayyed, who dropped his studies in computer science to pursue art. “I wanted to say something and I didn’t know where to say it, so I started painting,” Sayyed says from a scaffolding where he is working on his latest piece. But the new freedom of speech imposed by the revolution - such political street art would have been unthinkable under Mubarak - unnerves authorities who have taken to erasing the more controversial murals. On grey walls covered by decades of dust across Cairo, rectangles and rectangles of fresh white paint are almost as powerful an

image as the angry graffiti they are trying to hide. “If one of the my works has been erased, then I know it stirred something,” says Khaled. In December, anti-Morsi protesters furious he had granted himself sweeping powers to push through an Islamistdrafted constitution vented their anger on the walls of his presidential palace. It was his supporters who wiped off the offending messages. As the second anniversary of the revolt approaches, the country is deeply divided between Morsi’s mainly Islamist supporters and the opposition of liberals, leftists, Christians and also deeply religious Muslims calling for freedoms and the separation of state and religion. Cairo’s street art recounts the past, expresses the anger of the moment, but also looks to the future. Across the capital, the date “26/1” is spray painted along with messages urging Egyptians to take to the streets on Saturday when a court is to issue its verdict in the trial of 73 defendants in the country’s deadliest football disaster in Port Said a year ago. The clashes in the Suez Canal city between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly left over 70 people dead, and sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed. Many believe the rioting was orchestrated either by the police or Mubarak’s supporters. Hardcore fans of AlAhly club known as the Ultras who played key role in the uprising have already taken to the streets to demand severe punishment for those responsible for the stadium deaths. On the walls of their club in central Cairo, reads the ominous message “26/1: Justice or Chaos.” —AFP

Emotional Clinton angrily denies... Continued from Page 1 In one of her last major appearances before stepping down at the end of the month, Clinton showed no signs of the ill-health which plagued her in December. She also choked back a sob as she described having to call the families with the news that Stevens, and information manager Sean Smith, had been killed. “This is not just a matter of policy. It’s personal. I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews” air force base, Clinton told the senators. “I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.” And she urged senators to learn from the attack as they confront a rapidly evolving political landscape in the wake of the Arab Spring. “Benghazi didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Clinton said. “The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations committee. But top Republican senators rejected her explanations, with Senator Rand Paul suggesting she should have been fired for not reading requests for additional security. “Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable,” he said. Senator John McCain also “categorically” rejected some answers, saying four months on the American public still did not have “basic information”. “It’s a tragedy when we lose four brave Americans - there are many questions that are unanswered. And the answers, frankly,

that you’ve given this morning are not satisfactory to me,” he told Clinton. He said he still wanted to know why US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said days after the attack that it was triggered by a spontaneous protest outside the mission, when no such demonstration had taken place. But Clinton appeared to try to subtly distance herself from Rice’s comments. “The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound, and I vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama in the (White House) Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror,” she said. Appearing at her last congressional hearings as secretary of state, Clinton reiterated that she took full responsibility for deficiencies at the mission and insisted she had taken steps to boost security in high-threat regions. The FBI was also “following some very promising leads” as they investigate exactly who was behind the Benghazi attack, she said, warning that “no one should doubt” President Barack Obama’s promise that America would respond. But Clinton stressed that Congress ultimately had the power to better fund security, highlighting how the State Department’s 2012 budget for diplomatic security was $340 million - or 10 percent - less than requested. She had been initially set to testify in December after a scathing internal inquiry blamed “grossly inadequate” security at the outpost in Benghazi. But Clinton was forced to send two deputy secretaries instead when she fell ill with a stomach bug, later suffering a concussion which led to a blood clot. Her testimony now comes on the eve of today’s Senate hearing to confirm her successor, John Kerry, who is expected to be easily voted in and could take over within days as the top US diplomat. — Agencies

A 12-by-9-foot boulder rests in the master bedroom of a home in St George, Utah on Jan 19, 2013. Wanda Denhalter, 63, was sleeping alone when she narrowly missed being crushed under the boulder early Saturday morning, said her husband, Scot Denhalter. She was taken to a St George hospital, where she underwent four hours of surgery for non-life-threatening injuries. She also suffered a large leg gash. It’s unknown what caused the boulder to come down about 3 am, but Scot Denhalter thinks a broken water pipe at a ridge-top home might have had something to do with it. — AP

Bahrain prepares for reconciliation talks Continued from Page 1

The call for dialogue was welcomed by the EU. “The EU stands ready to support the process as and when wished by the Bahraini side,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The Justice Ministry said the first meetings would try to agree on an agenda for the talks, the state’s BNA news agency said, without giving further details. Information Minister Samira Rajab had earlier welcomed the opposition’s response to the invitation, made on Monday by the Justice Ministry on behalf of King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa, and said the government would ask all parties to name delegates to the talks, which she said could start soon. “All the steps will start. I think the time frame will go fast, as long as all the parties are willing to go through positive, very serious dialogue,” she said. She said the government would moderate the event, help set the agenda and implement any recommendations. “As far

as I understand, the government won’t be represented there. They will be the moderators, the regulator,” she said without elaborating. Opposition groups say previous promises of constructive dialogue by the authorities have come to nothing and accuse the government of continuing to crush dissent. But six opposition groups said after a meeting in Bahrain on Tuesday they welcomed the king’s call for talks and said the two sides need to jointly work on implementing any accord within an agreed time frame and with proper guarantees. “We have to learn from the previous (round) of dialogue in order to ensure we do not fail this time,” Marzouq said. Talks in July 2011 ended inconclusively after Wefaq withdrew, complaining it had not been allowed enough representation at the negotiations, and there were too many handpicked participants to reach a meaningful consensus. Shiites complain of discrimination in the electoral system, jobs, housing, education and government departments.—Reuters





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UN sanctions unlikely to bring N Korea to heel By Park Chan-Kyong he latest sanctions against North Korea will have little impact on its nuclear and missile program, despite the added clout of China’s support for the UN measures, analysts said yesterday. The action announced by the UN Security Council on Tuesday was a clear compromise that expanded the list of North Korean entities on the UN’s sanctions list, but stopped short of imposing any tough new penalties. It followed weeks of intense negotiations between the United States, which wanted a strong response to the North’s long-range rocket launch last month, and China which sought to shield its ally from any harsh measures. The resolution added North Korea’s space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to the UN list of entities subject to an assets freeze and travel ban. “The sanctions themselves amount to little more than a slap on the wrist,” said Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. “But the North is likely to be upset at China yielding to pressure from other members of the UN Security Council and accepting the resolution,” Kim said. The US-proposed resolution was adopted unanimously by the 15-nation council and included a threat of “significant action” should Pyongyang stage a nuclear test in the future. As North Korea’s sole major ally and economic lifeline, China is seen as the only country with any genuine leverage over the impoverished, isolated and nuclear-armed state. At the same time, Pyongyang has played on Chinese fears of the consequences of North Korea’s collapse to defy Beijing’s efforts to rein in its nuclear weapons program. Most analysts agreed with Kim that the real import of Tuesday’s sanctions announcement lay in Beijing’s backing, rather than the actual measures themselves. “Any kind of Chinese move is important,” said Robert Kelly, professor of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University. “North Korea would collapse without Chinese support. So when China backs sanctions, even if they aren’t that tough, it’s significant,” Kelly said. Pyongyang’s reaction to the UN measures was swift and defiant, with the North’s foreign ministry denouncing the resolution and vowing to strengthen the country’s nuclear and missile capabilities. Its response is likely to fuel speculation that Pyongyang is preparing a third nuclear test, following its previous detonations in 2006 and 2009. “The problem is that North Korea has far too much invested financially and politically - in its nuclear program to step back now,” said Kelly. “The best that sanctions have done and can do is slow the march to nuclearisation and make it harder to proliferate,” he added. Speaking to reporters after the Security Council announcement, China’s UN ambassador Li Baodong made it clear that Beijing was equally sceptical about the effectiveness of sanctions. “The policy of sanctions and resolutions alone does not work,” Li said, calling for an early resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue that have been held intermittently since 2003. Pyongyang walked out of the negotiations in April 2009, a month before it carried out its second nuclear test, and in its statement Wednesday the foreign ministry appeared to rule out any return to the table. “There will be no dialogue to discuss denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” the ministry said. Last month a US think-tank, citing satellite photos, said the North had repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation at two weeks’ notice. And South Korea’s Unification Minister Yu Woo-Ik recently told a parliamentary committee that it was “highly probable” the North would follow up the successful rocket launch with another nuclear test. But Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies, said the prospect of another test in the first half of this year was “rather low”. “A test is the North’s last card and it’s still too soon to play it,” Yang said. Yun Duk-Min, a professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, said Pyongyang would wait to see what line the US administration would take on North Korea at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term. “The important thing is the degree to which China will participate in enforcing this resolution,” Yun said, arguing that expanding Chinese-North Korean trade ties effectively neutered the force of any UN economic measures. — AFP


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Algeria sends signal to jihadists with force By Giles Elgood lgeria’s swift use of lethal force against Islamist fighters who seized one of its main gas fields raised concerns in the West but came as no surprise at home and showed clearly how the government would respond to future jihadist attacks. By the time special forces had cleared the In Amenas complex at the weekend, nearly 70 hostages and militants lay dead. Some Western leaders seemed unaware of what was happening on the ground, complaining that they had not been consulted about the decision to go in with foreign hostages’ lives at stake. For the Algerian leadership, the decision to attack with helicopters, snipers and special forces to tackle insurgents who had threatened to blow up the plant was apparently an easy one and the operation was seen as a success that has boosted the prestige of the armed forces. “We are proud of our army’s special forces and the whole world has understood that this reaction was the only possible response,” Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said. “When the security of the country is at risk, you have to be firm.” That reaction was clearly conditioned by the turbulent recent history of a country that jealously guards its sovereignty and sees those it regards as Islamist “terrorists” as a threat that must be snuffed out. And with a war in progress in neighbouring Mali, it is a threat that looms larger now. Algeria fought a bitter war of independence against France in the 1950s and an even bloodier civil war against Islamist insurgents in the 1990s that cost 200,000 lives. Its leadership is secretive, authoritarian and determined to preserve the state in


the face of Islamist unrest. Oil and gas account for the bulk of Algeria’s export earnings and the funds enable the government to subsidise food and fuel prices and cushion the effect of unemployment, particularly among the young. Hydrocarbon wealth enabled Algeria to dodge the upheavals of the Arab Spring and experts believe that any further Islamist attacks on its oil and gas industry will be met with force by a security establishment determined to maintain the status quo. More Islamist attacks are likely, but they are expected to be smaller, with foreign workers at risk from shootings and bombings. The security forces will deal with them firmly, said Richard Jackson, Deputy Director of Violent Risk Forecasting at the Exclusive Analysis consultancy. “They are likely to respond in a forceful and rapid way to any future events,” he said. Prime Minister Sellal has been at pains to stress that the problem his country faces is not related to Islam, but to terrorism and banditry. “I particularly call on Arab countries, in order to tell them that we are not facing an Islamic issue, but terrorists and mercenaries,” he said. “We must protect our religion, our civilisation, which terrorists are destroying. How can we imagine that such an acts are perpetrated on behalf of Islam. These crimes will not be allowed in Algeria.” The leader of the group behind the In Amenas attack, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is known to be active in cigarette smuggling and kidnap and ransom, which many see as undermining any claim to purely religious motivation. Some in Algeria suggest, however, that the military response to religious radicalism may not be effective on its own. A repositioning of religious values

away from those espoused by foreign teachers may be necessary. “Military combat against Salafi jihadists is needed, but it is not enough. We must also combat their ideology by returning to our values, our religious references,” said Mohamed Mouloudi, an independent analyst on Islamic issues. “Algeria doesn’t need Saudi muftis to tell its citizens what is permitted and what is not, as is the case now. We must reform our education system, we must reform the way the government handles religion. If not, we will very soon become an annexe of Salafi ideology.” Although the In Amenas attack was plotted in Mali and involved foreign jihadists, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb can be found in Algeria. Algerian libraries today contain religious texts originating mainly in Saudi Arabia, written by scholars who endorse the hard-line Wahhabi ideology, Mouloudi said. “I am not saying they are all terrorists, but I am saying the ideas they promote clash with our values and our culture,” he said. In the meantime, however, one beneficiary of the In Amenas operation may be the Algerian military, whose political influence could be boosted as the country approaches an election in which it is unclear whether Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, will stand. “ The successful military assault has boosted the Algerian army’s popularity among the people, which is an important factor 15 months ahead of a presidential election in which the military could play a major role in promoting a candidate,” said an Algerian analyst, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. —Reuters

Vote might constrain Bibi’s foreign policy By Crispian Balmer weaker-than-expected showing by Prime M inister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s election might limit his room for manoeuvre against Iran and put his hardline stance toward Palestinian statehood under renewed pressure. However, the focus of Israeli politics in the weeks ahead is likely to be on domestic issues, such as plugging the budget deficit, tackling complaints about military draft exemptions for religious students and finding cheaper housing for the young. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, in alliance with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu group, won the most seats in the next parliament and so he should lead negotiations to build a governing coalition. Although support for the rightist bloc undoubtedly slipped, early forecasts suggest he could still construct a narrow alliance, joining together ultraOrthodox and nationalist religious parties not dissimilar to his outgoing cabinet. But the emergence of a new centrist force, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) led by former television host Yair Lapid, will, many believe, compel him to seek a broader coalition. This will demand much more difficult negotiations that will touch on sensitive foreign and domestic policy options. Netanyahu made only a vague reference to the Palestinian issue in his victory speech early yesterday, but immediately highlighted the issue of Iran’s nuclear program that many in the West believe is geared towards building an atomic bomb. “The first challenge was and remains preventing I ran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” he told party faithful in Tel Aviv. Tehran has denied it is seeking nuclear weapons. Although polls show most Israelis agree with Netanyahu that Iran threatens their country’s existence, centrist and leftist parties, including Yesh Atid, made clear they thought it was the duty of international powers to resolve


the problem. “Concerning Iran, the US should lead the military option, not Israel,” Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Israeli internal intelligence agency and a Yesh Atid candidate, said this month. Netanyahu has indicated he would be ready to launch a unilateral military strike, if needed, but analysts said Tuesday’s vote did not give him a clear mandate to do so and instead reflected widespread unease a his approach to Tehran. “ The prime minister should understand that the people are telling him to be moderate on I ran,” said Professor Gideon R amat, with the Hebrew University. “ These elections have weakened Netanyahu.” Aaron David Miller, once a senior US adviser on the peace process, said the apparent weakening of the right in Israel might help improve notoriously bad relations between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama. Netanyahu’s support for Jewish settlement building in the West Bank and his

attempts to push the United States into adopting a tougher line toward Iran have caused regular friction between the two nations over the past four years and this week saw both leaders effectively launched on new terms in office. “The fact is, if (Netanyahu) goes with Lapid and he reaches out to the centre, you’re going to end up with an American-Israeli rapprochement to a certain degree,” Miller told CNN. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu ticket won win 31 of the 120 parliamentary seats, while Yesh Atid came in second with 19 seats. Netanyahu immediately made overtures to Lapid, who struck a chord with ordinary voters with his call for affordable housing, spreading the economic burden and improving education. His party went out of its way to play down external issues facing Israel. “A big majority of middle class Israelis have voted strongly against the priorities of the last government,” said Dan Avnon, a political science professor at

Israeli Prime Minister and chairman of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters in the Tel Aviv party headquarters early yesterday after his Likud-Beitenu list won the Israeli general election. — AFP

Hebrew University. “These are the people who pay the taxes and serve in the army,” he said. “I don’t think they can be ignored.” On many issues, Lapid will find a sympathetic ear on the right, but two key issues could scupper any alliance his demand that ultra-Orthodox religious students should do military service and his call to revive moribund Palestinian peace talks - however dim the prospects for progress appear. The second point in particular will put him at loggerheads not just with many of Netanyahu’s own supporters, but also another hardline party, Jewish Home, which in many ways is a natural fit with Likud-Beitenu and was set to take some 12 seats. Jewish Home and its charismatic young millionaire leader Naftali Bennet rejec t any peace negotiations and instead want Israel to annex large chunks of the occupied West Bank - a proposal that has alarmed Washington and other Western allies. “Netanyahu needs to work with Lapid and present a more moderate face to the world. If he doesn’t, it is going to prove very problematic for him,” said professor Shmuel Sandler at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University. “But it won’t be easy to square the circle over the Palestinian issue,” he added. “This won’t be an easy road and it will be harder for (the prime minister) to hold the government together than it was before.” Coalition talks could take several weeks to complete and Netanyahu might in the end decide to stick with his current stable of political allies, preferring a slender majority to having to accommodate the demands of centrist newcomers. But analysts said Israel’s middle classes would frown on such an outcome and wanted to see the next government rise above party politics and factional infighting. “Netanyahu has always proved he is a great survivor,” said Avnon at Hebrew University. “Now he has to show he can also be a statesman.” —Reuters


S P ORTS Buffon extends Juve deal ROME: Italian international goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is extending his contract with Juventus by two years through to 2015, the club said yesterday. Buffon, 34, “has extended his deal with the club for two further years through to June 2015. Juve will always be home for him,” chairman Andrea Agnelli told a news conference. Having started out with Parma, Buffon joined Juve in 2001 and stayed loyal even when, having just lifted the 2006 World Cup with Italy, the club were relegated following the “Calciopoli” match-fixing scandal. “Juve is a way of life,” explained Buffon. “I hope to play as much as I can and that I will always be able to give my best. I know when it will be time to stop. I will be on the top of my game for the (2014) World Cup and the Euros (in 2016).” Buffon, 123 caps for his country, says he hopes he will ultimately “above all land the title I am still missing - the European Cup (C ham p io ns League).” —AFP

Malaga take Lugano on loan from PSG MADRID: Malaga have strengthened their squad by taking Uruguay defender and captain Diego Lugano on loan from Paris St Germain until the end of the season, the Spanish club said yesterday. The 32-year-old arrived on the Costa del Sol on Tuesday, has passed the pertinent medical tests, and will be presented after training with the squad for the first time later in the day, the club said. He is eligible to play for Malaga in the Champions League, but the club do not have an option to make the move permanent at the end of the season. The centre-back played with Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Turkey’s Fenerbahce before moving to Paris in 2011, but has found his opportunities limited. Lugano becomes Malaga’s second mid-season recruit after the fifthplaced club in La Liga landed Chelsea’s promising Brazilian midfielder Lucas Piazon on another six-month loan deal last week. Malaga, who take on Porto in the last 16 of the Champions League next month, will meet Barcelona in a King’s Cup quarter-final second leg today. Manuel Pellegrini’s side hold the upper hand against the league leaders after a 2-2 draw in last week’s first leg at the Nou Camp. —Reuters

N Zealand skipper Nelsen to retire WELLINGTON: New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen said yesterday he will take up the coaching reins at Toronto FC next month, ending his playing career with both the All Whites and England’s Queens Park Rangers. Nelsen signed on as manager of the Major League Soccer side Toronto earlier this month, but it was unclear when he would begin his new duties as his QPR contract did not end until June 30. QPR manager Harry Redknapp was keen for him to stay and help the Premier League side fight relegation but the 35-year-old said in a statement that he will join Toronto full-time on February 1. Nelsen also called time on his international career with the All Whites, admitting that age was catching up with him. “When you’re not enjoying the playing side as much as other aspects of football, you know it is time to move on,” he said. “That time is now and I want to commit all my energies into my coaching career with Toronto FC.” Nelsen led New Zealand at the 2010 World Cup, where his team of part-timers and journeymen held the then-champions Italy to a 11 draw before exiting in the group stages. N Z Fo o t b a l l c h a i r m a n Fr a n k v a n Hattum said he was pleased Nelsen had hung up his boots on his own terms after earning 49 caps for his country. —AFP

Thomas takes lead at Tour Down Under Spaniard Javier Moreno second

Thafeiri represents Kuwait, KQMC in ME Rally championship KUWAIT: The first round of the Middle East Rally Championship 2013, due in the period of January 24-26, kicks off today in Qatar. This Rally has attracted 21 participants from Kuwait, Qatar, KSA, UK and Turkey including Kuwait’s and Kuwait Quarter Mile Club (KQMC)’s only driver, Meshari AlThafeiri. Al-Thafeiri has a long career in local and regional rallies. He has recently taken part in Dubai International Rally in

November and won the third place in the first phase of Qatar Rally 2012-2013. Commenting on Al-Thafeiri’s participation, KQMC’s chairman, Sheikh Ali AlFawwaz Al-Sabah wished him good luck and expressed hope that he would qualify for the coming rounds. Al-Fawwaz also thanked Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (KMMF) chairman, Nasser AlKhalifa Al-Attiya for his endless support to Kuwaiti players.

KEY WEST: In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau J/70 class sailboats navigate a downwind leg at the Quantum Key West sailing regatta Tuesday, in Key West, Fla. The five-day event, featuring 121 sailing teams representing the US and 14 other countries, is to conclude tomorrow. —AP

Disgraced Dekker vows to tell all THE HAGUE: Disgraced Dutch cyclist Thomas Dekker has promised to spill the beans on the doping culture in the sport and name names, he announced yesterday. Dekker, who has served a two-year ban for using the blood booster EPO and made no secret of the fact, was ready to co-operate fully with the Dutch Anti-Doping Authority, he said in a statement posted on the website of his agents SEG. “I will testify and fully co-operate with the Dutch Anti-Doping Authority to help further clean the world of cycling. Therefore I choose to give the full extent of my knowledge, names, dates and details,” Dekker said. “I will begin this process and hope that it will make it easier for ex-colleagues and ex-teammates to come forward and help the sport.” He explained: “As member of Team Garmin-Sharp and their policy and values, as (a) Dutch rider and member of the Dutch federation, as (an) ex-doper who served a two-year suspension and as (a)supporter of clean cycling: I announce that there are many details and people involved with my doping past. “All of that,

including the names of people who helped me will be given to the Anti-Doping Authority.” The first meeting between Dekker and the AntiDoping Authority is planned within the coming two weeks, the website announced. In a recent interview with the newspaper NRC, Dekker revealed he had also had blood transfusions in 2007 when he was riding for the Rabobank team. He had already admitted using eryhyropotein and was suspended for two years in 2009 after testing positive. Dekker explained he had begun using EPO in 2006 with the help of the Rabobank team doctors.”It was very easy to be influenced, doping was widespread at that time,” he said. “No-one spoke out against it, doping was a way of life for many of my team-mates and colleagues and for me, too. Doping was part of the job. I thought blood transfusions were the road to success as all the big names were doing it.” Rabobank withdrew sponsorship of its procycling team in October last year in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, calling the sport “sick” to its core. —AFP

ADELAIDE: Britain’s Geraint Thomas launched an audacious attack on Corkscrew Hill then outsprinted his rivals to record a brilliant win in the second stage of the Tour Down Under yesterday. Thomas, who won gold in the team pursuit at the London Olympics, broke clear halfway up Corkscrew Hill five kilometres from the finish line and was too strong in the closing stages, taking both the stage win and the overall lead in the season-opening WorldTour race. The 26-year-old said he had been training hard heading into the new season, using London teammate Bradley Wiggins as motivation. “Seeing what Brad did (at the Tour de France) last year has definitely given me the confidence to really push on on the road,” Thomas said after winning the stage in 2hr 44min 18sec. Thomas took the field by surprise when he attacked on Corkscrew. Although he was caught by three other riders on the downhill run to the finish line, he attacked again 400 metres from home to claim the 116.5km stage from Mt Barker to Rostrevor. Spaniard Javier Moreno from Movistar was second with Radioshack Leopard’s Belgian rider Ben Hermans third, both a second behind Thomas. Thomas also took over the ochre jersey as outright leader from Andre Greipel, the big German sprinter finishing more than six minutes back. Thomas said afterwards he had been determined not to suffer a let down after claiming gold in the team pursuit in London. “As soon as I finished the Olympics I was straight back on the road,” he said. “I wanted to start the year strong and that’s what I’ve done-it’s defi-

nitely a nice reward for all the hard work over winter.” World road race champion Philippe Gilbert’s chances of overall victory are all but gone after he was involved in a crash soon after getting over Corkscrew.

of defending the title were also gone after losing contact with the leading group and finishing 2min 36sec behind Thomas. Thomas said he was worried he had attacked too early on the 2.4km climb up Corkscrew. “At one

just gave it everything.” The Welshman was quietly confident of hanging on to the lead, although he conceded Thursday’s stage from Unley to Stirling would not be easy. “Tomorrow’s a tough stage, it’s a hard start so potentially there

ADELAIDE: Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas from Wales receives a kiss on the podium after winning the 116.5km stage two of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide yesterday. The six-stage Tour Down Under takes place from January 20 to 27. —AFP The Belgian was not badly hurt, but he limped home two minutes and 49 seconds behind the leaders. Frenchman Arnaud Courteille and Giovanni Visconti of Italy were taken to hospital for assessment following the crash, but no riders were seriously injured. Last year’s champion, Australia’s Simon Gerrans, conceded his hopes

point I did think perhaps I’d gone a bit early, got a bit keen up that climb, but I managed to just hang on over the top and fortunately there was another little group behind and we worked really well together,” he said. “I just took a bit of a run at them and hit them with 400-350 metres to go. I knew it was a fast finish and I

could be a strong group go away which would be pretty dangerous,” he said. “But we’ve got a strong team, we’re just going to try and defend it tomorrow and if we do that it will be a real step forward.” Thursday’s 139km stage starts in inner-city Unley and finishes with an uphill sprint into the town of Stirling. —AFP

Armstrong fails to convince fans with confession: Poll NEW YORK: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong failed to convince many people he was truly sorry for his actions during his televised confession to cheating his way to a record seven Tour de France titles by using drugs, according to a Reuters poll. Armstrong, 41, admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last week that he used performance-enhancing drugs and lied about it for over decade, finally owning up to being at the centre of one of the biggest drug scandals in world sport. But the two-part interview aired over 2.5 hours on Winfrey’s OWN cable T V channel, appeared to do little to restore faith in the once revered and inspirational cyclist who was admired for his charity work after surviving cancer. Only 12 percent of 1,240 Americans surveyed in an Ipsos poll for Reuters, conducted between January 18-22, said Armstrong appeared gen-

uinely remorseful when confronted by Oprah. Nearly half of the respondents, or 48 percent, said Armstrong had only come clean as he could no longer continue to deny it and a third said it was a bid to rebuild his shattered image. The scandal has pushed Armstrong to the bottom of a list of 12 world-class athletes, in terms of reputation, with seven out of 10 people, or 71 percent, saying he was a bad role model for children. A majority of people, 57 percent, said Armstrong should be banned from competing in racing in the future even though the Texan has said he hoped a lifetime ban would one day be lifted to allow him to compete in events like marathons. But despite the survey showing a dramatic fall from grace, the results showed that redemption was not impossible although few other athletes have had to overcome the scale of cheating undertaken by Armstrong.

Golfer Tiger Woods, whose serial infidelity was revealed after a traffic accident outside his home, was cited by 20 percent as a good role model for children. Swimmer Michael Phelps was seen as a good role model by 63 percent despite newspapers publishing photographs of him in 2009 inhaling from a glass pipe used for smoking marijuana. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who was stripped of his 1988 Olympic 100 metres title for taking steroids, was cited as a good role model by 27 percent of participants in the survey. Johnson believes Armstrong could still rebuild his standing with the public, particularly in light of the work he did establishing Livestrong, the cancer foundation. “American people will forgive him,” Johnson said in an interview on BBC radio earlier this week, “I think people will judge him differently, based on what he did for humanity and for cancer.” —Reuters

Ogilvy could add international flavor SAN DIEGO: Geoff Ogilvy of Australia has a chance to be a small part of history on the PGA Tour, even if he thinks history is against him. Ogilvy is among five players on this year’s 16-member Player Advisory Council who has been nominated to be a chairman of the PAC. The chairman serves one year before he is elevated to player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board. There has never been an international player serve on the board. “I don’t think I’ll get voted in because I’m an international player,” Ogilvy said Tuesday. “I guess there’s more international players every year. I think their position - the current board and Ponte Vedra, if you like - think if the tour is 25 percent international players, maybe of

the four player directors there might should be one that’s an Americanized international. You can’t just bring someone from another country and put them on the board. But once you’ve been on tour for a certain amount of time, you get a feel for it.” Roughly one-third of the tour now consists of international players. Steve Stricker and Paul Goydos are in their final year on the board, so there will be two chairmen elected from the PAC. The other four candidates are Joe Ogilvie, Mark Wilson, Bo Van Pelt and Jason Bohn. Ogilvy is respected among his peers for his clarity and his insightful thoughts on the game, particularly his outlook on golf course architecture and how courses are

set up. He has served on the PAC a few times before, without any interest in being a chairman. “It would be interesting to be on the board. This is an interesting time for the tour,” Ogilvy said. “I’m not inclined that way, but I am interest in the operations of the tour.” The former US Open champion, who also has three World Golf Championships to his credit, is not about to campaign for votes. He’s not even sure what players want in a chairman and future board member. “I would have said at least 50 percent of the players don’t mind who the board members are and really don’t care about the operating of events. As long as they get $6 million to play for 30 times a year, they’re happy - and they like

the way the courses are set up. That’s pretty much the interest of half the tour. They don’t go much further than that. They vote for their friends, I would think. That’s how politics work in general, isn’t it?” TIGER AND TOM: Tiger Woods and Tom Watson are both Stanford alums and have won player of the year multiple times on the PGA Tour. They have never been particularly close, though they have a long history that dates to when Woods was still in elementary school. That mainly involves Watson’s caddie, though. Woods was talking Tuesday about how his father took him to PGA Tour events when he was a kid, to Torrey Pines and Riviera, when he recalled a moment

with Watson at Riviera in 1985. Watson’s caddie was the late Bruce Edwards, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. “So No. 8, Tom snipes it to the left off the tee, and I’m right there,” Woods said. “He hits it again, left of the green - pin was back left. I’m up there ... He basically yelled at me saying, ‘I moved you out of here once,’ and basically moved me out of there twice. I just wanted to see, you know? Tom Watson. He sniped one, and sniped another one, and I happened to be right there on both of those shots. And Bruce let me know about it.” Many years later, is it safe to assume that some young fan watching Woods might have gone through the same experience? —AP



Pakistan offers insurance, security for visiting teams KARACHI: Pakistan will offer visiting players insurance worth two million dollars each in a bid to overcome security fears and revive international cricket in the country, the chairman of the national cricket board (PCB) Zaka Ashraf said yesterday. “We are taking all steps to revive international cricket here and everyone should feel proud about the efforts we have made in this regard,” Ashraf told Dawn newspaper. The steps would include offering insurance and providing security for visiting teams, he said. “(People) are afraid that they would

be subjected to a shoot-out as soon as they come out of the airport,” Ashraf said. “There is lot of effort required to change this perception because things are definitely not so bad here.” International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. Six Pakistani policemen and a driver were killed and five players were wounded. No test team has toured Pakistan since and the International Cricket Council (ICC) moved 2011 World Cup matches away from the country because of security concerns. When a

“unmanageable” security risk. PSL adviser Haroon Lorgat insisted the dire warnings from FICA chief executive Tim May were not an attack on the league itself and said the competition had had a positive response from players and sponsors. “While we understand that sort of a statement from the players’ association but I don’t think we necessarily agree with it-the reality is different and the league will happen,” said Lorgat. Former Australia spinner May said he expected the majority of international cricketers would heed the FICA advice and shun the league, and while Lorgat

World XI played two Twenty20 exhibitions in Pakistan last October, the country supplied 5,000 police and para-military personnel to provide security. Meanwhile, Pakistan yesterday tried to brush aside security worries over its first major Twenty20 league but admitted a warning from the international players association not to take part may have an impact. The head of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) warned players not to take part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), due to start on March 2, because of the

was upbeat he admitted the warning would have an effect. “A statement of that sort is negative and it doesn’t help the preparation but fortunately some of the players have already committed and trust the assurances on security given by the PCB,” said Lorgat. Butt claimed there was an overwhelming response from the broadcasters and bids for title sponsorships would be invited today. Earlier this month the International Cricket Council (ICC) hailed the new Twenty20 as a helpful move towards restoring faith in Pakistan as a safe place to play cricket. —AFP

Australia beat S Lanka to square ODI series First Australian to score ton on ODI debut

KENT: In this Oct. 21, 2012 file photo, Ashley Wagner stands on the podium after receiving the gold medal for the ladies free event in the Skate America figure skating competition in Kent, Wash. Wagner is the overwhelming favorite at nationals, which begin today in Omaha, Neb. — AP

Ross Taylor named in NZ XI to face England CHRISTCHURCH: Former New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor will take the first tentative steps to rejoin the national setup after being named in a New Zealand XI yesterday to face England in two Twenty20 matches. Taylor was effectively dumped as skipper by coach Mike Hesson last month after New Zealand’s tour of Sri Lanka, creating a public outcry and damaging New Zealand Cricket’s credibility. Taylor did not make himself available for the team’s current tour of South Africa, with Brendon McCullum named to lead the side in all three forms of the game. The 28-year-old, however, had said he would consider returning to the team for the England series, but has barely played in domestic cricket since his return from Sri Lanka. “Obviously it’s great to have Ross back in the mix and really were excited about seeing him play again,” national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said of Taylor’s inclusion for the two matches on Feb. 4 and 6 in Whangarei. “He’s a proven world-class batsman and

this will provide him with a great chance to get some cricket under his belt following his break. Former Australia wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi was also named in the New Zealand side after completing the required standdown period to play for his country of birth. “We’re pleased to have Luke Ronchi available as well and after a great (domestic Twenty20 competition) we look forward to watching him continue to make an impact,” added Ronchi was born in New Zealand but moved to Western Australia as a child. He played four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals for Australia in 2008 and 2009 but found his path to further matches blocked by Brad Haddin. Ronchi moved to New Zealand in 2012 to play for Wellington and became eligible for the country earlier this month after completing a four-year stand-down period since his last international match for Australia. England begin a three-match Twenty20 international series against New Zealand in Auckland on Feb. 9 before playing three one-day internationals and three test matches. — Reuters

HOBART: Man-of-the-match Phil Hughes hit his second one-day international century yesterday to pull Australia level after the fifth and final match of the series against Sri Lanka. The diminutive left-hander cracked 138 off 154 balls to help Australia post a winning total of 247 for five after being put in to bat. Hughes, who became the in Melbourne, nonetheless admitted he found the going hard. “I know if you do get in it’s something I pride myself on, to get that three-figure mark,” he said. “When I got to 50-60 I was finding it tough to score, but I got a few at the back end.” Playing his last game as captain, Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene sprung some surprises in fine weather at the Bellerive Oval. He won the toss and put Australia in to bat on what looked a good wicket and threw off-spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan the new ball. It was unorthodox but he was quickly rewarded with three maidens and an early wicket. Dilshan found some unexpected grip and stunned David Warner, who pushed an outside edge onto off-stump with the score on 31. Warner made 10 off 18 balls. There was little or no swing for Nuwan Kulasekara, who won the player of the series award after swinging the ball prodigiously in Brisbane and Sydney, but he had Matthew Wade out lbw for 23 after missing a straight one. Australia, missing skipper Michael Clarke who failed a late fitness test on a twisted ankle, looked in trouble again with two wickets down for 37. Sri Lanka had seized a 2-1 lead in the series on Friday, bowling out Australia for just 74 in Brisbane. The tourists had also looked favourites to win the fourth leg before a rain wash-out in Sydney on Sunday. In Hobart, the Sri Lankan attack tied up replacement captain George Bailey as the overs went by. Hughes had a let-off with a mis-hit that rolled onto his stumps but failed to remove the bails. That seemed to spark him into life and a steady 50 came up off 82. Thisara Perera broke the Hughes-Bailey partnership of 60 off 100 balls when he caught and bowled the latter for 17 off 43 balls. Hughes was repaid handsomely for his gritty patience in the final overs, adding a towering six to his 13 fours. David Hussey tried to stay with him but Perera ran him out off his own bowling going for an invisible run. All-rounder Glenn Maxwell threw the bat and was duly caught at extra cover off Lasith Malinga for 9. Sri Lanka faced a required run rate of 4.94 an over but Jayawardene looked on song, driving two early boundaries. The tourists had cruised to 50 off 10 overs when the skipper, on 38, inexplicably chipped Xavier Doherty to Mitchell Starc at mid-on. A mini-collapse ensued as Lahiru Thirimanne lofted Doherty to a grateful David Hussey at long-on. The spinner then clean-bowled Dinesh Chandimal for six.

Australia stifled the Sri Lankans for long periods and as the required run rate climbed, the tourists started to look desperate. Stand-in keeper Kushal Perera went trying to hit out as the required rate topped 10 an over. He was caught by Warner off Mitchell Johnson for 14. Potential future captain Angelo Mathews finally found some timing and the boundary,

ably supported by Jeevan Mendis. But mediumpacer Moises Henriques bowled Mendis for 26 and dismissed Mathews for 67 with the score still on 187 and seven wickets down. The Sri Lanka tail failed to wag and Clint McKay cleaned up the last two wickets cheaply. The tour ends with two T20 games in Sydney on Saturday and Melbourne on Monday. —AFP

HOBART: Thisara Perera of Sri Lanka is clean bowled by Moises Henriques of Australia during the fifth One-Day International match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Blundstone Arena in Hobart yesterday. — AFP

SCOREBOARD HOBART: Scoreboard from the final one-day international between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Bellerive Oval yesterday. Australia won by 32 runs to draw the series 2-2. Australia innings M Wade lbw b Kulasekara 23 D Warner b Dilshan 10 P Hughes not out 138 G Bailey c & b T Perera 17 D Hussey run out (T Perera) 34 G Maxwell c Thirimanne b Malinga 9 M Henriques not out 9 Extras: (2lb, 5w) 7 Total: (for five wickets; 50 overs) 247 Fall of wickets: 1-31 2-37 3-97 4-195 5-218 Did not bat: M Johnson, M Starc, C McKay, X Doherty. Bowling: T Dilshan 7-3-22-1, N Kulasekara 101-57-1, A Mathews 7-0-44-0, S Malinga 10-149-1 (1w), R Herath 10-2-34-0, T Perera 6-0-391 (1w). Sri Lanka innings M Jayawardene c Starc b Doherty 38

T Dilshan c Wade b Henriques 19 L Thirimanne c Hussey b Doherty 1 D Chandimal b Doherty 6 A Mathews c Bailey b Johnson 67 K Perera c Warner b Johnson 14 J Mendis b Henriques 26 T Perera b Henriques 7 N Kulasekara not out 14 R Herath c Henriques b McKay 2 L Malinga c Johnson b McKay 2 Extras: (12lb, 6w, 1nb) 19 Total: (all out; 48.3 overs) 215 Fall of wickets: 1-57 2-62 3-71 4-77 5-108 6187 7-187 8-195 9-200 Bowling: C McKay 9.3-0-51-2 (2w), M Starc 9-048-0 (1nb, 3w), M Johnson 10-0-45-2 (1w), X Doherty 8-1-21-3, M Henriques 10-1-32-3, G Maxwell 2-0-6-0.

Kuwait to participate in ACC Women’s Championship

Maryam Omar

Annum Hafeez

Mariyam Khalil

Khadija Khalil

K. K. Mariamma

KUWAIT: Kuwait Women’s cricket team is all set to travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand to participate in the ACC Women’s Championship 2013, featuring teams from Bhutan, China, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand and UAE. Matches will be played over 25-overs per side and the winner of this tournament will qualify to play in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier in Ireland in August 2013.

Mehek Singhranavat

Varshini Suresh


The ACC Women’s Championship is organized by Asian Cricket Council to promote women’s cricket for non-test playing countries in the Asian region. Kuwait women’s squad is led by Mariam Omar, a talented all rounder and features some experienced players who can match their skills with many in the region. The team has been undergoing strenuous training sessions for months and are extremely confident to perform well.

Kalaivanis K

Amna Sharif Tariq

Srinithi Jayakumar

Maryyam Ashraf

Dilshi Priyarangika

ACC Women’s Championship 2013 Group A Hong Kong Nepal Malaysia Bhutan UAE

Group B China Thailand Singapore Kuwait Iran Qatar

Madhu Joshi

Nida Mirza

Tariq Rasool

Sandra Almeida

Isra Mirza



Steely Li confident of halting Sharapova MELBOURNE: Record-breaking Maria Sharapova will hope to capitalise on Serena Williams’ demise to snatch her fifth Grand Slam title-but first she’ll have to get past a determined Li Na in the semis. The tall Russian was quickly installed as bookmakers’ favourite after a limping Williams was upset by teenager Sloane Stephens, who will face 2012 champion Victoria Azarenka in the last four on Thursday. Sharapova has been in terrifying form at the year’s opening Grand Slam, running through five matches for the loss of just nine games, a new tournament record. But Li is relaxed, fitter and perhaps steelier under new coach Carlos Rodriguez, and she can also draw on her 2011 per-

formances, when she defeated the Russian at the French Open the way to becoming Asia’s first Grand Slam champion. “She’s a more aggressive player on the court. Also she’s tough. She’s fighting a lot,” said Li, when asked how Sharapova’s game had improved. “Should be a tough match. So we’ll see today.” Li has shown she is comfortable at Melbourne Park, after reaching the 2011 final where she was beaten by Kim Clijsters, as well as making two other semifinals. And the Chinese world number six showed she is back on top of her game in the quarter-finals, when she halted the 13match winning streak of Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska. Li has already picked up one title this

year, in Shenzhen, and the 30-year-old seems to have banished the dreadful run of Grand Slam form which followed her 2011 win in Paris. “She certainly stepped up her game. I think at different times in a player’s career you need that extra motivation, you might need a change,” said Sharapova. “She’s been there, she’s done that-she’s a Grand Slam champion. It wasn’t like she needed someone to come in and fix her game. I don’t think that was really the plan. “But sometimes when you just have a different surrounding and a new voice, they might be saying the same things but it just gets to you a little bit differently and your motivation changes.” The two also have oddly intertwined

off-court affairs as they share an agent, Max Eisenbud, and Sharapova is coached by Thomas Hogstedt, who previously worked with Li. “We’ve played against each other so many times before Thomas was my coach and Max has been my manager since I was 11 years old. We know each other’s game. It has nothing to do (with anything),” Sharapova insisted. However, the Russian was not amused when asked whether Li could help her by taking a bag of her new line of sweets, Sugarpova, to China. “I think I can do that, too,” Sharapova snapped. Meanwhile America’s Stephens, 19, will be basking in the glow of her defeat of injury-hit 15-time Grand Slam winner

Williams, in the biggest shock of the tournament, when she walks out against Azarenka. “I was stretching, and I was like, ‘I’m in the semis of a Grand Slam’. I was like, ‘Whoa’. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. But it’s pretty cool,” she said, immediately after her 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win. The confident teenager was vague on her game plan but against Williams, she showed she has the shots and the temperament to cause problems for the world number one. “It’s going to be a totally different match. I’m just going to go out and play my best,” she said. “Do what I do really well and just play my game. Just hopefully play well again.” —AFP

Murray marches into semis without dropping a set Swiss will meet Murray for place in final MELBOURNE: Andy Murray beat Jeremy Chardy yesterday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals without dropping a set, and then shrugged off concerns he will be undercooked for the battles ahead. The British third seed was too strong and accomplished for the unseeded Frenchman, winning 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in 1hr 51min on Rod Laver

ment’s late stages. Murray has only spent 8h 56min on court in total for his five matches at this year’s Open, and faces a potential semi-final against 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who beat him in last year’s Wimbledon final. The victory took the Scot’s winning streak at the majors to 12 since his breakthrough US Open triumph

going to play better tennis. You never know for sure. But in the build-up to the tournament I played very well. I haven’t lost a set here yet. “I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament. I can’t be disappointed with where my game’s at and I hope the next round I play better again.” Murray broke Chardy’s service

MELBOURNE: Britain’s Andy Murray plays a return during his men’s singles match against France’s Jeremy Chardy on the tenth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne yesterday. —AFP Arena, and will now face Roger Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-final tomorrow. Defending champion Novak Djokovic will play Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer in the other semi today. Murray rated the win, which put him into his fourth consecutive Australian Open semi-final, as his best performance yet and said he had no fears about a lack of a tough work-out heading into the tourna-

in New York last September, and put him into his 12th Grand Slam semifinal. “For me today was a decent test. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good (lead-up) matches in Brisbane. So I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly,” he said. “I think you have to trust yourself that when you are tested you’re

eight times and played a clean match with 32 winners against 20 unforced errors. “Today was the best I’ve played. I’ve struggled in my last few rounds a little bit, my last opponent (Gilles Simon) was injured so it wasn’t much of a match as he struggled physically,” Murray said. “Jeremy’s had a great tournament, he’s beat some top players so I needed to come out sharp and get off to a good start.” Murray broke Chardy’s

opening two service games, before dropping his own in the sixth, and claimed the opening set on his third set point in 44 minutes. Murray got stronger as the match progressed and Chardy began to fade, and he broke the Frenchman’s serve three times to stroll through the second set in 32 minutes. Murray got two more service breaks to lead 5-1 in the final set, but was broken as he attempted to serve out for the match. His victory was clinched in Chardy’s next service game, winning it on his first match point. Chardy, who beat former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and 21st seed Andreas Seppi on his way to his first Grand Slam quarter-final, was happy despite the loss. Elsewhere, Roger Federer passed a five-set test from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday to set up an Australian Open semi-final with Andy Murray, as Serena Williams was shocked by teenager Sloane Stephens. The great Swiss needed all his coolness and concentration as he was twice pegged back from a set lead before taking it 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 76 (7/4), 3-6, 6-3, reaching his 33rd Grand Slam semi-final. “It was a tough close for sure, but the whole match was tough,” he said. “Any set could have gone either way. It’s tough because you never know what Jo’s going to come up with.” Facing Federer across the net on Friday will be Britain’s US Open champion Andy Murray, who hit top gear in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over unseeded Jeremy Chardy and is into the last four without dropping a set. World number one Novak Djokovic, chasing the tournament’s first title hat-trick of the professional era, plays indefatigable Spaniard David Ferrer today after all four top men’s seeds reached the semis. —Agencies

Stephens stuns Serena to set up Azarenka semi MELBOURNE: Serena Williams went down fighting like the five-times champion she is but bowed out of the Australian Open quarter-finals yesterday, hampered by a back injury and stunned in three sets by fellow American Sloane Stephens. The injury robbed Williams of her serve - the most effective weapon in women’s tennis - but teenager Stephens will take much credit for holding her nerve to finish off the ailing 15-times grand slam champion 3-6 7-5 6-4. Stephens, one of a band of promising young American women, will next face defending champion and world number Victoria Azarenka, who earlier came through a first-set scare to beat experienced Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1. “Oh my goodness,” said Stephens, who was teary-eyed and lost for words after beating a player whose picture once adorned her bedroom wall to reach her first grand slam semi-final. “This is so crazy, but oh my goodness, I think I’ll

have a poster of myself up now.” The 31-year-old Williams, odds-on favourite to claim a third successive grand slam crown, won the first set but pulled up to avoid hitting the net after a backhand drop shot early in the second and shrieked as she felt the full force of a back spasm. After lengthy treatment, Williams continued but the power of her serve and groundstrokes were considerably diminished and her 19-year-old opponent took advantage in impressive fashion to run out a winner on Rod Laver Arena. Williams tried graciously to honour the locker room code that you do not diminish an opponent’s achievement but was unable to wholly disguise the significance of the injury. “I even screamed on the court,” she said. “I was like, ‘ahh’. I totally locked up after that. It was just like, it was a little painful. “I couldn’t really rotate after that, which I guess is normal. I don’t know. “It was giving me trouble. But it was fine. I think my

MELBOURNE: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hits a forehand return to Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. —AP

opponent played well and was able to do a really good job.” The match between Williams and Stephens had been variously billed as a clash between patron and protege, hero and hero-worshipper and even queen and pretender to the throne. Whatever the truth about the nature of their relationship, Serena prevailed in a tight first set and looked in good shape to reach the last four until the injury intervened. She smashed a racket to pieces in frustration in the third set as her body failed to respond to treatment and, facing two match points, could only find the net tape and her 50th grand slam campaign was over. “This morning when I got up, I was like, ‘Look, dude, you can do this’. Go out and play and do your best,” Stephens said. “(When she got injured) I really just wasn’t thinking about anything other than myself because I was like, ‘I’m going to get distracted. I’m going to start thinking about something else and it’s going to be a mess.’” Azarenka had barely been tested on her way to the last eight and the 77-minute first set against former US Open and French Open champion Kuznetsova was longer than her entire fourth round match. Kuznetsova, returning after missing the entire back end of last season with a knee injury, seemed to catch Azarenka by surprise and raced to a 4-1 lead in bright morning sunshine at Melbourne Park. Azarenka rode the storm, however, and the slices with which the Russian had bamboozled the Belarussian grew steadily less effective as the world number one drove home her advantage. “It was important to take the opportunities to kind of make a big statement,” said Azarenka. “I think I did that and I turned things around into my own way.” Kuznetsova, whose slump to number 75 in the world began long before her knee injury, said she was still feeling the effects of her long lay off. “These matches, you got to play very consistent,” said the former world number two. “This is what for the moment kills me after my break, is my consistency. And I didn’t serve well.” —Reuters

WASHINGTON: Ondrej Pavelec No 31 of the Winnipeg Jets makes a save against Jay Beagle No 83 of the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Winnipeg won the game 4-2. —AFP

Jets spoil Capitals opener, win 4-2 WASHINGTON: Washington’s 10-season run of winning its NHL home opener was ended on Tuesday as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Capitals 4-2. Two games and two losses into the lockout-shortened season - and new Washington boss Adam Oates’ NHL head coaching career - star Alex Ovechkin doesn’t have a goal, the Capitals have been outscored 10-5, and their opponents are 5 for 12 on power plays. Winnipeg’s Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler each provided a goal and an assist, as the Jets - who had only scored twice in 137 minutes this season - suddenly scored two in four minutes in the first period. Unlike the Capitals, the New Jersey Devils did win their home opener, beating the winless Philadelphia Flyers 30.Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for his 120th NHL shutout while Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a short-handed penalty shot. The Flyers dropped to 0-3, matching their worst start since they also lost their first three games in the lockout-shortened 1995 season. Philadelphia rebounded that year to win the Atlantic Division, and the Devils won their first Stanley Cup championship that season, with Brodeur in goal. Brodeur was the difference this time in recording his 10th shutout against Philadelphia. He was outstanding in the first period, stopping nine shots. The Tampa Bay Lightning won 4-1 at the Carolina Hurricanes, with Keith Aulie scoring the momentum-shifting goal. Tom Pyatt and Cory Conacher scored early goals for the Lightning, which pulled away with two goals in the third period. The Hurricanes have started a much-anticipated season with two losses and have been outscored by a combined 9-2. Carolina has dropped four straight home openers.

The Montreal Canadiens had a 4-1 home win over the Florida Panthers, with Andrei Markov scoring twice - his first goals in two season- and Alex Galchenyuk netting the first of his NHL career. Markov had played only 17 games since he last scored on Nov. 9, 2010 due to two successive surgeries on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Both his goals came on power plays. Dallas’ Michael Ryder scored both goals as the Stars won 2-1 at the Detroit Red Wings, with Detroit goalie Kari Lehtonen coming within 3.4 seconds of a shutout. Lehtonen made 39 saves, but allowed Damien Brunner’s first career goal in the final seconds. The Chicago Blackhawks hung on to win their home opener, edging the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Viktor Stalberg gave Chicago a 3-0 lead by early in the fourth quarter, but the Blues got back into the contest and Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawfoed - who made 32 saves - had to be sharp to preserve the win. The Nashville Predators earned their first win of the new season with a 3-1 victory at the Minnesota Wild. Martin Erat scored for Nashville with 8:15 left when Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom couldn’t clear the puck cleanly.The Predators, who lost in a shootout in their previous two games, started a franchiserecord tying, seven-game trip with a strong finish. The Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 3-1 home win over the Los Angeles Kings, with Gabriel Landeskog and David Jones scoring 1:35 apart in the final period.The Edmonton Oilers were another team to suffer defeat in their home opener, beaten 6-3 by the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture each had two goals and an assist for the Sharks. —AP

NHL results/standings Winnipeg 4, Washington 2; Tampa Bay 4, Carolina 1; Montreal 4, Florida 1; New Jersey 3, Philadelphia 0; Dallas 2, Detroit 1; Nashville 3, Minnesota 1; Chicago 3, St. Louis 2; Colorado 3, Los Angeles 1; San Jose 6, Edmonton 3. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF Pittsburgh 2 0 0 9 New Jersey 2 0 0 5 NY Islanders 1 1 0 5 NY Rangers 0 2 0 4 Philadelphia 0 3 0 3

GA 4 1 5 9 11

PTS 4 4 2 0 0

Northeast Division Ottawa 2 0 0 8 Buffalo 2 0 0 7 Boston 2 0 0 5 Toronto 1 1 0 3 Montreal 1 1 0 5

1 3 2 3 3

4 4 4 2 2

Southeast Division Tampa Bay 2 1 0 13 Winnipeg 1 1 1 6 Florida 1 2 0 6 Washington 0 2 0 5 Carolina 0 2 0 2

8 8 9 10 9

4 3 2 0 0

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 3 0 0 14 St. Louis 2 1 0 12 Nashville 1 0 2 8 Columbus 1 0 1 6 Detroit 1 2 0 5

8 6 8 6 11

6 4 4 3 2

Northwest Division Minnesota 2 1 0 6 Colorado 1 1 0 5 Edmonton 1 1 0 6 Vancouver 0 1 1 5 Calgary 0 2 0 5

5 5 8 10 9

4 2 2 1 0

Pacific Division San Jose 2 0 0 10 4 4 Anaheim 2 0 0 12 7 4 Dallas 2 1 0 6 5 4 Phoenix 0 2 0 7 10 0 Los Angeles 0 2 0 3 8 0 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).




Rio mayor braced for a ‘good nightmare’ RIO DE JANEIRO: As Rio gears up to host a Papal visit in July, the football World Cup next year and the 2016 summer Olympics, the city’s mayor Eduardo Paes might be forgiven if he was dreading the next few years. But instead the 43-year-old said the high-profile events were a “good nightmare” that he hopes will change the face of his beloved city and transform attitudes across Brazil about “how to set deadlines so things are done and delivered on time”. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Paes denied that too heavy a burden was being placed on the city, with the World Cup the first to be held in the country since 1950 and South America having never hosted the summer Olympics before. “It is both a dream and a nightmare, but a good nightmare,” he said. “It is like dreaming of running a four-year

marathon and breaking a sweat on the finish line. Obviously it is a huge responsibility, but I think these events are complementary.” Paes, who received the Olympic flag from London mayor Boris Johnson in August, said the quadrennial event posed the greatest challenge and luckily will be held last. “Rio is not going to turn into a paradise and all the problems won’t be solved, but the city is going through a very intense process of change,” he added. “Many things are still missing, but everything has been set in motion, within deadlines, which is the most important.” The development of mass transit projects, the modernization of the city’s port area and the construction of the Olympic village are all viewed as a source of concern, as the clock ticks down to the start of the sporting events. But the mayor, who

was re-elected for another four-year term last October, said he was inspired by the example of the Spanish city of Barcelona, which staged the 1992 summer Olympics. “The Barcelona Games fundamentally transformed the city. Here, we are also going to change the quality of life for Cariocas (Rio residents),” he said. “Today, less than 20 percent of them have access to modern transportation. The others spend their lives in buses stuck in traffic jams. “Four years from now, more than 60 percent of Cariocas will have access to highcapacity mass transit (train, subway, express bus lanes).” Concern has also been expressed about Rio’s hotel capacity and its ageing airport. “There is a problem of supply but we are working on it,” acknowledged Paes. “We have an additional 16,000 beds, or double

what we pledged to the International Olympic Committee. We will even use love motels,” he quipped. The airport will also be privatized “but the most important is not the events. That can work for the 15 days of the Olympics or the month-long World Cup. My concern is what happens later, (when the Games are over).” Paes meanwhile played down concern about security during the events, pointing to a police drive launched five years ago to wrest control of most city favelas or shanty towns from notorious drug trafficking gangs. “Tourists should not fear strolling on Copacabana, Ipanema (beaches), in favelas of the southern district and some in the north... I would not have said that five years ago,” he said. “But they should be cautious in the periphery where they may face

attacks.” Paes meanwhile dismissed criticism that the Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium where a staggering 200,000 people watched the 1950 World Cup hosts lose the final to Uruguay-has lost its soul since it has been thoroughly renovated. “I, too, love nostalgia, nostalgia for the Rio of the 1950s. I have attended games at Maracana all my life. But it (the stadium) did not have adequate security and comfort for spectators. We did preserve its main feature, the external structure.” As both a Roman Catholic and a football fan, Paes said he looks forward to Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the city overlooked by the giant Christ the Redeemer statue in July and to Brazil lifting the World Cup trophy for the sixth time in 2014. “Brazil must absolutely win this (2014) Cup,” he insisted. —AFP

Bradford shock Villa to reach League Cup final First final appearance in 102 years

NICE: Nancy’s defender Salif Sane (L) vies with Nice’s Alexy Bosetti (R) during a French Cup round of 32 football match between Nice and Nancy yesterday at the Ray stadium in Nice. — AFP

Mali coach hails Ghana as ‘Germany’ of Africa PORT ELIZABETH: Mali hope to consolidate their leadership of Group B today when they face Ghana, who coach Patrice Carteron described as the “Germany” of Africa. Mali are top of the table courtesy of a 1-0 win over Niger last Sunday while Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo have a point each after a thrilling 2-2 draw. Carteron said Ghana are an ever-present at the Nations Cup and have a strong mentality, just like former World Cup and European champions Germany. “Ghana are the ‘Germany’ of Africa. They are always up there at the Nations Cup and, above all, they have a very good mentality, just like the Germans,” remarked the former Lyon and SaintEtienne defender. “We will, therefore, have to be prepared for a battle against such a team, but our win over Niger has boosted confidence.” Last year, the teams clashed twice at the Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Ghana won the group game in Franceville 2-0 with second-half goals from Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew, but Mali avenged this defeat by beating the Black Stars by the same score line to clinch third place in Malabo.

Last Sunday, Mali struggled to break down a tight defence mounted by the Mena (Gazelles) of Niger and needed a scrambled effort by skipper Seydou Keita to carry the day. They have been boosted with the return of West Ham forward Modibo Maiga, who missed the Niger match because of a thigh injury. Maiga will return to combine with giant Bordeaux striker Cheick Tidiane Diabate, who looked isolated up front for long periods against Niger. Ghana are one of the tournament favourites, but need to get a result against Mali to keep alive hopes of a fifth title. Skipper Gyan said they will go into this west African derby with a winning mentality. “We have to have a winning mentality because the more you win, the more you qualify,” said Gyan, who saw the Black Stars surrender a two-goal lead against the Congolese. “Ghanaians should have confidence in this team because we will ensure we go past the group stage, to begin with.” A likely change in the Ghana starting lineup will see more experienced centreback Isaac Vorsah coming in for Turkeybased Jerry Akaminko, who gave away a penalty against the Congolese. —AFP

DR Congo want to build on bright start PORT ELIZABETH: The Democratic Republic of Congo could take a massive step toward qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a win over Niger today. The Leopards displayed resilience by fighting back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Ghana, four-time champions and one of the teams fancied to go all the way to the final in this competition. After the game, coach Claude Le Roy was congratulated by the president of the France Football Federation for “bringing honour to African football”. However, Anderlecht striker Dieumerci Mbokani warned that they have to look ahead now if they wish to go past the first round. “We have not yet qualified for the next stage of the tournament, but the result against Ghana has boosted our confidence,” said Mbokani, who was voted the best player in the match last Sunday. They will be up against a determined Niger, who are still seeking their first Africa Cup point, having lost all four matches since their debut at the 2012 tournament in Gabon, where they lost to the tournament co-hosts, Tunisia and

Morocco. Niger coach Gernot Rohr has lauded the fighting spirit of his team. “We fought hard against Mali, who I believe will go very far in this competition, and we will fight against the Congolese,” said Rohr, who last year guided Gabon to the last eight. “We are very strong defensively, but have struggled offensively. “But no one can fault the commitment of my players. They are driven to bring honour to their country and will always give everything.” All-action defender Mohamed Chicoto said they will not surrender as long as they have a chance of making it to the knockout rounds. “It will be a very difficult game against DR Congo, but as long as we have a chance to make it past the first round we will not give up,” stressed Chicoto. Star Niger striker Moussa Maazou hopes to use this championship as a ‘shop window’ to get him back to Europe after struggling to make the grade in France and Russia. The 24-year-old striker is reportedly unhappy at Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel and craves another chance to make the grade in in Europe. — AFP

BIRMINGHAM: Fourth-tier Bradford City continued their League Cup fairytale by completing a sensational 4-3 aggregate semi-final win over Aston Villa on Tuesday that sent them into the final. James Hanson cancelled out Christian Benteke’s opener for Villa and although Andreas Weimann’s 89th-minute goal gave the hosts a 2-1 win, it could not stop Bradford from qualifying for a first major final since they won the 1911 FA Cup. League Two side Bradford, who had previously accounted for Arsenal and Wigan Athletic in the competition, become the first team from England’s fourth level to reach the League Cup final since Rochdale in 1962. “It’s dreamland,” Bradford manager Phil Parkinson told Sky Sports. “We said we had a chance to make history and we’ve done it. The lads were absolutely fantastic, and what it means for the club and the city is absolutely tremendous. “I think we could fill Wembley on our own. To win it might be going too far, but to get to Wembley is great for us.” The biggest game in the Yorkshire club’s modern history will occur at Wembley Stadium on February 24, when they will face either Chelsea or Swansea City, who resume hostilities later with Swansea 2-0 up from the first leg. For Paul Lambert’s Villa, it was the latest embarrassment in a disappointing season that has seen them thrashed 8-0 by Chelsea and slip to within one place of the Premier League relegation zone. “That is the worst day of the season. We had two chances to do it and haven’t done it,” said the Villa manager.

BIRMINGHAM: Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, left, controls the ball and scores a goal against Bradford City during their English League Cup second leg semi-final soccer match at Villa’s stadium in Birmingham, England, Tuesday. — AP “We’ve lost four goals from setpieces over two games, which is not good enough. I am embarrassed. We will never have a better chance to reach the final.” Lambert had hailed Charles N’Zogbia’s performance in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion and the French winger was at the fore as the hosts made a storming start on a freezing night in Birmingham. Three times within the opening 16 minutes he found Benteke’s head from the right flank. Matthew Lowton headed a knockdown from the Belgian over the crossbar in the sixth minute, while Benteke directed a header straight at Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke 10 minutes later. Villa took the lead in the 24th minute and this time the chance came from the

left, with Joe Bennett shaping an inviting cross into the area that Benteke leapt to volley past Duke at the near post. It was one-way traffic, and after Stephen Ireland had seen a goal ruled out for offside, Duke produced a superb one-handed save to tip an N’Zogbia drive over the top before dealing with a chipped Ireland shot in the same fashion. The half-time whistle will have come as some relief to the visitors but within 10 minutes of the restart, they had reasserted their control of the tie. As on several occasions in the first leg at Valley Parade, Villa were undone from a set-piece, with Hanson slipping past Ron Vlaar to meet Gary Jones’ corner with a header that rocketed into the roof of the net. The goal sparked delirium on

the visiting bench but Hanson spurned a glorious chance to put Bradford three goals up on aggregate moments later when he completely miscued his header from a right-wing cross. Initially stunned, Villa gradually roused themselves, and Ireland shot wide at the near post from a lay-off by substitute Darren Bent. Bradford were soon back on the front foot, however, and Garry Thompson came within inches of settling the tie definitively when he clipped a shot against the crossbar from 15 yards. Weimann revived the tie in the penultimate minute after skipping past Duke on the edge of the Bradford area and rolling the ball home, but thanks to some desperate defending, the underdogs held on for an unforgettable victory.—AFP

Gary Hooper shrugs off transfer talk with double GLASGOW: Gary Hooper didn’t let the speculation surrounding his future at Celtic impact on his performance as his double helped fire the Scottish Premier League leaders to a 4-0 win over Dundee United on Tuesday. The news that Norwich City had an improved offer for the striker turned down didn’t seem to play on his mind as he handed Celtic a 19th minute lead when he finished a well-worked move he had started in his own half. Celtic then added to their first half advantage when Kenyan international Victor Wanyama headed home Mikel Lustig’s cross in the 33rd minute. A quiet second half was brought to life by Hooper, who has rejected a new contract offer from Celtic, in the 80th minute when he shot past Radoslaw Cierzniak from a tight angle for his 22nd of the season and his fifth goal in three games. The in-demand striker, watched from the stands by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, then set up substitute Scott Brown to fire home a fourth in the 84th minute as the Hoops moved 12 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League. “I thought going forward we were breathtaking at times,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. “We could have been a goal down and probably should have been but I’m not too sure that would have changed the mentality of the team tonight. “There was a real intensity about us and ruthlessness to score goals.” His Dundee United counterpart Peter Houston rued his side’s early missed chances. “You are always wanting when you come here to try and take the chances that you do create and if we did score first it would have put them on the back foot a bit,” he said. “Even at 2-0 I felt Celtic were getting a wee bit edgy at one stage but they got the third goal and the game was over and done with.” In a frantic start both sides had chances to take the

lead in the opening 10 minutes. The first opportunity fell to Georgios Samaras when he connected with Charlie Mulgrew’s freekick but the Greek striker sent his header off target. Almost immediately a break-away move saw Gary Mackay-Stevens exchange passes with Johnny Russell and burst into the Celtic box but the winger dragged his angled shot just wide. However, it was the much sought after Hooper who opened the scoring in a wellworked counterattack. After a United corner was cleared to the edge of the box the English striker knocked the ball out to Lassad. The Tunisian international broke over the half-way and played a perfect diagonal ball to Samaras who played an identical ball for

Hooper at the back post to fire under Cierzniak from close range. Celtic then added to their advantage when Mulgrew played a short corner to Lustig and Wanyama rose highest to connect with his cross from the right to bullet a header past Cierzniak from six yards. On a night where all the attention was focussed on Hooper the striker didn’t disappoint and added a second when he used his heel to flick a square ball from Samaras between his legs and past Cierzniak from a couple of yards out. With five minutes remaining Hooper set up Brown to make it 4-0 as he picked out the Celtic captain in the box and he smashed a left-foot strike beyond the helpless keeper. — AFP

MUNICH: In this Saturday May 19, 2012 file photo Chelsea’s Didier Drogba scores the decisive shootout penalty during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany. UEFA says that the 2012 Champions League final drew 167 million to see Chelsea’s penalty shootout win against Bayern Munich. — AP

Australia beat S Lanka to square ODI series



Murray march into semis without dropping a set


Bradford shock Villa to reach League Cup final

DURBAN: South Africa’s Bernard Parker, left, jumps for the ball against Angola’s Mateus da Costa, right, during the Africa Cup of Nations game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, yesterday.— AP

S Africa beat Angola 2-0 End nine-year wait for Nations Cup win DURBAN: South Africa won an Africa Cup of Nations match for the first time in nine years by outplaying Angola 2-0 to go top of Group A yesterday. Bafana Bafana (The Boys), whose last success came against Benin at the 2004 tournament in Tunisia, triumphed through goals from centre-back Siyabonga Sangweni and substitute striker Lehlohonolo Majoro. It was a much improved showing by the host nation after a 0-0 draw with Cape Verde last Saturday, and better passing, movement and finishing lifted them to four points and within sight of a quarter-finals place. “I gambled today because it was a must-win situation. We had four defenders, one holding midfielder and the other five players were committed to attacking,”

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund said. “The players believed in themselvesthe nerves that affected us so much against Cape Verde were gone. It was not easy out there on the pitch with the weather so hot.” Angola coach Gustavo Ferrin said: “It was the same midfield that played against Morocco-unfortunately they could not serve Manucho. South Africa played very well.” South Africa made five changes from the team lucky to hold debutants Cape Verde in Soweto with Tsepo Masilela, Dean Furman, May Mahlangu, Katlego Mphela and Tokelo Rantie introduced. The changes had a desirable effect with Bafana Bafana putting an awful tournement opener behind them in the late-afternoon sun of this Indian Ocean

city to deservedly lead 1-0 at half-time. Sangweni broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark and ended a 315-minute goal drought since Mahlangu converted a penalty against Malawi at the same venue last month in a warm-up. Lunguinha made a hash of attempting to clear a free kick lofted deep into the box and his header fell invitingly for Sangweni to rifle a low, left-foot shot across goalkeeper Lama into the far corner. Stung by conceding their first goal of the tournament after a goalless draw with Morocco last weekend, Angola retaliated swiftly and goalkeeper Ttumeleng Khune did well to push away a Manucho header for a corner. Captain Manucho threatened again soon after as he sprinted after a long pass and Khune got to the ball just in

time to nod it away from the lanky Spainbased striker. Mateus and Rantie squandered half chances as the opening half drew to a close with the unmarked Angolan guilty of wild shooting and the South African seeing a header land on the roof of the net. Khune rescued South Africa soon after half-time, diving low to block a shot from former Switzerland under-21 international Guilhermo Afonso and the Black Antelopes also failed to take advantage of a two-on-two situation in attack. It proved costly as Reneilwe Letsholonyane sent fellow subsitute Majoro clear almost immediately and his penalty-area doggedness paid off when he fired a shot between the legs of Lama to give the hosts a two-goal advantage.— AFP

Cape Verde gains second point as it holds Morocco

DURBAN: Morocco’s midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada (R) is tackled by Cape Verde’s defender Fernando Varela during the Morocco vs Cape Verde Africa Cup of Nations 2013 group A football match at Moses Mahiba Stadium in Durban yesterday. — AFP

DURBAN: Substitute Youssef El Arabi spared Morocco blushes with a late equaliser in a 1-1 Africa Cup of Nations Group A draw against minnows Cape Verde yesterday. Spain-based El Arabi finished off an Abdelaziz Barrada cross to cancel out the lead Platini gave the tiny island state 35 minutes into the first half with a chip over goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri. After coming off second best for long spells, Morocco ended the game strongly and a flashing El Arabi header from a corner almost snatched victory for the Atlas Lions. Hosts South Africa defeated Angola 2-0 in the first half of a double-header that lifted them to the top of the table with four points. Cape Verde and Morocco have two points each and Angola one with one round left. Coaches Luis Antunes and Rachid Taoussi made two changes each to the teams that had the better of listless goalless draws againt South Africa and Angola respectively in the first series of group games four days ago.

Gege and Julio Tavares came into the Blue Sharks starting line-up at the expense of Carlitos and Heldon while the Lions preferred Zakarya Bergdich and Younes Belhanda to Abdelhamid El Kaoutari and Adil Hermach. Although four places above Morocco in the FIFA world rankings, Cape Verde started the match as underdogs, but the tag clearly was not worrying them as they had the better of the first half exchanges to lead 1-0 at half-time. Morocco took an age to organise a defensive wall midway through the half with captain Lamyaghri almost hoarse after screaming so many instructions to his team-mates. His appeals fell on deaf ears as Ryan Mendes stepped up to drill a free-kick past the wall only for the veteran shotstopper to push the ball away two handed before it was cleared. However, Lamyaghri was helpless to prevent the islanders taking a shock lead on 35 minutes as Karim El Ahmadi gave away possession in midfield,

Mendes burst forward and Platini chipped a perfectly timed pass into the net. Anxious Taoussi rang the secondhalf changes, bringing on El Arabi, Chahir Belghazouani and Kamel Chafni within 20 minutes of the restart, while Belhanda was among those benched. Belhanda, a French Ligue 1 championship winner with Montpellier last season, was yellow-carded for going into a tackle with his studs showing, and his second caution of the tournament meant an automatic one-match suspension. Cape Verde replaced Platini and Mendes with Roni and Heldon and the slowness with which the substitutions were made indicated that the Sharks were shutting up shop in an attempt to retain the advantage. But Morocco were not giving up and Barrada created the equaliser with 12 minutes left, darting down the right and cutting the ball back for El Arabi to score with a right-footed shot that gave goalkeeper Vozinho no chance. —AFP

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Google’s Q4 earnings rise despite Motorola misery Page 22 Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group cuts 940 jobs Page 22


New 2013 Avalon signals entry of world class sedan Page 23 Page 24

Recession, technology kill middle-class jobs

DAVOS: A woman uses her iPad during the 2013 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting yesterday at the Swiss resort of Davos. — AFP

Cautious optimism as elite gather in Davos CEOs more pessimistic about 2013 at WEF DAVOS: The world’s political and business elite kicked off their annual Davos meeting yesterday in a spirit of guarded optimism that the worst of the financial crisis might finally be over. Over the next four days, around 45 world leaders will rub shoulders with some 2,500 lobbyists, journalists, captains of industry and economists in the picture-postcard Swiss ski resort for the World Economic Forum (WEF). And while the 2012 meeting was dominated by the euro crisis and fears Greece could be forced out of the euro-zone, this year’s gathering appeared to be marked by a feeling the global economy may be turning the corner. At the opening panel of the meeting, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund, Min Zhu, drew a contrast between today’s mood and that of last year’s forum. “At this par ticular moment, things are much better than 12 months ago. A year ago here, we were really concerned about the euro crisis, the US fiscal cliff,” said Zhu. “With all the policy actions, much has calmed down now but we’ve got to be very careful,” added the official. And JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he felt the banking industry was beginning to turn the page on its difficult recent history. “I think the industry has to come back from the past. I think a lot of companies are doing fine. Banks continue to expand and lend,” he said. Nonetheless, officials and

bankers warned that volatility could easily reerupt, especially if regulators failed to learn the lessons of the past financial crisis. “If we do everything right, we will get out of this. If we don’t, this could last another 10 years,” said Dimon, one of the world’s top bankers. Another top banker, Axel Weber from Swiss giant UBS, told reporters: “The economy has turned, most of the markets have picked up... the major economies are recovering, but it is a recovery that is slow and muted.” “In particular, one dimension is missing. Jobs are lost and are not coming back quickly,” added Weber, a former head of the German central bank. The first world leader to address the fo ru m , R ussian Pr im e M inister D m it r y Medvedev, was also in bullish mood, telling the assembled elite that his country grew 3.5 percent last year and aimed for five percent grow t h annually. O t her leader s due to address the forum include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. ‘Last thing we need’ Britain’s David Cameron will speak today, fresh from committing Britain to a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017 if his party wins another term, which drew dismay from one of Britain’s top business executives. “It ’s at best neutral and at worst negative. So it can’t be positive,” said Mar tin Sorrell, chief execu-

tive of adver tising giant WPP. “You just added another reason why people are going to postpone investment decisions and the last thing we need is people postponing more.” Other top speakers are European Central Bank President M ario Draghi, who will speak on “challenges for the year s to co m e”, an d the head of the I nte r n a t i o n a l M o n e t a r y Fu n d, C h r i s t i n e Lagarde. Every year events conspire to hijack the agenda and this year is no different, with the conflict in Mali and the crisis in Syria poised to exercise the minds of the global elite. Jordan’s King Abdullah II was due to make a special address and the premiers of E g y p t , Le b a n o n , L i b y a , Tu n i s i a a n d t h e Palestinian Territories were scheduled to attend, as well as Israeli President Shimon Peres. There is also a heavy African presence, with the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria attending a session on “de-risking” the continent yesterday. Despite the presence of so many world leaders, no formal decisions are taken at Davos, although corporate deals are often sewn up on the sidelines and presidents and prime ministers huddle in small gatherings to thrash out pressing issues. The invitation-only meeting is also known for its informal luncheons and lavish cocktail parties, often hosted by corporate sponsors and with exclusive guest lists, where political and business leaders can network and mingle. —AFP

Turkey unveils plan for world’s biggest airport Kuwait to partially shut refinery in Q2 DUBAI: Kuwait plans to shut par ts of its 270,000 barrels per day Mina Abdullah refinery from April to May for scheduled maintenance, two Kuwait-based industry sources said. The vaccum unit, the coker unit, the naphtha unit and the kerosene unit will be down from mid-April to mid-May, one of the sources said. He added other units that include the ARDS unit, hydrogen unit and sulphur unit will also be down from the second week of May until mid-June. Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC ) operates the OPEC member’s three refineries with a combined capacity to process 930,000 barrels a day. OPEC member Kuwait is one of the top five oil exporters in the world and the majority of its exports is shipped to Asia. —Reuters

ANKARA: Turkey plans to build what it said would be the largest airport in the world in Istanbul, eventually able to handle 150 million passengers per year, in a project seen costing more than 7 billion euros ($9.3 billion). Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said yesterday the deadline for bids to build the airport, which will be Istanbul’s third and have a total of six runways, would be May 3. It was not clear when the contract would be awarded. The airport will add vital capacity in the region and enhance the role of Istanbul, the hub for flag carrier Turkish Airlines. “At full capacity the new airport will be the largest in the world in terms of passengers,” Yildirim told a news conference in Ankara. “We calculate the whole project will cost more than 7 billion euros excluding financing costs.” Turkey’s economy, the fastest-growing in Europe, has advanced rapidly over the past decade under the leadership of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and become a major trading partner with Europe and the Middle

East. The tender will be for a 25-year lease in a four-stage project, with annual capacity of 90 million passengers planned for the first stage, Yildirim said. “The final annual capacity of the airport will be 150 million. The first stage will be operational in 2017,” he said. The tender advertisement will be published in Turkey’s Official Gazette today. Prime Minister Erdogan said on Tuesday the tender would be launched today with the first stage of construction to be completed in 3-4 years. Turkish airport operator and builder TAV and construction company Limak are among the companies that have expressed interest in bidding for the contract. TAV also has the operating rights for Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the country’s largest, until 2021. It said the Turkish airports authority would compensate it for any losses if the third airport opened while it was still running Ataturk. TAV shares were up 2.3 percent at 11.2 lira on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. —Reuters

Qatar at 10-day high MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Dividend seekers lifted Qatar’s bourse to a 10-day high on yesterday, while UAE markets also rallied in a lacklustre session ahead of a long weekend for most markets. Doha’s measure climbed 0.3 percent to its highest close since Jan 13. Shares in Qatar International Islamic Bank advanced 4 percent to an 11-month high after the company proposed a 35 percent cash dividend at 3.5 riyals per share. Its full-year net profit grew 4 percent to 679 million riyals. “Qatar is a market dominated by local investors and company results are pretty consistent and in line with expectations - transparency is pretty good,” said Julian Bruce, EFG Hermes director of institutional equity sales in Dubai. “Consequently, (stock) moves are usually associated with dividends rather than earnings.” Other banks also gained, with Masraf Al-Rayan and Commercial Bank of Qatar rising 0.6 and 0.5 percent respectively. Qatar Telecom climbed 0.8 percent, up 5.8 percent so far in January. The operator plans to issue a maximum of $1 billion in a two-part bond sale yesterday, arranging banks said. In Abu Dhabi, shares in Aldar Properties climbed 4.4 percent, up from Tuesday’s near three-week low. It hit a 21-month closing high on Thursday, but then fell after its long-awaited merger with Sorouh Real Estate was confirmed on Monday. “We saw the run-up ahead of the merger announcement and it was a classic case of buy on rumour, sell on the news,” Bruce said. Once the merger is approved by shareholders, Sorouh will delist from the market and shareholders will be paid 1.288 Aldar shares for every Sorouh share. Some analysts view the swap ratio as unfavourable for Aldar shareholders. Sorouh climbed 4.2 percent. On Monday, it rallied to its highest close since December 2010. Moody ’s has placed Aldar under review for a possible upgrade. “The Aldar-Sorouh merger will be credit positive with the combined group having a stronger and more conservatively positioned financial profile

than the current B2 rating suggests,” Moody’s said in a report. Appetite for UAE property stocks was also aided by the central bank’s decision not to introduce new mortgage lending limits boosting, Bruce said. The u-turn by the central bank followed fierce protests from banks. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark climbed 1.1 percent, rebounding from Tuesday’s 10-day low. The market is up 5.8 percent in January, following a 9.5 percent rise in 2012 and backed by an improving economic backdrop. Dubai’s index rose 0.9 percent, up for a first session in last three since Sunday’s 32-month high. The index is facing longterm resistance near 1,793 points, the peak of October 2010. Emaar Properties climbed 2.8 percent, Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1 percent and National Central Cooling (Tabreed) added 1.8 percent. In Egypt, the bourse made marginal gains ahead of the second anniversary of the revolution, despite concerns from local investors. The anniversary of the first day of demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak in 2011 - January 25 - is expected to trigger protests against new President Mohamed Mursi and his Islamist allies. Buying picked up from non-Arab foreigners, who were net buyers, while Arab investors were net sellers, according to bourse data. Palm Hills Development gained 1.6 percent, the heaviest traded stock. Large-cap Orascom Telecom added 0.2 percent, while Orascom Construction Industries was the only loser on the index, slipping 0.9 percent. The measure advanced 0.2 percent to 5,689 points, up for a fourth session in the last six. “The EGX30 is still moving flat after the failure to break above the key resistance of 5,900 points,” said Mohabeldeen Agena, head of technical analysis at Cairo’s Beltone Financial. “We are expecting the current flat movement between 5,500 and 5,900 to continue before any significant move.” In Saudi Arabia, the index slipped 0.1 percent to close at 6,998 points, hovering around the key psychological 7,000 level. —Reuters



Google’s Q4 earnings rise despite Motorola misery Google earns $2.9 billion in Q4 SAN FRANCISCO: Google eked out slightly higher earnings in the fourth quarter, despite a financial drag caused by the Internet search leader’s expansion into device manufacturing and a decline in digital ad prices as more people gaze into the smaller screens of smartphones. The results announced Tuesday pleased investors, helping to lift Google’s stock by 5 percent in extended trading. More advertising poured into Google during the holiday shopping season, fueling a moneymaking machine that has steadily churned out higher profits since the company went public in 2004. Google’s fourth-quarter ad revenue totaled $12.1 billion, a 19 percent increase from the previous year. Some of that money, though, has been shifting away from personal computers as advertisers try to connect with an expanding audience that relies on smartphones and tablet computers to reach Google’s search engine, email and other online services. By some estimates, about one-fourth of the clicks on Google’s search ads are now coming from mobile devices. So far, advertisers have been unwilling to pay as much money to market their wares on mobile devices, largely because the smaller screens leave less room for commercial links and other marketing messages. The trend is one of the reasons that the average price for the ads that Google shows next to its search results has fallen from the previous year in five consecutive quarters, including the final three months of last year. In a positive sign, though, Google’s average ad prices in the most recent quarter dropped by just 6 percent from the same period in 2011. That’s the smallest decline during the pricing downturn, raising hopes that Google may be starting to solve the pricing problems posed by the growing usage of mobile devices. In a conference call Tuesday, Google CEO Larry Page predicted ad prices will gradu-

ally rise as the devices become even more sophisticated to unleash new ways to reach potential customers at the times they are most likely to buy something. “In today’s multi-screen world, the opportunities are endless,” Page said. Google earned nearly $2.9 billion, or $8.62 per share, during the fourth quarter. That compared to net income of $2.7 billion, or $8.22 per share, at the same time last year. If not for the costs of employee stock compensation and certain other accounting items, Google said it would have earned $10.65 per share. On that basis, Google exceeded the average earnings estimate of $10.54 among analysts surveyed by FactSet. It proved to be a difficult quarter to decipher because of an accounting quirk and the additions of new business lines that muddied the comparisons with the previous year. For instance, Google Inc didn’t own Motorola Mobility in 2011, having completed its $12.4 billion acquisition of the troubled handset maker eight months ago. What’s more, the Google is bringing in more revenue from tablet computers, which it began selling under the Nexus brand during the final half of last year. Things were further complicated by Google’s recent agreement to sell a part of the Motorola Mobility division that makes cable TV boxes. That division is now accounted for as a discontinued operation whose revenue wasn’t booked in the latest quarter, even though it will remain a part of Google until the $2.35 billion sale is completed later this year. Under that equation, revenue surged 36 percent from the previous year to $14.4 billion. After subtracting advertising expenses, Google’s revenue totaled $11.3 billion. That figure was well below the average analyst estimate of $12.1 billion, according to FactSet. But many of the analyst forecasts

included revenue from Motorola Mobility’s set-top division, which Google excluded from its breakdown. Had the set-top division been included in Google’s accounting, the company’s net revenue would have matched analyst estimates. The performance boosted Google’s stock by $35.33 to $738.20 in Tuesday’s extended trading. Google would be doing even better if not for problems at Motorola Mobility, a cellphone pioneer that has been struggling since Apple revolutionized the industry with the release of the iPhone in 2007. Motorola Mobility suffered an operating loss of $353 million on revenue of $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter Google has been able to offset the slump in its search advertising prices by selling more video advertising on its YouTube subsidiary and other more graphical forms of marketing. The number of clicks on Google ads has still been rising, too. That’s important because the company typically gets paid by the click. In the fourth quarter, Google’s total ad clicks rose 24 percent from the previous year. To gain a foothold in the mobile market, Google bakes its services into its Android software, an operating system that it gives away to makers of smartphones and tablets. Android is now powers more than 500 million mobile devices worldwide, giving it a wide lead over Apple’s software for iPhones and iPads. Through September, Apple had shipped about 370 million iPhones and iPads. Apple Inc., which has morphed from a Google ally to bigger rival in the past five years, is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter results after the stock market closed yesterday. Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif, didn’t update how many more Android devices were activated in the fourth quarter. —AP

Europe weighing on global growth: IMF WASHINGTON: An unexpectedly stubborn euro zone recession and weakness in Japan will weigh on global economic growth this year before a rebound in 2014 that should deliver the fastest expansion since 2010, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. The IMF trimmed its 2013 forecast for global growth to 3.5 percent from the 3.6 percent it projected in October, but said it looked for a 4.1 percent expansion in 2014 if a recovery takes a firm hold in the euro zone. It said the world economy grew 3.2 percent last year. Healthy global growth rates of above of above 4 percent were last seen in 2010, when output expanded 5.1 percent as the global financial crisis eased. The IMF said activity in advanced economies would likely remain weak this year with growth of just 1.4 percent before strengthening to 2.2 percent in 2014. In October, it project-

ed developed economies would expand 1.5 percent in 2013. “Policy actions have lowered acute risks in the euro area and the United States,” the IMF said in an update of its World Economic Outlook. “However, downside risks remain significant, including renewed setbacks in the euro area and risks of excessive near-term fiscal consolidation in the United States.” The United States is due to run out of room under a self-imposed borrowing limit of $16.4 trillion sometime between mid-February and early March. Republicans, who want to use the need to raise the debt ceiling as leverage to exact deep spending cuts, have signaled a willingness to pass a nearly four-month extension of the debt limit, defusing immediate fears of a damaging U.S. debt default but keeping a longer-term threat alive. The IMF said the US economy

was set to expand 2 percent this year, with growth rising above trend in the second half of this year and reaching 3 percent in 2014. “ The priority is to avoid excessive fiscal consolidation in the short term, promptly raising the debt ceiling, and agree on a credible medium-term fiscal consolidation plan, focused on entitlement and tax reform,” it said. Policy challenges for Europe, Japan The IMF said a prolonged stagnation in the euro zone is a threat especially if the currency bloc fails to complete fiscal and banking reforms. The IMF said Japan’s economy is likely to manage 1.2 percent growth this year, helped by fiscal stimulus, an easing of monetary policy and a weaker yen, But it warned that growth was likely to slow to 0.7 percent in 2014. It urged Tokyo to adopt a more

ambitious easing of monetary policy and a “credible” medium-term plan to tighten its budget. Meanwhile, growth in emerging and developing economies should strengthen to 5.5 percent this year and 5.9 percent in 2014, the IMF said, adding that supportive policies had helped boost growth although weak demand from trading partners would still be a problem. The pace of growth in China was set to increase to 8.2 percent this year and 8.5 percent in 2014, up from 2012 but still lower than the 10 percent growth rates of 2010, the fund said. Developing Asia, including China and India, will remain the fastest-growing region in the world, according to IMF forecast, with growth of 7.1 percent this year and 7.5 percent in 2014. Africa, with growth likely around 5.8 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year, is the world’s second-fastest growing. —Reuters

TOKYO: A businessman yawns before a share prices board yesterday. —AFP

Asian markets mostly down al manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires. The yen began rising soon after Tuesday’s announcement and rose further in New York trade. However, it stabilised in Tokyo early yesterday. The greenback-which hit a two-and-a-halfyear high of 90.24 yen before the BoJ move-bought 88.30 yen in afternoon trade, against 88.68 yen in New York on Tuesday. The euro-which topped 120 yen last week-also slipped to 117.50 yen yesterday, from 118.14 yen in New York and to $1.3305 from $1.3321. Regional markets were largely unaffected by healthy gains on Wall Street Tuesday following a long weekend, thanks to stronger-thanexpected earnings results, including from The Travelers Companies and DuPont. The Dow rose 0.46 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.44 percent and the Nasdaq ended up 0.27 percent. Oil prices were lower, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, down four cents to $96.64 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery shedding 17 cents to $112.25. Gold was at $1,692.60 at 0630 GMT compared with $1,692.41 late Tuesday. —AFP

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly down yesterday, in spite of a Wall Street rally, with Tokyo extending the previous day’s fall as the yen strengthened following a Bank of Japan monetary policy shift. Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 2.08 percent, or 222.94 points to 10,486.99 and Seoul closed 0.81 percent lower, losing 16.11 points to 1,980.41, but Sydney rose 0.18 percent, or 8.7 points, to 4,787.8. In the afternoon Hong Kong eased 0.16 percent and Shanghai was down 0.14 percent. Japan’s Nikkei was hit after the central bank said Tuesday it would fall into line with the new government and set a two percent inflation target, while also launching an unlimited asset-buying scheme from next year. The bank also lifted its growth forecast, predicting gross domestic product would expand 2.3 percent in the year ended March 2014, up from an earlier 1.6 percent estimate. But the BoJ moves were in line with expectations, which have seen the yen tumble against the dollar and euro, in turn sending equities flying higher. “The BoJ monetary policy announcement came so completely within range of market expectations that it rang as a disappointment,” SMBC Nikko Securities gener-

Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group cuts 940 jobs way,” Unite said in a statement. Lloyds said it would look to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible and only use them as a last resort. “The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group. Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort,” it said. Lloyds paid a heavy price for its government engineered takeover of HBOS, requiring a 20 billion pounds state bailout. HBOS was caught out by a near-shutdown of wholesale funding markets, on which it was more reliant than rivals. The bank said yesterday that just under half the jobs lost in 2009 and 2010 through integration following its merger with HBOS had been through redundancy. —Reuters

LONDON: Lloyds Banking Group said yesterday it was axing 940 jobs, bringing the total amount cut since its ill-fated takeover of HBOS in 2009 to more than 31,000. Lloyds said the jobs would be lost in its operations, insurance, retail, wealth, international and commercial divisions and were part of the reductions previously announced in its strategic review. The part-nationalised bank said in June 2011 that it planned to save 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) by letting 15,000 staff go. British trade union Unite “expressed fury” over the decision, highlighting the bank’s decision to outsource 190 IT jobs as part of the changes. “It is a complete disgrace that the bank, which is 41 percent owned by the taxpayer, continues to cut jobs in such a cavalier

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

.2740000 .4440000 .3720000 .2990000 .2810000 .2930000 .0040000 .0020000 .0763380 .7437430 .3880000 .0720000 .7291070 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2812000 .4462080 .3745020 .3006680 .2835530 .0501870 .0431320 .2954430 .0362720 .2291770 .0031210 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0765900 .7461850 .0000000 .0750070 .7306740 .0000000

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.192 5.241 2.885 2.221 3.309 230.340 36.424 3.539

.2840000 .45900 .3810000 .3110000 .2920000 .3030000 .0067500 .0035000 .0771060 .7512180 .4050000 .0770000 .7364350 .0510000 .2833000 .4495400 .3772990 .3029140 .2856710 .0505620 .0434540 .2976490 .0365430 .2308880 .0031450 .0053020 .0022450 .0029110 .0035700 .0771620 .7517580 .4007070 .0755670 .7361310 .0070470

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

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

6.948 9.486 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.337 77.625 733.790 750.370 76.927

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.400 Euro 377.290 Sterling Pound 448.450 Canadian dollar 285.400 Turkish lire 159.590 Swiss Franc 304.970 Australian dollar 298.500 US Dollar Buying 281.200 GOLD 311.000 157.000 81.500

SELL DRAFT 301.17 289.26 306.98 379.38 282.00 451.17 3.21 3.568 5.243 2.230 3.290 2.892

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

Selling Rate 282.250 285.310 450.050 377.280 301.730 747.250 76.825 77.475 75.230 397.875 42.694 2.227 5.236 2.885 3.540 6.948 692.360 4.125 9.540 3.970 3.320 93.365

SELL CASH 300.000 289.000 311.000 380.000 282.850 458.000 3.750 3.800 5.400 2.600 3.550 2.980

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

SELL CASH 300.700 750.620 4.000 287.800 554.300 46.000 51.300 167.800 44.270 379.800 37.100 5.440 0.032 0.161 0.242

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

3.280 399.960 0.191 95.900 46.100 4.340 240.700 1.828 51.800 733.150 3.000 7.310 78.070 75.360 231.270 35.070 2.688 450.400 44.300 307.100 3.400 9.810 198.263 76.960 282.600 1.360 GOLD

10 Tola 1,798.520

Sterling Pound US Dollar

Bahrain Exchange Company

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

77.200 748.000 45.500 399.500 733.000 78.500 75.350

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 43.700 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 42.468 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.318 Tunisian Dinar 182.550 Jordanian Dinar 398.870 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.895 Syrian Lier 3.069 Morocco Dirham 34.230

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

76.85 750.87 42.71 401.76 733.93 77.78 75.41

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 448.400 282.200

Al Mulla Exchange

SELLDRAFT 299.200 750.620 3.544 286.300

231.300 42.477 378.300 36.950 5.249 0.031

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 281.900 378.250 449.900 286.550 3.175 5.234 42.550 2.223 3.540 6.930 2.889 750.600 76.775 75.250

399.940 0.190 95.900 3.300 239.200

732.970 2.891 6.953 77.640 75.360 231.270 35.070 2.225 448.400 305.600 3.400 9.680 76.860 282.200



2013 Toyota Avalon signals entry of world class sedan Elegant, athletic styling hints at ‘Shape of Toyotas to Come’

KUWAIT: Toyota has dramatically altered the chemistry of Avalon’s formula, creating a new potent and persuasive sedan that helps shift the product’s generational appeal while symbolizing Toyota’s exciting new design and product direction for future sedans. “The 2013 Avalon showcases Toyota car-building prowess and infuses the Avalon nameplate with new levels of excitement, dynamic capability, and refinement”, said Nobuyuki Negishi, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation. “The new Avalon is a vastly enhanced product that utilizes Toyota’s best in-market car-building resources to produce this new world-class sedan, and makes a statement. It will lead the charge for great styling, great handling performance, and the highest and best level of technologies.” Exterior For the mission of re-positioning the Avalon brand and shifting consumer perception of the sedan, Toyota fashioned an exterior. that represents a dramatic styling departure from previous Avalon models. The 2013 Avalon’s elegant and athletic design offers a longer flowing roofline creating a more appealing side silhouette that suggests a sense of motion with a road holding stance. Its chiseled shoulder line sculpted into side sheet metal starts over the front wheels and creates a strong, fluid body side design cue

adding to its athletic stance. Keeping with the more athletic and expressive design theme, the new Avalon’s exterior lighting compliments the design lines. The industry-first Quadrabeam headlight cluster utilizes a sleek and compact double-eye PES headlight design with two square glass condenser lenses that have been adopted for the low beams and offer outstanding lighting performance. A stronger, more expressive front-fascia design with larger grille opening creates an aggressive appearance while enhancing cooling air flow and pedestrian impact protection. The new Avalon’s exterior turn-signal indicators have been located at the lower section of the front bumper to contribute to the slim and sleek appearance. The 2013 Avalon’s sleek and sculpted rear tail lights utilize LED lamps to help ensure visibility and reduce the gap of unlit dark area between the trunk and rear quarter panel. The more sculpted, athletic exterior design also helps the new Avalon cut through the wind with a low 0.28 coefficient of drag that helps fuel efficiency and on-road stability. The rear tapering design of the new Avalon body and the floor under covers help enhance vehicle stability at speed while improving airflow. The Avalon side mirrors offer improved aerodynamics to help reduce wind noise. These new aerodynamic side mirrors offer features such as; a turn signal lamp, electrical adjustment, a mirror heater, memory positioning, a puddle lamp, and electro-chromatic glass. Also, the new Avalon is equipped with a new, lighter weight, more aerodynamic wiper design that stays in contact with the window longer. The new Avalon’s rear valance houses stainless steel dual exhaust outlets integrated into the body. Interior The all-new 2013 Avalon’s interior elaborates on the exterior’s elegant, athletic theme to create a premium interior experience that combines high technology and craftsmanship with an artistic level of sculpted surfaces. Looking outside the cabin, the sculpted dash panel and its concave surfaces in front of the passenger help add to the sense of the cabin spaciousness. This panel is covered in supple, hand-stitched premium softtouch material with the seam adding some creative flair as it goes across the dash panel. The broad, low and layered dash-board design helps divide the panel area into a balance between an intimate driver space, with focused angles on the meter, and a wide open passenger space. The instrument panel has been widened by 1.18 inches (30 mm) in the upper region and 2.56

inches (65 mm) in the lower region, helping enhance the interior’s spaciousness. The driver is engaged by an Optitron-type combination meter, which produces a sharp, high quality display and 3.5-inch Thin-film Transistor (TFT) color multiinformation display (gear position, fuel consumption, Navigation direction, and ECO driving indicator. The new Avalon’s interior surfaces are finished in premium materials such as hand sewn softtouch material for the dash panel, unique smoke chrome trim surrounding the center panel, and high-quality glossy panel trim around the shifter. All of this attention to detail to touch surfaces and subtle enhancements to texture and visual appeal are aimed at elevating the overall interior experience for driver and passengers. Extensive use of soft-touch materials helps enhance the interior’s feeling of quality and comfort. The 2013 Avalon’s interior surfaces are available in three color themes: almond to help create a warm elegant, luxurious atmosphere; light grey that stays cooler and creates a modern interior space; and black that offers a greater sense of driving performance. The new Avalon’s front seats offer revised side bolstering using a lighter, denser materials that helps improve body positioning and offer a high level of comfort and support for longer travels. As for adjustment, Avalon’s seats are available as either 10-way or eight-way power adjustable for

the driver’s seat, and available 8-way and 4-way adjustment for the front passenger seat. The driver’s seat incorporates a seat-cushion length extender available on the 10-way adjustable seat. A pneumatic four-way lumbar support is built into the driver’s seat and a two-way lumbar support for the passenger. An electric seat heater and seat ventilation system have been adopted to help enhance driver and passenger seat comfort. The 2013 Avalon’s rear seats offer improved body retention with better side bolster support to enhance sitting comfort. Avalon seating surfaces are covered with either genuine leather material or available premium leather with a finer grain. The door panels are designed to help enhance the elegant nature of the interior while offering improved armrest comfort by incorporating thicker materials . The door panel is also covered by durable synthetic leather with ornate stitching that matches the armrests. The available door panel pull cups are made of a premium softtouch material, and LED lighting illuminates the door panel’s controls. Smoked chrome bezels and plated accents adorn the inside door handles and power window switch bezels to help improve appearance. The power-window actuation is handled by a variable-rate window motor that slows the window as it approaches the top of the window frame to help reduce wind noise and add refinement. Beyond styling, the Avalon interior remains highly functional with abundant and improved storage space. Located beneath the HVAC controls in the center console is the eBin electronics

storage tray. This new tray design allows storage for two devices (cellphones or iPod for instance) side-by-side on a premium, higher friction surface. Charging jacks are located below the tray that can be opened and closed with cables passing neatly through the cable slot cut into the bottom of the tray. The tray is also illuminated by LED light for improved night visibility managing cables. Beneath this tray is an electronics storage box where devices can also be stored completely out of sight while charging. Two DC 12V power outlets, an AUX and a USB jack are accessible in the storage box. A large-capacity rear console box is big enough to store a tissue box and also includes a detachable sliding tray to store smaller items. The convenient sliding armrest lid covering the storage box offers up to 1.61 inches (41 mm) of travel to more comfortably function as an armrest, and can be opened and closed in any position. The storage box also contains another 12V DC outlet to facilitate charging or powering accessories. To the left of the steering wheel is a coin box that can be actuated by push button control and utilizes a damper mechanism to help achieve smoother opening and closing. The new Avalon is equipped with a 0.24-cu-ft (6.9-liter) glove box with detachable tray can be locked with a key for security. The glove box is illuminated with LED light. The 2013 Avalon offers 16.0-cu ft of luggage capacity.

Inversely wound coil springs are matched to dampers that help control the wheels with improved steering feel across a variety of surfaces. Unique, more rigid knuckles and lower control arms are adopted for the 17-inch wheel appli-

V6 Engine The Avalon utilizes a 3.5-liter, six-cylinder engine that features Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) to help offer superior power and efficiency by optimizing the intake and exhaust valve events to increase engine performance across the entire rev range. This robust V6 produces 274 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 35.3 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm, and provides the new Avalon with competitive acceleration. The fact that this brisk acceleration occurs with a more fuel-economy friendly is testament to the Avalon’s weight reduction and improved drivetrain tuning. The V6-powered Avalon features a hydraulic automatic transmission that has been optimized for improved fuel economy and performance. The Sport mode adopts highly responsive upshift control and throttle blipping downshift control, which are adopted for quicker shifting performance. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters help actuate fast, responsive shifts while keeping both hands on the wheel. The transmission response is further enhanced by utilization of a faster-locking torque converter that locks up early even in second gear. The transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature for consistent performance with an automatic transmission fluid warmer. The V6-powered gasoline Avalon offers three drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. The Eco Mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by balancing driving performance, air conditioning function and fuel efficiency. It reduces driving force when accelerating at low speeds to enhance fuel efficiency. Sport mode helps create a more engaging driving experience by enhancing the Electric Power Steering effort and a more direct, responsive steering feel. It also adjusts throttle response to help increase the sensation of the engine’s torque response during acceleration.

am delighted to be with you today on another Toyota event launching a Toyota luxury exciting elegant sport model, all new Avalon 2013. I believe you are well aware of Toyota latest news achieving unprecedented record sales to be officially announced as the largest world carmaker. This achievement is nothing but a natural anticipated outcome of Toyota commitment, not an incident, due to farsighted strategies and plans to be and remain the world leader in the automotive industry. To maintain such objective, Toyota doesn’t only offer quality and durable vehicles but also ensures that they are providing the best in everything they do including but not limited to the joy and fun of driving, efficient and powerful performance, distinct specifications and standards, quietness and road safety, as well as appealing shape and design. For this reason Toyota has been investing and will continue to invest huge amounts in auto industry technology to continuously improve its line-up. The fifth generation of Avalon from Toyota reflects luxury trendy driving in dynamic sport style and utmost luxury interior comfort. Despite the global financial crisis, Tsunami which hard hit Japan, and the floods in Thailand, and other challenges Toyota faced, Toyota never budged from its commitment to continued improvement and development. New Avalon is just an example and one step forward to more innovative technology. In keeping with Toyota strategy for steady improvement and advancement based on our

Steering and handling The new 2013 Avalon engineering team put great effort toward re-inventing Avalon’s roadgoing character with a dramatic revision of the chassis. The Avalon will offer vastly elevated levels of control and handling thanks to revised suspension. The front Macpherson strut suspension is tuned to provide outstanding ride comfort, but also flat cornering with enhanced agility.

cations that help improve handling and steering feel. The dual-link rear suspension design helps the vehicle achieve an ideal balance between ride

(Telephone switch). The steering wheel offers buttons for available voice recognition, vehicleto-vehicle distance switch for Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Large paddle-shift toggles attached to the steering wheel help enhance driver control during spirited driving. Advanced technology The new 2013 Avalon offers a long list of convenient, user-friendly technologies as one would expect with the Toyota brand’s flagship sedan, in addition to offering special features that enhance the car’s functionality, capability and the level of safety. There are two types of climate control systems: one with three-zone independent temperature control and another with two-zone temperature control. The three zone system allows for temperature to be independently set for rear seat, driver seat, and passenger seat; while the two-zone system controls temperature for the driver and passenger seat. The new, highly efficient HVAC system adopts increased diameter ducting, which has been reduced in length and curvature to reduce

Toyota is the best investment with best value Speech by Mubarak Naser Al-Sayer Chief Executive Officer - Automotive Group


quality and handling precision by improveing rear stability. The Avalon’s electric power steering system (EPS) has incorporated tuning to improve feel while reducing engine driven accessories to help improve fuel economy. The Avalon steering column offers both tilt and telescopic features. The Avalon’s steering wheel has been designed to help improve the driver’s tactile feel and control, enhancing driver confidence behind the wheel. It also includes a four-direction audio switch to enhance operability, in addition to a cruise control switch, DISP (Display) and TEL

confidence in the Kuwaiti market, we are continuing our expansion plans without any change or letting up to provide the best sales and service facilities for both Lexus and Toyota and creating integrated facilities across Kuwait for after-sale service through our new and certified vehicle showrooms, other garages and parts facilities across Kuwait. Work is underway on three giant projects in Jahra, Abu Fatera and Fahaheel which reflect our passion for leadership and to be closer to any home in Kuwait with largest ever service facilities. This was a natural inevitable outcome of ASG smart farsighted market strategy, the last of which is Al-Sayer Reassurance launched recently to reassure our customers of our commitment to provide the best products and the best service and to make Toyota ownership experience a real investment and Toyota purchase a best decision more than ever. To ensure customer satisfaction as our priority in the past, present and future we will spare no effort to concur new heights of quality product and service which no other competitor can provide or offer. With Al-Sayer reassurance, words are always translated into facts and action. Toyota is the best investment with best value ever by all industry and technology standards in terms of performance, durability, quality, functionality and luxury for which it deservedly became the best vehicle with the best resale value. All new Avalon 2013 is only an example. New generation in auto industry luxury ost featured in Toyota sedan is a true reflection of trendy and sport elegance which for sure will be most appealing to all once you check firsthand for yourself. Thank you.

pressure losses and minimize load on the compressor. A partial air recirculation door has been adopted for the air conditioner unit to help enhance air-heating performance. The Avalon features a standard Display Audio System with 7.1-inch EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter) TFT touchscreen that offers audio system operation, Bluetooth compatibility, customizable vehicle settings, available rear-camera display, driving information such as fuel consumption, and operation of iPod(r) and USB devices. The Avalon Limited model features a Premium HDD (Hard Disk Drive) Navigation system that includes a seveninch, high resolution touchscreen display that helps enhance operability. The system utilizes and, DVD playback capability, split-screen capability, audio information or vehicle information can be displayed together with a map on the main navigation screen. The system also includes a music search feature that utilizes a voice driven search for iPod(r) or USB connected device. The Avalon is available with either eight (Display Audio), or 11-speaker JBL Synthesis(r) 7.1 channel matrix sound system (Premium HDD Nav system) that offers outstanding audio system performance. The Premium HDD system offers phenomenal sound quality through 11 JBL speakers with GreenEdge technology and includes two subwoofers. A 12 channel external JBL synthesis amplifier also helps boost power. The new Avalon is equipped standard with a Smart Key System that locks and unlocks the front doors, and a trunk opening feature that enables opening of the doors when the key fob is within a short distance of the door handle.



Recession, technology kill middle-class jobs

ATLANTA: In this photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, sits next to a new high-performance industrial robot at the company’s Atlanta facility. — AP

NEW YORK: Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over. And the situation is even worse than it appears. Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What’s more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers. They’re being obliterated by technology. Year after year, the software that runs comput-

ers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived. “The jobs that are going away aren’t coming back,” says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of “Race Against the Machine.” “I have never seen a period where

computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years.” The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smartphones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere, even when they’re on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents, are starting to disappear. “There’s no sector of the economy that’s going to get a pass,” says Martin Ford, who runs a software company and wrote “The Lights in the Tunnel,” a book predicting widespread job losses. “It’s everywhere.” The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession were in industries that pay middleclass wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are in midpay industries. Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well. In the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has never stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through last June. Experts warn that this “hollowing out” of the middle-class workforce is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated and reaches deeper into our lives. Maarten Goos, an economist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, says Europe could double its middle-class job losses. Smartphones and tablets Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers for smartphones and tablet computers. Overall, though, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it is creating. To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed. For more than three decades, technology has reduced the number of jobs in manufacturing. Robots and other machines controlled by computer programs work faster and make fewer mistakes than humans. Now, that same efficiency is being unleashed in the service economy, which employs more than twothirds of the workforce in developed countries. Technology is eliminating jobs in office buildings, retail establishments and other businesses consumers deal with every day. Technology is being adopted by every kind of organization that employs people. It’s replacing workers in large corporations and small businesses, established companies and start-ups. It’s being used by schools, colleges and universities; hospitals and other medical facilities; nonprofit organizations and the military. The most vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for - an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case. As software becomes even more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers - workers who thought they were protected by a college degree. Thanks to technology, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index reported one-third more profit the past year than they earned the year before the Great Recession. They’ve also expanded their businesses, but total employment, at 21.1 million, has declined by a half-million. Start-ups account for much of the job growth in developed economies, but software is allowing entrepreneurs to launch businesses with a third fewer employees than in the 1990s. There is less need for administrative support and backoffice jobs that handle accounting, payroll and benefits. It’s becoming a self-serve world. Instead of relying on someone else in the workplace or our personal lives, we use technology to do tasks ourselves. Some find this frustrating; others like the feeling of control. Either way, this trend will only grow as software permeates our lives. Technology is replacing workers in developed countries regardless of their politics, policies and laws. Union rules and labor laws may slow the dismissal of employees, but no country is attempting to prohibit organizations from using technology that allows them to operate more efficiently - and with fewer employees. Developing world taking over? Some analysts reject the idea that technology has been a big job killer. They note that the collapse of the housing market in the US, Ireland, Spain and other countries and the ensuing global recession wiped out millions of middle-class construction and factory jobs. In their view, governments could bring many of the jobs back if they would put aside worries about their heavy debts and spend more. Others note that jobs continue to be lost to China, India and other countries in the developing world. But to the extent technology has played a role, it raises the specter of high unemployment even after economic growth accelerates. Some economists say millions of middle-class workers must be retrained to do other jobs if they hope to get work again. Others are more hopeful. They note that technological change over the centuries eventually has created more jobs than it destroyed, though the wait can be long and painful. A common refrain: The developed world may face years of high middle-class unemployment, social discord, divisive politics, falling living standards and dashed hopes. In

the US, the economic recovery that started in June 2009 has been called the third straight “jobless recovery.” But that’s a misnomer. The jobs came back after the first two. Most recessions since World War II were followed by a surge in new jobs as consumers started spending again and companies hired to meet the new demand. In the months after recessions ended in 1991 and 2001, there was no familiar snap-back, but all the jobs had returned in less than three years. But 42 months after the Great Recession ended, the US has gained only 3.5 million, or 47 percent, of the 7.5 million jobs that were lost. The 17 countries that use the euro had 3.5 million fewer jobs last June than in December 2007. This has truly been a jobless recovery, and the lack of midpay jobs is almost entirely to blame. Fifty percent of the US jobs lost were in midpay industries, but Moody’s Analytics, a research firm, says just 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained are in that category. After the four previous recessions, at least 30 percent of jobs created - and as many as 46 percent - were in midpay industries. Other studies that group jobs differently show a similar drop in middle-class work. Some of the most startling studies have focused on midskill, midpay jobs that require tasks that follow well-defined procedures and are repeated throughout the day. Think travel agents, salespeople in stores, office assistants and back-office workers like benefits managers and payroll clerks, as well as machine operators and other factory jobs. An August 2012 paper by economists Henry Siu of the University of British Columbia and Nir Jaimovich of Duke University found these kinds of jobs comprise fewer than half of all jobs, yet accounted for nine of 10 of all losses in the Great Recession. And they have kept disappearing in the economic recovery. Webb Wheel Products makes parts for truck brakes, which involves plenty of repetitive work. Its newest employee is the Doosan V550M, and it’s a marvel. It can spin a 130pound brake drum like a child’s top, smooth its metal surface, then drill holes - all without missing a beat. And it doesn’t take vacations or “complain about anything,” says Dwayne Ricketts, president of the Cullman, Ala, company. Thanks to computerized machines, Webb Wheel hasn’t added a factory worker in three years, though it’s making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase. “Everyone is waiting for the unemployment rate to drop, but I don’t know if it will much,” Ricketts says. “Companies in the recession learned to be more efficient, and they’re not going to go back.” Recession amplifies trend In Europe, companies couldn’t go back even if they wanted to. The 17 countries that use the euro slipped into another recession 14 months ago, in November 2011. The current unemployment rate is a record 11.8 percent. European companies had been using technology to replace midpay workers for years, and now that has accelerated. “The recessions have amplified the trend,” says Goos, the Belgian economist. “New jobs are being created, but not the middle-pay ones.” In Canada, a 2011 study by economists at the University of British Columbia and York University in Toronto found a similar pattern of middle-class losses, though they were working with older data. In the 15 years through 2006, the share of total jobs held by many midpay, midskill occupations shrank. The share held by foremen fell 37 percent, workers in administrative and senior clerical roles fell 18 percent and those in sales and service fell 12 percent. In Japan, a 2009 report from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo documented a “substantial” drop in midpay, midskill jobs in the five years through 2005, and linked it to technology. Developing economies have been spared the technological onslaught - for now. Countries like Brazil and China are still growing middle-class jobs because they’re shifting from export-driven to consumer-based economies. But even they are beginning to use more machines in manufacturing. The cheap labor they relied on to make goods from apparel to electronics is no longer so cheap as their living standards rise. One example is Sunbird Engineering, a Hong Kong firm that makes mirror frames for heavy trucks at a factory in southern China. Salaries at its plant in Dongguan have nearly tripled from $80 a month in 2005 to $225 today. “Automation is the obvious next step,” CEO Bill Pike says. Sunbird is installing robotic arms that drill screws into a mirror assembly, work now done by hand. The machinery will allow the company to eliminate two positions on a 13-person assembly line. Pike hopes that additional automation will allow the company to reduce another five or six jobs from the line. “By automating, we can outlive the labor cost increases inevitable in China,” Pike says. “Those who automate in China will win the battle of increased costs.” Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles iPhones at factories in China, unveiled plans in 2011 to install one million robots over three years. Technology killing jobs A recent headline in the China Daily newspaper: “Chinese robot wars set to erupt.” Candidates for US president last year never tired of telling Americans how jobs were being shipped overseas. China, with its vast army of cheaper labor and low-value currency, was easy to blame. But most jobs cut in the US and Europe weren’t moved. No one got them. They vanished. And the villain in this story - a clever software engineer working in Silicon Valley or the high-tech hub around Heidelberg, Germany - isn’t so easy to hate. “It doesn’t have political appeal to say the reason we have a problem is we’re so successful in technology,” says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. “There’s no enemy there.” Unless you count family and friends and the person staring at you in the mirror. — AP



Thousands strike amidst govt crisis in Slovenia LJUBLJANA: A general strike by tens of thousands of public sector workers paralysed Slovenia yesterday, adding to Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s woes as he struggles to stay in office. As thousands took part in demonstrations in the capital Ljubljana and other cities, union leaders put the number of people striking at up to 100,000. Between 10,000 and 15,000 took part in the demonstration in the capital Ljubljana, according to organisers. Protestors carried banners that read “We deserve more, Jansa leave!”, “The game is over”, “We are not afraid, you should be.” The head of the confederation of public sector unions, Branimir Strukelj, predicted that the strike and the demonstrations would herald the end of

Jansa’s government. “We expect these massive demonstrations will speed up the fall of this government and, most probably, early elections,” Strukelj told AFP after the rally in Ljubljana. He added “if there are no changes and this government stays, we will continue with protests until we force them to start negotiations with us.” Schools and universities were closed around the country, while hospital and customs workers as well as police performed only essential tasks. Lorries had to wait two to three hours to cross the border with Croatia. The main unions want guarantees of no job cuts in 2013 or 2014 as the government seeks to slash spending in the public sector by five percent. Public sector

wages were already cut by eight percent last year. Justice Minister Senko Plicanic, the government’s top negotiator, rejected on Tuesday the demands, urging unions to start “talks over the way the (five-percent) reduction can be carried out.” “We think that the reduction planned in this year’s and next year’s budgets are rather modest considering the overall situation in Slovenia. We will be pleased if that (reduction) turns to be sufficient,” Plicanic said. Jansa is struggling to keep his shaky five-party coalition together following accusations of irregularities levelled against him earlier this month by Slovenia’s corruption watchdog. This added to public anger at what a

growing number of Slovenians see as a culture of graft among the rich and powerful in the country of two million people. Two of Jansa’s coalition partners want him to resign. One of them, the Civil List, had threatened to withdraw from the coalition if Jansa did not quit by midnight on Tuesday. A break-up of the coalition could lead to Jansa trying to govern without a majority in parliament, the creation of a technocrat government or elections for the second time in 13 months. Slovenia’s economy, meanwhile, is in recession with unemployment at 12 percent. Major problems with its banks have raised fears it may become the next eurozone member to need a

bailout. Jansa, also on trial over alleged kickbacks in a 280-millioneuro ($375-million) armoured vehicles contract in 2006, rejected the new corruption claims. His Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) declined his offer to resign as party chief. On Tuesday he said in televised remarks he hoped reason would prevail and that politicians will “be sensible and mature enough to enable the government to do what needs to be done without delays”. The corruption watchdog’s accusations also forced Zoran Jankovic, the millionnaire former supermarket boss who is mayor of Ljubljana, to resign as head of the main opposition party Positive Slovenia. —AFP

J&J Q4 profit jumps on higher sales and growth J&J’s manufacturing problems hurt trade

PEPPER PIKE: In this photo a new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio. US home construction surged 12.1 percent in December to end best year since 2008. —AP

DuPont reports Q4 earnings dropped DOVER: Soft demand for a key industrial pigment and solar energy products, coupled with increased spending on growth initiatives, led to a sharp drop in the DuPont Co.’s fourthquarter income. But the results reported Tuesday still beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts of 7 cents per share on revenue of $7.2 billion, according to FactSet. And the company forecast higher operating earnings for 2013. DuPont’s shares rose 83 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $47.82 Tuesday. They are still down 11 percent from their high for the past year of $53.98 set last May. DuPont chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman said the company is stronger than it was a year ago, having recorded nearly 2,300 new product introductions in 2012, an increase of 30 percent. “However, weakness in markets served by performance chemicals and electronics and communications provided significant challenges in 2012,” she said. “We’ve adjusted our plans to meet the changing market environment and grow our businesses in a slowgrowth world economy.” The Wilmington, Del.-based chemical and biosciences company reported Tuesday that its net income fell to $111 million, or 12 cents per share, for the last three months of 2012. That is down 70 percent from $373 million, or 40 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. Revenue for the quarter was flat at $7.3 billion, with currency effects and portfolio changes offsetting a 3 percent increase in global volumes. Sales in Latin America grew 10 percent, with an 8 percent volume gain and a 7 percent increase in local prices. A 6 percent increase in volume in the Asia-Pacific region, was offset by negative currency and pricing effects. For the full year, DuPont earned almost $2.8 billion, or $2.95 per share, on revenue of $34.8 billion. That’s down from last year’s net income of almost $3.5 billion, or $3.68 per share, on revenue of $33.7 billion. Sales volumes fell 2 percent. DuPont said it expects operating earnings excluding significant items will range from $3.85 to $4.05 per share in 2013, up from $3.77 per share last year. One-time items affecting fourth-quarter results included $135 million to resolve legal claims stemming from the use of DuPont’s Imprelis weedkiller, bringing the total amount spent on Imprelis claims to $750 million. DuPont chief financial officer Nick Fanandakis said the company was working to validate and resolve claims regarding damage to trees, particularly evergreens such as

Norway spruce and white pine, linked to the weed killer. “We want to bring closure to this as soon as possible,” he said. DuPont also recorded asset impairment and restructuring charges totaling $99 million, and a pretax gain of $117 million associated with the sale of a business within its agricultural unit. The company’s fourth-quarter performance was led by the agricultural unit, which saw sales increase 18 percent to $1.5 billion on 11 percent higher volumes and 7 percent higher prices. Full-year sales for the agricultural unit were up 14 percent to $10.4 billion on 8 percent higher volume and 6 percent higher prices. DuPont said sales of its Pioneer seeds benefited from higher global volume and pricing gains in corn and soybeans, while strong demand for insecticides and herbicides resulted in increased sales of crop protection products. Agriculture remains a key focus in DuPont’s growth initiatives. Fanandakis noted that of the 12-cent per share impact from fixed costs in the quarter, more than half was related to growth projects, specifically agricultural research and development and selling expenses. Matt Arnold, an analyst with Edward Jones, said agricultural product characteristics such as drought-resistance and pest resistance require intensive research and development, even if it takes years to see the payback. “We think it’s probably one of the best places to be active in terms of R & D,” he said. Meanwhile, cyclical pressure in the market for titanium dioxide, a whitening pigment with a broad range of industrial applications, contributed to a 15 percent drop in sales for DuPont’s performance chemicals unit, which saw pretax operating income plunge 54 percent. While acknowledging the cyclical nature of the TiO2 market, DuPont officials said they expect demand will rebound later this year with improvements in the US housing market and China’s economy. “This is a very strong business,” Kullman noted. “It’s a very strong cash generator.” DuPont said weak demand for photovoltaic products used in solar panels partly offset increased demand for materials used in smart phones and tablet computers in the most recent quarter. For the year, the company’s electronics and communications segment saw pretax operating income, excluding onetime items, drop 52 percent, to $172 million. DuPont officials said the photovoltaics market has shown signs of stabilizing but remains volatile because of overcapacity. —AFP

S African official inflation edges up JOHANNESBURG: Consumer prices in South Africa edged still higher in December, posing a headache for the country’s central bank as it meets to discuss efforts to kick-start Africa’s largest economy. Statistics South Africa reported that the consumer price index increased 5.7 percent from the level a year ago, higher than the 5.6 percent rate seen in November. Prices for food, housing and transport all rose, further pressuring hard-hit South Africans. The data comes as the South African Reserve Bank huddles to discuss what they can do to turn lacklustre growth into something more likely to address sky-high

unemployment. The increase in inflation towards the upper end of the bank’s own inflation target rage gives it a little less wiggle room to juice the economy through a cut in interest rates. “There is a good chance of a breach of the upper end of the inflation target around the mid-year,” said Razia Khan, head of regional research at Standard Chartered Bank. Although that breach is likely to be short-lived, Khan forecast that interest rates would be kept on hold “throughout 2013.” “(It) goes to show how drawn out the economic crisis has been for South Africa.”—AFP

NEW YORK: Higher sales of prescription drugs and medical devices helped Johnson & Johnson post a much bigger fourth-quarter profit than a year ago, when a slew of charges depressed results. However, consumer health product sales dipped and the company again pushed back its timeline for returning recalled products to stores. In addition, J&J’s 2013 profit forecast, for $5.35 to $5.45 per share, is below the average analyst estimate of $5.49. The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company said Tuesday that net income was $2.57 billion, or 91 cents per share, up from $218 million, or 8 cents per share, in 2011’s fourth quarter. Excluding about $800 million in charges in the latest quarter, earnings would have been $3.38 billion, or $1.19 per share, 2 cents above analysts’ expectations. The charges include J&J’s biggest acquisition ever and increased litigation reserves over recalls of defective DePuy hip implants. The maker of attention deficit drug Concerta, Acuvue contact lenses and consumer health products such as No More Tears shampoo said revenue totaled $17.56 billion, up 8 percent from a year ago but just shy of analysts’ average estimate of $17.69 billion. J&J shares fell 54 cents to close at $72.69 Tuesday. “On the whole, the quarter was no problem,” said WBB Securities analyst Steve Brozak, adding J&J needs to quickly decide what to do with its $12.5 billion in free cash flow. “Are they going to buy, are they going to sell or are they going to stand still?” CEO Alex Gorsky told analysts during a conference call that the company is exploring alternatives such as the sale or spinoff of its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics business. It makes equipment and supplies for detecting and diagnosing conditions such as HIV, diabetes and high cholesterol and for ensuring donated blood is safe. “Johnson & Johnson delivered solid results in 2012, with momentum continuing to build and sales growth accelerating,” Gorsky said. “As we enter 2013, I believe we’re well positioned to drive growth in this increasingly competitive, dynamic market.” However, J&J’s long-running manufacturing quality problems continue to hurt sales of consumer health products, which were down 3.6 percent in the US and 0.4 percent worldwide at $3.65 billion in the quarter. The company has issued about 30 recalls of Tylenol and other products since September 2009. Reasons range from nauseating packaging smells to tiny glass and metal shards in liquid medicines. Costs for upgrades and completely rebuilding one factory, and for lost sales as Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and other products remained off store shelves, top $1 billion. Upgrading its factories and getting all the products back in stores has dragged on far longer

than the company initially predicted. “We will return a consistent supply of our key products over the course of 2013,” Gorsky said, with about 75 percent of the brands getting back on the market. Two years ago, Gorsky’s predecessor, Bill Weldon, said all the products would be back in stores by the end of 2011. “They haven’t turned the corner on the fallout from the string of recalls,” said analyst Erik

to take advantage of expected growth of health care sales in developed countries from $5.5 billion in 2012 to $8 billion in 2022. Brozak said the company’s growth assumptions are too optimistic, given that government health programs, particularly in debt-laden European countries, are trying to trim their spending. “They’re talking about a pie ... that’s only growing in terms of demand, but who’s going to pay for that demand?” he said.

ORLANDO: In this photo, Johnson & Johnson products are displayed in Orlando, Fla. —AP Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Without the sales added by the Synthes acquisition, overall sales were anemic and medical device and diagnostic sales took a dive.” The $19.7 billion acquisition of surgical trauma equipment and orthopedic implants maker Synthes Inc last June drove a 14 percent increase in sales of medical devices and diagnostics, J&J’s largest segment, to $7.38 billion. Prescription medicine sales rose 7.1 percent, to $6.53 billion, despite continuing revenue losses to generic competition for several drugs. Newer medicines posted double-digit sales jumps, including HIV drug Prezista, Invega Sustenna for schizophrenia and Simponi and Stelara for immune disorders such as psoriasis. Gorsky told the analysts the company is poised

For all of 2012, J&J reported net income of $10.85 billion, or $3.86 per share, on revenue of $67.22 billion. The company expects 2013 revenue of about $71 billion. During a lengthy presentation on the medical device business the world’s largest - managers of its three divisions said they intend to increase market share, partly by expanding sales into more countries. Other sales-boosting strategies they cited include developing innovative products, such as a new artificial knee with improved range of motion that makes climbing stairs easier. Another is giving customers “both clinical and economic value,” as with a program J&J developed to speed up each step in treating patients with new hip fractures - so they’re sent home from the hospital quicker, saving insurance plans lots of money. —AP

Siemens’s earnings, orders down in Q1 FRANKFURT: German engineering giant Siemens said yesterday that earnings and orders fell in the first quarter, but it was hoping a shake-up of its businesses would nevertheless enable it to meet its full-year targets. “In an uncertain economic environment, we got off to a solid start in fiscal 2013,” chief executive Peter Loescher said in a statement. But he cautioned: “For the rest of the year, we don’t expect any tailwinds from the global economy to help us reach our ambitious goals.” Siemens, which makes a wide range of different industrial equipment from wind power generators to complete power plants and trains, operates its business year from October to September. And in the first quarter, the three months to December, new orders declined by 3.0 percent to 19.141 billion euros ($25.5 billion). Revenues, on the other hand, edged up by 2.0 percent to 18.128 billion euros, but net profit fell by 12 percent to 1.214 billion euros. Overall underlying profit, which Siemens calculates as “total sectors profit”, rose by 4.0 percent to 1.7 billion euros, which is equivalent to a profit margin of 9.3 percent, up from 9.0 percent in the same quarter a year earlier. Looking ahead to the full year, Siemens said “the outlook remains unchanged.” Orders and revenues were projected to show “moderate growth...approaching the level of fiscal 2012.” Full-year underlying profit was forecast to come in a range of 4.5-5.0 billion euros, compared with 5.2 billion euros last year, it added. That profit target included some 1.0 billion euros in one-off charges related to the planned shake-up of the group’s businesses. CEO Loescher said the main focus this year would be to roll out reorganisation measures aimed at lifting the group’s overall profit margin to “at least 12 percent by fiscal 2014.” In addition to the targetted acquisition of specialised companies, Siemens has also decided to sell off a number of activities, such as solar energy. Chief financial officer Joe Kaeser also suggested the group would be in a position to sell off its water treatment activities, as hoped. Siemens was holding its annual general meeting yesterday where, among other items on the agenda, shareholders were to vote on the proposed spin-off of lighting unit Osram. Siemens shares were among the biggest losers on Frankfurt’s blue-chip DAX 30 index yesterday, shedding 1.45 percent in a generally firmer market. —AFP

MUNICH: An activist of the environmental group “Robin Wood” climbs on the roof pole of the Olympic hall to raise a banner that reads “Siemens dams: expulsion, greed, environmental destruction” as the German industrial giant Siemens held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday. —AFP



Gulf Bank closes 2012 with strong Q4 growth Net profit at KD 30.9m in 2012

New Nissan Sentra makes powerful first impression Sentra to strengthen Nissan’s position as market leader DUBAI: Nissan in the Middle East unveiled the Nissan Sentra- the new name in premium compact sedans. Over 100 VIPs, media and invited guests were wowed by the holographic display highlighting Nissan Sentra’s innovative and exciting features in Downtown Dubai, UAE.

Many of Sentra’s technologies have never been seen in cars of this class before, reflecting its aspirational and upscale compact sedan positioning. “The promise of Nissan Sentra is to allow a broad but discerning car buying audience to ‘shine brighter’,” said AtsuoKosaka, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East. “Nissan Sentra’s seductive design, unexpected spaciousness, class-defying features and ability to over-deliver

on the basics move the game on significantly for compact sedans. We’re confident the new Nissan Sentra will strengthen Nissan’s position as market leader in what is a fiercely competitive segment.” Sentra is Nissan’s newest model in the 1.6-litre to 1.8-litre compact

sedan segment offering the spaciousness and comfort of carsusually found in the segment above. Positioned to give an accessible premium experience, the Nissan Sentra will appeal to the aspirational, smart and savvy compact sedan buyer. “Nissan Sentra’s unique combination of features offers a driving experience associated with larger cars, creating an ‘aesthetic of driving’ which comes to this segment

for the first time,” said Kosaka-san. “Nissan Sentra, the new name in premium compact sedans, is a highvalue choice.” Seductive design The new Nissan Sentra places great emphasis on exterior and inte-

rior design quality with ‘class-above style’ when compared with competitive vehicles in the compact sedan segment. Externally, its well-balanced exterior proportions with characteristic lines and sculpted panels convey a ‘professional’ persona, a feel which is carried into the interior. Comfortable seats, high quality materials and modern cabin design combined with abundant technology and features, are immediately striking as the driver or passenger enters the car.

Unexpected spaciousness Nissan Sentra’s lightweight body surrounds an interior offering classleading roominess. All passengers can spread out comfortably whether in the front or the rear which boasts legroom to match models in the higher mid-size sedan segment. Luggage is equally well accommodated thanks to Sentra’s 510-litre boot - again, much bigger than models in its class and matching those in the mid-size sedan segment. Class-defying features Nissan Sentra focuses on classabove design standards inside and out. Automatic dual-zone climate control system with rear passenger air vents, navigation system, rearview camera, intelligent key and push engine start, and leather seats on selected models are just some of the features Sentra introduces to the segment. However, all models benefit from the standard fitment of soft interior trims, and a wide range of safety equipment including dual airbags, ABS (anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), and BA (Brake Assist). Over-delivering on the basics The Nissan Sentra is a robust mainstream sedan that over delivers on fundamental driving performance, perfected over thirteen generations and five decades of quality and reliability. The Sentra features refined engines and next-generation CVT transmission resulting in improved fuel efficiency.

UAE’s Gas Cities, Saudi’s Construction Company to develop industrial parks RIYADH: Gas Cities Limited, a joint venture between UAE’s Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas, and Saudi Arabian Construction Products Company International (CPC International), announced the formation of a joint venture company that will develop, construct, and operate

industrial parks focusing on Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region (MENASA). This venture, signed today by and between Badr Jafar, Chairman of Gas Cities, and Mu’taz Sawwaf, CEO of Construction Products Company International (CPC International), will also manage all the utili-

Badr Jafar and Mutaz Sawwaf

ties requirements of the industrial parks including electricity, gas, water, and waste water. The joint venture will prioritize industrial park projects in Iraq, and will immediately initiate the feasibility study of its first project in the country. The venture also agreed to study the establishment of a new industrial Park in the Arab Republic of Egypt within the new phase of industrial developers program which is expected to be launched in 2013. The partnership has also agreed to study the entry to the field of industrial development in other countries such as the Arab Maghreb countries and East Asian countries. The joint venture is a limited liability company where CPC will hold 60 percent and Gas Cities will hold 40 percent of the shares at the outset. “When you consider the core competences that our respective companies bring to the table including our industrial park experience; utilities expertise; our regional footprint; and most importantly, our mutual commitment to provide a comprehensive one-stop solution to our customers - it is clear that this joint venture with CPC makes per fect sense,” said Badr Jafar, Chairman of GasCities and President of Crescent Petroleum. Sawwaf stated that developing Industrial Parks will be a major part of CPC business in the coming few years due to the rapid increase of demand on industrial lands in the MENA region. Sawwaf added, “we believe that industrial parks are a major tool for rapid industrial and economic development of the MENA region countries.”

Malabar Gold & Diamonds strengthens presence in Bahrain BAHRAIN: Malabar Gold & Diamonds opens yet another showroom in Bahrain to strengthen their presence in the region. Their 81st showroom will be opened in Lulu Hypermarket, Riffa shortly. This new showroom has a lot to offer and will be a delight to the jewelry shoppers in Bahrain. Unique designs and styles of Malabar Gold & Diamonds will be displayed in this outlet with fabulous offers. This is in addition to their exclu-

sive branded jewelry Era - uncut diamond jewelry, Ethnix - hand crafted designer jewelry, Mine diamonds unlimited, Divine - Heritage jewelry, Precia - precious gems jewelry, Starlet - kids jewelry and D’ VA- teenage jewelry, which are perfect examples of timeless fashion and style. Since their inception in 1993, the jewelry chain strives to deliver more than they promise. The combination of cutting edge designs, unmatched grace combined with style and dis-

tinctive after-sales service makes Malabar Gold & Diamonds unique. Their first venture in Bahrain came with the opening of a retail outlet in Manama. Operating over 80 retail jewelry outlets, Malabar Gold & Diamonds continues their distinction as a leading jewelry retailer with an impressive outlook ahead and intends to open more outlets, with the aim of entering into the Far East and European markets in the near future.

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank closed 2012 with strong results in the fourth quarter and solid growth in the top line revenue for FY 2012. The bank’s FY 2012 income before provisions amounted to KD 121.4 million, up 13 percent against 2011. Net profit for the year was flat at KD 30.9 million against KD 30.6 million the previous year. The board recommended the distribution of 5 percent bonus shares, subsequently approved by Central Bank of Kuwait . Earnings per share stood at 12 fils. In continuing with the strategy to build a fortress balance sheet, the precautionary general reserve was increased to over KD 148 million. As of the end of December 2012, the bank’s total assets reached KD 4,847 million, deposits grew to KD 4,094 Million, the loan book increased by 4.9 percent whilst total shareholders’ equity measured up to KD 449 million. Mahmoud Abdul Khaleq AlNouri, Gulf Bank’s Chairman, said: “This year’s results show the continuation of a strong and solid performance by Gulf Bank. In consumer banking we have raised the bar with our “We Promise” program, guaranteeing the best and fastest banking services, which, along with our strong leadership and management team, has contributed to solid growth and increased market share. Furthermore, on the corporate banking front, Gulf Bank was mandated as the lead manager to help finance two of the largest and most complex projects in Kuwait. In 2012, the bank successfully completed its 2-year Turnaround Plan and embarked on its new 2012-2015 plan that focuses on expanding the bank’s activities across three main pillars: “Solidify our gains, accelerate our growth, and surpass our limits”. Gulf Bank received numerous awards in various disciplines across the bank, and was honored to be named The Best Bank by The Banker- a leading Financial Times publication. The bank re-affirmed its position as the leading Kuwaiti employer by winning the Localization Award from the GCC Council of Ministers for Social Affairs and Labour for the 8th consecutive year.

The award further reflects the bank’s commitment to developing careers for Kuwaitis within the bank, and highlights its continuous efforts in achieving and maintaining one of the highest employment percentages of Kuwaiti nationals across the private sector, as well as being the first Kuwaiti bank to achieve this status.

Mahmoud Abdul Khaleq Al-Nouri, Gulf Bank Chairman Gulf Bank concluded its Corporate Social Responsibility program for 2012, which focused on blood donation, with over 1,000 lives saved. The bank also worked alongside a number of organizations conducting many social activities throughout the year and serving the underprivileged and community as a whole. Al-Nouri said: “We continue to set the industry benchmark for outstanding customer service with our ‘We Promise’ program, while maintaining world-class operating efficiency and enjoying solid and consistent growth in our top line revenue. We are contributing to Kuwait’s economic growth and prosperity and we strive to deliver an outstanding return on our shareholders’ investment.”

Stay tuned for FASTtelco at InfoConnect 2013: Al-Selmi KUWAIT: FASTtelco has proudly announced its participation in the annual InfoConnect Exhibition 2013 held at the Kuwait International Fair Grounds (Hall No.6) in Mishref on January 27, 2012. The annual InfoConnect exhibition is one of the most important exhibitions in the state of Kuwait, showcasing the latest communications and information technologies, and is considered as the most successful in the region due to the large number of regional and local participants and attendees. The show also draws in active participation from international companies specialized in the communication and IT industry fields. Public Relations manager Hamad Saleh Al-Selmi, outlined the importance of this prestigious event and considered it a great opportunity for FASTtelco to showcase its latest collection of innovative services and products, as well as the most cutting edge business services, such as wi-fi coverage, educational, professional maintenance, and cloud services, as well as a wide range of special internet value packed offerings for the public and attending crowd. Al-Selmi further affirmed that FASTtelco’s participation in InfoConnect Exhibition highlights the competitive strength of FASTtelco as a leading Internet Service Provider in Kuwait, highlighting FASTtelco’s commitment in giving both retail and corporate customers best in class products and services In this perspective, FASTtelco would like to share this special experience with its val-

ued customers by cordially inviting them to visit its booth at the exhibition and to take part in the fun activities, giveaways and valuable prizes to be unveiled. Al-Selmi explained that such enriching events are a golden opportunity for

Hamad Saleh Al-Selmi FASTtelco to keep its current customers updated on its latest retail and business offerings, and to attract new customers interested in receiving the highest quality solutions. The participation in InfoConnect 2013 is a step forward for FASTtelco in maintaining its position as a leading Internet Service Provider in Kuwait and considering further expansion in the regional market.

Unilever reports 5.0% profit rise THE HAGUE: Food and cosmetics giant Unilever reported yesterday annual net profits up 5.0 percent on 2011 to 4.48 billion euros($5.96 billion), with turnover hitting 50 billion euros for the first time. Unilever global sales were 51.3 billion euros, up 10.5 percent, and the company said the outcome was an important step towards its target of sales of 80 billion euros. “There is no room for complacency,” Unilever chief executive Paul Polman nevertheless warned in a statement. “Markets will remain challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs.” “We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow.” Unilever’s fourth-quarter sales rose by 7.8 percent, thanks largely to volume growth of 4.8 percent, higher than the 6.3 percent expected on average by analysts interviewed by Dow Jones Newswires. Underlying sales growth in emerging markets was 11.4 percent, representing 55.0 percent of the multinational’s global turnover. “Emerging markets again contributed doubledigit growth helping us exceed 50 billion euros turnover, an important milestone in our journey to double the size of Unilever from 40 billion euros to 80 billion euros whilst reducing our environmental impact,” Polman said. The company saw strongest sales growth in Asia-Africa, where the figures rose by 10.6 percent, while Americas sales were up 7.9 percent. Performance in Europe was “sluggish”, the company said, with sales up 0.8 percent. This

reflects “the fragile state of consumer confidence and intensely competitive markets,” Unilever said. Nevertheless, “we have responded to the needs of hard-pressed consumers by providing good quality products at low price points.” “Throughout 2012 our markets experienced markedly different dynamics as emerging markets grew in both volume and value terms whilst developed market value remained subdued, with volumes lower than prior year,” Unilever said. “There’s a very low consummer confidence, especially in Europe,” Polman told journalists in a telephone press conference. “The austerity measures are affecting the consummers... We’re prepared once more to face a challenging year.” The Anglo-Dutch company said that Magnum ice creams and Sunsilk hair products had become “billion-euros brands”, bringing the company’s total of such brands to 14. “We continued to invest behind our brands, again increasing advertising and promotions spend,” by 470 million euros, Polman said. One of the world’s leading suppliers of consumer goods, Unilever owns a wide variety of brands including Knorr, Lipton, Dove and Vaseline. It employs 167,000 workers in 100 countries. Performance also varied across product ranges, with sales of personal care and home care up 10 percent worldwide, while food sales rose just 1.8 percent. Unilever announced earlier this month that it was selling its Skippy global peanut butter brand for about 700 million dollars (526 million euros), but that will count towards 2013 accounts. —AFP



Is technology a job killer? A few history lessons ‘skills and training are worthless’ A handout computer generated image shows a house designed by Dutch architecture practice Universe Architecture on January 14, 2013.

Dutch architect to build house with 3D printer THE HAGUE: A Dutch architect has designed a house “with no beginning or end” to be built using the world’s largest 3D printer, harnessing technology that may one day be used to print houses on the moon. Janjaap Ruijssenaars, 39, of Universe Architecture in Amsterdam, wants to print a Mobius strip-shaped building with around 1,100 square metres (12,000 square feet) of floor space using the massive DShape printer. The printer, designed by Italian Enrico Dini, can print up to almost a six-metre-by-six-metre square (20-foot-by20-foot), using a computer to add layers 510 mm (a quarter to half an inch) thick. Ruijssenaars says the building could serve as a home or a museum and would have parts usually made from concrete printed using broken up rocks and an emulsion binding, while steel and glass would provide the facade. “It’s our ambition to have the first printed house, this printer has made art or objects for sea defences, but this is the first time to build something that can be lived in,” he told AFP. Ruijssenaars said the plan was not initially to print the building but the hi-tech medium turned out to be the most appropriate. “We started to ask the question if a building can be like the landscape, in order to make a building that would not harm the landscape, or at least learn from the landscape,” he said. “We analysed that the essence of landscape is that it has no beginning or ending, so it’s continuous, not only the fact the world is round but also water goes into land, valleys into mountains, it’s always continuous.” The Mobius-strip shaped result bears a striking resemblance to the art of another Dutchman, 20th-century designer and illustrator M C Escher. “In this design he’s definitely been an inspiration, I would say he’s the king of Mobius strips in draw-

ing,” Ruijssenaars said. When trying to make a small model of the building, Ruijssenaars realised that whatever material you use, from paper to lead, “you have to make a strip and then bend it in order to make this Mobius strip.” “But with a 3D printer, even a small model, we could make the whole structure from bottom to top without anyone seeing where it is beginning or ending,” he said. Working with Dutch mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs and Dini in Italy, “we put the whole thing in the computer,” the architect said. A Brazilian national park has expressed interest in the building, which would cost around four million euros ($5.3 million) to construct, the architect said, or it could be built as a private home in the United States. The project would take around 18 months to build and the printer “might be active for half a year,” Ruijssenaars said. “The challenge is demonstrating that it’s possible to print real buildings in 3D and affirm that there is a new way to manufacture buildings,” Dini, 50, said by telephone from Italy. Dini, who gave up his well-paid job in robotics designing prototypes for the footwear industry to build his monster printer, said that 3D printing of buildings remains a hybrid process with other building techniques for reinforcement. “And it’s about being competitive with other construction techniques,” he said. One advantage of using printing is that you can easily build-in empty spaces for plumbing and electrics-and that you can use rocks found in situ at the construction site, which could be almost anywhere. “The great thing about the printer is that you can take it somewhere and then print with the ground you find on location,” Ruijssenaars said. “So you could take the printer to the moon, assemble it there and print with moon material.”—AFP

NEW YORK: To workers being pushed out of jobs by today’s technology, history has a message: You’re not the first. From textile machines to the horseless carriage to email, technology has upended industries and wiped out jobs for centuries. It also has created millions of jobs, though usually not for the people who lost them. “People suffer - their livelihoods, their skills and training are worth less,” says Joel Mokyr, a historian of technological change at Northwestern University. “But that is the price we pay for progress.” A look at breakthroughs that made the goods we buy more affordable, our lives more comfortable - and our jobs more precarious: The first industrial revolution For most of history, people made many goods themselves. That changed with the First Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the mid18th century and lasted about 100 years. New mechanical devices that allowed one man to do the work of several flooded the market with products, most notably textiles. Using cords, wheels and rollers, inventors sped up the twisting of threads to make yarn and the weaving of yarn to make cloth. Next, steam was used to free the new machines from the limits of man’s muscle and make them run faster. The new machines produced so much, so fast and so cheaply, more people could afford to buy textiles. Demand soared and so did jobs manning the machines and doing other work. In America in 1793, Eli Whitney freed slaves from the laborious work of picking sticky seeds from cotton bolls by inventing a cotton gin that did that automatically. It led to widespread planting of cotton - but even more work for slaves. Whitney also is credited with another invention: interchangeable parts. At a workshop he ran for making firearms, he had his staff make the same part many times so that his guns could be assembled quickly. It worked, and industries such as watch makers copied his method. In 1831, Cyrus McCormick invented a reaper that cut wheat stalks as it was pulled by horses and piled them on a platform. Farmers could harvest faster. In 1837, John Deere stuck the blade of a steel saw

onto a plow and invented the steel-edged plow to replace cast-iron ones. Farmers could cut a furrow in the earth more easily and sow faster. And so began a series of inventions that made farming efficient, and began to drain farms of people. In 1800, two-thirds of Americans worked on farms; today, 2 percent do. The second industrial revolution Life sped up more in this second period of innovation, from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, an age of steel and electric power, expanding railroads and the automobile. In 1856, an Englishman discovered a way of making steel fast and cheap, and other inventors soon improved the process. Railroad companies started using steel for their rails instead of wrought iron, which bent easily and needed to be replaced often. Trains could carry heavier loads, which meant businesses could send more products to distant markets. Sales increased, and so did jobs. In 1861, a telegraph line was strung from coast to coast in the US, vastly improving communication. It also wiped out the Pony Express delivery service; it went out of business the same year. In 1879, Thomas Edison made a light bulb that wouldn’t burn out in a few hours. Factories replaced gas lights, reducing the number of fires. In quick succession came a string of breakthroughs - the automobile, an automatic typesetting machine for printing, a tractor propelled by an internal combustion engine instead of pulled by horses and the Wright brothers’ airplane. Henry Ford started his eponymous car company in 1903. He put men and their tools in stationary positions and had a car being assembled roll from one man to the next. The moving assembly line was born, and cars could be made faster and cheaper. As with textiles earlier, car prices plummeted and demand soared, creating new kinds of jobs in a new industry - and helping to wipe out 100,000 jobs for carriage and harness makers. The information age The inventor’s focus shifted from building things to manipulating information. The tools of this new period help people gather and analyze data and communicate faster, cheaper, better. No

invention is commonly accepted as first of the age, but one contender is the first digital computer in 1937, created by George Stibitz of Bell Labs, the former research arm of AT&T. Stibitz seized the idea of using the open and closed positions of metallic devices when electricity runs through them to do simple math. In 1947, a team at Bell Labs led by William Shockley discovered how to amplify and switch electronic signals using semiconductor material. It was the first transistor. A decade later, many of them were crammed onto a small chip, dubbed an integrated circuit. Before the transistor, electronic products worked with bulky vacuum tubes. Now computing power could be miniaturized, a breakthrough that led to small radios, personal computers, cellphones and an array of other devices today. In 1971, the first email was sent by a Defense Department computer engineer. The same year, John Blankenbaker built the Kenbak-1, the first computer small and cheap enough for the masses to buy. They didn’t. Fewer than 50 Kenbak-1s were sold, mostly to a community college, according to oral history by Blankenbaker at the Computer Museum in Boston. His company went out of business within two years In 1981, the National Science Foundation set up a network linking university computers, a milestone in the development of the Internet. Its impact could scarcely be imagined then. The past three decades, new products and innovations have allowed people to entertain and inform themselves anywhere, anytime. In 1983, Motorola introduced the first portable cellphone, a 2-pound clunker called the DynaTac 8000x. In 1984, the first PDA, or personal digital assistant, was sold - the long-forgotten Psion. In 1994, BellSouth sold its first Simon, the start of a stream of ever-smarter smartphones from which you can access virtually any information while on the run, including that staple of the telephone operator - a phone number. Which helps explain why there were just 36,000 US operators in 2010, down nearly twothirds in 10 years. A job that rose in the same period? Software engineer. They numbered 1.03 million in 2010, up nearly 40 percent.—AP

Can Apple maintain its shine? NEW YORK: For many investors, Apple’s best days are behind it. Competitors are catching up, they believe, and the latest iPhone is stumbling. The company’s doubters have backed their conviction with billions of dollars. Last week, the stock fell below $500 for the first time in 11 months. Since Apple’s stock peaked at $705.07 on Sept 21 -the day of the iPhone 5’s release- it has fallen nearly 30 percent, cutting Apple’s market capitalization by nearly $200 billion. Yesterday, Apple -still the world’s most valuable public company- gets a chance to rebut the skeptics as it reports financial results for the holiday quarter. But the report could also end up confirming beliefs that the company is losing its edge as an arbiter of innovation and a pacesetter in sales growth. Apple’s perception problem centers on the iPhone. Many investors believe the company has painted itself into a corner with the highpriced gadget. The iPhone is more expensive than other smartphones that do many of the same things. The company created the modern smartphone, but because of its strategy to sell the iPhone at a large premium, it will be unable to capitalize fully as smartphones continue conquering the world. The iPhone seems destined to remain the phone of the elite who can afford it. In many ways, the iPhone’s global battle with phones running Google’s Android operating system is a replay of the Mac-PC battles of the 80s and 90s, when Apple saw its innovative-yet-expensive Mac outflanked by cheaper PCs running Microsoft’s DOS and Windows

software. Analyst Michael Morgan at ABI Research believes Apple’s share of the global smartphone market will grow from 20.5 percent in 2012 to 22 percent this year and then remain flat. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics -the world’s No. 1 maker of smartphones- is already at 30 percent of the market, and is set to leverage its chip- and display-making capabilities into further dominance, he said. “Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung’s business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung’s technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 -through the foreseeable future,” Morgan said. Investors also see shortterm difficulties for Apple. Last week, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei and The Wall Street Journal said the company has slashed its orders for iPhone 5 parts because the device isn’t selling as well as hoped. Both publications cited unidentified people familiar with the situation. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu believes the press reports are misleading. IPhone 5 demand, he says, remains robust. He attributes the reports of lower orders to shifts to other suppliers and an improvement in production, which means fewer components are wasted while building the complicated phone. Apple usually reports the number of iPhones it sells each quarter, so Wednesday’s financial update should give investors some indication of where the company is heading. Analysts on average expect the company to show sales of 48 million iPhones, which compares with the 37 million it sold in the same period a year prior.—AP

Microsoft Kuwait to participate at InfoBiz 2013 KUWAIT: Microsoft Kuwait today announced its participation at InfoBiz 2013, Kuwait’s premier IT & Communications Business Solutions Exhibition that is being held under the umbrella of Central Authority for Information Technology (CAIT). InfoBiz will take place from January 27th - January 31st, 2013 at the Kuwait International Fairs Ground in Mishref Showroom 6. Commenting on the significance of the event, Ehab Mostafa, Country Manager, Microsoft Kuwait said: “We believe InfoBiz is an important platform that will enable us to showcase our latest business solutions which improve productivity and reduce costs. This exhibition will also provide industry players to experience the latest innovations in technology and cloud computing, which would enhance the success and efficiency of institutions and companies in Kuwait. As this is one of Kuwait’s premiers IT and communications trade shows, Microsoft is committed to a high level of sponsorship,

and we’re honored to be a major sponsor of InfoBiz again for the fourth time.” Microsoft will also have presenters at the event, delivering a range of presentations throughout the exhibition where Microsoft Kuwait will host an ‘experience stand’ to showcase new features to a selection of its latest programs, Lync 2013, the New Office 2013 and Exchange 2013, in addition to Windows 8. Customers visiting the show will be able to engage with and get to know the latest features of all these technologies with a focus demo for Windows 8 which is currently available on more than 1000 personal computers operating with Windows 8 and also a variety of touch screen computer models; all available in retail stores across Kuwait. Moreover, Windows 8 is available for download, and as an upgrade to computers currently operating with Windows XP, Windows Vista & Windows 7. The brand new product also opens new realms of accessibility, with Windows 8 offered in Kuwait in 37 languages.

OHIO: Lew Urry holds up an original alkaline battery that was marketed in 1958, left, and a current battery in Westlake. —AP photos

LEMONT: In this January 14, 2011 photo provided by the Argonne National Laboratory, process engineer Bryant Polzin fills an 18650 lithium-ion battery cell with electrolyte using semi-automated equipment at Argonne’s Cell Fabrication Facility.

What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery WASHINGTON: As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It’s why electric cars aren’t clogging the roads and why Boeing’s new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren’t flying high. And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery. Boeing is the first company to make extensive use in an airliner of technology’s most advanced battery - lithium ion. But a Jan. 7 battery fire aboard a Dreamliner in Boston, followed by a similar meltdown in Japan, led authorities around the world to ground the fleet this month, highlighting a longstanding safety problem that engineers have struggled with. In 2006 and 2007, more than 46 million cellphone batteries and 10 million laptop batteries - all lithium ion - were recalled because of the risk of overheating, short-circuiting and exploding. Additional safety features have been installed since then on lithium ion batteries used in consumer electronics. As for the electric car industry, lithium ion batteries have proved to have two major drawbacks: They are costly, and they do not allow automobiles to go far enough between rechargings. A123, a maker of lithium ion batteries for electric cars, went bankrupt last year because of poor demand and high costs after receiving a $249 million federal grant. Lithium ion batteries, which store more energy at a higher voltage and a lighter weight than earlier types, represent the most recent big jump in battery technology. And that took place nearly a quarter of a century ago. “We need to leapfrog the engineering of making of batteries,” said Lawrence Berkeley National Lab battery scientist Vince Battaglia. “We’ve got to find the next big thing.” But none of the 10 experts who talked to The Associated Press said they know

what that big thing will be yet, or when it will come. “If you crack it ... it’ll change the world,” said Carnegie Mellon University materials science professor Jay Whitacre. Batteries are so crucial to a greener energy future that the Obama administration has spent more than $2 billion to jump-start the advanced battery industry, including setting up what some experts say is a miniManhattan Project for batteries. To make the next breakthrough, researchers will have to master complex chemistry, expensive manufacturing, and detailed engineering, a variety of different materials, lengthy testing, stringent safety standards and giant cost problems. It involves dealing with liquids and solids, metals and organic chemicals, and things that are in between, said Glenn Amatucci, director of the Energy Storage Research Group at Rutgers University. “We’re dealing with a system that you can imagine is almost alive. It’s almost breathing,” Amatucci said. “Trying to understand what’s happening within these batteries is incredibly complex.” One reason the

battery is the slowpoke of the hightech highway is that it has conflicting functions. Its primary job is to store energy. But it’s also supposed to discharge power, lots of it, quickly. Those two jobs are at odds with each other. “If you want high storage, you can’t get high power,” said M. Stanley Whittingham, director of the Northeast Center for Chemical Energy Storage. “People are expecting more than what’s possible.” On the commercial market, lithium ion batteries are generally ones small enough to fit into cellphones. But to power bigger items - from a Prius to a 787 - they get grouped together, increasing the juice they store and provide. That also increases the safety risk, experts say. The lithium ion battery that caught fire in a Boeing 787 weighed 63 pounds and was 19 inches long. “You can’t get around the fundamental thing is that lithium ion batteries are stuffed full of flammable liquid,” Whitacre said. Even one-in-a-million problems with lithium ion batteries can result in many fires because there are billions of them in use now, with dozens sometimes stacked together in a sin-

LEMONT: In a Feb 4, 1957 file photo, W.E. Kelley, left, and Robert C Miller exhibit the nuclear battery, in center of ring at left, powering a radio transmitter.

gle device. Experts say lithium ion batteries are more dangerous because their electrolyte, the liquid that allows ions to move between electrodes in the battery, is more flammable than the substance in older type batteries. Those older types include the lead-acid batteries in most cars and the nickel cadmium batteries that are often in video equipment and power tools. Still, MIT materials science and engineering professor Gerbrand Ceder and others said the safety problems can be fixed. Change doesn’t come often in the battery field. “The big advances in battery technology happen rarely. It’s been more than 200 years and we have maybe five different successful rechargeable batteries,” said George Blomgren, a former senior technology researcher at Eveready and now a private battery consultant. “It’s frustrating.” Alessandro Volta - for whom the volt is named - invented the first useful battery in 1800. That was long before other breakthrough inventions like the internal combustion engine, telephone, car, airplane, transistor, computer and Internet. But all of those developments have seemed to evolve faster than the simple battery. The lead-acid car battery “has been around for 150 years more or less,” Whitacre said. “This is a remarkable testament to first how robust that chemistry is and how difficult change is.” Battery experts are split over what’s next. Some think the lithium ion battery can be tinkered with to get major efficiency and storage improvements. Amatucci said he thinks we can get two to three times more energy out of future lithium ion batteries, while others said minor chemical changes can do even more. But just as many engineers say the lithium ion battery has run its course. “With the materials in the current lithium ion battery, we are definitely plateaued,” Blomgren said. “We’re waiting for something to come along that really does the job.—AP


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

Limited impact on child abuse from visits, intervention PORTLAND: Home visits and doctor’s office interventions to prevent child abuse appear to have only limited success, with evidence mixed on whether they help at all, according to a US analysis based on ten international studies. As a result, the government-backed US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said this week that current evidence is “insufficient” to recommend such programs for dealing with the hundreds of thousands of children reported to be abused each year. “There have been a few studies done... (but) there’s inconsistency in the results across these trials,” said David Grossman,

from Group Health Research institute in Seattle who is a member of the USPSTF panel. “I wish we could be more definitive on this.” According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, about 675,000 children were reported as victims of child abuse or neglect in 2011, just under one percent of children nationwide. About nine percent of those were sexually abused. In a review conducted for the USPSTF, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland analyzed 10 studies of child abuse prevention programs involving home visitors in the United

States, UK and New Zealand, and one intervention done in a Baltimore clinic. These studies included families at higher risk of child abuse based on responses to questionnaires or referrals from midwives and nurses. For the one intervention that didn’t involve regular home visits, at-risk families were given materials about child abuse and referred to social workers. Some of the programs were linked to a drop in families being reported to authorities such as Child Protective Services and children’s emergency room visits, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, but oth-

ers found no such link. “It looks like some progress is being made in terms of evaluating early childhood abuse prevention programs,” said Elizabeth Letourneau, who studies child sexual abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There’s a need for more of those evidence-backed programs, she said, but also to focus on sexual abuse in particular, an area which is especially lacking when it comes to research. There’s evidence that at least one program, focused on teen mothers, can help prevent child abuse, said Jane Barlow, a child abuse researcher at Warwick Medical

School in Coventry, UK. The best time to act to prevent abuse and neglect, Barlow told Reuters Health, seems to be while at-risk women are pregnant, using “intensive support from a range of practitioners.” Grossman said that investigating the potential harm of child abuse prevention programs will also be important for future recommendations. “We frequently think of removing (abused and neglected) children from the home as being a potential solution,” he said - and often it is. “(But) removing children from the home and placement in foster care carries its own harms.” —- Reuters

Human kidney tissue grown from stem cells Starting line for a big mission ahead TOKYO: Researchers in Japan said yesterday they have succeeded in growing human kidney tissue from stem cells for the first time, in a potential first step towards helping millions who depend on dialysis. Kidneys have a complex structure that is not easily repaired, but the latest findings put scientists on the road to fixing a diseased or distressed organ, they said. More

specifically in the direction of kidney tissue. “It was a very significant step,” he said. Osafune said they had succeeded in generating intermediate mesoderm tissue from the stem cells, a middle point between the blank slate and the finished kidney tissue. “There are about 200 types of cells in the human body, but this tissue grows into only

KYOTO: This handout picture, released from Japan’s Kyoto University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) yesterday shows part of the renal tubule cells (red part) which were differentiated from human stem cells at the CiRA in Kyoto. —AFP than 300,000 people in Japan alone rely on dialysis because their kidneys do not function properly. Researchers said the latest breakthrough may one day mean that kidney tissue generated from a patient’s own body could markedly improve how a damaged organ works. Kenji Osafune of Kyoto University said his team had managed to take stem cells-the “blank slates” capable of being programmed to become any kind of cell in the body-and nudge them

three types of cells,” namely adrenal cells, reproductive gland cells and kidney cells, he said, adding that as much as 90 percent of cultures in their research developed into viable mesoderm tissue. This embryonic intermediary can be grown either in test tubes or in a living host into specific kidney cells. Osafune stressed there are still many hurdles to overcome before applying his work to actual

Concerns over obesity drug SAN DIEGO: Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc said the European health regulator had raised concerns with the company’s obesity drug, Belviq. The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) raised objections related to issues such as tumors in rats, heart valve disorders and psychiatric events, Arena said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. “The CHMP requests that we further justify Belviq’s overall benefit-risk balance taking these issues into consideration,” the San Diego, California-based company said. Arena said it expects the regulator to make a final decision on Belviq in the first half of 2013. Belviq is designed to block appetite signals in the brain to help people feel full after eating smaller amounts of food. The US Food and Drug Administration had raised similar concerns over Belviq before eventually approving the drug in June 2012. Arena had at that time argued that the incidence of tumors was specific to rodents and humans have different biological mechanisms.] The FDA’s main concern though was Belviq’s impact on heart valves, which could signal broader cardiac damage. Post approval, the FDA directed Arena to conduct six follow-up studies, including a long-term study of whether Belviq increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. —Reuters

medical treatment. “It is not known yet if simply transplanting regenerated cells would really cure kidney ailment,” he said. He and his team created part of a urinary tubule, a small tube in the kidney that plays a role in the production of urine. While the research is not aimed at growing an entire working kidney, he said the method his team had developed would help scientists learn more about intermediate mesoderm development and may provide a source of cells for regenerative therapy. “I would say that we have arrived at the preliminary step on the road to the clinical level,” he said. Stem cell work has been controversial until relatively recently because embryos were the only source, and their harvesting led to the destruction of what some people consider a human life. This research has used induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells, a bio-technology where a fullydeveloped adult cell is effectively re-engineered to return it to its infant state. Last year Shinya Yamanaka, director of the Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application of which Osafune is a part, was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine for his pioneering work on the iPS cells. Yamanaka and Britain’s John Gurdon were jointly honoured for work on the key ingredient in the vision of regenerative medicine. Work involving iPS cells is seen as a way scientists can generate materials either to experiment on, or to use within the body-perhaps as a means of repairing or even replacing damaged or diseased organs. Osafune’s achivement, while significant, brings researchers effectively to the foot of a mountain they must climb if they want to grow a working kidney, warned Takahashi Yokoo, lecturer at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo. “Yes, a tubule structure was generated, but an enormous amount of research is still necessary to create an orderly structure that produces urine,” Yokoo, a kidney expert not involved with Osafune’s study, told AFP. “We must refrain from hyping optimism among patients because to do so is to ignore the most difficult part of the efforts to create kidneys. “We are hopeful about the latest achievement. This study puts us at the starting line for a big mission ahead.” Osafune’s research is published in online science journal Nature Communications. —AFP

Scientist ‘not seeking a mom for a Neanderthal’ NEW YORK: A prominent genetics expert from Harvard Medical School wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He is NOT looking for a woman to bear a Neanderthal baby. Not even an adventurous one. “Definitely not,” said George Church. Is he advocating for creating a Neanderthal? No. Does he plan to pursue such a project? “We have no projects, no plans, we have no papers, no grants,” to do that, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. You wouldn’t know that from some press reports that shot around the Internet the past few days, which made Church sound like he was supporting the idea and even looking for an “adventurous” woman to bear the Neanderthal child. Church says those reports are based on misunderstandings of an interview he gave the German magazine Der Spiegel. The publication had approached him to talk about his recent book, “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.” Church said the idea of bringing back Neanderthals gets brief mention as a theoretical possibility, and the book refers to an “adventurous” woman merely to point out that the process would require a woman who no doubt would be adventurous. “It said you’re going to need someone like

that if you’re going to do it,” he said. “It’s certainly very different from taking out a want ad.” Neanderthals were stocky, muscular hunters who lived in Europe and western Asia. They died out sometime after modern humans arrived in Europe, which occurred some 40,000 to 45,000 years ago. Scientists have recovered DNA from Neanderthal fossils. Making a Neanderthal would start with putting such DNA into human cells. They would be used to make an embryo, which would be carried to term by a surrogate mother, Church said. Such a process would face ethical questions involving respect for the mother and child, as well as safety issues, and it would also require societal approval, Church said. Scientists have long talked about bringing back long-extinct animals, such as by recovering genes from the remains of mammoths and using elephants as surrogate mothers. That has its own ethical issues, although not as troubling as a Neanderthal project, Church said. Although he’s not saying that a Neanderthal project is necessarily a good idea, “I think it is up for discussion, and hopefully for several years we can have a calm discussion about it,” Church said. “It’s way better to think of these things in advance.” —Reuters

DNA shows ancestry of present-day Asians, Native Americans WASHINGTON: Present-day Asians and Native Americans are descended from a group of people who were already in China 40,000 years ago, according to an analysis of fossil DNA published this week. The genetic analysis showed that the early modern humans in Beijing had already diverged genetically from the ancestors of modern-day Europeans. The researchers took nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a leg bone found in the Tianyuan Cave in China in 2003. Using

this, they reconstructed the genetic profile of the leg’s owner, a person who lived at a very interesting time in the history of modern humans, the researchers said in a statement Monday. “This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became extinct,” said lead author Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The genetic analysis from the ancient bone showed similarities to genetic profiles from modern-day Asians and Native Americans, the researchers explained. But the analysis showed that the early modern human near Beijing had already diverged, genetically, from the ancestors of modern Europeans. In addition, the proportion of Neanderthal and DenisovanDNA was no higher than that of modern-day humans in the region. Scientists had previously found fos-

sils of people from Eurasia 40,000 to 50,000 years ago who looked like modern-day humans. But the researchers emphasized that the genetic relationships between these early modern humans and today’s people had not yet been fleshed out. “More analyses of additional early modern humans across Eurasia will further refine our understanding of when and how modern humans spread across Europe and Asia,” Svante Paabo said. —AFP

PARIS: Pierre-Henry Maccioni, prefect of Seine-Maritime, gives a press conference with experts yesterday about the technical operations to plug the leak in the chemical plant Lubrizol, where a chemical substance became unstable causing gas odors. —AFP

Stench of French ‘rotten egg’ invades England PARIS: The stench of rotten eggs wafted across Paris and northern France yesterday, even reaching across the sea to England, after a gas leak that authorities said was very smelly but entirely harmless. Headaches, sore throats and nausea were nevertheless among the complaints listed in calls made overnight to emergency lines in Paris by more than 10,000 people worried by the stink that had invaded their streets and homes. One Paris suburban resident, who asked not to be named, said he and his wife smelt gas when they woke early Tuesday with searing headaches: “I opened the windows and then realised the same smell was outside.” But France’s Ecology Minister Delphine Batho, who cut short an official trip to Berlin to rush to the site of the leak, a chemical plant in the picturesque city of Rouen in Normandy, said there was no health risk. “I’m reassured,” she told reporters after visiting the facility. She told AFP there would be an investigation to “determine the origin and establish whether the company was responsible”. The leak began early Monday at a plant run by Lubrizol, a firm that is part of billionaire US investor Warren Buffett’s empire, and within a day its odour had reached millions of people across northern France. Winds carried the invisible gas around 100 kilometres (60 miles) down the densely populated Seine river valley to Paris, and later northwards over the Channel and into England, where it even reached as far as south London. “South Kent residents are being asked to keep doors and windows closed due to a gas cloud that is believed to have come across from France,” the fire and rescue service in the southeastern English region said. Katherine Shook, an artist who lives in the 11th district of Paris, said she was wok-

en by her crying baby. “It was about 4:00 am and I got up and noticed there was a gas smell all through the house. I smelled outside the front door, and it was stronger, so realised it was coming from outside the apartment,” she said. The offending odour came from a gas called mercaptan, which, among other uses, is added to municipal gas because its sulphurous smell alerts people to gas leaks. The Lubrizol plant, which makes additives for industrial lubricants and paint, shut down production as workers battled to plug the leak. Regional authorities ordered the postponement of a French Cup tie match in Rouen between the city’s football team and Olympique Marseille on Tuesday evening. “We didn’t want to be in a situation where we have 10,000 spectators two kilometres away from the plant without any capacity for confining or evacuating them if that were necessary,” said senior local official Florence Gouache. Despite the official insistence that there was no danger, French social media were awash with people in the affected regions complaining of headaches and nausea from the gas that smelled like rotten eggs. “They’re all saying not to panic, but they said the same thing about the cloud from Chernobyl,” said mother-of-four Patricia Cousteau, referring to radioactive fallout that spread across Europe in 1986 after an explosion at a Ukrainian nuclear plant. Authorities said in an earlier statement that a chemical substance at the Lubrizol plant became unstable and caused odours that are similar to those of town gas. “The gas has an unpleasant smell but is not toxic,” it said. The concentration of the gas was also “very low”, said the statement, which also admitted that “a large number of people have been inconvenienced”. By Tuesday afternoon the smell had largely disappeared in Paris. — AFP

Epilepsy drug has long-term effect on child IQ PARIS: A drug found to affect the cognitive ability of toddlers born to women who took the medication for epilepsy has a longer-term impact on their IQ, a study said yesterday. Researchers in the United States carried out follow-up tests among the same group of children whose investigation in 2009 led to warning by the US health watchdog about the potential risks of the drug valproate in pregnancy. The children-examined at the age of three-had below-par cognitive skills, which prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning about its use in pregnancy. The new research, published in the journal The Lancet Neurology, examined the same children at the age of six. Children born to mothers who had used valproate in pregnancy had an IQ that was seven to 10 points lower than children whose mothers had used one of three other epilepsy drugs, it found. The higher the dose of valproate the mother took in pregnancy, the greater the IQ discrepancy. Verbal skills and memory were also affected. The study, conducted between October 1999 and February 2004, by Kimford Meador at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, covered 305 pregnant women who had been using either valproate, carbamazepine, lamotrigine, or phenytoin.

The first analysis looked at 311 children in the United States and Britain; in the followup at the age of six, it covered 224 of them. However, the study also suggested that IQ may improve with age for infants exposed to any of these drugs. And by taking folic acid supplements, expectant mothers may improve IQ scores. This is the first time a boost has been shown in a study of pregnant women with epilepsy. Valproate is, for some people, the only drug that can control their epilepsy, so the findings on dosage and the beneficial effects of folic acid could be useful. “Valproate usage during pregnancy has a significant negative effect on children’s IQ, which lasts beyond their earliest years. IQ at age six is strongly predictive of adult IQ and school performance, so our research suggests that valproate use during pregnancy is likely to have long-term negative effects on a child’s IQ and other cognitive abilities,” Meador said. “For many antiepileptic drugs, there is simply no research available on their effects on women and their children during pregnancy, and given that many women do not have the option of stopping medication during pregnancy, more research in this area is urgently needed.” —AFP


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

Melamine tableware may leach chemical Study raises interesting questions

ST PETERSBURG: A woman holding a poster which reads: “Putin, hands off Hospital Number 31!” during a picket in the northwestern Russian city of St Petersburg on Tuesday. Thousands of Russians expressed outrage after the authorities in St Petersburg ordered the closure of the city’s Hospital Number 31, a leading hospital renowned for treatment of children with cancer. —AFP

Russia ‘saves’ child cancer hospital after outcry ST. PETERSBURG: The authorities of Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg promised yesterday not to close its biggest hospital treating children with cancer and hand it over to senior judges, in an apparent U-turn following a public outcry. “The hospital is operating and will operate as usual. Period.” Andrei Kibitov, the spokesman of the city governor Georgy Poltavchenko, wrote on his Twitter account. “Everything will be as usual, there will not be any move.” The public had reacted angrily to a plan to hand over the city’s hospital No. 31, which has the city’s biggest children’s cancer unit, and use it exclusively to treat senior judges who are relocating to the city. “There is no decison either on reorganising Hospital No. 31 nor on moving it. And there will not be any,” the chairman of the city legislature, Vyacheslav Makarov, said Wednesday, cited by his press service. More than 150,000 people signed an online petition and stars including actress Chulpan Khamatova and rock singer Andrei Makarevich appealed to President Vladimir Putin in an open letter over the decision. There are at least three children’s cancer

wards in Saint Petersburg but it is the biggest. The head of the hospital’s children’s department, Margarita Belogurova, had warned that a move would “destroy unique ways of caring for the children.” Protesters had arranged to hold a rally in the city centre on Wednesday evening, with permission for up to 10,000 people. The Russian Orthodox Church also hit out at the proposed closure in an unusual statement, warning judges it would be “morally unacceptable” to cause suffering to children with cancer. The city authorities initially appeared taken aback by the public outrage at the proposal, trying to calm the protest mood by announcing a tentative plan to open a specialist children’s cancer hospital in the city. The proposal to close Hospital No. 31 came up as part of ambitious plans to transfer Russia’s Supreme Court and Higher Arbitration Court from Moscow to the Tsarist-era capital, a move involving thousands of staff. In a Soviet throwback, government ministries and state agencies still commonly have state hospitals assigned to treat their staff-without granting free access to the general public. Their facilities are seen as better-than-average. —AFP

KAOHSIUNG: Melamine, a chemical that sickened and killed babies in China when it tainted baby formula, can also leach off tableware and into food, according to a Taiwan study. But researchers, whose results appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine, warned that their findings don’t prove that melamine is harmful to people in the amounts detected when study participants ate hot soup from melamine bowls. Large doses of melamine, which is used in some types of fertilizer and in resin used to make tableware, killed six babies in China and sent thousands more to the hospital with kidney damage in 2008. In high enough quantities, melamine can cause kidney stones and other kidney problems in adults. “Melamine tableware may release large amounts of melamine when used to serve hightemperature foods,” wrote lead researcher ChiaFang Wu from Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. For the study, six people in their 20s ate hot

soup for breakfast out of melamine bowls, while another six ate soup from ceramic bowls. Then, the researchers monitored participants’ urine for the next twelve hours. Three weeks later, the two groups were reversed. For the rest of the day, the total melamine excreted in study volunteers’ urine was 8.35 micrograms following a melamine bowl breakfast, compared to 1.31 micrograms after breakfast from a ceramic bowl. The study didn’t measure any health effects possibly related to melamine, and it’s not clear if those urine levels would lead to any long-term medical problems or if participants’ bodies were storing any of the chemical. Craig Langman, who studies kidney diseases at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said that while the study raises interesting questions and concerns, it didn’t prove anything. But he also said that research into the chemi-

cal’s long-term biological effects should continue. “The babies who were poisoned because of their being young had very low kidney function to begin with,” he told Reuters Health. “Clearly, poisoning acutely with this massive overload is different than long-term exposure. Melamine is approved in the United States for use in the manufacturing of some cooking utensils, tableware, plastics and industrial coatings, among other things. It is likely more common in other countries, including China. “American exposure from tableware must be astonishingly small, or not at all,” Langman added. “(But) because of the Chinese poisoning epidemic, we have to entirely vigilant all the time about our food supply.” Anyone who has a choice might as well avoid buying tableware made with melamine, because it does interact with some acidic foods and in the microwave. “If you can avoid it, why use it?” he said. —Reuters

Pacemakers to zap Alzheimer’s damage WASHINGTON: It has the makings of a science fiction movie: Zap someone’s brain with mild jolts of electricity to try to stave off the creeping memory loss of Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s not easy. Holes are drilled into the patient’s skull so tiny wires can be implanted into just the right spot. A dramatic shift is beginning in the disappointing struggle to find something to slow the damage of this epidemic: The first US experiments with “brain pacemakers” for Alzheimer’s are getting under way. Scientists are looking beyond drugs to implants in the hunt for much-needed new treatments. The research is in its infancy.

Only a few dozen people with early stage Alzheimer’s will be implanted in a handful of hospitals. No one knows if it might work, and if it does, how long the effects might last. Kathy Sanford was among the first to sign up. The Ohio woman’s early stage Alzheimer’s was gradually getting worse. She still lived independently, posting reminders to herself, but no longer could work. The usual medicines weren’t helping. Then doctors at Ohio State University explained the hope that constant electrical stimulation of brain circuits involved in memory and thinking might keep those neural networks active for longer,

essentially bypassing some of dementia’s damage. Sanford decided it was worth a shot. “The reason I’m doing it is, it’s really hard to not be able, sometimes, to remember,” Sanford, 57, said from her Lancaster, Ohio, home. Her father is blunter. “What’s our choice? To participate in a program or sit here and watch her slowly deteriorate?” asked Joe Jester, 78. He drives his daughter to follow-up testing, hoping to spot improvement. A few months after the fivehour operation, the hair shaved for her brain surgery was growing back and Sanford said she felt good, with an occasional tingling that she attributes to the elec-

trodes. A battery-powered generator near her collarbone powers them, sending the tiny shocks up her neck and into her brain. It’s too soon to know how she’ll fare; scientists will track her for two years. “This is an ongoing evaluation right now that we are optimistic about,” is how Ohio State neurosurgeon Dr. Ali Rezai cautiously puts it. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or similar dementias, and that number is expected to rise rapidly as the baby boomers age. Today’s drugs only temporarily help some symptoms. Attempts to attack Alzheimer’s presumed cause, a brain-clogging gunk, so far haven’t panned out.—AP


W H AT ’ S O N

Winners of My McDonald’s Smartphone Competition announced



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

Announcements Arabic courses


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

India - Flag Hoisting Ceremony


n the occasion of the Republic Day of India, a Flag Hoisting Ceremony will be held at the Embassy of India premises at 9.00 am on Saturday, January 26, 2013. This will be followed by the reading of the message of Honorable President of India by the Ambassador, singing of patriotic songs, and an Open House Reception. All Indian nationals in Kuwait are cordially invited to attend the Ceremony.

MahaQuizzer registration closes today


ahaQuizzer, the annual solo quiz conducted by the Karnataka Quiz Association (KQA) simultaneously across several Indian cities debuts internationally on 1st Feb 2013 in Kuwait with MahaQuizzer Middle East-Kuwait organized by National Institute of Technology, Calicut Alumni Association. This is a solo open general written quiz contest for all participants, irrespective of age, nationality or affiliation. Test is from 2pm to 3.30pm with centers - Indian English Academy School (Don Bosco), Salmiya and Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian School (D P S), Ahmadi. Separate prizes for ladies, children & schools.

Scientific Center holds spring camp


he Scientific Center holds its annual spring camp starting from February 17, 2013. The camp is divided into two weeks (from Sunday to Thursday) featuring various activates including educational workshops as well as visits to the Aquarium, Discovery Hall and the iMAX Theater, in addition to a ‘behind-thescene’ visit to watch the shark feeding process. The programs take place between 9:00 am and 2:30 pm. Children aged between six and twelve are invited to join.

Kuwait Carnatic Music Forum Thyagaraja program


ate & time: January 31, 6.30pm onwards; Artist: NJ Nandini winner of Ragarathnam program Amrutha TV classical music competition; accompanying artistes: Kanchi Kamakodi Pitham asthana vidwan Karunagappalli S Balamurali on violin; Kanchi Kamakodi Pitham asthana vidwan Perunna G Harikumar on mridangam; Gireesh Sundareshan on ganchira; Vazhappalli G Anil kumar on ghatam; and Manoj Mavelikkara on morshankh. Full day classical music program on Feb 1 9am 4.30pm. Participants: music students and devotees. Pancharathna keerthanaalapanam at 5pm. Place: Indian Community School Salmiya (senior girls). All are welcome.

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


econd week’s winners of My McDonald’s Smartphone photography contest are: Archimedes Ricafort (1st place), Kawthar Hussein

(2nd place), and Haya Al-Marjan (3rd place). “My McDonald’s” is a one-month photography competition open to all indi-

viduals in the State of Kuwait to participate in, and is a platform showcasing creativity and talent in photography by using digital or smartphone cameras to

capture how a McDonald’s moment is seen through their eyes. Next week will be the final for the smartphone photography contest.

Sahara Kuwait Resort welcomes guests


he Sahara Kuwait Resort welcomes guests and visitors to an atmosphere of luxury and privacy in the vast green golf course view lined up with flowers to add more beauty. The team invites the guests and visitors to enjoy the premium lifestyle experience at Sahara. The Golf, the academy for golf education, the luxurious villas with unique green view and privacy, the fitness center and spa, swimming pools, jacuzzis, sauna and tennis and squash courts, while restaurants in the resort offer exquisite cuisine according to quality standards in addition to the facilities available in meetings/events rooms that are equipped up to date. Hassan Bayerli, the General Manager of the resort says that their concept of hospitality is to exceed the level of satisfaction that their guests expect when they are in all the resort’s facilities.

Euphoric jubilance dawns at IIS


he pleasant wintry morning of December 15, 2012, enfolded the exuberant array of spectacular events as it was the 5th glorious Intramural Athletic Meet of India International school in the sprawling grounds of Al-Sahel Club, Mangaf. The vibrant ambience and gleeful spirit of the participants along with the emblazoned school flag added glory to the sport meet. The athletes and the participants had geared up for the events with spirit and ardent fervor. The program was graced by the presence of honorable chief guest Satish Chand Mehta, Ambassador of India to Kuwait, eminent dignitaries Bushra, from the Ministry of Private Education, Muzammil Malik - Owner of Al-Khulaib General Trading Company, Ismail Payyoli journalist, Rajesh Sagar - Legal Advisor Of PACE group, Siddique Valivakath, Saley Batha, M K Pothen - Senior Most expat of Kuwait, distinguished principals from the contemporary CBSE schools in Kuwait, Shyamala Divakaran - Gulf Indian School, Shafeeq Ahmed -Integrated Indian School and Baldwin Anthony - Al-Amal Indian School. They were accorded a warm welcome and received cordially by the director Malayil Moosa Koya, Principal F M Basheer Ahmed, Vice Principal Narender Kaur and K G (HOS) Shifana Muizz. The auspicious day began with an invocation to the Almighty. The recitation of the verses from the Holy Quran was presented perfectly by Mohammed Azhar and its authentic translation was given by Mafaza Sharafuddin. As a token of love and appreciation director, Malayil Moosa Koya reverently presented a bouquet to the Chief Guest, Satish Chand Mehta. He also presented bouquets to all other eminent guests and distinguished principals. Principal F M Basheer Ahmed addressed the gathering. In his speech, he wholeheartedly welcomed the chief guest Satish Chand Mehta and other eminent and distinguished guests of the day for spending their precious time with us and making this remarkable day an extraordinary one. In his speech he enlightened everyone with a charismatic portfolio of Chief Guest. He stressed that it was a unique honour and privilege to have such a legendary personality amidst us whose noble, gentle and humane deeds are a source of inspiration to everyone. Further he proudly highlighted the glimpses and achievements of India International School, particularly the recent achievements of the sports champions Mohammed Saleh of class XI acclaimed as ‘’the fastest runner in Kuwait’’, Sahaj Bafna Of class XII, winner of five gold medals in swimming and Ahmed Fahad of class XI, winner of gold medal in kick-boxing. Keeping in pace with the Olympic tradition the ritual of lighting the torch was undertaken by the esteemed Chief Guest and the same was handed over to the

sports captain Sahaj Bafna .Following this, a torch relay was performed by the budding sports champions of India International School. The glorious event picked up momentum with the flag hoisting ceremony.The Indian flag was unfurled majestically by the Chief Guest ,His Excellency Satish Chand Mehta,Kuwait flag was unfurled by the Director, Malayil Moosa Koya and the School flag by Principal, F.M.Basheer Ahmed and eminent guest Bushra-Ministry of Private Education,Kuwait,accorded graciously to the flag post by Vice Principal Narender Kaur and KG (HOS)Shifana Muizz. Following this theKuwait National Anthem and the Indian National Anthem were sung patriotically by the harmonious school choir. The grandeur of the sports event was an elegant and spectacular March Past presented by the contingents of the four houses led splendidly by the school council which was further acknowledged by the Chief Guest as a gesture of respect with a commendable salute. The spectators were amazed to watch the synchronized March Past presented by the majestic marching team with a resounding rhythmic beat of the school band. For excellence in march past performance, Nalanda House was declared as winners and Sarabhai House was declared as runners-up. Following this ,His Excellency Satish Chand Mehta delivered the welcome address .In his speech, he highlighted the importance of school days. He said school days are meant to discover the world and oneself. He defined the classroom to be an important component of the school ,built to know and understand the concepts.In tandem with the classroom for him education goes far beyond this .He further accentuated that the various sports activities a school beholds are the areas of discovery for a student.This discovery is not just limited to the classroom ,it goes further beyond .He stated that the sports day is the most important day of the year . He reiterated the need of sports and games as an integral part of a school curriculum. It is a day that exhibits team spririt of the students.He appreciated the tremendous efforts put in by everyone and commended their vigour , zeal and enthusiasm. To mark the commencement of the sports day ,the chief Guest declared the meet open. To mark the fifth sports meet of India International School balloons symbolizing the four houses and 5 doves symbolizing the message of peace ,love and tranquility were released. Following this was the oath-taking ceremony.It was a solemn moment when the Oath was administered by the sports captain Sahaj Bafna amidst a palpable silence.The athletes vowed to discharge their duties to the best of their abilities. The ever vibrant cultural team of India International School enthralled the audi-

ence with a series of mesmerizing performances.It was an amalgamation of artistic creativity and vibrance.The audience traversed along the delightful journey to a glamorous world of fun,entertainment and recreation. The first part of the cultural programme was “MULTIFARIOUS INDIA”, organized under the guidance of Sophy John the coordinator and her team of teachers.It was a kaleidoscopic performance reflecting the different states of India.In the first segment,the tiny tots of class I and II geared up with the spirit of Nationalism,swayed by the patriotic fervor , exuberantly displayed profound reverence to our country India.Following this,students performed a dance with ease and grace and displayed their allegiance towards the state of Kerala. Next performance was the glamorous Kashmiris ,who performed with utmost fervor and liveliness moving the audience to sway to the rhythmic beats of the music.Following this, the ever vibrant students representing the state of Rajasthan performed the Rajasthani dance and captured the attention of the audience and compelled them to tap their feet to the rhythmic beat of

Dhol Baje. Next item of this segment was the Punjabi group .Students with immense potential exhibited their fantabulous performance.The Bengali group which was an embodiment of energy , strength and vigor.The spectators were amazed to watch their performance with perfect synchronization.Following this students represented the state of Tamilnadu-the ancient land of India and danced elegantly to the local traditional tunes. Their graceful performance was highly applauded by the audience. The final section of Multifarious India was the dance performance representing the state of Uttar Pradesh .It was impressive to watch the graceful kathak steps performed by the students . The second part of the cultural programme was” SPARKLING PANACHE”.Under the auspices of Sapna Raoof -the coordinator and her team of talented teachers,the sprightly students of class III,IV and V displayed their talent with confidence and stylishness.It was a colourful drill display with a spectrum of vivid colours exhibited with elegance and panache.The magnificent drill display was highly appreciated by the audience.


W H AT ’ S O N

KNES shines in Quran competitions


uwait National English School (KNES) recently participated in the ìHadeth & Quran Recitation competitions organized by the Ministry of Private Education competed more than 30 schools from the private sector competed, with representatives from the British curriculum schools, American curriculum schools and bilingual schools. Chantal Al-Gharabally wishes to express her sincere thanks and congratulations to the Islamic studies Department and participating students for the hard work and effort which resulted in the following achievement for KNES. The students are: Hashim Al-Hashim, Amr Abdel Meguid, Ahmed Hamza Younes and Yusuf Mohamed.

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


Kalabhavan Kuwait celebrates annual day

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


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



alabhavan Kuwait Annual Day “Kalabhavan Fest’12” was celebrated in the Carmel School Auditorium, Khaitan on Jan 18, 2013 and was inaugurated by the Counselor of Indian Embassy Balram Upadhyay in the presence of the Director of Kalabhavan R Gopakumar, Sreeja Gopan, Usha R

Bhat, Josen P Joseph and teachers of Kalabhavan. More than 300 students of Kalabhavan showcased their talents through Indian and Western dance, classical music, light music, instrumental recitals and an art exhibition where the drawings and paintings of our students were exhibited. The show received wide

acclaim and appreciation. Kalabhavan brings you the spirit of Indian culture, the tempo of Indian and western dance and the esoteric sounds of Indian and Western musical instruments. In connection with the annual day, Kalabhavan conducted Chitrahar Drawing Contest ‘12 for all the children

in Kuwait on Jan 4 and 5, 2013 at United Indian School, Abbasiya and at Indian Public School, Salmiya where 400 students participated in the competition and 14 students won the prizes in three categories. The winners’ trophies were distributed on occasion of Kalabhavan Fest ‘12.

TKS celebrates Sankranthi Sambaralu

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


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


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

South African Embassy announcement On the occasion of the Birth of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the South African Embassy will be closed tomorrow. The embassy will resume its normal working hours on Sunday, January 27, 2013, from Sunday to Thursday. Please note that the working hours will be from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and the Consular Section operation hours will from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. nnnnnnn

The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan will remain closed today January 24, 2013 on the occasion of Milade-e-Nabwi (birth anniversary of holy Prophet (PBUH). The Embassy will resume its services on Sunday January 27, 2013.


KS organized “Sankranthi Sambaralu” program on January 18, 2013 at Integrated Indian School to celebrate the harvest festival Sankranthi. Famous Telugu TV anchors Pradeep and Prasanthi were the centre of attraction for the event. They have organized game shows for family members as couples, individual males and individual female participants and chil-

dren. Winners were awarded with prizes to recognize their talents. The program started with Jaatara and was followed by performances by children presenting culture and heritage of Telugu festival. The program started at 10 am and it went up till 5 pm with nonstop entertainment to members and guests. Rangoli andcooking competitions were held and attrac-

tive prizes were handed over to the winners. Agri Gold Rajesh Kumar was the main sponsor for the program. SB Ventures, Karoor Vysya Bank, Rishi Jaideep Estates Pvt Ltd, Boopathy Homes, UAE exchange and Startsat Divakar Oleti were the co-sponsors. At the end of program, Sri Subba Rao Palagummi- President, TKS thanked the artists for entertaining the audience

and all the members, sponsors and other guests for their participation throughout the day. He also appreciated the dance performances by Venu and his team, Eswar and his team and Jilani and his team and thanked them on behalf of the organization. TKS Team 2012-13 expressed their gratitude to the sponsors for their excellent support.


EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on 24th JANUARY, 2013, today on account of Id-E-Milad.

Classifieds THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2013



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Mitsubishi Pajero 2004, golden color, 6 clr, excellent condition, km 187000, KD 1850. Tel: 66729295. (C 4288) 22-1-2013 Toyota Camry 2004, 4 cylinder, white color, interior and exterior neat and clean, car’s maintenance done by Al Sayer service center, tires and battery new, accident free, original paint, A/C super cool, 174000 km run, price KD 2,300, Contact: 99072651 / 99527500. (C 4283) 20-1-2013

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Ministry of Finance




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stars CROSSWORD 79

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Your ability to communicate is at a high. Fate favors you in the workplace. You will find this a perfect time to be assertive and to move forward in your career decisions. You will benefit from analytical insights and getting to the heart of things. Your friend needs advice about some personal news. You will not be able to solve this problem but your listening ear will help him or her to focus on an answer. You will find yourself shopping or looking at real estate this afternoon. Whether you want to sell or buy, you will want to get some legal advice. Work on your tax papers tonight; you may uncover some important information for changing this year’s tax return to the positive. You may decide to end this day with music. There could be romance.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Workday projects are interrupted often today. Your work may not be on the same time schedule of others and some may seem short tempered. Be patient now as this will call for a day to stay to yourself and if you feel the need to talk, talk to a friend apart from work. Your noon break would be a good time to alleviate the tension with laughter or at least find some way to lighten the stress that others may be experiencing. Education, advertising and travel play a big part in today’s activity and it is all positive. Be aware that there are governing factors that present likelihood for experiences beyond your surroundings today. You could be making deliveries. If you are in publishing or writing, you can advance your career. Rest and enjoy the evening.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. A flexible container with a single opening. 4. Pig-sized tailless South American amphibious rodent with partly webbed feet. 12. An enclosed space. 15. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring in the air. 16. A thermosetting resin. 17. An emotional response that has been acquired by conditioning. 18. A peninsula between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. 20. Covered with or resembling slime. 21. A unit of surface area equal to 100 square meters. 22. A common venereal disease caused by the Treponema pallidum spirochete. 23. Having two feet. 25. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 27. Tag the base runner to get him out. 29. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (1902-1984). 31. The square of a body of any size of type. 32. Lake in northwestern Russia near the border with Finland. 34. An early symptom that a disease is developing or that an attack is about to occur. 36. The arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek. 38. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 39. An independent ruler or chieftain (especially in Africa or Arabia). 42. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 46. A white trivalent metallic element. 48. (Babylonian) The sky god. 49. The official published verbatim report of the proceedings of a parliamentary body. 51. (Old Testament) A son of Jacob and a forebear of one of the tribes of Israel. 54. A public promotion of some product or service. 55. In bed. 56. (Zoroastrianism) Title for benevolent deities. 57. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 60. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 61. Sluggish tailless Australian arboreal marsupial with gray furry ears and coat. 63. Of or relating to or characteristic of Monaco or its people. 65. A French abbot. 68. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 71. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity equal to 10 decibels. 75. The act of using. 76. Relating to anemia or suffering from anemia. 78. Not far distant in time or space or degree or circumstances. 79. A serve that strikes the net before falling into the receiver's court. 80. Distance measured in the aggregate number of yards. 81. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. DOWN 1. South African term for `boss'. 2. Open to or abounding in fresh air.

3. A tool consisting of several hooks for grasping and holding. 4. An index of the cost of all goods and services to a typical consumer. 5. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 6. The 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 7. A leader who stimulates and excites people to action. 8. Music written in the rhythm of the bolero dance. 9. Surveying instrument consisting of the upper movable part of a theodolite including the telescope and its attachments. 10. The shape of a raised edge of a more or less circular object. 11. Any group or radical of the form RCO- where R is an organic group. 12. A fraudulent business scheme. 13. The lofty nest of a bird of prey (such as a hawk or eagle). 14. Thick like cream. 19. God of wealth and love. 24. Automatic data processing in which data acquisition and other stages or processing are integrated into a coherent system. 26. The highest level or degree attainable. 28. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 30. Type genus of Crassulaceae. 33. Submerged aquatic plant having narrow leaves and small flowers. 35. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 37. Small genus of hairy herbs with yellow flowers. 40. Complacently or inanely foolish. 41. Living in or characteristic of farming or country life. 43. A coffee cake flavored with orange rind and raisins and almonds. 44. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 45. A conversation between two persons. 47. Of deserts of northern Africa and southern Asia. 50. A river that rises in central Germany and flows north to join the Elbe River. 52. Avoid and stay away from deliberately. 53. Any plant of the genus Caragana having even-pinnate leaves and mostly yellow flowers followed by seeds in a linear pod. 58. A slab of stone or wood suitable for bearing an inscription. 59. Filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise or shock. 62. Excessively fat. 64. Greek mythology. 66. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 67. A male monarch or emperor (especially of Russia prior to 1917). 69. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 70. A river in northern England that flows southeast through West Yorkshire. 72. United States diplomat and jurist who negotiated peace treaties with Britain and served as the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court (1745-1829). 73. Hairpiece covering the head and made of human or synthetic hair. 74. (informal) Of the highest quality. 77. Informal terms for a mother.


Respect, status and achievement are central goals for you as a new phase begins in your life. Creating a structure to empower and maintain your ideals and principles become a high priority. You take the initiative and gain support from those around you now. Do not push too hard or others will think you have turned power hungry or control oriented. You may have to work very hard at pacing yourself and remember that some things are not on your timetable. Recycling may be a concern now—there has been enough time to instill new habits and you may encourage others to join in the process to improve the planet. Talking with your friends and family, you may find subjects that make you analyze and psychoanalyze your own thinking.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Your wishes can come true today as everything is working in your favor. There may be a particular fraternity or sorority, club or group you want to join. Now is a good time to join a group. Your intuition is keen and it will lead you in a good direction; listen. You have been thinking of making a few changes in your wardrobe lately. Making a good impression is very important to you. A sense of harmony prevails most of the time with you and you will also find that you can speak your mind and call your own shots in many areas of your life. Financial security and enjoying the finer things in life receive a high priority. You are most pleasant and you will find your friends enjoy having you around and involving you in many of their activities.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Long-range perspectives from foreign places are possible early this year. Purchase several notebooks for your personal use. Perhaps a blue notebook for your dreams by your bedside and a red one for your passions or thoughts and a green one for your health projects or changes that you might want to create. These notebooks or journals will give you the opportunity to express ideas and feelings and create solutions. Time seems to slow down this afternoon, but it gives you an opportunity to finish unfinished business. Try to see the lighter side of the emotional issues temporarily coming into your life—a sense of gratitude for the people that have given you wisdom is a good thing. You may have insights or breakthroughs in your thinking.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) If you know that your job will lead to rewards you will work long and hard. You are a smart businessperson and others look to you for answers in many areas. You may have an urge to express some critical information to another today—you are attentive to add encouragement. Respect, status and achievement are central goals for you and you pass those qualities along to others as you conduct business in the best possible way. Creating a structure to empower and maintain your ideals and principles become a high priority. By taking on greater responsibilities, you become an inspiration to many. A family situation can be helped this evening. Respect for others is important and may be as simple as the art of listening.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) You want to get things accomplished quickly today and you find the day moves along at top speed. Pension, insurance or profit-sharing-plan subjects may be handled successfully—and it is about time. Any confusion you had about your job in the past will be cleared up now. New projects can be started—your mind is full of plans and ideas. Involvements with particular groups enhance your sense of purpose and mission. You learn through the advice you give to others. Educated in the best nutritional care, you may teach others to become more involved in educating themselves on supplement needs for the body. The result is a long and happy life! Treat yourself after such a busy day—relax. There is a basic drive to appreciate and taste life.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A job change is not appropriate at this time. However, if you feel it is time, do only the basics by sending out a few resumes to see if you get a response. Your humor is certainly in fine shape. As you refresh others, you will have renewed strength. You keep your words positive and upbeat and you seem to have a sincere knowledge that what you do in this world leaves a mark. It is up to you to make sure it is a positive mark. Through the end of the month, you could be more thoughtful than active. Pay attention to the amounts of food you eat; easy does it. The exchange of ideas becomes a focal point. Learning, knowing a little about many things, staying in touch and on top of the latest developments are the things that satisfy a need for mental stimulation.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You will find, suddenly, that your work has become more productive and more people-oriented. Perhaps computer integrated. Working and networking with others in your work or interests will help you to build your confidence. You and your loved one will be working together to improve finances, health, friendships, relationships, contracts, commitments and agreements. Make it a habit to focus your thoughts and actions so that you will not become scattered or confused. Figuring out how to organize projects and people is apt to become a topic of special interest. Opinions are not enough just now: they must be backed by authority or evidence, and above all, practical worth and application. This is a period of intense study and thought.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) There could be a new job or promotion waiting for you today. Young people may enjoy your company as well. You could be working on a creative project that will draw attention to you. There is a lot of activity and you need to focus on doing the best you can right now. Stop when you can and divert your attention to adjust to the atmosphere. Delay large acquisitions and laborious exercise for now. Be ready to reevaluate your motives as well as your methods of working. Admiration as well as achievement becomes important to your career now. Others will appreciate you more than ever; you create things that stir their hearts. This is child’s play; this is romance; this is taking a chance. Enjoy a relaxing evening with your loved one(s) this evening.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) There are energies for opportunities with expansion and optimism. This could mean travel, excessive spending and opportunities to return to school or take a class. Instant gratification is one of the temptations you may fall into now. This has a practical and materialistic kind of focus, one that emphasizes the making and spending of money. Learning what really counts is an important lesson that may be learned the hard way. People know that they get good results from your hard work. They may take advantage of you, particularly if you do not set limits. You are passionate in many areas of your life but there are few as passionate as you are when it comes to knowledge. You may have found a good book for this evening . . . romance is also possible!

Pisces (February 19-March 20) There is much drive and inspiration for disciplined work. You win reward, recognition and authority through hard work and knowing the score. A friend could present you with a challenge this afternoon. Viewpoints between you and this friend may need review. Close relationships offer a lot of potential for growth and change. Continued interaction with neighbors over community concerns may create some round table discussions. This is good, as it will bring about some facts upon which the group can base their communication when talking with authorities. Could this be trouble in zoning laws? Family matters are positive and you will find this a good time to play board games or help young ones with homework.

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i n f o r m at i o n For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 GOVERNORATE Sabah Hospital


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Kaizen center














Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla










Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241



Tel.: e 161




Cold with light to moderate south easterly wind, with speed of 06 - 28 km/h with a chance for light fog forming early morning


Mostly sunny with light variable wind, with speed of 06 - 16 km/h


No Current Waarnings arnin

12 °C


22 °C

07 °C


24 °C

09 °C


24 °C

06 °C


24 °C

08 °C



23 °C

07 °C




22 °C

09 °C

Maidan Hawally



20 °C

11 °C


21 °C

14 °C



22 °C

17 °C


20 °C

16 °C





W Hawally






New Jahra




West Jahra




South Jahra












N Khaitan





23/01/2013 1200 UTC

4 DA AYS Y FORECAST Temperatures DA AY



Wind Speed

Wind Direction




23 °C

10 °C


06 - 16 km/h

partly cloudy + scattered rain

23 °C

11 °C


12 - 35 km/h

partly cloudy + scattered rain

22 °C

14 °C


15 - 40 km/h

partly cloudy + scattered rain

22 °C

12 °C


10 - 30 km/h




MAX. Temp.



MIN. Temp.

22 °C 09 °C




95 %






MAX. Wind




All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

27 % NW 36 km/h 00 mm

23/01/13 14:54 UTC



PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


Dr. Salem soso General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Mousa Khadada Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani





Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688

















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh












Expected Weather e for the Next 24 Hours

21 °C





Issue Time


North Jleeb





Ext.: 26 2627 - 2630


Fax: 24348714


North Jahra




Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123


William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677

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 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



LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Kunis stalker gets rehab, protection order


27-year-old man was ordered Tuesday to spend six months in a live-in rehabilitation center for stalking Hollywood actress Mila Kunis, as well as to keep away from the “Black Swan” star. Stuart Dunn pleaded no contest to one count of stalking in breach of a restraining order, after being arrested last January for having broken into a vacant condominium owned by Kunis. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli also ordered Dunn to serve five years on probation and issued a protective order to stay away from Kunis, her agents, managers and assistants. He pleaded no contest last February to unauthorized entry of a dwelling and was ordered to stay away from the 29-year-old actress, but was arrested again last May after turning up three days in a row at the actress’s gym. At a hearing last June detective John Gregozek testified that Kunis had told him she was “scared of Mr. Dunn” and “in fear for her safety,” adding: “She stated that (the) defendant looked like he could eat me.” Dunn could have faced up to four years in jail if convicted on the original two counts of stalking. Kunis rose to fame in the comedy “That ‘70s Show” before launching a film career which has included “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Friends with Benefits,” and “Black Swan.” She won a Golden Globe in 2011 for best supporting actress in the ballet-themed thriller, whose main star Natalie Portman won the best actress Academy Award. Kunis also provides the voice of Meg in the animated television comedy “Family Guy.”

Kelly Osbourne is secretly engaged


he ‘Fashion Police’ star’s boyfriend Matthew Mosshart popped the question a few weeks before Christmas and now the couple - who have been dating for around 18 months - are “really excited” about planning their nuptials. A friend added to Us Weekly magazine: “Kelly is the happiest she’s ever been. Her career is going well, and she’s in a healthy relationship with a wonderful guy.” The wedding is set to take place in Kelly’s native UK this summer. Kelly and Matthew met at the nuptials of Kate Moss and Jamie Hince in July 2011 but didn’t go public with their romance until five months later. Kelly recently spoke about her love for

Matthew and said he made her realize what real love is. She said: “I couldn’t believe that he truly liked me because I never think people ever could. But I’m so happy. I don’t think I’ve ever really known what love is like before.” And it’s not just Kelly who’s impressed with the vegan baker - he’s a big hit with her parents, Ozzy and Sharon. A source said: “Kelly’s family love her boyfriend.” They think he’s the nicest guy she’s ever dated. He is very patient and down to earth.”

Mayer, Aguilera among Rock Hall of Fame performers


ohn Mayer, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson are among the stars set to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Mayer will perform in honor of Albert King with Gary Clark Jr., then induct the late bluesman. Aguilera and Hudson will salute Donna Summer. Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins will induct Rush and hall of fame member Don Henley will induct Randy Newman at the April 18 ceremony in Los Angeles. Public Enemy and Heart will also enter the hall of fame, along with lifetime achievement award winners Quincy Jones and Lou Adler. More performers and presenters will be announced later. Tickets for the ceremony go on sale to the public Feb 1. It will be broadcast May 18 on HBO.

Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett at final Obama ball

Duhamel named host of Kids’ Choice Awards


here’s plenty of green slime in Josh Duhamel’s future. The star of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” yesterday was named host of Nickelodeon’s 26th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards, which will be broadcast from the Galen Center in Los Angeles on March 23. Duhamel, who starred on the NBC drama “Las Vegas,” has already been inducted into Nickelodeon’s Arm Fart Hall of Fame and showered in green goo. The Kids’ Choice Awards honor kids’ favorites in film, music, sports and television by tallying the votes of kids online and via mobile devices. During the show, green slime is routinely dumped on celebrities and winners receive trophies shaped like blimps. Last year’s awards, hosted by Will Smith, attracted 6.2 million viewers.

Parker to get BAFTA’s highest honor


op diva Lady Gaga and veteran crooner Tony Bennett spanned the generations Tuesday as President Barack Obama offered a final thank you to his army of campaign volunteers at his last inaugural ball. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at a staff ball, which drew more than 10,000 guests, a day after official inaugural ceremonies marking the start of his second White House term. “My main job here tonight is really simple-it’s just to say thank you,” Obama said, in a valedictory appearance before volunteers from his nationwide grassroots campaign battalions which helped him win two presidential terms. “All of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America,” said Obama, a former community organizer, who built the most formidable campaign machine in the history of US politics. “It makes me know that America’s future is in good hands. As long as all of you understand the immense and incredible power that you possess when you work together, when you join voices.” Senior aides to Obama announced last week that they would build a new organization pulled from his campaign infrastructure which would be used to back his second-term agenda. The president ended his appearance with a rendition of his campaign mantra “Fired Up, Ready to Go” which dated to his 2008 White House race, prompting the crowd to shout the slogan back at him. “I think Lady Gaga’s fired up too,” Obama said. The event was closed to press photographers, but pictures tweeted from inside showed Lady Gaga and Bennett sharing the stage singing an unidentified song. Proceeds from the ball at the Washington National Convention center went to a memorial fund for young campaign worker Alex Okrent who died suddenly during Obama’s campaign.


lan Parker, the lauded British director whose work includes “Midnight Express,” “Fame” and “Mississippi Burning,” is to receive the British Academy Film Awards’ highest honor. The academy announced Wednesday that the 68-year-old will collect the BAFTA Fellowship at a London ceremony next month. While known for being outspoken, Parker says he’ll be “gracious and thankful” on the big night, rather than political. He tells The Associated Press, “you always worry, does that mean the end of my career, when you get this kind of thing - but it’s very nice.” The BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee’s other films include “Bugsy Malone,” “The Commitments” and “Evita.” Previous fellowship recipients include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Elizabeth Taylor. The BAFTA Film Awards take place on Feb 10 at London’s Royal Opera House.

More to martial arts than violence, says Wong Kar-wai


trained hard for revived role in ‘GI Joe’ film


ee Byung-hun says he had to train hard to do justice to his character in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” The upcoming sequel to “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” has his character Storm Shadow rising from the dead, which required the South Korean actor develop a stronger build. Lee says, “I try to make (my muscles) bigger and look stronger, because he survives death” and wants revenge. He trained rigorously and followed a strict diet, which he said proved difficult while filming in New Orleans. “New Orleans has a lot of good food,” he explained, and he couldn’t visit the city’s bars either. Fans will be able to see the results of his hard work in 3D when “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” opens in March.


ward-winning Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-wai said yesterday he wanted his latest film to show audiences that there is more to martial arts than violence, and hoped to open a new chapter in the genre. “We hope this movie can turn a new page on martial arts movies,” Wong told reporters in Singapore before the local premiere of “The Grandmaster”. Billed as an epic drama inspired by the life of Yip Man, the mentor of kung fu film hero Bruce Lee, it stars Hong Kong heart-throb Tony Leung and Chinese star Zhang Ziyi. Although it is an action film, it also explores the patience and discipline of kung fu masters. “The stories of martial arts films consist only of fighting, but actually all the martial arts styles showcased are well-founded,” said Wong, wearing his signature sunglasses. Wong, known for taking his time to shoot highly stylised films, is best known for his 1994 romance “Chungking Express”, intense period drama “In the Mood for Love”, from 2000, and his 2004 sci-fi flick “2046”. —Agencies



LIFESTYLE M o v i e s

Beyonce arrives at the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the US. —AFP photos

Did she or didn’t she? Beyonce


ever mind President Barack Obama’s inauguration address or what Michelle Obama was wearing at the ball. Was Beyonce lip-synching the US national anthem on Monday, or wasn’t she? The Grammy-winning singer remained silent on Tuesday amid a media storm over whether she was lip-synching, singing over her own pre-recorded track, or performing live when she delivered a flawless version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to hundreds of thousands of people in Washington and millions watching on television. A spokeswoman for the US Marine band first told US news outlets on Tuesday that the “Single Ladies” star “decided to go with the pre-recorded music at the last minute” and that, to the spokeswoman’s knowledge, she was not actually singing the anthem. But the US Marine band later backtracked, saying in a statement: “Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.” The statement said the band and Beyonce, whose surname is KnowlesCarter, had no chance to rehearse together

before Monday’s inauguration “so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. “Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances,” the Marine Band added. Beyonce, 31, was giving her first major public performance since giving birth to a baby with husband, rapper Jay-Z, in January 2012. On Sunday, she posted on Instagram photo of herself in a recording studio holding the sheet music for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her representatives did not return calls for comment on Tuesday. Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor, who also performed at the inauguration ceremony, both sang live, their publicists said. Whatever Beyonce’s choices on Monday, she was not the first artist cause a stir on such occasions. Classical musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two others played along to a prerecorded tape at Obama’s 2009 inauguration because the cold and wind on the Washington Mall raised the potential of broken strings and sharp notes. Madonna lip-synched her way


M u s i c

US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and family members listen to Beyonce sing the National Anthem during the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol.

causes lip-synching stir

through her 2012 Super Bowlhalf-time performance last year, as did the late Whitney Houstonin her 1991 Super Bowl rendition of the national anthem. Singing to pre-recorded tracks has become widespread in the pop music industry The lip-synching question made headlines around the world and “Beyonce” was among the top Facebook conversations on Monday, according to the social networking site. Fans were divided. “I enjoyed the performance and do not care whether it was lip-synched or not it was a beautiful rendition, with some originality, of a song we have all heard so many times,” wrote LeeAnne24 on the Washington Post comment board. Twitter user hiphopdancerJen was disappointed. “There’s honestly no reason for Beyonce to lip-sync... Especially the national anthem. I may despise most of her music, but she has a voice.” Beyonce is due to take the spotlight again next month - this time at the Feb 3 Super Bowl half-time show. —Reuters

Beyonce performs the National Anthem during the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol.

Sundance doc adds new take on hunt for bin Laden T This picture taken on January 21, 2013 shows (L-R) American director Andy Wachowski and his sister Lana Wachowski, British-Australian actor Hugo Weaving, Chinese actress Zhou Xun and Zhu Zhu attending a press conference to promote their new movie Cloud Atlas in Beijing. Chinese authorities cut 40 minutes from the US movie epic "Cloud Atlas" -- almost a quarter of the film -- state-run media said yesterday after its domestic premiere. —AFP

China censors cut ‘Cloud Atlas’ by 40 minutes: Media


hinese authorities cut 40 minutes from the US-German epic movie “Cloud Atlas”, state-run media said yesterday after its domestic premiere-almost a quarter of the film. The reports came soon after deletions from the latest James Bond movie “Skyfall”, released this week in China, prompted public frustration and even oblique criticism in official media. “Cloud Atlas” ran for 172 minutes in the original version, but by the time China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) had finished its work, it was little more than two hours long. “It sucks, really,” one of the co-directors Lana Wachowski was quoted as saying by, a website under the information department of the State Council, China’s cabinet. “But I believe you can watch the full version online.” Piracy is common in China and the site said the full version had already been downloaded “millions of times” before the shortened take’s debut in the country, adding that the reported cuts were “horrifying”. “The ‘Cloud Atlas’ showing in China is about 130 minutes, with nearly 40 minutes deleted,” said the Xiaoxiang Morning Post, based in the central province of Hunan. Some deleted scenes included nudity, it said, while Zhejiang province’s Today Morning Express listed other removals that it said weak-

ened the theme or confused the plot. The film-which will hit cinemas in China next week after opening in the US in October-was already said to have a complicated narrative. It interweaves six story lines spanning several centuries, from “an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific” to “a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea”, according to the movie website IMDb. SARFT officials could not be reached for comment. The film was shot in Germany and distributed by US giant Warner Bros. Rules governing censorship in China are opaque and reasons are not given for why cuts are made. Few films escape the censors unscathed, unless they offer a particularly flattering depiction of Chinese people. China imposes strict rules over what films can be seen by the public, banning what it considers any negative portrayal of contemporary politics or issues seen as potentially leading to social unrest. There was no direct criticism of the “Skyfall” cuts in state media, but the official Xinhua news agency said they had prompted calls for reform in the way films are censored. After years of pressure, China last year agreed to increase the annual number of imported films from 20 to 34, in a year when 893 films were produced domestically. —AFP

he filmmaker behind an Osama bin Laden documentary at the Sundance Film Festival says the debate over the accuracy of Hollywood’s take on the story detracts from the deeper moral questions involved. Greg Barker, director of “Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden,” said criticism over Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-nominated “Zero Dark Thirty” is a political issue that’s over-simplifying the matter. “Zero Dark Thirty” has drawn fire from Washington lawmakers who say the film inaccurately depicts torture as integral in producing leads that led to bin Laden’s death in a Navy SEALs raid in Pakistan in 2011. “The fact is, what our special operations do is conduct kill-capture operations all the time, and many people die in those,” Barker said. “Maybe that’s what we want as a country, but we have to actually address it and understand it to really know what’s going on. And so I just think that trying to say, well, was it coercive interrogation? I mean, maybe, probably, is my personal opinion, there was an element of that. Was that all of it? Certainly not. Is that what we should focus on? I don’t think so.” “Manhunt,” debuting on HBO in May, uses extensive interviews with CIA officers, military operatives and others involved in tracking bin Laden as he rose to power calling for jihad against the United States in the 1990s and in the war on terror after the Sept 11 attacks in 2001. Much of the story parallels events dramatized in “Zero Dark

Thirty,” starring Jessica Chastain as a CIA analyst named Maya who obsessively pursues bin Laden for years. Barker and ex-CIA agents interviewed for “Manhunt” said “Zero Dark Thirty” correctly depicts that women in the CIA were at the

lation of a lot of different people who worked at the agency and worked on this over the years.” Marty Martin, a CIA case officer who led the hunt for bin Laden after the Sept 11 attacks, said interrogations did not occur the way

File photo shows, from left, ex-CIA Operatives Marty Martin, Nada Bakos, director Greg Barker and ex-CIA Operative Cynthia Storer from the film “Manhunt” during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge in Park City, Utah. —AP heart of the bin Laden chase. But it still is a Hollywood distillation made to entertain wide audiences, they said. “It is entertaining, especially the part about the SEAL raid,” said Nada Bakos, who worked as a CIA analyst and later a targeting officer focusing on Iraq. “I understand they have to condense things down to different characters, but Maya’s definitely a compi-

they are shown in “Zero Dark Thirty.” Asked if torture produced tips that helped find bin Laden, Martin would only say that he believes “enhanced interrogation techniques” were useful. Martin said he believes such methods have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. “This is America. We need to have this debate,” Martin said. “If you want to make a decision that

5,000 people can die because you don’t want to make a bad guy feel uncomfortable, that’s a decision we have. But then, you bear that responsibility, and you’ll look in those victims’ relatives’ eyes after the fact. But the fact is, that debate and that discussion needs to occur, and we live in a free society where that needs to happen.” Ex-CIA analyst Cindy Storer said that right after Sept 11, she decided she did not want to be involved in coercive methods, yet she concedes that valuable information resulted. “It doesn’t mean I didn’t use the information that came from it. It doesn’t mean I don’t respect the people who made the decision to do that,” Storer said. “I know that’s useful. So this black-and-white discussion of, it’s not useful at all, it’s totally useful, it’s ridiculous. It is in the gray.” Filmmaker Barker said the debate needs to cut deeper than simple for-or-against opinions about torture. Whether from alQaeda or some other source, “we’re going to be back in this situation again,” Barker said. “And there will be people in the shadows making decisions on our behalf, and what I’m hoping to do is kind of shed some light by telling a great story, but also shed some light on what those decisions, how those decisions are reached, and the human dimension of that,” Barker said. “It’s a complex issue, and we’re best looking at it dispassionately, and all of us have a discussion about what this last decade was all about to us.” —AP

Tony Leung says no soured ties with Wong Kar-wai


or a director and actor who have worked together for about two decades, there did not seem to be much chemistry between Wong Kar-wai and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai at a news conference promoting their new movie “The Grandmaster” yesterday. Wong kept his arms folded most of the time and Leung did not look his way when Wong answered questions from the media. However, Leung dismissed rumors of tensions and unhappiness with his director over having some of his scenes from the movie cut. “I don’t harbor any unhappiness or ill feelings toward Wong because I respect and understand

his decision,” Leung said in response to a question. “The decision is entirely up to him to decide how his story should be told.”“The Grandmaster,” which reportedly took 17 years to complete, is Leung’s seventh collaboration with Wong and recounts the life story of Chinese martial arts legend Ip Man, famous for having trained Bruce Lee. “I wanted to see a different Tony for this movie and I believe that ‘The Grandmaster’ has proven to be a new challenge for him both physically and emotionally with the amount of time taken to film it,” Wong said in support of Leung. “It is a new way of showcasing the character of Ip Man so it was physically challenging for Tony to undergo train-

ing for so many years just to prepare for the role.” While the two seemed to be on civil terms toward the end of the news conference while posing together for photos, they still maintained a certain amount of distance. Leung and Wong’s collaboration in the 2000 movie “In the Mood for Love” won Leung international recognition and the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actor award. Their relationship is said to have soured when Leung learned that scenes from “The Grandmaster” had been cut to favor his co-star, Zhang Ziyi, who plays the daughter of his rival. —AP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Armani Chanel and


draw in celebs at couture day 2

he red-carpet glamour of haute couture with its dripping paillettes, glistening silks and exorbitant price tag - makes it a natural bedfellow for A-list actresses the world over. The spring-summer season 2013 is certainly no exception, with Tuesday, the second day of couture week, attracting a throng of top stars, old and young - as it has for decades. “Kill Bill” star Uma Thuman likes Armani couture so much that she flew in hundreds of miles especially to catch the 15-minute show. “He’s one of the few designers who’s been dressing Hollywood actresses since the beginning,” said Thurman of the Italian fashion legend, who held a typically sumptuous couture display of luxurious silks, with rhinestones, jet and crystal. Chanel also is a celebrity mainstay - with Karl Lagerfeld’s shimmering woven silks and braided tulles this season attracting Diane Kruger, Clemence Poesy and perhaps one of couture’s youngest fans, 16-year-old Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld. But it’s not all pretty. Kim Kardashian’s tardy entrance at Stephane Rolland’s show caused delays. Haute couture is an artisan-based method of making clothes that dates back more than 150 years. The very expensive garments, shown in collections only in Paris twice a year, are bought by a core group of no more than 100 rich women around the world.


Only a few living designers can execute a couture show where almost every look glistens as much with classic timelessness as it does with innovation. Giorgio Armani, 78, is one of them. The proof was in Tuesday’s Armani Prive collection: a finely balanced affair contrasting the classic with the exotic. In 54 looks, the designer tastefully combined luxurious silk materials -such as Mikado silks, clean satins, organzas and silk jacquards - alongside Africastyle patterns, geometric zigzags and bold color such as saffron yellow, ruby red and orange. A huge lightning bolt down the catwalk added to the eclectic energy coming from ethnic-style jewelry, art deco hats and mysterious wands. The statement was loud and clear: this season it was about intensity.

US model and actress Carmen Dell’Orefice presents a creation by French designer Stephane Rolland along with other models during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 collection. —AP/AFP photos


lifestyle F A S H I O N


Stephane Rolland finally hit the right aesthetic for perfecting his take on pure architectural couture styles. Accompanied by togawearing violinists, rich hourglass gowns flowed by in white silk and diaphanous white organza. Some looks came in black. Sheer backs and see-through silk blocks on legs added touches of sensuality - proof why Rolland’s a favorite with stars such as Kim Kardashian, who watched from the front row. Rolland cited the Louvre’s sculptural masterpiece the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” as a reference. Indeed, windswept collars in the show that billowed from busts evoked Grecian drama. The process behind the clothes in haute couture is often as interesting as the garments themselves. Rolland used a decorative technique of baking chiffon bubbles - literally in a furnace.


Gustavo Lins continued his signature masculine-feminine esthetic in his couture, which this season had a 1980s edge. Again, the Brazilian designer put men on the catwalk alongside female models, who sometimes wore parts of a male wardrobe, like leather coats, fur waistcoasts and satin leather jackets. Loose silhouettes outnumbered the more architectural pieces, with gathered 1980sstyle high waists. Not all the looks gelled together, but some great draped pieces that hit the high notes of the show. One purple column dress with a loose, draped silk swirl cut a beautiful and unusual silhouette. And some black and turquoise gowns had a feel of draping master Madame Gres. — AP

Models present creations of Giorgio Armani Prive during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 collection. —AFP/AP photos

Did she or didn’t she? Beyonce causes lip-synching stir



A woman stands at a shopping mall decorated with Chinese traditional lanterns ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year, which will celebrate the Year of the Snake, in Klang, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. — AP

A visit to a place lost in time

Myanmar ‘Baby boy born’ to Shakira, Pique

File photo shows Colombia’s singer Shakira performing with FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique during The Sun Comes Out World Tour concert in Barcelona, Spain. — AP


olombian pop star Shakira and Barcelona defender Gerard Pique yesterday announced the birth of their son Milan. “We are pleased to announce the birth of Milan Pique Mebarak, son of Shakira Mebarak and Gerard Pique, on January 22 at 9:36 pm (2036 GMT), in Barcelona, Spain,” the pair said on Twitter. They said Milan “means dear, loving and gracious in Slavic; in Ancient Roman, eager and laborious; and in Sanskrit, unification. Just like his father, baby Milan became a member of FC Barcelona at birth”. The baby weighed in at almost three kilograms (6.6 pounds) and both Shakira and Milan “are in excellent health”, the singer and the football star said in their statement. In Bogota, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sent his congratulations to the couple “on behalf of Colombia and my family” via Twitter. Pique irked much the world’s media late last month by announcing his girlfriend had given birth-but then revealing it was a prank. The announcement had also been made on Twitter. “Our boy has already been born! We are very happy! Thank you all for your messages!” he said. But the message came on the “Day of the Innocents” when people in Spain play practical jokes on each other. Later Pique seemed to be letting fans know it was a joke in a second message: “He already has a name! He is called Innocent! Happy Day of the Innocents to all!” Britain’s Daily Mirror had said in its online gossip column: “We’re not very happy with Gerard Pique today.” The news site said it “got all excited” by Pique’s first message. “But don’t get carried away like we did,” the paper advised readers. “It’s all thought to be a big prank.” Spain’s leading newspaper El Pais was equally unimpressed, running the headline: “Shakira and Pique are parents... of the worst joke of the year.” — AFP


he rising sun streaked a light blanket of fog with pink and yellow. Suddenly, pagodas popped out from the mist, some grand and intricate, others squat and modest, some crumbling, others glinting with gold - a carousel of Buddhist temples amid fields of sesame, tamarind and scrub. If not for a monolithic red brick silo in the middle of this scene, you could almost imagine yourself in the 11th century, when the ancient city of Bagan was home to the first kingdom of Burma. But the silo, with an exclusive restaurant and viewing platform, towers above the temples in the country now called Myanmar. The structure was built in 2003 by a crony of the generals who have run Myanmar for decades. The modern building is a major reason the ancient temples were denied world heritage status by the United Nations. This is the magic and folly of Myanmar. Closed off for years by a repressive, corrupt military reign, much of the country seems lost in time and truly untouched by signs of globalization like fast food chains. Women here still chalk their faces with thanaka, a paste made from tree bark. Men wear longyi, wraparound skirts gracefully knotted at the waist. Monks carry begging bowls through town in the early morning ritual of seeking food. But now that the government is opening Myanmar to the outside world, tourists are rushing to experience the country before it changes. While numbers remain small, they are increasing: About 260,000 arrivals from January to October 2012 compared to 175,000 in the same period in 2011. Tours frequently sell out and start-up airlines are sprouting up. Foreign cell phones won’t work here and credit cards are rarely accepted (though tourists can use Visa and MasterCard to change local currency at private banks), but Western attire is now seen in cities and “O’Burma” T-shirts showed up after President Obama’s recent visit. There’s also a palpable sense of possibility and change, making it an exciting time to visit. The Governor’s Residence hotel in Yangon recently set up a screen on the lawn for guests to watch Luc Besson’s “The Lady,” a film about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and liberation heroine whom the government released in 2010 after 15 years of house arrest. The film screening would have been unheard of two years ago. Barbed wire still tops the wall around Suu Kyi’s home, a must drive-by in Yangon, formerly Rangoon, which was Myanmar’s capital until the military built a new capital two hours away. Yangon is also home to Myanmar’s most sacred temple: the 320-foot tall (97 meters) Shwedagon Pagoda, whose golden dome is visible throughout much of the city. Its tiers are plated in gold, studded with diamonds, and capped by an orb bearing 4,500 diamonds, with a single 76-carat diamond on top. Families and pilgrims spend the day at the pagoda spreading out rugs and meals they’ve packed, alternately worshipping and chatting the social equivalent of parks and malls in the United States. The temple’s origins are said to date back some 2,500 years, but it has been rebuilt over the centuries, and is encircled by hundreds of smaller temples, shrines and pavilions. Halos on many Buddhas in smaller shrines bear flashing electric lights, which are disliked by traditionalists but appeal to the young. While the Shwedagon is the star attraction in Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake are the two most entrancing areas to visit elsewhere in the country. But Yangon’s colonial architecture is also notable. Crumbling and neglected, the buildings nonethe-

less recall an era when Rangoon was a bustling port. They also represent one of the largest remaining examples of original British colonial architecture. Advocates are pushing for their restoration but critics fear they’ll be replaced by high-rises. Downtown Yangon is also home to sidewalk stalls selling tasty street food, fresh-rolled leaves of betel nut to chew (which stains teeth and sidewalks red), books and phone service (not mobile phones, but land lines you can rent to make calls). Pick up local handicrafts, a longyi, or well-priced lacquerware and antiques at the sprawling Britishera Scott Market. Ubiquitous teahouses offer mul-

Crowds visit the Shwedagon Pagoda.

A reclining Buddha decorated in gold leaf at the Chaykhtatgyi Pagoda, in Mandalay, in Myanmar.

Monks pray before eating at the Buddhist Kaleywatawye Monastery.

Fisherman balances on his boat, net and oar in Inle Lake. tiple choices of strength, sweetness and milkiness. During the most heinous periods of military rule, the teahouses served as a pipeline of communication for activists, journalists and dissidents. Not many Western tourists venture to Mandalay: It’s flat, dusty and traffic-congested, despite the romance attached to its name. Even Rudyard Kipling, who wrote the poem “On the Road to Mandalay,” never went there. But it’s a vibrant commercial and internal transportation hub. (Suu Kyi was recently spotted at the airport and wildly cheered.) Mandalay also teems with monasteries and ancient culture, including the Mahamyatmuni pagoda, which shelters the country’s secondmost sacred Buddha image, an enormous seated Buddha. Here, you can watch pilgrims applying wisp-thin sheets of gold to the Buddha (something only men are allowed to do). So much is applied that statues at some temples become unrecognizable blobs of gold. As at the most-visited temples, colorful craft and knick-knack stands line the entry halls, their owners calling out “mingga-la-ba” (welcome and hello) as you pass by. At monasteries like Mahagandayone, you can witness the morning meal procession. Access to the monasteries is so wide open throughout the

The sun sets over some of the over Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar. —AP photos country that visitors can stroll through and see close up how the monks live, from meal preparation to laundry. For shoppers, Mandalay is a center for traditional crafts, including wood carving, silverware, gold-leafing and tapestries. Southeast of Mandalay is Inle Lake, where members of the Intha ethnic group use boats to tend their crops on floating gardens. Others fish in small dugout boats, casting nets while using one leg to steer in a Kabuki-like ballet. White egrets and birdsong are a constant, with the occasional kingfisher, flamboyant in green and blue. Intha women, their hair twined in scarves balanced atop their heads, sell produce in roving markets that move among the villages. Hotels, shops and restaurants on stilts dot the lakesides. Getting around requires a launghle, a long motorized canoe. How the opening up of Myanmar will

affect its rich unique culture and traditions is an issue of much discussion, and a major reason for the current tourist stampede. “I had to come see the real Burma before it gets spoiled,” one Australian visitor said over breakfast as his fellow travelers nodded. Yet experts and local tour guides point out that what little has been done to preserve and restore the ancient temples and sites has been at best amateurish and at worst destructive. Even Suu Kyi has spoken out about the faulty restorations, saying last year: “One cannot just go about restoring the temples using modern material and without adhering to the original styles.” A case in point: Hundreds of centuries-old, crumbling cone-shape temples called zedi at Inndein, near Inle Lake, lean haphazardly, trees sprouting from some. Local villagers speed their ruin by removing stones for use elsewhere, including building new zedi. “Every time I come here, there are fewer of them,” said San San Myint, a tour guide with a deep love of her country’s history and traditions. “It makes me so sad. I worry that one day they will be gone.” TIPS: Learn about the military’s role in siphoning off the country’s wealth. Ask tour companies which hotels and airlines are owned by the government or by cronies of the military. Two noteworthy hotels not owned by the government are The Governor’s Residence, in Yangon, a colonial teak masterpiece in the lush embassy area, and the Villa Inle Resort, beautifully furnished lakeside bungalows with a good restaurant. A small chain of restaurants called The Green Elephant serves good Burmese cuisine. Dress code for temple visits: No bare arms or shoulders, no shorts or short skirts. Signs warn: “No spaghetti dresses.” You must remove your shoes, so bring sandals or slip-ons. Magical dusk and dawn balloon rides over Bagan are worth the $300 cost but usually sell out, so sign up in advance. Few places accept credit cards. Those that do charge hefty transaction fees. Best exchange rates are at the airport; for changing U.S. dollars, bring crisp $100 bills. You can often pay locally in dollars instead of kyat (pronounced chaat). Foreign cell phones don’t work in Myanmar but you can rent local phones at the airport. Larger hotels have intermittent Internet service. —AP

24 Jan  

Kuwait Times